The Goodbye Bride(A Summer Harbor Novel)by Denise Hunter(review by Cathy)

The Goodbye Bride

About the book:

 

She only remembers loving him. But he can’t forget the way she left.

Following a concussion, Lucy Lovett can’t remember the last seven months of her life. She doesn’t remember leaving her fiancé Zac Callahan weeks before their wedding or moving to Portland, Maine. And she sure doesn’t remember getting engaged to another man. All she remembers is loving Zac more than life itself.

It’s taken Zac months to move on after Lucy left him with no explanation. He’s thrown himself into his family’s farm and his restaurant business in Summer Harbor. Now Lucy’s back, vulnerable, homeless, and still in love with him. She needs his help putting the pieces together, but letting her back into his life is a risk—and the stakes are high. If he follows his heart he’ll win back the love of his life. But if her memory returns he’ll lose her all over again.

 

My review:

What a complicated situation Lucy finds herself in after she suffers a concussion! What a wonderful story that Denise Hunter weaves after Lucy and Zac are reunited!

There are strong friendships found and some are renewed.  There is a poignancy to this story that made me want to keep reading.  I wanted to know the characters better.  I wanted to visit Summer Harbor and stop by Zac’s restaurant.  The strong family ties of the Callahan family added a perfect touch to the book.

If you haven’t read it yet, you really should!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I have given my honest opinion.

 

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Seaside Secrets by Dana Mentink (review by Kristi)

Seaside Secrets.jpg

About the book: Navy chaplain Angela Gallagher wants to put the past behind her, but she’s still haunted by the wartime death of her assistant. So when his brother claims he’s in danger and pleads for her to use her family’s private detective company’s resources to help him stay alive, she can’t turn him down. But someone will stop at nothing—even murder—to keep her from revealing their secrets. She’ll have to depend on a military colleague to keep her head above water. Dr. Dan Blackwell was in the field with her when her assistant died, and he’s determined to keep her safe. Can they sift through the web of lies to find the truth without losing their lives?

Pacific Coast Private Eyes: Sisters fighting crime

Paperback, 288 pages       Expected publication: May 3rd 2016 by Love Inspired

My review: Wow! Right from the get-go this story had me hooked. Dana Mentink knows how to write a suspense novel that keeps you involved from first page to last.

This book has some of the same characters we met in the first book in the series and introduces us to new ones. The main character, Angela, was very relatable and easy to like. She and Dan were the perfect balance for each other throughout the book and made them a perfect leading couple for the story.

The storyline of this book was well thought out and well written. The story unfolds quickly and keeps up a fast pace from page one. With the number of characters and all the twists and turns of the storyline, I was kept guessing as to who was after Tank. I would compare Dana Mentink’s writing style to that of Mary Higgins Clark. Both do an excellent job of setting up a suspense novel.

If you enjoy good, clean suspense stories then I’m sure you will like Seaside Secrets. Be warned though that once you start reading this book you won’t want to put it down. Happy reading!!

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion which I have given.

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dana mentink

About the author:  Dana Mentink enjoys writing in many different capacities. She currently writes for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House Publishers.

Dana is the recipient of a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and an ACFW Carol Award as well as a Holt Medallion Merit Award winner.

Dana loves feedback from her readers. Contact her via her website at www.danamentink.com

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Reckless Heart by Amy Clipston (review by Kristi)

It’s #tbt here at Two Girls and a Book!  For my #tbt review, I chose the very first book of Amy Clipston’s that I read.  I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Amy and three other authors of Amish fiction at a book signing in Indianapolis back in 2013.  Luck must have been on my side that night as there weren’t a lot of people at the signing and those of us there got to spend time chatting with the authors.  I started at one end of the table and worked my way down until I got to the author who I knew the least about, Amy.  Fortunate still that there wasn’t anyone in line behind me I got to spend several minutes talking to Amy and getting to know her.  After meeting her and finding her an absolute delight I began reading Reckless Heart.  I was hooked from the beginning and have been a fan of Amy’s since and have the privilege to call her friend.

Here is my #tbt review of Reckless Heart.  Enjoy and happy reading!!!!!

 

reckless heart

About the book:  Slipping. Lydia Bontrager’s youngest sister is frighteningly ill, and as a good Amish daughter, it falls to Lydia to care for her siblings and keep the household running, in addition to working as a teacher’s assistant and helping part time at her grandmother’s bakery. Succumbing to stress, Lydia gives in to one wild night and returns home drunk. The secret of that mistake leaves Lydia feeling even more restless and confused, especially when Joshua, the only boy she’s ever loved, becomes increasingly distant. When a non-Amish boy moves in nearby, Lydia finds someone who understands her, but the community is convinced Lydia is becoming too reckless. With the pressures at home and her sister’s worsening condition, a splintering relationship with Joshua, and her own growing questions over what is right, Lydia could lose everything that she’s ever held close.

Paperback, 271 pages       Published April 17th 2012 by Zondervan
My review:  I LOVED this book. This was the first Amy Clipston book I read and I can definitely say it won’t be the last.

I won’t spend time telling what the book is about because that is covered in the description. I will tell you the story is so good and written so well I was pulled into it and was able to read this book in hours, not days. (In fact, I had to force myself to do housework and have reading this book  as a reward!).

This book is not your typical Amish fiction story. Amy writes about a serious health issue and how it affected the entire family, focusing on Lydia, the main character. The story was written in a way that I forgot I was reading about fictional characters. These characters became real to me and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen.

This book made me tear up one second and smile the next. This book takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who enjoys Amish fiction. I will be telling others about it. This definitely goes on the keeper shelf!!!

Thank you,  Amy for writing such a great book.

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Visit Amy’s website at   www.amyclipston.com
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Change of Heart(Book One-Sisters and Friends)by Rachel J. Good(review by Cathy)

Change of Heart

About the Book:

Lydia Esh’s younger sister Emma is running wild during rumschpringe, causing the family major heartaches. Although it means risking her reputation, her job as a schoolteacher, and her courtship with Jakob Zook, Lydia attends parties to watch over Emma and protect her sister’s virtue.

When Emma begins a relationship with Kyle, an Englischer, Lydia teams up with Kyle’s older brother, Caleb, to keep the couple apart. As Lydia and Caleb spend time together keeping an eye on their siblings, Lydia falls for this forbidden love. But she fights her attraction and determines to stay true to her faith.

Caleb confesses his feelings to Lydia. She admits her attraction to him, but she’s made her decision to join the church and marry Jakob Zook as her family is pressing her to do.
Will Lydia stay true to her faith even when it means giving up the things that are most precious to her?

My Review:

I was initially drawn to this book by the beautiful cover.  I’m so glad that I was because I discovered not only a good book, but a wonderful author.

At first, I thought the book would be a somewhat predictable, but after a couple of chapters I realized that would not be the case!  The story progressed nicely and the characters were well developed.

One of my favorite characters is Mammi. She was full of surprises and quite different from other Amish grandmother’s in books that I’ve read.  I loved her spunk and her gentle ways. A great combination.

Another character that stood out to me was their father and how he dealt with both anger and despair.  The most maddening character was Kyle!  Maybe, he’ll have some redeeming qualities in the next book?

I’m already looking forward to the next installment in this series. I cannot wait to see what Ms. Good has in store for The Esh family, their friends and community.

A good book for both young and older readers.

I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

The Atonement by Beverly Lewis (review by Kristi)

the atonement

About the book: The mistakes of the past haunt Lucy Flaud, who years ago stopped attending the activities for courting-age young people in her hometown of Bird-in-Hand. Now twenty-five and solidly past the age of Amish courtship, Lucy has given up any hope of marriage, instead focusing her efforts on volunteering in both the Plain and fancy communities of Lancaster County. Yet no matter how hard Lucy strives, she feels uncertain that she’ll ever find redemption.

Dale Wyeth has a deep mistrust of modern-day “advances” and the dependency they create. The young Englisher’s interest in living off the grid is fueled further when he meets Christian Flaud, Lucy’s father. Dale appreciates the self-sufficient ways of the Old Order Amish, and Christian invites him to learn more about them by staying at the family farm.

As Christian and Dale grow closer, developing a father-son rapport, Lucy begins to question what Dale’s being there might mean for her. Could God be testing her? Or is it possible that even the most unworthy heart–and two people from very different walks of life–can somehow find a new beginning?

Paperback, 352 pages     Published March 29th 2016 by Bethany House Publishers

My review: At first, I was disappointed with this book. I found it extremely hard to connect with Lucy, the main character. Lucy lives with a secret from her past and it is revealed slowly throughout the first half of the book and I would have rather had all the information at the beginning. With the way the secret was revealed I felt like I was missing out on something and felt a bit lost at times. Also, I found it hard to connect with her family, especially her father, who has a major role in the book.

Once Lucy’s secret is revealed completely I felt the story take a different turn and found myself enjoying the story and not wanting to put the book down. I then realized that every character in the book plays a role in Lucy letting go of the past and being able to concentrate on the future and also to forgive herself.

Overall I found the book enjoyable and was a little sad to see the story end. I had finally found the connection to Lucy and found her to be a flawed, yet likable, person. I thought at the beginning this might be the beginning of a new series but it is a standalone as all of the character’s lives are tidied up at the end and no storyline is left unfinished.

Diehard fans of Beverly Lewis are sure to like this book. I also think it is an enjoyable read for fans of Amish fiction or those looking for a good read for a lazy day or weekend.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

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About the author:   Beverly Lewis, raised in Pennsylvania Amish country and both a schoolteacher and an accomplished musician, has been an award-winning author for over a dozen years. Her acclaimed novel, The Preacher’s Daughter, was a 2006 Quill Book Award finalist in the romance category. Her books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including USA Today and The New York Times. She and her husband, David, live in Colorado.”

The Midwife’s Dilemma(At Home In Trinity #3) by Delia Parr (review by Cathy)

The Midwifes Dilemma

From Goodreads:

Midwife Martha Cade has decided. When he returns in February, she is going to marry Mayor Thomas Dillon. That is the only decision in life in which she feels confident these days. Everything else around her feels like it’s changing too fast, from her daughter’s obvious affection for the town’s young doctor to Martha realizing she’s ready to pass on her role as midwife to someone younger. Even her beloved town of Trinity is changing.

The 1830s Pennsylvania town, having mushroomed in size and population, is becoming an important agricultural and economic center for the region, and soon a canal will connect it even more to the outside world.

It is a season that will set the course for the rest of her life. Martha will need every ounce of confidence, courage, and faith she possesses to overcome the obstacles that will make her life far more challenging and difficult than she can dare to imagine.

My review:

Heartwarming characters that love and care about each other have made this series so enjoyable to read.

I love Martha and Thomas.  Their relationship has had some ups and downs along the way, but the love they have for each other is pure and sweet.

This three-part series gets better with each book.

Although this is the third and final book in the series, it can easily be read as a stand-alone.  There’s plenty of background information on the secondary characters so that the reader can quickly figure out what role they’ve played in the series.

I recommend reading the series because Trinity is a delightful town filled with delightful characters.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest opinion which I have given.

Hope in the Land by Olivia Newport (review by Kristi)

Hope in the Land

About the book: When Henry Edison turns up in Lancaster County to survey farm women about their domestic contributions during the 1930s, the last thing Amish housewife Gloria Grabill has time for is the government agent’s unending questions. Gloria’s hands are already full with a farm to run alongside her husband, a houseful of children, and an English neighbor, Minerva Swain, who has been trying Gloria’s patience for forty years. Gloria’s oldest daughter, Polly, wants nothing more than the traditional path of an Amish farmer’s wife, but everything she does seems to push Thomas Coblentz further away. While the Great Depression shadows the country in gloom, can Amish andEnglish neighbors in Lancaster County grasp the goodness that will sustain hope?

Paperback, 320 pages    Published April 1st 2016 by Shiloh Run Press

 

My review: I had a bit of difficulty “getting into” this story but this seems to be the norm for me with this author’s works. However, once I got into the story a bit I found it to be a well-written and very interesting read.

The setting of this book is Depression-era Lancaster County and the story revolves around a study being conducted on the farm wives of the area and how they contribute to their family. I have never read a story like this and found it very interesting. It was neat to see how the families lived during this time and how things haven’t changed much for both the Amish and English since then. The storyline is based on a real study conducted under President Roosevelt and I found the story a fun way to read about it.

As far as characters go there are quite a few as expected in a book with an Amish family. Polly was easy to connect with and I felt sorry for her at times during the book as she felt she just didn’t measure up to the rest of the children in the family. Her ability to remember things after just seeing them once was interesting to read. Minerva, the English housewife, was very easy for me to dislike and, honestly, I wondered why her husband and daughter put up with her since they seemed so down-to-earth and genial. Towards the end though Minerva is more agreeable and I found myself warming to her. Henry, the government agent, was easy to relate to and I found myself sympathizing with him throughout the book.

This is the fourth book in the Amish Turns of Time series and can be read as a standalone as these characters do not appear in the previous books. This book would be a great choice for fans of Amish fiction or historical fiction. An excellent way to spend the day! Happy reading!!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion which I have given.

About the author:  Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. She chases joy in Colorado, where daylilies grow as tall as she is. Her husband and two twenty-something children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books.
Connect with Olivia Newport at:   http://www.olivianewport.com/
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