The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall (review by Kristi)

the hesitant heiress

About the book:  Inspirational Historical Romance written from First Person POV.

** 2015 ACFW Carol Award Finalist in the Debut Novel Category!

After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy in her hometown of Seattle, Washington, disappearing before her very eyes. Now, the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: Marry within the year to inherit the immense fortune of her estranged grandmother. Amaryllis reluctantly moves in to her aunt’s Boston home and rubs shoulders with fashionable society. Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself quickly falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, the envy of every eligible female, whose father has haunted her dreams for the decade following her mother’s tragic death. However, Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems…and everything she never knew she wanted. But can she ever really trust an Everstone man?

 

My review: When I joined the author’s team to promote the fourth novel in this series (coming soon) she was kind enough to gift the team the first three books in the series so we could be “caught up” when we received the newest installment. What a lovely gesture that was and since I love to read series (even if they can stand alone) in order I was happy to receive and read The Hesitant Heiress.

It wasn’t until I was finished with the book that I realized this was Dawn Crandall’s debut novel. I would have never guessed this as her writing seemed clean and polished as that of an established author. The characters in this book were well developed. I immediately liked Amaryllis and her aunt Claudine but wasn’t sure about Nathan. I, like Amaryllis, just didn’t trust him and found myself mentally telling her to be careful. Lawry and Meredyth soon became favorites of mine and I’m hoping their story is told in a future installment.

The plot development in this book was wonderful. There are twists and turns and tension galore to keep the reader interested from beginning to end. In fact, I began reading this book while sitting in a hospital waiting room and was surprised to realize I had been reading for an hour when I thought it had been just a few minutes. This book had my attention from the first page. Speaking of first pages, I love that each chapter had a title and a quote that hinted to what the chapter would be about. I thought these were a great bonus to the story and showed the author’s commitment to and love for the story. I love books set in the time this one was (1890’s New England) and thought the author did a fantastic job with the dialogue and settings. It added a layer of authenticity to the story.

This book took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions and as many times as my heart rate increased I’m pretty sure I can count reading it as a cardio workout. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and can’t recommend this book enough. It is a great story and written to be a fast read. I will warn you though to clear your calendar for a day or so because once you start reading this book you won’t want to stop!

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

 

About the author:  Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award nominated author of the award-winning series The Everstone Chronicles from Whitaker House. The series currently consists of three books: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, and The Captive Imposter. The next “Everstone” book, The Cautious Maiden, will release October 4, 2016.

Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary. Apart from writing books, Dawn is also mom to two precious little boys, and also serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Connect with Dawn Crandall:   Website   •   Facebook   •   Twitter

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An Amish Harvest: Four Novellas by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman (review by Kristi)

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About the book:  Faith, hope, and love remain forever in season in this collection of four richly absorbing novellas set amidst the wonder of an Amish autumn.

Under the Harvest Moon, by Beth Wiseman

When Naomi Dienner is suddenly widowed, she never expects to find love again . . . until she meets Brock Mulligan, an English family friend hired at harvest time. As a sinister presence begins to threaten Naomi, Brock seeks to prove himself trustworthy while struggling with growing feelings for Naomi and her children. Will God open Naomi’s heart—and give Brock his own second chance at love?

Love and Buggy Rides, by Amy Clipston

Janie Lantz is a cashier at Lancaster Souvenirs and Buggy Rides, where Jonathan Stoltfuz is a buggy driver. A frightening accident brings Janie and Jonathan together in a blossoming friendship, yet daunting obstacles stand between them and something deeper. Can love kindle into flames that burn away fear and regret—and lead them to a life together?

Mischief in the Autumn Air, by Vannetta Chapman

When items start going above market value at his auction house, Eli Wittmer is first thrilled, and then puzzled. But when the house is broken into, Eli and his new bookkeeper, Martha Beiler track down a trail of clues. Will they solve the mystery before the fall festival ends—and discover an unexpected new love?

A Quiet Love, by Kathleen Fuller Dinah Hochstetler, quiet and bookish, longs for marriage but hides in her shyness. Amos Mullett, a simple farmer, knows he’s different but aches for a loving wife. As Dinah and Amos navigate a budding romance, will the power of love—and the blessing of God—be enough to overcome their doubters?

Dinah Hochstetler, quiet and bookish, longs for marriage but hides in her shyness. Amos Mullett, a simple farmer, knows he’s different but aches for a loving wife. As Dinah and Amos navigate a budding romance, will the power of love—and the blessing of God—be enough to overcome their doubters?

Paperback 432 pages                           Publication date: August 16, 2016 by Thomas Nelson

 

My review:  An Amish Harvest is a collection of novellas by four of the best writers of Amish fiction. While each story carries similar themes of family and love they are uniquely different and are great reads no matter the type of story you are in the mood for.

Under the Harvest Moon by Beth Wiseman focuses on the growing friendship between an Amish widow and an Englischer widower hired to bring in the harvest for her. Can Naomi and Brock have a future together?

Love and Buggy Rides by Amy Clipston is a story of healing and looking to the future. Jonathan and Janie meet after the tour buggy Jonathan is driving is in an accident. Despite their difference in age they become friends but can love blossom despite their age difference?

A Quiet Love by Kathleen Fuller is a story of Amos who is autistic and Dinah who stutters. Can the two find love despite the challenges they face in life?

Mischief in the Autumn Air features two older Amish people: a confirmed bachelor and a widow. Can a mystery surrounding furniture sold at Eli’s auction bring Eli and Martha together and result in love?

These four well-written novellas are quick reads and are sure to be loved by fans of Amish fiction.

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

 

About the authors:  Beth Wiseman is the best-selling and award-winning author of the Daughters of the Promise series – Plain Perfect, Plain Pursuit, Plain Promise, Plain Paradise, and Plain Proposal. She is contracted with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Her other series–the Land of Canaan Novels–begins with Seek Me With All Your Heart, then The Wonder of Your Love and now, His Love Endures Forever. Seek Me With All Your Heart is the first Amish fiction book selected as a Women of Faith novel in 2011. Beth has also written three contemporary Christian fiction novels, Need You Now published in 2012 and The House That Love Built in 2013. In The Promise, (2014) Beth jumps way outside the box. This story takes readers far away from Amish Country and small Texas towns to a dangerous place on the other side of the world. Inspired by a true story, Beth believes this is the book she’s been working toward for a long time. 2015 brings Beth back to the Pennsylvania Amish with her new series, Amish Secrets. She is currently working on book #2 following much success with book #1, Her Brother’s Keeper.

Connect with Beth Wiseman:  Website  •   Facebook   •   Twitter

 

Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her fiction writing “career” began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery series and Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Amy works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC, and lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, mother, and three spoiled rotten cats.

Connect with Amy Clipston:  Website   •   Facebook   •   Twitter

 

Kathleen is the best-selling author of over thirty books, including the Hearts of Middlefield Series and the A Middlefield Family Series. She lives with her husband and three children in Arkansas. Kathleen loves to hear from readers.

Connect with Kathleen Fuller:   Website   •   Facebook   •   Twitter

 

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She is the author of many novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, Shipshewana Amish Mystery Series, and Plain and Simple Miracle series. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She currently writes Christian suspense, Amish romance, and Amish mystery. She was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas hill country.

Connect with Vannetta Chapman:  Website   •   Facebook   •   Twitter

A Simple Vow Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!!

ET_ASimpleVow_Banner copy

 

About the book:  Housed in a rustic red barn, the Simple Gifts crafts shop celebrates the talents of the Amish of Willow Ridge–and the faith that inspires them. For the acceptance of simplicity opens the path to love.

As far as Edith Riehl is concerned, the baby twins thrust suddenly into her arms are a heaven-sent gift. Unable to conceive, she longs to be a mother with a home of her own. She’s going to abide by her promise to handsome Asa Detweiler to take care of them while he looks for their real father. And even if her domineering dat Cornelius refuses to countenance Asa’s suit, she can only pray the bachelor’s honesty and persistence will uncover the truth–even as he’s kindled an impossible hope for a love of her own . . .

Asa can’t understand why anyone would think he would be so dishonorable as to father babies and then abandon them. He’s determined to clear his name–but Edith’s caring ways also inspire him to help heal her wounded spirit and earn her trust. In the face of heartbreaking deception, he and Edith must find the strength to understand, forgive . . . and claim their own hearts’ joy.

 

Exclusive blog tour excerpt:

“Don’t stand up!” Andy insisted as he sprang from the wagon seat. “I’ll check you over for broken bones and such. I’m a nurse, by the way. Andy Leitner.”

The man’s dark eyebrows rose. “You look like an Amish man—but you’re a nurse? I must’ve really hit my head hard.”

Andy smiled as he ran his hands over the fellow’s neck and shoulders. “I get that reaction a lot. What can you tell me about your accident?” he asked as he gently grasped the man’s upper arms.

The stranger winced. “I’m foggy about that. I think I remember a buggy whizzing past me—must’ve spooked Midnight awfully bad—”

The gelding nickered in response to hearing its name.

“—and from there, it’s a blur,” the man finished with a sigh.

“Any idea how long you’ve been lying here?”

“Nope.”

Andy nodded and continued his examination. “Any idea where you are, what town this is?” he quizzed as he assessed the man’s eyes and pupils.

“Not really—except I’m on the ground and in a state of pain,” the guy added with a short laugh.

“We’ll fix that as soon as we can,” Andy assured him. “So, what’s your name? Where are you from?”

“Ah, my manners are slipping. I’m Asa Detweiler, and I live in—ouch!”

“Sorry,” Andy murmured. “I’m not finding any broken bones, but you’ve got some bruised ribs and a bloody forehead. You’re going to be sore for a long while.”

The guy sighed again as he refocused on Andy’s questions. “Clifford.”

Andy bit back a grin. “I assume we’re talking about a town rather than the big red dog that’s in a lot of kids books?”

Asa’s expression went blank.

“Sorry. I shouldn’t be teasing about stuff like that,” Leitner said.

 

My review: Charlotte Hubbard is a fairly new to me author. This being the second book of hers I have read I had an idea going in that the book wouldn’t be the typical Amish fiction I was used to reading. I was right, too. This book has many twists and turns along with a story not often (if ever) found in Amish fiction.

Let me start off with the one thing I didn’t like in the book. Too many characters. I found it difficult keeping them all straight in my mind while reading. I must say that even at the end of the book I was having trouble remembering who went with who and their backstory. I realize this series is a spinoff of another series and maybe had I read that series first the number of characters would have been a non-issue.

This is a fast-paced read. Things happen quickly from beginning to end. The author did a great job of writing in all the twists and turns in a way that keeps the reader engaged in the story. There is a bit of a mystery surrounding the father of the Riehl sisters that isn’t resolved in this book. I’m interested to see what develops in this storyline in upcoming books.

If you like Amish fiction I believe you will enjoy this book. Especially if you’re looking for a bit of a different story with an unusual mix of characters. This is a perfect weekend read.

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

 

 

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ASimpleVow
Many moons ago—like, in 1983 while she was still a school librarian—Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. This launched her into writing around seventy of those “true confessions” stories over the years, and she’s been a slave to her overactive imagination ever since. Over the course of her writing career, she has sold nearly 50 books—most recently, Amish romance series she’s written as Charlotte Hubbard or Naomi King. Charlotte lived in Missouri for most of her life, so her Amish stories are set in imaginary Missouri towns. These days she lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband of 40+ years and their Border collie, Ramona.

 

Connect with Charlotte Hubbard:     Website         Facebook

Click on these links to buy the book now!    A Simple Vow.indd

Amazon •  Barnes & Noble • The Book Depository • B.A.M. • Chapters •

IndieBound • Powell’s • Kensington Books

Ebook:  Kindle • Nook • Kobo • iBooks •  Google Play • Kensington

GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!

Charlotte will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Click HERE to enter!!!!

Check out all the stops on the tour:

June 27: Punya Reviews…
June 28: Rogue’s Angels
June 28: Miss Tina’s Snitz Pie Book Reviews
June 29: Queen of All She Reads
June 30: Romance Novel Giveaways
July 1: Southern Gal Loves to Read
July 1: Deal Sharing Aunt
July 11: The Avid Reader
July 12: Fabulous and Brunette
July 13: LibriAmoriMiei – review
July 14: The Certifiable Wenches – review
July 14: Vickie’s Kitchen and Garden
July 15: 3 Partners in shopping, Nana, Mommy, and Sissy, Too!
July 15: The Silver Dagger Scriptorium
July 18: EskieMama Reads – review
July 19: Room With Books – review
July 20: T’s Stuff – review
July 20: BooksChatter
July 21: Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
July 21: Underneath The Covers
July 22: Two Ends of the Pen
July 25: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
July 26: Straight from the Library
July 27: Two Girls and A Book
July 28: Louise Lyndon Romance Author Hear Me Roar
July 29: The Book Connection – review
July 29: Long and Short Reviews

A Bee in Her Bonnet (The Honeybee Sisters #2) by Jennifer Beckstrand (review by Cathy)

 

Bonnett

About the book:

Their bees produce the most delectable honey in all of Wisconsin. And the three Christner girls are fondly known as The Honeybee Sisters throughout their peaceful Amish community–where their spirited sweetness is attracting any number of hopeful suitors.

Lively, determined, and independent, Poppy Christner isn’t about to let some vandal keep making mischief on her family’s farm. She’s been outrunning boys and standing up for picked-on children ever since she was a girl–no matter how much her prideful, arrogant schoolmate Luke Bontranger insulted her.

So Poppy certainly doesn’t need his interference now, especially since he’s made it plain he prefers demure, ladylike companions. In fact, if Luke doesn’t stop helping her find the culprit–and growing humble and remorseful–she’ll be forced to notice how handsome his change-of-heart is making him. And that could mean falling in love–maybe for a lifetime…

 

My review:

This is the second installment of the Honeybee Sisters series and it’s just as delightful as the first book, Sweet as Honey. I am loving Aunt B!  She definitely has a mind of her own and is a bit of a rebel, but in a good way!  Other than her inclination to wear big earrings, color her hair and the occasional tattoo (temporary ones) she is raising the Christner sisters to be fine young Amish ladies. It makes perfect sense once you read the books, which I highly recommend you do.

There is still an unknown mischief maker wreaking havoc on the farm and Poppy is determined to find the culprit. Hilarity ensues as Luke is determined to help her. There’s never a dull moment as Poppy is determined to prove to Luke that she is as capable as he is, even though he’s pretty doubtful.

As a cat lover, I enjoyed the antics of Farrah Fawcett, Billy Idol and Leonard Nimoy, named by Aunt B.

The girls are still baking their delicious treats, working their farm and selling their honey. Everything they do is done with love and so much laughter.

I’m looking forward to the next book in the series and know that it will be just as good as the first two.

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion which I have given.

 

 

The Saddle Maker’s Son(The Amish of Bee County #3) by Kelly Irvin (review by Cathy)

The Sadle Makers Son

 

About the book:

Rebekah Lantz feels imprisoned by circumstances she didn’t create. Tobias Byler is haunted by regret. Can two young runaways from half a world away teach them the healing power of true family?

Rebekah isn’t like her sister, but the watchful gaze of her family and small, close knit Amish community makes her feel as if she’s been judged and found lacking. The men avoid her and the women whisper behind her back. She simply longs for the same chance to be a wife and mother that her friends have.

Tobias Byler only wants to escape feelings for a woman he knows he should never have allowed to get close to him. Moving with his family to isolated Bee County, Texas, seemed the best way to leave his mistakes behind. But even a move across the country can’t erase the past that accompanies his every thought.

A surprise encounter with two half-starved runaway children forces both Rebekah and Tobias to turn to each other to help a sister and brother who have traveled thousands of miles in search of lives of unfettered peace and joy. In doing so, Rebekah and Tobias discover the key to forgetting the past is the one that will open the door to love and the future they both seek.

 

My review:

The Saddle Maker Maker’s Son is the third book in the Amish of Bee County Series. Kelly Irvin continues the wonderful story of this community and characters.

I loved Rebekah Lantz and Tobias Byler! Two characters that I was rooting for to find love and happiness. I found the introduction of Lupe and Diego to be a surprising and welcome twist. When Rebekah finds the brother and sister, she knows that she must help them. Which proves to be challenging since the kids are frightened and far away from their country. The fact that they don’t speak English added to the challenge.

With the help of family and friends, Rebekah and Tobias offer them safety and love.

I enjoyed returning to Bee County and catching up with the Lantz and Glick families. The addition of the Byler family, Lupe and Diego made the journey even more enjoyable. There are so many great characters in this book!

Ms. Irvin pens a fantastic story of love, trust and forgiveness. This series has been a joy to read and one I highly recommend.

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

 

Fetching Sweetness: A novel for Dog Lovers by Dana Mentink(review by Cathy)

fetching sweetness FNL.indd

Standing Between Stephanie and Her Dream Is One Hundred Pounds of Lovable Trouble It should have been so simple for Stephanie Pink: Meet up with Agnes Wharton in a small town in California, retrieve the reclusive author’s valuable new manuscript, and be promoted to a full-fledged literary agent.

But Agnes’s canine companion, Sweetness, decides to make a break for it before Stephanie can claim her prize. Until Agnes has Sweetness safely back at home in Eagle Cliff, Washington, Stephanie will never set eyes on the manuscript she needs to make her dreams come true..

When Stephanie tracks the runaway mutt to a campground, she meets Rhett Hastings—a man also on the run from a different life and a costly mistake. Rhett agrees to help Stephanie search for the missing dog…thus launching a surprising string of adventures and misadventures. Once Sweetness gets added to the mix, it’s a recipe for love and loss, merriment and mayhem, fun and faith in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest.

 

My review:

Fetching Sweetness is a such a charming book.

It has characters that have baggage as most of us do. It also has something that most of us don’t have.  A rambunctious and ill-mannered spatula loving dog named Sweetness.

I really liked Stephanie for her tenacity. I may have had a bit of a crush on Rhett. I absolutely loved them together.  Of course I loved Sweetness. I could easily imagine his antics and their frustration.

They thought they were rescuing Sweetness, but at times he was the one that came to the rescue of not only helpless animals but perhaps humans as well.

It’s a story of forgiveness, learning from past mistakes and embracing the future. Because in order to move forward you need to let go of the past which isn’t always easy.

I really like this authors  writing style. In this book she adds the perfect touch of humor throughout.

A definite must read for fiction fans of all ages. This will definitely put a smile on your face.

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

 

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.

 

 

 

A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell (review by Kristi)

A Haven on Orchard Lane

About the book:  An urgent escape . . . a wounded heart . . .
Will Charlotte find the solace she longs for at the cottage on Orchard Lane?

Famed actress Charlotte Ward stepped away from the Victorian London stage five years ago. Now in desperate circumstances, she tries to restart her career–only to experience a complete collapse. Against her better judgment, Charlotte’s estranged daughter, Rosalind, comes to her mother’s rescue and moves her to a quiet English coastal village where her mother can evade the gossip columnists, at least for a time.

Charlotte is grateful to re-establish even tenuous family ties with Rosalind. As one with regrets over her own romantic past, she’s happy to see love blossom for her daughter. For Rosalind, however, it’s time away from teaching, and now she must care for the mother who wasn’t there for her. And what could possibly be more complicated than romance?

But there can be no permanent escape from the threats of recent months. As the privacy they seek is threatened, mother and daughter must make some difficult decisions–ones that jeopardize those they care about most.

Kindle edition 416 pages                      Published May 31, 2016 by Bethany House Publishers

 

My review:  There are books I like, books I love, and books I LOVE. This book for me was one I LOVED!!!! I must admit I began reading the book without knowing what the story was about. I just kept seeing this book in emails and on social media and loved the cover. It looked so warm and inviting and I just knew I had to read it.

The inside of the book is just as spectacular as the cover. I slowly got pulled into the story and was gently wrapped up in it. The characters were real and very authentic. I liked Charlotte and Rosalind and thought they complimented each other well. Mrs. Deamer and Coral, Jude and Jinny, Danny and Albert; these were all perfect additions to the story and were just as well-developed as the main characters and made me feel like I wanted to be part of the story. Lord Fosberry, Mrs. Hooper and Noble, while not quite as enjoyable as the rest of the characters, were well-developed, too. They were the perfect balance to the other characters.

The storyline was fantastic and the descriptions were so well-written I felt like I was actually there and part of the story. I enjoyed how the story progressed at a perfect pace and wasn’t rushed or dragged out. Every plot development was spot on to make the story entertaining. There was a great flow from chapter to chapter that kept me reading “just one more” until I had read several.

While this was a story I wanted to rush through to find out what happened it was also one I took my time reading. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and wanted to spend as much time with these characters as I possibly could. This is a book I would enjoy reading again and again.

Great story and great writing combine to make this book a wonderful escape. If you are looking for a good story with down-to-earth characters this book is for you. I highly recommend taking the time to read this book. You won’t be disappointed!

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

 

About the author:  Lawana Blackwell is a full-time writer with 10 published novels, including the bestselling Gresham Chronicles series. She and her husband have three grown sons and live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.