Amanda Flower is our featured author today!

Assulted Caramel

We’re talking about candy, editors Cheeps and Tummy, the place of many books and of course her new Amish Candy Shop Mystery Series.  If you haven’t read Assaulted Caramel yet, you have time before the next book, Lethal Licorice releases on February 22nd.

 

Two Girls:   Amanda, please tell us about your new Amish Candy Shop Mystery series.

Amanda:  The Amish Candy  Shop  Mysteries began with Assaulted Caramel. The series is about a NYC chocolatier who goes to Amish Country to care for her aging Amish grandparents only to get tangled up in a murder or two or three. The second book in the series is called Lethal Licorice and comes out in February 2018. And I’m writing the third book now.

 

Two Girls: What was your inspiration?

Amanda:  My inspiration for this series was all the fun candies that I have seen and sampled on my many trips to Amish Country. I only live an hour from Holmes County, Ohio and go there often. Since I have a terrible sweet tooth, I never leave without a little bit of candy…. Okay… I never leave without a lot of candy.

 

Two Girls:  How many books are in the series?

Amanda:  I was contracted for three books. It could go on longer if sales are good. That’s always the hope!

 

Two Girls: What can your readers expect the next book?

Amanda:  In the second book, Lethal Licorice, Jethro the pig has a much bigger part, and it’s a fun read with more hijinks. 

 

Two Girls:  Will any of the animals in Assaulted Caramel appear in other books in the series?

Amanda:  Definitely, the kitten Nutmeg will be back, and of course, Jethro the black and white polka dotted pig. The pig is a scene stealer.

 

Two Girls:  Did your research for this book require gorging on mass quantities of chocolate?

Amanda:  Well, I think in order to write authentically, I needed to sample Amish candy.  It seemed only right.

 

Two Girls:  What is Dead Fred up to nowadays?

Amanda:  Dead Fred sits on my bookshelf in my bedroom waiting for his next adventure. In all likelihood, we will be going to India in 2018, so that will be quite a trip!

Two Girls:  . Does he have any news to announce?

Amanda :  The Magical Bookshop Mysteries will return in 2019 with a mystery centered around the novel Little Women. I can’t wait to start writing it. Also, my Forgotten Garden Mysteries set in Scotland will begin in May 2018 with Death at Duncreigan.

Two Girls:  Do you have any upcoming book signings, or appearances that you can announce?

Amanda:  I’ll be at the Buckeye Book Fair on November 5th in Wooster, Ohio. It’s my favorite book event every year.

Two Girls:  How are, Cheeps and Tummy?

Amanda:  Cheeps and Tummy are doing great. They are diligent editors who always keep me on task. I couldn’t do any of this without them and the readers, of course!

Two Girls:  Our cats, Rascal, Trixie and Kylie are a tiny bit jealous of their lifestyle. With editing, checking out the perimeters of their home and being chased by tiny humans, they think their lives (all 9 of them) are pretty boring, compared to theirs.
They would like to know about, “the place of many books”, and if the editors have ever been there.

Amanda:  They haven’t been to the place of many books. I think Tummy might like it, but Cheeps would be overwhelmed by the size of the place! He would, however, like seeing the many books that he’s edited on the library’s shelves.

Thank you so much for answering our questions, Amanda and we look forward to more of your work.

You can read our reviews Assaulted Caramel:

Assaulted Caramel by Amanda Flower (review by Kristi)

Assaulted Caramel by Amanda Flower (review by Cathy)

 

 

 

 

 

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Home All Along (An Amish Secrets Novel) by Beth Wiseman (review by Cathy)

home all along

About the book:

Charlotte has made a home for herself in Amish Country with Daniel. But unforeseen events rock their fragile world and may move them even further away from the life they long for.

Charlotte, an Englisher, is living in Amish Country, and she has formed strong and lasting bonds with the people in her new community. She has even fallen in love with an Amish man. But just when she is considering a permanent conversion to the Amish way of life, her world crashes around her. An unexpected death and a mysterious visitor unsettle Charlotte, and she begins to question her faith and her choices.

Daniel loves Charlotte and wants to share his life with her, even it if means leaving the only world he’s ever known. But as he walks alongside of her through her struggles, his own world is turned upside down when a loved one receives a grim medical diagnosis and a prodigal relative returns home. Will Charlotte and Daniel’s relationship succumb to the many pressures around them, or will their faith and the strong community around them allow them to weather the storms of their own lives in order to build a life together?

My review (5-stars)

I’m so sad to see this series come to an end, but the conclusion validated  what I knew all along, and that is the author loves her characters as much as I do.  Charlotte has held a special place in my heart from the beginning of the series.  She has a heart full of love and she’s not afraid to go outside of her comfort zone.   She’s overcome the loss of loved ones, financial problems and yet she continues to have an inner strength that I truly admire.

Throughout the series, Ms. Wiseman has addressed serious issues such as  mental health, and end of life decisions and she has done so beautifully.  I don’t mean to imply that this has been a sad or depressing storyline, because it’s been so much more than that.  There has been love, laughter and good times.   There has been friendships that have endured, kindness, forgiveness and compassion.

This has been Beth Wiseman at her finest and I’m excited to see what she has in store for her readers next.   If you want a great book, I recommend this one.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

An Amish Love (Four Novellas) by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid and Kelly Irvin (review by Cathy)

An Amish Christmas Love

About the book:

Winter Kisses by Beth Wiseman

Three generations of Stoltzfus women are all living under the same roof. At twenty-five, Naomi has never been married, and both her mother, Barbara, and her grandmother, Ruth, have recently been widowed. Each nursing broken or lonely hearts, they also each have potential suitors. When a storm on Christmas Eve forces the three couples to take shelter in the basement of the Stotlzfus homestead, secrets are revealed, hearts are opened, and all three potential grooms drop to their knees for very different reasons a proposal, a prayer, and an epiphany.

My thoughts:  I liked the characters in Winter Kisses and the close-knit relationship the ladies had.   My favorite of the three is Ruth. I loved her stubbornness and her flirtatiousness.  She added some  lightness to the story. The three gentlemen that rent the  daadi haus brought added income and friendship.   Overall, I enjoyed this novella quite a lot.  If this had been a full length novel, I think I would have liked even more,  I would have liked a less hurried ending.

The Christmas Cat by Amy Clipston

Emma Bontrager is spending her first Christmas alone after her husband of 45 years, Henry, passed away in July. Although the Amish don t normally allow animals in their homes, a big, fat, orange barn cat keeps coming into Emma s house. She shoos the cat away, but it continues to appear in her house, settling on Henry s favorite wingchair. But the cat isn t the only Christmas visitor: a group of young people help bring the Christmas spirit to Emma, reminding her that love and hope abide.

My thoughts:  The Christmas Cat by Amy Clipston is absolutely my favorite in this collection!  I think she captured the very essence of Christmas. The season is reflected perfectly by welcoming a stranger (in this case, a cat) into your home and providing warmth and comfort.  I loved Emma and I could imagine how she must feel spending her first Christmas without Henry.  It’s always difficult spending time without your loved one, no matter what time of year it is.  To keep the spirit of giving and sharing, four young people surprise Emma with a much-needed visit and dinner.  I promise that if you read this novella, you will not be disappointed and you’ll feel the true meaning of the holiday season.

Snow Angels by Kelly Irvin

As a young man enjoying his rumspringa, David Byler gave his heart to an Englisch girl, but he eventually realized he couldn t give up his Plain faith and family for her, so he let her go. He s found a new love in his Bee County Plain community, Molly Shrock. Molly has been patient, waiting for the man she loves to love her back. Just as he is ready to propose, David makes a startling discover: Bobbie McGregor, his Englisch love, is back. Will Molly s prayers for a Christmas love be answered?

My thoughts: It took me awhile to get interested in Snow Angels by Kelly Irvin, but as I kept reading, I started to enjoy it more than I thought I would.  I liked Molly and of course, I liked Lupe and Diego from the other Bee County books.

Home for Christmas by Ruth Reid

When a misdirected GPS sends Ellie Whetstone to the wrong address, she inadvertently finds herself breaking into the home of Amish man, Ezra Mast. Ellie hopes to fix up the house left by her aenti and sell it quickly, but a series of run-ins with Ezra and his young daughter have her questioning whether a hasty sale is the right move. Could this new place with its slower pace be the right home for Ellie?

My thoughts:  Home for Christmas by Ruth Reid was my second favorite in this collection. I loved the characters, although I had a special fondness for Allison.  I loved that precious little girl so much.   Ellie and Ezra were very  entertaining at times and I liked both of them equally.   I found the subject matter very interesting and I think that anyone reading this novella will agree.

This is a definitely a keeper and I will read it again during the Christmas Holidays.  I highly recommend this one to fans of Amish and Christian fiction.  It would make a great gift, too.

I received a free copy and was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

Home All Along by Beth Wiseman (review by Kristi)

home all along

About the book:  Charlotte has made a home for herself in Amish Country with Daniel. But unforeseen events rock their fragile world and may move them even further away from the life they long for.

Charlotte, an Englisher, is living in Amish Country, and she has formed strong and lasting bonds with the people in her new community. She has even fallen in love with an Amish man. But just when she is considering a permanent conversion to the Amish way of life, her world crashes around her. An unexpected death and a mysterious visitor unsettle Charlotte, and she begins to question her faith and her choices.

Daniel loves Charlotte and wants to share his life with her, even it if means leaving the only world he’s ever known. But as he walks alongside of her through her struggles, his own world is turned upside down when a loved one receives a grim medical diagnosis and a prodigal relative returns home. Will Charlotte and Daniel’s relationship succumb to the many pressures around them, or will their faith and the strong community around them allow them to weather the storms of their own lives in order to build a life together?

Published September 26, 2017, by Thomas Nelson

 

My review:  Awesome. Amazing. Perfect. These are all words that describe this wonderfully written book by Beth Wiseman. A book that has quickly become my all-time favorite of hers. Be prepared to take an emotional rollercoaster ride of a journey along with Charlotte in the finale of the Amish Secrets series.

I loved the way this book started off with Charlotte and Andrea meeting up at their mother’s funeral. There seemed to be an air of suspense around Andrea who appeared to have experienced the perfect life while Charlotte and their brother Ethan struggled. Something doesn’t seem quite right and it doesn’t take the reader long to figure out that Andrea may have some secrets of her own. Beth Wiseman did a wonderful job of creating the sisters’ relationship which was cautious and strained at times yet I could almost feel the bond between the two.

While I’m not really a big fan of romantic relationships between an Amish person and non-Amish person I am a fan of Daniel and Charlotte. These two have a unique relationship and it seemed very believable and organic. It was interesting to read of their struggles with Daniel’s family issues and Charlotte’s issues with giving herself fully to Daniel and the Amish church. It was easy for me as a reader to feel what the characters were going through and have empathy for them in their situations.

While there is a lot going on in this book and a lot of it is of a serious, heartbreaking nature there is some comedic relief in the form of Aunt Faye. I loved that Beth put this quirky character in the book in a way that lightened the sadness at times. In times of great sadness and heartache, it is nice to have moments of laughter and Aunt Faye provided those in a way that fits with the story and was genuine.

I enjoy Beth Wiseman’s writing style and it is fabulous in this book. The pace of the book was perfect and I really enjoyed seeing the characters grow throughout the book. Everything about this story seemed realistic to me and even though the subject matter was sad and a bit heavy at times the story was one I really enjoyed reading. I thought she did a great job of capturing the characters emotions.

This book is a must-read and definitely one for the keeper shelf. I would recommend reading the first two books before delving into this one. Don’t worry, those books are just as good as this one so it won’t take you long to read them and in doing so you will have a better understanding of the characters and their stories. Bravo to Beth Wiseman on a book that is perfect in every way.

I received a free copy of this book and wasn’t required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

 

About the author:  Beth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series. Having sold over 1.5 million books, her novels have held spots on the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) Bestseller List and the CBA (Christian Book Association) Bestseller List. She was the recipient of the prestigious Carol Award in 2011 and 2013. She is a three-time winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and an INSPY Award winner. In 2013 she took home the coveted Holt Medallion. Her first book in the Land of Canaan series—Seek Me With All Your Heart—was selected as the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year. Beth is contracted with HarperCollins Christian Publishing into the year 2018, and she has published thirteen novels and thirteen novellas to date.

As a former newspaper reporter, Beth was honored by her peers with eleven journalism awards, including first place news writing for The Texas Press Association. She has been a humor columnist for The 1960 Sun in Houston and published articles in various publications. However, writing novels is where her heart is. She left her job as a journalist in 2008 to write novels fulltime.

Beth has a deep affection for the Amish and their simpler way of life, and while she plans to continue writing Amish love stories, she is also branching out into other areas. Her first non-Amish, contemporary—Need You Now—released in April 2012 and landed on the CBA Bestseller List. She enjoyed writing the story based in a town near where she lives, and she chose another small Texas town for her next non-Amish contemporary—The House that Love Built—which is based in Smithville, the same quaint town where movies such as Hope Floats and Tree of Life were filmed. Beth continued to spread her wings when she released The Promise in October 2014. Inspired by actual events, The Promise follows Beth’s characters all the way to Pakistan. Beth was involved in the real-life rescue when her friend was held captive in Pakistan. Beth is currently working on book #2 in her new Amish Secrets series, tentatively titled Jacob’s Ladder. Book #1—Her Brother’s Keeper—recently released and was chosen as a Top Pick by RT Reviews Magazine.

Beth and her husband are empty nesters enjoying the country life in Texas with three dogs and a rooster. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, paint, and enjoy time with friends and family.

Website   •   Facebook   •   Twitter

 

The Proving by Beverly Lewis (review by Cathy)

The Proving

About the book:
Having left the Amish life for the English world, Amanda Dienner is shocked when she learns that her mother has passed and left her Lancaster County’s most popular Amish bed-and-breakfast. The catch is she has to run it herself for one year, acting as hostess. Amanda accepts the terms, but coming home to people she left behind won’t be easy

 

My review (5-stars)

If I ever decide to go to a B&B, I would  love to stay at one like  Butterfly Meadows in this book. .  I could easily imagine the beautiful setting, the guests and the butterflies. It sounds like a warm and relaxing place to stay.

Mandy has left the Amish life behind, so she’s shocked to discover that her mother has left her the B&B. Obviously, there are a few conditions that must be met before she receives her full inheritance.   

I thought this was a unique storyline involving Mandy, her estranged twin sister,  their employees and their returning guests.  I’m always intrigued by family dynamics and the author certainly does not disappoint with this family.

There isn’t a single character that I didn’t like because every one of them was a great addition..  The fact that the story moved a nice pace and held my interest throughout added to my enjoyment of this book

This is a definite must read for fans of Amish and Christian fiction.

I received a copy of The Proving from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter (review by Kristi)

an inconvenient beauty

About the book:  The Duke of Riverton has chosen his future wife with the same logic he uses to make every decision. However, his perfect bride eludes his suit, while the beautiful Isabella Breckenridge seems to be everywhere. When the time comes, will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and initial notions to embrace their very own happily-ever-after?

Published September 5, 2017, by Bethany House Publishers

 

My review:  This book had such promise but just fell a bit flat. I liked the premise of a Duke looking to fall in love but doesn’t want a wife whose beauty will be such a distraction and Isabella being forced by her uncle to use her beauty to advance his agenda and help her family. However, the execution of this story just seemed to not hold up to my expectations.

I liked the characters well enough. Griffith is described as what I can imagine as being a bit like the Incredible Hulk in size. He is good looking as every historical romance Duke should be. Isabella is a down-to-earth person even though her beauty is the trait everyone notices about her. I liked the banter between them and thought the best parts of the book are when the two are together in the various gardens of London or at the country estate of Griffith’s. To me, this is when we get to truly see who these characters are.

For me, the pace of the book was a bit slow. At times it seemed like a whole lot of nothing was happening but the repetition of how beautiful Isabella was. I would have liked to have seen the story move along quicker and perhaps that could have been achieved with fewer pages. There were parts of the story that could have been removed and nothing would have been lost.

All in all, this wasn’t a bad book and I did enjoy reading it. However, it isn’t one I will likely remember for long or have the urge to go back and read again. For me, this was just an ok read.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

 

About the author:  Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is an RWA Golden Heart contest winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.

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The Rancher’s Mistletoe Bride (Wyoming Cowboys) by Jill Kemerer (review by Cathy)

The Rancher's Mistletoe Bride

About the book:

Wedding planner Lexi Harrington needs a manager for her inherited Wyoming ranch. Clint Romine is the perfect man for the job, but the ruggedly handsome cowboy soon presents a new dilemma—distraction. Lexi can’t fall for a small-town rancher when she’s planning to return to her big-city career after the holidays.

Home has always been elusive for former foster kid Clint. Working alongside Lexi at Rock Step Ranch feels too cozy—and too risky. Opening up to her means revealing a secret about his past that could jeopardize everything he holds dear. This Christmas, can Clint learn to trust Lexi with the truth…and with his heart.

 

My review (5-stars)

I loved absolutely everything about this book, including the cover!

Lexie and Clint are characters that I genuinely liked from the very beginning.  They are opposites, but much more alike than they think.  She’s a wedding planner and settled, he’s a rancher in need of a job, which brings him to Lexie’s ranch.  Clint is perfect for the job because Lexie is grief-stricken over the loss of her father and Clint has suffered a big loss of his own.    They each have their own strengths , they are just in a place in their lives where they need to rely on others for a while.

I loved the setting and the description of the ranch.   The author made me feel like I was actually there.  The story moved at a perfect pace, there was nothing that was hurried and yet at the same time, there was never a time that I felt the story dragged on.

In addition to the sweet romance, there’s an inspirational thread woven in which added to my enjoyment of the story.    I am looking forward to reading more in this series.

I recommend this book to readers that a enjoy clean and well written romance with memorable characters.

I received a complimentary copy of this book and was not required to write a review.  All opinions are my own.