If We Make It Home: A Novel of Faith and Survival in the Oregon Wilderness by Christina Suzann Nelson (review by Cathy)

If we make it home

About the book:

In College, they were as close as sisters, but in adult life, they drifted so far they became strangers. When the University of Northwest Oregon decides to close the house they called home for four years, Jenna, Ireland, and Vicky travel back and are reunited only to find their other roommate has passed away.

With regrets high, and the weight of their crumbling lives as motivation, the women embark on a survival week. When tragedy strikes, leaving them lost without a guide, they must face the wounds that tore them apart and work together if they have any hope of making it home.

 

My review

As the three young women embark on a survival training in the mountains, I was kind of sitting on the edge of my seat. To be perfectly honest, I would never have the nerve to do anything like that, even if I were physically able.

I wish that I felt a connection to even one of the characters, but unfortunately I did not. I liked them as a group of friends that were reconnecting after losing touch with each other. At times, it was a bit confusing as the story was told through the POV from, Vicky, Jenna and Ireland. Normally, that doesn’t get in the way of my enjoying a book so I don’t know why it did in this one.

Overall, I liked the friendship and the strength they have as they endured the survival training.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher and have given my hones opinion.

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Family of His Own (Shores of Indian Lake) by Catherine Lanigan(review by Cathy)

Family of his own

About the book:
Scott Abbott has always loved Isabelle Hawks. And he’s always been her rock. Patient, dependable, strong. But lately, she’s been acting like that rock is weighing her down. With her art career taking off, Isabelle has been spending less and less time in Indian Lake…and with him.

Scott isn’t even sure what they are to each other anymore. They might be friends with a history, but it sure doesn’t feel like a future. Maybe it’s time for Scott to set her free and focus on his own dreams. A real home. A family. All the things he had hoped to share with her…

My review (4-stars)

Family of his Own is a wonderful novel, with well crafted characters and an engaging storyline.  Scott is such a steadfast guy, a person that you would love having in your life. When he encounters five-year old Bella and her baby brother, Michael, I thought my heart would break for those precious children.   That encounter made me love Scott even more.  I liked that he took charge of the situation and I applauded his decisions.

It took me awhile to warm up to Isabella.  My first impression of her wasn’t so great, however, as I learned more about her life, I understood her much better.   I started to like her and found her to be  a good person that just needed  to find her way in life.

After reading this book, I now want to revisit Indian Lake because it sounds like a wonderful place with wonderful people.  This is the first book that I’ve read by Ms. Lanigan, but it will not be the last.  I like the authors writing and found her characters likeable.

I think that readers of most ages would enjoy this book.

I received a copy of this book through Prism Book Tours and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions ar my own.

 

The Promise Bride (Montana Brides #1) by Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham (review by Cathy)

The Promise Bride

About the book:
Determined to save her father and siblings from a crumbling Chicago tenement, Emilia Stanek becomes the long-distance bride of a Montana rancher. But when she arrives in Helena, a rugged lawman shatters her plans with the news that her husband is dead—and deeply in debt.

County sheriff Mac McCall can’t afford to be distracted by the pretty young widow, not with scandalous secrets emerging as he investigates his friend’s suspicious death. Mac’s gruff order that she leave town at once only spurs Emilia’s resolve to take ownership of her late husband’s ranch and face his debtors. But as her defenses soften, Emilia begins to accept Mac’s help, feel compassion for his own wounded heart—and learns that trust means taking a leap of faith .

My review (4-stars)

I’m a fan of mail order brides and find them to be a light and fun read.  Boy, this book is  that and a whole lot more.  I was just as shocked as the protagonist, Emilia, when she arrives expecting to be greeted by her husband.   Instead, she’s met by the sheriff to find out she’s not meeting him, because he’s been murdered.  Emilia has left Chicago with her younger siblings, for a better life.   My heart broke for her as she figures out a way to pay some debts her husband has left and settles in a strange place.  She is much more tenacious than I expected, a trait that I really admired.   I found it interesting that they were married by proxy, something I’d never heard of before.

There are several lighthearted moments in the book.  Emilia is definitely a city girl with her knowledge of running her ranch limited to what she’s read in books.  There are some unexpected twists and turns thrown in that held my attention throughout.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series and am curious to find out what’s in store for future Montana Brides.

Thank you Netgalley and Kensington for the copy of The Promise Bride. I was not required to give a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

 

An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, #4) by Kristi Ann Hunter (review by Cathy)

an inconvenient beauty

About the book:
Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she’ll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?

 

My review (4-stars)

I’ve been a fan of this series from the beginning and I’ve liked seeing the characters growth throughout.  I liked Griffith so. so much.   I also liked Isabella and felt kind of sorry for her at times because she went to great lengths to help her family.  I have to admit that I’m kind of fond of  the era and the society debut.   I can imagine the balls, the dancing and the excitement.  I  can also imagine it would become tiresome, always being dressed to go out, to receive guests, and rarely having time to yourself.

I liked Freddie (Frederica) and her devotion to the man she really loves and the one man her father truly dislikes.  As usual, the author infuses a touch of humor in some serious situations which I really like.   I always want calling cards when I read one of the books in the House of Hawthorne series.   I’m sure it’s because Ms. Hunter depicts the time period so well, I feel like I’m apart of it.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart (review by Cathy)

These Healing Hills

About the book:

Francine Howard has her life all mapped out until the soldier she planned to marry at WWII’s end writes to tell her he’s in love with a woman in England. Devastated, Francine seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service.

Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, Ben Locke has never thought further ahead than making it home to Kentucky. His future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he’s at a loss when it comes to envisioning what’s next for his life.

When Francine’s and Ben’s paths intersect, it’s immediately clear that they are from different worlds and value different things. But love has a way of healing old wounds . . . and revealing tantalizing new possibilities.

 

My review (4-stars)

As soon as I saw this book, I knew I wanted to read it.  I think the cover is beautiful and I’ve been a fan of Ms. Gabhart for quite a while.  So, I knew that I would like this book, I just didn’t realize how much I would like it!

As I traveled to the Appalachian Mountains in 1945 with Francine, I fell in love with the characters, and the story of the Frontier Nursing Service.  I had no idea  of its existence or of Mary Breckenridge, the founder of the service.  In addition to a lovely story, I  gained some knowledge.   That always adds to my reading experience.

These Healing Hills is a wonderfully written historical novel with an engaging plot and endearing characters.  I really wish this book was longer because I certainly wasn’t ready for it to end.

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

 

 

A Simple Wish by Charlotte Hubbard (review by Kristi)

a simple wish

About the book:  The Amish residents of Willow Ridge share their talents at the Simple Gifts crafts shop—and share the blessings of faith, hard work, and love with their community—even when family secrets bring unexpected challenges . . .

Making rugs for Simple Gifts has taught Loretta Riehl that an unassuming pattern can reveal surprising depth. People, too, have a way of defying first impressions. Drew Detweiler came to Willow Ridge under a cloud, but the handsome craftsman has gained the community’s respect for his upholstery skills and commitment to making amends for his mistakes. As her new brother-in-law’s twin, he’s joining the family for dinners and Sunday visits at the Riehl house, and Loretta can’t deny enjoying his attentions. If only her dat were willing to let a little joy into his life. Cornelius Riehl grows more stern with each passing day, and Drew suspects there’s more to his moods than missing Loretta’s late mamm. Hoping to fulfill Loretta’s wish to live in a peaceful, happy home again, Drew sets out to learn the truth. It’s a journey that will bring to light painful realities—but also the chance to forge a new, honest, and loving future together . . .

Published September 26,2017, by Zebra

 

My review:  Sometimes I think there are just too many characters in Charlotte Hubbard’s books. I can’t keep them all straight until I’m several chapters in and then I still have to stop and think about who is who. The main focus of this book is Loretta Riehl and Drew Detweiler. Both of these characters are introduced in the first book of the series, A Simple Vow. Now, I have to be really honest and say I didn’t like Drew in the first book and at the beginning of this book my feelings were the same. Charlotte Hubbard did a great job with this character and the way she developed him and let him continually change and grow throughout the book. By the end of the book, my attitude towards him had completely changed. I also liked the way the Riehl sisters grew some backbone during the book and stuck up for themselves against their father who seemed a bit of a tyrant. I didn’t care for Cornelius and I really don’t think we are done seeing what he is all about. I’m hoping not anyway because I feel there are more secrets to be revealed where he is concerned.

There is also a secondary storyline in this book concerning Rebecca, who was born Amish but then was raised English and now lives English among the Amish and is accepted by everyone. She meets and is attracted to Wyatt who buys land and is almost immediately accepted by the Amish community. I’m not quite sure that the Amish would be so completely accepting of this man and there is a big age gap between Rebecca and Wyatt. Eighteen years I believe it is and that is honestly a storyline I don’t want to read. It just doesn’t seem realistic to me.

The storyline is interesting enough and the pace is fast enough that this was an easy read for me. The descriptions made me feel as if I were right there in the story with the characters. I am looking forward to the next book in the series to see what happens with these characters and I’m really hoping the last Riehl sister, Rosalynn, will be able to find love as her sisters have.

This book will appeal to those who like Amish fiction that isn’t of the “cookie cutter” variety. I would definitely read the first book before this one to really understand the characters and have a full understanding of what makes them tick.

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

 

About the author:  Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Charlotte Hubbard (a.k.a. Naomi King) writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her new Seasons of the Heart series. Like her heroine, Miriam Lantz, Charlotte considers it her personal mission to feed people—to share hearth and home. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle, and the foundation of her earlier Angels of Mercy series. She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.

Website

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)