An Amish Summer (Four Novellas) by Shelley Shepard Gray, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller and Kelly Irvin (review by Cathy)

An Amish Summer

 

About the book:
A Reunion in Pinecraft by Shelley Shepard Gray

When sisters Sharon and Sherilyn Kramer attend a wedding in Shipshewana, one of them returns with a new penpal while the other returns to her job at the bakery. After sending weekly letters back and forth, Sherry and Graham Holland arrange a reunion in Pinecraft. Upon Graham s arrival, however, he realizes he s been writing to the wrong sister. He decides to use the reunion as a way to get to know both sisters, but can he sort through the confusion in time to turn the worst vacation ever into something truly wonderful?

Summer Storm by Amy Clipston

Arianna is counting down the days until her wedding to Jesse. They have been friends longer than Arianna can remember, and that friendship turned into love over the past couple of years. But when Arianna s brother Tobias, who happens to be Jesse s best friend, gets them both into trouble, Arianna s father puts an end to her engagement to Jesse. Some summer storms pass quickly, but Arianna is afraid the damage from this one may be too much to repair.

Lakeside Love by Kathleen Fuller

Esther has always lived in the shadow of her beautiful younger sister Sarah. Even the boy she has known and loved her entire life, Judah, only has eyes for Sarah. But when a handsome young Englischer comes to live with the family for a summer, everything begins to change.

One Sweet Kiss by Kelly Irvin

Everybody in little Bee County, Texas, can see the obvious: Jacob King and Martha Byler are meant to be together. Everyone, that is, but Martha. Ever since her mother died when Martha was a young girl, she has taken over the role of caregiver to her large family. And reckless Jacob, who has had a little too much fun on his rumspringa, only seems to add to the list of people to manage. But one summer changes everything, and these two may just find a way to meet in the middle and share one sweet kiss.

 

My review (4-stars)

An Amish Summer is a collection of novellas from four of today’s leading Amish fiction authors.
All four novellas are just as good as I expected them to be considering they were penned by some of my favorite authors.
My favorite in this collection is  Summer Storm by Amy Clipston.
I found her characters to be more developed and mature and the story was much more in-depth with Arianna and Jesse having a history together. I found her fathers concern for her to be realistic and heart warming.   I could totally relate to having a protective dad!

I liked the fact that Arianna and Jesse are respectful of her fathers wishes and yet they remain committed to each other.   Jesse is kind, gentle but, most of all I admired him for his inner strength and his love for Arianna and his willingness to wait out the storm.

The entire collection novellas are fast and pleasant to read. I definitely consider this to be a perfect summer, lazy day guilty pleasure.

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

 

 

 

Written in Love (Amish Letters #1) by Kathleen Fuller (review by Cathy)

Written in Love pic

 

About the book:

When a postal error creates pen pals of two young Amish people, can they put behind their past mistakes to see the bright future God has written for them?

Jalon Chupp has a past he isn’t proud to claim. He’s worked hard to overcome his youthful mistakes, and he has recommitted himself to his faith. When he receives a sweet note included in a piece of misdirected mail, he can’t help but write back. Soon, the letters he receives from Phoebe are the highlights of his days, and with a hopeful heart, he suggests they meet in person.

Phoebe, too, looks forward to every single one of Jalon’s letters. Living with her overbearing aunt, Phoebe doesn’t have too much to look forward to. But when Jalon suggests they meet, she panics—although she has shared some of the deepest longings of her heart with him, she hasn’t been entirely truthful about her past. But when Jalon shows up at her aunt’s doorstep, everything is revealed. And she can only pray he’ll forgive her for holding back the truth.

In order to reach beyond the errors of their pasts, both Phoebe and Jalon must put their faith in something—or Someone—bigger than either of them could pen.

My review (4-stars)

I’ve heard of Amish Circle letters and pen pals but Kathleen kicks it up a notch or two in the start of her latest series, Amish letters.
A letter mistakenly received by Phoebe begins an unexpected but much-needed correspondence with Jalon.

Not only did they get to know each other through the exchange of letters, the reader gets to know them, too. It’s a heartwarming story of both characters with glimpses into their lives, especially Phoebe who I loved.
I found her to be an endearing young lady and my heart went out to her. I had a fondness for Jalon as well and found him to be the perfect person to befriend Phoebe.

Kathleen does not hesitate to show that the Amish face many challenges and difficulties just like any other human being. How we face our problems and how we seek forgiveness makes all the difference in the world.

I received a complimentary copy of Written In Love from the publisher and have given my honest opinion.

Some Small Magic by Billy Coffey (review by Cathy)

Some Small Magic

About the book:

All Abel wants is a little bit of magic in his life. Enough money so his mom doesn’t cry at night. Healing for his broken body. And maybe a few answers about his past.

When Abel discovers letters to him from the dad he believed dead, he wonders if magic has come to the hills of Mattingly, Virginia, after all. But not everything is as it seems.

With a lot of questions and a little bit of hope, Abel decides to run away to find the truth. But danger follows him from the moment he jumps his first boxcar, forcing Abel to rely upon his simpleminded friend Willie—a man wanted for murder who knows more about truth than most—and a beautiful young woman who was already on the train.

From Appalachia to the Tennessee wilds and through the Carolina mountains, the name of a single small town beckons: Fairhope. That is where Abel believes his magic lays. But will it be the sort that will bring a broken boy healing? And is that the magic that will one day lead him home?

My review (5-stars)

Billy Coffey is a masterful storyteller and has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I know that I’ll love his characters and that they’ll be endearing. Wow, he certainly exceeded my expectations in Some Small Magic.

From the first page I was caught up in the life of Abel Shifflett a young frail boy who stole my heart. He is much stronger than I had originally expected him to be as he faces a bully, a less than ideal home life and finding out his father is alive. His bravery, coupled with his curiosity lead him and his friend Dumb Willie on a journey to find his father.
Dumb Willie is a wonderful and special character that I really loved. My heart went out to him because of the way he was treated.

I have to say that this book is full of surprises, some of which made me cry. Mr. Coffey takes not only his characters on an unexpected journey, but also his readers in this beautifully written novel. If you want a well written and meaningful read, I suggest this one..

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

With You Always (Orphan Train #1) by Jody Hedlund (review by Cathy)

With You Always

About the book:

A Riveting Look at the Orphan Train from Historical Novelist Jody Hedlund

When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She’s had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children’s Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn’t want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.

The son of one of New York City’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother’s shadow and is determined to win his father’s challenge. He doesn’t plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.

My review:

This is an interesting story of immigrants in New York and the many hardships they faced. Elise faced an even harsher reality after the deaths of her parents as she took on the responsibility of her younger sisters. When the sisters are given shelter and Elise, a job as a seamstress it seemed as though their luck would change. Boy, was I wrong!

She meets quite a few interesting characters in New York, especially one named Thornton Quincy. I liked him so much, even though I felt bad for him since his father decided to have his twin sons compete to declare the winner of running his company. They also have to get married. It added a bit of fun to the storyline.

I loved the characters and the historical aspect of the book. What I liked most about it though is how well written it is. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

I received a complimentary copy from Netgalley and have given my honest opinion.

 

If I’m Found (If I Run #2) by Terri Blackstock (review by Cathy)

If I'm Found

 

About the book:

Casey Cox is still on the run, fleeing prosecution for a murder she didn’t commit. Dylan Roberts—her most relentless pursuer—is still on her trail, but his secret emails insist that he knows the truth and wants to help her. He’s let her escape before when he had her in his grasp, but trust doesn’t come easily.

As Casey works to collect evidence about the real murderers, she stumbles on another unbearable injustice: an abused child and a suicidal man who’s also been falsely accused. Casey risks her own safety to right this wrong and protect the little girl from her tormenters. But doing so is risky and just may result in her capture—and if she’s captured, she has no doubt she’ll be murdered before she ever steps foot in a jail.

In this riveting sequel to the USA Today bestseller If I Run, evil lurks, drawing Casey out of the shadows . . . but there is light shining in the darkness. Is Dylan a provision from the God who loves her, or another heartache yet to happen?

My review (5-stars)

Wow! This book kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. It’s just as suspenseful as the first book in the series and the storyline is just as action packed.

I absolutely love Casey! My heart goes out to her as she is constantly on the run as she seeks the evidence she needs for the real murderers. She’s a fighter, not only for herself but others that are unable to defend themselves.
She crosses paths with two characters that need help in this book and I tip my hat to her for her bravery!
She has such a good heart as she fights against injustice for others as she battles daily for herself.

I liked Dylan in the first book but I absolutely love him in this this one. I think that he can be trusted and my goodness, Casey definitely needs a trustworthy person she can count on.
I have become a huge fan of both the author and the series and eagerly anticipate the next book.

I received a complimentary copy of If I’m Found from the publisher and have given my honest opinion.

 

The Road to Paradise (Shadows of the Wilderness) by Karen Barnett (review by Cathy)

The Road to Paradise

 

About the book:

In 1927, Margie Lane, an avid naturalist, convinces her Senator father to procure her a position at the fledgling Mount Rainier National Park. Since Ranger Ford Brannon lost his father in a climbing accident, he doubts his ability to protect the park and its many visitors. He certainly doesn’t relish the job of watching over an idealistic and privileged young woman with no practical survival skills.

When Margie’s former fiance sets his mind on developing the Paradise Inn and its surroundings into a tourist playground, Margie and Ford will have to work together to preserve the beauty and simplicity of this mountain hideaway, but the developer’s plans might put more than just the park in danger.

My review ( 5-stars):

The cover caught my eye but it was the characters and story that captured my heart.
Set in Mount Ranier National Park where beautiful scenery, adventure and handsome park ranger, Ford await Margie, this book is a delight to read. Margie has much more spunk than I expected her to have which was a pleasant surprise. I love how she embraces each day and faces each new challenge. Ford is the perfect balance for her enthusiasm with his experience and stead fast nature.
I loved how they worked together to thwart her former fiancée from his attempt to ruin nature’s beauty.

The Road to Paradise is a wonderful and fantastic start to the new series and I’m looking forward to going on the next adventure with Karen Barnett.
If you’re looking for that perfect summer read, this is it.

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

 

 

Heart on the Line (Ladies of Harper’s Station #2) by Karen Witemeyer (review by Cathy)

heart on the line

 

About the book:

Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can’t let the villain she believes responsible for her father’s death release his wrath in Harper’s Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she’s ever known.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship–dare he believe, courtship?–has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

 

My review (5-stars)

Oh my goodness, I love the uniqueness of this series and the uniqueness definitely continues with the addition of Grace Mallory and Amos Bledsoe, two Western Union employees  that begin conversing with each other via the telegraph line.

Grace turns out to be a pretty tough cookie with plenty of gumption so she fits in perfectly with the ladies of Harper’s  Station.   She is a very relatable character and one I liked immensely.
I adore Amos! He’s sweet, kind and caring, plus his preferred mode of transportation is a bicycle which I found pretty endearing.
I’ve loved the community of  Harper’s Station since the first book and felt I was reconnecting with old friends in the women’s colony.

This is a fast paced, action packed and skillfully written novel. The characters will make you laugh and will steal your heart.
Kudos to Karen Witemeyer on another fabulous book.
I consider this a must read so get a copy of Hearts on the Line.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and have given my honest opinion.