4.20.2021

Amish Midwives: Three Stories by Amy Clipston, Shelley Shepherd Gray, and Kelly Long ~ Review

My Review:

Three novellas about women with a passion for midwifing, who find love and a family of their own along the way.

Bundles of Blessings by Amy Clipston
Old flames reunite in this story about lost love and second chances. Kristina gave up her dreams of family after the death of her husband, finding joy in helping other women bring children into the world. Kristina and Aidan are convinced that there is too much in their past to consider getting back together, despite the encouragement of friends in the community. This is a engaging read, with compelling characters and the mystery of what broke them up in the first place. I liked their chemistry throughout as they reconnected, though the ending seemed rather sudden. But an enjoyable read!

A Midwife for Susie by Shelley Shepherd Gray
After a birthing gone wrong, Joanna is unsure about continuing her work as a midwife. But when her childhood friend becomes pregnant, she wants Joanna to attend her and has enlisted her brother Dwight to help convince her. Dwight is a wonderful brother to Susie, and his is supportive and encouraging of Joanna throughout. A beautiful novella of overcoming fear and trusting God. 

Christmas Cradles by Kelly Long 
Anna Stolis is covering for her midwife aunt over Christmas, but a busy night finds her attending multiple births in one night with the help of Asa Lapp. A sweet Christmas novella of love and new beginnings. Asa is more reserved, but finds himself opening up to Anna and I liked how he is willing to help as much as he can over the course of the busy night. I loved the stories behind the quilts and how the eventful night brings Anna and Asa together.

Overall, three wonderful heartwarming romantic stories of courageous women with a passion for helping other women, who find their own chance at family in this collection. Great for fans of sweet Amish romance.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

4.19.2021

Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard ~ Review


Review:

A twisting fast paced suspense, with personal implications and revelations for both Terra and Jack as they work to get to the bottom of things. 

Terra is a Forest Service Special Agent, dealing with the protection of artifacts and protected property, which is a specialization that I'd never heard of before and thought was really fascinating. Jack is a former FBI agent working with the sheriff's department, since coming home to be with his ailing aunt. He is struggling to get back on track after failing to save his cousin, but he wants to help Terra get to the bottom of the murder. And I liked how he was there for her throughout the story, supportively helping her navigate the dangers of dealing with traffickers.  

Terra is a strong woman, passionate about following in the footsteps of her mother. I liked that she is close to her brother, Owen, and is strong in her faith.

The story is fast paced with plenty of twists, as well as relationship building along the way. I liked how the plot has ties to the past, and the personal, with high stakes and a wonderful cast of characters. A fantastic suspenseful read with great character development, and plot that made it hard to put down as there was so much going on! Excellently balanced read, definitely recommend to suspense fans!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

4.15.2021

Dearest Josephine by Caroline George ~ Review

My Review: 

A well crafted novel told in various parts, through letters, a novel, text and email, about a young woman struggling to deal with the death of her father on the crossroads of life altering decisions. Josie discovers the letters of a young man named Elias Roch, who lived over 100 years ago, written to a woman who shares the same name as herself. Through the letters she falls in love with the writer, but can she love a man who lived over 100 years in the past?

 A beautiful time slip novel that blends past and present, real life and fiction, that follows two people dealing with love and loss in different centuries. Smart, and well written, I loved the supportive friends that Josephine had around her, Faith and Oliver. It is an intriguing story with many twists along the way, and a wonderfully satisfying ending that I adored. 

A thoroughly modern historical romance, and an utter delight to read. Perfect for people like me who wish that they could slip into the pages of a book, who love a well done period drama, and want to live in a different time period. A delightfully imaginative read, with truths that shine through. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

4.14.2021

Matchmaker's Best Friend by Kari Trumbo ~ Celebrate Lit Tour, Review, and Giveaway



About the Book

 


Book:  Matchmaker’s Best Friend

Author: Kari Trumbo

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: March 30, 2021

 

“You’re just like a brother to me. I don’t like you in that way.”

When they dated ten years ago as teens, it almost destroyed their friendship. So Pen Reese did the only logical thing.  She lied about how she felt—and still feels—about him.

She’s still paying for that lie.

A brilliant plan to set Mike and a friend up and get over him has one problem.

It’s breaking her heart.

When Pen pushed him away, Mike Gaines assumed she just didn’t understand his faith. People like her persnickety aunt even claim he’s part of a cult—ridiculous, but it’s true. Still, if she wants him to play the part of a big brother, fine. At least he can stay close this way.

At first, Pen’s attempt to set him up with one of her close friends hurts. But what if it’s the perfect opportunity to show her what she’s missing if she sees him with someone else?

In this friends-to-more-meets-second-chance romance, The Matchmaker’s Best Friend continues the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 Review: The road from friends to lovers is often fraught with misunderstanding, a lesson that Mike and Pen learn all too well. 

A sweet romance about love, friendship, and misunderstanding. Pen has worked hard to build her career, leaving her little time for romance. She's always been able to count on her best friend, Mike through it all. This book has a fun premise, and I thought that it was interesting to have a not so mainstream denomination represented in regard to Mike faith, and I admired how he lived what he believed.

This is a lighthearted romance, with fun characters, that at times frustrated me because I wondered if all of this strife could have been avoided if they'd just sat down and had a conversation.  But I really enjoyed many of the supporting characters, and I'm a sucker for a friends to lovers romance! A fun addition to the series!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About the Author

 


Where western meets happily ever after.

Kari writes swoony heroes and places that become characters with detail and heart.
Her favorite place to write about is the place her heart lives, (even if she doesn’t) South Dakota.

Kari loves reading, listening to contemporary Christian music, singing when no one’s listening, and curling up near the wood stove when winter hits. She makes her home in central Minnesota, land of frigid toes and mosquitoes the size of compact cars, with her husband of over twenty years. They have two daughters, two sons, one cat, and one hungry wood stove.

 

More from Kari

Pen is Mightier than the Sword

Especially in sparkly, stacked espadrilles and pink power suit. Don’t let Pen Reese’s pink fa├žade fool you, she’s a businesswoman to the core, with a heart of gold. She has built a party planning business from the ground up, and she’s about to create another.

Pen is one of those characters that I could just see CLEARLY as I was writing. She is about ninety percent Elle Woods from Legally Blonde and ten percent a close personal friend. I heard her voice in my head. I could hear her talking as I wrote the book. Her personality was perfect for the energetic party planner.

I’m sure if I put a character description up without context or clarity many people wouldn’t want to read the book, they would write Pen off as shallow. But she’s not. She’s heartbroken.

Do you still remember your first love? Maybe you still care for them? Pen fell hard for her first love and no matter how professional she is or how many lavish weddings she plans, she can’t forget the one wedding she’ll never get to create. Her own.

Pen things that if Mike falls for someone else, goes off and gets married, she’ll finally be able to move on. So, she sets a plan in motion. That’s when her world completely falls apart and you see the tender parts of Pen that she doesn’t show to just anybody.

She is a very complex character and I hope she touches you like she touched me.

I hope you enjoy Pen’s tale of matchmaking gone wrong.

Blog Stops

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 14

Books and Everyday Life, April 14

Labor Not in Vain, April 14

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 15

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 15

lakesidelivingsite, April 16

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 17

Rebekah Reads, April 17

Artistic Nobody, April 17 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 18

A Novel Pursuit, April 18

She Lives To Read, April 19

deb’s Book Review, April 19

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 20

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, April 20

Splashes of Joy, April 20

Aryn the Libraryan, April 21

For Him and My Family, April 21

Texas Book-aholic, April 22

Blogging With Carol, April 22

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, April 23

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 23

CarpeDiem, April 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 24

Connect in Fiction, April 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 25

Simple Harvest Reads, April 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Inklings and notions, April 26

Godly Book Reviews, April 26

Batya’s Bits , April 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 27

Blossoms and Blessings, April 27

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Kari is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10acd/matchmaker-s-best-friend-celebration-tour-giveaway

4.13.2021

The Storm Breaks Forth by Terri Wangard ~ Just Read Tour, Review and Giveaway

The Storm Breaks Forth JustRead Blog + Review Tour 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for The Storm Breaks Forth by Terri Wangard, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Storm Breaks Forth

Title: The Storm Breaks Forth
Author: Terri Wangard
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

World War I rages in Europe, and now the United States joins in. 

Peter Bloch heads to France with the Wisconsin National Guard, but his wife Maren is the one under attack. She’s German-born, and anti-German hysteria is running high. Simple suggestions for coping with wartime measures lead Maren into an active role in the community, but her service doesn’t help deflect suspicion from her. Zealous patriots target her with a vengeance. Peter caught the eye of a major who seems intent on using him as a spy. He’s been fortunate to avoid injury so far, but these activities are likely to get him killed. 

Peter and Maren dream of the day they will be reunited, but more and more, that day appears to be a mirage.

Review:
A historically rich novel that captures the triumphs and struggles of a German American couple during the first world war. 

This book follows both Maren and Peter, from the training camps to the battles overseas, as well as the battles at home. I like to think of this story as being told in snapshots, easy to read, rich in detail in a way that brings history to life. This book does an excellent job of showing the advances in warfare, and how WWI was unlike any war before it.  I loved how Maren get's more involved in her community, while facing prejudice. 

This book has strong characters, and a compelling storyline. I think that this book does a great job of capturing the time period along with the sentiments and emotions. Well worth the read, and an excellent historical novel set in a not often talked about time period. 


I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
 

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | AmazonBookBub

ALSO AVAILABLE


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terri Wangard

Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.

CONNECT WITH TERRI: Website | Facebook | Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive an ebook copy of The Storm Breaks Forth and a $15 Amazon gift card!

The Storm Breaks Forth JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight April 13, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on April 20, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

4.12.2021

Operation Grendel by Daniel Schwabauer ~ Celebrate Lit Tour, Review and Giveaway



About the Book

 

Book:  Operation Grendel

Author: Daniel Schwabauer

Genre: Christian Fiction, Futuristic Action & Adventure

It’s the war story he’s dreamed of. But the battle may cost him his mind.

Military journalist Raymin Dahl thinks he’s finally getting the story of a lifetime. Secret peace talks on a remote tropical moon are about to surrender five colonized worlds—and six hundred million civilians—to a ruthless enemy.

 

But when his commanding officer, Captain Ansell Sterling, is fatally wounded before the negotiations can begin, Dahl can no longer just report on the mission. He’s ordered to complete it. With help from the AI embedded in Sterling’s comms bracelet, Dahl must impersonate his commander—a Marine Corps hero and psychological operations expert.

 

However, Sterling’s AI may be luring him to surrender more than he realizes. And the mission Corporal Dahl thinks he’s running isn’t the only operation underway.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 Review:

Thrusting the reader right into the thick of things, we find journalist Raymin Dahl on the brink of breaking the biggest story of his career, when his source and commander is killed. Now it is up to Raymin to complete the mission and save millions, or is it?

Told in the first person point-of-view, we experience this imaginative sci-fi, political thriller, through the eyes of Raymin, as he is pushed into the thick of things, reliant on Captain Sterling's old AI to guide him. But the answers are far from clear cut, as questions rise about corrupted software and other missions at play. 

A twisting plot, with a fascinating world of politics in a fight for truth, and a hero with no one to trust. It took a while for me to get orientated at first because of how the book just throws you into the thick of things in the beginning. I liked learning more about the world, characters and the situation while on the go, but sometimes resented the flashbacks for keeping me from the present happenings. Raymin is a likably flawed character, and I admired his passion for the integrity of a story.

Overall, this was a fast paced read, with political intrigue, intense action, with many twists along the way. And I was intrigued by the unique relationship between Raymin and Ivy over the course of the twisting story. Great for fans of sci-fi adventure!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About the Author


Daniel Schwabauer, M.A., is a lifelong reader of speculative fiction. He studied the genre under science fiction great James Gunn before graduating with honors from Kansas University’s Masters program in Creative Writing in 1995. Winner of the Eric Hoffer and Ben Franklin awards for his middle grade fantasy series, The Legends of Tira-Nor, Daniel enjoys riding his motorcycle on country roads and pondering other worlds. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and dog.

 

More from Daniel

The Operation Grendel Origin Story
 
I’ve always been fascinated by the power of storytelling, especially as a lever for moving culture.  For several years I studied the development of modern propaganda, the rise and fall of yellow journalism, and the relationship of these to psychological warfare. This culminated in 2017 with a brief investigation into quantum computing and the rising popularity of trans-humanism. Sometimes the best story ideas are combinations of things that have rattled around in the back of your mind for years.
 
Operation Grendel is a keyhole glimpse of a future in which every person in the galaxy is bonded to an artificial intelligence. Some AIs are embedded in the brain, and some are snapped onto the wrist as a wearable device. I didn’t realize when I started writing the book that Elon Musk had already launched Neuralink to create this technology in real life. I discovered the corporation after finishing my fourth draft.
 
The use of this technology probably means a lack of autonomy. How can you think for yourself, or even know what you think, if your thoughts are constantly being shaped and influenced by a quantum computer wirelessly connected to your brain?
 
Then again, is that all we really are as humans—biological computers? I don’t think so. But if not, then there will surely be resistance to the trans-humanist movement. Which means, in a work of fiction, clearly opposing sides. One empire supports this integration of man and machine; the other places limits on AI technology.
 
But “warring empires” was not a story I felt capable of telling. I wanted something closer to home, something smaller and more accessible, something more human. I wanted to show what a life spent entirely under the influence of an inner nanny—a substitute Holy Spirit—might look like.
 
Well, who better to tell that story than a man who has, in his own way, been manipulating others through storytelling? In other words, a journalist.
 
This fit my desire to write the story as military science fiction. Since I never had the honor of serving in the armed forces, I needed a way to give my narrator a believable voice. Corporal Raymin Dahl, a military reporter who barely scraped his way through reservist boot camp, fit the bill.
 
Before long the story seemed to take on a life of its own.
 

Giveaway



To celebrate his tour, Daniel is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon card, a signed copy of the hardcover first edition, and 2 laptop stickers!! (photo attached)

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/109d7/operation-grendel-celebration-tour-giveaway

4.06.2021

A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy ~ Celebrate Lit Tour, Review and Giveaway



About the Book

 


Book:  A Tapestry of Light

Author: Kimberly Duffy

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: March 16, 2021

Calcutta, 1886.

Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie’s English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.

But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn’t forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 Review:

Well written, with lush descriptions that bring to life in vivid detail the two cultures that Ottilie is torn between. After the death of her mother, Ottilie struggles to support her grandmother and brother with her beetle-wing embroidery, but when news comes from across the waters that her brother is heir to a title she makes the difficult decision to move with Thaddeus to England, knowing that her Eurasian blood will make her even more of an outcast there than in India. 

This book does a great job of showing rather than telling with regard to the characters, their interaction, and relationships. And while this book has a more steady pace, I think that each scene did its part to progress the plot. I love learning about the different cultures as well as the history, and the beautiful art of the beetle wing embellishments. 

Ottilie is a woman who has faced much loss, but loves her brother fiercely. I admired her for bravely moving to another country, knowing that it would be especially difficult for herself. I also really liked her faith arc, and how serious seeking doubt was portrayed. I also enjoyed the complex depth of many of the other characters, like Alberta and Everett who are burdened by the conventions of society. 

Overall, this was a well done and enjoyable read, well researched, with layered characters and a steady pace. I also think that this book did an excellent job of feeling authentic to the time period in the manners, culture, and characters, perfect for fans of classic Masterpiece Theatre. Well worth the read!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.



About the Author



Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio, via six months in India. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty years. He doesn’t mind.

 

More from Kimberly

When I set out to write a new novel, I plan the entire thing from start to finish. I write down each scene on an index card and know exactly what’s going to happen when I sit down for the day’s work. I’m meticulous that way.

But I never plan my characters’ spiritual arcs. Because I want their faith journey to be organic to the story. I want it to feel authentic. It’s such an important part of each of my books and I recognize that some things just refuse plotting and need to develop in a more natural way.

My debut novel, A Mosaic of Wings, features a heroine steeped in science. Nora loves the natural world and so her faith was encouraged by studying the wings of a butterfly or examining an interesting plant. She’s not particularly sentimental or emotive so the faith element of that story had to be presented in a way that made sense for her. Nora’s faith arc is subtle.

Not so for A Tapestry of Light. I had no intention of writing a book that delved into my own struggle with doubt. But that’s what Ottilie required. And it wrung me dry.

Then built me back up.

My faith story is a twisted kind of one. Raised a Christian, I went into ministry, firmly attached myself to the faith of my childhood, and thought it would never waver.

I was wrong.

Oh, how it wavered. For whatever reason, when I hit about 30, it seemed everything I had always believed no longer made sense. It was devastating. Terrifying. And it broke me.

But brokenness is its own sort of beauty and when you recognize there is no way for you to pick up the pieces yourself, God can come in and fill those cracks and shattered places.

Those five years of doubt and questioning and facing the reality that even though I’d always loved Christ, I didn’t really know Him (and didn’t really know why I believed in Him), were some of the most painful I’ve experienced. But I believe with every bit of my being that God is in the business of redemption. Of restoration. Of filling up so that we can pour out.

And he took my own very personal struggle and helped me turn it into a story that, I hope and pray, might encourage others. I gave Ottilie my questions. I gave her my doubt. I gave her my fear and desperation and, in the end, I gave her my hope.

There’s a little piece of me in each of my books, but this one contains my heart.

Blog Stops

Life of Literature, March 27

Through the Fire Blogs, March 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 27

Texas Book-aholic, March 28

Breny and Books, March 28

By The Book, March 29

Genesis 5020, March 29

Inklings and notions, March 29

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 30

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, March 30

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 31

Mia Reads, March 31

Reflections from my bookshelves, March 31

Connie’s History Classroom, April 1

Remembrancy, April 1

For Him and My Family, April 2

Rachael’s Inkwell, April 2

Vicky Sluiter, April 2

deb’s Book Review, April 3

Batya’s Bits, April 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 4

Godly Book Reviews, April 4

Pause for Tales, April 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 5

Simple Harvest Reads, April 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 6

A Baker’s Perspective, April 6

Labor Not in Vain, April 6

She Lives To Read, April 7

Betti Mace, April 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 8

To Everything There Is A Season, April 8

Mary Hake, April 8

Wishful Endings, April 9

Bigreadersite, April 9

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Kimberly is giving away the grand prize $25 Amazon gift card along with a signed copy of either A Mosaic of Wings or A Tapestry of Light!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/109d5/a-tapestry-of-light-celebration-tour-giveaway

4.05.2021

The Amish Teacher's Wish by Tracey J. Lyons ~ Just Reads Tour and Review

Review:

Sadie Fischer's father sees her as young and immature, he is determined to marry her off to an older widower, but Sadie is content as the district teacher. She would rather find love on her own terms.

When a storm blows through, damaging the schoolhouse, Levi Byler agrees to help with the repairs. Will working on the schoolhouse with Sadie help him mend his heart?

A sweet romance of second chances and moving beyond the past. Sadie loves her job, and is passionate about teaching and working with the children. I think she did a great job with organization, but was so frustrated with her father for pushing marriage at her. 

Levi is a nice guy with a gruff exterior, he has lost in love before and has let that experience cloud his hope for the future. I did like him, but it took a while to warm to him, I liked that he didn't try to take over from Sadie but let her set out what needed to be done. He is a kind man, a good listener, but struggles to let himself love again. 

Overall, an enjoyable Amish read about finding love, and letting go of the past. My heart went out to Sadie's sister Sarah who is ignored for much of the story, but I liked how things turned out. An entertaining read with a sweet story of finding love when you aren't looking. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Purchase the book here: https://amzn.to/3dmbdH3