Monday, May 3, 2021

All Through the Night by Tara Johnson


With her stammering tongue and quiet ways, Cadence Piper has always struggled to be accepted. After the death of her mother, Cadence sets her heart on becoming a nurse, both to erase the stain her brother has left on the family’s honor and to find long-sought approval in the eyes of her father. When Dorothea Dix turns her away due to her young age and pretty face, Cadence finds another way to serve . . . singing to the soldiers in Judiciary Square Hospital. Only one stubborn doctor stands in her way.

Joshua Ivy is an intense man with a compassionate heart for the hurting and downtrodden. The one thing he can’t have is an idealistic woman destroying the plans he’s so carefully laid. When the chaos of war thrusts Cadence into the middle of his clandestine activities, he must decide if the lives at stake, and his own heart, are worth the risk of letting Cadence inside.

Everything changes when Joshua and Cadence unearth the workings of a secret society so vile, the course of their lives, and the war, could be altered forever. If they fight an enemy they cannot see, will the One who sees all show them the way in the darkest night?

My thoughts:

All Through the Night is one of the best books I have read this year and I can easily imagine it being one of my favorites of 2021, it’s that good. I am a huge fan of historical fiction and this one was absolutely fascinating from start to finish.

Cadence and Joshua are wonderful characters, I couldn’t read their story fast enough.  It isn’t always an easy story to read story but well worth it.  I enjoyed the medical aspect and learning more about Dorothea Dix and her work during this time in history.

Overall, I loved everything about this novel.  From the time period, the characters and the artful writing of Ms. Johnson, this is a must-read book.

I received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Bookshop by the Sea by Denise Hunter

Sophie Lawson should be enjoying her sister’s wedding day. But nothing could have prepared her to see the best man again.

After her mother became bedridden and her father bailed on the family, Sophie found herself serving as a second mother to her twin brother, Seth, and younger sister, Jenna. Sophie supported her siblings through their college years, putting aside her own dream of opening a bookshop in Piper’s Cove—the quaint North Carolina beach town they frequented as children.

Now it’s finally time for Sophie to follow her own pursuits. Seth has a new job, and Jenna is set to marry her college beau in Piper’s Cove. But the destination wedding reunites Sophie with best man Aiden Maddox, her high school sweetheart who left her without a backward glance.

When an advancing hurricane strands Aiden in Piper’s Cove after the wedding, he finds the hotels booked to capacity and has to ask Sophie to put him up until the storm passes. As the two ride out the weather, old feelings rise to the surface. The delay also leaves Sophie with mere days to get her bookshop up and running. Can she trust Aiden to stick around? And will he find the courage to risk his heart?

Includes discussion questions for book clubs

My thoughts:

It’s been quite some time since I have read a book by Ms. Hunter, but this one kept catching my eye and I’m glad it did.  This was such a lovely story with well-developed characters, ones you really waned to get to know.  I loved the setting of Piper’s Cove and of course the bookshop.

Sophie Lawson is selfless, putting the needs of her siblings before her needs and wants.  The story of Sophie is such a sweet but emotional read.  I rooted for her to see her dreams become a reality and for her to find the happiness she deserved.  This is a fantastic story and one of my favorites penned by the author.  A perfect summer read for the beach or for just sitting on your porch enjoying a nice sunny day.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.


Samuel's Return (The Amish of Southern Maryland #6) by Susan Lantz Simpson


The first scent of blooming flowers, fresh green fields, and invigorating days of sunshine. A Southern Maryland Amish spring bursts with hope, bright promise--and a practical young widow's chance to try love anew...

With two lively daughters, an active newborn, and a huge farm to tend, Lena Troyer has no time for impossible what-ifs. She just can't let herself be distracted by Samuel Mast's unexpected return. Even though her childhood sweetheart became the man she longed to marry, Samuel never saw or wrote Lena again after his family abruptly moved away. Now a widow, Lena is determined to keep Samuel's helpful ways and irresistible good humor at arm's length--no matter how often he's there when she needs him most...

A restless father with a shameful secret was the reason Samuel's many letters never got to Lena. And it's why Samuel can't bring himself to tell Lena the truth--though he's doing everything he can to regain her trust and prove he's worthy of the resourceful woman she's become. But as a rival for his affections complicates matters, Samuel and Lena must somehow put the past to rest--and believe that faith, honesty, and rekindled love will be more than enough to finally build a family together...

My thoughts:

I loved everything about this sweet story and it’s my favorite in this series by Ms. Simpson. Lena Troyer and her adorable children are impossible not to love.  Samuel Mast is pretty special, too and I loved the time they spent together. He’s the kind of person you would want in your life, even though Lena was hesitant to let him close to her and I can’t say I blamed her given their past.

Filled with memorable characters, warmth and some pretty funny moments when the young ladies in the community try to win Samuel’s heart, this is a wonderful story.  This heartwarming, well-paced novel held my attention from beginning to end.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Pine Creek Courtship (Pine Creek #1) by Amity Hope


Love may be right around the corner in the heartwarming, sweet, and gentle Pine Creek series from Amity Hope.

After the death of her beloved father, Emma Ziegler just wants to keep her family’s maple syrup farm afloat and raise her two young siblings. But when her meddling aunt’s first choice of a husband for her turns out to be Emma’s last choice—Pine Creek’s most notorious bachelor—Emma grows desperate. Her aunt won’t listen, no matter how much she tries to tell her the man in no way embodies the Amish values of faith or hard work.

Kind and industrious Levi Bontrager has always wanted to protect his best friend Emma, even after a secret from their youth left them growing apart. Which is why he steps in to claim that Emma cannot wed anyone else, as she is currently courting him. Yes, the small lie leaves him feeling guilty, but Levi’s hope is that if he can win back the beautiful Emma’s trust, he can also win over her heart...for real.

But can a courtship that began just for show ever blossom into a true romance that could save both their futures?

My thoughts:

Amity Hope is a new to me author, since Amish fiction is one of my genres, I knew I wanted to read this novel.  I am so glad that I did.  Not only did I find a new author but I found a wonderfully written story with a whole cast of likable characters and community to immerse myself in.  I felt at home there and will gladly revisit at my earliest opportunity.

I adored Emma Ziegler, her siblings and Levi Bontrager. There is of course a bit of sadness as Emma’s father has died and she’s left with more responsibility than she should have for someone so young.  The story isn’t new but the storyteller is and she added her unique skills to this sweet, heartrending novel.

Kudos to Amity Hope for crafting such a perfectly paced story that I will read again and highly recommend to others. I look forward to the next book in this series.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron

Based on true accounts of how Parisiennes resisted the Nazi occupation in World War II—from fashion houses to the city streets—comes a story of two courageous women who risked everything to fight an evil they couldn’t abide.

Paris, 1939. Maison Chanel has closed, thrusting haute couture dressmaker Lila de Laurent out of the world of high fashion as Nazi soldiers invade the streets and the City of Lights slips into darkness. Lila’s life is now a series of rations, brutal restrictions, and carefully controlled propaganda while Paris is cut off from the rest of the world. Yet in hidden corners of the city, the faithful pledge to resist. Lila is drawn to La Resistance and is soon using her skills as a dressmaker to infiltrate the Nazi elite. She takes their measurements and designs masterpieces, all while collecting secrets in the glamorous Hôtel Ritz—the heart of the Nazis’ Parisian headquartersBut when dashing René Touliard suddenly reenters her world, Lila finds her heart tangled between determination to help save his Jewish family and bolstering the fight for liberation.

Paris, 1943. Sandrine Paquet’s job is to catalog the priceless works of art bound for the Führer’s Berlin, masterpieces stolen from prominent Jewish families. But behind closed doors, she secretly forages for information from the underground resistance. Beneath her compliant façade lies a woman bent on uncovering the fate of her missing husband . . . but at what cost? As Hitler’s regime crumbles, Sandrine is drawn in deeper when she uncrates an exquisite blush Chanel gown concealing a cryptic message that may reveal the fate of a dressmaker who vanished from within the fashion elite.

Told across the span of the Nazi occupation, The Paris Dressmaker highlights the brave women who used everything in their power to resist darkness and restore light to their world.

My thoughts:

There were so many things to like about his book and I appreciate and respect the amount of time that must have been spent researching and writing this novel.  The title and cover caught my attention and I enjoyed it, but unfortunately this one just didn’t hold my interest for very long.

I know that many other readers loved it, but it wasn’t for me.

I received a copy from the publisher though Netgalley.  All opinions are completely my own.

Secrets of Willow Springs 3 (The Amish of Lawrence County) by Tracy Fredrychowski


Can an English family find peace deep in Amish country in this Christian Amish series filled with lies and deception?

Secrets from the past make a full circle as Daniel Miller faces the truth about his Amish family.

Raised English, he was left to fight his way through foster care, believing he had no living relatives other than his imprisoned mother. Only after finding his biological sister, Emma, was he made aware of Bishop Shetler's lies and deceit.

When life becomes to hard to bear will Daniel turn his back on his family, and drown the pain like his father did so many years ago? Can he forgive the man who ignored his existence, and will Katie Yoder be able to help him see God’s true plan?

My thoughts:

I have been waiting for Daniel’s story because he has been one of my favorites throughout this series.  I was definitely not disappointed, surprised, for sure, but it was not completely unexpected, given everything he has been through.  I suggest you read the first two books to get to know what the characters have experienced and how far they have come.

I have enjoyed getting to know these flawed characters and already miss spending time with them, but I imagine the author is already working on creating new places to visit and new characters for her readers.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions are completely my own.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Blackberry Beach (Hope Harbor,#7) by Irene Hannon

                                                                          Book Synopsis

Katherine Parker is on the cusp of having everything she ever wanted--fame, money, and acclaim. So why isn't she happy? In search of answers, she comes incognito to Hope Harbor on the Oregon coast for some R&R. Maybe in her secluded rental house overlooking the serene Pacific she'll be able to calm the storm inside.

Coffee shop owner Zach Garrett has found his niche after a traumatic loss--and he has no plans to change the life he's created. Nor does he want to get involved with his reticent new neighbor, whose past is shrouded in mystery. He's had enough drama to last a lifetime. But when Katherine and Zach are recruited to help rehab a home for foster children, sparks fly. And as their lives begin to intersect, might they find more common ground than they expected . . . and discover that, with love, all things are possible?

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites you to come home to Hope Harbor--where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

My thoughts:

It was nice to return to Hope Harbor, one of my favorite fictional towns.  I have always thought if this place existed, I would love spend some time there, but through the writing of Ms. Hannon, it felt like I was there with Zach Garrett, Katherine Parker and a few more wonderful characters on the Oregon Coast.

I liked Zach immediately and grew even more fond of him as the story progressed.  It took some time before I liked Katherine, but, in time, she became a favorite. It was fun to see Charlie again with his Taco’s and meeting Zach’s family and the barista in his coffee shop.   

I thought Blackberry Beach was a perfectly paced, engaging novel and would be a perfect beach read.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.