Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Lizzie's Heart by Susan Lantz Simpson

About the book

Fall in Southern Maryland’s Amish country is a time of fiery falling leaves, a bountiful harvest, and bracing, frost-touched days. It’s the perfect season for one irrepressible maidel to try an unexpected match . . .

Good-hearted and impulsive, twenty-year-old Lizzie Fisher has many chores—and secrets. She’s caring for kittens abandoned by their mother and practicing her drawing talent away from disapproving eyes. So the last thing she needs is someone like handsome Stephen Zimmerman constantly “helping” her out of trouble. But when she discovers they both have lovelorn siblings, she has an idea: why can’t she and Stephen bring his older brother and her older sister together? After all, how hard could matchmaking be?

Even though he’s the youngest son of an Old Order Mennonite family, Stephen is used to looking out for everyone else. Yet somehow the romantic schemes he and Lizzie cook up keep going awry—in ways that hint they may suit each other. But their deepening bond is both delightful and complicated. For bridging their differences will take bravery, compromise—and faith in their hopes and dreams . . .

My thoughts:

I am a fan of the books written by Ms. Simpson for a couple of reasons, first of all her novels are filled with sweet. Likable characters and secondly, I am very familiar with the Sothern Maryland Amish because I live nearby and visit quite frequently.  I always feel like I’m visiting friends when I read a book penned by this author.

After having read Lizzie’s Heart I can honestly say this is my favorite book that I’ve read by Ms. Simpson. Lizzie Fisher is sweet, charming and truly has a kind heart for animals and freely gives her time to help others in her community and her family.  I thoroughly enjoyed the friendship Lizzie had with an Old Order Mennonite family, Stephen Zimmerman and his mother. I felt like I really knew the Fisher and Zimmerman families and loved spending time with them. There is warmth, love and plenty to smile about. 

Overall, I though this was a sweet, fun read with an idyllic setting and a perfect weekend read. It was nice to escape to a peaceful place in a loving community.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Secrets Resurfaced (Roughwater Ranch Cowboys #4) by Dana Mentink

About the book

Searching for the truth
could get them killed…

When new evidence surfaces about a tragic boating accident that put her ex-boyfriend’s father in prison, private investigator Dory Winslow’s determined to look into it. But now someone’s dead set on silencing her. And working with Chad Jaggert—the father of her secret child—may be the only way to survive the treacherous truth about the tragedy that once tore them apart.

My Thoughts:

Another fabulous series by Ms. Mentink, I have enjoyed this series immensely with each of the four books providing hours of fast paced, non-stop action.  One of the many things I love about the authors work is the action taking place from the very beginning so I’m always anxious to keep turning those pages as fast as I can because I genuinely like her characters. In Secrets Resurfaced, I love the family, the ranch but I was drawn to a sweet little girl named Ivy and an adorable dog named Meatball.

I thought the premise was interesting with Dory Winslow the private investigator tracking new evidence involving a boating accident that put her ex-boyfriend’s father behind bars.  Her ex just happens to be Chad Jaggert the man who comes to her rescue when she needs help. I was on the edge of my seat, feeling anxious for their safety and wondering how they would survive the situations they found themselves in.  Needless to say, there are twists and turns, blended with love, forgiveness and of course a touch of suspense.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey by Abigail Wilson


When the widowed Lord Torrington agreed to spy for the crown, he never planned to impersonate a highwayman, let alone rob the wrong carriage. Stranded on the road with an unconscious young woman, he is forced to propose marriage to protect his identity, as well as his dangerous mission.

Trapped by not only the duty to her country but her limited options, Miss Elizabeth Cantrell and her illegitimate son are whisked away to Middlecrest Abbey by none other than the elder brother of her son’s absent father. She is met by Torrington’s beautiful grown daughters, a vicious murderer, and an urgent hunt for the missing intelligence that could turn the war with France.

 Afraid of what Lord Torrington might do if he learns of her son’s true identity, Elizabeth must remain one step ahead of her fragile heart, her uncertain future, and the relentless mystery person bent on her new family’s ruin.

My thoughts:

Abigail Wilson is officially one of my favorite authors and I say this after having read this book, but I truly love her writing.  I’m a huge fan of Regency, as I believe she is because her writing is superb.  

From the first page I knew this book would be hard to put own and it was but sometimes life 
demands you do thing other than reading, but I have made my peace with that so after accomplishing what I needed to accomplish, it was back to Middlecrest Abbey with Elizabeth, Adrian and a   whole host  of wonderful  characters.  There is the perfect mx of family dynamics, new beginnings, secrets, mystery and of course romance.   What you would expect in a Regency but this one is just captured my heart. 

There are a few plot twists which is always fun, the inner strength of Elizabeth made me want all the best she could find in life and Adrian is an amazing character.  I can’t think one single thing that I didn’t love about this book. Thank you to the publisher for the copy I received through Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Stay With Me (A Misty River Romance #1) by Becky Wade Review +GIVEAWAY

Stay with Me
(A Misty River Romance #1)
By Becky Wade
Christian Contemporary Romance
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 368 Pages

May 5th 2020 by Bethany House Publishers

About the book

Loving her is a risk he can’t afford . . . and can’t resist.

When acclaimed Bible study author Genevieve Woodward receives an anonymous letter referencing her parents’ past, she returns to her hometown in the Blue Ridge mountains to chase down her family’s secret. However, it’s Genevieve’s own secret that catches up to her when Sam Turner, owner of an historic farm, uncovers the source of shame she’s worked so hard to hide.

Sam has embraced his sorrow, his isolation, and his identity as an outsider. He’s spent years carving out both career success and peace of mind. The last thing he wants is to rent the cottage on his property to a woman whose struggles stir his worst failure back to life. Yet, can he bear to turn her away right when she needs him most?

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My thoughts:

This is my favorite novel penned by Becky Wade.  From beginning to end she kept me fully engaged with her amazing characters, the wonderful dialog and the secrets of the Woodward family.  I mean, we all are all flawed and we all have or had secrets, right?
I loved Genevie and Sam but I was more intrigued with Genevie’s parents and what their pasts would reveal and it was kind of jaw-dropping.  I am all about the juicy, jaw-dropping parts of a storyline so I really enjoyed discovering what it was.  Sam and Genevieve are both sweet, kind people who have had challenges to deal with so that is one of the reasons that I cared about them and wanted them to experience love and happiness.  

Overall, I thought this novel was artfully written with a strong message of love and forgiveness.  I loved the touch of mystery surrounding the parents, the flow of the storyline and the wonderful characters I met.  I look forward to the next book in the series. 
I received a copy of Stay with Me from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

Take a Chance on Me
(A Misty River Romance #0.5)
By Becky Wade
Christian Contemporary Romance, Novella
ebook, 97 Pages
February 25th 2020

When baker Penelope Quinn steps in to help her brother’s family through a medical crisis, she’s forced into close proximity with charming Air Force fighter pilot Eli Price.

Penelope has one iron-clad dating rule—she does not date airmen. Months ago, she relaxed her rule with Eli and immediately lived to regret it. After a long deployment, he’s now back in Misty River and, to her dismay, she finds him just as tempting as always.

Eli’s spent months thinking about funny, feisty, creative Penelope. He once leveraged his focus and drive to become a pilot, his childhood dream. Now he's set on leveraging that same focus and drive in order to convince Penelope to give him one more chance.

This romantic prequel novella introduces readers to the quaint mountain town of Misty River and a brand-new series from Christy-winning author Becky Wade!

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About the Author

Becky Wade is the 2018 Christy Award Book of the Year winner for True to You. She is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and moved to Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her children. When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. Her humorous, heart-pounding contemporary romance novels have won three Christy Awards, the Carol Award, the INSPY Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award for Romance. Becky lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and three 

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive:
- A $100 gift card
- A paperback copy of Stay with Me
- A hand-knit scarf
- A pair of earrings
- A package of “Georgia Blues” coffee
- A package of apple oatmeal muffin mix

Monday, May 25, 2020

The White Rose Resists: A Novel of the German Students Who Defied Hitler by Amanda Barratt

Book Description

Inspired by the incredible true story of a group of ordinary men and women who dared to stand against evil The ideal of a new Germany swept up Sophie Scholl in a maelstrom of patriotic fervor--that is, until she realized the truth behind Hitler's machinations for the fatherland. Now she and other students in Munich, the cradle of the Nazi government, have banded together to form a group to fight for the truth: the White Rose. Risking everything to print and distribute leaflets calling for Germans to rise up against the evil permeating their country, the White Rose treads a knife's edge of discovery by the gestapo.

Annalise Brandt came to the University of Munich to study art, not get involved with conspiracy. The daughter of an SS officer, she's been brought up to believe in the f�hrer's divinely appointed leadership. But the more she comes to know Sophie and her friends, the more she questions the Nazi propaganda.
Soon Annalise joins their double life--students by day, resisters by night. And as the stakes increase, they're all forced to confront the deadly consequences meted out to any who dare to oppose the Reich.

A gripping testament to courage, The White Rose Resists illuminates the sacrifice and conviction of an unlikely group of revolutionaries who refused to remain silent-no matter the cost. 

My thoughts:

I have so many thoughts racing through my mind as I write this review but that’s been true since I started this book and continues to be true after I have finished reading it. As soon as I heard that Amanda Barratt was writing this book based on the true story of Sophie and Hans Scholl, I knew it would be respectfully, accurately and wonderfully written and it most certainly is.  What I didn’t know was just how emotional I would feel as I read the story of Sophie her bother and their friends and how courageous they were to face the repercussions if caught when distributing their leaflets. I have a huge amount of admiration for them and so many others who have done similar things throughout history.

I kept seeing the images of these amazing people and knew how the book would end but putting faces to the characters made me emotional as I read their story.  I cried as I thought about the lives taken so harshly because a few brave souls stood up to resist the ugliness they witnessed every day.  I love historical and I will say that this is one of the best novels in this genre that I have read and this will be on my keeper shelves.  I consider this book a must read and Ms. Barratt a must-read author.
I received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Mrs. Lincoln's Sisters by Jennifer Chiaverini

Book Description

The New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker returns to her most famous heroine, Mary Todd Lincoln, in this compelling story of love, loss, and sisterhood rich with history and suspense.

In May 1875, Elizabeth Todd Edwards reels from news that her younger sister Mary, former First Lady and widow of President Abraham Lincoln, has attempted suicide. 

Mary’s shocking act followed legal proceedings arranged by her eldest and only surviving son that declared her legally insane. Although they have long been estranged, Elizabeth knows Mary’s tenuous mental health has deteriorated through decades of trauma and loss. Yet is her suicide attempt truly the impulse of a deranged mind, or the desperate act of a sane woman terrified to be committed to an asylum? And—if her sisters can put past grievances aside—is their love powerful enough to save her? 

Maternal Elizabeth, peacemaker Frances, envious Ann, and much adored Emilie had always turned to one another in times of joy and heartache, first as children, and later as young wives and mothers. But when Civil War erupted, the conflict that divided a nation shattered their family. The Todd sisters’s fates were bound to their husbands’ choices as some joined the Lincoln administration, others the Confederate Army.

Now, though discord and tragedy have strained their bonds, Elizabeth knows they must come together as sisters to help Mary in her most desperate hour.

My thoughts:

This is was an enjoyable novel that was a quick read once I got involved in the story.  I have always found the life of Mary Todd Lincoln to be fascinating but sad.  The tragic deaths of her children and her husband are part of history just as her spending habits are.

In this book her sisters try figure out how to help her as her son, Robert commits her to a sanitarium.   Mary has always been difficult so it puts the sisters at odds as to how to handle this news.  As in any situation you will have differences of opinions which I found interesting.  To be honest the person I liked the most was Robert, he had so much to deal with and at times I thought Mrs. Lincoln treated him cruelly.

Overall, I thought this was a wonderful novel, it was well pace with historical details and it was well written.  Thanks, you to the publisher and Netgalley for the copy.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Killer Deadline by Lauren Carr review +GIVEAWAY

Book Details:
Book Title Killer Deadline (A Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery) by Lauren Carr
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  232 pages
Genre:  Mystery/Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:   April 23, 2020
Format available for review:  print, mobi, epub, PDF
Tour dates: April 20 to May 22, 2020
Content Rating: G. This is a true cozy mystery. No sex. No on-stage violence. No swearing. Just good clean fun!

"Here we go! Carr is a master storyteller who always offers a plot full of twists and turns, a bit of humor to offset the dark, and a unique cast of characters. In Killer Deadline that cast includes - handsome Ryan, her first love (who is now her step-brother); a mysterious social media friend called Nerdy Guy; Elmo, a super smart dog, a boxer, she rescued who has become asocial media star and has a penchant for cleaning; a TV station full of suspicious employees; and more.

"This book is a wonderful read to pick up at the end of a long day. It truly is a "cozy murder mystery."  I promise, it'll draw you in right from page one and keep you turning the pages until you reach the very last page. I can't wait for the second book in this series." - Marilyn R. Wilson, Olio by Marilyn

Book Description:
Folks in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, claim that where Nikki Bryant goes, trouble is not far behind. Her refusal to back down from a challenge has made Nikki Bryant a top investigative journalist.

When an online friend nudges her to join him in a pact to reconnect with their first loves, Nikki and her boxer dog Elmo leave the bright lights of Las Vegas for the charming town of Pine Grove. There, she must face the biggest challenges in her career and life—the first love she had left behind and her father’s unsolved murder.

But before she has time to unpack her car, Nikki stumbles upon the dead body of local news anchor, Ashleigh Addison, her childhood rival. Could Ashleigh’s death be connected to an explosive news story that she had teased about airing live? Did that explosive story have anything to do with the murder of Nikki’s father?

With the clues in her father’s cold case hot again, Nikki intends to chase down the story of her life until she catches his killer—no matter what it takes.

My thoughts:
First, I fell in love with the cover, then I fell in love with the adorable characters.  It was a toss-up between Nikki, Ryan and Elmo and after reading this charming and fun novel, I have decided the three of them are my new favorite fictional characters.    I started reading cozy mysteries several years ago and have discovered they are one of my favorite genres. Although this is only the second book I have read by Ms. Carr. who is now one of my favorite authors 

The story of investigative journalist, Nikki is interesting, entertaining and will make you laugh just a little. She is surrounded by family, old acquaintances, a stepbrother who just happens to be her first love, a cook who had me laughing out loud and her dog, Elmo.  Elmo is a social media darling, absolutely adorable and he is fully aware of how loved he is. I quickly got caught up in the storyline and every time I thought I knew what would happen next, the author added another twist or turn that threw me off.  All I will say is this, there is a lot happening in this town but it is all so good and will have you turning pages as fast as you can and you won’t be disappointed in the end. 
I cannot wait to see what the author has in store for her readers in the next book in the series. I read this book in one afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed my time in Pine Grove, Pa.  I hope you will, too.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book.  All opinions are my own. 

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Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Killer Deadline marks Lauren's first venture into mystery's purely cozy sub-genre with a female protagonist.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

​A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author:

$50 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of Lauren Carr, author of KILLER DEADLINE