Thursday, October 7, 2021

A Christmas in the Alps by Melody Carlson

                                                                        About the book

After a time of heartache and loss, Simone Winthrop discovers a tantalizing letter from her French great-grandmother, which seems to suggest that she is heir to a family treasure. Ever practical, Simone assumes the claim is baseless, but her best friend encourages her to find out for sure. Despite her deep-rooted fear of flying, Simone boards a jet to travel to Paris at Christmastime to uncover the truth.

During the long flight, Simone meets the charming Kyle Larsson, who's on his way to France to become an apprentice clockmaker. Though they abruptly part ways, an unexpected rendezvous in the French Alps at Simone's family's clock factory may lead to the discovery of the family treasure . . . and so much more.

For anyone who is wearying of staying home, Melody Carlson invites you to spend Christmas with her in the beautiful French Alps this year. So pull on your mittens, tie your scarf tight, and prepare yourself for a magical mountain holiday.

My thoughts:

I always look forward to Melody Carlson’s Christmas books, and how gorgeous is this cover?  As for the storyline, it was incredibly sweet and well-paced and I loved both Simone and Kyle.  I actually preferred Kyle because he was kind, considerate all the while being the perfect traveling companion to Simone.

Simone surprised me when she agreed to go travel to Paris in search of a treasure, she learns of a letter written by her French great-grandmother.  It struck me as odd that with her fear of flying she would agree to fly so far from home and also make the trip on her own, but I respect that kind of bravery. I enjoyed taking the journey with her and Kyle. 

Overall, I enjoyed this latest Christmas book by Ms. Carlson and think it’s a perfect start to season.  I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Christmas Comes to Morning Star (Maidels of Morning Star #3) by Charlotte Hubbard

Founded by five unmarried and enterprising Amish maidels, the new Morning Star Marketplace in small-town Missouri is preparing for a joyous Christmas season. But will the holiday also bring unexpected tidings of love?

Twin sisters Molly and Marietta Helfing are eagerly anticipating Christmas, with Marietta fully recovered from cancer and their noodle making business thriving. But Molly clearly misses having former tenant Pete Shetler and his rambunctious dog, Riley, around. Marietta can’t ignore Molly’s feelings for Pete—or the anxiety it stirs within her. Convinced her illness has made her unmarriageable, Marietta wonders what kind of life she’ll have if her sister marries—despite Molly’s promise to never leave her behind. . .

Then a fire destroys the home of Amish neighbors and Molly and Marietta graciously make room for widower Glenn Detweiler, his dat, and his two young boys. When Pete returns to help the family rebuild, Molly relishes her reunion with the handsome carpenter, while Marietta delights in mothering Glenn’s boys—and is surprised by her poignant bond with their quiet, brooding father. Soon everyone is wondering if this season will bring the blessing of a merry double wedding to Morning Star . . . 

My thoughts:

I loved returning to Morning Star and catching up with the residents of this community, especially the maidels who will capture your heart.  They are five friends going through ups and downs, offering encouragement to each other as they face whatever challenges life gives them.  This novel focuses on twin sisters, Molly and Marietta Hefling the owners and operators of a successful noodle making business. There is so much to celebrate, Christmas is almost upon them, Marrietta is fully recovered from cancer, but there is a bit of sadness as Marietta misses their former tenant, Pete Shetler.

There is so much to love about this book, seeing the growth and maturity of some of my favorites that I’ve grown fond of, seeing the faith, love and friendship continue.  This book is emotional, sweet and a wonderful addition to the series.

Charlotte Hubbard has once again crafted memorable characters, an amazing storyline and a warm, loving community and I’m excited to see what she has in store for her readers in future books,

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

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Baking Cookbook: Nearly 200 Delightful Baked Goods Recipes from Amish Kitchens

Delightful Baked Goods from Dozens of Amish Kitchens
Fresh-baked buns or cookies waiting for a child’s after-school snack is a delight many of us remember from our own mothers’ and grandmothers’ kitchens. You can now share the joy of baking for and with your own family through dozens of recipes provided by Amish bakers. Ideas for breads, rolls, cakes, cookies, and more will keep you busy taste testing and sharing all the goodies. Also included are step-by-step instructions, baking tips, and anecdotes from Amish bakers. Encased in a lay-flat binding and presented in full color, home bakers of all ages will be delighted to add this cookbook to their collections.
This is a must-have cookbook for anyone with a soft spot for baked goods, from New York Times bestselling author of Amish fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter

My thoughts:

I always look forward to a new cookbook by Wanda Brunstetter and they never disappoint. Filled with delicious, beautiful photos and tips this is a delightful addition to my collection.  I prefer sweet over savory and always have, so this book is pure perfection for me.  There are plenty of savory recipes for those who prefer them. I love this cookbook because there really is something for every person in your family.

I thought this cookbook was truly well put together, has something for everyone and would make a perfect gift for yourself, a Christmas gift for a family member or friend and one that can be passed down to children and grandchildren.

I received a complimentary from the publisher and was under no obligation to write a review.  All opinions are my own.


Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox

 Present Day. After tragedy plunges her into grief and unresolved anger, Sarah Ashby returns to her childhood home determined to finally follow her long-denied dream of running Old Depot Grocery alongside her mother and grandmother. But when she arrives, her mother, Rosemary, announces to her that the store is closing. Sarah and her grandmother, Glory Ann, make a pact to save the store, but Rosemary has worked her entire life to make sure her daughter never follows in her footsteps. She has her reasons--but she'll certainly never reveal the real one.

1965. Glory Ann confesses to her family that she's pregnant with her deceased fiancé's baby. Pressured into a marriage of convenience with a shopkeeper to preserve the family reputation, Glory Ann vows never to love again. But some promises are not as easily kept as she imagined.

This dual-timeline story from Amanda Cox deftly explores the complexity of a mother-daughter dynamic, the way the secrets we keep shape our lives and the lives of others, and the healing power of telling the truth.

My thoughts:

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery is one of my favorite books that I have read this year, maybe even one my favorites in the past few years.  I did not want this book to end, it was that good and I’m all about a dual-time line story.

I loved Rosemary, Sarah and Glory Ann, the Old Depot Grocery and the storyline swept me away with both the good and bad times the three ladies experienced.  There are few masterful storytellers, but Ms. Cox definitely is one of the best as far as I’m concerned as she brought her characters to life and crafted a story that will stay with me for a very long time.  I could easily imagine each character in their daily lives, I felt their heartache and how they dealt with the challenges they faced.

This must-read novel deserves all the stars, unfortunately I could only give it five. Amanda Cox is now one of my must-read authors.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Beyond the Tides by Liz Johnson

When Meg Whitaker's father decides to sell the family's lobster-fishing business to her high school nemesis, she sets out to prove she should inherit it instead. Though she's never had any interest in running the small fleet--or even getting on a boat due to her persistent seasickness--she can't stand to see Oliver Ross take over. Not when he ruined her dreams for a science scholarship and an Ivy League education ten years ago.

Oliver isn't proud of what he did back then. Angry and broken by his father walking out on his family, he lashed out at Meg--an innocent bystander. But owning a respected fishing fleet on Prince Edward Island is the opportunity of a lifetime, and he's not about to walk away just because Meg wants him to.

Meg's father has the perfect solution: Oliver and Meg must work the business together, and at the end of the season, he'll decide who gets it. Along the way, they may discover that their stories are more similar than they thought . . . and their dreams aren't what they expected.

Bestselling author Liz Johnson invites you back to Prince Edward Island for a brand-new series about family, forgiveness, and the kind of love that heals all wounds.

My thoughts:

I don’t normally read too much contemporary romance novels, but, because I enjoy this authors work, I knew it would be a good and interesting read. It actually surpassed my expectations as I loved pretty much everything about it.  The setting was beautiful and although I didn’t think the storyline of a lobster fishing business would be to my liking, it actually held my attention.

Meg Whitaker and Oliver Ross are quite a pair as they vie to be the one to take over the Whitaker family business as Mr. Whitaker is selling it to care for his wife. Meg hasn’t shown an interest in taking over the business, that is until Oliver expresses an interest.   As much as I liked all the characters, I have to admit to being fonder of Oliver than some of the others.   There relationship is filled with ups and downs and a few things that made me chuckle.

Overall, I thought this was a wonderful book with a perfectly paced, interesting storyline. 

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


Undercurrent of Secrets (Doors to the Past) by Rachel Scott McDaniel

 Two women, a century apart, are bound by a haunting secret aboard a legendary steamboat.

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

As wedding coordinator for the 100-year-old steamboat The Belle of Louisville, Devyn Asbury takes pride in seeing others’ dreams come true, even though her engagement had sunk like a diamond ring to the bottom of the Ohio River. When the Belle becomes a finalist in the Timeless Wedding Venue contest, Devyn endeavors to secure the prestigious title with hopes to reclaim some of her professional dreams. What she hadn’t planned on was Chase Jones showing up with a mysterious photo from the 1920s.
A century earlier, Hattie Louis is as untamable as the rivers that raised her. As the adopted daughter of a steamboat captain, her duties range from the entertainment to cook. When strange incidents occur aboard the boat, Hattie’s determined to discover the truth. Even if that means getting under First Mate Jack Marshall’s handsome skin.

My thoughts:

Rachel Scott McDaniel has penned an amazing dual timeline novel, that had me engaged throughout. It is the intriguing story involving the 100-year-old steamboat The Belle of Louisville and modern-day couple, Devyn Ashley and Chase Jones with a glimpse into Doors of the Past with Hattie Louis and First Mate Jack Marshall.

I loved both couples, but I admit to being more interested in Hattie and Jack.  There is an air of mystery and suspense that kept me guessing until the very end.  The timelines were woven together seamlessly adding to my overall enjoyment of this novel.  I highly recommend this must-read book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was under no obligation to post a review. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Yours is the Night by Amanda Dykes

Private Matthew Petticrew arrives in France as part of the American Expeditionary Forces, an arrival which a war-weary France desperately hopes will help to end the turmoil. Having faced unthinkable things on the front, he is captivated by the sound of a lullaby, sung by a voice so pure he knows he must have imagined it. But rumors sweep through the trenches like wildfire, dubbing the voice "The Angel of Argonne," a mysterious presence who leaves behind wreaths on unmarked graves and footprints in the war-pocked soil.

Raised wild in the depths of the Forest of Argonne, France, Mireilles finds her world rocked when war comes crashing into the idyllic home she has always known, taking much from her. When Matthew discovers Mireilles, three things are clear: She is alone in the world, she cannot stay, and he and his two unlikely companions might be the only ones who can get her to safety.

My thoughts:

This beautifully crafted novel got all my emotions flowing in the best possible way.  I’m sure my words will be inadequate in this review and that seems okay with me as there are no words to describe just how amazing this book is.

So, I will just say that Amanda Dykes is a masterful storyteller and what a story she has penned in the pages of, Yours is the Night.  Her characters are memorable, their stories are both heartbreaking and heartwarming.  I was completely immersed in this book from beginning to end and as much as I wanted to find out what was going to happen, I didn’t want to see the story end.  I have already read this book twice and will definitely read it again.  This will be on my keeper shelf and if you’re a fan of historical fiction or a well written novel, you’ll want to get a copy as soon as possible.

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