November 22nd, 2015


About the book: One night four lives entered the world by the hands of an Amish midwife, just outside North Star, Pennsylvania.

Rebekah’s Babies, as they are called, are now grown adults and in four heartwarming novellas each young person experiences a journey of discovery, a possibility of love, and the wonder of Christmas.

Guiding Star by Katie Ganshert
Curiosity gets the best of Englischer Chase Wellington when he investigates the twenty-five-year-old disappearance of an Amish baby. When he finds adventurous Elle McAllister in Iowa will his discoveries upend her world?

Mourning Star by Amanda Flower
Eden Hochstetler slips from her parents’ fudge shop to investigate the death of her friend Isaac. Who is guilty? Isaac’s handsome great nephew Jesse, an angry Englischer, or someone else?

In the Stars by Cindy Woodsmall
Heartbroken Kore Detweiler avoids North Star after Savilla Beiler rejects his love. But when he is unexpectedly called to return home, he and Savilla must join forces to keep a family together.

Star of Grace by Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark
Andy Danner left North Star to join a new Amish settlement in Mississippi. His little brother devises a scheme to bring Andy home for Christmas and unwittingly unleashes the power of forgiveness in a reclusive widower’s life.

My Comments: This is a great book by four great authors. I love the way each story intertwines with the other three. The setting of each story is in North Star, Pennsylvania.  Within these four stories we have the themes of  love, romance, mystery, murder, adventure, and loyalty. I have read books by all of the authors and enjoyed them immensely, as I did this anthology. The characters are the same although different ones are emphasized in each story. I love this type of anthology rather than having four completely different stories with four different sets of characters.

If you enjoy Amish fiction and if you enjoy Holiday books, this is one you would enjoy!

I received a copy of this book free of charge for my honest opinion, which I have given.

November 8th, 2015

christmas cradle

About the book: For the peaceful town of Willow Ridge, November presents an early holiday surprise. Stranded in the snow, 18-year-old Lena Esh and her boyfriend Josiah Witmer need more than a place to stay for the night. Lena defied her strict family and their judgmental beliefs to run away with Josiah and have his baby. But she’s starting to wonder if he can prove as responsible as he is passionate. And she isn’t sure how—or if—they can ever find a place to truly call home.

Expecting their own miracle baby, Miriam and Ben Hooley rally the town to help the young couple, and Lena draws strength from their unexpected support. Though trouble may come calling, in this season of joyous rebirth, a little child will lead them. And two couples will see their dreams of forever family come true . . .

My Comments: I really enjoyed this book. The main themes were changed lives and forgiveness. The group of Amish highlighted in this book seemed so different than most. They loved, protected, and took care of those the Lord sent their way. By acting this way, they were really able to show the love of Christ when needed the most. The story presents times of suspense, times of joy, times of sadness, and all the other elements that a good story possesses. This is the first Amish novel I’ve read for a while, and it was a winner!

October 25th, 2015



From the back: The Christmas Nativity is ‘the greatest story every told’. Every year, it is shared and performed a million times in a wide variety of settings and languages. While pondering what part of the story hasn’t been told, I thought of the women who might have been called on to help Mary that night. I wondered about the spiritual experience they might have had. While the Bible doesn’t say others were present, it is reasonable to think that they might have been.

About the author: Shad Driggs is a businessman who lives in Naperville, Illinois. He and his wife Darla, and their six children dedicate many hours in service to their church and community.

My comments: When I think that there isn’t another way the Christmas story can be told, lo and behold there IS – by the viewpoint of midwives–and two of them – Rebecca and Rachel. I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to share it with my granddaughters and grandson during the holiday season.  A book like this can be used to begin new holiday traditions. I never really thought about midwives being present at the birth of Jesus, but why not? They are not mentioned at all. I always thought Joseph delivered the baby, but maybe not? The illustrations in this book are very nostalgic, so I like them for that reason. This is a great addition to any child’s Christmas library.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

October 11th, 2015

Lazarus Awakening

Do you feel trapped in a tomb of regret, doubt, or fear?
Are you tripped up by patterns and behaviors you need to leave behind?

Just as Jesus called Lazarus from darkness, He is calling you to come out of the false beliefs and habits that keep you from receiving His unconditional love. He is calling you to know deep in your spirit that God not only loves the world—He loves you.

It’s time to “come forth!”

Journey to the Tomb of Lazarus…and Hear Jesus Call Your Name

Mary worshiped. Martha served. But what did Lazarus do to experience Jesus’s lavish love?

Filmed in the Holy Land, this DVD companion to Joanna Weaver’s book Lazarus Awakening explores the incredible truth that Jesus loves us apart from our works or our worthiness. He wants to call us out of our tombs and into friendship with Him.

Designed for use with the book and companion study guide, this three-disc DVD Bible study is formatted for both individual and group use, with content suitable for both men and women.
· In-depth Bible study: Features eight 15- to 17-minute video sessions.
· Bonus “Israel Moment” videos explore the life of Christ and the Holy Land.
· Designed for use with the study guide and book.
· Leader’s guide, promotional material, and retreat format included.

My Comments: This is a great Bible study. I was hooked when I read in the introduction that Weaver wrote this study to shake us out of our complacency and call us into the abundant life Christ meant for us to have. The DVD sessions are a good length and beautifully filmed. I am going to suggest this for our women. It would be a great study and/or retreat. The scenery really adds to the content of the studies. I loved her study on Mary and Martha and I love this study on Lazarus! Come forth!

I received a free copy of this study from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

October 11th, 2015


Shortly after his miraculous birth, made possible with help from the phoenix, Prince Ru-lan is captured by Su-ling, the evil enchantress, who plans to raise Ru-lan and use him to take over the kingdom. Several years later, the phoenix reminds the little boy of his real identity and he escapes from Su-ling’s cottage with the help of his animal friends. Once their son is firmly ensconced in the palace, the emperor and empress undertake a daring plot to forever rid the kingdom of the threat of the evil enchantress. This book subtly teaches values while introducing the reader to interesting aspects of Chinese culture and language.

My comments: This book is an engaging read for children in about grades 3-4. It would work for a read-aloud for younger children.  It reads very much like a fairy tale for the purpose of teaching cultural norms. The illustrations are outstanding and colorful. The themes include good versus evil; fantasy; loyalty; and beginnings. The story is very engaging and children love it! I recommend it for a primary-aged child’s library.

October 4th, 2015


In this first book of the series, readers are introduced to a lovable little alligator named Dozi. Living in a swamp in central Florida, Dozi observes wondrous colorful lights over a distant amusement park. Eventually, the curiosity of the little alligator gets the best of him and he heads off to discover the strange and fascinating new world of humans.

While hiding inside one of Orlando’s popular theme parks, Dozi makes the decision to stow away in the unsuspecting Hoxwinder family’s minivan after the family has finished visiting the park. During the long over-night drive home from Florida, Dozi befriends young Byron Hoxwinder in the very back of the vehicle. The family arrives home without anybody but 9-year old Byron Hoxwinder realizing they have brought a young alligator home with them.

My Comments: This book is adorable. I like the fact that it has rhyming words and you could practice the skill of inferencing with it. Dozi is one cute alligator wanting a family. The illustrations are vibrant and definitely help with comprehension. The story is cute and child-centered. A great addition to a young child’s library – maybe ages 2-7.

September 24th, 2015

ties that bind

Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart?

Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.

Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.
Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever.

Ties That Bind is the first novel in the new series, “The Amish of Summer Grove.”

My Comments:  Love this book – what drama! This type of story is so intriguing, I know that if you love Amish fiction + Lifetime movies this is the book for YOU! It has been a long time since I could really stick with a book until the finish, but this book kept me engaged. Of course, Cindy Woodsmall is one of my fav authors of Amish fiction. Included within the covers is plenty of drama and mystery. Quill is a very likable character as is Ariana. I am anxious to hear more of Quill’s story. I feel like much has been left unsaid. The end of this book was less than satisfying and I can’t wait for the next installment to be published. There is so much story to be told…I wonder if this will be a trilogy or more even. I better end before I give away too much of the story.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

***The good news is I have one or two books to giveaway! Please just leave a comment about why you love Amish fiction and I’ll use to choose a winner. I will choose a winner October 1.


September 21st, 2015

the bali mystery

Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specializes in missing persons. Her cases have taken her to some very interesting places and put her in some dangerous situations, but she always solves the case. With the help of Rick Bonito, her sometime partner, her business is flourishing.

When Mrs. Brody hires Amelia and Rick to find her missing brother, they find themselves in Bali, Indonesia. They are mystified why her brother quit his job, put his home up for sale, and ran off to this mysterious and exotic island without telling a soul.

My Comments: I have been listening to this book on my commute back and forth to work on Amazon’s Audible. I love the reader/actress. She makes the book come alive as she uses voices as well as accents. Two things attracted me to this story — it’s clean and it’s cozy mystery – with romance thrown in. Amelia Moore is a dedicated detective and Rick Bonito works with/for her. They seem to be a cute couple who aren’t quite a couple yet. The mystery does not seem to involve anything gory or gruesome, which is a nice change. I’ve never heard of Bali, Indonesia, but the author causes me to want to visit. The people there sound interesting as well. I will be reading/listening to more books in this series.

I received a free e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

September 19th, 2015

A House Divided

Corbin Gage can stand up to anyone . . . But his own divided house will bring him to his knees.

Corbin, a longtime legal champion for the downtrodden, is slowly drinking himself into the grave. His love for “mountain water” has cost him his marriage to the godliest woman he knows, ruined his relationship with his daughter, Roxy, and reduced the business at his small Georgia law firm to a level where he can barely keep the bill collectors at bay. But it isn’t until his son, Ray, threatens to limit Corbin’s time with his grandson that Corbin begins to acknowledge he might have a problem.

Despite the mess that surrounds his personal life and against the advice of everyone he knows, Corbin takes on a high-stakes tort case on behalf of two boys who have contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma due to an alleged chemical exposure. The defendant, a fertilizer company, is the largest employer in the area. The lawsuit becomes a tornado that sucks Corbin, Ray, and Roxy into an increasingly deadly vortex. Equally intense pressure within the family threatens to destroy, once and for all, the thin threads that connect them.

Corbin must find the strength to stand up to his personal demons. Justice for two dying boys depends on it . . . his family depends on it.

My Comments: These books always grab my attention – a Christian based novel with mystery and suspense. I also love law and lawyer-type books. This story is straight out of today. Christian families dealing with alcoholism, illness, and issues of forgiveness. Interesting characters, riveting story lines, and family dynamics, justice seeking – this book has it all. I have read Whitlow’s books in the past and highly recommend them and this book. I can’t wait for the next one!

This is my honest review. I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but would have purchased it!

September 8th, 2015

candy corn murder


Halloween is coming to Tinker’s Cove, Maine, and local reporter Lucy Stone is covering the town’s annual Giant Pumpkin Fest for the Pennysaver. There’s the pumpkin-boat regatta, the children’s Halloween party, the pumpkin weigh-in…even a contest where home-built catapults hurl pumpkins at an old Dodge! But not everything goes quite as planned…
Lucy’s getting very annoyed that her husband Bill and his friend Evan have been working seemingly nonstop on their potentially prize-winning pumpkin catapult. But when the day of the big contest arrives, Evan is nowhere to be found…until a catapulted pumpkin busts open the trunk of the Dodge. Amid the pumpkin gore is a very deceased Evan, bashed in the head and placed in the trunk by someone long before the contest started.

Bill is on the hook for the Halloween homicide—he was the last one to see Evan—so Lucy knows she’s got some serious sleuthing to do. The crime’s trail seems to always circle back to Country Cousins, the town’s once-quaint general store that’s now become a big Internet player. Though the store’s founder, Old Sam Miller, is long gone, his son Tom and grandson Trey now run the hugely successful company. But whispered rumors say things aren’t going well, and Lucy finds that this case may have something to do with an unsolved, decades-old Miller family mystery…

With each new lead pointing her in a different direction, Lucy sees that time is quickly running out. If she wants to spook the real killer, she’ll have to step into an old ghost story…

My Comments: I normally enjoy Leslie Meier’s books and have read each one. This book, however did not keep me on the edge of my seat. The side story about Patrick Lucy’s grandson left me underwhelmed as well. I DID finish the ebook and enjoyed it, just not as much as previous books. I love Fall and this time of that time of the year, but the book did not give me a feel for it. I look forward to the next book hoping it will be better.