Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Blue Cloak (True Colors) by Shannon McNear


Book Description:  Based on real events beginning in 1797 — Rachel Taylor lives a rather mundane existence at the way station her family runs along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She attends her friend’s wedding only to watch it dissolve in horror has the groom, Wiley Harpe, and his cousin become murderers on the run, who drag their families along. Declaring a “war on all humanity,” the Harpes won’t be stopped, and Ben Langford is on their trail to see if his own cousin was one of their latest victims. How many will die before peace can return to the frontier?

My Thoughts:  When you read a story that makes you completely unaware of anything that is going on around you...that, my friend, is quite a story!  The Blue Cloak is a page turner!
From a wedding to war!  Oh, how one never knows what a day will bring.
Poor Rachel Taylor she is just attending a wedding and then before the cake is served there's an all out war on humanity.  Actually a dangerous serial killer who wants to take a wife.  Literally...take a wife.
Shannon McNear takes us on a dangerous and suspenseful journey as Ben Langford goes on the hunt for Wiley Harpe and his cohorts.  
This story had me at page one and didn't let go until the very end.  
This is not a story for the faint of heart.  There is a descriptive scene that includes a lot blood and gore.  True crime with true colors.
The twists and turns has the reader tied in knots but what an ending!

"I received a complimentary copy of this book 
from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review."

Friday, February 26, 2021

Unknown Threat (Defend and Protect Book #1) by Lynn H. Blackburn

 Book Description:  US Secret Service Special Agent Luke Powell is lucky to be alive. Three of his fellow agents have died in unusual circumstances in the past ten weeks. Luke is devastated by the loss of his friends and colleagues, and his inability to locate the killer feels like a personal failure. He's an expert at shielding others, but now the protectors are in need of protection.                                                                                       FBI Special Agent Faith Malone is driven to succeed and confident in her ability to solve every case she's assigned. She's been put in charge of the investigation into the unprecedented attacks, and with Luke's life in danger, the stakes have never been higher. But it's hard to know how to fight back when you don't know who the enemy is.

My Thoughts:  Lynn Blackburn is a new to me author. This is the first book I've had the pleasure of reading that she has authored.  I'm happy to say that it won't be the last book I read by her.
Luke and Faith aren't exactly bosom buddies but when odd things begin to happen and people as in Secret Service agents begin to die in unusual ways then Faith and Luke have to come together to find the unknown threat when Faith is placed in charge of the investigation.
I got so caught up in the threat/the unknown threat.  It was such an interesting "thing"  that is happening in this town to these agents.
It was somewhat like reading today's headlines.
Faith is somewhat tough with straight-line vision.  She knows what she wants and she wants to get it done.
Luke is a bit more laid back but he is a driven soul too.
What a read!  What a mystery!
I loved this story!  And I loved Luke and Faith. What a mixture of faith and love.

*This book was provided for review by Revell*

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel


Book Description:  As a counselor, Sophia Barrett is trained to help people cope with their burdens. But when she meets a new patient whose troubles mirror her own, she realizes she hasn’t dealt with the pain of her recent past. After making a snap decision to get away for the summer, Sophia moves overseas to an apartment above a charming bookstore in Cornwall, England. She is hopeful she will find peace there surrounded by her favorite thing: great literature. 
Bookstore owner Ginny Rose is desperate to save her business without asking for help from a husband who’s decided to take a break from their marriage. Ginny never imagined she’d be solely responsible for keeping afloat her husband’s dream, but the unexpected friendship with her new renter has her feeling more optimistic. Between the two of them—and Ginny’s brother-in-law, William—the bookstore might stand a chance. 
Then Sophia finds a notebook in the bookstore that contains journal entries from Emily Fairfax, a governess who lived in Cornwall more than 150 years ago. Sophia learns that Emily harbored a secret passion for becoming an authoress—as well as a deep love for her childhood friend, Edward, whose station she dared not dream to touch. 

My Thoughts:  Three people, three stories and a bookstore.  
A new to me author and a wonderful read.
This novel is all about a charming bookstore in an English village.  The bookstore though is a catalyst for people who need each other and need "something" in their lives.
Sophia moves from the States to England to live  above the bookstore .  She is seeking peace and needs to make amends with her past.
Ginny owns the bookstore but due to unforeseen life changes...her husband needs break form their marriage....Ginny isn't sure she can handle everything.  But then her friendship with Sophia changes her outlook on life.
Then from the far past, when Sophia finds a journal in the bookstore, and reading begins reading it so many things come together and makes sense.
This is kind of like three books in one since three are three people involved in different years.  The author does a great job of keeping the stories flowing and relatable.

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718075722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718075729

Monday, February 22, 2021

{Blog Tour} The Baby Next Door (Indiana Amish Brides #7) by Vannetta Chapman


Book Description:  When Amish single mother Grace Troyer and her baby girl move back home, Adrian Schrock can’t resist the little family next door. But his plan to nudge Grace out of her shell by asking her to cook for Englischers on his farm tour doesn’t go over well. After all, Grace is worried the job will expose secrets she hopes to keep buried… 

My Thoughts:  My new interest is the Love Inspired Inspirational Romances.
Of course, Vannetta Chapman also happens to be one of the authors I love.
In this Love inspired romance an Amish single mother with a little girl has a "nosey" neighbor who likes to help her.
Grace Troyer and her baby girl like their neighbor, Adrian Schrock, but Grace prefers to keep quiet and not bear her soul even to a kind hearted neighbor.
Poor Adrian he thinks Grace needs to get out of her shell but Grace thinks Adrian needs to keep his distance.
Grace has secrets and cooking for the English on Adrian's farm doesn't seem too intrusive but people have a way of asking too many questions.  Questions that Grace sent want to answer.
A great short story with a lot of romance and that feel good feeling for a happy afternoon of reading.

*Thanks to the author for this Blog Tour*

Indiana Amish Brides

Book 1: A Widow’s Hope

Book 2: Amish Christmas Memories

Book 3: A Perfect Amish Match

Book 4: The Amish Christmas Matchmaker

Book 5: An Unlikely Amish Match

Book 6: The Amish Christmas Secret

Book 7: The Baby Next Door

The Robin's Greeting by Wanda E. Brunstetter

 Book Description:  For the past two years Belinda King, along with her two grown daughters and teenage son, has been struggling to keep the family greenhouse running. Despite disconcerting events that have threatened to put them out of business, they have survived two growing seasons. And now Belinda can focus on the two suitors vying for her attention. Herschel Fisher, a new acquaintance, makes her feel relaxed, and Monroe Esh, an admirer from her past, reminds her of her youth.

My Thoughts:  Oh my!  This is the last book in the wonderful Amish Greenhouse Mystery...Book 3. 
I was so sad for this book to end because it was like being a part of this family.  But, oh! what an ending.  I loved this book.
Okay, it may be my favorite book of all the Amish Greenhouse mysteries.  Why?  It's a happy book and there's so much in it.
Belinda King and her family are like the best family.  they all work together and have survived two growing seasons, as well as, growth in their own lives.
Belinda may be a mom and a widow but now that her kids are more mature it seems that she has two suitors.  Two great suitors who are vying foe her attention.
This romance was like icing on a great cupcake.  Too good not to finish!
And, yes, if you haven't read the previous two books in this trilogy you need too.  All the stories build on each other.
Don't miss this story!

"I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review."

  • Publisher : Barbour Espanol (March 1, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1643524798
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1643524795

Sunday, February 21, 2021

If I Run by Terri Blackstock


Book Description:  Casey knows the truth.

But it won’t set her free.
Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.
But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?
Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

My Thoughts: I've waited {im}patiently for this book.  And I promised myself that when it came I would not read it all at once but read it slowly and savor it.  Well, promises were made to be broken.  The afternoon I received this book I thought I'll just read a couple of chapters.  Ahhh!  This story is faced paced.  What a page turner!  I finished this book in the early evening!  Oh, so good!
I love the way that Terri Blackstock is not preachy but she sure puts the Word of the Lord in her reads.
Another strong point of this story is about PTSD.  I never thought about the different aspects PTSD.  Dylan's story is so very different than Casey's but, yet, they shared a good friend who died and now they both need/want answers.  This is the mystery of the story with suspense on every page.
The story as two different aspects...Casey's and Dylan's.  Casey Cox is one smart cookie. And Dylan is a weary young man trying to prove Casey is innocent.  Will they find the answers they seek?
I loved the story!  And even though "parts" of this story ended I truly hope there is book two because I need to know more!
This is a fantabulous read!

Monday, February 15, 2021

Kissed by a Cowboy (A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance) by Debra Clopton


Book Description:  Cassidy was looking for a home and a place to belong. . . not for a cowboy to steal her heart.
Having lived through her parents’ endless string of “matrimonial bliss gone wrong,” Cassidy Starr knows when the odds are not in her favor. Divorced and humiliated, her faith on rocky ground, Cassidy is through with love. She’s been bucked off that horse far too many times. Instead, she returns to Wishing Springs, Texas, and the rundown farm she’s inherited from her great aunt Roxie. She’ll reopen the strawberry farm and a bed & breakfast and follow in her aunt’s footsteps, remaining forever-independent, happy . . . and single.
Rancher Jarrod Monahan’s hands are full running the ranch, looking after his ailing grandfather, and chasing down a group of rustlers on the loose. He’s pushed his longing for a family to the bottom of his list of priorities. Besides, he was in love once but ran scared and lost his shot at happiness. But suddenly, the biggest regret of his life has moved in next door with a wounded heart, determined to become a spinster . . . and that’s a challenge that Jarrod can’t pass up.
Jarrod sets his mind to breaking down the walls around Cassidy’s stubborn heart. How can he show her that a cowboy’s kiss lasts forever? For the good folks of Wishing Springs, falling in love has never been so much fun to witness.

My Thoughts:  Debra Clopton is another favorite author of mine.  She writes the most humorous, light and clean romances.  
When I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by heavier reads I pick a Debra Clopton novel to bring a smile and some fun to by reading life.
Kissed By A Cowboy is the third book in A Four Hearts Ranch Romance series.  These are stand alone reads that all center around ranch life and a cowboy.
This particular story is about divorcee, Cassidy, who decides after reaching rock bottom that she is going to Wishing Springs, Texas, to the rundown farm she inherited from her great aunt, Roxie.
Now Cassidy is done and done with men!  So when she returns to Wishing Springs she is centered on getting her farm up and running.  However, her handsome neighbor, Jarrod Monahan, is determined to get in Cassidy's "space."
A fun, definitely light read full of clean romance.  

Sunday, February 14, 2021

The View from Rainshadow Bay (A Lavender Tides Novel) by Colleen Noble


Book Description:  After her husband, Jack, dies in a climbing incident, Shauna has only her five-year-old son and her helicopter charter business to live for. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet and she lives in constant fear of losing even more than she already has.
When her business partner is murdered, his final words convince Shauna that she’s in danger too. But where can she turn? Zach Bannister was her husband’s best friend and is the person she blames for his death. She’s barely spoken to him since. But right now he seems her only hope for protecting her son.
Zach is only too happy to assuage his guilt over Jack’s death by helping Shauna any way he can. But there are secrets involved dating back to Shauna’s childhood that more than one person would prefer to stay hidden.

My Thoughts: Colleen Coble's mystery reads are some of my favorites.  In this particular book, The View from Rainshadow Bay, I thought the suspense was quite well intoned.  Since the setting of the story is in Washington state where the beautiful lavender fields produce quite an artistic flair to this wonderful story.
Shauna is trying with all her might to make a go of it since her husband, Jack, died.  She's doing her best to raise their son and keep her sanity.
Then her business partner is murdered.  And it seems that she and her son are now in grave danger.  The one person she knows might be able to help her is also the one person she blames for her husband's death, Zach Bannister.
But Zach wants to help Shauna.  He feels guilty but he knows he might be the one person that can help her stay safe.
What a story!  Loved the suspense and the mystery.  Honestly had a hard time figuring out the "one" who is guilty.

Friday, February 12, 2021

The Hope of Spring {Discovery Series #3} by Wanda E. Brunstetter


Book Description:  Join Meredith and Luke Stoltzfus, an Amish couple who are faced with the greatest challenge of their young lives. The Hope of Spring is part three of Wanda E. Brunsetter s The Discovery--A Lancaster County Saga.

My Thoughts: Now for book 3, The Hope of Spring.  I've been reading this saga as soon as it hits the shelf.  I'm so curious what is happening in Luke and Meredith's lives. 
Now, Meredith is struggling and quite pregnant.  She has "kind of" come to grips with Luke's death and there is a neighbor who has helped her, especially when he found her and rushed her to the doctor so she wouldn't  lose the baby.  Is another romance possible?
More of Luke's "escapade" comes to light.  Everything seems "impossible" right now.  Luke is in a hospital trying to recover and remember.  Meredith is quite pregnant and doesn't want to lose the baby.
Her family and neighbors are trying to be helpful but she really longs for Luke!
Of course, each book ends with quite a cliff hanger and I just want to read the next book NOW {smile}
Great saga, keeps the reader wanting to read more!

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Barbour Books 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1620291444
  • ISBN-13: 978-1620291443

Monday, February 8, 2021

Amish Sweethearts: Four Amish Novellas by Amy Clipston


Book Description: Love is in the air in these four sweet romances!

My Thoughts:  Amy Clipston is one of my favorite authors and she has penned four novellas/short stories that all have to do with love.  Love is in the air:

Love and Buggy Rides: (previously published in An Amish Harvest).  I had already read this short novella.  It's sweet story about a buggy accident that brings Janie and Jonathan together.

A Home for Lindsay:  This story began on a sad note but soon turned into a wonderful story of love and forgiveness.  In this short story we learn that words to do count.  One must open up and share from the heart to be understood.

Where the Heart Is:  This is probably my favorite story out of all the four.  I loved the mystery in it.  And, of course, there is an element of mystery.  A mystery that helps bring the family together and healing is brought through truth, too.

Love Birds (previously published in An Amish Market):  And I already read this story too.  But loved it so read it again.  Grief is hard on Ellie. She sees beauty in Seth's friend, Lloyd's carved birds.  As Ellie and Lloyd become friends they also become soul mates.  

Four great short stories in this one book!  

{Revell Blog Tour} When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin

 Book Description:  Munich, 1938. Evelyn Brand is an American foreign correspondent as determined to prove her worth in a male-dominated profession as she is to expose the growing tyranny in Nazi Germany. To do so, she must walk a thin line. If she offends the government, she could be expelled from the country--or worse. If she fails to truthfully report on major stories, she'll never be able to give a voice to the oppressed--and wake up the folks back home.

In another part of the city, American graduate student Peter Lang is working on his PhD in German. Disillusioned with the chaos in the world due to the Great Depression, he is impressed with the prosperity and order of German society. But when the brutality of the regime hits close, he discovers a far better way to use his contacts within the Nazi party--to feed information to the shrewd reporter he can't get off his mind.

My Thoughts:  It's been quite awhile since I've read a story penned by Sarah Sudlin.  This one of those WOW reads!

First of all, I love reading about WWII and better yet I love reading about a foreign correspondent.  Evelyn Brand is out to tell the truth and the whole truth.  She knows that what she sees and hears must be put into just the right words to bring truth about what is happening in Nazi Germany.  The people at home must know the truth and if she fails to write the truth, no one will ever trust her to write again.

Then in another part of the city is Peter Lang.  So disillusioned with all that is going on in Germany.  The Depression didn't help anyone.  The world seems to be falling apart.

This is a serious very well researched book with meticulous detail to the truth so when twilight breaks so many people know the truth.

An Epic Tale of Great Proportions!

*This book was provided for review by Revell*

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Power Plates: 100 Nutritionally Balanced, One-Dish Vegan Meals by Gena Hamshaw


Book Description: These 100 recipes for wholesome and nourishing vegan food from blogger, nutritionist, and Food52 author Gena Hamshaw help you make delicious vegan meals that deliver balanced and sustained energy. Every recipe contains the key macronutrients of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and proteins, which together make for a complete meal--things like Smoky Red Lentil Stew with Chard, and Falafel Bowls with Freekah and Cauliflower. Photographs accompany each recipe, showing how Gena's simple techniques and fresh ingredients yield delicious meals. Additional tips and tricks for taking food on the go, and for cooking ahead on the weekend for quick weekday lunches and dinners, round out the collection.

My Thoughts:  Some people say that food is an art.  Well to me food is an ends to a mean. Art is something that can be hung up or displayed.  Food is to be eaten and enjoyed.  😋
I love this cookbook.  There are many wonderful recipes.  If one is on a diet or just wants to eat clean and healthy this is the book for you.
As much as I loved this cookbook I just couldn't wrap my head around the different foods to cook.  And I may be a lazy cook because I just don't like complicated recipes.  And, to me, this recipes are a bit time consuming and complicated.
I do like the idea of incorporating vegetables in every dish.  So, I've decided to I can incorporate veggies but maybe not cook quite as complicated.  
Here in the south we cook a bit more uncomplicated.  Ask least in this house we do.
I love the pictures that show the cooked dish.  And the tips are worth reading, too.
A wonderful cookbook for those who have a bit more time and love to cook than I do.

*This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah*

One of the recipes:  

Rice, Beans, Tofu, and Greens

Makes 4 To 6 Servings
This dish grew out of my tremendous love of rice and beans, as well as my tendency to load up the dish with extras: greens, peppers, sautéed mushrooms, tofu or tempeh, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I love it because it’s fast and filling, and it all comes together in a single pot. I’m the sort of person who can eat plain tofu right out of the package, so adding unmarinated, uncooked tofu doesn’t bother me. If naked tofu is a turnoff for you, feel free to use 8 ounces (225 g) smoked or baked tofu instead.
Optional Toppings
Crumbled corn chips, chopped fresh cilantro, lime wedges, hot sauce
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onion is tender and translucent. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, paprika, and salt, then stir in the beans, tomatoes, rice, and water. Add the tofu and stir gently to combine. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring gently from time to time, until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes for white rice or 40 minutes for brown rice. 
Add the greens, cover, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the greens are wilted. Season with red pepper flakes and stir in lime juice to taste. Taste and adjust the seasonings if desired. Serve right away, with any additional toppings you like.

Monday, February 1, 2021

All's Fair in LOVE and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant


Book Description:  Kat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew she was capable of so much more. 
Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.
But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.
As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself—her—is suddenly in danger of slipping away.
The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

My Thoughts:  Betsy St. Amant pens a "sweet read" in All's Fair in LOVE and Cupcakes!  
I admit that I chose this book based on the title and the picture (shameful, I know!)  But I love cupcakes and was caught up in the reality cupcake bake off.
I like Kat she is slowly coming into her "own."  And then there's Lucas...oh! Lucas!  
Lucas sees Kat's potential and he signs her up for a reality bake off show.  Kat is not sure about going on national TV for a bake off.  But she wants something more in her life than plain chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.  {This seems to be the catalyst of the story.}
The relationship between Kat and Lucas was, at times, a little like plain vanilla . . . they're friends but not sure if they should love each other.  The romance part of this story was clean and best described as young love.  Kat and Lucas like each other and are the best of friends BUT they are in love and can't seem to get the love part out. 
The best part of this story are the cupcakes and bakeoff.  
A fun, light read!