Saturday, March 31, 2018

Review: Amish Sweethearts by Amy Clipston

Amish Sweethearts
By Amy Clipston
Zondervan, 2018


Love is in the air in these four sweet romances!

Love and Buggy Rides (previously published in An Amish Harvest) – Janie Lantz is a cashier at Lancaster Souvenirs and Buggy Rides, where Jonathan Stoltfuz is a buggy driver. A frightening accident brings Janie and Jonathan together in a blossoming friendship, yet daunting obstacles stand between them and something deeper. Can love kindle into flames that burn away fear and regret—and lead them to a life together?

A Home for Lindsay – From Amy Clipston’s beloved Kauffman Amish Bakery series comes Lindsay Bedford’s story. Lindsay is happily looking forward to the day she becomes Matthew Glick’s wife and is excited for the plans he has for the house he will build her. So, when Matthew suddenly calls off the wedding, she is blindsided. She knows there is more to the story than what he is telling her, but will he open up and let her in on his own heartbreak?

Where the Heart Is – Tobias Smucker is back home, and it’s no secret he and his father are still not on the best of terms. But what is surprising is that his little sister’s best friend, Mariella, has been harboring her own secret feelings for Tobias. With her help, he begins to unravel a family mystery and learns that everyone has their own hidden depths, including his father.

Love Birds  (previously published in An Amish Market) – While Ellie Lapp and her mother are still mourning the loss of her brother, Seth, Ellie starts working at one of the gift shops in town. Seth’s friend Lloyd is talented at carving wooden birds, but his father disapproves and expects him to take over the family farm someday. Ellie sees the beauty in Lloyd’s creations and insists Lloyd sell the birds in the gift shop where she works. As Ellie and Lloyd spend more time together, they begin to develop feelings for one another, but she accidentally betrays his trust. Will she lose any hope of a future with him?

My thoughts

Amish Sweethearts is heartwarming and sweet, incorporating everything that I love about Amy Clipston’s stories. Novellas aren’t known for character depth, but Amy somehow always manages to accomplish this. In the Amish Sweethearts collection, she has created narratives that engage the emotions from the first page and reflect a relevancy beyond the Amish setting. Each story thoroughly entertains and is well grounded in faith at the same time. All are moving reads.

A Home for Lindsay – Matthew doesn’t handle things very well when all that he has hoped for and worked toward in being able to provide for Lindsay seems to be falling apart, and I really wanted to shake some sense into him! What a personal message this story carries when it comes to pride, communicating and working as a team, and also discerning God’s guidance.

Love and Buggy Rides – Jonathan and Janie’s story looks at interesting themes of Amish life, such as their way of non-involvement in legal matters and obedience to parents vs. what’s best for someone. A really good story that made me think.

Where the Heart IsThe now repentant Tobias played a troubling part in Summer Storms from the Amish Summer collection and I’ve longed for his redemptive story ever since, so this has to be my favorite of the collection. To see his humbleness, uncertainty about his place in the family, and willingness to make a public confession before the church’s baptized members was spellbinding. I also loved the growing closeness between Tobias and his father. Excellent story!

Love Birds –Ellie and Lloyd’s story, in light of the previous death of Ellie’s brother, is sweet and moving as well. I haven’t quite finished reading this one and will update upon completion.

I received a copy of this book from the author. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA.

Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and three spoiled rotten cats.

Website │ Facebook │ Twitter │ Instagram

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Review + GIVEAWAY: Natural Thorn Killer by Kate Dyer-Seeley

Natural Thorn Killer
By Kate Dyer-Seeley
A Rose City Mystery #1
Kensington, 2018


Cut down among the flowers . . .

Britta Johnston might be a late bloomer, but after leaving her deadbeat husband and dead-end job, she’s finally pursuing her artistic passion at her aunt Elin’s floral boutique, Blooma, in Portland, Oregon. It’s on the banks of the Willamette, in a quaint district of cobblestone paths and cherry trees. The wine bar featuring Pacific Northwest vintages is a tasty bonus, offering another kind of bouquet to enjoy. But things aren’t as peaceful as they look.

For one thing, someone’s been leaving dead roses around—and a sleazy real estate developer who wants the waterfront property has put a big-money offer on the table. Then, after a contentious meeting of local business owners, he’s found on the floor of the shop, with Elin’s garden shears planted in his chest. And before the police decide to pin the crime on her beloved aunt, Britta will have to find out who arranged this murder . . .

Amazon   B&N   Hudson Booksellers    IndieBound    BAM

My thoughts

Natural Thorn Killer by Kate Dyer-Seeley (Ellie Alexander) has that perfect blend of setting, characterization and plot that simply makes for an enjoyable read. From interesting detail to engaging conversation, the writing flows smoothly. I don’t always get to start with the first book in a series, so that was an added treat as well – meeting and getting to know the main players, looking forward to future development.

The vibrant setting becomes a major character itself – the eclectic shops and restaurants of Riverplace Village on Portland’s Williamette River. There’s a village-like feel in this small city within a larger city where Britta has returned to help her aunt Elin run their European-inspired flower and wine shop, Blooma. A good bit of fascinating detail is given about floral designs leading up to the shop’s expansion opening, , and it never slowed the plot down. I actually think it elevates this series above the average cozy mystery.

Britta is a strong, appealing lead character who loves “blending nature into bouquets.” I love the friendships that are formed in Riverplace Village, especially the bond between Britta and her aunt Elin. The murder’s identity is not obvious, at least to me, and I kept thinking, “Oh no, please don’t let it be him/her!” I also liked that, rather than being antagonistic, two police officers gradually became friends, Officer Iwamoto and Detective Fletcher.

I’m already looking forward to the release of book #2, Violet Tendencies. Recommended to all who enjoy a quality cozy mystery.

I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Kate Dyer-Seeley aka Ellie Alexander writes multiple mystery series, all with a Pacific Northwest touch. She lives in the PNW with her husband and son, where you can find her hitting the trail, at an artisan coffee shop, or at her favorite pub. Better yet—at all three.

Kate loves hearing from readers and interacting on social media. Be sure to follow her to learn about her writing process, upcoming books, special events, giveaways, and more! Also, sign up for her e-mail newsletter to stay up to date on new releases, appearances, and exclusive content & recipes.

FacebookTwitter InstagramGoodReads

Tour Participants

March 26 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
March 27 – Writing Pearls – REVIEW
March 27 – Valerie’s Musings – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 28 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
March 28 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
March 29 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 30 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
March 31 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
March 31 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
April 1 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
April 1 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY
April 3 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST
April 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 4 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
April 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
April 5 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
April 5 – A Blue Million Books –  AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 6 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT


Prize – 1 autographed print copy of Natural Thorn Killer!!

To enter the drawing, please help spread the word by clicking on this link and sharing my Facebook post, then leave a comment here letting me know that you shared.

BE SURE to leave your name and your email address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Saturday, ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­April 7. Winner will be chosen by and contacted by e-mail.

Eligibility: US residents

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): The Heart's Appeal by Jennifer Delamere

About the Book

Book Title: The Heart’s Appeal  
Author: Jennifer Delamere  
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance

Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor–a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It’s only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future. 

Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women’s medical school. He’s supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he’s made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome?


My Thoughts

The Heart’s Appeal by Jennifer Delamere is a highly entertaining story that I enjoyed very much. The previous book, The Captain's Daughter, was a strong beginning to this series and I loved this one even more because the storyline was so appealing. The series is set during the Victorian Era, an exciting and fast-changing time of new opportunities, especially for women. The writing is smooth and easy to read, moving at a steady pace that kept me eagerly turning the pages.

Delamere shares that this series was inspired by the life of George Muller, and that’s what initially drew me to these stories, as I’ve always found Muller’s faith incredibly inspiring. Julia and her sisters were raised in the orphanage he founded where, rather than soliciting funds publicly, he simply relied on God to provide all that was needed through fervent prayer, and I knew that had to have impacted their lives.

There was an intriguing contrast in this story, where one woman married for societal advancement and security, while the other took advantage of a career opportunity never before afforded to women. Julia and Michael are strong, appealing lead characters, with great chemistry between them. The legal and medical aspects of the story are fascinating and eye opening as the role of women comes into play.

Spiritual themes are gently and effectively woven into the story, proving to be very relevant for us today. Michael’s faith had taken a back seat to profession and family, whereas Julia discovered that God’s plans, different from hers initially, were even greater and more satisfying than she could have ever imagined. I love that the theme of new beginnings has both physical and spiritual meaning.

Jennifer Delamere’s excellent writing, combined with her passion for this era, makes for a memorable read and I eagerly await her next book.

Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit Tours and Bethany House. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. 

Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.


Guest Post from Jennifer Delamere

Power couples? 

Perhaps that’s not a concept that initially comes to mind when one thinks of Victorian England! And yet, they did exist. I love to include real people from history in my books, and in The Heart’s Appeal, Julia Bernay meets two inspiring real-life couples who will make a positive impact in her life. 

In 1865, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first woman to qualify as a physician in Britain. She did this through a legal loophole, but soon the laws were changed to open the medical field to all women. In 1874, Dr. Anderson co-founded the London School of Medicine for Women. She remained involved in the school in various capacities for the rest of her life, even as she continued to run her own busy practice. In The Heart’s Appeal, she becomes a mentor for Julia, opening doors for her education and introducing Julia to people who can help her succeed in medical school. 

Dr. Anderson’s husband, James Anderson (Jamie), was the joint-owner of a successful shipping line and also served on the boards of several organizations (including a children’s hospital). He was a handsome man, very much in love with his wife, and fervent in supporting her choice of a career. 

In a letter he wrote to her while they were engaged, Jamie explained his vision for their future—how they could keep their professional and private lives separate, yet still give each other plenty of love and support: 

“I think we had better lay it down once for all as a rule that I am under no circumstances to bring people ‘favorably under your notice’ or ‘exert any influence’ or anything of the sort. It will give people a wrong idea of you unless I take a decided line in this matter — and as I mean to be if I can a successful man of business, neither interfering with your pursuits nor being interfered with by you (but having our confidences on all feasible subjects at off times of the day and week and mutually advising and fortifying one another), I must let people know unmistakably not to come bothering me about your public affairs. Will you think about this, dearest?”  

Who couldn’t love a man like that? 

Jamie Anderson’s outlook on life comes into play later on in The Heart’s Appeal, when he provides advice and aid to Michael Stephenson, the book’s hero, at a critical time. 

Julia also has an inspiring encounter with Dr. Anderson’s sister, Millicent Fawcett. Millicent was married to a Member of Parliament and actively supported her husband’s career in many ways, including acting as a scribe for him since he was blind. She is most remembered for her role in the women’s suffrage movement. In fact, a statue of her will be placed in Parliament Square in London this summer. She was not a militant suffragette, but rather campaigned for suffrage under the banner “Law-Abiding Suffragists.” 

Both couples raised families, too, and their children’s successes in life show they were raised to have the same energetic and “can-do” attitudes that their parents had. 

Julia initially believes she must remain single to achieve her life’s goals. But soon she finds her heart drawn to successful barrister Michael Stephenson, who admires Julia’s intelligence and ambition. She learns that love and the freedom to pursue her dreams do not have to be mutually exclusive. A meeting of minds to spark a true romance? Yes, please! I hope readers will agree this can be the most satisfying of all.

Blog Stops

A Greater Yes, March 23
Among the Reads, March 23
Splashes of Joy, March 23
Mary Hake, March 25
Remembrancy, March 25
Genesis 5020, March 26
Carpe Diem, March 27
Baker Kella, March 29
Simple Harvest Reads, March 29 (Guest post from Mindy)
Pause for Tales, March 30
Cafinated Reads, March 30
Pursuing Stacie, March 30
Book by Book, March 31
Bigreadersite, March 31
Vicky Sluiter, April 2
Live Love Read, April 4


To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a grand prize package of that includes All four March Bethany House historical releases: The Heart’s Appeal, plus A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason, A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears, In Places Hidden by Tracie Peterson - and a $20 Starbucks gift card!!

Click the image above or the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Uneasy Prey by Annette Dashofy

Uneasy Prey
By Annette Dashofy
Zoe Chambers Series #6
Henery Press, 2018


On the way to the emergency room, an elderly woman regains consciousness long enough to inform paramedic Zoe Chambers that her fall down the basement steps was no accident. Before she can say more, she succumbs to her injuries, launching Zoe and Police Chief Pete Adams into the investigation of a burglary ring targeting the area’s vulnerable senior citizens.

Zoe—in spite of Pete’s objections—takes it upon herself to act as protection detail after the con men, disguised as water company employees, set their sights on Zoe’s beloved former landlady. It’s a decision that eventually puts Zoe in harm’s way.

With Zoe already recovering from one close call, Pete must race against time to stop the crime ring—and a dangerous killer—before they strike again.

Amazon  B&N  Kobo

My thoughts

A poignant, complex story with lots of heart … I read a lot of good mysteries, but every now and then I come across a gem, and that describes Uneasy Prey by Annette Dashofy. This is a moving, touching story that not only entertains, but engages the emotions. Previous events are alluded to, but this book easily stands alone.

Pete, Chief of Police, and Zoe, a paramedic, are strong, appealing characters. They have grown closer and this story focuses on several senior adults in their lives and community. And in that vein, the storyline focuses on something that makes me see red – a scamming scheme targeting the elderly. Other relevant issues come into play, such as bullying, independence, and single parenting.

The tightly-woven mystery itself is exceptional, but it’s the character depth and relationships that make this story so rich. The people and situations are so real that it hardly felt like fiction at times. Dashofy writes in a conversational, effortless style with gentle humor, and there’s no rehashing of thoughts to slow the narrative down.

Uneasy Prey has a satisfying, surprising conclusion with storylines resolved, yet there are some ongoing threads to be developed in future stories – such as Kimberly and Zoe’s mother/daughter relationship, the rundown Engle farm that she deeded over to Zoe, and a certain reporter who grew on me. I look forward to many more stories in this series and plan to read the previous books as well.

Highly recommended.

Note: The only negative for me was the unnecessary use of profanity.

I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township.

CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE was a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2014 and BRIDGES BURNED was nominated for the 2015 Agatha for Best Contemporary Novel. 

UNEASY PREY , the sixth in the series, is set for release on March 27.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Review + GIVEAWAY: The Uninvited Corpse by Debra Sennefelder

The Uninvited Corpse
By Debra Sennefelder
Food Blogger Mysteries #1
Kensington, 2018


Leaving behind a failed career as a magazine editor and an embarrassing stint on a reality baking show, newly divorced lifestyle entrepreneur Hope Early thought things were finally on the upswing—until she comes face-to-face with a murderer . . .

Hope’s schedule is already jam packed with recipe testing and shameless plugs for her food blog as she rushes off to attend a spring garden tour in the charming town of Jefferson, Connecticut. Unfortunately, it isn’t the perfectly arranged potted plants that grab her attention—it’s the bloody body of reviled real estate agent Peaches McCoy . . .

One of the tour guests committed murder, and all eyes are on Hope’s older sister, Claire Dixon—who, at best, saw Peaches as a professional rival. And suspicions really heat up when another murder occurs the following night. Now, with two messy murders shaking Jefferson and all evidence pointing to Claire, Hope must set aside her burgeoning brand to prove her sister’s innocence. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer intent on making sure her life goes permanently out of style . . .

Includes Recipes from Hope’s Kitchen!

My thoughts

With The Uninvited Corpse, Debra Sennefelder’s new cozy series is off to a great start. It was enjoyable to start at the beginning, meeting new characters and watching them grow from here. Hope Early, with her past career and marriage behind her, makes an appealing lead character and I loved her food blog. The small town of Jefferson, Connecticut is a great setting, as I love anything associated with New England, and I was quickly drawn into the community.

Hope’s reason for getting involved in the investigation was realistic, as her sister was suspected of the crime. Then add in the fact that a certain police officer, friend and possibly something more, is against her involvement, and it gets even more interesting from a relational standpoint.

Small towns seem to always have quite a bit of drama, at least in fiction, and that part felt real as well. From personal squabbles and love interests, to background machination to get ahead in the real estate business, to controversy over community development, it all comes together in an entertaining mix. I especially enjoyed two secondary characters who added good depth – former mystery writer Jane and local reporter Drew.

The only slight negative for me is that a lot of characters are introduced all at once in the beginning, at Audrey’s garden tour, and I’m not sure I ever got them all straight. I also longed for more character depth, but that should develop as the series progresses. The Uninvited Corpse is thoroughly enjoyable overall and I look forward to future stories.


I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Debra Sennefelder, the author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series, is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.

Born and raised in New York City, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in pre-hospital care, retail and publishing. Her writing companions are her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzus, Susie and Billy.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Women’s Fiction Writers Association and Romance Writers of America.


One print copy of The Uninvited Corpse!

To enter the drawing, please click on this link and share my Facebook post, then leave a comment here letting me know that you shared.

BE SURE to leave your name and your email address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Monday, April 2. Winner will be chosen by and contacted by e-mail.

Eligibility: US residents