ARC, BLOG, Favorite, PB, Purchase, Revell

The Rose and the Thistle by Laura Frantz Review

About the Book

Title: The Rose and the Thistle

Author: Laura Frantz

Publisher: Revell

Released: January 3, 2023

Genre: Historical Romance

In 1715, Lady Blythe Hedley’s father is declared an enemy of the British crown because of his Jacobite sympathies, forcing her to flee her home in northern England. Secreted to the tower of Wedderburn Castle in Scotland, Lady Blythe awaits who will ultimately be crowned king. But in a house with seven sons and numerous servants, her presence soon becomes known.

No sooner has Everard Hume lost his father, Lord Wedderburn, than Lady Hedley arrives with the clothes on her back and her mistress in tow. He has his own problems–a volatile brother with dangerous political leanings, an estate to manage, and a very young brother in need of comfort and direction in the wake of losing his father. It would be best for everyone if he could send this misfit heiress on her way as soon as possible.

Drawn into a whirlwind of intrigue, shifting alliances, and ambitions, Lady Blythe must be careful whom she trusts. Her fortune, her future, and her very life are at stake. Those who appear to be adversaries may turn out to be allies–and those who pretend friendship may be enemies.

My Impressions

“Silk and fire dinna mix well.”

“Neither do we, milord.”

“Good things come to those who wait.” This summarizes my thoughts on The Rose and the Thistle by Laura Frantz.

First of all, I (and many other Frantz fans) have been waiting over a year for this latest offering from Frantz, a highly skilled author who writes excellent, authentic historical romantic fiction.

I had to wait in another regard. This is one of the few Frantz novels that I have not been enamored with from the start. However, as I kept reading, I eventually got so caught up in the intrigue of the divided loyalties and the beauty of the impossible romance that I give this book five stars. I tend to rate books by how completely sated my reading soul is when I finish. Let me say, I am well-satisfied with the faith factor, enemies-to-lovers romance and political suspense. Don’t forget the appeal of a child!!

Which brings me to my last point. Frantz, through Lady Blythe Hedley and Lord Everard Hume, teaches me several things through Scripture and its application. I used one quote last night in my own life. “Prayer may be the best weapon we have.” What an immense relief as I relax my own troubled mind and realize “God’s got this” as I pray for my personal heartache. God is indeed in control. Thank you for the reminder, Ms. Frantz!!

And as I talked to a person dear to me today, I referred to another quote. “Tell me something good about her…Surely there are praiseworthy things about her, as she was made in the Lord’s image.” Sometimes we can only see the negatives in another person, and yet, even the worst person is made in God’s image. If we look hard enough, we can find good in almost all people.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher, plus I bought a couple of copies to share. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Good things may come to Everard and Blythe for waiting, and they came to me! The Scriptures and quotes spoke directly to my heart and life!

About the Author


Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Proud of her heritage, she is also a Daughter of the American Revolution. When not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.

According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Foreign language editions include French, Dutch, Spanish, Slovakian, German & Polish.

Readers can find Laura Frantz at http://www.laurafrantz.net

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Anything but Plain by Suzanne Woods Fisher Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Anything But Plain

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Amish fiction

Release date: October 4, 2022

It’s not easy being the bishop’s daughter, especially for Lydie Stoltzfus. She’s not like other Amish girls, as much as she wishes she were. The only thing she does well is disappoint others. Leaving her family and church seems unbearable, but staying might be worse.

Knowing Lydie is “between” jobs, the local doctor asks her to fill in at the front desk for a few months. To Lydie, this is a boon. It gives her time to figure out how she’s going to say goodbye to her neighbor, Nathan Yoder–the main reason she needs to leave Stoney Ridge. Nathan claims he’s in love with her, but she knows she’s not good enough for him. If in doubt, Nathan’s father reminds her frequently.

As Dok spends time with Lydie, she recognizes symptoms of an uncommon disorder among the Amish. She offers treatment for Lydie. But will it be enough to make her stay? Or has help come too late?

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

Stoney Ridge and especially Bishop David Stoltzfus’s home is my favorite setting that Suzanne Woods Fisher has penned. While Anything but Plain could be read as a stand-alone, it is sweeter if you have read the preceding books.

Everyone loves Lydie, but having the Bishop’s youngest daughter work for them is another matter. As Edith says, ”Everyone says you’re an accident waiting to happen.” (How can some people be so cruel to others?)

Mammi, David’s widowed mother, comes for a visit. Before long, she informs Lydie, “‘You’re the reason I’m here.’ Mammi smiled. ‘You’re going to be my special project. We are going to fix you.’” Oh, the angst in that household , and not just for Lydie, as Mammi settles in! I love how Fisher weaves that one event into so many subplots.

I was slightly dismayed to find in this book that David himself is not perfect. He has always been such a humble, wise, and godly bishop. To find he has faults was indeed sad. May it be a reminder to all of us that we cannot put church leaders on pedestals. The only one we worship and adore is God. He alone is perfect.

I loved Nathan. He is humble, kind, knowledgeable about his organic farming, and eloquent as well. He is very forgiving, more than most.

One plot twist did throw me for a loop. I did not feel the reader had been properly prepared or armed with enough understanding to receive that twist as plausible.

Still, this is probably my fave Fisher novel so far for the unusual subject matter, (ADHD among the Amish) and the way Fisher deals with it.

I received a copy of the book through Celebrate Lit, and also NetGalley, plus I bought a copy to give away. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Act first and think later. Lydie’s life in a nutshell.”

“He needed to seek things to be grateful for, something Birdy was always reminding him of. Search for them like a lost coin, she would say, because his mind didn’t naturally go to gratitude.”

“The Lord God did not make a mistake when he made you. Everything about you was ordained from the beginning. You have to start believing that.”

“She had a knack for solving problems, for seeing things he couldn’t see.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! Fisher’s Best Yet!!

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a Christy finalist, a Carol Award winner, a two-time ECPA Book of the Year finalist, and the Publishers Weekly, ECPA, CBA, bestselling author of more than thirty books. Her genres include contemporary and historical romances, Amish romance, and women’s fiction. She and her husband live in a small town in California, where everyone knows everyone else, knows what they are doing and why. Most folks act a little nervous around Suzanne because they usually wind up in one of her novels. She has four grown children and enough grandchildren to keep her young. Visit Suzanne at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

More from Suzanne

Easily Distracted? 8 Strategies to Help Stay Focused 

Anything but Plain is a story about a young Amish woman with undiagnosed ADHD. Lydie Stoltzfus feels like a square peg in a round hole. She just doesn’t fit in and, to make matters worse, she’s the bishop’s daughter. At this point, the only path forward she can see is to leave Stoney Ridge. Leave her church, her friends, her family, her neighbor Nathan Yoder. It’s better to leave, Lydie decides, than to keep disappointing everyone she cares about. I won’t say anymore so that I don’t spoil the story for you.

ADHD is not a common diagnosis among the Amish and many might assume it’s not a real thing. Of course, they’re mistaken. ADHD is a real thing. While I don’t have ADHD, I do have many friends and family members who have been diagnosed. It’s challenging! And something we should all take seriously. Here’s why:

Evidence is mounting that a growing dependence on digital devices could be giving all of us some ADHD-like symptoms. Have you wondered if distractibility is becoming a problem for you? Or has a spouse or child or friend remarked on how often you pick up your phone to check a text message or scroll Instagram? You might remain physically present but your mind has wandered away. For me, the answer is, regrettably, yes.

There’s a recurring phrase in Anything but Plain that comes from an old-fashioned farming term: Walking the beans. Literally, it means weeding by hand. Figuratively, it means paying attention to our priorities. To pull the weeds before they take root.

One of the takeaway lessons of this book is to “walk the beans” of technology’s role in my life. So…I’ve been working on a few strategies. When I practice, I see a difference. Life is calmer. More manageable.

So…I wanted to pass these tips along to you. (If you have little children, these might not work for you. Not when your little ones are awake, anyway.) Hopefully, you’ll find them to be useful, and maybe spark some strategies of your own.

  • Make a plan. I start the day with an index card and write down the day’s priorities. And I check off tasks as I finish them!
  • Go off-line. Create an environment that helps you stay focused. Turn your cell phone to silent. If working on the computer, close your email app. Put yourself in distraction-free mode until you’re accomplished what you need to do
  • Finish one task before moving on to the next. Even little tasks.
  • Distractibility is at its peak during transitions. Build in margin. For example, arrive a few minutes early instead of rushing in a few minutes late.
  • When distractions are high, make tasks smaller and break down your large projects into smaller tasks to help you concentrate and give you a sense of accomplishment and progress.
  • When I’m facing a big task, I’ll break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • Set a deadline for a task. Beat the clock! Use a timer.
  • Rewards! When I beat the clock, I’ll take a break from computer work and pop up to the garden, text a friend, walk the dog. Something that feels good.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 7

She Lives To Read, October 8

The Write Escape, October 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 9

Vicky Sluiter, October 9

lakesidelivingsite, October 10

Texas Book-aholic, October 10

Lighthouse-Academy, October 11

Simple Harvest Reads, October 11 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 12

Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 12

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14

Blogging With Carol, October 14

Elly Gilbert, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 15

For Him and My Family, October 15

Holly’s Book Corner, October 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 16

Splashes of Joy, October 16

Empowermoms, October 17

SusanLovesBooks, October 17

Mary Hake, October 17

Bigreadersite, October 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 18

Blossoms and Blessings, October 18

Cats in the Cradle Blog, October 19

Pause for Tales, October 19

Spoken from the Heart, October 19

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 20

Cover Lover Book Review, October 20

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/21e05/anything-but-plain-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, LibraryThing Early Readers, PB, Purchase, Revell

Where the Road Bends by Rachel Fordham Review

About the Book

Title: Where the Road Bends

Author: Rachel Fordham

Publisher: Revell

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Released: June 2022

The strongest love is formed in the crucible of hardship

As Norah King surveys her family land in Iowa in 1880, she is acutely aware that it is all she has left, and she will do everything in her power to save it–even if that means marrying a man she hardly knows. Days before her wedding, Norah discovers an injured man on her property. Her sense of duty compels her to take him in and nurse him back to health. Little does she realize just how much this act of kindness will complicate her life and threaten the future she’s planned.

Norah’s care does more than aid Quincy Barnes’s recovery–it awakens his heart to possibilities. Penniless and homeless, he knows the most honorable thing he can do is head on down the road and leave Norah to marry her intended. But walking away from the first person to believe in him proves much harder than he imagined.

My Impressions

“The farmland went on forever, and it smelled like happiness.”

One thing I can count on when I read a Rachel Fordham book. I know I’m going to love it, and Where the Road Bends is no exception.

Fordham writes with a sweet, historical romance, prairie-style. I love Norah King and her innocent, one-chance-left-self. She is stronger than she knows, and has a truly compassionate heart for others. How I wish she had had someone she trusted besides Jake Granger and Quincy Barnes to advise her!

Quincy is quite the dashing hero. I loved his willingness to share his faith and his compassionate heart as it prompts him to act, as well. He shares much of himself with Norah, trying to encourage her.

“But I don’t have an author weaving words together, ensuring a happy ending.”~ Norah

…“You do have an author,” he whispered. “He’s there, working for your good.” ~ Quincy

I think I identified most with the housekeeper, Mrs. Dover. She has seen enough of life to give some very sage advice to both Quincy and Norah.

Highly recommended, especially for readers of Kim Vogel Sawyer.

I found the story wonderfully unpredictable. So many heart-wrenching moments, where I wanted to grab up a character and hug them, or yell at them to make a different choice. (It didn’t work.)

I received a copy of the book from Revell through LibraryThing Early Reviewers, plus I purchased my own ebook. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“The dark is easier to cure than other fears.”

“…if you add light, the dark dies.”

“I’m afraid of coming close to happiness, only to lose it again.

“Trust is a finicky thing.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! A Heart-wrenching, Unpredictable Prairie Romance

About the Author

Rachel Fordham has long been fascinated by all things historical or in the words of her children “old stuff”. Often the historical trivia she discovers is woven into her children’s bedtime tales. Despite her love for good stories she didn’t attempt writing a novel until her husband challenged her to do so (and now she’s so glad he did). Since that time she’s often been found typing or researching while her youngest child naps or frantically writing plot twists while she waits in the school pick-up line. In addition to her passion for storytelling she enjoys reading, being outdoors and seeing new places. Rachel lives with her husband and children on an island in Washington state.

Learn more about Rachel’s current projects at rachelfordham.com

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Among the Innocent by Mary Alford Review

About the Book

Title: Among the Innocent

Author: Mary Alford

Publisher: Revell

Released: June, 2022

When Leah Miller’s entire Amish family was murdered ten years ago, the person believed responsible took his own life. Since then, Leah left the Amish and joined the police force. Now, after another Amish woman is found murdered with the same MO, it becomes clear that the wrong man may have been blamed for her family’s deaths.

As Leah and the new police chief, Dalton Cooper, work long hours struggling to fit the pieces together in order to catch the killer, they can’t help but grow closer. When secrets from both of their pasts begin to surface, an unexpected connection between them is revealed. But this is only the beginning. Could it be that the former police chief framed an innocent man to keep the biggest secret of all buried? And what will it mean for Leah–and Dalton–when the full truth comes to light?

USA Today bestselling author Mary Alford keeps you guessing as two determined souls plumb the dark depths of the past in order to forge a brighter future–together.

My Impressions

“The inevitable showdown coming had been a decade in the making. When it was over, would any of them be left standing?”

This quote. It indicates the enormous level of suspense created and maintained throughout novel. I felt the need to check my blood pressure after reading Among the Innocent by Mary Alford, to make sure it was not abnormally high!! This particular novel is a little darker than most I choose to read, but it is oh, so well done!

I did identify with Leah more than I would like at some points. “She’d lost her family to a killer—probably Ellis to the same man. Now she was slowly losing Marge to a different kind of killer.” The killer that stalks Marge is all too prevalent, and so many families must deal with that threat. I loved how that thread strengthens the story.

Sigh. Dalton is swoony dreamboat who might be perfect, but for his secrets. Full of faith despite a rough past, he is protective of Leah, kind, sensitive, and quite the looker. Will he and Leah be able to work together to keep tragedy away from the Amish community, or will they become part of the region’s mounting calamities?

I received a copy of the book from RevellReads. I also bought my own copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Let it go. The past is written and done, but you’re not.”

He was back. John was back.

“…he wanted to beg her to trust him. Yet how could he ask for trust when he had his own secrets?”

“It’s going to be okay.” And it would, because he’d make sure of it. Yet to get to okay, they’d have to go through a whole lot of bad.

“Her heart kicked out an unsteady beat at his protectiveness. Something about him made her wish for a second that she could be normal.”

“The mountains were black shapes in the distance, but they were always there. Just as God was. Even in the darkest moments when it was hard to feel his presence.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent! A thriller-chiller of the first degree!

About the Author

Mary Alford is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels. Her books have been finalists in the Selah Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and the HOLT Medallion Contest. As a writer, Mary is an avid reader. She loves to cook and can’t face the day with-out coffee. She and her husband live in the heart of Texas in the middle of 70 acres with two very spoiled cats and one adorable rescue dog. Mary is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook and Twitter or any social platforms listed at http://www.maryalford.net.

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, NetGalley, Revell

The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Sweet Life

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release date: May 3, 2022

The Sweet Life Cover

Jilted by her fiancé, Dawn Dixon escapes to beautiful Cape Cod on a groomless honeymoon–with her mother. But she didn’t expect her mom to risk everything, on a whim, to move there permanently or buy a rundown ice cream shop in need of repair. In order to make their new life work, they’ll also need her ex’s help.

Click here to get your copy!



My Impressions

“Never invest with your heart, only with your stomach.”

If you’re not looking for the nearest made-from-scratch ice creamery after you finish The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher, you may not be completely human. The extensive details about ice cream making are fascinating and show Fisher’s great research/familiarity with the cold dessert. For me, this was the strongest and best part of the book.

I truly enjoyed seeing how this mother-daughter duo interacted with each other. I couldn’t decide whether I identified with Dawn or Marnie more. Each had qualities that were relatable, so I flipped back and forth, which really made me enjoy that aspect of the book.

I was a fan of the novel by its end, which is superb. However, it took me a good one-third of the book to truly care about Marnie, Dawn, Kevin, and others the way I wanted to. I felt that we were told, rather than shown, much about the characters in the first part.

Lincoln is such an endearing, encouraging person to have as a friend! If only there were more such selfless people in the world. His view on cancer is upbeat, and he holds out the light of Hope and faith to others traveling that scary path.

Great discussion questions at the end would make a book discussion group easy to lead. I am prepared for a field trip to Cape Cod, Chatham in particular!!

————————————————————————

I received a copy of the book from Celebrate Lit through NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

————————————————————————

Notable Quotables:

“Love does not have an expiration date.”

“I’m not going to let you hemorrhage Dad’s life insurance policy on a melting ice cream cone.”

“Cancer is a wonderful teacher. If you let it, it’ll teach you lessons you never dreamed you needed to learn.”

“The most important thing Dawn expected from her ice cream was consistency—because she couldn’t expect it from the rest of her life.”

“God wants to hear those honest prayers. No filter. From the gut…”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! Guess what kind of shop I’m stopping at, on my next vacation!! I’ll be picturing Dawn and Marnie behind the counter!!

About the Author

With over 1.5 million copies sold, Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of over 30 books, ranging from novels to children’s books to non-fiction. She is a Christy Award finalist, a winner of Carol and Selah awards, and a two-time finalist for ECPA Book of the Year. She writes stories that take you to places you’ve never visited—one with characters that seem like old friends. But most of all, her books give you something to think about long after you’ve finished reading it. Suzanne lives with her very big family in northern California.

More from Suzanne

The Sweet Life is a story about a mom and a daughter who, both in need of a little respite from life’s bumps and bruises, start an ice cream shop on Cape Cod…thinking it will be easy. After all, who doesn’t love ice cream?

Well, sure. That’s true. Everybody loves ice cream. But ice cream can be tricky. This I can say with authority. My husband is a serioushobby ice cream maker. He even attended Penn State’s Ice Cream School. While Steve was working on his vanilla recipe, he experimented fifty-nine times before he was finally satisfied. 59 times! Other flavors, like chocolate, can mask mistakes. Not vanilla. Too pure.

Here’s a few other things you probably didn’t know about ice cream:

The very first mention of a frozen dessert dates back to Persia in 550 BC, though it might have been sorbet-like. It’s said that Emperor Nero had ice brought down from the Apennine Mountains to produce a sorbet of honey and wine. And then there are those who insist that ice cream came out of China, and were introduced to Italy with the help of Marco Polo. Regardless of its origins, a love of ice cream has been around for a very, very long time.

Quaker colonists introduced ice cream to early America, having brought their recipes with them from England. Some argue that the French brought ice cream to America. Regardless, during the colonial era, ice cream was sold in shops in New York.

George Washington loved ice cream. So much so that he even brought ice cream making equipment to Mount Vernon! There are many accounts of “ice creem” (as it was then called) served during his administration.

First Lady Dolley Madison, wife of U.S. President James Madison, served ice cream at her husband’s Inaugural Ball in 1813. Common colonial flavors were soft fruits, like peaches or strawberries, added to a vanilla custard. Dolley had a curious favorite flavor: oyster. (Ugh.)

In September of 1846, a Philadelphia house wife named Nancy Johnson filed patent #3254 for a simple hand cranked ice cream churn. Prior to this point, ice cream belonged to the wealthy. Her hand cranked ice cream churn made it affordable for everyone. Nancy Johnson’s design is still used today.

During the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, an ice cream vendor ran out of cardboard dishes. The vendor next door offered to make cones by rolling up his waffles. Voila! The birth of the ice cream cone.

The majority of American ice cream companies have been in business for more than 50 years. Many of them are still owned by single families.

For the last 128 years, Penn State University has held Ice Cream School for professionals and serious hobbyists during January (for obvious reasons). All the greats have attended: Baskin & Robbins, Ben & Jerry, Dreyer’s, Nestle’s, Blue Bell Creamery, Dairy Queen, and…my husband.

The most popular flavor in the world? Vanilla. Of course.

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads, May 26

Inside the Wong Mind, May 26

The Avid Reader, May 27

lakesidelivingsite, May 27

Vicky Sluiter, May 27

Remembrancy, May 28

Southern Gal Loves to Read, May 28

Splashes of Joy, May 28

Texas Book-aholic, May 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 29

Miriam Jacob, May 29

Daysong Reflections, May 30

Inklings and notions, May 30

For Him and My Family, May 31

The Book Club Network, May 31

Blogging With Carol, May 31

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 1

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 2

deb’s Book Review, June 2

Artistic Nobody, June 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 3

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 4

Blossoms and Blessings, June 4

Mary Hake, June 4

Christina’s Corner, June 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, June 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 6

Book Looks by Lisa, June 6

Simple Harvest Reads, June 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, June 7

Spoken from the Heart, June 7

She Lives To Read, June 8

Bigreadersite, June 8

Labor Not in Vain, June 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1e36c/the-sweet-life-celebration-tour-giveaway

BLOG, Favorite, Kindle, LibraryThing Early Readers, PB, Purchase, Revell

When the Meadow Blooms by Ann H Gabhart Review

About the Book

Title: When the Meadow Blooms

Author: Ann H Gabhart

Publisher: Revell

Released: May 3, 2022

From the back cover:

Hope blooms at Meadowland

If any place on God’s earth was designed to help one heal, it is Meadowland. Surely here, at her brother-in-law’s Kentucky farm, Rose and her daughters can recover from the events of the recent past–the loss of her husband during the 1918 influenza epidemic, her struggle with tuberculosis that required a stay at a sanatorium, and her girls’ experience in an orphanage during her illness. At Meadowland, past troubles become rich soil in which faith can grow.

Dirk Meadows may have opened his home to his late brother’s widow and her girls, but he keeps his heart tightly closed. The roots of his pain run deep, and the evidence of it is written across his face. Badly scarred by a fire and abandoned by the woman he loved, Dirk fiercely guards his heart from being hurt again.

But it may be that his visitors will bring light back into his world and unlock the secret to true healing.

My Impressions

“Are you fey, child?”…””Is that the same as tetched in the head?…If so, I don’t think I am. My mother told me I wasn’t and not to pay mind to anyone who said I was.”

“Most people have some life scars, Miss Warfield.

Sometimes they show, sometimes they don’t.”

“Scars aren’t a sign of wickedness. Mistreating children is a sign of wickedness.”- Calla

Ann H Gabhart has been a favorite author of mine for years now. Employing uncomplicated, warm, and homey language, Gabhart invites us into the lives of a fractured family trying to find normalcy in When the Meadows Bloom. Rose Meadows has spent years recovering from TB at a sanitarium. Her young daughters are left in a children’s home that promises to care well for them until she returns. Rose finally decides she is ready to well enough to leave snd reclaim the girls, but finds she must have someone to stay with. Enter her late husband’s reclusive, taciturn brother who owns a beautiful farm. Not promising new beginnings.

This book made me want to cry. To think that children’s home workers could be two-faced and not properly care for those in their charge.

I loved the tertiary characters who were not in charge, but who did what they could to lighten others’ burdens. Those who saw beyond their own needs or in one case, world.

I loved how even scarred hearts had openings where love and care eked out for the downtrodden. Which, I think, amazed even the persons suddenly showing such compassion!

If you love kids at all, you will love both fearful Calla and dreamy Sienna! They are so very different, yet love each other fiercely. You will only want the happiest of endings for these two wise-beyond-their-years, deeply scarred little girls. And you may come to care for the adults who love them, as well.

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I received a copy of the book from Library Thing Early Reviewers. I also bought a copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

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Notable Quotables:

Meadowland. The very name sounded like heaven.

You need a purpose other than what you are to somebody else.

Secrets nearly always surface eventually and bring with them troubles.

He could drown in those eyes of hers. “You are trespassing on my heart.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Magnificent!! A Heartwarming Historical of Healing Scars

About the Author

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Along a Storied Trail, An Appalachian Summer, River to Redemption, These Healing Hills, and Angel Sister, along with several Shaker novels–The Refuge, The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted. She and her husband live on a farm a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Ann enjoys discovering the everyday wonders of nature while hiking in her farm’s fields and woods with her grandchildren and her dogs, Frankie and Marley. Learn more at http://www.annhgabhart.com.

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Looking for Leroy by Melody Carlson

About the Book

Title: Looking for Leroy

Author: Melody Carlson

Publisher: Revell

Released: March 2022

It’s official: Brynna Phillips is done with men. They only break your heart. But just when she makes this declaration, her friend Jan convinces Brynna to join her on a camping vacation in Sonoma Wine Country. As they wind their way toward their destination, spanking-new mini camper in tow, Brynna recalls her teenage camp romance with a boy named Leroy. How can it have been nearly 30 years ago? All she remembers is that Leroy was a genuinely good guy and that his family owned a vineyard–in Sonoma. She doesn’t even remember his last name. Jan insists they look for him, and the search begins.

Beyond the slim chance they’d ever be able to find him are questions that have haunted Brynna for decades, including What is the point of digging up the past? and Can Leroy ever forgive me for losing touch?

Bestselling author Melody Carlson invites you on a trip to rediscover the carefree days of youth and, just maybe, to get a second chance at love.

My Impressions

If you’re looking for an easy-flowing, contemporary romance novel with a middle-age pair, Looking for Leroy by Melody Carlson deserves a read. The tone of this story made me smile and laugh.

Brynna is a divorced, elementary school teacher whose vice-principal invites her along on a summer camping trip out west. It is a trip that has the potential to change her life.

Leroy Sorrentino is the widowed vintner of a small California vineyard. Preparing to celebrate the historical longevity of the vineyard, two of his three grown daughters attempt to market and make Sorrentino’s profitable.

I liked the premise of the storyline and the predictable but realistic conflicts Carlson presents for her characters to overcome.

“Had he settled? Both in life and in marriage? He sometimes wondered.” This is a very sad, possibly tragic, thought for a person to have to ponder after it seems to late to make changes.

I also wondered if LeRoy were my friend, what advice I would give him about his love life. Each of his daughters certainly has an opinion! Some characters didn’t grow as much or as fast as I wanted them to. Honestly, people in real life are like that, though. We people don’t always grow as quickly and steadily forward as we should.

Sophie is my favorite character. She seems warm, accepting, able to see the best in others, and willing to forgive. Plus, she’s a hard worker!

I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads and NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Training dogs was much easier than training daughters.”

“Wisdom, understanding, knowledge. More than ever, she longed for those elusive qualities—because she felt foolish, confused, and just plain stupid.”

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great! Sweet Romance with Middle-Age Couple

About the Author

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including Romantic Time’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at

http://www.melodycarlson.com/

ARC, BLOG, Favorite, LibraryThing Early Readers, PB, Revell

The Lady of Galway Manor by Jennifer Deibel Review

About the Book

In 1920, Annabeth De Lacy’s father is appointed landlord of Galway Parish in Ireland. Bored without all the trappings of the British Court, Annabeth convinces her father to arrange an apprenticeship for her with the Jennings family–descendants of the creator of the famed Claddagh Ring.

Stephen Jennings longs to do anything other than run his family’s jewelry shop. Having had his heart broken, he no longer believes in love and is weary of peddling the ÒliesÓ the Claddagh Ring promises.

Meanwhile, as the war for Irish independence gains strength, many locals resent the De Lacys and decide to take things into their own hands to display their displeasure. As events take a dangerous turn for Annabeth and her family, she and Stephen begin to see that perhaps the “other side” isn’t quite as barbaric and uncultured as they’d been led to believe–and that the bonds of friendship, love, and loyalty are only made stronger when put through the refiner’s fire.

Travel to the Emerald Isle for another poignant and romantic story from the enchanted pen of Jennifer Deibel. 

My Impressions

Jennifer Deibel’s second novel has proven to be every bit as fantastic as her debut. I fully expect The Lady of Galway Manor to at least be nominated for an award, if not win big. Why?

First of all, Deibel takes us back to 1920s Ireland, where social justice is fought for, and oppression is used to control people. It is a time when Britain is fighting to retain her hold on the island, and the Irish want none of it. We see a lot of prejudices, each about the other nationality. Whether it be Stephen, who dislikes Lady Annabeth DeLacy for her family’s representation of rule by force, or the townspeople who refuse to look beyond Anna’s heritage to her heart, hate and bitterness sew tragic results. Even Anna is forced to admit to prejudices against the Irish, originally assuming them simple and uneducated. One can’t help but see similarities to what is happening in our own country, with great strife and discord resulting.

Secondly, Deibel fills her pages with great scenery, exciting action, and relatable characters. Reading The Lady of Galway Manor is like a mini-field trip to Ireland with a chance to learn about the famed Claddaugh ring design. With two opposing political forces, there is plenty of tension and action. And the characters! Oh, my!! All are drawn so well, I could understand even the ones I didn’t like.
But Seamus is my absolute fave! He is a gentle spirit, attempting to guide Stephen to see each person for themselves, not their country. I love his way of getting to the heart of the matter as Stephen’s attitudes. So loving, so direct, so challenging!
He is a constant champion of Anna. “Hate is fueled by ignorance, son. The first step toward peace is the genuine desire to understand your so-called enemy. Don’t punish her for the sins of her fathers. Let her learn. Teach her. Guide her. And maybe one day you’ll see what I do. In both of you.”

Thirdly, the romance was thwarted. It peaks out of the novel, starts to emerge, and then is repressed so many times. Is it possible for a romance between Stephen snd Anna to survive?

If you read one historical fiction book about this year, I highly suggest The Lady of Galway Manor!

I received a copy of the book from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers. No positive review was required, and all thoughts are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Timely Historical Fiction from Ireland, but so Appropriate for US today!

About the Author

Jennifer Deibel is a middle school teacher and freelance writer. Her work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic Magazine, and others. With firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona.

Her debut novel, A Dance in Donegal, released in February of 2021, was the recipient of the Kipp Award for Historical Romance.

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A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz Review

About the Book

Title: A Heart Adrift

Author: Laura Frantz

Publisher: Revell

Released: January 2022

Genre: Historical Romantic Fiction

It is 1755, and the threat of war with France looms over colonial York, Virginia. Chocolatier Esmee Shaw is fighting her own battle of the heart. Having reached her twenty-eighth birthday, she is reconciled to life alone after a decade-old failed love affair from which she’s never quite recovered. But she longs to find something worthwhile to do with her life.

Captain Henri Lennox has returned to port after a lengthy absence, intent on completing the lighthouse in the dangerous Chesapeake Bay, a dream he once shared with Esmee. But when the colonial government asks him to lead a secret naval expedition against the French, his future is plunged into uncertainty.

Will a war and a cache of regrets keep them apart, or can their shared vision and dedication to the colonial cause heal the wounds of the past? Bestselling and award-winning author Laura Frantz whisks you away to a time fraught with peril–on the sea and in the heart–in this redemptive, romantic story.

My Impressions

After reading A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz, how can I be so disloyal to Esmée and Henri as to start another book? I read this novel as slowly as I could, savoring every poetic turn of phrase and lyrical word picture! A Heart Adrift has left my heart undone!! Replete with romance, intrigue, faith, and history, Laura Frantz has created another enduring masterpiece. The evils of slavery, both for those captured and those who fought it are presented. Trust in God and constant reliance on His Word and communion with Him permeate the lives of both Esmée and Henri, even through harrowing times. Set against the capriciousness of the sea and early colonial politics (1745-1755) mixed with the delicious smells of a chocolatier’s shop and difficult family dynamics, this is one historical romance that will bring the early colonial struggles to vivid life.


I received a copy of the book from the author and Revell through NetGalley. I also bought myself and a loved one a paperback copy to treasure.
Notable Quotables:
“He chose the sea—his captaincy and ship—over me.” “And I could not conscience being left behind onshore.”

“And then, much like a courtship, as wooing as a siren’s song, the sea had finally won him over.”

Her fervent prayers went the way of her hopes and became floating wreckage.

“How can you possibly provide all these items, Miss Shaw?” “I shan’t provide them,” Esmée said with a confident smile, pocketing the paper. “The Almighty shall.”

“…the island suddenly felt a tad hollow, as did his cottage. To say nothing of his heart.”

“ ‘Tis never amiss to hope . . . dream.”

“I don’t believe in accidents, nor coincidences, but rather divine instances,”… “Especially in matters of the heart.”

“As for myself, I am in the prime of senility.”

“The only certainty about life was its uncertainty. Only God stayed steadfast. Only the Almighty could walk her through life’s many changes. And when she felt overwhelmed, like now, she simply had to look back to see how faithful God had been, did she not? The heartaches and closed doors of the past had made the present more beloved.”

“Those for whom God has mercy in store He first brings into a wilderness.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! I just don’t want to leave these wonderful characters!! A sea privateer who has to decide who his real love will be, the steadfast heart of a woman lightkeeper, and the colonies as they prepare for war and struggle with the slavery issue. Please don’t make me leave!!

About the Author

Laura Frantz is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Frantz lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky. According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Readers can find Laura Frantz at www.laurafrantz.net.

Laura has written so many great historical novels. I personally have my sister to thank for telling me about Laura Frantz. Now I am buying and sending Laura’s books to her!

Just some of the books not to miss:

A Moonbow Night

The Mistress of Tall Acres

The Courtship of Morrow Little

The Colonel’s Lady

The Frontiersman’s Daughter

An Uncommon Heart

Tidewater Bride

and The Lacemaker

Look up Laura online for a more complete list!

BLOG, NetGalley, Revell

A View Most Glorious by Regina Scott

About the Book

Title: A View Most Glorious

Series: #3 American Wonders

Author: Regina Scott

Publisher: Revell

Released: October 2021

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Headstrong Coraline Baxter has worked all her life to be more than the spoiled socialite others expect. When her fellow suffragettes in Tacoma, Washington, suggest that she should climb to the top of Mount Rainier to prove that a woman can do anything, she instantly resolves to do it. And if she can climb Mount Rainier, her mother promises to stop pressuring her to get married to the wealthy Cash Kincaid. All Cora needs is a guide to get her to the top of the mountain.

Nathan Hardee may look like a mountain man, but he once ruled the halls of high society. He left all that behind after his father broke under financial pressure from Kincaid. To best Kincaid now, Nathan agrees to guide Cora up the mountain.

Climbing Rainier will require all of Cora’s strength and will lead her and Nathan to rediscover their faith in God and humanity. These two loners make unlikely partners in righting a wrong and may just discover that only together is the view most glorious. 

My Impressions

Fighting for women’s suffrage, climbing Mt. Rainier, and fighting society’s unnecessary restrictions, are all themes Regina Scott deals with in A View Most Glorious. Coraline Baxter decides to climb Mt. Rainier (or is it Tacoma?) with social outcast and mountain guide, Nathan Hardee. Doing so will draw attention to her cause and free her of her mother’s matrimonial expectations.


I don’t know if I was delighted or dismayed by the big loop Scott throws the reader for as a character makes a totally unexpected decision. It certainly upped the ante for the outcome of the perilous journey!


Faith is a quiet, steadying influence in both Hardee’s life and the book. Several times, Nathan can be found with his Bible in hand, worshipping outdoors by himself before the day begins. Scott doesn’t preach in this story, but the power of the Scripture and its Creator are very evident.


I felt for pitiful Cora, who can stand up for and take care of herself- almost. She is so strong and determined, and she can handle herself at a job in a man’s world. She can be the voice for the suffragettes in Tacoma. Yet, she cannot stand against her mother’s iron will.


I loved Cora’s stepfather. He cares for her in a most loving, diligent way. He sacrifices much for Cora and manages to be a go-between for Cora and her mother, without ruffling feathers. Now, if he can just develop a spine!


Nathan is rough around the edges, but a gem on the interior. The question is, whether he and Cora can find a common calling, or whether Cora will follow society’s designs.


I received a copy of this book from RevellReads via NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and no positive review was required.

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Historical Romance: Will Society or Spine Win?

About the Author

Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn’t actually sell her first novel until she had learned a bit more about writing. Since her first Regency romance was published in 1998, her stories have traveled the globe, with translations in many languages including Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese. She is now the author of more than 50 works of warm, witty historical romance.



She and her husband of 30 years reside in Washington State on the way to Mt. Rainier. Regina Scott has driven four in hand, learned to fence, sailed on a tall ship, and dressed as a Regency dandy, all in the name of research, of course. Sign up for her free alert service to hear when the next book will be out or on sale at https://subscribe.reginascott.com/. You can find her online blogging at www.nineteenteen.com. Learn more about her at www.reginascott.com and connect with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorreginascott .