Thursday, June 30, 2022

Rebecca Reviews ~ Where the Road Bends by Rachel Fordham


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.

Rachel Fordham invites you to experience the strength and beauty of love forged in the crucible of hardship in this heartwarming story.


Rebecca's Review 3.5 STARS

"This land, her father had said before he died, was their legacy. It was the backdrop of their story - their wrestle and toil - and their love."

And Norah King would do anything to keep it. Even marry a virtual stranger who clearly wanted the property first and a young bride second. Then one day, along came Quincy. . . . . actually, Quincy didn't "come along", his body was dumped . . . along her creek bank, ready and waiting for the vultures that were circling overhead alerting Norah to his presence . . . his very large presence.

Nursing Quincy back to health is only the beginning of their story. The rest takes many twists, turns and "bends in the road" before Norah comes to the hard-earned conclusion that her father's real legacy had been "the happiness in our home, and the way we stuck together and kept going even when life was hard. Family was our legacy . . . ".

A really sweet story, full of multiple heartaches and an abundance of blessings.

"I told you once I dreamed of dancing. I still dream of that, but now I'd like that dance to be with you."

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Review ~ The Heart of the Mountains by Pepper Basham


JULY 1st 2022

About the Book: To escape a forced marriage, Cora Taylor travels from England to the *Blue Ridge Mountains in search of her brother, who is working as a teacher in a mission school. She hopes to find a place where her nursing skills and independent ideas will be accepted and appreciated, but nothing prepares her for the wild mixture of isolation, community, brokenness, and hope within these mountains…or in the person of Jeb McAdams.

Returning from the devastation of World War 1 emotionally damaged, Jeb McAdams struggles against the rampant mountain alcoholism to soothe his nightmares. It’s easy to hide within the mountains, or it was, before Cora Taylor arrives. Now, she seems to show up at every turn, bringing her ideas, curiosity, and beautiful eyes with her. Their mutual understanding of the costs of war leads to an unspoken bond that develops into a hesitant friendship. As Cora turns her nursing experience and determination on establishing hygiene and education for women in the Appalachian community while also attempting to rescue Jeb from his own ghosts, Cora and Jeb’s partnership turns into a project of celebrating the gifts within Appalachia. But when the past sweeps back into their lives and an outbreak of scarlet fever threatens the future, will Cora and Jeb find a way to work together – even if it means unplanned matrimony – or will their different lives and brokenness tear them apart.


My Review 5 STARS

‘As she stepped from the house, her bag in hand, she looked back over her shoulder. Their gazes held for a few seconds as the door closed, and Jeb knew, sure as shootin’, he was ready to take all this lip itchin’ and put it into action.’

If you know anything about pivotal moments in romance novels, the heroine looking back at the hero is important. Cora definitely looks back. J She and Jeb are one of the best “on paper” couples. I did so love the interaction between them, their obvious differences and yet some striking similarities.

Basham is queen when it comes to writing Christian historical romance, in my opinion. Ticking all the boxes for me—witty dialogue, satisfying character growth, uncertainty and bravery, laugh-out-loud humor and lots of strong emotion—this novel made for a riveting story, along with lovable and not-so-lovable secondary characters.

I will journey time and again to my beloved Appalachian Mountains and immerse myself in whatever story this author writes. She brings the essence of the mountain folk to life with entertaining vernacular while painting lovely word pictures of the sights and sounds of life in Appalachia!

Historical fiction with deep faith encircles these mountain folks. Fans of this genre will be deeply satisfied and left longing for more stories set in The Heart of the Mountains.

I received an early copy of the book in electronic form from the author. I was under no obligation to write a review.

*Y'all might want to read My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel's Dream as it has characters that overlap in this novel. It's FREE to read on Kindle Unlimited. 

Review ~ A Feeling of Home | Redemption’s Light 3 | Susan Anne Mason

Bethany House Publishers
July 1, 2022

Within months, Isabelle Wardrop lost her parents, her fortune, and her home. With no options, she is forced to accept help from Dr. Mark Henshaw--the very man she blames for her mother's death. Mark has hopes of earning Isabelle's forgiveness and affections, but an unexpected incident may derail any hope they have of being together.


My Review 3.5 STARS

There’s something harmonious about Susan Mason’s writing. The long and short of it is that Mason writes historical fiction that keeps my interest by creating riveting characters and intriguing plot lines.

That said, there are several phrases/ideas that caused me to lower my rating on this one. There are references to toxicity in relationships that are definitely modern. The atomic bomb hadn’t been used yet so I don’t think they would know what a “toxic ball” even was. Also, one particular gentleman who claims to be a Christian referred to something as being “a sign from the universe”. That is new age thought, not the thought of any followers of Christ that I have known these last 40 years. I may be a tad nit-picky but to me, these things matter in CF.

None of this stops me from wanting to read any stories Mason publishes in the future though. She writes compelling storylines full of emotion and grace!

I highly recommend this entire series to readers looking for pleasant summer reading. I received a print copy from the author and publisher. No review was required.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Review ~ Amish Friends 4 Seasons Cookbook by Wanda Brunstetter


About the Book

Fresh Recipes for Each Season of the Year
Do you strive to eat what local, fresh, and in season? Then this is the cookbook for you. Organized by the winter, spring, summer, and fall seasons, there are a bounty of recipes for various ways to use up seasonal fruits and vegetables. Sprinkled with tips for growing and harvesting, too, the well-organized book boasts contributions from Amish and Mennonites from across the United States who are fans of author of Amish fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter. Encased in a lay-flat binding and presented in full color, it is a must-have cookbook for anyone who gardens, participates in a CSA, or enjoys farmers’ markets.


My Review 4.5 STARS

It being close to summer, I decided to try making the recipe that most closely resembles my favorite summertime dessert, Peach Cobbler. The recipe in Amish Friends 4 Seasons Cookbook I chose to make is entitled Peach Cream Pie (pg. 78) and let me tell you it is sooooo good! I used fresh peaches, following the recipe exactly as written which for me is unusual. I admit I am a canned peach person but the pie was sweet and tasty and had a custard-like filling that made my mouth water! I served it to our family after dinner and I must be honest and say that only two out of five of us liked it but we also are the only two that also like custard. I’m sure that’s a texture thing. ;)

I also made Baked Oatmeal (pg. 179), using the suggestion to add canned Blueberries to the bottom of the dish before putting in the oatmeal mixture. Oh. My. I will be making this again. Both recipes were easy to prepare and quite tasty. The cookbook has a spiral binding which makes it easy to fold back and not have to worry about it falling over or anything like that. Lots of pretty color photos of food dishes for all seasons of the year too!

If you’re looking for simple recipes and some down home comfort food, look no further! I’m planning on trying more of these scrumptious looking recipes as the year goes on. I also think this would be a fairly easy cookbook for a beginner cook.

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

Review ~ The Souls of Lost Lake by Jaime Jo Wright


About the Book

To save the innocent, they must face an insidious evil.

Wren Blythe has long enjoyed living in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, helping her father with ministry at a youth camp. But when a little girl in the area goes missing, an all-out search ensues, reviving the decades-old campfire story of Ava Coons, the murderess who is believed to still roam the forest. Joining the search, Wren stumbles upon the Coonses' cabin ruins and a sinister mystery she is determined to unearth.

In 1930, Ava Coons has spent the last several years carrying the mantle of mystery since the day she emerged from the woods as a thirteen-year-old girl, spattered with blood, dragging a logger's ax. She has accepted she will never remember what happened to her family, whose bodies were never found, and that the people of Tempter's Creek will always blame her for their violent deaths. And after a member of the town is murdered, and another goes missing, rumors spread that Ava's secret is perhaps more malicious than previously imagined.

Two women, separated by time, must confront a wickedness that not only challenges who they are but also threatens their lives, and the lives of those they love.


My Review 5 STARS 

“We’re all lost in our own ways. Some of us just hide when we shouldn’t. We hide in our grief, in our minds, in our pain…in the woods…or in a story, like Ava Coons.”

Dual time lines (or time-slip) novels are some of my favorites to read, especially when they are high caliber like The Souls of Lost Lake. The suspense is phenomenal, as always, but there is just something about this tale that grabbed hold of my imagination and will not let go. Maybe because I love “camp fire tales” and my husband and I told so many of them to our children during their growing up years that this book resonated with me as much as it did. I don’t know. I do know that for the last two weeks since I finished the book, Ava Coons still rattles around in my brain almost daily!

Wright turned up the “heebie-jeebies” with this one and provided a feast for the senses. The characters jumped off the paper, cementing themselves in my mind, because they were not going to let me get away. Excellent, excellent summer reading!!! I’d give this book 10 stars if I could!

I was provided a copy by the publisher through Netgalley. No compensation has been received.

Review ~ Among the Innocent by Mary Alford


About the Book

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 Review 4 STARS

Among the Innocent is a riveting thriller set in St Ignatius, an Amish community in MT. This novel has all the creep factors multiplied by 10. While the crimes are revolting, I couldn’t put it down.

Leah’s family was murdered in front of her but the killer let her live. Now he’s back and he wants her. But he’s going to play a little game first. The psychological aspect captured my full attention and I felt like I was solving the murders right along with Leah and Dalton. Their stories are entwined as well and that was an interesting plot twist. I liked both of these main characters a lot.

This was my first book by Alford but it won’t be my last. Fans of Amish and non-Amish suspense will enjoy this one.

I received an electronic copy of the book from the publisher through Netgalley. No compensation has been received.