The Madonna of Pisano (The Italian Chronicles Book 1)

The Madonna of Pisano

About the Book

A young woman, a priest, and a secret that keeps them bitterly bound to each other . . .

My Review

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio tears a tragic chapter of betrayal and deceit from her family’s history to illustrate how redemption and forgiveness will set you free in The Madonna of Pisano, book one of the Italian Chronicles Series.

My heart ached for poor Maria Landro. She is the oldest of three daughters and feels a keen responsibility to carry on the family’s farm, Bella Terra. One day her life is ripped apart by a vicious assault that leaves her pregnant.

Maria, in fear for her and her child’s life, refuses to name the father. The village people scorn and ridicule her and her family and refuse to buy produce from the family farm, causing severe hardship for the family.

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio has written a timeless story. As I read The Madonna, I felt anger, frustration, and fear for Maria. However, the story doesn’t end in tragedy, and redemption plays a huge role in the end.

The Madonna of Pisano will have you encouraging and applauding Maria Landro as you follow her story.

The story is intense and multifaceted – sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

I was graciously given this book from the author to read while I recuperated from an extensive surgical procedure. Thank you so much. I pray my review does justice to your story. I’m looking forward to the sequels!

About the Author

MaryAnn Madonna of Pisano

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is a follower of Jesus Christ who is passionate about writing compelling and entertaining fiction that transforms lives. Her fiction has won several awards, including the Silver Medal for eBook Fiction in the Illumination Book Awards Program sponsored by the Jenkins Group; First Place in Inspirational Fiction in the 2011 Colorado RWA Heart of the Rockies Contest; and First Place in Inspirational Fiction in the 2011 Space Coast Authors of Romance (STAR) Launching a Star Contest.

Her latest work of fiction is a novel titled THE MADONNA OF PISANO. It is the first in the trilogy called THE ITALIAN CHRONICLES.

MaryAnn also writes for children. Her latest children’s book is titled CANDLE LOVE and helps little ones cope with sibling rivalry. TOBY TOO SMALL is a story about a little boy who learns that it’s not how big you are on the outside that matters; it’s how big you are on the inside.

MaryAnn holds the PhD and the MPhil in French and Comparative Literature from the University of Kansas, the MA in Italian Language and Literature from Middlebury College, and the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She writes a popular blog titled “Matters of the Heart” (www.maryanndiorio.com/blog) that, like her fiction writing, deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. She also writes a blog for teen girls called Gabriel Girls (gabrielgirls.blogspot.com). In her spare time, she loves to read, paint, and make up silly songs for her grandchildren.

Dr. MaryAnn resides in New Jersey with her husband Dom, a retired ER physician. They are the blessed parents of two wonderful daughters, a fantastic son-in-law, and five rambunctious grandchildren.

You may contact Dr. MaryAnn at the following social media venues:
Website: www.maryanndiorio.com
Blog (Matters of the Heart): http://www.networkedblogs.com/blog/maryanndiorioblog
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/author/maryanndiorio
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/DrMaryAnnDiorio
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/@DrMaryAnnDiorio
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6592603

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A Gracious Gift and a Heartfelt Thank you

I recently received a most gracious gift, a wonderful 365-day devotional divided into two parts. The two parts of the book consist of morning and evening devotions. I have thoroughly enjoyed the gift. However, I have no idea or any way of finding out who sent it to me. I received it in the mail with no card or inscription, and the only return address listed is the company that mailed it.

I wish to thank the person who sent me this very thoughtful and much-appreciated gift. Thank you!!

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Update

I am truly overwhelmed by all the prayers, wishes and love everyone expressed for me. I wish I could respond to each and everyone of you individually, however, I don’t have the strength to yet, but please know, they were so greatly appreciated.
I am still very tired and weak, but doing better each day. I don’t know yet when I’ll be back online, but now that I’m home, I just HAD to say, “Thank You. God Bless each of you!.”
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Update

This is Bill with a quick update on Robbie. She came home late yesterday afternoon. She is still in a LOT of pain and very very tired. I don’t think she will be on line any time soon.

She was originally scheduled for discharge Monday, but had a small crisis with dropping potassium levels. Even being pumped with potassium, through IV and orally, her levels were barely being raised. He doctor felt it was safer for her to stay a little longer, to get more potassium in, quickly. Trust me, she didn’t argue when she realized low potassium was making her throw up and her abdomen hurt horribly.

We both appreciate all the prayers and well wishes.

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The 12 Brides of Summer Collection by Mary Connealy, Amanda Cabot, Miralee Ferrell, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Margaret Brownley, Susan Page Davis, Pam Hillman, Maureen Lang, Amy Lillard, Davalynn Spencer, Michelle Ule, Vickie McDonough

12 Brides of Summer

My Review

The Honey Bride, by Diana Brandmeyer, introduces us to Katie Tucker. Katie is afraid of bees, but they may be the only option for her, her brother and grandmother to survive. After her father’s death, she has to keep the family farm going. It looks like her neighbor, Pete Dent, and the bees may be her only solution.

Diana Brandmeyer has written an excellent story showing us how we can rest assured of the Lord’s help with all our fears and sorrows.

Margaret Brownley has written a fun, enjoyable story in Dog Days of Summer.

Marilee Davis, a music teacher, has found the perfect assistant-her pet dog, Mo. He has an ear for music and when Marilee’s students hit a discordant note, Mo lets them know. Tim Colbert, the city blacksmith, has the perfect dog, too, Dynamite. Marilee and Tim have noticed their dogs keeps disappearing, but neither one suspect that Mo is actually Dynamite!

The Fourth of July Bride is by Amanda Cabot.

Naomi Towson and her mother are struggling to make ends meet, with Naomi working as an assistant in the town’s bakery. When her mother needs a delicate and expensive surgery, Naomi knows that she can’t afford to pay for it. Only her trust in God keeps her from being overwhelmed with despair. So, when Gideon Carlisle, local cattle baron, offers to pay for the surgery in exchange for Naomi pretending to be his fiancée, she jumps at the chance.

In A Bride Rides Herd, Mary Connealy mixes a story of delightful mischief and abject fear, with humor and seriousness, creating a charming love story.

Matt Reeves is traveling to his brother’s ranch when he hears an ear-piercing scream. Spinning his horse around to head back where he heard the scream, he’s expecting to find the worst. Instead, he finds two of his brother’s daughters deliberately catapulting themselves into a fast moving stream.

Warring emotions overcome him as he gathers them up to take them home, only to discover his brother left a seemingly inept young lady as the babysitter.

Susan Page Davis does a great job of setting up The Blue Moon Bride.

Ava Neal is going on an adventure-a train ride to visit her best friend in Wyoming Territory. She travels unaccompanied, an uncommon thing for a young woman to do in the late 1800’s.

As Ava ventures West, Joe Logan befriends her. Joe, tasked with delivering valuables to a client of his law firm, is on his way to San Francisco. However, the train they are riding on is robbed.

As you read, you feel the fear during the robbery, Ava’s joy at arriving at her friends and the thrill of the race to catch the thieves. Along the way, you cheer for Ava and Joe as they begin to fall in love.

You are sure to enjoy the playful story of The Dogwood Blossom Bride by Miralee Ferrell, written with just the right amount of romance and seriousness.

Gracie Addison is a tomboy through and through. Her favorite pastimes are climbing trees and horseback riding. In fact, falling out of a tree was how she first met Will Montgomery.

Will is single and raising his niece and needs help in the process. Gracie may be the perfect answer. However, he doesn’t realize at their first meeting she is grown. And he is constantly fighting against her tomboy tendencies, trying to keep Gracie from influencing his little girl too much.

Pam Hillman ‘s The Lumberjack’s Bride is a story full of danger and excitement.

Lucy Denson is a cook for a lumberjack crew, something the Chicago native never dreamed she would be.  She just wants to go back home where everyone and everything is civilized. Eli Everett, a member of the logging crew, couldn’t agree with her more. Her citified ways are jeopardizing the camp crew.

The Summer Harvest Bride, by Maureen Lang, is a romantic story with a bit of intrigue.

Sally Hobson’s family, and even Sally to some extent, are convinced she should marry the Mayor’s son, Willis Polit. However, Sally starts having second thoughts when Lukas Daughton, with his brothers and his father, ride into town with plans to build the community’s first gristmill. When the mill is sabotaged, Sally comes to the rescue and realizes her true love.

The Wildflower Bride, by Amy Lillard, is about Grace Sinclair, a widowed preacher’s daughter.

Grace has accepted that her lot in life is to stay unmarried in order to assist her father. All her convictions change when her sister gets married and Grace meets Ian McGruer, with whom she falls in love at first sight.

The story is very reminiscent of Grace Livingston Hill romances. The young couple meets and immediately falls in love. However, they have seemingly insurmountable obstacles to overcome.

The tale was a little hard for me to get into, as I don’t think someone can fall in love within moments of setting eyes on another, much less have the love reciprocated. Nonetheless, it is an enjoyable, romantic account of two young people.

The Country Fair Bride, by Vickie McDonough, is a heartwarming story of redemption, forgiveness and the ability to change with God’s help.

Prudence “Prudy” Willard returns home to Bakertown, Missouri, in 1892 to see her ill father. She originally left, spending about a year and a half with her Aunt, after her scandalous treatment of the new pastor and his fiancé. She is determined to keep her new forgiving spirit, but when Adam Merrick, interim mayor while her dad is sick, seems to be too comfortable, Prudy’s waspish tongue stings again.

A refreshing love story, The Columbine Bride, by Davalynn Spencer, illustrates how love can overcome and conquer even the worst of circumstances.

Lucy Powell is a young widowed mother of two children. As Lucy tries to navigate life without her husband, she doesn’t want charity. However, Buck Reiter can’t stand seeing the family work so hard. He constantly assists Lucy by bringing firewood and making repairs around the farm.

The Sunbonnet Bride, by Michelle Ule, places us in the life of Sally Martin. Sally has moved to town to work as a seamstress in order to augment her family’s farm income. However, she has a difficult decision to make. A tornado has destroyed the family farm, and two men are vying for her attention. Malcolm McDougal, a local man, is steady, dependable, a hard worker and not afraid to get his hands dirty helping the tornado victims. Josiah French, on the other hand, is a wealthy banker, offering loans to those whose homes were damaged and never seems to get dirty.  However, he could offer Sally and her family a way out of their hard life.

Michelle Ule skillfully weaves the difficulties facing Sally into an excellent account, complete with all the anxiety and worry one would expect under similar circumstances.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

(I previously reviewed this book when it was in a multiple novella book form.)

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Update on Robbie

This is Bill.  Robbie’s surgery yesterday was long (six hours) and more extensive than expected, but successful!  She needed to go into ICU after her surgery to control her blood pressure, which kept dropping.  She has been there for two days.  Not sure how long she will be hospitalized and how this will impact blog tours.  Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers.

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Update on Robbie

This is Robbie’s husband.  Robbie asked me to let everyone know that she went to the ER because of pain and was admitted.  Not sure, but surgery may be Monday instead of Tuesday.  She will be unable to respond to comments for a while.  I will try to continue updates.  Thanks very much for your prayers.  They are greatly appreciated.

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Her One and Only by Becky Wade

Her One and Only

About the Book

After ten years in the NFL, superstar Gray Fowler is accustomed to obsessive fans. But when Gray starts receiving death threats from a stalker, his team hires an executive protection agency to guard him until the culprit is caught. Dealing with bodyguards 24/7 is a headache, especially when one of them is a young, beautiful woman. How can a female half his size possibly protect him better than he can protect himself?

Dru Porter is a former Marine, an expert markswoman, and a black belt–none of which saved her from disaster on her last assignment. In order to rebuild her tarnished reputation, she’s determined to find Gray’s stalker and, since relationships between agents and clients are forbidden, avoid a romantic attachment between herself and the rugged football player with the mysterious past.

Yet every secret that leads Dru closer to the stalker also draws her closer to Gray. As the danger escalates, they’ll survive only if they can learn to trust their lives–and their hearts–to one another.

My Review

Dru Porter is an executive protection agent, however, much to her chagrin and against her wishes, everyone refers to her as a bodyguard. Dru is also a former Marine, a job that was well suited to the training she needs for her current position, protecting Gray Fowler of the Dallas Mustangs fame (NFL competitors to the Dallas Cowboys).

Even though Her One and Only is book four in author Becky Wade’s series Porter Family Novels, it could easily be a stand-alone book. The story focuses mainly on Dru, with some details about Meg and Bo. However, these details don’t confuse the story.

Becky Wade has done a remarkable job at taking several emotionally charged and difficult topics and relating them to how God uses everything to transform and grow His children. Becky uses the emotionally trying circumstances to develop and endear the characters.

I haven’t read the first three books in the series, but if they are as good as Her One and Only, I will definitely be reading them soon.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Mix + Match Cakes by Carolyn Wright

Mix and Match Cakes

Mix and Match Cakes, by Caroline Wright, is full of beautiful illustrations and easy to follow, detailed instructions.

I can’t wait to try out the recipes. Miss Wright takes a basic cake recipe and with the addition of flavorings and syrups added to the batter, along with delightful frostings, creates a most delicious looking cake! She even includes gluten-free, vegan and vegetable variations!

Mix and Match Cakes is teeming with tips, substitutions, illustrations and variations and will surely be a go-to book for anyone who enjoys making cakes.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Where the Heart Is Romance Collection: Love Is a Journey in Nine Historical Novellas by Andrea Boeshaar, Carol Cox, Rhonda Gibson, Sally Laity, Jane LaMunyon, Claire Sanders, Erica Vetsch and Pamela Kay Tracy

Where the Heart Is

About the Book

Journey along with nine women who find themselves on the move out of their comfortable lives and into the unknown as they set up new homes, take on new jobs, seek out loved ones, and encounter romance. Will their faith endure the hardships, and will love form when life is in transition? Written by nine inspirational romance authors who have a passion for American history and faith.

My Review

In Where the Heart is by Sally Laity, Leah Somerville is heartbroken when she finds out her brother will inherit her home, Laurelwood. Leah hoped and prayed her hard work and dedication to her family and Laurelwood would result in her being given the home, even though it wasn’t the norm in 1860. However, she realizes she must find another place to live when her younger brother boldly announces he is to receive the home immediately.

Rhonda Gibson introduces us to Polly Schultz in The Midwife’s Apprentice. Polly is traveling on the Oregon Trail after being forced from her home by her mentor’s new husband. She is journeying with a family expecting a baby. However, due to a misunderstanding, she has to abandon their wagon and stay with another family.

Murder or Matrimony, by Pamela Kay Tracy, puts us back on the Oregon Trail with Megan Crawford. Megan left her old life behind in the hopes of a new beginning but, she encounters multiple hurdles along the way.

Bride in the Valley, by Andrea Boeshaar, remains on the Oregon Trail. Dillon Trier and Penny Rogers are two young people we met in an earlier story.  Miss Penny isn’t the best cook, especially over a campfire, but the few times Dillon eats with her family, he has no complaints. Dillon’s been ordered by his boss to stay away from the ladies and concentrate on his job of making sure his boss’ spoiled, pampered daughter’s piano makes it safely across the dangerous terrain.

New Garden’s Inspiration, by Claire Sanders, is set in Indiana in 1861. Leah Wall, a young Quaker, living with relatives since the death of her parents, feared she would never marry. Nevertheless, handsome Caleb Whitaker, a widower with two children, asks for her hand in marriage. However, Leah quickly discovers all is not as she thought or dreamed.

A Tender Branch, by Jane LaMunyon, takes place in 1874. Mary Sherwood is grown. However, she never forgave her father for letting the Civil War claim him on the battlefield. She also blames him for her mother’s death and the destruction of their home when she was six years old. Now, she finds out that her father is not only alive, but has the audacity to want to see her, and wants her to travel cross-country to where he has started his new life.

Erica Vetsch brings us the story of Evelyn in Knight and Day. Evelyn is one of four sisters forced out of their home upon their father’s death.  The four have traveled to Wyoming in 1874 as mail order brides. Unbeknownst to Evelyn, her future groom has a child. Evelyn has a child too and hasn’t told her future groom either.

The story of Evelyn’s sister, Emmeline, is picked up in On a White Charger, by Erica Vetsch. Emmeline is a dreamer and fantasizes about a life as a cattle rancher’s wife. Her fantasies are fueled by dime novels and have ill-prepared her for life as a shepherd’s wife; adding insult to injury, the local cattle ranchers don’t like the sheep either.

Carol Cox finishes the collection with The Wonder of Spring. Charlene Matkin and her grandfather, Jed have been trying to support themselves by selling eggs to the town grocer. In her spare time, Charlene writes stories based on her grandfather’s life. She realizes her dream when an out-of-town newspaper wants to publish her stories. However, there is a catch-she has to have a masculine pen name. Charlene is torn between her desire to write and earn enough money to supplement her meager earnings, and her aversion to creating a pen name, thereby perpetrating a falsehood. After much consideration, she decides on the pen name, Charlie.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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