Ties That Bind (The Amish of Summer Grove) by Cindy Woodsmall AND GIVEAWAY!!!

My Review

Arianna and Quill were childhood buddies. But, Quill left the Amish with Arianna’s best friend, hurting her more than she thought possible. However, Arianna may be hurt deeper and more anguished than anyone can predict.

Cindy Woodsmall’s first story in the Amish of Summer Grove is full of surprises. The tension holds you spellbound as the suspense begins to mount. This is truly not your typical Amish story.

There are several threads sewn together in Ties that Bind leaving many of the characters at a loss as to what is and isn’t true or real. The mystery pulls you in and doesn’t let go.

I really came to care for the people in the story. I cried on many occasions as I read it, especially the ending. If I had any complaint, it would be that the ending was a HUGE cliffhanger. Fortunately, I had the next book in the series and could begin reading it immediately.

I received Ties that Bind and Fraying at the Edge from Waterbrook Press through Cindy Woodsmall’s Launch Team. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Guess what? I received an extra copy of both Ties that Bind and Fraying at the Edge, so I’m having a giveaway! Plus, if you win, you won’t have to wait like I did for the second novel, and can relish the next book in the series.

Publisher’s Summary

Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart?

Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.

Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.

Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever.

Ties That Bind is the first novel in the Amish of Summer Grove series.

*********GIVEAWAY CLOSED**********

Leave a comment to enter the drawing.

Drawing will be open August 9th to August 13th.

One name will be randomly drawn as winner.

Check back on Monday, August 14th  to see if you won!

GOOD LUCK!

I’m sorry I forgot to add this: This giveaway is open to U.S. only, it is void where prohibited by law and you must be at least 18 to enter. The odds of winning depend on the number of comments received.

Blessings to everyone~

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Spur of the Moment Bride by Anne Greene

My Review

After being labeled as a tease by her father, and being told to find a husband within 30 days, or lose her inheritance, Abby Hollister sets out to comply.

I enjoyed Abby’s pluckiness in setting out to find a husband. Her experiences on the stagecoach leave you feeling as if you were there with her, feeling cramped, gawked at and made uncomfortable. Also, the dangers of stagecoach rides are aptly illustrated in the portrayal of bad guys, rough terrain and consequences from harsh elements.

Anne Greene is a new author to me and this is the first of her stories I have read. Overall, I enjoyed the story and its uniqueness. However, there were a couple of incidents where Abby’s reference to another character’s personal attributes that possibly could not be helped and a couple of items on her list, were not kind. (I feel it gave me a small insight into the author’s thoughts on other people.)

Spur of the Moment Bride by Anne Greene is a short story, quick and easy to read.

I received the book from the author through The Book Club Network. However, I was not required to write a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Heiress Abby Hollister’s Papa demands she stop toying with young men’s hearts and marry within a month or be disinherited. After reading an ad for a mail-order bride in untamed Laramie, Wyoming, Abby makes a list of characteristics she expects for her husband and sets off to claim the perfect mate and secure her personal fortune.

Stage coach driver, Zach Tyler likes his exciting job where he outsmarts robbers and Indians and keeps the stage running regardless of weather, break-downs, and ornery passengers. But passenger Abby Hollister proves to be an unusual challenge. He protects her on the journey to Laramie, but in that town women are as scarce as a bird’s nest in a cuckoo clock, and men go crazy when the beauty arrives.

GIVEAWAY STARTS TOMORROW CHECK BACK FOR DETAILS

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To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

My Review

Tamera Alexander’s To Wager Her Heart’s historical novel is replete with real characters and events. With slight literary license, she brings to life the stories of Belle Meade Plantation, Fisk University, Jubilee Singers, Philip Paul Bliss (composer and author of hymns), the Ashtabula River rail disaster and the Dutchman’s Curve train wreck.

The tapestry of the tale is woven so well, the lines between your real life and fiction become indistinct and blurred, causing you to wonder if you have stepped into the narrative or the characters have stepped out of it.

To Wager Her Heart is the third and final installment of the Belle Meade Plantation Novels. However, you will not miss anything as it can very easily be read as a stand-alone.

I received To Wager Her Heart from Zondervan Publishers and the author, Tamera Alexander. However, I was not obligated to write a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Set against the real history of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation and the original Fisk University Jubilee Singers ensemble, To Wager Her Heart is a powerful love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in American history when both were tenuous and hard-won.  

Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father’s name. One man holds the key to Sy’s success–General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks.

Seeking justice . . .

Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville’s society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison’s fiancé–and has shattered her world.

Struggling to restore honor . . .    

Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But family–and Nashville society–do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.

Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy’s roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor?

Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it.

With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society’s expectations must work together to achieve their dreams – provided the truth doesn’t tear them apart first.

 

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Busy Week Ahead!

I will be posting a review every day this week! I apologize in advance, as I know last week was the same. I also know, I’m adding to everyone’s TBR. However, I’m on several authors’ street teams, and a lot of the books are being released very close together!

I also am having a giveaway this week! Stay tuned!!

(Pixabay images-TBR Pile!)
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The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck

My Review

The Writing Desk, by Rachel Hauck, opens by introducing us to Tenley Roth, a modern-day author. Tenley’s first novel was a blockbuster hit. However, now she is struggling to meet a deadline for her second novel.

We are then introduced to Elizabeth “Birdie” Shehorn, a young lady of the early 1900s who desperately wants to be an author.

Ms. Hauck has deftly interwoven two different eras into one compelling story.  As we travel back in time, our eyes are opened to the difficulties women, and in this case a young woman, had in being able to choose their avocation and suitor. Birdie’s mother was ruthless in her desire for Birdie to make a suitable marriage and would stop at almost nothing to achieve her goals for Birdie. Juxtaposed against Birdie’s life was Tenley’s. A modern day young woman. Tenley was able to make her own choices for her life. However, her fears held her hostage.

The secondary characters are well written and suitably fleshed out, causing you to either love or hate them as you get to know them for whom they are. Some of the situations of the key individuals are heart-wrenching. However, Ms. Hauck, without it seeming gratuitous, offers hope and encouragement through their faith, be it new or long-standing.

There are some adult situations, but they are not salacious. Nonetheless, I would caution parents to read the book first before allowing their teens to read it.

I received this book from NetGalley (I also received a copy yesterday, 8-8-17) from The Fiction Guild.  However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

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My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring by Carrie Fancett Pagels

My Review

Carrie Fancett Pagels aptly transports us back in time to 1895’s Mackinac Island, Michigan, in My Heart Belongs in Mackinac Island:  Maude’s Mooring.

Maude Welling, her father and her little brother Jack are all still grieving the loss of their mother/wife, though each in very different ways. Maude is more determined than ever to take over the reins of Winds of Mackinac Inn, her father is just as determined she won’t and Jack is determined to become the fastest runner in the United States.

Ms. Pagels descriptive language leaves you feeling the sounds and sights of Mackinac Island, from the grandeur of The Grand Hotel to the impoverishment of the maids. As you read, you feel as if you have truly stepped back in time to a very different life and era. Plus, interspersed throughout the book are tidbits and gems of mystery, love and betrayal.

I enjoyed reading another of the My Heart Belongs collection, and the fact it was written by Ms. Pagels made it even more enjoyable.

I received this book from the author through NetGalley and Barbour Publishing. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Journey now to Mackinac Island where…
A Tangled Gilded Age Love Story Unfolds.

Although the Winds of Mackinac Inn has been in her mother’s family for generations, Maude Welling’s father refuses to let her run it without the guidance of a husband. So she seeks to prove her worth and independence by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel.

Undercover journalist Ben Steffans, posing as a wealthy industrialist, pursues a story about impoverished men chasing heiresses at the famed hotel.  While undercover, he becomes attracted to an intriguing maid. By an act of heroism Ben endears himself to the closed-mouthed islanders—including Maude—and he digs deep for his story.

But when scandal threatens, will the growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed?

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Whispering Pines (The Langtry Sisters) by Scarlett Dunn

My Review

Rose Langtry’s trip home is anything but the expected. First, her brother is almost hung by her neighbor, Morgan LeMasters; then after securing her brother’s safety, Rose is injured in a horrific stage coach accident.

Morgan LeMasters can’t believe the injured beauty he rescues was once the little girl that feared him, nor that she so staunchly defends her cattle rustling thief of a brother.

I was instantly engrossed in Whispering Pines by Scarlett Dunn. The story doesn’t follow the usual formula of romance and love. Instead, it is compelling and eventful.  There are scenes of suspense, intrigue and revenge and also scenes of faith, forgiveness and love. Some scenes are horribly disturbing and grisly. However, they perfectly illustrate the depravity of one character. Also, a few segments are borderline risque.

I fell in love with “Granny,” Rose’s grandmother, who raised her. She is tough and resilient and loves those around her mightily. Most of the main characters’ love her too and call her Granny, even though they aren’t related to her.

Whispering Pines is the first book in The Langtry Sisters collection. In this novel, we briefly glimpse the other two sisters, Adelaide and Emma, creating anticipation for the next two installments.

I received this book from NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

In Scarlett Dunn’s heartfelt inspirational series, three sisters return home to beautiful, enigmatic Whispering Pines, Colorado, and discover the men who’ll claim their love . . .

As a young girl, Rose Langtry feared her gruff, handsome rancher neighbor. Coming back to Colorado after five years, she’s outraged to find Morgan LeMasters ready to hang her brother for rustling and theft. But when the resulting skirmish leaves her injured, Morgan’s tender care turns her unease to unexpected closeness . . . and admiration.

Stopping Frankie Langtry and his gang has long been Morgan’s priority, yet he can’t resist Rose’s pleas for mercy. As brave and spirited as she is soft-hearted, Rose needs support to keep her family farm from going under, and a marriage of convenience will provide it. Morgan hardly dares admit, even to himself, his longing for a deeper, truer union. But her brother’s grudge is bringing danger back to Whispering Pines, and it’ll take forgiveness, courage—and a bond built on faith—to create a family and a future together . . .

 

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The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher

My Review

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s newest book, The Return, centers around the Amish in Beacon Hollow, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1763 and is inspired by real events.

Betsy Zook and her little brother Johnny are captured by Indians and forced to march on a long, arduous journey, only to be separated at the end.

Ms. Fisher draws you into the story and doesn’t let you go. Even after the story is over, you relive the events.

I greatly enjoyed this story. The extensive research was very evident, and the story heart-rending and spellbinding. However, there were a few scenes (due to PTSD) that were deeply disturbing. Nonetheless, they were authentic to the circumstances. This is not your typical Amish tale. Intrigue, heartache, betrayal and revenge factor into the account along with redemption, forgiveness, love and hope.

The Return is book three of the Amish Beginnings by Suzanne Woods Fisher. However, I have not read the other two books, and I seriously doubt I would love Betsy or enjoy the book more had I read the other two stories first.

If you are looking for a fascinating story of early America with Amish as the protagonists, you need look no further.

I received this book from LibraryThing. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family’s rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans, but then she never had to. Not until the night when she’s taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. During her captivity, Betsy faces brutality and hardship, but also unexpected kindness. She draws strength from native Caleb, who encourages her to find God in all circumstances. She finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the intense new feelings this compelling man awakens within her.

Handsome and complex, Hans is greatly anguished by Betsy’s captivity and turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. Eagerly, Tessa responds, overlooking troubling signs of Hans’s hunger for revenge. When Betsy is finally restored to the Amish, have things gone too far between Hans and Tessa?

Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.

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A Christmas Promise (Christmas Holiday Extravaganza) by Tamera Lynn Kraft

 #ReadChristmasinJuly

Welcome to our last Christmas in July story!

Publisher’s Summary

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away two days before Christmas to help at another settlement, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day. When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas. Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

My Review

Anna Brunner faced many obstacles and a rough life in Schoenbrunn Village, Ohio, in 1773. One of the things she didn’t want to face was her husband’s need to hide details of his mission work from her.

John Brunner felt protecting his wife from things that would distress her justified his half-truths.

John’s desire to help ease his wife’s anxiety was admirable. However, his methods were not.Even though we know it is to avoid conflict and ease our conscience, many of us fall into the same trap John did, with half-truths and evasions. We justify our actions by telling ourselves we are doing it for the other person’s feelings.

We all, as individuals like Anna, sometimes want to bury our heads in the sand to avoid hurt and pain. However, this only sets us up for more heartbreak and pain.

There are many lessons to be learned from A Christmas Promise. Even though the story is a novella, therefore it is short, it packs several messages into the pages you read.

A Christmas Promise (Christmas Holiday Extravaganza) by Tamera Lynn Kraft focuses on Christmas for Moravians in colonial America. I am a little familiar with the Moravian faith and some of its Christmas traditions, so I especially enjoyed learning more.

I received A Christmas Promise (Christmas Holiday Extravaganza) from the author. However, I was not required to give a review.

Christmas in July sponsored by          https://www.asimplyenchantedlife.com/christmas-in-july-signup/

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A Patchwork Christmas: Three Christmas Romances with Bonus Handcraft Patterns and Cookie Recipes by Judith Mccoy Miller, Nancy Moser and Stephanie Grace Whitson

 #ReadChristmasinJuly

Publisher’s Summary

In late Victorian-era America, women married for convenience as often as they married for love. When passion seems a distant hope, how delightful it is that God surprises three young women with second-chance love just in time for the holidays.

*  SEAMS LIKE LOVE by Judith Miller:  Betrayed by the man she thought God had designed for her, a resident of the Amana Colonies packs away her wedding quilts as well as any plans for marriage. But God has other plans.

*  A PATCHWORK LOVE by Stephanie Grace Whitson:  A young widow is headed west to marry a prosperous businessman she barely knows in order to give her daughter a better life when a snowstorm strands them in the middle of nowhere.

*  THE BRIDAL QUILT by Nancy Moser:  A wealthy ingénue–the toast of New York–inadvertently causes grave injury to a man who saves a street orphan from her carriage. But then she discovers he’s a man from her past…

Surprised by the possibility of love, each woman must search her heart, change her plans, make a decision, and patch together a tender, unexpected life filled with love.

My Review

Betrayed by her fiancé, Karla Stuke decides marriage isn’t for her. Instead, she spends her time helping her sister, Antje, prepare for her wedding and helping her family with their hotel. After all, she knows the male population is only interested in pretty females, and she knows she isn’t pretty. She is plain.

Frank Lehner, a childhood friend, returns to the Amanas after finishing school and is pleasantly surprised to find out Karla isn’t married. However, he never expected her to be so hurt and standoffish.

Seams Like Love by Judith Miller is set in the Amana Colonies of Iowa in 1890. The story is interesting, giving insight into a little-known religion. The characters are relatable and endearing. I also appreciated the bonus quilt patterns and recipes at the end of this story (and the other two).

I had always thought the Amana Colonies were founded by the Amish. However, they were a group called the Inspirationist of the Community of True Inspiration. I found the following, if you are interested in more information History of Amana Colonies.

A Patchwork Love, by Stephanie Grace Whitson, introduces us to Jane McClure, a widow, and her daughter, Molly. Jane’s husband passed away not long after the Civil War, leaving his family destitute due to his poor investment decisions. Jane, in desperation, decides to accept the invitation of a businessman, Mr. Huggins, and move from Omaha to Denver in the hopes of a relationship that results in marriage.

Mrs. Gruber and her son Peter rescue Jane and Molly when their train is stranded because of snow drifts on the train tracks. However, Molly develops a fever and cough, forcing them to impose on the Gruber’s even longer. When Mrs. Gruber becomes ill, Jane is in a quandary. How can she help the woman who so kindly helped her and Molly before Mr. Huggins changes his mind?

I appreciate how Ms. Whitson portrays the many different elements of character and character development in A Patchwork Love. I came to care about each person and their feelings as more and more was revealed.

The Bridal Quilt, by Nancy Moser, richly illustrates the vast differences between high society’s select few and those of a lower social status.

Ada Wallace, part of the New York privileged is being pushed hard by her mother to get Samuel Alcott, of the Alcott bankers, to propose, thereby assuring Ada’s fortunes for life.

Samuel, however, rescues a street orphan and changes his outlook on life, throwing his preconceived notions out the window. His life changing rescue creates a dilemma for Ada’s mother and alters Ada’s life.

I was touched by the acceptance portrayed by the orphans and enjoyed their child like faith and love.

All three stories were heartwarming making them perfect for the holidays.

Christmas in July sponsored by

https://www.asimplyenchantedlife.com/christmas-in-july-signup/

 

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