A Sister's Wish & An Amish Family Christmas - Shelley Shepard Gray - A review, a showcase... And a giveaway!

5 Stars!

In Shelley Shepard Gray's third book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a respectable young woman finds herself falling for an Amish man from the wrong side of the tracks.

Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman---at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she's also harboring a secret: She's been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he's about as far from "perfect" as an Amish man could get . . . but that's exactly why she's so drawn to him.

Life hasn't been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he's determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past . . . unless it pertains to Amelia.

He's loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas---who just happens to be Simon's best friend---has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he's the only one who can truly make her happy.

But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together---and face their past mistakes. There's a chance for love . . . but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with the secrets of his past.
 Purchase a copy: HERE
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

This is the book I have been waiting for! I loved the first two books in the series - A Son's VowA Daughter's Dream and I  couldn't wait to get this one. Shelley Shepard Gray is fairly new to me. I have only been reading her books a couple years. But she is the kind of writer that makes you fall in love with her writing very quickly. I can now say that she is one of my favorite christian fiction Authors. And... I think this is one of the only series I have read that I gave 5 stars to all 3 books! Besides being a wonderful, heartfelt Amish romance - it was funny and very cute at times and had me giggling.

The character development is superb! I loved Amelia (and that just happens to be one of my favorite names) She was sweet, but not to be so easily dismissed and being young and weak - she could certainly hold her own where her family was concerned. I loved it when she told them off - I was rooting for her. 
In the first two books I didn't really like Simon, But finally - in this book I loved him! His deep love for Amelia really shines true. Anybody would be lucky to have someone like him.
He had his faults, luckily they were in the past and forgiven.
"Simon ain't exactly a poster child for proper behavior." - I love that line! 
This is one of my favorite lines -
"Begin wishing for possibilities instead of clutching tightly to bitterness." - that is a line to live by!
Then towards the end the book she talks about Levi, another brother that has come home.
"... you will be the only one that's unattached." -  and this brings us to the forth book in the series! YAY!
I am doing a spotlight for that book here, but will do a full review in Dec. I can't wait to read it!
Ever since his father died in a tragic fire, Levi Kinsinger has felt adrift. Newly returned to Charm, Ohio, Levi is trying to fit into his old life, only to discover he seems to have outgrown it.

But when Julia, his young widowed neighbor, asks for his help with a Christmas project, Levi finds a sense of purpose for the first time in months. She and her daughter are new to Charm and could use a friend, a job Levi takes personally. Soon enough, friendship grows into attraction, but Levi can't help having doubts. There's something about Julia that doesn't ring quite true . . .

Like Levi, Julia Kemps has survived her fair share of hardships---but only by hiding the truth of her past. Being an unmarried mother in an Amish community was unthinkable. Feeling hopeless, Julia did the only thing she could do: she moved to a new town and pretended to be a widow. But meeting Levi, she's hopeful for the first time. Little by little, she begins to imagine telling him her darkest secret, and eventually . . . perhaps even sharing her life with him.

Christmas is a time for family, and as the holiday draws closer, Julia and Levi will have to face their pasts together . . . in order to find the healing, support and love they so desperately desire.

Purchase a copy: HERE
GIVEAWAY - Click on the picture below to enter!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving this book from Litfuse book tours. Thank you!



Showcasing - The Summer That Melted Everything - Tiffany McDaniel - GIVEAWAY!!!!

Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.
Sal seems to appear out of nowhere - a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he's welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he's a runaway from a nearby farm town.
When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -  An Ohio native, Tiffany McDaniel's writing is inspired by the rolling hills and buckeye woods of the land she knows. She is also a poet, playwright, screenwriter, and artist. The Summer that Melted Everything is her debut novel.    

Check out her fab website - HERE 

Check out my review of the book - HERE

Woohoo! -  The Summer that Melted Everything was shortlisted for the Not the Booker in the UK that the Guardian newspaper holds. It is one of five books chosen!

I voted! I hope you do too. Unfortunately, the voting is only open till the 23rd (tomorrow) so hurry!

Tiffany McDaniel has offered my blog viewers a special prize package! This is awesome guys!
~ A personalized signed hard cover copy of the book (first ed.) Like the one in the pic, only with your name LOL.
~ A bookmark, also signed!
~ And a print-out of the suggested playlist and recipes from the characters that I give to book clubs 
*** US only, Please!
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Deliver Her - Patricia Perry Donovan (GIVEAWAY!)

4 Stars!

On the night of Alex Carmody’s sixteenth birthday, she and her best friend, Cass, are victims of a terrible car accident. Alex survives; Cass doesn’t. Consumed by grief, Alex starts cutting school and partying, growing increasingly detached. The future she’d planned with her friend is now meaningless to her.

Meg Carmody is heartbroken for her daughter, even as she’s desperate to get Alex’s life back on track. The Birches, a boarding school in New Hampshire, promises to do just that, yet Alex refuses to go. But when Meg finds a bag of pills hidden in the house, she makes a fateful call to a transporter whose company specializes in shuttling troubled teens to places like The Birches, under strict supervision. Meg knows Alex will feel betrayed—as will her estranged husband, who knows nothing of Meg’s plans for their daughter.

When the transport goes wrong—and Alex goes missing—Meg must face the consequences of her decision and her deception. But the hunt for Alex reveals that Meg is not the only one keeping secrets.

Patricia Perry Donovan is a journalist who writes about health care. Her fiction has appeared in Gravel Literary, Flash Fiction Magazine, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, and other literary journals. The mother of two grown daughters, Patricia lives at the Jersey Shore with her husband. 

I had mixed feeling about this book at first - but I ended up loving it. It started out with a bang, but then got a little slow for me for a while. After the slowness, which ended up lasting only a handful of pages, I read about a third of the book in one sitting, and finished the rest in another sitting! There was one section in the middle where a lot of new characters were introduced and it got kinda tough remembering who was who. I just kinda gave up and read - and it was fine! So that's what I would suggest - don't worry about all the new people - just read!

I did not like Carl at first, and was not invested in his character at all. But then he started growing on me and I ended up loving him. I didn't really care for the mom (Meg) or the dad (Jacob), I just didn't like their personalities. I wouldn't have parented like they did. I did, however, love Alex. Alex was a real teenager. The author got her teen personality spot on!

 My own daughter was such a "good girl" I never had to worry about a thing. She never tried drugs, didn't drink or smoke, never even thought about skipping school. But I was actually very much like Alex growing up! I skipped school all the time, and experimented with a lot of the same things that Alex did, and worse! So I know exactly what Alex was feeling and thinking but I don't know what it is like to parent a child like that.

I loved all the twists and turns in here. Nothing is what it seems. I also liked that most of the story's theme was based around a band and their songs. I have read a few books like this and love the idea!
This book seemed very real to me, authentic. I would especially recommend this for parents of teenagers! If you have a "good girl" like I do, you will feel lucky - like you won the lottery!

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books a Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Patricia Perry Donovan

Website | Facebook | Twitter


I voluntarily posted this review after receiving this book from TLC book tours. Thank you!

I am giving away one paperback copy of the book (US and Canada only please!)
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The Opposite of Everyone - Joshilyn Jackson

4 Stars!

A fiercely independent divorce lawyer learns the power of family and connection when she receives a cryptic message from her estranged mother in this bittersweet, witty novel from the nationally bestselling author of Someone Else’s Love Story and gods in Alabama—an emotionally resonant tale about the endurance of love and the power of stories to shape and transform our lives.

Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with southern oral tradition to re-invent their history as they roved. But everything, including Paula’s birth name Kali Jai, changed when she told a story of her own—one that landed Kai in prison and Paula in foster care. Separated, each holding secrets of her own, the intense bond they once shared was fractured.

These days, Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn’t seen Kai in fifteen years, she’s still making payments on that Karmic debt—until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a mysterious note: “I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how Karma works.”

Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother before it’s too late, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and into the deepest recesses of her heart. With the help of her ex-lover Birdwine, an intrepid and emotionally volatile private eye who still carries a torch for her, this brilliant woman, an expert at wrecking families, now has to figure out how to put one back together—her own.  

The Opposite of Everyone is a story about story itself, how the tales we tell connect us, break us, and define us, and how the endings and beginnings we choose can destroy us . . . and make us whole. Laced with sharp humor and poignant insight, it is beloved New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson at her very best.


Joshilyn JacksonJoshilyn Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of six previous novels, including gods in Alabama, A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty, and Someone Else’s Love Story. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages. A former actor, she is also an award-winning audiobook narrator. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her husband and their two children.

Connect with her through her Website, Facebook, or Twitter.

Well first of all - I have been dying to read another Joshilyn Jackson book because I am a huge fan of hers! After reading The Opposite of Everyone... I am a fan all over again! Between Georgia is my favorite by her, but this was still very good!

I loved how this story had a little (a lot, actually) of suspense to it with trying to find information on her family. I really like reading books about lawyers. That's probably one of my favorite characters to read about. And I liked how, even through all the "family issues" Paula was dealing with, there was also a couple of "cases" she was working on.

Very good character development. I liked Paula and Birdwine, but I think my favorite was Julian (I can't tell you who he is because it would ruin the story!).

This is just such a wonderful story, especially if you have a divided family. There were a few years where I didn't see my sister, talk to her, or even know where she was, Also there was about 20 yrs that I was missing my father! He was in the Marine's overseas and I lost contact with him. We eventually found each other and it was wonderful! We are very close today! So, having gone through all that I could really relate to this story. I knew what Paula was feeling and understand what she was going through.

But - even if you have always been close to your family (you're lucky!) you will still enjoy this one very much - its just a great read period!

Thank you Harper Collins and TLC Book Tours for sending me this book for my honest review!

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Shadows in My Room & What's That Noise?: Bedtime Stories - Linda Weaver Clarke (Audible Version)

5 Stars

In each of these stories, a mother helps her little girl understand her fears at night.
"Shadows in My Room": Kayla sees shadows in her room that disturb her. Her mother answers all her questions about each shadow that she points to and helps her to calm down and go to sleep.
"What's That Noise?": Amber hears noises that disturb her, such as the wind and thunder. Her mother teaches Amber to use her imagination by turning something fearful into something fun.

Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching and encouraging people to write their family history and autobiography. She is the mother of six daughters and has several grandchildren. Clarke is the author of an award-winning sweet romance, Melinda and the Wild West, for the “Reviewers Choice Award.” She has several historical sweet romances, a mystery/adventure series, and a children’s book. She has also written two non-fiction e-books: Reflections of the Heart and Writing Your Family Legacy. All her books are family friendly.

I listened to this on my iPod using the audible version.
I love the idea of audio books for children, especially for bedtime! This one is perfect. I can picture a mother and child laying on the bed together listening together. My own daughter is 28 and no grandchildren on the way... yet, so I have to imagine (hint hint).

A lot of children are afraid of the dark, afraid of noises and shadows in the dark. This book is a real nice way of dealing with it together.
These are very quick and easy to understand, so great for the very young.

Also - surprisingly, I really liked the reader! This doesn't happen often. I thought the reader did a great job, especially the children's voices!

Altogether - very enjoyable. Perfect for young kids and parents (or grandparents). I can't wait to listen to this with my own future grandchildren.

Thank you Linda Weaver Clarke for send me this audio for my honest review.

Order your book or audio from Amazon - HERE 


Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU - Jenny Jaeckel

Spot 12 cover
4.5 Stars!

Spot 12 delivers the gritty details of a new mother and her newborn daughter, Asa, during a five-month stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in this visually gripping graphic memoir by Jenny Jaeckel. A routine prenatal exam reveals a dangerous problem, and Jaeckel and her husband find themselves thrust into a world of close calls, sleepless nights, and psychological crises. Surrounded by disagreements and family tensions, death, and questions of faith, Jaeckel struggles to maintain a positive frame of mind. Against the antiseptic, mechanical reality of the NICU, the dedicated doctors and nurses are drawn as sympathetic and wry animal characters. Doctor Eyes and Nurse Gentlehands are two of the caring individuals who do all they can to save Baby Asa. At times Jaeckel and her husband battle feelings of helplessness and despair, but their determination, hope, insight, bravery, and connection ultimately helps keep their little girl alive.

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Praise “A memorable and beautifully executed memoir of a newborn’s difficult first months.” —Kirkus Reviews “It's a sad, lovely, tragic story. It reminds us how close we are to tragedy at any moment in our lives...” —Tom Hart, author of Rosalie LightningSpot 12, the novel, a unique combination of text and remarkable drawings, was able to completely hold my interest. The topic of parenting a critically ill newborn in the NICU is not a new one…But Spot 12 was matchless in its comic book format associating pictures with feelings….It is very impressive.” —Anita Catlin, for Advances in Neonatal Care


Jenny JaeckelJenny Jaeckel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and a Master of Arts in Hispanic Literatures from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a certified interpreter and translator (Spanish) and teaches illustration. She lives in Victoria, Vancouver Island in British Columbia with her husband and daughter. Jaeckel is the author and illustrator of three graphic memoirs: Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU, which won a 2008 Xeric Grant (printed in Canada, to be released in the US in 2016 in both English and Spanish), Siberiak: My Cold War Adventure on the River Ob (published in 2014), and Odd Pieces: Memoir of a Childhood (to be published in 2017). For the Love of Meat: Nine Illustrated Stories is her first collected fiction (2016).

Find out more about Jaeckel at her website, and connect with her on Twitter

Wow very original book! This was a wonderful, sad, but encouraging story that will break your heart and warm it at the same time. I have always been a fan of graphic novels and have read quite a few. Its just a nice change from reading a full novel, its fun! I don't think I have ever read one that was a memoir and especially not about the birth and life of a baby with special needs. I loved that the author also included a lot about her own feelings and depression (not just about the baby) this really made it real for me.

I can see this book being used for parents going through the same problems with their newborn or really a newborn with any problems. This would also be a great tool to use to help your older children understand what is happening and what to expect when a new baby is going to be born and will need surgery or needs to stay in the NICU. This story is written simply enough for older children to understand.
I think it would be great if hospitals would have this book on hand to give to new parents who will be experiencing anything like this with their own babies. Wouldn't that be just wonderful?

I found this book very interesting and especially heartwarming. I also shed a few tears in a couple spots.  loved that is was in graphic novel form - it was interesting enough to beginning with but this just made it more fun to read - different.

My favorite part was when she wrote her prayers for Asa on the glass window so the prayers could go up to the sky to God. I loved this idea! -

I especially loved that the author put real photos of Asa and an update on how she was doing in the back of the book! This was a joy to read.

Thank you TLC Book Tours for sending me this book for my honest review!


The Mysterious Doll (Amelia Moore Detective Series) - Linda Weaver Clarke (Audible version)

4.5 Stars

Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specializes in missing persons. With the help of her partner, Rick Bonito, the business is flourishing. Pauline Jones is confused why her boyfriend took off without telling a soul where he was going. But that isn’t all. Sam Whitaker is accused of stealing a valuable porcelain doll from the museum. His disappearance makes him look guilty, but Pauline is convinced he is innocent. When Amelia finds Sam, she realizes they need to prove his innocence. Where is the antique doll and who has taken it?

Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching and encouraging people to write their family history and autobiography. She is the mother of six daughters and has several grandchildren. Clarke is the author of an award-winning sweet romance, Melinda and the Wild West, for the “Reviewers Choice Award.” She has several historical sweet romances, a mystery/adventure series, and a children’s book. She has also written two non-fiction e-books: Reflections of the Heart and Writing Your Family Legacy. All her books are family friendly.  

Visit her website - HERE

Once again Linda delivers a wonderful, fun, suspenseful, romantic and clean read! It is so easy to get addicted to this series. The further you go into this series the more you get to know Amelia and Rick - who are both delightful! Each book could be read as a stand alone, but I would highly recommend you read them in order only because of the developing little romance between Rick and Amelia.
Another real fun cozy mystery, which I again listened to from audible.

There were a few surprises, so it kept you guessing through the end. Even though this was a  nice mystery it was the little things that I really loved and kept me interested.
I loved the part about trying Calamari for the first time. I myself have had it several times - deep fried with dipping sauce - YUM!
With my love of ghosts and ghost stories - I loved the part about the haunted hotel! This was great, fun and interesting (it is a real place).
And finally, I loved the part about zip-lining! Now this I have never done, but it is on my "bucket list" LOL (I'll get to that later). I have always wanted to try zip lining. It looks like so much fun! I'll let you know if I ever do it.

OK, now back to the bucket list. That is another developing theme that is carried throughout the series. In the first book Rick had a bucket list and he convinced Amelia to start one too. So now in every story they cross off things and add them to each of their bucket lists.

I listened to this one while doing a puzzle -

If you are a lover of cozy mysteries - this series is perfect for you!

Thank you Linda Weaver Clarke for sending me this audio for my honest review!

Order you copy of the book or audio from Amazon - HERE