REVIEW: Amish Cooking Class – The Blessing by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Heidi is back as a cooking teacher, giving much more than just cooking lessons.  Six students from all walks of life take her class and learn more about themselves than they might about actually cooking.  Heidi and her husband are barren and the cooking class allows her an outlet for her talents as she waits on God for direction.  Her faith is demonstrated to the class members as she shares wisdom and Scripture each session.

Characters from book 1 are mentioned in the story.  Other than Heidi’s storyline, it is possible for a new reader to start the series with this book.

Thanks to Shiloh Run Press for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.


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REVIEW: Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover that their divorce was never finalized.  With much hurt between them, they don’t want to encounter one another to take care of legal issues.  However, to move on with their lives, they have to make some time for one another.  This is a Hosea and Gomer type story, though Josie isn’t as unfeeling as we’re led to believe of Gomer.  So many times a person’s history influences their steps.

Sweetbriar Cottage

The severity of the snowstorm was a surprise for me and that part of the storyline added to the plot.  Set over a three week timespan, this book moves quickly.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

In the late 1930s, the five Foss children find themselves entrapped at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage. They were collected against the true knowledge of their parents, through the work of Georgia Tann. Ms. Tann for years ran an illegal adoption ring and was in charge of child trafficking. Although the Foss children are a fictional family, the stories their lives hold are based on accounts from children impacted by the scandal. Actually much bigger than a scandal, but oh my.
It’s a riveting read as modern day granddaughter who is an attorney seeks to find out and maybe hide the possibly family dirty laundry. What Avery Staffords finds will keep the reader turning pages. In finding the truth behind May’s story, Avery is also forced to make personal decisions that will impact her own adult years.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

This was a much anticipated, by me, book as I’ve read and relished her other stories over the years. Thanks to Lisa Wingate for another super read! And, thanks to Ballantine Books for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Beloved Hope by Tracie Peterson

Hope, the middle sister, hardened her heart to everyone except her two sisters and maybe her uncle’s family. After the demoralizing personal attack on her at the Whitman mission, she has good reason to be wary. Older sister Grace and younger sister Mercy gently encourage her to give the fear and hate over to God. Hope, though, is resigned to her delicate hold on a normal life. Given an opening, though, God can get in and do wonders.

Beloved Hope, Heart of the Frontier Series #2   -     By: Tracie Peterson
Thanks to Bethany House for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Barbara and Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest: Discovering New Purpose, Passion, and Your Next Great Adventure by Barbara Rainey, Susan Alexander Yates

Barbara and Susan help empty-nest women redefine the “mom” role.  I thought they did a good job looking at the empty nest stage through a variety of circumstances.  They include their own experiences and they draw on the stories of other women who have moved beyond the high school years.  It’s coming and I can see some good things and some sad things.  Having just moved our oldest into his own apartment for his first real job, I thought it was time to tackle this topic.


I greatly enjoyed the insight.  I felt that enough of the experiences they portrayed were close to my own.  I found a “fit” in several of their topics.  Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.


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REVIEW: Catching the Wind by Melanie Dobson

Daniel Knight is on a quest to find Brigette Berthold whom he last saw when she was 10 and he was 13.  They were separated in a reassignment in England after they fled Germany.  Can you imagine the terror of these two youths as they clung to each other for weeks when their parents willed them to run and hide and escape from the Third Reich.

Daniel promised Brigette that he would return for her.  Moves and circumstances drove them farther apart, making it very complicated to find one another.  Residing on the Pacific coast of America, Daniel was two oceans away from where he left Brigette, and he was in failing health.  Having exhausted a string of investigators, Daniel needs to hire someone with a heart for the project.

Quenby Vaughn, reporter/journalist and Attorney Lucas Hough are Daniel’s choices for the quest.  What will they find?  Can they work together?  What secrets need to be revealed and mended?

This was an amazing story with much depth.  Set in WWII and also modern day, it also compelled the reader to consider modern day refugees and the uncertainly they face.  There’s a challenge to readers at the end of the book to lend a hand and give a heart to someone else’s story.

Thanks to Tyndale Fiction for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

Arthur and Maddy.  Arthur and Lucille.  Arthur and Nola.  Important women, all at different points in Arthur’s life.  Widower Arthur visits the cemetery every day to have lunch at his wife’s graveside.  This may sound odd, but he’s doing OK.  He gets up, gets his meals, tends to the aloof cat and gets out of the house.  He’s got a friendly neighbor, Lucille.  Arthur meets Maddy at the cemetery where she is escaping the frustration of lunch alone during high school.  He sees in her a soul most lost than his own self.  Arthur decides that Maddy needs a friend and he is at the perfect point in time, though over 80, to extend her that welcome.

This story touches on loneliness, friendship, grief and loving kindness.  I really enjoyed the story.  I felt the three main characters were developed to the point where I knew them.

Thanks to Random House for providing me an ARC for a  review in my own words.  This is a very good story!


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