First Line Friday #1

Today I’m joining other Christian Fiction bloggers in First Line Friday where I will post the first line of the book I am currently reading. Next it’s your turn to join in! In the comments below tell us the first line in the book you are reading or maybe the first line of the book located nearest to you at this time. Sound fun? It does to me! Let’s get started.

First Line: May 1900 Washington, DC
Annabelle Larkin hadn’t meant to offend the world’s leading spice tycoon with her bold request, yet it seemed she had.


For my initial First Line Friday I am featuring The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden. I am only 64 pages into this just released novel, so I will save my review for another day. Be looking for that soon!

About The Spice King
Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building his very successful global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before it spirals out of control, he returns to his ancestral home to save his brother and sister before it’s too late.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?



About the Author, Elizabeth Camden
Elizabeth Camden is best known for her historical novels set in gilded age America featuring clever heroines and richly layered story lines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award, and she lives in Florida with her husband who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books.

Now it’s your turn! Type those first lines in! I look forward to reading them. To see what First Lines others are sharing this week head over to Hoarding Books.

First Line Fridays are hosted by Hoarding Books http://www.hoardingbooksblog.wordpress.com

I was invited to join by fellow blogger, The Becca Files. Please check out her blog. http://www.thebeccafiles.com

Happy Reading and Blessings Y’all!

Mandy

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Author Interview: Shannon McNear

Author Shannon McNear

Bio:
Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in the Deep South, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. As the author, however, of three novellas and one-going-on-three full-length novels, her greatest joy is in being a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three and grammie of three. She’s also a contributor to Colonial Quills and a member of ACFW and RWA. When not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies.

Hello to all my reader friends! I have a wonderful book to bring to you today! The book is The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear. Although it is part of the Mayflower Bride series it is a standalone story. The sad part is that it doesn’t release until December 1st. I feel so passionately about this book that I wanted to announce it early so you can add it to your TBR pile now. For those of you who are not quite as obsessed with all things bookish, like me TBR is To Be Read. Ha! Before we get too far into the post I want to let you know that Mrs. McNear has agreed to giveaway a paperback or ebook of her novel, The Cumberland Bride, to one blessed reader who comments on this blog post. The contest will end at midnight on Sunday, October 6th. I would like to thank Mrs. McNear for being on the blog today and for being gracious enough to giveaway one of her awesome books. Me being a Kentucky girl the history in The Cumberland Bride is near and dear to my heart, so she chose the perfect title for the giveaway. Let’s get into the synopsis for The Rebel Bride.

SYNOPSIS

Can Love Form Amidst Tensions of War? During the clash between Union and Confederacy, quiet Tennessean Pearl MacFarlane is compelled to nurse both Rebel and Yankee wounded who seek refuge at her family’s farm. She is determined to remain unmoved by the Yankee cause—until she faces the silent struggle of Union soldier Joshua Wheeler, a recent amputee. The MacFarlane family fits no stereotype Joshua believed in; still he is desperate to regain his footing—as a soldier, as a man, as a Christian—in the aftermath of his debilitating injury. He will use his time behind enemy lines to gather useful intelligence for the Union—if the courageous Rebel woman will stay out of the line of danger. 

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Rebel Brideby Shannon McNear. 

My favorite time in history to read about is the American Civil War era, so I was won over on this book by simply reading the title. But then, I opened the cover and sank my teeth into story and, as they say, “That’s all she wrote!” This tale was told with most of the scenes taking place on the grounds of one farm. I didn’t realize this, of course, until I was nearly finished. Normally that would make for a mundane telling of a story, but that’s not the case with this book. Mrs. McNear weaves a tapestry that wows no matter the setting! Add The Rebel Bride to the December 1st block on your calendar so you won’t miss out on this epic wartime novel.

My Review:

The Civil War. A time discussed often, but only on the surface. Most often the stories of this period are told from two perspectives- one being the plantation owner who wants to keep slaves, the other a person from the North who is fighting to abolish slavery. The Rebel Bride is an in depth tale from very different points of view. Perhaps ones not many have thought about. Shannon McNear definitely did research, and left no fact buried. Historically accurate this novel could act as a sort of textbook. Romantically this book could cause a Southern Belle to swoon. All wrapped up in a neat package, this read is a gift to every reader who chooses to crack open the cover.

INTERVIEW

TRD: If you could only choose two Bible Verses to guide your life what would they be?


Mrs. McNear: Only two??? How is that fair … LOL


For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)


For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him. (Isaiah 64:4)

TRD: If you could read only one fiction book for the rest of your life, what would it be?


Mrs. McNear: You like the tough questions, don’t you? 😊


Perelandra, by C.S. Lewis.

TRD: What is your least favorite part of getting a book from research to sitting on a shelf?


Mrs. McNear: Proofing the galleys. Seriously. I have to read SO slowly, to be sure I catch any mistakes, and the whole story just feels stupid to me at that pace.

TRD: What is your favorite part of that same process?


Mrs. McNear: I love the research—seriously! And seeing story threads jell. (Or is that, gel?) And the process of discovering who the characters are …
Oh, and the weary relief of typing, THE END. 😊

TRD: Your books are set in the 18th century. If you could choose anything from one of your character’s closet, shoebox, or jewelry box, what would it be?


Mrs. McNear: Believe it or not, a well-fitting set of stays. Because they’re the foundation for everything else that’s properly 18th century—and the piece of period wear I find most difficult to create and fit for myself.
I would really also love the moccasins Kate wears in The Cumberland Bride, though.

TRD: What can we expect from you in the upcoming year in the Christian fiction world? I know your fans want to know, including me. 🙂


Mrs. McNear: Well, after The Rebel Bride releases in December, The Blue Cloak releases March 2020, as part of Barbour’s True Colors series. This story was something a little different for me—historical romantic suspense meets true crime, a little (okay, a lot) on the dark side, but with what I pray is a strongly redemptive spiritual thread. And I just signed a contract for another novella—a generational Christmas collection titled Love’s Pure Light with Deb Raney, Susanne Dietze, and Janine Roche. Mine is set in 1919, on a train journey from Charleston, South Carolina, to either St. Louis or Kansas City, Missouri. That one is set to release December 2020, so … that’s a little more than a year. But there you go.


Thank you so much for having me!

I really enjoyed that interview and getting to know the sweet Shannon McNear a little better. I hope you enjoyed it as well. Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of The Cumberland Bride!

Blessings Y’all!

Mandy

Something New by Joanne Bischof

…behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Something New by Joanne Bischof has been a highly anticipated novella. The story is about Tate and Wren, who were briefly mentioned in Ms. Bischof’s last novel, Daughters of Northern Shores. I really enjoy a book when the author takes minor characters and gives them their own story. It makes me feel as if I’m visiting old friends.

🌼Let’s get into the synopsis…

Virginia, 1895

After waiting four years for her best friend to return from sea, Wren Cromwell’s dream of building a life with Tate Kennedy has wilted during his unexpected absence. Then, just as suddenly as he departed the mountain of their childhood, he returns, bringing with him tales of Norway’s icy fjords and his time aboard ship on the North Sea. As spring unfurls around them, so unfolds a new hope in Wren’s heart, and a new chance at love on the horizon. But with Tate’s longing for exciting voyages still alive, will he vanish to the high seas again, or will this land he’s returned to, and Wren’s steadfast love, be enough to nurture his adventurous spirit?

From Christy and Carol Award-winning author, Joanne Bischof, comes a newly repackaged novella once featured in the historical compilation, Heirloom Brides.
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If I could choose only one word to describe this book I would have to say it was sweet. The setting was a beautiful and whimsical place that I would love to visit. The characters were flawed, but loved Jesus, just like most of us. And the story was realistic, but sweet, just as I mentioned before. The only thing I would have changed about the book as a whole is the length. Because it is a novella it just wasn’t long enough to go in depth with the story as Ms. Bischof is known to do. However, I think she did an amazing job considering how few pages she had to work with. I would recommend this novella to anyone who enjoys a sweet tale full of God’s love, and a love between a man and a woman built on friendship. I’ll add the link below to purchase Something New from Amazon. Thanks for visiting The Reading Daisy! Next week we will have a guest author you don’t want to miss!

Blessings Y’all!
Mandy

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https://www.amazon.com/Something-New-novella-Joanne-Bischof-ebook/dp/B07SQYTJYG/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?keywords=something+new+by+Joanne+Bischof&qid=1569606924&sr=8-2

Under Moonlit Skies

A couple of weeks ago on September fifth I had author Cynthia Roemer on The Reading Daisy as a guest. She is such a delightful person! Before she planned to be on the blog I had never read one of her books. I raved about books one and two in Mrs. Roemer’s Big Sky Series. At the time book three had not released. Now it has released and I have had the privilege of reading it! The title of this gem is Under Moonlit Skies and below is the the description of the story on the back cover of the book.

Blurb

Her life was planned out ~ until he rode in ~
Illinois prairie ~ 1859
After four long years away, Esther Stanton returns to the prairie to care for her sister Charlotte’s family following the birth of her second child. The month-long stay seems much too short as Esther becomes acquainted with her brother-in-law’s new ranch hand, Stewart Brant. When obligations compel her to return to Cincinnati and to the man her overbearing mother intends her to wed, she loses hope of ever knowing true happiness.
Still reeling from a hurtful relationship, Stew is reluctant to open his heart to Esther. But when he faces a life-threatening injury with Esther tending him, their bond deepens. Heartbroken when she leaves, he sets out after her and inadvertently stumbles across an illegal slave-trade operation, the knowledge of which puts him, as well as Esther and her family, in jeopardy.

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This book was chock full of historical details and tidbits from times past. There is definitely a journey to go on with these characters. Stew is the hero in this book and was mentioned briefly in book two. Esther is the heroine,and she was a character in books one and two. It was good to catch up with the friends I had made in the beginning of the series. My review is below:

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I just finished the third and final installment of the Big Sky Series and all I can say is wow! In this book Cynthia Roemer weaves a tale that takes you from one end of the spectrum to the other. I loved the two main characters and watching them grow Spiritually as the tale progressed. Stew grew in a different way than Esther, but nevertheless, they both grew in leaps and bounds. In this story we get to experience the happenings during the foretelling of the American Civil War. It was a sad and scary segment of our history that needs to be told, learned from, and never repeated. I am thankful to have found an author who is willing to write about, and execute, the telling of a hard situation that is hit head on by a God who can and will fight for us, comfort us, and will never leave us.

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I hope you have enjoyed this blog post. Although I had just written about Ms. Cynthia I didn’t want anyone to feel like I had left them hanging by not finishing up the entire series. I do hope you will give this series and this sweet author a chance. You can find her books at:

http://www.amazon.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

You can also leave reviews on those two sites as well as:

http://www.bookbub.com

http://www.goodreads.com

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The nicest way to let an author know you enjoyed their book?

😊Leave a review!😊

New Releases & More

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For those of us who are avid readers of Christian fiction we not only enjoy reading books, we enjoy reading about books. So,when the http://www.christianbook.com (CBD) catalog comes in the mail I love poring over each page to see what new reads are coming out during that season. This week I received the Fall 2019 catalog. Wow! It seemed to have more new historical and Amish fiction than ever before! There are many other categories as well like, mystery & suspense, Biblical, and books for teens. There is something for every reader. I love that! And I appreciate the fact that all of the books shown or mentioned in the CBD catalog is Christian fiction, and I don’t have to worry about choosing an inappropriate book.

I’m doing something a little different today. I’m going to make lists of new releases I found in the CBD catalog. I will list the books according to genre, including Amish & Historical. Be on the lookout for Christmas books as well. Yep, it’s that time of year! Now is the time to prepare for those cold Winter days and nights leading up to Christmas. Like squirrels with their nuts, we readers must hoard our books. Lol! I hope this post is helpful and you will find some titles that is singing your tune.

I will also note the number the book is if it’s part of a series. If there is no number it is a standalone. All of these books can be found on http://www.christianbook.com or http://www.amazon.com for descriptions and order information. The titles are in no particular order. Sit back, relax, and let me do the work for you. Enjoy!

Blessings Y’all!

Mandy 🌼

Historical

Aiming For Love by Mary Connealy #1

The Major’s Daughter by Regina Jennings #3

One More River To Cross by Jane Kirkpatrick

What Comes My Way by Tracie Peterson #3

Mail-Order Mishaps by Vickie McDonough and other authors

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden #1

A Distance Too Grand by Regina Scott #1

Hope’s Highest Mountain by Misty M. Beller #1

Serving Up Love by Karen Witemeyer and others

Diamond In The Rough by Jen Turano #2

The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear

Treasured Christmas Brides by Amanda Cabot and others

Once Upon A Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep

Christmas Next Door by Susan Page Davis and Vickie McDonough

Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini

Amish

The Timepiece by Beverly Lewis

Amish Front Porch Stories by Wanda Brunstetter and others

Summer’s Promise by Barbara Cameron #3

A Christmas Haven by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

An Amish Second Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray and others

An Amish Christmas Bakery by Beth Wiseman and others

The Bake Shop by Amy Clipston

Listening To Love by Beth Wiseman #2

Stitches In Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher #2

New Covers- These books have been published for many years, but have special Anniversary covers.

40th Anniversary- Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke

25th Anniversary- Sophie’s Heart by Lori Wick

20th Anniversary- The Princess by Lori Wick

Was this helpful? Would you like to see more content like this? Do you have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram.

Author Interview: Cynthia Roemer

Proverbs 27:17 (KJV) Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Okay guys and girls and dogs and cats……anyone who will listen…..I have found a new to me author that is worth proclaiming about!!! Cynthia Roemer, folks! She fits my criteria for a top notch author and I am thrilled to have her on The Reading Daisy today! Thank you, Ms. Cynthia for joining us.

Biography

Cynthia Roemer is an inspirational historical romance author who enjoys planting seeds of hope into the hearts of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800’s prairie. Her love of God’s creation reveals itself in her writing and in her lifestyle as a farmer’s wife. She writes from her family farm where she resides with her husband and two college-aged sons.
Cynthia feels truly blessed that the Lord has fulfilled her life-long dream of being a published novelist. It’s her prayer that her stories will encourage readers in their faith. Her debut Amazon Best-Selling novel, Under This Same Sky (Book One in her Prairie Sky Series) released in April of 2017. Book Two, Under Prairie Skies, released April 10th, 2018, Book Three in the series, Under Moonlit Skies, releases September 10th, 2019.

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I have read book one in the Prairie Sky Series, Under This Same Sky, and book two, Under Prairie Skies. The covers of both these books are beautiful and inviting. Each book is set on the Illinois prairie in the 1850’s. When I began page one of book one I wasn’t just settling into a good book, I was dragged kicking and screaming and not remembering how I got on this ride, but oh so glad I was on it! I LOVED that about this book! I had read for a couple hours before I realized where I was and that I had been reading for a couple hours. Lol! It only took seconds for me to be invested in the very real lives of the characters. I loved them, I felt bad for them, I even wanted to pray for them. I know, I’m a little on the crazy side, but that’s what great stories do to me. These characters used God and His Word to work through life and the decisions that go along with it.

Book two was even better writing! I could not stand one of the characters and I loved others. That’s good writing, folks! I saw an evolution in this story and it didn’t have a thing to do with apes! Ha! It had to do with the love of God and His people. I felt as if I grew Spiritually alongside these characters. I found myself turning to my Bible to reassure myself of the answers they sought. Proverbs 27:17 was the foundation of this book. Of course I had heard this verse many times, but now it is sealed Upon my heart forever. I’m thankful for authors like Ms. Cynthia who are not afraid of being “too preachy” when they write their stories. It shows me the love they hold for our Heavenly Father.

Ms. Cynthia has a brand new book, Under Moonlit Skies, releasing on Tuesday September 10th and I could not be more excited! It will be book three in the series. The hero in book 3 was briefly mentioned in book two. I can’t wait to find out more about him and his love interest, who is a sister to the heroine in book two. I’ll add the pictures of each book in order so no one gets confused. These stories definitely need to be read in order.

Keep reading for an interview with Ms. Cynthia Roemer!

Book One

Book Two

Book Three

Interview with Cynthia Roemer

TRD: If you could read only one fiction book for the rest of your life, what would it be?

CR: Oh wow! That’s a challenging question. There are so many great novels out there. The first one that comes to mind is the one that helped launch me along my writing journey: Laura Frantz’s The Frontiersman’s Daughter. It left such an impression on me as a reader and a writer.

TRD: What is your least favorite part of getting a book from research to sitting on a shelf?

CR: My least favorite part would probably be the busy work of making certain every mistake is corrected prior to publication. Although, I enjoy editing to an extent, having to read through my novel numerous times in a short period of time looking for errors can be daunting. Marketing is also not on my favorite’s list.

TRD: What is your favorite part of that same process?

CR: I love researching and also the writing process. It’s so fun to watch the characters develop and see what God has in store for them. I usually start with a theme message or verse and a vague outline of the story, then pray for guidance on where the Lord wants to take it. Reaching The End is always a thrill too, as well as release day! =)

TRD: Your books are set in the 19th century. If you could choose anything from one of your character’s closet, shoebox, or jewelry box, what would it be?

CR: Hmm. Well, they didn’t have closets back then, at least not on the prairie. LOL! So I would say Becky Hollister’s treasured leather boots. In Book One in my Prairie Sky Series: Under This Same Sky, Becky Hollister’s boots are worn and ragged. Her blind friend, Jimmy Bodine, scrimps and saves to buy her a coveted pair of new leather boots in a true display of friendship.

Then there is also her mother’s wedding band which Becky’s father gives to her for safe keeping after her mother dies. It was Becky’s tie to home while she was away from the prairie.

TRD: What can we expect from you in the upcoming year in the Christian fiction world? I know your fans want to know!

CR: In just a few days, Book Three in the series: Under Moonlit Skies will be releasing. I’m excited to share Esther and Stew’s story with readers and pray they’ll be blessed in reading it. After that, I plan to write a standalone novel set during and after the Civil War about a wounded Union soldier who is nursed back to health by a southern belle. Later when he seeks her out, she has disappeared and the more he searches, the more her life seems shrouded in mystery. It’s very vague at this point. I’m still praying for what message the Lord intends for the story.

Hope y’all enjoyed that interview. I sure did! Ms. Cynthia, I too love Laura Frantz books!!! She is a fellow Kentuckian. I can see how her book inspired you. I’m glad you took the leap! I also love the time period your books are set in. AND, you’re going to write a Civil War novel?!!! You’re my kind of girl! Thank you again for being gracious enough to be a guest on The Reading Daisy.

Blessings Y’all!

Mandy🌼

From Ms. Cynthia…..

Here’s the Pre-order link for Under Moonlit Skies. It doesn’t actually release until next Tuesday (Sept.10th).

I would love for you to attend my Launch Party on Sept. 10th if you’re able as well! https://www.facebook.com/events/368406794085786/
I invite you to Sign Up for my Author Newsletter to receive updates on future novels. https://cynthiaroemer.us14.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=f265b224a5a776500a8fd3d17&id=f647853a44

Mail-Order Misfire Review

I hope y’all don’t mind a returning guest. I certainly don’t, especially when that guest is a sweet friend. Today I’ll be reviewing the novella “Mail-Order Misfire” by Davalynn Spencer. This book is part of the “Thanksgiving Books And Blessings” (collection two) series. There are six books within this series, and each one is written by a different author. You may or may not recognize all the names on the covers, but if you’re like me you will enjoy finding a new to you author. I will list all six novellas and their authors at the end of this post. Let’s get going and see what this story is all about!

Mail-Order Misfire

By: Davalynn Spencer

(The Blurb)

Book 2 in the Thanksgiving Books & Blessings Collection—and prequel for the Front Range Brides series—Mail-Order Misfire exposes the heart of a widowed lawman when he meets the bride his nine-year-old daughter wrote for without telling him.

Preacher Bern Stidham is a peacemaker—when he’s not carrying one on his hip. His little girl, Gracie, wants a helper for her preacher/sheriff papa and a mama for herself, so she writes their former pastor in Missouri asking for a mail-order bride.
Recently widowed dressmaker Etta Collier is a half-step ahead of the banker who carries a lustful eye for her as well as the note on her home. When her pastor receives a letter from little Gracie Stidham, he sees a solution for everyone’s problem and encourages Etta to answer Gracie’s request.
Running from one man’s lecherous pursuit into the home of another she knows nothing about, Etta Collier risks everything to ease a little girl’s loneliness and perhaps find a second chance at love. Book 2 in the Thanksgiving Books & Blessings Second Collection.

(My Review)

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As I began to read Mail Order Misfire by Davalynn Spencer I knew it would be a good book. She always writes fun stories that hold a few surprises. This book was no different as far as those aspects go. There were a number of unpredictable moments included, as well as some funny tidbits sprinkled throughout. The characters are fall-in-love-with worthy right from the start. I felt as though I was on the journey with Bern, Etta, and Gracie. I became stronger alongside them, and fell in love as well. I appreciated the God moments in this read and felt as if I grew Spiritually with each one. Thank you, Ms. Davalynn, for being an author I can count on to write an awesome book when I need just that in my life!

As I mentioned before, there are a total of six books in this second collection of Thanksgiving Books And Blessings. The books will be released individually from September 2nd through September 7th beginning with book one. Since Mail-Order Misfire is book two it will release on Tuesday September 3rd. You can preorder it on Amazon today! It is only $2.99 for Kindle! Now for your list of the series.

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Book 1 Texas Tears by Caryl McAdoo

Book 2 Mail-Order Misfire by Davalynn Spencer

Book 3 Thankful For The Cowboy by Mary Connealy

Book 4 Blizzards and Blessings by Samantha Bayarr

Book 5 Spring Of Thanksgiving by Liz Tolsma

Book 6 These Great Gifts by Allison Pittman

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Hope you’ll discover a fun read from this list! Make sure to come back next Friday for an author interview from a new to me author! I’m enjoying my first book from her now. See you then!

Blessings Y’all!

🌼Mandy🌼

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A Friend Loves At All Times. Proverbs 17:17

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I have heard some say that Jesus doesn’t perform miracles in these modern times. That miracles are only in the Bible. I have a very different view on this. I happen to know with all my heart that our Lord performs miracles every single day. Sometimes you have the privilege of seeing them happen before your eyes. And sometimes you have no idea.

In September 2010 my husband took me to Amish Country in Ohio. He was fulfilling a promise he had made to me that year on June second, our 9 year anniversary. The trip was my gift. We went to Charm, Ohio to meet and have dinner with Wanda Brunstetter at an Amish Farmhouse! At that time her newest book was Lydia’s Charm, set in Charm, Ohio. That trip was my dream come true! I had never met Wanda, I had never been to an Amish farmhouse, I had actually never visited Amish Country! To say I was excited is an understatement.

When we arrived at the dinner there wasn’t room to park cars at the Amish Family’s house, so we parked across the road and waited for a shuttle bus to take us to the Farm. So we parked in the designated lot and stepped out of the car to wait. I saw another lady waiting. I could contain my eagerness no longer! I walked closer to the lady and asked her, “Have you ever met Wanda Brunstetter?” She said she had not met her. Then I said the sentence we will never forget. “I’ve never met her either and I’m so excited I’m about to pee on myself!” Now those are the words that could begin something beautiful……right? The lady gave me a funny look and stood stoically, waiting for the shuttle to come.

The shuttle came, we go into the building where the dinner is being held. I get in line to get my book signed, and who is in line next to me? The lady from the parking lot. We chatted just a bit and I tried to keep my excitement to myself.

I got my book signed and found my husband who had already found a seat across from another man. It was crowded, so the seating choices were slim to none. I sat beside him and noticed there was a space beside the man across from us. I figured he was saving that space for his wife and I hoped she would be nice. I wanted this night to be perfect. I saw “the lady” come towards us and sure enough she sat in the space beside the man. She was his wife! She was so nice, her husband was as well. We talked all through dinner. We exchanged names and invited each other to be friends on Facebook. She even told me she would send some books to me that she no longer wanted. I didn’t think that would happen, but I gave her my address anyway.

When the dinner was over us and the couple across the table were the last ones to leave. Our chatter never ceased. The couple was Bill and JoEllen from Cleveland, Ohio, who almost didn’t come to the dinner. JoEllen wasn’t feeling well before they left.

We were home about a week when I received a package with 20 books in it from none other than JoEllen! We had already become Facebook friends. We also exchanged phone numbers. The next year in August she wanted to spend her birthday here with us in Kentucky. Since then we have each spent many nights at the other’s house, we talk on the phone all the time, and we even went back to the Wanda Brunstetter dinner together in 2011. JoEllen is one of my very best friends, and it isn’t an accident that we met. It is a miracle from God! A lot of things, seen and unseen, had to happen for us to meet, and it was all orchestrated by God, our Father. So you see, this is a miracle. We do not live in the same area, we’re not the same age, and I said pee in the first sentence I ever spoke to JoEllen! We still laugh about that. So, although the odds were against us, God was for us, and that is what matters.

S

So this week I am interviewing JoEllen to see a reader’s point of view. Let’s get into it!

TRD: If you could read only one fiction book for the rest of your life what would it be?

JoEllen: As crazy as it sounds, Dr Suess The Cat in the Hat. As we age and life becomes more complicated I want to go back to simpler times where we do not have to over think every thing but just enjoy. I still have my original Dr Suess library on my shelves today. Just looking at them makes me happy.

TRD: What genre (within Christian Fiction is your favorite to read?

JoEllen: The genre that is my favorite is Amish fiction. As a child my Grandfather (Pappy) would go with our family to Heini’s Cheese Factory in Berlin, OH which is still there today. I was so fascinated with the Amish culture that I would tell people when they would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up….Amish 😁.

TRD: Who are your top five favorite authors?

Joellen: My five favorite authors is a very difficult choice.

1) Dr. Seuss – He taught me to read as well as promoted my love of reading.

2) Beverly Lewis- The Queen of Amish fiction. She allowed me a glimpse into a life that was very secretive to me.

3) Suzanne Woods Fisher – For the development of Amish families we got to know who became our families. She also shared her heart through her and her father’s journey through Alzheimer’s.

4) Wanda Brunstetter – For her book signings and dinners in Amish homes which allowed me to meet my Kentucky sister.

5) Amy Clipston – For the so well developed characters throughout her series who always wanted us leaving more. She also endeared herself through sharing her husband’s journey which in turn made her an organ donor.

TRD: What is the best thing an author can do to make you want to read their book?

JoEllen: The best thing an author can do to interest me in their book is to post a pic of the cover and to let me know if the book is an upbeat easy read or a troubled life (abuse, sickness, losing Faith, etc.) More in depth read. At different seasons in my life I’m more drawn to a book that is the opposite of where I am in life.

TRD: What is your favorite Facebook page or website that is dedicated to Christian Fiction in some way?

JoEllen: My favorite FB page or website that is dedicated to Christian Fiction in some way is Keeping Up With The Amish. All the participants enjoy sharing not only books but events, prayer requests and much more.

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Blessings Y’all,

Mandy🌼

The Healing Jar by: Wanda Brunstetter

I just finished the finale of The Prayer Jar series by Wanda Brunstetter. I think this is one of her best series in a while. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all Wanda Brunstetter books. I think the mystery and intrigue of this series elevated the stories for me. My review is below.

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Review:
The Healing Jar is the third installment of The Prayer Jars Series and it is a great conclusion to that series. If you have been reading from book one you will already know most of the characters and you will be welcomed back with open arms! There will also be a few new characters to bring into the fold. In this book there are many questions answered and many mysteries explained.

The only issue I had with this story was how some things seemed to be crammed into the end of the book to help conclude or add to the story. One example is the heart shaped rock. In my opinion it should have been referred to from the beginning of the book. It would have been more meaningful at the end, for me.

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