Saturday, July 22, 2017

Gathering the Threads By Cindy Woodsmall

Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves,
Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—
or completely rip them apart?

After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family? 
Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart.

Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

Pick up your copy here...

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times, CBA, ECPA, and USA Today best-selling author who has written seventeen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal,and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the one of the top three most popular authors of Amish fiction.

She's won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer's Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings' Best Books of the Year. She's been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn't realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn't allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy's house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them--afraid that if they didn't, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann's because her family didn't own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults' disapproval and the obstacles in each other's lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy's family moved to another region of the US.

As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities--from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.

Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.

If you'd like more information or to contact her, you can go to her website: or Facebook

My Thoughts...
I have read this whole series. The Amish of Summer Grove is book three and the final one. I loved the first two book in the series and could not wait to hear more from this family. It is truly a series about family.
Skylar and Ariana story are not like any other. Amish or English which family makes you feel loved and part of the family?
One defiant and one working on sobriety. This makes for a good storyline.
You have to check out this series it's a different twist on the average Amish story.
I gave this book 4 stars. I liked this series.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Healing Love By Jennifer Slattery

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn't on the agenda. Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams. Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above. When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of "missional tourists" full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

Pick up your copy here...
Jennifer Slattery writes missional romance novels for New Hope Publishers. Her debut, "Beyond I Do", releases in August. She also writes Christian Living articles for and devotions for her personal blog, JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud; Internet Cafe Devotions; and Takin' it to the Streets', a ministry serving Omaha Metro's working poor and homeless.

When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, hanging out at the mall with her teenage daughter, enjoying her real-life hero husband, or serving in her church or community.

My Thoughts...

 This is a God inspired book. Not preachy but very faithfully written. I loved every page of it. Slattery took a topic like going on a Mission trip  and orphans and made it shine. I held on to every word of this book.
This book leaves you with something to take away and keep you thinking. I have read all of Slattery's books and I take away something from everyone of them.
I can't find the words to tell you how much I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one. If you have not read one of Jennifer's books this is the one to start with, you will not be sorry.
This is a 5 star read and one that I recommend. Run don't walk and pick up your copy.
The Mary Reader received this book from the author for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Seven Brides for Seven Mail Order Husbands By Seven Authors

Meet seven of Turtle Springs, Kansas’, finest women who are determined to revive their small town after the War Between the States took most of its men. . .and didn’t return them. The ladies decide to advertise for husbands and devise a plan for weeding out the riff raff. But how can they make the best practical choices when their hearts cry out to be loved?

Abigail’s Proposal by Cynthia Hickey
When her father never returned from the war, Abigail Melton stepped into his role as town mayor. The town needs men, and she needs a husband—and she has a big idea how to find both—but her first duty is to hire a sheriff. And drifter Josiah Ingram will do just fine.

Dime Novel Suitor by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Widow Caroline Kane is the proprietor of a restaurant and inn—and responsible for her five teenaged siblings. But she has no plans of finding a mail-order groom. Britisher Barden Granville IV is on a “cowboy holiday” when he finds himself flat broke in Kansas.  When he answers an old “help wanted” ad, Caroline misconstrues Barden is there as a potential husband. Will the beautiful and fiesty widow cause the new vicar to make Kansas his home?

Pick up your copy here...
Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is an ECPA-bestselling award-winning author of Christian historical romance. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! She resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which is perfect for her love of history. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!
Cynthia Hickey has been making up stories since she was a child. How fortunate that she finally found an outlet for her, uh, fictional tellings.

Multi-published and Amazon Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey had three cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. Her first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. Her third cozy, Chocolate-Covered Crime, received a four-star review from Romantic Times. All three cozies have been re-released as ebooks through the MacGregor Literary Agency, along with a new cozy series, all of which stay in the top 50 of Amazon’s ebooks for their genre. She had several historical romances release through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold over half a million copies of her works since 2013. She has taught a Continuing Education class at the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers conference. You can find her on FB, twitter, and Goodreads, and is a contributor to Cozy Mystery Magazine blog and Suspense Sisters blog. She and her husband run the small press, Forget Me Not Romances, which includes some of the CBA’s best well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs, two cats, three box turtles, and two Sulcata tortoises. She has seven grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. Visit her website at
My Thoughts...

I only read Carrie's novella and Cynthia's novella. I am fans of both these authors and I enjoyed both of them.
I highly recommend this book just for those two novella's alone. I found my self lost in Turtle Springs, Kansas, not wanting to leave. Dime Size Suitor By Carrie Pagels was a page turner, I have to say the only bad thing was it ended way to soon for me. I wish just a few authors had wrote this in place of seven different ones.
Abigail's Proposal by Cynthia Hickey was the same for me, it ended way to soon for my liking.
After reading these  two novella's in this book I have to say Great authors should refrain from writing novellas.
I gave these novellas' 4 stars if for no other reason pick up this book just for these two novellas'.
The Mary Reader received this book from one of the authors for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Interview With Eric Schumacher

History and legend combine in the gripping tale of Hakon Haraldsson, a Christian boy who once fought for the High Seat of a Viking realm.

It is 935 A.D. and the North is in turmoil. King Harald Fairhair has died, leaving the High Seat of the realm to his murderous son, Erik Bloodaxe. To solidify his claim, Erik ruthlessly disposes of all claimants to his throne, save one: his youngest brother Hakon.

Erik's surviving enemies send a ship to Wessex, where the Christian King Athelstan is raising Hakon. Unable to avoid his fate, he returns to the Viking North to face his brother and claim his birthright, only to discover that victory will demand sacrifices beyond his wildest nightmares.

It is 935 A.D. and Hakon Haraldsson has just wrested the High Seat of the North from his ruthless brother, Erik Bloodaxe. Now, he must fight to keep it.

The land-hungry Danes are pressing from the south to test Hakon before he can solidify his rule. In the east, the Uplanders are making their own plans to seize the throne. It does not help that Hakon is committed to his dream of Christianizing his people - a dream his countrymen do not share and will fight to resist.

As his enemies move in and his realm begins to crumble, Hakon and his band of oath-sworn warriors must make a stand in Raven's Feast, the riveting sequel to God's Hammer.

Eric Schumacher (1968 - ) is an American historical novelist who currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife and two children. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended college at the University of San Diego.

At a very early age, Schumacher discovered his love for writing and medieval European history, as well as authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Those discoveries continue to fuel his imagination and influence the stories he tells. His first novel, God's Hammer, was published in 2005.

For more information, visit his website:

Welcome Mr. Eric Schumacher,
What is the most important thing you hope readers will take away from reading your books?
There are a lot of things I’d love for people to take away from my books. Everything from more knowledge about Hakon and that time period, to a few hours of reading enjoyment. But if I had to boil it down to one thing, then I’d say knowledge of Hakon. While we don't know all of the facts about Hakon's life, we do know that even if marginally true, Hakon's story takes many of the norms of Viking literature and turns them on their head. This not only makes him a memorable hero, but one that instantly drew me to him as a character.
When Hakon returns from England to fight for the throne of Norway, he is a fourteen-year-old Christian. In other words, he’s unlike most, if not all, Viking heroes in the sagas. Here is essentially a boy fighting a man’s game, and doing so with one hand tied behind his back because he practices a faith few of his countrymen condone. Yet, Hakon clings to his faith, and it is a decision that plagues him. He is essentially fighting two battles: one against his physical enemies and one against his own desire to remain true to himself. His strength in holding firm to his beliefs is, in many ways, both the source of his power and his greatest weakness.
I hope my readers will see that struggle and recognize his story as something different from other Viking tales.

How does your faith play in your writing?
I would characterize my faith as both personal and rife with questions. I have an inquisitive mind by nature, so it was always difficult for me to accept religion without questions. Early in my life, I lost my brother tragically and that made me question faith even more. That said, I am fascinated by people’s religious beliefs and convictions, especially in the face of life’s trials; and I love investigating how faith can motivate our actions, for better or worse. Hakon is a perfect example of that ongoing investigation.

Why did you write a series?
The story of Hakon Haraldsson’s rise and rule spans over 30 years. It starts as a child and a teenager, and ends as a middle age man. To cover it all in one book, I felt like I would have had to omit some of the details that I think are important to Hakon’s life, such as his motivations and mindset, both of which I could see changing over time. I wanted to bring those changes out, and I didn’t feel one expansive novel would allow me to do that.

Why did you choose this genre?
I’ve always loved history. To me, history was never just about places and names and dates. It is about people and the motivations that drive them to do certain things. The story of those people is, in my mind, what makes history come to life. Historical fiction is the perfect vehicle for investigating those motivations and putting meat on the bones of people who might otherwise just be a line on the page of some history book or historical manuscript.

What was the problem that was your greatest roadblock and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock to telling Hakon’s story (and frankly, my greatest roadblock to writing in general) was life itself. I always loved to write but never considered it a career. As a result, I pursued a career in business. Halfway through my Masters program in business I realized that I wanted to be a writer. The realization was both stunning and frustrating. Stunning because it never dawned on me before. Frustrating because the timing couldn’t have been worse. I had just gotten married, had taken on student loans, and was in the middle of a two-year program. I felt I needed to pursue a business career to make ends meet. So, I wrote when I could fit it in, which was only a few hours a week. Inch by frustrating inch the book came together. Between the research and the writing, God’s Hammer and Raven’s Feast took me years to write. I’m hopeful that the third book in Hakon’s Saga will not take as long.

What is the quirkiest thing you ever done?
I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life, but I wouldn’t call them quirky. I suppose being an avid Dungeon & Dragons (it’s a board game) player when I was young could be considered quirky by some. I was the Dungeon Master, the person who came up with the adventures, dungeons and worlds in which the other players played. I would spend hours and hours developing these adventures with their storylines and monsters. Looking back on it, I’m thankful I did, as I’m sure it contributing significantly to my writing.

How do you choose your characters names?
Many of the characters in my book are mentioned in the sagas, so there was no choice in their names. For those characters, it was more about choosing the spelling. For example, Hakon is spelled as Haakon, HÃ¥kon, Hakan, Hakon and so forth in the sagas. I tried to pick the version of the name that would be easiest to pronounce phonetically and that would not trip up readers with their spelling.

Those characters not mentioned in the sagas I gave names that I thought fit the characters. For instance, I chose Udd for a boorish man. I just thought the name fit.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Being a Viking fan, I’ve visited many of the Viking sites in Western Europe. What I haven’t done yet and would love to do is to follow the Viking trading routes east from Scandinavia and down through Russia to Istanbul. That would be amazing!

Tell us about your family?
I have two awesome kids -- a boy who’s twelve and a girl who’s nine -- and a beautiful wife, who I’ve been married to for 23 years and who has been nothing but supportive of my writing. We also have a two-year-old dog named Peanut, and a fish whose name keeps changing (I finally gave up trying to remember it!)

Who is your favorite author?
Unfortunately, I don’t have just one. There are several I love for their subject matter and their style. Those are (in no particular order): Tolkien, Bernard Cornwell, Giles Kristian, Frans Bengtsson, Wilbur Smith, and Jack Whyte. I’m sure there are others that I’ll remember later, but off the top of my head, those are the authors that come to mind.

Tell readers how to keep up with you?
Reader can find me in a number of places. Here are the main spots:
Twitter: @DarkAgeScribe

I look forward to connecting!

Upcoming News:
Now is a great time to pick up a copy of God’s Hammer. The book will be on sale on Amazon US/UK this July 20-23 for $0.99 / £0.99.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

31 Surprising Reasons to Believe In God By Rick Stedman

Could Our Lives Be Surrounded by
Surprising Clues to God's Existence?
We've all had doubts about God's existence—or we know people who have. What if we could uncover evidence of the reality of God that would bolster our faith or plant seeds of belief in the hearts of skeptics?

This 31-day intellectual journey reveals hints of the divine all around us—in what we believe, what we love, what we have, and what we know. Discover how sports, superheroes, science, and dozens of other topics point to unexpected clues of God's existence.

This carefully reasoned yet whimsical approach to a perplexing topic paves the way for meaningful dialogue between those who believe in God and those who are skeptical.

Pick up your copy here...

Dr. Rick Stedman is a collector of classic-rock vinyl LPs, bookaholic, author, pastor, and devoted husband and father. He founded and for two decades led Adventure Christian Church in Roseville, California. He has graduate degrees in theology, philosophy, and ministry, and is the author of Praying the Armor of God and Praying the Psalms.

My Thoughts...

This is a book for a lost soul someone we would call an unbeliever. It's not a book for a believer. I think it would help with questions a lost person would have and it would give them understanding.
I would use this in a group as a study. But it does not have much scripture and its like one mans opinion more then a biblical Bible study book.
I did not find it having biblical merit. It's good for a younger group maybe. But with no scripture to back up a lot of what is said some searching will have a hard time with it.
I was not real impressed with it but it does have some quotes form some theologians that might help with the study.
I gave this book 4 stars and I say its more for the unbeliever than someone strong in their walk with the Lord.
 The Mary Reader received this book from Wynn Wynn Media for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own

Monday, July 17, 2017

Get Out Of That Pit By Beth Moore

From her first breath of fresh air beyond the pit, it has never been enough for Beth Moore to be free.
This best-selling author and Bible teacher who has opened the riches of Scripture to millions longs for you to be free as well—to know the Love and Presence that are better than life and the power of God’s Word that defies all darkness.
Beth’s journey out of the pit has been heart-rending. But from this and the poetic expressions of Psalm 40 has come the reward: a new song for her soul, given by her Saviour and offered to you in Get Out of That Pit—friend to friend. This is Beth’s most stirring message yet of the sheer hope, utter deliverance, and complete and glorious freedom of God:
I waited patiently for the Lord
He turned to me and heard my cry
He lifted me out of the slimy pit
He set my feet on a rock
He put a new song in my mouth
It is a story, a song—a salvation—that you can know too.
[New Cover for 10th Anniversary]

Pick up your copy here...

Beth Moore has written many best-selling books and is a dynamic teacher and a prolific Bible-study author whose public speaking engagements take her across the United States to challenge tens of thousands. Beth is focused on teaching women all over the world and is known and respected wherever she goes. She is a dedicated wife and mother of two adult daughters and lives in Houston, Texas, where she leads Living Proof Ministries and teaches an adult Sunday school class at her church.

My Thoughts...
We all fall and get back up again and Beth has shared that with us in her Book Get out of that Pit. It's 10 year anniversary is this year and Beth has repacked this wonderful book. I like this cover much better than the old one. The content is the same nothing changed.
But now you can share it with new readers in your life going through something hard or in pain and need to know that there is hope. 
Beth shares how Gods love and presence is right here with us. She shares scriptures  through out the book. And  the end of the book has  A discovery Guide for you to use in a bible study or small group. I hope that everyone picks up a copy of this book and shares it is well.
I gave this book 4 stars and I recommend it.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.