Thursday, February 28, 2019

Bernice Butman, Model Citizen By Niki Lenz

Bernice Buttman is tough, crass, and hilarious, and she just might teach you a thing or two about empathy in this debut reminiscent of The Great Gilly Hopkins.When you're a Buttman, the label "bully" comes with the territory, and Bernice lives up to her name. But life as a bully is lonely, and if there's one thing Bernice really wants (even more than becoming a Hollywood stuntwoman), it's a true friend.

After her mom skedaddles and leaves her in a new town with her aunt (who is also a real live nun), Bernice decides to mend her ways and become a model citizen. If her plan works, she just might be able to get herself to Hollywood Hills Stunt Camp! But it's hard to be kind when no one shows you kindness, so a few cheesy pranks may still be up her sleeve. . . .

Get ready to laugh out loud--and maybe even shed a tear--with this fantastic new middle-grade voice

Pre-Order your copy here...

Niki Lenz is an author living in Kansas City, Missouri. She is married to a handsome and brave police officer and has two adorable children. She studied elementary education at Southwest Baptist University and taught kindergarten for six years. She enjoys reading, travel, glamping, polka dots, red lipstick, and oldies music. Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen is her first novel.

My Thoughts...

What a fun, laugh out loud read. It's a good book for 7-12 year olds. A book that I think all middle grade teachers should have the whole class read. Bullying is a huge issue and this book is a great read and learning experience about bullying.
I gave this book 4 stars and recommend it. Teachers should have this book in their classrooms.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Pretend She's Here By Luanne Rice

Emily Lonergan's best friend died last year.

And Emily hasn't stopped grieving. Lizzie Porter was lively, loud, and fun -- Emily's better half. Emily can't accept that she's gone.

When Lizzie's parents and her sister come back to town to visit, Emily's heartened to see them. The Porters understand her pain. They miss Lizzie desperately, too.

Desperately enough to do something crazy.

Something unthinkable.

Suddenly, Emily's life is hurtling toward a very dark place -- and she's not sure she'll ever be able to return to what she once knew was real.

Pick up your copy here:

Luanne Rice is the New York Times bestselling author of 34 novels, which have been translated into 24 languages. The author of Dream Country, Beach Girls, The Secret Language of Sisters and others, Rice often writes about love, family, nature, and the sea. She received the 2014 Connecticut Governor’s Arts Award for excellence and lifetime achievement in the Literary Arts category.

Several of Rice's novels have been adapted for television, including Crazy in Love for TNT, Blue Moon for CBS, Follow the Stars Home and Silver Bells for the Hallmark Hall of Fame, and Beach Girls for Lifetime. Rice's four cats are her muses, and she speaks their language. She lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

My Thoughts...

This book took off from the beginning. It's not one of those books that picks up half way. I did not however find the kidnapping appropriate for young adults. But the storyline was done very well and held my attention. I would say this book is more for almost adults.
This is a 3 star book for young adults, not sure they will under stand the kidnapping and the mental illness. But as an adult reader it was a 4 star read for me!
 The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Heart's Design By JoAnn Durgin

Caroline wants to grab hold of the future. Seth can't let go of the past. Recent Wellesley College graduate Caroline Prescott's future is set in stone. After Harvard Law School, she'll step into place beside her two brothers in their father's legendary Boston law firm. Caroline secretly longs for the quiet, peaceful life and a career designing jewelry with precious gemstones instead of life as a hotshot Boston attorney. On a hiking trip with her two best friends weeks before entering law school, Caroline meets Seth Barnes in charming Evergreen, Maine. A mineralogist and part-time college professor, Seth drives a truck sporting an I DIG ROCKS license plate, lives in hiking clothes, flannel shirts and jeans, and loves Jesus. Two years later, when they meet again, Caroline and Seth confront both the promise of possibility and the pain of past heartaches. What's a girl to do when the man she secretly loves has a serious girlfriend and seems determined to hold her at arm's length? And what's a guy to do when he can't stay away from a certain irresistible woman no matter how hard he tries? Does the Lord have His own design for their hearts? Heart's Design, a story filled with faith, love, friendship, family, and the power of forgiveness.

Pick up your copy here...

USA Today Bestselling Author JoAnn Durgin's debut novel, Awakening (November 2010), is the beginning of the beloved Lewis Legacy Series of contemporary Christian romantic adventures with eleven books and counting, including Prelude, the prequel to the series. A special Christmas book, Let Your Light Shine: A Lewis Legacy Christmas, is the latest release, and two more installments are planned for the series (Underground, Lewis Legacy 10, and Assurance, Lewis Legacy 11, and the final book in the series). A spin-off series is lined up right behind it where you never know when one of the original TeamWork volunteers or a Lewis family member might pop up unexpectedly to keep it fun. Then a series will come called The Lewis Legacy Heirs, based on the love stories of the grown-up TeamWork kids.

Ms. Durgin's other latest release is Portrait, Book One of a new series called The Grantham-Michaels Series, set in the beautiful area of Carmel, Monterey, and Pebble Beach, California.

JoAnn is also the author of the Amazon top-selling Whisper to My Heart, Catching Serenity, Heart's Design and its sequel, Gentle Like the Rain. Her other books include The Wondrous Love Series, Perchance to Dream, Echoes of Edinburgh, The Serendipity Christmas Series, The Valentine Verse, and The Treasured Vow Series.

As a fun project after the release of her 25th published novel, JoAnn recently started a new series of shorter novels with the pen name of Julianna Desmond. Two novels have been released thus far: Only A Heartbeat Away and Only A Breath Away. You can read more on the separate Amazon author page for Julianna Desmond. These books will be stand-alone, complete, happily ever after short(er) novels. Rest assured, they will be written in JoAnn's signature style with humor, romance, grace, and faith, and will be connected only by their similar titles.

A former estate administration paralegal, JoAnn now writes full-time, and she loves nothing more than sharing her stories of faith, family, and love in glorifying her Savior, Jesus Christ. After living from coast to coast in the U.S., she now resides with her family in her native southern Indiana.

The Thoughts...

I love a good romance and the fact that this one has so much about faith in it made it so fun to read. It was a quick read, it did not drag on and I was sad to see the last page. I love when characters are easy to connect with and you can feel that connection throughout the whole book.
This is a 4 star read. I recommend this one.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Monday, February 25, 2019

When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams By Jill Eileen Smith

Life is full of twists and turns. Relationships falter, careers fizzle, health fades. We may be faced with choices we never wanted to make or have situations pushed upon us we'd never expected. Yet, in all of it, God is at our side--even when he feels far away.

Drawing on her extensive research into women of the Old Testament, novelist Jill Eileen Smith turns her pen to the lessons in trusting God that we can learn today from women like

- Eve
- Noah's wife
- Sarai
- Hagar
- Lot's wife
- Rebekah
- Rachel
- and more

Readers will learn from what these ancient women did right--and even what they did wrong--when faced with dashed expectations and deferred dreams. And they'll come away with the confidence that ours is a faithful God who loves us and is forming us through our trials into the women he longs for us to be.

Pick up your copy here...

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling and award-winning author of the biblical fiction series The Wives of King David, Wives of the Patriarchs, The Loves of King Solomon, and Daughters of the Promised Land. Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan. Learn more at

My Thoughts...

These topics are all great for a small group and to help  in the small group you  have Ponder This at the end of each chapter and Taking it Further ,discussion questions at the end of each chapter.
Here are the topics in the book:
• Eve: From Regret to Freedom
• Noah’s Wife: From Chaos to Hope
• Sarai: From Duplicity to Trust
• Hagar: from Invisible to Noticed
• Lot’s Wife: From Clinging to Releasing
• Rebekah: From Controlling to Trusting
• Rachel: From Wounded to Forgiving
• Leah: From Risk to Faith
• Dinah: From Loss to Acceptance
• Potiphar’s Wife: From Rejection to Denial
• Tamar: From Broken Promises to Restoration
• Zipporah: From Fighting to Freedom

 Hope for today from 12 Women from the Bible.

This is a book all the church ladies can learn from.
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, February 22, 2019

In Sickness and in Health By David Hawkins

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? 
When you first met your spouse you probably had a physical response to the emotions you felt. You’d get butterflies in your stomach, your heart would race, and your palms would sweat. So why is it that after you’re married, it’s so hard to make the connection between your physical health and your emotional well-being when you’re facing relational stress?
If your emotional pain feels physical and your physical pain feels emotional, your marriage may be making you sick—literally. Join Dr. David Hawkins and his sons, an internist and a surgeon, as they explore the effects relational stress and trauma can have on our bodies. You will learn to . . .
  • recognize the link between emotional and physical pain
  • embrace the power of choice to become empowered by hope
  • find a path forward to ultimate restoration and regain your life
No matter what kind of pain you’re experiencing, or how long your health has been in decline, you don’t have to stay stuck. Discover hope and healing when you take control of your life.

Pick up your copy here...

Dr. David Hawkins, MBA, MSW, MA, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and director of the Marriage Recovery Center who has helped bring healing to thousands of marriages and individuals since he began his work in 1976. He is passionate about working with couples in crisis and offering them ways of healing their wounds and finding their way back to being passionately in love with each other.

Over the past ten years, Dr. Hawkins has become a leader in the field of treatment for narcissism and emotional abuse within relationships. He is also a speaker & trainer for the American Association of Christian Counselors and writes for, and He is a weekly guest on Moody Radio and Faith Radio and is a best-selling author of over thirty books.

He has two grown sons, is happily married to Christie Hawkins, and lives on Bainbridge Island, outside Seattle, WA.

My Thoughts...

 Who is ready to take back control of their life? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?
If you answered YES then you need a copy of this book.
This is a book is for couples looking to strengthen their relationships and step up their marriage.
Less stress in your marriage makes for a better life together.
Healing yourself is connected with healing others. This is such an eye opening read.
I gave this book 4 stars and I recommend it for all couples.
 The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Winter Sister By Megan Collins

In this spellbinding and suspenseful debut, a young woman haunted by the past returns home to care for her ailing mother and begins to dig deeper into her sister’s unsolved murder.Sixteen years ago, Sylvie’s sister Persephone never came home. Out too late with the boyfriend she was forbidden to see, Persephone was missing for three days before her body was found—and years later, her murder remains unsolved.

In the present day, Sylvie returns home to care for her estranged mother, Annie, as she undergoes treatment for cancer. Prone to unexplained “Dark Days” even before Persephone’s death, Annie’s once-close bond with Sylvie dissolved in the weeks after their loss, making for an uncomfortable reunion all these years later. Worse, Persephone’s former boyfriend, Ben, is now a nurse at the cancer center where Annie is being treated. Sylvie’s always believed Ben was responsible for the murder—but she carries her own guilt about that night, guilt that traps her in the past while the world goes on around her.

As she navigates the complicated relationship with her mother, Sylvie begins to uncover the secrets that fill their house—and what really happened the night Persephone died. As it turns out, the truth will set you free, once you can bear to look at it.

The Winter Sister is a mesmerizing portrayal of the complex bond between sisters, between mothers and daughters alike, and forces us to ask ourselves—how well do we know the people we love most?

Pick up your copy here...

Megan Collins holds an MFA from Boston University. She has taught creative writing at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and Central Connecticut State University. She is also the managing editor of 3Elements Review. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in many journals, including Compose, Spillway, Rattle, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. Find her online at, on Twitter @ImMeganCollins, and on Facebook @megancollinswriter.

My Thoughts...

My best friend started getting Book of the Month books and she got this book and instead of reading it first she gave it to me to read so that I would have something good to read. I can't wait for her to read it now!
I have started reading  a ton of psychological thrillers  since my daughter passed away. I need something to think about and try to figure out. I don't normally post reviews of books that I buy or that are given to me but this is a debut book that I just had to share with you.
You are going to read it in one sitting and it's a fast read.
A suspense that you will not soon forget.
I will not give anything away, I will just say you must read this one.
4 stars and I recommend it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Hope In the Hard Places By Sarah Beckman

Hope in the Hard Places is a practical, encouraging guidebook for the weary soul looking for hope in dark circumstances.
In this life, everyone must face trials. Cancer, chronic illness, loss of a loved one, divorce, depression, prodigal children, caring for aging parents, and other unknown terrains can cause people to feel hopeless and helpless. For those who feel like they don’t know where to turn, Hope in the Hard Places equips readers to walk through their trial with hope rather than desperation. Sarah Beckman, a speaker and author, teaches effective and powerful ways to get through the pain with biblical truths and principles. She also includes insight from others who have experienced all manner of trials. Packed with practical strategies, checklists, encouragement, wisdom from seasoned travelers, and rock-solid biblical truth, Hope in the Hard Places provides a beacon of hope in the darkness so that readers can walk through the depths of hardship with insight, dignity, and certainty.

Pick up your copy here...

Sarah Beckman grew up the youngest of 14 children. As a young girl, her family endured much trial and the community gathered around her family—or came alongside—to provide for them in a very dark time when her Dad was hospitalized and they lost their family home. After her parents divorced, she watched her Mom love others, even in the midst of raising a bucket full of children as a single mom.

As an adult, Sarah experienced health trials of her own, which put her on the receiving end of help once again, as she faced bedrest and multiple back surgeries in just a few short years. During that time, Sarah also walked alongside three close family/friends who faced terminal illness.

Through her experiences on both sides of the bed, Sarah recognized the need for better information about just how to serve others who were experiencing significant trials in their life, whether it was cancer, death of a loved one, long-term illness or any other life-altering circumstance. There were lots of short articles or blog posts, but she was unable to find a comprehensive resource about how to help others effectively.

So she created one herself. Her own experience, coupled with interviews with over 50 people who faced all manner of trials, is woven together to create a guide like no other. Filled with practical advice, poignant stories, and loads of insight, you will never have to be uncertain about helping someone you care about when they're in need again.

Alongside is your solution. And it's Sarah's life mission to help you love people well. No matter the circumstance.

My Thoughts...

This was a very insightful book. Some of the stories were very helpful and brought a whole new light to what I have been going through.
I think that many people will get some comfort and  help from his book.
I gave this book 4 stars.
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, February 15, 2019

Profound Good By Blake Healy

What you see of God is only part of the story.
From the time Blake Healy was a small child, he has seen angels, demons, and other spiritual things. He sees them with his naked eyes, as vividly and clearly as anything else. Everyplace he goes, every person he meets, every day that goes by, he sees in the spirit.
After thirty years of seeing in the spirit, one thing has consistently been the most painful for him to see. It is not when he sees someone trapped in demonic oppression. It is not when he sees the gaping wounds of emotional trauma. It is when he sees the goodness of God go unclaimed by His people.
In this book Healy takes readers on a journey of rediscovering the goodness of God. It fills the churches we visit every week. It moves across the sea from nation to nation. All we have to do is learn how to see it and receive it, and then we will watch every corner of the world be completely transformed by the power of His profound good.

Pick up your copy here:

Blake K. Healy is one of the senior team members at Bethel Church of Atlanta in Georgia. He is also the director of the Bethel Atlanta School of Supernatural Ministry. He lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, with his wife, April, and their four wonderful children: Haydon, Finnley, November, and Ender. For more information or to contact Blake, visit

My Thoughts...

Are you looking for a teaching tool for small groups that are hungry for more God?
This just might be the book for you.
I took my time and read it and really liked the Thoughts to Ponder at the end of each chapter.
It's not preachy and full of knock you up side the head with to much scripture.
I gave this book 4 stars. 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.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day

I just want to take the time today to tell you all I love you and I am very thankful for you!

Many blog followers ask me about romance books and what I would recommend so I am going to share just a few with you today!

Denise Hunter does not have a bad book, I recommend ALL of her books but today this one is on sale if you read Kindle books if not Buy the book it is very good!

Pick up your copy here for $1.99

 Another author that you can't go wrong with is Rachel Hauck, ALL of her books are so worth your time to read. Here is one that you should read today!

Pick up your copy here:

If you are looking for a Non- Fiction  book to read then I would recommend The 5 Love Languages!

Pick up your copy here:

I hope that you all have a great Day and always remember that I LOVE YOU!

Now tell me what books that you would recommend for me to read!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Art of Hard Conversations By Lori Roeleveld

Your next conversation could impact someone's life foreverHard conversations challenge everyone. Some people make every effort to avoid them altogether; others dive in enthusiastically, damaging relationships in the process. A solid middle ground is difficult to find--especially for those who want to make sure they're following a biblical model for these tough encounters.

Lori Roeleveld firmly believes that the dialogues everyday Christians delay are often the very channels God wants to use to deepen relationships and transform lives. And she is eager to address the challenges they pose and to guide readers to meaningful conversations that rely on the wisdom of the Bible rather than the world.

In The Art of Hard Conversations, Roeleveld provides motivation, inspiration, and practical, readily applied skills to make those tricky talks more effective. Through funny, vulnerable personal stories, sound biblical teaching, and sections of tips and assignments to practice, the principles here are guaranteed to increase the confidence and competence of Christians in discussing sensitive topics of every kind.

Pick up your copy here...

Disturber of hobbits. Making comfortable Christians continually late for dinner. Blogger. Wife. Mother. Part-time giant-slayer. Not available for children's parties.

Lori has degrees in Psychology and Biblical Studies as well as extensive experience with families in crisis and at-risk youth. She's followed Jesus into numerous adventures and hasn't been bored for a single moment of it.

Lori disturbs hobbits from her home base in Rhode Island where she lives with her husband Rob. Her two adult children (along with their families) have followed Jesus into their own adventures (which include kids, dogs, goats, and new addresses.)

Continue the conversation with Lori at her website, She's always ready for a hard (or easy) conversation with readers.

My Thoughts...

If your like me and love to talk to people about books and that's all you want to talk about not the hard stuff, then you need this book in your life.
All silliness aside if you struggle with the right words to say in a difficult conversation then I hope you check this book out.
This a great help for most of us and I got a lot from this book.
I gave this book 4 stars.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

When I pray for You By Matthew Turner GIVEAWAY!

From the author and illustrator of the best-selling When God Made You comes a new illuminating message about God's design affirming young readers.With lyricism, whimsy, and heartfelt emotion, Matthew Paul Turner reveals the tender emotions connected with watching a beloved child grow up and experience the world. Paired with Kimberley Barnes's vivid and playful illustrations, When I Pray for You is a beautifully affirming book, in which children and parents will see their own stories come to life.

When I Pray for You celebrates the dreams, hopes, and longings parents pray over their children, and shares with the little ones how much care and concern a loved one feels for them.

This is a book you will read to your child again and again. Perfect for any occasion, as well as for milestones including baby showers, birthdays, and graduations.

From the moment I saw you,
I started to pray.
Big prayers and small ones
I have sent God's way.

I prayed you felt safe,
full of joy and content.
When I whispered "I love you,"
you knew what I meant.

Pick up your copy here...

Matthew Paul Turner is the best-selling author of "When God Made You," "Churched,"and "Hear No Evil." He, and his wife, Jessica, along with their kids, Elias, Adeline, and Ezra, live in Nashville, Tennessee.

My Thoughts...

I love children's books with great illustrations that capture kids attention. But its even better when the story teller can hook the kids as well as the pictures.
This is a fun book for the kiddos. I loved it and can't wait to share it with you all. 
This is a four star kids books we can all enjoy. So what are you waiting for? Run and get your copy and start reading it to your kids tonight.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

American Omens By Travis Thrasher Giveaway!

In this taut thriller that imagines a near-future America following the decline of the Religious Right, where the Christ-followers who have anticipated a rising intolerance for their beliefs for decades find out they're right after all.In the US in 2038, a secret society is imposing its agenda on outspoken Christian leaders, killing when necessary. Corporate regulations restrict religious expressions and policies. A recent convert, Hutchence, uses creative and guerilla-like techniques to spread the Gospel of Jesus. This enigmatic man enlists a rag-tag group of individuals to help him proclaim a warning to the rest of the country: God is sending his judgment on our nation, and his first act will be to destroy Chicago. One recruit is a young and talented computer analyst who specializes in mastering algorithms for corporate and political use, and who is on the run from the company she works for, while trying to discover the truth about her father's mysterious disappearance. Another is a conspiracy-theory-junkie & survivalist who has discovered proof of assault on people of the Christian faith. And a widower with three girls is recruited by this mysterious Hutchence to help lead a return to God in America.

Pick up your copy here...

Bestselling author Travis Thrasher has written over 50 books and worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. He has penned fiction in a variety of genres, from love stories and supernatural thrillers to young adult series. His inspirational stories have included collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, athletes and pastors. He’s also co-written memoirs and self-help books. His novelizations include Do You Believe? and God’s Not Dead 2. Travis lives with his wife and three daughters in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

For more information on Travis, visit

My Thoughts...

Let me start by saying I was not impressed by Thrasher last book.
This one blew me away. I devoured it in one sitting and was just in awe.
If you are a fan of or if you have never read futuristic fiction you MUST read  American Omens.
A thriller that will make you wonder if you are going to be living this very story soon.
I can't wait to her what my fellow readers think about this one.
I gave this book 4.5 stars and I HIGHLY 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.

Two extra copies fell off the truck. All you have to do to be entered is follow this blog and share this post on social media!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Mending Fences By Suzanne Woods Fisher

Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him.

Amos and Fern Lapp allow Luke to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, Luke must make a sincere apology to each person he's hurt--a four-page, single-spaced list. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused.

Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused . . . that isn't so simple. It's gut-wrenching.

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm. Luke's clumsy efforts to befriend Izzy only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge.
Bestselling and award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher returns to her beloved Stoney Ridge for this brand-new series featuring some of her readers' favorite characters.

Pick up your copy here...

Suzanne Woods Fisher has a specialty: she writes about real people living in faith-based communities. With over 750,000 copies of books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, ranging from children's books ('The Adventures of Lily Lapp' series) to novels ("The Choice") to non-fiction books ("Amish Peace: Simple Living for a Complicated World").

When Suzanne isn't writing, she's probably playing with puppies. She's been involved with Guide Dogs for the Blind for over fifteen years. Raising puppies, she says, is like eating a potato chip. You just can't stop at one.

Readers are invited to stop by Suzanne's website at:

My thoughts...

I struggled reading this one. I think it was just that I had read an over load of Amish fiction One can only read so many at one time. The story was unique in it's own way. I just wish that it had held my attention better.
I will read the next book in this series. I gave this book 3 stars. But please read it and let me know what you think about 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.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

With Winter's First Frost By Kelly Irvin

With the coldest season comes the warmest of second chances. 
At age seventy-three, Laura Kauffman knows she is closer to the end of life than the beginning. If God willed it, she would join her beloved late husband soon. Even so, Laura wonders what purpose God might have for her in this winter of her life—and why this season seems so lonely.
Widower Zechariah Stutzman is facing his own barren season, despite the great-grandchildren swirling around him. With his Parkinson’s worsening, he had no choice but to move in with his grandson’s family, though now he feels adrift and useless.
When Laura offers to help with Zechariah’s five great-grandchildren after their mother has a difficult childbirth, Zechariah is unsure how he will adjust to the warm but tart demeanor of this woman he has known since grade school. But soon Laura and Zechariah learn they are asking God the same questions about loss and hope. And they begin to wonder if He is providing answers after all.
With Winter’s First Frost reminds us that God’s purposes always bear fruit—and sometimes love is sweeter with age.

Pick up your copy here...

Best-selling novelist Kelly Irvin's latest book is Beneath the Summer Sun, the second book in her Amish romance series, Every Amish Season, from Zondervan/HarperCollins Christian Publishing. This four-book series delves into the lives of four Amish women linked by life altering experiences that bring them together as wives, mothers, and grandmothers in the small town of Jamesport, Mo. The first book, Upon a Spring Breeze, received critical acclaim from the Library Journal: "A moving and compelling tale about the power of grace and forgiveness that reminds us how we become strongest in our most broken moments."

Kelly Irvin is also the author of The Amish of Bee County series, which includes the critically acclaimed The Beekeeper's Son. Publishers Weekly called the first book in the series a beautifully woven masterpiece and Romantic Times Magazine called Kelly a storyteller extraordinaire. It was followed by The Bishop's Son and The Saddle Maker's Son, which is an ECPA bestseller.

A two-time ACFW Carol finalist, Kelly's novellas have been included in numerous anthologies, including An Amish Summer, The Amish Christmas Gift, An Amish Market, an Amish Christmas Love, and Amish Quilt.

She also penned the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both published by Harvest House Publishers. Love Still Stands, the first book in the New Hope series, debuted in September 2014, and the follow-up, Love Redeemed, released March 1, 2014. The final book in the series, set in Branson, MO., was A Plain Love Song, released in July 2014.

The Bliss Creek Amish series, set in Kansas, includes To Love and to Cherish, A Heart Made New, and Love's Journey Home.

In the New Hope series, familiar characters from Bliss Creek move to Missouri to start a new district and a new life.

Kelly is also the author of two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine, set in San Antonio, Texas. Two more romantic suspense novels are on the horizon, with the first, Tell Her No Lies, slated for publication by Thomas Nelson Publishing in January 2019.

Kelly recently contracted with Zondervan for a new 3-book series set in Montana. More details to come!

The Kansas native is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the ACFW San Antonio local chapter Alamo City Christian Fiction Writers, as well as Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Sisters in Crime.

A graduate of the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism, Kelly wrote nonfiction professionally for thirty years. She studied for three semesters at the University of Costa Rica, learning the Spanish language. As a journalist, she worked six years in the border towns of Laredo and El Paso, where she was exposed to culture and language that serves as fodder for her fiction writing. She has written hard news, features, entertainment pieces, restaurant critiques, editorials, and weekly columns. Writing awards include the Silver Star Award from the Texas Mental Health Association for articles pertaining to mental health and numerous awards in news, feature, and editorial writing from the Texas Press Association and Texas Press Women.

Kelly retired in 2016 from her position of 22 years as public relations manager for the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department, where her duties included writing and designing an employee newsletter, writing news releases, collaborating on marketing campaigns, coordinating ribbon-cuttings and groundbreakings, coordinating press conferences, updating the web site, and acting as a media spokesperson.

Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for more than 30 years, and they have two young adult children and two grandchildren. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories, read books by her favorite authors, and visit the babies.

For more information, visit

My thoughts...

I have read this whole series and enjoyed them all. I'm in awe of the covers to. Get ready to cozy up during this cold season and read this warm story of second chances. You are never to old for love. This Amish story is going to make you fall in love with the characters and be left wanting more.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe' By Carla Laureano

Baker and pastry chef Melody Johansson has always believed in finding the positive in every situation, but seven years after she moved to Denver, she can’t deny that she’s stuck in a rut. One relationship after another has ended in disaster, and her classical French training is being wasted on her night job in a mediocre chain bakery. Then the charming and handsome private pilot Justin Keller lands on the doorstep of her workplace in a snowstorm, and Melody feels like it’s a sign that her luck is finally turning around.

Justin is intrigued by the lively bohemian baker, but the last thing he’s looking for is a relationship. His own romantic failures have proven that the demands of his job are incompatible with meaningful connections, and he’s already pledged his life savings to a new business venture across the country―an island air charter in Florida with his sister and brother-in-law.

Against their better judgment, Melody and Justin find themselves drawn together by their unconventional career choices and shared love of adventure. But when an unexpected windfall provides Melody with the chance to open her dream bakery-cafĂ© in Denver with her best friend, chef Rachel Bishop, she’s faced with an impossible choice: stay and put down roots with the people and place she’s come to call home . . . or give it all up for the man she loves.

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Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

Connect with Carla online at her website ( or on any of these social media platforms:

My Thoughts...

I devoured this book as I always do with Laureano's books.
This is a fast, easy romance read. You are not going to want to put it down until the last page.
So get your favorite cake, cupcake or cookies and some hot chocolate or coffee and enjoy this on a lazy afternoon.
My bookstagram  friends are going to love Melody and the fact that she takes bookstagram pictures.
I loved the whole book. 4 stars and I really recommend this book.
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, February 1, 2019

The Forgiving Jar By Wanda Brunstetter

What would happen if you found out someone has been impersonating you?   Sara Murray had never met her mother’s parents and was surprised to learn after her death that they were Amish living in Pennsylvania. When she is finally able to make the trip to meet them, she is shocked to learn someone else has been living with them and pretending to be Sara. Sara can’t understand how quickly her grandparents are willing to forgive the impostor.

Secrets and deceit seem to follow Sara, and she is so tired of it. Though soon she meets Brad Fuller who is visiting her grandparents for during Christmas. She likes him a lot, but even he seems to pull away from her, not being totally honest.

Struggling, Sara finds an old canning jar hidden in the barn that is full of encouraging prayers. Can Sara find a way to forgive the past and move on to building new relationships?

This is Book 2 in the brand-new series, The Prayer Jars, from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter.
Book 1 -- The Hope Jar (August 2018)
Book 3 -- The Healing Jar (August 2019)

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Wanda Brunstetter is an award-winning romance novelist who has led millions of readers to lose their heart in the Amish life. She is the author of almost 90 books with more than 10 million copies sold. Many of her books have landed on the top bestseller lists, including the New York Times, USA Today, Publisher's Weekly, CBA, ECPA, and CBD. Wanda is considered one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre, and her work has been covered by national publications, including Time Magazine and USA Today.

Wanda's fascination with the Amish culture developed when she met her husband, Richard, who grew up in a Mennonite church, and whose family has a Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. Meeting her new Mennonite sister-in-laws caused Wanda to yearn for the simpler life. In their travels, she and her husband have become close friends with many Amish people across America. Wanda's desire to explore their culture increased when she discovered that her great-great grandparents were part of the Anabaptist faith.

All of Wanda's novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Many of her books are well-read and trusted by the Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.

Wanda's primary attraction to the Amish is their desire to live a devout Christian life that strives to honor God, work hard, and maintain close family ties. Whenever she visits her Amish friends, Wanda finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties, which is in stark contrast to the chaos and busyness that plagues so many modern "Englishers." Time and time again, Wanda loses her heart in the Amish life, and she hopes her readers will, too. For more information, visit:

My Thoughts..

I love this series the Prayer Jars.  I was not really sure about Sara and Brad. I was not sure about Michelle either. It took some reading and thinking but in the end I liked all three of them.
I even cried at one point in the book. So you know it was a good one. I can't wait for the next book in this series. The Healing Jar will be just a good as the first two I bet.
I gave this book 4 stars. I recommend reading the series but  The Forgiving Jar can be read as a stand alone.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.