Tuesday, October 18, 2016

An Amish Family Christmas: A Charmed Amish Life Christmas Novel by Shelley Shepard Gray

An Amish Family Christmas: A Charmed Amish Life Christmas Novel
By: Shelley Shepard Gray 

Published: October. 2016
Published By: Avon Inspire
Format Read: ARC, eBook
Genre: Amish Fiction, Christian Fiction
Date Read: August 4, 2016
Rating: 3.5/5

 I was sent a copy of An Amish Family Christmas: A Charmed Amish Life Christmas Novel by Shelley Shepard Gray, from the publisher via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.

After the death of his father, Levi Kinsinger is absolutely lost. Unable to face his siblings he rents a small shack of a home in his hometown of Charm. He attempts to distract himself with work at his family’s lumber mill until he meets his beautiful new neighbour and her sweet little girl.

Single mother Julia moves to town to create a better life for her daughter Penny. Memories from her past keep her guarded, but an unlikely friendship with Levi begins to blossom. Then a secret she had been keeping for years comes to light and puts her and Penny’s safety in jeopardy. Can the bond she, Levi and Penny have created stand the test of these revelations?

Meanwhile Levi’s best friend Simon is helping his sister open a refuge for abused women and children. An Amish Family Christmas is the fourth book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s series The Charmed Amish Life.

An Amish Family Christmas is the first Amish fiction book I’ve read that wasn’t set on a farm in one way or another. This was a welcome change and gave me a different glimpse into their culture. It did seem as if the characters were slightly more immersed in the “English” way of life, but they still valued their faith and Amish traditions.

The characters were interesting with backstories that helped to justify their personalities and the decisions they made. I think that author could have easily extended the length of this novel on those stories alone.

Unfortunately because it was so short, I found as a reader that I missed out on some important relationship development. Especially when it came to Levi and Julia’s friendship. The secondary story line of Tess and her refuge for abused women and children seemed to be lost amidst the main story. Although hopefully the author will expand on this in future installments of this series.

An Amish Family Christmas was a light and cozy read that would be best read on a cold day, curled up by a roaring fire. It was a sweet story with strong a strong family dynamic. Because this is the first book I have read in this series, I am now curious to go back and read the first three books.

I would recommend this book to fans of Amish fiction, especially those have already read the previous books in this series.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Wrap-up: October 16, 2016 (An explanation and announcement!)

               Offline Ramblings:
Hello everyone,

Long time no chat, I know. I owe you all a big explanation for my absence so here it is..

I've been having quite a rough time health wise these past couple of months. As a result of this my reading progress has pretty much grounded to a halt. I have several books lined up that I have made commitments to read and review for authors and blog tours, but I haven't been able to concentrate long enough to read a couple of pages. I've tried to force myself to read, but that just feels like cheating to me. How can I give an honest review of a book I'm just skimming through?

I really began to feel stressed out. Finally I just had to put my books aside and focus on my health and getting as much rest as possible. I still have those books in line to read and I will read them, but it will just take me a lot longer than I normally takes me.

As you have probably noticed (if you follow my posts regularly) that I didn't post a wrap-up for September month. That was because I didn't complete any books last month at all. I've been pretty disappointed about this, but it is what it is.

However there is one book that I have been reading parts of and that is..

Because.. SURPRISE! I'm expecting!

That's right. All those health problems I've been having are due in part to the little one I have on the way. But the 24 hour nausea, massive headaches and crazy cravings pale in comparison to the joy of becoming a mother. I am due in April and we are over the moon-happy to be beginning this new chapter of our life.

Thankfully I have a better handle on the side effects and I'm starting to feel more normal, now that I am nearing my second trimester. I have even started reading a little bit again.

So what does this mean for my blog?

Well I have definitely slowed down a lot. I am not accepting anymore review requests at this time, because I am just so swamped with books that need to be read. Instead I will be concentrating on completing the ones I have.

My goal is to do at least one blog post a week, which isn't much, I know. I just think that is a reasonable number at this time as I need to be very careful to keep my stress levels down due to the high risk of my pregnancy. So I'm just going to relax and enjoy reading when I feel well enough to do so.

                Currently Reading

I am finally starting to make progress again with The Whiskey Sea. Unfortunately I missed out on the TLC book tour, but I am determined to finish it soon.

And that's all for today. Hope you all are having a wonderful October month.

Hosted by: Book Date

Thursday, October 6, 2016

TLC Book Tour: The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

the-bookshop-on-the-corner-coverAbout The Bookshop on the Corner

• Paperback: 368 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 20, 2016)

  “Losing myself in Jenny Colgan’s beautiful pages is the most delicious, comforting, satisfying treat I have had in ages.”—Jane Green, New York Times bestselling author of Summer Secrets

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more. Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling. From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

Add to Goodreads badge

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Jenny Colgan


Jenny Colgan is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including Little Beach Street Bakery, Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop, and Christmas at the Cupcake CafĂ©, all international bestsellers. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and Scotland. Find out more about Jenny at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

I was sent a copy of The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan, from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. 

Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner was a delightful story of a woman who forges a new life for herself after losing her job.

I was able to relate to the main character Nina, in so many ways. Not only am I the same age as her, but her need to create a new life for herself mirrors my own situation. Even though The Bookshop on the corner is fictional, it is inspirational in that starting over is possible.

I enjoyed the authors laid back writing style, which made for a quick and entertaining story. This book was host to a cast of wonderful characters. The rural Scotland setting and the culture was beautifully described.

My one problem was that the title is a bit misleading, as Nina’s business is mobile and ran out of her van. The Bookshop on the Corner implies to me that it is an actual shop in a building. Thankfully this didn’t take away from the story for me.

Nina’s passion and knowledge of books will be very appealing to readers. I would recommend The Bookshop on the Corner to fans of contemporary fiction. I look forward to reading more from Jenny Colgan in the future. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Whiskey Sea by Ann Howard Creel Giveaway Winner!

Earlier this week I posted by book spotlight for The Whiskey Sea by Ann Howard Creel and along with TLC Book Tours offered a giveaway for the book.

So without further ado the winner is....


Congratulations Marjorie. Please check your email, as I will be sending you a message regarding shipment, shortly. I hope you enjoy The Whiskey Sea! 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Tuck Everlasting

By: Natalie Babbitt 

Published: 1975

Published By: Farrar, Straus Giroux

Format Read: Paperback

Genre: Children’s Literature, Middle Grade, Classics, Fantasy

Date Read: August 26, 2016 

Rating: 4/5

An uninviting cottage sits aside the road leading to the village of Treegap and nearby stands a small wood that hold a magical secret. In its centre stands a large ash tree and at its roots is a tiny hidden spring. Ten year old Winnie Foster curiously wanders into the woods one day, only to come across a young man drinking from the spring. Parched from the August heat, Winnie insists on a drink, but the young man; Jesse Tuck won’t let her, claiming that it isn’t safe. This encounter would result in an adventure of a lifetime for her as she meets the rest of the mysterious Tuck family and learns of the magic the spring in the woods holds.

Tuck Everlasting is another classic children’s book that I missed out on during my childhood. In fact I didn’t even know this story existed until after I saw the movie starring Alexis Bledel. Although this book is quite different from the movie, I am glad I finally took the opportunity to read it.

Natalie Babbitt did a wonderful job describing the settings of her story. From the Foster’s uninviting cottage, to the landscape of the wood and of course the humble Tuck family home. It was easy to imagine a vivid and colourful picture in my mind.

The characters were interesting and endearing. Even our antagonist; the man in the yellow suit, held charm.

I really enjoyed this magical tale, but I admit that I wanted more. More story, more time with the characters and a longer time-span covered. It was far shorter than I expected and didn’t cover as much time as I expected. However I realize that my expectations were mostly based on the movie plot.

Still, Tuck Everlasting is a wonderfully magical story that I hope will continue to be passed down for generations to come. I would highly recommend this book.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

TLC Book Tour: Book Spotlight: The Whiskey Sea by Ann Howard Creel + Giveaway!

The Whiskey Sea
By: Ann Howard Creel

Published: August 2016
Published By: Lake Union Publishing
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Motherless and destitute, Frieda Hope grows up during Prohibition determined to make a better life for herself and her sister, Bea. The girls are taken in by a kindly fisherman named Silver, and Frieda begins to feel at home whenever she is on the water. When Silver sells his fishing boat to WWI veteran Sam Hicks, thinking Sam would be a fine husband for Frieda, she’s outraged. But Frieda manages to talk Sam into teaching her to repair boat engines instead, so she has a trade of her own and won’t have to marry.

Frieda quickly discovers that a mechanic’s wages won’t support Bea and Silver, so she joins a team of rumrunners, speeding into dangerous waters to transport illegal liquor. Frieda becomes swept up in the lucrative, risky work—and swept off her feet by a handsome Ivy Leaguer who’s in it just for fun.

As danger mounts and her own feelings threaten to drown her, can Frieda find her way back to solid ground—and to a love that will sustain her?


(Open to Canadian and US residents)

Ann Howard Creel’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS

Monday, August 22nd: Musings of  a Bookish Kitty
Tuesday, August 23rd: You Can Read Me Anything
Wednesday, August 24th: Staircase Wit
Thursday, August 25th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Friday, August 26th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Monday, August 29th: BookNAround
Tuesday, August 30th: Black ‘n Gold Girls Book Reviews
Wednesday, August 31st: Caryn, The Book Whisperer
Thursday, September 1st: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Friday, September 2nd: The Warlock’s Gray Book
Monday, September 5th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, September 6th: Just Commonly
Wednesday, September 7th: Reading is My Superpower
Thursday, September 8th: Write Read Life
Monday, September 12th: Bibliotica
Tuesday, September 13th: Melissa Lee’s Many Reads
Thursday, September 15th: View from the Birdhouse
Friday, September 16th: FictionZeal
Monday, September 19th: Reading the Past

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew, #2) by Carolyn Keene

The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew, #2)
By: Carolyn Keene
Published: 1959
Published By: Grosset and Dunlap
Format Read: Hardcover
Genre: Children’s Literature, Middle-Grade, Mystery, Classics
Date Read: August 23, 2016
                                                               Rating: 3/5

Strange occurrences have been reported at the Twin Elms mansion and Nancy Drew is called in to solve the mystery. Meanwhile a new railway line is set to be constructed and her father is the representing lawyer. But when the landowners begin to demand more money from the railroad, Mr. Drew is caught in the middle, which puts his safety in jeopardy. The Hidden Staircase is the second book in the classic Nancy Drew mystery series.

After listening to the first book in this series in audio format, I decided to borrow a physical copy of this second book from my local library.

The Hidden Staircase was an interesting story that held my attention. As this book was first published in 1930, readers of today’s middle-grade generation may find the story dated. However I really enjoy this aspect of these books and would hate to see them updated for a more modern day audience. There is a certain level of respect that the books of today lack. Although the stories in this series may be overly predictable there is a wholesomeness to them that is comforting.

I would recommend The Hidden Staircase and the other Nancy Drew mysteries to those who enjoy classic children’s literature. 

  1. The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew, #1) by Carolyn Keene