Category Archives: author/writer

Simple Pleasures | Marianne Jantzi


Today I am reviewing Simple Pleasures by Marianne Jantzi.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Young Amish homemaker Marianne Jantzi invites readers into her family’s life and Amish community.

The mother of four young children and wife of a storekeeper, Jantzi writes about her daily routines and heartfelt faith with equal measures of wit and warmth.

Sewing, cleaning, cooking, gardening, and helping to manage the store take up most hours in her day, but Jantzi finds time to pen columns for the Connection, a magazine beloved by Amish and Mennonite readers across the United States and Canada.

Never sugarcoating the frustrations of motherhood, Jantzi tells it like it is, broken washing machine and bickering children and all. But through her busy days, Yoder finds strength in simple pleasures of family, fellowship with her Amish community, and quiet time with God.

Hear straight from Amish people themselves as they write about their daily lives and deeply rooted faith in the Plainspoken series from Herald Press. Each book includes “A Day in the Life of the Author.”



Simple Pleasures is a joy to read…

Marianne Jantzi speaks of real life – real day-to-day events, not fiction, not storytelling, but real, honest-to-goodness happenings. I could tell . . . most of the stories are too funny, too sad, or too deep – to be made up.

I confess, sometimes it sounds almost as if Marianne’s husband is telling the story. But I could be wrong (or maybe I was tired and didn’t pay good enough attention) . . . because I read the book without taking a single break. Not one. It was that good.

Warning: if you don’t like learning about how other people live, especially those who don’t live the same type of lifestyle you live, you might not enjoy this book. Then again, you just might. It’s very entertaining. Mostly because it involves small children – and children are almost always entertaining.

I learned a lot. And I’d love to visit Marianne and watch her family. They seem to have so much fun!

Marianne doesn’t hide her relationship with God – she shares it with her readers. I love this!

If you do enjoy reading about Amish life, you’ll love Simple Pleasures!

Happy Reading!


God Bless You!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.


Pocket Prayers | Max Lucado


Today I am reviewing Max Lucado’s Pocket Prayers.

Max Lucado has written six pocket-size books, each with 40 simple prayers that bring hope and direction. Max writes with humor, compassion, and respect.

He speaks of dozing off, his thoughts scattering this way and that. He says he thinks of a thousand things he needs to do, but forgets the one thing he’s trying to do — pray.

He speaks of the Bible, the disciples and how they asked Jesus to teach them to pray.

Then he, with the help of another author, has chosen 40 Bible passages, and written out 40 specific prayers — for moms, dads, grads, teachers, friends, graduates, and for someone who is serving, or has served, in the military.

I heartily recommend these pocket prayer books . . . pick up one or more today, for yourself, for a parent, a friend, or as a gift.

Happy Reading!


Here is a brief synopsis:
Bestselling author Max Lucado has teamed up with six authors to write the Pocket Prayers series for those in need of peace, renewal, rest, faith, hope, joy, direction, serenity, and courage.

Short, simple prayers are very effective, which is why each book in the series contains forty guided prayers and complementary scriptures for any situation, including for:

—Moms (written with daughter Andrea Lucado)
—Grads (written with daughter Andrea Lucado)
—Dads (written with Mark Mynheir)
—Military Life (written with Mark Mynheir)
—Teachers (written with blogger Jennifer Hale)
—Friends (written with Betsy St. Amant)

Moms — No one knows how quickly the chaos of daily life can become overwhelming more than moms. We lean on them for everything from hurt feelings to missing homework to broken bones. So, where can moms turn for peace and rest in the midst of mayhem? Bestselling author Max Lucado points to the Source of all hope and strength in Pocket Prayers for Moms, which contains forty scriptures and guided prayers written especially for all moms.

Grads — Graduation is one of life s most exciting milestones. It can also be a source of uncertainty and anxiety. What comes after graduation day? More education? A career? Starting a family? Often this time in life can bring more questions than answers, but Max Lucado offers hope and direction by pointing to the Answer to all of life s question. Pocket Prayers for Graduates includes forty scriptures and guided prayers written especially for those considering their futures post-graduation.

DadsDads wear many hats. From protector to playmate, confidante to counselor. No matter the role, families rely on dads to lead with strength and faith. And in Pocket Prayers for Dads, Max Lucado offers forty scriptures and guided prayers that will help dads do just that.

Military LifeDaily life for those in the military and their loved ones at home can be filled with rapid change, fear, and uncertainty. For those bravely sacrificing for our country, bestselling author, Max Lucado, offers words of hope, pointing them to the Source of faith and courage. Pocket Prayers for the Military contains forty scriptures and guided prayers that will help readers face the unique challenges of military life with courage and faith.

TeachersAll the way from coloring inside the lines to calculus, teachers have given us the tools to thrive. Where would we be without them? But a teacher s job is often a difficult one. Sometimes anxiety and exhaustion become the norm. For those in need of a little peace and renewal, Max Lucado points to the Teacher who offered just that. Pocket Prayers for Teachers contains forty scriptures and guided prayers written especially for those special people, who encourage and inspire our students.

FriendsSome friends are closer than family. They weave their way into our lives, there to celebrate the highs and comfort us through the lows. And for those special friends, Max Lucado offers forty scriptures and guided prayers that bring joy and serenity in Pocket Prayers for Friends.
God Bless You!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.


Enter to win a Pocket Prayers prize pack—two winners will be chosen! Each prize pack contains all six of the new Pocket Prayers books, a signed copy of Before Amen, and a custom Pocket Prayers paperweight. Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced May 2 on the Litfuse blog!

pocket prayers



Max Lucado

More than 120 million readers have found inspiration and encouragement in the writings of Max Lucado. He lives with his wife, Denalyn, and their mischievous mutt, Andy, in San Antonio, Texas, where he serves the people of Oak Hills Church.

Find out more about Max at

Follow/Like Amy Lillard…


Amy Lillard Banner - March


Listed below are links for those who would like to follow/like Amy Lillard…

1) sign up for Amy’s newsletter HERE 

2) follow Amy’s Facebook Author page HERE

3) follow Amy on Twitter HERE




Marathon © 2016 DJ Mynatt


2016 plans for author features…


It’s FEBRUARY 1st!

Dear Readers…

I hope you’ve been enjoying my monthly author features.

I began blogging August 2013… and featured my first author in September – with Rosemary Hines.

After a year of doing weekly features, in August 2014 I came up with the idea to feature an author for an entire month!

Well, now it’s been eighteen months – featuring many of my favorite – and I hope your favorite – authors.

I began my adventure with Amy Clipston, Vannetta Chapman, Amanda Flower, Laura V. Hilton, and Jennifer Beckstrand.

Then, I dedicated all of January 2015 to new authors – reviewing their debut (and sometimes second) novels, with an interview and a giveaway. Although I had planned on four authors, I found room for five talented authors!

Rachel D. Muller – Letters From Grace, Maggie’s Mission
Holly Michael – Crooked Lines, Tsunami 2004: Then And Now
Angela D. Meyer – Where Hope Starts
Nadine Brandes – A Time To Die
Aynne Cynar – Erased With Grace

Next, to my great delight, I was blessed to feature Ruth Reid and Mary Ellis – two wonderful friends that I met at the ACFW conference in September 2014.

The rest of the year was very busy… featuring many favorites – and several authors that were completely new to me . . . the lineup included Melanie Dickerson, Sarah Loudin Thomas, Hannah Alexander, Charlotte Hubbard and Naomi King, Dana Mentink, Beth Wiseman, KE Ganshert and JC Morrows, Valerie Comer,  and finally Ruth Logan Herne.

Last, but not least, in January 2016, I featured Ane Mulligan and her exciting herChapel Springs series, with a weekly feature afterwards with Jennifer Beckstrand, to promote her newest book, Huckleberry Hearts.

So… beginning this year, I have decided to feature an author every other month. This will give me more time to devote to my own writing — in addition to the other reviews I write each month, and… the editing I do for a several authors. (Let’s not forget I’m still working a full-time day job for awhile longer).

In February, I will still be reading and reviewing several books, as well as taking time to find new authors to feature in the future. Watch for giveaways… I will be doing two giveaways from my own personal library in February!

In March, I will be featuring Amy Lillard. I’m excited to be reading and reviewing Amy’s Amish Fiction books. Then I’ll be back with another featured author in May, July, September and November.




Blogpost © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Thank You, Readers | Donna’s BookShelf


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Today I want to give a special thanks to my readers…


I have been a reader most of my life . . . I became a reviewer, because I learned that posting reviews is a great blessing to authors — and I wanted to show my appreciation to those who worked so hard to write books that would entertain, encourage, strengthen, uplift, and bless me.

Recently, I received my own accolades . . . WordPress honored me with a beautiful gold badge, showing 1000 likes for this book blog.

This is ALL due to my devoted, encouraging, faithful readers/followers.

So . . .

THANK YOU to my wonderful readers.

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
The rain fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet — someday.
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Donna’s BookShelf . . . Thank you, dear readers and followers! – Tweet this!

God bless you!

Thank You © 2015 DJ Mynatt


Book review needed…


MY 1st published book is scheduled to be published on June 30, 2015…

Now I need reviewers!!!


* If you have participated in NaNoWriMo, or

* If you are participating in NaNoWriMo, or

* If you are considering participating in NaNoWriMo, and/or

* If you read my blogs and think you might be interested
in reading more about of my quirky life, and…

* You would be willing to post a review on Goodreads and/or Amazon

Please contact me and I can send you an Advance Reader Copy — or ARC — of my book.

To sign up, just go to THIS PAGE… mention that you would like to read and review the ARC (advance reader copy) of my book — and I’ll send you one via email. If you want to review the book, you will automatically be added to my launch team.

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Thanks and God bless you!

Copyright © 2015 DJ Mynatt

You CAN Write 50,000 Words in 30 Days | DJ Mynatt


Today I am proud to announce that I am a published author!

Many friends of mine have asked that I share my experiences when I participated in the National Novel Writing Month — NaNoWriMo — held every November.

I wanted to share more than just the blogs I had written, so I added pages of introduction and the basics of how to participate in NaNoWriMO.

I hope all of my readers will be interested enough to check out my book…

For the next seven days, anyone posting a comment to this blogpost will be entered in a contest to win a digital copy of my book.

Here is a brief synopsis:

You CAN write 50,000 words in 30 Days takes us behind the scenes of one author’s journey through National novel writing month – also known as NaNoWriMo.

Every year, people from all over the world log in to their NaNoWriMo profile, find a local group to hang out with all month, stock up on snacks, sharpen their pencils, get their playlists ready, and write! 50,000 words sounds crazy, right? Most writers ARE a little crazy!

Read about one woman’s journey and you will see that you CAN write 50,000 words in 30 days!


Don’t miss this awesome new book about one writer’s journey through NaNoWriMo Tweet this!



God bless you!

Review © 2015 DJ Mynatt


The Princess Spy | Melanie Dickerson Marathon


Today I’m reviewing The Princess Spy, the fifth book in the Fairy Tale Romance Collection series by Melanie Dickerson.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love.

But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha — one of the few who speaks his language — understands the wild story.

Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin’s message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself ‘Lord Colin’ is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment.

Margaretha knows she could never be a spy — not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she’s sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well.

It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook’s wicked plot.


Don’t miss this Medieval Retelling of The Frog Prince… by Melanie Dickerson!Tweet this!



Margaretha’s story is a wonderful version of The Frog Prince… it just might be the best one yet. There were many things I never saw coming — always a plus in my opinion — rather than the predictable ho-hum stories that many authors churn out today.

Poor Margaretha thought her future was settled; she would marry Lord Claybrook and live happily ever after. But when a man shows up, she is the only one who can speak his language. Even worse, he claims to have been attacked by Lord Claybrook!

In my opinion, The Princess Spy is an outstanding Christian Fairy Tale… but none of the ridiculous magic or nonsense; Melanie writes about good, strong Christian values!

The fact that The Princess Spy was a bit more difficult to read was, in fact, my problem. It’s just that it begins very sad… as so much of life does. However, it is very intriguing and I was pulled into the story by the time I had reached the end of page two.

There was fast-paced adventure full of surprises and unexpected plot-twists — Melanie sure knows how to keep me on my toes!

Of course, I won’t tell you how things turn out… but… I can tell you that Margaretha goes the distance!

If you enjoy reading exciting, medieval fiction… with a happily ever after, don’t miss this wonderful series!


And don’t forget to click below to find out how you can enter Melanie’s GIVEAWAY contest!

Melanie Dickerson Marathon | Giveaway!

God bless you!


© DJ Mynatt 2013-2015

The Captive Maiden | Melanie Dickerson Marathon


Today I’m reviewing The Captive Maiden, the fourth book in the Fairy Tale Romance Collection series by Melanie Dickerson.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Happily Ever After…Or Happily Nevermore?

Gisela’s childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father’s death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother.

So when Gisela meets the duke’s son, Valten–the boy she has daydreamed about for years–and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it’s only for a taste of a life she’ll never have.

To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye.

Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.


Don’t miss this Medieval Retelling of Cinderella… by Melanie Dickerson!Tweet this!



The Captive Maiden… possibly my favorite, so far…

Choosing a favorite is like trying to choose which cupcake is better — the one with the yellow frosting or the one with the green frosting… they’re both delicious, but my favorite is probably the one I’ve just taken a bite out of — it’s so yummy!

I think Gisela is the most inspirational “Cinderella” I have ever encountered. No matter how despicably she’s treated, she returns good for evil. This is the pure, selfless, beautiful person that Lord Hamlin — Valten — is drawn to in a way he has never before experienced.

Melanie Dickerson excels at creating realistic characters, even in her retelling of fairy tales that far surpass the good — and bad — in most people. I read this story — and I want to meet Gisela and Valten, Sophie and Gabe, Annabel and Ranulf, Rose and Wilhelm.

There — now I’ve said much more than I should have… if you want to know how it ends read it for yourself. And I most certainly can recommend that you read it for yourself – it’s SO GOOD!

I must say, I wasn’t sure what to think of Valten, when introduced to him in The Fairest Beauty. He seemed someone who was only interested in participating in tournaments and proving himself as the victor in the games. But he is so much more… Valten is most definitely a hero!

Surprises… oh yes, Melanie writes a wonderful Cinderella story, with lots of surprises, and emotion, and inspiration! Characters so true-to-life, you find yourself believing in them – but even more important, believing in yourself.

If you enjoy reading exciting, medieval fiction… with a happily ever after, don’t miss this wonderful series!


When Gisela is sold to the Baron, will she ever see her beloved Valten again?Tweet this!

And don’t forget to click below to find out how you can enter Melanie’s GIVEAWAY contest!

Melanie Dickerson Marathon | Giveaway!

God bless you!


Copyright © 2013-2015 DJ Mynatt

The Fairest Beauty | Melanie Dickerson Marathon


Today I’m reviewing The Fairest Beauty, the third book in the Fairy Tale Romance Collection series by Melanie Dickerson.

Here is a brief synopsis:

A daring rescue.
A difficult choice.

Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother’s jealousy, and believes escape is her only chance to be happy.

Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be Sophie’s one chance at freedom — but can she trust another person to keep her safe?

Gabe defied his parents Rose and Wilhelm by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the girl’s inner and outer beauty has enchanted him.

Though romance is impossible — she is his brother’s future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else — he promises himself he will see the mission through, no matter what.

When the pair flee to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help — but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Now both must not only protect each other from the dangers around them — they must also protect their hearts.


Don’t miss this Medieval Retelling of Snow White… by Melanie Dickerson!Tweet this!



Are there any good stepmothers in fairy tales?

I certainly can’t think of any! The Fairest Beauty is a wonderful story, with poor Sophie as our beloved Snow White. The duchess is indeed very bad – evil would better describe her – and Sophie is doomed… or is she?

The characters in The Fairest Beauty are marvelous! Sophie is the kind, sweet-hearted young girl you would expect; after growing up with an evil duchess telling her how wicked and ugly she is, Sophie is the epitome of goodness. Melanie Dickerson creates characters who cry out to God for help, for wisdom, for strength to overcome the evil. This is an excellent choice to make for something inspiring to read.

Of course, I cannot tell you how things turn out… but… maybe I can give you just a glimpse. Sophie had been told by one of the servants that if she could just reach the Cottage of the Seven, she would be safe there. The seven… totally not what I was expecting, but it was brilliant!

And… if it follows the fairy tale, then it turns out well… NO, I’m not giving anything away – everything doesn’t work out, but come on, we know it has to end well, right?

But if you want to know how it ends you’ll have to read it for yourself. And I most certainly can recommend that you read it for yourself – it’s SO GOOD!

No beast in this one… but definitely a hero!

Once again, Melanie includes lots of surprises along the way, just the way real life happens, and as I’ve said before, that’s just one more reason the stories by Melanie Dickerson are so believable – and awesome!

If you enjoy reading exciting, medieval fiction… with a happily ever after, don’t miss this wonderful series!


Will Sophie be forced to marry her betrothed?Tweet this!


And don’t forget to click below to find out how you can enter Melanie’s GIVEAWAY contest!

Melanie Dickerson Marathon | Giveaway!

God bless you!


© 2013-2015 DJ Mynatt

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