Category Archives: Bestseller

On This Christmas | 5-year journal

 

 

Today I am reviewing On This Christmas, a five-year journal of your favorite traditions, memories & gifts.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Capture five years of your favorite Christmas memories in this beautiful, keepsake guided journal. Building on the highly popular “one line a day” journal concept, On This Christmas: A Five-Year Journal of Your Favorite Traditions, Memories, and Gifts is an interactive keepsake that allows you to record your holiday celebrations over the course of five years.

Every joyful Christmas season you think, I’ll never forget this! But the memories slip quietly away over time. Now you can save them and treasure them all in one place. This Christmas is a five-year guided journal with thought-provoking prompts such as “The gift I’m most excited to share,” “We are choosing to slow down the holiday by ______,” “A special blessing we enjoyed,” and “Our favorite tradition this year.”

With Scripture and inspirational thoughts, This Christmas will help you preserve precious times with friends and family as you celebrate the Christmas season.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

I was very impressed with this 5-year journal. First, it’s a beautiful, hard-bound, book that’s small enough to tuck into your bookcase among your other favorite Christmas books.

And it’s the perfect keepsake… a special place to preserve all your memories of each Christmas season, beginning on the very first day of the month and ending on Christmas Day — not just for one year, but for 5 years!

What a wonderful idea… a journal to share with your children and grandchildren during future holiday seasons.

HINT:  This would also make a great, early Christmas gift for family and friends.

 

God Bless You!

and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Review © 2018 DJ Mynatt

 

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Once Upon a Farm | Rory Feel

 


Today I am reviewing Once Upon a Farm, with lessons on growing love, life, and hope on a new frontier, by New York Times Bestselling Author Rory Feek.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Sometimes it’s not only what we plant but where we’re planted.

Now raising their four-year-old daughter, Indiana, alone, after Joey’s passing, Rory Feek digs deeper into the soil of his life and the unusual choices he and his wife, Joey, made together and the ones he’s making now to lead his family into the future.

When Rory Feek and his older daughters moved into a run-down farmhouse almost twenty years ago, he had no idea of the almost fairy-tale love story that was going to unfold on that small piece of Tennessee land . . . and the lessons he and his family would learn along the way.

Now two years after Joey’s passing, as Rory takes their four-year-old daughter Indiana’s hand and walks forward into an unknown future, he takes readers on his incredible journey from heartbreak to hope and, ultimately, the kind of healing that comes only through faith.

A raw and vulnerable look deeper into Rory’s heart, Once Upon a Farm is filled with powerful stories of love, life, and hope and the insights that one extraordinary, ordinary man in bib overalls has gleamed along the way.

As opposed to homesteading, this is instead a book on lifesteading as Rory learns to cultivate faith, love, and fatherhood on a small farm while doing everything, at times, but farming. With frequent stories of his and Joey’s years together, and how those guide his life today, Rory unpacks just what it means to be open to new experiences.

“This isn’t a how-to book; it’s more of a how we, or more accurately, how He, God, planted us on a few acres of land and grew something bigger than Joey or I could have ever imagined.”

 

 

MY THOUGHTS:

“A man famous for loving his wife is challenged to rise to an even greater love as a father.”

This is such a sweet, touching story. . . one that begins with Rory Feel and his teenage daughters moving into a run-down house on a farm in Tennessee. At the time, he had no idea that he would meet and marry the love of his life, nor that she would be taken from him long before he was ready to say goodbye.

When you pick this book up and turn to the first page, you’ll be drawn into the stories. . . and you won’t want to put the book down until the end. But if you’re like me, you’ll want to have tissues handy. The stories are sweet, sassy, and sometimes emotional.

Get the book.  Read the book.  Then share the book.

Happy Reading!

 

Blessings!

Review © 2018 DJ Mynatt

A Reluctant Assassin | JC Morrows Marathon

 


I am reviewing A Reluctant Assassin… the first book in the Order of the MoonStone series by JC Morrows.

 

Here is a brief synopsis:

Her mission was simple — get close to the Prince, and kill him…

Kayden entered the palace under a lie, one designed to get her close to the Prince. On the outside, she may look like a princess but beneath the mask, a killer lays in wait — for the perfect moment.

Dvarius was not ready to take the crown, nor was he ready for a wife…

But due to his father’s unexpected death and an archaic law — he must find a bride before he is allowed to take his rightful place on the throne.

And the one woman he wants — just might be the one who is there to kill him…

 

 

A RELUCTANT ASSASSIN by JC Morrows… don’t miss this exciting new series! – Tweet this!

 

MY THOUGHTS:

W.O.W.

A Reluctant Assassin is oh-so-wonderful…

It’s the typical “Prince Charming will choose his bride at the ball” story – except for a teensy, tiny twist. One of the ladies at the ball was sent to kill… eliminate… assassinate… the Prince. As the author puts it so eloquently —

            “What if Cinderella had been sent to kill the Prince?”

 

Oh. My. Gosh.

I have always loved the Cinderella stories… one of my favorite movies is Ever After – to me it’s the most realistic Cinderella story ever told. And I have books – lots of books – with princes, princesses, kings and queens. But this is the first book I’ve owned with a prince – and an assassin!

Without making the story a thousand pages, JC Morrows gives the reader enough back-story to stay interesting – just a few hints – while creating intriguing, bigger-than-life characters, who keep the reader – well, reading. And she throws in a plot guaranteed to keep anyone on their toes.

JC purposely leaves out information, such as why Kayden is an assassin… and why there seem to be others whose goal is to kill the Prince. If her intent is to make me eager to read the next story in the series – it’s working!

I’m beginning to feel sorry for the Prince. What has he ever done to deserve this? He hasn’t even begun to rule, and from the looks of things, he may never be crowned.

And… that’s enough to share for now. If your interest is piqued, get the book.

JC Morrows is a talented storyteller – you can tell by the success of A Reluctant Assassin. Although she previously released a short story in this series, Morrow’s success has been tremendous! The day after it released, A Reluctant Assassin reached the #1 spot on Amazon (YA action/adventure) – and it stayed the #1 choice (for hot new YA action/adventure releases) since its’ debut almost 30 days ago.

This story was SO MUCH more than I expected — and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

Don’t wait another minute to read this story!

Happy Reading!

 

Her mission was simple… get close to the Prince — and kill him! A RELUCTANT ASSASSIN by JC MorrowsTweet this!

God bless you!

Review © 2017 DJ Mynatt


 

Naomi’s Gift (Kauffman Amish Bakery Christmas Story #2) | Amy Clipston

 


Today I am posting my review of Naomi’s Gift, the second Christmas novella in the Kauffman Amish Bakery series by Amy Clipston.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you’ll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman’s story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams and secrets.

You’ll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the English way of life and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families.

Naomi s Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches a time of family, faith, and hope for many others, Naomi is more certain than ever her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family’s quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down.

Naomi’s story of romantic trial and error and youthful insecurities has universal appeal. Author Amy Clipston artfully paints a panorama of simple lives full of complex relationships, and she carefully explores cultural differences and human similarities, with inspirational results. Naomi’s Gift includes all the details of Amish life that Clipston’s fans enjoy, while delivering the compelling stories and strong characters that continue to draw legions of new readers.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

This special novella focuses on Naomi King.

I didn’t really notice her much until she began talking to Luke, bringing him lunch and… if she weren’t Amish, I’d say… she was flirting with disaster – ha!

But she couldn’t see that everyone thought she was behaving badly – making a spectacle of herself by flirting with Luke in front of the whole church district”

Even when Luke tried to tell her she was wasting her time, she refused to listen – even to him!

Well, no one can say she didn’t try her best to convince Luke to court her…

Then at the end, after Luke has finally convinced Naomi that her feelings will never be returned and he has feelings for Sarah, Timothy notices her… and begins thinking she might just suit him after all.

Next, she gets involved with Timothy… I think Naomi has grown up a bit and she really gets hurt by Timothy, who still loves Miriam, but thinks it’s hopeless and that he should marry Naomi.

Talk about a mess!

To be fair, Timothy often feels that he’s being unkind to not share his feelings with Naomi, but every time he tries to, something stops him. Naomi finally realizes how he feels.

So now she’s stopped trying altogether!

I like Naomi so much more in Naomi’s Gift… and when Caleb and Susie begin to care for her, I cheered!

.. . . .

And she was convinced if she stayed in Lancaster County that she’d be an old maid, never marrying and having a family of her own.

If you’re like me, you expect this story to have a happy ending – after all, it’s about Christmas!

I won’t spoil it for you, but there are a few twists and turns!

Amy does a great job showing how am Amish wife might help a friend who has left the faith, even though it means going against her husband’s wishes.

This heart-warming novella shows the faith of one and the forgiveness and acceptance she earnestly desires. If you haven’t read it, don’t wait another year until Christmas – read it anytime!

Amy Clipston has a talent for knowing what her readers want… if you don’t have them, be sure this series is on your Christmas list!

Merry Christmas!

 

 

God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

 

A Plain & Simple Christmas | Amy Clipston

 

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Today I am posting my review of A Plain & Simple Christmas – the first novella in the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series by Amy Clipston.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you’ll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman’s story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams … and secrets.

You’ll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the ‘English’ way of life—and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families.

In the tradition of her widely popular Kauffman Amish Bakery series, author Amy Clipston tells the tale of Anna Mae McDonough who was shunned by her family four years ago when she left her Amish community in Lancaster County, PA, to marry an ‘Englisher’ (non Amish) man and move with him to Baltimore. Now, eight months pregnant when her first child, she longs to return home for Christmas to reconcile with her family, especially her stern father, who is the religious leader for her former Amish church district.

So Anne Mae writes a letter to Kathryn Beiler, her brother’s wife, to enlist her help. Kathryn asks her husband, David, if she should arrange Anna Mae’s visit. David cautions her that a visit would cause too much stress in the family and instead suggests they visit Anna Mae and her husband in the spring. However, Kathryn arranges the visit anyway, believing in her heart that it’s God’s will for the family to heal.

When Anna Mae arrives in Lancaster for Christmas, the welcome she receives is nothing like what she had hoped for.

A book filled with love, the pain of being separated from one’s family, and the determination to follow God’s will regardless of the outcome, A Plain and Simple Christmas is an inspiring page-turner that will keep you guessing what happens next … right to the very last page.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

What do you do when you leave your family behind… I mean, how do you just go on with life, never having any contact with them?

This special novella introduces us to Anna Mae and her English husband Kellan McDonough.

Anna Mae knew when she left her community… and the Amish faith – and her vows – that she was leaving her family behind forever. But she was in love! And she was convinced if she stayed in Lancaster County that she’d be an old maid, never marrying and having a family of her own.

Now that Anna is expecting her first child, she is missing her family even more… but if she returns home, she will be shunned.

If you’re like me, you expect this story to have a happy ending – after all, it’s about Christmas!

I won’t spoil it for you, but there are a few twists and turns!

Amy does a great job showing how am Amish wife might help a friend who has left the faith, even though it means going against her husband’s wishes.

This heart-warming novella shows the faith of one and the forgiveness and acceptance she earnestly desires. If you haven’t read it, don’t wait another year until Christmas – read it anytime!

Amy Clipston has a talent for knowing what her readers want… if you don’t have them, be sure this series is on your Christmas list!

 

Merry Christmas!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Christmas in Mitford | Jan Karon

 

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Today I am reviewing The Mitford Snowmen and Esther’s Gift: A Mitford Christmas Story by Jan Karon.

The Mitford Snowmen

Goodreads says: It’s Christmastime in Mitford, and everyone’s favorite characters are filled with holiday spirit. In The Mitford Snowmen, a swirling snowfall brings them to Main Street for a snowman-building contest complete with doughnuts, hot chocolate, and contagious good cheer. A charming small trim size and enchanting four-color illustrations make this the perfect way to visit Mitford—and gather a heart full of Christmas joy.

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Esther’s Gift: A Mitford Christmas Story

Goodreads says: In Esther’s Gift, Esther Bolick is filled with the holiday spirit as she prepares to bake the annual batch of her famous-and utterly scrumptious-orange marmalade cakes. Right after Christmas Eve service at Lord’s Chapel, she and Gene will deliver a two-layer marmalade to each of seven friends and neighbors, all of them favorite Mitford characters. Then Gene calculates what it costs to bake this legendary cake, and Esther is stunned. Is it worth it to spend so much money on people who haven’t always measured up to her expectations? The answer is clear. She’ll cut her list back-way back.

This decision makes perfect sense until the lyrics of a Christmas carol steal into her heart, and help remind her what a gift really means.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

I chuckled the whole time I was reading The Mitford Snowmen, as local shopkeepers, with help from Father Tim and Uncle Billy, compete to see who can win Mitford’s First Annual Snowman Jubilee. When Esther Cunningham, the mayor, gets involved, the fun continues.

Then I read Esther’s Gift (not to be confused with Esther Cunningham, the mayor). This short story is about Esther Bolick… the one who makes those famous orange marmalade cakes that everyone loves (and sent Father Tim into a sugar-induced coma)! When Esther asks her hubby Gene to figure out how much her 2-layer orange marmalade cakes cost to make, he includes her labor and the cost of the electricity and comes up with a whopping $43!

Esther and the others in this sweet little community will steal your heart, quickly making you a Father Tim fan (or perhaps a Jan Karon fan). Don’t miss out on these stores. They should be read not just once, but every Christmas… I know I will be reading them to my grandchildren soon.

Merry Christmas!

God Bless You!

 

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Naomi Miller . . . Author Spotlight

 

Thank you for joining me for this special Author Spotlight!

First, a bit about Naomi…

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This is what Naomi feels like when her deadline approaches… 

As a new author, Naomi keeps not one, but two physical calendars going at all times — current year and following year, plus calendar sheets for the next five years.

If you plan to make a career of writing, you must plan ahead. I had no idea of the timeframes involved, with first drafts, revisions, conferences, events, book signings, blog tours, cover reveals, promoting, … the list goes on and on.

But I’m happier now than I’ve ever been! I love writing! I love interacting with my readers! And yes, I love opening a box and pulling out copies of my book!

Naomi is the author of two Amish books, with a rough draft of the third book just completed. Her latest release, Christmas Cookie Mystery, is the second novel in the Amish Sweet Shop Mystery series.

Naomi is currently working on a collaboration with speculative/dystopian fiction author JC Morrows, merging their genres in a new series. For updates, be sure to sign up for Naomi’s newsletter.

A Tennessee native, Naomi is a graduate of Bellevue University in Nebraska, completing a bachelor’s degree in Networking, then a master’s degree in Security Management. She has been an employee of the State of Tennessee for almost fifteen years, and plans to retire in the next few years, to write full-time and enjoy a more flexible schedule. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and hopes to become more involved in all ACFW has to offer in the near future.

Naomi also enjoys traveling with her family, singing inspirational/gospel music, taking a daily walk, and witnessing to others of the amazing grace of Jesus Christ. In her spare time, she likes to relax, while crocheting or knitting — and always has time to read new releases from her favorite authors.

Readers can learn more about Naomi at naomimillerauthor.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Pinterest and Goodreads.

 

A spotlight with Naomi Miller . . . today on Donna’s BookShelf.Tweet this!

 

And here is my interview:

Have you always wanted to write? Do you use an outline for your stories?

Yes! I’ve always wanted to write, but I didn’t think it was a career I could actually choose to do. I actually began a contemporary novel in 1990, but eventually it ended up in a drawer. I still have it . . . someday I may finish it, but for now, I’m compelled to write Amish fiction.

I don’t use an outline. I write down 5-6 short sentences – each sentence representing an idea of a chapter. Sometimes the chapter follows the idea; sometimes it goes a completely different direction. I’ve learned to let my story guide me. Many times I have no idea how it’s even going to end!

How does it feel being a published author? Have you encountered any surprises along the way to being published?

I love it! Being published feels really great! I love watching a story develop on the page, from beginning to end. Of course, it’s not all fun, but overall it’s the most fulfilling thing I’ve done. And it’s such a blessing to see how my book impacts the lives of others.

Do you have a folder or a file where you keep future ideas for stories or do you just come up with ideas after a suggestion from your editor, agent, or friends?

I don’t keep a physical file or folder, but I have folders on my laptop, where I keep a few word documents with story ideas. Most of the time, I don’t begin a new book, until I’ve prayed about it for awhile. My usual habit is to wake early and spend time with God, asking Him what I should write. And when the ideas come, I write down a few sentences – one for each chapter; and that’s where I start.

Have you attended any writer retreats, conferences, and the like? Do you think they are necessary for your writing?

YES! I was advised by several author friends to make time for retreats, workshops and conferences . . . not only have the workshops and classes been worth every minute spent, but the friendships I’ve made have been invaluable!

How often do you travel? Where do you go? Who do you travel with? What is your favorite vacation spot?

I want to travel, but until I retire, I’m limited to a few workshops and book events each year! My favorite vacation spot is Myrtle Beach, which also happens to be the favorite vacation spot of my grandchildren. I love listening to the sound of the ocean and watching my family playing in the waves.

What are you working on now? Is there another genre you are interested in writing?

I’m currently working on books 3 and 4 in my Amish Sweet Shop Mystery series. Book two was just released this month, so I have a few weeks before book three is due to my publisher for editing while book four is being written.

 

And now for a few favorites:

Favorite color – Purple (although I love all colors)

Favorite food/drink – That’s a tough question. I love cheeseburgers, but my favorite snacks are peaches, blueberries, and watermelon. My favorite drink is sweet tea (hey, I’m from the south).

Favorite time of year – I love fall, winter and spring. I love watching it snow, but I’m not a fan of the cold weather anymore.

Favorite hobbies – Writing, reading, crocheting/knitting, and working puzzles (sudoku, solitaire, freecell).

Favorite holiday – Christmas. I love the Christmas songs, the decorations and the wonderful idea of giving gifts to those you love.

Favorite dessert – Sweet Potato Pie. My daughter makes an awesome homemade sweet potato pie! She makes one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas.

 

THANK YOU for joining me for this AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!


Blessings!

Interview © 2016 DJ Mynatt

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