Category Archives: marathon

Wild Mint Tea | Valerie Comer


Today I am reviewing Wild Mint Tea, the 2nd book in the Farm Fresh Romance series by Valerie Comer.

Here is a brief synopsis:

She’s rooted deep. He flies free.

Local-foods chef Claire Halford envisions turning Green Acres Farm into an event destination.

Weddings prove trickier than she imagined when the first one comes with a ruggedly handsome brother-of-the-bride, who has everything but a fixed address.

Oh, and faith in God.

Noel Kenzie loves the freedom his reforestation company affords him. Why worry about deep stuff like God and commitment when he’s in his prime?

Except there’s a woman who might make it worth giving up his wings…and digging in some roots.

If he dares.


Wild Mint Tea . . . She’s rooted deep. He flies free. Can they find a middle ground?Tweet this!



This series is absolutely amazing!

Can I tell you a secret? This review is for the second book of the series, but…

I’ve read every one of them . . . every story!

Not surprising, you say? Well, what I’m trying to tell you is that I never stopped reading . . . except to get a few hours of sleep and work. As soon as I arrived home each evening, I picked up where I had left off the night before and dove back in!

That’s why this review is just a tad late (forgive me, Valerie . . . and readers).

I have fallen in love with this series!

I had no idea what to expect when I began reading “Farm Lit” books. Well, I know now . . . and it is a wonderful way of life.

Back to nature . . . living off the land . . . no chemicals or preservatives or junk.

Fresh foods . . . healthy foods . . . healthy lifestyle.

But even more than that, the characters are so real (at least to me) that I want to go and live among them! I’ll do my share — and I love to cook, too. Of course, not as well as Claire, one of the main characters in Wild Mint Tea. Claire is an extraordinary chef, who has teamed up with Jo and Sierra, to create Green Acres Farm. This is Claire’s story.

You have to read this series — it’s awesome! It’s amazing! It will make you laugh — and cry — but the point it, it will make you feel.

Jo, Clair and Sierra are unique, loyal, and lovable! Valerie went above and beyond when she created these characters — they’re awesome! (Yes, I know I wrote that in the first review — but I just have to say it again.

Please don’t miss out on this wonderful series . . .

Find it. Get it. Read it.


And don’t forget to check out the intro post to find out how you can WIN!



God bless you!

Review © 2017 DJ Mynatt


Raspberries and Vinegar | Valerie Comer




Today I am reviewing Raspberries and Vinegar, the 1st book in the Farm Fresh Romance series by Valerie Comer.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Josephine Shaw: complex, yet singleminded. A tiny woman with big ideas and, some would say, a mouth to match.

But what does she really know about sustainable living as it relates to the real world? After all, she and her two friends are new to farming.

Zachary Nemesek is back only until his dad recovers enough to work his own land again.

When Zach discovers three helpless females have taken up residence at the old farm next door, he expects trouble. But a mouse invasion proves Jo has everything under control.

Is there anything she can’t handle?

And surely there’s something sweet beneath all that tart.


Raspberries and Vinegar: A Farm Fresh Romance . . . by Valerie ComerTweet this!



What a great book!

I have to admit; I had no idea what to expect when Valerie introduced her “Farm Lit” books. A Farm Fresh Romance? I was conjuring up pigs and manure and mud! What’s romantic about that?

And I’ll go farther and admit when I did begin reading Raspberries and Vinegar, I had NO idea I’d enjoy it as much as I did . . .

Vinegar? Really?

Aw, rats! (or mice)!

Take my word for it . . . read it . . . and don’t stop reading it! You’re going to love this story! Jo (or Josephine) and her best friends are unique, loyal, and lovable! Valerie went above and beyond when she created these characters — they’re awesome!

Jo and her friends have the perfect idea. A self-sustaining lifestyle, with lots of fresh, healthy food – and a chance to help others. It’s too bad Zach doesn’t see things the way they do. Will Jo be able to change his mind?

You won’t know unless you read the book. And the best part . . . this book is free! You can order a copy today – free – and start reading it.

Get it. Read it. You’ll be glad you did!

Happy Reading!


And don’t forget to check out the intro post to find out how you can WIN!



God bless you!

Review © 2017 DJ Mynatt


JANUARY 2017 MARATHON | Valerie Comer


This year I have many, many exciting plans . . .

Each month, as specific plans fall into place, I will be sharing them with you on my author blog. A couple of things I’m ready to share now is that 1) beginning this year, I will be spending more time with my own writing, and 2) my monthly author feature will be changing.

Instead of a monthly author marathon, I will be posting book reviews. My current plans include posting a review each week of a favorite book, including one review each month for a requested review (I get lots of requests for book reviews). . .





Valerie Comer is a wonderful writer — and author of many wonderful books.

I am honored to feature Valerie on my bookshelf blog.




Valerie has graciously offered to sponsor a surprise giveaway…




Don’t miss this opportunity to win a book by Valerie Comer!Tweet this!


For a chance to win a book, do the following:

1) follow Valerie on Facebook HERE

2) follow Valerie on Twitter HERE

3) follow me on Facebook HERE

4) follow me on Twitter HERE



Now go enter!

And tell all your friends about this contest!


Valerie Comer is being featured this month on Donna’s BookShelf!Tweet this!



Marathon © 2017 DJ Mynatt



Longing For a Miracle | Ruth Logan Herne


Today I am reviewing Longing For a Miracle by Ruth Logan Herne, one of the beautiful stories found in the Hope For the Holidays contemporary collection.

Here is the brief synopsis:

Six heart-warming romances from award-winning, best-selling and multi-published authors will make you smile your way through the holiday season… and beyond!

In today’s busy, commercial world these sweet stories remind us of the true spirit of Christmas: faith, hope and love… and the greatest of these is love! Merry Christmas!

“Hope for Christmas” by Mary Connealy

Kelsey is alone, lost, pregnant, stuck in a blizzard and surrounded by wolves.
And then things get worse. Tanner Harden finds her but with trouble coming and a baby at risk, can they stay alive long enough to fall in love?

“Her Christmas Cowboy” by Audra Harders

Can a single mother looking for forgiveness, and a reclusive cowboy convinced he’s beyond redemption, find hope and love in a simple Christmas pageant?

“Longing for a Miracle” by Ruth Logan Herne

Christmas dimmed when an automobile accident claimed Tasha Sorkos’s little girl… could saving Rafe Karralis’s sick daughter bring the light of faith, hope and love back into her eyes?

“A Heart Full of Hope” by Sandra Leesmith

Elena Delgado loves her father’s new business partner, Stephen Edwards. As they work together to find funding for the project that will bring jobs and hope to their small community in time for Christmas, will Stephen notice her? Or is he still in love with the fiancée who left him?

“I’ll be Home for Christmas” by Tina Radcliffe

Dr. Matthew Christopher doesn’t believe in happily ever after. Can wedding planner Patience McCord melt the heart of the last bachelor in time for Christmas?

“One Perfect Gift” by Missy Tippens

In this sweet Cinderella story with a country music twist, a homeless single mother with a secret may get more than she expected for Christmas, including hope, love and home, sweet home.




   Longing For a Miracle

This is just the sort of story that my daughter tries to avoid around Christmas time… if you’ve read the synopsis, you already know that Tasha lost her precious, little daughter. But don’t write this story off yet. The best part is coming – I promise.

When she runs into Rafe Karralis, whom she knew in high school, she discovers he has a daughter – one he could lose. If you read the story, you might just find the love, hope, and peace – that Christmas is all about. I could say more, but I’ve probably already said too much.

Read the story. You’ll be blessed by it.

Merry Christmas!


God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

A Town Called Christmas | Ruth Logan Herne


Today I am reviewing A Town Called Christmas by Ruth Logan Herne, one of the four stories found in the Hope For the Holidays historical collection.

Here is the brief synopsis:

Four award-winning and best-selling inspirational authors take you back to times gone by with this heart-warming collection of old-fashioned romance at its best!

From 20th century Boston to the forested hills of 19th century Idaho, these talented romance writers offer a taste of faith, hope and love in this delightful collection.

“Sophie’s Other Daughter” by Mary Connealy

Laura McClellen is just answering a call for her big sister, Doctor Beth, at the Reeve’s home. Ike Reeves shows up for a surprise Christmas visit, exhausted and filthy. Ike claims the right to escort Laura home and outlaws after Ike turn a simple ride into a fight for their lives.

“A Town Called Christmas” by Ruth Logan Herne

When gruff English pioneer Edward Stillwell offers a former prostitute a job, he gets more than he bargained for: a wagon train more! With winter rolling in, can Sylvie’s faith, hope and optimism be just what the guilt-laden Idaho rancher needs to love Christmas—and people– again?

“Designs on Love” by Myra Johnson.

Ranch foreman Jacob Collins has had designs on Vera Mae Beasley since their schooldays. When the pretty seamstress returns home to settle her late family’s affairs, Jacob hopes his Christmas surprise will win her heart and convince her to stay.

“A Whisper of Hope” by Julie Lessman

With a husband dead set against adoption, Charity O’Connor Dennehy has barely a whisper of hope for more children, but if hope doesn’t disappoint … will it be enough to find a precious bundle under her tree?




   A Town Called Christmas

This was such a good story! It’s definitely one I’ll read again…

I applauded Edward, when he came to the defense of Sylvie Schuler, just recently a wife, mother – and widow.

Now, I could go on . . . and tell you what happens – and it’s really good. But that would ruin the story for you. You’ll just have to read it for yourself – and I heartily encourage you to do so.

Ruth Logan Herne writes such a moving, picturesque, story – that I could see the mountains and the wagons. Sylvia and Edward became real people to me. I expect they’ll do the same for you, when you read A Town Called Christmas.

Merry Christmas!


God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Blueberry Cupcake Mystery | Naomi Miller


Today I am reviewing Blueberry Cupcake Mystery… the first book in the Amish Sweet Shop Mystery series by Naomi Miller.

Here is a brief synopsis:

In the small town of Abbott Creek, mystery is as much a part of daily life as The Sweet Shop’s sugar cookies.

Katie Chupp spends her days at The Sweet Shop, taking care of customers and baking delicious treats . . . not exactly a profession where one expects to be thrown into the midst of mysteries and mayhem.

But when the bakery is broken into, someone has to find the thief . . . besides finding another place to do the baking and get the orders to the customers.

Is this a random theft, or is the thief trying to ruin the town’s Independence Day celebration?


Blueberry Cupcake Mystery… a Sweet Shop Amish Mystery by Naomi Miller – Tweet this!



I’m doing something a bit out of the ordinary.

I want to let Naomi talk about why Blueberry Cupcake Mystery is a different sort of book…

My inspiration originally came from books written to make Amish young people look weak and easily manipulated, or worldly.

I was working on an Amish Suspense novel, when I felt God guiding me to write a series of books that show family, faith, forgiveness, and grace — instead of murder, mayhem, and danger — or worse, vampires, zombies, and demons.

I believe that Blueberry Cupcake Mystery accomplishes this task, and I think you’ll enjoy this story. It has has been compared to the Nancy Drew series, and it’s perfect for young readers, but I’ve heard from many readers — young and old — who enjoyed the story.

It’s somewhere between a short story and a novella, but I truly felt that it was complete, so it’s a quick, fun read.

I hope readers pick up this book (and any future books in the series) when they need something to distract them from sadness, worry, and doubt. I hope reading a light-hearted, fun cozy mystery, will inspire readers and leave them feeling happy and content.

Happy Reading!



God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Kelly Irvin . . . Author Spotlight


Thank you for joining me for this special Author Spotlight!

First, a bit about Kelly…


Kelly is the author of more than a dozen Amish books. Her latest release, The Saddle Maker’s Son, is the third novel in the Amish of Bee County series. She is also the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series. Among her other works are novellas in two collections, including An Amish Christmas Gift and An Amish Market. Both novellas were reviewed this week on Donna’s BookShelf.

Kelly is currently working on a four-book series entitled Every Amish series. The first book, Upon A Spring Breeze, will release in Spring 2017. Her novella, One Sweet Kiss, will be included in a novella collection, An Amish Summer, also slated for release in 2017. An as yet unnamed novella will also appear in a second collection entitled An Amish Christmas.

Kelly’s novel, The Beekeeper’s Son, was a 2016 finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Carol Awards contest. Another novel, Love Redeemed, was a 2015 finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Carol Awards contest.

The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She has been writing nonfiction professionally for more than thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter. She recently retired after working 22 years in public relations for the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Alamo City Christian Fiction Writers.

Kelly is married to photographer Tim Irvin.  They make their home in San Antonio, Texas. They have two children, two grandchildren, and two ornery cats. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors, especially mysteries and romantic suspense novels.


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


A spotlight with Kelly Irvin . . . today on Donna’s BookShelf.Tweet this!


For today’s spotlight, I am doing something a bit different. I’m going to feature some of my favorite blog posts from Kelly’s website:


Disappointment–it’s what’s for dinner!

Disappointment–it’s what’s for dinner!

Disappointment is something we would all like to banish from our lives. However, the older I get and the more I experience disappointment, the more I see how it shapes and molds me into a more thoughtful person. Disappointment helps us grow up, no matter how old we are. I know that sounds ridiculously self-righteous,… Read More


Medicine & Prayer Make Powerful Partners

Medicine & Prayer Make Powerful Partners

The other night my husband and I were watching a TV program in which a fictional medical examiner said, “I’m a doctor, I don’t believe (in miracles, in prayer, in God).” Irritated, I turned to Tim and remarked that one did not preclude the others. He rolled his eyes and said, “It’s a TV show.”… Read More


On buggies and choosing to slow down


On buggies and choosing to slow down

It seems as if I’m always in a hurry. Even when I’m not. I retired in February so I no longer throw myself out of bed at five-thirty a.m. to rush downtown to an office where I finagled an hour of writing before beginning my day job. I rushed home to fix supper, exercise, shower,… Read More


Thanks, Kelly!

And THANK YOU for joining me for this very special AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!

On buggies and choosing to slow down with Kelly S Irvin! – Tweet this!



Interview © 2016 DJ Mynatt

The Saddle Maker’s Son | Kelly Irvin Marathon

Today I am reviewing The Saddle Maker’s Son, the third book in The Amish of Bee County series by Kelly Irvin.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Rebekah Lantz feels imprisoned by circumstances she didn’t create. Tobias Byler is haunted by regret. Can two young runaways from half a world away teach them the healing power of true family?

Rebekah isn’t like her sister who left the Amish faith, but the watchful gaze of her family and small, close-knit Amish community makes her feel as if she’s been judged and found lacking.

The men avoid her and the women whisper behind her back. She simply longs for the same chance to be a wife and mother that her friends have.

Tobias Byler only wants to escape feelings for a woman he knows he should never have allowed to get close to him. Moving with his family to isolated Bee County, Texas, seemed the best way to leave his mistakes behind. But even a move across the country can’t erase the past that accompanies his every thought.

A surprise encounter with two half-starved runaway children forces Rebekah and Tobias to turn to each other to help a sister and brother who have traveled thousands of miles in search of lives of unfettered peace and joy.

In doing so, Rebekah and Tobias discover the key to forgetting the past is the one that will open the door to love and the future they both seek


Rebekah Lantz feels imprisoned by circumstances she didn’t create . . .Tobias Byler is haunted by regret.  Read The Saddle Maker’s Son by Kelly Irvin – Tweet this!



Another amazing, romantic story!

Be warned – you won’t want to put this book down. If you pick it up, do so when you have plenty of time to sit back and enjoy it! And believe me, you are going to LOVE the story! Kelly Irvin is an amazing writer — and The Saddle Maker’s Son is a fantastic story!

This is such a powerful story . . . it  delves into the problems people face across the border — and how the Amish community and English community view it. When Mordecai King seeks out Jesse to get his help with a difficult situation, it could be a good thing for both families.

Will things work out — or will it push the Amish and Englischers farther apart?

Read the book! Find out for yourself. Kelly has created a wonderful community in Bee County Texas. The characters in these three books — plus two novellas — are stubborn, stodgy, determined — and a little surprising at times. But this makes them real to the reader! When Rebekah shivers and tucks her cold hands under her arms, I think I shivered for a moment, too – it was so real to me!

Just read it for yourself (with a sweater . . . and a box of tissues).

If you’re reading The Amish of Bee County series, you won’t want to miss this sequel…

Happy Reading!


God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt


The Bishop’s Son | Kelly Irvin Marathon

Today I am reviewing The Bishop’s Son, the second book in The Amish of Bee County series by Kelly Irvin.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Two men offer Leila two very different futures. Will she choose with her heart or with her faith?

Leila Lantz has been in love with Jesse Glick from the day she first saw him at his father’s store, but she can’t make sense of his intentions.

One day he wants to come courting, the next he seems to be putting distance between them.

Jesse may be the bishop’s son, but his faith has been wavering of late. If he is so unsure, is it fair to give Leila false hope for a future he doubts he can provide?

Then there’s Will, Jesse’s cousin. He has been trying to keep his feelings for Leila a secret, but he also knows Jesse is wrestling with his faith. Would declaring his feelings for Leila be in her best interest or simply serving his own selfish desires?

Leila knows she can choose Will and be secure in her own future. But when her heart speaks, it’s Jesse’s name she hears. When will God make His will known to her? Could leaving everything she knows—even her own faith—be a part of God’s plan?


Will Leila choose with her heart or with her faith? The Bishop’s Son by Kelly Irvin – Tweet this!



What an amazing story!

I would imagine that being the son of a bishop would be about as difficult as being the son of a preacher. I was the daughter of a preacher – and my dad took his role very seriously. Jesse is the son of a bishop. But Jesse is sneaking around – and sneaking around usually means trouble!

Kelly Irvin writes a wonderful story! It’s much more complex than I expected it to be, yet it was very simple. Life is usually like that, too. But finally, you reach the point where decisions – tough decisions – have to be made. And lived with.

Leila has cared for Jesse for many years, but when he begins staying away from home, running with Englischers, she must make a choice – a decision – of what is best to do. Jesse’s cousin Will would like her to choose him – and be baptized. Will Jesse accept this? And will he stay or will he leave?

This is a powerful story . . . one that delves deeply into the faith and beliefs of the Amish community and the English community. When Jesse gets involved with a church in town, his faith in his own church comes into question. Which is the right choice?

Great story! Great characters… Amish and English both. I’m certain parts of this story was difficult for Kelly to write, but she did a fine job.

If you’re reading The Amish of Bee County series, you won’t want to miss this sequel…

Happy Reading!


God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

The Beekeeper’s Son | Kelly Irvin Marathon

Today I am reviewing The Beekeeper’s Son, the first book in The Amish of Bee County series by Kelly Irvin.

Here is a brief synopsis:

A strange, mystical place allows Deborah and Phineas to see themselves and others with new eyes.

When Deborah Lantz arrives in Bee County, Texas, she expects to find a great oasis of citrus groves and olive trees.

Instead, she finds a tiny Amish district struggling to make ends meet on a barren, drought-stricken land. Deborah longs to go home to the lush, green countryside of Tennessee, but she wants her mother, a widow with six children, to be happy again.

Even if that means accepting Stephen as her future stepfather. She can’t believe God created such an ugly place filled with strange animals, twisted, stunted trees, and not a drop of rain for months. Then she meets the beekeeper’s son.

Phineas King’s face is disfigured by scars from an accident that killed his mother and destroyed his trust in God. Through their encounters both begin to realize the beauty in all of God’s creation. Deborah walks through the strange land of figs, Mexican squash, and wild cucumbers to see Phineas, who finds solace in his work keeping the bee hives and harvesting honey for his father.

Both are rarely alone, but always lonely. Deborah begins to see Bee County through Phineas’ eyes and Phineas learns to see himself through hers.


Sometimes it takes a barren landscape to see the beauty of God’s creation. The Beekeeper’s Son by Kelly Irvin – Tweet this!



This may be my favorite series by Kelly Irvin — so far!

I was intrigued from the first page — and once I met Stephen, I knew I had to find out what would happen between him and Abigail. Then I fell in love with the King family . . . and I couldn’t put the book down until I reached the end.

I really enjoyed getting to know Deborah and her family — and Phineas and his family. Kelly writes about them beautifully… I could feel Phineas’ embarrassment when he thought Deborah had screamed at the sight of his face — but she was just as embarrassed because of her clumsiness.

But wait — there’s another couple… the reason for moving from Tennessee to Texas is so widowed mom-of-5 Abigail Lantz can marry up with Stephen Stetler.

Be warned – you won’t want to put this book down. If you pick it up, do so when you have a good opening of space to sit back and enjoy the story! I had so much fun reading this book. I began yesterday evening and I honestly didn’t put it down until I was done. I even finished the last few chapters in bed, using my iPhone flashlight.

And believe me, you are going to LOVE the story! Aside from the fact that Kelly Irvin is an amazing writer, it’s a fantastic story!

Kelly has created a wonderful community in Bee County Texas. The characters are a little surprising at times (for Amish folk)… with their whining, questioning, assertive personalities. But this is exactly what makes them real to the reader! When Deborah mentions sharing a room and having to deal with someone else’s sweat and bad breath – well, it certainly made it real to me!

Read it for yourself!

God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt


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