Tag Archives: Cindy Woodsmall

The Dawn of Christmas | Cindy Woodsmall


Today I am reviewing The Dawn of Christmas — by Cindy Woodsmall.

This is the third story in the Apple Ridge series…

Here’s a brief synopsis:

Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down.

Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance.

To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down.

Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?



I rejoiced with Sadie when she stood up for what she knew to be the truth, even when her family and friends tried to convince her otherwise. I appreciate the way her character changes and grows throughout the book. When she meets Levi, in a totally unique situation, it begins a new chance for a future filled with more than lies, deceit and loneliness. I was so glad to see that Levi appreciated Sadie for the wonderful person she is… and I love happy endings!

I appreciate how Ms. Woodsmall weaves in the characters throughout the three stories, yet making each one distinctly about new characters, as well as the ones we’ve grown to love.

I love reading Ms. Woodsmall’s novels. The people in them are more realistic than you find in many other novels (things don’t always work out the way you hope), but she does a great job tying up loose ends and creating happy endings whenever possible.

I heartily recommend The Dawn of Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

God Bless You!


Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt


The Christmas Singing | Cindy Woodsmall



Today I am reviewing The Christmas Singing — by Cindy Woodsmall.

This is the second story in the Apple Ridge series.

Here’s a brief synopsis:

After Gideon coldly broke her heart, can the warmth of the season revive Mattie’s hopes?

Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve.

Three years later, will learning the truth behind his rejection restore her Christmas joy – or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?

Spend Christmas with the Amish in this story of love, romance, heartache, and restoration.

Experience the holidays with the Plain folk and discover the power of second chances in this touching story from the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Bridge of Peace.

Gideon Beiler has loved Mattie Eash since they were children. But when faced with unexpected circumstances, he makes up an excuse to end their engagement. He doesn’t want to lie to her, but he believes that telling Mattie the truth will be more hurtful.

Brokenhearted, Mattie moves from Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania to Ohio, where she pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator. She finds a new beau—a man offering the secure relationship Gideon has denied her.

When Mattie is forced to return to Apple Ridge, she and Gideon must confront the suffering created by his dishonesty – and address the powerful emotions that continue to bind the two childhood friends


This story was wonderfully done! I wasn’t too happy with Gideon throwing away the wonderful relationship he had with Mattie to get involved with an English girl until I learned the real reason behind his ridiculous actions.

Is it behind your ear, Mattie Lane?

And his cute little special pet name for her… Mattie Lane! This is way too cute for words.

The fact that Mattie continued to use the special binder full of sketches, pictures, recipes, plus her day planner, said a lot about how her feelings for Gideon are still strong.

When I began this second story from the Christmas in Apple Ridge series, I was disappointed at first, since it took place away from Apple Ridge, with different characters. I quickly found that many of the people from the first story were continuing their story in this book.

I heartily recommend this novel. If you enjoy Amish stories and sequels, you’ll love the Apple Ridge series!

Merry Christmas!

God Bless You!


Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

The Sound of Sleigh Bells | Cindy Woodsmall


Today I am reviewing The Sound of Sleigh Bells — by Cindy Woodsmall.

This is the first story in the Apple Ridge series.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serving as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares.

But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of her fiancé.

When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work — including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry.

Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art.

But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?


Ms. Woodsmall excels at creating unexpected twists and turns. . . I couldn’t put the book down until I was done!

Beth and Jonah almost immediately garner your sympathy; Beth’s fiancé died just before their wedding and Jonah almost died while rescuing his family! As the story unfolds, Beth and Jonah both begin to share their deep, dark secrets . . . and their shame. With a little help, they are both able to finally put the past behind them. But what happens when they finally meet . . .

I wanted to hide with Beth . . . and I laughed out loud when Jonah discovered the ruse, but was unable to get Beth out of his thoughts. And I cheered when he showed up at the motel with a sleigh!

Read this book to find out how Jonah finally gets through to Beth…

This is the perfect 1st book of Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

God Bless You!


Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

21 Days of Love | Kathy Ide


Today I am reviewing 21 Days of Love compiled by Kathy Ide, featuring Cindy Woodsmall, Susan May Warren, Sherry Kyle, Renae Brumbaugh, and Lori Freeland, & more.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Love can be found in many treasured relationships: boyfriend-girlfriend, husband-wife, parent-child… with a special friend, teacher, or pet… in the kindness of a stranger. We even have a national holiday to celebrate love.

The greatest love ever known is God’s abundant love for us, His children. And He often demonstrates that perfect love through imperfect people.

These stories represent all kinds of love. Woven through each story is the sustaining hand of our loving heavenly Father. On Valentine’s Day—and every day—whether your life is chocolates and flowers or loneliness and pain, let these stories fill your heart with hope, peace, and most important, love.


21 Days of Love… Stories that Celebrate Treasured Relationships – Tweet this!



21 Days of Love is a beautiful book, from cover to cover. Now, I don’t usually begin my reviews by complimenting the cover, but it’s perfect. Matter of fact, each of the book covers for this series are thoughtful and true to the subject covered within its’ pages.

Inside this book, you will find stories of love . . . stories that represent the many different types of love that we all experience, from the relationships we have with our parents and siblings, our spouse and our children, as well as friends, and even strangers.

But these aren’t stories to bring false hope, or present fairy tales; instead, they are written to encourage us as we go through rough times. The very first story describes how an accident changes a young girl’s life — and her future. Left with feelings of hopelessness, she discovers that God has another path for her life, if she’ll only trust Him with her future.

Each story in this devotional is encouraging, uplifting, and heart-warming. I was continually reminded of God’s love for me. And that He is always waiting for me, even when I’ve drifted away at times. His love for me is an everlasting love, full of promise.

If you haven’t read 21 Days of Love, or one of the companion books in this series, I encourage you to read it.

God Loves You!


Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

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






Today I have the very difficult task of listing my favorite authors from 2015…

Of course, I have other favorite authors . . . many others . . . but this year, in this post, I’m only mentioning 20 favorite authors, whose books I’ve read and reviewed on my book blog this year…

And now… here are the 20 authors (listed alphabetically)!

Amanda Flower
Amy Clipston
Charlotte Hubbard
Cindy Woodsmall
Dana Mentink
Donna Reimel Robinson
Elizabeth Byler Younts
JC Morrows
Jean C Gordon
Jennifer Beckstrand
Laura V Hilton
Melanie Dickerson
Naomi King
Rachel Muller
Ruth Logan Herne
Ruth Reid
Sarah Loudon Thomas
Shelley Shepard Gray
Valerie Comer
Vannetta Chapman


Donna’s BookShelf . . . 20 favorite authors of 2015! Who are your favorites? Tweet this!




Happy Reading!!!



Review © 2015 DJ Mynatt

Amish Christmas at North Star | Woodsmall/Clark/Clark/Flower/Ganshert


Today I am reviewing Amish Christmas at North Star, a compilation by five authors, including several of my favorites!

Here is a brief synopsis:

One night four lives entered the world by the hands of an Amish midwife, just outside North Star, Pennsylvania.

Rebekah’s babies, as they are called, are now grown adults and in four heartwarming novellas each young person experiences a journey of discovery, love, and the wonder of Christmas.

Guiding Star
by Katie Ganshert

Curiosity gets the best of Englisher Chase Wellington when he investigates the twenty-five-year-old disappearance of an Amish baby. When he finds adventurous Elle McAllister in Iowa will his discoveries upend her world?

Mourning Star
by Amanda Flower

Eden Hochstetler slips from her parents’ fudge shop to investigate the death of her friend Isaac Yoder.  Who is guilty? Isaac’s handsome great nephew Jacob, an angry Englisher, or someone else?

In the Stars
by Cindy Woodsmall

Kore Detweiler has nursed his broken heart, avoiding North Star after Savilla Beiler suddenly rejected his love.  But when he is called to return home, he and Savilla must join forces to keep a family together.

Star of Grace
by Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark

Andy Danner left North Star to work in construction in a new Amish settlement in Louisiana. His little brother devises a scheme to bring Andy home for Christmas, and unwittingly unleashes the power of forgiveness in an old widower’s life.


Don’t miss AMISH CHRISTMAS AT NORTH STAR . . . 4 stories of Love and Family.Tweet this!



Four stories of Love & Family

This book is an attention-grabber, in that it begins with a prologue, telling about the birth of the four children born on the same night, in the same birthing center, delivered by the same midwife.

The first story begins nearly twenty-five years later . . . when an inquisitive journalist finds the story, and is determined to discover what happened to the four babies!

Each story, while just a bit different, are bound together by each child’s birth. This is a great collection of stories; one I’m certain you will enjoy.

I was surprised to find an Amish novella written by Katie Ganshert . . . author of The Gifting, a speculative fiction series, and several contemporary romance novels. Although it doesn’t read like novels by my favorite Amish fiction authors, including the other authors in this particular series, Katie did a good job with it. It’s very entertaining.

Happy Reading!!!



Review © 2015 DJ Mynatt

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Ties That Bind | Cindy Woodsmall



Today I am reviewing Ties That Bind, the first book in The Amish of Summer Grove series by Cindy Woodsmall.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart?

Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways.

She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.

Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal.

When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.

Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left.

After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever.

Ties That Bind is the first novel in the Amish of Summer Grove series.


Cindy Woodsmall has a new series out… The Amish of Summer Grove! Tweet this!



Wow! Cindy Woodsmall is such an amazing author!

Ms. Woodsmall took a problem I never thought I’d see in Amish fiction – a problem so rare I’ve only seen it mentioned in another series one time – and she made it work.

Right at the beginning you get completely drawn in… and you can’t put the book down… there’s smoke coming in the room, so you know there’s a fire. Talk about a good opening – this is a great one!

I’m a bit weird in that I love to read Amish fiction – without the English world coming in to make trouble – but Cindy handled the story with an expert touch. The author does a superb job making the problem believable. And no, I’m not going to even give a hint as to what the problem is… if you want to know, you have to read the book. And let me encourage you right now – read the book.


Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel… TIES THAT BIND  by Cindy Woodsmall. Tweet this!



God bless you!

Review © 2015 DJ Mynatt


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