Tag Archives: © Donna J. Mynatt 2014

The Princess Spy | Melanie Dickerson

Today I’m reviewing The Princess Spy, the 5th book in the Romance Fairy Tales by Melanie Dickerson.

Here is a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

MY THOUGHTS:

The Princess Spy is a fantastic story! And there is even more exciting news for her fans… Melanie has at least two more books that will follow these beloved characters and will be coming to us soon!

It’s so exciting!

Margaretha’s story is a wonderful version of the fairy tale… 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!

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

In my humble 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!

I’m not sure how Melanie found a way to retell classic fairy tales with a Christian worldview, but she did – and she has done an awesome job!

You can read more reviews and more about the book on Goodreads HERE

You can find more about MelanieHERE

God bless you!

 

© Donna J. Mynatt 2014

Dandelion Moon | Hannah Alexander


Today I’m reviewing Dandelion Moon, the second book in the Hallowed Halls Series by Hannah Alexander.

Here is a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

On Christmas Eve, a woman stumbles through a cemetery, not knowing who or where she is…

Myra sat beside Weston, staring up at the December sky. “I remember sitting in this place watching the moon disappear a little more each night, like the head of a dandelion blowing in the wind. That was how I felt about my life.”

“But you know what happens when those dandelion seeds spread,” Weston said. “The wind carries them away to be planted and thrive elsewhere. You may feel as if you’re losing yourself, but your love is planting hope for new life in others.”

On Christmas Eve, Weston Cline frantically searches for the woman he loves, psychiatrist Myra Maxwell. She fled her clinic in the middle of the day, and he’s heard nothing from her since.

When he can’t find her in the city, he decides to search in her hometown, where he’s made enemies in the past and must tread lightly.

Will Weston be able to find Myra and help her recover her memories, or will his past sins prevent him from reaching her?

MY THOUGHTS:

The husband and wife writing team that we know as Hannah Alexander has created some amazing – and ever-changing – characters.

In Hallowed Halls, the first book of the series, we met the main characters of the series — Joy, Myra, Laine, Tressa, Molly, Zack and Weston. In Dandelion Moon, everyone is back, and I was eager to see what’s happening between Joy and Zack, Joy and Weston, Joy and Molly, and what new relationships might occur.

Authentic characters really matter – and Hannah Alexander does a remarkable job creating realistic characters that the reader can – and does – relate to in the books.

Yes! I was more than a little surprised to read that Weston was emotionally – and romantically – involved with Myra, his therapist… and Joy’s best friend!

I was even more surprised when Zack and Weston come to depend on one another for advice and support concerning Myra, Joy and Molly, along with Sarah, one of Myra’s patients.

But my best feeling… how quickly I became involved in book one… and again in book two; it feels great to enjoy the interesting characters and the anything-but-dull story with such depth that I can’t wait to read the next one in the series!

And if you’re looking for a great Christmas read… pick up a copy of Dandelion Moon, a sweet inspirational novel just in time for Christmas!

You can read more reviews and more about the book on Goodreads HERE

You can find more about Hannah AlexanderHERE

I received this book free from the author.

God bless you!

 

© Donna J. Mynatt 2014

Berenstain Bears and the Biggest Brag | Mike Berenstain

Today I am reviewing The Berenstain Bears and the Biggest Brag, a living lights story by Mike Berenstain.

Here is a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

In this newest Berenstain Bears Living Lights 8×8 book, The Berenstain Bears and the Biggest Brag, Grizzly Gramps teaches Brother and Sister a valuable lesson about bragging and boasting.

When he happens to overhear the cubs bickering about who can see the most unusual cloud formations, Gramps puts a stop to the argument.

He reminds them that being proud of a special talent from God is one thing, but bragging about it is foolish.

“Pride goeth before a fall!”

MY THOUGHTS:

Title: The Berenstain Bears and the Biggest Brag
Series: The Berenstain Bears Living Lights
Author: Mike Berenstain
Publisher: Zonderkidz – December 2014
Genre: Children
Format: Paperback / e-book

Grizzly Gramps teaches Brother and Sister a valuable lesson about bragging and boasting in this narrative of The Berenstain Bears and the Biggest Brag.

When Gramps happens to overhear the cubs bickering about who can see the most unusual cloud formations, he puts a stop to the argument by reminding them that being proud of a special talent from God is one thing, but bragging about it is just plain foolish.

“Pride goeth before a fall!”

This story is perfect for early readers, including my granddaughter — and it’s a good lesson for children who get caught up in a “bragging contest” when they start bragging about what they can do and try to outdo others in their bragging.

I love how the story doesn’t make the reading too simple, yet is easy for a new reader. The pictures are delightful and entertaining, while the message is always a good one to learn. When my own children were growing up, they read the stories by Stan and Jan Berenstain while growing up… now my grandchildren are reading the stories by their son, Mike. The biblical aspect is one I really appreciate, too!

Even better… now activities and questions are included on the last page!

You can read more reviews and more about this story on Goodreads HERE

You can find more about Mike BerenstainHERE

God bless you!

 

I received this book free from the BookLook Bloggers program.

© Donna J. Mynatt 2014

Somehow, Christmas Will Come | Peggy Blann Phifer

SOMEHOW CHRISTMAS WILL COME  2

Today I’m reviewing Somehow, Christmas Will Come by Peggy Blann Phifer.

Here is a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

When Molly Dugan’s best friend gets married and leaves St. Paul, Minnesota, to live in Georgia, Molly feels alone and plans a visit to her brother, Patrick, in Las Vegas.

Molly had been worried about him ever since his wife died in a tragic boating accident.

Grieving she could understand, but she sensed something deeper going on. And she was concerned about Patrick’s six-year-old daughter, Bethany.

So she sets aside her life in St. Paul to spend an indeterminate time in Vegas.

When Molly gets there, she finds more than she bargained on. And in the lead-up to Christmas, the situation only gets worse…. 6 year-old Bethany loses her last anchor.

How does Molly convince her that somehow, Christmas will come.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

This is a great Christmas story!

If you get emotional like I do, have a box of tissues nearby when you read it; the author does a great job showing how Molly and her family deal with tragedy.

I’ll be honest; I never saw the second tragedy coming…

This is very similar to the Christmas stories that have you sobbing — just before the characters begin adjusting to it all — and life goes on.

If you’re looking for a good Christmas read this month, this would be a good choice.

You can purchase this in ebook format right now… and begin reading for yourself.

I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

You can read more reviews and more about the book on Goodreads HERE

And click HERE for Patty’s website!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

God bless you!

 

© Donna J. Mynatt 2014

A Woodland Miracle | Ruth Reid


Today I am reviewing A Woodland Miracle, the second book in the Amish Wonders Series by Ruth Reid.

Here is a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

For a disadvantaged young woman and a displaced young man, a lasting love is going to take more than chance–it’s going to take a miracle.

Muscle weakness has left Grace Wagler with a broken body–and her childhood best friend has left her with a broken heart. She can hold her own in the timber camp (and do everything else the other women in Badger Creek can do), but in an Amish district where women outnumber men three to one, marriage is an unlikely prospect for a girl with bad legs.

Ben Eicher just arrived in Michigan from Pinecraft, Florida. When his most recent shenanigans proved too much for his “daed”‘s patience, Ben was sent to the Upper Peninsula to work in the lumber camp–and he’s neither proud of his behavior nor thrilled about his new home.

But when Ben meets Grace, the struggling young woman quickly piques his curiosity. Of course, the last thing Grace wants is another friendship with a man who pities her. Tired of physical pain and romantic dead ends, Grace is ready to leave Badger Creek for the muscle specialist in Ohio, even if it contradicts her father’s wishes . . . and Ben’s.

Meanwhile, two dangerous men have found their way into the district. It isn’t long before their unsavory plans ensnare Grace and Ben in a chase that will not only endanger their lives . . . but test their love.

MY THOUGHTS:

Ruth Reid is so much more than just amazing… she’s awe-inspiring!

I was absolutely astounded by the degree of pain that Grace had to endure in this story – yet that makes the story what it is… an amazing account of not one, but two lives that have had more than their share of pain, sorrow, fear and turmoil. Without these experiences, the happiness, joy and love wouldn’t be felt as strongly.

Although I wanted to shake some sense into Grace a time or two, she couldn’t deny her feelings, even the ones she had for Gordon. And she was much stronger than she ever suspected, when push came to shove (ha – a play on words, but pushing and shoving is exactly what she did have to endure for a while).

I’ve been unable to let go of the story – from the time I began reading during my lunch break today – until tonight when I finally reached the end of it.

It’s a very powerful story, with characters so convincing I felt as if I knew them. I have to say, I am very thankful I don’t know some of them. How does Ruth write such negative, violent scenes without the harsh cursing and unrealistic actions that so many authors add to their stories?

Well, that’s no secret – she’s just supremely talented!

If you enjoy reading Amish novels, read A Woodland Miracle… you’ll be as amazed as I was!

This book has the perfect title — a woodland miracle is just what Grace receives!

You can find more about Ruth on her website… HERE

I received a copy of this book from the author.

God bless you!

 

©Donna J. Mynatt 2014

Week #3 WINNER | Jennifer Beckstrand Marathon

 

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It’s time to announce the THIRD weekly winner

 

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PAM GRABER

 

I will be contacting you via e-mail
to let you know what you need to do to collect your prize
.

THANK YOU to everyone for entering!

And keep coming back to read reviews and share posts!

There are more chances to win!

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

Jennifer Beckstrand Marathon | Giveaway!

Merry Christmas and God bless you!

© Donna J. Mynatt 2014

Week #3 drawing coming up… | Jennifer Beckstrand Marathon

 

Jennifer Beckstrand Giveaway Banner PNG

 

HEY! it’s almost time for the 3rd Saturday giveaway!

No more entries will be accepted for tomorrow’s giveaway after midnight tonight EDT.

Entries received after midnight will be added to the drawing for next Saturday.

 

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ONE WINNER is selected each Friday at midnight and announced on Saturday… these WINNERS will each receive one of Jennifer’s awesome books — autographed — and sent to you directly from the author!

 

Enter-the-Contest-to-WIN

To enter, just do the following:

1) follow this blog (if you aren’t following it)

2) “like” this post (if you can’t, just let me know)

3) leave a comment below stating which of Jennifer’s books is your favorite.

Feel free to comment on the reviews of Jennifer’s books… one entry per blog post will be added to the list of possible winners!

Now go enter! And tell all your friends about this contest!

Blessings!

 

Please remember that all of my giveaways are limited to US residents only. Visit my giveaway rules page for a complete explanation of the terms and conditions of this giveaway.

© Donna J. Mynatt 2014

An Amish Buggy Ride | Sarah Price

Today I’m reviewing An Amish Buggy Ride by the amazing Sarah Price.

 

Here is a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

Quiet and soft-spoken, Kate Zook is the responsible eldest daughter in an Amish family and prides herself on fulfilling her role.

Then, one fateful snowy night, she uncharacteristically speaks her mind—and unwittingly plays a part in a horrible accident.

Wracked by guilt over her role in the tragedy that left her brother David injured, Kate devotes herself to his care, going so far as to take on his chores in the fields.

Even so, her brother’s resentment toward her grows, and David torments Kate, making her increasingly isolated life even more difficult.

Though Kate’s parents have emotionally withdrawn, someone outside the home takes an interest in Kate and notes her clear grief.Samuel, a local boy, has recently returned from a wild rumschpringe—the Amish term for exploring the wider world—and recommitted to his community.

Intrigued by Kate’s gentle yet loyal ways, he begins to fall in love with her. But tensions rise as he refuses to put up with David’s rage. As Kate’s heart begins to stir and cry out for happiness, she must rely on faith to find forgiveness or risk losing out on love.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

Whoa!  Sarah Price truly knows how to grab your attention… and she does it well with An Amish Buggy Ride.

When David Zook shows up to drive his sister Kate home from a gathering, she refuses to ride with him after seeing how intoxicated he is, as well as smelling the whiskey on his breath. But when he has an accident on the way home, she feels that she’s to blame — and no wonder — since David seems to blame her, too.

Samuel Esh would like nothing better than to spend time with Kate… if he could think of a way to help her — and her family — get past the pain and consequences from the accident.

David Zook continues to feel sorry for himself and rages at the world after his accident — but mostly it seems at his family. Kate feels that she doesn’t have the right to be happy anymore, and goodness knows David seems bent on making her as miserable as he intends to remain.

In many Amish stories, the plain folk don’t appear to feel sorry for themselves when confronted with difficult situations – but they are people just like us and they feel the same emotions — anger, distress, grief, turmoil — unexpected events effect them, too.

Sarah does a great job showing how difficult it is to overcome tragedy. Her characters are so lifelike, I felt the sadness and depression that Kate was feeling, and I cried buckets while reading this story!

But it’s a story worth reading – believe me. Don’t miss out on this great novel.

You can read more reviews and more about the book on Goodreads HERE

…and you can find more about Sarah PriceHERE

God bless you!

 

 

© Donna J. Mynatt  2014

Huckleberry Summer | Jennifer Beckstrand Marathon

Huckleberry Summer by Jennifer Beckstrand

Huckleberry Summer is the second book in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series by the very witty, talented, and captivating author (oh yeah, she’s definitely one of my favorite authors), Jennifer Beckstrand.

Here is the synopsis for Huckleberry Summer:

With one of their grandchildren happily married, Anna and Felty Helmuth are ready for their next matchmaking success. Because there’s nothing more rewarding than sparking unexpected love–and putting Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, on the map for romance. . .

Cautious to a fault, Lily Eicher strives to live up to her dat’s high standards.

She’s certainly not the kind of proper Amish girl who would make time for someone as impetuous as the Helmuths’ grandson, Aden–even if his lively spirit and caring ways are showing her just how wonderful following her heart can be. . .

Recklessly doing the right thing got Aden into big trouble.

A fresh start at his grandparents’ is just what he needs. And shy, pretty Lily is turning his world upside down and making him want to prove he can do good within the rules.

But now both must find enough faith and understanding to risk pursuing their dreams – together. . .

MY THOUGHTS:

Jennifer has done it again!

Would you like to hear a funny story… my daughter was on Jennifer’s street team when she received a copy of this book. We were preparing to leave for a weekend trip when it arrived in the mail and she teased me about getting to read the second book before I could.

Of course, I had the advantage, since she was driving! She handed over the book because she thought it would be safe… HA! Her plan backfired and I got to read it first!

I get car sick easily and never, ever read in the car — even maps. However, for almost four hours, we were in traffic on the Interstate and I began reading, hoping it would distract me when we were pretty much stopped most of the time anyway…

Whether I was blessed… or because the story was so good that I was sufficiently distracted, I never got car sick and I read more than two-thirds of the book while my daughter patiently followed the traffic to Knoxville.

When we finally arrived, not in three hours as we expected, but a whopping seven hours later, I reluctantly put it down for dinner, but later when my grandchildren were asleep, I eagerly picked it back up and read into the night until I finished it!

This time I knew what to expect from my favorite characters, and I was NOT disappointed. I was sure before I began reading that whoever Anna had picked out for Aden would be perfect for him… and it didn’t take him long to realize that she had picked well.

Now the problem would be to convince Lily… and more importantly, Lily’s dat. Oh my… this would not be an easy task, especially since the best catch in Bonduel, according to Lily’s dat, was also interested in her.

If you enjoyed the first book, you’ll love this one, too. If you haven’t read the first one (aptly titled, Huckleberry Hill) you need to get a copy and read it.

You’re gonna love it!

…and the best part is that you can now purchase Huckleberry HillHuckleberry SummerHuckleberry Christmas… plus a novella (the title is A Perfect Amish Christmas) contained in An Amish Christmas Quilt… and even more exciting, Huckleberry Spring comes out soon… release date is January 2015.

Even better… now is the perfect time to ask for the Huckleberry Hill series for CHRISTMAS… believe me, this is a gift that will keep on giving — year after year!

5-stars

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

Jennifer Beckstrand Marathon | Giveaway!

Click HERE for the book page on GoodReads

And click HERE for Jennifer’s website!

 

God bless you!

 

©Donna J. Mynatt 2014

Huckleberry Hill | Jennifer Beckstrand Marathon

Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand

Huckleberry Hill is the first book in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series by one of my most favorite authors, the very talented Jennifer Beckstrand.

Here is the synopsis for Huckleberry Hill:

With their thirteen children grown, Anna and Felty Helmuth are ready for their next adventure. That means trying their hands at matchmaking –- because what could be more fun than igniting love when it’s right–and undoing mismatches when they’re wrong.

Now Huckleberry Hill just might turn out to be the most romantic spot in Wisconsin…

Lia Shetler is resigned to being a spinster. She’s too tall and sturdy to ever be marriageable –- so says her overbearing dat. Instead, she’s helping her pretty, spoiled sister Rachel secure the perfect husband–the Helmuths’ grandson, Moses Zimmerman.

But the more Lia sees of Moses’ gently teasing ways and quiet understanding, the more she wishes he could be hers alone…

Moses knew his grandparents couldn’t resist trying to find him a wife. But he never expected it would be the graceful, sensible Lia –- a woman who is tall enough to look him in the eye, and honest enough to make him question a promise holding him to his past.

Now both Moses and Lia will need the kind of miracles only faith and courage can bring to finally reach for a lifetime of happiness…

MY THOUGHTS:

The last sentence in the first paragraph had me smiling…

“Moses is miserable, absolutely miserable. We must find him a wife.”

The next few sentences had me chuckling… and telling my daughter she just “had” to read this book…

“You mean Moses, our grandson? He doesn’t seem miserable to me.”

“He won’t know how miserable he is until he meets the right girl.”

and for the most part, I stopped responding to everyone — and everything — until I finished the book!

I actually took a vacation day from work, just to finish this book!

It’s that good!

Yeah, I could have put it aside and picked it up later to finish, but the point I’m trying to make is,

it was worth it!

I bought this book because just reading the back cover, I was convinced that I would enjoy it. When I mentioned it to my daughter, she told me in no uncertain terms that “she wouldn’t be interested in a book where the grandparents act as matchmakers.

After hearing me laugh — again and again… and again — she changed her mind and said she’d give it a try.

Not only did she love it, but since that very first book, we tend to fight over the sequels…

Jennifer has a wonderful way with words; she pulls the reader into the story right from the first page because she makes the characters seem so real that you can easily picture them. I admit, I got so involved in the story, I laughed til I cried at the silliness of Moses and Lia, both trying to convince the other that they didn’t want to marry one another.

Anna and Felty are the most lovable grandparents I have ever had the privilege of falling in love with… they are perfect for each other, and their imperfections and idiosyncrasies only make them more lovable!

Huckleberry Hill is full of unexpected twists and turns — and laugh-out-loud mishaps. The characters in this story are delightful and absolutely one-of-a-kind. The plot is well thought out and most intriguing.

I actually read this book for the first time in February, again in June, and once again I find myself reading it — reading this series is my Christmas gift to myself!

I don’t want to put it down. Even though I’ve read it before and I know the story and what happens, and the truly wonderful ending… I truly enjoy reading it again — it’s really that good.

But hey, don’t take my word for it. Go buy a copy… because you’re going to want to keep it!
5-stars

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

Jennifer Beckstrand Marathon | Giveaway!

Click HERE for the book page on GoodReads

And click HERE for Jennifer’s website!

 

God bless you!

 

©Donna J. Mynatt 2014

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