Tag Archives: inspiration

One Im’Perfect Christmas by Myra Johnson


Today I am reviewing One Imperfect Christmas by Myra Johnson.

Here’s a brief synopsis:

Only Love Makes a Christmas Perfect…

Graphic designer Natalie Pearce faces the most difficult Christmas of her life.

For almost a year, her mother has lain in a nursing home, the victim of a massive stroke, and Natalie blames herself for not being there when it happened.

Worse, she’s allowed the monstrous load of guilt to drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves—most of all her husband Daniel. Her marriage is on the verge of dissolving, her prayer life is suffering, and she’s one Christmas away from hitting rock bottom.

Junior-high basketball coach Daniel Pearce is at his wit’s end. Nothing he’s done has been able to break through the wall Natalie has erected between them. And their daughter Lissa’s adolescent rebellion isn’t helping matters. As Daniel’s hope reaches its lowest ebb, he wonders if this Christmas will spell the end of his marriage and the loss of everything he holds dear.



Once again, this is probably not a book I would have chosen to read just before Christmas… and once again, I would have missed out on a great book! I usually go for the Christmas romances that are all sweet and make you feel good all over. This is not what I felt reading One Imperfect Christmas! But oh my, what an inspiration it is, especially during the Christmas season.

The characters are true to form and totally believable. So many families would respond exactly the same. Ms. Johnson hit the nail on the head.

Although it isn’t easy to read about how the Pearce family responds when Natalie’s mom has a massive stroke, I found myself able to see both sides of the breakup. Dealing with serious illness too often causes more than one casualty.


Be forwarned… grab a box of tisses… you are going to need them.

Merry Christmas!

God Bless You!


Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt


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

Christmas at Donna’s BookShelf | featuring Naomi Miller




Today I am beginning a new month . . . a month of celebrating one of my favorite holidays — Christmas!

I’ll be sharing a review of a favorite Christmas story each and every day of the month. I’m starting with my review of The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall.


And . . . I’ll be featuring Naomi Miller, author of the Amish Sweet Shop Mystery series, who will be giving away a copy of Christmas Cookie Mystery  each Saturday in December (with an extra treat included on the 31st for a GRAND PRIZE!



Don’t miss this opportunity to win a book by Naomi Miller!Tweet this!


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


1) follow Naomi on Facebook HERE

2) follow Naomi on Twitter HERE

3) follow Naomi on Instagram HERE


** Be sure to leave a comment, stating that you have completed these tasks!

Now go enter!

And tell all your friends about this contest!


Naomi Miller is being featured this month on Donna’s BookShelf!Tweet this!



Feature © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Visit my giveaway rules page for a complete explanation of the terms and conditions of this giveaway.


NEW books for 2015-2016… | Melanie Dickerson Marathon

Here’s a look at what we have to look forward to from Melanie Dickerson:

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MELANIE DICKERSON has several exciting books COMING SOON!
The next book in her series about the people of Hagenheim we have come to know and love: The Golden Braid is set to release November 2015!
Her first regency romance is set to release February of 2016!
And the Next story in Thornbeck is scheduled for a Spring 2016 release!




The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest introduces us to the people of Thornbeck. It releases May 12th!


Robin Hood collides with The Swan Princess in The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest! Coming May 2015!CLICK TO TWEET!


This series will continue next year with a Princess and the Pea retelling named The Beautiful Pretender


Can a servant pass herself off as a Princess in “The Beautiful Pretender” – Coming Spring 2016!CLICK TO TWEET!



The next book scheduled to release from Thomas Nelson is The Golden Braid – which takes us back to Hagenheim for a Rapunzel retelling!


A Rapunzel story – with several twists… Coming November 2015!CLICK TO TWEET!

All we know about Melanie’s first Regency romance is that it is tentatively titled A Spy’s Devotion, and is set to release in February of 2016.

Melanie Dickerson is currently working on her first Regency romance – COMING February 2016!CLICK TO TWEET!



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I know I’m not the only one who can’t wait to read and review Melanie’s new releases!



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


NEW books for 2015-2016… | Mary Ellis Marathon


Here’s a look at what we have to look forward to from Mary Ellis:

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MARY ELLIS has a NEW series coming out: Secrets of the South Mysteries
The first book in Mary’s NEW series is Midnight on the Mississippi
COMING in August 2015!


Midnight on the Mississippi begins the new Secrets of the South Mysteries from bestselling author Mary Ellis. These complex crime dramas follow an investigator’s quest to make the world a better place… solving one case at a time.


New Orleans—Hunter Galen, a stock and securities broker, suspects his business partner, James Nowak, may be involved in embezzling their clients’ money, but he’s reluctant to jeopardize their friendship based on suspicion alone. After James turns up dead, Hunter realizes his unwillingness to confront a problem may have cost James his life.

Nicki Price, a newly minted PI, intends to solve the stockbroker’s murder, recover the missing millions from the client accounts, and establish herself in the career she adores. As she ferrets out fraud and deception at Galen Investments, Hunter’s fiancée, Ashley Menard, rubs Nicki the wrong way. Nicki doesn’t trust the ostentatious woman with an agenda longer than the Mississippi River. Ashley seems to be hiding something, but is Nicki’s growing attraction to Hunter—a suspected murderer—her true reason for disliking Ashley?

As they encounter sophisticated shell games, blackmail, and murder, Nicki and Hunter’s only option is to turn to God as they search for answers, elude lethal danger, and perhaps discover love along the way.

Blackmail… Embezzling… Murder… Don’t miss this NEW Southern Mystery series from Mary Ellis! Coming August 2015.CLICK TO TWEET!



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The second book in Mary’s NEW series is What Happened on Beale Street
COMING February 2016!


What Happened on Beale Street continues the new Secrets of the South Mysteries from bestselling author Mary Ellis. These complex crime dramas follow an investigator’s quest to make the world a better place… solving one case at a time.




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I know I can’t wait to read and review each new story Mary releases!



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

Mary Ellis Marathon | Giveaway!

God bless you!


Copyright © 2013-2015 DJ Mynatt

JUST SAY NO! to 50 shades… | My 1st un-review


Please… please don’t go to see the “50 shades” movie this weekend…

NEVER… that’s when you should see it… never.

Don’t see the movie… and don’t read the books.


There is a massive facebook/twitter campaign going on right now against the heinous 50 shades… movie and books.





Please stand with me as I spread the word to my family, friends and readers. 

Please do everything possible to protect others from the damaging and devastating effects of this series!




I have not – and I will not – read the books – or watch the movie!

I know that there are times that Christian leaders feel the need to read or watch what they are begging their followers to oppose – so that they have all the information they need to present a case.

But in my opinion, that is a very bad idea! Exposing your mind to ANYTHING of this nature is inviting the devil to create a foothold in your very soul – which he will then use to push more sin into your life.




Allowing this story into your head allows it into your heart, your mind, your soul!

You think you can handle it. You tell yourself that you need to be able to make an informed argument. You tell yourself that you need to have ammo to feed that argument. You tell yourself that you can’t really argue against something you haven’t read or watched personally…

But this series is FAR TOO DANGEROUS to adhere to these rationales.




We need to send a strong message to the makers of the movie.

They NEED TO KNOW we are serious!

They NEED TO KNOW that they will not tear down strong women… men… families… marriages!

They NEED TO KNOW that we will not lay down and let them roll right over us!

We NEED to stand up for our daughters, our sisters, our mothers, and our friends!


No one has the right to treat you like a thing!

No one has the right to treat you like trash!

No one has the right to degrade you and drag you down!




The greatest trick the devil ever played on women was to make them think submission equals abuse… and then to make them think that choosing to be abused is not abuse but is instead, empowerment – that it is fun, exciting, sexy…


Choosing it does not make it LOVE!

Choosing it does not make it RIGHT!

Choosing it does not make it ENJOYABLE!

It doesn’t matter if it’s consensual or not. It doesn’t matter if it’s by choice or not. It doesn’t matter if it’s “fiction” or not!
Abuse and degradation are nothing to take lightly or as something that is OK as long as we’re talking about two adults or even as long as we are talking about fiction!

It is NEVER OK – not in a fictional story, not in a movie, and certainly not in reality!


Please say NO to 50 Shades… this Valentine’s Day!CLICK TO TWEET!


Stand with us – Make Valentine’s Day a day of TRUE romance!CLICK TO TWEET!


Remember the true meaning of Valentine’s Day this year – Say no to 50 Shades!CLICK TO TWEET!


Thank you, Rachel Miller, for sharing your blogpost and pictures. I appreciate your support and I hope my readers do, too.


Copyright © 2013-2015 donnasbookshelf.


NEW books for 2015-2016… | Angela D. Meyer Marathon


Here’s a look at what we have to look forward to from Angela D. Meyer:

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Where Healing Starts

Life at Applewood Hill series — book 2

Where Healing Starts focuses on Joanna and Blake.

Joanna, full of bitterness over the past, can no longer ignore the growing storm inside her and is bent on self-destruction as she seeks to ease her pain. But the refuge she seeks is always out of her reach.

Blake must choose between what has always been safe and what he has always wanted, but never found. One mistake after another leads him down a dangerous path.

The one for all, all for one sibling bond can’t help them now. They are both determined to hang onto their anger, never forgetting. Never forgiving. They see no reason to trust God.

After so many years of turmoil, will the Hannigan siblings find refuge in the God who loves them? Or will they get lost along the way?

  ** An official synopsis has not been released yet, but Angela has graciously provided an unofficial look at book 2…


Don’t miss Where Healing Starts – book 2 in Angela D Meyer’s Life at Applewood Hill series.CLICK TO TWEET!


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Where Joy Starts

Life at Applewood Hill series — book 3



Where Joy Starts continues the story of the Hannigan siblings…

Book 3 is still in the editing stages — even though I am unable to give you more information, I wanted to include it, since it is part of the series… be sure to watch Angela’s website or subscribe to her newsletter to read more about this sequel.




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If you’d like to know more, I invite you to check out the Life at Applewood Hill  blog site. Karen has just begun blogging about her wonderful bed and breakfast — she would love for people to stop by and check it out!


I would like to encourage you to sign up for Angela’s NEWSLETTER for book updates, author news and between-the-books short stories – as she continues to give us insights into her characters and their journeys!


I know I can’t wait to read and review each new story Angela releases!


And don’t forget to click below to find out how you can enter the…

Angela D Meyer Marathon | Giveaway!

God bless you!


© Donna J. Mynatt 2015

NEW books for 2015… | Rachel Muller Marathon


Here’s a look at what we have to look forward to from Rachel Muller in 2015:

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Maggie’s Mission – Book 2 in the Love & War series

A buried vow and a broken past meet face to face on enemy territory…

Lieutenant Maggie Johnson has overcome many obstacles in her life, including her parents’ disapproval of her enlistment in the Army Nurse Corps and the sudden death of her GI boyfriend, Danny Russo.

A sudden blow that forced her to leave behind a promise once made. But Germany introduces more hurdles that hinder her life. Like Army nurse lieutenant, Peggy Blizzard — a woman as cold as her name.

While trying to avoid a war breaking out within her own barracks, Maggie pushes through Germany’s harsh winter, and Peggy’s cold shoulder, and aims to do her job — saving lives. But when tragedy strikes the field hospital, it’s Maggie’s life that needs saving instead.

Maggie’s harrowing rescue will haunt her for months to come when a ruggedly handsome soldier comes to her aid and resembles the face of a man she once loved . . . a man who is dead.

Is war playing mind games with Maggie, or is she facing the ghosts of her past?


Maggie’s Mission – a wonderful sequel you won’t want to miss!Tweet this!

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     … 2015

Phillip’s War – Book 3 in the Love & War series

The war is over for Corporal Phillip Johnson, and no one could be happier than his wife, Libby.

But after the homecoming festivities have calmed, Libby senses something is wrong.

Questioning Phillip only angers him and thrusts him deeper into his melancholy. She takes extra strides to accommodate this unfamiliar side of her husband, but when his despair turns volatile she needs an escape.

Will Libby and Phillip find healing and restoration of their marriage or will their love sink in the midst of Phillip’s inward war?


Watch for news about book 3 – Phillip’s War!Tweet this!

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I’m told Rachel has several more projects in mind but nothing she can share yet. Keep watching though… She is bound to let us in on more soon!

And you can always find more about Rachel MullerHERE

I can’t wait to read and review each new release!


Don’t forget to click below to find out how you can enter the…

Rachel Muller Marathon | Giveaway!

God bless you!


© Donna J. Mynatt 2015

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