Tag Archives: Mary Ellis

Magnolia Moonlight | Mary Ellis


Today I am reviewing Magnolia Moonlight … the third book in the Secrets of the South Mysteries series by Mary Ellis.

Here is a brief synopsis:

After being jilted by his fiancee, Michael Preston, a former accountant, pursues a new job as a private investigator.

And, what better place to work than the new office of Price Investigations in Natchez, Mississippi?

Unfortunately, Michael’s partner, Elizabeth Kirby — a crack shot ex-cop with a past she wants to escape — resents having to work with someone whose only surveillance experience comes from television and video games.

Their boss and his wife, Nate and Isabelle, are two insanely busy newlyweds who are “forced” by their friends to finally take their honeymoon.

However, their romantic trip to Alabama turns into an investigation when they bump into Izzy’s ex-husband, Craig, who seems to have taken up his gambling addiction once again. In an attempt to save Craig, Izzy discovers her ex doesn’t hold all the cards.

Back in Mississippi, Michael and Beth are left to take on their first case when a preacher allegedly commits suicide. His widow suspects foul play, but things look grim when Michael discovers the Reverend may have been stealing from his congregation.

Will Nate, his wife, and his employees be able to uncover the true face of deceit behind the masks that surround them?




Mary Ellis is an incredible writer of books! I was introduced to her Amish fiction novels . . . and during an author feature on my blog, I had the chance to read her historical novels.

Amish… historical… mysteries… her novels are amazing!

Mary always grabs my attention right at the start — and I can’t let go until the very end. I love the intriguing plots, and her characters are unforgettable . . . they don’t read like simple characters; instead she creates characters that appear like REAL people – with flaws, weaknesses and real, true emotion – good and bad!

Don’t miss this wonderful series!

Happy reading!


God bless 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 books of 2015…

Of course, I have hundreds of favorite books . . . but this year, in this post, I’m only mentioning 70 favorite books that I’ve read and reviewed on my book blog this year… a modest 1/3 of the 200+ books I reviewed.

And now… here are the 70 books!

A Cunning Masquerade – JC Morrows
A Little Bit of Charm – Mary Ellis
A Perilous Assignment – JC  Morrows
A Plain Man – Mary Ellis
A Reluctant Assassin – JC Morrows
A Town Called Christmas – Ruth Logan Herne
A Treacherous Decision – JC Morrows
A Widow’s Hope – Mary Ellis
Abby Finds Her Calling – Naomi King
Always His Providence – Ruth Reid
Always In My Heart – Mary Ellis
Amanda Weds a Good Man – Naomi King
An Amish Family Reunion – Mary Ellis
An Angel By Her Side – Ruth Reid
Andi Unstoppable – Amanda Flower
Anna’s Healing – Vannetta Chapman
Appalachian Serenade – Sarah Loudin Thomas
Autumn Winds – Charlotte Hubbard
Breath of Spring – Charlotte Hubbard
Brian’s Choice – Vannetta Chapman
Brush of Angel’s Wings – Ruth Reid
Dandelion Moon – Hannah Alexander
Dandelions For Dinner – Valerie Comer
Dangerous Tidings – Dana Mentink
Emma Blooms at Last – Naomi King
Falling For the Lawman – Ruth Logan Herne
Hallowed Halls – Hannah Alexander
Harvest of Blessings – Charlotte Hubbard
Hazardous Homecoming – Dana Mentink
His Mistletoe Family – Ruth Logan Herne
Holiday Homecoming – Jean C Gordon
Huckleberry Harvest – Jennifer Beckstrand
Letters From Grace – Rachel D Muller
Living in Harmony – Mary Ellis
Longing For a Miracle – Ruth Logan Herne
Love Comes Calling – Deborah M Piccurelli
Love Comes to Paradise – Mary Ellis
Maggie’s Mission – Rachel D Muller
Miracle in a Dry Season – Sarah Loudin Thomas
Murder Freshly Baked – Vannetta Chapman
Never Far From Home – Mary Ellis
Out Of the Ashes – Sandi Rog
Plum Upside Down – Valerie Comer
Protected – Vannetta Chapman
Raspberries and Vinegar – Valerie Comer
Return to Pelican Inn – Dana Mentink
Romance By Design- Donna Reimel Robinson
Romance in Recovery – Donna Reimel Robinson
Rosemary Opens Her Heart – Naomi King
Sailing in Style – Dana Mentink
Sarah’s Christmas Miracle – Mary Ellis
Secret Refuge – Dana Mentink
Summer of Secrets – Charlotte Hubbard
Sweetened With Honey – Valerie Comer
The Birdhouse – Laura V Hilton
The Captive Maiden – Melanie Dickerson
The Christmas Cradle – Charlotte Hubbard
The Fairest Beauty – Melanie Dickerson
The God of All Tomorrows – Donna Reimel Robinson
The Healer’s Apprentice – Melanie Dickerson
The Lawman’s Holiday Wish – Ruth Logan Herne
The Postcard – Laura V Hilton
The Princess Spy – Melanie Dickerson
The Promise of An Angel – Ruth Reid
The Snow Globe – Laura V Hilton
The Way To a Man’s Heart – Mary Ellis
Where Hope Starts – Angela D Meyer
Wild Mint Tea – Valerie Comer
Winter of Wishes – Charlotte Hubbard
You CAN Write 50,000 Words in 30 Days – DJ Mynatt


Donna’s BookShelf has chosen 70 books – from the 200 books reviewed in 2015! What are your favorites? Tweet this!



Happy Reading!!!



Review © 2015 DJ Mynatt

GRAND PRIZE WINNER | Mary Ellis Marathon


Mary Ellis Marathon Banner 2 PNG


It’s time to announce the GRAND PRIZE WINNER


So, without further adieu…

Our GRAND PRIZE WINNER of Mary’s Civil War series




Melanie, please contact me via e-mail with your mailing address;

Mary Ellis will personally send you autographed copies of the books you’ve won.

(note: the prequel, Romance On the River, is a FREE e-book and is not included)


THANK YOU to everyone for entering!


Please keep coming back to read my reviews and share your thoughts!

There will be more chances to win next month!

God bless you!


Copyright © 2013-2015 DJ Mynatt

Mary Ellis – Author Spotlight


Thank you for joining me for this exciting — and emotional — Author Spotlight!

First, a bit about Mary.

Mary EllisMary Ellis grew up close to the eastern Ohio Amish, where her parents took her to farmers markets and woodworking fairs. She loved their peaceful lifestyle, respect for the land, and strong sense of Christian community. She met her husband in college and they married six days after graduation. They now live close to the largest population of Amish in the country — a four-county area in central Ohio. They often take weekend trips to purchase produce, research her best-selling books, and enjoy a simpler way of life. She was re-baptized by immersion four years ago and committed her life to Christ.

Mary enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught Middle School and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate for twenty years — a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits.

All three of her Miller Family series, A Widow’s Hope, Never Far from Home, and The Way to a Man’s Heart made the Christian bestseller lists. A Widow’s Hope was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards for 2010 in the long contemporary category, and a runner-up in the 2010 Holt Medallion Awards. An Amish Family Reunion released in Feb. 2012 and made the CBA & EPCA bestseller lists. She is currently working on something new… Secrets of the South Mysteries series. The first, Midnight on the Mississippi, will be available in August.


Here is my interview with Mary:

1) Have you always wanted to write?

I have always been a voracious reader and storyteller. I believe my desire to write fiction grew from my storytelling. I’ve never been able to explain anything in less than a thousand words.

2) Do you use an outline for your stories?

Yes, I do. Once I work a story out in my head, I construct a loose skeletal framework. Although it’s subject to change during the writing process, I use the outline to keep the story on track and help with pacing.

3) Do you attend writer retreats, conferences and the like?

Yes, I usually attend one national conference a year, sometimes two. I’m in a local ACFW chapter that has regular meetings, field trips, coffee hours, and yearly retreats at a cabin in the woods. So I’m never too far away from like-minded authors.

4) You first published Amish romances… then Civil War romances. Is there a story behind the different genres? Which do you prefer to write? Is there another genre you’d like to see published some day?

Both of those genres grew from lifelong passions of mine. I’ve been around the Amish and respectful of their culture since childhood. My interest in American history, the Civil War in particular, began when a teacher told our second grade class about Clara Barton. I’ve studied both ever since.

My favorite books to read are romantic suspense. I’m writing a series of mysteries set in the South now. The first will released this August, Midnight on the Mississippi.

5) What do you do to relax? Do you have any favorite hobbies?

I love to read, walk my dog, work in the yard, and ride my bike. But my favorite hobby is swimming. I would stay in the water sixteen hours a day if I could. I wish I lived closer to the ocean!

6) I love your Civil War series… and I rejoiced when Lewis won Nora’s heart in Love Comes to Paradise… but I have to admit that of all the couples in all the novels, Hannah and Seth are most decidedly my favorite!

… Feisty Hannah, trying so hard to help her sister, yet getting on her brother-in-law’s bad side at every turn; then his own angst over his brother Seth wanting to court Hannah! Oh my, what a marvelous story – and I find myself smiling just thinking about them. Do you have a favorite character… or novel?

Thanks for your kind words about my characters. But if I had to pick and choose (and you know it’s hard for a mother to pick one over the others!) it would be Meghan, from A Marriage for Meghan. I am a former schoolteacher who remembers what that first year of teaching was like. It’s tough to be not much older than the students, with little experience under your belt to provide confidence.

7) You’ve recently written a couple of novellas… Do you enjoy writing novellas? Are they more or less work? Do you think they help to bring you new readers?

I love writing novellas! Yes, I suppose they’re less work since they’re much shorter stories. But I still set up my outline, plan my scenes, and establish strong characters before I write a single sentence. Yes, I believe they do bring new readers, since someone might have read one of my cohort’s books, but none of mine yet. It’s also fun to collaborate with other Amish fiction authors on theme and continuing story threads.

Here is my book list:


A Widow’s Hope (book one of Miller Family series)
Never Far From Home (book two of Miller Family series)
The Way to a Man’s Heart (book three of Miller Family series)
An Amish Family Reunion (stand alone, but some consider it book 4 of Miller Family series)

Abigail’s New Hope (book one of Wayne County series)
A Marriage for Megan (book two of Wayne County series)

Sarah’s Christmas Miracle (novella)
A Plain Man (stand alone)

Living in Harmony (book one of New Beginnings series)
Love Comes to Paradise (book two of New Beginnings series)
A Little Bit of Charm (book three of New Beginnings series)
Always In My Heart -found in: An Amish Miracle (anthology of 3 novellas)

Historical Romance:

The Quaker and the Rebel (book one of Civil War Heroine series)
The Lady and the Officer (book two of Civil War Heroine series)
The Last Heiress (book 3 of Civil War Heroine series) available now

Romantic Suspense:

Midnight on the Mississippi (book one of Secrets of the South mysteries) coming Summer/Fall of 2015
What Happened on Beale Street (book two of Secrets of the South mysteries) coming Winter of 2016


Thank You Mary… and God bless you!

Today’s the last day to enter Mary’s GIVEAWAY contest!

Mary Ellis 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!



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


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

An Amish Miracle | Mary Ellis, Ruth Reid, Beth Wiseman

Today I’m reviewing An Amish Miracle, by three of my favorite Amish authors… Mary Ellis, Ruth Reid, and Beth Wiseman.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Always in My Heart by Mary Ellis

Hope Bowman believes God is punishing her for giving up her firstborn son when she was a teenager. She’s hidden this secret from her husband, who is thankful for their daughters but longs for a son. Hope prays desperately, but the son God sends her isn’t a new baby but the fifteen-year-old boy she gave up years ago.

Always His Providence by Ruth Reid

Widow Rosa Hostetler has one month to pay her delinquent taxes before the county auctions her farm. She’s prepared to sell whatever is necessary to pay the lien, but she isn’t willing to request money from the community s widow fund. She s embarrassed and refuses to admit she needs help. Rosa depends on income from selling eggs, but when that income is threatened, only a miracle can help Rosa accept the kindness of a neighbor.

Always Beautiful by Beth Wiseman

Becky Byler is eighteen and overweight. She is overwhelmed by the embarrassment she feels when comparing herself to other girls her age. Having lost all hope, she considers taking her own life. As she stands before rushing water, unable to swim, Becky begs God for a miracle. In just several months, Becky sees her prayers answered as food and temptation lose their hold over her. She’s finally pleased with how she looks, but does she like the person she has become? And has the man she has dreamed of been right beside her all along, loving her exactly as she is?

An Amish Miracle is a book of amazing miracles… read it today! Tweet this!


I love it when three stories are connected… it’s like one long story.

Always In My Heart is the first novella and is by Mary Ellis… this story is about teenage adoption and it is such a wonderful story; I cried along with Hope as she shared her feelings about losing her son and believing that God was punishing her.

Hope Bowman has lived with a mistake for more than fifteen years… it wasn’t difficult to feel her pain, especially her feeling that she’s being punished because of her past. Although her parents made the choice – so it was really their mistake – and she wasn’t given a choice, she has always felt responsible for giving up her child.

Honestly, I could NOT stop until I had read the entire story. Always in My Heart is a GREAT Story! When you begin reading, you will begin wondering if things will ever work out, and if so, how it could all work out for everyone; I don’t want to give anything away, so I won’t say anymore – you can read it for yourself, but be assured that Mary Ellis does a superb job of bringing it all together in a fabulous story!

Always His Providence is the second novella and is by Ruth Reid. This story is about Hope’s best friend Rosa, who has a little problem with pride… not something unheard of – even among the Amish. Although she is committed to being Amish, Rosa’s pride may just cause her to lose her farm!

If you follow my blog, you’ve already figured out that I’m thinking “shame on you, Rosa. Just ask for help!” Poor thing, she’s wallowing in fear, but she’s determined that she’s going to go it alone! I didn’t think the story of a lonely widow would appeal to me much but it really did. It was amazing.

First one thing, then another, comes along to derail Rosa’s plans to save her farm. I won’t say any more, so that I don’t run all the wonderful surprises you’ll find in this amazing story! If you enjoy reading a story with lots of surprises, you’ll love Always His Providence!

Always Beautiful is the third (and last) novella, and is by Beth Wiseman. We’ve been reading about Becky Byler during the previous stories, but this story is just about Becky! After wishing she could lose weight for much of her life, she finally loses all the extra pounds she desires to lose… but does it make her happy?

Well, she thinks it does – at first.

I would never have imagined that Amish girls would have to deal with weight issues. Who could have guessed? And even if they did, would pride or self-image really matter to them? After all, wouldn’t they care less about the outward appearance and more about good character qualities?

But… maybe even young Amish men and women get caught up in appearance. Beth Wiseman writes a beautiful story. I found myself feeling Becky’s pain, and yet, I could feel the pain of other characters as well and it was enlightening and heart-breaking as well.

This story shows us that sometimes… even if God’s answer is yes, it’s not always the best thing for us.

Read this wonderful book of Amish Miracles by 3 amazing authors!Tweet this!

You can read more reviews and more about the book… HERE

You can find more about Mary Ellis on her website… HERE

You can find more about Ruth Reid on her website… HERE

You can find more about Beth Wiseman on her website… HERE


God bless you!


Copyright © 2013-2015 DJ Mynatt

Week #4 WINNER | Mary Ellis Marathon


Mary Ellis Marathon Banner 2 PNG


It’s time to announce the 4th weekly winner






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!


Mary Ellis Marathon | Giveaway!

God bless you!


Copyright © 2013-2015 DJ Mynatt

Week #4 drawing coming up… | Mary Ellis Marathon


Mary Ellis Marathon Banner 2 PNG


HEY! it’s almost time for the 4th 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.



ONE WINNER will be selected each Friday at midnight and announced on Saturday

…these WINNERS will each receive a copy of Mary’s newest book — The Last Heiress — autographed and sent to you directly from the author!

Mary Ellis Marathon | Giveaway!

God bless you!


Copyright © 2013-2015 DJ Mynatt

The Last Heiress | Mary Ellis Marathon


Today I’m reviewing The Last Heiress by Mary Ellis.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Bestselling author Mary Ellis presents The Last Heiress, a new romantic standalone that intertwines the lives of a British manufacturing heiress and an American merchant caught in the turbulent time of the War Between the States.

When Amanda Dunn sets sail from England for Wilmington, North Carolina, she hopes to somehow restore shipments of raw materials for her family’s textile mills, which have been severely disrupted by the American Civil War.

Though there is not much one individual can do, the wealthy young woman feels she must try, as her mother and hundreds of employees at Dunn Textiles are dependent on Southern cotton.

When Amanda meets Nathaniel Cooper, her desire to conduct business and quickly return to England changes. Though captivated by one another, neither is fully aware of the other’s true nature.

Nathanial, who on the outside appears to be a poor but hardworking merchant, is actually a secret Yankee sympathizer who will stop at almost nothing to bring about freedom for those who live under subjugation, even when that involves questionable judgment. And Amanda’s wealth is made possible by underpaid workers living in slums around the mills, not much different than American slavery.

Can these two earnest souls find the best in one another rather than focus on what could tear them apart? And though they both believe they are on God’s path, how will their decisions affect those around them?


Finding love was not part of Amanda Dunn’s plan…Tweet this!



Mary Ellis made me a huge fan when I began reading her Amish series…

The Miller Family series
The Wayne County series
The New Beginnings series

…but I never expected to become a fan of a Civil War series!

Mary Ellis writes wonderful Civil War romances — filled with excitement, danger and impossible to put down until you’ve reached the end!

She crossed the sea… to save a legacy…

This book is actually a stand alone, although it certainly fits into the “Civil War Heroine” category. Mary Ellis introduces all new characters in this book — we’ve been reading about women who have lost everything because of the war — money, homes and family.

The Last Heiress introduces Amanda Dunn, who is not only an heiress, but most definitely not from the North or the South – she’s from England!

And I must say, I loved that there were characters I found it easy to love, yet some that I found myself “loving to hate”. Mary Ellis excels at creating realistic, intriguing characters for her stories. And the setting made me want to plan a trip to North Carolina, especially to check out the historical areas in the state.

If you enjoy reading historical fiction, you won’t want to miss The Last Heiress!


Will Amanda choose family loyalty… or the desires of her heart?Tweet this!


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

The Lady and the Officer | Mary Ellis Marathon


Today I’m reviewing The Lady and the Officer, the second book in the Civil War Heroines series by Mary Ellis.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Bestselling author Mary Ellis (A Widow’s Hope) presents The Lady and the Officer, Book 2 of her new Civil War historical romance series, which tells the stories of brave women and the men who love them.

Serving for a brief time as a nurse after the devastating battle of Gettysburg, Madeline Howard saves the life of Elliot Haywood, a colonel in the Confederate Home Guard.

But even though Maddy makes her home in the South, her heart and political sympathies belong to General James Downing, a soldier from the North.

However, Colonel Haywood has never forgotten the beautiful nurse, and when he unexpectedly meets her again in Richmond, he is determined to win her. But while rubbing elbows with army officers and cavalry generals and war department officials in her aunt and uncle’s palatial home, Maddy overhears plans for a Confederate attack in northern Virginia.

She knows passing along this information may save the life of her beloved James, but at what cost? Can she really betray the trust of her family and friends?

Maddy’s heart is pulled between wanting to be loyal to those who care for her and wanting to help the man she believes is on the right side of the conflict. Two men love her. Will her faith in God show her the way to a bright future, or will her choices bring a devastation of their own?


Don’t miss the Civil War Heroines series… by Mary EllisTweet this!



Love, Loyalty, and Espionage…

Recently I was introduced to Mary Ellis’ Civil War series… and I discovered that Civil War romances are just as exciting and romantic as Amish or contemporary romances.

What an amazing series!

If you want to know how a lady can possibly live with all three — love, loyalty, and espionage — read The Lady and the Officer.

Mary Ellis introduces new characters in this second book of the series, with many of them union and confederate soldiers.

How difficult is must have been for Madeline Howard to leave her home — and James Downing, a general in the Union Army. At her aunt’s home she meets Colonel Elliott Hayward of the Confederate Army.

Whoa! Talk about a difficult position to be in!

When Maddy learns of Confederate plans for the Union Army, will she pass it on in the hope of ending the war quickly? Even if it could save James, she would be betraying her family… and Elliot.

Mary’s characters are full of life; they seem as real as the people I see read about in the news. They make the same mistakes and feel the same emotions.

If you enjoy reading historical fiction, don’t miss this wonderful series!


How does Madeline choose between love and loyalty? Find out in The Lady and The Officer by Mary EllisTweet this!


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

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