Books reviewed prior on this site prior to March 2019 were provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. Reviews beginning March 2019 come from a variety of sources: advanced copies, library loans, and my own purchases. All reviews are my honest opinions.

August 14, 2017

The Beloved Hope Chest {Amy Clipston}

the beloved hope chest amy clipston
Mattie Fisher’s three daughters know that she’s been keeping a secret from them. With each item pulled from the beloved family hope chest, they’ve discovered a new clue about their mother’s past.

But there’s a reason Mattie has been keeping her history hidden, and she’s not sure she’s ready to reopen old wounds. Will dredging up the past change the way her children view her? Or her marriage to their father? And can she handle the pain of revisiting the memories that preceded the last few happy decades?

Mattie’s story is one of grief and learning to love again. But like the best things preserved in a hope chest, it's a story of love and redemption born out of heartache—and it's past time to share it.

My Thoughts:
This is one Amish Fiction unlike most of those I have read in the past. Instead of being the picture of happiness and life together, this book tackles death, heartache, and marriages that do not look like the perfect picture of love.

I have not read the first three books in this series, but I immediately felt a connection with Mattie and all the pain that came her way as quickly as this book began. This book opens with the death of her beloved husband and her challenge to create a life for herself and her unborn child. I honestly thought she entered into another marriage much too quickly, but understood her reasoning and the pressure of her culture to have a husband.

Leroy is a man any reader can admire. He went through a rough childhood but came out a hard-working man determined to find love and happiness for himself. His love for Mattie comes through in everything he does and I wanted nothing more than for him and Mattie to find a way to make their marriage work.

This book may be about Mattie and Leroy, but it highlights the problems so many people have in their marriages today. One suffers a loss or goes through tremendous grief and their response is to close themselves off and run. So many people give up on their marriages because they do not feel they can talk to their spouse about the personal things in their lives. Although Mattie and Leroy live in the Amish community and try to abide by their beliefs, their problems are the same so many have today.

I will not tell you how this book ends, but I will tell you faith in God became a part in Mattie and Leroy finding their own happiness in life. It takes a lot of faith in yourself, your spouse, and God to make things work and I appreciated both characters working through those things both alone and together.

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August 10, 2017

Chasing Secrets {Lynette Eason}

chasing secrets lynette eason
Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.

In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.

My Thoughts:
I think this might be my favorite book in this series - and this has been a series I have enjoyed a lot!

This book focuses on Haley, and she has all kinds of drama going on in her life. Several people are on a mission to end her life, and she has just found out her past is completely different than what she has been told her entire life. All this would be enough to send anyone into hiding, but Haley stands her ground and turns to God with each new thing that creeps up on her.

I enjoyed meeting Steven. He has returned to town, joined the police force, and immediately becomes intertwined in Haley and the investigations she is running. The sparks that fly between them are hot and heavy, and I could not wait for them to admit their attraction to each other.

This book is full of surprises I never saw coming, and characters I immediately fell in love with. I loved this plot, and the ending is just amazing.

You can read this as a stand-alone, but do yourself a favor and read the entire series. It is that good.

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August 3, 2017

The Two of Us {Victoria Bylin}

the two of us victoria bylin
After two broken engagements, nurse practitioner Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she only trusts herself and God, and she's focused on her eighteen-year-old sister, Lucy, and caring for patients. Just as she applies to work for an international aid organization, a phone call from Lucy, who's pregnant and running off to marry her twenty-one-year-old boyfriend, throws a wrench into all of Mia's plans. 

Jake Tanner may have recovered from the physical injuries he sustained on the job as a police officer, but his heart has yet to heal from losing his former partner in the tragedy. He's poured himself into starting a camp for the sons of fallen officers and mentoring Sam, the adult son of his deceased partner, who's asked him to be his best man at his wedding. 

Mia is expecting a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn't expecting Jake. And Jake, who can't help envying Sam and Lucy, doubts he'll ever experience their happiness for himself. But maybe Jake's courage and Mia's caring spirit are just what they need to bring them a lifetime of healing and a forever kind of love. . . .

My Thoughts:
I liked Mia. Almost immediately. I liked her determination to do what she felt God was leading her to do and her willingness to give up everything else in her life to follow that calling. I thought Mia could teach many of so many things about listening to God and following his instructions through our lives.

I felt the love that formed between Mia and Jake was beautiful. Both were willing to listen to God and change their lives in order to serve Him, regardless of where it left their relationship.

I thought this was a beautiful story of love, friendship, and following God’s directions in life. A book worth putting on your reading list for sure.

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