Book Review: The Discovery Saga Collection by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Hello everyone!

Today’s review is on The Discovery Saga Collection by Wanda E. Brunstetter.


I picked up The Discovery Saga Collection by Wanda E. Brunstetter for a number of reasons. First, I’ve been kind of obsessed with Amish fiction the last few weeks and feel like I can’t get enough. Secondly, I’d read her more recent serial novel series, The Amish Millionaire, which I liked and was excited when I found out that she had another serial novel that had been published previously. And, third, the plot sounded interesting and I was curious to see how it would play out in a serial novel setting. I wrote a mini-review for each book/episode in the series about what I liked about them and a summary of each one. Be warned that there are a number of spoilers for the end of the series and each installment, so if you are planning on picking this series up, rather wait to read this review. Here are my thoughts for The Discovery Saga:
Book 1: Goodbye to Yesterday
I felt like this was a good introduction to Meredith and Luke’s story, as well as a plot twist that is going to take place later on in the series. It was interesting seeing the dynamic between this couple as they deal with financial hardship, and how financial struggles can affect the strongest of couples. The only thing I wish is that I had no idea what the plot twist was, unfortunately it had been revealed on the back cover of the bind-up edition of this series. 3.5/5 Stars.
Book 2: The Silence of Winter
Book 2 picks up right after the events of the first one. It provides some interesting development to the plot of this series. In this installment, Meredith receives the news that her husband is dead, and that she is also expecting a baby. It was interesting to see how she comes to terms with her husband’s death, and how even some people try to run her life for her. We’re also introduced to a young man given the name “Eddie” by the hospital staff, who is in a coma after sustaining bad injuries. We are also introduced to the nurse who takes care of him. 3.5/5 Stars.
Book 3: The Hope Of Spring
This installment sees Meredith coming to peace with her husband’s death, even though it is still difficult. However, she receives help from her friends and family, and an old friend, Jonah Miller who has recently moved back to town. It was interesting to see Meredith grow as a character as she goes through this season of grief and pregnancy and the people that rally around her. 3.5/5 Stars.
Book 4: The Pieces of Summer
The Pieces of Summer picks up right after the end of the last installment, in which the patient named “Eddie” wakes up and has to go through physical therapy in order to fully recover from the extent of the damage that was done to his body when he was brutally attacked and left for dead. However, he has no recollection of who he is and where he came from, all he knows is what the doctors and nurses have told him. Meanwhile, nurse Susan, and her sister Annie come to develop a friendship with Eddie and try to come up with a plan as to what will happen to him when he is finally released from the hospital. Meredith continues to adjust to life on her own, while discovering a secret that her younger sister has been keeping from her parents. And Jonah continues to help out with various chores at Meredith’s place whenever he can, however there are couple of people in the community who are not happy about that and give him a piece of their minds. 3.5/5 Stars.
Book 5: Revelation in Autumn
This installment of the Discovery Saga shows Meredith adjusting to life as a new mother, Jonah expressing his interest in the young widow, and Eddie adjusting to life outside the hospital with a few vague memories coming back to him about his life before he was left for dead at the bus stop. The ending was sort of predictable, but it makes sense. It is interesting to see the build up of events to the final installment. 3.5/5 Stars.
Book 6: A Vow for Always 
A Vow for Always was a good conclusion to this serial novel, although a touch melodramatic. However, it was good see Eddie regain his memory and where we came from, and how his life intersected with Meredith’s. Overall it was a happy ending for these characters, and there are even a couple of the side characters that I wish had there own books about what happens to them after the end of this series. Maybe these novels do exist and I just have yet to discover them. 3.5/5 Stars
Overall, this serial novel was good. It was simple and sweet. I really enjoyed the cast of characters that we got to know in this series. I’m especially interested to find out what happens to Jonah and if he ever finds love again. I’d also be interested to read about Susan and her love interest. There times when the series seemed to be a little melodramatic at times, but I did enjoy it. I am looking forward to reading one of Wanda E. Brunstetter’s books that is not a serial novel in the future. 3/5 Stars.
Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

Book Review: The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter

Hello everyone,

Today’s review is on The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter.


I was intrigued by the title of this book, and then when I read the synopsis I knew I had to read it, even though the plot itself couldn’t really happen in real life (the author has a note at the end attesting to the fact that she took some artistic license). In The Accidental Bride we are introduced to Shay Brandenberger who is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana and running a ranch that has been in her family for several generations. However, finances have become tight and she runs the risk of having her family home foreclosed on if she can’t come up with the money she needs in order to save it. However, she receives an unexpected answer to her prayers. While partaking in a Founders’ Day wedding reenactment, she discovers that her “groom” is her former sweetheart, Travis McCoy who jilted her at the altar 14 years previously to find his fortune on the rodeo circuit. However, for what they think is a make-believe wedding, a surprising discovery shows that they are indeed married in real-life. Before Shay can annul the union, Travis makes an offer that is hard for her to refuse, especially since it means that she will be able to save the ranch, however her heart is at stake.
I liked this book, although there are a few things about it that I didn’t like about it and made me cringe a little bit. The first thing that I didn’t like was when the author would start off sentences like “At Least” as “Least”…I know it is probably minor, and she was trying to write the sentence in such a way as if we were in the characters’ minds, but I personally just didn’t like it. I would like to add that this only occurred a handful of times. One other stylistic/grammatical thing that was in the book that I didn’t like was using the phrase “Blame it!” as a substitute for the phrase that I’m sure we all know was meant to go there, first off it didn’t really work, and two, there are a lot better substitutes that could be used for that phrase such as “Darn it!” But again, I think that these devices were used to capture the atmosphere of being in cowboy country and that the main characters are ranchers.
I found the plot to be intriguing, especially as to how Shay and Travis end up married (I won’t give away how that happens), and seeing how Travis’ plan to stay married for a few months so that he can try and win Shay’s heart again. I did like seeing his side as to why he left her at the alter the first time, and how he has had to live with the regrets from that day for over fourteen years. I liked his characters, although there were a few things that he did that were kind if irksome, but I did love how he desperately tries to get Shay to love him again, even after the past hurt.
Then there is Shay…I’ll admit that at times I found her annoying and exceedingly stubborn and refusing to give those that have wronged her (namely Travis) a fair chance. But then I began thinking about if I was in her shoes, the man that I loved jilted me at the alter when I was 18, and then the next man I married left me to pursue fame and fortune as well before he died, wouldn’t I also have issues with trusting men, especially an old flame who had broken my heart severely?  Not that this totally redeems the fact that Shay’s stubbornness was a bit much at times, but it did make me more empathetic towards her. Another flaw I didn’t like was that Shay refused to communicate with Travis and immediately assumed the worst about him, again I get it, but still I feel like the more I read, the more I realized just how important it is to communicate with your boyfriend/spouse/significant other, especially if it is a situation that makes you think the worst of them.
Within the novel there are some pretty awesome supporting characters, I loved Olivia (Shay’s daughter) and watching the relationship between her and her mom, as well as her blossoming relationship with Travis as a father figure. I loved Miss Lucy and her scheming and part in this “accidental” marriage, and also her niece, Abigail, Shay’s best friend and the one who seems to call her out when she is being unreasonable. I also believe that there is a book about how Abigail ended up in Moose Creek, so I will definitely have to check that out some time.
Overall, I liked The Accidental Bride although it did have a few stylistic and plot elements that bugged me, but the story was cute. Even though the main character, Shay was insufferable at times, it was still hard not to root for her and Travis and their happy ending. This is the first book by Denise Hunter that I’ve read and I know she has written numerous other works, so I don’t want to judge her solely on this one book, which was good but not great, but I do look forward to check out more of her novels in the near future. 3/5 Stars.
Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

Book Review: The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis

Hello everyone,

Today’s review is on The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis.


The Ebb Tide is a quiet Amish fiction book in which not a whole lot happens, but yet it still captures readers attention as they follow a young Amish woman get to experience a part of the world she never thought she would, while in some small way wrestling with her desire to explore the world or being baptized into the Amish church, while already dealing with her family’s disappointment in having put it off for a couple of years. There is also a little bit of romance, however that is not the main focus of the story, rather the main focus is about a young woman who desires to learn more about the world, but also remain in her Amish community.
Sallie Rhiel has been putting off her baptism into the Amish church because she longs to go on a trip to Australia, and finally it seems like she will have enough money to do so. However, when a family emergency strikes and she decides to put the money for trip towards helping them out she gives up on ever being able to explore the world. But a few days later she is given the opportunity to nanny for a wealthy family when they take a trip to Cape May, providing her with trip to the ocean, which she has never seen before. However, taking the job will mean that she needs to put off her baptism into the Amish church for another year. While in Cape May she starts to learn more about life outside her community, and meets a young Mennonite marine biologist, Kevin, who seems to show a keen interest in her.
While I did enjoy getting to know Sallie and her struggles to find what God’s will is for her life – to be baptized into the Amish church or not, etc.- I’ll admit that the pacing was kind of slow with this book. It took about 100 pages for the plot to actually start, granted there was some build up with information about Sallie and her family and even their hesitancy about her going to Cape May. However, its hard to stay interested in a book when the first third of the book is merely dedicated to background information. I felt like the book could have started in the middle of the plot and then had flashback scenes to the scenes that led up to the plot, but that’s just me, and that might not be Beverly Lewis’ style of writing and I fully respect that, especially since she is so prolific and her books tend to be very sweet, while also tackling some issues that almost everyone faces, mainly such as what path to take in life and how decisions can affect others.
Sallie’s relationship with her charge, Autumn was interesting and I love how she tries to help Autumn come to terms with having a new brother after being an only child for so long, as well as adjust to the new family dynamic, and reassure her that she is still greatly loved by her parents. Kevin was another interesting character, especially since he pushes Sallie to think about the decision she has to make and even complements her in her ideology and what she is learning about the world, as well as trying to figure out where her life is going. It was interesting to see the relationship blossom between them.
Overall, I did enjoy the setting of this book, as well as the main character and her struggle with what is next for life and her curiosity of far off places. However, it did take a while for the plot to start picking up speed, and any romance that readers hope for is almost non-existent and is saved until the very end. But that being said, I did enjoy seeing Sallie learn new things about the world and about herself and how that ultimately impacts the decisions that she makes in the end. 3.5/5 Stars.
Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.


Book Review: Plain Pursuit (Daughters of the Promise #2) by Beth Wiseman

Hello everyone,

Today’s review is on Plain Pursuit by Beth Wiseman.


Before I get started with my review, I would like to give a fair warning that there are going to be some spoilers to the first book in this series, Plain Perfect, in this review, so if you are planning on picking it up, I would recommend waiting to read this review until afterwards…unless you’re like me and don’t mind some spoilers.

Plain Pursuit is the second novel in the Daughters of the Promise series by Beth Wiseman, and while it is in some ways a sequel to Plain Perfect, it can also be read as a stand-alone since it follows a new main set of characters, while also revisiting the characters that were introduced in book one.

Readers are introduced to reporter Carley Marek, a friend of Lillian Miller (now Stoltzfus), who is still trying to piece back together her life after being in an accident six months previously that also killed her mother. After being forced by her boss to take a month-long vacation, she decides to go visit her good friend Lillian, who has joined the Old Order Amish church, gotten married and now has a family of her own. During her vacation, Carley hopes to not only be able to write an insightful piece about the Amish community, but she also hope to find the peace that Lillian now has. However, shortly into her stay, Lillian’s son, David falls gravely ill and when local doctor, simply known as Dr. Noah tries to intervene, Lillian’s husband refuses at first to let him do so because he has been shunned by the Amish community. When it becomes a matter of life or death, Dr. Noah decides to do whatever it takes to help save David’s life, while at the same time getting to know Carley along the way.

Plain Pursuit was a good companion to Plain Perfect, not only did we get to revisit Lillian and Samuel a year after their marriage, but we were introduced to some new characters that helped bring to light some new issues in the series. First, I liked how with Carley readers not only see the lasting affects of grief, and emotional recovery from something as traumatic as an accident, but we also see her struggle with faith in God, as well as trying to find peace. It was also to see how she struggles to come to terms with some of the things she experiences during her stay in the Amish community, especially the concept of shunning and how strictly that can be enforced in certain districts. It was interesting to see how her concept of mercy contrasted with that of the view of mercy that her Amish friends have, and even how some of them do struggle with having to shun their own family members. Then there was her relationship with Noah, it was interesting to see how he willingly pursued her, even knowing that there would be obstacles for them to see each other because of his being shunned, and the walls that Carley tries to put up to prevent him from getting close to her. It was also interesting seeing Noah grapple with returning to the area that her grew up in, but not being able to interact with his family because of his shunning, but also wanting to find some way to seek forgiveness for the ways in which he wronged them when he left the Amish church to become a doctor. I also enjoyed getting to see some of the story from both Lillian and Samuel’s perspectives as they come to terms with how gravely ill their son is, as well as individually with Lillian still having to wrestle with some of the ideology of her community, and Samuel as he has to relive some of the hurt that Noah caused to him personally, as well as deserting the church.

Overall, it was an interesting story, especially with some of the conflict that occurs between Carley and Noah, and Noah and his family and how it is eventually resolved. This is a good read for anyone that enjoys a light romance, as well as anything set in the Amish community. 4/5 Stars.

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.