Book Review: The Brethren (Annie’s People #3) by Beverly Lewis

Hello everyone,

Today’s review is on The Brethren by Beverly Lewis.



Well, I did it! I completed the Annie’s People series by Beverly Lewis! It only took me about ten years to do so. I felt like this was a good conclusion to the series, although I did feel like things were wrapped up really quickly. 

The Brethren picks up several days after the conclusion of The Englisher. Annie has been keeping her promise to her dad to stay away from art for six months, but she has also decided, after the concluding events of the last book, to leave her parents’ house and live with her shunned friend Esther. Meanwhile, Esther’s husband, Zeke, is in prison after turning himself in for the supposed death of his brother Isaac over 16 years ago, as well as trying to figure out why he is always so angry all the time, especially towards his wife and kids. And then there is Ben Martin, who has recently returned to his family’s home in Kentucky after living in Paradise Pennsylvania for several months, however when he returns he can’t help but feel a sort of emptiness, and not just from the fact that he is coming to terms with the facts that he and Annie will never be together. However, he then discovers the truth, he was adopted and his family kept it from him for over 15 years, with this new discovery, he decides to return to Pennsylvania to see if he can find any clues of who he was before he became Ben Martin. 

I’ll admit, it’s hard writing a review for the last book in the series without giving away spoilers, so I apologize that there are some, but it would be hard for me to fully express my thoughts without doing so. 

First off, Annie and her newfound independence, and her willingness to stand up to her father. But I also liked how the author shows how she struggles with leaving her faith and community, yet knows that she needs to do so in order to pursue her passion for art. Eventually she decides that her art is what her heart longs for most, and when her love, Ben, returns to town she decides to not be baptized into the Amish faith. However, there are some curve balls thrown her way that soon make her question her decision to leave her community, especially when she starts to help Ben uncover who he truly is. 

Ben is happy to be reunited with Annie, the girl who he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about ever since he returned to Kentucky. I did like seeing how Ben tries to process the information about his adoption, and then goes searching for answers about who he really is. It was interesting to see how Annie is the one who starts piecing everything together, but yet I found this part to be rushed and wish more time had been spent on it, especially on Annie developing her assumption about who he is and then Ben’s acceptance of that information. Without revealing too much, although this is still pretty revealing, it made sense as to who Ben truly is, and honestly it’s not very surprising.  I also liked seeing how he is soon received into the community of his childhood, even though Annie’s father, Preacher Jesse Zook, is not convinced and thinks that Ben is nothing but a charlatan. 

Then there is Louisa, I liked the little snippets that we got of her and her adjustment back to life in the “modern world” of Denver, however I felt like not enough time was spent on her, and in some ways I wish that there was a book that explores what happens to her next. There was even a major event that happens to her friend Courtney and that is just quietly swept away and never talked about again…I honestly would’ve liked more closure on what happens to her, on both of them. 

And then there is Annie’s father, who comes across as cantankerous and stuck in his ways, but who can blame him, especially since he is a leader in his community. He has to deal with Esther’s claim of salvation, her husband’s Zeke confession of supposedly killing his younger brother Isaac, his daughter’s seemingly close defection from the community for the sake of her art, one of his son’s running a driving business and courting an Englisher, and then there is Ben Martin, who to him is like gum stuck on his shoe. Although he seems to treat Ben unfairly, in some ways it makes sense, especially since he is protective of his daughter, but at the same time there were definitely times when he could have showed more grace to him. 

And finally, seeing Esther’s story as she deals with her husband being gone for an extended amount of time gives her an opportunity to fully embrace her new faith without his constant sneers and jabs. And well then, there is Zeke has he comes to terms with the fact that he might not necessarily be responsible for his brother’s death or disappearance, but also facing the hard reality of how he has treated his wife and kids up until this point. 

Overall, as I mentioned before this was a satisfying conclusion to the story, although it did seemed rushed. I also wish some care had been given when dealing with the Amish and domestic abuse…”care” is probably the wrong word, rather I wish there had been more discussion about this even though there hadn’t been much. And it all seemed one sided. I’ll be sad to leave this cast of characters behind, but it ends on a high note that readers know that these characters go on to leave peacful and full lives, while still facing hardship along the way. 3.75/5 Stars

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

Book Review: The Englisher (Annie’s People #2) by Beverly Lewis

Hello everyone,

Today’s review is on The Englisher by Beverly Lewis.


According to Goodreads I had read this book before, however, I have absolutely no recollection of reading it, so maybe I accidentally marked as read? Either that or I just can’t remember reading it at all…but I guess that kind of makes sense since I’ve read a lot of books since I was a freshman in high school (or was I in 8th grade?). The main reason why I don’t think I read it though is that I only ever remember checking out The Preacher’s Daughter and I remember not being able to find the second or third book in the series. Oh well, I digress, at least this time I know I have read it, and this review will serve as proof later on that I read…and this time it actually is marked on Goodreads.
Okay, enough of me trying to decide whether or not I actually read this book, now it’s time for the review. The Englisher picks up a couple weeks after the close of The Preacher’s Daughter, Annie has been commanded by her preacher father that she needs to try and give up her art for at least six months and that she needs to start taking the baptism classes that are required in order to join the Amish fellowship. Even though it’s hard, she is willing to do it. Meanwhile, Englisher Ben Martin desperately tries to get her attention, even though she is not allowed to date outside the Amish faith, but eventually she gives in, even though she knows that she will have to keep their relationship a secret.
Annie’s friend Louisa is still staying with the Zooks and she has come to appreciate the Amish way of life, however when a friend of her’s from Denver visits, she starts to realize that there are some unresolved issues that she still needs to deal with in Denver before she can find true peace. To further add to her decision to go back to the “modern world”, a young Amish man shows his interest and declares his love for her, and although she has some attraction towards him, she still doesn’t know if she is ready to give up a life of modern conveniences. At the same time, Annie’s close friend, Esther has sought solace with a local Mennonite family, fleeing from her abusive husband, however her husband, Zeke will not rest until his wife and children are forced back into his home by the Preacher Zook. But Zeke is also facing the demons of the past, mainly with the kidnapping of his younger brother, Isaac, many years ago and how his parents blamed him for his brother’s disappearance.
A lot happens in this book, however, I will say that I was disappointed that the first 100 pages of this book takes place over two days, not that there is anything particularly wrong with this, but just that it made for a slow start to book. Once it moved past the events of those initial two days it actually gained my interest a lot more.
I felt like the characters were developed a lot more in this novel, I liked how Louisa has grown as a character and is starting find peace from the chaos she endured when she was still living in Denver. However, she also comes to the realization that in order to continue finding true peace and contentment she might need to go back and face her parents and deal with some unresolved issues. I also enjoyed getting to know Essie a bit more and how she strives to rise above her situation and grow in her new faith even though it is frowned upon by the brethren, and the twist in the end concerning her husband, Zeke, was interesting and I am looking forward to seeing what happens with that situation in the next book.
Annie also grows as a character, although I feel like there wasn’t a whole lot of focus on her “growing pains” as she tries to live life without her artwork, but yet also fights her growing feelings for Ben Martin, the young Englisher working for her cousin Irvin. Ultimately through this relationship she also discovers some steps she needs to take in order to truly discover who she is as an individual. And then there is Ben Martin, who feels drawn to the community in Paradise, however he doesn’t know why. As he continues to put down roots in the community, he discovers that there are things that he knows, especially about Amish culture, which doesn’t make sense since he was brought up in the English world. It was also interesting to see his developing relationship with Annie, although what happens near the close of the book is a little confusing, but I guess book 3 will explain why he ends up moving back to Kentucky.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, I was more invested in the storyline than I had been with the first book. I’ll admit that I almost  gave up on this series after reading the first book – which wasn’t bad, but it hadn’t been great either – but I’m glad I didn’t. I am looking forward to what happens in the next and final installment of this series, The Brethren, and what happens to the cast of characters whose stories have captured my interest and I need to know how everything gets resolved! 4/5 Stars.
Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

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Mini-Reviews #3

Hello everyone,

Today I have a bunch of mini-reviews for books that I received from publishers on Netgalley over the last year or so. Since most of them are picture books, the reviews are short and sweet and there was no way I could write a full length review. Without further ado, here are the mini-reviews.

Quinn’s Promise Rock by Christie Thomas

This was a cute story that uses gorgeous artwork and animals to convey important concepts about God that little ones might have a hard time understanding. Through the plot of Quinn asking her dad about what would happen if she was ever separated from him, he uses it as a teaching opportunity to tell her about God’s faithfulness and that He is always with her no matter what. 4/5 Stars

Owl Love You by Matthew Heiroux and Wednesday Kirwan

Wow, this was a gorgeous picture book. First, the illustrations were fantastic from cover to cover and everything in between. The story of an owlet asking his mom what would happen in various scenarios and her response of how she will take care of him no matter what was beautiful. I liked the play on words when the owlet asked a questions it started with “Hoo’ll” instead of who and the mother’s response always started with “Owl” instead of I’ll, it added something a little extra to this great story. 4/5 Stars

ABC What Can She Be? by Jessica Ford

A great book that not only aids in teaching the alphabet, but also informs little girls of the kinds of jobs that are available to them. This book goes through a wide array of careers and even ends by saying that there are even more careers beyond what is mentioned in the books and that the only limitation is their imagination.4/5 Stars.

A Hundred Kisses Before Bedtime by Mack van Gangeldonk

A cute book about a little chick who gives goodnight kisses to all his animal friends before going to bed. 4/5 Stars

Ozy and Millie by Dana Simpson

I really liked this collection of comic strip by Dana Simpson. They were cute and funny, and even though the target audience is kids, I think adults will also appreciate a lot of the humor in this collection. I also appreciated that there was a glossary of words and terms that were used in the book that kids might not understand because it allows them to have a better understanding of what is being discussed, which was one of my worries when I saw some of those words/terms appear in the comic strips. 4/5 Stars.

Book Love by Debbie Tung

As an avid bookworm I really enjoyed this collection of comics about the perils and triumphs of booklovers. Each of these comics was really relatable and it was almost as if someone had gone inside my head and drawn every thought that I have had pertaining to books. A must read for all bookworms! 5/5 Stars.

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

This was a touching story that deals with coming to terms with grief and tragedy. I liked that we got to follow Coyote and her dad as they travel non-stop across the continental U.S. as a result of the death of her mom and sisters five years before the book’s opening. It was also interesting to see that that was how her dad tried to deal with the grief he felt, going so far as to change his and his daughter’s names so that there were very few reminders of his past. I also liked how Coyote had to come terms with the same kind of grief with trying to retrieve the memory box that she had buried with her mom and sisters, and that along the way both her and her father start to make strides in the healing process. I also liked getting to know all the different characters that joined Coyote and Rodeo on their journey and I would love to find out what happened to each of them after the end of the book. 4/5 Stars.

Sincerely, Harriet by Sarah Winifred Searle

This was a quick graphic novel that tells the story of Harriet, who is adjusting to her new life in Chicago as well as coping with having a chronic illness. A lot of the struggles and growth that she goes through over the course of the story is one that many will find relatable, especially when it comes to feeling alone. Sincerely, Harriet is definitely a good addition for any collections. 4/5 Stars

Who is My Neighbor? by Amy-Jill Levine and Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

Who Is My Neighbor? is a great retelling of the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The authors did a good job of simplifying the story, but yet they still kept some of the important details that make it recognizable to those that are familiar with the original. I loved the use of two different colors to show the differences between the two different groups, again, this was a simple way to convey the basics of this story. This will be a great story for parents to read to their children. 4/5 Stars.

Unicorn Day by Diana Murray

This is a fun book that all lovers of unicorns will enjoy! It also teaches the importance of being friends with those who are different as well. I think this will be a perfect book for storytime. 4/5 Stars.

The Golden Acorn by Katy Hudson

The Golden Acorn is a beautifully illustrated picture book about the importance of friendship, and how team work and looking out for your friends is more important than winning. Everyone can relate to this story on some level, and it would definitely be a perfect story to read at bedtime, and even during storytime at the library. 4/5 Stars.

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.


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Blog Tour and Giveaway: Forks in the Road


About the Book


Book:  Forks in the Road

Author: Tamera Lynn Kraft

Genre:  Christian Western

Release Date: October 15, 2019

Orphans, Outlaws, and Redemption in the Old West!

(Looking for a prairie romance? Don’t look here!)

A classic Western tale of Joshua and Jonathan Jackson, brothers orphaned during the Civil War. They needed someone to give them a chance, but the war-torn countryside and people had little to spare.

After the war, the teen brothers headed West to find their fortunes and escape their past. Instead, they found a hard land and nobody willing to lend a hand. At every fork in the road, fear, grief, or pain prompted them to choose the wrong path.

By the time they were grown men, they had traveled so far into trouble, there was no way out except prison or death. They had one chance for redemption. Would they take it?

If you’ve read LOST IN THE STORM, you met Jed Jackson – this is the story of what happened to Jed and his brothers.

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this story of showing how even when it seems that our lives have spiraled out of control, we are not beyond the Lord’s mercy and grace. Even though not everyone will fall into a spiral of sin to the extent of Jonathan and Joshua, but again it shows that even the “worst” of sinners is still worthy of redemption. I also liked how throughout the story we see that even the smallest decision to make the wrong choice can lead to things getting out of control and even marring one’s conscience to reason between what is right and wrong. But even when the conscience is seared, there is still hope for redemption, and that is ultimately what Forks in the Road is about, as well as how eventually we need to be willing to face the consequences of our sins.

Tamera Lynn Kraft is really good at conveying a tale that is intriguing, while also delivering a message of hope and redemption, even when it seems like things are too far gone. One of the only issues that I had with this novel is that there were times when it seemed to lag in the middle, however besides that it was really good, and I was captivated from the very first page! 4/5 Stars.

About the Author


Award winning author Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. Alice’s NotionsRed Sky Over AmericaLost in the StormResurrection of Hope, and Soldier’s Heart are among her published works.

Tamera been married for 40 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and three grandchildren. She has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist and has written children’s church curriculum. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

More from Tamera

I have always loved westerns. As a child, I remember watching shows on television like Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Maverick, Big Valley, Alias Smith and Jones, and many others. I also loved the great western movies such as High Noon, The Quaker and the Bad Man, Three Godfathers, and Stagecoach. My favorite were the stories with an element of redemption in them. There is no better redemptive story than a man’s man out on the trail realizing he needs God.

Three Godfathers with John Wayne is my favorite movie. I first watched it when I came home from the hospital after giving birth to my first child. John Wayne plays an outlaw who, with his two friends, robs a bank and escapes into the desert. The outlaws happen on a wagon where a woman is giving birth. She dies shortly after. They have a choice. Either they risk their lives and freedom saving the child, or they leave the child to die and get away with the loot. I highly recommend it.

When I decided to write Forks in the Road, I wanted to capture that redemptive spirit in many western novels. Joshua and Jonathan are brothers who were orphaned at the ages of 10 and 12 when Quantrill’s raiders ravaged Lawrence, Kansas. They headed west to make it on their own, but at every fork in the road, they made wrong choices. They grew up and became outlaws, but they never became hardened or callous toward others. Even so, God had a plan of redemption for them. Would they take it?

Blog Stops

For the Love of Literature, March 9

Through the Fire Blogs, March 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 11

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 12

Wishful Endings, March 12 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, March 13

Inklings and notions, March 14

For Him and My Family, March 15

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 16

deb’s Book Review, March 17

Betti Mace, March 18

Bigreadersite, March 19

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, March 20

My Devotional Thoughts, March 20 (Author Interview)

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 22



To celebrate her tour, Tamera is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card & copy of Forks in the Road!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


Book Review: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Hello everyone,

Today’s review is on The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo.

The Tale of Despereaux is definitely a children’s classic in the making, it is a fairy tale set in a far away kingdom, but it doesn’t follow the usual formula of the typical fairy tale, but it is still a fairy tale nonetheless. My first introduction to this story was back when the movie came out in 2008 – which by the way is a really good adaptation of the book and I highly recommend it! 

The Tale of Despereaux follows Despereaux Tilling, a young mouse who refuses to act like one, instead of eating the books in the library, he prefers to read them, and instead of looking for crumbs he prefers to listen to the world around him. And then he befriends the lonely and sad Princess Pea, a human princess that he instantly falls in love with, and when another mouse sees him, he is instantly brought before the mouse council where is fate is decided. Meanwhile, the Princess longs for a friend, and she also longs for soup which her father banned from the kingdom just after her mother died. Along with soup, her father also made rats illegal. When a mischievous rat and a not-so-bright servant girl plot a nefarious plan against the princess, it is up to Despereaux to save her, but he’s only a mouse – how can a mouse save a princess? 

I reread The Tale of Despereaux for the book club I lead at work for school aged children, and I loved every moment of it! This is a book I can see myself rereading often, especially when I have kids of my own someday. Even though it is a modern fairy tale, it is also a great introduction to the fantasy genre, and it has a great message of hope and not being held down by people’s misconceptions. It also encourages readers to dream, and to not be hindered by those things that society would say is a set-back or obstacle, rather they are encouraged to overcome such things. Another aspect of the story that I liked was the contrast between light and darkness, good and bad, but yet that there is redemption even for those who at first appear to be bad. I think something else that I really liked about this story was the fact that even the “good guys” weren’t fully good, rather we see their human side, for instance we see that the Princess Pea, even though she is sweet, she has a tendency to also act mean towards others. 

I really liked the characters, Despereaux is a sweetheart, Roscuro is an interesting villain, Miggery Sow serves as the comic relief and bumbling fool, although readers will have sympathy towards her, especially since she has sort of a tragic back story, and then there is the Princess Pea who has known so much sorrow in her life. All them make up a great work of fiction that both children and adults can enjoy! 

Overall, this is a fantastic read, and I highly recommend it for kids, especially those who are hungry for fantasy, but might not be old enough yet to conquer something like The Hobbit. I really want to read more of Kate DiCamillo’s works soon, because she is a fantastic storyteller! And I think that a rewatch of the movie is definitely in order. 5/5 Stars. 

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

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Blog Tour: An Amish Picnic


About the Book


Book: An Amish Picnic

Author: Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Kathleen Fuller, and Vannetta Chapman

Genre: Amish; Christian Romance

Release Date: March 3, 2020

From bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four sweet stories about picnics and romance.

Baskets of Sunshine by Amy Clipston

Kevin Weaver has lived with his brother’s family since his parents passed away when he was young, but he craves a home and family to call his own. Freeman Kurtz owns a successful brick mason business, and Kevin takes the job as Freeman’s apprentice to pursue his own financial freedom.

Phoebe Kurtz is helping her sister with her booth at the marketplace when she notices Kevin, her father’s employee. Their friendship grows, but Kevin is convinced that the difference in their ages makes a relationship between them impossible. Amidst summer outings, Kevin and Phoebe must decide if taking a chance on love is worth the risk.

Candlelight Sweethearts by Kelly Irvin

Esther Marie Shrock loves her job at Valley Grocery Store where she’s worked for four years. Despite a stutter that has plagued her since childhood, she thrives filling orders from a steady stream of customers. Still, at 25, she and her family wonder if romance is in her future.

Jasper Cotter isn’t good with people, but he’s found himself obligated to take over day-to-day operations of the family owned grocery store—a store he doesn’t have the first clue how to run. Thrown together, Esther Marie and Jasper don’t exactly see eye to eye. One night, the store loses power, and the candles aren’t the only things shooting off sparks. Esther Marie and Jasper are suddenly forced to discover common ground when it matters most, and they might be surprised with love along the way.

Reeling in Love by Kathleen Fuller

Nina Stoll and Ira Yoder are just friends. Just friends and fishing buddies. Every Saturday afternoon, they have a picnic at their favorite fishing hole and see who can out fish the other. Until Nina starts to wonder if there’s more.

Her plans to share her feelings go awry, and circumstances seem destined to keep Nina and Ira apart. With both Nina and Ira confused and hurting, it’s going to take courage, some help from the community matchmakers, and a little bit of divine intervention for Nina and Ira to realize they’re each other’s perfect catch.

Picnics and Prospects by Vannetta Chapman

Faith Troyer is claustrophobic, and David Lapp builds tiny houses. They went on a date years ago with disastrous results. Now that they’re in their late twenties, their families and friends are beginning to wonder if either will ever find that special someone. When a picnic outing is diverted by the discovery of a package of letters dating back to the 1970s, they take it upon themselves to find answers to a mystery that causes them to rethink their past and consider their future.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author


Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery, Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel, Amish Heirloom, Amish Homestead, and Amish Marketplace series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan University and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled rotten cats. Visit her online at; Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks; Twitter: @AmyClipston; Instagram: @amy_clipston.


Kelly Irvin is the bestselling author of the Every Amish Season and Amish of Bee County series. The Beekeeper’s Son received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called it a “beautifully woven masterpiece.” The two-time Carol Award finalist is a former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to read books by her favorite authors. Visit her online at; Instagram: kelly_irvin; Facebook: Kelly.Irvin.Author; Twitter: @Kelly_S_Irvin.




With over a million copies sold, Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, the Amish of Birch Creek series, and the Amish Letters series as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. Visit her online at; Instagram: kf_booksandhooks; Facebook: WriterKathleenFuller; Twitter: @TheKatJam.





Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She is the author of sixteen novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, The Shipshewana Amish Mystery series, and Anna’s Healing, a 2016 Christy Award finalist. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and has also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She was a teacher for fifteen years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. Visit Vannetta online:, Twitter: @VannettaChapman, Facebook: VannettaChapmanBooks.

Read an Excerpt

Read an excerpt here. 

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, March 6

Batya’s Bits, March 6

The Avid Reader, March 6

Older & Smarter?, March 7

For Him and My Family, March 7

For the Love of Literature, March 8

Bigreadersite, March 8

Texas Book-aholic, March 9

deb’s Book Review, March 9

Quiet Quilter, March 10

Through the Fire Blogs, March 10

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, March 11

Girls in White Dresses, March 11

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 11

Inklings and notions, March 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 12

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 13

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, March 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 14

The Collaborative Press, March 14

Splashes of Joy, March 15

janicesbookreviews, March 15

She Lives To Read, March 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 16

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, March 16

Blossoms and Blessings, March 17

Books, Life, and Chrst, March 17

Artistic Nobody, March 18 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Southern Gal Loves to Read, March 18

EmpowerMoms, March 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 19

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, March 19


Blog Tour and Giveaway: Journey to Twilight


About the Book


Book: Journey to Twilight

Author: Charmayne Hafen

Genre: Action Adventure Christian Fantasy for intermediate grade students

Release Date: November 1, 2019

Sam and Lorna’s bike challenge becomes far more than a neighborhood race in this action-adventure fantasy for middle-schoolers. Riding over a cairn at sunset, Lorna surfaces in Twilight, where she is given three impossible tasks to complete before her heart’s desire is granted.

Story Line: Avid fifth-grade mountain biker, Lorna Thompson, moves to Arizona after her parents’ divorce. Unpacking boxes, Lorna begins seeking a way to fit into the neighborhood crowd when a girl named Ally knocks on her front door.

Splashing in the pool at Ally’s house, Lorna learns about the Crestwood Challenge, a bike race created by a scar-faced neighborhood legend, Samuel Black. She hears herself boasting that she can take on Sam Black in his own race and win. Lorna’s words quickly come back to bite her.

Although none of the kids will root for the new girl, an ancient cairn opens to the Land of Twilight giving Lorna an opportunity to win anything her heart desires.

Illustrations are by award-winning artist, Brianna Osaseri.

Thematic: Fantasy ages 9-12; Female protagonist dealing with parents’ divorce finds confidence and friendship in conflict and opportunity; Celtic; Jamaican; Multi-racial; Action-Adventure; coming of age fantasy for pre-teens with some paranormal, mystical places and events.

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

Journey to Twilight was not what I was expecting. I honestly was expecting something in the similar vein of The Chronicles of Narnia but it wasn’t, and in some ways I was let down by that fact. The concept of the land of Twilight was interesting, but I honestly wanted more about that world than a story set in the “real world.” Again, maybe that is just me and maybe I had too high of an expectation of this book.

Overall, I did enjoy getting to know Lorna and even Sam. Their friendship was interesting, especially when it seems to develop into more, but I also felt they were a little too young for that, but then again, I remember having crushes at that age. I appreciated seeing Lorna’s struggles with her absent father, I think the author did a really good job of showing the dynamics of the relationship between the two of them. I also appreciated the theme that appears at the end of the book of sacrificing for others, even if it means we can’t have what we want.

One of my biggest complaints is that this book is really short! It’s only about 110 pages, and while it is targeted for 9-12 year-old readers, the fact that it has a fantasy element too it means it should have been longer. I would have loved more descriptions about the land of Twilight except for the small snippets that we are given throughout the novel. Also, I didn’t really like the whole concept of everything being upside down in this land, I also found it confusing…I wish there had been more illustrations of Lorna in Twilight than of her in the real world because I think that would have helped me to get a better of picture of what it actually looks like, especially since the actual descriptions were really brief.

Overall, Journey to Twilight  was an okay read for me, I personally feel like there is a lot more that could have been included in this novel, but I also know that the sequel is already out and that the last book is coming out soon, so maybe what is shared about Twilight in this novel will hopefully be expanded upon in the next two books. 2.5/5 Stars.

About the Author


Charmayne Hafen is a graduate of John Brown University and has her masters in counseling from the Denver Seminary. She’s not only gifted in creative writing, but uses skills in organization, facilitation, and administration in the company she and her husband started 18 years ago.
Her love of Celtic mythology inspired her to write her debut chapter book, Journey to Twilight, for ages 9-12. In 2011, she lost her younger brother, and she dedicates this first book to Tim. When she’s not writing, Charmayne is running counseling groups for adults and a therapeutic photography group for children. She has run a grief support group for several years. She is a member of a novel book club, and she is an avid fan of the author, Stephen Lawhead.
She has written several short stories for children, teens, and adults, as well as the current fantasy series, The Land Of Twilight, being published in 2020 by Capture Books.

The first book, Journey To Twilight, is about the heartfelt needs and choices of a child of divorce. It also wrestles with what it is like to be a newcomer in a town and school.

Charmayne relates personally to these themes as a child of divorce who moved consistently throughout her elementary and middle school years. She believes stories can provide not only a way of escape for kids, but also teach them how to handle difficult issues. As the characters in The Land Of Twilight struggle through different challenges, they come to understand that life requires more than what we do with what can be seen. To truly live, there must be faith in what has not yet come, in what is unseen.


Charmayne has a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and psychology as well as a Master of Arts degree in counseling. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband John and her two chihuahuas, Pepe and Frida.

More from Charmayne

Welcome to Journey To Twilight, the first book in the Land Of Twilight Trilogy, where Lorna and her friend, Sam, begin a journey that will lead them to discover the true meaning of friendship and faith.
In a world that can only be accessed by what is known in Celtic mythology as a cairn, Lorna is shocked to find herself in the Land of Twilight where the real adventure begins. She must learn some important lessons in her quest to have one wish granted and Sam is part of her greatest challenge.
The adventure continues in Return To Twilight, where Lorna meets a new girl that proves to be a bad influence. She and Sam are at odds and things aren’t the way they were back in sixth grade. Middle school is an entirely different scene. Faith becomes a central theme in this book along with the ongoing exploration of friendship. Can Sam help Lorna remember her faith with the help of Twilight?
Trouble In Twilight, the third book in the Land Of Twilight trilogy, will be published early next year. This has been my most challenging book to write as the characters travel through time to discover the basis of faith and the philosophy at work against faith in the Savior. The Land of Twilight is in jeopardy and it’s up to Sam and Lorna to help restore what is slowly fading away.
It is my hope that my readers will come away from this trilogy with a deeper appreciation for the power of faith and friendship. I pray it will lead many to faith in the Savior and be an enjoyable ride in the process. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss these important topics and the stories that shed new light.

Blog Stops

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 27

Texas Book-aholic, February 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 29

Blossoms and Blessings, March 1 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, March 2

For Him and My Family, March 3

Aryn the Libraryan 📚, March 4

For the Love of Literature, March 5 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, March 6

Just the Write Escape, March 7

Artistic Nobody, March 8 (Author Interview)

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, March 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 9

Blogging With Carol, March 10

Wishful Endings, March 11 (Author Interview)



To celebrate her tour, Charmayne is giving away the grand prize of silver bicycle necklace like you suggested along with a signed hard cover copy of both books!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


Blog Tour and Giveaway: Yours, Mine and Forever


About the Book


Book: Yours, Mine, & Forever

Author: Joanne Markey

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: September 7, 2019

Whoever said the course of true love never runs smooth knew their business.

Especially motherly love.

Still, with adoption success just waiting for ink and paper to appear, Norah can focus on more exciting things, like Christmas, and figuring out how this marriage thing is going to work out! However, never underestimate the craftiness of an antagonist old woman determined to get her own way—or rather, stop Norah from getting hers. If it means resorting to underhanded means to ensure she comes out on top, then so be it. All it takes is a word in the right ear, a nudge here, a wink there, and the natural course of gossip and slander will do the rest.

When the dust clears, Norah’s heart is in tatters and her fledgling relationship is in ruins… Or is it? Will her hero’s patience wear thin, and is Norah’s faith strong enough to see her through whatever comes her way?

Click here for your copy.

My Thoughts

Honestly, I was a little bit confused at first when I started reading Yours, Mine and Forever because it picks up almost immediately after the events of Dreaming of More, which I still need to read. However, after the first few chapters I got caught up to speed and had a better idea of what was going on. It was a good story line, although there were times when the writing felt a little bit choppy because it seemed to jump ahead a few days, or move to a different location with the same characters.

The characters were really good, Norah was a great character and I enjoyed watching her grow throughout the novel, even though it only  takes place over several weeks. I also liked Clay and how he encouraged her to remember God’s will and sovereignty. Her brother was a little much at times, but I can also see why he was. And then, even though she is a minor character, Octavia…wow, she is awful! She is such a horrible character, but yet she believes she runs the town. However, I love how her relations stand up to her and tell her how bitter and twisted she is…I still don’t fully understand why she had an issue with Norah in the first place, except for maybe that she is prejudiced towards those who did not have a stable upbringing or who come to turn the status quo upside down.

Overall, it was a good novel, with a few pacing issues. But I still enjoyed it and I hope to read more of Joanne Markey’s books in he future. 3.5/5 Stars.

About the Author

Yours3Originally from Australia, Joanne now lives in Ohio with her husband and seven children where she spends her days writing, wrangling children, and trying to determine which phrases originated in which country because she uses them all interchangeably, thereby continually confusing herself as much as those around her.

More from Joanne

When people find out I’m an Aussie living in the US and that I’ve written books, they immediately assume my books are set in Australia. I’m sorry to disappoint anyone, but, no, they’re not. You see, after almost 19 years of living in the US I’ve lost touch with the culture I was raised in. Things are done differently here than they are over there, and I’ve gotten used to this life.
When I moved halfway around the world, iPads, smart phones, and the like weren’t even a thing. The internet over there (in the places I lived) was something you knew about, but not everyone was online. My family didn’t even own a computer. When you went to town you lost cell phone coverage about 20 kms out. We lived in the bush, which technically falls between the coast and the outback. Not far enough from the coast to be “outback”, but far enough there wasn’t a town worth mentioning in any direction for a good two hour drive (roughly 170km, if memory serves me correct). So yeah, we lived out bush and while it’s hard to imagine a world without the electronics we depend on so much today, the Australia I know, the life I remember, had none of them. And I’m pretty sure things have changed since then!
That’s one major issue standing between me and writing books set in Australia. Another is the language. Half the time I find it almost impossible to remember where a phrase originated. I’m not talking about the “fair dinkums” or the “g’days”, they’re easy to identify. Its the little phrases, the ones that are so ingrained in my thinking I can’t identify their origin. At least, not until every person in the room looks at me like I’ve lost my mind. I figure it out pretty quickly after that and usually have to scramble to translate to something they understand. Agreeing with someone by uttering a simple “yes” is a wee bit more effective here than the “too right!” I might use with my family.
Try adding in the whole dropping the R thing Aussies have a habit of doing, and then the clear pronunciation of the R which is pretty common among the people I know here…and yeah, it can get confusing. “Far” is a bad one. Simple word. I never stop to think about how I’m saying it, so part of the time I’ll drop the R without realizing I’ve done so. Then I’ll hear myself say “fah”, so I’ll quickly tack on the R… and it can become an issue.
Some expats might not have an issue with speech, this is just one problem I run into quite often so I ran with it in my book. Anyone who’s read the book will know who I’m talking about. Multiple languages, speech confusion especially when emotional. It’s a thing. Not everyone deals with it, but me… yeah. Sigh.
But that doesn’t mean I’ve turned my back on everything I once knew. My husband and our kids love a good damper, Aussie meat pies, and Vegemite. They turn their noses up at pavlova (where, oh, where did I go wrong?!), but little did I know when we bought some of my favorite Aussie music that it would become their favorite too. I love where I live now, but I also have a great fondness for the country I left behind, and my family too, of course. They all live over there. And this story… it originated in Australia.
I was looking for a something to write for NaNo in 2018 and my Mum had a dream to share, so she gave me the idea and I ran with it. I changed bits here and there—the setting, most of the story actually!—and finished it up mid-December of 2018. I sat on it for about six months, finally got around to sending it to an editor. And then two weeks before I hit publish, a friend heard how long it was and asked if I’d ever thought about splitting the story in two.
No, I hadn’t, but after hashing it out with my editor, we decided it was a good idea. Dreaming of More became the first half, and Yours, Mine, & Forever was born.
However, giving Dreaming an end meant I’d sort of wrapped up the main storyline I’d used in the entire 135,000 word manuscript. I needed something else because I hadn’t added the bow to the top of the package and without that, Dreaming kind of fell flat. It needed another book… So back to the editor I went and at 2am one morning we started brainstorming. Before I knew what was happening I was in the middle of rewriting the entire book. I didn’t need to follow the same storyline and because the slate had been cleared, I could add in whatever I wanted. So I did.
My friend apologized—she hadn’t meant for me to rewrite the entire book—but no apology was necessary. I loved being able to change things. New characters made it more fun and, as my youngest son would say, I got to add “all the stuffs”. The only thing I refused to change was the ending. I had to keep that because it was the one thing my Mum remembered the best from her dream. For her sake, I kept it. If you want to know what that ending is… it comes after all the other pages in the book. But if you skip over them, you’ll miss all the stuffs and they’re what make the ending worthwhile.



To celebrate her tour, Joanne is giving away the grand prize package of signed copies of Dreaming of More, Yours, Mine, & Forever, and Christmas Rose!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


Reading Experiment #4: Read a read-a-like per book

Hello everyone,

Today I am going to share with you all the last reading experiment that I am planning doing throughout the rest of 2020. This experiment is fairly simple, for almost every book that I read, I am going to read a read-a-like that is suggested by Goodreads or NoveList. For example:

I am planning on reading The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne, a read-a-like that was suggested by NoveList is American Royals by Katherine McGee.

I have several other read-a-likes I am planning on reading in the month of February. However, I have a few exceptions for this experiment.

  1. I am reading read-a-likes starting with the books I am reading right now (Well Met by Jen DeLuca and Past Forward Volume 1 by Chautona Havig) and the books I am planning on reading. I do not need to read a read-a-like for any of the books I’ve already read this year.
  2. I do not have to read a read-a-like for books from the other experiments, unless I absolutely want to.
  3. I do not have to read a read-a-like for a read-a-like.
  4. I do not have to read a read-a-like for any of the books I am reading for the blog tours I am apart of.
  5. I can DNF any of the read-a-likes.

Here is a mini-TBR of the books I am already planning on reading:

  • Legacy Lane by Robin Lee Hatcher 1093751
    • Read-a-like: Promises to Keep by Ann Tatlock 8794263
  • The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne40950392
    • Read-a-like: American Royals by Katharine McGee43744300
  • Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey 40969415
    • Read-a-like: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary 41150287._sy475_
  • A Town Called Ruby Prairie by Anette Smith33627817._sx318_
    • Read-a-like: The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty 2067339

There are many others, but I am looking forward to seeing where this experiment takes me over the next few months!

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.