Review: The Final Vow by Amanda Flower 

This is number three in a series – and I so wish I had read the first two, well, first. I totally dug the storyline: Kelsey Cambridge, historical farm director gets herself embroiled in a murder mystery. And I dug the characters: bridezilla, jerky ex, perky assistant, grouchy good old boys club, Wonder Woman wedding planner, and uber-supportive wannabe boyfriend. But I struggled to empathize with them, because I didn’t get to know them deeply enough. I almost felt my heartbeat faster when things got a little dicey for Kelsey, but for the most part I was on an even keel, just watching the events unfold but not really feeling them. 

I think I need to read number four though. Now that I’ve been introduced to Kelsey et al, I need to see where the romances go, how the Cherry Foundation decides to proceed, and if ringing the bell makes it into daily rotation at Barton Farm. By the end, I was invested, and now I need more!



Review: Huckleberry Hearts by Jennifer Beckstrand

This is the perfect book to read around Thanksgiving – when you’re full and happy, and maybe a little nostalgic… or when you’re remembering the dearly departed and hoping new memories fill up the empty spaces. 

Amish grandparents Anna and Felty use their matchmaking skills – and love! – to bring Cassie together with her meant-to-be. Nevermind that Cassie’s mom wants her to marry an Amish guy.  And come back home. And rejoin the church. What?!  While Cassie wants to remain in the modern world and find a moral Englischer, she doesn’t fight her family. But while Cassie tries to keep the peace, her soul mate is going through a crisis of faith.

I love all of the Huckleberry Hill books, but I especially appreciated the messages in this one. Beckstrand touches on love, loss, death, staying true to yourself, freedom of religion, and the popular question of why evil exists and why God doesn’t stop it.  

I stayed up late, I bawled my eyes out, and even though Beckstrand is taking a break from the series, I’ll be stalking her page to see if she changes her mind. Excellent read, with plenty of laughs, some tears at the end, and a whole lot of warm hearts. 



Review: Live by Mary Ann Rivers

This book just sucked me in. I was speaking Hefin’s parts with my own version of a Welsh accent (think English, Scottish and Irish all rolled into one… spoken by an American… Scary, I know). I was conscious of my own bony hips when Hefin stared at Destiny’s. I smelled the library Destiny spent time in and the new wood panels Hefin carved. I was seriously in Lakefield, Ohio for a few days.

If you love a falling-in-love story, you’ve got to read Live. The emotions are written truthfully and deliberately, Destiny and Hefin wanting each other and then needing each other and then loving each other.

My favorite thing about Live is that the love is shown in actions, not just feelings. Destiny sacrifices her personal life to care for her sister. Hefin helps with Destiny’s twig project, even when he thinks he may have lost her. Betty pulls a fast one to make sure Destiny gets a chance at, well, her destiny.

Mary Ann Rivers gives the reader a substantial romance, replete with a lot of slow sex, agonizing decisions, and an intercontinental separation. The book is heart-wrenching at times. I cried so much you would’ve thought I was part of the book.

Live is also a story about a family and a neighborhood, with all the mistakes and ludicrousness and eye-rolling you’d expect. Betty and the limo provided some levity, and I laughed in between my tears.

Among the love story and the family dynamics was a big thought to ponder: a person needs to be loved enough by their family in order to feel worthy of love from a lover. I asked myself if I was, and then put myself in the shoes of the people I love. ❤️

The only niggling thought I had at the end was that I wished there was more of Destiny’s brother Paul. But I betchya his story will be in a future installment in this Burnside Series… and I can’t wait.