Thursday, December 14, 2023

Home from the Storm by Laurel Blount

Home from the Storm JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Home from the Storm by Laurel Blount, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Home from the Storm

In this stirring Amish romance about love and second chances, a shunned man returns to protect the wife he left behind—and falls in love with the family he never knew he had. 

After a senseless loss, hotheaded Caleb Hochstedler left his Amish faith and his young wife to seek justice. Two years later, he tracks his parents’ killer back home to Johns Mill, where he’s astonished to learn he’s the father of twins. Now he's determined to protect his children and the woman he still loves—if she’ll let him. 

Her new husband’s abandonment broke Rhoda Lambright’s heart and proved her father, the bishop, right. Such a stubborn man could never be happy among the peaceful Amish. When Caleb unexpectedly returns, Rhoda is caught between her rock of a husband and a very hard place. 

Her church forbids divorce and requires forgiveness, so Rhoda lets Caleb back into their home. But can she ever let him back into her heart? One thing’s for certain sure. This second chance will take all the faith they can find.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | BookBub

More Books in the Series

Shelter in the Storm   

About the Author

Laurel Blount

Award-winning author Laurel Blount writes inspirational romances full of grit and grace—with characters who’ll walk right off the page and into your heart! She lives on a farm in Georgia with her husband, their four fabulous kids, and an assortment of ridiculously spoiled animals.

An enthusiastic multi-tasker, Laurel writes for both Berkley/Penguin Random House and Love Inspired/Harlequin. She’s a Publishers Weekly best-selling author and the recipient of ACFW’s Carol Award, The New England Reader’s Choice Award and GRW’s Maggie Award. She’s represented by Jessica Alvarez of Bookends Literary Agency.  

Home from the Storm is Laurel’s twelfth book—and more stories are in the works! Stay tuned!

Connect with Laurel by visiting to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.

My Thoughts

Home from the Storm by Laurel Blount is a touching Amish tale.  I was happy to head back to Johns Mill for Caleb and Rhoda Hochstedler’s story.   I thought Home from the Storm was well-written with developed characters.  Caleb is a stubborn man with a temper.  He has never taken the time to grieve over the loss of his parents.  Caleb is determined to catch his parents’ killer.  Caleb learns that there is a price to pay for his relentless pursuit for justice.  Rhoda is a good Amish woman who has found herself to be that knot in the middle of a tug of war rope.  Rhoda was pulled back and forth by her husband and her father who was the bishop of their district.  I liked that the story is told from Rhoda and Caleb’s perspective.  It allows us to know their thoughts and feelings.  The suspense is well done.  There were tense moments that would find me quickly flipping the pages to discover what would happen.  The romance was nicely done.  I do feel the pacing could have been a touch peppier in places.  I like the new bishop of Johns Mill.  Abram King certainly has a different approach from Rhoda’s father.  Trust and forgiveness are the main themes in the story.  Home from the Storm is the fourth book in A Johns Mill Amish Romance series.  While Home from the Storm can be read as a standalone (the author includes the needed background information), I do recommend reading the series in order.  It will allow you to get to know the characters, their stories, and the town.  The ending from Home from the Storm left me smiling.  Home from the Storm a gratifying tale with a killer on the run, bakery troubles, a benevolent bishop, an indomitable Daed, a hair trigger temper, a double disclosure, and finding forgiveness.  


“Abram said you and I weren’t to . . . talk about anything until he got here, but while we’re waiting, I’d like to see the little ones.” He shifted his weight from one boot to the other. “I hardly even got a good look at them before. If you don’t mind, I’d rather meet them now, while we’re alone.”

Rhoda hesitated, sympathy warring with concern.

She needed Abram here. She wasn’t sure how to deal with this. And she certain sure needed to know what had brought her husband home and what his plans were before this went much further. The idea of Caleb being part of the twins’ lives while living among the Englisch and thumbing his nose at church rules . . . that worried her.

But she could understand Caleb not wanting to meet his son and daughter under the eye of the bishop. He’d never felt comfortable around church leaders, and for good reason.

“All right,” she conceded. “They’re in the kitchen.”

Caleb crossed the bakery in a few long strides, but he stopped short at the kitchen doorway.

Rhoda paused behind him, unsure what to do. Best, she decided, to do nothing. She would step in if the children showed any signs of being upset, but Caleb would have to handle the introductions himself. She had no idea how to go about it.

He took a step in the children’s direction—then halted. He turned to Rhoda, and the raw pain on his face made her catch her breath.

“What?” she whispered, alarmed.

“I don’t . . . I don’t know their names,” he ground out roughly.

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will win print copies of Shelter in the Storm, Strength in the Storm and Courage in the Storm plus a $25 Amazon gift card!

Home from the Storm JustRead Tours giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight December 11, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 18, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway

Home from the Storm will be out on December 26 and it can be preordered from Amazon*.  The first three books in A Johns Mill Amish Romance series are Shelter in the Storm, Strength in the Storm, and Courage in the Storm.  You can find Laurel Blount's other novels here.  If you follow Laurel Blount on Amazon, they will send you an email when she has a new book release.  Laurel has The Triplets' Summer Adventure coming out June 25, 2024 (Love Inspired Inspirational Romance).  Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win print copies of the first three books in the series as well as a $25 Amazon gift card (Rules above--Sorry, but US Only).  Good Luck!  Thank you for joining me today.  I will return after the holidays on January 2, 2024 with The Dog Across the Lake by Krista Davis.  It is the ninth A Paws & Claws Mystery.  I always enjoy visiting Wagtail.  I hope that you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Trust the Stars by Tricia Goyer

Trust the Stars


About the Book

Olivia Garza, a woman committed to making a difference in the world, thrives in her unconventional, service-oriented life. By day, she helps troubled teens in inner-city Little Rock… by night, she unwittingly creates a viral web-video series when she tries to better understand her mother’s desperate decisions by retracing her steps with a camera. So far, Olivia has always been the anonymous narrator, but she’s promised to reveal herself in the last stop on her documentary: Kenya.

Prince Louis is the heir to the throne of the small European kingdom of Alloria, in Kenya to run away from a broken heart—and the media circus that comes with it. When he meets Olivia, he recognizes her voice right away from the docu-series that has stirred his heart. Though they share a magical day on safari, any dreams of happily ever after come crashing down with the flash of the paparazzi cameras, when Olivia realizes that he represents everything she most despises in the world.

In World War II Rome, another royal, however, has her own life-changing choices to make. Princess Alessandra Appiani could have chosen quiet safety within the walls of the Vatican, but instead she risks her life—and her family—to save the Jewish children so in need of someone to show them the love of God.

When Olivia is hired to help create a documentary about Alessandra, learning about the sacrifice of a royal who goes from palace to prison forces her to face the hardest questions of all: Should she continue on the path she’s carved for herself…or trust God to give her the future she never  thought she wanted?

Tricia’s Shop | WhiteCrown | READ | Amazon 

About the Author

Tricia Goyer is the author of more than 85 books, she writes both fiction and nonfiction related to family and parenting. This USA-Today Best-selling Author has also won two Carol Awards and a Retailer’s Best Award. She was also an ECPA Gold Medallion Nominee and a Christy Award Nominee and won Writer of the Year from the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference.

A beloved author of Amish fiction, as well, having written the Big Sky and Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series. She has spoken at events such as MomCon, Raising Generations, and Teach Them Diligently conferences and is the host of the podcasts, The Tricia Goyer Show and Daily Bible Podcast that she co-hosts with Michelle Hill.

A homeschooling mom of ten, including seven by adoption, Tricia is also a grandmother of four and wife to John. With a busy life, she understands the importance of making every word count.

You can read more about the adoption story HERE.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Connect


Trust the Stars Necklace - Purchase HERE

Tricia’s Podcast

My Thoughts

Trust the Stars by Tricia Goyer is a touching tale.  I thought the story was well-written with realistic, developed characters.  The story takes place in the modern-day, featuring Louis and Olivia with flashbacks to 1943 where Alessandra risks everything to do what she feels is the right thing.    Louis is a man who is loyal, caring, and a Christian.  His life has been ruled by tradition.  He longs to find someone to share to love and with whom he can share his life.  Olivia’s life is about helping others.  An incident that she witnessed as a child made her determined to help those less fortunate.  A chance encounter between the pair leads to a magical day.  Unfortunately, the paparazzi soon reveal Louis’ identity and mess with Olivia’s plans.  Olivia’s new project may give her new insights.  This story gives us a different look at World War II.  I could see a person’s faith tested witnessing the atrocities committed by the German’s and struggling to survive in a concentration camp.  Faith was woven beautifully into the story.  Forgiveness, hope, and faith are the main messages in the story.  I like how the story ended.    My favorite phrase from the Trust the Stars is, “Even those who rule must live under God’s authority.  To see the stars is to remember our Lord.”  Trust the Stars is a story that will have you reflecting long after you finish it.  

Trust the Stars is available from Amazon*.  You can find Tricia Goyer's other novels here.  If you follow Tricia Goyer on Amazon, they will send you an email when she has a new book release.  You can find other White Crown releases on their site
Would you like to win a print copy of Trust the Stars (US Only, International will receive an ebook)?  Click here to enter! Good Luck!  Thank you for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I will be sharing my thoughts on Home from the Storm by Laurel Blount.  It is the final book in A Johns Mill Amish Romance series.  I hope that you have a sparkling day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Ruth's Ginger Snap Surprise by Anne Blackburne


About the Book

Ruth Defies Authority to Hold on to her Family Farm

Full of faith, hope, and romance, this new series takes you into the Heart of Amish country.

Ruth Helmuth has never been rude in her life; trust her to choose the bishop of her Amish community for her first time!

Ruth has worked hard to keep body and soul together since her husband, Levi’s, death. She tends her herd of goats, making her living from the milk and fiber she gets from them, all while running a farm and household by herself—and very competently, thank you! How could she imagine the bishop suggesting she should give it all up to another family, who will “make better use of the space”?

Enter widower Jonas Hershberger, owner of a pair of adorable dimples and father of a charming 4-year-old daughter. Jonas is in need of a larger place to house his growing business. Ruth’s big red barn may be just the ticket. Little Abigail is in need of a new mother. Ruth might be just the ticket there, too!

Can two independent souls learn to work together for their mutual good? And will they be willing to explore what grows between them?  Or will Ruth’s fear over her “big secret” and Jonas’s caution about allowing someone new to get close to his young daughter, kill their love before it has a chance to grow?

Luckily for both of them, God’s plan involves the stubborn pair getting a little help in the form of a wise, elderly friend; a quirky orange kitten; and a smart little girl who takes one look at Ruth and decides she would make her the perfect new mother!

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Anne Blackburne lives and works in Southeast Ohio as a newspaper editor and writer. She is the mother of five grown children, has one wonderful grandchild, and a spoiled poodle named Millie. For fun, when she isn’t working on Amish romance or sweet mysteries, Anne directs and acts in community theater productions and writes and directs original plays. She also enjoys reading, kayaking, swimming, searching for beach glass, and just sitting with a cup of coffee looking at large bodies of water. Her idea of the perfect vacation is cruising and seeing amazing new places with people she loves.

More from Anne

I’m so excited that my debut novel, Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise, will release soon from Barbour Publishing! This is the realization of a long-held dream; 30 years long!

About 30 years ago I wrote my first book, a middle reader about a group of tweens who wanted to start a pet sitting business. I found an agent who worked hard to sell my series. Unfortunately, someone else came up with the same basic idea and beat me to the bookshelves!

Of course, I was crushed – I’d been so close!

I wondered if it was a sign that I wasn’t meant to become a published author. Maybe I just wasn’t good enough?

Being the tenacious sort, I rejected that idea and buckled down. I looked at each subsequent rejection as proof that I’d been hard at work practicing my craft, and would inevitably, eventually, succeed.

I read somewhere that it takes 10,000 hours of toiling away at the computer before a new author sells a book. That would be about right!

Of course, it isn’t the same for everyone. Some authors are lucky – or just that good – and hit a home run their first at bat. Others simply can’t seem to break in.

For me, the big break came nearly two years ago. I’d been working and polishing my Amish romance for a couple years. I also had a couple of other projects in the works, but I didn’t want to give up on Ruth and Jonas’ story. I queried many agents, being very careful to follow their individual guidelines. And finally – finally! – I got that phone call new authors dream about, offering representation. I’m proud to be represented by the wonderful Tamela Hancock Murray from the Steve Laube Agency. And Tamela quickly sold my story to Barbour Publishing, Inc.

What a blessing! All those years of work and hope and yes, faith, had finally paid off. I was going to be a published author. I still have to pinch myself from time to time.

And here I am. I hope you love Ruth and Jonas – and of course, Ginger Snap! – as much as I do. I have another book from their make-believe town of Willow Creek coming out next summer, also from Barbour. Both books are part of a new series called “Heart of the Amish”, and feature three authors. The other two, Mindy Steele and Lisa Jones Baker, are both seasoned veterans with a number of Amish and other Christian books under their belts. It’s such an honor to be included with them in this project!

Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise is available now for pre-order on Amazon. And my second book, tentatively titled Mary’s Calico Hope, will be available late this winter.

Be sure to look for Mindy Steele’s wonderful book, The Flower Quilter, which kicks off the series. It is also available on Amazon. I read an early release and boy, was I impressed. I can’t wait to read Lisa Jones Baker’s story!

My Thoughts

Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise by Anne Blackburne is a sweet story.  I thought the book was well-written with realistic, developed characters.  I enjoyed getting to know Ruth Helmuth, Jonas Hershberger, and little Abigail Hershberger.  I could not believe that Ruth’s bishop, Abram Troyer suggested that she sell her family farm, which held many memories for her, because she lived alone.  The bishop felt a family could make better use of the large house and property.  Ruth is a good businesswoman.  She has her herd of wily goats.  Ruth uses their milk and fiber.  She comes up with other ways to utilize the property and earn money.  I liked learning about Jonas and his sister’s basket business.  Their baskets sounded lovely, especially the Christmas baskets.  You can feel that faith is a part of the character’s daily lives.  They pray to God for guidance and assistance.  They know that He will provide in His own time.  I enjoyed the humor sprinkled through the story.  The kitten that Ruth receives from her dear friend, Lydia Coblentz, provides many lighthearted moments.  Lydia knew what she was doing when she gifted the ginger kitten to Ruth.  A couple of Ruth’s friends also received kittens.  Lydia is an insightful woman.   Ruth's Ginger Snap Surprise may be the second book in The Heart of the Amish series, but it can be read as a standalone.  I especially enjoyed the heartwarming ending.  I finished Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise with a smile on my face.  


To celebrate her tour, Anne is giving away the grand prize package of a print copy of the book and a $25 Amazon eGift card! Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click here to enter.  Good Luck!

Ruth's Ginger Snap Surprise is available from Amazon*.  The first book in The Heart of the Amish series is The Flower Quilter by Mindy Steele.  The third book in The Heart of the Amish series is The Quilt Room Secret by Lisa Jones Baker and it comes out on January 15, 2024.  Courting the Amish Bishop by Mindy Steele (Book Four) will be out on April 1, 2024 and Mary's Calico Hope by Anne Blackburne (Book Five) is set publish on May 15, 2024 (ebook version).  Do not forget to enter the giveaway and leave a comment for an extra entry.  Good Luck!  Thank you for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I am featuring Trust the Stars by Tricia Goyer.  I hope that you have a merry day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

Blog Stops

Vicky Sluiter, December 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 10

Mary Hake, December 10

Texas Book-aholic, December 11

The Avid Reader, December 12

lakesidelivingsite, December 12

Girls in White Dresses, December 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 13

Lighthouse Academy Blog, December 14 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 15

Hannahbandanarama, December 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 16

She Lives To Read, December 17

Cover Lover Book Review, December 18

Splashes of Joy, December 18

For Him and My Family, December 19

Holly’s Book Corner, December 19

JESUS in the EVERYDAY, December 20

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 20

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 21 (Author Interview)

Life on Chickadee Lane, December 21

Little Homeschool on the prairie, December 22

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The Orphans' Amish Christmas by Tracy Fredrychowski

 The Orphans' Amish Christmas
Book Summary

It will take an Amish miracle to save Christmas for the Willow Springs Children's Home orphans.

When presents are stolen right before the annual Christmas benefit, Lydia Troyer and Aaron Shetler join forces with Detective Lewis Powers to unravel the mystery. The town's Christmas spirit is tested by strange events that leave the community ready to cancel all holiday festivities.

When prominent Amish businessman Milo Glick goes missing, it will take special detective skills to discover the truth behind his sudden disappearance. As the closed-lipped Amish community hinders Detective Powers' efforts, he is forced to employ Lydia, Aaron, and one special Labrador named Yankee to help solve the case. Will their discovery put them at odds with the traditions of their beliefs, or will they bring a newfound hope to the true meaning of Christmas?

Christmas should be a time for joy and hope, but for fourteen orphaned children, all is lost unless Lydia can find a way to give them more than they could hope for this holiday season.

The Orphans’ Amish Christmas is an Amish mystery novella that introduces you to the Willow Springs Amish Mystery Romance Series. If you like secrets, disappearances, plot twists, and sometimes murder, then you'll adore Tracy Fredrychowski's small-town whodunnit Amish mysteries.

My Thoughts

The Orphans’ Amish Christmas by Tracy Fredrychowski is a tale that mixes a mystery alone with the true meaning of Christmas.  I thought the story was well written with realistic characters.  I enjoyed getting to spend time with Lydia, Aaron, Aaron’s sweet daughter, and Lydia’s dog, Yankee.  Thanks to the case of the missing gifts and the disappearance of their benefactor, Milo Glick, we get to know Detective Powers.  The story has a touch of romance.  I would have liked to have read Lydia and Aaron’s story (how they came to be together) before this novella.  I enjoyed following Detective Powers as well as Lydia and Aaron as they set out to find Milo and the missing gifts.  It was an interesting mystery.  I enjoyed how the true meaning of Christmas was explained.  I could understand why Aaron’s daughter wanted a Christmas tree at home.  I liked Aaron’s explanation as to why the Amish do not have Christmas trees.  The story has a heartwarming ending.

The Orphans' Amish Christmas is available from Amazon*.  If you are a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for freeThe Amish Book Seller will be out June 4, 2024.  It is the first A Willow Springs Amish Mystery Romance. You can find Tracy Fredrychowski's other novels here.  Thank you for joining me today.  I will return on December 12 with Ruth's Ginger Snap Surprise by Anne Blackburne.  I hope that you have a delightful weekend.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.