Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Phoebe's Light A Bright Beginning for Nantucket Legacy Series

About the Book

Title: Phoebe’s Light  
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher  
Genre: Historical romance  
Release Date: February 6, 2018

Phoebe Starbuck has always adjusted her sails and rudder to the whims of her father. Now, for the first time, she’s doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, her father gives her two gifts, both of which Phoebe sees little need for. The first is an old sheepskin journal from Great Mary, her highly revered great-grandmother. The other is a “minder” on the whaling ship in the form of cooper Matthew Mitchell, a man whom she loathes. Soon Phoebe discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary’s journal and finds herself drawn into the life of this noble woman. To Phoebe’s shock, her great-grandmother has left a secret behind that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially her husband the captain and her shadow the cooper. This story within a story catapults Phoebe into seeing her life in an entirely new way—just in time. In this brand-new series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her signature twists and turns to bear on a fascinating new faith community: the Quakers of colonial-era Nantucket Island.
Click here to purchase your copy!
my thoughts:
I am a long-time fan of Suzanne Woods Fisher's books so it was with pleasure that I received this book in return for an honest review from Celebrate Lit.  Phoebe's Light is a departure from Suzanne's beloved Amish Fiction, so I was curious how this transition would be for me as a reader. I have to say that Phoebe's Light is a wonderful book that will captivate Suzanne's fans worldwide.

Be prepared to be transported to Nantucket Island.  Within the community Phoebe Starbuck lives, women worked hard to keep the home fires stirring while their seafaring men were off on the whaling ships.  Life was hard for those left behind without knowing when or if their husbands and sons would return.  It was because of this the women started small businesses along what became Petticoat Row to help support their families and to fulfill the needs of their neighbors. 

I was intrigued by the hand written entries Phoebe read from Mary's Journal and curious about why it was so important. Life captured on aged pages in the journal were much more than an account of a young woman's day to life on a secluded island. The reader will have to discover its worth on their own lest I spoil the plot. 

I learned many things about the Quakers in this novel and look forward to the next book in this series.  The little teaser at the end of the book wasn't nearly enough!  Time after time, Suzanne Woods Fisher's work is impeccable. Since I am a history buff I love the extra efforts she makes bringing these periods alive through people. We tend to forget that they had lives and loves...just like us. 

About the Author

 Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing, The Newcomer, and The Return in the Amish Beginnings series, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher

A Stroll down Petticoat Row Thirty years ago, I talked my sister into going on a trip to Nantucket Island. It’s one of those places that had always intrigued me. As a girl in the 1930s, my mother’s family vacationed in Nantucket; she even has a lightship basket to show for it. I expected the island to be interesting and beautiful, and it certainly did not disappoint. But something else happened as I walked down Centre Street one morning. This island captured my imagination in a way that’s hard to put into words. At the risk of sounding a tiny bit sun touched, I could practically see 19th century people on the roads, hear the “thee’s and thou’s” in their speech, even smell the strong scents of a bygone century—the musky perfume of rendered whale oil, the burning wood of the blacksmith, all mingled with the bracing sea air. Centre Street has a local nickname: Petticoat Row. It comes from the 1800s, when men were at sea for long periods and women stepped into their shoes to keep businesses going. Nantucket women gained a reputation for being strong and capable. Their competence was encouraged by the Society of Friends (Quakers), the island’s dominant religion, which believed in the equality of men and women in all aspects of life. That hasn’t changed. Today, half of all Nantucket businesses are run by women. Petticoat Row stuck in my mind, and eventually became the hook to contract a series of historical fiction with Revell Books. The ‘Nantucket Legacy’ series covers the rise and fall of Nantucket’s whaling period, when it became the wealthiest port in the world. First up is Phoebe’s Light, releasing in February 2018, a novel about a spirited young woman who seeks her fortune only to find out she already had it. After reading about Phoebe, I hope you’ll consider planning a trip to Nantucket (though try to go off-season. The population swells five times in the summer!). When you go, include a stop at the Petticoat Row Bakery (35 Centre Street)—the very location where Phoebe grew up, albeit a few centuries ago. Don’t leave the island without trying the Morning Glory Muffins, an island favorite. So worth the trip! Nantucket’s Famous Morning Glory Muffins Ingredients: 1 ¼ cup sugar 2 ¼ cup flour 1 tablespoon cinnamon 2 tsp baking soda ½ tsp salt ½ cup shredded coconut ½ cup raisins 2 cup grated carrots (4 large) 1 apple, shredded 8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained ½ cup pecans or walnuts 3 eggs 1 cup vegetable oil 1 tsp vanilla Instructions: Sift together sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the fruit, carrots and nuts and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with oil and vanilla. Combine with dry ingredients and blend well. Spoon batter into cupcake tins lined with muffin papers. Fill each cup to the brim. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. These muffins needs 24 hours to ripen their full flavor. They freeze extremely well.

 Recipe courtesy of Pamela A. McKinstry, Sconset CafĂ©

Blog Stops

Aryn The LibraryanFebruary 15
With a Joyful Noise, February 16
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 16
A Greater Yes, February 16
ASC Book Reviews, February 17
Locks, Hooks and BooksFebruary 17
Book by Book, February 17
Texas Book-aholic, February 18
The Power of Words, February 18
Splashes of JoyFebruary 18
A Reader’s Brain, February 19
Karen Sue Hadley, February 19
Blossoms and BlessingsFebruary 19
All of a kind Mom, February 20
Baker Kella, February 21
Mommynificent, February 21
Janices book reviews, February 21
Lighthouse Academy, February 22
Readers cozy corner, February 22
Mary Hake, February 22
Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 22
Pause for Tales, February 23
Have A Wonderful Day, February 23
Faery Tales Are Real, February 23
Blogging With Carol, February 24
Among the Reads, February 24
Carpe Diem, February 24
Red Headed Book Lady, February 25
Just the Write Escape, February 25
By The Book, February 26
For The Love of Books, February 26
Margaret Kazmierczak, February 26
Simple Harvest Reads, February 26 (Guest post from Mindy)
Maureen’s Musings, February 27
Bigreadersite, February 27
Bibliophile Reviews, February 28
Pursuing Stacie, February 28


To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a grand prize of a Kindle!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Monday, February 19, 2018

No Small Storm Plus A Giveaway!

About the Book

Title: No Small Storm
Author: Anne Mateer
Genre: Historical/Historical Romance
Release Date: August, 2017
Thirty-year-old Remembrance “Mem” Wilkins loves her solitary life running the farm and orchard she inherited from her father and has no plans to give up her independence. Especially not for the likes of Mr. Graham Lott. But when Mem is unable to harvest the apples on her own, she accepts the help of the man she despises.
Fresh off a boat from Ireland with his four-year-old son intow, Simon Brennan secures a building in which to ply his trade as a cobbler. Still healing from the grief of his wife’s death a year earlier, he determines to focus only on providing a good life for his son. But when he intervenes in an argument on behalf of the intriguing Miss Wilkins, sister-in-law of the tavern owner who befriends him, he suddenly finds himself crossways with his landlord, Mr. Lott, and relieved of his lease and most of his money.
With no means of support, Simon takes a job helping Mem with her harvest, relieving her of the need of Lott’s help. But their growing attraction to each other makes them both uneasy. Mem gladly escapes to town when her sister begins labor, and Simon, believing it best to distance himself from Mem, takes his son and leaves.
But neither anticipates the worst gale New England has ever seen—or that the storm will threaten all they hold dear.
Click here to purchase your copy.
my thoughts: 
I enjoyed reading Mem's story. She was a woman who portrayed herself a little differently than what her heart desired.  To the world she was an independent woman of means considering her father left her the family farm and apple orchard.  The apples would stand her in good stead for winter, once the crop was picked and sold to the market.  Within her heart, she was lonely after being jilted by a man she thought would be her husband.  It was her independent streak that caused her to rebuff Mr. Lott's attention.  I think she had a good sense of judgment in that man's regard. That he had a friendship with her father or not, he was not the man for  her no matter how many times her offered his assistance or promises to take care of her.  Mem was not buying his bill of goods.

Mem was not only a lovely independent woman but a valued family member who could be counted on whether to help with her nieces or wait tables at her sister and brother-in-law's inn.  It was while helping out at the inn that Mem truly saw Mr. Lott's true character. 

Simon's story could have been any number of my distant relatives who came to America from Ireland looking for a better life.  Simon was a skilled cobbler using skills honed through generations.  His misfortune was renting a building from Mr. Lott, a man who seemed to have his finger in many pies around town.  Woe is the man who crosses the likes of Mr. Lott.

I  am happy to be part of Celebrate Lit's blog tour, and received an advance reader copy for my honest review.  Anne Mateer is an author whose books I enjoy reading. Her research is meticulous and her characters come alive.  It took a storm blowing into town to put things into real perspective for Mem and Simon and their story is worth reading. This storm, as the title implies was no small storm!  I recommend this novella with no hesitation. 

About the Author

Anne Mateer has loved reading and writing stories since childhood. She is the author of 4 historical novels, 1 historical novella, and a few contemporary short stories. Anne and her husband of 30 years, Jeff, love to visit their grown children and tour historical sites. They are currently living an empty nest adventure in Austin, TX.

Guest Post from  Anne Mateer

I’m always up for a good historical story. It’s what I enjoy reading. It’s what I enjoy writing. But I find that my pleasure in any historical fiction increases exponentially when the story at hand is based on at least a kernel of historical fact. All four of my full-length novels share this trait. So it stood to reason that when turning my mind to a historical novella I would seek the same grounding in truth I’ve sought before.So what historical fact inspired No Small Storm? It was a combination of them, actually. Which I think always makes for the best tales!
I like an overarching historical event to help frame a story. Things like war or economic crisis or natural disaster. Situations in the historical record which required courage or resilience or sacrifice from the people who lived through them. When I stumbled upon the Great Gale of 1815, which hit Providence, Rhode Island particularly hard, I knew it could provide obstacles for my characters to overcome.
As I began to read about this event—a hurricane before such storms were commonly called hurricanes—I happened upon some first hand accounts of that day. Fascinating remembrances about a storm arriving without much preamble, then departing and leaving bright sunny skies with which to view the destruction.
And destruction there was! Not only from wind and water, but also the fact that both of those things unleashed the ships moored in the harbor and sent them sailing down the main street of town! Can you imagine looking out of the second or third story window of a building which was likely flooded on the ground floor and seeing a ship coming at you?
That, in itself, was dramatic enough. Especially when coupled with the fact that those ships often broke apart, whether from wind and waves or from contact with the buildings and bridges they encountered on land. Then I considered the in those ships? What happened to them? Many were flung into the water, searching for purchase.
It was just such a circumstance that brought one man to the window of a young woman. She helped him inside. They were later married. And if finding such a story that isn’t a romance writer’s delight, I don’t know what is!
Finally, as I continued to read about the destruction in the area, I discovered a few lines about area orchards. The hanging fruit was found covered with a dusting of white. When tasted, it was discovered to be salt. Salt from storm surge and sea spray. Salt that saturated, even miles inland. Water and wind—and they salt they carried—ruining fruit crops ready for harvest. What could be more devastating to a farmer than that?
And so No Small Storm was born, with Remembrance and Simon each trying to make a good life for themselves, each trying to trust God as they work hard. Each keeping careful watch over their heart. But sometimes circumstances take things we don’t want to give. And give things we never imagined possible.
Historical fact and spiritual truth. Characters who are a product of their times as well as universal in their struggles and desires. It’s the kind of story I love to read. And the kind of story I’m proud to write.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 6

Carpe Diem, February 6
The Power of Words, February 8
Kathleen Denly, February 10
Bukwurmzzz, February 11
By The Book, February 12
Maureen’s Musings, February 12
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 13
Mary Hake, February 13
A Greater Yes, February 15
Janices book reviews, February 15
Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 16
Bibliophile Reviews, February 17
Margaret Kazmierczak, February 17 (Interview)
Simple Harvest Reads, February 18 (Guest post from Mindy)
Bigreadersite, February 18
Pursuing Stacie, February 19


To celebrate her tour, Anne is giving away a grand prize of a reader bag of goodies—including a Pride and Prejudice fleece throw, a “reading” charm necklace from Storied Jewelry, a Secret Garden litograph tote bag, and a $25 Amazon gift card!!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Amish Cooking Class The Celebration: A Recipe for Good Reading

Wanda Brunstetter's popular Amish Cooking Class series readers can now enjoy Amish Cooking Class The Celebration.

publishers notes.....

Return to Holmes County, Ohio, for Amish style cooking class.

Lyle and Heidi Troyer have taken in a brother and sister, who were orphaned when their parents were killed in a car accident. Hoping to help the children adapt and make friends, Heidi decides to hold a series of cooking classes for kids. But kids are always accompanied by an adult—and that is where the trouble arises.

Miranda Cooper is living the life of a single mom to her two kids while separated from her husband, but Trent is trying to worm his way back into her heart.

Denise McGuire’s life as a wife, mom, and real estate broker is full and spilling over.

Darren Keller, single dad and firefighter, and Ellen Blackburn, single mom and nurse, find a few things in common.

Will hearts be healed over plates of Amish food?

my thoughts....

I have enjoyed this series.  Wanda Brunstetter has brought Heidi Troyer to life between the pages of these books.  Heidi is the woman you want to sit down with a cup of coffee and share your heart.  She is unselfish and possesses that quiet patience that you wish you could tap into.  She has plenty of her own burdens yet seems to accept those she doesn't understand.  Her faith is strong and after she writes out the recipes for her cooking classes she prayerfully writes a verse of scripture on the back of each card.  As she does so, she prays that the verse will touch someone in her class.  

Heidi and her husband Lyle are foster parents to Marsha and Randy, who lost their parents in an accident.  They come to realize that the love they have for the children is as trues as if they were their own flesh and blood. As they seek adoption, the cooking class begins and with the new students, it brings people together as only Heidi Troyer can.  Each student brings not only their own special needs but those of the parents who can't seem to just drop off their kids to learn on their own.  Heidi's quiet ways have a ripple effect beyond her kitchen.  

Wanda Brunstetter has a knack for writing about human nature. This book captures the importance of family, no matter what it looks like.  From the darkest of times many blessings can come and families can become stronger.  In our world, it is a blessing to see how faith can change people who may otherwise have been overlooked and unloved.  I heartily recommend Amish Cooking Class - The Celebration, a truly heartwarming story.