Category Archives: Zebra Books

Review: Strawberry Lane by Jodi Thomas

Title: Strawberry Lane by Jodi Thomas
A Touching Texas Love Story
Someday Valley Book One
Publisher: Zebra Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 284 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher


Fans of Robyn Carr and Susan Mallery will adore this heartwarming new book from the beloved New York Times bestselling author. In a small Texas town where most families go back generations, four strangers meet and unite as they bury a father none of them has ever seen and begin slowly to piece together a bond that will not only change them, but the community for the better.

Starri Knight is a big believer in fate. How else to explain the compelling connection she feels to the stranger she pulls out of a wrecked car on the very same road where her parents died twenty years earlier? Alongside Auntie Ona-May, the only mother she’s ever known, Starri saves Rusty O’Sullivan’s life—just as Ona-May once did when Starri was an orphaned babe. But convincing Rusty he has something to live for is going to take all of Starri’s faith in miracles . . .

Like a wish he hadn’t even known to make, Starri landed in Rusty’s life, filling him with a longing for a family. . . . Then Jackson Landry, a new lawyer, turns up to present a surprise that will change the direction of his life: An inheritance from the father Rusty never knew—and the promise of the family he’d never had. It’s a lot for the hard-bitten loner to
accept as love rushes into his life . . .

A sense of duty has Rusty heading to Honey Creek to deal with his father’s estate—and find his lost siblings. But having family is one thing, learning to love them is another. Good thing new friends are by his side to help him along the way.


Strawberry Lane by Jodi Thomas is a sweet contemporary romance featuring an eclectic yet interesting cast of characters.

Lawyer Jackson Landry is still mourning the loss of his parents while struggling to settle into taking over his father’s law practice. One of his first cases involves finding recently deceased Jamie Ray Morrell’s four children. Jamie Ray was not involved in their lives, but he leaves them all his worldly possessions. Jackson stumbles across the first heir, Rusty O’Sullivan, during a storm in which Rusty has been in a serious accident. Jackson is also enchanted by co-rescuer Starri Knight but their age difference could be a stumbling block.

Rusty has been in more than his share of accidents but his multiple injuries mean a long recovery period. He is charmed by Dr. Amber Adams but since he is used to everyone leaving him, Rusty does not believe he has a future with her. He also has an added complication when Jackson finds one of his younger brothers. Will Rusty convince Amber to take a chance on love?

An unrelated but no less enjoyable romance takes place at the local hospital. Emergency room nurse Emma Sumers visits her old friend Heath Allen Rogers’ hospital room every evening when her shift has ended. He is experiencing unexpected health issues and Emma takes every chance she gets to spend time with him while hoping Heath will soon fully recover.

Strawberry Lane is a delightful romance with (mostly) interwoven storylines. The various characters undergo tremendous growth as they find cherished friendships together and love. While some of the couples’ story arcs are not completely wrapped up, hopefully readers will get the opportunity to revisit them in future installments in Someday Valley series. This wonderful romance is sure to be a hit with old and new fans of Jodi Thomas.

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Filed under Contemporary, Jodi Thomas, Rated B, Review, Romance, Someday Valley Series, Strawberry Lane, Zebra Books

Review: An Amish Bride by Rosalind Lauer

Title: An Amish Bride by Rosalind Lauer
Publisher: Zebra Books
Joyful River Series Book Two
Genre: Contemporary, Amish, Romance
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


In Joyful River, Pennsylvania, the faith-filled Amish community lives side by side with the English world, healing problems and overcoming hardship with compassion, love, and abiding trust in Gott’s plan.

For Sam Lapp, every day spent working on his family’s dairy farm is a reminder of Gott’s bounty and goodness. And he’s found the person he wants to share that life with. Sam remembers the exact moment he stopped seeing Sadie Beiler as just his sister’s best friend, and saw instead the graceful, loving woman she’s become. If only he had seen it before Sadie began courting someone else . . .

When Sadie first caught the eye of a handsome auctioneer, she felt blessed, hopeful that marriage would provide an escape from her troubled home. But as months stretch on without a proposal, Sadie discovers a worrying new side to her beau—and a growing kinship with Sam. Thoughtful, hardworking, kind to his visiting English cousins and to her, Sam shows Sadie that real love is just a stone’s throw away. But when an unexpected obstacle forces a separation between them, can steadfast faith make Sadie an Amish bride at last?


An Amish Bride by Rosalind Lauer is a sweet Amish romance with a thought-provoking storyline.

Sadie Bauer and Mark Miller have been courting for quite some time. She hopes he will propose to her soon, but she is discovering things about him that are troubling. Sadie feels obligated to continue the relationship but will an eye-opening Christmas celebration change her mind?

Sam Lapp recently started viewing his sister Essie’s best friend Sadie in a romantic light. After she begins dating Mark, he is afraid he has lost his chance to court her. Sam also knows unsavory information about Mark but he is reluctant to tell Sadie because he does not want to spread gossip. Is his chance to reveal his feelings for her truly gone?

Sam’s Englisch cousins Megan Sullivan and her sisters have been staying with the Lapp family for a few months now. She and her twin sister Serena have adjusted to the drastic change in their lives but their younger sister Lizzie still wants to move back to Philadelphia. Megan and Sam have become close and she hangs out with him and his friends. She is especially drawn to Isaac who is very different than the other Amish people she knows. As they play hockey together, he and Megan begin to grow close but is there any future for them since they are from different worlds?

An Amish Bride is a heartwarming Amish romance with engaging story arcs. The characters are multi-faceted with many of them undergoing tremendous growth as they deal with their respective situations.  Sadie realizes she has made a mistake with Mark, but can she end their relationship?  Sam finds himself in a very unhappy situation as he wonders whether or not he and Sadie will find their way to each other.  The Sullivan sisters’ visit with their father in the city is a turning point for them as a family and for Megan and Serena individually.  Isaac is at a crossroad as he makes a decision about his future. With unanticipated complications to overcome, Rosalind Lauer brings this meaningful romance to a gratifying conclusion. Old and new fans of the Joyful River series are sure to enjoy this endearing second installment.

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Filed under Amish, An Amish Bride, Contemporary, Joyful River Series, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Rosalind Lauer, Zebra Books

Review: Marry Me, Millie by Amy Lillard

Title: Marry Me, Millie by Amy Lillard
Paradise Valley Series Book One
Publisher: Zebra Books
Genre: Contemporary, Amish, Romance
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Amy Lillard’s uplifting new series unites a “Widows Club” of women who share solace, friendship, and faith in the Amish community of Paradise Valley, Missouri . . .

When her young husband died unexpectedly, Millie Bauman thought her life was over too—until she learned she was carrying his child. Now, as she awaits the baby’s arrival, Millie’s sure her future will revolve around motherhood, the B&B she runs with her Aunt Sylvie, and the beloved Whoopie Pies her Widows Club whips up each week. But when a handsome newcomer arrives in town, Millie is intrigued, and the club wonders if Millie might find a second chance at love . . .

Henry King plans to stay in Paradise Valley long enough to take care of some family business, and hopefully mend the heartache of his own lost love. As Henry and Millie cross paths, it’s clear their neighbors are gently trying to play matchmaker. Not wanting to disappoint, the two pretend to play along—but life gets complicated when a true and tender affection grows. As Millie gets ready to welcome her baby, they must rely on faith and fate to decide if they should risk their hearts on love again . . .


Marry Me, Millie by Amy Lillard is a sweet (in more ways than one!) Amish romance.

Twenty-four-year-old Millie Bauman is beginning a new life following the unexpected death of her husband. She is six months pregnant and recently moved to Paradise Springs to live with her Aunt Sylvie who owns a B&B. Millie has no intention of remarrying but her Aunt Sylvie is cooking up a plan to matchmake her niece with Henry King, who is in town helping his grandfather, Vern. Having his heart broken after his fiancée called off their wedding, Henry is not looking for love either. Will Sylvie and Vern’s matchmaking efforts change either Henry or Millie’s minds?

Millie and Henry are delightful characters who immediately figure out what their loved ones are doing. They agree to be friends and enjoy one another’s company. Millie knows in a few months she will be busy with her new baby. Meanwhile, Henry is hoping to convince his granddad to move out of state to live with him and his father. Believing they have outsmarted their matchmaking family members, what will Henry and Millie do when they realize they have fallen in love with each other?

Marry Me, Millie is an entertaining romance with a heartfelt storyline. Millie is an appealing yet stubborn young woman. Henry is charming, laidback and easy to like. Sylvie and Vern are certain their matchmaking efforts will succeed and they refuse to give up on their plan. Millie and Henry are a wonderful couple but Millie is prone to making decisions without discussing them first with Henry. With late in the story conflict and an unanticipated romance, Amy Lillard brings this delectable love story to a heartwarming conclusion.  Fans of Amish romances are sure to enjoy this first installment in the  Paradise Valley series.

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Filed under Amish, Amy Lillard, Contemporary, Marry Me Millie, Rated B, Review, Romance, Zebra Books

Review: The Memory Quilt by Lenora Worth

Title: The Memory Quilt by Lenora Worth
The Shadow Lake Series Book One
Publisher: Zebra Books
Genre: Contemporary, Amish, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Running a historic Inn on beautiful Shadow Lake is a satisfying life for the Amish King sisters. Until love stirs a longing for more . . .

When Abigail King stumbles upon a man lying on the beach near her family inn, her every instinct says to help the stranger. With his memory gone, “Jonah” is reluctant to contact the authorities, so Abigail offers him shelter, despite her sisters’ reservations.  As she nurses him back to health, Abigail helps him recover his lost past, creating a quilt from images of the shattered fragments he recalls. But with every square Abigail adds, she wonders if she is falling for a man who can never truly be hers . . .

Jonah feels at home at The Shadow Lake Inn with the lovely Abigail, at peace with the Amish lifestyle she lives.  But as the pieces of his past are sewn together, the mystery only deepens—until he knows the only way forward is to turn himself in to the police, to finally discover the truth of who he really is.  For the one thing worse than not knowing his past, is not knowing what the future holds for him and Abigail . . .


The Memory Quilt by Lenora Worth is a sweet Amish romance with a slight hint of suspense.

Abigail King and her sisters Eliza and Colette run their family-owned inn. Abigail is in charge and she works tirelessly keeping the inn running smoothly. She is independent yet she tries to be obedient to her parents’ wishes. Abigail is also a gifted artist and she designs beautiful quilts. She finds her alone time in morning while taking prayerful walks along the shore of Shadow Lake. One morning, Abigail makes a startling discovery when she finds a man near death during her walk. When he awakens with no memory of who he is, Abigail cares for him while keeping his presence a secret from her parents. But it is just a matter of time before they find out. When they do, will Abigail respect their wishes or will she continue to spend time with the man she is beginning to care for?

Since he does not know who he is, Abigail dubs the injured man “Jonah”. His injuries are troubling and cause Abigail to question what type of person he is. But she is certain she is safe and she steals as much time as possible getting to know Jonah. His memories are deeply buried and when he does remember something from his past, they are short recollections that are more frustrating than revealing. As he and Abigail spend time with each other, Jonah becomes torn between his past and his present when his feelings for Abigail deepen.

The Memory Quilt is a heartwarming novel with wonderful characters and a bucolic setting.  Abigail is a dutiful daughter but she finds is very difficult to keep her distance from Jonah. Her parents are understanding but firm as they try to prevent their daughter from making a decision she might regret. Despite the circumstances. Jonah enjoys the peace and quiet and hard work that soothe his worries. He and Abigail realize there is no future for them unless he remembers his past. But will he remember what happened to him before the people he cares deeply about are endangered?

This first installment in Lenora Worth’s The Shadow Lake series is a heartfelt romance that readers are going to love.

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Filed under Amish, Contemporary, Lenora Worth, Rated B, Review, Romance, The Memory Quilt, The Shadow Lake Series, Zebra Books

Review: Dinner on Primrose Hill by Jodi Thomas

Title: Dinner on Primrose Hill by Jodi Thomas
Honey Creek Series Book Three
Publisher: Zebra Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 322 pages
Book Rating: C

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


The delightful and touching new novel from the bestselling author of dozens of treasured romances. Return to the picturesque Texas town of Honey Creeka place where friendship and warm welcomes can be relied on, and love always finds a way…

Benjamin Monroe is pretty sure how his life will play out. He’ll continue teaching chemistry in his small college, and spend his free time biking through the valley. Eventually, he’ll retire to putter around in his garden and greenhouse.

His colleague, Virginia Clark, is not one for routines. She’s chatty, spontaneous, and bubbly, and before Benjamin realizes what happened, she’s talked him into collaborating on a research project—studying the mating habits of college students. Virginia knows her desire to work with Benjamin is motivated by more than the potential prize money . . . and hopes he might not be quite as indifferent as he seems to be.

Ketch Kincaid, one of Benjamin’s star students, returned to college after serving in the army. He needs something to get his mind off his recent breakup and collecting research data might do it. And there’s another distraction on the horizon—a woman who looks like she, too, knows about heartache.

Soon enough, their project, “The Chemistry of Mating,” is gaining notoriety. Friends, neighbors . . . the whole town has become involved. But no matter what the data determines, one conclusion seems inescapable: love follows its own rules . . .


Dinner on Primrose Hill by Jodi Thomas is a sweet romance with a hint of mystery.

Professor Benjamin Monroe is in his early forties and has never been married. He teaches at the college during the week and on weekends, he helps his dad on the family farm. Benjamin’s office is right next door to Professor Virginia “Jenny” Clark and he tries to avoid her as much as possible. Which is why he is so surprised when she asks him to assist her on a research project. Benjamin is a little uptight and serious whereas Jenny is a little bit quirky and impulsive.  After they start working together, why is Benjamin suddenly having sexy thoughts about his curvy research partner?

Army veteran Ketch Kincaid is older than the rest of the students so he is focuses on his classes while also working construction. After receiving a “Dear Ketch” letter from his fiancée, Ketch throws caution to the wind and gets drunk to forget his heartbreak. Thankfully for him, bar waitress Tuesday Raine is there to help him get safely home after the bar closes. They find themselves unexpectedly drawn to each other but will Tuesday be open to a future with Ketch?

Town librarian Amelia Remington and bad boy Harrison “Hank” Norton meet in spectacular fashion during an accident. When Amelia needs care during her recovery, Hank offers to help her until she is back on her feet. Hank is a preacher’s son who left town years ago and he has cleaned up his act during the intervening years. But after someone begin planting pipe bombs around town, the truth about his career comes out when he collaborates with local law enforcement. In his downtime, he and Amelia grow closer but is there any chance of a relationship working out between them since they live in different towns?

Dinner on Primrose Hill is a homespun romance with eclectic but likable characters. The romances are lovely with the future of each of the couples uncertain. The slight mystery aspect feels a bit like an afterthought since it takes place late in the story. The story is engaging but a little repetitive.  Since there are three separate story arcs, the relationships are a little underdeveloped and take place during a short span of time. This third installment in Jodi Thomas’ Honey Creek is heartwarming with appealing characters and can be read as a standalone.

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Filed under Contemporary, Dinner on Primrose Hill, Honey Creek Series, Jodi Thomas, Rated C, Review, Romance, Zebra Books

Review: An Unexpected Amish Christmas by Rachel J. Good

Title: An Unexpected Amish Christmas by Rachel J. Good
Surprised by Love Series Book Three
Publisher: Zebra Books
Genre: Contemporary, Amish, Romance
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A crackling fire, the promise of snow, the delicious smell of fresh-baked cookies and fallen pine needles . . . when Christmas is coming, every heart lifts in song. In this moving Amish romance series by Rachel J. Good, a bountiful farmer’s market is the source of all kinds of goodies—especially love . . .
Recovering from a horse and buggy accident that took the lives of his family, Jacob Zook is struggling to regain both his spirit and his body. While his legs remain stubbornly opposed to moving, he exercises his hands by writing, and finds the perfect outlet for his grief in inspirational letters to the Amish newspaper. When Keturah Esch, a woman who works at the Green Valley Farmer’s Market, responds with gratitude, Jacob has no idea that his hardship is about to become a blessing . . .

Dealing with her own loss, and responsible for her three siblings, Keturah’s new correspondence with the anonymous letter writer becomes a source of joy. And when a shy young man confined to a wheelchair begins to visit the market, Keturah is happy to make his acquaintance—never knowing that Jacob is afraid to reveal himself as her pen pal. After all, what can he offer her, when he can’t even walk? Can faith bring two lonely people together in perfect union? As Christmas approaches, Jacob and Keturah get a chance to make their gifts to each other worthy of the blessing of love . . .


An Unexpected Amish Christmas by Rachel J. Good is an uplifting Amish romance about healing and love. While this newest release is the third book in the Surprised by Love series, it can be read as a standalone.  I also highly recommend the first two romances as well.

Jeremiah Zook is recovering from an accident and coming to terms with the changes in his life. He is currently unable to walk due to the injuries sustained in an accident, but he is willing to put in the hard work in hopes he will walk again. He has begun writing letters to people who have recently lost a loved one. Jeremiah relates his own experiences dealing with grief and hardship in hopes of helping them work through their own losses.

One of the recipients of his letters is Keturah Esch who recently lost both parents. She is now raising her younger sisters, Lilliane, Rose and Meleah. She is also in charge of making decisions for her siblings and their family pretzel stand at the Green Valley Farmer’s Market. Keturah is overwhelmed by these new responsibilities but she tries to remain strong for her sisters. She is surprised by the anonymous letter she receives in the mail. But Keturah soon comes to rely on the words written by a stranger to boost her spirits and calm her when her life is stressful.

Mrs. Vandenburg might not own the farmer’s market any longer but she is still involved in the local community. Through her kindly interventions, Jeremiah begins working at the Esch pretzel stand. In order to bring Mrs. Vandenburg’s charitable operation to fruition, Keturah agrees to changes in the size and layout of the stand. But some of the necessary changes in their business operation cause friction between Keturah and Lilliane.

An Unexpected Amish Christmas is heartwarming slow-burn romance between two delightful characters. Keturah is a vibrant young woman who must mourn while at the same time running a business and caring for her sisters. Lilianne, Rose and Meleah are well-drawn characters whose reactions to their new circumstances ring true. Jeremiah faces and overcomes adversity through prayer, hard work and a positive attitude. He and Keturah greatly enjoy spending time together but will his secret ruin not just their friendship but any chance of a future with her?

Rachel J. Good brings readers a heartfelt novel of faith, forgiveness and love while also providing a gentle reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. I absolutely loved and highly recommend this latest addition to the Surprised by Love series.

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Filed under Amish, An Unexpected Amish Christmas, Contemporary, Rachel J Good, Rated B+, Review, Surprised by Love Series, Zebra Books