Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Quilts of Love Series: The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman ~ Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter (Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Litfuse Publicity, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for the Quilts Of Love Series: The Christmas Quilt by Author Vannetta Chapman and Aloha Rose by Author Lisa Carter!

Quilts of Love KINDLE FIRE HDX Giveaway & “Christmas Bee” Facebook Party 12/10! 

Enter Today | 11/15 - 11/30!

Quilts of love vannetta chapman lisa carter

Book Review

The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman
Quilts Of Love Series: Book 11
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Dates: October 15, 2013
Format: Paperback - 247 pages / Kindle - 2130 KB / Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 1426752776
Genre:Christian - Amish Fiction / Holiday Romance

BUY THE BOOK: The Christmas Quilt

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Litfuse Publicity.

Book Description:

Babies have their own schedule.

But so does God.

Annie’s life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community’s minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam. Annie’s sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the boppli arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem . . . but God may have a different plan. Leah is rushed to the English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

Book Excerpt:


Two years later Mid-November

Annie and Leah strolled along the sidewalk, peeking in the windows of the shops, enjoying the afternoon sunshine.

"When was the last time we had a day that didn't include freezing temperatures and snow dusting the doorstep?" Leah stopped suddenly as two young boys playing a game of tag ran around her.

"Maybe Saturday was the wrong day to come to town though. A weekday might have been better." Annie stepped closer and scowled after the boys. "Less traffic. Less kinner."

"It's not their fault I'm as big as Adam's workhorse."

"You are not."

"I am! Look at me ..." Leah rested her hands on her stomach, which was quite large. She'd recently begun her seventh month of pregnancy, but a stranger might think she was in her final week.

"Belinda told you—"

"Twins take up more room. Ya, I know. But, Annie, I can't even put on my own shoes. Adam has to do it for me." Leah stuck out her bottom lip and lines formed across her forehead.

Annie knew that look—pure misery.

"I should have stayed home."

"You should have done no such thing. Let's go on to the general store, then stop by mamm's shop for some tea. Being out is gut for you and the babies."

"Says Nurse Annie—"

"Yes, she does."

"Who is four months pregnant and still not showing?"

The smile spread across Annie's face until she was giggling. Then they were both laughing, behaving like schoolgirls. Two pregnant women, standing in the middle of the sidewalk and causing traffic to stream around them.

"Four and a half months," Annie corrected Leah. "And she moved last night. Samuel and I both felt her."

"She? Of all people, you should know better than to predict whether your baby is a girl or boy."

"You're right, but Samuel seems so certain. After listening to him for four months, I've fallen into the habit of saying she." Annie hooked her arm through Leah's and pulled her along the sidewalk. "I need to purchase the lavender fabric for the nine-patch crib quilt I'm making you, and I happen to know Rachel received a shipment earlier this week."

"Oh, do we have to? I'm not sure what I need today is an encounter with Samuel's sister-in-law."

"I think she's mellowing." Annie whispered as they pushed their way into the general store, causing the small bell above the door to announce their arrival.

Instead of answering, Leah gave her the look. It was enough. After nearly three years back at home, back in Mifflin County, Annie had learned to read most of the unspoken cues from her sister-in-law. Packed with all of their previous conversations about Rachel, it said you know she hasn't changed at all and we'll do our best to love her anyway at the same time.

Annie didn't talk to many people about Rachel—her mother, Leah, and, of course, Samuel. No one had the answer, but they all knew prayer was the one thing capable of healing the wounded places in Rachel's heart. Until those places mended, chances were she would remain difficult and even occasionally somewhat nasty.

When they entered the store, a thousand memories surrounded Annie. Her family had shopped at the general store for as long as she could remember, but her recollection and what her eyes saw told two different stories.

The store she had visited as a child was crowded with delightful items in every available spot. Like most Plain folk, Annie had learned not to covet and to appreciate what she had rather than focus on what she didn't. Growing up, the general store had been owned by Efram Bontrager. She remembered it clearly—it didn't prick her desires as much as it sparked her imagination. When she walked over the doorstep, she'd always imagined herself stepping into an Englisch fairy tale. He carried supplies for Amish and Englisch alike, so all manner of things were on his shelves. Annie's favorite spot for years had been Efram's book nook in the front corner near the window. Her brother Adam had loved the old-fashioned candy counter with its jars of delicious penny candy.

Most of those items had vanished.

Two years ago Rachel Zook, Samuel's sister-in-law, had moved from Ohio after her husband died. Annie knew from comments Samuel made it had not been a happy marriage. Rachel never talked about her life before moving—so Annie had no way of knowing if she was still mourning her husband or regretting that her two boys were being raised without the help of a father. There was a third possibility. Perhaps Rachel had fallen into a habit of discontent. She had simply shown up in Mifflin County one day. Efram had decided to put the general store up for sale so he could move closer to his family. Families in the community were hardly aware of Efram's plans, when Rachel bought the store and settled into the upstairs apartment with her boys.

The store had changed.

Rachel's store was clean and orderly and was stocked with items she was certain would appeal to the maximum number of customers. In other words, there were no surprises. The charm was gone.

Annie had to admit the place was cleaner.

"Leah, I'm surprised to see you out today." Rachel sniffed from her place behind the counter. Tall, thin, with a beautiful complexion only the scowl on her face could ruin, Rachel was dressed in her usual gray dress and black apron.

Why the sniff? Did she have a perpetual cold? Or was she suggesting they smelled bad? Annie knew they didn't, but she was tempted to check. Her mind went back to a psychology class she'd taken while pursuing her nursing certification, during the time she'd lived with her aenti, among the Englisch. The psychology instructor would have had a good time with some of Rachel's mannerisms.

"And Annie. I thought you were helping Belinda deliver the infant to the family on the south end of our district, though why Samuel would allow you to go scurrying around the county in your condition—"

"Gudemariye, Rachel." Annie aimed to keep her voice low and calm, as if she were speaking to a child. An image of Kiptyn immediately jumped to her mind, but she pushed it away. Although she'd had letters from her former patient for three years, she hadn't seen him since she'd left Philadelphia. She still missed the children she once worked with, and today wasn't a good time to focus on that loss. Today she needed to concentrate on making Leah's outing a pleasant one.

"I'd hardly call it morning." Rachel stared at the clock above the register, its hands ticking toward noon. She tapped the counter with her pen, as if to suggest they were late, or perhaps they were keeping her from something.

Annie glanced at Leah, who rolled her eyes. The immature gesture reminded Annie of her youngest sister, Reba. She nearly started giggling again, because Reba had not learned to abide Rachel's sternness. Reba insisted Rachel reminded her of the old bull out in the pasture—bad-tempered and mean.

The bell over the door rang out again. This time three young boys entered the store, but Rachel was having none of it. "Back out you go."


"Not without your parents. Go and find them and then you may come back. I don't have time to keep my eye on you. I have work to do. Now out."

The boys—good boys who belonged to their church—tugged down on their hats and hurried back out the door. As they left, one murmured to the other two, "I told you she wouldn't let us come inside."

Annie plastered on her brightest smile. "I was hoping to pick up the lavender fabric for the quilt I'm working on for Leah's boppli."

"You haven't finished it yet?" Rachel tsk-tsked as she maneuvered behind the cutting table and pulled out the bolt of lavender cotton. It reminded Annie of the purple flowers which grew on the south side of her vegetable garden. "Are you sure you wouldn't rather use the off-white I carry?"

"Nein. This will be gut."

"I think I'll check and see what infant things you have. Maybe there's something I've forgotten." Leah waddled off down the aisle, her hand on top of her stomach as she went.

"You shouldn't have brought her to town." Rachel made no attempt to lower her voice as she unrolled the fabric with a thump, thump, thump that seemed to echo her disapproval.

"Do you honestly believe she'd be better off sitting at home? She has two months yet before the babies are due—"

"She won't make it two more months and both of us know it." Something resembling concern crossed Rachel's face, but when she glanced up at Annie, she blinked her eyes and whatever had been there, whatever she'd been feeling, had disappeared.

Possibly Annie had imagined it, or maybe for a moment Rachel had remembered what it was like to carry a child within her. Rachel's boys were older. Matthew had turned ten this year and Zeke was eight. The boys had adjusted to living in Mifflin County. They seemed to have adapted to life without a father—Rachel had moved to their town a year after her husband died. If there was a soft spot in Rachel's heart, it was for her boys, but she didn't show it often. Perhaps she was afraid of spoiling them. Where were Matthew and Zeke today? Samuel had reminded her to ask about them.

Certainly, a part of Rachel did remember the miracle of carrying a child inside for nine months and the hope life would turn out to be all you dreamed it could be.

"How much do you need?"

"Half a yard will be more than enough. I can use any extra on a patchwork quilt I plan to start after Christmas." Annie watched her measure and cut the fabric. "Probably you are right about Leah making it to term, but the bopplin will come when they're ready. It's gut for Leah to be out of the house and it helps her mood to—"

"Do not come in this store." Rachel paused in the middle of folding the fabric she had cut. For a moment, Annie wondered who she could be talking to—the bell over the door hadn't rung. In fact, the store was surprisingly empty for midday on a Saturday.

Annie angled her head to the right. When she did, she caught sight of her two nephews. The younger, Zeke, was half- way through the back door. Matthew stood behind him and had his hand on the door.

At the sound of their mother's voice, they both had frozen.

My Book Review:

The Christmas Quilt is the heartwarming sequel to A Simple Amish Christmas that revisits the lives of two couples connected by family: Leah & Adam and Annie & Samuel. In this heartwarming story, Annie's sister-in-law Leah is expecting her first child, and Annie is determined to finish making the crib quilt before the "boppli" is born. But life has other plans in store for them when Leah is hospitalized six weeks before her due date, and the quilt takes on new meaning when Annie and Leah complete the quilt together. The quilt is a a story within itself that is connected to the Fruits of the Spirit stories in scripture that describes the relevance of the nine life stories told within the framework of each square.

Author Vannetta Chapman weaves a poignant tale of love, faith, family, friendship and community that will pull at your heartstrings. As Annie and Leah complete the crafting of the quilt, they embark on a journey through each stitch that will strengthen their bond with the giving and receiving of love and strength that they provide to each other.

The Christmas Quilt is a beautifully written story that is perfect for the Christmas holiday season that is known for bringing miracles. The symbolism of the quilt clearly demonstrates the blessings of love and family within the fabric of every stitch.


The Christmas Quilt - Book Trailer

About The Author

Vannetta Chapman has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather's birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.


Book Review

Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter
Quilts Of Love Series: Book 12
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: November 19, 2013
Format: Paperback - 247 Pages / Kindle - 2227 KB / Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 1426752733
Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Aloha Rose

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Litfuse Publicity.

Book Description:

When Laney Carrigan’s adoptive parents encourage her as an adult to seek out her birth family, her only clue is the Lokelani quilt in which she was found wrapped as an infant. Centering her search on the Big Island, she battles fears of rejection from a family that abandoned her once before while her faith struggles to embrace God’s love.

Along the path to her true heritage, she meets Hawaiian cowboy/helicopter pilot, Kai Barnes. Kai is determined to protect the people he’s come to regard as family against a woman he suspects of being nothing more than a gold-digger, but he finds himself drawn to Laney in spite of his reservations. He’s spent his entire life seeking forgiveness from past mistakes and longs for a second chance at happiness. Laney’s painstaking journey to find restoration and a place to belong among the breathtaking allure of the Big Island will lead her closer to her past and maybe even something more.

Book Excerpt:

Thanks to a fierce case of jet lag, Laney rose with the sunrise at the sound of a door slamming in the direction of the stable behind the house. The thought of truck doors, a specific burgundy F150 to be exact, drove her from the twisted sheets. Hiding behind a lace-paneled curtain, Laney’s early bird behavior rewarded her with a too brief glimpse of Kai’s broad shoulders that tapered to a narrow waist. She exhaled as Kai disappeared on a sturdy coal black quarter horse to dispense with his morning chores. She’d let the lace panel drift into place.

Kai Barnes. Obnoxious to a fault. Arrogant.

But real easy on the eyes.

Dinner had been a tense affair, everyone afraid to speak lest they say the wrong thing. Mily, unconcerned with strained undercurrents, chirped like a little bird, doing her best to put Laney and “Rose” in the know of the activities available on the ranch and around town. Dinner had also involved spam. And not the junk that cluttered the Internet.

Spam burgers. The look on Laney’s face, despite her best efforts, betrayed her, for Kai laughed out loud.

“Tutu’s favorite meal and Teah’s cooking specialty,” Kai informed her. And when Teah returned to the kitchen, he offered to split his burger with her, too, if she wanted more.

Following Elyse’s lead at the Moana, Laney kicked him under the table.

My Book Review:

Aloha Rose is the poignant story of a woman's journey of self-discovery while searching for her birth family. Author Lisa Carter weaves an emotional tale set in the tropical and picturesque Big Island of Hawaii that follows the journey of Laney Carrigan as she seeks to find answers of her true heritage.

Laney has only one clue to help in her quest to search for her birth family, a beautiful Hawaiian Lokelani quilt with a red rose snowflake appliqued on a white background that she was wrapped in as an infant when she was left on her adoptive family's doorstep. Traveling to Hawaii to meet her birth family, Laney meets Kai Barnes, a cowboy and former Army SAR pilot, who was taken in by the family and adopted by Aunt Teah. Kai is weary of Laney's intentions, he thinks that she is a gold digger and he is determined to protect his family. Will Laney's journey to find her true heritage come full circle with new beginnings?

Aloha Rose is an intriguing and multi-layered tale told from different perspectives that deals with many family and life issues: adoption, abandonment, rejection, trust, cancer, PTSD, and Alzheimer's Disease. Both Laney and Kai have emotional baggage from their pasts that keeps them distant. As their attraction grows, the only way their love will grow is if they have faith and hope, and allow God to show them how to let go of their past.

I loved how the author transports the reader to the the richly detailed setting of the Hawaiian islands with its fascinating customs and terminology. With all of the swirling emotional drama and life issues interwoven within the storyline, coupled with the vivid island setting, the reader can't help but get drawn into Laney and Kai's story.

Aloha Rose is the story of Laney and Kai's emotional journey of love, hope, faith, new beginnings, and finding where they belong in the world.


Aloha Rose - Book Trailer

About The Author

Lisa Carter has been published in MomSense and Christian Parenting Today. Lisa is currently teaching music at a preschool and enjoying the enthusiasm and joy for life for which preschoolers are famous. She and David have two beautiful daughters.


Quilts Of Love Series

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Quilts of Love KINDLE FIRE HDX Giveaway & “Christmas Bee” Facebook Party 12/10!

In honor of their new Quilts of Love releases, The Christmas Quilt and Aloha Rose, authors Vannetta Chapman and Lisa Carter are gearing up to ring in the Christmas season with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a "Christmas Bee" Facebook Party on December 10th with fellow Quilts of Love author Lynette Sowell!


One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman
  • Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 30th. Winner will be announced at the "Christmas Bee" Facebook Party on December 10th. Connect with the authors from the Quilts of Love series, Vannetta Chapman, Lisa Carter, and Lynette Sowell, for an evening of book chat, quilt trivia, Christmas traditions and gifts, PLUS get an exclusive look at January's Quilts of Love book!

So grab your copies of The Christmas Quilt and Aloha Rose and join Vannetta, Lisa, and Lynette on the evening of December 10th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on December 10th!


  1. Thank you for your review! So glad you enjoyed Leah and Annie's story!

    1. Hi Vannetta! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. The Christmas Quilt is a wonderful story to read, especially during the holiday season. :)

  2. Thanks for hosting Aloha Rose and me. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. It was a lot of fun to write. :)

  3. Hi Lisa! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. I really enjoyed reading Aloha Rose, it took me back to my honeymoon spent in Hawaii. This was an intriguing story that kept me turning the pages. :)