Two book reviews–The Madonna of Pisano and A Sicilian Farewell both by MaryAnn Diorio

Today’s blog is a book review of two books by one of my favorite authors–MaryAnn Diorio–The Madonna of Pisano and A Sicilian Farewell. I love her writing and her sweet spirit for Christ, and wanted to finish this second book sooner, but with two other writing projects of my own going on, I read until after eleven last night to finish the second novel. I had to know what happened to Luca Tonetta!

But, I am getting ahead of myself! In The Madonna of Pisano we meet Maria Landro, a young woman with a child but no husband. Nowadays that can be common, but in the  1880s in Sicily, it was very rare and was treated with shame. To her family’s credit, they still supported and loved her and her child, although she told no one the father’s name. I don’t want to give away the story, but can tell you there is confession and forgiveness by the end of the tale.

The Madonna of Pisano is a sweet love story between Maria and Luca Tonetta, the village tailor. These two lovebirds are the main characters in A Sicilian Farewell which is a not so happy story for much of the book. Although Luca and Maria still love each other, they experience many trials along the way as they move to America.

The author says in the back of this book that “The seed for this second story was planted more than one hundred years ago, when (her) paternal grandfather set sail for America…This story was written as a tribute to (her grandparents and) to all immigrants…More than that, however, this is the story of Christ’s redemptive love and enduring faithfulness in the midst of the worst situations.”

If you like to read real-to-life historical fiction that shows how God can work even evil for our good, then you will love these two stories, and I can’t wait for the third book in The Italian Chronicles Trilogy to be released soon–Return to Bella Terra. Hope you can read these two novels, and then you will be eager to read the sequel also.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all, especially the winner of A. H. Gabhart’s Murder is No Accident

Wishing all the mothers on my bloglist a very Happy Mother’s Day. Hope you get to spend it with family like I plan to! And maybe curl up with a great book in the afternoon or evening!

And wishing a super happy day to Nancy Gats who won the drawing for a copy of Ann Gabhart’s latest mystery–Murder is No Accident. Ann will be contacting you for  your mailing address.

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In the Superstition Mountains by Susan Page Davis–a Book Review

I had never heard of the Superstition Mountains until I read this book. The entire title is My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains with the subtitle Carmela’s Quandary.

Carmela Wade is orphaned at twelve, and her life changes from a loving home and parents to life on the road with her uncle forcing her to tell a made-up story of her being captured by Indians to earn him money. Carmela comes to hate deceiving to people, but her uncle insists her dad owed him a huge sum of money, and now she has to pay it off.

Carmela is definitely in a quandary, and many terrible things continue to happen that seem to make her situation grow worse, but she needs to learn that God is in control, and He can work out what she sees as a hopeless life into a wonderful relationship with a special man and other friends.

If you like the Wild West (set right after the Civil War in 1866) and characters who change as God enters their lives, you will love My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains.

Bio: Susan Page Davis is a best-selling author who has written many novels set in the west. She and her husband live in western Kentucky.

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Story ideas-Guestblog and Giveaway by Ann H. Gabhart

Ideas Lurk in the Nooks and Crannies of a Writer’s Brain  by Ann H. Gabhart

Since I published my first book way back in 1978, I have often been asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” The only right answer to that question is everywhere. Ideas come in all shapes and sizes and sneak into a writer’s head by many different avenues.

Those ideas can rise up out of history books or maybe an exhibit at a museum. I might stumble across the initial idea in a newspaper article or even one of those historical marker signs along the road. Then again something I see on television or in a movie might spark an idea, or perhaps a comment from a friend might set my story gears to grinding. Most writers like to draw from their own experiences and the experiences of their families. I’ve certainly done that for the backgrounds of several of my stories. The setting of my Heart of Hollyhill books came straight from what I remembered my little town of Lawrenceburg being like during the 1960s. Then I used my mother’s background of growing up during the Great Depression for the Rosey Corner books, especially Angel Sister, where Mom’s memories are threaded all through the story. Continue reading

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Designing Love, New book by Kimberly Rose Johnson

I am happy to introduce my readers to another of Kimberly Rose Johnson’s lovely books. Designing Love is book 3 in the Sunriver Dreams series. Here’s the back cover blurb:

Someone is framing Sierra. Can Spencer Preston discover the true criminal before he loses her?

Sierra Robbins, single mother and interior design assistant, wants to provide a stable home for her teenage son and become a successful interior designer. She’s well on her way to both goals when she agrees to house sit a home in Sunriver, Oregon. It couldn’t be more perfect. She’ll be close to her job at Belafonte Designs while living rent-free. But things don’t go as expected beginning on day one when a police officer responds to the alarm they set off at the house. Was that alarm a sign of trouble to come? Continue reading

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Review of The Dandelion Patch by MaryAnn Diorio

Although I usually review adult fiction, I have reviewed a couple non-fiction books and Bible studies lately, so am branching out to children’s fiction today in The Dandelion Patch. MaryAnn Diorio has written a delightful book that older children can read for themselves, and is also a lovely book for a parent or grandparent to share with a younger reader. How do I know? Because I curled up on the lower bunk yesterday afternoon to read this story to my 5-year-old granddaughter Elinor, and we both loved it!

The illustrations by Doina Paraschiv are very engaging with bright colors and realistic drawings. And the story will tug at your heart as you hope for The Dandelion Patch to be saved for all generations.

Yolanda Riggins is called the Dandelion Lady since most of her foods are cooked from the dandelion patch right outside her yard, and she shares them with the children in her village–until surveyors and heavy equipment appear to tear out the dandelion patch. Yolanda emails the mayor and governor, and they both say the road has to be built.

I hope you will order this book on Amazon or from the author at to see how the problem was solved. Also found through Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple iBooks as well as through Ingram Distributors for local bookstores. And then, I hope  you will find a child you love to snuggle up with and read this story together.

MaryAnn Diorio is a widely published, award-winning author of fiction for both children and adults. The Dandelion Patch is her fourth book for children. She and her husband of 47 years reside in New Jersey. They are the blessed parents of two amazing daughters and five rambunctious grandchildren. You can learn more about her at


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