Sunday, November 19, 2017

"A Plain Leaving" Book Review

A Plain Leaving 

(The Sisters of Lancaster County #1)

by Leslie Gould


34020187

Book Description: 
Gould Offers a New Amish Series in Idyllic Lancaster County
At age twenty, Jessica Bachman left her two beloved sisters and her Amish community after clashing with the new bishop about her role in the family and the future of their farm. She tried to convince Silas Kemp, who'd been courting her for two years, to join her, but when he said no, she fled anyway.

Three years later, she returns home for the first time since leaving Lancaster to attend her father's funeral. Her arrival back revives all sorts of emotions--yearnings and sorrows alike. Jessica knows things will never return to how they were. But in seeing Silas again, she can't help but wonder what might have been.

Struggling to decide where her next step should take her, she learns the story of a Revolutionary War-era ancestor that echoes her own choices. Will Jessica leave her family and community forever, or is there peace and healing and love yet to come?


MY REVIEW:  I truly could not figure out how this book was going to end.  I could feel the romantic conflict early in my reading.....Jessica with Tom, the Englisher, or Jessica with Silas, the Amish ex-boyfriend, but then as I continued to read, it also became...or Jessica remains single as Amish, or Jessica remains single as Englisher....I've read a LOT of Amish romance novels in my time and I will admit that I find the majority of them predictable though enjoyable.   So when I find one that leaves me guessing until the last page, I'm impressed.   Jessica Bachman is a highly likable character, as are Silas and Tom, but some of Jessica's family members leave a bit to be desired.  Jessica's story is juxtaposed with one of her ancestors, Ruby and her feelings for two men, one Amish and one English.  I got a little confused at times as the two stories were told in alternating paragraphs with Jessica's Aenti Suz telling Ruby's story to Jessica. I got the two main characters, Jessica and Ruby, confused as I read and would have to look back in the story to figure out which time period I was currently reading about.   
         I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.  
         I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:

Leslie Gould

Leslie Gould is the best-selling and award-winning author of twenty-five novels. She loves traveling, research, Shakespeare's plays, and church history. She and her husband live in Portland, Oregon and are the parents of four children. http://www.lesliegould.com/

Sunday, October 29, 2017

"Shameless Surrender" Book Review

35962421


Shameless Surrender Book Review

(Surrender #1)

by Cheyenne McCray (Writing as Jaymie Holland)

Book Description: 

Chessie burns for Nick, but locks the flames in her heart. She’s not a stunning beauty like the women he dates—but when she finds an envelope waiting for her on her desk…dare she open it and accept the invitation into the unknown?

Chessie Lane burns for Nick Tarantino, but circumstance has forced her to keep the flames locked deep in her heart. Drop-dead-gorgeous bosses only fall in love with their administrative assistants in the movies. Besides, she’s plain and na├»ve about his world, nothing like the flawless cultured females he knows. Still, no other man has existed for Chessie since she met Nick. All her erotic fantasies revolve around this powerful man and his sexy, commanding voice. When Nick sells Tarantino Investments, Chessie is heartbroken and sure her fantasies will never come true. But when she receives a mysterious invitation, her life changes…forever.

Publisher's Note: This book has previously been released elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release with Totally Bound Publishing.

My Review:  Office romance?  Not with Nick Tarantino....he has a strict policy against mixing business with pleasure.  His administrative assistant who has been with him for several years is secretly in love with him and has been pining away for him since she came to work with him.  Now he's sold his company and she will never have a chance at love with him.  Then a mysterious envelope appears on her desk.  When she responds to the note by doing what it says, here life changes forever.  It changes in ways she never imagined they actually would, even though it has been her fantasy since she first laid eyes on the gorgeous man.   
        The world of BDSM has recently received great attention due to the books and movies in the Fifty Shades series.  This book did include much of that element.  The story of Chessie and Nick was very exciting and sexy and it was hard to put my kindle down.  I felt the ending was rushed and the relationship between the two characters changed overnight.   (Warning: Sexual 
Content)
I am rating this book 4 stars.
I received an ebook of this novel from netgalley and Totally Bound.


About the Author:


Jaymie Holland

Jaymie Holland is the romantic erotica alter-ego of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cheyenne McCray. Jaymie’s work should always be handled with oven mitts!
Cheyenne McCray’s books have received multiple awards including three “RT Book Review Magazine’ Reviewer’s choice awards” and three nominations.

Cheyenne has three sons and three dogs. She grew up on a ranch in the southeastern part of the state and is an Arizona native.

Visit Jaymie's website and get all of the latest info at JaymieHolland.com and CheyenneMcCray.com and meet up with her at Cheyenne McCray’s Place on Facebook! Feel free to contact Chey at chey@cheyennemccray.


Monday, October 23, 2017

"Gladden the Heart" Book Review

32927083


Gladden the Heart Book Review

 (Amish Turns of Time #5)

by Olivia Newport 

Book Description:

“When you have experienced the Holy Ghost as I have, you would see that it is difficult to turn back.”

When the lively fervor of nineteenth century revivalism endangers the staid customs of the Amish community in the lush but rugged Kishacoquillas Valley of central Pennsylvania in 1847, the Amish church must deal with a divisive question: What is a genuine spiritual experience?

The question turns personal when Susanna’s beloved cousin Noah begins preaching while under trances and even though he is not a minister he gives long sermons that attract increasing attention. Curious, she helps to keep Noah safe during his trances. At the same time Adam, Susanna's intended, feels pressure from the bishop to speak out against the ways of revivalism.

Susanna and Adam are pushed to opposite sides of a controversy that threatens their traditional Amish faith..  Now they must grapple with whether love is possible...even if they come to different conclusions.
           
When Noah goes missing at a time of day when he often preaches while asleep, circumstances thrust community members with divergent opinions into a crisis that demands they recognize the humanity they share regardless of beliefs.  But can strong-held opinions be softened by the truths that shape their lives? 

More in the Amish Turns of Time Series:
Wonderful Lonesome
Meek and Mild
Brightest and Bes
Hope in the Land

MY REVIEW:  This book is exciting and fresh!  I have many, many Amish novels and the plots are usually very similar.  Gladden the Heart presents a situation that I do not ever recall seeing in any of the works of Amish fiction that I've read.  Noah is not a preacher, but begins preaching while in trances and his wife seeks to keep him safe during these times.  The community is divided over this unusual thing and Adam is against it, while his girlfriend, Susanna, approves of Noah's preaching and helps her aunt to ensure his safety when he is in a trance.  I have never personally heard of someone who receives the Holy Spirit and is gifted with this amazing ability to preach the Word.  
        Noah and Adam both fear that their differences will keep them from marrying, but maybe they will work things out.  They could also split over their differences.
       Readers will anxiously read ahead to see what happens for Noah, Adam, and Susanna.   I highly recommend this book to others.  
       I am giving this book a 5-star rating.  
       I received an ebook of this selection from netgalley and Shiloh Run Press   in exchange 
for an honest review.

About the Author 



From  goodreads bip:
I’m imagining you. You walk past as I water my front flowerbeds and we wave. You check the time as we both stand in a long line at the grocery store. You sit in front of me in church. I’m at my table in the coffee shop and you’re at yours.

We may smile politely and move on with our separate lives. Or one of us may speak, a simple invitation to conversation, and the words flow between us.

Here the adventure begins. When we meet someone new, we never know where it might lead.

I’ve been married for over thirty years and have two twenty-something kids. We live in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where the day lilies in my back yard grow as tall as I am. (No short jokes, please.)

Not every piece of my life is pretty, though. Some days I want to throw out whole chunks. But I am living each day looking for the grace of God to me, in me, and through me. Having your companionship along the way will help uncover a lot of great stories.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

"The CEB Student Bible" Book Review

26215870

The CEB Student Bible



About this Bible:

Inviting young people into deeper forms of holiness, The CEB Student Bible helps them make connections between the world of the Bible and their own.
Reading the Bible will change your heart and life. Living the Bible will change the world. The CEB Student Bible will help you to read and live by asking challenging questions, connecting the Bible’s words and today’s world, and showing you how to participate in the story of God’s people.
The CEB Student Bible is a Bible by and for young people that invites them into deeper forms of both personal holiness and social holiness, helps them make connections between the world of the Bible and their own world, offers resources for engaging the text in personal and group study, and embodies a commitment to taking young people seriously as Christian leaders now, not just in the future. It is a resource that helps young disciples of Jesus Christ as they transform the world.

Available in two editions: a durable paperback cover, designed by Hatch Show Print, and a high-quality, leather-like cover with burnished text. The CEB Student Bible is perfect for confirmations and other gift-giving seasons.
Features:
• An introduction to each book of the Bible by a top biblical scholar who has also worked in youth ministry. Each introduction gives an overview of the book, key themes, helpful tips for reading, and a list of quick facts.
• More than 400 articles by a diverse group of biblical scholars and youth ministers from over a dozen different denominations. These articles handle difficult topics and model what it’s like to really engage the Bible.
• Discussions for each book of the Bible by youth ministers. These include discussion questions, activities, and “Reading Differently” exercises for youth groups and small groups.
• Prayers and reflections by students—because young people aren’t just leaders for the future but prophets for the present, with unique insights and perspectives that the world needs to hear.
• Article indexes and a guide to the stories and passages of the Bible, both familiar and bizarre
• 16 pages of maps by National Geographic with a 12-page map index
MY REVIEW:  This is an excellent translation of the Bible.  In comparing it to other modern translations, it is quite true to the original Greek and Hebrew verbage.   The questions which appear through out each book of the Bible are very appropriate to teenagers which this Bible is designed to appeal to.  The Bible would also be a useful tool for adults.  It includes explanations and descriptions of each book of Bible.  Youth ministers prepared the discussions.  They are applicable to today's world. They invite the one studying the Bible to question and consider what the best course would be for them to be like Jesus in their daily lives.
            The only thing I thought could be changed was the readability of the discussions.  I felt the words might be above a teenager's reading ability.   
            I am rating this CEB Bible 4 stars and highly recommend it to those who are searching and to those who are serious Bible scholars.
             I received an ARC ebook of this Bible from netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.   All opinions expressed are my own.
About the Editor:
Elizabeth Corrie
Dr. Elizabeth Corrie’s teaching draws on commitments to both peace with justice and the education of young people, particularly the development of teaching and ministry that empower people for global citizenship. She joined Candler’s faculty in 2007, and is also the director of the Youth Theological Initiative, a partner organization with Candler that leads socially conscious ministries with youth and young adults.
Having focused her doctoral work in 19th century philosophy and theology, Corrie became increasingly interested in practical theology as her work with youth and in peace and justice activism deepened. Her research interests include transformative pedagogy, theories of nonviolence, and conflict transformation. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"The Beloved Hope Chest" Book Review

30649231

The Beloved Hope Chest 

(Amish Heirloom #4)

by Amy Clipston

Book Description: 

In the final installment of the Amish Heirloom series, the Fisher sisters learn the mystery behind their parents’ marriage—and about the sibling who has never been spoken of.


Mattie Fisher’s three daughters know that she’s been keeping a secret from them. With each item pulled from the beloved family hope chest, they’ve discovered a new clue about their mother’s past.


But there’s a reason Mattie has been keeping her history hidden, and she’s not sure she’s ready to reopen old wounds. Will dredging up the past change the way her children view her? Or her marriage to their father? And can she handle the pain of revisiting the memories that preceded the last few happy decades?


Mattie’s story is one of grief and learning to love again. But like the best things preserved in a hope chest, it's a story of love and redemption born out of heartache—and it's past time to share it.

MY BOOK REVIEW:   Hope chest are often given to young Amish girls to begin to collect things for the home and family they are expected to have soon after their baptism into the Amish faith.  Mattie's hope chest began that way, but now many years later, it holds treasures of her past and secrets known only to her and those from her past when she experienced several painful losses.   She has never shared these stories with her own daughters and as they find the items in their mother's hope chest, they want answers.  They want to understand. But is Mattie ready to open her heart to memories so painful that she has locked them away for decades?   

             I have read all the previous three volumes in this series and it would be helpful to have read them  before reading this one, but I think it could probably be read as a stand-alone as much previous backstory is given for the reader to understand.  This is a delightful novel and series, even though many parts are painful and may well bring tears to readers' eyes.  It is not a bad thing to feel the pain of characters though and it may be cathartic for readers who have had similar experiences in their own lives.   With all that being said, I love this book!   I loved the whole series of four books.  Amy Clipston is a master story teller and deserves much praise for The Beloved Hope Chest.

             I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.

               I received an ebook of this novel from netgalley and Zondervan publishing.   I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:
Amy Clipston

From Amy Clipston Goodreads Bio:
Hi, I’m Amy Clipston. I am an author of Amish and Christian fiction with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Most of my books focus on the Amish community, faith, and love. I also write romance novels and young adult inspirational stories.

My books include:

Kauffman Amish Bakery Series
• A Gift of Grace (3/2009)
• A Promise of Hope (3/2010)
• A Place of Peace (2/2011)
• A Life of Joy (1/2012)
• A Season of Love (6/2012)

Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel Series
• A Hopeful Heart (5/2013)
• A Mother’s Secret (4/2014)
• A Dream of Home (11/2015)
• A Simple Prayer (5/15)

The Bird-in-Hand Heirloom Series
• The Forgotten Recipe (11/2015)
• The Courtship Basket (6/16)
• The Cherished Quilt (11/16)
• The Beloved Hope Chest (5/17)

Amish Homestead Series
• A Place at Our Table 11/14/2017
• Room on the Porch Swing 6/18
• Book #3 (Untitled) 11/18
• Book #4 (Untitled) 6/19

Amish Anthologies
• An Amish Kitchen (12/2012)
• An Amish Cradle (2/2015)
• An Amish Christmas Gift (11/2015)
• An Amish Market (1/2016)
• An Amish Harvest (8/2016)
• An Amish Home (2/2017)
• An Amish Summer (7/2017)
• Amish Sweethearts (1/2018)
• An Amish Heirloom (5/2018)
• An Amish Homecoming (10/2018)


Seasonal
• A Plain and Simple Christmas (9/2010)
• Naomi’s Gift (8/2011)
• Kauffman Amish Christmas Collection(9/2012)
• An Amish Christmas Gift (8/2016)
• An Amish Christmas Love (8/2017)

Young Adult
• Roadside Assistance (4/2011)
• Reckless Heart (4/2012) (Kauffman Amish Bakery young adult book)
• Destination Unknown (2/2014)
• Miles from Nowhere (2/2015)

Non-Fiction
• A Gift of Love (2/2014)


I'm an advocate for organ and blood donation. I donated a kidney on June 14, 2011, at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Through my donation, my husband received a second kidney transplant. My husband and I matched another couple and we swapped kidneys with them. I gave a kidney to my husband's donor's wife. Feel free to email me and ask me what it was like to be a kidney donor. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. If you're healthy, please donate blood! Also, become an organ donor.

Visit me at www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks  at @AmyClipston or www.AmyClipston.com

Monday, September 25, 2017

"The Farmer's Market Mishap" Book Review


The Farmers' Market Mishap: A Sequel to The Lopsided Christmas Cake by [Brunstetter, Wanda E., Brunstetter, Jean]

The Farmer's Market Mishap 

A Sequel to The Lopsided Christmas Cake

by Wanda Brunstetter & Jean Brunstetter


Book Description:


Return to Amish Country in Topeka, Indiana, and the Hochstetler twin sisters who are pulled apart by life's changes. Elma is living alone for the first time in her life after Thelma married. Elma has dated some, but she wonders if she is just too picky to find love. Will she remain alone while Thelma moves on to build a family? 
Find out in this brand new romance from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, writing with her daughter-in-law Jean Brunstetter.

MY REVIEW:  Twins are fascinating characters to read about and Elma and Thelma Hochstetler are two very interesting characters, for sure and certain. Thelma has married Joseph and they're now expecting their first boppli.  Elma has now living alone in the big house they twins had shared.  It is a lonely house as well.   Thelma and Joe live just across the street, but Elma and Thelma have never lived apart from each other until now.  
      Elma fears that she will never know the sweet love of marriage and even sweeter kisses of a newborn.  The twins are in their mid-thirties which is considered old to be marrying and starting a family amongst the Amish.  Elma longs to know the happiness that her sister has found.  Up to this point, Elma has not found her perfect man.  Will she ever find him?  
     This is such a light-hearted, fun read.  It made me laugh and find great pleasure in the lives of the characters.  I really enjoyed The Lopsided Christmas Cake and this sequel might be even better. I highly recommend this book to lovers of Amish fiction and Christian romance. 
     I am rating this book 5 stars!
     I received a free copy of this book from the authors and Shiloh Run Press in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Authors:Wanda E. Brunstetter

Wanda Brunstetter is an award-winning romance novelist who has led millions of readers to lose their heart in the Amish life. She is the author of almost 90 books with more than 10 million copies sold. Many of her books have landed on the top bestseller lists, including the New York Times, USA Today, Publisher's Weekly, CBA, ECPA, and CBD. Wanda is considered one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre, and her work has been covered by national publications, including Time Magazine and USA Today.

Wanda's fascination with the Amish culture developed when she met her husband, Richard, who grew up in a Mennonite church, and whose family has a Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. Meeting her new Mennonite sister-in-laws caused Wanda to yearn for the simpler life. In their travels, she and her husband have become close friends with many Amish people across America. Wanda's desire to explore their culture increased when she discovered that her great-great grandparents were part of the Anabaptist faith.

All of Wanda's novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Many of her books are well-read and trusted by the Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.

Wanda's primary attraction to the Amish is their desire to live a devout Christian life that strives to honor God, work hard, and maintain close family ties. Whenever she visits her Amish friends, Wanda finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties, which is in stark contrast to the chaos and busyness that plagues so many modern "Englishers." Time and time again, Wanda loses her heart in the Amish life, and she hopes her readers will, too. For more information, visit: www.WandaBrunstetter.com

Jean Brunstetter

Jean Brunstetter became fascinated with the Amish when she first went to Pennsylvania to visit her father-in-law’s family. Since that time, Jean has become friends with several Amish families and enjoys writing about their way of life. She also likes to put some of the simple practices followed by the Amish into her daily routine. Jean lives in Washington State with her husband, Richard Jr. and their three children, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish communities in several states. 
In addition to writing, Jean enjoys boating, gardening, and spending time on the beach.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"Abiding Mercy" Book Review by Ruth Reid

Abiding Mercy by Ruth Reid

(Amish Mercies #1)

33027977

Book Description:


When doing the right thing will only lead to more heartache, how do you know what you are supposed to do? 

Sixteen-year-old Faith has worked full time in her parents' Amish restaurant since she finished eighth grade. She loves her Amish community--and the recent romantic attentions of her longtime friend, Gideon. When her sister seems to be getting too friendly with Englischers, and her parents are in a buggy accident, Faith only wants to escape into her dream of joining the church and getting married.

But then a local newspaper runs a story about a child named Adriana who was kidnapped fifteen years earlier, and everything Faith has held true comes into question.

Suddenly the community Faith has known her whole life seems unreal. Can she even trust her own family? And how will she ever find home again if she no longer belongs in the world she knows best?
 

MY REVIEW:  Hebrews 13:2 (NAS) Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.  Ruth Reid conveys this verse with her novel, Abiding Mercy".  A red-headed man continually appears to Faith and her family.   They show mercy, compassion and hospitality to the stranger.  Are they in fact, entertaining an angel unaware"?  This story looks at the pain and sorrow of Roslyn and her husband.  They lost their daughter to a kidnapper fifteen years ago and they are still looking for her. Will they find her after all these years?  Readers will enjoy reading this novel to find out if Roslyn's broken heart will finally be healed.  
         While this story is predictable for most of the situations presented, it is a very enjoyable read.  I am quite happy to recommend this book to readers who enjoy Christian fiction, Amish fictions and romance.
     I am rating this novel 5 stars.
     I received an ebook of this novel from netgalley and Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:
Ruth Reid

Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA best-selling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She's a full-time pharmacist who lives in Florida with her husband and three children. When attending Ferris State University School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several occasions to visit the Amish farms. Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life.