Friday, January 5, 2018

"Amish Cooking Class Cookbook: Over 200 Practical Recipes for Use in Any Kitchen" Book Review


Amish Cooking Class Cookbook:  Over 200 Practical Recipes for Use in Any Kitchen
Book Review

by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Amish Cooking Basic Enough for Beginners 
Fans of New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter’s Amish romance novels are invited to go back to cooking basics with characters from the bestselling Amish Cooking Class series. Heidi Troyer, her students, and other contributors share over 200 practical recipes for use in any kitchen, along with tips to keep things running smoothly. From learning how to boil eggs and knead biscuits to building a German Pizza and an Amish Haystack feast, The Amish Cooking Class Cookbook includes something beneficial for every age and skill set. Divided into traditional cookbook categories, there is a recipe everyone will find to love.

MY REVIEW:   Oh my goodness, I think this may just be my new favorite cookbook!   I fell in love with the characters in Wanda Brunstetter's Amish Cooking Class series so it is such a sweet treat to be able to recreate their favorite recipes.   The cooking and household tips from the characters and those used in Amish homes are new and just plain awesome.  I really love the tip to soak pasta previous to cooking.  I've never heard that one!  It is plumb delicious to get to sneak a peek inside the Amish kitchen to glean from their expertise in cooking.  Bible verses are interspersed throughout the cookbook.  
      Many of the favorite Amish dishes are in the cookbook including Amish friendship bread including directions for making and storing the starter.  I can't wait to get to cooking.
      I am delighted to give this cookbook a 5 star rating.
      I received an ebook of this cookbook from netgalley and Shiloh Run Press in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Wanda E. Brunstetter

New York Times bestselling and award-winning author, Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written close to 90 books translated in four languages. With over 10 million copies sold, Wanda's stories consistently earn spots on the nations most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.

Wanda’s ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.

When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties. Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, bird-watching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, have been blessed with two grown children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

To learn more about Wanda, visit her website at

Thursday, January 4, 2018

"The Beloved Christmas Quilt" Book Review

The Beloved Christmas Quilt:  Three Stories of Family, Romance, and Amish Faith

by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter, & Richelle Brunstetter


One Quilt Binds Three Generations of Amish Women
Enjoy the gift of a brand new romance from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, along with stories by her daughter-in-law, Jean and granddaughter, Richelle.

Book Description:  

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. Psalm 31:3
The scripture embroidered on the back of a beloved quilt brings hope to three generations of Pennsylvania Amish women at Christmastime.
Luella’s Promise
By Wanda E. Brunstetter

Luella Ebersol has been caregiver for a dying woman and her young son. When Dena Lapp gives Luella her favorite quilt, she makes Luella promise to pass it down to her daughter. But Luella isn’t sure she will ever marry if she can’t find someone with maturity and faith like Dena’s husband Atlee Zook.


Karen’s Gift
By Jean Brunstetter

Karen Allgyer and her husband moved to a slow-paced village to raise their children, but Karen longs for the closeness of family to help her through the challenges of managing three girls with one on the way. When life’s pressures rise, will Karen cave to her fears?

Roseanna’s Groom
By Richelle Lynn Brunstetter

When the unexpected happens on the day of her wedding, Roseanna Allgyer can’t help blaming herself, despite not understanding why. Then an old friend returns to town, and she battles feeling for him—afraid of being hurt again.

MY REVIEW:   Wanda Brunstetter, along with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter, have created a world that spans three generations just as they represent three generations in their own family.  The three lovely stories are woven together with an Amish quilt made by Dena Lapp and as she prepares for her impending death, she gives it to Luella.  She begs a huge favor of Luella as she lays dying.  Luella promises to care for Dena's husband and young son.  She does indeed continue to work for Atlee after serving as Dena and her little boy, Daryl's caregivers while Dena needs help in her final days.  The verse Dena embroidered on the quilt, For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. Psalm 31:3,  becomes important and encouraging to each of the young women in the three stories, Luella, Karen, and Roseanna.  
         Readers will enjoy the Christmas themed stories any time of year.  Following along with the three generations made me feel quite sentimental and will likely give readers similar feelings.   I highly recommend this book. 
         I rate this book 5 stars.
         I received an ebook of this book from netgalley and Shiloh Run Press in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Authors:
Image result for richelle brunstetter

Three generations:  Jean Brunstetter (daughter-in-law), Richelle Brunstetter (granddaughter), and Wanda Brunstetter (grandmother).  
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:

Jean Brunstetter

Image result for jean brunstetter, author

Jean Brunstetter is the daughter-in-law of Wanda Brunstetter.  She enjoys writing and visiting with her many Amish friends.  She lives in Washington state.  

Richelle Brunstetter
Image result for richelle brunstetter

Richelle Brunstetter lives in the Pacific Northwest and developed a desire to write when she took creative writing in high school. After enrolling in college classes, her overall experience enticed her to become a writer, and she wants to implement what she's learned into her stories. Just starting her writing career, her first published story appears in The Beloved Christmas Quilt beside her grandmother, Wanda E. Brunstetter, and her mother, Jean. Richelle enjoys traveling to different places, her favorite being Kauai, Hawaii.

Monday, November 27, 2017

"Twice Blessed" Book Review


Twice Blessed

(Two Amish Christmas Novellas)

by Barbara Cameron

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  Two Amish fiction novellas:  

Her Sister’s Shadow
Katie and Rosie Stoltzfus work part-time in an Amish store and part-time in Two Peas in a Pod, their own business raising vegetables and fruits and canning them for sale. Although they are identical twins, their personalities are very different: while Katie has always been more outgoing and attractive to boys, Rosie has always felt in her sister’s shadow. It will take an unexpected business opportunity and one very special man to help Rosie see that she’s a unique woman of her own.

 His Brother’s Keeper
Ever since they were boys, Ben Fisher has trailed after his brother, Mark. Ben has always envied Mark because he’s always been more adventurous, but he's even more jealous now that Mark is engaged to Rachel, a woman they both love. When a terrible accident on Christmas Eve results in their mistaken identity, Ben suddenly has an opportunity to create the life he’s always wanted. While everyone believes he is his brother, who’s still in a coma, Ben finally has a chance with Rachel. But how can he realize an opportunity for real happiness if it means deceiving his kin? 

MY REVIEW:  Her Sister's Shadow:  Twins have always intrigued me.  It is so interesting in this novella that Katie and Rosie know when something is wrong with the other.  Katie is the one who is a magnet for the young men in the Amish community and Rosie has not even dated any young men yet.  So Katie is shocked when her sister takes an interest in Jacob and even more shocked when he returns the interest.  This seems rude and hurtful to me as an observer.  Obviously, since they are identical twins, Katie doesn't think looks are what is keeping Rosie from dating.  Katie thinks that she has the perky, friendly personality and that Rosie....well, doesn't.   
               I really enjoyed this novella.  It is fun, light reading.  I love reading novellas as they can be read quickly.  I sit a number of hours per week with my mother who is recovering from a massive stroke and is now in a nursing home. So quick reads suit my needs quite well at the present time.   
              While the two novellas are called Christmas novellas, I felt this novella was lacking in details that made me feel they were Christmas themed.  In an Amish Christmas novella, I expect to read of the Amish Christmas traditions which are quite different from those of the English world.  
              I highly recommend this book to readers of Amish and Christian fiction.   I am giving this novella 4 stars.
              I received a copy of this book from netgalley and Abingdon Press in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

MY REVIEW:  His Brother's Keeper:  Ben and Mark are not just identical twins; they are best friends. 
But they are facing a problem that threatens to drive them apart.  They are both in love with Rachel.  How on earth can they ever resolve this problem?  Neither of them wants to hurt the other and Rachel feels deeply for Ben, but she is engaged to Mark.   An accident allows the truth to be revealed but Rachel may not forgive Ben.  
               While I truly enjoyed this book, I had some moments of confusion when Mark and Ben were hospitalized where I did not know which was which brother.   I had to go back through the book to figure it out.  This left me feeling a bit undone as I read this novella.   
                While the two novellas are called Christmas novellas, I felt this novella was lacking in details that made me feel they were Christmas themed.  In an Amish Christmas novella, I expect to read of the Amish Christmas traditions which are quite different from those of the English world.
A bonus for readers is the Amish recipes featured at the end of the two novellas that were mentioned in the book as characters made and enjoyed the food created from the recipes.    
                I do give this novella 4 stars as it captured my attention immediately and drove me to put other things aside to read.   
                I highly recommend this book to lovers of Amish and Christian fiction.
               I received a copy of this book from  netgalley and Abingdon Press.  

About the Author:       

Barbara Cameron has a heart for writing about the spiritual values and simple joys of the Amish. She is the author of more than 35 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies, and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Barbara currently resides in Edgewater, Florida. Find out more about Barbara at and

Sunday, November 26, 2017

"The Barbour Bible Study Companion" Book Review


The Barbour Bible Study Companion:

Easy-to-Understand Study Notes for Genesis–Revelation

Book Review


Do Bible commentaries seem huge and daunting? They don’t have to be! The Barbour Bible Study Companion addresses key passages of scripture in a simple, easy-to-use (and understand!) format. With nearly 6,500 notes, covering verses and passages from Genesis through Revelation, this commentary is concise and accessible—perfect for the non-scholar. Introductions to each of the Bible’s 66 books provide additional background and insight. Ideal for personal Bible study or for Sunday school or small group preparation, The Barbour Bible Study Companion is usable with any Bible translation.

MY REVIEW:  This is the perfect study guide for those who are not scholars of the Bible.  I had been looking for a Bible Commentary and this one is perfect for me.  It is easy to understand and contains vocabulary appropriate to those with a high-school education.  This study companion has proven very beneficial for me as I've been reading my Bible daily.  My only complaint was the fact that not every verse is included.  The book includes historical information for each book, authorship, dates and to whom each book of Bible is addressed and for what purpose.  

I've even taken my kindle with this downloaded book to share with the Sunday School class I teach for 4th through 6th graders and they found it helpful to better comprehend the scripture verses included in our lessons.  The notes created great discussion among students which thrilled me. I would highly recommend this to other seekers, Bible study leaders and those who are reading the Bible for the first or the 100th time. The book is designed to be used with any Bible translation.  I believe this guide will allow readers to learn new things about their Bible.

I am rating this book 5 stars.   I received a copy of this non-fiction Christian book from netgalley and Barbour Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Editor:
Christopher D. Hudson
Christopher Hudson-- mission is to help people read, understand, and apply the Bible. He has contributed to over fifty Bible projects, sixty study guides, and over a hundred books.

Chris is the author or editor of:
* Heaven & Hell: Are They Real
* Navigating the Bible
* The Bible: 100 Ways it Can Change Your Life
* Layman's Concise Bible Commentary
* The Illustrated Book of Bible Lists
* Once-A-Day At the Table Family Devotional: 365 Daily Readings and Conversation Starters for Your Family
* Bible Atlas & Companion (Barbour)
* 40 Day Bible Adventure (Barbour)
* Fascinating Bible People (Barbour)
* What the Bible Says About series (Barbour)
* 12 Volume QuickNotes Simplified Commentary Series (Barbour)
* Angels and Miracles (American Bible Society/Time, inc.)
* The Life of Christ (American Bible Society/Time, inc.)
* Inside the Mysteries of the Bible (American Bible Society/Time, inc.)
* The Year Long Bible Reading Series (
* Bible Jumble (Tyndale)
* Bible Jumble for Kids (Tyndale)

He has served as managing editor for best-selling Bibles such as:
* The Love Languages Devotional Bible with Gary Chapman (Moody)
* The NIV VerseLight Bible series by Zondervan (titles include: Find Hope, Find Love, Find Faith, Find Prayer)
* Inspirational Bible with Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson)
* The Extreme Teen Bible (Thomas Nelson)
* The Case for Christ Study Bible with Lee Strobel (Zondervan)
* The College Devotional Bible (Zondervan)

In addition to writing and editing, Chris is passionate about softball and baseball and has coached athletic teams at the youth, high school, and college levels. He's a graduate from Wheaton College (IL) where he served as the Head Softball Coach between 2006-2012. Chris has been an active teacher in his church for nearly twenty years and lives outside Chicago with his wife and three children.

There are additionally twenty-one contributors to The Barbour Bible Study Companion; they are Christopher Hudson, Tremper Longman, Mark Strauss, Carol Smith, Peter Barnes, Stan Campbell, Ralph Davis, Bob Deffinbaugh, Ian Fair, Joe Guglielmo, David Guzik, John Hanneman, W. Hall Harris III, David Hatcher, J. Hampton Keathley III, Stephen Leston, Stephen C. Magee, Doug McIntosh, Eugene H. Merrill, Jeff Miller, Richard D. Patterson, Robert Rayburn, and Derek W. H. Thomas. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

"A Plain Leaving" Book Review

A Plain Leaving 

(The Sisters of Lancaster County #1)

by Leslie Gould


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.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

"Shameless Surrender" Book Review


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 
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 and 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


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.