Monday, July 23, 2012

Review of A Plain Death by Amanda Flower

Review of A Plain Death by Amanda Flower

An unlikely friendship between a high-tech woman and a runaway Amish girl leads to murder. Her first day in Appleseed Creek, Ohio, Chloe Humphrey, befriends Becky, an ex-Amish teenager looking for a new home. While driving Chloe’s car, Becky collides with a buggy, killing an Amish bishop in the process. The case moves from accident to murder when police reveal a cut brake line. Now, Chloe and Becky’s handsome brother, Timothy, must discover who the real intended victim is before the murderer makes a second attempt.
This is the book for those readers who love suspense and mystery!   I love trying to figure out "who done it" as I read mysteries and this was a tough one!  I will say that I never fully figured the whole mystery out before the truth was finally revealed.  I am so excited to see that a sequel is due out in Feb. 2013, A Plain Scandal.
Amanda Flower makes her characters rich.  You will love the good guys and HATE the bad guys.  You will be rooting for the "good" side to win!   I felt like I was actually in the scenes with her descriptions of places and people.    I do not think readers will be disappointed in this book and series.  I did not want to quit reading and go to sleep.  I finished this book in two nights because I just had to know what happened.    It all seems like a simple accident for Becky and the Amish bishop, but things soon begin to unravel and stories start coming out that show something far more sinister has taken place.    
It was interesting to me that the Amish were shunning Becky because of the accidental death of the bishop.    I could understand if she had been drunk or driving recklessly.  She was guilty of driving without a driver's license and she DID take Chloe's car without asking permission first, but wow!  shunning is hard for me to comprehend.    It seems such a harsh punishment.   5-star book and you do need to read it!!!     

About the Author:
Amanda Flower, an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. She also writes mysteries as Isabella Alan.

I received a free copy of A Plain Death from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Author Interview with Wanda Brunstetter

Author Interview with Wanda Brunstetter !!!   
I am delighted to have Wanda Brunstetter as my guest on my blog today.    Wanda has graciously agreed to answer some questions for us, her faithful followers and readers.   Grab a cup of tea and sit back and enjoy!!!  

1.   What prompted you to start writing?  how long have you been writing?
     My desire to write began when I was in 2nd grade and wrote a poem about a moth. My teacher said it was well-written, and she encouraged me to keep writing. I didn't write for publication until I was married and my children had started school. My first short story was published in 1982, and in 1997 I sold my first novel.

2.  What makes you write Amish fiction?
     I chose to write about the Amish because my husband grew up in a Mennonite church and we have many Amish friends in several communities throughout the states. Since there are so many misconceptions about the Amish, I wanted my readers to understand the Amish people as I do.

3.  Have you stayed in an Amish home? if so, what are your favorite things about it?

    Yes, my husband and I have stayed in our Amish friend's homes several times. My favorite thing about it was the quietness -- no TV or loud noises. I also enjoyed the quality time of visiting with our Amish friends and seeing them interact with their family.

4.  What is your favorite Amish meal or recipe?

     One of my favorite Amish meals is fried chicken and mashed potatoes. One of our Amish friends makes the best mashed potatoes. I also enjoy what the Amish call "Hay Stack." This consists of torn lettuce, chopped tomatoes and sometimes other veggies, layered on your plate and topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, and salsa.

5.  Tell me about your family.   

   I'm married to Richard, a retired minister, and we have two grown children, Richard Jr. and Lorine. Both of our children are married and have three children of their own. We love spending time with our family.

6.  Your faith is obviously very important to you as you include spiritual lessons in your books; what church do you and your husband attend?
  My husband pastored a Nazarene church for nearly 20 years, and we are currently members of a Nazarene church in our town.

7.  Have you worshiped in Amish church? Tell us about that.   

   Yes, we have worshipped in Amish church with our friends, Jake and Sara. The service took place in one of their church member's buggy sheds, and most everyone sat on backless wooden benches. A few people, including my husband and myself, were given folding chairs to sit on. The service lasted 3 hours and consisted of singing (with no musical instruments), sermons by the bishop and two ministers from the church, prayers, and scripture readings. It was a solemn occasion, but very uplifting. Most of the sermons, as well as the songs were in German.

8.  What has been your favorite book or series to write and why?

   I believe it would be "The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club," because it dealt with so many unusual characters.

9.  If you could go on a trip anywhere in the world. where would you go and why?

   One of our favorite places to visit is Hawaii, because it's so relaxing and beautiful there.

10.  What would be the most difficult thing for you to give up if you were to become Amish?  I think, for me, Wanda, it would be air conditioning!   whew!  I don't do well in the hot weather.  
  Going witout electricity, which would include no air conditioning, computers, or modern appliances would be difficult; although I didn't miss it when we stayed with our Amish friends for a whole week.

Thank you so much for sharing with my readers today.  I know that I personally love your books and am so thankful to God that you share your talent and gifts with us through your writing.   I would love to stay in an Amish home and enjoy some of those delicious mashed potatoes and fried chicken!   The quiet would be nice!    

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review of "The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club" by Wanda Brunstetter

Review of The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club by Wanda Brunstetter
Lives are transformed--One Stitch at a Time! 
As Amish widow,  Emma Yoder, contemplates the task ahead, her thoughts center on one: What if she fails?  Longing to remove a burden from her family by becoming self-sufficient, Emma has offered to hold quilting classes in her home.  But when she sees the patchwork of faces assembled for the first lesson, her confidence dwindles as doubt threatens to take hold.  
There's Star Stephens, a young woman yearning for stability; Pam & Stuart Johnston, a struggling couple at odds in their marriage; Paul Ramirez, a widowed father hoping to find solace in finishing a quilt; Jan Sweet, a rough and tough biker looking for something creative to do;  and Ruby Lee Williams, a preacher's wife seeking relaxation amid mounting parish problems.
While Emma grows to realize her ability to share her passion for quilting and her faith, the beginning quilters learn to transform scraps of fabric into beauty.  And slowly, their fragmented lives begin to take new shape---some in unexpected ways---with the helping hands of each other and the healing hand of God.
What a wonderful book!  I have read many of Wanda Brunstetter's books and this one is quite different.  Adding all the Englishers into the fabric of the story added a new quality to her writing!   You will laugh, cry, and smile with joy at the discoveries the characters make along the way as they learn to quilt!    Wanda has many surprises in this book for readers.  There is also a suitor for Emma: Lamar, and Emma is not interested.  Read the book to find out if Emma finds love and if her characters lives get straightened out, for they are all in a mess when they come for their first quilting class at Emma's Amish home.    I highly recommend this book!    We had a wonderful book discussion on Facebook last night, 7/16/2012, at the Amish Friendship Bread group --Wanda joined us and answered questions from readers about her book.   We had a blast !  Coming soon on my blog: interview with Wanda Brunstetter!  Watch for it!   
About the author:

Wanda Brunstetter is an award-winning bestselling author. She lives in Washington state with her husband, Richard.   She loves to visit Amish communities around the United States.    

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Review of The Girl's Still Got It by Liz Curtis Higgs

Review of The Girl's Still Got It by Liz Curtis Higgs 
I have read the book of Ruth in the Bible many times and I have read many Bible study books about Ruth, but none like this one by Liz Curtis Higgs. She makes you feel like you are actually there with Ruth and Naomi experiencing it all.   YOu can almost smell the grain as she gleans the field, and feel the sun on her back.    You can feel Naomi's bitterness and then you can feel the hope that comes to these ladies through Boaz.  
Boaz is the kinsman redeemer for Ruth but God is ultimately the kinsman redeemer for us all if we will accept His love.   Naomi experiences indescribable joy in the birth of her grandson, Obed.   Ruth experiences love and acceptance.   Obed knows much about this as his own mother is Rahab, the prostitute.  He knows how to make others feel acceptance and love.
There is a Bible study at the conclusion of the book which could be used by individuals or groups.   There is also the Righteous Ruth Rap which you can view on youtube to actually see and hear Liz perform it.    Read this book about Ruth if you don't ever read another one!  You will not be sorry!
Think of it as time travel without gimmicks, gizmos, or a DeLorean!   This is a novel approach to Bible study that leaps from past to present, gleaning timeless truths that speak to the heart.
I received a free copy of this book from, Waterbrook Multonamah Press in exchange for my honest review.
About the Author:
Liz Curtis Higgs is a popular conference speaker and author of nearly thirty books with more than three million copies in print, including her best-selling nonfiction series, Bad Girls of the Bible, Really Bad Girls of the Bible, Unveiling Mary Magdalene, and Slightly Bad Girls of The Bible.  Liz and her family live in Louisville, Kentucky.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Anessia's Quest by Karen Arnpriester Book Review

Anessia's Quest:

 Restoration of a Shattered Life, Fulfillment of a Profound Destiny

By Karen Arnpriester
Follow the life of a young girl into adulthood. Celebrate the journey and her choices that change a heartbreaking situation into a glorious life of love, truth, compassion, and joy.   Pagne finds the love of God and the support of her Heavenly Angel through life's emotional roller coaster.  An angel that protects, leads and assures Pagne that she is not alone by using an unusual method of communication (assaulting and delighting the senses).    Pagne shares healing, tears, and laughter with a group of broken people that become her family.   She discovers the purpose of her life and the revelation of God's destiny for her.  Pagne will eventually understand the powerful ripple she created as she lived her life.   She was not an accident, she was placed on Earth with divine intent.
This book was quite different from other Christian fiction I have read and I highly recommend it to readers.   It is a story of abuse, pain, alcoholism, drug abuse, abandonment, foster homes, group homes, and then of hope, forgiveness, love, compassion, and God's healing, and provision of Guardian Angels for us.    Reading this book made me feel hopeful and joyful !    I celebrated with Pagne (short for "Champagne", due to her mother's love for liquor) and cried tears of sadness right along with her. Pagne endured much but seemed to have such resilience and strength about her.  Her guardian angel helped her and comforted her as well as other characters in the story.     This book is worth the time!    Definitely spend some time reading this one soon!   
About the Author
Karen Slimick Arnpriester is a graphic artist, wife, and mother, who lives in central California. She has four adult children, seven grandchildren, and three dogs.   Karen and her husband, Don, made the decision to become foster parents, and are thrilled to be parenting two daughters.   Karen looks forward to sharing her imagination and faith with readers through her writing.
I received a free copy of Anessia's Quest from the author, in exchange for my honest review.