Monday, February 25, 2013

Review of Grace Given by Beth Shriver


Grace Given
Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.
Amish Proverb
 
Elsie Yoder can’t forgive her sister, Katie, for leaving the community. Unable to let go of her sadness, she withdraws from her friends and family, nursing her feelings of betrayal.
 
Gideon Lapp has held a special place in his heart for Elsie and longs to help her get through her troubles. Together they find comfort in their study of the Martyr’s Mirror, a centuries-old book that describes their ancestors’ sacrifices for their faith through years of persecution.
 As Elsie opens up and begins to put her trust in Gideon, she tells him about the harassment she and her sister received at the hands of some local men. When the men return and threaten the community, Elsie and Gideon must stand together to do what is right. But can Elsie learn to give grace and to humble herself to accept grace as well?
MY REVIEW:
What a wonderful look at grace and forgiveness Beth Shriver presents in Grace Given.   I am a Virginian so found it interesting that the story focuses on a group of Amish who have moved from Virginia to Texas. I also lived in Texas for several years and there are definitely many differences in climate and with planting for the Amish to deal with.   They also must deal with prejudice and bullying from local young people as well as forgiving within their own families.  I loved this book and highly recommend it.   For a healthy dose of grace and mercy, read this book!  
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Beth Shriver
Beth followed her passion and writes full time after working as a social worker. She received a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from the University of Nebraska.She writes in a variety of genres in both fiction and non-fiction.
Visit her website at:  http://WWW.BETHSHRIVERWRITER.COM
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.   

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review of Whoopie Pie Pam's Kitchen Collections Volume One 

Christmas Cookie Exchange
and Whoopie Pie Pam's Kitchen Collection: Home for The Holidays
by Whoopie Pie Pam Jarrell


Christmas Cookie Exchange (Whoopie Pie Pam's Kitchen Collection, #1)Whoopie Pie Pam's Kitchen Collection - Volume 2 - Home for The Holidays
Shared by Pam Jarrell, known to most as Whoopie Pie Pam, creator of the Whoopie Pie Book Club and Whoopie Pie Place, this book is bound to become a treasure to those who cherish holiday memories, cookies, and heartfelt stories. Inside this volume, you will find tips on how to have a successful Christmas Cookie Exchange Party as well as favorite cookie recipes and Christmas memories from some of her cherished Whoopie Pie friends, family and Christian Authors. (Christmas Cookie Exchange)

Whoopie Pie Pam has filled this keepsake with love and the spirit of the holiday season. Inside this treasure trove, you will find the makings of a festive family celebration – from tantalizing recipes to merry do-it-yourself decorations. She has also tucked in some nostalgic stories and true-life memories of friends and authors for bringing the holiday warmth to your heart.

So light the candles, crank up the carols and grab a cup of hot chocolate before you start browsing through this book. For once you do, you will be ready to gather friends and family together to enjoy the warmth and love of the holidays at home. (Home for the Holidays)

My Review: 
What delicious recipes Whoopie Pie Pam has compiled and even sweeter are the stories of past Christmases shared. It also means a great deal that the contributors are my online friends. I felt like we were sitting together enjoying those yummy foods and laughter. I had goosebumps as I read the special remembrances of my friends. I am also feeling rather hungry after reading this volume--lol
Volume One features Christmas Cookie recipes that are favorites along with special stories of memories of past celebrations.    Home For The Holidays features appetizers, main dishes, vegetables, salads, as well as desserts.  I have used some of these recipes and they are truly winners.  
About the Author:  Pamela Jarrell will tell you that she lives in a wacky, wonderful, blessed world where God is her ruler! It is her goal to love, laugh and face each moment with all the passion that she can find within. She and her husband Tom are blessed with 5 children, 3 Son-In-Laws, 5 wonderful, awesome, fantastic Grandchildren (1 more on the way) and 2 dogs. A loving, dysfunctional family surrounds her.

While battling Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma, Pam was inspired to create a Facebook group called the Whoopie Pie Book Club. For years, she had called a group of ladies in her family, by that same name. Pam and those ladies would travel semi-annually to Amish country for a retreat of reading Amish fiction, seeing the Amish sights and eating plenty of Whoopie Pies. 

Today, Pam is best known as “Whoopie Pie Pam.” 
I was given ecopies of both books as a gift from the author and am happy to be able to post honest reviews of these delightful books.  
Whoopie Pie Pam Jarrell

Review of Threads of Grace

by Kelly Long


Grace's autistic son needs a life that is safe and consistent. Seth wants to leave his flirting days behind him and settle down.
Deep in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania, the beautiful and weary Amish widow, Grace Beiler, is not looking for a husband—especially one so much younger than her. But handsome and smitten Seth Wyse stumbles upon a way to help her and they marry to keep Grace’s autistic son safe from his ill-intentioned uncle.
Grace soon discovers that she is far from immune to her young husband’s experienced charm and realizes that her first marriage has not destroyed her capacity for love.
Seth Wyse seeks counsel from his older brother, Jacob, when playing the game of pursuing his wife becomes more dangerous to both his heart and life than he ever imagined.
Yet God can give Grace and Seth a passion for family and each other that teaches them the ways of the Master Quilter through the tangled and tender threads of their lives.
MY Review:
I loved this book!!!  I will say that I have read many Amish novels recently and this one truly touched my heart.  Grace suffered abuse at the hands of the husband she was forced to marry to save her family's farm and she needed healing.  God gave that healing to her through the love of Seth.   I have also worked with many autistic young people as a teacher and Abel stole a place in my heart quickly as I read.   
I love that this novel is focused on grace....God's grace.  We all need grace in our lives and so many of us have suffered abuse at the hands of others and this book can bring healing to those readers as well.   For quilting and painting lovers and enthusiasts, read and see how these two crafts are celebrated among the Amish.  Will painting as an art be allowed for Seth and Abel?  Grace would certainly say yes, wouldn't it?  
I received a free ecopy of this book from booksneeze.com in exchange for my honest review.
About the Author:'

    Kelly Long is the author of Sarah's Garden, the first novel in the Patch of Heaven series. She was born and raised in the mountains of Northern Pennsylvania. She’s been married for nearly 25 years and has five children.



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review of A Kingsbury Collection:  Three Novels in One

Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay, On Every Side

by Karen Kingsbury
A Kingsbury Collection: Three Novels in One: Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay, On Every Side
Three Page-Turning Novels in One Volume! 

Where Yesterday Lives 

Ellen Barrett is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist with an uncertain marriage, a forgotten faith, and haunting memories of her picturesque hometown and the love she left behind. The eldest of five siblings, she longs for the time, long ago, when they were a happy family. Now Ellen’s beloved father is dead, and she returns to her childhood home to make peace–with the people who still live there, with the losses and changes that time has wrought, and with the future God has set before her. 

When Joy Came to Stay 

Maggie Stovall is one of the golden people. She has it all together...at least on the surface. Ben Stovall is a godly husband and successful attorney. He has no idea of the darkness about to overtake his life. Amanda Joy is a child of society–abused, broken, thrown away. But her trust in God is still alive. When Joy Came to Stay is the heart-wrenching story of one woman’s descent into the shadows of depression, her husband’s search for understanding, and a precious child’s unwavering faith. 

On Every Side 

Faith Evans is an up-and-coming newscaster, a woman of honor and integrity who must take a stand against the one man she never imagined would be her enemy. A beloved, hundred-year-old statue of Jesus stands in a small-town park–but some say it’s a clear violation of separation of church and state that must come down. Jordan Riley is a powerful attorney fighting for human rights and against God, but still reckoning with bitter boyhood losses. Amid political intrigue, social injustice, and personal conflicts, will love be enough when the battle rages on every side? 
My Review:   Karen Kingsbury is certainly known as one of the Queens of Christian fiction, and this volume is packed full of three novels sure to please her faithful readers.   The subject matter in these three novels is deep:  death, depression, separation of church and state.  Of course, faith and spirituality drive the actions and thoughts of the believable main characters.  Characters who have flaws and doubts and struggles just like us. I struggle with depression myself so this book certainly struck a chord with my heart.  It is not easy for those who must suffer with it or for those who love the depressed individual.   Karen Kingsbury addresses this and the other issues beautifully with love and concern.  I am not sure how much I love the "volume" presentation though, as it is a heavier book to hold while reading, and it definitely looks daunting when first glancing at it and hoping to read a quick novel to forget the cares of the day.    It does not disappoint though, but I think I would prefer it in three separate novels in print.  

About the Author:
Karen Kingsbury

USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America’s #1 inspirational novelist. There are more than 15 million copies of her award-winning books in print, including several million copies sold in the past year. Karen has written more than 40 novels, ten of which have hit #1 on national lists. 

Karen has a true love for her readers, and she has nearly 100,000 friends on Facebook along with more than 7,500 followers on Twitter. The popular social networking sites have allowed Karen daily interaction with her reader friends.

Karen is best known for her Life-Changing Fiction (TM) and for creating unforgettable characters. When speaking before women's groups - some with more than 10,000 in attendance - Karen makes audiences laugh and cry with her compelling story-telling. She likes to tell attendees they have, "One chance to write the story of their lives," and her talk focuses on reminding women to live every day loving well, laughing often, and finding true life in Jesus Christ. Karen routinely speaks before more than 100,000 women each year.

http://karenkingsbury.com/
I received a free copy  of this book from bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for my honest review.   

Review of Rosemary Opens Her Heart

Home At Cedar Creek Book Two

by Naomi King

Rosemary Opens Her Heart (Home at Cedar Creek, #2)

Another spring reminds the Amish of Cedar Creek, Missouri, that for everything there is a season. 

Zanna Lambright is finally marrying Jonny Ropp, and friends and family have come from far and wide to celebrate. Among them is young widow Rosemary Yutzy, mother of toddler Katie, whose husband was tragically killed last fall. With a willing heart Rosemary has taken over care of her in-law’s family and continued to run a baked goods business from home, but privately she still mourns her lost Joe...and is unprepared for the changes that are coming...

Rosemary’s father-in-law wants to merge his lamb-raising business with Matt Lambright’s—a move that will require the Yutzys to relocate from their nearby town to Cedar Creek. Moreover, it will bring Rosemary into constant contact with Matt, who is making no secret of his romantic interest in her. The challenges of contemplating a future unlike any she expected are overwhelming for Rosemary. And although Matt is strong and kind, his courtship is so persistent, she often wants to run the other way. As Rosemary struggles to see beyond her immediate joys and sorrows, will she embrace the outpouring of welcome and support from the people of Cedar Creek...and accept this new chance to open her heart to a more abundant life? 
MY REVIEW: 
Naomi King has written a lovely Amish tale of a young woman who opens her heart to love again after losing her husband far too soon, leaving her alone to raise little Katie.  Katie charms all around her and especially Matt Lambright, who also notices her mamm's gentle smile and loving ways.   Abby has finds her chance for love with James.   You will definitely find many enjoyable hours reading to see how things turn out for these young couples.   It is a story of commitment and families taking care of each other.   It was wonderful to see young Beth Ann sewing so willingly and skillfully for the family as well.   Readers are sure to finish reading this book with a smile on their faces, as I did.   
About the Author:
Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Naomi King (a.k.a. Charlotte Hubbard) writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her new Seasons of the Heart series. Like her heroine, Miriam Lantz, Charlotte considers it her personal mission to feed people—to share hearth and home. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle, and the foundation of her earlier Angels of Mercy series. She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.
I received a copy of this book as a gift from a fellow blogger.  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Review of An Amish Kitchen

by Kelly Long, Beth Wiseman, and Amy Clipston


The Amish Kitchen is the Heart of the Home - and the Ideal Setting for Stories of Love and Hope.

Fall in Paradise, Pennsylvania, always brings a brisk change in the weather. This season also ushers in unexpected visitors, new love, and renewed hope for three women.

Fern has a green thumb for growing healing herbs, but longs for love to bloom in her life. Then the next-door neighbor's oldest son, Abram, comes running into Fern's kitchen seeking help for his little sister. The crisis soon leads to a promise of romance--until mistrust threatens to end the growing attraction.

Nearby, Hannah runs her parents' bed and breakfast, Paradise Inn--but her life feels nothing like Paradise. She longs for a man of integrity to enter her life, but never expected him to knock on the front door looking for a room. Will she be able trust Stephen with her future once she discovers his mysterious past?

When a storm blows a tree onto Eve's farmhouse, she has little choice but to temporarily move her family into her parents' home. Outside of cooking together in the kitchen, Eve and her mother can't agree on anything. But this may be just the recipe for hope in healing old wounds.

"Three Amish stories--each celebrating love, family, and faith--all taking place in a tight-knit community where the kitchen truly is the heart of the home."

Also Includes Reading Group Guide and 45 Old Order Amish Recipes

"Fans of Amish fiction will find triple the enjoyment here thanks to this gathering of novellas in one book." --"Publishers Weekly" for "An Amish Wedding"
My Review:
wow!  not one, not two, but three of my favorite Amish authors get together and create a wonderful set of novellas centered around the Amish kitchen, indeed the "heart of the home".   I was enthralled as I read "A Taste of Faith", "A Spoonful of Love", and "A Recipe for Hope", I was transformed and found myself sitting in the warm Amish kitchens.  I was rooting for Fern, the healer who uses her herbs to help the community, to find love.  I was anxiously hoping for Eve and her mamm, Rosemary, to make peace with each other and for Rosemary to agree to see an Englisch doctor for her Parkinson's. I was hoping fiercely that Hannah and Stephen would see their love and that Stephen would be able to forgive himself to find his way to Hannah.  
Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, and Kelly Long are so descriptive in their images that readers will feel the sting of the cold, snow-filled night, the heat from the woodstoves, the scent of the apple pies, soft pretzels, and herbal teas, as if they are truly experiencing the events as the characters in the novellas do.  I could also imagine the discomfort of the backless wooden benches in the three-hour long Amish church service.   I could feel the thrill as Hannah sneaked a peek across the church at Stephen.   I love that the recipes mentioned in the novellas are featured at the end of the book and can not wait to try some of them in my own kitchen.   

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

AMY CLIPSTON
Amy Clipston is a first-time author and member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). She holds a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time as a public information specialist for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband and two sons.



KELLY LONG


 Kelly Long is the author of Sarah's Garden, the first novel in the Patch of Heaven series. She was born and raised in the mountains of Northern Pennsylvania. She’s been married for nearly 25 years and has five children. Visit her website: http://www.kellylongbooks.com

BETH WISEMAN 
Beth is the best-selling and award winning author of the Daughters of the Promise series - Plain Perfect, Plain Pursuit, Plain Promise, Plain Paradise, and Plain Proposal. She is contracted with Thomas Nelson Fiction. Her other series--the Land of Canaan Novels--begins with Seek Me With All Your Heart, then The Wonder of Your Love and now, His Love Endures Forever. Seek Me With All Your Heart is the first Amish fiction book selected as a Women of Faith novel in 2011. Beth has also written a contemporary Christian fiction novel entitled Need You Now published in 2012. See her website:  www.bethwiseman.com

I received a free digital copy of this book from booksneeze.com in exchange for my honest review.  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Review of Texas Haven

by Kathleen Ball

Everything in Annie Douglas' life has taught her that men can’t be trusted. Although Burke is big, strong, and not seemingly gentle, Annie feels drawn to the handsome Texas cowboy. Upon discovering Burke’s advertisement for a wife, Annie shyly asks if he might consider her. Burke Dawson wants children; unfortunately, that also includes a wife. His first wife was a citified hellcat who stole half of his ranch. Now Burke’s determined to find an honest country girl with no expectations of love. Misunderstandings, accidents, and treachery leads to Annie leaving shattered and alone. Can their shaking start lead to the possible loving relationship they both desire but neither is sure of?


It has been a long time since I have read a classic romance novel as I normally stick to Christian novels. I enjoyed this book immensely and did find that Annie and Burke both breathed sincere prayers a few times. Annie was adamant about remaining a virgin until marriage. Warning: they are newlyweds who are extremely attracted to each other and there are a few steamy love scenes between Annie and Burke after they are married. 
Annie had been abused, unloved, and unwanted all her life and all she wants is love. Can she and Burke overcome their differences? Will Burke ever stop comparing her to the vixen he was married to before...the one who left him, broken hearted? Will the ex-wife, Alice, ruin their chances for love? Can they ever have a peaceful, loving home amid the sprawling Texas ranch land? Read this one and find out for yourself. I hope that you will enjoy this novel as much as I did.

About the Author:

Kathleen Ball can easily read a book a day. She loves any type of romance novel, especially Western Romances.  Kathleen lives in Ft. Worth, Texas with her wonderful husband.  She has one son, a Marine.   Originally from Rochester, New York, Kathleen finds Texas culture amazing. The more she immerses in it the more she likes it.   You can get to know more about her at her website:  www.kathleenballromance.com

I received a free ebook of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.