Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review of Adoring Addie

The Courtships of Lancaster County, Book 2 

by Leslie Gould 

Adoring Addie (The Courtships of Lancaster County #2)
When Addie Cramer’s mutter and daed decide Phillip Eicher is the man for her to marry, they claim she must honor them by obeying their wishes. But then she falls in love with Jonathan Mosier–part of the family with whom the Cramers have a long-held grudge.
With the help of others in her community who long to see the quarrel healed, Jonathan and Addie struggle to continue their relationship against both sets of parents’ wishes. But when one of Addie’s vengeful brothers harms a member of the Mosier family, Jonathan intervenes and is banished from Lancaster County.
A distraught Addie determines to find the true reason for the grudge between the two families, hoping to tear down the animosity of the past. Can their love for each other bridge the divide between their families? Or are they destined to remain apart forever?

My Review: This is a wonderful Amish rendition of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet.  Addie and Jonathan have fallen in love but have to figure out what caused the huge rift/feud between their families before the family will bless their relationship.   This story also deals with alcoholism and depression in several of the characters.   Having both issues in my own family, I certainly could relate to the feelings of pain associated with them.   The Amish in Leslie's story do address the issues but I will not reveal a great deal as I don't wish to spoil the story for readers.  I loved this book and was definitely rooting for dear Addie to find love and acceptance within her Amish home and community.  I think those are things we all long to have, aren't they?   This book can give some insight into the handling of the issues.   I appreciate the way Leslie's characters are "real":   they may be Amish, but they have their struggles to deal with too.   The honesty in this storyline were very appealing to me.    I know one thing, though, I am definitely eager to read Book 3 and see what happens next for the characters!    

About the Author:

Leslie Gould is the co-author of the #1 bestselling The Amish Midwife, winner of the 2012 Christy Award for the Contemporary Series.  She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and resides in Portland, Oregon.  Visit her online on facebook or at LeslieGould.com.

I received free print and ebook copies of this book from netgalley and Bethany House Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review of Today (Book 3)

by Amanda Tru



Hannah was supposed to get married. She was supposed to live happily ever after. And she was definitely NOT supposed to ever time travel again. 

But when Hannah’s fairy tale turns into a nightmare, she discovers seemingly random events in the past have a deadly reality for the man she loves. She now must use what she learned to protect him from pursing a path that would cost him his life. But certain secrets may cause irreparable damage. 

When tragedy strikes, will Hannah be able to face today with no happily ever after in sight?
My Review:
I took a trip in time last night with Hannah as she left "today" and returned to "yesterday".   I have been eagerly anticipating this third book in Amanda Tru's Christian Romantic Suspense time travel series.   I will tell you that I did not expect the ending.  I definitely did not see it coming!    Hannah questions God and His actions in this book.  Have you heard wondered why certain things happen?  Read this book to escape the cares of this world by entering this incredible fantasy world.   It makes me wish I could travel in time too.  Would you like to make such a "trip"?  Would you dare?   



About the Author:
Image of Amanda Tru

With a lifelong love of reading and writing, Amanda Tru loves to let her imagination paint pictures in a wide variety of genres. Her current book list includes everything from a Christian time travel / romance series, to an action-packed suspense, to a romance involving a mysterious department-store Santa.
Amanda is a former elementary school teacher who now spends her days being mommy to three little boys and her nights furiously writing. Amanda lives in a small town in Idaho where the number of cows outnumbers the number of people.
Find out more about Amanda Tru and her upcoming books at her website http://amandatru.blogspot.com/
I received a copy of this book, courtesy of the author, and I post my review to express my own personal opinions about this book.  

Review of The Face of Heaven

by Murray Pura

The Face of Heaven

Following on the heels of The Wings of Morning, the first book in Murray Pura's Snapshots in History series, comes this compelling saga of the Civil War.

In April 1861, Lyndel Keim discovers two runaway slaves in her family's barn. When the men are captured and returned to their plantation, Lyndel and her young Amish beau, Nathaniel King, find themselves at odds with their pacifist Amish colony

Nathaniel enlists in what will become the famous Iron Brigade of the Union Army. Lyndel enters the fray as a Brigade nurse on the battlefield, sticking close to Nathaniel as they both witness the horrors of war--including the battles at Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, and Antietam. Despite the pair's heroic sacrifices, the Amish only see that Lyndel and Nathaniel have become part of the war effort, and both are banished.

And a severe battle wound at Gettysburg threatens Nathaniel's life. Lyndel must call upon her faith in God to endure the savage conflict and to face its painful aftermath, not knowing if Nathaniel is alive or dead. Will the momentous battle change her life forever, just as it will change the course of the war and the history of her country?

The Face of Heaven is a dramatic story that will release on the 150th anniversary of the historic battle of Antietam, September, 1862.
My Review:

Murray Pura is one of a few men who are successfully penning Amish romantic fiction.   The Face of Heaven has something for male readers as well as female readers.  This piece of historical fiction beautifully expresses the pain, suffering, and horror of a war that pitted brother against brother.  Nathaniel, Lyndel, and Levi leave their Amish roots and farmlands to enter the action of the Civil War.  They seek to bring healing to a nation and an end to slavery of fellow humans.   
This book was particularly interesting to me as I grew up in Appomattox, Virginia.   Lee surrendered to Grant in the McLean House in Appomattox and it was pleasing to see the accuracy of the details in Murray Pura's writing.   Reading historical fiction, in this case, left me with a hope for the future.  I was able to look back at where we have been and dream ahead to where we still might venture.  This book will touch your heart as you agonize, along with the main characters, at choices that had to be made....choices that drove families apart.....choices that pitted north against south....choices that begged freedom or slavery...choices....choices....make the choice to read this incredible story and look into "the face of heaven". 

About the Author: 
Murray Pura
Murray Pura earned his Master of Divinity degree from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia and his ThM degree from Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to his writing, Murray has pastored churches in Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Alberta.  His work has been shortlisted for the Dartmouth Book Award and many others.  Murray writes from his home in southern Alberta near the Rocky Mountains.   Visit his website:   http://www.murraypura.com/.
I won a copy of this book from the publisher through a contest on Suzanne Wood Fisher's blog.    I have expressed my own opinions based on my personal reading of this book.   

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Review of  Return to Shirley Plantation

Murray Pura's Cry of Freedom Volume 1

by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Return To Shirley Plantation (Cry of Freedom #1)
50 years ago the history of America changed forever. Live 1863 through the stories of some of our finest writers – the passion, the romance, the tragedy, and the triumph.

Carrie Fancett Pagels. Kathleen Maher. Joy Ross Davis. Sarah Price. Karen Anna Vogel. Patrick E. Craig. Willard Carpenter. Big Daddy Abel. Murray Pura. David Stearman. And many more.

The plantations. The Underground Railroad. Chancellorsville. Vicksburg. Gettysburg. Little Round Top. Chickamauga. Chattanooga. Missionary Ridge. The soldiers in the field. The families at home. The nurses in the hospitals. The speeches at Richmond and Washington. The prayers in churches North and South. It’s all here in one of the most dramatic series ever produced. A new story by a different author released every two weeks between April and November. Join us for one of the most exciting events in American inspirational publishing – Helping Hands Press presents CRY OF FREEDOM!


Abducted against his will, Matthew Scott is conscripted into the Confederate army because of his Copperhead father’s political leanings. Injured at Malvern Hill, Matthew is taken by the Union army to Shirley Plantation in Virginia where he is tended by seamstress Angelina Rose, a freed slave. Given an opportunity to leave the South and start a new life for herself, Angelina remained for the sake of her sister’s orphaned twins who are still enslaved. Will Matthew’s return to Shirley Plantation settle a mystery concerning his father’s past? And help Matthew find the family he longs for.
My Review:
Carrie Fancett Pagels has written a wonderfully detailed account of life for southerners in the Civil War.  I was particularly interested in this story as I am a native Virginian and Shirley Plantation is set in Virginia.   I admired the courage and strength shown by Angelina and Matthew.  This story made me think about my own heritage and family history and the skeletons in the closet.   We all have secrets kept by our families and this story will reveal some shocking ones to the characters.   Wonderful work, Carrie!   

About the Author:

Carrie Fancett Pagels
Carrie Fancett Pagels (www.carriefancettpagels.com) writes “romantic historical fiction.” Represented by Joyce Hart, “Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance” is Carrie’s first fiction release. Carrie contributed to “God’s Provision in Tough Times” releasing June, 2013. Previously a psychologist, Carrie lives in Virginia with her family. 
Carrie blogs at “Colonial Quills” and “Overcoming With God.” She has served in ACFW leadership positions as Zone Director, Area Coordinator, and continues as co-chairman of a local group. Member ACFW, Romance Writers of America, Faith-Hope-Love RWA affiliate group and FaithWriters. Columnist/Board Member of The Book Club Network ezine. 
I received a free pdf version of this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.  

Review of The Last Waltz

by Murray Pura


The Last Waltz (Cry of Freedom #2)

150 years ago the history of America changed forever. Live 1863 through the stories of some of our finest writers – the passion, the romance, the tragedy, and the triumph.

Carrie Fancett Pagels. Kathleen Maher. Joy Ross Davis. Sarah Price. Karen Anna Vogel. Patrick E. Craig. Willard Carpenter. Big Daddy Abel. Murray Pura. David Stearman. And many more.

The plantations. The Underground Railroad. Chancellorsville. Vicksburg. Gettysburg. Little Round Top. Chickamauga. Chattanooga. Missionary Ridge. The soldiers in the field. The families at home. The nurses in the hospitals. The speeches at Richmond and Washington. The prayers in churches North and South. It’s all here in one of the most dramatic series ever produced. A new story by a different author released every two weeks between April and November. Join us for one of the most exciting events in American inspirational publishing – Helping Hands Press presents CRY OF FREEDOM!


Charity Davis has not seen her husband Mitchell since he enlisted in the Confederate army in 1861. But war comes to northwestern Georgia in September 1863 at a place called Chickamauga Creek and her husband's regiment has to march past the farm on its way to the battlefield. A bullet wound from a sniper brings Mitchell to his own farmhouse to seek help and to recover. Unexpectedly, Charity and Mitchell have the gift of a day together, a day when the war is far away, when the sun is golden, and when they are like bride and bridegroom again on the farm they first came to twenty years before.

My Review:
This is a deeply moving, touching encounter between a wounded Civil War soldier and his much-loved wife.   I could feel the raw emotion and elation that this couple experienced in simply celebrating their love with a night of waltzing as he recuperates for this one evening away from the drudgery of war.   This is truly a tale written with much feeling.....I could sense their love and it caused me to think of my own loving relationship with my husband.   I think this book has inspired me to seek romance more in the every day events of life as we do not know how many days we have on this earth to enjoy the company of those we love.    Masterful work, Murray Pura!   

ABOUT the AUTHOR:
Murray Pura
Murray Pura was born and raised in Manitoba, just north of Minnesota and the Dakotas. He has published several novels and short story collections in Canada, and has been short-listed for a number of awards. His first books to be published in the United States are the inspirational works Rooted and Streams (both by Zondervan in 2010). His first novel to debut in the USA is A Bride’s Flight from Virginia City, Montana (Barbour), which was released January 2012. The second, The Wings of Morning, will be published by Harvest House on February 1. Both of these novels center around the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
I received a free pdf version of this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Review of The Guardian

by Beverly Lewis


Come home to Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania--the beloved setting where Beverly Lewis's celebrated Amish novels began--with new characters and new stories of drama, romance, and the ties that draw people together.
When Jodi Winfield comes to Lancaster to house-sit, the last thing she expects to find is a disheveled little girl alone on the side of the road. The young teacher is mystified when she learns there have been no reports of a missing child, and the girl herself is no help, since she can't speak English. It's as if the child appeared out of nowhere.
Then Jodi turns her attention to Hickory Hollow--and the cloistered world of the Old Order Amish--in search of answers.
MY REVIEW:
Beverly Lewis is a fixture among Amish fiction authors and I was thrilled to have the chance to read The Guardian.   Little Sarah and her siblings view the Englischer, Jodi Winfield, as a guardian angel who saved her.    This is a wonderful book that blends the two worlds as Jodi is "adopted" into the Amish family and community of Hickory Hollow.   I felt envious of Jodi as I would love to be able to live among the Amish in an actual Amish home and feel that same peace, quiet, and solitude.   
Jodi has experienced loss and finds herself feeling angry with God and not quite sure how to pray anymore.  I know that I personally have experienced some events that shook my faith and made me question "Why??? Why?  Why?"  Read this delightful book to find answers to Jodi's questions and you might just find a few of your own faith-questions answered in the process.   

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Beverly LewisBeverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, is the New York Times bestselling author of more than ninety books. Her stories have been published in eleven languages worldwide. A keen interest in her mother's Plain heritage has inspired Beverly to write many Amish-related novels, beginning with The Shunning, which has sold more than one million copies and was recently made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. In 2007The Brethren was honored with a Christy Award. She has been interviewed by both national and international media, including Time magazine, the Associated Press, and the BBC. Beverly lives with her husband, David, in Colorado. Visit her Web site at www.beverlylewis.com for more information.
I received a free ecopy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.   

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Review of A Wedding for Julia

by Vannetta Chapman


A Wedding for Julia
A Wedding for Julia, the third book in a romantic series from popular author Vannetta Chapman, takes a last look at the Amish community of Pebble Creek and the kind, caring people there. As they face challenges from the English world, they come together to reach out to their non-Amish neighbors while still preserving their cherished Plain ways.

Julia Beechy is so stunned, she can hardly breathe. Her mother's announcement that she must either marry or move from the family home upon her mother's imminent death catches Julia by surprise. How can she leave the only home she has ever known? What about her dream of opening her own Plain cafe?

When Caleb Zook offers support, comfort, and a solution, Julia is afraid to accept it. Can she marry someone she barely knows? Is it the right thing to do? Is this God's plan for her future?

Caleb thought his time for marrying was long past, but he feels a stirring in his heart he cannot shake for this beautiful, forlorn woman. Amid the circumstances of this life-altering decision, the people of Pebble Creek weather the worst storm to hit Wisconsin in the last hundred years. Where will Julia and Caleb be on the other side of it?
MY REVIEW:
Vannetta Chapman has written another engaging, delightful story set on the beautiful banks of Pebble Creek.   Julia is a determined young Amish woman who has a dream to open and run her own cafe in her childhood home. She cares for her mamm, Ada, who has arthritis in her hands and early alzheimer's.    Caleb is a hardworking, industrious, and compassionate man.   Does God have plans for the two of them?   
I wanted to visit Pebble Creek when I read the second book in the series and camp in the cabins there.  This is a series and I somehow missed book one, but did not have trouble following the storyline or characters.  It sounds like a quiet, calm, and peaceful place to relax.   I truly enjoyed getting to know even more of the characters in this new book.   I feel that many readers will find much to relate to in this story.....many of us care for elderly parents.  We also have dreams, even if we are older.  I think Julia had given up all hope of ever finding love and marriage and had resigned herself to caring for her parents alone.  God may just have other plans for her life, just as He often does for us!    Read this book to find the answers to these and many more questions.   Fall in love with Pebble Creek!  

About the Author:
Profile photo
Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. 

Her novel, Falling to Pieces, was a 2012 ACFW Carol Award winner for best mystery. All of her books have been Christian Book Distributor bestsellers. She currently writes Amish fiction for Abingdon Press, Zondervan, and Harvest House. Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.

For more information, visit her at www.VannettaChapman.com or blog with her at http://vannettachapman.wordpress.com/.

I received a free digital copy of this ARC from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Review of A New Home for Lily 

by Suzanne Woods Fisher & Mary Ann Kinsinger

A New Home for Lily (The Adventures of Lily Lapp #2)

Lily Lapp is moving with her family to Pennsylvania to join a new Amish community. In this small town where changes--and newcomers--are greeted with suspicion, Lily must adjust to a new school, new friends, and Aaron Yoder, an annoying boy who teases her relentlessly. Still, there are exciting new developments, including an attic full of adventure and a new baby brother. But why, Lily wonders, can't God bring her just one sister?

The second novel in the charming Adventures of Lily Lapp series, A New Home for Lily gives children ages 8-12 a fascinating glimpse into the life of the Amish--and lots of fun and laughter along the way. It combines the real-life stories of growing up Amish from Mary Ann Kinsinger and the bestselling writing of Amish fiction and nonfiction author Suzanne Woods Fisher. With line illustrations throughout, this series is sure to capture the hearts of readers young and old.
 MY REVIEW:  
This is such a refreshing series for children and adults alike.  It reminds me of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series....but with an Amish setting.   I had not read the first book in series but that did not cause problems for me as I read Book Two.   
This book actually provided a great deal of information on the Amish life for me and it would be especially useful for those who have many questions about the Amish faith.  Lily is such a sweetie but is also very much a little girl with her own personal struggles and Aaron is one of the things that drives her crazy.   He is the irritating little boy in her one-room Amish school who continuously tries to irritate her.   Lily is not happy with the move her family has made to a new home in a new state.   This book will speak to many, young and old alike, who are experiencing change of any kind.  I was really pleased with this book.  It took me on a mini-vacation to an Amish farm in Pennsylvania for a short while.  

About the Authors:

Mary Ann Kinsinger was raised Old Order Amish in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. She met and married her husband, whom she knew from school days and started a family. After they chose to leave the Amish church, Mary Ann began a blog, A Joyful Chaos, as a way to capture her warm memories of her childhood for her own children. From the start, this blog found a ready audience and even captured the attention of key media players, such as the influential blog AmishAmerica and the New York Times. She lives in Pennsylvania.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a wife, mother, writer, lifelong student of the Bible, raiser of puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, a gardener and a cook...the latter two with sporadic results.

Suzanne has loved to write since she was a young teen. After college, she started to write for magazines and became a contributing editor for Christian Parenting Today magazine. Her family moved to Hong Kong for four years, just as the internet was developing, and she continued to write articles in a 44-story high-rise apartment, sending manuscripts 7,000 miles away with a click of a key.
I received a free ecopy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.   

Monday, April 1, 2013

Release of Deliver Us


 
Join us in celebrating the launch and release of June Foster's book, Deliver Us, Book Three in the Bellewood Series. Releasing April 1st from Desert Breeze Publishing

About the book:
The young fraternity man who coaxed Jillian Coleman upstairs that night is only a blur in her memory. Now she lives with the unrelenting guilt that she aborted her baby. God might forgive her, but she can't forgive herself. As Bellewood's premier gynecologist, she hopes to open the Jeremiah House to offer teen girls an abortion alternative. Though the handsome and successful Dr. Jett Camp wants to marry Jillian, he believes her plan is a waste of her skills.
Riley Mathis spent ten years in jail for dealing drugs. Now as a Christian, he's trying to put his life back together. Working as a janitor at night, he attends college by day. When he meets Dr. Coleman, he recognizes her from the sapphire necklace she wore the night he stole something precious from her. When she confesses the choice she made to abort her baby, Riley can't tell her he's the father of her child.
About the author:
June Foster is a retired school teacher, who until recently traveled full time with her husband, living in their RV. Now settled in Alabama, they are enjoying their new home, and being close to family.

Deliver Us is available from your favorite seller
 of e-books April 1st