Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review of "Holding a Tender Heart"

Review of Holding a Tender Heart

The Beiler Sisters book one 

by Jerry Eicher


From the pen of bestselling Amish fiction author Jerry Eicher (half a million books sold) comes a charming new series set in Snyder County, Pennsylvania.

Debbie Watson is a young Englisha girl who has grown up admiring her Amish friends, the Beiler sisters. As she prepares to graduate from college, Debbie considers making the life-changing decision to convert to the Amish faith and lifestyle.

Soon Debbie's presence in the community attracts the attention of two suitors: Alvin Knepp, the youngest son of a poor Amish farmer, to whom Debbie is very much attracted; and Paul Wagler, the more successful and sought-after man, whose constant attention to Debbie reminds her of her old Englisha boyfriend--whom she'd rather forget.
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Jerry Eicher's many fans and readers of Amish fiction will love this heartwarming new series from a master storyteller.

MY REVIEW:   How many of us have wished to live with an Amish family and perhaps even convert to the Amish faith?   I will admit to having some of those thoughts myself.   I think personally that there is a desire for simplicity, quiet, and peace.   Debbie Watson is a young Englisha girl who does exactly that with Bishop Beiler and his family.   His own daughter, Lois, has hopes of leaving the Amish faith and becoming English and he hopes that bringing Debbie into their home and family might change Lois' mind.   
The oldest Beiler sister, Verna, falls in low with a young Amish man whoe gets into trouble with the law that could end with him in jail.  So obviously this story has much excitement and adventure.   So instead of Calgon taking you away, why not let Jerry Eicher do it with Holding a Tender Heart. 
I was given a copy of this book by the author and Harvest House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Jerry S. Eicher                                                                                                                                      Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina Eicher, and their four children in Virginia.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review of "Everyday Confetti"

Review of Everyday Confetti: 

 Your Year-Round Guide to Celebrating Holidays and Special Occasions

by Karen Ehman & Glynnis Whitmer


When a busy woman looks at her calendar and sees a birthday, holiday, or special occasion, she has the best intentions for bringing joy to her family and creating lasting memories. Then reality hits. Amidst demanding responsibilities and an overloaded schedule, when is she ever going to have time to plan the perfect celebration or find the creativity to make it special? 
In this go-to guide, Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer give women the ideas and the motivation they need to make such occasions less daunting. They provide creative ideas and menu plans for
- Holidays 
- Birthdays
- Special Events
- Everyday Occasions
Readers will even find suggestions for reaching out to others throughout the year through celebrations that are simple, doable, and stress-free.

MY REVIEW:  Wow, I can't say enough good things about this book.  I wish that I had owned a copy of it when my own daughters were young.   The authors offer wonderful and unique ideas for making every day special for families and friends and loved ones.   They offer scriptures, special quotes, recipes, craft ideas, decorating ideas, and more!   
The ideas are simple, inexpensive and sure to brighten even the darkest day!   I think I am going to give my copy to my daughter for Mother's Day this year as she just gave birth to my first grandchild.   She loves crafts and cooking just as I do and this book will give her ideas for making life special and exciting for her sweet little family!   I thought I was doing a great thing by writing notes on napkins in their lunch boxes and cutting their sandwiches into shapes for holidays, but this book offers many more terrific suggestions. 
I received a copy of this book from The Book Club Network ( and the publisher in exchange for my review.

About the Authors:

Image of Karen Ehman
Karen Ehman has been described as profoundly practical, engagingly funny and downright real. Her passion is to provide women, wives and mothers with creative tools and doable ideas to help them both simplify life and glorify God. She the Director of the Proverbs 31 Ministries national speaking team and is a contributor to Focus on the Family's magazine Thriving Family.
She is a featured speaker for Hearts at Home conferences for moms and is the author of four womens books including A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others and The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized. She is also the project creator of the Hearts at Home Just for Moms Planner an organizational tool designed specifically for the purpose of helping mothers organize their personal and family lives.
She has been a guest on national television and radio programs including The 700 Club, At Home Live, Engaging Women, The Harvest Show, Moody Midday Connection and Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family. She is a graduate of Spring Arbor University with a B.A. in Social Science and has been married for 24 years to her college sweetheart Todd. She is the mother of three sometimes quarrelsome, but mostly charming children: Mackenzie 20, Mitchell 16 and Spencer 13.
Before motherhood, Karen was a teacher and high school coach who actually had hobbies. Now she spends her days running carpool, parked in the football bleachers or baseball stadium or stealing away to a coffee shop to write or to work on a new speaking message. Though hopelessly craft-challenged with pitiful, partially finished scrapbooks, she enjoys baking and cooking and has won several blue ribbon rosettes at various county fairs for her cookies, cakes, pies and breads.

Image of Glynnis Whitwer
Glynnis Whitwer is on staff with Proverbs 31 Ministries as the Senior Editor of the P31 Woman magazine. She is one of the writers of Encouragement for Today, the Proverbs 31 e-mail devotions, with over 500,000 daily readers. Her newest book, I Used to be So Organized, has just been released. Glynnis, her husband Tod, and their five children live in Glendale, Arizona. Visit or to learn more.

Projects and crafts

Projects and Crafts I have done and some from friends .........

Penguin afghan from star pattern as a gift for special some1

 bibs made for new grandbaby

 new grandbaby going home in sweater and hat made by grandma
 Care Bear quilt that my mom & I worked on together for grandbaby
 baby sweater and hat for Natalie
 baby sweater I made for order
 kitchen towels and dishcloths made for my stepdaughter
 UVA hat made for order
 cake and corsage I made for my daughter's baby shower

 diaper babies I made and put on diaper cake I made
 lovey blanket for Natalie
 the baby shower cake and corsage using baby lace socks for baby shower
 burpcloths I made 
 cupcake hat....I made about 10 of these for orders and gifts
 my friend Cindy made this and sent to me...I'm going to frame it and give it to Natalie for her nursery
 afghan I made my niece for her college graduation

Friday, February 21, 2014

Review of "Andi Unexpected"

Review of Andi Unexpected

by Amanda Flower


Twelve-year-old Andora 'Andi' Boggs and her fourteen-year-old sister Bethany move to rural Ohio to live with their eccentric twenty-something aunt after the sudden death of their parents. While dealing with her grief, Andi discovers proof of another Andora Boggs in the family tree whose existence was hidden in a Depression-era trunk in the attic. With help from her new friend and neighbor, Colin Carter, Andi is determined to find out who this first Andora was and what happened to her.

 MY REVIEW:    This is a delightful suspensefilled young adult fiction which is also highly appropriate to adults also.    Andi Boggs does not know why no one in town wants to speak to her about her long lost namesake, Andora Boggs, but she and her new friend, Colin, intend to find out.  What a fun adventure they go on!   Her sister, Bethany, is not too keen on helping her or sharing a room.   So Andi is allowed to clean the attic and live in it.    That is when she discovers evidence of her namesake.   I hope there is going to be a sequel to this book because I certainly have many questions I would love to see answered.   
I received a copy of this book from in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Amanda Flower

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.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review of "Echoes of Mercy"

Review of Echoes of Mercy

by Kim Vogel Sawyer


When a suspicious accident occurs at the Dinsmore Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, in 1904, Caroline Lang goes undercover as a factory worker to investigate. Oliver Dinsmore, heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty, has his own investigation to conduct. Posing as a common worker known as “Ollie Moore,” he aims to find out all he can about the family business before he takes over for his father.
MY REVIEW:    To work in a chocolate factory brings memories of Lucy & Ethel in the chocolate factory and mess and mishaps abounding.    But this factory hires children to work because they can offer them a low pay.  Caroline goes in to work there as an undercover worker to find out what is going on and what happened to the previous investigator who died in an elevator accident.   Caroline begins to fall in love with Ollie  and neither of them knows the truth about the other.   Will they find the answers without their own lives being  endangered?  Will they ever be able to live a life together? or are their stations in life too far apart?   The description of the diner where they eat their meals sounds so delightful that I wish I could pop over there for dinner myself.   This is a 5 *****  read and keeps the reader on their toes.    
I received a free copy of this book from in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren. She invites you to visit her Web site at for more information.

Review of "Sadie's Montana: Three Bestselling Novels in One"

Review of Sadie's Montana:  Three Bestselling Novels in One

by Linda Byler


Discover the bestselling Sadie's Montana series from Amish author Linda Byler, available in one value-priced book. Sadie Miller didn't know what to expect when her family left Ohio for the small Montana Amish settlement—certainly not horse thieves, mysterious men, or her family falling apart. Can Sadie find her place in this wild, Western community, far from the familiar—and discover love along the way?
Now, three bestselling novels by Amish romance author, Linda Byler, are available in one volume. Sadie's Montana novels are set in the wild West country and include:

Wild Horses, Book 1: Sadie Miller is adjusting to life at Aspen East Ranch when Ezra appears. Perfect in every way and fully intending to marry Sadie, Ezra seems like a dream, but does Sadie love him? And who is this fascinating Mark who helps to rescue a dying horse and shows up at the Amish hymn-sing, though he is English? Why can't she get his dark eyes out of her mind? Now Sadie's own close-knit family is falling apart. Mam claims her head is cluttered and unclear. The worst part is, Dat refuses to acknowledge Mam's struggles. Sadie finds some refuge in Nevaeh, a black and white paint. But when a dreadful accident involving wild horses occurs, Sadie must move forward into the unknown future.

MY REVIEW of Wild Horses, Book One:  Imagine the wild west and beautiful ranch set in Montana and a lovely young Amish girl who is falling in love with wild horses and wild men!   Sadie is confused and she is about to fight to save some special horses that seemingly appear out of nowhere.    At home, all is not well, Sadie's Mam is sick.  Her mind is not working right.   Read this one to see how the Amish deal with mental illness, even though they may find it hard to accept and even to admit that it exists in their very own wife and Mam.   5 ***** Lovely book and enthralling.  I have to deal with mental illness myself so this was quite interesting to me and I won't spoil it but will say I was pleased with the outcome.   

Keeping Secrets, Book 2: There's horse trouble in Montana again. Only this time, horses aren't being stolen, they're being shot. Snipers are driving a blue pickup and shooting selectively. No hard-working ranch horse or Amish horse and buggy is safe. Still, Sadie rides, despite the warnings. Sadie's heart is still set on Mark, even though friends tells her to steer clear after he ditches her in the middle of their first date. Then Daniel appears; a visitor from Lancaster County. With cornflower-blue eyes and a strong, square jaw, he is everything that Mark is not. Why, Sadie wonders desperately, are there so many secrets? Will the truth surface, or is it too hard to bear?

MY REVIEW of Keeping Secrets, Book Two:  More horse trouble abounds and much danger as horse thieves seem to be after the horses are disappearing.  The Amish are even in danger as guns appear and no one feels safe.   Sadie falls in love with Mark, but he has lived a very hard Amish life as his mother left his family.  Read to see how Sadie and Mark resolve this traumatic past and make peace with lost relatives.   This is another 5 ****** star book and just precious in its revelations,  even ones that are difficult.  

The Disappearances, Book 3: Sadie may be married now, but she's as spirited as ever, and her life is no less tame. In fact, soon after she and Mark are settled into the farmhouse which Mark is renovating, she's visited by three FBI agents who question her about the two children who mysteriously appeared one day at the Ranch. Before the agents leave, they warn Sadie that her beloved horse, Paris, is highly valuable, and that she and Mark may be in grave danger because of Paris. This news, on top of Mark's unexpected black moods, leaves Sadie sometimes wishing she could go home, "lay her head on Mam's shoulder, and ask why she hadn't warned her." Mercifully, healing and courage reappear in unexpected times and places in this concluding volume of the Sadie's Montana series.

MY REVIEW of The Disappearances, Book Three:  Sadie and Mark finally resolve past issues and marry  but life is not all roses.   The FBI agents appear and are seeking to find the horse thieves and bring them to justice.    Sadie knows a great deal and they want to know everything she remembers.   Sadie never realized that the horse she has found and loved: Paris, is quite valuable and highly sought after by these horse thieves.   They are not safe with Paris near them.   The special children who "appeared" at the ranch and have been adopted by Dorothy and Jim are no longer safe either.   Sadness and tears are the norm for everyone now.   Mark has moods that are reminiscent of Sadie's Mam's depression.  Please, no, not that!  I don't want to spoil the book, only to it and find out for yourself.  I must say that I have read many of Linda Byler's books and this triology is my favorite of all of them!!!  I was enthralled and just hated to put my kindle down to do other things and wanted to read all day and night!   
I received a free pdf version of this triology from netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.   Thank you!    

About this Author:
Linda Byler grew up Amish and is an active member of the Amish church today. Growing up, Linda Byler loved to read and write. In fact, she still does. She is well known within the Amish community as a columnist for a weekly Amish newspaper. Linda and her husband, their children and grandchildren live in central Pennsylvania.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow still falling! yay!

Review of "Leah's Legacy"

Review of Leah's Legacy

(Amish Girls Series--Book 8)

by J.E.B. Spredemann

Leah's Legacy (Amish Girls #8)

Leah Weaver is torn. She enjoys her Amish life and helping out with her folks' bed 'n breakfast, but she can't help but feel she's missing out on all the Englisch life has to offer. When Benjamin Schrock comes to town, Leah can't deny her attraction to him. But will a life with Benjamin bring discontentment or will Leah find something...or someone...greater to live for? Inspirational Teen/YA fiction, approx. 100 pages

MY REVIEW:   This is a wonderful book showing teens and adults that the "grass is not always greener on the other side" and that it can pay off to not give in to the urge to respond with anger.  Leah explores her dreams with a hidden journal and I did that myself as a teenager.  I love how the author brings the characters from the other books in the series into this one as well.  It is like having a day with family and friends as I read this book.  
I received a pdf version of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Review of A Rooster Once Crowed: A Commentary on the Greatest Story Ever Told

by Bryant Cornett


From a one-room Sunday school class--the lesson that's been downloaded over 8,000 times in 54 countries--comes A Rooster Once Crowed, A Commentary on the Greatest Story Ever Told. We live in those few moments between the first and the second crow of the rooster: between decision and indecision, between knowing and being known. But do you even care? Small decisions made today establish our path for all time, and yet we piddle with a piece of this and a taste of that. We diet on wisdom from antiquity and gorge on culture that is next month's joke. This story is an opportunity to gorge on Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, in context. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and an opportunity to see for yourself what it actually is, rather than what we mold it to be, and to finally choose whether or not to care. Through small stories and a modern context, this book will help you understand and decide what you believe about the greatest story ever told.

MY REVIEW:   Cockadoodle doo!  Cockadoodle doo!  COCKADOODLE DOO!  Have you ever put yourself in Peter's place and imagined the shame he felt when he heard that awful crowing, not once, not twice, but three times, just as the Master had foretold?    We face the same choices in our own lives.  We can deny Christ or we can tell the world that we do in fact KNOW him.   But do we know Him?  really know Him intimately?   
Bryant Cornett has written a wonderful story-like examination of the Christian life and he certainly caused me to rethink what I believe and how I live my faith.  Do we just talk about it and go to warm the church pew on Sundays? or do we read our Bible daily and pray and listen for God's voice?  I highly recommend this book to new believers, questioners, and long-time believers.   This book would make a wonderful small group book study.   5 Stars *****
I received a free autographed copy of this book from the author and The Book Club Network ( in exchange for my honest review.   

About the Author:
Bryant Cornett
From the Author's bio on goodreads:

I've always bought more books than I could read. Kindle may have saved my marriage because with no grounding in reality, I'd leave on a four day vacation with six big books in a hundred pound carry-on that, without fail, my wife would have to tote for some part of the trip-remember those days.

When I was a kid, I thought the greatest superpower-the one I'd most want to have was to "know" a book by touching it. I imagined running up and down the aisles of a library soaking in every book I could touch.

It's a perfect superpower, because it's so powerful, yet it's also so flawed. Imagine a 10 year-old exposed to even one aisle of a library. And as I got older, I realized that not all books are created equal. Some are great in their own context. Others contain greatness and junk. Others were built to sell something-themselves, an idea or an agenda. 

In the end, that superpower would have been my undoing. I would have died under the weight of it and been insufferable (ok, more insufferable). The efficiency of information flow isn't what I really needed, it was discernment to tell the difference. 

I've written a book. I love it and hope you do, too. I've got two more planned. But more than selling these books, my prayer is that folks will read this and hear the truth of the Gospel speak through it. 

My dream is that one day, we will all know and curate the Gospel Story as much as we know and love any of these great stories told here. These stories we write are That Story, and I can't wait to see how and when we all realize that. I'd love to get your thoughts on that and the book.

Review of "Minding Molly"

Review of Minding Molly

(The Courtships of Lancaster County #3)

by Leslie Gould


Capable and optimistic Molly Zook has a slight issue with control: She doesn't like giving it up. So she's chafing against her mother's wish that, to save the family farm, she marry Mervin Mosier--especially after she meets Leon Fisher. He's from Montana but is working in Molly's district, training horses at a nearby ranch. He is tall and muscular, with a confident demeanor. Molly has never met anyone like him, and he seems to feel the same about her.

Determined to let nothing get between them, Molly decides the best course of action is to get Mervin to fall back in love with her best friend, Hannah. Molly organizes a weekend camping trip hoping to bring them together, but things quickly go awry and it seems Leon and Hannah might be falling for each other instead. Will Molly keep struggling to control everyone and everything around her? Or will she learn to let God handle the twists and turns of her life?

MY REVIEW:  Poor Molly!  Who wants to be told who to marry by their mother?  and all to save the family farm after the death of her father?  Molly wants to control things since she could not control the things that mattered the most in her life.    I think many of us have experienced this.....I know that I certainly have problems with wanting to control and fix everything, and I am learning that it is impossible and even unhealthy.  
Molly is a delightful character.  She is organized and a go-getter.   She reminds me of an amazing teacher.   Others in her life attempt to teach her how to give up the desire to control it all.  This was a delightful book and would make a wonderful book for young teens as well as adults.   5 Stars  *****
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:Leslie Gould
From the Author's bio on her blog:
Some of my strongest memories from childhood include stories—and how those stories connected me to my family and friends. As a preschooler, I remember playing Island of the Blue Dolphin with my three siblings and the neighbor kids, my father reading A Street of Flower Boxes to us before bed, and my mother reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on long car trips. I also soaked up Bible stories and accounts of grace and redemption during Sunday school and Good News Club. Along with my love of stories, my love of writing began in those early years with my very first written word—S-K-Y.
Even though I knew I wanted to write fiction by the time I was in the sixth grade, as I grew older I pursued other things instead, such as majoring in history and communications, and then working as a museum curator, then a public relations specialist, and finally as a magazine editor. Once I finally started writing fiction, it was another ten years until I sold my first novel. By that time I’d been married for nearly 20 years and had four children of my own to read to.
In the decade since my first contract I’ve written fifteen books, fromBeyond the Blue, a story about international adoption set in Vietnam, toCourting Cate, a retelling of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” set in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. No matter what I write, I aim to reveal truths about God’s love, beauty, and redemptive work in our lives. My goal is to connect more deeply to God, family, and friends through my writing. My hope is that my stories encourage readers to deepen their own connections too.

Review of "The Naomi Chronicles, Book One, Beginning Anew"

Review of The Naomi Chronicles, Book One,

Beginning Anew

by Paula Rose Michelson

Wow, I am stunned at the bravery and courage I just experienced in reading The Naomi Chronicles--Book One--Beginning Anew. 
It is magnificent!   I had so many questions which formed and were not answered as I read the Casa de Naomi books.  I feel like it brought closure to all of my questions about Naomi and her past and the history of the Jewish people.  What a beautiful testimony of God's love and guidance!  I personally feel that it was my favorite of the entire series!  It seemed to truly get at the heart of the characters.   It also left me wanting to know
more about Chaz and Naomi.....I want them to have children and be happy and grow old together.   I feel that Naomi has missed so much and deserves to live a joyful and abundanat life was denied her in the past!!  
        I can not review this beautifully written book without stating that I felt sad at the treatment the Jewish people have received from those of us of other faiths across the ages.   As I read, the Holocaust came to mind.  I have visited The Holocaust Museum in Washington DC twice with two of my daughters and it had a tremendous impact on my faith and my heart.   I am appalled at the injustice that was poured out on these innocent chosen people of God.   In this book, I felt we saw a small piece of that ugliness in our own American people.  I feel ashamed.   I weep for Jerusalem.   When will we stop?  Bullying is rampant in our schools and has led to several recent events of violence and death.....will we ever learn from our past and stop repeating it?   Paula addresses this all in a subtle and eloquent manner in this book.    
I was given a complementary pdf copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.   
About the Author:
Paula's Author Bio:
As a writer of faith stories, I love looking back on my journey because little did I know that interning in a dually diagnosed psychiatric unit at Woodview-Calabasas Hospital, at the age of forty would lead me to give my life to Messiah (Jesus Christ). I had no idea that attending a church that God would lead me to offer to help some women and end up meeting with Pastor Hurt to explain what the Lord had begun and have Pastor pronounce me The Women's Lay Councilor for Freemont Community Church, in Freemont, CA and place me under his authority. This was the beginning of LAMB (Life Affirming Messages from the Bible) Ministries which helps women recover from trauma and abuse through the effective use of Scripture, and prayer.
When my husband, Ron became a Messianic missionary with Chosen People Ministries, I joined the staff and coordinated missionary calendars. During that time, I found myself crying out to God because I wanted to do something for the Kingdom. His answer blessed me, but I was concerned that this dyslectic writer's work might be subpar. Yet knowing that God was involved, I set my eyes on Jesus. It has been my great pleasure to research the history of the Sephardic Jews baptized into the Catholic faith during the Inquisition. From that research and my desire to use Scripture to heal wounds as I have done with my LAMB ladies, the Casa Saga Books were birthed. Though the heritage of my heroine is unique, the issues she faces are those that bring each of us to the cross.
Since beginning my writing journey with Messiah, I discovered that for me writing is akin to breathing, and I am already researching two more series. When not writing, speaking, teaching, or involved in ministry with my husband, Ron, having a gabfest with family members who live far away, I can be found meeting with friends, or worshiping at my Messianic Congregation Ben David in Santa Ana, California or at The Lutheran Church of the Cross in Laguna Woods where we partner to reach the lost.
Visit to find out more about me, LAMB Ministries, read the first chapter of Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, Books 1 & 2, the book reviews, and discover a little about Book One of The Naomi Chronicles, Beginning Anew, which continues Naomi and Chaz's story.
And if you enjoy faith stories, devotionals, or enjoy reading about writing please visit