Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review of "The Amish Blacksmith"

Review of The Amish Blacksmith

by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner

New from bestselling authors Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner, The Amish Blacksmith (Book 2 in The Men of Lancaster County series) explores the men of an Amish community in Lancaster County, how their Amish beliefs play out in their unique roles, and the women who change their lives.

Apprenticed blacksmith Jake Miller is skeptical of Priscilla Kinsinger's innate ability to soothe troubled horses, especially when he has own ideas on how to calm them. Six years earlier, Priscilla's mother died in an awful accident at home, and Priscilla's grief over losing her mother was so intense that she was sent to live with relatives in Ohio. She has just returned to Lancaster County. 

Not that her homecoming matters to Jake, who is interested in courting lighthearted Amanda Shetler. But Jake's boss is Priscilla's uncle, and when the man asks Jake to help his niece reconnect with community life, he has no choice but to do just that. Surprisingly, he finds himself slowly drawn to the beautiful but emotionally wounded Priscilla.

Jake then determines to prove to her that it's not her fault her mother died, but what he discovers will challenge everything they both believe about the depth of love and the breadth of forgiveness.

MY REVIEW:  I am a huge fan of Mindy Starns Clark's books and Susan Meissner is a new author to me but the authors did not leave me feeling blue.   I quickly became caught up in Priscilla and Jake's story and I was rooting for Priscilla to open up and make friends with Jake and Amanda and the other Amish members of the community.  When Jake began to fall for Priscilla, I was silently begging her to open up and return his love.   I won't spoil the story for other readers however.  Readers will have to find out for themselves how the conflict is resolved.  5 Stars!  This book is a real winner!   
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Authors:
Mindy Starns Clark

A former singer and stand-up comedian, Mindy lives with her husband and two teenage daughters near Valley Forge, PA. She enjoys speaking to churches, civic groups, and libraries across the country. Her unique blend of humor and insight make her an audience favorite. 

Susan Meissner

Susan Meissner was born in San Diego, California, the second of three. She spent her childhood in just two houses.
Her first writings are a laughable collection of oddly worded poems and predictable stories she wrote when she was eight.

She attended Point Loma College in San Diego, and married her husband, Bob, who is now an associate pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves, in 1980. When she is not working on a new novel, she is directing the small groups ministries at The Church at Rancho Bernardo. She also enjoy teaching workshops on writing and dream-following, spending time with  family, music, reading great books, and traveling.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Review of "The Healing Quilt"

Review of The Healing Quilt

Return of the Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club, #3

by Wanda E. Brunstetter 


Join retired Amish newlyweds Emma and Lamar Miller in Florida for the winter as they lead another quilting class with a new group of unlikely students: Jennifer, a pregnant new mom; Mike, a charter boat owner; Erika, a wheelchair bound teen; Kim, a waitress; Noreen, a newly-retired widow, and BJ, an artist facing illness. When old friends visit from Indiana, will romance also become a subject of class discussions?

MY REVIEW:  "Perhaps I should speak to her father when he comes to pick Erika up after class, thought Emma.  If I'm unable to find a way to make Erika enjoy the class, maybe she shouldn't be here.  But it's not my decision to make.  Her father paid for the class, and he obviously thinks this is something his daughter needs, so I'll do my best to teach her."  
       Erika isn't the only slightly reluctant student but most of the others are very enthusiastic and looking forward to learning to quilt from Emma and Lamar.   This is the third book in the series and I have learned many life lessons as well as quilting tips from reading the series.  The characters came to life and felt like old friends by the time I was half-way through reading.   What a delightful and strange group to mix together....secrets and illnesses and financial troubles, relationship problems,  all come together and end up with smiles and tears both before the final page.   Grab your tissues when you read if you are a softie at heart like I am.   Another 5 star winner!   I love the name of this book and feel that it is extremely appropriate to the story.  The cover is also exquisite and inviting to readers.  
I received a free copy of this book from the author and the publisher as a gift and I was invited to post a review.   

About the Author:

Image of 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 over 60 books with more than 7 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:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Review of "Tomorrow"

Review of Tomorrow 

Yesterday - Christian Romantic Suspense, Time Travel Romance Book 5

by Amanda Tru

Trapped in the wrong tomorrow, can Hannah find her way back to yesterday? 

Hannah wanted to save someone she loved, so she used her time traveling ability and made the choice to change history. But she hadn’t known it would cost her everything.

Now she is caught in the wrong tomorrow—one that she created. It is a tomorrow without Seth and everyone else she loves. Having turned her back on God, Hannah is now completely alone, without family and friends, and hunted by her enemies and the public who sees her as the villain. 

With so much at stake, can Hannah travel back in time again and rewrite history? 

If all hope fails, will she return to the One who truly holds Tomorrow?

MY REVIEW:   This is not a tomorrow one would love to be a part of.....this is a nightmare for poor Hannah.   She is having a difficult time figuring out how to get back to a place she can make changes and she has no idea who to trust.   She only has a few people alive in this tomorrow that she can safely go to for help.   Will they be able to help her?  She got angry at God and she thinks He has given up on her completely, but God doesn't do that, does He?  Or does He in THIS tomorrow?   
I will not spoil the book for readers but I know that I just read through the entire book in one evening and I am already wondering where the next book in the series is!  Amanda Tru has surprised me and thrilled me at the same time!   
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Author:
Amanda Tru

Amanda Tru is a former school teacher and busy mother of three young boys.  She has to exist as a night owl in order to find time to write her delightful books.  
Join the author on facebook:
Visit the author's blog for more information:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review of "Forever Amish"

Review of Forever Amish

Legacy of Lancaster trilogy, Book 3

by Kate Lloyd


Sally Bingham needs some time away to sort through the changes in her life and to rethink her upcoming marriage.  Despite her ailing father's hesitations, she drives to Lancaster County for a  weekend away.  But her best-laid plans leave her in a near collision with a bishop's buggy and in the home of a mysterious Amish woman named Lizzie.  Lizzie introduces her to a different perspective on life, a charming farmhand named Armin---and opens a Pandora's box that will forever change Sally's life.

The last book in the Legacy of Lancaster trilogy, Forever Amish introduces us to a young woman about to uncover a shocking secret and find an invitation to a new way of living.   This is a story of forgiveness, legacies, and the ties that bind through generations.  

MY REVIEW:   Kate Lloyd has outdone herself with this final book of the Legacy of Lancaster trilogy.   It is so good that it arrived in the mail yesterday and I finished within 12 hours!   It is certainly a well-written book on forgiveness and family and the love and problems that accompany families.   Sally and Armin are delightful characters as is Rhoda.  Some of the other characters are rather crochety and grouchy and take a while to get to know before the love starts to grow for them.   This book takes Sally, a young Englisch woman, on the journey of a lifetime and might just turn her world upside down.   Get a copy and read this one soon!
I received a copy of this book from David C. Cook and the author.

About the Author:
Kate Lloyd

Kate Lloyd is a novelist, a mother of two sons, and a passionate observer of human relationships. A native of Baltimore, Kate spends time with family and friends in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the inspiration for Leaving Lancaster & Pennsylvania Patchwork. She is a member of the Lancaster County Mennonite Historical Society. Kate and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest, the setting for Kate's first novel, A Portrait of Marguerite. Kate studied painting and sculpture in college. She has worked a variety of jobs, including car salesman and restaurateur. Find out more about Kate Lloyd on her website at www.katelloyd.net

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review of "The Amish Baking Cookbook"

Review of The Amish Baking Cookbook

Plainly Delicious Recipes from Oven to Table

by Georgia Varozza and Kathleen Kerr


Building on the success of The Homestyle Amish Kitchen (more than 58,000 copies sold), Georgia Varozza partners with experienced baker Kathleen Kerr to give you a cookbook filled with the foods most associated with the Plain and simple life: baked goods. This delicious collection of more than three hundred classic baking recipes for cookies, cakes, pies, bars, and breads inspires you who love Amish fiction and are drawn to the Plain lifestyle to roll up your sleeves and start baking!

Whether you consider yourself a novice or a veteran in the kitchen, Georgia and Kathleen make it easy to make delicious baking recipes such as Amish Nut Balls and Brown Sugar Pie. Find the perfect recipe to prepare for that large weekend potluck, tonight's intimate family dinner, or a fun activity with the kids.

MY REVIEW:   5 Stars!  ***** 
I love to bake and I love Amish recipes, so this book was a big hit with me!   There is also a brief history of the Amish at the beginning of the book and short introductions to each category throughout the cookbook.   The recipes were clear and concise with easy-to-follow directions.  Some of the recipes are more complex and many are very simple and easy to prepare.  
I especially loved the recipes for brown sugar pie, impossible coconut pie, and the delightful breads.   In the bread section, many hints were given for how to use different flours such as wheat, all-purpose, white, etc and I learned a great deal of things that I had never been taught as I read.   I am looking forward to trying even more of the recipes.   One big problem with the cookbook, you are sure to get hungry and start to drool as you read through the many wonderful Amish recipes!   
I received a free kindle Advanced Reader Copy of this cookbook in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review of "Caroline's Secret"

Review of Caroline's Secret

Some Secrets, Book #1

by Amy Lillard


In Amy Lillard's poignant introduction to Wells Landing, a small Amish community is home to two brave souls hoping to forget their painful pasts and rebuild their faith in the future. . .Caroline Hostetler arrived in Oklahoma determined to forge a new life for herself and her daughter, Emma. As a single mother, she values the warmth and safety she's found in close-knit Wells Landing. She's even caught the eye of a handsome newcomer--a man who just may be the partner she longs for and the father Emma deserves. But the arrival of an Englisher threatens to lay bare the secrets she's worked so hard to leave behind. . .

After losing his life-long sweetheart, Andrew Fitch moved to Wells Landing to work in his uncle's furniture business and nurse his broken heart. Finding love again seems all but impossible--until he meets Caroline and Emma. But his plans to join their lives together may be shattered when the truth of Caroline's past comes to light--unless, together, they can learn the true meaning of sacrifice and forgiveness. . .

MY REVIEW:  "The ever-cheerful sweetly plump widow turned her attention to the dark-haired delivery man.  It was better by far for Caroline to think of him in those terms rather than as the most attractive man she had seen in a long time.  Or ever.  Those were the thoughts of a carefree teenager, and she was neither a teenager nor carefree any longer."
***** Wow, I would love to give this book more than 5 stars!   This is a fresh, new way to approach Amish fiction from Amy Lillard.   Caroline and Andrew captured my heart immediately and little Emma stole it!   It is so cute how they are matchmaking for elderly widow, Esther, and Andrew's uncle Abe, and Esther is hoping to get the two of them together.   This book is a precious story of second chances and forgiveness.   I think readers will find it as fresh and exciting as I did.   I couldn't wait to finish chores around the house to get back to reading this one!   You will even get some of the delicious recipes for foods the characters create in their bakery.  Cowboy cookies, which were Andrew's favorite, sound especially yummy and the recipe does not look terribly complicated.  Come to Wells Landing and fall in love.   Now I am just awaiting book two in the series!   
I received a free kindle version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
Amy Lillard

from's author bio:
I'm a wife, mother, and bona fide Southern belle. Published author, expert corn bread maker, and Squirrel Princess.

I live in Tulsa, though I was born in Mississippi. I moved to the Sooner State when I was seventeen and met my soul mate and best friend not long after. I've retained a little of my Mississippi accent though most people think I'm from Texas.  Rob and I have been married for over twenty years and have a son--a mom proclaimed prodigy, of course!

I love homemade tacos, shoes, and romance novels--not necessarily in that order. I'm a big fan of country music, a staunch proponent of saving the Oxford comma, and I'm shamefully obsessed with all things Harry Potter.

I believe that God is love. I guess that's why I adore romances. 

I have always been intrigued with the Amish culture, their gentle ways and slower-paced lifestyle. (And I love, love, love the fact that they stay married for their lifetime.) But until recently I never thought to blend this interest with my penchant for romance. Okay, okay, I'm a bit old-fashioned and even enjoy the gender roles that are present in this culture. I love to cook and take care of my family. Yes, that's me June Cleaver with a laptop.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review of "The Bible Promise Book: Too Blessed to be Stressed" edition

Review of The Bible Promise Book:  Too Blessed to Be Stressed edition

compiled by Debora M. Coty

Where do you turn when you need God’s thoughts on life? The Bible Promise Book, now in a brand-new Too Blessed to Be Stressed edition. Barbour’s Bible Promise Books are perennial bestsellers, with millions of copies in print, and this unique edition features inspiring themes from the popular women’s title by Debora M. Coty. With Bible promises arranged into more than a dozen topics—including Faith, Gratitude, Laughter, Mercy, Peace, Trust, and Relationships—each scripture will speak directly to your heart, drawing you ever closer to your heavenly Father.

MY REVIEW:   I love the Bible verses with the promises of God in them.  They are unique for a variety of topics:  faith, gratitude, laughter, mercy, peace, trust, etc. They were compiled by Debora M. Coty and also feature very short paragraphs for each topic which begin with "girlfriend" so this book is only for women but I found the promises to be appropriate for men and women.   I would have liked to have read some other devotional type entries along with the paragraphs as well.   I rate this book 3 stars for the reasons stated here.  
I received a free pdf version of this book from in exchange for my honest review.   

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review of "Safe Haven"

Review of Safe Haven

Peacemakers, Book 3

by Anna Schmidt


When journalist Suzanne Randolph hears about FDR’s plan to bring a boatload of displaced WWII refugees to America, she knows it may be her last chance to redeem her flagging career. Suzanne follows the story to Oswego, New York, where she meets Theo Bridgewater, a Quaker dairy farmer from Wisconsin who has come to reunite with his uncle and aunt and cousin. Theo’s fight to spare his relatives the return to Germany becomes Suzanne’s fight as she does everything that the "power of the pen” can muster to help win public sympathy for the cause.

MY REVIEW:   Anna Schmidt has written lovable, believable characters in the third book of the Peacemakers' series.  Suzanne is a very determined young woman who has been injured so much that she has lost the ability to trust men.  Then she meets Theo Bridgewater and things begin to change.  The research that went into this historical romance was vast and well-done.   I loved reading about the refugees who came from Germany to Fort Oswego during World War II.   They signed an agreement with President Franklin Roosevelt that they would return to their homes when the war ended.  What would be left of their homes?  Would they all be forced to return even though many had relatives in America who wanted them to live with them?  
I highly recommend this book and give it 5 Stars!   
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:Anna Schmidt is the award-winning author of over twenty works of historical and contemporary fiction. A reviewer from Romantic Times notes that “Schmidt is not timid about presenting her characters with their faults laid bare for the reader to see.” 
Currently Anna is working on a new series set in WWII Germany with an American Quaker protagonist. The first novel--ALL GOD'S CHILDREN-has already been praised by Publisher's Weekly! Her trilogy of contemporary novels about Mennonites living in the community of Pinecraft just outside Anna’s winter home of Sarasota, Florida will be complkete with the publication of the third and final book A MOTHER'S PROMISE in Dec.. 
Anna is a three-time finalist for the coveted RITA award from Romance Writers of America and has finals and won the Reader's Choice award from Romantic Times magazine. Critics have called Anna "a wonderful storyteller"! 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Review of "Thank You, Billy Graham"

Review of Thank You, Billy Graham
A Tribute to the Life and Ministry of Billy Graham
Compiled by Billy Graham's Grandchildren:  

You know his name, his faith, his ministry—now enjoy the inspiring, heartwarming, personal stories of his legacy in Thank You, Billy Graham.This brand-new book contains scores of thank-you notes collected on the website, sharing moving stories of God’s grace, love, and power in the lives of real people. Compiled by three of Billy Graham’s grandchildren, Thank You, Billy Graham will encourage and inspire you with a beautiful picture of a life well lived—a life lived in faithfulness to the God who made you, loves you, and offers you salvation through His son, Jesus Christ.

MY REVIEW:   I have long been a fan of Rev. Billy Graham as he exemplifies the life of a true Christian evangelist and family man.   I have heard many of his televised evangelistic crusades and even saw him in person in Wilmington North Carolina when he appeared one night during his son, Franklin Graham's crusade at University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  He spoke briefly and his wife,  Ruth, was on stage with him.  I have also read several of Dr. Graham's books as well as several of his wife, Ruth's.   Their books were inspirational, honest, and encouraging.   
This is not your typical "book" is a compilation of letters and notes left for Dr. Graham on the website:   Regular folks are encouraged to leave notes of thanks and encouragement to Billy Graham on the website.  Three of his grandchildren have taken some of these notes and put them together as a tribute to "Daddy Bill" as they call him.   The notes are also honest and encouraging, as people share how Billy's sermons, books, messages, a chance meeting or handshake have helped to shape their lives and for many, been the catalyst to lead them to salvation (being a "born again Christian" as Billy would say).   They are heartwarming messages and they have encouraged me as I read them.   I hope they will do the same for other readers.  4 Stars as I would have liked to read a brief history of Billy Graham's life and ministry as some readers may be unfamiliar with him.  The inclusion of such would have brought my rating to a 5 Star rating.  
I received a free digital copy of this book from in exchange for my honest review.