Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review of "Taken for English"

Review of Taken for English

(Valley of Choice Book #3)

by Olivia Newport


17835900


Annie joined the Amish church based on prayerful conviction, not romantic dreams. And yet, she’d hoped to share her new life with Rufus. But he’s obviously in no hurry. Family history clearly shows it’s never been easy living a plain life in the English world. Will the changes and challenges Annie now faces as a young Amish woman test her newfound faith in good ways or bad? And how long will Rufus test her patience?

MY Review:    Many of us wonder if we could pull off leaving the English world and becoming Amish, and Annie does exactly that.  She is given some grief by some folks for it as well.  She is in love with Rufus and wants nothing more than his proposal? Will it ever happen?   or has she joined the Amish to live a lonely life?  She also meets a young Amish girl, new to the community, who seems to be in deep emotional turmoil and she wants to help. Can she effect change in young Leah's life or is it a hopeless cause?  
I enjoyed this book very much except for the flashbacks to the 1892 community as it settled in the area.  It seemed to confuse me and I wasn't always sure who or what I was reading about.  I personally feel that it would be better as a separate novel as a prequel to the series instead of being thrown in every few chapters to the books in the sereis.   For that reason, I rate this book 4 Stars.   
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley and the publishers.  





About the Author:



Image of Olivia Newport

Taken from goodreads' author bio:
I’m imagining you. You walk past as I water my front flowerbeds and we wave. You check the time as we both stand in a long line at the grocery store. You sit in front of me in church. I’m at my table in the coffee shop and you’re at yours.

We may smile politely and move on with our separate lives. Or one of us may speak, a simple invitation to conversation, and the words flow between us.

Here the adventure begins. When we meet someone new, we never know where it might lead.

I’ve been married for over thirty years and have two twenty-something kids. We live in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where the day lilies in my back yard grow as tall as I am. (No short jokes, please.)

Not every piece of my life is pretty, though. Some days I want to throw out whole chunks. But I am living each day looking for the grace of God to me, in me, and through me. Having your companionship along the way will help uncover a lot of great stories

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review of "Plain Peace"

Review of Plain Peace

(Daughters of the Promise #6)

by Beth Wiseman

17657642

Anna’s grandfather seems determined to ruin her Rumspringa . . . and any hopes she has of finding a husband.
Anna Byler should be enjoying her Rumspringa as allowed by her faith. But because of the strict rules enforced by her grandfather—the bishop—the available suitors in town are afraid to court her. Even Anna’s grandmother is keeping a big secret from Anna’s grandfather in an effort to keep the peace. Under her grandfather’s oppressive watch, Anna begins to feel her faith slipping and wonders if God has forsaken her.
Jacob Hostetler and his family have relocated to Lancaster County following a family tragedy in Ohio. As his family struggles to rebuild their lives, Jacob is forced to act as head of the household when his father is unable to cope with recent events. It’s been a long time since Jacob has felt any joy. Until he meets Anna Byler. But will Anna’s grandfather succeed at keeping them apart? And can Jacob put the past behind him and open his heart?

MY REVIEW:  Beth Wiseman has written a beautiful story about forgiveness and change.   Anna and Jacob are in love and long to court, but Anna's grandfather, the Bishop refuses.  He forbids many things from the community and won't allow them to see Dr. Noah for medical care.   Jacob's family is in turmoil and the grief his father feels is cutting him off from the ones who love and need him most.
Then  there is Lucy, the young woman with the Scarlet A, who longs for friendship and acceptance for her and her young son, Benjamin.  Will she ever be accepted?  Can she find forgiveness?   
How will Jacob and Anna ever find peace to date when her grandfather remains unmovable.    
You will find some delightful recipes from the story as a bonus to the incredible story.
 This is a 5 Star ***** piece of work.   
I received a pdf version of this book from booksneeze and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:

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 HarperCollins Christian Publishing. 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 two contemporary Christian fiction novels, Need You Now published in 2012 and The House That Love Built in 2013. 
In a daring new novel, Beth jumps way outside the box. The story she is currently working on will take readers far away from Amish Country and small Texas towns to a dangerous place on the other side of the world. Inspired by a true story, Beth believes this is the book she’s been working toward for a long time. Expect more information on this exciting novel soon! 

You can also follow Beth on Twitter: @BethWiseman

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review of "The Calling"

Review of The Calling

Inn at Eagle Hill, Book 1

by Suzanne Woods Fisher

18096354

Twenty-year-old Bethany Schrock is restless. Her love life has derailed, her faith hangs by a thread, and she is spending the incredibly hot summer days wading through a lifetime’s accumulation of junk at the home of five ancient Amish sisters. About the only thing that holds her interest is the spirited and dangerously handsome Jimmy Fisher–and he seems bent on irritating her to no end.
When the sly old sisters and a guest at the Inn get Bethany involved in running the local soup kitchen and starting a community garden, she suddenly finds herself wondering, Shootfire! How did that happen? Despite her newfound purposefulness, a gnawing emptiness about a childhood mystery continues to plague her. Encouraged by Jimmy Fisher, she will seek out the answers she craves–and uncover a shocking secret that will break her heart, heal it, and point her to love.
Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher delivers her trademark twists, turns, and tender romance in this delightful and exciting visit to the deceptively quiet community of Stoney Ridge.

My Review:   This book addresses mental illness among the Amish communities and I loved this book.  It was a very moving and touching look at secrets and the pain they cost, and yet there is forgiveness.   Some characters will even be able to pray for their enemies. I fell in love with The Inn at Eagle Hill and wish it were a real bed and breakfast that I could go and get away from life for a respite.  The Inn did indeed create a respite and healing for those who came to stay.   Mim and Bethany both truly stole my heart.   I also adored Jimmy Fisher, who is perceived to be a big flirt, but I can see so much tenderness and compassion in him.   The next book in this series can not come too soon!  I am ready to read it now!    
I received a pdf version of this book from netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
Suzanne Woods Fisher

In no particular order, 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.

After returning from Hong Kong, Suzanne decided to give her first novel a try. For four and a half months, she worked on an antediluvian computer in a cramped laundry room. She didn't even tell her husband what she was up to. When the novel was completed, she told her family at dinner one night that she had written a book. "That's why there's no food in this house!" said her slightly insensitive sons.

Undaunted...Suzanne found a small royalty publisher for that book and wrote three more (all earned multiple). With help from an agent, she has five books currently under contract with Revell. On September 1st, Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, a non-fiction book of stories and examples about the Old Order Amish, will be released by Revell. The Choice, a novel about the Amish, will follow on January 1st.

Writing, for Suzanne, is a way to express a love of God and His word. With every book or article, she hopes readers get a sense of what faith really looks like in the daily grind. She hopes they realize that life can be hard, but God is good, and never to confuse the two.

Suzanne can be found on-line at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Author Interview with J.E.B. Spredemann & Giveaway!! and winners are......

Author Interview with J. E. B. Spredemann & Giveaway!!! 

and the winners are:  JYN Hoffman wins "An Unforgivable Secret" and Lisa Korell wins "Amish by Accident" 

emails are being sent to winners and author will send your autographed copies!  thanks to all who entered!
16407571
Luke Beiler has loved Elisabeth Schrock for as long as he can remember and is looking forward to the day they both join the church so they can marry. Elisabeth, however, chafes under the church rules and flees to the Englisch world leaving Luke heart broken.

When an accident leaves Brianna Mitchell with amnesia, she feels helplessly lost. What will happen when she is mistaken for Elisabeth Schrock and taken home to Paradise, Pennsylvania?
18675337

Hannah has a good life. A beautiful home, a loving husband, and a wonderful Amish community are only a few of her daily blessings. But she has carried a heavy burden for years: a secret that no one must know. When tragedy strikes, her secret threatens to be revealed, jeopardizing everything she's ever loved. Will Hannah be able to face her greatest fear and find God's purpose for her life?

Your name is quite interesting. Is there a story behind the three initials?



First of all, thank you, Rhonda, for allowing me to share a little of my life with readers.

Regarding your question: Yes, there is. J.E.B. Spredemann actually began as three authors, not just one. J is for myself (Jennifer), E is for my oldest daughter (Emily), and B is for Brandi (one of my other daughters). However, what began as a writing trio has essentially become simply J. Spredemann. The girls inspired and co-authored the Amish Girls Series, but have since began their own writing journeys. Since the name J.E.B. Spredemann was already established in readers' minds, I thought it would be best to keep the full name.

How did you come to write about the Amish?

I am a reader, and my favorite genre (after God's Word, which compares to nothing in this world) is Amish fiction. Writing about the Amish actually came as a surprise to me. My children take turns shopping with Mom. Oftentimes, I would bring a book along (usually my latest library book or thrift store purchase) and they would be my live audiobook. I mean, who wants to take a shopping break while reading? ;) One day, while Brandi and I were shopping, she paused and asked, "How come there aren't books like this for people my age?" I pondered that question and did some research to find there were indeed few books of the kind. Thus began our writing journey...

Have you lived in any Amish community?

No, I have never lived in an Amish community. My husband's family is German (former Mennonite) and have a lot of the same views as the Amish. Their lives are quite simple compared to most Englischers. My mother-in-law still bakes her own bread and a lot of their food is made from 'scratch', she still hangs her laundry out on a clothes line. They've always shared in a special family Bible reading time. They still speak fluent German.

Although I was raised in a Christian home, these are things that my family did not practice.

Do you have a family of your own?

Yes. Along with my wonderful husband, I have six awesome kinner!
You are extremely sensitive to the needs of teenagers in your Amish Girls Series.   How do you feel you are so well-equipped for that sensitivity?

We currently have four teenagers living in our home. The Amish Girls Series espouses values that I'd like to pass on to my children. As we, as a society, pull further away from God, our children need positive godly role models. While our characters in the Amish Girls Series are certainly not perfect, they find that God's grace is sufficient.

I don't know if I'd consider myself well-equipped, but I believe each parent can pass on the valuable life lessons they've personally learned. The Amish Girls Series has a lot of my heart and life in it. Danika's Journey, for example, is about an adopted daughter. My adopted daughter is the model on the cover of the Danika book.

If you could live in an Amish home, what do you think you would miss the most?

It's funny that you should ask that because we are currently considering purchasing an Amish home. It has no bathroom - well it does have an outhouse :/. No electricity. No indoor plumbing - well I guess there is a small sink with a hand pump. So...it's a toss up between a bathroom and electricity. If I didn't have electricity I wouldn't be able to write. An indoor flushing toilet is priceless.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why? 

Heaven, but I don't think that counts?

I always thought I wanted to live in Pennsylvania. I traveled there as a pre-teen girl and fell in love with the trees and beautiful foliage. It was also the first time I learned the Amish culture existed. However, as I've grown up, I've had to take in many more factors: i.e. the spiritual/political environment, where I would want to raise my children, all those important considerations.

Born and raised in California, I never thought I'd be able to survive being land-locked, far away from the ocean. Although California is a nice state to visit, it's not an ideal place to raise a family. I feel certain states have more of the good ole conservative Americana spirit. They hold more to family traditions and embrace a stricter moral code. We've considered moving many times: Hawaii, Colorado, Mississippi, Ohio.

We've finally decided on Indiana, which is where we'll be moving this year. Lord willing. So I guess if I can't live in Heaven yet, Indiana is the place for me! :)


What is your favorite season and why?  I love fall but I also LOVE snow and I am hoping to see some soon!

I've always loved spring and fall. I haven't had much experience with snow, so that will definitely be an adjustment when we move! Where I currently live, summers are very hot and winters are practically non-existent. It's the middle of January and it's been in the upper sixties to lower seventies. I've never had a white Christmas and am looking forward to it this year.

What upcoming projects are you working on?

Leah's Legacy, the final book in the Amish Girls Series, is due out February 14. Learning to Love (Saul's Story) is a spin-off adult novella from Chloe's Revelation and should be out in spring. Other projects this year include the final book in the Amish Secrets Series, A Secret of the Heart; a Christmas novella featuring the characters from A Secret Encounter; and another Amish Fairly Tale (a fun novelette for adults). Lord willing!

Enter with a comment to win an autographed copy of Amish by Accident or An Unforgivable Secret.   Two winners will be chosen on Wed., Jan. 29, 2014 at 10:00 p.m. Let me know which one you'd like to win in your comment & answer our question below from the author.   Please leave an email so that I can contact the winners.

Question: Do you have a favorite character from J.E.B. Spredemann's books? Who is it and why? No spoilers, please.

Review of "The Choice"

Review of The Choice

by Amanda Tru



If you could go back in time and save someone you loved, would you do it? 

Hannah’s ability to time travel has always been something she feared. It was uncontrollable and came with life-threatening risks. However, when Hannah is unable to cope with grief, she decides to use that which had been her enemy. She is going to travel back in time to prevent the tragedy from ever happening. 

Unfortunately, nothing goes according to plan. Seth finds out about Hannah’s intentions and takes measures to protect her. But when they discover that the reality of history isn’t what it had appeared, a simple mission to save a life becomes much more complicated. Their intervention has now changed their own future and endangered many lives, including their own. Can they elude their enemies to find the vital evidence they need to fix the timeline? Or will Hannah’s choice have an even greater cost than she can imagine? 

MY REVIEW:   How many of us would make the same choice as Hannah and travel back in time to save a beloved relative?   I know I would definitely like that choice.    Wow, this book is action, action, action.....I can see this being made into a movie and even imagined who would play the parts of the characters.   This is one of those nail-biting, on-the-edge-of-your-seat stories!    I never saw this outcome coming either!  I am already chomping at the bit for book 5!  
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
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/

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review of "Brooke's Quest"

Review of Brooke's Quest

(Amish Girls Series book 7)

by J.E.B. Spredemann

20453992

When Brooke Spencer visits Paradise, Pennsylvania on summer vacation, she's hoping some handsome young Amish man will sweep her off her feet. But when she meets Seth Weaver, she doesn't expect it to happen literally! Will Brooke and Seth be able to make a long-distance relationship work? And could Seth Weaver hold the key to something she's really searching for - true love? Christian Teen Fiction - Approx. 100 pages 

 MY REVIEW:   The plan of salvation is presented in this book by one of the Amish young men.  Seth shares God's love and plan of salvation with Brooke, the Englisch teenager whose family is staying in his family's Bed & Breakfast.   Brooke is excited about sharing it with others and they don't all act with acceptance.    Many Amish do not teach that you can be certain of your salvation but I love that this Amish community does.   Each chapter of the Amish Girl Series begins with a scripture verse that is highly appropriate to the plot of the chapter.  Another fun fact is that the Amish play pranks on young married couples on their honeymoon night.   This practice reminds me of the old-fashioned shilvaries that many Southern communities observed for years.  This is another 5 Star piece!!  
I received a free pdf version of this book in exchange for my honest review.  


Monday, January 20, 2014

"Abigail's Triumph" Book review

Abigail's Triumph book review

Amish Girls Series--Book 6
by J. E. B. Spredemann

19069372

Tragedy in the small Amish community of Paradise leaves one family reeling. In order to survive, Abigail Lapp and her siblings must rely on the compassion of their friends and neighbors. Abigail finds forgiveness difficult and painful, but she learns to trust God. Could He turn her unfathomable tragedy into triumph? Inspirational Teen Fiction, Approx. 100 pages

MY REVIEW:  Abuse of wives and children is never pretty and it is a tragic event in the Amish community as Abigail and her siblings fight to survive.    I love how the Amish community rallies together to support the family and provide for their needs.   Abigail truly does triumph over great adversity in this book.  I believe this one was my favorite of the six books in the series to this point.   5 *****
I received a free pdf version of this book in exchange for my honest review.  

Look for an author review and book giveaway from J. E. B. Spredemann here SOON!!!  
 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Review of "Annie's Decision"

Review of Annie's Decision

(Amish Girls Series Book 5)

by J. E. B. Spredemann

17565718

Annie Yoder has always dreamed of meeting an Englisch girl her own age, so when she sees an advertisement for Amish pen pals in the local paper, she begs her folks to allow her to participate. Annie quickly learns there are exciting new things in the Englisch world and she finds herself drawn to the forbidden. Will Annie's verboten desires lead her away from her people?Annie isn't the only one in a Valley of Decision. Jonathan Fisher's Rumspringa may cost him more than he bargained for. Will his foolishness change the course of his life forever?Inspirational Teen Fiction Approx. 100 pages

My Review:  5 Stars again!  Looking for just the right stationary and licking the stamp.....Pen pals are such fun. I had several pen pals when I was a teenager.  We did not have email so snail mail with old fashioned letters was our only form of communication.  We sent pictures and gifts to each other along with long letters of the details of our lives, even writing poems and songs for each other at times.   Annie Yoder is an Amish teenager though and so it is a bit more complicated for her to have an Englisch pen pal.  Her parents do approve of it as long as they are able to read the girls letters to each other.   Annie's pen pal opens up some forbidden things for her and life gets even more troubled for her.   I won't spoil the story for readers, but I love the way this series involves characters from the previous books.   I feel like they are becoming family to me as I read about them and I find I am anxious to hear news of some of the characters in previous books.   Joanna also plays a large part in this book as she also meets an Englisch young person. Courting customs for the Amish are quite different than those for Englisch youngsters, and church services are also very different.   Read and find out how these things effect Annie and Joanna and their families.  I wish these books had been available when my own daughters were teenagers as each book teaches valuable life lessons.    
Thank you to the author for the complementary pdf copy of this book.  I am writing a review as my way of thanking the author.  

Purchase your own copy at amazon.com for only $0.99 

Review of "Meet Me Under the Mistletoe"

Review of Meet Me Under the Mistletoe

by Joann Durgin

16166599

Jacob Marston, Starlight, Iowa's hometown hero, made a long-ago promise to the Lord: he won't kiss a woman until he knows she's "the one." Now at age twenty-eight, the rugged firefighter questions if it'll ever happen. Then, he meets his best friend's sister, Julia Sinclair, and Jake believes he's found the woman of his dreams. But she's promised to another. 

When Julia makes an unexpected confession on Christmas Day, Jake shares his secret with her, and it looks as though happily-ever-after will make a holiday appearance. But what will she think when she discovers his vow?

Somehow, everyone in the tiny town of Starlight suddenly learns Jake’s secret, and he's instantly transformed from town hero to laughingstock. Did Julia reveal his secret? Can Jake forget the humiliation and find his way under the mistletoe to share a forever kiss with Julia?

MY REVIEW:   Who would not want to kiss an adorable firefighter who also repairs toys to give them to needy children?  and if there's mistletoe, who can resist?   Julia and Jake have a rocky road as she is already engaged and he won't kiss a girl until he is sure she's the "one" for him.  This book just made me feel good. It is a sweet romance and definitely make me recall my own moments of falling in love.   Starlight sounds like a delightful town to live in and the town just has a "family feel" to it.  Read this sweet book to find out if Jake  and Julia find love and get a kiss underneath the mistletoe.   
5 Stars
I won a copy of this book from the author in a holiday giveaway.   It is my pleasure to review it.

About the Author:
JoAnn Durgin
From the Author's Page at amazon.com
I like to say I've "been around" in the nicest possible sense. Meaning I've lived in several states in this great country, and I've lived long enough to have gained a certain amount of hard-earned wisdom. I've always heard to "write what you know." My debut novel, Awakening (November 2010), is the beginning of The Lewis Legacy Series, and is loosely based on my love story with my husband, Jim. Subsequent releases in The Lewis Legacy Series include Second Time Around (September 2011), Twin Hearts (April 2012) and Daydreams (December 2012). The fifth book in the series, Moonbeams, is expected to release in late winter or the early spring of 2014. Many more installments are planned for the series!
Catching Serenity, a full-length, standalone novel, released in September 2013.
All of the above-mentioned books are available in both ebook format and paperback editions. I like to call them contemporary Christian romantic adventures and are slightly longer in length and more "outside the box" of traditional "formula" romance with elements of romance, a little mystery here and there, emotion, drama and an abundance of humor along with showing how God works in the lives of my characters.
I've also written two fun, contemporary Christmas novellas set in fictional Starlight, Iowa. The first is Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (November 2012) and its sequel, Starlight, Star Bright, released in November 2013.

Purchase a copy of this book from amazon.com

Review of "Susanna's Surprise"

Review of Susanna's Surprise

(Amish Girls Series-Book 4)

by J. E. B. Spredemann

17565722

After years of feeling something is missing from her life, Susanna Hostettler discovers that she once had an identical twin sister. As answers to her questions unfold, Susie's brother Levi uncovers a secret that will not only surprise Susanna, but her family as well. Jonathan Fisher has his eyes set on Susie, but can he convince her to give him a chance?

MY REVIEW:  I love these young Amish girls!  They remind me so much of myself with my friends when we were that same age.   We also enjoyed girl talk, walks, and fun times.    Susanna discovers the most incredible surprise:  an identical twin sister.  I will let readers find out what exciting things occur after the revelation of this surprise.  It is quite an amazing thing!  The Amish, of course, have their own customs and beliefs but young people share many of the same hopes, dreams and secrets.   Another 5 Star book!!!   I am now looking forward to reading Book 5 in the Amish Girls Series:  Annie's Decision.
I received a complementary pdf copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  

You can purchase a copy of Susanna's Surprise from amazon.com

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Review of "Chloe's Revelation"

Review of Chloe's Revelation

(Amish Girls Series--Book 3)

by J.E.B. Spredemann


Chloe Esh has just completed school and is now looking forward to singings, courting, and training in midwifery. While Levi Hostettler has been interested in Chloe for years, she is swept off her feet when she meets handsome Saul Brenneman from another district. Chloe must find God's perfect will for her life and face some tough choices in the process.

MY REVIEW:   Chloe's Revelation is an excellent book for young teenagers as it shows what the consequences of moments of passion can lead to for them.   This series is written for young girls, but I am quite sure that other adults will enjoy it just as much as I did.  The book gives a unique view of courting among the Amish.   It made me recall the thrill of young love.  This book also shows how wondrous life can be when young people consider their actions and choose well.   5 Stars!!!  
I received a complementary pdf version of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author: From Amazon.com's author page:   
J.E.B. Spredemann resides in central California and currently writes Christian fiction.
Author Interview below from brittreadsfiction.wordpress.com:
B: Thanks for being here with us. Will you tell us a little about yourself and how long you have been writing books?
J: Thank you for having me here, Brittany. I am the J. in J.E.B. Spredemann. The acronymous name J.E.B. Spredemann was created about a year and a half ago and stands for Jennifer (myself), Emily (my daughter), and Brandi (my daughter). Since three names are a little much to fit on the cover of a book, we thought J.E.B. was suitable and somewhat incognito. ;)
We began penning works of literature a little over a year and a half ago. Joanna's Struggle (Book 1 of the Amish Girls Series) was the first book we co-authored.
NOTE: We began writing the Amish Girls Series together, but since then the girls have branched out and are currently working on fiction in other Christian genres. The adult novellas are solely penned by J. Spredemann. I chose to not change the name because I felt readers were already familiar with J.E.B., so I kept it. The only place this is indicated is at the front of each book where the 'Other Books by the Author' are listed; you will see an asterisk * next to the books.
B: How did you decide to focus on writing Amish fiction? Is this a genre you enjoy reading?
J: Yes, I enjoy reading Amish fiction immensely. Our writing journey began when Brandi asked me why they didn't have more (Amish) books for girls her age. I replied, "Why don't we write some?" Since then, we've put our hands to the plow and haven't looked back. Also, my husband and I both have German ancestry. My husband currently speaks fluent German and has a Mennonite background.
B: I appreciated the fact that the gospel message was clearly presented several times in the story. Do all of your books present the gospel to readers?
J: I think the Gospel is essential and it is the reason I write. I aim to have the Gospel in all my books. In one form or another, it is presented in each book. If a person only reads one of my books, I want them to know that, no matter who they are or what they've done, God loves them and He made a way for them to get to Heaven. John 3:16-18, Romans 10:9-13
B: You have a series aimed at the Young Adult market. Do you have any upcoming Young Adult books you are working on or have been currently released?
J: The Amish Girls Series for teens is an eight book series. The first four books have already been released and number five should be coming out in August 2013. October, December, and February are the scheduled release dates for books six, seven, and eight. Books six and seven are currently in the editing process, and book eight is being penned at present.
B: Will you tell us a little about the next book in the Amish Secrets series and when we can expect it to be available?
J: The next book in the Amish Secrets series is about Joseph Bender, a young man who has been shunned in his ultra-strict Amish community and now lives on the streets. He believes leaving the Amish life behind is best...until he meets kindhearted Anna Smucker. Will his past secrets destroy his future too? A Secret Encounter (Amish Secrets - Book 2) is due to be released December 2013 at participating online retailers.
More:
Joanna's Struggle, in the Amish Girls Series, is the first of several books written by the author. The Amish Girls Series was primarily penned for teen girls, but has been enjoyed by readers of all ages. Lovers of the ever-popular Amish fiction genre are sure to enjoy these books as well, even though they are shorter and geared toward a younger audience. The characters in the stories will soon become endeared to your heart, especially the mischievous Jonathan Fisher. We hope and pray that our books will touch your life and be a blessing to you, as they have been to us! The Amish Girls Series (8 books in all) is the foundation on which all of the other books are built.
Amish by Accident, written specifically for adults, was the first book to be released via Amazon Kindle and is the eighth book penned by the author. It is now available in eBook, audio book, and paperback. A book trailer for Amish by Accident may be viewed on YouTube.
Author can be contacted via email at jebspredemann@gmail.com or at http://amishbooks.wix.com/jebspredemann. Follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter for the most current updates and/or giveaways.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Review of "Murder Simply Brewed"

Review of Murder Simply Brewed

by Vannetta Chapman

18118316

Spring has arrived in Middlebury, Indiana, and Amber Wright can see profits in sight for her collection of Amish artisan shops—until she receives a call that Ethan Gray is dead. Hurrying over to A Simple Blend, she finds a single hole in the front window and Mr. Gray dead from an apparent heart attack. All the money is still in his register. Hannah Troyer takes over the shop’s duties, and she and Amber become fast friends as well as amateur sleuths. The police believe Gray’s death to be a by-product of vandalism, but Amber and Hannah aren’t so easily convinced.
Old Testament clues that don’t add up, a neighbor who is pulled into the midst of the investigation, a town with secrets to hide, and blossoming romance—all will combine to push Amber and Hannah into unfamiliar roles in order to solve a mystery and bring peace to the Amish community.

My Review:   Coffee sounded delightfully  tempting as I read Murder Simply Brewed by Vannetta Chapman.   The manager of the specialty coffee shop in the Amish Village is found dead of an apparent heart attack in the coffee shop and soon Amber, Hannah, Jesse, and Tate are on the search for the killer.  The police believe the death was natural and that there is no killer to search for but that doesn't stop these folks!   Two are Amish and two are English and they may even develop a lasting friendship in the quest for truth and justice.   
Vannetta Chapman has not written a book that disappointed me yet and this one is certainly no exception.   I was totally hooked and loved trying to figure out who did what and how they did it!  So grab a cup of coffee and sit a while because you won't want to stop reading until you are at the end.
I received a free pdf copy of this book from netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.   
About the Author:
Vannetta Chapman

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.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Review of "London Dawn"

Review of London Dawn

(The Danforths of Lancashire #3)

by Murray Pura

18054726

Readers everywhere are clamoring for books like Downton Abbey, the hit PBS Masterpiece Theater series that's taken America by storm. Those readers have become enthusiastic about The Danforths of Lancashire by award-winning author Murray Pura.

In this stunning conclusion to the saga, we find Lord Preston and his family are gathered in London in the late 1930s for what turns out to be a homecoming. The family is finally all together again, gathering in a way they haven't been able to do for years. But looming ahead is the summer and fall of 1940 when both the Battle of Britain and the Blitz will occur. Though the family is blissfully unaware of this soon-to-be reality, Lord Preston, privy to top secret info in his position in the government, has grave concerns; the gravest he's ever had, that England will be invaded. The Danforth family patriarch does his best to hide his fears with a cheerful exterior, but is he successful?

MY REVIEW:  hmmmm, I must admit that I have only seen Downton Abbey one time and I have not read the other two books in The Danforths of Lancashire series, so how did that affect my perception of this book?   I will say that I did have a difficult time getting into the book as I did not always know what was going on or understand the relationships between the characters, but once I got past the first third of the book, I was on pins and needles waiting to see what was coming next. The reading of the book out of order was my own fault, I simply point it out.   My own uncle was killed in WWII so reading of so many young people in one family cheerfully heading off to battle for their country was hard for me to read.   I did not want to read of a casualty of war anymore than Lord Preston or Eva or Jane might wish to do so.   This book will grip the reader and pull until one is right in the pulse of the pages.  I felt the use of poetry, scripture and song lyrics was utilized in a beautiful and touching manner in this book.   Both men and women readers would find this book to be quite engaging.   
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
Murray Pura

Murray Pura was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, just north of the Dakotas and Minnesota. His first novel was released in Toronto in 1988 and was a finalist for the Dartmouth Book Award. Since that time he has published ten more novels, two collections of short stories, and several nonfiction titles including the Zondervan books: Rooted and Streams and the Baker devotional, Majestic & Wild. He has been a finalist for several awards in the US and Canada and in 2012 won the Word Award of Toronto for Best Historical Novel. Murray lives and writes in southwestern Alberta and is currently published by Barbour, Baker, Harper One, Zondervan, and Harvest House as well as several other publishing houses – he works with publishers in Canada, America, the UK, and Holland. His releases for 2013 include the novels: Ashton Park, The Rose of Lancaster County, A Road Called Love, Seven Oaks, The Painted Sky, Whispers of a New Dawn, Beneath the Dover Sky, The Name of the Hawk, and An Amish Family Christmas. His diverse writing spans many genres including: historical fiction, contemporary fiction, literary fiction, romance, adventure, western, suspense, fantasy, Amish, and inspirational. Most of his work is available in ebook format for Kindle, Kobo, and Nook as well as in paperback. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Review of "An Amish Miracle"

Review of An Amish Miracle

by Mary Ellis, Ruth Reid, and Beth Wiseman

17628636



Always Beautiful by Beth Wiseman

Becky Byler is eighteen and overweight. She is overwhelmed by the embarrassment she feels when comparing herself to other girls her age. Having lost all hope, she considers taking her own life. As she stands before rushing water, unable to swim, Becky begs God for a miracle. In just several months, Becky sees her prayers answered as food and temptation lose their hold over her. She s finally pleased with how she looks, but does she like the person she has become? And has the man she has dreamed of been right beside her all along, loving her exactly as she is?

Always His Providence by Ruth Reid

Widow Rosa Hostetler has one month to pay her delinquent taxes before the county auctions her farm. She's prepared to sell whatever is necessary to pay the lien, but she isn't willing to request money from the community s widow fund. She's embarrassed and refuses to admit she needs help. Rosa depends on income from selling eggs, but when that income is threatened, only a miracle can help Rosa accept the kindness of a neighbor.

Always in My Heart by Mary Ellis

Hope Bowman believes God is punishing her for giving up her firstborn son when she was a teenager. She s hidden this secret from her husband, who is thankful for their daughters but longs for a son. Hope prays desperately, but the son God sends her isn't a new baby but the fifteen-year-old boy she gave up years ago.

Includes Reading Group Guide and Old-Order Amish Recipes

MY REVIEW:   This is a delightful Amish novella collection by Mary Ellis, Ruth Reid, and Beth Wiseman.   In Always in My Heart by Mary Ellis, Hope is given a second chance with the son she was forced to give up for adoption.   God sends this young man back into her life at the age of fifteen.  Will James want to stay with his birth mother and get to know his family or will Hope's heart be broken once again?  Ruth Reid shares the story of a young, childless widow in Always His Providence, Rosa Hostetler is in desperate need of funds to save her home but she is too proud to ask for help from the Amish community widow's fund.    The man her husband died to save has promised to look after her and he wants to help her but she does not trust him enough to share her needs.  Will she let go of her pride and open her heart?  Becky Byler struggles with her weight and is the laughing stock of the Amish community in Always Beautiful.   Becky is pushed to the point of suicide because of her low self-esteem and asks God for a miracle.   He grants it as she loses weight and has not one, but two suitors.   Will she discover what both young suitors already know?  Will she learn that inner beauty matters far more than outer appearance?  Read the three novellas to find these answers and more.   The authors do a beautiful job of portraying forgiveness, love, inner beauty and sacrifice.   I love the way that the three novellas blend together and have characters who share in each others' lives.  I am quite curious to know if there will be a sequel to the three novellas as I would love to know what comes next for Hope, Becky and Rosa.  
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

About the Authors:
Mary  EllisMary Ellis grew up close to the Amish where she loved their peaceful agrarian lifestyle and strong sense of Christian community. She and her husband now live by the largest population of Old Order in the country where they take weekend trips to research her books. Mary enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught Middle School and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate—a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. Her debut Amish fiction, A Widow’s Hope, first in the Miller Family series, was a finalist in the 2010 ACFW Carol Awards and received the Award of Merit for the Holt Medallion. She has since written ten best-selling novels. Her previous release, Living in Harmony, first in the New Beginning series, won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction.

Beth WisemanBeth 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 HarperCollins Christian Publishing. 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 two contemporary Christian fiction novels, Need You Now published in 2012 and The House That Love Built in 2013. 
In a daring new novel, Beth jumps way outside the box. The story she is currently working on will take readers far away from Amish Country and small Texas towns to a dangerous place on the other side of the world. Inspired by a true story, Beth believes this is the book she’s been working toward for a long time. Expect more information on this exciting novel soon! 

You can also follow Beth on Twitter: @BethWiseman

Image of Ruth Reid
Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA best-selling author of the Heaven
 on Earth series. She's a full-time pharmacist who lives in Florida
 with her husband and three children. When attending Ferris State
 University School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived 
on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several
 occasions to visit the Amish farms.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Review of The Best of Amish Friends Cookbook Collection

Review of The Best of Amish Friends Cookbook Collection

by Wanda Brunstetter

17214179

From Barbour’s bestselling author of fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter, comes The Best of Amish Friends Cookbook Collection. This brand-new title is a treasure trove of recipes and interesting facts from the heart of Amish country and includes recipes divided into sections such as breads and rolls, desserts, main dishes, sides, jams and jellies—and more! You’ll find only the best of home cooking between the pages of this delightful book, and as an added bonus, you’ll find featured facts about Amish life. Topped off by one beautifully designed package, cooks of all ages will have a hard time passing this one up!

MY REVIEW:    mmmmmm mmmmmm good, this book has some delicious Amish recipes for cooks to try. I  have made several of these recipes and they were a big hit in our home:   baked oatmeal, granola, poor man's steak, and more.  I love the pictures of the dishes along with scenery from the many Amish settlements in the United States.   Wanda also included Amish proverbs or sayings through out the book which is divided into sections.   Details about the various Amish settlements, transportation, schools, weddings, church services, and more are interspersed through out the enticing recipes.  Recipes for laundry soap, spot remover, playdough and other non-food items are nice additions to the cookbook to help save money and the environment.   I have been making the homemade dry laundry detergent learned from Amish for a year now and love it!  I want to try some of the recipes here for other cleaning products. This book is sure to become a favorite cookbook of mine.   I think I am going to copy some of my favorites onto recipe cards for my youngest daughter who just married in September of 2013.  This cookbook would make a wonderful gift for friends or family.   

About the Author:

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 almost 60 books with more than 6 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: www.WandaBrunstetter.com