Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review of "The Last Heiress"

Review of The Last Heiress

by Mary Ellis

22544234

Bestselling author Mary Ellis (A Widow's Hope) presents The Last Heiress, a new romantic standalone that intertwines the lives of a British manufacturing heiress and an American merchant caught in the turbulent time of the War Between the States.

When Amanda Dunn sets sail from England for Wilmington, North Carolina, she hopes to somehow restore shipments of raw materials for her family's textile mills, which have been severely disrupted by the American Civil War. Though there is not much one individual can do, the wealthy young woman feels she must try, as her mother and hundreds of employees at Dunn Textiles are dependent on Southern cotton.

When Amanda meets Nathaniel Cooper, her desire to conduct business and quickly return to England changes. Though captivated by one another, neither is fully aware of the other's true nature.

Nathanial, who on the outside appears to be a poor but hardworking merchant, is actually a secret Yankee sympathizer who will stop at almost nothing to bring about freedom for those who live under subjugation, even when that involves questionable judgment. And Amanda's wealth is made possible by underpaid workers living in slums around the mills, not much different than American slavery.

Can these two earnest souls find the best in one another rather than focus on what could tear them apart? And though they both believe they are on God's path, how will their decisions affect those around them?

MY REVIEW:    When I read a blog post the other day and found out that this book is set in Wilmington, North Carolina, I just had to read it.  My oldest daughter lives there and I graduated in 1996 from University of North Carolina @Wilmington.  I want to visit several of the historical homes in Wilmington after reading the book.  I have been to Fort Fisher many times and much of the action of the Civil War scenes in the book took place there.   
       It was very interesting to see slavery placed side-by-side with British maids.   Seeing the differences in the ways the two countries treated servants made slavery look even more despicable if that is possible.   The characters made this book great fun to read as some of the characters are highly lovable and some are ones readers "love to hate".   I started reading this book and finished in one sitting as it was quite exciting.  
       I rate this book 5 stars and am delighted to recommend it to readers.   
       I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Author:
Mary  Ellis

Mary Ellis has written twelve bestselling novels set in the Amish community, along with two romantic suspense set in Louisiana. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught middle school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. She has enjoyed a lifelong passion for American history and is an active member of the local historical society. She has recently finished several romances set during the Civil War and is currently working on a series of mysteries, Secrets of the South. The Last Heiress is her latest release.
She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or https://www.facebook.com/Mary.Ellis.Author.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

REVIEW of "Keys of Heaven"

Review of Keys of Heaven

by Adina Senft 

22511156

Sarah Yoder is learning to help the people in her Amish community as aDokterfraa, creating teas and tinctures using the herbs she grows. But her latest patient seems to have a problem that can't be resolved with anything in Sarah's garden-a woman who, in Sarah's mind, would flourish anywhere but in the place she lives. Meanwhile, Sarah's relatives have decided to do a little matchmaking between her and a visiting Amish man. He would make a wonderful husband, and she knows she should be willing for God to show her His choice of partner...and not allow her friendship with her neighbor, Henry Byler, to grow into anything more.

Henry has seen some success as a potter since a major store commissioned a line of his work for their catalog. The trouble is that they want to market him as Amish. Though he was raised in the faith and now lives in Amish country, he has never joined church-and doesn't plan to, either. Which means that, despite the attraction between them, he must keep his distance from Sarah. But what happens when Sarah and Henry are called upon to help a runaway whose family is too worldly to see how lost their son has become? The plant Sarah calls Keys of Heaven may be able to grow in impossible places, but it's not so easy for people to find their own place. Which means it's quite a temptation for her to take matters into her own hands......
MY REVIEW:  Chamomile tea is one of my stress and anxiety relievers.   I enjoyed reading of Sarah and the herbal teas and tinctures she creates to help the Amish community and her own family.  I learned a great deal about some new natural remedies that I did not know about previously.  As a retired teacher and lover of crafts and arts, I read with interest as the young English teenager, Eric, explored his desire to create pottery with Henry, who is formerly Amish and does not intend to return to the Amish faith.
        There were a great many relationships and storylines going on in this book and a few times, I had to backtrack and reread portions of the book to figure out who was being featured at a given time.  Within these relationships, there were many romances and conflicts occurring and it kept me hopping to keep up.   I really enjoyed the book though and appreciate the number of lessons learned by several of the characters.   There were several lessons of faith learned as characters experienced turmoils and trials of life.   
        I rate this book 4 stars and highly recommend it to readers.   I think this book would also be of particular interest to teenagers, even preteens would find it enjoyable.  
       I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Adina Senft
Adina Senft grew up in a plain house church, where she was often asked by outsiders if she was Amish (the answer was no), she made her own clothes, and she perfected the art of the French braid. She holds an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania, where she teaches as adjunct faculty. 

Writing as Shelley Bates, she was the winner of RWA’s RITA Award for Best Inspirational Novel in 2005, a finalist for that award in 2006, and, writing as Shelley Adina, was a Christy Award finalist in 2009. Three of her books have shortlisted for the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award for book of the year. Of her fiction, publisher and industry blogger W. Terry Whalin has said, “Readers will be lost in the vivid world that [she] paints with incredible detail and masterful storytelling.” 

A transplanted Canadian, Adina returns there annually to have her accent calibrated. Between books, she enjoys traveling with her husband, playing the piano and Celtic harp, and spoiling her flock of rescued chickens. These days, she makes period costumes and only puts up her hair for historical events and fun.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Review of "Remember the Lilies"

Review of Remember the Lilies

 by Liz Tolsma

22440548

Irene and Rand come from very different walks of life. Will they find common ground in their fight to survive? 

Irene has grown up in the jungle as a missionary with her Aunt Anita, but now she and countless others are imprisoned by Japanese soldiers at the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in the Philippines. Irene and her aunt are safe there, and she keeps busy with her duty of delivering censored messages to the camp’s prisoners, but like everyone else, she prays for the war to end and for her freedom. Rand is a wealthy, womanizing American, whose attempted escape from the internment camp has put himself and others in danger. When Rand and Irene’s Aunt Anita meet one another in the hospital, Irene learns more of his story and her heart is determined to save his family. But the danger outside the walls of the hospital worsens every day, and life in this exotic place is anything but luxurious. Can Irene find Rand’s family before they disappear forever? And can a humble missionary woman and an arrogant man find common ground in the face of their biggest fears?

MY REVIEW:  "No one survived an escape attempt.  No one even tried.  She finger raked strands of damp hair from her eyes.  In the daytime, each shanty had its own personality.  At dark, they blurred together, one indistinguishable from the other.  She straightened to resume the search, not knowing how she would find him.  Her legs protested, but she urged them forward.  She had to make sure Mr. Sterling had the complete message."
       I was not aware that Americans living in the Philippines during World War II were imprisoned in internment camps.  I knew that America forced Japanese living in America to remain in internment camps and that was awful enough as I learned of it.   I'm sure that the Americans living abroad never dreamed their lives would be put on hold for the duration of the war.  While Rand and Irene are from two entirely different worlds, they somehow become connected through Irene's work in the office working with censored mail.  
      Both Irene and Rand conceal their secrets and fear what will happen if the other discovers the pain they hide.   This book was quite riveting and highly emotional for me.   I lost an uncle, my mother's only brother in World War II.   He knew something of the pain and fear he had experienced, but I did not think it touched the lives of so many others.  I definitely knew of the anguish that my grandparents and my mom, and his sisters felt.  My grandmother shared many stories with me.   While this book is deeply moving, it also offers a very real sense of hope.   Read this book and open your heart to the pain and the hope.   
      5 stars for this book and I am delighted to recommend it to readers.
      I received a free kindle version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.   

About the Author:
Liz Tolsma

Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. All of their children have been adopted internationally and one has special needs. Her novella, Under His Wings, appeared in the New York Times bestselling collection, A Log Cabin Christmas. Her debut novel, Snow on the Tulips, released in August of 2013. Daisies Are Forever released in May 2014. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family. Please visit her blog at www.liztolsma.blogspot.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@LizTolsma). She is also a regular contributor to the Barn Door blog.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review of "Where Trust Lies"

Review of Where Trust Lies

by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

22504500

Beth Thatcher returns home from her first year as a schoolteacher in the mining town of Coal Valley and steps into a whole different world. Her life back among her wealthy Eastern family is a stark contrast to her primitive life in the West, and Beth isn't sure where she belongs anymore.

She barely has time to settle in before her mother announces plans for a family holiday--a luxurious steamship tour along the eastern coast of Canada and the U.S. Wishing to reconnect with her mother and sister, Beth agrees to go but quickly finds herself at odds with her mother's expectations. After enjoying complete freedom in the western wilds, Beth isn't sure what to make of her mother's ongoing efforts to direct her life--and her heart.

Beth keeps in touch with her Mountie beau, Jarrick, even as young men more of her station catch her eye. Is she ready to fully give her heart to Jarrick, knowing it will mean saying good-bye to her family and her life of privilege once again? And when Beth trusts the wrong person, will Jarrick be able to help her despite the distance between them?

MY REVIEW:  "She's probably assuming I've come to discuss the cruise.  Oh, Heavenly Father, please help me find the right words.  Please help me find the right words.  Please help Mother to understand."    Travel is so exciting to me and I have always longed to visit Canada and I was able to take a little trip through the incredibly descriptive words of the authors.  I actually imagined I was there with the characters and the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes were amazing.  The cruise also carried them through some of the New England states and New York City.   These are also places I would love to visit.   
        The characters and family dynamics were believable and lovable while some, of course, were irritating.  In other words, they behaved just like our own families.  I found myself laughing and crying with the characters.   Beth, Julie, and Margret tickled me and reminded me greatly of my own three precious daughters in their interactions.  
        I have been reading Janette Oke's books since I was a young teenager and they never fail to please me.   It only adds to the attraction for me that Janette's daughter, Laurel, has joined with her in writing these engaging books.   Oh my, this book has certainly filled me with a renewed desire for a Canadian cruise and adding the New England states would be like frosting on the cake.   
        5 Stars for this book.   Readers will likely enjoy the mystery and suspense of this story as I did.   I love when romance has mystery and suspense mixed with it.  Thank you, ladies, for a wonderful book to occupy my mind on a snow-filled week in Virginia.   
        I received a kindle version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Authors:
Janette Oke

Janette Oke writes with a profound simplicity of what she knows best—real life, honest love, and lasting values. With over 23 million in sales, her historical novels portray the lives of early North American settlers from many walks of life and geographical settings. She also writes engaging children's stories and inspiring gift books that warm the heart.

Janette was born during the depression years to a Canadian prairie farmer and his wife, and she remembers her childhood as full of love and laughter and family love. After graduating from Mountain View Bible College in Canada where she met her husband, Edward, they pastored churches in Canada and the U.S., and they raised their family of four children, including twin boys, in both countries. Edward eventually became president of Mountain View Bible College and recently established a coalition of colleges that became Rocky Mountain Bible College.

During her earliest years, Janette sensed the desire to write. Though she yearned to be a published novelist, she devoted herself to being a wife and mother because, she says, "there is no higher honor—that is my number-one priority." She began serious writing when her children were entering their teens.

Her first novel, a prairie love story titled Love Comes Softly, was published by Bethany House in 1979. This book was followed by more than 75 others. She reaches both religious and general markets, telling stories that transcend time and place. Her readers of all ages and walks of life can identify with the everyday events and emotions of her characters. Janette believes everyone goes through tough times—the key is to be prepared with a strong faith as the foundation from which decisions are made and difficult experiences are faced. That perspective is subtly woven throughout her novels.

After Love Comes Softly was published, Oke found her readers asking for more. That book led to a series of eight others in her Love Comes Softly series. She has written multiple fiction series, including The Canadian West, Seasons of the Heart and Women of the West. Her most recent releases include a beautiful children's picture book, I Wonder...Did Jesus Have a Pet Lamb and The Song of Acadia series, co-written with T. Davis Bunn.

Janette Oke's warm writing style has won the hearts of millions of readers. She has received numerous awards, including the Gold Medallion Award, The Christy Award of Excellence, the 1992 President's Award for her significant contribution to the category of Christian fiction from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, and in 1999 the Life Impact Award from the Christian Booksellers Association International. Beloved worldwide, her books have been translated into fourteen languages.

In recent years, Janette and her siblings lovingly restored their parents' prairie farm home, and it now serves as a gift shop and museum of prairie life. Please see below for a special invitation to the Oke Writing Museum and The Steeves' Historical House. She and her husband live nearby in Alberta, Canada, where they are active in their local church. Visits from their families, including their grandchildren, are their delight.

Laurel Oke Logan

Laurel Oke Logan is the daughter of Janette Oke, awarding-winning author of Christian fiction, whose bestselling books have sold over eleven million copies, and Dr. Edward Oke. Laurel grew up in a small town on the Canadian prairie with three brothers who kept life exciting and eventful.

She married during her college days and soon after began writing her first novel, Gillian. She and her husband, Marvin, are the parents of four children and Laurel has been able to resume writing on a part-time basis while she homeschools her children. 

Laurel Oke Logan has joined with her mother, in the writing of Janette's life story.

Laurel continued her education at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana, and Purdue University. She has taught writing seminars to high school students, as well as assisting Janette Oke with her writing projects. She and her husband and children make their home in Indiana.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Review of"The Amish Clockmaker"

Review of The Amish Clockmaker


by Mindy Starns Clark & Susan Meissner

22962341
From bestselling authors Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner, The Amish Clockmaker (Book 3 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.

Newlywed Matthew Zook is expanding his family's tack and feed store when a surprising property dispute puts the remodel on hold--and raises new questions about the location's mysterious past.

Decades earlier, the same building housed a clock shop run by a young Amish clockmaker named Clayton Raber. Known for his hot temper, Clayton was arrested for the murder of his beloved wife, a crime almost everyone--including his own family members--believed he'd committed, even after charges were dropped. Isolated and feeling condemned by all, Clayton eventually broke from the church, left Lancaster County, and was never heard from again.

Now the only way Matthew can solve the boundary issue and save his family's business is to track down the clockmaker. But does this put Matthew on the trail of a murderer?

A timeless novel of truth, commitment, and the power of enduring love, where secrets of the past give way to hope for the future.
 

MY REVIEW:  Accused of murdering the woman he loves and then abandoned by his Amish community and family, Clayton Raber leaves the home he grew up in and never returns.   Now 60 years later, Matthew's livelihood depends on getting Clayton's signature.  Can he find him in time?  Will Matthew discover even more information than he was seeking as he searches for Clayton Raber?  
     I have read many Amish fictions and many have similar storylines, but this book is very different.  I think it is the first time I have seen one with such a unique conflict.  I love the element of mystery and suspense as Matthew searches for Clayton Raber.   This book was a beautiful testament to love and commitment.   Thank you, Mindy and Susan, for writing a book deserving of a huge prize!   I hope this book will win some sort of honor.  5 Stars....read this....you will not be disappointed. 
I received a free kindle version of this book from netgalley 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 my family, music, reading great books, and traveling.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Review of "Finding Love in Tombstone, Arizona"

Review of Finding Love in Tombstone, Arizona

by Miralee Ferrell

24647715

First published as Love Finds You in Tombstone, Arizona 

Love and second chances aren't easy to come by in a town named Tombstone. 

When Christy Grey receives an urgent summons to Tombstone, Arizona, she reluctantly leaves her new life in California. The trip goes from bad to worse when four masked men hold up Christy’s stage. She finally arrives in Tombstone to find her mother ill and her brother trapped in a life of gambling. Desperate for money to support her family, will Christy bow to pressure from the local saloon owners and return to the life she thought she’d given up for good? 

Nevada King has problems of his own. He's been dodging bullets for years and wants nothing more than to settle down and get married. But he's on the run from outlaws bent on revenge, and the one woman who captures his interest recognizes him from the stagecoach holdup. Will Christy turn Nevada in to the authorities, or will the outlaws on his trail catch him first?

REVIEW:   Westerns are not my "cup of tea" and I don't normally find myself wishing for the hero to kill the outlaw as I read, but THIS western-themed historical romance is certainly my "cup of tea" and YES, I was desperately hoping the hero would kill the outlaw!  This book read like one of my favorite action movies and I found myself feeling like I was on an exhilarating roller coaster.  This book is exciting, fast-paced, and I love that it is based on an actual town and many true facts were incorporated into the plot.   5 stars for this amazing piece of work!  
I received a free pdf version of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Miralee Ferrell

Miralee Ferrell and her husband, Allen, live on eleven acres in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington State, where they love to garden, play with their dogs, take walks, and go sailing. She is also able to combine two other passions—horseback riding and spending time with her grown children—since her married daughter lives nearby, and they often ride together on the wooded trails near their home. 

Ironically, Miralee, now the author of eight books, with many more on the way, never had a burning desire to write—at least more than her own memoirs for her children. So she was shocked when God called her to start writing after she turned fifty. To Miralee, writing is a ministry that she hopes will impact hearts, and she anticipates how God will use each of her books to bless and change lives.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review of "Harvest of Blessings"

Review of Harvest of Blessings

by Charlotte Hubbard

22538974

The tranquil little town of Willow Ridge is facing a startling challenge. Wealthy Nora Glick Landwehr is determined to make it her home again--and put her past to rest. Cast out by her own family, Nora can't reconcile with Old Amish ways or her strict father. But she'll do anything to help her community embrace the future . . . and make amends to the daughter she had to give up. So, she certainly has no time for her reckless new neighbor Luke Hooley. They disagree about almost everything. And how can she trust him if he always seems to believe the worst about her? Somehow, though, his unexpected support and passionate heart are helping her find her own way in faith. And Nora will discover that even in the face of insidious lies and unyielding judgment, God creates unexpected chances for forgiveness--and love.

MY REVIEW:   "Maybe you won't have to worry about sitting through church.    You haven't been allowed back into the fellowship yet.  Haven't been forgiven."   Forgiveness is demanded in the Bible but that doesn't mean it is so easy to extend it.   This book is a beautiful example of why we need to forgive and how we can finally find it.  Can Nora find reconciliation with her family and a romance of her own?   
        It is so hurtful when close family members refuse to forgive and resolve conflicts.  I have certainly experienced my share of this and it is extremely painful.   I always question whether it is my fault and I try desperately to make amends and repair the broken cords, but others aren't always willing to reconcile.   Nora certainly knows this in this book.  I have been on both sides as well....I have struggled to offer forgiveness to others and I have begged others to forgive me.   I pray after doing my best to resolve hurt feelings.   
       This is a wonderful 5 star work of Amish fiction.  Readers will enjoy seeing Amish and how they live as well as feeling they are a part of the lives of Nora, Luke, Millie, Miriam and Ben, and the other members of the Amish community in Charlotte Hubbard's book.
       I received a print copy of this book from Kensington Publishing Corp. and a pdf version from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
Charlotte Hubbard

Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Charlotte Hubbard (a.k.a. Naomi King) writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her new Seasons of the Heart series. Like her heroine, Miriam Lantz, Charlotte considers it her personal mission to feed people—to share hearth and home. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle, and the foundation of her earlier Angels of Mercy series. She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Review of "Heaven Help Heidi"

Review of Heaven Help Heidi

by Sally John

22544239

From bestselling Christian fiction author Sally John comes the second book in a series featuring new beginnings and unexpected romance.

Welcome to the Casa de Vida--eleven quaint bungalows located three blocks from the Pacific Ocean in tiny Seaside Village, California. Owner Liv McAlister never advertises vacancies beyond a small hand-lettered sign out front, preferring to trust that God will send the right tenant at just the right time. And He always does.

Heidi Hathaway's life has been turned upside down. After an accident leaves her injured, unable to work, and incapable of negotiating the stairs in her multilevel oceanfront condo, she leases her home and moves into a cozy little cottage in the charming garden complex where her friend Piper lives. There she finds so much more than a place to rest and recover.

Piper Keyes knows Jared is not coming back from Afghanistan. After making it through the fifth anniversary of his death, she wonders if she's at last ready to get on with life. She gingerly explores new avenues--photography, cooking, and buying her own boutique--and learns to open her heart again.

The most comforting thing about living at the Casa is that the women there become each other's mentors and confidantes, learning from their own mistakes and arriving at new, healed places in their lives.

MY REVIEW:   "Metal crumpled. Glass popped.  Airbags burst.  Sharp edges sliced and heat seared.  The world vanished."   Casa de Vida is truly a piece of heaven on Earth.  The colors, the sights, the sounds, the people, the wonderful, beautiful people....not to mention the unbelievable low rent......and the beach a short walk away.....I think I may need to call Liv and see if she has a vacant cottage.   
What?   Sally John?   Seriously, now you tell me Casa de Vida is completely fictional?  After I finish reading?   
Casa de Vida was described with such incredible detail that I would love to live in a place like it.   Heidi is in for a large number of surprises when she settles into her cozy cottage.   She is in need of a place of healing.  I really had a number of issues brought to my mind as I read this book as it deals with PTSD and stepmothers and their adult stepchildren.  I experience PTSD and I am also a stepmother to adult stepchildren. I identified with several characters due to these specific issues.   I simply could not put the kindle down and tear myself from the screen until I saw these issues and others resolved for the lovable characters.   
I love the way the characters did not need to preach at others to show their love as they simply lived as Jesus did and showed love to others.  I am thrilled to rate this new-to-me author 5 stars for this book and I will be telling everyone about this book.  
I received a free kindle version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:

Sally John

Sally John is the best-selling author of more than fifteen novels, including the Side Roads series, the Safe Harbor series (coauthored with Gary Smalley), The Other Way Home series, The Beach House series, and In a Heartbeat series. A three-time finalist for the Christy Award, Sally writes contemporary stories that offer hope to readers in their own relational and faith journeys. She enjoys teaching writing workshops and spending time with her husband, adult children, and grandchildren. An Illinois native, Sally and her husband, Tim, live in southern California. Visit her web site at www.sally-john.com.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Review of "Waiting Hearts"

Review of Waiting Hearts

by Beth Ann Stifflemire



22678661

Living with a rare heart condition, Kayla Parker a twenty-six year old elementary school teacher chooses to keep things simple, never yearning for love or the drama that inevitably comes with it, especially after experiencing the pain of losing her father to a similar condition. Kayla plays it safe, avoiding the nightlife and dating scene that surrounds her in the budding music city of Austin, Texas. That is until the charismatic easy on the eyes musician Gabe Parker falls into her life at a local coffee house and all of her rules on love fly out the window. Gabe opens her eyes and heart to a love Kayla never imagined when he accepts all of her, even her condition, but when the music world Gabe's a part of comes knocking with big opportunities she second guesses herself and her love. Life changing decisions are made that result in a combination of tragic and bittersweet aftershocks. Can their love surpass circumstance? Can her heart endure?

MY REVIEW:   This is my first book to read by Beth Ann Stifflemire and I loved it!   It is funny, sad, and sweet.   I could not help but fall in love with the characters in this book. They seem like people I would want for best friends.  I have not had my own personal bout with a heart condition, but do have relatives who must deal with them.  I was a school teacher for fourteen years and I enjoyed reading about Kayla's experiences in the classroom.   Readers will love the characters and storyline in this book too!  Check it out!   
I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.
I won a copy of this book from Beth Ann Stifflemire and write a review as a thank you.  

About the Author:
Beth Ann Stifflemire

A native Texan and graduate of Texas A&M University, Beth is a proud wife, mother and author with a true passion for writing heart warming , all consuming love stories. Beth loves everything about Texas with family scattered throughout the state. Her favorite places to be when not at home is the family farm in Fayette County Texas and the Frio River where many childhood summers were spent. Reading to Beth is all about escaping to a world beyond the everyday and this is the experience Beth hopes to bring to all that read her stories.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Review of "An Amish Cradle"

Review of  An Amish Cradle


by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller,  and Vannetta Chapman

22501262

Tiny fingers,

Tiny toes,

And lives that will never be the same.

Journey with four families as their lives are about to change forever.

"In His Father s Arms" by Beth Wiseman

Ruth Anne has been dreaming about motherhood her entire life. Now she is doubly excited that she and her best friend are due with their children the same week. But when Ruth Anne s baby is born with Down's
 syndrome, she and her husband struggle to understand God's plan.

MY REVIEW of In His Father's Arms:  5 Star Amish novella *****This is a beautiful story of two friends eagerly anticipating their new arrivals, but Ruth Anne receives a shock when her new baby has Down's syndrome.  Her husband, Levi, and she have a lot to grieve and deal with.  I remember the delight and fear that I experienced with my first pregnancy and birth.   Every parent feels concern over the health of their baby and their ability to be a parent and I was no exception.   This novella brought those happy and scary emotions to mind.  I also had the privilege of teaching special needs' preschool in the public schools for several years and a large part of my job involved helping the parents with training, education, support, and encouragement.  I adored the children but I did have to spend a good portion of time educating myself about the various disabilities the preschoolers presented with.  
"A Son for Always" by Amy Clipston

Carolyn and Joshua are thrilled to be pregnant with their first child together. Carolyn was just a teenager when she had her son, Benjamin, and she still feels solely responsible to secure his future. As Joshua watches Carolyn struggle to accept his support, he knows he has to find some way to convince her that she and Ben will always be taken care of.

MY REVIEW of A Son for Always:  5 Star Amish novella ***** Joshua is an Amish stepfather.  He and Carolyn await their first baby together but Carolyn fears Ben won't be provided for in the same manner as their new baby.  I am a stepmother to my husband's grown children and my husband is stepfather to my grown daughters.   I do know that it is a balancing act and while we did not have to raise young children together, we did deal with my two of my daughters as teenagers when we first married.   While I feel my husband cares greatly for my daughters, I do believe their own father loves them in a deeper way.   I also have felt the need to provide for my own children's needs as Carolyn did in the story.  Trust is a growth process in step-parenting relationships, I believe.   Readers will enjoy seeing how Carolyn and Joshua resolve their problem in this novella.  
"A Heart Full of Love" by Kathleen Fuller

Ellie's mother hasn't stopped meddling in her personal life since Ellie lost her sight and she's taken it up a notch now that Ellie's pregnant. When Ellie gives birth to twins, her mother insists on moving in to care for them. But when her mother's behavior becomes unbearable, Ellie is forced to take a stand . . . and finally find out why "Mamm" can't let go.

MY REVIEW of A Heart Full of Love:  5 Star Amish novella ***** I am a new grandma and I have to tell you that I absolutely love it!   There is nothing sweeter than rocking my darling granddaughter to sleep, singing to her, or reading a book together.  My daughter and I are able to laugh at the immense love I feel for Natalie and I work hard to respect her boundaries as a new mother.  I try to give the new parents space to find their own way as a family and offer advice sparingly, but the grandmother in our story does not do these things very well for her blind daughter and the new twin babies.   I am sure it would be rough to see my daughter struggle with caring for two new babies.  I can not say for certain how blindness might affect my own thoughts but I would definitely seek to respect her as a new mother.   Readers will likely laugh and cry as they read the story to see how the new parents work things out with the overbearing and overprotective grandmother.    
"An Unexpected Blessing" by Vannetta Chapman

At 42, Etta thought she was finished having children, but she's pregnant again. After a frightening labor, Etta finally gives birth, but her constant worry over her estranged grown son, David, haunts her still. As a new mother again, Etta must hold tightly to the promise that God will watch over her children and that one day David will return.

MY REVIEW of An Unexpected Blessing:  5 Star Amish novella ***** Wow!  Imagine having grandchildren and then discovering you're expecting your own baby!  I have not had this experience but I do know many people who have had "late in life babies" or "surprise blessings".  The Amish feel that children are a blessing from God and I agree with this.  I know that things are more difficult for me as a 53-year-old grandma and I get exhausted after chasing my precious granddaughter for several days but I love it!  Most women that I know personally who have had babies later in life have worried at how their bodies would handle pregnancy and delivery as well as the ability to chase after another little one as they age themselves.  Etta also has an adult son who has left the Amish community and she fears he may never return.  My husband and I do have one of his grown daughters who has disowned us and it hurts.  This story brought the painful emotions of that estrangement up for me.  I pray every day for her and her family and that God would reconcile us and her just as own main character, Etta, does.   Read this novella to see how God works things out for Etta and her family.
OVERALL REVIEW of An Amish Cradle:  I am one of those women who has always loved children and babies.   Since I was just a little girl, I wanted to help with little ones in the family and church.  An Amish Cradle put a big smile on my face as I read, even while some parts of the four novellas included in it had sad parts.  It made me remember holding my own precious daughters as infants and brought many old emotions to mind.  I rated each novella 5 stars.  I enjoyed the fact that each novella was a quick and easy read.   I am thrilled to recommend this collection of novellas to readers.   5 stars *****
I received a kindle version of this book (collection of four novellas) from netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Authors:
Beth Wiseman 
Beth Wiseman
from goodreads' author bio:
"I wish I had the time to review books and chat with you here, but my writing deadlines just don't allow it. Please like my Fans of Beth Wiseman Page on Facebook where I try to post any news I have to share." 
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, The Promise, Beth jumps way outside the box. This story 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. 

You can also follow Beth on Twitter: @BethWiseman

Amy Clipston

Amy Clipston
Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her fiction writing "career" began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery series with Zondervan, which is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. An advocate for organ and blood donation, Amy donated a kidney in 2011 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Through her donation, her husband received a second kidney transplant. Amy and her husband matched another couple and swapped kidneys with them. Amy's memoir, A Gift of Love, will be available in early 2014. She hopes her story inspires others to become organ and blood donors. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats. You can find her on the web at www.AmyClipston.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks

Kathleen Fuller
Kathleen Fuller
I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, and currently live in Geneva, Ohio. I've been married to James for 21 wonderful years (really, they have been wonderful!) We have three terrific children, three dogs, and have raised cattle, pigs, and chickens at various times over the years. We would have gone into the goat business, but I had to draw the line somewhere. I started writing in 2000, and published my first short story a year later. Since then I have authored several short stories, novellas, novels, and have done a lot of freelance non-fiction work. I have also worked as an editor. I have a Masters degree in Special Education, emphasis on teaching the blind and visually impaired, and a Bachelors in Early Childhood/Elementary Education. I have taught all age groups ranging from age 4 to age 21. A few of my favorite things: my relationship with Christ, chocolate (of course!), autumn, a satisfying book, good friends, a sense of humor, people who don't take themselves seriously, haunting melodies, NFL football, and did I mention chocolate?
Vannetta Chapman
Vannetta Chapman

Vannetta Chapman writes 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 first novel, A Simple Amish Christmas, quickly became a bestseller. Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband. 

For more information, visit her at 
webpage -- www.VannettaChapman.com 
blog -- http://vannettachapman.wordpress.com
facebook -- www.facebook.com/VannettaChapmanBooks, and 
pinterest -- http://pinterest.com/vannettachapman