Sunday, December 18, 2016

4-Star Review of "The Amish Christmas Kitchen"

Review of The Amish Christmas Kitchen

by Kelly Long, Jennifer Beckstrand, and Lisa Jones Baker


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A dash of joy brings everything together . . . 

Something’s always baking in an Amish oven, and at Christmastime, all the ingredients for joy are at hand. Wrap yourself in the warmth of the Amish home—and the Plain peace of hearts joined by love. Each story includes a recipe from the author!

BAKING LOVE ON ICE MOUNTAIN
Kelly Long


Newly married, Clara Mast and Daniel Kauffman have little to give but love during their first Christmas season together. But generous hearts are always willing to be creative in this “Gift of the Magi” inspired story.  {Inaccurate description!  This is not accurate in depicting a teaser of novella, please see my review for accurate account.}


MY REVIEW of Baking Love on Ice Mountain:  WORD OF CAUTION:  the book description/teaser for this novella is NOT correct.  This is not based on the "Gift of the Magi".  I looked in various different published descriptions to see if this was a one-time error in printing, but this is the one released by publishers for the novella collection.  I didn't realize how much I had missed visiting with the Amish community on Ice Mountain until I read this novella.   Ice Mountain is not an easy place to live.  It is not close to other communities, it requires a great amount of effort to get on or off the mountain and even to visit others on the mountain, and it has meant great hardship for many who live there.                 When Daniel felled the tree that claimed the life of his friend, Seth, he promised to marry Clara and care for Seth's widow.  Clara refused his hasty proposal though, but now there's a baking challenge going on and Daniel is out to win the heart of Clara as well as her hand in marriage with a special cookie recipe.  Clara is just as determined to win the baking challenge, but does she want the praise or does she just want to win the heart of Daniel?  
         I rated this individual novella 5 stars.  It put me in the Christmas baking mood too!

 
THE CHRISTMAS BAKERY ON HUCKLEBERRY HILL
Jennifer Beckstrand

When shy Katie Rose Gingerich’s dat sends her to Huckleberry Hill to secure a marriage proposal, she never expects to long for carefree Titus Helmuth—or to hope that he might want to spend every Christmas with her . . .

MY REVIEW:  I couldn't help but feel sorry for poor Katie Rose.  Her parents forced her to leave home and stay for a month with Anna and Felty Helmuth during the Christmas season and spend the time cooking incredible meals for Adam in order to secure his proposal in marriage by Christmas day!   Katie is quiet and shy and Adam is loud, arrogant and dishonest.   The two don't seem to be a suited pair for marriage.  Anna and Titus both agree and furthermore, Titus has decided that he might want to court Katie as well.  Titus helps Katie with her Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill by taking orders and delivering baked goods for her.  Katie finds it easy to talk with Titus but Adam is her almost husband-to-be.  
           I love Anna and Felty and their amusing antics!   It was such fun to be in their home again for Christmas.  Anna is the family matchmaker and Felty will do anything his lovely bride asks of him.  This time, Anna feels that Titus needs a match made in heaven and she knows just the girl!  She puts Titus and Katie together caring for her Christmas goat.  Titus and Katie discover they are interested in more than the goat as they spend time together.  
           This is a cute romance with lots of humor thrown in the batter!  
            I rate this individual novella 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.

THE SPECIAL CHRISTMAS COOKIE

Lisa Jones Baker

A charity auction, an unexpected friendship, and a stubborn spirit combine in an unusual courtship. But for Emma and Jonathan, overcoming obstacles is just one of the lessons to be learned about special blessings this holiday season.


MY REVIEW:  This novella has a nice idea behind it.  The Amish community holds a charity auction to raise money for little Amos's heart surgery.  His older brother who cares for him since their father's death and their mother's recent flare of Epstein-Barr Virus does not want to accept help from anyone and tells Emma to cancel the auction.   But I kept thinking that my kindle was messing up as I read because the same lines and thoughts kept repeating.  Unfortunately it was not a kindle error.  The author does seem to continue to have the same or similar conversation between characters through the novella.   I realize that this is the first published attempt by this author, and hopefully the constructive criticism can help the author to improve the work.  
             I rate this individual novella 3 stars.  

OVERALL Rating of novella collection:  4 stars (two 5-star reviews and one 3-star review on the individual novellas)

About the Author:

Kelly Long
Kelly Long 
was born and raised in North Central Pennsylvania. There was an Amish hitching post at the small grocery store in her town. She loves to write Amish romance and is the author of novel, Sarah's Garden, the novella Amish Christmas Expanded Edition with some other great Amish authors, Amish Love with Beth Wiseman and Kathy Fuller, and Lilly's Wedding Quilt--the sequel to Sarah's Garden. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and children.

Jennifer Beckstrand

Jennifer Beckstrand 
http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/ 
https://www.facebook.com/jenniferbeckstrandfans
Twitter: @JenniferBeckst1

Jennifer Beckstrand is the award winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series and The Honeybee Sisters series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in Examiner.com list of top ten inspirational books for 2014. 

Her much-anticipated Amish series, The Honeybee Sisters, was released summer of 2016 and has created a lot of romantic buzz. Sweet as Honey received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and Sweet as Honey and A Bee in her Bonnet were both awarded Top Picks from RT Book Reviews. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth and the Honeybee sisters’ aendi Bitsy. 

Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a passion for Jane Austen and Shakespeare. She and her husband have been married for thirty-two years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Books by Jennifer Beckstrand:  
The Honeybee Sisters Series:
Sweet as Honey
A Bee in her Bonnet 
Like a Bee to Honey 

The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill Series:
Huckleberry Hill
Huckleberry Summer
Huckleberry Christmas
Huckleberry Spring
Huckleberry Harvest
Huckleberry Hearts
Return to Huckleberry Hill (June 2017)
Courtship on Huckleberry Hill (Oct. 2017)

A Perfect Amish Christmas in "An Amish Christmas Quilt"
The Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill in "An Amish Christmas Kitchen"
The Reluctant Groom in "Amish Brides" (June 2017)
Honeybee Christmas in "An Amish Christmas Candle" (Oct. 2017)

Forever Apple in Apple Lake Series:
Kate's Song
Rebecca's Rose
Miriam's Quilt
Lisa Jones Baker

Lisa Jones Baker grew up near a small Amish town in Illinois that she frequented with her family on weekends. She's also a dog lover and a fan of Scottsdale, Arizona, where she spent nearly two decades. Lisa graduated from Illinois State University with a French major, has been on 5 out of 7 continents, and considers her parents the best in the world. Raised in a Christian home, Lisa has always been blessed with love and support.

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