Monday, November 27, 2017

"Twice Blessed" Book Review

25755634

Twice Blessed

(Two Amish Christmas Novellas)

by Barbara Cameron

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  Two Amish fiction novellas:  

Her Sister’s Shadow
Katie and Rosie Stoltzfus work part-time in an Amish store and part-time in Two Peas in a Pod, their own business raising vegetables and fruits and canning them for sale. Although they are identical twins, their personalities are very different: while Katie has always been more outgoing and attractive to boys, Rosie has always felt in her sister’s shadow. It will take an unexpected business opportunity and one very special man to help Rosie see that she’s a unique woman of her own.


 His Brother’s Keeper
Ever since they were boys, Ben Fisher has trailed after his brother, Mark. Ben has always envied Mark because he’s always been more adventurous, but he's even more jealous now that Mark is engaged to Rachel, a woman they both love. When a terrible accident on Christmas Eve results in their mistaken identity, Ben suddenly has an opportunity to create the life he’s always wanted. While everyone believes he is his brother, who’s still in a coma, Ben finally has a chance with Rachel. But how can he realize an opportunity for real happiness if it means deceiving his kin? 

MY REVIEW:  Her Sister's Shadow:  Twins have always intrigued me.  It is so interesting in this novella that Katie and Rosie know when something is wrong with the other.  Katie is the one who is a magnet for the young men in the Amish community and Rosie has not even dated any young men yet.  So Katie is shocked when her sister takes an interest in Jacob and even more shocked when he returns the interest.  This seems rude and hurtful to me as an observer.  Obviously, since they are identical twins, Katie doesn't think looks are what is keeping Rosie from dating.  Katie thinks that she has the perky, friendly personality and that Rosie....well, doesn't.   
               I really enjoyed this novella.  It is fun, light reading.  I love reading novellas as they can be read quickly.  I sit a number of hours per week with my mother who is recovering from a massive stroke and is now in a nursing home. So quick reads suit my needs quite well at the present time.   
              While the two novellas are called Christmas novellas, I felt this novella was lacking in details that made me feel they were Christmas themed.  In an Amish Christmas novella, I expect to read of the Amish Christmas traditions which are quite different from those of the English world.  
              I highly recommend this book to readers of Amish and Christian fiction.   I am giving this novella 4 stars.
              I received a copy of this book from netgalley and Abingdon Press in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

MY REVIEW:  His Brother's Keeper:  Ben and Mark are not just identical twins; they are best friends. 
But they are facing a problem that threatens to drive them apart.  They are both in love with Rachel.  How on earth can they ever resolve this problem?  Neither of them wants to hurt the other and Rachel feels deeply for Ben, but she is engaged to Mark.   An accident allows the truth to be revealed but Rachel may not forgive Ben.  
               While I truly enjoyed this book, I had some moments of confusion when Mark and Ben were hospitalized where I did not know which was which brother.   I had to go back through the book to figure it out.  This left me feeling a bit undone as I read this novella.   
                While the two novellas are called Christmas novellas, I felt this novella was lacking in details that made me feel they were Christmas themed.  In an Amish Christmas novella, I expect to read of the Amish Christmas traditions which are quite different from those of the English world.
A bonus for readers is the Amish recipes featured at the end of the two novellas that were mentioned in the book as characters made and enjoyed the food created from the recipes.    
                I do give this novella 4 stars as it captured my attention immediately and drove me to put other things aside to read.   
                I highly recommend this book to lovers of Amish and Christian fiction.
               I received a copy of this book from  netgalley and Abingdon Press.  


About the Author:       


Barbara Cameron has a heart for writing about the spiritual values and simple joys of the Amish. She is the author of more than 35 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies, and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Barbara currently resides in Edgewater, Florida. Find out more about Barbara at BarbaraCameron.com and Amishliving.com.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

"The Barbour Bible Study Companion" Book Review

34524310

The Barbour Bible Study Companion:

Easy-to-Understand Study Notes for Genesis–Revelation

Book Review

by

Do Bible commentaries seem huge and daunting? They don’t have to be! The Barbour Bible Study Companion addresses key passages of scripture in a simple, easy-to-use (and understand!) format. With nearly 6,500 notes, covering verses and passages from Genesis through Revelation, this commentary is concise and accessible—perfect for the non-scholar. Introductions to each of the Bible’s 66 books provide additional background and insight. Ideal for personal Bible study or for Sunday school or small group preparation, The Barbour Bible Study Companion is usable with any Bible translation.

MY REVIEW:  This is the perfect study guide for those who are not scholars of the Bible.  I had been looking for a Bible Commentary and this one is perfect for me.  It is easy to understand and contains vocabulary appropriate to those with a high-school education.  This study companion has proven very beneficial for me as I've been reading my Bible daily.  My only complaint was the fact that not every verse is included.  The book includes historical information for each book, authorship, dates and to whom each book of Bible is addressed and for what purpose.  

I've even taken my kindle with this downloaded book to share with the Sunday School class I teach for 4th through 6th graders and they found it helpful to better comprehend the scripture verses included in our lessons.  The notes created great discussion among students which thrilled me. I would highly recommend this to other seekers, Bible study leaders and those who are reading the Bible for the first or the 100th time. The book is designed to be used with any Bible translation.  I believe this guide will allow readers to learn new things about their Bible.

I am rating this book 5 stars.   I received a copy of this non-fiction Christian book from netgalley and Barbour Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

            
About the Editor:
Christopher D. Hudson
Christopher Hudson-- mission is to help people read, understand, and apply the Bible. He has contributed to over fifty Bible projects, sixty study guides, and over a hundred books.

Chris is the author or editor of:
* Heaven & Hell: Are They Real
* Navigating the Bible
* The Bible: 100 Ways it Can Change Your Life
* Layman's Concise Bible Commentary
* The Illustrated Book of Bible Lists
* Once-A-Day At the Table Family Devotional: 365 Daily Readings and Conversation Starters for Your Family
* Bible Atlas & Companion (Barbour)
* 40 Day Bible Adventure (Barbour)
* Fascinating Bible People (Barbour)
* What the Bible Says About series (Barbour)
* 12 Volume QuickNotes Simplified Commentary Series (Barbour)
* Angels and Miracles (American Bible Society/Time, inc.)
* The Life of Christ (American Bible Society/Time, inc.)
* Inside the Mysteries of the Bible (American Bible Society/Time, inc.)
* The Year Long Bible Reading Series (TheBiblePeople.com)
* Bible Jumble (Tyndale)
* Bible Jumble for Kids (Tyndale)

He has served as managing editor for best-selling Bibles such as:
* The Love Languages Devotional Bible with Gary Chapman (Moody)
* The NIV VerseLight Bible series by Zondervan (titles include: Find Hope, Find Love, Find Faith, Find Prayer)
* Inspirational Bible with Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson)
* The Extreme Teen Bible (Thomas Nelson)
* The Case for Christ Study Bible with Lee Strobel (Zondervan)
* The College Devotional Bible (Zondervan)

In addition to writing and editing, Chris is passionate about softball and baseball and has coached athletic teams at the youth, high school, and college levels. He's a graduate from Wheaton College (IL) where he served as the Head Softball Coach between 2006-2012. Chris has been an active teacher in his church for nearly twenty years and lives outside Chicago with his wife and three children.

There are additionally twenty-one contributors to The Barbour Bible Study Companion; they are Christopher Hudson, Tremper Longman, Mark Strauss, Carol Smith, Peter Barnes, Stan Campbell, Ralph Davis, Bob Deffinbaugh, Ian Fair, Joe Guglielmo, David Guzik, John Hanneman, W. Hall Harris III, David Hatcher, J. Hampton Keathley III, Stephen Leston, Stephen C. Magee, Doug McIntosh, Eugene H. Merrill, Jeff Miller, Richard D. Patterson, Robert Rayburn, and Derek W. H. Thomas. 


Sunday, November 19, 2017

"A Plain Leaving" Book Review

A Plain Leaving 

(The Sisters of Lancaster County #1)

by Leslie Gould


34020187

Book Description: 
Gould Offers a New Amish Series in Idyllic Lancaster County
At age twenty, Jessica Bachman left her two beloved sisters and her Amish community after clashing with the new bishop about her role in the family and the future of their farm. She tried to convince Silas Kemp, who'd been courting her for two years, to join her, but when he said no, she fled anyway.

Three years later, she returns home for the first time since leaving Lancaster to attend her father's funeral. Her arrival back revives all sorts of emotions--yearnings and sorrows alike. Jessica knows things will never return to how they were. But in seeing Silas again, she can't help but wonder what might have been.

Struggling to decide where her next step should take her, she learns the story of a Revolutionary War-era ancestor that echoes her own choices. Will Jessica leave her family and community forever, or is there peace and healing and love yet to come?


MY REVIEW:  I truly could not figure out how this book was going to end.  I could feel the romantic conflict early in my reading.....Jessica with Tom, the Englisher, or Jessica with Silas, the Amish ex-boyfriend, but then as I continued to read, it also became...or Jessica remains single as Amish, or Jessica remains single as Englisher....I've read a LOT of Amish romance novels in my time and I will admit that I find the majority of them predictable though enjoyable.   So when I find one that leaves me guessing until the last page, I'm impressed.   Jessica Bachman is a highly likable character, as are Silas and Tom, but some of Jessica's family members leave a bit to be desired.  Jessica's story is juxtaposed with one of her ancestors, Ruby and her feelings for two men, one Amish and one English.  I got a little confused at times as the two stories were told in alternating paragraphs with Jessica's Aenti Suz telling Ruby's story to Jessica. I got the two main characters, Jessica and Ruby, confused as I read and would have to look back in the story to figure out which time period I was currently reading about.   
         I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.  
         I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:

Leslie Gould

Leslie Gould is the best-selling and award-winning author of twenty-five novels. She loves traveling, research, Shakespeare's plays, and church history. She and her husband live in Portland, Oregon and are the parents of four children. http://www.lesliegould.com/

Sunday, October 29, 2017

"Shameless Surrender" Book Review

35962421


Shameless Surrender Book Review

(Surrender #1)

by Cheyenne McCray (Writing as Jaymie Holland)

Book Description: 

Chessie burns for Nick, but locks the flames in her heart. She’s not a stunning beauty like the women he dates—but when she finds an envelope waiting for her on her desk…dare she open it and accept the invitation into the unknown?

Chessie Lane burns for Nick Tarantino, but circumstance has forced her to keep the flames locked deep in her heart. Drop-dead-gorgeous bosses only fall in love with their administrative assistants in the movies. Besides, she’s plain and na├»ve about his world, nothing like the flawless cultured females he knows. Still, no other man has existed for Chessie since she met Nick. All her erotic fantasies revolve around this powerful man and his sexy, commanding voice. When Nick sells Tarantino Investments, Chessie is heartbroken and sure her fantasies will never come true. But when she receives a mysterious invitation, her life changes…forever.

Publisher's Note: This book has previously been released elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release with Totally Bound Publishing.

My Review:  Office romance?  Not with Nick Tarantino....he has a strict policy against mixing business with pleasure.  His administrative assistant who has been with him for several years is secretly in love with him and has been pining away for him since she came to work with him.  Now he's sold his company and she will never have a chance at love with him.  Then a mysterious envelope appears on her desk.  When she responds to the note by doing what it says, here life changes forever.  It changes in ways she never imagined they actually would, even though it has been her fantasy since she first laid eyes on the gorgeous man.   
        The world of BDSM has recently received great attention due to the books and movies in the Fifty Shades series.  This book did include much of that element.  The story of Chessie and Nick was very exciting and sexy and it was hard to put my kindle down.  I felt the ending was rushed and the relationship between the two characters changed overnight.   (Warning: Sexual 
Content)
I am rating this book 4 stars.
I received an ebook of this novel from netgalley and Totally Bound.


About the Author:


Jaymie Holland

Jaymie Holland is the romantic erotica alter-ego of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cheyenne McCray. Jaymie’s work should always be handled with oven mitts!
Cheyenne McCray’s books have received multiple awards including three “RT Book Review Magazine’ Reviewer’s choice awards” and three nominations.

Cheyenne has three sons and three dogs. She grew up on a ranch in the southeastern part of the state and is an Arizona native.

Visit Jaymie's website and get all of the latest info at JaymieHolland.com and CheyenneMcCray.com and meet up with her at Cheyenne McCray’s Place on Facebook! Feel free to contact Chey at chey@cheyennemccray.


Monday, October 23, 2017

"Gladden the Heart" Book Review

32927083


Gladden the Heart Book Review

 (Amish Turns of Time #5)

by Olivia Newport 

Book Description:

“When you have experienced the Holy Ghost as I have, you would see that it is difficult to turn back.”

When the lively fervor of nineteenth century revivalism endangers the staid customs of the Amish community in the lush but rugged Kishacoquillas Valley of central Pennsylvania in 1847, the Amish church must deal with a divisive question: What is a genuine spiritual experience?

The question turns personal when Susanna’s beloved cousin Noah begins preaching while under trances and even though he is not a minister he gives long sermons that attract increasing attention. Curious, she helps to keep Noah safe during his trances. At the same time Adam, Susanna's intended, feels pressure from the bishop to speak out against the ways of revivalism.

Susanna and Adam are pushed to opposite sides of a controversy that threatens their traditional Amish faith..  Now they must grapple with whether love is possible...even if they come to different conclusions.
           
When Noah goes missing at a time of day when he often preaches while asleep, circumstances thrust community members with divergent opinions into a crisis that demands they recognize the humanity they share regardless of beliefs.  But can strong-held opinions be softened by the truths that shape their lives? 

More in the Amish Turns of Time Series:
Wonderful Lonesome
Meek and Mild
Brightest and Bes
Hope in the Land

MY REVIEW:  This book is exciting and fresh!  I have many, many Amish novels and the plots are usually very similar.  Gladden the Heart presents a situation that I do not ever recall seeing in any of the works of Amish fiction that I've read.  Noah is not a preacher, but begins preaching while in trances and his wife seeks to keep him safe during these times.  The community is divided over this unusual thing and Adam is against it, while his girlfriend, Susanna, approves of Noah's preaching and helps her aunt to ensure his safety when he is in a trance.  I have never personally heard of someone who receives the Holy Spirit and is gifted with this amazing ability to preach the Word.  
        Noah and Adam both fear that their differences will keep them from marrying, but maybe they will work things out.  They could also split over their differences.
       Readers will anxiously read ahead to see what happens for Noah, Adam, and Susanna.   I highly recommend this book to others.  
       I am giving this book a 5-star rating.  
       I received an ebook of this selection from netgalley and Shiloh Run Press   in exchange 
for an honest review.

About the Author 



From  goodreads bip:
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.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

"The CEB Student Bible" Book Review

26215870

The CEB Student Bible



About this Bible:

Inviting young people into deeper forms of holiness, The CEB Student Bible helps them make connections between the world of the Bible and their own.
Reading the Bible will change your heart and life. Living the Bible will change the world. The CEB Student Bible will help you to read and live by asking challenging questions, connecting the Bible’s words and today’s world, and showing you how to participate in the story of God’s people.
The CEB Student Bible is a Bible by and for young people that invites them into deeper forms of both personal holiness and social holiness, helps them make connections between the world of the Bible and their own world, offers resources for engaging the text in personal and group study, and embodies a commitment to taking young people seriously as Christian leaders now, not just in the future. It is a resource that helps young disciples of Jesus Christ as they transform the world.

Available in two editions: a durable paperback cover, designed by Hatch Show Print, and a high-quality, leather-like cover with burnished text. The CEB Student Bible is perfect for confirmations and other gift-giving seasons.
Features:
• An introduction to each book of the Bible by a top biblical scholar who has also worked in youth ministry. Each introduction gives an overview of the book, key themes, helpful tips for reading, and a list of quick facts.
• More than 400 articles by a diverse group of biblical scholars and youth ministers from over a dozen different denominations. These articles handle difficult topics and model what it’s like to really engage the Bible.
• Discussions for each book of the Bible by youth ministers. These include discussion questions, activities, and “Reading Differently” exercises for youth groups and small groups.
• Prayers and reflections by students—because young people aren’t just leaders for the future but prophets for the present, with unique insights and perspectives that the world needs to hear.
• Article indexes and a guide to the stories and passages of the Bible, both familiar and bizarre
• 16 pages of maps by National Geographic with a 12-page map index
MY REVIEW:  This is an excellent translation of the Bible.  In comparing it to other modern translations, it is quite true to the original Greek and Hebrew verbage.   The questions which appear through out each book of the Bible are very appropriate to teenagers which this Bible is designed to appeal to.  The Bible would also be a useful tool for adults.  It includes explanations and descriptions of each book of Bible.  Youth ministers prepared the discussions.  They are applicable to today's world. They invite the one studying the Bible to question and consider what the best course would be for them to be like Jesus in their daily lives.
            The only thing I thought could be changed was the readability of the discussions.  I felt the words might be above a teenager's reading ability.   
            I am rating this CEB Bible 4 stars and highly recommend it to those who are searching and to those who are serious Bible scholars.
             I received an ARC ebook of this Bible from netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.   All opinions expressed are my own.
About the Editor:
Elizabeth Corrie
Dr. Elizabeth Corrie’s teaching draws on commitments to both peace with justice and the education of young people, particularly the development of teaching and ministry that empower people for global citizenship. She joined Candler’s faculty in 2007, and is also the director of the Youth Theological Initiative, a partner organization with Candler that leads socially conscious ministries with youth and young adults.
Having focused her doctoral work in 19th century philosophy and theology, Corrie became increasingly interested in practical theology as her work with youth and in peace and justice activism deepened. Her research interests include transformative pedagogy, theories of nonviolence, and conflict transformation. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"The Beloved Hope Chest" Book Review

30649231

The Beloved Hope Chest 

(Amish Heirloom #4)

by Amy Clipston

Book Description: 

In the final installment of the Amish Heirloom series, the Fisher sisters learn the mystery behind their parents’ marriage—and about the sibling who has never been spoken of.


Mattie Fisher’s three daughters know that she’s been keeping a secret from them. With each item pulled from the beloved family hope chest, they’ve discovered a new clue about their mother’s past.


But there’s a reason Mattie has been keeping her history hidden, and she’s not sure she’s ready to reopen old wounds. Will dredging up the past change the way her children view her? Or her marriage to their father? And can she handle the pain of revisiting the memories that preceded the last few happy decades?


Mattie’s story is one of grief and learning to love again. But like the best things preserved in a hope chest, it's a story of love and redemption born out of heartache—and it's past time to share it.

MY BOOK REVIEW:   Hope chest are often given to young Amish girls to begin to collect things for the home and family they are expected to have soon after their baptism into the Amish faith.  Mattie's hope chest began that way, but now many years later, it holds treasures of her past and secrets known only to her and those from her past when she experienced several painful losses.   She has never shared these stories with her own daughters and as they find the items in their mother's hope chest, they want answers.  They want to understand. But is Mattie ready to open her heart to memories so painful that she has locked them away for decades?   

             I have read all the previous three volumes in this series and it would be helpful to have read them  before reading this one, but I think it could probably be read as a stand-alone as much previous backstory is given for the reader to understand.  This is a delightful novel and series, even though many parts are painful and may well bring tears to readers' eyes.  It is not a bad thing to feel the pain of characters though and it may be cathartic for readers who have had similar experiences in their own lives.   With all that being said, I love this book!   I loved the whole series of four books.  Amy Clipston is a master story teller and deserves much praise for The Beloved Hope Chest.

             I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.

               I received an ebook of this novel from netgalley and Zondervan publishing.   I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:
Amy Clipston

From Amy Clipston Goodreads Bio:
Hi, I’m Amy Clipston. I am an author of Amish and Christian fiction with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Most of my books focus on the Amish community, faith, and love. I also write romance novels and young adult inspirational stories.

My books include:

Kauffman Amish Bakery Series
• A Gift of Grace (3/2009)
• A Promise of Hope (3/2010)
• A Place of Peace (2/2011)
• A Life of Joy (1/2012)
• A Season of Love (6/2012)

Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel Series
• A Hopeful Heart (5/2013)
• A Mother’s Secret (4/2014)
• A Dream of Home (11/2015)
• A Simple Prayer (5/15)

The Bird-in-Hand Heirloom Series
• The Forgotten Recipe (11/2015)
• The Courtship Basket (6/16)
• The Cherished Quilt (11/16)
• The Beloved Hope Chest (5/17)

Amish Homestead Series
• A Place at Our Table 11/14/2017
• Room on the Porch Swing 6/18
• Book #3 (Untitled) 11/18
• Book #4 (Untitled) 6/19

Amish Anthologies
• An Amish Kitchen (12/2012)
• An Amish Cradle (2/2015)
• An Amish Christmas Gift (11/2015)
• An Amish Market (1/2016)
• An Amish Harvest (8/2016)
• An Amish Home (2/2017)
• An Amish Summer (7/2017)
• Amish Sweethearts (1/2018)
• An Amish Heirloom (5/2018)
• An Amish Homecoming (10/2018)


Seasonal
• A Plain and Simple Christmas (9/2010)
• Naomi’s Gift (8/2011)
• Kauffman Amish Christmas Collection(9/2012)
• An Amish Christmas Gift (8/2016)
• An Amish Christmas Love (8/2017)

Young Adult
• Roadside Assistance (4/2011)
• Reckless Heart (4/2012) (Kauffman Amish Bakery young adult book)
• Destination Unknown (2/2014)
• Miles from Nowhere (2/2015)

Non-Fiction
• A Gift of Love (2/2014)


I'm an advocate for organ and blood donation. I donated a kidney on June 14, 2011, at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Through my donation, my husband received a second kidney transplant. My husband and I matched another couple and we swapped kidneys with them. I gave a kidney to my husband's donor's wife. Feel free to email me and ask me what it was like to be a kidney donor. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. If you're healthy, please donate blood! Also, become an organ donor.

Visit me at www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks  at @AmyClipston or www.AmyClipston.com

Monday, September 25, 2017

"The Farmer's Market Mishap" Book Review


The Farmers' Market Mishap: A Sequel to The Lopsided Christmas Cake by [Brunstetter, Wanda E., Brunstetter, Jean]

The Farmer's Market Mishap 

A Sequel to The Lopsided Christmas Cake

by Wanda Brunstetter & Jean Brunstetter


Book Description:


Return to Amish Country in Topeka, Indiana, and the Hochstetler twin sisters who are pulled apart by life's changes. Elma is living alone for the first time in her life after Thelma married. Elma has dated some, but she wonders if she is just too picky to find love. Will she remain alone while Thelma moves on to build a family? 
Find out in this brand new romance from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, writing with her daughter-in-law Jean Brunstetter.

MY REVIEW:  Twins are fascinating characters to read about and Elma and Thelma Hochstetler are two very interesting characters, for sure and certain. Thelma has married Joseph and they're now expecting their first boppli.  Elma has now living alone in the big house they twins had shared.  It is a lonely house as well.   Thelma and Joe live just across the street, but Elma and Thelma have never lived apart from each other until now.  
      Elma fears that she will never know the sweet love of marriage and even sweeter kisses of a newborn.  The twins are in their mid-thirties which is considered old to be marrying and starting a family amongst the Amish.  Elma longs to know the happiness that her sister has found.  Up to this point, Elma has not found her perfect man.  Will she ever find him?  
     This is such a light-hearted, fun read.  It made me laugh and find great pleasure in the lives of the characters.  I really enjoyed The Lopsided Christmas Cake and this sequel might be even better. I highly recommend this book to lovers of Amish fiction and Christian romance. 
     I am rating this book 5 stars!
     I received a free copy of this book from the authors and Shiloh Run Press in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Authors:Wanda E. Brunstetter

Wanda Brunstetter is an award-winning romance novelist who has led millions of readers to lose their heart in the Amish life. She is the author of almost 90 books with more than 10 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

Jean Brunstetter

Jean Brunstetter became fascinated with the Amish when she first went to Pennsylvania to visit her father-in-law’s family. Since that time, Jean has become friends with several Amish families and enjoys writing about their way of life. She also likes to put some of the simple practices followed by the Amish into her daily routine. Jean lives in Washington State with her husband, Richard Jr. and their three children, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish communities in several states. 
In addition to writing, Jean enjoys boating, gardening, and spending time on the beach.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"Abiding Mercy" Book Review by Ruth Reid

Abiding Mercy by Ruth Reid

(Amish Mercies #1)

33027977

Book Description:


When doing the right thing will only lead to more heartache, how do you know what you are supposed to do? 

Sixteen-year-old Faith has worked full time in her parents' Amish restaurant since she finished eighth grade. She loves her Amish community--and the recent romantic attentions of her longtime friend, Gideon. When her sister seems to be getting too friendly with Englischers, and her parents are in a buggy accident, Faith only wants to escape into her dream of joining the church and getting married.

But then a local newspaper runs a story about a child named Adriana who was kidnapped fifteen years earlier, and everything Faith has held true comes into question.

Suddenly the community Faith has known her whole life seems unreal. Can she even trust her own family? And how will she ever find home again if she no longer belongs in the world she knows best?
 

MY REVIEW:  Hebrews 13:2 (NAS) Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.  Ruth Reid conveys this verse with her novel, Abiding Mercy".  A red-headed man continually appears to Faith and her family.   They show mercy, compassion and hospitality to the stranger.  Are they in fact, entertaining an angel unaware"?  This story looks at the pain and sorrow of Roslyn and her husband.  They lost their daughter to a kidnapper fifteen years ago and they are still looking for her. Will they find her after all these years?  Readers will enjoy reading this novel to find out if Roslyn's broken heart will finally be healed.  
         While this story is predictable for most of the situations presented, it is a very enjoyable read.  I am quite happy to recommend this book to readers who enjoy Christian fiction, Amish fictions and romance.
     I am rating this novel 5 stars.
     I received an ebook of this novel from netgalley and Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:
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. Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

"In Your Embrace" Book Review

22423698

In Your Embrace

By Amy Miles

Book Description:  

Life has not been kind to Timothy Lewis these past few years. With the sudden loss of his first love and a construction business barely staying afloat during the recession, Timothy will be the first to admit that faith isn’t exactly at the top of his priority list. When a direct hit from a hurricane rocks the Outer Banks, Timothy is forced to face not only the demons of his past but also a potential of a future that leaves him terrified.


Hannah Green has a big heart and that tends to get her in trouble far more than she’d like to admit. After her aunt and uncle offer her free room and board for the summer at their fixer upper bed and breakfast on the beach, Hannah finds herself caught in the mother of all storms. The devastation left in the wake of the hurricane rocks her world, leaving her faith and health in the balance.


Draven Young hates coming back home. There are too many bad memories, too little to do and far too many ex-girlfriends who would like to get their hands on him. When his father forces him to do some community service at the local hospital or risk losing his monthly allowance, Draven will discover that although terrible things happen to good people, there is a reason for everything.
 

Book Review:
Wow!  Amy Miles has captured the struggle of faith in characters as Timothy and Hannah question bad things happening to good people.  They are both dealt some pretty rough times by life....by God and they are wondering why God has not answered their prayers in the way they wish.   They meet with Draven, a young, wounded young man, and Hannah is able to influence him in a very positive manner. She feels that this may be why this tragedy has happened....to be an encouragement to others in the same situation.

Amy Miles is a new author to me and I was very impressed.  I chose to read this book because it is set in Rodanthe, North Carolina.  I lived at Holden Beach, NC, for fifteen years and while I have never been to Rodanthe, the setting made me want to read the book.   Amy puts faith in the lives of her character and it is so natural and constant that it doesn't seem contrived as it often does in other works of Christian Fiction.  Hannah and Timothy are both very compassionate and are helpers.  I could see this book continuing as a series.

Hats off, Amy Miles! I am rating this book 5 stars.
I received an ebook of this novel from netgalley and Red Coat PR publishing in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:
Amy Miles



Amy Miles is the author of multiple published novels, including her bestselling young adult immortals books, The Arotas Series. Unwilling to be defined by any one genre, she has written paranormal romance, science fiction/fantasy, post-apocalyptic, romance, inspirational, and plans to continue to explore new genres. She is the co-Founder of Red Coat PR, a firm helping indie authors build a marketing base for their career. Amy is also the co-Founder of Penned Con, an annual two day convention held in St. Louis MO bringing readers and authors together with industry professionals to learn, grow and give back. She and her husband are heavily involved in charity work through Action for Autism, a St. Louis based organization aiding families with autism and founded the Penned Con scholarship to benefit area families. She is an avid reader, urban homesteader, weekend golfer and netflix binge addict who lives with her husband and son in South Carolina.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

"The Knight's Bride" Book Review

25403982


The Knight's Bride

Chivalry Lives in Six Stories from the Middle Ages

by Tracie Peterson, Dianne Christner, Pamela Griffin, Yvonne Lehman, & Jill Stengl

Book Description:

Where Angels Camp - by Dianne Christner 
A Legend of Mercy - by Pamela Griffin 
The Stranger’s Kiss - by Yvonne Lehman 
A Kingdom Divided - by Tracie Peterson 
Alas, My Love - by Tracie Peterson 
A Child of Promise by Jill Stengl

Take six romantic adventures back in time to the Middle Ages along with five authors including Tracie Peterson, who tell the stories of couples challenged by the injustices of their times. Some couples are pulled apart by wars and feuds, while others have their futures determined by their oppressors. Can a faith be found to keep hope alive and give joy in all circumstances?

MY REVIEW:  Take a step back in time....way back in time....with these six romantic novellas.   The five authors: Tracie Peterson (she writes two of the novellas which are linked together as Alas, My Love is a sequel to A Kingdom Divided), Dianne Christner (Where Angels Camp), Pamela Griffin (A Legend of Mercy), Yvonne Lehman (The Stranger's Kiss), and Jill Stengl (A Child of Promise).   While this collection promises novellas set in the Middle Ages, Tracie Peterson's two novellas and Pamela Griffin's are the only two in the collection which are actually set in the Middle Ages.   Each of the novellas has been published previously so some readers may recognize them or find them vaguely familiar.   
        These novellas are a quick read and one can read them separately and stop and come back to them later or read the entire collection in one setting.  They are strictly romance and I actually prefer romances that include mystery or suspense.  I do like novellas because I enjoy finishing the stories quickly at times...they are very relaxing and nice stress relievers.  Faith and hope are woven into each story, making them very uplifting to read.
      I am giving this collection a rating of 4 stars and recommend it to readers of romance and Christian fiction.   
      I received an ebook of this novella collection from netgalley and Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.



About the Authors:


Image result

Tracie Peterson is a bestselling author who writes in both historical and contemporary genres. Her novels reveal her love for research as well as her strong desire to develop emotionally meaningful characters and stories for her readers. Tracie and her family live in Montana.

pen name: Janelle Jamison

Yvonne Lehman

Yvonne Lehman, best-selling author of more than 3,000,000 books in print, founded and directed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for twenty-five years. She now directs the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat. Lehman earned a Master’s Degree in English from Western Carolina University and has taught English and creative writing on the college level. She is the author of a three-book series set in Savannah GA (Harlequin Heartsong), and Hearts of Carolina, a series of eight novels (four in NC, four in SC) published by Greenbrier Books.

Her fiftieth novel, Hearts that Survive – A Novel of the TITANIC, (Abingdon), is available in bookstores and at the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, TN where she periodically holds book signings. Her first non-fiction book is Divine Moments (Grace Publishing) is a compilation of 50 articles written by various authors. She blogs at www.christiansread.com and Novel Rocket Blog.
 

Jill Stengl

Jill Stengl is the author of numerous romance novels including Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award- and Carol Award-winning Faithful Traitor, and the bestselling novella, Fresh Highland Heir. She lives with her husband in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, where she enjoys her three cats, teaching a high school English Lit. class, playing keyboard for her church family, and sipping coffee on the deck as she brainstorms for her next novel.

Jill is is the mother to Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Pamela Griffin

Pamela Griffin lives in Texas with her family. She fully gave her life to Christ in 1988 after a rebellious young adulthood and owes the fact that she’s still alive today to an all-loving and forgiving God and to a mother who steadfastly prayed and had faith that God could bring her wayward daughter “home.” Pamela’s main goal in writing Christian romance is to help and encourage those who do know the Lord and to plant a seed of hope in those who don’t.

Dianne Christner

Dianne Christner - Christian Fiction Author - writes Christian romance novels. She writes both Historicals and Amish Fiction. Raised in the Mennonite church, she brings authenticity to "The Plain City Bridesmaids" series. 

She keeps a lighthearted reality blog called plain girl romanticizing. 

Her passion is reading and connecting with other readers and writers.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

"Sisters One, Two, Three" Book Spotlight

29806089

Sisters One, Two, Three

                                by Nancy Star

Book Description: 

After a tragic accident on Martha’s Vineyard, keeping secrets becomes a way of life for the Tangle family. With memories locked away, the sisters take divergent paths. Callie disappears, Mimi keeps so busy she has no time to think, and Ginger develops a lifelong aversion to risk that threatens the relationships she holds most dear.

When a whispered comment overheard by her rebellious teenage daughter forces Ginger to reveal a long-held family secret, the Tangles’ carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. Upon the death of Glory, the family’s colorful matriarch, and the return of long-estranged Callie, Ginger resolves to return to Martha’s Vineyard and piece together what really happened on that calamitous day when a shadow fell over four sun-kissed siblings playing at the shore. Along with Ginger’s newfound understanding come the keys to reconciliation: with her mother, with her sisters, and with her daughter.

At turns heartbreaking, humorous, and hopeful, Sisters One, Two, Three explores not only the consequences of secrets—even secrets kept out of love—but also the courage it takes to speak the truth, to forgive, and to let go.
 

MY REVIEW:  Dysfunctional families fascinate me...reading this book about one very dysfunctional family was intriguing.  Honestly, I truly could not imagine why a family would keep such a secret and erase some very important treasures from their shared history.   I mean this family is a master at hiding secrets until one fateful day when Ginger, one of the sisters, whispers about the "unspoken memories" and her daughter, Julia, happens to catch the forbidden words.  Things begin to unravel but perhaps things will actually become pieced back together.  Glory's family reminds me of a puzzle with crucial pieces missing.  Glory loves to work jigsaw puzzles. It is her favorite past-time, in fact.   A missing piece would drive her crazy, and yet her own family is just like that and she doesn't  even recognize it.   Denial keeps this family going for a long time....but it's about to crumble.  Will the revealing of the truth bring the needed healing to this family?  
         I found the Tangle family to be quite sad and I couldn't help but feel pity and compassion for them.   I'm very familiar with secrets and denial, so perhaps that's why I feel this way.  I also was very eager to find the "big secret" as I read.  It seemed that it would never be told.  When I discovered it,  I was shocked that the family hid it for so many years.  This was a family who desperately needed to grieve.  
        I am rating this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers who enjoy contemporary fiction and family drama.  
        I received an ebook of this novel from netgalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:


         Nancy Star


Nancy Star, the author of five novels, started out in the movie business where her first job was scouting for books to turn into movies. Born in Queens, she now divides her time between New Jersey and Martha’s Vineyard, which is where her newest novel, Sisters One, Two, Three—slated for release on January 1, 2017—is set. Her works have been translated into multiple languages and optioned for TV and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Family Circle and Diversion magazine.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

"Where the Heart Is Romance Collection" Book Review

Where the Heart Is Romance Collection

Love Is a Journey in Nine Historical Novellas


29009132

BOOK DESCRIPTION: 

Journey along with nine women who find themselves on the move out of their comfortable lives and into the unknown as they set up new homes, take on new jobs, seek out loved ones, and encounter romance. Will their faith endure the hardships, and will love form when life is in transition? Written by nine inspirational romance authors who have a passion for American history and faith.

Novella's included in collection:
Where the Heart Is by Sally Laity--Pennsylvania, 1860
The Midwife's Apprentice by Rhonda Gibson--Summer, 1860, Oregon Trail
Murder or Matrimony by Pamela Kaye Tracey--Oregon Trail
Bride in the Valley by Andrea Boeshaar--Oregon Trail
New Garden's Inspiration by Claire Sanders--Wayne County, Indiana, August 1861
A Tender Branch by Jane LaMunyon--
Massachusetts 1874
Knight and Day by Erica Vetsch--Wyoming Territory, April 1874
On a White Charger by Erica Vetsch--continues Knight and Day
The Wonder of Spring by Carol Cox--Arizona, 1877

MY REVIEW:  Fluffy, sweet, leading on a rocky road to love....these women must  endure many challenges to get to the love desired.  I'm not sure I would have the strength to survive in the 1860's and 70's and especially traveling in wagons loaded with all your life's possessions.  These women and men must make many sacrifices.   I particularly love the novellas set on the Oregon Trail because this was a situation my students often used a computer program to set up a virtual trip on the Oregon Trail with their families.   I found it quite fascinating as I observed the choices students made and these couples must do this without the benefit of technology.   
       These are all authors who are new to me.  It was very nice to be introduced to several authors at once in a novella.  I am looking forward to reading more from these authors since tasting a bit of their writing styles.   With novella collections such as this one, I again found the stories predictable in nature, but that doesn't distract one from enjoying the quick reads.  This collection is perfect for vacations or a short break from reality that takes you on a journey filled with stress and romance.   What a combination!   But isn't that often the way with love?   
       I am giving this novella collection a rating of 5 stars and highly recommend it to those like to read a clean, sweet story.  
        Fluffy, sweet, leading on a rocky road to love....these women must  endure many challenges to get to the love desired.  I'm not sure I would have the strength to survive in the 1860's and 70's and especially traveling in wagons loaded with all your life's possessions.  These women and men must make many sacrifices.   I particularly love the novellas set on the Oregon Trail because this was a situation my students often used a computer program to set up a virtual trip on the Oregon Trail with their families.   I found it quite fascinating as I observed the choices students made and these couples must do this without the benefit of technology.   
       These are all authors who are new to me.  It was very nice to be introduced to several authors at once in a novella.  I am looking forward to reading more from these authors since tasting a bit of their writing styles.   With novella collections such as this one, I again found the stories predictable in nature, but that doesn't distract one from enjoying the quick reads.  This collection is perfect for vacations or a short break from reality that takes you on a journey filled with stress and romance.   What a combination!   But isn't that often the way with love?   
       I am giving this novella collection a rating of 5 stars and highly recommend it to those like to read a clean, sweet story.  
        Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."
(I received an ARC of this selection and my copy contains no novella written by Connie Stevens although she is listed on the cover)

About the Authors:
Erica Vetsch

Even though Erica Vetsch has set aside her career teaching history to high school students in order to homeschool her own children, but her love of history hasn't faded. Erica's favorite books are historical novels and history books, and one of her greatest thrills is stumbling across some obscure historical factoid that makes her imagination leap. She’s continually amazed at how God has allowed her to use her passion for history, romance, and daydreaming to craft historical romances that entertain readers and glorify Him. Whenever she’s not following flights of fancy in her fictional world, Erica is the company bookkeeper for her family’s lumber business, a mother of two terrific teens, wife to a man who is her total opposite and yet her soul mate, and an avid museum patron.

Carol Cox


Carol Cox has an abiding love for history and romance, especially when it’s set in her native Southwest. As a third-generation Arizonan, she takes a keen interest in the Old West and hopes to make it live again in the hearts of her readers. A pastor’s wife, Carol lives with her husband and daughter in northern Arizona, where the deer and the antelope really do play—within view of the family’s front porch.

Rhonda Gibson
Rhonda Gibson lives in New Mexico with her husband James. She has two children and three beautiful grandchildren. Reading is something she has enjoyed her whole life and writing stemmed from that love. When she isn’t writing or reading, she enjoys gardening, beading and playing with her dog, Sheba. She speaks at conferences and local writing groups. You can visit her at www.rhondagibson.net where she enjoys chatting with readers and friends online. Rhonda hopes her writing will entertain, encourage and bring others closer to God.

Andrea Boeshaar

Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar has been married for more than 30 years. She and her husband, Daniel, have three adult sons, daughters-in-law, and two precious grandchildren. Andrea's educational background includes the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, where she studied in English, and Alverno College where she studied in Professional Communications and Business Management.

Andrea has been writing stories and poems since she was a little girl; however, it wasn't until 1984 that she started submitting her work for publication. Eight years after that, she was convicted about writing for the Christian market. She read books in her genre (Inspirational Romance & Women's Fiction), studied the market, and worked hard to hone her craft.

Claire Sanders
Claire Sanders--After many years of writing and publishing in the nonfiction world of academia, Claire turned her energy, humor and creativity towards the production of compelling romantic fiction. Claire writes captivating stories that fit the genres of contemporary, historical, and inspirational romance. Claire creates heroes any woman would want to be with and heroines who overcome all obstacles to find love. Written with wit and tenderness, her stories engage the readers’ hearts and imaginations. Readers will find themselves anxiously turning the pages to find out what happens next. Claire lives in the greater Houston area with her daughter and one well-loved dog. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find her cooking, gardening, and dreaming of places to travel.

Sally Laity

Sally Laity considers it a joy to know that the Lord can touch other hearts through her stories. She has written both historical and contemporary novels, including a co-authored series for Tyndale House and another for Barbour Publishing, nine Heartsong Romances, and twelve Barbour novellas. Her favorite pastimes include quilting for her church’s Prayer Quilt Ministry and scrapbooking. She makes her home in the beautiful Tehachapi Mountains of southern California with her husband of fifty years and enjoys being a grandma and great-grandma.

Pamela Tracy

Pamela Tracy is an award-winning author from Arizona, where she lives with her husband (He claims to be the inspiration for most of her heroes) and son (He claims to be the interference for most of her writing time.) She was raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and started writing at a very young age (a series of romances, all with David Cassidy as the hero. Sometimes Bobby Sherman would interfere). Then, while earning a BA in Journalism at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, she picked up the pen again only this time, it was an electric typewriter on which she wrote a very bad science fiction novel.)
Finally published in 1999, Pamela has since published twenty-three more books, both in suspense and contemporary romance. Her most recent is Once Upon a Christmas a Harlequin Love Inspired. Her next release Katie's Rescue will be an August 2013 release from Harlequin Heartwarming. In 2009, she took first place in the American Christian Fiction Writer's Book of the Year short suspense contest. In 2008, she was a RITA finalist. 
Pamela spends days as an English professor. Besides being involved in her church, writing, teaching, and taking care of her family, she is often asked to speak at various writers' organizations in the Phoenix area. She belongs to Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crimes, and she is the past president of the local chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writer's Association. You can find out more about Pamela by visiting http://pamelatracy.com



Jane West

When Jane's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, playing Mario-cart, watching movies, and spending time with family. She has raised three children, grown now. Her dreams of becoming an author started as a child, where she spent her time writing short stories and poems. Jane writes Young Adult Contemporary, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal and Romance. 

Catch Jane West on Social Media!
Follow on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01I1YS4MM
https://www.facebook.com/JaneWest264/