Book Review | “Amish Sweethearts” by Leslie Gould – book 2 in the Neighbors of Lancaster County series

Be aware that this is book 2 in the series. I have not yet reviewed book 1, but I plan to go back and read it… and I recommend you do as well.

I still remember watching a movie made from one of the first Amish stories I read.

A lot of people I knew, thought it was ridiculous that the young man felt compelled to join the military…

They would probably say the same thing here.

Amish or not… when God calls you to do something, you have to make the choice between what you want and what you know God wants you to do.

That is a large part of this story.

And WELL DONE Leslie Gould!

She told the story well… blending the Amish aspects and the English aspects – as well as the military aspects – to form a well crafted story with wonderful characters.

Not a book you should miss… especially if you enjoy Amish fiction!

Of course… I always recommend you read a series in order, so you should definitely check out the first book in this series; Amish Promises.

 

Review ©JC Morrows 2016

4 Stars

More about the book:

Can These Two Friends from Opposite Worlds Find Love?

They’ve been best friends for years, but as high school ends, Zane Beck can’t help but look at his Amish neighbor, Lila Lehman, with different eyes. Her controlling father sees only one future for Lila, though, and arranges for her to be courted by an upstanding young Amish man. When Zane sees the two together, his plans for the future crumble, and he impulsively enlists in the Army, following in his father’s footsteps.

However, the passing of years and the distance between them isn’t enough to halt their now hidden feelings for each other. If being together used to be difficult, it’s now impossible, especially with the Amish opposed to war. Zane’s service takes a dramatic turn when he’s sent to Afghanistan. Being on the front line and the reality of taking a life has him questioning whether he can continue to serve or not. But all choices have consequences–both his and hers. With Lila preparing to marry another, will these one-time sweethearts ever find the life together that they both still long for?

GOD BLESS!

AND

HAPPY READING!

 I was blessed to receive a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
All opinions are entirely my own.

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

 

BOOK REVIEW | Gather Around the Amish Table by Lucy Leid | COOKBOOK

OK… I may not have what it takes to be Amish but I’m pretty sure I can handle eating like the Amish! Of course I don’t have a garden to tend or acres of land to till, plant and tend to so I may have to find some clever ways to imitate the work they do to work off all those calories… otherwise my hips may have a fit on me. LOL!

image

Not too many people in today’s world have the time it takes to make every single thing their family eats from scratch.

More and more often, take-out or boxed meals is the norm… yes, even in our family… but with wonderful resources like this book, at least we have the opportunity to find some new recipes we can try out when we have the time or when we make the time for it anyway.

And the recipes inside pretty much ALL look amazing!

PLUS, the awesomeness of the book does not stop there! Lucy fills the pages with wonderful tips that anyone can use in everyday life. She also sprinkles in some fantastic stories about the people of the plain communities.

In short, this book is a treasure and I am thrilled I was given the opportunity to review it. I can hardly wait to try out the recipes that fill the pages. I may even pop back in with updates for you!

Until then, here are some pretty pictures here… just to tease you – and make you want to go snag a copy so you can start testing out the recipes yourself of course!

Review © JCMorrows 2015

gather-lasagna-recipe

image   image   image

IMAGES COURTESY OF LITFUSE AND MENNOMEDIA

YUM… right!

{MORE ABOUT GATHER AROUND THE AMISH TABLE}

Gather Around the Amish Table (MennoMedia, September 2015)

Straight from Amish kitchens to yours, this cookbook offers favorite family recipes and charming stories from Amish and Mennonite cooks.

Bake the pecan rolls that taste best after an ice-skating party, or try the hoagies that a community sold to help an Amish family with hospital bills. Discover the cocoa cupcakes with instructions to “stir by hand” that one young cook took literally, or whip up the whoopie pies that one Amish woman took to market in her horse and buggy.

These cherished recipes speak of comforting traditions, lively communities, and strong Christian faith. Gather your family around the table to sample the nourishing fare and trademark charm of the plain people. In the words of one cookbook contributor: “Bake someone happy!”

Learn more and purchase a copy.

 

{MORE ABOUT LUCY LEID}

Lucy Leid is an Old Order Mennonite wife, mother, and cook in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Find out more about Lucy at http://www.mennomedia.org.

AND… DON’T MISS YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!

Get your fall baking underway with an Amish baking basket giveaway from Lucy and MennoMedia!

gather-400

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 29th. The winner will be announced September 30th on the Litfuse blog.

gather-enterbanner

 

“The Plain Choice” by Sherry Gore

“A True Story of Choosing to Live an “Amish” Life”

Notice the “” around Amish? Yeah…

I read a lot of Amish fiction. Anyone who follows my reviews knows that, but there’s something about this that doesn’t ring quite true.

It’s possible there are huge differences in Amish fiction and Amish reality – I kinda figured that one anyway…

It’s possible the publisher really doesn’t know the difference between Amish and Mennonite…

It’s also possible they’re using the word Amish because a lot of other people don’t know the difference between Amish and Mennonite…

Whatever the reason – this book is a good read. Well, it’s not always a good read. Some of the things Sherry has been through are enough to make the average person incredibly thankful for their nice, quiet, boring life.

But it is an interesting read and there is a lot of good in the life Sherry has chosen for herself.

In fact, I could easily see myself doing much of what she does.

I can’t give up my car or my phone but I wear long skirts all the time already and I love the idea of living more simply. The world has become so complicated, it’s amazing any of us are sane.

Whether you enjoy Amish fiction, Mennonite fiction or just reading about someone’s crazy, messed-up, overwhelming life – “The Plain Choice” is a good choice!

Review © JCMorrows

 

More about the book from Zondervan:

Raised in a broken family and emotionally overlooked, Sherry Gore grew up without a solid foundation, a prisoner of her own poor choices, and at times without hope. A series of terrible mistakes left her feeling wrecked and alone and a sudden tragedy threw Sherry into an emotional tailspin too powerful to escape.

Sherry hangs by a thread, unable to see how she can go on living, until it happens: on a morning of no particular significance, she walks into a church and BAM the truth of Jesus forgiving love shatters her world and cleaves her life in two: She goes to bed stunned; she wakes up a Christian.

Unwilling to return to the darkness of her former life, Sherry attacks her faith head on. Soon the life Sherry Gore remakes for herself and her children as she seeks to follow the teachings of the Bible features head coverings, simple dress, and a focus on Jesus Christ. Only then does she realize, in a fit of excitement, that there are others like her. They are called Amish and Mennonite, and she realizes she has found her people.

The plain choice that Sherry makes is not easy and life still brings unexpected pain and heartache – but it changes everything for her, as she becomes one of the few people on earth to have successfully joined the Amish from the outside.

She has found her place. And her story proves that one can return from the darkest depths to the purest light with the power of God.”

I was blessed to receive a copy of this free in exchange for an honest review!

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

“The Heart of the Amish” by Suzanne Woods Fisher

WOW! Just WOW! This book could change your life!

As someone who spends a great deal of time reading Amish fiction and visiting with the plain folk… there was not much in this book that I didn’t already know or understand.

But even with that – it was a wonderful read! Suzanne has such a way with words and presentation, that brings a while new level of understanding and appreciation!

This is a book that EVERYONE should read… not just fans of Amish fiction!

Forgiveness is something that is lost much of the time in our modern world and we could all use a good reminder of why it is so important to forgive… every day!

As far as the book is concerned… there’s really too much to say – you would think I’m going just nuts.

I loved every bit of it and I’m thrilled to have been given the opportunity to review it so you can have a chance to check it out too!

DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK!

 

Here is a brief synopsis from Revell

We have all been hurt and we all have someone we need to forgive. But sometimes it’s hard to let go of our hurt and anger in order to truly forgive and move on.

For the Amish, forgiving others in order to live at peace is woven into the very fabric of their faith. From daily annoyances to heartbreaking tragedy, they exhibit an incredible capacity for forgiveness that often baffles us. How do they do it? And how can we have the same attitude and ability to forgive?

Through true stories gathered from a variety of Amish communities, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shows you how the Amish are able to release their pain and desire for revenge, and live at peace with others. Her in-depth, personal research uncovers the astounding yet fundamental way the Amish can forgive anyone from the angry customer at the grocery store to the shooter at Nickel Mines. You’ll learn how to invite God into your story, apply lessons from the Amish to your own circumstances, and find the freedom that comes with true forgiveness

In the meantime, you can click the links below to find more info on this last book:

GOODREADS   BAKER PUBLISHING/REVELL   SUZANNE’S WEBSITE   LIFEWAY

Buy from Amazon.
Buy from Barnes and Noble.
Buy from Christian Book Distributor.
Buy from iBooks.

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

The Bachelor | Plain City Peace – Book 2 |Stephanie Reed

 


The Bachelor is the 2nd book in Stephanie Reed’s Plain City Peace series.

In book 1 – The Bargain, we were introduced to the characters and their complex situations.

In book 2 we’ve taken the next step in that relationship and we become even more involved with these beloved characters.

The Bargain introduced to us the idea that the “Amish” way is not the only path to heaven and at the time it was a radical idea that really shook up our main character.

In book 2, we explore this subject even deeper and it brings so many questions to bear – questions that can probably never be answered to our satisfaction…

Betsie is facing confusion, not only about her parents but about her feelings about two certain young men.

Such confusion certainly explains why the plain people work so hard to limit their exposure to the outside world.

Since that wasn’t exactly an option for Betsie, she is left with her confusion and frustration and some pretty big decisions that may forever change the course of her life… and perhaps even the lives around her.

Stephanie Reed will capture your attention and have you positively desperate for the final installment of this trilogy.

 

A bit more from Kregel about The Bachelor:

In this sequel to The Bargain, Betsie Troyer is back home in her Amish community where she knows she belongs, free from the confusing Englisher way of life. She and Charley Yoder have made promises to each other, and her life is back on track–until Gerald Sullivan shows up with his young daughter, asking for Betsie’s help. He’s on his way to find his estranged wife, and begs Betsie to take young Sheila in.

When she agrees, Betsie’s carefully planned life is shaken up again. Sheila’s newfound faith is troubling to Charley–and his attraction to another girl is beginning to be a problem. But how can Betsie confront him when she is still trying to confront her own feelings about Sheila’s brother, Michael? Keeping the peace between the Amish man she’s always loved, a twelve-year-old Englisher girl, and a draft-dodging hippie is more than she ever thought she’d have to deal with in her simple, orderly life. Still, Betsie is convinced she can keep things from falling apart completely.

Then during her best friend’s wedding, tragedy strikes and her world is upended. She has to make a decision: does she love Charley or Michael . . . or is she craving a deeper love that only God can give?

The compelling second novel of the Plain City Peace series, The Bachelor deftly weaves together the strands of a solid, simpler time with the turmoil of an era of change, revealing the strengths of both in its powerful narrative.

WOW! WOW! WOW! Can life get any more confusing…?

And you can click the links below to find out more/buy the book!

GOODREADS   KREGEL   STEPHANIE REED’S FACEBOOK PAGE

AMAZON   CHRISTIANBOOK   BARNES & NOBLE

 

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

 

Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for an
honest review from Kregel’s reviewer program.

 

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

 

 

The Bargain | Plain City Peace – Book 1 | Stephanie Reed

 

The Bargain - Stephanie Reed

A side of the Amish I’d never “seen” before…

WOW! Stephanie Reed is an AMAZING writer!

Reading The Bargain, It feels as if I’ve been transported to the 70s!

Since I was born in 1979, I didn’t really have the chance to experience them. Thanks to movies and television, I’ve had a glimpse but there’s something different about reading a book written about the era. It gives you an immersion that movies simply can not accomplish.

And this book shows the Amish as I have never seen them – as many readers of popular Amish fiction probably have not. Why – because most Amish fiction is written about the plain people of today…

Even the few historical books written about the plain people, up to now, have focused on the time they put down roots in this country or even when they were on their way here from across the ocean.

Stephanie Reed gives us a glimpse into an era of our country that marked great change for everyone – from a perspective that has certainly not been covered before (to my knowledge anyway).

I applaud her skill – it’s clear she did her research! I am in awe of her writing – not only is an incredibly difficult subject to tackle, but she’s done it from an angle that offers little or no precedence. And I am in love with her characters! Betsie and Sheila and Michael and Charley… Oh if get started, I’ll never stop! They’re wonderful! Just read it!

And how exciting that the 2nd book is out as well! I’m so thrilled I don’t have to wait to read it.

Of course I’ll have to wait for the third book so… if you hear a wail of agony in a day or so… that’s just me – I’ve finished the second one and I’m lamenting the long wait until The Bride – book 3 in the Plain City Peace series – coming winter 2016!

 

A bit more from Kregel about The Bargain:

It’s 1971, and Betsie Troyer’s peaceful and predictable life is about to become anything but.

When their parents flee the Amish, nineteen-year-old Betsie and her seventeen-year-old sister Sadie are distraught. Under the dubious guidance of a doting aunt, the girls struggle to keep the secret, praying their parents will return before anyone learns the truth—a truth that may end all hopes of Betsie’s marriage to Charley Yoder.

Worse still, Betsie must learn a trade while she boards with a dysfunctional Englisher family: Sheila, a twelve-year-old desperately searching for a friend and in dire need of her mother; the free-spirited mother, who runs off to “find herself” on the stage; the angry father whose structured life crumbles; and Michael, a troubled college dropout nearly killed in the Kent State Massacre.

Thrust into the English world, Betsie must grapple with the realities of war and miniskirts, pot parties and police brutality, protests and desertion. Can she help the Sullivan family and find peace in her new surroundings, or must she forget the bargain she made and seek refuge back in Plain City with protective and reliable Charley?

WOW! Right…?

And you can click the links below to find out more/buy the book!

GOODREADS   KREGEL   STEPHANIE REED’S FACEBOOK PAGE

AMAZON   CHRISTIANBOOK   BARNES & NOBLE

 

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

 

 

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

 

 

“A Simple Charity” by Rosalind Lauer | Book 3 in the Lancaster Crossroads series | Stop #14 of my Salute to Christmas Reads!

OK, this book totally works in my Salute to Christmas Reads! Which is AWESOME! …mostly because the book is awesome and I want to give it as much attention as I possibly can!

 

A Simple Charity by Rosalind Lauer

WOW!

I didn’t think Rosalind Lauer could get any better! But it seems like every book of hers I read is even better than the last one!

With the first three books Rosalind wrote; A Simple Winter, A Simple Spring and A Simple Autumn – Rosalind introduced us to the wonderful community of Halfway and I didn’t get the chance to freak about it because I didn’t actually discover her wonderful books until the second series had already started.

I did start by reading the first series and then I was blessed to be able to go right into the next… until I had to wait for this one – A Simple Charity.

And now I’m freaking out because I don’t want it to end!

I’m hoping that either Rosalind has more planned for this series or else she’s going to start another series but with these same characters! They’re too amazing to let go of!

And Rosalind Lauer has a particular talent for blending the Amish community with the English community that makes her books so much more appealing. For those of us who don’t necessarily want to make such a drastic change, it’s exciting to think that we could just move into the community and live alongside the plain people.

It’s certainly on my own wish list!

Of course it’s also tricky because I have fallen completely and totally in love with THESE people and THIS community! It’s just too well-written! Rosalind makes her characters so real, I feel like I could go to Halfway and meet them all!

Oh well… I’ll just have to be content with them in my imagination.

In the meantime, you can find more about this book HERE on the book page at Random House

And here is a little sneak peek from Random House

OF ALL THE GIFTS THAT LAST,
THE GREATEST IS CHARITY.

Although she is still in her twenties, Fanny Lapp has known a lifetime of love and heartache. Twice widowed, she has a home to maintain, a renovation in the works, and a family to raise—all without a husband. Fortunately, in the Amish community, help is never far away. To ease Fanny’s burdens, the bishop sends Zed Miller to the Lapp house. Fanny is drawn to kind, handsome Zed, who suffers from sins of the past. But to everything there is a season, and Fanny cannot act on her feelings while mourning her husband.

Newly returned to his Amish roots after many years in the outside world, Zed knows he must prove himself to earn acceptance from his community. Without a second thought, he picks up a hammer and sets to work helping Fanny fulfill her dream of turning an old carriage house into a women’s childbirth center. Soon Zed finds himself a part of Fanny’s daily chores, sharing her laughter and sorrow. Knowing that time flows like a river, running slow and steady, Zed plans to wait on his love. But when their secret is discovered, how deep will the disapproval of their community run?

 

TWEETABLES:

A reminder that the greatest gifts come from the heart.Tweet this!

A Simple Charity shines like the sun with the blessings of everyday miracles.Tweet this!

 

You can find out more about the books or purchase it by clicking the links below

GOODREADS   BALLANTINE/RANDOM HOUSE   ROSALIND LAUER’S FACEBOOK

CHRISTIANBOOK   AMAZON   BARNES & NOBLE   ITUNES

 

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review from Random House!

 

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

 

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

Just in time for the holiday shopping… My review of “The Amish Blacksmith” by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner

 

Another wonderful series by two talented authors!

This series began with “The Amish Groom” … and Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner have done a marvelous job with this next installment –
“The Amish Blacksmith”.

It’s not often we get to see a series that features Men as the main character. It is a whole new take on a very popular genre and I feel like Susan and Mindy have just nailed it!

It is enlightening to see the differences in how men approach the same situations as we are usually reading about from a woman’s perspective.

But Mindy and Susan have found the way to do it right and the fans agree that this is a hit!

Don’t miss the first book in the series; “The Amish Groom” and don’t miss the next book – coming in 2015; “The Amish Clockmaker”!

And be sure to check out other books by Mindy and Susan too!

 

5star

 

Here is what Harvest House has to say about “The Amish Blacksmith”:

 

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

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

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

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

 

And you can find more information and/or buy the book from these popular sites.

GOODREADS   HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS

MINDY’S WEBSITE   SUSAN’S WEBSITE

AMAZON   BARNES & NOBLE   CHRISTIANBOOKS   LIFEWAY   ITUNES   

 

 

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review
from the Harvest House Publishers review program.

 

Happy Reading

And

GOD BLESS!

 

I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

 

 

 

My review of “A Plain Man” by Mary Ellis

20140722-131948.jpgRecently I read Mary Ellis’s Civil War romance “The Quaker and the Rebel” and was immediately hooked on Civil War romances!

If I were not already a fan of Amish fiction, “A Plain Man” would make me one. It’s no wonder Mary Ellis is such a popular author!

WOW!

Mary Ellis is one of those authors that simply refuses to take the easy way – she refuses to steer clear of touchy subjects, instead meeting them head-on with wit and wisdom – showing us God’s love in a world very much in need of it!

She refuses to write simple characters, instead presenting us with REAL people – with flaws and weaknesses and real, true emotion!

And she refuses to give us an easy course, instead showing that the way of life is not always easy. Sometimes we stumble, sometimes we fall – but God is always there to pick us back up!

AMAZING!

Now, of course, I’m determined to go hunt down every single book she’s written so I can read and enjoy them all!

Some authors are content to tell a story – Mary Ellis will make you experience… EVERYTHING!

Don’t miss this book! And don’t miss her others either! Her Amish fiction is JUST as wonderful as her Civil War fiction! I know it seems a little backward that I would say it that way since she wrote Amish first… but to be fair, I started with the Civil War so…

 

5star

 

And here is what Harvest House has to say about “A Plain Man”:

 

Bestselling author Mary Ellis offers an engaging new standalone Amish romance about a prodigal seeking to find his way home.

Though Caleb Beachy lived in the Englisch world for some years, he is a Plain man at heart. When he decides to return to the Amish lifestyle, he moves back home and goes to work for his father. Soon these two strong-willed men find themselves at odds. Caleb discovers there’s more to embracing his faith and reconnecting with the community than merely driving a horse and buggy and giving up Levis.

Josie Yoder was just a girl when he left. All grown up now, she gives Caleb hope for the future. She soothes his frayed temper and is determined to remind him that while his faith may have wavered, God never left his side. Caleb is tempted to return Josie’s feelings, but the choices he made while away are a heavy burden on his conscience. Will past mistakes end up destroying their fledgling romance? Or will she be able to break through the wall around his heart?

A Plain Man is more than just a sweet romance centered in Amish beliefs. It’s the ever-fresh story of a wounded heart finding joy, health, and healing in God’s infinite grace.

 

And you can find more information and/or buy the book from these popular sites.

GOODREADS   HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS   MARY’S WEBSITE

AMAZON   BARNES & NOBLE   CHRISTIANBOOKS   LIFEWAY   ITUNES   BOOKSAMILLION

 

 

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review
from the Harvest House Publishers review program.

 

Happy Reading

And

GOD BLESS!

 

I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

 

 

 

Under The Heavens | Amish Horses series Book 1 | Thomas Nye

Under the Heavens by Thomas NyeDon’t be fooled by the cover.

This book is not nearly as dark and foreboding as the cover makes it seem. I know it gave me more than a little pause…

After reading it, I realize the story is not particularly my taste but it is a very intriguing concept.

Thomas Nye has taken his love of horses and his fascination with Amish culture and shaped it into a story that will definitely surprise you.

To be completely honest, I am more than a little frightened of horses due to a rough experience in my younger years and that may have affected my view just a little.

But if I can read it, with my issues, anyone can! Anyone who would enjoy a story about looking at Amish culture through the eyes of a somewhat angry young man who lives “fancy”, that is.

And all the information about horses – well, any horse lover would just eat it up.

3 Stars

A bit more from Crosslink Publishing about the book:

Lenny happened to notice his blurry reflection on the windowpane. He knew it was his image; nevertheless, he couldn’t recognize his own face. Those almond-shaped eyes and dark-brown hair belonged to him, yet, inside, he felt disconnected from his past, having never known his own father. Grandpa had insisted, “Leonard, needs to come spend a summer at the home-place …

A teenage boy, struggling with his identity, reluctantly leaves his modern, city-life behind and enters the slow-paced, mysterious world of the Amish. Grandpa teaches Lenny to farm with draft horses, a tranquil experience that seeps into his soul, changing his perspective. A neighbor girl appears while he is working in the fields, weaving a romance in the fabric of his summer.

Lenny discovers that everyday on an Amish farm is an adventure. Thunderstorms rumble above, as a fragile relationship, between an Amish family and their non-Amish visitor, begins to unravel. Daybreak in a cow pasture, plowing with horses, enchanting moonlit buggy rides, and picturesque sunsets are all part of life, Under the Heavens.

Click HERE to visit the book page at Crosslink Publishing

HERE for GoodReads

Click HERE for the author’s website and HERE for his Facebook page

 

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

 

Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for an
honest review from the BookCrash reviewer program.

 

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

 

 

“A Season Of Change” by Lynette Sowell | MY Review!

A Season of ChangeWhat an intriguing new series.

This is actually the first book I have read by Lynette Sowell and I am simply amazed at her tremendous talent.

This is a wonderfully well-written book and I am excited that there are two more planned in this exceptional new series.

I know it really has no bearing on the story but I’m always thinking about how the writer imparts the actual Amish culture and I feel like the cover has a lot to do with that and I really love how you can see the face of the young woman who is not Amish and when you look below at the three who clearly are, you don’t see their faces.

I think that’s a sign of good research and an author wanting to stay true to the beliefs of the people they’re writing about.

I LOVE the cover!

I also love the story inside the cover. The characters are wonderful and likeable and real. The story is not one that we seem to see a lot of. It’s original and interesting and it grabs our hearts and pulls us right in.

And it’s always interesting to watch the path or discovery that comes with finding a secret about your past. It brings that intrigue and the mystery into a story that typically would not have any.

I believe this is a book that will be enjoyed not just by lovers of Amish fiction but by anyone who enjoys a good story about a couple with tremendous obstacles in front of them. It’s also a wonderful story for anyone who enjoys a wholesome story of healing and discovery.

God Bless Lynette Sowell! I hope there are many more books to come.

5starI wish I could give it more than 5 stars!

 

A bit more about the book from Abingdon Press:

An Amish widower finds love in unexpected places.

Amish widower Jacob Miller believes it was a mistake to visit the Amish village of Pinecraft for winter vacation, especially after his daughter is struck by a car. Stranded in Sarasota until his daughter recovers, Jacob grows increasingly wary of events that unfold in his unfamiliar surroundings—including the strange curiosity of Englischer Natalie Bennett.

Natalie never thought her circus career as an aerial silks artist would end with a blown-out knee at the age of 25. She also never knew her late mother had a secret—that she was once Amish.

When Natalie meets the Millers at the Sarasota hospital, she is attracted to their warm hospitality and simple ways—and soon wonders if they can help her find her mother’s family. As Jacob and Natalie fall in love, their worlds collide. Will their differences tear them apart? Or will their love be strong enough to blend their clashing cultures?

Click HERE for the book page on Abingdon’s website.

Click HERE for the page on ChristianBook.com and HERE for GoodReads

 

Happy Reading

And

GOD BLESS!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity book review program in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

A True Account of an Amish Wedding | AND a GREAT story! WOW!

An Amish Wedding Invitation by Serena B MillerSerena B Miller was blessed to have made some very good friends among the Amish community who helped her to research her first novel Love Finds You in Sugarcreek Ohio and she was further blessed to receive an invitation to their daughter’s upcoming wedding.

She has written a wonderful account of that day (and a few of the events leading up to that wonderful day as well).

And I must say that it reads just as beautifully as her fiction.

Although it is clearly a true account.

Not only that, Serena really shows a unique understanding of the community and their ways. The wedding day, the ceremony and the celebration that followed were nothing like Serena was expecting and she handles those unexpected revelations with grace and a sense of humor.

Through her eyes we see the intricacies and the delicate handling of what so many of us in the “world” see as nothing more than an event meant to impress.

Clearly the Amish understand that the day is about celebrating and not about impressing anyone. They see it as a time to come together and enjoy each other’s company and fellowship and Serena shows us all of that with her beautifully crafted recounting.

As far as I can tell, the story is only available as an eBook but it’s .99 on Amazon so the price can’t be beat. Anyone who can and who is even remotely interested in Amish culture, should definitely buy it and read it!

5star

Here is what GoodReads has to say about the book:

Amish fiction author Serena B. Miller takes you “behind the barn door” in this true e-short account of her experience of attending an Amish wedding.In her years of researching her Amish novels, Serena Miller has gotten to know several Amish families in Holmes County, Ohio. When she was invited to attend the wedding of one of her friend’s daughters, she expected it to be a casual affair: muck out the barn, throw a potluck together, send the bride and groom off on their honeymoon in a buggy with a Just Married sign hung on the back. But when the young bride shyly brings her a formal, professionally printed invitation, she realized everything she thought she knew about Amish weddings was wrong.

From the hand-arranged centerpieces—made from flowers the bride grew herself—to the portable kitchens the family rents to the elaborate and formally served meal, she realized that every detail of this wedding has been carefully and beautifully orchestrated by a bride and a society that cares very deeply about marriage. On the day of the wedding, Serena sits through the three-hour sermon preached entirely in German, after which the ceremony itself lasts under two minutes. She sees the grace with which the bride cooks for and serves her guests, and then stays to clean up after everyone has gone home. She is inspired by the way every member of the community seems to have some role to play in the event.

Serena, a pastor’s wife, has attended hundreds of weddings, and draws comparisons between the overblown weddings she normally attends and this “simple” wedding. She is inspired by the immensity of the vows this young couple is making—not just to each other, but to their community—and the faithfulness of the community that puts the focus on the marriage far more than the wedding itself.

Click HERE to find this eBook on Amazon. It’s only .99 and what a GREAT price!

Click HERE to visit Serena B Miller’s website

My Review of “Love Finds You in Sugarcreek Ohio” by Serena B. Miller

Love Finds You in Sugarcreek Ohio by Serena Miller

This is a wonderfully written book. I can see why it was made into a movie.

The story touches on so many aspects that you do not generally see in an Amish fiction book and, in my opinion, it’s beautifully done.

Serena B. Miller is an exceptional writer and she blends the Amish characters with the English characters seamlessly. It is clear she is quite knowledgeable about her subjects and you feel an instant connection with them.

The story is engaging and intriguing – one that is difficult to put down.

I would love to say I read it in one sitting, that’s what I really wanted to do, but I wasn’t able to carve out the time. However, I did come back to it every spare second I had.

Now I can’t wait to see the movie.

I’m excited to see if the film-makers realize what a gem there already was within the pages or if they try to “Hollywood-ize” the story. Hopefully, since it’s being made by Mission Pictures International, they will hold tight to the wonderful message Serena has already written about the healing power of God’s Love.

5star

Here is what ChristianBook.com has to say about the book:

A mysterious outsider casts a long shadow on Ohio’s Amish country. Policewoman Rachel Troyer has always looked after her three elderly Amish aunts, proprietors of a farmhouse inn near Sugarcreek, Ohio. The idyllic town is popular with tourists, who come to sample its famous Amish goods. But one thing is clear to Rachel – Joe Matthews is no tourist. When the bearded stranger lands on her aunts’ doorstep, begging shelter for himself and his young son, Rachel is suspicious. Will she be able to uncover Joe’s secrets despite her aunts’ – and her own – growing affection for him?

To visit the book page on Litfuse, click HERE

For more from ChristianBook.com, click HERE

For GoodReads, click HERE And to visit Serena B. Miller’s website, click HERE

A Review of “Love Redeemed” by Kelly Irvin | Book 2 in the “New Hope Amish” series.

Love RedeemedThis is not an easy book to read. But then, none of Kelly Irvin’s books are easy to read.

The way she writes about the Amish shows a deeper understanding of life and Plain living that you don’t see in every Amish fiction novel.

She does not present a happy little fairy tale with tiny problems and silly obstacles. She shows us serious problems and tremendous obstacles – in other words, real problems and obstacles.

There is no easy path for her characters. It is a rocky and slippery slope they walk and the way through is not always clear – even to the reader.

The books AND the stories are definitely NOT predictable!

They are real stories about real people and, as difficult as it is to read – and please understand that when I say that, I mean that it’s a difficult experience, not that it’s difficult to get into or understand. Reading Kelly Irvin’s books are an incredibly emotional and wearisome experience – is incredibly rewarding and uplifting.

Even though her message is presented through great difficulty and tragedy, it is always a lesson we need! Everyone needs to learn the lessons she presents and going about it this way is much better that experiencing the tragedy for yourself.

Although, you kind of feel like you do experience it. Her writing is THAT good!

Have a box of tissues handy and make sure you don’t have anything pressing to do for a while but READ IT! It’s TOO good to miss!

4 Stars

Here is a bit more about “Love Redeemed” from Harvest House:

In the second book of the New Hope Amish series, acclaimed author Kelly Irvin spins a tale of romance, grief, and redemption deep in Amish country.

Phoebe Christner is thrilled when the families of her close-knit Amish community decide to spend a week at the lake. She feels she’s earned a break…and it doesn’t hurt that Michael Daugherty will be coming along. They’ll find ways to spend time together—she’s certain of it—and their romance will have time to blossom.

But when tragedy strikes, Phoebe and Michael are torn apart by their pain and the knowledge of their guilt. As they both cope with the loss of a loved one, they will come to discover that they are worthy not only of each other’s love, but God’s love.

A tender novel of faith and family set in the heart of Amish country.

And HERE is the book page on the Harvest House website.

HERE is the link to ChristianBook.com HERE is the link to GoodReads

And HERE is a link to Kelly Irvin’s website!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Harvest House Publishers book review program in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 

Happy Reading

And

GOD BLESS!

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

My Review for “The Last Bride” – Book 5 of the Home to Hickory Hollow series AND a Special Interview with Author: Beverly Lewis

The Last Bride by Beverly Lewis

OK…

I am definitely going to have to go back and finish
“The Bridesmaid” and then read the rest of the series because… WOW!

Just WOW!

“The Last Bride” is amazing!

Beverly Lewis is an exceptionally talented author!

This is not a typical Amish fiction. It’s not even a typical romantic drama.

Beverly Lewis has managed to take several situations you don’t usually find in the Amish world and weave them beautifully into this story of loss and love in a strict old-order Amish community.

The loss… and the love are not what you might be expecting either. There were several things about the book that took me completely by surprise.

Definitely not a predictable story!

It is one I will never forget.

The journey of Tessie and the people around her is crafted into a wonderfully flowing experience – albeit fraught with drama and tragedy. And… it is incredibly easy to find yourself in Tessie’s shoes… however difficult a place that is.

I think this is one of the most endearing and powerful stories about a young Amish girl I’ve ever read. Generally speaking, these types of stories are entertaining and heart-wrenching but rarely does a story about a strict Amish community touch so close to home.

This one does!

And, even though I now feel inexplicably compelled to go back and read the rest of the series, this is not a book that cannot be read out of order. For those of us who have read other books in this series, (or seen the movies made from The Shunning and The Confession – which are not part of the same series but they are written about the same community) it is comforting to “see” old friends from other books by Beverly Lewis. They are woven into the story so well, you don’t feel as if you are out of step because you don’t know their back-story.

It’s just an all-around GREAT story! READ IT!

 

Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for an honest review from the Bethany House reviewer program.

DON’T STOP READING HERE! SCROLL DOWN FOR A SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR: BEVERLY LEWIS!

And don’t forget to stop back by on Monday to find out who has won a copy of this FANTASTIC book!

 

5star

 

Fair Warning: If you have not yet read the book, you may find information in the following interview that you consider to be spoilers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

1- Is there any particular inspiration from your own life for ‘The Last Bride”?

The concept of close inner-marriage among a closed community has captured my interest–and my heart, especially more so lately with many Amish and Mennonited children being born with unique genetic disorders…some fatal.

2- Are you planning more books in the “Home to Hickory Hollow” series or are you moving on to a new series?

The Last Bride if the fifth and final book in this “stand-alone” approach to a beloved and popular series. I just finished the edit for The River, which debuts on September 2, this fall–it is a true stand-alone with no connections to any other character or series. I’m crazy about this story. My readers will love Tilly and Ruth’s story–I promise. 🙂

Also, Child of Mine, a novel I’ve co-written with my husband, David Lewis (best-selling author of Coming Home).releases soon, on June 3rd. If you loved Sanctuary, our first co-written novel, 12 years ago, you will love Child of Mine.

3- Is there anything you can tell us about your next project or is it still hush hush?

The River (my fall ’14 novel) is set in a most heavenly farmland setting in Lancaster County Amish country–“Eden Valley.” I fell in love with this area when I was a young girl growing up nearby…and more recently, while I was visiting there, following the Amish schoolhouse shootings in the fall of ’06. It’s the story of two young Amish women–one courting age, the other married–who left their Plain roots but have returned for their parents’ landmark wedding anniversary celebration. There are serious family secrets to resolve, and several understandings to overcome. And the coming to grips with the younger sister’s first love, who still seems to care for her, even though she has gone “fancy.” I can hardly wait for my readers to take Tilly and Ruth’s story journey with me!

4- Do you still regularly attend conferences? If yes, is it for your own benefit or only to share your advice and experience with others?

I attend as keynote speaker or teacher, yes. Going to writers’ conferences is invaluable and I heartily recommend to anyone wishing to be published traditionally. Or simply to glean and hone their craft of writing.

5- Is there a piece of advice you have for new or aspiring writers?

Read the best literature. Write your heart. Don’t be hesitant to revise, rework, and re-do. Writers are re-writers, if they want to be published. Have a teachable spirit when you do land your contract and start working with editors. Think of yourself as the pencil and the editor as the eraser. Truly. Sometimes what/s on the page just isn’t working. And, oh, did I mention–the best writers are voracious readers?! Also, go to the local bookstore and visualize where your book will land on the shelf, once you’re published.

 

I hope you have enjoyed my review and Beverly’s interview.

THANK YOU Beverly for taking time out of what I’m certain is a very busy schedule to answer my questions. Your advice is especially inspiring to me and I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity.

I pray God continues to bless your writing and I look forward to many more books in the future!

 

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

 

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I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

“The Kissing Bridge” by Tricia Goyer | Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors book 3

The Kissing BridgeIt’s always fun to read a book that is part of a continuing story.

And I really hope we get 7 books out of this series!

Tricia Goyer certainly has a deep well of story lines. Each book of hers that I have read is clearly original. There is no feel of having read the same story in a slightly different form over and over again.

Tricia continues the story that began with The Memory Jar – beautifully in The Kissing Bridge. We see some familiar characters and we meet new ones.

And we get to enjoy the familiar surroundings colored through the views of different people and their experiences.

It’s wonderful!

In fact, I recently read another story that is at least loosely attached to this series and it was equally wonderful.

Tricia Goyer wrote a novella for An Amish Garden called Seeds of Love. It was about the Amish of West Kootenai, Montana as well.

The Kissing Bridge is the third book in this series and it is just as enjoyable a read as the first two.

If you enjoyed The Memory Jar and The Promise Box, you will enjoy The Kissing Bridge!

And I am certain that, if you are a fan of Tricia Goyer’s writing, you will love this book!

4 Stars

A bit more from Zondervan about The Kissing Bridge:

Caught between a stifling Amish community and an unnerving outside world, a devout young woman on the run is about to become the newest arrival to West Kootenai, Montana.

On the day of her sister’s death, Rebecca Troyer took her first step away from the Amish. Rebecca had always strayed a little outside the fold—a job at an Englisch bakery, long weekends with non-Amish friends—but nothing could have prepared her family for what she is about to do: Rebecca is abandoning the community to attend nursing school. She is headed to college, into “the world.” But she has to make it across the country first.

When she stops in West Kootenai, at the home of a lapsed Amish friend from her youth, Rebecca finds a lot more in Montana than she had bargained for—namely a handsome working man named Caleb Hooley. Caleb is at a crossroads of his own. A daredevil bachelor with high standards, he has decided he’ll never find an Amish woman who can quench his thirst for adventure. Needless to say, the pretty Amish girl who has fled her community in secret catches his attention immediately.

As hearts are opened and secrets are revealed, Rebecca and Caleb find they have much more in common than just their Amish background. But can this runaway find love with a risk-taker who has lost his faith in God? All it will take is one week in the wilderness to find out . . .

Click HERE for more about this book from Zondervan

HERE for ChristianBook.com HERE for GoodReads

And HERE for Tricia Goyer’s website.

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

Disclaimer: I received the book free from the BookLook Blogger program
in exchange for an honest review.

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

“Katie’s Choice” by Amy Lillard | Clover Ridge Book 2

Katie's ChoiceAnother masterful telling from Amy Lillard.

WOW!

I’ll say it again. Amy Lillard has such an amazing talent

It is amazing to see so many different perspectives in her work. In the first book of this series: Saving Gideon, we had the perspective of an outsider looking in.

In Katie’s Choice we get the added perspective of a hard-core unbeliever who also happens to be a journalist.

Amy writes with such realism, she puts you in the shoes of each character and the different perspectives are absolutely wonderful.

One of my favorite things about this genre is that the lack of things like intimacy before marriage or bad language force the story to be so much more developed than most mainstream fiction.

Mainstream fiction depends on that “hook” to sell books and Inspirational fiction actually has have a well developed plot and storyline to make it.

Amy Lillard is a prime example of that.

Her plots are well-constructed and they flow well. She doesn’t feel the need to fill the pages with overblown drama or unbelievable events. You follow along the story and it all feels perfectly real while still being highly entertaining.

I feel blessed to have found such a terrific new author and I hope to see many more books of hers in the years to come.

Now onto book 3 of the series…

5star

Click HERE for reviews and extras from B&H Publishing Group. And here is a short blurb about the book from B&H Publishing Group:

Katie Rose Fisher loved Samuel Beachy with an intensity that shook their Amish district. No one doubted they would one day marry, until Samuel turned his back on the church and joined the world of the English. Alone now in Clover Ridge, Katie Rose dedicates her life to God and the school children she teaches each day. Although she secretly longs for more, Katie knows God’s hand is at work, and she is happy. News correspondent Zane Carson never even knew Oklahoma had an Amish community until he got the chance to live among them and learn about their day-to-day activities. Their simple way of life is intriguing, but not half as much as the young teacher. Katie Rose is flattered over the attention she receives from Zane, but she has resolved to never marry. Even if she were to entertain the idea, it surely couldn’t be with an outsider like Zane. Never one prone to the restraints of organized religion, Zane finds a comfort in the rituals and blessings in the day to day righteous living of this small Amish community. He finds himself, God, and love with Katie Rose. But as Zane draws closer to Katie Rose, Samuel comes back to repent his ways and return to his place at her side. Can Zane convince Katie Rose that he is committed to adapting to her way of life, or will Samuel win her affections back for himself once again

You can also click HERE to read reviews and more on ChristianBook.com HERE to visit the book page on GoodReads And HERE to visit Amy Lillard‘s website.

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for an honest review from B & H Publishing

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below. I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

“A Simple Hope” by Rosalind Lauer | Book 2 in the Lancaster series

A Simple HopeI didn’t think I was ever going to find a copy of this one.

The local library hasn’t bought a copy yet and I was itching to read it.

Fortunately, Random House is supportive of Book Bloggers/Reviewers…

Rosalind Lauer has a very special talent. It takes a very strong talent to be able to find more and more stories to tell about one particular community – especially without the feeling that the same material is being recycled.

Rosalind Lauer has managed to write 5 books, 1 eBook and another book to come about the community in Halfway. And not one of those stories have been even remotely the same.

However, there have been some marvelous crossovers. Rosalind has invited us into a true community.

And we get to know a little bit more of it with every book. I know I’m looking forward to A Simple Charity – book 3 in this current series, and I hope there will be many more to come after it!

Rosalind dealt with one theme in her first series – Faith. And it seems the theme for this series is Healing. In A Simple Faith, we see that healing is not just about the body. That theme continues in this book – A Simple Hope, beautifully. James was only a part of the story in A Simple Faith but A Simple Hope is clearly his story – His and Rachel’s.

We continue to see our favorite characters from other books and we meet new ones as well but this story is definitely about James and his family and Rachel and the talent God blessed her with.

It’s truly amazing that Rosalind can keep writing about such serious issues without falling into a soap opera-feel. But there is never any feeling of being embroiled in the kind of drama you would find in one of those. What we see here is real-life drama, plain and simple – with a wonderful twist of being found in the plain and simple Amish community.

It’s difficult to believe that Rosalind Lauer is not Amish herself.

She certainly writes with an accuracy that makes you feel as if she is, or as if she grew up Amish. It’s an incredible thing. You would never know these weren’t written by someone who is very much embedded in that faith.

And yet, they’re also written with such flair. It doesn’t take more than a few paragraphs to be completely draw in to the story.

I look forward to reading many more of Rosalind Lauer’s books. I’m already itching to get my hands on  A Simple Charitywhich is scheduled to be released in October of this year.

In the meantime, you can find more about this book HERE on the book page at Random House

And here is a little sneak peek from Random House

HOPE SHINES THROUGH
LIGHTING A PATH IN THE DARKNESS

Ever since the accident that confined him to a wheelchair, James Lapp has fought relentlessly to regain his strength. He knows he must be whole and healthy to run his family’s orchard and provide for Rachel King, the young woman he plans to marry. But when he defies his father’s wishes and seeks treatment outside their close-knit Amish community, James discovers just how long and treacherous the road to recovery will be. Unwilling to saddle a wife with his troubles, James decides he must part with the woman he loves.

Rachel won’t give up her dream of being a devoted wife to James, and it breaks her heart to watch him shut her out. Then their lives change forever when a runaway Englisher girl hides in the Lapp orchard. Rachel and James feel they must risk the disapproval of their friends and neighbors to help her. Will the young stranger bring them closer—or will the consequences of a shared secret tear them apart once and for all?

Revealing the wonder of plain, everyday blessings, A Simple Hope burns bright with the power of love to heal even the deepest wounds.

You can also click HERE to read more reviews on ChristianBook.com and HERE for GoodReads

Click HERE to visit Rosalind Lauer’s Facebook Page.

And I bet you’re still wondering how I ever got my hands on a copy of the book. Well…

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review from Random House! YAY!

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

…Yes! And I am very happy about it!

Yesterday I reviewed a book that I really didn’t enjoy. Actually I’ve read more than a few books lately that I have not really enjoyed.

WHY?

That is the question.

Five years ago, I read the Twilight series. Yes, I did. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I wish now that I could find a way to get some of the books I’ve read in the past out of my head but I chose to put them in there so I will just have to live with it all.

I used to be a huge fan of Nora Roberts and the covers of her books bother me so much now, I won’t even pick them up.

However, God has worked so much in my heart that I can’t even stand the thought of reading those books anymore. I am not the woman I was five years ago. I’m not even the woman I was two years ago. I am a whole new creation in GOD and… HE IS STILL WORKING ON ME!

He has put a love of ALL THINGS GOOD, WHOLESOME AND TRUE into my heart! He has filled it with compassion and forgiveness and LOVE! He has forgiven me and uplifted me and held me up through all of life’s storms!

And this is why I enjoy Amish fiction so much. Because it’s ALL ABOUT HIM!

THANK YOU MOM!

I shudder to think of what I would be reading right now if it were not for you.

YES, there are a few Amish fiction books that discuss harsh realities. YES, there are disturbing things like drugs or inappropriate relationships sometimes in Amish fiction books but in Amish fiction (OK OK… MOST Amish fiction), these things are not swept under the rug. They are not dismissed with excuses or explained away with nonsense about it not being someone’s fault or worse… blamed on someone else entirely. They are presented for exactly what they are – S I N!

This is what is missing from MOST “Christian” fiction. They spend two-thirds of the book talking about sex and drugs and blaming everybody else for their problems and then in the last two or three chapters, the person “gets religion” and it’s all OK.

I’m not trying to pass judgment. And if you’re going to pick a book like this over something like the twilight series or one of these new Amish horror novels or some crazy science fiction that talks about evolution like it’s real, then by all means – pick the “Christian” fiction. It’s better than what the world is handing out.

I’m simply saying – it’s not for me.

And I am so thankful to GOD for it! GOD and Mom. And I’m thankful to GOD for Mom! She is my light in a very dark and disturbing world. She is my rock in the quicksand of lies that so many people toss around freely. She is my life-raft in the turbulent seas of life. She is such a tremendous blessing to me and I don’t know what I would do without her!

And a big shout out to all of the GREAT writers of Amish fiction out there! You know who you are – the ones who are writing to uplift the world and not just to see those $$$!

GOD BLESS YOU and THANK GOD for you too!

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

Irony and it’s anchor in God’s plan for my life.

Three things I have found lately that are equally ironic and incredible.

Dare to BELIEVEOne: I checked out a book from the library and was absolutely shocked when I got it home and started reading.

Now I know what you’re thinking… why didn’t I just read the back to see if I was interested.

Well, I’ll tell you.

Before that book, I never really needed to worry about something as gross as “vampires” with an “AMISH” fiction book.

Granted there have been Amish fiction novels I have not cared much for – but the back of those books did not give me even a hint that I would feel that way.

So I didn’t think to look. I saw the “Inspirational” sticker on the spine and I saw Amish characters on the cover so I drew the natural conclusions… And before you think I’m a dummy – the picture on the cover did not give me any real hints that there was anything about vampires inside. I figured the slightly sinister look was advertising a suspense story or a murder mystery.

I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG!

Suffice to say, I DID NOT read the book. Right back to the library it went.

Really! Did I miss something? Since when did “Amish” become synonymous with “vampire”!? Does no one stop to think before writing…much less marketing or publishing such a thing?

Yes I know it’s fiction.
Yes I know it’s not real.
What I don’t know is how anyone who genuinely loves or lives for God, could think such a thing is even a little bit appropriate!

Anyway, on to number…

Two: I was scrolling through my reviews on Amazon and I noticed that someone had clicked one of my reviews (Minding Molly) as not helpful. Well of course I was immediately curious. Amazon doesn’t tell you who didn’t like it or why but I did notice that there were several other reviews (that were along the same lines as mine) that were also marked that way. So I’m guessing someone went through and picked out several reviews that were not flowery and gushing and clicked that they were unhelpful.

Oh well, right…

Maybe if you’re someone who is completely unaffected by other people’s opinions…

I, however, am not. I work very hard on my reviews. And, in the small number of reviews I have given, in which I didn’t love the book, I still try to be positive. I point out what the writer did well, talk about any good points and then state that – while I didn’t care for the book,  someone else might.

And while I still don’t appreciate the action, I suppose I understand the irony.

I didn’t like the book. They clearly didn’t like my review.

and now for…

Three: I applied to review books for a certain publicity company awhile back (I’m not going to name them). We went back and forth with e-mails for a long time and then I finally broke through that glass ceiling – I got an invite to join. I was required to agree to their terms, which I happily did. I e-mailed my agreement and waited. …and waited. …and waited.

And… nothing.

I e-mailed a couple of times since, trying to see what happened and trying not to take the implied rejection personally. I mean, why would a person invite you to review for them and then never get back to you once you’ve accepted?

Weird – right?

Today I wandered over to their website and checked out all the books I’ve been missing all this time. And do you know what I found?

I really haven’t been missing anything. In fact, there are quite a few books that I personally object to – strongly.

Remember the library book I talked about – this one was so much worse! With the library book, I couldn’t tell just how nasty the book was from looking at the cover (although I’m starting to think that might have been better – to know, going in, what it’s all about) and at least it made some attempt to paint the evil as actual evil. The book I found on this site not only had a nasty cover, it was blatantly flying in the face of the evil…painting it very much in the “they can’t help it” light.

My first thought:

These are Christian books… REALLY!

I know the Christian genre has expanded quite a bit lately to include a selection of fantasy and sci-fi but there is still supposed to be a line… right? Somewhere there is supposed to be a line between what the world likes and what glorifies God – am I right? Or has all that just gone the way of the “old-fashioned” hymns in church?

Anyway, this leads right into the part of this post that talks about how God orchestrated all of these things to keep me on the path that he intends for me.

With the book – He is reminding me to be careful of what I bring into my life and my home.

With the comment – He is telling me that I must give my disappointments to Him. He will be my comforter and He will give me the strength I need to get past things like that.

And with the website – He is telling me that I need to be very careful about who I associate with and I need to be especially careful about who I “Promote”. By writing reviews for them and adding my expertise to their site – I am, in essence, saying that I approve of the material there.

Now I review for multiple companies and there are books on each one that I’m not terribly fond of but this one is a very different story. There are books on their list of titles that are so far beyond appropriate for Christian readers, it would be a horrendous idea for me to endorse them and it would most likely destroy my witness.

So I’m very much better off without them!

On that note, I’m also going to be looking a bit closer at the other companies I review for. And, as much as I’ll hate to miss out on good books, I certainly don’t want to promote the nasty ones.

THANK YOU GOD!

Thank you for protecting me from myself, and others around me who care nothing for my eternal soul. Thank you for loving me enough to put up with my mistakes and waiting oh so patiently for me to come to my senses. And Thank you for forgiving all the terrible things I do – that I shouldn’t.

Now a question for you…

Is there anything in your life that falls into one of the categories above? Or another…

Could God be trying to get your attention with something seemingly small?

Are you listening?

“Be what you wish others to become.”
– Amish Proverb

GOD BLESS!

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I have discovered More NEW books! LOVE IT!

I have discovered several new (Not new…just new to me) authors of Amish fiction!

I wish these websites would get a clue and give the Amish fiction it’s very own genre category. It would make finding them so much easier! But oh well.

These titles have been added to my To-Read list for the new year!

10301012THE PROMISE OF A HOME,
THE HEARTBREAK OF AN IMPOSSIBLE LOVE

As a budding journalist with a major newspaper, Remy McCallister is eager to prove herself. While investigating an unsolved crime, Remy winds up in the tightly woven Amish community of Lancaster County, the last place she would ever expect to find herself. The story leads her to Adam King and his ten younger siblings, who are trying to sustain their warm, loving home in the wake of the murder of their parents. Although Remy tries to remain professional, she is captivated by the Kings. With her own mother gone and her father disengaged from their relationship, Remy longs for a home and a family just like that of these good, simple people.

Suddenly patriarch of his large family, Adam struggles to do the right thing for his siblings, his community, and his God. He neither wants nor needs the complications that spirited Remy brings. But as much as he tries to push her away, even as he counts all the ways this lovely outsider cannot possibly remain in his world—or in his heart—the wondrous light she shines upon his troubled soul cannot be denied. Adam can only pray for the strength and the faith to get this Englisher girl out of their lives for good.

Snowbound with the Kings, Remy experiences the wonder and the chores of a simple winter among the Plain People, as well as the friendship of their warm community. When her peaceful interlude ends, does she dare to reveal a killer in their midst, knowing that she may lose the love of this special family and this remarkable man?

12166260

A CHANCE TO FOLLOW HER HEART,
A CHOICE THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME

Although Sadie King is blessed with the voice of an angel, she never thought that following the song in her heart would take her far beyond the strict boundaries of her Amish faith and away from the only home she’s ever known. But during her rumspringa, one road leads to another, and suddenly she’s secretly performing with a band. Now she faces an impossible choice between the music in her heart and the traditions branded upon her soul.

Mike Trueherz is a dedicated young paramedic who finds a kindred spirit in Sadie. Torn between family duty and his desire to pursue a life beyond his father’s rural medical practice, he is inspired by Sadie’s honesty and courage.

While spring unfurls rich colors and bounty through the countryside of Lancaster County, Sadie and Mike must reconcile their families’ expectations with their own callings. Ultimately, their faith in each other and the God that has brought them together will give them the strength and the peace to take a chance—and to make the biggest decision of their lives.

A coming-of-age story reflecting the deepest messages of love, A Simple Spring is music for the heart.

13531837

A LOVE THAT REMAINS HIDDEN,
A FORK IN A THORNY ROAD

Jonah King has no desire to leave his close-knit community. All his hopes and dreams lie in Lancaster County, and many of them revolve around his longtime love for Annie Stoltzfus. For years he’s been trying to get her to see what burns inside his heart, yet he remains all but invisible to her. Annie’s beautiful eyes reflect only her affection for Jonah’s older brother—and her sadness when he chooses another. Jonah knows that he must speak up, but when he’s around Annie his calm, capable demeanor flees, leaving him tongue-twisted and awkward.

Gabe King has been courting schoolteacher Emma Lapp for months, but she insists on keeping their relationship secret. Emma embraces her duty to set a good example for her pupils, but Gabe is in his rumspringa and still wild at heart, riding motorbikes and unwilling to cut his ties to the outside world. Much to Emma’s deep sorrow, it appears that she and Gabe are choosing different paths.

As swirling leaves of orange and gold dance across the countryside, two brothers must find the courage and faith to reconcile their heritage and their hearts.

A beautiful story that explores the clarity of true love, A Simple Autumn is a bounty for heart and soul.

17316499BLESSINGS BORN OF TRAGEDY
A LOVE TO HEAL ALL FEARS

Rushing to the scene of a tragic highway collision, nursing student Haley Donovan draws on her training to care for the passengers in the crumpled van. The experience wins her a place in Lancaster County’s tight-knit Amish society, and draws her to kindhearted psychologist Dylan Monroe. Working side by side with Dylan, who is bringing counseling services to the small town of Halfway, Haley feels an undeniable attraction between them, yet she senses that Dylan is holding back, scarred by the wounds of his past.

Elsie Lapp, the manager of Halfway’s country store, is a voice of cheer and goodwill for her customers. But Elsie’s serene world spins out of control with the terrible crash, and the young woman finds herself grappling for the simple faith that has always sustained her. Her burden is eased by Ruben Zook, a neighbor known for his snide jokes. In the aftermath of the accident, Ruben reveals a tender heart that could easily sweep her away. However, Elsie carries secrets that keep her from surrendering her heart.

Exploring the ways that faith, hope, and charity bring everyone together, A Simple Faith resonates with the sweetness, purity, and power of love

IMG_2559How far can God’s mercy reach?

Lindie Wyse is pregnant out of wedlock and thinks an arranged marriage is the only way to preserve her future. Josiah Plank is certain he’ll never love again, but he needs someone to care for his eight-year-old daughter, Hannah. The two take on their arrangement tentatively at first but soon realize they are each in for more than they imagined.

Lindie experiences a breakthrough with Hannah when she recognizes Hannah’s special gifts, but a risky pregnancy and serious health issues threaten to demolish the foundation Josiah and Lindie are building. Will their growing love survive despite their struggles, or will their hearts become as cold as the northern winter?

OK! I’m off to reads LOTS of new books!
Watch for reviews SOON!

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I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

25 Posts of Christmas: Next on the reading list.

Now that I have a little spare time and I am all caught up on my books to review, I plan to read nothing but Christmas stories!

Here’s a little overview on the books in my queue.

I’m finally going to finish “GRACE” by Shelley Shepard Gray 8501404

(The synopsis from GoodReads)

It’s never too late to go home.

It’s Christmastime at the Brenneman Bed and Breakfast, and everyone is excited about closing down for the holidays.  But when two unexpected visitors appear seeking shelter, the family’s commitment to hospitality is tested.  First Levi arrives, sullen and angry…but insisting on staying for five days.  Next Melody shows up.  She’s almost nine months pregnant, but won’t say a word about why she traveled all the way from Kentucky by herself.  As the two strangers settle in, the Brennemans try to make the best of an uncomfortable situation, except for Katie, who knows a thing or two about keeping secrets.  She is determined to learn the truth about these two strangers…all while keeping her own secret safely hidden away.

All is revealed when a snowstorm traps them at the inn.

Then I’m going to read “PEACE”

17331333(A quick synopsis from GoodReads)

After a year of secrets and scandal, will this Amish community finally find peace under the bright promise of Christmas?

Beth Byler has a secret. Ever since she met Englischer Chris Ellis while helping out at the Yellow Bird Inn, she can’t stop thinking about him. She knows a relationship could never go anywhere–Chris was working undercover in Crittenden County as a DEA agent. That meant he faced danger daily and carried a gun, making him completely unsuitable for an Amish woman like herself. But she knew he felt the attraction, too. It was the reason he left so suddenly, promising never to see her again.

Then, three days before Christmas, while Beth is taking care of the inn, Chris returns. This time, he is bleeding and in need of a place to hide. Against her better judgment, Beth takes him in and tends to his wounds. She also promises to keep his presence a secret. Before long, it becomes clear that nothing between them has changed–a relationship is inevitable. But are they ready to sacrifice everything for this chance at love?

and “A Christmas for Katie”

15851936(A bit about the book from GoodReads)

Will a little Amish girl make a Christmas miracle?

It isn’t easy to be Katie Weaver. Her sister-in-law Ella is about to have a baby, making Katie an aunt for the second time … and she’s only six and a half! Plus, her favorite librarian, Miss Donovan, seems sad. She won’t even fix up the rundown nativity in front of the library in time for Christmas. Then, an old woman is attacked outside the library, and, one by one, the nativity figures start to disappear!

Luckily, there’s a new deputy in town, Connor Fields. He takes a real liking to Miss Donovan … and he promises to find the missing nativity pieces for Katie.

Now, all Katie has to do is pray that Ella’s delivery goes well and that some kind of nativity is in place for Christmas Eve. Oh, and that Miss D. falls in love with Connor. Katie knows from watching her three brothers that it makes people real happy. And that would be a Christmas miracle indeed!

Then I’m going to read “Christmas in Sugarcreek”

10680698(More about the story from GoodReads)

Judith Graber has always been the obedient daughter. When her older brother Josh struggled with his love life, she offered wise counsel. When her younger brother Caleb flirted with the idea of leaving their order, she firmly told him he was wrong. Over the years, she’s watched her younger siblings, helped around the house, and worked in her family’s store during her spare time. Judith feels overworked, overlooked, and underappreciated this holiday season.

But everything changes when her father hires Ben Knox.

Ben Knox is the “bad boy” of Sugarcreek. Though he’s never considered jumping the fence, he’s certainly never tried to be anything close to dutiful. Two years ago he left Sugarcreek under a cloud of shame. Rumors circulated that his rumspringa had been filled with more than the usual harmless explorations.

Now he’s back and working side by side with Judith.

As the chaos of the holiday season threatens to sap all joy, sparks fly between Ben and Judith. But Judith steels herself to ignore her infatuation. The last thing she wants to be is just one more girl who falls under Ben’s spell. Ben, on the other hand, wants Judith to realize there’s more to him than his bad reputation. When he fled Sugarcreek, he was running from a disruptive home life. Now that he’s back, he wants a fresh beginning.

Could this Christmas season bring love and a new life for the unlikeliest pair in Sugarcreek.

YAY! Shelley Shepard Gray OVERLOAD!

Looks like I’m in for some GREAT stories!

What are your plans for reading in the next few days? Or are you going to be running around shopping after Christmas sales and visiting relatives?

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I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

25 Posts of Christmas Day 13: Christmas Cookies

Today’s post is a sugar-filled free-for-all of Cookie Goodness!

Hope you enjoy the yummy pictures and the delicious recipes! And I hope you grab your kids and go get baking!

I meant to do 12 for the 12 days of Christmas but I went over by a few. I’m sure you won’t mind…

EVERY PICTURE is linked to the recipe!

Sugar Cookies with Ornamental Frosting
Sugar Cookies with Ornamental Frosting
Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
Cinnamon Crinkles
Cinnamon Crinkles
Chocolate Snowball Cookies
Chocolate Snowball Cookies
Christmas Cookies
Christmas Cookies

To be 100% honest, I’m not certain the picture above is for the recipe on the page – I think it’s just a pretty picture they found. But don’t miss the page, there are a bunch of GREAT recipes shared!

Peanut Butter Rudolph Reindeer Cookies
Peanut Butter Rudolph Reindeer Cookies
Chocolate Mint Wafer Cookies
Chocolate Mint Wafer Cookies
Wreath Cookies
Wreath Cookies
Silver Bells
Silver Bells
Sugar Thumbprints
Sugar Thumbprint Cookies
Minty Christmas Cookies
Minty Christmas Cookies
Snowflake Shortbread COokies
Snowflake Shortbread Cookies
Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies
Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies
Chocolate-Glazed Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
Chocolate-Glazed Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

BE CAREFUL – the site for the recipe below is not entirely family-friendly.

Be careful. This site is not completely family-friendly.
Peppermint Twist Kisses

And of course, we can’t have a Cookie-overload post without a recipe for Peppermint Bark!

Peppermint Bark
Peppermint Bark

ENJOY!

And while you’re baking and sampling, consider your neighbors, your postman(woman), your landlord, your teachers (if your kids are in public school).

Send cookies to your loved ones! It’s great for two things!

– Your time and your care and your love goes into them as you bake. The people you share them with will appreciate that.

– You won’t gain an extra 20 pounds because you’re eating tons of cookies! LOL!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!”
12 Days til Christmas

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Posts of Christmas Day 12: A New Beginning in Pebble Creek

Book 2 in The Pebble Creek series is just as wonderful as the first.

Home-for-Lydia-A-662x1024In “A Home for Lydia” we get to know the people who live in the other side of the Pebble Creek community.

This side of the community is a little more liberal, a little more accepting of technology but clearly just as Amish. And ironically, there are a few ways they seem a bit more Amish.

We were introduced to this community in the first book: as Miriam’s brother lives there. So it’s not completely new to us.

We get to see a lot of the same characters. However, the main characters are mostly new.

I don’t know about you but I really enjoy continuing series. They’re my favorite kind of books. I love reading how the characters are doing in latter books and watching how they interact with new characters and difficulties. It’s why I love reading so much. Too many movies that do a continuing series ruin the whole thing in the second movie. Books aren’t that way (most of the time…I’m sure there is a series or two out there that is).

Anyway, before I get going…

A few words from Harvest House about the book:

A Home for Lydia, the second book in a new romantic series from popular author Vannetta Chapman, centers again on the Plain community of Pebble Creek and the kind, caring people there. As they face challenges to their community from the English world, they come together to reach out to their non-Amish neighbors while still preserving their cherished Plain ways.

Aaron Troyer simply wants to farm like his father and grandfather before him. But instead he finds himself overseeing the family’s small group of guest cabins nestled along the banks of Pebble Creek. That also means he must work with the cabins’ housekeeper, Lydia Fisher.

Lydia is the most outspoken Amish woman Aaron has ever met, and she has strong opinions about how the guest cabins are to be run. She also desperately needs this job. Though sparks fly between boss and employee at first, when the cabins are robbed, nothing is more important to Aaron than making sure Lydia is safe.

Together they work to make the vacation property profitable, but can they find out the identity of the culprit before more damage is done? And is Lydia’s dream of a home of her own more than just a wish and a prayer?

I will grant you, the story is not one that takes place at Christmas but the things we see in the story are equally Christmas-oriented. There are many people out in the world without a home at this time of year. And many people are losing jobs or having to find new ones at Christmas-time.

The book deals with serious emotional and relational issues that are just as present in our “Englisch” communities as they are in the Amish community.

Aaron finds himself with a lot more responsibility than he wants and he would much rather be back on the farm – not taking care of a bunch of cabins that are falling down around him. I love how we see the humanity in his behavior. Too often, we think of the Amish as “perfect” because they hold themselves to much higher standards than we do but they are just as human as everyone else.

And one of the things I enjoy most about this series is how the people in Pebble creek deal with the “Englisch” community. There was a very serious thing that reared it’s ugly head in the first book and we see it come to fruition in the second book. It’s intriguing to watch the main characters’ reaction to it and then “hear” their thoughts about it all.

All told, it’s another wonderful book in this series and I would highly recommend it to anyone! 5 STARS!

5star

If you would like to read more about this book click HERE to go to the page at Harvest House Publishers. You can also read a sample chapter!

Or click HERE to read more reviews over at GoodReads

And you can read more about Vannetta Chapman on her website HERE

13 Days til Christmas

Wishing you and your family a Merry and Blessed Christmas this year!

GOD BLESS YOU!

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The Amish Canning Cookbook by Georgia Varozza

Ah the best laid plans of bloggers & reviewers…

20131105-222717.jpg

The last cookbook I reviewed was a bit of a disaster. I read through it & it looked good on the surface. Unfortunately it only looked good on the surface.

That is not true of this one. This book is very well-written, well put-together and it offers enough information that I believe the novice “canner” will have no need for any other resources.

“The Amish Canning Cookbook” by Georgia Varozza is a great find for our family and I believe anyone else who cans or is considering starting to can!

“PLAIN AND SIMPLE LIVING AT ITS HOMEMADE BEST”

The above quote says it all, in my opinion. For Ms. Varozza, canning isn’t just a hobby… it’s a way of life. Her book teaches that for families who choose a simpler way of life of eating whole grains and healthier foods, canning is an important asset. It creates self-reliance; from planting a garden or visiting a farmers market, to canning the food, to prepare better tasting, healthier, natural food from God’s bounty.

After the brief introduction telling why she feels canning is an important part of making her home a better place for her family. This wonderful book includes everything you need to know (or could ever want to know) about canning! The chapters include a brief history of canning, how to get started, and step-by-step guides for water-bath and pressure canning.

Then comes the huge assortment of recipes!

Butters, jams, and jellies. Pickles and sauerkraut. Tomatoes. Fruit and pie filling (I didn’t expect to find fruit and pie filling recipes, but by golly, she included them. Then comes vegetables, meat, poultry and fish recipes… along with soups, stews and other good things.

PRACTICAL ASPECTS of the Book:

I have noticed a lot of cookbooks lately that have very thin pages. Personally, my favorite cookbook pages are either plastic or in plastic sleeves but this is not always practical for a professionally published cookbook. This cookbook has very good, thick pages. These pages will not be easily ruined by cooking spills and they will not curl up in the heat of the kitchen.

Also there is space on every single page for your personal notes. This is a tremendous asset as well because every cook or canner will have little things about recipes that they change, adding or subtracting. And it is always easier to be able to look at the recipe and see your notes right there with it. (This is one of the instances where plastic pages would be impractical.)

The binding is perfect for a cookbook as well. Too many people put a regular spine binding on cookbooks but this book is spiral bound and that makes it so easy to open the book, lay it flat and see your recipe while you’re using it. It’s great!

All together, a wonderful book. Very well-done. A very smart purchase for any canner. Also it would make a great gift for anyone of your friends or in your family who can.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Harvest House Publishers in exchange for a free review. (If I had not though, I definitely would have bought it. It’s a great book! And I plan to search out her other cookbook as well.)

I give this book 5 stars and I would recommend it to everyone!

Click HERE for the Harvest House Publisher’s Page about the book,
HERE for the GoodReads page and HERE for the author’s blog.

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God Bless You!