Book Reviewer… Influencer… Street Team… Where do I fit and what do I do?

Anyone who follows my book blog, knows that I review books… A LOT of books! I LOVE to read and I love to share my thoughts on these books with my followers.

Along this journey, I have been blessed to join several different street teams.

Recently I was forced to leave one of those street teams (on my own… NOT by the author). And, given some drama that has trickled through blogger circles of late, I felt the need to make mention of something that tends to be misunderstood…

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A REVIEWER is someone who reads books and then posts reviews on sites like Christianbook.com​, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc…

Some of these reviewers are sent books by publishers or promotional companies or the authors themselves.

Along with this “gifted” book comes the requirement that the reviewer gives an HONEST review… not just a positive one.

 

shutterstock_143336716An INFLUENCER is someone who is part of a selected group of people who are chosen to help launch a book. Most authors ask the members to post reviews but they require them to be positive. In the case that a reviewer can not post a positive review, they are asked to post none at all – or at least to wait until a month or so after the book has released.

But the main job of an influencer is to help get the word out about a book’s release. They are responsible for splashing notifications across social media, requesting the book at local libraries and passing out promotional materials like bookmarks and pens.

2b82cdeA STREET TEAM is a combination of the two above.

The street team members’ job extends beyond a book’s release. They notify their followers and friends about sales on the author’s books, special giveaways and more. They also hand out promotional materials (when the author has them to pass out), and they are usually required to read the author’s books and review them.

Typically, an honest yet positive review is no problem in these groups because the members are generally fans of the author’s work. However, most authors do not require a positive review – simply an honest one… in order to have lots of reviews up – to encourage sales.

If a street team requires a positive review, this should always be made clear before the reviewers join. However, lately there has been a bit of drama that has made this point a bit murky.

There are street teams out there that are run, not by the author but by a fan or by the author’s assistant. When the case is a fan running the team, there may be some issues because the fan has their own ideas about the author’s work and if a member’s review does not line up with their own opinion, they may find it difficult to be unbiased.

 

My caution is this:

Reviewers – be careful about what street teams you join. DO not join simply because the author is high-profile. Join the street team of an author you admire, one you will have no problem promoting!

And be sure to read all of the requirements BEFORE you join!

 

Authors – be cautious about how you run your team (or who you choose to run the team for you). Any drama that goes on will not be laid at the feet of that person on social media. It will be attributed to your team and YOUR name.

Also… you should be extremely careful about setting boundaries about reviews. 5 stars on Amazon is great but word of mouth still carries a tremendous amount of weight and if a reviewer is unhappy, they will most likely tell almost everyone they know about it.

I would also suggest you watch what works and what doesn’t with your friends’ street teams. Learn by example and never hesitate to make suggestions to friends about their own teams. Just because you see where something doesn’t work, does not mean they do.

 

Of course it has to be said… some authors do not deal well with bad reviews. But think of it this way… Is it more important to have ALL good reviews or to have a large number of reviews? Whether the reviews are bad or good, having a large number means that a large number of people have read the book.

And… I speak from experience when I say that I have NEVER allowed a negative review to sway me from reading a book that interested me. I have also read more than a few books that received nothing but glowing reviews – which I did not enjoy.

Think about it…

God Bless!

 

© JCMorrows 2015

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A LOOK BACK at “A March Bride” by Rachel Hauck | Royal Weddings series #1.5 | Review marathon!


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Well, I have to admit – reading over my initial review was a bit… odd.

Anyone who read it the first time around – knows that.

For anyone who has not read it, you can click HERE if you’re curious.

OK… now, having said that – I’m going to try to do the review justice again.

If you read my review yesterday, you know I came late to this wonderful series and it seems like I had to wait forever to read the next chapter in Nathaniel and Susanna’s romance!”

I was also tickled to find out that this wonderful story will be available in March of this year in a PAPER book with two other wonderful stories in the Year of Weddings series!

Now on to my review…

I am reminded yet again that Rachel Hauck is a GREAT writer! WOW!

You could not have pried the tablet out of my hand! while I was reading A March Bride

Every trial, every misstep, every twist and turn of this amazing story shows you that Rachel Hauck is in tune with precisely how God’s plans work!

We think our own stumbling blocks are just that. And sometimes… maybe… they are – because we have to stumble to look up.

Each trial you have in your own life, whether it is part of God’s plan or not, will help get you on your way to the destination God has in mind for you, and I LOVE that Rachel has that in mind when she’s writing these stories.

In fact, God is central to her novels in a way unlike most others you will read. It’s AMAZING! God has truly gifted Rachel Hauck with such an amazing gift!

The only complaint I have about this book is that there wasn’t more of it!

Whether you enjoyed Once Upon A Prince or not, A March Bride is a MUST READ! – Tweet this!

 

Now onto the next story in this amazing series!

Review © JCMorrows 2015

5star

Here’s a bit more about A March Bride from Zondervan:

Susanna has found her true prince, and their happily ever after is just around the corner. But when Nate asks her to give up something precious to her, Susanna can’t help but wonder if it’s a sign that their love is not meant to be.

Susanna Truitt (Once Upon A Prince) is three weeks from royalty. She’ll soon marry King Nathaniel II of Brighton Kingdom. But when the government insists she renounce her American citizenship before the wedding, coupled with the lack of involvement by family and friends, Susanna’s heart begins to doubt whether this marriage is God’s plan for her.

Nathaniel would do anything for his bride-to-be. But he knows his position requires that she give up a lot to be with him. Her life will never be her own—right down to her very identity.

When she travels home to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, right before the wedding, Nathaniel fears she won’t return. Gathering his courage, he devises a plan to win his bride all over again, and together they seek out a kingdom to treasure above all.

A year’s worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed.

 

You can find reviews and links to purchase this fabulous series by clicking the links below!

A March Bride – GOODREADS   ZONDERVAN   RACHEL’S WEBSITE

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

Spring Brides Compilation – GOODREADS   ZONDERVAN

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.

Rachel Hauck Marathon | Royal Weddings Series!

We have four days until How To Catch A Prince by Rachel Hauck releases and since I love any excuse for a review marathon…

We will begin tomorrow with the book that started it all:

Once upon a Prince

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Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by bestselling author Rachel Hauck, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale.
Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess—just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.

The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon’s Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family’s tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he is blindsided by love.

Their lives are worlds apart. He’s a royal prince. She’s a ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation. It’s the ultimate choice. His kingdom or her heart? God’s will or their own?

 

Don’t miss the book that started it all – Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck!Tweet this!

 

Then, even though it’s listed as book 4, I’m moving to the novella I love so much:

A March Bride!

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Susanna has found her true prince, and their happily ever after is just around the corner. But when Nate asks her to give up something precious to her, Susanna can’t help but wonder if it’s a sign that their love is not meant to be.

Susanna Truitt (Once Upon A Prince) is three weeks from royalty. She’ll soon marry King Nathaniel II of Brighton Kingdom. But when the government insists she renounce her American citizenship before the wedding, coupled with the lack of involvement by family and friends, her heart begins to doubt whether this marriage is God’s plan for her.

Nathaniel would do anything for his bride-to-be. But he knows his position requires that she give up a lot to be with him. Her life will never be her own — right down to her very identity.

When she travels home to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, right before the wedding, Nathaniel fears she won’t return. Gathering his courage, he devises a plan to win his bride all over again, and together they seek out a kingdom to treasure above all.

 

A March Bride by Rachel Hauck – a wonderful novella in the Royal Weddings series!Tweet this!

 

After that, we will move to the second story in this series:

Princess Ever After

Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck

Regina Beswick never dreamed of faraway places. She’s happy with her life as a classic car mechanic and owner of a restoration shop.

But an unexpected visitor and the discovery of a fairytale, drawn by her great-grandma, causes Regina to wonder if she might be destined for something more.

Tanner Burkhardt, Minister of Culture for the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg, must convince the strong-willed Southerner, Miss Beswick, that she is his country’s long-lost princess. Failure could destroy his reputation and change his nation forever.

As Regina and Tanner face the challenges before them, neither are prepared for love to invade their hearts and change every thing they believe about themselves.

However, when a royal opponent nearly destroys Regina’s future, she must lean into God and trust He has sovereignly brought her to her true and final destiny.

 

A Different kind of Princess story by Rachel Hauck – Princess Ever After!Tweet this!

 

And we will finish up with Rachel’s newest book in this series which releases in four days!

How To Catch A Prince!

Prince Stephen came to America to escape responsibility. But what he found complicates his life more than ever.

Corina Del Rey is happy with her life in Melbourne, Florida. She spends her days engrossed in her career as a journalist and has her sights set on climbing the corporate ladder if for no other reason, to distract herself from her dissolving family. But when she is confronted with the past she fought so hard to put behind her, she struggles to make sense of her future.

Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom has moved on since the tragic death of his buddies in Afghanistan. A star professional rugby player, he has no intention of looking over his shoulder at what could’ve been.

But when a notice arrives in the mail requiring his and his wife s appearance before the courts to dissolve their marriage, he must deal with the questions rumbling around in his heart. He thought his marriage had been annulled long ago, but his memories of Corina Del Rey remain close. Does he still love her? Can he even find her? Above all, can he tell her the truth about that fateful night in Afghanistan seven years ago? If he does, he might really lose her forever.

 

How To Catch A Prince by Rachel Hauck – RELEASES TUESDAY!Tweet this!

 

How To Catch A Prince – Rachel Hauck’s NEWEST story in The Royal Weddings Series!Tweet this!

 

Don’t miss a single one!

FUN! FUN! FUN!

It’s RELEASE DAY! | A Look Back at “An Amish Cradle” by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman

YES, I am posting my review again because this book is JUST THAT Awesome!

Plus I originally posted it two weeks ago and release day is TODAY!

An Amish Cradle is another wonderful collection of fabulous stories by four amazing authors!

 

I LOVE THESE BOOKS SO MUCH!

I have every single one – yes, you read that right – every single one of the anthologies in this series of books.

 

It started as a bit of a fluke. I picked up the An Amish Christmas at our local used book store one year. And then I signed up to review one with BookLook bloggers and the rest, as they say, is history. As I am a notorious book collector, I had to have them ALL!

I enjoy SO MUCH these extra stories put together by several authors whom I just LOVE! And I especially LOVE IT when one of them is kind of a BONUS story!

As far as I can tell (I haven’t read everything Kathleen Fuller or Beth Wiseman has written), Amy Clipston’s is the only story in this collection that fits that description but that’s enough for me!

I have not rewritten the review below but I have added little thing in here and there.

 – In His Father’s Arms by Beth Wiseman – 

Down Syndrome has got to be one of the toughest subjects to write about and I applaud Beth Wiseman for, not only doing it, but doing it well! It’s always difficult to understand God’s will in these situations and I love how Beth shows us that – Amish or not – these parents have to deal with the situation as a mother and father.

Bravo Beth for showing that it’s not easy for the Amish just because of their faith.

 – A Son for Always by Amy Clipston – 

OK… I admit it. This is my favorite story in the book! And that’s really saying something because they’re all so fantastic! Carolyn and her husband Joshua are two of my favorite characters from Amy’s Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series.

I don’t know how Amy did her research for a single mom but she certainly nails it right on the head! And anyone who says that Amy went overboard with Carolyn’s emotions in this novella can not have ever been a single mother.

This story is PERFECT! Bravo Amy!

And THANK YOU for giving us this extra little bonus in what is a fantastic series!

 – A Heart Full of Love by Kathleen Fuller – 

WOW! Again – I can not imagine how Kathleen did the research for this! And to write about it so convincingly…

I refuse to ruin any of this story for you. It’s just too good to miss!

This is one of those stories that also shows how the plain folk deal with tough situations things in much the same way as we all do. Although it does come in handy that most Amish have a very strong faith!

 – An Unexpected Blessing by Vannetta Chapman – 

I LOVE that stories with older main characters are becoming more popular! I think, far too often, people forget that interesting things still happen to those of us over the age of 30.

Vannetta does such an exceptional job of writing this story!

Instead of the anxiety over not being a good mother or not knowing what she’s doing – Etta has worries of a much more seasoned wife – and yet – Vannetta does not minimalize the issues a young mother would deal with, she simply shows an aspect of life that not many other authors think to.

I hope to see many more stories like this! BRAVO Vannetta! GREAT writing!

 

BRAVO to all four authors! I can hardly wait for the next one!

If you hop over to Facebook KATHLEEN FULLER is running a giveaway.
AMY CLIPSTON is advertising her next book signing – DON’T miss that!
VANNETTA CHAPMAN has posted a great video that ties in with one of her upcoming stories.
And BETH WISEMAN has some great discussions about her travels, how to find God in our writing and the ever-popular Amish Mud Sales that will be going on soon!

Also…

VANNETTA CHAPMAN is hosting several giveaways on her website so don’t miss those!
AMY CLIPSTON is running a contest to win two of her other titles so don’t miss that!

And a member of Any’s street team is hosting a Giveaway too – ZAC WEIKAL!

 

DON’T MISS An Amish Cradle by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman!CLICK TO TWEET!

 

Once again, Beth Wiseman brings us a wonderful story of love and real life!CLICK TO TWEET!

 

Amy Clipston has gifted us with a wonderful BONUS story about two favorite characters!CLICK TO TWEET!

 

Kathleen Fuller certainly doesn’t shy away from serious subjects!CLICK TO TWEET!

 

Vannetta Chapman is a masterful storyteller – no matter the plot!CLICK TO TWEET!

 

Review © JCMorrows 2015

 

More from Thomas Nelson about An Amish Cradle:

In His Father’s Arms by Beth Wiseman

Ruth Anne Zook is excited that she and her best friend are due with their children the same week. But when Ruth Anne’s baby is born with Down Syndrome, she and her husband struggle to understand God’s plan.

A Son for Always by Amy Clipston

Carolyn and her husband Joshua are thrilled to be pregnant with their first child. A teenager when she had her son Benjamin, Carolyn still feels obligated to work to secure Ben’s future, even though Josh adopted Ben. She struggles to realize that Josh will love and protect both of their children equally.

A Heart Full of Love by Kathleen Fuller

Ellie’s mother loves to meddle in her personal life—especially now that Ellie’s pregnant. Since Ellie is blind, her mother worries that she won’t be able to handle the baby. When Ellie gives birth to twins, her mother insists on moving in. Just as everyone reaches the breaking point, a miracle draws them closer to each other and to God.

An Unexpected Blessing by Vannetta Chapman

At 42, Etta thought her time of having children was over, but she’s pregnant again. She goes into labor during a blizzard, and complications with the delivery raise fear. Etta struggles to accept Gotte’s wille for the baby and her son, David, who moved away two years earlier in search of what he would do with his life.

 

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

GOODREADS   THOMAS NELSON   WAL-MART

BETH’S WEBSITE   AMY’S WEBSITE   KATHLEEN’S WEBSITE   VANNETTA’S WEBSITE

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

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.

A look back | Romance on the River – a FREE prequel in Mary Ellis’ series – “Civil War Heroines!”

Romance on the River

I said it before and I’ll say it again…

Mary Ellis is a genius!

This eBook was JUST enough to get me excited about a book that I had not previously intended to read.

had never been a fan of Civil War era romance, or for anything about the Civil War era, in fact… until I read Mary’s ebook – Romance on the River

After reading this tantalizing tome, I simply had to read the book that followed!

It doesn’t matter how short the story is, it is expertly written! Mary gives you just enough information to make you want to move right on to The Quaker and the Rebel!

I am thrilled that more and more authors realize how much their readers enjoy these extra looks into the story! They can’t possibly put absolutely everything into the main book or each one would be 1,000 pages and readers just don’t have the patience for that.

Which is what makes these extra stories so perfect – it gives us a bonus story that otherwise we would miss.

And it doesn’t hurt that it makes some readers who wouldn’t otherwise consider the book – excited to read it!

So… don’t miss it – especially since it’s FREE!

You can download this short prequel on a number of eBook retailer sites and I have linked as many of them as I could find. Nearly all of them support an app or a reading program that will work on your e-reader, tablet, phone or even your computer.

Happy hunting!

 

5star

 

A peek inside from GoodReads:

This short story prequel by bestselling author Mary Ellis provides an early glimpse into the life of Quaker Emily Harrison. Laced with humor and a sweet love story, this bonus material also contains the first chapter of Emily’s continuing journey in The Quaker and the Rebel, Book 1 of the Civil War Heroines series.

Summer 1861—Emily Harrison is finding life a bit overwhelming. Alone on her family’s farm, she must take on the roles of both housekeeper and farmer. She cares for the garden, makes plans for planting the fields, and milks the cows, all the while creating havoc in the home her mother used to keep immaculate. That is in addition to providing a safe house as part of the Underground Railroad.

In the midst of this whirlpool of swirling tasks, she is getting ready to greet very important dinner guests—the love of her life and her pastor and his wife. Will Matthew finally propose? What news does Reverend Ames bring that turns Emily’s world upside down? How does the new war between the North and South impact her life? And…will the goose be cooked in time

 

Intrigued yet?

To “purchase” the FREE eBook, click HERE for ChristianBooks, HERE for Lifeway, HERE for Amazon, HERE for Barnes and Noble, HERE for Google Books and HERE for iTunes.

For the GoodReads page, click HERE

And for Mary Ellis’ website, click HERE

 

 

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.

It’s a REVIEW Marathon! Mary Ellis’ Civil War Heroines Series! | I JUST LOVE THESE BOOKS!

Once upon a time, I read a great eBook by Mary Ellis. At the time, I knew she wrote Amish fiction and we owned a few of them but I hadn’t gotten around to reading any of them yet but I had no idea she also wrote historical fiction.

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And let me also say that I had never really read Civil War fiction before I read Romance on the River. Romance on the River But that one story hooked me so I rushed to get my hands on the next book – The Quaker and the Rebel! The Quaker and the Rebel by Mary Ellis My mom won a copy of The Lady and the Officer The Lady and the Officer and now I have The Last Heiress Mary Ellis - The Last Heiress to read too. There’s an interesting story there too but I can’t tell you now… later I promise.

 

Over the next week – I am going to give you a look back at the two books in the series I have previously reviewed and then I will review the next two for you!

Don’t miss a single one! 

They’re all such GREAT books!

Have you read the Civil War Heroines series by Mary Ellis?Tweet this!

Don’t miss The Last Heiress by Mary Ellis!Tweet this!

I hope you’ll join me on this journey through a fantastic series and I hope I can inspire at least one person who would otherwise not be interested to give this wonderful series a try!

GOD BLESS and Happy Reading!

© JCMorrows 2015

An Early Look at “An Amish Cradle” by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman

Another wonderful collection of fabulous stories by amazing authors!

 

I LOVE THESE BOOKS!

I enjoy SO MUCH these extra stories put together by several authors whom I just LOVE!

And I especially LOVE IT when one of them is kind of a BONUS story!

As far as I can tell (I haven’t read everything Kathleen Fuller or Beth Wiseman has written…), Amy Clipston’s is the only story in this collection that fits that description but that’s enough for me!

To be fair – I’m going to go in order.

In His Father’s Arms by Beth Wiseman

Down Syndrome has got to be one of the toughest subjects to write about and I applaud Beth Wiseman for, not only doing it, but doing it well!

It’s always difficult to understand God’s will in these situations and I love how Beth shows us that – Amish or not – these parents have to deal with the situation as a mother and father.

Bravo Beth for showing that it’s not easy for the Amish just because of their faith.

A Son for Always by Amy Clipston

OK… I admit it. This is my favorite story in the book! And that’s really saying something because they’re all so fantastic!

Carolyn and her husband Joshua are two of my favorite characters from Amy’s Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series.

I don’t know how Amy did her research for a single mom but she certainly nails it right on the head! And anyone who says that Amy went overboard with Carolyn’s emotions in this novella can not have ever been a single mother.

This story is PERFECT! Bravo Amy!

And THANK YOU for giving us this extra little bonus in what is a fantastic series!

A Heart Full of Love by Kathleen Fuller

WOW! Again – I can not imagine how Kathleen did the research for this! And to write about it so convincingly…

I refuse to ruin any of this story for you. It’s just too good to miss!

This is one of those stories that also shows how the plain folk deal with tough situations things in much the same way as we all do.

Although it does come in handy that most Amish have a very strong faith!

An Unexpected Blessing by Vannetta Chapman

I LOVE that stories with older main characters are becoming more popular! I think, far too often, people forget that interesting things still happen to those of us over the age of 30.

Vannetta does such an exceptional job of writing this story!

Instead of the anxiety over not being a good mother or not knowing what she’s doing – Etta has worries of a much more seasoned wife – and yet – Vannetta does not minimalize the issues a young mother would deal with, she simply shows an aspect of life that not many other authors think to.

I hope to see many more stories like this!

BRAVO Vannetta! GREAT writing!

 

BRAVO to all four authors! I can hardly wait for the next one!

DON’T MISS An Amish Cradle by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman!CLICK TO TWEET!

 

Once again, Beth Wiseman brings us a wonderful story of love and real life!CLICK TO TWEET!

 

Amy Clipston has gifted us with a wonderful BONUS story about two favorite characters!CLICK TO TWEET!

 

Kathleen Fuller certainly doesn’t shy away from serious subjects!CLICK TO TWEET!

 

Vannetta Chapman is a masterful storyteller – no matter the plot!CLICK TO TWEET!

 

© JCMorrows 2015

 

More from Thomas Nelson about An Amish Cradle:

In His Father’s Arms by Beth Wiseman

Ruth Anne Zook is excited that she and her best friend are due with their children the same week. But when Ruth Anne’s baby is born with Down Syndrome, she and her husband struggle to understand God’s plan.

A Son for Always by Amy Clipston

Carolyn and her husband Joshua are thrilled to be pregnant with their first child. A teenager when she had her son Benjamin, Carolyn still feels obligated to work to secure Ben’s future, even though Josh adopted Ben. She struggles to realize that Josh will love and protect both of their children equally.

A Heart Full of Love by Kathleen Fuller

Ellie’s mother loves to meddle in her personal life—especially now that Ellie’s pregnant. Since Ellie is blind, her mother worries that she won’t be able to handle the baby. When Ellie gives birth to twins, her mother insists on moving in. Just as everyone reaches the breaking point, a miracle draws them closer to each other and to God.

An Unexpected Blessing by Vannetta Chapman

At 42, Etta thought her time of having children was over, but she’s pregnant again. She goes into labor during a blizzard, and complications with the delivery raise fear. Etta struggles to accept Gotte’s wille for the baby and her son, David, who moved away two years earlier in search of what he would do with his life.

 

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

GOODREADS   THOMAS NELSON   WAL-MART

BETH’S WEBSITE   AMY’S WEBSITE   KATHLEEN’S WEBSITE   VANNETTA’S WEBSITE

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

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.

My year in books… via GoodReads

This is actually going to be a fraction of what I read this year. I think if I tried to put all 151 books, wordpress would probably just laugh hysterically and then shut down. LOL!

So here we go…

A Brush with Love: A January Wedding Story (A Year of Weddings Novella 2, #2)   A Woodland Miracle   A Lady at Willowgrove Hall (Whispers on the Moors, #3)   A Simple Charity (Lancaster Crossroads, #3)
Trading Secrets   The Christmas Cat   Christmas at Rose Hill Farm: An Amish Love Story   An Amish Second Christmas
An Amish Christmas Quilt   A Dream of Home (Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel, #3)   Huckleberry Christmas   The Forgiven (Keepers of the Promise #1)
Hidden   Letters from Grace   Where Treetops Glisten: Three Stories of Heartwarming Courage and Christmas Romance During World War II   The Princess Spy
Tried and True (Wild at Heart, #1)   A White Christmas in Webster County   The Ride of Your Life: What I Learned about God, Love, and Adventure by Teaching My Son to Ride a Bike   In Perfect Time (Wings of the Nightingale, #3)
Snow Globe (The Amish of Jamesport #1)   Miracle in a Dry Season (Appalachian Blessings, #1)   Appalachian Serenade (Appalachian Blessings, #.5)   Child of Mine
The Fairest Beauty   The Merchant's Daughter   The Healer's Apprentice   The Quaker and the Rebel (Civil War Heroines, #1)
Jupiter Winds   A Mother's Secret (Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel #2)   Huckleberry Summer (The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill, #2)   The Guardian Duke (Forgotten Castles #1)
A Season of Change (Seasons in Pinecraft, #1)   An Amish Wedding Invitation   Thankful (Return to Sugarcreek #2)   Seasons of Tomorrow (Amish Vines and Orchards #4)
Murder Simply Brewed (Amish Village Mystery #1)   The Captive Maiden   A Simple Faith (Lancaster Crossroads, #1)   Kate's Song (Forever After in Apple Lake, #1)
Real Women Leading: With Proverbs 31 Values   Princess Ever After (Royal Wedding, #2)   The Letters (Inn at Eagle Hill #1)   Huckleberry Hill
A Miracle of Hope (The Amish Wonders, #1)   An Amish Miracle   A Simple Winter (Seasons of Lancaster #1)   Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom

 

OK… YIKES! That is still a LOT of books!

If you want to see the entire list, click HERE!

TWEETABLES:

How many books did YOU read last year?Tweet this!

How many books are you going to read this year?Tweet this!

And here’s hoping wordpress doesn’t kill me when I hit publish. LOL!

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR and God Bless!

 

Appalachian serenade by Sarah Loudin Thomas | A Novella in the Appalachian Blessings series

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I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this novella. But let me tell you, it is more than worth the “price” – especially since it’s free!

I would happily BUY a copy of this if it ever becomes available in paperback – not that I’m unhappy with the eBook… I really enjoy having a REAL book in my hands when I’m reading!

Especially a GREAT BOOK!

If “Miracle in a Dry Season” – the next book in this series, is anywhere as well-written as “Appalachian Serenade”, I will be a very happy woman!

Sarah Loudin Thomas does not write as if this is her first (actually it might be her second, I’m not entirely certain) book!

WOW!

Her characters are vivid and colorful and there is the perfect amount of description to give you a clear picture of them.

And the story is absolutely beautiful! Sarah does a novella right! She gives us enough of a lead-in that we don’t feel like we’re being rushed through. And there are enough pages to give a decent story arc!

BRAVO Sarah!

I don’t know about you but I can not wait to read “Miracle in a Dry Season”!

 

5star

 

More about “Appalachian Serenade”:

Delilah Morrissey has always wanted to be a mother, but when she becomes a young widow, that dream now seems farther away than ever. Unable to continue to live alone in Chicago, her only option is to accept her sister’s offer to move in with her family back in West Virginia. Will Delilah have the faith to pursue a new dream–even if it means giving up the old?

In this charming novella, debut novelist Sarah Loudin Thomas introduces readers to Wise, West Virginia–a small town nestled in an Appalachian valley where the everyday miracles of life and faith play out in stories of healing, hope, and love.

 

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

GOODREADS   SARAH’S WEBSITE

SARAH’S PAGE AT BETHANY HOUSE – You can “buy” the book here too.

AMAZON   BARNES & NOBLE   ITUNES

This book is free and I “purchased” it from AMAZON.

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

I have no control over the ads you may see below.

I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate

Pulled – A short story from the Flawed series by Becca Campbell

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22 pages is NOT enough!

 Darn you Becca!

 

“Pulled” is a short story in Becca Campbell’s Flawed series and the only complaint I have is that it’s TOO SHORT!

I want more! And I’m sure you will too!

She give us just enough of these new characters to whet our appetite and then she yanks the rug out of from under her reader.

Hopefully, we will see the characters again soon in one of the other novels planned for her Flawed series!

 

You can find this short novella for Kindle and Nook and I’m told it will shortly be available on iTunes as well.

 

The story is not a continuation of Becca’s first book in the Flawed series, “Empath”.  It is a stand-alone side story in that same universe. We meet Juniper, a “runaway” foster child and Becca gives us just enough background to make us want more.

She also introduces us to several other characters who are “gifted” – like many of the characters we met in “Empath”. 

It may be labeled YA and it may be a story about an 8 year old girl but Becca caught me with the very first sentence – which would be why I was so shocked at the sudden ending. I’m sure that was part of her evil plan…lol

All told, a most intriguing story and well worth the sticker price of $.99

Don’t miss it! And watch for Becca’s next story in the Flawed series: “Outsider”

 

4 Stars

 

What GoodReads has to say about “Pulled :

Eight-year-old Juniper has been labeled many things—troubled kid, orphan, runaway—but none of her foster families have known what she really is: a girl with a unique and brutally inconvenient ability to teleport.

Her spontaneous jumps are not only beyond her control, they get her into trouble. When Juniper disappears, no one believes her wild stories, so she’s stopped trying to convince them.

One day when Juniper gets pulled away, finding her way back is harder than ever. Stranded on the side of a deserted highway, she must rely on her own instincts to determine who is a creepy stranger and who she can trust.

Resourcefulness may get her home, but is getting home enough when you don’t have parents that love you?

Juniper knows something most people don’t: there are others like her with unexplained abilities. Until now, she’s exercised stranger-danger caution, but maybe these people can offer what she needs.

Will Juniper find a family she can share her secrets with?

 

 

LINKS: You can find more information and/or buy the book from these popular sites.

GOODREADS   BECCA CAMPBELL’S WEBSITE BECCA’S FACEBOOK

AMAZON   BARNES & NOBLE

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author
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.

Don’t miss this FREE prequel in Mary Ellis’ NEW series – “Civil War Heroines!

Romance on the River

Mary Ellis is a genius!

This eBook whetted my appetite for the full story in a way that was very surprising indeed.

I have never been a fan of Civil War era romance, or for anything about the Civil War era, in fact.

But after reading this tantalizing tome, I simply had to read the book that it gave me just a peek into!

And it does not matter how short the story may be, it was expertly written – giving the reader just enough information without spoiling anything about the novel to come.

In point of fact, it gives us a glimpse into the start of Miss Harrison’s journey that makes “The Quaker and the Rebel” that much more appealing.

Don’t miss it – especially since it’s FREE!

You can download this short prequel on a number of eBook retailer sites and I have linked as many of them as I could find. Nearly all of them support an app or a reading program that will work on your e-reader, tablet, phone or even your computer.

Happy hunting!

 

5star

 

A peek inside from GoodReads:

This short story prequel by bestselling author Mary Ellis provides an early glimpse into the life of Quaker Emily Harrison. Laced with humor and a sweet love story, this bonus material also contains the first chapter of Emily’s continuing journey in The Quaker and the Rebel, Book 1 of the Civil War Heroines series.

Summer 1861—Emily Harrison is finding life a bit overwhelming. Alone on her family’s farm, she must take on the roles of both housekeeper and farmer. She cares for the garden, makes plans for planting the fields, and milks the cows, all the while creating havoc in the home her mother used to keep immaculate. That is in addition to providing a safe house as part of the Underground Railroad.

In the midst of this whirlpool of swirling tasks, she is getting ready to greet very important dinner guests—the love of her life and her pastor and his wife. Will Matthew finally propose? What news does Reverend Ames bring that turns Emily’s world upside down? How does the new war between the North and South impact her life? And…will the goose be cooked in time

 

Intrigued yet?

To “purchase” the FREE eBook, click HERE for ChristianBooks, HERE for Lifeway, HERE for Amazon, HERE for Barnes and Noble, HERE for Google Books and HERE for iTunes.

For the GoodReads page, click HERE

And for Mary Ellis’ website, click HERE

 

 

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.

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

“The Rescue” by Suzanne Woods Fisher | An eBook in “The Inn At Eagle Hill” series!

The Rescue by Suzanne Woods FisherThe only complaint I have about this book was that there was not enough of it! The story was so wonderful, I was completely caught up in it and then… it was over.

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This is one of those stories you will wish you could go back and read for the first time all over again. It’s THAT GREAT!

I find myself so grateful that more and more authors understand that readers are simply in agony waiting for the next installment of their wonderful books. And so they give us short back-stories and side-stories to keep us from tearing our hair out while we wait for the next book to arrive at our local bookstore.

GOD BLESS THEM!

It is such a joy to open up my kindle and see that this eBook is available for reading.

And, as much as I LOVE having a hard copy of as many books as I can get my hands on, I am much happier to pay $1.99 for this short story that to have to pay $5 or even $10. Plus I didn’t have to do anything but find a Wi-Fi spot where I could download.

So, while you wait for Suzanne’s next book in The Inn At Eagle Hill  series “The Revealing”, go to Amazon and snag this wonderful eBook. I promise it will help tide you over until you get the next book in your hands!

5star

And Here is what ChristianBooks has to say about it:

Will Stoltz has returned to Stoney Ridge to start a wild bird rescue center and find Jackie Colombo, a veterinarian who stole his heart . . . then disappeared.

Yup, it’s short and sweet. But there is so much more to the story… trust me!

Click HERE for the book page on ChristianBook.com

Click HERE to buy the eBook on Amazon. It’s only $1.99. GREAT DEAL!

And click HERE for Suzanne Woods Fisher’s website!

 

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.

Happily Ever After or… Not? “A March Bride” by Rachel Hauck

20140228-153818.jpgOK… truth – my initial review started this way:

“It’s HERE! It’s HERE! It’s HERE!

I’ve only just read “Once Upon A Prince” but it seems I’ve waited forever to read the next chapter in Nathaniel and Susanna’s romance!”

And THEN I read the book.

Yeah… this review is going to be different than my others.

I’m going to spill a bit – can’t help it. Because at some point while you’re reading… anyone who is remotely like me, is going to get mad.

And I mean MAD!

Mad as in – you’re going to be ready to skin Rachel Hauck. That’s pretty serious. And yes, I was there. And I was there hard-core.

At that point, only a mildly morbid curiosity kept me reading.

And then… you realize – WHOO! Rachel Hauck is a GREAT writer! She has me so mad, I’m ready to scream – over… a book. That’s GOOD writing!

And at that point, you couldn’t have pried the tablet out of my hand!

After all that, she did come through. You knew she would. You had to know, all along that she would find some way to make it all come out OK.

And then, just when you think it’s all OK, just when you’re ready to enjoy the rest of the book, she hits you with another whammy and you’re ready to scream again, you’re ready to stomp over to Europe and rip into somebody.

But she’s no dummy, that Rachel Hauck. She does all this on purpose. It’s kind of like God’s plan. Even the missteps and trials help you on your way to the destination God has in mind for you. I LOVE that Rachel has that in mind when she’s writing these stories.

In fact, God is central to her novels in a way unlike most others you will read. It’s AMAZING! God has truly gifted Rachel Hauck with such an amazing gift!

The only complaint I have about this book is that there wasn’t more of it!

Now I just keep hoping to hear a book 3 announced in her Royal Weddings series!

5starCan I give it 10 stars?

Here’s a bit more about the story from Zondervan:

Susanna has found her true prince, and their happily ever after is just around the corner. But when Nate asks her to give up something precious to her, Susanna can’t help but wonder if it’s a sign that their love is not meant to be.

Susanna Truitt (Once Upon A Prince) is three weeks from royalty. She’ll soon marry King Nathaniel II of Brighton Kingdom. But when the government insists she renounce her American citizenship before the wedding, coupled with the lack of involvement by family and friends, Susanna’s heart begins to doubt whether this marriage is God’s plan for her.

Nathaniel would do anything for his bride-to-be. But he knows his position requires that she give up a lot to be with him. Her life will never be her own—right down to her very identity.

When she travels home to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, right before the wedding, Nathaniel fears she won’t return. Gathering his courage, he devises a plan to win his bride all over again, and together they seek out a kingdom to treasure above all.

A year’s worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed.

For more about this and the other titles in this series, click HERE.

Click HERE for reviews from Christianbook.com. And click HERE for reviews from GoodReads.

Click HERE to visit Rachel Hauck’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.

“Balanced” – Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom | by Tricia Goyer – an Invaluable resource!

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Working at home while raising kids and juggling a career and family responsibilities is no easy feat. Author and homeschooling mom Tricia Goyer shares her tips for finding balance among all your many hats as a mom.

I follow Tricia Goyer on Facebook and twitter and her blog and I LOVE her books!

And I must admit that I too wonder how she does all that she does – or I did, until I read this book.

“Balanced” is a wonderful way of finding out the answer to all those questions. Tricia shares with other work-at-home moms how she handles all the hats she has to wear.

I’m not going to spoil it for you but I will say this – At one point in the book, Tricia makes a point of saying:

“Disclaimer. This book may not be for you if: You are looking for a simple how-to manual with only schedules, outlines, and agendas. You don’t think your spiritual life impacts your work and home life. You think the whole balance issue depends on you and not on your dependence on God.

In this book, there is as much inner work I’m going to talk about as there are ideas, helps, and tips for balancing. Because as someone who’s been working at home nearly all of my twenty-four years as a parent, I’ve discovered three main things:

  1. What I do isn’t as important as who I am.
  2. What God can do in my life and what He’s capable of doing can be two very different things—I don’t want to limit Him.
  3. My outward goals are only reachable if I submit my inward soul to God.

If this sounds like a book you need, good. If not, I understand! We moms only have so much time. You need to spend your time, energy, and hard-earned money on a book that will meet your expectations.

Know that I’m praying God will speak to your heart through my story. I hope you’ll discover good advice to help you follow the dreams God has placed in your heart and be the wife and mom you’ve always wanted to be.” – Direct quote from Tricia Goyer (Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom)

I really respect her for that. It takes a lot of courage and faith to present women with a reason they should not buy your book – and then to tell them you’re OK with it. Ironically, that makes me want to buy the book even more!

Tricia and I have a lot of different ideas on how a person should carry out their faith but they stem from the same ideals. And each Christian really does need to understand that they have a very different journey. Your walk with God is a very personal thing and what God calls one to do – he may not call another to. The point is this – I can see Tricia’s faith in every word. She may go about her faith and her witness differently than me but she definitely puts it all out there for the world to see!

As a homeschooling mom, I am encouraged by Tricia’s story and it definitely tells me I am doing something RIGHT! As a single mom, I am excited to see that Tricia gives so much of her time to help out other mothers – single and married alike. As a struggling writer, I am inspired by Tricia’s journey through writing and publishing and there is a lot of information in this book that benefits me greatly. Tricia talks about homeschool, faith, writing, family life and social media – and how to weave each one into your life without de-railing everything else.

And through it all is woven – a tale of faith so heartwarming, it renews my love for God all over again!

I whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone who is a struggling writer, a work-at-home mom, a home-schooler, new to Christian faith, or someone who is just interested in Tricia Goyer’s life! It’s a great read – no matter your reasoning!

5star

Click HERE to find out more about the blog tour and for other extras from Litfuse.

Click HERE to see the GoodReads book page.

Click HERE for Amazon.com, where you can purchase the eBook for Kindle!

Click HERE to visit Tricia’s website.

And when you’re done with all that, pop in to the Balanced Challenge

Click the following link to RSVP for the Balanced Facebook Party on March 10th – to chat with Tricia, win goodies and learn more about the Balanced Challenge!

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.

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.

“A December Bride” by Denise Hunter | It still works for February – the month of LOVE!

20140224-081745.jpgOK mom. I have to take back what I said… I LOVE this book!

When I started reading the book, I was sure it would end up on my “not a favorite” shelf in GoodReads.

I could NOT have been more wrong.

It’s a FANTASTIC story. And now I find myself determined to go hunt down the rest of Denise Hunter’s Chapel Springs stories.

I seriously misjudged this novella and I’m so glad I gave it a proper chance. Otherwise, I might never have discovered how wonderful is truly is!

It is possible I’m not the only one who might jump to the wrong conclusion so I’m going to give you a couple of hints that I really don’t think will kill the story.

The synopsis might give you the wrong idea – especially if you’ve ever read Zebra or Harlequin romance novels. You might expect it to be one of those things where the two characters make a shady deal about getting married and then doing a “quicky” divorce later.

It’s NOT! Thank GOD!

Granted, the reasons for the “fake” engagement are not all that altruistic or even honest but they do not drag marriage through the mud like I was afraid they would. This is truly a good, decent, Christian story. And, while I hold that courtship is still the best way to head toward a marriage – it could be said that this is about what they have. They’re “engaged” before they even kiss and there’s a minimum of physical contact because the whole thing isn’t real anyway.

A terrific story, excellent writing, real characters and great world-building! And it’s easy to get right into the story – even if you haven’t read any of the others that Denise has written. I didn’t even realize this was part of a continuing series until I got to the end and saw “other books by Denise Hunter…” – which I now have to read…of course.

5star

If you haven’t already decided to read it, here’s a brief synopsis from GoodReads:

What started as a whim turned into an accidental – and very public – engagement. Can Layla and Seth keep up the facade in Chapel Springs this holiday season – for the sake of her career . . . and his heart?

Under normal circumstances, Seth Murphy, the best friend of Layla O’Reilly’s ex-fiance would be the last person she’d marry. But the news of their upcoming (and phony) nuptials convinces a big client that Layla may be high-society enough to work for his agency, a coup that would put her fledgling home-staging business on the map.

Seth has secretly loved Layla for years, even when she was dating his best friend. Maybe she’ll never forgive him for the way he hurt her back then, but he has to try. And Layla is willing to keep up their engagement farce until she’s landed her client. For Layla, it’s the chance to save her career. But for Seth, it’s his last chance to win her heart.

For more people convincing you this is a GREAT book, click HERE to read more reviews on GoodReads.

There are even more people who have reviewed and LOVED it on Amazon HERE and you can snag the e-book while you’re there too! And if you like ChristianBook.com better, HERE is their link.

And don’t forget to visit Denise Hunter’s website HERE!

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.

25 Posts of Christmas Day 21: Christmas at Pebble Creek

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This is a free eBook/ Novella that Vannetta Chapman offers to go along with her Pebble Creek Amish series! It’s definitely worth reading, free or not! So don’t miss it!

There is another freebie eBook/Novella that goes along with the series too: “Home to Pebble Creek” and you shouldn’t miss it either!

A short Synopsis about “Christmas at Pebble Creek” from Amazon:

Another wonderful story from The Pebble Creek Amish Series by Vannetta Chapman. Fans of the series will enjoy this chance to briefly revisit Pebble Creek, and new readers will be introduced to an Amish community that is more deeply explored in the three full novels, A Promise for Miriam, A Home for Lydia, and A Wedding for Julia.

As a bonus, this free eBook also includes Amish homestyle recipes for chicken and dumplings, green beans, and fresh bread.

Heavy snow blankets the southwestern Wisconsin Amish community as nineteen-year-old Grace Miller closes the schoolhouse for Christmas break. She’s looking forward to having extra time to help the family prepare for the holiday, and she is hoping to get a few more drawings in of the beautiful, snowy Pebble Creek landscape.

Her courtship with Adam Lapp is going on six months, and Grace can’t wait to give him his present: a blue-and-brown buggy blanket she crocheted for him. Yes, this Christmas is going to be especially joyful. Yet, amid the cheer of snowshoe outings, church potlucks, and holiday festivities, Grace is given a bittersweet reminder of the Christmas story. Grief is present with celebration, and though the future is rarely certain, she is given a heartwarming glimpse that God knows our needs before we do and will provide.

One of the things I have noticed about these books is how easy it is to overlook any negatives. The wonder and joy of the stories easily outweigh any grief or heartbreak we see.

I realized when I looked back at the reviews I have written about the novels in this series that I glossed right over the grief that is as much a part of these novels as the joy. I didn’t do it on purpose. It’s just one of those things that a person does – it’s something I do anyway…

From the heartbreak that opens the first novel to the worry over loved ones that unfolds in each story to the losses we experience with and through the characters, these stories show us that the good in life is tempered with bad.

I think at least a part of the reason for this is that we must have some bad to truly appreciate any good. If there was never a reason to worry about our loved ones, could we really appreciate them the way we need to?

God, in his magnificence, knows this about us. He designed us this way and he has a reason. Sometimes his ways are hard to understand but they are the best way. It just isn’t always easy to see it in the beginning. Many times it is in retrospect that we see the beauty of God’s plans!

I think Vannetta’s novels show this beautifully. She doesn’t dangle a character in front of us, letting us become attached to them and then yank them away. She makes them beloved in a different way, a normal way and then either shows us their loss and grief or shows us others grieving for them.

They are truly beautiful!

To find this book on Amazon click HERE.
And you can get “Home to Pebble Creek” on Amazon by clicking HERE.

You can find more reviews and info by clicking HERE to go to the book page on GoodReads

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

4 Days til Christmas

Wishing you and your family a Peaceful and Joyful Christmas season this year!

MERRY
CHRISTMAS!

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

25 Books of Christmas!

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There are so many more than 25 Books I love to read at Christmas-time but here are 25 Favorites (some old, some new & a couple that are brand New)

Most of these I’ve read already but a few of them are on my to-read list. It’s going to be a great Christmas season!

The organization is a little weird. I tried to group them by author and by sequence or time published. Hope that’s not too confusing.

I do apologize for any confusion.

I have edited this post and taken out some books I previously featured.
So I’ve redone the entire post.
They’re not in the same order but I think this could be even more fun!

I’m a little disappointed to have to do this at Christmas time but a friend of mine recently reviewed one of the books I had featured and she discovered some very bad language so I have taken them out.

I have a confession to make here. I only put in the books because I enjoyed the movies that were made from them so much. Unfortunately, it seems the books are nothing like the movies.

I will never understand why people feel the need to include nasty language or inappropriate behavior in their stories. It does NOT make them better. And it certainly does not make them Christian.

So here are my own personal favorites!

A Simple Amish Christmas”
Simple Amish Christmasby Vannetta Chapman

From GoodReads: Annie Weaver always planned to return home, but the 20-year old RN has lived in Philadelphia for three years now. As her time of rumschpringe is about to come to an abrupt end, bringing for Annie an overwhelming sense of loneliness.

She returns home and finds herself face-to-face with a budding romance with an Amish farmer and important choices to make.

The Christmas Quilt”
5660435by Vannetta Chapman

From GoodReads: Annie’s life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community’s minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam.

Annie s sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the “boppli” arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem . . . but God may have a different plan.

Leah is rushed to the English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

Christmas at Pebble Creek”
Christmas-at-Pebble-Creek-eBook-194x300by Vannetta Chapman

From Amazon: From The Pebble Creek Amish Series by Vannetta Chapman.

Fans of the series will enjoy this chance to briefly revisit Pebble Creek, and new readers will be introduced to an Amish community that is more deeply explored in the three full novels, A Promise for Miriam, A Home for Lydia, and A Wedding for Julia.

As a bonus, this free eBook also includes Amish home-style recipes for chicken and dumplings, green beans, and fresh bread.

Heavy snow blankets the southwestern Wisconsin Amish community as nineteen-year-old Grace Miller closes the schoolhouse for Christmas break. She’s looking forward to having extra time to help the family prepare for the holiday, and she is hoping to get a few more drawings in of the beautiful, snowy Pebble Creek landscape. Her courtship with Adam Lapp is going on six months, and Grace can’t wait to give him his present: a blue-and-brown buggy blanket she crocheted for him.

Yes, this Christmas is going to be especially joyful. Yet, amid the cheer of snowshoe outings, church potlucks, and holiday festivities, Grace is given a bittersweet reminder of the Christmas story. Grief is present with celebration, and though the future is rarely certain, she is given a heartwarming glimpse that God knows our needs before we do and will provide.

A Christmas Gift for Rose”
17787021by Tricia Goyer

From GoodReads: Born in the midst of the hardships of The Great Depression, Rose grew up in Berlin, Ohio, in the arms of a loving Amish family. But as she prepares to marry, she’s thrown into confusion when she learns the truth of her birth. She was born Englisch and abandoned when the family moved on in search of work.

Was she meant to be Amish or would she have been better off growing up with her own kind—Englischers? And was her intended’s gift of discovering her birth family given out of love or fear?

15851936A Christmas for Katie” by Shelley Shepard Grey

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!

Christmas in Sugar Creek” by Shelley Shepard Grey 10680698

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?

8501404Grace” by Shelley Shepard Grey

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.

Peace” by Shelley Shepard Grey 17331333

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?

The Sound of Sleigh Bells”
6275220by Cindy Woodsmall

From GoodReads: Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serving as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of her fiancé.

When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work–including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry.

Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art. But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?

The Christmas Singing” by Cindy Woodsmall10301098

From GoodReads: Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve. Three years later, will learning the truth behind his rejection restore her Christmas joy – or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?

Spend Christmas with the Amish in this story of love, romance, heartache, and restoration. Experience the holidays with the Plain folk and discover the power of second chances in this touching story from the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Bridge of Peace.

Gideon Beiler has loved Mattie Eash since they were children. But when faced with unexpected circumstances, he makes up an excuse to end their engagement. He doesn’t want to lie to her, but he believes that telling Mattie the truth will be more hurtful. Brokenhearted, Mattie moves from Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania to Ohio, where she pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator.

She finds a new beau—a man offering the secure relationship Gideon has denied her. When Mattie is forced to return to Apple Ridge, she and Gideon must confront the suffering created by his dishonesty – and address the powerful emotions that continue to bind the two childhood friends.

The Dawn of Christmas”
17288591by Cindy Woodsmall

From GoodReads: This Christmas, experience learning to trust alongside the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania in this heart-warming tale of second chances.

Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down.

Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?

957993Christmas in Harmony” by Philip Gulley

From GoodReads: Philip Gulley takes us to Harmony, Indiana, at Christmastime as inspiration strikes the inimitable Dale Hinshaw. Always looking for a way to increase the church’s profit margins, Hinshaw brainstorms a progressive nativity scene that will involve the whole town, complete with a map like those for the Hollywood stars.

Neither Pastor Sam Gardner nor the other members of the Harmony Friends meeting express any enthusiasm for this idea, but Dale is unstoppable. Meanwhile, Pastor Sam has his own concerns: he’s having his annual argument with his wife, and he’s worried that the four-slotted toaster he bought for her may be too lavish a gift. Amidst the bustle of the season, the citizens of Harmony experience the simple joys and sometime loneliness that often go unseen.

Sam comes to the realization that Dale, in his own misguided way, is only trying to draw meaning from the eternal story of Christmas. “In this unsettled world, it is good to have this steadiness — the Christmas Eve service, the peal of the bell. . . .There is a holiness to memory, a sense of God’s presence in these mangers of the mind. Which might explain why it is that the occasions that change the least are often the very occasions that change us the most.”

The Christmas Scrapbook” by Philip Gulley 579063

From GoodReads: It’s autumn in Harmony, and Pastor Sam Gardner has vowed to be ready for Christmas. Determined to redeem a dreadful history of gift giving, Sam enrolls in a scrapbooking class to make a Christmas gift his wife will never forget. However, Sam’s absence from their home every Wednesday night, coupled with his fishy alibi of attending a men’s group, raises her suspicions.

Meanwhile, Sam struggles in the class and must attempt to complete his project with only the help of his faithful secretary, Frank. As Christmas fast approaches and rumors of Sam’s Wednesday night absences swirl along with the snow, a series of mishaps leads to a Christmas no one will soon forget.

This is a GREAT ADVENT Guide:

The ADVENTure of Christmas
986149by Lisa Whelchel

From GoodReads: The ADVENTure of Christmas is a guide for moms concerned that their children are losing sight of Jesus in the midst of the distractions the holiday season brings. Lisa Whelchel was such a mom, but instead of abandoning the traditions of Christmas she rediscovered their original meanings, which were intended to remind people of God’s unfathomable gift. Hanging lights on the house, wrapping gifts, and decorating the tree have become opportunities to teach her children about how they relate to Jesus’ birth. With The ADVENTure of Christmas, mothers can redeem what’s been lost from the very symbols that are gentle reminders of the true meaning of Christmas.

Have you discovered that Jesus sometimes gets lost in the middle of the hustle and bustle of His birthday party? Would you like to be able to keep your children’s focus on Jesus and also join them in the wonder of the celebration?

For each of the twenty-four days preceding Christmas, The ADVENTure of Christmas serves as a fun and handy guide that describes the significance behind your favorite traditions. Hanging lights on the house, wrapping gifts, and decorating the tree will become opportunities to share how these customs relate to Jesus’ birth. The ADVENTure of Christmas recaptures the true meaning of this beloved season, giving reasons to celebrate for years to come.

Story Behind the Book

Feeling like Jesus had gotten lost in the frenzy of the holiday season, I asked the Lord to show me what I could do to teach my children the true meaning of Christmas. I was caught off-guard when He simply replied, “Don’t do anything differently. Look in the middle of the celebration and you will find Me.” He was right. There was no need to orchestrate moments to pontificate about “the commercialization of Christmas.” Instead, Jesus is beckoning us to come to the party and bring the kids. In doing so, we run into Him at the mall, the movies, even at school. He hides in the lights, the carols, and the cards. He is there when we dress the evergreen tree, when Dad dresses up in a red suit, and even when we eat turkey and dressing!

And THESE BOOKS, I have not read… but I can’t wait to have a crack at them:

Christmas Cradles”
Christmas Cradles by Kelly Longby Kelly Long

From GoodReads:

When Anna Stolis takes over for her aunt, the local midwife, Christmas night heats up with multiple deliveries, three strangers’ quilts, and unexpected help from the handsome and brooding Asa Lapp.

(Part of a Christmas Anthology with three other stories by Fantastic Authors: Amy Clipston, Barbara Cameron and Kathleen Fuller. This book is different than the one that includes the stories below)

A Choice to Forgive”
by Beth WisemanA Choice to Forgive by Beth Wiseman

From GoodReads:

After Daniel disappeared that long-ago Christmas Eve, Lydia built a life with his brother. But now she’s a widow and Daniel has reappeared, asking for forgiveness.

Can she go back to her normal life with her long-lost love as her neighbor?

A Miracle for Miriam”
A Miracle for Miriam by Kathleen Fullerby Kathleen Fuller

From GoodReads:

Seth is no longer the arrogant young man who shattered Miriam’s confidence and broker her heart.

Will he be able to show “plain” Miriam that she is truly beautiful to him?

One Child”
One Child by Barbara Cameronby Barbara Cameron

From GoodReads:

The birth of one child forever changed the world two thousand years ago.

On a snowy Christmas night in Lancaster County, another child changes the world for two very different couples.

10426868Christmas in Lancaster County”
by “Suzanne Woods Fisher

From GoodReads: Jaime and C. J. Fitzpatrick began their married life as most couples do–in love and looking forward to a bright future together. But four years later they’ve drifted apart and are almost ready to call it quits.

Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband Sol the Christmas gift they have both longed for–news that a baby was on the way. But as usual, she is disappointed. The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big family isn’t likely to become a reality.

Then a winter storm raging outside blows the Fitzpatricks into the Riehl home–and into a much slower pace of life. Can these two couples from different worlds help each other understand the true meaning of love this Christmas?

With her trademark plot twists and attention to detail, Suzanne Woods Fisher offers readers a beautiful Christmas story of love, forgiveness, and what truly matters in life.

7861579Sarah’s Christmas Miracle”
by “Mary Ellis

From GoodReads: From the bestselling author of A Widow’s Hope and Never Far from Home comes a brand-new Amish novella that will add joy to the Christmas season.

Sarah Beachy has plenty to be joyous about as autumn leaves start to fall. She loves her job at the English bed-and-breakfast where she cooks and refreshes rooms between guests. She has a serious beau, and everyone expects an engagement soon. Why, then, would she jeopardize everything by suddenly deciding to take a trip to Cleveland to track down a brother who left the Order years ago?

Her family’s faith in God is put to the test as the holiest night of the year approaches and Sarah remains far away. Sarah’s mother, Elizabeth, has been missing her son for such a long time…will she lose her daughter to the English world as well? Or will the Beachy family receive an unexpected Christmas miracle?

Naomi’s Gift”
by Amy Clipston10956717

From GoodReads: Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you’ll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County.

As each woman’s story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams … and secrets. You’ll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the ‘English’ way of life—and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families.

Naomi’s Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches—a time of family, faith, and hope for many others—Naomi is more certain than ever her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family’s quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down. Naomi’s story of romantic trial and error and youthful insecurities has universal appeal. Author

Amy Clipston artfully paints a panorama of simple lives full of complex relationships, and she carefully explores cultural differences and human similarities, with inspirational results. Naomi’s Gift includes all the details of Amish life that Clipston’s fans enjoy, while delivering the compelling stories and strong characters that continue to draw legions of new readers.

A Plain & Simple Amish Christmas”
9039054by Amy Clipston

From GoodReads: In the tradition of her widely popular Kauffman Amish Bakery series, author Amy Clipston tells the tale of Anna Mae McDonough who was shunned by her family four years ago when she left her Amish community in Lancaster County, PA, to marry an -Englisher- (non Amish) man and move with him to Baltimore.

Now, eight months pregnant when her first child, she longs to return home for Christmas to reconcile with her family, especially her stern father, who is the religious leader for her former Amish church district.

So Anne Mae writes a letter to Kathryn Beiler, her brother-s wife, to enlist her help. Kathryn asks her husband, David, if she should arrange Anna Mae-s visit. David cautions her that a visit would cause too much stress in the family and instead suggests they visit Anna Mae and her husband in the spring. However, Kathryn arranges the visit anyway, believing in her heart that it-s God-s will for the family to heal.

When Anna Mae arrives in Lancaster for Christmas, she doesn’t receive the welcome she expects and her world begins to fall apart, leaving her to question her place in her family – and her faith in God.

A book filled with love, the pain of being separated from one-s family, and the determination to follow God-s will regardless of the outcome, A Plain and Simple Christmas is an inspiring page-turner that will keep you guessing what happens next-right to the very last page.

17814770Annie’s Christmas Wish”
by “Barbara Cameron

From GoodReads: Ever since her step-mom brought her a snow globe of the New York City skyline, Annie has wanted to visit the beautiful, big city. Since it’s nearing the time of Annie’s rumschpringe — the time when Amish youth experience Englisch life to make a decision whether to live in that world or become baptized into the Amish faith—the family decides a visit is a good idea.

They watch the Macy’s Christmas parade, admire the decorated store windows, skate at the Rockefeller Center rink and —  Annie’s favorite — get a glimpse of a writer’s life while visiting the New York Times building. But others aren’t as thrilled with Annie’s lure to the Big Apple. Aaron has long been attracted to Annie and is sure he’s in love. As he watches her engage in big city life, he grows concerned that she won’t want to return to their quieter life.

Will Annie follow Aaron back home? Or stay and pursue her dreams? Competing for her attention, Aaron sets out to show Annie that Christmas isn’t about the glitz and glamour, but about family, love, and the birth of Jesus

13613049A Wild Goose Chase Christmas” by “Jennifer AlLee

From GoodReads: Upon her grandmother’s death, Izzy Fontaine finds herself in possession of a Wild Goose Chase pattern quilt that supposedly leads to a great treasure. Of course, once the rest of the family finds out about the “treasure map,” they’re determined to have a go at the treasure themselves. And, if that weren’t enough, Max Logan, a local museum curator, contacts Izzy and says that Grandma Isabella promised him the quilt.

What is it about this quilt that makes everyone want it? Is Izzy on a wild goose chase of her own, or a journey that will lead her to the treasure her grandmother intended?

And of course… We cannot forget the most important Christmas book, the one that started it all, the original book of Christmas.

The Bible (I prefer the King James Version myself) bible

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Wishing you and your family a
Merry Christmas this year!

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