Book Review | A Son’s Vow by Shelley Shepard Gray

Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family. Don’t miss A Son’s Vow, book one in Shelley Shepard Gray’s new series, Charmed Amish Life. Set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, the series tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy. As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla’s love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?

Can you see me happy dancing from there…? Another book… and another series from the amazing Shelley Shepard Gray! YAY! YAY! YAY!

And talk about starting things off with a bang!

A tragic accident…

The blame game…

A somewhat ostracized daughter…

And thrown into the midst of this storm… romance!

And WOW!

Shelley does not disappoint! She brings us an intriguing new series with characters whose pain we will feel deeply.

Don’t miss a single book of this new series. I know I don’t intend to!

Review © JCMorrows 2015

 

 

 

{MORE ABOUT A SON’S VOW}

A Son’s Vow (Avon Inspire, January 2016)

Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family.

Darla’s father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm’s lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn’t looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger—with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.

Now her brother’s anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn’t change soon, Darla fears it will cost her—and her family—even more.

Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father’s lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he’s feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone—especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can’t simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.

As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla’s love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?

Shelley Shepard Gray’s first book in her Charmed Amish Life series is set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, and tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy.

Learn more and purchase a copy of A Son’s Vow.

 

Enter to win a copy of A Son’s Vow—five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced February 11 on Shelley’s blog!

a son's vow-400

 

{MORE ABOUT SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY}

Shelley Shepard Gray

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Find out more about Shelley athttp://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.


 

GOD BLESS!

AND

HAPPY READING!

 

I received the book free 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.

Book Review | A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn by Shelley Shepard Gray | Book 3 in the Amish Brides of Pinecraft series


A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn, the third book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s Amish Brides of Pinecraft series is another wonderful story.

 

As with so many of Shelley’s books, Emma Keim and Jay Hilty are so very real, so very normal… and oh so interesting!

They’ve both lost spouses and with three children each, the most logical solution seems to be getting married.

But it can’t be that easy… It may be fiction but it’s very true to how reality works. Life simply doesn’t work out that easily most of the time.

Things happen to make it difficult… Unforseen circumstances pop up… Even family can make things rough. Not saying anymore. That’s all you get from the synopsis and I will not ruin the story for you. Read it. I’m confident you’ll love it!

Shelley writes such wonderful Amish romances but she doesn’t take the easy road – which I greatly admire!

OK… OK… I’ll stop torturing you. You know everything has to work out for the best – right? It is a romance. 😉

I will also take this opportunity to say, if you haven’t read books 1: The Promise of Palm Grove and 2: The Proposal at Siesta Key, you should!

And there’s ANOTHER book coming soon too! Can you tell I’m excited…?

Review © JCMorrows 2015

 

{MORE ABOUT A WEDDING AT THE ORANGE BLOSSOM INN}

A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn (Avon Inspire, September 2015)

In the third book in New York Timesbestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s Amish Brides of Pinecraft series, a wedding brings together two young widowed parents . . . and gives them a second chance at love.

Emma Keim was heartbroken when her husband, Sanford, passed away, leaving her to raise three young daughters alone.

Though several years have passed, her relatives have made it no secret that they expect Emma to remain a widow, mourning Sanford indefinitely.

But when she meets Jay Hilty — a handsome widower with three young sons of his own — Emma is delighted to have a new friend who understands her struggles.

Still, she is dismayed that her family is so opposed to their friendship — and the idea of it ever becoming anything more. She honors her husband’s memory every day, but is she destined to be alone forever?

Emma’s gentleness with Jay’s boys stirs something in his heart that’s been quiet for far too long. But when his oldest son becomes engaged to a local woman, suddenly Jay, Emma, and their children are swept up in wedding preparations.

Witnessing his son’s joy, Jay wonders if it’s time for him to move forward, too, and find happiness again.

Once again, love has come to Pinecraft. But can these two parties of four become a happy, healthy family of eight?

 

 

 

Make sure you check out the Giveaway over at LITFUSE!

Enter to win a copy of A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn—five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced October 1 on Shelley’s blog!

orangeblossom-400

 

{MORE ABOUT SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY}

Shelley Shepard Gray

Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Find out more about Shelley athttp://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

 

Shelley Gray joins up with 3 of her fellow Historical writers to bring us a TRUE treat!

Among the Fair Magnolias is the newest collaboration from Thomas Nelson and it is FANTASTIC!

Shelley Gray gets together with Tamera Alexander, Dorothy Love and Elizabeth Musser to bring us four wonderful Love stories – each with a touch of mystery!

To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander is your typical “orphans out on their own, lost their family home, desperate to make a better life for themselves” story. Except it ins’t typical AT ALL! Tamera Alexander hooks you with the first sentence and doesn’t let go until the very last one!

An Outlaw’s Heart by Shelley Gray is a romance with more than one twist. Shelley uses her exceptional talent for romance and combines it with her flair for suspense to intrigue her readers!

A Heart So True by Dorothy Love is a story of the age old problem; Do I follow my heart or my family’s wishes?  I refuse to spoil it for you – it’s JUST TOO GOOD!

Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser involves a favorite storyline of mine! It’s always a struggle to try and decide whether you should take a chance on love, but when you have the added impossibility of forbidden love, it’s a journey that you DO NOT want to miss!

 

5star

 

And here is a bit more about the book from Thomas Nelson:

During the most turbulent decade of our nation’s history, four Southern women—their destinies forged by birth and heritage—face nearly impossible choices on their journeys in life . . . and in love.

To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander

Savannah Darby would do almost anything to revisit her family home.

So when the new owner Aidan Bedford seeks to redecorate the house for his fiancée, Savannah jumps at the opportunity. But can she find the box her father supposedly hid there during the war before her assignment is completed? And before she sees yet another battle lost on the home front—this time, a battle of the heart.

An Outlaw’s Heart by Shelley Gray

Seven years ago Russell Champion was betrayed by the two most important women in his life. Now Russell returns home, but is it too late to make amends with his mother and find closure with his true love?

A Heart So True by Dorothy Love

Abigail Clayton hopes to reconcile with Dr. Wade Bennett and become his wife. But her father insists she marry her distant cousin Charles Kittridge so the plantations of the two families will be joined. With her wedding looming, Abby must choose between duty to her family and the yearnings of her own heart.

Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser

Emily Derracott loves her childhood friend Thomas McGinnis, but she cannot marry a man who doesn’t share her strong convictions about the freedmen. Besides, she harbors a secret love for someone else. But the prospect of becoming his wife is not only improbable—it is completely impossible.

Includes Recipes and Discussion Questions

 

You can find even more at the links below – including how to purchase your own copy!

GOODREADS   THOMAS NELSON

AMAZON   CHRISTIANBOOKS   BARNES & NOBLE   ITUNES

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

I was blessed to receive this book free 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.

THE PROPOSAL AT SIESTA KEY BY SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY | BOOK 2 of her NEW series – Amish Brides of Pinecraft

Don’t miss book 2 of Shelley Shepard Gray’s new series, Amish Brides of Pinecraft: The Proposal at Siesta Key!

Romantic Times said, “There are some words of wisdom in Gray’s latest, such as the importance of embracing and cherishing each moment and the fact that “Sometimes the hardest path to take is the only path worth walking on.”

The Proposal at Siesta Key

I JUST LOVE how close these wonderful books release! 

It’s so hard; finding a new series that you just LOVE and having to wait a YEAR between releases… But, thankfully, Shelley knows her readers are impatient.

🙂

Shelley Shepard Gray has another HIT series on her hands! The Proposal at Siesta Key is JUST as GREAT as The Promise of Palm Grove and I can hardly wait for the next one!

I LOVE Shelley’s books! And I LOVE how she presents the social/personal issues she brings into the story!

She shows SO MUCH better than I ever could that the challenges in our lives do not HAVE TO cripple us! What an amazing story! What a wonderful premise!

An exceptional continuation of the series! Don’t miss it! And watch for book 3… COMING SOON!

 FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN WIN A COPY BY CLICKING HERE!

 Review © JCMorrows 2015

{MORE ABOUT THE PROMISE OF PALM GROVE} from Avon Inspire:


The Promise of Palm Grove
(Avon Inspire, January 2015)

A young Amish woman, yearning for freedom, crosses paths with a handsome Mennonite celebrity in a deeply moving tale of friendship and self-discovery—the second installment in the unforgettable New York Times bestselling author’s new Amish Brides of Pinecraft series.

Penny Troyer rarely disobeys her parents. In the years since her sister’s tragic death, they’ve wanted nothing more than to keep her safe…even if it means never leaving the house.

But tonight, she’s bending the rules because Michael Knoxx, the most famous member of The Knoxx Family Singers, a traveling Mennonite Evangelical family —is scheduled to speak. Penny has heard of Michael—how he lost part of his leg in a terrible accident and uses the experience to inspire others—and knows she must meet him. So, for the first time ever, Penny stands up to her parents and goes out on her own.

Though he speaks about living life to the fullest, Michael knows he needs to take his own advice. Life on the road is grueling and Michael wants to slow down, to rest…to perhaps meet someone who sees him as a man, not just a celebrity. So when a twist of fate allows him the chance to stay a little longer in Pinecraft, Michael knows God is showing him a new path, especially when he discovers how much he and Penny Troyer have in common.

But new friendships can’t stop time. Soon, Michael’s time in Pinecraft will be over and he’ll be back on the road. Her time with Michael has brought her happiness, but will she be able to follow her heart? Or will she be faced with the one thing she’s sure she’ll never have the courage to do?

And You can find out more info and/or buy the book by clicking the links below:

GOODREADS   AVON INSPIRE/HARPER COLLINS   SHELLEY’S WEBSITE

AMAZON   BARNES AND NOBLE   CHRISTIANBOOKS

ITUNES   WAL-MART

 

{MORE ABOUT SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY}

Shelley Shepard GrayShelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Find out more about Shelley athttp://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

 

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

I am not responsible for any ads you may see below

I apologize for any inappropriate content.

THE PROMISE OF PALM GROVE BY SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY | BOOK 1 of her NEW series – Amish Brides of Pinecraft

Don’t miss Shelley Shepard Gray’s new series, Amish Brides of Pinecraft, and the first book in the series, The Promise of Palm Grove!

Romantic Times said, “Vibrant descriptions and details bring the plot to life in this heartwarming tale of new beginnings and renewal.” Does Leona follow the path set out before her? Or take a chance with only the promise of what could be to guide her?

Promise of Palm Grove

Oh my word. Every time I picked up this book… I had the hardest time putting it down.

Alas, the children dragged me away a few times to do things like teach school and attend to my own writing.

WHERE IS THE JUSTICE… 😉

The one really good thing is that is that the story distracted me into doing several more minutes of exercise several different times while reading – no way they were taking it away then! HA! Only the intense cramping in my legs pulled my attention away. LOL

Shelley Shepard Gray has another HIT on her hands with The Promise of Palm Grove!

What a wonderful story, so intricately woven around, not just the main characters – but including so many wonderful secondary characters. Something Shelley does like no other author.

WELL DONE Shelley! I can hardly wait for book 2! Is May here yet…

Find out how you can WIN Shelley Shepard Gray’s NEW book – The Promise of Palm Grove!Tweet this!

 

Have you bought your copy of The Promise of Palm Grove yet?Tweet this!

 

The Promise of Palm Grove – book 1 in Shelley Shepard Gray’s NEW series!Tweet this!

 

 Review © JCMorrows 2015

{MORE ABOUT THE PROMISE OF PALM GROVE} from Litfuse:


The Promise of Palm Grove
(Avon Inspire, January 2015)

Leona must decide: Does she follow the path set out before her? Or take a chance with only the promise of what could be to guide her?

A young Amish woman finds herself torn between the man she’s pledged to wed and the man her heart desires in this heartwarming story of chance, duty, and choice in the face of love—the first volume in the beloved New York Times bestselling author’s new Amish Brides of Pinecraft series.

Amish bride-to-be Leona is thrilled to be in Florida, on a mini-vacation in the pretty town of Pinecraft. Her girlfriends think she’s happy because she’s away from the stress of wedding planning. They have no idea that Leona’s real joy is in being away from her fiancé.

Edmund is a good man, and will make a decent husband . . . just not for Leona. The more time she spends with him and his overbearing ways, the less she wants to be his wife. Her cousins are sure Edmund is the right man for her-and their certainty makes Leona begin to doubt herself. But when a chance encounter with a wayward cat brings her face-to-face with a handsome, fun-loving Amish man named Zachary Kauffman, Leona’s faced with two vastly different futures.

Learn more and purchase a copy at Shelley’s website.

And You can find out more info and/or buy the book by clicking the links below:

GOODREADS   AVON INSPIRE/HARPER COLLINS   SHELLEY’S WEBSITE

amazon   BARNES AND NOBLE   CHRISTIANBOOKS   ITUNES

 

{MORE ABOUT SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY}

Shelley Shepard GrayShelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Find out more about Shelley athttp://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

 

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

I am not responsible for any ads you may see below

I apologize for any inappropriate content.

THE PROMISE OF PALM GROVE BY SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY | BLOG TOUR AND BOOK GIVEAWAY | BY LITFUSE

Don’t miss Shelley Shepard Gray’s new series, Amish Brides of Pinecraft, and the first book in the series, The Promise of Palm Grove! Romantic Times said, “Vibrant descriptions and details bring the plot to life in this heartwarming tale of new beginnings and renewal.” Does Leona follow the path set out before her? Or take a chance with only the promise of what could be to guide her?

Enter to win a copy of The Promise of Palm Grove—five winners will be chosen! The winners will be announced March 30 on Shelley’s blog!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

Find out how you can WIN Shelley Shepard Gray’s NEW book – The Promise of Palm Grove!Tweet this!

 

{MORE ABOUT THE PROMISE OF PALM GROVE}

Promise of Palm GroveThe Promise of Palm Grove(Avon Inspire, January 2015)

Leona must decide: Does she follow the path set out before her? Or take a chance with only the promise of what could be to guide her?

A young Amish woman finds herself torn between the man she’s pledged to wed and the man her heart desires in this heartwarming story of chance, duty, and choice in the face of love—the first volume in the beloved New York Times bestselling author’s new Amish Brides of Pinecraft series.

Amish bride-to-be Leona is thrilled to be in Florida, on a mini-vacation in the pretty town of Pinecraft. Her girlfriends think she’s happy because she’s away from the stress of wedding planning. They have no idea that Leona’s real joy is in being away from her fiancé.

Edmund is a good man, and will make a decent husband . . . just not for Leona. The more time she spends with him and his overbearing ways, the less she wants to be his wife. Her cousins are sure Edmund is the right man for her-and their certainty makes Leona begin to doubt herself. But when a chance encounter with a wayward cat brings her face-to-face with a handsome, fun-loving Amish man named Zachary Kauffman, Leona’s faced with two vastly different futures.

Learn more and purchase a copy at Shelley’s website.

And be sure to COME back here tomorrow for my review!

{MORE ABOUT SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY}

Shelley Shepard GrayShelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Find out more about Shelley athttp://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

My top ten Authors – well… kinda

All over the net, readers/bloggers are listing their favorite authors of 2014 and I decided to jump on the bandwagon.

Of course I couldn’t narrow down my list to just ten authors. Actually I couldn’t even narrow my list to 20. I had to do it by genre – and I couldn’t get my favorites list in the Amish genre smaller than twelve… well, the others either. There are just too many AWESOME authors out there! Can you really blame me?

Can you narrow your favorite author list down to just ten?Tweet this!

 

So… here’s my personal list of the TOP TEN 12 FAVORITE AMISH FICTION AUTHORS:

Jennifer Beckstrand   Suzanne Woods Fisher   Vannetta Chapman   Cindy Woodsmall   Amy Clipston   Ruth Reid   Rosalind Lauer   Marta Perry   Shelley Shepard Gray   Beverly Lewis   Serena Miller   Lynette Sowell

 

Who are your favorite Amish Fiction authors?Tweet this!

 

I did actually manage to get the list down to ten – No I didn’t. I can’t do it. Even 12 isn’t enough for HISTORICAL FICTION.

Melanie Dickerson   Jamie Carie

Sarah Sundin   Rachel Muller   Sarah Loudin Thomas   Tricia Goyer   Cara Putman

Tracie Peterson   Mary Ellis   Mary Conneally   Janette Oke   Judith Miller

 

Are your favorite Historical fiction authors – inspirational or mainstream?Tweet this!

 

The INSPIRATIONAL FICTION AUTHOR list was a bit easier since I don’t read a lot of inspirational that isn’t Amish or Historical but only a bit because there are still so many:

Philip Gulley

Rachel Hauck   Betsy St. Amant   Robin Jones Gunn   Judy Baer

Vannetta Chapman   Barbara Cameron

Dan Walsh   Melody Carlson   Max Lucado

Nadine Brandes   CJ Darlington

 

Who started you out with Christian /Inspirational fiction?Tweet this!

 

Judy Baer started me out reading Christian fiction – who was your first?Tweet this!

 

Yesh… see how I snuck a few of my favorites into other genres – those of you who read as much as I do, know there are several authors who write in multiple genres. A couple of them landed in multiple categories because I just couldn’t help myself but it came in handy to be able to sneak in a few who I REALLY wanted to put in the Amish fiction list but just couldn’t do it.

 

If your favorite author switched genres, would you follow?Tweet this!

 

How many genres does your favorite author write in?Tweet this!

 

WHEW!

What am I gonna do next year…

 

Well, I guess I’ll have the top 20 in each genre.

 

© JC Morrows 2015

I LOVE Christmas! | SPECIAL HOLIDAY SPOTLIGHT! | Salute to Christmas Reads!

I don’t know about you but I LOVE Christmas!

It’s my favorite Holiday!

And because of that, I am spotlighting Christmas stories during the month of November!

Why November?

So you can go out and buy them in plenty of time to enjoy over your own Christmas holidays!

And have plenty of time to buy extra copies as Christmas gifts too!

Some of the books I plan to review…

(in no particular order)

 

 

 

“Where Treetops Glisten: Three Stories of Heartwarming Courage and Christmas Romance During World War II” by
Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, Sarah Sundin

The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime.

Three siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, filled with the wonder of Christmas

Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.

In White Christmas by Cara Putman, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.

Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theatre in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and God’s plan for a future?

 

 

“An Amish Second Christmas” by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Tricia Goyer and Ruth Reid

When Christmas Comes Again by Beth Wiseman

Katherine Zook and her four children are facing their first Christmas without a loved one, and the future seems dim. But when a mysterious “Englisch” man begins to show up in the most unlikely of places, Katherine can t help but be suspicious . . . and a bit curious.

Her Christmas Pen Pal by Ruth Reid

When Joy Stolzfus’ boyfriend tells her he wants to court other women, she’s shocked.She pours her heart out in a letter, but it mistakenly reaches Noah Esh. The two begin writing letters back and forth, but a misunderstanding threatens to topple the relationship they’re building.

A Gift for Anne Marie by Kathleen Fuller

Anne Marie Smucker’s life is pretty perfect. Until she discovers her widowed mother is getting married and they’re all moving. On top of that, Anne Marie’s relationship with her friend Nathaniel has changed, and she’s more confused than ever about her feelings for him.

The Christmas Aprons by Tricia Goyer

Esther Glick bakes a Christmas pie for a fundraiser, and she soon finds herself sitting across from bachelor Ammon Schwartz. Esther receives many orders for pies, but when she breaks her wrist, she discovers what community and love are all about.

 

“An Amish Christmas Quilt” by Charlotte Hubbard, Kelly Long and Jennifer Beckstrand

With all the warmth of a cozy quilt, three authors stitch together Amish tales of hearts joined, friendships patched, and the bright joys of Christmas tradition . . .

A Willow Ridge Christmas Pageant
Charlotte Hubbard

Seth Brenneman didn’t expect his holiday would include rescuing pregnant young Mary Kauffman and her two children. . .or having unexpected feelings for the still-grieving widow. But when they must play the leads in an impromptu live Nativity pageant to help his Amish community, will their roles reveal their hearts–and work a miracle for a lifetime?

A Christmas On Ice Mountain
Kelly Long

Matthew Beider and Laurel Lapp’s secret wish to marry is a gift their feuding fathers definitely won’t accept. And trying to settle their dats’ long-standing quarrel is making their holiday anything but merry. Can rediscovering the joys and friendships of Christmas past finally turn their families’ futures bright?

A Perfect Amish Christmas
Jennifer Beckstrand

Anna and Felty Helmuth’s grandson, Gideon, plans to spend Christmas on a beach in sunny Mexico. But Anna is quite sure he’d rather be with them, snowshoeing, ice fishing–falling in love. And she knows the perfect girl. Not only is Dottie Schrock an excellent quilter and baker, she’s having a party. There’s just one complication–Gideon is not invited. Dottie has her reasons, but Anna trusts that the spirit of Christmas–and true love–will change her mind, and her future . . .

 

Along with this I will be posting a special look-back at Jennifer Beckstrand’s “Huckleberry Christmas” – which released on October 7th of this year!

 

 

“Quilted by Christmas”: Quilts of Love Series (Quilts of Love #22) by Jodie Bailey

A grandmother’s last wish is to communicate God’s love through an Irish chain quilt.

Taryn McKenna believes she’s easy to forget. Abandoned by her parents and left behind when her high school sweetheart joined the army, she vows to never love again and throws herself into her love for the outdoors and the pursuit of a college degree—something no one else in her family has ever accomplished. Her goal, as a young teacher in the hills of North Carolina, is to leave a legacy in the lives of the middle-schoolers she teaches.

When Taryn’s grandmother Jemma, the only other person who ever held her close, has a heart attack that reveals a fatal medical condition, Taryn is corralled into helping Grandma work on a final project—an Irish chain quilt that tells the story of her history and the love Jemma knows is out there for Taryn. As the pieces of the quilt come together, Taryn begins to see her value. Can she learn to believe that God will never leave her behind even though others have?

 

 

“Christmas at Rose Hill Farm” by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Bess Riehl is preparing Rose Hill Farm for her Christmas wedding, but her groom isn’t who she thought it would be.

Billy Lapp is far away from his Amish roots working as a rose rustler for Penn State and wants nothing to do with Stoney Ridge, his family, or Bess. And that suits Bess just fine. Why should she think twice about a man who left without a word, without any explanation? It’s time she moved on with her life, and that meant saying yes to Amos Lapp, Billy’s cousin and best friend.

But as Bess and Amos’s wedding day draws near, her emotions tangle into a tight knot. She loves Amos. Yet she can’t forget Billy.When a “lost” rose is discovered at Rose Hill Farm, Billy is sent to track down its origins. Get in, identify the rose, and get out. That’s his plan. The only catch is that he’s having a hard time narrowing down the identity of the lost rose, and he can’t get those tropical blue eyes of Bess Riehl out of his mind.As the history of the lost rose is pieced together, it reminds Bess and Billy–and Amos, too–that Christmas truly is the season of miracles.

Join bestselling, award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher for an Amish Christmas to remember. Filled with heart-twisting moments amid the sweet anticipation of love, this story will charm readers into the holiday spirit.

 

 

“Forever Christmas” by Robert Tate Miller

This Christmas will change Andrew Farmer’s life forever.

Andrew can’t remember the last time he spent Christmas away from work. The end of the year is crunch time for literary agents. But when your career is your life, your life starts to suffer . . . beginning with your marriage.

When a heart-wrenching accident in a Christmas Eve snowstorm jars this high-powered agent from his obsession with success, a Christmas miracle will give him a second chance at love, life, and gratitude, but only if he can put aside his own ambition and learn to appreciate each moment.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to change a man’s life–and to teach him to treat every day as if it were his last.

 

 

“Christmas at Holly Hill” by Martha Rogers

Can Clayton Barlow prove he has changed his ways in time for Christmas?

It is October 1898, and Clayton Barlow has just returned home after serving time in prison for his part in a bank robbery. His family welcomes him, but the townspeople are skeptical. Bored with life in the small town but determined to make a new start, he goes to work with his father, hoping to regain the town’s trust.  Clayton recognizes the schoolteacher at the Prairie Grove School as his childhood friend, Merry Lee Warner, and old feelings surface. Still, he doubts that he could ever get a woman like Merry to love him. As the townspeople prepare for Christmas, their suspicions about Clayton lead to trouble. Will the trusting heart of an unlikely new friend be enough to restore Clayton’s relationships with his neighbors and reunite him with God and Merry?

 

 

“The Christmas Cat” by Melody Carlson

After years abroad, Garrison Brown returns home to Vancouver to build a new life.

When his beloved grandmother passes away a few weeks before Christmas, Garrison goes to her house to sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. While Garrison hopes to dispense with the task quickly, his grandmother’s instructions don’t allow for speed.

She has left Garrison with some challenging requirements for the future homes of her furry friends–plus a sizeable monetary gift for the new owners. Garrison’s job is to match the cats with the right owners without disclosing the surprise gift.

Along the way, he may just meet someone who can make him stay.

Humorous and heartwarming, this latest Christmas story from bestselling author Melody Carlson is the perfect gift for pet lovers and anyone in whose heart Christmas holds a special place.

 

“The Christmas Light” by Donna VanLiere

In the small town of Grandon, five very different people discover the true meaning of Christmas.

Jennifer and Ryan are both single parents, struggling with their own losses and heartache as they attempt to move forward in the present while still holding onto the memories, joy, and heartache of the past.

Sixteen-year-old Kaylee is faced with a life-changing situation that has affected her whole family.

Stephen and Lily are happily married and ready to start a family.

All of them are facing their own struggles, and all are finding their way through the dark. When they are brought together for a rather unconventional church Nativity, they will learn that with strength, courage, and love, there is always hope.

The New York Times bestselling author of the beloved The Christmas Hope series returns with this new heartwarming, inspirational story about the power of love and faith to reveal the possibilities that lay right in front of you.

 

 

“Clara’s Wish: An Amish Christmas Romance” by Beth Shriver

In this Amish Christmas romance, Lizzy Ryder discovers that this holiday season could be her best friend’s last. Will she find the comfort and love she desperately needs?
 

 

 

 

DO you have a Christmas book releasing soon?
Want to add it to the spotlight?
Let me know… CONTACT ME

 

And watch for the reviews for these GREAT books AND MORE
COMING IN NOVEMBER!

Shelley Shepard Gray has been holding out on us! | My thoughts on her new novel: “Secrets of Sloane House”

Granted I’ve only been reading Shelley Shepard Gray’s books for a little over a year but I feel certain that I did not know she had this in her.

I’m not a huge fan of mystery or suspense but when it’s Shelley Shepard Gray, it HAS TO BE worth reading! So I gave it a try and WOW!

Or I suppose I should say… Shelley Gray.

Secrets of Sloane House is an OUTSTANDING read!

Aw man… now I’m going to have to go read her Amish suspense series aren’t I…

I’m just kidding! After reading Secrets of Sloane House…
I really WANT TO!

I don’t know if she was intrigued by Historical mysteries before she wrote Amish or if writing about the buggies and bonnets crowd that drew her to this genre as well but I am not surprised in the least that this book is written so well!

I will say that I truly hope she continues to WOW us with her wonderful Amish romances but I am certainly not opposed to seeing more books of this type too!

I understand there us another “Chicago World’s Fair” coming soon and I find myself very excited about that one now too!

Not many authors can paint a picture like Shelley Shepard Gray. She is one author who will undoubtedly do very well – no matter what genre she is writing!

An author to keep your eyes on!

 

5star

 

And here is a bit more about the book from Zondervan:

One woman’s search for the truth of her sister’s disappearance leads her to deceit and danger in 1893 Chicago.

Rosalind Perry has left her family’s rural farm in Wisconsin to work as a housemaid at Sloane House, one of the most elegant mansions in Gilded Age Chicago. However, Rosalind is not there just to earn a living and support her family—she’s at Sloane House determined to discover the truth about her sister’s mysterious disappearance.

Reid Armstrong is the handsome heir to a silver fortune. However, his family is on the periphery of Chicago’s elite because their wealth comes from “new money” obtained from successful mining. Marriage to Veronica Sloane would secure his family’s position in society—the lifelong dream of his ailing father.

When Reid begins to realize that Rosalind’s life may be in danger, he stops thinking of marriage prospects and concentrates on helping Rosalind. Dark things are afoot in Chicago and, he fears, in Sloane House. If he’s not vigilant, Rosalind could pay the price.

Set against the backdrop of Chicago’s Gilded Age and the 1893 World’s Fair, Secrets of Sloane House takes us on a whirlwind journey of romance and mystery.

 

You can find even more at the links below – including how to purchase your own copy!

GOODREADS   ZONDERVAN   SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY’S WEBSITE

AMAZON   CHRISTIANBOOKS   BARNES & NOBLE   ITUNES

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.

Our third trip back to Sugarcreek! | “Joyful” by Shelley Shepard Gray

Joyful

 

Shelley Shepard Gray is most certainly one of my favorite writers! The very first book of hers I read was Hidden. That was it. I was hooked.

Since that time, I have read more and more of her books and with every one, I become a bit more of a fan.

I picked up Joyful and I simply could NOT put it down. It is that fantastic a story!

Joyful shows the growth of an author who has honed her craft over the years but it also holds the same talent that has always been there.

Shelley excells at taking a normal, average story that we could read anywhere and draw us in to it. This is a story that we could just as easily read about from a contemporary viewpoint but Shelley’s love of Amish culture brings an extra special touch to it.

We first met the Beilers (in this new series anyway) in Hopeful and we have had three books now to see their special circumstances, and isn’t it amazing how many parallels there are between Hopeful (the first book in the series) and Joyful (the third) – A Beiler man who is ferhuddled by a young woman from the Sugarcreek community…

And yet there are so many differences as well. Miriam and Elizabeth are two very different women, with two very different temperaments and very different life experiences.

In Joyful, we get a close look at the Beiler family again. This wonderful family has such heart and the members of it will capture yours.

If Shelley decides to continue with Sugarcreek (and I truly hope she does…), she has plenty more characters we would all LOVE to know more about in the years to come.

At least I know I would.

And if they’re even half as terrific as Joyful, she’ll have even more fans flocking to snatch up her books!

 

5star

 

Here is a bit more about “Joyful”:

A young Amish couple gets a second chance at love in New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s final book in her Return to Sugarcreek series.

Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm’s needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.

When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth’s heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.

Elizabeth wants to refuse—to stay far away from the man who hurt her—but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she’s older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.

Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her—or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth—or risk losing his chance at love forever.

 

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

GOODREADS   HARPER COLLINS/AVON INSPIRE   SHELLEY’S WEBSITE

AMAZON   BARNES & NOBLE   CHRISTIANBOOKS   ITUNES

 

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.

A chance to WIN all three wonderful novels in Shelley Shepard Gray’s Return to Sugarcreek series!

Don’t miss Shelley Shepard Gray‘s newest book in the Return to Sugarcreek series, Joyful. USA Today raved: “A sweet, straightforward story about how love can be tested by family, faith, and personal insecurity. Enjoyable and heartwarming.

Click the banner for a chance to win books 1-3 in Shelley’s  Return to Sugarcreek series!

Winner announced on Shelley’s blog on 9/30.

 

 

 

Joyful by Shelley Shepard Gray

{MORE ABOUT JOYFUL}

Joyful || Return to Sugarcreek series

A young Amish couple gets a second chance at love in New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s final book in her Return to Sugarcreek series.

Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm’s needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.

When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth’s heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.

Elizabeth wants to refuse—to stay far away from the man who hurt her—but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she’s older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.

Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her—or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth—or risk losing his chance at love forever.

Learn more and purchase a copy at Shelley’s website.

Shelley Shepard Gray

{MORE ABOUT SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY}

Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Find out more about Shelley athttp://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

The Next book is HERE from Shelley Shepard Gray! Read below to find out how you can WIN a copy!

Shelley Shepard Gray took us back to Sugarcreek with Hopeful and now she is continuing this new series with Thankful and I don’t know about you but I’m excited!

In ThankfulNew York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray captures the beauty, devotion, and warmth of Amish life in this engaging tale of family, commitment, trust, and love set in the beloved community of Sugarcreek.

Click the link below to enter!

You have a chance to win the first two books in Shelley’s Return to Sugarcreek series, Hopeful and Thankful.

Thankful by Shelley Shepard Gray | Book Giveaway and Blog Tour

And check back later this week for my review!

 

Thankful

{More about Thankful}

Thankful, Book Two in the Return to Sugarcreek series

New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray captures the beauty, devotion, and warmth of Amish life in this engaging tale of family, commitment, trust, and love set in the beloved community of Sugarcreek.

Christina Kempf has always known that God chose Aden Reese to be her husband. As children, he was there to save her when she fell through the ice, and he’s been by her side ever since. After his parents died in a car accident ten years ago, the Kempfs raised Aden as one of their own, and everyone sees Aden and Christina as brother and sister. But Christina has never given up hope that Aden will one day ask her to be his wife.

Aden always planned to court Christina. But losing his mother and father changed everything—except his love for her. Her parents generously welcomed him into their home and treated him like a son. He can’t betray their kindness by admitting his feelings for the girl who is like a sister . . . yet so much more.

Pressured by her parents to court, Christina begins to accept the attentions of Sugarcreek’s young men, and now, Aden must make a choice. Will he stand by and watch the love of his life slip away? Or will he risk losing the love and trust of the family he holds dear to tell Christina how he truly feels?

Thankful includes a P.S. section with additional insights from the author, background material, suggestions for further reading, and more.

Learn more and purchase a copy here.

 

Shelley Shepard Gray

{More About Shelley Shepard Gray}

Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Find out more about Shelley at http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

 

 

“Hopeful” by Shelley Shepard Gray | Return to Sugarcreek series book 1

"Hopeful" by Shelley Shepard Gray“HOPEFUL” is the long-anticipated first book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s Return to Sugarcreek series!

Looks like the mystery bug has rubbed off on Shelley. After writing the original Seasons of Sugarcreek series as romance, “Hopeful” is a step in a different direction. Not a complete turn, just a step.

Don’t worry, there’s still PLENTY of romance.

But there is also a definite air of mystery surrounding Mary Kate Hershberger – the community’s new schoolteacher.

I wish the synopsis had given me a bit more warning that I was reading a suspense/mystery. Not that I would not have read the book – I would have anyway, it just would have been nice to know going in.

Isn’t it nice that you have me? You are fore-warned. But DEFINITELY read it!

It’s a terrific story! And the mystery/suspense woven around Mary Kate is done extremely well.

It has been a long time since a book kept me up half the night simply because I could not put it down. And not just because of the suspense either – I found myself desperate to find out what happened between Junior, Mary Kate and Miriam.

And I wasn’t about to stop reading until I found out!

I do think that either Shelley or her editor perhaps mixed up a few things about the Amish… or maybe it’s simply artistic license – As far as I know, from my own research, the Amish do not toss off comments about calling relatives like it is a common occurrence. It’s anything but – for them. And I was not aware that Amish ever retired. But I could be wrong – or it could be that Miriam’s parents worked for a company that required them to retire at a certain age. Whatever it was, it didn’t really detract from the story…more like caught my attention and had me going “Hmm…”

Maybe that was the idea. Sneaky… And clever.

It’s a GREAT story and a COZY and INTRIGUING read and Shelley Shepard Gray is DEFINITELY one of my all-time favorite authors! Now I just have to go back and read her other suspense/mystery series.

5star

Here is a brief summary of the story from GoodReads:

In the Amish town of Sugarcreek, love comes in many forms. But will it come at all for Miriam?

Miriam Zehr has worked at the Sugarcreek Inn longer than she cares to admit. The restaurant is a favorite of town residents as well as the many tourists who come to taste the famous Amish fare. Though she always tries to have a smile for every customer, deep down Miriam knows something’s missing: a family of her own.

Miriam has never felt particularly beautiful, especially because she’s always been a bit heavier than other girls her age. When Junior, the man she’s pined for all her life, suddenly seeks her out, she’s thrilled to be noticed . . . until she realizes he’s only asking her to help get the attention of Mary Kathryn Hershberger, her pretty friend.

If Miriam helps Junior court Mary Kathryn, she’ll get to spend a lot of time with him, but she might lose him in the process. Are these few stolen moments worth a lifetime of sacrifice? Is Miriam right to even hope for the life she dreams of?

See what I mean… absolutely no HINT of mystery or suspense. Maybe it’s another cleverly disguised ploy… Devious. 😉

HERE is a link to get more info about the Litfuse blog tour

HERE is a link to the GoodReads page.

HERE is a link to Shelley Shepard Gray’s website.

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.

“Christmas in Sugarcreek” by Shelley Shepard Gray | Seasons of Sugarcreek book 4

10680698“Christmas is Sugarcreek” is the fourth book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s Seasons of Sugarcreek series.

The best thing about this book is that it could easily have been just a book that happened in the winter.

Christmas was definitely central to the story but the focus was more on the couples in the story than the holiday.

It made me feel a lot less silly about reading it in February (actually, it fits right in with the romantic theme of the month).

Here’s a bit 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

This story flows smoothly from “Autumn’s Promise”, just like the rest of the series has. You would never know Shelley worked on several other novels in between.

I love that the story focuses on several couples (despite what the excerpt says) instead of just one. Typically a novel in a series will have the characters from previous stories in the story participating but they are not central – they’re on the sideline. In this one, several different couples share the focus of the story (I hope that doesn’t give too much away…). I just love that the story seems to spill out over every character we’ve met and brings them all into focus!

It’s a wonderful story of life and love and celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Once again Shelley has written a wonderful story and I am thrilled to be able to start “Hopeful” feeling like I know all of the characters very well.

I’ve gotten to know them so well, I feel like they’re like old friends and I can’t wait to go back and visit them – to see how they’re all doing.

So… onto “Hopeful” to find out what’s going on with our friend Miriam.

4 Stars

HERE is a link to the book page on GoodReads

and HERE is a link to Shelley’s website.

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

“Autumn’s Promise” by Shelley Shepard Gray | Seasons of Sugarcreek book 3

Autumns Promise

This will probably be the most difficult book of this series for me to review. In fact, I’m not even certain that I can do it without giving too much away (I detest spoilers) but I’m going to give it my best shot.

“Autumn’s Promise” is the third book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s Seasons of Sugarcreek series and it is most definitely my least favorite ending so far.

However, I give Shelley full marks for her hard work.

I am not certain that it was possible to write an ending to such a difficult situation that would have made everyone who read it happy.

Just using the back cover blurb (which doesn’t really give anything away in my opinion) let me give you a couple of hints about my irritation…

First, in my opinion, giving up technology and a car are not at all the same as giving up your independence or who you are as a person. However, I can assure you that at least 70% of the other women who read this book will not agree with me. My opinions on this subject are drawn from my own desire to be a Proverbs 31 woman.

In fact, my beliefs are most likely much closer to the Amish community than at least 90% of the other women who will or have read this book series. My own beliefs and feelings may even be more fervent than a lot of Mennonite women who have grown up straddling two worlds.

Second, no matter what anyone thinks, it is not just as easy for Robert Miller to give up his own ways and change for Lilly. Being Amish is not just a denominational difference. They look at marriage and faith in such different ways than we do and to them a vow to the church is just as much a lifelong commitment as marriage is.

And that truly is the way it is to them. A vow is not something that is meant to be broken – EVER. They do not take a vow lightly and they can not simply walk away from their church. Even the few Amish who leave before being baptized lose much of what makes the Amish community so different from the “Englisch” one.

OK. I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Truly I did enjoy the book. I just wish the ending had been a bit different. However, I will not allow my disappointment to lessen my love of Shelley’s books and I fully intend to finish the series, and the series after, and then go back and read her other series as well.

Shelley is a wonderful writer and she handled the ending extremely well, even if I didn’t care for it – it was beautifully written.

And since I imagine almost everyone would enjoy the ending more than I did, I fully recommend this book to everyone!

4 Stars

A few words from GoodReads about the book:

Some promises are meant to be broken. . . .

Until Robert Miller met Lilly Allen, his world had been dark. A widower after only two years of marriage, he’d been living in a haze, feeling that, at twenty-four, his life was already over. But thanks to his friendship with Lilly, he now has new reasons to wake up each day. He knows his connection to her doesn’t make sense. She’s only nineteen, with a past the whole town talks about. Even more, she’s not Amish, like Robert. A marriage between the two of them could never happen.

Lilly’s heart is drawn to Robert, not to his faith. No matter how much she admires his quiet strength and dependability, she doesn’t think she could ever give up her independence and reliance on the modern world. Is their love doomed before it even begins?

HERE is a link to the book page on GoodReads

and HERE is a link to Shelley’s website.

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

“Spring’s Renewal” by Shelley Shepard Gray | Seasons of Sugarcreek book 2

Springs Renewal“Spring’s Renewal” is the second book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s Seasons of Sugarcreek series.

Once again Shelley Shepard Gray has surprised me and I am so glad she did.

I was so afraid this book would end in an unsatisfactory way but I was pleasantly surprised. Shelley has an astonishing talent.

From the minute I picked the book up, I could not bear to put it down. Of course being a mother of two rambunctious kiddos, I had to put it down a few times but it amazed even me how quickly I would pick it right back up.

I felt positively sneaky…
but I couldn’t help myself.

The story drew me in immediately and I found myself feeling Clara’s pain. I also found myself feeling for Tim. He was so wrapped up in confusion about what to do with his feelings.

Both of them had an uncanny knack for stumbling right before they got to the point of what should be said and I found that to be absolutely perfect. Young people have a habit of circling around their own thoughts and getting all mixed up when the rest of their life is on the line.

Shelley captured that beautifully.

God has truly blessed her with a wondrous talent and I find myself on pins and needles – just to get to the next book in this series… not to mention the next series.

DO NOT miss this book!

5star

If you need more convincing,
here is a brief synopsis from GoodReads:

Tim Graber arrives in Sugarcreek to help his aunt and uncle with spring planting. At first, Tim doesn’t fit in with his many cousins and their crowded lifestyle. But when he meets Clara Slabaugh, the local school teacher, he understands why the Lord brought him to Sugarcreek. Clara is shy and quiet. Scarred from a fire when she was small, Clara has resigned herself to living alone and caring for her mother, who tells her that no man will ever see past her scars, and that Clara needs to keep teaching in order to make ends meet. Her father passed away years ago, and her mother depends on her. But the scars mean nothing to Tim. He appreciates her quiet nature and her wonderful, loving way with children. Yet Tim has a sweetheart back home in Indiana. As these two hearts struggle to determine their path, tragedy strikes, and every other worry seems insignificant in comparison. Though they now face a life they never imagined, will Tim and Clara have the faith to step out and risk everything for a chance at true love?

HERE is a link to the book page on GoodReads

And HERE is a link to Shelley’s website.

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

“Winter’s Awakening” by Shelley Shepard Gray |Seasons of Sugarcreek book 1

Winters Awakening“Winter’s Awakening” is the first in Shelley Shepard Gray’s Seasons of Sugarcreek series.

This book was not at all what I expected and that is a very good thing. After reading Shelley’s first series: Sisters of the Heart, I had an idea in my head already of what I could look forward to from her writing and the book appeared to be going away from it all.

I was very relieved when I saw where the story truly was going.

Regardless of my misgivings, I was drawn in by the intriguing story and Shelley’s descriptive writing so I did go on to read the story and I have to say, the way it turned out may not have been what I was expecting but it could not have been done any better!

GREAT GREAT Story!

Now it’s on to book 2 (review to come)…and then book 3 (review to come) and the special Christmas story (review to come) that goes along with the series. Then it’s on to “Hopeful”, the first book in the Return to Sugarcreek series! And then we have “Thankful” to look forward to. I will be reviewing “Hopeful” as part of a blog tour sponsored by Litfuse and then it will be time to anxiously await the release of “Thankful”.

And before I go, this must be said. I am glad to have read this series before reading “Hopeful”. It will be a much more enjoyable read now, knowing all the main characters so well already.

My hope is that everyone who reads this review, decides to read the book.

5star

Happy Reading and God Bless!

To help you decide…here are a few words about the book from GoodReads:

As the coldest winter on record blows into Sugarcreek, will three hearts have the courage to discover the life that God wants for them?

In the small Amish town of Sugarcreek, Ohio, Joshua knows what’s expected of him: to work at the family store and to finally marry Gretta, whom he’s courted for years. But when a new English family moves in next door and their teenage daughter catches his eye, Joshua wonders if his future plans are too firmly set in stone.

Gretta is shocked by the sudden change in Joshua. Their arguments followed by tense silences feel too much like the frosty atmosphere at home between her parents. When Roland begins to take an interest in her, she considers what her life might be like with Joshua out of the picture. With Roland, Gretta would have steady, kind companionship…although she knows she could never love him.

When Lilly moved to Sugarcreek, she never imagined she’d be enamored with the Amish way of life, and especially with her handsome new neighbor, Joshua. But she guards a secret that will surely drive him away, one that compelled her family to leave their old home and move to Sugarcreek in the first place: Lilly is pregnant.

I look forward to reading the next book in this series and I hope you do as well.

In the meantime, HERE is a link to the book page on GoodReads

and HERE is a link to Shelley’s website.

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

HOPEFUL by Shelley Shepard Gray | Win a copy!

Have you purchased the book yet? NO… Would you like to win a copy?

Click the picture below for your chance! 

hopeful-400-click

Shelley and her publisher are celebrating by giving away FIVE copies of the book. 

Enter today and be sure to visit Shelley’s blog on the 24th to see if YOU won one of the books!

Until then, here’s a bit more about Shelley Shepard Gray from LITFUSE:

Shelley Shepard Gray{About Shelley Shepard Gray}

Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Find out more about Shelley at http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

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

Reading List for 2014… so far.

Lots of fantastic books COMING SOON!

I can’t wait to get my hands on them all!

Here are just a few of the novels I’m excited about that are in the works already!

"Hopeful" by Shelley Shepard Gray
“Hopeful” by Shelley Shepard Gray

I am chomping at the bit for this one and I have to wait until April…AHHHH!

"Seasons of Tomorrow" by Cindy Woodsmall
“Seasons of Tomorrow”
by Cindy Woodsmall
"Princess Ever After" by Rachel Hauck
“Princess Ever After”
by Rachel Hauck
"A Road Unknown" by Barbara Cameron
“A Road Unknown”
by Barbara Cameron
"Where Courage Calls"  by Janette Oke
“Where Courage Calls”
by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan
"The Last Bride" by Beverly Lewis
“The Last Bride”
by Beverly Lewis
"Murder Simply Brewed"  by Vannetta Chapman
“Murder Simply Brewed”
by Vannetta Chapman
"An Amish Garden"  Beth Wiseman, Tricia Goyer, Kathleen Fuller & Vannetta Chapman
“An Amish Garden”
Beth Wiseman, Tricia Goyer,
Kathleen Fuller & Vannetta Chapman

I’m currently reading:

"The Letters"  by Suzanne Woods Fisher
“The Letters”
by Suzanne Woods Fisher

And this is next on my list:

"The Calling"  by Suzanne Woods Fisher
“The Calling”
by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Of course there are always NEW books coming out in The Quilts of Love series so I’m watching for those!

And I plan to get caught up on the other Amish Anthologies: An Amish Blessing, An Amish Love, An Amish Kitchen and An Amish Miracle.

I’m also hoping to see news of a book being published SOON by a very dear friend…YOU know who you are!

FUN!

Anyway, that’s me… up until April anyway. There will be dozens of other announced between now and then and I’ll be chomping at the bit to get those too.

I LOVE that Amish fiction is so hot right now! It means there are so many new titles and stories available on a regular basis!

If you’re looking for more GREAT books to read, Christianbook.com is a GREAT place to look for what’s NEW and what’s COMING SOON!

HAPPY NEW YEAR

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.

Favorite Books of 2013!

These are in no particular order… Mostly they’re in the order I read them in…The Fiddler“The Fiddler” by Beverly Lewis

A Season for Tending“A Season for Tending” by Cindy Woodsmall
(Book 1 in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series)

Book two - The Winnowing Season“The Winnowing Season” by Cindy Woodsmall
(Book 2 in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series)

For Every Season pic“For Every Season” by Cindy Woodsmall
(Book 3 in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series)

Simple Amish Christmas“A Simple Amish Christmas” by Vannetta Chapman

5660435The Christmas Quilt” by Vannetta Chapman

20130911-212644.jpg“Hidden” by Shelley Shepard Gray

9780061474460“Wanted” by Shelley Shepard Gray

9780061474477“Forgiven” by Shelley Shepard Gray

10301098“The Christmas Singing” by Cindy Woodsmall

6275220“The Sound of Sleigh Bells” by Cindy Woodsmall

17288591“The Dawn of Christmas” by Cindy Woodsmall

Noticing a pattern yet? Lots of Christmas and Lots of Amish!

17787021“A Christmas Gift for Rose” by Tricia Goyer

A-Promise-for-Miriam-662x1024

“A Promise for Miriam” by Vannetta Chapman
(Book 1 of the Pebble Creek Amish Series)Home-for-Lydia-A-662x1024

“A Home for Lydia” by Vannetta Chapman
(Book 2 of the Pebble Creek Amish Series) 9780736946162

“A Wedding for Julia” by Vannetta Chapman
(Book 3 of the Pebble Creek Amish Series) home to pebble creek 972208_618068678227299_1189904992_n

“Home to Pebble Creek” by Vannetta Chapman
(Novella 1 of the Pebble Creek Amish Series) Christmas-at-Pebble-Creek-eBook-194x300

“Christmas at Pebble Creek” by Vannetta Chapman
(Novella 2 of the Pebble Creek Amish Series) – I’m still hoping for more in this series too!

amish-peace3D“The One Year Book of Amish Peace” by Tricia Goyer
(To be fair, I haven’t read it all yet but it’s a devotional so it’s not meant to be read like any other book. The point is, I LOVE IT!)

Now, I’m putting these down here at the bottom, even though I read them before any of the others because they’re in a totally different ball park. They have to be listed because I LOVE THEM!

And I am impatiently awaiting the next book and the coming eBooks!

Selection

“The Selection” by Kiera Cass Elite

“The Elite” by Kiera Cass Prince

“The Prince”

They have to be mentioned because I read them in 2013 and they are definitely in my favorites. I LOVE reading the Amish fiction because it is so difficult to find clean, decent books out there today. Even among Christian fiction, there are some with questionable subject material. With Amish fiction, you just don’t have to worry about that. And The Selection trilogy is the same in most ways. There is a hint of naughty here and there but it’s handled extremely well and even the descriptions of the rebel attacks are very tame (Not at all like “The Hunger Games” trilogy).

I’ve read at least double the amount of books you see here but these are, by far, my favorites! And I can’t wait to list my upcoming reading list for you. I plan to have it up tomorrow.

Until then, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

IMG_2301

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?

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!

20131030-200830.jpg

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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Review of “Forgiven” by Shelley Shepard Gray

9780061474477Another well-written novel in this wonderful series. “Forgiven” is the third and (I thought…last) in Shelley Shepard Gray’s Sisters of the Heart series.

This book deals mostly with Winnie; sister to Jonathan Lundy and friend to Katie (Brenneman). If you read book 2: “Wanted”, you’ll know Winnie has had some difficulties finding the right man to complete her life.

Oh, if only more young people would wait on God to bring the right person into their life… I guarantee you, he has someone for all of us. We just don’t always listen to him when he tries to steer us in their direction.

Anyway, I’m not going to tell you how everything turns out. Read it and see for yourself!

And I’m so excited to discover there is a special Christmas novel that Shelley Shepard Gray has also written for this series!

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I CAN’T WAIT TO READ IT!

 

 

Shelley is definitely one of my new favorite authors!

BRAVO Shelley for tackling some very tough issues in this series and writing beautifully about each one! These are difficult things to write about and you have definitely found the way to do it right!

GREAT JOB!

Her stories draw you in and make you feel like part of them.

She is an amazing writer. Her worlds are thorough and realistic. It’s difficult to believe her characters are fictional and the stories draw you in and make you feel like you are a part of them.

Don’t miss a single one of her books!

You can find more info about this book HERE on GoodReads
The book cover for “Grace” above is also linked to GoodReads.

And you can read more about Shelley Shepard Gray and her wonderful stories on her website HERE!

Happy Reading!

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God Bless You!

Review for “The Keeper” by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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Another book, another author, another disappointment for me.

Is it really just me?

Am I the only one who sees how wrong some of these things are?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure some of these things happen. But some of them… There’s no way. Really. No way.

Suffice to say, I will not be finishing this book. While reading it, I actually found myself becoming disgusted with the genre in general so I will not finish this particular one.

My mother assures me that she has read several other books by Miss Fisher and they were fantastic.

So I may give those a try at some point. But I cannot finish this one.

I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who will enjoy this book. I’m just not one of them.

So don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself. See what you think.

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

God Bless You!

Review of “Wanted” by Shelley Shepard Gray

9780061474460

“Wanted” did not start out like I expected at all. But it did not take long at all for me to be sucked in. Another fantastic book in this series. I can’t wait to read the next one! And then move on to the next series! Shelley Shepard Gray is definitely one of my new favorite authors!

I can’t wait to read the next one.

The message conveyed in this book is a tough one. Shelley Shepard Gray found the way to do it right. So many people struggle with things they’ve done in their past and the Amish are no different. I’m sure they have fewer things to be ashamed of (and of a lesser magnitude as well) than we English but regrets are very much a part of being human.

…the Amish are no different…

As I understand it, the Amish time of running around is mostly used as a tool to show the young adults enough about the English world so that they can make an informed decision before they join the church. It’s a big decision and the church does not want anyone taking it lightly. I consider that to be a very good thing. No one should make a decision of such importance without having enough information to take it seriously.

The truthful portrayal of the Amish community and faith continues in “Wanted” with the same characters and we even meet a few new ones. A lot of writers miss this when it comes to writing a series. They get so caught up in making the second or third book “as good” as the first one and they miss out on how important it is to just continue the story. Shelley Shepard Gray continues the story perfectly. It’s a great read!

It’s a GREAT read!

I managed to find “Forgiven” at a really great price just a few days ago so I’m ready to keep reading. And I’m excited to find out where the story goes next!

If you enjoy Amish fiction AT ALL, read this series! You won’t regret it!

You can find more information about “WANTED” on GoodReads HERE. And you can read more about Shelley Shepard Gray on her Website HERE.

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

God Bless You!