A wonderful alternative to secular comics!

Raegan & RJ in SpaceGood morning! I am reviewing a fantastic new Graphic Novel: Raegan AND RJ IN SPACE  by Richard Collins.

This is actually the first graphic novel I have ever read and I have to say, while I’m not much of a comics fan myself, I love it!

I think it’s possible that kids of all ages will love this book! I say that because a lot of teens or young adults love comics just as much as those who are 10 or 12.

This is a graphic novel that would appeal to them all, I think.

And it has a WONDERFUL message too!

This is a book that any parent should buy if they have children who are interested in comics of space or astronauts!

Aside from the wonderful pictures and the fun story-line, the book includes many bonus pictures of the ship layout and colony maps – which I love in the Sci-Fi books I read so I’m sure kids would LOVE them!

My son is obsessed with space travel and he was so excited to see that this book looked at space travel from a Christian perspective. It’s so difficult to find reading material along these lines for him. It’s not so hard to find main-stream Sci-Fi novels or graphic novels but from a Christian world-view… nearly impossible.

So this book is a blessing as well!

Don’t miss it!

 

4 Stars

 

Here is a bit more about the book from BookCrash:

 Raegan and RJ in Space: Colonizing the Galaxy for Christ is a full color 48 page graphic novel which tells the story of the first Christians to start their own space program, travel to the Alpha Centauri star system, and establish a colony. If you love Jesus and space adventure, blast off with Raegan and RJ and 5 Christian families as they ‘Colonize the Galaxy for Christ!’ Reviewed by Readersfavorite.com: 5 out of 5 Stars… well designed… well written… extremely creative… a masterpiece! ‘Go Raegan and RJ in Space!’

You can also find more information and/or buy the book by clicking on the sites below.

RAEGAN & RJ IN SPACE – WEBSITE   AMAZON

Disclaimer: I received the book free from the BookCrash Blogger program

in exchange for an honest review.

 

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.

God bless!

A review of Sarah Sundin’s “In Perfect Time”

One word describes this book:

WOW!

Just… WOW!

From page 1, you will be hooked! I’ve never been a fan of WWII era books but this one has made me into one!

Sarah Sundin will take hold of your heartstrings even while she’s got you on the seat of your pants – just waiting for an explosion!

I’m no WWII buff but the scenes read spot-on to me and the descriptions are wonderful. It’s like you can hear the engines drowning out everything around you! Or the salty sea air…

And the characters… ooh the characters!

There are whole worlds underneath the exterior of our Lt. Kay Jobson. She is a woman in control… or is she?

And Lt. Roger Cooper is just as complex and complicated! They say opposites attract but similar personalities rub each other the wrong way.

And oh how the sparks do fly!

Now of course, I’m dying to get books 1 & 2 so I can read more of this amazing series!

And I hope to see many more wonderful books from Sarah Sundin! You have made a fan out of me!

5star

 

A brief synopsis from Revell Books:

Two hearts are about to learn the rhythm of love

Bold, sophisticated, and coy, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.

Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer. Can they overcome the fears and misunderstandings of the past in order to take hold of the future?

Sarah Sundin seamlessly weaves together emotion, action, and sweet romance into a tale that transcends time and calls us to believe in the power of love.

 

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

GOODREADS   REVELL/BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP   SARAH’S WEBSITE

AMAZON   BARNES & NOBLE   CHRISTIANBOOKS   LIFEWAY   ITUNES   BOOKSAMILLION

 

 

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review
from the Revell Reads blogger program.

 

Happy Reading

And

GOD BLESS!

 

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

A look at the new series by Nancy I Sanders.

Good morning! I am reviewing a new book from Zonderkidz today: Get to Know King David

This book is part of an intriguing new series by Nancy I. Sanders. Thus far there are 4 books available but with so many wonderful characters to chose from, we will most likely see more to come!

not only does it give children interesting facts to mull over, but it also follows the Common Core Standards.

The author did a great job with the beautiful color maps and photos, along with scripture references and lots of fun facts.

For very young children, I think this book would be exciting to read and it is very… easy… to read.

Hopefully children will connect with the way Nancy tells a story about King David.

And the word bank makes learning about King David interesting… and fun!

The chapters are very descriptive – and the timeline is full of interesting information.

Children should find this book an easy read and an entertaining way to learn about the life of one of their favorite Biblical characters!

 

Here is a bit more about the book from ZonderKidz:

 A Shepherd and A King David lived an adventurous life. He protected his family’s sheep from lions and bears. He fought a giant with just a sling and stone. He even spent years hiding from men who were trying to kill him. And eventually, David became a great king. But David was also a man of God. Learn more about this hero from the Bible and his exciting place in history. Discover what it was like to grow up in ancient Israel and then be a king of God’s people. King David—part of the Get to Know series—will teach you everything you need to know about an imperfect young man whom God used to do great things! Common Core Standards: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.1 CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.3 CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.5

 

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

GOODREADS   ZONDERKIDZ   NANCY’S WEBSITE

AMAZON   BARNES & NOBLE   CHRISTIANBOOKS   ITUNES

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

 

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.

God bless!

CONTEST | Real Women: Leading with Proverbs 31 Values

Real Women Leading: With Proverbs 31 Values is a must-have leadership resource for today’s Christian woman. Lisa Troyer and Dawn Yoder have successfully learned to navigate the marketplace by cultivating biblical truth, credible relationship development, and practical application into everyday life through ten foundational principles.

Lisa and Dawn are celebrating the release of their book with an iPad Mini giveaway and a Facebook “Leading with Values” author chat event on March 20th.

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One winner will receive:

  • An iPad Mini
  • Real Women Leading by Lisa Troyer and Dawn Yoder

Real Women Leading Cover

{MORE ABOUT REAL WOMEN LEADING}

With Proverbs 31 values.

Today’s marketplace is not always a “values-friendly” environment. Business leaders Lisa Troyer and Dawn Yoder show you that you can live and thrive in a “valueless” workplace when you live by biblical values and principles.

Real Women: Leading with Proverbs 31 Values is a must-have leadership resource for today’s Christian woman. Written by women in the marketplace, Real Women cultivates biblical truth, credible relationship development, and practical application into everyday life through ten foundational principles. Once women embrace these ten principles, they will soon discover the multiple attributes of the Proverbs 31 woman in today’s marketplace and learn practical ways to implement the wisdom from that timeless Scripture passage.

Women will be encouraged to develop their God-given gifts and talents in the marketplace as they live out the principles that invite others to embrace the equality-inspiring values they live by. Knowing that we are not the end users of the gospel message, the Proverbs 31 leader will find the initiative to inspire the upcoming generation to view womanhood as a gift and continue the learning process that will impact generations to come.

Learn more and purchase a copy here.

Don’t miss out on the book or the chat party! What a great time for some fun and fellowship!

Lisa Troyer Dawn Yoder

{MORE ABOUT LISA TROYER DAWN YODER}

**Lisa Troyer** Sometimes referred to by friends as the “singing executive,” wife, mom, radio personality, recording artist, speaker, and author. Her Circle of Friends women’s outreach, formed over a decade ago, is growing in all directions. Lisa uses her gift of encouragement, her influence, and her resources to open doors for women to discover their significance and belonging. She and her family currently live in Ohio.

**Dawn Yoder** is passionate about developing people to discover their strengths and reach their leadership potential. As CEO of a 500-plus employee company, she seeks to bring values and principle-based thinking into all aspects of society through a round table environment. Dawn is a member of the John Maxwell coaching team, an international trainer, a speaker with the Circle of Friends ministry, a contributing writer, a songwriter, and a frequent worship leader. She and her husband, Jeff, have been married for more than 20 years and have four children.

Find out more about Lisa Troyer at http://www.newhopedigital.com/2013/09/real-women-leading/.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5star

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

Click HERE to see the GoodReads book page.

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

Click HERE to visit Tricia’s website.

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

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

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

Happy Reading

And

GOD BLESS!

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

“Balancing it All” by Candace Cameron Bure

20140224-233040.jpgThis book was not at all what I expected
in a good way.

Yes it is exciting to read about Candace and Kirk’s childhood and rise to Hollywood fame but it’s also very exciting to see how they managed to avoid the pitfalls that so many other Hollywood stars fall right into.

It is comforting to see that the family is very much like most of our own. I think a lot of people tend to think that just because someone is in a movie or on TV – they’re nothing like “normal” people.

Cameron makes a point of letting us know that her family was very normal as she was growing up and that she and her husband do what they can to provide their children with as normal a life as possible now.

I will hazard a guess that there are things in the book that people will not agree with but they should remember this:

Just because you do something in a different way, doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong – it’s just right or wrong for your family. A lot of people I know say they could never homeschool but it is exactly the right choice for our family!

All-in-all, it’s a great story. And I really enjoyed the read!

As far as the read itself – It’s very well put-together and it flows beautifully. I’m not sure if the “with Dana Wilkerson” means she is the one who did the writing or if it was more of a collaboration but whoever did the writing did a Great job!

It pulls you right in, moves quick and will have you laughing all the way through. The descriptions are so vivid, I can see it all unfold right in front of me and you get a very real sense from it. This is no fairy tale story that has been crafted to make life sound perfect – it’s real!

I am also thrilled to see how Candace weaves her faith into everything. Even talking about her childhood, she credits her parent’s morality as one reason for her faith. BRAVO Candace! I know a lot of people have had nasty things to say about the whole “proverbs 31 woman” thing but I am really impressed that Candace has stuck to her beliefs and her faith! It’s not easy when you’re being attacked on all sides.

Please know that you have plenty of supporters too Candace!

Well worth reading! You won’t regret it!

And the cover gets my son’s approval – which is a VERY big deal. He likes that she’s wearing a dress and that she’s covered nicely – no low cut top or too short skirt. So, GOOD JOB to the cover designer as well!

A GREAT READ!

5star

Here is a bit more about the book from B&H Publishing Group:

“How do you do it all?”

That’s the question that wife, mom, actress, and best-selling author Candace Cameron Bure is often asked. And it’s a question that women everywhere are asking themselves as we seek to balance all of our roles, responsibilities, and opportunities.

So, how do we do it? Working since the age of 5, Candace has been in a balancing act for nearly her entire life. She is the first to tell you that there is no miracle formula for perfect execution in every area of your life, but there definitely are some lessons to be learned, lessons that come to life in Candace’s story.

Come along and dig into Candace’s story from her start in commercials, the balance-necessitating years on Full House, to adding on the roles of wife and mom while also returning to Hollywood. Insightful, funny, and poignant, Candace’s story will help you balance it all.

Check out the book page on B&H Publishing HERE.

And you can read even more by clicking HERE. There’s also info on ChristianBook.com HERE.

And check out Candace’s website HERE.

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

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

“The Calling” by Suzanne Woods Fisher | The Inn at Eagle Hill book 2

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OK… I think these books are my new favorite series! WHAT a turnaround! Here I thought there was something about Suzanne’s writing that was annoying me and I was ready to quit reading. Well I was right… sort of. It is Suzanne’s writing that was agitating me. But only because she draws a reader into the story so well that we feel the emotions that her characters are feeling. And at the beginning of “The Letters”, there was some serious agitation going around.

“The Calling” is a FANTASTIC read!

Suzanne Woods Fisher has managed to continue the story beautifully while introducing many new elements as well!

A small irony… when I wrote the words you just read above, I had only read about 50 pages of the book. I like creating the review template early on my computer (adding the picture and positioning it, copying in the synopsis, setting links, etc…) so all that’s left is to type in my thoughts and impressions. That way, if I have to do it on my phone later, it’s easier to get it all done. So I created this template with a few first impressions and then went back to reading.

As I read further, Suzanne introduced more and more elements that drew me even deeper into the story – to the point that I was in tears over what I was reading. AMAZING! Suzanne crafts a story that involves each character we are introduced to in ways that we could never imagine. She is a truly blessed author and I look forward to going back and reading each and every one of her other books while I wait for the next book in this series.

What a wonderful continuation of the story.

What a tremendous example of how God moves things and people in and out of our lives for our good. We almost never see God in the little everyday kind of things that happen to us. And most of the time we miss the grand plan that God has for us until it’s staring us in the face… and in some cases, not until it has already settled in for a nice long stay.

“The Letters” was very much a surprise to me. I began reading and was almost immediately irritated – to the point that I almost decided not to even finish the story. But, having a determination to finish what I start, I did. And I am so glad I did. It was an amazing story, a true blessing to my soul. And “The Calling” was even better! Now I find myself agitated again, except this time it is because there is so long to wait for the next installment.

5star

Here is a bit of info from the Baker Publishing House about the book and Suzanne Woods Fisher.

Bethany’s restless heart is searching for answers–in life and in love

Bethany Schrock’s love life has derailed, her faith hangs by a thread, and she is spending hot summer days wading through a lifetime of accumulation at the home of five elderly Amish sisters. She’s not sure what she wants out of life, but she knows that she’s not finding it in Stoney Ridge.

Then a new guest at the Inn at Eagle Hill ropes her into volunteering in a community project for down-and-outers. Reluctant at first, Bethany starts to feel a bit of joy and satisfaction again. But not so much that Jimmy Fisher, adorable and impossible, can woo her affections with his winks and tricks. Well, maybe a little.

When a figure from her past reenters her life, Bethany must decide: What does the past mean to her future?

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher delivers her trademark twists, turns, and tender romance in this delightful and exciting visit to the quiet community of Stoney Ridge.

“Fisher’s characters are living the simple life–or trying to, despite the hardships they are facing–and learning how to adjust their way of life without compromising their beliefs. We get a glimpse of life few outsiders are privileged to see, with some surprises, twists, and turns.”–RT Book Reviews

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Letters, the Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is also the coauthor of an Amish children’s series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Suzanne is a Christy Award finalist, a Carol Award winner, and a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. For more information, please visit http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and connect with her on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

You can find more info and an excerpt of the book HERE from The Baker Publishing Group.

You can click HERE to read more reviews and find other info on GoodReads.

And there’s a link above but here’s another to Suzanne’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.

“An Amish Miracle” anthology – WOW!

An Amish Miracle CoverThese anthologies are a GREAT idea!

Not only do you get three stories in one, you get to see the writing of three different authors – which tells you whether you like all three authors and want to buy more of their books.

In my case, the answer is “YES!” And I will be hunting up books I don’t already have from these authors!

WOW!

In the first story: Always in my Heart, we get to see the major differences between Amish marriages and Englisch marriages. What does the typical Englisch husband do when he finds out his wife has been hiding something from him for their entire marriage? Read the story to see what the typical Amish husband does.

It’s astonishing.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Mary Ellis and her writing is phenomenal. She does have an odd habit of using the Deutsch word for wife a lot instead of having her husband call her by name and this is the first book I’ve read where this was done but I don’t know everything about every Amish community so maybe this is common in some of them… Her writing is so wonderful, even with this small oddity, I could NOT put it down. GREAT Story! GREAT Writing! Read it!

The same is true of the second.

Ruth Reid’s writing – also fantastic! She draws you right into the story and you can feel the character’s emotions so clearly. It’s so hard to let go of the story, that when it’s over you almost want to cry.

This is the first book of hers I have read also and I can’t WAIT to go hunt down more of hers!

In the second book we see a different character’s story but in the same community. I LOVE when they do this! It’s so much better than having to wait for the next book in the series to come out.

I didn’t think the story of a lonely widow would appeal to me much but it really did. It was amazing. I found myself staying up far beyond my usual bedtime to read I haven’t done that in a while.

I never could have imagined that Amish girls would have to deal with weight issues. Who could have guessed? But that is indeed the main conflict of the third story in this anthology.

Beth Wiseman handles the story beautifully. I found myself feeling Becky’s pain as I read. And yet, I could feel myself feeling the pain of other characters as well and it was enlightening and heart-breaking as well. Great writing! WOW!

I found myself thinking about how this is a wonderful story to share with my daughter and even my son. Even at a young age, I feel it is important to share stories and lessons about life with our children – especially about dating and self-esteem issues.

This story also shows us that sometimes… even if God’s answer is yes, it’s not always the best thing for us.

All three of these stories are wonderfully written and beautifully flowing one into another and I can’t wait to go back and read “An Amish Gathering”, “An Amish Love”, “An Amish Wedding”, “An Amish Kitchen” and the upcoming “An Amish Garden”. I’ll probably wait to read “An Amish Christmas” until a little closer to Christmas time this year.

5star

And here is a brief synopsis about the three stories from GoodReads:

Always Beautiful by Beth Wiseman

Becky Byler is eighteen and overweight. She is overwhelmed by the embarrassment she feels when comparing herself to other girls her age. Having lost all hope, she considers taking her own life. As she stands before rushing water, unable to swim, Becky begs God for a miracle. In just several months, Becky sees her prayers answered as food and temptation lose their hold over her. She’s finally pleased with how she looks, but does she like the person she has become? And has the man she has dreamed of been right beside her all along, loving her exactly as she is?

Always His Providence by Ruth Reid

Widow Rosa Hostetler has one month to pay her delinquent taxes before the county auctions her farm. She s prepared to sell whatever is necessary to pay the lien, but she isn’t willing to request money from the community s widow fund. She’s embarrassed and refuses to admit she needs help. Rosa depends on income from selling eggs, but when that income is threatened, only a miracle can help Rosa accept the kindness of a neighbor.

Always in My Heart by Mary Ellis

Hope Bowman believes God is punishing her for giving up her firstborn son when she was a teenager. She’s hidden this secret from her husband, who is thankful for their daughters but longs for a son. Hope prays desperately, but the son God sends her isn’t a new baby but the fifteen-year-old boy she gave up years ago.

You might notice the order these are in. For some strange reason they are listed this way on the back of the book too. But they come in the opposite order inside. Weird huh…

HERE is a link to GoodReads for more info and reviews.

HERE is a link to Beth Wiseman’s website.

HERE is a link to Ruth Reid’s website.

HERE is a link to Mary Ellis’s website.

And HERE is the link to the book’s page on Thomas Nelson.

HAPPY READING!

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

I have discovered More NEW books! LOVE IT!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

17316499BLESSINGS BORN OF TRAGEDY
A LOVE TO HEAL ALL FEARS

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

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

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

IMG_2559How far can God’s mercy reach?

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

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

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

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25 Posts of Christmas Day 17: Lights, Camera, Apple iPhone?

Have you seen it?

The new Christmas commercial from Apple…

I would have warned you to grab a box of tissues but it would have ruined it.

We “old-fogey” parents complain about technology ruining family time and we are bitter about our kids spending so much time playing video games or texting but this video shows an entirely different perspective, something a lot of people never think of when they see a teen on their iPhone® or Gameboy DS®.

I hope this commercial will give teens the idea that their family is more important than they sometimes realize. And I hope it will show parents that they don’t always know exactly what is going on with their kids. Don’t jump to conclusions parents. Just LOVE your kids.

OK… I have to go find another box of tissues now so I’m just going to keep this one short and sweet. I think the video says it all anyway.

I mean… How can I top that? Way to go Apple!

One other comment come to mind as I watch this. Too often, we participate in things but we miss the “little moments”.

The argument goes on and on that it’s better to “BE THERE” than to be video-taping but something like this can help us all hold onto those precious memories forever!

MERRY CHRISTMAS! 8 Days til Christmas

GOD Bless you!

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25 Posts of Christmas Day 15: BELIEVE!

Can you believe we only have 10 more days?

Speaking of Believe…

believe

I have seen a lot of crazy things this morning as I googled for a good picture to put here. Pictures talking about believing in the magic of Christmas and believing in Santa Claus. Pictures talking about believing in yourself or believing in love…

I believe the ONLY magic of Christmas is in the wondrous way God sent us his son those many years ago!

christmas-starWe were reading about the Star atop the Christmas tree last night (Yes, we’re a little behind on our daily ADVENT reading) and it talked about the way the star shined down on the little home where Jesus was when the Magi came looking for him.

If you have to think of that as magic to understand it, that’s fine as long as you acknowledge that it was “magic” only because of how we see “magic”.

It was God’s power – pure and simple!

And that power still shows today! All you have to do is look for it!

Dare to BELIEVE

I BELIEVE that too many people have forgotten JesusIsTheReasonForTheSeason_answer_2_xlargethe true meaning of CHRISTmas!

It’s gotten lost in the craziness of shopping and rudeness and commercialism.

I BELIEVE that we need to come back to the simple things!il_570xN_365729113_c50o

Simple Celebrations!

Simple Traditions!

Simple Gifts!

And Simple Faith!

We need to remember what Christmas is all about.

It’s about God and His love and the incredible gift He gave to us: Jesus, His son!

What do you BELIEVE?

Do you only believe in Christmas because it’s what you’ve always done or because it’s fun to get presents?

Because if you do, that’s fine but…

You would get so much more out of the season if you put your faith in God and discovered what this Holiday is REALLY about!

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10 Days til Christmas

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

GOD BLESS YOU!

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25 Posts of Christmas Day 10: Christmas Shopping

First, I want to know where this mall is because I WANT TO GO THERE!

Christmas-Shopping

Doesn’t it look like a wonderful place to shop?

The bright cheerful decorations, the airy layout. THAT TREE – WOW!
And the ice skating rink on the ground floor would be a BIG HIT!

I’m not like most people in my views on Christmas Shopping. I don’t rush out to the stores the day after Thanksgiving, a woman on a mission. I don’t search every single store for the perfect gift.

I go out with a bit of a plan in mind. I take the munchkins with me, during the week, during the day – when it’s not so busy. We don’t buy tons of things people don’t need. We aim for things that they will be able to use, something that they will appreciate, something that will bless them. After all, the thought really is what counts. So we make sure we put a lot of thought into it.

And we don’t just go after sales galore either. Not to say I don’t appreciate a good sale, because I really do. But I’m not opposed to paying full price. If you’re not willing to pay full price for something, what does that say about your feelings for the person you’re giving it to?

I would rather give one really well-thought out, heart-felt and wonderful gift than a dozen little nothings that are just going to go in the closet the day after Christmas.

I am also quite fond of hand-crafting gifts or baking.

You would not believe how much your time and effort means to most people. This is always a great idea for those on a very tight budget also.

Remember, Jesus’ gift was so much more huge than any that you will find in a store and it came only from him. Of course, no craft or baked good can compare with it either but you get the idea.

GOD BLESS YOUIMG_2092
and your family this CHRISTmas season!

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25 Posts of Christmas Day 8: A Christmas Rant

grrrrrrrThis will be my first negative Christmas post this year and hopefully my last.

I spent hours, literally hours… yesterday fixing a post that took me hours to write/edit/organize to begin with… over a month ago.

If you’re a fan of my blog, you’ve probably seen it:  “The 25 Books of Christmas

Well, if you go read that post, it will tell you about why but if you want to know without having to go somewhere else, just keep reading.

I posted about Christmas books – 25 of them. And let me tell you, you never realize until you go look, that it’s difficult to actually find 25 Christmas books that you like. So I put in quite a few that I haven’t actually read. Most of them are on my to-read list but a few of them, I put in because I’d heard good things or (in the case of the ones that got the whole thing going) I loved the movie.

If you enjoy Christmas movies, you’ve probably seen “Mrs. Miracle” or “Call me Mrs. Miracle” at some point or other.

And if you’ve never read the books, let me caution you…

There is bad language in the first paragraph on the first page.
It’s bad enough the man calls his son such a thing but to actually spell out the word repeatedly is unnecessary and in very poor taste in my opinion.

First if all, it’s not really required to spell out the actual word. There are plenty of writers who allude to the word without actually putting it right there in black and white for all to see.

Second, to keep repeating it (it’s right there in the first chapter at least twice more) is just reprehensible.

Third – and this is the big one – It’s a story about an Angel! Am I the only one who thinks this is completely ridiculous? Really! In a story about an angel, we’re really going to put bad language… and spoken to a child in a completely inappropriate manner.

Needless to say, I felt a great desire to edit my post, removing the books by this author and adding in some others by trusted Christian Authors.

And that is what has truly annoyed me.

Everything, and I mean everything I did to edit this post met with disastrous results. Every picture I tried to insert, every excerpt I tried to paste and every synopsis I tried to move caused mass havoc.

Suffice to say I had a rough day and it took copious amounts of Hot Cocoa and a favorite movie to soothe my ragged nerves.

On the bright side, I feel better having stood up for my principles.

And I am reminded again of what Jesus did for us so long ago.

His ideas were not popular with everyone. His teachings made a lot of people angry and he ultimately died for his principles.

So with that in mind, I feel even better about it all.

Rant over. Go about your business.

17 Days til ChristmasAnd…

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

GOD BLESS YOU!

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25 Posts of Christmas Day 5: Do you cry at movies?

Do you have a movie you watch every year for Christmas? Is it a sad movie? Do you curl up on the couch with a box of tissues and some comfort food?

For me that movie is “The Christmas Shoes”.DVD Christmas Shoes
I teared up the first time I heard the song. And my reaction to the movie was even stronger.

I sit and watch and cry and then… when it’s all over, I go on to watch “The Christmas Blessing” which is the next movie/book in the series.

018713527318The story is just as heart-breaking and I cry just as hard… maybe even a little harder at times.

And then last Christmas season, I discovered another movie in the series.

“The Christmas Hope”

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Almost from the first , you want to bawl your eyes out. And yet, you keep watching because you know it has to work out.

You know something good has to happen. Something miraculous has to occur for sitting through 2 hours of tears and heartbreak to be worth it.

And then we get to the message.

And we are reminded of what Christmas is all about. We are reminded of the true meaning if this season, Family and love.

And the gift God sent to us on that night so long ago.

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Merry Christmas and God Bless You!

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25 Posts of Christmas Day 3: Christmas & Candy Canes

Have you ever heard the story of how candy canes got started?

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From what I can gather, candy canes are one of the great urban legends in the world. Apparently, a combination of time and infamy have built the story to such fantastic heights that everyone has a different version.

A candy-maker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he made the Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols from the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ.

He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the Church, and firmness of the promises of God.

The candymaker made the candy in the form of a “J” to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. It could also represent the staff of the “Good Shepherd” with which He reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.

Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candymaker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life.

Unfortunately, the candy became known as a Candy Cane — a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the meaning is still there for those who “have eyes to see and ears to hear.” Every time you see a Candy Cane, remember the Wonder of Jesus and His Great Love that came down at Christmas, and that His Love remains the ultimate and dominant force in the universe today.

There are many different versions of this story out there to be found. I found 1 story HERE. Another story HERE (with a few similarities).
And they’re both very different from the story I read in this great little Christmas Advent Book by Lisa Whelchel years ago.
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The details of the story may have gotten a little confused over the years but the message remains the same.

It’s all about reminding people of Jesus’ love for them, for everyone!

It’s a message that gets lost in the Holiday craziness far too easily and far too often.

Think about that the next time you enjoy a candy cane or as you hang them on your Christmas tree.

And along with these different stories, there are many activities that go along with them. So find a fun way you or your children can share this message with people this season.

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There’s a great activity HERE and another HERE and another HERE.

There are many more that you can find, including the idea in Lisa Whelchel’s book “The ADVENTure of Christmas”. The book is a terrific investment. It’s full of great stories about all of the things we love about the Christmas season!
(I’ve shown the page below with the story…hope it’s not too fuzzy.)

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Copyright Lisa Whelchel & Multnomah Press

22 Days til Christmas

Merry Christmas and God Bless You!

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25 Books of Christmas!

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

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

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

I do apologize for any confusion.

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

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

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

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

So here are my own personal favorites!

A Simple Amish Christmas”
Simple Amish Christmasby Vannetta Chapman

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

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

The Christmas Quilt”
5660435by Vannetta Chapman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Christmas Gift for Rose”
17787021by Tricia Goyer

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

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

15851936A Christmas for Katie” by Shelley Shepard Grey

From GoodReads: Will a little Amish girl make a Christmas miracle? It isn’t easy to be Katie Weaver. Her sister-in-law Ella is about to have a baby, making Katie an aunt for the second time … and she’s only six and a half!

Plus, her favorite librarian, Miss Donovan, seems sad. She won’t even fix up the rundown nativity in front of the library in time for Christmas. Then, an old woman is attacked outside the library, and, one by one, the nativity figures start to disappear!

Luckily, there’s a new deputy in town, Connor Fields. He takes a real liking to Miss Donovan … and he promises to find the missing nativity pieces for Katie. Now, all Katie has to do is pray that Ella’s delivery goes well and that some kind of nativity is in place for Christmas Eve. Oh, and that Miss D. falls in love with Connor. Katie knows from watching her three brothers that it makes people real happy. And that would be a Christmas miracle indeed!

Christmas in Sugar Creek” by Shelley Shepard Grey 10680698

From GoodReads: Judith Graber has always been the obedient daughter. When her older brother Josh struggled with his love life, she offered wise counsel. When her younger brother Caleb flirted with the idea of leaving their order, she firmly told him he was wrong.

Over the years, she’s watched her younger siblings, helped around the house, and worked in her family’s store during her spare time. Judith feels overworked, overlooked, and underappreciated this holiday season.

But everything changes when her father hires Ben Knox. Ben Knox is the “bad boy” of Sugarcreek. Though he’s never considered jumping the fence, he’s certainly never tried to be anything close to dutiful. Two years ago he left Sugarcreek under a cloud of shame. Rumors circulated that his rumspringa had been filled with more than the usual harmless explorations. Now he’s back and working side by side with Judith. As the chaos of the holiday season threatens to sap all joy, sparks fly between Ben and Judith. But Judith steels herself to ignore her infatuation.

The last thing she wants to be is just one more girl who falls under Ben’s spell. Ben, on the other hand, wants Judith to realize there’s more to him than his bad reputation. When he fled Sugarcreek, he was running from a disruptive home life. Now that he’s back, he wants a fresh beginning. Could this Christmas season bring love and a new life for the unlikeliest pair in Sugarcreek?

8501404Grace” by Shelley Shepard Grey

From GoodReads: It’s never too late to go home. It’s Christmastime at the Brenneman Bed and Breakfast, and everyone is excited about closing down for the holidays. But when two unexpected visitors appear seeking shelter, the family’s commitment to hospitality is tested.

First Levi arrives, sullen and angry…but insisting on staying for five days. Next Melody shows up. She’s almost nine months pregnant, but won’t say a word about why she traveled all the way from Kentucky by herself.

As the two strangers settle in, the Brennemans try to make the best of an uncomfortable situation, except for Katie, who knows a thing or two about keeping secrets. She is determined to learn the truth about these two strangers…all while keeping her own secret safely hidden away. All is revealed when a snowstorm traps them at the inn.

Peace” by Shelley Shepard Grey 17331333

From GoodReads: After a year of secrets and scandal, will this Amish community finally find peace under the bright promise of Christmas? Beth Byler has a secret. Ever since she met Englischer Chris Ellis while helping out at the Yellow Bird Inn, she can’t stop thinking about him.

She knows a relationship could never go anywhere—Chris was working undercover in Crittenden County as a DEA agent. That meant he faced danger daily and carried a gun, making him completely unsuitable for an Amish woman like herself. But she knew he felt the attraction, too. It was the reason he left so suddenly, promising never to see her again.

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

The Sound of Sleigh Bells”
6275220by Cindy Woodsmall

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

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

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

The Christmas Singing” by Cindy Woodsmall10301098

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

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

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

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

The Dawn of Christmas”
17288591by Cindy Woodsmall

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

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

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

957993Christmas in Harmony” by Philip Gulley

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

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

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

The Christmas Scrapbook” by Philip Gulley 579063

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

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

This is a GREAT ADVENT Guide:

The ADVENTure of Christmas
986149by Lisa Whelchel

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

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

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

Story Behind the Book

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

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

Christmas Cradles”
Christmas Cradles by Kelly Longby Kelly Long

From GoodReads:

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

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

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

From GoodReads:

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

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

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

From GoodReads:

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

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

One Child”
One Child by Barbara Cameronby Barbara Cameron

From GoodReads:

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

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

10426868Christmas in Lancaster County”
by “Suzanne Woods Fisher

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

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

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

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

7861579Sarah’s Christmas Miracle”
by “Mary Ellis

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

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

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

Naomi’s Gift”
by Amy Clipston10956717

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

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

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

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

A Plain & Simple Amish Christmas”
9039054by Amy Clipston

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

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

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

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

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

17814770Annie’s Christmas Wish”
by “Barbara Cameron

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

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

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

13613049A Wild Goose Chase Christmas” by “Jennifer AlLee

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you and your family a
Merry Christmas this year!

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The Amish Canning Cookbook by Georgia Varozza

Ah the best laid plans of bloggers & reviewers…

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

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

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

“PLAIN AND SIMPLE LIVING AT ITS HOMEMADE BEST”

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

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

Then comes the huge assortment of recipes!

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

PRACTICAL ASPECTS of the Book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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God Bless You!

Review of “Burning Sky” by Lori Benton

Difficult to believe this is Lori Benton’s first novel!

Burning Sky cover

This is not my typical choice but I certainly do not regret picking it.

Growing up, I loved the movie “Last of the Mohicans” probably more because of Daniel Day Lewis and the incredible music than anything else. But I do have Native American heritage so I hated most movies about “Indians” as most with Native blood do.

I also grew up reading the fantastic frontier novels by Janette Oke and, while this novel is less about gushy romance and more about the harsh reality, it does have a certain romance to it.

I think Lori Benton has done a fantastic job and I can’t wait to read her next novel.

Well done!

The frontier period is a difficult one to write about. SO much of what we know about that time is more legend than actual fact but I get the feeling that Lori has done her homework.

And it is so refreshing, in a world that has such a strong focus on intense sexuality, to find a wholesome romance that is clean and decent. It’s definitely a book I am comfortable passing on to my daughter.

If you’d like you can look up more reviews, get more information, read a sample chapter or just read more about the author by clicking one of the links below.

Thank you for reading my review!

God Bless!

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for an honest review from the Blogging for Books reviewer program by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Check out my other reviews for them HERE.

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I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

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!

9780061990960

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!

The irony of “popular” fiction pricing.

I’ve been reading my way through a popular Amish series and I’ve been on the hunt for a bargain on book 2 (I have book 1 & “3) with no success as yet.

However, during my search, I have noticed something that is rather ironic.

Compare the two pictures below and see if you can figure out what I’m referring to.

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Have you spotted it yet?

While you’re trying to figure it out… keep in mind that “Divergent” has 487 pages and “The Winnowing Season” has 336 pages. Also keep in mind that Divergent has been out a bit longer and, in my experience, the sale price is better when they’re brand new.

And did you notice the difference in the markdown on these books? “Divergent” is $3 off and “The Winnowing Season” is only $1.50 off (especially ironic since it’s more expensive to start).

So what conclusions can we draw from this?

I wrote a blog post (you can read it HERE)about how much more expensive it is to be a good Christian and I think this proves my point beautifully.

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God Bless You!

Things I have learned about reading, about life, about me Part 1 of 3

dream-big-read

I am a reader, I am a writer, I am a teacher. But before all of these things, I am a mother. And being a mother is something that affects all of these things.

Would you like to know how?

I am doing this blog post a little differently. The following article is broken up into three parts. I will be posting it on my three different blogs since each part of it belong with the specific interests covered in that blog. It will make more sense if you read it in order but fee free to read it however you like.

And now: Things I have learned Part 1

Years ago, in a small Christian school, I learned about something called speed-reading. I also learned that it was something I did well — a little too well for some people. Reading has always been something I enjoy, something I do for fun. When other students were groaning about reading stories in English class, I didn’t hear them because I had already immersed myself in the world of that story.

It is true that when you do something a lot, you get better at it, you get faster at it. This was true for me in both ways. As a young woman, I could devour a full-length novel in an hour or two. I dove so deep into those words that the outside world ceased to exist for me. I was in the story and it would take a tremendous effort to drag me back out.

As I grew up and found other things to occupy my time, reading was less easy to sink into at a whim. I had school and I had to work to make money. And the older I grew, the more difficult school became.

For a time, reading was less a joy and more a necessity.

After college, I became a mother. For a long time after that, the only reading I did was food labels and instructions for putting together toys and baby furniture. Eventually I was able to find time for reading again, in small doses (I’ll take whatever I can get). With motherhood, I had to find a new way to read, a new way to explore those worlds. I no longer had the luxury of sinking into a story and tuning out the rest of the world. I had one child and then two who might need me at any given moment. I began exploring bedtime reading. I discovered very quickly that I can exist on little or no sleep. So I used the late hours as reading time. Why would I sleep when I could read!

I am not someone who will quickly choose a movie over a book. I can see the world in my head. Why would I NEED to see it on a screen?

Especially when they get it wrong so often.

Not too long ago, a good friend turned me onto Amish fiction and I am so glad she did. I enjoy it like I never thought I could. Who would think reading about the Amish would be so wonderful and exciting? Aren’t the Amish boring? Their lives consist of praying, working and behaving . . . right? Wrong. There is so much area inside and outside of those three things that we never consider. But trust me when I say, whether they are like us or not, they are immensely interesting and exciting!

And I find it so ironic that now, I have a new challenge that threatens my love of reading.

Go HERE to read Part 2

PART 1 PART 2 PART 3

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God Bless You!

Conceding a Point on Amish Fiction.

Shipshewana-indiana-amish-buggy

Just for the record, I am not backing off on my earlier post. I still feel it is extremely important that Amish fiction be AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE to true Amish ways.

However, I have had a different point of view brought to my attention.

Perhaps so many of these lovely authors wrote a good, decent, wholesome, clean novel and they hoped to get it published but they were unable to sell it as it was written.

So ask yourself… what would the next step be?

Well, if they’re anything like me, they look at the market. And when they see how popular Amish fiction is currently – they would think to themselves “How can I fit my story into that genre?” and began editing. They would learn everything they can about Amish ways, dress, beliefs and language. Then they incorporate it all into their story. (I am not saying this is what every author who wrote a “less-than-perfect Amish” novel has done but I feel very strongly that some of them have).

Think about it. How many of these stories have you read (if you’re a fan of Amish fiction) that sounded like a novel written about normal people who just dressed like the Amish and used a few of their words? They’re still good books written by terrific authors. They’re just not truly about the Amish.

I stated in a previous post that I thought writers were determined to make us believe the Amish were exactly like us but I know that they are not. They are very different from us. They are very cautious to be different – to keep themselves separate.

I no longer think writers are doing this on purpose.

The best part is that I can enjoy these novels so much more now. I can let go of any bitterness or irritation and simply enjoy a good, clean story. And it’s refreshing to find the market flooded now with so many wonderful, wholesome stories when it used to be such a trial to find even one book that was not full of nasty language and inappropriate behaviors.

And so I shall.

Thank You to Beverly Lewis, Tricia Goyer, Vanetta Chapman, Wanda Brunstetter, Shelley Shepard Gray, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Cindy Woodsmall, Beth Wiseman, Dale Cramer, Amy Clipston, Mindy Starns Clark, Leslie Gould, Jerry Eicher, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Karen Kingsbury and all of the others I either haven’t read yet or haven’t discovered yet!

GOD BLESS YOU!

 

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God Bless You!

Amish Fiction: A general review

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I’ve recently begun reading Amish fiction (not just because it’s popular. It’s about all you can find now that’s decent. Plus I truly enjoy reading about a life that is simpler and yet so much more complex in many ways) and I just have to say that, overall, I am enjoying them more than I ever could have expected.

However, (you knew it was coming, right? Keep reading… trust me) I do wish people would stop trying to make them out to be just like us. I know why they do it but its very unrealistic and unbelievable. Don’t these authors realize that the Amish are NOT like us?

Maybe they don’t. Or maybe it’s just too difficult to write so in-depth about something you really can’t understand.

The bottom line is, we are different – very different! And I really wish authors would try to understand this. I know books sell better if there is sex (even the hint of it) or drama but, if that’s all you can write, please write about us English and leave the Amish alone. They can not/will not defend themselves and I can not stand to see them disrespected this way!

And if you are a fan (a REAL fan) of Amish fiction, then you should take a Stand with me!

Don’t read anymore “Amish” fiction unless it really is true to the Amish lifestyle. Don’t settle for “Amish on the surface only”!

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God Bless You!

Review of “A Simple Amish Christmas” by Vannetta Chapman

Simple Amish ChristmasThis was an amazing read. My mother has been bugging me for so long to read just one Amish Fiction. She kept saying I would only need to read one and I would be hooked and she was so right! It only took 1!

The more I read, the more I loved the story. Amish novels have grown in popularity with lightning speed lately and some of them, though well-written, do not ring absolutely true. Amish ways are still such a mystery to us in so many ways but there are bits of some stories that you can be sure is not true to Amish life. This book is not that way. It is clear the author has done her research and done it well.
I look forward to reading her other novels and I hope there are more about this family. I’ll have to go and do my own research I guess.

I am so glad I picked this as my first Amish Fiction Novel!

You can find more info at Goodreads HERE!

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God Bless You!