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” 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!


“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!



25 Posts of Christmas Day 2: A Look Back

A look back at some of my favorite Christmas books that I’ve already snuggled up with this season:

5660435The Christmas Quilt” by Vannetta Chapman

I was thrilled to see it advertised and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

Of course, as fate would have it, the book arrived just as November got off to a start and I became a crazy person – between NaNoWriMo and reviewing the stack of other books that had piled up on my desk. However, when I picked up the book, I could not put it down. It was an amazing read and I enjoyed every second of it. The only complaint I might have is that it took so long for two young couples so much in love to conceive. (In case you can’t tell… I’m teasing) This book is an excellent continuation of the story that started in “A Simple Amish Christmas” and it shows just how wonderful a writer Vannetta Chapman is. Three years passed between the writing of one and the other but it feels like she wrote them back to back. The characters have the same voices, mannerisms and behaviors.

The characters are all just as wonderful as I remember them.

The story itself is wonderful too. It isn’t just another “we’re trying to stretch the series out” kind of sequel either. It’s really a good next step and, I think, a story anyone would enjoy.

Also, and I don’t want to give too much away here but, there are a few really interesting surprises tucked in the pages.

I really love the extra little touches Vannetta puts in, all those extra little things that give us a real glimpse into Amish life. It helps pull you right into the story. I also really enjoy how Vannetta blends the Amish lives with the “Englisch” around them. The Amish strive to remain separate but a big part of their faith is about being open and loving to all of God’s (Gotte’s) children. Vannetta writes that aspect perfectly in my opinion. She has a talent for capturing their “voice” and their feelings and emotions – a tremendous accomplishment for an “Englisch” writer. You would never know she did not grow up Amish.

A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys this genre!

5starAnd, while I recommend that you read “A Simple Amish Christmas” first, this book could easily be read first or even alone.

Speaking of “A Simple Amish Christmas”:

20130911-180102.jpgFrom the first page I was hooked. The characters are real. I have no doubt whatsoever that Amish truly act like these characters. The setting is vivid and the scenes are painted so clearly. You can almost feel the cold and smell the fresh, clean air. The story is gripping. A definite page-turner. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next!

A definite page-turner.

An amazing story! One I will read again and again for years to come! I highly recommend this book to anyone! Not just lovers of Amish fiction either! I think anyone who enjoys a good, decent romance will enjoy this story!

5starAnyone who enjoys a good, decent romance will enjoy this story!

BY Cindy Woodsmall

6275220With “The Sound of Sleigh Bells”, I was hooked from the first page!

I’m going to try really hard not to ruin anything here…

If you are someone who has ever had a rough relationship, this is something you NEED to read. If you’ve ever dealt with loss, this is something you NEED to read! And if you enjoy a good book with wonderful characters and a fantastic story, you will WANT to read this book.

It’s truly a GREAT read!

Cindy has a talent for reaching out of the story, getting a firm grip on your heart and pulling you into the story. And when you find your way back out again, you’ve had an amazing experience and you never quite look at the world in the same way again… or at least that’s the way I feel anyway.

Cindy has a talent for taking hold of your heart strings.

The beauty of Cindy Woodsmall’s writing is that she writes characters who could be anyone. One of the things we struggle with is the realization that the Amish are just like us, they just live their faith in a different way than most of us do. They’re not really very different from most religions. Every religion has their own little things they do differently than anyone else, rules, traditions, ideals and even habits.

So these characters in Cindy’s novels, they could be anyone. It’s so very easy to associate the things they go through with your aunt or your father or your next door neighbor or someone you work with. And she does this really well. 5star

She has a true talent for helping you to get into a characters head and I am so thankful for it.


What a wonderful story!

What wonderful characters!

What a wonderful continuation of the stories in Apple Ridge.

When you get started, “The Christmas Singing” may not seem like a great story for a while but trust me when I tell you that this book is worth finishing!

Cindy Woodsmall has again captured our hearts with wonderfully colorful characters in the Amish community of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania.

The story deals with something that is very different than what we think of as the typical Amish read but then Cindy has a talent for writing those kinds of stories. Her Amish Vines and Orchards series falls into the exact same category and I could not put those books down!

The same was true of this series. The Apple Ridge community is full of wonderful people who each seem to have their own story and they all blend so well together to create a wonderful world that pulls you right in.

5starA story well worth reading!


This title was originally offered in the 3-in-1 book “Christmas in Apple Ridge” by Cindy Woodsmall but her fans loved it so much, she chose to let those of us who LOVE having lots and lots of books, have the stories in 3 separate hardbound novellas.


I don’t know about you but I have a personal fondness for hard bound books. There’s just something about a nice thick cover, a pretty dustcover that you can slip off while you’re reading and then slip back on so it looks pretty on the shelf. It may be weird but I’m OK with that.

These Apple Ridge Novellas are absolutely some of Cindy Woodsmall’s best work. Each story is written in such a way that you could quite easily read it all by itself and not miss much about what has happened in the others. And yet, if you read them in order, they flow so nicely from one to the next.

I don’t know if she has anymore in the works but I’m hoping so!

A wonderfully heart-warming read!

This story focuses on two young people who have experienced heartbreak firsthand in the worst way. It’s not something one typically associates with the Amish community. In fact, nothing about the main characters in these three novellas is something we typically associate with the Amish but they are very real and very true-to-life struggles that the Amish deal with just as often as we English do.

I have to say I was surprised at the deviousness of one particular character. I won’t spoil it for you but you’ll know who I’m talking about when you get there. It was a pleasant surprise and masterfully written. Definitely not something you would expect in the Amish community but very well-written and done in exactly the right way for the character!

The story is full of surprises!

Cindy has written all of these stories so beautifully. The characters are wonderful and the story pulls you right in. I remarked to a good friend the other day that Cindy has a particular talent for writing the Amish voice. I am one of those people who hears the characters talking in my head as I read the story. It’s probably why I remember so much about stories I’ve read, even years later. And when I “hear” Cindy’s characters, they truly sound Amish.

I would love to say it’s true of most other Amish fiction authors I read but sadly, it is not. And that’s OK. They’re still great stories or I wouldn’t read them and then go on about them here.

As you can probably guess, I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review but I already owned the first two hard-bound books in the series and I would have bought this one!

And I wholeheartedly recommend it to my friends! GREAT GREAT READ! All three books in the series are well-worth the full purchase price and 5 star reads!5star


I pray that Cindy’s books bless you the way they have me and I pray God Blesses Cindy Woodsmall and her writing for many years to come!

BY Tricia Goyer:

17787021A Christmas Gift for Rose”
by Tricia Goyer

2 pages into the book and I could tell this was going to be a great story.

I love that Tricia has been so successful with her historical novels and I’m REALLY glad she branched out into Amish fiction! I LOVE that genre so much!

This book combines both so well!

I typically avoid books about war but a book about what war is doing to those left behind, well… those are fair game. And I’m really glad I picked this one to read! I love Christmas stories and this will be a welcome addition to my collection.

All of that aside, this is the first book of it’s kind that I have read. An Amish historical novel dealing with fallout from World War 2… Well, that would be hard to miss. And I’m so glad I didn’t (miss it… that is)! I will read this book again and again and recommend it to all of my friends!

It’s such a wonderful story. Don’t get me wrong, there’s conflict. There’s always conflict. But it’s not ridiculous and it’s not nonsense. There is genuine conflict and genuine resolution. The characters are very deep and the story is completely believable.

Usually when you have this many things going on in a story, it’s too much or it feels like the author is trying to pad the story but everything going on in this story fits together to make the story work.

It took so many twists and turns that I did not see coming. That’s always a good thing. Too many books these days are absolutely predictable. This one is not. It’s great!

And you can really tell Tricia did her homework for this one. She tells us just enough about certain things without it being too much and, from what I remember (granted I wasn’t great with History in school), they’re incredibly accurate.

This is a must read for anyone! Especially if you like a good heartwarming story about the Amish community. In fact, that’s one of the great things about the Amish community, I think. Take away all mention of a date and it’s usually pretty hard to tell exactly when the story takes place. They’re so unchanging.

5starClearly a FIVE star book! Great job Tricia!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

What have you read this year so far that is in the Christmas Spirit?

What are some of your favorite Christmas reads?

What Christmas stories are you planning to read this season?

I plan to read many more great Christmas stories this season and I plan to share them with you here!

23 Days til Christmas


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