Sunday, November 27, 2011

Promise Me

I love reading Richard Paul Evans' new Christmas book each year. So when I found Promise Me at my library I quickly checked it out, even though it was from last year.  Promise Me is a story about a woman named Beth.  Beth tells the story if her life especially the loves of her life.  After the death of her second husband she meet Matthew, who changes her life forever.  Her and Matthew keep a secret.  Beth has had to keep that secret for eighteen years.  She has a 6 year old daughter, Charlotte, who is sick with an unidetifiable disease and after losing her first husband has a lot of issues with trust and love until she meets Matthew, only she can't fall in love with Matthew.  So, how will Matthew end up helping her.  You'll have to read to find out.
This Christmas story was really different than Evans' other Christmas books.  First, the story just seems too unreal.  Second, much of the book has nothing to do with Christmas.  Even with those two negatives, I really enjoyed this book.  I really like Evans' writing style.  the chapters are short, the pages turn fast and you feel like you are part of the characters lives.  While this is not one of my most favorites of Evans.  I still enjoyed it.

Spring for Susannah

Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond is the story of Susannah Underhill who becomes a mail order bride after the death of her parents and a banker who attacks her to try to colect money that he says her parent's owed. Susannah is sent to the Dakota's to marry a man named Jesse who is the brother of the pastor who's family has taken her in after the death of her parents. Susannah gets married with a proxy standing in for Jesse before she gets to the Dakotas. Sussannah starts out as a shy girl who does not seem to know a lot about life except for the rules her mother taught her about being a lady. Many of those rules do not apply to Susannah's new life.As the book progresses Susannah seems to gain some self confidence and is more sure of herself. Will she be able to deal with the loneliness the new land offers to her and will she be able to learn to really love and trust Jesse.

I really liked this story. Prairie type stories have been a favorite of mine. I also seem to enjoy stories with a mail order bride theme after reading quite a few this year. The author really made me feel like I was right there with the characters. I think these early pioneers heading west really had to have faith as there were very few pastors in the area during the time and life was hard. This book really flew by for me.

I was given a copy of the book through Net Galley and Thomas Neilson.       

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Falling to Pieces: A Quilt Shop Mystery (Shipshewana Amish Mystery)

For years all I read were cozy mysteries until I got into the Amish fiction genre. Falling to Pieces written by Vanetta Chapman beings both reading styles to me. I love that we were trying to fiqure out who did it while still getting the Amish feel too.

Falling to Pieces: A Quilt Shop Murder is the first book in Chapman's Shipshewana Amish Mystery series. The story starts out with Callie Harper comes to Shipshewana after inheriting her Aunt Daisy's Quilt shop. She plans to come and sell it. After meeting with someone about selling the store, she learns that she will make more money on the property if it is a running store. So, she decides to keep the store open and keeps her aunt's promise to help three Amish women sell there quilts. Deborah Yoder, one of the quilt makers, becomes friends with Callie and ask her to sell the quilts on e-bay to help them make more money on the quilts. Callie agrees and everything seems to be going well until the newspaper editor writes and artile saying Callie is taking advantage of the Amish by selling the quilts on e-bay. Callie tries to get the editor to listen to her when she ends up finding him dead. Callie becomes the number one suspect in the murder. The murder ends up breaking into other business in town. Deborah and Callie decide to do some detective work to prove Callie was not the murder. Will they ever find the murder or will Callie take the heat?

I really loved this story. It was so neat getting to know the characters. I really did not want to leave Shipshewana. I wanted to know so much more after reading the story, so I'm sure I will be reading the other books in this series. This is a hard book to put down and a very easy fun read.

I was able to read this book thanks to Zondervan publishing and Net Galley. I was not required to give a postive review but an honest one.        

Christmas Mail Order Brides

 Mrs. Mayberry's Matrimonial Society for Christians with Moral Character helps three unmarried women find husbands.  Each unmarried woman becomes a mail order bride and travels the Transcontiental Railroad to meet their grooms.  Each run into problems along the way.  The last story is about Mrs. Mayberry meeting her match.

The first story was A Trusting Heart by Carrie Turansky. Annika Berstrom has lived with her twin sister since her parents deaths.  When her sister decides to get married she decides to become a mail order bride.  She travels to Wyoming to meet her groom, Chase Simms, who has dissappeared when she gets there.  Annika is left with Chase's father, daughter, and brother.  She learns to trust Chases's brother and actually starts to fall in love with him.  What will she do when Chase returns?  Will her heart still be open for Chase?

The second story was The Prodigal Groom by Vickie McDonough.  Jolie Addams was raised in an orphanage after her mother dies and her father does not want her.  She is forced to become a mail order bride after the orphanage tries to make her leave because she is too old to be in the orphanage and wants her to work for a mean man.  As she goes to Nevada to meet her new groom, the stage coach is robbed and she is force to spend the night with Clay Jackson who is shot during the robbery.  When she gets to her groom he decides he can't marry her because of the situation.  Clay decides to marry her and take her home to meet his family that he has been estranged with.  Will they be able to make their fake marriage work?

The third story was Hidden Hearts by Therese Stenzel.  Elizabeth Larby becomes a mail order bride after her fiance breaks up with her and her aunt writes to Mrs' Mayberry's Mail Order Service.  Elizabeth goes even though she still has feelings for her ex.  She ends up marrying Zane Micheals.  Both come to the mariiage with secrets will they survive when all the secrets come out?

The fourth story was Mrs. Mayberry Meets Her Match by Susan Page Davis. Amelia Mayberry is finally ready to retire from the match making service.  She has a nice home of her dreams and enough money to live in peace.  Amelia decides to find a match for one groom who's match went wrong.  She travels tp California to try to get Lennox Bailey to let her try again so she can retire with no worries over the business. Can she make a match for Lennox this holiday season or will she go home to retire?
I really enjoyed every story in this collection.  I think the second one was my favorite though.  The stories can easily be read in one sitting and are a great way to get in the Holiday spirit.

Christmas Mail Order Brides is available on Amazon.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Log Cabin Christmas

A Log Cabin Christmas is a collection of 9 short historical stories that all have to do with finding love during Christmas time. Each story has a log cabin in it, whether it’s a school, church, store, or home. All of the stories were heartwarming and sweet. Each story can be read in one sitting. I enjoyed all of the stories, but my favorites were; The Christmas Secret and The Courting Quilt. Here is a recap of each story.
The first story was Snow Angels by Margret Brownley set in Texas in 1885. This short story is about Maddie Parker who is the new school teacher from Boston. Most of the families do not like her and the sheriff does not either. One evening as the kids are staying to practice for the Christmas program a snow storm suddenly leaves them stranded in the old cabin being used for a school. The sheriff goes out to find them and ends up getting stranded with them. What will happen to the teacher, sheriff, and the three students who are trapped at the school? Will the sheriff get over his bad feelings toward the new teacher?
The second story was The Christmas Secret by Wanda Brunstetter is set in Pennsylvania in 1880. Elizabeth and David are planning to get married and live in the cabin where her parents first lived together. One day Elizabeth is cleaning the cabin in preparation for wedding and finds an old journal. The journal contains a secret about her deceased mother that could destroy her future.
The third story was Christmas Traps and Trimmings by Kelly Eileen Hake. Mina Montrose travels with her nurse Belinda to Kentucky to find her guardian Sam Carver. She is running to prevent being forced into marrying her cousin. When she gets to Sam’s cabin they experience an earthquake that will shake up a lot of things. This story was really interesting because it is set in the state which I love and gave some history about the earthquake.
The fourth story was A Star in the Night by Liz Johnson. This story is set in Tennessee. Cora Sinclair finds a Yankee soldier in the snow on her way home one night and takes him home to her log cabin to care for him. The soldier Jed stays with Cora and her grandfather. Jed and Cora fight the feelings they have for each other because they both know he will have to go back and fight the war. Will they ever be able to love each other?
The fifth story was the Courting Quilt by Jane Kirkpatrick and is set in Oregon in 1867. Mary Bishop runs a store in a log cabin built by her and her deceased husband. She has been praying for a long time for an answer to her problems of not making enough money with the store due to more modern stores coming in the area and taking her business. When a salesman comes to sale his thread, Mary sees him as the answer to her prayers and they start a business together. Richard takes a cart around the area to sale Mary’s goods to the ladies who do not get out much. All the ladies start falling in love with Richard and compete to be his bride. Mary is starting to fall in love with him too, but will her white hair make him think she is older than she really is? Everything comes out at the church bazaar. Will any of the ladies get him?
The sixth story was Under His Wings by Liz Tolsma and takes place in Wisconsin in 1885. Adie O’Connell’s farther dies in a logging accident at a work camp. Adie is left alone. Adie’s father asks Noah to take care of her if anything should happen to him. Adie feels like she does not need protecting. Can Noah convince her that she does?
The seventh story was Dogtrot Christmas by Michelle Ule and is set in Texas in 1836. Molly and her brother James are building a dogtrot cabin on a new claim. James lost his wife and Molly has cared for James and his son. James and Molly are worried when they find out that the claim they bought was never sold by the original owner. Will they lose their land? Will Molly and James find happiness in this new land? I liked the Mexican culture that was woven in this story.
The eighth story was A Grand Country Christmas by Debra Ullrich. Awyna lives alone after her father is found dead and something or someone steal all of her meat stored. She is forced to go out in the winter storm and hunt for food. She finds a deer but Amadeus Josef stops her from shooting it saying the deer is his pet. He promises to take her in from the storm and feed her. She goes and stays with him, his mother and his children during the storm. Awnya tries to help the family deal with the loss of their mother especially Amadeus’ older daughter. When Awnya finally goes home, she finds everything is stolen that she possesses. Amadeus takes her home. Can they ever be a family?
The ninth story was Christmas Service by Erica Vetsch. Beth Sorenson wants nothing more than to be a preacher’s wife. So what will she do when Todd Rambec comes wanting to court her and him a mere blacksmith? The two work on the church Christmas program together where Beth learns many things thanks to Todd. Will Beth ever be able to accept Todd as a courting partner or will her desire to be a preacher’s wife win out?
I received an e-copy of this book from Barbour through Net Galley. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Nanny's Homecoming- July Love Inspired

I wrote a review on The Nanny's Homecoming, a July Love Inspired book , by Linda Goodnight.  It is posted over at Busy Mommy Media, go check it out. While there check out the other great articles on the site.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Second Chance Bride by Jane Myers Perrine

Second Chance Bride written by Jane Myers Perrine is the first Love Inspired Historical that I have read.   The Love Inspired books have always caught my eye and I’ve had this book for awhile on my to read list.  I’m so glad I finally read it!  This Love Inspired Historical takes place in the 1880’s. The story is about Annie MacAllister who is going to Trails End to leave her old life behind.  We learn that Annie had a very hard life.  Her father beat her when she did not make enough money, she slept outside a lot, and after her mother dies she is forced to get a job in a brothel as a prostitute.  After her father dies and the house is sold to pay for debts, and she decides it is time for her to start over.  With little money to her name, she takes the stage to Trail’s End.  Along the journey, she meets Matilda Susan Cunningham.  Matilda is very nice to Annie.  Annie learns she is on her way to meet her new employer and that she has no living relatives.  On the way there, the stage loses a wheel and they have a serious accident.  Matilda is killed and Annie is bruised up.  Annie decides to tell the stage coach driver that the dead person is her and she assumes Matilda’s identity.  When she finally gets to Trail’s End she meets Matilda’s employer, John Matthew Sullivan who is the school board chairman.  Annie learns Matilda was going to be the new school teacher.  She wonders how she will do the job since she is can't read or write.  Annie has never had a warm place to sleep and plenty of food and she does here, so she decides she will learn to read and write and will teach the children as she learns.  She ends up doing a good job and just when she thinks she is in the free, one of Matilda’s friend’s writes her a letter, an old brothel customer spots her, she finds the Lord in her life and does not want to sin anymore, and then John falls in love with her.  How will she pull it all off and still get to be Matilda Susan Cunningham?  Will she find true love like she has never experienced?  Will she finally get a second chance?  You will have to read to find out. 
I thought the story sounded kind of crazy and that Annie would never get away with assuming someone else’s identity.  The story really got me interested from Chapter one, and I found myself wanting everything to work out for Annie.  I felt like she deserved it!  This is such a feel good story that includes love and overcoming the worst of things.  I love the fact that the book looked at overcoming things, like sin, by asking for forgiveness from a loving God and recieving it because Jesus Christ died so our sins could be forgiven.   Annie and John both learn a lot about forgiveness in the book.  I really like the book and the love story and recommend it to people who love romances, historical fiction, and inspirational fiction.  If you don’t like a lot of inspiration in the books you read, this book is probably not for you. for some reason, I have stayed away from Love Inspired books because I thought they were like Harlequin romance novels, which I don't really care for at all, but this story was so great, I will have to give them another chance!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Texan's Promise by Shelley Gray

A Texan’s Promise is the first book in a new series, Heart of a Hero, by Shelley Gray.  This is the first non-Amish fiction book I’ve read by this author who also writes under the name Shelley Shepard Gray.  The author classified this as a Western.  I never really thought I enjoyed Western’s and never would have read it if I had not read the Amish books written by the author.  I loved the historical fiction parts of the book and since I love historical fictions, this book fit right in with what I enjoy reading.
The story starts off when Clayton Proffitt, foreman of the Circle Z ranch in Texas, finds Vanessa Grant crying in the barn.  When Vanessa’s father was on his deathbed, Clayton promised him that he would look out for Vanessa.  He discovers belt marks on her back and she finally tells Clayton that her drunken step father tried to take advantage of her and when she would not let him, he beat her.  Clayton promises Vanessa that he will take her away from her step father.  They prepare for the journey while her step father is passed out.  They start on the long trail to go to Clayton’s sister’s ranch out west.  The trail is dangerous as many Indians are along the trail and the fact that Vanessa’s father and her brother, Miles, are right behind on the trail.  Clayton and Vanessa finally reach one of Clayton’s old friend’s home.  They stay the night there.  The reader is lead to believe that these two, Clayton and Vanessa, share a very special relationship.  They end up getting married so Vanessa’s reputation will not be ruined after going off on the trail with Clayton.  But the marriage is in name only.  The couple travel on to Clayton’s sister’s ranch and then Clayton leaves to find work as a sheriff in a western town and leaves Vanessa with his sister.  Will Clayton and Vanessa ever be able to tell each other how they really feel?  Will Vanessa’s step father ever find them?  Will there be a happy ever after for Vanessa?  You have to read the book to find those answers.
I really enjoyed this book.  It got my attention from chapter one.  I really like books when they can get my attention that soon in the book.  The book seemed to keep going from there with lots of action.  I loved the tender romance of Clayton and Vanessa.  I thought it was kind of weird that they would get together with such an age difference.  In the book we also learn about Vanessa’s brother, Miles.  He feels stuck because he wants to help his sister, but feels like he must help his step father too. Miles finally learns to accept God in his life and decides he will do what’s right.  I loved how Miles, Vanessa, and even Clayton learned to rely on the Lord for help during the trials they went through in their lives.  I also hated that the step father had rights in the eyes of the law even though he abuses her, but I think that was just that time period.  Overall, I loved the book and can’t wait to read the second book in this series.
I was given an e-copy of this book through Net Galley and Abingdon Press Publishing.  I was not required to give a positive review, but an honest one. This book comes out October 2011.  I would recommend it to readers who enjoy romance, historical fiction, or readers who enjoyed the authors Amish fiction novels.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lilly's Wedding Quilt

Lilly’s Wedding Quilt by Kelly Long and second in her Patch of Heaven series.  The story opens up with Jacob Wyse stealing a horse because the horse was being abused. Lily, the local school teacher, finds Jacob in a barn where she seeks rescue from a storm.  Lily was on the way to the wedding of Jacob’s long lost love. They finally go to the event together people begin talking and a police officer interrupts the reception, Lilly tells him that Jacob has been with her.  But, he really was not and then they somehow become engaged so they do not ruin their reputations.  Lily knows that Jacob still only has love for Sarah, but she decides to go through with the wedding.  Jacob promises Lilly that it will not be a real marriage.  They move in with Lilly’s ill mother and make that their home, even though Jacob often sleeps on the floor. They each start to fall in love with each other, until Lilly feels like Jacob only wants Sarah.  Will they be able to make their marriage work?  Will Jacob ever be able to let go of his love for Sarah and move on?  Read Lilly’s Wedding Quilt to find out.

I really liked this story.  I love how you can pick up a book and be hooked with the first chapter, Kelly Long does not disappoint in that area with this book.  I kind of felt sorry for Jacob after reading Sarah’s Garden and was really glad to see Kelly Long carry on his story.  I loved seeing how a broken heart could be healed and Jacob and Lilly start learning to rely on each other and work together. I felt this book was a little steamier than most Amish romances, but it was done very tastefully.

I was given a copy of this book to review through Net Galley and Thomas Nelson publishing and I was not required to give a positive review, but an honest opinion of the book. 

This book is available from Amazon and anyone who loves Amish fiction would probably love it.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Diary of a Winpy Kid: The Last Straw

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw is the third book in Jeff Kinney’s series. This book is for kids ages 8-12. My son loves all of the books in the series and they have actually made him want to read, well at least this series. After going to the movies with my son to watch the first movie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, I knew I wanted to read the books.

In The Last Straw, Greg is back to write in his journal about all that is going on in his life. Greg learns that his dad really wants to see him as something other than “wimpy,” so he tries to get him to do a lot of “manly” things. One of which is to go to a military school for the summer. Greg does not really like that idea so he works to try to get out of it. He also is into girls more in this book and one in particular. His best friend Rowley is also back and Greg and he get into stuff as usual.

As with the other books, I really enjoy this book. I love the way Jeff can make the reader see Greg’s life as so funny. I think a lot of Middle Schoolers can relate to what he goes through. I also love the cartoons that Jeff adds to his writing. His books don’t seem overwhelming and readers love that. For me, the books go really fast. I can usually read one before the day is over. So, yes, even adults will like it. I thought the first book was kind of sad. Greg was treated so badly and I really feel like a lot of kids that don’t fit in are also treated like that in Middle Schools today. This was another funny, easy reading book for me.

The Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray

After reading The Caregiver by Shelley Shepard Gray, I knew I wanted to read the next book in this Families of Honor Series. The Protector continued the story started in The Caregiver, but we also see some new characters. The main character is Ella. The story opens with Ella auctioning off the family farm and all the other items on the farm after the death of her mother. Loyal Weaver decides he wants to buy Ella’s family land so he can move out on his own and farm. He also buys a lot of other items. Ella knows he can manage the farm better than her, but she still feels some bitterness. Ella has loved Loyal since they were in school together but nobody seemed to ever notice Ella. Many even called her, “Plain Ella.” Only one person really visited her often while she cared for her mother and she decides to take Dorothy up on her offer to live in town in Dorothy’s duplex. Dorothy also gets her a job at the local library so Dorothy and Ella can always be together. Loyal starts to include Ella in the improvements of the farm he bought, and Dorothy gets jealous. Loyal also starts to notice Ella. Will they ever get together or will jealous Dorothy stand in the way. Read this delightful story to find out.

I would not call myself a fast reader, but the pages flew by for me with this story. I read it in about one day because I could not put it down. I could not wait to see what was going to happen next. The story has lots of adventure and excitement (some not so good.) Another charter we see from book1 is Mattie who is recovering from breast cancer. Her character is going through a lot. She does not seem to want to fall in love and have a family because she’s afraid she will not be around for most of it. Will that stop her from losing the man she really loves? I can’t wait to see what Shelley Shepard Gray has in story for this romance waiting to happen. We also see Uncle John again in this story still struggling with his love of two women. He knows if he picks one of them he will likely have to go back to being Amish and he wonders if this is God’s way of telling him to do so or not. I think the reader was given a hint as to what will happen, but I am really looking forward to reading book 3 in this series, The Survivor. I liked the theme of protectors in this book.  you could see the characters protecting each other a lot.

The Protector comes out July 1, 2011. If you love Amish fiction, you will not want to miss it! I recommend reading The Caregiver before reading this book. I was given a digital copy of this book from HarperCollins publishing and Net Galley. I was not required to give a positive review, but an honest one.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Caregiver (Families of Honor #1)

Shelley Shepard Grey is one of my favorite Amish fiction authors. So, when I was given the chance to read the first book, The Caregiver, in her new Families of Honor series, I was so excited! I have read a lot of Amish Fiction novels but I really think this is the first one that I have read that had an abusive husband theme. The main character Lucy married a man well liked in the community. She thought she was in love with him. Soon after getting married her new husband abuses and belittles her. After two years of marriage, her husband falls in the barn and dies. Lucy’s cousin Mattie helps her through that most difficult time in her life. Lucy finds out her cousin needs a caregiver since she is dealing with cancer treatments and Lucy decides to go help her out. On the long train ride Lucy meets Calvin, an Amish man, his sister and his Uncle who is coming back to the Amish community after many years of living in the English world. Lucy finds it interesting that they are going to the same place and he is Mattie’s next door neighbor. Lucy is drawn to Calvin but because of her background she finds it hard to trust him. Will they get together? Read to find out the answer to that question. We also learn some about Calvin’s Uncle who is returning from the English world. He seems to be in love with two different women from two different worlds. We don’t learn much else about him in this book though.

I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed seeing how Lucy would deal with the death of her abusive husband. She seemed to me to be a very strong woman even if a little bit scared. I believe God put’s people in our lives at the right time and I think that meeting Calvin was more than a coinicence. They were meant to meet. Mattie’s breast cancer story line was really interesting too. She loses faith in her journey as she feels God is not there for her. I think people who go through trials, such as cancer, either turn closer to God or turn away from him. I think Mattie was just ready to give up. I hope to read more about Mattie in the next book in this series to see what happens to her. I also want to learn more about Calvin’s Uncle John and the choices he will make in his life.

I was given a digital copy of this book from Avon Inspire and Netgalley. I was only required to give an honest review. This book is currently available. If you love Amish fiction, you should pick up a copy of this book.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Plain Proposal by Beth Wiseman

Plain Proposal by Beth Wiseman is the fifth book in the Daughter’s of the Promise series. In this book, we follow Miriam Raber, who has fallen in love with someone in her Old Order Amish community and he wants to leave the community to pursue his dream in becoming a chef. I thought this was really unusual for an Amish book because not many Amish are boys are raised to cook. Saul, the boy she has fallen in love with,  however lost his mother and since there were all boys in his family he has to learn to cook to feed the family. When Miriam finds out that the rumors of Saul leaving the community are true, she decides that she will go with him because she can’t lose him. Saul later decides he can’t leave his brothers because of a problem his father has. How will it all turn out, will they stay and be baptized into the church or will they leave to pursue Saul’s dream? You have to read to find out. I liked how this all played out in the story because I was left guessing until the end about what they would do and I really thought (or maybe was hoping) it would end the other way than it ends up.

The book also focuses on Miriam’s cousin, Shelby, who comes to live with the Rabers for the summer. Shelby’s parents are divorced and Shelby has gotten into trouble and hung out with the wrong crowd so her parents decide they can’t deal with her and send her off to Amish country to live for the summer. Shelby feels like God has deserted her, but as she gets used to living in the Amish community, she finds it gives her things that the outside world never could. Will she have to go home at the end of the summer or will she finally find her way and stay with the Rabers? The story focuses on that quite a bit and Shelby relies on Miriam as much as Miriam relies on her for guidance as they become Daughters of the Promise.

I had previously read all the other books in this series and while the characters’ from the other books in the series are mentioned, I really think you can read this book without reading the other ones. I think this is because a lot of the other characters in previous books have moved to her Colorado series and this book focuses on characters from the Amish community and their family members left behind in Paradise. I left the book feeling uplifted and really liked the story. I think that I enjoyed previously books in the series more than this one, but it was still a really good story. The reader is drawn into the story and you can't put it down, as with Beth's other books.

In one part of this book we learn about someone (I can't give much more away or it will spoil this story) who wants to go visit the relatives in Colorado to tell Katie Ann something important.  I wonder if we might not learn more about this in the Colorado series as it really left me hanging and wanting to know more about what they wanted to tell her.  Guess I'll have to wait for the next one in the Land of Cannan series to see.

I was given an advanced copy of the book to review through Net Galley and Thomas Nelson publishing. I was not required to give a positive review but an honest opinion.

Plain Proposal  is scheduled to release on March 30, 2011, however Amazon says it is in stock but may take 2-3 more days for delivery for the paperback edition. You can buy it in paperback, Kindle edition, or audio book I'd recommend it to anyone who loves Amish Fiction.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer is the story of Edythe Amsel. Edythe has had a rough life. After her mother’s death, she is left to raise her brothers’ and sisters’. She feels like she has given up all her dreams because she has had care for her family. After raising all but one, Edythe decides to go after her dreams and accepts a teaching position at Walnut Hill in Nebraska for a one room classroom. Edythe is very headstrong and likes to be independent. She also believes in a well rounded education and this soon worries the parents in Walnut Hill who believe that children only need to be taught the 3 R's. She seems to have some unusual teaching methods. Despite these parent concerns, the kids love her because she gave up corpal punishment that the previous teacher used for discipline. Miss Amsel stays with Miz Kinsley a widowed woman in the community. Miz Kinzley shares with Edythe her love of the Bible and God.

Joel Townsend is a hardworking, church going farmer who raises his brother’s two sons’, Johnny and Robert. He wants to take a wife but wants her to also love the boys as much as he does. Joel thinks he is never going to find the love he once in his life again, but when he sees Miss Amsel he feels the love again. He tries to court her but she tells him that she already raised someone else’s kids and wants to start fresh. Joel is heartbroken. But, Miss Amsel turns down all the eligible bachelors who want to court her. She says she wants to teach and has no time for love other than her students.

Will Miss Amsel ever fall in love and with whom? You have to read the book to find out.

I really love books and movies from this time period. I grew up loving Little House on the Prairie and this book really resembles those books and the television series, especially the school settings and the town life. I also find it interesting that the town is called Walnut Hill and Little House on the Prairie it is called Walnut Grove. This really got me thinking Little House on the Prairie. I really loved the character of Miss Amsel. She really seemed to live a hard life before coming to Walnut Hill, but that only made her a stronger and more independent woman. I believe that in life we are given trials to help us become a better person. This was defiantly true for Miss Amsel. I also liked how the book went into the history of woman’s suffrage. We had so many strong women to help pave the way for women today. Miss Amsel’s past experience with her mother’s land really helped fuel her wanting to fight for women. I think she took a huge risk letting her students’ debate this topic in her class. The story and town and characters were so easy to fall in love with from Chapter one.

One quote I really liked from the book was, “The Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't. “ I lost my grandmother a few years ago and they said something very similar to this. You know how well a person lived their life by how worn out their Bible was. I really think this is so true. Taking the teachings from the scriptures and applying them to how we live our lives truly makes a difference and I think that was one of the themes in this book.

I was given a copy of this book to review from Bethanny House. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest opinion of the book. If you love historical romance with an inspirational side to it, you will love this book.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dark Road Home by Karen Harper

Dark Road Home by Karen Harper is the first book in the Maplecreek Amish trilogy. Brooke Benton, an attorney who won a case for a person who it was later discovered really did commit the crime, moves to Maple creek after being stalked from someone she thought because of the case she won. She stays with a friend of her deceased sister who owns a quilt shop. Brooke has also brought her sister’s daughter, Jennifer, Brooke promised her sister she would care for her daughter before her passing. Daniel Brand is a woodworker who left his Amish family to pursue his trade. Daniel buys the home next door to where Brooke is staying and plans to finally come home to be baptized into the Amish church. Daniel meets Brooke on the first night he comes home when he finds Brooke dancing with some Amish teens. As the teens leave on the dark road home, Daniel and Brooke hear a loud explosion like noise. As they get to the sight they learn that all but one teen, Katie, is dead and she later dies at the hospital. The driver of the car who hit their buggy left the scene. As an attorney, Brooke wants justice. This is not the way of the Amish and they frown on her trying to find the murder. Daniel decides to help her in the investigation and in the process they fall in love. The story also focuses on the depression and grief of Katie’s mom, Emma. Emma tries to take medication for her depression, but her husband frowns on the use of medicines to cope. Brooke tries to help her as loses the trust of a lot of the Amish people. As Brooke and Daniel investigate, someone starts to stalk Brooke again. Will he be safe in Maplecreek? What will happen to the forbidden love they find? Read to find out the answers to these questions.

I really enjoyed this book. There are several story lines going on at once and many twist and surprises in the story to keep the reader guessing. I have never lost a child but I think it would be hard not to be able to grieve. Emma’s husband wants her to just accept it as God’s will and move on. Emma can’t do that. I really liked this storyline. I also enjoyed seeing the growing love between Brooke and Daniel. I’ve read a lot of Amish fiction, but was able to still learn some new things about the Amish culture. The only thing I did not like is that I felt the killers were given away too early in the story, but other than that I loved it am really looking forward to reading the second book in this series, Dark Harvest.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Clutter Rehab

Here's my review for Clutter Rehab by Laura Wittmann.  I really enjoyed reading a nonfiction for a change!  It was a very motivational book!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sarah's Garden by Kelly Long

Sarah’s Garden by Kelly Long is the first book in her A Patch of Heaven series. Sarah King is a 20 year old, shy Amish woman who loves her garden. Sarah’s sister, who previously ran the family’s stand, got married and Sarah’s parents decide that Sarah will take over the stand. Sarah can’t imagine it since she is so shy and spends most of her time by herself in her garden. Her father also decides that Sarah will make her sister’s soon to come baby its first quilt. Sarah can’t imagine this either, because her creativity has been limited to her garden and she gave up quilting a long time ago. But Sarah decides to do her best in both. While working her first day at the stand, she meets an English man who she discovers is her new neighbor and a veterinarian. It seems to be love at first sight for her new neighbor, Grant. Sarah likes him too. As they spend more time together, they fall deeper in love, but they know the love is forbidden. She is Amish and will be shunned if she leaves the faith to marry him an Englisher. So, they must make some decisions about that love. Read the book to find out what happens.

I’ve had this book for awhile and can’t believe I waited so long to read it. This is the first book I have read by Kelly Long and I really like her writing style. I really enjoyed the Amish details she brought to life in the story. I really enjoyed seeing Sarah go from this shy garden loving girl to a very creative woman. I thought it was awful that her parents made her run the stand with her shyness, but as usual parent’s know best and it was really good for Sarah. I also loved the quilting theme in the book and how it was compared to the creative of working a garden. Sarah had used garden to help her relax and get guidance from the Lord. I think eventually that she uses quilting in the same way and learns to love it. The only thing I would have liked more was a better description of the quilt. It seemed like it was this awesome thing, but I just could not picture it in my mind. Overall I loved the book and can’t wait to read the second book in the series, Lily’s Wedding Quilt, which comes out in March.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Journey by Wanda Brunstetter

The Journey written by Wanda Brunstetter is the first book in her new series Kentucky Brothers. Titus Fisher is 22 years old and still lives at home with his Amish parents. Titus lacks confidence in himself and feels like he is always being compared to his twin brother. He has been in love with Phoebe, an Amish woman who he has waited a long time to marry. Phoebe feels she still is not ready to settle down and become a member of the Amish church or get married. She breaks Titus’ heart when she moves California to pursue her interest in the English world. Titus decides to take an offer to move to Kentucky to work with an Amish woodworker and move away from his life and heartbreak. While there he meets Suzanne Yoder a 22 year old Amish woman who is not the average Amish woman. She lacks the ability to cook, mostly because her mother does not have the patience to teach her. She also really does not want to learn because she wants to work with her grandfather and brother in the woodworking shop, but they don’t really feel that’s a woman’s place. These two get off on the wrong foot from the start. Mostly, because Suzanne looks so much like Phoebe. They soon learn to be around each other. Suzanne’s friend Ester takes an interest in Titus. The whole mix gets even crazier when Phoebe comes to Kentucky and tries to get Titus to take her back and marry her. Will Titus pick Suzanne, Ester, or Phoebe? And will he stay in Kentucky permanently, even though his mother really wants him home? Read the wonderful book to find out.

I really loved this story. You can usually tell in stories like this that if the guy starts out hating the girl they usually end up together, but I was really left guessing who he would pick until the end. The story also contains a mystery about some money that is found that I found really interesting too. I liked seeing how Titus really grew throughout the book and started really find his way in life. He included God in helping him make those decisions and I think that really helped him in the end. Suzanne also grows in this story and people learn to accept her for who she really is and not who she is expected to be. I really loved this story and would recommend it to people who enjoy Amish fiction or inspirational fiction.

I was given an advance copy of this book from Barbour Publishing through NetGalley. I was not required to provide a positive review. The Journey comes out on April 1, 2011.