Saturday, December 17, 2016

A Marvellous Collection of Amish Novellas! "The Amish Christmas Kitchen"

"The Amish Christmas Kitchen"
         By : Kelly Long
                Jennifer Beckstrand
                Lisa Jones Baker

About the Book: 

The Christmas Bakery at Huckleberry Hill

When shy Katie Rose Gingerich’s dat sends her to Huckleberry Hill to secure a marriage proposal, she never expects to long for carefree Titus Helmuth—or to hope that he might want to spend every Christmas with her . . .


  This book also contains the novella," Baking Love on Ice Mountain" by Kelly Long and "The Special Christmas Cookie" by Lisa Jones Baker. All three novellas are exceptionally well written. This review addresses Jennifer Beckstrand's novella only.                                                                                                                                                                    
My Thoughts:

 Jennifer Beckstrand has brought back my two favorite characters from her Huckleberry Hill series. Annie and Felty are the most lovable , sweet, quirky couple that you have ever met!! I fell in love with this elderly pair in Jennifer's earlier books and was so glad to share another adventure with them . Annie's interest in marrying off her grandchildren is determined and full of humor. I found myself dissolving into giggles as this dear lady attempts to achieve her goal with Katie. Jennifer has an outstanding talent of describing her characters so well that you at once become part of the story and walk alongside them as they work towards their goal. 

The plot moves quickly and steadily with just enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged from beginning to end of this short story. The ups and downs of a developing romance is what keeps you glued to the page. Jennifer Beckstrand lightens the mood even in down times with simply funny descriptions.

To top it off, each story includes interesting, delicious recipes for the reader to try.

This is the perfect read for the Christmas season!!  The three authors have done a fantastic job connecting so that one novella simply flows into the next!!

Well done, ladies!!!!



This book was a gift from CelebrateLit. The opinions and thoughts are honest and my own. 

About the Author:


Jennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in Examiner.com list of top ten inspirational books for 2014.

Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Guest Post from Jennifer Beckstrand

What do you get when you combine Anna and Felty’s earnest grandson, Titus, with a pretty girl who’s practically engaged to someone else, a sleigh full of Christmas bakery orders, and two mischievous Christmas goats?

A wild, wacky, and wunderbarr Christmas, that’s what.

Anna and Felty Helmuth are determined to make this the most romantic Christmas ever on Huckleberry Hill, but have they bitten off more than they can chew trying to match their slightly scatterbrained grandson Titus with timid Katie Rose Gingerich? Titus tends to be a little thick in the head when it comes to love, and Katie Rose is too shy to open her mouth. It might take every potholder Anna can knit plus a determined goat and a little Christmas magic to bring Titus and Katie Rose together.

Titus would do anything for his Mammi Anna, even eat her very bad cooking and learn how to knit, but why does he have to be the one to care for Mammi’s new goat? Goats give him the willies. But when Titus meets the pretty girl staying with his grandparents for Christmas, he doesn’t mind the goat so much. The more he sees of Katie Rose’s gentle ways and loving spirit, the more he wishes he were the kind of boy she would bake a pie for. Can he convince her to love him without offending her boyfriend? And will Mammi notice if he gets rid of her goat?

After I wrote Huckleberry Hearts, I just knew there had to be someone special out there for Titus Helmuth, Anna and Felty’s lovable grandson. Christmas is the perfect setting for “A Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill” because Titus is one character who seems to have the spirit of Christmas in his heart all year long. When Katie Rose is homesick, Titus does his best to make her feel welcome and comfortable on Huckleberry Hill. He delivers her Christmas goodies, writes poetry for her, and sings Christmas songs. When he finally realizes he loves her, he’s going to have to use both Christmas goats and every trick in the book to convince her to marry him. It’s a fun, heartwarming, wonderful-gute Christmas romance.

“A Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill” is in The Amish Christmas Kitchen novella collection, and it will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!



Blog Stops

December 15: Daysong Reflections
December 15: cherylbbookblog
December 16: Karen Sue Hadley
December 16: Jeanette’s Thoughts
December 17: Quiet Quilter
December 17: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 18: The Power of Words
December 18:  A Greater Yes
December 19: Christian Bookaholic
December 19: Lighthouse Academy
December 20: Neverending Stories
December 20: D’S QUILTS AND BOOKS
December 21: Autism Mom
December 22: Bigreadersite
December 22: Splashes of Joy
December 23: Blossoms and Blessings
December 25: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog
December 27: Bibliophile Reviews
December 27: Donna’s BookShelf

Giveaway

            Make sure that you enter this great                     giveaway!




To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away three copies of Huckleberry Christmas. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/acec

Friday, December 16, 2016

Meet "Meddlin Madeline". a quirky, confusing character!! Enter the Author's Giveaway!!

"Meddlin' Madeline "
 "Sweet on You"

By Chautona Havig

About the Book:

It is my hypothesis that social conventions are created to test our fortitude. 
Rockland circa 1900-
As the mayor’s daughter, Madeline Brown enjoys a rich social life that many might envy. But a sharp mind but a growing talent for observation leaves Madeline torn between avoiding social censure and exploring the world around her.
With an aunt who considers higher education and employment equally unsuitable for the mayor’s daughter, there is little to amuse her save endless committee meetings, evening socials, and her favorite pastime: curling up with an exciting detective novel. The temperance and suffrage movements hold little interest for a young woman who has just endured the rigors of her father’s mayoral campaign.
So when a young man shows interest in her friend, Madeline’s interest piques–until his actions hint that he might not be the upstanding gentleman everyone presumes him to be. Unable to ignore her concerns, Madeline finds herself in the middle of an investigation into his character and discovers a side of Rockland she’s never encountered.
Will her new hobby reduce the tedium of her life, or will her “meddling” create tension for herself and her father?  Will she be forced to squelch this budding skill of hers or has Madeline finally found her calling in life?
Meddlin’ Madeline: Sweet on You.
Welcome to Rockland’s infancy.
Sweet on You is the first book in the Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries. Watch for the second book in the series, Such a Tease, in winter, 2017

My Thoughts:

"Meddlin' Madeline :Sweet on You" is what I would class as  of the historical, detective genre. Having read other books by this author, I found this one a very different style from her usual writing. But by different, I do mean in a GOOD way! It took me a while to get into the characters and become involved in their lives, as the storytelling was rather prose like. Once I became accustomed to it, I found myself loving this dear lady who is indeed a meddler!

The setting is described in an accurate, realistic manner true to the time period of the early 1900's , during the time of the Suffragette and Temperance Movements. The characters' attitudes and thoughts reflected the times so realistically that I was able to identify with them easily.  Chautona has done her homework well! I actually felt that I was living alongside them as they dealt with their daily lives. I was pulled into their difficulties and challenges. What really got my attention was the fact that the characters had faults , the same as you and I. Madeline ,herself, was a somewhat quirky woman whose "meddlin'" was just part of her personality. 

The plot was slow but steady. I found myself waiting for a romance to develop, however, to my surprise , that was not the case. Perhaps, in the next book in this series???? I am now eagerly awaiting the next creation by this author! 

This book was a gift. The opinions and thoughts are honest and my own.

About the Author:

I am fortunate enough to live in the great state of California (in the Mojave Desert) with my husband Kevin and five of my nine children. My eldest is married with five children, so I have the fun of a son-in-law and grandbabies to enjoy. I’ve graduated six out of my nine children from our home school, and they’re all doing quite well in their lives. My younger children keep me from getting too selfish, and someday I’ll be fully retired as their teacher. I have to say, I’m lookin’ forward to it. Teaching about gerunds was fun the first time… not so much anymore. I salute all of those in the education field. You are my heroes.
When I’m not writing (which I admit isn’t often) I enjoy blogging (a totally different kind of writing, trust me), paper crafts, sewing, smocking, photo editing, and old music. No, really, I like OLD stuff… the Beatles are too newfangled for me. Yeah,I know they’re before my time… but I like stuff before my PARENTS time.

Guest Post from Chautona

The idea for Madeline came while I was searching for photos for another book idea (one I still haven’t fleshed out yet!). I came across an intriguing picture of a girl wearing a bowler and loved it. I wondered who she was and what she was reading. Well… then I turned the page and… wow! Dozens of photos appeared—all in the same general theme. Bowler hat, gloves, late Victorian/early Edwardian clothes…. I could just see her riding through town on a “wheel” and solving crimes. And well, the rest was born. I had to narrow down about twenty pictures to five. I couldn’t do it. So, I did six. I just hope I can limit myself to six.
Fun Facts:
Fact #1:
This is a historical novel, so that meant lots of research. Well, in the sense that it takes place in another period, anyway. Research proved much more difficult than you might imagine. You see, the world was in a state of flux in 1901. Victorian mores gave way way to a new, modern era—a new century! Though an exciting time in history, because everything was in a perpetual state of change, finding truly historically accurate information was almost impossible!
Additionally, the writing style is very different. This is partly due to a quirk of Madeline’s, but it is also because people used broader vocabularies back then. I wrote the book with a style that fit the era. It was difficult not to lapse into modern vernacular or even something a bit more twenties. After all, the series title was inspired by a song from the 1920’s!
Fun Fact #2
This book begins a journey of self-discovery for Madeline. One of the things I wanted most to do with this book was to explore the “birth” of a detective—to show what it might be like for someone to realize that he or she notices things that others don’t. Through Madeline, I explored how people would react to having their secrets exposed, and I tried to show just how difficult it would be to investigate suspicious things without becoming deceitful or putting oneself in compromising positions. It’s easy to assume people would appreciate knowing if they were being taken advantage of, but would they really? Would pride not get in the way of things? I suspect it would.
Each book does have a definite “mystery”. But, these aren’t traditional mysteries. There won’t be a murder until the final book, but each one will increase in difficulty for Madeline and the reader to decipher the truth and will add a new element of danger and self-discovery. Addtionally, there’s an overarching story over the entire series that won’t be resolved until the end.
Fun Fact #3
We have five more books to go! We’re just getting started with Madeline’s adventures. A sneak peek into the rest of the series: we’ll get to learn more about her best friend, Amy. I haven’t decided just what kind of girl Amy is, but I suspect she’s quite beautiful. I think that’ll play a part in a future book. She’s also likely to meet someone in her European tour. Will she be the friend with the suspicious letter in book four? Who knows? Not me!
Madeline’s Unofficial Glossary
One of the best parts about writing this series is playing with words that I grew up using and reading, but most people don’t use anymore. I had parents of a literary turn of mind, so I grew up being told to, “Slow down and enunciate.” This began at age 3. So, while other kids were told to “go potty,” I was told to “use the facilities.” I’ll never forget in second grade telling a classmate, “That’s your prerogative,” when she said, “I don’t like you.” She was… confused, I think.
Add to that the fun slang of the day, not to mention a quirk I’m not giving away, and I can honestly say I had a blast writing this book. However, I know not everyone is fond of sesquipedalian words or erudite language. So, with that in mind, I decided to write this glossary of words you will find in the book. Please note: definitions are mine and written with my tongue super-glued to the inside of my cheek.
Diffidence: noun
  • Pretending to be reserved in an attempt to hide the truth. Desperate. A misguided notion that pretending not to notice someone will create interest.

Vicissitude: noun
  • The quality of never being able to make up your mind. A woman.

Multi-eloquent: adjective
  • The misguided notion that one must be like Nellie Olson in These Happy Golden Years and allow one’s tongue to go “flippity-flop.” Example: Gossips are often multi-eloquent.

Jitney: noun
  • Slang for a nickel. Also, a horse-drawn “cab.” Because it has fewer syll–nope. Not that. Because people like to confuse one another in speech. “Hey, do you have a jitney?” Gee… let’s see. I’ve got a nickel, but I left my horse and carriage in my other pants at home…

Copacetic: adjective
  • Doesn’t matter, because I had to remove it from the book. I didn’t read the entire dictionary entry when I chose the word, and only saw 1880 mentioned. Alas, the first known use is 1919. Eighteen years after this book takes place. I consider the coiner to be tardy, and would appreciate that in the future, words be coined by the dates I need. Thank you. (Do you see the amount of research I must do. I have to check if words were even IN USE before I use them. And I still almost flubbed it.)

Recalcitrant: adjective
  • Madeline… wait. That’s not quite right. But close enough. Okay. Madeline Brown when she has a bee in her bowler. Resisting authority or convention.

Dialogue de sourds: noun (French)
  • Literally: a worthless conversation where both parties speak to a glass wall, hearing only themselves. Example: political conversations, theological conversations, ideological conversations, Facebook wall “discussions,” and arguments with toddlers.

Asinine: adjective
  • Ridiculous or silly–like the assertion that someone saying the word is using foul language.

Penurious: adjective
  • Marked by an inability to part with money. A lickpenny. (see how I did that?)

Scintillating: adjective
  • A word meaning amusing or extremely interesting that lends itself more to sarcasm than plain speaking.

Hawkshaw: noun
  • A nosy person who gets away with it under the guise of “helping.” Sometimes known as a detective.

Fustian: noun
  • Um… yeah. This glossary. Madeline does lend herself to the fustian.

There you go. It’s just a taste of what’s ahead. Happy reading!


Blog Stops

December 13: Bigreadersite
December 13: Jeanette’s Thoughts
December 14: Daysong Reflections
December 14: Baker Kella
December 15: Back Porch Reads
December 15: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 16: Pause for Tales
December 16: Quiet Quilter
December 17: cherylbbookblog
December 18: ASC Book Reviews
December 19: A Greater Yes
December 20: Lane Hill House
December 21: Reader’s cozy corner
December 22: Two Girls and a Book
December 22: Blogging With Carol
December 23: 1983
December 24: Neverending Stories
December 24: Carpe Diem
December 25: Bibliophile Reviews
December 25: The Scribbler
December 26: For The Love of Books
December 26: Ashley’s Bookshelf

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona are giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/aa59

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Great New Book By Terri Wangard! Be sure to enter the giveaway!

          "Soar Like Eagles"
           By Terri Wangard   

About the Book:

Carol becomes a Red Cross doughnut girl, serving GIs and boosting their morale. Convinced wartime romances are doomed to disappointment, she attempts to avoid entanglements. She didn’t plan on Chet, the navigator who tempts her to throw caution to the wind.
Chet’s father and brothers always belittled him. As a squadron lead navigator, he longs to prove them wrong. He’s already been offered a terrific job with PanAm after the war. First he must survive his combat tour. Will he even have a future?



My Thoughts:

This author definitely has a very special talent in writing historical novels, one that is unique in her ability to write them so descriptively that you enter the time period alongside the characters , experiencing the trials and fears of war. I have to admit that historical novels are just not my "cup of tea", however, having said this, I loved this book!! I may just have to readjust my opinions!!! Although this is the third book in Terri's series, "Promise for Tomorrow", it can easily be read and enjoyed as a stand alone. I have read the first two books, thus easily met up with familiar characters, feeling as if I was once again visiting their special time in history. 

The setting was so well described that I could actually feel  and hear the bombs dropping as I read this intense tale. Terri has done her research well ,as evident in her  descriptions of the countrysides, events, and even the thoughts of her characters. 

The characters came alive in my mind as I travelled the path of war alongside them. They had to survive in a very difficult time period full of fear for their's and their friend's lives. I felt their every tense moment. I could hear the bombs dropping around them as they tried to provide necessary services to their homeland. 

The plot moves steadily with surprising twists and turns at every turn of the page. As in a war, you just never know what is hiding around the corner, and this feeling was portrayed in a detailed, intense manner. There is an underlying message of faith and forgiveness that shines through the most frightening times.  God is with us always, even when we are in the depths of despair.

This book is definitely one that all historical fiction lovers must read!! And you others who are similar to me, thinking that it is not for you, just try it!! You may find that this author captures your attention and won't let it go!! It is a GREAT book!! 

This book was received as a gift from CelebrateLit. The opinions and thoughts expressed are my own.
To purchase your own copy, click here.

About the Author:  

Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.



Guest Post from Terri Wangard

For the third book of my World War II series, I needed something to involve my main character with. At first I considered the train canteens, where volunteers laden with food met troop trains crisscrossing the country. That wouldn’t work though, because my navigator was heading overseas and I didn’t want a correspondence relationship. Besides, someone else had already written a novel about the canteens. Then I discovered the Red Cross clubmobiles.
The American Red Cross operated canteens on the home front and clubs and clubmobiles overseas during World War II to provide soldiers and sailors with a cup of coffee, a doughnut, and a bit of friendly conversation that gave the men a familiar connection with home.


Around the world, the Red Cross staffed permanent service clubs, traveling clubmobiles, and other recreational facilities. Service clubs provided refreshments, accommodations, and comfort and recreational activities wherever American troops were located overseas. In major cities, they offered meals, recreational activities, overnight accommodations, and barbershops and laundries. Some also provided sightseeing opportunities, touring museums, castles and cathedrals, and attending local theaters and movie houses.
Smaller clubs provided food in outlying areas near American military camps. The Red Cross also operated rest homes, often in stately manor houses in rural, tranquil locations overseas, for service personnel needing respite from the pressures of war.
To serve military sites in isolated areas, the Red Cross used clubmobiles in Great Britain in 1942 and later, the continent. Staffed by three American Red Cross women and a local driver in England, they visited several sites in a day, bringing refreshments, entertainment, and a touch of home to the troops in a foreign land. They used converted half-ton trucks and single-deck London buses, which featured kitchen equipment for making and serving doughnuts and coffee. Some carried phonographs and loudspeakers to provide music for the troops, and the women often danced with the servicemen. On the continent, the women had to drive and service their trucks.
Many American servicemen had never traveled far from home. At Red Cross clubs and clubmobiles in far-flung places around the globe, they received a connection to home and

civilian life through friendly American women and familiar food. The Red Cross served a basic purpose of raising morale.

Carol Doucet of Soar Like Eagles was proud to be a Red Cross Doughnut Girl.


Blog Stops

December 8: Artistic Nobody
December 9: Daysong Reflections
December 10: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
December 10: Bukwurmzzz
December 11: Petra’s Hope
December 12: The Power of Words (spotlight)
December 14: Carpe Diem
December 15: Bigreadersite
December 15: Quiet Quilter
December 16: Christian Bookaholic
December 17: A Path of Joy
December 18: Jeanette’s Thoughts
December 18: Karen’s Krayons
December 19:  Simple Harvest Reads (Spotlight)
 December 19: A Greater Yes
December 20: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 21: Bibliophile Reviews

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and a signed paperback copy of Soar Like Eagles. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/aa5f