25 Book Reviews

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another great Amish novel from Amy Clipston

Product Details"A Season of Love"
    By Amy Clipston

Amy has written another winning novel from the Kauffman Bakery Series. This story continues with the two sisters, who were left as orphans when their parents were tragically killed, as secondary characters, while the rest of the community take front stage. The setting is Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania, right in the heart of Amish country. A lovely spot for a love story to take place- Lindsay, the sister who has become Amish, is in love with Matthew, Lizzie Anne is planning her marriage to Samuel, leaving the third  best friend, Lizzie ( who just happens to be Samuel's sister) , in back field , feeling lonely and unwanted. She is a dedicated baker at her Mammi's bakery and takes care of her family, however you can feel her great desire for something more. She so wants to be a wife and mother. She is secretly hurting, as she does not want to tell her two best friends how she really feels and spoil their happiness.

Throughout the book, you feel Katie's confusion, hurt and challenges, trying to please her rather harsh father, but also desiring to fulfill her lifelong dreams. To complicate matters, with her daad, a young carpenter , Jake, enters the scene. He is suffering as well, but from a broken heart. He is trying to rebuild his life but is rather aloft to people, afraid of being hurt more. Then comes the challenge- Jake begins to do a project at the bakery. He and Katie spend some time together and find that they have a lot in common. Katie is confronted by a huge challenge, she is Amish, Jake is Mennonite- a definite problem. Katie's father is furious. It is totally unheard of for the two to mix, let alone date, and they dare not be seen together. What will Katie do? Try to please her dad or follow her heart's desire???? What will Jake do?? What is God's plan for these two wonderful young people?

This is a wonderful love story that exhibits God's love for all of His people. Amy has concluded her series with a true work of art!! I am definitely looking forward to more books by this very talented author.

This book was provided for review purposes by Zondervan and Net Galley.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Crazy Dangerous" By Andrew Klavan- award winning author!!

When I first began to read this book, I must be honest, I thought, oh , NOT my type of book!! BUT THEN-- this author caught my attention bigtime. I thought  to myself, "What a GREAT book for young adults!! A mystery/thriller!"  And a bit later in the book , I changed my view again and thought, "What a fantastic book for EVERYONE to read!"

If you enjoy mysteries, this is definitely a book for you. Andrew keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout his story. I felt fear, nervousness, everything that makes a good thriller!
This book is about a young man, Sam, a good kid who has fallen in with the wrong crowd, as happens so often these days.  Although he knows better, he ends up hanging around car thieves and thugs and realizes that soon he will end up making a wrong decision and get into real trouble.
Then, the BEST thing happens to Sam. One day, he sees these thugs harassing a rather eccentric, but nice schoolmate, Jennifer. He digs deep within himself and finds the courage to face the bullies, but in doing so, loses a bad set of friends and acquires a very unusual new one.
Sam thinks Jennifer is a bit crazy, not just "different". She has terrifying hallucinations about the demons , devils, and death. But the really crazy part, is that , Sam starts to think these are not just dumb dreams but prophecies- prophecies of dreadful things that are about to take place and happen to those he loves and cares about. What should he do? Can he stop the events from actually happening? Will others believe him?

Sam is in a race against time. Finding the truth before all of these dreadful acts happen is going to be both crazy and extremely dangerous. Can he win the battle???  Sam is a preacher's kid. Will this help or hinder?? 

All I can say is WOW!! The suspense created by Andrew is unbelievable. I am now hooked on his books!!You just can NOT put it down after you start it. Will God win this difficult battle? You won't know until the very last page of this book.

Andrew, what a great author you are!! I look forward to reading more books by you!
Book provided by LitFuse in exchange for a fair and honest review.

If you wish to read more reviews , by other bloggers, on this book, please click on this link:

About Andrew: 

Andrew Klavan was hailed by Stephen King as "the most original novelist of crime and suspense since Cornell Woolrich." He is the recipient of two Edgar Awards and the author of such bestsellers as True Crime and Don't Say a Word.

His books and screenplays have been turned into films directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Michael Douglas, Ed Burns, Michael Caine among others.

Hometown: Santa Barbara, CaliforniaBooks Sold to Date: over 1.5 million.

Celebrate with Andrew by entering his Crazy Dangerous giveaway and connecting with him during the Author Chat Party on 5/29!

One fortunate winner will receive:  
  • A $100 Visa Cash Card
  • A copy of Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan for YOU and 5 of your Friends!
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on May 28th. Winner will be announced at the "Crazy Dangerous" Author Chat Facebook Party on 5/29. Andrew will be hosting an Author Chat, testing your survival trivia skills, giving away books and gift certificates to iTunes and Amazon.com! Don't miss a second of the "danger"!

Grab your copy of Crazy Dangerous and connect with Andrew on the evening of 5/29/12 for an author chat and lots of giveaways.

my stubborn heart- Review of a super book!!!

"my stubborn heart"Litfuse
By Becky Wade

The main character in this book, Kate Donovan is burned out- totally!! By dating experiences and in desperate need of a new adventure!! 
Her grandmother asks her to accompany her to PA to restore a wonderful, old home she grew up in. Kate, of course, jumps into this , as it seems to be an answer to her current difficulties. Becky describes these characters  in such a  realistic fashion and in such detail, you feel their excitement , as well as frustrations. 
Upon their arrival in Redbud, PA, Kate meets a man who has been hired to renovate the house, Matt. She is immediately attracted to him, however he is a clearly wounded young man, with hidden hurts that he does not want to share. He is hiding from people, God  and from his hurtful past. However, stubborn Kate is determined to bring him back to God and face his past..... even if he does NOT want to- and that is certainly the case.

This rather unusual relationship between these two young people develops into more that either imagines. Is God going to answer Kate's desires OR she going to have to give up more that she has ever dreamed??? 

Well, folks, you have to read this marvellous book to find the answers.

Becky is a talented new writer , who grabs your attention from the beginning of the book and keeps it to the last page. As DeeAnne Gist says, " The perfect combination for a night out with you and your book."

Lisa Wingate, the well known writer describes it as a story that "proves falling in love is a matter of faith." 
What more can I say!! These two well known authors have described this book to a T!!

This book was provided by LitFuse in exchange for a fair and honest review.

About Becky: 

During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She's been a fan of all things romantic ever since. 

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky's passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances with Avon Books, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her kids, then recently returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. She felt led to move to the genre of contemporary Christian romance and couldn't be more thrilled with it. 

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband. 

If you wish to read more reviews of this book by other bloggers, please click on the following link:  http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13491775/beckywade 

Remember to see the sidebar for the wonderful prize you can win!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"wish you were here" : New Author, New Book!! Yahoo!!

"Wish you were here"                
   By Beth K. Vogt

This is a book that I would label as a "chick lit" , as my husband, the librarian calls them, however, it turned into a very thought provoking story of a young woman whose courage met a challenge. When walking up the aisle to be married, she knew she was making a mistake and did the right thing, although hard and causing disturbances and hardships galore.

Allison knew that she should have said a firm "NO" when Seth proposed, but they had been friends forever and it seemed an easy solution. She wanted to get married and everyone expected them to- so why not please everyone- EXCEPT, she was not in tune with God's plan, so she said yes although thinking NO would have been the correct answer for her life.
Her dress was wrong for her, the BIG wedding was wrong AND so was the groom!!  Unfortunately for the family, Seth's brother should have been the man standing at the front of the church, as Allison quickly discovers.

This story is a series of complications, how to escape this mess and how to give up her own control.  Allison has to realize God has all the answers. We, ourselves cannot fix everything. She has to let God provide the needed strength.

Beth describes her characters in an accurate and appealing way. We can identify easily with every one of them. Her plot, although sometimes slow moving , is complicated and you will be surprised at the end of the book.

Well done, Beth! Looking forward to more books!!!

About Beth: 

Beth K. Vogt provides her readers with a happily ever after woven through with humor, reality, and God's lavish grace. She's a non-fiction author and editor who said she'd never write fiction. She's the wife of an Air Force physician (now in solo practice) who said she'd never marry a doctor-or anyone in the military. She's a mom of four who said she'd never have kids. Beth has discovered that God's best often waits behind the doors marked "Never." She writes contemporary romance because she believes there's more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us. Beth earned a journalism degree from San Jose State University and met her husband Rob when he knocked her down at a karate studio. They've been married for 31 years. They have four children, ranging in ages from 28, 25, 23 and - thanks to a funny thing happening on their way to the empty nest-a 10-year-old. The Vogt Team, which now includes a "daughter-in-love" and "son-in-love," enjoys hiking and camping in Colorado. Read more about Beth at her website:http://bethvogt.com

Link to buy the book:  http://ow.ly/aQTEk

Foe more reviews on this book, please click on the following link: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13480251 
Book was provided by LitFuse in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

An Interview with Jerry Eicher, seller of over 400,000 books and a review of his newest Amish fiction.

A Review of Jerry's  Newest Book:

"Following Your Heart"Product Details

   By Jerry Eicher

This book is the second of the "Fields of Home" Series and is to be followed by one last one. I am VERY upset!! Why, you may ask?  Because, I absolutely love this series and hate for it to ever end!!!
  In the first book, the main character , Susan Hostetler, has left her Amish community to move to the city and experience an Englisch lifestyle. She has not yet been baptized and is trying to decide which life she wants: to stick to her Amish roots, or switch to a life of freedom- she thinks, with the Englischers.

In this new book, she returns home, along with trouble, with her friend, an unmarried , young lady, who has a baby boy, Samuel, Teresa , the Englischer , has the greatest desire to become Amish and have her son grow up in a faith where he will be loved, cherished and taught Christian values.

This simple desire turns into a nightmare for Susan , Teresa and Susan's family who has befriended her and supported her. Deacon Ray forbids this young lady to even attend church, let alone, be trained in the Amish faith, fearing she will be a bad influence on the other young people of the community.  Then.... along come two suitors. If Teresa intends to marry within the Amish faith, she can attend church  and live the life she so desires. But whom will she choose to marry?? The Deacon's son!!! OR the older man of the community who no one else will have!! What is God's plan? Will she stop and listen and wait, to hear that still small voice?? Should she follow her heart??

This book had my complete attention from start to end. In fact, I could not put it down!! The characters became so real to me, I so wanted to talk to them and give my advice!! They had such realistic problems and challenges that I could feel the stress within the situation.

The plot had many surprises and at times, shocked me with the changing of events . What I presumed would happen , did not!! This is a book not to be missed by any fan of the Amish fiction genre. What a winner!!!  I am eagerly awaiting the last of this series , "Where Love Grows" to find out how this family makes out in the Amish Community. 
Jerry, you have outdone yourself. Each book just keeps getting better and better!!

An Interview with Jerry Eicher:

Question 1: Jerry, I think we are all aware that you were born into an Amish home. Do you mind telling us what convinced you to leave the Amish faith, or is that too personal to ask?

    No...that’s a great question, Karla. The long and short of the answer is that I inadvertently acquired what were considered dangerous ideas by the Elders. Such as depending more heavily on scripture instead of the ordnung for community guidance. Before that I was a dedicated Amish believer, a little zealous perhaps, which may have been part of their concern. Rather than recant or face excommunication, I fled to a Mennonite church with my young family, and was sheltered there by a well known Mennonite Bishop whom the local Amish elders respected. So they backed off on any discipline plans.

2. I  realize you have continued to worship in an evangelical faith, as I do, ( the Brethren in Christ),   Is there a special reason why you chose the Mennonite Church?

We did visit the surrounding churches, Baptist and Pentecostal, primarily. But I didn’t feel like abandoning what I felt were the scriptural portions of my upbringing. (Head veiling, nonresistance, to name two points) So the Mennonites were the only viable option for me. 

3. It is most uncommon for a male to write such romantic Amish fiction. Why did you choose this genre and why do you believe you have been such a successful author? I know you are- I READ THEM ALL!!!
    When I began writing, this issue caught me totally by surprise. I had no idea a man wasn’t supposed to write from a women’s point of view. Or I guess, more accurately, a man is not supposed to have the ability.
    When my contact at “Choice Books” ( A Mennonite Book Distribution organization) began to sell my self-published books and later sought an official publisher for me, I was turned down out-of-hand for this reason. I found that amusing at first, but I guess it’s quite an entrenched idea within the Christian world, and more serious than I thought.
    You have to indulge my ignorance, since I grew up surrounded by Amish men who wrote fiction, and included the women’s point of view. A case in point is David Wagler and his Simon & Susie stories, published first in the “Young Companion” in serial form and later complied in a book under that same name. I read those stories with relish, and it never crossed my mind that a man shouldn’t be doing such a thing. And to this day, the Amish publishing house, “Pathway”, makes no distinction between fiction love stories written by either male or female.
    On this subject the Mennonite and Amish world is much more open minded, then mainline Christian believers. Obviously, I think the belief misguided at best, and prejudicial at worst. Shakespeare was a man. Hello, “Romeo and Juliet”, and  “The Taming of the Shrew”, to name two plays. The Song of Solomon was written by a man. After the introduction it opens in the woman’s point of view. “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for thy love is better than wine”. Nicholas Sparks, one of the best selling romance writers in the secular world, is male.
    It all seems quite self defeating to me. Men are practical creatures, and if it’s impossible for them to understand a woman, then why should they listen? And isn’t listening what a woman desires? 
    As to how I judge my success as an author? Reviews and Sales, I think. If both of those drop through the floor, it’s pretty much over.    

Jerry, you are so correct , why shouldn't men be able to write romantic fiction? History shows us they always did!! Thank you for your excellent explanation.

4. What are your plans for future series, after you complete Book 3 of the Fields of Home series?
2012 still have two standalone books coming, “My Dearest Emma” ( a series of love letters written between an engaged Amish couple ) and the Christmas book, “Susanna’s Christmas Wish” ( one of the sweetest and best stories I’ve written so far, I think) . Beyond that I have contracts with Harvest House for another full series in 2013, “Emma Raber’s Daughter”, plus my childhood memoirs, “My Amish Childhood”. Talks are also underway for a series in 2014, “Sisters of Lancaster County”. 

Thank you so much Jerry for this interview, allowing your fans to get to know and understand you so much better.

This book was provided by the author, Jerry Eicher and Harvest Publishing House.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

An Entertaining Book - Two in One, by Judy Baer

Two Books in One:

By Judy Baer
"An Unlikely Blessing" and "Surprising Grace"

I reviewed the first book a while back and enjoyed it immensely. It is a book full of humor, faith, challenges and grace, all keeping with a complicated plot and extremely interesting characters. It was a great book and this second part is no exception. The plot is constantly twisting and throwing us for a loop, making us laugh , then making us almost cry with frustration that these characters must feel, with the everyday problems they meet. Judy uses reality to get her point across in both books. Common difficulties met by ordinary individuals who depend on God to get them through.  I giggled, I cried, I was frustrated by the problems. This is what made it a GREAT book!! You FEEL!!!

"An Unlikely Blessing" begins with Alex Armstrong, a city dweller, who has just accepted his first pastoral assignment in a tiny township in North Dakota, in Hilltop Township. We meet many , shall we say, unusual and quaint individuals with whom Alex must work with in his community.  Great excitement arises, as the congregations, (two which he must handle), realize that this good looking young man is single.  The unmarried women come out of the woodwork to cook, clean and impress poor Alex. He must learn to deal with the many odd traditions many residents have, but in doing so , learns much from these rather odd individuals. Humor plays a huge part in this book and Judy had me laughing out loud, as I could just imagine this single pastor being pursued by everyone in sight. Judy's talent to bring a learning experience out of this comical situation is outstanding.Alex learns that this new church home is indeed AN UNLIKELY BLESSING!!

 Then, comes, Book 2 of the series, "Surprising Grace". Alex is now quite comfortable in his new job as pastor of Hilltop Church , going so far as to now understand the strange ways of the people who reside in this prairie land.  BUT, Alex discovers his flock needs help and counsel that he never expected he would have to provide. Would God give him the wisdom to say and do the right thing??? The important part of this book, is that Alex, the handsome young man must choose between a young woman he once planned to marry and the home he has come to love. Which one will win?? God has a plan. Is Alex prepared to listen and follow it??

These books are relaxing and entertaining. The characters are the most unique I have  discovered in a book for a long time. Judy has certainly written a book for all to enjoy - men, women, old and young!!  Everyone will have a smile on their face when they finish this series!

View author headshot.jpg in slide show

About Judy:
Judy Baer was born and grew up on a farm on the prairies of North Dakota, experiencing many of the same things as her Hilltop characters. An only child, she spent most of her days with imaginary people-either those she read about or those she made up in her head. 
Baer graduated from Concordia College with majors in English and education and a minor in religion. While at the time, she was simply studying what interested her, Baer later realized that she was educating herself for her future career as a Christian writer. She certainly put her education to use as she is the author of more than 75 books. 
A certified professional life coach now certified in three coaching disciplines, Baer coaches primarily professional and aspiring writers. She is also a faculty advisor in the Department of Human Development at St. Mary's University in Minneapolis, MN. Baer has two daughters and three step children. She and her husband live in Minnesota. 

If you wish to read more reviews of this book, please click on the following link:

Celebrate with Judy by entering to win a Kindle for you and a friend!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Touch for you AND one to giveaway to the friend of your choice
  • Forever Hilltop by Judy K Baer for you and a one for a friend
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 5/22/12. The winner will be announced 5/24/12 on Judy’s blog!

Just click one of the icons below to enter. Tell your friends about Judy's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

This book was provided free of charge by LitFuse in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tricia Goyer Does it Again with Book 3 of her Big Sky Novel Series!!

"Beyond Hope's Valley"            
     By Tricia Goyer                     

This is the third book in Tricia's series and is every bit as wonderful a creation as the other two. A fantastic Amish story , with romance, challenges, joys and heartache. You feel with these well developed characters, as they tend to become part of your family. In fact, I started to worry about them at night , when I went to bed, if I stopped reading at a critical point in the story. The solution- just keep reading until done!!

Tricia uses a different type of community, as a starting point in the book. Montana is where the main character, Marianna, has been living , with her family, although she was betrothed to her beloved in Indiana. She returns to Indiana to attend her brother's wedding- where she encounters an unwanted surprise- but I must not add a spoiler here!! and to plan her own wedding to Aaron Zook who she has known since childhood.  Although, she thought she wanted to return to her hometown, she finds herself missing Montana where the Amish community is VERY different.

As months pass, secrets emerge that had been hidden all winter.  Relationships are challenged by these, as God's plans, although revealed,  are 
questioned. Walking through this valley of troubles, confusion and questions, Marianna must decide where and with whom her heart truly belongs.  

Tricia keeps you totally engrossed with her twists of plot. What will Marianna decide??? What will happen to  influence the others in her life?? The secrets that come into the open are a complete shock to the reader.

Well done, Tricia!! You succeeded again in lack of housework being done in my home and late meals!!!! LOL I could not put this book down. LOVED it!!!


About Tricia: Tricia Goyer is the award winning author of thirty-two books including Beside Still Waters, Remembering You, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences and is the host of Living Inspired. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

Contest – 

Celebrate with Tricia and enter to win a custom-made Amish Wall hanging in the colors of your choice ... and much more! 
One fortunate winner will receive:
  • Custom Amish Wall Hanging {You choose the colors!}
  • An Amish Doll {Sweet.}
  • Amish-made basket {It’s picnic season!}
  • Doilies, potholder and an Amish cookbook {All items form Bird-in-Hand, PA!}
  • Three book Big Sky Amish series {Be swept away by this captivating series.}
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 20th. Winner will be announced at "All Things Amish" Author Chat Facebook Party on 5/21. Tricia will be hosting an author chat (on Facebook and Live from her website) and giving away books, gift certificates and more! 
So grab your copy of Beyond Hope's Valley and join Tricia on the evening of the May 21st for a fun chat, trivia contest (How much do you know about the Amish?) and lots of giveaways. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 21st!

More info: Living Inspired and www.triciagoyer.com.

Link to buy the book:  http://ow.ly/azust 

If you wish to read more reviews on this book, please click on the following link:
Blog tour schedule: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13489586/bigskyamishbhv)  

This book was provided by LitFuse in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Another Fantastic Read by One of My Favorite Authors, Vannetta Chapman!

An Amish Proposal for Christmas  By Vannetta Chapman Synopsis: Her deepest Christmas wish will bring more than she imagined…in this novel by...