25 Book Reviews

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beverly Lewis continues her Home to Hickory Hollow Series

"The Bridesmaid"
By Beverly Lewis

Beverley Lewis, the author who started the whole exciting trend of the genre of Amish fiction, is continuing to share her talent in the writing of a new series. The first book, "The Fiddler" grabbed my attention and I could not put that book down. I loved the plot, the characters and the meaning that came through the entire book.
This second book, "The Bridesmaid", although still written in her unique style, and a good story, did not quite appeal to me quite as much. Don't get me wrong. I did enjoy the story, as my husband could attest to that fact, as supper was late, I didn't always hear what he said to me.... LOL.

It probably would appeal to others in a greater sense, however , somehow it did not quite satisfy me. I loved it, but just not quite in the same way as The Fiddler.

The characters are well developed and I did feel for Joanna, who was always a bridesmaid, never a bride, as her friends liked to remind her. That was my life for many years , so I felt empathy for her and her desires. Then entering the scene was Eben who hopes to make Joanna his bride, if he can ever leave his parents' farm in Shipshewana and move to Lancaster.  His hopes and desires all hinge on his brother who has gone off to the Englischer's world and is now married. Joanna could join Eben there, but would she????? Will he ever get away from the farm???

We are kept in some suspense throughout the story, as we wonder whether these two people will stop and listen to God and follow His plan for their life.  
All in all, it is a extremely well written book.
Definitely worth the read!!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Brand New Book by Tricia Goyer

Preorder your copy NOW!! It is a great book!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Jerry Eicher's Two Newest Books are NO Disappointment!

"Where Love Grows"
              By Jerry Eicher

This novel is Book 3 in the Fields of Home Series. What a marvellous continuation of the story and further development of all our favorite characters who were present in the earlier books.  Susan, the so called rebel has come home to her small Amish community. I found myself admiring her courage in returning- as she had done the frowned upon- getting GED requirements, a driver's license and even dating an Englisha man!!  She became my hero, as she goes back to her former lifestyle, with her head held high, although at times, very frightened of letting her family know of all she did in her "other" life. On top of all the other problems of returning, she goes back, with a friend Teresa in tow, with her young son. Teresa's quest to belong to the Amish is to be admired. This book begins with the marriage of Teresa to a young Amish man , James.

Thus, the story expands, with a new family entering the Amish community. Teresa has truly worked diligently to fit the character of a good Amish girl. She and Susan , again meet many challenges. Susan decides to give her old boy friend, Thomas , another chance, but here , the complications begin. Her Dat's new hired hand has shown an interest in her, as well. Who is God's life partner for her and how will He show her his plan for her life??  I had such sympathy for her, that at times I felt she was part of my family. I felt her confusion, her heartaches, as well as her joy.  Jerry has described his characters so well that you have them as friends/family forever!!
Susan , at one point, considered going back to the Englisha world, just to escape the decision making that she had to do. It would be easier to forget the romance!!

Jerry continues to give us great insight into the Amish lifestyle and way of life. Since he comes from that background , it is accurate and his books are filled with details and facts that ordinarily may  not discover.
Another five star book!! Eagerly awaiting the next one!!

This book was provided by Harvest House and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Jerry Eicher's Christmas Book is a thought provoking, easy to read story!!

"Susanna's Christmas Wish"
                  By Jerry Eicher

Jerry's Christmas novels are always a joy to read and this new one is no exception.  The theme throughout the book is, "Do Christmas wishes still come true?"  And you can easily guess the answer!!! This book was a light, easy to read book, filled with the joy of the season. However, it cannot be without the challenges and problems of the Amish families and community. Life is full of those, regardless of where and how we live and Jerry brings them to life in his Christmas novel.  
The main character, Susanna, has married Herman who is strict and firm to his family Amish upbringing. Susanna  is a sweet young lady, who we immediately , to whom we immediately become attached. I felt , many times throughout the story , that I wanted to reach out and give her a hug. She cherishes family traditions of Christmas, as I do, however Herman has no use for the family get togethers that has always been an important part of Susanna's celebration. Must she follow the godly ways of her faith and obey her husband, in spite of her unhappiness?
Meanwhile, who should appear on the scene but an old flame, Matthew. He is an interesting character who is extremely well described. He had left the Amish life to go Englisha, Now, his confessions about his past threaten Susanna and Herman's hope for a successful and happy marriage. Herman begins to question himself and wonders if his love is good enough for his lovely bride. Is he worthy of her ???? 
  The Christmas season is one in which we all feel the love of God and Jerry expresses this throughout his book.  Will Susanna and Herman settle their differences and make a Christmas wish come true??
The plot of the story is one which is simple but compelling and one which makes one think of the meaning of the season. We are one with the Amish in this book. We all have traditions and wishes , but often must compromise with a spouse to make each other happy.
Thank you , Jerry , for this meaningful story . Another five star book!!!

This book was supplied by Harvest House and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Review of a New Legal Thriller!

"The Deposit Slip"
By Todd M. Johnson

I must admit that this genre does not always appeal to me, so it needs to be a very special book to grab my attention. Todd does this very capably on page one of his book!! I opened the book, expecting a somewhat lengthy introduction - there was NONE!! This story just jumps out and attacks you from the very first page!! Erin, the main character , is seated in a vault of a bank and the description of the surroundings alone, makes you want to continue to read. Todd describes the smells, the sensations she feels, the looks, with such precision, you feel as if you are there with her. Erin's feelings are expressed in such a way that you feel for her and want to get to know her better. What a fantastic beginning to this novel!!

Immediately after her father's death, Erin discovers a slim piece of paper in a safety deposit box- with an absolutely unbelievable amount of amount on it.  She IS rich, however, and it is a BIG however, the bank claims to have no record of this money. Erin hires lawyers and gets no results, until she meets Jared Neaton. He is on the brink of losing his own tiny firm , after leaving a prestigious one , due to a problem with questionable ethics . Will he , of all people, be able to discover the mystery of the missing money? Is the case worth the risk ? As he becomes more involved with Erin and her case, digging deeper becomes dangerous. There are threats to both he and Erin. How far will they go to and pay to discover the truth?

This book is a page turner from beginning to end. There are constantly new twists thrown in , new mysteries, dangers that are totally unexpected.  The depth of the content is not to be outdone. Todd has done his research well on investments and banking systems. 
The characters are realistic with problems that surpass what you expect. How they handle them is the interesting part!

A five star book!! Great mystery, great legal thriller!!

This book was supplied by Bethany House  in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Conquer Your Fears

Conquer Your Fears and “Live to Give” Webcast Thomas Nelson Author and Hoops of Hope founder, Austin Gutwein, to host September 6 online event to focusing on themes his latest release, Live to Give. On September 6 at 8 PM EDT, Austin Gutwein will be hosting a live Facebook web event to encourage participants to conquer their fears and use their talents to help others. The webcast will center on the themes Gutwein writes about in his latest release “Live to Give: Letting God Turn Your Talents into Miracles(Thomas Nelson/August, 2012). At the conclusion of the webcast, the winners of a month-long social media fueled “Get and Give” contest will be announced, including the winner of a Kindle Fire and $250 donated to the winner’s charity of choice. Join Austin on the evening of Thursday, September 6th as he shares about his own experiences and encourages others to conquers their fears and “live to give”. Austin will also be taking audience questions and interacting with participants. PLUS – there will be several “Live to Give” giveaways – books, gift certificates and much more! RSVP today and tell your friends. Based on the John 6 story of Jesus feeding the 5000, in “Live to Give” Gutwein challenges his readers that regardless of age and talent, God can use them to make a difference. Even though God could take care of everything Himself and doesn’t really need our help, He desperately WANTS us to help Him care for others. Gutwein walks young people through discovering and embracing their unique God-given strengths and abilities, then figuring out how to use those talents to help others. Sometimes doing that takes a leap of faith on our part, and often becoming fearless in the process. More about Austin: At eighteen years old, Gutwein speaks with wisdom and has the experience to reinforce his message. When Austin was just nine years old, he watched a video that showed children in Africa who had lost their parents to AIDS. Gutwein realized these kids weren’t any different from him—except they were suffering. Feeling called to help, he took his love of basketball and decided to shoot free throws to raise money for orphans in Zambia. On World AIDS Day in 2004, he shot 2,057 free throws to represent the 2,057 kids who would be orphaned during his day at school. Through sponsorship from parents and friends, Gutwein raised over $3,000 that day to give hope to eight orphans in Zambia. Over the past eight years, Gutwein’s efforts have created Hoops of Hope, the largest free throw marathon in the world. With an estimated 40,000 people in more than 25 countries participating, Hoops of Hope has raised more than $2.5 million to build schools, medical clinics, dormitories for orphanages, and the only computer lab in Zambia. Enter to win a Kindle Fire and have $250 donated to your favorite charity. Click for the banner for details and entry or visit http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13528976/livetogive. Learn more about Austin and Hoops of Hope at www.AustinGutwein.com and www.HoopsOfHope.org. + UNENDING DEVOTION, JODY HEDLUND

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Three Sweet Stories to Nourish Your Soul" (Taken from book cover)

Product Details"An Amish Kitchen"
A fabulous book by Beth Wiseman, Kelly Long and                       Amy Clipston  

What more could you ask for ??? Three fantabulous ( that isn't a word, but I couldn't think of a better one!) Amish writers collaborate to write another novella!! This is a VERY special book that includes a huge collection of Amish recipes at the end- from Herbal Medicinal Treatments to delicious treats and main dishes. These recipes have all been tested and are fantastic!!
Fits with the title , doesn't it??? 

BUT, not only do you have a wonderful mini recipe book, you have three short stories that each has its own story of love, family and faith, taking place in a tight knit community. In the Amish home, where do you think the family gathers and chats ? The kitchen really is the heart of the home.

All of the stories have a connection and take place in Paradise , PA. They involve three women who strive to find love and renewed hope, while dealing with life's daily challenges and often surprise events.
Kelly's story, "A Taste of Faith",  begins the book, with the main character, Fern, who is known for her talent for growing healing herbs and flowers. The community seeks her out when they have an ill family member. She is indeed a success in this area, however, her greatest wish is for love to come her way. Through crises galore, Fern discovers there is a hope, until , suddenly, an incident threatens to  end the attraction, even before it gets a steady start. Kelly's female characters exhibit such warmth and loving natures.  You really want them for your best friend!! Confronted with an upset, they have the same feelings as you and I- they need encouragement and the love of God to carry them through. Fern needs this badly, but is so busy serving others, will she be able to listen to that still voice and  follow God's plan?

The next part of the book, entitled, "A Spoonful of Love" is written  by Amy Clipston.  Her main character , Hannah, lives nearby in Paradise, running her parents' Bed and Breakfast, Paradise Inn.  She has something in common with Fern. She longs for a loving relationship , looking for a future filled with happiness with a husband and children.  Surprisingly, a knock on the door brings about the possibility that she has dreamed of. A young man is hunting for a room. However, there is an air of mystery about him. Is Stephen, this kind, handsome  man hiding something? The complications , totally unexpected, then arise. This wonderful man who has been renting a room, then becoming an employee does have a mysterious past.Can she trust someone who has kept a secret from her? Will she still want to be part of his life?  Amy keeps us guessing throughout the story. Her talent in plot development is so clear when the reader encounters twists and turns, totally unexpected. Hannah is such a dear girl who deserves only the best and Amy describes her to a T!! You just want to reach out and give her a big hug. 
Again, as in Kelly's story, God has a plan, but does Hannah want to follow it?

The third story , by Beth Wiseman, is entitled "A Recipe for Hope" and that is truly what it is.  We ALL have to have hope in our lives to be happy, and Beth reinforces this.  The main character, Eve, her husband and three teenage boys are experiencing a challenge in their family life. During a storm, a tree has come down on their home and they must vacate it while it is being repaired. For three boys going through rumschpringe, this is indeed a tragedy, especially when told they must stay at their grandmother's. Eve and her Mam had never seen eye to  eye, so the time could not possibly go quickly enough.

What Eve is unaware of, is that her Mam has a health problem that she is attempting to keep secret, for reasons , that are important only to her.  When Eve moves in, it will be difficult to keep these problems a secret.  
It is apparent to the family  upon their move, that Mam has changed- moreso than anyone was aware. Eve's challenge then changes , not to get along with Mam but to help her in some way, even though help is not desired.
Beth , as usual, makes this characters real and alive  in our souls. We feel their struggles, battles and successes. My greatest desire was to step into that story and help Eve- THEN , I had to stop and realize- this is a book, these people are imaginary, not real!! Will  Rosemary (Mam) get the help she needs??
The plot is complicated and full of suspense and surprises . At times, you hold your breath, waiting for the next  event, wondering what on earth could possibly happen next.  It is a story filled with hope- God has a plan and we have to accept it and then deal with what He has decided to bestow on us, whether it be good or bad. Beth's title tells it all, "A Recipe for Hope" is just that. We can never give up hope and must mix the proper ingredients given to us by God to maintain that hope! 

Well done, ladies!! Another 5 star book!! Loved it and highly recommend it.
The MANY recipes in the back of the book is just the "icing on the cake".

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...