25 Book Reviews

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Suzanne Woods Fisher Writes Another Winning Novel!!

      "The Quieting"
  By Suzanne Woods Fisher

Are well laid plans always "the best" plans??? Abigail Stoltzfus discovers that they certainly are NOT!! 

This second book in Suzanne's series, "The Bishop's Family", is every bit as good as the first, "The Imposter". I must admit that I had doubts about this book as I picked it up. Not that I wouldn't enjoy it, (who would not love this author's creations??),  but that it could not possibly be as great a read as the previous one was! Happy to announce that I was WRONG!! It was a fantastic read that kept me glued to the page from  beginning to the end.

The Stoltzfus family faces serious problems, both in the church and at home. Everyone in the community expects minister David Stoltzfus to fix things–fast. But David doesn’t work fast. He prefers to wait for God to work in individual hearts. However, even he is left wondering if the solution to their most pressing problem might be a Quieting.
When David’s mother arrives, uninvited, more upheaval is in store. She has matchmaking plans for everyone in the family, including David and her eligible granddaughters–and especially for David’s niece Abigail. When Abigail stumbles onto a curious connection during her genealogical research, it could help David solve one problem–but will it create another?
Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher takes fans back to Stoney Ridge, delivering the twists, turns, and romance they adore.
My Thoughts:  For those that love genealogy, this book will grab your attention immediately!  A topic, not common among those stories written about the Amish community, is dealt with in the usual unique style that only Suzanne Woods Fisher can produce. Abigail, the main character is totally amazed by and engrossed in this study, as well as being dedicated in assisting her father who is unable to complete the work himself. She proves to be a somewhat quirky, determined young woman who has no time to waste on frivolous things like finding a husband, much to her Grandmother's dismay! I immediately was able to identify with this young woman who became my closest friend! I felt her every challenge and disappointment. Her Grandmother was certainly not a person to ignore or take lightly! Her plan to find a husband for Abigail among the many bachelors, she believes is available in Stoney  Ridge was one that this determined woman was not going to give up. Even when discovering they are not as plentiful as thought, Mammi does not give up!! She is one strong willed woman!! I wasn't sure I would want her to be pushing me towards any end!! What a stubborn old woman she was!!  
The plot moved quickly and steadily with surprising twists and turns appearing at the most unexpected times. The conflict grows as the plot develops keeping the reader totally engrossed. The complications lead to family against family, clear that that path to a solution may lead to a Quieting- the removal of a church leader, not a pleasant or common occurrence in the Amish faith. The solving of one problem seems to create another!!  I could not put this book down as I just had to know what would happen next!! There were so much going on within the main plot that you feel that you must untangle the webs that develop! At least, I wanted to!! 
This book stresses the need to let go of the past and move on with the present. Although the past may be important, it must remain in the past, not carried on in the present and future! Each of must take time to listen to God. He has a plan for each of us, however, we have to be the one to allow Him to carry it out.
 Definitely, a five star book!! Don't miss this one, it is a true winner in Amish fiction!!

This book was provided by the author and CelebrateLit in exchange for a fair and honest review. 
Purchase your copy of The Quieting here.

About the Author

suzanne-croppedSuzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author whose most recent novels include Anna’s Crossing and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

To see other reviews of this book: 

Blog Stops

May 17: Heidi Reads…
May 18: Just Commonly
May 19: A Holland Reads
May 20: Quiet Quilter
May 21: cherylbbookblog
May 22: Giveaway Lady
May 23: Splashes of Joy
May 24: Lane Hill House
May 24: Book by Book
May 24: Mary Hake
May 29: Bukwurmzzz
May 29: Bigreadersite
A Word from the Author:
Twenty years ago, my husband and I attended a large church with a dynamic senior pastor. Each Sunday, we would sit spellbound during 40 minute sermons—he was that good a preacher. And then a terrible thing came to light—this very man had been taking advantage of vulnerable women during counseling sessions. Fourteen women, it turned out, and the pastor remained unrepentant. As issues were dealt with, our entire church suffered. We were a hurting community. The sins of one affected all.
As I plotted out ‘The Bishop’s Family,’ I wanted to borrow the theme of how a leader’s sins hurts the church community. (Now, I need to clarify that this is not a novel that addresses sexual sin. However, it does address unrepentant sin in an ordained leader.) First, I spoke to some Amish friends to see if my story idea had any merit. Was I was on the right track? To my amazement, a similar situation to my novels had occurred in one Amish friend’s church, and it resulted in a “quieting.” That’s an Amish phrase that means revoking the responsibilities of an unrepentant ordained leader. Just like it sounds–he is, essentially, “quieted.”
In this novel, you’ll see the behind-the-scenes of Amish church leadership, and get a sense of how a community is hurting. And how it begins to heal, too.
This series began in the Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania community with The Imposter. More twists and turns are coming to Stoney Ridge after The Quieting—so stay tuned for The Devoted to hit bookshelves in early October. Just in time for autumn reading by a warm fireplace!
Warmly, Suzanne


The Quieting giveaway
To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a grab bag of Amish-made gifts worth over $100! Click the link to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/99a8

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Released Today!!!! A Fabulous New Collection of Amish Novellas by Our Favorite Authors!

"An Amish Harvest"

  Four Novellas

By: Beth Wiseman
     Kathleen Fuller
     Amy Clipston
     Vannetta Chapman


 Faith, hope, and love remain forever in season in this collection of four richly absorbing novellas set amidst the wonder of an Amish autumn.

Under the Harvest Moon, by Beth Wiseman
When Naomi Dienner is suddenly widowed, she never expects to find love again . . . until she meets Brock Mulligan, an English family friend hired at harvest time. As a sinister presence begins to threaten Naomi, Brock seeks to prove himself trustworthy while struggling with growing feelings for Naomi and her children. Will God open Naomi’s heart—and give Brock his own second chance at love?
Love and Buggy Rides, by Amy Clipston
Janie Lantz is a cashier at Lancaster Souvenirs and Buggy Rides, where Jonathan Stoltfuz is a buggy driver. A frightening accident brings Janie and Jonathan together in a blossoming friendship, yet daunting obstacles stand between them and something deeper. Can love kindle into flames that burn away fear and regret—and lead them to a life together?
Mischief in the Autumn Air, by Vannetta Chapman When items start going above market value at his auction house, Eli Wittmer is first thrilled, and then puzzled. But when the house is broken into, Eli and his new bookkeeper, Martha Beiler track down a trail of clues. Will they solve the mystery before the fall festival ends—and discover an unexpected new love?
A Quiet Love, by Kathleen Fuller Dinah Hochstetler, quiet and bookish, longs for marriage but hides in her shyness. Amos Mullett, a simple farmer, knows he’s different but aches for a loving wife. As Dinah and Amos navigate a budding romance, will the power of love—and the blessing of God—be enough to overcome their doubters?

My Thoughts:

Given a chance to review this book, which just happens to be written by four of my favorite authors, was indeed an honor and a pleasure!!  I must admit that any book of Amish Fiction is high on my list of "To Read"  titles. 

Each of these authors has the unique ability to write Amish stories, each with very different characters and unusual topics, yet blending together to make a winning book! All of the stories take place in the time of harvest, in the autumn. One creation just seems to flow into the next tale with ease. 

Beth's talent of making the characters come to life is obvious in her tale. I became one with them and fought their challenges alongside them. A developing romance was evident but along with it came toils and troubles. Love and forgiveness run throughout this novella. 

Amy's story blended the Englischer's world together with the Amish community in a unique way. The clash of the two cultures disrupted the budding romance of the two main characters. The feeling of turmoil was felt deep within as I read this tale. 

Vannetta writes with her own special talent of creating a mystery within  an Amish story. The plot moved quickly with twists and turns surprising me, yes, even shocking me at times, in every chapter. Can a new love overcome the tensions and fears?

Kathleen's story exemplifies her strong character development. You feel the pressures and challenges of an extremely shy individual who struggles to find love. My heart ached for this dear soul who had to strive so hard to find contentment and happiness. 

These authors came together and wrote a book that flows from story to story, without a struggle. This is unusual to find. Although each story was very different , they seemed to belong together. Hard to explain but you will see this when you read this awesome collection of novellas! 

A GREAT book!! Don't miss it!!

Being released on August 16th, 2016. 

This book was provided by the publisher and authors, in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

What Could be Better Than a Coloring Book Filled With Amish Quilts!!!!!!

"Amish Quilts Coloring Book"
By Rachel Good

About the book

Amish Quilts Coloring BOOK coverFeeling stressed? Why not relax with an adult coloring book? Rachel J. Good’s Amish Quilts Coloring Book takes you back to a time and place that’s calm. Immerse yourself in a world of peace as you color the 25 different quilts.
Inspired by quilts seen in Amish country, many of these designs are based on traditional patterns, but some have been reimagined or repeated multiple times to create more intricate designs to color. Each quilt is printed on only one side of the page; facing pages contain inspirational Amish proverbs. To make the quilts even more colorful and interesting, sketch fabric designs – plaids, checks, paisleys, flowers, or abstract shapes – into the larger quilt blocks, use pattern stamps, or even collage fabric scraps to the pages. And if the designs inspire you to make quilts of your own, the pages can be used as templates for quilt-making.
What a great way to "de stress"!  For those of us who have busy lives, sometimes it is just a pleasure to sit back and enjoy something many of us haven't done for years!! I loved coloring  as a child and still do! I find it a way to unwind after a busy day. It is also a fantastic way to rid oneself of stress and worries that build up deep within us , living in this fast paced world. 
I am a quilter as well, so this book appealed to me immediately. Often too weary to quilt after an active day, sitting down with a coloring book gives me time to reflect on life in general and often totally forget what is going on around me. The Amish Proverb at the top of each page makes this book very special. Not only do you color, but you can find enjoyment in thinking of how these proverbs apply to us! They are practical, often sounding humorous, but each has a deeper meaning !  
The pages, at first , appear to have very tiny areas to color, however, once begun, they don't seem so challenging at all! I enjoyed choosing the colors. Every quilt will look so different, depending on colors and designs. This is much the same thing that occurs when you are designing and sewing a quilt. 
Here are the two sample pages that I colored for this review! I totally enjoyed every moment! I highly recommend this book to all lovers of coloring!

This sample was provided by the author and CelebrateLit, in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

About the Author:
Rachel J. Goodinspirational author, writes life-changing, heartfelt novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She is the author of Amish romances in the Sisters & Friends series. She grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for her novels. A former teacher and librarian, she completed her MA from Vermont College while raising five children. She is presently an MFA student in Writing and Illustration at Hollins University. In addition to having more than 2200 articles and 30 books in print or forthcoming under several pseudonyms, she also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. To buy the Amish Quilts Coloring Book:http://amzn.to/1VmIOUi. Visit Rachel at:
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/racheljgood1/

Purchase your copy here.
Here is a link to a fantastic giveaway:  https://promosimple.com/ps/986f
Rachel is giving away two autographed copies of this coloring book.

If you wish to see other reviews on this coloring book, please follow CelebrateLit's Blog Tour.

Blog Stops

May 4: Bookworm Mama
May 12: Petra’s Hope
May 14: A Greater Yes
May 14: Artistic Nobody
May 15: Quiet Quilter

amish quilts FB cover

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Book Overflowing with Secrets, Lies and Danger!!

                       "Sins of the Past"
          A Romantic Suspense Novella Collection
                   By  Dee Henderson
                         Dani Pettrey
                         Lynette Eason


In Dee Henderson's "Missing" a Wyoming sheriff is called to Chicago when his elderly mother goes missing. Paired with a savvy Chicago cop, the two realize her disappearance is no accident, and a race against the clock begins.

Dani Pettrey returns to Alaska with "Shadowed"; introducing readers to the parents of her beloved McKenna clan. Adventure, romance, and danger collide when a young fisherman nets the body of an open-water swimming competitor who may actually be a possible Russian defector.

Lynette Eason's "Blackout" delivers the story of a woman once implicated in a robbery gone wrong. The loot has never been found--but her memory of that night has always been unreliable. Can she remember enough to find her way to safety when the true culprit comes after her?

My Thoughts:  

What more could I ask for???? Three novellas by my favourite romantic suspense authors!!
I must admit , that I normally don't "love" this type of short stories. I prefer a longer book, detailed,  in which I can lose myself in another world for a good length of time. This time, however, I have to say that this type of book met my current needs!! Once in a while, it is great to have shorter story to read in one sitting. All three of these authors were successful in providing action right from the start. No fooling around with piddly details or slow starts!! The pace of the plots were extremely fast and the dramas unfolded in an unusually speedy fashion. I found these novellas to be even more suspenseful than usual. 

All three authors's creations carried the theme that sins of the past are exactly that. They are in the past and have to remain there to carry on a happy life in the present and the future. God forgives our past so easily! But we, with our difficult human nature, seem to find great difficulty in doing so .  Sometimes we need to be forced, by some unpleasant, even frightening circumstances, to follow the path that God is providing for us. Each story takes a different look at how that can happen, through mysteries filled with suspense. 

This collection is ideal for the person who does not have hours to sit to enjoy a book but still desires the thrill of a great read! Each story is about 120 pages long, so you can read one and go on with your busy life until another break, then read another. A great book for the summer when one goes on vacation and wants to take a short stay in another world .

I did not have a favourite story. All three were equally good and kept my attention throughout. Good authors write good books, whether long or short. Their talents are clearly exhibited in this collection. Romantic suspense at its best!!

Five stars for this book!! Don't miss it!!

This book was provided by Bethany House, and Graf-Martin Communications , in exchange for a fair and honest review. Available now at your local booksellers. 

Run For Your Life!!!!

"Silence in the Dark"
  By Patricia Bradley

Synopsis: (from back of book) 

Two years ago, Bailey Adams broke off her engagement to Danny Maxwell and fled Logan Point for the mission field in Chihuahua, Mexico. Now she's about to return home to the States, but there's just one problem. After Bailey meets with the uncle of one of the mission children in the city, she barely escapes a sudden danger. Now she's on the run--she just doesn't know from whom. To make matters worse, people who help her along the way find themselves in danger too--including Danny. Who is after her? Will they ever let up? And in the midst of the chaos, can Bailey keep herself from falling in love with her rescuer all over again?

My Thoughts:  For those of you that love a mysterious thriller, this book is definitely a "must read"!!  Having read and reviewed Patricia Bradley's previous books in this series, "Logan Point", ("Gone Without a Trace" , "Silence in the Dark"), I knew that I was in for an interesting adventure into the unknown. 

The setting, in a dingy, corrupt area of Mexico , was perfect for this terror filled account of how the drug industry and  cartel with sin filled lives can affect a well intentioned young lady in her courageous battle to help the underprivileged and downtrodden overcome their struggles in a poor, criminal filled society. The theme of overcoming the present situation is the power of accepting that God has a plan for each and every one of us, yes, even those who are new in their walk in faith. 

The characters are described in a strong, complex manner in such detail that they immediately appeal to the reader.  Bailey, with her strong faith , had some deep rooted issues that pulled at my heartstrings. She is such a good Christian with the intent to make the world a better place, while at the same time , she is struggling to prove to God that she is deserving of his forgiveness, even though it involves something that was totally out of her control. Bailey's constant state of turmoil was one that made me want to reach out and give her a big hug. She became a good friend who was suffering. I was filled with empathy for this wonderful young woman. 

The plot moved steadily with shocking, unexpected twists and turns around every corner. This book is definitely a "sit on the edge of your seat" kind of read. Full of suspense and yes, VERY fearful situations kept me reading long after my bedtime. Secondary characters played an important part of keeping the action flowing, involving intertwining sub plots. Although, definitely classed as a mysterious thriller, alongside the drama, a romance was developing, one that in the past had been completely destroyed! Can God heal hurts and offer second chances? Can it succeed this time, even though lives are being threatened????

This is definitely a five star book!! Don't miss it!!! Filled with action, suspense , terror and love!!!!

This book was provided by Revell, and Graf-Martin Communications , in exchange for a fair and honest review. Available now at your local booksellers.

About the Author: 

Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi is a former abstinence educator and co-author of RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum. But her heart is tuned to suspense. Patricia's romantic suspense books include the Logan Point series set in Mississippi and two sweet romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, Matthew's Choice and The Christmas Campaign are available on Amazon. She is currently working on The Memphis Cold Case series.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Gripping Story of Forgiveness

    "Someone Like You"
       By Victoria Bylin

Synopis: Julia Dare is trying to run her own business, raise her young son, Max, and help her widowed mother. Her biggest worry, though, is keeping Max's father from being a bad influence while still allowing the boy to spend time with his dad. When an account from her event-planning business sends her to Caliente Springs resort, she's shocked to encounter Zeke Monroe, her college sweetheart.

Zeke is determined to keep Caliente Springs running despite financial trouble. When Julia walks back into his life, he's surprised at the feelings she stirs up. As they work together on an important client's wedding, the fate of the resort soon depends on their success. With Zeke and Julia both pushed to their limits, will their history put up walls between them or bring them together?

My Thoughts:
  Victoria Bylin is a new author for me, so as I prepared to read and review this book, I truly wondered whether the storyline would be good, bad or mediocre. I am pleased to say that it was not just good, it was GREAT!!  Every chapter revealed more about each character, enabling the reader to get to know them in a thorough manner. They are realistically described in such detail that you find yourself walking along side them throughout the book. I easily identified with Julia and her many trials, hurts and challenges. Her problems became mine. I cried along with her as she encountered very real fears that as a mother, I could fully understand. One very amusing character, was the quirky goat, Ladybug. Her appearance at the worst of times lightened the mood and giggles erupted even in the most serious moments. She actually made this book one of a kind, inserting humor during the darkest situations!!

The setting, Caliente Springs was described so vividly that I could picture the peaceful, beautiful atmosphere of this resort.. Oh, if only it was real!!! I would love to visit!!

The plot moves at a steady pace, giving the reader ample time to absorb the full impact of each twist and turn. Tension builds as Zeke attempts to save the resort and Julia attempts to save herself and her son.

The importance of faith, forgiveness and  trust in the Lord is the underlying theme throughout the book. Both believer and unbeliever experience the same serious troubles, however deal with them totally differently. The story shows us how important it is to believe . One character had to go through the difficulties in order to regain trust and know that God has a plan for each and every one of us. The influence of a Christian on a non believer is very evident in a positive way, a great example for each and every one of us. 

Definitely a five star book!!  Can hardly wait for Victoria's next creation!!!

This book was provided by Bethany House, and Graf-Martin Communications , in exchange for a fair and honest review. Available now at your local booksellers. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Book That Exhibits True Amish Grace

        "A Simple Vow"
      By Charlotte Hubbard

Synopis:  (Taken from back cover)

Housed in a rustic red barn, the Simple Gifts crafts shop celebrates the talents of the Amish of Willow Ridge--and the faith that inspires them. For the acceptance of simplicity opens the path to love. 

As far as Edith Riehl is concerned, the baby twins thrust suddenly into her arms are a heaven-sent gift. Unable to conceive, she longs to be a mother with a home of her own. She's going to abide by her promise to handsome Asa Detweiler to take care of them while he looks for their real father. And even if her domineering dat Cornelius refuses to countenance Asa's suit, she can only pray the bachelor's honesty and persistence will uncover the truth--even as he's kindled an impossible hope for a love of her own . . . 

Asa can't understand why anyone would think he would be so dishonorable as to father babies and then abandon them. He's determined to clear his name--but Edith's caring ways also inspire him to help heal her wounded spirit and earn her trust. In the face of heartbreaking deception, he and Edith must find the strength to understand, forgive . . . and claim their own hearts' joy. 

My Thoughts:  

After having read many of this author's previous books, I must admit that I approached this one with trepidation ! Not because I thought that it wouldn't be good!!! I already knew that I loved her writing! However.... I was so thrilled with her last book, "Promise Lodge", that I REALLY feared that this new creation could not possibly be as great!! Happily, I admit that my worries were for nothing!! "A Simple Vow" surpassed my expectations! It was the BEST yet!! I say "yet" because I have the feeling that Charlotte's next novel will be another "Best Yet"!

Charlotte has a very special talent in addressing difficult somewhat uncomfortable life situations in an understanding , sympathetic manner so that the reader realizes that these problems attack ALL people. The Plain People are not exempt from the blows and tragedies that life throws at us. Divorce, unwed mothers, domineering fathers, bordering on abusive, can appear in any culture, faith and country. 

The characters are described in such a realistic and detailed manner that the reader immediately is caught up in their lives. Being able to identify with a character in a book is what makes it a good story !! This was easily accomplished in Simple Vows. In fact, I wanted to jump right in, giving advice, hugs and prayers as challenges arose. Yes, I also wanted to shake up a character a few times!! Then, I had to draw back and remember that this was a work of fiction!! The characters were lovable, each with their own little quirks and problems and weaknesses. 

As the characters are developed, the plot proceeds at a steady pace, with just enough twists and turns to keep the reader totally engrossed from beginning to end of the book. Each chapter seems to reveal something new ! There was one major surprise in the novel that was totally unexpected!! At least, it was to me!! A shocking reveal!  The intertwining storylines keep one guessing throughout the book. 

This, being the first book in a series, is enough to make me VERY impatient anticipate the next. This author definitely knows how to get a reader's attention!! 

A five star book!!! 

This book was received by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

About the Author:

Charlotte Hubbard sold her first historical romance in 1990, and she's been a slave to her overactive imagination ever since. As she writes, her stories invariably take on a life of their own, different from the way she proposed them: unforeseen characters and plot twists come along, and they keep her guessing right along with her readers!

Charlotte has lived in the Midwest most of her life. When she's not writing, she loves touring historic homes, trying new recipes, crocheting, and playing with her Border Collie, Ramona. She's a Presbyterian deacon, sings in her church choir, and plays in the percussion ensemble. She's married to a fine man who--bless him--has never once suggested she get a real job!

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...