25 Book Reviews

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Leslie Gould Starts Off A Brand New Series in the Amish Fiction Genre!

"A Plain Leaving"

 By Leslie Gould


"Gould Offers a New Amish Series in Idyllic Lancaster County
At age twenty, Jessica Bachman left her two beloved sisters and her Amish community after clashing with the new bishop about her role in the family and the future of their farm. She tried to convince Silas Kemp, who'd been courting her for two years, to join her, but when he said no, she fled anyway. 

Three years later, she returns home for the first time since leaving Lancaster to attend her father's funeral. Her arrival back revives all sorts of emotions--yearnings and sorrows alike. Jessica knows things will never return to how they were. But in seeing Silas again, she can't help but wonder what might have been.

Struggling to decide where her next step should take her, she learns the story of a Revolutionary War-era ancestor that echoes her own choices. Will Jessica leave her family and community forever, or is there peace and healing and love yet to come?"

My Thoughts:

This first book in "The Sisters of Lancaster County" series starts off with a BANG!!! Each time I pick up a book by this author , I am amazed at the depth of the characters and the uniqueness of the plot. This book grabbed me from the first page and I found it very difficult to put down! 

The characters are so realistic and well described that you are drawn into their lives in such a way that you feel every struggle and challenge , as well as their joys and successes. I easily identified with Jessica and she became my best friend. I walked with her along her rocky path of life. What a roller coaster ride we had!!  Leslie has the unique talent of creating Amish individuals who have flaws just as you and I have. They may be the Plain People but they are not exempt from the problems of everyday life. Their way of dealing with them are what makes them different. 

The plot is one that is complicated and actually has two stories woven into one. As I usually am not fond of books written in the first person, I was slightly shocked to find that I found this tale an easy one to read. Unexpected twists and turns shock the reader at every turn of the page. Trials and turmoil stressed the importance of loyalty, forgiveness and love that is indeed unconditional. That old annoying feeling of jealousy rises its ugly head from time to time. An underlying theme of hope and courage in tough times shines through as the story progresses. 

If you wish to read a book that has a totally different look at the life of the Amish , then this is for you!! Far from your typical Amish Genre book!! 

Definitely a five star book! Can hardly wait for book two in this series! Congratulations, Leslie , on a magnificent creation!!!

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

A New Author ! Marla Meyers writes a scary, rather twisted story!

            By Marla Meyers


"This story is scary sauce with a side order of quirky. Pure Entertainment." ~ Lighthouse Reviews Stella has an injured hip, but she's hardly ready for a retirement home. At seventy-two, she's enjoying life on her own for the first time. But when Stella's daughter--Jennifer--begins to question Stella's mental state, Stella must hide the happenings in her own house, or face being sent to a home for the elderly. Jennifer sees Stella's mind slipping away. There's no other explanation for her mother's behavior, claiming to hear mysterious voices, carelessly destroying household items, and believing that someone has threatened to cut off her fingers. Can Stella cohabitate with the original ghostly owner of the house and keep her home? Or is her daughter correct, that Stella is losing her mind? As a lonely widow finds comfort in a new friend, danger is brewing. And not just for Stella. Her granddaughter becomes entangled in the web of deception, putting all of Stella's family in harm's way.

My Thoughts:

The title of this short story was perfect for this somewhat classic ghost tale!! However, it soon becomes not such an ordinary story. It becomes really twisted... in the plot as well as the characters!!

The likeable, well described characters had me engrossed in this scary tale. I felt the sudden chills as unexpected events occur!! Unusual,weird!!  A ghost story  doesn't usually appeal to me , but I must admit , this one had me hooked! The characters started out as quite realistic, however, became a bit strange, just like the title of this creation. Romance with a ghost??? Different but interesting!

Readers will have to watch for this author! A good clean read that is VERY different from the norm.

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

Read a Great Cosy Mystery by Popular Author, Nancy Mehl!

"There Goes Santa Claus"
       By Nancy Mehl


Ivy towers-tucker is looking forward to her first Christmas as a married woman. But a few days before December 25, Ivy and her husband Amos are awakened by noises on their rooftop. Amos's joke that Santa Claus must have arrived early loses its humor when a body goes flying past their second-story window. A look outside reveals two legs covered in red velvet trousers and black boots sticking out of a snow bank! Ivy and Amos are even more surprised to find they belong to a dead man dressed as Santa Claus. The story circulates quickly through the small town of Winter Break that Ivy and Amos have killed Santa. Who is the dead man and why was he on their roof? Ivy has a Christmas mystery to solve that will bring a satisfying conclusion to the Ivy Towers Mystery series.

My Thoughts: 

I am sorry to say that this is the first of Nancy Mehl's Towers Mystery series and it happens to be the first that I have read!!! It was so enjoyable!! How could I have not found these books before now?? No blood or gore, just a story of intrigue and mystery!! Now, I must go and order the others!!  Nancy has ended her series on a high note. What a great story, uplifting, well, other than Santa's murder,  perfect for Christmas time reading, with a mug of hot chocolate on hand. 

Nancy has a unique style of involving the reader with the characters. They are described vividly, so realistically, that these fictional people become part of your life. I felt every challenge, great and small that they encountered. The town in which they live is one that I would love to visit, a place where everyone pulls together in a time of confusion and heartache to ease the load of worry on their neighbors, as well as celebrate with them when the mystery is solved. 

The plot and subplot are interwoven in such a way that the reader is kept guessing from the first page to the last. Although clues were revealed along the way, I must admit that it took me a while to catch them. This author certainly knows how to write a story of intrigue, keeping one guessing until the final page. The twists and turns in the plot just kept jumping out at me ! 

Now, I must order her other books in this series!! For those of you who enjoy a cosy mystery that is extremely well written, without unnecessary blood and gore of many published mysteries, this is a perfect read!  he humor used to lighten situations had me giggle at times , as well as worrying about the main characters!!

A Five Star Read!!!!

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Another Giveaway to Enter!! Another Fantastic Book by Laura Hilton to Read!!

"The Christmas Admirer"
    By Laura V. Hilton

Genre: Amish Romance
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Amish romance fans will love this heartwarming holiday story, perfect for gift-giving.
Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but when his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, he was now the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters. What woman would want to put up with that? Still, against his better judgment, he can’t help leaving her a gift now and then, anonymously addressing her name in big block print, just to catch a smile. Roses one month, maple syrup candy another; and maybe this time, something special for Christmas.
Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, but now the clock is ticking. Her father is selling his glass-blowing business, remarrying in January, and moving to Iowa with his bossy wife-to-be. Angry and frustrated, Susanna realizes she’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah?

Click here to purchase your copy.
My Thoughts: 
In one of my favorite genres, Amish fiction, Laura Hilton has made the cut!! I know now, that when I see her name on a book, I must put it on my "To Read" list!!  Her ability to use scripture wisely and meaningfully , interweaving it within the plot is unique and one that not many can do successfully.

As the tale begins, the reader is at once caught up in the guessing game, who could be Susanna's secret admirer?? This young lady is described as such a sweet young lady . Someone is leaving her gifts that have such personal meaning. Who could it be, Susanna wonders? All of the characters are described in such a realistic, detailed fashion that you become totally caught up in their lives and walk the rocky road of life alongside each of them. Each has their own problems and challenges that are holding them back from true happiness. The underlying theme of trusting the Lord in all times, the good and the bad, shine through. Benaiah is such a charming, kind, young man who always seems to have the best of others at the top of his list, even when it hurts him to do so. 
The feelings were so intense that I became one with these charming, loving people. Their lives just became part of me. 

The plot moved steadily, at a good pace , with the perfect number of twists and turns to keep one totally engrossed in the storyline. I must admit that I did NOT want to put this book down to deal with reality, but alas, had to force myself to cook meals. There would have been a few complaints, had I not done so! Lol!!

This was a delightful read for the Christmas season! I will definitely be eagerly awaiting Laura's next new creation!!

This book was received as a gift. The thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own. I was not required to give a positive review. 
About the Author:

Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Amish of Jamesport includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. In spring 2016 she released The Amish Firefighter with the setting in Jamesport, MO, the same as for The Amish Wanderer.
Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

Guest Post from Laura V. Hilton

Glass Blowing and The Christmas Admirer
hqdefaultRight before my youngest son joined the Coast Guard we went on a short mini-vacation to Springfield, Missouri, actually going farther north almost to Kansas City to see another Amish community near there in Osceola. There is a cheese factory there and my son wanted to try some of their cheeses – such as a ghost pepper cheese. Too spicy for me.

But upon the return to Springfield, Steve read about a glass blowers shop in the downtown area. We found the address and went to visit it. It is owned by an older gentleman and his son. They had a display area set up where people could see their wares and buy them and then a work area where the son mostly worked, and talked about how the fire needed to be so hot, and showed us how he worked and made things. As we watched, he made a lovely flower, a lily, in different colors of glass, green, white, pinks.

It was fascinating.

And I got to thinking what if…

glass-blowing-1So I did some more research. Asked questions. Probably drove them nuts. But when Whitaker House indicated they’d be interested in a Christmas novel, I proposed one about a glass blower.

The story is set in Jamesport, Missouri, and while completely stand alone, it does have some continuing characters from other books I’ve written set in Jamesport. If you are interested, the books set there are:

Amish Books set in Jamesport, Missouri:
The Snow Globe
The Postcard
The Birdhouse
The Amish Firefighter
The Amish Wanderer
The Kissing Bridge (part of Springs of Love collection)
The Christmas Admirer
Gingerbread Wishes (part of A Plain Thanksgiving collection–November 2018)
Love by the Numbers (February 2018)

glassblowing-experience04I haven’t read any books about an Amish glass blower, but that’s not to say they aren’t out there. I haven’t read all the Amish books available. Jamesport is an area that is more tourist-oriented than the books set in Seymour / Webster County Missouri. They give buggy tours, have bed and breakfasts, open their homes for visitors to eat supper with them, and have businesses.

All Amish districts are different and the rules vary depending on the bishop and preachers. Some are more liberal and some more conservative. Some keep themselves distant and don’t welcome attention from non-Amish and some embrace it. While Jamesport is not as touristy as some districts in Lancaster Pennsylvania or in Ohio, it is much more so than others.


  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
  • 1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 medium apple, chopped
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  1. In a large bowl, mix the first six ingredients until blended. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Just before serving, fold cream and walnuts into cranberry mixture.Makes 16 servings.


For on top of turkey sandwiches as Becca requested
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water or orange juice

In colander, rinse cranberries. In sauce pan, add water or orange juice and sugar, boil until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook about 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries had burst. Let cool.


  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup shortening, melted slightly
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ c water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
Shift together flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Set aside.
In mixing bowl, mix shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are absorbed. Divide dough into three pieces, pat down until about 1 ½ inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut in desired shapes. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes in preheated oven. Cool on wire racks. When cool, decorate as desired.

Blog Stops

ASC Book Reviews, November 9
Books n Baubles, November 9
Janices book review, November 9
Have A Wonderful Day, November 10
A Greater Yes, November 10
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 11
A Holland Reads, November 12
Simple Harvest Reads, November 12
Beck To Basics, November 13
Carpe Diem, November 13
Christian Bookaholic, November 14
Blossoms and BlessingsNovember 14
Baker Kella, November 16
Quiet Quilter, November 16
Karen Sue Hadley, November 16
Pause for Tales, November 17
Pursuing StacieNovember 17
For The Love of Books, November 18
Blogging With CarolNovember 18
Bigreadersite, November 19
Vicky Sluiter, November 19
SusanLovesBooks, November 19
Moments Dipped in Ink, November 20
New Horizon Reviews, November 20
Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 22
Daysong ReflectionsNovember 22
Splashes of JoyNovember 22


In honor of her tour, Laura is giving away
Grand Prize Package: The Christmas Admirer, “Unto Us a Child is Born” painting on decorative serving plate by Donna White, The Hearthside Collection, Inc., and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book (not in photo).
1st Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and The Very First Christmas by Juliet David with interactive illustrations by Pauline Siewert (children’s book).
2nd Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and “The Woman Who Honors The Lord Shall Be Praised” myrrh-scented candle from abba Jerusalem!
Click the link to enter! https://promosimple.com/ps/c16f

Friday, November 3, 2017

A Beautiful Read for Thanksgiving Season Stressing Forgiveness and Love! Enter the Authors's Giveaway!!

About the Book

Author: Laura V. Hilton, Rachel J. good, Thomas Nye
Genre: Amish Thanksgiving Collection
Release Date: November 1, 2017
Gingerbread Wishes
As Thanksgiving approaches, Becca Troyer finds herself overwhelmed with an abundance of winter squash and pumpkins that she isn’t a bit thankful for. Desperately trying to sell them at a farmer’s market so she won’t have mountains to can, she’s surprised when a mime drops to his knee in front of her and proposes marriage.
Yost Miller is helping the volunteer firefighter raise funds at the city park when he notices his long-time crush Becca selling vegetables. Drawn across the grass, he spontaneously proposes marriage. But afterward, Yost isn’t sure how to proceed to show her that his feelings are real.
Just as he begins to find solid footing, confidence is yanked away, leaving him floundering. Will he lose Becca to another man? Or will this Thanksgiving be a season of blessings and wishes come true?
Thanksgiving Strangers
Faithe Beiler believes God wants her to feed the poor at her family’s restaurant, but when she mistakes Crist Petersheim for a homeless man and gives him a free breakfast, he’s offended. Yet he can’t help being intrigued by this pretty waitress with a giving heart.
Crist blames God for the tragedies in his life, so the last thing he wants is to get involved with an Amish girl, who trusts God in all circumstances. He fears for Faithe’s safety, though, when she invites every homeless person in the neighborhood, including drug dealers and criminals, to a free Thanksgiving dinner. Street savvy, Crist risks his life to protect her from danger.
As Crist’s heart softens toward God, Faithe finds herself falling him. Then she discovers his deception, and her world is shattered. Can she ever trust him again?
The Thanksgiving Frolic
Monroe has the prettiest girl and the fastest horse— but pride goes before a fall.
Monroe’s girlfriend, Rosemary, and her family organize the Thanksgiving Frolic, a service project to help Amish folks who have fallen on hard times. Monroe wants to go along but his dad won’t let him. Furthermore, Monroe’s dad thinks Rosemary’s family should clean up their own messy farm before they try to help others. Will the contrast between Monroe’s and Rosemary’s families end their relationship for good? Rosemary’s grandpa tries to offer words of wisdom, but people don’t take him seriously. The Thanksgiving Frolic heats up to a fever pitch, before a moment of silence changes everything.
Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts:

These three novellas were written by authors who are extremely talented and are quickly earning a place on my "must read" list of books of the Amish Genre. All three stories give you those warm, fuzzy feelings of thankfulness, family  and love, that Thanksgiving is all about. 

Each author writes in his/her own unique style that immediately immerses you in the tale and keeps you there throughout. Although each is a standalone, the carry over is the feeling of family  and forgiveness and love. We are quickly made aware that we must be thankful in all times, the good and the bad. The reader can easily identify with the realistically and well described characters. That, to me, is what makes a book a good one!! I walked alongside these dear people as they experienced life as it really is. Yes, they may be the Plain People, however they encounter the hardships and trials of life just as you and I do. 

The plots move steadily and quickly. There are just the perfect number of twists and turns to keep the reader totally engaged. How situations are dealt with leaves one inspired. How can I live my Christian faith as these people did?? God has blessed us with so many things for which to be thankful, but do we always remember them?? It is so easy to dwell on the bad times! These authors do an excellent job of reminding us to appreciate what we have, not what we wish for. Trusting that God has a plan for our lives is the key. Being thankful for it is our choice!! 

Well done, Laura, Rachel and Thomas!! Absolutely loved this five star book!!

This book was received as a gift. The opinions expressed are honest and my own. I was not required to write a positive review. 

About the Authors:

Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with almost twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write and Putting on the New.
Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.
When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.

Rachel J. Good grew up near Lancaster, PA, the setting for many of her Amish novels. Amish Quilts Coloring Books as well as stories in several anthologies, including Springs of Love (CelebrateLit).
Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends special time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farm and attending family events. Rachel is the author of several Amish series, including Sisters & Friends (Charisma), Love & Promises (Grand Central), and two books in the Hearts of Amish Country series (Annie’s Book Club). In addition, she has two 

Thomas Nye writes novels about horses and Amish life, with a touch of romance, and a foundation of faith in Christ. He and his wife, Shari, live on her family farm where they raised five children. Their six grandchildren love to visit Karma and Karla, a team of draft amishhorses.blogspot.com
horses which Thomas purchased from an Amish friend. Walking a mail route for the U.S. Postal Service keeps Thomas close to nature and affords him many quiet hours which he uses to dream up novels. Over three decades of friendships with Amish neighbors has revealed a simple wisdom that he weaves into his writing. To find out more, visit: 

Blog Stops

Quiet Quilter, November 4
Carpe Diem, November 5
Karen Sue Hadley, November 6
Pursuing Stacie, November 7
Mommynificent, November 8
Blogging With Carol, November 10
Bibliophile Reviews, November 11
Splashes of Joy, November 11
Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 13
Texas Book-aholic, November 14
Mary Hake, November 14
Bigreadersite, November 15
A Greater Yes, November 15
Vicky Sluiter, November 16
Janices book reviews, November 17


To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away a Kindle Unlimited 6 month Subscription!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c403

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...