25 Book Reviews

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Another Fantastic Amish Novel by Jennifer Beckstrand!!

"Home On Huckleberry Hill"
   By Jennifer Beckstrand

About the Book:

Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin's irrepressible 80-something matchmakers Anna and Felty Helmuth are at it again. And this time they're willing to rough it to get the job done....
Mary Anne Neuenschwander knows she should be content with what Gotte has given her. She has a comfortable house, a fruitful farm, and a good, steady husband. But after nearly six years of marriage, she still longs for a baby. Yet her husband, Jethro, seems to care more about fishing than about his wife. Unable to bear Jethro's indifference, Mary Anne moves into a tent in the woods where he won't have to be bothered. But when her mammi and dawdi find out what she's done, they'll stop at nothing - including a little camping trip of their own - to help save their granddaughter's marriage....
Jethro's greatest blessing is his beloved wife, Mary Anne. Nothing else in his life has turned out anywhere near the way he expected. Rather than burden Mary Anne with his disappointment, he shields her by spending less and less time at home and more time on the river. But when he finds that she's moved out, he's shocked. What will people think? What is Mary Anne thinking? And what clever plans are her grandparents hatching?.

My Thoughts

As usual, Jennifer Beckstrand  has written a book exhibiting her unique style of storytelling. I was delighted to once again catch up with my friends, Anna and Felty, two of my all time favourite characters. Every book by this author is filled to the brim with humor as well as a clear message. The Huckleberry Hill series is one that  you just have to read! Laugh, cry, giggle, be amazed at the antics of this elderly couple.

The  quirky characters are so well described that they immediately become your friends. Felty and Anna  are such a unique couple . Anna continues in this new book pursuing her greatest desire in life , either to matchmake or at least make sure that every other married couple is as happy as she and Felty are. I fell in love with them in the earlier books and they just became better and closer friends. I can picture them clearly in my mind and can easily identify with all who have to deal with them. Mary Anne and Jethro have problems, she wanting a baby more than anything in the world, Jethro, seeming to care for everything else but that or his wife's feelings. Fishing is where his interest is focused. I must admit my sympathy lay with Mary Anne. Not having success in six years of trying to become pregnant is heartbreaking and would put a strain on any marriage. The resulting separation was one that was unique and full  of mind boggling, funny situations.  Jennifer Beckstrand has a fantastic talent of describing characters and situations resulting in side splitting laughter.

 I love the way the Amish community comes together in good, bad, and questionable times. Togetherness was certainly a theme in this great book!! ( in a very unusual way!}

Definitely a five star book!! Don't miss it!! IN FACT DON'T MISS ANY OF THIS HUCKLEBERRY HILLS series!!

This book was provided by CelebrateLit. The thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.

About the author:

Jennifer Beckstrand is the two-time RITA-nominated, #1 Amazon bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series, The Honeybee Sisters series, and The Petersheim Brothers series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer and Home on Huckleberry Hill were both nominated for the coveted RITA® Award from Romance Writers of America. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth, the Honeybee sisters' aendi Bitsy, and Alfie and Benji Petersheim. Jennifer has written twenty-two Amish romances, a historical Western, and the nonfiction book, Big Ideas.

Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a passion for Jane Austen and Shakespeare. She and her husband have been married for thirty-five years, and she has six children and eight adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

“Grasping Hope” , an Excellent Read!

                    "Grasping Hope"
                     By Heather Greer

About the Book: 

Genre:  Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Release Date: March 2019
When dreams turn into nightmares what’s left to hold onto?
Katie McGowan knows her fears are irrational. They’re also beyond her control. Her mind says her fiancé is faithful, but the betrayal of her past love ignites a fear stronger than her trust. Attempts to overcome it are unsuccessful. Nothing banishes her panic attacks for good. Dreading Austin’s response if he finds out about her struggle to trust, Katie hides the truth nearly destroying their relationship.
It takes a lesson in hope to start healing. Katie is released from the nightmares holding her captive to enjoy the blessings God has given. But when tragedies change her life forever, Katie’s understanding of hope is challenged. Unresolved anger and disappointment leave Katie doubting the sincerity of her beliefs. Desperate to prove her faith and minimize her failure as a believer, Katie buries her feelings beneath all the right words. Katie must learn where true hope is found or risk losing her faith under the weight of the things she has lost.

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts :

This book is one that I read in a day, one that I could not put down due to  the deep impact it had on me. I easily was able to  identify with the main character, Katie, who tried so hard to handle her deep seated problems on her own. I could have been Katie during the early years of my life. She experienced panic attacks as  a result of her intense worry about living up to others' expectations.  A panic attack has to be the worse feeling in the world, one of being terrified , not really knowing why. I laughed at times, at others, I cried as I walked alongside Katie in her desire to love Austin, all the while not wanting to admit her weaknesses, and always wondering if she was good enough for him. It was such a delight seeing Katie's heart being molded and her life changing through things happening beyond her control. After being cheated on and betrayed by a former love, Katie had such a struggle overcoming her feelings of insecurity. The reconnecting with her parents and once again regaining her faith helped her so much. She was able to maintain  a relationship with Austin despite her fears and worries. 

The plot moved at a steady pace and had a very unexpected development in about the middle of the book that was surprising, at least to me. It was not a path that I wanted the story to go down, however, it certainly made my interest jump to a higher level . The author chose the perfect moment to draw readers 
right into the depth of the tale. 

A five star book!!! Loved it! Will eagerly be awaiting a new book from this author!

This book was provided by CelebrateLit. The thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.

About the Author:

Heather Greer is a pastor’s kid and pastor’s wife from southern Illinois. Though her nest is quickly approaching the empty stage, with three of her four children out on their own, she enjoys the times she gets to spend with all her children, husband, and grandson. Equal mix geek and romantic, you could as easily find Heather watching an episode of Doctor Who as the latest Hallmark movie. Of course, you may find her baking, reading, or crafting too!
Heather’s writing and teaching ministries revolve around a passion to see believers grow in their faith. Though God has used her most often with teens and adults, she has worked in ministries reaching all age groups through the years. It is Heather’s prayer for God to use what she writes in her books and on her blog to challenge and encourage readers in their faith walks.

More from Heather

Often, we throw around the word hope as if it’s a fancy replacement for a wish. Nothing could be further from the truth. Godly hope is more than wishing our circumstances were different without any indication that our desire could become reality. When our hope is based on who God is and what He has promised in His word, it becomes something to anchor us in the troubling times we go through. It is what allows us to give the circumstances that weigh us down to God and go on living life even though physically there may be no changes in what’s happening.
Hope isn’t pretending the bad stuff isn’t there. And it isn’t acting as if the hard things don’t hurt. Hope doesn’t erase the hurt or ignore the problems, but it does free us from allowing our emotions and circumstances to control us. Hope lets us have peace that makes no sense to the rest of the world. Hope allows us to rest in the middle of the trial. Hope based on scriptural truths allows us to live with joy even when things aren’t going our way.
As I wrote Grasping Hope, God took me to places that challenged and grew my own understanding of what it means to have hope as an anchor to our souls (Hebrews 6:19). When I started writing, I had no idea the path God would take me down to show me just how little I understood about hope. It’s something I never want to repeat and wouldn’t wish on anyone. But the lessons I learned grew me as a believer, and it is my prayer that what I learned through this difficult time in my life comes through clearly for everyone who reads Grasping Hope.

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, April 9
Pause for Tales, April 11
Artistic Nobody, April 14 (Author Interview)
Quiet Quilter, April 15


To celebrate her tour, Heather is giving away the grand prize of $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Charlotte Hubbard brings us back to our favorite place, Promise Lodge!


Light Shines On Promise Lodge

      By Charlotte Hubbard

About the Book:

With autumn in full brilliant color, the Amish of Promise Lodge celebrate a successful harvest—and a community rooted in deep friendship. But as cold winds of judgment cast doubt and fear, residents will need each other more than ever to weather the storm . . .
For abandoned wife Annabelle Beachey, Promise Lodge is a refuge where she's gained confidence and self-sufficiency. But she and others are dismayed when newly arrived Bishop Clayton King claims the  community is too progressive and sets out to change its ways. Worse, her husband, Phineas returns,  expecting her to give up her faith as he has. And he won't leave Promise Lodge without her . . .
But little by little, Annabelle's determination and new forthrightness make Phineas realize his  mistakes—and truly hear his wife for the first time. Meanwhile, Annabelle finds herself feeling  compassion—and even renewed love—for her newly humble, more caring husband. And as Bishop Clayton's attempt to control Promise Lodge threatens everything its residents have built, Phineas and Annabelle must work together with unshakeable courage to save their new home—and their opportunity for forever happiness. 

My Thoughts:

I must admit that I could hardly wait for the arrival of this book in my mailbox! Once again I would be able to visit my good friends and walk alongside them in their daily lives.  This series can be best enjoyed if read in order, although it can be read as a standalone. The hearfelt stories pull you in and won't release you until you have read the last page. I love the  peaceful, beautiful community with unique, somewhat quirky characters. Once a reader opens a book by this author, one can't help but  become a faithful fan. Her unique style of storytelling captures your attention pulling you right into the lives of those wonderful residents who are fortunate to live in such a special setting.  I believe that this fifth book is the BEST yet!!

The characters are described so realistically and vividly that the reader walks alongside them on their somewhat rocky road of life. Yes, it is a peaceful setting , however , as in reality, there are challenges and disheartening happenings Annabelle, Beachey is one of my favorite residents. She has come to Promise Lodge to escape her past problems with her husband who had abandoned her to become Englisch . Her husband suddenly arrives on the scene and causes her to question her desire to live apart. Her strength in tough times is to be admired. THEN.... Bishop Clayton King arrives ! Now, he is one person, I really disliked!! So much that at times I wished I could reach out and give him a good slap! Yes, he makes me want to become violent. He disrupts the entire community with his demands and arrogance, as well as many lies. I consider a book to be great if I am able to  identify with at least one character. This book certainly met this criteria. 

The plot is full of unexpected twists and turns. The mystery and unanswered questions kept me up long after my bedtime. The various storylines were extremely well written, keeping one guessing from beginning to end. 

This five star book  is beautifully written showing us true love, hope , forgiveness and second chances. It also has us realizing that God can get us through the tough time. He DOES protect us from those trying to do us harm. My only disappointment with this book is that it is the last in the series!! BUT I am looking forward to reading Charlotte's upcoming series, The Maidels of Morning Star!

tThis book was received from the author. The thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own. 

About the Author:

Naomi KingMany moons ago—like, in 1983 while I was still a school librarian—I sold my first story to True Story magazine. This launched me into writing about seventy of those “true confessions” stories over the years, and I’ve been a slave to my overactive imagination ever since.
The next big step was selling my first historical romance in 1990, a Zebra Heartfire called Colorado Captive. I quickly sold five more in that genre. They’re all out of print now, but available from used bookstores or at Amazon.com and BN.com. I’ve brought them back in digital format with beautiful new covers, which you can see on my Historical Romances page.
After a long dry spell that entailed major changes in the publishing industry, I resurfaced in a new genre, with a new publisher, editor, and agent who were so excited about my Angels of Mercy series! These four faith-and-family stories are also out of print now, but available at Amazon as Kindle e-books. With Law of Attraction (The Love Secret), I moved into new territory once again—and once again the setting is a place I love to spend time: the Oregon Coast.
Being an author is great fun when you’re selling, but it’s best to have a hide like a rhinoceros and a spouse who gets a regular paycheck! Patience, persistence and just flat-out luck have given me this opportunity to reinvent myself yet again. Those angels I write about keep pulling me through, and are often my friends and family—but I owe a lot to the heavenly beings who bear me up on their wings, as well!
My stories invariably take on a life of their own, different from the way I’ve proposed them: I love it when unforeseen characters and plot twists come along, because they keep me guessing right along with my readers!
I often present workshops at conferences. I belong to Novelists, Inc. and American Christian Fiction Writers.
I love touring historic homes, trying new recipes, crocheting, and playing with my Border collie, Vera—although it’s humbling, having a dog smarter than I am! I’m an ordained Presbyterian deacon, and I devote a lot of time to singing in my church choir, ringing in bell choir, and being a substitute organist. I’m celebrating more than forty-two years with my husband, who—bless him—has never once suggested I 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...