Monday, December 5, 2011

Junior's is a real treat!

Alan Rosen, Beth Allen

I have always considered it as fun to go to Junior's in New York. The food and cookbook are intertwined from the orange and white strips on both to the fantastic food Junior's is one of a kind. The recipes are wonderful looking and fun to read through the cookbook. I have another cookbook from 2 years earlier. The deserts are one of the best things at Juniors. Even when the dessert is not my kind of treat they are always good looking. I am grateful for the opportunity to go through this cook book. Thank you net galley for allowing me to review this treat!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

An Author That Has Resurfaced

A Time of Peace
Barbara Cameron

This was a story that is third in a series. A unique concept in the fact that seldom do people convert to the Anabaptist faith.  The author does a credible job of making it work with all the things a person in the modern world would fail at. Especially defending a loved one. While reading I found the story to be big on relationships. It seemed at times that the reality of Amish life was missing: preaching, church authority (hard to believe that outside converts would not be watched closely for help and continuing to assure the brethren that they were following the Ordung and those raised in the Anabaptist faith are know to have -cousins. I understand that these were not the focus of the story. I remember Barbara Cameron from my teenage years and the moving stories she wrote, I learned from the start that books can be very real with endings that are not simplistic. I found the overall story to be enjoyable and always a reminder that the only things important in life are faith and family. I am thankful to NetGalley for this opportunity to read and review this book.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Spending Christmas in Amish Country

A Christmas Singing: A Romance from the Heart of Amish Country
Cindy Woodsmall

This is a book about a young woman who was engaged to her best friend. Prior to the story they broke up and Mattie moved to another state. Through  time she has found another suitor that works for her, when another tragedy occurs and this sends Mattie home to recover. This is where she runs into her ex-fiance. Through the community, family and friends she has to rebuild her life and determine if she and Gideon can make peace. This was an enjoyable story with characters from previous stories interlacing the current story. Cindy Woodsmall is an enjoyable writer to read. From the first book I picked up I was hooked. The characters were well developed, the Amish lifestyle was a minor part of the story, and yet they flowed well together. Overall it was an enjoyable book and I am waiting for more stories about this community.
I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.  I am thankful to them for this opportunity.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An Amish Mystery in Ohio

Blood of the Prodigal (An Ohio Amish Mystery)
P.L. Gaus

This is the beginning of the Amish Mysteries set in Ohio. It is about the grandson of one of the leaders in the Amish community and his kidnapping. The pastor, professor and the sheriff are the only three Englishers that the Amish have any kind of relationship with. The professor, who ends up with a bulk of the investigation is trying to find the location of the grandson. From murder to locating the grandson the suspense and the who, what, when and why are constant. The ending has a good twist and most plausible. There are always details kept from the reader that the professor or others know about. This does make for more wild guessing although is a little off putting because a reader likes to feel like part of the team. I also found it difficult to lay aside old story lines when so many of the characters reappear. I kept having to sort apart a later book from this one.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sorry for the delay in posting

Stepping Heavenward
Elizabeth Prentiss

This is my favorite book of all time. I have given this to many people for it is a story that is worth sharing and a book I have read through many times. It is about a young woman and the life she lived written through her journal and some letters. It is so realistic that it seems real and is easy to forget that it is a work of fiction. It is filled with faith, life, death and family the core elements of what day to day life is. Unlike many stories this one move through a large part of her life, there are ups and downs. A book that feels so real it was as if you were peeking into someone's life.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A New Twist on The Christmas Carol

A Marriage Carol
Chris Fabry, Gary D. Chapman

This is a story about a couple on their way to sign divorce papers. It was snowing heavily and due to an accident they do not make it. They are barely talking before the accident. Than Marlee, the wife, has a life altering experience at a home that is used as a marriage retreat by the elderly couple that lives there with their dog. Through out the story the problems and the actions of the couple in their life and family are realistic and it is easy to see how a couple falls into these patterns and resentments. It is with care, wit and warmth that the elderly couple have an influence on Marlee. Because the reality one person can make a difference in the marriage, whether it is the offended party or the offender. There are always exceptions to this, however given time and effort marriage is worth fighting for. This was a copy given to me by Net Galley in exchange for a review. Thank you Net Galley for the opportunity to review this book.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A fun mystery

Invisible (Ivy Malone Mystery Series # 1)
Lorena McCourtney

This was a great find on It was free and a mystery. The story line is that there are people damaging the graves at an old cemetery, her long time friend dies, the friends tenant disappears - who is actually dead and Ivy decides to investigates both the mysteries going on around her while coping with the loss of her best friend.A fun fast moving story that I had to frequently remind myself that Ivy was a senior citizen during this story, because she was so much fun! I want to read the rest of this series and look forward to doing that someday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A New Author Find Thanks to Net Galley!

Naomi’s Gift
Amy Clipston
This is novella which is standalone book that is part of Amy Clipston’s Kauffman Amish Bakery series. It was a very enjoyable story about a young woman who has been searching for love. Through a meeting in the Amish farmer’s market she meets a man and his daughter. Thus begins the novella that takes us through the growing relationship between these three characters. With ease and skill Amy Clipston is able to guide the reader through this magical Christmas season full of snow, hot coco and family was a treat from start to finish. Having never read any of her books previously I am very interesting in visiting Bird-in-the-Hand again. I am grateful to Zondervan for their allowing me to have a free copy of this book and providing this review.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A fulfilling ending to a great trilogy

The Mercy
Beverly Lewis
This is the final book in the Rose Trilogy. The story surrounds an Amish family that has 2 daughters very different at the start in their faith, family values and lifestyle. As the final book continues there are dramatic changes that occur for both young women. The oldest daughter life has come full circle with her marriage, family and faith. Her spouse has changed significantly with extended family remaining an important influence. The younger daughter has been through multiple problems with the young men that she has been courted by. Her life will again be dramatically changed in a way she never imagined. The characters were believable and the story line was believable. This is a trilogy I would recommend to people and look forward to another series written by Beverly Lewis.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A refreshing look at our culture

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
Neil Postman

This was a book about how subtle and overtly the way we communicate and correspond have been altered. That we are quickly dumb down ourselves. That when there were debates during the times of the civil war people left their jobs after 12 hours of work to go to a hall and listen to the Lincoln-Douglas debates. They went on for hours with a break for dinner and than all reassembled to continue. No one today would do this nor would many understand the discussion. TV has changed the speed of conversations. It was truly an eye opening book. It was a refreshing quick read that was informative, and an education. I would recommend this to others as it was recommended to me. I use the Lincoln-Douglas debates to educate others about this change in our society and culture.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This is a treasure worth hunting for

Immanuel: Reflections on the Life of Christ
Michael Card

This is a must read book. Whether a fan of Michael Card's music or his writings this will not disappoint. I loved how he wove the stories of his songs with the lyrics. It is a personal book of his life and music. How much more can one expose them self than writing about their memories and family. It like taking a trip with Michael Card down the songs he crafted and the life he has lived. There is seldom something impersonal when writing a book, letter or email. However the wonderful treasury he has given demonstrates the wonderful Christian walk he has been blessed with. This a book that is worth reading more than once. It is also worth the search to locate a copy of.

The book that influenced me the most

Today's Gospel
Walter Chantry

To date this book continues to influence the way I talk to people about the Lord and what I specifically say. It cuts to the heart of how poorly I viewed what Christ did and how I spoke about the Gospel. It was as if Rev. Chantry was speaking to me. I enjoyed the learning of the major and slight flaws we make when telling others about Christ. His book made me realize it is so much more than I can ever express and yet so necessary to try to put into words what the Lord did do and accomplish. Truly a book that would allow almost anyone who does not know the Lord to crave the way of salvation He provided. It was a book that truly influenced my faith when I was a new believer and still does today. One of the most important things I learned from Rev. Chantry was state what the Bible really says not what people think it says and always remember the gospel is not my standard of measurement but God's standard.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I have only one more to go before I have to let these friends go

The Judgement
Beverly Lewis

This novel is the story of an Amish family that is torn apart by a mysterious accident to the main characters mother. The main story line is about 2 sisters and each one is finding her way through their family, faith and lives. I found this to be a good character story that I breezed through quickly. I am glad I waited till all books were available before I started reading. That  way I could finish within a brief period of time and not have to sit on pins and needles wondering what next. The characters are realistic and and the events are realistic. Of course there are little things that seem less believable although when you know some things about the Amish being accepting of the Lord's Will and plan in their life, it is more understandable. This story has a climatic ending that made me want for more. I am sincerely thankful that Ms. Lewis writes series, because sometimes a writer can get you so caught up in the characters and their world that I hate to leave it. It was an ejoyable book from start to finish.

Monday, October 24, 2011

More recent books I have read

From Fear to Freedom
Rose Marie Miller

This book was recommended to me by a dear pastor. It was a gem. I came away from this book with a greater view of my place in the Kingdom of God. I would recommend this book to Christians whether they are new in the Kingdom or have been Christians for decades. This book can give you a view of the Lord that in the daily grind is lost or put aside. It has blessed my walk with Christ greatly.

Smart Moves
Carla Hannaford

This was a good book on learning and how to view things from a child's perspective with reading aloud versus silent reading. I could go on and on about examples that were beneficial. It is a book I recommend to teachers, parents and advocates. It gives a treasury of information a must read for anyone interested in education.

Lonestar Angel
Colleen Coble

I enjoyed this story greatly. It was suspenseful throughout and kept me guessing for 2/3rds of the story. It was a good blend of who was their child and who sent them there. I also enjoy series where you can see previous characters in supporting roles. It helps me determine whether their story is one that I would enjoy reading. I find Colleen Coble's style of writing to be varied, her ideas are to be realistic and make for exciting reads. Whether modern or historic her mysteries are ones that I wish to both rush through and hate to see end. It is always a treasure to see how people cling to the Lord during the hard times and this book is no exception to placing God as the one who leads. Ms. Coble's characters are always believable and promote the best in Christian community. I would recommend this book to people and any other book written by Colleen Coble.

Growing Up Amish
Ira Wagler

I enjoyed this book for a multitude of reasons. One big reason is the insight provided by Mr. Wagler of what the Amish life is like. There was a complete honesty and simplicity in his thinking about home. The question always before him was can he ever really leave home. The bigger and greater reason for staying with his story was the triumphant end - coming to a Christ who is home and salvation. It is a true prodigal coming home as many are going home to the Christ who saves. The saddest thing was the gentleman who shared the savior to Mr. Wagler, and Mr. Wagler grace in dealing with loosing this friend. It is a great show of the Lord salvation because when Mr. Wagler would not do as his friend wanted Mr. Wagler faith continued to grow and change his life. Throughout the slower parts of his story he successful wove in the knowledge that something was coming. The big life altering something of Jesus the Christ. Thank you Mr. Wagler for the glimpse into the Amish mystique and again our great God and Savior.

Cozy in Kansas: In the Dead of Winter/Bye, Bye Bertie/For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls
Nancy Mehl

I read this series out of order. Each one was a standalone book and enjoyable. I read all three because it was such an enjoyable world to join. The people were precious and every character was a welcome addition to the stories. It was almost a shame that one of those people could do wrong. And yet as art imitates life that is the very truth. People are fallen and no matter how kind people are those apart from Christ there is no hope.

There Goes Santa Claus (Ivy Towers Mystery #4) (Heartsong Presents Mysteries #33)
Nancy Mehl

Hoping there is more to come in this series, although reality says this was the last. I loved this series and will miss these characters. I was glued to this book. In my mind I was thinking of all the 'past events' in Winter Break. I found it to be an easy read, fast and enjoyable along with great dialog and fun story line. I am glad that Nancy Mehl is still creating new characters, towns and mysteries.

Little Faith
OF Walton

This was a beautifully written book. I am so glad that books like this are available today they are a much needed breathe of fresh air to impart vicarious lessons about life and the love of Christ.

The Shunning
Beverly Lewis

This is the first book by Beverly Lewis I read. I enjoyed this story and was able to read all of the series quickly since I was a late comer to the series. It started me reading all of her series. I enjoyed the series and found it well written and highlights the best in a people. It is definitely written by someone who has a great love for these people. I have to say that it is a simpler lifestyle that resonates with me most and I acknowledge that I prefer a slower pace. I will keep going back to this simpler life in books.

The Confession
Beverly Lewis

I really enjoyed this book and thought it was well written and a seamless continuation of the first book. It was able to grab my attention quickly. I read it so quickly that it blends with the last in the series more than it does any other series I have read. The characters and lifestyle are believable. The transition to the modern world was believable along with the pull to both worlds.

The Thorn
Beverly Lewis

Beverly Lewis is a gifted storyteller. I enjoyed the story line about Rose who was a young woman with a love for her lifestyle and family. She has a heart for her sister who left the community and went into the world and was now facing marital issues that are heartbreaking to her family. The only real problem I had with the book is that it would seem, thus far, that the only faith real is Amish faith. Yes, one growing up in the Amish community would believe this. However, this idea is sadly not true. There are many Amish communities that are legalistic and live by separate rules made by man instead of the Bible. Many of the interpretation the Amish live by are poor. There is also the variety of modern things allowed or not allowed. Rubber tires on their bikes, versus no rubber. For a story that is stressing the love of God and community these things would be best omitted. There was a time in previous stories that authentic faith was always separate from Amish religious life. Sadly this is a new angle and seems to be a corner one would not want to go to. Aside from these things this story is an easy read and the characters are enjoyable.


There are many books on the market. It is amazing the things that are published. Any title, information, or 'knowledge you are interested in is within one's fingertips and sometimes within seconds. When I was young I used to search the bookstores for things of interest and now the stacks of books are mind numbing. I am publishing my reviews from the most recent past. As my husband says I am a soft reviewer. It is mostly because I truly respect the work it takes to create a book. They had the creativity and skill to bring it to a publisher that accepted their material, that will always cause me to respect their effort.