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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Book Review~Words from the Heart

About the Book: 

Her fingertips brushed against something else in the box of doilies. She lifted a bundle of letters, neatly tied with a thin red ribbon . . .
Ivy Yoder hasn’t heard from John King in over a year. She knows it’s time to let go of the idea that they will one day marry, but she’s humiliated to be one of the oldest single women in her Amish community of Birch Creek. When quirky Cevilla Schlabach asks her to help clean out an attic, Ivy is grateful for the distraction.
Noah Schlabach isn’t from Birch Creek, or even Ohio. His job as an auctioneer takes him around the country and away from a typical Amish life, but he still remains devoted to his family. So when his aging aunt asks him to help clean out her attic, he agrees. Plus, who knows what curious items he might find up there?
As Noah and Ivy work side by side, they come across a different kind of treasure: a packet of letters written during the Korean War. Soon they are swept up in the story of two young people falling in love—even as they remain determined not to fall in love themselves.
Words from the Heart is a moving story of lost love letters, fragile fears, and the beauty of taking another step forward.
My Review: 
Words From the Heart is the third book in author Kathleen Fuller's Amish Letters series. I had read the first two in the series, Written in Love and The Promise of a Letter. They were very enjoyable, and Words from the Heart was a great addition to the series. Although these stories intertwine characters, they can be read alone. 
Ivy Yoder was a single Amish woman, old by Amish standards to not have married yet. Noah Schlabach was also older and single, with no plans for marrying anytime soon. Ivy, on the other hand, yearns for marriage and children. The two had known each other for years, and when Noah's aunt pulls them together on a project, its the perfect chance for them to get to know each other better. The discovery of old love letters brings in mystery to this sweet romance. 
I enjoyed the storyline and the characters in Words From the Heart. It is a book I recommend, along with the other two books in the Amish Letters series. Kathleen Fuller is a talented author of Amish fiction. 
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Book Review~In All Things

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing a Bible study called In All Things: A Nine-Week Devotional Bible Study On Unshakeable Joy, by Melissa B. Kruger. Joy is something we all strive for our entire lives, and unshakeable joy is even better! This Bible Study uses the book of Philippians to learn how to  have unshakeable joy.

Included in the book is an Introduction, the nine weeks of study, a study guide for group use (although this is fine to do by yourself), the book of Philippians (handy to have right there for your use), acknowledgements and notes. The nine weeks of study are titled:

1. We Need More Than a Spiritual Experience: Joy in Salvation-Acts 7-16
2. A Shared Joy: Joy in True Fellowship-Philippians 1:1-11
3. Unshakeable: Joy in Christ's Lordship-Philippians 1:12-30
4. The More of Becoming Less: Joy in Humility-Philippians 2:1-11
5. With Hearts Set Free: Joy in Obedience- Philippians 2:12-30
6. A Friend Like No Other: Joy in Knowing Christ-Philippians 3:1-11
7. Something Better is Coming: Joy in Heaven-Philippians 3:12-4:1
8. A Heart at Peace: Joy in the Inner Life-Philippians 4:2-9
9. Upside-Down Living: Joy in Giving-Philippians 4:10-23

For the most part, each week is broken down like this: Day 1-Observation, Days 2 and 3-Interpretation, Day 4-Application, and Day 5-Devotional. Each day contains reading and questions to answer.

I enjoyed In All Things and would definitely recommend it. I think it would also make a great group study so that you could discuss your answers with others.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Movie Premiere Ice Dragon: Legend of the Blue Daisies

The family-friendly story of "Ice Dragon:Legend of the Blue Daisies" is coming to cinemas nationwide on March 24th and 26th only. Moviegoers of all ages will enjoy this thrilling adventure, along with the short film and music video. You can get tickets at Fathomevents.com .

Based on a short story by Canadian director and producer Bruce Stacey, his faith-based adventure features the voice talents of Rheal Rees (Melody), Justin Debe` (Leif) and Bill Bray (Niicholai). Fathom Events, Chelsea Road Productions and Tricord Media present this special event in more than 700 select movie theatres across the US.

Melody, a gifted young dreamer and her feisty friend Leif, must set aside their differences and use the power of magical Blue Daisies and an ancient Song to save their world from an evil Ice Dragon. When the blue flowers that once bloomed all around her village begin to disappear, Melody and her eccentric grandfather recognize this as a sign of great danger… but no one believes them! Racing against time, Melody must convince Leif and the other villagers before it’s too late. Great songs and engaging characters highlight this inspiring, animated adventure for the whole family.

I'm so excited to take my grandson to see Ice Dragon:Legend of the Blue Daisies next weekend! To learn more about the movie and watch trailers, click here. Remember you can only see this movie March 24th and March 26th, so get your tickets now! You can buy your tickets at Fathomevents.com

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Book Review~His Risk

About the Book:
Calvin Fisher left the Amish community at fourteen and never looked back. Only his brother’s illness can bring him back to Hart County. Now, as Calvin works to make amends, he meets Alice, a local nursery school teacher, and falls hard for her. But he has a secret that could threaten the happiness he’s finally found.
Alice shouldn’t like—or want—Calvin. He’s English, has a questionable past, and an even more questionable job. Still, she can’t help being intrigued. Though Calvin assures Alice that he’s worthy of her, she’s torn between surrendering to her growing feelings and steering clear of him.
When a sudden surge of criminal activity alarms the community and even targets Alice, Calvin fears that his double life has put everyone he loves at risk. As for Alice, she can’t help but wonder if the brave and honorable man she’s lost her heart to is far more dangerous than she could ever imagine.

About the Author:
Shelley Shepard Gray is a "New York Times" and "USA Today" bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

What I Thought: 
His Risk is the third book in author Shelley Shepard Gray's series The Amish of Hart County. I read the first three books in the series and enjoyed them. The Kentucky location is different from your typical rolling farmlands of the Amish in Pennsylvania or Ohio. In this series, each book has had some sort of criminal activity that a member or members of the Amish community is affected by. 

Shelley Shepard Gray is one of my favorite Amish fiction authors. She is such a talented storyteller, and I always feel like I really get to know the characters in the book. His Risk was another great story with excitement, suspense, and a little romance. 

Something I really like in most of Shelley Shepard Gray's books are the P.S. section at the back. It contains About the Author, A Letter from the Author, Discussion Questions, and a Sneak Peak at the next book in the series. I can learn a lot of background into how the story came about and the research that went into it. 

Although His Risk is part of a series, I think it can be read by itself with no problem. For maximum enjoyment, though, I suggest reading all of The Amish of Hart County series. I highly recommend His Risk and I look forward to reading the next book in the series!

You can read more reviews of His Risk at Litfuse. 

To learn more about the book, the author, and where to purchase your own copy, visit Shelley Shepard Gray's website.

Enter to win a copy of His Risk. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced March 28 on the Litfuse blog!

I received a copy of this book free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Book Review~Beneath the Summer Sun

Book Description: 

It’s been four years since Jennie’s husband died in a farming accident. Long enough that the elders in her Amish community think it’s time to marry again for the sake of her seven children. What they don’t know is that grief isn’t holding her back from a new relationship. Fear is. A terrible secret in her past keeps her from moving forward.
Mennonite book salesman Nathan Walker stops by Jennie’s farm whenever he’s in the area. Despite years of conversation and dinners together, she never seems to relax around him. He knows he should move on, but something about her keeps drawing him back.
 Meanwhile, Leo Graber nurtures a decades-long love for Jennie, but guilt plagues him—guilt for letting Jennie marry someone else and guilt for his father’s death on a hunting trip many years ago. How could anyone love him again—and how could he ever take a chance to love in return?
In this second book in the Every Amish Season series, three hearts try to discern God’s plan for the future—and find peace beneath the summer sun.

My Review: 

Beneath the Summer Sun is the second book in author Kelly Irvin's Every Amish Season series. I did not read the first book in the series-Upon a Spring Breeze-but had no problems following the story. I think Beneath the Summer Sun can be read alone. 

I felt so much compassion for the character of Jennie-she has been through so much, and is afraid to open herself to the chance to love again. With seven children to care for, one of whom is experiencing a lot of emotional pain, she barely has time for herself. She has two men interested in her who are both loving, caring men. But she also thought her husband was loving and caring before they married. Things quickly changed after their marriage vows. 

As domestic violence is a main topic in Beneath the Summer Sun, it could be a trigger for some readers, so I think its important to know upfront. Domestic Violence is not often a theme in Amish fiction, as Amish are generally thought of as non-violent, gentle people. It was an interesting story that kept my attention from start to finish. At the back of the book are Domestic Violence resources, as well as discussion questions about the story. 

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Book Review and Author Giveaway~Keturah

About the Book: 
Keturah (The Sugar Baron’s Daughters) (Bethany House, February 2018)
In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father’s estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.
Although it flies against all the conventions, they’re determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, conventions are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined–and that’s just the start of what their eyes are opened to in this harsh and unfamiliar world.
Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.
To keep her family together and save the plantation that is her last chance at providing for them, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

About the Author: 
Lisa T. Bergren has published more than 40 books with more than 3 million books sold combined. She's the author of the Christy Award-winning "Waterfall," RITA®-finalist "Firestorm," bestselling "God Gave Us You," and popular historical series like Homeward, Grand Tour, and more. She's also a recipient of the RT Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and three teen-and-older children. Visit her website http://lisatawnbergren.com
What I Thought: 
Keturah is the first book in author Lisa T. Bergren's new series, The Sugar Baron's Daughters. I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down. I enjoy reading historical fiction, especially when the main character is a strong woman who is willing to do whatever she needs to do, even if it doesn't fit society's view of women for the time period. 
The settings of the story were exciting-first the long, grueling trip on the ship, and then the lush, tropical islands. I could not imagine being a woman wearing all the long skirts and petticoats in that tropical humidity! I was both fascinated and saddened by the treatment of the slaves, and how women were disregarded and disrespected. 
Keturah was determined to provide for her sisters and not lose what their father had worked for, but she also struggled with letting down her walls to let God lead her path. This is a lesson many of us can learn from. Having suffered an abusive marriage, she also must learn to open her heart to love again. 
At the back of the book are Historical Notes, which I found very interesting. When reading a Historical Fiction story, I'm always amazed at the amount of research that the author must do to write the book. I strongly recommend reading Keturah, and I cannot wait for the next book in the series!
You can learn more and purchase your own copy of Keturah at the author's website.  More reviews of this book are available at Litfuse.
Author Giveaway
Enter to win a copy of Keturah. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced March 13 on the Litfuse blog! .

* I received a copy of this book free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.