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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Review~What We See in the Stars:An Illustrated Tour of the Night Sky

I have often looked up into the sky on clear nights and wished I knew more about what I was looking at. Recognizing the Big Dipper is the extent of my knowledge. So when I saw What We See in the Stars: An Illustrated Tour of the Night Sky available for review, I was excited to have this book as a resource at home for the entire family.

Kelsey Oseid is both the author and illustrator of the book, which is a beautiful 160 page hardcover.  There is a detailed index at the back of the book, which is extremely helpful with the amount of knowledge contained in the pages. Topics covered are the Constellations, the Milky Way, the Moon, the Sun, the Planets, Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors, and Deep Space.

I learned so much reading What We See in the Stars! It is easy to understand, and of course the gorgeous illustrations helped to keep my attention throughout the book. This book will stay on our bookshelf to grab when we need it, and for our children and future grandchildren to enjoy. I think it would make an excellent gift.

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review~The Proving by Beverly Lewis

About the Book:
After five years as an Englischer, Amanda Dienner is shocked to learn her mother has passed away and left her Lancaster County's most popular Amish bed-and-breakfast. What's more, the inn will only truly be hers if Mandy can successfully run it for twelve months. Reluctantly, Mandy accepts the challenge, no matter that it means facing the family she left behind-or that the inn's clientele expect an Amish hostess? Can Mandy fulfill the terms of her inheritance? Or will this prove a dreadful mistake?

About the Author:
Beverly Lewis penned her first story at age nine while living near Lancaster County Amish farmland, where she grew up. She welcomes her many reader-friends each day on Facebook and personally replies to fan mail. Lewis lives with her husband in Colorado near their family. Visit her website at www.beverlylewis.com .

What I Thought:
Beverly Lewis never disappoints with her Amish fiction. The Proving was no exception. This story was unique with Mandy coming back to the Amish after years away. She then pretends to be Amish to make her guests happy, but it becomes comfortable for her over time. Although so much had changed with her mother's death and her sister's estrangement, the inn seemed to bring comfort to her. I enjoyed the relationship between Mandy and her sister and watching it be repaired. Although Mandy is determined to do her twelve months and move on, God had different plans for her and she has to realize that. It is a good lesson for all of us, to be open to God's direction for our lives.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review..

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Book Review~Many Sparrows

About the Book:
In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife, Clare, and their four-year-old son, Jacob, on a remote mountain trail. 

When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare finds herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can recover her son...especially when her second child is moments away from being born. 

Clare will face the greatest fight of her life, as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. But with the battle lines sharply drawn, Jacob's life might not be the only one at stake. When frontiersman Jeremiah Ring comes to her aid, can the stranger convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do-be still, wait, and let God fight this battle for them?

About the Author:
Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn't writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, Christy nominee The Wood's Edge, and A Flight of Arrows.

What I Thought:
Many Sparrows is the first book I have read by Lori Benton, and I am incredibly impressed by her talent. She brought this time in history to life-I would have loved History class in school if I could have read her novels instead of the dry textbooks!

I felt so horrible for Clare and all she was going through. It is every parents worst nightmare to lose a child. Ms. Benton does a wonderful job of getting the reader to really feel the emotions of the characters.I learned quite a bit about the Indian tribes during this time, and felt compassion for them, while also feeling compassion for the Colonists. I will definitely be reading more of Lori Benton's books, and recommend Many Sparrows highly.

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

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Book Review~The Promise of a Letter

About the Book:
A letter brings him back to his Amish family. It will take someone truly extraordinary to make him stay.
Roman is on the verge of leaving the Amish ways. Feeling confined by the strict rules, he longs to do something more with his life. But when things don’t go as planned, Roman’s prospects outside of the community dwindle. Upon learning that his beloved grandmother has died and left a letter urging him to reconcile with his brother in Birch Creek, Roman decides to return home. But he doesn’t plan to stay for long.
Leanna Chupp has always made her own way in her small community of Birch Creek. Though some may call her unconventional—strange, even—Leanna is happy. Her unique outlook on life has meant she’s never had many suitors pursuing courtship, which Leanna doesn’t mind. She is content being single.
But when Roman and Leanna find themselves working together again, everything changes. Though neither fit squarely within the strictures of the Amish faith, their differences could be the very thing to help them form a deeper connection to their community and to each other. The question remains: will this strengthening bond be enough to make Roman stay for good?

What I Thought: 
The Promise of a Letter is the second book in Kathleen Fuller's Amish Letters series. I've always been a fan of the author, and she did a great job once again. I did read the first book in the series, Written in Love, which mainly focused on Jalon and Phoebe. They are still a strong presence in this book, but the focus is on Leanna and Roman mostly, with quite a bit about Daniel and Barbara as well. While readers would get the most enjoyment reading the books in order, I feel like The Promise of a Letter could be read by itself without confusion. 

Forgiveness and trusting God to make your path in life are strong themes in this story. Daniel and his brother Roman had a rough childhood and many hard feelings between them, but a letter from their grandmother asking them to reconcile tugged at their hearts. Leanna was not your typical Amish woman, and figured she would never get married. Roman had always rubbed her the wrong way. But God had his own plan and things started to change. 

I really enjoyed reading The Promise of a Letter and highly recommend it! I look forward to the third book in the series, Words from the Heart, coming out in February 2018.

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

Children's Book Review~Wow!: The Good News in Four Words

Wow!: The Good News in Four Words is a 30 page hardcover (with dust jacket) intended for children ages 4-8. It was written by Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Annabel Tempest. I was immediately intrigued by the cute, colorful illustrations and the concept of sharing the Gospel with children using these four words:
*Uh-oh-Sin, broken world
*Ahh-Eternal life through Jesus
*Wow-Grow and share the good news of Jesus to others.

In this adorable book, children learn the basics of the gospel in rhyme. Each page has only a few sentences and the print is easy to read, making it a good book for early readers. The rhyming was done very well, and I was amazed at how much information was covered, in a fun way for kids to understand.

Here is my grandson Daniel, 6, reading Wow!: The Good News in Four Words. He enjoyed having me read it to him, and he even tried to sound out some words on his own. He loved the rhyming and shouting out the four key words throughout the story. Even if we aren't reading the book, he enjoys just looking at the colorful pictures featuring Jesus, people, and animals. There is so much to look at on the pages, you could probably find something new each time you read the story! At the back of the book are suggested Bible verses correlating to each of the four words.

I highly recommend Wow!:The Good News in Four Words for the young child in your life. I think it would make a wonderful gift. You can find more information and purchase your own copy at Tyndale House Publishers.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Review~Gathering the Threads

About the Book:
Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves, Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—or completely rip them apart?

After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family? 

Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart.

About the Author:

Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of nineteen works of fiction and non-fiction with more than a million copies sold. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s Nightline, the Wall Street Journal, and a National Geographic documentary on Amish life. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains.

What I Thought:
From the time I opened my first Cindy Woodsmall book, I have been a fan of her work, and she is one of my favorite authors. There is something about the way she crafts a story that pulls me in and keeps me engaged until the very last page. The characters are so believable, and I feel like I know them as I read through the story. Once again, all these things are true in her latest novel, Gathering the Threads. This is the third book in the author's series The Amish of Summer Grove.

Although there is a very thorough summary of what happened in the first two books at the beginning of Gathering the Threads, I highly suggest reading the first two books, The Ties That Bind and Fraying at the Edge, first. The series follows Ariana as she discovers that she comes from a different world than she was raised in, and the conflict of being torn between those two worlds. There is a strong sense of being yourself as well as following God's path for your life. It was very interesting how it wasn't just Ariana who changed after being exposed to the Englisch world-both her Amish and Englisch families and friends were affected. They all were more open to other ideas than the ones they had believed all their lives.

I highly recommend reading Gathering the Threads! The Amish of Summer Grove series is fabulous!

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