icRKphJXQm-ezth8lntKydifkDg The Loose Screw: 2017

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.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Book Review~Here and Gone by Haylen Beck

About the Book:
Audra just wants to reach California. She's finally found the strength to flee her abusive husband and make a fresh start for her two children. With little Sean and Louise in tow, she has carefully made her way across the country, taking back roads and avoiding attention.
So when an unsettling local sheriff pulls her over in the middle of the Arizona desert, Audra works to hide her nerves and keep calm. She has to. But then he pulls a bag of drugs she's never seen before out of her trunk, and nervousness turns into panic. She thinks the worst has happened. Unfortunately, she's wrong. The worst is yet to come.

About the Author:
Haylen Beck is the pen name of internationally acclaimed, prizewinning crime writer Stuart Neville. Neville won the Los Angeles Times book Prize for his Serena Flanagan detective series set in Belfast, was nominated for an Edgar Award, and made best-of-year lists with numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe. His Haylen Beck novels are set in the United States and inspired by his love of American crime writing.

What I Thought:
When I read the description of this book, it sparked my interest. But, since I knew nothing of the author, I hesitated. Let me tell you I am so glad I decided to read Here and Gone by Haylen Beck! This is one of those nail-biter stories that made me not want to sleep at night so I could keep reading! The subject is every parents nightmare-losing your children. But how that happens in this story is just crazy. It is full of twists and turns. I really enjoyed how it was written from different characters' perspectives. This made me feel that I had a better understanding of the characters. If you are looking for a book you won't be able to put down, you've found it-Here and Gone by Haylen Beck.

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

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Book Review~The Beloved Hope Chest

About the Book (from the back cover):

When Mattie packed her hope chest, she put away the heartache of her past. But as her daughters begin to unpack it, she discovers a healing more powerful than she ever hoped for.
Mattie Fisher’s three daughters know that she’s been keeping a secret from them. With each item pulled from the beloved family hope chest, they’ve discovered a new clue about their mother’s past.
But there’s a reason Mattie has been keeping her history hidden, and she’s not sure she’s ready to reopen old wounds. Will dredging up the past change the way her children view her? Or her marriage to their father? And can she handle the pain of revisiting the memories that preceded the last few happy decades?
Mattie’s story is one of grief and learning to love again. But like the best things preserved in a hope chest, it's a story of love and redemption born out of heartache—and it's past time to share it.

What I Thought: 

The Beloved Hope Chest is the fourth book in author Amy Clipston's Amish Heirloom Novel series. The first three books, The Forgotten Recipe, The Courtship Basket, and The Cherished Quilt, were all based on the three Fisher sisters. I enjoyed reading all three of them. In The Beloved Hope Chest, the focus is on Mattie and Leroy Fisher, the girls' parents. It goes back in time to their childhoods and early marriage.

The Beloved Hope Chest is by far my favorite of the four books. The story was so deep and moving, it really touched my emotions. Poor Mattie had such a promising future, and then to have so much loss and grief. This story could be inspiring to someone who struggles with grief, thinking there is no way they could ever live a normal life. Mattie lost so much, but with faith in God and the love of her family and friends, she pulled through.

I highly recommend reading The Beloved Hope Chest, as well as the other three books in the series. These books can be read on their own, but I enjoyed reading them in the order they were published. At the back of the book are discussion questions, making it a great book for a book club.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review~The Divide

About the Book (from the back cover):
 In this gripping conclusion to The Alliance, nearly six months have passed since Leora Ebersole's Old Order Mennonite community fled to the mountains for refuge after an attack destroyed the power grid and altered life as they knew it. Since then, Leora has watched and waited for news of Moses Hughes, the young Englischer pilot who held off invading looters long enough for everyone to escape. Unsure Moses even survived, Leora has begun to warm to the affections of Jabil Snyder, who has courted her patiently. But she struggles to see herself as the bishop's wife, especially when she learns that Moses is alive and has now joined a local militia.

An unexpected encounter in the woods deepens Leora's crisis, as does a terrifying new threat that brings Moses' militia into the community's shaky alliance with the few Englischers left among them. When long-held beliefs are once again put to the test, Leora wrestles with the divide between having faith and taking action. Just how much will her shifting landscape change her?

What I Thought:  
The Alliance was a book I really enjoyed. I'm a big fan of Amish/Mennonite fiction, but the storyline of the EMP made the book something completely different from anything I've read before. The Divide was just as enjoyable as The Alliance, and the change of setting, up in the remote mountains, made it really fascinating.

Author Jolina Petersheim is a talented storyteller. She was able to pack so much into this story! So many emotions, conflict, romance, and just plain survival. The Divide is the kind of book you just don't want to put down-riveting. Faith and God are the main themes the story revolves around, and the characters struggle with trusting God to see them through. I highly recommend this book, but suggest you read The Alliance first. 

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

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Book Review~His Guilt

About the Book: 

A suspenseful tale of an Amish man who will risk all to protect the woman he loves.

Mark Fisher has returned home to Hart County, determined to put the past behind him. Two years ago, after being wrongly accused of assault, he left the Amish community, though never forgot his home. When the one person who had helped him through his rough times asks for help, Mark returns. But it is pretty Waneta Cain who makes him want to stay...
Neeta is one of the few people in Hart County who doesn't believe Mark is guilty of hurting anyone. However, his worldliness and tough exterior do make her uneasy. As she begins to see the real man behind all the gossip and prejudice, she wonders if he is the man for her.

Just when Mark starts to believe a new life is possible, a close friend of Neeta's is attacked. Once again, everyone in the community seems to believe he is guilty. But what hurts most is Neeta's sudden wariness around him. When another woman is hurt, a woman who is close to both Neeta and himself, Mark fears he knows the real culprit. And time is running out. Will Mark be able to find him before Neeta becomes his next victim?
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.
Visit our blog Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Find us on Pinterest
What I Thought:

His Guilt is the second book in The Amish of Hart County series by Shelley Shepard Gray. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Her Secret. Sometimes in a series a second book doesn't live up to the first-not in this case. His Guilt was just as exciting and kept my attention from start to finish. Taking place in Kentucky, these stories aren't your typical Amish fiction setting of sprawling farms and farmhouses. Also, the books are a bit more edgy in their topics. Her Secret was about a stalker, and His Guilt is about women being attacked. As always, God and faith in Him is a central theme.

I read His Guilt quickly, because I wanted to find out how it ended!  Ms. Gray always does such a great job with making the characters easy to relate to, like you know them. She is also great at keeping you guessing until the very end. This is a great mystery, with some romance as well! My heart broke for Mark, as he had such a rough life so far. I highly recommend His Guilt! The books in this series are individual stories, so you don't have to read them in order. At the end of the book is a P.S. section with facts and questions for discussion.

Read more reviews of His Guilt at Litfuse.  Learn more about the author and this book, including purchasing information, at her website.

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

Friday, July 21, 2017

Book Review and Author Giveaway~ A Letter from Lancaster County

About the Book:
Two sisters get a second chance at life and love.
Angela—Her mother’s untimely death, a struggling marriage, a strained relationship with her sister, Rose, and regrets over what might have been haunt her. Despite being a wife and mother, she feels she has little to show for her life.
Rose—Still single, she longs for a husband and children. But Angela has all that and still isn’t happy. Rose wants to be closer to her older sister, but she and Angela couldn’t be more different. Both strong women, will their sibling rivalry ever end?

When a letter arrives from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Angela and Rose decide to visit Aunt Silvia, their mother’s Mennonite sister, in the heart of Amish country. This vacation could provide the opportunity both sisters need to sort out their issues. And yet instead of finding a new way of connecting with each other, Angela and Rose discover surprising family secrets that add to their strife and threaten Rose’s romance with a new beau.
Through it all, the two sisters must find the faith necessary to face their personal problems and allow God to restore hope and healing to their hearts and relationship as only He can.

About the Author: 

Kate Lloyd is a bestselling novelist whose books include "A Portrait of Marguerite" and the Legacy of Lancaster trilogy. A native of Baltimore, she enjoys spending time with friends and family in rural Pennsylvania and is a member of the Lancaster County Mennonite Historical Society. She now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband.

What I Thought: 
A Letter from Lancaster County was an enjoyable read. It was not as saturated with Amish as most Amish fiction is. The main story takes place in Amish country, but is about two sisters visiting their aunt, and the different issues they are encountering in their lives. Amish people are intertwined in the story, as the girls' mother grew up among the Amish. Their mother's recent death has left the girls curious about her life before she became their mother.

I enjoyed the way A Letter from Lancaster County was written. It was written from both sisters' points of view, both Angela and Rose. The chapters alternate between the two sisters. The girls are very different, and so it was interesting to hear each of their interpretation and feelings of the same event. The story moved along at a good pace, not losing my interest at any point. There is much emotion, from grieving and sibling rivalry to romance and jealousy. Trusting God to guide towards healing is an important theme to the story. At the back of the book are discussion questions.

Read more reviews at Litfuse. Visit the author's website to learn more about this book and others, and to purchase your own copy.

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

Will their sibling rivalry get in the way of these two sisters' chances at life and love? Find out in Kate Lloyd's new book, A Letter from Lancaster County. When a letter arrives from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Angela and Rose decide to visit their mother's Mennonite sister in the heart of Amish country. Angela and Rose discover surprising family secrets that add to their strife and threaten Rose's romance with a new beau. Through it all, the two sisters must find the faith necessary to face their personal problems and allow God to restore hope and healing to their hearts and relationship as only He can.

Celebrate the release of Kate's new book by entering to win her Two Sisters, Two Winners Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of A Letter from Lancaster County
  • A Kindle Fire
Another grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of A Letter from Lancaster County
  • A queen-size Amish quilt

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 27. The winner will be announced July 28 on the Litfuse blog.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Product Review~Stockpile

I have always been intrigued by the stock market, but have never purchased stocks. The process and all the choices have always seemed overwhelming. I didn't know where to start! I recently had the opportunity to try out Stockpile and my thinking has changed! 

I received a gift card to purchase stock at www.stockpile.com and the process was easy and educational! On the website there are lots of tutorials to help you, including a quick start guide. I learned so much!  Here is the link to learn all about the process: https://learn.stockpile.com/

First I checked out all the different kinds of stocks available. Stockpile has them broken down into categories so you can invest in something that interests you. I picked one of their newer stocks, and was able to get a little over one share. You can buy partial shares, which is nice especially for the more expensive stocks. My stock went down a little at first, but is now climbing again. It is very easy to sign on and check how your investment is doing, including a graph that shows increases and decreases over time. You can also transfer your balance to a different stock or stocks any time. 

I have been very impressed with Stockpile. They made the stock buying process very simple. I'm excited to continue on with my stock and adding to it! I think a gift of stock would be great for so many people, especially young adults and kids. If you are interested in trying out Stockpile, I have a great offer for you! If you use my link to sign up by July 30, you will get $5 of free stock! Here is the link: http://bit.ly/2qWNOCc

Helpful links: 

“In exchange for my honest and unbiased review, I received a $25 gift card to try out Stockpile. This post contains a referral link. I am not a market professional and not responsible for gains or losses that you may experience. I am not affiliated with or own an investment in any company or brand mentioned, and have no plans to do so. Securities products are not FDIC insured. Not bank guaranteed. May lose value.”

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Product Review~Ozeri BP01K CardioTech Pro Series Digital Blood Pressure Monitor

I have to take my blood pressure regularly due to a medical condition where it can swing both high and low. I've always had an upper arm monitor, which is big and bulky. So I was excited at the opportunity to review the Ozeri BP01K CardioTech Pro Series Digital Blood Pressure Monitor, as it is taken on the wrist. The way this monitor is configured, it is less bulky and quicker to take the blood pressure. This is what you receive when you order the Ozeri BP01K Monitor:

Included in the box is the monitor, instruction booklet, storage case, and batteries to get you started. The instruction booklet is very informative, with detailed instructions and illustrations. This Ozeri blood pressure monitor is advanced in that it has measure while inflate technology. This means that it automatically inflates to the appropriate level, instead of a set level as other monitors do. This reduces measurement time, especially for people like me who have fluctuations in their blood pressure. The CardioTech monitor stores 180 blood pressure readings with date and time memory for one user, or 90 readings for two different users. This is especially handy when your doctor would like to know what your readings have been since your last visit. It also gives you an average of your most recent three readings, and alerts you to Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).

In the picture above, you will see a line broken up into red, yellow, and green. Each reading is classified according to the World Health Organization hypertension guidelines. I like being able to look right over at that line and see if I'm within a normal range. The picture below is of me holding my CardioTech monitor in its case-it is surprisingly compact! I can easily stick it in my purse to use if needed.

I have been completely satisfied with my Ozeri BP01K CardioTech Pro Series Digital Blood Pressure Monitor. With only 3 buttons to push, it is very easy to use yet does so much. My favorite features are the memory storage and how compact it is. Prior to receiving this blood pressure monitor, I did not realize it was possible to take blood pressure readings on your wrist. I find it much more comfortable.  You can purchase your own Ozeri BP01K blood pressure monitor at Amazon. Another great feature is that it comes with a 5 year warranty, so you have nothing to lose.

*Disclosure: I received this product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Grace and the Preacher

About the Book:
At the age of twenty-three, postmistress Grace Cristler has all but given up hope of finding a husband among the narrowing group of eligible men in her town of Fairland, Kansas. But when her uncle decides to retire from the pulpit, Grace is responsible for corresponding with the new preacher set to take his place. She can’t deny the affection growing in her heart for Reverend Rufus Dille—a man she deeply admires but has only met through his letters.

Theophil Garrison is on the run from his past. Ten years ago his outlaw cousins convinced him to take part in a train robbery, but Theo fled the scene, leaving his cousins to face imprisonment. Now they’ve finished their sentences, but the plan for vengeance has just begun. Branded a coward and running for his life, Theo has aa chance encounter that could provide him with the escape he needs. 

But the young man’s desperate con might come at an enormous price for the tenderhearted Grace—and the entire town. Will Grace’s undeserved affection and God’s mercy make something beautiful from the ashes of Theo’s past?

About the Author: 

 Award-winning, bestselling author Kim Vogel Sawyer is a wife, mother, gramma, chocolate-lover, cat-petter, and--most importantly--a daughter of the King! With more than 1.5 million books in print in seven different languages, Kim enjoys a full-time writing and speaking ministry. Her "gentle stories of hope" are loved by readers and reviewers alike. Kim and her retired military husband, Don, reside on the plains of Kansas, the setting for many of her novels.

What I Thought: 
I have enjoyed every book that I have read by author Kim Vogel Sawyer, and Grace and the Preacher was no exception! I was reading it during a very stressful time in my life, and it took me away and thoroughly captured my attention each time I picked it up. I enjoyed the characters; the author does a great job of making you feel like you've met them in person.

There were many lessons throughout Grace and the Preacher. Just a few are forgiveness, grace,and repentance.  Faith and God are core to the story and characters. At the end of the book are a reader's guide and questions for discussion.  I recommend this book if you are looking for a clean, heartwarming story that contains romance and suspense.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Book Review~The Ebb Tide

About the Book: 
From the back cover-Sallie Riehl has dreamed of traveling at least once before settling down to join church, so she is thrilled at an unexpected summer opportunity to nanny in Cape May for a well-to-do family. However, saying even a temporary good-bye to Paradise Township means forgoing baptism another year, as well as leaving behind a would-be beau. Yet the weeks in Cape May soon prove unforgettable as Sallie meets a Mennonite young man whose friendship she quickly begins to cherish. Has she been too hasty with her promises, or will she only find what her heart is longing for back home? 

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.
Website: www.beverlylewis.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialbeverlylewis/

What I Thought: 
In my opinion, author Beverly Lewis is the best of the best when it comes to Amish fiction. She has written so many fabulous books, it amazes me each time I read her latest release. She has done it again with The Ebb Tide. It is a beautiful romance with a theme of trusting God to lead you down the path He has chosen for you in life.

I enjoyed the setting of Cape May, which was different from the farms of most Amish stories. Ms. Lewis' descriptions of the ocean made me feel like I was right there on the sand looking at the waves. I loved the character Sallie-a sweet, loving girl who wants to please her family and community, but has such a strong passion for the beauties of the world around her. Her internal struggle between the two worlds was made clear with the author's talented storytelling. I read The Ebb Tide in record time-I did not want to put it down! I highly recommend it!

Learn more about The Ebb Tide, author Beverly Lewis, and her many other titles, including purchasing information, at www.beverlylewis.com

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

Friday, June 9, 2017

Book Review~Written in Love

About the Book: 
When a postal error creates pen pals of two young Amish people, can they put behind their past mistakes to see the bright future God has written for them?
Jalon Chupp has a past he isn’t proud to claim. He’s worked hard to overcome his youthful mistakes, and he has recommitted himself to his faith. When he receives a sweet note included in a piece of misdirected mail, he can’t help but write back. Soon, the letters he receives from Phoebe are the highlights of his days, and with a hopeful heart, he suggests they meet in person.
Phoebe, too, looks forward to every single one of Jalon’s letters. Living with her overbearing aunt, Phoebe doesn’t have too much to look forward to. But when Jalon suggests they meet, she panics—although she has shared some of the deepest longings of her heart with him, she hasn’t been entirely truthful about her past. But when Jalon shows up at her aunt’s doorstep, everything is revealed. And she can only pray he’ll forgive her for holding back the truth.
In order to reach beyond the errors of their pasts, both Phoebe and Jalon must put their faith in something—or Someone—bigger than either of them.

What I Thought: 
 Written in Love is the first book in author Kathleen Fuller's new An Amish Letters Novel series. I've enjoyed many books by Kathleen Fuller; she creates wonderful stories that keep me engaged. Written in Love is a sweet love story of two young Amish people who have gone through hard times in their lives and are searching for happiness. Chapter one starts out with letters written back and forth between Jalon and Phoebe over a two month time period. I liked how the author did this, it gave a good base to the story.  Written in Love was easy to read and hard to put down! Phoebe and Jalon had to learn to trust in God and each other. Included in the book are a glossary and discussion questions. 

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

An Amish Home

About the Book: 
A Cup Half Full by Beth Wiseman—Sarah Lantz always dreamed of the perfect home, the perfect husband, the perfect family. When she married Abram, she knew she was on her way to securing her perfect life. But all of that changes in one moment when an accident leaves her unable to walk and confined to a wheelchair, dashing all of her dreams. As Abram starts to transform their home, Sarah begins a transformation in her spirit, and she begins, once again, to see her cup as half full.
Home Sweet Home by Amy Clipston—Down on their luck and desperate after they are evicted from their small apartment, Chace and Mia O’Conner reluctantly take Chace’s Amish boss up on his offer to rent them the daadihaus located on his property. They are certain they will never feel at home in the rustic cabin without any modern conveniences, and they start to blame each other for their seemingly hopeless situation. But with the help of their new Amish friends, Chace and Mia begin to enjoy their cozy cabin and realize that home really is where the heart is.
A Flicker of Hope by Ruth Reid—Fifteen years ago, Thomas and Noreen King were blissful newlyweds. Young, naive, and in love, life was rosy . . . for a while. Then trials and tribulations rocked their foundation, shattering them emotionally, and soon, their marriage was in shards. All hope for restoring their previously unshakable union seems lost. When fire destroys their home, Thomas and Noreen are left to sift through the rubble. As uncovered items from the remains of the house shake loose memories of the past, Thomas and Noreen begin to draw closer and a flicker of hope—and love—is reignited.
Building Faith by Kathleen Fuller—Faith Miller knows that carpentry is an unlikely hobby for a young Amish woman, but she loves the work and it keeps the memory of her grandfather alive. So when her cousin asks Faith to build the cabinets in her new home, Faith is only too happy to take on the job, even if it is the most ambitious project she has ever taken on. The only catch is that she has to work with her ex-fiance, Silas. As they work to build Martha’s kitchen, can they put the past behind them and start to build faith in one another again?

What I Thought: 
I always enjoy reading books that are collections of novellas. An Amish Home is a wonderful book with four novellas from some of my favorite Amish fiction authors. Each novella is less that 100 pages, so a quick read. Each of the novellas has a glossary, discussion questions based on the story,  and at the back of the book there are two recipes from each story.  406 pages might seem like a long book, but when broken into four short stories, it goes by quickly.

All of the stories from An Amish Home have several things in common. The stories are all based on someones home,whether the main characters or someone else. It might seem like the home is the most important thing, but as they resolve the home issue they learn a lot about themselves. The characters encounter love, faith, patience, and following God's plan for their lives.

Although I don't have a favorite of the four novellas, A Flicker of Hope really touched my heart. Noreen has ached for a child for many years, and her relationship with her husband Thomas has grown cold. When their house burns to the ground, it seems all hope is lost. The couple must face their problems, and lean on God to get through this terrible time in their lives.

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

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Book Review~Redeeming Ruth

ISBN: 1619709074 | ISBN-13: 9781619709072 | List Price: $19.95 | Format: Hardcover | Page Count: 200 

About the Book: 
Redeeming Ruth is the inspirational, true story of an abandoned baby, a devastating diagnosis, and the way God loves broken, hurting people through us--even though we may be broken and hurt, too.

When Meadow met her, Ruth was a sixteen-month-old child that some church friends were hosting from an orphanage in Uganda. She had cerebral palsy and was so weak she couldn't lift her head. Meadow had always felt a call to adopt, but was this what God meant? Part family drama, part travel adventure, and part memoir, Redeeming Ruth is a heartwarming, against-all-odds story about the most unlikely pairing of a typical American family and a physically challenged orphaned girl from Uganda. Much more than an adoption story, this book explores what happens when we sacrificially reach out and share God's love with others.

Ruth's story will inspire families considering adoption, people raising or teaching children with special needs, caregivers, and those grieving the loss of a loved one, ministering to people with disabilities, or striving to serve God despite their own wounded hearts and broken dreams.

About the Author

 Meadow Rue Merrill is an award-winning journalist who has spent the following eight years corresponding for The Boston Globe and writing for The New York Times, Harvard University, and The Boston Sunday Globe Magazine. She has regular columns with The Portland Press Herald and Down East magazine.
Connect with the author:
TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook

What I Thought: 
Adoption is near and dear to my heart, as I was adopted and my youngest son was adopted as well. We were both domestic adoptions through foster care, so very different situations than the Merrill's. I cannot imagine traveling to a foreign country to adopt your child.

Redeeming Ruth is broken down into a prologue, 21 chapters, epilogue, author's note, author's thanks, readers guide, notes, and photographs. I thought the readers guide was a wonderful resource, whether you read the book alone or as a group. For each chapter, there is a bible scripture, questions for discussion, and application. The photos were just wonderful, eight pages of full-color images that melted my heart. 

What an amazing family the Merrills are! They did what God led them to do, period. More of us need to follow His lead, even when its so incredibly hard. Once I picked Redeeming Ruth up, I couldn't put it down. I just had to know what happened to this sweet baby and her new family. You know that saying "It takes a village"? The adoption and life of Ruth is a perfect example of that. So many wonderful friends and family did so much to help this family, some even strangers! The author is so honest and raw with her feelings through the years.

After we adopted our son from foster care at three years old, so many people praised us and said how lucky he was, and we still hear that even with him being 14 years old now!  I understand why people say these things, but once you have adopted a child you know that it is the other way around. How blessed am I to have this child? He has brought such joy to my life, and I have learned so much from him. He has some severe learning disabilities and health problems (not life threatening), and he teaches us so much with his strength and determination. I'm sure that's the same way the Merrills feel-they were so blessed for their time with Ruth. Although it appeared they were doing everything for Ruth, she was giving them all so much!

Do yourself a favor and read Redeeming Ruth-it is a wonderful story of love. All personal proceeds from this book  benefit orphans and people with disabilities in Uganda. Right now, Redeeming Ruth is half off at Christian Book Distributors: http://uroomtech.christianbook.com/redeeming-everything-life-takes-love-restores/meadow-merrill/9781619709072/pd/709072  

If adoption or foster care isn't for you, there are other ways you can make a difference! In the author's notes section at the back of the book are other ways you can help.

I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Book Review~Treasured Grace

About the Book: 
From the back cover: In untamed Oregon Country, one young woman fights to keep her family safe. Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters, Hope and Mercy, became her responsibility. A hasty decision to head west seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start but has instead left Grace in a precarious position. When missionary Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife agree to let Grace and her sisters stay at their mission for the winter, Grace is grateful. Until they hear from their uncle in Oregon City, the three sisters have nowhere else to go. 

As Grace adjusts to life in the West, she meets a fur trapper named Alex Armistead who intrigues and infuriates her in equal measure. But when a measles outbreak threatens lives at the mission and among the native Cayuse who live nearby, it is Alex who helps Grace use the natural healing remedies she learned from her mother to help where she can, despite Dr. Whitman's disapproval. As the death toll rises, so do tensions between the settlers and the natives, and Grace soon finds herself and those she loves n more danger than she imagined possible.  

About the Author: 

Tracie Peterson's love for history and research fuels the bestselling stories she writes. She is the author of over one hundred novels and the recipient of the 2011 ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award. Tracie and her family live in Montana. You can learn more about Tracie and her books at www.traciepeterson.com

What I Thought: 
I had heard of author Tracie Peterson, but had never read anything by her. When I first received Treasured Grace, I looked inside the front cover and was amazed at the number of books she has written! Now that I have finished reading Treasured Grace, I understand why she is such a popular author-what talent!

The character of Grace is an amazing, selfless, hard-working woman who is making sacrifices so her sisters can have a fresh start out West. The story is full of anguish, from the many deaths from illness to the Whitman massacre, which is a true event in our history. Grace is strong throughout everything, and relies on her faith heavily. She uses her midwifery skills to help many sick people, both white and Indian.  

Treasured Grace was a fascinating read; one I stayed up late into the night reading because I did not want to put it down. It is a clean story (no swear words or sexuality), with many Christian references and Bible verses. The topics of rape, kidnapping, and suicide are all touched upon, so it would not be a book for the younger crowd or those who might be sensitive to these subjects. I loved reading Treasured Grace, which is the first book in Tracie Peterson's new Heart of the Frontier series. I look forward to the next book in the series, and in the meantime I will be seeking out more of her books to read!

Treasured Grace is available to purchase at Baker Publishing Group.

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Book Review~Mississippi Nights

About the Book: 
From the back cover: Two brothers, one death-the bond of brotherhood faces its greatest challenge against resentment and guilt.

Can the love between two brothers eventually win against pain and guilt?

When firefighter David Boyette's fiancee perishes in a car fire, he blames his brother, Sgt. Jeremy Boyette, for her death.

Three years later, David returns home with a dark and devastating secret. With the help of family, a woman's love, and a small child's devotion, can David overcome insurmountable odds as he and Jeremy face the bitterness that enslaves him?

Together the brothers must decide if the bond of brotherhood is stronger than resentment and hate.

About the Author: 
D.M. Webb (Daphne Self), a transplant from Mississippi who fell in love with Iowa, spends her days writing, biking, antiquing, and planning adventures with her husband and sons. Having always dreamed of being a writer she pursues this dream with only one goal in mind: To Glorify His Name. D.M. not only writes, but she's an avid reader who devours books in many genres. Catch some of her latest reviews at  www.rebelbookreviews.blogspot.com. Beyond her writing and reading, she also volunteers as a judge for the Genesis Contest and Carols Awards through American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).​
Connect with Daphne at:
Author Website: http://authordmwebb.weebly.com/
Author FB page link is https://www.facebook.com/WebbDM
Twitter page link is http://twitter.com/DaphMichele
Amazon Page link is  http://www.amazon.com/D.-M.-Webb/e/B007D8TXVO/

What I Thought:  
Mississippi Nights is a good, clean story that kept my attention throughout the 383 pages. The Boyette family is a strong Christian family dealing with issues families have to deal with. The two sons are a firefighter and police officer, and so they come into contact during work as well as family time. The tension between the boys is coming to a head, stemming from the death of David's wife years ago. David's hidden alcoholism is quickly destroying him, just when he starts dating Maggie, a sweet local girl who is a positive influence on him. 

All of the characters were very relateable, and I enjoyed how the strength of faith, family and community was focused on. 

You can purchase your own copy of Mississippi Nights in Kindle or Softcover from Amazon.

I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Polygamist's Daughter

About the Book: 
My father had thirteen wives and more than fifty children...This is the haunting memoir of Anna LeBaron, daughter of the notorious polygamist and murderer Ervil LeBaron. Ervil's criminal activity kept Anna and her siblings constantly on the run from the FBI. Often starving, the children lived in a perpetual state of fear-and despite their numbers, Anna always felt alone. Would she ever find a place she truly belonged? Would she ever be anything other than the polygamist's daughter?

Filled with murder, fear, and betrayal, The Polygamist's Daughter is the harrowing, heart-wrenching story of a fatherless girl and her unwavering search fro love, faith, and a place to call home.

What I Thought: 
I've always found polygamy a fascinating topic, and living in Utah, I probably hear and see more about it than if I lived in another state. Once I started The Polygamist's Daughter, I couldn't put it down.  Anna LeBaron tells the riveting story of her childhood in a polygamist cult. I honestly couldn't believe what this poor woman went through. The neglect and abuse that she accepted as normal life was horrifying.  It was hard to wrap my mind around the fact that adults could treat children like this. Even though Anna was always surrounded by many siblings and mothers, she felt alone and unloved. Her escape from the cult was inspiring.

Along with her amazing memoir, The Polygamist's Daughter has many pictures from her childhood, and a Q & A with the author. I highly recommend this book.

*Disclosure: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Book Review~The Sisters of Sugarcreek

About the Book (back cover):
   Devastated by a deadly fire that took the lives of their loved ones...
Lydia Gruber, a young Amish widow, faces an uncertain future. Without support or skills, how will she survive?

With the loss of her beloved Aunt, Jessica Holtz inherits Rose's Knit One Quilt Two Cottage. Though determined to keep the shop open, she doesn't know the first thing about knitting and quilting and begins to see her aunt's dream slip through her fingers.

Liz Cannon lost not only her dear friend Rose, but her partner in the Secret Stitches Society-dedicated to delivering anonymous gifts of hope to troubled folks. She and Jessica decide to keep the society going, choosing Lydia for their first mission.

The three women form an unlikely friendship in the aftermath of tragedy. As they walk together through triumph and heartbreak-through grief and new chances at love-they begin to discover that with friends by your side, a stitch of hope can be found anywhere.

About the Author: 

Cathy Liggett is the American Christian Fiction Writers' prestigious Carol award-winning author of Beaded Hope, her debut women's fictional novel, which was also nominated Best Inspirational Novel by Romantic Time's Reviewers' Choice Awards. Besides women's fiction, she also enjoys writing sweet romances. Cathy and her husband live in southwest Ohio. Visit her website at www.cathyliggett.com

What I Thought: 
I read a lot of Amish fiction, but I have never read anything by author Cathy Liggett. I found her book The Sisters of Sugarcreek to be a refreshing change from often somewhat predictable storylines. In this story, the Amish and Englisch worlds are intertwined, with two Englisch and one Amish woman becoming great friends. The themes throughout the book are kindness and faith. No matter what trials they are going through in their own lives, the Secret Sisters work to bring hope to those who are going through rough times. It was uplifting to read all the examples of women helping each other, even women who don't know each other.

The side stories of what is going on in each of the three women's lives were all interesting. While working to bring joy to others, they are each going through their own trials. The characters were fun and likeable, and easy to relate to. There are discussion questions at the back of the book. I think The Sisters of Sugarcreek would be a great book club book, and would be enjoyable for most women.

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Book Review~Her Secret

About the Book 

After a stalker went too far, Hannah Hilty and her family had no choice but to leave the bustling Amish community where she grew up. Now she’s getting a fresh start in Hart County, Kentucky…if only she wasn’t too scared to take it. Hannah has become afraid to trust anyone—even Isaac, the friendly Amish man who lives next door. She wonders if she’ll ever return to the trusting, easy-going woman she once was.
For Isaac Troyer, the beautiful girl he teasingly called “The Recluse” confuses him like no other. When he learns of her past, he knows he’s misjudged her. However, he also understands the importance of being grateful for God’s gifts, and wonders if they will ever have anything in common. But as Hannah and Isaac slowly grow closer, they realize that there’s always more to someone than meets the eye.
Just as Hannah is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding a new love, more secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes. Now Hannah must decide if she should run again or dare to fight for the future she has found in Hart County.

About the Author: 
 Shelley Shepard Gray is the “New York Times” and “USA Today” bestselling author of the Seasons of Sugarcreek series, the Sisters of the Heart series, and the Families of Honor series. She lives with her family in southern Ohio, where she writes full time. Before her work in the inspirational market, Gray wrote several novels as Shelley Galloway. During this time her books appeared on the Waldenbooks bestseller list, and she won “RT Book Reviews'” prestigious Reviewers’ Choice Award.
Connect with Shelley: 
Website:  http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyShepardGray
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ShelleySGray
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/shelleysgray/ 

 What I Thought: 
Shelley Shepard Gray is in the top five of my favorite Amish fiction authors. Her Secret is the first book in her new series, The Amish of Hart County. I was excited to learn that there will be six books in the series. They will be stand-alone novels, connected by their location in Hart County, Kentucky.

The author is a master storyteller, and Her Secret kept me glued to the book until I was done. It is very suspenseful, and at only 247 pages is a quick read. Two new things that I enjoyed in this book were the location-I have not read about Amish in Kentucky before, and the main storyline of an Amish girl being stalked by an Englischer.  

At the back of the book is the P.S. Section, which includes About the Author, About the Book, Q & A With the Amish, Questions for Discussion, and Facts About Hart County. I think it is great to have these extra resources, and I look forward to the next book in The Amish of Hart County. 

Read more reviews at Litfuse.  You can learn more about Her Secret and where to purchase a copy at the author's webpage. 

Click here for the chance to win a copy of Her Secret!

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free from Litfuse.