icRKphJXQm-ezth8lntKydifkDg The Loose Screw: 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Book Review~Seeds of Hope

About the Book: 
Miriam Troyer has had a secret crush on Mark Byler since she was a teenager, but she knows they can never have a relationship: Mark is a big-city attorney and an Englischer. Her Amish community is too far removed from all he knows–and she loves her quiet way of life.
Mark has always loved his visits to his grandfather’s farm, but he’s convinced the Amish life isn’t for him. There’s so much of the world to see and experience, and the excitement of his successful law practice can’t be matched by the slow pace of life found back home in the country.
But when things go wrong and his firm distances itself from him to try to save themselves, Mark finds himself back at his grandfather’s farm. Could life in this simple world be worth living after all? Especially when the teenager he remembers has grown into a woman that could be his future. Suddenly, these two people whose lives seem so far apart may get a chance to really see each other for the first time.
About the Author: 

Barbara Cameron has a heart for writing about the spiritual values and simple joys of the Amish. She is the best-selling author of more than 40 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies, and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Her books have been nominated for Carol Awards and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award from RWA’s Faith, Hope, and Love chapter. Barbara resides in Jacksonville, Florida.  Visit her website at http://barbaracameron.com

What I Thought: 

Seeds of Hope is the first book in author Barbara Cameron's new series, Harvest of Hope. I've read a few other books of hers and have enjoyed them, but Seeds of Hope is definitely my favorite book that this author has written. Miriam is such a sweet young Amish woman, dedicated to her family and community. She will do anything for anyone, always putting others first. She takes wonderful care of an older Amish neighbor, John, who has no family nearby. 

Miriam has always had a crush on Mark, John's grandson who would visit every summer when they were children. Now an attorney in the city, Mark doesn't have much time for visiting his grandfather. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Mark returns to the farm for an extended visit, and Miriam's crush turns into much more. 

I really enjoyed Seeds of Hope, and read it quite quickly because I had to find out what happened! When two people from different worlds fall in love and being together seems impossible, of course everyone is rooting for them to end up together. Miriam and Mark had to learn to trust God to pave the way for them to have a future together. 

Seeds of Hope was a beautiful story of love, faith, family and community. At the back of the book are a glossary, discussion questions, and a recipe. I look forward to reading more from Barbara Cameron in this new series. 

Learn more about Seeds of Hope and purchase your own copy at the author's website.  Read more reviews at Litfuse.

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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Book Review~Home All Along

About the Book:
Charlotte, an Englisher, is living in Amish Country, and she has formed strong and lasting bonds with the people in her new community. She has even fallen in love with an Amish man. But just when she is considering a permanent conversion to the Amish way of life, her world crashes around her. An unexpected death and a mysterious visitor unsettle Charlotte, and she begins to question her faith and her choices.
Daniel loves Charlotte and wants to share his life with her, even it if means leaving the only world he’s ever known. But as he walks alongside of her through her struggles, his own world is turned upside down when a loved one receives a grim medical diagnosis and a prodigal relative returns home. Will Charlotte and Daniel’s relationship succumb to the many pressures around them, or will their faith and the strong community around them allow them to weather the storms of their own lives in order to build a life together?

What I Thought:
Home All Along is the third book in author Beth Wiseman's Amish Secrets series. I did read the first two books in the series, and have thoroughly enjoyed all three books. Charlotte and Daniel come from two very different worlds, English and Amish, but have found love together. Their lives are turned upside-down with the people they love going through life-threatening crisis, and through it all they must decide if their love is strong enough to withstand their differences. One of them has to make a life changing decision if they are willing to live a different lifestyle to stay with the person they love. Although I think Home All Along could be enjoyed by itself, the reader will get much more from the story if they read all three books in order.

There are discussion questions at the back of the book, making Home All Along a great choice for your Book Club.

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

Book Review & Author Kindle Giveaway~All Things Now Living

About the Book:
Her whole life Amy has been taught the people of New Lithisle deserve to die, but when she falls for Daniel, she determines to save him.
Sixteen-year-old Amy doesn’t like anything to die, she won’t even eat the goats or chickens her mama has butchered every fall, but she can’t let herself pity the inhabitants of New Lithisle. In a few short months the dome they built to isolate themselves from the deadly pandemic is predicted to collapse, but her whole life Amy has been taught it’s God’s will they die. They traded their souls for immunity to the swine flu virus, brought God’s curse upon themselves by adding pig genes to their own.
Then, while on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are.

Amy’s feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn’t end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer, and was trying to prevent the coming destruction.
Now time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome’s collapse, but if Amy doesn’t find her father’s contact in time, she’ll die, along with everyone else.

About the Author: 

Rondi Bauer Olson is a reader and writer from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where she lives on a hobby farm with her husband, Kurt. She has four grown children, works as a nurse, and also owns a gift shop within view of beautiful Lake Superior.
Author's website: http://rondibauerolson.weebly.com/

What I Thought: 
Although for the most part I read historical fiction, Amish fiction, and mystery/suspense, occasionally I enjoy a YA Dystopian story. All Things Now Living was a perfect story to fulfill that dystopian craving. At 253 pages, it was a quick read. This is the first book in the Seventh Daughter series, and I will definitely be continuing to read the series as the books come out.

Amy is a likeable character, a sweet girl who learns much about herself as the story goes on. Having lived quite sheltered, ending up in New Lithisle is quite eye-opening to her. She meets Daniel, who is genetically altered, something she is very much against and believes that those altered do not have souls. Through lots of action and suspense, with a little romance, the story continues with Amy trying to save the people in the dome with a computer program her father wrote.

All Things Now Living was a fun read-exciting and suspenseful, with very interesting characters. It is a story of self-discovery, and things not always being what they seem or what you've always believed. I look forward to more books in the series.

Learn more about All Things Now Living, and purchase your own copy at the author's website.  Go to Litfuse to read more reviews. 

At the book's website, there is a Teachers Guide available for the classroom, a Common Core State Standards Aligned Discussion and Project Guide for grades 7-12. 

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

While on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle in Rondi Bauer Olson's All Things Now Living. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are. Amy's feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn't end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer. Time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome's collapse, but if Amy doesn't find her father's contact in time, she'll die, along with everyone else.

Stay up all night reading this thrilling new book from Rondi and enter to win a Kindle Fire!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of All Things Now Living
  • A Kindle Fire
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 14. The winner will be announced December 15 on the Litfuse blog.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A Record of My Vinyl: A Collector's Catalog

My twenty-six year old son recently purchased a record player and his first record. He is excited to begin a vinyl collection. Oh, how I wish I hadn't thrown away my records from my childhood. I believe there are some he would appreciate. Hindsight is always 20/20, right?

Since my son is a brand new collector, A Record of My Vinyl seemed to be a perfect gift for him. It is a softcover, and the cover looks like a record was wrapped around the book. It even feels like a record! Inside is an introduction to why vinyl is cool, and how to use this book. Next is the bulk of the book-the place where you record your vinyl collection. Each space contains Artist, Label, Album, Country, Catalog No, Year, Grade, and Liner Notes. There is room for recording four albums on each page, and at the top of each page is a place to write the category. There is space for  records. Next is a section on How to Care for Your Collection, How to Value Your Vinyl, and Understanding Record Speeds. Last are several perforated sheets where you can list your most wanted vinyl. My only negative feedback for this book is that one of the perforated sheets had already come out, so they must come out very easily.

I think A Record of My Vinyl: A Collector's Catalog is a must-have for any record collector. Especially once your collection gets sizable, it may be hard to remember all that you have. This would be a great gift. It looks (and feels) cool too!

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

Product Review~Let the Little Children Come

Let the Little Children Come aims to provide effective gospel tracts and evangelism tools and resources for children. It is the hope that these tools and resources will help you in conveying the powerful gospel message to children. These gospel tracts are all specially designed to capture and hold the attention of children, while not distracting them from the core message of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Wonderful tools to use in Sunday School, VBS and  outreach programs.  Easy for children to understand and talk about to their friends!

The Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack contains 10 Gospel Tracks and Evangelism tools:

Animated Tracts: John 3:16, The True Story of Christmas, and Where's Everybody Going?
Pop-Up Tracts: The Most Amazing House, The Lost Easter Egg

FlipAbouts: Gospel Buttons, John 3:16  

Wordless Bracelet Kit, Silicone Salvation Bracelet, Wordless Book  

I was so impressed with these gospel tracts! Most people think of Bible tracts as boring, but these evangelism tracts and tools are fun! If you want to share the gospel with children, the Let the Little Children Come website is the place you need to go! These tools would be great for Sunday school, VBS, and more!  As anyone who has spent time around young children knows, they are fascinated by things that move and pop-up.

At the website, there is a resources section full of different ideas on using each of these great gospel tools and tracts, as well as articles and Child evangelism tips. The Let the Little Children Come sampler pack is the perfect way to try out some of these great gospel tracts and tools! The prices are very reasonable as well.

By far, my family's favorite tool from the sampler pack was the Animated Tracts, with the FlipAbouts a close second. All you do is slide the striped plastic card from left to right, and the pictures come to life!

Visit Let the Little Children Come to check out all that this great company has to offer!

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Book Review~The Delusion

About the Book:
By March of Owen Edmonds’s senior year, eleven students at Masonville High School have committed suicide. Amid the media frenzy and chaos, Owen tries to remain levelheaded—until he endures his own near-death experience and wakes to a distressing new reality.

The people around him suddenly appear to be shackled and enslaved.

Owen frantically seeks a cure for what he thinks are crazed hallucinations, but his delusions become even more sinister. An army of hideous, towering beings, unseen by anyone but Owen, are preying on his girlfriend and classmates, provoking them to self-destruction.

Owen eventually arrives at a mind-bending conclusion: he’s not imagining the evil—everyone else is blind to its reality. He must warn and rescue those he loves . . . but this proves to be no simple mission. Will he be able to convince anyone to believe him before it’s too late?

Owen’s heart-pounding journey through truth and delusion will force him to reconsider everything he believes. He both longs for and fears the answers to questions that are quickly becoming too dangerous to ignore.

What I Thought: 
The Delusion: We All Have Our Demons was a little different from the types of book I usually read. I found it very suspenseful and exciting. Spiritual warfare was the main topic, and many heavy topics are included. Recommended as a Young Adult book, as a parent I would be very careful letting my teen read The Delusion because of the subject matter. The chains and shackles were such a great representation of all the baggage we carry. 

Author Laura Gallier is a talented writer who I  look forward to reading more from. Her website is www.lauragallier.com

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

Book Review~The Gift

About the Book:
A special Christmas story about love and blessings in the next book in the Amish of Hart County series. The Schwartz family is happy to be spending Christmas on their new farm in Hart County. But when Susanna Schwartz hears gunshots that causes her buggy to overturn, and then her little sister falls through a wooden bridge into the icy creek, it becomes clear from these dangerous “accidents” that someone wants them gone.
Neil Vance has been heartbroken ever since his parents lost their family farm. He knows it’s not the Schwartz family’s fault, but he can’t help but be resentful. Until he meets Susanna. She is kind-hearted and bold, and Neil can’t stop thinking about her pretty green eyes.
Neil thinks the accidents are just that, but Susanna’s father is convinced the Vance family is responsible. Susanna refuses to believe Neil would do anything to harm her. She’s fallen in love with him and knows he is a good man. But her family is ready to pack up and move, and time is running out to uncover the truth before someone gets hurt . . . or worse.

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:
The Gift is the third book in author Shelley Shepard Gray's series The Amish of Hart County. The three books all take place in the same county, but do not continue a story, so they can be read on their own or out of order. I did read the first two books, Her Secret and His Guilt. The other books in the series were excellent, so I had high expectations for The Gift-and once again, the author did not disappoint. Shelley Shepard Gray has been one of my favorite authors since I began reading Amish fiction. She is a talented writer, and I always read her books quickly because I cannot put them down.

There is a great amount of suspense in The Gift. The Schwartz family is being targeted by someone in the community, and Susanna is determined to figure out who before life is lost. An unlikely romance between her and Neil Vance emerges during this time, and Neil has some hard facts to face about his own family. The Gift was a great balance of romance and suspense!

At the back of the book is a PS section, including About the Author, About the Book, Questions for Discussion, two Christmas recipes for giving, and a sneak peak into the next book in the series, to be released in March 2018.

Visit the author's website for more information and to purchase your own copy of The Gift. Visit Litfuse to read more reviews of this book.

Author Giveaway!!

Click here to be taken to the entry form.

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Star Movie!!

You guys-watch this trailer! This movie looks so adorable.

In Sony Pictures Animation's The Star, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a loveable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become unlikely heroes in the greatest story ever told.

Just in time for the holidays, The Star is being released at theatres nationwide this Friday, November 17th! The trailer above is so cute! Watching the story of Jesus' birth through the eyes of the animals is definitely going to catch kids' attention.   This movie will be great for the entire family to see-I can't wait to take my grandson to it!  The characters look like lots of fun to watch, and the music is spectacular! Lots of famous actors and singers were part of The Star! Of course, coming from Sony Pictures Animation, you know it will be the highest quality.

At the website for the movie, http://www.thestarmovie.com/site/ , there are tons of resources and activities-even an animated coloring book! You can learn more about the movie, the characters and how the movie was made. You can even buy tickets. In the Menu under Videos, you will be taken to YouTube, where there are lots of videos to watch behind the scenes.

Here's a great review from someone who got to see the movie before the release date: https://www.christianquotes.info/star-movie-review/

I'm very excited to go see The Star with my family, and to get the soundtrack. Be sure to check The Star out starting 11/17/17, and let me know what you thought!

*This is a sponsored post. I am a featured contributor of The Star Influencer Program. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Children's Book Review and Giveaway~God's Great Love for You

About God’s Great Love for You:
God’s Great Love for You, written by #1 New York Times bestselling author and respected pastor Rick Warren, takes children on a whimsical and heartfelt journey that lets them know God’s love is with them wherever they go. With breathtaking illustrations by Chris Saunders, the simple yet poignant text comes alive as a child journeys to places far and near and discovers God’s great love is perfect, and everywhere, and will never end.

My Thoughts:
God's Great Love for You, written by Rick Warren and illustrated by Chris Saunders, is a beautiful 32-page hardcover children's book published by ZonderKidz. This is a simple yet beautiful book, reminding young children how great God's love for them is. There are only a handful of words on each page, making it a great book for very early readers. There is a nice presentation page at the front of the book, which makes it a perfect gift for any occasion.  The illustrations were beautiful and colorful, easily capturing young ones' attention.

The recommended age range for God's Great Love for You is 4-8, which I think is a little off.  The picture above is my six-year-old grandson reading the book. He enjoyed it, but it was a little too quick for him. If he were to choose a book to read, he would choose something that would last longer. I think younger toddlers would enjoy having this book read to them as well. Personally, I think the age range is more like birth-5. 

God's Great Love for You is a wonderful reminder for young children how very much they are loved by our God. I think it would make a great addition to a young child's bookshelf.

Learn more and purchase your own copy: http://info.zondervan.com/rick-warren-childrens-books/

Please be sure to read the rules in the Disclosure at the bottom of this blog post. 
One reader will win their own copy of God's Great Love for You!
Giveaway begins 11/7/17 and ends at midnight MST 11/14/17. Winner will be notified by email within 24 hours. Winner must respond within 24 hours or a new winner will be drawn. 

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Book Review~The Gift of Christmas Past

About the Book:
At twenty-seven, Hadley is still trying to get free of the weight she's carried all her life-entering foster care at age five, getting arrested at seventeen for arson, and losing her boyfriend, Monroe, when she needed him most.

Monroe never wanted to walk out on Hadley. He'd understood her, from her desire to help children with speech issues to her intense temper. But when she was arrested, he became haunted by what he knew and convinced his only choice was to end their relationship.

Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again...thrown together to help a four-year-old girl who's been rendered mute after being rescued from an apartment fire. 

Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground  in order to help the traumatized young girl and her family. 

Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?

About the Authors:
Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction. She's been featured in national media outlets such as ABC's Nightline and the Wall Street Journal. Cindy has won numerous awards and has been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia mountains. She can be found online at www.cindywoodsmall.com .

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book. How could a Southern gal not enjoy research time in Asheville, North Carolina, as part of the job?

What I Thought:
I am a fan of Cindy Woodsmall, and have read all of her books. I was excited to read something other than Amish fiction that she had written, and with her daughter-in-law Erin also writing the book, it was even more interesting.

The Gift of Christmas Past was a fun romance to read. I enjoyed the characters-as usual, with Cindy Woodsmall books, I felt like I really got to know the main characters by the end of the story. The authors did a good job of giving enough background of the main characters' teenage years to make the rest of the story understandable. Although I didn't feel that there was as strong of a Christmas presence as I expected by the title of the book, there were many aspects of the book that I enjoyed.

Having been a foster parent for many years, stories involving foster care always interest me. It was good to see foster kids who succeeded as adults and went on to get college educations. The speech therapy part of the story was also very interesting and educational, especially Apraxia, which one of my nieces was diagnosed with years ago.

There are a few recipes and discussion questions at the back of the book. The Gift of Christmas Past would be a great book for a book club, as there are many interesting topics to discuss.

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

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Book Review~Abiding Mercy by Ruth Reid

About the Book: 
Abiding Mercy is the first book in author Ruth Reid's Amish Mercies series.  

Sixteen-year-old Faith has worked full-time in her parents' restaurant since she finished eighth grade. She loves her Amish community and the romantic attentions of her longtime friend, Gideon. 

When her sister seems to be getting too friendly with Englischers, and her parents are in a buggy accident, Faith wants to escape into her dream of joining the church and getting married. 

But then a local newspaper runs a story about a child named Adriana who was kidnapped fifteen years earlier, and everything Faith has held true comes into question. 

Suddenly the community Faith has known her whole life seems unreal. Can she even trust her own family? And how will she ever find home again if she no longer belongs in the world she knows best?

About the Author: 
Ruth Reid is a full-time pharmacist who lives in Florida with her husband and three children. When attending the Ferris State University College of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several occasions to visit the Amish farms. Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life. Visit Ruth online at www.ruthreid.com, on Facebook at Author Ruth Reid, and Twitter at @AuthorRuthReid. 

What I Thought: 
I've read several of author Ruth Reid's books and always enjoy them. I find it especially exciting when I'm reading the very first book in a series and it turns out to be a really great story, like Abiding Mercy did. Now I know that there are more good books coming in the series!

The main character Faith is a very sweet Old Order Amish young woman. Her boyfriend, Gideon, is charming, and they have a blossoming romance. Faith is a very hard worker, and besides her rough relationship with her sister, life is full and good. After an unfortunate accident turns the family upside-down, Faith throws herself into saving her family's beloved restaurant, The Amish Table. Soon a secret is uncovered about Faith's past, and her life is forever changed. 

I enjoyed reading about the conflicting emotions everyone had regarding Faith being found by her birth parents, and how they were resolved. God definitely throws some curve balls in our lives, and this story emphasizes trusting Him to get you through these hard times and following His lead. Abiding Mercy was a heartwarming story that I really enjoyed. There are Discussion Questions at the back of the book, making it a perfect choice for a book club!

*Disclosure: I received this book free from www.booklookbloggers.com in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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.
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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.