The Restoration by Wanda Brunstetter (review by Cathy)

the restoration

About the book:

Dive into an Amish country love triangle in this third book of the Prairie State Friends series. Priscilla Herschberger finds herself pursued by Elam, a childhood friend from her community, and David, an outsider raised in the modern world.

Elam would do almost anything to convince Priscilla that David would never fit into the Amish way. Will flames of jealousy rage out of control and ruin lives? Can forgiveness allow love and trust to grow?

My review:
What a wonderful book The Restoration is!
I have absolutely loved the characters from the beginning and have shared in their joys and sorrows.
There have been plenty of both for Priscilla, Elaine and Leah!
The three friends have taken emotional journeys and have maintained their strong bond.

Just when I thought that relationships would be repaired for the characters that I’ve come to care about, there’s a young Englisher that’s driving a wedge between Priscilla and Elam.
I became so involved in this storyline that I kept reading to see how or even if this relationship could be restored.

There are twists and turns in this book that held my attention, page after page.

The Prairie State Friends series has been one of my favorites. I’m sorry to see it end but I look forward to seeing what’s next in Wanda Brunstetter’s books.

Even if Amish fiction isn’t your preferred genre, I’d highly recommend this book and series. It’s well written and the characters are interesting and cohesive.

I received a copy of this book the author and her publisher in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

 

 

Printer Problems by B.W. Mackey (review by Kristi)

Printer Problems

From Goodreads: BRIAN REED HAS A NEW PRINTER FOR HIS COMPUTER, AND IT SEEMS TO HAVE A MIND OF ITS OWN. CAN BRIAN AND HIS FRIEND BREAK THE CURSE BEFORE THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENS?

Strange messages print when no one is around, when no data has been sent to the print queue, and even when the machine is unplugged. The worst part for twelve-year- old Brian is the predictions are coming true and life is becoming scary. Each time Brian tells a lie, makes fun of someone, or does something he shouldn’t–the messages appear.

Brian gets help from his friend, Jason, to tackle the printer problems. But when the boys meet Angela Daniels, their situation becomes much more urgent. Since Angela has also been in contact with the printer, it is now causing more danger than they could have imagined. The trio must solve the mystery, and they don’t have time to waste.

My review: Printer Problems is the first kids’ book by author B.W. Mackey. Of course, you might know her best by her real name, Beth Wiseman. Beth has entered the kids’ book arena with an entertaining story alongside a lesson about consequences.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I know Beth as a wonderful writer of Amish fiction and contemporary fiction. Her writing in this book is just as good as in the other genres she writes. This story was well thought out and written well for the targeted age group. The book gets across what happens when you do things that aren’t right but not in an overly preachy way. I think this is great in a book for kids as they will be more likely to stay involved with the story and still get the point of the story.

I believe this book is geared more towards middle school-aged boys with the two main characters in the book being boys of this age group. However, I think girls would enjoy the story, too.

If you have kids in the family who love to read and are looking for a fresh new voice, pick up a copy of Printer Problems.

I was given a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion which I have given.

A Tide Worth Turning by Beth Wiseman(review by Cathy)

A Tide Worth Turning

From Goodreads:

 

Addison Burke is a successful real estate agent who specializes in high-end closings and who enjoys an elite lifestyle not often afforded someone her age (27). But following a stroke and a recent fall, Addison is forced to hire a caregiver for her estranged mother, Lee Ann; a job Addison chooses not to take on, despite her financial freedom to do so. She hires an agency to fill the position, and to her surprise, they send a man for the job. Logan has somehow managed to keep his act together despite a past that is slowly catching up with him. If he can make enough money over the next couple of months by tending to Lee Ann Burke, he should be able to flee the country before his world comes crashing down around him. But when Lee Ann’s beautiful daughter, Addison, begins to awaken feelings in him that he thought died long ago, he begins to question whether or not fleeing from the past is worth leaving Addison forever. Will Addison let down her guard for love and renew her relationship with her mother? Can Logan face his past, come out unscathed, and act on his feelings for Addison? And why is Lee Ann selling everything she owns on Ebay and Craig’s List?

My review:

This is a story of family, love, faith and new beginnings.

A well written novella, Beth has managed to tell the story of the four main character’s without making things seem rushed. Each character was well developed and had an interesting story.

One of my favorite characters is Lee Ann. She has such strength and made a decision to protect Addison’s feelings at all costs.

Letting go of past hurts and learning to forgive is the main theme of this wonderful book by Beth Wiseman.

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

 

 

 

Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard (review by Kristi)

Promise Lodge

From Goodreads: It’s a better life, a fresh start–and a heaven-sent second chance. Founded by three Amish sisters determined to put misfortune behind them, Promise Lodge is a colony where faith’s abiding promise can be fulfilled–and love can make all things new…

Energetic widow Mattie Bender Schwartz is working day and night to get Promise Lodge going. She’s also hoping the change will help her son Noah’s heart to heal after his broken engagement. But his former fiancée, Deborah, is looking for a fresh start too. Filled with regret, and cast out by her dat for a reason she can’t yet reveal, Deborah can only pray Noah will forgive her foolishness.

Deborah is the last person Noah expected to show up at Promise Lodge. But with her cruel words still ringing in his head, he’s reluctant to accept her apology–even if the Old Order ways demand he try. If only he could obey Christ’s most important commandment: love one another. But one thing is certain–his mother and aunts, and their beloved Preacher Amos, will do their best to help him get there.

My review: I have been wanting to read a book by Charlotte Hubbard for forever it seems. I finally got the chance with her upcoming release Promise Lodge. The wait was well worth it. This book was sooooo good.

I liked the premise of this book. Three unmarried sisters who, along with Preacher Amos Troyer, set out to start a new Amish settlement. The sisters were unique to the Amish fiction genre as they were independent and determined. The sisters and their children were easy to like and so was Preacher Amos. He was a leader but also laid back and willing to listen to what the sisters wanted to do. Again, this isn’t something I’ve read in the genre and it was a nice fresh storyline. I also liked Noah and Deborah’s story. I couldn’t wait to see how things would turn out for these two.

I love the author’s writing style. Her choice of words and the descriptions she used made me feel as if I were there and a part of the beginning of this new colony. The way she told the story kept me interested and reading as fast as I could.

As an added bonus there is a recipe section at the back of the book that includes recipes for most, if not all, the foods the group ate during the story. I thought this was a great bonus and can’t wait to try some of the recipes. Maybe the Hummingbird Cake will be first?

So to sum it up….I. Loved. This. Book. I am so glad this was the first book of Charlotte’s I read and can’t wait to read the next book in this series. I will be adding all of her books to my reading wishlist. She is a must-read author for fans of Amish fiction!!

I received a free copy of this book from the author through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion which I have given.

A Tide Worth Turning by Beth Wiseman (review by Kristi)

A Tide Worth Turning

From Goodreads: Addison Burke is a successful real estate agent who specializes in high-end closings and who enjoys an elite lifestyle not often afforded someone her age (27). But following a stroke and a recent fall, Addison is forced to hire a caregiver for her estranged mother, Lee Ann; a job Addison chooses not to take on, despite her financial freedom to do so. She hires an agency to fill the position, and to her surprise, they send a man for the job.

Logan has somehow managed to keep his act together despite a past that is slowly catching up with him. If he can make enough money over the next couple of months by tending to Lee Ann Burke, he should be able to flee the country before his world comes crashing down around him. But when Lee Ann’s beautiful daughter, Addison, begins to awaken feelings in him that he thought died long ago, he begins to question whether or not fleeing from the past is worth leaving Addison forever.

Will Addison let down her guard for love and renew her relationship with her mother? Can Logan face his past, come out unscathed, and act on his feelings for Addison? And why is Lee Ann selling everything she owns on Ebay and Craig’s List?

My review: I have said many times before I don’t really enjoy novellas. I am more of a “full-length” novel type of reader. That being said, I have read several novellas over 100 pages and found myself enjoying them. Receiving this novella by Beth Wiseman and discovering it was less than 100 pages had me really doubting I would enjoy this story. How Beth has changed my mind!

This story was easy to get into. The characters are well-developed and the story is well executed. The author has included all the elements one would expect in a full-length novel and does a wonderful job of telling this story in less than 100 pages.

This is a well-told story that readers can enjoy in one setting. This book kept me up past my bedtime as I am sure it has done for many other readers. If you are looking for a quick read this is the book for you!

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard (review by Cathy)

Promise Lodge

From Goodreads:

It’s a better life, a fresh start–and a heaven-sent second chance. Founded by three Amish sisters determined to put misfortune behind them, Promise Lodge is a colony where faith’s abiding promise can be fulfilled–and love can make all things new… Energetic widow Mattie Bender Schwartz is working day and night to get Promise Lodge going. She’s also hoping the change will help her son Noah’s heart to heal after his broken engagement. But his former fiancée, Deborah, is looking for a fresh start too. Filled with regret, and cast out by her dat for a reason she can’t yet reveal, Deborah can only pray Noah will forgive her foolishness. Deborah is the last person Noah expected to show up at Promise Lodge. But with her cruel words still ringing in his head, he’s reluctant to accept her apology–even if the Old Order ways demand he try. If only he could obey Christ’s most important commandment: love one another. But one thing is certain–his mother and aunts, and their beloved Preacher Amos, will do their best to help him get there.

My review:

Let me start by saying, I have been a fan of Charlotte Hubbard’s books for several years. When I found out she was writing a new series I eagerly anticipated the first book.

Promise Lodge went far above my expectaions. I could not stop reading it.

I didn’t have a favorite character, I had several!

Rosetta, Mattie and Christine are the founders of the Amish colony and it was a joy to get to know them! They have such courage and conviction.

The dialogue is sharp and witty. There were parts of the book where I was laughing out loud!

This is unlike any other Amish community I’ve ever read about.

It will take hard work and determination to make Promise Lodge a community that will draw other’s to join them.

They want to live in peace and harmony just like everyone else. They are off to good start with their sons, daughters and Preacher Amos.

I cannot wait to find out what will happen in the next book, but I know that Ms. Hubbard will release another fantastic 2nd book in this series.

There are recipes from the Promise Lodge Kitchen included.

This is a book that I will read again.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest oppinion.

 

 

 

Joshua’s Mission by Vanetta Chapman(review by Cathy)

Joshua's Mission

Thank you Vanetta for visiting our blog today and for so generously giving away a copy of Joshua’s Mission to one lucky winner!  

*What’s your favorite book by Vanetta Chapman?  Tell us in your comment and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of Joshua’s Mission.  Winner will be announced on  February 4th!*

 

My review:

This is the second book and Ms. Chapman’s Plain and Simple Miracles series, but is easily a standalone.

I loved the different but cohesive storylines that Ms.  Chapman has written in this book.

The characters are so real and the setting of both the farmlands of Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast of Texas made this an interesting and enjoyable book.

This was the first novel that I’ve read that had so much information on the Mennonite Disaster Services which is paramount to the storyline.

It also brings Joshua and his brother Alton along with other members in the community to offer aid to those effected by the hurricane.  One of my favorite characters in this book is Becca Troyer.  She’s a sweet, kind young lady, but she has such strength.

Joshua’s Mission is much more than the helping hand the Amish extend to this English community.  It’s also where some of the characters find the path they are meant to take in life.  It’s a story of faith, love and new beginnings.

If you are looking for a well written novel, this is one you’ll definitely want to read.

I received a copy of this book from the author and was not required to give a positive review.

Thank you Vanetta for visiting our blog today and sharing so much with us.  We also appreciate that you are giving away one copy of Joshua’s Mission to one lucky winner!

VC

Joshua’s Mission – Setting: Port Aransas, Texas

Thank you for inviting me to visit your blog today. I’m very excited about the release of Joshua’s Mission (2-1-16), which is book 2 in my Plain & Simple Miracles series. The Amish characters in this book live in Cody’s Creek, Oklahoma. That’s a fictional town, but it’s based on Chouteau, Oklahoma, which is east of Tula.

The bulk of the action happens at Port Aransas, Texas. In my story, a category 4 hurricane hits the gulf and pretty much levels the town. Then volunteers start arriving, all sorts of people from near and far, and among those volunteers are my smallish group of Amish who are serving with Mennonite Disaster Services.

Basics about Port Aransas. Port A is the only town on Mustang Island, and is located across the bay from Corpus Christi. There are approximately 3,500 residents in the town, though there are a lot more during summer tourist season. The University of Texas Marine Science Institute is also located here.

Past hurricanes. Port A has sustained hurricane damage in the past. The 1916 hurricane destroyed nearly everything. There have been other hurricanes to hit the area, including Carla in 1961 and Celia in 1970.

Visiting. I had a wonderful time visiting the Port A area. We went in October, so there wasn’t a lot of tourists, but there was still plenty to do. And yes, it was warm enough to swim. We walked up and down the beaches, visited local restaurants, spoke to the museum curator, stopped by city hall, and interviewed at length one of the local realtors. Everyone was very helpful, and everyone we spoke to said it’s not a matter of IF there will be another hurricane, but WHEN. They are doing their best to raise building codes and of course have very detailed evacuation plans. We also went out on a tour boat that took us around the bay. The crew caught a net full of fish which they let us see and touch before throwing them back in. (Yes, this a scene in the book).

Truth vs fiction. Much of what you will read in Joshua’s Mission has already happened. The actual hurricane scenes are from my imagination, but I used firsthand accounts of past hurricanes to make them plausible. The Tarpon Inn and giant shark exist in the downtown area, and the tour boat is exactly as I describe it – right down to the man who handled the fish having only one arm (see picture). This guy was amazing.

MDS. The heart of this story is about how people help one another and how they fall on their faith in difficult times. My husband has worked with Mennonite Disaster Services in central Texas, where they have shown up to help many times. The scenes I depict of MDS volunteers rebuilding are fictional, but I interviewed MDS administrators as well as read their book describing their organization.

Additional reading. If these subjects interest you, I highly recommend the following books:

  • Mennonite Disaster Service, by Brenda D. Phillips.
  • Images of America: Port Aransas, by J. Guthrie Ford and Mark Creighton
  • 1919 The Storm, by Murphy Givens and Jim Moloney

 

vc [3686]

Now I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever visited the Texas coast? If not, tell me your favorite beach or vacation spot.

Vannetta Chapman

 

Bio and Links

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her novel, Falling to Pieces, was a 2012 ACFW Carol Award winner for best mystery. Chapman was a teacher for 15 years and currently writes full time. She lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.

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