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.

http://www.amazon.com/Joshuas-Mission-Plain-Simple-Miracles-ebook/dp/B018676F02/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

http://vannettachapman.com

https://twitter.com/VannettaChapman

https://www.facebook.com/VannettaChapmanBooks

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The Restoration by Wanda E. Brunstetter (review by Kristi)

the restoration

From Goodreads: 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: Opening up a Wanda Brunstetter book is like pulling on an old comfy sweater. You can sink down into the coziness of the story and surround yourself with a thoroughly good read. The Restoration was just such a read that I found myself reading the entire book in a day.

I found myself being pulled into the story from the first page. It was nice returning to Arthur, Illinois and catching up on the lives of characters I had begun to think of as friends and neighbors. New characters are introduced and we are able to get to know existing characters better. Wanda has brought the characters to life and made them completely believable and relatable.

There are several storylines going on in this book with the main story being a love triangle including an Amish couple and their Englisher friend. I enjoyed this storyline and the others as it brought to light the fact that the Amish are not really all that different from the rest of the world. They have problems and dilemmas just like everyone else.

Fans of Amish fiction are sure to love this book. New readers of the genre will enjoy the book as well. Even though it is the third book in the series it can be read as a standalone. I would recommend reading the two previous books first then this one so you will be more familiar with all the characters and their stories. However, if you can’t wait to read this one then go ahead. You won’t be lost as there is enough backstory provided.

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

The Mountain Midwife by Laurie Alice Eakes (review by Kristi)

The Mountain Midwife

From Goodreads: For nearly two hundred years, women in Ashley Tolliver’s family have practiced the art of midwifery in their mountain community. Now she wants to take her skills a step further, but attending medical school means abandoning those women to whom she has dedicated her life, the mountains she loves, and the awakening of her heart.

Ashley Tolliver has tended to the women of her small Appalachian community for years. As their midwife, she thinks she has seen it all. Until a young woman gives birth at Ashley’s home and is abducted just as Ashley tries to take the dangerously bleeding mother to the nearest hospital. Now Ashley is on a mission to find the woman and her newborn baby . . . before it’s too late.

Hunter McDermott is on a quest—to track down his birth mother. After receiving more media attention than he could ever want for being in the right place at the right time, he receives a mysterious phone call from a woman claiming to be his mother. Hunter seeks out the aid of the local midwife in the mountain town where the phone call originated—surely she can shed some light on his own family background.

Ashley isn’t prepared for the way Hunter’s entrance into her world affects her heart and her future. He reignites dreams of having her own family that she has long put aside in favor of earning her medical degree and being able to do even more for her community. But is it commitment to her calling or fear of the unknown that keeps her feet firmly planted in the Appalachian soil? Or is it something more—fear of her growing feelings for Hunter—that makes her hesitant to explore the world beyond the mountains?

My review: When I first saw the cover of this book I thought perhaps this was a historical fiction book. Upon reading the back cover, I realized it was a contemporary fiction piece that ties in with a historical fiction series the author has written. The premise of the book sounded interesting with a midwife serving the women of the Appalachia area. I couldn’t wait to start reading this book.

The first chapter pulled me right into the story. Suspense and intrigue along with action surrounded a dramatic birth at the home of the midwife. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to these characters and the baby. However, after this chapter, the story started to become a rollercoaster ride for me. There were as many ups and downs to this story as the hills the main character traveled doing her job.

I didn’t really care for Ashley and Hunter, the two main characters in the story. I didn’t feel connected to them and this made the story a bit difficult to stay interested in. Ashley was just kind of bland at times and Hunter came across as a spoiled brat. His reaction to the news he had been adopted didn’t seem real to me. I did like Ashley’s friend Heather and was hoping there would be more of her in the story. Her story was more interesting to me than Ashley’s.

The flow and pace of the story were not steady and this bothered me. At times, I was interested in the story and it was being told at a good pace and flowed easily from chapter to chapter and then would just kind of stall. I then found it way to easy to put down and hard to pick back up. I feel as if a bit more editing would have fixed the issue.

This is a story of romance and suspense and I did enjoy the way the author handled both aspects without the book being overly romantic or overly suspenseful. One definitely couldn’t say it was a romance with suspense tossed in or vice versa. The balance of romance and suspense was perfect.

This story wasn’t horrible by any means but just wasn’t my idea of a perfect read. It did have good elements along with ones I wasn’t so fond of. I think this would be a good book for those looking for a combination of romance and suspense.

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

Return to Paradise(Coming Home#) review by Cathy

Return to Pradise

From Goodreads:

Twelve months ago, David Stoltzfus left the Amish community in Paradise, Pennsylvania—and encouraged his siblings to follow—after their father became overly stern and even abusive with them. Escaping to a new life in the Englisch world was the only way to keep one another safe. But it was not without sacrifice. When David left his father’s house and community, he also left behind Lavina Zook, the woman he planned to wed.

Lavina hasn’t forgiven David for abandoning her, but when David’s father is diagnosed with cancer, she believes she might be the only one to lure him back to make peace . . . before it’s too late. Still, forgiveness isn’t easy. Even if she can get David to return, she’s not sure he will forgive his father. And she’s not sure she can forgive David, either

My review:

I liked  the characters in this book.  I liked the interaction of the Amish and Englisch.  The relationships were real and didn’t seem forced.  The Stoltzfus and Zook families were at the center of this first book in the series and their storylines were well written.

Lives are changed when David and his brothers leave their family and community.  Not for only them, but for the ones they left behind.

I look forward to the next book in the series to find out what’s in store for the characters.

Ms. Cameron has written a story of love, forgiveness and faith. I think that this book will be enjoyed by readers of both Amish and Christian fiction fans.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion.