The Seekers (The Amish Cooking Class #1) by Wanda Brunsetter (review by Cathy)

the-seekers

About the book:

Join a class of unlikely Ohioans who take cooking lessons at Lyle and Heidi Troyer’s Amish farm. A woman engaged to marry, an expectant mother estranged from her family, a widowed mom seeking to simplify, a Vietnam vet who camps on the Troyer’s farm, and an Amish widower make up the mismatched lot of students.

But Heidi’s cooking lessons soon turn to life lessons as they each share the challenges they are facing. Is this what God had in mind when Heidi got the idea for cooking classes?

My review (5-stars):

  What a terrific start to the latest series by Wanda Brunstetter.  The Seekers introduces us to Heidi Troyer who has decided to teach Amish Cooking classes in her Ohio home.  Her husband, Lyle is a busy auctioneer and he encourages her to share her skills with others.

Yes, it does remind one of The Half Stitched Quilting Club and the fact that Emma Yoder is Heidi’s aunt was perfect and I think nudged Heidi just a bit in her decision.

A mixture of excitement and nervousness lends an air of authenticity as to how she felt as she planned and got ready for her cooking classes.   

The people who sign up for her class are a diverse group but we soon learn they have some commonalities. They each have something to overcome besides their obvious need to learn cooking skills.  The author tells each of their stories in a unique way as we learn more about their lives and what some are running from and others are running towards.

I had a fondness for Eli, the only Amish person taking the class. He was so sweet and boy did I want him to learn to cook since he was a widower with no skills in the kitchen.   The only character that I didn’t immediately like was Ron, but I started to warm up to him after a while and felt sorry for him. At first I considered him a recipe for disaster.

I find I always learn something when I read Wanda’s books.  This time I learned the age requirement and steps to take to become an auctioneer! 

I can’t wait for the next installment to find out what’s cooking with the Troyer family and their friends.

I received a complimentary copy of The Seekers from the publisher and have given my honest opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin (review by Cathy)

long-way-gone

About the book:

“No matter where you go, no matter whether you succeed or fail, stand or fall, no gone is too far gone. You can always come home.”

At the age of eighteen, musician and songwriter Cooper O’Connor took everything his father held dear and drove 1,200 miles from home to Nashville, his life riding on a six-string guitar and the bold wager that he had talent. But his wager soon proved foolish.

Five years after losing everything, he falls in love with Daley Cross, an angelic voice in need of a song. But just as he realizes his love for Daley, Cooper faces a tragedy that threatens his life as well as his career. With nowhere else to go, he returns to his remote home in the Colorado Mountains, searching for answers about his father and his faith.

When Daley shows up on his street corner twenty years later, he wonders if it’s too late to tell her the truth about his past—and if he is ready to face it.

A radical retelling of the story of the prodigal son, Long Way Gone takes us from tent revivals to the Ryman Auditorium to the tender relationship between a broken man and the father who never stopped calling him home.

 

My review (5-stars):

This book touched me in a way, I never expected it to. Especially since I didn’t care for it at first and wasn’t sure if I’d finish reading it.

 I’m so glad that I didn’t toss it aside, otherwise I’d have missed out on an amazing story.  I found the authors writing to be out-standing, his characters vulnerable and relatable.

  Music is as essential as breathing to the characters and the paths they take to achieve their dreams were both interesting and heartbreaking.  

After reading this book, I am a fan of Charles Martin and will be looking for more of his work.

I received a complimentary copy of Long Way Gone from the publisher and have given my honest opinion.

Paws for Love by Dana Mentink: A Novel for Dog Lovers- Love Unleashed, #3 (review by Cathy)

paws-for-love

About the book:

The Only Thing Sweet About Jellybean Is His Name Jellybean the terrier is about to unleash some serious mayhem on the unsuspecting town of Albatross.

There’s no quiet on the set when over-the-hill screen star Lawrence Tucker brings his naughty terrier, Jellybean, on location to the beachside town of Albatross, California. When Jellybean develops a rapport with Tucker’s violin tutor, the painfully shy, socially awkward Misty Agnelli, her arm is twisted into minding the obnoxious animal. Trailing Jellybean leads Misty into the candy store of Bill Woodson, a handsome chocolatier with a painful secret and a three-year-old niece to raise.

Misty must deal with the unstable Tucker, a temperamental Jellybean, her budding feelings for the mysterious Bill, and the high-pressure atmosphere on the set. Though she wants nothing more than to flee, how can she tell her Grandma, Lawrence Tucker’s biggest fan, that she abandoned the star and his dog? It’s actors, animals, and antics galore when Jellybean gives his own heartwarming performance.
My review (5-stars):

Paws for Love is a sweet and humorous story with characters that you’ll love.

Jellybean is a rascal and my favorite character. The author may have based him on her own precious pup and that’s just a guess as I have no actual proof.

Now about those humans in the book, they’re warm, funny, a bit odd and flawed.

I loved Misty and Bill.  They each have obstacles to overcome as we all do. I admire and thank Dana Mentink for bringing focus to the challenges they faced.   There isn’t a character in the story  that I didn’t like, which made me enjoy it  even more.

This is a heartwarming  read  and one I highly recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of Paws for Love from the author and have given my honest opinion.

 

Stars in the Grass by Ann Marie Stewart (review by Kristi)

stars-in-the-grass

About the book:  The idyllic world of nine-year-old Abby McAndrews is transformed when a tragedy tears her family apart. Before the accident, her dad, Reverend John McAndrews, had all the answers, but now his questions and guilt threaten to destroy his family. Abby’s fifteen-year-old brother, Matt, begins an angry descent as he acts out in dangerous ways. Her mother tries to hold her grieving family together, but when Abby’s dad refuses to move on, the family is at a crossroads. Set in a small Midwestern town in 1970, Abby’s heartbreaking remembrances are balanced by humor and nostalgia as her family struggles with—and ultimately celebrates—an authentic story of faith and life after loss.

Paperback, 320 pages         Published February 1, 2017, by Shiloh Run Press

 

My review:  I did something I don’t normally do before reading a book I’m to review. I read other reviews first and to be quite honest it made me unsure if I wanted to read the book. Why? Well, the reviews made the book seems depressing and sad and I don’t like to read books that fall into those two categories. Since I had agreed to read and review the book for the publisher I put aside my thoughts and started reading.

The premise of this book is quite simple: the struggles of a family to move on after tragedy strikes. The story is told through the eyes of nine-year-old Abigail, or Abby. The story isn’t told in a childish voice though as Abby was almost wise beyond her years. She is very observant and almost seemed to be another victim of the tragedy as her family at times was on the verge of spiraling out of control.

I thought the story seemed very realistic. The characters actions and feelings came across as realistic and not romanticized or exaggerated in any way. The story is basically the everyday events in this family’s lives and how each responded to grief in their own way. Each family member dealt with their grief in a different way and I thought that made the story seem more genuine.

The author’s writing style and way of telling a story made it easy to get “into” the story and stay interested until the end. The story flowed easily from chapter to chapter. While the story is sad and a bit depressing at times I found it easy to read and didn’t find myself wanting to put the book down.

This was a well-written book but just not my type of everyday read. If you are looking for a break from the genre you normally read or are wanting a bit of a sad read then pick up this book. You might find yourself enjoying it.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review.

 

 

Giveaway Winner Announced!!!!

giveaway winner

 

The winner of our blogiversary multi-book giveaway is…………

Toni Ferrill

 

Congratulations, Toni!!!!!!!   Please email your address to us so we can get your books and bookmarks sent out to you.  If we don’t hear from you by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 1 we will pick another winner.

A big thank you to all who entered this giveaway and all of the others we had this month in celebration of our blog’s 2nd anniversary.  We would like to thank all of you for your support of our blog.  Stay tuned throughout 2017 for more reviews, author interviews, giveaways, and more!  It’s going to be a great year!!!!

 

Thanks again and as always, happy reading!!!!!

Cathy and Kristi

The Seekers by Wanda E Brunstetter (review by Kristi)

the seekers.jpg

About the book:  Join a class of unlikely Ohioans who take cooking lessons at Lyle and Heidi Troyer’s Amish farm. A woman engaged to marry, an expectant mother estranged from her family, a widowed mom seeking to simplify, a Vietnam vet who camps on the Troyer’s farm, and an Amish widower make up the mismatched lot of students. But Heidi’s cooking lessons soon turn to life lessons as they each share the challenges they are facing. Is this what God had in mind when Heidi got the idea for cooking classes?

Paperback, 320 pages       Published February 1, 2017, by Shiloh Run Press

 

My review:  Wanda E Brunstetter returns with the first book in her new series, Amish Cooking Class. The Seekers takes us to the home of Heidi Troyer who wants to fill some of her extra time by teaching people how to cook. With her husband’s support, she embarks on a journey where she not only teaches cooking but changes the lives of her students.

The Seekers started out good and I really liked the premise of the story. It didn’t bother me at all that this series was going to mimic The Half-Stitched Quilting Club because quilting and cooking are two things that the Amish are well-known for and who wouldn’t want lessons from them in these two areas? However, I never really felt a strong connection with any of the characters other than Heidi. She was really likable and genuine. As for the students, I liked all of them but Ron. He just rubbed me the wrong way and I was pretty sure he was up to no good.

This story is classic Wanda E. Brunstetter. She has found a recipe for success when it comes to writing and thankfully hasn’t strayed away from what she knows works. The story flows easily from chapter to chapter and focuses equally on each of the students and Heidi. There’s never a chance to be bored with all that’s going on in the lives of these characters. Even though these characters problems may be resolved by the end of the book there is always the chance we will get to see them again in future installments of the series.

This book proves why Wanda is still at the top of her game. Her writing is never stale and she is always coming up with characters and stories her fans can care about and want more of. I can’t wait for the next book in this series to see what is happening in Heidi’s life and also to see what her next class of students will be like.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

 

About the author:  A nationally recognized authority on the Amish community, Wanda E. Brunstetter has sold more than seven million copies of her fiction and nonfiction books. Wanda enjoys an uncommon kinship with the Amish and continues to visit their communities throughout the country. Her books have won numerous awards and topped several bestselling charts.

Website   •   Facebook   •   Twitter

Eden: The Animals’ Parable by Keith Korman (review by Cathy)

eden

About the book:

Eden: The Animals’ Parable (Liberty Island, April 2016)

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you.” -Job 12:7

Experience the Gospels in a way that you never imagined.

In this beautifully inspired retelling of the Gospels, we see Jesus and his disciples in the Holy Land through the eyes of the animals–especially his intrepid and loyal dog, Eden.

With a wise, old donkey, innocent lambs, and legions of curious field mice–the animals follow their master’s journey across Galilee and onto Jerusalem, rapt with awe and wonder and bearing great tidings–even if they don’t fully comprehend the divine events they witness.

Simple, clear, and spiritually profound, Eden is for readers of all ages, this artful retelling is captivating, moving, and alive with the joy you felt the first time you opened the Bible.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2icLyBY

 keith-k

About the author:

Keith Korman is a literary agent and novelist. Over the years he has represented many nationally-known writers of fiction and non-fiction at his family’s literary agency, Raines & Raines. The idea for Eden first came to him as a child when he saw the little calf jump across the stable in the prelude to William Wyler’s Ben Hur. And he’s been thinking about it ever since.

My review (4-stars):

A book that can be enjoyed by all.   As an animal lover, I found the authors use of retelling the Gospels through the eyes of the animals to be unique. 

As the animals followed their master’s journey across Galilee, I could well imagine their awe.

I found this to be inspirational even as an adult that has studied the Bible through the years, I would say that parents and grandparents may very well wish to add this to your libraries to read to your younger children.  This would also make a perfect addition to your church library.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Litfuse Blogging program and have given my honest opinion.