Archive for November 2012

Review: An Amish Kitchen

Thursday, November 29, 2012


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so excited that I snagged this book from Booksneeze. I really wanted to read it and had in fact already pre-ordered this book as it looked like something I would enjoy—I was right! I loved it! This set of 3-in-one novellas was fantastic and the recipes in the back of the book look fantastic! As a matter of fact—I have “Rosemary’s Kaffi Cake” in the oven as I type up this review!


A Taste of Grace- Fern Zook’s parents died in years past and she now lives with her aunt who is training her to be an herbalist. Fern’s prayer is to find someone who can love her and when Abram Fisher shows up on her doorstep seeking treatment for his little sister—she begins to wonder if he might be the answer to her prayers. I have to say—Abram sounds like a total cutie and if I weren’t married already I’d be contemplating how to go about snagging a fictional book character :)
A Spoonful of Love- Hannah King is struggling to run a successful bed and breakfast while still providing care for her dad who has suffered from a stroke. Her brother is busy with a family of his own and cannot devote the time to doing repairs around the inn and things have fallen into disrepair. Then Stephen shows up—a young man running from a painful past. Stephen has to learn how to forgive himself before he can move on with his life—hopefully with Hannah!
A Recipe for Hope- Eve Bender doesn’t get along so well with her mother, Rosemary. It’s going to be a challenge for these two ladies to live together while Eve’s home is being rebuilt but with a little bit of hope and a whole lot of prayer—hearts may find peace and a mother and daughter’s relationship might be repaired. Rosemary has to come to terms with a secret she has carried for years before she can mend her relationship with her daughter and Eve has to come to understand why her mother has always kept her at a distance. This little tale was bittersweet but beautifully concluded!
View all my reviews

Amazon | CBD | Barnes&Noble

Kelly Long is the author of the Patch of Heaven series and the historical Amish Arms of Love. She was born and raised in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania. She’s been married for twenty-six years and enjoys life with her husband, children, and Bichon.
http://www.kellylongbooks.com/


Amy Clipston is the best-selling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple best-seller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. She and her family live in North Carolina.
http://www.amyclipston.com

Beth Wiseman is hailed as a top voice in Amish fiction. She is a Carol Award winner and author of numerous bestsellers including the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series. She and her family live in Texas.
http://bethwiseman.com/

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com 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





Review: The Keeper

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Keeper: A Novel (Stoney Ridge Seasons)The Keeper: A Novel by Suzanne Woods Fisher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I started this book awhile back and got busy with Thanksgiving and I finally had the time to finish it and write up a review! Suzanne Woods Fisher is a fairly new author to me but I am very impressed so far. I have a few more books of hers to pick up and after reading this one—I’m really looking forward to it! Few authors bring me to tears with a book and my kindle really got a workout with all the highlighting of quotes I found. You can tell the author knows her Bible and her characters possess such a strong and admirable faith in Christ. If you’re a fan of Christian Fiction/Amish Fiction and you don’t mind a tear jerker—I definitely suggest this book!

Julia Lapp is looking forward to marrying Paul Fisher but when he breaks their engagement for a second time—the blame falls onto Roman Troyer. Good ‘ole Roamin’ Roman has messed things up for Julia and she’s determined to have a few words with him! Roman is intrigued by Julia—she doesn’t swoon over him the way most women do and she speaks her mind which piques his interest.

Between the pages of this book we find ourselves completely immersed into the lives of the Lapp family:
Amos—a loving father who is suffering from a heart condition.

Julia—Headstrong and not afraid to speak her mind but at the same time she is letting the words of others direct her path.

Sadie—a dear sweet girl who listens to others and tries to mend their pain, very motherly but also still a young girl trying to find her way.

Menno—A very special boy, though different than other children his age, he brings such joy and love to his family. I wasn’t able to pinpoint with a certainty his disability but in my mind I pictured him as slightly autistic. Regardless, there was something precious about Menno and he touched my heart!

M.K. A spunky little lady that gets into all sorts of mischief! She seriously made me laugh! There wouldn't have been much of a story without the antics of M.K.

These characters were so real—so likable. I truly got to know this family and fell in love with each one of them. It was as if they had come to life to me. I truly did not pick up this book expecting to find myself in tears or to feel so much emotion upon finishing the story. The author hit it out of the park with this book and truly has a grasp of how to reach out and touch a reader through emotional attachment.

The only thing I didn’t really enjoy about this book was the fuss over Sadie’s weight. I thought Fern was extremely hateful about it but then as I read the story and got to know the characters more I saw that Sadie’s best interests were always in mind and that the initial impression I had of Fern was a little—off. So, all in all I am completely satisfied with this book and I can’t wait to pick up the next book!
View all my reviews


Amazon|CBD|Barnes&Noble

In no particular order, Suzanne Woods Fisher is a wife, mother, writer, lifelong student of the Bible, raiser of puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, a gardener and a cook...the latter two with sporadic results.

Suzanne has loved to write since she was a young teen. After college, she started to write for magazines and became a contributing editor for Christian Parenting Today magazine. Her family moved to Hong Kong for four years, just as the internet was developing, and she continued to write articles in a 44-story high-rise apartment, sending manuscripts 7,000 miles away with a click of a key.

After returning from Hong Kong, Suzanne decided to give her first novel a try. For four and a half months, she worked on an antediluvian computer in a cramped laundry room. She didn't even tell her husband what she was up to. When the novel was completed, she told her family at dinner one night that she had written a book. "That's why there's no food in this house!" said her slightly insensitive sons.

Undaunted...Suzanne found a small royalty publisher for that book and wrote three more (all earned multiple). With help from an agent, she has five books currently under contract with Revell. On September 1st, Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, a non-fiction book of stories and examples about the Old Order Amish, will be released by Revell. The Choice, a novel about the Amish, will follow on January 1st.

Writing, for Suzanne, is a way to express a love of God and His word. With every book or article, she hopes readers get a sense of what faith really looks like in the daily grind. She hopes they realize that life can be hard, but God is good, and never to confuse the two.
Suzanne can be found on-line at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com



Currently Reading:
When Sadie Lapp steps off the bus in Stoney Ridge after being in Ohio for the winter, she is faced with a decision--one that goes against her very essence. Yet it's the only way she can think of to protect a loved one.
Schoolteacher Gideon Smucker has been crazy about Sadie since boyhood. But his response to her surprising decision undermines his own reputation--and his relationship with Sadie.

College student Will Stoltz is spending the spring at the Lapp farm as a guard for a pair of nesting Peregrine Falcons--courtesy of the Lancaster County Game Warden. Will needs to get his life back on track, but his growing friendship with Sadie threatens his plans.
The lives of these three individuals intertwine, and then unravel as unexpected twists create ripples through the town of Stoney Ridge . . . and through Sadie's heart.


Review: The Two Towers

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Two Towers is part two of The Lord of The Rings trilogy and much like Fellowship of the Ring—this story is truly epic. I read the works of J.R.R. Tolkien yearly, these stories are the kind that you can come back to and never get bored of them. The characters in these tales come to life and inspire and enrich the lives of those that choose to read these stories. So, kick off your shoes and curl up in front of a cozy fire and pick up The Lord of the Rings—you will not be disappointed!

The Fellowship has been broken and the nature of our beloved characters becomes apparent in this tale. Gandalf has been lost in the mines of Moria, Boromir—gone. Pippin and Merry have been taken as orc prisoners and Sam and Frodo find themselves being lead closer to Mordor by their unlikely guide—the creature, Gollum.

Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli journey together on a quest to save Merry and Pippin from the orcs which throws us into a rich storyline separate from the quest of Sam and Frodo. We have a surprise return of an old friend and a huge battle along with some mysterious talking trees that are called Ents during this part of the story –fun stuff! Then our story splits and we find that we are back in the company of Sam and Frodo as they trek through the dead marshes and into the lair of the great spider, Shelob.

Honestly? It’s so hard to sum up my thoughts, feelings and even the plot of this book—it’s THAT good! There are differences in the book from the movie but if you’ve watched the movie before reading the book you won’t be disappointed. The movie was one of the rare ones that didn’t completely slaughter the storyline—even with the differences. I think if you enjoyed the movie you will fall in love with the book!

Amazon|CBD|Barnes&Noble


John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE, was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English language and literature from 1945 to 1959. He was a close friend of C.S. Lewis.

Christopher Tolkien published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion . These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about an imagined world called Arda, and Middle-earth within it. Between 1951 and 1955, Tolkien applied the word "legendarium" to the larger part of these writings.

While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature—or more precisely, high fantasy. Tolkien's writings have inspired many other works of fantasy and have had a lasting effect on the entire field.

In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". Forbes ranked him the 5th top-earning dead celebrity in 2009.

View all my reviews

My Week in Pictures

Saturday, November 17, 2012

This is my first ever edition of "My Week in Pictures" I'm hoping to start doing this to sum up my week on Saturday evening and also give all of you a chance to show me what is new with you!!! So without further ado...





TADA! This is how I spent my week! Now it's your turn...





Review: The Hunger Games

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finally picked up this book—much to the delight of my daughter who is practically obsessed with The Hunger Games. I mean—obsessed to the point that her friends call her Katniss. She has read the book at least three times and she’s been on my case to read them. I failed the first time I tried reading because of the first person perspective—it’s just so hard for me to read that perspective for some reason but I was determined to make it through and read it for her and because I was sure it had to be better than the poor acting in the movie that I was not at all pleased with. So—here is my review (finally) and I’ll try to put into words what I thought.


I’m sure that I’m wasting my time really typing up what this story is about since I’m probably the only person in the world that hasn’t read this story up until now. I’ll give it a go anyway just in the off chance that you haven’t read the book yet. This story is narrated by Katniss Everdeen and she is from post-apocalyptic America which is now known as Panem. There was once a rebellion and now the Capital punishes each of the twelve surrounding districts with “The Hunger Games.” Each year two children, ages twelve to eighteen, are taken to fight to the death in a massive outdoor arena. Katniss steps forward to take her young sister’s place as a tribute for district twelve and the rest of the story follows her fear and agony through the games. There are plenty of bittersweet moments in this story that I could touch on—a budding romance that is doomed from the start and a friendship not meant to be—but I’ll leave my little summary at that since I’m sure that most everyone has already read this story and I don’t want to ruin it for those that haven’t!

This story was so hard for me to rate and it’s largely due to the fact that I have a hard time reading first person perspective. I will say this—the story was fantastic and the only reason that I’m giving it four stars is because of the perspective it is written in. This is simply personal preference when it comes to reading –don’t let it sway your decisions to read (or not read) the book based on my personal preference on a writing style. I think with first person I miss a lot of detail—the descriptions that make colors and characters jump off of the pages and paint a picture in my mind. I didn't feel my heart racing when I read like it does with other fantasy/adventure stories. I get caught up in the descriptions that make it play a movie in my head and I miss that when reading first person. For example—I can’t really picture what the characters look like from the Hunger Games and have to just visualize the movie characters instead. For that reason alone I give a four star rating—no other. The story was really interesting and I look forward to doing a bit more research into the author and getting to know all the symbolism in the books that I am sure exists. I am glad I made myself read this book even though I’m not a fan of the perspective and I would definitely recommend the book to friends.
Read an Excerpt|View all my reviews


Amazon|Barnes&Noble

Since 1991, Suzanne Collins has been busy writing for children’s television. She has worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. For preschool viewers, she penned multiple stories for the Emmy-nominated Little Bear and Oswald. She also co-wrote the critically acclaimed Rankin/Bass Christmas special, Santa, Baby! Most recently she was the Head Writer for Scholastic Entertainment’s Clifford’s Puppy Days.

While working on a Kids WB show called Generation O! she met children’s author James Proimos, who talked her into giving children’s books a try.
Thinking one day about Alice in Wonderland, she was struck by how pastoral the setting must seem to kids who, like her own, lived in urban surroundings. In New York City, you’re much more likely to fall down a manhole than a rabbit hole and, if you do, you’re not going to find a tea party. What you might find...? Well, that’s the story of Gregor the Overlander, the first book in her five-part series, The Underland Chronicles.

Suzanne also has a rhyming picture book illustrated by Mike Lester entitled When Charlie McButton Lost Power.
She currently lives in Connecticut with her family and a pair of feral kittens they adopted from their backyard.

The books she is most successful for in teenage eyes are the Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. These books have won several awards, including the GA Peach Award.

You can find out more about this author by visiting her website at http://www.suzannecollinsbooks.com/

Novel Crossing: Where Faith meets Fiction

Monday, November 12, 2012

I am pleased to introduce you to a new website that I have discovered. It's called "Novel Crossing" and it is a brand new site for Christian Fiction. You'll find videos from authors from a across the genre, fun graphics and you'll also get a chance to find out what your favorite authors are reading! It looks like a lot of fun and I'm excited to jump in and learn more. I'd love to see you there!



Novel Crossing is a website for Christian fiction lovers. It's like Facebook meets Goodreads meets your favorite Christian fiction blogs...all in one place! Whether you're into romance, Amish fiction, mystery, action, sci-fi, historical fiction or any other genre...Novel Crossing is your new trusted source for ALL Christian fiction across ALL publishers!


Novel Crossing has it all...

Stay in the Christian-fiction-know with the latest news and feature articles written by top fiction authors, industry professionals, and fiction aficionados.

Find your next read (or avoid spending money on a crummy novel) with quick book overviews via 1-sentence reviews or a deeper look at books through full-blown reviews from fiction lovers like you.

Get connected with a community where you can friend and follow fellow Novel Crossing members and keep track of new books or articles from your favorite authors.

Stay organized with and keep track of the books you're reading, have read, or want to read.
Don't miss a beat...get email updates when new books come out from your favorite authors or genres


I hope to see you there!

Inspirational Sunday

Sunday, November 11, 2012

"Talk to God like a friend. He will be there for you."
His Love Endures Forever by Beth Wiseman

Review: Life with Lily

Life with Lily
Life with Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had been looking forward to reading this little story for some time. My daughters have gotten interested in the Amish and this story will be perfect to read for bedtime stories to the little ones and the older ones will enjoy reading it themselves. I got this book for them for Christmas and couldn't resist reading it before I wrapped it up for them. At some point in the future I will update this review with their thoughts. This story is co-authored by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher. Mary Ann Kinsinger was raised Old Order Amish and The Adventures of Lily Lapp series is a way for her to capture childhood memories of being raised Amish.

Lily Lapp is a sweet little Amish girl who is learning the joys and hardships of life such as dealing with a new baby brother, starting school and learning to make new friends. Lily lives on a small farm in upstate New York—she has a cranky English neighbor, a miniature horse, chickens, a dog and a horse named Jim that pulls the family's buggy. Along the way we'll see Lily learn that not all adults are nice and sometimes a trusted parent or adult should be told—this storyline will open dialogue about the difference in tattling and being honest about someone hurting you or your friends. Each chapter in this story is a short story about the different things going on in Lily's life. There are stories about change, moving to a new home and also about choosing our friends wisely. There are a lot of laughs but also a lot of more serious lessons to be learned as well. I loved that about this little book. The children can read it on their own as a fun fictional story or an adult can read it with them to open up conversation about how we can apply Lily's lessons to their own life.
Read an Excerpt|View all my reviews



Amazon|CBD|Barnes & Noble

Coming February 2013!!!
A New Home for Lily-Lily Lapp is moving with her family to Pennsylvania to join a new Amish community. In this small town where changes--and newcomers--are greeted with suspicion, Lily must adjust to a new school, new friends, and Aaron Yoder, an annoying boy who teases her relentlessly. Still, there are exciting new developments, including an attic full of adventure and a new baby brother. But why, Lily wonders, can't God bring her just one sister?

Mary Ann Kinsinger was raised Old Order Amish in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. She met and married her husband, whom she knew from school days and started a family. After they chose to leave the Amish church, Mary Ann began a blog, A Joyful Chaos, as a way to capture her warm memories of her childhood for her own children. From the start, this blog found a ready audience and even captured the attention of key media players, such as the influential blog AmishAmerica and the New York Times. She lives in Pennsylvania.
In no particular order, Suzanne Woods Fisher is a wife, mother, writer, lifelong student of the Bible, raiser of puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, a gardener and a cook...the latter two with sporadic results.

Suzanne has loved to write since she was a young teen. After college, she started to write for magazines and became a contributing editor for Christian Parenting Today magazine. Her family moved to Hong Kong for four years, just as the internet was developing, and she continued to write articles in a 44-story high-rise apartment, sending manuscripts 7,000 miles away with a click of a key.

After returning from Hong Kong, Suzanne decided to give her first novel a try. For four and a half months, she worked on an antediluvian computer in a cramped laundry room. She didn't even tell her husband what she was up to. When the novel was completed, she told her family at dinner one night that she had written a book. "That's why there's no food in this house!" said her slightly insensitive sons.

Undaunted...Suzanne found a small royalty publisher for that book and wrote three more (all earned multiple). With help from an agent, she has five books currently under contract with Revell. On September 1st, Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, a non-fiction book of stories and examples about the Old Order Amish, will be released by Revell. The Choice, a novel about the Amish, will follow on January 1st.

Writing, for Suzanne, is a way to express a love of God and His word. With every book or article, she hopes readers get a sense of what faith really looks like in the daily grind. She hopes they realize that life can be hard, but God is good, and never to confuse the two.
Suzanne can be found on-line at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

The author has graciously provided me with bookmarks and post cards to share with my readers! I have (no) bookmarks and 7 postcards left. If you would like one please comment below with your preference of a bookmark or postcard and then contact me at apmamakristin@yahoo.com to let me know where I can mail them to you! Do not post your address in the comments below.







Review: The Bridesmaid

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Bridesmaid
The Bridesmaid by Beverly Lewis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Suggested Age: 12+
Genre: Christian, Amish Fiction

It's time to make a trip back to Hickory Hollow! I could not wait to read this book and I was not disappointed. Part of the appeal to these books for me was visiting and getting to know more about the community of Hickory Hollow--the home of Katie Lapp from "The Shunning." If you're anything like me then you're probably a fan of Ella Mae Zook and the Home to Hickory Hollow series gives readers another chance to visit with her! I must admit that Ella Mae is the biggest reason I look forward to these books so much!


In this book we go back to Hickory Hollow and into the home of Joanna Kurtz. Joanna’s story starts with the following phrase, “Three times a bridesmaid, never a bride.” Eager to prove the old proverb wrong—Joanna is thrilled when she meets Eben Troyer and excited at the prospect of finding love. Like any good love story though—this love doesn’t come without trials. Eben is from a different state and the long distance relationship starts to take a toll on the budding romance. Further, the bishop has learned of Joanna’s writing fiction stories and her good standing in the church hangs in the balance—complicating any chance of a transfer of membership to another Amish church.

When I really enjoy a story I dislike revealing too much of the storyline, mostly because I want others to experience the pleasure themselves so I won’t go too in depth with this review. I really loved the characters in this book—more than The Fiddler. Joanna is just such a joy and I felt like this character was given a soul with true emotions and such a depth of realism to her that I felt I was reading about a real person. The words seemed to just jump off the pages and bring her to life! I also enjoyed reading about Cora Jane. The funny thing about Cora Jane is that my daughter and I were reading through the book at the same time and she would look up from her book to say, “Can you believe that girl?” Several minutes would pass and I would look up from my book and say, “Did she really just do that?” and my daughter would reply, “Who? Cora Jane?” When you have characters you can talk about in a story it means it is well written and possesses a depth that pulls you in and immerses you in the story.

Having said that—pick this book up! You won’t be disappointed! If you’re reading for Ella Mae then be sure to comment below! Surely I am not the only die-hard Ella fan!
Read an Excerpt|View all my reviews



Amazon|Bethany House|CBD|Barnes&Noble


Beverly Marie Jones (Lewis) was born in the heart of Amish country—Lancaster, Pennsylvania. At the tender age of nine, she began writing short stories and poetry.

Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, The Heritage of Lancaster County, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and spending time with their family. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."

You can find out more about this author by visiting her website at http://www.beverlylewis.com/

I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

About Me

My photo

I'm a stay at home/work at home mama and I love to read. I have six beautiful daughters who inspire me to be a better person and to pursue wisdom.

When I'm not busy reading and reviewing books or spending time with my daughters I am busy crafting for two online businesses. You can find handmade bath and body items at  A Simply Enchanted Life and handcrafted jewelry at Sapphire Haven.