Archive for February 2013

5 star Amish Romance and Drama! A Review of Katie Opens Her Heart.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Katie Opens Her HeartKatie Opens Her Heart by Jerry S. Eicher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Another fantastic book by Jerry Eicher! This is book one in the Emma Raber’s Daughter series. The next book, Katie’s Journey to Love is expected to release in Aril 2013. I will definitely be picking it up. I did think that this story started a little slow but it was well worth it because the drama and tension just kept rising as I was reading. I enjoy a book that doesn't show all the cards up front so to speak. This is the first fiction book that I have read by this author but now look forward to picking up the rest of his books while I wait for the next book about Katie.


Katie has always been known as “Emma Raber’s daughter” and she’s tired of not being recognized as her own person. In truth, Katie is tired of being a community outcast simply because her mother refuses to let her heart be opened to love. She is tired of being sheltered and kept from living her life and though she loves her mother dearly—she is determined to break free of her controlling thumb.

Things start to change when Jesse steps into Emma’s life. He is determined to win Emma’s heart and Katie is hoping that her mother will learn to love again. The only problem is that Emma has no intention of ever giving her heart to another man and further—his children pretty much hate her. They think she’s odd and they want nothing to do with her.

This is where things got really interesting in the story. While Jesse is trying to woo Emma—another widow lady in the community has her eyes set on him and she will stop at nothing to get him. I really despised Ruth but she made this story interesting. I couldn’t stop reading to see what this nasty manipulative woman would do next. I suppose that makes it sound like I love drama in a book but no romance worth reading about is free of drama!

Overall I thought this story was a definite 5 star plot. Drama, romance and a little rebellion makes for all the qualities that make a really good book. I was rooting for Emma and Jesse from the get go and I’m so excited to see how things turn out for Katie. I’m really hoping she finds a nice boy and has minimal heartbreak. I guess I’ll have to wait and see but I will be doing so very impatiently!!!
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Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina Eicher, and their four children in Virginia.
I received this book free from the Author and Harvest House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own

My Amish Childhood: A True Story of Faith, Family, and the Simple Life

Friday, February 22, 2013

My Amish Childhood: A True Story of Faith, Family, and the Simple LifeMy Amish Childhood: A True Story of Faith, Family, and the Simple Life by Jerry S. Eicher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was so pleasantly surprising for me…WOW! I’m honestly shocked because this is the first time I have ever made it through an autobiography! Not only did I make it through but I enjoyed it! This was also the first book that I have read by the author.

My mother has been bugging me for quite some time to pick up his books and I had been meaning to but I will admit that I was scared. It seems that male authors sometimes leave me feeling as if something is missing that connects with me as a woman. Not all male authors mind you—but it was still enough to scare me for a short time.

I should have put away my fears because I absolutely loved this book. I thought it was humorous at times, brutally honest and also touching. I’m giving 5 stars to this book and wish I could give an additional star for being the first autobiography that was written in a way that appealed to me.

This book is an autobiography of Amish writer, Jerry Eicher whom, as we find out in the book—grew up Amish! He was honest about his awkwardness and even about his mischievousness as a child which I found to be refreshing as I often think of Amish children having the idyllic life we read about in Amish fiction. In the grand scheme of things—Jerry had quite a bit of issues to overcome; an issue with stuttering and bouts of depression.

We also got an inside view of a new Amish community in a third world country and the struggles that they faced. I was really rooting for the community to succeed and was a little disappointed to find out that it had failed. It was on that note that the autobiography was wrapped up. I would really like to see how things unfold in the later years. I am assuming that he eventually left the Amish faith—I want to know these things! I guess I’m greedy and want more information as I really found the author’s life to be very intriguing. This book definitely gets two thumbs up for me for both wit and for the insightful spirituality. I have to say that Eicher’s account of his salvation is possibly one of the sweetest, honest and simplistic explanations that I have ever heard—and it was touching. I will definitely be reading more from this author!
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Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina Eicher, and their four children in Virginia.
I received this book free from the Author and Harvest House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own

The Discovery: A Review of Goodbye to Yesterday

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Goodbye to Yesterday (Discovery Series #1)Goodbye to Yesterday by Wanda E. Brunstetter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I was so excited to read this book. It is part one of six in a serial which honestly—I do have mixed feelings about. Even at the $4(ish) that I paid for this book it is a little expensive for a 120 page mini-book. As it turns out if I pay that for each of the six small parts it will come up to quite a bit to own the entire collection and that leaves me with mixed feelings. I also really enjoyed the story and I would it a five star rating but I have a feeling that I’m going to forget what is going on with only 120 pages of a story to go on until the next installment is released. That is just my take on it. Great story but unsure of how I’m going to like this delivery method.

Things have been tough for Luke and Meredith since he lost his job—pinching pennies is not a good way to start off a marriage. When the opportunity opens up for Luke to learn a new trade he packs up and heads to Indiana, leaving Meredith behind because they can only afford one ticket. Meredith is supportive of her husband but there is a nagging worry in her mind.

As Luke makes the journey through perilous weather, a new and unforeseen danger arises and a twist in fate will change his life forever. Will Luke survive this tragedy and will Meredith be there for him, no matter what? This is where the book ends, abruptly and sudden. That was one thing I did dislike about this. I really was frustrated that I have to wait until next month to see yet another small part of their story. So, it is with mixed feelings that I write this review. I do feel it is a five star story (or it will be in the entirety) but I would have preferred it to be a full sized novel. Even if that novel was broken up into a series I feel it would have left me feeling less frustrated than these mini-novels.
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A nationally recognized authority on the Amish community, Wanda E. Brunstetter has seen her book sales over the two million mark. 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. http://www.wandabrunstetter.com/

Hope is in the Lord: A Review of Cottonwood Whispers

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cottonwood WhispersCottonwood Whispers by Jennifer Erin Valent

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



I was so excited to pick up this book. It is book two in the Jessilyn Lassiter series by Jennifer Erin Valent and picks up several years after the events in the first book, Fireflies in December. I can’t brag on this series or on this author enough. She’s one of the authors that connects with her fans on social media and is so open and inviting that it really makes you want to read her books—and if you haven’t? You really should! These books capture the heart of the Deep South in a time when prejudice ran deep and weaves a tale of hope and faith in times of adversity.

The year is 1936 and Jessilyn Lassiter is turning seventeen years old. Her best friend is a black girl which is highly unusual for the time period. Of course there is a back story to this friendship and it all began with deep prejudice, threats and fear as the family lived under the watchful eyes of local Klan members. Things have greatly improved but change is slow in coming and things are still difficult at times for the Lassiter Family.

When Gemma starts working for the Hadley family she takes a brief interest in Joel Hadley. Jessi knows from the get-go that something isn’t right about this situation. Gemma becomes distant and withdrawn which brings further worry to Jessi.

When tragedy strikes the town and an innocent man is accused of committing a terrible crime—Jessi turns her suspicions to Joel Hadley and she is determined to find out the truth behind Gemma’s secrecy so that she can save the accused, Mr. Poe. Now, Mr. Poe isn’t like everyone else—they say he’s “special” and it doesn’t take much variation from the normal for people to become suspicious.

This book was so heart wrenching and the characters were incredibly well written and loveable. I especially loved the simple wisdom in Mr. Poe and the trust in the Lord that Miss Cleta possesses. I think the best quote in the entire book was said by Miss Cleta and it was a calm reminder for me to put my worries in the Lord.
“Hear that breeze?” She closed her eyes and a sweet smile spread out across her face. “It’s like the breath of God washin’ over me, stealin’ away all my worries, whisperin’ precious words.”

This book was absolutely fantastic. I can’t brag enough on it or on the words of wisdom within the pages. Oh, and before I forget to mention it—there’s also a budding romance in this story that is absolutely sweet and realistic. I can’t wait to pick up book three of this series!
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Fireflies In DecemberCottonwood Whispers Catching Moondrops

Jennifer Erin Valent is the 2007 winner of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest and 2010 Christy Award winner for Fireflies in December. She lives in central Virginia, where she has worked as a nanny for over fifteen years. A lifelong resident of the South, her surroundings help to color the scenes and characters she writes.
www.jennifervalent.com.

Though Mountains Fall: A Review for Bethany House Bloggers

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Though Mountains FallThough Mountains Fall by Dale Cramer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I had never read anything by this author but I do love historical fiction and Amish fiction so I thought I would give this book a try. Though I had not read the first two books; I was not at all lost and was able to follow along perfectly as a standalone novel. This book was well written but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It has nothing to do with the author or the writing and more to do with the fact that I just didn’t find the setting to be all that interesting. Perhaps I should have realized it would have a western feel to it since it is set in Mexico but I guess I just wasn’t able to fall in love with the area in the book. I would definitely read other books by this author though so please don’t take my lackluster rating as a damper on any decisions to read books by this author.

Caleb Bender has taken his family to Mexico so that they have the freedom to school their children and further separate themselves from the world. I believe at this time that the state was closing down the one-room Amish schoolhouses or that they were not allowed to privately school their children. Someone can correct me if I am wrong on this but around that time there was a settlement that formed in Mexico but it later failed due to the conditions of their government at the time.

In this story we certainly see the tumultuous times that were plaguing Mexico. There was confusion over the church and the ability to coexist with the newly elected president and this was evident in this story. The Amish are a peaceful people and the Benders wished only to be left alone by the bandits and also the law men who were often as corrupt as the bandits.

Things were not easy for the Benders and circumstances seem to force Caleb to return to Ohio with his friends and family. The Lord has a lesson to teach though and Caleb must listen and to learn that sometimes our failures in life also serve a purpose.

As I said earlier, I thought the story was well written, I just couldn’t fall in love with the characters. There was something missing, something soft, nothing major. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I really struggled knowing how to rate this book. One part of me wanted to give it a 5 star rating for being well written but in the end I had to take my feelings into consideration as well and I just didn’t connect with these particular characters. As I said though, I will not be ruling out this author. I will be picking up more of his works in the future. This one just wasn’t a good fit for me.
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Dale Cramer is the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed novel Levi's Will, based on the story of Dale's father, a runaway Amishman. Dale's series, The Daughters of Caleb Bender, is based on the Amish colony in the mountains of Mexico, where three generations of his family lived in the 1920s. Dale lives in Georgia with his wife of thirty-seven years, two sons and a Bernese Mountain Dog named Rupert. For more information about the author and his books, visit his website at DaleCramer.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.

Surprise Valentine's Giveaway!!!

Friday, February 8, 2013

It is almost time for that lovey dovey day and I was suddenly inspired to give away a bar of soap to show my appreciate for my friends and fans! You don't have to do anything super duper special to enter just click the rafflecopter giveaway below!!!

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A touching message of hope: A review of Threads of Grace

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Threads of GraceThreads of Grace by Kelly Long

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



After reading books one and two in the A Patch of Heaven series in just two days—I was really eager to pick up Threads of Grace. I had a feeling that this book would continue with Seth’s story and I was not disappointed. These books are absolutely fantastic and Kelly Long is quickly becoming a favorite for me as she’s very unique and paints a vivid romance with real emotion.

Seth has taken an interest in a young widow, Grace. Grace is the mother of a young autistic boy that Seth has also taken up with. Grace has a secret however and she’s determined never to marry again—that is until her brother in law shows up and begins to threaten her.

Seth offers to marry Grace and she accepts out of desperation. Though their marriage was rushed, Seth truly cares for Grace and he is determined to heal the wounds of Grace’s past. Only, he has no idea just how deep these wounds go nor of the horrors that this young woman has faced in her lifetime. Though this book was fiction there were times when my heart nearly broke for this young woman.

This book was so touching and heart wrenching. Unfortunately, domestic abuse exists in all religions and in all walks of life and this book certainly had a dark undertone of abuse and despair. There was also hope though—hope for women who have suffered from domestic violence and emotional abuse. I was so happy with this book and with the conclusion. There were no false pretenses of hope for an abusive partner and instead focused on other hopes and truths. I really hope that there will be more books in the A Patch of Heaven series!
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Sarah's GardenLilly's Wedding Quilt Threads of Grace

Kelly Long is the author of Sarah's Garden, the first novel in the Patch of Heaven series. She was born and raised in the mountains of Northern Pennsylvania. She’s been married for nearly 25 years and has five children.
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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tantalizing and yet Tasteful: A Review of Lilly's Wedding Quilt

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lilly's Wedding Quilt (Patch of Heaven, #2)Lilly's Wedding Quilt by Kelly Long

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Lilly’s Wedding Quilt is book two in in the Patch of Heaven series by Kelly Long. I have enjoyed this series so much that I devoured the first three books in just a few days’ time. I am really hoping that there will be more books in the series. Kelly Long has a way of drawing you in with her vivid writing. It is, in my opinion, a little more spine tingling in the romance department. However, it isn’t trashy. It is very tasteful and yet deliciously enticing. It is the right amount of romance with enough reserve so that it is still wholesome.

Sarah is getting married to Grant Williams and Jacob is completely shattered. When he finds himself a victim of a gunshot wound, it is the local school teacher that cares for him and shelters him from possible arrest. While covering up for Jacob, the community demands an answer to his whereabouts. Lilly takes a stand and announces to the community that he was with her. The problem is—this means people will now question both Jacob and Lilly’s reputation. Knowing this, Jacob steps in with a marriage proposal for Lilly and though she knows that he still loves Sarah—she accepts. Lilly has loved Jacob for years but he always had his eyes on Sarah. She is determined to make Jacob love her and though he has feelings for someone else; he takes his marriage vows seriously and with God’s help begins a journey of finding love with Lilly.

Lilly understands Jacob on a level he never thought possible. She understands what he responds to and starts to chip at the the icy exterior he has built over his heart. Honestly, the romance in this book was spine-tingling. Jacob has to be one of my new book crushes. Holy WOW! He is one deliciously written book character. I nearly wanted to step inside the pages and steal him away from Lilly! Sarah was a fool for giving up this gem! Although, Lilly is a much better fit for him. If you like Amish romance and wanted a little something more tantalizing and yet tasteful, this is the book to read!

I did think that some of the things in this book might be a little off for an Amish community but I still enjoyed it. I was able to overlook the few things that I thought were probably a bit inaccurate. Overall though, masterfully written and alive with emotion. This is going on my favorites shelf!
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Sarah's GardenLilly's Wedding Quilt Threads of Grace

Kelly Long is the author of Sarah's Garden, the first novel in the Patch of Heaven series. She was born and raised in the mountains of Northern Pennsylvania. She’s been married for nearly 25 years and has five children.

About Me

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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.