Archive for August 2014

Review of "When the Soul Mends" by Cindy Woodsmall

Saturday, August 30, 2014

When the Soul MendsWhen the Soul Mends by Cindy Woodsmall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing

Suggested Age: 18+
Genre:Amish Fiction, Christian Fiction



This book is the beautiful conclusion to the heart-touching, Sisters of the Quilt Trilogy.

I wish that I could put into words how much this series means to me. I’m sitting here trying to type this review and my heart wants to pour out all the wisdom that I learned from Hannah and yet my mind can’t form a sentence that does it justice. This is one of the best Amish Fiction stories you will ever read. You will cry, you will laugh, then you will cry some more.

Hannah’s story can be difficult to read in places. She has suffered things that no woman should ever have to suffer. Nevertheless…she finds peace in the Lord Jesus and she becomes this beautifully strong and vibrant woman who doesn’t let her past determine her future.

Beautifully written and very touching, this is a series that I will read again.

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Review of "When the Morning Comes" by Cindy Woodsmall

Saturday, August 23, 2014

When the Morning Comes (Sisters of the Quilt, #2)When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing

Suggested Age: 18+
Genre:Amish Fiction, Christian Fiction

When the Morning Comes is book two in the Sisters of the Quilt Trilogy. These are my three favorite Amish books of all-time. In fact, I enjoy this series so much that it is hard to review them because I’m afraid of not doing them justice.

If you made it through book one—you’re already familiar with the violence that was outlined in book one. I notice reviews here and there that mention put off by that event being in a Christian book and then particular sadness at the ending.

Towards the end of the last book and the start of this one is when you start seeing the rays of sunshine bringing some hope back into Hannah’s life. Her personal life is in shatters but she still has the love of God that is cushioning her heart and giving her comfort. Nevertheless…this word just sums Hannah up. If you’ve read the book—you’re going to get this word and the volumes that it speaks about Hannah, about the grace of God and about overcoming the trials of life.

I hope that you are taking away the wisdom and life applications that I have as I read this series. I learned so much about forgiveness and also about trusting in the Lord from this trilogy. I just can’t suggest this book enough—it is stellar!

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Review of "In the Field of Grace" by Tessa Afshar

Monday, August 18, 2014

In the Field of GraceIn the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing

Suggested Age: 18+
Genre:Biblical Fiction, Christian Fiction


I’m really not sure where to start with this review. I guess I’ll say—I LOVED the cover. I just wasn’t very crazy about the story.

I read quite a bit of historical fiction and Biblical fiction. I’m fine with fillers to the story but this stuff was kind of farfetched. Nowhere in the Bible does it mention that Boaz had another wife and children. I probably could have overlooked that but I also felt that some of the language wasn’t very—fitting. I don’t think “bumpkin” and “hussy” fits well in this type of story. I really can’t imagine Boaz even kidding with Ruth about her being a hussy…I think my jaw dropped when I read that. It feels too modern and out of place.

I also thought similes were overused and everyone in this story was nauseous over every little situation they faced in life. They were nauseous from heat or embarrassment or from hunger. These poor folks needed a prescription for Zofran…just saying.

Further, Ruth nearly died in every chapter it seems. This lady had very little luck. Heatstroke, hemorrhage, smoke inhalation…you name it and she nearly died from it.

I was also bothered that Ruth was credited as writing some of the poetry found in Song of Solomon—I’m not a Bible scholar so maybe I’m wrong but I’ve never read any inclination that Ruth was responsible for the poetry from the Song of Solomon. I read the author’s note on this matter but it still just didn’t resonate with me.

The swift point of view change from that of Ruth to Solomon and David was also rather abrupt. These are simply my views. You may read the book and love it. I won’t say that others shouldn’t read the book—simply that it was not a book that I particularly enjoyed.

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Review of 'Your Family in Pictures: The Parents' Guide to Photographing Holidays, Family Portraits, and Everyday Life ' by Me Ra Koh

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Your Family in Pictures: The Parents' Guide to Photographing Holidays, Family Portraits, and Everyday LifeYour Family in Pictures: The Parents' Guide to Photographing Holidays, Family Portraits, and Everyday Life by Koh, Me Ra
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For parents (especially moms) with little to no photography experience who want to capture better portraits and photos of their families using any camera.

What parent doesn’t want to capture the perfectly imperfect joy of family life through photos? From holidays and vacations to portraits and shared moments, celebrated photographer (and mom) Me Ra Koh not only helps moms and dads take better photos, but inspires them to discover photography as a way to connect with, cherish, and celebrate their family. With forty beautiful “photo recipes” anyone can follow—with any camera—preserving your family’s story has never been easier!

I was so excited to take this book! Photography is a passion of mind and as most of my friends know—I’m actually opening a new photography business called Simply Enchanted Photography.
The thing is though—it’s so much easier to take pictures of strangers than it is to take pictures of your family. You aren’t a photographer to your own children—you’re quite simply, mom.

I thought this book would provide me valuable tools and tips for photographing ‘my’ family. Instead, what I found was that this book had many wonderful tips, tricks and ideas that I will be able to carry through as I work with clients as well!

While I have a nice Canon DSLR, this book is still useful to anyone and it doesn’t require you to have a fancy camera to take nice pictures. The techniques suggested to getting your family’s attention and suggestions on how to build your photographer’s eye is helpful to anyone—new photographers or hobbyist especially.

Are you a new photographer or simply wanting to take better pictures of your family? Wherever you’re at in your photography goals—Capture life. Live life. Love life.
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Me Ra Koh, affectionately known as The Photo Mom, is the leading photography expert and educator to moms with cameras. She hosts the Disney Junior TV show Capture Your Story with Me Ra Koh, and also writes a weekly column for Disney’s Babble.com

“I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.”

Review of 'When the Heart Cries' by Cindy Woodsmall

Friday, August 15, 2014

When the Heart Cries (Sisters of the Quilt, #1)When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing

Suggested Age: 18+
Genre:Amish Fiction, Christian Fiction

This is my second time reading this book and I loved it every bit as much as I did the first time. This series is the reason I fell in love with Amish fiction and especially with Cindy Woodsmall's writings.

When The Heart Cries is one of those gut wrenching books that you really need to keep an open mind about. Reading about violence against women can be offensive to some readers and I completely understand that. However, we can learn a lot about forgiveness and how to cope with our own trials when we read fiction.

I’ve learned so much from Hannah. She’s a character that has stayed with me since my very first time reading this series in 2010. She is an absolute delight and is both heartwarming and wise beyond her years. I thank Mrs. Woodsmall for giving me the pleasure of reading all of her works and for touching my life with every book that I have read of hers.

Hannah was raised Old-Order Amish but she desires freedom from the rigid rules and regulations of her community.

At seventeen years old, she’s also found the man she wants to marry, Paul. The problem is, Paul is Mennonite and Hannah’s family doesn’t approve of her leaving the church or community. The young couple is determined to win her family’s approval and Hannah has promised to wait for Paul as he finishes his college courses.

On the day that Paul leaves to return to school—a life changing tragedy befalls Hannah. This one single event will change Hannah’s life forever as well as her family and her community’s opinion of her.

The fear of losing Paul and the burden of shame and guilt persuades Hannah to keep her deepest secret hidden for as possible. When she is no longer able to hide the terrible truth; Hannah is forced to make a decision. Will she stay in her community, shamed and broken, or leave her old life behind in search of a brighter future?
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When the Heart CriesWhenWhen the Soul Mends

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written six novels, three novellas, and Plain Wisdom, a work of nonfiction coauthored with her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud. She’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life.

Review of 'Child of Mine' by Beverly Lewis

Friday, August 8, 2014

Child of Mine
Child of Mine by David Lewis

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
★: Didn't Like it
★★: It was Ok
★★★: Liked it
★★★★: Really liked it
★★★★★: It was amazing
Suggested Age: 12+
Genre: Christian, Amish Fiction




This is the first Beverly Lewis book that I rated at two stars and it near broke my heart to do it because I really like this author. She’s a sweet lady and is so wonderfully friendly to her fans.

I always promised myself to be honest in my reviews and while this book was well written—I was really upset at the ending. I felt like the entire existence of Laura in the story was pretty much unneeded for how the story ended and I disliked how dishonest Kellly was.

Kelly…sigh…I can’t say too much without completely giving away the storyline but let’s just say—I don’t like her. I don’t like how she mooched off people even if for a good reason, I don’t like how she lied and I sure don’t like how she completely forgot a certain person. I’ll leave it at that. This is simply my opinion and is in no way a downrating of the writing itself. I just couldn’t make myself like how this ended. I do LOVE the picture on the cover, though!

Jack is raising his niece Natalie after the death of her parents some years back. As he travels, Natalie is cared for by her Amish nannie, Laura.

Kelly Maines is looking for her child who was taken from her by her husband and sold illegally on the black market for big bucks. After many years of looking—Kelly thinks that she’s finally found her daughter.

Kelly thinks that Natalie is her daughter and rather than being honest with Jack, she decides to keep her intentions of having Natalie DNA tested to determine if she is her daughter.

She never expected to fall in love with Jack and her tireless search for her daughter may tear apart the budding romance.

In conclusion, I think a lot of people will love this book. I simply couldn’t bond with the characters. Five stars on the writing but I give it a two based on that fact, alone.
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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, with whom this book was written, 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 Beverly House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own

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.