Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jenny's Choice by Patrick E. Craig ***** 5 Stars!

Jenny’s Choice

By Patrick E. Craig

There aren’t too many books that I absolutely can’t put down to do other needed things, but this was one.  I loved Jenny’s Choice and can tell you that this book is so enthralling that you won’t want to reach the end.  You want to keep reading.  Patrick’s book has totally touched my heart and caused some tears to come to my eyes as I went through this touching book.  The characters were well described and each of the main characters were strong examples of good Christians wanting to do what was right in their faith. 

Jenny and Jonathan Herschberger and their daughter Rachel are a happy Amish family in Paradise, Pennsylvania.  Jonathan takes a trip to see his parents and the tragic outcome causes Jenny and Rachel to continue life without Jonathan in their lives.

To bring solace to her life and with the encouragement of her parents, Jenny begins to express her feelings through her gift of writing.  She writes of her Amish life and her trials and joys.  Her writing talents are discovered by a handsome and caring publisher who finds himself falling in love with her.  Challenges come to her as opposition from the Lancaster bishop makes her writing seem worldly and wrong.  The bishop and her father do not agree on things which causes more unsettling problems in Jenny’s life.   Reuben, Jenny’s father, is a man of strong character who I felt was a wonderful support to Jenny throughout the trials she faces.

Jenny wonders if she should make a life with publisher Jeremy King but is not sure what God’s plan for her life is.  Even after many prayers, it seems the answer is not easily forthcoming.

Jenny experiences more loss and grieving and returns to her old home to begin anew.  It is here that decisions in her life need to be made. Will she marry Jeremy and leave the Amish church or stay alone and remain a faithful Amish woman who raises her daughter in the faith.  The decisions and results of her move home are a definite sign that God has watched over her and had plans for her.  Her life as a writer continues to bring her fame which is not the style of the Amish.  Will this pull her away from her Amish community? Or bring her closer to the path God wants her to follow.

A heartwarming conclusion leaves you wishing the book would never end.  I give this a definite 5 stars!  A wonderful read!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Danger in Amish Country Anthology

A few days ago I finished reading the 3 part book Danger in Amish Country by authors Marta Perry, Diane Burke and Kit Wilkinson.  I will give a little synopsis on each one..

Fall from Grace by Marta Perry

In this story a young Amish girl witnesses a crime which greatly disturbs her, although at first no one is aware of what is troubling this child.  School teacher Sara Esch finds the reason for this and also becomes more acquainted with the girls father, Caleb King.  As they work to resolve what is going on in their little Amish community, they become close and they face danger together.  Its a quick read and grabs you right from the beginning.  I enjoyed it.  But didn't even realize at the beginning that I was ready three stories in one book.  I liked it and it kept me guessing as to what would happen next.  There was some nice mystery elements in it that I enjoyed.

Dangerous Homecoming by Diane Burke

This is my first time reading anything of this author.  The young widow, Katie Lapp's farm is threatened and she receives notes that cause fear to come into her life.  She wonders if the threats are from teens in their Rumspringa time.  Joshua Miller returns to her community just as trouble begins.  He was the friend of her husband and feels the need to help his good friend's widow.  He remembers his late friend, Jacob's poor choice of friends and wonders if some of them may be behind the problems that are happening to Katie and her farm.  With offers to buy her property from several people, she wonders if someone is trying to scare her off her property.  This was a very entertaining read and I read it in one sitting.

Return to Willow Trace by Kit Wilkinson

Lydia Stoltz is shocked to hear someone coming into your business.  This person from the past is bleeding and badly injured.  Joseph arrives to help her after a long absence.  Lydia and Joseph had been together prior to his leaving at his parents' request.  Without a word he leaves Lydia.  He writes to her but she never reads his letters.  After a series of accidents, the trail leads to a place which reminds them both of only bad memories.  The past has returned into their lives and they have to open up and realize that their feelings for one another are still there. 
This was another good read.  Again, with some unexpected twists and turns.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Twice Loved by Wanda Brunstetter

All the previous books I have read which were written by Wanda Brunstetter have all been of the Amish genre and so I really didn't know what to expect when I read this book. It is a sweet and lovely story about hard times following WWII.
The characters in this book were Bev and Dan. Both had lost their mates through illness and war. It was a time when you relied on your faith and the Lord to get you through the rough times, the times of need and loneliness. Wanda's writings are very Christian and family oriented and this book was that. It is a quick read, took me about an hour but was very enjoyable.

Bev meets Dan after losing her job and finds herself in a toy shop that Dan's late wife had established. The toy shop, called Twice Loved, was a place for used toys and books. Many of these needed to have repairs and to be cleaned and renewed. Beverly takes the job opening at the toy store and although this was nothing like her previous job, does all she can to grow the little shop's business, decorate and sell the used toys, all why caring for her little daughter. She becomes closer to her employer, Dan, and their relationship grows. Their relationship grows through their common faith in God and their Christian ideals. As the store is renewed so is their hope in finding someone to share their lives with, which neither thought was possible before they met.

In this story, you see the kindness of others and the need for people to learn how to accept those kindnesses without taking offense but rather realize that these are God's blessings being poured upon us through the hands of those we come in contact with.
This story was very tender and I enjoyed reading it. At the end was a fun section with historical (wartime) recipes and a bit of historical information. For me, I could really relate to the wartime stories as it was a major part in the lives of my parents who survived prison camps and other wartime hardships. Knowing their sufferings brought this book into real perspective.

Warning Signs by Katy Lee

This was a really fast paced and interesting book. It didn't take long into the book before the action began and it seemed to continue till the end. This was a fun and suspenseful read. I read it quickly because I had a hard time putting it down. It's hard to tell exactly exactly who the bad guys and the good guys are, so that makes for a good mystery! I will read more of Katy Lee's books, for sure!

The One Year Book of Amish Peace: Hearing God's Voice in the Simple Things By Tricia Goyer

This is a book to relish, and not to rush. Sometimes I read a book so quickly in the effort to see how it ends. It's a book to enjoy and read over and over to remind you of the important little things in life. We're all in a rush to finish things in our day to day lives but this book is a reminder to relax, enjoy and experience every day. This book has a thought and story for each day of the year. The stories are all uplifting and thought provoking. As I read it, it is a reminder to me of some things I need to be aware of and more appreciative of. The book covers many different topics using the Amish people and their lifestyles as the base and that God's hand. is in our lives no matter who we are or to which religious group we belong and that we need to be able to submit ourselves to His will.

The book has so many great examples of how to bring peace and calm to our ever increasingly hectic paced life and I plan to share it with my family!

A Father's Promise (Hearts of Hartley Creek)

I loved this book. It was captivating from the very start and never a dull moment. It is a sweet story, with believable characters with situations that are very contemporary. Couldn't put the book down!

Love's Awakening by Laura Frantz The Ballantyne Legacy Book #2

I just finished Love's Awakening. It was the first book I have read written by Laura Frantz. I will be reading more, including book 3! This book developed the characters carefully and you begin to become very fond of them. As the book progressed you could see that the author had done her homework and knew the time period, the situation and culture of the people of this setting well. That it would be hard to find parental support in a marriage between two families that had serious bad feelings about each other is an understatement. This caused the tension to be there, knowing how Ellie and Jack's feelings had to be suppressed, and hidden at best. This book revolved around the theme of the underground railroad, and slavery problems of that era. The author clearly paints the picture of the experiences that were prevalent in this time period. Can't wait to read the next book.

An Amish Miracle

This book was actually 3 novellas, which each led you to the next one, so be sure to read them in order! It begins with Hope Bowman who has hidden a secret from her husband fearing that she would no longer be in his good graces. Having given away a son as a teenager as a result of a bad experience in her life, she fears she will be punished to never be able to bear another son. This story does work out well for her as she continues to pray and follow God's directions in her life. A true miracle happens as a result.
The second story is about Hope's best friend Rosa, a widow who is behind on her taxes with no means to take care of this problem. A bit of pride, perhaps makes her reluctant to get help from her Amish community. Her problems increase with a heartless neighbor whose dogs wreak havoc on her only means of support. She too, must learn to listen to God's guidance. Another wonderful story.
The last novella is Becky Byler, also from the same Amish community. She is overweight and feels little to no self esteem, yet others see much more to her then just the weight and see the real Becky. She begins to diet, almost to the extreme and feels now people like her better. But the man who loves her, has loved her for the true Becky that she has always been. Will she be able to realize this too, enough to realize her worth? Great story.


Rebecca's Rose by Jennifer Beckstrand


Rebecca’s Rose

I loved this book.  Plain and simple.  It was captivating.  I could see the setting, feel the feelings of the characters and enjoyed reading it to the very end.  The human feelings were well expressed and genuine.  The decisions that were made by the characters were believable and understandable. Rebecca's feelings when she discovered an unhappy part of Levi's past, were honest.  Although Amish, she found it difficult to forgive, and had to work through her feelings.  I highly recommend this book to Amish fiction readers who want a little change of pace.  Because the story was different than the other Amish Books I’ve read.  I think that was why I enjoyed it so much, it was very refreshing.

You can find Jennifer's website at this link.

The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman

So I am now on my 2nd blog post.  I just finished reading The Christmas Quilt and really enjoyed this.  I would gladly say that the author wove together a beautiful story of peace, forgiveness and family ties.

The story begins as two young Amish women are preparing for their marriages on the same day.  Annie and Leah share their feelings of joy and happiness at the coming of this happy event.  The story progresses as both women, now married, are both expecting a child, or in the case of Leah, twins.  Leah is married to Annie's brother and as her pregnancy advances she is no longer feeling the closeness to her husband and their marriage does not appear to be as happy as she had hoped or expected it to be at the time of their wedding. 

Leah's pregnancy starts to have complications and some serious problems associated with it.  As time progresses, her husband, Adam, finds her curled up on the floor in the middle of the night.  Realizing that she needs more help than he himself can provide for her, he contacts Annie and her husband, Samuel, for help.  Samuel having some medical knowledge, himself, realizes that he too must call for help and an ambulance is summoned.  Leah is brought to the hospital and after a time, it is realized she must go to yet another hospital for the care her two unborn children are so in need of.  This will take her farther from her family but it seems there is no option.

Annie realizing that Adam needs to care for their home and continue to work to help pay for the hospital expenses, finds a place near the hospital where she can stay and take care of Leah's needs. 
Each day she works on a quilt for Leah.  The quilt takes on significant meaning as the two share scripture time together and special stories together.  The two become close as the time progresses and Leah realizes how much Adam still means to her and Adam finds he too, greatly misses his wife.  As the two await their child, their Amish community comes together to find ways to help them with their expenses due to the extended hospital stay.

The stories and scriptural references begin to bind the two women together and help to calm Leah's fears and apprehension of the expected earlier birth of their children.  With each day the tender feelings between Adam and Leah seem to be returning.  This story gives wonderful hope that we can all  find ways to heal wounds that have torn us apart from those that are the most important to us in our lives.  It is a sweet book that helps us mend our souls.

You can get a copy at

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Amish Christmas Joy by Patricia Davids

My first review on my new blog!  I had done reviews on different sites, GoodReads, Amazon and such but I had never done this on my own blog.  Since fiction reviews don't exactly match the other two of my blogs, my family and genealogy topics, I decided to start a third blog for just reviews of some of the books that I read.  So here goes!

I just completed Amish Christmas Joy today, a little after Christmas, but that's OK!  It was a very enjoyable book and is one of the Brides of Amish Country series.   It is a "Love Inspired" version of a Harlequin romance. 

Caleb Mast is a oil rigger and left his Amish community of Hope Springs, Ohio.  He left because of an accident which caused a young Amish woman to be injured and scarred by a car that supposedly he had driven.  Then after her recovery she and has named Caleb as the father of her child.  All this was too much for Caleb.  He left and became the "bad" son of Ike Mast.  Later in his new life as an Englischer he meets a woman Valerie.  After a relationship, Valerie leaves him and he goes on with his oil rigging job.  Later she returns and with an eight year-old daughter named Joy, a Down Syndrome girl born on Christmas Day.  She tells Caleb he is the father and then quickly leaves and Joy is left behind with the father she has never known. 

Caleb chooses to take Joy to his parents in Ohio where she would be raised Amish.  His intention is to leave her there for his parents to raise.  He promises Joy that he won't leave without telling her.  He settles her into the Amish school where Leah teaches the Amish children.  Will this arrangement work for Joy and will she be accepted by the children or teased as in her previous home in Texas? 

Caleb finds growing feelings for Leah but she is the sister of Rhonda, the young Amish woman that Caleb was accused of hurting in the car accident.  She is also married to Caleb's brother Wayne.  Rhonda and Wayne hold secrets in their hearts that tear at their relationship and cause a family rift with Caleb.  Will they resolve these problems? 

This book was very interesting, fast paced and enjoyable.  A very entertaining book and with enough mystery to keep your interest going! You can a copy at