Friday, February 27, 2015

The Decision by Wanda Brunstetter

Wanda Brunstetter's new book The Decision was an excellent read.  If you are or know of a person that is a caretaker of someone you know what a big job that is.  It is hard to find time to take care of yourself and your own needs.  This book deals with this life issue.  This book is the Prairie State Friends series, book one.

Elaine is the caretaker of her grandmother who becomes ill with diabetes and also dementia.  This happens at a time in her life when she is being courted by Jonah.  Jonah is a character Wanda's fans will recognize from another series of Wanda's books.

Just when things are going good with Elaine's and Jonah's relationship, Elaine discovers the news of her grandmother's health.  She makes a decision that will affect not only her life, but Jonah's as well as others.  Will Jonah be able to change her mind, or what will happen in the lives of these two?

I really enjoyed this book and could really understand the decision that Elaine felt necessary to make to spare Jonah from what she feels would be a difficult married life. This was a moving story that many people find themselves facing at one time or other in their lives.

I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading book two!

I received a print copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given.  All thoughts are my own.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

An Unexpected Blessing by Vannetta Chapman

An Unexpected Blessing is one of four parts from the Book An Amish Cradle.  The four contributing authors are Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman.  I will be reviewing them separately.  All of these authors are amongst my favorite Amish authors.

Although An Unexpected Blessing is the last novella in this collaborative work, I started with this one.

Etta is a 42 year old Amish woman with a grandchild and adult or older children, including one that has left the family and community.  She finds herself suddenly expecting a child in her older years and as all Amish, is happy with the news of their forthcoming arrival.

The doctor advises that due to her age it would be wise not to plan on a home birth, but rather to plan on coming to the birthing center.  As she and her husband Mose find themselves traveling to the center in their buggy, a winter snowstorm engulfs them.  The roads are impossible to see and they find that they are now unable to get out of the drift that they find themselves in.  As Mose ventures out for help, Etta is alone dealing with labor and the fear of how things might turn out and can only rely on her faith in God to provide the resolution to their predicament.

This was a very sweet story.  Vannetta is a writer of many heartwarming Amish stories, this novella included.  I am most happy to recommend this book to others who enjoy Christian fiction.  Well written and enjoyable!  And you get some of those nummy author recipes as a bonus at the end!

Author Vannetta Chapman
Bio:  Vannetta Chapman is the author of the bestselling novel A Simple Amish Christmas.  She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups.  In 2012 she was awarded a Carol Award for Falling to Pieces.  She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather's birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania.  VIsit Vannetta's Website at  Connect with Vannetta: Twitter: @Vannetta Chapman Facebook:  VannettaChapmanBooks

 Find out more about An Unexpected Blessing at this link!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Guest Blog article from Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer is an excellent author whose books I have enjoyed in the past years.  As a member of her MOPS Street Team, I am happy to post a recent article of Tricia's that she posted on her own blog and has allowed us as members of her team to post on our blogs.

Tricia has many good causes and MOPS is one that she has encouraged many to become involved with and to help teen mom's cope with the stresses that they will have to deal with.  Her blog can be found at this link. Be sure to visit and learn how you can help these young women.

Her latest book that she has authored can be viewed at this site and is called Teen Mom:  You're Stronger Than You Think.

Thanks Tricia for sharing your thoughts on parenting.  We, (even us grammas) can learn from others!

Don’t Make These Parenting Mistakes

On the heels of my upcoming release with Phil Hodges and Ken Blanchard, Lead Your Family Like Jesus, I decided to poll my Facebook and Twitter friends about all things family, parenting, and leadership. Here are their answers to “What’s a parenting mistake you hope young parents don’t make with their kids?” (By the way, the official Lead Your Family Like Jesus website is up and running! Check it out here.)
“Trying to be their best buddy and not teaching respect or discipline.” ~Donita Corman
“Don’t throw money at situations. Tough love it out!” ~Mary Tullila
“I’ve seen too many parents say that they love their kids, but their actions speak otherwise. Show them that you love them every day, and make sure they know it because they may not have you tomorrow.” ~Wendy Noble
“To not forget that they were young once and understanding goes a long way.” ~Shana Marie Casey
“1. Discipline is a must. 2. You don’t need to buy them everything they want. 3. It is ok for them to be ‘bored.'” ~Michelle Strite Hortenberry
“Don’t ever result to bribery, or you will be doing it for years to come.” ~Catherine King
“Making excuses for their child’s bad behavior.” ~Lisa Eichelberger
“Becoming so absorbed in their own work that they fail to provide adequate care and love for their kids.” ~Carrie Fancett Pagels
“I think the worst mistake we can make as parents is to take childhood for granted. It is so fleeting, and each moment should be treasured, adored, and appreciated.” ~Jillian Amodio
“Coddling them and not teaching them to own up to their mistakes.” ~Melissa Reedy
“‘Guilting’ children into doing what parents want. Not letting kids make mistakes. Not teaching kids how to do things on their own (even when they will end up making mistakes). And the most important: not encouraging them to seek out their own relationship with Christ instead of trying to live through their parents’ faith.” ~Jennifer Hill
“Spending too much time hooked up to our ‘devices’ . . . and unhooked from the important little persons around us.” ~Isaac and Corrine Collura
*Photo credit: Image courtesy of photostock /
(Article used by permission of Tricia Goyer)   

Harvest of Blessings by Charlotte Hubbard

Not just a pretty cover!  Truly this is a very nice read for all the Amish and Amish romance fans!.

It is a part of the Seasons of the Heart series and is a very sweet story of Nora Landwehr as she returns to her former Amish community in the hopes of reconciling with her family after a sad misunderstanding.  Her return brings her home to Willow Ridge in a flashy red car, divorced, short shorts and all things Englisch.  Yet her goal is to bridge the years of family separation, and repair the 16 years of damage that were done.  As she comes home and her presence is discovered, she feels some concerns as her goal is not quickly or happily received.  Her Dat is not planning on forgiving her of what he considers her sins and wrongdoings.

Whether she will be accepted back into her community is questionable, but now she has given up her past years and hopes to make her new home in Willow Ridge, having bought a large house and property.  How will she provide for herself and gain the trust and love of a daughter she gave up?

With the love and blessings of God, she works to reestablish the life she lost.  This is a really heartwarming story.  It grabbed me from the very start.  The characters are well developed and carry through from previous books of this series.  There is a wonderful set of recipes from the Sweet Seasons Bakery Cafe.  I would highly recommend this book.  I really loved reading it.

I received a copy of this print book from the publishers for my honest review, which I have given.

Author Charlotte Hubbard:  Charlotte Hubbard, a long time Missourian, draws upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, and writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her Searsons of the Heart series.  Charlotte is a deacon, a dedicated church musician, and choir member.  Charlotte now lives with her family in Minnesota.  Visit her at
This book is available as of Feb. 24, 2015 at Amazon

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Three Sisters by Helen Smith

This is the first book or short story that I have read from author Helen Smith.  She is a British author and I felt the British style in her writings as some of the terminology was definitely different than most of the authors I have read in the past.

The writing style was quite different as was some of the vocabulary used.  The pages were very descriptive in the explanation of what was happening.  Emily Castle, protagonist in this story, had recently lost her dog to death and living in a new neighborhood.  She was invited to a bonfire and Halloween party.  All described quite precisely by the author.  The guests/entertainers were all a bit on the unusual side.

At this gathering were many entertainers/performers, including knife throwers and others from Hungary.  It is interesting to see the death and sudden "reappearance" of the "murdered" person in the story.  Was it real or was it part of the performance?  That you will need to discover for yourself.

I am usually not one to read too many short stories, but it held my interest and the new style of writing kept me wondering what would happen and would the mystery be resolved or not.  I enjoyed it and will probably read other stories in this series.

I was given a ebook copy of this book from the author for my honest review which I have given.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lizzie Searches for Love - Trilogy by Linda Byler

This is a sweet, sweet read.  It is one of several books that I have read from Amish author Linda Byler.  This trilogy was over 900 pages and includes a lot of recipes at the end.  And since the author is Amish, I suspect these to be pretty authentic Amish cooking recipes.

The stories are of Lizzie, her day to day life, growing up, experiencing teen-age and older experiences.  She relates to her two sisters throughout the books, moving to a new Amish community and the changes that brought into the family theatre.  Also her father's illness which causes him to no longer continue in his work as a farmer.

It is really a book of everyday life.  So interesting, yet unpretentious.  A simple book of family, family life and interactions, growing and becoming an adult and all that goes with it.  Loved it, enjoyed the family moments and the good Christian values displayed.  Great book.  Hope to continue to see more from this wonderful Amish author.

About the author:  Linda Byler.  No photo here!  She is Amish.
Linda Byler grew up Amish and is an active member of the Amish Church today. She is the author of the bestselling Amish romance novel series, Lizzie Searches for Love. Linda is also well known within the Amish community as a columnist for a weekly Amish newspaper.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Waiting Hearts by Beth Ann Stifflemire

This was a really nice read.  Beth Ann Stifflemire has a warm touch to her writing that I enjoy.  The version I received was an Audible version which I won in a giveaway. I liked that fact as I was able to plug my phone into my car's bluetooth and listen on my way to and from work.  I also liked the fact the I could speed up the narrator, as the original speed seemed a bit too slow for me and the way that I like to read.

The story is about Kayla Parker, 26 year old 2nd grade teacher.  Because of a heart condition, she tends to avoid the night scene and prefers to lead a quiet school teacher life style.  Her heart condition, having been apparently genetic as her father had died of it, causes her to have regular doctor's appointments, and medical regimens to abide by.

One evening she accidentally bumps into musician, Gabe Sanderson.  As the days go on, the run into each other as if by fate.  As they come to know each other, Gabe appears to accept all about Kayla, including her dog, Deke and especially her health concerns.

There are several twists and turns in the story.  It's happy.  It's sad.  It's all the emotions that are found in love stories.  I enjoyed this story very much and am happy to have had the chance to become acquainted with this author's writing style.

Author Beth Ann Stifflemire, contemporary romance writer from one of my favorite states:  Texas!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Plain Proposal by Beth Wiseman

I finished the whole book pretty fast because it was hard to tear myself away from the 3 books in the 1 Volume version.

Just as the others, I was very taken in by this book as well.  Beth Wiseman is a really enthralling author.  I will be reading lots of her books, no doubt about this.

In this story Englischer Shelby, whose parents have divorced, is required to live with her Amish relatives.  She is surprised at their living circumstances but finds herself growing fond of the warm family.  Although mother Rebecca seems to be a bit hesitant to have a trusting relationship with Shelby.  She is sure that Shelby will be a bad influence on her daughter, Miriam.

Both girls find themselves getting close and finding someone whom they both care about.  Miriam's Amish beau is keeping a secret from her and this secret could cause the end of their relationship.  As the stories continue, you witness the warmth of family, the forgiveness and the strength of the individuals and how they deal with problems they never foresaw.

This is a very interesting read.  I see the trust in God, family and friends and how they all work together for the good.

Loved this book!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Plain Paradise by Beth Wiseman

In a word, I loved this.  It was a hopeful and uplifting inspirational book.  I thought I enjoyed the first book, but this one went above and beyond.

Linda has lived a happy Amish life, only to have her world turned upside down by Josie Dronberger, a woman who at age 17 gave Linda to an Amish couple for adoption.  Now Josie is facing her own health problems and wants to find her daughter.  She does, but Linda was never informed that she was not the natural child of Mary Ellen and Abe.  The shock takes the household in its grasp as Josie and Linda begin to try to know and understand one another's worlds.  

True feelings are shown by Mary Ellen who does not want to lose her faithful daughter to Englisch ways and worldliness.  

This is a heartfelt story of love, faith, prayer and trust in God at all times.  I am so glad I pulled this book from the bottom of my "to be read" pile!  It is so good.  A 5 star book!

Author Beth Wiseman