Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

Suzanne Woods Fisher Guest Post and Book Giveaway!

Welcome to my blog Suzanne!  It is an absolute honor and pleasure to have you here today! You are an amazing author. Your latest book, The Imposter, sounds like a wonderful book and I am happy to be able to have you here to share a little bit about it with my readers.

Book Blurb: The Imposter

Katrina Stoltzfus thought she had life and love all figured out: she was going to marry John and live happily ever after. Those plans started to crumble when her father moved the family to Stoney Ridge, then completely collapsed when John decided to marry someone else. Katrina is devastated. How could she have felt so loved, yet been so deceived?

As she struggles to face a future without him, a widow asks for her help to start a new business and Katrina quickly agrees. She needs time to heal her broken heart, to untangle her messy life, to find a purpose. What she doesn't need is attention from Andy Miller, a farm hand who arrives at the widow's farm just when help is most needed--and who always seems to say the right thing, and be in the right place, at the right time. Is Andy for real, or too good to be true? Deceived once before, Katrina is determined to keep her feelings in check. 

When a cascade of events is set in motion by some surprising information, the little Amish church is turned upside down. Soon, everyone has a stake in the outcome, and the community struggles to find the best response to an imposter in their midst. Can they forgive even the most deceitful deeds?

Suzanne, thanks so much for being here today. The Amish are an utterly private people. How have you been able to do your research?

It’s not easy! But one contact will lead to another, and another, and another. Here’s an example: I was asked to speak in a public library in Iowa. I asked the librarian if she knew of any Amish people in the community who might be willing to talk to me. She gave me the name and mailing address of one Amish woman who loved to read. I wrote to this woman and gave her my phone number. She called as soon as she received my letter, we set up a meeting, and I had a wonderful visit in her home with her entire family. She’s from one of the most conservative groups among the Amish—(as in…no indoor plumbing!). it was a great privilege to be invited into this woman’s home. But it all started with the librarian. 

As an author, you’re known for doing your homework with the Amish people. How are you able to gather stories and details to make your books seem more real?

Through on-site visits to Amish communities—and a variety of them, too, in different states. There’s nothing like being there! Besides the contact with Amish families, it also helps me find details that add credibility. I just returned from a trip to Pennsylvania and Ohio. At one point, I pulled the car over and videotaped the rustling sound of the dried cornstalks in the wind. That’s the kind of detail I glean by being on-site, including different times of the year. In the winter, the vistas are wide open, unending. In summer, with corn so high and plentiful, you can’t see very far! It’s almost claustrophobic.   

A common phrase of David Stoltzfus was, “Everybody begins somewhere.” What was the starting point of your spiritual journey?

My spiritual journey has been like climbing a spiral staircase—it’s grown deeper and deeper through the years, but I can’t see the end and I can’t remember the beginning. Some steps have been deep, some shallow. Certainly, I can point to people and events that caused my faith to grow in leaps and bounds. And times when I’ve slacked off and sat down, rather than kept on climbing. Definitely a more fruitful, satisfying journey when I keep going!

Which one of your own books is your favorite?

Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World. It’s non-fiction, but it was my “foundation” book to write about the Amish. My knowledge and insights grew in enormous ways, and I’m still benefiting from the research and relationships developed to write that book.

Right this minute, what books are sitting on your bedside table? 

I’m re-reading Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, and I downloaded a guide to read along with it, to better understand it. What a treasure!
I would like to thank Suzanne so much for taking the time to share some of her thoughts with us.  It was such a pleasure to be able to share this post with all of you.

Suzanne is offering a signed copy of her latest book, The Imposter to one lucky reader.  Please leave your comment below and be sure to leave your email address in a safe method so that we can contact you if you are the winner!  Last day to enter will be Oct. 8th.

You can get your copy of Suzanne's book the Imposter at Amazon.com and Christianbook.com.

Suzanne Woods Fisher
The Imposter, book 1 in the ‘Bishop’s Family’ series (releases October 5, 2015)
Published by Revell Books


Winter Wonderland by Diane Dean White

A cozy romance by Diane which brings me and many others of you back to the 1950's.  For me it was a time of growing up in small town mid-western USA.  My memories of those years were stirred up to the forefront of my mind as I read the sweet story of Ruth and Cliff in Dearborn, MI.  The Hudson Store, Vernor's Ginger Ale, things I haven't thought about in years.  Let's face it, we all love to reminisce, don't we, just a bit!

The book was sweet, and an enjoyable read during the postwar years.  The story line includes, daily routines, hope, and faith for better times yet to come for the working class American in those days.

I loved traveling back in time and relaxing in the evening with this lovely read.  And at the end, a new recipe to try.  (I love that!)

Disclosure:  A received an ebook copy from the author for my honest review.

The author Diane Dean White can be found at this link.  And you can find her book here at Amazon.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Anna's Healing by Vannetta Chapman

A beautiful cover-a wonderful book.  I really had no idea what a wonderful read I was in for when I received this amazing book.  I am so happy that I had this opportunity to be able to read it.  Here is the synopsis:

In the first of a new series from this author, we find the once peaceful town of Cody's Creek being devastated by tornadoes which causes a horrific accident in the life of Anna Schwartz who was working in the fields with the horses.  As she sees the funnel approaching and hurries the horses towards shelter she is thrown and life as she knows it totally comes to a halt.

Although she survives the accident, her life has now been confined to a wheelchair with no hope of walking again.

I understand the feelings that the book shows that Anna is feeling, aside from the pain, shock and uselessness, she is consumed by feelings of depression.  As she is ministered to by friends and family, she again finds herself pulling closer to God and as those around her continue to pray for her, her spirits are lifted and she tries to adjust to her situation and do what she can.

There are some very wonderful lessons taught in this book and many passages that I marked as I was reading this book, something I don't usually do, but this book touched me deeply in many ways and I felt that many readers of Christian writings would also find these thoughts uplifting and moving.

Vannetta reminds us that God's ways are not always our ways and that His wisdom knows what should be for each of us and that some of our prayers are not answered in the ways hoped for or expected.

A very good read.  I highly recommend this book.

Rating: 5 stars
Content: clean, Christian

This wonderful book will be available on Oct. 1, and can be preordered at this link. 

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given.
The author:  Vannetta Chapman.  Connect with Vannetta at her website.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Huckleberry Hearts by Jennifer Beckstrand The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill Series

I have just finished reading Jennifer Beckstrand's final installment in the Huckleberry Hill Series, entitled Huckleberry Hearts.

This story is about Cassie Coblenz who is a granddaughter of Felty and Anna Helmuth, the sweet 80 year olds who have made many happy  matches for their grandchildren.  This story was a bit different as Cassie, who has left the Amish community and church to become English, returns to the community as her grandmother Anna requires surgery and needs help to care for herself and husband Felty.  Cassie is happy to help and meets her grandmother's handsome English doctor.

Upon Cassie's return to the community, Cassie's mother tries her best to bring her back to the fold, so to speak.  Especially since Amish bachelor, Elmer Lee, is a good match in her opinion and more than obliging to the prospect of courting Cassie.

Meanwhile as the handsome doctor sets his eyes on Cassie, he is determined she is the one for him as well.  This meets with opposition from Cassie's mother, brothers and of course, Elmer Lee.  Cassie remembers Dr. Reynolds from her college days, which leaves her not too anxious to become involved with him.  Dr. Reynolds's faith is not up to the standards of Cassie and that adds to the problem.  Yet, he doesn't give up, although a tragedy that happens, makes his faith falter even more, causing a rift in their blossoming friendship.

This story was typical Jennifer Beckstrand style with lots of humor, Amish style.  It was a very enjoyable read and kept my attention throughout.  As with her previous books to this series, it was a wonderful book and I have to say I wish it wouldn't end.  I loved it and I am sure any Amish book reader will have to agree.  It was a very entertaining read, with lots of compassion and forgiving hearts.

But as a little bonus at the end of this book is the news of her next series which is a trilogy called the Honey Bee Sisters Trilogy and also takes place in Wisconsin.  I am looking forward to reading the entire trilogy.  Can't wait!

This was a definite 5 star book that I highly recommend!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Chat with Vera: Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund [Review & Giv...

Chat with Vera: Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund [Review & Giv...: About the book:  She was a nun of noble birth. He, a heretic, a reformer…an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire. In the 16th century, nun Ka...

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Lopsided Christmas Cake By Wanda E. Brunstetter and Jean Brunstetter

This humorous book is co-authored by Wanda E. Brunstetter and her daughter-in-law, Jean Brunstetter.  The book is about two Amish twins who inherit the house and store of their grandparents.  The house is somewhat run-down and in need of many projects to make things beautiful and in good repair.  The twins have their hands full.

Being a bit older in age, the twins, Elma and Thelma find themselves in a new community and away from parents to start a new life on their own.

A bake-show auction is being held for a good cause and they enter.  Being a bit nervous and somewhat ill-prepared, the girls bumble their way through the demonstration with a cake that is definitely unique but not what they had expected it to turn out like.  Yet the audience finds them amusing and there are several bids for their less-than perfect cake. much to their surprise.

Two young men find that Elma and Thelma are an interesting pair and it appears that love may be in the air.

This amusing book is quite a quick and entertaining read.  Nothing heavy or serious, just amusing and a light read.  I liked it and it was very much in the style of Wanda E. Brunstetter, a talented author of Amish fiction.  It was fun to see that her daughter-in-law is not writing with her.  It will be fun to see further works of this new team.

Fun and entertaining Amish read!

You can find a cute trailer of this story at Wanda's website. 

Lilacs For Juliana by Carrie Fancett Pagels Blog Hop!

I was lucky enough to read this sweet story, Lilacs For Juliana, a short novel by Carrie Fancett Pagels.  The author has written this through personal knowledge of her lumberjack ancestors and what better way to know the life they lead then to have stories passed down in your family.

I found myself attached to the character, Juliana, because she was a librarian.  This has been my occupation for 30 years while working at the Family History Library.

The story takes place in St. Ignace in the 1890's.  I love this time period, being a family historian, and so enjoyed reading this story.  Carrie has written two other books, The Fruitcake Challenge and The Lumberjack's Ball, both of which I had read earlier.  In these earlier books of the Christy Lumber Camp, we meet Richard "Moose" Christy and Juliana Beauchamps who are the main characters about whom this book revolves.  If you haven't read the first two books, you should definitely do so to find out all about the Christy family and the camp.  But you will still enjoy this book even without having read the earlier novels as Carrie carefully crafts the story in a way that it can stand alone.

As Moose discovers pretty Juliana, he immediately falls for her.  But he isn't the only one to have these feelings for her and he also feels a bit "out of her league" so to speak.  Moose is the epitome of Paul Bunyan, a woodsmen I grew up "knowing" well in school, having lived in Minnesota.

Juliana's job seems to be in jeopardy as a school administrator tries to find ways to have her removed from her librarian position, one she very much needs.

Richard Christy knows of Juliana's love of Lilacs and the sweet story revolves around her work at the library and her hopes for a wonderful future.  As you read the book, the author eloquently makes you feel you are in the woods, walking the paths her characters, too, are walking.  And smelling the wonderful scent of Lilacs!

Author: Carrie Fancett Pagels

Links to the other blogs in the blog hop are below!  Be in to win!!!  Stop by each link and leave a comment and your email address in a safe format!  You might be the winner of a KINDLE!  And a paperback copy will be given to a winner at each blog stop!  Carrie is Awesome!!

September 7th Heroes, Heroines and History
September 12th  Overcoming with God 
September 14th   BookBabble
September 16th   Cheryl B Book Blog
September 18th   D’s Quilts & Books
September 23rd  Sunnie Reviews
September 24th  Buzzing About Books
September 30th  Captive Dreams Windows
October 1st             Singing Librarian Books
October 5th            Perspectives by Nancee  
October 7th             Stuff and Nonsense
October 14th          Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
October 21st        Lane Hill House

Other books of this series by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Chat with Vera: The Biggest Story: How The Snake Crusher Brings Us...

Chat with Vera: The Biggest Story: How The Snake Crusher Brings Us...: About the book: (Publisher: Crossway) In The Biggest Story , Kevin DeYoung - a best-selling author and father of six - leads kids and pare...

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Lord Windmere Historical Romance Short Stories by Gianna Thomas

This short story revolves about the exploits of 4 young Lords and takes place as they are approaching their 30's.  Invited to a house party to be attendees of Lady Stockton,   His friends make a wager regarding finding someone in the next year and that it must be a "love match"..He does meet Lady Jane at the party.  There are many things that keep them from having a less than easy time at the house party. There are definitely some adventures afoot in this story.  There is also some heat, as well.  

The finest of England's families attend and there is a bit of a mystery taking place that keeps the story interest going.

The end of the story leaves you with a definite cliff hanger, which of course, causes you to want to find out what happens next.  There are four books which continue regarding the 4 lords.

I was given an ebook copy of this book for my honest review which I have given.

Author Spotlight with Carrie Fancett Pagels! And A GIVEAWAY!

Today I have been blessed to have a very special lady do an author interview and share some of her thoughts with us!  Welcome to my blog, Carrie!  

Carrie, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a former psychologist (25+ years working with children and adolescents) but arthritis disabled me. I planned on working as a psychologist, in a Christian practice, until reaching retirement age—but God had other plans.
Can you share any stories that your readers could be looking forward to in the near future?

I have a brand new release, a short novel, Lilacs for Juliana, that just released! And I have an upcoming release, a novelette, entitled The Substitute Bride, that is part of a multi-author O’ Christmas Town collection.

How has being a writer impacted your relationship with Christ?

My relationship with Christ is what drew me to being a writer. I do this for the Lord. I pray that my work honors Him!

Do you feel that the Christian genre is making an important impact on people’s lives, and how?

I hear stories of people being drawn to Christ through reading Christian fiction. Personally, I have been a longtime reader of Christian fiction, starting back in the late 1980s. There is so much MORE in a true Christian fiction. There is a spiritual arc that ENCOURAGES the reader in their faith walk. I’ve read a couple of “clean” reads recently and walked away shaking my head—without the spiritual walk in Christ the story was no good to me.

Who is your favorite author?

Oh you are making this TOO hard, Sonja!!!  I love SO many. I have to say Julie Lessman. Her stories are filled with passion for the Lord as well as terrific romance! Her voice shines on every page—I love that!

How do you deal with the pressures of writing under a deadline?

I’m kind of a deadline person because of my RA. But life happens. I had unexpected emergency surgery in April. That set my current release behind.  In general, I try to write at least something every day. I ask God to help me. He is the reason I can be productive and meet deadlines.

When not writing what is your favorite way to unwind?

That would be hubs barbecuing for us, daughter over visiting us and with her dog, and our son being there. And then maybe doing a little bit of beading with our daughter and us all watching a movie together!

You seem like a very grounded person, Carrie, what would you feel helps you with this?

God. The Lord is the only reason I look that way. I am a mess without Him. I try to stay grounded in my faith. Staying in prayer and in the Word and being plugged in at church are some of those basic tenets of having any kind of chance of being grounded!

Thanks for interviewing me, Sonja! I’ve interviewed thousands of people over the years, in practice as a psychologist, so it is always interesting being on the other end of the questions!!!

Giveaway: A paperback (or ebook) copy of any one of the books in The Christy Lumber Camps Series – winner’s choice.

To enter the giveaway, please comment regarding the spotlight and mention which book you would prefer to receive, should you be the winner!  Don't forget to leave your email in a safe form so that we can contact you if you are the winner!  Contest ends September 10th!