©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Home All Along

I can't believe I forgot to write a review for a book I read, but I guess it happens.

Beth Wiseman writes incredible Amish Fiction and Home All Along is no less compelling than her other books.  

Charlotte has come to live in the house her brother left her in the midst of an Amish community.  She is "almost Amish" in the way she lives--her house has no electricity, she has no electronics, she attends the worship services of the church in the district, but she still drives her truck and that separates her from being Amish. 

Daniel is Charlotte's boyfriend and is just waiting for Charlotte to join the church so they can be married, but there are obstacles.....

Charlotte's mother has died from a drug overdose, Daniel's mom is pregnant, Charlotte's sister shows up to manipulate and use her, and Charlotte feels her life spiraling out of control. 

Beth's characters are believable, likable, and real.  Her settings are realistic and imaginative.  Her plot moves with compelling pace to keep the reader intrigued and involved in the story.  This is a five star book, with two thumbs up, and some fine Amish Cooking.

My Thanks to Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Amish Cooking Class--The Blessing

Heidi and Lyle opened their home to a troubled teenager who was expecting a baby after she agreed to let them adopt the babe.  But coming toward the end of the pregnancy, her parents asked her to come back home and offered to help rear the baby too. Heidi was heartbroken, and so was Lyle, but he saw a way out of the grief and that was to get Heidi to give another one of her cooking classes.  There are six characters who show up to learn what Heidi has to teach.

Todd is a food critic with no time for God
Lisa is a caterer wanting to expand her repertoire
Bill wants to impress his hunting buddies
Nicole is the teen daughter of a single father who expects her to cook for him and her siblings
Allie was given the class as a gift from her husband
Lance just wants to learn what Heidi teaches because he smells her cooking every day when he delivers her mail.

Each character in the book gets to tell the story from their own point of view, which makes the book so much more interesting.  The other character is Kendra, the pregnant teen who sees something in Heidi and Lyle that she wants in her own life.

Wanda Brunstetter includes the recipes at the end of the book that Heidi teaches her class.  I have a couple of them I want to try for myself in the coming week.  Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a piece of apple cornbread for a snack.

My thanks to Shiloh Run Press for allowing me to read and review this book.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Colors of Christmas

When I saw that Olivia Newport had written this book, at first I assumed it was Amish fiction, but I was surprised that it wasn't.  There are two novellas in this book and they are delightful stories.

Christmas in Gold describes Astrid's life under the Nazi regime.  She's telling her story to a young woman who is just at the edge of despair.  By revealing all the secrets, she's giving hope to the young woman.

Christmas in Blue details Angela's life after she's been given the responsibility for arranging the Christmas festival for her town.  Angela really resents being handed this responsibility because it belonged to her best friend who passed away in the spring.  A stranger shows up in town that no one seems to know, but he's got the ideas for the festival and helps Angela make it work with the scant supplies she has.

Both of these narratives encompass every aspect of hope that the Christmas season brings.  Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and Golden ornaments with Blue lights.

My thanks to Shiloh Run Press for allowing me to read and review this book.

The Captive Brides Romance Collection

Usually I like reading the anthologies Barbour Publishing puts out.  However I was not held captive by the Captive Brides Collection.  The stories just weren't up my alley.  It could be mood or reading taste, but I couldn't find myself reading these stories about women who had been enslaved or indentured and then finding love.  There is nothing wrong with the writing or anything else about the book.  It was that I couldn't relate to the subject.  I'll give this three stars.

My thanks to Barbour Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book.

Friday, September 8, 2017

To Wager Her Heart

There are a few authors whose books I will read without reading the blurbs because I know that the writing will be excellent and the plot will be intriguing.  Tamera Alexander is one such author, and her newest novel is no exception.  To Wager Her Heart follows Belle Meade Mansion and the history of the railroad through Tennessee.  Tamera has woven historical fact in with the elements of her novel.

Alexandra Jamison wants nothing more than to teach, especially the freed slaves in the post war South. She applies to teach at the Fisk University and even without a teaching credential, she is hired to teach the beginning classes.

Sylas Rutledge is trying to clear his father's name in the train crash on Dutchman's Curve a year earlier.  It wasn't enough that his father died, but he had to be charged with causing the crash.

These two have to fight prejudices of friends and family to accomplish what they set out to do.  I must say that I did not anticipate the ending of this book (and no, I didn't cheat and read the ending first), but it was thoroughly satisfying.

I give this Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and some stock in a railroad.

My thanks to Zondervan for allowing me to read and review this book.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

My Daughter's Legacy

Previously I reviewed book #2 in this series here and I made some statements that showed I didn't know what I was talking about:

 One thing I would change in this book is to leave out the murder of the man in the cabin. While it allowed a few extra characters and a bit of cloak and dagger action, it really didn't add to the plot lines except as a distraction. I feel the book would have been a whole story without that particular device.   
In book #3, My Daughter's Legacy, the murder is explained along with a few other mysteries within the two stories.  In keeping with my format in the last review, I'm going to go with my favorites in this story.

Modern Day Character:  Nicole has overcome some pretty extreme things in her life just to get to where she is, recovering from drug addiction, running from the demons that plague her thoughts and dreams, and holding onto her grandfather's secret for many years--a secret she should have never been asked to hold.

Historical Character: Michael Talbot has come home from France after most of the Civil War has been fought.  He is reviled by his neighbors for being to cowardly to fight. He joins up anyway as a medic for the local battalion.  Using his position as a cover, he spies for the Union army instead of the Confederates in Tennessee.  While he was in France he happened upon an illustrated manuscript belonging to a family he knew back in America. He bought the manuscript and brought it home.

The whole of the novel revolves around finding this manuscript and returning it to its rightful owner.  The manuscript is stolen a couple of times throughout the book, but is finally found and one more attempt to steal it is committed.

Leslie Gould and Mindy Starns Clark are both excellent writers in their own right, but together, they are an unbeatable team.  I can't wait to see what more comes out of their collaborative pens.

Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and an original illustrated manuscript to protect.

My thanks goes to Harvest House Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book.

Monday, September 4, 2017

A Letter from Lancaster County

Kate Lloyd writes impeccably.  Her characters are always fully developed and fit into the scenes where they are placed.  Saying this, I could not get myself interested in her book, A Letter from Lancaster County.  I have read other of her books and enjoyed them all, but even with a well-liked author, the random book will come along that just doesn't fit my taste.  This is no criticism on Kate or on her book.  It's a matter of personal taste.

Angela and Rose have received a letter from their Aunt Silvia in Lancaster County asking them to come for a visit.  Each chapter is devoted to Angela or Rose in alternating fashion, giving their viewpoints on the things that are happening.

I just wish I could have lost myself in the book like I do with so many of the books I read, but this one eluded me.  Three stars--just because I didn't like it doesn't mean you won't.

My thanks to Harvest House Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book.