Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Sweet Amish Stories -- An Amish Picnic





About the Book


Book:  An Amish Picnic
Author: Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Kathleen Fuller, and Vannetta Chapman
Genre: Amish; Christian Romance
Release Date: March 3, 2020

From bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four sweet stories about picnics and romance.

Baskets of Sunshine by Amy Clipston

Kevin Weaver has lived with his brother’s family since his parents passed away when he was young, but he craves a home and family to call his own. Freeman Kurtz owns a successful brick mason business, and Kevin takes the job as Freeman’s apprentice to pursue his own financial freedom.
Phoebe Kurtz is helping her sister with her booth at the marketplace when she notices Kevin, her father’s employee. Their friendship grows, but Kevin is convinced that the difference in their ages makes a relationship between them impossible. Amidst summer outings, Kevin and Phoebe must decide if taking a chance on love is worth the risk.

Candlelight Sweethearts by Kelly Irvin

Esther Marie Shrock loves her job at Valley Grocery Store where she’s worked for four years. Despite a stutter that has plagued her since childhood, she thrives filling orders from a steady stream of customers. Still, at 25, she and her family wonder if romance is in her future.
Jasper Cotter isn’t good with people, but he’s found himself obligated to take over day-to-day operations of the family owned grocery store—a store he doesn’t have the first clue how to run. Thrown together, Esther Marie and Jasper don’t exactly see eye to eye. One night, the store loses power, and the candles aren’t the only things shooting off sparks. Esther Marie and Jasper are suddenly forced to discover common ground when it matters most, and they might be surprised with 
love along the way.

Reeling in Love by Kathleen Fuller

Nina Stoll and Ira Yoder are just friends. Just friends and fishing buddies. Every Saturday afternoon, they have a picnic at their favorite fishing hole and see who can out fish the other. Until Nina starts to wonder if there’s more.
Her plans to share her feelings go awry, and circumstances seem destined to keep Nina and Ira apart. With both Nina and Ira confused and hurting, it’s going to take courage, some help from the community matchmakers, and a little bit of divine intervention for Nina and Ira to realize they’re each other’s perfect catch.

Picnics and Prospects by Vannetta Chapman

Faith Troyer is claustrophobic, and David Lapp builds tiny houses. They went on a date years ago with disastrous results. Now that they’re in their late twenties, their families and friends are beginning to wonder if either will ever find that special someone. When a picnic outing is diverted by the discovery of a package of letters dating back to the 1970s, they take it upon themselves to find answers to a mystery that causes them to rethink their past and consider their future.

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts


As always, I like reading a collection of Amish novellas from some of my favorite authors, and from some who are new to me as well. In this group, three were authors whose work I have enjoyed multiple times. I believe it was the first time I had read anything by Kelly Irvin, and she has found a spot on my go-to list for the future.

The title of the book comes from the fact that each of the stories in the collection has at least one instance of a picnic that played a role in the plot. The very nature of these novellas tends to lead to fast developing relationships that start with some kind of complication, with many of the details being pretty predictable. But all four authors did a great job of fleshing things out into sweet stories that were a pleasure to read. 

Each story is short enough for a single sitting squeezed into a busy schedule, or you can easily enjoy moving from one to the next if you have a longer time to read.

If you are looking for a chance to try out some new authors or want to have quick visits with some of your favorites, check out An Amish Picnic.

Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of this book.  I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Author


Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery, Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel, Amish Heirloom, Amish Homestead, and Amish Marketplace series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan University and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled rotten cats. Visit her online at AmyClipston.com; Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks; Twitter: @AmyClipston; Instagram: @amy_clipston.




Kelly Irvin is the bestselling author of the Every Amish Season and Amish of Bee County series. The Beekeeper’s Son received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called it a “beautifully woven masterpiece.” The two-time Carol Award finalist is a former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to read books by her favorite authors. Visit her online at KellyIrvin.com; Instagram: kelly_irvin; Facebook: Kelly.Irvin.Author; Twitter: @Kelly_S_Irvin.



With over a million copies sold, Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, the Amish of Birch Creek series, and the Amish Letters series as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. Visit her online at KathleenFuller.com; Instagram: kf_booksandhooks; Facebook: WriterKathleenFuller; Twitter: @TheKatJam.



Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She is the author of sixteen novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, The Shipshewana Amish Mystery series, and Anna’s Healing, a 2016 Christy Award finalist. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and has also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She was a teacher for fifteen years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. Visit Vannetta online: VannettaChapman.com, Twitter: @VannettaChapman, Facebook: VannettaChapmanBooks.

Read an Excerpt


Read an excerpt here.

Blog Stops

Batya's Bits, March 6
The Avid Reader, March 6
Bigreadersite, March 8
Quiet Quilter, March 10
Splashes of Joy, March 15
Artistic Nobody, March 18 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
EmpowerMoms, March 18

Monday, February 3, 2020

Sweet Children's Story with Important Lessons -- Good Night, Fireflies

Good Night, Fireflies by Janet Christensen is a sweet story to help young children learn to trust in God when night-time fears creep into their minds. The story is very engaging and real for young children, and the colorful illustrations should hold the interest of even the very youngest listeners.

"Spookies and creepies" can create very real issues for some youngsters. And often just telling them that there is nothing to be afraid of is not enough to convince them that all is well. I really like the fact that the author deals with those concerns in story form and does so in a way that teaches an even more important lesson about God's nearness whenever we need him. And who can't enjoy a story about something as fun as fireflies! I can't help but wonder how many parents or grandparents will be going on firefly-catching adventures with their kiddos after reading Good Night, Fireflies.

On a personal note, my reason for first noticing this book is the young character's name -- and the fact that I have a 2-year-old grandson also named Landon. While my Landon might be a little young to fully understand all the lessons right now, I think he will enjoy having the story read to him and will surely come to understand the comfort of God's nearness as he continues to grow.

Thanks to BookCrash for providing a copy of this book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

You can purchase a copy of Good Night, Fireflies here.

About the Author:

Janet L Christensen is a writer, speaker, puppeteer, and encourager that loves to captivate audiences with inspiring stories. Born and raised in rural South Dakota, she is a pastor's wife, a children's and women's ministry leader, and the proud mother of two teenage sons and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Sully. Whether it is with the stories she writes or through the stories she tells with the help of one of her puppet friends, Janet delivers an entertaining message of hope and love. Good Night, Fireflies is her debut picture book. You can learn more about her at www.janetlchristensen.com.

About the Illustrator:

Francesca Pesci lives and works in Florence, Italy. She graduated with a degree in Fine Arts at the Academy of Florence and she earned a three-year professional specialization in Comics Art at the International School of Comics in Florence. As a freelance illustrator, Francesca has collaborated with a variety of graphic design and advertising studios as well as with Disney Comics and Stories as a digital comics colorist. Her work as a children's book illustrator can be found in numerous titles by publishers in the US and Europe. Francesca is represented by Lemonade Illustration Agency.


Monday, January 27, 2020

Great Inspirational Suspense -- Collateral Damage


Lynette Eason is one of the greats at inspirational suspense, and this may be her best yet. The action and suspense started on the first page, in the first paragraph, and kept growing throughout the story.

It is sometimes easy to get lost or confused when multiple threads are introduced in one story. Early in this story, I got so involved in one thread that I was almost surprised when another came back up. There was just enough evidence, though, to assure me that all the pieces would come together in some way, without spoiling anything that was yet to be discovered.

The characters were complex, exciting individuals who played their parts well, often bringing new elements of mystery and suspense. I look forward to getting to know them better in the next installment in the series.

Thanks to Revell Reads for providing a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book
They thought they left the fight behind on the battlefield.
But their greatest struggles are just beginning.


Honorably discharged from the Army after an explosion nearly killed her, former military psychiatrist Brooke Adams has set up shop to help others, but her days of helping military personnel are over. She's got her own battles to fight from her time overseas, and she's not equipped to take on more.

Former Army Special Ops Sergeant First Class Asher James could handle anything that war sent his way. The only thing that scares him now is sleep. As the shadows close in, the nightmares begin.

Finally convinced that he needs help, Asher makes an appointment with a counselor. When he arrives at her office, she isn't there--but a dead body is. When it becomes clear that Brooke was the real target of the attack--and that her secrets go even deeper than his own--Asher vows to protect her no matter what.

About the Author
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Collateral Damage and Protecting Tanner Hollow, as well as the Blue Justice, Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, among others. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a master's degree in education from Converse College. Eason lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Romance and Mischief -- Abraham


About the Book


Book:  Abraham
Author: Jennifer Beckstrand
Genre: Inspirational Amish Romance
Release Date: November 26, 2019

Things at the Petersheim house are getting too crowded for eight-year-old twins Alfie and Benji. As if things weren’t bad enough with three older brothers hogging all the bacon at breakfast and using more than their fair share of toilet paper, Mammi and Dawdi Petersheim have to move in because of Dawdi’s stroke. If Alfie and Benji have any hope of getting their own bedrooms, they have to get rid of their annoying brothers, and the only way to convince their brothers to move out is to make each of them fall in love. What could be so hard about that?

Abraham Petersheim is known as a man of few words. He’s painfully shy and doesn’t see the need to prattle on like other boys in the community do. That’s why he can’t understand his unexpected attraction to Emma Wengerd. For sure and certain she’s pretty, but she also has five or six boys buzzing around her all the time, and she seems to be constantly annoyed with Abraham and his little brothers. Emma would never be interested in someone as boring as Abraham, and he could never set his sights on someone as wunderbarr as Emma.

Click here to get your copy. 

My Thoughts


When you start a Jennifer Beckstrand book, you may not be able to guess all the details of the story, but there is one thing you can count on -- a great read with fun characters and (if it involves the Petersheim brothers) more than a little mischief! Abraham is the second book in the series, and Abraham is the second "victim" of the matchmaking antics of his younger twin brothers. There are plenty of chances in the story to smile, laugh, shake your head, and even hurt a little bit as words and actions lead to some pretty big misunderstandings.

I highly recommend Abraham to fans of great Amish fiction -- or to anyone who might just be looking for a fun-filled story.

Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Author


Jennifer Beckstrand is the two-time RITA-nominated, #1 Amazon bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series, The Honeybee Sisters series, and The Petersheim Brothers series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer and Home on Huckleberry Hill were both nominated for the coveted RITA® Award from Romance Writers of America. Jennifer has written twenty-one Amish romances, a historical Western, and the nonfiction book, Big Ideas. She and her husband have been married for thirty-five years, and she has six children and eight adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.
 

More from Jennifer


Alfie and Benji Petersheim will do just about anything to get their brother Abraham to fall in love with Emma Wengerd, even adopt a stray dog. But to catch that dog, they’re going to need Aunt Bitsy’ help. Alfie and Benji are about to get in a lot of trouble.   I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Abraham.  

Benji pushed his coffee cake around his plate with his finger. “Maybe we could keep that stray dog.” Maybe they could keep the dog. Alfie’s heart started pounding. A dog could find them if they ever got lost in the woods. A dog could fetch sticks and bring Dat his slippers. A dog would eat crumbs off the floor. Mamm would never have to mop again.

Bitsy shrugged. “That’s up to your mamm.”

Alfie’s heart sank to his toes. “Mamm would never let us have a dog. She won’t even let me have a goldfish.”

“I have a pet spider,” Benji said.

Alfie popped a small bite of coffee cake into his mouth. “He’s not your pet. He just lives in the corner of the cellar and kills other spiders.”

“You tried to spray him,” Benji said, “and I saved his life. He’s my pet now.”

Bitsy nodded. “Spiders are gute pets. They feed themselves and don’t poop on the carpet.”

Benji sat very still before wrinkling his forehead like he did when he was upset. “We need to help that dog.”

Alfie wanted a dog as much as anybody, but they had to be sensible. They’d been asking Mamm for a dog ever since they could talk. “Mamm won’t let us.”

Benji started crying. “But he’s going to get gassed.”

Bitsy reached over and patted Benji’s arm. “He might not get gassed. The pound might find a nice family that wants to adopt him. People like chocolate labs. I’m told they’re cute.”

Benji caught his breath and suddenly stopped crying, as if someone had turned off a faucet. “Do girls like chocolate lamps?”

“Chocolate labs?” Bitsy folded her arms. “Well, I’m a girl and I don’t think he’s cute, but most girls love dogs. Do you remember Vernon Schmucker? Poor fellow had a face like a potato, and the girls ignored him. One night he brought a puppy to the gathering, and he was surrounded by girls all night. That’s how he met his wife.”

Benji jumped from his chair and threw his arms around Alfie, making Alfie spill milk down his new shirt. “Hey. Watch it.”

“Alfie, girls like dogs!”

Benji was a good partner, but sometimes he made no sense. “So?”

“If Emma Wengerd saw us walking our chocolate lamp down the street, she’d run out of her house to pet him.”

Alfie’s heart started pounding. Benji was the best bruder in the world. “We could bring Abraham with us.”

Benji got more and more excited with each word. “And they could talk about dogs and chickens and maybe start kissing.”

Alfie set his milk on the table. “We’ve got to catch that dog.”

Blog Stops


Texas Book-aholic, December 28
She Lives to Read, December 29
Older & Smarter?, December 30
Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 31
SPLASHES of Joy, January 1
Book of Ruth Ann, January 2
Mary Hake, January 2
janicesbookreviews, January 3
Vicky Sluiter, January 3
Pause for Tales, January 4
Quiet Quilter, January 5
The Avid Reader, January 6
Batya’s Bits, January 10

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving a $10 Amazon gift card to three winners!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Sweet Christmas Stories -- An Amish Christmas Bakery


About the Book


Book:  An Amish Christmas Bakery
Author: Various Authors
Genre: Amish Fiction, Romance
Release Date: October 2, 2019

From bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four delicious novellas perfect for celebrating love, joy, and the holiday season.

Cookies and Cheer by Amy Clipston

As Christmas draws near, Alyssa Byler dreams of a window display for the bakery where she works. When she decides to design and build a sugar cookie nativity scene, all she needs is the right cookie cutters-and handsome blacksmith Kyle Smoker is the one she asks for help. Using Kyle’s handmade cutters, Alyssa creates a striking display that brings more tourists to the bakery than she can handle. And when shoppers request handmade cookie cutters of their own, Kyle finds himself overwhelmed by the demand. As Christmas approaches, Alyssa realizes she’s been too caught up in work to focus on the true meaning of Christmas-and too distracted to explore the feelings she has for Kyle. Together, they put aside the holiday rush and spend their time celebrating the season that has brought them together.

Loaves of Love by Beth Wiseman

As the only girl in a family of eight, Katie Swartzentruber has been left in charge of her family’s bakery while her mother recuperates from surgery. At first, Katie doesn’t think tending to the bakery alone will be difficult. She’s worked alongside her mother for years. But Christmas is coming, and with the holiday comes a flood of patrons, both regulars and tourists. When Katie becomes overwhelmed with the orders she is receiving, she is tempted to move her Old Order family into the modern world by purchasing propane ovens to help with the workload. She finds help from an unexpected source-childhood friend Henry Hershberger, who has harbored a secret crush on Katie for years. He’s been afraid to tell her how he feels, but he’s sure that this Christmas is his moment. As the demands of the bakery only get more intense, both Katie and Henry have to decide what really matters . . . and find the courage within themselves to go after it.

Melting Hearts by Kathleen Fuller

Mattie Shetler is an expert baker, so when her aunt Carolyn begs for help during the busy Christmas rush, Mattie eagerly packs her bags and heads to Birch Creek. What she doesn’t know is that her uncle has also asked for help with the bakery’s new expansion, and he’s asked none other than Peter Kaufman, Mattie’s sworn enemy. As the two work side by side, though, Mattie discovers not all is as it seems. With Christmas just around the corner, Mattie and Peter open their hearts for the greatest gifts of the season: forgiveness and maybe even love.

Cakes and Kisses by Kelly Irvin

Martha Ropp works hard at her family’s bakery, making cakes and pies in preparation not only for Christmas but the many community weddings, including her sister’s. To help during this busy season, Martha’s mother hires Ambrose Hershberger to make deliveries. Martha remembers Ambrose as a gentle giant from her school days, but soon discovers that still waters run deep. The more they work together, the more they want to spend time together outside of the bakery, but both Martha and Ambrose are too timid to make the first move. That’s when the town matchmakers step in.

Click here to get your copy.


My Thoughts


An Amish Christmas Bakery is a collection of 4 sweet stories, each set in an Amish bakery at Christmas time. As always, this type of collection is a great way to try out new-to-you authors and/or to read a little extra story from a series by one of your favorites.

I haven't read series from three of the authors that might connect with these stories, but I can speak for the fact that Kathleen Fuller's story is a nice extension of her Birch Creek series. And I really enjoyed the gentle characters in Kelly Irvin's Cakes and Kisses. This book is a nice, quick read for the Christmas season or any time of year.

Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.


Read an Excerpt


Read an excerpt of An Amish Christmas Bakery here.


Blog Stops


The Power of Words, December 7

The Avid Reader, December 7





Quiet Quilter, December 9


Life as Lanhams, December 10

Britt Reads Fiction, December 10

D'S QUILTS &BOOKS, December 10

Emily Yager, December 11


Texas Book-aholic, December 11



Older & Smarter?, December 13


janicesbookreviews, December 13

Bigreadersite, December 14

Batya's Bits, December 14

For Him and My Family, December 14

Splashes of Joy, December 15

Lighthouse Academy, December 15

Jeanette's Thoughts, December 15



EmpowerMoms, December 16



Hallie Reads, December 18


Mary Hake, December 18




A Reader's Brain, December 20