Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sweet romance . . . with complications -- Amish Sweethearts

Leslie Gould has once again done a great job of crafting a sweet romantic story under very complicated circumstances in Amish Sweethearts, the second book in her Neighbors of Lancaster County series.

While containing many of the expected elements of an Amish story, Amish Sweethearts is not a cookie-cutter, only the predictable outcomes kind of story.  Much of the story revolves around questions that have no easy answers as Zane, Lila, and their friends and family deal with issues of love and war.  Joining them on their complex journey makes for a very engaging read.

Fans of great Amish fiction will surely enjoy this story.  And I'm certainly hoping there is more to come in this series!

Thanks to Bethany House for providing a copy of Amish Sweethearts in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

Their Two Worlds Couldn't Be Further Apart.  Can Anything Bridge the Divide Between Them?

For years Zane Beck and his Amish neighbor Lila Lehman were best of friends. But just as Zane gathered the courage to discover if their friendship could develop into something more, her controlling father arranged for her to be courted by their bishop's son. Zane, heartbroken and frustrated, joined the Army, running away from his shattered dreams.

The passing of time and the distance between Zane and Lila haven't been enough to halt their--now completely hidden--feelings for each other. Any hope for their love grows even more impossible though as Zane's service takes a dangerous turn when he's deployed to Afghanistan. Being on the frontline, confronted with the hard choices of war, has him questioning everything, including whether he can continue to serve or not. But all choices have consequences, and with Lila preparing to marry another, will these one-time sweethearts ever find the life together that they both still long for?

About the Author:

Leslie Gould is the author of the bestselling Courtships of Lancaster County series and coauthor, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 bestselling The Amish Midwife. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She resides with her family in Portland, Oregon.

Good suspense -- Silence in the Dark

Part of Patricia Bradley's Silence in the Dark, like the previous books in this series, is set in the small town of Logan Point, Mississippi.  This story, though, spans international borders, with a good portion of the action taking place in Mexico. You will find some of the characters to be familiar if you have read the earlier books in the Logan Point series, but there is no problem reading this as a stand-alone book.

Silence in the Dark has a nice share of good suspense running through the story -- plenty to keep me engaged as a reader.  It was, though, more repetitive and slower-paced than I would have preferred.  All in all, it was a good story, worth the time I invested in reading.

Thanks to Revell Publishing for providing a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

Bailey Adams is running for her life . . . again.

When Bailey Adams left Logan Point two years ago she thought she was getting away from her problems. Running into her ex-fiancé Danny Maxwell was not part of the plan--neither was being chased through the city by the local drug cartel, the Calatrava. Now despite her best efforts, Danny is her only chance of escaping the people chasing her and getting back to Logan Point safely. Can Bailey find the strength to face what's coming? And in the midst of the chaos, can she keep herself from falling in love with her rescuer all over again?

With lean, fast-paced prose that will keep you turning the pages, Patricia Bradley pens a superb story of suspense and second chances.

About the Author:

Patricia Bradley is the author of Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, and Gone without a Trace. Bradley has been a finalist for the Genesis Award, winner of a Daphne du Maurier Award, and winner of a Touched by Love Award. Bradley is a published short story writer and cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Gentle story -- A Daughter's Dream

A Daughter's Dream is a gentle story which makes a great second installment in Shelley Shepard Gray's Charmed Amish Life series.

The characters are fun to get to know.  Their development and the ways they deal with crises -- big and small -- keep the engagement level high in the story.  The setting in the small Amish town of Charm is perfect for the story.  Having had the chance to visit Charm on a couple of occasions, I feel like I'm right in the middle of Shelley's mixture of real locations with her own fictitious spots.

Fans of great Amish fiction should find A Daughter's Dream a delightful read.  I'm looking forward to continuing the story in A Sister's Wish later this year.

Thanks to Shelley and her publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  And thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for allowing me to be a part of their tour.

See what others have to say about A Daughter's Dream here. 

About the book: 

A young teacher and farmer discover they have much in common, especially when it comes to healing old wounds from the past . . . and finding love in one another.

Rebecca Kinsinger has always dreamed of being a teacher. But when she's given the opportunity she's been waiting for at Charm Amish School, she's dismayed to discover that teaching is hard work---work she's afraid she's not very good at.

That is, until Lilly Yoder joins the class. A thirteen-year old who's just lost her parents, Lilly is in need of someone like Rebecca. For the first time since starting her new job, Rebecca feels a sense of purpose. But when she meets Lilly's uncle, Jacob, his good looks and sweet, easy-going temperament are hard to ignore. How can she even entertain romantic thoughts of Jacob when his niece is her student?

Suddenly becoming Lily's sole caregiver, Jacob Yoder never thought he'd be a single parent---or a farmer. Having been living in Florida as a carpenter, Jacob feels more at home wielding a hammer than a backhoe. The only bright spot in his life is Rebecca Kinsinger. As Lily and Rebecca develop a bond, Jacob's fondness for the pretty teacher grows, too.

But when a fateful accident brings them together, Rebecca and Jacob must choose between duty and desire. Will they follow the path before them? Or set out to find true happiness . . . and true love?

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/20vVAye
About the author:
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

Click here for a chance to win your own copy of A Daughter's Dream.

Friday, May 27, 2016

A great cast of characters -- The Quieting

As any fan of great Amish fiction would expect, Suzanne Woods Fisher continues her Bishop's Family series with a fantastic story in The Quieting.

The great cast of characters makes this an extremely engaging story.  Suzanne brings back familiar characters from previous books with new ones to put together a complex story with lots of challenging interactions.

An important element of the story was an Amish practice I was not familiar with -- a "quieting."  Suzanne describes it this way:  "That’s an Amish phrase that means revoking the responsibilities of an unrepentant ordained leader. Just like it sounds–he is, essentially, 'quieted.'”  The details around that element add an intriguing layer to the story.

If you haven't read the first book in the series, I would recommend you start with The Imposter and then be ready for the series to continue in The Devoted due to come out this fall.

Thanks to the Celebrate Lit team for providing a copy of the book and allowing me to be a part of the tour.

Check out other reviews of the book here.

About the Book

The Stoltzfus family faces serious problems, both in the church and at home. Everyone in the community expects minister David Stoltzfus to fix things–fast. But David doesn’t work fast. He prefers to wait for God to work in individual hearts. However, even he is left wondering if the solution to their most pressing problem might be a Quieting.

When David’s mother arrives, uninvited, more upheaval is in store. She has matchmaking plans for everyone in the family, including David and her eligible granddaughters–and especially for David’s niece Abigail. When Abigail stumbles onto a curious connection during her genealogical research, it could help David solve one problem–but will it create another?

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher takes fans back to Stoney Ridge, delivering the twists, turns, and romance they adore.

 About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author whose most recent novels include Anna’s Crossing and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.


The Quieting giveaway
To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a grab bag of Amish-made gifts worth over $100! Click the link to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/99a8

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Captivating story -- Song of Silence

Cynthia Ruchti's writing in Song of Silence, as in each of her books that I have read, is filled with emotion, passion, and expressive description that captivates from beginning to end. 

Cynthia's characters are what make her stories come to life in awesome fashion.  Lucy is a multi-dimensional character who faces many unexpected turns and by necessity changes and grows continuously throughout the story.  Charlie, with his ideas like worm farming, is sometimes comic relief and sometimes the tender counterpart to Lucy's challenges.  The ladies of the HHATT club provide another fun element to the story.  And Lucy's own children, and those they bring into Lucy's life, provide vital roles in her story.

As I read Song of Silence, there were times I came very close to laughing out loud and others when I had to wipe the tears from my eyes, times I would have loved to share with Lucy and others I hope never to face.  A story that brings out that range of emotions is a great read that I give a hearty 5 stars!

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of Song of Silence in exchange for my honest review.

See what other readers think about the book here.

About the book: 

Music taught Lucy love and beauty. Could silence teach her hope?

Lucy and Charlie Tuttle agree on one thing: they're committed to each other for life. Trouble is, neither of them expected life to look like this. Charlie retired early, but Lucy is devoted to a long-term career . . . until the day she has no choice.

Forced to retire from her position as music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school, Lucy can only watch helplessly as the program her father started years ago disintegrates before her eyes. As the music fades and a chasm separates her form the passion of her heart, Lucy wonders if her faith's song has gone silent, too. The musical score of her life seems to be missing all the notes.

When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees---and hears---everything.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1RAajD2

About the author:

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope. She's the award-winning author of 17 books and a frequent speaker for women's ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin.