Monday, December 26, 2016

Fun Christmas-time romance (with a GIVEAWAY) -- The Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill

(Be sure to read all the way to the end of the post for links to other reviews, a bonus post from the author, and information about a giveaway.)
If you see the name Jennifer Beckstrand and the words "Huckleberry Hill," you can be sure of one thing -- a fun story with some hilarious matchmaking!  The Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill is the latest installment in this delightful Amish series and appears as one of the three novellas in The Amish Christmas Kitchen.

As usual, you just never know what Anna Helmuth and her loyal husband Felty might cook up to help one of their grandchildren find his perfect match. Vikings, minions, good food, and Christmas goats -- all are ingredients in a delicious recipe for Christmas fun!  A Christmas story often has its Scrooge or Grinch character, and Jennifer provided one of those as well.

So if you are interested in a quick, delightful read for Christmas, be sure to check out Jennifer's story.  Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing electronic copy of this Christmas collection.  The review is based on my own thoughts from the story.

About the Book:

When shy Katie Rose Gingerich’s dat sends her to Huckleberry Hill to secure a marriage proposal, she never expects to long for carefree Titus Helmuth—or to hope that he might want to spend every Christmas with her . . .

About the Author:
Jennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in list of top ten inspirational books for 2014.

Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Guest Post from Jennifer Beckstrand:

What do you get when you combine Anna and Felty’s earnest grandson, Titus, with a pretty girl who’s practically engaged to someone else, a sleigh full of Christmas bakery orders, and two mischievous Christmas goats?

A wild, wacky, and wunderbarr Christmas, that’s what.

Anna and Felty Helmuth are determined to make this the most romantic Christmas ever on Huckleberry Hill, but have they bitten off more than they can chew trying to match their slightly scatterbrained grandson Titus with timid Katie Rose Gingerich? Titus tends to be a little thick in the head when it comes to love, and Katie Rose is too shy to open her mouth. It might take every potholder Anna can knit plus a determined goat and a little Christmas magic to bring Titus and Katie Rose together. 

Titus would do anything for his Mammi Anna, even eat her very bad cooking and learn how to knit, but why does he have to be the one to care for Mammi’s new goat? Goats give him the willies. But when Titus meets the pretty girl staying with his grandparents for Christmas, he doesn’t mind the goat so much. The more he sees of Katie Rose’s gentle ways and loving spirit, the more he wishes he were the kind of boy she would bake a pie for. Can he convince her to love him without offending her boyfriend? And will Mammi notice if he gets rid of her goat?

After I wrote Huckleberry Hearts, I just knew there had to be someone special out there for Titus Helmuth, Anna and Felty’s lovable grandson. Christmas is the perfect setting for “A Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill” because Titus is one character who seems to have the spirit of Christmas in his heart all year long. When Katie Rose is homesick, Titus does his best to make her feel welcome and comfortable on Huckleberry Hill. He delivers her Christmas goodies, writes poetry for her, and sings Christmas songs. When he finally realizes he loves her, he’s going to have to use both Christmas goats and every trick in the book to convince her to marry him. It’s a fun, heartwarming, wonderful-gute Christmas romance.

“A Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill” is in The Amish Christmas Kitchen novella collection, and it will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Blog Stops

December 15: Daysong Reflections

December 15: cherylbbookblog

December 16: Karen Sue Hadley

December 16: Jeanette’s Thoughts

December 17: Quiet Quilter

December 17: Moments Dipped in Ink

December 18: The Power of Words

December 18:  A Greater Yes

December 19: Christian Bookaholic

December 19: Lighthouse Academy

December 20: Neverending Stories


December 21: Autism Mom

December 22: Bigreadersite

December 22: Splashes of Joy

December 23: Blossoms and Blessings

December 25: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog

December 27: Bibliophile Reviews

December 27: Donna’s BookShelf


To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away three copies of Huckleberry Christmas. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Civil War intrigue -- Pursuing Gold

Pursuing Gold, by Cynthia L. Simmons, is an intriguing story set in Chattanooga during the Civil War.

The story is an interesting one, combining mystery, danger, romance, and faith.  A wide variety of fascinating characters interact as the story takes several twists and turns before all is revealed and resolved at the end.

While the plot did keep me engaged, this was not an especially good read for me.  The writing seemed to be somewhat choppy and stilted.  Also, there were several distracting editorial errors, including typos and one name mistake that took a little re-reading to figure out.

All in all, though, if you enjoy historical fiction from this time period, you may well find this story worth your time.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of the book.  The thoughts in this review are all my own.

You can see what other readers have to say about Pursuing Gold here.

About the Book: 

With his father dead and his business partner incapacitated, Peter Chandler inherits the leadership of a bank in economic crisis.

With only a newly-minted college degree and little experience, Peter joins his partner's daughter, Mary Beth Roper, in a struggle to keep C&R Bank afloat while the Civil War rages around Chattanooga. Political pressure for unsecured loans of gold to the government stirs up trouble as tempers and prices rise. Their problems multiply when Mary Beth discovers counterfeit money with Peter's forged signature. Can they find the forger before the bank fails? The two friends must pursue gold on behalf of their business, as they learn to pursue their heavenly Father to find hope and peace. 

Purchase a copy:

About the Author:

Cynthia L Simmons and her husband, Ray, have five children and reside in Atlanta. She has taught for over thirty years as a homeschool mother and Bible teacher. She's a columnist for Leading Hearts Magazine and she directs Atlanta Christian Writing Conference. Cyndi has a heart for encouraging women in today's crazy, upside-down world. She loves history and peppers her speaking and teaching with fascinating vignettes from the past. Her first book, Struggles and Triumphs, was nominated for 2008 Georgia Author of the Year. She co-founded Homeschool Answers and hosts Heart of the Matter Radio.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Sweet Amish Christmas romance -- The Angel of Forest Hill

Cindy Woodsmall's The Angel of Forest Hill is a sweet Amish Christmas romance that could be enjoyed at any time of the year.

Rose and Joel are both interesting characters with deep needs and concerns in which each can be of benefit to the other.  Joel's difficulties surface in the form of extreme tragedy from the very beginning of the story.  The fact that Rose has hurts and scars is evident early on, but the depth of her struggles comes to the surface at a little slower pace.  Their story involves a slow-blossoming love born out of practical circumstances rather than any initial spark of romance. 

There are themes in the story that are probably unique to the Amish way of life.  Much of the plot, although in the Amish setting, has to do with personal issues that could come up in situations that any of us might face from time to time.  Trust (or lack thereof), emotions (positive and negative), and communication are areas where Joel and Rose have to learn important lessons.  Cindy Woodsmall hits those topics by way of a very engaging story.

If you are a fan of Amish fiction, and especially if you are already familiar with Cindy Woodsmall, you know to expect good things from her.  You should not be disappointed with this quick Christmas read.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for providing a copy of this book.  I was delighted to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

A time of anticipation. A season of miracles.
Because of Joel’s impossible situation, twenty-one-year-old Rose must sacrifice everything. As days pass into years in the midst of the beautiful hills, the laughter of children, and God’s providence—is it too much for Rose to hope for love in return?

An amazing journey toward love and belonging, filled with the wonder of the season of Christ’s birth.

When Old Order Amish Rose Kurtz is asked to leave her family, travel deep into West Vir­ginia, and help Joel Dienner with his children in the wake of tragedy, the quiet young woman recognizes a home where she might find kindness instead of criticism and hope replacing harsh words. She agrees to stay in Forest Hill and become Joel’s wife for the sake of his family needs, but their marriage is to be a partnership, one built from need, not love and affection.

As the years pass, Rose continues to beckon Joel to join life again, to take joy in his growing children, and to awaken his heart to the possibility of new love. Joel hopes that Rose can move beyond deep-rooted hurts to see the beautiful Christmas ahead, their season. But will the arrival of a beautiful widow and a series of misunderstandings reverse how far Rose and Joel have come?

About the Author:

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author of numerous works of fiction and one of nonfiction. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media. She lives in the Foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with her family.