Sunday, September 30, 2018

Enjoyable Christmas Novella -- The Christmas Prayer

The Christmas Prayer is an enjoyable Christmas novella by Wanda Brunstetter.

Breaking away from her usual genre of Amish fiction, Wanda has written a story set in the wagon train days of the mid-1800s. The diverse cast of characters keeps the story interesting, and the two young children provide a special touch. Interactions and sometimes misunderstandings provide interesting plot elements as the story moves along.

The pace at which relationships come together at the end of the story is a little rushed, but all in all this is a very engaging story. There is even a little "Christmas miracle" to help turn your thoughts toward the holiday season.

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

About the Book:

Beloved, bestselling author of Amish fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter takes readers on a journey in 1850 along the California Trail. 

Only the brave—or foolhardy—would attempt a cross-country journey late in the season. Three wagons meet up in Independence, Missouri, in April 1850, and their owners decide to keep forging ahead despite many setbacks and delays. December finds them in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when a sudden snowstorm traps them, obscuring the trail. 

Cynthia Cooper is traveling with her mother and the man she has promised to marry. But as Christmas is upon them and they are hunkered down in a small cabin, she is forced to reevaluate her reasons for planning to marry fellow-traveler Walter Prentice. When a widowed father heading to a California ranch and a gold prospector both show an interest in Cynthia, she weighs her dreams for marriage alongside her responsibility to care for her mother. Can love win over her timid heart?

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author:

New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written close to 90 books translated in four languages. With over 10 million copies sold, Wanda’s stories consistently earn spots on the nations most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards. 

Wanda’s ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs. 

When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties. Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, bird-watching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, have been blessed with two grown children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. 

To learn more about Wanda, visit her website at

Try this Exclusive Bonus Recipe Found Inside the Book! 

Cynthia’s Fried Apples 

Instructions: Without peeling, quarter as many tart apples as you would like. Lay apples close together, skin side down, in frying pan with salt pork fat or butter. Cover until well steamed then uncover and brown both sides, turning and watching closely to prevent burning.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, September 18
The Avid Reader, September 18
The Power of Words, September 18
Lighthouse Academy, September 18
Just Commonly, September 19
Carpe Diem, September 19
A Baker’s Perspective, September 19
Blossoms and Blessings, September 20
Britt Reads Fiction, September 20
Random Thoughts From a Bookworm, September 20
Connie’s History Classroom, September 21
Luv’N Lambert Life, September 21
Not Enough Time for Books, September 21
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, September 22
Lis Loves Reading, September 22
Literary Reflections Book Blog, September 22
Babs Book Bistro, September 23
Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 23
Janices book reviews, September 23
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 24
Mary Hake, September 24
Two Points of Interest, September 24
Inspiration Clothesline, September 25
Inklings and notions, September 25
Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 25
Fiction, Faith, and Fun, September 26
Girls in White Dresses, September 26
Book by Book, September 26
Splashes of Joy, September 27
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 27
The Morning Chapter, September 27
The Mimosa Blossom, September 28
Pause for Tales, September 28
Have A Wonderful Day, September 28
Miss Tina’s Amish Book Reviews, September 29
To Everything A Season, September 29
Cafinated Reads, September 29
Bibliophile Reviews, September 29
Quiet Quilter, September 30
Southern Gal Loves to Read, September 30
proud to be an autism mom, September 30
Texas Book-aholic, October 1
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 1
Bigreadersite October 1


To celebrate her tour, Wanda is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a free copy of The Christmas Prayer with an autographed book plate inside!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Clean Humor for Kids -- Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids

Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids falls pretty far outside the normal range of books that I usually read and review. But when I saw the description, I thought it probably had my 7-year-old grandson's name written all over it! As I read the 130-ish pages of jokes, riddles, etc., I could imagine the hours he might spend sharing these jewels with anyone who would listen.

The content is exactly what was promised -- knock-knock jokes and other groaners that an elementary-aged kid will find absolutely hilarious. (And teens and adults might find a reason to smile as well, as they moan and roll their eyes.)

The back cover says the book is "perfect for kids ages 6-12." I think that some of the jokes might contain ideas that are a little dated or that kids that age might not quite "get." But it has been my experience that those limitations often don't keep a joke from being "side-splittingly" funny to an aspiring young "comedian" as he shares with his audience.

Pick up a copy of this little book to provide some good, clean humor for your young child or grandchild. It should provide some great times of shared fun and will do so without any worry of "potty" humor or other unacceptable material.

Thanks to Revell Publishers for providing a copy of Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids. I was happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

Why are dogs such bad dancers? They have two left feet.

Knock, knock. 
Who's there? Alex. Alex who? Alex the questions around here.

What's red and goes up and down? 
A tomato in an elevator.

Any kid can be a comedian with a little help from Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids. This zany collection of one-liners, knock-knock jokes, riddles, puns, funny lists, and hilarious illustrations promises hours of fun. Just be careful. These are the kinds of laughs that make milk come out your nose--so don't drink and read!

About the Author:

Sandy Silverthorne
 is an award-winning author/illustrator with more than half a million copies in print. His award-winning Great Bible Adventure children's series has been distributed in eight languages worldwide. Sandy has worked as a cartoonist, author, illustrator, actor, pastor, speaker, and comedian. Apparently it's hard for him to focus.

Great Story of Healing and Love -- Ours for a Season

Once again, Kim Vogel Sawyer has written a great story that drew me into her characters' lives from beginning to end. Ours for a Season is a contemporary Mennonite story but is not necessarily what you would expect from that genre. 

Marty hopes to work on improving her relationship with Anthony by accompanying him on a move for a long-term work project. Issues that arise in their new setting create unexpected challenges that sometimes interfere with that goal.

Kim has her characters deal with some very tough topics in this story. In her usual skillfully crafted style, she leads them through those difficulties in such a way that they come out learning important lessons of healing and love.

I highly recommend Ours for a Season to anyone who enjoys great inspirational fiction, even if your area of interest doesn't usually fall in the Mennonite/Amish genre. This story can touch your heart and emotions, no matter how you visualize the characters involved.

Thanks to Kim and her publisher for providing me with a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book: 

An Old Order Mennonite couple's vows and beliefs are challenged in this stirring contemporary novel. 

Anthony and Marty Hirschler are part of an Old Order Mennonite community in Pine Hill, Indiana. The couple has grown apart since a doctor confirmed they would never have children. Marty longs to escape the tight-knit area where large families are valued, and the opportunity to do so arises when her childhood friend, Brooke Spalding, resurfaces with the wild idea of rebuilding a ghost town into a resort community. Brooke hires Anthony to help with the construction, drawing the Hirschlers away from Indiana and into her plan, and then finds herself diagnosed with cancer. Moral complications with Brooke's vision for a casino as part of the resort and the discovery of a runaway teenager hiding on the property open up a world neither the Hirschlers nor Brooke had considered before. Will they be able to overcome their challenges and differences to help the ones among them hurting the most?

About the Author:

Kim Vogel Sawyer is a highly acclaimed, best-selling author with more than one million books in print, in seven different languages. Her titles have earned numerous accolades including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband, Don, where she continues to write gentle stories of hope. She enjoys spending time with her three daughters and grandchildren.

Sneak Peek:

Get a sneak peek at this story by reading the first chapter of Ours for a Season here.