Amish Sweethearts (Four Novellas) by Amy Clipston

amish sweethearts

Pages: 384 (eBook)

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: January 9, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

One thing is for sure and certain, you cannot go wrong picking up a book of Amish novellas to read during a winter storm and when it is a book full of Amy Clipston novellas it is wunderbar (wonderful)! I found myself falling in love over and over again when reading the novellas in Amish Sweethearts.

Love and Buggy Rides is a story about Janie and Jonathan who work together at Lancaster Souvenirs and Buggy Rides. One day while Janie is eating lunch she witnesses an accident while Jonathan is driving a buggy full of tourists. Janie is drawn to helping Jonathan in the aftermath but is afraid to go against her father. Will their new friendship survive or will another tragedy tear them apart?

A Home for Lindsay is a novella with characters from the Kauffman Amish Bakery series (one I need to move up my TBR pile). Matthew has been building a home for his beloved, Lindsay, on his sister’s farm and is looking forward to being married to Lindsay in six short months. Everything comes to a screeching halt when Matthew learns of his sister and brother-in-law’s pending bankruptcy. Matthew becomes fearful of not being able to provide for his future wife. Will Matthew share the terrible news with Lindsey or run away leaving her heartbroken?

Where the Heart Is shares the love story of Tobias and Mariella (a beautiful and unusual name). Tobias has returned from his time in an alcohol rehab in Florida and is ready to make amends with his community and family, especially his Dat (dad). He returns in time for his little sister’s wedding. Mariella is one of the wedding party and has been helping her best friend get everything ready for the wedding. Sparks start flying as Mariella and Tobias find themselves together over and over again.

Love Birds is one of my favorite Amish novellas. For some reason I find myself reading this novella over and over again. I has previously read it when I read An Amish Market. This story definitely fills you with the warm and fuzzies when you finish. I’m in love with how the Amish community takes care of each other in a time of need. This novella focuses on the romance blooming between Ellie and Lloyd but throughout the reader learns how the Amish help one another.

If you love to read Amish stories, ask your sweetheart for this book for Valentine’s Day. You won’t be sorry.

Thank you to NetGalley and Zondervan for a copy to read in exchange for a review based on my own honest thoughts.

The View from Rainshadow Bay (Lavender Tides #1) by Colleen Coble

the view from rainshadow bay.jpg

Pages: 336 (eBook)

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Published: January 23, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What a great way to start off my romantic suspense reading for 2018. I could not figure out who the bad guys were until they were revealed. I love that!

Shauna is trying to make a life for herself and her 5 year old son after her husband dies while on a rock climbing adventure with his best friend Zach. Zach has never been able to forgive himself for the death of Jack. One day while Shauna was visiting a family friend he gives her a box and told her to give it to his estranged wife for safekeeping. As she is driving away the house explodes killing her friend. Shauna realizes it was no ordinary explosion and that the mysterious box and its contents have something to do with the explosion. Shauna enlists the help of Zack even though she blames him for her husbands death. Can Shauna and Zach figure out why the box is so important before others are killed or worse them?

You will be on the edge of your seat reading The View from Rainshadow Bay. There are several mysteries tied into the main mystery and your mind will be continuing to think about what is happening next. I caught myself several times still reading at 3am as I could not put the book down. The characters are well thought out and every action and reaction is true life.

I cannot wait for the second book in the series to be released this July.

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for an advanced copy in exchange for a review based on my own thoughts and opinions.

An Amish Family Christmas (A Charmed Amish Life #4) By Shelley Shepard Gray

an amish family christmas.jpg

Pages: 320 (Large Print Library Binding Hardback)

Publisher: Center Point Large Print

Published: December 1, 2016

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Levi Kinsinger has had the hardest time of all the Kinsinger’s coming to terms with his father’s death at the family lumber mill. He has just recently returned from Florida after working construction down there for a short time. He has moved from the family home to Jupiter Street to have some quiet and space from his family.

Julia Kemps lives with her young daughter across the street from Levi but has kept to herself for various reasons. Levi needs someone to help clean his house before his family comes to visit and Julia needs extra money to get a doll her daughter wants. What Levi doesn’t realize is he is about to lose his heart. Can he trust Julia or is she keeping a secret from him that will destroy their friendship?

Julia’s daughter, Penny, will steal your heart like she stole Levi’s. Her character was so charming you expected to look up from your book and see her standing in front of you with her cute smile and teddy bear.

This was my favorite book of all “A Charmed Amish Life” series. I think it is because every story line was tied up by the end of the book. Each book can be read as a stand alone but you will have a few questions if you read out of order. These books are short enough that one can read a book a weekend. I suggest starting from the first one and not stopping until you have read all four.

The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin

the girls in the picture

Pages: 448

Publisher: Random House Publishers (Delacorte Press)

Published: January 16, 2018

Rating 3.5 stars.

Mary Pickford started as a silent “flicker” actress and continued acting when “talkers” were introduced. She made her stardom as portraying the “little girl with the curls.” One day early in her career a young woman from San Francisco, Marion Frances, entered her acting trailer and life for both changed drastically. Marion wanted to be behind the camera and Mary wanted to be in front. This allowed Marion to write the screenplays that Mary could act in. We follow their lives as they intertwine and separate over the years of 1914 to 1969.

I was very excited to get an advanced copy to read as I did not know much about Mary Pickford, other than she was an actress and I had never heard of Marion Frances (who I think was the real star of the two). While I think this book is very interesting, it has many parts that just seemed to lack excitement and drug on for way too long. I would be reading and really into it and then I would hit a section that I had to force myself to get through. This is my main reason for a 3.5 rating and not a 4.

It is extremely interesting that there is a section that Marion talks about the sexual harassment she experienced in Hollywood and while she was a correspondent during World War One. With the movement going on the last couple of weeks regarding sexual harassment I find myself believing that Marion would have been one of the first to speak out in favor of equality and women telling their stories.

If you are an avid Hollywood fan and want to learn about how it got started this is a great historical fiction based on real people. Ms. Benjamin did an excellent job researching each character and keeping as much as she could true to fact.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for a review in my own honest words.

A Sister’s Wish (The Charmed Amish Life #3) by Shelley Shepard Gray

a sisters wish

Pages: 243 (Paperback)

Publisher: P.S. a trademark of HarperCollins

Published: September 27, 2016

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Amelia Kinsinger has had her eye and heart on Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. The trouble is her family doesn’t think he is good enough for her because of the time he spent away from the Amish after he ran away from an abusive home. Her family also thinks she is still a child that they need to protect even though she is in her young twenties. When Simon discovers Amelia hurt in the family barn he is determined to take care and never leave her side from that moment on. Will the Kinsinger family see that Simon has left his past behind and let love blossom between him and Amelia?

Amelia has been my favorite character throughout this series so far. I was happy to see that book three was about her. She is very soft spoken but full of gumption. Who else but Amelia would convince her family to keep her pet goat that has eaten everything but the house and barn? She has a spunkiness that comes out when she gets riled enough.

Simon is the character that we all wish was true in real life. He has taken his rough childhood and his misfortunate young adulthood and turned the bad into something good. He has learned how not to treat his own future “kinner” (kids) one day and to take his knowledge and try to help those who find themselves in the same situation. I like to believe that people can really change when it comes to drugs and alcohol but I have yet to see that in real life.

There is one more book in this series and I am excited to read Levi Kinsinger’s story.

A Daughter’s Dream (The Charmed Amish Life #2) by Shelley Shepard Gray

a daughters dream

Pages: 238 (Paperback)

Publisher: P.S. a trademark of HarperCollins

Published: May 24, 2016

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Once again we are visiting the Kinsinger family in Charm, OH. Rebecca Kinsinger has always dreamed of being a teacher at the Amish school but when her father died in a tragic accident at the family lumber mill her dream was put on hold. Now that some time has passed she has the opportunity to volunteer at the school when the regular teacher, Rachel, needs her. As she and Rachel are getting ready to leave the school for the day, Jacob enters with his niece, Lilly, to enroll her. Rebecca is smitten upon contact. Is Rachel’s dream of becoming a teacher still the dream of her future?

I am used to the Amish way of life in Northern Indiana as I have visited there several times. I have never been to Charm, OH (yet) so I am not sure if they practice a bit different. There are many difference sects of the Amish faith. I noticed that Gray mentions “he has short cropped hair” and the picture on the book shows the same thing and I am used to all the Amish men having bowl shaped haircuts. The characters seem a tad bit more prideful than I am used to reading. Even with this few differences I still love her Amish books and this series.

I enjoy reading Gray’s books as they are always entertaining and light enough to make it a calming reading experience.

A Son’s Vow (The Charmed Amish Life #1) by Shelley Shepard Gray

a sons vow

Pages: 262 (paperback)

Publisher: P.S. a trademark of HarperCollins

Published: January 26, 2016

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

In A Son’s Vow, we enter Charm, OH as it is healing with the deaths of five lumber mill workers. Darla Kurtz’s dad was killed when a chain of events , one of which a rag her father had thrown in the dumpster, caused a fatal fire. Several in the town blame her father and have taken it upon themselves to publicly blame the Kurtz family. Darla wants nothing more than to be able to talk and share her heartache with her best friend, Lukas Kurtsinger, but his family owned the lumber mill and his dad was also killed in the fire. Lukas does not blame Darla’s father and misses her also. As he tries to renew their friendship he realizes something is off with Darla and her family. He is in for a shock when he finds out Darla is being physically abused by her brother and the family is helping her hide her secret. Can Lukas fix Darla’s problem like he has throughout their childhood or is the loss of their fathers to much to overcome?

Gray tackles the very heavy subject of physical abuse but does so with understanding, kindness and forgiveness as the main healing properties. I enjoyed how the Amish faith was not used as a cover up to the abuse but shown as a way to help someone in need.

This is the first book in a four part series and I hope the other books explore the secondary characters, especially Hannah, in more detail. Gray has it down perfectly in how she weaves the community in her story and her main characters lives. You feel that they are a part of the story and not just filler thrown in.

Shelley Shepard Gray is a great addition to my list of must read Amish authors.