An Amish Heirloom by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller and Kelly Irvin

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Pages: 380

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: April 10, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Four gentle Amish reads to lighten up any day.

A Legacy of Love by Amy Clipston
Leon let Susie go several years when he could not make the promise to marry her on day. Now Susie is engaged and has asked Leon to restore her grandparents’ rocking chairs for her new home. Can rocking chairs by the tie that binds?

 

The Cedar Chest by Beth Wiseman
Catherine is struggling in her marriage and has turned to her mother for comfort but does not reveal what is happening. Catherine finds her great grandmother’s chest in her parents basement and convinces her mom, Emma, to open it. They discover family love letters. Will the letters bring Catherine and Emma closer so Catherine can share her fears with her mom?

The Treasured Book by Kathleen Fuller
Shane met Lucy when he was restoring his house in Iowa and ever since then Shane has wanted to join the Amish faith to further his relationship with God. He is staying with his Amish friend in Ohio to learn more about the faith when he runs into Lucy. Lucy is taking care of a family member who has become ill. Lucy joins Shane on a trip to a local antique market where Shane buys a Bible. Will the contents within strengthen their bond?

The Midwife’s Dream by Kelly Irvin
The district’s midwife, Iris, wants a family of her own but has yet to find the love she is seeking. Mahon brings two English teenagers to her house when they stopped at his family farm asking for help as the girl was in labor. During the night Iris realizes Mahon is not just her best friend’s brother. Could he be the love she has been praying for all along?

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Road Home by Beverly Lewis

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Pages: 322 (eBook)

Publisher: Bethany House

Published: April 3, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

After unexpectedly losing both her parents in a tragic accident, eighteen year old Lena Rose is having to leave her nine brothers and sisters in Michigan and live with family in Pennsylvania. She is mot heartbroken at leaving, Chris, the youngest in the family at 8 years old as she has helped raise him since he was born and their bond is as strong as a mom and son’s bond. Lena Rose is also leaving her beau, Hans, behind and relying on a strong love to help her it alive long distance.

As she settles in with her Pennsylvania family she starts attending Singings with her new family. She meets Arden Mast, an eligible bachelor that wants to court Lena Rose. Will Lena Rose test the waters or will her love for Hans hold strong? Will she be able to find work back in Michigan to be closer to her family or will she stay in Pennsylvania?

Beverly Lewis is the quintessential Amish writer. She writes flawlessly with love and knowledge of the Amish community. Her stories are works of beauty.

In The Road Home you are transported back to 1977, before the internet and cell phones which the Amish usually don’t rely anyway. Lena Rose had to depend on snail mail and the occasional long distance call home (emergency only) for word on her families health and well-being and the love letters from her beau. I could not imagine being that far from the only home I’ve ever known and not being to readily contact the ones I love. You truly do learn to not take your love ones for granted by having to wait so long in between contacts.

Lena Rose teaches the reader about loving others fully, patience, faith and making the best of the situation and place you are currently. No matter what is happening Lena Rose puts her complete faith in God and listens to his responses. I would love to be able to live my life without worry by putting everything in His hands. That is something I work harder at every day.

Sit back and relax and enjoy your time with a gentler community that leaves you with a smile on your face and in your heart.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Starting from Scratch by Kate Lloyd

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Pages: 354 (eBook)

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers

Published: April 3, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Eva has become an old maid at the age of 29 or so she thinks. During her rumspringa she has made some choices that has caused unsavory rumors to be spread. When her brother’s family moves into the family home she finds herself needing to find a job and a place to live. She finds both at the local plant nursery managing their café. There she meets Stephen, a Mennonite and starts asking herself if life would be better living in the English world. Shortly after starting her new job she learns the love of her life, Jake, is back to help his dad run the farm after a terrible accident. Will true love overcome past obstacles?

Eva, Eva, Eva. I liked her character but at the same time I wanted to shake her. She was so timid and meek it made me furious at her. I wanted to reach in the novel and tell her to grow a back bone. She let too many people, relatives and friends included, walk all over her. Starting with the day her sister-in-law, Marta, moved in. At 29 Eva should be able to stand up for herself but she rarely did until almost the very end of the novel. She had very little self respect for herself. I know the Amish are not to be proud and are non confrontational but I don’t think you are to let everyone run over you.

I don’t want to give the ending away but I don’t think Eva made the best choice in men. I was very disappointed in the ending due to that one fact alone.

Even though I was disappointed in the ending this was a great book and I enjoyed reading it. You don’t always get the ending you want in life or in the books you read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harvest House Publishers through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Plain Confession (An Amish Mystery #5) by Emma Miller

plain confession

Pages: 304 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: March 27, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

As Rachel is finalizing her wedding plans to State Trooper Evan she learns that a local man’s death may not have been an accident. Daniel was an Amish man that the town had nothing bad to say until his death then stories started circulating that he was not whom he seemed. Will Rachel focus on her wedding plans so this time the wedding will go off without a hiccup or will she find herself in the middle of the investigation and losing sight of her future?

I have been wanting to read this series for several years as my mom has read a few of them and raves how good the stories are in her opinion. I have to agree, after reading the 5th book in the series it is now on my summer TBR list. I instantly liked Rachel. She is ex-Amish but still tries to follow her life as she was raised. She runs a local inn with the help of her cousin who is in her rumpsringa (a time when Amish youth get to live in both worlds). Since moving back to her hometown she has found herself in the middle of several murder investigations. This time it is two weeks before her wedding. Her wedding has been postponed once already.

On the surface Daniel appeared to be everything an Amish man should be but as Rachel starts questioning his death at the request of his mother-in-law she learns he was quite the opposite. Moses, Daniel’s brother-in-law, has confessed to killing Daniel but no one except for the English law system believes he really did it. Rachel is almost certain he is autistic and had he been diagnosed properly years ago he would be better understood. The more she investigates the more dead ends she runs into.

Two of the side characters are really amazing characters that I hope I see more of as I catch up on this series. There is Chuck, a doomsday prepper, who has seen more death and tragedy serving in the war than one should ever experience and Salome, the elderly midwife and herbalist, who knows everyone’s stories and secrets. Both turned out to be true friends to Rachel.

If you are interested the series in order is:
1. Plain Murder
2. Plain Killing
3. Plain Dead
4. Plain Missing
5. Plain Confession

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

His Guilt (Amish of Hart County #4) By Shelley Shepard Gray

his risk

Pages: 265 (Paperback)

Publisher: P.S. a trademark of HarperCollins

Published: March 6, 2018

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Calvin Fisher is caught between a rock and hard place trying to redeem himself after a lifetime of bad decisions. He wants to get out of gang life but the only way to accomplish that is work for the DEA. Either way he still has to hide his life from his family and do things that goes against the faith he was raised. A phone call from home has him rushing to his brother, Mark’s, side.

Alice has lead the life of a good Amish girl after a wild rumspringa and enjoys her life as an Amish preschool teacher even if she feels smothered at times by her family. To have some freedom, she has agreed to housesit for her brother and sister-in-law who live across from Mark. Alice has developed an interest in Calvin as she watches him from afar.

Will Calvin be able to leave his city life behind while in Hart County or will the city life destroy what he has come to love in this quiet community?

This is the fourth book in the Amish of Hart County series but reads as a stand alone book. I was captivated from the first sentence until the last. Gray has written a beautiful work of art set in my home state of Kentucky. I felt myself traveling the roads with Calvin and Alice and seeing the beauty of the rolling hills filled with Kentucky bluegrass.

His Risk is filled with romance and suspense. You have the budding romance of Calvin and Alice and the married romance of Mark and Wanetta that have the reader cheering and crying. My heart is still pounding from a few scenes and I am not talking about “that”. I am talking about suspense that keeps you turning the pages well past your bedtime.

I was so impressed with His Risk that I have already bought the first three books in the series and will read on my Spring Break from teaching. If interested the books in the series are:
1. Her Secret
2. His Guilt
3. The Gift
4. His Risk
5. Her Fear – release 7/24/18
6. His Promise – release 10/23/18

I dare you to give any of Shelley Shepard Gray’s books a read and not find yourself gobbling up all of them as fast as you can.

Lethal Licorice (An Amish Candy Shop #2) by Amanda Flower

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Pages: 353 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington Books

Published: February 27, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Bailey has stayed in Harvest, OH after the death of her Daadi (grandfather) to her Maami (grandmother) run the family candy shop, Swissmen Sweets. Her grandfather was to participate in the highly competitive Amish Confectionery Competition and the judges have allowed Bailey to take his place. On the first day of the competition Bailey has a run in with a rival Amish candy shop owner, Josephine Weaver. Also, the town’s beloved polka-dotted pig, Jethro, has gone missing and his owner, Juliet, is distraught with worry. As Bailey looks for Jethro she unfortunately finds the body of Josephine. Will the police, particularly Aiden, be suspicious of her once again?

Whenever I am stressed I like to turn to cozy mysteries and Amish fiction. When you put the two of them together I am one happy reader. Amanda Flower has perfected the craft of writing Amish cozy mysteries. You are instantly transported to Harvest, OH into Bailey’s world as soon as you open the book. The details are rich with beauty and flavor. You can almost taste the candy Bailey and the others are making. It is a guarantee you will be craving whatever Bailey and her grandmother are making. Right now I want licorice and taffy. YUM!

Not only is there a murder mystery going on there is also a young Amish girl that Bailey meets that is trying to decide her path in life, stay Amish or leave or faith. The care and compassion shown from Bailey and her grandmother is the true spirit of helping one another. You will be moved like I was.

There is a small romance between Bailey and Aiden brewing but it does not take over the main story. They are both taking their time until they move to the next step. Aiden seems like the perfect match for Bailey. He lets her explore but is always around to help her pick up the pieces.

I cannot review the book without a blurb about Jethro. Who can resist a polka-dotted pig? This pig lives the perfect life. He is doted on like a king by his mom, Juliet and she just so happens to be Aiden’s mom and one of Bailey’s close friends in Harvest, OH. I found myself worrying about Jethro being lost in the dark and cold even when I was not reading. I absolutely love how Amanda Flower gives true personality to her animal characters. To me that shows she has a beautiful heart.

I am very excited to see the next adventure of Bailey and friends and to see where the romance is headed. Hurry and get your copy today from your favorite bookseller. If you have not read the first book, Assaulted Caramel, you should buy it also. Make it a sweet weekend of reading.

A Mother’s Love by Charlotte Hubbard

a mothers love

Pages: 368 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington Books/Zebra

Published: February 27, 2018

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Rose has suffered a terrible year full of tragedy. First, her dad and husband die in a fire at the family mill, her mother’s breast cancer comes back after being in remission for thirty years, as her mother lays dying she confesses to Rose that Rose was adopted and her birth mother’s letters are in the dresser. Rose is determined to move forward after her mother’s death for the sake of her daughter, Grace and has accepted a job in a nearby town cooking for the senior center. As she starts her job and gets acclimated it seems God has his own plans when it comes to meeting her birth mom and finding romance.

I absolutely loved that this book talked about the forbidden subject of having a baby out of wedlock. It shows that the Amish are just like us “Englishers” and have forbidden feelings before marriage. Yes, I am old fashioned and believe one should wait but I am in touch with the times and knows it happens. Unfortunately, I see it everyday taking my son to high school. Babies are never mistakes, sometimes they just come earlier than one would like. It was heartwarming to read how wonderful her life was with her adoptive parents. Never in her thirty years did she guess she was adopted. They treated just like she was their own and my wish is every adopted child was able to experience that kind of love.

Rose’s determination to not depend on her church district and on herself was admirable. She had the option to let them take care of her for as long as needed but she wanted to be self-sufficient. What a beautiful trait to show her daughter. You can be true to your faith and to raising your kids as you want and still be able to work and provide for what is needed. You may not always be able to get what you want but your needs are met.

I hope you pick up a copy of this beautiful book and enjoyed it as much as I did. It is a wonderful “gut” book to show love and devotion. It is the perfect gift for the mothers in your life.

Thank you to Kensington Books/Zebra and NetGalley for a copy to read in exchange for my honest review written in my own words.

Amish Cooking Class – The Celebration by Wanda Brunstetter

the celebration

Pages: 322 (eBook)

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

Published: February 6, 2018

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Once again we join Heidi Troyer’s cooking class in Ohio. This time she is teaching kids how to make simple dishes such as fruit salad, egg salad and mini corn dogs. Heidi has just an interesting group with her kids and she has had with her adult students in the past. One student has lost his mom to cancer, one is a spoiled brat, and one is learning how to fit in the area after moving from Kentucky. That is just a few of the students. All the way Heidi and Lyle are navigating the channels to adopt their two foster children, Randy and Marsha. Pull up a chair and join Heidi and her class as yummy recipes teach more than just filling up bellies.

Anytime I need a warm hug from a book, I turn to Wanda Brunstetter. You will feel the love and warmth the minute you open the book. Wanda’s Amish Cooking Class series has been a true joy to read. I honestly cannot pick a favorite of the three as whatever one I am reading at the time is my favorite.

I have come to love Heidi and Lyle. I want to move and be their neighbors. I would be over at Heidi’s house as much as she allowed to soak up her recipes and friendship. Of all the Amish novels I have read she is the most comforting and friendly character. I hope to see more of her in future books of Wanda’s.

For those interested in reading the series, they are as follows in order:

1. The Amish Cooking Class: The Seekers
2. The Amish Cooking Class: The Blessing
3. The Amish Cooking Class: The Celebration

Thank you to NetGalley and Shiloh Run Press for a copy to read in exchange for my honest review in my own words.

Liza’s Second Chance (An Amish Charm Bakery #1) by Molly Jebber

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Pages: 305 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington Books

Published: January 30, 2018

Rating: 3 out 5 stars

Liza runs the local Amish bakery in 1912 Charm, OH. Her first husband bought the bakery for her in order to make him more money, not out of love. When he unexpectedly died Liza was thankful for a way to make money to live. One day Jacob and his daughter Ellie, wander into the bakery and instantly Liza realizes she may be ready to move on. As Jacob and Liza get to know one other, Ellie, has different plans than her dad. As Liza and Jacob explore their feelings, Ellie is spreading her wings. Will she spread them to far and force her dad and her to move again or will Liza’s strong faith be the tie that binds?

I find it hard to review a book that I just liked and not loved. It is not the author’s fault if the book did not speak to me. I have read many reviews where others loved it. My main issue was it felt rushed. It seemed to jump from one thing to another and ideas where not given a full follow through as I am used to in other Amish novels.

I also did not care for Jacob in his pursuit of Liza. He made it seem all about him and to heck with others thoughts and feelings in his life. I agree Ellie was a little bit of a pill but he needed to take the time to really listen to her and take her feelings into consideration. There was a reason for her acting out. He didn’t really take Liza’s feelings into consideration either. He was all “I am man and I want you so I will have you”. That gets my goat every single time. Look mister it takes two to make a successful marriage and I have thoughts, feelings and concern too!

The ending of the book is the best. It felt more thought out and loving than the first three quarters of the book.

I will more than likely pick up the second book in the series just to see whose story is told. Maybe I just had an off day reading the book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an advanced copy to read in exchange for my honest review in my own words.

His Amish Teacher (The Amish Bachelors #3) by Patricia Davids

his amish teacher

Pages: 293 (Large Print, Library Binding)

Publisher: Thorndike Press

Published: November 15, 2017 (original publication date)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

When I am in the mood for a quick, comforting Amish head I know to head to a Patricia Davids book. I almost never can resist picking up her newest book at store or library.

In His Amish Teacher, we join Lillian Keim and Timothy Bowman of Bowman’s Crossing as they start the treacherous journey from friendship to love. Lillian loves her job teaching more than anything especially since she knows she can never have children of her own due to an illness. Timothy and Lillian have been the best of friends for as long as anyone can remember and their friendship even survived a 6 year separation when Lillian’s family moved to Wisconsin. Timothy feels the underlying fire of love for Lillian but is afraid of ruining their friendship. He decides to take a chance after an uncontrolled fire almost burned the school down with Lillian and 42 of the communities children inside. As Timothy works to put out the fires that are popping up around the community, will he smolder the flames of love for Lillian or let them be set ablaze?

I am a firm believer that if you and your love are friends first you have the best chance of having a forever love. Lillian and Timothy have shared just about everything life has to offer except marriage. They both have a love of learning, books and reading. The both share love of family and community. They are almost able to finish one other’s thoughts. A closeness like theirs doesn’t happen every day. As you read this book you will find yourself believing in the good of others between the love shared between Lillian and Timothy and the outpouring of support for people miles around after a devastating loss to multiple families.

His Amish Teacher is 3rd in a series of 5 but can be read as a stand alone with no issues. I personally have read this series out of order and have had no issues.

Patricia Davids Amish series (all of them) are good clean reads suitable for anyone teenager and older.