Blessed by Sherry Robinson

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Pages: 256

Publisher: Shadelandhouse Modern Press

Published: June 25, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads:

A STORY OF HOPE AND THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS
Grayson Armstrong’s vision for a dying church has everyone in small-town Mercy, Kentucky, talking. The truth is everyone has been talking about Grayson ever since this dark-haired twenty-eight-year-old preacher with shoulder-length hair and an ill-fitting suit drove into town twelve years before in his silver convertible with his pretty wife and two rambunctious boys. It’s his untimely death, though, that has everyone trying to understand who they thought he was.

This vivid, poignant, and heartbreaking story is told by multiple characters whose paths intersect with Grayson: a homeless Vietnam veteran haunted by demons of war; the local diner’s young waitress grappling with her family’s dark history; aggrieved and supportive congregants and townspeople confronting change and the power of love and hate; and Grayson’s wife and his coming-of-age gay son, struggling to understand their own feelings about Grayson.

During a time when communities and countries are split apart, Robinson’s calming prose and timely story encourage us to put aside our fears, hate, and biases and to open our hearts and challenge our perceptions. Blessed is ultimately a story of hope and of the power of forgiveness.

My Review:

A deeply moving novel that makes you look into your soul and analyze your beliefs. You will be forced to think about how you treat others, not just those close around you but everyone you come in contact within your life. You will be forced to ask yourself, “Are you following God’s word?” and “Would God be proud of you?”

I expect this book will be with me for a long time and will jump into my thoughts when I least expect it. The question you need to ask yourself is, “What do you think being BLESSED means?”

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher, Shadelandhouse Modern Press. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

A Welcome at the Door (An Amish Homestead Novel #4) by Amy Clipston

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Pages: 318

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: May 7, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Over the last few years, Cindy Riehl—the youngest of the Riehl children—has watched her siblings find love and happiness in Lancaster County. But as her family has settled down and grown, Cindy has continued to grieve her mother, whose death left an enormous hole in her heart. Since that haunting day, Cindy has struggled to find peace and wonders if the community is the place for her—and if her faith in God will ever feel the same as it once did.

When a handsome and kind Englisher named Drew crosses Cindy’s path one surprising day, the two of them become fast and easy friends. Drew dreams of starting a family after some losses of his own, and before long, he and Cindy discover that their feelings for each other are romantic. As they spend more time together—often in secret—Cindy is drawn further and further away from the Amish community and the family she loves. In time, she is faced with a difficult choice that threatens to upend her world.

Will Cindy find contentment and love, and will she ever find restored comfort in God and her beloved community? In this final installment of the Amish Homestead series, we return to the charming town of Bird-in-Hand for a story of healing, family, and God’s perfect provision.

My Review:

Amy Clipston has written a stunner of a conclusion to a great family series. There is so much emotion jumping from the pages that you would have to be heartless not to feel the pain Cindy experiences in her decisions when it comes to Drew.

You do not have to read the series in her order but I would suggest you do. You will appreciate Cindy’s story more.

  1.  A Place at Our Table
  2.  Room on the Porch Swing
  3.  A Seat by the Hearth
  4.  A Welcome at Our Door

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Zondervan Fiction, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Farmer’s Bride (An Amish Brides of Birch Creek #2) by Kathleen Fuller

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Pages: 304

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: June 6, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Amazon:

Martha Detweiler has a problem many Amish women her age would envy: she’s the only single woman in a community of young men, and they’re all competing for her favor. Overwhelmed by the unwanted attention, Martha finds herself constantly fleeing from her would-be suitors, dismayed at what her life has come to.

Birch Creek’s resident matchmaker, Cevilla Schlabach, suggests a solution: Martha and the bishop’s son, Seth Yoder, should pretend they are dating. What better way to keep the other young men away?

But Seth is the only man around not interested in Martha. He has a secret hobby that keeps him away from social gatherings: woodcarving. Having grown up in poverty, he’s determined to keep his father’s farm successful, even if it means he has no time for dating. Then Delilah Stoll, a new resident of Birch Creek, eyes Seth as the perfect man for her granddaughter. Suddenly Cevilla’s proposition doesn’t seem all that ludicrous. Can Seth and Martha convince their family and friends to leave them alone?

My Review:

My second visit to Birch Creek was as enjoyable as my first. In The Farmer’s Bride, we follow the path of love through Martha and Seth’s journey filled with many ups and downs.

I was thrilled to learn that Martha had an interest in a profession that is not typical of an Amish woman. I was even more thrilled that Fuller highlighted in such a beautiful light. She let Martha have this joy and didn’t keep her confined to the norm.

The Farmer’s Bride is a perfect addition to any Amish reader’s collection. It will leave you smiling and happy after you turn the last page.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Zondervan Fiction, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

 

Andrew (The Petersheim Brothers #1) by Jennifer Beckstrand

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Pages: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Published: June 25, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Handsome, hardworking, and godly, Andrew Petersheim has always been sure of his place in his Wisconsin Amish community. He’ll be a welcome catch for the local girl who finally captures his heart. Mary Coblenz certainly isn’t that girl. Two years after “jumping the fence” for the Englischer world, she’s returned, unmarried and pregnant. Yet instead of hiding in shame as others in the community expect, she’s working at the Honeybee Farm, ignoring the gossips—and winning over Andrew’s eight-year-old twin brothers . . .

For all Andrew’s certainty about right and wrong, it seems he has a lot to learn from Mary’s courage, grace, and resilience. She’s changing his notions about forgiveness and love, but will she, in turn, accept the challenge of starting over and choose to stay—with him?

My Review:

A great book to show what true forgiveness of one’s sins means. There is only one true judge and He is in the heavens above. I also think it shows us bravery. It takes a strong woman to decide to walk through pregnancy on her own without the man she thought was her forever. It takes bravery to leave a bad situation.

I enjoy Beckstrand’s creative license with some of her Amish characters. Fans of Beckstrand all know the quirky grandma, Anna, from her Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series and now we have Bitsy, who definitely marches to her drummer. These characters make her books fun and entertaining.

I am looking forward to reading book two, Abraham, releasing November 2019.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington Books, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Toxic Toffee (Amish Candy Shop #4) by Amanda Flower

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Pages: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Published: June 25, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Bailey King’s in New York wrapping up a six-week shoot on her first cable TV show, Bailey’s Amish Sweets, when she gets a call from her Ohio town’s resident busybody. With Easter around the corner, Bailey’s been recruited to create a giant toffee bunny for the weeklong springtime festival that will also feature live white rabbits. But back home in Harvest, death becomes the main attraction when Stephen Raber keels over from an apparent heart attack—with Bailey and Raber’s pet bunny as witnesses.
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Except it wasn’t Raber’s heart that suddenly gave out—a lethal dose of lily of the valley was mixed into a tasty piece of toffee. Who’d want to poison a jovial rabbit farmer who reminded Bailey of an Amish Santa Claus? To solve the murder, she and her sheriff deputy boyfriend Aiden must uncover a twenty-year-old secret. She’ll need to pull a rabbit out of a hat to keep a healthy distance from toxic people, including one venomous killer . . .

My Review: Adorable, if you can say that about a murder mystery. The addition of Puff to the series was just the right touch.

Amanda Flower writes with such knowledge of the Amish and does a fantastic job of making the reader feel apart of Harvest, Ohio. You can almost smell and taste the chocolate creations from Swissmen Sweets.

Toxic Toffee is perfectly paced and the red herrings are perfectly spaced throughout. A wonderfully entertaining read.

I received a complimentary copy from Kensington through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Amish Outsider by Marta Perry

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Pages: 384

Publisher: Harlequin

Published: June 18, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: In the wake of his estranged wife’s murder, widower Michael Forster returns to the Amish community he’d left as a teen. He wants a fresh start for himself and his daughter, Allie, away from those who still believe he’s guilty. In River Haven, a quieter life seems possible. If only Allie’s Amish schoolteacher, Catherine Brandt, was easier to ignore.

A problem solver by nature, Cathy can tell Allie’s withdrawn demeanor isn’t due to shyness. But getting through to Allie also means breaching her father’s hardened defenses. What starts as persistence soon grows into an attraction neither Cathy nor Michael saw coming. When the past suddenly threatens both his daughter and the woman he loves, Michael must risk everything to save them.

My Review: It has been a bit since I’ve read Marta Perry and An Amish Outsider made me wonder why? I was riveted the entire time and was blown away when the killer was revealed.

An Amish Outsider is the perfect read for fans of Amish mysteries, romances, and fiction. You have a little of everything in this gem of a read.

I received a complimentary copy from Harlequin through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

A Daughter’s Truth by Laura Bradford

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Pages: 288

Publisher: Kensington

Published: May 28, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Emma Lapp tries to be the perfect daughter, to earn the loving embrace of her family and her Amish community in Pennsylvania. Yet she can’t quite win her mother’s smile—or her forgiveness for a transgression Emma can’t quite place . . .

Emma knows she’s a reminder of her mother’s greatest sorrow, having been born on the same day Mamm lost her beloved sister. The one bright spot has been the odd trinkets anonymously left at her aunt’s grave each year on Emma’s birthday—gifts Emma secretly hides because they upset her parents. But the day she turns 22, a locket bears a surprise that sends her on an unexpected journey . . .

Searching for answers, Emma travels to the English world and finds a kinship as intriguing as it is forbidden. But is this newfound connection enough to leave behind the future she’d expected? The answers are as mysterious, and as devastating, as the truth that divides Emma from the only family, and the only life, she’s ever known . . .

My Review: I just finished A Daughter’s Truth for the second time! It has been a long time a book has made me feel so deeply. It is right up there with The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah as one of my most precious books.

As you read A Daughter’s Truth you can feel every emotion Bradford put into her characters. The angst Emma feels as she learns the truth and explores her father’s world is heartbreaking.

Read with the understanding you won’t be able to put the book down.

I received a complimentary copy from Kensington through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Amish Cookie Club by Sarah Price

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Pages: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Published: May 28, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Edna’s friend, Verna Bontrager, has a problem. Her outspoken twenty-year-old daughter, Myrna, has been fired from her job. Again. Myrna’s family really needs her to chip in, but she’s clearly unsuited to customer service—not to mention that her sharp tongue scares away any boy who might come courting. But Edna has an idea—and his name is Ezekiel Riehl.

A widower with four young children, Ezekiel needs help. His house and his brood are a mess; his demeanor is gruff. It’s no surprise Myrna takes an immediate dislike to him. Yet she has no choice but to take on the challenge—and soon she starts to create order out of chaos. In fact, the kids begin to depend on Myrna—and so does Ezekiel. The truth is, she’s fallen in love with him. But if he’s to prove he’s not looking for a marriage of convenience, he’ll have to convince her of what’s in his heart . . .

My Review: A fun book full of emotions and lessons. I always say the book I just finished is my favorite by Sarah Price but this one truly is. I would not have thought that when I first started reading, The Amish Cookie Club. I struggled liking Myrna and wanted to reach in and yell at her to GROW UP. I found her so childish but oh what a wonderful change she made when she started working for Ezekiel. Price did a most excellent job in showing us how it is true if you don’t focus on yourself and your unhappiness and turn the focus on others you will find you are happier and more fulfilled.

You will not want to put the book down once you start and it reads so flawlessly you will possibly finish in one day. Just beware you will be sad to leave the cookie club so soon and the next installment is not due until later this year.

Recipes are included and I already want to bake the famous sugar cookies.

I received a complimentary copy from Kensington through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

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Pages: 320

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS/Landmark

Published: May 7, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything—everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.
Cussy’s not only a book woman, however, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.
Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere — even back home.

My Review: Wow, what a learning experience while reading Cussy’s story. When a book teaches me something I enjoy it even more. I knew about Pack Horse Librarians but never thought about the dangers they faced daily or the extreme weather conditions they traveled through to reach their customers. Dedication at its best.

Cussy will find a way into your heart. It’s hard to imagine what she and other “blue” people experienced. Discrimination on all points is wrong no matter who you are.

There are a few semi-violent scenes but they add feeling to the story and show what was happening at the time. Faith is strong throughout the story. A book I would share with my older, mature teenagers. The perfect book for book clubs.

I received a complimentary copy from Sourcebooks through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Tinderbox by Beverly Lewis

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Pages: 310

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Published: April 2, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: With her Amish parents’ twentieth anniversary approaching, eighteen-year-old Sylvia Miller stumbles across a surprise–the old brass tinderbox her clockmaker father keeps in his Lancaster County shop has been left unlocked. Against her better judgment, Sylvia opens the cherished heirloom, not realizing that what she is about to discover will splinter apart her happy life.

Sylvia’s bewilderment grows when her father confronts her about snooping in the box. To her amazement, the respected convert to the Old Order reacts as if he has something to hide.

Burdened by the weight of his deception, Earnest Miller decides he must reveal the details about his past to his beloved wife, Rhoda. The long-kept secret alters everything for the close-knit family, jeopardizing Earnest and Rhoda’s relationship, as well as threatening Sylvia’s recent engagement to the preacher’s grandson.

Can the Millers find a way forward through the turmoil to a place of forgiveness and acceptance?

My review: I have been reading Beverly Lewis for I know twenty years and each book she releases keeps getting better and better. The Tinderbox is going to be one of my favorites. I am already eagerly anticipating the sequel due out later this year.

The shock at the end had my jaw dropping to the floor. What a surprise.

I admire Rhoda and her strength and faith in God to work through the secret her husband, Earnest, kept from her. I don’t think I could have been as calm and understanding as she. As always Lewis shows how our belief in God can help us with forgiveness but she doesn’t preach it. I like that.

A solid four star read.

I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.