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

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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.

The Promise by Susan Lantz Simpson

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Pages: 352 (eBook)

Publisher: Kensington

Published: March 27, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Nineteen year old Phoebe wants to raise alpacas and takes every opportunity to learn about their sweet tender nature. Her mom, sisters and her attend a Saturday market in town and while learning about the alpacas her baby sister, Naomi, is kidnapped. Both her and her younger sister, Martha, feel responsible. Phoebe has struck a deal with God that if her sister is returned she will marry Micah Graber even if she doesn’t love him and he does not share her dream of owning alpacas.

Ben has moved to the area to help his aging grandparents run their farm and is excited to learn about the alpacas at a neighboring farm. He hopes to be able to convince his grandfather to add the sweet animals to his menagerie of animals. Ben meets Phoebe at the alpaca exhibit at the market and falls in love. Can he help Phoebe during this difficult time and save her from making a lifelong mistake?

I was very excited to read an Amish book set in Maryland as I have visited the area and that makes books even more interesting to me. I can recall the smells and feel the weather like I am right there with the characters.

Phoebe – You have a sweet love story going on in the background while a terrible tragedy is unfolding. Phoebe is trying to come to terms with her part in the kidnapping of her baby sister. She keeps herself busy with chores around the house to the point of exhaustion. You really get a sense of how strong the Amish are physically and mentally. I admire Phoebe’s mental strength as I am not sure I could keep it together one little bit.

Micah – JERK. The nicest term I can use. I have never disliked an Amish character as much I do Micah. He is arrogant, cruel, and a bully. He treats others like the dirt on the bottom of his show. I cringed every time I read his name.

Martha – Phoebe’s 13 year old sister who Phoebe asked to watch the younger two sisters and decided being with her friends was more important. You make think 13 years old is too young to be in charge of the younger siblings in such a public place but we have to remember that the Amish teach their children to responsible from a very young age. Martha is a very spoiled brat and tends to be extra whiney when she should be helping around the house. At one point I wanted to have Micah court her just to teach her a lesson but he was way too old for her. I do think she learned from mistake by the end of the book.

Ben – He is the main every little girl dreams of marrying one day. Patient, kind, soft spoken and caring. He would do anything to make Phoebe happy.

I can’t wait for The Mending to be released in August of this year.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington for a copy of the book to read in exchange for my honest review in my own words.

Phoebe’s Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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Pages: 352 (eBook)

Publisher: Revel

Published: February 6, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Phoebe has been the one to take care of her fortune hunting scheme of a father since the death of her mother several years ago. Phoebe has come to the crude realization that her father will mortgage anything and everything, including the roof over their heads to fund his business inventions and the like. She has always had her eyes set on the handsome, older gentleman Captain Foulger and takes advantage of hooking her line to him and marrying him against everyone’s wishes. What she does not realize is that the Captain is only interested in an old journal that she has just became the owner. The journal is her great-grandmother’s, one of the first settlers of Nantucket. In it there is a secret that could change the life of whomever reads it.

As Phoebe sets sail on the Fortuna with her new husband, the Captain, she tries to avoid a childhood friend, Matthew. He has joined the crew as the cooper but really has joined as a favor to Phoebe’s father to watch over her. AS the days wear on and Phoebe comes to realize that her marriage is not everything she thought it to be, her friendship with Matthew grows deeper.

Will Phoebe be able to save everything near and dear to her or will life play a cruel joke on her instead?

I am a fan of Suzanne Woods Fisher and have enjoyed the fresh eyes she gives to Christian fiction. Normally I am not a big reader of Quaker fiction but I opted to try this novel due to her being the author. I almost gave up after reading at it for two days because of the Old English language of “thee” and “thy”. I’ll be the first to tell you that I do not like reading books written in that style. I am so glad I stuck this one out though. The story of Phoebe and her great-grandmother are exciting. You not only get to learn about the Indians that lived on Nantucket in the late 1600s but you also get to learn how Nantucket was settled by the Americans. As you are reading you get to leave the island and sail to the tropical islands and experience life at sea all the while going back to the 1600s.

I was pleased to learn that we do not get to finish reading the journal and that it will make appearances in the other books of this series. I am fascinated to see how it transforms others lives in the family.

I suggest you pick up this book with an open mind to the Old English language and give yourself plenty of time to get into the book during your first read. You might be like me and find that you cannot put it down because you have become so invested in everyone’s story.

Thank you to NetGalley and Revell for a copy to read in exchange for my honest review written in my own words.

Amish Cooking Class – The Celebration by Wanda Brunstetter

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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

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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.

Amish Sweethearts (Four Novellas) by Amy Clipston

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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.