Hope’s Table: Everyday Recipes from a Mennonite Kitchen by Hope Helmuth (Preview copy only)

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Publisher: Herald Press

Published: September 10, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

If tradition has a taste, this is it.
Like your grandmother’s beloved recipe file, Hope’s Table brings enticing meals to your family’s table. From the kitchen of Mennonite cook, Hope Helmuth comes this mix of more than 150 delectable recipes, stunning food photographs, and stories of strawberry picking, corn day, and Christmas cookie bakes. Traditions of a hearth, home, and hospitality run deep, and those values flavor every recipe and story.
Hope’s Table offers simple step-by-step instructions that help you create wholesome dishes with artistic flair. Practical kitchen hints and memories from a Mennonite life garnish the pages. In Hope’s Table, you’ll find recipes sure to become family favorites:
• Mom’s Rolls
• Bacon and Corn Chowder
• Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
• Maple-Glazed Pork Chops
• Apple Dumplings
Step into the serene, natural beauty of a Mennonite home. Take a seat at Hope’s table, and you’ll find plenty of reasons to linger.

My Review:

The copy I received was a small sample of the work. What I read was intriguing enough to make me want the book.

I learned that homemade cinnamon rolls are best frozen the same day even if you wish to eat the next day.

I plan on fixing the broccoli salad recipe for my husband on his birthday.

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

Summer of Suspense: Sixteen Tales by Some of Christian Fiction’s Most Poplar Mystery and Suspense Authors

sixteen

Pages: 911

Published: August 6, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 4 stars

Summer of Suspense: Sixteen Tales of Suspense

Amazon:
Start your summer off right with 16 gripping and never-before-published tales of Christian suspense from today’s most popular mystery and suspense authors.
Join Mary Alford, Christy Barritt, Patricia Bradley, Vannetta Chapman, Mary Ellis, Debby Giusti, Rachel J. Good, Ruth Hartzler, Shaen Layle, Ruth Logan Herne, Loree Lough, Elizabeth Ludwig, Nancy Mehl, Serena B. Miller, Samantha Price, Alana Terry on a dangerous journey filled with mystery, suspense, and faith that that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

My Review:

I enjoyed most of the stories but there were a few I didn’t. The ones I did not enjoy were stories I wouldn’t normally read. They were good just not my cup of tea.

My favorites: Vannetta Chapman (takes place in Shipshewana and involves an Amish man and a lady FBI agent), Christy Barritt (part of her Lantern Beach series, which I have put on my TBR list) and Rachel J. Good (Amish Twins – one good and one very bad seed. I’m still shivering at the thought of being confused with an identical twin).

I have found several new to me authors that I will be looking to read in the future.

This is the perfect book for the person who likes to read but has a busy schedule. You can read a story in one sitting and not worry about stopping in the middle of a book and forgetting what is happening by the time you get back to it.

The Loyal One (The Walnut Creek series #2) by Shelley Shepard Gray

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Pages: 282

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: August 13, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

When Katie Steury hires her old friend Harley Lambright to remodel her rundown old house into a charming bed and breakfast, she does so with trepidation. Though they are longtime friends, they’ve always had a rocky relationship, thanks to her being partly responsible for his most recent breakup. But while they may not always get along, she needs someone to trust with her secrets, and Harley is nothing if not trustworthy and loyal.

Katie has always reminded Harley of a bright hummingbird—she is small and flighty, moves a mile a minute, and she possesses a very sharp beak. He’s hesitant to accept the job because of his history with Katie. But when he realizes that Katie’s been hiding her mother’s hoarding, he agrees to help her because it’s clear she needs someone on her side.

Both soon discover that clearing the debris in one old house also means they have to do some clean-up in their lives, forcing them to reevaluate their past and their future. This somewhat painful process reveals that Katie isn’t the only one with secrets. As the house gets a second chance, so, too, does their relationship. Now all they have to do is open their hearts—and hope and pray that their new bond will also stand the test of time.

My Review:

The Loyal One is my favorite of The Walnut Creem series. Katie’s story is filled with love and caring for others.

You cannot help but be moved by Katie’s story. I could not imagine having to live the way she did since her father died. Knowing you could not invite friends over afraid of what they would think and say to others. Even as an adult she had a hard time sharing with her closet friends what had been going on with her mother’s hoarding. The Eight showed us what it means to love someone unconditionally and when together there is nothing you cannot overcome.

The Loyal One had made me look at the “things” in my life and say, “Can I live without that?” There are many things that I can.

Each book in The Walnut Creek series can be read as a standalone but I would hope you would read from the beginning to get the feel of the characters.

I received a complimentary copy from the author and the publisher, Gallery Books, 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.

The Pie Lady by Greta Isaac

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Pages: 202

Publisher: Herald Press

Published: April 23, 2019

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

What is a Pie Lady moment?

For one family, it’s breakfast on the patio. For another, it’s Mom serving up creamy chicken and noodles. These are Pie Lady moments: times of goodness and glamour in the middle of ordinary days.

In The Pie Lady, Mennonite homemaker Greta Isaac ushers readers into the kitchens of Velda, Shyla, and other Pie Ladies as they whip up confections and concoctions that please the mouth and nourish the soul. Fans of Ruth Reichl, Sherry Gore, and Ree Drummond will love Isaacs’ intimate, delectable writing. Home cooks will love the recipes that appear in each chapter.Maybe you drop grapefruit slices in a glass of water. Maybe you brown the gravy and salt it from eighteen inches up. (Forget for now the sink full of dishes.) Each cook has her own Pie Lady moments. Each has a story to tell.

Hear straight from Amish and Mennonite people themselves as they write about their daily lives and deeply rooted faith in the Plainspoken series from Herald Press.

My Review:

A three-star review from me means the book was so-so. I dislike having to give such a low star rating. I was underwhelmed while reading. I expected more in the way of the stories tying together. Don’t get me wrong some of the stories are really good and I learned how to look at each day and see the good but some stories just didn’t seem to fit. They felt like filler.

The recipes are the best part. I’ve already bookmarked a few to try. One is the meatloaf as I would never have thought about adding tomato juice.

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

The Amish Midwife’s (Love and Promises #2 Secret by Rachel J. Good

midwife

Pages: 385

Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

Published: November 27, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Kyle left his hometown behind after a heartbreaking young romance and a devasting accident with no plans to ever return. When the local doctor asks him to take over his medical practice, Kyle feels the need to help. What Kyle did not expect was to fall in love with Leah. Leah is the Amish midwife who believes that holistic healing herbs and faith in God are the best healing medicines. Can Kyle and Leah overcome their differences to let love have a chance?

This book kept me up way past my bedtime more times than I can count. I also found myself ignoring everything that needed to be accomplished after work just so I could dive back into Kyle and Leah’s story. You cannot help but believe in love and the power of love when you read this story. I became a little weepy as I read because it was so tender.

I am also more interested in the holistic healing properties of organic herbal teas for chronic illness. I have found a new interest. Leah’s story was very convincing in how well they can work.

This is the second book in the Love and Promises series but each book can be read as a stand-alone. It is a beautiful Christian romance with no obscene sexual overtones or scenes, no foul language and not overly religious (meaning scripture verses on every page). I would feel comfortable giving this to a teen girl or my ninety-year-old grandmother to read.

I received a copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

A Simple Christmas (Simple Gifts #3) by Charlotte Hubbard

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Pages: 368

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 25, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

It’s Christmas in Willow Ridge! Rosalyn is the only daughter left to take care of her father, Cornelius, and that is a job unto itself. To get away a few hours several days a week she has started working in Nora’s shop and selling her homemade wreaths. It also allows her to buy groceries and items for the house when needed since her dad has been receiving bills marked past due. While working one day, Amish bad boy, Marcus walks in and turns Rosalyn’s life upside down. She knows he is trouble but her heart thinks differently. Will Marcus be able to heal Rosalyn’s heart with his love when the unthinkable happens to her father and family?

A Simple Christmas is book 3 in the Simple Gifts series. For fans of Amish fiction, this is a must read series. It is a little edgy with some of their beliefs but it is a good edgy in my opinion. I think it shows there are Amish sects out there that are relaxing some beliefs to let them be sustainable in an ever-changing world that is becoming more and more dependent on technology. This community still believes in living in a simple world but understands it needs the English and the ability to communicate with them. Cells phones and computers can be a wonderful addition to a business but it does come with evils that can lead you far away. Your faith must be strong to not go down those dangerous paths. Just ask Cornelius.

Cornelius has always ruled with an iron fist but more so since his wife died and he moved his family to Willow Ridge. As the years go by he finds himself living a double life. A life that will eventually lead to his ruin. He thinks he can strong arm Rosalyn into staying and taking care of him but he does see that he is pushing her further and further away.

Rosalyn believes deep in her heart that she will always be a “maidel” the rest of her life and she is fine with that. What she is not fine with is taking care of her ungrateful father. She finds he is making her life more and more unbearable. If not for her job in Nora’s store, I have no idea how Rosalyn would have survived.

Each book in this series can be read as a stand-alone. You will find yourself loving the characters as much as I do. I dare you!

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

 

The First Love by Beverly Lewis

first love

Pages: 304

Publisher: Bethany House

Published: September 4, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

1951: It’s a summer of change and acceptance. Maggie is learning to deal with her chronic illness and help her younger siblings accept their new stepmom. A Mennonite tent revival has set up in town and Maggie attends at the urging of her Mennonite cousins. Will the meetings bring her closer to accepting her illness and accepting her stepmom or will the meetings take her away from her Amish faith?

I knew very little about Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis until reading Maggie’s story. JRA sounds absolutely terrible not to know day to day when you wake up on how you are going to feel and if you are going to be able to move or not.

I applaud Lewis for her positive stepmom portrayal. So many times we read stories of a terrible stepmom who hates her step kids. Being a stepmom myself it made my heart sing to see the stepmom as loving and trying to keep their mom’s memory alive. Yes, there are hard times but with love and patience hard times can be overcome.

My favorite story line was Maggie’s spiritual awakening. The thirst for understanding and believing was beautiful. There were a lot of biblical stories mentioned that I was not completely familiar with and has made me interested to read more of my Bible.

Lewis has written another story that reminds you of the beauty in the world.

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

When Mercy Sings by Kim Vogel Sawyer

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Pages: 352 (eBook)

Publisher: WaterBrook Multnomah

Published: October 7, 2014

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Suzanne was made to leave her Mennonite home when she did the unthinkable and became pregnant with her boyfriend. Her mother sent her to Indiana to have the baby, give it for adoption to her married cousin and then return. Suzanne decided to stay in Indiana. At the urging of her brothers and sisters, Suzanne returns with her nineteen year old daughter in tow to care for her mother who is now handicap. What Suzanne did not expect was the love of her life from her childhood to be working at her mother’s house. Paul has no clue that she was pregnant when she went away all those years ago. But things are not as they seem. Will Suzanne keep her secret or will everything come out in the open when she least expects it?

I read the third book in this trilogy a couple of years ago and was excited to read the first to see how it all began. Book One was just as wonderful as the third one. I did not want to put it down. It felt very realistic as I was reading.

The angst between Suzanne and her mom is so true of many mothers and daughters that faced the situation they found themselves experiencing. My heart was hurting for them. I especially felt for Suzanne’s mom dealing with becoming handicap late in life as my mom has had to face something very similar. Her loss of freedom to do what she wants when she wants has been a very hard adjustment.

Kim Vogel Sawyer writes with grit and beauty in When Mercy Sings. You will find yourself looking deep into yourself as you read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Homespun by Various Authors and Edited by Lorilee Craker

homespun

Pages: 192 (eBook)

Publisher: Herald Press

Published: August 7, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A collection of Amish and Mennonite stories where the women talk about everything from home to grief. Every story is filled with the love of God in their lives.

I am a huge fan of reading Amish and Mennonite fiction so to get to read true stories from this blessed community was a treat. As I read I could not help but question my relationship with God. Was mine as strong as theirs? Do I truly have as much trust in faith as them? These were great questions to be asking myself.

I read the eBook but will be looking for a real copy of the book as I have highlights every where on my Kindle and will be reading this again at least once a year. I want to be able to write my thoughts right there next to highlights and see how I’ve grown each year. The book is very simply written but very beautifully written.

Every woman can find a little of yourself in each story and learn how to grow more in your own faith.

One of the most profound sentences for me is from Sara Nolt’s story “Overcoming Inferiority”.
“The ground is level at the foot of the cross.” Her story was talking about how she always compared herself to others and found herself lacking. Her mother-in-law, after listening to her story, said that simple statement and changed her life. I have found myself repeating those words multiple times to myself since reading them.

Whether you are a reader of non-fiction or just looking for something different to read, I highly recommend this collection of short stories. You may find yourself growing and changing as you read which I never think is bad.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Herald Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.