Amish

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The Amish Wanderer by Laura Hilton



MY REVIEW:

If asked to describe Laura Hilton’s books, I might tell you that they are “gritty” Amish fiction. This author has chosen to write stories that reveal the fact that like in all other walks of life, at their core, the Amish are also human and not all are the perfectly upright people portrayed in many of the popular novels. In “The Amish Wanderer” the reader will find that each of the two primary protagonists have secrets and carry heavy burdens from their past.

Bethany longs to run away from the town that knows about her father’s disgrace but her pain goes even deeper and there is one man she wants to leave far behind. Silas has spent his entire life in a dysfunctional and violent family and probably carries the scars to prove it. He is one the road to what he hopes will be a new life away from his family and the man he believes wants him dead. When he takes shelter one night in the Weiss barn and agrees to stay and help out on their farm, he and Bethany will find their lives changed forever.

I have read only two of Laura Hilton’s books but if they are indicative of her others, I have found another author to add to my “Don’t Miss” list. “The Amish Wanderer” grabbed my attention from the very beginning and I found myself reading well into the night. I did not want to do anything other than read this book. The story is so compelling although it does contain at least one scene that may be offensive to some readers. I personally believe that the scene was necessary to fully make the point of the danger to Bethany and it was handled very tactfully.

I liked Bethany and Silas’s characters very much and enjoyed reading about their road to romance, forgiveness, faith, and restoration. A good amount of scripture was woven seamlessly into the plot and was all quite applicable to their situations. Some suspense, drama, humor, and of course romance were blended perfectly to make the perfect read. Several plot twists and surprises made it all the more enjoyable.

If you have not read any books by Laura Hilton, please do yourself a favor and give one or more a try soon. I do not think you will regret it.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that was provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Click to purchase

Bethany Weiss is ready to leave town. Tongues haven’t stopped clacking in Jamesport, MO, since her daed, the bishop, was admitted to a mental hospital after hurting their small Amish community. But her sharpest wounds Bethany hides from prying eyes, quietly biding her time until she can take a chance at a new life—away from Jamesport and away from God.

Silas Beiler was kicked out of his own home. Dogged by a rough childhood and a family who blames him for each new disaster, he begins hitchhiking across the country, sleeping in barns where he can, working for food when possible—headed for Pennsylvania in the hope of some stability.

When Bethany spies a man asleep in the hayloft, she first fears the return of an unwelcome suitor. But when it is Silas who turns and speaks, the memories flood back: a happy summer six years ago full of lemonade, long walks, and budding courtship. Now, however, those months of bliss seem naïve and idyllic. Was their old love strong enough to overcome new pain? Or will hurt and rejection continue to haunt their path?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Amish of Jamesport includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. In spring 2016 she released The Amish Firefighter with the setting in Jamesport, MO, the same as for The Amish Wanderer.

Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

GUEST POST FROM LAURA HILTON:

I didn’t intentionally set out to write an Amish story loosely based on a true story. If fact, when people asked me if I would write my maternal grandparents’ story, I told them no.

But when time came to write Bethany’s story, all I knew was a short paragraph blurb about it. Bethany and her once-upon-a-time boyfriend Silas who left that particular Amish district and her before their relationship became serious. I didn’t know their backstories, really, and had no idea how the story would proceed. And since I don’t plot, I spend a lot of time praying about the story, because really, I want to write what He says to write. He knows who He wants it to reach.

So I sat down to pray about it. And God gave me a verse. Which is unusual at the beginning of the story. Usually, for me, it’s at the middle when God reveals His theme for the book. But this time, it was at the beginning. The verse is:

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (KJV)

And the verses caused more prayer. What am I supposed to do with it?

I was driving to Melbourne (Arkansas, not Australia) to pay property taxes and get my vehicle tags renewed, listening to the radio as we (my three daughters and I) drove down Larkin Road (that’s not the real name, just what everyone calls it—we have a lot of those around here: Day Road, Moko Road, etc—because there are ghost towns on these roads so they are called by the name of the ghost town). A song came on the radio and I don’t remember the name of it, or even who the singer was, but when I arrived in Melbourne, I had the opening line to my story.

The sky is falling and I’m searching for somewhere to hide.

I’m sure the people at the county clerk’s office might have been a little concerned about the state of my mental health when they saw the words scribbled at the top of my bill. I did get a strange look. I didn’t offer an explanation. And they didn’t ask.

When I got home, I started writing and paying close attention to Bethany’s mental clues (and Silas’s) to figure out what their stories were. And how they tied into the verse God had given me.

And then, without even realizing it until it hit, I knew who’s story I was writing.

My grandmother’s. My grandfather’s.

Except they are different. My grandmother wasn’t date raped. It was a member of her own family. And she wasn’t in love with my grandfather. She just discovered he was leaving the Amish and she wanted—needed—to escape.

Neither were Christians at the time. My grandfather was saved on his death bed. My grandmother’s youngest child was a teenager when she was saved. My mother, her sister, and all their girlfriends went to a tent meeting for a United Brethren Church and my grandmother attended one of the meetings with her daughters and was saved as a result. And their testimonies ultimately led to the salvation of my uncle and my grandfather.

Both of my grandparents had a lot of issues to work through as to why God allowed the bad things in their lives to happen. That they eventually came to Christ is a miracle but I’m glad they did, as I was raised in a Christian home.

Why does God allow bad things to happen to people? The short, pat answer is: because sin entered the world. Yes, God could stop them. But what if He uses the bad thing to refine a person’s faith, to draw them closer to Him as a result?

How a person reacts to the bad things directly ties in to how they affect them. In my story, Silas chose to trust God even though he feared for his life. No, he didn’t like what had happened, but even though he didn’t see how, he trusted God was working behind the scenes to bring Silas to where he needed to be, spiritually and physically. On the other hand, Bethany believed God had rejected her. Pushed her away and didn’t care about her. If He didn’t care for her, why should she care about Him? So she went into a stand-off with God.

The lessons ultimately learned, for both my grandparents and my characters, brought them to their knees before the living and holy God who was, and is, and is to come. And I trust God will use this story to help a reader out there who might be questioning something terrible that happened in their life.

You might not see how now and may not know why until eternity, but God has this. Keep praying. Keep trusting. Keep believing.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (KJV)

BLOG STOPS:

February 14: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

February 14: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

February 14: inklings and notions

February 15: A Rup Life

February 15: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

February 15: Lane Hill House

February 16: Daysong Reflections

February 16: A Simple Life, really?!

February 16: Blogging With Carol

February 17: Reading Is My SuperPower

February 17: Bigreadersite

February 17: Rockin’ My Mom Jeans

February 18: Rhonda’s Doings

February 18: Jeanette’s Thoughts

February 19: A Greater Yes

February 19: A Holland Reads

February 20: Connie’s History Classroom

February 20: Blossoms and Blessings

February 21: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog

February 21: Mom Is Forever

February 22: A Baker’s Perspective

February 22: Splashes of Joy

February 23: Moments Dipped in Ink

February 23: Carpe Diem

February 24: Pause for Tales

February 24: Quiet Quilter

February 25: For The Love of Books

February 25: Donna’s BookShelf

February 26: Christian Bookaholic

February 26: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

February 27: Giveaway Lady

February 27: Autism Mom

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away  Amish Wanderer, Patchwork Dreams (Amish of Seymour #1), Snow Globe (Amish of Jamesport #1),
a 10 x 17” canvas banner: “Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly” (Micah 6:8), and
Abba Scripture Candle (3” natural, clean-burning wax, scented) – “With God All Things Are Possible”! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b0d8

The Seekers by Wanda Brunstetter



MY REVIEW:

It was just a simple cooking class – or was it? Heidi’s idea to offer a cooking class as a way to help fill the empty hours that did not include children to care for was just that or so she thought. Her ad brought together a small group of unlikely men and women who would find their lives forever changed by their interaction with Heidi and her husband Lyle. And could it be that Heidi and Lyle could also find a blessing or two as a result?

“The Seekers” was a warm and satisfying novel filled with charm and wisdom. Characters were well developed and realistic, each one of them with hidden pain and problems. I enjoyed watching their relationships grow naturally through the course of Heidi’s classes. I also enjoyed the peeks into each character’s life through their own points of view.

The first book in Brunstetter’s latest series, “The Seekers” is sure to please readers, especially those particularly fond of Amish fiction.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that was provided by
Amazon Vine.  A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Join a class of unlikely Ohioans who take cooking lessons at Lyle and Heidi Troyer’s Amish farm. A woman engaged to marry, an expectant mother estranged from her family, a widowed mom seeking to simplify, a Vietnam vet who camps on the Troyer’s farm, and an Amish widower make up the mismatched lot of students. But Heidi’s cooking lessons soon turn to life lessons as they each share the challenges they are facing. Is this what God had in mind when Heidi got the idea for cooking classes?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Wanda Brunstetter is an award-winning romance novelist who has led millions of readers to lose their heart in the Amish life. She is the author of nearly 70 books with more than 9 million copies sold. Many of her books have landed on the top bestseller lists, including the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today, CBA, ECPA, and CBD. Wanda is considered one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre, and her work has been covered by national publications, including Time Magazine, USA Today, Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, and Country Woman. Wanda’s books have been translated into four foreign languages.

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The Amish Christmas Kitchen



MY REVIEW:

Jennifer Beckstrand definitely has a talent for humor. I laughed all the way through her novella “The Christmas Bakery at Huckleberry Hill”. Between delightfully quirky Titus, his matchmaking grandparents, and a couple of mischievous goats, there was never a dull moment.

I thoroughly enjoyed the sweet and unexpected romance that developed between Titus and Katie Rose despite the fact that she was in Huckleberry Hill to become engaged to Adam. Titus was so endearing I couldn’t help but like him. He instinctively knew how to bring out the best in Katie Rose whose talent and generous heart was sometimes hidden by her shyness. On the other hand, I was not at all amused by the arrogant Adam – except maybe when he got what he deserved.

“The Christmas Bakery at Huckleberry Hill” brought a bright spot to my day and I now want to read more of Beckstrand’s books as soon as possible.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that was provided by Celebrate Lit Publicity Group. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Click her to purchase

The Christmas Bakery at Huckleberry Hill

When shy Katie Rose Gingerich’s dat sends her to Huckleberry Hill to secure a marriage proposal, she never expects to long for carefree Titus Helmuth—or to hope that he might want to spend every Christmas with her . . .

To purchase your own copy, click here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in Examiner.com list of top ten inspirational books for 2014.

Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

GUEST POST FROM JENNIFER BECKSTRAND:

What do you get when you combine Anna and Felty’s earnest grandson, Titus, with a pretty girl who’s practically engaged to someone else, a sleigh full of Christmas bakery orders, and two mischievous Christmas goats?

A wild, wacky, and wunderbarr Christmas, that’s what.

Anna and Felty Helmuth are determined to make this the most romantic Christmas ever on Huckleberry Hill, but have they bitten off more than they can chew trying to match their slightly scatterbrained grandson Titus with timid Katie Rose Gingerich? Titus tends to be a little thick in the head when it comes to love, and Katie Rose is too shy to open her mouth. It might take every potholder Anna can knit plus a determined goat and a little Christmas magic to bring Titus and Katie Rose together.

 Titus would do anything for his Mammi Anna, even eat her very bad cooking and learn how to knit, but why does he have to be the one to care for Mammi’s new goat? Goats give him the willies. But when Titus meets the pretty girl staying with his grandparents for Christmas, he doesn’t mind the goat so much. The more he sees of Katie Rose’s gentle ways and loving spirit, the more he wishes he were the kind of boy she would bake a pie for. Can he convince her to love him without offending her boyfriend? And will Mammi notice if he gets rid of her goat?

 After I wrote Huckleberry Hearts, I just knew there had to be someone special out there for Titus Helmuth, Anna and Felty’s lovable grandson. Christmas is the perfect setting for “A Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill” because Titus is one character who seems to have the spirit of Christmas in his heart all year long. When Katie Rose is homesick, Titus does his best to make her feel welcome and comfortable on Huckleberry Hill. He delivers her Christmas goodies, writes poetry for her, and sings Christmas songs. When he finally realizes he loves her, he’s going to have to use both Christmas goats and every trick in the book to convince her to marry him. It’s a fun, heartwarming, wonderful-gute Christmas romance.

“A Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill” is in The Amish Christmas Kitchen novella collection, and it will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

BLOG STOPS:

December 15: Daysong Reflections

December 15: cherylbbookblog

December 16: Karen Sue Hadley

December 16: Jeanette’s Thoughts

December 17: Quiet Quilter

December 17: Moments Dipped in Ink

December 18: The Power of Words

December 18:  A Greater Yes

December 19: Christian Bookaholic

December 19: Lighthouse Academy

December 20: Neverending Stories

December 20: D’S QUILTS AND BOOKS

December 21: Reading Is My SuperPower

December 21: Autism Mom

December 22: Bigreadersite

December 22: Splashes of Joy

December 23: Blossoms and Blessings

December 24: A Baker’s Perspective

December 25: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog

December 26: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

December 26: Southern Gal Loves to Read

December 27: Bibliophile Reviews

December 27: Donna’s BookShelf

December 28: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away three copies of Huckleberry Christmas. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/acec

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Finding Margo by Jen Turano

finding-margo



MY REVIEW:

I became a lifelong fan of Jen Turano before I finished her very first book. I loved her unique style with its quirky characters, laugh-out-loud scenes, a good dose of suspense or mystery, and of course a swoon worthy romance, all of which is well balanced by a strong spiritual theme. When I saw that her latest novel was a departure from her usual genre, I wondered if I would like it as well. Never fear, Jen’s distinctive voice is quite clear in “Finding Margo” and I will definitely want to read the entire series.

I was intrigued by the concept of the three missing Amish children and how it played into Margo’s personal story. Margo was a great character. I loved how her true personality was so different than the one cultivated by her mother for her career as a pop star. Can we just say the polished fashionista was actually a disaster waiting to happen?

It was clear fairly early how Margo and the missing children would be connected but what fun and suspense were in store as I watched her story play out! The developing romance between Margo and Deputy Brock Moore was perfect – no love at first sight there. Once again Jen Turano has made me a happy reader. I hope others will give “Finding Margo” a try also.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that was provided by Celebrate Lit Publicity Group. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Click to Purchase

Click to Purchase

Off the charts and on the run.

International pop star Margo Hartman could use a night off. A grueling tour and overbearing entourage have sent her over the edge. It’s time for this diva to disappear. And who would think to look for the superstar in a small town in Ohio?

Sheriff’s deputy Brock Moore is undercover as well. He knows Margo isn’t who she appears to be, but her uncanny resemblance to a local Amish woman is raising all sorts of questions . . . the kinds that make her a target for a killer.

Both are determined to find answers, but their mutual attraction stands in the way of either of them doing it alone. Is finding Margo the solution to Brock’s problems or the just the beginning . . . ?

Click here to purchase your copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jen TuranoUSA Today best-selling author Jen Turano writes contemporary and historical romances with quirky characters and unusual storylines. Just outside Denver, Colorado, Jen and her husband live as empty-nesters, and they do so fabulously. Contact Jen at jenturano.com.

GUEST POST FROM JEN TURANO:

The Making of “Finding Margo”

By Jen Turano

To say that my entrance into the publishing world was a tad difficult is certainly an understatement.  My very first attempt at writing was centered around a middle grade book, specifically written for my son who was in the third grade at the time.  After finishing that, and sending it out to all of five companies, none of whom represented middle grade, I then moved on to young adult with a little more interest sent my way, but no success story to report in the end.  Not one to embrace the idea of complete and utter failure, I then tried my hand at a contemporary romance, moved on to what I assumed was a delightful regency romance, but one that turned out to be not that delightful, at least according to numerous agents, and finally landed on gilded age stories, filled with quirky heroines.  That is when I finally received my very first publishing contract, which then saw me catapulted into the very weird world of publishing.  After completing the second gilded age story of my two-book contract, I found myself with some time on my hands as I waited to see if anyone would read my stories, which might then result in an offer of additional book contracts.  As I waited, I decided I might as well keep writing, so decided to try another contemporary story, although my agent at that time suggested I try to write an Amish book since she had numerous requests from publishers for those specific books.

Because my writing voice is not what anyone might consider normal, I really didn’t believe I’d be able to do justice to an authentic Amish story.  Because of that, I settled on the idea of writing a contemporary romantic suspense, being a huge fan of that genre.  I had a vague notion of exploring a theme centered around a dog walker who might stumble on a body while walking her pack of dogs, or perhaps have a storyline that centered around a makeup artist who witnessed a crime while setting out her makeup for a client, but those ideas went straight away when I pulled out the vacuum one fine day.

Vacuuming, as well as staining the deck, cleaning the shower, and power-washing the garage, are my go-to activities when I need to get the muse working right before I start a first draft. On that particular day, as I pushed the vacuum around the house, I suddenly had the most intriguing idea – an idea that started off with two delightful little words…What…and…If.

That was all it took for a premise to begin festering through my mind, a fester that grew into this – What if three Amish children were stolen straight out of their beds, never to be seen or heard from again until… Now here’s where it gets interesting.  I decided to have a woman by the name of Margo Hartman, an international superstar no less, stumble into this small Ohio town quite by accident, and…she happens to bear an uncommon resemblance to an Amish woman who lives in this town.  To add an addition sense of intrigue, someone immediately begins trying their very best to kill poor Margo.

By the time I was done vacuuming, the storyline for “Finding Margo” was firmly cemented in my mind, which translates into Jen had no choice other than to write the story.  However, before my agent at that time found a home for the manuscript, I signed another contract for more gilded age books, which meant I did not have the time to commit to what was certainly going to have to be a three-book series since, well, there were three Amish children who’d gone missing.

Fast forward around five years and I found myself a little ahead of schedule at exactly the right time.  There was a new publishing house in town, my current agent remembered me talking about this quirky book I’d written long ago, and as luck would have it, I found the flash drive that’s been home to “Finding Margo” for all these years.

Since my writing style has certainly changed since I first wrote Margo’s story, I ended up rewriting the entire book, and I must say that I’m still just as intrigued with the storyline as I was when it popped to mind while vacuuming what seems like ages ago.  I’m just tickled to death that Margo Hartman has finally found her way out of a flash drive and onto the pages of a book.  I’m hoping readers will enjoy her as much as I enjoyed writing her.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with me today, and for supporting my books over the years.  I cannot properly express how important all my readers have become to me, and I’m incredibly thankful for every one of you.  You’ve brightened up my life and without you, well, I wouldn’t have anyone to share the stories that always seem to rumble around my mind.

God bless!

~ Jen ~

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BLOG STOPS:

November 17: Book by Book

November 17: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

November 17: cherylbbookblog

November 17: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

November 18: A Reader’s Brain

November 18: I Hope You Dance

November 18: Blogging with Carol

November 19: ASC Book Reviews

November 19: Bibliophile Reviews

November 20: Lighthouse Academy

November 20: Karen Sue Hadley

November 20: Back Porch Reads

November 21: Reading Is My SuperPower

November 21: Genesis 5020

November 21: 100 Pages per Hour

November 22: Pause for Tales

November 22: Quiet Quilter

November 22: Bigreadersite

November 23: Just Commonly

November 23: A Greater Yes

November 23: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

November 24: Smiling Book Reviews

November 24: Ashley’s Bookshelf

November 24: Singing Librarian Books

November 25: It’s Storytime With Van Daniker

November 25: History, Mystery & Faith

November 25: inklings and notions

November 26: Daysong Reflections

November 26: The Scribbler

November 26: Blossoms and Blessings

November 27: Christian Chick’s Thoughts

November 27: A Baker’s Perspective

November 27: Through the Open Window

November 28: The Power of Words

November 28: His Grace is Sufficient

November 28: Reader’s Cozy Corner

November 29: Fiction, Faith, and Fun

November 29: Faithfully Bookish

November 29: Christian Bookaholic

November 30: Raining Butterfly Kisses

November 30: Book Bites, Bee Stings & Butterfly Kisses

GIVEAWAY:

amazon_cardTo celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copies of her book! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine entries on the giveaway!

https://promosimple.com/ps/a8ad

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