TWO STEPS FORWARD

24 02 2020

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This is a very interesting book.  This is my 3rd book by Suzanne Woods Fisher, so it was nice getting reacquainted with these characters.  Two Steps Forward concentrates on two story-lines.  This first is of Jimmy Fisher, an Amish boy who is returning from Colorado.  He comes home broke and without a job.  You then have Sylvie Shrock, who is raising her sister’s illegitimate son, Joey.  Her husband, Jake, who is a relative of Jimmy, has passed away, so Sylvie is on her own.  She is very naive in finances – or really, anything!  She is like a child herself.  Jimmy ends up working for her, but are there sparks flying?

 

The other story has to do with Luke and Izzy.  Izzy is wanting to meet her biological father, but he seems no where to be found.  In the meantime, she is also wanting to help the girls on the streets who become pregnant and no where to turn.  Instead of abortion, can the Amish community take in those babies?  These stories with their questions will be answered when you read the book.

 

I rate this a 5-star, as it is a very good book.  Another book well done, Suzanne Woods Fisher!

 

SYNOPSIS: Back and broke in Stoney Ridge, Jimmy Fisher has coasted as long as he could through life on charm, good looks, and deep-set dimples. They always worked just fine for him–until they didn’t. His smile has no effect on the violet-eyed beauty he met at the Bent N’ Dent, the one with that stunning horse. She’s offered him a job, but nothing else. The last thing Sylvie Schrock King needs around Rising Star Farm is a grown boy working for her, especially her neighbor Edith’s son. The woman holds a serious grudge against Sylvie and her son, and hiring Jimmy Fisher will only fan the flames of Edith’s rancor. But Sylvie is desperate for help on the farm, and Jimmy understands horses like no one else. While Jimmy’s lazy smile and teasing ways steal Sylvie’s heart, Edith is working on a way to claim her land. Has Sylvie made another terrible mistake? Or is it too late to outfox the fox? More importantly. . . just who is the fox? Writing with both wit and warmth, Fisher delivers a supremely satisfying conclusion to the popular Deacon’s Family series.

 

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Suzanne Woods Fisher has a specialty: she writes about real people living in faith-based communities. With over 750,000 copies of books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, ranging from children’s books to novels to non-fiction books. When Suzanne isn’t writing, she’s probably playing with puppies. She’s been involved with Guide Dogs for the Blind for over fifteen years. Raising puppies, she says, is like eating a potato chip. You just can’t stop at one. Readers are invited to stop by Suzanne’s website at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.

 

Two Steps Forward became available for sale February 4, 2020.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

 

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THE ROLL OF THE DRUMS

22 10 2019

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I could not put this book down!  Jan Drexler did it again, where you continued in the story of Weaver’s Creek with the Civil War entering the Amish life.  You have main characters Ruby Weaver and Gideon Fischer.  Gideon enters Weaver’s Creek from Maryland with his 4 children and very ill wife, Lovinia.  Lovinia ends up passing away soon after, but not before she becomes close friends with Ruby.  She then asks both Ruby and Gideon to marry after her death.  With both of them grieving deeply, neither one wants to marry, but they do want the children taken care of, so that falls upon Ruby.  A short question is, will they end up getting married?  Will they end up falling in love?

 

On the Civil War end, there are some Confederate marauders that enter Weavers Creek.  These are not good men.  They end up shooting Abraham, Ruby’s father.  They also steal his horses.  Later they also end up burning his barn down.  The question here is, will Abraham recover from his wound?  How will the community react to this?  You will need to read the book to get the answers to the questions.

 

Ruby Weaver’s curly red hair isn’t the only thing that sets her apart from her Amish community in 1863. Twenty-eight and single, Ruby doesn’t believe a woman needs to be married in order to be happy. Her ailing friend Lovinia Fischer, however, has other ideas and wants Ruby to promise to marry her husband after she dies. Never imagining she’d have to fulfill that vow, Ruby agrees. And she’s not the only one. Lovinia has extracted a similar promise from her husband, Gideon.
With both Ruby and Gideon reluctant to keep their promises, a compromise must be reached. Ruby will spend her days with Gideon’s family–helping to raise the children and keep the house–but her nights will be spent at her sister’s neighboring house. But this arrangement raises eyebrows in their conservative Amish community, and it soon becomes clear that Ruby must make a decision–marry Gideon or turn her back on her friend, the children she’s grown to love . . . and their father.

 

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Jan Drexler brings a unique understanding of Amish traditions and beliefs to her writing. Her ancestors were among the first Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and their experiences are the inspiration for her stories. Jan lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband of thirty-five years, where she enjoys hiking in the Hills and spending time with their expanding family.

 

The Roll of the Drums became available for sale October 1, 2019.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and ebook from NetGalley for my honest review.

 

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A FAITHFUL GATHERING

18 07 2019

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Once I got into this book I was unable to put it down.  This is also one of my favorite genre to read.  Leslie Gould has a flair of putting a current story along with a historical story all put in one.  This made it very interesting, but at the same time, I had to keep alert, as I had to know which era I was in.

 

This is about Leisel, an aspiring nurse, and her Aenti Suz telling the story of her Grandfather Joe back during WWII.  There are many trials in this book.  Leisel’s boyfriend, who also is a nurse, decides to go into the Air Force.  She is definitely against this.  Then she meets her sister’s surgeon, whom she begins to date.  Which man will she choose?  Will she go on being single?  You will have to read the book to find out!

 

Leisel Bachmann left her Amish roots and beloved sisters to pursue a career in medicine without a second thought. She has an Englisch boyfriend, Nick Jordan, and dreams of a new life–but those dreams come crashing down when her sister Marie is diagnosed with cancer.

Soon nothing is going as she planned–not her state boards, not her first nursing job, and certainly not her relationship with Nick. As she becomes increasingly discouraged, her aunt shares the story of Leisel’s grandfather during World War II and the struggle he faced between returning to Lancaster or being with the woman he loved.

Peace and a vision for the future are difficult to find, and when Nick leaves Pennsylvania for a completely new life, Leisel is faced with impossible choices. Will she stay in Lancaster, close to her family and the traditions of her past? Or learn from her grandfather’s story and embrace a life of love and service in an uncertain future?

 

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Leslie Gould is an award-winning author. Leslie received her master of fine arts in creative writing from Portland State University in 2009 and has taught fiction as an adjunct professor at Multnomah University. She also teaches workshops at public and private schools and at writers’ conferences.

 

A varied work history, from curating a historical museum to editing a bridal magazine, preceded her fiction-writing career. She is also an Army Reserve wife who has supported her husband, Peter, through many years of service, including a deployment to Afghanistan as the commander of a field hospital. Leslie and her husband live in Oregon with their four children.

 

A Faithful Gathering became available for sale February 5, 2019.

 

I received a complimentary ebook from NetGalley for this review.

 

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MENDING FENCES

24 02 2019

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Mending Fences is a very good book. You have two people living at Windmill Farm as a rehab to get back into society. Luke, who was raised as an Amish, and Izzy, from the English side. Izzy has already be at the farm and learning much from Amos and Fern Lapp when Luke moves in – into the barn. She wants to be Amish, but does she want to embrace God, too? The mending fences title comes from following Luke, who in the past, had hurt many people with practical jokes. Through this, he begins to heal and come to God whole-heartedly. But are these two beginning to like each other? You will have to read the book to find that out for yourselves!

Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him.

Amos and Fern Lapp allow Luke to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, Luke must make a sincere apology to each person he’s hurt–a four-page, single-spaced list. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused.

Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused . . . that isn’t so simple. It’s gut-wrenching.

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm. Luke’s clumsy efforts to befriend Izzy only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge.

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Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of Amish fiction and non-fiction. Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, who was raised Plain in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. She travels back east a couple of times each year for research. For fun, too.

Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world. She has an underlying belief in her books–you don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate many of their principles into your life: simplicity, living with less, appreciating nature, forgiving others more readily, trusting in God.

When Suzanne isn’t writing, playing tennis, or bragging to her friends about her grandbabies (so cute!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To her way of thinking, you just can’t take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth.

Mending Fences became available for purchase on February 5, 2019.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for this review.





THE TEACHER’S BRIDE

4 02 2019

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The Teacher’s Bride is a book that will keep you glued to the pages.  I got caught up right from the very beginning.  There are a few “mini stories” within this book, so you get to know everyone. You have Christian (or “Chris”), who is the teacher in Birch Creek.  He is very organized personally and at work.  Then there is Ruby, who, for lack of words, is a klutz.  She moved to Birch Creek and moved in with her brother, Timothy, and his family to prove to herself that she is responsible and to make a new start.  These two are looking for mates.  Well, Christian knows nothing about how to communicate with a woman.  While Ruby keeps having accidents.  He is looking at Martha, his sister’s friend.  Ruby is looking at Seth, the bishop’s son.  Meanwhile, Ruby is teaching Christian how to communicate and act around a woman.  So, do they match up with the people they are looking at?  Are they going to get together themselves?  That is what you will need to read the book for!

If there is one thing Christian Ropp will not allow in his classroom — or his life — it is chaos. So why is he drawn to Ruby Glick, a woman who seems to bring mayhem wherever she goes?

Christian Ropp moves to Birch Creek to accept a teaching position in the rapidly growing Amish community. He’s determined to put the rambunctious school in order as well as check another task off his list: finding a wife. Of course, that would be much easier if women were like textbooks, straightforward and logical.

When an accident puts Christian out of commission, a new community member named Ruby Glick takes over his classroom. But Ruby’s exuberant teaching style clashes with Christian’s careful methods and he worries his students will never be the same.

With a track record of catastrophe, Ruby always feels too clumsy, too distracted, too . . . much. Desperate for a chance to prove that she can do more than make mistakes in her life, she throws herself into her new teaching position. But when Christian can’t seem to stay out of her way, she finds herself slipping into old, chaotic tendencies.

What she doesn’t anticipate is that Christian’s heart is slowly catching up with his mind — and she, too, must decide whether to follow logic or love.

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Kathleen Fuller (born September 11, 1967) is an American writer, specializing in Christian and Amish romantic fiction. She was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and currently resides in Geneva, Ohio with her husband, James Fuller, and three children.

As a stay-at-home mother of three Kathleen Fuller became enamored with Christian fiction. She started writing in 2000, and a year after published her first short story. By 2003, she published her first novella, “Encore, Encore” and by 2004, Kathleen would release her first full-length novel, Santa Fe Sunrise under Avalon. Since then Kathleen has authored several short stories, novellas, novels, and some freelance non-fiction works.

Kathleen’s break out year came when Thomas Nelson Publishers offered her several opportunities to write and participate in a series of Amish romance novels. In 2009, Kathleen’s novel, A Man of His Word, was released and became a CBA and ECPA bestseller. Kathleen followed that with the successful release of the anthology An Amish Christmas featuring her novella “A Miracle for Miriam.” The anthology would go on to become a CBD, CBA, and ECPA Bestseller.

The Teacher’s Bride became available for sale December 4, 2018.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for this review.

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THE FIRST LOVE

14 01 2019

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I absolutely loved this book!  Of course, with it being Amish, that is my favorite genre.  You feel for Maggie, who turns 18 during this book, who has a debilitating illness.  With her using a cane because of this illness, she feels as if no boy would want the added responsibility of taking care of her and she is unable to be the vibrant woman that a man would want.  

She then goes to a Mennonite tent revival and gets turned on to Jesus.  She is now reading her Bible all the time.  She hears about healing and wants that more than anything.  Will she get her healing?  Will she fall in love and be a wife to someone special?  You will need to read it yourself to get those answers.

It’s the summer of 1951, and Maggie Esh is in need of some hope. Sweet-spirited and uncommonly pretty despite struggling with chronic illness, she is used to being treated kindly by the young men of her Old Order Amish church district. Yet Maggie wishes she were more like other courting-age girls so she could live a normal, healthy life.

To make matters more complicated, Dat has recently remarried, less than a year after her mother died. And while her stepmother is kind, Rachel is much younger than Mamm, and she simply doesn’t understand Maggie or her illness the way Mamm did.

When tent revival meetings come to the area, Maggie is curious, and the words of the Mennonite preacher challenge her to reconsider what she knows about faith. Can she learn to trust God even when hope seems a distant dream?

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Beverly Marie Jones (Lewis) was born in the heart of Amish country—Lancaster, Pennsylvania. At the tender age of nine, she began writing short stories and poetry. Prior to that, she made up lyrics to the “little fingers” piano pieces she learned, at the age of five.

“My mother saved everything I wrote, even the stories I dreamed up during my grade school years,” Beverly says. One such tale is semi-autobiographical, about a young girl whose parents can no longer afford to give her piano lessons. The manuscript was 77 pages long and titled “She Shall Have Music,” penned under the shade of a lone willow tree. “Reading, writing, and playing piano have been top three on my list of favorite things,” she says.

Not until her own children were well into middle school did Beverly seek to publish her work, first in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book followed in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans—presently retitled Big Bad Beans (book #22 in the popular Cul-de-Sac Kids series of chapter books—see list of Bev’s children’s books).

The First Love became available for purchase September 4, 2018.

I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from NetGalley for this review.

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THE SOUND OF DISTANT THUNDER

22 10 2018

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Book One in “The Amish of Weaver’s Creek Series”
Katie Stuckey and Jonas Weaver are both romantics. Seventeen-year-old Katie is starry-eyed, in love with the idea of being in love, and does not want to wait to marry Jonas until she is eighteen, despite her parents’ insistence. So much can happen in a year. Twenty-year-old Jonas is taken in by the romance of soldiering, especially in defense of anti-slavery, even though he knows war is at odds with the teachings of the church. When his married brother’s name comes up in the draft list, he volunteers to take his brother’s place. But can the commitment Katie and Jonas have made to each other survive the separation?

To admit it, it was difficult for me to get going in this book.  So, that is why I give it a 4-star.  It seemed dragged out for the introductions.  But later on, you understand why Jan Drexler took her time in the introductions.  You got to know these people in a personal way.  

Katie and Jonas are so in love with each other, but she is young yet.  Her father has told her she has to wait until she is 18.  But also for Jonas, there is the Civil War.  He believes strongly against slavery.  He wants to help – somehow.  He prefers not to shoot anyone.  When his brother ends up on the draft list, Jonas feels the only option is to take his brother’s place.  This definately turns 2 families upside down.  Katie feels as if he is going to get killed.  The question is: will he?  You will need to read the book to find out.

So, I give this a 4-star because of the slow beginning, but once I got into it, was hard to put down.

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Jan grew up surrounded by books and storytellers. With Pastors and Teachers populating both sides of her extended family, we aren’t surprised that she wanted to be a first-class storyteller herself.

Born and raised in Michigan, Jan is the descendant of Amish, Mennonite and Brethren immigrants who settled in Berks, Somerset and Lancaster Counties in Pennsylvania in the mid-1700’s. The descendants of these immigrants pioneered in Maryland, Ohio, and finally Elkhart and LaGrange Counties in Northern Indiana in the 1850’s.

During the years when Jan was raising and homeschooling their children, she and her husband moved nine times in thirty years, finally landing in South Dakota where they enjoy incredibly Michigan-like weather. A northerner is always a northerner!

The ideas for Jan’s books come from the stories told by her parents and grandparents, seasoned with a lot of research and imagination.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for this review.