Amish, clean reads, clean romance, creativity, finding purpose in life, forgiveness, grief, healing, historical romance, Lancaster County, Leah, loss, Love, potter, pottery, Seth, Seth Hostetler, The Amish Widower, Virginia Smith
Book Review: The Amish Widower, by Virginia Smith
Amish farmer Seth Hostetler was devastated when his first wife died. When he finally remarries, his second wife and unborn child are killed in a carriage accident. Now he believes that he is doomed and will never love again. His life is empty, and he wonders how he can keep going. Then Seth meets an Amish potter, who offers to teach him the craft. Seth learns quickly, and he finds solace and a renewed sense of fulfillment in the creation of both useful and decorative pottery. As time goes on, he is drawn to Leah, who works for her father, but she has renounced her Amish lifestyle and has become Englisch. Her heart has been wounded as well, and she is not about to be drawn into a relationship, especially with an Amish man.
I loved this book. The characters were real, with deep emotions and struggles that are finally overcome through love and faith. The story explores themes of grief, guilt, and forgiveness. It also portrays how a creative outlet like pottery can bring fulfillment and healing to one’s soul. Set in the Amish community of Lancaster County, the love story of Seth and Leah is sweet and deeply felt, and it resonates with anyone who has suffered loss and found hope and healing again. Virginia Smith has done meticulous research (including hands-on pottery making) in order to give us another beautiful and uplifting story.
ACFW, April, art, bayou, book review, bullying, Carlos, Christian fiction, compassion, courage, death, faith, gifted children, gifted teachers, grief, gulag, hope, Houston, intelligence, intolerance, languages, learning, life, Love, Luca, Nick, overcoming grief, patience, photography, prison, Rachel Phifer, Romania, Romanian language, Sierra, suicide, survivors, teaching, Texas, The Language of Sparrows, women's fiction, writing
When artist April Wright and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Sierra, move to Houston, Texas, they are trying to escape a past neither of them can get over. But their pain follows them, and April has no idea how to help her brilliant daughter, who learns languages like others eat candy but is failing school. Sierra can barely speak to others and does her best to remain invisible. Even her classmate and neighbor, Carlos, has a hard time reaching her, in spite of his compassion and patience. Then Sierra meets old Luca, a survivor of a Romanian gulag, who matches wits with her and draws her into a friendship that others refuse to understand. His son, Nick, is a gifted teacher, but the relationship between him and his father is like a tree that has grown twisted and bent under years of misunderstanding and grief. As Nick reaches out to help Sierra, he becomes friends with Sierra’s mom, April, and falls for her. However, April is still grieving about her husband’s suicide, and she doesn’t know how to tell the truth to her daughter. It’s been a long time since she even took a photograph. As the two families come to know each other and reveal what is in their hearts, a miracle begins to happen.
I LOVED this book! Wow! I was up until 2:30 a.m. reading. I could not put it down. After reading this book, I need to go back and lower all the stars I gave to the other books, because this one deserves five stars, no – ten stars.
I was drawn into the inner workings of each character’s heart, and I felt so deeply for them. I ached to help them. Though the story centers around Sierra, all four characters are vividly portrayed, each struggling under weighty burdens. Eventually, rays of hope break through the clouds of adversity and drench their lives. Their faith is handled sensitively with just the right amount of emphasis. This incredible book is about the courage to reach out to others and make a difference in someone’s life. I was so inspired by it.
Rachel Phifer has done an absolutely amazing job with this beautiful debut novel, which was the winner of the 2012 ACFW Genesis Award. The Language of Sparrows is now one of my very favorite books.
This is a season filled with happy memories and enjoyable experiences as families gather, special foods are eaten, gifts are exchanged, and songs are sung. It can also be a time of poignant memories, loneliness and sorrow. Sometimes we don’t get to be with the ones we love. But whatever our circumstances, we can reach out to others in kindness. We can remember the first Christmas — a little baby born in a humble stable, a star shining in the night, the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks, and the angel’s proclamation. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” The joyous news echoes through the ages and still brings us peace. Merry Christmas.
2016 World Series, adventure, baseball, book review, Books, Carol Nicolas, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Cubs, Double Play, Double Play: A Novel of Magic, Indians, Love, magic, magicians, novels, reading, romance, World Series, YA, YA fantasy
Tonight in Game 2 of the World Series, the Chicago Cubs won 5-1. Yeah! What a great way to end a very long day. The Cubs have been my favorite baseball team ever since I began my research for my novel, Double Play. I am so happy that they are in the World Series, and I’ll be cheering for them during every game. And now, if you want to curl up with a book about baseball, the Cubs, magic, adventure and love, read Double Play. Available on Amazon.
A girl with a secret. A desperate magician. A baseball game that will never be forgotten. Read Double Play: A Novel of Magic today.
bigotry, bullying, Celeste, character, David, David: The Unseen, Eleanor, ethical dilemna, ethics, family, friendship, gossip, hatred, helping others, honor, Jamesford, Johnny Worthen, kindness, loneliness, Love, magic, mystery, Native American legends, Native Americans, peer pressure, prejudice, purpose in life, racism, reservation, science, scientific experimentation, shapeshifters, skin-walker, truth, Wyoming, YA, YA fantasy
Book Review: David (Book 3 in the Unseen series), by Johnny Worthen: I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this series. Eleanor was amazing, and Celeste was a heart-wrenching, action-packed cliffhanger (Ahhh!), so I have waited impatiently for David to come out. This third and final book did not disappoint me.
After assuming the shape of a cat and being held captive for months, Eleanor thinks she is beginning to forget what it means to be a human, to be Eleanor. She misses her true love, David, and she worries about the good people she left behind. So, she changes back to human and returns to Jamesford, the small Wyoming town where she first came to know love and all its opposites — prejudice, bullying, and hatred — that turned her life into a battlefield. There she finds that some mourn her “death”, some use the event as a cheap tourist attraction, and some still hope that she’ll return. Eleanor learns more about her skin-walker heritage, which makes her wonder if death and misery are all that is in store for her and those who befriend her. Eleanor also learns that she has more friends than she thought as they reach out and help her. David is an amazing person who sees into her heart and loves her no matter what she looks like on the outside. But there are others who still mean to harm her, and as evil forces gather, bent on her capture, Eleanor is once again in danger. As she struggles to survive, Eleanor tries to do everything she can to make things right.
I loved this story, from the beginning of Eleanor to the end of David. She became real, and I mourned and rejoiced with her in all her experiences, which dealt with issues that far too many regular humans face every day. Eleanor may be a skin-walker, but she is good, and she cares about people. Johnny has created a fascinating, complex character whom I will miss very much. Five Stars.
clean reads, clues, courage, DeMott Fielding, desperation, Drew Levinson, exciting, family, geology, home life, insanity, intelligent women, Love, mystery, observation, Raleigh Harmon, Sibella Giorello, Stone and Spark, suspense, YA, YA Contemporary, YA fiction
Book Review: Stone and Spark – by Sibella Giorello:
Sibella Giorello goes back in time and gives us a new mystery/suspense series featuring Raleigh Harmon as a teenager.
When her best friend, Drew, goes missing, Raleigh is sure that something terrible has happened. However, no one will believe her — not even the police. Her only ally is a gruff but good-hearted teacher who encourages her to observe, learn, and keep on seeking answers. Raleigh uses her budding interest in geology to help her uncover the clues and soon finds herself in danger.
I loved this book. I’d already read the adult series, and I was so impressed with it. This book reveals the home life that Raleigh struggles with – an insane mother, a desperate sister, and a father who refuses to see the truth about their lives. Raleigh suffers so much angst, yet she refuses to give up, even in the face of overwhelming odds. She meets DeMott Fielding, who has good manners, a stable home, a kind heart and a willingness to help. You understand why she is so drawn to him. Stone and Spark is well written, with incredible attention to detail that makes the story rich and full. The suspense never stops. I could not put it down. Five Stars.
acting, addiction, Alixis Murphy, art, Bo Corrigan, Christian fiction, clean romance, creativity, danger, Devin Bressard, drug addiction, Eileen, finding purpose in life, forgiveness, God's love, grace, Grace Evangeline, helping others, Jeffrey, Kristen Heitzmann, Love, mobs, modern romance, music, New York City, plays, romance, romantic suspense, the homeless, Told You So, Told You Twice, true love, weddings, women's fiction, writing
Told you Twice – Book Review – by Kristen Heitzmann: Alexis (Exie) Murphy is engaged to the ‘perfect’ man and looks forward to a Grace Evangeline wedding and a happily-ever-after life. She’s willing to give up her talents and the essence of who she is in order to have the stability she craves and to make Jeffrey happy. Then she meets Bo.
Bo Corrigan is a talented New York stage actor and model. No woman can resist him, and his playboy lifestyle and gambling are the stuff of legends. But all that is the persona he wants others to see. When he meets Exie, he is shaken to the core, for she sees the real man beneath the role, and she senses the tragedy, sorrow, and guilt that drive him in his brilliant performances. Bo convinces Exie that they need to explore the connection between them, and so Exie puts her engagement on hold and starts to get to know this complicated man. Unlike Jeffrey, Bo encourages her to pursue her many talents, and Exie’s extraordinary ability as an artist and musician begin to unfold. Then Bo’s past catches up with him, and dangerous forces threaten to destroy their fragile beginning.
I loved this book! I’ve read all of Kristen Heitzmann’s books, and it is an understatement to say she has a gift for character development. The people in this story are deep and complicated, with good qualities opposing their faults, weaknesses, and messy lives. They are searching for happiness and love, but they don’t know how to achieve it. I loved Exie’s goodness and her positive outlook on life, and I ached for her. She doesn’t see that Jeffrey will snuff out the creative flame within her, and that eventually she will be an empty shell. As an artist, I enjoyed her exploration of art and the overwhelming need to create what is within one’s soul. As Bo’s story unfolded, I mourned for his troubles and the tortured person within who needs to be loved and to find a purpose in life. I also really enjoyed the continued story of Grace Evangeline and Devin Bressard, who are now married and raising their little girl. Devin is over protective of his cousin, Exie – and who can blame him? Grace worries about everything, and their amazing verbal sparring from Told You So continues. In the background is Eileen, their wealthy friend who plays parent to them — matchmaking, protecting, and loving, even when her own health is in jeopardy.
This book also takes a compassionate look at those who are homeless and struggle with mental illness and drug addiction, and the heroes who reach out to them. Kristen Heitzmann proves that a story can be gritty, real and superbly moving without including a lot of swearing and graphic sex. She has written a beautiful, complicated book that touched me deeply. I recommend it to everyone. Five Stars!
Anna Zogg, Books, Brandon Sanderson, Cheree Alsop, children's books, Christian romance, cozy mystery, death, eating, Eloise Jarvis McGraw, fantasy, fiction, food, Greek, Greensleeves, Harry Potter, Hilary McKay, inspiration, JK Rowling, knowledge, Laura Morrigan, life, Love, love of books, Marie Rutkoski, Moon Dancing, Moon-Flash, mystery, nourishment, Paranormal fantasy, Patricia A. McKillip, Rachael Anderson, romance, romantic suspense, Saffy's Angel, scriptures, Silver, Terri Blackstone, The Alloy of Law, The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Winner's Kiss, Truth Stained Lies, western, Where the River Ends, Woof at the Door, Working It Out, YA, young adult
I eat books. For breakfast, along with my cereal, fruit, and milk, I eat the bread of life found in the scriptures. For lunch, along with a peanut butter and jam sandwich, I’ll add a chapter or so of Harry Potter, or perhaps a chunk of the Dead Sea Scrolls (in English). Afternoons, I need a snack. Fruit, chips, or chocolate? I might read a little of Saffy’s Angel, by Hilary McKay, or maybe start a mystery, like Truth Stained Lies, by Terri Blackstone. Or how about a romantic suspense like Moon Dancing, by Anna Zogg? Usually though, I spend the afternoon writing, because if I let myself get caught in a story, I won’t get anything else done that day. For supper, along with the meat and vegetables, (if my husband isn’t there to talk to), I’ll add a generous helping of Brandon Sanderson’s The Alloy of Law, or Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Kiss. Sometimes I’ll enjoy a couple of pages from my Greek textbook. I keep these reading meals short because there’s a lot to do every day, and my dog wants to walk. But when I’m in bed, and it’s quiet, with only my lamp shining in the dark, then I begin the true banquet at my fingertips. Books are stacked on my nightstand, and in my Nook and Kindle are hundreds more. Sometimes I feel like a lemon meringue romance, like Working It Out, by Rachael Anderson. At times I’ll have a cozy cup of mystery like Woof at the Door, by Laura Morrigan. Other times I want a sweet chunk of paranormal fantasy, like Silver, by Cheree Alsop. Then there are the books which touch my heart deeply, stir my imagination, and keep me up late, like Greensleeves, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, or Moon-Flash, by Patricia A. McKillip, or Where the River Ends, by Charles Martin. These are the true meals, the books that inspire me to be a better writer and a better human being. I love books.