An Amish Christmas Gift

Product DetailsAn Amish Christmas Gift
by Amy Clipston and Ruth Reid
Thomas Nelson
Retail Price:  $12.99
Amazon Price: $10.00

Book Description: 

Naomi has begun to believe that she isn’t meant to find love, but she might receive more than she has ever hoped for this Christmas.

Twenty-four-year-old Naomi King has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches, Naomi is certain that her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family’s quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down.

An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid

Abigail has driven other suitors away, but can Micah find a way to show her he cares?

Being a caregiver for Micah Zook’s grandmother is the answer to Abigail’s prayers. In fact, the elderly lady keeps finding ways to set Abigail up with her grandson. Despite Abigail’s constant chatter, Micah realizes he’s beginning to care for her—until he makes a decision that leaves her feeling betrayed. With Christmas in their midst, can Micah find a way to reconcile with Abigail and to reveal the true feelings of his heart?

A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin

Frannie Mast returns to Bee County for Christmas, but her heart stays back in Missouri with an Englisch farm boy.

Frannie knows her parents have the best of intentions when they send her back to Bee County, Texas, to live with her aunt and her aunt’s new husband Mordecai. After all, Frannie knows nothing can come of a relationship with Rocky, the handsome Englisch farm boy back in Missouri. But all bets are off when Rocky follows Frannie to Texas to plead his case. Could he be the Christmas gift to end all gifts?

Review

This was a wonderful book that really added meaning to my holiday season.  All three talented authors bring share a sweet story with different plots and  different perspectives that will delight any fan of Amish fiction. I liked them all so much that I found it really hard to pick out a favorite. The authors did a wonderful job depicting the Amish lifestyle and how family, community, and love of God encompasses their daily lives.  These are stories of love, sacrifice, and willingness to follow God’s leading, even when it is not comfortable to do so.  While this is a book of Christmas novellas, I feel that the stories can be enjoyed all year long. 


~Reviewed by Barb M.

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    Twice Blessed

    Product DetailsTwice Blessed
    by Barbara Cameron
    Abingdon
    Retail Price: $24.99
    Amazon Price:  $21.98

    Book Description:

    About Her Sister’s Shadow
    Katie and Rosie Stoltzfus work part-time in an Amish store and part-time in Two Peas in a Pod, their own business raising vegetables and fruits and canning them for sale. Although they are identical twins, their personalities are very different: while Katie has always been more outgoing and attractive to boys, Rosie has always felt in her sister’s shadow. It will take an unexpected business opportunity and one very special man to help Rosie see that she’s a unique woman of her own.   

    About His Brother’s Keeper
    Ever since they were boys, Ben Fisher has trailed after his brother, Mark. Ben has always envied Mark because he’s always been more adventurous, but he’s even more jealous now that Mark is engaged to Ruth, a woman they both love. When a terrible accident on Christmas Eve results in their mistaken identity, Ben suddenly has an opportunity to create the life he’s always wanted. While everyone believes he is his brother, who’s still in a coma, Ben finally has a chance with Ruth. But how can he realize an opportunity for real happiness if it means deceiving his kin?

    Review

    The author does a wonderful job in her books capturing the Pennsylvania Amish life and culture and you will not be disappointed in this book where she writes two Christmas novellas about two sets of twins.  While it was a very enjoyable read during the Christmas holidays, it can be enjoyed all year round.  Both stories revolved around twin siblings, each with their own problems and thoughts, during the holiday season.  Both story lines are intriguing and unique.  Cameron was very creative coming up with idea of basing the stories on characters who were twins and how being a twin affected them in their particular culture.  At the end of the stories you get five Pennsylvania Dutch recipes to try in your own kitchen, and group discussion guide to use in book clubs.

    ~Reviewed by Allie B.

     

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      The News Makers

      Product DetailsThe News Makers
      By Lis Wiehl and Sebastian Stuart
      Thomas Nelson
      Retail Price:  $26.99
      Amazon Price: $18.38

      Book Description:  

      TV reporter Erica Sparks has become a superstar overnight. Is it due to her hard work and talent, or is she at the center of a spiraling conspiracy?

      Erica Sparks is a beautiful and ambitious reporter who has just landed her dream job at Global News Network in New York. And while it was hard to leave Jenny, her cherished eight-year-old daughter, in the custody of her ex-husband, Erica is determined to succeed in the cutthroat world of big-time broadcasting. She can only hope her troubled past won’t come back to sabotage her dreams.

      Although the wounds from her divorce are still fresh, Erica can’t deny the chemistry between her and her new producer, the handsome and empathic Greg Underwood. But a relationship is the last thing she wants right now.

      On her very first assignment, Erica inadvertently witnesses—and films—a horrific tragedy, scooping all the other networks. Mere weeks later, another tragedy strikes—again, right in front of Erica and her cameras. Her career skyrockets overnight, but Erica is troubled. Deeply. This can’t just be coincidence. But what is it?

      Erica will stop at nothing to uncover the truth. But she has to make sure disaster—and her troubled past—don’t catch up with her first.

      Review

      This was a fantastic suspense novel in the Christian Genre.  It is obvious that the authors did their research of the media, especially network news reporting and Wihel brings with her the experience she has derived from being on Fox News.    The story is captivating and grabs you right from the start as you sense the danger and intrigue ahead.  The characters were well-developed and likable and you could relate to them easily.  The book moved along nicely and was easy to read.  While the plot was somewhat predictable, I did find myself surprised in several instances as the plot took some turns that I wasn’t expecting. This suspenseful novel offered a real journey into the competitive world of television news.

      ~Reviewed by Tricia C.

       

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        Mermaid Moon

        Product DetailsMermaid Moon (A Sunset Cove Novel)
        by Colleen Coble
        Thomas Nelson
        Retail Price: $15.99
        Amazon Price: $12.40

        Book Description:  

        Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find . . . mother.”

        Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.

        Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart—and left—without a word, years ago.

        When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life—and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie—their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.

        As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.

        Review

        I love mystery, suspense, and thriller novels.  I also love romance novels.  Author Colleen Coble brings together the best of both genres in Mermaid Moon.  I have read many of Coble’s books, but I have to say, I feel that this is one of her best.  The plot is well laid out, and the mystery drives you to keep reading.  Her characters are well-developed and interesting, and the prose and dialogue were equally balanced to both set the scene and show me the characters’ thoughts and feelings.  As for the setting, you can tell she did a lot of research so that she describes the area flawlessly.   This book delivers just what I was expecting as a suspense and mystery fan, lots of twists and turns and a surprise, but satisfying ending.  It was an excellent read.

        ~Reviewed by Shannon J.

         

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          The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

          Product DetailsThe Secret to Hummingbird Cake
          by Celeste Fletcher McHale
          Thomas Nelson
          Retail Price:  $15.99
          Amazon Price: $11.47

           

          Book Description: 

           “Why won’t you just tell me what’s in that cake?” I’d been trying to get Laine’s recipe for years. We all had.

          When all else fails, turn to the divine taste of hummingbird cake.

          In the South you always say “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am.” You know everybody’s business. Football is a lifestyle not a pastime. Food—especially dessert—is almost a religious experience. And you protect your friends as fiercely as you protect your family—even if the threat is something you cannot see.

          In this spot-on Southern novel brimming with wit and authenticity, you’ll laugh alongside lifelong friends, navigate the sometimes rocky path of marriage, and roll through the outrageous curveballs that life sometimes throws . . . from devastating pain to absolute joy. And if you’re lucky, you just may discover the secret to hummingbird cake along the way.

          Review

          I have never read anything by this author before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I am normally pleased with any fiction title from Thomas Nelson, so I gave it a shot.  I am so glad I did!   As I began to read, I actually found it quite inviting. Between the friends, the community, the pleasant interactions, the sharing of everyday life, and the lightness of the read, it combined for a perfect mix. It would make a wonderful vacation book but is also ideal for a busy schedule, or in-between heavier stories.   The Secret to Hummingbird Cake is darling, entertaining read.

          ~Reviewed by Allie B.

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            7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage

            Product Details7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage
            By Kim Kimberling
            Zondervan
            Retail Price:  $15.99
            Amazon Price: $11.40

            Book Description: 

            All of us want an enduring marriage, a beautiful marriage we can believe in. That kind of marriage happens through intimacy. Intimacy requires hard work and a guide. Dr. Kim Kimberling is that guide and this book and its tools will show you how communication and intimacy in marriage can be yours.

            Kimberling offers insights like connecting every day in spite of what’s in the way, learning how to fight in the right ways, stopping the insanity of doing the same thing over and over even when it isn’t working, and finding that the best sex ever is well within the context of Christian marriages.

            Once these 7 secrets are a part of your marriage, you can stand together and fight anything that would ever try to tear your marriage apart.

            Whether you have just celebrated your first anniversary or your fiftieth, 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage by Dr. Kim Kimberling is for you.  If you have a good marriage, this book can help you have a great marriage.  If you are struggling, Kim Kimberling will help you turn the corner and make your marriage into what you want it to be.

            Review

            This book is amazing! It does not matter if your relationship is good, bad or ugly, this book can help get you back on track to do the things that really matter. Love is a verb; it takes action!  If you read this book and take action, applying these secrets daily you will watch your relationship change for the better! I have learned so much from reading this book.  I now realize that as human being, we can make a lot of mistakes, but we have the power to keep the fire burning and have a happy life. I enjoyed this book because I can be a better person for me, for my marriage, and for my family

            ~Reviewed by Christine
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              Once Upon a Sumertime

              Product DetailsOnce Upon a Summertime
              By Melody Carlson
              Revell
              Retail Price:  $14.99
              Amazon Price: $12.06

              Book Description:   Managing the Value Lodge in her hometown was not what Anna Gordon had in mind when she set out in the hospitality industry. But it’s a safe choice for a woman whose childhood was anything but stable. Out of the blue, she gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reinvent herself by moving to New York City, where she hopes for a management position at a stylish new boutique hotel. The big city is full of surprises–not the least of which is Sean O’Neil. Her childhood crush has applied for the very same position!

              Sweet, romantic, and endlessly entertaining, this romp through the storied streets of New York City will enchant readers. Melody Carlson has created characters so charming that readers will long to meet them in the lobby of the stunning Rothsberg Hotel.

              Review

              This was really a fun read.  My interest was captured right from the very beginning and it never waned throughout the entire novel.  Though the main characters were not in my age group, I still enjoyed reading about their courage to live out their dreams, even when the prospect was not quite what they expected.  The plot was well developed and the Christian values shined through without being overly preachy or judgmental.  I am a Melody Carlson fan, and this book is a good example of the reason why!  It is a must-read!

              ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

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                Eve

                Product DetailsEve
                By Wm. Paul Young
                Howard Publishing
                Retail Price: $16.00
                Amazon Price: $8.75

                Book Description:  From the author of the twenty-five-million-copy bestseller The Shack comes a captivating new novel destined to be one of the most talked-about books of the decade.

                Eve is a bold, unprecedented exploration of the Creation narrative, true to the original texts and centuries of scholarship—yet with breathtaking discoveries that challenge traditional beliefs about who we are and how we’re made. Eve opens a refreshing conversation about the equality of men and women within the context of our beginnings, helping us see each other as our Creator does—complete, unique, and not constrained by cultural rules or limitations.

                When a shipping container washes ashore on an island between our world and the next, John the Collector finds a young woman inside—broken, frozen, and barely alive. With the aid of Healers and Scholars, John oversees her recovery and soon discovers that her genetic code connects her to every known race. No one would guess what her survival will mean…

                No one but Eve, Mother of the Living, who calls her “daughter” and invites her to witness the truth about her own story—indeed, the truth about us all.

                As The Shack awakened readers to a personal, non-religious understanding of God, Eve will free us from faulty interpretations that have corrupted human relationships since the Garden of Eden.

                Thoroughly researched and exquisitely written, Eve is a masterpiece that will inspire readers for generations to come.

                Review

                I generally enjoy the books written by Wm. Paul Young so I was excited to read his latest book Eve.  While I don’t always agree with the author’s theology, I must admit that he always makes me think outside the box and examine my own beliefs.  This book had the same effect on me.  Eve was in interesting and thought provoking read that was basically two stories in one.  The first storyline follows a young woman who washes up on the shore of an island and her journey to health and wholeness. The second storyline is a retelling of the biblical account of creation and man’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden.  I am not totally sure I agree with his retelling of man’s fall, but it is interesting that he puts the blame squarely on Adam’s shoulders while most theological circles blame Eve as if she was alone in the garden when tempted.  All in I found this book enjoyable. The characters were well-written and interesting and I thought Young did a great job describing the setting.  I think readers will need to remind themselves that this is a fiction book, bordering on the fantasy genre, and should not be seen as a theological treatise.  If one can look at it this way, I think the book is more likely to be enjoyed.  Personally, I recommend it.  Let it stretch you.

                ~Reviewed by Jason C.

                 

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                  All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes

                   

                  Product Details

                  All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes
                  By Betsy St. Amant
                  Zondervan
                  Retail Price:  $12.99
                  Amazon Price: $11.07

                  Book Description:  

                  Kat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew she was capable of so much more.

                  Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

                  At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.

                  But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

                  As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself―her―is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

                  The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

                  Review

                  The author is a great storyteller.  She draws you in right from the very beginning and keeps you riveted throughout the entire book.  The characters are well-developed and Kat is especially intriguing to me.  She is a strong, independent woman with a good heart and I love her entrepreneurial spirit.  I think she is a good role model for young women.  The plot is interesting and moves right a long.  I found it hard to put the book down and stayed up late at night reading it!  I highly recommend it for a fun read.

                  ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

                   

                   

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                    Lazarus Awakening DVD Study Pack: Finding Your Place in the Heart of God

                    Product DetailsLazarus Awakening DVD Study Pack
                    By Joanna Weaver
                    Waterbrook Press
                    Retail Price: $39.99
                    Amazon Price: $24.48

                    Book Description:  Mary worshiped. Martha served. But what did Lazarus do to experience Jesus’s lavish love?

                    Filmed in the Holy Land, this DVD companion to Joanna Weaver’s book Lazarus Awakening explores the incredible truth that Jesus loves us apart from our works or our worthiness. He wants to call us out of our tombs and into friendship with Him.

                    Designed for use with the book and companion study guide, this three-disc DVD Bible study is formatted for both individual and group use, with content suitable for both men and women.
                    ·         In-depth Bible study: Features eight 15- to 17-minute video sessions.
                    ·         Bonus “Israel Moment” videos explore the life of Christ and the Holy Land.
                    ·         Designed for use with the study guide and book.
                    ·         Leader’s guide, promotional material, and retreat format included.

                     

                    Review

                    I really like the book, so I decided to get this DVD/Study Guide pack so I could start a class at my church.  I reviewed both the dvd and the study guide and was very impressed. The author presents a very detailed study based on the life of Lazarus.  The dvd has short video sessions of the Bible study that goes along with the study guide and the book. Besides containing so much valuable information, the dvd had some breath taking footage of the Holy Land.  I also loved the way Joanna Weaver taught this study.  The lessons were short and easy to follow.  Even better than that, she made each lesson fun and exciting.  I highly recommend this study pack!

                    ~Reviewed by John K.

                     

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