Books Read in April 2016

In spite of the crazy month of April, I managed to read A LOT. This is because I was able to take advantage of the many snippets of wait time that I had, especially while Andrew was a soccer practice and CCD or waiting to hear about Michael.

Books Read in April 2016

Image by publicdomainpictures (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Plain Paradise by Beth Wiseman. Good book! It is a part of a series of books that includes Plain Pursuit.

Plain Pursuit by Beth Wiseman. I think I liked this even better than Plain Paradise! I got both of these books from the library and I am so glad that I did.

A Dream of Miracles by Ruth Reid. There are some good points to this story but, sadly, I didn’t enjoy this book that much. I gave the book two (2) stars in my review which you can read here.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. I have been wanting to read this book for a while and finally got a chance! It was pretty good. You can read my review of the book here.

Family Affair by Debbie Macomber. This is a sweet book. I really enjoyed this story.

Ben Franklin of Old Philadelphia. I read this with Andrew. It was one of his history books but we would up reading it for pleasure, too. It is a good book!

The Secret by Beverly Lewis. I used to be a fan of her books but now I just find them a little over the top. I just couldn’t get into this book and wound up just turning the pages to get it done.

Salad Recipes: Super foods Kale. It was free so I snagged a copy because I keep hearing how good kale is. I’ve used it in a few smoothie recipes but this book also has recipes for salads and main dishes that I want to try.

Fast and Easy Clean Eating Cookbook by Heather Choate. This book as some good looking recipes that I want to try. The tone of the book is a little dry and repetitive but there are good suggestions on going organic on a budget, and how to easily incorporate clean eating into your diet.

For Mercie’s Sake by Sharon Srock. In some ways, this book is very sad but also inspiring.

How to Say No: 10 Steps to Saying No by Matthew Lewis Browne. This book was okay. There was a lot of repetition but there were some snippets of takeaways.

Looking at this list, I have a little bit of a theme: Amish love-inspired novels and cookbooks. LOL! What have you been reading lately? Do share in the comments!

As for May, I don’t have any specific book planned, and I doubt I will read as much as I did this month!, but I do want to try and read at least a few books. We will see what happens. 🙂

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Book Review: An Amish Cradle

About the book:

An Amish Cradle is a collection of four novellas all centered around the theme of “babies.” In all four stories, the An Amish Cradle coverprotagonists are either expecting or have just had a baby, and they each have to deal with unique challenges and circumstances.

The first novella, written by Beth Wiseman, is called “In His Arms.” This tells the touching story of a young couple whose first child is born with Down’s Syndrome.

The second, written by Amy Clipson, is “A Son for Always.” As a teenager, Carolyn had a child, Ben, out of wedlock. Now, she is married and expecting another child. She worries and fears that her husband, Joshua, will not accept Ben or love him as much as his biological child.

The third novella, “A heart Full of Love” is by Kathleen Fuller. In this story, the protagonist, Ellie, is blind, and must deal with an overbearing mother who questions Ellie’s ability to take care of her child.

The fourth, “An Unexpected Blessing” is by Vannetta Chapman. In this story, Etta finds herself expecting at the age of 42 and stuck in a snowstorm as she tries to get to the birthing center. Plus, she has concerns for her other children, especially her one son, David, who has left the Amish community.

My Comments:

I completely enjoyed An Amish Cradle. It is an easy, sweet, and quick read; and with summer fast approaching, it is a great book to read while lounging at the beach. There are no real plots or drama in the stories because they all center on relationships, but that is okay, because it is impossible not to be drawn into characters and their lives.

All the stories are touching and sweet, but out of all of them, my favorite is “In His Arms.” Maybe I am biased because I am a huge fan of Beth Wiseman (although I’m a big fan of Amy Clipson, too), or maybe it was the topic. It is not very often that topics such as people with physical or mental challenges (formerly known as disabilities) are portrayed in novels. And Beth Wiseman does so with aplomb and sensitivity. Either way, “In His Arms” is a story that I will not soon forget.

But, that is not to take anything away from the other stories. They are all good, and they all are written very well. They all have interesting characters, and they all have the same comforting “feel,” as if you are being wrapped in a warm blanket when  you read it. 🙂 I am sure you will enjoy all the stories.  In fact, when you read the book, you will probably think one of the other stories are your favorite instead.

On top of all this, like many recent Amish novels, there are a few recipes for some of the meal items mentioned in the book, like the homemade stew and mock pecan pie.

If you enjoy Amish fiction, you will enjoy this collection. I give An Amish Cradle four (4) stars.

 

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: An Amish Miracle

An Amish Miracle is a set of three novellas. Always in my Heart by Mary Ellis, tells the story of Hope Bowman who gave her son An Amish Miracleup for adoption when she was young. Always His Provision by Ruth Reid is about Rosa Hostetler, a widow, who is in danger of losing her home and Always Beautiful by Beth Wiseman relates the struggles of Becky Byler with her weight and self-image.

A while back, I had the opportunity to read and review An Amish Kitchen which included a novella by Beth Wiseman; therefore, I was excited to have the chance to read An Amish Miracle through the Booksneeze book review program. It was the perfect “easy read” before delving back into textbooks now that a new semester of college has begun. 🙂

Out of the three novellas, Always in My Heart is my favorite. I really felt for Hope’s character and I thought her character evolved the most out of all the characters amongst the three novellas. I also related to Hope and felt a connection with her even though I have never given up a child for adoption. The only “issue” I had with the novella is how abrupt and quick resolution was between Hope and her father at the end of the story.

Rosa Hostetler was also relatable. She is stubborn, set in her ways and doesn’t want to rely on anyone for help. And, as my husband can attest, I know a little bit about being stubborn. 😉 Rosa struggles with a neighbor, she keeps losing her chickens whose eggs she needs to sell, and she doesn’t see the man right in front of her who is ready and willing to help her in her struggles.

Always Beautiful deals with an issue facing many women, young and old: self-image. Becky is self-conscience of being heavier than those in her Amish community. After praying  for a “miracle” she begins to lose weight; however, losing weight doesn’t turn out to be the “cure-all” for her troubles as she expected. She still doesn’t feel like she fits in and continues to struggle with her self-image. However, in the end, she comes to terms with herself and wins the love of her life: all typical of formula fiction (Just like the other two novellas).

I very much enjoyed the three  novellas and if you are looking for a good, easy read, I recommend An Amish Miracle. I give the book three (3) stars.

Book Review: The House that Love Built by Beth Wiseman

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I’ve read several of Beth Wiseman’s Amish fiction novels, so I was happy to have the chance to read The House that Love Built which is NOT an Amish novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It tells the tale of a widow named Brooke and a divorcee named Owen. They meet at the hardware store that Brooke owns when Owen goes in to get supplies for his new house that he is fixing up. There are also two sub-stories, one about a young troubled teenager named Hunter and another one about Brooke’s mother and her “love interest.” To top it all off, there is a little mystery entwined.

One would think that will all these story lines the book would be hard to follow but Beth Wiseman is an expert story-teller who easily manipulates each story-line, eventually weaving them all together into one cohesive unit at the end. By the end of the second chapter I was hooked and didn’t want to put the book down!

If you enjoy books about love, forgiveness and healing, you will love The House that Love Built. I give this book four (4) stars.

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I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: An Amish Kitchen

An Amish Kitchen coverAn Amish Kitchen is actually a collection of three short stories: A Taste of Faith by Kelly Long, A Spoonful of Love by Amy Clipston and Recipe for Hope by Beth Wiseman. Although I’m not familiar with Kelly Long’s writings, I’m a fan of both Amy Clipston and Beth Wisemann so I was excited to have the opportunity to review this book.

From the book description:

“The Amish Kitchen is the Heart of the Home – and the Ideal Setting for Stories of Love and Hope.

Fall in Paradise, Pennsylvania always brings a brisk change in the weather. This time also provides unexpected visitors, new love, and renewed hope for three women.

Fern has a green thumb for healing herbs and flowers, but longs for love to bloom in her life. The next-door neighbor’s oldest son Abram comes running into Fern’s kitchen seeking help for his little sister. The crisis soon leads to a promise of romance—until an incident threatens to end their growing attraction.

Nearby, Hannah runs her parents’ bed and breakfast, Paradise Inn—but her life feels nothing like Paradise. She longs for a man of integrity to enter her life, but never expected him to knock on the front door looking for a room. Will she be able trust Stephen with her future once she discovers his mysterious past?

When a storm blows a tree onto Eve’s farmhouse, she has little choice but to temporarily move her family into her parents’ home. Outside of cooking together in the kitchen, Eve and her mother can’t agree on anything. But this may be just the recipe for hope in healing old wounds.

Three Amish stories—each celebrating love, family, and faith—all taking place in a tight-knit community where the kitchen truly is the heart of the home.”

My thoughts:

I enjoyed all three stories. They were charming and engaging with realistic characters I could relate to and appreciate. Was the plot/storyline predictable? Yes, in usual Amish fiction fashion, but it doesn’t take away from enjoying the story and it doesn’t keep you from getting involved with the character’s lives. And all three stories give the reader different glimpses into Amish daily life.

I have to say that of the three novellas, I think the first one, A Taste of Faith was my favorite. I so loved watching Fern and Abram’s relationship change and blossom. I will definitely be checking into more of Kelly Long’s books. 🙂

Besides the sweet stories, An Amish Kitchen has some extras at the end of the book. One is a study guide (which is typical in Amish fiction) and then a bunch of recipes. The one set of recipes are recipes for medicinal treatments and the second set are food recipes. I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, but they look good!

If you are a fan of Amish fiction you will enjoy these stories. I give An Amish Kitchen four (4) stars.

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I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com (http://www.booksneeze.com) book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html) : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.