Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston

This journey begins with Caleb and his daughter Susie taking a trip home for Christmas. You see, Caleb lost his wife and unborn child in a freak accident 2 years prior. Caleb blames himself for the death of his wife. He feels as that he will not have another chance at love. That is until, his daughter runs into a woman at a flea market. Susie immediately takes to this woman. Caleb’s sister however, has other plans for his brother. She tells Caleb to stay away from a woman named Naomi King explaining that she is very eager to find herself a husband. She herself has been burned by love in the past and fears she is meant to take care of her siblings. Sadie tries playing match maker with a woman named Irene.  However, when Caleb finds out his mystery woman is in fact Naomi; he decides to get to know her. What will happen for Caleb and Naomi? Will they both get another chance at love this holiday season?

I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to review this book through Zondervan. I love the holiday season and what better way to celebrate this season but read some holiday books?! This one in particular drew me in. I felt like I could relate to Naomi King. I wasn’t too fond of Sadie; however I can see that she was only trying to protect her brother from getting hurt again. I completely fell in love with Susie! I loved the way she took to Naomi from the get go. You know what they say; kids have good intuition with regards to adults. Naomi’s gift, in fact turned out to be her love for Caleb and his daughter. I would even go as far to say that Naomi’s gift was being loved in return. The man upstairs is the only one who can tell us how many chances we get at love, how many chances we get in life period. Mistakes are going to be made, we are only human.  While this book portrays more of the “love and first sight” theme, I think it goes even deeper than that. It shows that we can overcome tragedy. Caleb realized that he could in fact, still love his wife and move on with his life. Moving on doesn’t have to mean forgetting the times he had with her. In his case, it means forgiving himself and letting go of the past.

I rate this book 5/5

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

Life as you know it can change in a blink of an eye. At least that is what happened to Rick Denton when he received a phone call from his mother saying that his step-father was in the hospital. Rick is a hard working man who does things on his terms. The thing is, Rick resents his step-father. However, he does love his mother so he agrees to help her out with their “book nook”.  Andrea volunteers to show Rick the ropes of the book store.  Rick was not prepared to find out that his step father’s financial situation was not what it should have been. He was also not prepared to deal with the homeless man that came to the store day in and day out. Nor was he prepared to have feelings for Andrea and her daughter Amy.  Will this holiday season change something inside of Rick?

This story is truly amazing! I couldn’t seem to put it down. At first, I was not fond of Rick at all. I thought he was uptight and arrogant. I will admit that my feelings changed as I turned the pages.  I was inspired by the change that occurred to him. However, once he turned to the man up above; miracles happened for Rick. The ending of this story was a tear jerker. I couldn’t stop the tears from coming if I tried. The transformation in him was a blessing in disguise, not only for him, but for his mother and step-father.  The holiday season has become so over-rated. What I mean by that is people forget the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is not about what you do or don’t get for Christmas. Nor is it about who received the most presents. Christmas is a time to spend with the people that you love and care about. A time to be thankful for what you do have, not frown upon what you don’t. This book opened my eyes up to the meaning of family. Despite the fact that Rick could care less for his step-father, he still was there for his mom in her time of need. Rick’s feelings changing, well that was a true miracle!

I rate this book 5/5

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Christmas Singing By Cindy Woodsmall

According to Goodreads:

After Gideon coldly broke her heart, can the warmth of the season revive Mattie’s hopes?
Christmas has always been special to cake decorator Mattie Eash, who was born on the wondrous holiday.
Yet the season has lost its appeal in the three years since then, her childhood sweetheart abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve. Mattie has moved on, left Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania and pursued her dreams of a cake shop in Berlin, Ohio and given her heart to someone new. Someone unlike Gideon Beiler. Someone safe.
Then an unforeseen setback forces her home and into painful proximity to Gideon. Will learning the truth behind his rejection restore her Christmas joy—or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?

I absolutely loved this book! I am so glad that both Gideon & Mattie came to closure by the end of the book! I felt so bad that Mattie lost her store. My heart went out to her. I also wasn't to fond of her boyfriend Sol. I thought he was kind of boring for her. However, once again true love won! It broke my heart to hear the real reason that Gideon broke things off with Mattie so long ago. However, I was thrilled to know that he was a good guy and not labeled a cheater. That just shows that he loved her enough to spare her the pain of what he thought his future held. I love the Christmas season!

I rate this book 5/5

Friday, November 25, 2011

When the Soul Mends (Sisters of the Quilt #3) By Cindy Woodsmall

**This is the final book in the Sisters of the Quilt Trilogy. If you have not read the first two books in the series, I recommend not reading this book review**

Book 2 ended with Hannah receiving a phone call from her sister Sarah to come home. Upon receiving that phone call she returns to the place she once called home. When she got there, she was not expecting what to find. Her sister was thought to have started a series of fires. Truth is, Sarah just hasn't been the same since the day she found out that Hannah had a baby and that the baby died. Hannah expected to run into her ex Paul, but she wasn't expecting to find out the truth about why he never returned her phone calls years ago. Hannah, desperate to get her sister professional help, works with Paul to do so. Meanwhile, Martin doesn't understand why Hannah left her old life behind just to go back where she wasn't wanted. Her frequent trips put a strain on their relationship. What will happen to her relationship with Martin? Will all of her old feelings resurface for Paul? To find out what happens, read the final book When the Soul Mends.

I read this book in less than 24 hours. I just couldn't put it down! I felt like I really knew the characters, that I have been a friend of theirs for years. I could feel their anger, sorrow, joy, triumph, tears, and laughter. I was a little worried that she would turn her back on Paul. However, I was very happy with how things ended between Martin and Hannah. I was even more pleased to find out she was still able to see the children. This book brought out so many emotions. I am thrilled that Hannah and Paul ended up together.

I rate this book 5/5

Thursday, November 24, 2011

When the Morning Comes (Sisters of the Quilt #2) By Cindy Woodsmall

** When the Morning Comes, is book #2 in The Sisters of the Quilt Trilogy. If you have not read the first book, you may not want to read this review**

If you read book #1, When the Heart Cries, you are aware of the situation surrounding Hannah Lapp. You already know that she was raped and became pregnant. You also know that she gave birth too early for her baby to survive. Once her fiancee, Paul found out; he thought she cheated and he left her. Leaving Hannah feeling like she had no other choice, she leaves the only home that she has ever known in search of an aunt that she has never met.

In book #2, When the Morning Comes, we follow Hannah's journey in her search to find her aunt. Her struggles of losing Paul remain a constant battle. Not only did she find her Aunt, she also became good friends with an Englischer, Martin Palmer. In the mist of all this, Martin's sister leaves town; leaving Hannah and Martin to care for her two children. In the mist of all that's going on, Hannah recieves a call from her sister. There has been another accident and she needs to come home. Meanwhile back home Paul is regretting jumping the gun on what he found out about Hannah. He wants to find her and make things right. Will Paul have the chance to do so? Will Hannah's and Martins relationship come to an end? Will she be rejected when she goes home? To find out read, When the Morning Comes.

This is a truly remarkable trilogy. I have found it very difficult to stop reading. I must say, I was not happy with the way things ended with Paul and Hannah. However, I feel Martin has been very good for her and he is just what she needs. I am curious to see who she ends up with. Will it be Martin? Paul? I am so mad at Paul for jumping the gun, but I guess I can't blame him. I really hope that Hannah and Paul both find the happiness that they deserve, whether that is together or separate. I have already started reading the final book and I am anxious to see what happens.

I rate this book 5/5!! Must read!

Monday, November 21, 2011

When the Heart Cries( Sisters of the Quilt #1) By Cindy Woodsmall

The book I am reading has all three books in one. I find it much easier to review the book after each individual book is complete. There are three books in this series, this is book 1.

According to Goodreads:

Despite being raised in a traditional Old Order Amish family, seventeen-year-old Hannah Lapp desires to break with custom, forgo baptism into the faith, and marry outside the cloistered community. She’s been in love with Mennonite Paul Waddell for three years, and before returning to college for his senior year, Paul asks Hannah to be his wife. Hannah accepts, aware that her marriage will change her relationship with her family forever.

On the evening of their engagement, tragedy strikes and in one unwelcome encounter, all that Hannah has known and believed is destroyed. As she finds herself entangled in questions that the Old Ways of her people cannot answer, Hannah faces the possibility of losing her place in her family, in her community– and in the heart of the man she loves.

My heart went out to Hannah Lapp in this book. On top of her brother and dearest friend being in a horrible accident, the unmentionable happened to her as well. I couldn't imagine not being able to tell someone about it for the fear of being shunned. They leave everything in God's hands. What happened to Hannah? How does she cope with it? Does her love, Paul Waddell find out? How does he take the news? To find out what happens to Hannah, read When the Heart Cries.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Friends or Acquaintances?

**This is my personal vent**

Just so you all are aware there is a HUGE difference between being called a friend and being an acquaintance. I thought I made a lot of friends down here in Savannah, boy was I wrong. In fact, I made a lot of acquaintances. Being an Army Wife, you travel all over and meet new people all the time. I never had a hard time meeting other wives in NY...maybe its just being here...Many are about their clicks and such. Really? I understand that you tend to click more with certain people but why drop them once they get a job just because YOU don't have to work? I will never understand that! I am so happy to be leaving this place, with the exception of a few I won't miss anyone!

**End of Rant**

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Time for Peace by Barbara Cameron (Quilts of Lancaster County #3)

**This is the final book in the series. If you have not read A Time to Love & A Time to Heal, you may not want to read this**

I am going to start my review/summary off a little different. I think it’s important to know a little bit about the characters in this book and how they came about. I am going to briefly summarize the first two books to ensure you are not lost when it comes to the final book.

A Time to Love (Quilts of Lancaster County #1)

In this book, we are introduced to Jennie King, a writer who was severely injured overseas, her grandmother Phoebe, and her first love Matthew Bontrager. After being involved in a horrific accident, Jennie goes to stay with her Amish grandmother to recuperate. While she is there, he re-unites with an old flame whose wife has passed away. Can/will there two lives become one? Can Jennie overcome her injuries she has sustained? To find out read: A Time to Love.

A Time to Heal (Quilts of Lancaster County #2)

Matthews sister Hannah wonders if she will ever find love. Christopher Matlock comes to Lancaster hoping to find Jennie, a woman he met when they both were recovering. Little did Hannah and Christopher know that they were about to find each other. You can imagine the surprise when someone from his past comes to haunt him and the one he falls in love with. To find out what happens read: A Time to Heal

A Time for Peace (Quilts of Lancaster County #3)

If you have already read the first two books, than you already know that Jennie and Matthew were married. You also know that Hannah and Christopher were married as well. In this final book, Hannah is pregnant and expecting her first child. Jennie, wanting a child of her own, is disappointed every month when it turns out that she is NOT pregnant. She knew this could happen. The extent of her injuries could have caused her to be infertile. She is battling emotions of her sister-in-law expecting her first child and wanting one of her own. One day while caring for her ill grandmother, Jennie stumbles upon a letter. Knowing that she shouldn’t read it, she decided to anyway. The letter was from her father. After reading it, she wishes she had just left it alone because what’s inside; has her questioning everything she has ever known. Will Jennie and Matthew be able to overcome this obstacle? Will Jennie have her one wish come to, the wish to have a baby of her own? To find out read: A Time for Peace.

This book kept me wanting to read more! I could sympathize with Jennie wanting a child of her own. My husband and I are having difficulties ourselves and its frustrating. I love the bond between all of the characters. I loved seeing them grow from one book to the next. Not only did this book make me laugh, but I also shed a few tears. It’s amazing how both Jennie and Christopher changed their lives to be with the ones they love. It amazes me how strong the family ties can be within the Amish Community.

I rate this book 5/5!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Reckoning By Beverly Lewis (The Heritage of Lancaster County Book 3 of 3)

**This is the conclusion to The Heritage of Lancaster County Series. If you haven't read the first two books, The Shunning and The Confession, you may not want to read this review**

We have followed Katie Lapp, now known as Katherine Mayfield, through her unbelievable journey. We followed her as she left her Amish community to find her biological mother. We also followed her as she found her biological mother and had her taken away so quickly due to a rapid illness.

Her story continues as she becomes head of the Mayfield Manor. She may have left the Amish community but you can't take the Amish out of her. Katherine decides to volunteer at hospice all the while her relationship with the artist continues to flourish. What she didn't expect was for her dead first love to come knocking on her door opening up a door full of heartache and love. What will happen to her relationship with the artist? Will Katherine re-connect with the man she loved who she thought was dead? To find out, read The Reckoning.

I really liked this book, however I thought that it did drag on some. I had a feeling that Katherine and Dan would re-connect, I just didn't think it would be drawn out until the final pages of the book. Overall, I thought the series was a must read if you enjoy Amish fiction. Please make sure to read the series in order starting with The Shunning, The Confession, & finally The Reckoning. It is important to read these in order because each book leads into the next and I promise you don't want to miss a thing!

I rate this book 4/5

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Confession By Beverly Lewis (The Heritage of Lancaster County Book 2 of 3)

**Warning this is book 2 out of 3. If you have not read the first one in the series, The Shunning; you may not want to continue reading**

The end of The Shunning brought about a few surprises. Katie Lapp leaves her Amish life, the only life she has ever known to find her English mother. Annie, Katie's sister in law, receives a letter from Dan Fisher; her brother that is suppose to be dead and Katie's one true love.

In The Confession, Katie Lapp leaves home in search of her dying mother in the hopes of finding her before it's too late. Katie's search ends up in Canadadigua, New York; her mother's estate. Finding herself on the Bennett's door step ready to confront her mother, she realizes that there is a woman trying to impersonate the real "Katie Lapp". Hoping she has time to figure out this web of lies and deceit before it's too late and become reunited with her mother once and for all, Katie vows to find out what is going on and who this other woman is.

We also get a better look at Dan Fisher and what he has been doing for the past few years. Why did he let his family think he was dead? What has he been doing all these years? What will he do when he finds out his one true love has been shunned by the people she loves? Will Katie reunite with her mother before it's too late? Why would someone be impersonating Katie? Will Katie find out that her one true love isn't really dead? To find out the answers to these questions and more, read The Confession.

I stayed up late many nights reading this page turning book! After reading The Shunning, I knew the next book in the series would be just as good; if not better. I am very curious to find out if Dan and Katie reunite. This book has some heart wrenching parts that brought tears to my eyes. I can't wait to start the final book in this series!

I rate this book 5/5!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Shunning By Beverly Lewis (The Heritage of Lancaster County Book 1 of 3)

Who would have thought keeping an infant gown for over 20 years would cause so much pain to the people you love.  When Katie Lapp stumbles upon this infant gown, she can't let it go. She has to know the story behind it. One the eve of the day she is suppose to marry Bishop John, Katie is about to have her world turned upside down. What is the news that she is told? How will it affect her? To find out read The Shunning by Beverly Lewis.

WOW. Words can't describe my thoughts on this book! I couldn't put it down. I almost felt like I was Katie Lapp. I could feel her pain and sorrow as she progressed through the book. I had an idea what the "news" was, so when it came out, I wasn't all too shocked. However, as the book progressed on, my mouth was on the ground. I couldn't believe the string of events that occurred because of this "news". The ending....Let's just say that I am now anxious to start the second book in this series!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's Official!!

Yesterday we received the official word that we will be coming down on orders to go back up to Fort Drum NY!! We are super excited about this. We are both from upstate NY anyway. I am so happy that we will be around family again! I am also happy that Nick will be able to build that father/son relationship with his father like he wants so badly!