Friday, January 27, 2012

To Love and to Cherish( The Bliss Creek Amish)by Kelly Irvin

**I received this book from Harvest House Publishers through NetGalley. I am not required to give a positive review, just an honest one**

*This is the first book in the Bliss Creek Amish Series*

Emma's life has been turned upside down. It all started four years ago when the man she loved left the Amish community for the English life. Finally, four years later her heart has begun its healing process. That is until the unexpected death of her parents occurs. Now her heart is broken yet again.

Thomas, a widower with two children of his own has taken an interest in Emma. However, both Thomas and Emma are taken by surprise when Carl shows up out of the blue.

Will Emma chose to go back to Carl and forgive him or will she chose to start over with Thomas? To find out read: To Love and to Cherish by Kelly Irvin.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This is the first book that I have read by this author. I must say that I really enjoyed everything this book had to offer. This book is about forgiveness, family, new beginnings, and finding love.

I enjoyed getting to know the Shirack family! Each and everyone of them are unique individuals that brought different qualities into their family. I will say, I was not fond of Leah. I think she is hard headed and cruel. However, as the book progressed, I came to a better understanding of who she really was.

This book made me laugh and cry. It also made me realize that we have to live each day to the fullest. I am truly amazed that the Amish can forgive as easily as they do. I don't know if I would be so forgiving.

I rate this book 5/5!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Falling For You (The McCarthys of Gansett Island #4) by Marie Force

**This is the 4th book in the McCarthys of Gansett Island Series. Although you don't have to read them in order, it is a good idea to do so**

Grant McCarthy thought he was living the life. He had the girl(Abby), the perfect job(screen-writer), and he even won an Academy Award. All that has changed. Abby is engaged to someone else. He hasn't written in over a year, and he is home on Gansett Island running the family business while his father recovers from his injuries.

His main focus was on winning Abby back, that is until Stephanie came in the picture. Will Stephanie be able to make Grant forget all about Abby and move on with his life?

I absolutely love this series! I look forward to reading what comes next! Although each of the books is predictable in that the boy says he will never fall in love but ends up doing just that, they each have their unique way about doing so. I loved the story line behind Grant and Stephanie. I loved how he wanted to do nothing more than help her with the predicament that she was in. I look forward to seeing how that turned out.

Stephanie is the type of girl that Grant needed. She is different that Abby. He tends to put Grant in his place when he needs it the most! I think they complement each other very well!! I look forward to reading the next book in the series Hoping For Love!

I rate this book 5/5

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Love Finds You in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania by Annalisa Daughtey

** This book is part of my 50 state challenge**

According to Goodreads:

Two women with nothing in common except the need for a friend and a fresh start. When Amish-born Lydia Ann Raber and Southern belle Caroline DeMarco discover a shared history of loss, the unlikely duo decides to open a gift shop in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Lydia Ann is surprised to find herself drawn to handsome woodworker Simon Zook. When God offers her a second chance at love and family, will she take it? Or will the secret Simon harbors cause her even more heartbreak? For Caroline, love comes in the way of newspaper reporter Michael Landis. Their low-key romance is a dream come true for Caroline, a fugitive from an infamous past. Is Michael to blame when the paparazzi start hovering once again, or can Caroline trust him with her heart?

My jouney through Lancaster County ended too soon! I absolutely fell in love with this book as well as the characters. I love the friendship that blossomed between Caroline and Lydia Ann. I love that these two women were drawn to eachother because of the heart ache that they both experienced.

This book is about second chances at love. Just when you think that you will never love again, BANG it's staring you in the face. Simon, Lydia Ann, and Caroline learned that first hand. Michael had his second chance with his family. He missed out on so much and now that he is home, he doesn't want to leave.

A piece of my heart went out to the characters in this book.

I thought the story line was well written. The description throughout the book allowed the reader to feel as though they were right there along side the characters.

I rate this book 5/5!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio by Serena Miller

**This Book is part of my 50 State Challenge**

Rachel Troyer is a local cop in Sugarcreek Ohio. Although she is not Amish, she keeps an eye on her three elderly aunts who are. Sugarcreek is well known for tourists coming and going. Many love to buy Amish goods that are made. However, when Joe Matthews shows up, Rachel fears that he is not your ordinary tourists.

Joe and his son embark on a journey that leaves them on the door steps of Rachel's aunts. Although Rachel has her suspicions that Joe is hidding something, her aunts decide to help him.

What is this secret that has landed Joe in Sugarcreek Ohio?

This novel was fast paced! There was always something going on! The hearts that these three women possessed was amazing! They each had their own unique way about them. By the end of the book, I felt that they were part of my family. Rachel being who she is, is very protective of her aunts. Her cop instincts come out when a stranger shows up on her aunts door. The simple humor throughout the book, made it enjoyable. The love story that unfolded was one you hoped for!

I fell in love with Joe and his son Bobby! I loved how he always put his son before himself!

Not only does this story have a love story, it also has a mystery to be solved!

This was my first book in the Love Finds You In Series and I was not disappointed! I loved the short journey that I embarked in Sugarcreek, Ohio! I love forward to the next place I visit....

I rate this book 5/5!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Search (Lancaster County Secrets #3) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

**This is the third book in this series. If you haven't read the first two, you may not want to continue reading**

According to Goodreads:
Fifteen years ago, Lainey O'Toole made a split-second decision. She couldn't have known that her choice would impact so many. Now in her mid-twenties, she is poised to go to culinary school when her car breaks down in Stoney Ridge, the very Amish town in which her long-reaching decision was made, forcing her to face the shadowed past.

Bess Reihl is less than thrilled to be spending the summer at Rose Hill Farm with her large and intimidating grandmother, Bertha. It quickly becomes clear that she is there to work the farm--and work hard. The labor is made slightly more tolerable by the time it affords Bess to spend with the handsome hired hand, Billy Lapp. But he only has eyes for a flirty and curvaceous older girl.

Lainey's and Bess's worlds are about to collide and the secrets that come to light will shock them both.

Beautifully written, The Search is a skillfully woven story that takes readers through unexpected twists and turns on the long country road toward truth. Fans both old and new will find themselves immersed in this heartwarming--and surprising--tale of young love, forgiveness, and coming to grips with the past.

This book was my favorite in the series! Not only did I cry my eyes out, I also laughed so hard I cried!! I loved everything about this book! I loved how Bertha had a wild side to her! I loved how Bess grew fond of her grandmother in such a short time! I loved how it took a silly incident to bring her son Jonah home for a visit! The mischief that Bertha was up to was hilarious! I loved the bond that Bess had with her father, Jonah and how Bess grew to care for Lainey. I loved how Lainey realized that she didn't need all the "extra's" in life. All she needed was her faith in God and the people she loved. I personally have always wondered what it would be like to live as the Amish do. We tend to take so much for granted and forget that it's the simple things in life that matter most!

The book did leave you wondering if there may be another one to follow somewhere down the line. This book also touches on second chances. I am sure we all have asked for a second chance before! A truly great read!

I rate this book 5/5!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Waiting (Lanaster County Secrets #2) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

**This is the second book in the series, the first book being The Choice. If you have not read the first book, you may not want to continue reading**

All Jorie King has ever wanted to do was marry Ben. However, her plans are put on hold when he is sent(actually signs up) for war. Now she patiently awaits the day he returns to Lancaster County.

Ben's brother Caleb is dealing with a tragedy himself. His wife dies at a young age leaving Caleb(now the minister) to care for his daughter and his brothers.

The day arrives when Jorie finds out that her Ben has been killed. Caleb and Jorie both devestated over the news, turn to each other for comfort. Their friendship turns into love. Can their broken hearts mend together? They thought so. That is until the unimaginable happens. Can love conquer all??

I don't even know where to begin! This book had my attention from the very first page! This book is not your usual Amish Romance. This book has a twist to it. The events in this book could very well happen in real life. The description in the book made you feel apart of the story. The characters were well thought out and pulled at your heart.

The Waiting, is a story about love, faith, and family. In times of need, family is always there for eachother.

I rate this book 5/5!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas in Sugarcreek: A Christmas Seasons of Sugarcreek Novel (Seasons of Sugarcreek) by Shelley Shepard Gray

Christmas in Sugarcreek brings back all of our favorite characters from the first three books in the Seasons of Sugarcreek Series. The main characters in this story all suffer from the same thing; they do not think highly of themselves. This story focuses on Judith & Ben, Caleb & Rebecca, and Lily & Robert.

This holiday season seems to be a busy one for all. However, does that mean that love will not be found as well? This holiday season will these individuals find what they have been longing for? To find out, read: Christmas in Sugarcreek!

Christmas is not about who receives the most gifts or whose gift is most expensive. It is about the birth of Christ and counting your blessings for the things that you do have. I was so glad that this book focused a little more on the younger siblings, Caleb and Judith. I am sure at one point or another we all have felt that we weren't good enough or that we didn't belong. All it took to change that feeling was one person to believe in you.

Judith & Caleb found true happiness where they least expected it. Lily finally realized that Robert loved her for her. This book was about the true meaning of Christmas!

I rate this book 5/5!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Autumn's Promise (Seasons of Sugarcreek #3) by Shelley Shepard Gray

**This is book 3 in the Seasons of Sugarcreek Series. If you have not read the first two books, you may not want to continue reading**

According to Goodreads:

Until Robert Miller met Lilly Allen, his world had been dark. A widower after only two years of marriage, he's been living in a haze, filled with grief. He feels his life is already over-even though he's only twenty-five.
But his friendship with Lilly changes everything. For the first time since he can remember, he finds new reasons to wake up each day. Soon, he knows he's falling in love with Lilly. However, he also knows a marriage between the two of them can never happen. Lilly Allen is only eighteen. She had become pregnant out of wedlock. And, she's an Englisher. He, of course, is Amish.
Lilly also feels a strong attraction to Robert. She admires his quiet strength and dependability. She's also in awe of his devotion to his wife's memory. Lilly knows she could never measure up to his perfect Amish wife. She also comes to realize that no matter how much she might love a person, she can't change who she is. She loves Robert--not the Amish faith. No matter how much she loves him...she doesn't know if she'll ever be able to give up her independence and reliance on the modern world in order to say vows.

Coming from different worlds, does their love stand a chance?

Another great book by Shelley Shepard Gray! I have read the first three books of the series within three days!! I can't seem to put them down. I must say, I think this book is my favorite so far. The story of Robert Miller and Lilly Allen pulled at my heart. I must say this story line, an Amish man falling for an English woman; was a little different. Nonetheless, a terrific story!

You can't help who you fall in love with. Robert and Lilly found that out first hand. Even though they are from different worlds, sacrifices were made so they could be together. They knew it wouldn't be easy but they decided to take the blunge. I can't wait to read the last book in the series, A Christmas in Sugarcreek.

I rate this book 5/5!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Spring's Renewal (Seasons of Sugarcreek #2) by Shelley Shepard Gray

**This is the 2nd book in the Seasons of Sugarcreek Series. If you haven't read the first book, you may not want to read this review**

According to Goodreads:

Tim Graber arrives in Sugarcreek to help his aunt and uncle with spring planting. At first, Tim doesn't fit in with his many cousins and their crowded lifestyle. But when he meets Clara Slabaugh, the local school teacher, he understands why the Lord brought him to Sugarcreek. Clara is shy and quiet. Scarred from a fire when she was small, Clara has resigned herself to living alone and caring for her mother, who tells her that no man will ever see past her scars, and that Clara needs to keep teaching in order to make ends meet. Her father passed away years ago, and her mother depends on her. But the scars mean nothing to Tim. He appreciates her quiet nature and her wonderful, loving way with children. Yet Tim has a sweetheart back home in Indiana. As these two hearts struggle to determine their path, tragedy strikes, and every other worry seems insignificant in comparison. Though they now face a life they never imagined, will Tim and Clara have the faith to step out and risk everything for a chance at true love?

Spring's Renewal is the second book in the series: Seasons of Sugarcreek. In this book, we are introduced to two new people. Tim Graber(The Graber's nephew) and Clara Slabaugh( the school teacher). I loved how Clara was portrayed in this story. Some looked at her as being "ugly" or "imperfect" because of her scars. However, it took the love of Tim to turn all of that around. He thought she was beautiful both on the inside and on the outside. He made her feel like she has never felt before. That is extremely important for a woman. I also loved how the Amish and English came together at the end to help in a crisis. It shows that no matter where you are from or who you are that can all be put aside.

Each character in their own way pulled at my heart. However, Clara and Tim pulled at my heart the most. Things happen for a reason and that is what this book is all about! I can't wait to begin reading Autumns Promise!

I rate this book 5/5!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Winter's Awakening (Seasons of Sugarcreek #1) by Shelley Shepard Gray

We are in a new year! Time to start it off with the first book review of 2012!

According to Goodreads:

 Joshua Graber knows his future is set. He′s expected to work at his family business, the Graber Country Store. He′s expected to marry Gretta Hershberger, who he′s been courting for several years. But when a new English family moves next door and their lovely teenage daughter, Lilly Allen, catches his eye, Joshua wonders if all the plans for his future are too set in stone.

Gretta doesn′t know what′s going on with Joshua. When they argue and later stew in silence, it feels a lot like the frosty atmosphere at her home. After promising herself to never have a marriage like her parents, she wonders if perhaps another man might be a better match. A man such as Roland Schrock. He′s steady and kind and somewhat boring. If she marries him, she won′t ever have to worry about loving him and getting hurt.

Meanwhile, Lilly is enamored with the Amish way of life, and especially her handsome neighbor Joshua. But despite being drawn to him, she has a secret that will only drive him away. Her family moved to Sugarcreek to hide her pregnancy from their community back home. Once she′s had the baby, they plan to send her off to college without anyone from their old neighborhood knowing the truth. But as Lilly becomes wrapped up in the simplicity and graciousness of the Amish people, she begins to question what′s expected of her, and whether giving up her baby, and leaving Sugarcreek, is what she truly wants.

As the coldest winter on record blows into Sugarcreek, these three young people must struggle to determine the path of their futures.

Winter's Awakening is the first book in the Seasons of Sugarcreek Series by Shelley Shepard Gray. I have read other Amish fiction stories and this one seemed slightly different. I am not sure if some of what was said in this book were actual facts among the amish. At times, I couldn't picture an Amish individual doing what was being described. However, putting that aside; overall the book was well written. The description of the events taking place allowed the reader to visually place themselves in the story! The story line was a good one. I look forward to reading the next book in the series: Spring's Renewal