Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Tattered Quilt by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Tattered Quilt

Title: The Tattered Quilt (Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club #2)
Author: Wanda E. Brunstetter
Pages: 320
Year: 2013
Publisher: Barbour Publishing Company
Note: I won a free copy of this book through a First Reads giveaway.

     Another amazing book by Wanda E. Brunstetter!

     Emma Yoder has now remarried and become Emma Miller. She is still the sweet, gentle woman that teaches lessons about getting along with others while teaching quilting classes. Now she has a wonderful complimentary partner in teaching in the form of her husband Lemar.

     Their new class again has a wide variety of students in it. They have joined the class for various reasons. Selma is a belittling busybody who joined the class because it was paid for by someone else. Terry is a rugged roofer who wants the chance to meet a pretty woman who is in the class. Blaine loses a bet and has to take the class as a result. Anna’s mother signs her up in a desperate attempt to keep her from leaving the Amish faith. Carmen holds tightly to bitterness while hiding her secret motives for taking the class. And Cheryl has a broken, mistrusting heart that needs as much mending as the tattered quilt that she brings to Emma to repair.

     Wanda has done a marvelous job of developing each and every one of these characters. The interactions between them are wonderful. I loved seeing how each of them developed in their personal lives and in their relationships to the other students throughout the book.

     This book is just as enjoyable as book 1 is this series and I must give it a 5 star ranking also. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club by Wanda E. Brunstetter

The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club [Paperback]

Title: The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club (Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club #1)
Author: Wanda E. Brunstetter
Pages: 312
Year: 2012
Publisher: Barbour Books

     I really like to read Amish fiction. The whole lifestyle is so much slower paced than mine. I find them to be not only entertaining but relaxing as well.

     I enjoy Wanda Brunstetter’s books very much. She has a very clear writing style that adds to my enjoyment.

     I love the cast of characters that she has developed for this book. The central character is Emma Yoder, an Amish widow who is trying to find what she can do to be more self-sufficient. She has decided to hold a quilting class in her home. Her students include: a young woman who is looking for stability in her life, Star Stephens; Pam and Stuart Johnston, a couple who are at odds with each other; Paul Ramirez, a widowed father trying to raise his infant daughter alone; Jan Sweet, a rough and tough biker who’s been told he should look for something creative to do; and Ruby Lee Williams, a preacher’s wife who is struggling with strife within the church her husband pastors.

     They are all vastly different and yet most of them are very likeable right from the start. Even those that annoyed me at the beginning eventually turned out to have some wonderfully redeeming qualities and I liked them all by the end of the book.

     Each family represented has their own problems that they are dealing with. Wanda does a fabulous job of working each of them through their problems individually and yet with the support of the others in the quilting class. She shows that it very possible for those who are struggling to be just what someone else needs, to help them through their own difficulties.

     I give this book a resounding 5 stars. I would actually love to give it a much higher rating yet everywhere I look I see 5 as the highest rating used. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series very much.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Beyond All Measure by Dorothy Love

Beyond All Measure (Hickory Ridge Novel) [Paperback]

Title: Beyond All Measure (Hickory Ridge Romance #1)
Author: Dorothy Love
Pages: 314
Year: 2011
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Note: I received a free copy of this book from a Goodreads, First Reads giveaway.

     This is a captivating Christian Historical novel.

     After Ada Wentworth loses everything and everyone that is important to her she sets out to take a job as companion to an elderly widow, Lillian Willis, in rural Tennessee. This is a drastic change for the young lady from a well-to-do Boston family shortly after the end of the Civil War. Many of the local residents of the small town in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains view Ada as an enemy because of her Yankee upbringing.

     Wyatt Caldwell is Lillian Willis’s nephew, Ada’s new employer. After the war ended he returned to Hickory Ridge and opened a lumber mill.

     I was drawn into the story very quickly. The characters were very easy to connect to. The plot was easy to follow and did not become bogged down at any point. Dorothy Love handled the touchy subjects of the Ku Klux Klan and the freed slaves that were trying to figure out the new order of things. I wanted to see the people in Hickory Ridge work out their differences and sort out their problems. I thoroughly enjoyed the simple way that those whose belief in God was solid encouraged others to trust Him and rely on Him.

     I give this book a 5 star ranking and I highly recommend it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim


Title: The Outcast
Author: Jolina Petersheim
Pages: 400
Year: 2013
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Note: I won a free copy of this book through a First Reads giveaway.

     This is a very entertaining book!

     The front cover of the book calls it “a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter.” This is a very apt description of the story that Jolina has written. She has crafted a very intricate tale of a young woman, Rachel Stoltzfus, whose sin is visible for all to see. The deep complexities come about through the secrets that are kept hidden. How far should someone go in keeping secrets to protect another person that they love?

     The characters are so well developed that it was very easy to feel their pain and anguish throughout the story. At the same time there were some others so caught up in protecting themselves that it was very easy to dislike them.

     She does a marvelous job of showing how two people’s sin affect everyone that they are in relationship with. Not only those that are supporting and encouraging Rachel, but also those that are actively judging her.

     Jolina Petersheim showed that she truly has a marvelous talent to paint a full picture. I’m looking forward to reading anything else that she writes.

     I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Holy Estrogen! by Carol McLeod

Holy Estrogen: Every Woman's Guide to Making Her Emotions the Holiest Part of Her [Paperback]

Title: Holy Estrogen!: Every Woman’s Guide to Making Her Emotions the Holiest Part of Her
Author: Carol McLeod
Pages: 219
Year: 2012
Publisher: Harrison House
Note: I received a free copy of this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

     An extremely thought provoking book!

     This book takes a long, scriptural look at how God wants us to deal with the emotions that we all deal with. She looks at what type of emotional influencers we have to deal with from our past. She also explores the difference between the soul and the spirit of your inner person. Then she takes us on a journey to identify how Satan attacks women through their emotions.

     I really liked the candid way that Carol addressed normal emotional struggles and the ups-and-downs that come through regular living. She includes many humorous stories from personal experience. Every piece of advice on how God wants things dealt with is solidly supported through the use of scripture. I highly recommend that all women who want to please God in their lives read this book. It would also be an excellent book for any man to read who wants to try and understand the struggles that the women in their lives go through.

     I give this book a 5 star ranking.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Blowing on Dandelions by Miralee Ferrell

Blowing On Dandelions (Love Blossoms In Oregon V1)

Title: Blowing on Dandelions (Love Blossoms in Oregon #1)
Author: Miralee Ferrell
Pages: 384
Year: 2013
Publisher: David C. Cook
Note: I received a free copy of this book from for my honest opinion.

     This is a great historical romance.

     Katherine Galloway is a gentle, loving mother of 2 girls. She has been a widow for three years. She is trying to figure out how she is going to handle everything when her mother comes to stay with them at the boardinghouse she runs. When she meets Micah Jacobs things only become more confusing for her. The handsome widower has only recently moved to town with his teenage son.

     The character development is absolutely wonderful. Miralee has not only done a complete in-depth build up of a couple of main characters. She paid attention to detail in a fairly large number of additional people in the story. The way she fleshed out the relationships and how each person’s attitudes affected the others was incredible.

     Many of the people are aware of God’s presence and it comes out in their conversations. This story helps to encourage us to remember to take time with God for help in our relationships.

     I give this book a resounding 5 star ranking. It is fabulous and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Pennsylvania Patchwork by Kate Lloyd

Pennsylvania Patchwork

Title: Pennsylvania Patchwork (Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy #2)
Author: Kate Lloyd
Pages: 372
Year: 2013
Publisher: David C Cook
Note: I received a free copy of this book from for my honest opinion.

     This was a very enjoyable book.

     I will start by stating honestly that I have not read the first book in this trilogy. That said I had a little trouble at the beginning of the story feeling lost. I didn’t understand who the characters were and what their relationship to each other was. Once I had sorted these things out I was able to get into the story very much.

     Holly Fisher and her mother, Esther, are in Lancaster staying with Holly’s grandmother, Mommy Anna. She has fallen in love with the handsome Mennonite veterinarian, Zach, who takes care of Mommy Anna’s aged horse. They are engaged though Holly’s mother and grandmother feel that she is rushing things.

     She then meets a charming Amish man, and an old friend from Seattle shows up. They are both attracted to her and life becomes a tangle of doubts for her. To compound the issue she is also trying to help her mother and grandmother though their own difficult and confusing situations.

     Will they figure out what, and who, really matters before they make any commitment that cannot be changed?

     These characters seem well developed. At times some of them do seem to be a little childish in their behavior. There were a lot of side conflicts that were just a little difficult to follow and sort out at times. I’m used to Amish fiction having at least one well-grounded and calm person that acted as a voice of reason and wisdom. Occasionally I felt that this integral person was missing from the story.

     I may have only felt this confusion due to the fact that I hadn’t read the first book in the series. I look forward to reading that book and filling in the gaps in my own understanding that way. I definitely recommend reading this book. My suggestion would be to read book 1, Leaving Lancaster, first though.

     I give this book a rating of 5 stars.