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text 2021-01-07 16:19
Book Blast and Giveaway: First Light in Morning Star by Charlotte Hubbard

[Because facebook has very unfairly blocked my blog, Punya Reviews..., from being promoted on their platform, I'm using my booklikes profile as a "gateway" of sorts so I have a link to promote. I've been trying to reach them by leaving them messages through the Facebook blocks option, however not sure I'll ever be able to have this block lifted as I have no means to reach them directly. More on what happened can be found here.]

 

LINK to my book blast post for First Light in Morning Star on Punya Reviews...:

https://punyareviews.blogspot.com/2021/01/book-blast-and-giveaway-first-light-in.html

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review 2020-07-06 05:00
His Pretend Amish Bride Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  His Pretend Amish Bride

Author: Rachel J. Good

Genre:  Amish Romance

Release Date: June 30, 2020

In a small Amish town like Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, one solution to an indiscretion is to get married. Or perhaps, fake a respectable engagement . . .
 
Priscilla Ebersol has a fulfilling life teaching special needs children—until her boyfriend’s humiliating betrayal ruins her reputation and threatens her job. Shunned for something she didn’t do, Priscilla throws herself into a project on the benefits of camel’s milk for autism. Her research leads her to a newly opened Amish camel farm, where she discovers far more than she bargained for. . .

When a pushy Englisch company shows interest in shy, handsome Gabriel Kauffman’s camel farm, he struggles to get out of a sticky negotiation. Lovely, well-spoken Priscilla appears at the perfect moment and defends Gabe’s business so well that she is mistaken for his wife, a pretense they both secretly wish could be true. But though their bond deepens, Priscilla’s heart is still wounded, and Gabe battles with a troubling secret. And when a misunderstanding comes between them, it will take faith, honesty, and trust in God to overcome the past—and to allow their partnership to blossom into something more.


Click HERE to get your copy!


About the Author

 


USA Today bestselling author RACHEL J. GOOD writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for her Amish novels. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farm and attending family events.

Rachel is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – the bestselling Love & PromisesSisters & FriendsUnexpected Amish BlessingsSurprised by Love (2021), and two books in Hearts of Amish Country – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books. In addition, she has stories in many anthologies, including Love’s Thankful Heart, Love’s Christmas Blessings, Plain Everyday HeroesLove’s Truest Hope, and the forthcoming Amish Christmas Twins (September 2020) with Shelley Shepard Gray and Loree Lough. She is also the coauthor of the Prayerful Author Journey: Inspirational Yearly Planner.


More from Rachel

 

A few years ago, I passed Amish camel farm in Bird-in-Hand, PA. As an author, seeing anything new or different always piques my interest, so I went for a visit. Not only did I explore the farm and store, I bought camel’s milk to drink. I think it’s important to do in-depth research for the settings and information I include in my Amish novels.

I was fascinated to discover camels usually bond to one milker, only give a little milk each day, and are extremely expensive to buy. All of those are reasons why camel’s milk is so expensive. It costs $15 for a pint. Much pricier than cow’s milk.

And if you’re wondering how camel’s milk tastes, the best way I can think of to describe it is a slightly salty version of powdered milk. It’s more watery than cow’s milk.

Because I grew up drinking powdered milk during my early childhood years when we lived in Africa, I’d always vowed never again to drink it once we moved back to the United States. A vow I’ve kept. That was never a problem living in Pennsylvania, where there’s plenty of farmland, cow, and Amish, of course.

The camel’s milk was enough like powdered milk to make me gag. But because I want to be sure my books are authentic, I drank it. So, readers, now you know how much a I care about you.

My concern for you also extends to more than just getting factual information correct. I pray for each and every one of you as I write my stories. I hope that they will touch your heart and bring you closer to God.


My Review

 

Although it’s been several years since I’ve been there, one of my favorite day-trips is visiting Sugarcreek and Berlin, Ohio, known where I live as simply Amish Country. Something that surprised me within the last decade or so was the growing market of Amish organic and specialty products, as I did not associate these with the Amish people. I suppose that I never gave much thought to them needing gluten-free, dairy-free, or other specialty items because their lifestyle and diet seems in my mind to be healthier and relatively free of chemical ingredients. This is part of the reason that I loved “His Pretend Amish Bride” so much. It made me think and opened my eyes to the similarities between their culture and ours.

Rachel Good always writes an absorbing story that I find difficult to put down and often end up reading in a few sittings. Whether intentional or not, I think that “His Pretend Amish Bride” releases at the perfect time because it highlights how much we actually have in common with the Amish, rather than how different we are, dispelling the large-scale “us vs. them” mentality that is currently tearing our nation apart. This was the first time I had heard of camel’s milk and it being used for those with specific health conditions, particularly autism. I find this information fascinating and exciting because it is a natural alternative. I also had no idea that the Amish might own camel farms, or that such places even existed in the US, for that matter! The issues that Gabriel Kauffman faces with his camel farm due to problems with Englishers demonstrate that the Amish are not immune to being taken advantage of either. Their approach, however, to such situations and to life in general, is often much different from ours, although it shouldn’t be. We should also seek to live at peace with others and to do what is right, whether we end up benefiting from it or not, and we should learn to trust God more instead of trying to take control ourselves.

This novel offers a heartfelt glimpse at romance and special needs, also. As Priscilla tells Alyssa, the Amish aren’t perfect either and need Jesus just as much as everyone else, including us. Good points this out to readers right from chapter one with Matthew’s betrayal, but goes on to show how one can still respond out of God’s love. I loved that Priscilla works at an Amish special needs school, which is something else that I did not realize existed, and the inclusion of the hippotherapy program (which is the focus of book one in this series) toward the end of the narrative tied in nicely. All of the elements that Good incorporates blend into a beautiful story about how God uses what seems to be our darkest moments to bring our greatest joys when we trust Him and live to honor Him.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

Through the Lens of Scripture, June 29

The Avid Reader, June 29

Among the Reads, June 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 30

Texas Book-aholic, July 1

Blogging With Carol, July 1

Inklings and notions, July 2

Batya’s Bits, July 2

She Lives To Read, July 3

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 3

Splashes of Joy, July 4

reviewingbooksplusmore, July 4

For Him and My Family, July 5

Books, Life, and Christ, July 5

For the Love of Literature, July 6

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, July 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 7

deb’s Book Review, July 7

Blossoms and Blessings, July 7

Older & Smarter?, July 8

Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 8

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 8

Reading Is My SuperPower, July 9

Bigreadersite, July 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 10

Maureen’s Musings, July 10

Pause for Tales, July 11

Lighthouse Academy Blog, July 11 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Artistic Nobody, July 12 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Vicky Sluiter, July 12

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed copy of the book and $25 Amazon gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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review 2020-03-08 08:00
An Amish Picnic Book Review
 

About the Book

 


Book:  An Amish Picnic

Author: Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Kathleen Fuller, and Vannetta Chapman

Genre: Amish; Christian Romance

Release Date: March 3, 2020

From bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four sweet stories about picnics and romance.
 
Baskets of Sunshine by Amy Clipston
 
Kevin Weaver has lived with his brother’s family since his parents passed away when he was young, but he craves a home and family to call his own. Freeman Kurtz owns a successful brick mason business, and Kevin takes the job as Freeman’s apprentice to pursue his own financial freedom.
 
Phoebe Kurtz is helping her sister with her booth at the marketplace when she notices Kevin, her father’s employee. Their friendship grows, but Kevin is convinced that the difference in their ages makes a relationship between them impossible. Amidst summer outings, Kevin and Phoebe must decide if taking a chance on love is worth the risk.
 
Candlelight Sweethearts by Kelly Irvin
 
Esther Marie Shrock loves her job at Valley Grocery Store where she’s worked for four years. Despite a stutter that has plagued her since childhood, she thrives filling orders from a steady stream of customers. Still, at 25, she and her family wonder if romance is in her future.
 
Jasper Cotter isn’t good with people, but he’s found himself obligated to take over day-to-day operations of the family owned grocery store—a store he doesn’t have the first clue how to run. Thrown together, Esther Marie and Jasper don’t exactly see eye to eye. One night, the store loses power, and the candles aren’t the only things shooting off sparks. Esther Marie and Jasper are suddenly forced to discover common ground when it matters most, and they might be surprised with 
love along the way.
 
Reeling in Love by Kathleen Fuller
 
Nina Stoll and Ira Yoder are just friends. Just friends and fishing buddies. Every Saturday afternoon, they have a picnic at their favorite fishing hole and see who can out fish the other. Until Nina starts to wonder if there’s more.
 
Her plans to share her feelings go awry, and circumstances seem destined to keep Nina and Ira apart. With both Nina and Ira confused and hurting, it’s going to take courage, some help from the community matchmakers, and a little bit of divine intervention for Nina and Ira to realize they’re each other’s perfect catch.
 
Picnics and Prospects by Vannetta Chapman
 
Faith Troyer is claustrophobic, and David Lapp builds tiny houses. They went on a date years ago with disastrous results. Now that they’re in their late twenties, their families and friends are beginning to wonder if either will ever find that special someone. When a picnic outing is diverted by the discovery of a package of letters dating back to the 1970s, they take it upon themselves to find answers to a mystery that causes them to rethink their past and consider their future.
 
Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

 



Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery, Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel, Amish Heirloom, Amish Homestead, and Amish Marketplace series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan University and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled rotten cats. Visit her online at AmyClipston.com; Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks; Twitter: @AmyClipston; Instagram: @amy_clipston.



Kelly Irvin is the bestselling author of the Every Amish Season and Amish of Bee County series. The Beekeeper’s Son received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called it a “beautifully woven masterpiece.” The two-time Carol Award finalist is a former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to read books by her favorite authors. Visit her online at KellyIrvin.com; Instagram: kelly_irvin; Facebook: Kelly.Irvin.Author; Twitter: @Kelly_S_Irvin.



With over a million copies sold, Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, the Amish of Birch Creek series, and the Amish Letters series as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. Visit her online at KathleenFuller.com; Instagram: kf_booksandhooks; Facebook: WriterKathleenFuller; Twitter: @TheKatJam.



Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She is the author of sixteen novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, The Shipshewana Amish Mystery series, and Anna’s Healing, a 2016 Christy Award finalist. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and has also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She was a teacher for fifteen years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. Visit Vannetta online: VannettaChapman.com, Twitter: @VannettaChapman, Facebook: VannettaChapmanBooks.
 

My Review

 

Comprised of four love stories from four well-known authors, “An Amish Picnic” makes for a charming book perfect for spring, summer, or any time you want to pack a novel in your basket and escape for a while. Each story contains discussion questions for group or individual reflection, and there is a very helpful glossary at the beginning of the book, which is something I’ve often wished for when reading Amish fiction. I did not realize, as the note at the end of this reference states, that the Amish people’s German dialect is not a written language, and this piqued my curiosity. It’s something that I never thought about before, and as a lover of languages, I find this fascinating.

The four different romantic journeys featured in this collection are refreshingly distinct and un-formulaic. Despite being under 100 pages each, they manage to be satisfyingly complete, which is a rarity for short stories and is the reason I typically tend to avoid them. Of the four, I particularly enjoyed three because of each one’s premise, which held elements besides romance. Amy Clipston’s “Baskets of Sunshine” for instance, deals with pursuing one’s dreams and trusting God to help accomplish them even in the face of possibly losing one’s job or, more critically, one’s heart.

“Candlelight Sweethearts” by Kelly Irvin is one of the more unique Amish stories I’ve read, as it features two characters with limitations. Esther has a very noticeable speech impediment, which causes her to stand out when she would rather carry on her work without people’s pity and frustration. Jasper, the owner’s son, winds up running the store where he and Esther both work, and through challenging circumstances they learn teamwork and the value of coming together when it’s always been easier to be  alone.

“Picnic and Prospects” is, I think, my favorite of the four stories. Vannetta Chapman writes a tale of light mystery in which one of the main characters suffers from claustrophobia. I loved the inclusion of the puppy, as well as the dated letters and how they played a role in the main couple’s rekindled relationship.

All-in-all, I enjoyed these four stories. “Reeling in Love” is, admittedly, my least favorite, not because of any deficiency on the part of author Kathleen Fuller but rather because the subject matter did not appeal to me. I have never been fishing, and the strained and problem-ridden romance trope does not interest me personally. Nevertheless, I did have fun reading each of these stories. They are ideal for springtime and each contain subtle lessons in trusting God and demonstrating our love for one another.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.


Read an Excerpt

 

Read an excerpt HERE.

Blog Stops

 

The Power of Words, March 6

Batya’s Bits, March 6

The Avid Reader, March 6

Older & Smarter?, March 7

For Him and My Family, March 7

For the Love of Literature, March 8

Bigreadersite, March 8

Texas Book-aholic, March 9

deb’s Book Review, March 9

Quiet Quilter, March 10

Through the Fire Blogs, March 10

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, March 11

Girls in White Dresses, March 11

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 11

Inklings and notions, March 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 12

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 13

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, March 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 14

The Collaborative Press, March 14

Splashes of Joy, March 15

janicesbookreviews, March 15

She Lives To Read, March 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 16

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, March 16

Blossoms and Blessings, March 17

Books, Life, and Chrst, March 17

Artistic Nobody, March 18 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Southern Gal Loves to Read, March 18

EmpowerMoms, March 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 19

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, March 19

 

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review 2020-03-04 08:00
His Unexpected Amish Twins Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  His Unexpected Amish Twins

Author: Rachel J. Good

Genre:  Amish Romance

Release Date: February 28, 2020

When Micah Miller’s brother and sister-in-law are killed in a buggy accident, he’s devastated, but he fulfills a promise to raise their seven-year-old twins, Abby and Isaac. While struggling to deal with the twins’ grief and Abby’s anger toward God, he discovers an Amish farm offering horse therapy for grief. And he’s thrilled to find the owner cares about and prays for the twins.

Hope Graber had to find a way to save the family farm after her daed’s unwise decisions. Even selling off many of the horses didn’t cover all the bills. After deciding to use the remaining horses for animal therapy, she brings on Logan Russell, an experienced trainer, to help her. Together they not only start paying off the debts, but they also make positive changes in children’s lives.

Hope loves helping each child, but she takes a special interest in the twins and determines to help them heal both emotionally and spiritually. As she gently guides Abby back to God and makes the little girl smile again, Hope also makes Micah’s life brighter. As he emerges from his depression, he longs to make them one happy family, but only God can overcome the many obstacles in their path.
 
Click HERE for your copy!

About the Author

 


USA Today bestselling author RACHEL J. GOOD writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for her Amish novels. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farm and attending family events.
 
Rachel is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – the bestselling Love & Promises, Sisters & Friends, Unexpected Amish Blessings, Surprised by Love (2021), and two books in Hearts of Amish Country – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books. In addition, she has stories in many anthologies, including Love’s Thankful HeartLove’s Christmas BlessingsPlain Everyday Heroes, Love’s Truest Hope, and the forthcoming Amish Christmas Twins (Fall 2020) with Shelley Shepard Gray and Loree Lough.
 

More from Rachel

 

Phobias and Faith
 
“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14: 27b KJV)
 
In every book I write, I like the hero and heroine to experience character growth. I think it’s important that they change and become different. So, in His Unexpected Amish Twins, Micah faces several life-changing events. First, his life is turned upside-down when he becomes the guardian of his niece and nephew, seven-year-old twins. Although he loves the children dearly, as a young, single man, he isn’t quite ready to handle his lively, rebellious niece and his silent, withdrawn nephew, especially not when he’s grieving himself.
 
But with the help of horse therapist, Hope Graber, Micah puts aside his own pain to concentrate on caring for the twins. But Micah is also hiding a deep-seated phobia.
 
As a child, he had a terrible experience, one that scarred him for life. One that still haunts him and terrorizes him. One that may destroy his future relationship with Hope.
 
Getting over fear is never easy, and Micah prays for strength. But it isn’t until he’s forced to make a choice – give in to his fear or save a life – does he push past that fear.
 
Like Micah does, we often go through life hiding our fears. We make excuses not to do something that frightens us. When a fear turns into a phobia, it can become paralyzing.
 
For me, public speaking was my greatest fear. I managed to avoid it until I was asked to do a simple two-minute introduction each month for the Christian Women’s Club. I didn’t have to answer right away. They asked me to pray about it, and let them know my answer in a few days.
 
If they’d asked for an answer right away, I would have made an excuse. I had four small children and an ill husband. But the truth was – I was scared. Not just scared, but petrified. Petrified about even standing in front of an audience.
 
When I discussed this opportunity with my father, he suggested God might be giving me a chance to get over my fear because He had something greater for me to do in the future. My first thought was that it had better not have anything to do with public speaking.
 
Dad encouraged me to take a speech class, so I signed up for one. Eight people attended this informal course in the teacher’s living room. The first night we had to give a two-sentence introduction of ourselves. We didn’t even have to stand up.
 
I went last. My turn came, and my mind went blank. I couldn’t even remember my name. With prompting, the teacher got me to stumble through my name and hometown.
 
Our assignment for the following week was to prepare a three-minute demonstration of one of our hobbies. We could use notes and props. I mumbled through the speech, rushed out the door to my car, and vomited in the street. Yes, I was that frightened by public speaking.
 
I told my father I planned to quit the class, but he encouraged me to continue. And several months later, I stood in front of the women’s club. My eyes blurred, and I couldn’t see the people in front of me. I hurried through my memorized two-minute introduction clutching my note cards in case I forgot the words. I had no idea what I said, but several people mentioned that they liked it. And I went on to do it every month for two years.
 
And my father was right. God did train me for a future job. Wouldn’t Dad be surprised to know that, as an author, I speak in front of audiences around the country? He died before my first book was published, but I suspect he’s up in heaven cheering me on. And I could never have done it without God’s help.
 
Micah and I both had to learn to trust God’s promise: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1: 9 NIV)
 

My Review

 

Rachel Good never fails to deliver a compelling, soul-searching Amish novel. “His Unexpected Amish Twins” has become my new favorite, and admittedly part of the reason I chose to read it is because it had twins in the title; twins have always fascinated me, and I always wanted to be one. Of course, being familiar with the author’s works, I also knew that it would be a good read, and I was not disappointed!

This novel provides ample indications of how God works out so-called coincidences, and how He makes good out of even the most devastating of circumstances. Hope Graber just happens to stumble upon a collision between an Englischer car and an Amish buggy, and her actions have lasting repercussions, both for her and for her father and her loved ones. This brings up another aspect of Amish life that I hadn’t really considered before, the tip for being gracious and kind regardless of circumstances or personal feelings for those, even among the Amish themselves. The Amish struggle with temptation is ultimately no different than ours.

I love the use of hippotherapy in this story, and it fits into the plot and direction of the novel so well. Both horses and dogs can help people heal, as can other animals, and I am delighted to read about horse therapy and find it explored in a novel, particularly an Amish novel. Not only that, but the fact that adults and children both can benefit from equine therapy. It demonstrates the versatility of equines and how important they are to both Amish and English alike.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed copy of the book and $25 VISA gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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review 2020-02-24 06:51
Horse Sense and Contentment
Two Steps Forward - Suzanne Woods Fisher

Able to be read as a standalone, Suzanne Woods Fisher’s “Two Steps Forward” is the third and final book in the Deacon’s Family series. Having read the previous book but not the first one, I was still able to follow along without any trouble. This is one aspect of Fisher’s writing that I appreciate the most, that the characters are fluid throughout the various series, yet the books can be read out of order. Appended to the front of this story is a cast of characters list, which I always find helpful, particularly in novels like this that do have repeating figures.

Horses are among my favorite animals, second only to dogs, and I loved their presence in “Two Steps Forward.” While it isn’t, of course, unusual to feature horses in some capacity in an Amish novel, this is the first book I’ve read that dealt with the Amish running a horse-breeding farm. Sylvie King makes for an interesting heroine, not because she rebels against her community’s rules or values, but for the fact that she has a way with animals. She is a horse whisperer of sorts. Furthermore, she is a single mother and widow who can manage the animals and her little boy with patience and gentleness. She makes an interesting contrast to Jimmy Fisher, who worked on a ranch yet doesn’t have the same instinctual aptitude that she does. Edith, Jimmy’s faultfinding mother, makes life harder for Sylvie as Sylvie works to clean up the outbuildings and property of Rising Star Farm.

Through Sylvie’s story and the related stories of other characters readers will recognize from prior books, Fisher demonstrates the self-sufficiency, determination, grace, and unwavering loyalty of the Amish. Discussion questions at the end of the book take readers deeper and are worthwhile whether reading in a group or individually.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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