An Amish Christmas Kitchen by Leslie Gould, Jan Drexler and Kate Lloyd

About the book: As the weather grows cold and the nights grow long, the cheer and warmth of the Christmas season is one thing all readers can find comfort in. This collection from bestselling Amish fiction novelists Leslie Gould, Jan Drexler, and Kate Lloyd finds the beating heart at the center of the holiday and offers three novellas that celebrate family, faith, and especially the sights and smells of a bustling holiday kitchen.

Leslie Gould tells the story of how, in the wake of a heartbreaking loss, a young Amish woman finds unexpected comfort and hope in a yearly baking tradition surrounding the local Lancaster Christmas market. Jan Drexler offers a sweet tale of a shy Amish woman who decides to use her gift for sweets to woo a local Amish boy with her beloved Christmas cookies. And Kate Lloyd offers a heartwarming tale of a woman’s unexpected discovery about the truth of her past, and the warm and welcoming Amish family table she finds herself invited to on Christmas.

Publication Date: September 3, 2019

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Genre: Amish fiction

My thoughts: I’m always saying I’m not a huge fan of novellas and that remains true today. However, I enjoyed reading these three stories by popular Amish fiction authors. These holiday-themed stories were well-written and complete stories. The stories never felt rushed or lacking in any way.

This would be a great collection to add to the shelves of Amish fiction readers. It would also be a great way to introduce someone to the genre.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

Kappy King and the Pie Kaper

About the book

When an “accident” puts beloved bishop’s wife Alma Miller in a coma, many in Blue Sky are quick to blame struggling widow Frannie Lehman. Both women are the best bakers around, but for years Alma’s boysenberry pies have been more award-winning–and profitable–than Frannie’s. And with Alma out of this fall’s county festival, Frannie’s pie finally wins first prize. But when Alma dies and Frannie’s children fall victim to gossip and bullying, Kappy is determined to uncover the real truth.

Soon Kappy and her outcast friend Edie have their hands full of odd clues. What do Alma’s strange last words mean? Why would someone break into her house just to steal a quilt? Who is the mysterious new piemaker in town–and why is she still in Blue Sky after losing the festival competition? When long-buried family secrets and contested legacies start getting into the mix, Kappy and Edie must work fast before another victim gets a deadly pie in the face …

Publication Date:  December 18, 2018

Publisher:  Zebra

Genre:  Amish Fiction, Cozy Mystery

Series:  An Amish Mystery #3

My thoughts:  

The third installment in what I like to call the adventures of Kappy and Edie (and Jimmy) is just as much of a fun read as the first two. This time Kappy and Edie are on the case when the Bishop’s wife is attacked in her home. A message written in the flour provides the only clue for our dynamic duo. But they are (unofficially) on the case so the residents of Blue Sky, Pennsylvania can rest easy.

This book was such an entertaining and fun read. I adore the two main characters, three if you count Jimmy, and enjoy their banter back and forth. Banter made even more entertaining by the use of words from a word of the day calendar. (This book’s not only a fun read but an educational one!) Add in Jimmy’s quirks and the flirtation between Edie and Detective Jack Jones and I’m not sure how the author keeps the characters under control. But she does and it all comes together for a quick read.

From adorable front cover to the very last word this book will keep your interest. And with those three little dots that end the story, I’m hoping there are more crimes for Kappy and Edie to solve (and me to read about!) Don’t worry if you haven’t read the other two books in the series. This book can be read as a standalone. A definite must-read for cozy mystery fans!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not requird to write a review. All opinions are mine.

About the author

I’m a wife, mother, and bona fide Southern belle. Published author, expert corn bread maker, and Squirrel Princess.

I live in Tulsa, though I was born in Mississippi. I moved to the Sooner State when I was seventeen and met my soul mate and best friend not long after. I’ve retained a little of my Mississippi accent though most people think I’m from Texas. (?) Rob and I have been married for over twenty years and have a son–a mom proclaimed prodigy, of course!

I love homemade tacos, nail polish, and romance novels–not necessarily in that order. I’m a big fan of country music, a staunch proponent of saving the Oxford comma, and I’m shamefully obsessed with all things Harry Potter.

I believe that God is love. I guess that’s why I adore romances.

I have always been intrigued with the Amish culture, their gentle ways and slower-paced lifestyle. (And I love, love, love the fact that they stay married for their lifetime.) But until recently I never thought to blend this interest with my penchant for romance. Okay, okay, I’m a bit old-fashioned and even enjoy the gender roles that are present in this culture. I love to cook and take care of my family. Yes, that’s me June Cleaver with a laptop.

I dislike people trying to convince me to read the Twlight series (I’ll get to it or I won’t, either way I’m good with it), gratuitous violence, and strawberry ice cream. (I know I’m alone on this last one, and again, I’m good with it.)

Favorite movies–(besides HP) French Kiss, Maid of Honor, A Lot Like Love, Just Married, and Sweet Home Alabama. Oh, and Miss Congeniality, Sabrina (both versions) and a 1940’s movie called Dear Ruth. If you haven’t seen it, you should! A-dorable. Anything with Doris Day and most all of Marilyn’s and Audrey’s.

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The Healing Jar by Wanda E. Brunstetter

About the book:

What if you have waited to find love only to be rejected when it finally comes?

Lenore Lapp is an Amish schoolteacher in her late twenties still living at home with her parents and grandparents. She thought love had passed her by until she meets Jesse Smucker, a widower with a baby daughter. She quickly falls in love with them both and accepts Jesse’s proposal of marriage, but Jesse breaks off their engagement when he realizes he can’t marry only for convenience.

Resigned to living single, Lenore throws herself into caring for her elders. While working in her grandmother’s garden, she digs up an old jar. Will Lenore find healing for her broken heart and solve long-buried family secrets by reading the note contained inside?

Publication Date: August 1, 2019

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

Genre: Amish fiction

Series: The Prayer Jars #3

My thoughts: Book 3 of The Prayer Jars wraps up the series in a way that will leave readers satisfied. While the primary focus of this story is Lenore Lapp we also get to catch up with Sara and Michelle from the previous books. In addition to catching up with characters, there are new ones to meet and grow to love.

Fans of Wanda Brunstetter are sure to love this book and the conclusion to the series. It is a well-written, down-to-earth read that is hard to put down and will have readers wanting to visit Amish country as soon as possible. I recommend this book to fans of the author and the genre. It can be read as a standalone so if you haven’t read the other two books in the series that is ok though I highly recommend reading those as well.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

About the author: Wanda Brunstetter is an award-winning romance novelist who has led millions of readers to lose their heart in the Amish life. She is the author of over 100 books with more than 11 million copies sold. Many of her books have landed on the top bestseller lists, including the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today, CBA, ECPA, and CBD. Wanda is considered one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre, and her work has been covered by national publications, including Time Magazine, USA Today, Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, and Country Woman. Wanda’s books have been translated into four foreign languages.

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A Family for Gracie by Amy Lillard

About the book: Gracie Glick is known for being the helpful one, always available for a relative in need. But now that she’s longing for a home and family of her own, it’s time to help herself. With few eligible men in Pontotoc, Gracie’s choices, and her time, are limited. So she takes a bold leap of faith: she proposes to Matthew Byler, a handsome, recently widowed, father of five. It’s not until after they’re married that Gracie learns Matthew doesn’t want more children . . .
 
With his grief still fresh, and his children needing care while he tends to his farm, Gracie is the answer to Matthew’s prayers. But a marriage in name only suits him fine. And when he finally tells Gracie the dismaying reason why, they must decide whether to continue
together—or apart. It’s a choice that will force them both to look deeper into their hearts than ever before . . .

Publication Date: July 30, 2019

Publisher: Zebra

Genre: Amish fiction

Series: Amish of Pontotoc #3

My thoughts: During the first two books of this series readers have watched with Gracie as her cousins, twin sisters Leah and Hannah, have found love and families of their own. Finally, Gracie gets her turn in a somewhat unusual way, especially for an Amish woman. Gracie may be in for more than she bargained for as life with Matthew isn’t the easiest. Taking on a ready-made family, a fussy baby, and a husband who doesn’t communicate with her could prove to be more than Gracie is prepared for.

This book was an enjoyable read and I liked the realness of the story. From the unique personalities of the children to Gracie’s struggles and Matthew’s reluctance at taking on a new wife, this story was so full of real-life aspects that it made for a quick and easy read. Amy Lillard does an excellent job of bringing stories to life through her characters and descriptions.

While this book is the third in the series it could be read as a standalone. It is sure to be a favorite of fans of Amish fiction. It is a book I highly recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

About the author: During the first two books of this series readers have watched with Gracie as her cousins, twin sisters Leah and Hannah, have found love and families of their own. Finally, Gracie gets her turn in a somewhat unusual way, especially for an Amish woman. Gracie may be in for more than she bargained for as life with Matthew isn’t the easiest. Taking on a ready-made family, a fussy baby, and a husband who doesn’t communicate with her could prove to be more than Gracie is prepared for.

This book was an enjoyable read and I liked the realness of the story. From the unique personalities of the children to Gracie’s struggles and Matthew’s reluctance at taking on a new wife, this story was so full of real-life aspects that it made for a quick and easy read. Amy Lillard does an excellent job of bringing stories to life through her characters and descriptions.

While this book is the third in the series it could be read as a standalone. It is sure to be a favorite of fans of Amish fiction. It is a book I highly recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

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An Amish Family Christmas by Murray Pura

About the book:

After tragedy strikes the family of young Naomi Miller, her friend Rebecca Bachman does all she can to help. But things get complicated when Rebecca’s brother, Micah, returns from a combat tour in Afghanistan. For one thing, he chose to serve in the military even though he served as a medic and never picked up a gun. For another, he is under the Meidung—the shunning— because of that and none of the Amish are permitted to speak to him or eat with him. And finally, he is not only Rebecca’s brother, he is Naomi’s husband! But how can Naomi pick up where their marriage left off after he turned away from her and his people to enlist in the army? How can Naomi and Micah even begin the process of healing their relationship when he will not repent of what he has done and the Amish will not forgive him for what he has done? Naomi despairs of ever again having a happy married life with her husband.

But God has a way of working on the hearts of His people—especially at Christmas time. When an unexpected turn of events sets things right, miracles happen to the Amish community, to the Miller family, and to Naomi and Micah, miracles that transform everyone.

Here is warm and tender story of faithfulness, love, and reconciliation at the most wonderful time of the year.

Publication Date: October 1, 2013

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers

Genre: Amish fiction, Christmas

My thoughts:

This book was my introduction to Murry Pura. To be completely honest, I didn’t pay attention to the author’s name and had no idea that the book was written by a man until the end. Before reading this book, I had only read Amish fiction written by women. Murray won me over with this book. His writing style is wonderful and he gently pulls you into the story and keeps you there until the last word.

This book was wonderfully written and realistic. The characters are genuine and complex. They have problems and aren’t living the perfect stress-free life so many people think the Amish live.

The storyline of this book was different from any I had read in the Amish fiction genre. I found this unique and refreshing. It added to the authenticity of the characters are made for a wonderful read. In fact, there is a lot packed into this 146-page book but it is so well written that I finished the book quickly.

This book will leave you with a happy heart. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Amish fiction.

About the author:

Murray Pura was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, just north of the Dakotas and Minnesota. His first novel was released in Toronto and was a finalist for the Dartmouth Book Award. He has been a finalist for several awards in the US and Canada and in 2012 won the Word Award of Toronto for Best Historical Novel. Murray lives and writes in Alberta and is currently published by Barbour, Baker, Harper One, Zondervan, Harvest House, Harper Collins and Harlequin. His diverse writing spans many genres including: historical fiction, contemporary fiction, literary fiction, romance, adventure, western, suspense, fantasy, Amish, and inspirational. His most recent releases include Petals (2016); Beautiful Skin (2016); All My Beautiful Tomorrows (2017); Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (2018). Murray has traveled extensively and lived abroad including such places as: Scotland and the UK; Ireland; France; Belgium; Holland; Germany; Switzerland; Austria; Czech Republic; Slovenia; Italy; Greece; Israel; Egypt; Iran; Afghanistan; Pakistan; Nepal; India; California; New Mexico.

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The Brides of the Big Valley: 3 Romances from a Unique Pennsylvania Amish Community

About the book: In an area of Pennsylvania called The Big Valley, a uniquely blended Amish community thrives in which 3 distinct groups of Amish identify themselves by the colors of their buggy’s top—white, black, or yellow. Join New York Times Bestselling Author Wanda E. Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law, and granddaughter in experiencing the stories of three young women who search for faith and love within this special place. Deanna is a widow who sees her second chance of love slipping away. Rose Mary is at a point in life where she must choose the path of her faith and the right man to walk with her on it. Leila is burdened with family responsibilities and wonders when she will ever start a family of her own.

Publication Date: June 1, 2019

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

Genre: Amish fiction

My thoughts: If you follow my reviews you know I’m not a big fan of novellas or collections. I prefer to have a full-length novel in which I can really get to know the characters and their stories. Having to read several novellas/collections as a reviewer I am slowly becoming more of a fan of them…when they are done right. This set of stories from the Brunstetter women is done right. The stories captured my attention and were all quick and easy reads.

The three stories focus on different groups of Amish in a community. I found the stories focused more on the characters and not so much on the differences of the communities. At times it was easy to forget I was reading about different Amish groups. I did like that the authors all took the time to develop the characters and stories so that nothing really felt rushed or hurried. I feel like I got a full story from each one. I also liked the fact that the writing styles are similar enough that these could have all been penned by the same author and not three individuals. I feel like this made the collection seem more complete and it held my attention from the beginning of the first story to the very last page of the last story.

Fans of Wanda E. Brunstetter are sure to enjoy this collection. Jean and Richelle are proving themselves to be accomplished authors as well and their stories are writing are soon to be just as polished as Wanda’s. This book would be a great addition to a collection or a fantastic way to begin a collection. Happy reading!!!

About the author: New York Times bestselling and award-winning author, Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written close to 90 books translated in four languages. With over 10 million copies sold, Wanda’s stories consistently earn spots on the nations most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.

Wanda’s ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.

When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties. Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, bird-watching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, have been blessed with two grown children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

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A Welcome at Our Door by Amy Clipston

About the book:  

In the final installment of Amy Clipston’s Amish Homestead series, Cindy Riehl finds herself searching outside of her community for fulfillment and, with the help of a special friend, realizes what she was looking for was right in front of her all along.

Over the last few years, Cindy Riehl—the youngest of the Riehl siblings—has watched her brothers and sister find love and happiness in Lancaster County. But as her family has settled down and grown, Cindy has continued to grieve her mother, whose death left an enormous hole in her heart. Since that haunting day, Cindy has struggled to find peace and wonders if the community is the place for her—and if her faith in God will ever be like it once was.

When one of the Riehl cows escapes to visit another cow down the lane, Cindy chases after it and meets a handsome Englisher named Drew. As they become friends and eventually much more, she is drawn further and further away from the Amish community and the family she loves. She is suddenly faced with difficult choices that threaten to upend her world.

Will Cindy find happiness of her own? And will she ever be able to overcome her grief and find restored comfort in God and her community?

Publication Date:  May 7, 2019

Publisher:  Zondervan

Genre:  Amish fiction

Seires: Amish Homestead #4

My thoughts

Amy closes her latest series with the story of Cindy Riehl. Cindy is the youngest of the Riehl children and has been struggling with joining the Amish church. This struggle has been highlighted in previous books in the series so it was nice to finally discover what would happen in Cindy’s life.

I enjoyed this story and found it to be a quick read. Knowing a lot of the characters in this book from reading the series it was like meeting up with old friends and finding out what was going on in their lives. Amy has the gift as a writer of making readers forget they are reading about fictional characters instead of living, breathing people. In addition to catching up with the human characters in the book, we are also introduced to a cow named Cucumber and a dog named Bruce who brought a bit of fun to a story that had its fair share of sadness.

Although I loved the story I would have liked to see a bit more conflict and struggle between Cindy and Drew as they decided what path their lives should take as far as being Amish or not. It seemed as if they were just a bit too agreeable when it came to the big decisions of their lives and were a bit too willing to just go along with what the other one wanted. I would have liked to have seen a bit more as far as the decision making for what would be a tremendous life change for either of them based on the decision they ended up making.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read and one that will be going on my keeper shelf. Fans of the genre are sure to enjoy this story from one of the best authors of Amish fiction. This book could be read and enjoyed as a standalone and would be an awesome way to introduce someone to Amy’s books.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

About the author

Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her fiction writing “career” began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery series and Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Amy works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC, and lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats.

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