The Matchmaker Review

Emma Weaver is twenty-one years old and has found a passion for playing matchmaker with her friends.  Her neighbor, Gideon King, warns her about interfering in people’s lives, but she disregards his advice and plans to set up Paul, the son of the bishop, with her friend Hannah.

The Matchmaker pic

But when Paul misinterprets Emma’s attention, believing she has feelings for him, he begins asking her to ride in his buggy after Sunday singings and shows up at her house for Friday evening visits.  As she tries to repair the damage that’s been done and mend the hearts that have been broken, she finds herself in trouble with the community.  Will she learn her lesson and stop meddling in the affairs of others?  Will she find a love of her own?

The Matchmaker is so enthralling you will not want to put it down! The main character, Emma, is someone we can all relate too.  We have all tried to help a friend and it ends in disaster! This book takes us down a winding road of twists and turns, not knowing what will come next but you can not wait to find out.

Sarah has done an excellent job  of giving us insight into each of her characters and the situations they are in.  Her characters have depth and I can see Sarah shine through in them.  Sarah shows us her characters – both their feelings and their situations – instead of just telling us about them.  This is what makes her work true literature.

Sarah’s intricate knowledge of the Amish language and culture merges lovely with her retelling of Jane Austin’s Emma to create a timeless book as unique as the original. Never read classic literature or Jane Austin? That’s okay! You will be drawn into The Matchmaker and will be waiting on the edge of your seat for Sarah’s next installment of Jane Austin’s classics. When you are finished reading The Matchmaker, you will have read a great book and you will want to reflect on how you can be a better friend.

The Matchmaker is a 304 page fiction book by Sarah Price and published in the Christian fiction Amish genre.  It was released on February 3, 2015 and can be purchased on Amazon for $9.99 for ebook or 14.99 paperback.

Sarah’s family settled in Pennsylvania when the first wave of Mennonites emigrated from Europe in 1705.  She divides her time between her home outside of New York City and an Amish farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where she writes and reconnects with her Amish friends and Mennonite family.  To learn more about Sarah, visit her website at sarahpriceauthor.wordpress.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fansofsarahprice.

Giveaway!

In honor of Valentine’s day, I am giving away one copy of The Matchmaker. Want to win?  It’s easy! To enter, comment below and follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/simpleharvestreads. Want an extra entry? Follow my blog. Contest ends Sunday, Feb 15 at midnight PST. One winner will be chosen through Random Picker.

The winner of the giveaway is Susanlulu2013! Congratulations! Please e-mail simpleharvestreads@gmail.com with your information.

Review of Plain & Simple Traditions: Amish & Mennonite Holidays

For years, Sarah Price has entertained her readers with her Amish romance novels. Now, she shares her knowledge about how the Amish and Mennonites celebrate the holidays based on her first-hand experiences with her Amish friends as well as growing up with Mennonite family.

This book contains stories, hymns, decorating tips, and (of course) recipes so that her readers can also delight in having a plain and simple holiday, just like the Amish and Mennonites.

It is always fun and interesting to learn about the holiday traditions of others.  Sarah’s first-hand knowledge of the Amish and Mennonites makes Plain & Simple Traditions special because the reader can trust its truthfulness. This book contains pictures and stories of Sarah’s family which makes you feel like you are a part of it! As the reader, you feel as if you have a window into her family. With both recipes and decorating ideas, this will be a book you cherish and come back to for future holiday celebrations. My family has immensely enjoyed the recipes Sarah has shared. Waiting for another holiday to eat them again is not an option for them!

Whether you are looking to learn more about the Amish & Mennonite traditions, wanting to add to your own traditions, craving some new dishes to try or yearning to know more about Sarah Price herself, you will not be disappointed with this book!

Plain & Simple Traditions is 170 page non-fiction book written by Sarah Price and published by Price Publishing, LLC.  It was released on December 15, 2014. It can be purchased through Amazon for $2.99 for the e-book and $13.49 for paperback.

Sarah’s family settled in Pennsylvania when the first wave of Mennonites emigrated from Europe in 1705.  She divides her time between her home outside of New York City and an Amish farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where she writes and reconnects with her Amish friends and Mennonite family.  To learn more about Sarah, visit her website at sarahpriceauthor.wordpress.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fansofsarahprice.

A New Year

Well friends, the holidays are past and a new year has begun! The decorations are all down and put away and I am reflecting on the past year along with what the future year holds. This year I am looking forward to getting to you, my readers better.  Readers, what are you looking forward to this year?

An Amish Buggy Ride Review and Giveaway!

An Amish Buggy Ride is a 218 page Christian Amish fiction novel written by Sarah Price and published by Waterfall Press. It was released in November, 2014 and can be purchased for $4.99 for the Kindle Edition or $9.99 for the paperback through Amazon.

An Amish Buggy Ride is a fast-paced novel about a young Amish woman named Kate who keeps a secret for her brother that ends in tragedy.  Katie is determined to make things right by caring for her brother, David, and helping her family by taking on extra chores.  This only serves to create anger and tension between David and her family until a young Amish man named Samuel steps in.  As tension and resentments grow, Katie must find a way to forgive herself or lose the possibility of love forever.

Sarah draws you in right from the beginning of the book and keeps you enthralled right to the end. It is a book that is very hard to put down! Her descriptions of both the characters and the setting creates the perfect picture in your mind; you feel as if you have been transported and are watching the story as it is happening. Sarah’s authentic use and knowledge of the Amish culture makes the story very believably authentic.

The characters Sarah creates in An Amish Buggy Ride are very real, believable characters whose struggles the reader can understand and empathize with.  Her characters also give the reader a real life application of Biblical principles such as giving grace and forgiveness. An Amish Buggy Ride is not only a great read but leaves the reader feeling encouraged.

If you are looking for a great Amish read, look no further.  This is not your typical Amish sappy romance, but a great piece of literature that leaves you wishing there was more!

Sarah’s family settled in Pennsylvania when the first wave of Mennonites emigrated from Europe in 1705.  She divides her time between her home outside of New York City and an Amish farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where she writes and reconnects with her Amish friends and Mennonite family.  To learn more about Sarah, visit her website at sarahpriceauthor.wordpress.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fansofsarahprice.

A special thank you to Sarah Price for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.

Giveaway

An Amish Buggy Ride giveaway! I am giving away a copy of Sarah’s new book, An Amish Buggy Ride! There are four ways you can enter in the contest:

1. Follow Simple Harvest Reads blog site and post a comment below (you must do both to receive an entry)

2. Like the Simple Harvest Reads Facebook page: www.facebook.com/simpleharvestreads

3. Like and comment on the An Amish Buggy Ride review post on the Simple Harvest Read Facebook page (you must do both do gain an entry)

4. Share the An Amish Buggy Ride comment on the Simple Harvest Reads Facebook page.

The contest ends Wednesday, November 19 at midnight PST. The winner will be announced Thursday, November 20. Good luck!

Homeschool Organization

With the new school year underway, I thought it would be a good time to discuss organization. Homeschooling my three, organization was a challenge.  I was lucky to keep up with dinner, housework and the kids let’s not mention getting things organized! So, today I am going to start with curriculum planning.

I found planning school a month at a time worked well for us.  I planned out the curriculum for the year, dividing it up into 10 months or “learning record” periods.  I did this over the summer when my life wasn’t so hectic. Can you hear my sarcasm? Good.  Denial can be your best friend.  Back to curriculum… This gave me a lot of time to get it all done.  The best part – once I planned my oldest daughter’s curriculum, I was able to tweak it for the other 2 when they got to that grade or subject.

We have the curriculum planned out for the year.  Now what? Well I then broke it down into the monthly plan.  Once you set up your template for the first month, it is easy to tweak it each month after.  I put my form below.  Each day the kids would highlight the assignments they completed….Well, that was the goal anyways.  It worked pretty well.

If this is totally overwhelming to you, I understand.  Really, I do.  Another great resource is a homeschooling planner.  There are several free ones out on the net. If you are looking to purchase a planner, I would recommend www.aplaninplace.net.  The planners are easy to use and..wait for it…double as a yearbook!

What are some of your tips for organizing your curriculum?

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The Black Count by Tom Reiss Book Review

Book Review of The Black Count

The Black Count, 432 pages,  is a biography written by Tom Reiss and published by Crown Publishing Group. It was published on September 18, 2012 for the purchase price of  $16.00. It is divided into three books.

The Black Count begins with two prologues.  One prologue tells of a young boy whose father is dying.  The other prologue discusses how Reiss arduously researched his book.  Both prologues could be confusing to the reader. Reiss would refer to Alexander Dumas, along with his letters and memoir; however, there are three Alexander Dumas’ discussed in the prologue.  Also, the pages spent on Reiss’ research were many and dry.  Once the reader moves past the prologue, the story develops well.

The first book begins with how Alex Dumas’ father, the Marquis named Antoine Davy de la Pailleterie came to live with his brother on Saint Dominique.  While there, he fathered four children from his mistress that was a black slave he stole from his brother.  Deciding to return to his homeland of France, the Marquis sells his mistress and four children for passage back home.  His favorite son, Alexander Davy de la Pailleterie was sold to the captain of a merchant ship and became free by French law when he set foot on French soil.  His father brought him to live the life of royalty as a Parisian with him just outside of Paris.  He was trained as a swordsmen by the best protege in France, he danced at parties, was admired for his Greek like stature and coveted by all for being an “American” in Paris.  After a dispute with his father, Alexander gave up his title and enlisted in the Queen’s Army.  The book then documents how he was trained and became a soldier noticed by all for his courage, strength  and loyalty.

Book two, the shortest of the three, begins with the revolution in France.  Alexander meets his future wife while stationed as a soldier. The reader learns of his many accomplishments as a soldier, moving from a private to a general due to his heroism.

The third book follows General Dumas to Egypt where he fights alongside Napoleon.  Napoleon sees him for the excellent soldier he is, then becomes suspicious and jealous of Alexander.  Alexander is imprisoned for two years and returns home to find Napoleon has repealed the laws that gave him his freedom.  Due to his race, his marriage was no longer considered legal and he was never given another assignment in the military despite multiple requests.

The Black Count takes the reader on a journey of hope that a mulatto son of a Marquis can conquer, not only his enemy, but racism as well.  As as reader, one might question if  Riess’ use of the novelist Alexander Dumas’ memoirs of his father made the biography more exaggerated than factual. Reiss does note when he used the sons memoirs and if there were other documents to verify the stories.  Overall, Tom Reiss does an excellent job of interweaving historical fact with the story of General Alexander Dumas.  Interesting facts are noted with footnotes and gives readers vast insight into the novelist Alexander Dumas’ inspiration for his stories. The Black Count is a well written biography on a long lost war hero that changed history for generations to come.

Tom Reiss is an author, historian and journalist.  His previous work, The Orientalist, was an international bestseller and was translated into more than 20 languages.  Tom currently lives in New York City. For more information visit www.tomreiss.com.

Rainy Days

There is nothing better than staying home on a rainy day.  I love curling up on the couch with a good book in my hand and a fire on in the fireplace.  Add a good cup of coffee and that makes life is grand! It has been raining this weekend in CA so I have cozied up with a new book with a Christmas theme.  I am hoping to post a book review soon. Readers, what do you like to do on a rainy day? Is there a new book you have picked up lately? Wishing you the best of weeks! God bless, Sandra