The Choosing Review

The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker is a 448 page dystopian novel.  It is published by Tyndale and released on May 19, 2015. To purchase your copy from Amazon, click here or from Barnes & Noble, click here.

Overview

Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for―her Choosing ceremony―to end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority.

But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. Though the whispers contradict everything she’s been told, they resonate deep within.

Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, yet she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her.

the choosing

My Two Cents

I have to admit when I received this book I was a little nervous about reading it.  Ted Dekker’s books are great and I was concerned I would be disappointed.  I wasn’t! Rachelle drew me in from the beginning and I was hooked until the last page.  The Choosing leaves a good impression on the reader and makes you want more. She has stepped out of her father’s shadow and is creating an amazing one of her own.

The writing in The Choosing is excellent.  Rachelle uses such detailed descriptions you feel as if you are right there with the characters.  Where some dystopian novels feel disjointed and are hard to follow, The Choosing flowed well and was easy to understand.  I loved how Rachelle addresses the issue of worthlessness in her novel.  Most everyone has dealt with this issue at some point in their life and she does a marvelous job of pointing to who we should be getting our self-worth from: God. Where most dystopian novels leave you feeling bleak, The Choosing leaves you feeling hope.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. After reading many dystopian novels, this one was new and had a refreshing take.

Thank you to Tyndale Publishers for a free copy of The Choosing in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through the avenue of storytelling. She writes full time from her home in Nashville, where she lives with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat Blair.

CALLED TO BE AMISH REVIEW

Called to Be Amish by Marlene Miller is a 256 page novel Amish Memoir. It was published by MennoMedia and released on February 9, 2015. To purchase your own copy from Amazon, click here or from Barnes & Noble, click here.

Overview

Fewer than one hundred outsiders have joined the Old-Order Amish—and stayed—since 1950. Marlene C. Miller is one of them.

In this rare memoir, Marlene recounts her unhappy and abusive childhood, how she throws herself into cheerleading and marching band, and how she falls in love with Johnny, the gentle young Amish man who helps her lace her ice skates.

Against the wishes of both sets of parents, Marlene and Johnny get married and begin a family. Follow the author on this unusual journey to find out how God’s love called her out of bitterness and depression and into the warm embrace of her new Amish community.

Accompany her as she dons an Amish dress and prayer covering and gets baptized. Learn how she endures the strain of ten children, a hundred-acre farm, and accidents and tragedy, and find out how she comes close to walking away from it all. Turning Amish has proven to be anything but plain and simple for this former majorette. But nearly fifty years later, Marlene is still living out God’s call as an Old Order Amish woman.

Called to be amish

My Two Cents

Called to Be Amish gives a rare glimpse into the life of the Old-Order Amish. Reading this memoir was like sitting down with a cup of coffee and talking to an old friend who you are eager to catch up with.  Marlene opens up and deeply shares about her life: The good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly. The questions to the author at the end are a must read – very interesting and informative. There are yummy, must try recipes included as well.

Marlene shares and explains many of the Amish traditions in Called to Be Amish. Her writing is not polished like other authors, however, this gives the memoir authenticity. The reader feels as if they are right in the midst of Marlene’s life watching the events as the unfold. She shares her beliefs as if she was having a conversation with you; she is not preachy or trying to convert you to her way of thinking. Marlene is just sharing her story with you. It felt like a privilege to get to read her story.

What shines through in Called to Be Amish is the love of Christ shown by Marlene, her husband, and most of her husband’s family. The sacrifices Marlene made to show her love for Christ and how her life changed after her conversion really makes is inspiring and very encouraging.  This book inspired me to take a hard look at my life; at what is important and what I am willing to sacrifice for Christ.

I give Called to Be Amish 5 out of 5 stars. With so many television shows and authors who are neither true to the Amish nor their culture, it was refreshing to read a book that accomplished both. You will walk away from this book knowing your life has been enriched by reading it.

Thank you to the Litfuse Chicks for a free copy of Called to Be Amish in return for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received and all opinions stated are my own.

About the Author

Marlene C. Miller joined the Amish as an adult and has been a member of the Old Order Amish for almost 50 years. She and her husband of 48 years live on a farm in Ohio surrounded by their nine children, more than 40 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Giveaway

To enter to win your own copy of Called to Be Amish, click on “Entry-Form” below:

This contest ends Sunday, May 24, 11:59 PST.

When Grace Sings Review

When Grace Sings is a 352 page novel in the Amish/Mennonite fiction genre. It is published by WaterBrook Press and released on March 17, 2015. To purchase your copy through Amazon, click here or through Barnes & Noble, click here.

Overview

Alexa Zimmerman wonders if the Old Order Mennonite community in Arborville, Kansas will ever fully accept her. Her family roots here aren’t what anyone thought when she first arrived, but she is hopeful that her culinary and hospitality skills will win the skeptics over. The bed-and-breakfast she’s operating needs to succeed so Alexa agrees to allow Briley Forrester, the hotshot reporter from Chicago, to stay as a long-term boarder not knowing his real motives for being amongst the Plain folk. 

But when Alexa agrees to host her cousin Anna-Grace Braun, the presence of extended family brings out Alexa’s insecurities and sets Briley on the trail to uncovering a web of hidden truths. 

Plans for a secure future and the sweetness of young romance hang in the balance when Alexa and Anna-Grace have to face that their secrets are interconnected, binding the two in ways they could not have imagined. They must trust in a loving, heavenly Father and His plan for their futures.

when grace 

My Two Cents

When Grace Sings is a fast paced novel that gives interesting insight into the lives of the Mennonite peoples. It is the second book in The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy, but can be read as a stand alone. While I did not read the first book, I was able to easily follow the storyline of this book.

This story drew me in right from the beginning. There was romance; there were secrets; there were surprises! It is amazing when an author writes a great story, but to do so with two story lines running simultaneously is phenomenal. I was not able to put it down and read it in one sitting. 

The characters were very well developed, interesting and real.  You can relate to the struggles they are facing and want to see them succeed. The soul-searching of the characters makes you want to reflect on your own life. One question that really comes to mind while reading is, “Is success worth destroying the lives of others?” 

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. My only complaint is the cliffhanger! I want to know what happens and can’t wait for the next book. 

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Blogging for Books for a free copy of When Grace Sings in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation has been received for this review and all opinions expressed are my own. 

About the Author

In 1966, Kim Vogel Sawyer told her kindergarten teacher that someday people would check out her book in libraries. That little-girl dream came true in 2006 with the release of Waiting for Summer’s Return. Since then, Kim has watched God expand her dream beyond her childhood imaginings. With over 30 titles on library shelves and more than a 1.5 copies of her books in print, she enjoys a full-time writing and speaking ministry. Empty-nesters, Kim and her retired military husband, Don, enjoy a quiet existence in small-town Kansas, the setting for many of her novels. When she isn’t writing, Kim stays active serving in her church’s women’s and music ministries, traveling with “The Hubs,” and spoiling her quiver full of grand-darlings. 

Find Kim online: website, Facebook, Twitter 

Giveaway

I am very excited to give away a copy of Kim’s wonderful book, When Grace Sings. To enter click on “Entry-Form” below:

This giveaway ends May 21st at 11:59 EST.

 

No Place to Hide Review

No Place to Hide by Lynette Eason is a 336 page novel in the Christian romantic suspense genre. It is published by Revell and released on May 5, 2015. To purchase your copy from Amazon, click here or from Barnes & Noble, click here.

Overview

It’s not every day you see your childhood friend and one-time crush on national news. Jackie Sellers just wishes it were under different circumstances. She can’t believe that Ian Lockwood is wanted in connection with a terrorist plot, and she’s determined to find him and help him clear his name. But she’s not the only one looking. The FBI wants him captured. The bad guys want him dead. Ian just wants to stay alive long enough to save thousands of innocent lives.

no place to hide

My Two Cents

From the first page of No Place to Hide, I was hooked! Although slow in certain places, there were many surprises and the suspense made you want to keep reading.  It is obvious that Eason has done her research and the storyline was very believable. Friendship is an overall theme in this novel and it inspires the reader to contemplate the friendships in their lives as well as how much you would sacrifice for them.

The characters in No Place to Hide were interesting and well developed.  I really enjoyed how Eason weaved in Jack Sellers faith into the storyline.  The interactions between all the characters helps to draw the reader into the story and although there is romance, it takes a backseat to the suspense which made the book even more enjoyable.

This is my first experience with Eason’s books however, I was able to follow the story like a stand alone.  I am looking forward to reading more of her books.

I give No Place to Hide 4 out of 5 stars. Christian suspense readers will really enjoy this book!

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of No Place to Hide in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series and the Deadly Reunions series, as well as No One to Trust and Nowhere to Turn. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She has a master’s degree in education from Converse College, and she lives in South Carolina. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.

Giveaway

To enter to win a copy of Lynette Eason’s No Place to Hide, click on the words “Entry-form” and fill out the information.

This giveaway ends on Monday, May 18 at 11:59am.

A Simple Prayer Review

A Simple Prayer, written by Amy Clipston and publish by Zondervan, is a 320 page Amish novel in the Christian romance genre. To pre-order your copy now through Amazon click here or through Barnes and Noble, click here. The release date is May 5, 2015.

Overview

Linda is no stranger to hardship. Now she dares to hope for a chance at love and a new beginning.

As the sole survivor of a buggy accident that left her orphaned at age four, Linda Zook was reluctantly raised by her Uncle Reuben. She longs to be worthy of someone, but the lasting trauma of her injuries and embittered upbringing have destroyed her self-worth. When Hannah Peterson asks her to work at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast, she’s finally able to realize some confidence.

Aaron Ebersol left the Amish community seventeen years ago when he could no longer bear the restrictions or the constant tension with his father. Despite years of unanswered letters to his parents, and the roots he’s put down in Missouri, Aaron rushes back to the Amish community of Paradise, Pennsylvania, after receiving word of his mother’s stroke. Hesitant to get too close to the family he was once a part of, he decides to stay at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast. Talking with Linda allows him to explore his feelings about his family and his position in the Amish community.

As Linda and Aaron open up to each other, their feelings for one another turn into more than friendship, and Aaron must make a decision about his future as an Amish man.

Can Linda and Aaron forgive the family members who have deceived and forsaken them? And will Aaron be able to convince Linda that she is worthy of his love?

ASimplePrayer

My Two Cents

Amy creates a heart-warming story in her fourth and last installment of her Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series.  Her storyline is wonderful. It draws you in from the beginning and you want to see what happens to each of these characters.  A Simple Prayer can be read in order of the series but can also be read as a stand alone.

Amy’s A Simple Prayer cuts to the heart of what many of us struggle with: acceptance.  All of us want to be accepted by our family or find forgiveness when we have done wrong. It is also a story of differing family dynamics; how our choices, both good and bad, affect those we love. There is a character that every reader can relate too in this story.

In a genre with many authors and many books being released each month, A Simple Prayer is a book that is memorable. It has characters that make you want to yell, ones that make you want to cry, ones that make you want to cheer.  Amy captivates your heart with her character’s realism and strength you can draw from.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. 

A special thank you to netgalley 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.

About the Author

Amy Clipston is the award-winning and best-selling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple best-seller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College 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 www.amyclipston.com Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks Twitter: @AmyClipston

Giveaway

In honor of Amy’s new release and Mother’s Day, I am giving away one copy of An Amish Cradle. Click on “Entry-Form” below to enter.


The giveaway ends on Sunday, May 10 at 11:59 PST.

A Love Like Ours Review

A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade is a 368 page novel in the Christian Contemporary Romance genre. Although it is the third book in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone. It is published by Bethany House Publishers and released on May 5, 2015. To purchase your copy from Amazon, click here or from Barnes and Noble, click here. 

Overview

Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake’s childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion’s reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake’s will, Lyndie’s sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he’d thought he’d lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

a love like ours

My Two Cents

A Love Like Ours is a sweet romantic novel full of wonderful characters and imagery. Where most romances focus on two main characters, A Love Like Ours includes many characters which adds richness and balance to the story. The inspiration and hope portrayed throughout this novel is an encouragement to anyone but especially those trying to overcome the struggles in their life.

I love the relationships that are revealed and created throughout A Love Like Ours. Lyndie, one of the main protagonists, has a sister who is disabled. Wade weaves both the difficulty of having a disabled family member and the joy a disabled family member can bring into the story beautifully. She also gives an eye opening account of what servicemen suffer when coming home and trying to adapt to everyday life.

The plotline of A Love Like Ours centers around horse racing, something I have never had much exposure too.  Wade does a magnificent job of making it easy for the reader to follow this plotline by including pertinent information regarding horse racing in an interesting way.  The storyline does drag a little in the middle, however, the horse racing plotline helps to move the story along.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.  It is an encouraging read.

Thank you to the Litfuse Chicks and Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of A Love Like Ours in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Becky Wade is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and moved to Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market, took time off to raise her children, then felt God nudging her to pursue contemporary Christian fiction. Becky’s work has been a finalist for both a RITA and an INSPY Award.

Giveaway

To enter to win a copy of Becky Wade’s new book A Love Like Ours, click “Entry-Form” below.

This giveaway ends on May 8 at 11:59 PST.

Becky Wade’s Giveaway

To celebrate the release of her new book, Becky is giving away a $100 cash card and a book-inspired prize pack!

lovelikeours-400

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A $100 cash card
  • A copy of A Love Like Ours
  • A copy of the Secretariat DVD
  • A scarf
  • A dog-tag/cross keychain
  • A pair of earrings
  • A Scarf
  • A Texas-shaped cutting board
  • A Jake Porter mug
love like ours - prize pack

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 26th. Winner will be announced May 27th on Becky’s site.

lovelikeours-enterbanner

Side by Side Review

Congratulations to Kathryn, the winner of a copy of Side by Side. Enjoy!

Side by Side by Jana Kelley is a 221 page novel in the Contemporary Missionary Fiction genre. It is published by New Hope Publishers and was released on November 17, 2014.  To purchase your copy through Amazon, please click here or through Barnes and Noble, click here.

Overview

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia’s life collides with that of another young woman.

A young Christian American mother, Mia finds more than one dark secret on the streets of Khartoum. She finds Halimah, a young, upper-class Arab student with a bright future in her family’s business whose risky and secretive decision has put her life in danger. What happens when the path of young mother intersects with that of a spunky Sudanese student? God transforms them both . . . forever.

Part of New Hope® Publishers’ contemporary missional fiction line, Side by Side opens the reader’s eyes to the life of Muslims in Sudan as well as some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as pray for the salvation of those who persecute.

side by side

My Two Cents

Side by Side is a powerful and life-changing novel. Jana draws from her experiences as a missionary to weave real-life events to cast a story that will leave the reader changed forever.

Each day we go about our lives without a second thought to the blessings we have: food, housing, opportunities, choices, and most of all freedoms. Freedom to speak our minds, have choices over our bodies, and to share our love of Christ. Side by Side pulls us into a different world where Christians risk their lives everyday to stand up for Jesus. It also conveys the sacrifices missionaries and their families make on a daily basis to share the Gospel and minister to others. Side by Side gives the reader an appreciation for the blessings they have and will compel the reader to evaluate what they are willing to sacrifice for Christ.

Jana’s characters are open and honest in her novel.  The reader can see the struggles of selfishness, pride, and frustration. I liked that those feelings are included and not glossed over. This makes her characters real and believable; it also encourages us to empathize with the characters. Jana additionally shows the plight of women in Muslim countries by including difficult topics such as female circumcision with tact. Her knowledge of the culture and her love of the Muslim people shine through in her characters.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. This book will change your worldview, give you first hand knowledge of the dangers of missionary work and give you information on how to pray for missionaries.  Side by Side is a must read for all Christians who would like to know how better to minister to Muslims.

Thank you to the Litfuse Chicks and New Hope Publishers for a free copy of Side by Side in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Jana Kelley is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend college. She and her husband married a month after she graduated and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. Together with her husband and three boys, Jana enjoys travel and overseas living. After thirteen years in Africa and the Middle East, Jana and her family moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live.

Find Jana online: website, Facebook, Twitter

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Jana Kelley’s Side by Side by clicking “Entry-Form” below.

The last date to enter is May 7th, 2015

‘A Sparrow in Terezin’ by Kristy Cambron | New Book Plus a Book-Inspired Giveaway

Bound together across time, two women will discover a powerful connection in Kristy Cambron‘s new book, A Sparrow in Terezin. Connecting across a century through one little girl, a Holocaust survivor with a foot in each world, two women will discover a kinship that springs even in the darkest of times. In this tale of hope and survival, Sera and Kája must cling to the faith that sustains and fight to protect all they hold dear—even if it means placing their own futures on the line.

Kristy is celebrating by giving away a basket filled with goodies inspired by her new book!

sparrow terezin - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A set of poppy notecards
  • A poppy pin
  • A copy of I Never Saw Another Butterfly
  • A copy of the Mrs. Miniver DVD
  • Literary tea bags
  • Tumbler
  • A copy of A Sparrow in Terezin
sparrow giveaway bastet 



Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 28th. Winner will be announced April 29th on Kristy’s blog.

sparrow terezin-enterbanner

{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}

Let’s Celebrate Spring!

Congratulations to Myrtle and Rhonda, our two winners!

To celebrate the coming of spring and the release of Sarah Price’s new book, I am giving away to copies of her An Amish Spring! Contest ends Sunday, March 22 at midnight PST.

To enter, click on “entry form” below:

To order An Amish Spring by Sarah Price,  click here.

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!