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?

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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
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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.

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{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!

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