Her Secret

by Shelley Shepard Gray

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Catching You Up: Amish farm girl, Hannah, is being stalked by an English boy that is in love with her. Her family must flee for her protection. With her siblings resenting her and her family going through another crisis, she must sort through her fears and learn to trust again.

My Thoughts: When I think of Amish, all I can think of is how “dark” the lifestyle is. I know it’s because I am a visual person and life without a lot of color is VERY SAD! One of the things I love about Shelley Shepard Gray is that she brings color out of their lifestyle. As strange as it sounds, reading her Amish fiction is the first time I can really connect with the characters.

This is a short and light read, but that does not take away from the content. Her characters are always well developed and complex. I am not usually surprised, but there was definitely some intrigue that got me! Well done, Shelley!!!

Need a great read for a flight? Something you can grab and go – pick up and put down without missing a beat? This is your story! I definitely recommend anything by this author. Make sure to pick up a copy! Link is in the pic above!!


Want to see Shelley Face-Off with me?

Click Below:

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The Proposal at Siesta Key

by Shelley Shepard Gray

In the second book of the Amish Brides of Pinecraft series, Penny is learning to live after a lifetime of being sheltered. Her sister was kidnapped and killed when she was young and her parents haven’t let her out of their sight since! Now that she is in her 20’s, she’s ready to get a job and meet some people. When she is hired to care for a missionary “celebrity”, Penny finds herself falling for him.

Shelley’s books about the Amish life in Pincraft, Florida are interesting and easy reads. There isn’t really any depth to them, but they are a great book to pick up for a relaxing, no-brainer afternoon. The characters are cute and the plots are simple.

Thank you, Litfuse, for sending this book my way. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more.

Face-Off with JoAnn Durgin!!

Author of many, many highly rated books, JoAnn is IN THE HIZZY!!! 🙂

JoAnn Durgin is the author of the beloved contemporary Christian romance series, The Lewis Legacy Series: Awakening, Second Time Around, Twin Hearts, Daydreams, and Moonbeams, as well as Prelude, Prequel to The Lewis Legacy Series. JoAnn is also the author of the Amazon bestselling Catching Serenity and Heart’s Design, as well as novellas and short novels including Love So Amazing (The Wondrous Love Series, Book 1), Echoes of Edinburgh and the popular Starlight Christmas Series: Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, Starlight, Star Bright and Sleigh Ride Together with You.

She loves to hear from her readers! Please feel free to contact her:

www.joanndurgin.com or www.facebook.com/authorjoanndurgin

Check out some of these great box set deals!!

There is also this wonderful set of 38 short, love stories!! Make sure to check this one out!!!

Another one that caught my eye was Love So Amazing.

Links are in the pics. Shall we play now?


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The rules are simple. I ask JoAnn some random questions. She replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.

It’s my blog.

Here we go!

1. Have you ever dived off a high diving board?

JoAnn – When I was a kid, one of my favorite summer activities was swimming. My mom called me a fish. I would dive off the low board all the time but the high diving board…no way! Walking to the end and peeking over the edge? Scared. Me. To. Death. I only remember having the courage to jump off it once (I was about eight). I think it was something about being up so high (I’m height-challenged) and all that open air that terrified me. Now, what I really found fun? Strapping on goggles and picking up the spare change that had fallen out of the guys’ swim trunks onto the bottom of the pool. Then I’d take all my change and go buy Sweet Tarts at the snack bar. Worked like a charm every time!

Charity – Nice!!! Now, you were a very clever girl!! I have gone off of a high dive. I am also “height challenged”, but water is my element. I could float and read a book or take a nap. It is literally impossible to sink me. haha. However, ask me to dive off of one now? No. Way.

— I get that one because I DID dive off!!

Charity 1 / JoAnn 0

2. Do you prefer Sweet Tea or Un-Sweet Tea?

JoAnn – Sweet, but my absolute favorite is half-lemonade, half-sweet tea (a/k/a an Arnold Palmer). Perfect combination!

Charity – Learn something new every day! I didn’t know what an Arnold Palmer is! Now I do…

I am going with Sweet Tea, but I’ll take it either way!! Yum.

— Knowledge is Power!

Charity 1 / JoAnn 1

3. Ever lost all your food in a freezer death?

JoAnn – Can’t say that I have. At least not to my recollection. However, I’ve lost food due to death by power outages. Sad times, but we made it through somehow.

Charity – haha. Made it through somehow. ha!

We lost all our food last year. When we got home from vacation, bam. Freezer dead. So awful!! Smelly and gross.

— ME!!!

Charity 2 / JoAnn 1

4. What is the closest you’ve ever been to a natural disaster?

JoAnna – I remember waking up from a nap when I was in high school and hearing that a tornado had cleared out trees in a nearby park and ripped off the roof of a sports arena (Louisville, Kentucky). When we lived in California, I was thrown against the wall by an earthquake in our daughter’s nursery. And there was an earthquake centered directly beneath the Rose Bowl stadium on my 30th birthday. I thought, “Here we go…I turn 30 and it’s all over!” When I taught Sunday school in the Boston area (we’ve lived a lot of places), I once asked my third/fourth grade students to name a natural disaster. A little boy raised his hand, waving it with excitement, saying, “I know! I know! The Big Dig!” The Big Dig was a massive construction project that lasted for years in downtown Boston (for all I know it’s still in progress). Because of the traffic nightmares, it was considered a natural disaster by many.

Charity – Oh my word! haha. The Big Dig! We have hurricanes all the time where I live. I think that you wiped the floor with me though?

— Being thrown against a wall? THE BIG DIG??!!!

Charity 2 / JoAnn 2

5. List of your top 5 favorite cheeses?

JoAnn – What a fun question! Hmm…I’d have to say American (boring, I know, but I’m not real adventurous when it comes to my food choices), Cheddar, Provolone, Monterey Jack (what a funny name, huh?), and—I can’t believe I’m going to name this one (something a couple of years ago I would never have said)—Bleu/Blue cheese. I’ve developed a certain and inexplicable fondness for that last one. But I still won’t go near liver or beets.

Charity – Girl, you are cracking me up!! Monterey Jack is the dumbest name ever for a cheese. What in the world?! And I am totally with you on the liver and beets. Barf.

5.Mexican
4. Cheddar
3. Mozzarella
2. Cranberry/Goat
1. PepperJack

— Tie

Charity 2 / JoAnn 2

6. Could you last in an Amish lifestyle for a month?

JoAnn – No. A couple of days is probably as long as I’d last. While I admire certain things about the Amish lifestyle, I’m too attached to my electrical appliances, Kindle included. But nothing smells better than laundry dried on the clothesline. We used to live in the Philly area (told you we lived in a lot of places; my hubby was a pastor), and we loved taking day trips to the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, area. And Hershey? Fabulous place to visit!

Charity – Hershey and Lancaster are among the most BEAUTIFUL places I’ve ever been. It is so luscious and green! ❤

I couldn’t do it. It is so ideal to live a simple life, but I would have to REALLY know God was calling me to do that. Whew…

–Tie

Charity 2 / JoAnn 2

7. How good are you at juggling?

JoAnn – Depends. If you mean “traditional” juggling, I’ve never tried it. I wrote a scene about my hero Harrison (“Harry”) juggling apples at an outdoor farmers’ market in Edinburgh, Scotland (at the base of Edinburgh Castle) in my book, Echoes of Edinburgh. writingjourney-durgin-01On my website, I have a photo of me juggling peaches (the peach is the favorite fruit of my core character, Sam Lewis, in my Lewis Legacy Series). Insider secret: that’s the wonder of modern photography (there was only one peach…shhh…). If it had been more than one peach, there would have been a few smashed peaches on the ground! Otherwise, I’m very good at juggling, i.e., multi-tasking. I like to believe I’m somewhat proficient and talented in that area (like most wives and mothers).

Charity – Nice!! I can’t juggle at all. Anything.

— The amazing peach juggler!!

Charity 2 / JoAnn 3

8. How do you strive to bring the most glory to God?

JoAnn – My personal goal is to live my faith and to hopefully see it reflected in the lives of my three children. The theme scripture verse in my life and writing is Matthew 5:16, In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. My goal in writing what I like to call “contemporary Christian romantic adventures” is to present characters—flawed in their humanity—who strive their best to live God-honoring lives. I simply can’t write a book without a Christian message as an integral part of the storyline. I like to believe I accomplish this not by being preachy but by writing about people where faith is so intrinsic in their lives that it’s natural, not forced. My books are very romantic but realistic, and I add the element of humor. Life can be hard, and I want to make people laugh, make them cry, and make them think. I’m not a writer where critics will say, “It seems as though the Christian element was added in order to qualify it as a Christian book.” I’ve given away a lot of books free (more than 50,000 with two books in the past month alone). Yes, it’s smart marketing, but it’s also my ministry in getting solid Christian fiction into the hands of those who might never read a Christian book otherwise. In the last year, I transitioned from my full-time paralegal position to being a full-time author! I’m living the dream, and I am blessed.

Charity – So awesome!!! I love it!

— God wins!!!

Charity 2 / JoAnn 3

9. Favorite crafty thing you have ever made?

JoAnn – I used to cross-stitch all the time. unnamedPerhaps my favorite is a Christmas scene, and I leave it on my family room wall year-round. I remember working on that canvas at a Bible conference in Erie, PA, the summer that I was pregnant with our second daughter, Chelsea (who just gave us our first grandbaby –unnamed-1 darling Amelia Grace!). I was so hot, humid, and miserable, but that piece kept me sane (although such intricate needlework would drive some crazy). The only piece I ever did with seed beads and gold filigree floss, it is an heirloom piece.

Charity – Wow! So pretty. I bet that took forever!

I think my favorite would be the iPad case I made.

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— Tie

Charity 2 / JoAnn 3

10. Are you good enough at geography that you could spin the globe, put your finger on an unmarked spot and know what continent, country and state/region?

JoAnn – Depends on what area of the world. The Asian or Eastern European countries? Not so much. I hope there’s not going to be a test (she says, cringing). I’d rather visit countries than be able to point them out on a map. The countries of the European Continent are my favorite travel destinations. I can find and point out Italy (my personal favorite) in a heartbeat! From our days of studying with our three children, I could probably name all the states (and capitals). Maybe I should try that again to see how well I do!

Charity – No Way.

— You get it!

Final:

Charity 2 / JoAnn 4

41pQGKwBBLL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ once again…


Thanks, JoAnn! What a blast! You had me cracking up over and over again!!!

Ok, Guess what, guys??!! Balloons-for-Birthday-PartyJoAnn is giving away WINNER’S CHOICE of ANY of her novels!!!! This is an AMAZING offer!!

Just head on over to a Rafflecopter giveaway and start entering!! Woot Woot

A couple of options?

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*U.S. Rez only UNLESS you want the e-book version

**All entries will be checked. Any falsified don’t count!!

Called to be Amish – My journey from Head Majorette to the Old Order

by Marlene C. Miller

Marlene grew up in an “English”, non-religious family, suffered abuse as a child, was the head majorette at her school and fell in love with a sweet Amish boy. This is her journey from “English” to Amish and what a story it is!! While the Amish hardly ever speak out, Marlene gives us this chance to take a look into the world the live in.

So many Amish fiction titles are available, but it is left to the author to write what they think life is like in the old order. While that is fun, one never really knows what happens behind closed doors. Marlene fell in love with Jesus after marrying her Amish sweetheart. She knew that she was being called to join his church and faith, so she jumped in. Fifty years later, this is her story.

While it was insightful and engaging, I felt like parts of it started to drag on a bit. I definitely enjoyed reading it and recommend it to anyone that is curious about the Amish lifestyle. She doesn’t talk a lot about the faith, but about her struggles adjusting to the change.

Thanks, Litfuse, for this read! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

The Heart of the Amish: Life Lessons on Peacemaking and the Power of Forgiveness

by Suzanne Woods Fisher I know that most of you remember the Amish school shooting almost 10 years ago. The horror of such a thing and then seeing their response of forgiveness and support to the family that had hurt them, when they, themselves, were the ones that were needing support. This new release by Suzanne Woods Fisher takes us on an incredible journey of story after story of forgiveness.

You don’t have to love Amish fiction to be a fan of this book. It’s a beautiful reminder that we all need. Society has us running to hold onto what’s ours and then fight for it when we lose it. Revenge and breaking apart of relationships is the more standard go-to for our culture. It would do us some good to meditate on forgiveness and the importance of it.

It’s a great, little, easy read. Each chapter is a picture of forgiveness told only how Suzanne could! I definitely recommend it. (Link is in the pic above).

Thank you, Revell, for this great book! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

— If you would like to see my fun face-off with Suzanne, just head on over HERE!!

The Promise of Palm Grove

by Shelley Shepard Gray

Another Amish story? That’s two this month. A record! I am pleased to announce that I have enjoyed both. Maybe there’s hope for me yet (;

This is the first book in the Amish Brides of Pinecraft series. It’s different than most Amish stories in that it takes place in sunny Florida! The town of Pinecraft is a regular hotspot for Amish and Mennonite vacations. I like that this book was so “colorful” (which, when I think of Amish, I usually think in black and white).

Leona is engaged to be married. As she heads to Florida for a two week vacation, she is happy to be getting away to give herself time to think. Her intended is overbearing and has stated more than once that he is not interested in her opinions. As you can imagine, once in Florida, she meets another fella. Zach is a man that watches out for everyone else before himself. A Godly, selfless man. Leona must choose her future. Does she not go back on her word and stay with a man she cannot love, or should she break her word and follow an unknown path?

What I really liked about this book is the kindness and honesty. There are no big dramatic scenes. The characters are loveable and stay true throughout. I found it odd that there was a side story that never came to a conclusion. In fact, it seemed extremely random. I have to assume that it is just because they will be characters throughout the series. Although, in the preview of the second book, they aren’t mentioned. Not sure what to make of that. We shall see, shan’t we?

So, you need to pick up a copy! I definitely recommend it, especially if you love Amish fiction. It is a light and easy read. If you click HERE, you will find a link for a giveaway of this book (and a few others).

Thank you, Litfuse, for a copy of this book. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

Hurry!! This giveaway ends TONIGHT!!! Signed Book!

Suzanne has offered a signed copy of a book. She has so graciously agreed to sign a copy and send it to one lucky winner!!! Click on the link below and you can enter multiple times!

You will also find another link later in this post for another giveaway by Suzanne Woods Fisher!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*US Residents Only

Anna’s Crossing

by Suzanne Woods Fisher

I am going to be very honest here. I don’t usually read any books about the Amish people. It’s for a couple of reasons. First of all, I haven’t read one I ever liked before. Secondly, while I love the way they watch out for each other and live a simple life, it seems to me that they’re more concerned with works than they are the heart. I usually find it to be too harsh.

So, when I was given this book to review, I really questioned whether or not I would like it. I was PLEASANTLY surprised to find that it is well written. This book held my attention, had a great storyline, and it was extremely researched. The history and knowledge that went into this book was phenomenal. I mean, really!!

The story centers around Anna (and some Amish and Mennonite families) crossing the ocean to have religious freedom in America in 1737. It really is a story of redemption and shows 1 Peter 3:1,2 in a wonderful light. (Well, it wasn’t exactly a woman winning over her husband, but you get the idea.) Her innocent and passionate love for her Savior won the hardened heart of another.

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So, Suzanne! You have managed to win me over (: The kindness of Anna in this book won my heart. Also, the knowledge of you spending quite a bit of time with the Amish people, thus knowing their hearts, has given me a completely new perspective.

Thank you, Revell, for giving me this book. As always, this is my honest review!! Here’s to many more!!!

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Suzanne Woods Fisher has so graciously agreed to sign a copy and send it to one lucky winner!!!! Click on the rafflecopter link and you will be able to enter multiple times!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway