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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Clothed in Thunder--Vickie Watson

Clothed With Thunder by, Vicki Watson

Vicki Watson  | Sonrise Stable: Clothed With Thunder
ISBN: 978-0-9847242-2-2 | List Price: $9.99 | Format: Paperback | Page Count: 136
This is book 3 in the Sonrise Stables series.
After sitting through a 4-H demonstration on the evolution of the horse, Rosie and Carrie are determined to present the arguments for creation at the club’s next meeting. The demonstration proves harder to put together than they imagined as everyone offers the girls their opinions. The lessons Rosie learns about creation extend into her life in surprising ways as she faces her old adversary, Billy King, who cheated her out of her first trophy with her pony, Scamper.

 My Review:

This is a wonderful series for tween girls.  I have read two books in this series so far.  If you have a tween girl in your life who loves horses and who needs to know more about the love of God, this is a wonderful series for them.  Vickie does a wonderful job writing this in a way that young girls will understand.  I enjoy the stories myself.  I am not a horse rider, but I think horses are beautiful.  This book tackles a tough subject, evolution.  But Vickie does a great job with this topic and explains it in a way that youngsters will understand.  Great job Vickie.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Author: Vicki Watson | Sonrise Stable Horse Books
About the Author: Vicki Watson
My love of horses began when a teenage neighbor offered me my first ride, on the back of her horse. From my 8-year-old perspective, it seemed like the biggest horse in the world. From that moment on, I was addicted. Horses were to become a very important part of my life, although I never could have imagined, at the time, how much God would teach me about Himself and my relationship to Him through these wonderful animals.
The Sonrise Stable series combines my love of God and horses in stories that I hope will help children learn more about both. I have a vision for ten initial books in the series, taking the main characters through one year. Beyond that I’ll see where God leads me.
I have been blessed with three daughters and homeschooled each of them through high school. I enjoy trail riding my Rocky Mountain mare, Nikki, hiking, photography, and playing guitar. I work from home as a web designer and computer programmer and enjoy the variety and flexibility that allows.
Visit Vicki Watson at her siteSonrise Stables
Visit Vicki Watson on Twitter
Subscribe to her Youtube Channel featuring great horse-related videos.
- See more at: http://cwareviewcrew.com/clothed-with-thunder/#sthash.pdxifb0o.dpuf

Monday, December 16, 2013

Heartache Motel

 
 
 

 
HEARTACHE front
Heartache Motel: Three Interconnected Mystery Novellas
Genre:
Women Sleuths, Cozy Mystery, Humorous Mystery, Short Stories
Number of Pages:
225
Published by:
Henery Press (December 10, 2013)
SYNOPSIS
Heartache Motel, Three Interconnected Mystery Novellas
Elvis has left the building, but he’s forever memorialized at the Heartache Motel. Filled with drag queens, Rock-a-Hula cocktails, and a vibrating velveteen bed, these three novellas tell the tales of three amateur sleuths who spend their holidays at the King’s beloved home.

DINERS KEEPERS, LOSERS WEEPERS by Terri L. Austin
A Rose Strickland Mystery Novella (follows DINER IMPOSSIBLE)
When Rose and the gang head to Graceland right before Christmas, they get all shook up: the motel is a seedy dump and an Elvis impersonator turns up dead. Rose discovers missing jewels tie into the death and her suspicious mind flips into overdrive, questioning her fellow guests, the staff, and even a cute impersonator who keeps popping up. Will Rose be able to find the murderer and get home by Christmas day? It’s now or never.

QUICK SKETCH by Larissa Reinhart
A Cherry Tucker Mystery Novella (prequel to PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY)
Sassy Southern artist Cherry Tucker and her poker-loving boyfriend, Todd, pop into Memphis to help Todd’s cousin who’s been hustled out of his savings, right before Christmas. Staying at the shady Heartache Motel, Cherry can’t tell a shill from a mark and fears everyone is playing them for chumps. Cherry and Todd quickly find themselves in a dangerous sting that could send them to the slammer or mark them as pigeons from cons looking for an even bigger score.

DATELINE MEMPHIS by LynDee Walker
A Headlines in High Heels Mystery Novella (follows BURIED LEADS)
Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke thinks she’s going home for Christmas. But a quick stop at Graceland proves news breaks in the strangest places. When the King’s home gets locked down with Nichelle inside, she chases this headline into the national spotlight—and the thief’s crosshairs. Christmas dreams of blue suede Manolos fade, and all Nichelle wants from Santa is to land the story before the thief cuts off her news feed for good.
 Purchase Link:
Amazon


My Review:

This is a book that will keep you hooked from the first novella to the last.  The authors did a very good job writing these interconnecting stories and they all made since, with the minor characters appearing in each story.  Who wouldn't enjoy spending Christmas at the Heartache Motel, which, by the way is more or less a dump.  It is filled with drag queens and Elvis impersonators.  I hadn't read any of the Rose Strickland book before, but I have read some Cherry Tucker and Nichelle Clark books.  I will definitely read more Rose Strickland novels, as that was my favorite from this collection.  I say great job to the three of you.  A great humorous, lite, holiday read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

tla-bio-00TERRI L. AUSTIN
As a girl, Terri L. Austin thought she’d outgrow dreaming up stories and creating imaginary friends. Instead, she’s made a career of it. She met her own Prince Charming and together they live in Missouri. She loves to hear from readers!

WEB: www.terrilaustin.com
FOLLOW: www.twitter.com/terrilaustin
LIKEwww.facebook.com/terrilaustin

closeupLARISSA REINHART
After seeing Paper Moon as a child, Larissa Reinhart fell in love with stories about confidence capers. QUICK SKETCH is the Cherry Tucker prequel to PORTRAIT in the mystery anthology THE HEARTACHE MOTEL. HIJACK IN ABSTRACT is the third in the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series from Henery Press, following STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW (#2) and PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY (#1), a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist. She lives near Atlanta with her minions and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit.


WEB:  larissareinhart.com
Follow: twitter.com/RisWrites
Like: facebook.com/RisWrites


LynDee headshotLYNDEE WALKER
LynDee Walker grew up in the land of stifling heat and amazing food most people call Texas, and wanted to be Lois Lane from the time she could say the words “press conference.” An award-winning journalist, she traded cops and deadlines for burp cloths and onesies when her oldest child was born. Writing the Headlines in Heels mysteries gives her the best of both worlds. LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is working on her next novel. Find her at www.lyndeewalker.com.
WEB: www.lyndeewalker.com
FOLLOW: www.twitter.com/LynDeeWalker
LIKE: www.facebook.com/lyndeewalkerbooks

Awakened Love--Laura V. Hilton Review and Guest Post

ABOUT AWAKENED LOVE

Awakened Love 7Title: Awakened Love
Genre: Amish Contemporary Romance
Author: Laura V. Hilton
Publisher:  Whitaker House
Pages: 288
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1603745086
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Katie Detweiler grew up Amish, never knowing she was adopted as an infant. Now an adult, her new job as cook at an Amish bed and breakfast doesn’t bring about the euphoria she hoped for. Just as she’s getting her menu perfected, the Englisch family and severely ill sister she never knew existed enter her life and strain her Amish relationships. Plus, Katie suddenly has two different men vying for her attention—one Amish, one Englisch—and she wonders if one of them could be the man of her dreams. But when her Englisch sister’s health worsens, Katie must find a way to balance her heart, her job, and her faith while risking her own life for the sister she never knew.
He’s hiding from a cold-blooded killer; her Amish identity has been stripped away. Both must find a way to balance their hearts, their jobs, and their faith

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My Review:
 
This was a great book.  It started kind of slow for me, but it soon picked up and I didn't want to put it down.  It had a lot of secrets and action in it.  Katie is a very shy girl, who has a hard time talking to buwe (boys).  But when she meets Abram, that all changes.  Abram is interested in Katie, but she thinks it is all a joke, especially when her "friend", Patsy, says that Abram is interested in her.  Throw in that Katie is being stalked, Abram has a lot of secrets at home, and so does Katie's family, and this is a great exciting read.  Great job, Laura, I really enjoyed this.
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
 
 

ABOUT LAURA HILTON

Laura HIltonAward winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools three of her children. Her two oldest children are homeschool graduates and are in college. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.
Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love. Surrendered Love and Awakened Love. A nonAmish book Swept Away will release November 2014 from Abingdon Press. She is contracted for another three book Amish series with Whitaker House, The Amish of Jamesport, releasing in April 2014, September 2014, and April 2015. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Laura is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites.  You can find Laura at http://lauravhilton.blogspot.com http://lauravhilton.blogspot.com or http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/.

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TWITTER * FACEBOOK

 Guest Post:


How I Started Writing Amish Fiction
By Laura V. Hilton
 
My interest in writing Amish fiction stems from several sources—family, friends, and first-hand experience. Every year my aunt and uncle would make a detour through Pennsylvania Amish country on their way to Florida. My aunt would come back with souvenirs from Amish country: collectible spoons with a horse and buggy at the top, Amish figurines, and picture books.
 
As I got older, I discovered one of my friend’s parents owned a German Bible. I told my mom about it, and she showed me my grandfather’s German Bible. She shared that my grandparents had left the Pennsylvania Amish and moved to Michigan— at first to the Amish community, then later to an area around Frankenmuth when they completely cut Amish ties, but still kept German ones. My grandfather always spoke German on the farm, but I was raised with little knowledge of the language, so when I came to visit, they spoke English. Mom taught me a few German words.
 
After I moved away from home, one of the small towns I drove through on the way to visit Mom had an Amish community. It was always a thrill to see the Amish buggies. Years later, when I started writing, another author suggested I look at my bookshelves and see what genre most of the books were. That is the one I should consider writing. My collection ranged from historical to contemporary, including Amish fiction. I thought it’d be fun to try and see if I could write Amish novel. Since my husband’s aunt lives in Missouri near a large Amish community, and it’s close to home, I have access to the area—and first-hand Amish news. I enjoy learning part of my heritage while telling the stories God gives me.




Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sharon Pape Sketcher in the Rye Review and Interview

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4th in Series
InterMix (December 17, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
E-Book Only
ASIN: B00AVA4NH0
Synopsis
In her new job as a private eye, former police sketch artist Rory McCain has a spirited partner: Old West marshal Zeke Drummond. He may be a ghost, but when these two combine their skills, they reap justice…
Trouble has sprouted at Harper Farms. Top secret info has been leaked to the competition, and now there’s serious sabotage cropping up. So the farm’s beleaguered owner, Gil Harper, has called on Rory to dig up some dirt. But what Rory discovers raises a new field of questions…
Someone shucked Harper’s accountant and left his body in the farm’s corn maze. While Gil is quick to hire Rory to solve now not one but two crimes, the sketching sleuth isn’t so sure why the farmer wants her to focus her attention on his own family.
Regardless, Rory and Zeke will need to put their hands to the plow and solve this case before someone else is planted six feet under…


My Review:

I really enjoyed the rapport between Rory and Zeke.  Rory has her hands full dealing with a ghost, Zeke, and her rambunctious dog, Hobo, then she stumbles upon a murder.  This is a cozy that kept me guessing till the end.  There is a alot of action and alot going on, not just the murder.  Gil Harper's Farm is being sabotages and he hires Rory to find out who is sabotaging it, in the meantime, his longtime employee, who is like family, Matthew is murdered, so he asks Rory to solve that also.  Filled with lots of suspects and an eccentric cast this is a great read.  Even Zeke is harboring a secret in this story. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. 

From Sharon’s Webpage:
I started writing stories as soon as I learned how to put letters together to form words. From that day forward, writing has been a part of my life whether it was my first attempt at a novel in seventh grade or the little plays I wrote for my friends to perform for neighbors and family. After college, when I was busy teaching French and Spanish to high school students, I was also writing poetry — some of it in French.
After several years, I left teaching to be a full time mom, and when my two children started school, I went back to writing. To my delight I found that the muse was still there, still waiting patiently for me to come around. My first novel, Ghostfire, was published at that time. It went on to be condensed in Redbook magazine (the first paperback original the magazine had ever condensed.) Then came The God Children and The Portal. Redbook also published my first short story, which was subsequently sold to several foreign magazines. With two great kids, a golden retriever and a loving, supportive husband (whom I’d met at the beach when I was fourteen — but that’s a story for another day), I felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be in my life. But fate had another plan for me, and it went by the name of “breast cancer.”
Looking back, I realize how fortunate I was that the cancer was discovered at such an early stage, but at the time it was all very overwhelming. Once I was back on my feet, I wanted to help other women who were newly diagnosed, worried and afraid. I became a Reach to Recovery volunteer for the American Cancer Society and went on to run the program for Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. A number of years later, with the help of my surgical oncologist and two other volunteers, I started Lean On Me, a nonprofit organization that provides peer support and information to breast cancer patients. When Lean On Me celebrated its tenth anniversary it no longer required as much of my time, and I once again found myself free to pursue my first love — writing.
Find out more about Sharon and her books here: http://www.sharonpape.com/index.html


Guest Post


Zeke Drummond here. I want to thank Melina for invitin' me over to talk about my early days as a federal marshal for the Arizona Territory. Some of you already know me from my mystery series that folks have come to call "The Sketch Books." If Rory McCain were here, she'd be interruptin' about now to say that she's the actual private detective and I'm just a consultant. She'd be right in that the law doesn't recognize my rights now that I'm deceased these past hundred years or so, but the plain truth remains that I pull my share of the load around here. I've even saved Rory's reckless neck a number of times. She'd argue that fact as well, bein' the  independent, little force of nature that she is. I'm aware that she used to be a sketch artist for the police and got to carry a detective's shield and gun. Still and all that doesn't mean she's bulletproof. But I'm gettin' side-tracked here.

            Gettin' back to my work, I oughta start by sayin' that bein' a federal marshal wasn't exactly what I imagined it would be back when I was a kid lookin' for an excitin' life .  Most of the time it was a downright lonely job. If a man's not comfortable with only his horse and himself for company, he won't take to the long, solitary hours and days. At first I didn't see how I was goin' to stick with it, but seein' as how I was raised to finish what I start, quittin' right away didn't sit well. I struck a deal with myself. After six months, if I still wanted out I could leave. As it happened, I made my decision well before that arbitrary deadline.  

            I was trackin' a couple of bank robbers known as the Skaggs Brothers who'd already hit Tucson. From what I could tell  they were makin' their way to Yuma. I rode into that small town late in the day and found myself knee deep in the middle of their next heist. Frank Skaggs was standin' inside the bank's doorway on the lookout for trouble and he spotted me before I saw him. He tried to pick me off, but he wasn't much of a marksman. I jumped off my horse and took cover behind a buckboard while he called a warning to his older brother. Then Frank grabbed a store clerk who'd had the misfortune to be doin' his bankin'  at that hour. He put his gun to the man's head and walked him out the door so I could see what was at stake. The hostage was quakin' and beggin' for his life. Frank and I were at a standoff for a good minute or two, but then Walter Skaggs ran out behind them with some canvas bags of money and headed for the horses at the hitchin' post. He made a darn good target once he passed the clerk. I took my shot, and Walter went down. Tryin' to get to his brother, Frank lost his grip on the hostage, who had the good sense to run off. That gave me a clear shot at Frank. The hostage was safe, the bank got back its money, and after being treated by the local doc, the  brothers were locked up to wait for the circuit court judge. I felt pretty good about myself. I was hooked.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Related by Chance

About the book: Transforming Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationships. What does it take to create true family unity between moms and the women who marry their sons?

The caricatures are everywhere, the jokes are inexhaustible, and the stereotypes fill the screens. From Marie Barone (Everyone Loves Raymond) to Viola Fields (Monster-in-Law) to Internet sites and social media pages like ihatemyinlaws.com and a Facebook page for ihatemymotherinlaw there is no shortage of examples of the caustic relationships that can develop between the two women in a man's life.

Deb DeArmond and her three daughters-in-law have conducted their own exhaustive research into the status of the women-in-law relationship. Their research, which incorporated online surveys, interviews, and discussions, included asking about the faith factor in the relationships they studied. Of the respondents, nearly 90 percent claimed they were Christians, and 79 percent said their faith was foundational and guided their actions and decisions. As discouraging as it may be, the numbers of those they surveyed who reported that their women-in-law relationships were "bad" were nearly identical to those in a survey conducted by a popular secular website that recorded no statistics on faith.

Beyond the statistics and their analysis, Deb brings to this book more than thirty years working with adults to improve communications and deal constructively with conflict. Aside from her research and her professional expertise, perhaps the most important asset Deb brings to this work is her own relationship with her three daughters-in-law that is so obviously and unusually positive that she-and they-are often asked to explain the secret of the relationships they share.

This practical and unapologetically scriptural book covers issues of personal perceptions, strained communication, the roles of sons and fathers in the relationship's success, how to begin these relationships on the right foot, and the necessity of trust and love. Deb's one motivating objective is to help women-in-law move from women who are simply related to strong and confident members of a truly spiritual family.

My Review:

This is a must read for everyone with a mother-in-law.  Filled with insight and great advice.  I, now have a pretty good relationship with my mother-in-law.  But that wasn't always the case and I wish I would have had this book then.  It has questions and self assessments in each chapter to help you out.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/qBcKW
 
About the author: Deb DeArmond has owned her own leadership training and executive coaching practice for fifteen years. She is an experienced speaker and writer with work appearing in "WHOA" Magazine and "Dallas Family" Magazine and a cofounder of mypurposenow.org-an online community for Christian women 50+. Deb and her husband, Ron, have three married sons and three grandchildren, and live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Find out more at debdearmond.com.

Find out more about Deb at http://debdearmond.com.




Thursday, December 5, 2013

Living Seperate Lives--Paulette Harper

 
 
Title:  Living Separate Lives
Author:  Paulette Harper
Published:  November 5th, 2013
Publisher:  Thy Word Publishing
Word Count:  22,000
Genre:  Christian Fiction

Recommended Age:  18+

Synopsis:  Candace Walker, Kaylan Smith, Jordan Tate, and Tiffany Thomas have their share of sorrows, but neither of them realizes how deep the sorrow goes.  What happens when they agree to meet for a weekend of relaxation in beautiful Napa County? Which one will leave the same or worse?

For Candace Walker, life has left her battered and bruised.  Kaylan Smith has struggled with prejudice from her in-laws. After fifteen years of marriage, bitterness is trying to raise its ugly head for Jordan Tate, whose husband wants to call it quits. And for Tiffany Thomas, dealing
with rejection has never been one of her greatest feats.

Although they have been friends for years, they thought they knew each other well. But will a secret destroy their relationship and bring the sisterhood to a complete halt? Will they be able to forgive and allow God to mend that which might be torn?

 


 
My Review:
 
 
This story was too short.  I felt it needed to be a little longer, because it kind of left me wondering what happens.  Other than that, it was well written with a good plot.  Four friends who haven't seen each other in a long time get together, a shocking secret is revealed by one of the four friends, one that is unforgivable.  It had a great message of forgiveness, but like I said, we didn't get to see if that forgiveness ever bore fruit. 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

About the Author:

Paulette Harper is an award-winning and best-selling author. She is the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. Paulette has been writing and publishing books since 2008.  Paulette is the author of That Was Then, This is Now, Completely Whole and The Sanctuary. Her articles have appeared on-line and in print.

 

 
 
Excerpt from Living Separate Lives by Paulette Harper:
 
“Stop preaching to me. I don’t want to hear it anymore. I’ve had enough of your self-righteousness.” The words continued to cut Jordan’s heart; words that she never heard before coming from the mouth of her husband, Eric. “You knew how I was before we got married.” His tone deepened with every word.
Standing in front of the sink, Jordan was frozen and motionless in the middle of the kitchen. She held the dish towel in one hand and a plate in the other. She turned and faced Eric, whose eyes were cold and hard. The verbal blows kept coming. Her mouth opened wide, but no words could be formed when he uttered the deadly words, “I want a divorce.”
 
Giveaway Details:
There is an international tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
$15 Amazon Gift Card


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Marriage in Middlebury--Anita Higman

About the book: One decision changed both their lives . . . but will love win in the end? Charlotte Rose Hill enjoys a comfortable life serving up country delicacies, uniquely blended teas, and matchmaking advice for her quirky, devoted customers. The only thing lacking is someone to share it with. At eighteen she denied Sam Wilder's marriage proposal after his family convinced her to walk away from their relationship. They both moved on . . . or so she thought. When Sam walks back into her life more than a decade later, Charlotte is surprised that her heart still quickens. But is it because of his presence? Or because of the presence of Sam's new fiancée? A second chance at love doesn't happen often, but their past may keep them apart. Is it too late for Sam and Charlotte?


My Review:

This was a charming story set in a charming town full of great characters.  There are actually three love stories in this book.  Charlotte was going to marry Sam when they were 18, but his father didn't want her to, so she refused him.  Almost twenty years later, Sam is back with his fiancée, Audrey.  There is a homeless man in town named Justin, who Sam and Audrey hire to work in the greenhouse on Sam's later father's estate.  As Audrey spends more time with Justin, she finds she has feeling for him.  When Meredith, a new friend of Charlotte's who is in a relationship with the new pastor, send Audrey an old wedding invitation that Charlotte had made, Audrey realizes that Sam and Charlotte love each other.  Will all three couples find their happy ending?  I enjoyed reading about the lives of these characters, this was a very nice place to visit. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/qPbkU

Meet the author: Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She's been a Barnes & Noble "Author of the Month" for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

Connect with Anita at: http://anitahigman.com

Anita Higman is celebrating the release of her latest book, A Marriage in Middlebury, with a double Kindle Fire giveaway (one for you & one to give away!) and a "Tea for Two" Facebook Author Chat Party on December 12th.







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One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire for you AND a friend
  • A Marriage in Middlebury by Anita Higman (one to keep and one to give away!)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 12th. Winner will be announced at the "Tea for Two" Facebook Author Chat Party on December 12th. Invite your friends and connect with Anita for an evening of book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Anita's next book!




So grab your copy of A Marriage in Middlebury and join Anita on the evening of December 12th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word — tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on 12/12!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

An Amish Country Christmas--Review and Interview

An Amish Country Christmas
 
 
About the Book:
“The Christmas Visitors”: For spirited Martha Coblentz and her twin Mary, the snow has delivered the perfect holiday and birthday present to their door—handsome brothers Nate and Bram Kanagy. But when unforeseen trouble interrupts their season’s good cheer, it will take unexpected intervention—and sudden understanding—to give all four the blessing of a lifetime.
 
“Kissing the Bishop”: As the New Year’s first snow settles, Nazareth Hooley and her sister Jerusalem are given a heaven-sent chance to help newly widowed Tom Hostetler tend his home. But when her hope that she and Tom can build on the caring between them seems a dream forever out of reach, Nazareth discovers that faith and love can make any miracle possible.
Purchase your copy at AMAZON or at Kensington Books.

My Review:

This is a book that combines Charlotte/Naomi's two series, the Cedar Creek Series and the Willow Ridge Series.  The first story is The Christmas Visitors, the Kanagy boys, Nate and Bram, travel to Cedar Creek to pick up their new buggy and sleigh.  They meet the Coblentz twins, Mary and Martha.  Mary and Martha invite the boys to stay over the Christmas holiday and to celebrate their birthday.  I didn't really care for any of the characters in this story.  I thought they were all selfish and immature. 
The second story in this book, Kissing the Bishop, was a lot better.  It is the story of the Hooley sister's, Jerusalem and Nazareth.  The Hooley sister's are maidel women who think they will never find love.  They are helping out Preacher Tom Hostetler, who Nazareth has feelings for.  But Tom is not free to marry because his wife left him and divorced him, and in Amish Culture, divorce is not allowed and Tom cannot remarry.  His friend, Vernon Geingrich comes for a Bishops meeting.  Sparks fly between Vernon and Jerusalem.  While the foursome is snowed in, Tom receives a letter that gives him some unexpected news.  Will the Hooley sisters finally find love at their age?  I enjoyed this story and read it in no time.  I liked all of the characters in this one. 
All in all this was good Christmastime book.  Great job Charlotte/Naomi.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About the Author:
I’ve called Missouri home for most of my life, and most folks don’t realize that several Old Older Amish and Mennonite communities make their home here, as well. The rolling pastureland, woods, and small towns along county highways make a wonderful setting for Plain populations—and for stories about them, too! While Jamesport, Missouri is the largest Old Order Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River, other communities have also found the affordable farm land ideal for raising crops, livestock, and running the small family-owned businesses that support their families.
 
Like my heroine, Miriam Lantz, of my Seasons of the Heart series, I love to feed people—to share my hearth and home. I bake bread and goodies and I love to try new recipes. I put up jars and jars of green beans, tomatoes, beets and other veggies every summer. All my adult life, I’ve been a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and we hosted a potluck group in our home for more than twenty years.
 
Like Abby Lambright, heroine of my Home at Cedar Creek series, I consider it a personal mission to be a listener and a peacemaker—to heal broken hearts and wounded souls. Faith and family, farming and frugality matter to me: like Abby, I sew and enjoy fabric arts—I made my wedding dress and the one Mom wore, too, when I married into an Iowa farm family more than thirty-five years ago! When I’m not writing, I crochet and sew, and I love to travel.
 
I recently moved to Minnesota when my husband got a wonderful new job, so now he and I and our border collie, Ramona, are exploring our new state and making new friends.
 
You can visit her website at www.CharlotteHubbard.com
Her latest book is An Amish Country Christmas.
Visit her website at www.charlottehubbard.com.
Connect & Socialize with Charlotte!
 

  
Interview Questions for An Amish Country Christmas
 
How did the idea for AN AMISH COUNTRY CHRISTMAS materialize?
This anthology was my Kensington editor's idea! She thought it would be fun, since both of my Amish series are set in Missouri, to have a story set in each of my fictional towns, with a little mix-and-match between characters. Amish and Christmas are an unbeatable combination, far as generating salesand I thought it would be a lot of fun to write shorter, perkier stories for the holiday.
 The trick? I chose secondary characters whose romances wouldn't confuse readers about the chronology of each series (although having Preacher/Bishop Tom fall in love does affect the story arc of the Willow Ridge series a bit). And by matching up the redheaded Coblentz twins from Cedar Creek with the Kanagy brothers, I had  a "young and restless" story to counterbalance "Kissing the Bishop," where the maidel Hooley sisters, Jerusalem and Nazareth, meet fellows who are worthy of them in midlife. They were fun stories to write.
 
Who are your favorite characters from you two Amish Series?
That's a tough question! From the Seasons of the Heart series, I love Miriam, Ben, and Jerusalem and Nazareth Hooley the bestthey're people I could count on when times get tough. Abby and James from the At Home In Cedar Creek series have remained favoritesalthough in the newest book, AMANDA WEDS A GOOD MAN (which comes out this November 5th) I have had a ball writing five-year-old Simon Brubaker and Amanda's four-year-old twins, Cora and Dora. Kids that age really liven up a story, and you never know what they'll say or do next.
 
How do you celebrate Christmas?
We've celebrated Christmas in many ways over the years. We don't have kids, so it's always been easier for us to hit the roadand we've been young/able enough to make the drive to various relatives' homes. I have family near Pittsburgh, PA as well as in Kansas City, MO, while Neal's family lives mostly in southwest IA. Our jobs have taken us away from those areas, so if we're to gather with family, we have to drive or fly. Now that we've moved to St. Paul, MN, the closest relatives are six hours awayand now that we have a recently remodeled home, we encourage family members to visit us, because their kids are grown now and they're better able to travel.
Our celebration always centers around December church services, because I sing in our choir. In our present church, we celebrate at a late candlelight service on Christmas Eve, as well as with a "sacred music" Sunday earlier in December. At home, we decorate with two Christmas treesone with ornaments from our various vacation trips over the years, and one with ornaments family members, friends, and I have made. I've already baked most of the cookies for this year, because I'll begin sending them to my agent, editors, and far-away family members in early Decemberabout 75 dozen cookies are stashed in my deep freeze right now, and I'll make peanut clusters and peppermint bark to go with those. For me, it wouldn't be Christmas without making those goodies, even during these past few years when I've been so busy writing these two Amish series.
 
What is your favorite Christmas cookie to bake? 
Even though they take a lot of time, I most enjoy baking the cut-out sugar cookies and the cut-out gingerbread cookies (both of these recipes are in the Sugar and Spice section of AN AMISH COUNTRY CHRISTMAS, so you can bake them, too!) I only get out my cutters at this time of year, and because I make about 13 dozen sugar cookies and about 7 dozen of the gingerbread, I make and chill the dough ahead, bake them one day, and decorate them on a Saturday when nothing else is going on. I consider them edible art!
 
What is your favorite Christmas cookie to eat?
 Oh, that's a hard question! Over my years of baking so many kinds of cookies, I've narrowed my baking marathon to only the ones I really love, and the ones that disappear first when I take cookie trays to events. One of my very favorite cookies is a cream cheese macaroonmoist and chewy with lots of coconut! But I also really love the ones with an Andes mint buried inside a soft cookie, frosted in bright colors, with sprinkles! And then there are the sugar cookies and the spicy gingerbread, aboveI could go on and on! These recipes are also in AN AMISH COUNTRY CHRISTMAS.
 
What do you like best about Christmas?


Singing the carols! Going to midnight candlelight service! Opening presents with my Border collie, Ramona, who really rips into her gifts and then helps the rest of us open ours, as  well. And on good days during the Christmas season, I enjoy the more light-hearted, happy sentiments that folks are more likely to express. I have a lot of wonderful memories of when we crammed our family around a crowded table, when I was the only kid there among twenty-some adults...and now it's just an aunt and me left on Dad's side, and I am the eldest left in my mom's family. No matter where we go or whom we see, however, I cherish the holidays I've spent with my husband of more than 38 years. We've come such a long way since we celebrated our first Christmas as broke newlyweds, and we've been truly blessed.



I wish you all a joyous Christmas and holiday season, whatever you celebrate! Thanks so much for spending this time with me, reading about my books
Kissing the Bishop
 
By
Charlotte Hubbard
 
 
1
              Tom Hostetler opened his mailbox out by the snow-packed road and removed a handful of envelopes. A quick glance revealed a few pieces of junk mail and a letter from an attorney whose name he didn’t recognize before the clip-clop! clip-clop! of an approaching buggy made him look up.
            “Morning to you, Tom. And Happy New Year,” Jeremiah Shetler called out as he pulled his Belgian to a halt. “Enos isn’t far behind me. Saw him coming up the highway from the other direction as I turned down your road.”
            “Glad to see you fellows, too,” Tom replied as he stepped up into the carriage with the bishop from Morning Star. “Who could’ve guessed Hiram would disrupt Miriam and Ben’s wedding? He’s set Willow Ridge on its ear—not to mention throwin’ my life into a tailspin—now that we’ve excommunicated him.”
            “Never seen the likes of it,” Jeremiah agreed. He drove down the snowy lane past Tom’s house to park beside the barn. “I still feel God’s will was done, though. Hiram brought this whole thing on himself when he didn’t make his confession. The rumors are flying about that town he’s starting up, too. What’s he calling it?”
            “Higher Ground,” Tom replied with a snort. “But we’re pretty sure he’s got the lowest of intentions, after his dubious ways of raisin’ the money for it. A real sorry situation, this is.” He looked up to see Enos Mullet, the bishop from New Haven, turning his buggy down the lane. “Vernon Gingerich is drivin’ in from Cedar Creek, too.”
            “The four of us will figure things out. Wherever two or more gather in the Lord’s name, He’ll be present.” Jeremiah gazed steadily at him as they paused in the dimness of the barn. “I’ve prayed over this a lot, Tom, and I believe God’s ushering in a new Heaven and a new Earth here in Willow Ridge. And He’s prepared you to handle whatever comes along, my friend.”
            Tom raised his eyebrows. As one of the two preachers for the Willow Ridge district, he was a candidate to become its next bishop . . . a huge responsibility for a man who milked a dairy herd twice a day. “Hope you’re right, Jeremiah. A lot of fine folks are dependin’ on what we decide today.”
            Tom walked out of the stable, noting the gray clouds that gathered in the distance. When the approaching buggy stopped, the man who stepped down from it looked pale. Enos Mullet seemed to get thinner every time Tom saw him, too, what with taking chemo treatments after a nasty bout of cancer. “Enos, it’s gut of ya to come ,” he said as shook the bishop’s bony hand. “You fellas will be glad to hear the Hooley sisters have been helpin’ me get ready for ya. The kitchen smells like they’re cookin’ up something mighty gut for our dinner.”
            “Well then, we certainly won’t starve!” Enos remarked. “Seems like they’ve fit themselves right in amongst you folks. Nice addition to your town.”
            “That they are.” Tom smiled to himself as they led Enos’s Morgan into a stall. He didn’t let on to folks, but Nazareth Hooley had been a lot of company to him this winter, and it was too bad she couldn’t become more than his friend. His wife Lettie had divorced him last Spring, and Old Order Amish couldn’t remarry until their former spouses passed on.
            But his spirits lightened as they stepped into a kitchen filled with the aromas of the fresh pastries and cookies Nazareth and Jerusalem had baked early this morning. As Jeremiah and Enos greeted the sisters and accepted hot coffee and treats, Tom was glad he’d asked them to hostess for him today.
            “Here comes Vernon,” he said, pointing toward the road out front. “And would ya look at that sleigh he’s drivin’, too! You fellows make yourselves comfortable in the front room, and we’ll be right in.”
            What was it about a sleigh that made him feel like a kid again? Tom hurried outside again, delighting in the merry jingle of the harness bells and the proud way Vernon’s Percheron pulled the vehicle.
            “Whoa there, Samson,” the bishop called out. “And gut morning to you, Tom! I’ve had a fine ride, even if those clouds make me think more snow’s on the way.”
            “Jah, I’m glad you’ve come to visit for a day or so. We’ll get right to our business so the other two fellows can be safe on the roads.” Tom stroked the horse’s black neck, grinning. “This looks to be a fine old sleigh, Vernon. Brings to mind the one my dat got from his dat, back when we kids prayed for snow so we could ride in it.”
            “This one’s of the same vintage. And thanks to our James Graber’s way with restoring old vehicles, it’s a beauty again.” Vernon patted the deep maroon velvet that covered the high-backed seat. “Three of the best pleasures in this life are spirited horses, fine rigs, and a gut woman—not necessarily in that order. Guess I’ll be happy with having two of the three.”
            Tom laughed. “Jah, that’s how we have to look at it sometimes.”
            As they stabled Samson and then entered the warm kitchen, Tom felt better about their morning’s mission: Vernon Gingerich was known for his down-to-earth faith and simple wisdom, and his sense of humor made even the most difficult tasks easier to accomplish.
            “My stars, I must’ve stepped into Heaven,” the bishop from Cedar Creek said as he inhaled appreciatively. “Don’t tell me you baked the goodies on this sideboard, Tom!”
            “The credit for that goes to Nazareth and Jerusalem Hooley,” Tom replied as he gestured to each of the women. “Two more generous, kind-hearted gals you’ll never find, Vernon.”
            As the women greeted their final guest, Jeremiah and Enos replenished their plates and made Vernon welcome, as well. It did Tom’s heart good to hear these voices filling his kitchen, to feel the presence of friends who would put their faith and best intentions to work today in behalf of Willow Ridge. Living alone this past year had taught him to appreciate the company of those who had seen him through some rough months.
As Vernon chose from the array of treats, Tom closed his eyes over a pastry twist that oozed butterscotch filling onto his tongue. When he looked up again, Nazareth was beaming at him, pouring him a mug of coffee. “It’s going to be a gut morning for all of us, Tom,” she assured him. “If you fellows need anything at all, we sisters’ll be right here in the kitchen.”
Denki for all you’ve done,” he murmured. “Couldn’t ask for better help, or a better friend than you, Naz.”
Her sweet smile made Tom wish the snow would pile up around the doors so they couldn’t get out for days—after Enos and Jeremiah had gotten safely home, of course. But he set such wishful thinking aside and led the way into the front room. It was time to determine who would lead Willow Ridge into the New Year . . . into a future no one but God could foresee.
 
 
“Have you ever seen blue eyes that twinkle the way Vernon’s do, Sister?” Jerusalem whispered. She peered through the doorway at the four men who sat around the table where Tom usually carved and painted his Nativity sets—except she and Nazareth had cleared the wooden figures from it earlier today. Jerusalem ducked back into the kitchen when the white-bearded bishop from Cedar Creek smiled at her.
Nazareth laughed softly. “Seems like a nice fellow, Vernon does. A far cry from the sort of man Hiram Knepp turned out to be.”
Jah, you’ve got that right. I’m thankful the gut Lord opened our eyes to his underhanded ways before I let myself get sucked in.” Jerusalem stirred some barley into the pot of vegetable beef soup on the stove. Truth be told, she had been attracted to Hiram Knepp from the moment she’d set foot in Willow Ridge last fall—and he had taken to her right off, too. But as time went by, she’d realized the bishop was more interested in having her keep track of his four younger children than he was in hitching up with an outspoken maidel who’d become set in her ways . . .
Is it too late for me, Lord? Jerusalem watched the emotions play across her sister’s face as she set places around the kitchen table: it was no secret that Nazareth and Preacher Tom were sweet on each other despite that fact that they couldn’t marry. Surely there must be a fellow who would appreciate her own talents for cooking and keeping up a home . . . a man who could tolerate her tendency to speak her mind and do things her way. Was it such a sin to be competent and efficient enough that she’d never needed a husband?
“What do you suppose they’ll decide on today?” Nazareth asked as she took six soup bowls from the cabinet. “What with Preacher Gabe havin’ poor Wilma to look after while he’s gettin’ so frail himself—”
Jah, I thought it was the wise thing for him to tell Tom, right out, that he couldn’t handle bein’ the new bishop,” Jerusalem agreed. “That leaves Tom as the only real choice, because I can’t see folks wantin’ a totally new fella from someplace else to take over. Tom’s perfect for the job, too.”
Nazareth’s brows knit together. “It’s a lot to ask of a dairy farmer who’s got such a big herd to milk, especially since his kids all live at a distance and he’s got no wife. Some districts back East wouldn’t even consider a divorced man.”
“Everyone knows it’s not Tom’s doing that he’s alone.” Jerusalem held her sister’s gaze for a moment. “Not that he’s really by himself, what with you helpin’ him every chance you get.”
“Folks might frown on me spendin’ so much time here, after he’s ordained,” Nazareth replied in a shaky voice. “Bishops are expected to walk a higher path. Can’t appear to live outside the Ordnung—especially after the way Hiram went rotten on us.”
Jerusalem set down her long-handled spoon and placed her hands on her younger sister’s shoulders. Nazareth was slender and soft-spoken; had chosen a brilliant green cape dress that looked especially festive today. But her quivering chin told the real story, didn’t it? “So you’re worried that if Tom’s to be the new bishop, he’ll have to forget his feelings for you? I don’t see him doing that.”
“But—but we’re to devote ourselves to God first and foremost,” Nazareth reminded her. “No matter what Tom and I feel for each other, we’re to follow the Old Ways. I’d begun to believe that God had led me here from Lancaster to find him. . . to be his helpmate someday. But now—”
Chairs scooted against the floor in the front room. The men’s louder talk made Jerusalem embrace her sister quickly and then step away. “It’s in the Lord’s hands, Sister. Let’s not worry these molehills into mountains before we see what comes of today’s meeting.”
Jah, you’re right.” Nazareth swiped at her eyes and began taking food from the fridge. “I’m just being a silly old maidel. Until we came to Missouri, I’d been so certain God meant for me to be a teacher rather than a wife, so maybe I’m just confused.”
Silly? Confused? Those were hardly words Jerusalem associated with her sweet, hard-working sister, but she certainly understood Nazareth’s sentiments. She, too, had spent her adult life believing she had a different mission from most Plain women. If Hiram hadn’t upset her emotional apple cart, why, she would still be staunchly convinced that teaching—and then coming to Willow Ridge with their three grown nephews—was what she was meant to do. Now she had a bee in her bonnet and she buzzed with a restlessness she didn’t know how to handle. And her longing wouldn’t disappear just because Hiram had.
As the four men entered the kitchen, however, Jerusalem set aside her worrisome thoughts. “You fellas ready for some dinner? It’s nothing fancy, but we thought soup and hot sandwiches would taste gut on a winter’s day.”
“Ah, but fancy isn’t our way, is it?” Jeremiah quipped. “You’ve had my mouth watering all morning.”
“The snow’s startin’ to blow, so we decided Enos and Jeremiah should be gettin’ on the road as soon as we eat,” Tom said. “We’ve pretty much settled our business for today.”
As the men took places around the table, Jerusalem opened the oven to remove the pan of open-faced ham and cheese sandwiches, which looked like little pizzas. She had picked right up on the fact that Tom hadn’t said Vernon was heading back. Although Cedar Creek was a lot farther away than Morning Star or New Haven, he wore an unruffled expression, as though driving home was the least of his concerns. Nazareth dipped up big bowls of the steaming soup, chockfull of vegetable chunks and beef, while Jerusalem set butter and jelly alongside a basket of fresh whole-wheat rolls.
“Looks like a feast,” Enos said in his raspy voice.
Jerusalem took the empty chair across from her sister, wishing she could feed that poor man enough to fill out all his hollows. They bowed in a silent prayer and then Tom passed the platter in front of him. “You fellas are gettin’ a real treat here,” he remarked. “Naz and Jerusalem made the cheese on these sandwiches from their goats’ milk.”
Vernon’s face lit up as he took two of them. “So those goats in the stable are yours? They seem right at home among the horses.”
“Oh, jah,” Jerusalem replied, “goats and horses are natural companions. We brought those four from Lancaster with us, well . . . as a gift to the bishop.” She paused, wishing she hadn’t gone down this conversational path. “But when we informed Hiram we wouldn’t be joining him in Higher Ground, we took them back.”          
“And Preacher Tom’s been kind enough to let us keep them here,” Nazareth continued. “Our does will be havin’ kids this spring, and we couldn’t take the chance that they’d not be properly tended.”
Jeremiah helped himself to the hot sandwiches. “You folks are in the prayers of all the districts around you,” he said in a solemn voice. “Enos and I suspected, back when Hiram confessed to us about his car, that other issues might come to light someday. We can only trust that God has a reason for all the trouble Hiram’s caused.”
“We also believe, however, that Willow Ridge will be in capable, compassionate hands with Tom as its spiritual leader.” Vernon took a big bite of his open-faced sandwich and then closed his eyes. “My goodness, ladies, what a treat you’ve blessed us with today. I’m ready to buy myself a few goats so I can enjoy more of this marvelous cheese.”
Jerusalem’s heart fluttered. “Thank you, Vernon. It’s been our pleasure to provide you fellas a meal while you’ve been here on such important business.”
“So it’s settled then?” Nazareth asked. “Preacher Tom is to become the bishop?”
“It’s what our prayers and discussion have led us to, jah.” Jeremiah smiled at the man who sat at the table’s head. “What with you folks needing two new preachers now, we feel Tom will provide the continuity—the leadership and spiritual example—to bind up the wounds Hiram has inflicted. It’s not the usual falling of the lot, the way we Amish let God select our bishops, but in your case it’s the most practical solution.”
Jerusalem noted the way her sister nipped at her lower lip before biting into a roll she’d slathered with butter and jam. Well they knew the blessing Tom Hostetler had been to them and to this entire community, even if it meant Nazareth must put aside her hopes for romance. And while Tom’s expression suggested he had his share of doubts and questions about the role he would assume, he was accepting this new wagonload of responsibility as God’s will for his life.
Tom’s faith—his willingness to serve without complaint or question—will be an inspiration to us all, Jerusalem thought. Give me the grace to follow where You’re leading me, as well, Lord.
When Jerusalem looked up, Vernon Gingerich was studying her, and he didn’t lower his eyes for several seconds. It felt unseemly—downright brazen—to return his gaze, yet she indulged herself in this fascinating man’s silent attention anyway. Hadn’t Tom mentioned that the bishop of Cedar Creek was a widower?
The conversation continued along the lines of farming, shepherding of human flocks, and other topics of common interest as Jerusalem refilled soup bowls and Nazareth brought the goody trays to the table. What a blessing it was to be surrounded by the wisdom and experience these three bishops had brought with them . . . a balm to her soul, after the way Hiram had condemned them when they hadn’t followed him to Higher Ground. It was such a delight to watch the men devour the cookies they’d baked, too. All too soon they were scooting back from the table.
“Can we send goodies home with you fellas?” Jerusalem asked. “It’d be our pleasure, after the help you’ve given our district today.”
Jeremiah’s dark eyes flashed with pleasure. “Jah, I’ll take some! Not that I promise they’ll all make it to Morning Star.”
Enos laughed until his bony shoulders shook. “You’ve got a bottomless pit for a stomach, Jeremiah. These days nothin’ I eat seems to stick. But I’d be happy to relieve Tom of the burden of having to force the rest of them down.”
“None for me, thanks,” Vernon said as he slipped into his coat. “Tom invited me to stay over, and by the looks of those huge snowflakes he’s a pretty fine weather forecaster. I’ll be back in a few, so don’t put those cookies away yet.”
 
A schoolgirl’s grin overtook Jerusalem’s face. Vernon was staying over! And wasn’t that the best
 
news she’d heard in a long, long while?
 
 
!