Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A BOOK REVIEW OF A SIMPLE WISH BY CHARLOTTE HUBBARD



I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of A Simple Wish (Zebra) by Charlotte Hubbard.  This is book two in the Simple Gifts series.  Many of Charlotte’s favorite characters are included in this novel. It’s fun to see these characters continue and grow book after book. They become like old family friends.

A Simple Wish is the story of Loretta, her two sisters and their joyless, cantankerous, widower dad who is hiding several secrets from his daughters and the Amish community. Loretta takes up with somewhat of a scoundrel who is trying to rehabilitate himself. I guess even sweet Amish girls love bad boys.

Charlotte has packed plenty of romance between the pages of this novel. Besides Loretta and her bad boy, Drew, there is also an Englisher couple heating things up as well.

The book is full of delicious descriptions of events, crafts, romance, food, dress, and characters which will make you feel as if you too are a part of the story.  What a gift Charlotte Hubbard has!  This story has it all!

I would highly recommend that you read the first book in the series, A Simple Vow prior to reading A Simple Wish.  It will greatly increase your enjoyment knowing the back story of these characters.  A Simple Wish was published September 26, 2017.

Charlotte Hubbard is allowing me to include an excerpt from A Simple Wish to show you the exciting nature of this book:

Grinning, Drew dropped down from the buggy. As he clasped Loretta’s hand and escorted her to the other side of his open vehicle, she wondered if he was leading her down a path riskier than Will’s and far more dangerous. A path more daring . . . and passionate. When Drew placed his hands on either side of her waist, he paused before lifting her up.

Loretta’s heart went wild. Drew’s sapphire eyes held secrets and intentions she couldn’t decipher, and he brought to mind a fox in the henhouse cornering his tasty prey. Effortlessly he lifted her into his buggy and then hopped in on the other side. “Hope I wasn’t interrupting anything important,” he said as he took up the lines. “If I’m not mistaken, Gingerich looked like a man come courting.”

Feeling downright wicked—yet too flummoxed to look over at Will on the porch—Loretta let out the breath she’d been holding. “You saved me from a really embarrassing scene,” she murmured as the buggy lurched into motion. “Once upon a time I loved Will with all my heart, but after Dat broke us up and he latched onto Molly so fast—well, I had second thoughts about his . . . sincerity. His true feelings for me. And now, well—”

Loretta faltered. The man beside her had lied to Molly about who he was when he’d gotten her in the family way, before poor deluded Will had married her. Everyone in town had officially forgiven Drew for deceiving Molly, and also for drugging his brother Asa with sleeping pills before he’d tried to marry Edith, but Drew was still a mysterious newcomer who played his cards close to his vest.

If Dat saw whom you were riding off with, he’d be even more upset than when he made you break up with Will.

It was true, yet Loretta didn’t regret what she was doing. For the first in a long time, she felt breathlessly alive.






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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Charlotte Hubbard is the acclaimed author of Amish romance and fiction that evokes simpler times and draws upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi. Faith and family, farming, and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle—and the foundation of all her novels. A deacon, dedicated church musician and choir member, she loves to travel, read, try new recipes, and crochet. A longtime Missourian, Charlotte now lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband and their border collie, Vera. Please visit Charlotte online at www.CharlotteHubbard.com.
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Charlotte.Hubbard1

Monday, September 18, 2017

A BOOK REVIEW OF LOVE BY THE NUMBERS BY LAURA V. HILTON



If you are looking for a sweet and sassy fun read in the Amish genre I have a great one for you to read, Love by the Numbers (Thomas Nelson, Inc.) written by Laura V. Hilton.  What a wonderful romantic story Laura has crafted!  She literally had me hooked from the first sentence, “He was gorgeous.”

In Love by the Numbers, Lydia and Caleb, two imperfect Amish twenty something year old’s, meet and each has a secret shameful past.  Laura V. Hilton writing is realistic as she still remembers being young and infatuated with someone special.  And that is what makes this novel so extraordinary and entertaining.

I love the skill Laura uses to seamlessly blend bible verses into her stories.  One of the main themes in this book comes from 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”  We need to believe that everything will be okay. Fortunately, our heavenly Father freely offers us grace and forgiveness.

Laura V. Hilton also writes with humor.  I can’t count the number of times I laughed out loud while reading.  This charming romance will be available February 6, 2018.



Sunday, May 28, 2017

Amish Baskets has a Spring Clearance Sale!

Large Heart Basket $32.95


Can you believe it?  Right after I post about www.AmishBaskets.com they decide to have a Spring clearance sale!

Jelly Basket with Partition $14.95

If you are looking to buy a beautiful, useful, handmade genuine Amish basket, here is your chance.  And shipping is free.

Silverware & Utensil Organization Basket $19.95

Click on this link Spring Sale Baskets so you can see for yourself the incredible pricing and quality of these baskets.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

REVEALING THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GENUINE AMISH BASKETS








Oh, my goodness!  I have discovered a genuine Amish basket weaving company that produces some of the most beautiful works of art, yet honestly useful pieces.  Three Old Order Amish families are lovingly creating these handwoven baskets and selling them through a website, www.AmishBaskets.com.  The basket I have is a Double Pie Basket crafted by the Troyer family, specifically, Eli and Caroline Troyer plus Ada, age 18.  I know this because they have signed the bottom of my Double Pie Basket.

This basket is beautifully designed, weaved, stained, and finished.  It includes a wooden pie stand to separate two pies securely and has a lovely maroon fabric liner.  Additionally, it has dark maroon leather straps to carry it comfortable as well as a sturdy wooden lid with leather handle to easily remove the lid.  This is a first class, scrupulously woven basket that will hold up for many, many years to come.  I could envision handing this down to my daughter, and her handing it down to a future child.  A real heirloom for generations to come.


Now here's the unbelievable part - free shipping and incredible pricing.  For a basket of this quality, I would have expected to pay over $100.  This large handmade basket without the fabric lining, but including the lid and pie stand is only $49.95.

The three Amish families of www.AmishBaskets.com weave dozens of distinct types of baskets in varied color combinations.  Look over their website at all the many kinds of baskets they have.  I saw a small egg collector basket for $14.95 - and shipping is FREE!
  

The pictures on their internet site do not do the baskets justice.  Please read their online reviews from previous customers.  Fine handmade Amish quality at a truly decent price is rare these days but www.AmishBaskets.com can fill all your basket and gift needs.  I am proud to recommend them to all AmishReader fans.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

HOSTING A CHRISTMAS CRAFT PARTY

Four generations of creative women!

This past weekend, I hosted my female in-laws for our annual Christmas Craft Party.  I thought it would be fun to share with you my preparations, menu, and craft ideas in case you would like to start a tradition like this as well.

The beauty behind this craft party idea is that it really doesn’t matter how crafty or creative you are.  With Pinterest, there are craft ideas for any level of ability, time, or money.  What is really fun is seeing all the different crafts being made.  At my party, each person brought their own crafting supplies but I did have a couple of extra glue guns, scissors, glitter, ribbon, etc. available if needed.

Here is how I organized our get together:

1.      Invite:  Using Messenger on my computer I sent out a note to my sisters-in-law, nieces, and great nieces with the invitation to come craft at my house and a couple of dates that would work about 6 weeks before the party.  We were able to decide on Sunday, November 6th.
2.      Pick a Craft:  Several of us posted on Messenger pictures of what we planned on making from Pinterest.  This gets everyone’s creative juices flowing and time to get to the craft store to purchase supplies.
Two pans of delicious lasagna
3.      Set Your Menu:  I enjoy cooking for company so at this time I began to think about our lunch menu.  At last year’s craft party, I made a creamy chicken soup.  This year after some consideration to serving a brunch themed menu, I decided on lasagna, salad, and garlic bread.  I have a simple lasagna recipe that I have shared before, but I wanted a new recipe, something more substantial.  So I tried out the new recipe from The Pioneer Woman on my husband first.  When he loved it, I knew I had a good lasagna recipe to use.
Desserts provided by our thoughtful guests

4.      Ask For Help:  All the ladies wanted to help out with our lunch menu, so some brought desserts, one appetizer, two brought salads, so the workload on me was really reduced!  I’m so lucky to have thoughtful relatives!
5.      Clean & Organize:  Beginning the week before the party, I give myself a cleaning job each day so I’m not spending a whole day cleaning the whole house.  Just remember when you are planning out your cleaning chores to do them in the proper order.  Cleaning the floors (mopping or vacuuming) is always done last.
The dining room table covered in brown craft paper makes for an easy cleanup.

6.      Set Up:  The day before the party, my husband and I set up our great room/dining room to accommodate our guests.  As you can see from the pictures I posted, our dining room table was covered in heavy, brown craft paper so that paint, glue, glitter, etc. does not ruin the wood table.  It makes clean up so easy, just roll up the craft paper and throw it away after we are finished.  We needed two tables to accommodate all our crafters.  Leftover brown craft paper can be used to wrap Christmas gifts.
Second table had a plastic top, so no need to cover with craft paper.

7.      Prep Ahead:  I always make as much of my menu ahead as I can.  I like to be “present” when my guests arrive.  Like many families, these ladies all live very active lives, so it is a real treat to spend time with them.  I don’t want to hide in the kitchen, if I can help it.  So the night before the party, I made my lasagna so all I had to do the day of the party is heat up the pans of lasagna and warm up the garlic bread.
Lots of friendly help and advice available.

So much creativity in this family!


An Idea for Next Year:  Although it was too late to do at this year’s party, I had a thought for next year.  This would be the perfect timing for all of us to work on our Christmas cards.  Like so many families are doing now, instead of traditional Christmas cards, many are sending out photographic cards, which I just LOVE!  In January, I throw out the regular Christmas cards we receive but I have kept every single photographic Christmas card I have ever received.  I love going back and looking at them, seeing how the kids have grown and families have enlarged over the years.  How fun it would be to look over each other’s photos and help each other select the perfect picture/pictures for the annual Christmas card.  It is so easy to upload and personalize.


I hope I have given you some simple ideas to host your own fun and easy Christmas Craft Party for friends or family.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A BOOK REVIEW OF CHRISTMAS AT PROMISE LODGE BY CHARLOTTE HUBBARD



Are you looking for something to put you in the mood for Christmas?  I have just what you are looking for, Christmas at Promise Lodge (Zebra Books) by Charlotte Hubbard.  Nothing is more cozy than spending several hours curled up with a Charlotte Hubbard Amish novel and this one takes place during the Christmas season.  Charlotte’s writing is spot on, so warmhearted and uplifting, filled with the right amount of romance, spirituality, friendship, food, and fun.

In Christmas at Promise Lodge, we have several different romantic couples working through some difficulties and the best part is they are not all teenagers.  We have several couples in their 40’s/50s.  Is love better the second time around?  Having more mature romantic relationships featured makes the book more relatable to folks of a certain age like me.

Also of interest is the tension in the community due to Bishop Floyd’s strict adherence to the most conservative interpretation of Old Order Amish rules.  The Promise Lodge community was originally founded by a group of Amish wanting to get away from a different Bishop they had lost respect for; the last thing they had wanted was this new Bishop with his stubborn and iron will ways.

Christmas at Promise Lodge is book two in the Promise Lodge series.  This is my favorite series written by Charlotte Hubbard.  There is something just so comforting, warm, and loving about Promise Lodge.  You almost could see yourself staying there for a good long while, soaking in the friendship and fellowship of all the residents.  And I can’t forget to mention the delicious meals described within the pages of this book.  I can almost smell those sugar cookies baking right now!  Happily, Charlotte includes several recipes mentioned in the book.


Christmas at Promise Lodge will be published September 27, 2016.  I highly recommend you get a copy and carve out some alone time to read it during those crazy stressful holiday times.  I promise it will refresh your mind and put you right back in the Christmas spirit, for sure and for certain!

Friday, July 8, 2016

WE HAVE A WINNER OF OUR AUTOGRAPHED JUST PLAIN SADIE



I'm excited to announce the winner of our autographed copy of Just Plain Sadie by Amy Lillard.


KAREN G.

Congratulations Karen!  I will be sending you an email asking for your address and will be shipping the book to you immediately.

Thank you to all who entered our giveaway.  Special thanks to Amy Lillard for giving me the book to giveaway.  And thanks Amy for the wonderful writing you supplied me for yesterday's blog.

Readers, Amy Lillard has written other genres of books.  I have only read her Amish novels and each is interesting and well written.

Here is a list of her Amish novels:

Caroline's Secret
Courting Emily
Lorie's Heart
Just Plain Sadie
Marrying Jonah (available March 2017)
Titus Returns (available December 2016)
More Than a Promise (available November 2016)
Gabriel's Bride
Katie's Choice
The Amish Christmas Sleigh


Thursday, July 7, 2016

SPECIAL GUEST POST FROM AMY LILLARD!





Amish and Mennonite:
more alike and more different than you may think

by Amy Lillard
A writer’s life is filled with “What Ifs?” What if an Amish woman discovers her father has a tattoo? (Lorie’s Heart) What if the bishop’s daughter’s long-standing love interest decides he wants to experience the English world? (Courting Emily) What if a wealthy heiress hides out on an Amish farm? (Saving Gideon) This is exactly how my latest novel Just Plain Sadie came about. What if an Amish woman falls in love with a Mennonite man?
               Just Plain Sadie is my seventh Amish book and though research into such a complex group of people is never-ending, I have to admit that I don’t know nearly as much about the Mennonites. Mostly the basics: that the Mennonites broke from the Amish over shunning way back when, now some drive cars and have electricity. But upon delving further I discovered that the Mennonites are more varied than even the Amish.
               Last year on my trip to Pennsylvania I met a Mennonite man at Roots Market. After talking with him a bit, I realized that he and his church were much more conservative than even my Old Order Lancaster friends. See, he had loaned me a cart to haul my books and things from the car and when it was time to go, I offered him a book as a thank you. He wouldn’t even touch it because he said it looked like a romance novel. Their church didn’t allow their members to read romance novels. My Lancaster Amish friends not only read my books, they help me get the details correct! Intriguing…
               The Mennonites run the gamut between ultraconservative, driving a horse and buggy, wearing prayer kapps and homemade clothes, to very modern, you might not even know the person sitting next to you in the dentist office waiting area is a Mennonite. I have a Mennonite friend whose profile pic on Facebook (yes, he has a Facebook) is of him and his wife wearing NFL jerseys. More than the issue of shunning separates the Mennonites from the Amish.
               Interestingly enough, though the Mennonites in general are considered less conservative than the Amish (though you can see from my Roots encounter that this is not necessarily the case), they are adamant when it comes to following rules.  It’s as if the leadership believes, “we have given you this. Be thankful and don’t push the boundaries.”
               I’ve heard countless stories of how the Amish ‘get around’ certain aspects of their Ordnung.  Can’t have a windshield on your buggy? Wrap it in visqueen. Can’t have rubber tires? Replace the wheels with another, acceptable kind. Can only have a phone in the barn? Move the second receiver into the house (plugged into solar power, of course).
               These differences in attitudes toward the rules and how best to follow them became a source of conflict between Sadie and her Mennonite interest, Ezra Hein. Add in a longtime boyfriend who wants to travel and a mother who can’t quite let go and that’s Just Plain Sadie.
               As with the Amish, research into the Mennonite culture could last a lifetime. And maybe I’ll take the reader back to Taylor Creek and the Mennonites of Oklahoma one day.

               What about you? Have you had any experience with the Mennonite culture? Were they conservative? Modern? Or somewhere in between? Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear your stories!
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Thank you so much to Amy Lillard for guest posting today!  Also, thank you to Amy for giving me an autographed copy of her Amish novel, Just Plain Sadie to giveaway to one lucky reader.  Just make sure you comment on this blog before midnight, Thursday July 7th to enter.  Be sure to include your email address or name to identify yourself in your comment.  Good luck to all and I will post the winner's name tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

GIVEAWAY, JUST COMMENT TO ENTER



_-_ GIVEAWAY_-_ Signed Amy Lillard book! Enter Here!
Comment below with your Email and we'll choose a name Friday
Come back Thursday to read Amy Lillard's own words on writing Just Plain Sadie.

A BOOK REVIEW OF JUST PLAIN SADIE BY AMY LILLARD




Just Plain Sadie (Zebra Books) is the newest, and quite possibly, the best Amish romance novel by Amy Lillard in the Wells Landing series.  This book is so touching and heart felt that the ending will leave readers with tears of joy.  At the same time, valuable lessons are apparent within the pages of Just Plain Sadie.

The tension in this book comes from Sadie feeling she needs to choose between Chris, a “steady, strong, and true” Amish man who has been Sadie’s best friend for forever and Ezra, a Mennonite man who makes her heart beat faster when she sees him.  Sadie craves the romance that she feels with Ezra but their interfaith relationship upsets both families.  Neither Sadie’s momma nor Ezra’s momma can see past the religious differences to see the person they are in their heart.  Quoting Sadie in the book, “Why were people so narrow minded?  Why couldn’t they see past all the little things on the surface to the person underneath?”  Quite a message for all of us!

Ezra is totally smitten with Sadie.  Here is a quote from the book that sums it up quite nicely, “He really couldn’t say why, but she pulled him in like a magnet, like a moth, like a hundred other things that couldn’t resist something more powerful than them.  And there was no fighting it.  Not that he wanted to.”  This is terrific swoon worthy writing!

Conversely, Chris has been in Sadie’s life always.  They grew up together and were coupled up in their buddy group.  Everyone expected them to get married and Sadie wants that too.  Her whole goal in life is to marry Chris, start a family, and happily live in their Wells Landing Amish community.  Sadie feels that their relationship may not be romantic, but they would have a good life together.

Just Plain Sadie requires readers to ask themselves which is more important, your partner’s heart or their religious affiliation?  Should a person forego romance for family harmony?

Amy Lillard’s brilliant writing, character growth, and captivating romantic scenes clearly set the reader up for a delightful reading experience.   As noted before, Amy is talented in maintaining the romantic tension as well as interjecting humor between the characters in her books.  Readers of the Amish genre will treasure every page of Just Plain Sadie which was published March 29, 2016.
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Please make sure to come back tomorrow to this blog.  I have a super surprise blog entry from Amy Lillard herself!  Her blog entry will be all about her experience in writing Just Plain Sadie.  I loved what she wrote and think you all will love it too.  Also, don't forget to enter the giveaway of an autographed copy of Just Plain Sadie by commenting below.  Be sure to leave your email address or your name in the comment so I can identify the winner.