Abiding Mercy

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Reid, Ruth. Abiding Mercy: An Amish Mercies Series- Book 1. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Growing up in the Amish community, Faith is content to work at her parent’s restaurant, The Amish Table. As a hard worker and part of an Amish family, though she struggles at times, nothing compares to the heartbreak and controversy she soon must address. With questions swirling, answers needed and possible forgiveness sought, Abiding Mercy follows two storylines of two very different backgrounds but perhaps a combined future. As the start of a new series, Amish Mercies, author Ruth Reid peaks interest with this first book.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With a bit of a more unique Amish storyline, I was intrigued with how this book would unfold and finish. Reading it in one evening (very rare for me), the pages just kept turning. With a few surprises, developed characters, and an interesting storyline, I thought this novel was well written. Though perhaps it was a little apparent, the journey of reaching the end was enjoyable. Definitely a series I will follow, I appreciate the sincerity and honesty with which the author writes of the Amish and their way of life.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Abiding Mercy from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

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English River

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Nye, Thomas. English River: Amish Horses Series- Book III. USA: CrossLink Publishing. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Living with his Uncle Noey and Aunt Ruth since his father left the Amish years earlier, young Lenny reaches adulthood. Having followed his coming of age story through the previous two novels in the Amish Horses Series, Lenny finally comes to a crossroads and must decide between the Amish settlement and the English ways of life. Torn between emotions, community, family and his heart, Lenny realizes he must make choices which will impact his life both now and in the future.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As book 3 in the series, I enjoyed this book at least as much as I did the previous two. With a backdrop of a simpler way of life filled with horses, laughter, sadness and love, English River was probably my favorite book yet. As a calm storyteller, author Thomas Nye pays beautiful credit to the Amish manner of living. A simple, sweet, heart-warming novel with a deeper message, I cannot help but recommend this book to many others. Hopefully, this skilled and gentle writer will have another book on the near horizon.

RATING:
4.25 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of English River from BookCrash and the author for my honest review*

99 Favorite Amish Breads, Rolls, & Muffins

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Varozza, Georgia. 99 Favorite Amish Breads, Rolls, & Muffins: Plain and Simple Recipes to Warm Your Soul. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Filled with delicious recipes originating with the Amish, 99 Favorite Amish Bread, Rolls, & Muffins shares biscuits, scones, breads, muffins, rolls and bun ideas to be enjoyed by all. Though not difficult in preparation, the outcome is definitely appetizing. Paired with a dinner menu or sampled alone as a snack, these Amish favorites are sure to inspire as well as be devoured. Popovers, Soda Bread, Orange Cream Scones and Peach Muffins are just a few of the included aroma-filled, tummy-pleasing recipes in this useful, spiral-bound cookbook.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already owning and using several cookbooks from this series, I was more than happy to add yet another to my collection. Easy to follow directions with pantry-ready ingredients, it is perfect for that needed side-dish, hoped-for breakfast item, or anticipated dessert. Though I missed the photographs which could have accompanied each recipe, I did appreciate the spiral-bound cookbook which can remain open while cooking. Easy to substitute ingredients if needed and/ or desired, this compact cookbook should be a staple in every kitchen.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of 99 Favorite Amish Breads, Rolls, & Muffins from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

The Sisters Of Sugarcreek

Liggett, Cathy. The sisters Of Sugarcreek. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2017.

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SUMMARY:
Lydia Gruber, a recent young Amish widow, feels alone in her community. When two women leave a gift for her along with an invitation, Lydia finds she cannot refuse though she may have tried. Learning to knit with the women of Rose’s Knit One, Quilt Too Cottage, Lydia and the other women continue the tradition of the Secret Stitches Society, sharing compassion, hope, love and friendship through their mission. With romance, goodness, and faith, The Sisters Of Sugarcreek, by author Cathy Liggett, shares sisterhood in a delightful way.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A sweet light read, I enjoyed this Amish genre book by a new author to me. Liking the writing style which was fun, snappy and fluid, I breezed through this novel quite quickly. Though not too deep, the storylines kept the book moving while the characters were endearing. Charming mixed with a bit of faith and compassion, The Sisters Of Sugarcreek definitely has the makings of a series which hopefully is being considered. Definitely an author I will read again, I plan on searching for her previous novel, Beaded Hope. (Would make a wonderful gift for a knitter in your life!)

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Sisters Of Sugarcreek from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*

Mattie’s Pledge

Drexler, Jan. Mattie’s Pledge: Journey To Pleasant Prairie- Book 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
Moving from her current community to yet another, Mattie Schrock knows how to nestle into a new place. Though leaving some friends and family behind, Mattie has a yearning for new adventures, especially when associated with travel. Not an easy journey, Mattie and her family set out for an Amish community in Indiana. Connecting with past friends again including Jacob Yoder, someone who always had a special place in her heart, Mattie discovers she must decide between a new adventure in the West or the comfort of her own community based on a certain pledge.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Liking to read Amish fiction scattered throughout the many other books I read, I enjoyed the newest novel by author Jan Drexler. With ancestors dating back to the Amish immigrants in the 1700s, Jan Drexler has a special interest in this type of genre and it definitely shines. As a continuation of the Journey To Pleasant Prairie series, it was interesting to follow another related character’s story. Heart tugging at times yet full of traveling experiences, I am glad I took the time to read it. Well written and true to the Amish culture, I look forward to the next book in this same series.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Mattie’s Pledge from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Devoted

Fisher, Suzanne Woods. The Devoted: The Bishop’s Family- Book 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
With an amazing heart for good, patience and the Lord, Bishop David is led by the Scriptures to help the people of Stoney Ridge follow the Bible while also keeping their Amish way of life. Ruthie, at the age of seventeen and on the brink of adulthood, must decide the path she wishes to pursue while the Englisher Patrick, hopes to delve deeper into the Amish culture. Add to those characters, Dok, who purchases the health clinic practice and must work to gain the Amish trust, and Luke, the town trouble-maker. Add in a bit of humor, some romance and perhaps some heartache for a stirring story…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As book 3 in the Bishop’s Family series, The Devoted also works well as a stand-alone. Grabbing my attention from the beginning of the novel, I literally flew through it. Full of Amish community and culture, a little mystery and soft, clean romance coupled with faith, author Suzanne Woods Fisher has penned yet another well-written Amish novel. As the characters grow and are revisited, it is interesting to not only learn their ways but realize they are similar people with choices and consequences. This was a wonderful re-introduction to Amish genre after a bit of a lapse for me.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Devoted from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

99 Favorite Amish Soups & Stews

Varozza, Georgia. 99 Favorite Amish Soups & Stews: Hearty, Flavorful Recipes to Fill Your Soul. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
Bringing simple, healthy and hearty meals to print, author Georgia Varozza shares 99 delicious Amish recipes for soups and stews. As comfort food for those chilly winter evenings, the included recipes use everyday ingredients combined in a pot to fill bellies and souls. As simple pleasures, the soups (Meatball Soup, Chili Bean Soup, Potato Soup with Celery) and stews (Beef and Sweet Potato Stew, Chicken Goulash, I-Can’t-Cook-Stew) are sure to please.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Satisfying, hearty and easy, this spiral-bound book contains 99 appetizing staples of a nourishing meal. Though not necessarily new recipes but more of a gentle reminder of soups and stews lost during busier times, I thought this cookbook was the perfect sequel to the 99 Favorite Amish Recipes cookbooks already in the series. Definitely a book I will keep on my cookbook shelf (which is actually quite full), I look forward to using it when the seasons change. Easy to adjust, simple to adapt, or already adequate, paired with utensils and/ or ingredients in a basket, this would complete an ideal wedding gift, new baby present, cooking-party favor or just enjoyed for personal family use. Yum!!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of 99 Favorite Amish Soups & Stews from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

The Alliance

Petersheim, Jolina. The Alliance. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2016.

thealliance

SUMMARY:
A plane crash in the Old Order Mennonite community sets the scene for the events about to follow. When Leona Ebersole, a member of the Mennonite community, learns what may have caused the crash from Moses Hughes, the plane’s pilot, she realizes life must change in order to exist. As believers of pacifism, the belief that violence is not necessary no matter the threat, those very beliefs and the will to live will bring about decisions, choices and actions never foreseen. As food becomes scarce, thieves attack and hearts hurt, Leona must come to terms with the new normal of life…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not waiting patiently for author Jolina Petersheim’s newest book, I must say not only was I surprised but impressed. With an obvious command of the English language, Jolina is able to bring to life those feelings, thoughts, fears and heartbreaks that surround such a non-traditional Amish dystopia novel. Though fiction, this novel also included some knowledge of the subject, but perhaps the most meaningful was the personal connection Jolina has. Realizing control is not enough, she encourages readers through her newest novel, The Alliance, to lean on God for peace, strength and understand rather than ourselves.  Never picking a dystopia novel due to the genre itself, I knew I had to read this one from the author as she is truly blessed with words. Already, I look forward to the continuation of the story and many more of her novels to follow (hopefully).

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Alliance from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*

99 Favorite Amish Home Remedies

Varozza, Georgia. 99 Favorite Amish Home Remedies: Healing Cures from Foods & Herbs, Soothing Salves & Creams, Natural Solutions for Your Home. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
Lavender for stress headaches, black tea for cleaning wood floors, beeswax and honey for chapped lips, and baking soda for mosquito bites…all natural and simple remedies yet highly effective. From gardening to cleaning house, skin irritations to pregnancy, 99 Favorite Amish Home Remedies provides plenty of natural, home solutions for house and yard, illnesses, personal care, and stress issues. Acutely organized, spiral-bound for ease of use, manageable ingredients, precise directions and spaces for notes, author Georgia Varozza makes natural home remedies uncomplicated…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
So easy to understand, follow and use, as well as natural and clean, 99 Favorite Amish Home Remedies is the perfect book to have in your personal library. Without pesticides or processed additives, minor injuries and illnesses can often be treated safely with items usually found at home. Not necessarily replacing antibiotics and/ or medications for serious afflictions, the included items are reliable remedies to try in the interim. From flea deterrent for pets, to natural deodorant and lip balm, to natural mood enhancers for depression (exercise, sunlight and diet)…many opportunities are included for simple, plain remedies. (*It is important to note, however, in no way does this book take the place of, nor suggest, professional care should not be sought in medical emergencies and serious illnesses and injuries. This book pertains more to everyday occurrences and more inconsequential items.)  Part of a series of Favorite Amish books by this same author.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of 99 Favorite Amish Remedies from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

My Life As An Amish Wife

Yoder, Lena. My Life As An Amish Wife: A Diary. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2015.

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SUMMARY:
Sharing her personal life through her diary, author Lena Yoder was born and raised Amish. Hoping to debunk and demystify the socially portrayed and believed way of Amish life, she relates through her own journaling what to truly expect. Working on the family farm, raising several children, enduring hardships while creating memories, My Life As An Amish Wife shows straight-forwardly how many of the Amish actually live their lives. Through the many seasons, joys and sorrows, losses and gains, Amish life is simple yet full…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With an interest in the Amish way of life as well as brief experiences visiting an Amish area, this book seemed like a good match. Chronicling several years, the author told of many parts of her life, some happy, others sad, many just recounts. Well written yet perhaps a bit repetitious, it was easy to see the simpler way of life, the strong faith, the hard days of work, and the love for her family. Definitely a good choice for anyone interested in the true Amish.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of My Life As An Amish Wife from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*