Tag Archives: Amish fiction

Book Review: The Christmas Remedy

5 Nov

When an Old Order Amish woman takes a job at a small-town pharmacy struggling to survive in a world of “big box” stores, her motive is to help her Plain community. But the advent of the holiday season brings an unusual mystery to the surface–and possibly love.

Twenty-four-year-old Holly Zook lives a unique life for a young Amish woman. Years ago, her bishop allowed her to continue her education and become the lead technician for Greene’s Pharmacy, an old-timey drugstore that looks out for the Amish community–a group largely without secure healthcare plans. She knows she can’t marry and hold onto her professional job. She’s Amish, and she can only have one or the other, so she spurns love and works toward addressing treatable diseases–like the one that claimed her father’s life.

As long as Holly continues to avoid Joshua Smucker, the one man who draws her like a warm hearth in winter, she should be fine. When something unexpected threatens Greene’s Pharmacy, Holly and Joshua must work together to unravel what’s happened and find the “missing” patient before the Board of Pharmacy shuts them down. As the snows of December arrive, with Christmas in the air, will Holly succumb to the generous spirit of the season?

To purchase, click HERE. (available in hardcover, Kindle, and audiobook editions)

Cindy Woodsmall is the “New York Times” and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction. She’s been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s “Nightline” and the “Wall Street Journal”. Cindy has won numerous awards and has been finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in Flowery Branch, GA.

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.

Find out more about Cindy and Erin at http://www.cindywoodsmall.com.

 

My Impressions:

Heartwarming might be an overused word in describing books, but it is spot on in its description of The Christmas Remedy by the writing duo of Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall. I’ve already read a number of Christmas-themed novellas this year, but I have to say this one is my favorite so far. Filled with lovable characters and set in a charming town, The Christmas Remedy shares a message of community and family that is just right for holiday reading. Recommended.

Holly Noelle is an unusual Amish woman. Determined to make a difference in her community, she pushes what is expected for women. But Holly is never rebellious or disrespectful in bringing some modern ways into her Plain community. As a pharmacy tech she is in the unique position to make healthcare a top priority for her friends and family. Joining in her plans is her boss Lyle Greene, pharmacist and owner of the local drugstore. A crisis occurs, though, to derail and perhaps undo all of Holly’s work.

The characters are front and center in The Christmas Remedy. I loved that both Amish and English rang true. The setting of the little town of Raysburg, Pennsylvania and the surrounding countryside is far from the bustle and busyness of the big city, but is perfect for a story that centers on the importance of relationship. Romance is part of several characters’ stories and develops naturally and sweetly. And there’s a bit of a mystery for the characters and the reader to unravel. Characters also discover God’s plans for their lives, even as it leads in surprising directions.

All in all I loved The Christmas Remedy. A quick read, it was perfect for snuggling up with in front of the fireplace.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to the authors for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

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Happy Book Birthday! The Christmas Remedy by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

23 Oct

Happy book birthday to the writing team of Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall! Their latest novella, The Christmas Remedy, releases today. And what could be better for your holiday reading than a combo of Amish, romance, and Christmas! Check it out!

 

When an Old Order Amish woman takes a job at a small-town pharmacy struggling to survive in a world of “big box” stores, her motive is to help her Plain community. But the advent of the holiday season brings an unusual mystery to the surface–and possibly love.

Twenty-four-year-old Holly Zook lives a unique life for a young Amish woman. Years ago, her bishop allowed her to continue her education and become the lead technician for Greene’s Pharmacy, an old-timey drugstore that looks out for the Amish community–a group largely without secure healthcare plans. She knows she can’t marry and hold onto her professional job. She’s Amish, and she can only have one or the other, so she spurns love and works toward addressing treatable diseases–like the one that claimed her father’s life.

As long as Holly continues to avoid Joshua Smucker, the one man who draws her like a warm hearth in winter, she should be fine. When something unexpected threatens Greene’s Pharmacy, Holly and Joshua must work together to unravel what’s happened and find the “missing” patient before the Board of Pharmacy shuts them down. As the snows of December arrive, with Christmas in the air, will Holly succumb to the generous spirit of the season?

To purchase, click HERE. (available in hardcover, Kindle, and audiobook editions)

Cindy Woodsmall is the “New York Times” and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction. She’s been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s “Nightline” and the “Wall Street Journal”. Cindy has won numerous awards and has been finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in Flowery Branch, GA.

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.

Find out more about Cindy and Erin at http://www.cindywoodsmall.com.

Top 10 Tuesday — Missing Out

25 Sep

Because the number of books on my shelf, Kindle, and wish lists don’t equal the amount of free time I have to read, i have *gasp* unread books by favorite authors. Those are the books that whisper the loudest read me as I pass their resting place. Many of the books have been waiting many years; others are more recent additions. Some, when read, will put a finished check mark next to a series. I have every intention of reading them all!  That Artsy Reader Girl wants us to fess up this week and share those deserving titles. Have you read any of the books on my list? Tell me which one I should read next.

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl for other bloggers’ true confessions.

 

Top 10 Unread Books by Favorite Authors

 

Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson

The Haven by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Journey by Angela Hunt

Luther And Katharina by Jody Hedlund

The Mark of The King by Jocelyn Green

Maybe It’s You by Candace Calvert

A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin

Mine Is The Night by Liz Curtis Higgs

Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

Stones of My Accusers by Tracy Groot

 

What books by favorite authors do you need to read?

 

 

First Line Friday — The Christmas Remedy

21 Sep

Happy Friday! Hoarding Books is celebrating Christmas a bit early with first lines from Christmas books. This week I am featuring the first 3 lines (because I can, LOL!) of Erin and Cindy Woodsmall‘s new Christmas novella, The Christmas Remedy. The writing pair are back with a heartwarming Amish story.

How about you? Share a first line in the comments and then head over to Hoarding Books for more fabulous first lines.

 

 

When an Old Order Amish woman takes a job at a small-town pharmacy struggling to survive in a world of “big box” stores, her motive is to help her Plain community. But the advent of the holiday season brings an unusual mystery to the surface–and possibly love.

Twenty-four-year-old Holly Zook lives a unique life for a young Amish woman. Years ago, her bishop allowed her to continue her education and become the lead technician for Greene’s Pharmacy, an old-timey drugstore that looks out for the Amish community–a group largely without secure healthcare plans. She knows she can’t marry and hold onto her professional job. She’s Amish, and she can only have one or the other, so she spurns love and works toward addressing treatable diseases–like the one that claimed her father’s life.

As long as Holly continues to avoid Joshua Smucker, the one man who draws her like a warm hearth in winter, she should be fine. When something unexpected threatens Greene’s Pharmacy, Holly and Joshua must work together to unravel what’s happened and find the “missing” patient before the Board of Pharmacy shuts them down. As the snows of December arrive, with Christmas in the air, will Holly succumb to the generous spirit of the season?

 

Cindy Woodsmall is the “New York Times” and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction. She’s been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s “Nightline” and the “Wall Street Journal”. Cindy has won numerous awards and has been finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in Flowery Branch, GA.

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.

Find out more about Cindy and Erin at http://www.cindywoodsmall.com.

Congratulations 2018 Inspy Award Winners!

2 Jul

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Inspy Awards! This blogger-based award seeks to honor the best in Inspirational fiction, both in the Christian and secular markets. The Inspy Awards are unique in that books are nominated by readers and judged by book bloggers, insuring that not only are these books highly readable, but demonstrate excellence in faith-based writing. If you are looking for a great reading experience, you definitely need to check these out!

2018 Inspy Award Winners 

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

True to You by Becky Wade 

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he’s diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.

The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John’s already dating someone and Nora’s not sure she’s ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they’re seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

 

Debut Fiction

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano 

When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance – and perhaps even her father’s death.

 

General Fiction

A Trail of Crumbs by Susie Finkbeiner

“I believed it would have been a sin to stay inside when God had sent us such fine weather. According to Pastor Ezra Anderson, sin was the reason we’d got in the dusty mess we were in. The way I saw it, that day was God’s way of letting us know He wasn’t mad at us anymore. Just maybe He’d seen fit to forgive us.”

Pearl Spence has been through more in her young life than most folks could handle. But through it all, her family has been by her side. They may not be perfect, but they love her and they all love each other, come what may. That’s one thing Pearl no longer questions.

But the end of her beautiful day signals the beginning of the end of her secure life.

Now her family is fleeing their Oklahoma wasteland. Pearl isn’t sure she’ll ever see home or happiness again. Are there any crumbs powerful enough to guide her back to the dependable life she once knew?

 

Historical Romance

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife Clare and their four-year old son Jacob on a remote mountain trail.

When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can to recover her son . . . especially when her second child is moments away from being born.

Clare will face the greatest fight of her life, as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. But with the battle lines sharply drawn, Jacob’s life might not be the only one at stake. When frontiersman Jeremiah Ring comes to her aid, can the stranger convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do — be still, wait and let God fight this battle for them?

 

Literature for Young Adults

Unraveling by Sara Ella

Eliyana Ember doesn’t believe in true love. Not anymore. After defeating her grandfather and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what’s right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she’s trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about —l ike becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.

Now that the Verity is intertwined with her soul and Joshua’s finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something — or someone — is missing?

When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her link to Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections — and keep herself from falling for him in the process?

 

Mystery/Thriller

Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

Gwen Marcey has done a good job keeping the pain of her past boxed up. But as she investigates the case of a missing child in Lapwai, Idaho, details keep surfacing that are eerily similar to her childhood traumas. She doesn’t believe in coincidences. So what’s going on here?

No one knows more about the impact of the past than the Nez Perce people of Lapwai. Gwen finds herself an unwelcome visitor to some, making her investigation even more difficult. The questions keep piling up, but answers are slow in coming — and the clock is ticking for a missing little girl. Meanwhile, Gwen’s ex-husband is threatening to take sole custody of their daughter.

As Gwen’s past and present collide, she’s in a desperate race for the truth. Because only truth will ensure she still has a future.

 

Speculative Fiction

The Divide by Jolina Petersheim

In this gripping conclusion to The Alliance, nearly six months have passed since Leora Ebersole’s Old Order Mennonite community fled to the mountains for refuge after an attack destroyed the power grid and altered life as they knew it. Since then, Leora has watched and waited for news of Moses Hughes, the young Englischer pilot who held off invading looters long enough for everyone to escape. Unsure Moses even survived, Leora has begun to warm to the affections of Jabil Snyder, who has courted her patiently. But she struggles to see herself as the bishop’s wife, especially when she learns that Moses is alive and has now joined a local militia.

An unexpected encounter in the woods deepens Leora’s crisis, as does a terrifying new threat that brings Moses’ militia into the community’s shaky alliance with the few Englischers left among them. When long-held beliefs are once again put to the test, Leora wrestles with the divide between having faith and taking action. Just how much will her shifting landscape change her?

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Bookish Baby Names

22 May

Do you ever click on the FB links that promise adorable, unique, vintage, or clever baby names. Yeah, me neither 😉 . Well, maybe sometimes, once in a while, always. I love those click-bait posts and always hope for the best. This week Top 10 Tuesday is talking bookish names, so I came up with my top picks for baby names you just have to use. Most are very unusual and won’t occur ten times on your kids class roll. I have tried to find the meaning of each name; in some cases it is very subjective. Let me know what you think of my picks.

Make sure to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to discover more great bookish names.

 

Top 10 Names You Need To Give Your Baby!

Girls

Adisa (the clear one) from A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow

Anniston (resurrection) from How Sweet The Sound by Amy K. Sorrells

Aurelie (golden) from Lady Jane Disappears by Joanna Politano Davidson

Fairlight (the fair light of Christ) from Christy by Catherine Marshall

Isola (island) from The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Kaine (tribute) from The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Keturah (fragrance or sacrifice) from Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren

Pearl (gem of the sea) from A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner

Persomi (no meaning found) from Child of The River by Irma Joubert

Vienne (life) from A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

 

Boys

Ace (unity) from Out of Circulation by Heather Day Gilbert

Aldric (wise ruler) from A Loyal Heart by Jody Hedlund

Boone (blessing) from Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble (Boone is the name of my niece’s youngest son)

Dawsey (sweet or pleasant) from The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Noble (illustrious) from Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

Qwill (scribe)  from Gathering The Threads by Cindy Woodsmall

Race (clean shaven) from Ghost Heart by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

Roman (a citizen of Rome) from The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Ryland (island meadow) from Life on The Porcelain Edge by C. E. Hilbert

Zane (gift from God) from Undercut by Heather Day Gilbert

 

Which one would you choose for your baby?

 

Top Ten Tuesday — Halloween Freebie aka Reformation Day Reading

31 Oct

The Top 10 Tuesday topic is in keeping with today’s date — Halloween! However, as a reader and reviewer of Christian Fiction, I struggled with coming up with another Halloween-themed list. In the past I have had Halloween Cozies and Spooky Christian Fiction. There just isn’t a lot of Halloween-inspired novels in CF. But . . . besides today being Halloween, it is also Reformation Day. So for this freebie, I give you my list of Top Reformation Books. My list includes historical fiction, one non-fiction book, and a book that is set beyond the Reformation dates, but whose subject is about a Protestant sect that made its way to America. To check out other bloggers’ lists, click HERE.

 

Top Reformation Day Reading

Anna’s Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher

On a hot day in 1737 in Rotterdam, Anna König reluctantly sets foot on the Charming Nancy, a merchant ship that will carry her and her fellow Amish believers across the Atlantic to start a new life. As the only one in her community who can speak English, she feels compelled to go. But Anna is determined to complete this journey and return home–assuming she survives. She’s heard horrific tales of ocean crossings and worse ones of what lay ahead in the New World. But fearfulness is something Anna has never known.

Ship’s carpenter Bairn resents the somber people–dubbed Peculiars by the deckhands–who fill the lower deck of the Charming Nancy. All Bairn wants to do is to put his lonely past behind him, but that irksome and lovely lass Anna and her people keep intruding on him.

Delays, storms, illness, and diminishing provisions test the mettle and patience of everyone on board. When Anna is caught in a life-threatening situation, Bairn makes a discovery that shakes his entire foundation. But has the revelation come too late?

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the beginning of Amish life in America with this fascinating glimpse into the first ocean crossing — and the lives of two intrepid people who braved it.

The Heretic by Henry Vyner-Brooks

In 1536 it seems the entire known world is changing–strange new lands are discovered and the Reformation is challenging Rome and its power. In England the king’s declaration of a new church and dissolution of the monasteries overturns the customs and authorities of centuries. In the new world order, spies abound and no one can be trusted.

To Brother Pacificus of the Abbey of St. Benet’s in Norfolk, it looks like his abbey alone will be spared dissolution. But this last Benedictine house is mired in murder and intrigue. Then when Pacificus falls under suspicion, more than his own dark past comes to light, while the body count keeps rising. Pacificus’s fate becomes entwined with that of three local children after their parents are arrested for treason and heresy. Protected only by this errant monk, a mysterious leper, and a Dutch eel-catcher, the children must quickly adjust; seeking their own identity, they soon find that neither parents nor protectors are quite what they seem.

Based on historical events, this post-medieval mystery is laced with romance, fueled by greed, and punctuated with bouts of feasting, smuggling, and jailbreak.

Loving Luther by Allison Pitman

Germany, 1505
In the dark of night, Katharina von Bora says the bravest good-bye a six-year-old can muster and walks away as the heavy convent gate closes behind her.

Though the cold walls offer no comfort, Katharina soon finds herself calling the convent her home. God, her father. This, her life. She takes her vows―a choice more practical than pious ― but in time, a seed of discontent is planted by the smuggled writings of a rebellious excommunicated priest named Martin Luther. Their message? That Katharina is subject to God, and no one else. Could the Lord truly desire more for her than this life of servitude?

In her first true step of faith, Katharina leaves the only life she has ever known. But the freedom she has craved comes with a price, and she finds she has traded one life of isolation for another. Without the security of the convent walls or a family of her own, Katharina must trust in both the God who saved her and the man who paved a way for rescue. Luther’s friends are quick to offer shelter, but Katharina longs for all Luther has promised: a home, a husband, perhaps even the chance to fall in love.

Luther And Katharina by Jody Hedlund

She was a nun of noble birth. He was a heretic, a reformer, and an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire.

In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther. His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself.

Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different.

But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love. Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.
The Preacher’s Bride by Jody Hedlund

In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher whether her assistance is wanted or not. Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John’s protests of her aid. She’s even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family. Yet Elizabeth’s new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John’s boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher’s enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she’s more determined than ever to save the child and manshe’s come to love.

To Die For by Sandra Byrd

In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher whether her assistance is wanted or not. Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John’s protests of her aid. She’s even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family. Yet Elizabeth’s new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John’s boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher’s enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she’s more determined than ever to save the child and manshe’s come to love.

Tyndale by David Teems

It was an outlawed book, a text so dangerous “it could only be countered by the most vicious burnings, of books and men and women”. But what book could incite such violence and bloodshed? The year is 1526. It is the age of Henry VIII and his tragic Anne Boleyn, of Martin Luther and Thomas More. The times are treacherous. The Catholic Church controls almost every aspect of English life, including access to the very Word of God. And the church will do anything to keep it that way.

Enter William Tyndale, the gifted, courageous “heretic” who dared translate the Word of God into English. He worked in secret, in exile, in peril, always on the move. Neither England nor the English language would ever be the same again.

With thoughtful clarity and a reverence that comes through on every page, David Teems shares a story of intrigue and atrocity, betrayal and perseverance. This is how the Reformation officially reached English shores ― and what it cost the men who brought it there.

Wolves Among Us by Ginger Garrett

This richly imagined tale takes readers to a tiny German town in the time of “the burnings”, when pious and heretic alike became victims of witch-hunting zealots. When a double murder stirs up festering fears, the village priest sends for help. But the charismatic Inquisitor who answers the call brings a deadly mix of spiritual fervor and self-deceptive evil. Under his influence, village fear, guilt, and suspicion of women take a deadly turn. In the midst of this nightmare, a doubting priest and an unloved wife — a secret friend of the recently martyred William Tyndale — somehow manage to hear another Voice . . . and discover the power of love over fear.
 
Dinfoil, Germany, 1538. In a little town on the edge of the Black Forest, a double murder stirs up festering fears. A lonely woman despairs of pleasing her husband and wonders why other women shun her. An overworked sheriff struggles to hold the town — and himself — together. A priest begins to doubt the power of the words he shares daily with his flock. And the charismatic Inquisitor who arrives to help — with a filthy witch in a cage as an object lesson — brings his own mix of lofty ideals and treacherous evil. Under his influence, ordinary village fears and resentments take a deadly turn. Terror mounts. Dark deeds come to light. And men and women alike discover not only what they are capable of, but who they are…and what it means to grapple for grace.