Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Katie Opens Her Heart by Jerry Eicher, ©2013

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***


Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.

Visit the author's website.


Jerry Eicher (nearly half a million copies sold) returns with the first book in another of his delightful series centering on Amish life.

Here is the story of a young Amish girl, Katie Raber, who finds she wants more from life than to be known as simply “Emma Raber’s daughter.”

Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736952519
ISBN-13: 978-0736952514


I love the photo on the cover and above the chapter headings. My uncle had a pair of horses, Pat and Mike; what beauties they were! Large draft horses. I remember a photo of me astride the breadth of a wide back, after possibly their long day of haying, with my ankle-high brown leather shoe dangling down. My uncle had his hand across my leg making sure I stayed. I had a big grin to be up that high.

Emma Raber wants her life to continue as it has with her young daughter. However, Katie Raber is no longer a child. I met a woman once who kept her daughter home from school, calling in "she wasn't feeling well," because the mother was lonely. Seclusion. Katie wants to be known as herself, not as an extension of someone else's reflection.

This is Book 1 of the Emma Raber's Daughter Series. This sets the stage of a life lived well. Smiling, getting beyond what might have been to what can be.
For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.
   --Psalm 18:28-30 KJV


The early morning sun was rising over the well-kept farms of Delaware’s Amish country as Katie Raber drove her buggy toward Byler’s Store near Dover to begin her day’s work. She squinted when she spotted an approaching buggy in the distance. The horse had its neck arched high in the air. Katie didn’t have to think long before she decided who was coming toward her. Ben Stoll would be holding the reins. It was his buggy. She was sure of that. Ben was one of the best-looking Amish boys around. Blessed was any girl who was invited to ride with him in his buggy—something Katie figured she would never experience. Ben was without a doubt the catch among the community’s Amish young men. A cloud crossed the sun, and Katie held the buggy lines tight as she kept her eyes glued on the approaching buggy. Perhaps she could catch a glimpse of Ben this morning. That was all she could hope for. He was from another world. Ben never spoke to her, and she only saw him at the Sunday meetings and the Amish youth gatherings Mamm allowed her to attend. There he would be laughing and talking with someone else—someone more suited to his taste than “plain Katie,” the out-of-step daughter of the odd widow Emma Raber. Katie could walk right under Ben Stoll’s nose, and he wouldn’t even know a shadow had gone by.

Yah, she was Emma Raber’s daughter. That’s how most people in the community thought of her. She even thought of herself that way—just an extension of her mamm. Mamm was nice enough, and Emma really loved her. So, nee, she wasn’t really complaining. But sometimes her mamm did unusual things, and that made Katie seem so…well, weird to the other young adults in the Amish community. For one thing, there would be no rumspringa for Katie. Everyone else she knew among the Delaware Amish would have their time to run around and try out the ways of the world. But not Katie. Emma Raber wouldn’t even consider such a thing for her daughter. And the Amish youth gatherings were few and far between. Mamm was suspicious of even those. “Too much socializing,” she had said.

She could live without rumspringa. Or without Ben Stoll, for that matter. So what, Katie told herself, it might even be best for her if Ben were unobtainable. He might not be all that wunderbah if she ever got to know him. Katie sighed. These were desperate excuses, and she knew it, but lately Mamm’s restrictions were becoming harded and harder to bear. She was only trying to make herself feel better. Ben was wunderbah. Even her friend Arlene Miller wasn’t above stealing a glance at Ben—and that with her boyfriend, Nelson Graber, sitting right across from her at the Sunday night hymn singings!

Katie wondered if all the girls were as taken with Ben as she was. She was aware of everything about him. She noticed when he wore a new black suit at communion time every spring. She noticed the way his buggy shone when the sun rays bounced off the sides at the Sunday meetings. The boy must spend hours waxing the black vinyl of his buggy, she thought. And most of all, she noticed the way Ben smiled when he was happy, which seemed like most of the time. What would it be like to be the kind of girl who made Ben smile that smile? Ha! Certainly a simple, plain soul like Emma Raber’s daughter couldn’t be such a girl…ever.

Katie tried to look away from the fast-approaching buggy. She was way too fascinated with the boy. If Mamm knew her feelings, Katie knew she’d be given a lecture the size of the state of Delaware and right at the kitchen table after supper. Yah, Mamm would not understand how she felt. Life had been hard for Mamm, especially when it came to men. Hadn’t Daett passed away when Katie was still a young girl? The loss had been so painful for Mamm that she might never marry again.

The beat of horse hooves on pavement grew louder. Katie eased open her buggy door just enough to make sure that whoever was in the passing buggy could see it was her in case a greeting was forthcoming. With her hands on the reins, Katie held her breath as the buggy approached and passed without its buggy door opening even an inch. Katie saw the unmistakable outline of Ben’s face through the small window. His hat was tight on his head, and his eyes were looking straight ahead. The moment passed in a flash without the smallest flicker of a hand wave through the window. And then the buggy was gone.

It was the sun in his eyes, Katie told herself. That’s why Ben hadn’t slid open the buggy door or bothered to wave. But she knew better. Ben wasn’t being mean. No, she just wasn’t worth the effort. He had greater and better things on his mind than paying attention to Emma Raber’s odd daughter. Now if she were beautiful, or charming, or funny, or even talkative at the Sunday-night hymn singings, it might be different. With such qualities, perhaps her plainness could be overcome. But all that was a dream that would never come true. She couldn’t be what she wasn’t.

Perhaps she should settle for Joe Helmuth from down the road. Joe walked with a limp from a hay wagon accident when he was five. He would take over his daett’s farm someday, but the scars from that long-ago day would never leave him. The problem was that Joe didn’t pay Katie any attention either.

Well, at least thinking about Ben Stoll helped ease the pain a little, Katie decided. She was only Katie Raber, after all. The girl who could barely open her mouth without dumb words falling out all over each other. If she could only be more like the rest of the Amish girls in the community. But that could never be either, not with how Mamm felt about things.

Katie slapped the reins against her horse as her thoughts swirled through her mind. She couldn’t remember much about Daett. He’d been gone since she was three years old. She could remember happy times though. Going to the barn with him when they did the evening chores. But that was so long ago. If she only had a daett, Katie decided, life would be different. If Mamm married again, Katie figured both of them would be better accepted in the community and Mamm might change her ways. The most obvious possibility was widower Jesse Mast. And he’d come calling on Mamm again just the other evening. Mamm hadn’t said anything about the visit, but Jesse had surely spoken of marriage.

Yah, Mamm should marry again, Katie decided. Mamm’s sorrow over losing her husband was still written on her face after all these years. Was it not high time things changed? Yah, and Katie would pray about the matter.

Da Hah must already be thinking the same thing if He was sending Mamm a suitor in the person of Jesse Mast. So why couldn’t Mamm see this and accept Jesse’s offer of marriage? Was she turning him down because he wasn’t much to look at? Yah, he was a little rough around the edges. But it wasn’t like Mamm to be so concerned with outward appearance. She went more by a person’s kind heart than how he looked on the outside. Perhaps it was the fact that Jesse’s frau, Millie, had died and left him with a family of five children. Was that why Mamm objected? She didn’t want her household increased so dramatically?

Nee, Katie decided that couldn’t be the reason either. Mamm didn’t mind hard work. And if a large family was the problem, she should have been happy after turning down Jesse. Instead, Mamm had walked around the house with the lines on her face running deeper than ever. So why had she turned Jesse down? That was assuming Mamm had turned him down. The proposal of marriage was just a guess on Katie’s part, but she was sure she was right. It couldn’t have been anything else. The two had talked for a long time while sitting on the porch swing. Afterward, Jesse had stood in the yard for a few moments longer, still speaking with Mamm. He’d held his hat in his hand, the sweat ring in his hair still apparent from where the hat had been pressed tightly on his head. Then Jesse had walked back to his buggy, his head bowed. Even Jesse’s horse, Lucy, had looked depressed as they drove down the lane.

Katie had been ready to ask Mamm what Jesse wanted, but one look at her face caused her to change her mind. Mamm looked troubled and yet, at the same time, ready to give someone a piece of her mind. A question from Katie could easily have resulted in another lecture she didn’t want to hear. A lecture about being satisfied with one’s lot in life and not reaching for the stars. That was the standard lecture Mamm always gave when Katie dared complain about attending more of the Amish youth gatherings.

“You don’t know how nice you have it,” Mamm would say. “We have enough to eat, a roof over our heads, and horses to drive us to work and church. What more could we ask for?”

Well, Katie thought, there was plenty more to ask for. All kinds of things a young woman could want. Things that were out there just waiting to enrich one’s life—and, happily, things that were not forbidden by the Ordnung. Like liking a boy. Like someday loving a man who would love her back and consider his life empty without her. Someone who’s eyes would light up when he saw her. Someone who called her sweet things on Sunday nights as he sat on the couch beside her. Wasn’t that what dating couples did? Mamm wouldn’t say when Katie asked, other than muttering something about useless talking until all hours of the night.

How could such time be considered wasted? Katie wondered. It would be glory indeed to sit beside a boy—a soon-to-be man so near she could touch him. What delight it would be to hear his deep voice rumble when he spoke or feel his eyes watching her long before she looked up to meet his gaze. Nee, this couldn’t be wasted time. It would be a touch of heaven, and the most worthwhile thing a girl could set her heart on. Especially if the boy were Ben Stoll…

Katie sighed. So had Jesse Mast asked for Mamm’s hand? Had she turned him down? She’d sent him away looking disappointed, so something was going on. And then there was that look on Mamm’s face in the evenings after the sun had set and the house was quiet. Mamm didn’t like the loneliness of their house either—the hours without a man’s voice being heard. She’d been silent after Jesse left that night, staring at the kitchen wall and seemingly more troubled than usual.

What could she do to help? Katie wondered. She should do something, yah.

A car passed Katie’s buggy, its engine roaring. Katie forced her mind back on the road ahead. Her horse, Sparky, knew the way to Byler’s Store. He should after all this time she’d worked there. But even so, he mustn’t be allowed to go his own way.

Ahead of her, Bishop Jonas Miller’s place was coming up. His wife, Laura, was out in the yard hanging wash on the line. Katie leaned out of the buggy to wave, and Laura paused long enough to wave back before bending again to her work. At least the older Amish folk didn’t think she was strange, even with her Mamm the way she was.

Katie settled herself in the buggy seat again. If Mamm married Jesse, she might have to stay home from her job at Byler’s and help with the added work five children entailed. But that would be an attractive kind of work—more normal almost. And it could lead to other kinds of normalness in her life. And perhaps even to a boy sitting on the couch beside her some Sunday night after a hymn singing. Yah, somehow Mamm must be persuaded to accept Jesse’s offer of marriage.

Katie turned into the parking lot at Byler’s and pulled Sparky to a stop at the far end of the hitching rail that was located on one side of the store. She climbed down, unhitched the buggy, and led Sparky around to the back where he could munch at stray pieces of grass during the day. She tied him to the fence with a long rope before walking back to the buggy. She pushed both doors shut before heading to the employee entrance of the store.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias, ©2013

The Quilt Series, Book 1:
The Moses Quilt

Can the pieces of a former slave's story change the pattern of her future?

As Mazie Hartford sat down on the edge of the bed, carefully laying the folded quilt between herself and her great-grandmother, Mimi, the young woman sensed that she was about to embark on a journey that could change the entire course of her life....

And from the pages of history, Harriet Tubman would have just the answer she needed.

The Quilt Series trilogy
I was surprised to see my blog quilt background magnified by this video ~*~
Having read about Harriet Tubman and her unwavering determination and fortitude, The Moses Quilt drew me with my interest in the Underground Railroad. As a quilter, I am hoping to discover the story in the quilt! I also wonder what will become of Mazie and Edward's interest in each other.
Still, how could she give him an answer when she was so unsure about how the unknowns of her past might impact their future?
  --The Moses Quilt Prologue, page 8
Something is holding Mazie back from making a commitment; keeping her from going forward in her life. As her great-grandmother, Mimi, is slowly ebbing away, she chooses to share her Bee's Bend quilt with Mazie and tell her the story stitched within the patchwork squares. Each told a part of Harriet Tubman's life ~ the Moses quilt, as she led her people to freedom following the North Star.

Kathi Macias, Author
Give us counsel, render a decision. Make your shadow like night--at high noon. Hide the fugitives, do not betray the refugees.
   --Isaiah 16:3

With the telling, as Edward, and then Mazie's mother, Lilly, join them, will change come individually?

Dark and thorny is the path
Where the pilgrim makes his way;
But beyond this vale of sorrow
Lie the fields of endless days.
   --Harriet Tubman

Following his work days, Edward now brings frequent take-out meals to contribute to Mazie's care of Mimi. They settle in for Mimi's bedtime continued story of Harriet Tubman intermingling into their lives. I, too, pulled up a chair. So much further than anything I have read about Harriet Tubman. Such wonderful research. Historical fiction is my very favorite genre. We learn from the past as we apply it to our now. Such tenacity and faith in God.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
   --Psalm 19:1

As Harriet traveled at night, there were decisions with sights and sounds to be followed. One comment was about feeling for the moss on the North side of a tree when the sky was overcast. She had complete dependence on God. Supporters helped along the way, monetarily and as safe houses. I have always found the Underground Railroad intriguing. I have visited two stations in the North and they were very interesting. One was a stagecoach stop. The noise above in the dining room masked the scurry below in a hidden room. There was a dirt-dug pathway underground that led to a trapdoor in a small cabin floor. With activity about, a rug over the trapdoor beneath table and chairs in place with tin plates and food, ready for any intrusion or detection. The other location was a mansion with narrow cement slabs along the walls in the basement. A lantern shone over a stained-glass window signaling a color illuminated. How brilliant to move within the busyness undetected. Other interesting aspects unearthed about Harriet ~*~ being a home-owner, others prominent in history supportive of her, and her huge part in the Civil War between the North and the South.

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al.

For more opportunities for free copies of THE MOSES QUILT by Kathi Macias, please follow this book tour on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/CSSVBT.KathiMacias. This blog host was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the book review on this blog. CSS Virtual Book Tours are managed by Christian Speakers Services (http://ChristianSpeakersServices.com).

Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate, ©2013

Cover Art

Mallory Hale's life quickly veers off course when she falls hopelessly in love. After a whirlwind romance, Mallory finds herself leaving the bustle and action of Capitol Hill for the remote town of Moses Lake, Texas--with husband, stepson, and a U-Haul in tow.

A sweet, mishap-filled journey into marriage, motherhood, and ranch living ensues, and Mallory is filled with both the wonderment of love and the insecurities of change. But what she can't shake is the unease she feels around her husband's new boss, Jack West. Jack's presence--and his mysterious past--set her on edge, and when hints of a scandal emerge, Mallory finds herself seeking answers . . . and comes to realize that the middle-of-nowhere home she wasn't sure she wanted is the very place she'll risk everything to save.
My Review
I met his gaze, tumbled in, and saw the future. Not in the crisp clarity of photos--because I couldn't picture this over-the-rainbow life he was describing, or me in it--but in shades of color. The soft grays of mornings, the muted rose and violet of sunsets, the stark, blinding yellows and whites of middays. I saw holidays and seasons and years. Growing up, growing outward, growing old. I didn't want to live one year, one season, one day without Daniel and Nick.
   --Mallory Firefly Island, 43
"Two," you ask? One is a scrumptious little boy (he wouldn't like me to tell you that, likely) who has won my heart too. That would be Nick. His daddy's name is Daniel.

Onward to the shores of Moses Lake, Texas ~*~ Firefly Island is ahead!

Leaving Mallory's family, large family, they have adventures traveling to their Texas goal. On their new start, they've lived through this, they can live through anything. Everyday little detours that seem what-can-happen-next, at the time. Something new I have learned this year: if you turn your radio up while the deer are at the side of the road eating the fresh growth from the runoff moisture from the road, their ears will perk up and they won't move. I've seen it! Also, ALL the deer alongside the road when it is dark and they are munching! Anyway, they get through the deer, the overheated A/C from earlier in the day, and they see the lights of the lake. Almost there!

Mallory Hale Everson has a new life and adventure ahead of her. Will she cave or live it??
An unexpected tingle rushed over my skin as we descended a small hill into the utter darkness, Moses Lake dipping out of sight. An aura of romance and danger simmered through me like a trail of smoke, scented with an intriguing fragrance I couldn't quite place.
   --Mallory Ibid, 65
Intriguing and unsure, join Mallory's life spread out before her as she becomes part of this Moses Lake adventure ~ drawing her, keeping her ~ safe.

After reading the first eight chapters, I am mysteriously wanting to get to the end... right then! I have met the intriguing people from books 1 and 2, which I haven't read, and am ready for them to come alongside ~ as friends and rescuers. This is getting good. In chapter 9, they are getting ready for a dip in the lake. They being Mallory joining Daniel and Nick down at the water after a much needed nap. I am glad they are getting refreshed for the story as they bring me along. And... are you ready, they have only been here for one night and one day. Good build up. Solid story. Come along. Here we go, joining their adventure(s).

What I especially like about Firefly Island, is the wisdom given within. So much to tweak from, in our own lives. Balances. Facing the unknown and making it our own. Mallory learns to enjoy where she is, leaving behind where she has been. What is new, moving from what has been. I like how she expresses herself, recognizing the change that is occurring. Realizing love that is real, not subjective. Doing her part, rather than self-pity in feeling she has been left behind. We each have a choice to follow the path stretching out before us, just for us. Jeremiah 29:11; "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Truth for all times.

Intrigue. Firefly Island. Uncovering truth and trust. I read all but about 35 pages, only because I ran out of day. Taking a deep breath, reading the rest of the book! The twists and turns near the end were surprising. They have forever friends. I hope there is one more Moses Lake, Texas, book!
Lisa Wingate
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Jarrett Studios
Lisa Wingate is a popular inspirational speaker and national bestselling author of several books, including the ACFW Carol Award--winners Never Say Never and Dandelion Summer. Lisa and her family live in central Texas.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate. I received this book from the publisher for my review in my own words. No other compensation was received. Enjoy these other reviews on this blog tour: http://litfusegroup.com/author/lwingate
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764208233
ISBN-13: 978-0764208232
Link to buy book: http://ow.ly/hVNrv 
eBook ISBN 9781441260987
Bethany House
Lisa Wingate is celebrating the release of Firefly Island with an iPad Mini giveaway and a fun Facebook Author Chat Party (March 19th).  


  One fortunate winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • The Moses Lake series (Firefly Island, Blue Moon Bay and Larkspur Cove)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 18th. Winner will be announced at the "Firefly Island Author Chat Party on March 19th. Connect with Lisa, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be many fun giveaways -- gift certificates, books, and more!

So grab your copy of Firefly Island and join Lisa on the evening of the March 19th 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. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 19th!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

When the Heart Heals, Sisters at Heart #2 by Ann Shorey, ©2013

Courageous and unconventional, Rosemary Saxon served as a nurse during the Civil War, a service that has caused most women in town to regard her as unfeminine and downright vulgar. Although she would like to put her experiences as a nurse behind her, she must support herself.
Where the Heart Heals by Ann Shorey 
Rosemary takes a position with Dr. Elijah Stewart and a mutual attraction begins to develop. But when a sophisticated woman arrives in town claiming to be Elijah’s fiancée, a heartbroken Rosemary decides to leave Noble Springs and start fresh. Can Elijah convince her of the mystery woman's deception before he loses her forever?

Return to the town of Noble Springs, Missouri, for an engrossing story of love’s tentative first steps and fragile future in the face of opposition. Readers will find in Rosemary a sympathetic but strong woman determined to thrive in a world that doesn’t always understand.
                               ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
My Review:
   "Are you treating my patients again, Miss Saxon?" The doctor stepped into the reception area.
   Rosemary jumped to her feet. "Miss Haddon is a friend of mine, Doctor. This is a social call." She sucked in her lower lip. He had the most irritating habit of popping out of his office at awkward moments.
   --When the Heart Heals, page 29
I love this story! I had a full scholarship to nurses' training and didn't attend. I was always told to hop on board but I never did. This comment makes me smile. Rosemary is a dilly! What a kindred friend she would be! She would be remarkable. I also think I would like Bodie, her diminutive collie watchdog. I would so like to be invited for tea! We would have much to chat and giggle about ~ by ourselves, of course.

Rosemary Saxon, previously a war nurse, applies for a position with the new doctor in town. She immediately recognizes Dr. Elijah Stewart. Before being sent to a battlefield hospital, he had been a surgeon at Jefferson Barracks where she spent her early weeks of nursing. Obviously, he doesn't recognize her. She is newly under his employ. Some have already come to her for remedies since her return home.

A turn of events accuses Rosemary as rumors descend upon the small community. She is a brave woman. I loved this story. I give it an absolute 10+. When the Heart Heals is an excellent story by Ann Shorey. I highly recommend it. I have not read the first book. This story can be read as a stand-alone.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Ann's new series, Sisters at Heart, follows her ancestor's emigration from Illinois to Missouri after the close of the War Between the States. As the series title promises, the books are linked by the friendship between Faith, Rosemary and Cassie, the novels' protagonists.
One of the best things Ann learned about fiction is that it’s okay to make stuff up! Thus, although these novels are inspired by her courageous female ancestors, the largest percentage of their adventures are fictional. Ann leaves it to her readers to separate truth from “it could have happened like this.” 

Excerpt, Chapters 1-3

In When the Heart Heals, Book 2 in author Ann Shorey’s Sisters at Heart series, Civil War nurse Rosemary Saxon wants to use her skills as a healer in the town of Noble Springs. But the townsfolk, and the town's new doctor, aren't sure what to make of her unconventional ways!

To celebrate the story, Ann and Revell Books are proud to announce the TEA WITH ROSEMARY giveaway, featuring three incredible prizes.

Enter the Tea with Rosemary Sweepstakes
This giveaway starts February 15, 2013 and ends March 7, 2013 @ 11:59 pm (PST). Winners will be selected Friday, March 8, 2013.

Coming Soon:
Watch for a novella from Ann, titled Lessons in Love, to be included in a collection with authors Amanda Cabot, Laurie Alice Eakes, and Jane Kirkpatrick. Release date TBA.

Thank you to Revell Blog Tour Network Historical Fiction for sending me a copy of When the Heart Heals to review in my own words. No other compensation was received.

My Amish Childhood by Jerry Eicher, ©2013

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***


Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.

Visit the author's website.


Bestselling fiction author Jerry S. Eicher recounts his childhood in the Amish community of Aylmer, Ontario and his parents’ decision to move to Honduras. Jerry also tells of his eventual conversion to Christ and the reasons for his departure from the childhood faith he knew.

Product Details:
List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736950060
ISBN-13: 978-0736950060


At the age of eight, Jerry Eicher and his family move from a colder climate to a warmer climate. I had the same experience. My mother died a month before I was six and my dad remarried when I was nine. We moved from a northern state to a southern state, from a small town to a farm. There was a drought and my dad lost everything and we moved to a large city in a neighboring state where he worked for an aircraft company. Jerry too talks of his remembrances from being a child and his surroundings. One difference. His aunts and uncles move alongside on adjoining lands. Jerry tells his impressions of moving, adjustments and inward tellings of his community. They were looked upon as having more, when they had moved from being seen as having less. Appearances ~ actualities. How do we see others, and gauge them from ourselves? Do we run from or run to? Changes making our lives what we envision or what is? After I was out of school, my family moved back to where they had started from. I followed some years later. Join Jerry as he tells of his experiences. Thankfully, both of us came to the Lord, knowing God's love enfolding us.

My favorite relative of Jerry's was the mention of his Aunt Mary. Kind and sensitive she was approachable and reached out to others. His Aunt Mary moves back to their original homeland to marry. In the front of the book, Jerry has placed a map showing the two farms and where everyone lives in connection to others with the layout of the property. Jerry enjoyed fishing in a mountain pond and has included a descriptive poem he wrote. Included are photos throughout. This biography of his youth will be so valuable for his own family to follow this time in his life. Perhaps it will encourage you to leave a written heritage of your own life.


I can still see his face. Lean. Determined. Framed by his lengthy beard. I can see him running up the hill toward our house. He was carrying his bag of doctor implements.

Mom was having chest spasms, and any real doctor was miles away—across four hours of the broken, rutted, dusty Honduran road we took only as a last resort.

The running man was my Uncle Joe. The smart one of the family. The older brother. The intellectual genius. When Uncle Joe walked by, we stopped talking and listened intently when he spoke. On this day, he rushed by, not paying any attention to us children.

I knew he was coming about Mom, but I recall experiencing no fear for her life. Perhaps I wasn’t old enough to have such a fear. To me, Uncle Joe’s haste seemed more entertainment than emergency. After all, Mom had looked fine to me a few minutes earlier.

When Uncle Joe left the house some time later, he issued a favorable report that I never questioned. Nor did anyone else. The mysteries of the Englisha world of medicine were even further removed from us than the four hours to town. Uncle Joe studied the books, and we trusted him.

Years later, when our little Amish community in Central America was on its last legs and held in the grip of terrible church fights over cape dresses, bicycles, singing in English or Spanish on Sunday mornings, and other horrors that the adults spoke of with bated breath, it was the look on Uncle Joe’s face as he talked with Mom and Dad by the fence on Sunday afternoon that made things clear to me. If Uncle Joe thought something was over, then it was over.

Uncle Joe lived below us, across the fields, in a house smaller than ours even though his family was much larger. How they managed, I never thought to wonder. Their house never looked crowded. It was kept spotless by his wife, Laura, and their oldest daughters Rosanna and Naomi. We didn’t visit often on Sunday afternoons. Mostly we children dropped by on weekdays, sent on some errand by Mom or we wandered past on our meanderings around the countryside.

They kept goats in the yard, all of them tied with long ropes to stakes. One of them was named Christopher. We didn’t have goats. Dad ran a machine shop, and Mom took care of the garden. Goats were foreign to us. Smelly creatures. Mom scorned goat’s milk, even when Uncle Joe said emphatically it was far superior to cow’s milk.

We all lived near each other in those days—part of a grand experiment to see if the Amish faith could survive on foreign soil.

My grandfather, Peter Stoll, an Amish man of   impeccable standing, had taken it upon himself to lead an Amish community to the Central American country of Honduras. He wasn’t an ordained minister, and I don’t remember seeing him speak in public. Still, the integrity of his life and his ideas so affected those around him that they were willing to follow him where few had gone before.

At the height of the experimental community, we ended up being twenty families or so. We all lived on two neighboring ranches purchased in a valley below a mountain. Most of us had come to Honduras from the hot religious fervor of the small Aylmer community along the shores of  Lake Erie in Southern Ontario or from the detached coolness of Amish country spread over Northern Indiana. Plans were for the two to become one in mind and heart. And for awhile we did.

Those were wonderful years. The memories of that time still bring an automatic gathering of hearts among the Amish who were there—and even some of us who are no longer Amish. All these years later, most of us are scattered across the United States and Canada—except for the few of the original group who stayed behind.

Some of the people credit the joy of those days to the weather in our Honduras valley. And lovely weather it was. Balmy. Hardly ever above ninety or below forty. Others credit the culture. Some attribute our happiness to being so far from the States that we only had each other. I don’t know the full reason for our happiness. Perhaps it isn’t possible to know. But I do remember the energy of the place—its vibrancy. I do know the years left their imprints on us all.

This was my childhood. Those hazy years when time drags. When nothing seems to come soon enough. And where everything is greeted as if it had never been before. To me that land—that valley—was home. I absorbed it completely. Its sounds. Its language. The color of the dusty towns. The unpaved streets. The pigs in the doorway of the huts. The open fires over a metal barrel top. The taste of greasy fried beans. The flour tortillas and meat smoked to perfection. In my heart there will always be a deep and abiding love for that country.

Around us were mountains. To the north they rose in a gradual ridge, coming in from the left and the right to meet in the middle, where a distinctive hump rose into the air—officially named Mt. Misoco. But to us it was simply what the locals called it: La Montaña. The Mountain. Our mountain. Which it was in ways we could not explain.

To the south lay the San Marcos Mountains. At least that’s what we called them. Those rugged, jagged peaks lying off in the distance. I never climbed those mountains, but I often roamed our mountain—or rather our side of it—from top to bottom. On its peak, looking over to the other side, you could see lines and lines of ridges running as far as the eye could see.

A party of courageous Amish boys, along with a few visiting Amish youngsters from stateside, once decided to tackle the San Marcos Mountains. They threw their forces together and allowed two days for the trip. I was much too young to go along—and probably wouldn’t have anyway. But I waited for news of their adventure with interest. They came back soon enough— defeated and full of tales of dark jungles and multiple peaks that disoriented the heart. No one even caught sight of the highest point, let alone the other side.

In the summer, around five in the morning, the Southern Cross—that symbol of Christianity—hung over the San Marcos Mountains. Its haunting figure made of stars swung low in the sky. I would stand for long minutes gazing at the sight, caught up in the glory of it.

I was eight when we arrived in Honduras. We were one of the first families there after Grandfather Stoll had purchased and settled on the Sanson ranch. Dad seemed driven to the move by motives other than adventure. He was unhappy with the ordnung rules in the Amish community at Aylmer, and he wanted change. Change that didn’t include the great sin of joining a more liberal Amish church, of course.

In time Dad came to love the land along with the rest of us. And strangely, he came to love what he didn’t expect—the old ways, imperfect though they had been. My most enduring memory of Dad in those days is hearing him sing the old German songs at the top of his voice over the roar of his machine shop motors. And in the end, it came down to that question for all of them. A choice between what they loved and what they loved the most.

I grew up surrounded by men dedicated to an old faith. I saw those men, most of them my uncles, tested to the core. I saw them wrestle with the old and with the new, trying to figure out where everything fit together. I lived among giants of faith. I saw their agony and their sacrifice. I saw their choices, and it affected me deeply. Their faith had been hammered out back in the sixteenth century, in the old town of Zurich, Switzerland. Back during the time Ulrich Zwingli thundered his sermons in the old Grossmunster Church.

But in the days of my childhood, those stories of   long ago were not mine yet. Those gallant tales of deeds done under fire and sword. Of imprisonment in noblemen’s castles. Of narrow escapes into the Swiss countryside from the murderous Berne Anabaptist hunters. Instead, my memories are of men in my own time. Men who believed that life was not worth living if you didn’t believe in something worth dying for. I was surrounded by men of passion. And if someone should make the claim that these men were misguided, I would insist the fault lay not in caring too much about religious matters. For I learned while growing up among them that this is how a person should live. That true believers follow God with all of their hearts and souls.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Home for Lydia by Vannetta Chapman, ©2013

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***


Vannetta Chapman has published more than 100 articles in Christian family magazines. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. Vannetta is a multi-award-winning member of Romance Writers of America. She was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas Hill country. Her first two inspirational novels—A Simple Amish Christmas and Falling to Pieces—were Christian Book Distributors bestsellers.

Visit the author's website.


A Home for Lydia, the second book in a new romantic series from popular author Vannetta Chapman, centers again on the Plain community of Pebble Creek and the kind, caring people there. As they face challenges to their community from the English world, they come together to reach out to their non-Amish neighbors while still preserving their cherished Plain ways.

Aaron Troyer simply wants to farm like his father and grandfather before him. But instead he finds himself overseeing the family's small group of guest cabins nestled along the banks of Pebble Creek. That also means he must work with the cabins' housekeeper, Lydia Fisher.

Lydia is the most outspoken Amish woman Aaron has ever met, and she has strong opinions about how the guest cabins are to be run. She also desperately needs this job. Though sparks fly between boss and employee at first, when the cabins are robbed, nothing is more important to Aaron than making sure Lydia is safe.

Together they work to make the vacation property profitable, but can they find out the identity of the culprit before more damage is done? And is Lydia's dream of a home of her own more than just a wish and a prayer?

Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736946144
ISBN-13: 978-0736946148


Though she'd labeled them "sad" and "droopy," her drawings had also highlighted the good aspects of their new home. She had that gift--of seeing the best in things and sharing it with others through her drawing.
   --A Home for Lydia, page 23

Our outlook depicts the condition of our heart sight. Aaron Troyer has an unhappy heart. He is disheartened about many things. His father has sent Aaron to oversee the cabins owned by his uncle who has recently passed away. Coming from Indiana to Wisconsin on the bus, he is ready to return before he gets to the Plain Cabins along Pebble Creek. His heart is in farming, not a creek and tourist cabins. But he has come to assist his Aunt Elizabeth, and then be finished and go back home. He wonders why his father sent him. In the first two chapters it is pretty obvious. He needs an attitude adjustment.

Aaron arrives at the cabins and immediately is met by the only employee, Lydia Fisher, who has been keeping up the cleaning for the next Englisch occupant. Not much else has been kept up and he goes to visit his aunt to appraise her of the needs for the property. Before he is finished, he has told her he will figure it out. Now, he thinks, why did he say that!

Lydia misses her boss, Aaron's uncle, and wonders what changes will take place now that Aaron has come to be her employer. He's kind of testy and doesn't seem to notice the restfulness of Pebble Creek and the sound of birds. It is obvious he wants to finish things up and start packing. She needs this job. What will become of it all?


• Prologue •



Lydia Fisher pulled her sweater around her shoulders and sank down on the top step of the last cabin as the sun set along Pebble Creek. The waters had begun to recede from last week’s rains, but the creek still pushed at its banks—running swiftly past the Plain Cabins and not pausing to consider her worries.

Debris from the flooding reached to the bottom step of cabin twelve. She could have reached out and nudged it with the toe of her shoe. Fortunately, the water hadn’t made it into the small cottages.

Almost, though.

Only two days ago she’d stood at the office window and watched as the waters had crept closer to the picturesque buildings nestled along the creek—watched and prayed.

Now the sun was dropping, and she knew she should harness Tin Star to the buggy and head home. Her mother would be putting dinner on the table. Her brother and sisters would be needing help with schoolwork. Her father would be waiting.

Standing up with a weariness that was unnatural for her twenty-two years, Lydia trudged back toward the front of the property, checking each cabin as she went.

All were locked and secure.

All were vacant.

Perhaps this weekend the Englisch tourists would return and provide some income for the owner, Elizabeth Troyer. Guests would also ensure that Lydia kept her job. If the cabins were to close and she were to lose her employment, she wouldn’t be able to convince her brother to stay in school. Their last conversation on the matter had turned into an argument—one she’d nearly lost.

Pulling their old black gelding from the barn, she tied Tin Star’s lead rope to the hitching post, and then she began to work the collar up and over his ears.

“You’re a gut boy. Are you ready to go home? Ready for some oats? I imagine you are.”

He’d been their buggy horse since she was a child, and Lydia knew his days were numbered. What would her family do when he gave out on them? As she straightened his mane and made sure the collar pad protected his shoulders and neck, she paused to rest her cheek against his side. The horse’s sure steady breathing brought her a measure of comfort.

Reaching into the pocket of her jacket, she brought out a handful of raisins. Tin Star’s lips on her hand were soft and wet. Lydia rubbed his neck as she glanced back once more at the cluster of buildings which had become like a small community to her—a community she was responsible for maintaining.

Squaring her shoulders, she climbed into the buggy and turned toward home.

• Chapter 1 •

Downtown Cashton

Thursday afternoon, two weeks later

Aaron Troyer stepped off the bus, careful to avoid a large puddle of rainwater. Because no one else was exiting at Cashton, he didn’t have to wait long for the driver to remove his single piece of luggage from the storage compartment. He’d thanked the man and shouldered the duffel bag when the buggy coming in the opposite direction hit an even bigger puddle, soaking him.

The bus driver had managed to jump out of the way at the last second. “Good luck to you, son.”

With a nod the man was back on the bus, heading farther west. A part of Aaron wished he were riding with him. Another part longed to take the next bus back east, back where he’d come from, back to Indiana.

Neither was going to happen, so he repositioned his damp duffel bag and surveyed his surroundings.

Not much to Cashton.

According to his uncle and his dad, the town was about the same size as Monroe, but Aaron couldn’t tell it. He supposed new places never did measure up to expectations, especially when a fellow would rather not be there.

The ride had been interesting enough. They had crossed the northern part of Indiana, skirted the southern tip of Lake Michigan, traveled through Chicago and Rockford, and finally entered Wisconsin in the south central portion of the state. Aaron had seen more cities in the last twenty-four hours than he’d visited in his entire life. Those had been oddities to him. Something he would tell his family about once he was home, but nothing he would ever care to see again. But passing through the Hidden Valley region of southwestern Wisconsin—now that had caused him to sit up straighter and gaze out of the bus’s window.

There had been an older Englisch couple sitting behind him. They’d had tourist brochures that they read aloud to each other. He’d caught the highlights as he tried to sleep.

He heard them use the word “driftless.” The term apparently indicated a lack of glacial drift. His dat would laugh at that one. Not that he discounted all aspects of science, but he had his doubts regarding what was and wasn’t proven as far as the Ice Age.

According to the couple’s brochure, Wildcat Mountain to the east of Cashton was teeming with wildlife and good hiking. Any other time he might be interested in that piece of information, but he wasn’t staying, so it didn’t matter much to him.

He also learned that small towns in the Driftless Area were at risk of major flooding every fifty to one hundred years.

Staring down at his damp pants, he wondered how much rain they’d had. How much rain were they expecting? He hoped he wouldn’t be here long enough to find out.

Aaron glanced up and down the street. He saw a town hall, a tavern, a café, a general store, and a feed store. A larger building, probably three stories high, rose in the distance, but he had no desire to walk that far because it could be in the wrong direction. Already the sun was heading west, and he’d rather be at the cabins before dark.

Several streets branched off the main one, but they didn’t look any more promising. Pushing his hat down more firmly on his head, he cinched up the duffel bag and walked resolutely toward the feed store.

Instead of heading toward the front door, he moved down the side of the building to the loading docks, where two pickup trucks and a buggy were parked.

Fortunately, it wasn’t the buggy that had sprayed him with rainwater and mud. He would rather not ask information of that person, though in all likelihood the driver had no idea what he’d done. Folks seldom slowed down enough to look outside their own buggy window—even Amish folk. It appeared some things were the same whether you were in Wisconsin or Indiana.

He approached the loading docks, intending to find the owner of the parked buggy.

“That duffel looks heavy… and wet.”

Turning in surprise, he saw a man leaning against the driver’s side of the buggy. Aaron could tell he was tall, even though he was half sitting, tall and thin. Somber brown eyes studied him, and a full dark beard indicated the man was married. Which was no surprise, because a basket with a baby in it sat on the buggy’s floor. The baby couldn’t have been more than a few months old, based on the size of the basket. He couldn’t see much except for a blanket and two small fists waving in the air.

“Duffel wouldn’t be wet if someone hadn’t been determined to break the speed limit with a sorrel mare.”

The man smiled, reached down, and slipped a pacifier into the baby’s mouth. “That would probably have been one of the Eicher boys. I’m sure he meant no harm, but both of them tend to drive on the far side of fast.”

He placed the walnut bowl he’d been sanding with a piece of fine wool on the seat, dusted his hands on his trousers, and then he stepped forward. “Name’s Gabe Miller.”

“Aaron Troyer.”

“Guess you’re new in town.”

“Ya. Just off the bus.”

“Explains the duffel.”

Aaron glanced again at the sun, headed west. Why did it seem to speed up once it was setting? “I was looking for the Plain Cabins on Pebble Creek. Have you heard of them?”

“If you’re needing a room for the night, we can either find you a place or take you to our bishop. No need for you to rent a cabin.”

Easing the duffel bag off his shoulder and onto the ground, Aaron rested his hands on top of it. “Actually I need to go to the cabins for personal reasons. Could you tell me where they are?”

“Ya. I’d be happy to give you directions, but it’s a fair piece from here if you’re planning on walking.”

Aaron pulled off his hat and ran his hand over his hair. Slowly he replaced it as he considered his options. He’d boarded the bus ten hours earlier. He was used to long days and hard work. Though he was only twenty-three, he’d been working in the fields for nine years—since he’d left the schoolhouse after eighth grade. It was work he enjoyed. What he didn’t like was ten hours on a bus, moving farther away from his home, on a trip that seemed to him like a fool’s mission.

“Sooner I start, sooner I’ll arrive.”

“Plain Cabins are on what we call the west side of Pebble Creek.”

“You mean the west side of Cashton?”

“Well, Cashton is the name of the town, but Plain folks mostly refer to Pebble Creek, the river.”

“The same river going through town?”

“Yes. There are two Plain communities here—one to the east side of town, and one to the west. I live on the east side. The cabins you’re looking for are on the west. The town’s sort of in the middle. You can walk to them from here, but as I said, it’s a good ways. Maybe five miles, and there are quite a few hills in between, not to mention that bag you’re carrying… ”

Instead of answering, Aaron hoisted the duffel to his shoulder.

Throughout the conversation, Gabe’s expression had been pleasant but serious. At the sound of voices, he glanced up and across the street, toward the general store. When he did, Aaron noticed a subtle change in the man, like light shifting across a room. Some of the seriousness left his eyes and contentment spread across his face.

Following his gaze, Aaron saw the reason why—a woman. She was beautiful and had the darkest hair he’d ever seen on an Amish woman. A small amount peeked out from the edges of her prayer kapp. She was holding the hand of a young girl, who was the spitting image of the man before him. Both the woman and the child were carrying shopping bags.

“I was waiting on my family. Looks like they’re done. We’d be happy to take you by the cabins.”

“I don’t want to be a bother,” Aaron mumbled.

Gabe smiled, and now the seriousness was completely gone, as if having his family draw close had vanquished it. As if having his family close had eased all of the places in his heart.

Aaron wondered what that felt like. He wanted to be back with his own parents, brothers, and sisters in Indiana, but even there he felt an itching, a restlessness no amount of work could satisfy.

From what he’d seen of Wisconsin so far, he could tell he wasn’t going to be any happier here. He’d arrived less than thirty minutes ago, and he couldn’t wait to get back home.

Gabe was already moving toward his wife, waving away his protest.

“If it were a bother, I wouldn’t have offered.”

Saturday, February 9, 2013

5 Days to a Clutter-Free House: Quick, Easy Ways to Clear Up Your Space by Sandra Felton ~the organized lady~ and Marsha Sims ~sort-it-out, inc.~ ©2013

Cover Art
ISBN 9780800721077
Paperback; 224 pages
Publication Date: February 2013
 Would you like a professional organizer and a time-management expert to come to your home?
Well, you've come to the right place. That is ~ they are lending you their plan for keeps in quick and easy ways to clear up your space. Look around your computer space to start. Those organized piles where you know where everything is.
                         ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ 
The easier the system, the more likely it is to be successful.

On your desk:
Action ~ Keep Action papers in view where you can see them in some kind of to-do file. An open desktop file sorter keep them easily accessible, but also keeps the area looking organized. Label each file folder with what needs to be done with that paper. "Send back to school signed." "Order this."

In a file cabinet:
Keep ~ Each Keep paper needs to go into a folder, either one of its own or one for similar papers. File the folders by category. You may want to use one color for the files or labels of each group.

Make a master list of files. On that list, you'll note each file you put into the file drawer. That way, you'll know what files have already been created, what you've named them, and where they're located.

A good way to make the master list is on a computer, so you can add and subtract files easily and neatly on the document. Keep your list in the first hanging file folder in the cabinet so you'll know where to find it for easy reference.

This is a skip-around sample of this topic. ~ pages 170-171
                          ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
This part caught my eye, because this is where I am sitting. I do have a file cabinet for keepers to put my fingers on ~ medical, insurance, treasures from grandchildren. Since I do reviews I have a notebook for orders coming and received, and a calendar for dates to post. I liked the above ideas and wanted to share them with you.

The book covers a preparatory overview of what you would like to accomplish, a five-day plan of having friends come, taking a room, a section at a time through the five days. This would work if they had a week to give you, but I can see this working too if they were able to work in one room until they either completed it, or were able to mark off where they stopped. Also by going by the sections per day, it would avail someone else to come in and continue where the first person left off, and know where they were to begin. The plan is to sort into boxes, labeling where the items were (you know, the pile where you know where everything is on the top left of your desk) and the destination room. This would even work if it were to stay in the room it is in, but there are several piles of paper. The object is to clear the surfaces, defining the purpose of the room ahead of time, putting things where they go. The person boxing is not making the decision of what is no longer needed. At the end of the day the storage boxes are taken to the labeled destination room. By de-cluttering, I take it to mean "out of place" or "no longer needed." The five days give the plan a start and a finish keeping on task, not for you to stop "to read everything" and getting bogged down.

Section two explains how to keep your newly ordered house under control including "the ten minute tidy challenge (not dropping things when you come in, but putting them away or hanging them up) and clutter-buster habits." There is experienced advice and helpful hints for going through the boxes and creating a place for what remains in your home.

Also throughout are examples of what people have done following this five-day plan.

Professional Organizer
Sandra Felton, The Organizer Lady, is a pioneer in the field of organizing. She is the founder and president of Messies Anonymous and the author of many books including Organizing Magic. Sandra lives in Florida.
Felton and Sims detail their proven five-day method that begins by assembling a de-cluttering team, clearing surfaces and sorting everything that doesn't belong into labeled boxes. 
Time-Management Expert
Marsha Sims is a national speaker who has taught seminars on time management and organization, managing the front desk, and projects and priorities. She has been a professional organizer for fifteen years as the founder and president of her Miami-based company, Sort-It-Out, Inc.
You can have a home that refreshes and inspires you,” write Felton and Sims. “Real, long-term change will come only when the heart and mind passionately embraces the dream of an organized way of life, which fills our lives with what we really love – beauty.”
Thank you to Revell Blog Tour for sending me a copy of this book to review in my own words. No other compensation was received.

Available February 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offering practical books for everyday life.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A New Home for Lily, Book 2, The Adventures of Lily Lapp by Suzanne Woods Fisher & Mary Ann Kinsinger, ©2013

A New Home for Lily
By Suzanne Woods Fisher & Mary Ann Kinsinger
Available February 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

The second novel in the charming Adventures of Lily Lapp series, A New Home for Lily, gives children ages 8-12 a fascinating glimpse into the life of the Amish with lots of fun and laughter along the way. It combines the real-life stories of growing up Amish from Mary Ann Kinsinger and the bestselling writing of Amish fiction and nonfiction author Suzanne Woods Fisher. With line illustrations throughout, this series is sure to capture the hearts of readers young and old.

Lily Lapp is moving with her family to Pennsylvania to join a new Amish community. In this small town where changes – and newcomers – are greeted with suspicion, Lily must adjust to a new school, new friends and Aaron Yoder, an annoying boy who teases her relentlessly. Still, there are exciting new developments, including an attic full of adventure and a new baby brother. But why, Lily wonders, can't God bring her just one sister?

Mary Ann Kinsinger was raised Old Order Amish in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. She met and married her husband whom she knew from school days, and started a family. After they chose to leave the Amish church, Mary Ann began a blog, A Joyful Chaos, as a way to capture her warm memories of her childhood for her own children. From the start, this blog found a ready audience and even captured the attention of key media players, such as the influential blog AmishAmerica and The New York Times. She lives in Pennsylvania.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, The Search, The Keeper and The Haven, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Christy Award finalist and a Carol Award finalist. She is the host of internet radio show Amish Wisdom and a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. For more information, please visit www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and connect with her on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

This is the second novel in the Adventures of Lily Lapp series, and will give children ages 8-12 a delightful glimpse at life among the Amish…with both differences and similarities to their own lives.

A New Home for Lily
By Suzanne Woods Fisher & Mary Ann Kinsinger
Paperback; 272 pages
Publication Date: February 2013

Summary: From age seven, Lily finds it difficult to adjust to life in Pennsylvania, following a different set of rules, and going to school with judgmental Effie and annoying Aaron, but her second year brings some wonderful surprises.

My Review:

Lily comes to her new home in Pennsylvania to find other people unloading their belongings and putting them away! How do they know where Mama wants her dishes and spices? One woman even says she will have her children stop by IN THE MORNING to go with them to school! Oh, my. Lily decides if she stays up all night and doesn't sleep, she will have a headache in the morning and Mama would have to let her stay home.

What do you think you would feel like finding your comfortable home moved to a different building and land outside?? With new people in your house before you even walk inside? Mama agrees with the woman!
"I think it is a good idea to go to school tomorrow," Mama said, sounding certain. "The longer you wait the more you will dread it. Once you're there, you'll enjoy it."
  --A New Home for Lily, page 11
Lily finds her new one room school house is a little different from what she is used to and she needs to practice kindness, especially with one girl who obviously doesn't draw too many friends.

Lily's Mama makes new clothing and a head covering for Lily to be more like what those in their new community wear. Are there new things that you would like to try? Shoes are what I noticed when I was in school. In fifth grade, I wanted low boots with a round ring in front. I was so proud of them. Looking back, I noticed just I and a boy a few places over in our school class photo had them on! As we got older, girls in my school wore black soft suede low lace-up shoes that spread out after you wore them awhile. One girl would get newer ones and they would be snug on her foot again.

Lily would be a good friend. There are line drawings that you will enjoy, seeing what Lily is doing. A New Home for Lily is about her family and their times together in their new Amish community. I liked how Lily becomes friends and knows when to keep quiet, learning the right way to treat others. One time she forgets, and says what she is thinking. It turns out well for them all at breakfast!

This chapter book has 36 chapters of Lily's adventures.

There will be four books in the Adventures of Lily Lapp series. Book 3, A Big Year for Lily, is available for pre-order and will be published in July 2013.

Lily has a website where you may meet the authors, get to know Lily and her family, learn more about the Amish, and find fun games and activities. To read the first three chapters of Book 1, Life with Lily, and Book 2, A New Home for Lily, visit the Adventures of Lily Lapp website www.AdventuresofLilyLapp.com.

Book 1
Book 2
Book 3

Thank  you to the Revell Blog Tour Network Children’s Fiction for sending me a copy of A New Home for Lily to review in my own words. No other compensation was received.