Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas in Apple Ridge by Cindy Woodsmall

Cindy Woodsmall has put her three Apple Ridge Novellas into one book, Christmas in Apple Ridge.
Below you will find information about the books, my review, a book trailer, the first chapter of the book and a section about the author. 

About the Novellas:
 The Sound of Sleigh Bells
After the death of Henry, Beth Hertzler's fiance, Beth was not interested in anything other than running Hertzler's Dry Goods store.  But when she found this magnificent carving in an old antique store, little did she know it would lead her to a man that would bring healing to her heart. 

The Christmas Singing
Mattie thought she knew the young man who had captured her heart.  But when Gideon suddenly broke up with her, Mattie fled to another Amish community in Ohio.  There she turned to what she loved to do...bake cakes.  Even though she started seeing a young man named Sol who was in every way good for her and wouldn't hurt her heart, Mattie still couldn't get thoughts of Gideon out of her head.

The Dawn of Christmas
Sadie was sure she had found true love finally, but on the day before her wedding she had seen her fiance, Daniel, with another woman.   After 4 years of being away, Sadie reluctantly returns to Apple Ridge to see her family.  One night Sadie comes upon a man who had been thrown from his horse.  She is able to get him some help.  Little does she know that this stranger will help to heal the wound that Daniel had caused so long ago.

Book Trailer:



What I Thought:
I am typically not an Amish fan, but I did enjoy reading these novellas.  They are quick and easy reads.  Cindy Woodsmall did a great job at keeping the story line fun and interesting which made the book hard to put down.  Without Beth, Mattie and Sadie each facing the hurt, disappointment, anger and fear in their lives, they would of missed out on relationships that were a great blessing in their lives.  Fear, anger, resentment and hurt can cause us to miss out on some truly great blessings.  Cindy Woodsmall did a great job in communicating these lessons through the stories of these three ladies in Apple Ridge.

Below you can read the first chapter.



About the Author:
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written a dozen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the second most popular author of Amish fiction, following Beverly Lewis. - See more at: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/about-cindy/biography/#sthash.ZZXNDKPC.dpuf
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times, CBA, ECPA, and USA Today best-selling author who has written a dozen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal,and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the second most popular author of Amish fiction, following Beverly Lewis.

She's a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

She's won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer's Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings' Best Books of the Year. She's been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn't realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn't allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy's house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them--afraid that if they didn't, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann's because her family didn't own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults' disapproval and the obstacles in each other's lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy's family moved to another region of the US.

As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities--from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.

Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.  (--from Cindy's website)

You can visit the Cindy Woodsmall's website here.



Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written a dozen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the second most popular author of Amish fiction, following Beverly Lewis.
She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.
She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.
Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.
As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.
Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.
- See more at: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/about-cindy/biography/#sthash.Vtx9IjEV.dpuf
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written a dozen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the second most popular author of Amish fiction, following Beverly Lewis.
She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.
She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.
Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.
As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.
Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.
- See more at: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/about-cindy/biography/#sthash.Vtx9IjEV.dpuf
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written a dozen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the second most popular author of Amish fiction, following Beverly Lewis.
She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.
She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.
Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.
As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.
Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.
- See more at: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/about-cindy/biography/#sthash.Vtx9IjEV.dpu
 ***I received this free book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

About the Book:
Are you living paycheck to paycheck wondering when things will get better?  Being financially strapped can be a difficult and stressful way to live life!  Dave's book Total Money Makeover has been helping people become debt free for years.  His advice is nothing new, but helps you to take the knowledge you have and actually put it to work in your life.  This book is different from Dave's other book Financial Peace.  Dave says that "Financial Peace is 'what to do with money'.  It is a great textbook for common-sense money management.  So how is The Total Money Makeover different?  It is more than a 'what to do' book--it is a 'how to do it' plan." (pg. 30 in the e-book version)

My Review:
My husband and I have both read this book and it really has helped us financially.  After reading about funding the $1,000.00 emergency fund, we decided that we would start with that.  Little did we know that my husband would injure his knee and need ACL surgery 6 months later.  Without that emergency fund, the three months off of work would of been really rough.  Dave has some great advice and makes you take a good look at yourself in the mirror.  Dave says that he is "positive that personal finance is 80 percent behavior and only 20 percent head knowledge." (pg.14 in the e-book version)  I like how Dave is straightforward about the real problem.  He says, "So my total Money Makeover begins with a challenge.  The challenge is you.  You are the problem with your money." (pg. 51 in the e-book version)  If you are living paycheck to paycheck with a mound of debt, pick up Dave's book and read it.  You'll be surprised at the little changes you can make that will make a huge difference in your life!

**I received this free e-book from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Miner's Lady by Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson's latest book in her Land of Shining Water series is called The Miner's Lady.  This is book three in her Minnesotan series.
Below you will find a description of the book, my review and information about the author. 

Back Cover Description:
When Chantel Panetta's younger sister claims to be in love with Orlando Calarco, Chantel knows there is no hope. The Panettas and Calarcos have been sworn enemies for decades, and young love cannot heal the deep wounds between the two iron-mining families. Yet, unable to resist Isabella's pleas, Chantel agrees to help her sister spend time with Orlando. . .only to have a run-in with Dante, Orlando's brother. 

Chantel can't deny the attraction that flares when she's with Dante. But when a tragedy occurs at the mine, is there any hope that the hatred that has simmered between these two families might be resolved? Or will Chantel's and Isabella's hope for love be buried amidst decades of misunderstanding?

My Review:
The love story in this book reminded me a lot of Romeo and Juliet's story.  Young people in love that are caught up in a feud between their two families.  Instead of the Capulets and Montagues, it is the Calarcos and the Panettas.  The feud has destroyed dear friendships all because of a story that has not even been told to the current generation.  The children are carrying on a feud that they think surrounds the killing of a mule, but the story is so much more than a mule.  I liked the story, but wasn't struggling to put this book down when I needed to.  It has a good theme throughout of forgiveness and the story is heartwarming, but I would probably only give it 4 out of 5 stars.

You can read my review of Book 1--The Icecutter's Daughter here and Book 2--The Quarryman's Bride here.

About the Author (from her website):

Tracie Peterson is an award-winning, best-selling author of over 95 books. Having given her heart to Jesus at the young age of six, Tracie has always felt called to some form of ministry, and writing fulfills that mission field.
Tracie received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings' Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership's vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.
In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers. She has co-written with a variety of authors including Judith Pella, Judith Miller, James Scott Bell and her daughter Jennifer.
Throughout her writing career Tracie has found time to speak at writer's conferences where she has a special heart for new authors. She is often joined by her husband Jim, whose background in history offers new authors insight into research. Besides teaching at conferences, Tracie also at one time managed Barbour Publishing's Heartsong Presents book line - overseeing the production of 52 books a year. Tracie teaches at women's conferences around the country and shares her testimony and insight for Christian living through the eyes of an author passionately in love with her Heavenly Father.
Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests, including USA "Best Books 2011" Awards, best Religious Fiction for Embers of Love!.
Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family--especially her three grandchildren--Rainy, Fox and Max..
For information on having Tracie speak at your event - contact Noelle Buss at Bethany Publishers/Baker Books.


***I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Stranded by Dani Pettrey

Dani Pettrey's third book in the Alaskan Courage series just released at the beginning of September 2013.  Stranded is another great hit!  Read below to find out why I think you will love Dani Pettrey's newest novel.

About the Book:
When Darcy's best friend, Abby, asks Darcy to join her on her latest undercover mission, Darcy decides to go to help out her friend.  Darcy is registered on the cruise ship as an adventure journalist.  Abby has told Darcy to meet with her the first night in order to discuss the real reason they are both on this cruise.   But when Darcy's friend goes missing on the cruise ship, she must discover the truth and rescue her friend before it's too late.  When she learns that her friends, the McKennas, are
in charge of the adventure excursions for the ship, she enlists their help to find her friend.  Darcy and Gage still have a lot to figure out with their relationship, but right now all that Darcy can focus on is getting Abby back.


My Review:
I was excited to read this third book of the Alaskan Courage series, and it did not disappoint!  There was just as much action and adventure in this book as the rest of the series.  I am not a fast reader by any means and was able to finish this book in just two days.  I did not want to put it down.  The plot and story were intriguing, and I just love a good mystery.  If you're looking for a fun, fast-paced book to read, make sure to check out this series.  It won't disappoint!

You can read my review of Book 1--Submerged here and Book 2--Shattered here
Book 4--Silenced will be released May 2014.  Can't wait!

About the Author:

Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the romantic suspense series Alaskan Courage, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, and latest release, Stranded. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.  Click here to visit her website.

***I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Snow on the Tulips “Amazon Reader Pack” Giveaway from Liz Tolsma!


About the book: A stranger's life hangs in the balance. But to save him is to risk everything.


The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she's endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.

When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia's doorstep, their lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia's faith won't let her turn him out.

As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit's intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable.

She is as terrified of loving Gerrit as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscape thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love? She fears their story will end before it even begins.

My Review:
Let me start by saying, I LOVED this book!  Liz Tolsma is a new to me author and she has quickly become one of my favorites.  I love history and this story is actually based on some true facts from the author's own family history.  I loved the way that Liz Tolsma writes and how she is able to describe the scene of the Netherlands under Nazi rule so well.  The story was filled with suspense especially when the Nazi soldiers came knocking on Cornelia's door.  And there is definitely a budding romance between Cornelia and the man she is nursing back to health.  The characters face many hurtles that they have to overcome in order to move ahead with life.  Their faith and trust in God is definitely challenged throughout the war.
Liz Tolsma will be on my favorite authors list for sure!  Her next book Daisies Last Forever will be out May 2014.  So make sure to pick this one up.  You won't be disappointed!!

You can purchase a copy of the book by clicking here.
Click here to read more reviews on the Blog Tour.



Meet the author:
Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. Add a dog and a cat to that mix and there's always something going on at their house. She's spent time teaching second grade, writing advertising for a real estate company, and working as a church secretary, but she always dreamed of becoming an author.

She'd love to have you visit her at www.liztolsma.com.





Giveaway Contest Information:

Liz Tolsma is celebrating the release of her novel, Snow on the Tulipsby giving away an Amazon Reading Pack to one lucky winner. Find out what readers are saying about the book here.

snowtulips-rafflecopter

  One winner will receive:
  • A $50 Amazon gift card
  • Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 16th. Winner will be announced November 18th at Liz's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Liz's blog on the 18th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox! Just enter your email address on the left sidebar of her blog.)

***I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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