Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Lancaster County has always been her home- but where does her heart belong?

One moment Carrie Weaver was looking forward to running away with Lancaster Barnstormers pitcher Solomon Riehl- plans that included leaving the Amish community where they grew up. The next moment she was staring into a future as broken as her heart. Now, Carrie is faced with a choice. But will this opportunity be all she hoped? Or will this decision, this moment in time, change her life forever?

Carrie Weaver was so sure of her future. She was ready to fun away with Sol, leave the community and her family, and start a new life. But when a terrible tragedy strikes Carrie’s family, everything about her life is turned upside down. Will a young man that was just released from jail, her best friend with a secret she’s been carrying for years, and a wise old woman be able to help her see that God will have beauty come from the ashes? The Choice is a story of forgiveness as well as healing, and shows us that even when we turn our backs on God, He’s still right by our sides. I’ve been a huge fan of Amish fiction for a while now, and when I heard about this new series by Suzanne Woods Fisher, I was pretty excited. This is the first book I’ve read from her, and I have to say I enjoyed it a lot. Although the chapters were very long and had a lot of information in each one that it was overwhelming at times, I let out a very happy sigh when I finished. This is a book for anyone that loves Amish fiction, or just wants a good book to read. But like I said, it does have times when it left me a little confused, and not because I was guessing until the end of the book. I believe this was Miss Fisher’s first novel, and I’d have to say she did a very good job for her first one. And honestly, I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Waiting, later on this year!

Love in Jesus,
Elyssa =)

*This book was purchased by me for my own collection*

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another Great Award!!!

Hey, guys! Molly from Book Reviews By Buuklvr81 has given us another award! We don't really have 9 blogs we can give this to, so we're not going to pass this one along. But thanks to Molly for blessing us with this award!

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

When The Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall

Her relationship with fiancé Paul Waddell in tatters, Hannah Lapp has fled her secluded Old Order Amish community in hopes of finding a new home in Ohio with her shunned aunt. Hampered by limited education and hiding her true identity, Hannah struggles to navigate the confusing world of the Englischers.

Will the countless opportunities in her new life persuade Hannah that her place is amongst the Englischers or will she give in to her heart’s call to return home and face the past?

There are so many words that I could use to describe this book, but none of them, at the moment, fit the bill. When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall was definitely a story that gripped my heart since the first time I read it, making me wish that it would never end. The book opened right where the first one left off, almost like you didn’t miss a beat of Hannah Lap’s life. While the first book is about all the events that take place to bring Hannah on this venture to Ohio, When the Morning Comes tells of all the triumphs of Hannah’s life afterwards. As I read the first book I couldn’t help but wonder how it would all end, yet as I read this one it only intensified my longing to find out. Hannah has left her home in Owls Perch, Pennsylvania and has set out to find her shunned Aunt, who lives in Winding Creek, Ohio. So many things happen to her one this journey, things that I know will stay in my heart. She becomes acquainted with her father’s sister and her- adopted family- so to speak. She meets up with (my favorite) the wealthy, Martin Palmer, who in time plays a very big part in the outcome of Hannah’s story. I know I said that the first book was one of the best books out there, but When the Morning Comes has to be-for me anyway- the best book I’ve read yet. A definite two thumbs up for this book, and trust me if I had more thumbs they’d be up there too.

Have a amazing day,

*This book was purchased by me for my own collection*

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Scripture of the Week

Romans 12: 1-2

1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Trouble in Paradise by Robin Lee Hatcher

After a lifetime of putting herself last, Shayla Vincent was finally on the right track. The rustic, secluded cabin her aunt had left her was the answer to prayer, the perfect spot to start her writing career. Now nothing would stop her from spreading His word.

Ian O'Connell was her new next-door neighbor -- a rugged rancher caring for his two adorable nieces. Yet, Shayla had already helped bring up her younger siblings. Raising another family when her goal was just within her grasp was the last thing she wanted, even as the brown-eyed cowboy had quickly become the first.
What happens when you mix a mystery writer working on her first novel and a rancher that loves his small town life? The answer is simple: chaotic. Shayla Vincent finds herself in the small town of Rainbow Valley after her aunt leaves her cabin to her. Little does she know, but the cowboy that lives down the road is about to change her life and all of her plans for the future. And what of Ian’s request to help him take care of his nieces? She’s done taking care of kids, but will two innocent faces help her make up her mind? Ian O’Connell is perfectly fine with the life he leads, but when he meets the strange, bubbly Shayla Vincent, he begins to wonder if he wants more in his life. Although living in the shadows of his past, he begins to see God’s love in a new light as he gets to know Shayla. But does she understand that he only wants to see her happy, no matter what she may think? When his sister asks him to watch her daughters for an extended period of time, he finds his hands full with double trouble- 6 year old twins. Can he handle taking care of them with help from his new neighbor, or will he give up without Shayla’s help?

Trouble In Paradise is a quirky book full of characters that are very believable and will stay with you for a long time after reading. It has problems that Christians everyday encounter, such as questions about God’s will for their lives and trusting Him no matter what. I found this book very enjoyable, and even found myself laughing at times as I went through Ian and Shayla’s problems with them. Obstacles such as Shayla’s deadline, her sister, Anne, a goofy cowboy named Ty, and Ian’s past are a few of the obstacles the two of them have to face. As they overcome each one, learning something new about each other, you find yourself wondering if Shayla will finish her novel despite all the interruptions and if Ian will be able to move on from the pain of all that he’s been through. Although an easy read, Trouble In Paradise is a book that I’d definitely recommend for anyone that’s looking for a small town book with cowboys, ranches, and God’s love weaved throughout the book. Definitely two thumbs up for Miss Hatcher!

Love in Jesus,
Elyssa =)

*This book was checked out of my local library for reviewing*

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Beginnings by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Beth Quinn is struggling to find a place to belong in the Old Order Mennonite Community of Sommerfeld, Kansas. When she starts a business designing stained glass windows, two men-one a Mennonite, the other not-begin to vie for her attention. Andrew Braun, a member of the Sommerfeld fellowship, is dedicated to family and faith. Sean McCauley, the son of a successful businessman, may only be interested in Beth's talents. Will Beth look to her heavenly Father to fill the emptiness within, or will her desperate quest for love shatter more than one heart?

Beginnings by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a story filled with choices. The characters are real enough to touch, and the story is in depth enough to warm your heart. As I read each page I found myself learning more and more about the Mennonites. For instance I had no idea that they were able to participate in creating stain glass. I read more about Old Order Amish than anything else, but it was refreshing to learn something new about this culture. Though they are similar, the Mennonites and the Amish have many differences. Mrs. Sawyer definitely points out these differences well, allowing you to learn right alongside the characters. Beginnings was easy to read and very interesting. Some books I find to be dry and you almost have to make yourself turn each page. But not so with this captivating story. I found myself getting lost in the story, hoping that everything would work out for both Beth and Andrew. I think the thing I liked most about this book was the fact that I got the chance to read it in Pennsylvania. Although this story doesn’t take place in that state, it was still amazing to read it while hearing the sound of horse’s hooves in the background. I give this book two thumbs up! It’s definitely a must read.

Have an amazing Wednesday,
*This book was purchased by me for my own collection*

Wednesday's Song of the Week #11

Here is week number 11's songs!

#1 My Savior My God- Aaron Shust

#2 Sleeping In- Nevertheless

#3 Do You Feel- The Rocket Summer


*These songs will play on the playlist below.*

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Colleen Coble

With the lies of the past behind her, Addie finds love… and discovers her true father.

Addie Sullivan leads a quiet life in a northern California lighthouse. She mourns the death of her father and endures her mother’s bitterness, until the night a storm brings an injured stranger and a dark secret to her home. The man insists she is not who she thinks she is, but rather “Julia Eaton”- the child long lost and feared dead by her wealthy family. Seizing the chance to be reunited with the Eaton’s, Addie leaves her lighthouse home but decides to keep her true identity a secret until they can unravel the mystery. Addie loves the Eaton’s palatial home tucked away among the California redwood forests. She feels secure with the jovial family, adores the young boy who is her charge as governess, and finds romance with his father John, a young widower. But sinister shadows overtake Addie’s joy. As dusty rooms and secret compartments give up their clues about her past, Addie finds a faith and a love she could never have guessed. To embrace this new world of promise is to risk her life; but to run away is to risk losing the greatest love she’s ever known.

Addie Sullivan’s life is literally turned upside down when she learns she isn’t who she believed to be for years. But the strange memories she has of being thrown into the sea by a man she doesn’t remember seems to fit along with the story the stranger she and her mother cared for tells her. So, leaving everything she knows and loves, she goes with the stranger in pursuit of the truth- and finds out she really is Julia Eaton. But why is Mr. Eaton getting blackmailed, and why was the young boy she now cares for kidnapped for no apparent reason? The Lightkeeper’s Daughter is the first book I’ve read by Colleen Coble, and to tell you the truth, I wasn’t disappointed. The way she weaved the story together with mystery, romance, and a strong faith in God was amazing, and I can’t wait to read more books from her. This book kept me guessing until the end, and even then I was shocked as to what the truth was. In fact, I was yelling near the end, so I might recommend reading this when you’re by yourself. Set in the early 1900s, it tells the story of Addie and John North, Mr. Eaton’s son-in-law. Going back and forth between the two, pieces of the puzzle about what really went on in Addie’s past come together as the story progresses. Definitely two thumbs up for Miss Coble!

God bless,
Elyssa =)

*This book was purchased by me for my own collection*

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Scripture of the Week

Jeramiah 29:11

11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday's Song of the Week #10

Here you go, Wednesday's Song of the Week number ten has arrived!

#1 Praise You In This Storm- Casting Crowns

#2 How to Save A Life- The Fray

#3 There Is A Redeemer- Keith Green


*These songs will be playing on the bottom playlist.*

When The Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall

Hannah Lapp was born and raised in an Old Order Amish home, without electricity, a telephone, or the right to follow her heart. Without her parents’ knowledge, she’s been in love with Mennonite Paul Waddell for years. When he asks her to marry him, she accepts, even though to do so will cause her family to avoid her for the rest of her life.

Before Hannah and Paul reveal their relationship, tragedy strikes. In one unwelcome encounter, all that Hannah has known and believed is destroyed and she faces losing everything: her family, her fiancé, and even her faith in God.

Well, I finally get to review this book! Oh, this is really very exciting! I’m sitting here right now thinking what words could possibly do this book justice and I find myself speechless. When The Heart Cries was easily one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life. Some of you may think that hasn’t been all that long, but I’ve seen my share of good books before this one, but none of them even come close to this one. Cindy Woodsmall is fairly new to me, although I’ve read her first few novels quite a few times (which includes this one). I bought this book in Pennsylvania not too long ago, but back then I had no idea of the effect this story would have on my heart. As I read this book I found myself getting lost in its pages, living out every line with each of the characters. It is funny how attached you can get to certain characters when you read a book, it’s almost like they really are real. This story gave me such an outlook on the Amish. Sure you may think by reading this story that the Amish are more friendly to outsiders than they are to their own, but I know there’s more to it than that. When The Heart Cries brings up some very interesting subjects, but definitely nothing Cindy couldn’t handle. If there’s any way for you to read this book I suggest that you do. Cindy Woodsmall has brought a new way of writing to these familiar Amish novels. When The Heart Cries definitely gets five stars from me!

I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday afternoon,

*This book was purchased by me for my own collection*

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday's Song of the Week #9

So, once again it's Wednesday. That means it's time for our Wednesday's Song of the Week!

#1 Always- Building 429

#2 While I'm Waiting- John Waller

#3 Take Me- Hawk Nelson


Levi's Will by W. Dale Cramer

Dusk. An Amish farm in Ohio. Will’s father doesn’t recognize him at first- it’s been eight years- so he holds a match up to Will’s face to see him better. “I thought you were dead.” Levi Mullet says, then blows out the match and walks away.

This is not how it’s supposed to be. Where’s the fatted calf? The party?

For years, Will has worked to overcome the ban of his father and the Old Order Amish community. Only now, when the life of his own son hangs in the balance, does he begin to see the truth- that love is the proof of God, and forgiveness the proof of love.

Spanning about forty years, Levi’s Will tells the story of Will Mullet, a young Amish boy who left his community at age 19. Because he had joined church and left behind his pregnant girlfriend, refusing to confess his sins and marry her, he is shunned by the entire community. So he takes off with his younger brother, Tobe, and starts a new life for himself. As the years pass by, Will changes his name, lies about his past, and finally comes to grips with all that has happened- but only by going through some tough times. In the end, the most important thing he needs to do is forgive his father for the hate he’s shown towards him. But the question is, can he forgive the man that has treated him like a complete stranger for most of his life? Levi’s Will is the first book I’ve read by W. Dale Cramer, and I have to say that I really loved this book. Full of characters that are unforgettable and will make you want to laugh and cry, Mr. Cramer has done a wonderful job at telling a story that is, for the most part, true. His own father left the Amish community and was shunned, leaving behind his pregnant girlfriend. Like Will, he changed his name, joined the army, married a woman from the South, and didn’t tell her the truth until about seven years into their marriage. If you’re curious about the ending to Mr. Cramer’s story about his father and his family, you’ll have to read the afterword in the back of the book. But believe me, the ending is just as satisfying as the end to the book! For all of the Amish fiction readers out there, this is a definite must read!

God bless,
Elyssa =)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scripture of the Week

John 5: 39, 46-47

39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

46For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me.

47But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bygones by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Widow Marie Koeppler and her grown daughter Beth reluctantly return to the Mennonite community Marie abandoned twenty-three years ago. Soon after their arrival in Sommerfeld, a series of mysterious thefts raises the community's suspicions against the "outsiders." Can Marie prove their innocence, or will she be forced to flee once more?
Henry Braun thought he'd gotten his love for Marie out of his system, but soon begins to wonder if she's stolen more than his heart. When it's all said and done, can Henry and Marie let bygones be bygones, or has their love been doomed from the start?

Well, to tell you the truth it has been some time since I’ve read this book. It always amazes me how much I can remember from a book I read, probably, last year. But there are reasons why I’m bringing you this review so long after I actually read it. Bygones by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a touching story about truth and the real meaning of love. I have to say that at some points in the story I can remember being a little confused as to what was going on. But let me assure you that everything will make sense in the end. I purchased this book blindfolded, not knowing what to expect from it. But as I read it—which by the way took only a few days—I realized I had made a good choice. A few months ago a friend of mine picked up the second and third book at a thrift store for me, which was a complete blessing. I will be sure to get those reviews to you ASAP so you can decide whether or not you have an interest in reading these beautiful, heartwarming tales.
Mrs. Sawyer gets two thumbs up!

Have a wonderful day,
*This book was purchased by me for my own collection*

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday's Song of the Week #8

Okay, so Wednesday is upon us again, bringing us to our eigth week of songs.
And here they are:

#1 Take You Back- Jeremy Camp

#2 Wait and See- Brandon Heath

#3 Free To Be Me- Francesca Battistelli


*Songs will play on the playlist below*

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sarah's Choice

Sarah Collins is a young woman on the rise. As a junior account executive at a major advertising agency, Sarah is poised to get it all: executive promotion, salary increase, new car, fabulous apartment and first-class travel. There’s only one thing that’s going to keep her from getting it; her unborn baby. Sarah has a hard decision. Her friends and co-workers insist that she has the right to choose what will be best for her; a successful career and unlimited material rewards. But according to a mysterious stranger, and three visions, Sarah can make a choice that will not only change her life but the lives of her loved ones both now and forever.

In Sarah’s Choice, Sarah Collins finds herself in a predicament, where she can either choose life, or to have an abortion. Still suffering from the death of her father ten years earlier, Sarah is bitter towards God, and doesn’t believe that He could care about her if she’s in this situation. But a visit from a frail old woman changes all that. After being told she’s going to have three visions, Sarah gets a glimpse of what one of her choices would result in. But the biggest questions are whether Sarah will make the right choice, and whether she chooses to believe that God cares about her. Abortion. The word sends chills down my spine to think of what goes on in those clinics, all while a doctor sits by and tells the young woman that everything is going to be alright. But will it ever really be alright, when an unborn baby is killed without a chance at living? Sarah’s Choice poses this question, as well as many others pertaining to the subject of abortion. This movie also shows us that God is always there, even in the dark times. I’ll flat out say that I loved this movie, and you’ll definitely feel the same way! This is absolutely a movie that will get you thinking, and that will touch your heart. I definitely give it two thumbs up!

God bless,
Elyssa =)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Psalm of the Week

Psalm 21

1The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!

2Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.

3For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.

4He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.

5His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.

6For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.

7For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.

8Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.

9Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.

10Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men.

11For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform.

12Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them.

13Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall

Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it's no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God-"Be me to her"- despite how it threatens his way of life.

Completely opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim's sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stolzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose-or push Mahlon away forever? While Ephraim is trying to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything-including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?

The Hope of Refuge is a book I couldn’t wait to read. And to tell you the truth it was worth every penny I paid for it. Cindy Woodsmall is one of my favorite authors; her characters are always realistic and wonderful. Every time I read one of her stories it leaves me speechless and teary-eyed, her talent is just astonishing. As I read this book and became accustom to the characters, I felt as if I was standing there with Cara and Ephraim. Everything about this book was beautiful, the beginning and the end. I always love it when an author keeps you guessing all throughout the book, and this book does it perfectly. After I read the last page I immediately knew why the beginning started the way it had. Definitely read this book, it is a must read! Cindy Woodsmall did not disappoint with this one.

Have a blessed weekend,
*This book was purchased by me for my own collection*

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday's Song of the Week #7

Hello Everyone and Happy New Year to you! Seems like 2009 went by so fast, giving us no time to stop and take a breath. Well, like I promised we are back on with our Wednesday's Song of the Week. Sorry about last week, things got little hectic for me, and it slipped my mind. But, this week we are going back to the normal three songs a week starting with our praise song of the week.

#1 Everlasting God- Chris Tomlin

#2 Mighty to Save- Hillsong United

#3 Take Me As I Am- FM Static

I hope you enjoy these songs I've picked, as well as the rest of your week.

*Songs will play on playlist*

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Psalm of the Week

Psalm 124

1If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say;

2If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:

3Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:

4Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:

5Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.

6Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.

7Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.

8Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Julie and Julia

Based on two true stories, Julie and Julia intertwines the lives of two women who, separated by time and space, are both at loose ends… until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.

Amy Adams stars in this true story about Julie Powell, a young woman with a passion for food- and a strange love for anything pertaining to Julia Child. She sets a goal to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook in a year and blog about it. Along the way, she overcomes some obstacles, like her mom’s persistent attitude on giving up, a huge fight with her husband, live lobsters, and deboning a duck. Throughout the movie, Julia Child’s story is also told, showing how she came to love food and how she began to cook. All in all, I’d say Julie and Julia was a good movie, full of laughs and a whole lot of food that looked really tasty. This movie is rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some sensuality, so I wouldn’t recommend it for younger audiences. There's a few parts you have to fast forward, so pay attention and keep your clicker in hand. As you follow the lives of Julie and Julia, you’ll find yourself rooting for both of them as they face some bumps along the way to success- Julie, with her cooking and blog, and Julia, becoming a famous chef. Oh yeah, and if you don't believe in using butter, I wouldn’t recommend this movie… Julia Child was a HUGE fan of butter!

Happy New Year to you all!

Love in Jesus,
Elyssa =)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Psalm of the Week

Psalm 1

1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Hey guys, I just want to apologize for not having Wednesday's song of the week on here for you. I totally lost track of the days, this week was very jumbled in my mind. Don't worry though, I provided you with yet another Tenth Avenue North song. And next week on Wednesday I will have the songs up again. Thanks for your patience.