Thursday, March 29, 2012

{The Scent of Cherry Blossoms}

Cindy Woodsmall is a popular writer of Amish fiction. She has written many books about the Amish community, most of them being fiction romance. I have read many of them and loved each one. When I saw that the title of this book was The Scent of Cherry Blossoms I knew I had to read it. Cherry Blossoms are my favorite tree in the whole world. They are so beautiful and smell wonderful. In this latest book, nineteen year old Annie Martin is an Old Order Amish young woman. She is having trouble with her mother and getting along with her family in general. They live in New York (not the city, just the state) and her dad left the family many years before. Her mother has raised all of the children alone and puts a lot of responsibility on Annie so they fight a lot.

When Annie and her mother have a big argument, she is sent to live with her Daadi Moses (her mother's father) in Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania. He is strict man, but a loving man. He is protective of Annie and wants only the best for her since his own daughter does not speak to him kindly. When Annie arrives in Apple Ridge she finds herself working at a diner owned by her Daadi's neighbors. The Zook's are an Old Order Amish family who rely on the support of their Mennonite neighbor to supply them with electricity for their restaurant.

When Aden Zook finds out Annie has returned to their community he is very happy. He is the cook (and son of the family who owns the restaurant). Annie helps Aden work in the diner while his twin brother who is wheelchair bound is out of town. The two young people quickly start to have feelings for each other. They know they cannot take their feelings any farther than a friendship because their lives would be torn apart. Amish people were not to marry (or court) Mennonite people and the same goes for Mennonites. They would be banished from the community and shunned by everyone.

There is a cherry blossom orchard on Daadi Moses' property that connects with the Zook's property and Annie and Aden meet there every night. They never do anything scandalous or bad. They just talk and share their feelings and thoughts. When Moses finds out about their budding romance he immediately threatens the Zook family and tries to put a stop to it. Annie and Aden are at a loss. They love each other deeply but they know the cannot go forward with their feelings because it would tear their families apart. Annie is sent back to New York to live with her mother and Aden is crushed.

I will save the end for you to enjoy when you get a copy for yourself. I will tell you that I LOVED this book. It was so sweet and innocent. I would recommend this book to anyone. There was absolutely nothing bad in it.

"Can Annie and Aden find a place for their love to bloom in the midst of a brewing storm?" -quote from the back of the book.

God Bless,


*I was given this book in exchange for my personal review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Monday, March 26, 2012

{A Perfect Pet for Peyton Review}

Dr. Gary Chapman is New York Times #1 bestselling author of The Five Love Languages. Rick Osborne is a bestselling author of many popular parenting and marriage books. Together they have written a wonderful book called A Perfect Pet for Peyton. The illustrations are done by Wilson Williams Jr. A Perfect Pet for Peyton is a story about 5 children who all have 5 different love languages. Peyton and his twin sister Penny are celebrating their birthday at The Perfect Pet Pal Emporium where Mr. Chapman, the owner, matches each child to their perfect pet. As you go through the book, the authors engage the reader by asking questions about the animals and having them point out each animal by it's proper name. They also put a small insect on each large picture for the child to find. My 3 year old, Bear, thought it was so much fun to look for the bugs. He would say "Ewww, I see one!"

When Penny and Peyton arrive at the Emporium they discover that they are having a birthday party with their friends. They all get to go home with a pet that Mr. Chapman will hand pick for them according to their love language. As the story progresses you get to see each child discover their love language and what it actually means. Peyton doesn't think that he will get a good pet so he decides he doesn't want to get one.

As Mr. Chapman starts explaining to each child their love language in detail, he also tells them what animal they get to take home as their pet. The 3 friends get their pets first and discover a lot about themselves. When it's time for Penny to get her pet, Mr. Chapman tells her that her love language is quality time and she gets to take home a cat named Horace. The cat likes to spend time with his owner. Peyton begins to think he really won't get a pet because Mr. Chapman hasn't announced his yet.

The children suddenly realize that a dog that had been helping Peyton was his pet. The dog's name is Alex and he is specially trained to help others. Peyton learns that his love language is acts of service. He likes to help others. The other love languages are words of affirmation (speaking kind words), gifts, and physical touch. Dr. Gary Chapman has written a book called The Five Love Languages of Children that can accompany this children's book. There is a quiz in the back of this book that you can give to your child orally to find out what their love language is. My 3 year old would not sit still long enough, so it is probably better to ask children a little older. You can also visit to read more about this subject.

I recommend this book for every family. Children and adults will both love reading this sweet story over and over again.

About A Perfect Pet for Peyton:
5 Love Languages of Children:
The 5 Love Languages:

God Bless,


*I was given this book in exchange for my personal review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

{Simon and the Easter Miracle}

Easter is right around the corner. It's just less than 2 weeks away. I love to celebrate this day because it is the day that Jesus defeated death and sin. It makes me so glad that He was willing to go through so much for me. Mary Joslin and Anna Luraschi have written a children's book about Simon. Simon is the man that the guards chose to help Jesus carry the cross to Calvary when He was too weak to get up. In this particular book, Simon is a farmer who is going to the market in the city to sell his goods. When he got to the city it was very busy that day and Simon thought he would have no problem selling all of his goods in no time.

As he was finding his way to a good spot to set up his stand he saw a crowd. He went to see what was going on and there was a man carrying a cross on his back. Simon stood back a bit because he did not want to get in the middle of the trouble. He wondered what this man had done to deserve such severe puninshment. Everyone was yelling and shouting to crucify the man with the cross. The prisoner fell to the ground and could not get back up. The guards yelled at Simon to help him carry the cross to the top of the hill.

Simon put down his goods and baskets in a place he thought was safe. He helped the man with the cross. Simon asked the prisoner what he had done to deserve such harsh punishment. The man said he was preaching the message of peace. Finally, they reached the top of the hill and Simon hurried away. He did want to see or hear anything else. When he got back to the spot where he left all of his belongings they were either all gone or broken to bits. He decided to just go home and count it a loss.

When he reached home he was glad that the next day was the Sabbath day, a day to rest. He went to do a few things on Sunday and noticed that his farm was being blessed by God because he saw doves in his olive grove.

I thought this book was good. I like the story line. What I do not understand is the part about it being an "Easter" book. There is no talk of Jesus' resurrection. The story simply ends with Simon being blessed. I suppose you could look at Simon's farm being blessed as the Easter miracle. I just wish the book would have talked more talked more about Jesus rising from the grave.

I recommend this book for families who want to add a family friendly book to their collection. I would however, recommend that an adult explain who the man carrying the cross is since Jesus' name is not mentioned at all. Other than that, it was a nice story.

God Bless,


*I was given this book in exchange for my personal review. All opinions expressed here are my own.*

{WWJD & A Giveaway!}

WWJD- What would Jesus do? That is the question that is answered for a family in the movie The Woodcarver. Matthew Stevenson is rebelling against his family in the beginning of this movie because he asked God to have his parents stay together. He feels like God didn't hear him because they are in the middle of a bitter divorce. He vandalizes the church his father is renovating to get his attention. As part of his punishment he is sentenced to help restore what he destroyed. He meets Ernest Otto played by John Ratzenberger (Cheers) who is a woodcarver assigned to carve all of the destroyed pieces of wood.

Mr. Otto teaches Matthew all of the tricks of the trade. Me teaches him everything he knows about woodcarving and how to restore this church. While teaching him to do all of these different talents, Mr. Otto also teaches Matthew the importance of having Jesus in your life. He tells Matthew to ask himself what would Jesus do everytime he needs to make an important decision. He changes dramatically during the course of the movie.

Another transformation is Matthew's parents. They are really fighting and not getting along throughout the movie. By the end, they are trying to work things out. They decided that what drove them apart was when they put everything else before God. They stopped going to church and stopped praying.

I recommend this movie for anyone over the age of about 10 (unless your children can handle the arguing between the parents). I would view it prior to allowing your little ones to watch it. There is nothing bad in the movie, just some destruction of property, talk of divorce, and arguing amongst the parents. It would make a great family movie night pick.

If you would like to win a copy please leave a comment telling me so along with your email address. For an extra entry, follow my blog and leave a separate comment. Winner will be announced on April 1st!

God Bless,


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

{Beauty For Ashes by Dorothy Love}

Beauty For Ashes is Dorothy Love's newest book. This is the second book in the Hickory Ridge Romance series. Here is a summary of the book (from the back of the book).

"She's a beautiful young widow. He's a southern gentleman with a thirst for adventure. Both need a place to call home."

Carrie Daly wants a family but after her husband dies in the Civil War her dreams are crushed. There are not very many eligible men in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee. I absolutely love historical fiction books, especially ones that are faith-based. In this book, the townsfolk are very judgmental toward a woman who chooses a man who doesn't fit into their little mold. Griff Rutledge is that man. Carrie falls for him and everyone snubbs her because they think they know more about him than she does.

Dorothy Love has the reader feeling exactly what Carrie is feeling. If she doesn't like something, then I found myself not liking it. If she loves something (or someone), I found myself loving it as well. The emotions are ever-changing and the mood of the book changes with Carrie. I really loved this book and recommend it to anyone who likes a historical fiction book.

If you go to Dorothy Love Author Page on Facebook you can enter to win a Kindle Fire and a Sapphire ring.

Please visit her Facebook page to enter by 3/20. You can also get all of the latest news from Dorothy Love.

God Bless,


*I was given this book for review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Thursday, March 1, 2012

{The Guardian Duke Review and Giveaway}

I love to read historical fiction books. The Guardian Duke is a wonderful book set in the early 1800's in England and Ireland. There are castles and fencing and balls that last all night long. Jamie Carie writes books based in history. England's Regency period is one of my favorite time periods. The clothes were beautiful and the castles were extravagant. In this particular book, Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, is ordered by the Prince Regent to become guardian over Lady Alexandria Featherstone. Her parents are claimed to be dead after not returning from their last mission. They are "treasure hunters" for the rich and famous. Lady Alex does not believe in her heart that her parents are dead so she uses her own investigative skills to find clues as to her parents last whereabouts.

In the meantime, the Prince Regent sends a message to the Duke saying he must go to Lady Alexandria right away because there may be danger. The treasure her parents were hunting for is of high value and high profile. Many people want this item. The Duke and his assistant set out to her home on Holy Island only to find her already gone in search of her parents. He follows after her immediately. Lady Alex has found many clues that send her to Ireland. Along the way she meets two very good men who agree to travel with her to protect her. In those days, a woman was never to travel alone. They all become close friends.

The dangers grow as they get closer to each clue. With the Duke on her trail and knowing that he will take her back to London for her safety, she tells a few lies to get away from him. Her companions do not like her lying but agree to travel with her wherever she may lead. There are many references to God and the Bible. The characters pray and seek God in their quests. I really liked this book other than the fact that it leaves a lot to be said. There are going to be more books in the "Forgotten Castles" series (which is what this book is). In summer 2012, expect to see The Forgiven Duke which continues this same story line. I cannot wait to read that one also. This was a book full of mystery and adventure as well as love and friendship. I recommend this book to just about anyone who likes historical fiction books about love.

About the Author:
When she was six, Jamie’s parents met Jesus and soon after started a church. It changed everything. Road trips with her dad—to and from Bible studies across Indiana—were filled with talks of things beyond earth’s bounds – creation and the fall, God and Jesus and the rapture, the earthly walk compared to the spiritual walk, and how we are born for more than what we can see or touch.
The highlight of those nights was stopping at a truck stop in the middle of the night where her dad would spend a little of the offering basket on two slices of pie and a couple of Cokes. Nothing ever felt so special as a middle of the night slice of pie with her dad. And nothing could stop the writing pouring out of her.
As Jamie’s relationship with God grew, she discovered her heart was filled with songs and poetry. During high school she wrote lyrics for her brother’s band. (And she sang them too!) After college, Jamie married, had two sons and decided to stay home with them. While she homeschooled she wrote skits, poems, plays and short stories for school and church.
When her eldest son turned five she dove into the world of novels. She’d read romance novels for years, but couldn’t relate to the flawless, saintly heroines in Christian romance novels. So she decided to write her own.
Snow Angel was born on a frosty night in an old farmhouse in Fishers, Indiana, where the cold floor gave plenty of motivation for the snow scene. Jamie loves to write late at night when the house is quiet and the darkness seems alive. Elizabeth and Noah had been playacting in her head for a long time, so the story went fast.
Ten years later Snow Angel was published and won the ForeWord magazine Romance Book of the Year winner, was a National “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and a 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. It was the beginning of her dream career.
Jamie and her husband Tony have been married for twenty-one years and live in Indianapolis with their three sons and a giant of a dog named Leo.
If she could only say one thing to her readers it would be, “Live the dreams God has destined you for!”


Would you like a chance to read this book for yourself for free? I am giving away one copy of this book to a reader on my blog. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me that you would like to win. Don't forget to leave your email address to that I can contact you should you win. For an extra entry you can follow my blog (leave a separate comment for each). Open to U.S. citizens only. I will announce the winner on March 9th, 2012!

God Bless,


*services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”*