Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Book Review: A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Woods Fisher

About the Book: Jaime and C. J. Fitzpatrick began their married life as most couples do--in love and looking forward to a bright future together. But four years later they've drifted apart and are almost ready to call it quits.

Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband Sol the Christmas gift they have both longed for--news that a baby was on the way. But as usual, she is disappointed. The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big family isn't likely to become a reality.

Then a winter storm raging outside blows the Fitzpatricks into the Riehl home--and into a much slower pace of life. Can these two couples from different worlds help each other understand the true meaning of love this Christmas?

With her trademark plot twists and attention to detail, Suzanne Woods Fisher offers readers a beautiful Christmas story of love, forgiveness, and what truly matters in life.

My Thoughts: I've enjoyed several works of Amish fiction by Suzanne Woods Fisher and this was no exception.

The setting and writing produced a wonderfully cozy feeling, a perfect book to curl up by the fireside and read on a cold, wintry night.

I love how the Amish and "English" worlds intertwine in this book and how both sides have something to learn from each other. Despite their vastly different backgrounds, both women have similar needs, yearnings and problems and the characters are believable (and likable) as they work through these issues.

A charming, quick read, perfect for Christmastime!

Thank you to Stephanie and Amy from Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

To celebrate the release of her first Christmas book, Suzanne Woods Fisher has teamed up with her publisher, Revell, to bring you the "Christmas in September" iPad Giveaway! The winner will be announced on 9/27 at the A Lancaster County Christmas Facebook Party! Details below. Tell your friends and join in the fun (9/7-9/27).

Oh and be sure to follow the blog tour here - many of the bloggers have copies of the book to giveaway!

Suzanne and Revell will be presenting one merry winner with a Christmas Prize Pack (valued at over $600):

  • A Brand New iPad 2 with Wi-Fi
  • $25 gift certificate to iTunes
  • A copy of A Lancaster County Christmas

To enter, click here http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13425768. But, hurry the giveaway ends on 9/26.

But, wait! There's more! The winner will be announced at the A Lancaster County Christmas Facebook Party on 9/27 at Suzanne's author page. During the party she'll be revealing something *BIG* - you won't want to miss it. She'll also be hosting a book chat, trivia contest and giving away a few early Christmas presents! Hope to see you there.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Summer Update

Yeesh, I've been in a blogging slump lately. I guess that's because we've just been so stinkin' busy!

We had an absolutely fanTASTic summer. I can't remember when the weather has last been this amazing, and the bugs so few - unheard of for our neck of the woods that's for sure!

Here's a quick rundown of our summer - more details and photos to come.

Literally, the day after school was over, we drove Sophia to camp for her first camping experience ever! (LOVED it!) She was there for 2 nights.

That Monday we started swimming lessons for 30 mins every morning for 2 weeks straight (not weekends). I somehow managed to find coordinating lessons times for all 4 kids that started within 5 minutes of each other - AND got them all in! An amazing feat, especially since I needed 2 spots for one class as Emma and Sophia were at the same level.

The following week was Emma's turn for camp - she went from Monday morning to Friday evening, also her first camp experience, also LOVED it, as I knew she would.

The next week all 3 girls went to our church's day camp (Olivia was so excited that she was finally old enough to go!). Each girl had at least one friend they were going with and they had an absolute blast.

The next week was nothing officially planned, so we went on a few outings.

The following week we took the kids to the States for swimming, shopping and eating - always good times.

The next two weeks were an amazing celebration time as Nathan's sister Deena and her husband Chris and their boys came out to visit from a few provinces over. Including Baret, whose miracle story I still need to share on this blog.

And that brought us to the last full week without school! Did some babysitting, some splashparking and just had fun enjoying my kids.

What a great summer!

Book Review: Fairer than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott

About the Book: Ann dreams of a marriage proposal from her poetic suitor, Eli-until Will Hanby shows her that nobility is more than fine words.

On a small farm in 19th-century Ohio, young Ann Miller is pursued by the gallant Eli Bowen, son of a prominent family. Eli is the suitor of Ann's dreams. Like her, he enjoys poetry and beautiful things and soon, he will move to the city to become a doctor.

Ann travels to Pittsburgh, accompanying her father on business. There she meets Will Hanby, a saddle-maker's apprentice. Will has spent years eking out an existence under a cruel master and his spirit is nearly broken. But Ann's compassion lights a long-dark part of his soul. Through his encounters with Ann's father, a master saddler, Will discovers new hope and courage in the midst of tremendous adversity.

When the Millers must return to Ohio and their ministry there, Will resolves to find them, at any cost. If Will can make it back to Ann, will she be waiting?

Read an excerpt here.

My Thoughts: This book dealt with a lot of heavy subject matter (abuse, the Underground Railroad, slavery, forgiveness, etc), but it was handled in a compassionate, yet realistic way. The characters are very well-developed and their reactions, thoughts, words and actions are realistic (iow, they don't always make the right choices)

Excellent drama, incredibly moving storyline, captivating characters and a plot that turns out to be based on a true story and true characters - incredible!

I do love historical drama, and this was no exception.

This was Elliott's debut novel - I look forward to reading a lot more from this author!

Thank you to Stephanie and Amy from Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Girls singing "Glorious Day"

The girls absolutely love singing in church. Here they are singing "Glorious Day" by Casting Crowns. I'm accompanying them on the piano, but the mic doesn't pick it up very well apparently.


Sunday, 4 September 2011

Book Review: Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

About the Book: Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

My Thoughts: Blue Skies Tomorrow is Book 3 in the Wings of Glory series. I also reviewed A Distant Melody, the first book of the series. I'm only sorry I didn't get in on the blog tour for the 2nd one!

I definitely enjoyed this book as much as the first. Though part of a series, Blue Skies Tomorrow works as a standalone book as well.

Sundin does not shy away from tackling serious issues in her works of fiction! This book tackles abuse, the effects of fighting in the war, reasons for wanting to fight and not wanting to, expectations, appearances and more.

The characters are well-developed and interesting, the storyline keeps moving and the history is captivating - all in all, two thumbs up!

To celebrate the release of Blue Skies Tomorrow, the final installment of the Wings of Glory series, Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Vintage Kindle Prize Package!

Read what the reviewers are saying here.

One winner will receive:
* Kindle with Wi-Fi
* Handmade vintage apron for you and a friend (see a photo here)
* Blue Skies Tomorrow (for Kindle)

To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, giveaway ends on 9/10. Winner will be announced on 9/12 at Sarah Sundin's blog. Details and official rules can be found when entering the contest.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Thank you to Stephanie and Amy from Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.


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