Book Review: An Amish Picnic – four stories

Four quaint stories of Amish people finding love. Each story features a picnic happening either as a pivotal element or merely one of several settings. Apparently, picnics are one of the courtship process activities that Amish people approve of and enjoy.

Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Kathleen Fuller, and Vannetta Chapman each contribute a tale to this satisfying offering. Impediments daunt the couples, but true love is found by each pair. For one couple, the man’s financial fears slow things down, for another couple, the woman’s self esteem, battered by a speech impediment causes her backward grumpy suitor to walk on eggshells to win her.

Another couple gets tangled in troubles when a chubby heroine gets jealous of the slim blond beauty who shows up at a fishing date. Turns out that’s not a competitor, but the difficulties are rather funny the way the author plays it out. And finally, a women with claustrophobia and a male friend find some old letters, and the mystery behind them leads to a love story of their own.

Very satisfying book for fans of the Amish romance genre. Makes you want to picnic.

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Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

Buttonholed, by Anita Klumpers

Hi! Susan Karsten here…recently, I mentioned my own new release, Charlotte’s Dilemma. It’s a novella and part of a series of 8 novellas (short novels) connected by a theme. The theme is from the famous bible passage Phillipians 4:8 that begins, Whatever is pure…, and ends, …think on these things. Thus we have the series subtitle: Ponder This!

PonderThis_series_sm 8 booksThe series!

As I review Buttonholed, by Anita Klumpers, in honor of the series of eight books, I’ve developed a list of eight highlights from Buttonholed for this review (first list I’ve ever created for a book review).

List of Eight Things I Loved in Buttonholed:

  1. Literary references are fun to run across when reading fiction.
  2. Hero’s name: Bram (short for Abram), is very cool.
  3. Buttons play a role in the story and I love anything to do with textiles.
  4. Crocheted clothing is mentioned and I love clothing and see above.
  5. Heroine’s mom is an outstanding cook and homemaker (I love homemaking).
  6. Heroine’s mom does heroine’s make-up and heroine doesn’t hate it.
  7. Ice Cream (say no more, right?).
  8. Happy, non-stressful conspiracies are involved.

PonderThis_series_sm 8 books

I LOVED this book! It was sooo fun to read. So intelligent and clever that I wanted it to go on and on and on. I certainly hope author Anita Klumpers resurrects her deft handling of all things southern and writes more in this vein.

Take a romance, throw in some mystery, a family feud, some history, and star-crossed lovers, and you’ve got Buttonholed nailed. I don’t want to give away any more of the yummy, delightful details, because you will want that enjoyment, those surprises, and all that fun all for yourself. Get. This. Book.

BUYING INFO:

Buttonholed (Ponder This)
Amazon.com:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084KH396Z/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_PNAyEbWWPYAPB

Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/buttonholed-anita-klumpers/1136387770?ean=9781522398769

PS:

Susan Karsten, blogger and author here…I’d like to add a few words about my own novella, Charlotte’s Dilemma, also in the same series.

There are several reasons to read this novella: It’s fun! Even though the victim of a scandal in society, Charlotte’s lighthearted acceptance provides smiles and chuckles. Then there’s the handsome hero, Hugh (and in true Regency mode, you don’t learn his first name until the very end of the story). Another reason to read it is to immerse yourself in a clean, pure romance. And finally, if you like the Regency genre, there’s no reason not to enjoy Charlotte’s Dilemma.

Please take a look at Charlotte’s Dilemma, it’s available on Amazon (only $3.99), Barnes & Noble, and on the Prism Book Group website. Thank you!

CharlottesDilemma_prc5483_680 nice Thank you for your inte

 

 

A Field of Forget-me-nots, by Rachel James

Hi! Susan Karsten here…Today, I’m reviewing a novella which is part of a series of 8 novellas (short novels) connected by a theme which is the famous bible passage Phillipians 4:8 that begins, Whatever is pure…, and ends, …think on these things. Thus we have the series subtitle: Ponder This! Voila.

I just finished reading A Field of Forget-me-nots, and it features a new twist on one of my favorite plots: the marriage of convenience. Well handled by Rachel James, the author, who has penned an engaging tale that satisfies the historical romance reader with her Victorian England setting, and characters you want to root for.

RJ author picAuthor, Rachel James

For your pleasure, I recently interviewed Rachel James:

Rachel, When did you first realize you wanted to write? And what’s the first thing you ever wrote?

I was a child when I knew that I wanted to write. I remember reading a story about a writer, and I knew then that I wanted to do the same, but I didn’t pursue writing until many years later. I wrote my first novel when I turned thirty. I think I realised at that point in my life that it was either start now, or forever put it off! I haven’t looked back since.

 Tell us about your family, where you grew up, and where you live now.

I was the second eldest of five children and grew up in a small seaside town in the East of England, where I lived until I got married and moved north. I currently reside in Yorkshire, and I’ve got three girls between the ages of eight and thirteen.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I think I decided on a new profession every week. I liked to imagine myself in every possible career, but could never settle on one. I look back now and realise I must have been working on character development! I’ve always loved writing though, that is my true passion and I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?

It depends what mood I’m in. If I’ve just been writing, my brain is usually too frazzled to want to read anything, so watching movies is probably my go-to. I also love getting out of the house and exploring new historical places or going for long leisurely walks in the open countryside. But when it’s cold and rainy outside, I simply love to snuggle up by the fire with a good book and a hot cup of tea.

What is the greatest life changing moment in your life to date?

Can I have three? Becoming a Christian, meeting my husband, and having my children!

Do you have a particular scripture you view as your life’s verse?

I’ve had different Scriptures at different stages of my life. My current poignant passage at the moment would probably Psalm 23. In fact, it is my heroine’s favourite Scripture in my current work-in-progress.

Please give new writers the counsel you wish you had received when you first entered this writing journey.

Once you’ve written your first book, don’t rush to get it published! It may seem like the best thing since sliced bread, but you’re too close to it to see the flaws. Take time to invest in your craft and make your writing shine!

Tell our readers a little about your new release, “A Field of Forget-me-nots” and when it’s due to be released and where they can find a copy.

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A Field of Forget-me-nots is due to be released on Friday 13 March. It is a sweet Victorian romance! Here is the blurb:

A Field of Forget-me-nots by Rachel A. James

When the patron of the Foundling School takes pity upon young orphan, Georgiana (Ana) Weston, Lady Dunston raises her as one of her own. However, years pass and Lady Dunston’s health begins to fail. With the Longworth estate entailed away, Ana is faced with an uncertain future.

Mr. Luke Renshaw still mourns the loss of his parents, and would rather travel the world than live in a place that reminds him of so much pain and loss. But responsibilities await, and when his only aunt becomes sick, he returns to Longworth. After all, it is where he will receive his inheritance.

Luke and Ana used to play together as children, though many years have passed and much has changed. The prospect of marriage without love holds little hope for their romantic ideals, and yet it seems the most sensible solution for both parties.

Buy Now:  https://www.amazon.com/Field-Forget-me-nots-Ponder-This-ebook/dp/B084JRTCLQ

Connect with Rachel

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Lucy in Love, by Kimberly M. Miller

Susan Karsten here, with Lucy in Love! A special review for a special novella.

It’s part of a series of 8 novellas (short novels) connected by a theme. The theme is from the famous bible passage Phillipians 4:8 that begins, Whatever is pure…, and ends, …think on these things. Thus we have the series subtitle: Ponder This!

lucy cover large

One of the impressive things about Lucy in Love is the way the author handles the conflict that keeps the lovers apart. What’s different is that it’s not one of those typical spats that a good talk would solve — it’s really deep, meaningful and subtle. They DO try to talk, but it’s not all that easy to get to the bottom of the problem. All the while, reader also gets to enjoy the whole charming setting, characters, and love story. oh, and not to mention, one of the handsomest heroes I’ve run across in a long time, and I do love a handsome hero.

Here’s the blurb:

Things are finally looking up for Lucy Leti. Her bakery is doing well, her friends are amazing, and her family is supportive. She’s even so close to being past the heartbreak of her broken engagement, that she can taste it.

Henry is handsome, successful, and has been secretly in love with Lucy for years. But the musician isn’t the same man Lucy knew in high school—he’s lost weight and gained confidence.

But when the couple’s first date goes terribly wrong, they’ll both need a little perspective to see things clearly.

Author Kimberly Miller:Kimberly Millerpic4

https://www.amazon.com/Lucy-Love-Ponder-Kimberly-Miller-ebook

https://www.amazon.com/Lucy-Love-Ponder-Kimberly-Miller-ebook

Two Steps Forward, by Suzanne Woods Fisher, a book review

This is one of the most entertaining Amish fiction books I have ever read. Woods has really brought readers a beautiful story. Jimmy and Sylvie have a lot going for them as individuals, but life, and surrounding characters make their road to romance difficult.

I enjoyed the elements of adoption, horse farming, cleaning out a barn, jumping over a creek to visit each other, and so many more charming elements. The author had so many interesting things happen and her details are very compelling.

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Charlotte’s Dilemma ~ new release!

Hello, faithful blog readers! Instead of my usual book reviews done for books by other authors, this will be a post about my own novella, due for release on March 6, 2020.

This novella came about because of motivation. The motivation was the chance to have my work published in a novella collection with several authors who are with my publisher, Prism Book Group. The genre could have been anything I wanted, but of course I picked my long-held favorite — the Regency Romance.

The theme of this book has to do with injustice turning into blessing. Charlotte’s  a victim of scandal then banished, but she keeps her courage to go on. Not understanding how her current reduced situation is God’s will, she trusts and “does the next thing.”

There are several reasons to read this novella: It’s fun! Even though the victim of a scandal in society, Charlotte’s lighthearted acceptance provides smiles and chuckles. Then there’s the handsome hero, Hugh (and in true Regency mode, you don’t learn his first name until the very end of the story). Another reason to read is to immerse yourself in a clean, pure romance. And finally, if you like the Regency genre, there’s no reason not to enjoy Charlotte’s Dilemma.

Please take a look at Charlotte’s Dilemma, it’s available for pre-order on Amazon (only $3.99), Barnes & Noble, and on the Prism Book Group website. Thank you!

CharlottesDilemma_prc5483_680 nice Thank you for your interest! Susan Karsten

 

 

 

A Long Bridge Home, by Kelly Irvin (book review)

Another thoroughly engrossing book by Irvin. She is one of the best in her genre (Amish fiction). A Long Bridge Home is up to her usual standard of excellence and covers some new ground in the Amish trope department.

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Christine and Andy are “special friends”, a term for what young people nowdays call “going out”. But in the Amish world, being special friends normally leads pretty swiftly to the marriage altar. Andy, however, has some baggage to deal with before he’s comfortable moving forward.

Unfortunately for love’s course, events intercede and put even larger impediments in love’s way.  Raging forest fires destroy their small Montana town and they are forced to move away from each other. Also, Christine runs afoul of the domineering and unloving uncle she is staying with. And, Andy’s in a car accident in which his friend and driver is killed.

Their romance is on shakey ground, but the love spark does not die out completely. It’s interesting to see how the author brings resolution. This book kept me reading until the end and I recommend it especially if you like Amish fiction.

One of the special things about the way Irvin writes about the Amish is that she doesn’t sugar-coat them as super-holy. Along the story’s path, we find that they don’t believe in assurance of salvation, something that is clearly shown in the Bible to be a true thing .  But the Amish are proud of their humility (LOL). Also, they are very hard on each other and a lot of pressure to conform keeps people in the Amish religion.

The one thing I didn’t like about this book was a preposterous element in which the heroine, Christine, goes on several jaunts with a native man. Not only is this against her religion to go about with a strange man (she was past Rumspringer, the period when she can run wild and still come back and become a member of the Amish religion), it’s just plain unbelievable that she and Raymond the native would be “friends”.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” Psalm 34:18

If you’re looking for some historical fiction, here are my own books which are available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon:

Thanks for the blog visit, and leave a comment if you’d like.

Review of An Amish Christmas Bakery (a collection of novellas)

Four of your favorite authors in one book! As a Kelly Irvin fan, I read her story first, but then moved on to the other three which were really good and enjoyable.

Each of the stories was set in an Amish bakery. It was interesting to learn little tidbits about their baking distinctives, such as baking with a wood-fired oven. I’d never heard that people were still doing that, and they say that using wood fire to bake lends a special flavor to the baked goods.

Learned a few new Amish words, such as schee, which means pretty. Krank means ill. Froh is happy. I’ve read quite a few Amish novels, but these seemed new, at least to me.

More than some other collections/books, it seemed to present every young Amish man as super-handsome in these romances. Wow, I’ve only ever seen one decent-looking Amish man. Again, that’s just me.

But, these were fun to read and well-done.

 

 

Bookmarked for Murder, by V.M. Burns

I reviewed this one back in August, but now it has been published and is available. I’ve been seeing it reviewed in some “high places” lately, so I’m happy for the author. If you like chuckling your way through enchanting cozy mysteries, this one’s for you! A rollicking road trip, followed by a puzzling mystery to be solved.

The book is set in Chicago and western Michigan, and Burns is a real up-and-coming author to be aware of. She set her book in such interesting places and has some hilarious but believable characters you will enjoy getting to know.

I’m not going to reveal much of the plot here, because I don’t want to spoil the fun, but you will meet some very intriguing characters and be kept guessing until the final pages and their satisfying wrap-up. Book is available for pre-order on Amazon.

This review is by Susan Karsten, author of:

both available on Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Thanks!

 

 

Justice for Hattie Mayfair, by Irene Onorato

Justice for Hattie Mayfair, Irene Onorato’s latest release, has a special place in my “reading heart”. Knowing the author, I had a chance to read the prologue several years ago. It was super-memorable. But Irene set the manuscript aside, meanwhile publishing a series of romantic suspense novels and a couple of stand-alone novels.

She finally got back to “Hattie” as I like to call this book. And I am so glad she did. Wow, can she ever make characters come alive! Her pacing is excellent, and her heroes and heroines are delightful and interesting.

 

Lexi and Corbin — what a couple!  Their romance leaps off the page, the yearning of their hearts, the trials they go through, the past that threatens to get in their way. Not to mention actual danger.

This book is available on Amazon and is currently free on Kindle Unlimited, and available for regular digital and in print as well. I highly recommend it. A browse through her other books might provide more that pique your interest as well.

This has been another review from Susan Karsten, Thanks for stopping by.