Friday, February 15, 2019

The Amish Candy Maker by Laura V. Hilton Book Review


Title: The Amish Candy Maker by Laura V. Hilton
Author: Laura V. Hilton
Genre: Amish Christian Fiction
Release date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: WhitakerHouse
Agnes Zook finds herself on her own in a small Amish community in Mackinac County after a tragedy kills her family. Most of the Amish call her “off in den Kopf” (strange) since she’s starting her own business and forging her own way in the community instead of relying on the bishop to take care of her. Since she’s viewed as non-submissive and too-forward for an Amish woman, she’s not courted by young men in the area.
Isaac Mast is on the verge of leaving the Amish church. He’s become a sought-after auctioneer and has a thriving business, but he feels confined by the strict rules. When his brother is severely injured in a wild fire, Isaac receives a letter from his sister-in-law, begging him to come to Mackinac County to help out while his brother is hospitalized. Isaac agrees but is unsure how to manage their young children when he has weekend auctions he’s expected to attend.
Agnes may be the answer to a prayer. Sparks fly when she and Isaac meet. But could their differences help them form a deeper connection to their faith…and each other?
Click here to purchase your copy.

The Amish Candy Maker is the second book in Hilton's The Amish of Mackinac County series. The story all about true love, faith, and determination. We are taken on Agnes Zook and Isaac Mast life journey of their struggles with the past and finding their way back to their faith. 
We see Agnes Zook an unmarried woman who has no self-worth and has survival guilt that took the lives of the rest of her family.  She decides to open up her own candy shop. Her community looked down on her for that. She dreams of having a husband and a family. 

Isaac Mast a well sought after auctioneer. He travels all over the United States holding auctions. Due to all of his traveling he doesn't really have time to settle down and get married. He is full of guilt for being responsible for killing three people. After receiving a letter from his sister-in-law begging him for help when a fire caused major burns on his twin brother. He returns. 
Isaac first meets Agnes when he goes into her candy shop. During the first time they met, Agnes was robbed at gunpoint causing Isaac to be the hero. They start flirting. They created a business agreement to help one another - one supplying labor and the other providing childcare. 
Will things work out? Will another tragic accident have them going their separate ways? Can they both find peace in their faith? Will they get married? If so, will Bishop Miah allow it? 
The Amish Candy Maker contains likable and relatable characters. As well as faith, love, determination, perseverance, and even moments of sadness.  It is full of twists and turns. It is a heartwarming love story. We see growth in both the main characters, Agnes Zook and Isaac Mast. She even gave the character a humorous side. 

Hilton is great at taking you into their world. Her descriptions of the locations and characters made it very easy for me to see the story in my brain. One of the locations in the book is Mackinac County.
Throughout the book, there are Amish proverbs and Biblical references.

I would suggest reading the first book, Firestorm, to get an idea of their Amish community and all they experienced.  just because Hilton's books are really good, but this book can be read as a stand-alone too.  I love how Hilton threw in a special surprise recipe at the end of the story. If you love Amish Fiction stories and Christian Fiction then these books are for you. I would highly recommend reading this series. 

I received a complimentary e-book of The Amish Candy Maker from Celebrate Lit. This is an honest opinion. 

Laura Hilton is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with more than a thousand reviews published on the web. Her first series with Whitaker was The Amish of Seymour, comprising Patchwork DreamsA Harvest of Hearts (2012 Laurel Award winner, first place in the Amish Genre Clash), and Promised to Another; and her second was The Amish of Webster County, comprising Healing LoveAwakened Love, and Surrendered Love. Her next series was The Amish of Jamesport, featuring The Post CardSnow Globe, and The Birdhouse. Her latest books include The Amish FirefighterThe Amish Wanderer, and Love By the Numbers. Laura and her husband, Steve, live in Arkansas with their five children, whom Laura homeschools.
 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge
Courtesy of Laura V. Hilton
 1 bag (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips
1 bag (10 ounces) peanut butter chips
2 cans sweetened condensed milk, divided
6 tablespoons butter, divided
20 to 30 miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or six regular-size ones broken into four or five pieces each
For the chocolate layer: Line a greased 8-by-11.5-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
In a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, combine milk chocolate chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 4 tablespoons butter. Stir until melted and smooth.
Pour into prepared baking dish and allow to cool to room temperature, then move to the refrigerator while preparing next layer.
For the peanut butter layer: In a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, combine peanut butter chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until melted and smooth.
Pour on to the milk chocolate fudge layer and press pieces of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into the surface. If desired, group candy pieces in a grid-like fashion for easier cutting later.
Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight or until set.
Remove from refrigerator, lift out of the pan by the edges of the parchment paper, and cut into squares, with roughly one miniature peanut butter cup or piece of a cup per square.
Store in the refrigerator.

To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away a grand prize of a large and small spatula set and a $10 Starbucks gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click Here to Enter. Giveaway Code: d9a6

Blog Stops
Carla Loves To Read, February 5
Among the Reads, February 6
Britt Reads Fiction, February 6
The Avid Reader, February 7
Emily Yager, February 8
Quiet quilter, February 8
Maureen’s Musings, February 9
Bibliophile Reviews, February 10
Vicky Sluiter, February 10
Daysong Reflections, February 11
Texas Book-aholic, February 12
Janices book reviews, February 12
Carpe Diem, February 13
SusanLovesBooks, February 14
Inklings and Notions, February 16
Pause for Tales, February 16
Have A Wonderful Day, February 17
For the Love of Books, February 17
Bigreadersite, February 18

Tour page Link: Click Here
Link to purchase book: Click Here

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Seamstress. by Allison Pittman Book Review & Giveaway

France, 1788
It is the best of times . . .
On a tranquil farm nestled in the French countryside, two orphaned cousins—Renée and Laurette—have been raised under the caring guardianship of young Émile Gagnon, the last of a once-prosperous family. No longer starving girls, Laurette and Renée now spend days tending Gagnon’s sheep, and nights in their cozy loft, whispering secrets and dreams in this time of waning innocence and peace.
It is the worst of times . . .
Paris groans with a restlessness that can no longer be contained within its city streets. Hunger and hatred fuel her people. Violence seeps into the ornate halls of Versailles. Even Gagnon’s table in the quiet village of Mouton Blanc bears witness to the rumbles of rebellion, where Marcel Moreau embodies its voice and heart.
It is the story that has never been told.
In one night, the best and worst of fate collide. A chance encounter with a fashionable woman will bring Renée’s sewing skills to light and secure a place in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. An act of reckless passion will throw Laurette into the arms of the increasingly militant Marcel. And Gagnon, steadfast in his faith in God and country, can only watch as those he loves march straight into the heart of the revolution.
Title: The Seamstress
Author: Allison Pittman
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Tyndale
 Click here to purchase your copy!
Historical Fiction is my favorite books. This isn't your typical rags to riches historical fiction. Allison Pittman painted an amazingly vivid story. She told a fantastic tale of two young orphan cousins, Laurette and Renee, their kind guardian, and their life-changing choices during the bloodiest time, the French Revolution.  Renee's chance encounter leads her to the court of Marie Antoinette. We see Laurette seeking love in unsafe ways which lead her to Gagnon. His strong faith was a great influence on Laurette. Pittman did an amazing job at transitioning between Renee and Laurette's life without confusing or losing the reader.   I can tell that Pittman did her research because her vivid detail descriptions throughout her book brought me into the trying times of the French Revolution. Her writing style is amazing.  Every one of her characters was thought out and had great growth. If you love history then this fiction is perfect for you.  Even though The Seamstress is taken place during the French Revolution it is still relevant for today. I look forward to reading more of Allison Pittman's books in the future. I would highly recommend this book. I had the hardest time putting this book down. 
I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own


Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a three-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series and once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website,

Guest Post from Allison

My dream of being an author began by “finishing” other author’s works, fleshing out the stories of neglected characters. When I read the final books in the Little House series, I was far more interested in Cap Garland than I was in Almonzo Wilder, and I imagined all kinds of stories in which he was the hero.
This, The Seamstress, is one of those stories that came to me in a single burst of thought. I was teaching my sophomore English class, discussing through the final scenes in A Tale of Two Cities, when the little seamstress in those final pages reached out to me. She is a nameless character, seemingly more symbolic than anything. Dickens, however, gives her an entire backstory in a single phrase: I have a cousin who lives in the country. How will she ever know what became of me? I remember pausing right then and there in front of my students and saying, “Now, there’s the story I want to write.”
Now, years later, I have.
While every word of every Charles Dickens novel is a master class in writing, what he gave to me for The Seamstress is the kind of stuff that brings life and breath to fiction. I have to convey the fact that any character on my pages—no matter how much story space he or she is allotted—has a life between them. Every man was once a child; every woman a vulnerable young girl.
So, Dickens gave me the bones of the story. A seamstress. A cousin in the country. A country ripped apart; family torn from family. I did my very best to put flesh on those bones, but no writer can ever bring the life and breath. Only a reader can do that.
To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card, a hardcover copy of The Seamstress, and this copy of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Blog Stops

Fiction Aficionado, February 9
The Lit Addict, February 9
The Power of Words, February 9
Lis Loves Reading, February 10
Maureen’s Musings, February 10
Carpe Diem, February 11
All-of-a-kind Mom, February 12
Emily Yager, February 12
Mary HakeFebruary 12
Stories By GinaFebruary 13
Inspired by fiction, February 14
Remembrancy, February 14
Inklings and Notions, February 16
Bibliophile Reviews, February 17
Texas Book-aholic, February 17
Margaret Kazmierczak, February 18
A Reader’s BrainFebruary 18
By The Book, February 18
Multifarious, February 19
Pause for Tales, February 19
Bigreadersite, February 20
Simple Harvest Reads, February 20
Janices book reviews, February 20
For the Love of Books, February 21
Book by Book, February 21

Kate Middleton Duchess of Cambridge by Susan Barnett Braun Book Review

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is known to most of the world as Kate Middleton. She was an ordinary girl on her way to an ordinary life until she met her Prince Charming. Now, she appears on television and in magazines. She wears beautiful, expensive clothing and travels all over the world. One day, she will be Queen of England. But along the way, she was bullied as a schoolgirl and she waited nearly ten years before marrying Prince William. Learn more about Kate’s road to royalty in this book! Written at Lexile level 930 (same as the Little House on the Prairie books), this book will appeal to girls eager to learn more about the most popular royal since Princess Diana. Full-color photos; a timeline that places Kate’s life events into context next to world historical events
Title: Katie Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge
Author: Susan Barnett Braun
Genre: Children’s Non-Fiction

Release date: July 25, 2013, and updated with chapters on each of William and Kate’s children
Click here to purchase your copy.


Who isn't all about the Royal family. I was so excited to read Susan Barnett Braun's book Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.  This is a children's biography, but an adult will enjoy reading it too. I did.  This would be an amazing read for kids. Don't expect this book to have in-depth information. It is more of a brief timeline. It starts with a brief description of what she was like as a kid to how she met William, the wedding and then to the birth of George Alexander Louis.  There are so many great quotes and information. Every chapter contains a beautiful colored picture.  Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge was easy to read and there weren't any parts that were boring. This book would be a great resource for children who are doing research papers on Kate Middleton.  


Susan Barnett Braun earned a BS in retail management from Indiana University and an MA in education from the University of Alabama. She taught for eight years in northeast Indiana, earning a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Study Scholarship. Susan has had work published in Parents, Children’s Ministry, and The Secret Place. She also writes online for Fort Wayne Visitor’s Bureau and blogs at Girls in White Dresses. She is married with three wonderful young adult daughters. Susan enjoys reading, playing piano and organ, and spending her time with her family and pets (currently three rabbits and a chinchilla). She has loved the British Royal Family since Diana came onto the scene back in the 1980s. To purchase book Click Here  

Back in 1981, as a teenager, I woke early to watch Prince Charles marry Lady Diana Spencer. My fascination with the British royal family began with Diana. As a high school senior, I submitted my senior paper topic: Charles and Diana and the royal romance. My teacher was not amused — but once he read the paper, he did enjoy it and asked to keep a copy.
Over the years, I’ve continued following and enjoying the British royals. When I worked as an elementary teacher, and the next generation of royals came along, I felt that there should be books about Prince William’s wife, Kate. I fondly remembered reading books about Diana when I was younger and felt that today’s girls might be fascinated by Kate in a similar way. I didn’t find many books about Kate, so I decided to write one myself. I learned much while researching Kate (or Catherine, as she prefers to be called). She’s a wonderful role model for girls today in many ways. To name just a few examples: she overcame being bullied by other girls at one of the schools she attended. And, she developed lots of patience during her nine-year courtship with Prince William.
I hope you and the young people in your life will enjoy this biography of the Duchess. To purchase book Click Here  
To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away a grand prize of a paperback copy of the book and a stuffed Beefeater bear!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! 

Blog Stops
The Power of Words, February 7
Multifarious, February 8
Moments, February 9
Texas Book-aholic, February 10
A Reader’s BrainFebruary 11
All-of-a-kind Mom, February 12
Bibliophile Reviews, February 16
Carpe Diem, February 17
BigreadersiteFebruary 20
To purchase book Click Here  

Reentry by Peter Cawdron Book Review and Giveaway

SYNOPSIS After almost dying on Mars, astronaut Liz Anderson returns to Earth, but not to a hero’s welcome. America is in turmoil...