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Hey folks! Make sure to keep your eyes here!

I have plans to update all the pages on my site. I will also be putting up a storefront, giving you the ability to purchase crafts and other products I sell straight from this page.

Plenty of new crafts to come and regular posts!

Also more product reviews and giveaways!



Book Review: Amish Promises by Leslie Gould

Recently I was given the opportunity to read the book Amish Promises by Leslie Gould.Well, to be honest, I was supposed to review it awhile back but life got distracting. I was glad to be able to check out another book by this author, as I had previously read and reviewed the book Becoming Bea.


Apparently this book is the first in a new series called Neighbors of Lancaster County. I believe that Becoming Bea was also based in Lancaster County, and now I kind of want to go back and see if there are any similar characters in both books. None stuck out to me as names I remembered, but it would be interesting to go back and check.

As was the case when reading Becoming Bea, one of my favorite aspects of these Amish fiction books is the use of phrases that us “Englishers” don’t normally use. Sometimes an actual definition is given; other times you can easily determine what it means in context.

Now, you can read the description of the book, so I don’t need to break it down for you in detail, but here is the basic premise: The Beck’s (Joel, Shani, and their son Zane) moved to Lancaster County to Shani’s grandfather’s farm. Shani is pregnant and looking for some peace and quiet and healing time, as her husband Joel was injured in Iraq and is also suffering from PTSD. They move in next door to an Amish family, the Lehman’s. The patriarch is Tim, whose wife Abra recently passed away, leaving him with 5 children. Abra’s best friend, who is also Tim’s sister Eve has taken on the duties of caring for the children. The children and the women of the families quickly form friendships but both of the men are not so comfortable with the blending. Also, along comes Charlie, Joel’s military buddy and a budding but basically forbidden romance starts to bloom between Charlie and Eve.

Through the course of events, the families have to learn how to co-exist despite their difference. And Eve has to figure out what to do. She had previously vowed never to marry an Amish man. However, the bishop Gideon is pursuing her, though her feelings are for Charlie.

Though this is only the second of Leslie Gould’s books that I have read, but I would definitely love to read more and hope to check out the following books in this series when they are available.


Journey Down a Quiet Lane in Lancaster County Where Love and Heartache and Friendship and Healing Meet

When Joel and Shani Beck arrive at their new home, they’re looking for peace. Shani is thrilled to have Joel back from Iraq, but he needs time to heal, and the quiet of Lancaster seems just the place. They can’t imagine any trouble with their Amish neighbors, the Lehmans, but things get off to a rocky start when their son is involved in an accident that injures one of the Lehman boys.
Eve Lehman has run her brother’s household ever since the death of his wife, but Tim’s a stern patriarch. Despite his protests, she’s drawn to the new neighbor, Shani, and the two begin to form a strong friendship forged on faith and family. Things seem like they’ve quieted down until Joel’s single and handsome army friend Charlie catches Eve’s attention–a man unlike any Eve has ever met. Suddenly life for both families becomes more complicated than any of them could have ever imagined.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: The Road Home by Kathleen Shoop


Find your way home…

1891—Living separately for three years, fourteen-year-old twins, Katherine and Tommy Arthur, have done their best to make each boarding house feel like home. But unrest grows as they are driven to questionable actions just to survive. Meanwhile their desperate mother is confronted with breaking yet another promise to her children. Then a miracle descends. Hope rises on a cold, rainy night and changes everything. If Jeanie could just get word to Katherine and Tommy, she knows she can set their lives right again. Agitators, angels, and dangerous “saviors” illuminate the Arthurs’ unmatched determination and smarts.

1905—Though she tries to forget the awful years that hurt so much, the memories still haunt Katherine. Now, tearful mourners at her mother’s funeral force her to revisit a time in her life that both harmed and saved her in the most unexpected ways. Tommy grieves his mother’s passing as well. He too is thrust backward, compelled to rediscover the events in his life that shaped the man he has become. Will he commit to reconstructing his broken life? The Arthurs come to understand that forgiveness is the only way back to hope, the only way to find all that was good in the misfortune that transformed their lives forever.


What I Think:

Recently I was given the opportunity to read The Road Home by Kathleen Shoop. Apparently this is the second book in a series entitled The Letter Series. As I had not read the previous book, The Last Letter, I was pleased to discover that I was able to follow this book without any background information.

This work of historical fiction is definitely a long one, at 496 pages. However, if you are reading the Kindle version like I did, it’s not quite as intimidating as picking up a print edition of that thickness! But don’t worry, you will be drawn in by the characters and will not even realize the length of the book.

The story alternates between two time frames ( 1891 and 1905), and also hops between the point of view of the mother Jeanie, and her children Katherine and Tommy. It’s easy to follow though, as long as you read the heading at the beginning of the chapter. Also, as an Iowan, I was pleased that part of the action takes place in Des Moines!

This is a definitely a heart-wrenching story of a single mother forced to give up her children in a time when she had no support. It is also a story of hope as the family tries to make amends with the past. The author does a great job of making you feel connected with all characters in the story. Definitely a worthy read! I hope to get the chance to read the first book in the series and any others that might be on the way!

Book available to buy from the following sites…   Barnes and Noble   Kobo   iBooks

“Kathleen Shoop has woven a story that crosses over several years with events that define lives. Katherine and Tommy are two characters that will stand out in my mind for a long time. The way the story blends back and forth between the two time periods is seamless and enjoyable, slowly painting a whole picture for the reader to see. I have not read the first book in this series, but I honestly feel that this one stands alone beautifully. You will take a journey with these characters that will evoke emotions and entertain you. This is my favorite kind of historical fiction; emotional and fun at the same time. I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves a great book.”
Reviewed By Kathryn Bennett for Readers’ Favorite- 5 stars!

“I loved this riveting tale of hope and redemption. The Road Home comes to life with gorgeous imagery and a setting that eased me seamlessly and beautifully back and forth in time. Each character stood out, coaxing me into her story, making me want more. With the turn of every page there’s a revelation, something hidden or something wonderful and unexpected. The Road Home is a must-read for any book lover and a perfect follow-up to The Last Letter.”
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Melissa Foster

Letter Series Book 1 – The Last Letter

A Father’s Deceit
A Husband’s Betrayal
A Loved One’s Death
A Mother’s Choice
A Daughter’s Resentment
A Time to Forgive

For every daughter who thinks she knows her mother’s story…

Katherine wouldn’t have believed it if she hadn’t found the last letter…

Katherine Arthur’s dying mother arrives on her doorstep, forcing her to relive a past she wanted to forget. When Katherine was young, the Arthur family had been affluent city dwellers until shame sent them running for the prairie, into the unknown. Taking her family, including young Katherine, to live off the land was the last thing Jeanie Arthur had wanted, but she would do her best to make a go of it. For Jeanie’s husband Frank it had been a world of opportunity. Dreaming, lazy Frank. But, it was a society of uncertainty — a domain of natural disasters, temptation, hatred, even death.

Ten-year-old Katherine had loved her mother fiercely, put her trust in her completely, but when there was no other choice, and Jeanie resorted to extreme measures on the prairie to save her family, she tore Katherine’s world apart. Now, seventeen years later, Katherine has found the truth — she has discovered the last letter. After years of anger, can Katherine find it in her heart to understand why her mother made the decisions that changed them all? Can she forgive and finally begin to heal before it’s too late?

Book available to buy from…    Barnes and Noble   Kobo   iBooks

About Kathleen Shoop

I have a PhD in Reading Education and have worked in schools for over twenty years. I work with teachers and their students in grades k-8 and am lucky to learn something new from them every time I walk through their doors. This experience was a huge help in writing LOVE AND OTHER SUBJECTS–a quirky, post-college coming of age story with a splash of fun romance.

My first novel, The Last Letter (2011 IPPY Gold Medal–Regional Fiction, Midwest, 2011 Indie Excellence Finalist Award for Historical Fiction and Regional Fiction, 2011 International Book Awards Finalist for Historical Fiction and Best New Fiction), was a fascinating trip through history, punctuated with fictional characters and events. The idea for the story grew from my great-great grandmother’s letters (see My Dear Frank for the complete set of letters!) written during the year of her engagement to Frank Arthur. The beautiful letters are the inspiration for the novel, the seed from which The Last Letter’s characters and their voices grew.

I’ve also written women’s fiction–LOVE AND OTHER SUBJECTS– and have written another historical fiction novel, AFTER THE FOG, set in 1948 in Donora, PA. AFTER THE FOG is also an award winning book–A finalist in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards, a silver IPPY and WINNER in the literary category of the National Indie Excellence Awards.

I adore writing historical fiction (The Letter series, After the Fog) but am having a blast writing romance like Home Again and Return to Love (Endless Love series) Thank you so much for the time you take to read.

Follow the author on the following sites…

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Photobucket I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.




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