Showing posts with label Kathleen Fuller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kathleen Fuller. Show all posts

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Review: An Amish Family by Kathleen Fuller


Heidi Reads... An Amish Family by Kathleen Fuller

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing 

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Synopsis

In An Amish Family, beloved author of Amish romance, Kathleen Fuller, invites readers into the lives of four Amish families.

Building Trust
Grace Miller and Joel King are in love. They’ve dated secretly for the past year and when he proposes marriage, Grace eagerly agrees. But when she tells her parents about the wedding, she’s shocked when her father tells her she can’t marry Joel. Can Grace get to the bottom of her father’s animosity toward Joel so they can have the happily ever after she’s always dreamed of?

A Heart Full of Love  (also in An Amish Cradle)
Ellie’s mother hasn’t stopped meddling in her personal life since Ellie lost her sight—and she’s taken it up a notch now that Ellie’s pregnant. When Ellie gives birth to twins, her mother insists on moving in to care for them. But when her mother’s behavior becomes unbearable, Ellie is forced to take a stand . . . and finally find out why Mamm can’t let go.

Surprised by Love
In a desperate move to evade her match-making mother, Emily Shwartz announces that she’s already seeing someone: Reuban Coblentz. The trouble is, Reuban is barely even a friend. Seeing how desperate she is, Reuban plays along. But when the past sneaks up on them, will this temporary arrangement turn into everlasting love?

A Gift for Anne Marie  (also in An Amish Second Christmas)
Anne Marie and Nathaniel have been best friends since they were kids. Now things are evolving . . . in ways everyone else predicted long ago. But when her mother suddenly decides to remarry in another state, Anne Marie’s new chapter with Nathaniel looks doomed to end before it begins.


My Review

Building Trust
This is a story with themes of forgiveness and compassion. When Grace realizes that her father is holding a secret grudge, she expects quick forgiveness so she can marry Joel, but it takes compassion on both sides to heal the hurt from long ago. I liked Joel's contrition and patience with Grace's father as he seeks to prove himself worthy of Grace.

A Heart Full of Love
Ellie is a fascinating character, blind and pregnant with twins with a husband who has to work long hours. She has adjusted to her lost eyesight and enjoys her independence and marriage, so accepting help with her new babies is a struggle. Compounding the difficulty is her overprotective and controlling mother. As frustrating as Edna was, I appreciated that the author delved deeper into the mother/daughter relationship and we learned why Edna had her own struggles with trust and letting go. 

Surprised by Love
This was my favorite of the collection. Emily is clumsy, wears thick glasses, and is more interested in astronomy than dating. What I loved about her is that she accepts herself and is cheerful and friendly. Rueben is also a friendly guy, and the circumstances they find themselves in give him the chance to get to know Emily better and their friendship quickly deepens even though they both try to ignore the attraction that flares between them. A sweet and lovely romance!

A Gift for Anne Marie
I loved this sweet story of friends who become more when they realize they will be separated. There are other conflicts besides the impending move, including a friend of Anne Marie's who decides to pursue Nathaniel. The friendship they share is lovely, but when new feelings begin to develop confusion and hesitation enters in and disrupts the harmony they had enjoyed. I love when friends fall in love since they have a great foundation and know each other so well. It was funny to see just how well Nathaniel knew Anne Marie and her moods ;)


(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Review: An Amish Heirloom by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin


Heidi Reads... An Amish Heirloom by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

A Legacy of Love by Amy Clipston
Local volunteer fire fighter Leon King agrees to repair his ex-girlfriend Susie Bontrager’s grandparents’ antique rocking chairs for her future home with her fiance and is forced to acknowledge that his feelings for her have not quite gone away. As Susie spends time with Leon, she begins to recognize she is marrying the wrong man for all the wrong reasons.

The Cedar Chest by Beth Wiseman
Decades after inheriting her great grandmother’s cedar chest, Emma Fisher decides to pry it open only to discover a beautiful love story in the form of letters between her great grandparents. But as Emma immerses herself in their story, family secrets are revealed, and she must decide whether to share them to preserve family history or honor her great grandparents’ decision to leave them hidden.

The Treasured Book by Kathleen Fuller
For the past two years, Shane Broyles has felt God leading him to join the Amish. He’s staying with his friends Noah and Ivy Schlabach in Birch Creek, OH, where he is reunited with Lucy Fisher, an old friend of Noah’s family. Shane and Lucy have never revealed their feelings for each other, but when they stumble upon an antique Bible at a flea market, they feel drawn to each other and to the mystery of the contents found within.

The Midwife’s Dream by Kelly Irvin
Iris Beachy serves as a midwife in her district where she longs for a family of her own. When her friend’s brother Mahon Kurtz seeks her help in delivering the baby of two young teenagers who have sought refuge in their town, they begin to see each other in a different light. Unprepared for parenthood, the young couple leave their baby girl behind in an antique crib quilt resembling the one destined for Iris when she becomes a mother. Mahon and Iris come together to take care of the baby as they try to find her parents, and they begin to see new possibilities for their future.


My Review

Another lovely collection of Amish themed stories from a group of my favorite authors in the genre! My favorite was The Midwife's Dream because it had such a sweet romance with a long-time unrequited love revealed and all the special feelings that come with realizing a friend can become something more. I also enjoyed The Treasured Book since I had read the series by the author set in Birch Creek and it was fun to see Aunt Cevilla playing matchmaker again. The Cedar Chest is bittersweet and I appreciated the wisdom of a mother gently helping her married daughter who is going through a rocky time in her marriage. A Legacy of Love is centered around a past relationship that is getting a second chance as Susie and Leon realize that their timing and communication was off before. I'd recommend this novella collection to fans of Amish fiction!

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Review: Words from the Heart by Kathleen Fuller


Book Three in the Amish Letters series

Heidi Reads... Words from the Heart by Kathleen Fuller

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

Ivy Yoder thought she had found the man she would marry, but she returns to her Amish community of Birch Creek with a broken heart. When a family friend asks for her help in cleaning out an attic, she's grateful for the chance to get her mind off the betrayal.

Noah Schlabach is an Amish auctioneer and is eager to get into his aunt’s attic in search of lost treasures. He loves learning about the past, and he has created a thriving auction business for himself. When he meets Ivy, he suspects his aunt is trying to set them up, but all of that is forgotten when they come across a box of old love letters.

While Noah is more interested in potential auction items than love letters, Ivy is swept up in the story of the young couple. She's also fighting her growing feelings for Noah—she can't risk her heart again. But if there is one thing these young Amish people learn from the past, it’s that they must take hold of the gifts of today. With a little help from the letters, and a lot of help from God, Noah and Ivy begin to live in the present, full of love.

My Review

This is a gentle story of growing and overcoming heartbreak to give love another chance. I loved how the author wove several plot elements together for a steady pace that kept me invested in the characters and the choices they made. Ivy learns how strong she is as she recovers from disappointment and earns a newfound confidence in herself. Noah is going the opposite direction- full of confidence and success, but a new obstacle is wearing on him and he is at a loss for solutions. His matchmaking aunt is fun and quirky, and the old love letters they find in her attic bring Ivy and Noah closer together in friendship, with attraction simmering beneath the surface. I enjoyed the mannerisms of Ivy and Noah which made them come to life as I read. Another lovely addition to the Amish Letters series, and don't worry- each book can easily be read as a stand alone or out of order.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)



Don't miss the previous books in the Amish Letters series . . .

Book One
Heidi Reads... Written in Love by Kathleen Fuller


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Synopsis

When a postal error creates pen pals of two young Amish people, can they put behind their past mistakes to see the bright future God has written for them?

Jalon Chupp has a past he isn’t proud to claim. He’s worked hard to overcome his youthful mistakes, and he has recommitted himself to his faith. When he receives a sweet note included in a piece of misdirected mail, he can’t help but write back. Soon, the letters he receives from Phoebe are the highlights of his days, and with a hopeful heart, he suggests they meet in person.

Phoebe, too, looks forward to every single one of Jalon’s letters. Living with her overbearing aunt, Phoebe doesn’t have too much to look forward to. But when Jalon suggests they meet, she panics—although she has shared some of the deepest longings of her heart with him, she hasn’t been entirely truthful about her past. But when Jalon shows up at her aunt’s doorstep, everything is revealed. And she can only pray he’ll forgive her for holding back the truth.

In order to reach beyond the errors of their pasts, both Phoebe and Jalon must put their faith in something—or Someone—bigger than either of them could pen.


Book Two
Heidi Reads... The Promise of a Letter by Kathleen Fuller


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Synopsis

A letter brings him back to Birch Creek. Can one feisty woman make him stay?

Roman is on the verge of leaving the Amish church. He feels confined by the strict rules and longs to do something more with his life. But when his brother is gravely injured, Roman receives a letter from his sister-in-law, begging him to move to Birch Creek to help the young family.

Leanna Chupp as always made her own way in her small community of Birch Creek. Though some may call her unconventional--strange, even--Leanna is passionate about her faith. Her unique outlook on life has meant she’s never had many suitors pursuing courtship, but she is happy being single and believes she always will be.

But when Roman and Leanna find themselves working together again, everything changes. Neither of them fit squarely within the strictures of the Amish faith, but could their differences be the one thing that helps them form a deeper connection to their faith . . . and each other?




Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Favorite Books of 2017: Contemporary Romance


I had a hard time narrowing this list down, but here it is- my top 10 contemporary fiction books that I gave 5 stars in 2017, along with my reviews- why I thought these books were AMAZING!


Love's Shadow by Nichole Van

Heidi Reads... Love's Shadow by Nichole Van

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The first book in the series, Gladly Beyond, was pretty amazing and made my list for favorites of 2016. This second book did not disappoint and I loved it just as much! Full of emotion, heartache, love, and hope, it brings out all the feels and I shed a few tears while reading. I loved the connection between Bran and Lucy, despite both of them thinking they harbored an unrequited love for each other. There are so many fun quirky details that really make their relationship come to life. The paranormal aspect of the plot isn't too over the top and is based in the family's history, so the modern setting wasn't too much of a contrast for the things Lucy and the D'Angelo family are experiencing, perhaps because it's set in Italy. The supernatural gift/curse that the brothers have form a bond between them and the dynamics are complicated and fascinating. I already can't wait to read more!!!


Paige's Turn by Jennifer Peel

Heidi Reads... Paige's Turn by Jennifer Peel

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This is a pretty special book. I loved Paige's character, especially her unique blend of grace and moxie. As confident as we are as adults, there's something about returning to a hometown that makes us remember or relive those feelings of vulnerability associated with our youth. I also feel this way on the rare occasion when I get together with friends from high school. My life now is so separate from my life then, I wonder if people who grow up in the same place and with the same people avoid this experience. Anyway, back to the book! Paige is compelled by the death of her aunt to return and follow Mitzi's wishes that she run the bookstore and reconnect with Sam, her former crush and current landscaper. The notes she leaves Paige are hilarious and heartwarming, making her a definite presence and influence in the book. There are a variety of community and family members that are vividly portrayed and I loved my experience spending time with Paige as she navigates the minefields of gossip, misunderstandings, and jealousy. She has cathartic and healing experiences and even some vindication when her confidence and success is accepted as her true self instead of being seen as the person she once was. A lovely journey with fun, drama, angst, and of course romance!


Rescue Me by Susan May Warren

Heidi Reads... Rescue Me by Susan May Warren

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I can hardly believe it, but I just might have loved this second book in the Montana Rescue series even more than the first!!! (And that's saying a lot...) The action is way ramped up throughout the entire book, and I was literally biting my fingernails at times. (It was like watching a movie in my head!) I love the author's method of including two romances in the story- the main one between Sam and Willow, and also one between team members Jess and Pete, Sam's younger brother. The characters are strong, yet flawed, and all their journeys- physical and emotional- are compelling and human. I think that's why I connected with this story- each character has some major hang-ups, but it made them easier to relate to as they struggled and tried their best to do what they felt was right. The romances were both very "will they/won't they" and kept me turning pages and invested in the outcome. 


True to You by Becky Wade

Heidi Reads... True to You by Becky Wade

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True to You is oh-so-good! It totally made me cry... and that's a good thing. By the end of the book I felt so much compassion for John and his struggle to accept and overcome some pretty tough things. As a mother who adopted her children, I completely related to the theme of adoption and was fascinated by Nora and John's search for his biological parents. The contrasts between Nora and John were stark, but their differences complemented each other and the chemistry between them was awesome. I loved the emotional journey they went on as they learned to trust God and rely on Him for peace and resolution. Nora's sisters were a fun and integral presence and I can't wait to read their stories!


Right Next to Me by Rachel Ward

Heidi Reads... Right Next to Me by Rachel Ward

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Right Next to Me was a pleasure to read! It alternated between two times of transition in Sydney's life, and the comparison was intriguing. In her early high school days she struggles through her parents' divorce and takes on more responsibility in her family, which influences her later priorities when she graduates high school and begins college. The sweet beginnings of her relationship with Gavin show how hard it is to let go when they take separate paths. I loved her friendship with James and it's pretty much obvious to everyone except Sydney how they belong together. The author was skillful in showing (instead of telling) the supportive nature of their relationship and how much they enjoyed each other's company. It was easy to connect to the characters' emotions and the angst they are feeling as their relationship dynamic becomes more complex. A great young adult novel about growing up, navigating difficult circumstances, and the importance of friendship and forgiveness.  


The Promise of a Letter by Kathleen Fuller

Heidi Reads... The Promise of a Letter by Kathleen Fuller

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I absolutely loved Leanna! She is a unique character that owns her eccentricities and enjoys her independence. I admired her confidence, yet in this story her confidence is deeply shaken when her life is turned upside down in more than one unforeseen way. The manner in which she deals with her new circumstances and new friendship with Roman shows her compassion and ability to forgive. I enjoyed seeing Roman's journey as he is searching for his place and purpose despite being the black sheep of the family. We also see the struggles of Roman's brother Daniel and his wife Barbara which are heartbreaking but also full of hope and God's grace. Even though Roman and Daniel's grandmother has passed away, she is a major influence in the book and the lives of these men as she encourages them via letter to reconcile and support each other. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and connecting with the characters!


A New Shade of Summer by Nicole Deese

Heidi Reads... A New Shade of Summer by Nicole Deese

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After Davis was let down by Willa in the previous book of the series, I was so hoping that the author would give him his own story of finding love. And she did! And it is fabulous! I love how different Callie is and exactly what Davis and Brandon need. Her personality shines right off the page and yet has complexity woven in. Her connection to Brandon's artistic side draws him out which makes Davis take notice, in more ways than one. I loved how she was able to perceive people and their strengths, and communicate that to others. There are so many awesome nuggets in this book, but I want you to discover them for yourself! The chemistry between Davis and Callie is palpable and I loved how their romance budded naturally. Because Callie is so carefree in many aspects of her life, is seems that she is also free of fear, but her perceptions of herself and her innate characteristics are shaded by her father's choices and his words of legacy to her. Davis also has fears but he is an example to Callie in overcoming them by processing feelings of grief and anger through turning to God, allowing him to live life to the fullest. This book is full of light and humor, depth and compassion. 


Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh

Heidi Reads... Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh

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I just love this author's writing style! She has a way of drawing me into the lives of people who are struggling against the darkness and as their stories weave together the light emerges and hope shines brightly on its way to a happy ending- which really seems more like a new beginning. The contrasts and similarities between Beth and Molly as sisters really stood out to me, and it was interesting to see the characteristics they embraced and which ones they left behind as they were influenced by their parents and the people around them. I loved that they both rediscovered qualities about themselves that they believed didn't apply anymore. It's reassuring that it's never too late to decide to change and pursue a new focus in life. Beth and Drew are both holding on to painful secrets, and the process of loosening up around each other shakes the secrets out of dark corners where they can now be released... although Drew required a little more shaking ;) It was nice to see how they supported each other and yet had a realistic dynamic based on their very defined personalities. They had fabulous chemistry, and that first kiss- wow. I admit I read that scene a few times over (fans self). It was gratifying to see how the long time mystery unfolded and also watch the community band together to work hard for a new Fairwind Farm.


Once Again in Christmas Falls by Becky Monson

Heidi Reads... Once Again in Christmas Falls by Becky Monson

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This was my favorite book of the Return to Christmas Falls series, bar none. I absolutely loved the "childhood friends reunited" angle to the romance, especially when each character is so easy to like! London was so fun and interesting, and the author really delved into what made her tick and how her transformation affected her. Andy is lovable and charming and of course unrequited love gets me every time! They had such great chemistry together and even when the inevitable conflict came, I was rooting for them the whole time. I felt connected to the emotions of London and Andy which is one of my favorite things about reading a well-written book. This is one I'll definitely re-read and since it's the first book I've read by the author it made me add all her other books to my list! (This would be fine to read as a stand-alone even though it's in the middle of the series).


The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

Heidi Reads... The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

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At first I wondered if this book would be similar to others that have the characters dressing up and playacting in Regency form, but I needn't have worried- while there is a bit of that, it is taken to a higher level by Katherine Reay's unique writing style. This is a book that you just *feel*. While there is a great focus on the complex dynamics of the relationships Mary has with Isabel and Nathan, I loved that it delved just as deeply into her struggles with her job as an engineer and the part of her identity that is tied up in it. I loved her father and the influence he is on her life and creativity, he is such a great addition to the story and made it richer. I could relate to Mary's mixed feelings of resentment and love that she has for Isabel. There's something about growing up with a longtime friend that gives you so many experiences of good, bad, and in between that it's almost like family in how it shapes your personality. It was fascinating to see how Mary becomes more aware of Isabel's struggles and the way that she deals with the fallout of secrets that come to light. The simmering attraction between Nathan and Mary was delicious because the reader can tell how much they like the other but they are unaware of each other's interest... until they slowly become more brave in expressing that interest. It's not without conflict of course, and the anticipation while they worked things out was killing me- I just LOVED it!!!


Have you read any of these books? 
What are some of your favorites?