Showing posts with label Shelley Shepard Gray. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shelley Shepard Gray. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Review: An Amish Summer by Shelley Shepard Gray, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin


Heidi Reads... An Amish Summer by Shelley Shepard Gray, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

A Reunion in Pinecraft by Shelley Shepard Gray
When sisters Sharon and Sherilyn Kramer attend a wedding in Shipshewana, one of them returns with a new pen pal while the other returns to her job at the bakery. After sending weekly letters back and forth, Sherry and Graham Holland arrange a reunion in Pinecraft. Upon Graham's arrival, however, he realizes he's been writing to the wrong sister. He decides to use the reunion as a way to get to know both sisters, but can he sort through the confusion in time to turn the worst vacation ever into something truly wonderful?

Summer Storm by Amy Clipston
Arianna is counting down the days until her wedding to Jesse. They have been friends longer than Arianna can remember, and that friendship turned into love over the past couple of years. But when Arianna's brother Isaac, who happens to be Jesse's best friend, gets them both into trouble, Arianna's father puts an end to her engagement to Jesse. Some summer storms pass quickly, but Arianna is afraid the damage from this one may be too much to repair.

Lakeside Love by Kathleen Fuller
Esther has always lived in the shadow of her beautiful younger sister Sarah. Even the boy she has known and loved her entire life, Judah, only has eyes for Sarah. But when a handsome young Englischer comes to live with the family for a summer, everything begins to change.

One Sweet Kiss by Kelly Irvin
Everybody in little Bee County, Texas, can see the obvious: Jacob King and Martha Byler are meant to be together. Everyone, that is, but Martha. Ever since her mother died when Martha was a young girl, she has taken over the role of caregiver to her large family. And reckless Jacob, who has had a little too much fun on his rumspringa, only seems to add to the list of people to manage. But one summer changes everything, and these two may just find a way to meet in the middle and share one sweet kiss.


My Review

I love novella collections and the opportunity to read several stories by different authors, some of them my favorites. The summer theme was fun with the settings varying from farm to the beach to camping at a lake. In the first story, A Reunion in Pinecraft, I felt as confused as the characters who was going to end up together, and it was interesting to see the direction the author took. The second story, Summer Storm, was full of angst and misunderstanding. I loved how Jesse proved himself to be devoted to Arianna and her family. My favorite of the collection was Lakeside Love. I really liked this story of unrequited love and finding peace in oneself and following God's will. Even though Jonah had blinders on for a while, I admired the genuine way he handled his shifting feelings. Even though it was a short story, there were great themes explored and I felt like it was well-balanced and contained a full arc. The last story, One Sweet Kiss, was another one I especially liked because of the matchmaking efforts Jacob and Martha undertake for two of their special needs friends. It showed their thoughtful and caring nature, and gave Martha experiences that demonstrated that Jacob could be trusted. This collection is one that will be loved by fans of Amish fiction!

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


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Review & Giveaway: Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray


 Heidi Reads... Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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Synopsis

After a stalker went too far, Hannah Hilty and her family had no choice but to leave the bustling Amish community where she grew up. Now she's getting a fresh start in Hart County, Kentucky... if only she wasn't too scared to take it. Hannah has become afraid to trust anyone- even Isaac, the friendly Amish man who lives next door. She wonders if she'll ever return to the trusting, easy-going woman she once was.

For Isaac Troyer, the beautiful girl he teasingly called "The Recluse" confuses him like no other. When he learns of her past, he knows he's misjudged her. However, he also understands the importance of being grateful for God's gifts, and wonders if they will ever have anything in common. But as Hannah and Isaac slowly grow closer, they realize that there's always more to someone than meets the eye.

Just as Hannah is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding a new love, more secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes. Now Hannah must decide if she should run again or dare to fight for the future she has found in Hart County.

My Review

This is a suspenseful story, albeit a bit predictable, with plenty of character growth as Isaac, Hannah, and members of their families learn life lessons about compassion, family loyalty, and strength. Most of the characters' flaws are revealed at some point in the story, which makes them easier to relate to- knowing they aren't perfect and struggling with choices and behavior. The person that was the hardest to understand was Hannah's little sister Jenny, who feels uprooted and places the blame entirely on Hannah, but has secrets of her own that she fails to communicate to her family. Isaac is charming and likeable, and his attentiveness and protectiveness for Hannah only makes him more so as time goes on. The level the story is written on is a bit simple, without the depth of emotion I've been used to from recent Amish fiction I've read, but it was an entertaining book and one that I wouldn't have a problem recommending to ages teen to adult.

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

About the Author

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

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The next book to keep you up way past your bedtime? Shelley Shepard Gray’s Her Secret, a suspenseful tale of a young Amish woman who is forced to move to a new town to escape a threatening stalker.

Just as Hannah is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding a new love with Isaac (the friendly Amish man who lives next door), more secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes. Hannah must decide if she should run again or dare to fight for the future she has found in Hart County.

Enter to win a copy of Her Secret. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced April 3rd on the Litfuse blog!

https://promosimple.com/ps/b43b

Monday, February 13, 2017

Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop!



Another fun giveaway hop this month! Check out the romantic reads and enter to hopefully win some new books! I'll be giving away my extra copy of The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray, one of my favorite historical fiction authors.

http://amzn.to/2cigvDd
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Synopsis

Robert came to Galveston to fulfill his promise to a dying man and look after his widow. He didn’t expect to find love in the unlikeliest of places.

Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything.

After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Miranda's home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip's name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone.

Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. He's mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can.

He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesn't prove to be an easy task—Robert knows something about Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well.






Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Review: The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray


Heidi Reads... The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Robert came to Galveston to fulfill his promise to a dying man and look after his widow. He didn’t expect to find love in the unlikeliest of places.

Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything.

After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Miranda's home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip's name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone.

Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. He's mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can.

He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesn't prove to be an easy task—Robert knows something about Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well.


My Review

This was an enjoyable historical novel set during Reconstruction, with some flashbacks to memories of the Civil War. The pace was slow but steady for the first part of the book, then picked up in the latter half when more things began to happen. There was a lot of telling of the characters' thoughts and feelings, and for some reason I didn't quite connect with them on an emotional level. The theme of unconditional loyalty to one's brothers in arms was well represented, and Robert and his comrades rallied around Miranda to protect her and solve the mystery of her harassment. I wasn't too impressed with Robert's or the sheriff's investigative skills. The story didn't show much of what they did to figure out the problem, and the solving of who was behind the threatening letters came about pretty easily. I was surprised by how simple the conclusion was; I expected it to be more complex.

(Thank you to Zondervan Publishing for a copy of the book; this is my honest review)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Review & Giveaway: An Amish Family Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray


Heidi Reads... An Amish Family Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

In Shelley Shepard Gray’s fourth book in her Charmed Amish Life series, an unlikely Amish romance reveals that Christmas is a time for family, miracles—and love. 

Ever since his father died in a tragic fire, Levi Kinsinger has felt adrift. Newly returned to Charm, Ohio, Levi is trying to fit into his old life, only to discover he seems to have outgrown it.

But when Julia, his young widowed neighbor, asks for his help with a Christmas project, Levi finds a sense of purpose for the first time in months. She and her daughter are new to Charm and could use a friend, a job Levi takes personally. Soon enough, friendship grows into attraction, but Levi can’t help having doubts. There’s something about Julia that doesn’t ring quite true…

Like Levi, Julia Kemp has survived her fair share of hardships—but only by hiding the truth of her past. Being an unmarried mother in an Amish community was unthinkable. Feeling hopeless, Julia did the only thing she could do: she moved to a new town and pretended to be a widow. But meeting Levi, she’s hopeful for the first time. Little by little, she begins to imagine telling him her darkest secret, and eventually…perhaps even sharing her life with him.

Christmas is a time for family, and as the holiday draws closer, Julia and Levi will have to face their pasts together…in order to find the healing, support and love they so desperately desire.


My Review

A wonderful and finale to the Charmed Amish Life series! I loved seeing Levi work his way back into the community and his family, even though he doesn't quite feel like he fits in while he's struggling with his intense grief over his parents. He's so different from the accusatory hothead that abandoned his family in the first book. His compassion for Julia and her daughter is endearing and brings a special light into their lives.

We see a few scenes from the point of view of Tess, Simon's sister, and her work establishing a community resource center for abused women and children. My favorite part of the book actually was her fumbling beginnings of a relationship with a local cop who finds her irresistible. The nervous tension from them both created a sweet anticipation of good things to come. Just loved it!

This book was a bit different from the others in that there is a villain worked into the plot that creates some suspense as he gets closer to destroying the life Julia has built in Charm. The siblings from the previous books and their spouses play a significant role in helping Levi and Julia feel at home in their community. Highly recommend to fans of Amish fiction and those who enjoy following family members in a series.

(Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book; this is my honest review)

To enter the author's giveaway click on the picture below!

https://promosimple.com/ps/a725

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Review & Giveaway: A Sister's Wish by Shelley Shepard Gray


Heidi Reads... A Sister's Wish by Shelley Shepard Gray

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

In Shelley Shepard Gray’s third book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a respectable young woman finds herself falling for an Amish man from the wrong side of the tracks.

Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman—at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she’s also harboring a secret: She’s been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he’s about as far from “perfect” as an Amish man could get… but that’s exactly why she’s so drawn to him.

Life hasn’t been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he’s determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past…unless it pertains to Amelia.

He’s loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas—who just happens to be Simon’s best friend—has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he’s the only one who can truly make her happy.

But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together—and face their past mistakes. There’s a chance for love… but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with the secrets of his past.


My Review

I would definitely consider this to be a family saga series. There is a focus on how siblings relate to and affect each other, in positive and negative ways. Amelia is the main character in this book, but Lukas and Rebecca from the previous books play integral roles with their "support" aka meddling. Amelia and Simon have a sweet romance blossoming, so I missed that their relationship often took a backseat to the emotions caused by the sibling dynamic. I loved the message of redemption, repentance, and forgiveness. Each character, including Simon, had to work through accepting his past and moving beyond it to the man he is now- which was easier for Amelia than her brother and sister. Simon's reunion with his own estranged sister was heartwarming and added another layer to his character arc and the plot. Looking forward to the next and last book in the Charmed Amish Life series!

(Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book; this is my honest review)

https://promosimple.com/ps/a725

Click the image to go to the giveaway from the author!