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Friday, January 6, 2023
CHRISTMAS AT THE AMISH MARKET BY SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY
Wesley is so busy running his family’s Amish market at the holidays, he barely has time for Liesl, the young woman he’s been courting for years. When she suggests her aunt Jenny could help Wesley out, he agrees to the plan. But Liesl neglected to mention her aunt is only twenty-six years old—and as charming as she is hard-working.
Jenny, still healing after a painful breakup, welcomes the distraction of working at the market. She soon realizes Wesley is everything she ever dreamed a man could be. But how can Jenny even think about romance with the man Liesl expects to marry?
But Liesl’s own feelings are more complicated than she’s willing to admit. With humor, faith, and a little help from their friends in the community, everyone might just find what their hearts are looking for this Christmas at the Amish market.
I loved this story because it deals with emotions in a very realistic way. I enjoyed reading about the market and all the charming items sold there. As Christmas nears the store is very busy and Wesley is having a hard time keeping up with the store. With his parents away so his dad can get some rest, he thinks it is time to get some help at the store. It sure was a surprise who he hired and who suggested the person. I could already see the twists coming as couldn’t wait to see what the author would do with these characters.
Liesl is a little frustrated with her beau, Wesley who is so busy at the store he has little time for her. I had a feeling that Liesl was feeling left out from his life and keeps herself busy sewing and helping her neighbor Roland with his little girl. I loved this part of the story because the author allows this relationship to start as friendship and being able to help others out. I wonder if Wesley showed her more attention, would she be drawn to someone else?
Now we have Jenny, Roland and Lilly that come into the picture that rounds out our cast of characters. I loved Jenny and her strong desire to help her niece out. They have a good relationship even though they are a few years apart. They could be sisters really because they are so close in age. Jenny comes to help out and her presence lights up the room at the 0lace she has taken a job at. Will she find love while she is here staying with her niece and family?
A quick note about Roland and Lilly. A man who is trying to run a farm while taking care of his adorable daughter on his own is very hard, but his love for his daughter keeps him going. I liked that Lilly took to a certain someone and helped this person see how important she is. There is a good illustration about helping others, trusting God and listening to your heart. With the twists in the story it gets a little complicated but I admire how the characters were honest with each other and trusted God to work all things out.
Tuesday, January 3, 2023
AMISH CHRISTMAS TWINS
In these heartwarming, faith-affirming stories, three Amish families face the joys, and challenges, of the holidays—with fruitful results . . . THE CHRISTMAS NOT-WISH New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Shelley Shepard Gray When the foster parents they’ve cautiously grown to love discover they’re expecting, orphaned Roy and Jemima Fisher, ages six and seven, are secretly devastated by the certainty they’ll be given up. With Christmas around the corner, their only wish is for new foster parents as nice as Mr. and Mrs. Kurtz. Meanwhile, the Kurtzes have wishes of their own—and with faith, they all may be gifted with twice the blessings . . . NEW BEGINNINGS * Rachel J. Good Still grieving the loss of her husband and unborn baby in an accident several months ago, Elizabeth Yoder is oblivious to her neighbor Luke Bontrager’s deepening affection for her. But while she bleakly faces Christmas alone, it’s Luke who reminds her it’s the season for giving. And when Elizabeth donates her handmade baby clothes to New Beginnings, a home for teen moms, she soon finds her gifts repaid beyond measure, with Luke’s love—and new beginnings of their own . . . TWINS TIMES TWO * Loree Lough Spirited twins Priscilla and Leora Schwietert have each been blessed with mischievous twins of their own—all born on Christmas. Nearing their fourteenth birthdays, their sons have asked for horses. Their parents can fulfill their wish—but worry they’ll be rewarding unruly behavior. The solution: A contract requiring hard work and an anonymous gift for someone in need. After thoughtful prayer, the boys surprise their parents—as each husband and wife rediscovers their joy in Christmas and their love for each other. . .
THE CHRISTMAS NOT-WISH BY SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY
I loved how this story and the others in the book focus on twins and Christmas. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to raise twins. In this contribution to the book we meet two sweet adorable children named Jemima and Roy. They have been shuffled from foster home to foster home. My heart was so sad for these children who wanted someone to love them and make them part of their family.
When they are sent to live with E.A. and Will they hope that this will be their permanent home. E.A. and Will are caring and have fallen in love with the children already. When they tell the children sone exciting news, they begin to worry if they are going to be sent to a new home. With so many changes going on, the children think they aren’t wanted anymore.
The story is such a great reminder to trust and let other know how much you love them. It is a special Christmas as the children experience what unconditional love is and having their Christmas wish come true.
NEW BEGINNINGS BY RACHEL J. GOOD
I loved how the story opens in a shop as Elizabeth was unboxing ornaments. When Luke shows up with nativity scenes you can feel the excitement in the room. They have been carved by Luke and are the example of what Christmas is really about. I remember this year how much I wanted a nativity scene. Mine was ruined in a home that we lost due to damage this year. I did find a little one but I will start early next year to find the one I have my heart set n. I envisioned myself there as the nativity sets were unwrapped and watch as they were displayed by Elizabeth.
Luke has been longing for Elizabeth for years. He knows she is still grieving over what happened last Christmas but he hopes he can cheer her up some way. I wasn’t prepared for the accident that Elizabeth was in and it shocked me. Thanks to Luke he saved her from being seriously hurt. Now with a broken leg how will Elizabeth be able to work at the shop and pay her bills?
I love how the author touches on loss and how we can sometimes be angry with God. It is hard to understand why someone dies and Elizabeth is having difficulty this year with her husband who died. Luke tries to comfort her and explains that he understands how she feels. Her husband was Luke’s best friend. What Elizabeth doesn’t know is that Luke has been in love with Elizabeth for years.
At the ending to the story it is revealed that Elizabeth lost more than her husband and her grief has overwhelmed her. She felt safe enough to tell Luke and his gentle spirit helped her as she decided what to do with the things that had been tucked away in a room upstairs. I cried so much as 8bread this and want to thank the author for reminding us that there are women out there who are alone and need help as they give birth. A beautiful story that takes unexpected turns. It teaches us about pride, being honest with our feelings and the miracle of twins given to an unexpected couple.
TWINS TIMES TWO BY LOREE LOUGH
The two set of twin boys make this story so fun to read. The boys are always getting into trouble and now after someone was hurt by their antics, their parents have decided a punishment for them. They are to get up very early every day to help Jube at his farm. It is a very eye opening experience for the boys. I liked how they stand together and work to pay off their punishment. Along the way a friendship develops between the boys and Jube. I loved his patience with them and how he taught them valuable lessons.
Abigail has had a hard time since her husband passed. It was not a great marriage but she still grieves for her loss. Her anger towards Jub I thought was wrong but in her eyes she felt Jube should have told her what he knew about her husband. I was glad to see how God was changing both their hearts and finding out that maybe they could put the past behind them.
I won’t spoil the rest of the story so readers be prepared for a few surprises. The boys have certainly learned responsibility and shows in the gifts they give. Jube is my favorite character because instead of treating the boys as a nuisance he showed them grace and taught them how to help others. It is a beautiful Christmas story where two people also find that there is someone out there for them.
Levi is hoping that he will be able to have a quiet holiday at the B&B but he soon realizes that it is not going to happen. He is still grieving the loss of his wife and child and the last thing he wants is to celebrate Christmas. His emotions are felt as he blames himself for their deaths. Guilt is eating him up and he needs to learn to let go.
I liked how Melody and Levi slowly begin a friendship and start to share their past with each other. Melody worries that Levi will be a little afraid to be around her because she feels danger. Levi is very gentle with Melody and I liked how protective he felt when he hears her story. Melody soon learns about Levi’s past and at first acted a little upset. With emotions running high in this story we witness a miracle that mirrors another very special birth. I loved how the author tied these two stories together. This is a nice book to read to learn about grace and how it heals the broken-hearted.
Monday, January 2, 2023
CHRISTMAS IN SUAGR CREEK BY SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY
This is a wonderful book that shares the meaning of Christmas through several characters. I loved each of them and enjoyed how the author illustrates family, love and hope. I really like Judith and how much she helped her family out. As much as she works, she has little time for herself. It’s is a busy time at the shop and customers seem to be coming from everywhere.
Ben has been away for awhile and comes back to sale his family’s home. He doesn’t have good memories here and can’t wait to leave the town forever. God has a way to change our direction when we least expect it. Who would have thought that Ben would be working with Judith at her family’s store for the holidays?
The story shared how one couple is happy yet there was something that was missing. Lilly tries so hard to cook and be a dutiful wife. What she needs to find is her confidence and trust that her husband adores her.
Rebecca was probably one of my favorite characters. Her family is poor but she is embarrassed for anyone to find out. If only she would let the community know they need help, things would be easier for her and her family. Pride is something we all struggle with at sometime and Rebecca will learn that lesson through someone special.
I loved how the author showed what the true meaning of Christmas is as we read how the characters experience unconditional live, acceptance and Jesus.