Friday, December 6, 2013

Magic Within Review

                                                                                              




My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am enjoying this series so much! I live in Juneau where the series is set. The author does an excellent job bringing the scenery and quirks of Juneau to life. I love her characters who really do seem like people I would meet here. Book 2, Magic Within, picks up the story after Cecillia was killed. Vivian is discovering who she is, what she can do and learning more about the prophesy...the one that has her marrying a stranger and becoming the leader of his family. Now the entire family is coming in for the wedding and her mother is trying to tell her about a curse. This book is filled with wonderful, colorful magical shifting characters, an enchanting Pandora's Box and loads of family fun, love and spats. Oh yes, there is also the problem of someone trying to wrest the family leader position and the Pandora's Box from Vivian.
This is a fun and interesting series that can be safely shared with the YA crowd, (including the younger ones). The author brings to life the adventure and keeps it at a steady pace. When you reach the end you are both satisfied and left with a longing for more. The author's writing is a mix of easy laid back style and attention to detail. This makes a fast read that you can easily picture. I am eagerly waiting for Book 3.

View all my reviews

Other books by this author:

Magic All Around Head Buckets & Hashtags


You can connect with the author on her website: http://www.marcylpeska.com










Wednesday, December 4, 2013

First Chapter Peek! Amanda Weds A Good Man

Amanda Weds A Good Man
 Amanda Weds a Good Man

 Naomi King

Chapter 1
Amanda Lambright paused outside the Cedar Creek Mercantile, clutching her basket of pottery samples and prayed that Sam would carry her handmade items in his store. She had also come to share some exciting news: she stood on the threshold of a brand new life in a brand new family, and the prospect thrilled her. But it frightened her, too.
When Amanda stepped inside, the bell tinkled above the door. As her eyes adjusted to the soft dimness of the store, she saw her teenage daughter Lizzie and the four-year-old twins making a beeline to the craft department while her mother-in-law Jemima ambled behind her cart in the grocery aisle. Several shoppers, English and Amish alike, lingered over their choices of cheese, locally-grown apples, and other household and hardware necessities, but she was in luck: the bearded, bespectacled man at the check-out counter didn’t have any customers right now. She approached him with a smile.
“And how are you on this fine September day, Sam?”
When Sam Lambright looked up from the order form he was filling out, his face lit up. “Amanda! How gut to see you. Things are going well at your farm, I hope?”
Amanda gripped the handle of her basket. Should she break her big news first? Or make her request? “The work never ends, that’s for sure. The last hay’s ready to cut, the garden’s gone to weeds, and Jerome’s training several new mules.” Jerome was her nephew by marriage, the boy she and her late husband Atlee had raised after his parents died in a fire.
“Your girls are growing up, too. I had to look twice to realize it was Lizzie, Cora, and Dora waving at me.”
“They change by the day, it seems. And, well . . . I’m making a few changes myself.”
Sam gazed at her in that patient, expectant way he had. He was Atlee’s cousin, and his expression, his manner, reminded her so much of Atlee that at times she’d not shopped here because she couldn’t deal with the resemblance.But that sadness is behind me now . . . and nobody will be happier than Sam, she reminded herself. “Wyman Brubaker has asked me to marry him. And I said jah.”
Sam’s smile lit the whole store. “That’s wonderful! Abby—” He gazed up toward the upper level, hailing his sister as she sat at her sewing machine by the railing. “Abby, you’ll want to come down and get the latest from Amanda. She’s getting hitched!”
“That’s so exciting,” Abby called out. “Don’t say another word until I get down there.”
Amanda noticed several folks in the store glancing her way, enjoying this exchange. It made her upcoming marriage seem even more real now that it had been announced so publically. She and Wyman had kept their courtship quiet, because they wanted to be very sure that a marriage blending two households and eight children was a wise decision.
“Months ago I suggested to Wyman that it was time he found another gut woman,” Sam said, “and I’m so glad he’s chosen you, Amanda. I can’t think of two finer folks with so much in common.”
“Well, we hope so. It’ll be . . . differentraisin eight kids instead of just my three girls,” she replied quietly. “But Wyman’s a gut man.”
“And with his grain elevator doing so well, it means you won’t have to worry about money anymore,” Sam replied quietly. “You haven’t let on—haven’t let me help you much—but even with Jerome’s income, it couldn’t have been easy to keep that farm afloat after Atlee passed.”
As Abby Lambright rushed down the wooden stairway to hug her, Amanda forgot about her four long years of scraping by. She felt lifted up by the love and happiness this maidel radiated. Rain or shine, Abby gave her best and brought that out in everyone around her, too.
“What a wonderful-gut thing, to know you’ve found another love,” Abby gushed. “And who’s the lucky man?”
“Wyman Brubaker.”
“You don’t say!” Abby replied. “I couldn’t have matched up a more perfect pair myself—and as I recall, his Vera and your Lizzie first met while both families were shopping here. And that started the ball rolling.”
“Jah, as matchmakers go they were pretty insistent,” Amanda replied with a chuckle.
“And when’s the big day?”
“We haven’t decided, but it’ll be sooner than I can possibly be ready,” Amanda admitted. “What with Lizzie still in school, I’ve hardly packed any boxes—not that I know where to stack them if the wedding’s at my house,” she added in a rush. “And with Jerome training a team of mules now, we can’t clear out the barn for the ceremony. And I can’t see me driving back and forth, cleaning Wyman’s house in Clearwater—”
“Or keeping it wedding-ready until the big day. His Vera’s a responsible girl, but looking after her three brothers and Alice Ann is all she can handle,” Abby remarked in a thoughtful tone. She looked at her older brother. “Sam, what would you say to having Amanda’s wedding at our house? What with preparing for Matt and Rosemary’s ceremony next week, and then for Phoebe and Owen’s that first Thursday of October—”
“Oh, no!” Amanda protested. “I didn’t mean to go on and on about—
“That would be just fine.” Sam gazed steadily at Amanda. “We’re setting up the tables for the meals in mamm’s greenhouse—leaving them up between the two weddings, anyway. So if you pick a date in the first few weeks of October, it would be very easy to host your ceremony, Amanda. And I would feel like I’d finally given you some real help when you needed it.”
Amanda nearly dropped her basket of pottery. “My stars. That would solve a lot of my problems . . .”
“And with Wyman living in Clearwater and your house being on the far side of Bloomingdale, Cedar Creek would be a more central location for your guests,” Sam reasoned.
“And it’ll be gut practice for Sam, delivering another wedding sermon,” Abby added mischievously. “Right after he was ordained as our new preacher last spring, Rosemary asked him to preach and then Phoebe insisted on him, too. So he should be pretty gut at it by the time you and Wyman tie the knot!”
Sam flushed. “Jah, but if you want the preachers from your district to—
“It would be an honor to have you and Vernon Gingerich officiate for us.” Amanda squeezed Sam’s arm, her excitement mounting. “Wyman will be so glad you’ve settled our dilemma, because if we choose one preacher and one bishop from our own districts, we’ll still be leaving out the other bishop and three preachers.”
“And you don’t want them all to speak! Six sermons would make for a very long day,” Abby added wryly.
As their laughter rose toward the high ceiling of the mercantile, Amanda relaxed. Wasn’t it just like these cousins to offer their home when she would never have asked another family to host her wedding? What a relief, to concentrate on moving her three daughters, Atlee’s mamm, and herself intoWyman’s home rather than also having to prepare for a couple hundred wedding guests.
Abby leaned closer to Amanda, watching Lizzie and the twins fingering bolts of fabric. “So how are your girls taking the news? And what of Jemima?” she asked quietly.
Amanda smiled. “Truth be told, it was Lizzie and Wyman’s Vera who got Wyman and me to the same places at the same time,” she confessed. “And bless him, Wyman said from the first that he had a room for Atlee’s mamm. It won’t be easy for her, living in a home other than her son’s. But we’ll all be together.”
“One big happy family!” Abby proclaimed as she hugged Amanda’s shoulders again.
“And what of Jerome?” Sam inquired. “He’s lived with you since he was a boy, but he’s what? Twenty-two now?”
“Twenty-four,” Amanda corrected. “And with him being so established with his mule breeding and training, I’ve asked him to stay there on the home place. It’s what Atlee would’ve wanted for his nephew.”
“A gut decision,” the storekeeper agreed. “One of these days he’ll be finding a wife, and a whole new generation of Lambrights can live there.”
Amanda nodded, feeling a flicker of sadness. Her Atlee had passed on before they knew she was carrying the twins . . . but cogitating over the other children they might have had together—or which ones might have taken over the Lambright farm—wasn’t a useful way to spend her time. A little gasp brought her out of her woolgathering.
“What’s this in your basket?” Abby asked as she reached for the handle. “My stars, these are such pretty colors for pie pans and cream pitchers and—” Her brown eyes widened. “Did you paint these, Amanda?”
Amanda’s cheeks prickled. “I make the pottery pieces on my wheel and then I glaze them, jah,” she said quietly. “I was hoping that—rather than packing away my finished pieces—you might want to sell them here.”
“These are pieces any woman could use,” Abby interrupted excitedly. She was carefully setting items from the basket on the counter so Sam could get a better look at them. “A pitcher . . . a deep-dish pie plate . . . oh, and look at this round piece painted like a sunflower!”
“That’s a disk you heat in the oven and then put in your basket to keep your bread warm,” Amanda said. “I sell a lot of those at the dry goods stores north of home. Seems English tourists like some little souvenir when they visit Plain communities.”
“I can see why,” Sam remarked. He was turning the pitcher this way and that in his large hands. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen kitchen pieces with such bold colors. And if you make them, Amanda, I’d be happy to take them on consignment. Folks hereabouts would snap these up.”
“You’ve got several pieces with you, I hope?” Abby asked.
“This is such a blessing,” Amanda replied quietly. “I’ve got three boxes of this stuff in my wagon, along with an inventory list. I figured that if you didn’t want it, I’d stash it all in Wyman’s basement until we get moved in.”
“Don’t go hiding these in the basement!” Abby insisted. “We’ll set up a big display down here, and I’ll arrange the rest of them up in the loft.”
Sam started for the door. “I’ll help you carry in your boxes, Amanda. You can decide which items might sell better over at the greenhouse and work that out with Mamm.”
“Jah, I will. Denki so much, you two. Let me show you what I’ve brought.” Amanda’s heart skipped happily as the bell above the door tinkled. This trip to Cedar Creek was going even better than she’d dreamed, and she was eager to set her wedding date with Wyman now that they had such a wonderful place to hold their ceremony.
As they stepped outside, however, an ominous crash rang out, followed by a yelp and another crash.
Simon! Get your dog out of that wagon!”
Amanda’s face fell. Oh, but she recognized that authoritative voice. And there could be only one Simon with a pet who had stirred up such a ruckus . . . and only one wagon full of pottery with its end gate down.
As she rounded the corner of the store with Sam and Abby, the scene in the parking lot confirmed Amanda’s worst fears: the Brubaker family was gathered around her wagon, coaxing Simon’s German shepherd out of it while Wyman lifted his youngest son onto its bed. When the five-year-old boy grabbed his basketball from the only box of her pottery left standing, the picture became dismally clear.
“Oh, Amanda,” Abby murmured as the three of them hurried toward the Brubakers. “This doesn’t look so gut.”
Amanda’s stomach clenched. How many days’ worth of her work had been shattered after Wags had apparently followed Simon’s ball into her wagon?
“Gut afternoon to you, Wyman,” Sam said. “We just heard your exciting news, and we’re mighty happy you and Amanda are hitching up.”
Wyman set his youngest son on the ground and extended his hand to the storekeeper. “Jah, I finally found a gal who’ll put up with me and my raft of kids. But I can’t think she’s too happy with us right this minute.”
Amanda bit back her frustration as her future husband lowered one of her boxes to the ground so she could see inside it. The other boxes had been overturned, so some of her pie plates, vases, and other items lay in pieces on the wagon bed. She had considered padding her pottery more carefully, boxing the pieces better, but who could have guessed that Simon’s energetic, oversized puppy would follow a basketball into her wagon? A little sob escaped her.
“And now, Simon, do you see why you should always check the latch on the dog’s pen when we leave?” Wyman asked sternly. “Not only was it dangerous for Wags to come running up alongside our buggy, but now he’s broken Amanda’s pottery. What do you say to her, son?”
The little boy, clutching his basketball, became the picture of contrition. Simon’s brown eyes, usually filled with five-year-old mischief, were downcast as he stood beside his father. “I . . . didn’t mean to break your stuff,” he murmured. “I bounced my ball too high and Wags had to play, too. I’m real sorry.”
Chastising this winsome boy wouldn’t put her pottery together again, would it? “Things happen,” she replied with a sigh. “I was hoping to sell my ceramics here at the mercantile, but . . . well, maybe we can salvage some of it.”
“Tie Wags to the wagon, Simon, before he causes any more trouble,” Wyman murmured.
Abby had stepped up beside Amanda to carefully lift the contents of the box onto the tailgate while Wyman set the other two boxes upright. Amanda was vaguely aware that the rest of the Brubaker kids were nearby: his teenage sons, Pete and Eddie, went on inside the mercantile while seventeen-year-old Vera came up beside her, cradling little Alice Ann against her hip.
“See there, all is not lost,” Abby remarked as she set unbroken dishes to one side of the wagon bed. “Still enough for a display, Amanda—”
“And look at these colors!” Vera said as she fingered some of the broken pieces. “Dat told me you worked on pottery, Amanda, but I had no idea it was like this! So, do you paint ready-made pieces or do you make everything from scratch?”
Amanda smiled sadly as she held up two pitchers that no longer had their handles. “I form them on my pottery wheel, and when they’ve dried I glaze them and fire them in my kiln.”
“Would you mind if I take the broken stuff?”
Amanda considered this, surprised. Vera’s eyes were lit up with interest, as though she truly loved the pottery even though it was shattered. “I don’t know what you’d do with it,” she murmured, “but it’s not like I can sell repaired plates and pitchers, either.”
“I’m sorry this has happened, Amanda. I’ll pay you for what Simon broke,” Wyman offered as he squeezed her shoulder. “At least you won’t be needing the income after we marry, jah?”
Amanda sighed. “Denki, Wyman. That’s generous of you.”
As much as she had come to love Wyman Brubaker during these past months of their courtship, a red flag went up in Amanda’s mind. He—and most men—didn’t understand that her pottery was much more than a way to earn money. It had been her salvation after Atlee had lost a leg to gangrene and then lost his will to live. . . a way to focus her mind on cheerful designs and colors instead of becoming lost in the darkness of her grief after he died.
Wyman ran the only grain elevator in the area so he was able to provide quite well for a large family. Yet as she considered mixing her Lizzie and the twins—not to mention her opinionated mother-in-law—with the three rambunctious Brubaker boys, Vera, and toddler Alice Ann, Amanda wondered what she was getting herself into. Everyone seemed amiable enough now, but what if their good intentions went by the wayside once they were all together in one household?
Would they be one big happy family, as Abby had predicted? Or had she let herself in for more major changes than she could handle by agreeing to marry Wyman Brubaker?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Book Spotlight: Amanda Weds A Good Man by Naomi King

Amanda Weds a Good Man


AMANDA WEDS A GOOD MAN:
Amanda Lambright loves Wyman Brubaker, and after four years as a single mother, she is grateful for his support and for this new chance at happiness as his wife. She’s confident that their children will get along just fine. But once Amanda’s clan moves into Wyman’s home, the tight quarters and Wyman’s reluctance to make changes to accommodate Amanda cause friction. The older kids are squabbling. The little ones are frequently in tears. Tiny Alice Ann isn't speaking at all. Amanda and Wyman can’t find any privacy. And Amanda wonders if she’ll ever have a chance to pursue the pottery making that means so much to her.

Amanda believes that family lies at the center of any well-lived Amish life. Can she find the wisdom to guide the reluctant members of her new extended family toward the love that will bind them together?

Purchase your copy:

AMAZON

Title: Amanda Weds a Good Man
Author: Naomi King
Publisher: NAL Trade
Genre: Amish/Inspirational Romance
Pages: 336
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451417879
ISBN-13: 978-0451417879

Charlotte Hubbard Author

About Naomi King:
I've called Missouri home for most of my life, and most folks don’t realize that several Old Older Amish and Mennonite communities make their home here, as well. The rolling pastureland, woods, and small towns along county highways make a wonderful setting for Plain populations—and for stories about them, too! While Jamesport, Missouri is the largest Old Order Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River, other communities have also found the affordable farm land ideal for raising crops, livestock, and running the small family-owned businesses that support their families.

Like my heroine, Miriam Lantz, of my Seasons of the Heart series, I love to feed people—to share my hearth and home. I bake bread and goodies and I love to try new recipes. I put up jars and jars of green beans, tomatoes, beets and other veggies every summer. All my adult life, I’ve been a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and we hosted a potluck group in our home for more than twenty years.

Like Abby Lambright, heroine of my Home at Cedar Creek series, I consider it a personal mission to be a listener and a peacemaker—to heal broken hearts and wounded souls. Faith and family, farming and frugality matter to me: like Abby, I sew and enjoy fabric arts—I made my wedding dress and the one Mom wore, too, when I married into an Iowa farm family more than thirty-five years ago! When I’m not writing, I crochet and sew, and I love to travel.

I recently moved to Minnesota when my husband got a wonderful new job, so now he and I and our border collie, Ramona, are exploring our new state and making new friends.

You can visit her website at www.NaomiKingAuthor.com

Monday, December 2, 2013

Guest Post by Naomi King

I would like to welcome author Naomi King to the blog. She is one of my favorite authors and I am so thrilled to have her here today! Please join me in welcoming Naomi to the blog. Thank you, Naomi, for joining us. Having enjoyed your Cedar Creek books I am looking forward to hearing about how Amanda Weds A Good Man came about. 

A Good Man by Author Naomi King
You know that passage from Proverbs 31:10,  “A good woman who can find? For her price is far above rubies?” Well, the same can be said for finding a good man! I know, because I married one more than 38 years ago—and without his support during my 20+ years as a writer I simply would not be writing these Amish stories today. Emotionally and financially, I have made it through some years when the soup would have been mighty thin (or nonexistent), had Neal not been willing to pay the bills so I could write. These days, writing two series for two different publishers—when Amish books are such a hit—are the frosting on the cake for me. AMANDA WEDS A GOOD MAN comes out on Neal’s birthday, and I would be remiss if I didn’t give him a little plug here, and a big birthday kiss!

As for my new book, AMANDA WEDS A GOOD MAN, it has an interesting story! Do you remember the TV series, The Brady Bunch?? It was a story about a gal with kids who married a guy with kids, back in the day when blended families were more the exception than the norm they are today. Of course, the episodes were funny and highly idealized, and the Brady Bunch solved their problems by the end of each weekly episode.

My editor and one of the reps who sells for my publisher, NAL approached me with this idea: you know Amish widows and widowers with kids remarry and combine their families, yet they hadn’t seen any books with this premise—would I want to write one? When someone hands you a fun idea like this, the answer is always yes. My challenge was that I was already two books into my At Home in Cedar Creek series, and I had readers clamoring for the day when Abby Lambright and James Graber finally get married! I could not let that story go untold.

So I had to figure out a way to work Amanda and Wyman’s story into the world I’d already created. Don’t be confused about the new series name One Big Happy Family, which is on the cover! The marketing department is calling this a “sub-series,” thinking it’s a new way to improve sales. I’m not so sure about that, as I’ve gotten lots of notes from readers who think I’ve abandoned my original Cedar Creek characters. Not so! But in order to write the “Brady Bunch” idea, I had to go along with the “sub series” idea.

I believe I’ve created a wonderful new family—Amanda is Sam Lambright’s cousin, so she’s related and lives in Bloomingdale—that adds more drama and interest to the folks you’ve come to know and love in this Cedar Creek series. Wyman Brubaker is indeed a Good Man, but it’s up to Amanda (and Abby!) to show him how he must change to create the big, happy family he and Amanda envision when they marry. It’s much more than just taking Amanda, her mother-in-law, and her three daughters into his home with his five kids—which becomes very crowded, and only has one bathroom! It takes a lot of adjusting and loving and seeing things from other family members’ perspectives—and a devastating storm, and a really cranky bishop—to bring the newly blended Brubaker family to a better place.

And I must admit that Wyman makes these changes more willingly than a lot of real-life Amish husbands might. He gives up a lot to make Amanda happy because, in the end, he believes that loving his wife well is akin to loving the Lord—no matter what his bishop tells him!

The Brubakers do live happily ever after—and they will appear again in EMMA BLOOMS AT LAST, which comes out in the fall of 2014! I’m writing this book right now, and I’m delighted that because Amanda’s family has come into this series, James’s sister Emma has found someone to love. So stay tuned!

Amanda Weds A Good Man 

Abby Finds Her Calling Rosemary Opens Her Heart An Amish Country Christmas

Wow! I am so excited about Emma's story coming next fall! It is also a relief that Abby, and all the characters I loved from that book, will still be around. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, Naomi King. 

Thank you blog friends for stopping by. Please check out Naomi King on her website at http://www.naomikingauthor.com/ and if you're on Facebook like her page. It is a wonderful way to stay up with all that is coming up for Naomi. https://www.facebook.com/NaomiC.King

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Review of Amanda Weds A Good Man

Amanda Weds a Good Man (One Big Happy Family #1)

AMANDA WEDS A GOOD MAN
NAOMI KING

*I received a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions stated are my honest feelings about the book. I was not compensated for the review. *

I reviewed one other book by this author, Abby Finds Her Calling, which I loved. I was so excited to be able to review another book by her. The reason for this is that Naomi King is a quality writer. She writes with knowledge. There are many books about the Amish, (this I know because every winter it is to Amish romance and Christmas stories I cuddle up with). If you read enough of them you know that finding an author who writes with knowledge about the Amish is difficult.

Amanda Weds A Good Man was everything I hoped it would be ...and more. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the author kept the story very real. Amanda has children. The man she marries, Wyman, also has children. Blending families is a difficult task no matter the circumstances. Yet somehow we think for the Amish it may be different. They lead, what one imagines, very peaceful lives with obedience being a major factor. I think we do that because in our lives everything is hurried and electronic. We stress ourselves out. Then we see the Amish and we think how great it would be to live life so peaceful and slow. We forget they are just people like us, with the same emotions, thoughts and similar issues. The author brings that into focus in this book. It is what I enjoyed most about it. We hear the story from multiple views so we experience the love and joy but we also get the doubts and the fears. We see the blending of the family and the issues. We also experience the blurring of worlds. Wyman has friends who are Mennonite. He is from a strict community while Amanda is not. Seeing them question things and stay true to their relationship with God is inspiring and realistic. I was also very happy to see Abby and so many friends from that book play major roles in this one. You do not need to read the other book to enjoy this one, (I believe they are 2 different but related series), but I would recommend it...for your enjoyment.

Other books by Naomi King:

Abby Finds Her Calling (Home at Cedar Creek, #1) Rosemary Opens Her Heart (Home at Cedar Creek, #2) An Amish Country Christmas

Naomi King has also written under the name Charlotte Hubbard. These books are available as ebooks. I am not certain if they are all available in print. I just realized I also reviewed Summer of Secrets. No wonder I loved the writing. LOL

Summer of Secrets (Seasons of the Heart #1) Autumn Winds (Seasons of the Heart #2) Winter of Wishes (Seasons of the Heart #3)

A Patchwork Family (Angels of Mercy #1) Journey to Love (Angels of Mercy #2) Angel's Embrace (Angels of Mercy #3) Gabriel's Lady (Angels of Mercy #4)

The following books were written prior to the author's move into faith based books. They are for adults who are looking for something a bit more exciting. I have a Kindle and know these are available for it. 

Colorado Captive Colorado Moonfire Outlaw Moon

Missouri Magic Gambler's Tempting Kisses Sahara's Splendor



You can hook up with Naomi King on her website, which also contains recipes. I love recipes and there are some amazing ones on her website!  
                                            http://www.naomikingauthor.com/

She also has a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NaomiC.King







Review: When Love Returns Star Lake #1

When Love Returns Star Lake #1 by Lorana Hoopes (LL Hoopes) My rating: 4 of 5 stars When Love Returns is...