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Friday, October 28, 2016

Christian's Hope

I love it when I come across an Amish novel that conveys a story line I hadn't come across previously in other novels. Christian's Hope is the third novel by Ervin R. Stutzman in the Return to Northkill series, that is based from a true historical event. In this amazing novel, Christian Hochstetler is reunited with his Amish family after being taken captive by the Shawnee Indians 7 years ago, as part of an agreement with the British to return those held captive back to their families if they still existed.

It was this same tribe of Shawnee Indians that killed his mother and two siblings and took his father and brother Joseph captive as well while they tried to escape. Only Christian was held captive much longer than they were and now finds living in the white man's world something he can't do. He can't imagine a life living in a home, cutting his long hair and spending a life as a farmer instead of running wild in nature, hunting and fishing. Even though they have all had to make adjustments upon returning, Christian doesn't believe that he is capable of returning to the Amish lifestyle and tries to convince his brother Joseph to join him in returning back to their Indian families at least for a few days to see if he can fit in either world any longer.

His main drive to return to his Indian family is a longing for a woman named Morning Dew that he believes he loves and wants to marry so perhaps he can still find a way to exist in both worlds somehow. Even though his father Jacob is reluctant to let him go, he knows he can't force him to change his ways and understands that it has to be a decision that Christian makes of his own accord, not something anyone in the family can pressure him to do. But it seems like some in the Amish town of Northkill are not too happy to have Indians living among them, especially ones that took lives of the ones they loved or burned their property and that includes Christian. Is it possible to have it both ways or will he have to make the touch decision to walk away from the only life he has ever known?

I received Christian's Hope by Ervin R. Stutzman compliments of Herald Press and Litfuse Publicity. This is the third book in the series and deals with the story of the circumstances surrounding this real life event from Christian's perspective. In previous novels Jacob's Choice, being the first and then Joseph's Dilemma each take a different perspective in the eyes of three men who had to figure out how to reconcile with what happened to each of them and how to restore what was left of their lives. I absolutely LOVED this novel, first because it offered up something I hadn't read before in other Amish novels and secondly, because it was based on a historical fact which makes the reader like me most interested because you are learning again about another piece in American history most have never heard of before and that is precisely why I give this novel a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. Since I hadn't read the other two novels I thought I might get lost in this one, but the author did a brilliant job in the introduction giving you enough insight into this novel that you can appreciate it as a stand alone or as part of the series.

For more information about Christian's Hope, Ervin R. Stutzman or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Ervin R. Stutzman on Facebook to stay up to date on all his latest novels.

To read more reviews on Christian's Hope, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour page. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Student Body - Movie Review


It is a term almost everyone understands and it doesn't need defining. The federal government along with our current President and First Lady and state lawmakers however have taken it upon themselves to govern which students in public schools are labeled within limits, obese or underweight. Like students need any more labels thrust upon them. Believe me if you are like most people I know, we already wear our own labels or ones society deems we need in order hopefully to enact some type of reform or change as if things are simply that easy to change like eat less and exercise more.

The Student Body is a documentary by Bailey Webber who takes it upon herself to find out the answers why lawmakers have taken it upon themselves to pass controversial mandates forcing schools to perform BMI tests on students. They felt these were non evasive and easy to conduct and when students fell into one of three categories, letters were generated to parents in hopes of educating them and seek help for their children if they were determined to be under weight or over weight. This launched a national debate. Coined the "fat letters" by students, notification letters were sent to kids whose body mass did not fall within a narrowly acceptable range; essentially telling children, even as young as kindergartners, that they are fat.

Maddie, a friend of Bailey's cause is the inspiration behind the documentary who received such a "fat letter" in the same envelope her report card came in. While she excelled at being a straight A student, it was the letter that drove Maddie into a deep depression when she felt less than worthy in an area where it wasn't possible for her to simply change her eating and workout habits. Even more shocked were Maddie's parents who felt the district overstepped their bounds in sending out the letters and making them feel less that worthy parents. Like that they had failed their child somehow.

Bailey takes viewers through the documentary into the bureaucrats who passed the law, one of them taking over 7 months to sit down and discuss with her why his actions in passing this bill, lead to the letters being distributed. His only response is that the one reading the letter has a responsibility to not take it as Maddie did and simply see it as a way of making better choices in their health for the future. What the lawmakers believe is that people who are obese don't want to lose the weight and need to be told. What they fail to understand is obese people know they are overweight or close to it. No one needs to be weighed and calculated whether they fall into an acceptable or unacceptable range. Interestingly enough all but 3 of the legislators were deemed to be obese based on their own BMI numbers.

The one thing science and nutritionists have determined is that it has only been in the last few years that obesity has become a global epidemic not only in the US, but other nations as well including animals used in testing and in zoos. The one thing the film provides is that further research is needed to come up with a better plan at managing obesity rather than simply telling someone to eat less and exercise more. Until then, I believe that lawmakers need to stop placing labels on kids about their weight ranges. It could push kids into eating disorders when they are told they are too fat or too thin and really cause things to spiral out of control. They aren't passing laws for the rest of the nation, why target kids?  I received The Student Body compliments of Nightfly Entertainment and Edify Media Inc. This movie is currently playing in select theaters now, and will come to video early next year, but I believe it is one all parents should watch and be involved in. For me, this one rates a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about The Student Body, where you can find a theater near you playing it, or how you can get involved, please click on the links below:

You can find The Student Body on Facebook to get more information about the movie and more.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An Amish Family Christmas

Who doesn't love great endings? I know when I find an exceptional series of novels or even movies it is always bittersweet when you see it come to an end even though you know it's going to be great. Such is An Amish Family Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray, who wraps up the love lives of a few characters in the Charmed Amish Life Series, which I have adored.

This time we still see our favorite characters who have become couples in their own previous novels but now its time for Levi, the oldest of the Kinsinger family who left Charm, Ohio after the fire killed his father. He ran not knowing how to live in their family home where memories of both his father and mother continued to haunt him. He arrives home at first in A Sister's Wish, the third novel in the series because it isn't helping to have him stay away from the only family he has known and now that Amelia is about to marry, Levi wonders what is next in his life. Since moving out of the family home and onto a run-down and in desperate need of cleaning home on Jupiter Street, his life consists of going to work, staying as long as he can, and returning home with just enough time to sleep and begin again in the morning.

Julia Kemp, although not her real name, has found a fresh start in Charm, Ohio even though she can barely manage financially to support herself and her 5-year-old daughter Penny. She has had her own fair share of running, including leaving the father of her child, who found abusing her was the only way to control her life. She left before he knew she was with child and could continue his beatings not only on her but on their daughter as well. This is why she needed a fresh start complete with a new name. It also meant she had to leave behind her family as well. She couldn't take the risk of Luther finding out where she had gone, so as much as it pained her, she really needed this. The last thing she ever expected was to find a man who could truly love her the way God intended and perhaps offer her a future she never dreamed possible. She only has to be willing to tell the truth, but is she willing to place her future on the line to do so?

I received An Amish Family Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray compliments of Avon Inspired Publishers, a division of Harper Collins Publishers and Litfuse Publicity. I know Shelley is far from ending her Amish series and looking forward to the next one which readers get a sneak peek at with the conclusion of this novel. There are also Reader Discussion Questions included that is perfect for book clubs. In fact one such question asks if the reader has read all the books in the Charmed Amish Life series and if so, which is their favorite and I have to say, it would be A Sister's Wish because I love Amelia and Simon's story the best. I love how that comes into play as Levi and Luther come to a stand off when Julia is confronted with the truth and Simon has to step in. Oh how I would love to see this one come to life, but for now it remains locked away in my own imagination. For me, this one easily rates a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. There is even a great recipe in this one as well, but I'll save that as a surprise.

For more information about An Amish Family Christmas, Shelley Shepard Gray or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Shelley Shepard Gray on Facebook, to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on An Amish Family Christmas please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour page. 

A Sister's Wish

It is always a pleasure whenever a long-overdue visit with family and friends happens and it suddenly feels as if no time has passed since your last visit. This is just the case whenever you immerse yourself into the lives of the residents of Charm, Ohio, a small mix of Amish and English alike through Shelley Shepard Gray's eyes and imagination. In the third book of this series, The Charmed Amish Life, A Sister's Wish combines the coming of age story between Amelia Kinsinger and Simon Hochstetler. They have always shared more than a passing feeling between them that began as children, when Amelia had the uncanny ability to see more to Simon than anyone else.

Being a child in an abusive home, Simon watched as both his older brother and sister both left home for something more than being on the receiving end of their parents anger. Even in Amish communities, abuse happens and sometimes nothing is done because no one wants to get involved. So it came as no surprise after the final beating that Simon had enough and followed in his siblings footsteps and left Charm. Only unlike his siblings, Simon came back and repented of his worldly ways with used violence as an outlet to enable him to make money at fighting. But he is done with all of that lifestyle and now only wants to do whatever he can to make Amelia his wife and begin a family with her.

However Amelia feels about Simon, her older siblings believe it's in her best interest to find a more suitable husband in someone else. They will do whatever they have to, to ensure that Simon moves on and leaves Amelia for someone more suited to her innocent way of life. She doesn't need Simon's blackened past to rear its ugly head in their family. Amelia has had enough and at 22, now feels the need to stand up to her well-meaning family and put her own happiness first, instead of running the family household. But when an accident leaves her in need of someone to care for her, who will step up and take the responsibility.

I received A Sister's Wish by Shelley Shepard Gray compliments of Avon Inspired Publishers and Litfuse Publicity. I absolutely love the intimacy that comes from the characters that Shelley introduces us to in her series and soon you find yourself feeling a part of the novel and their family. I think we have all had a well-meaning family member tell us what they feel is best for us in our own lives and Lukas fills that role for this novel. He has the best intentions but fails to realize that he hasn't considered Amelia's feelings in the process of his decisions. I love how Simon is willing to do whatever Amelia asks despite how much pain it causes him to tell her about his sorted and painful past in order to establish a solid foundation to build their relationship on. Readers will get a sneak peek at the final book in the series, An Amish Family Christmas coming in October of 2016. For me, this one rates a 4.5 out of 5 stars in this reviewer's opinion.

For more information about A Sister's Wish, Shelley Shepard Gray or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Shelley Shepard Gray on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on A Sister's Wish, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour Page.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Brother's Keeper

"They are perhaps the sole rays of light in this dark era, the few whose consciences prevented them from being indifferent." ~ Yad Vashem

"Many did nothing - even though they called themselves Christians. Others joined the Nazis and supported Shoah, or Holocaust - the dark deadly storm that swept over Europe with the rise of Nazi Germany. In it more than six million Jewish men, women and children perished, killed by starvation or illness, fatally tortured or beaten, shot by Nazi death squads, or executed in concentration camp gas chambers. Contrary to popular misconception, in may ways the Jews of Europe resisted the evil that befell them. And as the unimaginable horror of the Holocaust descended upon Europe, countless people who professed the name of Christ also refused to remain silent or inactive. Many risked everything to help rescue Jewish targets of Nazi tyranny. Some even made the ultimate sacrifice, faithfully fulling the words of Jesus: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

My Brother's Keeper by Rod Gragg records the stories of thirty of them, all of whom have been honored by the State of Israel as "the Righteous Among the Nations." One of the Christians whose story is recounted in this work likely spoke for all herein when he explained why he chose to risk everything to save a single Jewish life. "I know that when I stand before God on Judgment Day," he said, "I shall not be asked the question posed to Cain - where were you when your brother's blood was crying out to God? " (pg 10).

My Brother's Keeper shares both the stories of these men and women who rose up in the face of perhaps the greatest evil atrocities of human kind and vowed not to stand by and do nothing when Hitler and his men tried in vain to rid the world of the Jewish race. Notables like Corrie Ten Bloom are captured as well as those whose names people might not recognize but save thousands of lives through their heroic efforts, some even paying with their own lives instead of standing idly by. This book also shares the history of such people like Hitler, Oskar Shindler and others so you get a full sense of what happened from the beginning until the brutal end. Why did the US and other nations not get involved when they knew what was happening in Germany and in other countries that Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini were controlling piece by piece. This is a part of world history we cannot forget and it shows that good can still overcome evil if people are willing to step up and challenge them.

I received My Brother's Keeper by Rod Gragg compliments of Center Street Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Groups. It is hard to read these accounts and in the process you, the reader, are transported back to this time in history where people were stripped of their world possessions, wealth, and humanity for the sole reason of their birthright. The book shares these 30 accounts along with some historical pictures and is one I will not part with, and thus has become a part of my library sharing the history of the Jewish Holocaust as well as those that died trying to risk all to protect them. For me, this is a true 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about My Brother's Keeper, Rod Gragg or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links today.

You can find Center Street Books on Facebook to stay up to date on all their latest works

To read more reviews on My Brother's Keeper, please visit Hachette Book Group's website. 

Monday, October 24, 2016


"I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within." ~ Douglas MacArthur

Hard to imagine that you could take down a super power nation like the United States of America, but we all know too well that in order to take down any terrorist threat is is best to do so on their land and not wait for them to come here. However that is just the premise behind the latest novel from Newt Gingrich, Treason. With the threat of Islamic Terrorism on the rise and happening in remote locations it seems like it is coming from within our own borders. American bred terrorists makes for a chilling premise that even appointed officials in the presidential cabinet might be on the wrong side of fighting our own enemies.

When the President is the target in a potential suicide attack, sources show that someone from within the White House may be the source of the threat. Ever since 9/11 our nation has been fighting an invisible battle against radical terrorists while the Muslim people want their religion removed as the basis for this ongoing terrorism, as it is singling them out as a people and a religion. Even those in the White House are asking the President to stop using key words like Islamic, Muslim and religious fanatics, in order to bring down the hostilities against the Muslim people living in America.

But when a new terror figure emerges on the national scene known only as the Falcon, his target is now Major Brooke Grant and the young girl she has sworn to protect, as he issues a fatwa against her and those she loves. The only problem is that the threat is closer than she could have ever imagined, an American-born traitor burrowed inside the U.S. government itself.

"Treason is a story of a nation fighting for its life not only against outside threats but also against an internal threat - a fanatical jihadist who uses liberty as a shield while trying to destroy the civilization crated in its image. Can she unmask the traitor and stop Falcon's most skilled assassin sent to kill her before he strikes? Or will she fall victim to betrayal by a false friend in this gripping tale of treachery, courage, and ultimately patriotism where good battles evil?" (inside cover).

I received Treason by Newt Gingrich compliments of Center Street Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Groups. What makes this novel so interesting is our current President who is establishing Muslims within our current governmental offices and I can see how this book could become a very real threat even though it is a fictional based story. The quote by Douglas MacArthur is valid and it should be the concern of every American citizen to be educated enough about the not only the religious beliefs of Muslims but also what the intentions are of our enemies both abroad and now from within. For me, all of Newt's novels are action-packed and edge of your seat adrenaline rushes because once you begin them, it never lets up until you get to the final page. I read this one in a couple of hours. Definitely makes me sit up and take notice of what is happening in Washington and in light of the coming presidential election, we need to take note of protecting not only our borders but the people assigned to various roles within our own government offices. The threat is real and thus the reason for my 4.5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Treason, Newt Gingrich or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find Newt Gingrich on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest novels.

To read more reviews on Treason: A Novel, please visit Center Street Publishing's website. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Orbitz Gaming Wireless Mini Keyboard for XBox One

Got to say my kids have loved video games ever since we introduced them to our beloved vintage favorites and it seems that technology is creating ways to make the experience more enjoyable. While the brand name products for each video game console are always recommended by the game manufacturer, we know that in today's competitive market there are always products the promise the same result at a great savings to your bank account.

Orbitz Gaming has designed and launched its own version of the wireless mini keyboard for use with the XBox One, but you have to always ask yourself, is it truly worth it in the end to save money when the product might not perform as promised? Rest assured in this case the results are better than expected. I had my teenage son, who loves his XBox One and plays it with growing frequency to test this product out for me. I mean who can tell if it works as promised other than the ones the company designs and markets the products for!

Here is what he discovered when using Orbitz Gaming Wireless Mini Keyboard for XBox One. It fits in the standard XBox One controller just as the brand name product would. It does leave a bit of a gap behind the controller, but my daughter said it fit her hands perfectly. So it was not an issue for her with smaller hands. The chat feature works perfectly just like it should. All functions of the product work as expected and the only downfall with the product is that it did take 2-3 times to power up the controller. Other than that, it worked as well as you might expect. He said he would give it a 4 out of 5 stars and the only reason for a lower than perfect rating is that it is not brand name. Other than that, if you are looking for a wireless mini keyboard to use for your XBox One, you would definitely not go wrong with this product for the price point. I received Orbitz Gaming Wireless Mini Keyboard for XBox One compliments of VIP Power Club.

For more information about Orbitz Gaming Wireless Mini Keyboard for XBox One, or where to pick one up today, please click on the links below: