Category Archives: Bestseller

Naomi’s Gift (Kauffman Amish Bakery Christmas Story #2) | Amy Clipston

 


Today I am posting my review of Naomi’s Gift, the second Christmas novella in the Kauffman Amish Bakery series by Amy Clipston.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you’ll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman’s story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams and secrets.

You’ll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the English way of life and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families.

Naomi s Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches a time of family, faith, and hope for many others, Naomi is more certain than ever her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family’s quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down.

Naomi’s story of romantic trial and error and youthful insecurities has universal appeal. Author Amy Clipston artfully paints a panorama of simple lives full of complex relationships, and she carefully explores cultural differences and human similarities, with inspirational results. Naomi’s Gift includes all the details of Amish life that Clipston’s fans enjoy, while delivering the compelling stories and strong characters that continue to draw legions of new readers.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

This special novella focuses on Naomi King.

I didn’t really notice her much until she began talking to Luke, bringing him lunch and… if she weren’t Amish, I’d say… she was flirting with disaster – ha!

But she couldn’t see that everyone thought she was behaving badly – making a spectacle of herself by flirting with Luke in front of the whole church district”

Even when Luke tried to tell her she was wasting her time, she refused to listen – even to him!

Well, no one can say she didn’t try her best to convince Luke to court her…

Then at the end, after Luke has finally convinced Naomi that her feelings will never be returned and he has feelings for Sarah, Timothy notices her… and begins thinking she might just suit him after all.

Next, she gets involved with Timothy… I think Naomi has grown up a bit and she really gets hurt by Timothy, who still loves Miriam, but thinks it’s hopeless and that he should marry Naomi.

Talk about a mess!

To be fair, Timothy often feels that he’s being unkind to not share his feelings with Naomi, but every time he tries to, something stops him. Naomi finally realizes how he feels.

So now she’s stopped trying altogether!

I like Naomi so much more in Naomi’s Gift… and when Caleb and Susie begin to care for her, I cheered!

.. . . .

And she was convinced if she stayed in Lancaster County that she’d be an old maid, never marrying and having a family of her own.

If you’re like me, you expect this story to have a happy ending – after all, it’s about Christmas!

I won’t spoil it for you, but there are a few twists and turns!

Amy does a great job showing how am Amish wife might help a friend who has left the faith, even though it means going against her husband’s wishes.

This heart-warming novella shows the faith of one and the forgiveness and acceptance she earnestly desires. If you haven’t read it, don’t wait another year until Christmas – read it anytime!

Amy Clipston has a talent for knowing what her readers want… if you don’t have them, be sure this series is on your Christmas list!

Merry Christmas!

 

 

God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

 

A Plain & Simple Christmas | Amy Clipston

 

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Today I am posting my review of A Plain & Simple Christmas – the first novella in the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series by Amy Clipston.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you’ll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman’s story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams … and secrets.

You’ll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the ‘English’ way of life—and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families.

In the tradition of her widely popular Kauffman Amish Bakery series, author Amy Clipston tells the tale of Anna Mae McDonough who was shunned by her family four years ago when she left her Amish community in Lancaster County, PA, to marry an ‘Englisher’ (non Amish) man and move with him to Baltimore. Now, eight months pregnant when her first child, she longs to return home for Christmas to reconcile with her family, especially her stern father, who is the religious leader for her former Amish church district.

So Anne Mae writes a letter to Kathryn Beiler, her brother’s wife, to enlist her help. Kathryn asks her husband, David, if she should arrange Anna Mae’s visit. David cautions her that a visit would cause too much stress in the family and instead suggests they visit Anna Mae and her husband in the spring. However, Kathryn arranges the visit anyway, believing in her heart that it’s God’s will for the family to heal.

When Anna Mae arrives in Lancaster for Christmas, the welcome she receives is nothing like what she had hoped for.

A book filled with love, the pain of being separated from one’s family, and the determination to follow God’s will regardless of the outcome, A Plain and Simple Christmas is an inspiring page-turner that will keep you guessing what happens next … right to the very last page.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

What do you do when you leave your family behind… I mean, how do you just go on with life, never having any contact with them?

This special novella introduces us to Anna Mae and her English husband Kellan McDonough.

Anna Mae knew when she left her community… and the Amish faith – and her vows – that she was leaving her family behind forever. But she was in love! And she was convinced if she stayed in Lancaster County that she’d be an old maid, never marrying and having a family of her own.

Now that Anna is expecting her first child, she is missing her family even more… but if she returns home, she will be shunned.

If you’re like me, you expect this story to have a happy ending – after all, it’s about Christmas!

I won’t spoil it for you, but there are a few twists and turns!

Amy does a great job showing how am Amish wife might help a friend who has left the faith, even though it means going against her husband’s wishes.

This heart-warming novella shows the faith of one and the forgiveness and acceptance she earnestly desires. If you haven’t read it, don’t wait another year until Christmas – read it anytime!

Amy Clipston has a talent for knowing what her readers want… if you don’t have them, be sure this series is on your Christmas list!

 

Merry Christmas!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Christmas in Mitford | Jan Karon

 

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Today I am reviewing The Mitford Snowmen and Esther’s Gift: A Mitford Christmas Story by Jan Karon.

The Mitford Snowmen

Goodreads says: It’s Christmastime in Mitford, and everyone’s favorite characters are filled with holiday spirit. In The Mitford Snowmen, a swirling snowfall brings them to Main Street for a snowman-building contest complete with doughnuts, hot chocolate, and contagious good cheer. A charming small trim size and enchanting four-color illustrations make this the perfect way to visit Mitford—and gather a heart full of Christmas joy.

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Esther’s Gift: A Mitford Christmas Story

Goodreads says: In Esther’s Gift, Esther Bolick is filled with the holiday spirit as she prepares to bake the annual batch of her famous-and utterly scrumptious-orange marmalade cakes. Right after Christmas Eve service at Lord’s Chapel, she and Gene will deliver a two-layer marmalade to each of seven friends and neighbors, all of them favorite Mitford characters. Then Gene calculates what it costs to bake this legendary cake, and Esther is stunned. Is it worth it to spend so much money on people who haven’t always measured up to her expectations? The answer is clear. She’ll cut her list back-way back.

This decision makes perfect sense until the lyrics of a Christmas carol steal into her heart, and help remind her what a gift really means.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

I chuckled the whole time I was reading The Mitford Snowmen, as local shopkeepers, with help from Father Tim and Uncle Billy, compete to see who can win Mitford’s First Annual Snowman Jubilee. When Esther Cunningham, the mayor, gets involved, the fun continues.

Then I read Esther’s Gift (not to be confused with Esther Cunningham, the mayor). This short story is about Esther Bolick… the one who makes those famous orange marmalade cakes that everyone loves (and sent Father Tim into a sugar-induced coma)! When Esther asks her hubby Gene to figure out how much her 2-layer orange marmalade cakes cost to make, he includes her labor and the cost of the electricity and comes up with a whopping $43!

Esther and the others in this sweet little community will steal your heart, quickly making you a Father Tim fan (or perhaps a Jan Karon fan). Don’t miss out on these stores. They should be read not just once, but every Christmas… I know I will be reading them to my grandchildren soon.

Merry Christmas!

God Bless You!

 

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Naomi Miller . . . Author Spotlight

 

Thank you for joining me for this special Author Spotlight!

First, a bit about Naomi…

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This is what Naomi feels like when her deadline approaches… 

As a new author, Naomi keeps not one, but two physical calendars going at all times — current year and following year, plus calendar sheets for the next five years.

If you plan to make a career of writing, you must plan ahead. I had no idea of the timeframes involved, with first drafts, revisions, conferences, events, book signings, blog tours, cover reveals, promoting, … the list goes on and on.

But I’m happier now than I’ve ever been! I love writing! I love interacting with my readers! And yes, I love opening a box and pulling out copies of my book!

Naomi is the author of two Amish books, with a rough draft of the third book just completed. Her latest release, Christmas Cookie Mystery, is the second novel in the Amish Sweet Shop Mystery series.

Naomi is currently working on a collaboration with speculative/dystopian fiction author JC Morrows, merging their genres in a new series. For updates, be sure to sign up for Naomi’s newsletter.

A Tennessee native, Naomi is a graduate of Bellevue University in Nebraska, completing a bachelor’s degree in Networking, then a master’s degree in Security Management. She has been an employee of the State of Tennessee for almost fifteen years, and plans to retire in the next few years, to write full-time and enjoy a more flexible schedule. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and hopes to become more involved in all ACFW has to offer in the near future.

Naomi also enjoys traveling with her family, singing inspirational/gospel music, taking a daily walk, and witnessing to others of the amazing grace of Jesus Christ. In her spare time, she likes to relax, while crocheting or knitting — and always has time to read new releases from her favorite authors.

Readers can learn more about Naomi at naomimillerauthor.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Pinterest and Goodreads.

 

A spotlight with Naomi Miller . . . today on Donna’s BookShelf.Tweet this!

 

And here is my interview:

Have you always wanted to write? Do you use an outline for your stories?

Yes! I’ve always wanted to write, but I didn’t think it was a career I could actually choose to do. I actually began a contemporary novel in 1990, but eventually it ended up in a drawer. I still have it . . . someday I may finish it, but for now, I’m compelled to write Amish fiction.

I don’t use an outline. I write down 5-6 short sentences – each sentence representing an idea of a chapter. Sometimes the chapter follows the idea; sometimes it goes a completely different direction. I’ve learned to let my story guide me. Many times I have no idea how it’s even going to end!

How does it feel being a published author? Have you encountered any surprises along the way to being published?

I love it! Being published feels really great! I love watching a story develop on the page, from beginning to end. Of course, it’s not all fun, but overall it’s the most fulfilling thing I’ve done. And it’s such a blessing to see how my book impacts the lives of others.

Do you have a folder or a file where you keep future ideas for stories or do you just come up with ideas after a suggestion from your editor, agent, or friends?

I don’t keep a physical file or folder, but I have folders on my laptop, where I keep a few word documents with story ideas. Most of the time, I don’t begin a new book, until I’ve prayed about it for awhile. My usual habit is to wake early and spend time with God, asking Him what I should write. And when the ideas come, I write down a few sentences – one for each chapter; and that’s where I start.

Have you attended any writer retreats, conferences, and the like? Do you think they are necessary for your writing?

YES! I was advised by several author friends to make time for retreats, workshops and conferences . . . not only have the workshops and classes been worth every minute spent, but the friendships I’ve made have been invaluable!

How often do you travel? Where do you go? Who do you travel with? What is your favorite vacation spot?

I want to travel, but until I retire, I’m limited to a few workshops and book events each year! My favorite vacation spot is Myrtle Beach, which also happens to be the favorite vacation spot of my grandchildren. I love listening to the sound of the ocean and watching my family playing in the waves.

What are you working on now? Is there another genre you are interested in writing?

I’m currently working on books 3 and 4 in my Amish Sweet Shop Mystery series. Book two was just released this month, so I have a few weeks before book three is due to my publisher for editing while book four is being written.

 

And now for a few favorites:

Favorite color – Purple (although I love all colors)

Favorite food/drink – That’s a tough question. I love cheeseburgers, but my favorite snacks are peaches, blueberries, and watermelon. My favorite drink is sweet tea (hey, I’m from the south).

Favorite time of year – I love fall, winter and spring. I love watching it snow, but I’m not a fan of the cold weather anymore.

Favorite hobbies – Writing, reading, crocheting/knitting, and working puzzles (sudoku, solitaire, freecell).

Favorite holiday – Christmas. I love the Christmas songs, the decorations and the wonderful idea of giving gifts to those you love.

Favorite dessert – Sweet Potato Pie. My daughter makes an awesome homemade sweet potato pie! She makes one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas.

 

THANK YOU for joining me for this AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!


Blessings!

Interview © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Christmas Cookie Mystery | Naomi Miller

 


Today I am reviewing Christmas Cookie Mystery… the second book in the Amish Sweet Shop Mystery series by Naomi Miller.

Here is a brief synopsis:

In the small town of Abbott Creek, mystery is as much a part of daily life as The Sweet Shop’s Christmas cookies.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Katie Chupp is spending her days catering to the holiday rush. With everyone in town ordering special desserts and treats, will Katie be able to find time to finish making gifts for her family and friends?

With a winter chill settling in and Christmas right around the corner, no one would expect a mystery, but a mystery does indeed appear… when a certain dear family finds an unexpected package at their door.

And this is one mystery that may never be solved…

 

Christmas Cookie Mystery… a Sweet Shop Amish Mystery by Naomi Miller – Tweet this!

 

MY THOUGHTS:

Once again, I’m allowing Naomi to speak for her book.

I want Naomi to talk about why Christmas Cookie Mystery is a different sort of book…

Christmas is my favorite holiday… and I want to share it with my readers.

Not only do I want to share some favorite recipes, but I want to share all the goodness and excitement and hope that Christmas brings to so many people.

I believe that Christmas Cookie Mystery tells a sweet story about the folks in the Abbott Creek community; not only their faith and forgiveness, but their resolve to help one another.

There are more than enough books to read about murder and mayhem, not to mention vampires and zombies. . . but sometimes we need a sweet story that gives us hope and faith.

The Amish Sweet Shop Mystery series has has been compared to the Nancy Drew series, and it’s perfect for young readers, but I’ve heard from many readers — young and old alike — who enjoy the stories.

I hope readers will pick up this book (and future books in the series) when they need something to distract them from sadness, worry, and doubt. I hope Christmas Cookie Mystery leaves them with a feeling of peace, love and joy!

Happy Reading!

Naomi

 

God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Blueberry Cupcake Mystery | Naomi Miller

 


Today I am reviewing Blueberry Cupcake Mystery… the first book in the Amish Sweet Shop Mystery series by Naomi Miller.

Here is a brief synopsis:

In the small town of Abbott Creek, mystery is as much a part of daily life as The Sweet Shop’s sugar cookies.

Katie Chupp spends her days at The Sweet Shop, taking care of customers and baking delicious treats . . . not exactly a profession where one expects to be thrown into the midst of mysteries and mayhem.

But when the bakery is broken into, someone has to find the thief . . . besides finding another place to do the baking and get the orders to the customers.

Is this a random theft, or is the thief trying to ruin the town’s Independence Day celebration?

 

Blueberry Cupcake Mystery… a Sweet Shop Amish Mystery by Naomi Miller – Tweet this!

 

MY THOUGHTS:

I’m doing something a bit out of the ordinary.

I want to let Naomi talk about why Blueberry Cupcake Mystery is a different sort of book…

My inspiration originally came from books written to make Amish young people look weak and easily manipulated, or worldly.

I was working on an Amish Suspense novel, when I felt God guiding me to write a series of books that show family, faith, forgiveness, and grace — instead of murder, mayhem, and danger — or worse, vampires, zombies, and demons.

I believe that Blueberry Cupcake Mystery accomplishes this task, and I think you’ll enjoy this story. It has has been compared to the Nancy Drew series, and it’s perfect for young readers, but I’ve heard from many readers — young and old — who enjoyed the story.

It’s somewhere between a short story and a novella, but I truly felt that it was complete, so it’s a quick, fun read.

I hope readers pick up this book (and any future books in the series) when they need something to distract them from sadness, worry, and doubt. I hope reading a light-hearted, fun cozy mystery, will inspire readers and leave them feeling happy and content.

Happy Reading!

Naomi

 

God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt


Christmas at Donna’s BookShelf | featuring Naomi Miller

 

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Today I am beginning a new month . . . a month of celebrating one of my favorite holidays — Christmas!

I’ll be sharing a review of a favorite Christmas story each and every day of the month. I’m starting with my review of The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall.

 

And . . . I’ll be featuring Naomi Miller, author of the Amish Sweet Shop Mystery series, who will be giving away a copy of Christmas Cookie Mystery  each Saturday in December (with an extra treat included on the 31st for a GRAND PRIZE!

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Don’t miss this opportunity to win a book by Naomi Miller!Tweet this!

 

For a chance to win a book, do the following:

 

1) follow Naomi on Facebook HERE

2) follow Naomi on Twitter HERE

3) follow Naomi on Instagram HERE

 

** Be sure to leave a comment, stating that you have completed these tasks!

Now go enter!

And tell all your friends about this contest!

 

Naomi Miller is being featured this month on Donna’s BookShelf!Tweet this!

Blessings!

 

Feature © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Visit my giveaway rules page for a complete explanation of the terms and conditions of this giveaway.

 

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