The Reichenbach Problem By Martin Allison Booth

As a fan of Sherlock Holmes books, I must applaud Mr. Booth on his amazing ability to capture the personality and writing style of the real Arthur Conan Doyle. I felt like I WAS reading Sherlock Holmes.
Fame has proven more than Arthur Conan Doyle can handle so he decides to take a vacation in hopes of finding his family a new home where his celebrity status will not be under such scrutiny. He heads to Switzerland to the peaceful little town of Reichenbach Falls. His grand expectations of an escape into anonymity and peace are shattered when Richard Holloway must share his railroad car and recognizes him. Doyle is annoyed yet polite to his unwanted guest assuming that upon arrival they will go their separate ways. Once the train arrives, Holloway attaches himself to the leery author and even declares them friends to everyone.
Not long after his arrival a man is found dead and it is unknown if he is fell or pushed off a precipice. Pushed by Holloway to investigate the murder, Doyle finds himself being the prime suspect! Father Vernon, the local priest, is very helpful and caring in supporting Doyle, but could he possibly be withholding information?
The writing was rich in detail and description. Not just in what he saw, but also his opinions and perceptions of events and people. A wonderful mystery!
I received this book free from Kregel Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Willow Wind Farm: Betsy’s story By Anne Pellowski

I appeciated this book because wholesome children’s reading material is hard to find nowadays. Betsy is the member of a large Polish family, 9 girls, and 1 boy to be exact! Their livelihood is farming; therefore the children have lots of chores and responsibilities from the oldest to the youngest. While they may not always like the work, the children do their chores well and as expected. The reader experiences daily farm life, family mealtimes, family traditions, and the special challenges of a big family. I thought the parent’s consistent guidelines and expectations of their children’s conduct was wonderful. There is real structure and security within the family, something sorely lacking in homes today.
The story is kept exciting with the disappearance of their 4 ½ year old sister, Christmastime, drunken pigs and a cooking fiasco that ends up with flying donuts! Visits from relatives bring home the blessedness of close family ties. There is always lots of fun and humor. Children will experience a simpler way of life where family is first and love abounds. This book is one of a series tracing a family’s roots for 5 generations back to 1867 which begins with The First Farm In the Valley. I highly recommend this book.
I received this book free from Bethlehem books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

FOR EVERY SEASON by Cindy Woodsmall

I couldn’t wait to read this 3rd book in the Amish Vines and Orchard Series! Ms, Woodsmall does a beautiful job of developing and continuing the story of Rhoda Byler and her life with the King family.
After leaving their families behind and moving to Maine, Samuel, Jacob, and Rhoda begin the hard work of restoring the neglected apple orchard they have purchased. They are also trying to establish a new Amish community so that others can join it.
Jacob and Rhoda’s romance continues but not without hindrances. His past mistakes keep intruding in their lives requiring him to deal with the consequences and right his wrongs. In Jacob’s absence Samuel is always there to help Rhoda with her struggles. He is even the first person to make her see her gift as something good, not evil.
Jacob’s jealousy of Rhoda and Samuel increases after finding out about an impulsive kiss they shared. She is heartbroken at being the one that caused a rift between the two brothers. She decides to move in with Camilla and Bob, her English friends that live in the woods behind the orchard to calm Jacob’s insecurities. Realizing he too is in love with Rhoda, Samuel decides to avoid being around her rather than hurt his brother. This only adds to the tension.
Rhoda’s unusual gift keeps making itself known and reveals some startling information about the couple’s past, but she can’t quite put all the pieces together right away. Would they listen? Should she tell them? She enlists Landon to do some internet sleuthing to help find the answers.
All the drama had to be put aside because an early frost threatens to destroy all their hard work. Everyone must work together around the clock to save the trees but this put an even greater strain between Jacob’s and Samuel’s relationship.
Rhoda’s heart is torn. If she marries Jacob the brothers will never have a relationship. If they stay and live in the Maine community, working together will be impossible. Can anything be done to solve this problem?
The surprises, the conflicts, and struggles each character faces trying to find God’s will in their life keeps the story moving along and exciting. I am anxious for the 4th book to come out! You will want to read all of them!
I received this book free from Waterbrook Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Annie’s Christmas Wish by Barbara Cameron

Amish fiction is one of my favorite reads, and I get especially excited when I see one like this that has a different story line. This is the perfect book for a comfy Christmas read (or anytime!).
Annie has always dreamed of being a writer, just like her stepmother. She lost her mother at a young age, and when her father remarried. Jenny, his new wife was a famous news correspondent in New York City before she married Annie’s dad and became Amish. The mother, daughter bond is as strong as if not stronger than any biological one.
Not only is Annie passionate about being Amish and being a writer, her other dream is to visit New York where her mother worked. Having been raised Amish she is very curious to know about Jenny’s life before coming to be a part of their family.
It looks like that dream is going to come true when Jenny receives an invitation to be honored for her past media work for children in worn torn countries. The whole family makes plans to attend, including Annie’s older and younger brother. Jenny shared many plans to show her family her old home before she joined the family: tourist sites, the television studio where she worked, the New York Times and more!
Annie was so focused on her writing career she never gave much thought to marriage and was shocked to realize Aaron Beiler was interested in her in that way. Her oldest brother is injured in an accident and the trip is almost canceled, but her grandmother saves the day by offering to stay with him. Aaron is invited to take his place. Annie sees it as an opportunity for them to get to know each other better. His fear that she might want to stay in New York ultimately causes tension between the two of them, possibly ending the romance.
The trip was everything Annie dreamed of and a few shocking surprises more. Opportunities arrive she could only dream of, but her heart is torn as to the right decision to make.
This story gave me those warm fuzzy feelings. The love and closeness being Annie’s parents and her family was so refreshing. The intimacy and understanding in Annie’s and Jenny’s interactions showed a bond every girl dreams of having with her mother. It was intriguing to see such a worldly place as New York through the eyes of the Amish, and also the experience of Jenny revisiting her old life after becoming Amish. I admired Jenny with how she was able to go back to her old life yet not be intimidated or feel out of place as an Amish woman. Being a part of their visits to tourist attractions was fun! It was especially meaningful to me the way Ms. Cameron brought so many biblical truths and applications into the character’s experiences. A must read! This is the first book of Ms. Cameron’s I have read but am definitely read the rest in this series!
I received this book free from Abingdon Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

A Plain Disappearance By Amanda Flower

This is the first book of Ms. Flower’s I have read and I certainly want to read more! The words, wholesome, clean and Christian aren’t usually associated with a murder mystery, but they all describe this book because it is all of those things and more!
Chloe is a young woman, dating Timothy who left the Amish faith many years ago. His sister Becky followed in her brother’s footsteps and also left. She and Chloe are roommates. With the strong character and trust in God still ingrained him from his Amish raising, Timothy has done very well adjusting to living in the English world. Becky on the other hand is still finding her way, grappling with the changes, choices and freedoms afforded her in this new way of life.
While on a sleigh ride on a winter day the couple stops at an old barn, Timothy’s dog, Mabel, becomes very agitated at something she finds in the snow. They discover the body of a beautiful, popular Amish girl named Katie Lambright. Having helped the police on other murder investigations, the Chief of Police, Rose unofficially, puts Chloe on the case. Even though she is not Amish, Chloe had an uncanny ability communicate with the Amish people and gain their trust. As Timothy and Chloe attempt to track down the murder suspect, they find themselves in serious danger more than once! The suspense was fantastic!
This book had so many wonderful facets. First was the mysterious murder. There were so many twists and turns as the story unfolded. One minute I was sure it was one person, the next another. Soon there would be two suspects and I couldn’t decide for sure which one was guilty. The ending was definitely a surprise!!! I appreciated the lack of blood and gore most murder mysteries have.
The book almost gave a 3 sided view of different lifestyles: the modern, the Amish, and a person caught between the two. I loved the coziness and warmth shared about Amish family daily life and especially the details of their special meals and recipes! I few times it even made me hungry!
Being set during the Christmas holiday’s the contrast of how both groups celebrated was very interesting. Becky’s preparation for her first English Christmas was hilarious. I was also able to experience strain on the families and conflict that arose because their children had chosen to leave their faith. As the story unfolds, the reader learns more about each character’s past, their struggles, and how their faith in God is challenged.
Woven throughout all of this was a wonderful sense of humor. I admire the author for how beautifully she included all these things in the story and was still able to have it flow. This to me is a real talent for writing! A book you definitely want to read!
I received this book free from Handlebar Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

OVER THE TOP: HOW ONE MOVE CHANGED A CLIMBER’S LIFE BY Russell Fralick

Not being a rock climber or knowing that much about the sport, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started reading this book. I thought it might be boring with all the details about rock climbing techniques, but I was pleasantly surprised! It was very interesting and the author’s detailed explanations put me right alongside them experiencing everything. It also gave me a newfound respect for the strength and courage this sport takes.
The author’s story is like many people searching for Christ and trying to fill that void with other things. I must admit his way of running from God was much more dangerous than the average!
I usually read at night before I go to sleep because it helps me relax. It didn’t work that way with this book! I could feel Mr. Fralick’s frustration in his attempt to be the best, gain the respect among his peers, and get that adrenaline high he craved. I felt my body tense at the unpredictable and suspenseful moments he faced. I also became exasperated with him that even after many close calls he was delivered from, he turned around and went again to even riskier ones! With all the suspense this was definitely NOT a help you go to sleep book!
His story proves you can’t run from God. With all his wanderings, risk taking and seeking the wrong solutions to the anxiety he was experiencing, I could see God working. His hand is seen throughout the story planting seeds, gently guiding Mr. Fralick closer to Him. Yet as with many of us he just didn’t get it until that one climb, that one moment he never thought would happen to him, when he faced death head on. It was a blessing that when he did accept Christ he gave himself and his life completely to Him. His passion for rock climbing took on a whole new direction and meaning in the Lord’s hands.
I received this book free from Discovery House Publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.