On Tour with Celebrate Lit: Anything But Plain by Suzanne Woods Fisher with Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Anything But Plain

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Amish fiction

Release date: October 4, 2022

It’s not easy being the bishop’s daughter, especially for Lydie Stoltzfus. She’s not like other Amish girls, as much as she wishes she were. The only thing she does well is disappoint others. Leaving her family and church seems unbearable, but staying might be worse.

Knowing Lydie is “between” jobs, the local doctor asks her to fill in at the front desk for a few months. To Lydie, this is a boon. It gives her time to figure out how she’s going to say goodbye to her neighbor, Nathan Yoder–the main reason she needs to leave Stoney Ridge. Nathan claims he’s in love with her, but she knows she’s not good enough for him. If in doubt, Nathan’s father reminds her frequently.

As Dok spends time with Lydie, she recognizes symptoms of an uncommon disorder among the Amish. She offers treatment for Lydie. But will it be enough to make her stay? Or has help come too late?

Click here to get your copy!

In Anything But Plain, Suzanne Woods Fisher introduces us to a young woman who is “anything but plain” in the traditional Amish sense.

Lydia “Lydie” Stoltzfus, a young Amish girl, seems to be an accident waiting to happen. Everything she does or attempts to do, it seems, ends in failure or turns into a disaster. Her track record of failing jobs is infamous and legendary.

Nathan Yoder struggles to assist his father in managing their farm, which has deteriorated from outmoded and destructive agricultural practices.

Despite the fact that Lydie and Nathan care for one another, external factors (including Lydie) work against their relationship. Can kindhearted “Dok,” the neighborhood physician and Lydie’s relative, help?

I always enjoy reading Suzanne Woods Fisher’s books, and this one is no exception. I especially enjoyed the premise of the story. Her Amish stories are real and wholesome. Anything But Plain will deeply move you and tug mightily on your heartstrings.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit through NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a Christy finalist, a Carol Award winner, a two-time ECPA Book of the Year finalist, and the Publishers Weekly, ECPA, CBA, bestselling author of more than thirty books. Her genres include contemporary and historical romances, Amish romance, and women’s fiction. She and her husband live in a small town in California, where everyone knows everyone else, knows what they are doing and why. Most folks act a little nervous around Suzanne because they usually wind up in one of her novels. She has four grown children and enough grandchildren to keep her young. Visit Suzanne at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

More from Suzanne

Easily Distracted? 8 Strategies to Help Stay Focused

Anything but Plain is a story about a young Amish woman with undiagnosed ADHD. Lydie Stoltzfus feels like a square peg in a round hole. She just doesn’t fit in and, to make matters worse, she’s the bishop’s daughter. At this point, the only path forward she can see is to leave Stoney Ridge. Leave her church, her friends, her family, her neighbor Nathan Yoder. It’s better to leave, Lydie decides, than to keep disappointing everyone she cares about. I won’t say anymore so that I don’t spoil the story for you.

ADHD is not a common diagnosis among the Amish and many might assume it’s not a real thing. Of course, they’re mistaken. ADHD is a real thing. While I don’t have ADHD, I do have many friends and family members who have been diagnosed. It’s challenging! And something we should all take seriously. Here’s why:

Evidence is mounting that a growing dependence on digital devices could be giving all of us some ADHD-like symptoms. Have you wondered if distractibility is becoming a problem for you? Or has a spouse or child or friend remarked on how often you pick up your phone to check a text message or scroll Instagram? You might remain physically present but your mind has wandered away. For me, the answer is, regrettably, yes.

There’s a recurring phrase in Anything but Plain that comes from an old-fashioned farming term: Walking the beans. Literally, it means weeding by hand. Figuratively, it means paying attention to our priorities. To pull the weeds before they take root.

One of the takeaway lessons of this book is to “walk the beans” of technology’s role in my life. So…I’ve been working on a few strategies. When I practice, I see a difference. Life is calmer. More manageable.

So…I wanted to pass these tips along to you. (If you have little children, these might not work for you. Not when your little ones are awake, anyway.) Hopefully, you’ll find them to be useful, and maybe spark some strategies of your own.

  • Make a plan. I start the day with an index card and write down the day’s priorities. And I check off tasks as I finish them!
  • Go off-line. Create an environment that helps you stay focused. Turn your cell phone to silent. If working on the computer, close your email app. Put yourself in distraction-free mode until you’re accomplished what you need to do
  • Finish one task before moving on to the next. Even little tasks.
  • Distractibility is at its peak during transitions. Build in margin. For example, arrive a few minutes early instead of rushing in a few minutes late.
  • When distractions are high, make tasks smaller and break down your large projects into smaller tasks to help you concentrate and give you a sense of accomplishment and progress.
  • When I’m facing a big task, I’ll break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • Set a deadline for a task. Beat the clock! Use a timer.
  • Rewards! When I beat the clock, I’ll take a break from computer work and pop up to the garden, text a friend, walk the dog. Something that feels good.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 7

She Lives To Read, October 8

The Write Escape, October 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 9

Vicky Sluiter, October 9

lakesidelivingsite, October 10

Texas Book-aholic, October 10

Lighthouse-Academy, October 11

Simple Harvest Reads, October 11 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 12

Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 12

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14

Blogging With Carol, October 14

Elly Gilbert, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 15

For Him and My Family, October 15

Holly’s Book Corner, October 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 16

Splashes of Joy, October 16

Empowermoms, October 17

SusanLovesBooks, October 17

Mary Hake, October 17

Bigreadersite, October 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 18

Blossoms and Blessings, October 18

Cats in the Cradle Blog, October 19

Pause for Tales, October 19

Spoken from the Heart, October 19

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 20

Cover Lover Book Review, October 20

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/21e05/anything-but-plain-celebration-tour-giveaway

#CelebrateLit #NetGalley #AnythingButPlain

Advertisement

An Amish Picnic: Four Stories by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Kathleen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman

#NetGalley #An Amish Picnic: Four Stories by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Kathleen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman

Promo for The Amish Candy Maker by Laura V. Hilton Currently on Tour with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Title: The Amish Candy Maker

Author: Laura V. Hilton

Genre: Amish Christian Fiction

Release date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: WhitakerHouse

Agnes Zook finds herself on her own in a small Amish community in Mackinac County after a tragedy kills her family. Most of the Amish call her “off in den Kopf” (strange) since she’s starting her own business and forging her own way in the community instead of relying on the bishop to take care of her. Since she’s viewed as non-submissive and too-forward for an Amish woman, she’s not courted by young men in the area.
Isaac Mast is on the verge of leaving the Amish church. He’s become a sought-after auctioneer and has a thriving business, but he feels confined by the strict rules. When his brother is severely injured in a wildfire, Isaac receives a letter from his sister-in-law, begging him to come to Mackinac County to help out while his brother is hospitalized. Isaac agrees but is unsure how to manage their young children when he has weekend auctions he’s expected to attend.
Agnes may be the answer to a prayer. Sparks fly when she and Isaac meet. But could their differences help them form a deeper connection to their faith…and each other?

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Laura Hilton is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with more than a thousand reviews published on the web. Her first series with Whitaker was The Amish of Seymour, comprising Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (2012 Laurel Award winner, first place in the Amish Genre Clash), and Promised to Another; and her second was The Amish of Webster County, comprising Healing Love, Awakened Love, and Surrendered Love. Her next series was The Amish of Jamesport, featuring The Post Card, Snow Globe, and The Birdhouse. Her latest books include The Amish Firefighter, The Amish Wanderer, and Love By the Numbers. Laura and her husband, Steve, live in Arkansas with their five children, whom Laura homeschools.

Guest Post from Laura

RECIPE FOR FUDGE À LA AGNES ZOOK

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge

Courtesy of Laura V. Hilton

1 bag (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips

1 bag (10 ounces) peanut butter chips

2 cans sweetened condensed milk, divided

6 tablespoons butter, divided

20 to 30 miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or six regular-size ones broken into four or five pieces each

For the chocolate layer: Line a greased 8-by-11.5-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

In a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, combine milk chocolate chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 4 tablespoons butter. Stir until melted and smooth.

Pour into prepared baking dish and allow to cool to room temperature, then move to the refrigerator while preparing next layer.

For the peanut butter layer: In a double boiler or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, combine peanut butter chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until melted and smooth.

Pour on to the milk chocolate fudge layer and press pieces of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into the surface. If desired, group candy pieces in a grid-like fashion for easier cutting later.

Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight or until set.

Remove from refrigerator, lift out of the pan by the edges of the parchment paper, and cut into squares, with roughly one miniature peanut butter cup or piece of a cup per square.

Store in the refrigerator.

Blog Stops

Christian Author, J. E. Grace, February 5

My Devotional Thoughts, February 5

Carla Loves To Read, February 5

Among the Reads, February 6

Girl’s In White Dresses, February 6

Britt Reads Fiction, February 6

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 7

The Avid Reader, February 7

Random Thoughts From a Bookworm, February 7

Emily Yager, February 8

Quiet quilter, February 8

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 8

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 9

Maureen’s Musings, February 9

Bibliophile Reviews, February 10

Vicky Sluiter, February 10

Through the Fire Blogs, February 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 11

Daysong Reflections, February 11

Texas Book-aholic, February 12

Janices book reviews, February 12

Carpe Diem, February 13

A Baker’s Perspective, February 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14

SusanLovesBooks, February 14

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 14

Blossoms and Blessings, February 15

Stephanie’s Life of Perseverance, February 15

Inspiration Clothesline, February 15

Inklings and Notions, February 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 16

Pause for Tales, February 16

Have A Wonderful Day, February 17

For the Love of Books, February 17

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 17

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, February 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 18

Bigreadersite, February 18

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away a grand prize of a large and small spatula set and a $10 Starbucks gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d9a6/the-amish-candy-maker-celebration-tour-giveaway

******Disclaimer******

I haven’t read this story yet. However, every Laura Hilton story I have read, I enjoyed!

Amish Cooking Class-The Celebration by Wanda E. Brunstetter

My Review

I enjoyed the third and final installment of the Amish Cooking Class series, The Celebration. The story was different in that Heidi Troyer, the cooking instructor, encouraged by her husband, decides to offer her cooking classes to children. This, indeed, makes sense because Heidi and Lyle are now foster parents to two adorable children, Marsha and Randy.

There are many things to like about The Celebration, and it is aptly named. However, there are many discordant notes, too. The book has a plethora of characters, necessitating LOTS of POVs which sometimes get confusing.  Five children and their parents attend the cooking class, along with Randy and Marsha. Later a family from Heidi’s neighborhood who enroll more children in the class. One child is beyond the point of being a spoiled brat, and quickly becomes tiresome, as does her mother, who seems initially to have no idea what to do! One situation really took me out of the story when Brunstetter referred to a mess a dog made in the front yard as “doggie doo-doo/doo-doo.” Heidi apologized to the child who stepped in it and explained the dog usually used the backyard as a bathroom. I felt these were strange word choices, and they didn’t seem to fit into the overall narrative.

The Celebration also uses Bible verses on the back of recipe cards as a teaching tool. I like how this was incorporated into all three stories. Also, there are recipes at the end of the book, just like the other two.

The Celebration can be a stand-alone, though I feel you will get more out of the novel if you read the series in order.

I read and reviewed the other two books in the series, The Seekers and The Blessing. https://captivedreamswindow.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/amish-cooking-class-the-seekers-by-wanda-brunstetter/

https://captivedreamswindow.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/the-blessing-book-2-of-the-amish-cooking-class-series-by-wanda-e-brunstetter/

I received this book from Barbour Publishing. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Return to Holmes County, Ohio, for Amish style cooking class.

Lyle and Heidi Troyer have taken in a brother and sister, who were orphaned when their parents were killed in a car accident. Hoping to help the children adapt and make friends, Heidi decides to hold a series of cooking classes for kids. But kids are always accompanied by an adult—and that is where the trouble arises.

Miranda Cooper is living the life of a single mom to her two kids while separated from her husband, but Trent is trying to worm his way back into her heart.

Denise McGuire’s life as a wife, mom, and real estate broker is full and spilling over.

Darren Keller, single dad and firefighter, and Ellen Blackburn, single mom and nurse, find a few things in common.

Will hearts be healed over plates of Amish food?

This is the third book in The Amish Cooking Class series.
Book #1:  The Amish Cooking Class – The Seekers
Book #2:  The Amish Cooking Class – The Blessing

Amish Cooking Class-The Seekers by Wanda Brunstetter.

the-amish-cooking-class

About the Book

Join a class of unlikely Ohioans who take cooking lessons at Lyle and Heidi Troyer’s Amish farm. A woman engaged to marry, an expectant mother estranged from her family, a widowed mom seeking to simplify, a Vietnam vet who camps on the Troyer’s farm, and an Amish widower make up the mismatched lot of students. But Heidi’s cooking lessons soon turn to life lessons as they each share the challenges they are facing. Is this what God had in mind when Heidi got the idea for cooking classes?

My Review

Heidi Troyer, an Amish woman, needs something to occupy her time. Taking a page from her Aunt Emma’s life, she decides to give cooking lessons similar to her Aunt Emma Miller’s quilting classes (Many of you may remember Emma from The Healing Quilt). Little did she know that she and her students would learn many life lessons along the way.

The Seekers has a motley crew of cooking learners that include a Vietnam vet with PTSD, a young woman who was kicked out of her home when her parents found out she was pregnant, a widower still grieving his wife’s death, an amateur photographer who becomes engaged and a widow with two small children yearning for a simpler life. Each person, including Heidi, is searching for answers.

Wanda Brunstetter does an impressive job of developing each of the characters and relating the story from each one’s viewpoint.  As you read and watch each one change, you are cheering or jeering for the individuals, depending on what the circumstances are, and come to care about each one.

Heidi’s recipe cards (recipes are at the end of the story) include an apt and applicable Bible verse, and it’s neat to see how each person reacts to the different verses.

Even if cooking isn’t your forte, I believe you will still enjoy reading Amish Cooking Class-The Seekers by Wanda Brunstetter.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Familic Fiction

Lancaster Amish Secrets (The Lancaster Amish Juggler: An Amish of Lancaster County Saga series) by Rebecca Price, is not your typical Amish story.

The Schroeder’s endure a backbreaking trip to Lancaster. However, none more than Hannah and Abram who have been relegated to the worst seats during their journey, unlike their “precious” sister, Rebecca who gets to sit in front.

Things do not get any better when they reach their new home.

Abram. . .looks around and sighs. “We’ll be doin’ chores around this place for the rest of our lives.”

. . . “Don’t worry, Abram. Maybe we won’t live that long.”

He chuckles and I do too. It feels good. We’re the only ones in the family who ever laugh, it often occurs to me, even though we’re the ones who get stuck with the hard work. Princess Rebecca never lifts a finger, gets first choice of everything . . . yet she never seems to laugh or even smile.

Abram and Hannah are constantly drawing on each other for comfort and help, as they become the “slaves” and their sister Rebecca the “princess”.

As they settle into their new life in Lancaster, Abram hones his skills as a juggler and Hannah becomes the best pie maker around. However, things are not as they seem and events bring long-held secrets to the forefront.

In light of new, heartbreaking information, Hannah sets out to find the truth and in the process tears her family apart.

Lancaster Amish Secrets is an impressive story with an unexpected and striking ending.