Review: An Amish Gathering by Beth Wiseman

An Amish Gathering
Title: An Amish Gathering
Author:
 Beth Wiseman
Publication Date: December 22, 2009
Genre: Christian Fiction, Amish
Rating:4 Stars


Join three Amish couples as they experience love amidst life’s seasons. As Rebecca mourns her twin sister, Ben seeks to break through her grief. Leah would rather write than be a good fraa, but her spirit captures Aaron’s heart. And when Josiah falls for Amanda, he learns about letting go of the past.

 


Review_I mentioned in my review of An Amish Cradle that I had already started listening to another collection spearheaded by Beth Wiseman – here it is!

These books are just so stinkin’ fun to listen to! Just like the last collection, all of the stories revolved around Amish couples. This time, instead of babies, there were gatherings of one type or another – usually a ‘singing’ which is a get together for Amish young adults after church. The gathering was the turning point in the relationship of the two main characters.

I absolutely adored these stories. In the last book there were four short stories, and the first two were my favorite by far. This time, they were all amazing! I connected to all of the main characters and they all had backstories that were really well fleshed out given the short length of the stories. Maybe having three stories instead of four gave the plots more room to breathe. I do have to confess, Beth Wiseman’s story (the first) was my favorite again. I really enjoy her writing style and I’d like to pick up some of her solo work eventually.

I did notice when I was searching for another to listen to – none were immediately available through my library, boo! – that there were some repeat stories in other compilations. It’s no big deal since I can just skip over what I’ve already heard, but still a bummer since I want more!

4 Stars

100 Followers and 100 Posts Q&A! (For Both of Us)

I am SO. EXCITED! 

We’ve hit two big milestones around here: as of yesterday, my website now has 100 followers and this post is my 100th!!

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In honor of all the goals being reached around here, I thought it would be fun to do a Q&A! Leave a comment down below with any questions you want to ask me, whether it’s about reading, writing, or what I’m up to when I’m not doing either of those things! No question will go unanswered – I’ll post my responses on Monday! (I am terrified that no one’s going to ask any questions so please, have pity on me if you see the comments section is empty 😉).

And now, I have a Q&A for you… What do you want to see more of? What posts are your favorites? Do you want to see more about the writing / self-publishing process, or would you rather I stuck to reading and bookish things?

Thank you SO SO MUCH for following along and making this post possible!

 

Are Harry Potter and Percy Jackson the Same Story?

Discussion (3)

I finally finished reading the Percy Jackson books, and let me start off by saying they were GOOD. I wish I would have read them when I was younger, but there’s a universal appeal to the story that made them just as enjoyable to read as an adult.

But something nagged at me as I was reading…

When I finished the first book and wrote my review, I took a minute to scroll through the other reviews on Goodreads. There was one gripe a lot of them had in common: Percy Jackson and Harry Potter (the books, not the characters – we’ll get to that later) were very similar.

At first I didn’t think anything of it. The first book had some similarities, but nothing that screamed HARRY POTTER! at me. The further I got into the series, the more clearly I saw why people were comparing the two stories. But is it a bad thing that the stories tend to overlap?

*Spoilers for Percy Jackson and Harry Potter below*


Characters

Percy Jackson and Harry Potter: Percy and Harry are the most similar. Both kind of stumble through life, trying to figure out why they’re such screw ups and why they can do things other people can’t (although neither exactly realizes they have ‘powers’). They’re made out to be the average Joe type who isn’t particularly smart or any more talented than the people around him, but their bravery makes up for all that.

Annabeth Chase and Hermione Granger: Annabeth and Hermione are both the intelligent member of their respective friend trios. They fight for the underdog (Hermione for house elves, Annabeth for the half-bloods who’ve gone to the dark side), and they care more about the rules than their friends.

Grover and Ron Weasely: Grover and Ron take the place of lovable, endearingly dopey sidekick. They’re the easiest to scare of their trios, both go missing at some point or another, and both return to the trio stronger and more mature.

Chiron and Dumbledore: Chiron and Dumbledore are both wise older men who council the hero of the story. Both withhold pertinent information from the heroes, afraid that they’re too young to handle it.

Kronos and Voldemort: Kronos and Voldemort are both super spooky, kill-anyone-I-have-to villains. They’ve both been defeated once, both been banished to a lesser form of life, and both use a child to come back to a human (or in Kronos’s case, titan) form.


Plot & Themes

Prophecies: Percy and Harry are both at the center of a prophecy that predicts their death and the rise of their enemies. Both prophecies are also misleading, and could have been / were about someone else in the story – Harry’s could have been for Neville, while Percy Jackson’s ended up being fulfilled by Luke.

The Maze: The labyrinth and the maze at the end of the triwizard tournament were both shifting, organic riddles filled with danger for the heroes. At the end of the books the mazes were featured in, we learn about characters who weren’t who we thought they were: Daedalus, who we thought was Quintus, and Barty Crouch Jr., who we thought was Professor Moody.

Trio of Friends Backed by Others: Perhaps the most obvious comparison is the trio of friends working to keep the villain at bay, backed by their respective organizations – Dumbledore’s Army for Harry, Camp Half-Blood for Percy – and eventually, their authority figures – the Ministry of Magic for Harry, the Gods for Percy.


Does it matter?

There are probably a lot of other ways that Percy Jackson and Harry Potter compare when you put them side by side, but does it matter?

For every element that’s similar, there are two that are different. Personally, I didn’t enjoy the story any less. As a matter of fact, the similarities are probably why I enjoyed it so much – not because I was looking for another Harry Potter, but because the things in Percy Jackson that reminded me of Harry Potter were some of my favorite parts of both stories. J.K. Rowling is a master, but that doesn’t mean that if another author uses any of the devices or techniques she did they’re ripping her off.

Besides, according to Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, there are only 7 basic plots in the entire realm of storytelling.


What do you think?

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Want on a Desert Island | TTT Throwback

It’s another TTT Throwback! If you’re scratching your head wondering why I’m doing a completely different Top Ten Tuesday topic, check out my first ‘Throwback’ HERE. Basically, any time a Top Ten Tuesday topic doesn’t work for me I’m heading back to the beginning and working my way down the hundreds and hundreds of Top Ten Tuesday’s that happened before I started participating.

This weeks topic is “Books on my Spring 2019 TBR,” but instead I’ll be doing “Books I’d Want on a Desert Island.”


 

Here’s the breakdown: a couple long series that I love/want to finish (because we know series only count as one collective book on a list like this 😉) + a few books I could read over and over even though they’re standalones or short series + Robinson Crusoe because even though I haven’t read it, I know it’s about a guy that gets stranded on an island and I’ll need all the survival tips I can get + my own book which would be left in a well sheltered area so that when they find my bones in 50 years, hopefully somehow the book will remain preserved and help them identify me so we don’t have an Amelia Earhart situation going on.

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would you take any of these books with you?

 

Would You Rather Book Tag

Would You Rather Book Tag

It’s been a wild week around here. My next round of grad school classes started Monday, four – yes, four – TVs have broken in my living room, along with my desktop computer and printer (both of which I fixed but RIP TVs), and my kitten was spayed yesterday (even though it feels like it’s been two weeks). She’s refusing to wear the cone of shame and her stitches are dissolvable so we’re all taking turns following her around the house and staring at her to make sure she doesn’t lick them.

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All that to say, I needed an easy, no-pictures-to-insert, no-links-to-find post to whip up really quick so that my website didn’t go into hibernation. Thank God this was in my drafts!


Read only trilogies or stand-alones?

DEFINITELY trilogies. If you saw last week’s Top Ten Tuesday then you know I don’t read very many standalones. I don’t actively avoid them, but I’m more drawn to a series.

Read only female or male authors?

I don’t pay very much attention to the gender of the author I’m reading, but looking at a list of my favorites and the bookshelves behind me, I read mainly female authors (a lot of historical fiction – especially inspirational and Amish historical fiction – writers are female. I’d be very sad to lose George R.R. Martin and John Jakes, though!

Hardback or Paperback? 

Paperback. Preferably the big floppy kind.

All books become movies or TV shows?

TV shows, because they’re more versatile. A standalone can become a limited series and a longer, more detailed series can have as much airtime as they need to tell the story. And anyways, is it just me or do TV adaptions seem to be a lot better than movie adaptions lately?

Read five pages per day or five books per week?

I could manage five pages a day much easier than 5 books a week, but I don’t want to be limited…. hmm…. I think I’ll suffer through reading 5 books. Now that I’ve finally gotten on the audiobook bandwagon it would be a lot easier.

Be a Professional reviewer or author?

Ugh, the first question where I want to be both! If I had to pick, professional author would win hands down. But I’m having fun doing both right now!

Only read your top 20 books over and over or only read new books you’ve never read before?

New books! I love to reread my favorites, but I think I see a loophole here…. wouldn’t new editions of a book *technically* count as a new book that you’ve never read before? So if you pick new books then you get to read new books and your favorites, once a new edition is published. Sign me up for law school.

Be a Librarian or a Bookseller?

Librarian! It’s so much quieter than being a bookseller. I actually did quite a few volunteer hours at my local library in high school and assisted in the maintenance of a museum library during my undergrad.

Only read your favourite genre, or every genre except your favourite genre?

My favorite genre, which would be historical fiction. I really enjoy fantasy too, but I’d have to make that sacrifice!

Only read physical books or ebooks?

Physical. I read a lot of ebooks too, since I borrow them from my library, but there’s nothing like a physical book in your hands.


I wrote this post in 15 minutes, y’all. That has to be some kind of record! Back to cat wrangling I go… Hopefully I’ll be a little more organized next week!

 

Review: An Amish Cradle by Beth Wiseman

An Amish Cradle
Title: An Amish Cradle
Author:
 Beth Wiseman
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
Genre: Christian Fiction, Amish
Rating:3.5 Stars


In His Father’s Arms by Beth Wiseman

Ruth Anne has been dreaming about motherhood her entire life. Now she is doubly excited that she and her best friend are due with their children the same week. But when Ruth Anne’s baby is born with Down syndrome, she and her husband struggle to understand God’s plan.

A Son for Always by Amy Clipston

Carolyn and Joshua are thrilled to be pregnant with their first child together. Carolyn was just a teenager when she had her son, Benjamin, and she still feels solely responsible to secure his future. As Joshua watches Carolyn struggle to accept his support, he knows he has to find some way to convince her that she–and Ben–will always be taken care of.

A Heart Full of Love by Kathleen Fuller

Ellie’s mother hasn’t stopped meddling in her personal life since Ellie lost her sight–and she’s taken it up a notch now that Ellie’s pregnant. When Ellie gives birth to twins, her mother insists on moving in to care for them. But when her mother’s behavior becomes unbearable, Ellie is forced to take a stand . . . and finally find out why Mamm can’t let go.

An Unexpected Blessing by Vannetta Chapman

At 42, Etta discovers she’s pregnant again. After a frightening labor, Etta births a baby girl. That joyful moment is followed by months of worry. Will their estranged son, David, return home? Can Mose save the farm or will they be forced to move? Etta must hold tightly to the promise that God will watch over each of her children–and that He does have a plan for their future.


Review_

I came across An Amish Cradle when I was scrolling through my library app for a new audiobook. I wanted something short, sweet, and easy to listen to – I didn’t want to have to keep backing up because I’d missed a single sentence or zoned out for 30 seconds.

An Amish Cradle was the perfect pick. This book is actually a set of four novellas by top Amish fiction authors. Obviously, each one tackles the issues that come along with having a child (either pre- or post-delivery) and the road that the parents have to walk to prepare themselves for the new addition.

As much as I love a fleshed out story, I’m also a big fan of the novella format. I’ve been wanting to expand into Amish fiction because I have quite a few on my shelf already and this was a great way to peak my interest. All four stories were well-written and entertaining but the first – In His Father’s Arms – was my favorite of the collection. Children with down syndrome and other disabilities present at birth aren’t often discussed in fiction, let alone Amish fiction. It was interesting to see how the mother and the father each processed the unexpected news differently, especially given that they were SUPER young. Of the four, In His Father’s Arms is the only one I thought jeez, I wish that was a full length novel.

The other three were a little slower to me but not slow enough that I didn’t stay interested and tuned in. I was thrilled to see that there are quite a few more collections like this and I’m already listening to the next one!

3.5 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I’m Waiting For

Top Ten Tuesday (1)

I don’t read very many standalone books – and the ones I do tend to wrap themselves up nicely because ya girl can’t stand a permanent cliffhanger – so I thought I’d make a list of standalones AND series that could use a few more books. Then I realized that most of the series I’ve read are either still going, so I’m getting the sequel I wanted, or they wrapped up really well too…

All that to say, it’s a super short list this week.


 

The Help by Kathryn Stockett was such a moving book and as perfectly as it ended, I would have loved another story, maybe about the children of ‘the help’ growing up.

The North and South trilogy by John Jakes is a sweeping saga of two families connected by friendship in the years before, during, and directly after the Civil War. If there’s one thing John Jakes can write, it’s a multi-generational story. I would love another set of books following the children of our main characters as they approach the turn of the century and beyond.

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller is so. much. fun. The duology wrapped up well, but there’s so much room left for adventures with Alosa!

Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller is written from Ma’s perspective and follows the first year or so of the Ingalls family’s journey. As someone who has always loved Little House on the Prairie with every fiber of their being, it was eye opening to experience the prairie with Caroline instead of Laura. I want Sarah Miller to write the rest of Ma’s life!

Read my review of Caroline: Little House, Revisited HERE.

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth is the first book in a trilogy about Worth’s experiences as a midwife in the East End of London in the 1950’s and 1960’s. To be fair, I haven’t read the other two books yet. But I AM caught up on the TV show and I know that I could read a million books about her time as a midwife and never get bored.


Honorable Mention

TRRB Ebook Cover-page-001

My own book! I’ve been plugging away at the sequel and hope to have it out before fall!