Review: The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert

This book reminded me of First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen: magical! It’s not wand and wizard type magical, but more like “can you believe this is happening I think it’s a miracle” type magical. And I loved it. 

Sanna is a tough nut to crack. She’s the primary worker on her family farm, the sole apple orchard and cider person, and very focused on keeping her farm and family intact. Sanna is protective, territorial, and averse to visitors. 

When Isaac and his son Sebastian appear at the farm and endear themselves to Sanna’s pa, Sanna is more annoyed than anything else. But Sebastian’s presence softens her heart a little … just enough to let Isaac in, too. 

Sanna’s love for the apples and love for her family save the farm from external threats. It’s that love that saves Sanna from herself, too, and provides room for Isaac and Sebastian in her life. 

I just couldn’t get over the specialness of  Sanna’s abilities with the apple orchard. It was nice to see someone care that much about their land and what grows on it. And I appreciated her loyalty to her family and the land. 

This novel was a lot of twinkles and touches and glances and fairy lights. Not my usual fare, and I’m kind of glad about that. The Simplicity of Cider is a special book that will stay with me for a long time. 

-Calliope 

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Review: The Final Vow by Amanda Flower 

This is number three in a series – and I so wish I had read the first two, well, first. I totally dug the storyline: Kelsey Cambridge, historical farm director gets herself embroiled in a murder mystery. And I dug the characters: bridezilla, jerky ex, perky assistant, grouchy good old boys club, Wonder Woman wedding planner, and uber-supportive wannabe boyfriend. But I struggled to empathize with them, because I didn’t get to know them deeply enough. I almost felt my heartbeat faster when things got a little dicey for Kelsey, but for the most part I was on an even keel, just watching the events unfold but not really feeling them. 

I think I need to read number four though. Now that I’ve been introduced to Kelsey et al, I need to see where the romances go, how the Cherry Foundation decides to proceed, and if ringing the bell makes it into daily rotation at Barton Farm. By the end, I was invested, and now I need more!

-Calliope

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Review: The Seekers (Book 1 of The Amish Cooking Class series) by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Amish couple Heidi and Lyle live a simple life on their farm, but with Lyle out most of the day and no children to care for, Heidi finds her days empty. When Heidi advertises a cooking class – that she will teach in her home kitchen – an unexpected variety of participants arrives. They’re nervous to start cooking, but also nervous about being judged by a new group of people. 

The Seekers is very predictable, and an easy, straightforward read. I kind of needed something like that when I read this, so I appreciated the no-effort, feel-good experience! The Seekers wasn’t overly simplistic, though. The author wrote in a few characters that I myself judged … and by the end she had taught me a little lesson about that. *hangs head in shame* 

Once in a while it’s necessary to get back to basics, on an Amish farm, with a cooking class worthy of The Breakfast Club, and a lesson much more important than the pie crust turning out. I found that in The Seekers. 

-calliope

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Review: Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies

  

Even through her grief, Freya has to carry on selling mistletoe from the family farm. Sam and Stephen, owners of nearby Henderson farm, don’t make it easy on her, as they want to buy her property in the middle of the Christmas season! 

Davies writes a magical story, where Freya lets the wonder of the season speak to her through a mystery visitor. When Freya opens up her heart, she finds her happily ever after – and so does one of the Hendersons. 

I liked that this novella was a light read but had a deep message. Davies reminds us that we can find happiness and love despite grieving a loved one. Tis the season. 

-calliope

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Review: The Promise by Robyn Carr

20140623-230542-83142578.jpg Robyn Carr, you’ve done it! You’ve created a Thunder Point novel that I fell in love with, just as I fell in love with the Virgin River books. The Promise was SO satisfying. From the small-town doctor’s office to the big-time ex-boyfriend cardiologist, from the romantic tension between widower Scott and newcomer Peyton to the comfortable companionship of Carrie and Rawley, I was completely taken by The Promise.

I was glad Carr took the time to give me her usual update on characters from past books, and even happier that this installment centered on a romantic relationship or two. Or three. I was pleasantly surprised to find Rawley making a move … And making no apologies for it!

Some of the most fun parts to read were of Peyton’s visits to her family farm. I could feel her joy and relief when she stepped foot on the property: a place of safety, respite, love, and dancing! Peyton’s family was warm and embracing, a lovely counterpart to the misunderstandings and dilemmas facing Peyton. And the food… Ohmygoodness my mouth was watering. I wasn’t even hungry and I was jonesing for a fresh baked baguette, olive oil, and just-picked tomatoes.

The Promise really has it all: food, family, fun, love … oh! and two new babies. Irresistible. I’ll read it again unless Book 6 is waiting in the wings.

Ms. Carr? Possible publish date for book 6? Hello?

-Calliope

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