Review: The Amish Christmas Kitchen by Long, Baker, Beckstrand

This book is a collection of three novellas that center around Amish kitchens at Christmas time. 

Baking Love on Ice Mountain introduced Clara, who managed to bake up a storm even while grieving … and moving on. I enjoyed this well-written story and the mountain setting, as well as the wisdom of the older people being passed down to the next generation. 

The Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill is by one of my most favorite authors, Jennifer Beckstrand. Beckstrand didn’t disappoint, bringing her signature silly grandparent pair Anna and Felty to Katie’s life, ready to be matchmakers once again. I loved that they maintained a sense of humor even when the wrong boy was trying to court sweet Katie – for the wrong reasons… her triple chocolate cakes! 

The Special Christmas Cookie contained a fun twist on one of my favorite tropes – governess/nanny/tutor falls in love with guardian of a sweet child. Problem was, the writing was sloppy. Many repetitive paragraphs and pages should have been cleaned up during editing – especially when it came to telling (in addition to the already sufficient showing) how independent and strong Jonathan wanted to be. 

The three authors send a common message with these novellas: loneliness can be overcome by taking a step forward. Each novella had a character that suffered loneliness because he or she was afraid to reach out. Once they could extend themselves, they found a brighter, more joyful season waiting for them. 

And at the end of each novella, you’ll find a recipe waiting for YOU. 🙂

-calliope

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Review: Sweet As Honey by Jennifer Beckstrand 


Jennifer Beckstrand wrote the Huckleberry Hill series, and I enjoyed every one of them. I was excited to start this new Honeybees Sisters series — and Sweet As Honey is every bit as good as the Huckleberry stories. 

Beckstrand masterfully blends strength of character and physical strength with humbleness, faith in God, and love for neighbor. I especially liked that the Honeybee sisters and their aunt take care of themselves and their land, demonstrating that many hands make light work. 

This first book in the series illustrates a romance between Lily and a young Amish gentleman. Beckstrand realistically wrote the  roller coaster of emotions and the tension between families. Family relationships, beekeeping, and being neighborly rounds out the story, making it much more than a romance. Excellent! Can’t wait for book two. 

-calliope

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Review: Huckleberry Hearts by Jennifer Beckstrand

  
This is the perfect book to read around Thanksgiving – when you’re full and happy, and maybe a little nostalgic… or when you’re remembering the dearly departed and hoping new memories fill up the empty spaces. 

Amish grandparents Anna and Felty use their matchmaking skills – and love! – to bring Cassie together with her meant-to-be. Nevermind that Cassie’s mom wants her to marry an Amish guy.  And come back home. And rejoin the church. What?!  While Cassie wants to remain in the modern world and find a moral Englischer, she doesn’t fight her family. But while Cassie tries to keep the peace, her soul mate is going through a crisis of faith.

I love all of the Huckleberry Hill books, but I especially appreciated the messages in this one. Beckstrand touches on love, loss, death, staying true to yourself, freedom of religion, and the popular question of why evil exists and why God doesn’t stop it.  

I stayed up late, I bawled my eyes out, and even though Beckstrand is taking a break from the series, I’ll be stalking her page to see if she changes her mind. Excellent read, with plenty of laughs, some tears at the end, and a whole lot of warm hearts. 

-calliope

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Review: Huckleberry Harvest by Jennifer Beckstrand 

 

This is book 5 in a series, but no need to read the books in order, nor start at the beginning. Grandparents Anna and Felty join forces yet again to make a love match between a beloved young relative and a Bonduel citizen. 

The story depicts young love at its sweetest, and mature love at its best. Beckstrand writes with humor, tenderness, and honesty. I love the characters and dialogue, and always, always the adventuresome comedy! 

I highly recommend the Huckleberry series for young and old alike, especially those enamored with Amish culture. 

-calliope

To read more detailed reviews of other books in the Huckleberry Hill series, CLICK HERE.

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Review: Huckleberry Spring by Jennifer Beckstrand

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So, Book 4 in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series. Oh that grandmother Anna can be sly. And grandfather Felty is definitely not on board with the deceit. But the matchmaking keeps succeeding, so they keep on doing it.

Spring brings Emma to the farm to help grow a pumpkin. Then Anna tells a few white lies to get her grandson Ben back to Wisconsin from Florida. He had escaped there after breaking off his engagement to … yes, Emma. And the re-matchmaking begins.

This time, it’s more than just hearts on the line. Ben has a medical issue he’s not willing to share. Emma has strength of spirit but also a will to not get her heart broken again.

I just love the innocence and Godly love in Beckstrand’s Huckleberry Hill books. I appreciate the family loyalty and the harmless jokes. And there’s always a sense of adventure!

I found this book especially romantic, because I could truly feel the love between Emma and Ben… and they could too.

Thanks again, Ms. Beckstrand.

-calliope

By the way, Book 1 in this series is on sale for $1.99. buy Book 1

Book 4 buy HUCKLEBERRY SPRING

Review: Huckleberry Summer by Jennifer Beckstrand

20140612-125512-46512637.jpg Aahhh, young love! The tension, the fun, the sighing when you re-live a good date, the well-intentioned interference of the matchmaking grandparents…. Yeah.

Anna and Felty were successful in the match of their grandson Moses, and now they’ve moved on to shy Lily and brazen Aden. Beckstrand totally cracked me up with Lily blushing all the time, Aden the bad boy trying to be good, Felty and Anna bantering and giving sidelong glances. She writes likeable characters and strong dialogue. The story is meaty enough to sink into, but easy enough that I could read without working at it.

Aden and Lily’s love story was charming and believable. I liked how Aden kept persisting, even when Lily’s dad rejected him over and over again. The best part was when Lily used the strength of Aden’s love for her to stand up for herself. Brava, Lily!

I’ve fallen in love with these contemporary Amish young adults and their search for fun, friendship, and godly love. Bring on Book Three!

-Calliope

Read my review of book one, Huckleberry Hill.

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Review: Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand

20140113-070640.jpg In Amish country in Wisconsin, Lia goes to stay with an elderly couple to help them out for the summer. Their grandson Moses visits once a week to help too. Whether he likes it or not, his grandparents have schemed to make this the summer of love for Lia and Moses. Lia appreciates Moses’ friendship and his support of her journey to become a midwife. Moses is grateful for a friend who tells it like it is. Lia’s sister Rachel is jealous and tries to edge her way in, but Moses’ heart sees right through Rachel’s shrewdness.

Huckleberry Hill is a sweet, fresh story of friendship and love. The grandparents’ matchmaking efforts are hilarious. Moses’ and Lia’s banter is clever and sharp. Rachel’s character development as the bratty, spoiled, black-hearted sister is very well done. I appreciated the excellently written dialogue and easy flow to the story.

Huckleberry Hill is the first book in a series of three. I recommend it for the peaceful Amish setting, great writing and breath of fresh air perspective on love.

–Calliope

Buy it now Huckleberry Hill