Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fraying at the Edge Book Review

The Amish of Summer Grove Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  Family, community, faith, and love.  These "quilt blocks" sewn together made Ariana's beautiful life.  When they are pulled to pieces, will anything familiar remain?
     The Old Order Amish life Ariana Brenneman loved vanished virtually overnight with the discovery that she was switched at birth twenty years ago.  Now she's immersed in the Englisher world, getting to know her mother and under the authority of her biological father, an atheist intellectual with resolute plans to expand Ariana's worldview.  Only Quill Schlabach, a childhood friend living English, can steady the tilting ground between Ariana's two worlds, but can she trust him after so many betrayals?
     At the same time, Skylar Nash is forced to choose rehab or spending several months with her true relatives, the large Brenneman family and their seemingly backward life - no electricity, no technology, no fun.  What the young woman can't leave behind is her addition to illegal prescription drugs and a deep emptiness from the belief that she doesn't belong in either family.
     New ties are binding Ariana and Skylar to the lives they were meant to have.  Can they find the wisdom and strength they'll need to follow God's threads into unexpected futures?
     Fraying at the Edge is the second novel in the Amish of Summer Grove series.

REVIEW:  This book picks up where the first, Ties that Bind, ends.  The chaos Ariana is thrown into felt very real: parents arguing, strange technology like using an electric stove and disarming an alarm system, driving, and a father demanding she change her worldview 180 degrees almost immediately.  I like how Brandi, her biological mother, tries to gently help Ariana adjust and doesn't make any demands on her.  I like how Ariana finally stands up to Nicholas, her biological dad, and how he finally backs off some, but still pushing Ariana way beyond her comfort zone.  This "pushing" starts her seeing the world not as only black and white, but with a lot of greys in between.
     Skylar irritated me some.  She doesn't want to even try to help out or get to know her biological family.  The Brennemans are very patient with Skylar, trying to love her from afar, even though their efforts are often rebuffed.  I like how she finally finds her niche at the coffee shop.  I would have liked to have seen more happen with Skylar in regards to changes and her time with them, but I was pleased with how the character has developed.
     The ending was a bit of a surprise, setting up the third book in this series.  I can't wait to see the journey Skylar and Ariana take and where God (and the author) leads them.
     This is a wonderful book and series.  You must read Ties that Bind first as it sets the foundation and first floor for the second book.

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah and Blogging for Books
for review without compensation.
Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction and nonfiction with more than a million copies sold.  Her connection with the Amish community has been featured in national media outlets such as ABC's Nightline, the Wall Street Journal, and a National Geographic documentary on Amish life.  Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia mountains.  She can be found online at

Prince Noah and the School Pirates Book Review

SUMMARY:  Prince Noah may be a little slower than others, but he has no less joy in living and learning.
     It's time for young Prince Noah to go to school.  In his kingdom, children go to school on sailing ships.  There is a ship for girls and one for boys, one for children with an eye patch and one for children with one leg, and one for children who don't learn as fast.  No one knows why there are so many different ships, but it has always been that way.
     Then a terrible storm drives the ships into the hands of pirates.  The boys and girls realize that they will only escape if everyone does what he or she does best.
     This delightful fairy tale instills appreciation for children with developmental challenges.

REVIEW:  This is a sweet children's book.  No one is alike; we all are different.  Some of those differences are just more noticeable than others.  In this book, Prince Noah shows the other kids that everyone has a place and to use what we know to benefits those around us.  By working together, all of the children make a difference and change the perceptions of "this is how it's always been done" to "let's start something new." This book is geared towards children but I think even adults can take away something positive and uplifting.

This book was provided by Handlebar and Plough Publishing House 
for review without compensation.

Silke Schnee is a journalist and works as a television producer for a public broadcaster in Cologne, Germany.  She is married and has three sons.  Her youngest son Noah was born with Trisomy 21 (Downs syndrome).

Heike Sistig studies special education and art and is a trained art therapist.  She works as an editor for children's television programming.  She has illustrated several children's books, and has exhibited her collages in several art galleries.  She lives with her family in Cologne, Germany.