Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Proposal at Siesta Key: Amish Brides of Pinecraft, Book Two By Shelley Shepard Gray

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description: 

A young Amish woman, yearning for freedom, crosses paths with a handsome Mennonite celebrity in a deeply moving tale of friendship and self-discovery—the second installment in the unforgettable New York Times bestselling author’s new Amish Brides of Pinecraft series.

Penny Troyer rarely disobeys her parents. In the years since her sister’s tragic death, they’ve wanted nothing more than to keep her safe…even if it means never leaving the house.
But tonight, she’s bending the rules because Michael Knoxx, the most famous member of The Knoxx Family Singers, a traveling Mennonite Evangelical family —is scheduled to speak. Penny has heard of Michael—how he lost part of his leg in a terrible accident and uses the experience to inspire others—and knows she must meet him. So, for the first time ever, Penny stands up to her parents and goes out on her own.
Though he speaks about living life to the fullest, Michael knows he needs to take his own advice. Life on the road is grueling and Michael wants to slow down, to rest…to perhaps meet someone who sees him as a man, not just a celebrity. So when a twist of fate allows him the chance to stay a little longer in Pinecraft, Michael knows God is showing him a new path, especially when he discovers how much he and Penny Troyer have in common.
But new friendships can’t stop time. Soon, Michael’s time in Pinecraft will be over and he’ll be back on the road. Her time with Michael has brought her happiness, but will she be able to follow her heart? Or will she be faced with the one thing she’s sure she’ll never have the courage to do?



My Thoughts:  

The Proposal at Siesta Key is the second book in Shelley Shepard Gray's Amish Brides of Pinecraft series and it a very good story. As my readers know, I am a HUGE fan of Amish Fiction so Shelley Shepard Gray is one of my favorite authors in the genre! I had the pleasure of reading the first book in this series, The Promise of Palm Grove so I was very eager to read this next story.  In this book we meet Penny Troyer, an adult who lives a very sheltered life with her parents. Years before Penny's sister, Lissy, died and their parents have kept Penny close, afraid of losing her too.  Penny wanted to go to see a traveling Mennonite Evangelical Family, The Knoxx Family Singers and listen to their son, Michael speak about his own accident in which he lost one of his legs, but her parents didn't want her to go. Penny tells her parents she is going, and she goes.  Michael Knoxx is a very talented speaker who talks about living life to the fullest but he himself doesn't do that. He spends so much time on the move from place to place that he wants to slow down, stop and meet others to be friends with, not adoring fans.  Penny and Michael have a chance meeting that evening, as Penny is walking home.  Penny enjoyed her time so much and decided it is time to be out in the world, which includes her looking for a job. Michael finds himself having to stay in Pinecraft at the Orange Blossom Inn for a month and his family are back on the road. Penny gets a job at the Inn and helping Michael is one of her tasks.  As they spend time together, they begin a beautiful friendship, having feelings for each other but Michael knows he will have to go back on the road and both of them don't want to lose the other.

The Proposal at Siesta Key is a wonderful book, part of a wonderful series.  Shelley Shepard Gray writes with much authority on The Amish, Pinecraft, Florida and the areas around it, Mennonite faith, and traveling.  Her knowledge of Pinecraft, Florida and the areas around it is amazing. She is truly an expert on this community. As I read this book, I felt like I was there in Pinecraft and Siesta Key experiencing the sights along with our characters. Such vivid and detailed descriptions.  As I stated, I read the first book in this series so it was great to see the sights from the first book and to see new sights.  Also I enjoyed meeting new characters/friends but also getting details about my "old friends" from the last book. So many fun and interesting characters make up this book. I enjoyed all of them. This book addressed violence in an Amish Community, which isn't common to read about in Amish Series and it was a reminder that bad things happen to everyone, no one is immune, but what makes it different is in how we respond to it.  I found myself unable to put this book down. From the first chapter until the end I was taken with this book and the characters.  The Proposal at Siesta Key can be read as a stand alone book, not necessary to read the first book to read the next one.  The details in the second book are enough for a new reader but not too much for someone who read the first book. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend this book and series to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction, definitely will not be disappointed. I look forward to the next book in the series and reading other books from Shelley Shepard Gray. I give this book 4 STARS.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Who's the New Kid?: How an Ordinary Mom Helped Her Daughter Overcome Childhood Obesity - and You Can Too By Heidi Bond and Jenna Glatzer

 I received this book from Litfuse for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own. 

Book Description:  

 At nine years old, Breanna Bond weighed a whopping 186 pounds. Just walking up the stairs to her room was a challenge. Her legs chafed to the point of bleeding from rubbing against each other, and her school days were filled with taunts of “Hey, Fatty!” Breanna’s mom, Heidi, was devastated and wondered, How can I get my daughter healthy again?

Who’s the New Kid? shows readers how Heidi helped her daughter lose weight without the aid of fad diets, medication, or surgery and how other parents can do the same with their kids.

In just over a year, Heidi’s plan worked! Breanna dropped 40 percent of her body weight and was transformed from a morbidly obese child who spent her days in front of the TV eating chips and chocolate to a vibrant, healthy, energetic little girl.

Filled with helpful diagnostic tools, easy-to-make recipes, eye-opening nutritional information, fun exercise ideas, and practical tips and advice, Who’s the New Kid? will not only show parents how to help their kids lose weight naturally but also introduce them to simple, yet effective lifestyle changes that will benefit the entire family.



My Thoughts:  

Who's The New Kid? is a wonderfully written book by Heidi Bond and Jenna Glatzer that is one of the most important books to read as a parent about childhood obesity and how to help your children make the right choices of food and helping them be active by making sure these things are part of your lifestyle. As a parent of 3 children , 2 daughters and 1 son we have been through the weight struggle in our family.  We are right now going through this struggle with our 2 younger children. So much of the Bond Family's life is a reflection of our lives. My husband struggled with weight as a child and was picked on for it. Now our son steals food in the middle of the night. We have tried everything: locking food up, hiding food in different places, and then eventually giving in to what he wants.  As I read this book I really felt the turmoil and emotions that Heidi felt, and saw my family in this book.  Heidi and Breanna's stories have helped in many ways for me to see where we are doing this wrong and how to start doing this right.  The honesty and transparency of this family definitely gives hope to all of us seeing our children struggle with weight that it can be done. Heidi  found the courage and motivation to help Breanna and their whole family make the lifestyle changes needed to reclaim their lives is inspiring, empowering and real. This isn't a fad diet, it is a lifestyle change. Something that transforms lives not just physically but emotionally. I have found such inspiration from their struggles and so much knowledge about how to help myself and my family. As our family continues to struggle with eating issues from anorexia to overeating I am hopeful we can make the changes in our lives to live healthier. I HIGHLY recommend this book to any families with children. You will not be disappointed. I cannot thank Heidi and Breanna enough for their courage to share their whole story. I give this book 5+ STARS. 


 In a world of fast-food convenience and non-stop busyness, how do we keep our kids healthy? Heidi Bond's debut book, Who's the New Kid?, is here to help. Filled with helpful diagnostic tools, easy-to-make recipes, eye-opening nutritional information, fun exercise ideas, and practical tips and advice, Who’s the New Kid? will not only show parents how to help their kids lose weight naturally but also introduce them to simple, yet effective lifestyle changes that will benefit the entire family.

Celebrate the release of Who's the New Kid? by entering to win a Fitbit and RSVPing to Heidi's June 9th author chat party!
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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Fitbit
  • A copy of Who's the New Kid?
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 9th. Winner will be announced June 9th at Heidi's Facebook partyRSVP here! Plus, participate in the #WhosTheNewKid conversation by pinning a family-friendly, healthy recipe (or two) to a Pinterest board!

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RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on June 9th!