Firestorm by Laura V. Hilton Review and Giveaway

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About the Book

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Title: Firestorm

Author: Laura Hilton

Genre: Christian Amish

Release Date: July, 2018

Bridget Behr and her family migrate from the bustling Amish community where she grew up in Ohio to the mostly unpopulated Upper Peninsula of Michigan after a stalker breaks into their home. While her father and brother try to find work in the area, the family is forced to reside in a borrowed RV until the house and barn are rebuilt. While Bridget is hoping for a fresh start, she’s afraid to trust anyone—even Gabriel, the overly-friendly Amish man who lives nearby. Bridget thinks he’s a flirt who serial dates and doesn’t even remember the girls’ names.

Due to not enough construction work in his Florida community to keep him out of trouble, Gabriel Lapp has been sent to Michigan to work. His father is desperate for his son to settle down. When the family walks into Gabe’s home in the middle of a thunderstorm and he discovers their circumstances, he offers to help with construction. For Gabe, the beautiful girl he teasingly calls “the recluse” once he discovers she doesn’t attend youth events, confuses him like none other.

As Gabriel and Bridget grow closer, they realize there is more to a person than meets the eye. Just as Bridget is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding love, tragedy strikes. Now Bridget and her family must decide if they should move to another Amish community, or dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

 

My Thoughts

One thing I’ve noticed after reading Amish fiction is that often the characters are very pure and good and seem very different from non-Amish people. This book was very different in that the characters had many flaws and weren’t “perfect”…there was a character with anger issues and the main character thought one of the boys was “really hot”. This was a more realistic depiction of the Amish community in my opinion. The Amish, when stripped of their rules and ways of living, are also imperfect people, just trying to live their lives in a way that is pleasing to the Lord, with issues and stumbling blocks.

I appreciated the realness and “edginess” of the story. I found it to be a nice change from the other Amish fiction I’ve read. I found the challenges that the family went through to be very interesting and original.

There were some surprises along the way, the story was not predictable, which was nice. I also enjoyed reading about a smaller Amish community as most of the Amish stories I’ve read are set in larger communities.

At times I felt the pacing was a bit slow and the story dragged a bit, but overall it was a solid story.

*I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

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Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with over twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write.

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.

When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.

 

Guest Post from Laura Hilton

I read a series of books a year or so ago by another Amish author who had set her books in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. As a Michigan native, I was curious, and I researched, but found nothing about Upper Peninsula Amish except a notation that one had tried and failed. So I contacted the author. She told me that she’d never been there, and her research had all been hearsay, so with that lack of firsthand knowledge and no trip to the Upper Peninsula planned, no trip to see for myself would be possible. At least at that time.

Then God intervened. My son who is in the United States Coast Guard was stationed in the Upper Peninsula this past summer (2017.) He saw the Amish driving around in their buggies. And he felt like a stalker as he followed one to see where he went and drove through the area. He even sent pictures. (Shhhh.)

Yes, there are Amish in the Upper Peninsula – at least at the time this book was written.

Okay, as a Michigan native, I used some terms that may not be familiar to non-Michiganders. A Yooper is someone who lives in the Upper Peninsula. A Troll is someone from the Lower Peninsula. A pastie is kind of like a Hot Pocket, except it’s a meat pie made with root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and rutabagas. They are so good. And the straits are the area of the Great Lakes connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

As for the wildfire, the earliest wildfire I could find any documentation on in the Upper Peninsula was in April. It is generally a snowy area — trust me. I lived near the Muskegon area and saw snow drifts in May. We sometimes had over six feet of snow on the ground at one time. So, to get the wildfire when I wanted/needed the wildfire I used artistic license. Yes, fires really happened in Michigan’s history. Just not in the month mentioned in the book.

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I am attaching a meme about Michigan seasons. We’ll call the fire set in “fool’s spring.” My son got married during the “third winter” this year. April 21 and there’s snow on the ground. He and his beautiful bride got married at a water fall (Tahquomenon Falls) very near where the story is set.

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Thanks for reading Firestorm!!

Blog Stops

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Reading Is My SuperPower, July 11

Moments Dipped in Ink, July 11

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Texas Book-aholic, July 12

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Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, July 15

Random Thoughts From a Bookworm, July 15

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Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 17

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Pink Granny’s Journey, July 23

Little Homeschool on the Praire, July 23

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away

Grand prize: Firefighter Puppet 9 (Melissa & Doug), Copies of Amish Firefighter and Firestorm by Laura Hilton.

First place prize of “I Love You to the Cross & Back” Mug (Gardenfire) & Firestorm by Laura Hilton!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cf87/firestorm-celebration-tour-giveaway

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The Road Home by Beverly Lewis Review

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Synopsis:

Lena Rose Schwartz hadn’t planned to leave her Old Order community in Centerville, Michigan. But then, she could not have foreseen the accident that made her and her siblings orphans. After her parents’ funeral, her younger brothers and sisters are farmed out to various nearby relatives. But when the deacon in charge of the arrangements tells her there aren’t places enough for everyone, she agrees to go live with her father’s second cousin and his family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Beside the fact that Lena has never been more than a few miles from home, she’s never met the family she will now be living with. But worse than that is the thought of being separated from her siblings. How will they manage without her to care for them–especially eight-year-old Chris? And what about Hannes Lehman, the beau she was sure would soon be asking her to marry him? It was true that he was not the man her father would have preferred for her. Maybe that was what the deacon was hinting at when he said “a fresh start might do you good.”

It won’t be forever, she consoles herself. I’ll come back as soon as I can to take care of my family–and to make a home with Hannes. But doing so may prove far more complicated then she ever imagined.

My Thoughts:

I used to read a lot of books by Beverly Lewis…they are what I think of as comfort reads. The characters are usually kind and peaceful and provide a nice escape from the stressful “Englisch” world that we live in.

I enjoyed this story but found it to be a bit dull. There wasn’t a lot to the plot and I found the pacing to be slow. The characters were sweet, especially Lena, and I really felt for her with the difficult situation she found herself in. The scenes of Amish life were fun (another part of Lewis’s books that I enjoy), but I would have enjoyed more of them. I also loved the descriptions of yummy food that are always found in these books.

Overall, this was not my favorite of Beverly’s books but it did remind me why I enjoyed reading them…I really enjoy visiting the Amish community every once in a while.

My Rating: 2.5 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Abiding Mercy by Ruth Reid Review

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Synopsis: When doing the right thing will only lead to more heartache, how do you know what you are supposed to do? 

Sixteen-year-old Faith has worked full time in her parents’ Amish restaurant since she finished eighth grade. She loves her Amish community–and the recent romantic attentions of her longtime friend, Gideon. When her sister seems to be getting too friendly with Englischers, and her parents are in a buggy accident, Faith only wants to escape into her dream of joining the church and getting married.

But then a local newspaper runs a story about a child named Adriana who was kidnapped fifteen years earlier, and everything Faith has held true comes into question.

Suddenly the community Faith has known her whole life seems unreal. Can she even trust her own family? And how will she ever find home again if she no longer belongs in the world she knows best?

My Thoughts: I was an avid reader of Amish fiction in the early 2000s…I would eagerly check books out of my church library and devour them that afternoon. After reading most of the Amish books that the library had in stock, I became burned out on Amish fiction. I went through a big reading slump and stopped reading for a while.

It has been about 15 years since I read an Amish fiction story so I decided to revisit the genre. I love the innocence that is found in these stories, it’s a peaceful way of life and it’s a great way to escape from the hustle and bustle of the “Englisch” world.

Abiding Mercy was an enjoyable story…it follows Faith, who works with her sister at the restaurant owned by her parents. There are some secrets to Faith’s past that are revealed later and her world is turned upside down.

I loved Faith, she was a kind, gentle spirit with a good heart. Her love interest, Gideon, was also a very likable character. Their relationship was adorable. I also enjoyed Olivia’s character…she was flawed, which I appreciate because I think sometimes we tend to forget that the Amish are human and sinful just like us.

The story was good but the pacing tended to be a bit too slow for my taste. The main turning point doesn’t occur until about the last 75 pages of the story, so all the while, I kept wondering when it was going to happen (because it’s described in the synopsis).

This is book one in a series or trilogy but it easily could have been a standalone. Everything wrapped up well in the end, but I am curious to see where the story will go from here.

Overall, I definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a sweet story with a bit of love and drama.

My Rating: 3 and a half stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers for review.