Monday, June 27, 2016

Rose Chandler Johnson's "My Father's House" REVIEW

 


Hey everyone! I'm excited to bring you this review of My Father's House, by Rose Chandler Johnson

This novel was a hard read for me. Not because it's bad or anything like that. But due to the subject matter. If you have ever survived (yes, I use the word survived, because it was complete survival by the grace of God) an abusive relationship, then you can understand what I mean when I say that. Lily Rose marries a charming man who changes to his true form once they are wed. He is abusive towards her. I could definitely identify with this! But I digress....Anyway, she flees her northern home and marriage for the safe sanctuary of her father's southern home. Lily is young, and it shows in the book. Even by the end she's still portrayed as quite young, and somewhat needy. She needs the help and support of others to remain a strong character. All of the characters are well developed, and the first person voice makes this more like a private diary than a novel. Warning: There are a couple of curse words. Sex, rape, and violence are also attributes, though there are no graphic sex scenes or anything like that. It is still worth the mention in case that kind of thing offends you. The storyline starts out a bit slow for me, but picks up. Of course, it is very believable (if not a wee bit predictable, but maybe that's just me...) and well written. 


About the book: 

My Father's House (March 2016)

Growing up, life is idyllic for Lily Rose Cates due to one constant --- her father's love.

But in her sixteenth summer, all that changes without warning. There begins Lily's struggle to find herself and the life she's lost. . . . Marriage promises fulfillment, but her happily-ever-after barely survives the honeymoon. Her husband's sophisticated fa├žade hides a brooding man with even darker secrets.

When all illusions shatter, Lily must make hard choices --- abandon her husband or risk losing much more than her marriage. She flees their home in Detroit and sets out on a fearful journey to a house in Georgia that her husband knows nothing about. This is one woman's compelling tale of love and survival as she finds her way back home to who she's meant to be . . . in her father's house.

Purchase a copy: http://amzn.to/217Bvib
About the author:



Rose Chandler Johnson
 is the author of the award winning devotional God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday MomentsMy Father's House is her first novel. She happily makes her home near Augusta, Georgia.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


**I received a copy of this free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review. I wasn't required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.**

Saturday, June 25, 2016

La Quinta Inn and Suites, SHAME ON YOU!

Here's a post from Facebook post that details the issue of La Quinta Inn & Suites capitalizing on the flooding tragedy in WV to make a dime. Unbelievable! The Greenbrier, which is 100's a night normally, is offering rooms for free while La Quinta Inn & Suites has raised their rates to $150/night for those stranded at a mall due to the bridge washing away! Not cool La Quinta, not cool!

Masterbooks Awesome Science Historical Geology REVIEW


I don't think it's a secret just how much I LOVE MasterBooks.com! I was so excited to receive their Awesome Science: Historical Geology, and I must say they have another knock out curriculum with this set! It totally ROCKS! (See what I did there?! HaHa!) For this review, we were graciously blessed with the complete Awesome Science: Historical Geology set.


This set is jam packed with goodness! It is intended to fulfill 1 year of science requirement for grades 7-8, and I would say that is on par. The set includes a Teacher's Guide (PLP,) a 6 set of DVDs, and guide books for both the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone.  My son is entering 6th, and the workbook was a bit much for him at this time. I'm sure in the next few months it will become easier for him as he matures a bit. The books are AWESOME! He LOVES the books, and regularly reads them for fun. Now...the DVDs. I can't say enough how much he LOVES these DVDs. We have watched them over...and over....and over. They have a fantastic Christian message, and even the message of salvation at the end of each episode. My words can't do these DVDs justice, seriously. 



Let's Break it Down:

America's National Parks: A Creation Tour DVDs are loads of fun to watch. Noah Justice is animated and really knows his stuff! Mr. B would giggle and laugh, and his attention was held the entire time. There are a total of 6 DVDs with 2 episodes on each DVD. I only wish there were more episodes! Mr. B has watched these over and over again. You are supposed to watch an episode, then your student is to complete the corresponding work in the PLP over the next few weeks. Then watch the next episode, etc. Well, we couldn't stop at just one, and I think that's totally ok! The DVDs detail things like mountain creation or the creation of the Grand Canyon, and it takes a new earth perspective and explains just how these events could have all taken place in a short amount of time. It was truly eye opening for ME, and of course it has been for Mr. B as well, answering many questions he had.

Here are a few samples of the DVDs:






As you can see, these are a great resource! 


Your Guide to the Grand Canyon is wonderful. I have always been fascinated with the Grand Canyon, and I've passed that fascination on to Mr. B. When this set came in the mail, we were actually made late for an appointment because I had to open it for him to take this and the Yellowstone Guide with him in the car. Totally worth it! These are album-like in nature. Meaning they are a hardback, but wire bound style book. Here is a really great sample PDF that shows you the inside of the book in better detail than I can provide. We love how colorful it is, and all of the great information inside. In addition to the beautiful photos and fold out maps, you will learn about plants, animals, and more in the book. This is 5x8x1/2" and has 124 pages.





Your Guide to Yellowstone  Is very similar to the Grand Canyon. It is designed the same way, and is the same quality (which is very, very good!) I think Yellowstone must be one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and this book furthers that opinion. I hope to one day be able to go see it for myself, but since we can't yet, this book is a nice adventure in a book form. You can check out the PDF sample for yourself to see how colorful and info packed this book is. Like Your Guide to the Grand Canyon, Your Guide to Yellowstone is not a huge book, which makes taking it in the car or on the go super easy! This is 6x9x1/2" and has 188 pages.





The Parent Lesson Planner (PLP) is what sets MasterBooks.com apart from the rest. You find EVERYTHING you need inside of this handy book. The Awesome Science: Historical Geology (Teacher Guide) has everything needed to pull this curriculum together. There's a great, easy to follow, lesson plan plus all of the needed worksheets and tests, and answer key. I love that the lesson plans are arranged in such a way that you can work on different days of the week if you want. It is simply labeled for the week and day. So Week one, day 1, day 2, etc. Great if you need change things up for any reason.



Overall:

Overall, MasterBooks.com has another winner with Awesome Science: Historical Geology. I love the Christian point of view, and appreciate how it presents evolution has a science theory, but not the absolute truth. The Bible and Biblical point of view is the basis and takes precedence over all others. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the Christian message of salvation through Jesus Christ that is included with each DVD episode. LOVE! I highly recommend this science curriculum to my friends and all others!



Does MasterBooks.com Awesome Science: Historical Geology Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

The PLP makes it easy to schedule. If, for some reason, you need to miss a week. That's ok. You check off the days as you complete them. This is a physical product, so there's no time constraint. I do not suggest skipping as you will miss important lessons. 

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?
You can spread this across grades. It is intended for grades 7-8, but Mr. B is in 6th and able to complete the work with a little help from me. I can even see 9th graders utilizing this. This is a physical product set that includes everything you need, except a pencil! There are no hidden fees. 
 
 
3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

Mr. B LOVES this! We've gone through some med changes and I used these DVDs to help provide a sense of calm to him to ground him when he was going through the changes of the meds! Lessons are relatively quick, and the subject matter quite interesting. 

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

You could easily tie this in with a history lesson. Especially history concerning native Americans, volcanoes, the wild west, pioneers, etc. 


I was given a free copy of this product through MasterBooks.com in exchange for my honest opinion. I wasn't required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family. 

Epic fail punishment lol!

I became so frustrated with Mr. B watched Weather channel and science stuff, and then trying to recreate it that I went nuts and told him he couldn't watch anything other than kids programming. But then I got sick of Caillou so I changed it to PG! With full parental guidance. Thank you God for American Ninja Warrior!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

MySchoolYear.com: My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) REVIEW

MySchoolYear.com Review
As you all know by now, I'm not much of a planner type. I'm much more of a wake up and see what the day holds type. With that said, homeschooling lends itself to a certain amount of planning that needs to be done. Records need keeping, schoolwork needs tracking, grades need recording...fun stuff, right?  Not really! So I was excited to see a product that claimed it could these things for me in 5 minutes or less. My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) from MySchoolYear.com does just that! 
My School Year is a neat online homeschool record keeping program that not only lets you create lesson plans, but it also generates numerous reports, quickly. 
For this review, we received a 1 year membership, and with this one year membership I can:
  • Keep attendance (though not required for my state.)
  • Keep a book log that includes the book, level, pages, and time spent.
  • Generated report cards
  • Generated transcripts
  • lesson plans that can be quick split or quick planned. 

How We Used This:

Please keep in mind, I'm not a planner type person, so my use may vary greatly from yours. Login is very simple. You just click on login, and enter your login information. There's no searching and seeking to find the login link. I like how it's easy to find. The overall homepage is easy to navigate. 




As you can see, the Login link is right there on the top, easy to find! I like that. I NEED that haha!
The hardest part of any online planner (or any planner of any format for that matter) is the initial set up. I truly hate having to manually enter in each and every single lesson I want him to do. That's where my dislike of planners stems from. My School Year has an easy format so that you simple enter in the number lessons, the start date, and how you want the lessons split. Then you choose the number of days per week to work on them, and it does the rest. I was able to set up a year's worth of math in only a minute or two. 
First, you need to add your student. That's pretty simple as you just click add student. After that you must enroll them in a term. I chose May 2016 to May 2017 as our term. And for this review, I made up a fake student named Jane. 
Everything is pretty self explanatory and easy to find. I need that simplicity in my life. 


This is where you add classes. Pretty easy to navigate and understand. 

Once you have added your classes and such, you can create a lesson plan. It's really easy to do. 




It's really just as easy as filling in the blanks. I was able to create an entire year's worth of lessons in about 10 minutes. 



The layout is user friendly, so I don't feel the need to spend a lot of time explaining "how" to use this as much. You click on My Homeschool, and everything is right there for you. The Teacher's Aid tool is pretty neat. That lets you know what you need to complete, and even provides you with an easy "fix" button to click to complete each task. 




That "fix" button is super handy, so you don't have to spend time trying to find anything. 

Once you have completed all of your tasks, the program gives you a nice little pat on the back. 


HAHA! If they only knew! Right?!

Recording keeping is my favorite part. We do not need to submit grades and such, but for those who do this is quite great. You enter in the grades for each project, lesson, whatever your set up...and when you need it all you do is go to Reports, and then generate a PDF that is easy to print. I also find these reports to look quite "official." This would be quite handy for portfolio reviews, too. 



The book log is another favorite of mine!


This is a great way to keep track for portfolio reviews! 


Overall:

While I'm not much for lesson planning in general, I found quite a few useful aspects of MySchoolYear.com and My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping.) I can see me using this for specific projects, or classes, and for the reports. The book log I definitely see us using in the future, since that will save me a lot of time at the end of the year! Overall, if you are a lesson planner type, I think you'll really like My School Year! I'm not even a planner type, and I still found aspects that are handing and useful for us! 



I'm not the only one to review this nice online planner. Please click the link below to read more reviews!




Homeschool Record Keeping {MySchoolYear.com Review}
MySchoolYear.com Review
Facebook

Twitter    @MySchoolYearWeb

Google+


Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

LearnBop Math For Families REVIEW

LearnBop for Families Review
Math is a scary subject for a lot of people. I can remember sitting in my college statistics class and the professor, who is a tenured sociology professor, yelled out in class, "It's only numbers! There's nothing to fear here!" It's like anything beyond 1+1 scares the bajeebies about parents and children alike. I have a friend who is starting her homeschool journey with her kids, and her only concern was math. LearnBop is here to help save your math day with their LearnBop for Families
There's so much to LearnBop and their LearnBop for Families math program, that I don't think I can even come close to doing it justice. The gist of LearnBop is pretty cool. It is designed to be a personalized math program that adapts to your child's needs, tailoring the education to the child. LearnBop is an online subscription based program. For this review, we received 12 months access as a single student. As of the date of this post, a single student account is $14.95, and a family is $19.95 for up to 4 students. LearnBop started out as a program for schools, and now, with LearnBop for Families, families can take advantage and offer even more educational assistance to their kids. 
LearnBop for Families Review
How it Works:

First, login is easy as pie! 

Easy, right in your face, Log in right here. Once you log in, you create an account for your child. That's also easy, and of course I didn't think to take screen shots of that. So I guess that will just be a surprise for you! Anyway, you create an account and the first exercise is a warm up. This warm up is to help the program decide what level your child should be on. 


How great is this? Instead of bringing your child down, this really boosts confidence. Mr. B did not feel as if he had failed. Instead, he felt as if he just needed a refresher of sorts. Not a big deal at all, in his mind. That's a big deal for me. 


I also really like these little motivational quotes! 


One question. WHERE WAS THIS WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL?! Sorry, I just had to scream for a minute. I fully admit to finding this lesson in particular VERY helpful. Yes....Yes I did. Each lesson has videos, and after the videos your child can solve their Bops-which are math problems. 



LearnBop has made it VERY easy to change the grade level of your chosen Roadmap. Your Roadmap is your math plan. If your child changes their Roadmap, you will receive an email letting you know. You can choose a grade level Roadmap, or a topic Roadmap. 


Here's what it looks like when you first start. That warm up is very important, so make sure your child doesn't just skim over it. 

As your child works his way through his Roadmap, he unlocks achievements with his progress. I think Mr. B was quite taken with this aspect. 



Our Thoughts:

One of my issues growing up with math was never knowing where I went wrong. LearnBop is designed to target the area you have issue with, so that you can overcome the problem. Mastery isn't the point of the program. Effectively learning how to work the problems is. This is a fun program to use, and Mr. B quite enjoys it. My hard drive failed during the review. You do need a working device and internet, and Mr. B was pretty bummed for the few days he couldn't "play" with his math. We could have used an iPad, but of course I didn't think of that at the time! HAHA! That's the beauty of a program like this! We're going to take a break for a bit, and then start back with this program again because he really liked the overall concept of it all. I like how it targets the gaps, and works to teach those so that he doesn't struggle forever with the same issues. I really, REALLY like this! Like...a lot. And so does Mr. B! 
Does LearnBop LearnBop for Families Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

The program itself customizes to fit your individual student needs. You can set your own schedule and take breaks, but this is a subscription based product so there are time constraints. I do not suggest skipping or anything like that since the entire point is to bridge learning gaps.    

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

Again, this is tailored to each individual child. There are family plans offered for up to 4 children, and each child would have his or her own account. You can change your Roadmap as needed, and there are no hidden fees. You can choose monthly or an annual subscription. You can also choose to cancel at any time, so if you are doing a monthly plan, you aren't under a contract to stay for a set limit. This is really great for those months where there are extra expenses. With that said, I have no idea if progress is saved during down times. So that is something that would need to be investigated further. 
 
 
3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

Mr. B did not find this boring at all. I would highly recommend this for ADHD and Autism. With progress easily accessible and clearly visible, it is super easy for kids to stay on track, and no where they are. It's great for autism/Asperger's because of this. Mr. B isn't left wondering where he is. He knows exactly how much is left before he's finished. And the periodic achievements are great reinforcers! 

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

It's just math. 

Click below to see what others have to say!


LearnBop for Families Review

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LearnBop
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LearnBop @LearnBop


Crew Disclaimer

My mood right now

I'm having a very difficult time accepting the death of my dear cousin. He would have turned 36 in just over a week. His life was stolen from us thanks to addiction. What are we going to do about this?! Obviously the policies in place currently aren't working. There were 4 overdoses in an hour the night he died. 4! in one hour! One is way too much, but 4?! Something HAS to be done!


Sadness.

Words can't express the heartbreak I feel.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sewing up a review for My Mother's Quilts #MyMothersQuilts #Flyby

First, is that not the worst title of a post? Sorry about that. My poor attempt at humor. Anyway...back to the review...



I was super blessed with a copy of My Mother's Quilts. I truly didn't know what to expect with this book. All I knew was the fact I LOVE quilts. First, let me say this is a BEAUTIFUL book! I have an aunt who crafts the most amazing quilts. I love them dearly. She has taught my many things over the years, and the art of quilting is just one of those things. She's really amazing. I think that's why I loved this book so much. The memories of the author's mother, and the love that shines through the words brought a smile to face and a warmth to my heart. This is truly a wonderful devotional that came at just the right time. I highly recommend you check out this one!

CONTEST OFFER!
Win one of the quilts featured in #MyMothersQuilts by Ramona Richards. Also up for grabs: loads of other prizes including quilting hand warmers, coloring books, and 25 signed copies of Ramona’s book. Winners will be emailed after the contest ends on June 30, 2016. Click the image to get started!


About the book:

quilt is love that serves a purpose.
The devotions in My Mother’s Quilts are inspired by family heirloom quilts, some more than 100 years old. With humor and sincerity, Ramona Richards shares her memories and lessons learned from the quilters whose legacies live on in their work. Rich, personal, sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, each reading provides a lesson and encouragement from the faithful women who crafted the quilts. Together, these devotions depict the enduring legacy of faith, family, and beloved traditions. Includes full color photographs of each of the 30 quilts!

About the Author:
Ramona Richards is an award-winning editor, speaker, author of nine books, and a frequent contributor to devotional collections. An avid live music fan, Ramona loves Nashville, which she’s called home since she was ten. Sensing her mother was near the end of her life, Ramona documented her mother’s stories and lessons behind each family quilt. These stories form the devotions in My Mother’s Quilts. Find out more about Ramona and her books by visiting her online at ramonarichards.com.

Throughtheopenwindow.com received product, press or compensation to facilitate this review. This post may contain affiliate links. We only give our honest opinions of products. This post is in accordance with the FTC 10 CFR, Part 255 concerning the use, endorsements or testimonials in advertising.

For Michael

Summer, some random year in the 80s, and I am on the old wooden front porch at Mamaw's house. I look up to see a mess of blond hair coming my way. I'm 1/2 excited to get to play, and 1/2 dreading what torture he's going to put me through this time....hoping it doesn't involve being chased by chickens or the dog. We were pretty sure we were going to take over the world back then. The school didn't know what hit them having us together. I remember him being moved to the corner in math class (6th grade) and he even talked to the wall. I have no idea how Mrs. Eicher survived us both at the same time. She has us 3 times a day in 7th grade. She tried to sit us in a line, and we picked on each other relentlessly. Sit us on opposite ends of the class and we threw things at each other. Sat us side by side by side and Michael ended up in the floor thanks to me pulling his desk out. Our names seemed to have stayed on the chalk board, but put together we made one heck of a team. I'll never forget chasing each other around mamaw's trailer, or digging up dirt for our social studies project. We sat for hours building our Vietnam War battlefield, complete with real dirt and "bloody" casualties. He took up for me when bullies started, and he put himself through a week of karate just so I wouldn't be alone when I wanted to start classes. I saved and saved and looked for weeks for him a new metallica CD for Christmas one year, and he was so excited I think he thanked me 10000 times. Of course, he had to get through about that many layers of paper and tape to get to it. An hour later he was sure it had been worth it. We took up for each other when a certain teacher had it out for both of us. Sitting side by side at graduation, we took for up for each other again when the Small brothers kept annoying both of us. I even laughed and said how fitting that my son was born on his birthday-more than a month earlier than his due date. Life took us in different directions, and the times together were few and far between. But I always looked forward to getting together. I will never understand any of this, but I guess understanding really doesn't matter. They say only the good die young....
While my heart breaks, I look back with fondness over the years of memories we shared. And while I am hurt and angry right now, I know one day I'll look to those memories with a smile and happiness.

Planning for the upcoming school year

I'm not one to plan ahead. I get too frustrated with myself when my plans need to be changed, or when I've over planned. Over planning is the WORST! You work so hard to make sure you don't forget any detail, but you end up leaving yourself no breathing room! It's like working so hard to mop the bathroom, only to realize you've mopped yourself into a corner. No matter what you do, you're gonna have to redo some work. I am much more of a go with the flow type of person.

I do like a few different planners. They are easily changed, help me to keep my life organized, and I can use them for more than just planning our homeschooling days.

Homeschool Planet is one of my favorite online planners. It is easy to use, and does more than just homeschool. User friendly is HUGE for me. I like to be able to schedule an entire year in a pinch. Why should I have to go in to every day or week and add Math 4 days a week?! No thanks! Homeschool Planet makes this easy so that you can essentially plan multiple days at the same time. It's similar to recurring alarms on a smartphone! It will also let you create, and text, shopping lists! BONUS! Beyond all of that, I can schedule photography sessions, household chores, and daily outings as needed as well. AND the program emails me reminders. A planner that reminds me to use it? YES PLEASE!

The Old Schoolhouse Hey Mama! Print 2016-2017 Planner is a great print planner. OR you can buy it as a digital download and print only the parts you need, when you need it. I like this planner because it has multiple calendar layout choices AND there are some really great devotionals included. The educational resources are very helpful and handy, too.

Another favorite printed and bound planner is the Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Apologia. I LOVE the journal aspect with this planner! It is my favorite part of this planner, and a portion I use all the time! I love it!

Check out those linked planners to see some reviews on them, and decide for yourself if you think these planners could benefit you. I know they have certainly helped me!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Amish Firefighter REVIEW

The Amish Firefighter is your typical romance. I'm not much on mushy, lovey-dovey stuff that portrays women as fragile beings that might shatter from passionate kisses. I'm more of the tough, rancher female character who can hold her own. With that said, I can't say this isn't a good book. It is, it just didn't capture my attention since it's more romance'y than I prefer. The author does a really good job of including a "hidden" storyline/plot within the overall story. And the characters are very solid and well defined. It is well written, well planned, and flows nicely. I just wasn't a huge fan of the overall story. Just a matter of personal preference. 


About the Book

Purchase your copy of The Amish Firefighter here
Beautiful Young Woman Banished from Home
Abigail Stutzman thought it was bad enough being dropped at the nearest bus station and sent to live several states away with some relatives she’d never even heard of, much less met. But now, just a week after her arrival in Jamesport, Missouri, she finds herself at the scene of a barn fire. An intentional barn fire. And all fingers are pointed at her. She’s desperate to prove her innocence and protect her reputation, but nobody’s making that easy to do. And God certainly doesn’t seem willing to help.
A Brave Firefighter with an Agenda of His Own
Sam Miller is in the process of turning over a new leaf. Determined to atone for the follies of his past, he is a volunteer firefighter, an EMT, and a doctor-in-training. With suspicious barn fires escalating, and the Miller family being among the victims, no one is more determined to see the perpetrators brought to justice than Sam.
A Kindled Flame Neither One Could Have Anticipated
When their paths first cross at the site of a barn burning, the emotional intensity rivals the warmth of the flames. Soon, they must decide whether this fire is one they should feed or fight. And they’ll discover that the truth can prove more dangerous than a blazing inferno.

 About the Author

Laura V. Hilton
 Hilton3Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love,and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Birdhouse concluded Laura’s 2015 series, The Amish of Jamesport, includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Arkansas.
For more about Laura, her latest book, the books she’s written and those she’s reviewed:
Laura Hilton’s Website:  www.lauravhilton.blogspot.com.

Guest Post from Laura V. Hilton

Unlike some authors, I am not a planner. I have a very vague idea of the story, of the series, and as soon as the characters step forward and introduce themselves I dive in and start writing. When I first began writing this series – New Beginnings in Jamesport – I knew Sammy Miller was going to be the hero. Readers started asking for Sammy’s story as soon as they read The Postcard where Sammy was the villain. Ouch. I’d never considered writing a story about a former villain. But just as David in The Postcard was reader requested, Sammy would be.
Sammy is a very strong character and I knew he had to have a strong female lead character, one that wasn’t afraid to stand up to him and keep him under control. He is a leader, an EMT studying to be a paramedic, and a volunteer firefighter. The female lead, Abigail, is thrown into Jamesport without warning. Her step-father takes her to the bus station and sends her away and she doesn’t even know why! When she is met at the bus station by an aunt and uncle she didn’t even know existed, she is thrown into the middle of several mysteries, including barn fires set by arsonists. And she is the main suspect.
The whole New Beginnings in Jamesport series, while considered a continuation of The Amish of Jamesportseries due to Sammy being the hero, is set around Amish starting over in Jamesport. The second bookThe Amish Wanderer is about a former resident of Jamesport hitchhiking across the country to get to his Mennonite uncle’s house in Pennsylvania. Silas is desperate to escape from his dysfunctional family for several reasons. But he cannot stay in Jamesport because someone is out to kill him. When he stumbles upon another mystery within hours of his arrival, what choice does he have but to stick around for awhile?
God gave me the verses for all three books in the Amish of Jamesport series The Amish Firefighter, The Amish Wanderer and the yet untitled third book (My books all stand alone) before I started writing them, which is unusual. He usually reveals these things slowly to me, as I need to know. The verse for The Amish Firefighter is Isaiah 43:2-4 and the verse for The Amish Wanderer is Romans 8:38-39. The third book’s verse is 2 Corinthians 4:8. It is tentatively titled The Amish Accountant, but most people think accountants are boring, and his real profession is a clockmaker. But The Amish Clockmaker has already been taken by another author. So we shall see what the wonderful Whitaker House team will come up with. It is about another young Amish woman, Lydia, who needs a “safe haven.” So her parents send her to live with her Mennonite aunt and uncle in Jamesport. It doesn’t exactly work out as planned, as the aunt and uncle leave for a foreign mission trip immediately, leaving Lydia acting manager of a gift shop and living in an all electric apartment. Before her aunt leaves, she tells Lydia’s secrets to her best friend. But did she tell all of them or some of them? And the best friend’s son, Caleb (the clockmaker) is acting as accountant for the gift shop. And what about Caleb’s carefully kept secret? When Lydia’s past catches up with her, will it destroy all she’d begun to imagine as she dreamed of starting over in Jamesport?
Next after that is The Christmas Challenge which is also set in Jamesport.
I don’t have official release dates for The Amish Wanderer or the other books yet. But as soon as I know, I’ll share.
Coming next? Who knows? I have two ideas warring for attention—but which one gets told first, I don’t know! I lean toward one, then the other. They both want to be told.
And now, I must get back to work. Thank you for visiting today and thank you so much for supporting my books. I do hope you’ll enjoy The Amish Firefighter!
Happy Reading!
Because of Him,
~ Laura ~

Blog Stops

June 9: Quiet Quilter
June 12: Splashes of Joy
June 13: Babs Book Bistro
June 13: bigreadersite
June 17: A Greater Yes
June 19: Petra’s Hope
June 21: A Holland Reads
June 22: Pause for Tales
June 22: KarensKrayons

Giveaway

The amish firefighter giveaway
To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away a basket that includes a Kindle Fire and a complete set of her books! Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/9bed

**I received this free through CelebrateLit in exchange for my honest opinion. I wasn't required to wrote a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expresses are my own or those of my family.**