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Fiction Book Reviews

***** Inspirational Fiction *****

Any good book can be an inspiration, but many of these books highlight people overcoming adversity or reaching new levels of understanding. Whether they pull themselves up by their own bootstraps or have help from a higher power, these books will uplift and entertain you.


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A Life of Joy

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Clipston, Amy(2012)
A Life of Joy

This is the fourth book in the Kauffman Amish Bakery series and finds two sisters devastated from losing their parents and coming to live with their Aunt Rebecca in Bird-in-Hand, an Amish community. One sister returns to family friends in Virginia to live and go to college, while Lindsay decides to stay in Lancaster with her aunt and family. Many of Lindsay's girl friends are deciding to take classes to enter the Amish church. She is undecided and her sister pressures her to at least study for the GED and not enter the Amish faith now. The strong characters, tension and the clash of cultures draws you into Amish world, where you see things through the eyes of an eighteen year old girl coming to grips with the decision for the direction of her life.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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Random Acts of Kindness

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Higgins, Lisa Verge(2014)
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Random Acts of Kindness

Having cared for her mother and youngest sister as they lost their battles with cancer, Claire is devastated when she discovers a lump and ends up with a double mastectomy. Jenna an old friend, arrives unannounced on Claire`s doorstep. Jenna is running away from her husband`s request for a divorce. Together they hop in Jenna`s old Chevy to make a cross country trip back home to Pine Lake, stopping to visit mutual friends, as they go. Jenna`s random act of kindness to grant Claire`s wish to return home ends blessing all the women along the way. You will laugh and cry as you journey with the women. This poignant women`s contemporary fiction calls out to women everywhere `to stay close to people you love no matter how much it hurts.`

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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A Hopeful Heart

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Clipston, Amy(2013)
A Hopeful Heart

This new series from Amy Clipston introduces us to a different type of Amish heroine. Hannah is a widowed Amish woman who must work outside of a family business at the Lancaster Grand Hotel to make ends meet. Widower Trey Peterson is an Englisher who visits the Lancaster Grand Hotel in an effort to carry out his wife’s life dream of living in the Amish countryside. An instant connection occurs between these two, but many obstacles stand in their way. The characters in this story are easy to relate to and make the reader want to know how personal losses and true faith can bring two people together. Readers of any kind of inspirational romance are sure to love this!

Reviewed by Sally W., Mint Hill Branch

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Orphan Train

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Kline, Christina Baker(2013)
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Orphan Train

Two resilient women`s lives run parallel in Christine Baker Klines’ new novel, Orphan Train. Vivan is an elderly widow living in three rooms of her ocean-front New England mansion, whose early years were wrought with deprivation and despair, first as a poor Irish Ellis Island immigrant, then an orphan train rider deposited in the Depression-era frozen Midwest. Similarly, Molly, a bright free-spirited teen with Penobscot Indian blood, has been bounced through foster homes since her father’s demise and mother’s break down. Fate brings them together so that Molly can apparently satisfy a community service project cleaning Vivian’s attic, when ultimately these two kindred spirits form a deep bond over family and legacy that heals them both.

Reviewed by Lydia T., Main Library

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A Season of Love

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Clipston, Amy(2012)
A Season of Love

This final installment in the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series gives us the delightful tales of young Amish love. Katie Kauffman loves being a part of her Amish family and community. Her life is going down the path she always hoped for until she notices that all of her friends seem to be moving into couples; first Lizzie Anne and then Lindsey find love leaving Katie to question her future. When Jake Yoder, a Mennonite boy who works at the family furniture store, starts causing her heart to flutter, a whole new set of problems arise. This is a great addition to the series with plot twists and character development that would interest teens and adults. Highly recommended for any reader of inspirational romances.

Reviewed by Sally W., Mint Hill Branch

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A Gift of Grace

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Clipston, Amy(2009)
A Gift of Grace

Amy Clipston’s first book in the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series definitely pulls on the reader’s heart strings. Raised in the Amish community, Rebecca’s sister Grace left the community for an English (non-Amish) lifestyle. Twenty years later, Rebecca is named guardian for Grace’s two daughters following a tragic car accident. Rebecca attempts to follow God’s path in creating a new home for the girls, and Jessica’s desire is to be a teenager and find her own path. The question is if the two paths could be the same? Clipston follows a leisurely pace of storytelling that allows for great character development while sharing cultural information with the reader about the Amish community. A great read for fans of inspirational fiction.

Reviewed by Sally W., Mint Hill Branch

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Fifteen Minutes

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Kingsbury, Karen(2013)
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Fifteen Minutes

In Kingbury`s latest inspirational Christian fiction, Zack Dylan tries out for the `Fifteen Minutes` reality TV show so he can save the family horse farm. Zack promises God, his grandfather, himself and his girlfriend, Reese, that he will not change and compromise his beliefs. When he becomes an overnight sensation, paired with another female contestant, Zack discovers that he has slowly slipped away from daily prayer, kissed another girl, and agreed not to mention God on the show. What will happen to his Kentucky sweetheart? Will she head to London for a job as a therapeutic horse instructor? What will be the cost of being a country pop idol? The realistic characters and issues on fame and reality TV make this a real page turner.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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The Christmas Pony

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Carlson, Melody(2012)
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The Christmas Pony

During the Depression of 1937, Lucy Turnbull, her mother and Grandma turn their upstairs into a boarding house. They just have a milk cow and chickens left on the farm. As Lucy ambles down the country road to town to exchange black knit socks done by her mother for some meager groceries, an unfamiliar car breaks down on the road. Lucy invites Veronica and George to stay in her boarding house. As Christmas approaches Lucy’s wish for a pony looks slim. Lucy’s world takes a turn, as these guests change her life with Veronica flitting around in actress mode and George tinkering with their old car and rigging lights in the chicken coop. The homespun characters will make readers smile.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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A Simple Christmas Wish

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Carlson, Melody(2013)
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A Simple Christmas Wish

This Christmastime romance winds its way from the forty-ninth floor apartment to an Ohio Amish farm. Rachel Milligan is dragging an evergreen tree up the elevator so she and her godchild, Holly, can decorate it before her parents arrive home from vacation. The pristine apartment floor is full of pine needles, the coffee table is messy with paste and colored paper scraps from making ornaments, and the lights adorn the tree. Exhausted, Rachel is ready to head to bed when the telephone rings. `Are you a relative of Michael and Miriam Milligan? I`m sorry to inform you...` You are in for some surprises, family secrets, and romance along the way. Carlson has written for over 20 years and has been awarded The Romantic Times Career Achievement Award.

Reviewed by Gay L., Independence Regional

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Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair

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Lamott, Anne(2013)
Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair

Stitches is a small, inspirational book packed full of HOPE, the idea of love, and acceptance of yourself. Lamott acknowledges the world is violent, messy and not fair. She poses questions about the meaning of life, like `What if you don`t ever get over tragic loss in your life?` The tone of the book is authentic and conversational, like you are sipping coffee with Anne and she`s telling you a story to illustrate a point, yet it challenges you to find meaning and happiness by discovering a need and filling that need in small ways with great love. Anne suggests we `Lean against each other, so none of us will blow away in the cold wind` and do accept ourselves and the help from others, but never give up.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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