The Faded Photo: Review by Diana Flowers

the faded photoPowerful. Provocative. Poignant. Emotive. That’s what this reader has to say about Sarah Price’s astounding new release, The Faded Photo. Drawing on her own experience as a breast cancer survivor, Ms. Price has penned a story about a 42 year-old woman who finds herself encountering every woman’s nightmare — breast cancer. Frances Snyder certainly has no time in her busy life for breast cancer. However, it found time for her and she sets out to conquer it…alone. She expects perfection from herself as does her family and her dearly beloved “jerk” of a husband. Sorry for the name calling, but Nicholas totally fits that description — too busy with his career to make time for Frances. So she faces chemo alone, successfully keeping her illness a secret. The self-centered jerk … er, Nicholas, rather (sorry), is even too busy to notice she is wearing a wig and so what if she’s staying wrapped around the toilet from the ravaging effects of chemo. But God puts an unexpected friend in Frances’s life, offering her hope and light in the midnight hour of her soul.

What a thought provoking, eye-opening book this was for me! My emotions were in a tailspin as one minute I wanted to wrap my arms around Frances and the next I simply wanted to shake her! However, she was not unlike so many women…losing her own identity for the sake of her family. I truly thought this would be too dark a read, but actually it was an intriguing one that I finished in two short evenings. I could hardly put it down! Interspersed with humor, insight, and a surprising conclusion, I highly recommend this book to every woman. Not simply a novel about breast cancer, The Faded Photo also deals with a dysfunctional family who needs healing. Sarah Price has truly established herself as one amazingly diverse author — who is able to write anything from Amish, YA, and contemporary fiction with finesse and the ability to totally captivate her audience.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion and was not required to write a positive review.

Diana Flowers is an influencer/beta reader, endorser, and reviewer for multiple Christian fiction authors, and blogged for Overcoming With God blog for 6 years. She lives in W. Columbia, S C, and has been married 44 years, has 2 children, and 4 grandchildren. Her interests include going to church, reading to her heart’s content, writing reviews, gardening, spending time with her grandkids, fitness walking, interior decorating, and the beach!

An Interview and Giveaway with Amy Clipston

We are celebrating Mother’s Day with an interview and giveaway featuring the lovely Amy Clipston! Amy’s latest release is The Beloved Hope Chest, the fourth and final installment in the Amish Heirloom series. (Check out Susan’s review HERE)

Welcome, Amy!

Do you have any special traditions you used to do with your mom when you were a little girl on Mother’s Day?

I remember making my mother gifts at school, and no matter how terrible my artwork was, she still loved it.

Out of all of your novels, who is your favorite mother?

Mattie Fisher from my Amish Heirloom series is my favorite! She’s modeled after my mother with her patient, loving heart. My mom and I sit together and have a cup of tea every night, just like Mattie and her daughters do.

What was your most favorite book to read to your boys when they were little?

Zac absolutely loved Big Joe’s Trailer Truck by Joe Mathieu! He knew it by heart! It’s the cutest book, and I read it to Matt also. We kept it and will pass it on if they have children.

What’s one of your favorite memories/stories of your boys with your books? Has anything special you recall been used in one of your books?

For the past four years I’ve spoken to the 6th grade at my boys’ middle school. I don’t think I embarrassed them too badly when they were members of the audience. One of my sons doesn’t tell many people that I write books, but my other son proudly shares it with friends and teachers. He frequently comes home from school and tells me that the girls in his classes are reading my books. I’m thankful he’s not embarrassed by me or my books.
Can you share a special memory of your mother?

My favorite memory as a child is going to the movies with my mother every Saturday. We would go to see a matinee, and we had the best time! My love of movies truly comes from my parents.

This might sound corny, but my mom and I make special memories every day. She lives with my family and me, and she’s my best friend. We watch movies and television shows together, and we share books. While I’m working on a book, she sits in the same room and reads in order to keep my company. She helps me plot out my stories and she reads my books for typos. I can’t imagine not having her in my life. I’m so thankful God blessed me with the best mom!

Amy is giving away some fun goodies just for YOU! Enter to win by filling out the Rafflecopter below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her fiction writing “career” began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery series with Zondervan, which is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. An advocate for organ and blood donation, Amy donated a kidney in 2011 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Through her donation, her husband received a second kidney transplant. Amy and her husband matched another couple and swapped kidneys with them. Amy’s memoir, A Gift of Love, will be available in early 2014. She hopes her story inspires others to become organ and blood donors. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats. You can find her on the web at www.AmyClipston.com or on Facebook.

The Beloved Hope Chest: Review by Susan Scott Ferrell

The Beloved Hope Chest – Some Bumps, but Worth the Read

Beloved Hope ChestIt finally arrived! Mamm Mattie’s story is being told by Amy Clipston! The Beloved Hope Chest, the fourth and final installment in the Amish Heirloom series is in the books! I have mixed reviews about this one – so press on.

The Beloved Hope Chest finally reveals Mattie’s secrets to her three daughters. There’s been a recipe, a picnic basket, and a quilt – somehow they are all tied to Mattie. Not only does the story involved Mattie, but it also involves their father, Leroy. As she unpacks the memories in her mind, a tragic yet triumphant message emerges.

I was given The Beloved Hope Chest in exchange for my honest review. It can be read as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend reading the other three in the series to give better context. While I was thrilled to read Mattie’s story, I was a bit disappointed. I’ve encountered similar stories like this one in the Amish genre – at least four times in the last year. Additionally, I felt that the story could have been told in ¾ of the pages; it tended to drag a bit, and extra “drama” was added with people gasping and mouth gaping open. A longer Epilogue would have been nice, too. But perhaps that was because I didn’t want to say goodbye to this series!

Having said all of that above, I will also say that Clipston thoroughly fleshed out the characters. They drew me in and wouldn’t let go. I particularly enjoyed the sweet relationship Mattie and her mother shared. And I found Leroy to be such a wonderful character as well – all men should aspire to such living! All in all, I thought this to be a good read. It had a few bumps along the way, but it was well worth the time to finally out the secrets of Mattie’s beloved hope chest.

Susan Ferrell and her husband make their home in the Atlanta Metro area. Although Susan struggles with chronic migraine headaches, she stays very busy as a stay-at-home mom to one very precocious little girl. While catching her breath, she feeds her Amishaholic tendencies by reading vast amounts of Amish literature!