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Beyond Hope’s Valley – Book Three in the Big Sky series

Waiting for the third book in a series is so hard! Especially when there are questions you want answers to and characters you want to get to know better. I really enjoyed this whole series, which was my first foray into Amish fiction (previous reviews here and here), including the most recently published third volume.

I feel like I learned a lot about the Amish culture and customs and also appreciated the pilgrimage of the heart that Tricia Goyer brings us in the story about Marianna and her family and communities.

This series would make a great gift for anyone who loves sweet fiction stories, especially those set in Amish communities or even fans of historical fiction. The unique culture of the Amish almost makes the Big Sky series read like a historical fiction novel, until you get to the storylines of rock stars, cars and telephones, that is. I read Beyond Hope’s Valley in just a couple of days, which, for me, is always a sign of good fiction.

I have no idea if there will be more Big Sky novels, but I can’t help but hope that Ms. Goyer has more of them up her literary sleeve. I would love to see what happens next on Marianna’s journey, as she grows closer to the Lord and to her beau of choice.

About the book:

After an extended stay in Montana, where Amish traditions are different than in her home state, Marianna Sommer returns to Indiana for two reasons, first to help her brother and his girlfriend prepare for a baby and their wedding. Second, to plan her own wedding to Aaron Zook — a marriage she’s been dreaming about ever since childhood. And yet, although she had missed the idyllic farms and families of her upbringing, Marianna is surprised that Indiana is somehow making her long now for Montana.

As months pass, secrets that were hidden in winter’s frozen grasp thaw and take on a life of their own. The truths about a child, about a past relationship, and about God’s plans are being revealed. Walking through avalley of questions, Marianna must hold on to hope as she decides where and with whom her heart truly belongs.

About Tricia:

Tricia Goyer is the award winning author of thirty-two books including Beside Still Waters, Remembering You, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences and is the host of Living Inspired.

She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

Thanks so much to Litfuse for providing the review copy. For more reviews, please visit the blog tour page.


Along Wooded Paths {Review}

by gidget on October 8, 2011

in reading

I was so excited to get to review the second book in Tricia Goyer’s Big Sky series, Along Wooded Paths. Having never read any Amish fiction before, I was pleasantly surprised by the first novel in the series, and couldn’t wait to continue reading about Marianna’s journey.

The book is full of interesting aspects of Amish life (including a few recipes in the appendix!) and the descriptions of life in Montana are beautifully written– I could almost feel the icy cold winter weather. I can’t wait to read the third book in the series and see who Marianna ends up settling down with and how her walk with the Lord continues to mature and deepen.

I feel like I’ve come to befriend Marianna, which is a sign of a good story in my opinions. Despite her shortcomings, she is a strong woman, a complex and realistic character who I feel many readers will relate to (Amish or not!).

About the book:

All she wanted was a simple Amish life . . . But now Marianna Sommer finds herself depending on Englisch neighbors. Although proud of living apart from the world, she and her newly relocated Amish family have discovered that life in the remote mountains of Montana requires working together.

As Marianna begins helping those different from herself—and receiving their help—her heart contemplates two directions. She’s torn between the Amish man from Indiana whom she has long planned on marrying and the friendly Englischer who models a closer walk with God than she’s ever seen before.

Who should have young Marianna’s heart? What is God asking her to sacrifice? Her traditions? Her community? The answer is found along the wooded paths.

Read an excerpt.

About Tricia:

Tricia Goyer is the author of thirty books includingSongbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference in 2003. Tricia’s book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home inLittle Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

For more about Tricia and her other books visit www.triciagoyer.com

Along Wooded Paths Party

go here to sign up for the Live Author Chat!

I’m linking up with the other reviewers from the Litfuse Nest in this blog tour. Thanks, Litfuse!


I’d never read any of the Amish novels out on the market, so when a chance to review Tricia Goyer’s new Amish book Beside Still Waters came up, I decided it was worth a try. I knew that Tricia was a great storyteller and the story of Marianna Sommer was no different.

I loved the insights into in Amish culture; if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Tricia from reading a few of her books and following her on Facebook, it’s that she does her research thoroughly and through relationships with real people. This shines through in Beside Still Waters as with her other historical fiction books.

The most unusual part of this book review was getting to read an unedited, early copy of the book (complete with editor’s notes, which made me feel like a real insider!). I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

About Tricia: Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-six books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough (which I’ve been able to read and review). She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference in 2003. Tricia’s book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005.

In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. Visit www.triciagoyer.com for more info.

About Beside Still Waters: Marianna Sommer believes she knows where her life is headed. Nineteen years old and Amish, her plan is to get baptized into the church, marry Aaron Zook, and live in the only community she’s ever known.

When Marianna’s family moves from Indiana to Montana she discovers life and faith will never be the same. As she builds an easy friendship with local guy, Ben Stone, Ben not only draws her heart, he also gets her thinking about what loving God and living in community is all about.

As Marianna struggles to find “home,” she also encounters God in intimate ways. Click here to watch the book trailers.

About Beside Still Waters Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of the first book in the Big Sky Amish series, Tricia is giving away 10 copies of Beside Still Waters and a pair of super cute antique Amish salt & pepper shakers.

Details at Tricia’s blog, It’s Real Life.

BONUS! Each person who enters the giveaway will receive a FABULOUS Montana Amish Calendar. Hurry, it’s only available while supplies last!

Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy. Be sure to check out the other blogs on this blog tour!

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When we decided our little Gianna would be nicknamed Gigi, we were given a couple of the cutest books as gifts before she was born; they were from Sheila Walsh’s line about Gigi, God’s Little Princess. I loved the fun artwork and the gospel message presented in them.

Now that our Gigi is almost four, she loves “reading” her Gigi books, and naturally is quite taken by the whole princess phenomenon. I love Sheila’s take on princesses because her books area all about how the character Gigi is a princess because she’s a daughter of the King.

While I don’t always like the Gigi character’s representation in the movie adaptations (she’s a little literal about the whole princess thing, and the feather boas and tiaras worn everywhere can be a little over the top), the books are classy and cute with a super sweet message.

I was so excited about Sheila’s newest book, which goes beyond the Gigi books, and is geared towards a slightly older audience, the tweens. How To Be God’s Little Princess is a modern guide book on “manners, etiquette and true beauty,” that takes into consideration all that culture is throwing at our girls at such a young age.

It’s a great tool for preparing them to not only embrace traditional manners and etiquette, but also showing them how to be strong as one of God’s daughters through it all. Sheila weaves in encouraging Bible verses along with her fun and useful how-tos, quizzes, checklists and guides.

Here’s a little more information:

About the book: How to Be God’s Little Princess: Royal Tips of Manners and Etiquette for Girls

What does it take to be a princess? Sheila Walsh has some important answers to share for every little girl. This trendy design features black & white line art and a two-color pink and black interior. The art will tie to each how-to topic in the book-how to make the best pink cookies, how to wear a tiara, how to earn money at home, how to care for a royal dog, how to be respectful, how to use good manners, how to help Mom, how to follow Jesus, how to act like a princess when things go terribly wrong, and many more.

Increasingly, we see tween girls of today embracing the prevalent “anything goes” spirit of our culture. Sheila seeks to combat that spirit and reinforce God’s standard in their lives. She takes a holistic approach by not just focusing on behavior but also addressing the heart.

About Sheila: Sheila Walsh is the creator of the award-winning Gigi, God’s Little Princess® brand which has sold over 1.5 million units. Sheila is also a powerful communicator, Bible teacher, and best-selling author with more than 4 million books sold. As a featured speaker with Women of Faith®, Sheila has reached more than 3.5 million women by artistically combining honesty, vulnerability, and humor with God’s Word.


The publisher has provided me with a copy of How To Be God’s Little Princess for one lucky reader!

Here’s how to enter:

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Faith, you’ve been notified as the winner!

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me who you would love to win this book for.

2. Extra entry: Tweet about the giveaway or post about it on Facebook and leave a comment here telling me you did.

Good luck! Giveaway will end on Saturday, April 16th, at midnight, PST.

Thanks to Litfuse for providing the review copy of this book. To view the rest of the blog tour, click here!


Booking It in 2011

by gidget on January 10, 2011

in reading

Happy New Year! Here’s my 2011 reading list; I’ll be linking up with Life as Mom in Jessica’s virtual book club, Booking It! I’ve already started a few of these and I hope I get to them all this year.

Deadly Disclosures (Dinah Harris Mystery)by Julie Cave

Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer

The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of Godby Brent Curtis and John Eldredge

Mansfield Park* by Jane Austen {I was glad this was on Jessica’s list because I like to reread at least one Austen novel a year}

Safe at Home: Confessions of a Baseball Fanaticby {fellow Dodger fan} Alyssa Milano

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day* by Jeff Hertzberg

Finding Your Purpose as a Mom: How to Build Your Home on Holy Ground* by Donna Otto

The Pilgrim’s Progress* by John Bunyan

The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompanimentsby David Lebovitz {considering the connoisseur I am, it’s sort of sacrilegious that I haven’t checked this out yet!}

Dancing with My Father: How God Leads Us into a Life of Grace and Joy* by Sally Clarkson

The Help* by Kathryn Stockett

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg

Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life by Shauna Niequist

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald

Real Food for Mother and Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two, and Baby’s First Foods by Nina Planck {I’ve read parts of this already}

Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Livingby Tsh Oxenreider {working through Part 2 now}

*books from the Booking It list

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As someone who’s been through my fair share of storms in the last year, I can tell you that this sweet little book will be an encouragement to all who read it. Full of inspiring quotes, scriptures and beautiful poetry, it reminds its reader of the love of God and of His control of all situations.

Reading an open-page spread per day has been a lovely little addition to my quiet times with the Lord.

About A Friend in the Storm:

This ninety-six page gift-book combines heartfelt poetry with powerful quotes and Scripture verses to speak to the heart and soul of anyone going through difficult times. The beautiful fabric binding with foil stamping makes this the perfect gift for anyone seeking comfort.

Author Cheryl Ricker reaches into the depths of human suffering from the perspective of Christ speaking to the reader in soothing poetic words.

This elegant gift book will reach the heart and soul of anyone facing difficult circumstances, leading them through their suffering into the arms of a faithful loving God.

Each two-page spread includes a poem, as well as reflections written by Christian leaders, along with healing Scripture verses.

About Cheryl Ricker:

Cheryl Ricker has a degree in creative writing and has written columns and articles for various magazines and newspapers. She’s been writing poetry all her life and her poems have won awards in fine arts and literary magazines. Cheryl lives with her husband and two sons in Rochester, Minnesota

Please check out Cheryl’s amazing website for more information. www.cherylricker.com


Cheryl Ricker is hosting this great contest over at her website during
the blog tour for A Friend in the Storm, Zondervan’s latest innovative gift book of quotes, Scripture
and poetry that leads to lasting hope!

Since this book covers matters of the heart, Cheryl wants to hear from YOUR heart! In the midst of any type of loss, grief or crisis, A Friend in the Storm takes you on a healing journey where you experience Christ’s love in a fresh, memorable way. Now she invites you to submit an original poem, story or snippet about a time when someone was a friend in your storm… and she’s giving you the opportunity to win a KINDLE to do it!

Head on over to her Contest Page on her website to find out how to enter!

On October 3rd, she will randomly select one winner to receive a brand-new KINDLE! She’s also choosing 5 more names at random to receive a signed copy of A Friend in the Storm! The winners will be announced at her Facebook Party on October 4th. The party will take place on Cheryl’s Facebook “A Friend in the Storm” Page – go here for all the details.

Share Your Storm Kindle Giveaway

The Facebook Party will be a blast!  Not only will she be announcing the Share Your Storm Kindle Giveaway winners, but she’ll also be chatting with party goers, hosting fun trivia contests, and giving away even more prizes every 10 minutes – including signed copies of A Friend in the Storm, and gift certificates to Amazon.com and Starbucks.com!

Oh, and check this out – Cheryl is also giving away a $50 Amazon gift certificate!
Simply help her spread the word about the contest; Facebook Party. Interested? It’s easy to enter! Here’s how:

Share this on FACEBOOK: Want to help someone who’s hurting? “A Friend in the Storm,” Zondervan’s latest gift book of quotes, Scripture and poetry, is helping thousands find lasting Hope! Go here http://ow.ly/2BYiN to enter to win a KINDLE!

Post this on TWITTER: A Friend in the Storm by @cherylricker heals hearts in tough times. Enter 2 win a KINDLE http://ow.ly/2BYiN here! #litfuse (You must use hashtag #litfuse to be entered.)

Share this as many times as you like – just email amy@litfusegroup.com by October 4th and let her know how many times you tweeted/shared on Facebook, twittered or blogged about the contest. Each ‘sharing’ represents one entry into the contest.

Thank you to Litfuse for providing this book for me to review.

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Viva el blog

by gidget on August 28, 2010

in blogging and writing

It’s been over a year, but I decided it was time to bring this blog back from the dead! From now on, I will not only post my book reviews (and any book giveaways) here, but I’ll also continue with other occasional posts on Spanish, language-learning, multilingualism, writing, technology (related to language), and eventually home education.

This blog will serve as a record of things I find and use, and I hope it is also of some use to others out there in the blogosphere, too. I’ll be in and out so be sure to subscribe for future updates if any of this interests you.

If you’re new to this blog, I’d recommend checking out my updated About page, which will give a little more background to Gidget Loves Language.

Thanks for reading, and…

¡nos vemos!


big Bible

Here is a mini archive of all my old posts over at Gidget Goes Home on reading, including book reviews. My forthcoming book reviews will be here on Gidget Loves Language. :)


      I haven’t been blogging much in the Gidget world these last few weeks as my family is on a 3-week long road trip to experience baseball in the Midwest and on the East Coast (see here for details). But I did want to share this little tidbit with you as we approach summer.

      Baseball may be America’s pastime, but it’s a pretty big deal in many Spanish-speaking countries, too, especially in Mexico, and Caribbean countries like Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, to just name a few.

      A couple of years ago I came across this great glossary on mlb.com with baseball words in Spanish.  It’s not surprising that there are a lot of cognates here considering where the sport originated. When I was teaching it came in handy for the chapter on sports, but it’s also fun to just play around with during a game if you’re a fan of baseball who’s learning Spanish!

      Download the vocab sheet here!


      This video is an awesome way to teach kids a few animal vocab words in Spanish!