Amy Clipston has written several Amish-themed novels. Her books are Christian
novels, some even include Amish recipes. As a best-selling author, Clipston
writes Young Adult inspirational fiction and Adult inspirational fiction. From
what I’ve read so far, you don’t want to miss any of them.

Reckless Heart is a novel about a 16-year-old Amish girl faced with
challenges that would give many girls pause. Her youngest sister, Ruth, is sickly, then the family finds out it’s leukemia. Leukemia is a daunting disease for the well-insured, for an Amish family it brings extra challenges on the financial side.

As a responsible Amish youth, Lydia takes the added burden of caring for her younger siblings while her mother and Ruthie are battling leukemia. Lydia also works two part-time jobs, as a teacher’s assistant and in the family bakery. She faces challenges of feeling left out as her friends go to the sing-alongs here the bloom of first love begins in the Amish community. She finds out the boy she likes may be seeing another girl, that her friends are having fun, and then meets a new neighbor family, Englishers.

The community interferes with her English friendship, possibly mainly because that family has a young boy the likes Lydia, although he knows and she knows they’re friends and each like someone in their own communities, those not involved in the friendship see danger of outside influences (without merit, I might add). Lydia gives the money she earns to help her family in its time of need, feels the call of two possible professions (until she becomes a wife anyway) between teaching and the bakery. She has normal teenage angst of wanting to be with friends, while needing to stay home and help. Lydia lashes out, mildly according to worldly standards, but it’s rather large according to a secluded community, about her need to be with friends. Her father responds that she’s disrespectful and punishes her.

All through the book I found myself alternately rooting for Lydia, being angry at dad, and hoping for Ruthie. While some of these issues are the same issues all teens face, some are bigger than some teens face and some are smaller than some teens face, I can see how it can be confusing for a teenager. Her responsibilities increase as she shows she’s capable of dealing with them until she feels overwhelmed.

I won’t go further without disclosing the ending. Lydia shows us that, no matter what your background is, there are problems to deal with, some large, some small, and some are simply misunderstandings. No one is exempt. This is a fun read and I’ll give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Book Two: Publishing – Real Life Tips for: Writing, Publishing, and Promoting Your Own Books. (On a budget of almost

By Michael Esser


I was interested in Mr. Esser’s book because I am an aspiring  novelist. Also, because I want to know how self-published authors get from their  word processor to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the like. Mr. Esser did have  some interesting information.

He suggests proofreading and getting a professional editor for  the self-publisher. He is correct in that suggestion. As an editor for a small  publishing company, and as a reader, this is a very important step that should  not at any time be ignored. Good friends and family, even if they’re quite adept  at the English language, spelling, and punctuation, are sometimes too lenient on you. Hiring a professional means you’re probably going to find better editing, making your book a better seller. There’s little more upsetting than people talking about your book because the editing, or even the formatting, was horrible. The public expects more, even in the day of the self-publisher.

His tips on where and how to format seem appropriate without going forward and attempting it myself. He tells his readers where and how the ISBN is appropriated. He discusses marketing, but slightly misses the mark without more specific information. He tells how to figure out pricing of your published piece.

Mr. Esser, however, falls short in his own work by not following his own advice. Spelling is incorrect (“by” instead of “buy” for example), bad formatting in spots, etc. His sentence structure and wording are lacking in places, which is something a good, or even half-good, editor would have helped fix. Considering this is a how-to for self-publishers, I expect much more from him.

If you want some information in the self-publishing steps, go ahead and get it. This book as of today (May 30, 2012) is a free download for nook. As long as you remember he did not follow his own advice, there are some helpful tips here. Do not let this be your only resource, however. There are more appropriate books available for the self-publisher to become more prepared with their self-publishing journey.

Unfortunately, I hate to give bad reviews, but this can only get a 2 of 5 stars from me and that is for content.