Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Nayu's Gaming Time #20 Mario Tennis Aces review

This is the first game I got with my game rental subscription through Boomerang: this isn't a sponsored post, just a game review. I feel blessed to have come across this rental service because it is helping me try games I want to try, without wasting money if I don't like them. 

I really wanted to like Mario Tennis Aces. I absolutely adore how cute Peach, Toadette and Rosaline are. They are characters made for me: cute, flying, pink (Rosline's colour suits her) and pretty. They make me smile whenever I played with them, and I didn't want to stop. 
Peach is a pro, except for when I play as her (pic found online)

I even liked the concept of the game: I liked how the different levels varied in how you needed to hit the ball. That's where my joy ended. Mario certainly made me hate him even more when he pretty much told Daisy and Peach that they couldn't go with him because they were more diplomatic than fighters. Seriously? He seriously said that in this day and age of girl power? Grrr! There were other ways to make it only Mario and Toad as the initial players (which I didn't like). 
This is the screen when I lost. I couldn't be mad because I made my opponant Toadette!

I sucked at the game big time. It didn't matter in the non adventure mode, where I could game and focus on just hitting the ball. But the story mode is such an integral aspect of the game. It wants you to do all the special tricks, which you aren't drip fed but told all of them in a row, and my fatigue fuddled brain couldn't take in all of the differences between the balls. Even when I improved a smidge I still wasn't happy. I couldn't face spending hours trying to hit the ball the right way. It's not like Mario Kart where it doesn't matter if you go a bit wrong, you simply keep racing on the track. Hitting a tiny object every single time it appears is harder than it sounds. It simply wasn't enjoyable. 
I fell in love with Rosalina for flying, and her star friends which get used in her special shots (pic found online)

So if I ever won a copy, I would keep it for the fun of playing as my 3 favourite girls. I would buy a copy if it got super cheap (like that'll ever happen, this is a Nintendo game which are notorious for not having price drops that often), otherwise I'll pass. 

This is exactly why I'm enjoying my Boomerang subscription (the link isn't sponsored): I'm able to try games I like the sound of but am not too sure on, that way I don't have to waste a load of money on something I don't like. I wasn't alone with finding Mario Tennis Aces tricky - found someone on Twitter who had similar issues. I am going to try all the other Mario sports games, to see if I like them. I love the girls, and want to play as them (they don't always wear their dresses in Mario Kart, which I do have), just in a game I enjoy all of it. 
I'm sorry I'm not continuing just yet with your awesomeness Toadette! (Pic found online)

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Aphrodite's Tears by Hannah Fielding (Romance, 9/10E)

 January 2018, London Wall Publishing, 272 pages, Ebook, Review copy

Book summary
In ancient Greece, one of the twelve labours of Hercules was to bring back a golden apple from the Garden of Hesperides. To archaeologist Oriel Anderson, joining a team of Greek divers on the island of Helios seems like the golden apple of her dreams.Yet the dream becomes a nightmare when she meets the devilish owner of the island, Damian Theodorakis. In shocked recognition, she is flooded with the memory of a romantic night in a stranger s arms, six summers ago. A very different man stands before her now, and Oriel senses that the sardonic Greek autocrat is hell-bent on playing a cat and mouse game with her. 

As they cross swords and passions mount, Oriel is aware that malevolent eyes watch her from the shadows. Dark rumours are whispered about the Theodorakis family. What dangers lie in Helios: a bewitching land where ancient rituals are still enacted to appease the gods, young men risk their lives in the treacherous depths of the Ionian Sea, and the volatile earth can erupt at any moment? Will Oriel find the hidden treasures she seeks? Or will Damian s tragic past catch up with them, threatening to engulf them both?

Nayu's thoughts
Disclaimer: this would be a 10E/10E book, but for a few incidents with birds in cages, however not for the reason you may think. There are spoilers in my reason, so if you don't want extremely minor spoilers then ignore the next paragraph. 

I have two zebra finches of my own, in a cage in my room. My view is better in a large cage than a cramped one in a pet shop (although I go to a well run pet shop, but cages are still too small for my liking). The first incident is about noise from a bird at night: unless the cage was uncovered, birds tend not to burst into song at the end of the night. The second incident freaked me out so much I nearly stopped reading what was a brilliant story. It took me out of the story, and I felt dreadful for the poor things, which was nothing to do with Oriel, who was horrified for different reasons. Mine was of bird welfare and I pray that never happens in real life, as it is too awful for words. 

Back to the story: this book caught my interest because my degree involved Ancient Greece, both the history and the language. Give me a pot fragment and I'm happy as Winnie-the-Pooh is content when with a full honey pot, or several. Oriel's life didn't disappoint me. She clearly loves her job, and is good at what she does. She understandably struggles with the nasty goings on during her visit (if you think a character is evil, just wait until later in the book where their nasty streak gets horrendous), and while she thinks she stays for the historical importance of what she is discovering, she does also like her boss. That was a mostly sweet romance, if a bit infuriating when they were both being pigheaded about things. His past was interesting, but not what I was most eager to read about (I often don't read romance for the romance).

But oh the history! I've always imagined being an explorer like Lara Croft (I played some of the early games and love the films (the ones with Angelina Jolie, I kind of refuse to watch the others because to me she is Lara Croft), so reading about Oriel's adventures was blissful. I won't spoil a major part of the story but what she finds is breathtaking, and I fully understood the importance of what was found, and liked experiencing what it must be like to make such a find as she does. That is why I didn't quit reading the book over the bird incident: I wanted to know how her story ended and if the heritage site stays safe. Plus I'd stumbled across the natural disaster part of the story and was intrigued by how that went. 

It is safe to assume I will be rereading this, and skipping the parts I don't like, now I know where they are.  For me those were the best parts: the intrigue was good too, because I never knew what was going to happen next and wondered how far the perpetrator would take the 'pranks'. There were quite a few surprising story twists that I didn't see coming, which I'm looking forward to watching out for the hints on the next read. 

Be sure to check out Hannah's website for more info! 

Suggested read
My book recommendation today is for a non-fiction book concerned with Greece's past: Stories from Herodotus by Lorna Oakes (Non-Fiction, 9/10E)

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Blog Tour: Lightning Chase Me Home by Amber Lee Dodd (Children's, 9 years +, 8/10E)


Isn't the sealion cute? I had a proof copy which didn't have the full cover image
 3rd January 2019, Scholastic, 320 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Summary from Scholastic
 A wild and wonderful tale of storms, thunder, magic and finally waking up to who you truly are. Amelia Hester McLeod is named after two fearless explorers: Amelia Earhart and Lady Hester Stanhope. But Amelia struggles to live up to her name. She doesn’t feel brave or bright, and she’s barely set foot in the world beyond her windblown island beneath the North Star. Things have been tough in her family’s creaky old house since Amelia’s mum left. Her dad is sad and silent, while her grandpa talks of strange, impossible things. But when Amelia makes a birthday wish to be reunited with her missing mum, a wild magic swirls up from the sea…

Nayu's thoughts
 Straight away I need to say this book is really a 9/10E, but I have a personal reason for dropping the grade to 8. I have a sn*ke phobia, there aren't loads of them in the book but let's just say it's a good thing I already hated camping. I stupidly didn't think what was happening in that part of the book until it happened, and got thoroughly freaked out because I have similar nightmares. It's not Amber's fault, I know why sn*kes are used in fiction, because they are atmospheric and can be symbolic, it's just unfortunate I struggle with their existence, and have a hyperactive imagination. 

Evil creatures aside, this book is epic. From the summary I'd wanted to know if Amelia found her mum (I'm not saying!), and also what life was like on a small island. I'm absolutely fascinated by island communities, they are tight knit in more than one way, which Amelia struggles with, but it's also what helps save her in the end. People who know you inside out can be there for you when you least expect, as Amelia discovers. Even those you don't like. Apart from Blair who is a nasty, spiteful child who deserved the dose of reality she got at the end, not that I'd ever encourage such an accident to happen. Those involved in that revenge had a mind of their own and they got away with the behaviour. 

Poor Amelia suffered terribly, I couldn't understand why her dyslexia wasn't identified sooner - I'm not a teacher and it was as crystal clear that's what her issues were. The power she gained on her birthday were at first fun, but then became frightening because she wanted it to envelope her even though she knew it was the wrong choice in life. It was hard to read when her father got angry with her, her sense of abandonment during that time was heartbreaking: her father was in her life, unlike her mother, but he was as out of reach as she was to Amelia. The worst of it was she was telling the truth, which was extraordinary and unless someone saw what happened - and a few did, they wouldn't believe her at all. 

Amelia found a firm friend in Tom, although events transpired that meant she received the same treatment from Tom that she did with her father, which was yet more heartbreak. Yes I needed a tissue from time to time, all Amelia wanted was love and understanding and she didn't always get it when she needed it the most. 

Returning to the island theme I liked how the mystery was heavily influenced by the weather and the sea: it fits in because island communities can have rituals and sayings about such issues to explain them. This next part is random: when I heard about the birthday ritual, I instantly thought of a game I'm currently playing, Dragon Quest 11 (Not to be confused with Dragon Quest Builders 2 which I'm also playing). If you don't want to read a spoiler skip to the next paragraph.  In DQ11 the protagonist, on a certain birthday climbs to the top of a mini mountain (a tor) and I think touches the top. An incident happens and the protagonist (who I pretend is a girl, even though it's a guy because he does look a bit like a girl if you squint your eyes, and I prefer to play as a girl) has their latent power appear. I haven't finished the game so I don't know if the power gets used for good, but I know it brings worse trouble than Amelia endures because his (her) village is razed to the ground. Didn't see that one coming! 

I like Amelia's tale because it examines so many issues. It deals with child abandonment, dementia, not fitting in, bullying, dyslexia, and others that have slipped my mind. I was hooked by every page as the story unfolded, in spite of the sn*kes, which provided a lovely few hours read. More than that, I absolutely loved how Amelia's passion is explorers, because I've recently read a few books (in suggested reads) which include the women who Amelia looks up to! I think I will reread it in time, but that won't be for a long while as it's quite an emotional tale, and I tend to prefer happier reads. It does have a happy ending, but what Amelia goes through to reach that happiness is hard hitting. 

Find out more on Amber's website.  

Suggested read





And more about other strong women throughout history in Rad Girls Can by Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl (Non-fiction, 10E/10E)

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Nayu's Gaming Time #19 2019 Gaming Backlog Challenge Part 1

My mind is frequently on gaming even when I'm not playing games ^u^
It's that time of year when people make resolutions over goals for the year that they'd like to achieve. I tend not to do this, however, while on Patient Gamers on Reddit I spotted a post that was about saying which games you'd like to play this year, so I thought I'd give it a go. Here are the games I really want to finish (some are started already). These are not all my backlog games, which I have collected quite a few over the years (sales can be your friend, trust me!)

These are not in order, and while the original challenge states aiming to complete a game a month, completing a game one at a time - I'm not doing that, as I hop around games depending how much mental energy I have, as well as what I feel like. Although I am alternating days for when I only play Dragon Quest Builders 2 because otherwise that would be the only game I ever play (it is my all time favourite game!) 

For all games, to save me time, I'm using whatever summaries are available on Amazon UK, Nintendo UK and other websites.

Child of Light

Summary from Amazon UK for the Vita version
Art Brought to life: Child of Light was skillfully hand drawn and beautifully rendered with watercolor thanks to the UbiArt Engine. Much of the costumes and lighting were inspired by the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil 
 
The rich world of Lemuria: In your journey across Lemuria you will encounter eccentric creatures, from spirits of the forest to talking mice, wicked witches, and evil sea serpents. Discover a vast land with iconic locations and exciting dungeons 
 
Classic turn-based RPG combat: Child of Light utilizes classic turn-based RPG combat. Level up and use skill points to unlock unique abilities for Aurora and her allies. A deep crafting system allows players to combine gems to improve combat abilities 
 
Solve Puzzles and search for mysteries: Using the power of light, Aurora and Igniculus must work together to solve puzzles involving shadows and movable objects 


Nayu's thoughts
 This is a game I can't play daily because the graphics aren't bright and bubbly, something which strongly affects my mood, but I do want to try and finish it. So far it's not overly difficult., I love the girl's red hair which floats around her, and being able to fly like a fairy is incredible fun. I have the Switch version.

Pokemon Let's Go Eevee

Summary from Nintendo UK
Journey through the Kanto region on an exciting adventure in Pokemon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! for Nintendo Switch. Start your journey as a rookie Pokémon Trainer, and catch, battle and form friendships with many Pokémon along the way!

Nayu's thoughts
This probably needs no explaining - it's Pokemon! I adore Eevee so much, I'm looking forward to getting all her eevolution clothing sets, and while this may not get completed this year because I'm taking my time to level up Pokemon and enjoy the game, I do hope to finish the main story and become champion!

Gnomes Garden


Summary from Nintendo UK
A wonderful garden had always brought joy to all the people of the kingdom and all the residents of the castle. But a dry summer withered the king’s beloved garden and the surrounding gardens of the kingdom alike. The ruler has fallen ill and the kingdom is in danger. Help the princess save the gardens and make the king better again. Construct buildings, remove obstacles, repair damaged bridges and restore the beauty of the royal garden.

Key features:

Over 40 beautiful levels
Increasing difficulty
An upbeat plot, an extraordinary magical world
Exciting gameplay for all ages
Easy-to-learn controls and a well-designed tutorial will help you quickly learn the basics of the game.
 Nayu's thoughts
This is a relaxing type of game that I enjoy before bed. For some reason the 2nd game has only just come out, so I have the third,  but you don't need to play them in order to enjoy them. I've over half way through on this game, I don't exactly play for the story but for the fun of unblocking paths, mining resources, and fending off evil creatures!

Tales of Symphonia


Summary 
The most renowned Tales of game comes back in HD
The possibility to play with the Japanese voiceover
The whole saga of Tales of Symphonia combined in one game
More than 90 hours of Gameplay in total
Addition of new fierce Bosses
Brand new 40 Artes scattered between playable characters and enemies

Battle scene (I play as the blonde girl the most!)

Nayu's thoughts 
The tales series is full of fun JRPGs. I possibly have played Symphonia in the past because I dimly remember the start, but I've no idea if I finished it. I've barely started, and this one is apparently very grindy (you have to fight a lot of battles to level up and continue to the next area), so we'll see how far I can get. 

Atelier Totori


Summary from Amazon UK
 The small fishing village of Alanya on the Arland Republic's southern border is home to the young alchemist-in-training Totooria Helmold. She is called Totori by her friends and family, and she wishes to become a great adventurer.

Battle scene

Nayu's thoughts
The Atelier series is another well known JRPG, and while I have the originals which had issues, unlike the lovely remasters that are so far down on my game list I'll probably never get them because I'm more interested in new games than remakes, I'm enjoying how Totori has started. She is so cute!

Blue Reflection


Summary
Blue Reflection takes place at a vibrant all-girls school, Hoshinomiya Girls' High School
Experience the everyday school life and hang out with your friends
Open a mysterious parallel dimension filled with demonic inhabitants
Solve the problems between the dimensions
move freely and fight the demonic creatures that live within this realm
Use the 'FreeSpace!' social network for communication and exciting mini-games in and out of school.
Partake in after-class activities or explore a variety of exciting places in town.
Your actions affect what events will take place the next day!

 
This is Lime, who always uses a teddy bear for her attacks: it is so cute!
Nayu's thoughts 
Like many of the games this is another I'm part way through. It's very much a magical girl game, and it can get a bit repetitive which is why I haven't quite finished it yet, but overall it's really good fun. Please note that are some quite mature scenes but they aren't all the time. Also the voice over is only in Japanese, but there are English subtitles. I'm really hoping there's
going to be a sequel. 
Pokemon Ultra Moon


Summary from Nintendo UK
Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon for Nintendo 3DS family systems offer an alternative story taking place in the same world as Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon, as well as new Pokémon that didn’t appear in Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon.

Ominous dark clouds are spreading in the sky above the Alola region, the setting of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon. In these adventures, a story unfolds on a grand scale, with the Legendary Pokémon Solgaleo, Lunala, and Necrozma at its centre. Secrets about Necrozma and the Alola region – undisclosed in the previous games – will come to light.

 
Nayu's thoughts
Again this shouldn't need an introduction. I played Pokemon Sun and loved it, for Ultra Moon I am using a detailed walkthrough so I can get all the secrets (which will help it be less repetitive, since a lot of it is the same as Sun/Moon games). 
 
Waku Waku Sweets

Summary from Nintendo UK

Make all kinds of confectioneries! ♪
*As if you were baking in real life!
Tilt to pour mixtures, rotate to mix, follow the steps and move the controller as shown on the screen. That's how you cook!
*Over 100 recipes included!
Ranging from popular cakes that everyone loves to traditional Japanese confectioneries called Wagashi. They all look so yummy!
*There is more to enjoy!
Change into your favorite outfit, and change your hairstyle. ♪
Participate in contests and chat with the people in town to complete your quest to become the best.
Make everyone smile with your confectioneries, and become a wonderful pastry chef!




Nayu's thoughts 
I've got the Japanese version because it's a fun way to keep practicing my Japanese: the writing is fairly simple, and I think all letters are shown, even on the kanji which is useful because I don't know a lot of kanji. Who wouldn't want to be a pastry chef with a magical creature? There's lots to chop, stir, and many sweet treats to dream over. I've started it, but may restart as it's been a while since I've played it. Since I love the anime Yume Patissiere, it's no surprise I was attracted to this game!

IA/VT Colorful

Summary from Play Asia 
Another contender enters the fray for top virtual diva - IA is a Vocaloid starring in her new rhythm game for the Vita! Developed by Kenichiro Takaki who was previously the producer of the infamous Senran Kagura, IA has a definite edge on the competition!

As with most console handheld rhythm games, players will be moving the analog sticks and pressing buttons in time with the tempo of musical notes. What makes IA/VT different is the dynamic feedback based on a player's performance - colors and more will change accordingly in the most fantastic of ways!

Track wise, there are 60 different songs with some tracks featuring new exclusive music video background footage of the artists performing their songs. There will also be different play modes, with challenge modes, consecutive play and free play.


Nayu's thoughts 
I love rhythm games, especially Hatsune Miku, so I was curious with IA and haven't regretted getting the game. My goal is to complete all the songs (all 50+ of them) on both easy and normal level (ideally getting the highest mark which is a triple S grade SSS) and to start laying the hard level. Hard is the highest level, and I'm not the best rhythm gamer, so we will see how far I get. IA is super cute, and her voice is a little ironic because I really don't like opera yet initially her vocaloid voice was aimed at opera. She seems a bit more sophisticated that Miku, a bit like Miku's friend Luka yet different. I love almost all the songs!

Kingdom Hearts

Summary from Amazon UK
The HD remastered compilation brings six beloved KINGDOM HEARTS adventures to the PlayStation 4 
 
KINGDOM HEARTS HD 15 + 25 ReMIX gives fans the opportunity to experience all of their favourite moments from the series so far for the very first time on one platform 
 
The full list of titles included in KINGDOM HEARTS HD 15 + 25 ReMIX are KINGDOM HEARTS HD 15 ReMIX including KINGDOM HEARTS FINAL MIX, KINGDOM HEARTS Re:Chain of Memories, KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 Days (HD remastered cinematics) 
 
KINGDOM HEARTS HD 25 ReMIX including KINGDOM HEARTS II FINAL MIX, KINGDOM HEARTS Birth by Sleep FINAL MIX, KINGDOM HEARTS Re:coded 
 
KINGDOM HEARTS is a series of role-playing games created through the collaboration of Disney Interactive and Square Enix
 
Kairi in the first game.
Nayu's thoughts 
I've only ever played the first game, and while I will not be getting Kingdom Hearts 3 on release day this year, I do want to start playing all 6-9 games that are included in special bundles. I loved a lot of the game, I do find it confusing so I suspect I'll use a walkthrough because I've already done it and can only stand being frustrated with a puzzle a few times. Some parts I really hate because they are so scary, especially the Nightmare Before Christmas area, but I adore the girl Sora is trying to save, and the mix of Disney and Squaresoft characters makes me so very happy. I kept the capitals in the summary because I'm running out of time to finish this blog to put them in lower case (so it looks a little shouty - that isn't the case!) Although I do want to shout the news that it looks like Kairi is a playable character in Kingdom Hearts 3! YAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!

End of Part 1 
I'm sorry, I'd meant to do this as one blog post but there are about 20 games on the list (I aim to finish at least 12) so this is being separated into 2 parts. You'll see the rest of the games in part 2, where I'll put up the complete list in a simpler list form. Stay tuned for what else I'm hoping to play! 
Pusheen totally has the right idea when it comes to gaming!

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Happy 2019!

Thought this picture online was cute - credit to whoever the artist is. No idea if it's from a particular anime. Hope you have a superb start to the year! More news soon ^u^

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Medical Kidnap Files #1-3: Mito, EDS, Proxy by P D Workman (Young Adult, 9/10E)

 February 2017, 692 pages, Ebook, Personal Copy

Book summaries
Mito 
Gabriel has dealt with mysterious medical issues his whole life. Just when he finally thought that they had all of the answers and he was on the road to good health, he is apprehended by DFS on the grounds of medical neglect.

At first, he thought that he would be back home in a few days, once the misunderstanding was cleared up. But when Renata tells Gabriel her crazy conspiracy theories, Gabriel feels the first pangs of doubt. Is there really a conspiracy? Will he ever be able to get well and go back to his mother, or is he doomed to be another guinea pig for Doctor De Klerk?
 
EDS
With a long string of unbelievable stories to explain her frequent injuries, Social Services sees Katt is the stereotypical abused child. When she is admitted to hospital with yet another broken bone, they do the only logical thing to protect her, removing Katt from her mother’s custody.

But Katt and her mother know that something is wrong, and it has nothing to do with abuse, and the longer Katt stays in foster care, the worse her health gets. Can they get the answers they need before it is too late? Can they get the answers and get Katt back home?

Proxy
 Fourteen year old Seth Wilcox has been admitted to the hospital forty-eight times, according to his mother’s latest social media posts, when Social Services steps in and takes Seth into care, believing his mother suffers from Munchausen by Proxy and Seth is not safe in her care.

Gabriel Tate is now a veteran in dealing with medical kidnap and reuniting children with their families. He knows Seth and his mom, Leva, a tireless mitochondrial disorder advocate. He knows he needs to get Seth back to Leva as soon as he can.

With the authorities hot on their trails, Gabriel and Renata face increasingly difficult challenges. Can they stay one step ahead of the authorities? Can they finally get Seth somewhere he will be safe?

Nayu's thoughts 
I bought this trilogy because it's the only fiction book I've seen that involves my own condition, which falls under the umbrella term of mitochondrial disease. Mine is further defined but I was able to relate a bit to what happens in all the stories, although not medical kidnap which I'm fascinated by as I know it happens. I've never come across books including my condition: I see a lot about cancer, or diabetes, so I had to read these to see what they were like. 

 I understood fully virtually all Gabriel went through as he tried to get back to his mother. I did think he was a bit nuts leaving a foster home that was mostly safe for him, there was an element I feared could make him sicker, so was partially pleased when he planned his escape, something that would affect the protagonists in the other two books. 

I don't have EDS, but I do have a few similar symptoms so I felt I could understand what Katt is going through a little. I felt so sorry that people thought her mum was to blame for her repeatedly broken bones, which is an understandable conclusion but, as Katt's story proves, the most obvious reason for something isn't always the correct one. It is a little scary how easy it is for adults to separate a minor from their parent if they feel they are being abused, and the lengths they can go to control what happens to that minor medically, even if the patients object to it. 

Proxy brought events in the trilogy to a close. Being a culmination of the series' events despite being with a new protagonist, there's definitely the most at stake in Proxy for all concerned, including Seth and  Gabriel. What Gabriel does is a bit dangerous, but brave considering the strong arguments the authorities have over those he is trying to protect. I definitely recommend these to read as an insight to people with mitochondrial conditions, the information inside them is accurate and definitely provides much to think about. I hope there will be some more books in the series!

Find out more on P D's website

Suggested read
A medical themed read which is a bit horrific but extremely well written with thrilling parts is Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield (Young Adult, 10E/10E, short 'n' sweet review)


Monday, 24 December 2018

Amish Widow's Hope by Samantha Price (Amish fiction, Christian fiction, Romance, 10/10E)

 
February 2016, 176 pages, Ebook, Personal copy

Book summary
Newly widowed Amish woman, Anita Graber, has returned to live with her brother and his family in Lancaster County. 

As an expectant widow, she is quite surprised when everyone from the bishop's wife to her brother decides that her baby needs a father. Anita endures many embarrassing moments as she's forced into one awkward situation after another. 

Even though another man is the last thing on her mind, she finds a friend in her sister-in-law's brother, Simon. Anita wonders why everyone has rejected Simon as a suitable match for her.

Will Anita finally convince everyone that she and her baby are happy on their own?

Could the man that no one sees her with, be the very man who eventually captures her heart?

Nayu's thoughts
I haven't yet reviewed many Amish themed novels, but trust me when I say I've read quite a few! It's one of my favourite genres of fiction.  Amish Widow's Hope has what love about the genre, some humour, strong family values based on religious values, a bit of sweet clean romance, and an ending that makes me feel happy and uplifted. I am planning on reviewing more in time because I do want to share the series I love. 

Speaking of series Amish Widow's Hope is part of a large series which I hope to read in time: I think this one was free on Kindle, which is why I got it, and it's the first book I've ever read by Samantha.

What drew me to Anita's tale was the fact she was single, which as a mother isn't common in the Amish community. The lengths the well meaning neighbours went to to try and set her up with suitable bachelors was absolutely hilarious, despite the trouble it caused Anita. Even she found it funny, thankfully she has Simon who understands her situation, and treats her well in a considerate manner. Anita's brother in particular gets a bit upset with Anita spending time with Simon, which Anita doesn't understand for a long time, because Simon is kind and friendly, and a good man. 

Of course being a romance novel he is the one she falls in love with, which is a joy to watch alongside the failed matchmaking attempts. In some ways you'd expect Amish characters to be respectful and not that forceful about what they want in life for someone, but the bishop's wife is an example that that simply isn't true at all. It's a testament to Anita's inner strength and her faith in God which helps her stick with her convictions and not keep the peace and do what her family wants her to do. Forging a new path isn't easy, but it's most definitely worth it, especially when her happiness is at stake. 

I enjoy learning about the Amish culture which differs between communities through Anita's tale. Their devotion to God is admirable, the way they incorporate God into every part of their life is something I can relate to and despite being a different religion I feel at home with Amish fiction. Their traditional ways is appealing in a world full of technology, and while I love my video games too much to give them up, the simpler Amish way of life is inspiring in subtle ways. This is placed firmly on my reread shelf, and I look forward to reading the rest in the series. 

Find out more about the series on Samantha's website

Suggested read