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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 9 star ratings
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4.4 out of 5
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    Amish Sweethearts

    Amish Sweethearts is the second book in Leslie Gould’s Neighbors of Lancaster County series, coming after Amish Promises, and is the first book I have ever read by her. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, though I was pretty excited for this story, but unfortunately I have to say I was sorely disappointed. The storyline was slow, and there just didn’t seem to be much depth in so many of the scenes, and I found myself completely bored before I was even halfway through the book. So, if I’m honest with you, I have to say I didn’t actually “finish” this whole book, per se. I did skim it, and read a good deal of the end where things were actually slightly interesting, so I do know everything that happened. I just didn’t exactly read it. I really hate to have to do that with any book, but I just didn’t want to read if that meant reading that book—and I read all the time. I love it. So you know when a half-finished book sits on my table gathering dust, I’m really not enjoying it because once I get a few chapters in, I’m usually hooked and will finish the book within a couple of days, if not a couple of hours. Zane and Lila are perfectly wonderful characters, but both had their own flaws that made them a little bit harder to really love. Zane makes so many snap decisions! I mean, the whole reason he was in the Army was because he was running away from what might have been with Lila, and that’s by far the biggest snap decision, especially since it changes the course of his life for the duration of this book. But somehow he doesn’t learn from that mistake, and he almost gives his life away again later in the book, even going so far as to almost drag Lila down with him. And that brings me to the one issue I had with Lila. She’s so wishy washy! Now I know she’s had a hard life, and I know it’s difficult to go between what her dad wants—her to marry the bishop’s son—and what her heart desires—Zane. But still, to go back and forth the way she does, constantly leading on Reuben while still holding on to what little remains of her relationship with Zane, is just too much for me. While I understand it was a hard decision to make, she could have at least been honest with the both of them. And the way she just all the sudden makes a decision near the end kind of surprised me. After all that struggling, it seemed she made a really snap decision on what she wanted in her life. Anyway, I wish that I could say I liked this novel more than I did, but that wouldn’t be honest, so I’m going to have to say it definitely wasn’t my favorite book, and I’m only going to give it three out of five bookshelves. The end did get slightly interesting, and I did enjoy that part, so that’s why I’m giving this novel as many bookshelves as I am, but I wouldn’t highly recommend this story. Now I’m not saying don’t read it, because everyone has different opinions and you might just like it far more than I did, I’m just saying proceed with caution. And I hate with everything in me that I’m saying that, because as a writer myself I know how hard it is when someone criticizes your work, so I really despise doing it, but I vowed to write honest reviews, and I’m not going to stop now. So that’s what I really thought of this book. I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway.
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    Heartwarming Tale!

    Amish Sweethearts by Leslie Gould is the second book in Neighbors of Lancaster County series. Lila Lehman and Zane Beck have grown up next door to each other and are close friends. Lila is Amish and Zane is Englisch (as the Amish call us). It is May in 2010 and Zane just received a scholarship to college in Michigan. Zane asks Lila to come with him to Michigan. Lila could not do that to her family (especially to the man that raised her). She sends Zane away. Instead of going to college, Zane joins the Army (mainly because his father told him that he was not soldier material). Two and half years later Zane is returning home for Christmas. He has avoided coming home because of Lila. He still loves her and cannot get her out of his mind. Lila is being courted by Rueben (the Bishop’s son) but she has yet to join the church (she still thinks of Zane). Everyone tells Lila that Reuben is perfect her. Zane is going to be deployed in a month to Afghanistan (he is going to work in a Civil Affairs Unit as a translator). Two people so much in love but so far apart. Can these two overcome the many obstacles in their path to happiness? Amish Sweethearts is a lovely book. It is well-written, engaging, and easy to read. Amish Sweethearts can be read as a stand-alone novel (in case you did not read the first book in the series). We get to see life from two different perspectives. How time and experience change people. I started this book and just kept reading until I finished it. I give Amish Sweethearts 5 out of 5 stars. Amish Sweethearts is not a sappy romance book nor is it overly religious. Leslie Gould wove together a wonderful, heartwarming tale. I received a complimentary copy of Amish Sweethearts from Bethany House and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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