Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When Your Parent Becomes Your Child--A Journey of Faith Through My Mother's Dementia by Ken Abraham

When Your Parent Becomes Your Child by Ken Abraham is a look at living life as a caretaker of a family member with dementia.  This book takes the reader from the early parts of dementia when people are looking at aging people and wondering if they are getting a little forgetful or paranoid and takes you right through to death.  This story looks at the physical as well as mental debility of this disease.  It looks at the decision making that must take place though the author is obviously a person of financial means and had many benefits not available to some even of average incomes.  The reader will look at how faith can carry both the caretaker as well as the victim through the horrible ravages of this disease.   Mr. Abraham looks at his own feelings about death and dying in an honest way.   He is blessed in that it would appear his family was in complete agreement in the decision making as each one occurs.  That doesn’t always happen in family no matter how loving they may have been before the disease. 
This is a book that I can’t say that I enjoyed reading but it is a book that should be read by those who are facing the death of a family member from most any disease.  Some of the decisions made in the book though may not be the decision of the reader need to be dealt with in a way that is best for each family.  Mr. Abraham brings to the discussion how he came to decide on many of his decisions and he looks at the pros and cons each. 
I was provided this book by Booksneeze for this review.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Daybreak by Shelley Shepard Gray

Daybreak by Shelley Shepard Gray is an Amish love story and unlike most it is of the New Order as opposed to the Old Order Amish.  The people in this story have more freedoms and can more decide on their own what path they wish to take in life.  This is the first of a new series called the Day of Reckoning.    The Keim family is much looked up to in this community but like any family they are not as perfect as would seem from the outside.  The generations which follow the first have difficulties attempting to maintain perfection and this is the story of their failure to attain perfect as well as how they try to cope.  Viola Keim is of the 3rd generation and at the age of 22 is beginning to feel that she may never find love until she meets the son of one of her favorite residents at the Mennonite retirement home where she works.  Her family life has begun to crumble as they attempt to deal with her father’s drinking as well as her twin sister’s failing eyesight.  The family has just found a picture of their family matriarch dressed as an Englisher and she continues to deny any explanation of why she had her picture taken and why she is dressed in a graduation gown.  Dark secrets from the past continue to be uncovered as the family try to cope.
I liked this book.  It seemed believable as opposed to the perfect life often depicted in Amish love stories.  The story is a quick read—I read it in a couple of settings.  I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the 2nd installment of the series.
I received this book from HarperCollins Publishers for this review.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Purpose Driven Life expanded edition by Rick Warren

The Purpose Driven Life expanded edition by Rick Warren is a guide for a 42 day spiritual reflection upon your life and discovery of your purpose for living this life.  Mr. Warren is the pastor at Saddleback Church in California.  He takes the reader through this journey of life’s purpose in 42 days.  It is suggested in the first few pages not to try to read/study this book any quicker because as explained in the beginning of the book the Bible considers 40 days a spiritually significant time period.  God would ask each person in the Bible to spend 40 days to prepare oneself for a new purpose.  Mr. Warren asks the reader to do the same.  There are scriptural passages to also read in the guide in the back of the book as well as messages to listen to online.  The day’s devotion can be spent in as little as 15 minutes to get the day’s message or more in-depth time can be spent using all the resources provided.  It is also suggested that the scriptures should be read in various differ translations or paraphrases.  Each chapter also begins with a QR code which can be scanned with your smartphone so that you can listen to a 3 minute video for the chapter.  This is an easy to understand new version of the book released 10 years ago which incorporates the newer technology available to most people today. This is a book that can be read by oneself for self reflection by yourself but it is suggested that more can be gleaned when read for a group discussion/devotional study. 
I enjoyed this book much more than I expected to.  I was surprised at how this book could direct me on a more fulfilling pathway to God and understanding my purpose without being preachy.  Mr. Warren writes in an upbeat way without being wishy-washy which I appreciated.  I plan to reread this book slower as the writer intended in a group setting with a small group study.  I had not read the first book so I cannot say whether the changes made the book better but I can say that this book has improved my philosophy on life.  Thank you for taking the time, Mr. Warren, in updating your popular book.
This book was provided for this review by Booksneeze.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dear Deb by Margaret Terry

Dear Deb by Margaret Terry is a book of letters written to a friend who was dying of cancer.  These letters reveal the life that she lived good and not so good.  They also reveal glimpses into every woman’s life—oh the same exact thing may not have happened maybe your husband didn’t shock you into depression by asking for a divorce out of the blue but something else equally difficult to live though has happened to every woman.  This is the story of a woman who made it through and lived.  That is what we women do we survive and we thrive and we love.  This is the story of one woman reaching out to another and believing in miracles and God and faith. 
I liked this book though it is not the usual helping a friend through cancer book.  It is a book for women to read and be encouraged that they can make it through all things.  It speaks of believing in miracles even when the miracle given is not the miracle asked for.  It is not wishy-washy but what woman’s life is?  It can be read cover to cover or read the letters daily and not in order.  It is a book for women and older girls.
I was provided this book for this review from Booksneeze.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Home in Drayton Valley by Kim Vogel Sawyer

A Home in Drayton Valley by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a novel of one family and their friend leaving their dreary life as the poorest of the poor in New York City in 1880 and going into the wilds of Kansas.  Tarsie Raines who is the very dear friend of Mary Brubacher leave for Kansas along with Mary’s alcoholic husband Joss and her two children.  Mary is dying of cancer which she is keeping quiet from everyone in hopes of getting her family to Kansas and away from Joss’s addiction to alcohol.  Along the way when she finds that she will not make it to Kansas she makes Tarsie promise to take care of her family. 
This is a good story combining the difficulties of settling Kansas in the 1880’s along with having the same problems that people have today of accepting God’s grace and curing addiction.  This family has the additional problems of grinding poverty with no welfare system to pull them through.  These people must pull together and work hard in order to survive.  This story can safely be read by any age group, young girls to older women will enjoy it.
This book was provided by Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group for this review.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Hidden Truth by Judith Miller

A Hidden Truth by Judith Miller is a novel discussing life in the Amana Colonies during the year of 1892-1893.  Dovie Cates has just lost her mother to influenza and her father is planning to move to Texas.  She has been living in the German part of Cincinnati but she has always wondered about her mother’s family in the Amana Colonies in Iowa but her mother was so secretive about her life there before she married.  Now that she was dead there was only one way to find out about her family and that was to visit them.  Surprisingly when she asked her father if she could visit them he had said that she could.  At 22 years old she was an adult but as a single woman she needed a chaperone to protect her reputation.  The short time she spends there she plans to discover what had happened to her mother to make her so sad—what her secrets were as well; as learn to live in the religious Amana colonies.
This is an interesting book and I loved it.  The Amana Colonies and their German background is an interesting backdrop to the story.  It was a good quick read at 337 pages which easily holds the reader’s attention and it hard to put down.  I am glad that I was given the opportunity to read it.
This book was provided by Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group for this review.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Kingsbury Collection by Karen Kingsbury

A Kingsbury Collection by Karen Kingsbury is a collection of 3 novels by Ms Kingsbury.  These are all great stand alone novels so it makes a great book to take on vacation or other trip.  Where Yesterday Lives is a novel about Ellen Barrett returning to her childhood home to help her family as they plan her most beloved father’s funeral.  The large family works through many of the hurts and joys of their past together.  This one is a real tear jerker so don’t even attempt to read it if you aren’t comfortable crying wherever it is that you are reading—quite emotional.  When Joy Came to Stay is a novel about Maggie Stovall who has a charmed life at least to those that she surrounds herself with.  She has the job that she has always dreamed of.  She is married to the man that she loves.  But she finds herself falling deeper into the hole of despair and depression and this story tells of her journey through it.  Great story of those involved in foster care (both as the child and as the parent) as well as living with depression.  On Every Side is the story of a community coming together to save a 100 year statue of Jesus which had stood inside the city park of all of that time from a big city law firm who would have it torn down for religious freedom.  This is the story of fighting for the rights of Christians within the law of religious freedom of the Constitution.  This is also a novel though at the end of the story it tells of a very similar incident which took place in Marshfield, Wisconsin.
I enjoyed all of these stories most especially the first—but this could be because of my life experiences.  Ms Kingsbury is quite a good writer and I really enjoy her books.  It is especially nice to have all three well written novels within the confines of one book—quite economical.  I look forward to reading more of her books.
I received this book from WaterbrookMultnomah for this review.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Comet"s Tale by Steven Wolf with Lynette Padwa

Comet’s Tale by Steven Wolf is a delightful book about a man and his dog.  This story tells of how Wolf goes from being a self centered disabled man who rescues a greyhound from a foster home which rescues doomed former racers to being a man with a trained greyhound service dog who happens to be disabled.  The book takes the reader through Wolf’s physical as well as emotional problems in an honest yet entertaining way.  Wolf not only learns how to function as a disabled man with the help of Comet as a service dog which he trained himself but Comet helps him learn to function as a human being with much to live for.
You will laugh, you will cry but you will keep reading.  This is a book that anyone in the family can read and enjoy.  I would not be surprised at all to see it made into a movie, perhaps a Disney or Hallmark.  This is a book you’ll love.
This book was provided by Algonquin Books for this review.