Thursday, December 12, 2013

Carolina Gold by Dorothy Love

Carolina Gold by Dorothy Love is a book about the reconstruction era after the Civil War.  Feelings ran only hot and cold during this time in the south.  Charlotte Fraser had just return to the plantation, Fairhaven, after spending the end of the war caring for her ailing father in his last days of life.  Her father had run a Rice plantation and now upon his death was given the news that she needed to find the deed to the family holdings or risk losing it all.  Was it not enough that she was going to have to figure out how to run the rice operation in addition to the numerous repairs to the damaged home and surrounding buildings after the ravages of the war?  Carolina Gold was the name of the superior rice grown in the Lowcountry area of South Carolina where Charlotte grew up after her mother died.  The slaves were now freed and now she must figure out how to pay for repairs to the buildings and the fields as well as find willing honest workers all from her meager funds.  All around her men who had run their own rice plantations were going bankrupt. Charlotte though not a woman who finds attending social dances important as others around her is not used to working the rice fields alongside the field hands and her blistered hand soon show it.  Her dresses containing yards and yards of fabric have been replaced with more simple dresses suitable for working now. 
I liked this book though found it interesting what people of means call being poor.   Charlotte finds herself thought of as poor because she has to think about where every penny goes and it is necessary to work as a teacher for her neighbors children.  It is always interesting to read a novel based on real historical events.  Charlotte is based on a 19th century female rice farmer who grew Carolina Gold in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.  This is the story of a young woman attempting to recreate at least a portion of the plantation that she grew up on and how she manages to learn to live in a new way on her own.
This book was provided by Booksneeze for this review.

Emma of Aurora by Jane Kirkpatrick

Emma of Aurora is a book based on the life of Emma Giesy.  She was instrumental is the scouting out of the Washington territory eventually the settling of Aurora Mills, Oregon. Emma Wagner was raised in the Germany community of Bethel, Missouri.  She was raised in a common community of Christians who were under the leadership of Father Wilhelm Kiel.  Father Kiel’s word is law.  Everything in Bethel belongs to the community under the name of Kiel.  If anything is needed from flour to fabric or lumber it must be first obtained from the community storage building.  Everything earned by the community went into the community fund.  Women had little or no say not only in this community but anywhere in the country legally.  This book is a compilation of 3 books in the Change and Cherish Trilogy.  It chronicles Emma Wagoner’s life from young adulthood into middle aged.  In the first book, A Clearing in the Wild Emma marries Christian Giesy, a man that she has been long admiring from a distance, against Father Kiel’s denial of his agreement to marry.  Christian had been sent on a mission to bring in others to the community of faith.  Father Kiel’s rules include celibacy and he discourages most marriages stating that it decreases working for the community.  Father Kiel’s family on the other hand is quite large.   Christian and Emma finally obtain permission to wed but Father Kiel will not preside over the ceremony—they must go elsewhere to have their wedding.  Quickly Father Kiel sends Christian again off to work in the hills of Kentucky.  When he returns Father Kiel wants to again send off Christian to scout out the Washington territory to move the entire community.  It would take at least a year.  Emma can’t stand the thought of being away from Christian that long and starts to devise a plan to go as the first woman scout.  Against many odds Father Kiel allows her to go but Emma has no idea of the hardships entailed with exploring through Indian Territory to get to Washington territory especially as a young pregnant woman. 
The second book chronicles the settling of Willapa Bay in Washington territory by the scouts lead by Christian Giesy and the settling of Aurora Mills, Oregon by Father Kiel.  It tells of the hardships of the dividing of the original Bethel, Missouri group into two divisions and the difficulties of each.  Father Kiel is getting older and also has moved away from some of his religious fervor (though not the rules set down by him) and moved toward economic enterprises that would make the community more money.  This book is told through the eyes of Louisa Kiel, Father Kiel’s wife and Emma in alternating chapters.  This leads the reader to understand both the reasoning behind the Kiel family and the Giesy family.  It leads the reader to a deeper understanding of both families.  Emma goes through the emotional grief of losing her husband and marrying a man in hopes of saving the farm for her sons but ends up in a loveless and violent union.  Emma frantically writes to her family for help but no letters come.  Emma has decisions to make in order to keep her children safe from her husband Jack Giesy.
The third book is A Mending at the Edge. In this story we read of Emma and the raising of her children and the difficulties she has depending on others for her safety from Jack and escaping into Aurora Mills.  She finds that the city is less than the Kiels had earlier described but that life is easier than in the territory cabin that she lived in with her drunk and often violent husband.  She learns to heal and forgive and live a life of meaning where she is not always in control of her destiny.  She learns to find happiness and to accept the forgiveness of others.  Emma matures as her children do.  She finds ways to provide for them food, clothing and education for not only her boys but also the girls.  Life is still difficult at times but manageable with the help of faith, friends and family.
I thought this book was one that should be read by those interested in the history of the settling of the west.  I love history so I was enthralled.  I however had to set the book down at times—sometimes because of my anger, sometimes because of the extreme sadness of the times.  Life was hard for our first settlers and I don’t think we always appreciate all that they did for us.  We owe a debt of gratitude to them.  They weren’t perfect just as we are not but they persevered and changed our country into the one we live in today—for better and for worse.
This book was provided by WaterbrookMultnomah for this review.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

An Amish Miracle by Beth Wiseman, Ruth Reid and Mary Ellis

An Amish Miracle by Beth Wiseman, Ruth Reid and Mary Ellis is a collection of 3 novellas, each one written by one of these women.  They each highlight a different woman in the same Amish community of Paradise, Pennsylvania.    These women are all good friends and each one is about to experience a miracle from God.  Hope Bowman believes that God is punishing her by giving her only girls for children because when was a very young teenage girl she was raped and her father made her give up the boy child for adoption.  Hope has 4 beautiful loving daughters whom she loves dearly but so wants a son not only for her husband but also for herself.  She prays for a miracle then the day after she admits to her husband, Stephen, of her shame she awakens to a knock on her door and finds her 15 year old son, James, standing there with quite a story to tell the family of his adoption then life in foster care.
The next story continues to tell of Bowman family but the story centers on Hope’s good friend Rosa Hostetler who is about to lose the farm to back taxes after the untimely death of her husband.  Rosa hates depending on anyone for anything but her pride is getting her further and further into debt and then when the English neighbor’s dog start killing her chickens that is the last straw.  Those chicken’s eggs are her only means of supporting herself.  Not only are her chickens being depleted but since they are now scared the ones that are left have quit laying.  One day that she lost her temper and shot the dog leaving it wounded and limping back to its master.  Her neighbor brought her the vet bill.  It took all the money she had been saving to pay for it.  She gave up.  She couldn’t sleep, she couldn’t pay her bills, she would have to go live with her aunt and she didn’t want to.  That night she prayed for a miracle.
The last of the novellas continues these 2 women’s stories to a minor degree and Becky Byler is the lead character.  Becky had been discussed in the two prior stories as a lovely though overweight teenage girl.  Everyone loves Becky but Becky has no confidence in herself or believing that her neighbors especially the boys would like her just for herself—even her overweight self.  Becky learns to love herself and trust that people would love her also even if she doesn’t look like what the world see’s as beautiful.
I liked this collection of stories.  I especially liked that though these stories could all stand alone that they all are also connected.  These 3 writers have done a fabulous job of intertwining the stories to make this book.  I would recommend this as good reading for any woman or girl of most any age.
This book was provided by Booksneeze for this review.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Samson by Shawn Hoffman

Samson by Shawn Hoffman is book written based on true events which happened during World War II in Auschwitz.  Dr. Josef Mengele who was conducting horrible surgical experiments on Jews especially children using no anesthesia and Rudolf Hoss a high ranking military official in Nazi Germany discover that Samson Abrams is a former boxing champion.  They have been having boxing matches for the entertainment of the troops and high ranking officials.  The Nazis enjoy the watching and betting on the outcomes and the Jewish participants fight the fight of their life—the winner getting extra food rations and the loser get death in the gas chamber located within the camp.  This truth was hidden by the German forces running the camp both during and after the war.  This book tells some of the horrors of this war and life in the concentration camps.  It tells of the tireless work of Maximilian Kolbe a Polish Catholic priest imprisoned for hiding Jews who never gave up hope nor gave up working for the good of mankind right up until his death. 
To say that this book is difficult to read is an understatement but it needs to be read by all adults “lest we forget and repeat history”.  I had to stop reading this book many times just in order to get over the horror contained in the writings.  I would stop and clean a room to get my mind off of the atrocities not only of life during a war but of the things that Nazi Germany subjected these concentration camp prisoners.  Though I believe that this book needs to be read by all adults I also think that if a parent allows a child to read it, even an older child that the child needs to be closely observed for signs of trouble digesting the horror of this book and definitely needs to be read by both parents before allowing the child to read it.  This book is well written and I am glad to be given the opportunity to read it.
This book was provided by Booksneeze for this review.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Dawn of Christmas by Cindy Woodsmall

The Dawn of Christmas by Cindy Woodsmall is about the loss of the dream that Sadie had at the age of 19 to have the life of being a wife and mother just like the other women in her Amish culture.  On the day before her greatly anticipated wedding day she caught her fiancĂ©, Daniel, in the arms of her cousin.  She answers the call of the Lord to go to a missionary tour for 2 years in Peru.  She finds and learns to love the native people in the area but needs to return home to raise the money to return.  Upon her arrival home she finds that her parents have not changed much and still are planning her return to the family and start planning for her to start a family of her own.  Sadie finds herself drawn to Levi as a friend only and Levi accepts her as a friend only also.  It seems like the perfect solution for both of them to get their respective families off their back—pretend to be lovers and their family will leave them alone.  Sadie can be busy raising money for her return to Peru and Levi can work on growing his business then they can stage a fight and “breakup”.  That works for a while, until they start to fall in love with each other.  The two best friends start to accept that they may have a relationship worth saving until that is Levi starts to talk to his business partner, Daniel, and finds out that he is the jilted Daniel of Sadie. 
I, just like all the rest of Ms Woodsmall’s books, loved this one.  It is written on the premise that if we would all just take the time to become friends first and lovers second we would find our self married to our best friend.  Would not that plan be the one that we all wish for our children as well as for our self?  Are there pitfalls in this plan?  Would the passion still be there?  Would we find it like being married to our brother or would the relationship change to one of passion?  How important is passion anyway?  Doesn’t it always just go away after awhile?  These are all questions that all couples find themselves answering before marriage whether marrying a best friend or experiencing love at first sight.   Once again Ms Woodsmall looks at the life of the Amish and we find at that the more we discover the differences the more we see that we are more alike than different.
I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Press for this review.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay is a novel about Samantha Moore who has been in the foster system on and off since she was a little girl.  She was placed with her mother who somehow passed a program to get her back but then was found on the streets after her father traded her to pay off a debt to the group of men he owed money.  After graduation she is offered an opportunity by Father John from the Home and a Mr. Knightley.  She is given the chance to go to graduate school and all she has to do in return is write regular honest letters to Mr. Knightley about her progress and her life.  Mr. Knightley is the only person who she feels comfortable enough to be honest with except of course Father John who know some of her history through her case records.  To say that Samantha has had a rough life is an understatement.  Her father tried to strangle her in front of a mirror so that she had to watch.  Her mother was a drug addict who only cared about herself and her drugs and maybe Sam’s dad.  Now Mr. Knightley was offering her one last chance but she had to go to school in journalism and she loved fiction.  Sam lived in the fictional world of Dickens and all the old classics.  Her speech was peppered with quotes from all those books.  Could Sam live an honest truthful life and trust those around her into her dark secrets?

I liked this book but you can’t judge the book by its cover.  I didn’t like the way it ended though I could see it coming.  It made me cry so often just seeing how the foster system works against the children it is supposed to help.  If this is the first book that Ms. Reay has written I look forward to reading more of her works. 
This book was provided by Booksneeze for this review.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Never Ending Spring by Darrell Case

Never Ending Spring by Darrell Case is murder mystery by Mr. Case.  Jack Johnson is a farmer in Indiana who has endured many hardships in life but Jack is a farmer like many others we all have known who lean over and pull themselves out of all problems by pulling on his boot straps and walk forward.  Jack is a good man who has endured the early death of his young son in a farming accident and is now going through the raising of his granddaughter after the senseless murder of his daughter and her pastor husband right in their own church.  Jack blames the police force who is not doing a good enough job solving the crime.  Jack blames God (maybe) since he says he doesn’t believe in Him or at least the hypocrites who go to his sin in law’s church.  Jack blames Lonnie Greggs, the local criminal who has an alibi but it all seems pretty fishy to Jack.  Then when Lonnie runs and the police refuse to go after him and bring him back to town Jack takes the law into his own hands and leaving his wife Ruth to run the farm, he decides to take onto himself this miscarriage of justice.  He looks for Lonnie and even captures him but while returning to town someone shoots and kills Lonnie and tries to kill Jack also.  Jack begins to have second thoughts about Lonnie.  Maybe Lonnie was telling the truth.  But if it wasn’t Lonnie who could it be? 
As with the other Case book that I have read I liked this mystery.  I thought he could have not tipped his hand quite so quick to show the reader who the killer was but the suspense was good and though the reader knew who the killer probably was they didn’t know how many bodies would stack up before he would be arrested.  Mr. Case also does an excellent job of telling the story of Jack’s being saved by Jesus Christ.  Life does not become perfect after accepting Christ in his life but just more manageable.  I like Mr. Case’s style of writing and look forward to reading more of his work.
As an aside I wish the back of the book would have been writing in a different fashion.  I am afraid that the way it is written that only Christians will read the book.  I feel that with Mr. Case’s background in mission he would like to also reach the unchurched and I feel that  it could be written less heavy handed.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is the sad /happy story of life in California in the 1850s during the gold rush days.  Angel could barely remember her childhood with her mother.  She was poor but her mother loved her and no one else did.  Her childhood ended at the age of 8 when her mother died and she was sold into prostitution.  She learns to never trust men as she can only expect betrayal from them.  When she grew too old for the men who only desired little girls she made her way to California and into the brothels for the gold rush men.  She meets Michael Hosea who only loves and treats her with respect.  He marries her and takes her home to his farm.  Michael also introduces her to his faith in God but her trust has already been destroyed and cannot be redeemed by even the love of Michael.  Michael finally breaks down some of her barriers and Angel, who Michael calls Amanda, learns to love him.  One of the ways that Angel’s body was ruined for her was by surgery so that she can never have a child.  Angel knows that Michael wants a child and that because of his great love for her will not leave her.  Angel leaves him again and again because she believes that she is not worthy of his love and that she can never give him the children he wants.  This is the story of Angel learning to trust both God and man and becoming a woman of self respect.
This story is difficult to read.  I had to set it aside numerous times because of the difficult subject matter.  I think that this is a story that needed to be told and is a powerful message for all who are victims of people who have power over them and develop feelings of unworthiness.  This story tells all of us that we are unworthy and can never be worthy of the love of God but that we must accept it anyway.  This story needs to be read by all women whether victims of violence or not so that we can remember that we never have any more right to the love that God gives to each of us than anyone else.  We all have sinned and are unworthy and He loves us all.  One of the best books I have read lately.  5 stars.
This book was provided by WaterbrookMultnomah for this review.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Gunpowder Tea

Gunpowder Tea by Margaret Brownley has an 18th century setting for this Christian novel.  Miranda Hunt works for the Pinkerton Detective Agency and she has been given some minor crimes to go undercover to solve but she has never been given that big crime case.  Finally one has come along that requires a female crime fighter and she is given her big chance.  She has assumed the identity of Annie Beckman and is working undercover as the new heiress that the owner of the Last Chance Ranch has advertised.  Annie/Miranda is to solve the case of who is robbing the banks and trains in the area and the latest clues point to the robber being a worker at the Last Chance Ranch.  On the train ride out to the ranch several of the other riders turn out to be robbers of the Phantom Gang and Miranda finds herself one of the victims.  She arrives and works herself out to the Last Chance only to find that the cantankerous owner, Eleanor Walker, is not at home and since she really needs to answer nature’s call.   Annie walks on in the house and uses the bathroom.  Unfortunately afterwards when she is leaving she finds out that Eunice is at home startles the elderly lady and Mrs. Walker falls down the stairs breaking her leg.  Miranda, aka Annie, finds herself Eunice’s nursemaid as well as learns about how to run a ranch.  Annie and Eunice learn how to work together after a fashion while Annie works the case.  Annie finds that one of the robbers is a worker on the ranch and works to find clues who the leader of the gang is as she finds herself drawn to the robber, Jeremy Taggart.  He says that he is working undercover also but Annie isn’t so sure.
I liked this book.  It is a story of a strong Christian woman working to find a way of life on her own especially 100 years ago.  This novel shows that with tenacity working in a so called man’s field is possible even without giving up feminity.  Anna is a pure woman but she has a tough side that works in her chosen field.  She learns to trust in God’s choices for her as she also learns to trust her own choices.  One of the comments I had on this book is that it states that you can tell what God’s wishes are for you by the pure joy you have when doing it.  I like that.  I like that this book expresses that God wants us to have joy in our life when we make good choices.  God the father wants happiness and joy for His children and we only have to desire His wishes in order to have that joy.  We serve a mighty and loving God, do we not?
This book was provided by Booksneeze for this review.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sisterchicks Do the Hula by Robin Jones Gunn

Sisterchicks Do the Hula by Robin Jones Gunn is the story of best friends since college roommate years, Hope and Laurie going off on a trip to Hawaii vacation.  They want to celebrate their 40th birthdays together in style.  They had planned a trip when in college but Laurie had fallen for her now husband and the trip had never happened.  This time Laurie gets a surprise pregnancy and Hope says lets go anyway.  There were a few places of stepping back for Laurie because of Emilee (the new baby soon to be born) such as no surfing—Hope took the surfing lesson for both of them.  They sailed, ate sushi, snorkeled, and ate chocolate and macadamia nuts but most of all they talked and experienced everything that is important to them.  They enjoy the paradise and revel in the beauty that God has placed there for them to see and experience.
Boy oh boy did I love this book.  I wished that I could have read it in one setting and I almost did.  This is definitely a girly book though and don’t sugar coat it.  I can’t imagine a guy liking this book.  It is all on things that women are interested in and things that women think and talk about.   They go shopping, they talk about hormones and pregnancy and they cry.  Though they do live in God’s universe and discuss it and enjoy it—the book is not deep thinking.  It is a pure joy to read and don’t start it just before bed thinking it will relax you to sleep.  You’ll just stay up late reading it.
I received this book from Multnomah for this review.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Swept Away by Mary Connealy

            Swept Away by Mary Connealy is a Christian romance novel set in Texas during the settling of the state.  Luke is returning to the family ranch to get it back from the man who had murdered Luke’s father and then stole the ranch.  Luke’s father had evidently known that something was up since he had sent him the deed just before it had happened.  Luke felt shame that he had not been at home to help his father defend the ranch but he was returning now to defend the family ranch.  Ruthy MacNeil was forging a stream with her adopted family when she was swept away in a runaway flood.  She had her shoulder caught in a board and had been knocked out until Luke found her face down on the stream bank.  Not having time to take her wherever it was that she was supposed to be heading he took her along.  When Ruthy came to she was only too happy to go along since her adopted family had been nothing but mean to her since taking her into their home.  Luke soon finds that Ruthy is more than needed in the Texas settlement and also finds that she is quite pretty especially after he allowed her time to clean up in the stream.

I liked this book though I found it with much the same plot as other romance novels.
This is from Bethany House

I have not placed this book on review any place else.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Too Good to be Truman by Chris Well

Too Good for Truman by Chris Well is an action crime mystery story set in Nashville.  Truman is an unemployed crime reporter for the local Nashville newspaper and no one is more surprised than he is when he receives a thank you note from the local homeless mission thanking him for his half million dollar contribution to their charity.  The trouble begins to build though when the IRS agent comes to investigate why he has not reported how he came to have a half a million dollars to contribute to a charity.  Mix all this up with the kidnapping of up and coming rising teen country and western singing sensation, Darla Lovell and you have the making of this mystery.  This is not the mystery so many crime novels that leaves the reader wondering who done it no this is the mystery of how Truman going to prove that not only did he not bilk the IRS out of their tax dollars but also how he did not kidnap Darla Lovell and try to collect the ransom money from the music producer’s insurance money. 
This is a great story.  I have never laughed so much while reading an action novel.  Mr. Well has so many twists and turns and throws in comedy with each one.  I have enjoyed reading his novels before and this one did not disappoint in any way.  Great read and I hope to read more of your work.
I received this book from       for this review.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Secrets of Dynamic Communicaiton by Ken Davis

Secrets of dynamic Communication by Ken Davis is a tool for the speaker.  This book tells of how to prepare a speech whether a sermon or preparing the rare speaking engagement.  Mr. Davis provides the step by step preparation for giving a good speech that people will not only be engaged in but will also remember after they go home.  His speech preparations are all based on his SCORRE methodology.  This is an acronym for: Subject, Central theme, Objective, Rationale, Resources and finally Evaluation.  He reminds the speaker that all well delivered speeches are based on this same criteria.  He reminds the speaker to focus on the main subject then to narrow it down further to the central theme.  He states that many speakers try to pick too broad of a subject and then to tell all they know on the subject or worse even try to impress the audience with facts that they are not familiar.  This book even encloses within its cover how to embellish the speech to give it humor even if “funny isn’t really your thing”.  He tells phrases to avoid, such as, “in closing” and time management of not only planning your speech but also planning how to make your speech fill the time (not run short or long).  He reminds the speaker to always make eye contact with the audience and hold them during the duration of the speech.
This easy to read book has a systematic way of writing and delivering speeches for either small or large groups of people.  He has written a book that can be of value to the accomplished speaker but would be valuable for the beginning speaker.  He delivers in a very short book (154 pages) a concise method for foolproof speech writing and delivery.  I read for my own ability to deliver infrequent speeches for audiences.  The only thing I see wrong with this book is that though the author tells in earlier chapters about sticking to a very narrow subject then he appears to break his own rule and put in chapter 13 which just about lost me.  He tells about Aristotle’s use of Logos, Ethos, and Pathos and its use in speech writing.  It is a good thing he had earlier mentioned that he wrote an appendix or I probably would have quit reading and would have missed this quite important part of the book.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

For Every Season by Cindy Woodsmall 3rd in Amish Vines and Orchards

For Every Season by Cindy Woodsmall is the 3rd installment of the Amish Vines and Orchards series.  In this series there is tension between the brother Samuel and Jacob and this is over the love of Rhoda Byler their business partner.  Rhoda and the others have started to feel at home in the new Amish settlement that they have set up.  Others have started to notify them and want to request information about them in order to move there and join them.  Landon, Rhoda’s longtime friend has configured a website which is attracting buyers.  Rhoda has already worked through her legal problems and Jacob has contacted a lawyer and is working to get him out of his problems and maybe work through Casey and her daughter, Casey’s problems at the same time—this time without complicating his love life with Rhoda.  With all of this going on the orchard seems to be thriving under the care of Rhoda and Samuel when weather this time in the form of a late spring freeze once again threatens to undermine all their work.  Read the book yourself to find out how the threesome solve their personal problems and also work with the rest of the family to save the orchard.
I had read the first 2 books of the series and was excited to be able to read the 3rd one.  I see on one of the back pages that there is another coming out in the spring and now I am anxiously awaiting that one.  I love this series and I liked this one better than the 2nd one.  It seemed that the characters in the story have become more loving and forgiving of  each other’s character flaws and accept each other for the gifts that each of them has.  This book is excellent reading for those (especially women and girls) of the age of about 13 up.  The reading is easy but the plot easily holds the interest of grown women also and as always there are recipes in the back.
I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for this review.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Plain Disappearance by Amanda Flower

A Plain Disappearance by Amanda Flower is a novel from the Appleseed Creek Mystery series.  Chloe Humphrey joins forces with the police department and her boyfriend Timothy Troyer to solve a death in the Amish community, Katie Lambright.  Neither Chloe nor Timothy knew when they headed for a quiet abandoned barn to exchanged Christmas gifts where the twists and turns of this mystery would take them.  Katie was a promising teenage girl growing up in the Amish community when she faced her death.  Who had strangled such a sweet and innocent girl?  Chloe came up with many possibilities and had their faults but none seemed quite right.  Was it Katie’s former Amish boyfriend with his violent tendencies?  Was it her father with his impatience toward his children?  Was it Timothy’s friend, Billy, who had a checkered past that no one had known about until after the death?  Was it Brock or Curt that dynamic duo who were always causing Chloe some kind of grief of the violent type?
I live the way this mystery writer tells the story and keeps the reader guessing all the way through the book.  Such a talent she has telling this 3rd book of the series.  Ms Glower is a great writer and I look forward to reading more of her Amish mysteries.  I had not read any of the previous mysteries of the series but this novel easily stands alone and she introduces the characters in such a way that the reader quickly knows them.  The novel though a mystery is easy to understand and follow.  I recommend it for reading to anyone who enjoys mysteries especially girls and women.
I received this book from B & H Publishing Group and Handlebar for this review.

Monday, September 2, 2013

My Hope is Found by Joanne Bischof

My Hope is Built by Joanne Bischof is the 3rd installment in the Cadence of Grace series.  In the 1st book Gideon and Lonnie had found a better life living on a farm with the elderly Elsie and Jebediah Bennett.  They had their son Jacob and Gideon was learning to live the Christian life until the letter shows up and says that he is still married to Cassis.  This marriage was one that Gideon had thought was annulled within days of it taking place.  In the 2nd book of the series Gideon lives with Cassie but never sleeps with her.  During this time Cassie becomes very sick and Gideon helps nurse her back to health.  Gideon shows her kindness and learns to care for Cassie but never loves her.  Cassie upon realizing this decides to confess to her family that Gideon was telling the truth about the annulment and agrees to have the legality take place.  Gideon in this 3rd installment walks back home to Lonnie and his son.  When he gets there he finds that Lonnie has moved on and is engaged to Toby, the local pastor.  This installment is of the turmoil that Lonnie faces with her decision to marry either Toby the good man who loves her and she loves also or Gideon the man of her dreams who loves her but has so many faults.  During this installment Gideon learns to wholly lean on Jesus for his peace and to accept life as it comes.
I had so looked forward to this installment in the Cadence series and I was not disappointed in it.  Ms Bischof’s writing style in exciting and fun to read.  These are easy to read books with good morals about normal people who have to fight temptation in their life which is the same as people in real life.  She writes of people who are poor in possessions giving of what they have to others who have less.  This book is not sappy—the characters all have faults (well maybe not the Bennetts) but they lean on Jesus for their pattern on which to piece together their life.  I would recommend reading this book to anyone of any age.
I received this book from Multnomah for this review.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Jesus on Every Page by David Murray

Jesus on Every Page by David Murray is a book about not only seeing the stories of Jesus in the New Testament as the reader often does but also seeing the stories of Jesus as the Hebrews of the Old Testament days did—in the Old Testament.  Mr. Murray takes the reader through all of the Old Testament Books of the Bible and shows us how the Old Testament is not just a historical accounting of God’s people living until Jesus came but their knowledge and expectation of the Messiah’s coming and their salvation through grace.  He states that the Old Testament people were also saved by the grace of Jesus Christ by their own belief in the coming Messiah.  They were not surprised by Jesus appearance that rather that it was expected.  He further states that this revelation is presented to us as early as the 3rd chapter of Genesis.  He says that the model for the coming Kingdom was presented in Genesis when Adam was created to be the 1st Prophet, priest and King and received God’s Word and worshiped in the Garden Temple.  He failed but Jesus fulfilled as Adam didn’t and Jesus made His people once again Prophet, priests and kings again by His perfect sacrifice for all of mankind’s sin.
He further states that the Bible isn’t written to be about moral/ethic it is rather about God.  It is not an advice column it is our insight into God’s plan and God’s love for us.  It is about what God thinks and wills for His creation.   The Old Testament was the word and work of God for Israel, the Church in the wilderness.  Israel’s national security rested on God’s anointed king and David won because God fought for him.  This was God’s doing—David’s doing was his great faith in God and the knowledge of grace through the coming Messiah.  David knew of this because God told him and he wrote it down in the Psalms.  David knew that the king of whom he sang was not David but rather the coming King and Messiah.   David sinned many sins and they were not his undoing but rather David had great faith and that was why he had great successes in his kingdom.
This book is a good book for the reader to understand the Old Testament.  I have always been a person who believed that one cannot learn, understand or even completely understand the New Testament stories without knowledge of the Old Testament.  I am even a person who enjoys reading the Old as well as the New Testaments but I learned much from the writings of Mr. Murray.  He writes interesting details of insight into how the Old Testament people knew and were waiting for the coming Messiah but occasionally I think he is looking for the information that he wants to find and so he does.  That being said I am glad that I read it and learned much from the experience.  I would recommend this book for readers looking for an easy to understand scripture lesson on the Old Testament.
 I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer

What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer tells the story of Christina Willems who was raised by loving parents who worked in the mission of the poor around them.  They ran the local poor farm.  When Christina’s father died he left her with no money but had trained her to run the poor farm after he was gone and she had done an excellent job though the man in charge did not believe that a woman could do the job and did not send the same amount of support for the mission than had been available for the running of the farm when her parents were alive.  She was managing just to make it until one night blind little Tommy awakened her after smelling smoke in the air.  The managed to get everyone out of the burning building but then she was faced with not only rebuilding the structure but immediately needed to find temporary shelter for her charges.  It proved to be especially difficult to find a place for little Tommy until she finally practically forced but way of guilt to get the mill owner to take him.  She had told everyone that it would only take a short time to get the poor farm repaired but then the manager of the mission group started dragging his feet to release the money needed for repairs and suspicious things keep happening at the building site—such as someone cut up all the donated lumber one day.  It takes a deep searching of her faith and the community to find a solution to this problem and learn to work together.  The church learns to put their faith to the test and open their arms to those previously not regular attendees.   Christina learns to pray not for her own plans for the poor farm but rather that God’s will be done for the mission.
I liked this story of a small Kansas community in the early history of our country.  It tells of how hard it was and still is to live a life of faith even when unfair things keep happening that are beyond your control.  When the story of those lying around you have a story which sounds more likely than the truth which sounds so unbelievable to takes strong people to stand up and say I believe you when the police do not.  It also brings out that even when you are doing everything that you can for your mission that it is still not your mission but it is God’s mission and you must do what it is that God wants you to do for His plan not for your plans—they may and probably are different.  I can recommend this good reading material for older children and adults especially women.
This book was provided by Waterbrook Press for this review.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma

Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma is a novel about a true story taking place in the Netherlands during World War II.  This story tells of the Kooistra family during the closing days of the war.  The Dutch police were working closely with the Gestapo trying to round up and kill any Jews or Dutch Resistant’s who were still fighting against the Germans.  The Germans were also regularly rounding up any men or boys still hiding in the homes to fight on the front lines in the rapidly losing battles of 1945.   Cornelia was living at home taking care of her little brother, Johan, who was 20 and in hiding from the Gestapo.  Cornelia’s husband, Hans, had died 4 years ago on their wedding night the first day of the war fighting with the poorly armed Dutch army against the Germans and she bitterly mourned his passing every day.  Her sister Anki lived nearby with her husband.  All are Christian but Anki’s husband, Piet, was the most staunchly literal in his beliefs but was openly able to live in the home because of his job working on the farm to provide for the army’s food.   Cornelia has her hands full trying to keep Johan in the house because he so wants to join the Resistance and fight for their freedom from the Germans.  In the opening chapter Gerrit, a Dutch Resister is on the wrong side of a firing squad and Johan hears him moaning from his wounds and brings him into the home to be healed by Cornelia and Anki, who happens to be a nurse.  Anki is forced to lie to Piet in order to protect the family and Gerrit because she knows that Piet would not lie for any purpose.  This brings the Kooistra family into the beginnings of working in the Resistance for Netherland’s freedom.
I know I read a lot of books and like a lot of what I read but I really love this book.  It is a page turner that is difficult to put down.  Some really good books force the reader to read several chapters in order to introduce the characters and get the reader into the book but this book grabs the reader in the very first chapter.  This book tells the story of the waning days of the liberation of the Netherlands by the Allied forces lead by the Canadians.  It tells of the terror of the Dutch citizens living under German rule during the war.    The story brings out how difficult it is just to live a Christian life while there is a war going on in the country in which you live and the difficult decisions that daily life forces you to make.  Is it ok to lie in order to protect your family?  Is it ok to steal in order to feed your family?  Who is my family, my brother or sister?  So many blessings that we take for granted today were difficult decisions during the German occupation of the Dutch in the 1940s.  This book can be read by older children (at least Middle School age) and should be read by all adults.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

Burning Sky by Lori Benton is the newest novel by this author.  It is a novel of the American frontier immediately following the Revolutionary War.  Willa Burning Sky, who had been abducted by the Mohawks, the Longhouse People at the tender age of 14, was returning to the Long Knives home of her childhood using only the memory of her father's words in her head.  Willa though kidnapped by the Longhouse People had grown to love them and was grieving the loss of her 2 daughters to the dreaded small pox disease of the white invaders known as the Long Knives.  Upon returning to her home she found that she would have to fight the government for her own farm because her parents before their disappearance were accused of being Tory sympathizers.  She is fighting the love of her Indian brother, Joseph Tames His Horse of which she has no blood relation and the white man, Neil, of whom she rescued during her return to the farm.  This is the story of Willa working through her grief while at the same time fighting for her right to stay on her family farm.
I loved this story.  While it is a love story it is mostly a life story.  It does not glorify the white or the red man's ways but rather looks at both and sees the bad and the good of both of them  It also points out that many of the racist views of both races come from fear and jealousies of our past as well as the new ones that keep cropping up as we all live our daily lives.  This book shows the courage that it takes to be the first of a group to be Christian and learn to love the peole of God no matter their color or thnicity.  This is a book which needs to be read by all but most especially all women to learn to appreciate the freedoms which we now take for granted and should not but rather to appreciate the fight that our foremothers had to fight in order just to live. 
I recieved this book from Waterbrook Press for this review.