Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Midwife's Choice by Delia Parr

The Midwife's Choice by Delia Parr is the 2nd installment in the At Home in Trinity series by this author.  In this installment we find Martha living in the confectionary house with the 2 sisters who run it, Ivy and Fern.  She had developed a good working relationship with the doctor in town and both knew what each was best at in the division and care of their patients of the town.  Martha is developing a relationship with the mayor but so far has turned down his marriage proposal since she knows that she could not leave her midwifery practice if she were to marry him.  Then when her runaway daughter comes home it seems life could not be more complete.  That is until her daughter, Victoria, tells her of her plans to return to New York with her boss's wife to continue working at the newspaper.  Victoria has learned a lot since running away with the theater troupe.  She has grown up and seems to have be protected by God of the many evils which could have hurt her and found a nice family with which to live and work for.  Martha had been praying for her protection and it seems that He has provided that and more.  Victoria quickly apologized for leaving and Martha tells her that she has done some soul searching also about Victoria growing up since her husband's and Victoria's father's death.  She agrees to Victoria's return but with many stipulations which Victoria agrees and in a few days she would have returned but for the snowstorm and the beating of one of Martha's patients, Nancy, and needing to protect her.  Some of the town secrets come to light and community pulls together to protect and hide Nancy.

I loved reading this book even though I hadn't read the first installment.  It is not necessary to read it for the understanding of this book though I think I would have enjoyed it more since I would have already been acquainted with the characters of the story.  This book is a Christian love story though the love story just adds interest to the story of Martha's midwifery practice and her interactions with her daughter and the community. I would recommend this book for any age girl or woman reader.
I received this book from Baker Publishing Group for this review.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentiis

Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentiis is Giada's newest cookbook creation.  It is filled with high quality pictures on high quality paper.  Giada's cookbooks all have a theme and this one is healthy cooking on a day to day basis.  Now this cookbook is not for those looking for cooking on a budget.  Giada is a chef and as such uses good if not great quality foods and equipment and expects that the reader will also be able to afford these items if they wish to cook her recipes from this cookbook.  That being said she also explains the reasoning for instance using one type of olive oil over another.  In one recipe she will note that you should use not just Romano cheese but rather Pecorino Romano cheese.  The seasoned cook of skill will be able to make substitutes that may not be quit the quality but certainly have meals that the family can enjoy and afford.  She has many suggestions to make snacking more nutritious but still enjoyable and fun.  She makes no bones that she does not eat to lose weight but rather for nutrition and enjoyment.  This cookbook makes notations on whenever a recipe is classified as vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free.  This cookbook has many suggestions on seasonings as well as ways to use those vegetables in your garden that you have lost interest in beyond the first weeks of it being in season.  The chapter that I love the most however is the first one which is breakfast meals.  She has many great ideas that I will use again and again.

I liked this cookbook.  It cannot be the only cookbook that you own but luckily I own many and will enjoy this cookbook as an addition to my collection. I received this book for Blogging for Books for this review.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Amish Chrsitmas at North Star by Cindy Woodsmall, Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark, Amanda Flower, and Katie Ganshert

Amish Chrsitmas at North Star by Cindy Woodsmall, Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark, Amanda Flower, and Katie Ganshert.  These well known authors have worked together to write this delightful book of 4 stories.  The premise of the story is that Rebekah, the midwife of the Amish community 25 years ago on a snowy night delivered 4 babies and these 4 stories are how they are spending this Christmas as adults.  The children are Elle McAllister, Eden Hochstetler, Savilla Beiler, and Andy Danner.  In the first Elle knows that she is adopted but has no idea that her mother was from the Amish community of North Star.  A local reporter, Chase Wellington, decides to write a story about the 4 births and has set out to find out what happened to all those children born on that snowy night.  He becomes intrigued when he finds that one of the Amish women disappeared from the community after being dismissed and was never heard of after that.  Elle the baby of that mother has had a good life being raised by good parents, knows that her biological mother is out there but has no burning desire to find her, assuming that her mother does not want to be found. Chase convinces her that she should go back to North Star from Iowa where she was raised to find out her family history.
  In the 2nd story, Eden has joined with her non-Amish friend, Gina, to solve a murder mystery.  Eden's good elderly friend, Isaac, was found dead in the stable that he owned in town.  On the surface it looked like an accident where a horse stomped the man to death but Gina's father was the veterinarian and told her that the horse had a puncture wound and the lab results from the autopsy showed that the horse had been injected with amphetamines.  This greatly upset Eden since she was very close to the older man and loved spending time at the stables with him.  So begins the solving of the mystery by the two girls.
In the 3rd story Savilla has broken off her engagement to Kore without much explanation.  Savilla though had what she thought was an excellent reason, she was not going to be able to have children because she had to have a hysterectomy and didn't want Kore to marry her just because he felt sorry for her.  So she broke off the engagement without telling him why.  But when Kore's, grandmother Mammi D. falls and is in critical condition at the local hospital and Kore needs to come back home to help out.  Savilla has gone to check out Mammi D's house and make sure all was as it should be.  Savilla had been working with Mammi D the day before she fell and she needed to finish up and also wanted to check and make sure it hadn't left something out and caused the fall.  She heard a noise while she was there and discovered 3 children hiding outside.  She found out the Mammi D had agreed to watch them while their parents were out of the country to adopt their next sibling.  Savilla and Kore have to learn to get along and start working together to care for the children so that their parents don't have to return before the adoption goes through.
In the 4th story Andy Danner has left North Star 6 months ago because he can't face life there after Nellie left him.  Nellie always had been good with numbers and wanted to continue her education at the university.  She thought that though she could go through with joining the church and marriage to Andy until that day she left classes at the church and tearfully told him that she couldn't do it.  Nellie had gone on to the city and tried classes but found that she really needed the church and loved Andy more than she wanted to be educated.  Nellie returned to North Star and repented and was accepted back into the church and community but Andy couldn't trust her and he left  for Mississippi to join an Amish group working construction.  Sam, Andy's 12 year old brother was devastated as was Nellie.  Nellie wrote to Andy and apologized and said she would wait as long as necessary and went to work in an ice cream parlor in town and sewing for people on the side.  Sam thought of a great idea, he would make all the money necessary to buy Andy's train ticket if he would agree to come home.  Andy thinking it was impossible agreed.  Then Sam went to Nellie and talked to her about Andy and found the Nellie had written to him already but agreed to write another letter to him to apologize again.  All was going good until Andy and Sam's dad had the terrible accident and Sam gave up all his money to help pay the hospital bills. 
How is all this going to turn out for these 4 babies born on the same terrible night?

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Holy Bible International Children's Bible

The Holy Bible International Children's Bible is not a Children's Bible in the traditional sense of the phrase.  It is not merely the stories of the Bible that children would be interested.  It is also not a picture book there are no pictures to speak of in this Bible.  It is not even a paraphrase.  It is an actual translation of the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek language.  All of that being said it is an easy to read translation.  Most children of about 5th grade reading level would be able to read it straight through and most reading children of any age could read the familiar stories.  It has plenty of maps to engage the reader into knowing where a particular incident took place.  The outside is decorated for girl readers especially those who love the Frozen movie.  It comes with a blue Bible case so that it can be easily transported (and protected) to church or study events. 

I would recommend this Bible for purchase for anyone buying for young girls either for personal study or as a Sunday School promotion gift.  It should be considered  a good first Bible for girls but would be easy Bible reading for adults also. It is a really good translation and I enjoyed reading it.  I really think that calling it a children's translation is going to cut down on sales because it would be a good translation for any adult to read also.  I know that I enjoyed reading this translation.
I received this Bible from BookLook for this review.

Black Earth by Timothy Snyder

Black Earth by Timothy Snyder is the holocaust as a history and warning.  This book looks at the holocaust strictly from a historical point of view with some additions from the author which could be construed as theory or the author's point of view.   There is no romance in this holocaust book.  There is no special interesting side stories to this book.  This book points out how Hitler and the men working with and for him made their decisions on their political aspirations as well as their plans to conquer the world.  Hitler is not the first nor most likely not the last to want to win public favor as well as ownership of the world.  What this book is investigating is why Hitler's war effort on the Jewish population was so well received in the 1930s and 1940s in Europe and Asia.  This aspect of the book is very hard to read as it condemns the majority of the world but if we do not look at it and as well why the rest of the world did not condemn them but rather watched while it happened is to repeat it.  To say that no one knew it was happening at the time is to tell our self a lie because it would have been impossible to hide the magnitude of this atrocity if we as a world were not willing to just not know. 

I am glad that I read this book though I cannot say that I enjoyed it.  I did not live during this period of time so I guess that I can tell myself that I would have done differently that the people living at that time.  But can I really?  Do I know what I would do if I were starving.  Do I even know extreme hunger?  Do any of us really?  When told something is a fact over and over by the media and public figures how far do I really look into the situation to make sure that I am not being lead astray by writers who are telling me what they want me to believe?  How easily are we as lazy, well-fed readers led down a path of the destruction of others?    How far would we really go with our high flung morals into helping others to the physical detriment to ourselves and our family? 

This book I would recommend reading for anyone of mature age who wants to know more of the history of the world during World War II.  Don't read this book though expecting to enjoy it though.  This is a historical viewing of this period of time and done in such a way that no country can escape knowledge that, "We could have either prevented this or at least done more to help these people".
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Forgiven by Terri Roberts

Forgiven by Terri Roberts is the story of the Amish School shooting or "The Happening" as the Amish call the event.  This is the story as told through the eyes of Terri Roberts, whom you may have never heard, but she was the mother of Charlie Roberts, the shooter.    Terri and her husband, Chuck, had spent their married life and raised their children in this ideal country setting.  Their farm was carved out of a piece of their Amish neighbor's farm.  Their Amish neighbors did not drive so they often drove them to places that the horse couldn't take them or they could not walk.  Charlie drove one of the milk trucks that picked up the milk at the various Amish dairies and took it into town.  The Amish knew them and they knew the Amish.  When Charlie entered the school the children knew who he was and let him in.  When Charlie killed those girls he knew them, these were the children he saw daily as he drove into their farms.  When the Amish men entered into Chuck and Terri's home to tell them that they forgave Charlie and that they wanted to help Charlie's children they meant it.  When Charlie was buried the day after the Amish children were buried, the  Amish provided a human shield so that the family would not be photographed and the funeral service could not be reported on by the newspaper and television crews.  The Amish showed not only forgiveness to the shooter's family but did the unthinkable--they loved them.  Terri started working with the Amish to help the healing both physical and psychological of all the involved family members.  In the years since that October 2, 2006 day Terri and many of the Amish families have worked together to help others who have been touched by various tragedies and this book tells of many of them as well as how they got to be close enough to help each other through it all.
On the back of the book Donald Kraybill notes that, "You won't be able to put this book down once you start reading!".  I found that not to be so--I had to put the book down many times because I could not see the words through my tears.  This is a very difficult book to read from an emotional standpoint.  Terri Roberts writes a very honest review of her family and the courage it took for the Amish to forgive and what it took for her to forgive her son and accept what had happened though she would never understand.  Anyone could read this but it will be difficult I imagine for anyone to do it.
I received this book from BethanyHouse for this review.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Dear Mary by Sarah Jakes

Dear Mary by Sarah Jakes is the newest book by this author written primarily for young women raising children.  It is to be lessons from the mother of Jesus for the modern mom.  Each chapter is a different topic with subjects like dinner, working outside the home, needing help both physical as well as financial, and grief.  There are of course many other topic discussed.  Each begins with scripture then musings on how Mary might have treated each subject, then the majority of the chapter is spent on how the author dealt with each subject while trying to raise her children in a manner that Mary would approve.  Her sister, Cora, wrote the introduction of the book in the same format as a letter to Mary.  This is an encouraging book for mothers raising children in the modern world and at the same time teaching them to have the courage to walk the faith of Mary of Biblical times. 

I liked this book though it did not read as I expected it to do.  From reading the back of the book, it says that she explores the biblical stories about Mary and it has more to do with how the author is raising her children to be faithful citizens than the expected how Mary did this.  This would have admittedly be much more difficult.  I think I would have liked the book better if it had read as the introduction as a letter to Mary on each subject.  This is a good book never the less and well worth the time to read.

I received this book from BethanyHouse for this review.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Carols of Christmas by Andrew Gant

The Carols of Christmas by Andrew Gant is a collection of 21 favorite Christmas carols and a history lesson of each.  Each song gets a short chapter.  The beginning of the book starts out with an introduction on the beginnings of Christmas carols in the first place-such as did you know that carols started out as not Christmas songs but rather songs of  any celebrations often with dancing.  Eventually they would be at least songs of winter celebrations.  Many of these started out as tunes without words previously composed by others.  This book takes the reader back in history way back often to the country of origin and then takes the reader through the various changes the tune as well as the words changed through the years.  Mr. Gant tells of some of the difficulties with translation into English had with rhyming as well as note matching.  Many of these famous Christmas songs were just familiar tunes often not even Christian songs.  Some started out as children's songs from the playground but others had origins in taverns while others were composed by famous composers.  Each chapter ends with the song's most familiar words and tune from present day. 

This book is a fairly in-depth history lesson of each Christmas carol.  This would be the perfect book for any musical person who is interested in the background of Christmas carols.  It is helpful to know some of the background of the language from which the song originated or possibly Latin as it shows some of the original words in the original language.  I liked this book though was surprised at how deep the book went into each song.  It would be a good book for doing easy research on familiar songs.
I received this book from BookLook for this review.

Waiting for Morning by Karen Kingsbury

Waiting for Morning by Karen Kingsbury is her first book in the Forever Faithful series.  This one tells the hard story of drunk driving.  In this book she tells both sides of this issue.  She doesn't sugarcoat much of anything in this true to life novel.  She tells the story of life for Hannah Ryan after her husband of many years and the love of her life since her elementary school years and her oldest teenage daughter are killed in their SUV while coming home from their yearly camping trip.  Younger daughter Jenny also in the car is seriously injured but survives.  This is not your usual Christian woman faces death with faith and determination and comes out unscathed.  Hannah rejects God and her faith in anger.  Hannah throws herself into the prosecution of the drunk driver, Brian Wesley, and her work on MADD.  She so throws herself into hate for Brian and all drunks that she for the year it takes to bring Brian to justice in the court system ignores her surviving daughter Jenny.  The lawyer for the state wants to make this case be the first case in California which successfully charges a drunk driver with 1st degree murder.  Even with all this which would be a complete novel, the author goes the additional mile and tells the story through the eyes of the drunk driver.  This difficult task is done most excellently.  Brian has grown up in difficult circumstances but has had a few times when someone offered help along the way which he rejected.  Ms. Kingsbury doesn't sugarcoat this story either which no one would expect but she does tell this story with some honest emotion which allows the reader to empathize with the driver if not sympathize.  This book also deals with the legal system and the difficulties of trying to navigate it with success. 

Karen Kingsbury is an author which I love to read but this one is decidedly by far my favorite.  I don't know how she did this but she has written this Christian novel as if she has had history with both the survivors of drunk driving and the drivers.  This book is an excellent read and should be read by anyone but it needs to be in high school and middle school libraries as well as youth church libraries.  Teens in my generation drove drunk and teens today still do.  Teens don't think that this can happen to them or anyone they know.  Teens however need to know and this is a book which is easy to read though emotionally difficult.  I really cannot say enough good about this book.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Bathsheba: A Reluctant Beauty by Angela Hunt

Bathsheba: A Reluctant Beauty by Angela Hunt is the 2nd in Ms. Hunt's A Dangerous Beauty series.  Bathsheba's story like so many of the stories from the Bible are told from the male point of view and this story is certainly no different.  This novel tells the story from the woman's point of view.  It emphasizes that Bathsheba had no choice in this matter.  The King wanted her for his sexual pleasure and she had no choice but to comply.  Ms. Hunt follows the Bible story as far as it goes but she has fleshed out the story to make the short Biblical mentioning into book length and also remaining true to cultural norms of the time.  This book deals with the never mentioned grief that Bathsheba was probably going through after the king has her husband killed so that he can claim her as one of his many wives.  The book deals with the grief that David caused when they had to deal with the death of their first born son.  This book deals with the strength that it took to be a mere woman of the royal haram of the king but still to protect and raise her children during their growing years to became productive adults who would be an asset and leader to God's people. 

I have always been interested in the David and Bathsheba story.  I had always wondered at the amount of blame heaped on Bathsheba.  It had always appeared to me that even though the Bible portrayed Bathsheba as a temptress in the story and partially to blame for all that happened it seemed to me that God recognized that the true sinner was David all the way through the story.  This was a time period when women were mostly property and this was not a well known woman until David brought her into his haram.  She took that and grew from it and became the strong woman that she ended up being.  I recommend this book to anyone interested in reading and learning of the women in the Bible.  Though this is the 2nd in the series I had not read the Esther story and am now eagerly starting that book.  Ms. Hunt thank you for your insight into these strong Biblical women. Without author's like you we would not learn of what it was like to be a woman of that time.
I received this book from BethanyHouse for this review.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Ties That Bind by Cindy Woodsmall

Ties That Bind by Cindy Woodsmall is the first book of the new series The Amish of Summer Grove.  The Brennemans are a large Amish family.  They have many financial problems and always have had even for the simple living Amish.  Ariana and her twin Abram are trying to change this by buying the restaurant in town and the former owner made her family give Ariana a period of time to pull the money together to do this.  Ariana has seen Quill in town though.  He is her former love--she is now in love with and planning to marry Rudy-- but now she knows that Quill only comes back into town to help one of the Amish leave the Amish and disappear into the English life.  Quill hints that this person is one of her family and that has her scared to her very bones.  Ariana loves everything about the Amish and cannot imagine life outside of their community.  Once Ariana figures out that it must be Susie, her younger sister she sets about to include her in the restaurant plan to convince her to stay---but is it really Susie or someone that she doesn't even suspect?  Then her parents start going away and visiting with Quill.  What does all this mean? How does it affect Ariana and her plans?  Why does everything have to change? And just who is that Englisher, Skylar Nash?  So many questions to find out read this installment.
I loved this book and the only thing I wished is that the who series was already written so I could read it all now.  I love the way that Ms Woodsmall writes and makes all her characters so realistic.  I am so glad that she has begun this new series for her fans to read.  It is well written and interesting but even the very young could read this series if they have the reading capability because you don't have to worry about language or sexual content.  I would recommend this book for reading.
I received this book from Waterbrook Press for this review.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Lazarus Awakening by Joanna Weaver

Lazarus Awakening by Joanna Weaver is a 3 DVD plus study guide.  This is a Bible Study centering on the story of Lazarus and is meant to be used with the book by the same title and author.  The DVD set completes the weekly study guide and helps answer the questions posed within it.  This author also wrote Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World but you don't have to have completed that study in order to enjoy this one.  In this study there is scripture to study as well as the first part of the study guide to fill out then the DVD helps complete the guide as well as has an Israel portion of the Holy Land concepts and takes you to where the story takes place.  In the Israel portion there is also an interview with Amy Turnage who is the Director of Operations at the Center for Holy Lands Studies.  Amy brings in much about the culture of the region as well as little know facts which add to the understanding of the study.  Since the story of Lazarus in only a little over a chapter long in John there is also other scripture to aide in understanding the story.  In addition to all this there is how to apply this new understanding of the scripture to your own life--the Bible would just be a very interesting history book if the reader and studier did not apply it to enhance their own life.  This study is meant to be an 8 week study with weekly sessions lasting 2 hours long.  There is also a plan for a weekly 1 hour session.

I very much enjoyed this study of Lazarus.  I am finding that writers of Bible studies are very much acknowledging that most of us have to work in order to pay our bills and maybe don't have the time to put forth to do a very in-depth study.  In doing some of these studies many I am finding to be so superficial as to not be worth the effort.  This one seems to be not too difficult to find the time to do the studying necessary for the class if done in a group session but also not so superficial as to not having to put forth any effort at all.  I believe that we would not be seeking out a Bible study group if we were not willing to set aside time each day for Bible reading and study. I liked this study and found it well worth the time taken for the knowledge received.
I received this study guide set from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Autumn Brides by Kathryn Springer, Katie Ganshert, and Beth K. Vogt

Autumn Brides by Kathryn Springer, Katie Ganshert, and Beth K. Vogt is a 3 novella collection from the "A Year of Weddings Novella Collection".  In the September story Annie wants to make a clean break from the terrible life she had growing up in foster care.  She has just hit it off great with her new boss helping run her little bookshop.  They met over the internet and it is like they have known each other forever.  Things are going right along just as she had hoped when her boss's son the police officer stops her for having her brake light out and her tailpipe was also hanging.  Then the historical society of which she has joined has decided to do a historical wedding re-enactment with you guessed it Jesse, the boss's son, and Annie in the starring roles. 

The October wedding is just a pretend one.  Emma's dad is dying and she caught a glimpse of his bucket list.  The last item was walk Emma down the aisle at her wedding.  Emma had just broken her engagement when she found out that her dad was dying.  She really really wants to help her dad complete his bucket list.  Jake, who works at the local hardware store, happens to come over to fix the sink that has been dripping.  Jake happens to be her brother's best friend and like family to her (except when she was younger and had that crush on him.)  Jake asks her what was bothering her and she tells him about the bucket list and her having broken off the engagement and what was she going to do?  She mentions maybe getting back with her old boyfriend and did he think that he would marry her just pretend so her dad could complete his list.  Jake asks if she loved him.  She admitted no.  Then the most surprising thing happened, Jake said he would marry her.  What should she do? hmmm

Sadie is a professional chef for families in town.  She goes into their home and makes them a week's worth of meals and stores them away for them.  She has just gotten dumped by her last boyfriend by text message.  Who would do that?  Her life is not bad.  She loves her work.  Her best friend Erik wants to come over to her house to have dinner and discuss his breakup with his latest girlfriend.  Erik doesn't want any commitments with any of his girlfriends but he still manages to keep them as friends after he dumps them.  Sadie has turned 30 and can hear her biological clock ticking and now one of her families wants her to go with them to their new home in Oregon as their chef.  It would be a lot more money and closer to her family.  Out of the blue Erik her just a friend has asked her out on a real date.  What should she do?

I liked this book.  Each of the stories could stand alone as a story, each one being just over 100 pages long.  Any of them make delightful reading just before bedtime--just the right length.  Any woman or older girl would love reading this book.   I received this book for this review from Booksneeze and am delighted that I did.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Prince Who was Just Himself by Silke Schnee

The Prince Who was Just Himself by Silke Schnee is a delightful children's picture book for those 3 years and older. This book is filled with colorful imaginative pictures and just a few sentences on every page--a big prerequisite for my children.  Noah looks different than the other children in his family and they love him just the same.  Noah doesn't learn things as quickly as the other children in his family and they love him just the same.  The people outside of Noah's family laugh as him when his family took him out to show everyone but Noah just smiled at them and was happy.  His brothers said, "He is our brother" and also, "He is just himself".  Noah's parents are King and Queen of their kingdom and one day a terrible knight comes to destroy it but Noah saves the day by just being himself.

This book tells the story of Noah, who has Down syndrome.  The story never mentions the word Down but tells simply of some of the complexities of looking and acting and being different than the others in the area.  The story tells of how Noah even with all he can't do could do something that no one else could and so he did.  Loved this book for its simple way to talking to children about a big subject.  It would be easy to read to children of all ages including the very young.
I received this book from Handlebar for this review.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Heart's Promise by Colleen Coble

A Heart's Promise by Colleen Coble is the 5th installment of the Journey of the Heart series.  This I Ms. Coble's first series and it is situated in Wyoming Territory in 1866.  Emmie Croftner is currently living at Fort Phil Kearny for safety.  She has the comfort of other women in her grief.  She is pregnant and her husband, Monroe's recent death has changed her whole life around.  She had thought life back home difficult when Monroe died but then when his 'real wife' came back it was more than she could deal with.  She of course had thought she was his real wife and struck out on her own.  She had made new friends and even though she had to keep it a secret that she wasn't really married when she got pregnant.  Maybe she really was that 'slutty daughter of the town drunk' like Mrs. Lambert called her when she was just 13.  Isaac was showing interest in her but she kept putting him off because what would he think of her if he knew her secret?

I liked this book and easily read it in one afternoon (only 97 pages).  The only thing I didn't like is that I thought that this series should have been a book since I though this installment too short to be a stand alone book.  Any young girl or adult woman could read it and enjoy it.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

A Bone to Pick by Mark Bittman

A Bone to Pick by Mark Bittman is a thoughtful and thought provoking book on our food system in America.   The author tells by way of his column which he writes for the New York Times about the food system in the United States.  He tells how it nourishes us, and how the chemicals added to it by both the farmer as well as the manufacturer or storage mechanisms changes how the food is allowed to either continue to nourish us or to change the way our body works (good or bad).  He is pretty honest about how difficult it is to maintain the good qualities of the food contents while enabling shelf life to be extended to allow for an increasing profit margin for the middlemen between farmer and consumer.  He raises many points about how different farming and storage techniques as well as eating locally grown food could be done for the same money and maintain the profit margin.  He makes the point that our government talks about being concerned about the heath of its citizens but when the reader looks at where the money is actually going it is obvious that it is not really changing any real policies.  This is a book that reads as though the author is actually concerned about the practices protecting the food in our country and not just creating sensationalism to sell books.  He also tells ways to improve the way that the reader eats even if they cannot go all organic because of price.  He tells of some laws preventing the growing of vegetables in one's own yard in some communities.  So sad that the looks of vegetables growing is disagreeable to the elite but grass growing is not.  What have we come to?
I started reading this book with somewhat of a chip on my shoulder.  I come from farming and feel that the family farm is pretty much ignored in the so called farm bill.  This bill seems to be concerned with the nonworking poor and the factory farms and not the small "just want to continue to raise my family on the farm" type farmer.  Mr. Bittman sounds like a common sense kind of a guy though he admits to being able to afford what ever food he chooses to eat can understand the poor not being able to and raising different ways of eating safely.  I would recommend this book as good reading for any and especially those who are raising children and are concerned about their health and willing to do something to raise them the safest way possible.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E. Ladd

The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E. Ladd is the next historical novel from this author.  Camille Iverness has been raised by her father in the Curiosity shop that he owns ever since her mother left them when she was quite young to take care of her ailing mother in Portugal.  She just never returned afterwards and Camille has never understood how such a loving mother could just leave her only daughter and then only write her once or twice a year.  Camille finally quit reading even the letters that she did write.  Her father depends on her to run the shop when he is gone and to keep the books always.  He is a demanding father but she has never thought that he didn't love her.  This time though when he was gone the shop was robbed and Camille was hurt and hurt bad and he just yelled at her for leaving the shop and allowing it to be ransacked.  He said it was all her fault and then to further add insult he threw her out into the street to fend for herself with nothing but the clothes on her back.  Jonathan Gilchrist is the son of a rich property owner.  Ian Gilchrist is a property owner but has been down on his luck when it comes to his hobby of buying up curiosities for his collection and now what should happen but his prize ruby, the Bevoy, has been stolen and by a person who he has done much business with, James Iverness.  Ian had sent Jonathan down to the shop to retrieve the ruby, which is not only beautiful but legend has it is both blessed and cursed, and he arrives just in time to witness the robbery of the shop and rescue Camille.  When her father throws her into the street Jonathan convinces her that he can help her to get a job at the local private school.  And there begins this whodunit.  
Though this novel is written in a historic romance format it also has the markings of a mystery so it casts a wider net of readers than most romances.  I really liked this book and think that woman and older girls of any age would like reading it. 
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy

The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy is a fantastic read.  In this book Ms McCoy takes the reader into the life of Eden and Jack Anderson who have purchased an old historical house in the suburbs of Washington D.C.  Eden and Jack are trying to have a baby and have been trying for  years.  They are exhausted and the hormones that Eden is forced to take is making her short tempered and self centered.  Jack is often away from home for his job and has hired the neighbor girl to help out with the new dog he has brought home.  Eden and Cleo, the young neighbor girl, are getting acquainted and start discovering more and more about the old house and the new dog.  The house was possibly once a part of the Underground Railroad and Cleo and Eden are looking for the clues necessary to get it on the National Register of Historic Places with the first clue being the china doll head found in the root cellar.  Side by side in separate chapters is told in fictional tone the story of Sarah Brown, talented and intelligent real life daughter of the famous John Brown.  The house which the Andersons now reside is one of the many that Sarah lived with her family.  She was a talented artist and drew pictures into which were hidden clues for the passengers on the UGRR (underground railroad) to find their way north.

I love reading history and so I also loved reading this fictionalized version of some of the things that Sarah Brown might have done to help continue her father's cause after his hanging.  This book is well written and holds the reader's attention well.  Anyone who is interested in the history of the underground railroad would love reading this novel.  I would give this book 5 stars in all categories and it could be read by anyone of any age who could read the words.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Refining Fire by Tracie Peterson

Refining Fire by Tracie Peterson is the next novel by this prolific author.  This is the 2nd in the Brides of Seattle series and she does not disappoint the reader.  Militine Scott has escaped her father's violence and is now spending her time in the Madison Bridal School in Seattle in 1889 learning to become a respectable woman that could marry and know everything that a wife should know in order to run her own home.  It would be fine except Militine has no intention of ever marrying anyone and who would want her once they found out that her mother was murdered by her father?  She was just hiding out here to keep safe in the city.   Militine's best friend at the school is the niece of the founders of the school, Abrianna Cunningham.  Abrianna keeps herself busy learning what it is that God intends her to do with her life and trying to convince Militine that God exists and loves her.  Abrianna has just opened a Food House to feed the poor of Seattle at least one soup and slice of bread meal per day and that has been keeping her and Militine busy along with Wade and Thane who volunteer at the school as male escorts to keep the young girls safety assured.

Refining Fire is another fine example to Ms Peterson's great writing ability.  She completely holds the readers interest as these 2 best friends seek to learn and plan out what it is that God has in store for their young life.  Militine and Abrianna get into many predicaments that young ladies just should not be acquainted with because of their impetuous natures.  Abrianna seeks to do God's will for her and Militine still can't quite believe that God exists.  How can the 2 of them be such good friends and have such different natures?  Read this book to find out.
I received this book from Bethany House  which is a division of Baker Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Case of the Sin City Sister by Lynne Hinton

The Case of the Sin City Sister by Lynne Hinton is the 2nd in the Divine Private Detective Agency series.  If you have not read the beginning of the series then fear not you don't have to have already read it.  I hadn't read it  but completely understood and enjoyed this great book. 
Eve Divine is worried.  She has not heard from her sister Dorisanne in quite a while and neither has her dad.  It is not rare that she has not talked to her on the phone but usually Dorisanne responds to her messages and she has not.  Eve has made religion her life by taking her vows and lives in a monastery working as she was needed by Father Oliver the monk in charge.  He had given her a leave of absence to help find her sister who lived a very different life in Las Vegas with her often trouble husband, Robbie.  Money was always a problem for him with his gambling problems and now it appeared he and Dorisanne was working for a loan shark stealing credit card numbers that he was currently indebted to.  Now they were not in contact with any of the family and when Eve returned to her dad, the Captain, in Santa Fe she was planning to work through the detective agency that her dad ran in town.  Sister Eve and a local police officer, Daniel, who used to be the Captain's partner when they were both on the police force heads for Las Vegas to find Dorisanne.  Where to look?  Eve had never ever been to Dorisanne's place but oddly enough it seems that Daniel knows exactly where she lives. hmmm.  You will have to read this mystery to find out if they ever find Dorisanne before the loan shark does.

I love a mystery and I liked this one also.   It is an easy read but not beneath the reader of any age.  Adults will enjoy the read and also children of about middle school age would also enjoy it and there is no reason to worry about the content.  Good read and one that I think anyone would enjoy it.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Friday, June 5, 2015

How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible by Keith Ferrin

How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible by Keith Ferrin is a book about just that-enjoying reading your Bible.  Reading your Bible not because you feel guilt if you don't but rather reading your Bible because it is exciting and enjoyable and you just can't wait to be able to read it again to find more that God wants to tell you.  Does this sound crazy or fanciful?  This book on its own is an enjoyable read but if that were it you would miss the point.  The author is a speaker who memorizes entire books of the Bible then does dramatic presentations of that book on stage for audiences.  Not only that but people come to hear him and enjoy it.  Mr. Ferrin explains in this book how the reader can also experience this joy of building a relationship with God through enjoying and reading the Bible-His letter to you personally.

Mr. Ferrin has developed 10 tips for reading and enjoying the Bible.  He has put it into a Bible study format but certainly the reader does not have to be a part of a study group in order to read and enjoy reading the Bible using his methods.  Really his methods, once you have read them make perfect sense and you will have many aha moments.  I would recommend reading this book for any Bible readers who are new Christians or even mature Christians who would like more enjoyment from Bible reading.  Who hasn't read the Bible from guilt or worse yet didn't read the Bible from fear of boredom. hmmmm.
I received this book from Bethany House for this review.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter

The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter is a novel about the life of Jane afterbeing employed as a nanny Jane looses a child while on a walk with both the little girl, Lily and her father.  Jane is only 15 years old when this incident happens but it is a turning point from which she never recovers for the rest of her life.  The walk happens on the grounds of an old estate and insane asylum.  Jane does grow up and 20 years later becomes an archivist for the small Museum which is a part of the asylum's estate.  The ghosts of the asylum are always around Jane watching her with interest and they add their own interest to the story.  When the museum for which Jane works announces it closure and they employ a speaker for their final closing it turns out to be the famous William Eliot, the girl's father, who has just won the Chester-Wood prize.  Jane is interested in seeing him again until he begins to speak and his speech is on the asylum and the research he has done which is the same research that Jane has been working on.  Jane is instantly angered and when he finishes and walks down slaps him soundly across the face.  Jane's research was centered on the years ago loss of a girl from the asylum and the similarities to the loss of the girl in Jane's past.  Jane leaves the museum closing celebration and quickly steals a car and goes back to explore the old buildings left on the asylum site and finds a young man, into which she quickly forms a friendship.

I found this story a difficult read.  I started this story and put it down often.  I found it confusing especially in the beginning.  The ghosts of the asylum's past intermingle with the present story and it takes a little while to figure out where everyone fits.  There is a mix into the story of possible child abuse but it is never fully explained which further complicates the story.  Jane after the slapping incident then becomes sexually involved with a very young man.  There is just a lot going on in this one book.  I would only recommend this book for reading by adults and I think that they are all who would have an interest. 
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Amish Promises by Leslie Gould

Amish Promises by Leslie Gould is the first installment of this author's new series, Neighbors of Lancaster County.  Shani and Joel Beck have just moved into her grandfather's old house for a time of physical rehab for him and spiritual rehab for both of them and their son, Zane.  Shani and Joel have been leaning on his Army buddy, Charlie ever since Joel's injuries in Iraq and Charlie is once again helping them move into their house which is smack dab in Amish country.  Their closest neighbors are the Lehmans, Tim and his children along with his sister, Eve who helps him raise the children since the death of their mother.  Eve has resigned herself to the fact that she will most likely never marry and continue to live with her difficult brother, Tim and raise his children.  That is she was resigned until the bishop sets his eyes on Eve for his next wife and Eve meets Charlie.  This difficult triangle unfolds in the middle of the Beck family's settling in process.  Eve and Charlie both know that this will never work but soon have to face the fact that they are drawn together and maybe can make it work.  Read the book to find out how these 2 families and the bishop resolve their problems and learn to live in harmony.

I liked this book and look forward to reading on in this series.  I have always loved reading this author's book and this one is no different.  She writes with advance knowledge of the Amish faith without sugarcoating it or making fun of it. her books can be read by any adult but are safe reading for any interested older children and teens.
I received this book from Bethany House for this review.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Adventures in Saying Yes by Carl Medearis

Adventures in Saying Yes by Carl Medearis is a book written on the life of the Medearis family on mission in the Middle East.  He says he does not try to turn people into Christians but rather talk to them and teach them about Jesus.  He says that most of Moslem faith are opposed to becoming Christian but have no opposition in fact welcome learning of Jesus and His teachings.  He and his family moved to Beirut in 1992 with his 2 baby daughters and then 2 years later a son was born  to their young family.  They lived there during the entire growing up years of their children.  Their children were steeped in Arab culture.  They were there during 9-1-1.  They talk of being afraid of talking to Moslems about Jesus but when they did it they found that they had nothing to fear.  They loved hearing the Good News.  Oh Chris the wife was not on board at first.  This was one of Carl's lessons in patience--he had to wait until Chris heard the call to go to the Middle East.  Once Chris heard the call the young family lost no time selling their "stuff" and making their way into this adventure of saying yes to God.  This family now has 30 years of experience.  They now know the language and the Arab culture.  They are back living in Colorado still saying yes and teaching about Jesus.

I didn't know what to think about this book before I read it.  I had many of the preconceived notions about Arabs that many Americans do.  This book opened my eyes to many things, but most of all to saying yes to God and no to fear.  I was hoping that it would tell me more on how to know what is God's call and what is what I want or wish.  That one is still much up in the air.  I would advise this as good reading material for any who wish to know more about what going into any mission field is like as well as finding out how to say no to fear of rejection or failure.
I received this book from Bethany House for this review.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron

A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron is the latest novel by this author.  In present day California Sera marries her great love, William Hanover, who from all appearances lives the charmed life and Sera has just fallen into a Cinderella life.  But because even in fairy tails dreams don't always come true neither does Sera's.  Before the ceremony is even over William is being arrested for selling artwork that they say isn't his to sell.  Time step back into 1940s---In Prague Kaja and her sister has barely escaped Nazi occupation and has settled into London not as a reporter as was her plan but rather as a secretary to the editor.    Somehow a paper containing information that the Nazi concentration camps are killing Jews (she is half Jew by her father) by the thousands.  Her parents are still hiding in Prague and though Kaja is falling in love with Liam she feels she must go back and get her parents out to safety.  Instead Kaja and her parents are arrested and sent to Terezin, a concentration camp.   This is the story of their fight to live and treat each other with love as all around everyone is being mistreated and starved to death.  This is the story of a Nazi soldier trying his best to do what he can to treat the Jews with humanity while following orders he cannot avoid.  This is the story of how WWII still affects families today.

I loved reading this story though it was at times difficult to read.  I have an interest in World War II since hearing the was stories from family members.  This story doesn't dress up war but it is not the most difficult concentration camp book I have read.  I wouldn't have children under middle school age read this book and I would be choosy about the middle school readers.  It does mention school children though none of them are graphically murdered and none are raped.  It is a good read and we should all know of the atrocities that happened in Nazi occupied Europe in the 1940s.
I received this book from Booklook for this review.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Together with You by Bicoria Bylin

Together with You by Bicoria Bylin is a love story but is also a story very much dealing with the issues of raising a special needs child with FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder).  Carly has her masters in social welfare and is working on her PhD.  She is  specializing in fetal alcohol disorders but is not currently working because of Allison who is a teenage girl who ran away from the facility that Carly worked at quite some time ago. Carly absolutely cannot quit blaming herself so now she works as the manager for a toy store.  Dr. Tremaine is a single dad trying to raise his 2 boys with their mother and his daughter on his own since the death of her mother.  Penny is his only daughter and is now 5 years old.  Penny was born with FASD and though high functioning contributes to the many difficulties of being a single dad and finding yet another nanny because the last one just quit.  Penny has run away once again but this time it is in the mall and now the police have posted an Lost Child alert over the loud speakers.  Carly fairly quickly spots Penny and is now holding her attention until the parent and police can come and get her.  Dr. Tremaine arrives first and notes that Carly has an understanding of Carly and quickly tries to hire her as nanny once he realizes her capabilities. 
Carly and Ryan (Dr. Tremaine) quickly find themselves drawn to each other but know that for the nanny situation to work they cannot also become lovers.  Carly works  her magic not only on Penny but is a calming influence on the teenage boys who are also a challenge for their dad.  Carly works within the family to help Ryan with tips on managing hormones while instilling discipline and love in the household.  Carly and Ryan find themselves getting closer though they try not to.  This book is on how they learn to live together in a working relationship without developing a personal relationship or does it?  hmmm.  You will have to read it.
I loved this book and highly recommend it as good casual reading for those liking Christian love stories as well as those interested in special need children.  Any age that is interested in the subject matter could read this book.
This book was provided by Bethany House for this review.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Pharoah's Daughter by Mesu Andrews

The Pharoah's Daughter by Mesu Andrews is the story of how the Pharaoh's daughter may have come to be by the river to see and later to raise Moses to be God's own hands and feet in the saving of his people from a centuries old lifetime of slavery.  This author weaves the Biblical story of Moses life and fills in the gaps in the truest fashion with additions that could have happened.  Anippe has grown up in a life of luxury as well as the fantastical world of the multitude of gods in the Egyptian culture.  She knew her father as a god as well as later on her brother, Tut became a god when he became king.  She has a great fear of childbirth after watching her mother die in childbirth and is afraid to bear her own child.  She takes on deception by convincing all those around her that the baby she found floating in the reed basket in the river is her own son.  She takes on his sister Miriam as her servant and also becomes acquainted with her son's natural mother since she needs a wet nurse for her son.  She begins to wonder about this new god of the slaves which they call El Shaddai.  Could it be that they are right and that her family is wrong about the god system?  Could it be that there is only one God and that He is all powerful?  Is there a God out there that cares about Anippe and loves her?

This story is one that I expected and did love.  I found it hard to understand the beginning and the foreign words intermingled occasionally with the regular English language.  After that first difficulty it was worth the great telling of this ages old story.  I truly loved this rendition and I liked that the author also tells how she came about her decisions on how she decided to tell this story and where to place it in history.  This story has been fictionalized but where the author knows the actual history she tells the historical facts.  The only way the story could have been helped in my humble opinion is that it would have been nice to have had a small dictionary in the back for the foreign words.
This book was provided by Waterbrook Press for this review.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Faith of Her Own by Kathleen Fuller

A Faith of Her Own by Kathleen Fuller is another Middlefield Amish Novel.  Anna Mae has just been lost since her friend Jeremiah left the Amish community to become a veterinarian.  He had been an apprentice to the local Dr. Smith that most of the area animal owners used for their animals since he graduated 8th grade but when he left the area without so much as saying goodbye to her well she was hurt and hurt bad.  Didn't he know that she would be lost without him?  Didn't he know that Amos his older but mentally challenged brother depended on him?  How could he just up and leave and then he only wrote to Amos and only very short infrequent letters at that.  Everyone was shocked when he returned but except for Amos continued to be hurt because he had made known to them that he only came back to help out Doc Smith and only then because he broke his leg.  Anna Mae is starting to feel lost in the community that she no longer feels a part of.  She was beginning to question her faith and the many rules but she had no one to talk to when Jeremiah left and now that he is back she is still so angry with him and he is so standoffish with her that she still has no place or plan for her future.  The only thing that the 2 of them still agree on is that Amos is important to all of them and must be protected at all costs.  Anna Mae's brother has a horse training farm and suddenly the newest 5 horses get mysteriously sick with lead poisoning and everyone must pull together to save them.  Anna Mae suddenly knows what her life's purpose is and she begins to work toward it.

I loved this newest installment in the Middlefield series of books of various types that Kathleen Fuller has released.  She is a great writer and look forward to each book as she writes them and this is a good one.  It is a book which any age person could read and enjoy.  It is a love story but also an animal lover book.  It is a woman coming of age book for any faith to enjoy.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Great Big Prssure Cooker Book by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough is a huge book just like the title suggests with 500 recipes in it.  These recipes range from the expected pork roast recipes to the unexpected cheesecake recipes.  This book begins with encouragement and instructions on the use of the pressure cooker.  It also begins with how to change the recipe and the rules to follow as well as the hard and fast rules to follow and never break-don't fill past the 2/3 mark for some recipes and which recipes to only fill to the halfway point for instance.  It includes seasoning and how the pressure cooker will treat seasonings and salt.  It includes trouble shooting-why your roast is tough or scorched and how to prevent it from happening or in the case of toughness how to fix it.  There is not just one recipe on for instance pork roast but many variations and not only that but many on cheese cake if you can believe that.  This is the only pressure cooker cookbook that you will ever need.

I loved this cookbook.  It gave me the courage to actually use the pressure cooker that I have owned for years but never used for fear that I would blow up the ceiling in the kitchen.  This book shows me exactly how to avoid disaster.  Now I am a person who has been canning for years but still for some reason was afraid to try pressure cooking with my pressure pan.  Now I know that this makes no sense but who can figure out fears?  So I guess my favorite parts of the book are not the recipes but actually the beginning parts which actually got me to use my pressure pan.  One of the best parts about the recipes is that following each and every one is "tester's notes" which tell the user how to improve it/change it to meet your own needs, why some of the ingredients are important and possibly the best part a good description of the flavor of the food which is being prepared.  This cookbook also tells in each recipe how to cook if you have the stovetop variety of pan or the newer electric type of pressure pan.   Get his book if you have the slightest inkling that you would life to pressure cook--even before buying the pan.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Easter Stories-Classic Tales for the Holy Season compiled by Miriam LeBlanc

Easter Stories-Classic Tales for the Holy Season compiled by Miriam LeBlanc and written by various authors.  This is a compilation of various short stories and essays suitable for Easter but certainly pertaining to most of the year.  These stories tell of the Christian reason for the season (Easter) but colorful Easter eggs and egg hunts do work their way into some of the stories.  Some of these stories are fables and some are true/some are ancient and some from recent history.  These stories can be used for pleasure reading but many I have heard used for mission minutes or short scripture lessons in small groups.  Some tell of holy persons and how they lived their faith in day to day life and some are more Bible based.  Some of the fables are the most life changing as the moral of the story creeps up on the reader more subtle.  These stories are written by well known authors like: C S Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde, and Anton Chekhov.  Many more are written by authors I had never heard of but the stories are familiar.  The great think about this book is that they are all together in one great resource at such a reasonable price.
I really like this book and think it can be read by people of all ages and both men and women.  Since it would be good to use for youth groups it is nice that it is a light-weight soft cover book that would easily be packed into luggage or a back pack for fireside use.  Buy and read this book.  It is good.
I received this book from Handlebar for this review.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Rasmus and the Vagabond by Astrid Lindgren

Rasmus and the Vagabond by Astrid Lindgren is a republication of the old favorite by the same name.  Ms Lindgren is also the creator of the Pippi Longstocking stories.   She has won many awards. 
Rasmus lives in an orphanage in Sweden in the 1950's or possibly earlier.  He cannot remember living anywhere else in all of his 9 years.  All of his friends live here but forever all he has dreamed of is to have parents and live with them in his own family.  He doesn't fear much but he does fear being spanked.  He has gotten in trouble with Miss Hawk, the one person who watched over the all orphans, and it is big.  He was play fighting with his good friend Gunnar.  He has a basin full of water and he is all set to throw it on him when he jumps aside and who should walk through the door into the spot that Gunnar was in but Miss Hawk.  Rasmus soaked Miss Hawk and then to make matters worse he was so horrified that he laughed.  This of course all happened just before the big inspection getting ready for an orphan to get picked out because a couple was coming to look at them.  Gunnar had told Rasmus don't worry they never pick out anyone but curly haired girls anyway but that didn't keep Rasmus from being hopeful even though he was a plain old straight haired boy.  Well everything got cleaned up and the grocer and his wife came to pick out one of the orphans.  The orphans were told to play and of course they were so nervous that they couldn't  play.  Rasmus decided to go out where they were having tea and when he saw the lady he was so amazed that she was so pretty that he froze in place.  Then she offered a cookie and he stumbled over what to say.  Then the lady dropped her parasol and Rasmus and Greta, who just happened to be a curly headed chubby cheeked girl both went to pick it up for her.  They both tugged on it until it snapped in two.  Greta burst into tears, then Miss Hawk yelled at him and in horror Rasmus ran away to cry by himself.  All night Rasmus lay in bed planning what to do.  He decided to run away and so he creeps out of the house and it is Rasmus all by himself.  Rasmus has never been alone but soon runs into a tramp and this story is of how Rasmus and the tramp find adventure roaming the countryside.
This is a delightful book that any child who reads chapter books would love to read.  There is some action and because it was written in the 1950s there is a little more gun play than what some parents might like but this is a book mainly for boys in the line of Pippi Longstocking.  I had never read any of the Rasmus books but I wish that I had because I am sure that I would have loved them.
This book was provided by Handlebar for this review.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden by Karen Newcomb

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden by Karen Newcomb is a best selling guide which has been newly and completely revised.  This book will give the reader step by step in how to plan, create and maintain a small garden.  This small garden could be large pots or containers on the patio or in the window of your house or as large as 10' by 10'.  Ms Newcomb tells how the reader can obtain as much as 200 pounds of vegetables from a 5' by 5' garden if it is properly prepared and maintained.  She includes information from picking your spot to harvesting your produce.  This book can be easily used and understood by the beginning gardener but the experienced gardener also  will easily pick up enough tips on improving their own gardening to make reading this book worth their time and energy.  The original book was written 40 years ago at a time when this information was new.  Now the author includes more information on choosing from the varieties of heirloom vegetables and using the organic tips which are easy and simple.  Gardening can be expensive but this author tells several ways of doing for instance composting the cheapest and easiest way or using products which are one the market or even easier just buying compost in a bag from the nursery.  She tells how to have a simple patio garden if the reader lives in the city to how the rural gardener can plan their 100 square foot garden.  She uses the companion methods of planting vegetables with other vegetables, herbs, or flowers to improve production and lessen the work effort on the gardener.  She even includes a list of seed sources for mail order purchase which would come in handy for the novice or someone wishing to go organic or just include vegetables more in line with their own location.
I am an experienced gardener and I enjoyed this book.  I had a large garden when the children were young but now plant just a small garden and this book is just the ticket for a person like me.  I had been attempting to closely plant my vegetables to decrease my garden size but this book explains to me what I have been doing wrong.  I am so glad that I now have this easy to read manual on small gardens and how to plan them.  I would recommend reading this book for anyone who is planning a small garden this year.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

An Amish Cradle by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipstn, Kathleeen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman

An Amish Cradle by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleeen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman is a group of Amish novels with each author writing one each.    Each novel tells of a pregnancy or birth which brings new difficulties to living with God's will.  In the first one Ruth Anne and her young husband have just had their new baby boy.  They love him with all their being but something is going on with the midwife and Ruth Anne's mother.  Something that they are not telling her.  The neighbors and her family visits and some act normally but some she realizes she catches worried looks from others.  What is wrong with her baby?  The first time that she hears Down syndrome she doesn't know exactly what that means.  Does it just mean that he will learn to walk different with his different toes?  Will he just look different with his different looking eyes?  And why doesn't he want to nurse?  And what is wrong with Levi her beloved spouse?  Why does he act so stricken about their son having Down syndrome?  Can he not love a son that looks different?  Why did he suddenly go back to work when he his time off all arranged?  And why will he not talk to her anymore?  Then it seems that every time she takes her son to the doctor there is a new problem--his heart, his eyes, his hearing.   Ruth Anne starts going to a support group for parents raising Down syndrome children and finds answers to some of her problems but more than that she finds comfort from them and ways of dealing with her and the baby's problems.  But Levi still won't treat her as before--she misses the old Levi who loved and held her when she had problems and listened to her.  This story is how Levi and Ruth Anne learn to live with God's will and find God's blessing in their life.
Carolyn is learning to trust  her new husband and quit comparing him to others.  When Carolyn was a 16 year old she had trusted her boyfriend and after she became pregnant he had left her to her own devises.  Carolyn had raised her son on her own with only a small amount of help from her family.  She and her family remained close, she of course lived with them to begin with and later moved into her own home when she decided that it was time.  She later found love with a man who was worthy of her love, married him and became in due time pregnant but found that she had trouble trusting that he would stand by not only herself but her son.  She had difficulty with when Joshua said that he loved Benjamin when he adopted him that he really would love him as he loved his natural children.  Carolyn learns in this story to accept her family's love and support and not to lean so heavily on her own efforts to solve all of life's problems.
Ellie became blind in a terrible accident but she had learned to live with her blindness and accept it.  Her mother on the other hand still treated her as if she were a child.  Why can she not see that Ellie though she needs help with her new twin girls but that is not much more than anyone would need who were trying to raise twins.  Why does her mother worry over every little thing? After the birth of the girls her mother just moved in and wouldn't let Ellie hardly touch the babies let alone care for them as a mother should.  And who is this Rachel that she keeps calling baby Julia?  Ellie knows that she must set boundaries with her mother but she is dreading it.  This novel tells how Ellie and her husband, Chris deal with the stresses of new twin babies and also learn to set boundaries with Ellie's mother.
The 4th novel finds 42 year old Etta pregnant after thinking that she never would be again.  She and her husband, Mose have 6 children who are mostly if not completely raised and who could ever forget the baby girl who died 7 years ago after being born too early.  This story is about how Etta and Mose learn to accept God's will of having another child while at the same time dealing with loosing the farm  that they have always lived in due to financial reasons.
I loved every one of these novels and just wished that they were longer so that I could enjoy them longer.  I read this book in about 2 days because they were so good.  If you are a lover of Amish novels you will love these stories.  These stories can be read by girls and women of any age and enjoyed by all.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Against the Grain by Nancy Cain

Against the Grain by Nancy Cain is a gluten-free cookbook like no other.  Nancy started cooking gluten free when her son was diagnosed with celiac disease.  She started out by buying the gluten free mixes and like me found them rubbery and tasteless.  She started making her own recipes from the family favorites that her family  already loved.  She didn't use xanthan or guar gums that most mixes use in them.  She also didn't use any mystery chemical additives.  There are more than 200 recipes and most of them include pictures of the finished product.  This is a cookbook not just focusing on breads but also includes casseroles, desserts, cakes, pies, ect.  It is stated that this cookbook includes only ingredients which are natural and found in you cabinet or easily purchased at your local grocery store. 
I loved this book and what I like the most is not so much the recipes but that she includes the science behind what works and why.  Ms. Cain writes of all this science evidence in an easy to read format that anyone could understand.  The reader of this review may not think that this is important until you want to adapt your own family favorites.  By including the science the reader can easily transform those formerly uneatable items into delicious adaptations that can be eaten and most of all enjoyed by everyone in the family and isn't that what every family cook wants to do?  Make just one meal for the whole family instead of making special foods for that one lone person.  Who wants to be singled out anyway eating tasteless food when everyone else is eating the good?
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Beekeeper's Son by Kelly Irvin

The Beekeeper's Son by Kelly Irvin is what I hope is the beginning of a long series called the Amish of Bee County.  In this installment the Lantz family is moving from their beloved recently sold farm in Tennessee to a place in south Texas  where it is hot and dry but they would not even have  home to call their own.  They would be living with other families until their mother could decide when to remarry.  Deborah couldn't figure out why her mother was in such a hurry since she was still grieving the loss of her father and she knew that her mother, Abigail was also.  Their Amish faith dictated that widows were encouraged to remarry as soon as possible but no one could expect her to marry without love, could they?  Abigail had courted Stephen before their father and had chosen their father over Stephen and felt great guilt over the fact that Stephen had never married and had moved from his family upon Abigail's marriage.  As soon as the family arrives, Stephen starts to take over and wants to manage the family's life as if they were already married and of course that rubs the 5 children who range in age from 19 year old Deborah down to little Hazel the wrong way.  Deborah has left her own love interest, Aaron in Tennessee and as soon as her mother marries plans to return to him.  Deborah faithfully writes to both her best friend Josie and her fiancĂ©, Aaron.   Josie writes back but for whatever reason she waits and waits for Aaron to write her and he does not.  Deborah though she continues to hate the weather and Stephen she starts developing interest in her uncle and his family especially Fannie her cousin who is closest to her in age.  She watches her mother who seems to bristle as the takeover attitude in Stephen and is growing closer to the more carefree and caring attitude of her neighbor, Mordecai the beekeeper.  Mordecai is a widower of 12 years and was left with his own 2 children to raise.  Mordecai's wife was killed in a terrible car accident that left son, Phineas with facial scars that disfigured his face horribly.  Phineas as a young adult had learned over the years to accept that others found him terrifying and had become used to the loneliness.  Deborah finds Phineas fascinating and easily overlooks the scars but cannot fathom why he is so disagreeable to her.  Phineas is also drawn to Deborah but is scared to declare his interest in fear that she will reject him as everyone else has done.  What will happen next?  Will Abigail fall for Mordecai or will she follow expectations and marry Stephen?  Will Phineas and Deborah ever get past their insecurities and develop at least a friendship?

I loved this book and hope that this series is a good selling one so I can read more.  It is well written and the author writes in a way that easily holds the interest of the reader.  Any age girl or woman could read and enjoy this book and I hope that they do.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement

Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement is a novel about living in Guerrero, Mexico as a girl.  Ladydi is a girl coming of age in a mountain village where no girl is safe from the Mexican drug cartel.  Ladydi's alcoholic mother has done the best she can without a husband to raise her daughter to be strong, safe and smart.  In fact if a girl child is born the mother turned it into a boy and Ladydi's mother was no diffeent.  She dressed the baby like a boy and treated the baby just like a boy right until the little boy started to grow breasts then the mom would turn the girl into an ugly girl.  She would blacken her teeth and make scars on them with charcoal.  The big black Escalades with their tinted windows and luxury BMWs would drive into the poorest little village in all of Mexico and the girls all disappeared into little holes their mothers had dug for them to hide in until the men drove away sometimes with a girl who had not made it into the hole in time.  Everyone in the village still talked about Paula--the most beautiful girl in the world.  A tan BMW had snuck into town and not a dog had barked.  Paula's mother had all kinds of dogs to bark a warning for her but this time the big nasty men had shot all her dogs.  Paula was taken and they had not heard from her again that is until one day her came Paula walking down the road back into her mother's arms.  Paula was never the same. Ladydi wants better and she knows that her father lives in Florida working but he has quit sending her mother money.  Ladydi's friend Maria is the only person she knows who has a brother, a real brother not just a girl dressed like a boy.  Maria's father is Ladydi's father.  Ladydi cannot understand how her father could quit sending money for her family but the illegitimate family he still supports.  Why? Why did all the men leave and go to the United States and send money for awhile but soon made new families in the states.   Ladydi can't help it she still loves Maria, she looks just like her dad.  Maria's brother offers her a way out.  She can work for a rich family he says but does he take her to the rich family?  Not first oh no first he goes to a shack where he kills someone.  Ladydi sees the blood on his fancy pants.  What happens then?  Life goes from bad to worse.  Read this heart stopping book to find out.

I enjoyed reading this book on life trying to avoid being taken advantage by the drug cartel.  It tells of life just trying to make it in the mountains of Mexico where drug lords are king.  Where the only education offered to children is from the teachers who must do a year of charity and so they teach in the village.  Some cared some didn't.  The women raise the girls in the village do the best they can. Sometimes they make mistakes but it is done with love.  This book however should be read with the idea that this is a mature theme and not for the young.  The reader should be of high school age or older.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Bunny's First Spring by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Bunny's First Spring by Sally Lloyd-Jones is a delightful read-to-me children's book on the renewal of spring.  Bunny is born in the spring when the earth is warming and grows and plays in the summer.  The earth is growing and green and all is good.  Everything around is growing and lush.  Then something begins to happen.  The days turn cool and the green turns drab and brown.  Things start leaving.  First the leaves fall off the trees and there are no more frogs in the pond.  Bunny grows fearful and thinks that his beautiful earth must be dying.  Bunny is getting colder and more afraid so he does what he has always done.  He runs into his hole to his mama. He gets sleepy and falls to sleep with his family.  And he sleeps and sleeps until once again the world renews into Spring.

This is a great delightful book on the way of the world and how the seasons change and how the animals react to the change.  It would be a good book to read to children of a young age.  It has many colorful pictures for them to enjoy and not many sentences on each page which with my children anyway that was important to them that the pages are turned fairly quickly during the reading of the story.  I would recommend this book for toddler through school age children.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Monday, January 19, 2015

When Mercy Rains by Kim Vogel Sawyer

When Mercy Rains by Kim Vogel Sawyer is the first installment in the Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy so I expect that we can expect to have 2 more novels from this great Amish/Mennonite romance author.  The book begins by giving the background of Suzanne Zimmerman's teenage years.  Back to her mother sending her off to an unwed mothers home to have her baby and then give it away.  Now 20 years later as Suzanne is raising her only child as a single parent.  She has done well.  She has friends, she went to college to become a nurse, her daughter, Alexa, is a 19 year old to be proud of but she still misses her family and home.  That is until her brother, Clete writes her a letter and begs her to come home and take care of her mother.  Can she return to care for the woman who sent her away as a pregnant seventeen year old?  And what about her old boyfriend who presumably still lives there with his new family?  Can she forgive the family who discarded her when she most needed them and help them when they most need her?  Will the community forgive her indiscretions and treat her well or at least understand that she was young?  So many questions and to find them out read this book.

As a lover of Amish/Mennonite romances I quickly read this novel in a little over a day.  It is well written and easily carries the interest of the reader.  Ms Sawyer is as always a good author and it is a pleasure to read her work.  Thank-you for this newest beginnings a the series.
This book was provided by Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Woodland Miracle by Ruth Reid

A Woodland Miracle by Ruth Reid is the newest book in the Amish Wonders series. 
What do a good looking trained shoemaker with pretty girls hanging off of him from sunny Florida have in common with a crippled woman with a chip on her shoulder from the cold timberland of Badger Creek, Michigan?  Almost nothing but a common love of Christ and being raised in a loving Amish home. 
Good-looking Ben and his best friend Toby have just been caught trespassing in a hotel swimming pool cooling off after a hot day working for Toby's dad.  Ben's dad has had enough.  So it is off to work in a timber camp in Michigan for his uncle.  Ben has heard that there is 3 girls for every boy so how hard can it be?  Well for one thing he has never felt it this cold.  And the girl who the boys ran into at the station, could she be any more unfriendly?  Then Ben and Toby end up at her house because of the horrible cold rain and a washed out road.  Finding out the her name is Grace and there is only her aunt and little sister living there doesn't help except that Grace seems to be the only unfriendly one there.  They find themselves sleeping in the dark, cold, smelly barn's loft under a pile of covers while they wait for a ride to the bishop's house.  When they finally get to the bishop's home they find out that he is one of the few men still in the community as the rest are in the timber camp.  Ben and Toby find themselves helping the bishop with some of the community needs and getting to know the neighbors.  Everyone it seems is friendly enough except for Grace.  So who is Ben drawn to---Grace of course.  Then things start disappearing and they hear in town that there are dangerous men on the loose.  Can Ben and Grace solve this mystery of who these men are before they do something terrible to Grace?  Do Grace and Ben find love in this cold cold community?   Read this book to find out.
I immediately liked this book and even though I had not read the first book of the series easily understood the plot and met the characters of the novel.  Ms Reid knows how to draw in the Amish romance reader.  I would recommend this novel for Amish romance reader of any age.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate

Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate is a novel once again set at Moses Lake of, "If you're lucky enough to be at the lake, you're lucky enough" fame.  There are 4 books in this series but these are definitely stand alone books.  In this book particularly the people who live at Moses Lake are only slightly mentioned as they drive through the community on the way to Wildwood Creek settlement.  This book is told in the present day--there is a casting call for a docudrama reenactment movie being filmed of the settling of Wildwood Creek in 1861 and Allie Kirkland and her best friend, Kim get parts for the show.  In addition, the novel tells the story of 1861 when Bonnie Rose and her 9 year old sister Maggie Mae come to Wildwood Creek with a group of settlers to start a school for the community children.  Bonnie Rose O'Brien is a soiled woman by the day's standard because she and her sister had been captured in a raid by the Comanche and taken into the lodge as little better than a slave woman and she carried the scars on her neck of the rope they tied her with to make her run behind them. Maggie had fared a little better by being adopted by a woman who had just lost her baby.  They had been rescued and then educated but still Bonnie carried the shame of first being Irish and 2nd being a soiled woman.  The man who offered her the job made her drop the last name and she became only Bonnie Rose.  The history is vague and requires much research so in the reenactment Allie and Kim rely on Stewart from the library to help research the times.  The only thing that they know is that in the settlement people start to disappear and there is a ballad that the locals sing which seems to blame Bonnie. As young women they are looking for excitement and they certainly find it in this summer adventure/job.
I really liked this book.  It is a love story but that is just in the background of the true nature of the mystery of the settlement of Wildwood Creek.  Anyone could read this but I think it is mostly a women's novel for those of at least middle school age.  There is no sexual content nor language problems for the young.  There is some of the slave talk which is written phonically so would possibly be difficult reading for the younger.
I received this book from Bethany House for this review.