Wednesday, December 21, 2016

God's Little Lambs-Bible Stories by Julie Stiegemeyer

God's Little Lambs-Bible Stories by Julie Stiegemeyer is a beautifully illustrated Bible story book for the very young.  This book is arranged like as the Bible is chronologically.  In addition each story is prefaced by the Bible verses that each story comes from in the Bible.  At the end of each 3-4 page story is a thought or moral of each story such as at the end of the story, of Adam and Eve in the Garden is the thought, "We make God sad when we disobey him.  But God still loves us and helps us."  An addition the illustrations has each person is colored appropriately such as Jesus is portrayed as being brown colored as persons in that corner of the world are colored.  The additional people in the story are variously colored to portray the people of the world.  This story has many of the usual children's stories but also included are hard to tell stories such as the killing of Jesus and all are told very simply.  Because of this simplicity this book could be read to any age but the very youngest of toddlers (there are too many words on each page for those but the most patient of babies).  The book is hard bound and padded so it could be carried around and the pictures looked at by the child but the pages while they are good quality thick pages are paper and could be torn by the youngest of children. 

I would recommend this book for use in children's sermons, bedtime stories, and for home teaching the Bible for home prayer time with children.  I would use this book as a first Bible for toddlers to be read to them.  I could see this as a gift Bible for children graduating from the nursery class at church.  There are liberties taken with the Bible stories to make them easier for children and some may not like that it is not precisely as written in a particular version of the Bible so if the reader is a very literal Bible scholar they may want to read it before gifting it.  I found this Bible story book to be well written for a child's introduction to the Bible.
I received this book from BookLook for this review.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada with Larry Libby

A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada is the next  daily devotional by this author. Joni is a well read Christian writer who happens to be a quadriplegic.  This well written devotional is written for the busy Bible reader who wants a little devotion to start their day.  This devotion gives the reader a Bible verse to read in your own favorite version of your Bible then she gives you a page long "thoughts to start or end your day" and follows each with a short prayer.  This would work well for a personal devotion before breakfast, at lunch break, or before bed to quiet your soul for rest.  This devotional is just that, a devotional, it is not to take the place of a Bible study or to be an intensive study.  This devotional is a short daily time set aside to help you to find for yourself God's significance in your life.  Joni gives the reader every day some insight into God's glory in your life. 

Joni Tada is a woman who has live most of her life as a quadriplegic.  She evidently learned early on that God still had a plan for her in His world.  She has not let chronic pain, cancer or lack of ability to move her legs or arms stop her work for God's plan in her life.  She has written books about herself as well as devotionals of which this is one of them.  I have enjoyed this author's work and I enjoyed reading this newest devotional of hers.
I received this book from Handlebar Direction for Publishing for this review.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Cherished Quilt by Amy Clipston

The Cherished Quilt by Amy Clipson is the next novel in Ms. Clipston's Amish heirloom series.  Emily Fisher is working in her father and uncle's harness shop working on the books.  Emily has heard that Uncle Hank's nephew was moving in with them and would soon be also working in the shop.  In addition to harnesses they also sold leather souvenirs such as hand made key chains and coin purses.  Emily was excited to meet the newest member of the work crew but was disappointed to meet the sullen Christopher.  It seemed no matter how kind Emily was to him he never smiled or even spoke nice to her.  What Emily didn't know then was that Christopher had just witnessed his younger brother's death at the hooves of a horse and on top of all that his father blamed Christopher for the horrible accident.  Christopher also blamed himself but was shocked at his father's anger toward him.  Shortly after the funeral Christopher asked his aunt and uncle if he could stay with them for a while and work in the shop.

Christopher it turns out was quite talented with leather and soon business picked up with many coming into the shop and requesting his leather products with free hand horse and buggy on them.  Christopher blossomed under the praise of his uncle and quickly learned to make new products.  Emily noticed the changes in Christopher and both started a friendship.  They told each other secrets that they had never told anyone else.  Emily learned that Christopher had forgotten his prized quilt that his mother made him at home so she thought to make him a lap quilt for a gift for him. But as the friendship deepened and started to approach the look of love Christopher's Uncle Hank reminded him that he had not been baptized and so could not date anyone in the church.  Though Christopher was old enough to join the church he knew that he would have to seek forgiveness from his father who was the bishop of his home church and he knew that he just couldn't not even to date Emily.  He knew he wasn't worthy of forgiveness.

Christopher's brother Paul's house burned and even though everyone escaped the house would have to be repaired. Christopher left without even telling Emily goodbye.  Emily was crushed but continued to work on the quilt for him.  Meanwhile in Ohio Christopher is staying busy working on Paul's house but still is unable to forget his one true love, Emily.  How does this story end? Do they learn to live and love within the confines of the church or?????
I received this book from BookLook for this review. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Angel of Forest Hill by Cindy Woodsmall

The Angel of Forest Hill by Cindy Woodsmall is the next novel from this prolific writer of Amish love stories. 

Rose Kurtz was the oldest of the large Amish family. She had grown up in the family of all boys except herself and her mother.  She had always known that she was a klutzy inept girl because her mother had constantly told her that all of her 21 years.  Rose lived a hard life of constant work feeding, cleaning and clothing for her ll brothers and father's needs alongside of her mother until the day that the bishop of their church arrived during breakfast.  The bishop had a request and that was for her to go to Forest Hill and help care for the children of Joel Dienner and his wife who was not doing well after the birth of their 3rd child.  But when the driver pulled up to the farm house she found it had every window shining with light and the house was surrounded by black Amish buggies.  She soon understood why the house was so people filled when the door was answered by a tearful older Amish woman.  The young mother of the children had died.

Rose had never before cared for a baby girl but she quickly learned to care for both the baby girl and her 2 toddler brothers, and oddly enough whenever she didn't know what to do it seemed like a young woman's voice lead her to do the right thing.  Joel seemed completely lost to the world so deep into his grief that he could barely function.  After a few days however Joel's father came to him and said that the helping women in his house had to go home and he could not allow Rose to remain alone with him to help care for the children--that is unless they agreed to marry.  Joel was in a hard place but he and Rose worked up an agreement that they would marry in name only and Rose would stay and raise the children.  First Joel and Rose grew to like each other as working partners in the children's home and only very slowly did it turn to love but they each stayed in their own bedroom never to consummate their marriage.  It worked fine until Joel in a heated argument with his former Mother in law let slip that he and Rose had never slept together did it become a problem and she took the information to the bishop--Joel's father.  Read the book for the ending to this romance.

I loved this book not only for the love interest but for the way it brought out just what happens to a person's self esteem when a little girl is raised with constant belittling and hatred.  Rose's upbringing continued to effect her adult life since she had no self-esteem. She didn't recognize in herself of her abilities nor was she capable of understanding that someone could love her simply for herself.  She only believed that people would want her around for her work and what she could do for them.  It brings out just how important love and acceptance in for children and how fragile their self esteem is and how important both are to becoming a whole adult.
I received this book from Waterbrook for this review.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Of Stillness and Storm by MichelePhoenix

Of Stillness and Storm by Michele Phoenix is by far the most interesting Christian love story I have read in awhile.  It is a love story between a man and his wife.  It reads so true to life I had to recheck to make sure it was fiction which it most certainly is.  The story is told through the eyes of Lauren, the wife, and her life which is told in flashbacks of  growing up and meeting Sam at a Bible school in Austria when both of them were exploring and deepening their Christian faith.  Sam and Lauren both knew that they wanted to find lifelong spouses who were Christian.  Sam knew that God had something important for him to do and wanted to make sure that Lauren also felt the same way and that they both would do anything that God called them to do.  Lauren knew that in addition that she wanted to most of all be a mother.  Both during this time of study in Austria thought and prayed long and hard about marriage to each other and finally both agreed that they loved each other and God and that they were meant for each other.  They married and then came life.

Lauren and Sam both wanted children but they couldn't get pregnant.  After 2 years of trying they investigated getting medical help but Sam was sure that if they spent that kind of money on getting pregnant that they would never be able to go into the mission field. When Lauren got pregnant nearly 7 years after their marriage they both cried they were so happy.  Ryan was a happy child and Lauren and Sam loved him very much.  Sam though knew he was supposed to go into the mission field and started the process of getting all their bills paid and saving for spending time in a foreign land, wherever God sent him.  Lauren was content to stay in the good old USA and care for her family.  The day that Sam came home excited and through down the brochures for Nepal was not the day that Sam expected.  Lauren was concerned for the safety and care of Ryan first and foremost, agreed to keep an open mind but when they told 6 year old Ryan he was from the beginning against it.  Ryan, over the time it took them to get financial backing and prepare for life in the mission field in Nepal, became more and more withdrawn and sullen from the happy carefree child he had been.  Lauren was concerned but every time she voiced her concerns Sam would talk her out of it and kept planning the trip to Nepal.

Nepal was everything that Lauren and Ryan was afraid it was and more.  For Ryan the only good thing about Nepal was that they played soccer and Ryan loved to play soccer and was quite good at it.  Lauren loved the kind and loving people of Nepal but she hated living there. It was dirty and because Sam felt that they should live close to the way that the Nepali people did and so they had no cellphone or most of the time no electricity.  Ryan started an emotional downward spiral emotionally which concerned Lauren but Sam felt it was only teenage acting out.  Lauren was with Ryan daily and grew more and more concerned but Sam who was in the field for weeks at a time kept brushing it off.  Lauren and Sam both believed that the wife should be dutiful to her husband and though sometimes it took some arguing on Sam's part Lauren always eventually caved in to Sam's plans and wishes.  That is until the weekend of the disaster.

I loved this book.  It is a love story like no other but also shows what can happen when 2 people who very much love each other marry and only one of them has the power in a relationship.  These people never fall out of love for each other and this is the story of what happened.  This book can be read by any aged person who can tolerate the emotions of the book.  The ending is a hard read but this is also a book that is difficult to put down so be prepared.  Don't start reading this book in the evening and think is will relax you to sleep unless you are really sleepy and can go to sleep in about 2 pages.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies

The Tea Planter's Wife by  Dinah Jefferies is a complex novel set in the 1920s and 1930s.  It is a tale of living on a tea plantation in Ceylon.  Where is Ceylon? you might ask well look up Sri Lanka and you will find Ceylon.  Gwen has just married a man and is madly in love and so excited to get to her new home.  She knows that there will be many changes to make in learning to live in Ceylon when she is so used to living in England.  Her husband, Laurence has gone on ahead to prepare the home for her arrival.  Gwen learns to live the life on the plantation and to think of this as her new home and to love it.  But there are many changes to make- why does her sister-in-law seem to hate her no matter what she does?  why are the plantation workers not treated better?  But then the worse thing of all--Gwen is pregnant with twins but when they are born her son, Hugh, is white and looks very much like Laurence but the daughter is dark.  How could this happen?  What can she do?  She is all alone for this delivery except for her servant, Naveena.  Naveena helps her to find a wet nurse in the village to care for her for money.  No one can know, Naveena has convinced her.  But how could this have happened?  Did it happen the night she was so drunk that she allowed a trusted black friend see her to her bedroom?  Gwen tumbles into a deep depression for the guilt of giving away her baby from which she recovers but never does she forget her daughter, Liyoni.  Gwen convinces Naveena to take her to the village to make sure that Liyoni is ok but only one time.  That is the only safe way for but the baby's safety as well as the secret's safety.  Liyoni grows as does Hugh.  Then Liyoni begins to limp and her foster mother will no longer care for her.  Read this book to find out the outcome of this novel.

I loved this complicated book though I lay it down time after time because of the sadness and turmoil of the emotions.  I think any adult woman would enjoy reading this book and probably some high school aged girls but as I said earlier it is a complex book with difficult racial and sexual problems of the 1930s some of which still linger on but some of which the young of today will never know.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Love Bears All Things by Beth Wiseman

Love Bears All Things by Beth Wiseman is the 2nd in the Amish Secrets series.  Charlotte Dolinsky has finalized her  breakup with Ryan for the last time.  He refused to forgive her for snooping in his phone to find out if he was cheating on her.  That was bad enough but when she spotted him in the restaurant obviously on a date with another woman Charlotte was through and figured out that though he may think she was crazy and not trusting enough she was correct about his unfaithfulness and was done.  And if all that was not enough she found out that she had been evicted from her apartment during that same time.  Her only brother had recently committed suicide and she needed to settle his affairs in an Amish community in Lancaster County so she decided to go back there and also see her Amish friends whom she had met while trying to figure out why her brother had decided to kill himself.  While in Lancaster county she stays with her friends, Amos and Lena and their family.  Charlotte has decided to sell her brother's house but even though a friend, Daniel Byler and Aaron have helped get the house ready to sell the realtor has had no one showing any interest in a house with no electricity.  Then Daniel has noticed that someone has been sneaking into the house and leaving behind a mess and leaving the door unlocked.  What is Charlotte going to do?  She needs the money that the sale of the house can bring but the house keeps getting broken into and left in a mess.  She wants to discover the secrets of her past but can no longer afford mental health treatment since Ryan had been paying for it.  Who is the little girl in the purple dress standing with the Amish woman in her dreams?

As you can see this book is well developed and anyone would enjoy reading it.  Though Charlotte is not Amish it is centered in Lancaster county and most of the characters are Amish and so allows the readers a glimpse into their world. 
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Child of the River by Irma Joubert

Child of the River by Irma Joubert is the first book that I believe that I have read by this author but it certainly will not be the last.  This book begins with the leading character, Persomi Pieterse, coming of age in the 1930's in South Africa.  She is the 4th child growing up in a poor white sharecropper family, a bywoner, on a portion of the huge Fourie farm.  She has grown up playing with the owners children but knows that her place is to always be subject to the children of the owner.  Irene one of the owner's children makes sure that Persomi knows her place.  Persomi and her older brother Gerbrand belong to their mother and Piet and Sissie belong to their pa. Hannapat and Baby belong to both of them.  Persomi wonders why she doesn't look like anyone else in the family.  She is tall and thin and has dark hair.  Persomi is smart in school and she can run like the wind.  That running is sometimes what saves her from the cruel hand of her drunken lazy father.  Persomi knows that this is her last year of school.  Her mama has already told her that she will find a job next year and Gerbrand even though he is also smart and athletic has already quit school to work in the mines.  Persomi has been told by the welfare woman that she could get a scholarship for her so that she can go to school and Persomi has high hopes.  The welfare woman was on their case because she found out that Sissie was pregnant and their father had raped her.  The welfare woman had asked Persomi to testify against her father.  Persomi is afraid but she agrees to tell the truth though her ma had said that pa would kill them all.  Persomi testifies and she not only told on her pa but also told why Sissie and her mother had lied and were too afraid to tell the truth.  Pa is sent to jail and Persomi goes to school.  This is the beginning of Persomi becoming educated and becoming an important lawyer during the coming apartheid and World War II years.

I loved this book.  Though it is a novel it is told with the historic facts in place.  It tells of the many problems of the poor both white and the various colors of the human race in South Africa.  It tells of the rich and their ways of controlling the laws to their benefit and how it affects the poor.  It tells of how race relations are manipulated by those in power to keep the poor infighting among themselves and allowing the rich to stay rich by not fighting.  It tells how during the war the rich did not fight but rather controlled how the war was fought by the poor of their country.  "The poor are mere cannon fodder" during the war.   
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

NKJV Word Study Bible

NKJV Word Study Bible is my newest favorite study Bible.  This study Bible focuses on the words of the Bible and how the translate into English from the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. The short word studies are interspersed throughout the Bible as they appear in the text.  Each which has a study in underlined within the text so that you notice not only to look for the study but to also notice how it is used in the sentence.  It has in the back of the text a list of the words which has special focus in the study so if the reader is only studying that particular word or wants to look up other references within the Bible.  I love a Bible which has a concordance and this one has a small one to use for reference, however if you are using this Bible for a study then the reader would have to use an additional larger one most likely.  There is a small map section in the back also.  It has the much loved Christ's words printed in red.  I love the way each book of the Bible has an historical introduction as well as word study of the book's name.

Another thing I love about this edition is the sturdy way it is put together--no wimpy thin pages--this book is printed to be used and studied.  It would never do as a coffee table book--it is not a beautiful book.  It is meant to be read regularly.  It would be at home on your home desk or beside your favorite chair to be read as you can.  It could also be just lying about waiting to be opened and enjoyed.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

A Call to Mercy by Mother Teresa

A Call to Mercy by Mother Teresa is a collection of writings by Mother Teresa during her lifetime or remembrances that others had of her sayings or writings.  These writings center on forgiveness, mercy to others, loving everyone, and taking care of those in need.  She writes of her care of others throughout the world during her work with the Missionaries of Charities.  Her writings and her speech show her humility and her mercy to those less fortunate.  She writes of how she tried to always think of those she served as Jesus-If you did it unto the least of these-you did it unto Me.  She taught not so much What would Jesus do? as How would you treat Jesus if He were standing before you rather than the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, ect.  She showed in her life how to treat others as if Jesus were the one she was serving--because He was.

I loved this book and was constantly in awe of her work with those unloved and uncared for.  I cannot even imagine seeing the sights that she worked with among the poor let alone be that poor.  I cannot imagine babies so hungry they sucked on their sheets.  I cannot imagine being so poor/sick that I lay on the ground and when someone helped me up my skin remained on the ground.  She managed to always show love even while correcting the behavior of those she worked with.  She taught humility by always being humble.  This book should probably be read and reread by me and others on yearly basis so that we learn to be aware of our many blessings and to bless others around us based on those blessings.  This book should be read by all of all religions.  A most powerful book.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Love Transformed by Tracie Peterson

A Love Transformed by Tracie Peterson is the next installment in the Sapphire Brides series.  Clara Vesper has had all her monetary needs met by her husband, Adolph.  But this marriage was a loveless arranged marriage by her overbearing mother who insisted on a marriage which was going to increase her societal standing.  Clara has no interest in society but has learned to live with her life as it is.  Adolph is not mean to her, he just has no interest in family but only in the progress of his jewelry business which both Adolph and Clara work in.  When Adolph is shot during a robbery and dies suddenly  Clara now has to figure out how to manage on her own.  The surprises keep on arriving though when Adolph's brother states that Adolph has no financial holdings in the company due to his gambling.  Clara knowing that her mother will soon arrive and try to again take over her life decides to go to the only place where she has known unconditional love and that is on the Montana ranch that her aunt and uncle own.  Clara spent the summers there while she was a child and loved the ranch.  Clara quickly gathers up only the absolute needed clothing for her children and herself and telling only her most trusted servant heads for Montana.  When they arrive in Montana she finds that much has changed but all the important things are there: unconditional love, hard ranch work, and a Christian home to live in.

I love Ms. Peterson's writing that this is no exception.  The reader travels back in history to World War I life in the USA.  The family works hard and mostly lives off of what they can raise on their ranch.  Patriots and traitors live side by side and don't even know it but eventually the truth must come out and traitors are punished.  Sometimes the traitor is a trusted family member so the rest of the family must bear the brunt of the stigma also even if they had no knowledge it was happening.
I believe that most readers of Christian historical novels who love reading this one by Tracie Peterson.
I received this book from BethanyHouse for this review.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter

Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter is the next installment in the Summer Harbor series.  Riley is returning home from his stint in the marines in Afghanistan.  He returns with many things he didn't expect, new muscles, experiences in new places, and oh yes nightmares.  He also left behind his leg along with his self confidence.  He had planned to return home to win his best friend's love when he heard that she and his brother had broken up.  Now he is holed up in his best friend, Paige's, house and unable to tell her that he loves her.  How can he saddle her with a cripple?  How can he earn a living for himself let alone a family?  Then the kiss happened.  But he said that it was just a kiss, probably didn't mean anything.  He took a job helping Paige out at the animal shelter which she was trying to save from being closed.  But then he borrowed a vehicle from his brother on a rainy night which stalled and he couldn't get restarted and called his brother to come get him.  His brother's wife answered the phone and instead of telling his brother called Paige to come rescue him.  Paige ran to talk to him in the vehicle and when he scooted over the prosthesis didn't scoot as smoothly as the rest of him did and Paige got tangled and fell over it and him.  Then the real kiss happened.  Then a more deeper and meaningful kiss happened.  How will Paige and Riley live with this? Will Riley run like he usually does?
I loved this book.  It has many twists and turns as Riley learns to live with life after the war zone.  He doesn't just have the missing leg and the many problems of learning to live with the prosthesis he has to live with the nightmares, the memories of everything that happened that he has no one to talk about to.  Riley has not only the problems of his memories but the dreams he had of continuing in the family lobster business is now just a pipe dream.  Lobstering  is a tough business with two legs let alone one.  What if he got tangled up and lost a hand?  How would he live then?  Paige though is just as saddled with her past.  She grew up with a disinterested father and her mother never loved her though she kept trying to get her attention as she grew up.  Paige found out the reason why at the funeral though--she wasn't her real mother.  Paige's father had an affair and Paige was the result of that.  Paige's mother had to raise her but never loved her.  How can these 2 broken people learn to live with life as it is dealt out to them?  I would recommend this book for any one who loves Christian novels.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Answers to the Most Important Questions about the End Times by Dr John Hart

Answers to the Most Important Questions about the End Times by Dr John Hart is a book which helps explain what is to come according to the Bible.  Dr. Hart does a great job of referencing the Bible in various translations as to what not only the book of Revelations reveals but also throughout the Old and New Testaments.  It is said that the book of Revelations is the most difficult to understand of all the Bible but Dr. Hart explains Revelations in easy to understand language and format throughout the book.  Dr. Hart does not use scare tactics to force the reader into the same belief as he has but rather used easily defined and well referenced resources to allow the reader to draw their own conclusions.  He explains in simple language what the rapture and the tribulation are and then he explains certain controversial concepts such as is the rapture going to take place before or during the tribulation and why he believes as he does.  He never assumes the reader knows what he is talking about he explains the concept first.  He also doesn't try to make himself appear smarter than he is by making the concept difficult--if his belief is simply what the Bible says he says so.  If a concept is symbolic he says so and then explains why he believes that it is not exactly as printed in the Bible.  He approaches the Bible teachings as something that can be understood rather than the Bible can only be understood with Dr. Hart's help. 

I liked Dr. Hart's simple Bible study helps book.  He has made the study of Revelations and easy and fun read.  Dr. Hart must be a very popular professor at the Moody Institute.  It seems so many writers of prophecy must use scare tactics beyond what is already printed in order to foster belief.  I would recommend this reading especially for women who have never found an interest in prophesy--it seems that men always find this subject interesting!
I received this book from BethanyHouse for this review.

Home on the Range by Ruth Logan Herne

Home on the Range by Ruth Logan Herne is the second in the Double S Ranch series by this talented writer.  Nick Stafford is the last son to have stayed with his father to run the ranch.  His father raised his motherless children with a hard hand.  Nick had been all set to best his father in the husband and father category as well as do a good job running the ranch.  Well that is until his wife left him for a flashier rodeo cowboy with not nearly as much money.  Nick had spent all his married life doting on his wife and children then one day she just left.  She just left her home in town--the one that Nick as purchased for her because she hated the ranch.  She just left her husband--who had always deferred to all her wishes even if it caused conflicts with his family.  But what Nick couldn't understand at all was she just left her beautiful little girls just like Nick's mother had left him and his brother.  How could she do that?  None the less Nick was raising the children as best he could and it seemed good enough for his youngest, 6 year old Dakota, but older Cheyenne was a different story all together.  Cheyenne was mad, defiant, and had neglected her school work until the school was threatening to fail her.  The school had recommended that Nick take her to a counselor, Dr. Elsa Andreas.  Nick had been ignoring the recommendation for months but now that she was failing, he could ignore it no longer.  Nick and the girls drive out to the woodsy bungalow half hidden by the hill it was built into which is where the doctor lived with her dog and her free flying talking bird. Though at first the girls both thought the doctor odd they both learned to appreciate her and Cheyenne was making good healthy strides in both her school work and her attitude towards life.  That is until her mother breezed back into her life and started trying to make her believe that life could go back to the way it was.

I loved the twists and turns of this new Christian love story.  It has a real plot and one that the writer can't quite figure out until the end.  Though it is the 2nd of a series it is easily understood by readers who have not read the first one.  It brings out the loss that children experience in divorce especially divorce that is handled by attempting to bring the children into arguments that the adults are facing.  This story tells about a how Nick and his family learn to live with the twists and turns of life without his wife--its been 3 years so it was time-- and the girls to live without their mother and learn to trust again the adults in their family and become well adjusted girls.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

An Amish Harvest

An Amish Harvest by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman is a collection of fully developed novellas by these well known Christian writers.  Under the Harvest Moon is by Ms Wiseman and features Naomi Dienner who is in a marriage with an abuser husband.  When her husband meets an early death in an accident she is dealing with the guilt of the relief of not being beaten instead of the grief that everyone around her expects.  Her father has hired an older man, Brock from an English family to complete her harvest for the year.  Unexpectedly she finds herself falling in love with him and her children just want them to kiss and make a baby.  Naomi knows it is too early and she also knows her father would never allow her to get close to an Englisher.  What is a girl to do?
Love and Buggy Rides is by Amy Clipston and features Janie who has just secured a job at the local souvenir shop and on her very first day witnesses one of the Amish drivers of the wagons that they use to carry visitors through the Amish country side get rear ended by a young man that Janie sees is looking down (she thinks he was texting).  The young man blames the Amish wagon driver and threatens to sue the souvenir shop.  Janie's dad says she cannot tell the police what she saw because the Amish do not believe in letting the law of the land handle their disputes.  But how can Janie let the innocent get blamed for what the guilty have caused?
A Quiet Love by Kathleen Fuller is the story of Amos Mullett who is a farmer who is autistic but who desperately want to find a woman to marry and love.  He has always been sheltered by his family but they really won't let him grow up.  Dinah is his stepmother, Judith's niece who has reluctantly come for a visit.  Dinah's mother wants the quiet shy girl who stutters to get out more and thinks that Judith who Dinah is close to will help with that but no one expects Amos and Dinah to fall in love.
Mischief in the Autumn Air by Vannetta Chapman is the story of Eli Wittmer who is an auctioneer who is selling the household items no longer needed by an older couple who are downsizing in response to the stroke of Jacob the husband.  He has been a furniture maker and does beautiful work but still for some reason there were 3 large pieces of furniture that sold for well over what they were worth.  Eli and his bookkeeper Martha go visit the older couple to discuss this and find out that there are parts of a map drawn on hidden parts of each of the furniture pieces.  The map is in 7 parts and this is parts 4,5, and 6.  What does all this mean and how did the buyer know about this?  Could it be about Peter who left years ago after an argument with Jacob?
I liked this collection and especially enjoyed Kathleen Fuller's continuation of the Amos story.  I would recommend this book for good reading by anyone who enjoys reading the Amish love stories and those who are still living the Good Ol Days.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Jesus Talked to Me Today compiled by James Stuart Bell

Jesus Talked to Me Today compiled by James Stuart Bell is the next collection of person's memories of talking to Jesus.  These are true stories as told by the person who experienced them and all of them had Jesus speak to them as a child.  Many of these children were from a Christian background but some were not.  Some of them are remembrances of miracles which happened of healing or deliverance from an evil thing but some of them are feelings of peace that though the person was afraid of what was going to happen Jesus gave them peace and walked along side the child when it happened.  This book is not a, "I asked for healing and so I was healed" book.  For instance one child was going to her physical exam to get into nursing school and was rejected.  Jesus told her to be a teacher audibly.  She didn't want to be a teacher but she listened to the voice that she knew was Jesus. and became a teacher.  She loved being a teacher and was glad that she followed what she knew that Jesus had told her to do.  The common thread through all of these stories is the peace that floods their soul when they listen to Jesus and do as he commands them.

I loved this book because it is so encouraging to the believer.  It reminds us just how important each of us are to Jesus and not only that but that we are important to Jesus from the very beginning of our life.  The Bible tells us that Jesus loved the little children and we all know that but this is just one more reminder of our importance to Him.
I received this book from BethanyHouse for this review.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Tapestry of Secrets by Sarah Loudin Thomas

A Tapestry of Secrets by Sarah Loudin Thomas is the next novel in the Appalachian  Blessings series by this author.  The books in this series center on life in Laurel Mountain, where Ella had grown up on the family farm.  Ella had always had dreams of marrying the man of her dreams and coming back to the farm to create her artwork.  Now she had just broken up with Mark, the biggest mistake of her life, and her mother was calling her back home because her grandmother had had a stroke.  It didn't take long to figure out pack quickly and leave the apartment where her lawyer former boyfriend wouldn't leave her alone and kept wanting her to reconsider.  Ella just wants to escape.  She knows that Mark will always be trying to get ahead in his field even if he has to embellish his accomplishments to do so.  None of this is making Ella comfortable and she slowly realized that Mark is just the wrong person for her.  She wants a Christian man that she can build an equally yoked partnership and love.  She wants a family much like what she grew up in.
 Her family had taught her so much about the art of quilting and her grandma was very much a part of that.  Ella willingly moves into Perla's house and to  help her to recover from her stroke.  Grandma Perla is improving and doing so much better and Ella is finding out some of the secrets of her grandmother's past.  Ella's aunt and Perla's daughter, Sadie, had been born before Ella's grandma and grandpa married.  Sadie had never before wanted to know who her biological father was because she didn't want to hurt the memory of her father who had died 30 years ago.  Everyone in the family still grieved the loss of Casewell though it had been 30 years now--even Ella though she had not even been born when he died.  She had grown up hearing what a good man he was and she wanted her future husband to be like that. 
Ella finds out that there is a rich man buying up a lot of the land in the Laurel Mountain area surrounding Wise.  Ella had been surprised when she went to church and saw the attendance was so much less than she remembered.  Her dad had said that the church might not last much longer if something didn't change. Now she was hearing rumors that this new man was looking to maybe buy the church and the land surrounding it.  Maybe Ella hadn't been here in a long time but she felt like the church shouldn't be sold but no one else seems to care as much as Ella except Mavis the pianist at the church. Should Ella move back here?  Could she build her life in Laurel Mountain as her family had done for generations before?
I loved this story and plan to buy the rest of the series now that I know it is a series.  The reader does not have to have read the rest to enjoy reading this novel.  In fact I didn't know until I was completely through the story and reading the back of the book.  This novel holds the readers interest and I think would be good reading for woman or older girl.
I received this book from BethanyHouse for this review.

The Drawing Lesson by Mark Crilley

The Drawing Lesson by Mark Crilley is a new graphic novel centered on learning to draw.  I love that this book is done in graphic format.  David is young and has no money to buy the art book at the used book sale.  Well he has $1.19 but the seller is not interested in cutting him a break so off he goes to the park.  Who should he meet in the park but Becky.  Becky is a real artist and she is good--better than Ryan Pasternak, who can draw a Lamborghini without even looking.  Becky may not be interested in teaching David to draw but David has persuasive powers and convinces Becky that teaching David could be interesting (or at least easier than convincing David to quit pestering her).  Becky walks David and the reader step by step into drawing.  David gets better and better beginning with drawing Becky's watch and ending with working with David's drawing in the art museum and in nature.  David practices and practices his skills as daily Becky works with him on new techniques to improve his drawings.

I loved how the author teaches drawing through the graphic medium.  How intuitive of him to know that young budding artists may be more involved with pictures than words.  I love the way that David persists in convincing Becky, who any adult could see was busy with her own artistic endeavors and thought that David was a pesky little kid, to teach him to be a real artist.  Becky doesn't cut him any slack but takes David along for the artistic ride of his lifetime into the world of art.  She teaches him sketching, shading, proportions, and finally creating a whole composition.  THEN she leaves him to create on his own.  Becky sadly must move away but before she leaves she gives him a tearful hug and tells him he can do it because he is so talented. 
 I received this great book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Prince Noah and the School Pirates by Silke Schnee

Prince Noah and the School Pirates by Silke Schnee is the next book in the Prince Noah series and if you liked The Prince Who was Just Himself you will absolutely love the School Pirates.  This book takes you into the world of Prince Noah as he gets his education.  In this book all children are divided into ships to be educated onboard.  The children are divided depending on who or what they were.  There was a ship for boys, one for girls, one for children with eye patches, one for children who had only one leg and a ship for children who didn't learn so fast.  Noah was sent to the school on the sailing ship for children who didn't learn so fast.  Noah's ship was multicolored and looked different from the rest which were decorated according to who was schooled there: girls were pink, boys were on the orange one, the children who couldn't see very well had very high sides.  The children on Noah's boat learned things and also danced in class.  The girls learned to paint and sew but not to learn math.  The boys played sports and their teacher had given up on teaching boys anything but games, diving and climbing.  Each ship had learning based on what everyone thought they could learn but some of the girls wanted to learn math and the other children wanted to be able to learn other things but it had always been done like this and so it continued until the day of the big storm.  The storm carried them off  into pirate territory.  The pirates captured the boats and threw the children in the pirate ship hold. To find out how the children work together to rescue themselves and their teachers read this exciting book.

I loved this book and how it held the attention of the children to whom I read this.  This book discusses the education system still in use in Germany.  This story tells of how education could be improved with what in the U.S.A. we call mainstreaming.  The book is beautifully illustrated and the children will love looking through the pages.  The star of this book series is based on the author's son who happens to have Trisomy 21 commonly called Down Syndrome.  This book is based on what could be accomplished in Noah's life with a change in the education system.
This book was provided by Handlebar for this review.

Friday, July 29, 2016

To Love a Stranger by Colleen Coble

To Love a Stranger by Colleen Coble is the newest Christian love story to be published.  In this western love story Ms Coble takes the reader back in time to pioneer Utah and Arizona territory in the days of the mail order brides.  Jasper Mendenhall desperately wants a bride to share his life with in Arizona territory and so has been corresponding with Bessie or at least he thought it was Bessie.  In reality Bessie's beautiful but spoiled little sister, Lenore who is just seeking a little excitement has been writing back and forth with him.  They have even exchanged pictures but Lenore who is already engaged to another has been corresponding with her picture and Bessie's name.  Of course as with most lies Bessie finds out.  Bessie is mortified but somehow Lenore convinces her to marry him and then afterwards to go out to the post and meet him and live with him.  Lenore of course doesn't tell Bessie about the picture exchange and she doesn't tell Jasper about the sister exchange.  Jasper of course is shocked when the very plain Bessie is who arrives on the train from Boston as is the rest of his family. Bessie agrees to go with Jasper from Utah to settle in Arizona at the new fort.  This is the story of how Bessie and Jasper not only learn to live together but fall in love with each other.

I loved this story.  It proves that though the looks of the person does matter it is also possible to love the looks of a person because you love them.  This book tells of the hardships of settling the west but that many loved the life and stayed to settle the new country.  This tells of the importance of faith when the hardships close in on you.  And the importance of honesty when you think that the other person will never except the reality of what really is. 
This book was provided by Booksneeze for this review.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall

Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall is the second installment of the Amish of Summer Grove series.  This installment follows Ariana and Skylar as they now are required by Nicholas the biological father of Ariana and the father who helped raise Skylar to switch lives. Ariana follows his edict because she wants to make sure that the midwife who brought her into this world does not get sued and Skylar because she was given the choice of go into drug rehab or go into the Amish family in which she was supposed to belong before being switched at birth.  Ariana is as completely lost in the English world of cell phones, electricity and cars as Skylar is with living the Amish lifestyle of hard work and living with her new sisters all in the same bedroom.  Both girls must dig deep into their own strengths in order to survive in their new surroundings.  Ariana is no longer living the deeply religious family centered life and now is expected to learn new skills such as driving a car with her atheist father while at the same time Skylar is being expected to help with gardening, the closeness of a large family, and helping out in the family cafĂ© while detoxing from her old drug filled lifestyle.  Skylar has attempted to keep in contact with her boyfriend who occasionally brings her the drugs she needs as well as stealing from the cash drawer and the medicine cabinets of family members.  Ariana even though missing her family and her boyfriend learns to accept and even enjoy some of the new opportunities offered by her new family as well as reconnecting with her old friends Quill and Frieda.  Skylar learns to love herself and the closeness of a loving family while dealing with her feelings of rejection from the family that she had always known. 

I loved this installment from this series and I am so anxiously awaiting the next installment.  This one was quite possibly better than the Ties that Bind 1st book of the series.  This book deepens the development of all the characters in the 1st as well as deepening the reader's understanding of the characters complex personalities.  As in real  life each one has a reason for being the way that they are.  This is quite possibly Ms. Woodsmall best book and that is saying a lot because I have loved them all.  Hurry and write the next one.  I am so excited to read it.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Vegangelical by Sarah Withrow King

Vegangelical by Sarah Withrow King is a book with the premise that Christians should not or at least consider not eating meat or meat product and points to Biblical references to back up her premise.  To further back up her claims she also points out the many reviews on factory farm operation practices as well as some of the well publicized dubious practices of factory meat processing plants.  She proclaims that if we as humans are to have dominion over the animals then we should be taking the best care of them and not killing them for food or really any other reason.  She states that the original purpose that God had for humans was to care for the animals and not eat them as originally Adam and Eve were vegetarians.  She admits that she used to eat meat, eggs and milk without thinking anything of it but that upon reflection she feels that now she would be not doing her Christian duty if she were not vegan.  She states that if we cared for animals and did not kill them for food or anything else then our Earth would flourish as God intended because less land would be required for food.

This book was an interesting read but I felt it was a little far fetched in some of her ideas as expressed in the book.  As a rural person I feel that not eating meat because of a few poorly managed factory farms and processing plants is short sided.  I feel that on our farm we treat our animals in a way in which the animals are treated as animal were intended-cattle graze on pasture rather than fed in a feed lot, our chickens roam the yard and pasture and are only in the chicken house at night or as they get hungry to eat something other than bugs, weeds, or an occasional tomato out of my garden.  We also eat our excess roosters and share a calf and a pig a year with 3 families.  Having been raised on the Bible my whole life and whereas I thought this book sometimes interesting, I don't think the Bible tells us to be vegan.  If I used some of the thoughts expressed in this books I would quit eating fruit--after all God's first punishment for humans was for eating fruit from the tree of knowledge. 
I received this book from BookLook for this review.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore is a the next delightful novel by the bestselling author of Bittersweet.  Cassie has just lost her grandmother, the closest person to her and the person who raised her after the death of her parents in a car accident.  Cassie is depressed that she hadn't even spent enough time with her grandmother, June, to even notice that she was dying of cancer. Cassie has inherited her grandmother's house and is astonished to find that it is falling down in disrepair.  How could all of this happened and Cassie not even notice?   Her depression is so bad that it is all Cassie can do to even get up out of bed after spending 16 or more hours there.  If that were not enough there are the strange dreams of the past.  It is as if the house has its own life and it is trying to tell her of its past and of Cassie's own history and that of June's life as a young girl.  While Cassie is wallowing in her own sadness, one day the doorbell awakens her midday and the caller, Nick, announces that Jack Montgomery, an old famous actor, has left her his entire fortune along with the announcement that she is his granddaughter.  Of course Cassie knows that this must be a hoax, wouldn't she know it if she were a part of a famous man's family?  Nick it turns out works for one of Jack's daughters, Tate, and she was expecting to inherit the money and is miffed that the money is to go to someone she has never even heard.  Nick's job  is  to get Cassie to give him some DNA off of a cheek swab and he could be on his way.  That is what he was supposed to do but Nick just loves the character of the old house and gets lost looking at the crown molding and such.  Nick is not bad to look at and he is very interesting so though Cassie agrees that it is very unlikely that she is related she wants to have more information about Jack and her grandmother, June.  Soon Nick and Tate along with her sister Elda, none of whom get along have moved into Cassie's house and Cassie finds herself interested in finding out the truth of the house and June and Jack's love story.

This story easily flows back and forth between the summer of 1955 and June and Jack's love story and the present day of cell phones and the renovation of the house.  The reader finds herself drawn into how this story could have taken place and the secrets needed to keep the story in the past.  Cassie has always thought she knew her grandmother and grandfather, Art Danvers, but there was the time she deeply hurt her grandmother after she had made the picture of her family car accident and displayed it.  Cassie had thought she was merely portraying  distant memory but her grandmother had strangely said something about keeping it quiet like it was a secret. At the time she had just thought it was the bottle on the floorboard of the car that caused June all the distress.  Then Cassie had known that her grandfather's real name was Adlebert and though she thought it an odd name she didn't know until Nick told her that this was Jack Montgomery's real name.  This mystery/love story is difficult to lay down once you start reading it so don't start it just before bed unless you want to be up all night.
I received this book from Blogging for books for this review.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sister Eve and the Blue Nun by Lynne Hinton

Sister Eve and the Blue Nun by Lynne Hinton is the next escapade of the Eve Divine mysteries.  While Eve is back at the monastery to listen to  a speech by a young professor from the college, Dr. Kelly Middlesworth, on one of Eve's favorite subjects, the Blue Nun.  This nun's merits were being discussed for sainthood.  Eve had very much hoped that her sister nun would be judged a saint and was interested in the new evidence being presented in the first session in the morning.  She was also friends with the professor's brother as he was a monk in the monastery.  Eve couldn't sleep so she had made her way to the chapel to pray, she just didn't know how to help her friend, Anthony who had just had a big fight in front of everyone with his sister, Kelly.   Well she couldn't sleep anyway might as well go talk with Kelly and see if she could help smooth the waters.  As she stood to leave there stood Anthony with tears streaming and so distraught he could barely tell her that he had just come from Kelly's room and she was dead and that it was all his fault.  Eve ran to check on Kelly just to make sure she was dead and not just really sick--well she was dead.  It appears and smells like from drinking arsenic laced tea.  All evidence points to Anthony but Eve just knows he couldn't have done it-no matter what he said.  Read this next episode in Sister Eve's adventures with all its twists and turns.
I liked this book as I have liked all of the Sister Eve stories.  These books are easy to read and can be enjoyed by any age group.  It is a Christian novel though that is not part of the story other than it takes place in a monastery and the main character is a nun who is trying to decide if she wants to take her final vows.  It is a difficult decision for her but the pull of working in her father's private eye business is challenging her brain.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Someone Like You by Victoria Bylin

Someone Like You by Victoria Bylin is the next Christian novel by this author.  Julia Dare has just started a new business, broken up with her on again off again fiancĂ©, moved in with her recently widowed mother, became a new Christian, and if that isn't enough she is a single mom of a young son, Max.  Julia got involved with Max's father, Hunter, while she was dating a good Christian man, Zeke, because he seemed exciting at the time.  Now that Max is in her life however she would like less drama and more help or at the very least some support for what she does every day.  Julia is in search of a new venue for Carter Home Goods.  This company rewards their employees with vacations and Julia is headed out to meet with someone named Ashley and look at a historical resort called Caliente Springs.  When she arrives however she finds that Ashley is at the hospital with her daughter and she is going to meet with the manager of Caliente Springs.  Imagine her surprise, not to mention embarrassment when she comes face to face with Zeke who is the manager.  While Zeke shows her around Caliente Springs she finds that it is in a state of disrepair but utterly charming and speaking of charming so is Zeke.  But Zeke is in trouble because the owner of the resort wants to put on the wedding of the century at the resort not only that but he needs to have this wedding outside and ready to go in only a month.  Julia is sitting in the room and thinks she can help and agrees to be the planner of this event.  What else could happen or go wrong?
  If you love Christian novels then you will like this one.   It has more twists and turns than the average Christian love story and I think anyone especially women and teenaged girls will love this.  There is no strong language or sex in this novel so really safe for any age to read.
I received this book from BethanyHouse for this review.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Wonderland by Amily Shen

Wonderland by Amily  Shen is an adult coloring book inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  This coloring book has the intricate drawing of most adult coloring books.  Ms Shen is a well known artist but this is her first coloring book.  This book not only has the coloring pages that are expected in a coloring book but also invites the colorer to join her in making the illustrations.  This book not only has the pages to color but also the dust jacket and the answer pages in the back.  The book is relaxing to sit and color with and brings back memories of just why we as children spent so many hours just coloring.  It allows those of us who wish they were artists but are not a time of creativity with color with and pictures that we didn't have the talent to totally create.  This book superficially covers the main aspects of the Alice book but by no means does it cover the whole book.  I would invite anyone who loves still loves coloring but wants more intricate patterns than the children's color books offer to get this book.  I would invite anyone who needs to distress at the end of the workday to get this book.  So many of the color books available to adults have a central theme and this one does also but the variety is so much in this book that I think the colorer will so much enjoy.  Buy this color book over many others because it is so much more than the others offer.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Code 13 by Don Brown

Code 13 by Don Brown is an exciting new book by this prolific military author. Carolyn and P.J..MacDonald had worked together on the JAG legal team in California.  They were a great team working well together until P.J. had been reassigned to the Pentagon.  Carolyn had thought that there might be a possibility of marriage until then but now she finds that she also has been assigned to the  post of such prestige to work with P.J. on the newly formed Project Blue Jay.  This was a drone project in which the Navy and Homeland Security would work together for a new contract to purchase 100,000 light blue drones for who knows how many billions of dollars from one contractor.  On her first day there however while she and P.J. are out on a run P.J. is shot and he instantly dies.  Then right after Carolyn and the group of 4 military personnel meet to try to find the murderer another JAG officer, Ross Simmons, closely involved in the  drone project with P.J. was murdered.  Carolyn was first on the scene because Ross had emailed her to meet him at his home about the information that P.J. had given him in case of his death.  Now Carolyn would not have the information but worse was someone killing everyone highly connected with the drone project?  How were they getting their information from the secretive pentagon?
 This is the 2nd in his Navy JAG series and I thought it was so involved with the many characters but I had not read the 1st book so possibly some of these characters were introduced n the first book.  This book will hold your attention from the first page and you will quickly learn the characters in the book.  From the beginning though start looking for the clues to solve this military mystery for your first clue is early on in the story.  From this aspect it is much like reading a Sherlock Holmes novel.  Read this book of many twists and turns with a surprise ending.  The story is not over until the last chapter.  I found this a riveting and exciting book and would recommend it as good reading for any military or mystery book reader.
I received this book from BookLook for this review.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Brooklyn on Fire by Lawrence H. Levy

Brooklyn on Fire by Lawrence H. Levy is the second in the Mary Handley Mystery series.  You don't have to have read the first one which is Second Street Station.  Mary Handley was made famous in New York City when she received credit for solving this mystery but now it is 18 months later and Mary is not exactly setting the world on fire with her sleuthing skills.  No one seems interested until a murderer is on the loose strangling people and then setting the site on fire and at the same time Emily Worsham seeks to employ her to find out who murdered her Uncle John Worsham.  Now no one except Emily seems to think that John has been murdered and he wasn't exactly murdered yesterday--its been 20 years since John's death of what everyone believed to be heart failure .  Well Mary uses her status to get the body exhumed only to find a casket full of rocks buried in the cemetery.    Hmm that would peak anyone's interest even if after working for 4 weeks on the case Mary has only been paid for 2 of those weeks.  Then Emily is murdered and Mary finds that Emily also known as Abigail is an actress who had been hired to impersonate the real Emily.  Where will it all end and will Mary figure it all out before more are murdered.
This novel is set in early New York City in 1890.  This is the time that millionaires like the Carnegies, and the Rockefellers were coming into their own and joining ranks with the Vanderbilt family and others like them.  This book though a novel brings in the crooked politics taking place during that time which helped them achieve their millions.  The story is fiction but it is set within factual circumstances.  During this time of politics as our country  gets ready for a new election it lets the reader be aware that the shenanigans taking place  today are nothing new just different from the "Good Ol Days".
I liked this book and would recommend it for reading for anyone who loves a good mystery.  I often find that men who write books where a woman is the leading lady don't get the essence of how a woman thinks this author has it down.  Mr. Levy has a talent for knowing a woman's thought and why she does as she does which adds to the realism of this novel.  Good book thank you Mr. Levy.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Dream of Miracles by Ruth Reid

A Dream of Miracles by Ruth Reid is this author's 3rd book in her Amish Wonders series.  In this novel Mattie Diener is starting to move on with her life after the death of her husband, Andy.  Her son, Nathan, who has always been sickly and small was once again sick.  When she takes him to see her familiar doctor she finds that he has gone on a sabbatical and left Dr. Wellington to run his office.  Dr. Wellington quickly looks and Nathan and his chart and immediately diagnosis child abuse.  She starts and investigation with child protection services.  Mattie is confused by the hospital admission and their insisting on TV monitors.   In addition, Nathan who speaks only German cannot understand the nurse and the nurse is concerned that he doesn't understand her.  The child protection investigator sometimes seems friendly enough but Mattie doesn't know if she can trust him.  Mattie sees some improvement in Nathan's condition and takes him out of the hospital against medical advice.  This starts a downward spiral into Nathan and Mattie's other child, Amanda being taken into state custody and Mattie being jailed for abuse.  The child protection investigator, Bo, can't shake the feeling that Mattie is innocent but also has recently made a mistake in judgment which resulted in the death of a child and he didn't want to repeat it with Nathan. Bo has experience in being on the wrong side of the belt when he was a child in an Amish family so he knows that though the Amish do have their problems he just is sure that Mattie deserves the benefit of the doubt.  To find out how this saga pans out read this delightful but though-provoking book.

Child abuse, misjudging child abuse and Munchausen's syndrome are all difficult subjects to read about and this novel is no different.  I did enjoy how Ms. Reid wove the story and held my interest though sometimes it was difficult to read the subject matter.  As always her novel is well written and researched.  I love reading this author.
I received this book from Booklook for this review.  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Counted With the Stars by Connilyn Cossette

Counted With the Stars by Connilyn Cossette is this authors first novel and also the first of the Out of Egypt series.  This novel tells the fictional story of how Kiya who was an Egyptian born of privilege who had always had a slave dress her and do all of her bidding from birth became sold by her father into slavery to a woman who hated her.  Her family had always lived beyond their means but in order to get out of debt her father sold her to his friend.  How could this father who had always treated her like a prize jewel just sell her to avoid shame?  Her mother now sold items in the market to pay the bills.  Kiya was screamed at daily by her mistress for her numerous mistakes.  In the year she had been enslaved she still made many mistakes.  Then strange things started happening in Egypt.  The River Nile had started to bleed and stunk with the many dead fish and other water life.  Kiya heard from her Hebrew slave friend, Shira, that a prophet Moses had returned and because of him that this was only the first of many signs that the Hebrews would be set free.  Sure enough soon after the Nile started to run clear again there was the many frogs. Frogs everywhere.  You couldn't sweep fast enough to even clear a path for the mistress to walk without a frogs slipping underfoot.  The frog plague had just barely ended when the biting insects came--oddly enough to only bite the Egyptians.  When the darkness plague came it nearly scared the wits out of Kiya.  Kiya had always been terrified of darkness and now 3 days and nights of darkness.  Shira said that the Hebrews would be set free and she would not be enslaved anymore.  Shira told wonderful stories of her Jewish culture.  How could Kiya believe these stories that Shira swore were true?  Can Kiya renounce her culture and believe this slave girl and her prophet Moses?

I liked this story of the escape from Egypt and can hardly wait until the next story of Shira comes out.  This fictional account of how the average slave made the trip into the Promised Land is an interesting accounting of how it may have been for average slave.  The Bible only tells of how it was for Moses and his family but how was it for the rest of the slaves?  How did they find out what was coming next?  Did it just sneak up on them like the rest of Egypt?  How did the water stand up to let the people walk through on the dry land?  Read this book to find answers and then decide for yourself.
I received this book from BethanyHouse for this review.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Forgiving My Daughter's Killer by Kate Grosmaire

Forgiving My Daughter's Killer by Kate Grosmaire is quite possibly the hardest book that you will ever read.  BUT if you want to read a humbling book about grace and forgiveness this is that book.  Kate and Andy are very close to this young man, Conor, though they do not want their daughter to marry him.  It is not that they expected him to kill their daughter, they don't even suspect that there is any violence in their relationship.  In fact when they first hear that their daughter, Ann, has been shot their first thought is, " where is Conor?"  Conor while facing some difficulty with his own parents had even lived with them for a short while.  But just a little while into finding out that Conor is who shot their daughter who is now clinging to life on a ventilator both Kate and Andy decide separately to forgive him.  This book not only tells the process that each of them went through to get to this point but also what they did after to help Conor through the wheels of justice and offer him restorative justice.  Restorative justice not just in their heart but working with the justice system and being the first capital murder case to offer restorative justice in Tallahassee.  Conor placed Kate as one of the only 4 people that could visit him in jail even though that meant that if she never visited him he could not replace her for a month.  Conor's parents though they had never met the Grosmaires immediately came to the hospital room to offer whatever help they could.  This began the process of the two families working together to help Conor through the justice process.

This book is most definitely a difficult read.  I had to stop numerous times during the first 4 chapters to stop crying.  This book does not portray any of the characters as perfect.  No one would ever confuse this book with fiction.  This book tells in a loving way how Kate and her husband, Andy, lived through and came out on the other side of their youngest daughter's horrible murder and decided to forgive him.  Now I don't mean forgive and forget they will never forget Ann and what she meant to them I mean forgive him and want good for him.  They still wanted him punished but didn't want him to spend the rest of his life in prison--rather they wanted him to complete a shorter stint in prison and then do community work in things that mattered to Ann.
There are probably children out there who could read this book and get some good out of it but let me be the first to say this is an adult book with hard difficult matters to discuss on murder and the justice system.  I am so glad that I read it but you must be prepared for it especially if you have children of dating age.  I would most definitely say read it but just be prepared this is not a pretty subject and though the author is very loving in the handling of the subject some things you just can't pretty up and murder by shotgun is one of them.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer is an endearing novel of hope when everything around you is falling apart.  This novel is set just after the stock market plummet of  the 1930s.  Neva's husband, Warren, travels a lot for the business that they run in the little community that they live.  When he returns he always brings new merchandise to refill the shelves in their little store.  Neva runs the store while he is away but she is happy to turn over the responsibility when he returns to home.  Neva had always wanted a large family but after the twin's birth she will never be able to have more children, Bud and Belle will have to be enough.  When the wagon finally rolls up to the house Neva is shocked to learn from the driver that Warren and his wife have died leaving their 3  children for Aunt Neva to finish raising.  HIS WIFE?  When Neva gets over the shock she agrees to raise the children, well physically not emotionally.  She finds she can't even look into the eyes of little Charlie since he looks so much like Warren.  Then Charlie runs away.  Not only because Bud hates him and teases him but because he believes that Aunt Neva hates him.  When Sheriff Jesse finds him stowed away along with his oldest little sister behind the seat of his truck Charlie opens up about his troubles living with his new family.  Jesse has a talk with Neva.  Will Neva be able to open up her heart to her dead husband's other children and love them as her own?  What other secrets did Warren hide from his wives?  Will the town love and accept the new family with all their hidden faults and secrets?

I loved this book.  I usually like this author but this is my favorite so far.  This book really looks at the characters both the good Christians and those who have fallen away and sees their faults and either helps them to live with life as it is or change in a way that Jesus would have done.  Neva needs to live with her dead husband's faults as well as deal with the grief of losing the love of her life.  She learns to be strong enough to handle all her new responsibilities as well as learn to accept help as it comes along.  Neva needs to learn to trust people again as well as deal with the citizens who look down their nose at her for something for which she has no control. Can she?   Great book.  Good read.  Anyone who loves reading historical Christian love stories will love reading one with some meat in it.
I received this book from WaterBrook Press for this review.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Apply the Word Study Bible (NKJV)

Apply the Word Study Bible (NKJV) is a easy to use study Bible in the New King James version.  This Bible has the poetry and beauty of the wording of the old style King James but in an easier to understand modern wording.  I liked the way that there is further research and/or instruction of the scripture right there on the same page and rather than simply putting a notation number or letter beside the verse there is topping the application notes a highlighted title along with the scripture that it goes with on the same page.  These further explain culture or what a certain word means in Hebrew, or why they wore what they wore, or why a law was enacted, etc..   Footnotes still appear at the bottom of the page as we are used to.   Timelines are included as useful.    Each book is prefaced with a description of what was happening during the time of the writing as well as what to look for in the book as you read it.  Colorful maps are positioned at the back of the Bible as we are used to but also interspersed within the text there are smaller maps so that the reader is consistently informed of where the action is taking place.  There is also a small concordance in the back of the Bible  though a larger one is still necessary to truly study this Bible as any Bible would require.  This Bible would be a good one to use for any study as well as daily Bible reading.  What I really think this Bible would be a good one for is a read through the Bible cover to cover Bible since it contains references to tell the reader where each book relates to another book in time passage. 
I would recommend this Bible for any person of any reading age.  It is probably written at middle school and above level. 
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Flirtation Walk by Siri Mitchell

Flirtation Walk by Siri Mitchell is the next novel out by this author.  Lucinda Pennyworth has just found out that her father recently died while she was away at boarding school.  She has spent all of her young life traveling the countryside with her father scamming people out of their savings.  She had been told by her father that if all else failed they could always go back to Buttermilk Falls where her dead mother's family came from.  Now Lucinda has found herself on a steamboat doing exactly that.  Lucinda has found herself living with her mother's family, the Hammons and learning a new way of life.  The Hammond family was a God fearing upstanding family living just outside of West Point where Mr. Hammond was a professor of the cadets.  Seth is just one of the cadets but he is the one that Lucinda is most interested in and the one that her uncle has picked to be one of the cadets invited into their home for dinner one evening.  Seth has just found out that when his mother recently died that he could not go help is sister settle up the estate and so she was tricked out of the mother earned by the sale of the farm by a swindler.  Seth wanted so much to go back to help his sister but the Army refused to let him leave.  Seth is top in his class and as such is situated to head out soon to engineer school in Europe.  His friends cook up a plan to get Seth's grades down so that he will be dropped out of this plan and headed out west to join the Calvary and find the swindler and get his sister's money back.  Lucinda and Seth in the meanwhile find each other interesting and are spending every spare moment together until Lucinda finds out that everything about her father being a scammer is even worse that she knew.

I loved reading this book which was no surprise since I have enjoyed reading this author's work in the past.  I would recommend this book for reading for anyone who is interested in the history of this country and just wants a little diversion from just the facts. Also anyone who likes reading historical love stories will love this one. 
I received this book from BethanyHouse for this review.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Miriam by Mesu Andrews

Miriam by Mesu Andrews is the next of the Treasures of the Nile series of novels based on Biblical texts.  This novel starts with the story of how the great Exodus of the Hebrews to the Promised Land began.  Miriam is a respected midwife of the Hebrew slaves who is also well known as a prophet.  Her family has kept the secret that they are related to the now banned and thought to be dead former prince of the Pharaoh's family, Moses.  Miriam's family has respect among the Hebrew slaves as well as the none believing Egyptians because of her talent of being able to reveal dreams of others.  Miriam is proud of her ability to hear El Shaddai's voice in the wind and feel what He is trying to reveal to His people but El Shaddai rarely speaks to her in dreams anymore and He never spoke distinctly but rather she could feel what He wanted the dreamer to know when she interpreted another person's dreams.  She was honest that only sometimes did El Shaddai reveal the dream to her and sometimes she didn't know.  This story focuses on the feelings of Miriam when upon return of Moses to the Hebrew people Miriam lost her ability to prophesy to her people and Moses heard the voice of God in his clear voice and could have a conversation with Him.  Miriam was jealous plain and simple but now was expected to follow the advice of Moses and now God wished to be called by the new name Yahweh.  How does Miriam deal with her new feelings and learn to trust and lean on her little brother, Moses?  How does Miriam help to usher in this new age of freedom for the Promised People of God?

This book has brought to life Miriam and her life in Egypt and her feelings upon the return of her long thought dead brother Moses and her walk into freedom.  Miriam has to face her feelings of jealousy as well as faith in the God who appears to be stepping away her and walking toward her brothers Moses and Aaron.  This book brings to life the Old Testament story of the Exodus beginning.  The author has done thorough research into the cultures of the time in order to fill in the gaps left in the Biblical story.   This book helps the reader to understand the life of a Hebrew slave and the difficulties of freedom.  This book tells of some of the difficulties of not only being a slave but being a female slave in those times.  I loved this book and think it would be good reading for any Christian, Jewish or seeker after the truth of the Bible.  This book enlightens the reader on the way the slaves may have lived in those times in an interesting and thought-provoking way.
This book was provided by WaterBrook Press for this review.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

An Amish Year by Beth Wiseman

An Amish Year by Beth Wiseman is a collection of 4 novellas which each can stand alone.  The first is Rooted in Love which I had never read before but is also written in An Amish Garden .  In this story Rosemary is very much in love with Saul though she doesn't want to be.  Saul has always been loving and kind to her and until she was 16 she had always planned to marry him and he had the same plan.  Rosemary just shortly after her mother died had broken it off and she absolutely refused to tell anyone the reason why even to her friend and confidant Esther.  Saul doesn't know why either but he has steadily kept trying to win her over time after time and year after year.  Rosemary is doing fine keeping up the housework after her mother's passing except for the garden.  When her dad hires Saul to plow and seed the garden however the two of them find themselves being drawn to one another.

Next in the book in the novella, A Love for Irma Rose.  In this story Irma Rose has a plan for her life.  She will marry the right man, who just happens to be Jake Ebersol.  Jake is wise and knew the Ordnung and had memorized much scripture.  Jake was what any Amish girl would want in a man and husband and Jake had finally asked her to go to the singing next Sunday and Irma Rose had quickly said yes.  When Irma Rose glanced up there was Jonas smiling that smile at her that was so unsettling and there was that sweat in the palms of her hands.  Jonas was wild and reckless.  Jonas smoked cigars.  But when she thought about Jonas her stomach had that uncomfortable tingling.  Irma Rose went to the singing with Jake and he kissed her as she had hoped---but nothing--no excitement. Was that it?  As luck would have it right after buying flour a storm came up and when Jonas offered her a ride home she had to take him up on it.  Irma Rose was afraid of storms and when the tree fell right in front of them on the road she was terrified.  Jonas was comforting her but when she looked at him she felt better but still that funny feeling in her stomach and she felt lightheaded.  She almost kissed him but then they pulled away and he laughed and said, " I almost kissed you and someday I am going to marry you".  She went into the house but she was thinking about both of them, Jonas and Jake.  Both of them were so different.  Who would it be?
In Patchwork Perfect, Eli had been widowed for several years now and it was time to start thinking about a new wife and mother for his two children.  In the beginning he couldn't have even thought that he would ever get over the grief but now he had moved to a new community just for the purpose of finding a new wife.  Grace, his daughter had hated the idea but now she had caught the eye of Wayne who was from a good family.  Grace still missed her old girlfriends but it was nice being noticed by Wayne even if he did want to take liberties Grace was not ready for.  Will Eli find a new wife? and more importantly one that he loves and loves his children?  Will Grace take it slow?  Will Grace figure out what love is and how important friends are both girls as well as boys?
When Christmas Comes Again is the final story of the book.  Katherine Zook had lost her husband, Elias, 6 months ago and now she was being followed by that long haired older man with the limp.  He had really never done anything to her but he seemed to be everywhere that she was.  There was something oddly familiar about him too.  He had been around so much that she knew that he drove an old blue car.  Then there was the day that her daughter Linda ran into the house with a gift wrapped box that she said a man had dropped by the house.  When she opened it there was in the box pictures of Elias and a few of her and the children.  As she looked through them  she found a note telling her that he hoped that they brought her happiness and would she meet him on Tuesday at the coffee shop and was signed by James Zook.  Now she knew why the odd elderly man seemed familiar--Elias' father.  James had left the family years before and no one really knew why.  What should she do?

This grouping of novellas are very well written and great to read.  You can just read one and lay the book down for another day as they are not a series and sometimes that is nice.  If you have a whole day to yourself you could read them all back to back.  You will enjoy this book if you enjoy reading Amish fiction.  This book would be appropriate reading for any age girl or woman.
I received this book from BookLook for this review.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Refuge at Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

A Refuge at Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky is the next novel set at Highland Hall by this author.  It is the spring of 1915 and war has broken out all over the world especially the world that affects the Ramsey family.  Kate and Dr. Jonathan Foster are planning their next baby as well as raising 8 orphan children.  Kate's sister, Penny, has left Highland Hall to join them in London and help raise the children.  Jon is getting busier and busier in the war effort and Kate is relying on Penny more and more with the household duties as well as childcare.   When Jon brings Alex to the tea that Kate and Penny are helping put on for the soldier Penny wonders if he might be the one.  Penny has just had her heart broken by her last suitor and doesn't think she is ready for a new love but feels herself drawn to the quiet and kind young man.  Alex for his part is a young pilot trying to prove his worth in the army as well as lead the new fight in the sky to defend England and the world from the dangerous new Zeppelins that enemy is using against them in this war.  Kate and Penny decide after the London bombings that they must return home to Highland Hall with their large family in order to be more safe while Jon is gone away to the war.

It is hard for us now to imagine a time when airplanes were a new thing in war or otherwise.  We have gotten used to using them for everyday transportation now.  This novel takes the reader back in time to when the world was first torn apart by world wide war.  It is said that life was simpler back then but in many many ways much tougher to live.  Get acquainted with the lives of the Ramsey's family in this book.  I enjoyed meeting the family and learning some of the happenings of World War I.  I think that this novel would be good reading for any woman or older girl.

I received this book from Multnomah Books for this review.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting by Suzanne Brooker

The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting by Suzanne Brooker is a book walking through how to translate what you see in nature to what you paint with oils onto canvas.  She shows through pictures and words how to use the differing brushes/knives for painting the different techniques.  She also is not afraid to tell brands to buy for the best techniques as well as how to use up some of the lower quality paint that you may already have on hand.  This may be one of the most valuable information tidbits in the book.  Beginners can spend so much trying to save money when buying a more expensive product that works better would be cheaper.  Thank you for not trying to not hurt manufacturers feelings Ms. Brooker.   We beginners need that much help.  The author walks the reader through techniques for painting sky, terrain, trees and water in order to paint them more lifelike and less one dimensional.  The author has pictures in the book showing a photograph then shows the progress of putting it on canvas.  She also tells how not to try to make it just like the photo but to make it better and states that photos also have their drawbacks that can be improved on in the painting.  She uses her own illustrations but also uses other artist illustrations to show the techniques that she is trying to teach.  The book is absolutely filled with pictures to simplify the teaching of the technique including how to hold the brush in your hand.  This is a book to read from beginning to end however since she builds one chapter onto the former chapter.  It may sound like this is a book for beginners to read from the former chapter but I truly believe that the reader should have taken at least a few face to face classes in order to make this book the most usable and readable if for no other reason to be used to the terminology, tools and products of painters. 
I really liked this book and as a beginner (who has taken a few classes) I could easily read and put to use the techniques. This book is easy to understand without being childlike.  I think that this book would be useful for most beginners and the techniques shown would improve the work of any skilled artist as well.  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.