Monday, January 23, 2017

Amish Weddings by Leslie Gould

Amish Weddings by Leslie Gould is the third installment in the Neighbors of Lancaster County series.  I waited in such anticipation for Ms Gould's next novel and she didn't disappoint. Rose Lehman is so excitedly waiting until her older sister Lila is married before she can start planning her wedding to Reuben Byler, the bishop's son.  She just wishes he was more exciting and freely expressing his feelings like Trevor who is visiting Zane Beck, Lila's fiancé.  Trevor always seeks her out and talks to her.  Trevor has even snuck in a kiss.   Rose is even starting to wonder if maybe she has feelings for Trevor but for now she is just enjoying talking to him.  Rose is mostly busy helping get ready for Lila's wedding until Lila has a horrible accident in her buggy when a car rammed into the back of it.  Before she knew it Lila was flying over her horse's head and landed by the creek with the horse on top of her.  Lila required weeks and weeks of help and exercises and Rose was there to help her.  However that gave Rose free time to sneak off with Trevor.  As Lila got better and was not so groggy from the pain medications she was more alert and able to come home.  Rose lost her freedom but she found out she had also lost more than that when she found herself pregnant and Trevor is nowhere to be found.

I thought when I saw the title and weddings were plural that this would be a happy go lucky Amish novel centered around planning several weddings.  This book does explore the planning of 3 Lehman weddings but each of them has a major curve to throw in for good measure.  In addition to all that Lila wants to seek out her biological father who she assumes would show her much more love than she has received from the Dat the stepfather who raised her.  Lila and Rose and even Dat, Tim Lehman all have some growing and learning about real love and how to show it.

I loved this book. This author is so good and I know I've said it before but she makes the Amish in her novel more realistic than any other author.  This book can be read by any and probably more enjoyed by older girls and women.  The only drawback for the very young would be the discussion of pregnancy before marriage.  There is no discussion of how she got pregnant or any other sexual content.  So make sure young ones are already educated before reading, my children were educated very young so it wouldn't have made any difference.
I received this book from BethanyHouse for this review.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Falling Free by Shannan Martin

Falling Free by Shannan Martin is a book that'll make you think about what your life is meant to be.  Shannan and her husband had everything they wanted: good government jobs, a house on 6 acres in the country, 3 children (maybe adopted but certainly well loved), a good education and the list could go on and on.  The only thing was Shannan wished that she felt closer to God.  Then all at once it happened.  Their financial security/jobs were gone and with it the ability to easily pay for living in the house in the country.  Her husband, Cory, found a job working for the school system for less money and Shannan had found even working part time with the children was becoming impossible so that job's money was also gone and so the house was placed on the market and they began to look in the city of Goshen for their house.  They found a new house close to the rail road tracks.  It was  new though smaller and cheaper and closer to Cory's work.  It was doable. Then Cory was offered a job as chaplain of the jail for even less money.  After discussion they decided that this was the life that God wanted for them.  Not the pretty home but a plain one, not the top of the line school for the children but the poor school at the end of the block with the low test scores.  Their children would grow up along side children from broken homes whose father they didn't even know or were in jail/prison.  This was the life that God had chosen for them.  This life of getting closer to God by getting closer to his people.  This learning to know and love the down and out, the drug addicts, the incarcerated, the tattoos that screamed profanity even if the owner didn't.  When they met and got to know their neighbor they learned what Jesus meant when he said he wanted us to love our neighbor.  Their neighbors( who needed so much from barest of necessity to hearing the Word) became their friends.  The incarcerated became visitors in their home and sometimes if needed their overnight guest.  But the Martins quickly learned it was a two way street.  The poor shared with them from their meager cabinets.  Shannan awakened one morning to the sounds of her sidewalk being shoveled by a man who couldn't dress warmly enough because that is what he could do for the Martins whom he loved.  After a class which combined the jailed inmates along with a class from the school, the inmates took it upon themselves to make Sweet Slam (a concoction of cookies and candy bars mashed together and pressed into bars) and offer it to the class.  The Martins were surrounded by the love of their neighbors.  This is what God wanted for the Martins and they didn't even know to ask for it.

Falling Free is a book about the gutsy move that the Martins made in order to follow the Lord and do his teaching.   This books was written for a high school to adult audience. It would be good reading for anyone though maybe not hold the interest of the younger such as middle school age group.  The book carefully sidesteps actually having curse words in it but alludes to the cussing occasionally.  I especially would recommend this reading especially for those planning to go into inner city mission work.
I received this book from BookLook for this review.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Cooking for Picasso by Camille Aubray

Cooking for Picasso by Camille Aubray is a fabulous read.  This book is told in alternating parts in present day America as well as 2 generations back starting in 1936 and ending in the 1950's.  Picasso isn't painting.  He has hidden himself away in Juan-les-Pins in a rented house on the seashore.  He has his paints but he doesn't use them.  He mostly sleeps away his days.  He has employed the Café Paradis to bring him his meals daily.  He has left orders to just leave them there and he will get them as he wishes and most of all tell no one that Picasso is living there.  Ondine is a fifteen year old girl living with her parents above the Café Paradis.  Ondine works for her mother in the kitchen.  Ondine is ordered by her mother to deliver the food on her bicycle up the hill to the house and tell no one.  Ondine left Picasso a note stating that she hoped that he liked his food.  Ondine serves the food keeping careful track daily of his likes and dislikes in the leather book that her mother had given her.  To Ondine's surprise Picasso leaves her a note and drew her a little picture.  After serving the food Ondine is supposed to return on her bike and pack up the supplies and return them back to her mother's café.  One day when she packed up she noticed that her mother's beloved pink and blue striped pitcher is missing.  Even though she is not supposed to Ondine searches through Picasso's house to find the pitcher so that her mother won't be angry.  Picasso catches her looking through his paintings. Eventually they develop a friendship and he asks her to pose for him.  Ondine poses and Picasso paints several pictures and she asks to see them but she is mortified when she sees the painting is so grotesquely formed.  Her eyes are both on the same side of her head ect ect quite Picassoesque.  Ondine is surprised to find herself thinking quite sexually about this older man in his 50s.  She has also noticed that Picasso paints nudes and wonders whether eventually he will ask her to pose nude.  He eventually does, she asks if she will be paid which angers Picasso then decides that she will not pose nude. Meanwhile back in the café it is war time and no one has money and not surprisingly Ondine's parents find themselves in need of cash.  Ondine is shocked to find out that their plan is to marry her off to an older man who has the cash to go into partnership with them. She is still very much in love with her one love, Luke.  Ondine runs away straight to Picasso and offers herself to him.
Modern day New York.  Celine who is Ondine's granddaughter is a successful Hollywood makeup artist.  Celine's mother, Julie is growing noticeably weaker and her stepsiblings make all decisions regarding her care.  Celine thinks that the medicine that is making her worse.   During her last visit with her mother Julie gave her Ondine's leather recipe book from cooking with Picasso.  Julie had hidden it in a special place in the kitchen.  Julie said that her mother also hid things.  Julie also tells her that Ondine had a special present from Picasso hidden but Julie had never found out where.   When Celine's father died he left everything to the older sibling twins with all decisions to be made by the boy twin.  Her brother makes all decisions about her mother and has placed her in a nursing home that will only listen to advise from him.  Feeling frustrated Celine decides to use the tickets to a French cooking school vacation that her mother would not be able to use and revisit the sites of Grandmother Ondine.
Now I just loved this book but I must caution any future readers that there is sexually contact between 15 year old Ondine and Picasso who is at the time in his 50s.  There is also talk later on about Picasso having sexual contact with many much younger women.  Putting all of that aside this is a great mystery novel especially ( I think anyway) for women.  I got this book on audio but think that it could be more enjoyed if read in book or ebook form.  I will read it again in written form just for the pleasure of it.
I received this book from Blogging for Book for this review.

You Carried Me by Melissa Ohden

You Carried Me by Melissa Ohden is a book by an abortion survivor.  Melissa grew up always knowing that she was adopted.  She was raised with her older sister, Tammy,  who also was adopted.  These girls were soon joined by the very happy addition of a brother when their mother surprised everyone by getting pregnant after all those years.  Both girls had been told that their birth mothers loved them but just couldn't raise them and so they were adopted.  Melissa grew up happy and loved and wanted.  As the girls grew up they discovered different interests and grew apart though always loved each other.  One day Tammy let it slip in an argument that Melissa's mother didn't love her.  Tammy didn't know that Melissa had never been told she was an abortion survivor.  Though Melissa's parents did the best that they could Melissa just couldn't resolve the fact that her biological mother had tried to abort her.  This story is of how Melissa learned to deal with this assumed rejection of her by her birth mother and the story of how Melissa found forgiveness for her birth parents and then the story of how she searched for them and finally found them.  She wrote each of them a letter and waited and waited and waited some more for a response. 

This book is a tough book to read.  Sometimes I needed to stop to cry and I have never had to go through any of these things.  Melissa is a strong woman who eventually went through a severe depression and with treatment came out on the other side.  Like many who go through great tribulation she wanted to help others get through the same struggles and founded  the Abortion Survivors Network to help others impacted by abortion.  She worked through her shyness enough to become a speaker on this subject.  She found that many didn't want to hear her story, many didn't believe her story and after a period of silence she found the courage to again speak out on the subject of abortion.  Melissa Ohden is a woman of courage who has found the strength to educated us all on this difficult subject.
I received this book from Handlebar for this review.