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Showing posts from July, 2014

Captured by Love

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A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger discover firsthand the high price of freedom. Initially I was worried when I saw this was book 3 in a series, but that quickly subsided. It works nicely as a stand-alone read. The story takes place in during the War of 1812 on Mackinac Island – a war, and location that I know very little about. I enjoyed learning of the trials people went through during this time, and my interest is piqued to read more from this period of American history. Jody Hedlund writing is filled with vivid imagery and heart-pulling emotion. She does a brilliant job of incorporating historical facts within her fictional stories. I learned so much about Michigan, the 1800s, and the role Mackinac Island played during the war. Angelique is a complex and interesting character. I felt her yearnings to escape her life, and suffered her hardships right along with her. Her faults are realistic, the romance was touching, and I easil

Answering Your Kids' Toughest Questions

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This book holds a treasure chest of responses for parents to refer to when asked sticky, difficult questions. Beginning after the introduction and first chapter (which is basically a summary of what it is to be a parent), each section poses a question children may ask. Next are the discussions/answers, presented for each generalized age group or maturity level. (Preschool, Ages 5-10, and ages 11 and up.) I really like this feature because an answer you might give a four-year-old isn’t going to satisfy a preteen, as well as the reverse. Each chapter closes with an ‘In a Nutshell’ section, which displays bullet points summarizing the chapter. Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions is a great resource parents can resort to when they have difficulty finding the right words when their children inquire about tough subjects, such as sin, death, divorce, disasters, etc. Of course there are topics that kids might ask that aren’t covered in this book, but this is definitel

90 Minutes in Heaven

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The true story of death and life. Wow. Even before I read the first chapter, I was drawn into Don Piper’s story. The update, and especially the succinct and moving prologue, intrigued me, and made it nearly impossible to not read further. I love the honest, humble, simplistic, and unapologetic way the author presents his story. He doesn’t use flowery words or exaggerated phrases, just a down-to-earth (no pun intended) conversational tone. While reading the first chapter I read the following paragraph several times: “Many times since then I’ve thought about my decision to take the Gulf Freeway. It’s amazing how we pay no attention to simple decisions at the time they’re made. Yet I would remind myself that even the smallest decisions often hold significant consequences. This was one of those choices.” Oh my. These statements really resonated with me. There has been so many times in my life that, as I looked back, I recognized how tiny, seemingly insignifica

Love Comes Home

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When the flush of victory fades, there remains a winding road to an uncertain future. When I chose  Love Comes Home  I wasn’t aware it was part of a series,  so I’m pleased that this book served well as a stand alone. The story focuses on the lives of four sisters, Kate, Lorena, Evangeline, and Victoria Merritt. The sisters and the townsfolk of Rosy Corner welcome home their soldiers and celebrate the end of WWII. They are finally able to get on with their lives and live their dreams—except for Victoria, who’s husband isn’t coming home. Her situation is much different than her sisters, yet they each have their own tribulations. Each of these sisters’ personalities are so different, as their circumstances are, and I cared for each of them—even Evangeline, who could be self-absorbed. They all had their own struggles and dealt with them in diverse, believable ways. I enjoyed the different points of view, although sometimes the transitions weren’t as sm

Shades of Mercy

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It's 1954 and the world-even the far Northwoods of Maine-is about to change. This sweet coming-of-age story takes place in Watsonville, Maine, during the racial tensions and intolerance of the early 1950s. Young teen, Mercy Miller must keep her love for Mick, a Maliseet Native American, a secret. Underlying tensions between the townsfolk and the Indian tribes have escalated, and something must come to a head soon. Shades of Mercy showcases inhumanity, inequality, prejudice and segregation, as well as love, resolve, mercy, and triumph.  An evocative, moving, enlightening read. Cover: Like Title: Love Publisher: Moody Publisher Pages: 272 Pace: Steady First Lines (Chapter 1): I shoved The Catcher in the Rye between the mattress and box spring when I heard Mother yell up the stairs, although I probably needn’t have. When I asked Mother for money to buy the book, she made it clear that it wasn’t one Mr. Pop would condone. But she gave me the money anywa

Until I Found You

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Finding each other was only the beginning . . . I am a cover lover, and this cover art is lovely! It drew me in and made me want to read the book (even though I’m turned off by many “headless” covers.) The back cover blurb illustrates a unique storyline, and drew me in further. The first few chapters introduced me to the characters and were filled with action, but the rest of the story sort of lost me. Not completely, but here and there throughout the rest of the book. Learning information about the condors, and especially Kate’s grandmother’s history, intrigued me, but I never really connected to Kate. She was wishy-washy and detached. Nick, on the other hand, was attention grabbing. He has an interesting background and his conviction and dedication to his newfound faith felt genuine. His character was flawed and authentic and I rooted for him. Overall, the storyline was good and I liked the underlying theme of redemption. I just felt the thread that could’v

The Revealing

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Love does extraordinary things to people . . . I was immediately drawn into this fast-paced story. I found the twists exciting and was interested in the multifaceted characters. I especially like Naomi King. She is believable and likeable, and isn’t a pushover. She is secretive, but her instincts are strong and I rooted for her.   Her furtiveness has everything to do with Tobe Schrock. She’s hiding their relationship, and has been sneaking out to see him in prison. Naomi’s world suddenly turns upside down when a pregnant girl (Paisley) comes to town claiming she is going to marry Tobe when he returns to the Eagle Hill community, because he’s her baby’s father. Naomi’s heart and mind battle with who and what to believe. Though I enjoyed this story, I wish I’d read the first two books in the series first. (Initially, I didn’t realize it was a series.) There were a few instances where I was confused, and it was evident I was missing some information that was reveale

Caught in the Middle

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I love the cover art of this book. Covers should give us a peek into what the story contains and it does just that. Caught In The Middle is quite entertaining, (I admit I skimmed part of the ‘business’ info) and I was invested in the characters—especially the unconventional woman of the west, Anne Tillerton. Her character is nicely developed and her personality shines through each page. I have to admit, I’ve never read a book with a Buffalo hunting woman as the main character. That alone is a great story, but this book adds so much more. There’s abuse, love, railroads, childcare—you name it! Tenderness infused with tenacity, giving me a sense of satisfaction when I finished the last page. This is an enjoyable Christian historical. It’s well written, and I cared about the characters. An atypical, fun western story. Cover: Love it Title: Love it Publisher: Bethany House Publishers Pages: 353 Pace: Steady First Line: The serving line hadn’t moved an inch,

A Shining Light

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First, I must say, I love this book cover, (which is what initially draws me to pick up a book and read the blurb.) The cover art gives a glimpse of the story and provides a great image for the main character, Andrea Wilson. In this story, Andrea has experienced a lot of heartache and worries. She and her son, Lukas, return to her family homestead to start over and find that it no longer exists. By relying on the kind people of the Amana colony, she begins life and love anew – only to find you can never fully escape your past. I loved the full, well-rounded characters in this story, and the 1890s are portrayed realistically. I really enjoy a book that transports me to a different time and way of life and this book did a superb job of it. I will be on the lookout for the other books in this series. Cover: Love it Title: Love it Publisher: Bethany House Publishers Pages: 353 Pace: Steady/fast First Lines: Unable to grasp the totality of Mr. Brighton’s message,

Sincerely Yours

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Book Description: Four unexpected letters. Four intrepid women. Four lives changed forever.   Spanning a century and a continent, these romantic novellas will lead you on a journey through the landscape of love. Four young women find their lives altered after each receives a letter that sets her on a new path. From a Hudson River steamboat to a lush drawing room, from a carousel carver's workshop to a remote hospital, you'll be swept into the lives of women who are making their way in the world and finding love where they least expect it.   Sincerely Yours is a wonderful collection of short, fun, and sweet novellas. These characters are nicely developed and likeable, the storylines, though brief, are well thought out, loaded with imagery, and serve as stand-alone novellas—only linked in that they include a life-changing-letter theme. I especially enjoyed this book because I recently read a few WWII books with deeply textured plots and devastating atrocities. The l

Ruth's Redemption

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Book Description: Set in the 1800s, Ruth's Redemption, is an unusual depiction of the 
lives of slaves and free blacks in pre-Civil War America.  Bo, was educated 
while a slave.  He was given his freedom and now owns a farm buying slaves 
for the sole purpose of giving them their freedom. Bo is also a man of God and widower 
whose life is destined to change when he meets the proud and hard-hearted slave 
girl, Ruth.

 Ruth has known nothing but servitude and brutality since being 
separated from her mother at age thirteen. Purchased and sold primarily for breeding, 
her heart is filled with resentment and bitterness.  Ruth wants no 
part of Bo's Godly devotion.  Yet Bo is unlike any man she's known and her experiences with him will leave her forever changed.
 Ruth had to endure unthinkable abuse and demoralizing situations, which works on the psyche and pulls on my heartstrings. I think Ruth’s dialect, though realistic, was delivered with too mu

Atlas Girl

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Book description: Disillusioned and yearning for freedom, Emily Wierenga left home at age eighteen with no intention of ever returning. Broken down by organized religion, a childhood battle with anorexia, and her parents' rigidity, she set out to find God somewhere else--anywhere else. Her travels took her across Canada, Central America, the United States, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. She had no idea that her faith was waiting for her the whole time--in the place she least expected it. We’ve heard the old meme, you can’t go home again , but this isn’t true. Sometimes we just have to realize what home really means, and that God is there, wherever we go and whatever we are going through. I love how this memoir reads like a novel. I also enjoy the way the author organized the chapters, with a stated setting, date, and opening quote. The chapters are short and the narration is engaging—as if Emily is sitting across the table telling you of her trav