Tag Archives: book reviews

Book Review – April 2017

25 Apr

This month has been full of reading, folks! I’ve made a conscious effort to pick up a book instead of turn on the tv, and this month’s list is the result.

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When Bad Things Happen to Good People  by Harold S. Kuchner  – Striving to answer the age-old question ‘why, God?’, Kuchner shares the doubts and fears that often come with the question. He shares his wisdom as a rabbi, reader and parent in the hopes to bring comfort to the reader.

~This was recommended to me – that’s the only reason I finished it. I’m not a fan of this book. There were very few points that were made that I either didn’t already know or agreed with. That probably sounds arrogant but I don’t mean it to be. He has different beliefs than I do, and his including those (evolution for one), I felt to be unnecessary and distracted from the point of the entire book. If I rated these, this would be half a star.

The Shepherd’s Voice by Robin Lee Hatcher – Finally free from prison, Gabe has a hard time finding work during the Great Depression. He heads home, hoping his father will take him in. Instead he finds compassion and faith when Akira offers him a job and a home.

~This is a favorite that I read once a year. I love the journey that Gabe and Akira go through. As well as the faith and life lessons peppered throughout. Plus it’s set in the 1940’s (?) in Idaho. Fantastic setting.

Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott – As a sequel to Eight Cousins,  we revisit Rose after she’s traveled the world for two years. She’s decided that before she marries, she wants to show that she’s an independent young woman. But the world is at odds with her decision, making her wonder just who her true friends are.

~Another delightful story from Alcott. The twists were unexpected and surprising – I had a hard time putting it down! In fact, i read it in just a few days. Highly recommend this, young or old.

Captain’s Courageous by Rudyard Kipling – When young millionaire, Harvey, is swept overboard and rescued by a fishing boat, his life is forever changed. The crew teaches him how to fish, and how to be a man.

~This was a birthday present and came with a recommendation from one of my nephews. I enjoyed this book so much, although I will admit to still not knowing what a ‘foc’sle’ is. Kipling wrote a classic boy’s adventure with this one. Highly recommend, for young or old readers!

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy – Click through for my full review! For now, I’ll say that I enjoyed this novel immensely.

Created to Live by Cathy Harris – Click through for my full review! Well worth the read on a heartbreaking and controversial topic.

Currently Reading:

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss ~I am listening to this as an audio book via Librivox. If I had a copy in hand, I would have read it within a week, most likely. As it is though, I listen to it on the nights when I’m in too much pain to sleep. Very entertaining and not sure how I haven’t read it already!

Messianic Jewish Manifesto by David H. Stern ~ Pulled this from my OH’s library. I’m moving through it really slowly but it’s a good read so far. I am able to understand it without feeling overwhelmed. 

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson ~ A favorite that I read probably twice a year. Here’s a review from a few years ago if you want to check it out.

Revision and Self-Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell ~I picked this up at the library and am eager to get any helps on editing my first novel!

Once again, I’m joining the Reading Roundup linkup. Click the picture and find some more great reads!

Reading Roundup

What are you currently reading?

~Laura

Book Review: Created to Live

6 Apr

I have been intending to write this book review for a few months now and it’s always fallen by the wayside. Such sadness! I’m happy to finally get this out to you guys – so, without further ado, the book review for Cathy Harris’ Created to Live.

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Synopsis: Did you know that in America, an abortion is performed every 26 seconds? Since the ruling in 1973, a staggering 58 million abortions have devastated individuals and families. You’ll find resources, the hard truths behind what we’re told about abortions and encouragement to fight the battle against abortion. Told in an honest, loving way, Harris shares her story and invites you to make a choice for unborn babies.

I’ve never read a book with this as the topic so I wasn’t sure quite what to expect but I found myself quickly interested and read it every day til I reached the end. Harris’ style of writing is easy to read and I found myself impressed on how she presented different aspects of her story – and the history of abortion – throughout the book.  My heart was torn as I read the stories of other women, I even shed some tears at some of them.

But don’t think this is a read that will get you down and disheartened! Harris gives practical steps on how to join the fight against abortion. I liked how she advised starting in your home with conversations and working out from there. We must get comfortable talking about it before we can really go out and fight this battle.

Here are a  few quotes that stood out to me:

“Offering to hold someone’s hand is sometimes all it takes to save their life.” – page 43

 

“The abortion industry was soaked in lies from its beginning. The abortion decision begins with the lie that a baby is not a person, but is instead merely a ‘personal choice’. Those lies have been compounded and have deceived millions of people. Due to the power of entrenched demonic perception over this issue, defeating the enemy’s lies is one of the toughest battles women and men face after going through an abortion.” page 84

 

” In His tenderness, He sits on the throne. In His nearness, He holds the government on His shoulders. In His kindness, He brings forth judgments and extends His hands of mercy.” – page 114

 

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I highly recommend grabbing a copy of Created to Live!

I received Created to live for my honest review. It was published by Ambassador Int.

Most Popular Posts of 2016

20 Jan

 

I had quite the time deciding which posts to share with you – how do I limit which ones to share? What about the ones that I loved but that didn’t get much love themselves? So. This took quite a while the other evening, paring it down to this – which is still too long, probably but I just couldn’t cut anymore. From doing this though, I see that my health posts are overall the most popular. I will try and write more with this focus for you guys but no promises. I’m over here making it a day at a time, wondering if the new ache I have is because of my Lyme or just an ache that everyone has from time to time. Fun stuff, that.

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Anyway! I’ll get off the rabbit trail and back to the topic! These first few posts are random/fun ones and the rest are organized for easy access. Enjoy, share the ones you love!

Currently – aka why SGL has been so silently lately

Our Weekend in Bend

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HEALTH:

The Big Health Update

Health Update – 8/23/16

Fighting Lyme and Chronic Migraines

Symptoms of my Lyme Disease

Unexpected Side Effects of Chronic Pain

The Tears of My Heart

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leaving the dog park

 

BOOKS REVIEWS:

My Top-15 Favorite books 2016

Book Review – May 2016

Book Review – August 2016

Book Review – The Little Prince

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WRITING:

Writing Shorts

Work in Progress – Amelia’s first caller

Sharing a bit of my Novel

Writing Short -Green Moment

Short Story Sharing – The Feud Changes

Short Story Sharing – The Book

Fun Times on Vacation back Home

 

See you next week,

Laura

 

 

Book Review – The Unfolding Heart

10 Jan

Happy Tuesday!

Now, I have read and loved this book many times since I first was introduced to it (I  believe it was my great-aunt’s) as a teen. The characters are believable and sweet- I always want to live around these folks and be a part of their lives! I like that Grote brings up the laws that were in place about marriage – a woman could own land but once she got married, it transferred to the husband (who has better business sense). Coughcough. So glad that laws like that were changed.

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Anyway, like I said, I appreciate it when an author brings up a different part of Victorian life. And using this one as a reason that Millicent isn’t looking to get married, I like it. I simply like it. Anyway, before I go on, here’s the synopsis:

The Unfolding Heart by Joann A. Grote,

As a headstrong, independent woman, Millicent Strong is certain she doesn’t need either a man, or God in her life. She’s sure of her path and convictions until she goes to her brother’s wedding in the West and meets the kind-hearted minister, Adam Conrad. Their mutual interest is strong but her lack of faith – and unwillingness to leave the comforts of civilization for the West,  threaten their love. (Love Song, 1997)

Faith. Love. Hospitality. Forgiveness. Trusting God.  That’s what this book is about, in a sweet love story. I highly recommend this, for young teens up.

Have you ever read this book? What’s your favorite sweet romance story?

~Laura 

 

Book Review – Twas the Night Before

20 Dec

I told you guys I had holiday-themed books to review! It’s just so fun reading books that fit in whatever season you’re in. I will admit to you that Wildwood Dancing has been calling me as it starts in winter. Sigh. I’ve been holding off starting it as that’s all I want to do once I open its cover -READ! Perhaps that’ll be my reward for getting my manuscript off to a few beta readers come the beginning of the new year.

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Anyway, this book I have to review for you is a favorite. My dad got it for my mom and I several years ago.  And while the only other books I’ve read by Jerry B. Jenkins is the Left Behind series (years and years ago), I like his different style of writing. I found myself pausing quite often as I thought how I would have worded something versus what he did, and realizing how much I have to learn! (yipes!) But. It’s a delightful tale and let’s get on to it.

Twas the Night Before by Jerry B. Jenkins.

Noella and Tom are as opposite as they can be- but they are completely in love and plan to marry. As a cynical news reporter, Tom doesn’t care much about Christmas. So when Noella reveals what she really believes about Santa, it throws Tom for a loop. Certain it won’t work, the wedding is called off. But when Tom travels to Germany to research more about Father Christmas, his whole life is changed.

I just can’t gush enough about how much I enjoy this story. The characters are well rounded and the way that Jenkins tells their story is genius. The cynical news reporter and cheery teacher reminded me of a classic movie I watched a while back, Teacher’s Pet.

All in all, this is a great book to read every year as it leaves you smiling and is a read-in-one-afternoon type of book.

What’s your favorite Christmas read?

Thanks for coming by and don’t forget to come back later in the week for our monthly Book Review!

~Laura

Book Review – Nov 2016

29 Nov

Hello readers! I hope you’ve had a wonderful month! It has flown by and now it’s time again for a review of what I’ve read this month!

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Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson – After being kidnapped by a cunning pirate, David Balfour must travel through the harsh and dangerous Scottish Highlands to get back home and reclaim his inheritance.

~I am really enjoying this book so far! I just had no idea what to expect but the way Stevenson describes the different adventures poor David goes through draws you in completely.

All the Shining Young Men book 3 of The Price of Liberty by Gilbert Morris -Chase Rinehart and Jesse Boone join up when World War II starts and hard-nosed reporter, Maria Vitrano  follows them. Each has different reasons for joining in the fight, but will that matter in the end?

~Somehow this has fallen by the wayside while I’ve been writing like crazy, and reading Kidnapped, of course! But I’ve really liked the main characters – Chase, Jesse and Maria -are all very different  and what with Maria being a reporter, and my main character (in the novel i’m writing) wanting to be one as well, it’s been fun to be able to take notes on how that world is portrayed.

 

Inside the Victorian Home: A portrait of Domestic life in Victorian England by Judith Flanders – From room to room, this book follows the daily life of a middle-class home. Flanders pulls from diaries and other sources to describe a time so very different from our own.

~I think this just might be worth adding to my collection! I’ve got several chapters marked for easy access and have loved the pictures they have throughout. The details are coming in handy for making a rough diagram of a house, and where they’d entertain and a bunch of other things that I need to know!

Blink : The power of thinking without thinking by Malcolm Gladwell – This is a book about how we can know something without knowing how we know, in the blink of an eye

~ You can read my full review here! Suffice it to say, it was an interesting book that was well worth the read.

On my to-read list are:

Liberty’s Dawn: A People’s history of the Industrial Revolution by Emma Griffin

Lyme Disease:Why it’s spreading, how it makes you sick and what to do about it by Alan G. Barbour, M.D.

 

I know these are seriously short synopsis’ and I apologize! Bear with me and I’ll try and give you better descriptions next month. Don’t forget to check out The Ultimate Book List that grows every month!

~Laura

Book Review – Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

18 Nov

I hope you’ll forgive me for reviewing this separately when I had it in October’s book review but I’ve finished it and just HAD to share more in-depth why I liked this book so much! 

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This is a book about how we can know something without knowing how we know, in the blink of an eye. It shows that those who are good at ‘thin-slicing’ – filtering a few facts from an overwhelming amount of variables-  can often be better decision makers than those that spend a lot of time gathering information and deliberating.

Here are a few snippets that i felt really summed up the point of the book, “This practice of inferring the motivations and intentions of others is classic thin-slicing. It is picking up on subtle, fleeting cues in order to read someone’s mind – and there is almost no other impulse so basic and so automatic and at which, most of the time, we so effortlessly excel.” page 195

When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come  from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves.” page 269

We all make snap judgments without realizing it –  but I had no idea how much they can affect our lives. Writing that, I guess it sounds silly. But it’s just like with our formed opinions that we know about, only these happen so fast and without our being aware.  Our snap judgments can be good, and they can be bad- so pay attention to them.

I am glad I was able to read this – it has made me pause and think about how I respond to things.  My OH is reading this for his marketing class this term (finally, a college book that i was excited about!) and he said the author’s got some TED talks! Once I’ve listened to them, I’ll link them up here.

All in all, I recommend this book as it’s one that makes you think (no pun intended there) about what you, well….think.

(I can tell I’m getting tired. I’m thinking in very uninspired language. Naptime perhaps?)

I want to read his first book, The Tipping Point, next!

~Laura

 

 

 

Book Review – The Silent Governess

8 Nov

Happy Tuesday!

One day, while wandering aimlessly through Barnes and Noble, I stumbled upon The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen. Intrigued, I pulled it from the shelf and started reading in one of the cozy chairs. I was quickly drawn in to the story and was so sad when my OH was ready to leave! I regretfully put it back on the shelf, and it only took me two years to get it from the library!

WHY IN THE WORLD DID I WAIT SO LONG? (groanofagonyandfrustrationatmyself)

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I think this book has made it to my top-10 list. It was that good.

Synopsis:

Olivia Keene flees home, believing she has committed a terrible crime. But when she accidentally overhears Lord Bradley’s secret – her flight is stopped and he has to decide what to do with her. Forcibly engaged at Brightwell Court as a nursery maid, Olivia is relieved to be well hidden but is also anxious at that fact. Lord Bradley is sure she’s hiding something, something other than his secret that if told, would destroy his entire life. But as he watches her, he is drawn more and more to the mysterious Miss Keene, despite the danger she represents.

 

I enjoyed this book on so many levels. Mystery. Romance. Friendship. Faith. When I had just about decided I knew what had happened/what would happen, Klassen threw in another twist and I’d invariably shout ‘what?’.

I feel like Klassen brings a more realistic-look at how life really was in her historical fiction.  Even as I was raging at how a maid was being treated, I couldn’t help but think how it’s probably pretty accurate. I appreciated that raw/harsh look at daily life that was balanced by the faith-filled words of Mr. Tugwell.

Because of the story line/ theme of the novel, I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers.

Another one of her novels that I love, is The Apothecary’s Daughter. Just in case, you know, you need to get two new novels to read!

What are you reading lately?

~Laura

 

*While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.*

Book Review – August 2015

28 Aug

Happy end of August! Not that it’s really sunk in yet that summer is pretty much over – we are looking forward to vacation next week (finally one we are going on together!!!) which includes a wedding, lots of time with friends and family and possibly buying a car! EEK!

This month has been one full of reading a rather random assortment of books. But, really, it would be boring to read all one genre in a month wouldn’t it? Aug2015bkrvw

The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas On the brink of the happiest day of his life, Edward Dantes is thrown in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Years later, he learns of a treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo. He then focuses on escaping the grim fortress and, after finding the treasure- exacting revenge on the three men who ruined him. — I am reading this on my phone, which means it’s going much slower than if I had a book to pick up! I am loving the complexities of the story, and realizing that, of course, the movie changed some major components of it. I might need to get a copy just so I can actually finish it.

The Problem of Pain – C.S. Lewis – Man has been plagued by one question for years – ‘if God is good, why does he allow pain?” Lewis, who is known as the ‘greatest Christian thinker of our time’, answers this complicated question and seeks to heal a hurting world.  – I have this next to my bed to read before falling asleep = it’s taking me a very long time to get through….But I am learning from it and figure it will become a yearly read.

The Storekeeper’s Daughter – Wanda E. Brunstetter – Daughters of Lancaster County, book 1 – In Amish country in Pennsylvania, tragedy strikes  – Naomi Fisher’s mother dies in an accident. At the time when she should be going to singings and riding in a courting buggy, she is instead taking care of her seven siblings and helping her father in the family store. Just when she thinks she can’t take one more day in the restrictive world she now finds herself, the unthinkable happens. And any confidence she, or her family, had in her is shattered – will she be able to continue on? – This was a re-read for me but still just as enjoyable. Brunstetter rarely lets you down with her novels. The gospel message is clear throughout, without being overkill. I hope you know what I mean by that….I enjoy the slow-paced nature of books set in the Amish world, and inevitably feel incredibly lazy with having washers for clothes and dishes….and plenty of time to read novels!

The Hero and the Crown – Robin Mckinley – She had always known the story of how her mother, the witchwoman, had used a spell to get the king to marry her. Aerin had heard it from beginning to end many times – how, after giving birth to a daughter instead of the longed-for son, her mother had turned to the wall and died of despair. Being the daughter cast her into a difficult position – one with a destiny she couldn’t see. But through determination and with a willing war-horse, Aerin would learn that her destiny was far greater than anyone believed – she was to be the hero who would wield the Blue Sword, Gonturan. –  I picked this book up (along with #2 in the series) at Jupiter’s bookstore in Cannon Beach Or. Seriously, I love going to that bookstore. No matter what else I do while in the cute seaside town, I spend at least an hour in the cram-packed-full-of-used-books bookstore. I have read a few of Mckinley’s books – Beauty being one of my favorites – so I decided it was worth risking it. It is fantastic. A new world and language to get sucked into, plus it’s about a sword-wielding heroine? Yes please. The twists and turns and the growing that the heroine does from beginning to end are engrossing.

The Secret – Charlotte Bronte  – A collection of short stories by Charlotte and her siblings are in this light read. Each are set in the imagined world of Verdopolis and are full of intrigue, lies and love. – These were very fun to read even though due to taking so long to read them I did get a little confused about the repeating characters. The heroines are all gorgeous and brave and true while the heros are handsome and trustworthy and the villians easy to spot by their dark brows and evil intent  – all in all, very charming stories.

The Blue Sword – Robin Mckinley  – Harry Crewe, newly orphaned, has come to the desert land of Damar, a place of secretive, magical Hillfolk and the Outlanders. Her life is a bit dull and ordinary – until she is kidnapped by Corlath, the king of the Hillfolk. She begins training in the arts of war, even though she doesn’t understand it.  –  This is the second book in the series (not sure it’s actually a ‘series’ though) of the world of Damar. Absolutely engrossing so far. Fantastic characters and I do love a bit of magic in my novels. And when a book can make me forget I’m eating lunch, well, you know it’s good.

Hope you find something to fill the coming weekend,

Laura

What are you reading lately?

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