Tag Archives: books

Aug/Sept 2018 Book Reviews

29 Sep

Looking at July’s review, I realized that I ended up reading exactly what I had planned to on my to-read list! That doesn’t normally happen, so I’m a little pleased with myself. My list of books is rather short for two months but most of the novels I’ve been reading have been LONG. The Shadowfell series are about 400 pages each, and the Robert Jordan one I’m currently enjoying is about 700 pages. . . I like the extra story development that is allowed in these longer books though! I’m not sure I could ever write that in-depth though.

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Shadowfell series by Juliet Marillier – separate review coming in the next few weeks

Gifts of the Spirit by FFOZ – as of right now, I’m going to just direct you to First Fruits of Zion’s website that gives great info into this well-written and informative book about the gifts of the Spirit and different perspectives on them.

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson -Two princesses’ lives are thrown into turmoil. While both scramble to learn the ways of their new environments, political upheaval is on the horizon.

~The first time I read this, I wasn’t sure if I would read it again but I decided to give it another shot. (I’m a sucker for Sanderson apparently). The way he weaves together a story is just incredible. The political and personal struggles of the different characters is engrossing. You can read my original review here.

Unspoken by Dee Henderson – Almost twenty years later, Charlotte Graham still hasn’t spoken about her past. A past that includes her being the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago’s history. A past that includes such pain and fear that she’s never risked telling anyone. Can she finally take that risk?

~You might notice that another Henderson kick is beginning… This one is ‘connected’ with Full Disclosure and Taken. While there was a lot of detail about coins, I appreciated how much she researched it out – it didn’t take away from the novel for me. As usual, some of the faith struggles of the characters hit a bit too close to home for me – but that is one reason I appreciate Henderson’s books. She writes not only good fiction, she gives real-life faith struggles to her characters. I highly recommend this book!

 

Trouble in Store by Carol Cox – When her prime governess position is abruptly ended, Melanie Ross sees no other choice but to travel to Idaho to the mercantile her cousin left her in his will. But someone else feels he has the same rights to the store, and Caleb Nelson isn’t about to just step aside and give up his new life to her. He sees her as the newest obstacle to the new life he’s carving out for himself, and he’ll try just about anything to get rid of her.

~ I borrowed this book from a friend as it is by a new-to-me author that I just read a book of hers earlier this year – Truth be Told.  I like Cox’s easy-to-read style and how she actually made me dislike Melanie for a little bit! I was so put off by her actions at one point that I had to keep reading to see how Caleb dealt with her. Brilliant move on Cox’s part. Highly recommend as a relaxing, faith-focused novel.

Traces of Guilt – An Evie Blackwell Cold Case by Dee Henderson – Watch for a separate review of this series! (I know, I said that about the Shadowfell books too but bear with me, the wait will be worth it!) 

Currently Reading:

Dear Theo by Irving Stone

Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll

The Eye of the World  book 1 of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

Undetected by Dee Henderson

 

To Read:

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan (book 2)

Traces of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

 

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.

~Laura

~What have you been reading lately? I’d absolutely love to hear about it and add them to my to-read list!

July 2018 Book Reviews

10 Aug

It’s finally time for some book reviews! I have decided that I’m just going to share a few of the books I’ve read in the past three odd months (my last review post was April’s) If you want to see everything I’ve read since then, go check out my Goodreads page!

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Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson – Ann Silver, cop, passes off a case to Luke Falcon, FBI. She’s relieved to have it off her desk, as she’s also the Midwest Homicide Investigator. He’s just been handed vital information that ties to a case he’s been working for years. But soon their lives will collide, getting far more personal than either had anticipated.

~ Whooeeee. I’d read this book years before but didn’t remember much of it. I appreciated how different of a lead female character Anne was – her end goal wasn’t marriage and kids and the white picket fence. This book has so many layers to it that I was sucked in very quickly and stayed that way. It is an intense story, as you follow along on a John Doe case. Perhaps a bit too quick of a wrap-up at the end for me, but thankfully, it didn’t ruin the whole thing. (you know what I’m talking about). 

 

Taken by Dee Henderson – Shannon’s escape was planned to the last detail, as is her plan to capture the ones who kidnapped her -the Jacoby family. Her choosing Matthew Dane, private investigator, as the one who helps her gain her freedom, wasn’t an accident. But the task of finding all the evidence, and what happened to the ransom that was paid all those years ago, is going to be harder than she thought.

~you might be noticing a theme here…. I was really on a Henderson kick! I do recommend that you read Full Disclosure before Taken though. You don’t have to, but you get background on several of the supporting characters in Taken that is helpful. I started Taken, but kept wondering why I felt like I should already know some of the characters..so I got Full Disclosure from the library! That aside, I did enjoy this book. It is intense and a bit slow moving but it’s theme was different than I’d read before – taking place AFTER the kidnapping. I liked the faith of Shannon and her coming to terms with the events of her life. The romance was a little odd but it grew on me. 

 

How To Be a Friend To a Friend Who’s Sick by Letty Cottin Pogrebin – Everybody knows someone who is suffering. But how to act is often so confusing and stressful. Pogrebin shares, partly from her own experiences, what to do, what not to do and that sometimes, just being present is all that is needed.

~THANK YOU Letty, for writing such a great book on this subject. I admit that while I was excited to read this, I was a bit nervous as to what her take would be on this. But I learned so much from it, as someone who’s Sick and just as a friend of someone who’s Sick. I recommend this for sure, although, if my memory serves (I read it back in May), there were a few sections in her personal story that were a little off-color to me. (? I’m not sure how to word that properly…)

 

California Passage Series by Elaine Schulte – Follow the adventures of the Talbot family in the 1800’s as they travel to California via the different routes – covered wagon, around the Horn, through Panama.

~I have grown up reading this series of four books. I believe they were my great-aunt’s at one time. The journeys they go through are interesting to read about, especially in this modern age of convenient travel. This is definitely a christian romance series – faith is a strong theme throughout each of them. A fun historical romance read.

 

Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles #1) by Colin Meloy  – When twelve- year old Prue’s baby brother is kidnapped by crows, she’ll stop at nothing to rescue him. Even entering the Impassable Wilderness.

~I picked this up at a used bookstore because one of my friends’ loves it – but I was still hesitant about whether I would like it. It took me a few months to finally pick it up but I’m glad I did! Her statement of “It’s weird, but I love it” is a perfect review for it. It is a middle-grade fantasy series

 

Uncommon Heroes Series by Dee Henderson – you can find my review here and here. I probably hadn’t read them since 2014, so it was fun to fall in love with this series again. Highly recommend.

 

The Finding of Jasper Holt by Grace Livingston Hill – Jean Grayson and Jasper Holt’s lives were intertwined the night of the train crash. She knows that her heart will never belong to anyone else. He knows that her family will forbid them to be together, so he makes her a promise that he will prove his virtue to all who keep them apart.

~I received this book from my aunt (along with a few other Hill books) and absolutely loved it. I read it in two days- and that’s because I made myself put it down and accomplish life things. Like eating. And sleeping. It was a sweet, heartfelt western romance with great imagery and life lessons. Does that sound cheesy? It wasn’t.  I never was sure what year it was set in but I quickly decided to quit trying to figure it out and just enjoy it. Lovely book. Highly recommend.

 

Currently Reading:

Dear Theo by Vincent Van Gogh

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Gifts of the Spirit by Fruits of the Zion

 

To Read:

Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (new author for me!)

The Shadowfell Trilogy by Juliet Marrillier

 

~Laura

April Book Review 2018

4 May

As promised, April’s book reviews! I got a little excited while at the library one day and came home with a STACK of books of all different genres. It’s been fun bouncing around such different styles of writing these past few months. I have decided though, that I’ve got to stay away from the library for a few months at least to tackle my TBR list of books that I already own!

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Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

Biblically Kosher: A Messianic Jewish Perspective on Kashrut by Aaron Eby – Learn why God calls meat and dairy to be separated, hidden additives that contaminate food and practical ways to eat kosher.

~This was an easy-to-read book on eating kosher. I learned so much from it and it brought up many discussions between my OH and I about the topic. Definitely worth the read if you’re at all curious about the topic!

My Foolish Heart  (Deep Haven #4) by Susan May Warren – Unknown to her town, Isadora Presley is the voice behind Miss Foolish Heart, the talk show host guiding callers through finding  true love. When it seems that she’s falling in love with a caller, her ratings soar. What she doesn’t know is the the caller lives right next door, in the form of Caleb Knight. He has come to Deep Haven to start over after paying a steep price in Iraq. All he wants is to land the high school football coaching job and then he’ll reveal his disability. But he doesn’t count on moving in next door to a beautiful young woman. Desperate, he calls in to Miss Foolish Heart for advice.

~ As I have come to expect from Warren, this was a unique story line with endearing characters. It did take me a little bit to get fully into it though, as I felt there was so much longing for the past that it put me off. After a while, that eased and I just fell in love with Caleb, Issy and supporting characters.

The Shadow of Your Smile (Deep Haven #5) by Susan May Warren –  Noelle and Eli’s marriage is on the verge of divorce when an accident wipes Noelle’s memory of their life together. Not their life together, including their children and the tragedy that tore them apart. As she slowly finds her footing in this strange life that she’s built for herself, will their secrets tear them apart again or give them a second chance?

~Ahh, this one. What a heart-breaker. I’m learning that I have a hard time reading novels where the characters are struggling in their marriage. Aside from that, it was interesting how Warren wove the family’s restoration together after so much tragedy and ill-spoken words.

The Cozy Life : Rediscover the Joy of Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge by Pia Edberg – Learn how to slow down and enjoy each moment in every aspect of your life in this small treasure trove of inspiration and practical advice.

~This was a nice, easy read about Hygge – disconnecting from the fast-paced society (logging off social media, stepping off the rat race) and creating a life that we can enjoy and feel safe and content in. There’s even a 30 day challenge to Hygge.

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard – Adam Dunne’s life is perfect. Until his girlfriend doesn’t return from Barcelona. Until he receives her passport and a note “I’m Sorry – S”. He starts searching for her and ends up connecting her to a cruise ship called the Celebrate. And finds that another woman disappeared from the ship a year ago in eerily similar circumstances. To find out what happened, he has to make difficult decisions, do impossible things – like outsmart a predator on what seems like the perfect hunting grounds.

~You. Guys. Thrillers aren’t normally my thing. Well, if I do read them, they are Christian, aka ‘toned down’. But I’ve been following Howard online for years (hopefully that didn’t make me sound like a stalker…) I got this from the library and couldn’t. Put. It. Down. I read it in less than three days – all 368 pages of it. There was some cussing in it so beware if you decide to read it. The plot was incredible though. I was pretty much blindsided by the ending. Brilliant. I am still thinking about it, weeks later. If you enjoy a good thriller that will wake you up at night because the Killer just might be lurking in your bedroom, pick this one up.

As You Wish: Inconceivable tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes – A first-person account of the making of the Cult Classic, this book is delightful. Elwes’ recounting of the whole process – from auditioning for the part of Wesley, to the 25th Reunion – will bring laughs, tears and add another level of enjoyment to watching Princess Bride

~Delightful. Absolutely Delightful. I am so glad I finally read this! If you’re a fan of Princess Bride, you have got to get your hands on a copy of this.

 

Currently Reading:

You Don’t Know Me by Susan May Warren

The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

How to be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick by Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Taken by Dee Henderson

Gifts of the Spirit by First Fruits of Zion

 

To Read:

Dear Theo: the Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh by Irving Stone

A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck

Whispers of the Moor series by Sarah Ladd

Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll

Jan/Feb 2018 Book Review

1 Mar

              “A Book is a Dream that you Hold in your Hand.” ~ Neil Gaiman

This is a double feature today! I didn’t share my reads from last month so I’m throwing them in with this month’s reads. There are some really great books from classics to fantasy. I enjoy reading such different genres, especially since I have started reading them from a writer’s perspective. Like the book that I just finished yesterday, the author wrote one character in the 3rd point of view while the other main character was in the first person. I liked how you knew right away which person you were reading about. My writer’s brain is trying to decide just how hard it would be to implement that…. Anyway, on to the book reviews!

 

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Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

 

Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. Wilson  – Crave salt or sweets? Unreasonably tired? Need coffee to keep you going? Having a hard time keeping up with daily life? With an easy to follow style, Dr. Wilson guides you through figuring out if you have adrenal fatigue, and then tells you just how to start feeling better.

~ I took notes as I read through what foods to eat/avoid, supplements to take and the best herbs to include. I learned so much from this book. I had several ah-ha moments , finding sense in so many health struggles that have confused me for years. I would highly recommend this to anyone with unexplained health struggles. And remember, whether you have adrenal fatigue or not – be your own advocate. You know your body better than anyone.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by AVI – It’s not often that a young girl, when crossing the ocean to join her family, ends up joining the crew and being accused of murder. But Charlotte Doyle did. Her fantastic tale is one that must be read, unless of course, you don’t like strong ideas or action.

~I heard about this book through carrottoppapershop  and I requested it from the library that same day. I was so intrigued by it and it was well worth it. The story was fun and engaging and with some very unexpected twists. I was so pleased with how it ended that I read the last few pages twice and then had to tell my OH all about it. It is a children’s classic so all ages can read and enjoy it. 

 

Truth Be Told by Carol Cox – Great Western Investment Company is eager for Amelia Wagner to retract her late father’s statements about their business dealings. But as Amelia takes over the running of the newspaper and picks up the investigation into Great Western, she thinks her father was right. But she doesn’t know the danger that she’s getting into. Nor does Ben, the man that is keeping tabs on her. But soon they’ll both have to decide just how important this is – and try to reveal the truth before Great Western stops them.

-I got this book partly because it bears similarities to the novel that I’m writing and I wanted to know just how close they are. But! Relief, they aren’t that similar. (WHEW!) This novel was so fun, so easy to read that I flew through it. I will definitely read it again.

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A Little Princess by Frances Hodson Burnett – When Sara Crewe is taken to her first boarding school in England, it is far from the life she knew with her father in India. But as she is an exceptionally bright and imaginative child, she makes friends – and enemies – quickly. But when news comes that her father has died, leaving her destitute, she is devastated. The matron, Miss Minchin, forces her to work as a scullery maid. But Sara dreams that her fortunes will change again, and they do, in a very unexpected way.

– I enjoyed this story so much and it’s going on the ‘I can’t believe I’d never read it’ list. I liked the moral lessons in it and just fell in love with Becky. ( I have a thing for side characters). As a children’s classic, this is a great book for a younger – and older -audience. Another great story by Burnett is Little Lord Fauntleroy

 

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier (book #1) and The Caller (book #2) – A separate review will be up when I read the third book! It’s waiting on my shelf and I can’t wait to start it! This series has been so good – and so engrossing.

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A Yellow Journalist by Miriam Michelson – The newspaper world was a male-dominated field in the early 1900’s but a young and pretty female reporter enters into it with courage. She does whatever it takes to get the story – be it climbing a high ledge or acting as a blushing bride – and proves that she’s the best.

– This story was unlike any I’d read. It was highly amusing and I laughed out loud often. I did have a hard time keeping track of all the characters but that didn’t ruin it for me. As it was printed in 1905, and was about that era, it was perfect as research material for me for my own novel. Double win.

 

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – click the link to read all about this wonderful series!

 

Currently Reading:

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery

Biblically Kosher: A Messianic Jewish Perspective on Kashrut  by Aaron Eby

The Vigilante’s Bride by Yvonne Harris

 

To-read :

Raven Claw by Juliet Marillier (book #3 of Shadowfell)

Dear Theo by Vincent Van Gogh

Whispers on the Moors series by Sarah E. Ladd

 

~Laura

What are you currently reading? Do any of these sound good to you?

 

 

Series Review – Chronicles of Narnia

9 Feb

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Originally published between 1950 and 1956, this children’s classic series has become the author’s best-known work. It has sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages (thanks wikipedia for these fun facts). This was only my second time reading them – although as a home-schooler, I feel like I should have grown up reading them. Ha. But! I’m so glad I’ve been introduced to them now as an adult.

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There are seven in all, and while there is some disagreement on how they should be read – chronologically or the order in which Lewis wrote them, I’m not sure it matters too much. I think it comes down to personal preference. But, let me give you an overview of this series.

Each book chronicles adventures in the land of Narnia. Aslan’s country. Each time that the country faces real threat, children from our world are called to help. It takes courage and faith for these children to succeed at their tasks. They meet many friends, and many foes, along their journeys. From The Magician’s Nephew, we see the creation of Narnia and follow its entire history until it’s destruction in The Last Battle.

I love the little lessons that are learned along the way in each adventure – and the worlds they come upon. In reading reviews, a common feeling is that The Last Battle (#7) is the strangest of them all and in some ways I have to agree but I did still enjoy it. They all are a few hundred pages each so they are pretty quick reads. (I mainly read them while taking detox baths!)

I highly recommend these books, for any age. The lessons within are great for when reading aloud to kids, or even as reminders for adults.  If you haven’t read this series, I suggest you give it a try.

~Laura

*fun fact, the series we have is the set that my hubby grew up reading.*

Book Review – For Women Only and For Men Only

26 Jan

It has taken me so long to get this review up but they are definitely worth the wait. My brain has just not been able to function well enough to properly write synopsis’ and reviews.  I think I’m going to reward myself for finally writing this with a big mug of tea and some crocheting this afternoon.

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For Women Only – Discover the truths that he wants you to know, only doesn’t know how to tell you and some he might not be aware of himself – what he’s really thinking when he ‘checks out’, why respect is so very important and much more.

For Men Only – this book will open your eyes to the truth that women really can be understood. And that you, as her protector, lover and friend, can radically improve your relationship with the woman you love with some  simple acts.

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These books really should be mandatory reading for any to- be marrieds, or newly-weds. This was my second time reading them and I got so much out of them again. I took notes while I read them and learned so much about myself in the process.

Your wife is the person who knows you better than anyone, and if she doesn’t respect you, how can you expect another man to?” 

If a man’s wife believes in him, he can conquer the world – or at least his little corner of it.”

Most of us want our men to be able to relax and truly open up to us. But in many ways, it is up to us to create the intimate, safe environment that makes that possible.”

“In reality, for most men the drive to provide is so deeply rooted that almost nothing can relieve them of their sense of duty.. . the knowledge of their responsibility is always there, pressing down on them.”

One of their greatest emotional needs is to feel competent and successful at what they do, especially in front of others. . . .but feel that they are one mess up away from being found out as an imposter.”

How we take care of ourselves shows our guys how much we care for them.”

 

Her ‘I do’ will always mean ‘do you’?  – the subconscious question women have ‘Would he choose me all over again?”

“Men’s memory circuitry -> visual. Women’s memory circuitry -> language and emotions”

“The things men say to us are in mental tape archives and are as real today as they were the moment they were spoken.”

“She can’t just ‘not think about it’ ” 

“Good reasons exist for her actions that men can discover and act on those reasons.”

Just being able to share what’s going on actually fixes something for a woman.”

Women still silently ask the little girl question, ‘Do you think I’m beautiful?'” 

 

I wrote so many ‘WHOA’s ‘ in my notes! Light bulb moments. Moments where I realized that, as is common I’m sure, my OH and I have traded places in many of these revelations. (He tends to be the more emotional thinker while I’m the more logical/cut and dry thinker , for one example).

Suffice it to say, READ THESE BOOKS! And if you can, read them together. You won’t regret it and you’ll come away with more understanding of the confusing opposite sex.

~Laura

Have you read these? Do you have any marriage books that you re-read and recommend? Do share!

 

 

 

Dec 2017 Book Reviews

5 Jan

It’s a blustery day here in Oregon, leaving the landscape looking slightly barren and depressing. There’s no snow, no sign of a cold, beautiful winter. Just windy, cloudy and rainy. But, that’s why there are such wonderful things as books to get lost in. I cannot believe I read 70 books in 2017 . I’ve decided to set this year’s reading goal to 60 books. I have always been an avid reader but I’m hoping to tone down my amount of reading just a smidgen and increase my amount of writing a lot! I enjoy keeping track of what I’ve read on Goodreads, it’s so much easier than writing them all down like I used to do.  (please tell me I’m not the only one who did that).

If you  missed it, I shared a post of my Top Reads of 2017 just last week, check it out!

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Photo by Alice Hampson on Unsplash

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson – Two princesses’ lives are thrown into turmoil. While both scramble to learn the ways of their new environments, political upheaval is on the horizon.

~As good as this story was, I admit to being a little disappointed with how much sexual content there was. While I realize that it was mild, it was still more than I like. Because of that, I don’t think I’ll read this book again – which makes me sad because I really liked Siri and Lightsong, and the different twists and turns and character development that happened throughout.

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis – Shasta and Bree – a young slave and a talking horse – are running away from cruel masters. Their destination is Narnia.  But when they discover a plot to overthrow Narnia, their journey becomes a race to warn the people of the impending attack.

~Series review coming next month!

Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman – A compelling love story between a young Irish girl, Katherine Mary O’Fallon, new to the Canadian wild, and Sergeant Mike Flannigan of the Canadian Mounted police.

~This is a yearly – winter read for me. The wilderness and those occupying it – the animals, peoples and nature itself – are described so vividly, it’s a delight. The heartbreak that occurs will tear your heart out just as surely as you’ll rejoice when good things happen. If this book isn’t considered a classic, I’m not sure why. Read it, you’ll be glad you did. 

Cowboy Christmas by Mary Connealy – When singer Annette Talbot shows up, with trouble following close on her heels, Elijah Walker has to decide if she’s telling the truth or lying. Like his ex- fiancee. Despite himself, he’s drawn to her – and just when he decides to trust her, he finds out she’s a wanted woman. Will he find out the truth before he loses Annie forever?

~ This was my second time reading this sweet romantic mystery. I liked how Connealy dealt with Elijah’s struggle to forgive himself and Annette’s mis-guided belief in ‘bearing her cross’. Faith is central to this novel, and it’s done very well. It’s a great Christmas-time western read.

For Men Only by Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn

~A full review along with its companion book, For Women Only, will be up this month!

An Amish Christmas : December in Lancaster County by Beth Wiseman – Forgiveness is on the horizon – or is it? – for several people in Lancaster County. Facing some of their deepest fears at Christmastime has the potential to change their lives.

~I forgot how sweet these stories were. I enjoyed all 3 of them – I am seeing on Goodreads that it says there’s four novellas, my copy doesn’t have “Christmas Cradles”. A good way to describe these are Hallmark movies set in an Amish community – and that’s not a bad thing. They deal with different struggles, but all 3 stories tie in with each other. They may be a bit cliched but sometimes that’s what you want. It only took me a few days to read all of them, they are quick, fun reads for anyone. 

 

Currently Reading: 

Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. Wilson

Samantha Among the Brethren by Marietta Holley

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

The Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton

 

 

To Read:

A Yellow Journalist by Miriam Michelson

The Writer’s Journey by Vogler (finish!)

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

 

What are you reading?

 

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.

~Laura

My Top Reads of 2017

29 Dec

I decided to do something a little bit fun – share a list of my favorite books of this year. We all love lists, don’t we?! We do.

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These aren’t in any particular order – just my Top 5 in each catergory:

New Reads:

~ Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

~ Failure is Impossible (Susan B. Anthony ) by Lynn Sherr

~Timber Ridge Reflections by Tamera Alexander

~Mermaid in the Basement by Gilbert Morris

~Guardians of Childhood by William Joyce

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Classics: 

~Captain’s Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

~Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore

~ Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

~ Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

~Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte’

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About Writing: 

~ Revision and Self- editing for Publication by James Scott Bell

~ The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

~ The New Book of Etiquette by Lillian Eicher

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Fantasy :  (note: remember I am still new to this genre. . . .)

~ Beauty by Robin Mckinley

~ Spindle’s End by Robin Mckinley

~ Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

~ Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

~ The Hero and the Crown by Robin Mckinley

and a bonus one :

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

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Marriage/Faith: 

Jewish Roots by Dan Juster

When God Doesn’t Fix It by Laura Story

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Messianic Jewish Manifesto by David H. Stern

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn

 

 

What’s your favorite read from this year? Do you love some of my top reads as well? I’d love to hear about it! 

~Laura

Series Review – Mistborn part 2

22 Dec

So, Brandon Sanderson has a spin-off series from the Mistborn series! I had no idea! I requested these three from the library as soon as I found out. I believe that this is the end of the series though although I feel like I read that he’s currently working on another one. (insert happy dance).

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* I will point out that on Goodreads, it says Mistborn – Alloy Era #1 – as well as #4 for the Mistborn series…. * 

These three books – Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self and The Bands of Mourning – take place centuries after the Mistborn trilogy.

Alloy of Law – Feruchemist and Allomancer, Waxillium Ladrian, doesn’t fit in out in the Roughs but neither does he fit in the middle of a ballroom. Returning to the city, Elendel wasn’t his choice. Now that he’s back though, he sees corruption everywhere. His plan of defending the city becomes more complicated as his friend Wayne arrives with bad news and a young woman with grand dreams insists on helping as well.

Shadows of Self – As terrorists stir up workers anger and religious conflict, Wax, Wayne and Marasi must figure out who is behind the conspiracy to stop the country’s progress. But when technology and magic mix, there’s no telling just what is really going on – or just who you can trust.

Bands of Mourning – When rumors that the location of the bands of mourning have been found, Wax is recruited to investigate. He’s not sure if they are even real – they have been a mythical story for so long, how can they be real? They are said to be the Lord Ruler’s own metalminds and that whoever wears them will have the same power. As he travels, he finds clues to what the shady organization known as The Set, is up to.

 

I really enjoyed this series : the mix of technology – a society that’s still trying to find its feet – and magic. Waxilliam was a great character, a bit of detective, a bit of wild west, a bit of rogue. I enjoyed the development of the characters, not just Wax, but the side characters as well. I loved the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) references to some of the people we met in the first Mistborn series.

There was more….disturbing content in these. I’m really not sure if disturbing is the right word, honestly. Let’s see if I can say it another way. There were some things in these three books – mainly dealing with the kandra, I believe, that if these were my first sci-fi fantasy books, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get past them. Squeamish much? Yes. Yes, I am. But remember, I am still pretty new to this genre – but I can also say that it’s also mild because Sanderson could have made it more graphic. Shudder to even think about that. I don’t say this to turn you from them, because these books are so enjoyable and he does state things as … nicely as possible.

 

 

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.

~Laura

Have you any sci-fi fantasy books that you love? Or what’s a new genre you’ve tried recently?

Nov 2017 Book Reviews

8 Dec

Hello again! I read varying types of books this month – and am sad to say there are a few that I didn’t care much for. I do love how much I was able to read this past month though! I have already more than met my Goodreads goal of reading 52 books this year.

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Just the Essentials by Adina Grigore 

~This was a fun book that tells about the history, composition and encouragement to enter the world of essential oils. To make it even better, there were several do it yourself recipes for the home, personal care and cooking.

Jewish Roots by Dan Juster

~ As an introductory book about Messianic Judaism, this book (originally printed in 1995 I believe) did a nice job of answering a lot of questions. It was easy to read. I recommend this as a good starting place if you’re curious about how it got started, where it was at at the point of printing and the basic beliefs and traditions. It would go well with God-Fearers as well.

Beside Still Waters by Annalee Conti  When Violet Channing’s aunt, her sole relative, dies, she isn’t sure what she’ll do. She certainly doesn’t want to continue working in the Boston garment factory, so she takes a job in the Yukon Territory as a live-in teacher for a sick child. As she’s traveling, she falls in love with a Yukon riverboat captain. But, tragedy strikes again and Violet has to decide if she’ll become bitter or learn to love again.

~I received this book free from Ambassador International for my personal review. I was excited for this book as it’s set in the early 1900s and in Alaska, no less! After receiving it, I realized that it’s the third book in the Alaskan Waters Series. Perhaps this is why I didn’t get into the book until I was three-quarters of the way into it. I couldn’t connect with Violet well. It was interesting and fun to find out the history of Alaska that is sprinkled throughout the book. Some of the side characters I really liked and would have liked them to have an even bigger part! (like Cally).

Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann – When Trevor MacDaniel rescues a toddler from a cougar, he inevitably meets sculpter Natalie Reeve.  But trouble comes at them from all sides, including a twisted mind seeing him as an adversary. Can the hero save himself?

~I tried to like this one so much! My mom recommended it and let me borrow it but… I got a quarter of the way through (barely) and haven’t picked it up in weeks. I normally like Heitzmann’s books so I really want(ed) to like it but it just hasn’t hit the right note for me I guess.  I felt like I couldn’t get connected to one character before being introduced to another one; it almost felt like I was expected to already know a few of the characters; the main character felt like they should be more of a minor character (and then with talking to mom, apparently someone else is the main character so now I’m really confused). Anyway, since I have it for a few more months I’ll keep trying it but it might be a lost cause. Which makes me sad.

Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia #2) and Voyage of the Dawn Treader (#3) by C.S. Lewis

~I will be doing a separate post on the Chronicle series (how have I not done it yet?!) but for now –  I love the completely different people they meet and  ‘worlds’ and they enter as they travel! And Reepicheep. Always Reepicheep.

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The Mermaid in the Basement (Lady Trent Mystery #1) by Gilbert Morris – In London, 1857, Lady Serafina Trent has one goal – prove that her brother is not a murderer. In order to do this, she must ally herself with people outside of her social class. But nothing will stand in her way.

~This book is probably in my top ten historical fiction list now. It’s also a mystery which, let’s be honest, makes it even better. I haven’t read much of Morris’ novels ( mostly just The Price of Liberty series, which I reviewed a little of here and here) so I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I quickly got pulled in and found it hard to put down! I highly recommend this novel. (fun fact: this is one of almost a dozen books my mom and I got for $1!!)

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For Women Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn

~I read this right after we got married and did a short review on it . I’m planning on reading the accompanying book For Men Only next and want to do a separate review for both – so here’s hoping! Suffice it to say that this book is well worth the read!

 

Currently Reading:

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

The Horse and His Boy  by C.S. Lewis

For Men Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn

 

To Read:

Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. Wilson

Samantha Among the Brethren by Josiah Allen’s Wife (printed 1892)

Next Narnia book

Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman

 

I hope you found something to add to your to-read list! Happy December!

~Laura

 

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