Tag Archives: books

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 – The Scarlet Pimpernel

18 Apr

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy is a story of adventure, romance and political intrigue during the French Revolution. I’ve only seen THIS version of it, and loved it so much that I finally found a dvd copy to buy. Then, one day at Powell’s, in the Childrens Classic section (also known as my favorite section), I found a copy of the book! It only took me a week to read it- I had a hard time putting it down! What’s fun is that the movie that I love was actually taken from this book as well as El Dorado,  so now I’m even more excited to read the continuations of the adventures of The Scarlet Pimpernel! I didn’t even know there were more books. EEK!

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-Set in the tumultuous times of the French Revolution, one Englishman and his loyal followers dare to brave La Guilloutine and rescue a number of aristocrats – men, women and children. These cunning escapes ignite a hatred in one man especially, Chauvelin, a ruthless French agent, who has sworn to find the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel and capture him. It will take all the bravery and wits that the clever Englishman has to elude his clutches, as well as still keep his promises.

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~side note, I was just reading through the comments here, and apparently S.P. isn’t even the first one! now to find the others!~

I will state that even  though the book was quite different from the movie, I loved them both. There are different aspects of the book that would have been nice to see carried over to the movie, but perhaps they were in other versions.

This is written in an easy-to-understand way, not like so many other classics that you’ve got to have a dictionary handy just to understand it! I highly recommend this story – for young and old. A guaranteed new favorite!

~another side note, just found the entire movie made in 1934 on youtube. Now I’m gonna have to give it a shot! 

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~a very young Ian Mckellen is in the 1982 version! Enough said right there.

Have you read The Scarlet Pimpernel? What’d you think? 

~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: 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.

Monthly Goals: February

3 Feb

Happy February everyone! I hope the weather has calmed down a bit for everyone, or if not, that you’re well stocked on hot chocolate. It’s been nice enough this past week that I’ve been able to get the dogs to the dog park, whew! Abby was going stir crazy not getting to run.

I’ve decided I want to share how I did on my monthly goals – remember this post?  And then share what my goals are for the coming month. I feel pretty good about January, especially since most of it was spent feeling absolutely miserable.

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~ get my first book published this year – to break this down into littler steps,  EDIT til ready for a professional editor. – Right now, I’m  waiting to get it back from my first two beta readers, so I can editeditedit it. I’m enjoying the bit of a break from working on it though!

~ Have my second book written in full – Broken down into littler steps : PLOT/create Story Board–  I’ve made good strides in plotting it! I’m just starting to put together my plot board, I’m REALLY hoping to finish it this week. -WIN

~Lose weight/get healthier –  I lost 5 lbs…and then gained them back all last month. SO. I know I can lose some, it’s just remaining super strict on my eating habits when I’m feeling awful. Even if I can’t work out, I need to still juice and avoid sugar.  – HALF WIN?

Make writing a habit most every day – as I’ve been plotting, I haven’t officially written but I’d still say I met this one as I plotted several days each week. – WIN

Grow SGL’s Traffic – meh, I haven’t focused on it too much yet. Although I am planning on joining a few linkups each month now ( joined a book review one earlier this week in fact, go check it out!)

Read more books on Jewish living – I’ve started Messianic Jewish Manifesto but haven’t gotten in very far. -SORTA WIN?

Write a letter to one person a month- I did! And here’s proof. – WIN

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Try a new recipe – I made four this month from Against All Grains. Only remembered to take a picture of the Braised Chicken in Artichoke and Mushroom Sauce though! The sesame chicken was good, even make the Cauli-Rice to go with it! Now, the  Banana Bread I made yesterday did NOT turn out. But, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly…It calls for 4 eggs and in Duck Egg land, that equals about $5. Not gonna happen. So I used egg replacer and it did not bake fully. I’m hoping to ‘slice’ it and fry it in the skillet to see if it’ll finish cooking so I don’t have to throw it away. So far, I’m loving this cookbook – WIN

Watch/Read a documentary/biography: I watched the Kirk Cameron film, Monumental, on Inauguration Day. (I’d like to say that I planned that but totally didn’t.) I enjoyed it a lot! -WIN

As for my goals for February, it’s just to keep going through this list, all I’m adding is ‘survive dentist appointment’ and ‘find ways to spoil OH’.

Check out the link up that I’ve joined, and find some other lovely blogs to follow!Monthly Goal Linkup

~Laura

January 2017’s Book Review

27 Jan

It’s rather appalling but I’ve only finished TWO books this month. TWO. This has got to be a new low for me.

But! You will notice that I’m currently in four (very different) books right now. So, I guess I don’t feel too badly.

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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)

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier – Jenica lives with her sisters and father in the Transylvania woods in Piscul Draculi – a castle that hides a portal to the Other Kingdom. Every month, on the Full Moon, the sisters go through the portal and dance the night away. But in their world, everything is changing and soon, events will bring their two worlds together and change everything. Forbidden love – Unswerving anger over an act of betrayal – an enchanted frog – and the ultimate test of trust.

~I enjoyed these both immensely, so go check out my full reviews! If you’ve been around here more than a year, you’ll notice that I read Wildwood dancing AT LEAST twice a year. It’s that good.

Currently Reading:

Failure is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in her own words by Lynn Sherr – Anthony’s letters and notes are combined with reports and essays, making this book a-one-of-a-kind, giving a glimpse into Susan B. Anthony’s life and passion for the causes she fought every day of her life for.

~I am so excited to be reading this! I found it at the library while searching for research materials for the book I’m plotting (!). I am pretty much reading a chapter every morning as I eat my breakfast – which means it is a good read. It’s not necessarily a quick one  though. It is full of interesting tid-bits about this hero from so long ago. She dedicated her life to rights for women, as well as temperance and abolishing slavery (and I’m only in the fifth chapter!) 

Messianic Jewish Manifesto by David H. Stern – This book studiously ignores the argument between being a Christian or a Jew – instead believing that being a Messianic Jew is a movement. A right. A challenge. And that challenge is to heal the brokenness between the Church and the Jewish people – whether you are Jews who follow Yeshua or others involved in the movement. This book is a call to action and a source of information.

~Once again, as part of my new year planning, I asked my OH what books I should read. And of course, of the five he pulled out, four of them were the intimidating (to me) ones. But, he said to start with this one. I will admit that I haven’t gotten very far with it (5 pages in) . I won’t read it while I’m eating so, combined with trying to finish the Anthony book and plot my novel, this book has fallen by the way-side. I do intend to give it top priority soon though.

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott – A masterpiece by the author of Little Women. Rose Campbell, recently orphaned, goes to live with her relatives on “Aunt Hill”. She’s less than impressed with her new life, accustomed to a girls boarding school but when her Uncle Alec arrives, along with meeting her seven boy cousins, she finds it’s not quite so bad.

~I am enjoying this book so much already! Alcott wrote with such a wonderful style of drawing you into her world and brought her characters to life. The only thing is that I keep picturing Rose to be about 8, when really she’s 13! (I think, she could be 12…or 14… don’t quote me on her age.) =)

The Writer’s Journey : Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler – Vogler sets out a system, a structure that every storty teller has used over the centuries.

~Sorry it’s such a short synopsis, but I’ve been talking about this book for a while now…and goodreads has a nice, long synopsis about it if you just click the link. I’m tired. I’m hungry. And, I LOVE this book. Why didn’t I read it three years ago? It would have been so helpful before I really started writing my first novel. But, I’m thankful that I’ve got it now – after having a copy from the library for a month, I decided to go ahead and order my own. happy day!

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To Read :

Created to Live by Cathy Harris (received free from Ambassador Int. for my personal review)

Quite honestly, i’m leaving my to-read list alone right now. I’ve simply got to finish the ones I’m in! But don’t worry, the list is ridiculously long, and with a broad range of genres as well.

I hope you found something to read in this list today. Thanks for stopping by SGL – check out my Ultimate Book List as well! (which will be getting a major overhaul if I can just get to it)

~Laura 

I have just found a fun linkup to join ~book reviews from other lovely bloggers! Check it out and find some more books to add to your to-read pile

Reading Roundup

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 – Dec. 2016

30 Dec

Folks, it’s almost a new year! 2017 is looming upon us! As such, this is the last book review of 2016 and I’m hoping it’s well worth the read. I have some small goals for SGL for next year, one of them being updating the Ultimate Book List page into something a little more manageable. Wish me luck and don’t forget to light your Hanukkiah – this is the 6th night of Hanukkah!

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The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler- In a clear voice, Vogler shares the relationship between writing and mythology. This book has quickly become a classic, with three editions being wildly successful.

~I got this book from the library as part of The Plotting Workshop that I’m (slowly) doing. It’s gotten put on a bit of hold as the holidays have arrived but I’m hoping to pick it back up soon! What I’ve read has been really good and I’m wishing I had started taking notes from the very beginning.

Lyme Disease: Why it’s spreading, how it makes you sick and what to do about it by Alan G. Barbour M.D. – Lyme disease is now a common disease spreading across the U.S. but still the debate about it – its causes, symptoms and treatment – rage. If not properly treated, the disease can have debilitating and chronic effects. Barbour is an expert on Lyme and shares how to avoid being bit by a tick in the first place, and what to do once you suspect you do have Lyme. He shares cases of people who have dealt with it in the past along with a list of sites and a glossary of terms which will help anyone susceptible, or already dealing with Lyme Disease.

~Honestly, I haven’t gotten more than a dozen pages into this book yet. It’s always so much easier to pick up a novel than this! 

‘Twas the Night Before by Jerry B. Jenkins – When opposites attract, neither knows the one thing that will tear them apart -Christmas! How will the hum-bug reporter and the ‘sunshine-sally’ teacher solve their dilemma?

~read my full review by clicking on the book’s title to know more than ‘it was good’ =)

A Victorian Christmas Cottage by Catherine Palmer – four lovely novellas set in Victorian times sure to keep you up at night!

~read my full review by clicking on the book’s title to know more than ‘it was good’ =)

Red Hugh prince of Donegal by Robert T. Reilly – A champion for Ireland against Queen Elizabeth in 1580’s and beyond, Red Hugh overcame many obstacles in order to free his beloved homeland of England’s rule. Kidnapping, imprisonment, escape, frostbite and more keep him away from home for many years. But his heart is full of Ireland, and so rises up against the English troops, and the evil Captain Leeds, in order to save his family’s castle.

~ I got this book from my sister-in-law  and am thoroughly enjoying it! I wasn’t sure really what to expect from it, as it is written for a younger audience but I’m finding it hard to put down. 

What have you read this month? 

~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

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