Tag Archives: books

Series Review – Timber Ridge Reflections

22 Jun

Hello friends! I have a quick series review for you today. You simply must check this series out. You Must!

srsrvwtmbrrdge

From a Distance – Eastern photographer Elizabeth Westbrook hopes that Colorado will prove to be a place where she can not only further her career, but also be cured of the illness that’s threatening her life. Loner Daniel Radcliffe only wants to protect his land but when he’s called on to repay a debt, his carefully guarded secret is threatened.

 

Beyond This Moment – The small Colorado town of Timber Ridge represents a chance for Dr. Molly Whitcomb to start over. But being a Professor in Romance Languages doesn’t prepare her for the new life she’s forced to invent. Sheriff James McPherson has always been able to read people – and he knows that Molly has a secret. But when he learns what it is, it threatens his position in the town and what he’s always known about himself.

 

Within My Heart – Rachel Boyd and her two sons struggle with running their ranch without their late husband and father. When her only recourse is to trust Dr. Rand Brookston, she balks at it. He is a doctor, just like her father was. Dr Brookston came to the Colorado Territory with a dream of opening a proper clinic but trust, and money, are both hard to come by.

 

While at the library one day, I stumbled upon this series and am so glad I did! It is now on my ‘favorite series’ and ‘favorite author’ lists. I adore historical fiction novels and Alexander does a fabulous job of describing the times just enough so that you’re engrossed in it but doesn’t overdo it to where you’re bogged down with descriptions. The plots of these three books were enjoyable and there was at least one point in each that I teared up. She throws surprises in that I did not see coming – which makes them even more fun! They are set in the late 1800’s, which is one of my favorite time periods.  The descriptions of the dresses made me long to actually see them. (And wear them!) 

I also liked that Elizabeth was working in a field that was still largely a male career ; that Molly’s story highlighted how different the expectations/ repercussions were for men and women; how Rachel fought to keep her ranch afloat despite the physical labor and frustrations. You continue to see/get to know the characters from the previous book and I love when authors do that. 

I highly recommend this series to anyone wanting a great series that has a message in each book! I can’t wait to read more by Tamera Alexander! 

~Laura

Have you read any books by Alexander? Who’s your favorite historical fiction author?

Book Review- Messianic Jewish Manifesto

13 Jun

It took such a long time for me to finish this book – two months I think? – but I am glad I did. It is a well-written book on the Messianic Jewish movement originally published in 1988. Clearly its contents are a bit dated but the majority of it is still viable. David H. Stern covers theology, ideology and program for Messianic Judaism.

bkrvwmssncjwshmnfst

Messianic Jewish Manifesto

He shares a call to action for Messianic Jews and information for those who are against, for or unsure about where they stand.

He encourages us to push away the ‘either-or’ mentality and embrace being 100% both Jewish and Messianic.

He challenges those involved in this movement to fully catch its vision – to heal the breach between the church and the Jewish people.

I marked a few areas that really stood out to me :

“…Israel is called God’s son as far back as Exodus 4:22. The Messiah is presented as God’s son a few verses earlier in Mattiyahu 1:18-25, reflecting Tanakh passages such as Isaiah 9: 6-7, Psalm 2:7 and Proverbs 30:4. Thus the Son equals the son; the Messiah is equated with the nation of Israel. This is what Mattiyahu is hinting at by calling Yeshua’s flight to Egypt a “fulfillment” of Hosea 11:1.” page 107

 

“Unless we have the mind of God, our own dreamings and willings are mere strivings after wind.” page 190

 

“Holiness means doing everything in life in the fear of God and in obedience to his commands.” page 190

 

If you are wanting to learn more about the Messianic Jewish movement, I encourage you to read this book.

~Laura 

Book Review – Lorna Doone

16 May

Have you ever fallen in love with a name simply because you saw a movie once?

Lorna Doone is one of those for me.

bkrvwlornadoone

I watched the movie years ago and enjoyed it (although I’ve only got vague recollections about it now) so that when I saw a copy of it at Powell’s bookstore the other month, I knew I had to get it.

It took me a while to get through it – it’s written in a harder-to understand style so that I often grabbed another novel for something fluffier and easier to follow. But I enjoyed it SO much. I figure I’ll enjoy it more the second time reading it, being more familiar with the story and shouldn’t get bogged down with trying to picture things – and having to look up words. (like culvern.)

Synopsis:  The Doones are a hated family that terrorize the country. Their violent, plundering ways often end in murder. After losing his father to the Doones’ love of violence, John Ridd knows there isn’t any good in the lot of them. But then, he meets Lorna. The girl that is at odds with her evil family, due to a gentle heart and giving nature. He determines to rescue her but never imagines all he’ll have to go through in order to do just that.

The way Blackmore threads together so many characters over a long period of time is amazing. As I neared the end I just got more impressed – and more intrigued by how he was going to finish it. I’ll even admit to setting it down because I was so upset by what just happened that I couldn’t take it. Of course, that only lasted maybe a minute before I picked it up again! The side characters he created are fantastic  – Gwenny with her heartbreaking tale and stoic nature, Tom Faggus the ‘heroic’ outlaw, Uncle Ben with his many secrets, Annie who is the only one who knows of John Ridd’s true feelings (aside from, of course, Lorna) and the list goes on! I do wish I’d been able to read it quicker as then I wouldn’t have forgotten who some of the characters were.

20170515_165728

anyone else have a love for puffin classic editions?

 

 

Now I want to watch the movie again. Preferably this one from 2001.

I can recommend this book – although probably not for younger readers as its plot can get very hard to follow and while the violence isn’t gory, it might be too much for someone younger. All in all, a wonderful classic that I’m so glad I finally read.

Have you read Lorna Doone? What’s your favorite classic novel?

~Laura

 

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.

IMG_20170404_120352_890

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!

scrlettpmprnlbkrvw

-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.

scarletpimpernel

~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! 

scarletchauvelin

~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.

createdtolivereview

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

 

20170405_172641

 

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.

jf2017monthlygoalspost

~ 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

20170122_132918

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.

jan17bkrvw

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!

 img_20170123_181534_944

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.

2016popularposts

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

20160908_112725

 

 

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

20160415_121426

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

20151023_180224

 

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.

bkrvwunfoldingheart

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 

 

Blissful Scribbles

Musings through the journey of writing my first novel

shawnasview.wordpress.com/

CHRONICALLY BLESSED BY HIS STRIPES

Me Set Free

If Christ has set us free, why do we keep on picking up those chains

Flavia the Bibliophile

Book, TV, beauty reviews, and more!

Wordsmith Weekly

Your Inspiration Station