Tag Archives: christian book reviews

FAVORITES BOOKS OF 2019

5 Jan

Because I’ve been so lax in book reviews the past while, I’m going to actually review the books I share with you today. The majority of these favorites are new-reads but I will share some re-reads with you as well at the bottom of the post.

I have a post in the works sharing my reading goals and a personalized reading list for 2020, make sure you don’t miss it!

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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.

~The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander – Accepting her cousin’s invitation to join them in Colorado was an easy decision, but McKenna Ashford’s real reason lay in the haughty attitude of her younger brother. She is determined to get them a fresh start and hopefully, tame his ever growing wild streak. But life in Copper Creek isn’t what she thought it would be. The responsibilities of an unexpected inheritance threaten her resolve to be independent while offering an second chance, if only she can keep it.  U.S. Marshall Wyatt Caradon never expected to be drawn into such a heartbreaking situation – but something about McKenna pulls him back to Copper Creeek and makes him think of leaving behind his years of living on the trail. Can they both trust again though?

~ It is no secret I enjoy this genre, especially when it’s western-based. But Alexander delivered such a refreshing story – filled with obstacles, tender moments, sweet friendships all with a realism that I appreciated. The morals/life lessons within add depth to the story, helping lend weight to the full plot and well-rounded characters. There really can’t be enough good said about this book! I highly recommend this heart-wrenching-and-warming novel. 

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~Hunted by Meagan Spooner – Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones – and in her blood.  Here in the wilderness Yeva is under no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas… or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. Here she feels one with the ebb and flow of life. Here she is home.  But when Yeva’s father goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey : the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. Deaf to her sister’s protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory – a cursed valley, a ruined castle and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin, or salvation. (synopsis from back of the book)

Getting little snippets from the Beast’s side added so much to the tale, and gave us a chance to see the Beast more fully than just a selfish man having to pay a heavy price until someone comes to, basically, rescue him. His story is just as important as Beauty’s and getting to read his feelings about his transformation, about Beauty and…well, all of it, was great.

~The Painter’s Daughter by Julie Klassen – Sophie Dupont has been assisting in her father’s studio for years, a shop that is popular with artists as it is near the north Devon coast. When a handsome artist, Wesley Overtree arrives and compliments her not only on her beauty but on her painting as well, Sophie falls hard for him. When he disappears, leaving her in a difficult position, she’s not sure what she’ll do. But then his brother, Captain Stephen Overtree arrives, looking for Wesley to take him home. Finding instead, a young woman suffering from his brother’s recklessness, Stephen offers to marry her in name only. Sophie must decide if she’ll wait for the uncertain chance that Wesley will return or if she’ll trust her future to his brooding brother.

~ I’ve fallen in love with Klassen’s stories. This one did not disappoint in the least. Because of the subject matter, it was a little more…personal than others of hers. But she wrote it well, touching on the topic without being vulgar. I loved both Sophie’s and Stephen’s struggles. And the other twists and turns throughout meant that I was pleasantly surprised at the end. I highly recommend this novel, although not for a younger audience.

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Dark Canyon by Louis L’amour – Having rather fallen in with the Colburn gang when he was young, Gaylord Riley sets out to forge a new life for himself by settling down and building his own homestead. But his plans are complicated by the richest man in town and Riley must accept the help of his outlaw friends to stay alive.

~I found this gem at a used bookstore and instantly snapped it up. Being a L’amour, I knew I had to give it a try.  This book was rather short but it was perfect for a lazy afternoon read – the characters as per the authors’ usual genius, weren’t left bland and half formed but were vibrant in their own selves, leaping off the page. I liked the story of redemption – which is a common theme in his novels – that threaded through the plot. And retirement for outlaws? Yes, that’s a thing here too. If you enjoy westerns, or are thinking of trying the genre, I recommend this one highly! It’s sweet and full of adventure.  *also check out The Finding of Jasper Holt.

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The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden – Elizabeth Black is not only a headmistress of a girls’ school but is also a well-known author of ‘silver-fork novels’ – the respectable novels that women read. Her secret is that she’s also someone else – under the pseudonym Mr. King, she writes Penny Dreadfuls. But when she’s approached by Fletcher Walker in the hopes to find Mr. King, Elizabeth agrees to help just to keep him from finding out her secret identity.

Eden creates a world in Victorian London that feels real as you follow Elizabeth on her campaign to keep her school respectable and money coming in through her writing. Fletcher Walker is a fun character that has a feel of reality to him with his rough origin, talk of the ‘streets’ and goal to save as many kids as he can from the life that he himself escaped. I do always enjoy when a main character is an author and this one had two! There’s so much more to this story than the bit of synopsis above, click the title link to read my full review!

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The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klaasen – After being disappointed in love, Abigail Foster finds out that their family has lost their London home. An unexpected offer comes for them to live in Pembrooke Park, a manor home that has been abandoned for eighteen years. The handsome curate offers nothing more than a warning to beware of any strangers that might be drawn by the rumors of a secret treasure room inside the mansion. Intrigued and wanting the possible treasure for her own family, Abigail begins to covertly search for the treasure room but isn’t prepared for the startling secrets that she’ll find.

~The intrigue of a lost treasure in the setting of Victorian England was so fun. Abigail wants to help her family but she also longs for her lost love. The new life that she must adjust to at Pembrooke Park is quite different from the one she led in London but she finds herself pleased by the changes and what she’s accomplished. Her family’s opinion isn’t quite so optimistic however. When she does decide to seek the treasure, anonymous notes are left for her, revealing a danger that she hadn’t expected. And that’s when the story gets even more fun! 

 

 

Honourable Mentions:

Sherwood by Meagan Spooner –  With her betrothed dead, Maid Marian is bereft and unsure exactly what she’ll do next. Guy of Gisborne not only wants to become the new Lord of Locksley but her fiance’ as well.  With no one there to stop him, or his harsh command of the people – carrying out the Prince’s absurd laws – Marian stumbles onto a way to help the people. As well as relase the frustration that’s burning inside her. She dons Robin’s hood and accidentally steps into a new identity for herself: Robin Hood

In this retelling, we get to see not just Marian’s side of the story, but Robin’s as well. Filling in gaps and letting us get to know Marian even better, Spooner once again weaves a tale full of adventure, intrigue and romance (major and minor) between her characters. There is a section that is a bit more sensual than I normally read, which is why this book is only an honorable mention. without that, this would absolutely be up there in the Absolute Favorite list.

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The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King – This is the first full length biography of Rogers, it follows his life through interviews, oral histories and archives. It not only focuses on his work life, but his personal and artistic life as well.

~I enjoyed this biography so much as there were so many nuggets of wisdom from Mr. Rogers that I kept reading aloud to my OH, or texting to my mom. His spirit of compassion and caring and giving came through, and for that I thank King for taking the time to make sure that was the case. 

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Falcon for a Queen by Catherine Gaskin – Suddenly an orphan, Kirsty Howard leaves her home in China and travels to Scotland to visit her grandfather. His home of Cluian is a strange one, utterly different from what she’s used to. Secrets abound in the old house, kept in place by the arrogance of the lonely old man and the two women who run his house. But being the site of one of the world’s finest whiskey distilleries, gives Kirsty an opportunity to carve her own place in the Highlands.

~ It was intriguing, unexpected and enjoyable. Yes, there was far too much information about distilling whiskey. But in the context of their livelihood, it made sense, you know? It was a rather dry topic though, one that I tended to skip through, to get to the actual story.  I had the ending figured all wrong, but readily admit that it was far better, and more satisfying than I had come up with. I wouldn’t recommend this for younger readers as it is a darker, aka ‘gothic’ novel. There are only innuendos of a scandalous nature, but Gaskin kept it clean even in that. I fully intend to read it again. If you want a book that will surprise you (and you’re willing to sift through the whiskey aspect), find a copy of this book.

 

Re-Reads:

Shadowfell Series by Juliet Marillier

Maire by Linda Windsor

Letter Perfect  (California Historical #1) by Cathy Marie Hake

Bittersweet (California Historical #2) by Cathy Marie Hake

 

If you’d like to see my Year in Books according to Goodreads, click here! I enjoy getting to see all of them in one go – can you believe that I read 78 books in 2019?! I’ve decided I’m going to aim for 65 books this year.

And remember, there’s going to be a post up soon sharing what my reading intentions are for this year.

What was one of your favorite reads this past year?

~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

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!

 

 

 

Book Review – Stepping Heavenward

19 Oct

Stepping Heavenward by Mrs. E. Prentiss is, I feel, a book that every woman should read – no matter their age or where they are in life. It was given to me by some dear friends when I graduated from culinary school and I thoroughly enjoyed  it, and learned from it then. But this time reading it as a wife and sufferer of chronic illness, I feel like I gained so much more from it.

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(side note: I’m currently trying to learn a new image editor… bear with me as I figure it out) 

We watch as Katherine grows from a sixteen year old girl, in the year of 1831, to a woman of God with a husband and children. The trials of life beat against her as she seeks to live her life honoring God.

I marked a few sections that I wanted to share in this review:

“I see now that my first desire has not been to please God but to please myself, for I am restless under His restraining hand and find my prison a very narrow one. I would be willing to bear any other trial if I could only have health and strength for my beloved ones. I pray for patience with bitter tears.”

“The scenes of sorrow through which we have been passing have brought (husband) nearer to me than ever… Besides we have modified each other. (He) is more demonstrative, more attentive to those little things that make the happiness of married life; and I am less childish, less vehement- I wish I could say less selfish, but here I seem to have come to a standstill.”

Trying not to give anything away by taking out the name of her husband!

“Bishop Wilson charges us to bear all things ‘as unto God’ and “with the greatest privacy’. How seldom I have met them save as lions in my way that I would avoid if I could, and how I have tormented my friends by tedious complaints about them! Yet when compared with the great tragedies of suffering I have both witnessed and suffered, how petty they seem!”

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I identified so often with Katherine in the struggles of life and seeking to do the right thing, that I ended the book encouraged in the path. It reminded me that we all grow and change, even if we don’t see that growth. That we are not meant to suffer through life but to thrive and to make our will aligned with His. As I said before, I recommend this book to anyone. Yes it’s written in an older style, as you can see in the sections I shared but how deep and rich a meaning of daily faith is weaved throughout this book.

Also – Elizabeth Elliot even recommended it to “men, who need to better understand the wives they live with, and to any woman who wants to walk with God.” 

~Laura

Have you read this book? what did you think of it? Have you read a book like this, that inspired you? 

Series Review: Seasons of the Heart

8 Aug

I’m sure you know by now that I enjoy Janette Oke’s novels – Roses for Mama   being one of my favorites. Recently I was wanting a light read (I believe it was while I was in the midst of Hero of Ages – yes, that review is coming next week!) and pulled the first of this series off the shelf. I don’t remember the last time I read this series although I’m guessing it’s been more than five years.

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Janette Oke changed up her normal style with this series. It’s written in first person – and the main character is a young boy. Joshua Jones has been raised by his Aunt Lou, Grandpa and Uncle Charlie. The series follows his growing up – in faith, age and love – as times change and they live through the Great Depression. Each book is absolutely delightful. The situations make you alternately laugh out loud, sniff a little and sigh happily.

By the end of the series, I want to stay up late with Grandpa and Uncle Charlie while they drink coffee, go fishing with Gramps, go on a sleigh ride and sit and sip tea with Aunt Lou.

 

Check out the books on Goodreads

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My collection of Oke’s books

I believe I first read this series as a young teen – possibly even a pre-teen – so can definitely recommend them for younger readers as well! Oke fills her books with good theology and I am always convicted about how I am living out my own faith, when I read her stories. This series is a must read!

~Tip : If you like Lori Wick or Beverly Lewis, you’ll like Janette Oke!

~I was searching through past book reviews in the midst of writing this one (score one for me for getting distracted!) when I skimmed through this review and knew I had to share it again! I have actually been wanting to read several of these books again too. 

~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.

Happy Reading, Laura

Book Review – June 2017

3 Jul

Ahhh time for book reviews again. I am trying to write more separate posts but what with the pain levels ever increasing, many end up here instead. I went through my library recently and pulled out some novels to read again to see if I actually want to keep them or not. (I was surprised to be able to pull a few off and easily send them on their way out the door.)  With my limited space, I’m trying to be a bit pickier on what novels I keep (especially since we live so close to Powell’s bookstore and classics keep coming home with me). A few of these I read back in May, so no, I didn’t read this many books this past month.

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Because – Have you seen the length of Brandon Sanderson’s novels?!?!  (the one I’m currently reading is 552 pages, aka 236 thousand words) 

Timber Ridge Reflections by Tamera Alexander – click the link for my full review!

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My Life in France by Julia Child – When Julia and her husband, Paul, moved to France in 1948, she knew no French and nothing about food. Her experiences with superb food had her soon signing up for cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu. Her passion for learning the secrets to what made each dish delicious ended up changing her life – and turning her into one of the most beloved cooking teachers and writers.

~ This memoir was enjoyable in every way.  Child shares her travels throughout Europe along with the meals that made such impressions on her. It reminded me of a goal that I had years ago – that of cooking my way through her Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but alas, with all these food allergies, that will never be possible.  Her dedication to detail in her recipes revolutionized the cookbook industry. A fun read about one of the most endearing American personalities. Bon Appetit! 

~These next four novels are the ones I read to decide to keep them or not. All four are getting passed on to my mom! ~

Sweet Blessings by Jillian Hart – Heath Murdock never expected anything more than a hot meal and a dry place to sit for a while when he entered the small diner. He ended up earning the trust and love of independent Amy Mckaslin when he steps in and helps out.

~This is the second book in the Mckaslin series, but the only one I’ve ever read. It’s a sweet story of learning to let go of the past, forgive yourself and accept God’s love. It being a novella, I feel like the story could go deeper but Hart still brings depths to her characters. 

The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake – Clara Fields can’t believe that her and her widowed aunt were abandoned by their wagon train on the way to Oregon. When help is offered by the owner of the general store in Buttonwood, Clara strikes a bargain that in exchange for marrying his son, she’ll get the house so that they will be independent of any man. But when she meets the son, a handsome doctor, sparks fly.

~A short story, the characters are engaging and the story is well-written. The struggles that Clara faces – inward and outwardly – as well as the son, a Dr. Reed, are often in opposition to the other, creating tense or confused moments! A fun, light read. 

Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn – Jessica Morgan just wants to live her own life and forget her past. She heads for a small town in Oregon to teach at the high school, hiding her true identity. She finds it harder than she had imagined when she meets a caring paramedic who just wants to help her and a devious woman who’s trying to destroy her. Will she let fear or love win in the end?

~ This was a sweet christian romance story that I read in one day. I’ve read it before, a few years ago so couldn’t remember it too well. The faith portion was well-shared and the plot was sweet and happily resolved. I’d recommend this if you’re searching for a light read! .(I just realized that it’s book 1 of a series but I don’t think I’ve read any more of the series)

Forgotten Justice by Lois Richer – All John Riddle can remember is a date – October 29th. He knows nothing else – not who he is or where he’s from. He’s found a temporary home in Camp Hope and a friend in the beautiful and determined lady in a wheelchair. As time goes on though, he wonders, is his presence at Camp Hope putting her in danger?

~ This is #2 of the Camp Hope series, but is still enjoyable as a stand-alone. I liked how Richer slowly revealed things in this romantic suspense. Near the end of it, I thought I’d figured out who John Riddle was but was totally wrong! Which, is always fun when they keep you guessing til the end. I told my OH that I’d love to read it as a lot longer story – maybe as 500 pages? I feel like there could be so much depth added to it! But it is a fun, quick suspense just as it is. 

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Revision and Self-Editing : Techniques for Transforming your First Draft into a Finished Novel by James Scott Bell – This was SUCH a great book on self-editing! I grabbed it from the library on a whim one day but really think I’ll end up buying it. It had some great tips throughout along with exercises to do so that you can practice what he’s teaching. I took a whole lot of notes on it, and this is the only time I wrote on on my novel in June – working off his suggestions. I highly recommend this as a book to help you polish up your novel! 

Messianic Jewish Manifesto  by David H. Stern – click for a full review!

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Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson ( watch for a review soon!) – I know guys, I know, I’m not going to tell you a thing about this series until I finish the third book. If you really can’t wait, google it. 😉 

What I’m Currently Reading:

When God Doesn’t Fix It by Laura Story

Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

Once Upon a Summer by Janette Oke

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss ( I’m still listening to this on audiobook, might have to get it from the library so I can actually finish it)

Linking up to The Reading Roundup again!

Reading Roundup

What are you reading lately? 

~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.

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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 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 – A Victorian Christmas Cottage

14 Dec

I decided, since it’s Christmas season, why not review a few season-appropriate books?! I got this book from my mom’s bookshelf because, let’s face it, christmas books are appealing. And so, I bring you this collection of novellas, all set in Victorian times.

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A Victorian Christmas Cottage by Catherine Palmer, Debra White Smith, Jeri Odell and Peggy Stoks.

Now, you probably all know by now how I feel about short stories (never long enough, want more character development, etc) but each one of these stories was so good that I thoroughly enjoyed them! Plus, this happens to be one of my favorite time periods.

These novellas take you from England where a young widow finds strength in God and protection in an unexpected place, to San Francisco where a society beauty learns what is really important. Then on to a plantation in Georgia where coming home means learning forgiveness and healing. Last, we go to Minnesota where a wounded young woman is pursued by a very determined young man.

If I could give you full descriptions of each of these stories, I would. But that would give too much away! The way that faith was weaved into each one of these was masterful and has given me much to ponder about my own life. And that, as I was telling a friend of mine recently, is why I enjoying Christian romance. You get the sweet, romancy stuff as well as sound faith and living advice. I like that I get to come away with some morsels to chew on, long after the book is done.

So, SGL friends, for a fun, quick read I recommend you get a copy of these novellas.

Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas,

Laura

Book Review – Sept 2o16

30 Sep

I’m pretty sure the end of September means it’s officially fall, doesn’t it? I obviously have no idea when it actually starts but it sure feels like it here! I’m loving being able to keep the back door open for some fresh, cool air. Abby is liking it too – being able to come in and out whenever she wants is right up her alley. It also means I can sit here at my desk and write while she plays in the sprinkler (she won’t play in it without being watched, oy). She’s mostly okay with this version of me being out there with her and I’m able to actually get some editing and blogging done. Thank goodness. Poor thing is going to be heartbroken when it’s too cold for the sprinkler though. Anyway, that’s enough about the puppy – on to books! bkrvwsept2016

 

A Call to Honor  ( The Price of Liberty #1) by Gilbert Morris – When Ben Logan is given the choice to join the Navy or go to jail, he quickly signs up for the Navy. He leaves behind his mother and a girl named Rachel and decides to live life to the fullest. But while serving in Hawaii, he changes his mind about God. His new faith is tested to the limits when bombs start falling on Pearl Harbor.

– this is the first in a long (7 books) series and once I’m through them all I’ll do a series review but since it’ll take me quite a while, I’ll review them separately now. Hopefully you don’t mind!  I haven’t read this series in several years now so I don’t remember very much about them. It is refreshing to read a book from a male point of view and the emotions just transferred themselves from Ben, to me… that does sound strange but I was talking to him as I was reading ‘don’t do it!’ ‘serves you right!’ etc…

City of Tranquil Light – When Will Kiehn feels God call him to go to China as a missionary, he leaves his family’s farm in the Midwest and goes. He falls in love with a fellow missionary, Katherine, and  after they wed, they move to Kuang P’ing Ch’eng – City of Tranquil Light – and settle in to offer medical and spiritual help to the people there. As the years go by, they endure much hardship – war, famine, floods, bandits – will their faith be enough to help them?

I reviewed this about a week ago, check it out!

Evidence Not Seen : A Woman’s Miraculous faith in the Jungles of World War II by Darlene Deibler Rose –  This is the true story of a young woman, newly married, surviving the jungles of New Guinea and four years in a Japanese prison camp. Her triumphs and strengthening of faith despite everything.

– I’m a quarter in to this book and while I am enjoying it, it’s not a light/breezy/readrightthrough type of story. I just have a feeling it’s probably going to make me cry. I also find myself comparing it to ‘city of tranquil light’ since I just read that one. This one, equally well-written, starts off emotions galore, there’s no easing into it like in city of tranquil light, so perhaps that’s part of the difference. But it is very well-written and I think it will be worth the read. It just might take me a while to get through it. ( side note, the synopsis I wrote is SHORT because the one I read on Goodreads tells a lot of the story, some I wish I didn’t know because now I’m pretty positive this is going to be super emotional to read through…. )

Vegan Slow-Cooking for Two or Just for You by Kathy Hester – This isn’t your ordinary cookbook – these recipes are quick to prepare in your 1.5 or 2 qt slow cooker. Ranging from coffee creamers to side dishes to dessert, you can make anything vegan that you long for!

– I have only made a few recipes from this so far (as I keep forgetting some key ingredients on my shopping trips, oy) but we’ve enjoyed them and I was surprised at how filling they were. That might sound silly but I have a hard time with staying full. And not eating meat tends to make that worse, but with these meals, I didn’t get hungry for about 3 hrs (which is good!). Once I get to the produce stand again I plan on making some more meals from this book =) 

Golden Retriever by Dog Fancy Magazine – Covering everything the owner of this friendly breed needs to know to be a well-informed caregiver, this book is easy to read with beautiful pictures of adorable puppies to adult Goldens to compliment the information.

– This book covers SO much. It was an impulsive grab at the library but I’m hoping to learn a few things, what with having a senior and a puppy. 

On my To-Read List:

The Color of the Star book 2 of The Price of Liberty by Gilbert Morris

Love’s Pursuit by Siri Mitchell

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

What’s on your to-read list?

~Laura

 

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