Tag Archives: christian fiction

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

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!

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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 – 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

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

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 – The Silent Governess

8 Nov

Happy Tuesday!

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

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

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

Synopsis:

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

 

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

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

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

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

What are you reading lately?

~Laura

 

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

Book Review – October 2016

28 Oct

 

Hello readers! Thank you for coming by SGL! It means a lot that you’re here! Due to feeling pretty awful for most of this month, I haven’t read too much. I expect I won’t read much next month either as I’m planning on doing Nanowrimo – read ‘i’m planning on writing/editing my novel until I can’t stare at the computer screen anymore without burning my eyes out’ , that’s basically what it means, it’s going to be crazy but I’m hoping on getting a LOT of editing done!

 

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Evidence Not Seen 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 not sure how to start my review of this book, the words keep swirling in my brain. It was a well-written book that I would recommend for sure. The nature of it keeps it from being a light read, instead it is one that will tear your heart out. At the same time it made me appreciate some of the things that we take for granted – showers for instance. It took me a month to read (thank goodness for being able to renew from the library!) 

The Color of the Star book 2 of The Price of Liberty by Gilbert Morris – Jordan Simms was raised by her rather eccentric aunt on the wrong side of town in Liberty, Georgia. No matter how sweet she is, that fact alone is enough to make her unsuitable for Billy Christmas, according to Billy’s parents. They have someone else in mind, a girl from a prominent, wealthy family. But Billy doesn’t want the life his parents have planned, so he joins the Marines and fights on the bloody battlefields of Guadalcanal. Halfway across the world, Jordan and Billy meet again, changing both their lives forever.

~I enjoyed Jordan’s story more than I did Billy’s, although I can’t quite say why that is. I liked how we stepped back in time, in Liberty , and ran across Ben from the first book, as a youngster, and met many other characters from the first book – getting to know them better. I’m hoping each book in the series does this!

Maire by Linda Windsor –  In Ireland in the fifth century the light of Christ was spreading – thanks in huge part to the druids who started seeking truth. During this time of change, two warriors stand against evil. Rowan of Emrys, a leader of his tribe and repentant warrior and Maire, warrior queen of Gleannmara. As these two leaders form an unlikely and unplanned bond, they face the evil druid, Morlach  who is determined to have Maire and Gleannmara and Rowan’s older brother who sold him into slavery as a boy.

~I thought I hadn’t read this book in such a long time and just found evidence that I read it in January of this year…so much for my memory. Ahem. Anyway, this is one of my FAVORITES. I love Rowan’s testimony in his daily actions; Maire’s struggle to understand her new husband and his faith; and the way Windsor weaves an engrossing story of light vs. dark. 

Currently Reading:

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. It shows that those who are good at ‘thin-slicing’ – filtering a few facts from an overwhelming amount of variables-  can often be better decision makers than those that spend a lot of time gathering information and deliberating.

~I was so excited when my OH bought this for a class of his, I’d been wanting to read it! I’m about halfway through it and the information is intriguing. I’m enjoying it!  

Roses for Mama by Janette Oke – After both their parents die, Angela and Thomas are left in charge of their younger siblings. Angela struggles as the responsibility gets harder, on how to raise them the way their mother would have wanted.

~I have grown up reading this book and I love it as much now as I did the first time I read it. Oke creates characters that become so real, and worlds that I always want to visit. I wanted a light story that I could focus on with a severe migraine and this fit the bill! 

 

What are you reading lately? 

~Laura

 

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

Book Review – June 2014

30 Jun

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page

and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.”

Paul Sweeney

 

Can I admit to being completely wiped out from this past month? Granted, a good part of that is because of my ever-frustrating health. But, my OH graduated a few weeks ago, we had a party for him that same night and then the next day he left for Portland for his new job (that i’ve already told you about!)  and I think I’ve found a doctor that might be able to help get my health back on track. My mini-garden is ready to transplant, which I’m hoping to do this week  and I’m loving driving my classic 1968 VW Bug again. That sums up my month in a very tiny nutshell. 

And now, on to the books!

I got hooked on a series so the other books I’ve been reading suffered because I just couldn’t put the book down! But, now that I have to wait for the third book in the series at the end of the year, I can get back to those I’ve been postponing. As I had hoped last month, I made it to all of the books on my list – so let’s get to it! 

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Take Hold – by Ariel and D’vorah Berkowitz – Yes, i started this last month but I am thoroughly enjoying the (albeit slow) read! This book teaches about the unity and equality between Jewish believers and non- Jewish believers through Messiah;  the inheritance of non -Jewish believers through the covenants of Israel. As the back cover states “What is your relationship to the Land, the People and the Scriptures of Israel?” It is published through First Fruits of Zion, where we also get our Torah Club (messianic commentary on the weekly portions)

The Twelve Dancing Princesses – selected and introduced by Alfred David and Mary Elizabeth Meek – my mom got me this(!) it was printed in 1974 and I got so excited about it because of the re-write of the dancing princesses story, Wildwood Dancing by  Juliet Marillier. This book is a compilation of fairy tales from Germany, Russia, France, Scandinavia, England and America. Some are familiar and some I’ve never heard of before. All though, are different from the fairy tales that we know. Darker. Sadder. More detailed and in depth than what they have turned into. I am loving grabbing this when I only have a few minutes to read. 

 

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A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander –   Book 1 of the Belmont Mansion Series . a Great Historical novel! It already went back to the library, so if you try to search for it in the photos, you won’t find it =) Set one year after the War Between the States ended. Claire Laurent has a dream of becoming a well-acclaimed painter, but her father insists she is only a copyist. She has to flee New Orleans to Nashville and meets Sutton Monroe. When he doesn’t turn her in to authorities, she thinks he is a godsend. But as events unfold, she wonders if she misjudged him. Sutton Monroe wants to set the wrongs done against him and his family, right and to reclaim what is due him. But at what cost to him – and the woman he loves?  yes, it really is that good. I had the hardest time putting this down! 

A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander – Book 2 of the Belmont Mansion Series – set in late 1868 on. Eleanor Braddock is plain and practical. She wants her life to have meaning, even though she knows she will never marry. She arrives at her aunt’s house, Belmont Mansion, poor and struggling to take care of her ailing father. Her Aunt Adelicia is one of the most demanding women, and her goal is to see Elanor wed. But Eleanor finds herself helping the widows and fatherless children from the Civil War, knowing that her aunt will not approve. Hiding his royal identity, Archduke Marcus Gottifried hopes to live life as he wants, combining his love of beauty in nature and architecture with the building of the widows and children’s home with Eleanor. As the work brings them closer, a love blooms. But the one person that knows Marcus’ secret is about to reveal it. ACK! i love this novel. I just finished it last night and I almost feel like I could just pick it up again. You must read this series. I love the twists and turns that these books bring. 

Finding Betty Crocker- by Susan Marks – who doesn’t love Betty Crocker? I have a new habit of wandering the cookbook section at the library, not only searching for cookbooks but also memoirs. This one I was excited about and while I am only about halfway through it is an interesting read. It goes through the history of Betty Crocker – ‘born’ in 1921 and how she was welcomed into kitchens and hearts. She became an icon- having her own radio show, answering fan mail and cooking classes around the country. Along with a wonderfully written biography on Crocker, history through the war years is given also. There are even recipes tossed in before the chapters! If you grew up with Betty Crocker, this is for sure a book you’ll want to read.

A Tiger in the Kitchen by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan – a memoir of food and family – yes, another food memoir. I am not very far along in this book either but so far it’s proving a good read. Cheryl grew up in Singapore, in the most food-obsessed city in the world. At eighteen, she left for America and became a fashion writer. In her thirties, though, the call to learn to cook the dishes her family made became undeniable and she braved the kitchen to try and recreate them. But was it too late? While cooking with her aunts, she learns not only the recipes but also family stories. 

Your Older Dog by Jean Callahan – this book indicates that I realized Lady is old. See, I’ve always thought of her as my puppy. The fact that she turns 9 this summer means nothing —until I started thinking about how slow she gets up in the morning, how much more she sleeps than she used to and she seems to be a little more attached to me and the OH. It makes me sad to realize it. But I grabbed this book since I want to get her out walking/jogging with me each week and don’t want to cause her pain. This book covers aging, first aid and preventive care, natural remedies, guide to most age-related problems and end stage issues. I of course flipped to the section of ‘exercise to keep your dog agile’. It has good content and am thinking it might be a good one to own.

DIY Dog Grooming by Jorge Bendersky – I admit, the cover is off-putting but I went through it the other day before I groomed Lady and learned a lot.  It first has you identify what hair type your dog has , tells you what tools to use and then step by step through the dog on brushing, trimmming, cleaning etc… Also includes solutions to common problems, picture tips and grooming solutions from your pantry (there’s even a page on essential oils and dogs).  Well done book. This is another one that I would like to own, but I would probably have to put a book cover on it… if you want to know what I’m talking about, just google it.

The Belly OFF Diet by Jeff Csatari – I wrote about this one last month and while I didn’t read too much more in it – majority of it left is the exercises they recommend, I did go through them and contemplate doing the work outs…. That’s as far as it went sadly. But I do love some of the recipes in here! They are going to stay in my ‘repetoire’. That taco salad is amazing. For a more thorough review on it, click here –  https://thestartofagoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/book-review-may/

 

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Fast, Fresh and Green by Susie Middleton – an amazing vegetable cookbook. It covers – quick-roasting, quick-braising, hands on sauteing, two-stepping, no cooking, stir frying,grilling and baking gratins. Yes, it’s that cool. I have fallen in love with a new cauliflower dish. YUM. I originally got this from the library, showed it to my mom who scored getting a few from amazon at a great price. Thanks mom!! The pictures are fantastic. The recipes are delicious. If you are looking to get vegetables in your diet more, this book is the way to do it. 

And that’s it my friends! What have you been reading this month? 

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