Tag Archives: classic books

Book Reviews – Dec 2018

5 Jan

So as I sat down to start this post, I always list all the books I read (thanks Goodreads, for making this easier than pounding my head on the desk trying to remember) and then go back and write the synopsis and my review of them. But as I started listing one after another, I couldn’t believe how much I’d read! So many books. I love it.

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Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Only the River Runs Free book 1 of Galway Chronicles by Bodie Thoene – set in Ireland in the 1830’s, the feelings were bitter between the English landlords and the Irish tenants. Laws intended to distance the Irish from their heritage tore at the already struggling people. Hope was a distant thing for many – except for one woman, called Mad Molly Fahey. She promises that a miracle is on it’s way to their small village.

~I have read this one since I was a teenager and still enjoy it. The story tugs at your heart and you end up wanting poor Molly to be understood, for Kate to release her anger and Joseph to find his redemption. I have one confession to make, I’ve only read the second book – no more of the series. I’m not sure why, but there it is. This book has a satisfying enough ending that while you do of course, want to know what else happens to the characters, it’s well done in that you can close the cover content. I do need to read the rest of the series one of these days though! 

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier – As the seventh child, and only daughter, of a disinterested father, Sorcha is protected and loved by her older brothers. But when their father remarries and is bewitched by his new wife, Sorcha’s life is plunged into uncertainty. The evil enchantress puts a spell on all of Sorcha’s brothers – one that only she can break. By keeping silent. To speak is to lose her brothers. But her task is made more difficult when she is kidnapped by the enemies of her father and taken overseas. When a tender love surprises her, she is torn between saving her brothers and grabbing hold of it.

~I love Marillier’s books. So, grabbing this one from the book store a few months ago was a no-brainer for me. I quickly dived into it and loved it. All the way til…. about halfway through. Now, I understand why this particular event was in the story. It created obstacles, fears, etc for Sorcha and others to deal with. It moved the plot forward. I suppose it was more in the way that it was handled  – described – that bothered me. Descriptive and blunt. Too blunt for my taste. I put the book down for days before I decided to finish reading it. (which I normally don’t do.) And aside from the mentions/memories of that event, and a few…. overtures that she was forced to deal with, the book was great. It could easily have been a new favorite. But. That portion of the story was just too blunt and awful for my taste. Sadly, I won’t be reading it again.

Sisters of Bethlehem Springs Series by Robin Lee Hatcher separate post coming this month!

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen – I reviewed it here  a few years ago. Go check it out – it is a very good read! I grabbed it at a used book store recently and loved it just as much this time!

Mara : Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw – In order to gain freedom, the beautiful slave Mara, juggles the dangerous role of double spy to two arch enemies. Each are vying for contenders for the throne, intent on destroying the other. As she finds herself falling for one master, the charming and sly Lord Sheftu, she starts to want his plan of placing Thutmose III on the throne, to succeed. But her duplicity is revealed before she can bear her soul to Sheftu and soon, it’s not only Egypt’s fate that hangs in the balance, it is Mara’s very life.

~Mara’s daring and confidence are fun to watch as she navigates the different situations that her …position brings about. Reading a story set in ancient Egypt of political upheaval is unique and Sheftu is a delightful character. I probably read this one a few time a year (which makes me wonder how I haven’t reviewed it here on SGL before?!) Read it, I know you’ll love it. 

The Power of the Light: Eight Stories for Hanukkah by Isaac Bashevis Singer – The author shares a story for each night of Hanukkah – sweet stories of love triumphing, faith prevailing and miracles occurring.

~I immensely enjoyed these short stories. The pictures that went with each were charming as well.

The Art of Hanukkah by Nancy Berman -“A rich celebration of Hanukkah, featuring centuries of extraordinary art and artifacts… Menorahs, paintings, dreidels—all the wonderful elements of the celebration of Hanukkah from around the world and throughout the centuries have been brought together in this one marvelous book. Clear, insightful, and thought-provoking commentaries make this book a perfect complement to the holiday.” – from Goodreads

~Forgive my sharing what Goodreads had to say about it  but I just couldn’t figure out how to word this synopsis! This book is a treasure trove and I intend on buying it one day. The art and history was very interesting. 

Sophie’s Heart by Lori Wick – When Sophie arrives to keep house for Alec Riley and his kids, she isn’t all that sure what she’s getting into. Having come from Czechoslovakia as a language translator, she wonders if she’ll be content being a housekeeper. But the broken hearts of Alec and his children prove a worthy mission field.

~Ah, Lori Wick. A sweet story that I’ve read since I was a young teen, this book still encourages me to live out a day by day faith and trust in God. I enjoy the growth that you see in each of the Riley family, and in Sophie herself.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – If Ebenezer Scrooge could have cancelled Christmas, he would have. But on one cold Christmas Eve, he is visited by his late business partner, who warns him to change his ways before he too has the same fate. Scrooge is visited by three Spirits who show him what has been, what is, and what will be.

~ It has been years since I read this short book by Dickens. It is definitely going to have to be a yearly Christmas-time read for me.

 

Currently Reading:

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney by Dawn Raffey

The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope

The Dragon Reborn -Wheel of Time series book #3 by Robert Jordan

Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll

Dear Theo by Irving Stone

(finishing these last two are high on my priority list!)

Go check out My 2018 Year in Books  on Goodreads and add some great reads to your To-Read list!

To Read: 

Blood Moon Redemption by Judy DuCharme

Amish Peace by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Sons and Soldiers by Bruce Henderson

Secrets by Kristen Heitzmann

Goodbye, Lover by Rachel Britz

 

Books I’ve been thinking about:

Mrs. Mike by Benedict Freedman

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Eve Blackwell series by Dee Henderson

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

 

I have a Favorite Reads of 2018 planned for the next few weeks! Really, it was supposed to be up already (as was this one) but life (like nuclear migraines) happens and you’ve got to rearrange things.

~Laura

~What are you reading lately?~

July 2018 Book Reviews

10 Aug

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Currently Reading:

Dear Theo by Vincent Van Gogh

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Gifts of the Spirit by Fruits of the Zion

 

To Read:

Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll

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

The Shadowfell Trilogy by Juliet Marrillier

 

~Laura

Series Review – Chronicles of Narnia

9 Feb

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

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

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

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

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

~Laura

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

Book Review – 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? 

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.

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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.

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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.

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When Bad Things Happen to Good People  by Harold S. Kuchner  – Striving to answer the age-old question ‘why, God?’, Kuchner shares the doubts and fears that often come with the question. He shares his wisdom as a rabbi, reader and parent in the hopes to bring comfort to the reader.

~This was recommended to me – that’s the only reason I finished it. I’m not a fan of this book. There were very few points that were made that I either didn’t already know or agreed with. That probably sounds arrogant but I don’t mean it to be. He has different beliefs than I do, and his including those (evolution for one), I felt to be unnecessary and distracted from the point of the entire book. If I rated these, this would be half a star.

The Shepherd’s Voice by Robin Lee Hatcher – Finally free from prison, Gabe has a hard time finding work during the Great Depression. He heads home, hoping his father will take him in. Instead he finds compassion and faith when Akira offers him a job and a home.

~This is a favorite that I read once a year. I love the journey that Gabe and Akira go through. As well as the faith and life lessons peppered throughout. Plus it’s set in the 1940’s (?) in Idaho. Fantastic setting.

Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott – As a sequel to Eight Cousins,  we revisit Rose after she’s traveled the world for two years. She’s decided that before she marries, she wants to show that she’s an independent young woman. But the world is at odds with her decision, making her wonder just who her true friends are.

~Another delightful story from Alcott. The twists were unexpected and surprising – I had a hard time putting it down! In fact, i read it in just a few days. Highly recommend this, young or old.

Captain’s Courageous by Rudyard Kipling – When young millionaire, Harvey, is swept overboard and rescued by a fishing boat, his life is forever changed. The crew teaches him how to fish, and how to be a man.

~This was a birthday present and came with a recommendation from one of my nephews. I enjoyed this book so much, although I will admit to still not knowing what a ‘foc’sle’ is. Kipling wrote a classic boy’s adventure with this one. Highly recommend, for young or old readers!

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy – Click through for my full review! For now, I’ll say that I enjoyed this novel immensely.

Created to Live by Cathy Harris – Click through for my full review! Well worth the read on a heartbreaking and controversial topic.

Currently Reading:

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss ~I am listening to this as an audio book via Librivox. If I had a copy in hand, I would have read it within a week, most likely. As it is though, I listen to it on the nights when I’m in too much pain to sleep. Very entertaining and not sure how I haven’t read it already!

Messianic Jewish Manifesto by David H. Stern ~ Pulled this from my OH’s library. I’m moving through it really slowly but it’s a good read so far. I am able to understand it without feeling overwhelmed. 

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson ~ A favorite that I read probably twice a year. Here’s a review from a few years ago if you want to check it out.

Revision and Self-Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell ~I picked this up at the library and am eager to get any helps on editing my first novel!

Once again, I’m joining the Reading Roundup linkup. Click the picture and find some more great reads!

Reading Roundup

What are you currently reading?

~Laura

Book Review – The Scarlet Pimpernel

18 Apr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Laura

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

 

 

Book Review – The Little Prince

19 Aug

You will forgive me if I can’t wait til the monthly review to share this book with you!

My eldest brother introduced me to it years ago- and while I’ve loved it ever since I’m not sure I’ve read it again until just this week. Shocking, I know.

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Synopsis:

First written in 1943, the author reminisces when he met the Little Prince; he’d been forced to land his plane in the Sahara desert and out of nowhere a small boy appeared. The story the Little Prince then shared is full of adventure and lessons for anyone, even grown-ups, to learn.

I just HAVE to share a snippet from the book:

“So I lived my life alone, without anyone that I could really talk to, until I had an accident with my plane in the Desert of Sahara, six years ago. Something was broken in my engine…I set myself to attempt the difficult repairs all alone. It was a question of life or death for me : I had scarcely enough drinking water to last a week… I was more isolated than a shipwrecked sailor on a raft in the middle of the ocean. Thus you can imagine my amazement, at sunrise, when I was awakened by an odd little voice. It said:

“If you please – draw me a sheep!”

“What!”

“Draw me a sheep!”

I jumped to my feet, completely thunderstruck. I blinked my eyes hard. I looked carefully all around me. And I saw a most extraordinary small person, who stood there examining me with great seriousness…”

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(image from google)

Review:

I enjoyed the adventures of the Little Prince far more than I thought I would! Like I said, my brother gave me this book….erm, when I was an early teen probably, and haven’t read it since so I really didn’t remember much about it at all. But! I enjoyed the writing style, where the author talks to you, the reader. The pictures he drew, and subsequent explanations of them, are beautiful in their simplicity.

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The different planets that he traveled to, and those he met there, are captivating. I do think I like the fox the best though.

I highly recommend this short novel for anyone. It was a quick, very fun read. As you can see, my copy is in very rough shape, over half the pages are falling out!  I’m going to have to get another one before I read it again. Which I will be doing!  Have you heard that a new adaptation is being made?! I am so excited for it, check out the trailer!

Happy Reading,

Laura

update 8/18/2016 – the movie is now on Netflix!! I enjoyed it so much. The way they weaved together the story of the Little Prince and the little girl, her mom and the old man i.e. the Pilot was so seamless and didn’t take away from the original story at all. I kept saying over and over ‘they did so good on this! I love it!’  so much that I think my OH was going crazy by the end of the evening. If you’re on the hunt for a great movie to watch with the whole family (or by yourself), give this one a try!!!

Book Review – October 2015

29 Oct

Book Review for October already!! Your month is now complete and happy. Ha. I’m over-inflating the importance and excitement of this post but i’m tired, my puppy is wandering away from me……..

Ok, she’s sleeping with Lady. We’re good. What was I saying? Oh, tired. Yes, Laura is TiReD right now. But, there’s a puppy to train, a Lady to spoil and walk, a hubby to support, a house to clean and NANOWRIMO starts in a few days. Whew. No rest for the weary!

On to the book Review!

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The Best Gift by Irene Hannon (Sisters and Brides) –  A.J. Williams has inherited her late aunt’s bookstore, along with the store manager, Blake Williams.Their life philosophies are polar opposites – hers, go with the flow ; his, plan and be prepared. But they must learn to work together to beat a threat against their store. Will their tenuous friendship grow to something deeper and stronger?

– This has been a favorite for years. Being a book lover, and having an old dream of owning a bookstore, I adore any books that center around them. Being a rather short story, I appreciate the background given of the main characters and their individual struggles dealt with. This is a sweet romance story, a quick read. I highly recommend it.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman – Wesley and Buttercup are in love, but when Wesley goes away to find his fortune, tragedy strikes. Inigo trained for years to exact revenge on the man who murdered his father, only now he can’t find him. Vizzini is a professional criminal, intent on starting a war. Fezzik just wants to make rhymes and to not be alone. Intrigue. Torture. Daring Escapes. Miracles. True Love.

–  I have wanted to read this book for YEARS and years. But, I didn’t want a copy that was printed after the movie, I wanted a pre-movie copy. When that proved too hard to find, I caved and got the only copy I could find. It was definitely different than I was expecting but I still really enjoyed it. The background on Fezzik, Inigo, Wesley…Well, all of them really, was fun. I can see some people not being able to enjoy it what with all of Goldman’s inserts and comments throughout. Shrug. I was though and it is one I will re-read over and over and over and over again.

Brothers of the Outlaw Trail (Heartsong Novella Collection) – Follow a band of outlaw brothers as they seek redemption and love – Reuben Wilson struggles with the guilt of turning his brothers into outlaws. Colt wants revenge on the outlaw who turned him in. Caleb tries to make a new start as a sheriff in a small town. And Benjamin tries to leave his life as a professional gambler behind.

–  These short stories were fun! I enjoy westerns, especially when they are set in the late 1880’s as these are. Each is written by a different author, so to me it helps give each brother a different voice and personality. (has anyone else felt like sometimes siblings are too similar in books?) As they are so short, I was sad to reach the end of each of them. I’d love it if somehow I could read an  ‘extended edition’ of them. Dreaming, I know.

Hidden Places by Lynn Austin – Eliza has wanted a home all her life. After 10 years of having one, she isn’t about to let it go now. Wyatt Orchards is hers and her kids’. But keeping it up is more than she can handle. Help comes in the unexpected form of a hobo, who shares similarities to her late husbands’ lost brother. The pain and heartbreak in the farmhouse is overflowing, will it take a hold of Eliza as well?

– I know I’ve read this book before but I’m in the happy position of not remembering it other than that I really enjoyed it. I am halfway through and already am completely sucked in. It is set in the 1930s  – and i’m falling in love with Aunt Batty. A must read for sure!

Do you have a book that you’ve been dying to read but still haven’t? Share! 

(pssst, just so you know, it’s that time of year again for me to read Wildwood Dancing. So. Be prepared for a review on it next month most likely. It has made its way out of the bookshelf and onto my desk here…just beckoning to me.)

~Laura

Book Review – Sept 2015

2 Oct

Happy October, Readers! The month for pumpkins, pipes and puppies. (read: pumpkin patch, firepit evenings and a new puppy in two weeks!) I started this book review the beginning of this week but kept realizing I had forgotten another book I had read. Whew! I will, in order to relieve your mind, tell you that some of these I started the end of August. I did not read a dozen odd books in four weeks. Because that is kind of insane. More like six weeks. Somehow that’s better…??

bkrvwsept2015

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells – An Inventor travels first thousands of years, and the millions, into the future and comes back with a fantastic story of his travels.

– short synopsis for you but this is a very enjoyable read. The tale he tells is engrossing. All a little fantastic, but it’s time travel, it’s supposed to be.

Quilter’s Daughter by Wanda E. Brunstetter Daughters of Lancaster County book 2 – When Abby Miller comes to Lancaster County to help her pregnant mother, she leaves behind a full life – a quilt shop and loving fiance. But when tragedy strikes, her faith is shaken and she seeks answers to her questions. But where will she find them – in her love of quilting? her past? the heart of an overlooked Amish man?

– Ahh, I enjoyed this book. I like reading these types of novels when life is hectic, for the pace of the Amish is slower than ours, and for those moments I’m in their world, riding in a buggy to town, baking bread or knitting by the fire. They are busy but not at the mad-dash-pace of our world. I always feel slightly lazy though…

The Bishop’s Daughter by Wanda E. Brunstetter Daughters of Lancaster County book 3 – After her father, Bishop Weaver, has an accident, Leona finds her faith shaken. While teaching at the one-room schoolhouse, an Englisher in search of his family, Jimmy Scott, is hired to paint it. They are drawn to each other, even knowing the obstacles in the way. Will Leona find the answers she needs, will Jimmy find his real family? Will their love survive?

– This book was a great end to the trilogy. Seeing the characters develop and grow from the first and second books was enjoyable. I also like how Brunstetter brings faith into her novels – it’s not in-your-face but still a central theme. I feel like her books would be a great option for girls just starting to read more ‘adult’ books, a good transition point.

Francesca’s Kitchen by Peter Pezzelli – Francesca Campanile loves to cook for her family. But with her children grown, she feels useless. When she finds an ad for a part-time nanny, she is sure she’s found the answer to her problems. Loretta Simmons is a single mother of two, struggling to make ends meet. She’s not sure what to make of her new nanny, but both women are surprised to learn how much they needed the other.

– I fall in love with Francesca every time I read this book. I also wish she was my grandma. A perfectly normal reaction, trust me. Her memories of raising her kids are spattered throughout as she tries to connect with the new generation focused on video games and junk food. My mouth waters as time and again, she cooks these wonderful dishes – full of cheese (i’m dairy free so bear with me with that remark…) that just makes me want to hop in the kitchen as well. The only negatives I can really say about this book is one insinuation that I really just want to block out  because it adds absolutely nothing to the story line. And Loretta does go on a date with a slime ball who tries something but it’s very minor and not graphic. Francesca is Catholic so that is brought into the book but it’s not a major theme or preachy. Mostly she mentions a few saints, goes to confession a few times and tries to do what she feels God is calling her to do. Overall, I am glad I ran across this book years ago! A good read.

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells – A young scientist becomes obsessed with finding a way to make things invisible. When he does create the serum, he tries it out on himself. Beforehand, he could only see the benefits of such an existance – freedom! – but reality sets in and with it, a descent into madness.

– I finished this just the other night and AH!! I enjoyed this immensely, even more than the Time Machine. I scored this book at Barnes and Noble on the sale on a sale on a sale rack – being a 2 books in 1 situation, I couldn’t pass it up. I’d never read Wells before but at least these two will be ones I come back to. I didn’t anticipate the ending at all.  And that makes me happy. I enjoyed the different ways the characters were brought into the story, and the adventures of the invisible man. I found on youtube that they made a movie in 1933 that I have simply got to own now.

The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis  -Man has been plagued by one question for years – ‘if God is good, why does he allow pain?” Lewis, who is known as the ‘greatest Christian thinker of our time’, answers this complicated question and seeks to heal a hurting world

-Lewis writes very differently than I am used to, so I am frequently re-reading sections in order to better grasp his point.  I am in the last few chapters now, it has moved from my bedside to the table so I read it while eating breakfast most mornings. I intend on putting it on the ‘read yearly’ list. There are many ‘ah-ha’ moments in it. Well worth the read.

HTML and CSS : Design and Build Websites – My OH got this for me and I intend on devoting a whole post to it once I’m through it. For now, let’s say that they have done a fantastic job on making it a book that while it teaches you how, it doesn’t intimidate the socks off of you at first glance. A huge bonus for me. I intend to work through it as it teaches, being more of a hands-on learner. Don’t hold your breath for the full review though – I have no idea when it’ll be.

The Count of Monte Cristo  by Alexandre Dumas – On the brink of the happiest day of his life, Edward Dantes is thrown in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Years later, he learns of a treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo. He then focuses on escaping the grim fortress and, after finding the treasure- exacting revenge on the three men who ruined him.

– Since I was reading this on my phone last month, I have somehow stopped reading it. Guess I called it when I said I need to get an actual copy in order to finish it.  But don’t take my not finishing it as a sign that it isn’t a good read for it is! The development of the characters and the descriptions of what is going on are great.

And there you have it for September’s book review! Are any of these your favorites?

~Laura

*I’d like to note that any books I read are free of foul language or any immoral …stuff. If there is a hint of it, I will tell you but that is the most that I will read, and by default, will share with you. Not everything I read is faith-based though, so keep that in mind if that is your priority. *

*If you click any link here and buy from amazon, I will get a percentage from the sale. Just a way I’m trying to make a little money from this hobby of mine*

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