Tag Archives: tamera alexander

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 – 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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