Saturday, December 29, 2012

Book Review: Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn

Secrets (Glenbrooke, #1)Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Secrets is a wonderful book about starting over and learning how to trust God in everything. Jessica is trying to escape her father's overbearing nature. Her biggest problem is first not trusting God in her change in life careers and choices and second in lying to everyone about who she is and why she is starting over.

Jessica through a horrible scare, being stuck in Mexico all by herself in a disabled truck while thieves ransack the cargo out of the back, finds her way to trusting god for everything in her life. This book has a great moral of always trusting God because he will always take care of us, whether it is food we need, protection or to find the love of our lives, God knows what's best for us. we must always trust God to protect us, even in our darkest moments when our lives are in danger, God, is there to love and protect us.

I really liked this book. I found it's lessons to be ones I have learned in my own life. I too have gone into hiding and had to trust God to keep me safe when everything around me was dark and scary. I love that once Jessica trusted God Greg was then open to date her. The story line taught of keeping a high moral standard and how just one mistake can change our lives. As a teacher I would love to use this book in a reading lesson, although public schools probably would not like me using a God based book. I will definitely be recommending this book to my friends and family and I will also be reading the rest of the books in the series.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Book Review: An Amish Gift

An Amish Gift: A NovelAn Amish Gift: A Novel by Cynthia Keller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can we learn from the Amish? This wonderful book shows us the answer, how important family is. Even if our family is messed up, dysfunctional, or broken we still need to love them. We all make mistakes but it is how we forgive out loved ones and then support them through their troubles that count.

I found the book a pure joy. I could relate to the characters on many levels, like how Jennie grew up with alcoholics for parents, hated the drinking and feared my husband would fall prey to alcohol as well. I have also had a rocky relationship with my children, family members and spouse. Ms. Keller makes the troubles of the Davis family believable and real and shows it is how we help each other that matters in life. Jennie watches how the Amish families around her handle the trials in life. She puts their values and forgiveness into action in her life and finds how her life becomes happier and more meaningful. Jennie starts a home business like her Amish friends, having her daughter help her market and make candy. The love and bond that grows between her and her daughter is a lesson we can all learn from and hopefully implement into our lives as well.

I was surprised that the focus family was not Amish, but moved into an Amish area and learned a great deal about the importance of family through their friendship with the Amish. The Amish religion was mentioned but not the religion of the Davis family I think that added to the believability of the Davis family’s difficulties, if they had God in their lives and Christian values then their lives wouldn't have been easier but they would have stuck together better and been happier in the process. I liked how all 4 Davis' learned from their Amish neighbors. The book is a clean read but I would have liked a few Bible references in it. I like more Bible references in the books I read, it makes me feel I'm reading a book and getting devotion time all in one, but I still truly enjoyed this book.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Book Review: Ashton Park by Murray Pura

Ashton ParkAshton Park by Murray Pura
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I could break down what this book is about but since it is scheduled for release soon I know there are many reviews out there that break down what the book is about. I will focus on my thoughts of the length of the book and the multiple conflicts that happened to the family.

I really enjoyed this book other than how long it was. I am used to reading a book in 1 or 2 nights. It took me a week to read this book. I would have liked it better if it was broken into 2-3 books and made into a longer series than what is planned.

I found myself frustrated as one conflict after another was faced by Danforth family. I am a teacher and I teach my student's that they should have one conflict in their stories they are writing. Since the book is longer than the Christian Fiction books I normally read that is why there are multiple conflicts. I just found myself wishing the book would end before something bad happened to the family again.

There are 2 different points in the book where 2 people who are at each others throats and ready to kill each other, then without warning or explanation they are friends and helping each other out. I feel that with Sir William and then with his sister Holly the change from enemies to friends should have been better explained. I found it very confusing and I had to give the book only 4 stars because of it. Yes there could be the inclusion of expectation in these two conflicts in the story but I feel they were not left in a sense of expectation, only in one of confusion.

I did enjoy the ending of the book and will most likely read the next book in the series just to find out what happens with the family and the one main conflict that was left unsolved, baby or no baby for a family member...??? Guess we must wait to find out.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book Review: A Simple Autumn

A Simple AutumnA Simple Autumn by Rosalind Lauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is about a four star but not quite. I did not read the first 2 books in the series; maybe if I had I would have liked it more. It was a standalone book, in other words you can read it without the other 2 but it leaves you wanting the back story of the King family.

There is a great moral to the book that of finding love in the ones around you. I this case Annie Stoltzus has always loved one brother, who left the Amish community, came back when his parents were murdered but not for Annie, he brought an Englisher with him. Annie cannot see what a great catch Jonah King is; he is just someone in the background to her. As he helps out at her family farm because her father is weak then succumbs to a heart attack. Jonah has loved Annie all their lives, watching her from afar while is school. He hopes that helping out on her farm will open her eyes to the wonderful guy he is. Then to Jonah's dismay she decides to move to New York to live with her sister. What can he do, he will never love another.

At the same time the wild brother Gabe King is secretly courting the School Teacher Emma Lapp. She has to keep a high moral standard and the embarrassment of the King family, a brother marrying a convert from the outside world and a sister who left the Amish community to sing, may come between her and her love. Gabe will not settle down, he would rather ride dirt bikes than keep the high moral standard that Emma feels he must. Emma has to break up with Gabe to keep her teaching position, or so she feels, bringing heartache to her and Gabe both.

What will become of these two couples? Will they ever find true happiness together? Read the book to find out, I won't give it away.

I am a huge fan of Amish Fiction and read every book I can find. I liked this book but not as much as my favorite authors Beverly Lewis of Beth Wiseman. I would recommend this book for those who love Amish fiction as I do it keeps you wondering with all its twists and turns. I just didn't find it to be the "I can’t put it down book" I read from other authors.

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2013 Daily Devotional for women

Daily Wisdom for Women: 2013 Devotional CollectionDaily Wisdom for Women: 2013 Devotional Collection by Various
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Daily Wisdom for Women: 2013 is dated for each day of the week, also tells you if it is a Holiday, for me this is great so it keeps me up to date in the morning when I do my devotions. This devotional has 3 parts to it daily all based on a common theme. First there is the daily verse that is taken from different versions of the Bible depending on how well the wording works for the theme of the day. Second comes the daily lesson, also based on the theme and teaches how to bring the daily verse into your daily life. Last is the short prayer that allows you to pray the daily verse into your life and helps bring the lesson into your actions and understanding.

This is a great Devotional for a man or a woman, yes its title does say it is for women but I found myself reading it to my husband almost every night. I found it fit well with my life and gave me great wisdom I can use every day. I will be purchasing this in print version so I can take better notes in it. I also will be purchasing it for several women on my Christmas list.

If you want a Devotional that will encourage you daily, that will encourage discussion with your spouse or significant other, and I highly recommend this Devotional. I found that it also encouraged me to delve further into the daily verse by reading the whole chapter that the verse was taken from. The lessons are short enough that you only need 5-10 minutes a day, yet also allow for further investigation if you want a more in depth devotion.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review: Love Finds a Home; Wanda Brunstetter

Love Finds a Home: 3 Historical Romances Make Falling in Love Simple and SweetLove Finds a Home: 3 Historical Romances Make Falling in Love Simple and Sweet by Wanda E. Brunstetter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a collection of 3 historical stories. I truly loved the last two stories in this book of three. I would read Dear Teacher and Twice Loved again but I would not bother with Daddy's Girl which is why I have to mark this book down by 2 stars.

Daddy's Girl is about an 18 year old daughter of a gambler and drifter who may have fallen for a minister. When her card cheating father jumps off a train, and supposedly dies, she wonders what will become of her. forced into a marriage to a man she doesn't know she finds Christ. This is about the point where I wanted to throw this book out the window and not finish it. What continues to happen in the book is unbelievable and in my opinion not worth reading. Of course there is a happy ending which I always like. If you want to know the happy ending read the rest of the book but it is a predictable ending and left me disappointed in an author whose books I normally love.

Dear Teacher is a sweet novella that I found heart warming and as a teacher something I could see happening even in 2012. Judith King is a teacher who feels she will never fall in love because of teasing and name calling she suffered when she was a child. In this day and age of bullying in schools I loved how she was adamant that her student's would not name call or bully. She reaches out to one of the "canalers" children and turn may be falling love with him as well. what will happen to Judith, will she ever be loved by this man? His children have fallen for her and she hopes he will too. I found this novella relate able and a quick read that was a refreshing return to the writing I love from Brunstetter.

Twice Loved is a wonderful story about finding love after being widowed. While buried in the burdens of raising her daughter after the death of her husband during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Bev is let go from her job when the soldiers return from WWII. She hopes to only find a job at Twice Loved a used and refurbished toy store. Dan is still grieving for his wife who died of leukemia 2 years earlier. He just wants someone to help him run his deceased wife's dream. What he didn't expect to happen was for Bev and her daughter Amy to change his life and bring his happiness back. They both struggle with trusting another person and Dan feels he will dishonor his wife by ever loving again. When they each find separate notes left by Dan's wife, at just the right time, to open their eyes to being Twice Loved. I loved this book and could not put it down, I read it all in one sitting and found it a great read as well as a wonderful book to read during the holidays, when it takes place. I wanted to be out playing in the snow with the characters and found myself cheering for them to find love again. I highly recommend this book

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Review: Christmas With Tucker. Greg Kincaid

Christmas with TuckerChristmas with Tucker by Greg Kincaid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is about the love of family, animals and home. I find a close attachment to George whose father passed a short 6 months prior. He and his family are struggling with their first Christmas without his father. When his neighbor is arrested he is forced to care, reluctantly, for his dog. What comes after is a heartwarming story of struggles and accomplishments as a 13 year old boy becomes a man in less than a 2 month period. What happens will warm your heart and keep you guessing whether George will stay in Kansas and who will Tucker live with. I highly recommend this book to anyone; it is a good clean read.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Crafts; dish towel

Added my first picture of my crafting. I just finished the embroidered dish towel. I'm quite please with the outcome. I normally fail at satin stitch but I'm impressed with how this turned out. Purchased the towel as a kit with instructions and preprinted design, had to purchase the floss though. Only Joann Fabrics and Crafts has kits like this in my area. Hopefully the recipient of this Christmas gift will like as much as I do. My husband informed me I am not to keep it. ;)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

New Blog

I am starting up a new blog. It will be based on what I love most in my life, my family, teaching, crafting; sewing, knitting, embroidery, cross stitch, crochet, jewelry making and more, and most of all reading many different book types. I read mostly Christian literature, fiction featuring the Amish is one of my favorites. I will review books here.  Please be patient as I get this started.