Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Time to Embrace

A Time to Embrace by Karen Kingsbury is a wonderful love story. Coach Reynolds and his wife, Abby, have just come through a rough time in their marriage, but are falling in love all over again. While everything on the home front seems to be going well, John is having increasing trouble at school and on the football field. False accusations and even a death threat are quickly leading to the termination of John's job as coach for the Marion High football team. As he contemplates retirement at the end of the season an accident changes everything. John's love and faith are tested as they never have been before. Not only does he have his own challenges to face, but the trials of his family and friends weigh heavy on him as well.

I always enjoy reading books by Karen Kingsbury and this one was no exception. Karen is able to put so much into one book it is nearly impossible to summarize. I laughed and cried as I was pulled into the story and lives of each of the characters. As you read this book God's love, faithfulness, and forgiveness will touch your own heart. Karen certainly has a way with words, and I highly recommend this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Love's First Bloom

Love's First Bloom by Delia Parr is about a young woman named Ruth Livingstone. Her minister father sends her away in the dark of night with a young child whose mother had just been killed. To make matters worse, it is the minister who is being charged with the murder. Ruth travels under an assumed name to live with a family whom she has never met to care for a child she does not know and has become mother to with no one else the wiser. Worried about her father and frustrated with responsibilities that she has no idea how to perform Ruth seeks solace in a garden that has long been neglected. As her father's life is scrutinized her own life is being hounded by reporters intent on finding her. Can she truly trust the young man that has moved into the cottage beside her garden? Can she trust God to do what is best for her and the young child that has been thrust into her care?

Delia Parr did a great job developing a plot that is not your usual romantic fiction. While the ending is your typical "Happily ever after" ending the route she took to get there is totally different. I was drawn into the plot and found it very hard to put the book down in order to take care of my other responsibilities. The reader is able to sympathize with Ruth and will laugh and cry with her. God's faithfulness shines through on every page. This is a great book to read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

In Every Heartbeat

In Every Heartbeat is about three orphans that head off to college together. Libby, Pete, and Bennett are three very different people but are very close friends. Each of these friends have their own goals and soon find that they are all headed in very different directions. As Libby, Pete, and Bennett begin to drift apart, circumstances beyond their control begin to draw them back together. They experience hurt, betrayal, anger, frustration, loyalty, love, and forgiveness. And through it all the love of God is shown to them in ways they never would have dreamed.

I really wasn't sure how to review this book. I did enjoy reading it, but I was able to put it down and not be drawn back. It took me awhile to finish it because of that reason. I think it is because In Every Heartbeat does not really have a plot. It is more of a narrative of Libby, Pete, and Bennett. I enjoyed reading about the lives of these three college students, but there was nothing to draw me into the very heart and mind of these characters. If you have nothing else to read this book will do. However, it would not be my first choice. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Suitor For Jenny

A Suitor for Jenny by Margaret Brownley will give you quite a laugh. Jenny is determined to find suitable husbands for her two sisters. Upon arriving in the little town of Rocky Creek, Texas, Jenny immediately begins to stir up the town. With her manuel on how to find a husband in one hand and two reluctant sisters in tow with the other hand, this town will never be the same when Jenny is finished. Mary Lou and Brenda decide to do things their way, and Jenny's heart begins to betray her as well. As Jenny's well laid plans begin to unravel she starts to realize that God's plans are even better than her own. However, giving God control was certainly something that Jenny had never planned to do. Trusting God with her heart is one thing, but can she trust the Marshal with her heart as well?

A Suitor for Jenny is a great book for light reading. Mail-order bride books are common, but Margaret Brownley has taken a new spin for this book by having Jenny use a manuel to find husbands for her sisters. I enjoyed the change in plot and appreciate Ms. Brownley presenting the fact that God gave us a manuel that tells us everything we need to know. While not the best book that I have ever read I did enjoy reading it and would recommend it if someone asked. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I just finished reading the book, Masquerade, by Nancy Moser. On the pages of this book, I found two very different girls. Charlotte Gleason finds out that her family's wealth has been lost, and her father has been named for his indescretions. In order for Charlotte to be provided for in the way she is accustomed, her parents sent her across the ocean to New York City to marry into a prestigious and wealthy family. Her ladies maid, who had also become a close friend, agreed to accompany Charlotte on the trip. Charlotte does not want to be told who to marry and contrives a plan to switch places with her maid/traveling companion, Dora Conners. Dora agrees to the plan and both girls find themselves in situations they could never have imagined.

This was not a book that really grabbed my attention in the first few chapters. The story line was nothing new at first. It was the usual rich family loses their wealth type beginning. However, as I continued to read I was pulled in by the plot. Masquerade never did become the type of book you just can't put down, but I did change my original impressions as I continued to read. The characters for the most part were well-developed and some had unexpected qualities that I did not originally foresee. There were some moments that caught me off-guard during the story, as well as some predictability. Overall, however, I do think Masquerade was an enjoyable book to read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Within My Heart

Once again Bethany House has published another great fiction book. I have not read a lot by Tamera Alexander, but what I have read I have thoroughly enjoyed. This book, Within My Heart, is no exception. Set during the late 1800s, Within My Heart, is the story of a young widow. Rachel is struggling to keep her ranch from going under. Her two young sons are her motivation. She loves her town of Timber Ridge and the people in it. However, the one man she wishes to avoid seems determined to cross her path at every turn. The financial insecurity, death of a close friend, scare of an epidemic, and fear of losing her two sons draw her closer to her Savior and the one man she never dreamed she could love.

This book had my attention from the first page. I was transported back in time and felt like I was there in Timber Ridge. Not only did I feel like I was a part of Rachel's life, but the many secondary characters as well. The fears, laughter, insecurities, love, and frustrations became a part of me as I read. Most of all, I felt the trust Rachel had in her Savior even when her flesh was weak. I had a hard time putting this book down in order to tend to other responsibilities and was kept reading until late at night long after I should have been in bed. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fiction book. Tamera Alexander will be added to my list of favorite authors. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Strategically Small Church

Brandon J. O'Brien uses his book, The Strategically Small Church, to show that the size of a church does not necessarily indicate the success of the ministry. He focuses on the fact that a small church often has more to offer than a mega church. In today's society we have been trained to think that bigger is better. O'Brien seeks to retrain our thinking when it comes to the local church. He gives examples of small churches and their unique ministries and how those ministries have great potential for advancing Christ's kingdom. Specific dos and don'ts are not the purpose of this book. Every congregation is different. O'Brien uses the words "strategically small" on purpose. Even large churches can accomplish having a "small" church. These large churches need to analyze and learn from the strategies of small churches.

I found this to be a very interesting book. Having been in small churches all my life, I can identify with the mindset of wanting to grow numerically. I appreciate the real-life examples of small churches and how effective they are because of their size. I also like the fact that there are examples of large churches that have learned to become "strategically small." While I don't necessarily agree with everthing in this book, I can agree that Christians need to retrain their thinking. Bigger does not always mean better. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 11, 2010

City On Our Knees

Toby Mac has used the words from his song City on Our Knees as the theme for his book City on Our Knees. The book has four sections and each section's title comes from a phrase in the song. In each section Toby Mac has written short stories of men, women, and children who have given of themselves, their time, resources, or money in order to further Christ's Kingdom. These are stories of real men and women like us that lived hundreds of years ago as well many who are still living today. All of these people have made a difference by using the talents, positions, and resources that God has given them. Some of the stories had huge widespread results, while others worked to change one small corner, but throughout each story the reader can see how God uses ordinary people to help change the world. At the end of each section Toby Mac uses that sections theme to challenge the reader.

This is a very inspiring book. It was interesting to read the many different stories and the effects these people had in many ways and places. It will help you realize that there is so much more we as individuals can do to advance the kingdom of Christ. I appreciate the challenge at the end of each section. Toby Mac causes you to think about what you are already doing or what you can do to make a difference in the lives of others. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Vigilante's Bride

I always look forward to new books from Bethany House, and this book is another excellent book published by them. The Vigilante's Bride by Yvonne Harris is about a young girl named Emily Harris sent from an orphanage as a mail-order bride. While on the way to meet and marry her husband-to-be, Bart Axel, Emily is kidnapped from the stage she was traveling on. With all good intentions Luke Sullivan has kidnapped her and takes her to the orphanage where he himself grew up. Emily soon realizes exactly what kind of man Luke has rescued her from. Luke and Emily's frequent arguments and frustrations soon develop into a love neither one expected. However, the anger and greed of Bart Axel cause fear and problems beyond what even they could imagine.

Harris has written a book full of humor and romance with suspense sprinkled in. It was a fun book to read and wasn't your typical mail-order bride story. I was kept wanting to turn the next page to see what would happen next. Although I hated to come to the end of the story, it is a well-developed story and ended without being overdone. I am looking forward to reading more books by this author. Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book I received in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Catching Moondrops

I have found a new author whose books I will look forward to reading. Catching Moondrops by Jennifer Erin Valent is the third book in a trilogy. Although I did not read the first two books, I did not feel "lost" while reading the third. The story is about a nineteen year old girl named Jessilyn Lassiter in the summer of 1938. We find romance for Jessilyn with a young man named Luke Talley, a friendship as close as sisters with Gemma, and a controversial doctor named Tal Pritchett. Racial prejudice is the underlying theme. Tension mounts throughout the book and hate and anger swirl around Jessilyn, Luke, her black friend, Gemma, and the young black doctor Tal Pritchett. As the Klu Klux Klan becomes active, Jessilyn has to realize that her feelings of anger and hate toward the Klan members are just as wrong as the Klan members whose hate has terrorized her family, friends, and town.

Valent tells a powerful story. She gives just a glimpse of the hate that consummed the members of the Ku Klux Klan during this point in history. As I read I felt like I was transported back in time. It was difficult to keep from being sucked into the same hate and anger that Jessilyn found herself in. However, the message of God's love and forgiveness shown through even during some of the darkest moments recorded in the story. While we can hate what the Klan did to innocent people not just in this story but to real people, Valent helps us see through the character of Jessilyn that our own hate and anger must only be directed toward the sin and not the sinner. Valent also displays the principle of "If thine enemy hunger give him bread, and if he thirst give him drink" through the characters of Gemma and Tal. There are many lessons that can be learned through the reading of this book.

I think Valent did a great job on this book. It was thought-provoking with just the right amount of romance and humor sprinkled in. I had a hard time putting it down. I received a complimentary copy of this book or ARC from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The King's Christmas List

Teaching a child to give to others when it actually costs them is often hard to do. The King's Christmas List, by Eldon Johnson, is an excellent book that teaches children how to give to Jesus in a fun, imaginative, easy to understand way. The story is about a little girl, Emma, and her dog who are invited to the King's birthday party. She selects a gift to take, but on her way to the party Emma ends up giving that gift to someone in need as well as two of her own personal belongings. After arriving at the party she discovers that she did indeed give gifts to the King by giving to others who were in need (Matthew 25:40).

My three children and I enjoyed reading this story before bedtime tonight. As the Christmas season approaches this is a book that we will read over and over. I especially like how the story ended. The last two statements challenge the reader to continue the story in their own lives. When you turn the page you are directed to a website that gives a lot of ideas on how to help people in need. A wonderful story line and beautiful illustrations makes this book a "keeper" in our house. I received a free copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Boy Who Changed the World

I have three children, so I am always excited to get new children's books to read. The Boy Who Changed the World by Andy Andrews was not only a fun book to read, but taught a wonderful lesson as well. Mr. Andrews based this children's book on another book that he has written for adults titled The Butterfly Effect. In this book, The Boy Who Changed the World, Mr. Andrews tells a story about four different men whose lives are intertwined by the decisions they make. These decisions effected the lives of more than 2 billion people. Mr. Andrews also reminds his audience that God created us to make a difference. Every decision we make whether good or bad will make a difference and can change the world.

I loved this book and the lesson it taught. The illustrations by Philip Hurst are great and cover most of each page. The size and hard cover make it easy to hold without being awkward. The only problem I had was that it was too hard for my three children to follow. My 7 year old really listened and tried to understand, but it was just too hard for him to keep the different men straight. I had to go back and try to help him figure it out. My 5 year old and 2 year old just love to be read to so they enjoyed it even though they weren't able to understand. All 3 children enjoyed the illustrations. This is a book that I will just put away for a couple of years and pull back out when they are a little bit older. I received a complimentary copy of this book as part of the Booksneeze blogger program. All opinions are my own.

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews explains how even one small movement or decision can have a huge effect. He first explains the actual "butterfly effect," and then he describes how people can have that effect as well. He begins with a man named Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. Chamberlain's actions on the battlefield on July 2, 1863 changed the course of history. After explaining how this happened, the author reminds us that everything we do matters. Andy then tells about men named Norman Borlaug, Henry Wallace, George Washington Carver, and Moses Carver and how their actions impacted billions of people. Andy helps us understand how our actions can also effect billions of people.

I found this book very interesting and thought provoking. I had never heard of the "butterfly effect" before I read this book. It is definitely an interesting concept that became very easy to understand after reading The Butterfly Effect. This book is a perfect gift-giving size. Each page in the book has illustrations or background colors. It is not a long book, but the message is very clear. I really enjoyed reading it. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Booksneeze blogger program for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One Hand, Two hands

One Hand, Two Hands by Max Lucado is an absolutely delightful book! Written in verse form this book describes all that you can do with your hands. From everyday activities such as tying your shoe to helping mommy wash dishes, this book shows how God can use your hands in many ways. At the end of the book there is a page that gives ideas of other ways you can use your hands.

This is a perfect book for preschool age children. It has a wonderful message, and the illustrations by Gaby Hansen are fun, bright, and adorable. The pictures themselves tell a beautiful story. I read it to my girls, ages two and five, and they loved it. This is a book that we will be reading over and over. I'm sure it won't take long and they will be "reading" the book to me. One Hand, Two Hands is a book that will make a wonderful gift. I won't be giving my copy away, but I will certainly be willing to buy other copies to give as gifts. This is a book that will not disappoint. I highly recommend it. Thank you to Thomas Nelson publishers for sending me a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Let's Do Lunch

What an unexpected book! Let's Do Lunch is an eating plan (not diet) designed to help you lose weight. Roger Troy Wilson has taken his success with weight loss and developed an eating plan that allows you to eat as many calories and carbs as you want and still lose weight. Roger Troy Wilson first describes his many attempts and failures at weight loss before he found something that actually worked. It all started with frozen grapes. In this book he effectively explains how and why his plan works. There is also a 14 day meal guide with recipes to get you started.

I was not sure this book would be very helpful, but decided to get it and see what the author had to say. I was pleasantly surprised. I have never had a weight problem, but my husband is trying to lose a few pounds. When the book came in the mail he actually read it first. By the time I had finished it he was waiting to get started. Knowing the biggest obstacle he struggles with on a diet is always being hungry, I am looking forward to using this plan since he will be able to eat until he is full. The idea is simple and easy to follow. The recipes he has tried so far have not tasted like "diet" food. I am excited to see how well this works for him. I will certainly recommend this book to others.

I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of the Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Lord's Prayer

The Lord's Prayer, by R.T. Kendall, is an excellent book. Dr. Kendall has taken this most well-known prayer and broken it down line by line in order for the reader to better understand what the Lord is teaching. Not only do we need to pray the actual prayer, but we need to use the Lord's prayer as a model. Dr. Kendall uses Scripture to support all that he writes, and has obviously spent many hours searching the Scripture for understanding. By helping us understand this prayer, the reader is encouraged to have a deeper prayer life and walk with God.

This is a book that I highly recommend. It is well-written and easy to understand. There is a lot of information to be grasped, so it should be read more than once. I will definitely be reading it again.

I received a free copy of this book from Chosen Books in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Flight to Heaven

What an amazing story! Flight to Heaven by Capt. Dale Black is a book that is hard to put down. Capt. Black recounts the events surrounding a plane crash that took the lives of two men and nearly took his life as well. He shares how God mercifully spared his life and miraculously healed his body. More importantly, Capt. Black describes how this event in his life changed how he views others as well as the circumstances in his life. The fragility of life took on a whole new meaning for him as he realized the importance of sharing the life-changing gospel of Christ to everyone he meets.

I was skeptical as I started reading this book, but I soon found that only two chapters were devoted to Capt. Black's description of heaven. The majority of the book was spent on describing the long journey of spiritual as well as physical healing the author experienced. While I don't believe that God allows individuals to "visit" heaven I still highly recommend this book. You will be encouraged and exhorted in your faith.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Love is a Flame

Love is a Flame was such an encouraging book to read. James Stuart Bell compiled a group of marriage stories to encourage and inspire. The book contains stories about couples who were recently married to stories about couples who have been married for years. The issues in these stories affected couples who are in full-time Christain service, couples who are self-employed, and couples who work in the regular job force.

These stories covered topics such as pornography, unexpected illness, death of a child, adultery, discontent, and well as many other issues that can plague a marriage. In some of the stories the issues were with the husband and in others it was the wife that struggled. In spite of the seeming hopelessness of each situation each couple realized the value of their marriage and worked to resolve their issues using God's word, recognizing the power of prayer, and seeking human counsel and help when needed.

I appreciate the openness with which each story was told. I'm sure it was not always easy for each couple to write their personal struggles for everyone to read. Even if the reader is not struggling with any of these issues right now it is encouraging to know that when these storms of life come there is hope. We can emerge from these struggles with a greater love for our spouse and our God who carried us through.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for review purposes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

No More Christian Nice Girl

What a refreshing change from the last book (Captivating) I read for review. No More Christian Nice Girl by Paul Coughlin and Jennifer D. Degler tackles the problem with just being "nice." Not only do they show why just being nice is wrong, but they teach us how to change. They do that by using many Biblical examples.

The emphasis of the book is placed on the fact that Jesus was not always nice. He did not always tell people what they wanted to hear; he told them what they needed to hear. He did things that made other people angry, and he even showed anger himself. The authors call him the "360-degree Jesus." Since, as Christians, we want to be more like Christ, we can't just pick and choose the aspects that we like or feel comfortable with. We need to emulate all of Christ, the "360-degree Jesus."

This book also uses the phrase "speaking the truth in love." The authors remind us that in every situation we have to speak the truth even if it is not what people want to hear. But, not only do we speak the truth, we must speak in love. We are also reminded that there are times when the wisest response is to say nothing at all.

I loved the fact that Scripture is abundantly used throughout the book. At the end of each chapter there are questions as well as Scripture passages to study. Real life examples and other modern examples are used, but God's Word is the foundation for all that is written. I enjoyed reading this book, and was given a lot to think about. Although I don't necessarily agree with all that the authors said, I believe there are truths to be gleaned from reading No More Christian Nice Girl. I do recommend this book to others. Just remember God's Word is the final authority, and this book is written by humans. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and give you discernment as you read this book or any other book.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for review purposes.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I was very excited to receive a copy of the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. The title and subject really drew my attention, and I was very interested in what the Eldredges had to say. My excitement soon turned to dismay as I read. In order to keep this a review and not another book I will not go into great detail the problems I had with the book. There were some good aspects which I will list first, and then I will briefly describe some of the problems.

Before I even started reading I liked the idea of both John and Stasi authoring the book. I thought it would be very beneficial to get a man and womans point of view. A lot of times I just didn't know who was writing so that got a little confusing. They made several interesting observations about Scripture that I had never thought about and thus made me search those Scriptures to see for myself. For example, on pages 48 and 49 they are describing the scene in the Garden of Eden where Eve is being tempted by the serpent. On page 49 they write, "Now, to be fair, Adam doesn't exactly ride to her rescue." Definitely food for thought.

I appreciated the fact that Stasi was willing to open her heart and share a lot from her personal life. I'm sure it took a lot of courage to actually write her struggles, fears, and past sins in a book for all to read. I could tell she has a genuine concern for women and wants to do all she can to help.

The best part of the book was found on page 126. I believe this is precisely what the authors are trying to help us understand is the heart of the issue. They write, "Jesus says the first and greatest commandment is 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind' (Matt. 22:37)... It is from hearts filled with love for him that all good works and acts of love flow." I believe the authors are trying to help us understand that for a woman to be truly captivating and beautiful she will love God with all that she is. I absolutely agree, but this brings me to the problems I have with the book.

Instead of introducing this passage of Scripture and taking us to an understanding of how that looks for a woman today, they start the book by generalizing how all women think or what they want. Little girl dreams of princesses and fairy tales, dress-up clothes, and tea parties are expounded upon. Too many movies are quoted. (I have never even seen half of the movies they mentioned.) The first part of the book seemed totally unnecessary. Why do I need to be reminded of how I felt or acted as a child. All of that is right and good in its proper place, but how do princesses and tea parties help me to love God with all that I am?

The biggest issues I have with this book are over God's Word. I had hardly starting reading when on page 6 Stasi criticizes the Proverbs 31 woman! Then on page 45 Stasi (I think) writes, "Eve was given to the world as the incarnation of a beautiful, captivating God-a life offering, life-saving lover, a relational specialist, full of tender mercy and hope." WHAT?!?!?!? The incarnation? Someone please tell me I read that wrong! Song of Solomon was quoted occasionally and there again liberties were taken that I do not believe were accurate. On page 197 the author again writes, "Ladies, you are the Bride of Christ." Now I understand that this is a book written to women so the author could have just been using the word ladies, because as Christian ladies we are part of the church. However, since there are other theological issues with this book I'm not quite sure how to read that statement. Then on paage 220 the author again writes, "He [Jesus] is captivated by your beauty." I'm sorry, but I can't agree with that statement either. There is a lot I could say just on these few quotes, but this is a review not another book. These quotes are just a few examples of why I have problems with this book.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this book to anyone. There are too many theological issues. If you do choose to read it, be very careful. The authors make there ideas sound very good and Biblical. That is the problem! They are THEIR ideas! Have a copy of the Bible beside you if you do read Captivating and compare what you are reading with what God's Word says. You will find that Captivating does not line up with the Scriptures. Follow God's Word (not me or the author of any book) and you will find the truth.

I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson publishers for review purposes.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Somewhere to Belong

Somewhere to Belong by Judith Miller is a great read. This is a book about two young girls with completely different backgrounds. Life in the Amana colonies is all Johanna has ever known. Life changes completely for Berta when her parents decide to move to Amana. Each girl has secrets to uncover, as well as secret desires to fulfill. I enjoyed the way the book is written from each girls' standpoint. The author alternates between Johanna and Berta to allow them to each tell their own story. Even though there was deception and disobedience throughout the book, the consequences of these actions were clearly presented.

I had never heard of the Amana colonies previously, and I expected the colonies to be much like the Amish. This was not the case. The author did a great job helping the reader understand what life in the Amana colonies was like. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for sending me a free copy of this book to preview.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sixteen Brides

I don't know where to start with this review of Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson. I guess I will start with the title. The title scared me at first. How in the world was I going to keep up with sixteen different people in one book? Thankfully, the "brides" were narrowed down to only 6 that I had to keep straight. I am a mother to three young children, so several days might go by without picking up a book. This made it challenging to keep up with even just 6 women. The "brides" were taken to Nebraska on the pretense of homesteading. When they discovered they had been deceived and were intended to be brides, several of them decided to go no farther. They chose to homestead as they originally intended. I enjoyed the story line, but I think it was a bit too much for one book. I found myself having to reread in order to keep everything straight. When I read a book I want to be able to remember and follow the story line even if it is a couple of days since I last picked up the book. I appreciate the fact that God's provision, watch care, and forgiveness is evident throughout the book. The ending seemed rather abrupt to me. The women had just finished setting up their homestead and now most of them are going to get married. I don't know how it could or should have ended. There were just too many loose ends to tie up. I felt like I was left hanging. All in all I'm really not sure about this book. It was an interesting read but awfully confusing.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for sending me a free copy of this book to preview.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hearts Awakening

It has been awhile since I have read anything by Delia Parr, so I was looking forward to reading the book Hearts Awakening. I was not disappointed! A young woman becomes housekeeper for a man and his two young sons, and is presented with a marriage proposal after only a couple of days. Scandal surrounds this man, Jackson, and Ellie has no hope of another proposal. Her age and looks have determined her status, so Ellie accepts his proposal. Life is not easy for Ellie, but her faith in God's Word and His promises guide her steps and decisions. Her faithfulness is rewarded when Jackson surrenders his life to Christ, and offers Ellie his heart. This is a story full of laughter, tears, anger, and love. It will challenge and inspire the reader. I will be happy to recommend this book to others. Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for sending me a free copy of this book to preview. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

She Walks in Beauty

I finished the book, She Walks in Beauty, by Siri Mitchell. I have never read anything by this author before and enjoyed reading her book. This book is about a young girl preparing to enter society with the intention of finding a husband. The husband she is to find has already been determined by her aunt and father, and she is to win him at all costs. At first I thought the book seemed a bit overdone, but as I continued to read I decided that I just didn't realize what all went into preparing a girl to debut. However, I still think that some things could have been told with fewer words. There was just the right amount of humor scattered throughout the book that added to the enjoyment. The plot was simple and allowed me to read without having to think. Having said all that I am also very disappointed in this book. A christian author publishing through a christian publisher has such a huge opportunity as well as a responsibility to present the gospel or a christian theme very clearly. Although the main character questions her worth to God the idea was not developed or resolved using God' Word. In fact, on page 340 the author writes, "In fact, I now suspected, her entire theology had been taken from the hymnal." Now I am not against good hymns, and I know that they can be a blessing and an encouragement, but why would the author throw away such a perfect opportunity to present God's Word the Bible as the ultimate authority for our "entire theology?"

I do want to thank Bethany House Publishers for sending me a free copy of this book to preview. I did enjoy reading it.