Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Category Archives: Books

First off, sorry for the two posts in one day. Or, maybe I’m not….I dunno. I guess, I’m sorry if it seems like too many posts for you and not if you enjoy hearing from me twice in one day…And this could be an irrelevant start to my post if you are reading this after the initial day…(insert awkward silence)…..

Ok, then! Moving right along. I finished this book actually a couple of weeks ago. I was very lucky to get chosen to be part of the launch team and did get a pre-release copy of the book. With that, I wanted to wait until closer to the release date to actually write my review. But, y’all! This was such a great read! I had a really hard time waiting to tell you guys about it. It is released in 1 month! Or August 21st. This is one of those books, that you’ll want to put on your must-read list.

Without Further Ado, here is my review.

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As the Tide Comes in by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall

Tara Abbot was raised in the foster care system and as an adult took on the responsibility of raising her half-brothers. When the unthinkable happens, she decides to go North Carolina. More specifically, St. Simons Island. She finds herself confused and scared and in the care of women who identify themselves as the Glynn Girls and a determined firefighter.

First off, make sure you have lots of tissues handy. This book brings the onions like no other I’ve read in a long time. It reached down and not only touched my heart but pulled and pulled until I walked away feeling as emotionally tugged on, exhausted, and thrilled as the characters in the story.

Woodsmall once again delivered an amazing story. I tend to read a lot of historical novels and novels with similar story lines. This was a refreshing change. This one takes a completely different approach and adds whole lot of heart to the story. The characters are rich and well-developed. They have some quirkiness which helps them seem more real, odd but real.

It’s nothing short of a work of art. Buy it. Read it. Thank me after you’ve let the tears (sorrowful and happy) flow. You won’t regret it.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends. I recommend this book for young adults or adults who love contemporary fiction and heartfelt stories that tug (and pull) on those heartstrings.

I did receive this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publisher as part of the launch team in exchange for an honest review.

What are you reading? I’d love to hear from you.

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We just got back from a busy vacation to Chicago. I really love family vacations. I love it from beginning to end, the packing up the car to unloading it, the early mornings to late evenings, and the are we there yet moments to the finally we’ve arrived moments. I also love that it gives me time to read a book. It never fails, I’m either up before everyone because my internal alarm clock doesn’t quit or I’m up after the kids have fallen soundly asleep. This really shouldn’t surprise me. I’m almost always awake stirring around a quiet house. The nice thing about vacation is, I’m up stirring but I don’t have any charts to work on. And that’s a HUGE blessing.

So while in Chicago, I read Jane of Austin it was a wonderful escape. Here’s my review.

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Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge

The Woodward sisters find themselves out of a home and their teas salon without a roof. This paired with their ever-looming father’s reputation, the girls must look for a new home and a new store front. In order to escape their father’s poor choices, they move from California to Austin, Texas to live with their cousin Ian. There they meet extended family, a Texas charmer, and a retired Marine captain.

This book has it all! It has a fantastic story backdrop of starting over and rebuilding lives in an unknown city. It artfully mixes in relationships both family and love interests. Toss in some love of baking and tea and you have a best selling, (quite) unique book.

At its core, is a theme of love, family and hard work. Despite the unfair circumstances, these girls learn the ongoing importance of family and honesty. They also learn a lesson on caution and not everyone is who they seem. Hard work is always there, whether its learning about a new-found disability, running a business, or working at relationships; it takes hard work.

What I love about this story is the uniqueness it brings to the Austin favorite. At the end of many chapters, the author has added recipes. Being a self-acclaimed baker and chef, I loved ready through and making note of which ones I would be going back to try. I also loved the added tea bits. There’s not a lot of this, so don’t worry it doesn’t take over the story. But it’s sprinkled in nicely.

This modern day spin on the classic Sense and Sensibility is well-written and certain to delight. The wit and charm will pull-you in and keep you reading.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends. I would recommend it to anyone who loved Jane Austin, contemporary novels, stories of starting over, or light romance. This book would be appropriate for young adults and older teens.

What are you reading now? Leave a comment and let me know what you’re reading and if you are enjoying it! I love to hear from you.


God of Tomorrow by Caleb Kaltenbach

It doesn’t happen very often when you read a book at just the right time. For me, this book was it. I read one chapter of this book at a time because I wanted to absorb the information. It addresses the issues of today by focusing us on the Bible and providing Bible passages to help guide us.  He helps us find hope today and tomorrow. Culture today is very polarized and it can seem hopeless. However, Kaltenbach reminds us God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is consistent. And many of the issues today were issue in Biblical times. In realizing this, the Bible can be a great resource when we are feeling worried and stressed today.

I found this book to be a fantastic read and incredibly timely in its release.

I give this book a 5 out 5 bookends.

I did receive a free copy of this book from the publishers for an honest review.


My first book finished in 2018! If you’ve been following my blog, you know one of my goals is to read/finish at least 1 book a month. I’ve also started my second book for the year.

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The Proving by Beverly Lewis

Amanda Dienner has run away from her Amish roots and living in the Englisher world. She was surprised when she found out her mother had died and she will inherit the Amish bed and breakfast. The one caveat is she must successfully run the bed and breakfast for 1 year. Trina has been mourning the loss of her fiance. She found comfort in caring for an elderly woman. When the elderly woman fell and was unable to return home, Trina found herself out of job. With time on her hands, she decided to go on a mystery vacation which landed her in an Amish bed and breakfast.

Lewis is a gifted story teller and this book is no exception. Her characters have colorful and varied. The story focuses around Amanda and Trina. Their unlikely friendship helps guide both woman to healing. Trina is a bit rough around the edges sometimes as she tends to say what she’s thinking. But she has a helping heart and helps Amanda not only with her physical needs but also with emotional needs to help heal. Amanda is kind and hardworking but is impulsive and tends to hold a grudge.  Lewis uses her story telling skills to help us gently see potential flaws and ways to improve on them.

Sense this is an Amish book, one should expect references to church, God and praying. This book does a good job intertwining the story with Christian activities. The book also has several Christian themes. These include the importance of family, trusting God, and forgiveness.

Overall, I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends.

Disclaimer: I did receive this book for free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read this book? If so I’d love to hear what you thought of it. What are you currently reading? Share your reviews as a comment and maybe I can find my next book!


If you’re a following of my blog, you may remember prior to graduate school I was part of a book club at my church. We read quite a variety of books. Some were light “free-reading” books and others were more serious books. I decided to return to the book club this year. Last month’s book was a nice light book. This month, we tackled a more serious book. Here is my review of this month’s selection.

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The IMAM’s Daughter: My Desperate Flight to Freedom by Hannah Shah

Shah tells her story of growing-up the daughter of a Muslim’s religious leader’s daughter. She tells her story of enduring her father’s physical, sexual, and mental abuse. She addresses the issues associated with the closeness of Muslim community. She decides to run-away at age 16 once she realizes she is being sent away to marry one of her cousins in Pakistan. After running away, Hannah converts to Christianity which forces her to live a life running away from her family who wishes to execute an “honor” killing.

Hannah’s story of her life is heartbreaking. Because of the closeness of the Muslim community, her tragic abuse which started at age 5, was never addressed by anyone. Its hard to believe that this occurs in today’s society. Its hard to believe its widespread. The abuse made parts of this book very difficult to read. However, Shah explains that many Muslim woman experience the arranged marriages and physical abuse. It breaks my heart knowing there are woman and children enduring this.

This book provides a firsthand telling of growing up Muslim in England. It sheds some light in how the family interacts with the non-Muslim world. I know its only 1 family and 1 person’s view, but it does provide some insight. It was eye-opening to realize that her family (especially her father) was polite to non-Muslims to their face but behind closed doors the hate was over-powering. The book provided insight on how Muslims learn about their religion. The memorizing of verses without any instruction on their meaning was the mainstay of her teaching. The dependence on those telling you what those passages mean is the mainstay of their teaching.

It also was surprising to read that abuse didn’t just happen at home. Shah’s Muslim instructors would beat her if she got an answer wrong. Her brother went to Pakistan to become a religious leader and was abused. Abuse was common place in Shah’s life.

The book does tell the story of her finding love, peace and Christianity. She was able to leave her family and abusive past. She found Christianity and converted. She found Hope and found a way to help other Muslims. This is a story of escaping a tragic past and finding hope. Despite the dark parts of the book, it ends uplifting and positive.

It is an easy read. I was able to finish it in just a few hours of dedicated reading time.  At times, I felt the book bounced around a bit. It is written conversationally. This is a style I like, but it also tends to allow for some bouncing around in the story.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Muslim to Christian conversion. I would caution that child abuse is discussed openly in this book. I would not recommend this for children or anyone under the age of 18 due to the topics discussed.

I would give this book a 4 out 5 bookends.


School started about 2 weeks ago. It has been a crazy last few days. My daughter is now in 4th and the homework workload has increased quite a bit from 3rd grade. My son is in 2nd so he’s also no beginning to see twice weekly homework. Luckily his homework is still really pretty easy and not too time consuming. At least not yet.

With all of that taken into consideration, I had planned on finishing this book sooner. I want to finish a book lent to me and then I need to read my book club book too. With all of that, I’ll be pretty busy the next few weeks trying to get everything done.

None the less, here is my book review on The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett

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Barnett tells the story of Margaret Lane and Chief Ranger Ford Brayden. It is set in 1927 with the National Parks Service. Margaret is from a wealthy political family whose dream come true is to spend some time in the National Parks. She is amazed by God’s artistry as she works as a naturalist. Ranger Brayden grew-up on the mountain. He is haunted by his father’s death and does not see the park in the poetic way Margaret does. The two work together to preserve the natural beauty of the park.

This book spoke to soul and I quickly connected to both Margaret and Ranger Brayden. Margaret’s appreciation of the beauty of nature paired with Ranger Brayden’s common sense and knowledge of the danger was a great combination. The author did a fabulous job of weaving the two points a view together to create a truly perfect picture of nature.

This book is a Christian novel. Margaret often refers to God’s handiwork and is confused by Brayden’s inability to see and/or acceptance of God’s work. She does pray to God and several of her conversations regarding nature does revolve around God.

The only negative to this book was there were some slower parts.

Overall, this is an excellent read. It connected with my soul and my desire to to be out in nature. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an historical novel of a slightly different sort. I would recommend it to young adults and adults.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

What are reading now? Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it? I’d love to hear form you.

 


I am very excited to have finished the last book in the Amish of Summer Grove series. It is a well-written fantastic story. To be honest, I want to get to my review quickly, so I won’t delay!

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Gathering the threads by Cindy Woodsmall

This is the third and final book of the series. Ariana has returned to the Old Order Amish that she grew-up and loving. She finds herself feeling confused and uncertain of where she belongs. Skylar is also found struggling a bit figuring out how she fits in with the Brenneman family.

This book ties the entire series together and pulls everything into a wonderful ending. Woodsmall’s characters continue to grow. I grew to love all of them. I loved where they ended and the path we took along the way.  The book is a coming age of sorts as both Skylar and Ariana must find thier path and define who they are.

This book is a Christian novel. There are multiple references to God. The story is so much more than a Christian Amish novel. It evaluates what it means to be a family and how to be true to yourself and honor God at the same time. There are many underlying Christian themes such as honesty, forgiveness, and love.

I honestly did not find anything negatives about this book. It was an absolute delite to read and a fitting conclusion to the series.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish or Christian novels. I also would recommend this to anyone who enjoys stories about family relationships. This book is an innocent story with no sexual contexts. There is the mention of past drug use and smoking. I would recommend this book to young adults.

On a scale of 1-5 book ends, I give this book a 5 out of 5.

Disclaimer: I did receive this book free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

If you’d like to pre-order this book, click HERE. You can also pre-order it from Amazon.

What are you reading? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to share a link to one of your recent book review.