Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Tag Archives: Christian

Hello my friends! This summer has been flying by here in my house. I and the littles have gone on several fun adventures. I need to sit down at some point and share those with you all. All of the extra fun the last several weeks have decreased my time for reading. This is for a good cause of course, making memories with my littles.

None the less, I did finish the second book in the Amish of Summer Grove series. And what a great book it is! Here is my review.

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Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall

This is the second book in Woodsmall’s Amish of Summer Grove series. This book continues with Skylar and Ariana’s switched at birth story. Skylar a typical college student in the English world with a drug addiction finds herself in an Amish family that she doesn’t want or need. Ariana an Old Order Amish girl who loves her Amish life and has plans to marry Rudy is now forced to live in a world that goes against her morals. Both girls count down the days of returning to their old loves while struggling to get through each day. God is working in both their lives and in the end, they must choose which home is truly home.

This book is superbly written. It examines the pressures both girls face living in different worlds. Woodsmall does a wonderful job bouncing back and forth between the Amish and Englisch worlds. This seamless transition makes the story a quick and enjoyable read. Each girl has different struggles and I enjoyed reading the perspectives of each one as they adjusted to their lives.

This book not only looks at the differences between the two worlds, but it also briefly looks at drug dependence. Skylar  is a drug addict and she is determined to get her drugs to help her feel better. It does talk about the feeling she gets when she uses. The character’s in the book have tremendous strength when confronting her about her addiction. To quote the book, “Decide that you, your family, your future are worth more than these stupid pills!”

This book is a Christian novel and it does a wonderful job weaving scripture and Christian themes into the book. Not only does it focus on the Amish viewpoint, but it also points out how others view Christianity. Through Nicholas we see debates and conversation on how Christians can be viewed. This is a good way to help us as the readers begin to evaluate how we could answer some of these very same questions.

I try to provide some cons to books. Its hard with this book to find something. Woodsmall’s talent and experience in writing is evident. The one thing, I think I would change is when Skylar saw her parents again after 3 months living with the Amish. I feel like this was rushed maybe or just didn’t go as I pictured. There was a lot of hurt from Skylar and although she stated it and the parents acknowledged it, it just seemed rushed. I don’t know. Just something about it didn’t seem 100% right. It was still quite good though.

Overall, this was a solid Christian book taking the atypical story one more step further. I look forward to reading book 3! Book 3 is now available for pre -order.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish stories and Christian novels. There is mention of drug use and addiction so I would recommend this book for 17 and older and/or with caution in younger ages.

Disclaimer: I did receive a copy of this book from the publisher for free in anticipation for the Book 3 launch.

What are you reading now? I’d love to hear about it. If you have a recent book you’d like to recommend, leave a link to your review in the comments.

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It feels so great to be able to relax with a good book and to not have upcoming exams or assignments due. I can certainly get use to this! We took a road trip this weekend and I was able to read a whole book in less than two days. It was GLORIOUS!

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With you always by Jody Hedlund

Set in the 1850’s Hedlund tells the story of Elise Neuman and her sisters and Thorton Quincy. Elise Neuman and her sisters parents have died and are desperate for food and shelter. As a last resort Elise leaves her sisters in New York City and goes West to Illinois for work. Her goal is to send enough to New York to provide for her siblings and hopefully bring them to her. Thorton Quincy is a wealthy businessman’s son. He was given a challenge by his father in order to inherit the company. Desperate to gain his father’s approval and come out from under his brother’s shadow he begins the construction of an Illinois community.

This is a charming love story of two people from completely different worlds who find they have more in common than not. Hedlund provides just enough romance, heartache, and challenges to capture her audience. It is evident she researched this era and the backdrop of her story. I like the added information at the end of the book which provides additional information on the orphan trains. Her characters have depth and growth throughout the story. I enjoyed the depth she added to her secondary characters.

This book is a Christian novel. However, it is not filled with consistent Christian quotes or scriptures. There is mention of thanking God and general references to God. This is heavier toward the end, but not overwhelming. The book does clearly follow Christian themes such as kindness, charity, honesty, etc.

I look forward to additional Orphan Train stories.

I would recommend this book to those who enjoy historical romances and/or novels and Christian novels. I would recommend it to a young adult. The book does reference prostitution but only as a backdrop to the story. There is one instance of post attack, but no actual details were provided.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends.

I did receive this book from the publisher as part of the blogging for books program in exchange for an honest review.


All my life I’ve had stains on my teeth. These stains were the point of many cruel comments both when I was a teenager and as an adult. Even though many people were curious or trying to be kind by suggesting ways to fix my teeth, it still hurt. I’ve had doctors examine my teeth like I was an animal up for auction. Sadly I’m not exaggerating. I’ve learn to be self-conscious of the stains.

I’ve always assumed the stains were the first and only thing people saw. I was careful to not show my teeth in pictures. I dreaded meeting new people. Every job interview had the normal nervousness but also had the an extra nervousness. I worried that people judged me when they saw my teeth. I assumed people thought I was uneducated. I was certain people judged me my by teeth.

I’d been thinking about stain removal for several years. I’d looked into so many options. I finally found one that would help the stains and maintain the tooth structure which was very important to me. I struggled emotionally with this decision. I wondered what I would be telling my kids if I did the procedure. Would it seem like I was being vain? And, two months ago, I had the procedure done. I was so excited with my results. I was certain everyone I knew would notice.

Now, two months out, no one’s commented. I’ll admit,  I was disappointed. This had been such a big decision for me. I spent years and many hours debating the pros and cons to stain removal. I realized tonight there was two possible reasons for this 1) I have really polite friends or 2) people really didn’t care as much as I cared about the stains. Don’t get me wrong, I do have wonderful and polite friends. However, I honestly believe, I cared about my stains more than anyone else.

I believe I was more self-conscious about my stains then anyone cared about it. Getting my stains removed was the right thing for me. I’m more confident and feel better about my smile with the stains gone. I wish someone told me or I realized before for my own emotional security  I was more obsessed about it than others. I don’t think knowing would’ve changed my mind about getting the treatment, but it would have helped me emotionally all those years.

I’m telling you, whatever your self-conscious about, people are not noticing nearly as often as you think. There may be people who notice and comment. But honestly, no one cares as much as you do. May that give you peace and may it help you to worry a little less about your imperfections. Please know you don’t have to fix the problem, you just need to accept that simple truth. It is hard, but its true. Embrace the insecurity and your self-consciousness. But remember, to not use the world as your definition of beauty or self-worth. Place your self-worth in the One who  placed the stars in the sky.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

 


Book Review: Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman

Merry has become an enemy of the throne due to her father’s failed assassination attempt. Merry is skilled and bold and has taken on the task of caring for the village orphans. As with the classic Robin Hood tale, the group have been given a name: “the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest”.

Personally I love the Robin Hood story and was excited and nervous all at once to read a female version of my beloved story. I must say I was not disappointed!This was my first book from Sleiman. I found this one to be well-written and a quick read. The main character was a delightful woman who is capable and intelligent. I enjoyed reading a strong female character who was equally compassionate.

I truly enjoyed this novel. I recommend this book to any young adult who enjoy historical novels.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookends.

I did receive this book from Bethany House Publishers as part of the blogging for books.


Book Review: Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan

This is the second book in the Canadian West book series by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan. Beth Thatcher has returned home from teaching in the Canadian West. Although she is ready to rest and relax her family has planned a lengthy trip. While on her trip, Beth discovers one of her family members trusted the wrong person.

As with the first book in the series, I truly enjoyed this book. This book is a wonderful follow-up story. This book did not take place in coal valley. I enjoyed reading about the different ports and the experience of cruising. I also enjoyed the love story between Beth and Jarrick.

This was a great read. I truly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical novels.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends.

I did receive this book for an honest review from Baker Publishing Group for the blogging for books program.


Wow! It’s been a whirl wind around here! Spring time tends to pick-up for us. We’ve got kids activities and my training for a half-marathon. That paired with increased sunlight, we start spending a lot more time outside and less time sitting at home.With all of this extra activity, I get less time to read and less time to blog.

Tonight, I plan to get caught up on a few blog entrees, please excuse the multiple posts.

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Blessings for the morning by Susie Larson

Susan Larson is a popular radio show host whose Biblical teaching helps strengthen people faith. I was very excited to get this book as I love listening to her radio show. This book is filled with quick blessings/devotions paired with a Bible verse. I found this book up lifting and points the day in the right direction. The words are soothing. Its good to keep in these are short passages that help focuses your day but it’s not a full devotional.

I found this book uplifting and enjoyable.

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

I received this book from the Baker Publishing Group for an honest review


I’m chipping away on my backlog of books! My life will get a bit more complicated in a couple of months, so I must finish my reading list soon! But, how does one finish a reading list when it keeps getting longer! I seriously think I have a problem. 😉

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Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

Anna O’brien is one of the few female librarians working at the Library of Congress. she leads a quiet life and has no desire to change. She grew-up an orphan and was raised by her aunt. Due to a childhood injury her voice is unique. Luke is a congressman with career intertwined with scandal. The two begin working together to solve the mystery of the Culpepper.

I really enjoyed the book. The characters are beautifully flawed which gives them depth and makes them more realistic. Luke’s love for his family despite their flaws is refreshing. Anna’s determination to solve the mystery of her father’s ship is commendable. The main underlining themes in this book are the following: forgiveness, friendship, and determination. Christian themes of God’s love and forgiveness is also an ongoing theme.

This historical novel was quite enjoyable filled with lovable characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian or historical novels. The book would be appropriate for anyone in highschool up.

On a scale of 1-5 bookends, I give this book a 4.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishing for an honest review.