Saturday, October 25, 2014
A young woman who sacrificed her dreams.
How will the God of grace and hope help them find their way?
At nineteen years old, Old Order Amish Jolene Keim was on the brink of happily-ever-after when everything changed, stealing the future she expected and burdening her with an unbearable decision. For the next ten years, Jolene throws herself into family life—and then she meets Andy Fisher. The horse trainer and father to a sweet nine year-old challenges her and holds up a mirror to issues Jolene has been unwilling to face.
Andy is cautious about his deepening friendship with Jolene, but he believes she knows the truth about him – that he is a grass widower. As a man whose wife has abandoned him six years past, he is unable to divorce or remarry according to the Amish ways. Andy has wrestled with God concerning his reality, and he had found peace with the solitary future facing him…until he met Jolene.
As Andy and Jolene find themselves confronted by difficult choices, will they trust in God's guidance—or will the allure of their deepening friendship only lead to further temptation?
An exceptional novel of love that must be denied. But what do you do, when everything you do to put distance between yourself and the one you love but can't have, fails to remove the longing from your heart?
Cindy has written so many of my favorite "Amish" fiction books. Her characters are flawed but lovable and her descriptions are lush and vivid.
I love that Cindy brings her characters from one book to another - sometimes as a minor plot line and sometimes just as a name dropped in passing - each book feels like a little bit of home.
You can click here for more information about the book.
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."
Friday, October 24, 2014
When illness completely stole Travis Freeman’s sight at 12 years old, his dream of playing football felt dead. However, the unshakable kid found a way to overcome the impossible and not only play football, but become a champion.
A severe migraine attacked Travis after he’d returned from a week at summer camp. Multiple visits to doctors in different cities yielded no diagnosis. Not until an eye doctor saw something that sent Travis to the hospital clinging to his life. The undiagnosed condition was Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis, an infection attacking his ocular nerve. Doctors saved his life, but not his sight.
Doctors warned that he would go through a period of depression, but Travis never did. Instead this determined young man attacked learning to live in a sighted world with inspiring ferocity. “God let this happen to me for a reason,” Travis said.
Opting to stay at his school instead of attending the Kentucky School for the Blind, Travis was surrounded by a support system that had known him most of his life. That included the junior high football coach who found a spot on the team for Travis, not as a manager or water boy, but as a player. That year, with Travis playing Center, his team won the championship. Travis continued to play football all through high school, astonishing other teams and officials across the state.
Write with heart warming openness and honesty, Travis gives us an inside look at what happens with the unthinkable happens.
As the mother of a child who had medical conditions that drew us from hospital to hospital and doctor to doctor for eight years, I felt for this family who was hit out of the blue with this incident.Our son was diagnosed at 3 and was healed by the time he was 11 but in those eight years I marveled at the resiliency of a child to accept and move forward. And that is what Travis has done.
As mentioned in the book synopsis, Travis did not go through depression - but what it doesn't mention is the humor Travis met his blindness with. There were more than a few antidotes in the book that had me laughing out loud.
I was truly inspired by this young man's acceptance and even embracing of his blindness.
If you only pick up one non-fiction book this year - this should be it. The book is highly recommended and I can't wait to see the movie it inspired!
My copy of this book was generously provided by Glass Road Media.
Saturday, October 11, 2014
She left, heavily weighted with secrets.
But God reveals all things, in His timing.
And He redeems them.
Suzanne Zimmerman was only seventeen and pregnant when her shamed mother quietly sent her away from their Old Order Mennonite community in Kansas. With her old home, family, and first love firmly behind her, Suzanne moved to Indiana, became a nurse, and raised a daughter, Alexa, on her own.
Now, nearly twenty years later, an unexpected letter arrives from Kansas. Her brother asks her to bring her nursing abilities home and care for their ailing mother. His request requires that Suzanne face a family that may not have forgiven her and a strict faith community. It also means seeing Paul Aldrich, her first love.
Paul, widowed with an eight-year-old son, is relieved to see Suzanne again, giving him the chance to beg her forgiveness for his past indiscretion. But when he meets Alexa, his guilt flickers in the glare of Suzanne’s prolonged secret—one that changes everything.
Suzanne had let go of any expectation for forgiveness long ago. Does she dare hope in mercy–and how will her uncovered past affect the people she loves the most?
What do you do when you make a mistake that takes you away from your family and then you make a choice that means you can't go back again?
Suzanne Zimmerman was to give up her baby for adoption and then come back home - but she stays in Indiana and raises her daughter. Until the fateful day that a letter comes from her brother asking her to come home to take care of their mother, who has become paralyzed in an accident.
But what will happen when Suzanne shows up with a daughter but no husband? Can she break through her mother's bitterness? Can she face the man who fathered her child? And what about the secret that she's tried desperately to hide?
Such a wonderful story of redemption and reconciliation - and with a surprise twist at the end!
For more information on this book click here
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime
Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories,
filled with the wonder of Christmas
Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.
In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.
Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?
In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.
The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future?
I absolutely loved these three stories. While each story focused on a different member of the Turner family, they were all tied to get because they were from the same family. Each story had the same theme of the love that a family has for each other and the way they are open to helping and learning to love others.
We first meet Abigail, who is trying to help Jackson solve a problem that she doesn't really know about. It's a legal issue and her father is an attorney. Of course they can't discuss the problem which makes it even more touching how Abigail was so willing to help when she didn't even know what was going on.
Next we meet Pete. He also wants to help. But, as it turns out, the little girl he wants to help is the daughter of one of the last women on earth who would be willing at accept his help. Can he break through her old memories and make her see that he is a different person now?
And finally we meet Merry. Well, actually now she is going by her given name of Meredith - because she doesn't think she has reason to be Merry any more. Her heart was broken - but are things really what she thought they were? Did David leave her for the reason she assumes or was there something else that drew him away?
Loved the epilogue at the end because I really didn't want the stories to end. All the characters were likeable and each was in a totally believable situation.
If you are like me and like to read Christmas stories in the weeks and months leading up to the holiday be sure to pick up a copy of this book.
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."
Saturday, September 20, 2014
On the other side of heartbreak, a story of hope rises.
On an ordinary September day, twelve-year-old Jack is swept away in a freak neighborhood flood. His parents and younger sister are left to wrestle with the awful questions: How could God let this happen? And, Can we ever be happy again? They each fall into the abyss of grief in different ways. And in the days and months to come, they each find their faltering way toward peace.
In Rare Bird, Anna Whiston-Donaldson unfolds a mother’s story of loss that leads, in time, to enduring hope. “Anna’s storytelling,” says Glennon Doyle Melton, “is raw and real and intense and funny.”
With this unforgettable account of a family’s love and longing, Anna will draw you deeper into a divine goodness that keeps us—beyond all earthly circumstances—safe.
This is a book about facing impossible circumstances and wanting to turn back the clock. It is about the flicker of hope in realizing that in times of heartbreak, God is closer than your own skin. It is about discovering that you’re braver than you think.
I have to admit when I first looked at this book I thought "I don't want to read this - too sad." There's so much sadness in the world right now that I just didn't want to give myself anymore reason to feel down. But the opportunity kept presenting itself so I figured God meant me to read it.
And it was sad. How can a book about a child dying not be sad? But it was real, it was raw and it was important to read. Anna opened herself to us and laid herself bare. Haven't every one of us as mothers second guessed a decision? Haven't we all played the "what if" game?
Jack was a fun loving - but not perfect child. Anna shared his idiosyncrasies with us. There were things even Jack questioned about his personality. But in the end, he was a good brother, son and friend and he was tragically lost.
Anna's struggle to make sense of it all and to keep her faith in the midst of it all is a story that needs to be read.
Don't miss this one.
My copy was graciously provided by Blogging for Books.
Friday, September 12, 2014
National pie champion, mom, homemaker, and self-proclaimed redneck, Francine Bryson won the hearts of bakers everywhere when she appeared on CBS’s The American Baking Competition and went on to become a finalist on the show. Known for her down-home Southern charm and sass (and for successfully pairing chocolate and peanut butter with bacon), Francine now shares her sought-after recipes and tips in her very first baking book.
I am one of the many whose heart was won by this wonderfully genuine lady. I loved watching Francine compete on The American Baking Competition and was thrilled when this cookbook was released.
And I simply love this book. From the delicious recipes to the stories behind the recipes to the beautifully decorated pages of the book.
Chock full of recipes to satisfy any sweet tooth it's hard to decide which one to make first. Many of these recipes will seem familiar but Francine has added some wonderful twists to the familiar recipes and made them brand new.
Highly recommended. Don't miss this one.
More wonderful information can be found here.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.
Monday, September 1, 2014
Fourteen-year-old Daniel Kelly is special. Despite his upbringing in working-class Melbourne, he knows that his astonishing ability in the swimming pool has the potential to transform his life, silence the rich boys at the private school to which he has won a sports scholarship, and take him far beyond his neighborhood, possibly to international stardom and an Olympic medal. Everything Danny has ever done, every sacrifice his family has ever made, has been in pursuit of this dream. But what happens when the talent that makes you special fails you? When the goal that you’ve been pursuing for as long as you can remember ends in humiliation and loss?
Twenty years later, Dan is in Scotland, terrified to tell his partner about his past, afraid that revealing what he has done will make him unlovable. When he is called upon to return home to his family, the moment of violence in the wake of his defeat that changed his life forever comes back to him in terrifying detail, and he struggles to believe that he’ll be able to make amends. Haunted by shame, Dan relives the intervening years he spent in prison, where the optimism of his childhood was completely foreign.
Tender, savage, and blazingly brilliant, Barracuda is a novel about dreams and disillusionment, friendship and family, class, identity, and the cost of success. As Daniel loses everything, he learns what it means to be a good person—and what it takes to become one.
This is not my normal style book - but something about the reviews I read made me want to give it a try.
The language is horrendous. The sex is crass, vulgar and frankly there was at least one part that made my skin crawl.
But, if you look past that, the book was wonderful. It was not a page turner - and I can't pin point the exact place in the book where the author "had me" but he did. It was compelling and well written and it made me want to pick up another of Mr. Tsiolkas' books.
Dan was a perfect example of a young, talented child who dreamed of a future using his gift - until the gift failed him.His family was a perfect mixture - the mother who would sacrifice anything for her son, the father who was a bit wary of where this was all leading, the younger brother who idolized him and the younger sister who felt left out and alone.
Then there were the friends - Demet, who he grew up with but left behind when he went to school on a scholarship, Luke, the younger student who adores him and would do anything for him, and the other members of the swim team - but were they his friends? And of course the coach who was sure he had finally found his Olympian. Will he let them down - or will they let him down?
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book - just remember, there's lots of bad language and quite a bit of sex.
You can go here for more information.
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."