Friday, March 20, 2015

The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall

            Amaryllis Brigham is a young woman who had difficult situations in her life as a young girl; situations she thought she understood, but she didn’t.   She is forced to leave the life she knows, and finds herself in the middle of Boston society.  She isn’t thrilled to be among the elite.  Nathan Everstone appears to be a rake, is he?  OR can he not be seen how he truly is because assumptions about him?
            I admit to getting a little confused in the first couple of chapters while all the characters were being introduced.  BOY!  Am I glad I hung in there!  
            Situations (and people) aren’t always what they appear to be, and that is a theme (to me) in this story.  Often we assume things because we can only see part of the situation, and this is one of Amaryllis’s problems she has to look through.
            This story has many twists and turns.  It is full of many characters that had me fooled!  I can’t wait to start the next book to see what happens! 
            READ THIS BOOK, you will be glad you did!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Paper Hearts by Courtney Walsh

Paper Hearts by Courtney Walsh

I am a creature of habit.  I find an author I like, and read every book the author has written.  If I don’t like a new author, I find it hard to even try to read one of their books again – EVER!  I’m loyal if you can win me over in the first book…I guess!
I have now found a new – to me – author who I will be reading their books as they come out! AND this makes me happy!
Paper Hearts is a story that frustrated me, and made me smile!  Abigail owns a much loved bookstore because that is what she has always done, she has plans for it, and she likes it.  Jacob is trying to escape his haunted past when he moves with his daughter to establish himself in this new town – with the help of Kelly, his business manager.
I loved how older women were a large part of this story.  They may have been seen as meddling and bossy, but they had the best of intentions.  I loved how both Abigail and Jacob came to respect these meddling older women.  I hated how Jacob wouldn’t stand up for himself in several situations.  (Don’t want to spoil the story.)   I really just wanted him to “Man UP!”  I really wanted Abigail to stick up for herself.  I felt conflicted about this situation. 
One of my favorite quotes from this book is, “But the very best love stories are the ones that are flawed and full of forgiveness and pain and joy and challenges and happiness.  All these things make up a love story.”  I just find this quote so true in today’s world as many couples can’t get past the struggles and remember what was/is important to their relationship.

All in all I loved this book.  When Courtney Walsh’s next book comes out, I will be reading it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

At Home in Last Chance

At Home in Last Chance
Cathleen Armstrong
I didn’t read the first two books in this series, which is way out of my comfort zone.  This is the story of two people, Kaitlyn and Steven, who find themselves in a place they don’t want to be.  Kaitlyn has made plenty of bad decisions with her life, and is trying to make better choices.  This is a true struggle for her.  Steven starts out trying to use his charms to get what – and who – he wants.    This book started out giving me angst because of all the dysfunction.  My angst shows that Armstrong did a great job developing her characters.  Unfortunately, I found myself somewhat uninterested in the rest of the story.  I really can’t pinpoint why.  I just didn’t feel a connection with the book.

How does time fly?

My dad is 90.  I am 47.  Please understand that I have always been and will always be a daddy's girl.  He loves me well.  When he needs something I am his helper and advocate.  Last week he needed to have a couple of ALL day medical treatments, so that took up about 2 days that I had scheduled as normal days.  I am happy to help him.  My husband is happy I am able to help him.  The weekend was full, and so things have literally piled up around here.  I was looking forward to winter break.
We homeschool.  However, my son takes outside classes at Artios Academies.  I also work at Artios.  Well, this week was winter break.  I was really looking forward to a week with a pretty open schedule.  Then it happened.  The director of the middle school production of Artios asked my son to be the stage manager, which filled most of the week.  I scheduled a doctor's appointment because it had to happen.  I scheduled a hair appointment because those roots were showing my age (and wisdom - and who wants to be a show off?).  We needed to get a passport for the same son for a missions's trip this summer.  Time was spent on the phone trying to figure out who needs what shots for the trip.  The final big swim meet is this weekend.  OH!  Brad, my husband turns the BIG 50, and I need to get him his gift.  AND I need to bake him a cake, and schedule something to celebrate him!  Time just disappears!
Well this BIG 50 birthday really has me reflecting life with him.  (And right now I am wondering why this is a different font when I didn't do anything differently.)  I met him when he was 22.  Somehow over the last couple of years we have managed to have 4 kids, who are 24, 21, 19 and 16.  Truly, how did that happen so quickly?!  We have somehow lived in our current home for about 19 years.  Didn't we just buy this house?
All this has me thinking and reflecting on what has happened in my life.  I wouldn't go back and do it again without knowing what I know now.  If I could go back knowing what I know now, would I do a better job?  Looking back I see how faithful God has been towards me - and my family.  Even though there have been MANY stressful situations, God has always been right there.  At times I found myself just looking around for Him, and He was there through ALL OF IT!  We have also been blessed beyond measure.
As I have reflected on time I find comfort in knowing the God is with me.  Seriously, I am so thankful this was winter break or I would have to do all this extra stuff with the normal stuff!  I am thankful I have a husband who is turning 50, and I love him more now that when we were starting out.
I think when I was younger I worried about all the "extra" things thrown into my schedule.  Now, even though they aren't without their stresses, I realize that God is in control of my schedule, and that "Laying down my life" can mean "Laying down my schedule".  MAYBE I am supposed to encourage the nurse at the doctor's office when I am with my dad?  Maybe the clerk at the store where I am buying my husband a gift needs a polite customer?
It's what's in my head today....

How to Catch a Prince By Rachel Hauck

How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck
How to Catch a Prince is the story of two people who seemingly have it all.  However, they are lacking in what money can’t buy.  Prince Stephen is overcoming physical and emotional hardships when a secret from the past is revealed.  Corina is trying to move forward with her life after a horrible loss.  As she is challenged to love well, Corina is thrown back into the city where Stephen lives.  While she tries to love well, she is challenged with this: “Think on it.  Love is vast, rich, textured.  If you limit yourself to only romantic love, you will never love well.”  - Adelaide.
Follow Prince Stephen and Corina as they discover their new lives, as the wrestle with mourning, as they wrestle with love and forgiveness.

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

Thank you Zondervan for the ARC.
The majority of young adult fiction I have read shows the young adults as self-sufficient and all-knowing. Several of the mainstream books I have read glorifies sex outside of marriage, and tries to justify it with the character's unfortunate life circumstances. Or maybe the main characters are trying to save their life by taking anothers.  Maybe the characters are forced into only living life ONE way, and surviving only for ONE purpuse in life.  In An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund you will find a young woman on her own facing huge responsibilies and choices. Lady Rosemarie thought her future was set in stone, but it wasn’t. Set in the Middle Ages, this story is full of cunning deception, deep loyalty, sweet romance, gruesome punishments, and proper respect. She learns what is important in relationships.  Hedlund weaves all these things together into the perfect tale! I had to force myself to put this book down.

Grace VS. Truth or Grace AND Truth

A few weeks ago our pastor taught out of John 2-3:21.  I can't get that messge out of my head.  One of the things he said - and I can't remember if he quoted it - was, "Grace without truth becomes license.  Truth without grace becomes legalism."  As we know, Jesus was the perfect blend of TRUTH and GRACE.  I'm not!  I tend to be on the Grace team or on the Truth team.  I'm not necessarily loyal to either team, I switch sides like a spy!
I feel like in our world today we truly have too many people on team Grace.  Team Truth often gets a bad reputation because often truth hurts and it is hard to hear!  Jesus was the perfect blend of Truth and Grace.  He turned water into wine.  He through the money changes out of the temple.  He knew what to say, when to say it, and how to say it.  The older I have gotten - and I'm still not there yet - I am learning to keep my big mouth shut.  The younger me would often been found saying, "I will never _____________ because ______________."  Laugh now because many of those things I have done, and become quite accomplished in those fields.
How do we follow Christ's example when we are dealing with a moody teenager?  How about with an elderly father?  The kid that had the parent die?  The kids that has the really sick parent?  The kid that just won't stop talking?  How about the Type A husband?  The loud music playing in the middle of the night neighbor?  I don't know, but I am asking God to show me how.