Sunday, April 26, 2015

At Bluebonnet Lake - Amanda Cabot

While Sally is strolling down memory lane, she brings Kate to Rainbow's End in hopes to convince her to slow down and little and enjoy life.  Kate isn't too sure about her decision to take a month off of her life.  Greg is reevaluating his life.  Roy is just trudging through his life.

Rainbow's End isn't all that Sally remembered.  The town is empty and somewhat sad.

I love how this story questions the "American Dream" to me.  Successful job.  Fancy House.  Loads of money.  These things should make you happy.  These things should leave you feeling successful, and full of life.  Right?

There are many other characters in this book, that Cabot leaves us wondering what happens in their life.

Sally, Kate, Greg and Roy learn together in this fun romance.  They learn what is important.  I believe they learn that anything they seek, besides Jesus, leaves them empty. 

Fun read!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Everyday Grace - Jessica Thompson

"We are a performance-based people, which is completely ironic, because out performance every day is far less than perfect."  In Everyday Grace Jessica Thompson teaches about relationships, and WHO should be the center of those relationships.  Her point it that we can do nothing on our own to have deep relationships.

She uses the example of Adam and Eve, and how they lived in perfect harmony until they made the choice to sin.  After that they blamed each other, pointed fingers at each other and hid from God.  I loved when she said, "Owning our OWN mess will make us gracious toward everybody else who is a mess also.  We won't place crazy expectations on others, because we will know that we can't even fulfill those expectations ourselves."  TRUTH!  This is something I wish I would have learned when I was younger - BORN maybe?!  

Thompson discusses how showing love towards others isn't just an option, it is a command!   We can do nice things for people.  We can ACT like we love them.  Our most important thing is loving the people!

Thompson also points out that our friends AREN'T Jesus, and we shouldn't try to place them in that role!  Doing this places unrealistic expectations on people, and takes away our need for Jesus!  When we put anything in Jesus' place, it becomes an idol!

Everyday Grace is a good book that has plenty of great information - or reminders depending on where you are coming from.  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Love Letters by Beverly Lewis

The Love Letters
Beverly Lewis

Marlena is sent to live with her grandmother after her grandfather’s death.  Although this isn’t where she wanted to spend her summer, she went along like a dutiful Amish girl.   While there another tragedy strikes her family, and she is given a baby to look after.

Small Jay is a young boy who lives next door to Marlena’s grandmother.  He has some disabilities that cause his somewhat harsh father to look past him.  Fortunately, Small Jay meets Boston, a hobo, who sees the value of Small Jay.

While both these stories play out Marlena is conflicted about where she stands with the church – Old Order, New Order, or Mennonite.  The man she loves is Old Order, and is somewhat against some of the circumstances she is facing.

I like how Beverly Lewis brings in the searching for The One True God.  I also like how she takes the ‘weak’ and makes them ‘strong.’  However, this wasn’t one of my favorite Beverly Lewis books.  I found the story to be slow.

I was given this book, by the publisher, to review.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Disappearance of Emily H.
Barrie Summy

            Let me start by saying I am an adult reading this book that targets ages 10 and up.  Thank you Delacorte Books for Young Readers for the advanced reader copy.
            Raine is a middle school girl with somewhat of a 6th sense.  She is able to see “sparkles” on people that allow her to see into their lives.  She lives with her mom who really doesn’t understand what it means to be a mom.  They move from place to place – mom from boyfriend to a fresh start.  Raine finds herself, again, the new girl in the school.  The story contains the stereotypical people in the school: mean girls, cute boys, socially awkward former homeschooled girl, bullies – I could go on.
            Mysteries start to surface, and Raine uses her 6th sense to figure them out.   How to handle bullies is a thread throughout this story.  Since Raine have moved several times, she is able to easily spot the different ‘social groups.’

            Will Raine solve the mystery?  Will the bullies get their due?  I don’t want to be a spoiler!   Not my favorite book I have ever read. 

The Captive Imposter
Dawn Crandall

Preconceived impressions can be dangerous!  Keeping past wrongdoings in a present mindset can also be dangerous.   Elle Stoneburner is going along with what her family has decided is best for her life.  She finds herself jobless, and at the mercy of a complicated man, Dexter Blakeley.  Even with his complications he provides a home and a job for Elle.  Although the job requires her to deal with 3 women with past issues, Elle tries to make the best of it.  Who is this Estella?  (I won’t spoil it for you!)
Elle’s past has her believing that she is invisible – unnoticed.   Dexter’s past has built a wall around his heart.
Dawn Crandall does a great job of developing her characters.  I like how she lets you in on their persona, but not all the way in.  She feeds you little tidbits about them as you continue to read.  Her style really holds my interest, which is saying plenty about my ADD mind!  Crandall also weaves minor characters into the story, and although they are flat, you understand who they really are.
Dawn Crandall also does a great job “painting her picture with words.”  I feel as though I could draw Everston, the spring, and the church in the hollow.
I am left wondering what happens to Vance?  Violet?  And what about Roxy?


A verse that kept coming to my mind while reading this book was:


Isaiah 43:18-19New International Version (NIV)

18 “Forget the former things;
 do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
 and streams in the wasteland.

For me it is so easy to hold on to preconceived ideas about people, or wrongs that have been done to me (or my people) in the past.  However, it is wrong.  Christ often uses our past in our future.
One of my favorite quotes from the book is this one: “After all, no one is perfect.  But that’s part of the commitment you make when you marry – to always love your spouse, flaws and all.” OH, if people would live this statement in real life there would be fewer broken homes.
I have read all three books in this series, and although I enjoyed the first 2, this one was my favorite!  READ THIS BOOK!

Check out Dawn's Blog for some fun giveaways!   

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Beth K. Vogt

Decisions always have consequences - good or bad.  Often decisions, which can and will affect other people, are made without knowing ALL the details.  
Vanessa Hollister grew up in a military family.  Logan Hollister's family had roots in Florida.  Vanessa and Logan made a commitment when they were very young.  Under communication.  Selfishness.  Immaturity.  These were things that led to years of relational drought.    
Crazy Little Thing Called Love is a great story of repentance and reconciliation.  I loved this story because you could feel the tension and passion.  It was easy to see how difficult it was for Vanessa and Logan to let go of the past, and for trust to be given.  
I love, love, LOVE stories of reconciliation!  In today's world these stories are few and far between.  We need more stories like this - more books that focus on doing the difficult things which lead to reconciliation!  
Great job, Beth K. Vogt and team!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

I am about 25% of the way through The Captive Imposter.  I love it!  Elle is struggling through a life in hiding because it is for the best at this point in her life....

Dawn Crandall, the author, is giving away many fun books on her blog.  Check her out at . Check it out.