Monday, July 30, 2012

Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth

*This book should not be confused with Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman.

Nancy Sleeth and her family desired to "incorporate the best of Amish principles" into their modern lives. They found Amish principles in the areas of homes, technology, finances, nature, simplicity, service, security, community, families and faith and tries to incorporate them into their lives, by making some unusual choices for their family. However, rather than being like a personal journal of their experiences, this book is more a list of some common sense ideas and principles with some Amish and Biblical backing.
I must say that I high higher hopes for this book. Sleeth book is more how to take some Amish ideas regarding life and try to fit them into our culture. It doesn't really work. It also seemed like it was very selective in what ideas Sleeth took from the Amish to incorporate into her own families life. Based on the title, I had the idea that the book was going to be more of a personal journal of the family's "quest for a slower, simpler, more sustainable life", but what it really was was 10 categories of Amish ideas and how we can try to fit them into our American, modern culture. This is not to say that the examples she gives do not work, but its not because they are Amish ideas. A lot of it is just plain common sense, such as needing a time to just unplug from technology (computers, phones, email, etc), and just spend time as family and friends together to build relationships or being wise with your money.
I give this book 3 stars. It wasn't a bad book, but I was not at all impressed with it.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Forsaking All Others by Allison Pittman

This is definitely a book that should be read after reading the first book in the series, For Time and Eternity, as this book picks up right where the first book ends. In this second book, Camilla Fox is rescued from the near fatal snow storm after having left the Mormon faith desiring to return to her parents home. In the care of Colonel Charles Brandon, Fox must first recover after the snow storm before trying to make her way to her childhood home. Camilla desperately desires to have a home of her own in which she can care for her two girls. But before they can be with her, she will have to return to Salt Lake City to fight for them.
I read both book one and two within 3 days. Once I started book one, I didn't want to stop. Sadly, when I did finish book one, I didn't have book two with me, so I had to wait a few agonizing hours before being able to start the next book. These books make me feel sorry for those who get caught up in the lies of Mormonism and feel they have no way out, once they see the truth. Camilla found love from Nathan, but when her parents objected to the relationship, she felt it was simply because he was a Mormon. Camilla didn't understand what her parents saw, and they weren't able to articulate it to her. If that were different, Camilla might have made a different choice.
I give this book 5 stars. I loved it! I can't wait to read what Allison Pittman writes next!

My Hair and God's Mercies by Yvette Maher and Amy Tracy

Yvetter Maher shares some of the pain she's experienced in her life. Her book is filled with stories about different times in her life when things could have been hopeless, but God was still there and he redeemed the hopeless situations and brought beauty from ashes.
I found this book very confusing. There did not seem to be any order to the stories presented, and it was hard to distinguish between Yvette's life before and after her salvation. Other than her growth during her time at Focus on the Family, it didn't seem much in her life changed other than her attitude. The book was very disjointed and one I'm glad I didn't pay for. I give this book 3 stars.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Almost Amish
Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)
Kathryn Cushman


Kathryn Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy, but all her life she knew that she wanted to write a novel “some day”. For her, “some day” came in 2003, when she started writing and never looked back.

Her first two manuscripts remain firmly ensconced in the back of her closet (the dust bunnies tell her they really are terrific!). Her third attempt became her first published novel.

A Promise to Remember and Leaving Yesterday were both finalists for the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, and Waiting for Daybreak was a finalist in Women’s Fiction for the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award.

On the homefront, she has been married to the wonderful and handsome Lee for nearly twenty-five years now, and their two daughters are currently braving the worlds of high school and college.

They’ve lived in Santa Barbara for over twenty years. It’s a beautiful place and Kathryn feel blessed to be there (although a seventy degree Christmas still leaves her dreaming of a white one—or at least a colder one!)

When she's not writing or reading or braving seventy degree holidays, you’ll find her trying her best to keep up with her daughters in their various theater, softball, dance, and filled-with-activity lives.  


Proving the Simple Life Isn't So Simple After All

Overcommitted and overwhelmed, Julie Charlton is at the breaking point. She knows she should feel blessed as a mother and wife--but she just feels exhausted. And then, the miraculous happens. Her sister-in-law Susan, a Martha Stewart-in-training, lands the chance to participate in a reality TV series about trying to live like the Amish and needs another family to join her. It's just the break Julie needs.

But the summer adventure in simple living soon proves anything but simple. With the camera watching every move, Susan's drive for perfection feels a lot like what they left behind, while Julie suddenly finds herself needing to stand up for slowing down. Whether it's cooking, cleaning, or dressing differently, each new Amish challenge raises new complications...and soon each woman learns unexpected lessons about herself and her family.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Almost Amish, go HERE.

My Review:

I loved this book! I have read too many of the typical Amish books that i am generally bored with anything Amish, but this book had such a great twist, that I just loved it. The book was about one extended family learning to live like the Amish for a reality TV show. It reminded me of watching shows like PBS' The 1900 House in which a family from England in 2000, spent three months living in a restored house with all the technology of 1900. All of the characters developed and grew throughout the book. They each had personal victories and overcame some of their flaws.

We spend so much time running from one project or activity to another that we forget to slow down and enjoy life. Julie found out that while the Amish life was harder, everything they did had a purpose. Food was made because the family needed to eat, laundry was done to have clean clothing. Gardens were tended so the family would have food to eat. I loved the line toward the end that really made me think, "Instead of being intentional about my day, I end up reacting to the urgent." 

I give this book 4.5 stars. I received Almost Amish from CFBA

Monday, July 16, 2012

Road To The Christys - The Maid Of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

From the back cover:
To escape a scheme to marry her off to a dishonorable man, Margaret Macy flees London disguised as a housemaid. If she can remain unwed until her next birthday, she will receive an inheritance, and with it, sweet independence. But she never planned on actually working as a servant. And certainly not in the home of Nathaniel and Lewis Upchurch--both former suitors.
As she fumbles through the first real work of her life, Margaret struggles to keep her identity secret when suspicions arise and prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall. Can she avoid a trap meant to force her from hiding?
Brimming with romance and danger, The Maid of Fairbourne Halltakes readers inside the fascinating belowstairs world of a 19th-century English manor, where appearances can be deceiving.
My Review:
This is my first book by Julie Klassen that I have read (I do have two of her other books on my kindle waiting to be read). I loved how it was not the typical Regency England book. It did not focus on the upper class, although they were certainly part of the story, but it focused on the lives of the servants within the house. It was a very well written book that really captured my attention. I read the whole book in less than 24 hours (even reading it when i was supposed to be doing a few other things....) I loved Margaret Macy’s determinedness to succeed in her new life as well as the secrecy and irony of her new life.

I give this book 5 stars, and with the popularity of shows like Downton Abbey, this book should be very popular.

I received this book free from Bethany House for the purpose of this review

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Road To The Christys - Southern Fried Sushi by Jennifer Rogers Spinola

Shiloh Jacob’s life is about to change in a very big way. She has been a writer for the Associated Press in Tokyo. Life seems to be going well for her until she plagerizes an article. Her editor doesn’t notice at first, but then it seems like all hell breaks loose in Shiloh’s life. She gets a call that her mother has died and she has to go to Virginia for the funeral. She leaves Tokyo, finds out that she is fired because of the article, finds out her fiance is cheating on her, and thinks she has no where to go. After spending some time in Virginia, discovering the life her mother lived, the life Shiloh never knew about.
I really enjoyed this book and following Shiloh from Tokyo to Virginia. The book was well written and interesting. The characters were all unique and real, and I loved discovering what happened next and following Shiloh as she experienced culture shock being in Virginia and learning about all things Southern.
I can’t wait to read the next two books by Jennifer Rogers Spinola, Like Sweet Potato Pie and 'Till Grits Do Us Part.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Road To The Christys - Amish Midwife

Amish Midwife by Mindy Starns Clark & Leslie Gould

Lexie Jaeger lost her mother several years earlier, and just before her father dies, he tells her about a wooden box that was given to her by her birth family when she was given up for adoption. Desiring to learn more about where she came from, Lexie leavers her midwife practice in Oregon, gets a liscence to practice in Pennsylvania. A friend puts her in contact with a midwife, Marta,  who may have had some connection to Lexie’s adoption in the heart of Amish Country. Marta needs someone to take on her patients while she is in the middle of a legal battle.
This is a beautiful story of one woman’s search for her identity while learning to trust God.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Deposit Slip by Todd M. Johnson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Deposit Slip
Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)

Todd M. Johnson


Todd M. Johnson has practiced as an attorney for over 30 years,
specializing as a trial lawyer.

A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota
Law School, he also taught for two years as adjunct professor of
International Law and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.

The Deposit Slip is his debut novel. He lives outside Minneapolis,
Minnesota, with his wife Cathy, and children Ian and Libby.


$10,000,000 Is Missing.

Erin Larson is running out of options. In the wake of her father's death, she found a slim piece of paper--a deposit slip--with an unbelievable amount on it. Only the bank claims they have no record of the money, and trying to hire a lawyer has brought only intimidation and threats. Erin's last chance is Jared Neaton.

How Far Will One Lawyer Go to Find the Money?

When Jared wearied of the shady ethics of his big law firm and started his own, he never expected the wheels to fly off so quickly. One big loss has pushed him to the brink, and it's all he can do to scrape by.

And How Far Will Someone Go to Stop Him?

He's not sure if Erin's case is worth the risk, but if the money is real, all his problems could vanish. When digging deeper unleashes something far more dangerous than just threats, both Jared and Erin must decide the cost they're willing to pay to discover the truth.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Deposit Slip, go HERE.

My Review:

Erin Larson is going through her father's belongings after his death and finds a deposit slip for over 10 million dollars. However the bank claims to have no record of the deposit from three years earlier. Larson's only option to find the truth is a lawsuit. But when there are people trying to intimidate her and threaten her, even smashing the windows on her car, will she be able to follow through with the lawsuit?
Jared Neaton is tired of the shady ethics of the big law firm and decides to start his own firm. But he is getting final bill notices and is unable to keep up with other bills. He can't risk another loss of a case. But when the Larson case is presented to him, there is something about it that makes him risk it all to take the case.

I saw this book on Amazon before it came out, and I was really interested in it. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and read it. I was not disappointed! I loved the mystery of it and trying to figure out what really happened. Was the deposit slip real? Where did the money go? Who was trying to cover it all up? Where had the money come from originally? This book kept me wondering and trying to figure things up right up to the very last page. I give this book 4.5 stars. I received this book from the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance (CFBA) for the purpose of this review.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble

Libby loves historical homes, and she loves restoring them. So when she inherits an old hotel, its a dream come true. But the twists don't stop there. Her best friend is kidnapped, she finds out she has a family she never knew about, and she meets a very handsome man in the Coast Guard. But things don't get easier for her. While she tries to find her friend, her new family doesn't accept her until they find out the whole truth. Almost everyone on Hope Island thinks she is responsible for the kidnapping, and Libby has to come face to face with her own past.

I found this to be a very fun read. I loved the character of Libby and wanted to see the book through to know how it ended. All the people of Hope Island were interesting characters. The book was a quick read, I finished it in under a day. I give this book 4.5 stars.
I received this book from Booksneeze for the purpose of this review.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cottage By The Sea by Robin Jones Gunn

Erin Bryce has just opened a wedding planning business, The Happiest Day, with her friend, Sharlene. When she gets the news that her father has some serious health issues, she travels from her home in Southern California up to the Oregon coast to spend time with him and his second wife, the brusque and very odd, Delores.
Erin is about to be overwhelmed with the new business, her own son's wedding to Sierra Jenson, and spending time caring for her ailing father. Will she be able to keep her sanity and her focus during this chaotic time?
Robin Jones Gunn has been one of my favorite authors since I was in late elementary school and this book did not disappoint! I enjoyed reading about Sierra's wedding, but what I enjoyed even more was Erin's devotion to her father. While Erin and her husband were trying to move him to a nursing home near their California home, Erin stayed in Oregon to take care of her father. And while spending time on the Oregon coast, Erin falls in love with the Cottage by the Sea.
I give this book 4.5 stars.
I received this book from Howard for the purpose of this review.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bees In The Butterfly Garden by Maureen Lang

Meg Davenport has spent her life at an exclusive boarding school. She has all of her needs provided for her, but what she wants most is to have a relationship with her father, who, she thinks, doesn't love her. But when her father dies, she finds out the truth about his life and his love for her. Her father, John Davenport, was not the wealthy businessman she thought he was. Instead, he is one of the Gilded Ages most talented thieves.
His apprentice, Ian Maguire, is charged to watch over Meg after her father's death. While he knows John would never want Meg to follow in his footsteps, Meg is trying to get to know her father by rebelling from everything she has known.

This was a very different historical book and for that, I loved it. It did not have the typical historical book setting. At the same time, i wasn't sure how the book was going to end, even down to the last few pages. I love that about a book! Also, this book was one I was interested in reading just based on the cover alone. It is a book that, when in the store,  I would definitely pick up and take a look at.
I give this book 4.5 stars.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Gifted by Ann H. Gabhart

Jessamine Brady has lived as a Shaker for half of her life, being brought there after her grandmother passed away. While she struggles  to live like a Shaker, constantly needing to ask forgiveness, she is content there. That is, until one day she is in the woods to find berries and comes across a stranger in need of help. When she brings the stranger back to the Shaker village, her life is turned upside down. Will she stay with the Shakers or find a new life out in the world?

I chose this book because I live near where the first Shakers settled in New York. I knew they had existed, but I did not know much about them. Gabhart's book gave me a glimpse into the Shaker world. However, the book was slow and predictable. Halfway through the book I had most everything figured out. The book was quite long, over 400 pages, and just progressed slowly. It was a good book, but not my favorite. I give this book 4 stars. I received this from Revell for the purpose of this review.