Friday, March 10, 2017

A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot

Book: Cimarron Creek Trilogy - "A Stolen Heart."

Author:  Amanda Cabot

Publisher: Revell

Paperback, 347 pages.

This is the first book I've read by Mrs. Cabot.  I thought the description of the book sounded interesting.  The main character, Lydia, moves out west. To earn her living, and with help, she opens a sweet shop and is welcomed into the home of a wealthy elderly woman.  I enjoyed reading about the fudge and other things she made. I also liked the family and the town. It was nice to see how she, a stranger, slowly became part of the community and also how she found a good man to marry.  The characters seemed very real to me.

As I read through the book, it seemed like a light entertainment, with occasional references to prayer and church. There was a peaceful feeling of occasional suspense here and there.  Towards the end of the book is where I was shocked.  The story got very intense and felt like a television crime show. I was not happy about it.  If I had known it would be this type of book, I never would have read it. It is just not the type of story I want to read. I consider this book to be more secular than religious, even though it is published by a Christian company.  It was well written, but just not the type of fiction I prefer.

*  Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes. *

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Wish by Beverly Lewis

Book:  "The Wish"

Author:  Beverly Lewis

Publisher:  Bethany House

Paperback, 326 pages

I always enjoy reading books by Beverly Lewis.  She is a trusted author when it comes to Amish Fiction. 

This story is about Leona, a young Amish woman, and her community.  I loved reading about the way the Amish live, their values, their convictions and their way of life. 

Leona's neighbor, and dear friend, Gloria moves away suddenly with her family.  There is some intrigue and suspense as we go along until we find out why they all moved away.

It turns out that Gloria's family became "English," which means her old order Amish parents decided to become worldly and give up their Amish life.  I have never read an Amish story from this perspective, where the parents themselves decide to leave the Amish way of life.  It was sad for Gloria, but we get to see her experience the world and then decide if she wants to come back and become Amish again.

Through it all, Leona stays faithful to the Amish ways and to the dear young man she intends to marry. I found her to be inspiring!

This was a very good read, which includes some good Biblical wisdom throughout.

*  Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes. *

All Summer Long by Melody Carlson

Book: "All Summer Long"

Author:  Melody Carlson

Publisher:  Revell

Paperback, 315 pages

I have ready several of Melody's books and they are well written. This one is an interesting story about a young woman (Tia) who works in the family restaurant. She is called away to stay with a relative to start up a business venture. 

The business idea itself was exciting.  Tia is a trained chef and is asked to help turn a ship into a destination restaurant.  I enjoyed reading about the ship, the cooking, and all the planning and work that was involved. 

Tia meets a young man (who was a former acquaintance) who helps with the ship project.  It's nice to get to know the different characters in the story and their family and home lives. 

I appreciate that people go to church in this story.  There are some people in the book who drink, but it is a minor aspect of the story.

Overall, the setting and story line all made it an entertaining read.  I really think it would make a good Hallmark movie.

*  Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes. *

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Atonement by Beverly Lewis

Book - "The Atonement"

Author - Beverly Lewis

Publisher - Bethany House

Paperback, 325 pages

What I like about Beverly's books is that you get a look into the daily lives of the Amish.  In this book, the main character is Lucy. She has made some very serious mistakes in the past and we see her trying to work through these while living her Amish life with her family. She doesn't think she deserves to be married as her lack of understanding of forgiveness and grace stop her from forgiving herself for past troubles. 

(It is not really a peaceful story, like her book, "The Secret Keeper," which was my favorite.) 

In this story, there are visits to a grief counseling support group, lots of volunteering among the homeless and helping the elderly.  There are not many happy moments of family time, or pleasant church events. There was a lot of stress and worldliness showing us more of the world's pain and the trouble of sin, rather than the joy and happiness in a devout life seeking holiness.

There are two young men interested in Lucy. It is very difficult to guess who she ends up with. But I was happy she ended up married to one of them; The right one, I thought! It made the end of the book satisfying.

Beverly includes an epilogue so we can "see" what happens to Lucy later. The book ends with an author's note, where we get some background information about the story idea and who has helped Beverly in the process.

*  Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes. *


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Uncommon DVD Review

Movie (DVD) - Uncommon

Running Time - Approx. 100 minutes

This is a dove approved, "faith friendly" movie, recommended for ages 12 and up.

A young man wants to start a Bible Study group at his public school.  He speaks out (and against) falsehood by one of his teachers.  He is a quiet, good student who wants to encourage others in their faith.  Eventually, he helps the drama club put together a play that is considered by authorities to be religious.  A lawyer is called in to help fight the school board, who had shut down the play and Bible studies. Their fight is inspiring and well done.

Throughout the struggles, there is an incredible janitor, played by Erik Estrada, who does an amazing job as a Christian mentor.  His strong religious faith and character (as well as of his wife) are well worth watching.

[Note: One thing that I personally did not like about the movie was the students' intention to write a play based on the Bible itself.  However, we never see the finished play, we only hear the students discussing their options.] 

Overall this is a good and strong message that will encourage teenagers to be "uncommon," or not like the crowd.  It will encourage them to live the Christian life and to help teach it, despite opposition.

 The film is available at Walmart and Christian Stores.

*Disclosure - This item was provided for review purposes.*

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Heart of the Amish by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Book - The Heart of the Amish

Author - Suzanne Woods Fisher

Publisher - Revell

Paperback, 178 pages

The book consists of two parts. One - Everyday Friction and, Two - Turning Points.  Each chapter shares someone's story - an annoyance, a struggle, or some kind of situation where forgiveness is required. 

At the end of each chapter is a small section of "Reflections." This may include thoughtful questions or insights to help the reader in a sort of therapy to help them work through the concept of forgiveness in their own lives.

Next, each chapter ends with a boxed - in section called, "Plain Truth." These are fascinating tidbits of trivia, mostly about the Amish and other similar groups.

While many of the chapters include Amish related stories, some do not.  Also there are chapters about modern, sensitive topics that some may not feel the need to read.

This book would be most helpful to those who are struggling with bitterness and need help working towards of forgiving spirit.

*Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes.*
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