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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Hidden Places by Lynn Austin - A Book Review

Product DetailsImage result for lynn austin

     Once again Lynn Austin didn’t disappoint. This tale of the impact parents can have on their children is bittersweet. The message that God can use it all to form us into the man or woman He wants us to be is heartening. Coming to an accurate view of God, rather than a skewed view created by earthly fathers, makes a world of difference in how we see and handle relationships, and how we parent.
     Matthew Wyatt fled from his father, while his brother Sam lived a life of compliance in his father’s shadow. Lydia led a life of sacrifice so that her sister, Betty, could escape their father’s manipulation. Walter, spared from disappointing his father by way of illness, but still in need of a quiet place of solitude away from family tension. Eliza fled from her parents’ deceit, only to become the deceiver. Gabe also ran from his father, so fearful of becoming like him, of not ever becoming the man he was intended to be. An inability to love, an inability to demonstrate love, not knowing how to articulate love, each stemming from not fully living in the light of God’s love, each impacting the next generation. How many of these would come to know the love of the true Father, the only father who knows how to love unconditionally? How might their pasts be used to lead them on their journey, to assist others on theirs?
     While this book is a tale of romance, it’s the wooing of God that holds the greatest significance. While it is a work of historical fiction, there are many in this present age who will closely identify with the characters and their struggles. While the book includes a bit of mystery, it is the mystery spoken of in First Corinthians 2:7, the characters who seek God’s wisdom,  that is most intriguing.

      I highly recommend Hidden Places. It is a story that will find a special place in your heart, not unlike other books by Lynn Austin, a gifted author. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Complete Book of Sewing Techniques: More Than 30 Essential Sewing Techniques for You to Master By Wendy Gardiner – A Book Review

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     I am very much a newbie to sewing. When I retired four years ago, I didn’t even know how to thread a sewing machine. I took a basic sewing class offered to seniors at our church, learned the basics of running the machine, and made an apron. Then the ladies from our church’s sewing circle took me under their wing and instructed me in basic quilting techniques. Until recently I had done very little garment sewing, but was asked to help with some costumes for our granddaughters, and needed to develop some new skills.
     This book was exactly what I needed, and had been unsuccessful in finding in previous excursions to the book section at our local fabric store. It covered the basic skills with clear, easy to follow instructions for both hand sewing and machine sewing. As the subtitle says, 30 essential techniques are covered. Information is provided for each technique describing its function in garment and/or home décor production. The reader is told what types of fabric the technique is designed for, and modifications for different weights of fabric are provided. I especially appreciated the many helpful hints that were given, things that sewers pick up over time, but that will make the process easier and more successful. The book is geared mostly to garment sewing, with attention given to home décor. It is not designed for those wanting to learn more about quilting. This is not a deficit, because the book does very well what it is intended to do.

     I thank NetGalley and Companion House Books for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander - A Book Review




Product DetailsTamera Alexander











     After a recent visit to Franklin, Tennessee, I was quite interested in reading this new novella by Tamera Alexander. While we had visited the Lotz House rather than Carnton on that visit, thanks to our tour guide, I had vivid mental images of what had occurred around this area during the latter days of the Civil War. As our nation appears to become more divided about the worthiness of remembering this period of American History, Alexander’s writing shows us that there are still things to learn from those who lived through the experience on both sides of the conflict, without condoning the attitudes and events at its origins.
     Aletta Prescott, a young widow raising a young son, and with child, is an inspiration to all who face events that threaten not only one’s way of life, but life itself. While facing job loss, foreclosure, and an almost empty pantry, Aletta is alert to opportunities to provide for her family, now that her soldier husband will not be returning home to do so. If the story occurred in real life, many would say Aletta’s circumstances changed due to a happy coincidence. Others, like Aletta, would give credit where it belongs, with the God in whom she placed her trust. Captain Jake Winston’s injuries might not be as apparent as those of the Civil War’s many amputees, but they left him unable to perform his military duties. To say he was less than ecstatic about his assignment to represent the army and assist with an auction sponsored by the Women’s Relief Society in support of Confederate soldiers would be an understatement. Might his presence be a part of God’s plan? Might this be the best place for his recuperation from his injuries? Only time will tell.

     Perseverance, faith, and forgiveness are major themes in this book. Alexander handles her subject matter with grace and style. I highly recommend this novella and look forward to the series of which it serves as a prequel. I thank NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for a free copy of Christmas in Carnton in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for this review. 

A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden - A Book Review

A Dangerous Legacy (An Empire State Novel Book #1) by [Camden, Elizabeth]   Elizabeth Camden

     Lucy Drake and her brother, Nick, had spent their entire adult lives fighting a legal battle begun forty years ago, a legal battle that pitted family against family. Yet the injustice reached far beyond family, into the heart of New York City along with other cities whose skylines were growing taller. Lucy and Nick’s winning this battle would improve the quality of life for so many poor people living in tenements across the globe. Sir Colin Beckwith had problems of his own, being heir to a dilapidated castle on a failing estate with a sister and 90 tenants depending on him weighed heavily on Colin’s shoulders. His position in the Reuters Manhattan office couldn’t cover the estate’s upkeep, so the only solution appeared to be to marry one of the many heiresses longing to add a title to their name. Once Colin met Lucy, that solution seemed less and less palatable. Both Lucy and Colin were prisoners to their own sense of responsibility, and both longed for a freedom that seemed elusive.
     While this story did not initially capture my intertest, I was rewarded for sticking with it, because several chapters into the book I was completely hooked. I would recommend to other readers to allow the author time to lay some framework, and then get ready to be engrossed in the story. While reading one may be motivated to look at one’s own responsibilities that may be self-imposed, and may be interfering with the reception or awareness of the best God has to offer.

     I thank NetGalley and Baker Publishing for providing me with a copy of A Dangerous Legacy in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation. I do recommend this book to those who like to root for the underdog, and for lovers of historical fiction. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

After the Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart - A Few Remarks

Product DetailsNicole Baart

Just a few remarks about After the Leaves Fall...

  • Absolutely beautiful language, Baart truly has a way with words. This is what kept me reading After the Leaves Fall, enjoying the beauty of the language.
  • The story is touching, the pace is slow. I read this book over a year's time, putting it down, picking it up, but never abandoning it. I just needed to intersperse reading it with books that moved at a faster pace. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

All She Left Behind by Jane Kirkpatrick - A Book Review

All She Left Behind by [Kirkpatrick, Jane]      Jane Kirkpatrick

     Jane Kirkpatrick is known for selecting female historical characters as her protagonist, women of faith, passionate about their calling, and possessing great inner strength. Jennie Pickett, wife of Charles Picket would not have described herself using any of those descriptors. She would have more likely used words like slow, unloved, and failure. Josiah Parrish tenderly and lovingly helped her reach her full potential, nurturing her dream to become a doctor. In the latter half of the 1800s, in the state of Oregon, female doctors were a rarity. Something Jennie had only dreamed about, but had never considered as a real possibility given her reading difficulties, not to mention her status as a divorced woman. Josiah was able to open up possibilities and doors for Jennie. Doors which she slowly gained the confidence to walk through.   
     I found it very interesting that the issues that interested Jennie as a doctor in the late 1800s are still significant concerns in today’s society: addiction, abuse, health care for the poor (especially women and children), and adequate nutrition and housing. Jesus said the poor would always be with us, and we are instructed to love our neighbor as ourselves. So as these issues persist, so must we persist in our efforts to care for those thus impacted.
     If you are a historical fiction fan, you will love All She Left Behind as well as other books by Jane Kirkpatrick. Her writing is well researched, and historically accurate. Her author notes inform you as to which fictional characters have been inserted into the story, and the reasoning behind the events she chose to flesh out the non-fictional character’s story. I thank NetGalley and Revell Publishers for providing me with a copy of All She Left Behind in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Steal Away Home by Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey - A Book Review

Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom? by [Carter ,  Matt,  Ivey, Aaron]    

     This book lovingly tells the story of well-known Pastor Charles Spurgeon of England and his friendship with less well-known Pastor Thomas Johnson, a former slave in the United States. It is a story based on real events, one that includes many word-for-word quotations. However it is a somewhat fictionalized account of these two men’s lives that holds very close to the truth. The book is well-researched and beautifully told.
     Susannah Spurgeon and Henrietta Johnson, wives of the two pastors, play a key role in the story and in their husbands’ spiritual growth and ministry. Another whose role is key in the spiritual life of Charles Spurgeon, one who was so present he seemed like a real character, essential to the telling, was the depression that hung over Charles from childhood and long into adulthood. His and Susannah’s stories more fully explain the purpose of suffering and why God allows it than anything I’ve read or heard prior to reading this novel.

     The reader of Steal Away Home cannot help but be changed, at least a little bit, by the experience. This book is time-worthy for even the busiest person. I most highly recommend it. I wish to thank NetGalley and B & H Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of Steal Away Home in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation.