Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Dearest Naomi by Jerry & Tina Eicher - Review

Eugene Mast and Naomi Miller are in love an plan to marry, but first Eugene has his heart set on leaving Indiana to teach at a Mennonite school in Iowa. This means nine months of hardly seeing each other and lots of letter exchanges.

You can follow their activities in the letters and see how they each handle missing each other, getting through the days with only thoughts and memories, looking forward to getting a special letter in the mail, the disappointment when there isn't one, and looking forward to the day when this is over and you can finally capture that dream of being married and starting a family.

This book reminds you of the days when people used to find letters in the attic written by parents or grandparents. Eugene and Naomi reread their letters over and over, as our ancestors did I'm sure. Oh what this modern world is making us miss out on, sure you can print off an email or text and save it, but it just isn't the same as having something in someones own handwriting.

I had a hard time reading this book as the style wasn't to my liking. This had nothing to do with the content, which I did find to be interesting and enjoyed some of the stories. I used to try to keep diaries when I was little but couldn't do that either, maybe that's why it was a hard format for me to read, it kind of seemed like a diary to me but it was two people doing the writing.

I received a copy of this book from Harvest House Publishers for review. All they want is an honest review, the opinions stated above are my own.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley <> book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman - Review

Susan Reynolds, divorced and mother of 17 year old Angie wants to sign on to do a three month 'experiment' living the 'simple life'. She asks her sister-in-law Julie Charlton to leave her husband in California and take 16 year old Whitney and 13 year old Brian to the midwest with her. The sisters-in-law get along well but were raised in two completely different worlds, doing this for Susan will mean five people living in one farm house without modern conveniences.

Julie is tired of her life, she doesn't cook well, doesn't keep her house clean enough, and is constantly on the run for her husband, kids and different committees. She really has no time for herself or to enjoy her family. Susan on the other hand is an uptight perfectionist, she can cook, her house is spotless and she wants to do this so she can write a book to have enough money to give her daughter everything, regardless of whether her Angie wants the same things or not. Basically Susan thinks her life, and Angie's, depends on the success of this venture.

Kendra, the producer for the Lisa Lee show will stop at nothing it seems to make the series a success. One example, the first task to be filmed is Julie, the non-cook, making a shoo fly pie. Since nothing ever turns out for Julie, Susan coaches her for two days before the filming, just the preparation of the pie though since they don't have a stove in the house yet. They get the stove on the day of filming but they didn't expect it to be a wood burning stove!

Susan is the domineering person in the book and is constantly pushing everyone to work, work, work, because of course everything has to look and be perfect. Julie is the one that tries to live the simple life and is soon enjoying the fun times spent with the kids. Oh, and thanks to Susan, the kids have to attend school even though it's summer. She gets very upset because she doesn't think the schooling they get in the one room schoolhouse, with just their three kids, is good enough.

Kendra doesn't help things since she is very demanding, lets them know plans at the last minute and comes across as an unfeeling rude person, kind of like Susan. It doesn't help that Susan didn't share with Julie how much she's depending on this series being a success, so Julie can't figure out why she's even more pushy than normal.

After one event involving Angie, Susan's honest, well behaved, daughter, they are at odds and it could cause the cancellation of Susan's contract and also, unbeknownst to Susan, Kendra has offered Julie a continuing series instead of Susan.

This is the first book of Kathryn's that I've read and I will be reading some more of them. I thought it was kind of a slow start, mainly because I requested the book by looking at the cover and the title, lol, yes, I'm one of those, so I didn't realize what the story was about. If I see something that looks like an Amish story, I want it! I really did enjoy the story once I got into it, and it can teach us a lot about slowing down, quit demanding so much of ourselves. We also need to remember that a simple life doesn't mean less busy, but it isn't as hectic.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Touching the Sky by Tracie Peterson - Review

It's June of 1865 in Corpus Christi, Texas, the war is over and life here would forever be changed. Laura Marquardt and her family were Union supporters during a war that pit family against family and neighbor against neighbor. Now that the war is over they would like to put their differences behind them and get on with life. The Union military had a unit of black soldiers to try to help keep the peace because there's a group of former Confederate soldiers who have a vendetta against the Union and their supporters.

Captain Brandon Reid finds Laura in an alley and accuses her of being up to no good and tells her to be on her way. He is in for a surprise when he attends a party at the Marquardt home and who should the angel be that is playing the piano and singing beautifully but Laura Marquardt, a strong Union supporter.

Laura has a sister, Carissa, who is the real social butterfly of the family and has drawn the attention of Malcolm Lowe. Malcolm has a secret reason for courting Carissa, he's the leader of the group trying to restart the war because he's mad that they lost. Laura is concerned about Carissa when she announces that they will be married and soon, she doesn't think Malcolm is the man that he pretends to be. Carissa refuses to be talked into waiting until she knows him better so they get married with her parents blessing.

Events cause Laura to wonder what Malcolm is up to so she watches and listens closely when he's around.
After the wedding Malcolm seems to keep Carissa hidden, there are no visits, they don't go to church, etc.
When Laura and her Mother finally see Carissa after a couple of weeks, Laura notices bruises on her arm. Carissa claims it's from moving furniture. Several weeks later, after not seeing Carissa again and being told to leave them, the newleyweds, alone by Malcolm, Laura takes her Mother and goes to visit Carissa. There is no answer and the front door won't budge, they go to the back door where there is still no answer to the knocking but the door is unlocked so they enter. As they are walking through the house calling to Carissa Laura notices there is a steel bar bolted on the inside of the front door. When they get no answer from Carissa,  they threaten to come upstairs looking for her. Carissa comes out and her whole body is covered with bruises. She says she fell down the stairs, Laura doesn't fall for that story, so they take her home to recover.

Captain Reid officially retires from the military but silently continues to work with them to try and find out who's behind the murders of the black soldiers and Union officers. As he's doing this he starts seeing Laura, without telling her about the army's suspicions of Malcolm Lowe and his role in the investigation.

Just what is going on in the Lowe marriage and how will it involve Laura? Will Captain Reid ever confide in Laura what he suspects and what he is doing? What will happen to the Lowe's, will their marriage survive?

This is a view of what life was like for one family after the war and how it affected people living in the same town that shared two different views. Tracie really held my interest and did a great job with this story. It's about sister helping sister and finding faith in God when you think he won't help you because you did too much wrong in your past.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255