Welcome to the May book of the month, which I received from Bethany House!
Howdy! (next time I’ll say ‘salutations’ 🙂 )
Here’s the newest one from Bethany House, and also my book review for April. Basically, if I’m quick at the draw…I’ll have one book from them a month. If I don’t want to review any of the options they have (which I’ve done before)…then I don’t 😀 .
I am now reviewing my third book for Bethany House! The first one was Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette, the second was Quick Tips for Busy Families by Jay Payleitner, and this (the third) is…Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson. So let’s just run into this here review.
Heart of the Frontier Book #1.
By Tracie Peterson
My rating- 5 stars
I loved this book! It was such an exciting novel to read. I love the cover (as a side note 😀 ), and the time period is one of great interest to me. This is the first Tracie Peterson book I have ever read, and I like it. The reason I haven’t read much of Tracie’s work is simply that I’m not much into western stuff. And a lot of her stuff seems to be western. I don’t (so far) like western romances as much. I’m not into mail order brides. It’s just not my thing. But this…yep. This got me. Prairie days are much more thrilling for me.
Let’s go back to the days of Indians…
//I love the setting. Wagon trains, sickness, prairie dangers, and beautiful country. It all appeals to me.
//The main character. Grace is a neat person. She’s strong, and kind, and is a healer. She cares for people as a life calling. But she’s not perfect…and I love how she develops.
//The pain. The story does a good job building tension and getting you excited. I started dreading what was probably coming. If you like…you can read the synopsis- and figure out what I was dreading happening. After THE event of the story there is so much hurt and scars, and it makes the reader feel sad 😦 .
//Good story line. I felt that the plot was engaging, and it just kept going. The dialogue was delightful as well.
//Age line. Because of several things that occur in the story which are suggestive, I would recommend this book for 13+ or the discretion of the parent. (It would be discretion of the parent or guardian regardless! 🙂 )
//Faith. This book is Christian Historical Fiction. I thought the faith was much better emphasized in this book than in most other books of its genre. And believe me…you would need a strong faith to survive such trials!
So…I will probably borrow some more Tracie Peterson from our local library soon. I think maybe not all of her stuff is Western? I know that a lot of it IS, but then- maybe someone else out there has read some of her westerny ones and liked them? I’m sure they’re good. 😉
*This book actually arrived earlier than I was expecting it to (thumbs up to Bethany House for promptness!). So I actually was able to finish reading it at the conference I attended the 14-16. And I finished it so fast…because it was amazing. It kept me under it’s power the entire time. I don’t think I experienced any boredom at all.
My newest book review for Bethany House! As you may have noticed…this is only review #2. The reason for that is Bethany House has a limited number of books so it’s a first-come first-serve deal. And I hadn’t been quick enough up until this point. But here we are once again (and I just got a confirmation email that I’ll be receiving another book from BH sometime in April or May). Today, the book up for review is…Quick Tips for Busy Families.
Quick Tips for Busy Families
Sneaky Strategies for Raising Great Kids
By Jay Payleitner
My rating- 4 stars
I may not generally be a non-fiction guru (except when it comes to spiritual books 😉 Still not a guru on that either!)–but I genuinely liked this book. It was interesting and I loved the layout. The book has 144 tips/strategies on raising kids. Here are a few bullet things I loved.
- The layout. (Brief ‘chapters’ which makes it easy to keep on reading!)
- The practical nature. The tips range from very practical to rather sneaky (as the front cover indicates).
- The fact that Bible verses were used in the book. Isn’t it just sad that I have to mention this? But seriously- so many ‘self-help’ books these days say they’re Christian and then have zero Bible verses in them.
Things I felt weren’t as helpful (to me)…
Now I realize that the majority of the stuff I’m about to say probably won’t have much bearing on the majority of parents today. Don’t let some of this necessarily discourage you from buying the book.
- As a young woman who wants to home school her children one day, I think that this book wouldn’t be quite as helpful to me. The book very obviously targets the public/private school crowd. So if you’re a parent doing either of those two things- then wonderful! Otherwise make your own judgement.
- Sometimes I felt like the author minimized sin. One thing that gives me pause is that he also had chapters where he very clearly said that sin is well, sin.
- I don’t agree with the spiritual gift part necessarily. Sorry guys. 😦 If you know anything about reformed people- you’ll know that most of them don’t believe tongues or prophesy continues. Like I said this doesn’t apply to all people. This is really just a note to the reformed crowd. Just to be clear though- I believe in spiritual gifts. I believe we all have God-given gifts. I just don’t buy the speaking in tongues or continued prophecy thing because I don’t believe they continue.
So anyways…just a note of explanation on why the book only got four stars from me: I feel like it was mostly just the fact that it didn’t really relate to me theologically- also the school kid thing. No fear though, I don’t believe it’s wrong to public/private school your child.
Back to the book, though. Overall here’s a summary statement.
Quick Tips for Busy Families is a book with a lot of helpful tips/strategies for parents or guardians. There was a lot of practical advice and insight from the author- who’s raised 5 children along with his wife, Rita. There was also a sense of humor which was enjoyable + the well-loved parenting stories everyone loves to hear. If you’re looking for a book to help you with everyday life and give you practicality mixed with Biblical truths- you’re in the right place.
Thanks to Bethany House for another great book review! All opinions here expressed are my own and haven’t been otherwise influenced. This is an honest review. Thanks for reading.
Welcome once again, What I Read Wednesday!
People had begun to think I don’t read anything anymore…but the honest truth is I just haven’t been posting what I’ve been reading. I just decided to be selective and review the last three books in the Love Comes Softly series. They focus on Belinda Davis, Clark and Marty’s daughter. (Oh, if you haven’t read the rest of the series- you should probably do that first–but I would say you can just pick up the three of these as well.)
Love’s Unfolding Dream
love comes softly series
By Janette Oke
My rating- 5 stars
This book was such a fun piece to read. I have to say, I really loved it. It was able to make me feel strongly with and for the characters. There were plenty of things in it that kept me engaged. One thing about is the fact that this focuses on her 12-16 years. That directly identifies it with the teen girl crowd. I thought it was enjoyable, sad, happy, and humorous all at once.
//the plot. I thought it was well developed. There were plenty of characters to like or dislike and some very heart-rending things occurred as well.
//the family aspect. This whole series has family stamped on it. I especially love how Belinda and Marty are so close to each other. I love their mother-daughter relationship.
//the characters. You can’t escape this one! They’re always going to be the ones you like and don’t like. I love Belinda, Marty, Clark, Luke, Drew, and yep. Those are my favorites.
//the spiritual aspect. I always like when a book is faith-driven. This series is pretty faith-driven the whole time. There are some aspects of their theology I don’t agree with, but in principle they do stress the love of God to His children.
//the ‘rivalry’ and tension between family. Yes, there’s some of this too. They do get upset with each other from time to time- just like a real family. I won’t spoil it, but I’ll tell you, it’s interesting.
//the ending. Wait for it, wait for it…the entire book. Okay, not really. But I like the ending because it’s kinda’ nice after the conflict in the book. 😀
Love Takes Wing
love come softly series
By Janette Oke
My rating- 4.5 stars
This book picks up a few years after Love’s Unfolding Dream. It is a little cliff-hangering from the last book, too. They give you the impression something’s going to happen at the end of LUD, and then they stick you here scrambling to figure out what happened. And I’ll just warn you, you’d best be prepared for some waiting. Because you’re going to be waiting pretty much the WHOLE book to hear ANYTHING at all. It plain confused me. I was sitting reading and kept interrupting my sister: “Hannah, what in the world is going on here? Why isn’t so-and-so in the story?” I honestly almost threw the book down at that point. But I picked it back up, and I’m so glad I did.
//the expansion of nursing. If you’ve gotten this far or read any of the synopsis-es, you’ll know Belinda wants to be a nurse. Well, her nursing will take her places in this book.
//Belinda’s continual struggle. Growing up is HARD. And Belinda always has the struggle accompanied with that. I think she experiences the same highs and lows of the Christian life that I do, in some ways. And I think it’s identifiable.
//Mrs. Stafford-Smythe. I love her. She’s an older lady with spunk. I like how Belinda and her relationship gets closer, and I love how she’s always so perky and funny.
//the cliffhanger from LUD. This nearly made me drop the book. I would encourage you to persevere though- it’s worth it!
//the way Belinda treats some of the young men. It’s not necessarily bad- I just wish she would have sent them packing long ago instead of going out with any of them at all. Oh, well. She learns.
//the removal of characters you’ve gotten to know. People leave, people marry, people disappear! Makes me sad. 😦 😥
Love Finds A Home
loves comes softly series
By Janette Oke
My rating- 5 stars
The exciting conclusion! I LOVE this book! Things start to speed up in this book, loose ends get tied up, fun things happen…heartwarming. 😉
// the plot.
// the look at Boston from a bigger angle. I love all the comparison between city vs. country. It’s an interesting thing to look at.
//the thingy that happens in the middle. You will be surprised…maybe even as surprised as Belinda was? 😀
//the other thingy that happens… uh-huh. Several things. (I am really trying not to spoil things for ya’ here).
//the continued faith. Belinda really begins realizing just how important faith is in this book. You can really see her clinging to Him in this one.
//gratification. Belinda gets a happy ending (of a sort)–and I love how you see in the book that romance won’t ultimately satisfy you. Rather, it’s God who can make you delight in Him alone.
*Sorry…but it’s hard to write a review without spoiling something. I keep wanting to say “I liked that THIS happened.” -so I’ll just say I loved the book(s) aaannnd the ending to this book.
p.s. While I do like SOME of the movies made of Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly series–I am extremely dissatisfied with the later ones. Especially the later ones with Missie, and the ones that describe Belinda. For one, Belinda isn’t even an orphan–she’s Clark and Marty’s youngest daughter! And a minor detail…Belinda’s hair isn’t brown, it’s blond. Another thing: Willie, Missie’s husband–does NOT die either. And neither does Belinda’s husband! Sorry guys. Rant over. Just wanted to make sure y’all knew what I thought in regards to that. Hint to producers: include the author in your productions. 😀 It helps.
It’s time for another installment of What I Read Wednesday ! We are on #6. Today I will be reviewing Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte– and Grow in Grace by Sinclair B. Ferguson.
by Emily Bronte
Apple Classics (scholastic)
My rating- 3.5 stars
This is one of the most interesting, disturbing, and depressing books I have ever read. It all started at the dentist’s office. The lady who was cleaning my teeth was asking questions about books (why those people ask you questions when your mouth is full of water is beyond me 🙂 ) and mentioned having to read Wuthering Heights in high school when she was a girl. I had heard of Wuthering Heights before, but had never read it. After the dentist, mom and I went (of all places) to the BOOK STORE. It was just a little bitty store…but what did I see on the shelf? You guessed it–this book.
// This is a tragedy, but not the tragedy it’s advertised to be. Supposedly, this is a romantic tragedy where two people who are in love are ‘cruelly’ torn asunder. But…the real tragedy is definitely the sin displayed in the book.
// Heathcliff. I am sorry, y’all–Heathcliff is simply not a likable character. End of story. 🙂 His mean temperament, his selfishness, his cruelty. Ugh. He’s not a night-in-shining-armor.
// The only characters I like are minor. Yep. If that tells you anything about the characters…they’re not a nice lot.
//The depressing worldview. The whole romance is just…ohhhhhhhhhhhh nooooo. 😦
//The slow beginning. Need we day any more?
//But it was interesting. Despite all my other points…it WAS interesting. I didn’t stop reading it but instead persevered despite it’s depressingness and slow beginning. I would definitely suggest an age start. Probably be a teen before you read it. It’s sort of morbidly depressingly dark.
Grow In Grace
By Sinclair B. Ferguson
My rating- 5 stars
This is the book that I was given shortly after professing my faith publicly. I liked the book then and I still like it now. Sinclair Ferguson is very good at practically applying things and making them simple (yes, he can probably make them complicated too 🙂 ) without dumbing them down.
Some bullet thoughts…
// Good for younger ages. I think the first time I ever read this was when I was twelve. It’s really a great book for (almost) all ages.
//Using Bible characters. I love how the book uses Bible ‘heroes’ as examples. Although it’d important to note that they were used by God and not ‘heroes’ in and of themselves. My favorite chapter is on Jesus 🙂 .
//Straightforward and clear. ‘Nough said.
//Great book on the topic for new believers. I would highly recommend this book for new believers or younger olders (age range 12 and up).
Have you ever read books on the topic of ‘growth in grace’?
Have you read either of these books?
What’s the most depressing book you’ve ever read?
I just felt like putting exclamation marks on this post. I am in a good mood, I guess. Today I am just doing a book review on Beowulf. I am also going to be sharing a scene from my book-in-progress Warchful. The scene takes place a little later on in the book. If y’all aren’t familiar with what I’ve already mentioned about that…it’s a Christian fiction dystopian novel. Mouthful, huh? 🙂
Let’s hop into the review then…
A New Verse Translation…
…by Seamus Heaney.
My rating- 5 stars
Besides the gorgeous fact that this book’s paperback cover allows you to feel the texture of the chain mail (expiring over that fact, BTW 🙂 )– why would you read a book like this? Well first let me just mention that I read this book for the Gileskirk curriculum. And as I’ve been glad for all the other books I’ve read for Gileskirk…so am I happy for the reading of this one.
It’s one of those books that you’re just fascinated by. Okay…that I’M fascinated by (but you might be too, who knows! 🙂 ). This translation is easy to understand and yet Seamus Heaney manages to give you a flavor of times past. True, this story is a legend. So what? It’s an interesting, well-written legend…and it’s classic. But on to some more definitive ‘points’.
// This book (translation, content, etc.) is well-written.
// It gives you a step-back-into time feeling. Enough said.
//It is, however a poem. Not the rhyme type, BTW. If you read this there won’t be any Mother Goose…
//The story is all the wonderful medieval knights and distress and monsters…YAY!
//There’s a difference in the book. I believe whoever the original writer of this poem was a Christian. And I’m pretty sure that the characters in the story were supposed to be pagan. If I’m wrong about that–correction is in order.
//It’s actually interesting. This may seem like a no-brainer…but I just thought I’d add it to make sure that it is clear. There is a deadly fight, there is another deadly fight…and you guessed it–another deadly fight farther along. There are evocative descriptions…things that really get the brain going.
//This book is easier to follow along with than I thought it would be. It really is easier. One thing that really contributed to its being easier…was the fact that they include little notes on the sides of the poem on each page. The notes basically tell you what’s going on. So if you’re lost, fear not! You will not remain lost for long.
And that’s the scoop. So get this book, and read it. And if you’ve already read it…hmm. Read it again? 🙂
What are your thoughts on reading legends?
Do you enjoy the style of old english writing?
What do YOU think of the medieval era?
p.s. Scroll down further for the bonus scene from ‘Watchful‘.
Scene title: Jess in the cafeteria
I stir some lemon spice into my food. I add salt, then slop a spoonful of sauteed onions on the top. The salad bar is next. I pick and choose toppings. I avoid the dairy toppings and move toward the vegetable ones. Cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, carrot shreds, and collard greens.
“You gotta’ try one of these, Jess.” I turn hesitantly to find Garth, Maul holding his hand tightly. In his outstretched hand is a chocolate truffle.
“No thanks, Garth. I- I think I’ll stick with vegetables.” I answer. Garth frowns. Then he turns away, but not before he shoots me a look. It pains me more than I’d like to admit. Letting go of my friend is hard. But I am convinced it’s the best thing to do in light of the situation with Maul. I sweep the room looking for Prisl, and when I’m satisfied she’s not here- take a seat in a quiet corner. I have just taken a seat when I see my ’employer’ out of the corner of my eye. He exchanges comments with several young men, before coming and plunking his plate right next to mine.
“Mind if I sit here?” he asks in a polite voice.
“Uh-no. I guess not. But, um- don’t you want to sit with them?” I ask indicating a table crammed with young men- all of them capitals. He frowns.
“No, I generally sit in the quiet area. I don’t enjoy the rambunctiousness of that table.” he says, taking off his jacket and draping it over the chair.
“Well, I’m sure you don’t want to be seen with a- a tributary.” I get out. There is no way he can sit here. I’ve got to get out of here.
“I don’t see what you mean. There’s nothing wrong with being a ‘tributary’– it’s just a silly old ranking for the school. It doesn’t describe the people it names.” So saying he promptly sits down. I unconsciously look into his eyes and exercise my gift. I jerk when I realize how closely I was studying him. He smiles a little at my embarrassment, which I try to cover by taking a sip of water. But I had enough time to read him. Nothing about him rings false. I saw nothing but honesty and humility in his gaze.
“Do you make a practice of scrutinizing people that meticulously?” I panic a little at the question. I try to keep my face impassive. It doesn’t help much. Why does my gift help me zero at hiding my own emotions?
“Yes- uh no…” I stammer. There’s no great answer to this question, anything I say could give me away. But maybe I can just be honest with him. I don’t think he’d turn me in because he suspects something…
“Sorry. I probably just made things more awkward, huh?” I nod before I can stop myself. He laughs. To my relief, his laughter isn’t loud.
“You know, Jess- you’re nothing like so many of the other tributaries I’ve met.” I startle at his using my shortened name. This is such an awkward conversation. I bet Prisl would’ve nailed it.
“Well, if it makes you feel better- you’re nothing like the other capitals.” He grimaces at my flipping the comment.
“I often wonder why there’s so much hate amongst the different people in the different ratings.” Everything about Chase- uh- my employer, is different.
“You really are nothing like the others. None of the other capitals would even question the way things are. They are content to see us as far inferior and below them.” I crumple my napkin in my fist under the table.
“You care about them don’t you? The tributaries?” he inquires, dipping his head.
“Yeah. I care about many people here. I’ve grown with so many of them and I want to help them if I can.” I admit.
“I believe you can change them, and help them too. In some ways, just believing the way you do can change them.” ‘Just believing the way’ I do? He must know something about the religion of Vigor then.
“Thank you. I enjoyed talking with you, and I’m glad that I get to serve you instead of someone else.” the words I thought I’d never say. Who could’ve known a week ago that I would be grateful in working for a young man instead of a girl.
“I enjoyed talking to you too. Here, let me take the dishes to the counter for you, so you can go catch your class.” Chase says. How did he know I have a class? But the mention of the class puts the question far from my mind.