Humble Orthodoxy–review
May 26, 2013, 8:55 pm
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Humility–easy to talk about, hard to carry out. Joshua Harris writes about how to live life without judging others. This will lead us closer to the life Jesus lived.

I thought there were a lot of good ideas in this book. Mr. Harris promotes unity, not division, in his book. My church split about three years ago. Those of us who stayed have been cautioned not to be bitter against those who initiated the split, and then left when the congregational vote was not in their favor. I understand this and yet . . . And yet, the Christian world was not intended to be divided.

I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for writing a review. I am under no obligation to write a favorable review.


Dandelions on the Wind
March 25, 2013, 10:50 pm
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Setting off for the unknown is unsettling.  Maren Jensen has done this once already, when she traveled to America. Now, as her eyesight is failing, she takes comfort in the life she has with Widow Brantenberg and Gabi. Change comes when Rutherford “Woolly” Wainright returns home to his mother-in-law and young daughter. Maren and Woolly are drawn together. When an opportunity arises to be like dandelions on the wind and scatter to the West, Maren and Woolly decide to trust in God and make the journey.

I liked parts of this book, but I never was quite sure where the book was located. St. Charles, Missouri? And there just seemed to be something missing. Perhaps the book was too rushed? I just felt like a lot of questions popped up without ever being answered.

I reviewed this book for free for Waterbrook Publishing and was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 

Review of Though My Heart is Torn
March 9, 2013, 1:33 pm
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Gideon O’Riley must learn to live with the aftermath of someone else’s choices in Joanne Bischofs novel Though My Heart is Torn. I found the book to be pretty powerful. I have not read the first book in the series, so I only know about the history of Gideon, Lonnie, and Cassie through details provided in this book.
Gideon is enjoying his life with wife Lonnie and their infant son Jacob when they are summoned back to their family’s houses. Gideon is informed that he is still married to his first wife, although he had been assured that the marriage had been annulled. He and Lonnie follow the law and separate. What a difficult thing to have to endure. The difference between love and commitment is slight at times. This is an issue that Cassie realizes is troubling. She can have Gideon stay, based on her mistake, or she can let him go back to his love.
I am awed by Gideon’s level of commitment to Cassie even though his heart is not involved. In a culture that has television shows like The Bachelor/Bachelorette, it seems that we see love as instant gratification.
I received an advance reading copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for writing a review and am under no obligation to give a favorable review.

Wishing on Willows review
February 21, 2013, 8:09 pm
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Life can be pretty tricky. Robin Price runs Willow Tree Café in small town Peaks Iowa. Her business may not be terribly profitable, given her habit of giving her few clients free coffee, but she loves what she does. The idea of the coffee shop was one Robin and her late husband Micah had entertained before his passing. Since she opened it, the store has given Robin a purpose. Enter Ian McKay, of McKay Development and Construction. The mayor of Peaks wants to build condos where Robin’s coffee shop stands. Robin’s neighboring business owners quickly agree to sell, leaving only Robin and a local ministry. God provides a second chance to both Robin and Ian in love and life when they surrender to him. Pretty hard to do though. Robin is inspired by both her son (she found out she was pregnant after her husband’s accident) and her father (also widowed).

I was surprised by this book. I read Wildflowers From Winter, Katie Gansherts first novel and did not care for it. I really think she made progress with her second novel. I could identify better with Robin than I could with Bethany. I am also the mother of a four-year-old boy who loves John Deere. While I’ve never been to a River Bandits game, I have been to a LumberKings game. So I know the area where the story is set.

I received an advance copy of this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for writing a review. I was under no obligation to write a favorable review.

Great Who-Done-It
February 9, 2013, 8:49 pm
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Who did it? I have my suspicions, but. . . . How satisfying to be able to say that at the end of a mystery novel? Dee Henderson’s novel Before I Wake was a wonderful read.

Justice, Illinois, although a fictional setting, was very familiar to me.  I grew up in Illinois, although  not in a small town or “the suburbs,” that area around Chicago.

Three characters who need each other not just to solve a case, but also to complete some healing. The question is why God allows bad things to happen. That eternal question.

Hiding From God
January 20, 2013, 8:32 pm
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Hiding from God. Who hasn’t done this? Once we let God in, amazing things can happen. Shelly Graham, the main character in Robin Jones Gunn’s novel Clouds, begins a journey back to God. She is like a lot of us. We don’t live bad lives, but we tend to push God away as we move through our lives.

Shelly begins her journey back when she faces losing her job as an airline stewardess. A move back home allows her to become closer to one of her sisters, as well as to explore her career options. A reconciliation with her best friend and former next door neighbor Jonathan, who has just gotten engaged, is part of Shelly’s journey. She mourns his loss in her life, but is very kind towards his fiancée.

At a conference, Shelly is moved when the speaker tells the women, “’I believe God will not give up until he gets us back. . . . He’s giving us every chance to come to him as he calls out, ”Where are you? I want you back. Don’t hide anymore. Come back to me. I won’t give up because I absolutely love you.”’”

With this revelation, Shelly is able to let go of guilt that exists following the end of her relationship with Jonathan five years earlier. Let go and let God do what He will.

I don’t think it is necessarily a violation to say that they do get back together. I knew this from the moment I opened the book. An illustration on the inside front cover portrayed the town of Glenbrooke and showed Jonathan and Shelly’s cabin. Plus, don’t they always? That aside, I found this book to be completely enjoyable and an absolute page-turner.

I received a copy of this book from Multnomah Press in exchange for writing a review. I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

Review of A Clearing in the Wild
December 21, 2012, 9:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Strong-willed. That is perhaps the best adjective to describe Emma Wagner Giesy, the main character in Jane Kirkpatrick’s A Clearing in the Wild. She is raised in an utopian community in Bethel, Missouri. When the leader of the community wants to send out scouts to establish a base for a new community, Emma persuades him to allow her to go along as one of the scouts is her husband.

I live near Bishop Hill, Illinois, which is a former Swedish utopian community. I pictured Emma living in buildings similar to the ones located here. Although I don’t recall that the residents who resided at Bishop Hill were as nomadic as the ones depicted in the book.

I did a Google search on Emma Giesy. The Aurora County website hinted at the spirit portrayed in the book. I believe the exact phrasing was “it was all about Emma all the time.” Emma squirrels herself into a situation so she can prove the leader Wilhelm Keil wrong. She will be able to “endure the trials of Eve’s first sin.” When she realizes she may be in over her head, Emma thinks to herself, “I did feel deeply about the success of the journey and the ultimate goal of bringing the colony to a new and different place. But I felt deeply about my own needs, too, my own rights to pursue what I might be called to do.”

It is this difficulty of separation of self that I understand. As a mother, I’ve learned that kids come first. But sometimes I feel like Rose in the Rose is Rose comic strip when her motor-cycle riding alter ego shows up. It is this spirit that Emma possesses.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for writing a review. I am under no obligation to give a favorable review.