Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Book Review: The Wish


"You really think this is a gut idea, goin' clear out there, spendin' time with folk who've left the People?"

Leona wondered if she was getting the carriage before the horse. Even so, she was willing to do whatever she could to bring Gloria back home--where she belonged.

Leona Speicher got the "sister" she always dreamed of the day Gloria Gingerich and her family moved to Lancaster County. The Arkansas newcomers seem to be the answer to Leona's prayers--until Gloria's father is expelled from their Old Order Amish church for reasons no one will discuss. Much to Leona's dismay, the Gingeriches suddenly pack up and disappear. Then, after a silence of several years, Gloria unexpectedly contacts Leona, who makes up her mind to go after her friend. Yet Leona's fiancé--the deacon's son--is alarmed. Will Leona's dearest wish lead to her own undoing?
My Reflections:
I thought I was over my Amish fiction addiction, then I read this book. 
Beverly Lewis consistently draws me in straight off the first page, her sweet stories carry me to a world of simple bliss. This novel is sure to lift your spirits and brighten the dreary fall doldrums.
Though a uniquely Amish tale the thread of this story can be found in any life story. 
If we are honest from time to time we all yearn for the things we don't have. two characters two hearts desire to live the others life.

Leona personifies all things Amish, she is self-sacrificing, disciplined, dutiful and loyal, but what secrets lay await in her tender heart? As a wee girl Leona and her dear friend Gloria were as close as best friends of that age typically are, then one day she is gone. Three years pass without so much as a letter to explain, then Gloria gets in touch with Leona. Is it too late? Is Gloria too English to relate too?

Will Gloria rejoin the Amish life? Will the Amish community welcome her back? I'm not going to spoil the plot for this fabulous tale! 

With a captivating storyline, endearing characters, and strong 
faith themes this makes for an uplifting and nourishing read.
If you are a Beverly Lewis fan or need to feed your Amish fiction addiction this one is a sure bet. 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc


  1. Photo courtesy of Aimee Christenson

    Beverly Lewis

    Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, has more than 17 million books in print. Her stories have been published in twelve languages and have regularly appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times and...
    Continue reading about Beverly Lewis

Monday, 24 October 2016

Book Review: The Domino Effect

From the Back:

". . . [G]enuinely compelling, and comes with a real warning about real markets. The dominoes may well fall in quick procession."--Ted R. Malloch, Senior Fellow, Said Business School, University of Oxford

Esther Larsen, a top risk analyst at one of the country's largest banking institutions, is becoming more and more convinced that she has uncovered a ticking bomb with the potential to make the 2008 market crash look minor by comparison. And as her own employer pursues "investment" strategies with ever-increasing levels of risk, she becomes convinced she must do something. But Esther is only one person; can she stand up to an international conspiracy of greed? And if she does, will anyone take her seriously?

Every moment of indecision edges the markets closer to a tipping point--the teetering first domino in a standing row that circles the globe. And when Esther finds her voice, those she seeks to expose will not sit idly by. With global markets on the brink, and her own life in danger, Esther is locked in a race against the clock to avert a financial tsunami that threatens worldwide devastation.
My Reflections:

Esther Larson has a job to do, but saving the world from economic ruin was not what she had in mind. 

A loner by nature Esther is quite happy to keep to herself, that is until this mathematical genius enters into the whirlwind of a global economic crisis. Independent, courageous and intelligent Esther must use all her talents to come up against the establishment.

I am a self-professed math hater, sorry but I am. This book deals with A-Lot-of Numbers! Thus I had an exorbitantly hard time getting into this book. 

The whole thriller somehow was lost on me, perhaps it was due to my math-hating numb mind not absorbing the plot or the fact that the characters just didn't feel authentic, and I never bonded or understood Esther's passion and drive.

But in the end, I just didn't much care for this novel. Bunn went into lengthy explanations which were pretty much lost on me. Don't get me wrong I care about our economic situation and will continue to trust that the good Lord will guide the individuals who run our country and economy, but reading about it for fun is just is not my cuppa tea.

If you love a good number driven novel with a little suspense, this may be your book, but unfortunately, I cannot recommend this one purely on personal preference.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc


  1. © Paul Wheeler

    Davis Bunn

    Davis Bunn is the award-winning author of numerous national bestsellers with sales totaling more than seven million copies. His work has been published in 20 languages, and his critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction. Davis also...
    Continue reading about Davis Bunn

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Book Review: Brave Girls 365 Devotional

Book Description

Are you ready to be a brave girl?
Join Hope, Glory, Faith, Honor, and Gracie as they discover that the closer they are to God, the more He makes ordinary girls like them strong and courageous! Learn with them how to be brave at school, at home, in sports, with friends—pretty much everywhere! Even when struggles are big . . . He is bigger.
This devotional includes a year’s worth of readings with amazing stories from Scripture, lots of fun quizzes and illustrations, and powerful truths such as:
I always have the power to love others because God loved me first. I can talk to God about anything, whenever I need to! God loves me for who I am, even when I’m different from everyone else. God can use someone small like me to do big things with Him.
Come along with these encouraging friends for the adventure of a lifetime—growing closer to God!

My Reflections: 

The Brave Girls Devotional is exactly what this homeschooling mama has been looking for!
Loaded with relevant scripture verses and packaged in a beautiful, durable hardcover you won't be disappointed with this devotional.

You and your child will enjoy the full years worth of scripture verses along with thoughtfully written stories by Hope, Glory, Faith, Honor and Gracie. 
Join them as they journey toward knowing God deeper and understanding how He can use you just the way you are, right where you are! 

My daughter is loving starting our day together with this fun devotional. She especially loves that included in the daily readings are quizzes and beautifully depicted illustrations. I am enjoying her enthusiasm as she strives to memorize the verses and apply them to her daily life, what more could a mom want?

If you are looking for an age-appropriate devotional for your daughter, Sunday school class, friend or granddaughter this one, in my opinion, is just right. Enough fluff to keep them engaged but relevant scriptures and stories to help them grow closer day by day to their Saviour.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Book Review: That Place of Knowledge

From the Back:

Sabre, an autism assistance dog, stars as the perfect narrator in an imaginary journey to an enchanting city with Philip, his 15-year old partner. 

It all begins when Sabre is assigned to an autistic, non-verbal, boy who seems to have an adventurous streak. One sunny summer afternoon, the usual swim in the pool leads to an under water trap door opening a passage to a secret city. There, time seems to have stood still since Ancient Greece. 

The Classic surroundings are perfectly suited for wondrous, uplifting conversations. And that is just what Philip does. 

Sabre is right at his side as Philip encounters the philosopher Aristotle. Their conversations centre on a shared desire to seek knowledge, learning and happiness. 
Philip’s questions incite deep revelations, not only about himself but also about life in general. He gains insight and knowledge from Aristotle and it is clear that the philosopher also quite enjoys the company of his new friends. The young writer, who shows a wisdom beyond his years, gives you a glimpse of an alternate reality of deep and intriguing thought where you will want to return again and again.

My Reflections:

Philip Alan Shalka is one of a kind, and that is not because he was diagnosed with autism. This young 15-year old has more insight than most adults three times his age. His thoughtfully written story told in part by his dog guide Sabre is imaginative, captivating and enlightening. 

When asked to tell about himself Shalka acknowledges that most people don't expect much of a non-verbal autistic 15-year-old. I think we all need to take a good look at our perceptions and perceived expectations because this young man has a lot to say and it is quite profound and complex. 

Our misconceptions and overstated stereotypes are reducing the label of autism to one-dimensional diagnosis, whereas it is truly a multifaceted and complex set of characteristics that is not duplicated in each individual. 
If you have met one autistic person..you have met one autistic person. 

Shalka is yet again a stark reminder that like Temple Grandin, autistic individuals have a lot to teach. Shalka is able to express his written thoughts in a unique and complex manner. I believe we must change the antiquated mindsets of the past and start to look upon these unique individuals with hope and admiration, as they have a very bright future.

"That Place of Knowledge" would be appropriate for all age groups. young people would enjoy the mystery and adventure surrounding the plot, along with the narrator of Saber the Dog guide. 
Adults will appreciate Shalka's views and philosophy in a deep and meaningful way. I don't think readers will come away from this very special book with the same perceptions the had going in. 

I am looking forward to reading more from this up and coming philosopher and author! 
I hope that he decides to write a memoir or perhaps books about how he views current therapies. I think I am not alone with my excitement over discovering ways in which we can improve on the cutting edge therapies currently available.

I aspire to discover ways in which the genius inside can be nurtured, because this young man is certainly someone you will want to keep your eyes open for, he will most certainly be changing the landscape of the autistic world!

About the Author:

*when asked to describe himself the author penned this response.

There is so much that I can say about who I am. My background is where my story begins.

I am the youngest son in my Ukrainian family. I have an older sister Roberta. We are the awesome kids of our awesome parents, Bob and Elena. How can I describe my family? They are interesting and supportive.

My parents traveled to many places and my sister is talented in drama. Most importantly, they all love me and think I am great. We have lived in this house for as long as I can remember. I was rather energetic growing up but mostly because I have always enjoyed seeing or hearing new things.
Typically much isn't expected from an autistic child. This might be the case for others but I am not typical. I understand things going on around me. Even if I look like I'm not paying attention, I actually am. I am just as capable of learning as anyone else. The difference is how I learn. I have
had many therapists since I was young that have worked with me to help me improve my skills. My time with my therapists really made a difference for me. I have found that working has made me feel smart. However that is not all.

At home my basement is my favourite place to be. (Phililps therapy room)
This is where I feel comfortable. I feel relaxed because it has been my space for so long. I feel like I always do my best work here. There is so much that I want to achieve in my life. I enjoy being different and people I look up to are those who have been known for being different. People like Albert Einstein. He was known for his intelligent ideas that were very different from anyone else's ideas. His ideas changed the entire world and I think that is exactly what I want to do. I think that it is important to inspire others. I would like to create something that is interesting and different that will inspire people in the future. Given all that I have said, I hope this is a good explanation of who I am as a person.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Book Review: A Heart Most Certain

From the Back:

". . . a memorable read for fans of redemptive historical romances."--Publishers Weekly on A Bride at Last
Lydia King knows what it's like to be in need, so she joins the Teaville Moral Society hoping to help the town's poor. But with her father's debts increasing by the day and her mother growing sicker by the week, she wonders how long it will be until she ends up in the poorhouse herself. Her best chance at a financially secure future is to impress the politician courting her, and it certainly doesn't hurt that his mother is the moral society's president. Lydia's first task as a moral society member--to obtain a donation from Nicholas Lowe, the wealthiest man in town--seems easy . . . until the man flat-out refuses.

Despite appearances, Nicholas wants to help others but prefers to do it his own way, keeping his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, though Nicholas has a few surprises up his sleeve. Neither foresees the harrowing complications that will arise from working together, and when town secrets are brought to light, this unlikely pair must decide where their beliefs--and hearts--truly align.

My Reflections:

I simply loved this book, everything about it was captivating. Melissa Jagears is a solid writer who can be counted on for producing entertaining and relevant novels, in this day and age that is saying quite a lot!
 I have always had a passion to help out women from all walks of life. This novel made me ponder just how my biased nature could view women and their delicate situations. It was an uncomfortable feeling but a very good reminder that we can not judge, or let our experiences color our judgment. God sees us all exactly the same. No one is better than another, sin is sin be it doing it or thinking about it..

Lydia King is in for a surprise, she thinks she is just going to waltz into Nicholas Lowe's office and come out with a hefty donation for the Teaville Moral Society. Things are rarely easy, however, and Nicholas is alike to Ebeneezer scrooge. Lydia's life is going to be turned upside down as she badgers the man incessantly. Not one to give up she intends to get what she is after, and perhaps a whole lot more!

Nicholas Lowe is used to turning people down, he is as pig-headed and stubborn as they come. However, what is is not accustomed to is a certain Miss King being so endearing and stubbornly beautiful! Nicholas sees potential in Miss King and her kind heart, coupled with unbending perseverance may be just what he needs to help him with his secret acts of charity.

This book can change the way you view life around you, it can open up your eyes to things unseen and unspoken, if you open up your heart and really soak in the underlining significance.

It is not a usual occurrence to come away from a novel and ponder the issues in my surrounding community and the ways I can contribute to society as a whole. This book is so well rounded it is labeled historical fiction but it is oh, so much more than that. We have redemption, self-sacrifice, hypocrisy, charity and deceit all wrapped up in a beautifully done well-flowing story line that melds all these elements perfectly. 
Sigh, I so can't wait for Jagears next edition!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc


  1. Melissa Jagears

    Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade and the author of A Bride for KeepsA Bride in Store, and A Bride at Last, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She's a member of ACFW and CROWN...
    Continue reading about Melissa Jagears

Book Review: A Tapestry of Secrets

From the Back:

What is the weight of a secret?

And what happens when that burden becomes almost too much to bear?
For decades, Perla Phillips has hidden the truth of a decision that still fills her with guilt. But now, seeing her granddaughter, Ella, struggle in a similar way, she's prepared to finally open the past to her family, no matter the consequences. But when the opportunity is snatched from her in a most unexpected manner, will she have waited too long?

Spanning generations, this moving family drama weaves together the interlocking stories of two women as they navigate relationships, family, faith, and the choices that will shape their lives. Heartwarming and nostalgic, the story explores the courage to share the wounds of the past and celebrates the legacy a family passes from one generation to the next.

My Reflections:

A Tapestry of Secrets is book three in Sarah Loudin Thomas's series Appalachian Blessings. 
Ah, I so enjoy reading a novel that you simply cannot put down, and this is one of those books. Lucky for me I fell sick with a terrible cold and had to read this book straight through!
Loudin Thomas has a unique style to her writing, she draws her characters in with slowly unfolding tidbits that develop the story line fully by its conclusion. Her style is so inviting and the story line is multidimensional which makes the reader feel like she has stepped into a whole new world. I so love when a book can take me away! 

Ella gets the call no granddaughter wants to receive, her beloved grandmother Perla has suffered a stroke. Ella rushes home to help care for her ailing grandmother, and in the process escape a certain Mark Arrington.

Ella is am an artist by trade so her profession is flexible enough that she is able to accommodate the needs of her family. Ella is prepared to hunker down and help where she is needed and hopes her dear grandmother can continue to stay in a familiar environment. With conflict arising from her aunt Sadie who would rather see Perla in a home, Ella must stand firm and do what is right. 
The plot thickens when a land developer arrives to build a hunting preserve. The townspeople along with Ella are concerned about the long-term impact this kind of development could have on this quiet little piece of heaven. This hunting lodge would be located right where the church is sitting. Although the church is suffering in many ways Ella is determined to stand strong for her family and the townspeople and do everything she can in order to save this refuge.

Perla has such little time to make her past known to her daughter and granddaughter. The stroke has taken her ability to communicate effectively, but is there some way in which she can convey the secrets that are locked in her mind?

I simply loved how the suspense builds as the story progresses, it makes it impossible to reenter your regular life until you reach the last pages. Definitely a page turner! I have read all three books in this series now Miracle in a Dry Season and Until the Harvest, and I can safely say that they all could be stand alone novels but to get your full enjoyment I would certainly recommend you read these as a series!

I am looking forward to the next book from this very talented author, so please hurry up and write Sara Loudin Thomas!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc


  1. © Kristen Delliveniri

    Sarah Loudin Thomas

    Sarah Loudin Thomas is a fundraiser for a children's ministry and has written for Mountain Homes Southern Style and Now & Then magazines, as well as The Asheville Citizen-Times. She is the author of Miracle in a Dry Season and...
    Continue reading about Sarah Loudin Thomas

Monday, 26 September 2016

Book Review: The Artisan's Wife

From the Back:

As Ainslee McKay reluctantly leaves all she's known, the beauty of forgiveness and new beginnings comes to light in a West Virginian town with hidden depths. Ainslee McKay's world is upended when her twin sister secretly elopes and leaves Ainslee alone to move to Weston, West Virginia, to fulfill their obligation at the McKay family's new tile works. While her brother, Ewan, agrees to travel with her and help her learn the ropes, she still intends to sell this business she no longer wants if a buyer can be found.

When the talented Levi Judson arrives to show Ainslee his designs for new tiles, she's impressed at his skill and passion for the business but feels she must keep her true plans for the business a secret from him. And though Levi hopes for a long, successful career at McKay Tile Works, he's hiding his true reason for coming to Weston. Can the growing feelings between them survive if the truth comes to light--or is a future together as untenable as the future of the tile works itself?

My Reflections:

Judith Miller's newest book "The Artisan's Wife" is set in West Virginia in the late 1800's. This is book three in the series, Refined By Love. The final installment wraps up the previous books (The Brickmaker's Bride and The Potter's Lady.) 

I so loved getting to know the Mc Kay family and the three different professions the ladies were involved in. I was acquainted with the inner workings of a brick maker, a pottery maker, and now a tile maker. The history in Miller's books is well researched and extremely interesting, but then again I love museums and history alike!

Ainslee has given her word to fulfill her part in the tile business, much to her dismay her twin sister has eloped and the burden lies on Ainslie's shoulders. Making the best of a complicated situation she moves to West Virginia to run the new tile works business until her brother can sell it. Will the men of this new town listen to a young woman? Not wanting to make too many connections Ainslee works to cut her losses and move on with her life, that is until Levi Judson enters into the equation. 

Levi moves to Weston, West Virginia to be close to his brother Noah who is a patient in an Asylum. His brother, however, is not crazy!
When Ainslee Levi and Noah get together they discover a real, creative edge to the tile works designs, could this be a promising career or should Anslee cut her losses and return home to her safe and predictable life?

I so enjoyed Miller's female characters, they are strong, stubborn and delightfully real. I also enjoyed how this novel tied up the loose ends of the previous two. It was a delicious, bittersweet read as I knew I was saying goodbye to all my beloved characters!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc


  1. Judith Miller

    Judith Miller is an award-winning writer whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels. Judy and her family make their home in Kansas. Learn more at www.judithmccoymiller.com.
    Continue reading about Judith Miller
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