Friday, 9 November 2018

Book Review: It's Okay Not to Be Okay

From The Back:

When Sheila Walsh discovered "I'm not good enough and I'm good with that," everything started to change.We've all experienced that moment when we wish we could start all over again. Failed marriages, lost friends, addictions, lost jobs. This is not the life we imagined. Yesterday can leave us stuck, sad, shamed, scared, and searching. Sheila wants you to face the pain head-on and then start again, from right where you are.

In It's Okay Not to Be Okay, she helps you overcome the same old rut of struggles and pain by changing the way you think about God, yourself, and your everyday life. She shares practical, doable, daily strategies that will help you move forward one step at a time, knowing God will never let you down.

It's never too late to start again . . . and there is healing and freedom in just taking the first step.

Not self-help. God help.
My Reflections: I have been in love with Sheila Walsh's stories and humour since I was a young mom and attending the "Women of Faith" Conferences in Vancouver. Her honest, heartfelt way draws people in making them privy to her heart, leading them to God in the process. 

Her newest book It's "Okay Not to Be Okay" delves in deeper, Walsh leads her readers to the truth, not merely fluffy feel-good platitudes. Hope and encouragement ring loud in this book making this a fantastic read for all women in all stages of life. 
Be prepared to laugh, cry and evaluate your life and the lens you view it through. I so love how God works in our lives, he always pairs something he is trying to convey with an affirmation. Our sermon this Sunday was about the measuring stick we use to judge our expectations and life through. This sermon hit some of the same themes of this book, love how God hit's his mark!

I enjoyed that Walsh peppers her chapters with real-life stories, practical applications to her teaching and lots of scripture to soak in. I usually can get through a book in one or two days, I'm a fast reader who digs in and absorbs the pages, however, this one took me much longer as I re-read and jotted key facts down. I will most certainly be returning to this book again and again, as it is too packed to leave for just one sitting. 

If you are looking to grow in your faith, challenge your views and expectations this book gives you the roadmap to break free from the pressures of the world's expectations. Be ready to be shaken and encouraged. 
The title of this book has become a "thing" in our house, my kids often say, "mom, it's okay not to be Okay"! 
I hope to read more books by Walsh in the future. I pray it has the same effect on you as it has had on me, one book, one sermon at a time God uses everything to get our attention and grow us to the person we will one day become.

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

Sheila Walsh
Sheila Walsh is a powerful communicator, Bible teacher, and bestselling author with more than 5 million books sold. She is the author of the award-winning Gigi, God's Little Princess and In the Middle of the Mess. She is cohost of LIFE...
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Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Book Review: Not The Boss Of Us

From The Back:

Overwhelmed is the new normal
Too much to manage and not enough time or energy to do it? What if instead of being overwhelmed with life you could be overwhelmed by Truth with all its grace, hope, peace, and love?

In this perspective-altering book, Kay Wills Wyma shares how to confront the pressures we face--at home, online, at work, in relationships, on our calendars--and replace all those heavy expectations with the liberating truth that we were made for something better. Through relatable stories sprinkled with a dash of humor, Kay gives us permission to step back, put Life's Overwhelmed in its place, and find fulfillment and freedom anchored in Truth.

If you feel tired, like you just can't take it anymore--don't. Because Life's Overwhelmed is not the boss of us!

My Reflections:
Feeling like life is just too busy? You are not alone. We are all subject to demands, stress and overwhelming pressure from time to time. Kay Wills Wyma teaches us that though we can't always dictate our lives, we can choose to lean into the one who created life itself. 

"Not the Boss of us" is not just another how-to manual it is a life preserver, an encouraging uplifting read that just may help you manage those feelings of overload. 

Written with the reader in mind, this book is filled with relevant stories, witty humour and invitation to live life to its fullest. Kay Wills Wyma is a true storyteller and through her many illustrations we see that life is not solitary, we are not in this alone. God is right there in the laundry, in the chaos, in the hospital room, he is with us, we are not alone in this. I loved how truth is weaved into these many stories, how honest and raw vulnerability is shared. I don't know about you but I love to listen to people, I love hearing peoples stories, see how God has worked and shone through tough times. I am a people person who thrives on connections. This book helped me see a different bigger picture, that I knew was there but just seemed out of reach. 

Peace, love and calm can be had in the middle of our busy days, those days where we can't see the counter for all the dishes, those days where the kids' meltdowns are just one too many. The days where sleep is not found, God is with us, he can work through us and it is enough. Breath friends, deep cleansing breaths, we are not alone, God has a purpose. 

I love that the authour doesn't sugar coat the trials along the way, I loved that this book is not a huge long read, because really that would add to my overwhelmedness! If you are looking to be encouraged, perhaps like me you will find a few nuggets of rest in this read.

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

Kay Wills Wyma

Kay Wills Wyma, former White House staffer, international banker, and entrepreneur, is a mom of five who writes about seeing beyond life's pressures in order to navigate life and thrive together. She is the author of two books and blogs at the popular...
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Book Review: River to Redemption

From the Back:

One young woman must stand up for freedom--and perhaps find her own in the process.
Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions.

Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She's determined to find a way to buy Louis's freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she'll need all of the courage and strength she possesses--and more.

My Reflections:

Ann Gabhart is my go-to authours for heartfelt, inspirational stories. This one does not disappoint with its well-developed characters, heart-tugging plot and strong faith base.
Adria Starr orphaned at the tender age of seven after her parents and little brother died from the Cholera epidemic in the 1833's. God had his hand on her life however and brought people into her life to nurture her and help her grow up to be a strong, wise young adult. Those people who poured love into her were slaves, and being such has shown Adria that no one has the right to own another person, no matter their skin colour. 

Louis, a slave who stayed in Springfield Kentucky, when everyone else was fleeing rescues little Adria. This gentle giant was one of my favourite characters, his tender spirit and deep faith for God were truly inspiring!
I also loved the cook, Aunt Tilda. In the effort to give Adria the very best he has to offer, Louis secures a home for her with a widow who has just lost her husband to the flue. Ruth Harmon is grieving deeply but does her utmost to provide Adria with all she needs to become independent and self-aware. 

Adria holds her heart close, she knows what she must do but also is wise in her planning. I really enjoyed how she executes her plans, this story really caught my heart!

You will want to read the Author's notes, as this story is based loosely on real events. That was the icing on the top for me. This book will likely stay on my shelves to be read again.
In closing, if you are looking for a book with heart, faith and lovable characters, look no further this book has all that and more!

Ann H. Gabhart
Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling and award-winning author of several Shaker novels--The OutsiderThe BelieverThe SeekerThe BlessedThe Gifted, and The Innocent--as well as historical novels--River to...
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Book Review: Best of Intentions

From The Back:

She Swore to Protect Her Nephew at Any Cost. But What if That Price is a Chance at Love? 
In the aftermath of WWI, Grace Abernathy is determined to reunite her family, crossing an ocean to convince her widowed sister to return home to England. Yet, in Toronto she discovers more tragedy--her nephew Christian in the custody of his paternal relatives, the formidable Easton family, who rejected Grace's sister because of her low social status.

Unconvinced the Eastons can be fitting caretakers, Grace uses an assumed name to secure the position of Christian's nanny and moves into the Easton estate. There she can observe the family up close, while ensuring Christian's well-being. In the course of her new role, she is shocked to find herself falling in love with Andrew Easton, the boy's guardian. Unfortunately, Andrew is promised to a spoiled socialite who is sure to make a terrible stepmother for Christian. Will Grace be able to protect her nephew . . . and her heart?
My Reflections:
This story is a fresh start on a whole new series, Calle Canadian Crossings. I was so excited about this series because it is Canadian! Yippee, I love reading about places I have been, streets I may have travelled. It brings a whole new meaning and dimension to the story. 

This is a complex plot and full cast of characters, the reader will be emersed into a story where faith is a central theme, although the characters are tested they do hold strong in the end. 
My heart broke for the loss Grace endured and the position she found herself in. I'm not so sure about all of her choices, but I'm not in her position either. Her heart is good, her intentions fall short in the honesty department. Half-truths and well kept secrets ensnare Grace into a web of which she must extract herself from, but will she be able to make sure her little nephew Christian is happy and well taken care of?

Andrew also has some challenges to come against. His life is quite dictated and he never has felt like he can measure up to his father's expectations. Will he be able to find happiness under all the pressures of commitments or will he forge his own path to happiness, even if that means not getting the respect form family?

This book is rich in detail and history, I'm glad we have writers like Susan Ann Mason who is not afraid to dig up the past and craft an engaging, story with characters you can't wait to meet again! 

Susan Anne Mason

Susan Anne Mason's debut historical novel, Irish Meadows,won the Fiction from the Heartland contest from the Mid-American Romance Authors Chapter of RWA. Also a member of ACFW, Susan lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two...
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Book Review: Called To Protect

From the Back:

She'll have to draw on all of her resources to crack the case--and guard her heart.
After being dumped by her fiancé, Chloe St. John has decided that the only male she likes is her K-9 German shepherd partner, Hank. But being over the whole romance thing has perks--like giving full attention to her job. Attention she's definitely going to need because a case of human trafficking with connections to her missing cousin just landed in her lap.

Deputy US Marshall Blake MacCallum is in a race against the clock to rescue his kidnapped daughter when Chloe and Hank are asked to be a part of the task force assembled to bring down the traffickers. Chloe finds herself attracted to the silent, suffering man. But can she trust him? And can Blake trust himself around this firecracker of a woman?

Buckle in. This fast and furious ride will have your heart pumping from the very start.

My Reflections:

Called to Protect is book two in the Blue Justice Series, and although it a series this book does a fine job as a standalone. However, may want to read book one, "Oath of Honour" as you certainly won't want to miss any details in the saga. 

In true Lynette Eason fashion, you will be immersed in an edgy, action-packed story, filled with likable characters and a non-stop action, this book will have readers gripping their seats until the conclusion is reached.

I won't lie this book deals with some heavy subject matter but Eason does a wonderful job of highlighting the issues of trafficking without traumatizing the reader with too much detail.
Having teenagers made me particularly sensitive to just how easy it is to take a child. It was a great reminder to have good conversations about difficult issues in our world.

Another aspect about this book I enjoyed was the K-9 Hank. We have two service dogs and I so enjoy reading about dogs with jobs! The training involved and the dedication is really phenomenal!

Since the St. John's are a large family I am eagerly anticipating a very long series involving all the family members who are mostly involved in the law enforcement profession.

If you are looking for a novel with non-stop action, well-developed characters and a fast-paced plot look no further, this book is for you!

Lynette Eason
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Oath of HonorCalled to Protect, and Code of Valor, as well as the Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol...
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Friday, 5 October 2018

Natural Remedies: Blushing Bluebird Essentials- Reusable Feminine Products

Have you been looking for a more natural way to manage your time of the month or that annoying thing that happened after you had all your babies? You know when you laugh really hard or a cough, ya..I'm here to enlighten you, friends.

There is a better way to live, a cleaner, cost-effective and environmentally responsible alternative.

I know you think this city girl has gone completely crunchy. Yep, when you live in the middle of nowhere something fundamentally weird happens, you start to feel just a little differently.

But seriously, I seem to be allergic to just about everything, and I have passed that down, kind of me eh?

So when the need to figure out something a little different came along so did many, many hours of research. Seems like this issue is not all that uncommon!

I was scouring the internet for a natural product, something that was breathable, not synthetic and ultimately comfortable without being overly obvious.

We came across a local company, Blushing Bluebird Essentials and we also trialled some we found on Amazon.

The ones from Amazon were well made and had a minky top, these were not the natural product we had been looking for but were a fraction of the price and came in fun teenager approved fabrics. However, they did not make the final thumbs up approval for two reasons. One they were not the natural product I was seeking, and two they reportedly too big and bulky.

The Bluebird Essentials Product we bought was handmade with love, local and the customer service was beyond anything I would expect!
Not to mention that we got to visit the workshop and see first hand how everything was assembled. I love the idea of women coming together to sew and chat, all the while changing lives and passionately creating a well-made product! That's community friends...Now I do sound crunchy!

Back to the topic at hand, the ick factor, how was that going to be received? Having never tried anything like this, and being on the squeamish side I was a tad worried about how well it would go.

However, we were pleasantly surprised. It has been easy to manage, these are machine washable, and you can even pop them into the dryer (although it is recommended to hang to dry, we haven't) I was given a thumbs up, and just made the big switch over and have fully committed.

Are you curious yet? These are awesome for everyday use, monthly needs, postpartum, or incontinence. Seriously friends give it a whirl, you might just be surprised!

Here is a little about the company: Click on the links below.

The story behind the product

Products and Features

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Compassion Canada, Period Poverty

Click here to learn more about this article.

Having your period is no big deal, but if you live in a third world country, or are living on the streets, this monthly visitor can be truly devastating.

When I came across this article through Graf-Martin Communications, I was immediately moved by what these people are doing to empower women in their communities. You can access the direct link above,  I have copied one paragraph for you to get the scope of the awesomeness of this project. This is really what coming together for the greater good of humankind is all about!

 A Snapshot From the Link Above:

Men working at sewing machines may seem like an unconventional picture—even more so when you realize they are sewing reusable feminine hygiene products! But for several men in Mulatsi, Uganda, this is a regular practice that is strengthening their community, generating income and empowering their daughters.
Period poverty refers to the lack of access to hygiene products for girls living in poverty
something that was an immense struggle for women and girls in Mulatsi.

The dedication to change lives in a very practical way.

The smiles say it all. Visit the Compassion Canada site and read more about this amazing project!

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Book Review: A Defense of Honor

From The Back:

Praise for Kristi Ann Hunter's An Inconvenient Beauty
When Katherine "Kit" FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she's forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend's missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she's telling.

After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can't matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and to raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. But as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, the risk of revealing the truth may come at too high a price for those she loves.
My Reflections:  
A defence of Honor is book one in the Haven manor series. What a strong start to a very promising series! I was expecting the normal stiff ballroom, high society storyline with a heart-tugging plot thrown in for good measure, what I got, however, was so much more!
The ballrooms were largely replaced by a quiet, quaint little village that boasts tranquillity and peace. The plot was deep, emotional and oh so well executed! 
I was pleasantly surprised by Hunter's candid exploration of the topic of illegitimate children and all involved. This aspect was very hidden in high society, ruining many lives in the process. Bringing to light the darkness surrounding these children was a bold move for this authour and I for one am overjoyed to see the beautiful story crafted from the ashes! well done Kristi Ann Hunter.

If you are looking for a regency type tale this may be your next read!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."
Kristi Ann Hunter
Kristi Ann Hunter is the author of the Hawthorne House series and a 2016 RITA Award winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her...
Continue reading about Kristi Ann Hunter

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Book Review: Battle Ready Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt, And Live Victoriously

From The Back:

"The best time to be strengthened against the Enemy's tactics of doubt, disappointment, and devastation is before he makes his first move toward us. We all desperately need the biblical guidance and preparation found in Battle Ready!"--Lysa TerKeurstNew York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries

Too often we fail to prepare for our battles. So when challenges, troubles, or opportunities arise, we rapidly become burdened with limiting thoughts of self-doubt, fear, impossibility, and lack. But it doesn't have to be this way. We can train our minds to conquer uncertainty, beat insecurity, and step past the tragedies of yesterday.

Battle Ready is a hands-on scriptural plan that teaches you twelve easy-to-implement, confidence-building mind-sets designed to transform your thoughts and, therefore, your life. You'll gain practical wisdom, like how to

· make new habits stick in just five steps
· disarm the seven most common attacks that plague women
· exchange self-limiting thoughts for purpose-driven, love-releasing thoughts
· implement thirty-second mind-lifters that deliver peace
· create boundaries so you live life full of what matters

You can live victoriously.
My Reflections:
This book is brilliant! I was not quite sure what I was expecting going into this one, but it was probably along the lines of getting a few good points then moving on. Not this book. This book is a slow, savoury filling of the mind, heart and soul. This book has so much depth you just need to soak it in and let the word bath you in truth and ready you for the next battle. 
Kelly Balarie's book encourages us to look at scriptures we all know and love in a whole new light. She points out that our feelings are not reality, that God's word is the only stability we need. 
Balarie lays out twelve warrior mindsets, and an action plan to utilize them. I absolutely love how encouraging and down to earth this authour is. Her writing is well laid out, with plenty of resources to support the journey along the way. It is exciting to really delve into a book that has a systematic and well thought out plan to change the way we chatter to ourselves in our own mind. We may not be aware of the lies, judging and comparisons we are playing over and over in our own thoughts on a daily basis, but these lies are shaping who we are and how we act. I for one am done with this useless limiting behaviour, I'm ready for God's truth and love to replace the tarnished bits. Bring it on!
Battle Ready is much more than a mear Bible Study or another self-help book, it is a powerful weapon that will enable you to become more aware and apply God's truth to your life!
This book is a life changer, and I have read a lot of these books, it won't happen overnight, there is no perfect sequence, it will take God's spirit in us, encouraging us one step at a time, are you ready for change?

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

  1. Kelly Balarie

    Kelly Balarie is a passionate national speaker who has spent nearly ten years leading groups of women in spiritual growth, marriage building, and general Bible studies across the nation. She has lived her subject matter. Her faith was built as she battled...
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Saturday, 22 September 2018

Book Review: The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond

From the Back:

For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and Midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant facade. Yet her strange and sudden inheritance of a run-down trailer home--full of pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters--leaves her wholly unprepared for how truly dark and deadly those secrets may be.

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove is stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, while working at her father's newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon's son to solve the crime, it becomes clear that a reckoning has come to town--but it isn't until another obituary arrives at the paper that they realize the true depths of the danger they've waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must unravel the mysteries of their own town before it's too late and they lose their future--or their very souls.
My Reflections:
My first book by this authour was Wright's debut novel, The House on Foster Hill, I am so glad to have the opportunity to read yet another title by this very talented authour. 

Two women connected by the weight of sin. 
Brokenness, weakness, hidden deeply, these are the tools of evil. 
Forgiveness, wholeness and light shining into our darkness this is healing. 
I absolutely loved the way this novel is written, the time-slip past and present woven together seamlessly.

The atmosphere of creepiness is real with the backdrop of Gossamer Grove. This not so quaint town boasts hidden secrets, a creepy, run-down trailer and strange happenings. The adrenaline will definitely keep you racing through the pages trying to figure out the unpredictable conclusion. Grace tampers the darkness yet profound, pain-filled moments are not sugar-coated. This book is so layered I was transported within its pages, and could not leave its grips until the last page was flipped.  
I equally enjoyed both female protagonists. The present day with Annalise and past with Libby. The subtle romance was uniquely blended with suspense and quirky characters. An emulsion of perfectness!

I am not quite sure how Wright was able to pull this storyline off, but wow did she ever, how will she ever top this? I can't wait to see!
It's mind blowing how seamlessly the story fit together, and the reader is not even aware of all the pieces until the very end. I can't wait for book number three from this author and don't forget to read the author's notes, you won't regret it!

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

Jaime Jo Wright

Jaime Jo Wright is the author of the acclaimed novels The House on Foster Hill and The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime works as a human resources director in...
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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Book Review: How Joyful People Think

From The Back:

The secret to getting the most out of life is within your reach
Two people can face the same type of adversity and have two vastly different reactions, even when they have the same background and worldview. What makes the difference? Perspective--the way they think about things. Right thinking matters, and thankfully it's something we all can learn to do.

In this insightful unpacking of Philippians 4:8, pastor Jamie Rasmussen shows you how to focus your thoughts and attention on the things in life God has declared will make a meaningful impact on both your outlook and experience. It's the kind of thinking that has the power to change us, pointing us away from self-pity, anger, and resentment toward contentment and personal peace.

My Reflections: 

Funny how a book comes along just when you need it. Is this coincidence or is this God? You guessed it, his love surpasses all understanding, and I will never understand just how he can love me enough to peak into my life in the seemingly smallest of areas! This week has been hard. Nothing earth-shattering, just mundane hard days, kids fighting, booking errors, homeschool angst. You know the run of the mill joy sucking kind of week.

How Joyful People think is a remarkable deep book considering it is focusing on a teeny tiny passage in the Bible, Philippians 4:8.

If you are anything like me and have read so many self-help books you basically are a self-help encyclopedia. I am amazed that a book can tell me anything I have not already heard. This book by Jamie Rasmussen is truly unique. It shows how real change is accomplished through God's design. 8 way of thinking. Could it really be that simple? 
Seems like God thinks so, so it must be. We have all heard you are what you think, but it is so much deeper than this. If you have ever found yourself running on that Ferris wheel of negative self talk, unhelpful nerritives, this book was written for you (and me.) 

I so enjoyed this authours deep, yet easy to read book, the unpacking of Philippians 4:8 was done in such an understandable and readable fashion. 
A must read!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

Jamie Rasmussen

Jamie Rasmussen (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is the senior pastor of Scottsdale Bible Church, which is regularly listed on Outreach magazine's Top 100 list in both size and speed of growth for the past ten years. He has been an ordained...
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Friday, 31 August 2018

Book Review: Auschwitz Lullaby

Book Description

Auschwitz Lullaby brings to life the story of Helene Hannemann—a woman who sacrificed everything for family and fought furiously for the children she hoped to save.
On an otherwise ordinary morning in 1943, Helene Hannemann is preparing her five children for the day when the German police arrive at her home. Helene’s worst fears come true when the police, under strict orders from the SS, demand that her children and husband, all of Romani heritage, be taken into custody. Though Helene is German and safe from the forces invading her home, she refuses to leave her family—sealing her fate in a way she never could have imagined.
After a terrifying trek across the continent, Helene and her family arrive at Auschwitz and are thrown into the chaos of the camp. Her husband, Johann, is separated from them, but Helene remains fiercely protective of her children and those around her. When the powers-that-be discover that Helene is not only a German but also a trained nurse, she is forced into service at the camp hospital, which is overseen by the notorious Dr. Mengele himself.
Helene is under no illusions in terms of Dr. Mengele’s intentions, but she agrees to cooperate when he asks her to organize a day care and school for the Romani children in the camp. Though physically and emotionally brutalized by the conditions at Auschwitz, Helene musters the strength to protect the children in her care at any cost. Through sheer force of will, Helene provides a haven for the children of Auschwitz—an act of kindness and selflessness so great that it illuminates the darkest night of human history.
Based on a true story, Mario Escobar’s Auschwitz Lullaby demonstrates the power of sacrifice and the strength of human dignity—even when all hope seems lost.

My Reflections: 

This book was such a heavy, saddening read. Of course, I knew it going in but the author's vivid writing was able to capture the events in such explicit detail that the very darkness and evil of this horrendous time shook me to the core.

The pure light in this book is Helene Hannemann. Though this book is fiction, the character is based on historical events and real people who showed courage in the face of the most terrifying time under the rule of Hitler.  

I often find myself drawn to fluffy, feel-good books, there is quite enough suffering in the world around me to not want to read about more. However, I believe that we must know the atrocities of the Holocaust in order to not let this be a mere time in history that is forgotten. This is not a feel-good book, it is, however, a must read. Its story and events must be retold. 

Helene Hannemann is a real hero, along with the many others who endured the atrocities. She managed to hold tight to her love for family, and those in her charge. She shows such dignity and courage!
Helene made a difference in the midst of horrors I hope we never know. Through it all, we see her humanness, a truth to self that anyone would experience.  

Escobar is able to tell the story with such power that I was literally sobbing and broken for these people and their realities. 

Surprisingly this book was first published in Spanish and then later translated. I encourage you to delve into the stories of Helene. 
Hitler was not the only sick individual read up on Dr. Mengle. The doctor who essentially experimented and tortured many innocent children. I read an article where to this day they don't fully know what he was injecting into these people. Some of his tactics were pure evil!

I would recommend this book to individuals over the age of 12 due to the graphic content. I will be sharing this book with my 16-year-old. I will certainly be looking at more from this internationally best selling authour!

I received this book free of charge from Book Look Bloggers in return for my honest review. Thank you, Book Look!

Mario Escobar Golderos has a degree in History, with an advanced studies diploma in Modern History. He has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. He is the executive director of an NGO and directs the magazine Nueva historia para el debate, in addition to being a contributing columnist in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries, Escobar has delved into the depths of church history, the different sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. He specializes in the lives of unorthodox Spaniards and Americans.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Book Review: Together Forever

From The Back:

Will the Mistakes of Their Past Cost Them a Chance at Love?
Determined to find her lost younger sister, Marianne Neumann takes a job as a placing agent with the Children's Aid Society in 1858 New York. She not only hopes to offer children a better life, but prays she'll be able to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train so they can finally be reunited.

Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing-out trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children, firm but tender and friendly. Underneath his charm and handsome looks, though, seems to linger a grief that won't go away--and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden.

As the two team up, placing orphans in the small railroad towns of Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever. 
My Reflections:
Jody Hedlund sets the bar high once again with another fantastic sequel in her series "Orphan Train." 
This emotionally charged story will have your heart tucked within the first pages. This is the second book in the series and while it certainly could be read as a stand-alone, for your reading pleasure I would recommend reading this story in its intended order.
I simply love the way the authour pulls history and fiction together seamlessly. It makes for a fascinating, educationally rich delight. 
In this installment, we delve into the second Neumann sister's story. Marianne is an agent who travels on the orphan train and places children with prospective families. She teams up with Andrew another fellow agent and together they face many joys and trials as they help their charges find new beginnings. I so enjoyed both of these characters, their willingness to engage with the children and the genuine care they display was extremely touching. 
Although there are strict guidelines they must adhere to as agents, they find themselves growing more and more dependent on each other. Both have obstacles that must be overcome before they can truly share their hearts freely. Will the pain of the past be too much to overcome or will the shared experiences and healing journey be enough to endure?
I'm so eager to read the next book, there is a lead in to book three in this series where we will most likely delve into Sophie and Reinhold's story!
You can always count on in Jody Hedlund's novels to draw her readers into a story filled with grace, love, reconciliation and unique historical detail. Well done!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."
Jody Hedlund
Jody Hedlund is the author of over a dozen novels, including Love UnexpectedCaptured by LoveUnending DevotionThe Preacher's Bride, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for historical romance. She received a...
Continue reading about Jody Hedlund

Monday, 13 August 2018

Book Review: A Rebel Heart

From The Back:

"Full of intrigue, grit, and grace, A Rebel Heart is Beth White at her finest."--Jocelyn Green, award-winning author of A Refuge Assured
Five years after the final shot was fired in the War Between the States, Selah Daughtry can barely manage to keep herself, her two younger sisters, and their spinster cousin fed and clothed. With their family's Mississippi plantation swamped by debt and the Big House falling down around them, the only option seems to be giving up their ancestral land--until a hotel management agent for the railroad offers her hope for the future. 

If she'll turn her home into a hotel, Levi Riggins says, he can all but guarantee it will be saved. Selah isn't sure she entirely trusts the handsome Yankee. Yet what other options does she have? She'll have to stay on her guard . . . but she never expected to have to guard her heart.
My Reflections:
From the first page to the last this story captures its readers with tender moments, raw depictions and everything in between. If you love historical romance, this one will not disappoint.  
A Rebel Heart is well written and has a colourful cast of characters. I usually struggle to keep large character casts in line but Beth White is a master storyteller who makes reading this very intriguing book a breeze. 
Set in Mississipi in the 1870's these are the turbulent years following the Civil war. This was a challenging time for the South, fraught with sides still being taken, and men and women still hurting. 
Levi Riggins, Pinkerton agent and former Yankee military officer finds himself the hero of the day when he single-handily rescues many in a devastating train accident. One young lady in particular, however, catches his eye with her selfless nature and her steely resolve. When Levi Learns that her home is in jeopardy he devises a plan to help everyone involved. Problem is there seems to be much more to this story than meets the eye. Will, he be able to assist the very pretty Selah and her little family or will the sins of the past and present be too great to overcome? 
Selah is fiercely loyal to her family and the plantation she holds dear. She will do what it takes to stay on her property. Her values and faith keep her on the path to truth.  But will the truth really set her free or will she be buried under the many lies and sins? Selah does have a knight in shining armour in Levi and together they work to uncover the threads that bind the past and present together in a very unexpected bramble. 
This is a strong start to the series and I am eagerly awaiting the next book and what happens to the two other sisters. Hopefully, we don't have to wait long!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

Beth White

Beth White's day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of The Pelican Bride and The Creole Princess. Her...
Continue reading about Beth White
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