©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Just Fit to Be Tied

I heard this phrase quite a bit when I was growing up.  "How did she react when he told her that?"  "Oh, she was fit to be tied."  In other words, she was exasperated, aggravated, and irritated all at once. This is the theme of Debby Mayne's newest book in the Bucklin Family Reunion series--Fit to Be Tied.

Most of the main characters have chapters of their own to explain their emotions through the events of the book.  I wish I had read the first book of the series.  The two together would be a hoot. I may have to go back to read them back to back.

Sometimes the book seems disjointed as it moves from character to character, but at the end of the book, it has all come together.

The one criticism I have is that there are no recipes included for the delicious dishes that are described in the book.  Everyone knows that family reunions are all about the food and the relatives' fights. 

Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a family reunion pot luck to tempt your tastebuds.

My thanks goes to Gilead Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book.

The Secret Is:

Lisa Jones Baker has written a series of Amish fiction that is fun, enlightening, and easy to follow.  The newest one in this series is Secret at Pebble Creek.  It dates chronologically after one of the returning characters has passed away.

Jessica inherited Sam's house and figures she can fix it up to sell and then she would be able to move closer to her job.  Eli, her next door neighbor, comes to do the remodeling on the house she wants and he finds there needs to be some remodeling on her heart.

Using the wisdom she poured into her other books, Lisa speaks Sam's wisdom through the people who knew and loved him.  Jessica soaks up this wisdom and Eli prays for her.  In the meantime, he's falling in love with her.

This is a five star book, two thumbs up, and a hidden secret just waiting to be found. 

I want to thank Zebra Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Mending

Often when I see the word "mending" I think about clothes that need a seam reinforcement or something like that.  That's not what this novel is about. 

Malinda has Crohn's Disease and she believes that excludes her from getting married or having children.  She believes the cost of her medications and possible surgery would put her completely out of any bachelor's market.  This theme runs throughout the book.  Malinda seems to be waiting for the next flare of her disease and can't see who she is beyond her disease.  In some ways I can relate to her struggles:  I too have a chronic disease and I work hard not to let it define me.  Malinda has let her condition define who she is. 

Susan Lantz Simpson has written a fairly good Amish fiction book that resonates with many readers. There is love, tension, complications, and a too helpful family.  A solid four star book. 

My appreciation goes to Kensington Press for allowing me to read and review this book.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

A Simple Singing

Leslie Gould writes all kinds of romantic fiction, but the book I just read, this one is the absolute best I've read by her.

While the story revolves around Marie and Gordon and their romance, the biggest point that Leslie makes in this novel is that everything we do should revolve around pleasing God most of all.  If He has given us a talent or a gift, it is a sin not to use it.  People will come into our lives who will put up road blocks in our paths to living a life that pleases God. 

Leslie opens the book with James 4:17:   So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Marie's particular gift is perfect pitch.  She can pick out tunes and sing them note for note, her voice was angelic, but to use her voice or instruments went against the rules of the church. 

I really appreciate Leslie's emphasis on pleasing God instead of checking off a list of rules.   This is a five-star book, two thumbs up, and a song sung in perfect pitch.

I am very appreciative of Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Lady of Tarpon Springs

Zanna Krykos is the daughter of a Greek boatbuilder in Tarpon Springs, Florida.  Her best friend, Lucy's father made a deal with some Greek sponge divers, but he died before the contract could be completed. Zanna has offered to take over the day to day running of the sponging business.

Zanna's father wants Zanna to go to Greece with her grandmother to find a husband.  He thinks she should be married and giving him grandchildren, but she thinks she should be establishing her career as a lawyer. 

When the sponge fishermen arrive a day early, Zanna goes into overdrive to find a place for them to camp and get set up for the sponge diving.  She works closely with Nico who seems to be the head diver--sometimes at logger-heads with him, and sometimes in helpful agreement.

The fly in the ointment is a Mr Pappas who wants the Grecian divers to dive for a sunken ship instead of the sponges, hoping to find a great treasure. 

Judith Miller has brought to the pages of her novel some characters who consume the readers' imaginations and keep them enthralled from the beginning to the end.  There is some predictability to the plot, but it keeps the plot moving and the characters alive in the readers' minds.

This is a five-star book, two thumbs up, and the finest makeup sponge you've ever used.

My appreciation goes to Bethany House Publishers who allowed me to read this book and review it. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Auschwitz Lullaby

Mario Escobar has novelized the story of Helene Hanneman and her five children and their experiences in Auschwitz toward the end of the war.  It is a true story and reads like a diary in the voice of Helene.

This is not an easy book to read, to learn of the cruelties of the German Reich during World War II.  Helene was married to a Gypsy, even though she was considered Aryan.  She could have continued to live in her apartment and had another life, but she refused to leave her five children. 

It was hard to read of the brutalities of the guards, the twisted experiments of Josef Mengele, and the emotionless separations of families--the selections of people for the gas chambers.

Toward the end of the war, rumors were flying of the Allies coming to liberate the camps.  Dr Mengele gave Helene a second chance to leave as a free woman, but he would not release her children.  She led her children like she led them all their lives--by example.

This is a five star book, two thumbs up, and a real mattress to sleep on.

My thanks to Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book.

Oopsy Daisy

Daisy owns the florist shop in town and Jack McReady is the pastor of Daisy's church.  He's attracted to her to the point of falling in love.  Daisy doesn't quite know he's there yet. Well, she knows he's there, but she's not in the same place he is emotionally. 

Daisy's life is not easy by any stretch of the imagination.  She's upset that she doesn't have a romantic life, a storm rips through town and damages the shelter she supports, and then a sister she didn't know she had shows up in town. To solve her first problem she signs up on an online dating app.  The second problem is a bit more involved.  She needs to help raise $20,000 to repair the shelter, but this is where the new sister proves helpful--she's got a connection to a country band that will donate their part of the take to the shelter and the committee donated their part of the take too. 

Denise Hunter has written a fast-paced novel that could make a reader believe it took her only two weeks to write.  A sentient reader would know that writing a novel takes much longer than that. There is a lot of fun in the book and it is an entertaining read.  Four solid stars.

My thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book.