©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hidden Among the Stars

I will cheerfully admit I love World War II fiction, but this book is one of the best WWII books I've ever read.  It is what is called a "time slip" story, that is connected through characters in 1939 Austria, and current day Ohio, and a book by Felix Salten.  It is when Callie finds writing between the lines of the book that sends her on a hunt for the treasures in the book. 

Callie and her sister Brie work in a bookstore that was owned by their very good friend, Charlotte.  Charlotte has a book with a name written inside the front cover:  Luzia Weiss.  Callie is given the book, Bambi, from her sister, with Annika's name written inside.  Every Saturday, Cassie promotes a story time for the children of the customers.  This is where she meets Ella and her father, Josh.  Because Josh needs to make tenure at his college teaching, he goes to Europe to find the treasures hidden by the Jews before Hitler rounded them up.  The more research into this project, the more Annika's and Luzia's names come up, connected with Max Dornbacher and another local farmer.

Melanie Dobson is one of my favorite authors and she has risen a number of points with this book.    Melanie has described the movement of Hitler against the Jews in Europe, how the Jews managed to hide their treasures and hide from the Gestapo as long as possible, and how some people helped the Jews right under the Germans' noses.

Melanie has also described some beautiful countryside.  Her settings have the power to let the reader escape the mundanity of real life go to castles, lakes, and forests.

This is a five star read, two thumbs up, and a diamond star of David necklace.

Tyndale House provided the galley I read through NetGalley.  This is my honest opinion of the book.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Room on the Porch Swing

Allen's wife, Savilla, passed away suddenly and he is totally bereft.  Savilla's best friend, Laura is just as bereft as Allen.  When Savilla's mother, Irma Mae, falls and breaks her leg and hip, Laura comes to Allen's rescue by taking care of his daughter.  It takes several months for Irma Mae to completely recover and Laura begins to have feelings for Allen in spite of being Rudy's girlfriend.

When I started reading this book by Amy Clipston, I felt like I'd read it before.  It was comfortable, like wearing an old t-shirt.  It seemed that I knew the characters from before.  (As a matter of fact, I did, and I reviewed it here.) There is nothing like starting a book and getting the feeling that you are visiting with old friends you haven't seen for a while. 

There are hiccups along the way for Laura and Allen, but they choose to listen to the advice of their elders.  The spirit of this book shines with biblical values that all of us should take to heart. I love books that help me grow through the stories they tell.

Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a porch swing for two.

My thanks to Zondervan for providing the galley for me to read and review.  The opinions expressed here are mine alone. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

As the Tide Comes In

Cindy Woodsmall writes unbelievably good Amish fiction, but in this collaborative novel with Erin Woodsmall, she departs from the Amish and writes a compelling modern novel that resonates with the reader from the beginning of the book to the very last page.  So let's start with the rating and then get to what's great about the book.  This is a five star book, two thumbs up, and a great outdoor adventure.

Tara, Hadley, and Elliot all grew up in the same foster home, and now they share a home together when Tara gets a letter from her grandmother that changes her life.  Patricia has been raising Tara's half brothers, but she's found out she's dying.  She wants Tara to continue raising Sean and Darryl.  She gives Tara her cabin and a sum of money she's saved up to cover expenses while the boys grow up. 

After Darryl grew up, Tara and the boys planned a trip to St Simon's island off the coast of Georgia, but before they could leave, a tornado came through the area of the cabin and dropped a tree on the cabin.  Tara survived, but the boys didn't. 

The Woodsmalls wrote about the amnesia Tara suffered, the PTSS, and the healing she achieved by living on the island and her interactions with the Glynn girls.  The authors have woven a touching novel that rivets the reader all the way through the book. 

I appreciate Waterbrook Publishing for providing the galley through NetGalley.com I read.  I am providing this review as my honest assessment of the book.

Friday, June 8, 2018

A Rebel Heart

Beth White has written such a wonderful post-bellum war book.  Selah Daughtry is going from Tennessee to Tupelo, Mississippi, but part of the way there, the train she is riding in derails and several people are killed and injured several others.  Levi Riggans is a passenger on the train, but he's also a Pinkerton agent.  He is instrumental in rescuing people from the train before it completely falls off the rail into the ravine.

Selah's primary purpose for going back to Ithaca plantation in Tupelo is to raise money to restore it for herself and her sisters. 

Levi met Selah on the train and is quite intrigued with her, but he has people to find and reports to file. When his business takes him to Ithaca, he is thrilled to find Selah there.

Beth has written a book with heart and with likable characters.  Her plot moves at a steady pace and keeps the reader involved to the very end of the book. This is a five star book, with two thumbs up, and a plantation mansion to restore.  My appreciation goes to Revell for providing the galley I read and for allowing me to review it.

A Defense of Honor

Kristi Ann Hunter generally writes high quality fiction, but I found this book hard to follow. There were so many characters I almost needed a playbill to keep up with them all.  The prime focus of regency romances is the English aristocracy and their social engagements, when the men are just as much gold-diggers as the women are.  It's all about making a good match to keep the family coffers full. 

Kit FitzGerald is looking for money, but she's trying to get deadbeat dads to pay for the support of their illegitimate children that she is taking care of.  But to figure out who belongs to whom and who is chasing who was just beyond my abilities to keep up with.

Two Stars.  My thanks to Bethany House for the complimentary copy of this book to read and for allowing me to review it.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Together Forever

Jody Hedlund writes quality fiction with incredible spiritual lessons and Together Forever is a prime example of what she can accomplish with her pen.  This is the second book in her orphan train series.

Marianne Neumann is looking for her younger sister and two babies who had been left in hers and her sisters care.  She takes a job as a placement agent on an orphan train taking children from New York to Illinois. 

Andrew "Drew" Brady is the other agent on this train and has taken the risk to bring three street children along to try to place them and give them a chance for a better life. 

Drew is instantly attracted to Marianne and uses his charms to try to woo her.

Some of the things I liked about the book were the vivid characterizations of the people populating the book, the great settings, and the interactions.  What I didn't like was the on again off again relationship between Marianne and Drew.  It is a compelling read with intrigue and suspense to keep the reader engaged.

It's a solid four star book and my thanks goes to Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Home on Huckleberry Hill

Jennifer Beckstrand has provided her readers with an irrepressible couple--Felty and Anna Helmuth--and their family.  Anna has a penchant for matchmaking her grandchildren and bringing them happiness--especially through her unusual recipes and her knitted potholders. BUT her attention changes directions to her married granddaughter, Mary Anne, and her husband, Jethro, who she believes are having troubles.

Mary Anne reaches her final breaking point when she fixes a beautifully prepared dinner and Jethro goes fishing.  While he is out, she moves out of the house into a tent in the woods of their property.

As soon as the family hears--especially Anna and Felty--they move out to the woods to show their solidarity with Mary Anne.

In this book, Jennifer opens up the stereotypes of the Amish culture, and points out the gaps between the Ordnung and the Bible, she rips the blinders off of the leadership so that they can see that marriage is more than the blind obedience of the wives to their husbands. Wives are more than servants to be at the beck and call of the husbands.

Home on Huckleberry Hill breaks down the Amish lifestyle to shine a bit of light and give all of us a lesson on how to treat each other. 

Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a camp fire to sit and find healing.

My thanks to Kensington/Zebra for allowing me to read and review this book.