©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Again, Not All That Revealing, but Fun!

Your Bookshelf is Comforting

You collect books because you love to read. You love stories, and you reread your favorites over and over again.

It's hard for you to pass up a book by your favorite author. Once you find a writer you love, you tend to read his or her whole catalog.

Your favorite books are full of engaging stories, relatable characters, and surprising plot twists. You like to be immersed in a story.

You read when you want to relax a bit or get away from the dreariness of life. Nothing renews you like a book.

You love books for what's in them, and you don't get too caught up in the apperances of your collection.

In fact, some of your favorite books are well worn, sentimental favorites. That's worth more to you than the latest shiny hardback.

Not Really All That Revealing

You Are a Paper Book

When it comes to reading, you really value quality over quantity. You are a devoted reader.

You don't like to rush through anything you are reading. You like to get up close and personal with your books.

Paper books suit you best, even if they are pricier and more difficult to obtain. Like a good story, they are worth it for you.

Besides, there is nothing you like more than having a beautiful bookshelf full of books you love. No eBook can do that for you.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Though My Heart Is Torn

I read Joanne Bischof's first book, Be Still My Soul, and found myself loving Lonnie and Gideon O'Reilly. Though My Heart Is Torn picks up their story where Be Still My Soul left off. Lonnie and Gideon are learning to love each other and have a son to love as well. Now Lonnie gets a letter from home telling her that her mother is sick and it's her dying wish to see Lonnie once again. The letter is a trick to get them home so that Lonnie's father can spring the fact that Gideon was married once before and that the marriage was never severed. There is a whole quagmire to wade through in this book.

Joanne writes in such a way that you feel what Lonnie and Gideon feel, you hurt when they hurt, and your heart is broken when their hearts are broken. While making the decision of how to deal with the situation, Lonnie is subjected to her father's verbal abuse. Cassie Allan is determined to make her marriage to Gid work, regardless of his feelings about the matter. Gid can't stand the way Lonnie's father treats her, so he sends her back to live with Jebediah and Elsie. When Lonnie leaves, her mom sends her little sister, Addie, to live with Lonnie and her son, to get her away from Lonnie's father.

This book takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, and in some parts indignation. I cannot wait for the final book in the series to come out; this is another one of those books where I am disappointed it ended. I want to know the final outcome NOW!

Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, but only one wife.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

It's My Birthday and I'll Have the Preacher if I Want To

Yesterday was my birthday and I had a wonderful celebration. I have reached the speed limit =). It was an appropriate time for me to read Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer.

Karen has been writing the sagas of the Archer boys and their love lives, beginning with Short-Straw Bride and Travis Archer.

Joanna Robbins wants nothing more for her birthday than a preacher to carry on what her mother wanted for her father, Silas. Silas and his ranch hands gear up and stop a train known to have a preacher on it. There is nothing he won't do for his daughter, whom he dotes on. Using the guise of a train-robber that he once was, he comes home with Crockett Archer, a preacher on his way to candidate at a nearby town. While Silas interrupts Crockett's plans, he doesn't interrupt God's plans, and that's what this book is about. Karen weaves a sweet story of romance in with her teaching of God's plans and interruptions that truly aren't interruptions. Even when we feel that we are moving His direction, He can shift our path for His own purposes and for His own good pleasure. This always brings me back to the passage in Isaiah where it says that God's word does not return void, but it will accomplish His purposes in His good time.

Crockett eventually gets on his way to where he was originally going, but gets stopped before he gets there. This allows him to go back and reinvigorate a church that has been without a pastor, and to get to know Joanna better--something he would love to be able to do.

This is my favorite kind of romance--one that weaves in spiritual truths along with the story, one where I learn something about God and about myself. Thank you, Karen, for a well-written novel.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Another Trip to Arkansas

Three books in one cover and all of them take place in RoseBud, Arkansas. I'll admit I had to look RoseBud, Paradise, and Romance up on an Arkansas map. They are small towns near Searcy, Arkansas, which is just north of Little Rock. So there were three Arkansas Weddings in the town of Romance, Arkansas.

Adrea Welch prepares a bouquet of white roses every year for Grayson Sterling and his son Dayne to put on his wife's grave. She was killed by a drunk driver, Adrea's former fiance. While Grayson and Adrea both have hurts that have to be healed, Adrea's brother Mark and Grayson's twin sister Grace find romance. But, . . .

Laken Kroft becomes Hayden's boss; Hayden is raising his nephew, Brady, who is in a wheelchair, after his sister dies of cancer; Laken's brother Colin is Brady's father and wants to take him to California. All of this adds up to hurdles and bumps and detours on the way to true love.

Shell took Adrea's fiance away from her and broke Adrea's heart, but now she's back in Romance overseeing the renovations of the town mansion into a Bed and Breakfast. The landscaper is Ryler Grant--once a lover of Shell's, but Ryler doesn't know that Shell has a son. Laken and Colin don't know that Ryler is their brother.

I wanted to read this book of novels because, again, I am from Arkansas and I miss my home state. These three stories follow the romance novel formula: boy meets girl
boy falls in love with girl
boy loses girl
boy gets girl back
Everyone lives happily ever after.

In spite of all that, these were enjoyable stories. Not exactly five star quality, but worth the time to read them for a little escape from reality. I'll definitely look for more titles by Shannon Taylor Vannatter.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I'm Searching

Travis and Bill, Frankie and Joyce, Dot and Susie, and Matt have formed the search committee to find a pastor for their church in North Carolina. Bill generally drives the Ford Econoline van that takes them to their various candidates' churches, but sometimes Travis drives. They map out their route ahead of time, but sometimes their mapping skills don't work all that well for them.

When they get lost in Croatan National Forest going between two churches in the same day, the rangers who find them have to chuckle about the lost search committee. There is always an adventure to be had on the search committee's visits to the various churches: getting stuck in an elevator, getting a flat tire, scratching your ribs and being called on to make a prayer request, the list is as entertaining as the rest of the book.

I believe Tim Owens has served on at least one search committee, because he pins down the collective personality as well as the individual personalities of all the members. He's got the whole search process down pat. This book really pulled me into it and made me sad to leave it when I finished it. I wanted to see more of the members' lives.

Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a Ford Econoline Van.

Chasing Francis

I read this book with great interest and absolutely loved it! I didn't realize until I had finished the book that it was a novel of what could have been a true story.

Chase Fallon is the pastor of a church who is also having a crisis of his faith. His elder board have suggested rather strongly that Chase take a leave of absence to figure himself out. Chase calls his uncle Kenny who is a friar in Italy. Kenny invites Chase to come visit and go on a pilgrimage to follow in St Francis of Assissi's footsteps. As Chase embarks on this pilgrimage, he finds that his preconceived notions of faith are not all that accurate. Through the friars who are friends with Kenny and the books he reads on Francis' life, Chase begins to understand that worship is about the heart and can happen anywhere. He learns that Francis loved to worship out amidst the creation of the Creator who made it all. Chase begins to study Francis' life more and more to figure out how he wants to lead his church when he gets back to the States. He maps out a plan to take back to his church to show them where he sees the church going in the next several years. He's not quite through fleshing out his plan when Maggie, one of his parishioners, shows up. With Kenny and his friends, Chase gives her a whirlwind tour of Rome before one of Chase's elders calls and tells him that he's needed back home. With a hurried meeting before the elders, Chase and the associate pastor line out their plans for the church. The elders hold a closed session where they decide to let Chase go, a decision that comes with great difficulty but great wisdom. The elders realize that if Chase stays, he will be frustrated trying to put his plan into practice and that he will have a greater chance of following what he believes is the true path--one of following Jesus wholly.

Ian Morgan Cron has written an incredible book, integrating the history of St Francis into an engaging story that follows the struggles of a pastor who needs to find faith.

Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a prayer of St Francis.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Most Peculiar

Jen Turano is relatively new in the historical fiction world, and this was my first foray into her world. I must say she writes a truly entertaining story.

Arabella was expected home much earlier but she got side tracked on her trip. A lady riding on the train told Arabella about her daughter who had answered a "mail order bride" ad and she hadn't heard from her daughter since. This is only the beginning of Arabella's adventures. From one event to another, Arabella's life defines A Most Peculiar Circumstance.

After being hired by Arabella's family to find her, Theodore Wilder gets caught up in all the adventures that Arabella encounters. First, when Theodore catches up to Arabella in Gilman, Illinois, where she's trying to find out where all the "mail order brides" are disappearing to. Theodore finds himself rescuing Arabella from situations that make him shake his head, bailing her out of jail--twice, rescuing her from the clutches of a kidnapper, keeping her safe from kidnappers. His hands are full with her, and he finds that he likes having his hands full with her.

Jen is a delightful author with a way about her story-telling that keeps the reader involved and intrigued all the way through. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a kidnappers hangout.