©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jesus the Bridegroom

Brant Pitre has written a book to explain the relationship of Jesus Christ with His church. With Brant's study of the scriptures and his understanding of God's desires for the church, he's written an excellent treatise on the Christian's relationship to Christ, both now and in the age to come. He has set out a comprehensive look at Christ's marriage to the church and its implications in how we are to live as Christians. I did get bogged down in his erudite handling of the topic, and in places his book is hard to read, but I have been driven to study this more on my own and gain a greater understanding for myself. In that alone, this book is worth the price.

Minding Molly

Leslie Gould has written quite a bit of Amish Fiction and most of it is quite good. I read Minding Molly with the anticipation of an entertaining read. I was a bit disappointed. Molly is the definition for a Type-A personality, with the desire to be in control of all aspects of her life. That desire drives her to try to control all the people around her, and it makes her a most unsympathetic character in the novel. Her sister lacks empathy and that feeds Molly's attempts to control even more and makes her harder to get along with.

Minding Molly was hard for me to read, because I could not find ground to connect with Molly and her struggles. I wish I liked it more, but I didn't. Three Stars.

Maybelle in Stitches

Maybelle works at the shipyard, welding seams on ships--in repairs and in new builds. She lives at home with her mother while her husband is in Europe fighting in the war. When her mother dies unexpectedly, and her husband goes missing in action, Maybelle has to figure out how to carry on with her life, especially since she does not have any homemaking talents or inclinations. Cooking and sewing are as foreign to her as her welding is almost second nature. With the help of her best friend Doris, and some other girls at the plant, Maybelle stitches her life back together along with a quilt her mother started.

I love fiction that centers around World War II, and this book really gives a glimpse into the life here at home, the waiting to hear, the telegrams that almost always bring bad news, the rationing and shortages, and the entry of women into the work place in more fields than teaching, nursing, or secretarial work. The world changes drastically, and life has to change with it. I love how Joyce Magnin has pulled all of these facets of life together into a cohesive book that entertains and yet demonstrates the faith of the characters at a time when the world is turned on its head. Quilting is also a hobby near and dear to my heart, and Maybelle's difficulties with the sewing machine were comical because I've had the same difficulties, even though I sew a lot. Maybelle in Stitches kept me in stitches quite a bit. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and your favorite quilt block pieced to perfection.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Circle of Spies

Roseanna M White has hit a major homerun with her Culper Ring series. I read and reviewed the first book in this series here, and while I have jumped book number two, it was no problem to pick up the story and carry on from there. In Ring of Secrets, the Culper spy ring is operating during the Revolutionary War. Whispers of Shadows takes place during the War of 1812, now in Circle of Spies, the Culper spy ring is operating in the Civil War.

Marietta Hughes is widowed and living in Baltimore in her husband's home with his mother. His brother has bought the house across the street and hopes to marry her. While away on business, Devereaux, the brother, runs into Slade Osborne--a Pinkerton agent--and hires him to watch out for his interests in the railroad he runs. Devereaux is a Confederate and a secret society member bent on overthrowing Lincoln's government, Slade is a Unionist, Marietta doesn't really have a side in the war, but looks to her own interests first and foremost. Marietta, however, has a special talent her grandfather wants her to use for the Culpers--an eidetic memory.

Roseanna puts just the right amount of suspense in the book to grip the reader and not let go, just the right amount of romance to feed all the romantic notions of a true fan, and enough realism to really connect with her reader. Marietta's guilt over her sins is an emotion all too real for me; I've been there, I've done that, and I'll forego the t-shirt, thank you. Her abilities to see something once and remember every detail about it is astonishing, and as Marietta says, it's entertaining as a parlor trick, but this ability lets her help the Culper ring in ways she never imagined possible.

I took an eidetic memory test, just to see if I had it. I don't, but here is where you can find the test, if you want to try.

I give this book Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a memory that just won't quit.

All Things Hidden

A lot of things appeal to different people based on their own personal taste, and this is the case for this particular review--the book did not fit my personal taste. When I am reading an electronic book, I generally read it straight through--it's hard to jump ahead to read the ending, and then jump back to where I was in the book in the first place. I made an exception for this book. I didn't finish it because it just didn't appeal to me. It's a good book, with really quality writing. Tracie Peterson rarely misses with her books, and, while I've never read anything by Kimberly Woodhouse, the two ladies have put together a well done story. It just didn't appeal to me. Still I will give this book a solid four stars.

A Sky Without Stars

Frankie Chasing Bear is a single mom trying to raise her son to be proud of his Lakota Sioux heritage. Her grandmother taught her how to make the Lakota Star quilt and she's trying to make one for her son, Harold. Harold wants nothing more than to move back to Pine Ridge to the Lakota reservation, while Frankie wants a better life for Harold than living on a reservation.

This was my first Linda Clare book, and I am truly glad I chose to review it. Linda has put together a book with real life being lived out. Frankie's challenge to keep Harold in school is met with Mrs Green who would rather see Harold go the way of the dinosaur, and with her attitude accuses Harold of stealing things he would have no way to steal. Frankie fights with Mrs Green, she fights with Nick Vandergriff--the Bureau of Indian Affairs agent, she fights with Harold, and she fights with Stu--the gas station owner. A Sky Without Stars depicts life in the 1950's for a native American trying to live the American dream, and in some ways just trying to live. Linda has worked in romance, friendship, mystery, quilting, and some general angst. She has done a superb job with her subject matter. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a finished quilt to cuddle in.

Friday, January 3, 2014

South Carolina Brides

I've read several Vickie McDonough novellas and find them quite engaging. This series is no different--it takes the reader through three different generations of one family and their loves. Life just can't get much better.

Heather is taking Jamie to Lucas by her cousin's request, but not without inner protest. Heather believes that Lucas sired Jamie and then left her cousin to fend for herself. While staying on as Jamie's governess, Heather becomes the object of Lucas' affections, but the truth has to be exposed first.

Hannah finds a man who has suffered a tragic beating in the field of her neighbors. She takes him up to the neighbor's house and nurses him back to health while he tries to remember who he is. The owners happen to be away at the time, but Hannah has been looking after the place while she waited for them to come back. The problem is who is this stranger that is growing on Hannah's heart?

Carina's brother was killed in a duel by a Reed, and Carina is left to tend their plantation alone. Her father is of no help to her, spending most of his time in bed or drunk or both. Now the Reed has come back to the area as a doctor and Carina wants nothing to do with him, but she takes care of her slaves and has to call on him from time to time for their care. How can she get past the fact that he's a Reed and she loves him?

These are the three conundrums set up by Vickie in this collection of stories that begin soon after the Revolutionary War and end sometime before the Civil War. I really appreciated Vickie's wit, humor, faith, and continuity in the way these stories weave seamlessly together. The men have to prove themselves to the ladies, the ladies are strong women able to handle themselves with aplomb and dignity, and their love rings true.

Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a plantation in South Carolina.

Rainy Day Dreams

My favorite thing to do on a rainy day is to curl up with a good book, a warm blanket, a glass of iced tea, and read. Of course my favorite thing to do on a sunny day is to curl up with a good book and read. Doesn't matter what the weather is, I'll read. When I saw that Rainy Day Dreams was the title of this book, I knew I had to read it. I've read books by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith before and truly enjoyed them, some enough to read multiple times.

But, . . . the story seemed to drag on.

Kathryn is a very likable protagonist, and it's easy to take her side when her father sends her to Seattle to help her cousin manage her hotel and to find a husband. The finding a husband part isn't all that high on her list, but her father wants her out of his hair.

Jason is a very wounded soul who arrives in Seattle the same time Kathryn does. She can't seem to leave him alone, and he wants nothing more than to get away from her.

There hardly seems to be time for them to get to know each other, much less form an attachment, but it happens.

Before you write me off as a snarky reviewer, there were parts of this story I did like. Kathryn's questionable art talents provided a bit of humor in the book, Kathryn's aid with the women and children taking refuge in the hotel give Kathryn a very laudable position, and Kathryn's twin sister Susan gives the reader all the more reason to like Kathryn. This book gets a strong 3.5 to 4 stars. I would still recommend this book to my friends, because in spite of the story dragging on, there were many good parts to the story.