Friday, January 25, 2013

Christmas Stories: Heartwarming Classics of Angels, a Manger, and the Birth of Hope Max Lucado Thomas Nelson August 2011 Who doesn't love a good collection of Christmas stories? During the holidays, when the snow is falling and hearths burn bright, it's easy to imagine ourselves in front of the fire as a loved one narrates Christmas tales, getting us ready for the upcoming holiday! It's England, at Christmas, and quite a few years back the first time the Haddington's receive their first visit from the Christmas angel. Mysteriously he appears, sets one candle ablaze, and the disappears. The candle is given away the next day to one in need, and a miracle is reported after having used the candle and prayed.., Since then the angel appears only every twenty five years with the same results.. It becomes the towns hope around the holidays... But this year things didn't go quite as planned. Curl up and see how the Lord comes through for a small town of people in need. His marriage is failing, and all he has from his past is a picture. In order to clear his head, he takes a break from his wife and goes in search of the things that he has never known about himself. Landing in a small Texas town, he sets to work trying to find out all he can about the picture, and the person who may have left it behind. Being met with opposition only fuels his fire to get to the bottom of his past. But is he prepared for what he might uncover? Will it cause him to open his heart and re-examine who has has become and who he has the chance to be ? And there are more! This book is packed with stories in various lengths, all to help us celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. I did not love this book. It wasn't poorly written, it just failed to capture me or pull me in to any of the stories. They are cute, though a little bit cheesy sometimes. I did like that they stayed focused on the true meaning of Christmas. I would not discourage someone from reading this, I just might not have it in my Christmas reading list each year. I recieved this book free for review from publisher

Monday, January 7, 2013

A season of Tending Amish Vines of the Orchards, book 1 Cindy Woodsmall September 2012 Rhoda Byler has a gift. One that has caused her community to shy away from her. Not only does she have an herb and berry garden that seems to produce when no others are, she also has been known to predict certain harmful events. Already shrouded by the guilt of her unfortunate past, the town's sneers and insinuations only push her further into her garden and the only work she loves. It's the one place she can hear her sisters voice and try to drown out the constant ridicule. Digging her fingers into the dirt one morning, she finds a girl sleeping in her berries, clearly having been there all evening. Finding she is Amish, despite her clothing, she finds out how to return her home. She is nettled by the stern older brother who shows up to claim her. Frustrated at her attempts to get him to see things her way, she is glad to see him leave. And very surprised when she sees him returning not a few days later. And this time with a business proposition. Who is this man who has waltzed into her life so suddenly? Helping to pick of the pieces of his failing orchard may be just the distraction she needs. Could this be the ticket out from under the accusing stares of her neighbors?Or will she get much more than she could have ever bargained for? I have to say, I have not met a book by this author that I have not enjoyed. From her very first book I have loved her stories, and this is no exception. She does such a great job weaving so many types of characters into her books. I always love to see how the story twists and turns. I am on pins and needles for the next book in this series. Very well done! Highly recommend! I received this book free for review by the publisher.
Band of Sisters Cathy Gohlke Tyndale House August 2012 Fleeing her Irish homeland, with shame on her shoulders and little sister in tow; Maureen O'Reilly sets sail for America to make good on a promise made to her father years ago. After surviving the long passage across seas and then the obstacles and unexpected help on Ellis Island, she finds herself thrown out into the cold confusing streets of New York. But she knows all will be well once she finds the wealthy family that owes her deceased father a favor. She was not expecting that family to close their door on her and leave her scrambling for work and shelter elsewhere. Looking for a job becomes disheartening, especially after the lodging she's had to lower her standards for. Against her own want, she decides to use the influence of a man who befriended her upon her arrival. When she is given the job as a sales clerk in a distinguished department store, she is thrilled. But when she notices her coworkers getting promoted and then disappearing, the luster slowly wears off and danger sneaks in. So she decides to get to the bottom of it. Playing sleuth at the store runs her into trouble, and she has no one to turn to. She has a sister who wont speak to her, a family who turned her out and a man she doesn't trust following her around the city. Will she find the answers she is looking for, and in the process let go of the past so she can finally allow someone to truly love her? This book was very enjoyable. The writer really pulled me into the story. I stayed very absorbed, doing my own detective work. I enjoyed so many of her characters and all the different stories they each had. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction, with a little mystery mixed in!
Running For My Life Lopez Lomong Thomas Nelson July 2012 He was six years old when his childhood ended. Though still alive, the only life he had ever known stood out in front of the Sudanese church with tears running down their faces as he was roughly thrown into the back of a truck and driven away with the other 'lost' boys by a corrupt militia. This was 1991, the year Lopez Lomong's life became nothing more than sleeping, eating and going to the bathroom in the cramped quarters of one small tent. They all waited in fear of what was to come next. When the soldiers noticed boys dying, they decided it was time to begin the training. That's when they began to drag the boys big enough to hold a rifle out into the unknown. It was time for Lopez to make his break. A few boys from his village, whom he referred to as his 'angels', came to him with their escape plan one evening, and before he knew it, they were all running for their lives. Running in the wrong direction, the landed their selves in a camp in Kenya. But this camp was different, and he began to dream. Having been invited to watch an old farmers t.v. (something he had never seen before) with some older boys, he had the opportunity to see the Olympics. He saw Michael Johnson run, and he knew he just had to find a way to America. If he could not see his parents again, he would keep running. But this time for Gold. Run along side as Lopez unfurls an incredible story of hope! Get a glimpse of the redemption he experienced when he began to dream. I enjoyed this book! Of course, it is not written in the style of a seasoned author. But what you get is a man who wants to tell his story. And what a great story. I think it is always a pleasure to peek into a life that is vastly different than your own, to help you appreciate and better understand those around you. I would highly recommend this!