Thursday, October 28, 2010

ALMOST HEAVEN by Chris Fabry

From the very beginning, Billy Allman has a rough life.  On his 10th birthday, he and  his family are washed away in a dam break on Buffalo  Creek.  The only thing  saved was his father's mandolin, which Billy had learned to play.  It was a couple of days before they knew that his father had survived and was in a hospital in a nearby town.
Shortly afterward, they moved to the town of Dogwood and rented a house.  His father had developed black lung from working in the coal mines, and was unable to work anymore, so his mom, Arlene, went to work in a beauty salon, cleaning.  Billy sat with his dad after school, and sometimes played the mandolin for him.  His father committed suicide one day while Billy was at school.
Billy became interested in radio, worked for a couple of stations, then decided to build his own, from parts obtained in trades.  During this time, his mom developed Alzheimer's, and he has to care for her, though many of his neighbors pitch in to help him, with cooking, and watching her, while he works.
This particular part of the book had to have a lot of research or personal knowledge of how the mind of an Alzheimer's patient works.  The conversations are just too real!  And through all Billy goes through, his belief in God stands strong. 
This book is something special, I don't feel a review can fully do this book justice. The characters are very complex, and real, even Malachi, the Angel, who is sent to Billy, is a well developed character.

I recieved a copy of this book to read and review from Tyndale Publishing.  I received no other compensation for this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The WAITING by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The 2nd book in the series Lancaster County Secrets.

Published by Revell
a division of Baker Publishing

When Ben Zook left Lancaster County to go to Veitnam as a contentious objecter, he asked Jorie King to wait for him, and for the past couple of years, her life has been on hold.  Then word came that Ben had been killed, and Jorie has to move on with her life. She begins teaching in the little one room schoolhouse and knows she has to get the 8th graders ready to take the state exam in May, or the Amish children will have to go to the public schools.
Just two weeks after news of Ben's death, his brother, Cal, lost his wife, Mary Ann to leukemia, and he is left to raise his youngest brother, Ephraim, and his young daughter, Maggie, alone, while running the farm.  One of Mary Ann's last requests was that he find a new wife to help him, and she hoped it would be Jorie.

Just when it looks as if Cal and Jorie have decided that they can become a family, the bottom falls out of their world, when it is found that Ben is still alive, and in a mental ward at a hospital in Lebanon, about an hour away from the farm, and Cal brings him home to try and help him recover.

Does Jorie still love Ben, the man she has waited for, since she was a young woman, or is she in love with Cal?

This book isn't just a simple story, it is very complex, with lots of characters who make the story very interesting, from Sylvia, Mary Ann's sister, to Dr. Robinson, the new vet in the community.  I found myself reluctant to put it down.  I know that if you start reading, you'll feel the same.

I received a copy of this book from Litefuse to read and review.  I received no other compensation.
All opinions expressed here are my own.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Gospel According to Jesus by Chris Seay

Thomas Nelson Publishing
Religion/Christian life/Spiritial Growth

What does the word Righteousness mean to you? 

This book examines the average Christian's understanding of the Bible, especially the translation of certain words, and how they may hold a different meaning than originally intended, when written in the original languages.

I'd say, that, as someone who is trying to learn to live as Jesus taught,
 a 2nd reading of this book would give me greater understanding of the author's point, that 'there is a staggering disconnect between the gospel according to Christians, and the gospel according to Jesus.'
I also feel that reading this book and discussing it with other people, would also help me to be able to get a good understanding of what the author means.

I recieved a copy of this book from Booksneeze,  to read and review.  No other compensation was given.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Vigilante's Bride by Yvonne Harris

Bethany House Publishers
297 pages

December 17, 1884
Emily McCarthy was raised in an orphanage in Chicago, and when she turned 18, there was no place for her, as younger children needed her room.  It was suggested, strongly, that she go to Montana and marry a weathy widower, Bart Axel, who had advertized in the Chicago Daily Tribune for a wife.  Unable to find a teaching position, or any other job, she finally sees no alternative, and gets on the train, heading west.

Billings Montana, December 24, 1884
Luke Sullivan is heading to the place where he was raised, when he overhears a lawyer talking about a 'package' he is to deliver to Bart Axel, a man who had cheated his father out of his land and money, in a crooked card game, 20 years earlier.   Luke decides to take the money back, that was stolen from his father, so he stops the stage coach, and relieves the lawyer of $1,000.00, giving him back the rest.  When Emily sticks her head out,  and it is announced that she is Axel's future wife, Luke decides to save her from marrying a 60+ year old man, who's last wife had died under mysterious circumstances. 
Emily thinks he has taken her to sell her to a house of ill repute, imagine her surprise when she reads the name plate near the door New Hope Foundling and Orphan Asylum. Christmas Day Bart Axel shows up to claim his bride to be, but finds she isn't quite willing to go with him.  When he says he'd given the orphanage in Chicago $300, Luke pays him the money back, and invites him to leave.

This book was a very pleasant surprise, I think Yvonne Harris has taken what could have been a typical western story, and made it very much a story that should appeal to everyone who loves a good book.

I was provided a free copy of this book to read and review.  No other compensation was given.  I am not required to write a favorable review, and all opinions expressed here are my own.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

MASQUERADE by Nancy Moser

Bethany House Publishers
400 pages

It is September 1886 and Charlotte 'Lottie' Gleason and her Ladys Maid, Dora, are being sent to America, where she is expected to marry a man she has never met, to prop up her family's failing finances, and get her away from the scandal surrounding her father's misconduct.   Raised to be part of the 'Gentry', Lottie wants to have adventure, and see the world on her on, and has no wish to marry for money, she wants to marry for love.  Dora, on the other hand, has been a servant since she was 13, and wishes to better her station in life. 

On the ship, Dora meets Dr.Greenfield, she and Lottie discover that she can pass for a Lady.  It gives Lottie the idea to have Dora pretend to be Charlotte Gleason, which will give Lottie the freedom to do as she wishes. 

Dora, pretending to be Charlotte, successfully passes herself off as an English lady.  But, from the moment Charlotte, who is now called Lottie Hathaway, leaves the ship, things start going wrong.  First, someone steals all her money and jewels, then the cousin of Dora, who she planned to stay with, was no longer in New York.  And to really make things worse, what few clothes that she had sent ahead to their residence, had been stolen, so all she had left were the clothes she was wearing.

What will happen to Lottie?  And will Dora marry Conrad and live her life pretending to be Charlotte?  Will they ever find each other, again?

I loved the discription of the clothing in this story.  I cannot imagine ever having to wear anything so cumbersome as a dress with a bustle attached, or having to have  help to dress or undress.

Ms Moser has done a wonderful job in describing life in this time for both the very rich, and the  very poor.  And the pictures in the back of the book of those dresses should make any woman glad she didn't have to wear them.  I also enjoyed the letter to her readers in the back of the book, telling how parts of the story came about, even when she had different plans for those characters.

A very well written, enjoyable book.  One of the few that I've wished would continue on and on.

I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  No other compensation was given.  I'm not required to write a favorable review, and all opinions expressed here are my own.