Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Story Description: 

Charlotte Vance is a young woman who knows what she wants.  But when the man she planned to marry joins the Shakers – a religious group that does not allow marriage – she is left dumbfounded.  And when her father brings home a new wife who is young enough to be Charlotte’s sister, it is more than she can bear.  With the country – and her own household – on the brink of civil war, this pampered gentlewoman hatches a plan to avoid her new stepmother and win back her man by joining the Shaker community at Harmony Hill.  Little does she know that this decision will lead her down a road of unforeseen consequences.   

Ann H. Gabhart brings alive the strikingly different worlds of the Southern gentry; the simple Shakers, and the ravages of war in 1860’s Kentucky to weave a touching story of love, freedom, and forgiveness. 

My Review: 

Charlotte Vance’s fiancé, Edwin Gibley, announces that he is going to join the ‘Shaker’s up in Harmony Hill.  The Shakers “originated in England in the eighteenth century.  Its leader, a woman named Ann Lee, was believed by her followers to be the second coming of Christ in female form.  The Shaker doctrines of celibacy, communal living, and the belief that perfection could be attained in this life were all based on revelations that Mother Ann claimed to have divinely received.  The name Shaker’s came from the very way they worshipped at times when a member received the “spirit”, he or she would begin shaking all over”. 

Charlotte just couldn’t believe Edwin would give up a life of being married to her to live as a single man in an odd religious society.  They were to be wed next month in May.  As if this wasn’t bad enough news, Charlotte’s father arrives home after time away escorting a new wife on his arm!  And, she had to be at least 20 years younger than her father.  Yes, Selena Harley Black was to be the new mistress of Grayson. 

As Charlotte stood outside in the night air watching her father’s home-coming party through the window, she was trying hard to convince Edwin to give up his ridiculous idea of joining the Shaker community.  But, Edwin had heard enough from Charlotte and went back to the party leaving her alone in the darkness when suddenly a male voice said: “He must be an extremely foolish man to turn his back and run from such a beauty” Charlotte was startled and whipped round to find a tall, dark handsome man who introduced himself as Adam Wade, an artist who was commissioned to paint a wedding portrait of the new Mrs. Vance.  Was painting the new Mrs. Vance all that Mr. Wade would be involved in at the Grayson Estate? 

This was a spell-binding piece of historical fiction set in the 1800’s.  The characters were well-developed and I felt myself feeling the emotions of each character.  I found the Shaker doctrines to be interesting and gleaned a lot of information about this old but odd order.  Good reading!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Story Description: 

Will a forbidden love destroy all they know?   

Elizabeth Duncan has nowhere to turn.  In charge of her younger brother and sister after their parents die, her options are limited: she can give in to the unwanted advances of an odious landowner - or she can flee. 

When Elizabeth hears that the Shaker community in the next county takes in orphans, she presents herself and her siblings at Harmony Hill.  Despite the hard work and strange new beliefs around her, Elizabeth is relieved to have a roof overhead and food to eat.  But life gets complicated when she finds herself attracted to a handsome young Believer named Ethan.  

Ethan has never looked on the opposite sex as anything but sisters, but he can’t shake the new feelings that Elizabeth has awakened in him. 

Will Elizabeth be forced to leave the village to keep Ethan from stumbling  Or could Ethan’s love for her change their lives forever? 

My Review: 

Elizabeth Duncan, her younger brother, Payton, and young sister, Hannah, had nowhere to go after their father died unexpectedly.  Elizabeth began digging a grave while Payton built a  wooden box to put their father’s body in for burial.  As she was digging the grave along came the uncouth, slime-ball owner of the property they were living on.  Colton Linley was a disgusting specimen of a human being and Elizabeth could barely tolerate him. 

Colton jumped down into the grave that was now shoulder deep to tell Elizabeth he was there to collect his debt that her father owed him for use of the cabin they were using as their living quarters.  Elizabeth knew her father owed Colton nothing but he insisted that her hand in matrimony was the deal the two men had verbally agreed to and he was there to collect.  Elizabeth couldn’t even barely tolerate standing next to the man, never mind marry him!  With much persistence on Colton’s part, Elizabeth finally told him to give her 2 days to grieve properly for her father and then she would willingly go with him to be wed.  This gave her 2 days to figure out where they were going to go.  They packed up only what they could carry and set off on foot.   

The Shaker Village was in the next town over in Harmony Hill.  Elizabeth had heard they took I orphans and decided they would be safest there, away from Colton Linley.  But the Shakers have strange beliefs and conduct in dances where the ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ thrash around.  They do not believe in marriage or having children and don’t live as families.  The women are all housed together as are the men and the children.  They tarry day and night like workhorses growing their own food, mixing their own medication from various roots, barks, mushrooms, berries and the like.  They all refer to each other as Brother and Sisters and are not allowed to carry on conversations with the opposite sex.   

However, Elizabeth didn’t plan on meeting someone like Ethan which makes her life very complicated.  Ethan is a devout Believer but once he lays eyes on Elizabeth it awakens feelings in him that he’s never experienced before. 

Will Elizabeth be forced to leave the Shaker Village to keep Ethan from falling away from his beliefs?  Or will Ethan’s love for her change their lives forever? 

I was totally pulled into this story from beginning to end.  So many twists and turns and unexpected situations.  A really enjoyable read!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Story Description:

The award-winning author of Waiting and War Trash returns to his homeland in a searing new novel that unfurls during one of the darkest moments of the twentieth century: the Rape of Nanjing.

In 1937, with the Japanese poised to invade Nanjing, Minnie Vautrin—an American missionary and the dean of Jinling Women’s College—decides to remain at the school, convinced that her American citizenship will help her safeguard the welfare of the Chinese men and women who work there. She is painfully mistaken. In the aftermath of the invasion, the school becomes a refugee camp for more than ten thousand homeless women and children, and Vautrin must struggle, day after day, to intercede on behalf of the hapless victims. Even when order and civility are eventually restored, Vautrin remains deeply embattled, and she is haunted by the lives she could not save.

With extraordinarily evocative precision, Ha Jin re-creates the terror, the harrowing deprivations, and the menace of unexpected violence that defined life in Nanjing during the occupation. In Minnie Vautrin he has given us an indelible portrait of a woman whose convictions and bravery prove, in the end, to be no match for the maelstrom of history.

At once epic and intimate, Nanjing Requiem is historical fiction at its most resonant.

My Review:

This was a beautifully written story rich with Asian flavour.  Ha Jin has done a remarkable job in writing about a very dark period in Japan's history.  Everyone needs to read this book!!!


Story Description:

What would you do if an old friend needed you, it meant turning your new life upside down? Pen, Will, and Cat met during the first week of their first year of college and struck up a remarkable friendship, one that sustained them and shaped them for years - until it ended abruptly, and they went their separate ways. Now, six years later, Pen is the single mother of a five-year-old girl, living with her older brother in Philadelphia and trying to make peace with the sudden death of her father. Even though she feels deserted by Will and Cat, she has never stopped wanting them back in her life, so when she receives an email from a desperate-sounding Cat asking her to meet her at their upcoming college reunion, Pen goes. What happens there sends past and present colliding and sends Pen and her friends on a journey across the world, a journey that will change everything.

My Review:

No comment, wasn't really into this one at all and couldn't finish.  Therefore I cannot give an honest review.


Story Description:

With vivid and unflinching prose, Nicole Lundrigan has created a suspenseful and deeply human saga of the persistence of evil and the astonishing power of love.

When Roy Trench is killed in a drunken prank gone wrong, his brother Lewis sees blood on the hands of the man responsible: the abusive alcoholic, Eli Fagan. Though the courts rule the death an accident, the event opens a seam of hate between the two families of Knife's Point, Newfoundland.

Desperate to smother the painful past with love, Lewis marries Wilda, and the pleasure he takes in their two children -- Melvin and Toby -- recalls the happier days of his childhood with Roy. But as he watches his small family fracture, the darkness of the past begins to cloud the present, leading Lewis back to Eli Fagan -- and his watchful stepson, Garrett Glass.

In the style of Newfoundland literature, established by Michael Crummey and Lisa Moore, Glass Boys is the haunting story of an unforgivable crime that brings two families to the brink.

My Review:

I found this book terribly hard to get into but once I perservered and pushed myself to keep reading it turned out to be not a bad story.  However, it's not one that I would put on a highly recommend list.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Story Description 

What would you give up for the people you love?

When Megan Taylor, a single mother and artist, receives the shocking news that her cancer has returned, she'll be faced with the most difficult decision she's ever had to make. She'll endure an emotional journey, questioning her own moral and ethical values, and the decisions she'd made long ago. The love she has for her daughter, Olivia, and her closest friends, will be stretched and frayed.

Meanwhile, fourteen-year-old Olivia's world is falling apart right before her eyes, and there's nothing she can do about it. She finds herself acting in ways she cannot even begin to understand. When her internal struggles turn to dangerous behavior, her life will hang in the balance.

Megan's closest friends are caught in a tangled web of deceit. Each must figure out how, and if, they can expose their secrets, or forever be haunted by their pasts. 

My Review 

MEGAN’S WAY is a story wrought with the strength of friendships, making choices, and keeping secrets.  I’ve never read a book that focused so much on the thoughtfulness of others.  Megan, Holly, Jack, Peter, and Olivia are all deeply thoughtful and caring people who are totally committed to each other.  Each of them, through different circumstances, were forced to look deep within themselves and deal with their past and present decisions.  Over time, people’s depth of morals, values, and traditions change – some for the better, some for the worst.   

Megan and her daughter, Olivia, had a strong relationship filled with so much love and closeness that they had a bit of a paranormal connection in that they could feel each other’s pain. 

The decision Megan made in the end is the same decision I think I would have made as well if I were ever in the same circumstance that Megan was.  Tough decisions are not easy to make but Megan’s overwhelming love for her daughter propels her to that end. 

The characters were so well developed and I was immediately drawn in right from the beginning of this book.  I had to keep the Kleenex box at hand for a few pages here and there.  I would highly recommend this book for everyone and believe once you’ve read it, you’ll think of your own mortality a little bit differently.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Story Description: 

“I am Moth, a girl from the lowest part of Chrystie Street, born to a slum-house mystic and the man who broke her heart.” 

So begins THE VIRGIN CURE, bestselling author Ami McKay’s much-anticipated new novel.  Set in the tenements of lower Manhattan in 1871, where the author’s own great-great-grandmother once worked as a groundbreaking female physician, the novel is told in the voice of Moth, the daughter of a Gypsy fortune teller and a ne’er-do-well who abandons them both a smile and a tip of his hat.  Left to struggle on their own, Moth and her Mama lead a hard life, one that requires Moth to become more streetwise with each passing day.  Although she comes to believe she’s seen it all, nothing prepares Moth for the terrible surprise her mother gives her when she turns twelve: the news that she must leave her home to live as a servant in the house of Mrs. Wentworth, a lady of station and means (and, as Moth soon discovers, inventive cruelty).   

These betrayals lead Moth to the Bowery, a wild, murky thoroughfare filled with house-thieves, pick-pockets, beggars, sideshow freaks, and prostitutes.  Hungry, desperate, and haunted by a sexual predator, Moth sees an introduction to Miss Everett, the owner of a nearby brothel, as her way to a better life or, at the very least, a soft bed and a full belly.  To Miss Everett, Moth is simply another chance for profit, as her establishment is known as an infant school, caters to gentlemen who pay dearly for companions who are “willing and clean,” the most desirable of them all, young virgins like Moth. 

In this new life, Moth finds friendship with the other girls in the house as well as with Dr. Sadie, a visiting physician who has followed her social conscience into working with prostitutes and the poor.  While Moth’s housemates risk falling prey to the myth of the “virgin cure” – the belief that deflowering a girl can heal the incurable and tainted, Dr. Sadie warns Moth to question and observe the world around her so she won’t share the same fate.  Still, Moth dreams of her own big house on Gramercy Park and of answering to no one but herself.  There’s a high price for such independence, though, and no one knows that better than a girl from Chrystie Street. 

My Review: 

Moth and her mother live alone in a stark and dirty tenement after her father left them when she was just three-years-old.  He left with the bit of money saved in a cookie tin and her Mom’s only piece of silver she owned, which was a tarnished sugar bowl. 

Moth wanted affection from her mother.  She wanted to hold her mom’s hand, sit on her lap and kiss her cheeks like all little girls do but her mother pushed her away telling her: “…when you were a baby, I held you until I thought my arms would fall off. Oh, Child, that should be enough.”  Moth said she didn’t mind because she loved her mom anyway. 

The summer Moth turned twelve, her mother sold her to a woman named Mrs. Wentworth and shed no tears when she was taken by this woman as her mother wouldn’t stand for it.  She always said: “American girls don’t whimper.”  Moth took a seat in Mrs. Wentworth’s carriage but couldn’t see where they were going as all the curtains were closed.  After a while the carriage rolled to a stop and all Mrs. Wentworth said was: “You’re to go right to bed…I want you rested for tomorrow.”  As Moth was falling asleep in her new residence she whispered out loud into the room: “How much did you get for me, Mama”?  What a sad thought to know that you’ve been ‘SOLD’ by your own mother! 

Mrs. Wentworth began whipping Moth’s wrists on the soft side of her arms leaving bruises the colour of a rainbow.  She then began slapping her across the face for the smallest of infractions.  She was jealous of Moth’s beauty and she was out to destroy that beauty.  Moth suffered so much pain for such a young girl. 

Can you imagine growing up poor, living in a filthy dirty tenement, your mother is a Gypsy fortune-teller, you have hardly any food and then you’re sold by the very woman who gave birth to you!  

I was immediately drawn in by this story, I was mesmerized and could picture in mind’s eye the brothel, the rooms and could actually “feel” Moth’s embarrassment at having to undress for the men.  I was so attuned to Moth’s psyche that I could feel what she felt and shared her heartbreak and pain at every turn and that makes for some very good writing.  To enable a reader to get into the mind of the character is no easy feat but Ms. McKay pulls it off without a hitch. 

The book definitely lived up to long wait and I’d highly recommend it to everyone and plan on keeping this as part of my permanent collection.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Story Description: 

Returning to the home she fled in disgrace, will Hannah find healing for the wounds of the past. 

After receiving a desperate and confusing call from her sister, Hannah Lapp reluctantly returns to the Old Order Amish community of her Pennsylvania childhood.

Having fled in disgrace more than two years earlier, she finally has settled into a satisfying role in the Englischer world. She also has found love and a new family with the wealthy Martin Palmer and the children she is helping him raise. But almost immediately after her arrival in Owl’s Perch, the disapproval of those who ostracized her, including her headstrong father, reopens old wounds.

As Hannah is thrown together with former fiancé Paul Waddell to work for her sister Sarah’s mental health, hidden truths surface about events during Hannah’s absence, and she faces an agonizing decision. Will she choose the Englischer world and the man who restored her hope, or will she heed the call to return to the Plain Life–and perhaps to her first love?

When the Soul Mends is the third and final book in the Sisters of the Quilt series. 

My Review: 

Hannah finally returns home for a family funeral and for her sister, Sarah, who seems to have gone off the deep end.  Her mental stability is being questioned by all who encounter her.  Sarah is often seen with matches and various farms and barns are being burned down including the Esh family’s barn where their son, David, was killed and their other son, Matthew injured.  Hannah had been gone from Owl’s Perch for more than two years. 

Sarah has been convinced, in her own mind that Hannah’s baby is alive and they have hidden her somewhere.  She is coming unglued at the seams searching for the baby. 

Back in Ohio, Hannah has carved out a nice life for herself living with Martin and his niece and nephew whom Hannah adores.  Life is good for Hannah there.  Now back in Owl’s Perch, she faces Paul Waddell her former fiancé and will she be able to return to the English world in Ohio or will she succumb to old memories and feelings and return to her Amish ways with Paul? 

WHEN THE SOUL MENDS reminds us all about forgiveness and how being true to yourself in your forgiveness is a lesson we all need to remember.  God already knows what’s in your heart so integrity plays a big part here people, for the only one you’re fooling is yourself.  I would highly recommend this trilogy “Sisters of the Quilt” to everyone!  Excellent reading!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Story Description: 

Her relationship with fiancé Paul Waddell in tatters, Hannah Lapp has fled her secluded Old Order Amish community in hopes of finding a new home in Ohio with her shunned aunt. Hampered by limited education and hiding her true identity, Hannah struggles to navigate the confusing world of the Englischers.

Back in Owl’s Perch, Pennsylvania, Paul is wracked with regret over his treatment of Hannah. Fearing for her safety, he tries to convince Hannah’s remaining allies–brother Luke, best friend Mary, and loyal Matthew Esh–to help search for his love. Hannah’s father, however, remains steadfastly convinced of her sinful behaviour. His blindness to his family’s pain extends to her sister, Sarah, who shows signs of increasing instability.

Convinced her former life is irreparably destroyed Hannah finds purpose and solace in life with her aunt and in a growing friendship with Englischer Martin Palmer. Will the countless opportunities in her new life persuade Hannah that her place is amongst the Englischers— or will she give in to her heart’s call to return home and face her past?

When the Morning Comes is book two in the Sisters of the Quilt series.

My Review: 

The story opens with Hannah on the train thinking about the baby she had carried inside her only days ago.  Her body ached from the absence of the life she’d had inside her. 

Hannah disembarks the train in Alliance, Ohio but not another soul gets off with her, she is alone.  The conductor tells her that he hopes she has made plans because the station in Alliance is locked 24/7.  For hours she’s just traveled from Owl’s Perch, Pennsylvania to Alliance, Ohio and she felt lonely as the train pulled away from the station leaving her standing all alone on the platform.  Hannah spotted a sign with the emblem of a phone on it and headed toward it to call 411 for her Aunt’s phone number.  She made her way to the phone but soon realized there was no phone at all.  What would she do now, she’ll freeze to death by morning? 

Scanning the area around her and the dilapidated homes, Hannah soon realized that Alliance was as poor as she was.  She tried the doors of some of the stores but, as expected, they were all locked.  Too tired to do anything else, she slid to the ground in one of the more protected doorways for the night and as she dozed in and out of sleep she has memories of her mother teaching her how to sew and cook; Mary her best friend always standing by her no matter what, even when it meant she would lose her fiancé Luke, Hannah’s own brother. 

The next morning, Hannah meets a young man who helps her hire a driver to search around town for her Aunt Zabeth and the story takes off from there.  I was so mesmerized that once again, I turned everything else out in my mind, i.e. the phone, the t.v., other people talking to me, etc.  I just couldn’t stop reading and next thing I knew I was on the last page of the book!!!  Can’t wait to sink my teeth into the last and final book, number 3!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Story Description: 

When Hannah dares to love across the boundaries of tradition, will she lose everything?

Despite being raised in a traditional Old Order Amish family, seventeen-year-old Hannah Lapp desires to break with custom, forgo baptism into the faith, and marry outside the cloistered community. She's been in love with Mennonite Paul Waddell for three years, and before returning to college for his senior year, Paul asks Hannah to be his wife. Hannah accepts, aware that her marriage will change her relationship with her family forever.

On the evening of their engagement, tragedy strikes and in one unwelcome encounter, all that Hannah has known and believed is destroyed. As she finds herself entangled in questions that the Old Ways of her people cannot answer, Hannah faces the possibility of losing her place in her family, in her community- and in the heart of the man she loves.

When the Heart Cries is book one in the Sisters of the Quilt series. 

My Review: 

Hannah Lapp is 17-years-old and she yearns to be “as modern as personal computers and the internet”.  Freedom beckoned to her, but so did her relatives. 

Hannah is Amish and is in love with Paul Waddell who is a Mennonite.  Today is his last day at his Grandmother’s farm as he’s returning for his fourth year at college.  All Hannah would have of Paul during the fall, winter and spring would be his letters which he mails via his Grandmother’s house.  Hannah’s father would end their friendship immediately if he ever found out about it as the Amish and Mennonites don’t mix.  Paul was getting a degree in social work. 

Paul asks Hannah to marry him and she accepts.  They both know Hannah marrying Paul will affect her relationship with her family for the rest of her life.  Since she had not been baptized into the Amish faith, she wouldn’t be “shunned” if she chose to marry a Mennonite.  But her father would not allow an outsider’s influence to enter his home any more than he would electricity. 

After Paul has left for college, Hannah is walking home when a horribly traumatic event happens which changes her life.  Her family hides the event and almost treats Hannah as though she is a leper.  I felt so terribly bad for Hannah, my heart was aching for her and I wanted to wrap my arms around her and help her.  I was stunned that her family would treat her this way.  Soon rumors about various things began circulating around the community about Hannah and she was frowned upon by more and more people when what she really needed was love and support.  The emotional upheaval Hannah went through was heart wrenching.  I was so drawn into this story and can`t wait to read Book 2 and Book 3 to complete the trilogy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Book Description: 

For many women, dread turns to panic around 4:00 in the afternoon. That’s when they have to answer that age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” Many resort to another supermarket rotisserie chicken or—worse yet—ordering dinner through a drive-thru intercom. 

In The “What’s for Dinner” Solution, popular author and speaker Kathi Lipp provides a full-kitchen approach for getting dinner on the table every night. After putting her 21-day plan into action, women will:  save time with bulk shopping and cooking; save money, no more last-minute phone calls to the delivery pizza place; save their sanity and forget the last-minute scramble every night and know what they're having for dinner. 

The book includes real recipes from real women, a quick guide to planning meals for a month, the best shopping strategies for saving time and money, and tips on the best ways to use a slow cooker, freezer, and pantry. 

With Kathi’s book in hand, there’s no more need to hit the panic button. 

My Review: 

This is a great comprehensive little book that should be in every man and woman’s pantry.  It gives you recipe ideas, how to properly store foods, preparing foods correctly, how to make grocery shopping easier and more pleasant and how to unpack when you get home and hundreds of other great tips that some of us seemed to have missed along the way. 

There were 5 specific recipes in the book that our family loved and they were:  Asparagus Parmesan; Pizza Fondue; Walnut Meatballs, Garden Pasta, and Lemon Chicken; as well as a few Slow Cooker recipes that were absolutely to die for! 

This is one little book that I’ll refer to time and time again and you will too! 



Story Description: 

It appears Jenna Bouvier is losing everything: beauty, family, and wealth. When her controlling and emotionally abusive mother-in-law accuses Jenna of an affair with her spiritual director and threatens to expose them, Jenna also risks losing her reputation as a woman of faith. Will she capitulate to her mother-in-law’s wishes again or fight for what she holds dear? As Jenna loses her life, will she find it? 

Andee Bell has found exactly what she wanted: fame, fortune, and respect. There’s also a special man in her life—Jenna’s brother. Despite her success, a secret quells Andee’s contentment. As memories torment, will she find peace in a relationship with God, or will she sabotage herself while also taking down the only person she cares about? As Andee finds her life, will she lose it. 

Moving between San Francisco and the Napa Valley, Jenna and Andee form an unlikely relationship that leads them to a crossroad. They can follow familiar inclinations, or risk it all and walk in faith.

My Review: 

Jenna is terrible at losing things she doesn’t mean too but somehow always manages to misplace everything.  Brigitte, her evil, controlling and abusive mother-in-law, doesn’t believe Jenna “accidentally” loses these things.  Jenna feels the missing items are an: “…outward manifestation of something inward”.  Luckily for her, her husband, Gerard, hasn’t noticed any of the lost items, nor she feels has he noticed the most important thing she has lost…”herself”. 

Jenna and Brigitte’s relationship is anything but close.  Jenna often cries out to God, begging for answers to how to please Brigitte and how to honour God in her relationship with Brigitte.  Her answer: “Stand back, Jenna”!  But Jenna doesn’t understand what it means to “stand back from Brigitte or from her life”.  But she does know there is a “change on the horizon, but change involves Jenna’s willingness to obey.  Jenna knows she must first stop drinking and doesn’t understand why she would turn to a “substance” instead of to “Him”. 

This was an exceptional story that had me so pulled in from beginning to end that I tuned everything else out in my life!  I didn’t hear the t.v., the telephone, or people talking to me.  Jenna’s story will take you on a whirlwind of intrigue, sympathy, excitement, and some very thought provoking moments.  The characters were so well developed that I kept forgetting they were fictional people.  Just like in real life you have the people you like and those you dislike and I certainly had a dislike toward the very evil and corrupt Brigitte, Jenna’s mother-in-law!  I also had a dislike for Andee in the beginning but as the story progressed, I began to understand who she finally became or was striving to become, thanks to Jenna.  There is so much I want to say in this review but it wouldn’t turn out to be a review without spoilers so I’m going to stop here and just hope that everyone reads “LOST AND FOUND”.  Thank you Ms. Yttrup for 402 pages of phenomenal reading!


Monday, November 7, 2011


Story Description: 

Rick Denton lives his life on his terms.  He works hard, plays hard, and answers to no one.  So when his mother calls begging him to come home after his stepfather has an aneurysm, Rick is more than a little reluctant.  What was supposed to be just a couple of days helping out at the family bookstore turns into weeks of cashing out old ladies and dealing with the homeless guy who keeps hanging around the store.  The one bright spot is the lovely and intriguing young woman who works at his side each day. 

As Christmas nears, Rick’s old life beckons, the hurts from his past loom large, and the decisions he makes will determine more than just where he spends Christmas Eve. 

My Review: 

This was an absolutely beautiful story of remembering, forgiving and never forgetting that who you “see” may not be who you really think they are.  It’s difficult for some people to be kind at the best of times, never mind when you’re cranky and being uprooted from your job as Rick was in this story.  However, what he ended up learning changed the course of his life forever.  Just “remember” to take a good look at who you “think” you’re talking too!  I would hope that everyone will read this story especially during this upcoming festive season!! 

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group". 

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Story Description: 

The small town of Parrish Springs is not quite ready for Matilda Honeycutt.  A strange woman with scraggly hair and jewellery that jangles as she walks, Matilda keeps busy stocking and arranging her new shop on the town’s quaint and lovely Main Street.  When rumours start to fly about what might be going on behind the papered-up windows and the locked door, the image-conscious residents start looking for a way to get this woman and her wares out of their town before Christmas. 

But Matilda Honeycutt has a little something for each one of them sitting on those cluttered shelves, just waiting to be discovered. 

My Review: 

Matilda Honeycutt is new in town and has purchased the old Barton building with an apartment upstairs.  And no one seemed to know where Matilda came from or exactly when she came to town.  Councilman George Snider thought she looked like a bag lady.  Matilda was an older woman with brown eyes, gray hair but her face seemed young. 

Councilman Snider was extremely angry that he lost the bid to purchase the old Barton building to Matilda and was trying to find a loop-hole to toss her out!  He felt she was “up to no good”.  George tells newspaper man Tommy Thompson that: “…this strange broad sneaks into town with no friends, no connections, no nothing.  She doesn’t seem to know a single soul, doesn’t even have a residence here”.  George’s housekeeper’s sister works at the Golden Door Motel which Matilda has been staying and says she is: “one weird wacko”.  George wanted to know how Matilda knew about the sealed auction for the building in the first place, why she is “sneaking around, why is she in a hotel instead of with family or friends, and why is a hoarder, complete with garbage and junk in her hotel room and her car, why she’s going around town dressed like a bum but yet paid in cash for the Barton place”!  Since Tommy is a newspaper man, Snider wants him to sniff around and see if he can find what this Matilda is up too and what she has to hide. 

What IS Matilda up to?  

An endearing story that reminds us all of the little things that change the course of our lives forever if we’ll just stop long enough to take the time to look.  This is a lovely story for all!! 

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group". 


Story Description: 

Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband, Sol, the Christmas gift they have both longed for – news that a baby was on the way.  But as usual, she is disappointed.  The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big Amish family isn’t likely to become a reality.  Will those empty chairs at the table ever be filled? 

Then a winter storm raging outside blows an impatient young woman and her husband into the Riehl home on Christmas Eve – and into a much slower pace of life. 

Both couples are about to find out if they can weather the storm – and if miracles still happen at Christmastime. 

My Review: 

Mattie Riehl, her husband, Sol, and their 6 ½ year old son, Danny, were waiting in the doctor’s waiting room.  Being a social and outgoing little boy, Danny strikes up a conversation with the English woman sitting across from them.  After she asks Danny how old he is, HE asks her the same question which brings a sharp reprimand from his mother.  However, the woman didn’t mind and said she was 25-years-old and her name was Jaime Fitzpatrick. 

Mattie was seeing the doctor for a recheck after experiencing a miscarriage four weeks ago.  The doctor counsels Mattie not to give up hope. 

Jaime was there to have a prescription refilled for sleeping pills.  Her mother had just passed away this summer and now in the Christmas season, she still isn’t sleeping well. 

Little did Mattie and Jaime realize that they would soon meet again and end up sharing two days together witnessing God’s love and power.  

This was a beautifully written story of family, losing and regaining faith, and honesty and integrity.  Remembering that when bad, painful, uncomfortable or sad things happen to us it doesn’t mean God has forsaken us for He is right there by our sides as we go through it.  God never promised us no pain or sadness in our lives but instead, to always be there with us when these unpleasant situations arise in our lives.  Don’t give up on God because He doesn’t give up on you! 

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group". 

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Story Description: 

In A Life of Joy, the fourth installment in the series, eighteen-year-old Lindsay Bedford has reached a crossroads. Should she stay in the small Amish community she's known and loved for four years or return to the English life in her hometown in Virginia where her older sister is a college student? An extended visit to Virginia might just tip the scales as Lindsay reconnects with friends, joins a new church, works on her GED, and is pressured by her sister to stay and 'make something of herself.' Will Lindsay leave her aunt Rebecca and become English or settle in Bird-in-Hand and join the Amish church? 

My Review: 

Lindsay Bedford couldn’t decide whether to be baptized with her two best friends Katie and Lizzie Anne.  She had lived in the English world before coming to live with her Aunt Rebecca and Uncle Daniel four years ago.  Once she turned 18, there was more an expectation for her to be baptized into the Amish community.  Lindsay did feel like the Amish world felt right for her, but something deep down in her heart was holding her back from making the final commitment.  Lindsay felt that her friends were disappointed in her for her indecision. 

Lindsay works at the Kauffman bakery and she notices that her Aunt Rachel seems to be unusually tired when she returns home from the bakery each day.  She asks if she is feeling okay and Rachel tries to reassure Lindsay that she is just tired and needs to go to bed earlier at night.  Looking after her 3-year-old son and 18-month-old daughter must be wearing her out more than she thought.  Daniel too notices Rachel’s tiredness and is worried about her and asks if she needs to see a doctor but Rachel refuses saying the pain in her stomach is from eating too much.  She tells Daniel that he worries too much.  Is Rachel suffering from indigestion or is it more serious than that? 

I absolutely loved this book and felt as though I was with Lindsay wherever she went.  I could picture in my mind’s eye Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania where she lives with Rebecca and Daniel and Virginia Beach where she stayed for a while with good family friends Trish and Frank.  Lindsay is a devoutly independent and mature girl for her age who remains true to her deepest beliefs.  I’d recommend this book for everyone!!

Friday, November 4, 2011


Story Description: 

It's the greatest story never told: that of a boy who met Jesus and dared to ask Him all the questions that have consumed mankind since the dawn of time. His name was Segatashya. He was a shepherd born into a penniless and illiterate pagan family in the most remote region of Rwanda. He never attended school, never saw a bible, and never set foot in a church. Then one summer day in 1982 while the 15-year-old was resting beneath a shade tree, Jesus Christ paid him a visit. Jesus asked the startled young man if he'd be willing to go on a mission to remind mankind how to live a life that leads to heaven. Segatashya accepted the assignment on one condition: that Jesus answer all his questions -- and all the questions of those he met on his travels -- about faith, religion, the purpose of life, and the nature of heaven and hell. Jesus agreed to the boy's terms, and Segatashya set off on what would become one of the most miraculous journeys in modern history. Although he was often accused of being a charlatan and beaten as a result, Segatashya's innocent heart and powerful spiritual wisdom quickly won over even the most cynical of critics. Soon, this teenage boy who had never learned to read or write was discussing theology with leading biblical scholars and advising pastors and priests of all denominations. He became so famous in Rwanda that the Catholic Church investigated his story. The doctors and psychiatrists who examined Segatashya all agreed that they were witnessing a miracle. His words and simple truths converted thousands of hearts and souls wherever he went. Before his death during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Segatashya continued his travels and conversations with Jesus for eight years, asking Him what we all want to know: Why were we created? Why must we suffer? Why do bad things happen to good people? When will the world end? Is there life after death? How do we get to Heaven? The answers to these and many other momentous, life-changing questions are revealed in this riveting book, which is the first full account of Segatashya's remarkable life story. Written with grace, passion, and loving humour by Immaculee Ilibagiza, Segatashya's close friend and a survivor of the Rwandan holocaust herself, this truly inspirational work is certain to move you in profound ways. No matter what your faith or religious beliefs, Segatashya's words will bring you comfort and joy, and prepare your heart for this life . . . and for life everlasting. 

My Review: 

Segatashya was a young visionary who had apparitions of Jesus Christ in the remote Rwandan village of Kibeho during the 1980’s.  The heaven sent messages were of “…great and immediate concern to everyone in the entire world.  They contained warnings for Rwanda, for our planet, and for our individual souls – warnings about the terrible things that could befall us as individuals and as a species if we did not embrace the pure and loving lifestyle being offered to us”. 

It was July 2nd, 1982 that Jesus first appeared to Segatashya who was a poor, illiterate, African peasant boy who was also a pagan.  Before Jesus appeared to the teenage boy, he had never been inside a church, and didn’t have any real notion of who Jesus Christ was.  The apparitions ended exactly one year later on July 2, 1983. 

The most important message Segatashya shares with us is: “that Jesus urgently desires us to prepare for the afterlife and make sure that our souls are ready to enter heaven”. 

I was totally mesmerized by this book and at 256 pages, I read it in a couple of hours.  I just couldn’t put it down and it gave me a whole lot of food for thought.  It doesn’t matter what your religion is, this book is aimed at everyone.  You’ll be amazed at the innocence of the questions and the bargaining that young Segatashya does with Jesus Christ.  I’m going to sit down and read this book for a second time to ensure I didn’t miss any details at all.  I want to take it all in, comprehend it and then decide what to do with the information.  Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to have a frank and open discussion with Jesus Christ through this innocent and honest teenaged Segatashya.  Excellent, excellent book!