Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review of The Last Bride by Beverly Lewis

The Last Bride is book 5 in the Home to Hickory Hollow series.  It's a familiar place with some new characters and some old friends.

Tessie Miller has seen her sisters marry and has been secretly courting Marcus King.  Secretly, because her father has forbade them to court for reasons unknown to anyone and has picked a different man for Tessie to marry.  It appears that her father did the same thing to Tessie's sister.

Tessie and Marcus go behind her father's back, to the English world, to elope.  They come back to the Amish to live separately and sneak to be with each other.  Then tragedy strikes and Tessie has hard choices to make.  

I loved this book.  I liked that it wasn't the usual Amish book.  It was more than two Amish people courting.  It was about the genetics of an almost closed Amish culture and how secrets can hurt people and relationships.  It was as always an excellent book from Beverly Lewis.

I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Review of A Shining Light by Judith Miller

Synopsis of A Shining Light by Judith Miller:

Andrea Wilson is a young wife and mother living in Baltimore.  She lives in a small apartment with her young son and husband, when he's not at sea.  The book begins with Andrea receiving the news that her husband has been lost at sea, although no body has been found.  With the little "pension" she receives she decides to move with her son to her father's farm in Iowa.

Once there she discovers that he perished in a fire that also burned the house down.  To make matters even more desperate she learns that her father had sold his farm to the Amana Colonies before his death but she is unable to locate the money he received from the sale.  Because her father didn't believe in banks she believes the money perished in the fire with him. 

With no money and no place to go, the people at the Amana Colonies invite her to live with them until she is able to make a decision about her future.  She is put to work in one of the kitchens and lives above it with the kitchen boss.  Her son makes friends with the tinsmith, Dirk Knefler, and soon a romance develops between Andrea and Dirk.

Then the unthinkable happens that turns Andrea's world upside down. 

Review:  I loved this book.  I am a fan of books about the Amana Colonies and books by Judith Miller.  The characters are well-developed and the plot is full of twists and turns.  I like that the two main characters acknowledge their interest in each other early on and don't have miscommunications about it. 

One thing I didn't care for was it was written in first person and broken up into different characters' viewpoints.  I got confused a few times about who was writing even though the sections are labeled.  I just get into a book and it's hard to reframe my thinking when somethings different.

I received a complimentary copy of A Shining Light by Judith Miller from Bethany House.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Review: Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

Where Courage Calls is a novel written by mother/daughter team Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan. 

Beth Thatcher has spent her life so far living in wealth.  She decides to follow in her namesake Aunt's footsteps and move west to be a teacher.  When she arrives in the mining town of Coal Valley she is shocked to discover poverty beyond belief.  Coal Valley recently experienced the death of many miners after an explosion leaving widows and children struggling to survive on the meager pension given out by the mining company.  How Beth handles the hardships she finds is the heart of the story.  Even though Beth comes as a seemingly spoiled rich girl she learns quickly how to befriend and help the people in Coal Valley. 

I love all books by Janette Oke and this one did not disappoint me.  I like that the main character (Beth) was able to quickly make decisions about how to help the people or if she just needed to live with the way things are.  There is romance and suspense.  The book kind of resolved things in the end but left some hanging.  I hope there's a sequel.

I was given a complimentary copy to review by Bethany House Publishers.  I was not required to write a positive review.  My opinion is my own.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Match Made in Texas review

This is a review for A Match Made in Texas, four novellas in one by authors Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings and Carol Cox.

I don’t normally read novellas because they are too short.  I like to get involved in my books and not have them end right when I’m getting comfortable.  And that’s the way I felt with this book.  I struggled to want to finish it because I didn’t get invested in the characters.  There were also some typos that made it difficult to read at times.  I felt like there wasn’t much development with plots and characters.

If you like novellas you might like this book.

I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Time4learning Review

On November 7, I wrote that I was reviewing a homeschool program by Time4learning.  Well, our free month has ended and I wanted to tell you how it went.

The site was easy to register with and log in to.  Our daughter is 5 so I started her at the Kindergarten level.  The site was easily navigated by her on our laptop.  She loved "doing school."  In one month's time she actually progressed to first grade level in all three areas:  math, language arts and science.  She would remember the characters as she saw them in different lessons.  A few lessons didn't seem to load completely and so we had to skip them.  Later on I figured out that I hadn't given it enough time to load.

One negative:  one of the science lessons was about the life cycle and how living creatures begin.  The question was asked which came first, the chicken or the egg.  As a Christian I know the answer is the chicken because God made all the animals but this program took the view that we don't know which came first.  I realize it's not intended to be a Christian based program but to even tackle that question seemed inappropriate.

All in all, I liked the program for my daughter at the Kindergarten level.  I have already registered her with an online school which will start towards the end of January.  Time4learning has offered us another free month with a month paid.  I am considering that option as we need something to fill in until the online school starts.  Since this is familiar to her, it would probably be easiest to do.  If it were completely free I would continue to use it.

Even though has compensated us with a free month of lessons, they did not require a positive review, only our honest opinions.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Time4Learning Review

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid curriculum review. Time4Learning offers an online curriculum for prek-12th, information about homeschool portfolio reviews and tools like the How to Homeschool Guide. Be sure to come back and read about my experience.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Garden -- August 5, 2013

I finally had my phone on me to take some pictures of the garden.  

 My bush of 3 tomato plants that are doing the best.  I didn't get them staked so they're sprawling all over.
 This is the tomato plant that had the first tomato.  It's finally growing.
 I think this is a cucumber that I planted late. 
I have a bunch of tomatoes getting big.
 Kohlrabi.  I picked one and Dan ate it. 
 The pumpkin plant that has taken over the back fence.  The is just one plant.
 And here's one of my little pumpkins.
So it
 I think this is zucchini.
So it hasn't been a huge success but not a total failure either.