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The written word has always been a joy for me.  I can not remember a time in my life when I did not have books. Before I was able to read them, my mother read books to me. As soon as I could read independently I was never without a book in my hands or very nearby.  As years passed, writing developed into a passion for me as well. I tried novel writing while home with my two children during their early years and was challenged to focus on the craft.  I never gave up the love even when I had to give up the pursuit.  Now, with grown children and the fact I am sitting on the other side of fifty I can pursue my dream of writing.  I have continued the reading quest but now the writing is attainable as well.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

2 am at The Cat's Pajamas

            2 am at The Cat’s Pajamas, written by Marie-Helene Bertino, tells the story of a couple of nights around Christmas Eve and the journey that the participants share together.  Some share forms of grief, others commitment, but together they find completion.  
            Madeline Altimari is a 9 year old girl who is grieving the loss of her mother, and because of her loss she is singing jazz as her mother did, smoking, caring for her grieving introverted father, and rebelling against the school’s forces that continually hold her back.  Madeline’s mother left her a “recipe” box of “life’s instructions” to see her through after the cancer removed her from Madeline’s life.  The box gives wonderful instructions to Madeline like, “know yourself,” which is helpful, but doesn’t replace the mother that Madeline needs.
            All Madeline truly wants to do is sing, just as her mother had while she was alive.
            Lorca is a jazz club owner that runs the iconic establishment, “The Cat’s Pajamas.”  He finds that he owes 30,000 in fines and unless he is able to find the money to pay these, his club will close. Lorca’s son, Alex is a talented young guitarist whose life will be changed once the club closes and he doesn’t have any place to play. 
            Mrs. Santiago, a diner owner and friend of Madeline’s mother, promises Madeline’s mother that she will watch over Madeline. She does this through food and warm advice, and as well as a motherly touch of discipline when needed.
            Sarina Greene is Madeline’s teacher that understands Madeline’s grief and loss, having recently gone through a divorce.  She also understands Madeline’s dreams, as she hopes to reconnect with a high school crush, Ben.
            Finally, there is Pedro, Mrs. Santiago’s dog.  He has wanderlust, always looking for a meal outside of his dog bowl, as he scouts about the city of Philadelphia.
            This listing of characters basically makes up the plot of the book, as the reader jumps from one character to the next and sees their lives each separately and finally together at 2am at the jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas.
            2 am at The Cat’s Pajamas is not the easiest book to follow. The premise is good, the characters are interesting, but the end result is a hop and skit between many various characters.  Bertino writes an interesting story about a young women trying to find herself and survive following the loss of her mother; yet, she covers so many characters’ journeys within the same night that this reader ended up feeling disjointed.  While cheering for Madeline to get her opportunity to sing at last was a good climax for the story, the other story events were just a bit flat.

            I would recommend the book to others as a light read, and although I can’t say it was a favorite for me, it was enjoyable.


FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Homemade Kitchen

The Homemade Kitchen by Alana Chernila is a stunning tool for the kitchen.  Whether you are a seasoned cook, or one just learning the enjoyment of preparing meals and food for yourself, family and friends, The Homemade Kitchen will be your reference for healthy and flavorful cuisine.  The beginning of the book is filled with recipes and instructions for the basics in cooking.  Chernila even addresses this calling her chapters: Start Where You Are, Be A Beginner, and Feed Yourself.  She covers many categories throughout her book and ends appropriately with Don’t Be Afraid of Food. 
She addresses the preparation of food in a way that many who feel they can’t cook or don’t know how to cook will be able to embrace and feel comforted by her no nonsense approach.  Those who are proficient in the kitchen arts can also find recipes and hints that are helpful.  I pride myself on being an adventurous cook, and am always creating new combinations in food, yet there are recipes in the book that I am quite eager to try. I am anxious to make the cinnamon swirl bread as well as the homemade animal crackers. 

The Homemade Kitchen would make a wonderful addition to any new bride or a person just starting out on their own, as well as a confident foodie.  I would encourage all to experience the book and enjoy!

FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Without You, There Is No Us

        While reading Suki Kim's bestselling novel, Without You, There Is No Us,  I was assuaged with the concept of lying.  So much of Kim's experiences as a teacher of English at the North Korean elite all-male Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), centered around the lies of the country and the lies that the students either told or perpetrated in order to exist in the oppressive government.
         Kim, an accomplished journalist, travels to North Korea.  Then Kim, posing as a missionary, posing as a teacher, begins to investigate the elite students of PUST and the country of North Korea.  Under the scrutiny of the government,  the school personnel, the "minders" (the individuals whose sole purpose is to watch the teachers for any sign of subversiveness) and the students, Kim tries to expose the students to as much western culture and technology as possible. After all, PUST is a school of technology where no technology is apparent. All of this happens under an umbrella of lies.
          The teachers lied about only coming to teach English, in truth they were Christian missionaries.  The students lied about everything! Kim says in one part of her book,  "...I was growing increasingly disturbed by the ease with which they (the students) lied."  The deceit was epidemic because every part of the society in North Korea was built on a foundation of lies.  The government told lies about their great leaders, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jung-un and all the important accomplishments of the leaders and the country.  The school personnel told lies or created lies to show the teachers how wonderful their country of North Korea was.  The excursions arranged by the school centered only on areas allowed to be seen.  Apple orchards that looked prosperous and touted food for all but only were for a few.  Church services that looked to support the instructor's Christian religion at a token church that was actually a farce, an enactment of a service by actors and memorized parts.  What is truly ironic is that everyone knows all is a lie but fervently wants to believe it is real, because the true reality is just so sad.
        Kim creates an unforgettable picture of what an oppressive regime  looks like. The novel is compelling, and heartbreaking.  The fact that it is a memoir and not fiction is what I think disturbed me so much.  In my safe, free world, it is difficult to imagine watching every word said, and lying to protect not only my own safety, but those of my peers and colleagues.
As dour as the content seems, I truly enjoyed the book.  Kim is a talented and inspiring writer.  Her incredible courage in researching the book and writing the story has given a voice to many who could not speak out themselves.

FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review

Friday, October 16, 2015

What is your special day? Random thoughts on random days....

        Sometimes when I am in a creative drought I like to look at the National Day Calendar.  I guess it just amuses me to see what items can be celebrated each and every day of the year.  I also love to look up people's birthdays and find out what events they share with that special day.
         Take for example my birthday. Three of the events on my special day are, National Bat Appreciation Day, National Haiku Day, and National Cheeseball Day.  I can truly appreciate each one of these days.  I do love bats, especially in the summer when I see them flying about my yard and neighborhood at dusk, eating all the pesky mosquitos that plague our area.  In addition, Stella Luna,  a well known children's book,  is one that I cherish.  Then there is Haiku Poetry day,  also a favorite of mine.  I do relish a good Haiku, no mystery there, words are my faithful friends. Finally, National Cheeseball Day.  One of the yummiest appetizers ever, is a dense, savory cheeseball!  I have a good friend who makes a killer cheeseball, and sometimes gives them at Christmas time, I do value that creamy, culinary delight.
        National days can be more fun that just birthday trivia.  I once worked for a doctor's office where the nurses kept a National Day list calendar, and celebrated each day in some way.  Some were quite obscure and difficult to celebrate. Take today, October 16th. Today is National Dictionary Day and National Feral Cat Day.  Dictionary Day is very doable to observe. Just go to Dictionary.com and look for the word of the day, then use it all day long to amaze your friends and colleagues.  National Feral Cat day is a bit more challenging.  I guess one could sprinkle a bag of "Little Friskies" around the neighborhood and call out kitty, kitty in hopes of luring a feral cat, but the odds of actually drawing a feral cat into one's presence is dicey at best.  Definitely not the easiest day to celebrate.
        However, there are the awesome National Day's that so many enjoy and are part of our cultural experience.  Some are well known,  Christmas or Halloween would be an example of these days. Then there are the more recent yet becoming very popular days. Two of my favorite examples of these days are, Talk Like a Pirate Day, September 19th and National Pi Day, March 14th or 3.14. Talk Like a Pirate Day was a "Aye, Aye Matey," filled day at the Doctor's office.  We thoroughly enjoyed talking like pirates all day long.  Pi day we took liberties with for our own enjoyment factor.  There were no spouting of Pi digits, no we used this as an excuse to eat pie.  The actual Pie day is December 1st, yet a second day to insist on eating pie.
        I think what I enjoy the most about special days of the year is that each and every day of the year has at least one special day assigned to the date.  On a deeper level this is a reminder that in fact, each and every day is special and should be celebrated and enjoyed.  A form of carpe diem mentality. Do yourself a favor, check out the National Day calendar and find out what special days are in your future... and celebrate them!



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Chili Cookbook

          There is nothing better on a cold winter night than a steaming bowl of Chili. Robb Walsh's new book, The Chili Cookbook, offers the reader a multitude of chili recipes and even a few sides, to compliment the various chilis' bold, riotous flavors.
          Walsh begins the book with a pictorial illustration of a variety of chili peppers, including uses for both whole peppers and powders.  He even includes a recipe for homemade chili powder.
           Walsh shares recipes for traditional chili meals such as, "Pendergrasts grass fed beef chili," as well as many nontraditional chili  recipes such as "Cincinnati spaghetti chili..." All the recipes for various chilis look absolutely delectable. The cookbook's format is as appetizing as it's recipes.  The pictures are vibrant and the reader can almost smell and taste the dishes through the pictures.  The background information on each recipe is equally interesting.  Walsh has included historical information on the dishes' origins in many of the recipes.  One can appreciate the tradition and culture that accompanies the food.
            Walsh divides his cookbook into four parts: Chili's Family Tree, Tex-Mex Traditions, Chili Road Trip, and Modern and Vegetarian Chilis. Each part is well done.  The recipes are complimented with concise lists of ingredients and simple to follow directions.
           Chili, is a dish that is a definite crowd pleaser for both parties and family meals.  Walsh's The Chili Cookbook is a welcome addition to any chili aficionado's book shelf.
FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review





Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Waiting for Morning

        "Life took place on the  enemy's ground. And the enemy would always allow drunk driving and senseless murder..."   Hannah Ryan, in Karen Kingsbury's novel, Waiting for Morning, realized this when she finally forgave  the man who had torn her perfect family apart.
       
        Hannah Ryan's life as she had always known it was destroyed one afternoon by the senseless act of one man, driving under the influence of alcohol.  In one fated moment Hannah's oldest daughter, and beloved husband were torn from her life along with her sense of trust in God.
   
        The ripple effect of her grief encompasses the lives of both Hannah, and her surviving daughter, Jenny, as Hannah doggedly pursues the arrest and conviction of the drunk driver, Brian Wesley.

        Jenny feels abandoned by her deceased sister and father and equally by her anger and grief stricken mother.  Jenny begins to court the idea of suicide because she only wants to be with her father and sister in their new home with Jesus, where she will feel loved once again.
     
        Hannah,  has lost her faith in God.  Once a strong Christian woman, now Hannah is bitter and feels that if God had really loved her, He would have never torn her perfect family apart.  Where Jenny wants to be with Jesus, Hannah wants to run as far away from her Christian faith as she can.
     
         Karen Kingsbury does an incredible job of portraying the emotions and unfathomable loss of a mother and sister in the depth of tragedy and heartache.  Kingsbury takes the brave approach of creating a character who does not at first embrace forgiveness as a Christian is supposed to do.  Most Christian inspired literature spouts repetitive dialogue about being forgiven and giving absolution to our fellow man. Though this is a foundation of the Christian theology, Kingsbury understands and exposes the humanity of her character in Waiting for Morning,  by acknowledging that even devout, "good" Christians can become bitter and fall away from the faith, yet find their way back to God and healing.

         Kingsbury was eloquent in creating characters that inspired the reader to hurt for their losses and rage for the injustice then cheer for the acceptance of forgiveness and healing grace.
This reader thoroughly enjoyed Kingsbury's novel, Waiting for Morning. The realism of the plot and the response of the characters made her story one that will be remembered and shared.

FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review




Monday, September 7, 2015

Luther and Katharina: A Novel of Love and Rebellion

     As a born and raised Lutheran, I grew up learning about the history and love story of Martin Luther and his wife, Katharina von Bora.  Therefore, I had high expectations for Jody Hedlund's new book, Luther and Katharina. I am thrilled to say that I was not disappointed.
      Luther and Katharina is a charming and poignant love story of a man driven by his goals to reform the Catholic church, and defying all odds not only does God's will, but in the process finds the love of his life in the form of a runaway nun, Katharina von Bora. 
     Upon orchestrating an escape with fellow nuns from the Marienthron Abbey, Katharina goes to Martin Luther at the Black Cloister for assistance.  Luther's letters exalting scandalous reforms of the church have inspired the nuns to abandon their home and their vows and pursue an earthly life seeking marriage and family.  The journey to the Black Cloister is rife with dangers that follow the nuns into their new lives. In time all the nuns are married to suitable husbands, all at least but one, the strong-minded Katharina von Bora.
      Luther is hunted by church and nobility and stricken with poor health and melancholy, yet he never waivers in his convictions. Katharina has left her life at the abbey behind her, but has a difficult time leaving the rituals and ideals of the church behind as well. This causes a continual strife between Martin and Katharina, however the more their tempers flare, the more their desires ignite. In the end God's will for Martin, Katharina, and his church prevails.
     The culmination of plot and intrigue makes Hedlund's book a delightful page turner.  I knew the story of the historical pair, yet spent the time reading Hedlund's book nervous and rooting for  the two to unite.  Every fight, every danger had me gulping down more pages to ensure that they would finally find common ground and acknowledge their love and commitment to each other.  
      Hedlund has created a literary treasure. In addition to the entertaining writing, Hedlund includes a reader's guide and a list of characters in her book, to aid the reader.
      I would recommend Hedlund's book, Martin and Katharina, to any reader who enjoys a good historical fiction with truly more fact than just fiction in the story. 
FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review





     

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The 85th Anniversary Twinkie Cookbook is a Real Treat!

When I think of Twinkies, I think of zombies.  I can’t help it.  I happen to love the movie “Zombieland,” and throughout the movie one of the main characters is in search of Twinkies following the zombie apocalypse.  It makes me smile. Mostly, because the thought of a simple creme filled sponge cake being such comfort to someone, following an end of humanity, just seems so quaint.
 When Twinkies went out of production in November of 2012, I, like many other consumers, bought a box for posterity’s  sake.  I marked mine “do not open unless zombie apocalypse.”  The box is still in the basement, thankfully it has not been needed as of yet.
 Now, thanks to the fact that production has returned, anyone can have Twinkies once again, and to commend this fact, and also that Twinkies are celebrating 85 years in production, a new treat has emerged; The Twinkies Cookbook: Twinkies 85th Anniversary Edition.  
The Twinkies Cookbook is a banquet of recipes using the famous snack cake as a main ingredient in the concoctions.  Until reading the book, I had no idea that Twinkies were so versatile.  Both sweet and savory recipes are included in the book. After receiving my reviewer’s copy, I went right to the store and purchased a box of the sweet little snack cakes.  The thrill of buying a box of Twinkies never wanes, and this delight was even more satisfying knowing that I could use them to make a fun dessert.  Added to the enjoyment was the discovery that the Twinkie wrappers featured pictures of the minions, Bob, Kevin and Stuart!
I decided to make the Twinkie Cherry Pie.  Not truly a pie at all, it was more of a layered trifle like sweet made in a 9x13-baking pan.  Whatever the dessert is named, I can honestly say that the delicacy was delicious! In addition to the success of the recipe, The Twinkie Cook Book, itself, is a gem.  The pictures are appetizing and encourage the reader to try the recipes.  The way the book is set up with categories, clear to read ingredients, serving amounts, and directions, makes the cookbook a joy to use.

Overall, I was pleasantly pleased with The Twinkie Cookbook: 85th Anniversary Edition. I recommend the book to anyone who enjoys the amazing little cakes and equally loves making desserts.  I can’t wait to try other recipes and share the results with friends and family!

FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lazarus Awakening: Finding Your Place in the Heart of God


            “Spiritual Amnesia is a common condition among Christians.  We’ve all suffered an unholy forgetfulness at times that eclipses any answered prayers or kindnesses received in the past,” Instead of acknowledging what Jesus has done for us, we remember only our problems. Joanna Weaver has explored the complexities of becoming a true friend of Christ in a world where we, the sinful, are still wearing the clothes of the grave that Christ has already redeemed us from, and stubbornly refuse to take them off. Weaver, best selling author of Having a Mary heart in a Martha World, has explored another angle to the favorite bible story in her new book, Lazarus Awakening, Finding Your Place in the Heart of God
            I have frequently read bible study books on a myriad of topics, but this is the first time in a long while I can honestly say, wow!  Weaver delves into the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus from an entirely different perspective, Lazarus.  She explores the real friend that Jesus asks and wants us to be. Not a hetairos, one who is a friend expecting to receive something in return, but a philos, an “intimate classification reserved for those close to the heart.” In her book, Weaver illustrates to the reader that Christ offers to us the same “beautiful acceptance” that He offered to Lazarus and the love that Lazarus returned, we can return also.” It is our duty to reciprocate.  It is in doing that, that one can discover the good news of the gospel.  Weaver encourages one to “simply enjoy hanging out with God…He is looking for friends. And the more unlikely the friendship, it seems, the better.”
            There were so many facets of Weaver’s study that called to me. I loved her approach to the Mary, Martha, and Lazarus story.  Her approach was so different than any I have read before.  I loved her frankness.  I appreciate when an honest Christian calls a spade a spade, or in this case a sinner, a sinner.  She states that it is “possible to become addicted to praise without really becoming addicted to God.” She continues to say that when this happens, “our worship ceases to be worship and turns into just another ritual.”  Weaver nailed it on the head with this statement.  As Christians, one can become so filled with praise that we forget friendship and simple gratitude for the grace of our dear Lord.
            It has been a long while since I found a bible study that I want to reread and continue to study.  Thank you Joanna Weaver for the opportunity to do just that.
FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Why am I doing it? Because I can.

A dear friend the other day asked me why I have been walking so much. My answer was, “because it feels good.” But after she asked, I began to truly contemplate her question.
My first honest response to myself was, I have no idea, or as I told my husband, I really thought, “What the “h” “e” double hockey sticks  am I doing this for?”  
Let’s look back in a mode of discovery and see if there is an answer.  
First of all, my hip hurts. Yep, I feel like a really old woman to divulge the fact that a year ago, due to no evident injury, I developed sciatica in my right hip.  Short story, it hurts. It hurts very much.  I imagine old women in the south saying, “Lordy be, my sciatica is just a flaring up today.”  I hate that it is an element in my life, but it is.  
Second, I am 51 years old and postmenopausal since 38 due to medical means. What this truly means is losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight is difficult to the extreme. I have always struggled with bearing a healthy weight. As a child, I was “chubby”. As a late teen I was “too thin” due to self prescribed extreme calorie restriction.  Over the years I have tried many diets and some worked, and some didn’t, but no diet was long lasting because I always came back to my size fourteen voluptuous form.
I think these two factors are the crux to my current walking regimen. Because my hip hurts so much I have decided, if it hurts doing nothing and it hurts doing something, I may as well exercise and redeem the health benefits from the walking.  My current best  is 7.4 miles.  I would love to make it to 10 miles by the end of the summer.  Only time will tell if I can do it.  That and heat and mosquitoes, but I plan to keep trying.
The other reason is my weight.  I am beyond frustrated in trying to achieve a weight that internally I, and externally the media,  feels is healthy. I can do it if I eat only soy based food products on a restricted diet plan, I know this because I have done this. However, this is not everyday American life cooking and eating.  This is also not a choice I can make to make meals for my husband and family when they come to visit. I profess to be a good cook, and I have the knowledge and ability to make healthy meals. However, I confess to be a cook that loves great food.  Great tasting food, comfort food, gourmet food, I simply love to prepare meals with fresh ingredients and amazing flavors.  Why do I love to indulge in the art of cooking so much, because I can.
All of this culminates to why I am walking so much.  First of all, my hip hurts and I have decided if it hurts when I do something, and it hurts when I do nothing, then I might as well do something and walk.  Why walk so much? Simply, because I can.  Secondly, if restricting my diet to the extreme is the only way to lose weight, but I love to cook, then I will attempt to burn more calories than I eat.  How? Walking.  Now, this coming week I must substitute  teach for summer school and this is an all day gig. This translates to no walking,with mosquitoes in the mix early mornings before school begins and with the heat and mosquitoes later after the day cools. So I will go to the gym and lift weights and perhaps use a machine treadmill.  Not my favorite choice. But after next week I will once again be pounding the pavement for my hip and my cooking habits.
Will I lose any weight? Most likely, no.  But my psyche will feel uplifted and my hip will feel more limber. So, in answer to my friend’s question, “why are you doing this, why are you walking so much?” I believe after much contemplation my answer is...because I can.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Summer Decadence

      I always tell my friends that I love every season, but honestly, summer I believe is my favorite.   For me, summer is pure decadence. I enjoy every part of the season for a multitude of reasons. The weather, the schedule, the wardrobe and the opportunity for simple contemplation make the season a time to savor.
     First of all, the weather during a Kansas summer is amazing.  Cool mornings and evening are coupled with warm to blazing hot days, the variety of temperatures create variety.  Just when you think you have the weather figured out it will change; is an old Kansas cliche that never fails to be true.  To accompany the temperatures one will find the magnificence of Kansas thunderstorms. I think of God's strength and power when I hear a raucous rumble of thunder or see spiderwebs of lightening streak across the sky.  I will concede that all of God's seasons have beauty within them, but for me, the summer days of warmth filled with bird song are perfectly delectable.
     Next, there is the schedule of summer.  I work in education for ten months of the year so summer is an opportunity for renewal. The staff and students all benefit from a break from each other and summer vacation provides the much needed distance.  Every educator knows that in whatever facet they work with students, be it cafeteria, bus driver, secretary, teacher, librarian, or custodian...being in the school system means one has a large family of children to care for, and every parent of a large family definitely needs respite care.  Loving the job doesn't mean distance isn't necessary for sanity's sake!
     Then, there is the summer wardrobe.  During the school year I live in business casual with jean Fridays as a treat.  Summer for me is gym shorts, exercise shirts and t-shirts, I am feeling "dressy" when I wear my white jean shorts.  Comfort is the main mode of operation in my wardrobe and I absolutely adore not dressing well. Flip flops or athletic shoes complete my ensemble which beings me to my final reason for taking such delight in summer; the opportunity for simple contemplation.
     During the summer, I relish lacing up my athletic shoes and taking long walks to bask in God's beauty and contemplate His purpose for me.  It feels like pure decadence to spend time conversing with Him while enjoying the beauty of the flowers along the walking paths, or feel the warmth of the sun shining on my face. Often, I listen to books on my iphone and think about the awe-inspiring gifts that God gave other writers and how the writers craft their stories.  Most of all, I ask God to let me know his will for me in my life and to give me the skill and courage to use the gifts he has given me to His glory.  Summer is pure decadence for me, simply because it is one of God's wonders!



Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Library At Mount Char

If I had tried to find a more polar opposite book from the last one I read, I don't believe I could have accomplished the feat.  I try to read across all genres, so as not to succumb to a specific reading stereotype.  That being said, The Library At Mount Char is one of the most unique books I have ever read.

I must confess that I am stumped as to how to rate or review this book.  My gut instinct is to say that I did not enjoy this book, but I don't want to underestimate the book.  I believe that perhaps I just did not understand the depth of this book.

The Library At Mount Char, written by Scott Hawkins,  is a mix of genres.  I would describe it as a fantasy, horror and adventure fiction all mashed up into a bloody stew. Hawkins has written a novel with many characters in a world where a god-like entity rules with sadistic control and pleasure.  The heroine, Carolyn, slowly manipulates the characters to survive the world in which  she is thrust.

Personally, through the first three quarters of the book I was confused and could not find a plot.  If I was assigned the chore of creating a plot diagram I would fail because the storyline jumped between so many characters and settings that I did  not see any continuity.  However, the last fourth of the book seemed to pull some of the elements together to create a reasonable ending of good conquering evil, yada, yada, yada.

What I wonder is if there is much hidden symbolism that will surface as more learned readers attack this novel.  I just have a feeling that others will read The Library At Mount Char,  and see past the violence and gore as if it is a confusing poem to be unraveled.  I certainly plan to continue looking for other reviews to see what I missed in my lack of understanding.  Perhaps it just is not my fancy as I generally enjoy a lighter form of entertainment.  I would encourage the adventurous reader to give it a try.  This book certainly is a change from the mundane.

FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

When Grace Sings

Psalms 71:8 - Let my mouth be filled [with] thy praise [and with] thy honour all the day. Kim Vogel Sawyer does honor to her God and her readers in her latest offering, When Grace Sings, book two of the Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy. This Christian fiction novel is a charming account of the lives of an old order Mennonite family and the outside the “order” world they face. 
Alexa Zimmerman is a young lady managing a bed and breakfast in the town of Arborville, Kansas.  She lives with her aged, disabled, grandmother in the grandmother’s newly remodeled home.  She is faced with a haunting past and family that she has recently come to know.  A tabloid reporter, Briley Forrester, is assigned the job of uncovering hidden story within the old order Mennonite community.  A variety of characters complete the work, creating a sweet story of family, faith, and trust.  In Vogel Sawyer’s story some of the community’s secrets are revealed while others are waiting for the third installment in the trilogy to be shared.
Vogel Sawyer artfully uses her tender story telling gift to share the hope of her characters and the hope of grace in the Lord with her readers in each of her books and, When Grace Sings, is no exception.  This reader thoroughly enjoyed, When Grace Sings, and encourages all who want to enjoy a warmhearted book of hope to read it as well.

FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review