Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"A" is for Adaptable


PhotobucketI'm going to start participating in a new weekly Meme: "Blogging through the Alphabet"
I'm not sure exactly where I'll go with this~ some weeks may be homeschool related, others recipe related, and sometimes I might throw something entirely different in there~ we shall see!


For starters~
"A" is for Adaptable
In every aspect of life it is a useful ability to be adaptable~ able to adjust to new conditions, OR to modify something for a new purpose.

Let's find some things that are adaptable in my home, shall we?

Leftovers are extremely adaptable~
Those last bits of Chinese or BBQ dinners end up showing us a new face as the toppings for pizza the next night.
Leftover vegetables or meats become the base for soups which then get turned into a sauce for pasta or a casserole.
I find that "Adaptable" leftovers are much more interesting than "The same thing twice"~ how about you?

Curriculum is adaptable~
My favorite curricula are very adaptable ~ Five In a Row would be my favorite illustration. The manuals contain more information and discussion that you will ever need to go through in one sitting~ so you adapt it to what suits your child's interest, age, and ability. It took me a few years to figure out that we can shape the curriculum to suit our needs, we don't have to be controlled by it!

Furniture and toys are adaptable~
Anyone who lives with children understands this~ the loveseat becomes a fire engine, the table is a wild animal den, Playmobil people play with Lego guys who play with Schleich animals~ it's all good and can be used for more than the intended purpose!

People can be adaptable~
This is one of the more important things I try to teach my children~ That regardless of the circumstance in which they find themselves, they should be willing to be adaptable~ to make the best of any given situation~ to be flexible.  If we have God with us and in us, we should be~ adaptable

Hebrews 13:5 
Be content with such things as you have. 
For He has said "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Blessings~

The Guardian Duke (Book Review and Giveaway)

Well, here's something a little different ~ I get to run a giveaway for a regency romance by Jamie Carie The Guardian Duke~ the first book in a series of three.

The premise is that Lady Alexandria Featherstone's parents have "gone missing" while on a surreptitious expedition at the request of the Crown of England. She is determined to find them, although the King has declared them presumed dead, and handed her guardianship over to the Duke of St. Easton. She cares very little about the Duke, or his guardianship, as he is an unknown entity, far away in London, while she lives in a dilapidated castle on the edge of nowhere.

In her ingenuousness, she heads off (on her OWN!) with the belief that she will be able to find her parents. Along the way she and the Duke trade a number of letters, through which they get to know one another to some degree.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

BeeYoutiful!

Every now and again the TOS Crew gets to review something non-school related~ in that it isn't books or curriculum, or games. This time around we were sent product from BeeYouTiful ~ a "Healthy Living" company. (And really, being "healthy" does affect your homeschool, so it is related!)

Each crew member was sent a tube of B.A.L.M. ($3) in either orange or peppermint (I got peppermint~ my favorite). The lip balm goes on smooth and with a little less "Bite" than some peppermint balms I've used. Very nice, and I can pronounce all of the ingredients! :)

The item we received for review was a bottle of BeeYouTiful's  Tummy TuneUp ($18 for 60 caplets, with a discount for bulk purchases). Given the prevalence of the Noro-Virus this year, and a child with a severe fear of GI illnesses, I was more than happy to give this a go.

My children were more than happy to split open their capsules (Which are filled with an arsenal of 8 friendly bacteria~ a Pro-biotic, not Anti-biotic) and sprinkle them on whatever cool-ish food they were eating at meal time (extreme heat will kill the good bacteria).  There was no noticable flavor, unless they tried to eat the powder straight (Not recommended!), although they also determined that the actual capsules that hold the powder are not very "tasty."

We decided that since there HAD been a huge outbreak of noro-virus in our region, that it wouldn't hurt to be proactive and take the probiotics once a day as a preventative measure. After 2 or 3 days, my children began to complain about gassy pains~ and the only thing in our diet that had changed was the addition of the Tummy Tuneup, so we decided to stop the prophylactic dosing~ the gassy pains went away after a few days of no pills. My suspicion is that my children already receive an adequate amount of good bacteria from the all natural yogurt that they eat daily, and this was a little bit of overkill? Not too sure, but that's my guess.

While this product didn't seem to be a good fit for the body-chemistry of our family on a daily basis, I plan to keep it around to help boost the good bacteria the next time someone is put on antibiotics (Which kill bacteria indiscriminately), or we actually come in contact with a tummy virus (Not just the threat of one).

There were a variety of other items sent out to other crew members~ Berry Well, Tension Tamer, Ow-Ease, and Miracle Skin Salve, to name a few~ If those names make you curious(there are bath and beauty products, Supplements, and a variety of other "healthy living" products and information), you might want to hop on over to the TOS Crew blog, and read about the experiences of other Crew Members with the products they received from BeeYouTiful.

I hope that this has been a helpful "Out of the norm" review~ bringing new, alternative products to your attention as you care for the health of your family.

Blessings~
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, February 24, 2012

Apologia Who Am I?

I really love the fact that Apologia has expanded their line of curriculum to include Apologetics for children. Last year I was privileged to receive for review the first title in the "What We Believe" series "Who is God?" You can read my review of that book here. The basic format remains the same in the second book "Who am I?" but the questions being asked are, obviously, different. :)
    Photobucket
  • Lesson 1: What Are We Doing Here?
  • Lesson 2: What Will You Make Today?
  • Lesson 3: What's On Your Mind? 
  • Lesson 4: Can You Trust Your Feelings?
  • Lesson 5: Will You Choose Wisely? (Free Sample Lesson)
  • Lesson 6: How Will You Run the Race?
  • Lesson 7: What Kind of Fruit Are You Growing? 
  • Lesson 8: Who Do You Think You Are? 
Apologia describes the answers to these questions briefly~ The second book in the What We Believe series, Who Am I? (And What Am I Doing Here?) helps children understand what it means to be fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of the Most High God. This study will enable students to develop a healthy self-image based on these biblical truths: God made me in His image and crowned me with glory; He has given me special gifts and a unique purpose in life; I can creatively express God's love; I am meant to think about beautiful and praiseworthy things, especially God and His Word; I must make decisions based on God's truth; I can always know the wise thing to do; I must cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in my life; I am a beloved child of God whose true identity is found in Christ.

Once again, there are a variety of methods employed to help your children dig into the Biblical answers to these questions ~ Object lessons learned through both Fact and Fiction stories, memory work, and life application ideas. Scripture is woven throughout the text.

New to this book are fictional biographical stories of the lives of  children being brought up in homes with belief systems that sometimes are very clearly opposed to the Christian worldview, and sometimes are somewhat similar in many ways~ enough that some people don't even realize that they have a different worldview! I know that some parents prefer not to introduce other specific worldviews until after their children have a firm foundation in what they believe, so feel free to save these portions until your children are at the upper range for the study (Tween/teen).

This year we received some additional resources to go along with the study~
A Beautiful Spiral-bound Notebooking Journal that perfectly matches the hardcover text.
Each page is a lovely background on which your children (who aren't terrified of filling open spaces) can write their thoughts and answers to the discussion questions from the book. This really is a delightful journal, and if you download the offered sample (Journal pages from Lesson 2), you'll see what I mean! In addition to that white space (Which my children are allergic to....;}) there are also some fun activities like word searches and crossword puzzles as well as a few "mini books" to put together and paste in the appropriate place in the journal. If you are a "notebooking" family, this will most likely appeal to you!

My son is less of a notebook-type of kid, so this wouldn't be an automatic purchase in our house, but there are some features that I particularly appreciated:
  • The Journal has a helpful "Lesson Plan" grid which keeps you on track with your studies, and coordinates the journal pages with the sections of the book you are reading. Having the readings broken down this way made it much easier on me from a planning standpoint, and we took one of the recommended approaches of 2x per week, taking 3 weeks to complete a lesson. Very doable! :)
  • There are also some great literature and music resources listed at the end of each lesson that mesh well, for further reading and listening.
  • "Things to do" gives some hands-on activities to add to the application of each lesson~ very nice!

Another new item this year is the Who Am I? Coloring book~ this can be great if you have the kin-esthetic learner who wants to "Doodle" while listening to you read the text~ You can see a sample which includes 5 of the pages from the coloring book to get a taste of the style and quality.

And if you have an auditory learner, but circumstances don't allow you to read the text to them, Apologia offers an mp3 CD (must be played on an mp3 compatible CD player or computer) which narrates the entire text (each "Section" of each lesson is a separate track). We didn't really use this because I prefer to read to my children, but I can see this being a big help on the occasions that mom is sick, or can't do the reading for some other reason. Also good for the more independent child who has reading difficulties.

The typical book extras from Apologia exist on a password protected webpage, and include pdf files that include teacher helps with extra discussion ideas, questions and resources, and more basic notebooking pages.

So far I have been impressed with the content of the study, and haven't found much (beyond the occasional word or phrase that I edit out due personal family sensibilities that are probably very different from others~  specifics about Rahab, for example, aren't things I think my kids need to hear just yet, so I skip that bit) that would make me concerned about recommending this to any of my Christian friends.

Nitty Gritty~
Age recommendation: 6-14
Prices
Who Am I? (Text) $39.00 
Who Am I? Notebooking Journal: $24.00 
Who Am I? Coloring Book: $8.00 
Who Am I? Audio CD: $19.00

As always, I hope that this information is useful to you as you chose where to use your homeschool budget. For other opinions, please visit the Crew Blog and see what other homeschoolers had to say about Who Am I?

Blessings~
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Six Ways to Keep the "Good" in Your Boy


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Karri James, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Dannah Gresh is a bestselling author, a speaker, and the creator of the Secret Keeper Girl live events. Her books include Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl, 8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters, And the Bride Wore White, and Lies Young Women Believe (coauthored with Nancy Leigh DeMoss). She and her husband have a son and two daughters and live in Pennsylvania.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Bestselling author Dannah Gresh empowers moms of with six proactive ways to raise sons age 8-12 to be honest, confident, and respectful. This encouraging, practical resource shows how the formative years can shape a godly, healthy teen and adult. Includes engaging activity ideas, and Scriptures to pray over sons.


Product Details:
List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736945792
ISBN-13: 978-0736945790



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Is There a Mouse in
That Cookie Box?


A box of cookies and a dead mouse.
The combination conjures up one of the proudest memories of mothering my wonderful son, Robby. (If you meet him, you can call him Rob. But I can’t. He’s still my Robby even if he’s the size of a linebacker.) He was a freshman at Grace Prep high school and was just returning from a school-assigned Random Act of Kindness when these two mismatched objects—mouse and cookies—mingled together to create an equally odd mixture of emotions.
Just hours earlier, armed with nothing more than a few boxes of cookies and several rakes, he and a few friends had set out to do some good. They’d come back a little flustered, but laughing their experience off like four cool 15-year-old boys should.
“We just got yelled at,” said Robby, wearing the words like a badge of courage.
“By whom?” I asked.
“Some crazy woman who thought there must be a mouse in the cookies we were trying to give her,” he answered defensively.
“What!” I was just a little aggravated, having been the one who had issued the assignment. How could anyone react with anger and suspicion (particularly in our small, friendly town) to a box of cookies and an offer to do yard work? Surely they must have misunderstood. “Tell me what happened. Play-by-play,” I said.
“Well, we knocked on the lady’s door to give her the cookies and ask permission to rake her leaves,” Robby answered. “When we tried to hand her the cookies she looked afraid and angrily said, ‘Is there a dead mouse in that box?’   ”
The other boys snickered. I could see that they thought it was funny, but that it also bothered them.
I was having a hard time believing it.
“We promised there wasn’t a mouse in there, but she just couldn’t believe we were there to do anything good. So one of the guys said, ‘Look, we just want to show you God’s love in a practical way.’   ”
This made me smile. It was what they’d been taught. “Transfer the credit of this good act to God,” I’d said in class.
“What’d she say when you said that?” I asked.
“She grabbed the cookies, said, ‘Rake if you want to,’ and slammed the door in our faces!” said Robby. “So, we raked.”
I could tell that the guys were still a bit shaken, and I was a bit angry that they hadn’t been met with the reward of a simple “thank you.”
A few weeks later, God brought the whole thing full circle with a letter that came in the mail. One of the members of Robby’s group got to read it out loud in chapel. I wish I still had it. It went something like this:
Dear Grace Prep:
Recently some boys from your school came here to deliver cookies to my daughter and me. They also raked our leaves. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t trust them. I am sorry. (For the record, they were really yummy cookies.)
I think God sent those boys here.
You see, my husband—my daughter’s father—died recently and it has been tough. Just that morning my daughter and I kind of put a test out there for God. We prayed, saying, “If you’re really there and you really see us, show up!”
When he did, we didn’t recognize him right away. But I have no doubt that God sent those high-school boys to remind us that he sees us.
Thank you.
You could have heard a pin drop in that room of high-school kids when the letter was read. We were all simply struck with the power of goodness.
But here’s why this wonderful memory not only floods my heart with pride, but also makes me sad: We’ve lost our faith in the goodness of boys and men. And not wholly without reason.
Where Have All the Good Men Gone?
A title of a recent Wall Street Journal article inquired, “Where Have the Good Men Gone?” A current Amazon bestseller seeks to answer the question, Is There Anything Good About Men? Since the 2004 coining of the word “adultescent,”  1 we’ve had something to call the young adult male who is so busy playing Call of Duty on his PlayStation 4 that he has no real-life call of duty. No honor. No integrity. No goodness. Just a seventh-grade mind-set and responsibility level trapped in the flabby body of an adult who often still lives at home or in a tacky bachelor pad with other adultescents. The phenomenon is what caused Kay S. Hymowitz to pen the book Manning Up, in which she writes,
Not so long ago, average mid-twentysomethings, both male and female, had achieved most of the milestones of adulthood: high school diploma, financial independence, marriage, and children. These days [the males] hang out in a novel sort of limbo, a hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance.  2
High-school English teacher Joe Carmichiel has written a book entitled Permanent Adolescence: Why Boys Don’t Grow Up, because “a large number of today’s teenagers, especially boys, see no reason to accept or pursue adulthood since it is of so little value to the larger culture.”  3 So, with no motivation todo anything, many of these young men remain in a state of wimpy complacency well into their twenties, even thirties.
Along with this state of immaturity that many boys will embrace as they grow older is a culturally acceptable pressure for boys to be bad—both complacent and void of character. By the time a boy is finished with high school, he is likely to have three crucial areas of character ripped right out of him:
  1. Over 50 percent of young men will have become sexually active in a casual-sex culture where they’re likely to have an average of 9.7 sexual partners before they graduate from college.  4 (There goes his purity.)
  2. Most of them will be exposed to porn as a tween or early teen, with the median age of first exposure being about 11. This catapults many of them into a world of double-mindedness where they are one boy at home and in public—and another entirely in their private world. (There goes his integrity.)
  3. Many will have succumbed to an emasculated version of manhood that strips them of their drive to be leaders and protectors who do good. (There goes his honor.)

Our boys need to be taught to grow up.
And to be good.


While Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl    cried
out for us to band together against the culture’s pressure for our little girls to grow up too fast, this book pleads with you to join us in raising sons who are prepared to embrace the responsibility of growing up.
It’s been our goal to create a character base for our son to be a man of integrity, honor, and purity. Bob and I want him to be good. Fortunately, our life work led me into the depths of research, and I learned that we had to start building a foundation for our son to rise to the call of manhood…when he was still just our “good boy”! Raising a son to reflect your value system when he is a man is—in part—a matter of introducing those values to him in an age-appropriate manner when he is a tween. Social science offers us statistical lines of footprints showing how a boy will turn out based on what he is exposed to and when. Sadly, our boys have got a tough battle ahead. It’s been a long time since they’ve seen anything but “adultescent” or “bad” examples of manhood dominating our culture.
Why Are Boys “Bad”?
Robert Coles, a pioneer in the field of moral intelligence, brings clarity to the definition badness when he writes,
Bad boys display a “heightened destructive self-absorption, in all its melancholy stages.” In essence, we go bad when “we lose sight of our obligation to others.”  5
Badness is not simply the loss of innocence, purity, integrity, and honor, but also the loss of vision to see the needs of others and to act on them. It’s a complacent, self-absorbed lifestyle that is void of character.
I think we have a bad-boy mentality in our culture for two primary reasons.
The first reason boys become bad is that the feminist movement has told us they are bad. Michael Gurian, author of The Wonder of Boys, though seeming to embrace the feminist movement as a whole, points out a few devastating myths it introduced to convince our boys that they are “bad.” Here are two that resonate with me:
Myth Number One: “that masculinity is responsible for the world’s ills and femininity is the world’s salvation.”  6
Myth Number Two: “males destroy, females create; males stand in the way of positive spiritual/social values; males are inherently violent.”  7
While a deeper study of the feminist movement would betray an agenda to introduce these fallacies, we don’t have to get that academic to see how much we are influenced to believe these myths in our politically correct culture.
Just consider how prevalently they are portrayed in the media. Television alone reinforces them. Two and a Half Men, “the biggest hit comedy of the past decade” according to the New York Times, features a hedonist formerly played by Charlie Sheen. After eight seasons, the show was stalled when Sheen went into rehab for drug use. He was then fired for making disparaging remarks about the show’s producers. On and off screen he was self-absorbed and void of character. Other shows display the contrast of the valuable female to the valueless male. Reruns of The Simpsons portray Lisa as bright and beautiful and Bart as out of shape and selfish. Co-ed television commercials often portray the guy as a doofus and the girl as smart. It’s funny. It really is. But how much of it can we expose ourselves to before we believe it? And that takes me to my next concern.
The second reason boys are “bad” is that they have become what has been expected of them, just like any individual tends to fulfill what has been prophesied about them. Of course, they’ve had help from their parents (or lack thereof), their culture (and its emasculation), their economy (and its consumeristic “me” mentality), and their churches (who haven’t done much to stand against the feminist untruths). But today’s men as a whole have pretty much rolled over and taken it.
It’s probably a good idea for me, Bob, to step in here. I’m a guy. If anyone’s going to throw us under the bus, it should be me. It has always befuddled me that the prettiest, nicest girls are always attracted to the bad boys. From the jock who bullies everyone at school to the kid in a leather jacket who doles out drugs after school, nice girls often go after the bad boys. In the Twilight series, bad boy Edward Cullen makes good girl Bella Swan swoon. In real life, the stars live out the scenario. Kevin Federline was the top bad boy of the tabloids when he nabbed the most famous girl on the planet at the height of her career, Britney Spears. Katy Perry, former Christian music artist gone sexual tease, pledged herself to bad boy Russell Brand.
I think that the constant drip of these scenarios into our spirits makes us want to be bad boys. Let’s be real: A guy desires a beautiful girl, and while the ones in the headlines might not be all that chaste, they’re often portrayed as the good girl taken by the bad boy. And guess what? Guys want nice girls. So, we begin to believe that maybe we’re supposed to be bad.
And if we’re not, we’re boring.
Come on. The media glorifies the bad boys—from Grease’s Danny Zuko to Pirates of the Caribbean’s Captain Jack Sparrow—not the plain-vanilla good guys. I didn’t watch this show, but Dannah says Gilmore Girls played to this big time when Rory fell for beautiful boy Dean until bad boy Jess came to town. The bad boy is so often the one the girl wants and celebrates.
Conversely, there aren’t a lot of movies being made about Billy Graham, the kid who called 9-1-1 and delivered his mom’s baby, or the apostle Paul. These are true heroes…but they’re good. And good is boring, according to movie producers. Since no one rises up to celebrate the good, most guys—though innately built to be conquerors—roll over and become boring.
In some twisted place in our minds, we’d much rather be bad than boring because that’s how you get the girl. But many of us are afraid of being the real bad boy. So we just get complacent. We roll over and stay in some limbo—a state of in-between. Not really bad. Not really good. Or so we think.
In reality, this complacency is the absolute root of badness.
The Tree
Complacency was at the root of the first bad move among men. (Yes—the bad move of all time.) Adam had the most complacent moment of all when he stood at the foot of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was Eve who wore the pants in the first family during this catastrophic moment. She took the lead and reached for the fruit of the Tree. Adam just got all quiet, passive and…well, boring. The Scriptures don’t note that he was deceived, tempted, or lied to like Eve. Just that he went along with it.
Some theologians believe that there was something in the way that Eve was crafted which made her more vulnerable to deception. (Just consider how often we women are prone to think things like “I’m fat!” Haven’t seen too many guys obsessing over that thought. Or maybe you’ve been prone to believe the lie “No one really likes me.” Men don’t struggle with that as often or as easily. Women are just prone to believing lies.) However, many believe that Satan approached Eve because he was attempting to throw over the created order by getting her to take leadership over her husband. And Adam seemed to passively accept this evil situation to gratify his flesh. Sounds a bit too much like many men of today.
Complacency led to the first sin. (Perhaps, had Adam chosen to speak truth to Eve, he could have led her away from that horrible original sin.) His failure to lead changed the course of history. We believe that the same kind of complacency that showed itself at the foot of the Tree still leads men to badness.
Goodness vs. Badness
While a bad boy’s greatest desire is to live according to his desires, a good boy, according to Robert Coles, has an outward focus:
Good…boys…have learned to take seriously the very notion, the desirability of goodness—living up to the Golden Rule.  8
The Greek word for goodness (used in our take-to-heart verse, Romans 12:21) appears in the New Testament in three forms, all of which are rooted in the Hebrew word tod, which means “usefulness” or “beneficialness.” Are we bringing up boys who understand their call of duty to be useful contributors to society, to be beneficial to others?
Goodness is the quality that makes us put others ahead of ourselves. It’s the moral compass that keeps the world safe, happy, and working. It’s the drive that makes us want to function in families rather than isolation. It’s the internal road sign that takes us away from our own desires and toward the destiny of meeting the needs of others. Without it, we are “bad.” That’s probably why all of us—male and female—are called to goodness.
Do not be overcome by evil,
but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:21
God is good
The ultimate reason we must raise our boys to be good is that it reflects the character of God. His goodness is a bedrock truth of Scripture and is inseparable from his nature. If we are to be a picture of him, we must possess goodness. He is good not only in a general sense, but he is good to us and forus. This element of his character expresses his selflessness and desire to exist on behalf of others. When people are good, they act toward and for others, as opposed to losing sight of others as their own needs and desires consume them.

Blessings~


 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the FIRST Wild Card Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Wings of Morning (FIRST Wild Card Tour) Great book!

Here is another Amish novel, but I have to say that this one stands out! It is set in World War I, and written by a man, so there are a couple of differences from the typical novel to get you going... :)

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Karri James, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Murray Pura earned his Master of Divinity degree from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia and his ThM degree in theology and interdisciplinary studies from Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more than twenty-five years, in addition to his writing, he has pastored churches in Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Alberta. Murray’s writings have been shortlisted for the Dartmouth Book Award, the John Spencer Hill Literary Award, the Paraclete Fiction Award, and Toronto's Kobzar Literary Award. Murray pastors and writes in southern Alberta near the Rocky Mountains. He and his wife Linda have a son and a daughter.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Lovers of Amish fiction will quickly sign on as fans of award-winning author Murray Pura as they keep turning the pages of this exciting new historical romance set in 1917 during America’s participation in World War I.

Jude Whetstone and Lyyndaya Kurtz, whose families are converts to the Amish faith, are slowly falling in love. Jude has also fallen in love with flying that new-fangled invention, the aeroplane.

The Amish communities have rejected the telephone and have forbidden motorcar ownership but not yet electricity or aeroplanes.

Though exempt from military service on religious grounds, Jude is manipulated by unscrupulous army officers into enlisting in order to protect several Amish men. No one in the community understands Jude’s sudden enlistment and so he is shunned. Lyyndaya’s despair deepens at the reports that Jude has been shot down in France. In her grief, she turns to nursing Spanish flu victims in Philadelphia. After many months of caring for stricken soldiers, Lyyndaya is stunned when an emaciated Jude turns up in her ward.

Lyyndaya’s joy at receiving Jude back from the dead is quickly diminished when the Amish leadership insist the shunning remain in force. How then can they marry without the blessing of their families? Will happiness elude them forever?

Welcome a powerful new voice to the world of Amish fiction!






Product Details:
List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736948775
ISBN-13: 978-0736948777



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Lyyndaya Kurtz straightened her back and looked up at the blue and bronze evening sky. It was that strange sound again, like a large swarm of bees at their hive, and it grew louder and louder. She leaned the hoe against the picket fence her father had built around the garden. Her mother, whose hearing was no longer very good, continued to chop at weeds between the rows of radishes and lettuce. She glanced at her daughter as Lyyndaya shielded her eyes from the slowly setting sun.
Was ist los?” she asked, using Pennsylvania Dutch.
“Can’t you hear them, Mama?” Lyyndaya responded. “There are aeroplanes coming.”
Her mother stood up, still holding the hoe in her brown hands, and squinted at the sun and sky. “I don’t see anything. Is it a small one?”
“No, it’s too loud for just one aeroplane. Do you see, Mama?” Lyyndaya pointed. “Coming out of the west. Coming out of the sun.”
Now her mother shielded her eyes. “All I am seeing is spots in front of my eyes from looking into the light.”
“Look higher. There are—three, four, six—there are half a dozen of them.”
The planes were not that far from the ground, Lyyndaya thought, only a thousand feet, not much more. Each with two wings, the top wing longer than the bottom one, each plane painted a yellow that gleamed in the sunlight. As she watched, one of them broke away from the others and dropped toward them. It came so low that the roar of the engine filled the air and children ran from their houses and yards into the dirt road and the hay fields. They were soon followed by their mothers and fathers and older brothers and sisters.
Lyyndaya laughed as the plane flew over their house. A hand waved at her from the plane’s open cockpit and she waved back with all her might. “Can you see the plane now, Mama?” she teased.
Her mother had crouched among the heads of lettuce as the plane flashed past. “Ach,” she exclaimed with a cross look on her face, “this must be your crazy boy, Jude Whetstone.”
“He’s coming back!”
The plane had banked to the left over Jacob Miller’s wheat field and was heading back over the farmhouses while the other five planes carried on to the east. Its yellow wings dipped lower and lower. Lyyndaya’s green eyes widened.
“He’s going to land in Papa’s field!” she cried. “Where the hay was cut on Monday!”
She lifted the hem of her dress in both hands and began to run. The black kaap that covered her hair at the back, left untied, flew off her head.
“Lyyndaya! This is not seemly!” her mother called after her.
But the young woman had reached the old gray fence around the hay field, gathered the bottom of her navy blue dress in one hand, and climbed over, and with strands of sand-colored hair unraveling from their pins, she was racing over the stubble to where the plane’s wheels were just touching the earth. Others were running toward the plane from all directions, jumping the fence if they were spry enough, opening the gate to the field if they were not.
The aeroplane came to a stop in the middle of the field and when the propeller stopped spinning a young man in a brown leather jacket and helmet pushed his goggles from his eyes and jumped from the cockpit to the ground. He was immediately surrounded by the several boys and girls who had outrun the adults in their rush toward the craft. He mussed the hair of two of the boys who came up to him and tugged the pigtail of a red-headed girl.
“Jude!” Lyyndaya exclaimed as she ran up to him, the tan on her face flushed. “What are you doing here?”
“Hello, Lyyndy,” the young man smiled, lifting one of the boys up on his shoulders. “The whole flying club went up and I convinced them to come this way to Paradise. I wanted to see you.”
“To see me? You fly a plane from Philadelphia just to see me?”
“Why not?”
“But you were coming back on the train in a few days.”
“A few days. I couldn’t wait that long.”
Lyyndaya could feel the heat in her face as neighbors looked on. She saw one or two frown, but most of the men and women smiled. A very tall man in a maroon shirt wearing a straw hat laughed. She dropped her eyes.
“Bishop Zook,” she murmured, “how are you?”
Gute, gute,” he responded. “Well, Jude, what is all this? Why has a pigeon dropped out of the sky?”
Bishop Zook was not only tall, at least six-foot-nine, but broad-shouldered and strong. He shook Jude’s hand with a grip like rock. The young man pulled his leather helmet off his head so that his dark brown hair tumbled loose. Lyyndaya fought down an overwhelming urge to take Jude and hug him as she had done so many times when they were nine and ten.
“I wanted the children to see the plane, Bishop Zook,” said Jude.
“Only the children?”
“Well—” Jude stumbled. “I thought perhaps—I might ask Miss Kurtz—”
“Ah,” smiled the bishop. “You want to take her up, as you flying men say?”
“I thought—”
“Are you two courting?”
“Courting?”
“You remember what is courting, my boy—you have not been among the English in Philadelphia that long, eh?”
Everyone laughed, and Lyyndaya thought the heat in her face and hands would make her hair and skin catch on fire.
Bishop Zook put an arm like a plank around Jude’s slender shoulders. “You know when there is the courting here, we let the boy take the girl home in the buggy after the Sunday singing. You remember that much after a week away?”
“Yes—”
“So your horse and buggy are where?” the bishop said.
Jude continued to hunt desperately for his words. “In the barn, but I wanted—” He stopped, his tongue failing him as the whole colony stood watching and listening.
The bishop waited a moment and then walked over and touched the top wing of the plane. He ran his hand over the coated fabric and nodded. “A beautiful buggy. Pulled by horses with wings, eh? How many, Master Whetstone?”
Jude was trying not to look at Lyyndaya for help, but did anyway, and she was making sure she did not look at him or offer any by keeping her eyes on the stubble directly in front of the toes of her boots.
“There are—” Jude stepped away from the crowd pressing in on him and Lyyndaya and turned around to look at the plane behind him as if he were seeing it for the first time—“there are—” He stood utterly still and stared at the engine as if it did not belong there. Then he looked at Bishop Zook’s thick black beard and broad face. “Ninety. Ninety horses.”
The bishop nodded again and kept running his hand over the wing. “More than enough. There is the problem however—if God had meant us to fly, Master Whetstone, wouldn’t he have given us wings, hm?”
He took his hand from the plane and looked at Jude directly. Several of the men and women murmured their agreement with the bishop’s question and nodded their heads. Most remained silent, waiting for Jude’s answer. Jude stared at the bishop, trying to gauge the look in the tall man’s blue eyes. He thought he saw a flash of humor so he went ahead with the answer he had used a hundred times in their own Amish colony as well as in dozens of the ones around it.
“Bishop Zook,” he responded, “if God had meant us to ride a buggy he would have given us wheels and four legs.”
“Ah ha!” shouted the bishop, slapping his huge hand against his leg and making most of the people jump, including Lyyndaya. “You have it, Master Whetstone, you have it.” He clapped his hands lightly in appreciation and a smattering of relieved laughter came from the small crowd. “So now take me up.”
“What?”
“As bishop, I must make sure it is safe for Miss Kurtz, ja? After all, who has ever had such a horse and buggy in our colony, eh?” He gave his hat to one of the men and climbed into the front of the two cockpits.
“I only have a little time before I must head back to Philadelphia—” Jude began, again glancing at Lyyndaya for help, who had gone so far as to raise her gaze to stare fixedly at the bishop and the plane, but still refused to make eye contact with the young man.
“Five minutes,” said the bishop with a gleam in his eye. “That is all I ask. I am not the one you are courting, eh?”
The people laughed again. The thought passed through Jude’s head that the bishop was enjoying a lot of laughter at his expense. Then he shrugged and climbed into the rear cockpit. He saw his father in the crowd and gestured with his hand.
“Papa, will you give the propeller a turn?” he asked.
“Of course, my boy.”
As Jude’s father, a tall, slender man with a short beard and warm brown eyes, walked toward the plane, Bishop Zook leaned his head back and asked, “Now, before the engine noise, tell me, what is the name of this aeroplane and where do they make such things?”
Jude handed the bishop a leather helmet and goggles. “It’s a Curtiss JN-4, the Jenny, and they’re usually made in Buffalo, New York. But our flying club outside of Philadelphia was able to purchase these at a very good price from our Canadian friends just across the border. They are built there by Curtiss’s Canadian associate, the Canadian Aeroplane Company, so we call them the Canuck.”
“But they are the same as the New York ones?”
“Almost. They have one great advantage. I use a stick, a joystick, to control the aeroplane in these. The old American ones have a wheel that is not as good.”
“Why don’t we put the stick in ours then?”
“We will. The next model has the stick, the JN-4D. But they have only brought it out this month. There are not enough of them. Besides, it’s 1917 and they are all going to the army. Civilian clubs will not be able to purchase them while the war is on.”
Jude’s father, in his brown summer shirt and straw hat, was standing in front of the plane and smiling. Jude played with a switch on the control panel in his cockpit. Then he pulled down his goggles and smiled back at his father and made a circle in the air with his hand. His father nodded, put both hands on the top blade of the wooden propeller, and swung it downward. The engine coughed twice and roared. His father’s hat went spinning into the sky with the prop wash.
“Contact,” Jude said loudly. “Please buckle on your harness, Bishop Zook.”
“Ah. So we truly do have something in common with the horses.”
Jude’s father had caught up with his hat. He looked back at his son and pointed east. Jude turned the plane in that direction.
“What is your father telling us?” shouted Bishop Zook.
“The direction the wind or breeze is coming from. We take off into the wind.”
“Why?”
“It gives us lift to help get the aeroplane off the ground.”
The craft moved ahead, slowly bouncing over the field, then gathering speed and rising into the air. Jude took it to a thousand feet and made sure he flew over the entire town of Paradise and especially the bishop’s dairy farm on the west end. The sun was still an hour or two over the horizon and covered the plane in light. The bishop began to laugh and slapped one of his hands against the side of the Jenny.
“Too beautiful, too beautiful,” Jude heard him call out. “Mein Gott, what a gift you have given the birds, such a gift, such a world.”
When they landed again and the propeller had spun down to a stop, Bishop Zook climbed out, pumped Jude’s hand like an excited boy, and then beckoned to Lyyndaya.
“Come, come, my dear,” he smiled, “your buggy awaits.”
Feeling every eye on her, the skin of her face burning, she stepped up to the plane and the bishop helped her into the front cockpit. She used one hand to manage her dress and the other to grab onto parts of the plane. When she was finally in her seat, the bishop gave her the helmet and goggles and showed her how to tighten the buckles of the shoulder harnesses. Then he walked to the front of the plane and bent his head at Jude’s father.
“May I?”
Jude’s father stood back from the propeller. “Of course.”
“I just pull it downward?”
Ja, just a sharp tug and then let it go. Do not hold on.”
“Yes, yes, all right—when?”
“My son will tell you.”
Lyyndaya sat in her cockpit feeling an odd mixture of embarrassment, excitement, and fear. Suddenly Jude’s hand squeezed her left shoulder from behind.
“You will be all right, Lyyndy Lyyndy Lou,” he said.
She could not turn all the way around to see him, but she knew he would be smiling just as his use of the childhood nickname had made her smile as well. Now, ten years later, without having had a chance to discuss it between themselves, the plane ride had become a buggy ride and they were courting, thanks to Bishop Zook. Well, it would give them something to talk about besides the weather and the crops when he came back to Lancaster County from Philadelphia in a few days.
She could not see what Jude was doing, but the bishop all of a sudden nodded, swung down on the propeller with his enormous hands and arms, and the engine burst into life. They began to roll across the ground faster than she had ever traveled in anything before, faster than galloping her mare, Anna, bareback. She felt her heart hammering and her mouth go dry.
“Hang on!” shouted Jude.
The wind was rushing against her face and body. The earth streamed past brown and green. The sky was a streak of blue and silver. Then the plane lifted into the air and her stomach seemed to turn inside out and upside down. She looked down and the men and women and children were like dolls and the wagons like toys and the houses like tiny boxes. Suddenly the plane banked to the right and she felt herself falling out of her seat. The leather flying helmet, unfastened, was torn from her head, her hair exploded in the rush of air, and as her arms dropped over the side into empty space she could not stop herself and started to scream.

I really enjoyed this look into how the Amish (and other non-combatants) may have been treated during this time in our history~ both their perceptions as well as the perceptions of those not in the Amish community.  I felt the story line was very well played out~ how would a talented Amish man deal with his faith if he were forced to serve in the military? How far can a Christian stretch her faith and her love? What does God require of any of us? This is a novel that engaged my mind and emotions far beyond the initial read. Love it when a book does that! :) Well done, Mr. Pura!  Action, Romance, Tension and Struggle~ all tied together with strings of Faith. (Now I need to go read your other novel set in Virginia City, MT.... a place near and dear to my heart and my heritage! ) :)

Blessings~
 







Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the FIRST Wild Card Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

To Love and to Cherish (FIRST Wild Card Tour)


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Karri James, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Kelly Irvin is a Kansas native and has been writing professionally for 25 years. She and her husband, Tim, make their home in Texas. They have two children, three cats, and a tankful of fish. A public relations professional, Kelly is also the author of two romantic suspense novels and writes short stories in her spare time.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


In author Kelly Irvin’s first installment in the Bliss Creek Amish series, readers will find a charming, romantic story of how God works even in the darkest moments.

It’s been four years since Carl left. Four years since he left the safety of the small Amish community for the Englisch world. And in four years, Emma’s heart has only begun to heal.

Now, with the unexpected death of her parents, Emma is plunged back into a world of despair and confusion. It’s a confusion only compounded by Carl’s return. She’s supposed to be in love with him...so why can’t she keep her mind off Thomas, the strong, quiet widower who always seems to be underfoot? Could the man she only knew as a friend be the one to help her to heal?

In a world that seems to be changing no matter how tightly she clings to the past, this one woman must see beyond her pain and open her heart to trust once again.






Product Details:
List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736943714
ISBN-13: 978-0736943710



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The ripe aroma of wet earth filling the air around her, Emma Shirack shifted the basket of tomatoes on her hip and picked up her pace on the dirt road. Her bare feet sank down as the mud oozed between her toes.
The sky was dark overhead as rain clouds gathered in the distance. She should’ve taken the buggy, but hitching the horse seemed a waste of time when it was such a short walk to the produce stand on the highway. “Come on, girls. We have to get these tomatoes to Catherine at the stand quickly or we’re going to get wet walking home.”
Giggles met her urging. She glanced back to see the twins squatting in the middle of the road. Lillie had a small rock in her hand, and the two of them peered at it as if they’d found a great treasure. “Girls! Now!”
She used her schoolteacher voice. At five her sisters hadn’t been to her school yet, but they recognized the authority in her tone. Lillie hopped to her feet, Mary right behind her. “See, it’s a pretty rock, schweschder.”
Jah, very pretty, but right now we have work to do.” A fat drop of rain plopped right between Emma’s eyes. “As soon as we give the tomatoes to Catherine we’ll go back to the house to start the chicken and dumplings for tonight.”
Mary dropped the rock and clapped her tiny hands. “Dumplings!”
Her braids bouncing in glee, Lillie did the same. “Dumplings!”
Two peas in a pod. Emma smiled and focused on the road ahead. The smile faded. It would be so easy to pretend the twins were hers. But that would be wrong. They were her little sisters. At twenty-three, she alone among her friends had no babies of her own. As Mudder liked to say, “In God’s time, not yours.” Emma clung to that thought.
One more curve and they would be at the highway.
“Schweschder, where do the clouds—”
The shrieking of rubber on asphalt drowned out Lillie’s question. Emma stopped dead in her tracks. The sound of ripping metal tore the air. A horse’s fearful whinnies screamed and echoed against the glowering sky.
Emma’s basket hit the ground. She’d spent enough time at the produce stand to know that sound. She lifted her long skirt, leaped across the spilled tomatoes, and ran. “Girls, go to the side of the road and sit down. Don’t move! I’ll send someone for you!” she shouted, not looking back. “Do as I say!”
The sound of their childish voices whipped in the wind around her. If she was right about that sound she couldn’t let them see what lay ahead. For a few minutes, they were better off on the side of the less-traveled farm road with each other for company.
Oh, God, let me be wrong. Let it be a near miss. Let it be an empty wagon. Let it be…anything but the worst. She stumbled on the rutted road and her heavy dress tangled around her legs. Sweat mingled with splashing raindrops. She fought to breathe in the heavy, humid air.
The road straightened. Emma blinked against a sudden gust of moist, hot wind. Where dirt road met asphalt, where their way met the Englisch way, a buggy sprawled on its side, its metal wheels twisted and broken, the orange triangle-shaped symbol for slow still dangling from the back. A mammoth wheat truck, the black tarp that covered its load flapping in the wind, dwarfed the spindly remains.
Emma jerked to a stop. No air filled her lungs, and black and purple dots danced on the periphery of her vision. She bent, hands on her knees, and gasped for oxygen. Nothing. Her lungs ached. Her heart pounded.
The horse reared and screamed, its nostrils flaring, eyes frozen wide open, frantic with fear. Her sister Catherine had two hands on the reins, trying to calm the flailing horse. “Easy, girl, easy!” Catherine’s words didn’t match the heart-wrenching anguish of her tone as she fumbled with the harness. “Down, girl. It’s over. Easy!”
Catherine. What was she doing here? Their horse. Their gray mare. Emma forced herself to think. Their horse. Her sister. Her gaze dropped to the figure on the dark, wet pavement. No. No. No.
Her neighbor Thomas Brennaman knelt next to a twisted figure that lay motionless. Her brother Luke crouched down next to him, bending over the still, white face. Mudder’s face. Thomas raised his head and his fingers touched Mudder’s throat. Emma swallowed the bile in her throat. She tore her gaze from the picture, her heart pounding.
A man in overalls and a John Deere hat held a cell phone to his ear. “Hurry. Tell them to hurry. They’re hurt bad,” he bellowed. “It’s them Amish people with their buggies. I think I…I think I killed them!”
Killed them. No. Suddenly adrenaline overcame the paralyzing dread. She dashed forward. “Mudder! Daed!”
With all the strength he could muster, Luke staggered to his feet. “Emma, help Catherine with the horse! Let it loose before it hurts someone.”
What was Luke doing here? Why wasn’t he at his shop? She shook off her questions and his command and dropped to her knees next to her mother’s still body.
But Thomas grabbed her arms and pulled her to her feet again. His broad frame served as a formidable barrier between Emma and her mother. “No, Emma. Do as Luke says.”
“I can help her!”
Thomas’s grip kept her from sinking to the ground again. Eyes the color of maple syrup held her tight in their gaze. Thomas, of all people, knew this kind of pain. “Your mudder is gone, Emma.”
Still, she struggled. “Daed!”
Luke’s strangled sob spoke for him. “No, Daed.” She ripped away from Thomas and dashed around the broken buggy. “Please!”
Luke held up two bloody hands, palms flat in the air. Emma slammed to a halt. Her brother’s raw agony radiated from his sweet, plain features. His lips trembled over his long beard. “No. Don’t look. Don’t! I tried, but nothing.” His voice cracked. “He was already gone. Help Catherine. Help her!”
Sirens, their shrill cry an alien sound in this Kansas farmland, cut the air. Emma backed away from Luke. The rough asphalt scraped her feet, but she welcomed pain—the only thing that could penetrate this kind of numbness. She shook her head. “No. No!”
Catherine’s cries forced her back into the moment. Here was something Emma could do, something to ease the horrible, enormous sense that she should be doing something. She ran to Catherine’s side and together they loosened the horse’s restraints and led her to the grassy shoulder of the road. The mare, sides lathered with sweat, snorted and pranced but didn’t bolt. “Easy, girl, easy.” Emma patted her long, graceful neck. “It’s all right.”
Words of comfort murmured where there was none.
Catherine threw herself into Emma’s arms. “It was horrible. I saw the whole thing from the produce stand. Mudder waved to me and smiled as they slowed down to make the turn. Then the truck came…”
Catherine’s voice faded. Her knees buckled.
Emma struggled to hold her up. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Her poor sister would have the images burned on her brain forever. Catherine didn’t need to see any more of this horrific scene. Emma grasped her sister’s trembling shoulders. “I need you to do something for me.”
Catherine’s face was white and wet with rain and tears. “I couldn’t help them. I can’t help anyone.”
“Yes, you can.” Emma hugged her and then gave a gentle shove. “Lillie and Mary are down the road. Go get them. Take them home.”
Catherine shook her head and sobbed. “I don’t want to tell them—”
“Don’t. Don’t tell them anything.”
Catherine wiped at her face with a sodden sleeve. “Are you sure you don’t want me to stay with you?”
“Go. Make sure they’re safe. Take them home. Luke and I will come when we can.”
“What about Annie and Mark? They’ll wonder why Mudder hasn’t come home from town yet.”
“Tell them there’s been an accident. Then wait for Luke and me.”
Catherine took off, her stride unsteady at first, then she picked up speed. Faster and faster, as if those horrifying images pursued her.
Emma wanted to run after her, surpass her, and keep on running forever.
“Miss? Miss!”
She forced herself to turn and face the wreckage.
“It was an accident.” The farmer, his craggy, sun-ravaged face wet—whether from rain or tears Emma couldn’t tell—moved closer. He crumpled the green John Deere cap in his huge hand, smoothed it, crumpled it again. “I’m sorry, so sorry. I was in a hurry to get to the mill in Bliss Creek before the rain came. I drove up over the bluff and they were right there. I guess they slowed down to make the turn. I tried to stop. I did, but the truck skidded into them.” He wiped his face with the backs of his stubby fingers. “It was an accident.”
Luke strode toward them, his long legs eating up the road. Her bear-sized brother usually walked the road the way he walked life—in a calm, deliberate manner. Now the world had tilted, taking everything familiar with it. “I know, Mr. Cramer. Don’t worry. We forgive you.”
The man’s mouth gaped wide, exposing crooked teeth. After a second, it closed. “Thank you,” he whispered. “Thank you.”
Emma raised her head to the spattering of raindrops. Maybe they would wash away the anger in her heart. When Carl had left, she’d thought the worst thing that could ever happen to her was done. Over. Now this. Not an intentional abandoning, but an accidental one. In the end, the effect was the same.
Luke was right to forgive. But sometimes right was too hard.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This Amish novel was an enjoyable read. There was tension throughout that grabbed my attention. I wasn't *quite* sure how it would end (although I had a fair inkling), and there were a few surprises along the way.

I tend to appreciate contemporary Amish novels like this, as well as the more historical ones. I think my appreciation has something to do with the fast pace of today's society, and the realization that although the Amish are in the world, they certainly aren't of the world. To Love and to Cherish demonstrates that although the Amish appear to be living in a somewhat kinder and gentler place and pace of life, they are still affected by what is going on in the world of the "English." 

Blessings~

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl Tales of Goldstone Wood

Veiled Rose, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, 978-0-7642-0782-2
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0782-2
Price: $14.99
Format: Paperback
A Monster Prowls the Mountains of Southlands
Rose Red trusts no one with her secret. She hides in the forest, her face veiled in rags, shunning the company of all save her old father and her nanny goat. Her life is bleak and lonely.
Until she meets a privileged young man sent to spend his summer in the mountains. Headstrong young Leo startles everyone by befriending Rose Red, and together they begin searching for the monster rumored to be stalking these lands.
But the hunt, which began as a game, holds greater risk than either imagines. Soon both are forced to test their trust in each other as a far more terrifying scourge puts their entire land at risk. (From the Publisher)
As a child, one of my favorite things to do was to curl up with a good fairytale. I grew up reading all of the OZ books, and Andrew Lang's fairytale books, among others. So, it was with great delight that I read this particular novel. It was more than I expected~  all things fairytale, nicely wrapped in a more mature package~ somewhat more intense but not incredibly graphic~  Mysterious girl, nasty monster and a mischievous boy who is developing character throughout. The book references the first book in the series, which makes me want to pick it up, perhaps in time to coincide with the release of the 3rd book in the series in April. If you enjoy a little "Oldworld fantasy" this might be something just up your alley~ it was mine! :) (Oh, and I'm always intrigued by those whose names are spelled the same as mine ~ Elisabeth with an "s"~ how lovely!)
Blessings~
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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