Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Librarian Of Boone's Hollow By Kim Vogel Sawyer

The Librarian Of Boone's Hollow
by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: WaterBrook
ISBN: 9780525653721

Having recently finished another book by Kim Vogel Sawyer, when I saw The Librarian of Boone's Hollow come up for review, I couldn't pass it up! Thanks to WaterBrook for sending me an ebook version for me to read.

Summary:

A traveling librarian ventures into the mining towns of Kentucky on horseback—and learns to trust the One who truly pens her story—in this powerful novel from the best-selling author of A Silken Thread.

During the Great Depression, city-dweller Addie Cowherd dreams of becoming a novelist and offering readers the escape that books had given her during her tragic childhood. When her father loses his job, she is forced to take the only employment she can find—delivering books on horseback to poor coal-mining families in the hills of Kentucky.

But turning a new page will be nearly impossible in Boone's Hollow, where residents are steeped in superstitions and deeply suspicious of outsiders. Even local Emmett Tharp feels the sting of rejection after returning to the tiny mountain hamlet as the first in his family to graduate college. And as the crippled economy leaves many men jobless, he fears his degree won’t be worth much in a place where most men either work the coal mine or run moonshine.

As Addie also struggles to find her place, she’ll unearth the truth about a decades-old rivalry. But when someone sets out to sabotage the town’s library program, will the culprit chase Addie away or straight into the arms of the only person who can help her put a broken community back together?

My Review:

Ok, I have to admit, this book really surprised me! I don't know what I expected from The Librarian of Boone's Hollow, but what I got was much more!

I haven't read many Depression era books, but the ones I have I've enjoyed and they've pulled on my heart strings. This one was no different.

My heart immediately went out to Addie as the story started. She gets quite a surprise and her world is turned upside down. Thankfully she works with ladies at the library who are kind a supportive. I enjoyed getting to know her co-worker, Griselda Ann. She was definitely quirky, but also very kind and giving.

At the same time, Addie has a quick run-in with Emmett Thorp. Actually, twice. The first time she's rather perturbed by him. Actually a pretty funny scene. And poor Emmett. He's the first in his little town to goto college and because of the Depression, he can't find a job so he tucks his tail between his legs and heads home hoping he can find something in the neighboring town.

As timing would have it, Addie ends up heading to Boone's Hollow where Emmett is from to become one of the WPA girls who delivers books to the residents of the town. Enter, Bettina. Oh my goodness, that girl is a firecracker. Super easy to dislike because she's downright sneaky. And Emmett has no idea what's coming when he gets home and she's there to greet him!

One of the facets I loved about this story is how we see people, but how God would have us see them. That's where the librarian, Lydia West, has such an impact on Addie and on me! Because she is also an outsider, she's able to guide Addie on what life is like there for the people and for the outsiders. They both experience first hand how people behave when they believe in superstitions.

Thankfully, both ladies know that Jesus would have them loving those around them, even when it's difficult. And difficult it is! Addie decides to live with Nanny Fay who everyone avoids because she'd been married to a Cherokee and was from Tuckett's Pass. The town folk also see Nanny Fay as a witch. Nanny Fay just gives grace upon grace to those around her.

There's a lot that happens in the story. Emmett trying to tighten his relationship with his father, a miner. He continues trying to find a job while keeping Bettina in check. Whew, that girl has a story! Addie gives being a packhorse librarian a good go and does everything she can to reach out and befriend the people in her town.

All throughout the story, you see or hear about God's hand moving. So many great truths about grace and mercy abound through the story and through the lives of the people.

About the Author:

Kim Vogel Sawyer is a highly acclaimed bestselling author with more than one million books in print in seven different languages. Her titles have earned numerous accolades including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband, Don, where she continues to write gentle stories of hope. She enjoys spending time with her three daughters and her grandchildren.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Forsaken Island By Sharon Hinck

Forsaken Island
by Sharon Hinck
Publisher: Enclave
ISBN: 978-1621841357

Having loved everything Sharon Hinck, I absolutely HAD to be on the launch team for book 2 in The Dancing Realms series. Thankfully I was able to be part of it and I was given the ebook for my review.

Summary:

On an uncharted world, happiness is effortless and constant … but can true joy exist without sacrifice?

The people of Meriel have long believed their island world floats alone in the vast ocean universe, so they are astonished when another island drifts into view. With resources becoming scarce, Carya and Brantley quickly volunteer to search the new land for supplies.

After navigating a barrier of menacing trees, the pair encounter a culture of perpetually happy people who readily share their talents and their possessions. But all is not what it seems. At the core of the island is a horror that threatens everyone, including Brantley and Carya.

Freeing the villagers of the bondage they’ve chosen may cost Carya and Brantley more than they could have imagined. Even if the two succeed, they’ll have to find a way to return to Meriel quickly … or be cut off from their home forever.

My Review:

This was such a different story than the first one. Much more adventurous. It was wonderful to catch up with Brantley and Carya in Forsaken Island.

The story starts off almost immediately with them coming into contact with the island on the back of Navar. They make their way through the brush and then have very differing opinions on how to proceed. Whereas Brantley wants to plan and prepare, Carya wants to believe everyone is good and they must want to help the people of Meriel.

Once they begin interacting with the inhabitants of the island, it's almost like an episode of The Twilight Zone. Everyone is welcome, they can take what they need, there are no leaders as everyone is equal. Ah, sounds like, bliss, right? Carya and Brantley grabbed tons of food and prepared to head back to Meriel except for the fact the island wouldn't let them leave!

As they begin to understand life in this camp, they begin to realize that things are completely off kilter, but can't put a finger on it. They follow everyone to the convening and that's when they meet The Gardener, except he doesn't tend to things as a gardener would. Oh man, this is when things take a turn, and while not for good, good does happen. Hard to believe on an island that is being controlled by an evil presence.

Needless to say, there is so much that happens in this story and the depth of understanding how evil can slip into our lives, being able to see the world isn't what God created it to be because of sin, and that when the scales fall from our eyes/hearts we're able to see the truth.

Once again Sharon Hinck weaves a fantastic story of fantasy with spiritual truth in a way that draws the reader in and keeps them turning the page to the very end.

About the Author:

Award-winning author of The Sword of Lyric series, Sharon Hinck writes "stories for the hero in all of us" about women on extraordinary adventures of faith. Her novels are praised for their authentic characters, strong spiritual themes, and emotional resonance. For this series, she drew on her experience as a ballet teacher, dancer, and choreographer.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Birds & The Bees By Neena Gaynor

The Bird and the Bees Blog + Review Tour 
Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for The Bird and the Bees by Neena Gaynor, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

I received the book from JustRead Publicity Tours as part of this tour. I've met so many amazing authors by taking a chance on their tours. And seriously, the name of the book as well as the cover pretty much begs you to read it! I do want to point out that the topic of abortion does come up in the story and I know that can be a trigger for some people so I wanted to make readers aware. It's done in a very mindful way.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Bird and the Bees Title: The Bird and the Bees
Author: Neena Gaynor
Publisher: Mantle Rock Publishing 
Release Date: April 21, 2020
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

When Larkin Maybie buries her mother in the foothills of Appalachia, she is left all alone. Her only inheritance? A crazy aunt, a mountain of debt, and a run-down, secluded cabin left by a mysterious benefactor. While Larkin thinks an escape to a cabin miles from anything familiar might be exactly what she needs, the quick answer to her problems only leaves her with more questions... Questions concerning her true identity.

As Larkin searches for her link to the Lewandowski Estate, she begins to accept the kindness of strangers on Presque Isle and the affection of professional baseball player, Ketch Devine. Charged with caring for the cabin’s honey bees and haunted by past choices, Larkin struggles to move forward in a new direction and is running out of time. With summer and baseball season coming to an end, she must decide: what is the value of true love?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Here's an excerpt from the book:

On the beach, the waves rolled upon the shore. The dark blue water caressed the beach like a mother pats her sleeping baby. I inhaled the lulling landscape, my mind expecting the smell of salt and sea, and shocked by the crispness of the air. The vastness of the lake continued to thrill me. As did the man who held me.

Ketch turned me to a large brick house. “Let’s go check this out.”

The deep, soft sand was difficult to walk through, and I stopped to remove my sandals. Ketch carried them and managed the sand in his shoes.

“Here’s the lighthouse. Have you ever seen one?” he asked.

I hadn’t. Ketch kept walking and talking, telling me about how the walls were constructed to withstand weather with a five-brick thickness.

“Remind you of anyone?” He gave me an insinuating, impish glance.

My Review:

I have to say I was fascinated by this story. I don't feel like the book blurb gives you a real taste of what's between the covers. I mean, it does... and it doesn't. There's just SO much more to it. To me, it was as though I was peeling back the layers of onions as I read the story.

First of all I found the names to be quite interesting: Larkin Maybie and Ketch Devine! Let's talk about Larkin first. I was fascinated by her. She has such caustic thinking and is pretty cynical about life altogether. Once you get to know her and her deceased parents, you kind of get why she is the way she is.

Ketch on the other hand... how do I peg this guy? He's pretty much perfect. So, because of that little fact, I can see why Larkin believes he's out of reach for a gal like her. Honestly, he's the kind of guy every mom hopes her son will grow up to be and every fella young girls dream about as they grow up. He's actually a very sweet example of God's mercy and grace.

I really loved the process of watching Larkin go through her growing understanding of faith. I thought the end of that process was rather abrupt after walking through so much of it with her. And while with most books I have issues with people falling in love by the end of the first week they've known each other this worked for me in a strange way. I'm not giving anything away as their affection for each other isn't as cut and dry or smooth sailing as "falling in love in a week" might sound. In fact, as I was reading the story I kept saying to myself, "You don't like it when people fall for each other this quickly. So why is this working for me?" Obviously it was the writing.

The backstory of the bee keeping wasn't as much of the storyline that I thought it would be. I was actually excited about it because some of our friends are beekeepers and I'm so curious about the whole experience. It was really neat to see how Larkin was able to handle them so well. How she understood them.

She also had such incredible insight into the other characters in the story. While she didn't seem to know how to have a true friendship with other people, you could tell Larkin was really trying. I also appreciated how the author covered Larkin's past and how she was dealing with it in the here and now, especially when other situations come up.

SUCH a well written book and I'm looking forward to more stories from her!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Neena Gaynor

When not chasing after her two joyful little boys, Neena Gaynor enjoys beekeeping, a good cup of coffee, and writing.

She's spent much of the last decade traveling with her husband, Wade, a former professional baseball player. Throughout the 29 changes of address and the stresses of moving a young family, Neena has learned to embrace the peace that only comes from the steady accompaniment of Christ.

CONNECT WITH NEENA: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $15 Chick-fil-A gift card!

The Bird and the Bees JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight September 15, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on September 22, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


 
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
cropped-justread-logo.png
*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Generation To Generation By Yael Eckstein

Generation to Generation
by Yael Eckstein
Publisher: International Fellowship of Christians and Jews
ISBN: 978-0983532767

As a mom, it was a given that I would pass on my beliefs to my children. Now that I'm going to be my grandma, it's still part of my "job" to pass on our beliefs.  When Generation to Generation came up as a book to review for FrontGate I couldn't pass it up! I wanted to learn some ideas and traditions that I might be able to incorporate through this book for my family. I realize that it's based on the Jewish faith, but they tend to have such tight knit families, I knew there would be much I could absorb and channel into our Christian faith family.

Summary:

In Judaism, faith is passed down from one generation to the next primarily through the holy observances, rituals, and traditions that happen within the life of the family. Through the weekly observance of the Sabbath, Jewish children learn the importance of setting priorities and putting God first. As the family gathers around the seder table for Passover, children learn the value of asking questions and seeking wisdom. Each holiday observed, and each tradition followed are opportunities to reinforce the fundamental values of faith.

Generation to Generation unlocks these holy observances and traditions and reveals the key values they reinforce. Each chapter also includes a special section containing insight on how the observance is mentioned in the Christian Bible along with questions and Bible stories to discuss with your family. Bible memory verses are offered to reinforce each key value.

These are the values and rituals that Yael Eckstein learned from her father, that she and her husband are now passing on to their four children, and that will allow you to pass on a strong and living faith to your children and grandchildren.

My Review:

There was so much to glean from Generation to Generation! While our family has traditions based on family history, little to nothing is based on faith. Yes, we go to church every Sunday, kids attend Sunday school or youth group, and we participate in small groups, but other than that, we have very little in the way of traditions in regards to Christianity. Seeing myself type out those words, it breaks my heart.

This is where the book has come in very handy and very timely. While I may not have done a stellar job with faith based traditions and rituals with my kids, I can make sure I implement them with my grandkids!

In each of the chapters we're given a wonderful insight into observances we might just take for granted. I have such a better understanding now of days such as Shabbat (Sabbath) and Passover that I can help my children and grandkids learn how to observe them in a deeper way. In fact, this is a book that calls to be highlighted with all of its explanations helping to make this all clear!

What I really appreciate about this author and what she was taught by her family was the "pouring into" of the souls of her children. I think we get so focused on raising good children that we can easily forget the importance of their souls.

At the end of each chapter there are memory verses and a time to come together as a family to learn and understand. There is also such a rich knowledge of how the Jewish faith has been passed down through the generations and explaining the meaning of who they are biblically as well as how they fit into the gospel.

Topics I didn't expect to gain a deeper understanding of were: courage, hope, and gratitude, which are all vital to our future generations. We teach them in general, right, but do we do so in such an intentional way as provided in this book? I really don't think so. Shhhh don't tell anyone, but it makes me want to go spend a year in a Jewish family experiencing all of their observances!

Now you have the opportunity to win a copy of Generation to Generation!


About the Author:

Yael Eckstein is President and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the largest provider of humanitarian aid in Israel. Annually, The Fellowship raises more than $127 million, helping 1.5 million Jews in need in Israel and around the world.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews was founded in 1983 by Orthodox Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, whose vision for building bridges of understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews has been translated into the largest Christian-supported humanitarian agency helping Jews in Israel and around the world. You can learn more about the organization and Rabbi Eckstein here.

For more than 2,000 years, the Jewish people have preserved and maintained their faith from generation to generation, despite being exiled from their land and suffering persecutions, pogroms, and even the Holocaust, where six million Jewish women, men, and children were killed at the hands of the Nazis. In her book, Generation to Generation, Fellowship President and CEO Yael Eckstein unlocks the keys to how the Jewish people have successfully passed on the legacy of faith through the family,  and offers insights into how Christians can incorporate these principles within their own families to pass on a strong and living faith.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Almost A Bride By Jody Hedlund

Almost A Bride
by Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Northern Lights Press
ISBN: 978-1733753449

I've really enjoyed The Bride Ships series by Jody Hedlund so when she offered to have people join her launch team, I happily signed up! Thankfully I was able to be on the team and she sent me the ebook to aid in my review. I published my review of A Bride of Convenience in July! Be sure to check that out.

Summary:

Always close, but never a bride.
Longing to find true love, Kate Millington arrives in British Columbia on a bride ship. With countless men waiting to snag a bride, Kate has no trouble getting engaged. It’s staying engaged that’s the problem. After traveling to the remote mining town of Williamsville to marry her newest fiancĂ©, she finds herself single again.
As the prosperous owner of a gold mine, Zeke Hart has everything he’s ever wanted except for a wife. At Kate’s arrival, he takes it upon himself to protect his childhood friend from the men clamoring to court her. The more he renews her friendship, the more he wants to win her for himself. But as much as Kate admires Zeke, she’s resolved not to marry someone who doesn’t share her faith.
When Zeke begins receiving anonymous threats, he unwittingly puts them both in grave danger. In the midst of peril, the past rises up to haunt them both, and Zeke realizes the fight for Kate’s affection may be his biggest challenge yet.

My Review:

It's sad seeing this series come to an end. The best part was, having book 4 come out just a couple of months after book 2 was published! What reader could ask for more when it comes to a series of books?!

Unlike the first 3 books, this one doesn't start off with the female main character on the ship. She's entering Williamsville to marry Herbert Frank, but the moment she sees him (after already meeting him in British Columbia) she decides she can't marry him! Turns out there's been numerous men she hasn't been able to stay committed to. I got a sense of Runaway Bride as we got to know her more. When it comes to men she's a bit flighty. I really appreciated how she knew she couldn't have more than a friendship with Zeke because of the fact that he'd rejected God.

Then there's Zeke. He's a rather controlling sort, but you can see it's because deep inside he's drawn to Kate as more than his friend's little sister. While he sets himself up as the town's liaison between Kate and any many who wants to court her, it's clear no one else will be the right one for her. So, basically none of them stand a chance.

Kate is a bit flighty when it comes to men and being engaged to them. Seems she has a habit of agreeing to a relationship or engagement before she's given it much thought. I was surprised at that revelation for the time period it was set in. It reminded me of Runaway Bride. lol She's determined to marry a man who is also a believer and with Zeke being on the outs with God, that means he's not in the running for becoming engaged to her. I think Kate had her priorities well mixed up because while she will only marry a Christian man, she seemed willing to marry just about any eligible fella who crossed her path. I think Zeke was needed to shake her up a bit!

In the meantime, the readers will fall for Mr. Peabody, Zeke's chef. Actually, he reminded me of Alfred, Batman's butler. He's kind, caring, and wise. He turned out to be my favorite character. Oddly enough, I liked Wendell, too. He's Mr. Peabody's grandson and Zeke's accountant. A quirky fellow, but one who gets things done. One at a time mind you. He can't count time and talk at the same time. hahahaha

I liked the storyline overall. While Zeke and Kate figure out their relationship, someone is sabotaging Zeke's mine. That added another layer to what was going on. The romance was rather steamy and when Zeke and Kate kiss... whew sparks were a'flyin'!

About the Author:

Jody Hedlund is the author of over thirty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she's learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she's not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

 
Creative Commons License
Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.