Sunday, December 23, 2012

....was moved by Still LoLo by Lauren Scruggs

 When I first saw this book as a choice for a free copy through Tyndale House Publishers, I was excited to read it. I was looking forward to learning more about Miss Scruggs story and to be able to share her journey with my children. I am always looking for ways to share stories of adversity and "being different" without going over the top. This book perfectly fits that bill.

Lauren Scruggs is an up and coming fashion journalist, a young woman making her way through the world, carrying with her the grace of God. She had just completed her online fashion magazine debut when the life that she knew came to a halt. On a fateful day just before Christmas of 2011, Lauren was struck by the spinning propeller of the small plane she had just taken a holiday light flight in. She was badly injured and her injuries were nearly fatal.

Her account of the accident and her life spread out among the pages of this book, written in the voices of herself, her twin sister, her mother, and her father. It is an account of a life on the brink of the vision of the American dream, and a life held tenaciously in the hands of God. What Lauren finds after the accident is what she ultimately was searching for all along ~ a place, a peace, a purpose.

I was moved by this story, by the honesty of the fears and doubts, by the courageousness of this young lady, and by her strength and integrity. I felt honored to be a part of her journey, feeling at times quite saddened by her raw emotions, and at other times quite uplifted by her resolve. This memoir is interlaced with many Christian values, and may come across as preachy to some. I didn't find it that way, as that is the basis on which Lauren and her family overcame tragic, to rejoice in a sense of peace through prayer.

The stories from Lauren's family are touching, and the photo look book in the center of the novel is both moving and inspiring. I have enjoyed sharing her story with my own daughter, who is 6. She was also quite moved by the strength of Lauren and how she overcame what could have been her breaking point. I recommend this memoir to anyone looking for inspiration.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an ARC (advanced reader copy) of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, November 5, 2012

...enjoyed The Harvest of Grace

The Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall

I am a sucker for a good Amish Romance, I'll admit it! This did not disappoint. I was a bit nervous in receiving it, as it is the third installment of the "Ada's House" series and I hadn't read the other two. No need to worry, though, as this book stood on it's own quite nicely, filling in some of the back story without being completely tied to the previous books. So, it wasn't imperative to have read the previous books in the series, though I would like to read them now, for sure.

I love the character of Sylvia Fisher ~ she isn't your typical Amish heroine, as she is very strong willed, and determined to do things her way. She loves running her family's farm with her father; so much so that when her beau, Elam proposes to her, she declines, nervous about what her life will become, once she has become a wife and mother. Imagine how she feels when Elam chooses her sister for his new bride!

Sylvia's life eventually takes an unexpected turn, and she leaves her family farm to work for the Blanks an older couple in need of assistance on their dairy. The Blank's son, Aaron has left to attempt to rehabilitate from alcoholism. When he returns, he and Sylvia clash, battling over every little thing. Is there a way for them to compromise for what is best for everyone on the Blank farm? Will they be able to set aside their differences for the good of the family? Will Sylvia ever return to her home or find the love that she aches for?

I enjoyed this book and it's complex characters. I look forward to reading the rest of the series, even if I do read it backwards.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers 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.”

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...Loves TJ and The Time Stumblers!

When I first received this book, I wasn't really sure what to make of it. Obviously, it's a bit below my reading level, and at the time, I felt it was probably a bit above the listening level (they were 3 and 5). It was missing in action for a while, and reappeared after cleaning my house. Ooops. So I figured it might be fun to try and read it to my kids while we were camping. Turns out, this is a great book for kids (and I'd say it's great for even 4 to 6 year olds like mine). It is highly entertaining, silly, fun and even carries a good message, without being overly preachy..

TJ has a little problem. She has two new constant companions named Tuna and Herby. Not only are they kind of annoying, they are also invisible to everyone around her. They are on a mission from the future, doing a history project on TJ and they are stuck. If that wasn't bad enough, it's TJ's first year in Junior High in a new city, and making friends isn't going well. She really likes her new neighbor, but he happens to be the boyfriend of Hesper Breakahart, teen tv star, which, as one could imagine, doesn't make Hesper all too happy. Plus, Tuna and Herby keep getting in the way, making more trouble for TJ.

Much of the lingo and inside jokes went over my kids heads, but they liked when the different characters got into sticky situations, or turned into a fish, and they laughed themselves silly over Tuna and Herby's failed attempts to make their futuristic gadgets work properly. Some of the stereotypical names and characteristics may have been a bit much, but my kids are too young to understand them, for the most part. they just sounded silly to them.

Overall, we enjoyed reading this Time Stumblers book. In fact, my kids liked it so much that I purchased the rest of the Time Stumbler series from their book fair. We look forward to finding out what other misadventures TJ, Tuna and Herby get into, and learning along with TJ on how to grow up with integrity, honesty, thoughtfulness and respect for others!

I received an ARC (advanced reader copy) of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.