Book Review~The Road Home by Beverly Lewis

This is a story of an Amish family torn apart by the death of the parents, and of the long but loving journey back to healing and moving on with life.

Lena Schwartz has 9 siblings, and after their parent’s demise, the Centerville, Michigan Amish community finds suitable homes for the brothers and sisters, and Lena, the oldest, has to relocate to her dad’s cousin’s house in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.   Harley and Mimi open their home and hearts to Lena, and gradually, Lena begins healing from her huge losses.  She is always planning to save enough money and return to her family in Michigan, and keeps working for Mimi.

This book was a very gentle, very CLEAN and CHRISTIAN story, and I was quite pleased at the author’s skill in weaving several stories together so expertly.  There are many interesting characters and plots in The Road Home, and I enjoyed reading it, and finishing it.  What I got out of this book was a look at the everyday life we lead, and how we make changes, adjustments, and why we persevere in the midst of troubles and even anguish and mourning.

There was no tension in this book, which I liked, but some of Mrs. Lewis’s fans might miss.  Many of her previous books had edginess and friction in the story, but this book isn’t like that.  It’s a mature, Christian account of what life is really like for most of us, and how Jesus’s love, protection, and comfort is there if we only follow HIM, and not the deceitfulness of our emotions.  I was spiritually inspired by one of the prayers from Lena, during her frustrating trials with her beau.  It was well said, and I can tell Beverly Lewis has endured similar trials of her faith.  Trusting in God alone, and yielding all of ourselves to Him is the only way to victoriously make it through hard times.

I was given a free copy of this book from Bethany House publishers, in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review~ Bonjour! Let’s Learn French

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

What I liked most about this book was the free downloadable audio version which includes how to pronounce French words in the book.  There is also a read-along, which may encourage children to study on their own.

If you buy this book, and download all of the activity sheets, and read the tips for parents, your child will learn French, basic French, easily, if you study along with him or her.  Or even just sit in the room with them while they listen and read along.  There’s even a good lesson on how to paint the impressionist technique!  Also, in the back of the book, there is a list of words introduced in the book, organized by chapter.  All in all, it’s a thorough basic French course for your child. (or even beginner adults!)

What I liked least about this book was the difficulty I had in navigating the website. I’m a grandma, so maybe that has a lot to do with it, but eventually I figured out what to do at polyglotkidz.com.

Judy Martialay did a great job:

The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli

First of all, I liked the intelligent writing of Heidi. If you read this book, you’re going to have to pay attention to the words, not just skim and speed read. Mrs. Chiavaroli does have a gift, a talent from God for writing interesting historical fiction. The book was very interesting, and even grippingly suspenseful at some points. Gritty, even. Part of the story revolves around a school shooting.

There were 2 rape scenes in this book, so be forewarned. She mentions Chris Tomlin as a Christian musician. In my opinion, he’s not. Christian Contemporary Music has successfully watered down most worship into carnality and idolatry. This book, in my opinion, could present a stronger, firmer Christian perspective than what it does.

Now, if God gives you a talent, and you tell people you’re a good Christian, shouldn’t you use that talent to glorify Him as much as possible? In my opinion, I think the author, in her own way, was trying her best to present all 3 main stories, and sub-stories, in a good way, but I must say I didn’t like the shaky morality in her book, and, her philosophy of no moral absolutes was easily recognized through her book. Each character hid behind a facade, and the fiance of the hanged Nathan Hale, Mercy, was the one who rationalized her lies more adamantly than Natalie, the mother of Chris and Maelynn.

I can’t say her book was uplifting spiritually, and some of the factors that helped me come to this conclusion were: some of the character’s rationalizing of habitual, lifestyle lies, her mention of Yoga (!) and “vibes”, which are both evil, and so foreign to true Christianity that it should not be used in conjunction with Christianity. So, vibes and yoga, were strikes against it, then she mentioned the movie, The Patriot, which should NEVER be in the video library of ANY serious, born again Christian. The Patriot has graphic violence, and that, my friend, is something Jesus does not condone ANYWHERE in a Christian’s life. Also, one of her characters had gone through a horrible ordeal, and she has the woman thinking the Word of God might be lies. Blasphemy! Jesus says: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

The thing that bothers me MOST about this book is, it’s marketed as being CHRISTIAN Historical Fiction. If Mrs. Chiavaroli had sold this book under secular, non-Christian advertising, I’d have no problem with it.
She won an ACFW Genesis award. What’s ACFW? https://www.acfw.com/about ~ “ACFW’s mission is to advance Christian Fiction by inspiring writers to join with God in the creative process, training them in the craft, and educating them in the publishing industry.”

In my opinion, this is not a Christian book, it’s a secular book. No where in the bible does God condone lying, or worshiping other gods, (Hinduism, et al.) which is what yoga is. To make one of the main characters practice yoga is inconsistent with pure Christianity.  I was dismayed to see these things presented in a good light.

I did like her story about Natalie, Mike, Chris, and Maelynn. It brought up a good point: parents are sometimes CLUELESS and in denial about their teens, which can lead to all kinds of sin and disaster. She took a heavy subject, and at least brought some awareness of the problems that contribute to tragedies like that in families.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.


 

A Dangerous Legacy~ an introduction to moral relativism?

Book Review for A Dangerous Legacy, author Elizabeth Camden

This was an interesting, well-written historical fiction novel. Elizabeth Camden truly has a
gift from GOD for writing books that will absorb the attention of the reader. The story takes place in New York City, in 1903, and Mrs. Camden has done her research to provide her patrons with plenty of details,
intriguing plots, and engrossing characters. I did, for about half the time, enjoy reading A Dangerous Legacy, but I have to say some things about several events presented by the author in her novel, which I disagree with.

First of all, Camden’s  fans know she has won a Christy award, which is given to authors of Christian novels that portray excellence, imagination, and creativity in Christian writing.  So, naturally, readers will trust this book to be good and decent.  Which is one of the very reasons why I chose to read this book.
Mrs. Camden has won the RITA award for a book she wrote under the Inspirational Romance category,
which is fine, but I’m wondering if she is straying away, far away, from Christian romance in general, based on this book’s story?

Examples: The main characters, Lucy Drake and her brother Nick, are busy illegally installing water pumps and valves that bring water to apartment renters, making it easier for them to have water in their homes. The installation is phrased as “not technically legal”.
An excuse is given to the reader for this infraction of the law, under the heading of Christianity. False teachings, IMO.  Morality is not a neutral concept.
Another example: Lucy is a telegrapher, and her brother spliced a single wire into the Western Union cables, therefore Lucy is able to eavesdrop on private transmissions of another person. The author outright acknowledged in the book, via Lucy’s thoughts, that it’s illegal,and her characters, Lucy and Nick, know they could end up in jail.

They KEPT breaking the law ANYWAYS.
Christian ethics? Not on your life! This was just wrong. If you’re going to write this kind of novel, please don’t call it Christian.
Another example, which really disheartened me, and made me decide to write this review: Lucy and Nick hire a “slick” lawyer to draw up papers that basically propose extortion.

What does God say in the bible about extortion? 1 Corinthians 6:10 [9] Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
[10] Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

“Technically”, the protagonists did NOT commit extortion, but the reader is swept up and along in the
confusing muddle  of “what if they do?” Lucy and Nick were prepared to extort money, in case the person they were threatening didn’t give in to their demands.   Morality is not relative.  Extortion presented as she did, is still immoral.
In conclusion, I can not recommend this book as a Christian book. Not in any way, shape, or form. Perhaps Mrs. Camden will apply Christian rules to her future books, and  stay with bible morals as outlined in the bible, not as presented by MORAL RELATIVISM.

The other thing that bothers me is, because of the ethical dilemmas she presented in her book, she might actually cause another Christian to stumble, it is a possibility!
I’ll browse through her follow-up book, but with healthy skepticism.

I give this book a thumbs-down as a Christian historical fiction novel.

Book Review: In Places Hidden

Mystery! Romance! Political corruption, deception, wealth, poverty, a tear-jerker, Christian historical fiction has been exceeded in quality by this novel! Tracie Peterson has set the bar higher, and I’m so excited to tell you a little about her book, “In Places Hidden”, Golden Gate Secrets book 1.  The cover art is BEAUTIFUL, too!


The 3 characters you meet first are Camri, Judith, and Kenzie. Camri irritated me as I read each new chapter. Camri is self-centered, without much Godly wisdom, and inconsiderate of other’s desires and opinions about matters. One might even say she’s haughty. Judith is from a poor family, an only child, but very much a woman with good manners and an easy going personality. Kenzie is middle-class, her upbringing was both easy and hard work, helping her dad in his shop. Kenzie is recovering from a humiliating rejection from her fiance.

Each woman matures and their personalities develop into deeper, more meaningful characters. I liked that a lot.
I liked the sermon preached at Caleb’s church in San Francisco. The preacher said the Jews hoped for a fierce Messiah who would set them free, and set everything right again, but they did not expect their King to show up as Jesus. Jesus DID set all who will trust in Him, free, and He does make everything right again. When Jesus returns, he will be fierce and full of fury and judgement. Look up and hope for His blessed appearing, for at that time we will be truly set free and live eternally in Heaven with God the Father, and Jesus his only begotten Son the Savior.

Romans 10:9-13;  John 3:16-21


The exchanges between Patrick and Camri are amusing to watch, as she demurs and then slowly begins to
see her faults and work through her pride. We all have that hurdle to jump, and Tracie Peterson adeptly
arranges the story, to open readers towards self-examination in my opinion.

The candy factory job is a whole story unto itself, and the characters involved are colorful, interesting, and
sometimes provide risible enjoyment. I found myself smiling and chuckling at some of the situations.
George Lake at work is like a crazed twittering sparrow.


Political machinations, corruption, and one person’s trust in another vaporizing with new questions and
more factors to consider. The twists and turns of the plot will draw you in and capture you.

I’ve enjoyed reading EVERY chapter of this book so far!