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!

Book Review: The Women of Catawba

Hilda Stahl is a new Christian historical fiction author to me, but apparently she has been around for a long time.  She writes several genres, but the book I read was historical Christian fiction.  Now, I know a lot of women like her books, but I have to say WOC was stilted, rather overly dramatic.  I DID like the book, don’t get me wrong, the references to Jesus, God and the bible were excellent, and well-placed!  I liked the plot, and the 3 women whose lives ended up being intertwined were interesting and the development of several complex ideas was carried out successfully.  From Amazon.com:  the story of 5 courageous women and their fight to build a plantation home in the raw wilderness of South Carolina. Set in post-Revolutionary War days, Women of Catawba is an inspiring story of men and women whose faith, strength, and capacity to love are tested to the limit.  If you’re a Christian, you will most likely like this book.  I’ve read other reviews of it, and I think I want to read the second in her series of Women of Catawba.  From what I understand, The Winds of Catawba was written by her daughter.  Interesting!

Here’s a link to Goodreads, for a list of the books she wrote: https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/190267.Hilda_Stahl

Most of her books were for children, and teens, but the Women of Catawba was for adult women.  I’m looking forward to reading more of her novels.

This is a short bio on her, which I found on Google search:  Hilda Stahl was born and raised in the Nebraska sandhills. As a Young teen she attended Bible college, where she met her husband, Norman. They raised their seven children in Michigan, where she lived until her death in 1993. When Hilda was a young mother with three children, she saw an ad in a magazine for a correspondence course in writing. She took the test, passed it, and soon fell in love with writing. She wrote whenever she had free time, and eventually began to sell her work. The first Elizabeth Gail book, The Mystery at the Johnson Farm, was made into a movie in 1989. It was a real dream come true for Hilda. She wanted her books and their message of God’s love and power to reach and help people all over the world.

Product details

  • Paperback: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson Inc (January 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0840750803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0840750808
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces

The Lord’s Day — PLEASE REPENT, CHRISTIANS!

Lukewarm, but born again Christians:
[21] Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
[22] But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Matthew:  [8] Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
[9] And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
Why do today’s Christians want to be known as Christians, but they don’t want to ACT and THINK as Christians? It’s like a man who wants a job, but he still wants to be able to skip work, dress against the work code, never learn what his company does, never read the instruction manual,  DO no work, go into work late or hung over, and still get that paycheck.
If you talk to a Christian about the things WE ARE TOLD TO DO by our Saviour, and then ask them why they don’t practice holy living, they scream and call you a legalist.  A Pharisee!  Here’s just a smidgen of what Jesus says about how Christians are supposed to act and think and do:  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth
1 Peter 1:15 – But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

James 2:24 – Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
 
Today’s Christians, for the most part, are like men and women who want to be married, they want that ring, but they still want to date others, and be as unfaithful as they can to their spouse. They don’t want to be one flesh, they are selfish and always want their way, they ignore the marriage vows, they do nothing with their spouses, spend NO TIME with them to learn about them, but they still tell everyone they’re married?    Why do you say you’re a bride of Christ, but you act and dress like a WHORE?   You say you have on the wedding garments of the bride of Christ, but they’re filthy, torn, and ugly.    Ezekiel:
7 Thus she committed her whoredoms with them, with all them [that were] the chosen men of Assyria, and with all on whom she doted: with all their idols she defiled herself.
 
8 Neither left she her whoredoms [brought] from Egypt: for in her youth they lay with her, and they bruised the breasts of her virginity, and poured their whoredom upon her.
This is what I see in a lot of Christian’s lives:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

REPENT OF YOUR WICKEDNESS, get on the strait and narrow path.  Do you know what Jesus says about apathetic Christians?  They won’t stay on the strait(difficult) and narrow(you won’t fit in with the world at all)!

[18] If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
[19] If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Does everyone think you’re wonderful, and such a sweetheart, and so easy to get along with, so agreeable to everything?  REPENT!  You’re most likely following the devil, who is out to destroy you.  You have no enemies?  Then you’re not doing much of anything for Jesus Christ.  Selfish, lazy Christian.  REPENT!

REPENT!  PLEASE!  Give your MIND and HEART and Body to JESUS, the only One who can save your soul from burning eternally in the fiery pits of hell, darkness, torment day and night, eaten by worms and never dying, begging for water, the flames burning, burning, and burning you!

Mark 9:48 King James Version (KJV)48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

NO LIARS WILL BE ALLOWED IN HEAVEN!  Do you lie?  REPENT or you will die and burn in the Lake of Fire at the second death!  [14] Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
[15] For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
[16] I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
[17] And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
[18] For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
[19] And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
[20] He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Book Review of There’s a Hole

There’s a Hole, by James Sarjent

Mr. Sarjent is a gifted writer, and his style flows smoothly and quickly. His
sense of humor is amazing. He uses his gift of seeing life through the eyes of a very witty man, to
portray scenes easily imagined in my mind, easy to identify with, and with a thread of tantalizing mystery slowly
making it’s way through the story.
At first I eyed the book with annoyance, but said, oh, this looks like a quick read,
so I’ll get on with it. I did promise to give an honest review.
My trepidations were unfounded!
I usually don’t like stories written by men, but this guy completely won my reading heart! I’m looking
forward to his next book, and hopefully a score of well-woven, humorous mysteries.
It’s easy to quickly identify with his way of looking at life, and I settled into the story
like a chilly Chihuahua in a pile of warm blankets.
, Get a copy of “There’s a Hole” and have some fun while you read! Definitely a good clean mystery.

I was given this book free of charge in order to give an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Romans 10:9-13

New Christian Authors for You

I participated in a Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt, and found some new authors I’d like to share with you.

First is Carrie Turansky.  She’s writing a new book about about British Home Children, aka orphanages in England in the 1860s through 1930s.  Here’s her Pinterest page telling a bit more about the research she has done so far:

Another author whose books I’m already familiar with is Elizabeth Camden: http://elizabethcamden.com/

Her newest book is A Daring Adventure, and you can read more about it here:  https://www.amazon.com/Daring-Venture-Elizabeth-Camden/dp/0764218824/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1519952409&sr=8-1

Her other newer book is A Dangerous Legacy, which you can read about here:  http://elizabethcamden.com/books/a-dangerous-legacy

Right now I’m reading a free copy of a book from a brand new author, James Sarjent, called “There’s a Hole”.  I’ll give a review as soon as I’m finished, but so far, it’s good.  The review posted so far does not really do it justice.  Good advice:  read book reviews, but in the end, make your OWN decisions.  I think this book is a fun read about a mystery, and it’s clean-cut and suitable for Christian bookshelves. 

I’m also reading through Jane Kirkpatrick’s novel, The Memory Weaver, which is proving to be another good Christian historical fiction story:  http://jkbooks.com/Pages/memory_weaver.html

Book Review~ Before We Were Yours

I liked this book immensely, but it was emotionally draining on me.  I’m glad to have read it, though, and I recommend it to you.

Before We Were Yours~ by Lisa Wingate

This is a riveting historical fiction book based on true events. The Tennessee Children’s Home Society, run by Georgia Tann, a wicked, greedy, heartless lesbian, who came from an upper class family. Her father was a judge. The book tells the stories of Rill and her siblings, who were basically kidnapped by the local crooked police, and taken to the orphanage to live until Miss Tann could sell them, and the story of Avery Stafford, a woman whose grandmother had some mysterious ties to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. The book goes back and forth between Rill’s life and Avery’s quest for answers.

Chapter 1 takes place in the present day in Aiken, South Carolina. This chapter is told from Avery Stafford’s perspective. Then, in other chapters, you read about Rill, and how she and her siblings were wrenched from their home on a shantyboat in the river, and placed at the mercy of the orphanage’s cruel director and employees. Both viewpoints were well written, and intensely interesting, although I wish Lisa Wingate had focused more on the orphan’s lives than on Avery the single unmarried female lawyer who had doubts about her fiancee.

The heart wrenching sexual abuse and physical neglect that occurred all the time in the children’s home society was sordid and reprehensible. How the children survived,the ones who did, was difficult for me to understand, but I’m glad many children did. I found out, from OTHER sources, not this book, that infants were left to die, starved to death, or worse. My heart was so sad and also I was infuriated that this happened, and STILL happens, as you can tell if you watch the news on tv. Not in orphanages in the USA, but in other situations.

The other thing that bothered me was the amount of corruption and lack of conscience in judges, police, and the employees of Ms. Tann. Georgia had many accomplices:  Politicians, legislators, judges, attorneys, doctors, nurses, and social workers who scouted child victims.  She operated for 26 years.
I admit I stayed up past midnight one night, to get as far along in the book as I could, it evoked so much interest and concern in me. (Obviously, by the fact that over 5 thousand others have written reviews about “Before We Were Yours”, I wasn’t the only one who got a lot out of this historical fiction book) The book has raised a lot of questions in me, and I’ve been finding out as much as I can concerning child trafficker Georgia Tann, and the plight of the babies and children who were taken from their families under false pretenses, threats, and downright breaking of the law.
This story makes me wonder about orphanages in general, but more about the outrageous disgraceful sin of child trafficking.

A woman, Denny Glad, used to help people in Tennessee and who had been at the facility run by Georgia Tann, find their birth parents. Sadly, she has died:
http://www.dailybastardette.com/denny-glad-another-light-goes-out/

There’s quite a bit more information about this travesty, and if you’re interested, here are a few links to get you going on your own search.

http://articles.latimes.com/1990-08-20/news/vw-882_1_unsolved-mysteries

http://www.175moments.com/moments/georgia-tann-investigated-black-market-baby-selling-network.php?r=2
http://www.nchgs.org/html/a_story_of_stolen_babies.html
https://www.joancrawfordbest.com/articlememphis95.htm

The subject of Georgia Tann also appears in an episode of Investigation Discovery’s series Deadly Women titled “Above the Law” that aired September 13, 2013 and also appeared on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2965638/

The subject of Georgia Tann is the focus of the nonfiction book, The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, The Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption, by Barbara Bisantz Raymond.