Wednesday, December 7, 2016

In Love and War – Evelyn Smith

Genre: Adult, Memoir
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I have reviewed several memoirs.  This one made me contemplate many things. This is the life story of a woman who fell in love with a young Navy soldier. They married before he shipped off to Korea. What was supposed to be three months turned into almost a year of separation.  From the beginning I saw how strong a woman she was.  It made me wonder why she would give in to her husband’s thoughts on everything.  Then I looked at the time period.  I wasn’t born until the late 50’s. Even then young ladies were expected to behave a certain way. Women ‘had their place’ in society.  I was surprised at how long she and her husband John were together.  I wondered how she could have been so blind to the signs that things were not well with her marriage.  Then I thought about my own first marriage and was suddenly able to identify with her.  She did find love again.  That didn’t mean things were real smooth.  I understood the “first marriage baggage”.  This story made me ponder several things.  When my son, newly married, joined the army his new wife was ecstatic.  She had all of these ideas of what army life would be like. We tried to tell her about the loneliness she would feel when he was gone, even with family to surround her.  He wasn’t even shipped out of the states when she left him.  He found another woman shortly thereafter who embraced the military life he loved. She supported him when he was shipped to South Korea. I thought about Evelyn’s concern while her husband was there. As a mother I was worried when my son was stationed there so close to the demilitarized zone. 

I felt very sad for her and the relationship she lost with her daughter. I have a relationship with my daughter, but she is closer to her father her left me and the kids for another woman. I don’t understand why her daughter treated her the way she did. However, I drew strength from her story.  The old saying that nothing is fair in love and war rang so true.  I applaud this author and the strength her story shows to women everywhere, no matter what their walk in life.  This was a wonderful story. Through heartache comes strength and hope.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Remembrance by Carolyn Twede Frank Review and Blog Tour

Remembrance Book Blog Tour
December 1 Carolyn Twede Frank -
December 2 Sheila Staley -
December 3 Susan Tietjen -
December 4 Sandra Stile -
December 5 Christy Frazier -
December 6 Christy Monson -
December 7 Kathryn Olsen -
December 8 Donna K. Weaver -

Genre:  Young Adult, Christian, Adventure
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

It seems that Josh Sawyer finds him even when he is trying to do the right thing. Josh loves his drama class but hates that they are singing in the Christmas Gala. Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus has been sung as part of the Gala for decades.  This year they have been told they can’t sing the “Hallelujah Chorus”.  They have been given permission to choose another song that doesn’t have a religious meaning.  While joking around with the new kid Zane, Josh sarcastically declares they should sing the song he hates the most, “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.”  To his horror, Mrs. Kowalski agrees that is the song they will sing.  Then she takes her frustration out on the class by assigning them reports on classical musicians.
Josh’s girlfriend Ester invites him to use her Uncle’s Literary Loom to research the musician. I loved the idea of the literary loom Ester’s uncle invented a way to live a book, to travel through it through the character. This trip to learn about Handel is just the inspiration Josh needs to spur him into action to try to save the traditions of the school’s Christmas Gala. There are so many story lines throughout this book. We see a young man who is searching for the meaning of God.  We learn the secret Zane had been keeping. As Josh travels through the Literary Loom several times, he learns more about the meaning of Christmas. He questions why more people don’t celebrate the real meaning of Christmas.

This is a fabulous book to read at any time of year. It was perfect for right before Christmas. This book really hit home with me. I see more commercialism each year. I had a student ask me a couple of weeks back if we could have a Christmas party. I teach in a public school. I told him we didn’t have parties in middle school. He said, but it’s a Christmas party we need to celebrate Christmas. I told him we weren’t allowed to celebrate religious holidays in the classroom. He still didn’t get it. I told him we were not allowed to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.  He said, “What does Jesus have to do with anything? I want to celebrate Santa.”  It is books like this that allow me to introduce kids to God’s messages.

I have not yet read the first two books in this series. I can assure you I will.  I will also be purchasing the series for my classroom library. It is difficult to find faith-based messages in books for classrooms.  I am looking forward to sharing this one with my students.  I just really wish the Literary Loom were real.  

Purchase on Amazon
Find out more about the author here

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Without a Doubt by Nancy Cole Silverman

Genre: Adult, Mystery
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

If there is one thing I really love about Nancy's books, it is that each of them can be read as a stand alone book. In this book, we find our main character at an event where she is taste testing chocolates. As she is leaving a shop, she sees her boyfriend Eric coming out of a jewelry store with one of Hollywood's socialites. She figures he is undercover. Shortly after they leave, the store they had just left explodes. What a way to set up the story. Carol finds herself involved in trying to solve a series of jewelry heists. She has become the target of one of the thieves who wants to share information only with her. This puts her in a bad position.

  The radio station she works for has changed their format to chick-lite. The station owner's wife is after Carol's job. This adds another layer of tension as we see that Bunny, the station owner's wife, really doesn't know what she is doing. Like usual, the author has done an excellent job with her characters. They are layered and very believable. She also does an excellent job showing what goes on behind the scenes of a radio station.  As I read this third book, I was taken back to my younger years. I dated a guy who worked for a radio station, worked for an engineer of one of the radio stations and was involved in volunteering there for over three years. I believe the author's previous experience in this field is what makes her stories so believable and alive. The station politics that play out in her books are spot on. I am hoping there will be a fourth book forthcoming. I am really enjoying this series.