Monday, June 18, 2012

Where the Lilacs Still Bloom

German immigrant and farm wife Hulda Klager possesses only an eight-grade education and a burning desire to create something beautiful.  What begins as a hobby to create an easy-peeling apple for her pies becomes Hulda’s driving purpose: a time consuming interest in plant hybridization that puts her at odds with family and community, as she challenges the early twentieth century expectations for a simple housewife.
Through the years, seasonal floods continually threaten to erase her Woodland, Washington garden; and a series of family tragedies cause even Hulda to question her focus.  In a time of practicality, can one person‘s simple gifts of beauty make a difference?  Based on the life of Hulda Klager, Where the Lilacs Still Bloom is a story of triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds and the power of a generous heart.

I was given the privilege of reviewing this book by Jane Kirkpatrick.  The book is easy to read and has an interesting story line.  At first it gets confusing as a few chapters are written about different people, but by the end of the book you are able to see how they are all intertwined and part of Hulda’s success.  While the book is considered to be Historical Fiction, from what I was able to discover, the Lilac Lady Hulda Klager, did exist with many of the dates and events from her life being fairly accurate. 
While I enjoyed this book, I am only going to give it 2 stars.  A 5 star book is a book, that I can’t put down and must finish reading right away, and then feel a sense of loss once I am done reading it.  This book didn’t keep me up at night, there was no great sense of urgency to finish reading the book, nor was there a sense of disappointment or loss once I finished reading the book.  

For more information or to read the first chapter go here  Read Chapter One
"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms

For awhile now I have been a fan of Amish fiction, having read many different authors within this genre.  When given the chance to read and review Cindy Woodsmall's book The Scent of Cheery Blossoms, I jumped at the chance.  I received my review copy yesterday.  It probably came a day or two earlier, but I was  away at a conference.  Anyway, I couldn't wait to start reading this book last night.

Annie Martin comes from a troubled Old Order Mennonite family.  Her father had left the family about 10 years earlier.  Annie doesn't understand her mom and seems to always be fighting with her mom.  She dreams about her grandfather's cherry orchard.  Finally her mom tells her to go to her grandfathers (daadi) home until the mother is ready for Annie to come home. After arriving at her Daadi's home, she heads over to help the neighbors (old order Amish). Annie ends up helping the Zook's at the diner they run, but that her Daadi Moses owns. While helping at the diner Annie is able to renew her friendship with one of the Zook boys Aden.

The family is struggling to handle the work load at the diner as one of the boys Roman has left for a week in an effort to help his uncle fix the generator.  Roman always loved working with mechanical things and the family is hoping that this will help him heal mentally after the accident 5 years ago that left him partially paralyzed.

While Annie is pitching in at the diner she is able to work with Aden.  Annie and Aden have been friends for a long time but now that they are working side by side their friendship seems to grow into something more.  Both Annie and Aden know that this is wrong and will never work.  Both are baptized members of their respective religions.   Annie's daadi Moses discovers this friendship and is determined to put a stop to it.  So much so that he threatens the Zooks, telling them that if Aden doesn't break off this relationship that he will pull out of the partnership with the diner.  This will cause severe problems for the Zooks.   As Old Order Amish, they are not allowed to have electricity.  Without electricity, the health department will shut the diner down.

I would give this book 4 stars out of 5.

This was a quick and easy read, but didn't have the draw necessary to keep me awake at night.  I enjoyed the different plot lines. Besides the main story line between Aden and Annie, there is also tension between Aden and his twin brother Roman, and also the tension within Roman at not being whole after the accident 5 years ago.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

His Princess: Love Letters from Your King

 It's hard to look at our lives and think of ourselves as royalty. But the truth is, God is our King and we are chosen by Him. As your soul soaks in these love letters from your King, be affirmed of who you are, why you are here, and how much you are loved.

This is the perfect devotional book.  Small enough to fit into a purse or a coat pocket.  You can easily take this book with you where ever you go.  The book is divided into short readings centered around a verse.  The verse and the readings are designed to remind you just how much The King loves his Princess and wants what is best for her.  There are 91 short little devotionals in this book.  The devotionals are written as a love letter, always ending with a love from your King.

I really enjoyed these short little reads, often finding myself reading more than one at a time.  Quite often the topic seemed to really hit a spot, often just want I needed to hear at that moment.  I will be picking this little book up many times to re-read the little gems included in this book.

I received a copy for review, but the opinion is mine.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Senior Night already

Seems like just yesterday that Sarah made the freshman cheer squad and was modeling her uniform for the first time. At this point we were looking forward to our first day of high school and couldn't wait to embark on her final 4 years of school.  Fast Forward a few years.  Last night, we celebrated senior night.  They honored the 5 senior cheerleaders (two of which have been with Sarah all 4 years)  and thanked them for their service to the school.  

Congrats Sarah , you have turned into a wonderful young women and dad and I are very proud of you.