Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Canary Island Song by Robin Jones Gunn

I fell in love with Gunn's writing when I read my first Sisterchick novel. They are chick lit at it's best! Canary Island Song reads a great deal like a Sisterchick novel and I loved it.  Gunn loves to travel and she takes the reader along with her through her vivid detailed descriptions of place and people... foods.... sounds and even smells.  I have never been to the Canary Islands, but I feel as if I have.  I guess this is a bit of vicarious living!

Canary Island Song appears to center around Carolyn and her life.  As is with most of us, things did not go the way she planned. She has regrets, hurts, doubts and fears.  So she runs away... to the Canary Islands to see her mother. And while there is a great deal of focus on Carolyn and her journeys (she has more than one and all are not physical), this book also focuses on her mother and her daughter... three generations... some of the same struggles... some different... all looking for something and holding to each other.  A beautiful generational picture of womanhood.

Friday, August 26, 2011

erasing hell by francis chan & preston sprinkle

To say this is a good book doesn't sound right. The subject matter is heavy and difficult at times.. not the writing about it.. the reality of it.  And yet, it was good to read this book.  Chan and Sprinkle take on this most avoided subject head on diving into the Bible to show what God says about hell.  It is an academic walk... a fact finding tour... and yet it is far from dry and boring textbook reading.  I would love to tell you all the questions are answered.. they are not. Instead we are show the basic truths and given the task to trust God with the rest.. and isn't that essentially the basis of the Christian life?

While the book does take quotes from Rob Bell's Love Wins, which presents a universalist view of hell, this is not a book slamming Bell or his work.  Not at all!  I would imagine Bell's book played a roll in this project coming about, but it is not the central catalyst.  I stated earlier this is a look at the Truth... the Word.. what God has to say about hell.

I have read it through once... reread parts... and have no doubt I will read it again.  I suggest keeping a Bible close at hand as you read.

Ultimately... before all is said and done, this is a book on the Sovereignty of God. And that, for me, is the best news of all!

A Deadly Yarn by Maggie Sefton

Another book in the Knitting Mysteries by Sefton. Love this series. Love the characters and setting.  Once again Kelly is drawn into a mystery... local up and coming fiber artist AllisonDubois has committed suicide.. or has she. Kelly has her doubts and is determined to find the truth.

Along the way she has to deal with a friendship that is becoming more and make decisions concerning her career and whether she will stay in Colorado or return to the East Coast.  Fortuntely she has friends to help her deal with all the questions in her life.

Wonderful read as always!  Already have the next book in the series checked out from the library and in my to read basket!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I have been looking forward to reading this book and am looking forward to seeing the movie. This book opens in August 1962 in Jackson, MS.  I was born in September 1962 in Natchez, MS (2 hours SW of Jackson).  I do not remember these days... for obvious reasons... but I do remember the times from the late 1960s forward. While in no way trying to defend my state (which I love warts and all), I will say that the white families here were not in the majority.  These are affluent exclusive whites... the Country Club scene. That said.. prejudice was everywhere and while there were different levels of action connected to it (we never had a separate bathroom for our maid nor did she use different plates etc. And she did sit at the table and eat with us like family), the inequalities were evident and consistant and wrong.

The Help does not sugar coat the reality.  For that, I am thankful. Stockett shows not only the way these families treated their "help" but also their children... leaving them to be seen but not heard until Mother was ready to show them off.. and then they had better be perfect.  I knew children who grew up like this... still do.. it is beyond sad.

I love that Stockett shows the relationship between the "help" and the children. While we only had a maid a few years of my young life and my mother, who worked outside the home, didn't neglect or ignore me, I loved Josephine. She was, to me, family.  I pray she felt that way about us. I would hate to think she felt we saw her as the women in this book see the maids who work for them.

I have heard a few folks criticize this book and the movie. But, for the most part, I hear praise for it. It is a delightfully sweet and accurate portrait of a far from sweet time in our history.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer

I found this book quite by accident. We have a shop near my home called Burke's outlet. They purchase over stocks and such from other retailers and then sell them at a discounted price.  I like to  pop in on Fridays (I get a 15% discount that day) and see what's new. I have bought clothing, candles, journals, linens and all sorts of other goodies there. A couple of Fridays ago I noticed a shelf of books.  Many were by Beverly Lewis (wonderful Amish based fiction).  This book was there also.  The cover caught my eye but I was not familiar with the author. Still, I read the back notes and was intrigued.

Imagine my surprise when I saw someone mention Witemeyer's books on a Facebook page -- Lovers of Old West Fiction.  They received rave reviews from many in that group, so I knew I have made a great choice in bringing it home with me.

I loved the characters and stories and look forward to reading more books by Witemeyer in the future.  Hannah Richards dreams of owning her own dressmaker's shop one day, so when a wealthy patron opens the door for that dream Hannah runs through it with great expectation.  She arrives in Coventry, TX ready to take the world by storm... and a storm she finds.. in J. T. "Jericho" Tucker.  JT finds fancy dresses and such a tool to encourage women to vanity and discontentment and he wants nothing to do with... nor does he care to have it show up in his town.  No matter how much he tries to avoid Hannah and her shop, he finds himself coming to her rescue time and time again.

As he watches the effect Hannah has on the town... on the people... her compassion and love... he begins to second guess his opinions concerning beauty and dressmaking.... and his opinion of a certain lovely dressmaker.

Very sweet story... a feisty female and a gruff fella... wonderful combination!

Shoots to Kill by Kate Collins

Another book in the Flower Shop Mystery series.... another great cozy mystery series... love it! Elizabeth Blume shows up in New Chapel sporting the name Libby and looking a great deal like Abby, who was her babysitter at one time.  Over the course of a few days, Libby builds a life that looks remarkably like Abby's... from her gift shop to her yellow corvette... she even sets her sites on Marco, Abby's man-friend (they are still working out the details of their relationship.)  Libby's mother, former supermodel Delphia is found dead and a young woman in a yellow corvette is seen leaving the scene. Is it Libby? Abby? or someone else trying to frame one of them? Marco, a PI, investigates, but Abby is not sure he is being objective with Libby hanging on his arm. She decides to go out on her own and find the killer... hopefully before he or she finds her.