Sunday, February 16, 2020

Book Review: Emma Blooms at Last by Naomi King

If Amish fiction is a favorite of yours, then Naomi King is an author you need to read.

In Emma Blooms at Last, the second book of King's One Big Happy Family series, Amanda and Wyman Brubaker are thrilled that their blended family is bonding together. But when construction on Wyman's grain elevator is delayed causing the cost of the project to rise, Amanda's rallying of the children to work and help with the family's finances comes into conflict with Wyman's sense of responsibility as the provider.

Meanwhile, Amanda's nephew Jerome has been sweet on Emma Graber for a long while. While he wishes to get to know shy, quiet Emma better, she isn't sure how to trust fun-loving, never-serious Jerome. As they struggle to understand each other, the Brubakers face a challenge that allows them all to discover what it means to fight the Amish way.


I have not read a book by Naomi King in so long, I truly forgot how much I loved them. Her characters are real. You understand and sympathize with their plights. You want them to succeed. The reader can meet the Brubakers in the first book of this series if they want to start from the beginning, but it is not necessary. Emma Blooms at Last is a total stand-alone novel.

In this heartwarming story, you have two plots running: the Brubakers dealing with a financial crisis and Emma unsure of Jerome's intentions and how they could ever be a couple. Since all of King's books create that sense of community so often found in Amish fiction, these two stories blend nicely. You see family member roles evolving as challenges present themselves.

What's truly nice to see in this story is Emma's transformation. She learns things about herself and her abilities along the way to discovering her feelings for Jerome. So, Emma Blooms at Last is not only about the romance between Emma and Jerome. It is a story of woman taking a leap of faith that she can use her God-given talents to help her community and that the man God has brought into her life is right for her.

Emma Blooms at Last is a touching story that fans of Amish fiction will enjoy from beginning to end. I hope we see more from King soon.


Series: One Big Happy Family (Book 2)
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley (November 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780451417886
ISBN-13: 978-0451417886
ASIN: 0451417887

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.



Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Shelf Control - Feb 12



Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves sponsored by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. Here's how to jump on board:
  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • Link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

I love remembering the books I've bought and why I bought them. That's why this is such a great meme.




BLURB:  In this book, Rosalie Rymarski guides you through dozens of letters from the Nahum Daniels Day family correspondence circa 1857-1872. It is an innovative experience of what is happening on the home front during the Civil War. She accompanies the letters with citations of what is happening in history, during the Civil War, making the time period much more realistic. Discovery in the Attic: A Family's Shared Past Revealed is a smooth read, even if you don't prefer historical literature, because of the relatability developed within the family's dynamic. This book commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War in a distinctively unique way!

DATE BOUGHT: 4/29/17

WHY I BOUGHT IT: I participated in an authors fair at our local library and this author was there, too. We each had a chance to present about our work. Her presentation sounded fascinating, and I love reading anything about the Civil War, so I picked up a copy.

I have skimmed through it, but haven't read it yet. I need to do that this year.

Monday, February 10, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Feb 10



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.


Somehow, we are at Monday again. I hope you had a great week. I had to take a couple weeks off from this meme: 1) because I was too busy to do much reading, and 2) I hate sharing the same books over and again.

I finished this book, so look for my review this week. Great story, as always.


These books I need to dig into for reviews coming up.





After that, I have to catch up on these others:










What is a book you've enjoyed lately? What's up next for you?

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Shelf control - Feb 5



Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves sponsored by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. Here's how to jump on board:
  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • Link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…
Just in case you thought I went into hiding this week, I figured I better post this meme. I swear, life gets away from me sometimes.



BLURB:

Elvis, Paul Newman, Judy Garland and JFK, Jr. can teach you about wills. Shakespeare and Jane Austen have tips about signatures and changes to your magnificent will or trust. This book also includes excerpts from other books by Pauline G. Dembicki.

DATE BOUGHT: Yesterday

WHY I BOUGHT IT: Sometimes you buy a book for no real reason except curiosity. This is one of those books. It's not something you have to read from front page to back. You can skip around and read what you want.

Would this book interest you?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Shelf Control - Jan 29



Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves sponsored by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. Here's how to jump on board:
  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • Link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…
Have fun!

Lordy, it has been eight months since I posted one of these. Yikes! Life can get in the way sometimes.


BLURB:

Caught between two worlds at war, he could lose everything—his country, his faith, and the woman who holds his heart captive.

Brigadier General Jonathan Carleton has pledged his allegiance to the cause of liberty, his service to General George Washington, and his heart to fiery Elizabeth Howard. But when Washington takes command of the American forces, he orders Carleton to undertake a perilous journey deep into Indian country and persuades Elizabeth to continue her work as a spy.

Captured and enslaved by the Seneca, Carleton is stripped of everything but his faith in God. At last rescued by the Shawnee, he is taken deep into Ohio Territory and adopted as the warrior White Eagle. When he rises to become war chief, he is drawn unwillingly into a bitter war against the white settlers who threaten to overrun the Shawnee's ancestral lands.

Meanwhile, as General William Howe gathers his forces to attack the outmatched Continental Army in New York City, Elizabeth despairs of ever learning Carleton's fate. But as the western frontier explodes into flame, the name of White Eagle begins to spread beyond the borders of Ohio Territory.

DATE BOUGHT: This has been on my shelf for at least 10 years. :(

WHY I BOUGHT IT: I read the third book in this series when it came out. At the time, I was reviewing books from Sheaf House Publishers, so I bought more in the series. Historical fiction set during early America is something I love to read almost as  much Civil War fiction.

I recently moved this book to another shelf. I don't know if I will be reading it this year, but it would be nice if I got to it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Bookish Goals/Resolutions of 2020



Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Happy Tuesday! I hope you're having a great week. I'm deep in the middle of two editing projects right now. Did I mention that I placed third in this year's Critters Annual Readers Poll? I couldn't believe it.


This week's topic for Top Ten Tuesday is supposed to be Top Ten Favorite Illustrated Covers. While I love this trend, it's not something I feel I can talk about unless I do a ton of Internet browsing. Instead, I'm sharing my Top Ten Bookish Goals/Resolutions for 2020.


  1. Read more books than 2019. I read 39 books last year. Shy of my 50 book goal, I set my goal at 40 this year. I didn't read as much on vacation as I usually do, which contributed to that issue. I will pack fewer books when we go away, but my Kindle will have more on it. Hopefully, that will help. Not working on vacation might help, too. :)
  2. Focus on my TBR Pile. I will be intentional about not requesting too many books for review this year. Right now, I have three scheduled through April. I am keeping my TBR pile front and center this year.
  3. Write one First Chapter Review every week. This might be an aggressive goal, but even if I can write one First Chapter Review every other week I will be happy. This will also help me whittle away that TBR Pile, because if I don't like the first few chapters I won't keep reading.
  4. Donate more books. When I cleaned my office, I donated books to the library. Now, they have space to allow for regular donations, so I plan to donate more often.
  5. Read one book in a genre not in my TBR Pile. I tend to stick to the same genres, but I would like to explore others from time to time. I just need to nudge myself every once in a while.
  6. Read two business books. I have several here that I would love to read. I just need to focus on this as part of my overall career plan.
  7. Read one writing craft book. I'm not sure why I struggle with this one. It was on my list in 2018, and I still don't think I've read one. 
  8. Discover three new to me authors. I have some books in my pile by authors I haven't met yet. I would love to dive in and check them out. The only thing that I find disappointing is that they might be one-hit wonders. Some authors whose books I have totally loved never wrote another one, which is so sad.
  9. Read one classic. Honestly, I am so horrible about this. I'm not sure why. 
  10. Listen to audiobooks. I really enjoy them. Our library's selection is just a bit lacking for what I want to read. I spend so much time in the car that this would help my overall goal to read more this year, too.
What are some goals you set for yourself this year? What obstacles stand in your way and how do you plan to tackle them?

Monday, January 27, 2020

Recent Additions to My Goodreads List


There used to be a meme titled Top of the TBR hosted by Literary Elephant. The intention of the meme was to spotlight recent additions to a blogger's Goodreads list. Considering that my reading list looks the same as it did last Monday, I figured I would share my most recent additions instead of what I usually post on Monday.

This is a book I am reviewing for an author who is in the same publishing group as me.


On the heels of World War II, the communist leader of Yugoslavia attempted to wipe out the ethnic Germans (Donauschwaben) living within his borders, many of whom had been loyal Yugoslav citizens for generations.

History books have been silent on this tragic ethnic cleansing, but Josie shines a light on the atrocities Tito committed against these people and one family in particular.

Cowritten by Josie’s daughter and niece, this book is the fictionalized account of four-year-old Josie who is separated from her family, after many of the Donauschwaben are murdered, she is initially interned in a concentration camp with her twelve-year-old brother and later, frightened and alone, she finds herself in Rudolfsnad, a death camp.

Every time Josie thinks freedom is within reach it’s snatched away and yet she holds fast to hope, trusting that God will somehow pull her and her family through this darkness, just as he carried them through Hitler’s war.

An extraordinary story of faith and courage, Josie speaks up for the forgotten victims of the Donauschwaben genocide.


Considering how much I love the Outer Banks, I was thrilled to pick up this one. I'm also a Civil War buff, so this period of Reconstruction makes for an interesting setting.


As the wounds of the Civil War are just beginning to heal, one fateful summer would forever alter the course of a young girl’s life.

In 1868, on the barren shores of post-war Outer Banks North Carolina, the once wealthy Sinclair family moves for the summer to one of the first cottages on the ocean side of the resort village of Nags Head. Seventeen-year-old Abigail is beautiful, book-smart, but sheltered by her plantation life and hemmed-in by her emotionally distant family. To make good use of time, she is encouraged by her family to teach her father’s fishing guide, the good-natured but penniless Benjamin Whimble, how to read and write. And in a twist of fate unforeseen by anyone around them, there on the porch of the cottage, the two come to love each other deeply, and to understand each other in a way that no one else does.

But when, against everything he claims to represent, Ben becomes entangled in Abby's father's Ku Klux Klan work, the terrible tragedy and surprising revelations that one hot Outer Banks night brings forth threaten to tear them apart forever.

With vivid historical detail and stunning emotional resonance, Diann Ducharme recounts a dramatic story of love, loss, and coming of age at a singular and rapidly changing time in one of America’s most beautiful and storied communities.


What a great cover on this book. I am reviewing it for Pump Up Your Book.


Tom has spent most of his life locked behind the cruel walls of Weatherly Orphanage, but when he learns that his parents might be still alive, Tom knows he must do what he can to find them. He can't leave Weatherly without his best friend Sarah, so armed with a single clue to his past, BRITFIELD, the two make a daring escape.


This is another book for review. The author's VBT is being coordinated by Poetic Book Tours.



After a stroke that devastates the mind of her father, Elinor expects her life will never be the same. But she wasn't expecting to lose her job and her family home thanks to a legal technicality.

Facing ruin, Elinor prepares to fight against the selfish, cruel man who would ensure that ruin. However, Edward turns out to be the opposite, a kind soul who only wants to fulfill his duty. So Elinor hatches a new plan: get Edward on her side and utilize their own legal technicality. The only problem? Edward would have to go against his very influential and wealthy family.

Would he risk losing everything--his job, his family, and his massive inheritance--to save Elinor?

What are some recent additions to your Goodreads list? What drew you to them? Is there one in particular you are eager to read?

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf



Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Happy Tuesday! I hope you're getting a lot of reading done. I'm playing catch up. This might be the year for it.

I'm excited to show off the ten most recent books I've added to my collection. These are a combination of books for review, Christmas presents, and e-book bargains.

The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf













Monday, January 20, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Jan 20



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Happy Monday! I hope you had a nice week. Mine was busy, but good. This week is another full one, but the last week of the month should be a bit easier. Because of the workload, not much reading is going on.

I am halfway through one of Naomi King's books.


After that, I need to read these two books for reviews coming up.



Then I need to get caught up on reading these ones.






What are you reading this week? Is there something I need to add to my list?

Coming Soon: The Ladies’ Secret Society: History of the Courageous Women of Iran by Manda Zand Ervin


The Islamic Revolution of 1979 was an unmitigated disaster for the women of Iran. That fact is well known. What is less well-known and what Manda Zand Ervin brings to light in her remarkable book, is the long history of struggle against clerical domination in which the women of Iran have been engaged for centuries.

Rooted in the proud history of ancient Persia where once Mother-Gods were worshipped, the Ladies' Secret Society, founded in the early decades of the 20th Century, was at once the inheritor of this proud history and the progenitor of the women of today who are enduring 25-year prison sentences for the defiant, yet innocent, act of removing their hijabs in public.

Ervin tells the stories and records the accomplishments of generations of individual women activists who have risked everything to educate their daughters even when held in thrall to the harem system of the Qajar era.

These women refused to be victims. They fought like lionesses for every scrap of freedom gained from the time of the Arab conquest to the era of the Shah, only to see all their hard-won rights destroyed with the coming of Khomeini s Islamic Revolution.

Yet, despite the extreme cruelty of the clergy and the imminent danger they face, the women of Iran are undeterred. Ervin pays loving tribute to them all as she relates the stories of their remarkable achievements in the face of overwhelming oppression.

Thanks to Manda Zand Ervin and her extraordinary book, we know their names and we will not forget their courageous lives.


Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: New English Review Press (January 27, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1943003335
ISBN-13: 978-1943003334

Pre-order here!

Manda Zand Ervin is the founder and president of the Alliance of Iranian Women, an organization that brings the voices of Iranian women living under the Khomeinist regime to the West.
Born in Iran, and educated in the United States, Ervin was the managing director of the department of statistics and international affairs at the Customs Administration of Iran prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution. In 1980, Zand Ervin came to the United States as a political refugee and became a US citizen three years later.

As a women’s rights activist and leading expert on Iranian affairs, she is frequently consulted by Members of Congress, and she has testified at Congressional briefings, the Helsinki Commission, and the United Nations.
In February 2008, Zand Ervin was appointed as the United States’ Delegate to the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women. She was also the featured speaker at the G8 Summit in Rome, on Violence Against Women in 2009. In 2012, she received the EMET Speaker of the Truth award.

Zand Ervin speaks on TV and radio programs, nationally and internationally, including CNN, FOX, BBC, Radio France, VOA, and cable television stations that broadcast into Iran from California. She also speaks at universities and conferences on the history of American/Iranian relations, European/Middle Eastern history, and human rights.


Like the book's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/theladiessecretsociety/

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Book Review: How to Be a Better Catholic by Fred Ferraro

If you're a regular guy looking for tips on how to strengthen your relationship with God and with others, How to Be a Better Catholic should be on your list of resources to read.

In this short book, Massachusetts author Fred Ferraro explains the important mission of getting your soul, the souls of your family, and the souls of all you love into heaven. This is not a book of theory, it is a book of action. Ferraro encourages the reader to assess where he is on his religious journey and set goals to help him achieve his mission. He says men need to know Jesus and develop strategies to keep Jesus in their lives.

Dedicating your life to Christ and living your Catholic faith every day isn't always an easy task. Sin surrounds us in this fallen world. Ferraro offers an easy to follow guide with a conversational style that isn't intimidating for the reader. I could see readers using this guide on a regular basis as a source of encouragement and inspiration. While geared toward Catholics, I truly believe any Christian man would find this guide helpful.


Paperback: 78 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 25, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1508503230
ISBN-13: 978-1508503231

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020



Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.


Welcome to the first Top Ten Tuesday meme of 2020. Here is my list of my ...

Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020

















What are some books you're looking forward to in early 2020? Do we have any of the same books on our lists?