Where We Belong

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Where We Belong

Lynn Austin

 

This book is different than the books I have reviewed lately, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Full of adventure, Biblical perspective, and romance. I loved getting to read the book from the different characters’ viewpoints-very creative! The characters were well defined and so different from each other.

One point that I disagreed with was the justification of lying to do a greater good. Rahab’s story in the Bible was quoted as being a reason it was ok to lie. God never told Rahab to lie in order to protect the Israelite spies. She could have simply not answered, or told the truth. God had/has done great and mighty miracles-divided the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to cross on dry ground, made the waters of the Jordan River recede as they crossed, and many others. He could have blinded the eyes of the king’s men so they couldn’t see the spies, or protected Rahab’s life from those same men if they planned to kill her. God doesn’t need our lies to accomplish His plan. However, He showed mercy to Rahab. Don’t ever mistaken God’s mercy for God’s approval. I do thank the author for showing the results of the lies the characters told as not turning out the way they expected.

I appreciate the use of the King James Version in this book.

The love of the sisters for each other was beautiful.

Rebecca refusing to marry a man that does not share her faith in Jesus Christ was admirable. I thank the author for including that in the story. I am a firm believer of the verse in Amos that says “Can two walk together, except they be agreed”. She waited faithfully for him to become a believer before they could have a serious relationship.

I also thank the author for including strong creationism arguments in this book. Darwin’s book has done much evil down through the years, even though he has no true scientific evidence in this book to support his theories. His book was actually written with the title “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection”. Natural Selection. The process of eliminating the so called “weaker races” to create a better and perfect race. This was the mindset of many horrible people down through the years, i.e. Adolph Hitler. Also, it is the mindset of many pro-abortion people of today. God created the life-it’s up to Him to decide when the end will be for that life.

I truly enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading more of Lynn Austin’s books in the future!

I received a free copy from the publisher (Bethany House). No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.

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The Promise of Dawn

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This is the second book I have read by Lauraine Snelling and I have to say I was not disappointed. Her characters seem very realistic. The work was described to the tiniest detail, which made it seem I was there with Signe, working right beside her. It was very easy to visualize this story. The author truly did her research!

Only one issue I have is the mention of alcohol. That’s the only point on which I agree with Einar Strand. I’m a “teetotaler.” 🙂 There are other ways to confuse and ease pain without alcohol.

Signe’s faith in God wavers, and I wasn’t sure if it was implied that she could lose her salvation or not. I don’t believe you can. If you truly accepted Christ as your Savior, then no man – not even yourself – can pluck you out of the Father’s Hand. (John 10:28 and 29). But there are times when your faith is tried and tested. I’m glad she came out on top.

I’m also glad Rune was able to get up his courage to stand up for his family. It’s hard to “go against the grain” for some people. It was good to see him do what was right for his family.

I am certainly looking forward to hearing more from the Carlson family in the future books of this series!

I received a free copy from the publisher (Bethany House). No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.

Beloved Hope

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This book picks up where the first book, Treasured Grace, left off. Grace’s younger sister Hope is the main character in this book, and we follow her struggles of fear, bitterness, and the ability to forgive those who wronged her. The author did a very good job depicting Hope’s feelings. Very realistic.

Pros: Very clear plan of salvation throughout the book. Uncle Edward has a very easy going way about him and uses it to be a good witness.

I loved that the author used the King James Version.

I felt like I was right there with Hope as she was working with the sheep, and preparing the wool to spin into yarn. It made me want to take up spinning yarn as a hobby!

Cons: For me personally, pages 320-322 was a little bit too intimate. I understand why the author desired to include the after-marriage scene in the book, to further let us delve into the fears and struggles that Hope experiences due to the horrors she lived through at the Whitman Mission Massacre, but for me it was a little too much information. I didn’t feel the need to envision them undressing to know that she was ready to let go of the past and move on.

But I thoroughly enjoyed the other 327 pages of this book! It was full of surprises, and I look forward to book three being released!

I received a free copy from the publisher (Bethany House). No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.

 

With You Always

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I recently read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it! I’ve always been interested in the orphan train, and I’m looking forward to the other books in this series to be released.

Elise is a strong woman with a lot on her shoulders. The author did a good job captivating my attention and making me fall in love with the characters. The vast differences between the three sisters makes me think of all the differences between me and my 5 sisters. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Thornton is a likeable fellow but, in my opinion, a bit flirty. But he is honorable, and that I like. There were a few instances that seemed a bit too intimate for my tastes (i.e. the kitchen closet scene,) but it is all just hugs and kisses, no sexual content.

I appreciated how the author wrote about a sensitive issue of the day (prostitution,) yet did it in such a way as to bypass any explicit scenes. Prostitution was a sin in the past of some of the women, but not included in the book.

I also appreciated that the scripture references listed are from the King James Bible.

Overall a good read!

I received a free copy from the publisher (Bethany House). No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.

The Ebb Tide

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I read this most recent book by Beverly Lewis, and I literally could not put it down! Mrs. Lewis is my favorite author on Amish fiction. I immediately fell in love with her characters. I especially appreciated Sallie’s desire for a closer, more personal relationship with God. For her to be able to break away from religious tradition was very brave. But I like how she respected her parents through it all, and sought their blessing on each step she took.

Once again, Mrs. Lewis writes so realistically. I felt as if I were reading about real people. I could picture Cape May vividly in my mind, even though I have never been to New Jersey.

I have no negative things to say about this book. Thank you, Mrs. Lewis, for writing this book!

I received a free copy from the publisher (Bethany House). No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.

Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson

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This is one of the best books I have read in a long time! I could hardly put it down. The flow of the book was very good, and my heart was in my throat a few times, waiting to find out what happened next. Here are some of my favorite things about this book:

  1. The plan of salvation is very clearly written in this book. Faith and salvation are very prevailing topics in here. I’ve read many Christian books where Christianity is mentioned, but it is not clearly written how you can become a Christian. Not so with Treasured Grace. On several occasions it is mentioned that salvation is believing on Jesus Christ as your Savior, and the gospel is clearly written out at least on one occasion.
  2. The author really did her research into the Whitman Massacre and life in those days. I felt like I was there, commiserating with those poor helpless women and children.
  3. The different emotions that those women would have gone through are well written into the story. Hope’s anger and subsequent lack of care about life seemed very realistic. The terror they felt, I felt as I read the book.
  4. I also liked that Grace’s marriage of convenience was not praised. The fact that she had taken a vow before the Lord to love her husband and that she didn’t mean it was spoken of and she understood that it was wrong. She almost made the same mistake again. Her heart was in the right place, but it’s never right to do wrong to do right.
  5. The book is very Pro-Life. Hope wanted to end the life of the baby she was carrying, but was talked out of it, and came to understand that killing the innocent child would not right the wrong that was done to her. Thank you, Mrs. Tracie Peterson, for including such a delicate topic and standing so strongly for the right!
  6. The scripture used throughout this book is the King James Version. I really appreciated that, as I believe it is the inspired Word of God to English speaking people.

This is the first book by Mrs. Peterson that I have read, and I can’t wait for other books in this series to be published!

I received a free copy from the publisher (Bethany House). No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.

 

 

Quick Tips for Busy Families By James Payleitner

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Image courtesy of Bethany House Publishers

Whew! This book was full of all kinds of tips, anywhere from what to put on a list when going out of town, to keeping a fully stocked supply of Pez candy dispensers on hand. And, as with any advice, there are some really good ideas that you can take and start using right away, and there’s some that leaves you saying, “Huh?” You’re not ever going to agree with someone 100%, and Mr. Payleitner doesn’t expect you to. He just wants you to read the book of things he has learned and discovered in his years of parenting, and glean what you can use out of it. For some people, it will be a must read and a book they will consult for years to come. For others it will be one of those books you read once and then never pick it up again. It was well written and edited. I liked the fact that each of his strategies were only one or two pages long, so if you are in a hurry you can read just one or two, but if you have the time you can read half the book in one sitting. A lot of his strategies have to do with making memories and spending time with your children, and I agree. Family is so very important! You only get one chance at parenting each child…make the most of it! Don’t just hurry on by and miss all those precious opportunities. God has given you your children for a reason. Make memories with them! Put down your phone long enough to recognize the special, wonderful, and great responsibility of being a father or mother truly is! That’s what I gathered from this book.

I received a free copy from the publisher (Bethany House). No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.

Amish Weddings by Leslie Gould

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Photo courtesy of Baker Publishing Group

During the past year I have been introduced to the wonderful world of Amish fiction. I used to live in western Maryland, and there were Amish everywhere up there, so I was already familiar with “the People”, and some of their ways, but reading Amish fiction has showed me much more.

Mrs. Gould did an excellent job captivating your attention from the very beginning. Here characters are so interesting. What you first see isn’t always what “meets the eye”. I know this is book three in the series, and I have not read books one and two, but I was able to jump right in with this book and fall in love with the Lehman family, despite their many quirks. I have to admit, there were times I wanted to “knock some sense” into Rose…I felt as if she were a real person, and I was so disappointed in the reckless decisions she made.

My favorite character, by far, is Reuben Byler. He is very long-suffering and compassionate in his care for Rose and the rest of the Lehman family. Of course, he is human, and had to deal with his own hurt feelings at being deceived by Rose. He had every right to ignore her and to get on with his life without her, but he was very loving in stepping up and taking care of her and her daughter.

I, for one, prefer sweet, innocent books without such running around, but I know these things do happen in the Amish Community, and I guess in order to keep things realistic, Mrs. Gould had to write of them. I did appreciate that she was vague in describing what happened…didn’t come right out and describe how she had “lost her purity”.

Well written, well researched, and well received!

I received a free copy from the publisher (Bethany House). No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.

From This Day Forward


This book was very refreshing! I enjoyed it thoroughly! I loved the close family ties, and how the whole community of Blessing was like one big family unit. Their worship of God was a big factor in their lives as well, which I appreciate very much.

I love how the ladies have a special day to pray together, and how they all supported Deborah during her struggles of the heart. 

I also appreciated the author using the King James Bible for her quotes. 

Seeing the points of view from both Deborah and Toby was good as well. We could take a look at the struggles and triumphs from male and female perspectives.

The only thing I didn’t like was that I didn’t start reading this series sooner! I just HAVE to read the other books in this series now! 🙂 I highly recommend this book to everyone!
I received a free ARC from the publisher (Bethany House). No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.

The Cottage

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I just completed this book. It was well written and edited very well. But I disagreed with several aspects.

  1. Alcohol use by the “good” characters. I understand the author trying to write the villains of the story as being at the pubs, drinking their beer and whiskey. The Christians in the book consumed wine as well. As I wrote in another book review, the Bible says in Proverbs 20:1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
  2. David’s view of going to church. He doesn’t think it is important to actually go to a physical church. I disagree. God instituted both the church body of believers, and also the gathering of them together. Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Matthew 18:20, Jesus says “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” It is very important to gather with other believers for encouragement, support, and learning.
  3. The Pastor seems to indicate that Jesus was just a man who knew God, not God’s Son. He says …”If my quest was to know God, then where else was I to begin but with the account of the Man who said He knew God…” Maybe this is not what the author was trying to bring across, but it seemed to say so to me.
  4. Seems to teach salvation through works. The pastor said he hadn’t been a Christian, and that he was just living through tradition. But then he said he learned that to be a Christian, he would need to go around doing good, by giving to and helping the poor, and turning the other cheek. Those things are very important, and Jesus did teach those things. BUT, those are the FRUIT of salvation, not the “RECIPE”, so to speak. Salvation is through the blood of Jesus Christ, His birth, death, AND His resurrection three days later. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Acts 16:31, “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 2:21b, “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” II Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Romans 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

Now on to the good. I liked how sweet David Tulloch was, and how he cared so much for his people. And I liked seeing Alonnah Ford step up to the plate as the new Laird, and showing similar compassion. It seemed a bit unrealistic to have David fly 5,000 miles to the states to return Alonnah’s journal, but hey! This is a romance book, right?

I also liked how the author went back and forth from past to present with Alonnah’s great grandmother’s journal. It was a very interesting layout and I enjoyed it.

Overall, it was a well written, well laid out book, but I just don’t agree with some of the teachings.

I received a free copy from the publisher (Bethany House). No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.