Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Wedded to War...Review

About the book:
Tending to the army's sick and wounded meant leading a life her mother does not understand and giving up a handsome and approved suitor. Yet Charlotte chooses a life of service over privilege, just as her childhood friend had done when he became a military doctor. She soon discovers that she's combatting more than just the rebellion by becoming a nurse. Will the two men who love her simply stand by and watch as she fights her own battles? Or will their desire for her wage war on her desire to serve God?

Wedded to War is a work of fiction, but the story is inspired by the true life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Woolsey's letters and journals, written over 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering nurses endured. This is the first in the series Heroines Behind the Lines: Civil War, a collection of novels that highlights the crucial contributions made by women during times of war.

The Civil War is a time period that has always fascinated me.  I've had the opportunity to tour many Civil War historical sites, including battle sites and the conditions of war are always humbling.  I so appreciated the perspective of a woman nursing wounded soldiers.

I really liked these characters.  Charlotte and Caleb, Ruby, Alice and Jacob.  I loved Charlotte's spunk and assertiveness. Phineas was simply odious and excessive in his obsession of Charlotte and his fabricated place in society.  Many of the male doctors Charlotte was forced to work with were rude and sexist and I'm sure that was an accurate portrayal of the times, but my mild feminist streak balked at that behavior.

I had no idea of the existence of the United States Sanitary Commission or that it was a precursor to today's Red Cross.  The research done was exhaustive and the author's note and bibliography were helpful and informative.  The story is inspired by a real nurse and I think Georgeanna Woolsey must have been a remarkable woman.

The ending was somewhat abrupt and not completely satisfying as it only covers the first two years of the war and I would have loved to followed Charlotte as she saw the war through to its end.  I'm looking forward to the second book in the series Widow of Gettysburg, and while I don't think it is a continuation of these characters stories, I would love to see Charlotte, Caleb and Ruby make another appearance.

There were some editing/proofing errors that in this age of spell check should have been caught, but overall, this is one that I enjoyed.

Thanks to River North Publishing for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Jocelyn Green here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 4/13

* * *
3/5 Stars

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mailbox Monday 4/29

It's time for another Mailbox Monday which was created by Marcia at The Printed Page, and this month is hosted by Mari of MariReads.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week... Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish list

This is what showed up at my house last week.


Bristol House by Beverly Swerling (giveaway win, from A Bookish Way of Life)
The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs (for review, from Etch Communications)
The Guardian by Beverly Lewis (for review, from Bethany House)

-----------------------------------

What new books did you receive?  For more Mailbox Monday posts, check out MariReads.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mailbox Monday 4/22

It's time for another Mailbox Monday which was created by Marcia at The Printed Page, and this month is hosted by Mari of MariReads.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week... Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish list

This is what showed up at my house last week.


Red Dawn Rising by Sue Duffy (for review, from Kregel)
A Season of Mysteries by Rusty Whitener (for review, from Kregel)
When Love Calls by Lorna Seilstad (for review, from Baker Publishing)

-----------------------------------

What new books did you receive?  For more Mailbox Monday posts, check out MariReads.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Weekend Reflections 4/20

Looking outside....it's sunny after several days of rain and thunderstorms last night.

Listening...to The Boy up and moving around, but not The Artist.  I need to wake him.

Loving...spring and flowers.

Thinking...that I need to get moving.

In my kitchen...
The Artist has asked for Chicken Broccoli Casserole for dinner.

Wearing...blue sweats and a green t-shirt.

Needing...to run to the store.

Reading...It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist.  Jury's still out.

Today...we are weeding at my Mom's house and mowing at ours and checking the sprinkler system for broken sprinklers.

Planning...for the next week, always. I think some spring cleaning is still on the list.

Gratitude...for law enforcement personnel who don't give up and who track down terrorists.  Our prayers this week have been for the people of Boston.

From my world...the teaser trailer for Catching Fire!  YAY!!!


What about you?  What are you reflecting on today?

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Icecutter's Daughter...Review

About the book:
Merrill Krause longs for a family of her own, but she's bound by a promise to her dying mother to care for her father and older brothers until they no longer need her. She enjoys being part of the family business, harvesting ice during the brutal Minnesota winters. Merrill actively takes part, possessing a keen ability to work with the horses--despite the advice of her good friend, who disapproves of her unladylike behavior.

When Rurik Jorgenson arrives in their small town to join his uncle doing carpentry, he soon crosses paths with Merrill. But unlike other men, who are often frightened away by her older brothers, Rurik isn't intimidated by them or by Merrill's strength and lack of femininity. As he thrives under the mentorship of his uncle, Rurik dreams of inheriting the business and claiming Merrill as his wife. But while he is determined to start a new life, the past is determined to follow him when his former fiancee and her brother show up in town. Soon Rurik is put in the center of a major scandal that may damage his relationship with Merrill. Can they learn to trust God--and each other--and embrace the promise of love?

The cover on this one drew me in completely.  The story, for the most part, held my attention.  Leaving behind a broken engagement, Rurik Jorgenson moves to Minnesota to work in his uncle's furniture business. As he thrives in business and new-found friendships, he is surprised when his former fiancee, Svea, and her brother, Nils, arrive in town.  Wanting to force Rurik to marry her, Svea makes unfounded, yet damaging accusations and Rurik worries that he and Merrill won't have the future together that they hope for.

I loved Merrill and Rurik.  Such strong characters.  They never felt fully developed to me and sometimes I thought I'd missed some back story but I continued reading nonetheless.  Their respective families were just as delightful.

Svea and Nils?  Seriously unlikeable and annoying.  At one point, I wanted to shake Rurik and say, "The friendship isn't worth it!"  But, as in most historical Christian fiction, faith and forgiveness win out over distrust and censure.

Historically, I was not aware of the German and Swedish settlements in the Midwest  nor was I aware of the practice of ice cutting.  Although, it makes sense that people had to get their ice from somewhere in the time before refrigeration and freezers.

This is the first in a new series and I look forward to more.

Thanks to Bethany House for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Tracie Peterson here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 4/13

* * *
3/5 Stars

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Booking Through Thursday...Language

I saw a Latin edition of “The Hobbit” last time I was at the bookstore… Do you read any foreign languages? Do you ENJOY reading in other languages?

I don't read or speak a language other than English.  I took French in high school and Russian in college, but I am not even mildly proficient in either one and while I can "read" both, as in I can recognize the alphabet and pronunciations,  I have little to no comprehension about meaning.

I'd love to study a language again.

What about you?

Go here for more BTT posts.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Love at Any Cost...Review

About the book:
Jilted by a fortune hunter, cowgirl Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him. Hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Francisco will help her forget her heartache, Cassidy travels west. But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie MacKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, captures her heart. When Jamie discovers the woman he loves is poorer than he is, Cassidy finds herself bucked by love a second time. Will Jamie discover that money can't buy love after all? And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man?

With delectable descriptions and a romantic sensibility, bestselling author Julie Lessman brings the Gilded Age to life in this sumptuous new series.

I adored Julie's series' about the O'Connor family.  Adored it.  I was thrilled to learn that she had a new series out and was delighted to see it set in San Francisco.  As a Bay Area native, I love San Francisco as a setting, in any time period.

While I liked  Love at Any Cost, I didn't love it.  It took awhile to get into it and I really didn't like Jamie or Cassidy.  I grew weary of exclamations, "Sweet, soul saving mercy!", "sweet Texas tea!" as well as the phrase "pretty boy" which grew cliched.

As with her previous book though, Julie Lessman has a wonderful way of writing about the passion in relationships and that is often absent from Christian novels.  Nonetheless, Jamie's attempts at always taking liberties with Cassidy and his selfishness and willingness to throw away love for money did not endear him to me.

I loved the McClare family, however, and I look forward to learning more about them in future stories.  I'm certain that Logan and Caitlyn's story is by no means finished, nor is Caitlyn's quest to eliminate the tawdry and depraved Barbary Coast.

Mild editing complaint:  the summary on the back of the book spells Jamie's last name as McKenna.  In the book itself, Jamie's name is spelled MacKenna.  That is a careless mistake.

Available April 15, 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Donna at Baker Publishing for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Julie Lessman here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 4/13

* * *
3/5 Stars

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Noble Groom...Review

About the book:
Michigan, 1880

Annalisa Werner's hope for a fairy tale love is over. Her husband failed her in every way and now his death has left her with few options to save the family farm. She needs a plentiful harvest. That, and a husband to help bring it in. Someone strong, dependable. That'll be enough. A marriage for love...that's something she's given up on.

So her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom. Then a man appears: Carl Richards, from their home country of Germany and a former schoolteacher-or so he says. He's looking for work and will serve on the farm until her husband arrives.

With time running out, she accepts his help, but there's more to this man than he's admitting. He's also gentle, kind, charming-unlike any man she's ever known. But even as Carl is shining light into the darkness of her heart, she knows her true groom may arrive any day.

Wrongly accused of a crime he didn't commit, Carl is freed from prison with the help of his manservant and sent to America to get away.  When he arrives in Forestville, Michigan, he promises to help Annalisa on her farm until the requested groom arrives.  Brilliant and educated, Carl longs for the academic world and, as a nobleman, has no experience with farming or hard labor.  But, charmed by the lovely young widow, he perseveres.  Neither plans on falling for the other and when the requested groom finally arrives, Carl and Annalisa must finally face their feelings once and for all.

As Carl's past comes to light, Annalisa must also decide whether their love is strong enough to challenge the prejudices and anger of her father and the other men in the community.

Carl was awesome. Bit too good to be true, but compared with Hans and the other men of the settlement, he's a true saint.   His interactions with Gretchen, especially, were delightful.  Annalisa was a strong, spunky young woman determined to make the best of her life, regardless of her circumstances.

While likely historically accurate, the treatment of women at the hands of their husbands really bothered me. These women had no say in their own lives, their husbands and fathers completely ruled their lives, even to the point of deciding when and whom they would marry.  Perhaps that was a leftover from the class differences in Germany.  At any rate, it really made me mad and I loved seeing Carl challenge it and treat Annalisa with the respect she deserved.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Jody Hedlund here.  You can see other reviews and tour stops here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 4/13

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mailbox Monday 4/15

It's time for another Mailbox Monday which was created by Marcia at The Printed Page, and this month is hosted by Mari of MariReads.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week... Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish list

This is what has showed up at my house over the past couple of weeks.




Unwritten: A Novel

Just One Touch by Cynthia Conner Goyang (for review, from Ambassador International)
Alana Candler, Marked for Murder  by Joanie Bruce (for review, from Ambassador International)
The Icecutter's Daughter by Tracie Peterson (for review, from Bethany House)
Fabio's Italian Kitchen by Fabio Viviani (for review, from Hyperion)
It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist (for review, from Litfuse Publicity)
When a Secret Kills by Lynette Eason (for review, from Baker Publishing)
Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade (for review, from Litfuse Publicity)
Unwritten by Charles Martin (for review, from CenterStreet)

-----------------------------------

What new books did you receive?  For more Mailbox Monday posts, check out MariReads.