Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I loved this book (Sort of...Not Really)

"I'm Happy for You (Sort Of...Not Really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison"

I really, truly wanted to love this book! It has a catchy title and the subject matter is fairly encompassing. I mean, who hasn't compared themselves to their best friend? Or even to a stranger on social media? But, before the end of the first chapter, I was exhausted. 

"I'm Happy for You (Sort Of...Not Really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison" by Kay Wills Wyma is a book about comparison. We compare ourselves to our friends, our family, random people on the street. We envy others' homes, cars, lives, jobs, bodies...you name it and we envy it and compare "ours" to "theirs".
I admit to having fallen in this trap before and I'm almost certain to fall into it again. But at some point in my walk with God, I learned that it's a total waste of energy to compare myself to others and it isn't pleasing to God. In one particular instance, the author wasted so much energy stressing over her refrigerator that it robbed her of the joy of simply having friends in her home. I'm not faulting her for that, but instance after instance of these comparisons and stressors and envy's totally "wore me out" and I didn't enjoy the book as much as I'd hoped. I also expected more spiritual balance.

If you struggle with comparisons, you may love this book! You may feel a kindred spirit with Ms. Wyma. There are some funny parts to the book. I was thrilled to know I'm not the only one with food wrappers in the car nor laundry in the washer that been washed...three times!

I received my copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion. I have not been compensated in any way. 


Friday, September 25, 2015

In her latest release, Woodsmall introduces readers to Ariana, a young woman of strength and conviction, who upholds the tenets of the faith and community she holds dear. She has a loving family and an adoring boyfriend. Yet the story truly begins 20 years ago, on a night filled with fear and expectation, as Ariana’s mother gives birth to her sixth child in the local Amish birthing center. On the same night, a pregnant English woman passing through the town, unexpectedly goes into labor and rushes to the birthing center to give birth to her daughter, Skylar. The birthing center catches fire...and lives are changed forever. 
What follows is an intricately woven tale of the lives of two young women, living worlds apart, yet undeniably...and unknowingly, joined by that single night. 

I have read every book Cindy Woodsmall has written and am a huge fan. For me, this story line moved too slow and the beginning of the book was a little confusing with all the various characters. I actually started the book over after I was several chapters in, hoping to grasp a better understanding of the story line and its characters. 

Without giving anything away, I'm not sure how I feel about the ending! Ariana's decision...would that truly happen in the Amish culture? It doesn't seem possible to me. 

Regardless, I will be watching for book 2 in "The Amish of Summer Grove" series to continue this journey with Ariana and Skylar. Ariana has some work to do for the Lord and Skylar has some serious healing to do. Will Skylar be able to open her heart and receive it? I'm anxious to find out!

Don’t miss this first book in the Amish of Summer Grove series! Waterbrook Press has been kind enough to offer two copies of this book...FREE...for two of my readers! To enter to win, simply comment on this post. A winner will be chosen on October 3! Good luck!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"When Grace Sings" by Kim Vogel Sawyer

I'm a huge Kim Vogel Sawyer fan, so I was excited to read her latest novel "When Grace Sings". Ms. Sawyer writes with an ease that I truly enjoy. I also love the mix of Amish, Mennonite and English characters in her stories.

"When Grace Sings"  is Book Two in the Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy. The painful secrets and confessions continue! Looks like we'll have to wait for Book 3 to see anything resolved!

The characters are very realistic...Alexa (the B & B owner) runs the gamut from naive to rude; the reporter from arrogant to vulnerable; and is Anna-Grace's fiance respectful, cowardly or both?

I'm still scratching my head, wondering how in the world Anna-Grace and her fiance could have known one another all their lives and she never knew what he truly wanted to do with his life as an adult? How does that happen? Did they not sit on a creek bank together and share their dreams through the years? If this can happen, that he couldn't tell her/didn't tell her, does that mean they aren't meant to be together? I can't wait to find out!

I'm anticipating these answers and more in Book 3! 

Thank you Blogging for Books for allowing me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I give this book 4 stars. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Seasons of Tomorrow...Finale of the Amish Vines and Orchards series by Cindy Woodsmall

I love Amish fiction...I've read just about every Amish fiction book on the "shelves" so to speak, so it takes a lot to surprise me or keep me in suspense with Amish stories. Cindy Woodsmall hit a home run with the Amish Vines and Orchards series and if you haven't read the first three books in the series, you need to do so before reading Seasons of Tomorrow. 
The twists and turns of the story line...the complexity of the "characters" was portrayed so well that I found myself frustrated with them, impatient, sad, happy...you name it...
Sometimes it's hard to write a review without giving away too much...but the "gift" Rhoda has and the way she is treated for it and ultimately comes to terms with it is incredible! 
The Amish way of "turning the other cheek" is so contrary to the world we live in and while we read of it often in Amish books, we don't often get such an inside glimpse of the ramifications of not turning the other cheek...Rhoda keeps silent about bullying and hurtful damage to her property, but someone wanting to seek justice on her behalf oversteps their bounds and reports it. The scene of Rhoda appearing before the church deacons and members is intense. The scrutiny...just their way of thinking is unreal. 
Cindy Woodsmall is an amazing Amish fiction writer. Her stories are believable...they aren't fluff. If you've never read Amish fiction or if like me, you've read it for years, put the Amish Vines and Orchards series by Cindy Woodsmall on your must-read Christian fiction list!