“Eden Hill” by Bill Higgs, book review

“Eden Hill” by Bill Higgs, book review

1960 Eden Hill, KY.  Virgil Osgood runs the Osgood’s Service Station that his father started when he came home from the war.  Virgil follows his father’s example and provides excellent service for all the residents of Eden Hill.

Cornelius Alexander is newly married and expecting his first baby.  Recently graduated from business college he is ready to be a success in business!  Following the Zipco service station manual to the letter, he is on the road to provide Eden Hill residents with a whole new experience in getting gas, tires, and snacks.

Rev. Eugene Caudill has been the pastor to the folks of Eden Hill for years.  While he still misses his wife who died years ago, he strives to be the shepherd to his flock.

So many things are always the same while so many things are changing.  But changing for the better?  Some think so, but others are not so sure.

This is an excellent novel and captures the daily life in the early 1960’s America.  I enjoyed getting to know the characters and fretting with them through their problems.  But each learns that God is faithful in all circumstances.

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Tyndale Fiction.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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“The Loyal Heart” by Shelley Shepard Gray, book review

“The Loyal Heart” by Shelley Shepard Grey, book review

A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story #1

The War Between the States if over and the country is trying to put all the pieces back together again.  It is hardest for those wives who lost husbands, like Miranda.  Philip died from an injury while interned in a prisoner of war camp.  She is forced to turn his childhood home into a boarding house to support herself.

The men who survived the war must also try to return to their normal lives, whatever that looks like now.  For Robert Truax and his fellow officers in the CSA who spent the last months of the war in the prison camp, this means taking care of their fallen officers’ families.

Following orders from his captain, Robert travels to Galveston to check on Miranda, when rumors surface that she is being mistreated.  He finds the rumors to be true and sets out to right the wrongs she has endured.  But in the process, he falls in love with her.

This is an easy to read book with lots of character development and a few plot twists.  I am eager to read book #2.

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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“The Queen of Katwe” by Tim Crothers

“The Queen of Katwe” One Girl’s Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion, book review

Phiona lives in the slums of Katwe Uganda.  This is the only life she knows, survival.  The conditions are beyond anything we in the West can image, but this is just real life for her and many other children.  Katende is a war refuge who has become a missionary and desperately wants to bring the Gospel and hope to these children of the slum.

He begins with 2 new red soccer balls and the children just flock to him.  Each day he brings the balls and teaches them soccer.  One day he notices a couple of children who just watch.  He invites them to play, but they cannot because they fear injury ( due to malnutrition).  Katende then decides to offer chess classes following soccer.

There is no work in Uganda language for chess, so he just uses English words.  With 2 simple sets, he begins to teach this complicated game to a few children.  The group is probably mostly motivated by the dish of portage provided with the chess lesson, but several of the children prove to be quite talented, including one young girl, Phiona.  As the weeks and months go by, the children become quite good at Chess.  And Katende is pleased with their progress.

This book chronicles the journey of Katende, Phiona and other Ugandans in their slow climb out of the slums despite a very unsettled political and economic times.  The story is well written and includes many shorter stories of famous Ugandans and others who contribute to the mission of bringing hope to the children of the slums.  It is inspiring, yet very honest, in the approach of many modern philanthropies who seek to change the lives of those in need.

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from BuzzPlant.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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“The Courtship Basket” book review

The Courtship Basket is the second book in the series. The author is kind enough to give enough back ground information that if you have not read the first book, you can follow along with this story and enjoy it.

Rachael, like every Amish girl, longs for marriage and a family of her own. But her heart is broken when her longtime beau starts courting her best friend. In an attempt to move on, she starts teaching at the Amish school for special needs children. She finds job and fulfillment in her job.

Matt is overwhelmed with the load of carrying for his family when his mother dies. He enrolls his 6 year old brother in the Amish school for special needs children and Rachael is his teacher. When she learns John’s mother has died and his father is ill, she uses an old basket her parents call their Courting Basket to bring meals to John and Matt.

This is an easy to read book, perfect for relaxing by the pool this summer. I look forward to reading #3 and learning the rest of the story of these precious characters.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Book of Esther

“The Book of Esther” by Emily Barton, book review

Esther is a commonly known Biblical character, and her story is an inspiration to many women.  Her story of being used by God to save her entire people group from evil.  The author uses this theme but has the setting during WWII in Europe.  It is a compelling setting, with very interesting parallels to the Biblical account.

I have a very difficult time following the characters because of the names and places being foreign to me and hard to keep straight in my mind.  I easily lost focus and had to re-read pages.  While I have had this trouble before, I can usually get a handle on it within a chapter or 2, but with this book, even after 4 chapters, I was still confused with the characters.

With that being said, this is a well written book with DEEP character development- probably a little too deep for me.  This is a book that takes concentration to follow the story line, rather than a light summer reading type of book.

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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NKJV Study Bible, personal size, book review


NKJV Study Bible, personal size paperback, book review

Our pastor uses the NKJV for sermons and I decided I would try this version for a while for personal study as well as use at church.  This study Bible has tons, tons of information!  Each book has a nice intro and there is almost 1/2 page of study notes for every page of text.  There are color photos and lots of historical and cultural notes to assist the reader in understanding the text.  In the back are many additional study helps including 100+page concordance.

This is a really nice Bible to use for personal and class study.  So much information!!

The text size is rather small, so if this is a concern, this might not be the Bible for you.  Also, while the page size is small (about 5″x8″) the thickness of the Bible made it a bit awkward to carry.  It is heavy.  So I think it is better for an at home study rather than carrying around.

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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“The Great Carp Escape” by Irish Beth Maddock

“Tadpoles, Cams, and Minnows- WOW” This is the world of Beth and Paul, who live near a lake. They enjoy many outdoor adventures and appreciate the creatures who live in and around their lake. But when they find a carp, they are not impressed, as the fish is quite ugly. Their father explains that God made all creatures and they are precious in His sight. The children learn a wonderful lesson of helping others and working together.

This is a 24 page picture book for preschool- young elementary age children. The pictures are cartoon like with muted colors. While one of the main characters is a female, this book will appeal to boys who like to fish.

Irish Beth Maddock has been a columnist for two local newspapers, published in Reader’s Digest, and been featured in broadcasts including, 100 Huntley Street, Okanagan News Television, and Canadian National Broadcast Radio. She is a published poet who has both performed in and directed plays and musical theater productions. The Great Carp Escape is available as a fundraiser for schools, churches, charities and ministries in need and has raised
over $1000.00 to help such causes thus far. As a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Independent Book Publishers Association, Inscribe, and The World Guild,Maddock would like to continue to do something about those ideas that get downloaded into her
brain at 2AM.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“The Allaince” by Jolina Petersheim, book review


Leora Ebersole is going about her everyday life in her Old Order Mennonite community. It is just like any other day, but it is not. Her whole world is about to be turned upside down.

Moses is the pilot of the small plane that crashes into the field near Leora’s home. As the men of the town rush to rescue him, the news speads quickly, there is a big problem.

As the elders call a town meeting, it becomes apparent that all modern technology has failed. This includes computers, phones, cars, electricity, etc. While the Mennonite community functions mostly off the grid, the rest of the world does not. Moses leads to discussion to inform the Mennonites that the “world” will soon be coming to them for help and many not be friendly.

Moses and Leora work with others to prepare the town for the gangs who are predicted to come soon. During the days following the crash, the Mennonites must decide whether to follow their religious teachings of passivism or to bear arms to protect their families.

This is an interesting book and it presents an interesting look at the possibility of an attack of this type and how people will react. The book ended quite abruptly, so I am ready for #2 of the series.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Simply Calligraphy, book review

41ke2bb-csql-_sx408_bo1204203200_I have always wanted to have super pretty handwriting. While my penmanship is adequate, it was never the type to be used on hand lettered invitations or place cards. But this book, Simply Calligraphy, is a super easy to use guide to learn this timeless art. The small, but well ordered book gives easy to follow instructions for even a beginner to become proficient in just a few practice sessions. While I do need more practice, I am well on my way to mastering the art of calligraphy.

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Lead me Home” by Amy Sorrells, book review


“Lead me Home” by Amy Sorrells, book review

The town is drying up. The farmers are selling and leaving. The businesses are boarded up. And now the church is going to close. James, the pastor, feels like a complete failure. What good is a pastor who loses all his church members?

Noble has been doing all the dairy farm work since his abusive father left. His escape has been playing his guitar and singing, especially with Shelby, the pastor’s daughter. Now music may be his ticket to escape the farm and care for his family.

Both men are learning to lean on God in these extreme circumstances, and lean on friends too.

This was an enjoyable book and easy to read. While I felt sorry for the problems these families were experiencing, I enjoyed the author’s way of showing hope through it all.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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