Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sewn with Joy by Trisha Goyer and Sherry Gore

★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
The ups and downs of a closed religious or social community are unique. When love and courtship are involved, everyone takes an interest and has a stake in the outcome. Joy and Matt are finding their way toward each other, but it's not always a straight path.

I read this with a smile: the characters were winsome but complicated enough to keep me interested. The good intentions of an Amish community - whether or not those include self-interest - bring twists and turns to any story.

I recommend this as a reminder that life can be sweet - but romance can be complicated. Goyer and Gore have spoken from the outside but the story feels like a glimpse from an insider's perspective.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Christmas on my Mind by Janet Dailey

★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
This is a sweet romance - small town, officer and new gal in town. Not too much you wouldn't expect, but a nice read for an evening of relaxing on the sofa by the fire.

There aren't too many surprises, but I recommend it to pass time on the plane or when you want to be in a holiday mood. Good author, easy reading.

Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade: The 5 Love Languages and the Alzheimer's Journey by Gary Chapman, Edward G. Shaw, Debbie Barr

★★★★★  The publisher provided a copy for review
Whether our loved one is affected by Alzheimers or brain injury or cancer or other traumas, we want to express love to them in ways they can understand. This much-needed manual encourages and supports those affected by Alzheimers and other dementia.

We remember how they were. How we hoped they'd grow old with us, sharing memories and relationships until death parts us.

But what do we do when they begin to fade away, to slip into not knowing us and not remembering? When they no longer are the loving spouse, parent, sibling, or friend we have loved and depended on?

This book opens with a heart-wrenching story of early-onset Alzheimers, the same illness that affects my cousin. Liana is closest in age to me among our cousins. She's always been there, always been organized, on top of things, and outgoing. Now she is in full-blown illness and our family is forever changed. Her loving husband and children take care of her, along with daytime caregivers who make sure she eats and doesn't wander off.

The authos define key terms, stages, and other facts about the progression of dementia. They show how caregivers can express their love in 5 "love languages" that can be understood by patients at any stage of deterioration or plateau.

For caregivers and supporting family and friends, I highly recommend this book as workbook, reassurance that you are not alone. You're making a difference. This text will help you express ongoing care and love to someone who is slipping away.

The 5 Love Languages Singles Edition by Gary D. Chapman

★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
What's new in this edition of Love Languages? Two of our children are married; two are single. And I've observed that singles definitely view life from their unique perspective, whether they've been single always, in a relationship, or married and divorced or widowed.

Chapman explains how to receive and give love appropriately. How can a single person express their affection and desire for closeness in ways that promote relationships?

Well worth picking up as a review (if you read the first book) or as an exploration of ways to communicate to others and deepen relationships in a healthy way, beyond superficial hellos and handshakes in social situations from at home, work, church or other settings.

Broken Ground by Karen Halvorsen Schreck

★★★★★  The publisher provided a copy for review
A book to make us gasp. A book to make our heart sing with sorrow and hope. A book about culture and prejudice and learning and influence.

You'll enjoy the journey that starts with growing up in small-town Oklahoma and leads to studying at university in California and then to influencing and mentoring others as a teacher. The story is warm and pulls you in. I encourage readers to embrace this glimpse into the heart of a young woman, joys and challenges of helping others by loving and beliving in them during the Great Depression.

Highly recommended = an outstanding story to make us think about the great privilege each of us has to transform lives around us.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Third Calling by Richard and Leona Bergstrom

★★★★★  The publisher provided a copy for review
So you thought you were done. That no one cares about your expertise or or what's on your heart ... because you're getting older. But what if God wants to use all of your experiences and give you a new calling at the peak of your career or in retirement?

The Bergstroms redefine what it means to be getting older. This creative, counter-cultural generation of Boomer s (50+) is a big group of people. The authors ask us to consider the possibility that leading-edge Boomers should - and can - continue to significantly impact the world.

"We propose an entirely new paradigm and name for this season and adventure we call aging.  We implore individuals and our entire generation to consider a Third Calling." (Richard Buckminster Fuller)

This is the story of my husband and me. We left secure careers and are doing crazy adventurous things we dreamed of doing as young people. We established a family, were active in our communities ... and have left it all behind for a new season, our own Third Calling.

If you're bored, wondering what's next, and not ready to drift into the sunset, pick up a copy ASAP. And hang on. You're about to explore what God has for you and perhaps to embark on the most exciting, most fun, and most challenging part of your life!
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Friday, August 19, 2016

Coyote by Kelly Oliver

★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
This book kept surprising me as I turned the pages. When it was over, I felt a bit stunned by the action, twists, and turns. Set in quiet country, I expected relaxation and fun. Instead, the story gripped me and pulled me into issues of the day.

Oliver comments on the social and moral dilemma of human trafficking while delivering a great story. Highly recommended for those interested in social justice, fighting for environmental accountability, for readers who enjoy a mystery, and others who deal with racial prejudice.