Book Review: An Amish Miracle

An Amish Miracle is a set of three novellas. Always in my Heart by Mary Ellis, tells the story of Hope Bowman who gave her son An Amish Miracleup for adoption when she was young. Always His Provision by Ruth Reid is about Rosa Hostetler, a widow, who is in danger of losing her home and Always Beautiful by Beth Wiseman relates the struggles of Becky Byler with her weight and self-image.

A while back, I had the opportunity to read and review An Amish Kitchen which included a novella by Beth Wiseman; therefore, I was excited to have the chance to read An Amish Miracle through the Booksneeze book review program. It was the perfect “easy read” before delving back into textbooks now that a new semester of college has begun. 🙂

Out of the three novellas, Always in My Heart is my favorite. I really felt for Hope’s character and I thought her character evolved the most out of all the characters amongst the three novellas. I also related to Hope and felt a connection with her even though I have never given up a child for adoption. The only “issue” I had with the novella is how abrupt and quick resolution was between Hope and her father at the end of the story.

Rosa Hostetler was also relatable. She is stubborn, set in her ways and doesn’t want to rely on anyone for help. And, as my husband can attest, I know a little bit about being stubborn. 😉 Rosa struggles with a neighbor, she keeps losing her chickens whose eggs she needs to sell, and she doesn’t see the man right in front of her who is ready and willing to help her in her struggles.

Always Beautiful deals with an issue facing many women, young and old: self-image. Becky is self-conscience of being heavier than those in her Amish community. After praying  for a “miracle” she begins to lose weight; however, losing weight doesn’t turn out to be the “cure-all” for her troubles as she expected. She still doesn’t feel like she fits in and continues to struggle with her self-image. However, in the end, she comes to terms with herself and wins the love of her life: all typical of formula fiction (Just like the other two novellas).

I very much enjoyed the three  novellas and if you are looking for a good, easy read, I recommend An Amish Miracle. I give the book three (3) stars.

Book Review: Biff and Becka’s Stupendous Vacation

Biff and Becka's Stupendous Vacation

From the Book Description:

“Biff’s anticipated family vacation takes an unexpected turn. How will he deal with bitter disappointment? Is his summer ruined? Will he be humiliated by his friends? In interesting twists and turns, the author takes Biff and his rabbit family through a trying time that has a surprising outcome.”

My Comments:

I owe an apology for the publisher, Booksneeze in taking so long to getting this review up! Between college work and finals, it took extraordinary longer than normal to get the book read and the review written. Thankfully classes are over and the review is here!

In order to give a balanced review, I read this book to my eight-year-old son. He loved it! I  read one or two chapters a night and he would beg me to read more. He couldn’t wait to find out what happened next! However, he was pretty disappointed with the ending. He felt that it wasn’t complete and there were too many unanswered questions. His exact words were, “The ending is not satisfying at all.”

For my part, I enjoyed reading the book to my son. It was a cute story with Christian principles weaved throughout, in a non-preachy kind of way. I liked how the book dealt with bullying and sibling disagreements. I liked the family activities throughout the book which gave me ideas of things to do in our own family. I liked the adventure and the family discovery toward the end. However, I have to agree with my son. The ending falls a little flat and it seemed like the book ended just for the sake of not making the book longer than it was.

Having said that, the overall story is very good and worth reading. My son and I are in total agreement in recommending the book and giving it four (4) stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

(Linked to RAnn’s Sunday Snippets. Come join other Catholic bloggers who share their favorite posts from the week!)

Book Review: Francis Man of Prayer

Pope Francis

From the book description

“Francis is the biography of a meek man who has suddenly become one of the most powerful and influential men on the planet. Could it be a Catholic spring has finally arrived after a very long winter?”

My comments

I have read many good and wonderful books through the Booksneeze blogger reviewer program; unfortunately, Francis is not one of them. 🙁

It’s a shame really. I was so excited to have the chance to read and review this book because in the short time Pope Francis has been in office I have grown to respect and love him very much. I couldn’t wait to read this book to learn more about the man and gain some insight into his prayer life, given the title of the book. Instead, Francis Man of Prayer was nothing more than a thinly veiled anti-Catholic propaganda full of inaccuracies and falsehoods.

Maybe I’m naïve. It didn’t occur to me that although the book is published by a non-Catholic publisher it would be anything but a fair portrayal of our Holy Father and of the Church. Sadly, I was wrong.

To be fair myself, there are some good parts to the book. The author does a decent job giving an overview of Pope Francis’ growing up years, seminary life and life as a Jesuit; however, most of the details are vague with no real substance. Also, at the back of the book there is a chronology list of the major points of our Holy Father’s life to date and a list of 10 quotes that “reveal what Pope Francis Believes” which I liked.

However, it’s the middle to end of the book where it gets sour. He has nothing but negative things to say about the Church, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. As a matter of fact, at the end of the book the author has the nerve to say that “In many ways Benedict XVI was a roadblock for the Catholic Church trying to find its way toward modernity” (indicating the momentous task Pope Francis has ahead of him). Not only is that statement grossly untrue, it is insulting. In talking about the challenges facing Pope Francis, he comes across as condescending which I found off-putting.

I am very disappointed and would not recommend this book.

I give this book one (1) star.

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I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: The House that Love Built by Beth Wiseman

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I’ve read several of Beth Wiseman’s Amish fiction novels, so I was happy to have the chance to read The House that Love Built which is NOT an Amish novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It tells the tale of a widow named Brooke and a divorcee named Owen. They meet at the hardware store that Brooke owns when Owen goes in to get supplies for his new house that he is fixing up. There are also two sub-stories, one about a young troubled teenager named Hunter and another one about Brooke’s mother and her “love interest.” To top it all off, there is a little mystery entwined.

One would think that will all these story lines the book would be hard to follow but Beth Wiseman is an expert story-teller who easily manipulates each story-line, eventually weaving them all together into one cohesive unit at the end. By the end of the second chapter I was hooked and didn’t want to put the book down!

If you enjoy books about love, forgiveness and healing, you will love The House that Love Built. I give this book four (4) stars.

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I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: Heaven is for Real for Kids

Book Summary:

This book is based on a true story of Colton Burpo. When he was almost four years old he was admitted to the hospital. While he was there he has an experience with Jesus who takes Colton to heaven. He shares his experience with his parents who in turn wrote the original book Heaven is for Real and now this version of the book is for children.

My Comments:

Being a children’s book, I of course, had to read this to my son and get his opinion of this book. He loved it. And so did I. As a matter of fact, he has asked me to read it every day since we got the book! (And I happily obliged. 🙂 )

From a kid’s perspective, my son likes the pictures and that the book was written at a level he can easily understand. He also likes that he is able to read a lot of the book himself.

From a message perspective, my son was enthralled with Colton’s experience of heaven and the constant refrain of how much Jesus loves him and all children. Thanks to this book, my son and I have had several meaning conversations about God and how much He loves each and everyone of us. We’ve talked about Heaven and other tenets of our faith. Thanks to this book we have had some truly precious moments between us.

My rating:

I give this book 4 stars.

Review Copy Disclosure:

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com (http://www.booksneeze.com) book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html) : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

—This post contains affiliate links. Go here to see my disclosure policy.

Book Review: The Wonder of Your Love by Beth Wiseman

The Wonder of Your Love by Beth Wiseman

 

Book Summary:

This is a charming story is about Katie Ann Stolzfus, a single mother raising her son in a small Amish community in Canaan, Colorado and Eli Detweiler is an Amish man looking forward to enjoying the rest of his life after raising six children on his own. Thanks to a wedding, they meet and a friendship is formed. As their feeling become more, they both struggle against what they think they want and what is deep within their hearts.

My Comments:

I enjoy reading love-inspired fiction (such as Amish Novels) so I was excited to get an advance copy of The Wonder of Your Love for  review. I have read several of Beth Wiseman’s books that I liked so I expected to like this one as well. I was not disappointed. 🙂

The characters in this book are endearing and I was immediately drawn into their lives. I was surprised to see that Katie’s best friend, Martha, is not Amish at all. And can I just say that Martha is a hoot?! (I was surprised to see this because I thought that the Amish – although friendly toward “Englishers” – didn’t make friends with Englishers.)

The story was somewhat predictable but it was believable and sounded very realistic (although my knowledge of the Amish is limited). I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and was a little sad when the story was over. I hope to read more of the Land of Canaan book series soon.

And, guess what? Like a lot of Amish novels, this book has a few recipes at the end! Three recipes in fact. I particularly can’t wait to try the Peanut Blossoms recipe.

My rating:

I give this book 4 stars.

Review Copy Disclosure:

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com (http://www.booksneeze.com) book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html) : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

—This post contains affiliate links. Go here to see my disclosure policy.

Book Review: We Be Big by Rick Burgess & Bill “Bubba” Bussey (with Don Keith)

Book Summary:

To quote the subtitle, this book is “the mostly true story of how two kids from Calhoun County, Alabama, became Rick and Bubba” – the two “sexist fat men alive”. It chronicles the life story of Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey and how they became a popular radio morning show.

My Comments:

I’m a sucker for biographies (especially when they are testimonies of how God has touched someone’s life), so when I saw the title of this book, I knew I wanted to read it.  Actually, the title alone, “We Be Big” caught my eye. I’ve never heard of the Rick & Bubba radio show before, and supposedly they have 3.5 million listeners to their show, so I was curious.

Overall, the book was very good, and an easy read; I was done with the book in only a few days. I would recommend this book to others and, in difference to what some others have said, I don’t think you need to have listed to the radio show to like the book. I think men would especially would enjoy this book.

What I liked:

Their perseverance and tenacity of going for their dream was inspiring. I like the conversational style of writing and felt pulled in by the stories. I laughed, cried, prayed and rejoiced with them throughout the book.

What I didn’t like:

It’s a small thing really: I didn’t like the way each chapter went back and forth from Rick telling the story and then Bill telling the story, each from their own perspective. I “get” why they wrote the book this way, but for me, it took away from the cohesiveness of the story.

My rating:

I give this book 4 stars.

Review Copy Disclosure:

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com (http://www.booksneeze.com) book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html) : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

P.S. I want to give a little shout-out of thanks to RAnn of This That and the Other Thing, from where I discovered Booksneeze.com and a few other book review websites. Thanks RAnn! 🙂