Saturday, September 28, 2013

Homeless at Harvard By: John Christopher Frame

After reading this book, I was left with my thoughts about homelessness and what I had originally thought and how that thought had changed. Homeless at Harvard is a work of nonfiction based on perspective, notes, and recollection of events while John lived on the streets with the homeless while he attended Harvard. While on the streets, he met Neal, Dane, George, and Chubby John who shared their stories with him and are presented here. One thing John does realize is that there are good and bad in every walk of life. John wanted to apply his interest in homelessness to his studies in his classes at Harvard. He met George and he showed him the ropes and introduced him to other homeless people. How does the path to homelessness begin? Sometimes it can start with children growing up in dysfunctional families; sometimes it is the decisions of the people on the streets, addicted to drugs and alcohol, that lands them on the streets and they’re stuck there; or it could be mental illness. Once they are living on the streets, it’s like the street won’t let them go. One observation that John makes is that he now views homeless people as victims of the unfortunate actions of others. Sometimes it isn’t their fault they are on the streets. Sometimes they just need a hand to get to a better place. One thing John said that stuck with me was that if there was a stray dog outside, somebody would take it in. But if it’s a person, they won’t do anything about it. They judge them by other homeless people they’ve met or seen. Thank you, John, for making their voices heard. I received this e-book from Net Galley in exchange for reading and reviewing it.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Made to Last By: Melissa Tagg

I loved this debut novel by Melissa Tagg! It is a romantic comedy that is fun to read. Once I started Made to Last, I didn’t want to put it down. I wanted to see how it would end. Will Miranda end up with Robbie Pontero the love of her life, Matthew Knox the reporter following her around writing his blog, or Blaze Hunziker the stand in husband. You’ll have to read the book to find out, but be warned. You will get pulled in and think about these characters long after you finish the book! Miranda has it all—fabulous home-building show, money, marriage, or is she really married? Where is her husband she keeps talking about? Will Matthew learn her secret and spill it in his blog? What will happen to her show then? In order to save her show, she better produce him quickly. Blaze looks like Robbie so he becomes the stand-in husband. Can Miranda fool her fans and Matthew into believing Blaze is her husband? But what happens when Robbie comes back? Hilarious escapades break out, culminating at the Giving Heart Award ceremony. I won’t tell you what happens; you’ll have to read the book to find out! Miranda is hiding behind her secrets. Matthew has secrets he’d rather others not know about. Blaze is willing to put his life on hold to pose as Miranda’s husband. What does he have to hide? This story is about being the real thing, not hiding behind secrets; letting the truth out to find true freedom. The pastor sums it up when he says what does God see in us that we don’t? Because when all the stuff we’re hiding behind is stripped away, it’s what He sees that’s left. So what does He see? His creation. Forgiven. Whole. Enough. Identity is found in Jesus. Not in who we think we are, who others think we are, or even in who we attempt to be. I cannot wait to read more by Melissa Tagg. Her book is filled with charm, laughter, and romance. You won’t be disappointed!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rebellious Heart By: Jody Hedlund

Jody Hedlund does an excellent job of loosely recreating the account of John and Abigail Adams’ courtship years in Rebellious Heart. Susanna Smith is a woman of status and higher learning is off limits to her, even though she has an intelligent mind and wants to learn so much more. Benjamin Ross is a poor country lawyer who aspires to marry above his station, but will he be satisfied with that? Or will Susanna steal his heart when he realizes she has grown up? Can Susanna accept Ben for who he really is, even if her mother thinks he isn’t good enough for her? Susanna and her mother help the less fortunate. One day Susanna rescues an indentured servant. She can be punished severely for helping her, but Dotty is being abused. Can Susanna just turn her back? Or will she go against everything she’s been taught and help the young woman in trouble? Ben is drawn into Susanna’s plight to help Dotty. Can he keep them both safe? Or will he lose everything he’s fought to gain to keep them out of the enemy’s clutches? Once you pick this book up, you won’t be able to put it back down. Jody Hedlund does an excellent job of weaving a romantic tale set in Colonial times and incorporating events and situations common to that era like smuggling, indentured servants, and slaves. Long after you finish this story, you will still be thinking about the characters!

Friday, September 6, 2013

My Hope Is Found By: Joanne Bischof

I absolutely loved this book by Joanne Bischof! She has found her niche in writing Appalachian romance. This is the third book in The Cadence of Grace series. It is better to read these in order so you can follow what is going on with the characters and what issues they have faced. In book two, Cassie had released Gideon from his marriage to her. He is now on his way back to Lonnie and his son Jacob. I was so hooked on this book I couldn’t even read the last few pages first to see what happened, which is saying a lot for me! I knew how I thought the story should go, but I wasn’t sure if that was going to happen or not. Joanne Bischof filled this story with romance, suspense, and peace and hope only found in God. Gideon has doubts about his life, his self worth, and his goodness for Lonnie. When he reads the Bible, he finds Peter doubted also. But God’s redemptive love doesn’t stop for doubts, fears, or feelings of unworthiness. His love is for everyone to partake. And once you do, peace and hope abound. Toby McKee has been there for Lonnie while Gideon was away. Will he just walk away when Gideon comes back into the picture? Toby and Gideon are vying for Lonnie’s heart. Only one has it, but which one is it? Toby and Gideon are like two roosters in the henhouse. Their antics will have you laughing out loud and cringing in sympathy. Which one do you think deserves her heart? You’ll have to read the book to find out, but you’ll be glad you did. All the twists and turns in this story will have you turning the page, pulling you into the story and the heart-wrenching emotions. Can’t wait to see what Joanne Bischof has up her sleeve next! She is the author to watch!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Stranded By: Dani Pettrey

I loved this latest book in the Alaskan Courage series by Dani Pettrey!! This is Gage and Darcy’s story. If you haven’t read the other books in the series, you can read them out of order, but to know what is going on with the other characters, it is better to read them in order. Gage is dealing with his past, but can he put it behind him to find a future with Darcy? She is on the Alaskan cruise to help her journalist friend Abby with a story. But by the time she gets on board, Abby is missing. Darcy is tenacious in trying to find out what happened to Abby and the other victims who have turned up missing. Darcy had convinced herself that she let her friend die when she was younger and she isn’t about to let this chance get by her without doing all she can to keep Abby and the others safe. The McKennas are on board leading adventure activities and kayak excursions. Why is God bringing Gage and Darcy back together? What covert activities are going on onboard the ship? Can Gage and Darcy solve the mystery before other people turn up missing? Dani Pettrey does an excellent job of creating realistic characters, tension-filled situations, and threading God’s love throughout the story. Will Gage turn his life over to God and accept God’s saving grace in order to have a future with Darcy? Can they figure out what has happened to the victims before it’s too late? You won’t believe the twists and turns in this book! Once you start the book you won’t be able to put it down until you know what is going on and how it works out. I am looking forward to reading more by this very talented author!