Saturday, November 19, 2011

This Book Room

Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you'll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman's story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams ... and secrets. You'll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the 'English' way of life---and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families. Naomi's Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches---a time of family, faith, and hope for many others---Naomi is more certain than ever her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family's quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down. Naomi's story of romantic trial and error and youthful insecurities has universal appeal. Author Amy Clipston artfully paints a panorama of simple lives full of complex relationships, and she carefully explores cultural differences and human similarities, with inspirational results. Naomi's Gift includes all the details of Amish life that Clipston's fans enjoy, while delivering the compelling stories and strong characters that continue to draw legions of new readers.

Additional notes: You can read my review of the first book in the series here, the second book here, and the third book here. This series will include six full-length novels and a couple Christmas novellas.

My thoughts: Any reader of this series will be glad to see a book dedicated to Naomi, and Amy definitely brings a good story and ending for her. The book was a tad predictable, but I still enjoyed it.

In this new novel by Karen Kingsbury, three years have passed since the terrorist attacks on New York City. Jamie Bryan, widow of a firefighter who lost his life on that terrible day, has found meaning in her season of loss by volunteering at St. Paul s, the memorial chapel across the street from where the Twin Towers once stood. Here she meets a daily stream of people touched by the tragedy, including two men with whom she feels a connection. One is a firefighter also changed by the attacks, the other a police officer from Los Angeles. But as Jamie gets to know the police officer, she is stunned to find out that he is the brother of Eric Michaels, the man with the uncanny resemblance to Jamie s husband, the man who lived with her for three months after September 11. Eric is the man she has vowed never to see again. Certain she could not share even a friendship with his brother, Jamie shuts out the police officer and delves deeper into her work at St. Paul s. Now it will take the persistence of a tenacious man, the questions from her curious young daughter, and the words from her dead husband s journal to move Jamie beyond one Tuesday morning. Jamie Bryan took her position at the far end of the Staten Island Ferry, pressed her body against the railing, eyes on the place where the Twin Towers once stood. She could face it now, every day if she had to. The terrorist attacks had happened, the World Trade Center had collapsed, and the only man she d ever loved had gone down with them. Late fall was warmer than usual, and the breeze across the water washed over Jamie s face. If she could do this, if she could make this journey three times a week while Sierra was in school, then she could convince herself to get through another long, dark night. She could face the empty place in the bed beside her, face the longing for the man who had been her best friend, the one she d fallen for when she was only a girl.

Additional notes: This is the second book in the 9/11 series. You can read my review of the first book here. There are three books in total for the series, and all have been released.

My thoughts: This book was super interesting, and while I haven't found myself enjoying all of Karen's books, I truly enjoy this series. I highly recommend this.



Marriages may be made in heaven, but they must be nurtured here on earth. Dr. Chapman explains how people communicate love in different ways, and shares the wonderful things that happen when men and women learn to speak each other's language.

My thoughts: I had reservations about this book going into it, but I truly enjoyed this book, and Jason and I had many insightful conversations about our own love languages. We regularly now ask each other what our love tanks are at and try to help raise each others' levels to a 10. I highly, highly recommend this book - I don't care if you're married or not: if you have a partner in your life you care for, read this book.

Experience Christmas through the eyes of adventuresome settlers who relied on log cabins built from trees on their own land to see them through the cruel forces of winter. Discover how rough-hewed shelters become a home in which faith, hope, and love can flourish. Marvel in the blessings of Christmas celebrations without the trappings of modern commercialism where the true meaning of the day shines through. And treasure this exclusive collection of nine Christmas romances penned by some of Christian fiction’s best-selling authors.

My thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed this book. Some stories didn't grab me as much as others, but some have stayed with me for days now. I would also recommend checking out A Prairie Christmas Collection if you like A Log Cabin Christmas.

Gretchen Daniels has recently moved into an apartment with her two children to be closer to her mother, Miriam. She and her children are building a life together in a new community when a mysterious young woman, Melissa McCreary, moves into the apartment next to them. She has few possessions, little personality, and keeps to herself. One day, a local landlord who is looking for Melissa knocks on Gretchen’s door for assistance. Melissa’s mother has died and in the coming weeks the landlord needs Melissa to empty her mother’s apartment. Gretchen reaches out and offers to help, but the apartment is a gut wrenching shamble of a home. There is little worth saving except for a few photos and a note that is discovered on the crate beside the bed. It is unfinished but in the two scribbled lines, Melissa discovers she has a brother and a sister that she never knew about. Even more shocking, she begins to uncover family secrets that show her who she really is. Can two very different women embark on a journey that explores a long-buried need for forgiveness, hope, and redemption?

My thoughts: I thoroughly enjoy all of Donna's books and was so excited when I saw this was coming out this year. I read it in one evening and really enjoyed it. A great Christmas story that makes you want to consider others before jumping to judgments.

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