Monday, April 4, 2011

Promises To Keep by Ann Tatlock

Promises to Keep is family drama at its best. From page one, the exquisitely written characters wind their way into your

heart and mind, until you become a member of the family. I revisited my girlhood with Roz and Mara, linking little fingers

in "pinky promises" and shared secrets.

Told from eleven-year-old Roz's perspective, the complexity of emotion is deep as she struggles to understand family

dynamics. Tillie is a story unto herself. To say she's a character is an understatement. She's a hoot, adds some gentle

humor to the saga, and is the kind of character all writers love to discover. Ann Tatlock is a master storyteller, one of

the best, and in Promises to Keep, she outdid even herself.

Janis Anthony and her children Wally, Roz and Valerie leave their home in Minnesota and move to the town of Mills River

with the hope of a new start away from an abusive situation. Janis has the promise of a job working in her stepmothers

department store, and along with that job Janis' father has secured a house for them on McDowell Street. After living in

the house for less than a week, they find an elderly lady sitting on the porch reading the Sunday paper. Turns out that

lady is Tillie Monroe, whose only hope is to "die"in the home she and her husband built. Tillie moves in and soon becomes

a member of the family. Meanwhile Roz makes her first friend Mara Nightingale, who has a complicated family life, which

includes a secret about her father. The girls decide to make a Daddy Deal, where they pray daily that they will each be

reunited with their father. Roz thinks her prayers just might be answered when she finds out that her father is in town,

he tells her that he has plans to come home, but makes her swear not to tell anyone that he is even in town. Mara is sure

that Roz needs to tell her mother, but Roz wants her family together, and holds onto the hope that her father has really


Ann Tatlock is a new to me author, whose writing style draws you into the story immediately. As the story unfolded I

actually felt like I was a part of the family that I was reading about. As the story unfolds thru the eyes of eleven year

old Roz, I found myself hoping right along with Roz that her father really had changed.Roz's friend Mara was quite like

able as well, and because they had quite a bit in common, I enjoyed seeing her story unfold as well. My favorite character

had to be Tillie Monroe! A seventy year old who has an unwavering faith in God, and is just what the Anthony's need. She

easily reminds us that it isn't always blood ties that make a family.

This is such a good book that I hate to give away any more of the plot. Too often, I find that books of this type are

so formulaic. They're enjoyable to read, but it's easy to predict the ending. In this case, the plot was riveting, and

the ending stunning and surprising. I went to bed thinking of the characters -- they were so well-developed that they

seemed like real people -- indeed, friends -- to me.

    Read an insert here

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley

A widow and mother of six, Miranda Hanford leads a quiet, private life. When the pastor of her close-knit church announces

his plans to move the entire congregation to another state, Miranda jumps at the opportunity to dissolve ties with Mason

Chandler and his controlling method of

ruling his flock. But then Mason threatens to unearth secrets from her past, and Miranda feels trapped, terrified she’ll

be unable to protect her children.

College professor Jack Hanford is more than surprised when he gets a call from his estranged sister-in-law’s oldest son,

Timothy, informing him that Miranda has taken a serious fall and he has been named legal guardian of her children while

she recovers. Quickly charmed by Miranda’s children, Jack brings some much-needed life into the sheltered household. But

his constant challenging of the family’s conservative lifestyle makes the recovering mother uneasy and defensive—despite

Jack’s unnerving appeal.

As Jack tries to make sense of the mysterious Miranda and the secrets she holds so tightly, Mason’s pressure on her

increases. With her emotions stirring and freedom calling, can Miranda find a way to unshackle her family without losing


When Sparrows Fall is a very entertaining read. It's message is uplifting and it is filled with characters that speak to

the heart, make you smile, and sometimes make you so angry and frustrated you almost can't bear to read any further. Of

course you have to because you must find out what happens to this injured family and the man trying to save both them and


Miranda loves her six children and her property in a small Georgia town. Her husband has been dead for two years, and she

is still managing her household, homeschooling and living within the confines of a restrictive lifestyle as advocated by

her dead husband and her pastor. She is thrilled to hear that her pastor will be moving on to a new town until she finds

that he expects everyone, including her, to sell their properties, leave their lives, and follow him. The writing is clean

and flowing, with some sophistication; it certainly never gets in the way of the story. The characters are well developed

with a lot of depth. Miranda has been cowed, but she is neither weak nor stupid. Her children have distinct personalities.

Jack sees himself as a protector but realizes that in his zeal he isn't always right, even if his motives are good.

It's a pleasant page-turner.

When Jack arrives at the rural home, he finds six children that are being home schooled, the girls in old fashioned dresses

and long braids, and although the home has modern conveniences like electricity for lights and the refrigerator, there is

no microwave, TV, stereo, computer and worst of all for Jack no coffee-maker OR coffee. He finds that the mother, Miranda,

and her late husband Carl were involved in a small cult-like church, that preached truly old-fashioned values and that

women were to be meek, quiet, and do what their husbands told them to do. In cases where there isn't a husband, they are

to do what the pastor told the women to do. At this point the pastor is telling ALL the families of his church that he has

been called to have all the church families sell their land and move to another town. Funny thing though, none of the

involved families felt this same calling to sell up and move to another state. Miranda does not want to move and has been

fighting to stay.

Uncle Jack helps to bring the family into the 21st century and shows Miranda that some men can be trusted. His caring for

her and her family gives her the strength to not only tell the preacher that she will not leave her home but exposes the

preacher for the blackmailer and nasty man that he is.

This is nice read.
I received this book for Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group. It was not required that I give a positive review,

but solely to express my own thoughts and opinions of this book, which I have done.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Conversation with God by Alton Gansky

      Imagine sitting down at a table and enjoying a cup of coffee and discussion with God, Jesus, Moses, Paul and others.

What would the topic of discussion be? Would you ask God what we mean to Him? How about if the Bible is accurate or

when the earth is going to end? This cover of this book has the question "If you could ask God anything, what would it

be?". This book is like sitting down with God each morning and having a chat session. It's about asking those why and

what about questions? .In this book the author uses the bible to answer fifty-five questions using characters such as:

God, Jesus, James, John The Baptist, John Brother of James, Moses, and David. The unique aspect of this book is that

the questions are answered by God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and other Biblical prophets and apostles such as Stephen

and Paul. The answers are scripture based and very well thought through. A Conversation with God allows readers a

one-on-one dialogue with God, his son Jesus, and other important men and women from the Bible as they respond to

questions and concerns relevant to the Christian faith. The questions, in some cases hard-hitting, cover issues that have

troubled believers and seekers since the beginning of time. Each answer is based on Scripture and written with the warmth

and intimacy of a Heavenly Father relating to His child. Some examples of questions include:

*God, how can we believe that You created us?

*Why weren't all early writings included in the Bible?

*How should we prepare for the end of the world?

*Jesus, can I lose my salvation?

*What will we look like in heaven?

*God, does choice extend to abortion?

The most notable thing about the approach of the book is that it attempts to strip the "Christianese" out of the

answers to make the book more approachable for people without a vast knowledge about the Bible to grasp the concepts

and answers that Gansky is putting forth. The other refreshing thing is that Gansky doesn't alienate those with a fairly

decent Biblical background with an extensive source of where he got those answers to the questions that were posed. All

in all, not only was Gansky successful in his approach to make God seem less ambiguous and far off but he also blended

in a nice selection of Biblical heroes of faith to solidify some of the answers to the questions. Because of what Gansky

is able to do it is extremely easy to recommend this book to anyone from nearly any walk of life seeking answers from God

to questions that most every person has about subjects from the validity of the Bible to abortion.

Overall the book was well-written and supported by scripture but easy and interesting to read. Even though its well

written, I would caution a new believer or someone seeking to know this is still an interpretation and one man's answer

to the question - it surely isn't a replacement to the Bible.

I received this book from Booksneeze. It was not required that I give a positive review, but solely to express my own

thoughts and opinions of this book, which I have done.

Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate

          This was my first Lisa Wingate novel, and I have to say, after this read, I am very much looking forward to her next write. Her clean, inspiring story of a single Mother, who must try to rebuild a life with her son, will touch your heart.The characters just grab your heart and leave you feeling as if you are there, at Moses Lake. Each chapter begins with folksy sayings from The Wall Of Wisdom at the Waterbird Bait And Grocery.
       Combining romance, family drama, and just a touch of mystery,Wingate has created a beloved novel. You will love the chemistry between Mart and Andrea, who started off on the wrong foot, with wrong first impressions, but ultimately, through circumstances beyond their control, eventually fall in love, as you will with this book. Both have lost their faith in God, due to past circumstances and need his warmth more than ever.
       I love the added air of mystery that Lisa Wingate added to this book. Romantic, yet it deals with very real problems that will move you and draw you into the lives of the characters.This is a great read for various ages of family members. Moms, Dads, and older children will be moved by Lisa Wingates contemporary writing of a a story of triumph. I can't wait to read her next one. Great job Lisa Wingate!

     This book was provided for review by Bethany House Publishing. It was not required that I give a positive review, but solely to express my own thoughts and opinions of this book, which I have done.

Source: via Angie on Pinterest