Friday, August 26, 2011

Healing Hearts by Beth Wiseman: A book review

This is a collection of three previously published novellas. 

The first of the three, ‘A Choice to Forgive’ is centered around Lydia, a widow with three children. Her husband, Elam, dies after fifteen years of marriage.  His brother, Daniel, who had been shunned and living with the English, returns two years after his death.  Lydia was engaged to Daniel, but he left her with very little explanation.  His brother, Elam becomes her good friend and she eventually falls in love with him and marries him.  When Daniel, returns, he brings with him questions and secrets.  Lydia struggles with long lost feelings and we see her try to forgive Daniel. 

The second novella is ‘A Change of Heart’. This story is about Leah, a young woman who wants to be a writer.  However, young Amish girls are not encouraged in such endeavors. Leah’s father wants her to learn to be a good frau, but Leah has no interest at all in cooking, cleaning or sewing.  Aaron, a young Amish man, becomes interested in Leah and a romance develops.  There is conflict, love, mystery, humor and forgiveness in this story.  I found this to be my favorite of the three.  There is also a delightful character named Ruth, Aaron’s aunt, who left the community before she was baptized. She returns for a visit and adds some very humorous, touching and enjoyable moments.

The third story is ‘Healing Hearts’.  I have read this before in another collection. “Healing Hearts” is unusual in that the main characters are not a young couple discovering love. Rather, its about a married couple married for more than 30 years suffering from the empty nest syndrome and working to rediscover the love that they had when they were young. The husband, Naaman, has come home after leaving his family for a year.  His older children are not as forgiving as his younger children and his wife struggles with trying to be the wife she feels God wants her to be and her own feelings of doubt and resentment.  This is a story of forgivness and rediscovered love.

All three stories were enjoyable and uplifting.  They are easy, fun and clean reading and will keep you captivated until the end. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze and Thomas Nelson through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

From the Thomas Nelson web site:

Healing Hearts

A Collection of Amish Romances

Trade Paper

Three hope-filled stories about second chances, trusting your heart, and the power of forgiveness.

Healing Hearts—Empty-nesters Levina Lapp and her husband Naaman have no children under their roof for the first time in 30 years. When Naaman leaves to visit cousins in Ohio, Levina never expected him to be gone a year. Now that he's back, will they be able to move beyond this estrangement and rekindle the fire of the love they once shared?

A Change of Heart—Leah is a writer in a community that does not encourage such fruitless endeavors. She lacks the skills necessary to be a good Amish fraa—cooking, cleaning, quilting, and gardening. Aaron is aware of Leah's short-comings, but his heart is captured by this spirited young woman. Will Leah's role as an Amish wife and mother force her to set aside her creative life—or will Aaron make an offer she never dreamed was possible?

A Choice to Forgive—Lydia has loved two men in her life. Daniel, who disappeared one Christmas Eve long ago, leaving only a note saying he wanted to live in the Englisch world. And Elam, Daniel's brother, to whom she had been happily married for 15 years. When Elam dies, Lydia gives up on ever loving again. But she is shocked when Daniel wants to return to the Order and her life. Is there enough forgiveness in her heart to overlook the past and move into a future that could fulfill her dreams?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Great book giveaway!!!

This is a great giveaway for 4, count 'em,  4  Beth Wiseman books. I've read several Beth Wiseman books and have loved every one of them.  If you're not a fan of Amish fiction, I challange you to give it a try.  There is a bunch of difference between authors....some are very sweet and what some may call 'white washed' but always soul and spirit soothing.....and there are some who are more realistic and down to earth.  After you've read a few, you'll zero in on a few favorties.  Beth Wiseman is one of mine.  To get back to the just go to this blog and follow the directions, make sure to leave your email in each entry.   I hope you win.....well, sort of....I really hope I win, 'cause I entered too, but I 'sort-of' hope you win!  haha.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Children's Bible Book Review

My First Hands-On Bible  - a review

From the Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. website:
 My First Hands-On Bible is the preschooler version of the popular Hands-On Bible, which has sold over a half million copies. Jesus taught with hands-on lessons and illustrations; My First Hands-On Bible uses the same experience-based learning to communicate God’s Word in an active, understandable way. My First Hands-On Bible is a fun and simple yet meaningful way to engage preschool, pre-K, and K children (ages 3-6) with the Bible while helping them build a solid faith foundation. Each lesson focuses on a specific Bible point through a variety of activities in order to reinforce and help young children remember the stories and lessons. Using common household items, you can help your children have a “hands-on” learning experience while engaging them in 85 key stories from the Bible. My First Hands-On Bible doesn’t just retell the Bible stories; it also includes actual Scripture from the easy-to-understand and easy-to-read Holy Bible, New Living Translation. In addition to the stories and activities, there are fun illustrations, prayers, and a special Jesus Connection feature.

I recently received a copy of this children’s Bible to review from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.   The first thing I noticed was the hardcover – nice!!  The graphics on the cover are cute and would appeal to youngsters.  My only concern with this book is that it uses the New Living Translation, not a translation I’m very familiar with.  It also “abridges’ the text for age appropriateness.  As I looked through the various passages, I was impressed with how closely the publishers stayed with the Biblical text.  They didn’t add anything to the Bible stories to make it more appealing, like forest animals talking to each other, or butterflies at the crucifixion,  etc.  Not that there couldn’t have been butterflies at the cross, it just isn’t in the Bible.

As the title states, this is a hands-on Bible.  There are activities to do with your child to help reinforce the story. A big plus for parents who need some guidance  in that area. Each passage has a section after the Bible reading with questions and discussion starters.  There is also a short prayer to say with your child.  While I’m not a fan of recited prayers, I think if a parent were to use this Bible with their child everyday, it might instill in them a habit of reading God’s word and then spending time in conversation with Him.  Each story also has a ‘Jesus connection” that helps to relate the story with Jesus. For instance, in the story of Esther, the Jesus connection is “Esther had to wait for permission to see and talk to the king. But we can talk to King Jesus anytime!”

The Hands-On Bible begins with Genesis 1 and ends with Revelation 22.  Aside from my indecision about the New Living Translation, I love this book. The graphics are well done, simplistic and sweet.  I wish I had had this when my children were small, and I look forward to sharing this with my grandchildren.  

So if you’re looking for a child friendly, Scripturally based, Bible story book, I highly recommend Tyndale’s “My First Hands-on Bible”
Look for it at your favorite book store or search your favortie on-line book stores or you can go to the Tyndale website and choose from a drop down list of stores.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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