Book Review: The Missadventure Brides Collection

As the title of the book aptly describes the book is a collection of stories written by different authors. Altogether I thought the series to be unremarkable and sadly predictable. They all end up happily married. (Yes, I know that’s supposed to happen especially when the title has the word “brides” in it, but come on, there was never a question about the ending while reading through it. I felt like I had to just endure reading the middle of each story but knowing what was going to happen because each plot was designed to lead the woman to their man. Not worth reading in my opinion. Not just for that.

Now, you’re undoubtedly thinking, wow Katharina, this is so harsh of you. Well yeah, I think the collection needs a bit of harsh reality. If each had been published separately with more detail and backstory, I think it would have benefitted each book so much more. The only thing I liked about the collection is that it went in chronological time. The first setting was in 1832 and the last book had a time period of 1936. Each one was written accurately for the historical aspect as far as I know.

One thing I want to address is a thought attributed to one of the men characters one of the women fell for. In Lesson of Love Luke thinks, “All teachers should be just the right side of ugly in order to stay unmarried or a temptation.” Wow, that stung. Like my eyes actually started to sting from the welling of tears that I just barely held back as I reread the words over and over again. I got so stuck on it. Do all men really think like that? Christian men? Even if they do, I’d rather not see it in black and white in a Christian book. I have had many moments thinking I’m too ugly to ever get married and I didn’t need that opinion echoed in a book I thought had a purpose for lifting up spirits. I has hurt and even though I have more confidence as a single woman currently it can still be hard to be alone. I am learning to cling on to the Lord for my strength and feeling loved. I only wish that the author of the book had emulated the same importance. Cling to God, not to men.

I give the collection 2 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Woman of Courage

I had the chance to read Wanda E. Brunstetter’s book about Amanda in exchange for an honest review. The main character is a Quaker woman who travels west with her father after getting her heart broken. The title of the book is so accurate in describing Amanda and many other characters in the book. Amanda’s faith is so strong and she is a great evangelist which explains her determination to make it to the Spalding Mission on the other side of the country. She is traveling from New York by boat and horse!

Although I admire the character for her beliefs and strive to spread the gospel of Jesus like she did I found myself thinking she was annoying for the way she talks. She uses thou and thee a lot which made reading many sides of her conversation very tedious. The other characters also are annoyed by it but at that time they aren’t Christians. So maybe I need to work on my acceptance of her differences from mine.

Half of the characters come from various tribes of Native American groups. The author informed me in so many ways about their cultures. Many of their common practices and lifestyles were not accepted by white people and deemed harmful. Some of them were harmful but others, such as wearing different clothing and using different names for their children was something special to the Native Americans.

As I near the end of this book review I think one big takeaway I have is the acceptance of other people’s choices. The only thing I wish the book had done better is the way of differentiating the Christians’ God and his son Jesus from the Great Spirit many Native Americans prayed to. Sure there are similarities to Almighty God and the Native American’s god but the author never did explain the importance of knowing that Jesus is our savior and therefore our God is very different from their Great Spirit.

I rate this book a 3 out of 5.

Book Review: Reason To Breathe

OK , so I might have teared up and awwwwed several times, especially toward the end. I couldn’t help myself!

Deborah Rainey wrote about three sisters that are grieving the loss of their mother. They have always admired their mom and dad’s marriage. They both seemed so devoted to each other so the sisters are extremely confused when their dad ends up in Florida without even telling them first. What are they supposed to think about that??? Phylicia, with the adorable nickname Phee, is the oldest of the sisters. Quinn is the longtime coworker of their dad and has been a good family friend to them over the years. When Quinn convinces the girls to take a financial risk, he hopes to get closer to Phylicia.

I like this book because it was simply written for all readers to relate to each of the characters. They weren’t created perfectly, like us they all have flaws and hard times coming to terms with God’s will and reasoning. Last but not least, this book is promised by the author to be a trilogy in which stories are told in the other two sisters’ perspectives in each of their books. I rate this book a 5 out of 5. I can’t wait to read the second book!

Book Review: Miles from Where We Started

This book by Cynthia Ruchti was such a sweet story of true love in a marriage. The main characters are Connor and Mallory Duncan. Not married for even a year and Connor has already decided he wants a divorce, starting with a separation to begin as soon as possible. Connor’s parents have been married for a long time. It hurts him to know his mom has to take care of his dad because of his degenerative disease. Connor’s brother died from the disease and he has a 50 percent chance. Of having the disease also. But he won’t get tested to find out! So he lives without really knowing and forces Mallory to become convinced that their marriage is not surviving because they don’t have the right kind of love married couples should have. Instead of admitting to her that he loves her so much he doesn’t want to make that part of her life because he thinks it would hurt her, he pushes her away. Mallory knows better; sure they have long argumentative discussions over trivial topics but she knows she loves Connor and throughout the book readers find out that Connor loves her just as much. It just takes a three week road trip with an 11 year old foster child for them to, not only rekindle their love, but grow in their relationship and plan for their future together.

That’s one major reason the book is so sweet. I loved reading their inner thoughts because they were surprisingly similar especially toward the end of the book. They really are one. I love how Ruchti used unforeseen unique adventures on the road trip to bring the couple closer. Their whole adventure was God’s plan and I could totally see it happening in real life. The only drawback to the book is that I wasn’t completely captivated. It was slow-going for a big portion so I didn’t feel the urge to devour it in as few sittings as possible, haha. The end was, once again, sweet, but predictable and the climax came a little too early in my opinion. HOWEVER, I loved reading it and feeling like the author left the ending open enough to possibly write a sequel to this. And I would want to read that too! I rate the book 4 out of 5.

My Thoughts on Love Story

I was talking with some friends about our favorite book genres and one person mentioned that she loves predictable Christian romance books. I instantly thought of this book! My mom got it for me for Christmas and it was a good and easy read.

Love Story is written by Karen Kingsbury. This book made me so happy to read because even though it has some incredibly cheesy moments it also included some great life moments for each character that I, as the reader, could learn from. The characters didn’t simply find love and live happily together. They each went through some serious life trials that could break anyone down. The characters are so reliant on God which showed me that they had faith that even if their love lives didn’t work out according to their plan they could still be happy because of God’s plan. And they were! They accepted God’s will and let him plan accordingly. And they still ended up with a happy love life. Haha. Duh.

As a bonus, this book is part of a humongous series. I joked with my mom that naturally she would buy me a book that is part of a series so I would want to read the other books too. I have more than enough books on my plate right now but I love that I can go back to that book just to look up the other titles.

Book Review: The Wartime Sisters

Lynda Cohen Loigman cost me an hour of sleep last week. When I started her book last week, I vowed to stop after the first two chapters so I could go to bed on time. Eight chapters later, The Wartime Sisters was still tempting me to read just one more chapter. I honestly do not know how I got wrapped up in the book so easily. Loigman wrote the entire story to revolve around the characters. They weren’t just parts to play in her story. Every story-she included many backstories-was written to describe the characters. I learned each of their motivations and personalities throughout the book by reading about their childhood, turning points.

The Wartime Sisters is mainly about two Jewish Sisters that grew up in Brooklyn in the early 1900’s. By the time World War II starts they are young adults with children of their own. Because Millie is remarkably prettier than Ruth, Ruth has harbored a resentment toward her little sister for years. She has witnessed Millie getting more attention in the form of compliments, invitations, gifts, dates and friends. Ruth marries and moves off to Springfield, Massachusetts where she has the opportunity to start fresh with her new family. Millie never meant to overshadow her sister, but Ruth makes it hard for both sisters to forget the past even when Millie desperately needs her help.

The book is so incredibly good. Once again, the author wrote about her characters impeccably and it really made the story one to remember. I rate the book 5 out of 5.

My Thoughts on Agent X

I got this book from my brother a couple of Christmases ago but couldn’t remember if I had read it or not (probably not). I was out of books to read that I didn’t have to review and I was simply bored and down because, well you know, January. It’s got to be the most disappointing months after all the excitement of Christmas and celebrations of the impending new year.

The book was about an FBI agent who got involved in a case that kept me guessing from page to page. Her old flame reappears in town at around the same time and-because this guy is an absolute genius-is key to helping the FBI figure the case out. Of course there is a plot twist, which I suppose NO ONE saw coming; the book didn’t just let me figure out the plot twist all at once but in a series of events. That is what made it so suspenseful and one of those mystery thriller books that still has me thinking about it after more than half a year.

Now, nine months later, I have a backlog of books to read! I have a couple of books some people wrote so I could give them my opinions. I had the opportunity to be a beta reader which was a new and fun experience. I’m still reeling from his response to what my thoughts were on the book. He really seemed to see the value in my insight and that I could help him improve the book even if it was just a little bit. I haven’t even started the August book for my book club because I wanted to finish the higher priority books first. I cannot wait to start it though. It’s next on my list.

My family has a big and wide bookcase that my parents bought years ago for books, magazines, baskets and yearbooks. It holds a lot but eventually we just started putting random things on the shelves and, after 10 years, we knew it was time to clean it out. My mom had cooking and craft magazines dating back almost 20 years. I made at least five piles with 15-20 in each. We also have numerous German books. Dad had some old how-to’s on fishing and hunting. And I’ve managed to hold onto books I’ve had since I’ve been a kid. In the process of decluttering, my parents had a sizable stack of books they decided to get rid of. Thank goodness I went through them before we put them away for the garage sale! I found some treasure in there and I can’t wait to read-and write about-them.

Book Review: The Cheerleaders

I’m not having the best week over here. In fact, if anyone reading this could add me to their prayer list that would be great. I know God is with me now and forever. It’s actually when the going gets tough that I realize how much I can rely on God. But moving forward…

I started reading The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas over the weekend. It’s a young adult mystery thriller set five years after the coinciding deaths of five cheerleaders. The little sister of one of the girls is now the same age her sister was when she killed herself. For five years Monica and the whole town has been settling with the easiest story to move past the tragic deaths until she starts questioning the events leading up to her sister’s suicide. Her questioning turns to determined investigating until Monica has enough to piece together the clues. I started steering away from young adult books a few years ago, because the plots came across as juvenile, but the main characters in The Cheerleaders are serious even with the parties and drama around them.

I was interested in this book because the description depicted it as a page-turning novel that would hold me in suspense until I finished it. The entire book lived up to the enticing description. I was curious from the start to learn the truth behind the deaths of the cheerleaders. I rate this book a 5 out of 5.

To add to my thoughts on this book, I started watching “13 Reasons Why”on Netflix and even though the book doesn’t center around the subject of suicide as much as the Netflix series does, it makes valuable points on how teenagers see themselves and what they have to deal with in high school. The book places a certain importance on self-love and how everyone has someone to love them. A memorable quote for me in The Cheerleaders is when Monica’s mom tells her “Even at your worst, I love you more than life itself. “

My Thoughts on Agatha Christie’s Mysteries

I started a blog post in which I reviewed several books in one place but it turned out to be so long that I knew I would have to break it up into different posts. It took me much longer than it should have and I’m ashamed to say I let other things in my life take priority over this. I only wish I had more accountability to finish these. Without readers (except for Mutti😘) I must rely on doing this for myself. The books I read will appear in no certain order. This one is on a short book-although somehow it turned into a long blog post. Also, I will not be rating these, just sharing my thoughts.

When I was in France I dragged the rest of my group to Shakespeare and Company which is a bookstore by the Seine River. It was recommended by numerous Carly the Prepster readers and I knew it would be a great place to pick up a small souvenir from Paris for myself. I didn’t spend nearly enough time there but the store was small and overly crowded and my group was impatiently waiting on me. None of them are as interested in books as I am! I picked up an Agatha Christie book from a shelf that had a small selection dedicated to mystery books. I know Agatha Christie as a famous writer but I had never read her work before then so I chose The Double Clue which is a collection of four short stories.

The first three stories feature three men: Inspector Japp, the narrator Captain Hastings and Hercules Poirot. Monsieur Poirot is the mastermind behind discovering each mystery’s true story which is ironic because the other two men are instead called to solve the cases. Although each story is only a few pages long, I enjoyed trying to find out the truth as quickly as Monsieur Poirot does. “The Disappearance of Mr Davenheim” was the only one I could mostly figure out. Even then it took Monsieur Poirot’s explanation at the end for me to piece it all together. I like how Agatha Christie pieces her mysteries together one clue at a time but counts on the reader to find the last missing piece until Monsieur reveals all.

I think The Double Clue is a great introduction to Agatha Christie’s books. I look forward to reading more written by her.

Book Review: “The Patriot Bride”

Unfortunately, it has been a long time since I published my last blog post. Am I still reading books and enjoying them? Yes! Most definitely. And that’s actually the reason I haven’t posted since May. I’ve been reading many books, including genres that are out of the scope that this blog covers. I joined a book club which has helped me discover, read and discuss books that I would have never picked out of my own volition. It’s liberating because I feel like I have some of the structure that I had back in school to read literature but have no pressure to come up with thought-provoking comments on what I’ve read unless I want to. I have read several books since the start of 2018, both Christian and non-Christian that I want to cover in a different blog post. I will give a list with a short synopsis on each book and why I did or not like it.

Now to move on to the actual book review! I finished reading The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse. The title says a lot about the setting of the book as it takes place during The Revolutionary War between the colonists and British Loyalists. Faith Lytton Jackson is a grown woman who has been close to George Washington since her childhood. When she loses her parents George takes care of her well-being until she is married to a friend of his. At the time the war is starting Faith is a widow determined to help the Patriot cause with other women colonists. They start by making supplies for the soldiers to aid in the war and Faith boldly steps out to help even further by becoming a messenger. She secretly meets Matthew Weber who is a spy placed among Loyalists to gather up secrets to help the colonists win the war. During their meetings to exchange coded notes they start to fall in love but have trouble putting their fears of war aside to fully commit to their feelings to one another. It’s not until one of them disappears and lands in a precarious situation that they both know that if they ever see each other again they will cherish what they have.

I liked reading this book because it is full of history and famous people who helped form the United States of America. Anyone who knows me knows I love all history! Woodhouse smoothly created a love story in the midst of historical events and I could feel that the characters truly felt love for each other. I give the book a 4 out of 5.

On an almost unrelated side note, I wrote a short story when I was in the seventh grade (I think) about a spy named Martin (after my mom, Martina) who aided the colonists in The Revolutionary War. I won first place in my school in the Daughters of American Revolution writing contest and I had the honor of reading it aloud at a special lunch to recognize the winners. I don’t remember all the details except that I made it quite emotional by killing Martin (sorry Mom) and I was very proud of the story I created. That’s when I knew I love to write! AnywayThe Patriot Bride kind of reminded me of my own story. I wish I could find it but I didn’t keep any hard copies and I think it was wiped from the computer’s hard drive. It’s sad that I can’t recover it, but remembering a story that I wrote over 10 years ago makes me think about writing stories again. Maybe longer stories. Maybe a book…

But before I do that, I promise a book review for more books is coming soon!