Where I End: A Story of Tragedy, Truth and Rebellious Hope by Katherine Elizabeth Clark

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Pages: 226

Publisher: Moody Publishers

Published: January 2, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads:

Katherine Clark was just an average wife and mother with two young children when she was in a tragic playground accident in late May 2009. A little boy playing on the jungle gym jumped and landed on Kate’s head, knocking her over and snapping her neck. Kate was paralyzed from the neck down. The doctors diagnosed her with quadriplegia and said she would never walk again.

This terrifying prognosis could have been the end of the story. But instead, God chose to work a profound miracle in Kate’s life and in the life of her family.

Where I End tells the incredible story. Kate describes how God’s presence carried her through the trying journey of re-learning to walk, both physically and spiritually. Throughout, she shares the deep theological truths that sustained her as she and her family traveled this difficult road.

My Review:

An emotional read that leaves you gasping for air.

I admire Katherine’s faith not only in God but in her marriage and friends. How many of us could say that if we suffered a tragedy in our life even as half as devasting as Katherine did that our family and friends would be as steady and loving? Put the shoe on the other foot and think about how you would react if something happened to your spouse and life as you know it is changed forever?

I appreciate that Katherine did not solely focus on how the accident affected her she talked about her family and friends especially her young children. I think a lot of times the children get lost in the craziness after a tragedy and so many like to believe that “children are resilient and will be fine” when in fact they have no idea how to process their feelings and fears. Katherine does not shy sway in sharing how her son felt like he was “far from God.” How many times in our lives have we felt this way and do not admit that fear to those closet to us because of fear of rejection?

Where I End is a book to read if you are “far from God” and need hope and encouragement to find your way back or if you or a loved one is suffering from a life-altering illness or injury and need hope you will come out on the other side.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Moody Publishers. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Hope’s Table: Everyday Recipes from a Mennonite Kitchen by Hope Helmuth (Preview copy only)

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Publisher: Herald Press

Published: September 10, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

If tradition has a taste, this is it.
Like your grandmother’s beloved recipe file, Hope’s Table brings enticing meals to your family’s table. From the kitchen of Mennonite cook, Hope Helmuth comes this mix of more than 150 delectable recipes, stunning food photographs, and stories of strawberry picking, corn day, and Christmas cookie bakes. Traditions of a hearth, home, and hospitality run deep, and those values flavor every recipe and story.
Hope’s Table offers simple step-by-step instructions that help you create wholesome dishes with artistic flair. Practical kitchen hints and memories from a Mennonite life garnish the pages. In Hope’s Table, you’ll find recipes sure to become family favorites:
• Mom’s Rolls
• Bacon and Corn Chowder
• Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
• Maple-Glazed Pork Chops
• Apple Dumplings
Step into the serene, natural beauty of a Mennonite home. Take a seat at Hope’s table, and you’ll find plenty of reasons to linger.

My Review:

The copy I received was a small sample of the work. What I read was intriguing enough to make me want the book.

I learned that homemade cinnamon rolls are best frozen the same day even if you wish to eat the next day.

I plan on fixing the broccoli salad recipe for my husband on his birthday.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Herald Press, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary by Vicki Conrad

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Pages: 48

Publisher: Sasquatch Books

Published: August 13, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

As a young girl, Beverly Cleary struggled to learn to read and found most children’s books dull and uninteresting. She often wondered if there were any books about kids just like her. With hard work, and the encouragement of her parents and a special teacher, she learned to read and at a young age discovered she had a knack for writing.

Beverly Cleary’s story comes to life in this narrative nonfiction picture book as she grows to follow her dreams of writing the books she longed for as a child, becoming an award-winning writer and one of the most famous children’s authors of all time.

Beautiful illustrations capture Cleary’s sense of humor, struggles, and triumphs, and are filled with Easter eggs throughout for fans to discover.

My Review:

The book I remember the most from my elementary school library was a biography on Walt Disney. Just like Beverly reminds me of that feeling I got back then. Beverly Cleary was my favorite childhood author behind Laura Ingalls Wilder. Reading this biography has whetted my appetite to go back and re-read Cleary’s books and read the ones I missed.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Sasquatch Book, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul by Hannah Anderson

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Pages: 207

Publisher: Moody Publishers

Published: September 16, 2016

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Amazon: The Blue Ridge Parkway meanders through miles of rolling Virginia mountains. It’s a route made famous by natural beauty and the simple rhythms of rural life.

And it’s in this setting that Hannah Anderson began her exploration of what it means to pursue a life of peace and humility. Fighting back her own sense of restlessness and anxiety, she finds herself immersed in the world outside, discovering a classroom full of forsythia, milkweed, and a failed herb garden. Lessons about soil preparation, sour mulch, and grapevine blights reveal the truth about our dependence on God, finding rest, and fighting discontentment.

Humble Roots is part theology of incarnation and part stroll through the fields and forest. Anchored in the teaching of Jesus, Anderson explores how cultivating humility—not scheduling, strict boundaries, or increased productivity—leads to peace. “Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden,” Jesus invites us, “and you will find rest for your souls.”
So come. Learn humility from the lilies of the field and from the One who is humility Himself. Remember who you are and Who you are not, and rediscover the rest that comes from belonging to Him.

My review: This book helped me find joy in life after the death of my Papaw by making me relieve sweet memories from childhood. Sitting in the yard breaking green beans, learning how to properly plant as I got older and how to find God in everything.

My papaw was a true Southern Baptist and did not let a day go by without reading his bible. He read it faithfully until he slipped into unconsciousness the week before he passed. I have always admired his belief and have to go realize after reading Humble Roots, he was humble in everything he did. He was truly humble.

Humble Roots will be a book I treasure.

I received a complimentary copy from Moody Publishers. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Pie Lady by Greta Isaac

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Pages: 202

Publisher: Herald Press

Published: April 23, 2019

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

What is a Pie Lady moment?

For one family, it’s breakfast on the patio. For another, it’s Mom serving up creamy chicken and noodles. These are Pie Lady moments: times of goodness and glamour in the middle of ordinary days.

In The Pie Lady, Mennonite homemaker Greta Isaac ushers readers into the kitchens of Velda, Shyla, and other Pie Ladies as they whip up confections and concoctions that please the mouth and nourish the soul. Fans of Ruth Reichl, Sherry Gore, and Ree Drummond will love Isaacs’ intimate, delectable writing. Home cooks will love the recipes that appear in each chapter.Maybe you drop grapefruit slices in a glass of water. Maybe you brown the gravy and salt it from eighteen inches up. (Forget for now the sink full of dishes.) Each cook has her own Pie Lady moments. Each has a story to tell.

Hear straight from Amish and Mennonite people themselves as they write about their daily lives and deeply rooted faith in the Plainspoken series from Herald Press.

My Review:

A three-star review from me means the book was so-so. I dislike having to give such a low star rating. I was underwhelmed while reading. I expected more in the way of the stories tying together. Don’t get me wrong some of the stories are really good and I learned how to look at each day and see the good but some stories just didn’t seem to fit. They felt like filler.

The recipes are the best part. I’ve already bookmarked a few to try. One is the meatloaf as I would never have thought about adding tomato juice.

I received a complimentary copy from Herald Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Family Tree Problem Solver Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors 3rd Edition by Marsha Hoffman Rising

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Publisher: F + W Media and Family Tree Books

Published: March 19, 2019

Rating: 3 stars

NetGalley:
Has your family history research hit a brick wall? Marsha Hoffman Rising’s newly updated bestselling book The Family Tree Problem Solver has the solutions to help you find the answers you seek. Here, you’ll find answers to genealogy’s toughest problems.

Inside, you’ll find: Workarounds for lost or destroyed recordsTechniques for finding ancestors with common namesStrategies for analyzing your problem and creating a successful research planIdeas on how to find vital records before civil registrationTroubleshooting advice for interpreting your DNA resultsTips for finding “missing” ancestors in censusesInstructions for investigating collateral kin to further your family treeMethods for finding ancestors who lived before 1850Case studies that show you how to apply these strategies to real-life research problems.

My review:

I found this book helpful but overwhelming at times. Some of the examples were very hard to follow and I found myself skipping over them. I’m one of the researchers of her own family tree that has hit a wall due to no records because of fire and flood of courthouses plus the spelling of my maiden name (Brocato) has been spelled very many ways. I will be using techniques learned in this book to try and get farther in my research.

This book can be very helpful but is not one to be used for new researchers. I think they may get overwhelmed and frustrated very easily. I would suggest reading after you have researched regularly for a couple of years.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from F + W Media and Family Tree Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review is entirely my own.

Inside an An AMish Home

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Pages: 96

Publisher: Herald Press

Published: January 29, 2019

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I was let down as soon as I opened the book and my opinion never changed. Based on the description from the publisher I thought I would get an “intimate” look into an Amish home and what I got was a picture book with extended descriptions. As a fan of Amish fiction, I did not learn anything new. If you have never read Amish fiction or are not familiar with the Amish then you will learn a few interesting facts.

I hope the print version resembles more of a coffee table book than a novel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Herald Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

When Calls the Heart at Christmas (Heartfelt Devotions from Hope Valley) by Brian Bird, Michelle Cox

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Pages: 179

Publisher: Broadstreet Publishing Group LLC

Published: September 4, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A Christmas devotional centered around the Hallmark TV series, When Calls the Heart. Stories from old and new are incorporated with family traditions, recipes and prayers to make you think of the real reason of the season, the birth of Jesus.

I am not a true Heartie (yet) as I have not taken the time to sit down and watch the series from beginning to end. I have watched a few of the shows and understand the phenomenon around the show. I love how faith is one of the main focus’ on the show. The same goes for this devotional. It is inspiring. I already have plans to start this devotional again on December 25 and read a devotion a day and focus my heart on the stories and prayers. I also cannot wait to make some of the yummy recipes that have been included.

For fans of the show new and old, this is a book to buy and treasure.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Broadstreet Publishing Group LLC through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Racing to the Finish My Story by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

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Pages: 208

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Published: October 16, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Dale Jr. talks about the crash that changed the course of his life in this book. He goes on to explain how his concussion(s) affected him on and off the track.

I am a huge fan of Junior and was extremely thrilled to receive a copy of his book to read and review. I, like many fans, did not fully understand what he was experiencing on a daily basis. I knew very little about concussions going into this book. I was not prepared to learn how repeated, untreated concussions could affect your mood and temper.

I applaud Junior for being brave and realizing if he came forward and shared his experiences he could help others. He understood he had the perfect platform to reach many people who otherwise may never have sought treatment.

I would recommend this book to anyone with children in high contact sports such as wrestling, football, rugby, and soccer. It is written in a plain and simple writing style that should be easy for anyone to read and understand. As you are reading you feel like you are sitting across the table from Junior sharing a drink.

I have nothing but high praise for this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

On the Internet: Our First Talk About Internet Safety by Dr. Jillian Roberts

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Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

Published: February 19, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

How do we approach our young children in regards to Internet Safety? Using a conversational approach with real-world examples this book is a great tool for parents.

As a teacher, I appreciated the real-world examples and the format it was written in. The language is simple enough for even the youngest to understand and the examples with pictures will help everyone understand what is being discussed.

I plan on buying this for several friends who have young kids that will be getting on the internet more and more for school. I will feel like a better friend for helping make sure they are as safe as we can make them on the internet.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Orca Book Publishers through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.