Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Empty Cradles," by Margaret Humphreys

"Empty Cradles," by Margaret Humphreys
Also published as Oranges and Sunshine.

In 1986 Margaret Humphreys, a Nottingham social worker, investigated a woman's claim that, aged four, she had been put on a boat to Australia by the British government. At first incredulous, Margaret discovered that this was just the tip of an enormous iceberg. Up to 150,000 children, some as young as three years old, had been deported from children's homes in Britain and shipped off to a 'new life' in distant parts of the Empire, right up until as recently as 1970.

Many were told that their parents were dead, and parents were told that their children had been adopted. In fact, for many children it was to be a life of horrendous physical and sexual abuse far away from everything they knew. Margaret and her team reunited thousands of families before it was too late, brought authorities to account, and worldwide attention to an outrageous miscarriage of justice.

I found out about this book via another blogger John D.  I read this book in a day as I couldn't put it down.  I not sure who I am most mad at the British Government, the Australian Government, or the various charities that were involved in this tragedy.  I was shocked at the attitude of all those in authority and how they tried to  sweep all of this under the carpet.

The BBC does not come out favourably in this book.  I still can't fathom how no one blew the whistle earlier on this. I cannot imagine how these poor children coped or survived the horrible living conditions and the abuse and even being told that they had no one left in the world that cared about them.  It just beggars belief.

I haven't seen either the movie "Oranges and Sunshine" or the television series "The Leaving of Liverpool."  Though I think it would be hard to watch I will see if I can borrow the movie from the library.

This is a book everyone should read as it heartbreaking to think this happened within our life time.

"A Home in Drayton Valley," by Kim Vogel Sawyer

"A Home in Drayton Valley," by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Hoping to escape the poor conditions of 1880 New York, Tarsie Raines and her friends Joss and Mary Brubacher and their two children set off for Kansas aboard an unusual wagon train. But when tragedy strikes on the trip across the prairie, Tarsie is thrown into a partnership with Joss that leaves them both questioning God and their plans for the future.

As their funds dwindle and nothing goes as planned, will they give up and go their separate ways? Or will God use their time in Drayton Valley in a way they never expected?
Loved this book.  It was a lovely book of courage, resilience and how love will win out in the end.  The main characters Tarsie and Joss were portrayed just how you would think they would be.  It again shows how despite being segregated  both coloured and white folks could get on with one another.  It also shows you if you truly believe in God he will look after you.

It also showed you resourceful people were in that day and age; and how they made do with very, very little.  Even how the children could entertain themselves for hours with only the basic of things, like sticks and stone.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 really worth reading in my opinion.  Will make you grateful for what you have.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"All Things New," by Lynn Austin

"All Things New," by Lynn Austin
The war is over. The South has lost.

Josephine Weatherly struggles to pick up the pieces of her life when her family returns to their Virginia plantation. But the realities of life after the war cannot be denied: her home and land are but a shell of their previous grandeur; death has claimed her father and brother; and her remaining brother, Daniel, has returned home bitter and broken.

Her life of privilege, a long-ago dream.

Josephine soon realizes that life is now a matter of daily survival--and recognizes that Lizzie, as one of the few remaining servants, is the one she must rely on to teach her all she needs to know. Josephine's mother, too, vows to rebuild White Oak--but a bitter hatred fuels her.

Can hope--and a battered faith in God--survive amid the devastation?
I love this time period in history and all things Southern.  This book brings home the fact that most people would prefer things to stay the same throughout their lives, but due to unforeseen circumstances things change and people have to change with them.  This book tells of the struggles of changes to lives and how some people adapt easily and others not.
It also shows how if you were brought up a certain way to think certain things that it can take longer to change the way you feel and see things.  It is a sad book but has the odd ray of hope in it.  It also shows that if you have faith in God anything is possible.
Stars out of 5: 3.5 I found it a bit depressing this book, but very interesting also in the way certain people thought in that area of the country.  It's not a bad read, but not very jovial.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Monday, October 15, 2012

"No Safe Harbor," by Elizabeth Ludwig

"No Safe Harbor," by Elizabeth Ludwig
New York City, 1897

She came to America searching for her brother. Instead all she's found is a web of danger.
Cara Hamilton had thought her brother to be dead. Now, clutching his letter, she leaves Ireland for America, desperate to find him. Her search leads her to a houseful of curious strangers, and one man who claims to be a friend--Rourke Walsh. Despite her brother's warning, Cara trusts Rourke, revealing her purpose in coming to New York.

She's then thrust into a world of subterfuge, veiled threats, and attempted murder, including political revolutionaries from the homeland out for revenge. Her questions guide her ever nearer to locating her brother--but they also bring her closer to destruction as those who want to kill him track her footsteps.
With her faith in tatters, all hope flees. Will her brother finally surface? Can he save Cara from the truth about Rourke... a man she's grown to love?
This book is very, very slow to get going.  I was bored but have to say by the time I got to the 200th page things started to pick up.  It got interesting and the pace of the story picked up, but who wants to read 200 pages before it gets interesting?  It's one of those books I won't remember reading but it wasn't horrible, just not a one for me. 
Stars out of 5 : 2.5 You may love this book, I wasn't too keen, sorry.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Full Disclosure," by Dee Henderson

"Full Disclosure," by Dee Henderson
Ann Silver is a cop's cop. As the Midwest Homicide Investigator, she is called in to help local law enforcement on the worst of cases, looking for answers to murder. Hers is one of the region's most trusted investigative positions.

Paul Falcon is the FBI's top murder cop in the Midwest. If the victim carried a federal badge or had a security clearance, odds are good Paul and his team see the case file or work the murder.

Their lives intersect when Ann arrives to pass a case off her desk and onto his. A car wreck and a suspicious death offer a lead on a hired shooter he is tracking. Paul isn't expecting to meet someone, the kind that goes on the personal side of the ledger, but Ann Silver has his attention.

The better he gets to know her, the more Paul realizes her job barely scratches the surface of who she is. She knows spies and soldiers and U.S. Marshals, and has written books about them. She is friends with the former vice president. People with good reason to be cautious about who they let into their lives deeply trust her. Paul wonders just what secrets Ann is keeping, until she shows him the John Doe Killer case file, and he starts to realize just who this lady he is falling in love with really is....
I have to say I enjoyed this book.  It made me think and the story kept me interested.  I didn't figure out the "whodunit's" in the book which I always think is a good thing, though on the downside it was a bit of an anti-climax when everything came to a head at the end.  The ending wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be.
As lead characters Paul and Ann are a bit too good to be true, but are well matched for one another.  The book is a bit long at 473 pages, so it's not a read in a couple of days type of book!!!
Stars out of 5: 4.5 just wished the ending was better, but overall a great book with lots of action to keep you interested.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Monday, October 8, 2012

"The Gaither Homecoming Bible," Bill and Gloria Gaither, General Editors

"The Gaither Homecoming Bible," Bill and Gloria Gaither, General Editors
The Gaither Homecoming Bible will make the Bible come alive for those seeking truth in the twenty-first century, even for those who think they already know it. For years, Bill and Gloria Gaither have reached millions of people across generations with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Their music of joy, thanksgiving, and praise ushers people into the presence of God so that He can do His wondrous work in their lives. Featuring inspirational and insightful Scripture devotions by the Gaithers and other favorite Homecoming artists; articles on beloved hymns, gospel songs, and Gaither classics and the inspiration behind them; original poetry by Gloria Gaither to enlighten and inspire; and quotes by greats of the faith, reflecting on the importance of music in the life of believers, this beautiful Bible featuring the New King James Version® (NKJV) is one that readers will treasure for years to come.

Now don't panic or raise your eyes in wonder, I haven't read the Bible page to page.  Our instructions were:

Please note that this is a copy of the full Bible. Reading the entire Bible is not what we expect from you. Compare familiar verses with your favourite translation, read a portion of your favourite book, and / or check out the extras (Scripture devotions by the Gaithers and other favourite Homecoming artists, articles on beloved hymns, and the original poetry by Gloria Gaither). An overall impression of the format and structure of this particular Bible would be great!
So here are my impressions.  I have two old Bibles in the house and they are very small and feel very stuffy and dull compared to this one.  This book has a more modern feel and a few features that make reading the Bible even more of a pleasure.  They have a two-month (60 day) overview of the Scriptures, including Homecoming devotions for every day.  I found that very helpful.  They have a number of contributors writing words of wisdom through the book.
I personally found no need for hymns, but I am sure a lot of people would find this helpful  There are a number of beautiful poems written by Gloria Gaither throughout the book and illustrations provide light and colour to the passages.
I will not be awarding stars out of 5, as that would be disrespectful.  I would say this book would make a lovely present.  It is a little expensive at $44.99 US and it's not a book to carry around with you.  It's something that would be treasured and could be passed down to the next generation.

"Bible has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson

"Dear Deb," by Margaret Terry

"Dear Deb, A Woman with Cancer, a Friend with Secrets and the Letters that became their Miracle," by Margaret Terry

"I want you to know that if my illness inspired you to write these stories, the cancer was worth it."—Deb

What stories could possibly make cancer worth it?

Stories that represent a miracle—a lifetime of miracles. Stories that changed the writer as she wrote them and stories that will touch the heart of the reader, one by one by one. Stories that are not just stories.

They started out as words of encouragement to a dying woman. They turned into a collection of sparkling and intimate moments, pulled from the past to finally be understood and shared with new meaning.

Story by story, letter by letter, Margaret Terry uncovered powerful pictures in her own life of the one truth that could help carry her friend Deb from this life to the next: God is at work.

Together, Deb and Margaret found renewed hope in all the ways God shows up right to the very end. Which is where they found the miracle they'd been praying for all along. In each other.

This book was interesting and an easy read, as it comprises of short sometimes only two page long stories of happenings in the authors life.   I must say the author has an incredible memory, and this made me think of certain events in my life.

I found the story told on page 190 the most profound one for me.  I also found the story called "The List," which starts on page 109 really, really interesting and that too spoke to me.

The one thing I was disappointed about with this book was that it was a one way "conversation," as they are all letters to Deb, we don't see any from Deb, which made it feel very one sided.

Stars out of 5 : 3 book was an easy read, but there was something missing for me.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson

"The Tinderbox," by Beverly Lewis

"The Tinderbox," by Beverly Lewis With her parents' twentieth anniversary approaching, eighteen-year-old Sylvia Miller find...