Saturday, March 03, 2012

Book Review: The Rose of Winslow Street

The Rose of Winslow StreetThe Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Elizabeth Camden has written an intriguing story that held my attention from beginning to end. The story takes place in Colden, Massachusetts and is about a legal battle between Professor Sawyer, one of those absent-minded professor types, and a large bully of a man named Michael Dobrescu, who just arrived from Romania with his two sons, the mysterious Lady Mirela, and his friend Turk. Professor Sawyer lives in an old house on Winslow Street, but Michael Dobrescu arrives in town and claims the house was willed to him.

Of course, the professor's lovely daughter Libby gets caught in the middle when she strikes up a friendship with the Dobrescu clan, even though everyone in town shuns the Dobrescus and her father warns her to stay away from this dangerous Romanian. As the story progressed I could not figure out how any of the matter could be resolved peacefully in the end.

The book was excellent. I especially loved the characters, which were all palpable with layers to be peeled back, and the dialogue gripped me so I could empathize with each of their troubling situations, even Michael's character, who drove me nuts in the beginning.

There was so much mystery woven throughout the story concerning the Dobrescu family background and their reasons for arriving in Colden, Massachusetts. I found it hard to put the book down. The writer unravels the mystery slowly as the book progresses, and sometimes a question would be answered only to produce three more questions in its place.

I highly recommend the book and would enjoy reading other works by this author.

I appreciate Bethany House Publishers for providing me with an advanced copy for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Book Review: Sweeter Than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliott

Sweeter Than BirdsongSweeter Than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kate Winter is a painfully shy young woman, but she has a stunning soprano voice that gets the attention of anyone who hears her sing. She's set on escaping to freedom from the secret pains her family brings, a controlling mother and a drunken father.

Ben Hanby, a young man anticipating becoming a minister, has a secret of his own. Just as his parents before him, he desires to aid fugitive slaves to escape through the Underground Railroad.

Ben and Kate's relationship quickly moves from college acquaintances to family friends, and through circumstances beyond her control, Kate finds herself helping others on their journey to freedom. It causes her to take a good, hard look at her own life and wonder if she really needs to escape after all.

This book had plenty to hold my interest. I'm fascinated with stories about slaves escaping to freedom and learning what kind of hardships they overcame to gain freedom. I also enjoy stories with characters who endure tough times and grapple with who they are, then experience a change after gaining a different perspective on life.

This is historical fiction and romance. It contains a fair amount of romance, which isn't my first choice in genre, but I still enjoyed the book very much. It also had a bit of suspense thrown in, which I always love in a story. The author includes the historical information at the end of the book, which I always appreciate.

Although this is the second book in The Saddler's Legacy, you don't need to read the first in the series to enjoy this book. It does fine as a stand-alone novel.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

My 2012 Theme

Being that you haven't heard from me since before the new year began, I'll have to fill you in on the theme I've designated for myself this year (although I'm positive the Lord had much to do with it). It's going to be DISCIPLINE. That's spiritual discipline I'm talking about. It really began in the fall of last year because of a Bible study I've been going through at church, but I'm finding myself going full force this month as I've begun implementing new habits (and a few old habits that I'd gotten lazy about) into my daily routine that help me spend a lot more time in the Bible throughout the day.

I am so excited about the changes the Lord is making in my heart and my mind because I'm choosing to fill my day with His Word. Today I was thinking it over while I pushed my shopping cart through the grocery store. I realized it feels like I got saved all over again. Now, don't get me wrong. Christians are only born again one time. It's just that there's this fervor that has returned, which I haven't had in quite some time. So I guess what I'm experiencing is revival.

If you had asked me a month ago if I thought I needed to be spiritually revived, I would've told you "no". You see, I have daily devotions. I memorize scripture. I'm faithful at attending church. I pray. I even speak passionately about God's Word and righteous living. Still, I can tell you after looking back, I know there was something missing. I've needed more. I've simply needed to take in more of the Word and meditate on it more, and I've needed a bit of heart stirring, as well. I'm praying that the Holy Spirit will keep fanning that flame.

So if you see a girl out there carrying a big banner over her head that says Got Discipline?, it'll be me. And forgive me if I talk too loudly. I'm like my father in that respect. I get louder when I'm excited.
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