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Christina Lockstein "Christy's Book Blog" RSS Feed (Oconto Falls, WI USA)

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Naomi's Gift: An Amish Christmas Story
Naomi's Gift: An Amish Christmas Story
by Amy Clipston
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.99
86 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Christmas novella in Kauffman Amish Bakery series is a bit rushed, September 22, 2011
Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston is a Christmas novella in the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Naomi King has faced two recent heartbreaks that have left her wondering if marriage is God's will for her and a reputation for chasing men with some of the men in her community. Caleb Schmucker is still mourning the loss of his pregnant wife Barbara in a tragic buggy accident two years ago while trying to raise his daughter Susie. Caleb and Susie return to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania where he grew up to spend the holidays with his sister Sadie and her family. Sadie has plans for Caleb which include getting him to move home, marrying her friend Irene and working for Irene's father in his buggy shop, but when Susie meets Naomi, the two quickly become friends, and soon Caleb becomes curious about the young woman who so quickly captured his daughter's heart, who his sister seems determined to keep him away from. If you aren't familiar with the series (like me), you'll still comfortable quickly as Clipston does a good job of keeping the families straight for new readers. Naomi and Caleb's attraction for each other grows quickly but naturally over the course of the story. Both are sympathetic characters, and Susie is sweet, but Sadie comes across as completely unlikable, and Naomi's mother, Irma, not much better. I think when trying to create conflict for the story, some of the characters became stereotypes rather than people, so the story isn't as strong as it could be.


Here's to Friends!: A Novel (The Four Lindas)
Here's to Friends!: A Novel (The Four Lindas)
by Melody Carlson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.75
50 used & new from $0.01

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 4th in Four Lindas series, September 21, 2011
Here's to Friends by Melody Carlson is the fourth book in the Four Lindas series. The four girls who made friends in school because they were all named Linda have carried their friendship through their lives and have now all returned to their hometown of Clifden, Oregon to deal with family crises together. Marley's painting career has come to a halt as she cares for her boyfriend's granddaughter. Abby is still struggling with her weight and trusting husband Paul. Janie's law firm isn't taking off as she'd hoped and worrying about her missing drug-addicted daughter, and Caroline is rebuilding her family home in hopes of selling it and finally beginning a life of her own, hopefully with boyfriend, Mitch. I wish I had known this was the fourth in the series before beginning the book, because I felt like I had walked in halfway through the story, not understanding the connections and complicated family histories. Carlson does a great job of portraying female friendships with the multiple layers and changing roles.


The Dog Who Knew Too Much (Chet and Bernie Mysteries, No. 4)
The Dog Who Knew Too Much (Chet and Bernie Mysteries, No. 4)
by Spencer Quinn
Edition: Hardcover
60 used & new from $0.41

5.0 out of 5 stars 4th in Chet and Bernie series another tail-wagger, September 19, 2011
The Dog Who Knew Too Much by Spencer Quinn is the fourth book in the Chet & Bernie series. In this novel, Bernie has been hired by a single mother to pose as her boyfriend to keep her ex at bay while visiting their son at a wilderness camp. Instead Bernie and Chet end up trying to find the boy who disappeared from the campsite one night. The local authorities are less than helpful in the search, and Bernie is quickly framed for murder and arrested and Chet is on his own (with some help from Bernie's girlfriend Susie) to find the boy and prove Bernie's innocence. Quinn has such a way of portraying Chet that you have to wonder a bit about his family history ;). Chet is a compelling and often hilarious narrator who will keep readers entranced, even with his regular digressions. Quinn keeps the series from becoming too cutesy with the dark storyline and occasional violence. I think part of the power of this series is Chet's joyous personality. It allows readers to feel like they are a part of the story through his worry, love, and absolute loyalty for Bernie. Great writing, stellar characterizations, and the kind of dog we all wish we had makes this a series I always look forward to revisiting.


The Doctor's Lady
The Doctor's Lady
by Jody Hedlund
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.70
81 used & new from $0.01

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Historical romance based on true events, September 16, 2011
This review is from: The Doctor's Lady (Paperback)
The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund is the compelling story of the first white woman to cross the Continental Divide. Priscilla White has known since a bout with the mumps left her barren that she was meant to work in the mission field for God's glory. She is determined to go to India, but the Mission Board refuses her because she is unmarried. Dr. Eli Ernest is facing trouble with the Mission Board of his own. He wants nothing more than to return to the Oregon coast and serve the Nez Perce Indian tribe, but the Board is insisting that he also must marry. Eli has seen too many friends lose their wives on the mission field, and he is desperate not to do that to any woman, but his desire to help the Nez Perce and Priscilla's to serve God put them together in a marriage of convenience, a business arrangement that will allow them to both achieve their desires. But as Eli pushes his team harder and harder, Priscilla pushes herself, unwilling to ever let him consider her a burden. Along the way they face raging rivers, a mountain lion, double-crossing trappers, and a nest of flies that will test their courage and determination again and again, while throwing them together and forcing them to face their growing feelings for each other. This is a good traditional romance, and while it lacks the power of Hedlund's first novel The Preacher's Bride, it will keep readers hooked to finally see Eli and Priscilla admit their love for each other. According to the author's note, this was based on a true story, including some of the most unbelievable, and that gives the book extra depth.


The Queen
The Queen
by Steven James
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.24
150 used & new from $0.31

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5th in Patrick Bowers series is high-octane thriller, September 15, 2011
This review is from: The Queen (Paperback)
The Queen by Steven James if the fifth book in the Patrick Bowers series about an FBI agent who uses geospatial techniques to track serial killers. Pat is working on finding his nemesis Basque's partner when he is called away to a case in Northern Wisconsin is a supposed murder-suicide of a retired Navy officer. He suspects immediately that there is more going on than he is being told, why would the FBI be called in a case easily handled by the local police, but as he investigates he quickly uncovers a wide reaching conspiracy that could bring about nuclear war. Plus, by returning to the area where he grew up, Pat is forced to deal with long buried feelings between he and his brother Sean. James really is the best in the business at writing thrilling suspense stories, and I mourn the day when this series ends next year. Pat and Tessa, his stepdaughter, are still dealing with the aftershocks of the previous novel, The Bishop, when she killed a man and lost her father all in one night. James teases readers a bit when Lien-hua, Pat's love interest and sometime partner, and Pat banter about what they enjoy best about thrillers and throw out several ideas that will have readers wondering and worrying whether any will come to pass in The Queen. The writing is intelligent, suspenseful, and high-octane; I swear I didn't breathe for the last fifty pages!


My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife: A One-Year Experiment...and Its Surprising Results
My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife: A One-Year Experiment...and Its Surprising Results
by Sara Horn
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.59
121 used & new from $1.18

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taking on the Martha Stewart of the Bible with humor and grace, September 13, 2011
My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife by Sara Horn offers hope to every woman who has ever felt intimidated by that paragon of female virtue. Horn, the wife of a of a Navy Reservist, is a free-lance writer who has always taken pride in her work, which leaves her at odds with the Martha Stewart of the Bible in Proverbs 31 who cooks the meals, sews the clothes, keeps the house clean, harvests crops, sells property, makes money, and has her husband bragging up her at the city gate while her children call her blessed. Horn is not the traditional Christian woman who stays at home, is a genius in the kitchen, and homeschools her children, and proudly so! So her quest to try and live up to this example seems almost humorous, but Horn is sincere in her desire to be a better wife and mother by embracing Martha 31, as she nicknames the unnamed woman. But Horn's husband Cliff is a better cook than she is, leaving her often discontented by his enjoyment of cooking for the family, she never manages to sew anything, and the family's circumstances change radically when Cliff can't find a job, forcing Horn to take a job at a college in North Carolina and uprooting the entire family. But what Horn, and readers, learn that it isn't about whether she can master all of Martha 31's talents, it's about whether Horn is using her God-given talents to the best of her ability to bless her husband and child. This is a vital lesson for women like me who have often felt a failure compared to Martha 31 and her seeming perfection. Horn is an engaging writer, keeping the reader entertained whether her plans are wildly successfully or crashing beyond belief. She offers hope for those of us who will never be Martha Stewart or Martha 31 that God loves us just as we are .


Hell Is Real (But I Hate to Admit It)
Hell Is Real (But I Hate to Admit It)
by Brian Jones
Edition: Paperback
49 used & new from $0.01

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening and engaging look at eternity, September 12, 2011
Hell is Real (But I Hate to Admit It) by Brian Jones is an eye-opening response to Rob Bell's Love Wins. Jones was a pastor for several years but never actually believed in the existence of hell. His years in seminary and conversations with other pastors led him to believe that a loving God would never send anyone to eternal damnation and torment. An experience in prayer forced him to search the Scriptures to research what Jesus really had to say about the matter, and he was shocked to discover that he was really and truly wrong. This discovery gave him "apocalyptic urgency" to save everyone around him, often with less than successful results because of his methods. Jones first wants readers to gain that same sense of apocalyptic urgency to save those they love, and then give them the tools they need to do it successfully. He uses Scripture to shake up readers' sense of God and eternity. His words of blatant truth feel like a sucker punch to the soul, and anyone who reads the book will be hard pressed to remain unchanged by the last page. Jones' advice to teach people about Jesus is completely counter-intuitive to what most Christians have been teaching for years. Don't separate yourself from the world, make yourself an interesting person by learning about different subjects and hobbies so you can have a real conversation, and most importantly, develop a relationship. If more Christians read this book, it will change the often painful, yet true, popular image of Christians as insensitive, judgmental, and elitist. All of this could be hard to swallow by another author, but Jones is engaging and self-deprecating, making the book an enjoyable read, as strange as that seems.


Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero
Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero
by Susy Flory
Edition: Hardcover
88 used & new from $2.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable story of friendship and survival, September 11, 2011
Thunder Dog by Michael Hingson & Suzy Flory is the story of one man's escape from the 78th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11 with his heroic and one -of-a-kind guide dog. Hingson, who was been blind since birth, was getting ready for a meeting that morning when the plane hit his building. He used his beloved guide dog and his faith in God to get him down 1,463 stairs to escape the building, only to flee for his life when the South Tower fell. Thunder Dog is about much more than just Hingson's run for his life that day; it's the story of how he came to that place, and how what he had learned along the way allowed him to survive. Hingson was a hero long before he ever came down those stairs, because he has refused to ever allow his disability to handicap him. From riding his bike as a young child, to driving a car around campus as a college student, to flying a plane as an adult, he has never accepted limitations others would place on him, but always doing so with a sense of humor and smile. I found his statement that the only way he is ever disabled is in how others try to place limitations upon him to be uplifting and inspiring. His story of the treacherous and uncertain hours of 9/11 are told with clarity and compassion. He doesn't know why God allowed him to survive when so many others died that day, but he has used his survival as an opportunity to share with others his desire for the blind to have the same resources as anyone else, as well as his faith. Throughout the story, Roselle becomes known as a rare dog. She never became frightened during those terrifying events, and she led Michael to safety again and again. Michael and Roselle's mutual trust is a lesson for all readers. This is a beautiful story of friendship, the inspiring story of a man who has a remarkable spirit, and his dog who matched it.


Wounded Spirits
Wounded Spirits
by April W Gardner
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.99
21 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars 1st in Creek Country Saga is gorgeous tale of romance and faith, September 9, 2011
This review is from: Wounded Spirits (Paperback)
Wounded Spirits by April W. Gardner is the first book in the Creek Country Saga. Based upon real events during the Creek War in 1812, it tells the story of the war between the Creek Indians and whites from both sides with compassion and honesty. Adela McGirth is known as the quiet and dependable of the three girls in her family. Elder sister, Elizabeth, is used to running the roost, while younger sister, Lillian loves to flirt and play. Adela is being courted by the most eligible man in the area, but she can't seem to be sure of her feelings for the handsome young soldier. When the family takes shelter in a stockade for refuge from Creeks attacking, it brings her life to a shocking turn. Totka, a Creek Indian, has struggled for status in his tribe because of an injury to his thigh that keeps him from participating in battles. The war against the whites impinging on their land offers him the opportunity to finally achieve that status, but when he meets Adela, everything he thought he valued is turned on its head. Adela and Totka's relationship is far more than the average "noble savage" romance. You know that feeling the first time you held your loved one's hand or felt their embrace? That feeling of deep rightness and coming home? Gardner somehow manages to bring that incredible emotion and chemistry to the page, a talent I don't know if I've ever encountered before. She presents both sides of the war, giving the reader an understanding as to the motivations of both peoples trying to protect their loved ones and homes, and the terrible costs of war on both sides. The sequel, Warring Spirits, is coming out in December, and I can't wait to follow Totka and Adela in their quest for happiness together.


Spiritual Warfare for Women: Winning the Battle for Your Home, Family, and Friends
Spiritual Warfare for Women: Winning the Battle for Your Home, Family, and Friends
by Leighann McCoy
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.22
61 used & new from $4.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful tool for women to protect their families, September 6, 2011
Spiritual Warfare for Women by Leighann McCoy is a powerful tool for women looking to help women win the battle against Satan for their home, family, and friends. McCoy wants to empower readers to recognize the tools Satan uses to attack their lives, but she warns them at the outset, reading this book is a call to battle for the devil. Shortly after she started writing the book McCoy was diagnosed with cancer, her church faced $250,000 in flood damage, and her eighteen-year-old daughter moved in with her boyfriend, turning her back on college scholarships and her family. This isn't a book to be picked up without heavily weighing the possible consequences. Readers who decide to carry on will find a fascinating look at McCoy's personal struggles with spiritual warfare and how she has used the mistakes of her past to teach others. McCoy is a humble and open writer who engages readers through her honesty and genuine love for them. She breaks down the most common areas of attack: marriage, children, friendships, health, and church. I've found myself considering and using several of McCoy's points while reading this book and in the days after. I've recommended it to several people as well for it's down to earth approach and essential information.


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