Marital Advice to my Grandson, Joel: How to be a husband your wife won’t throw out of the window in the middle of the night by Peter Davidson ~ Review

Marital Advice to my grandson, Joel pic

Marital Advice to my Grandson, Joel by Peter Davidson

This book was written by a grandfather with a terrific sense of humor to his grandson about how to stay happy in marriage. It is a personal advice column from one guy to another, that can be taken with a grain of salt, although filled with many sage pieces of advice that my own grandpa may have expressed to his grandchildren many years ago.

This book is a departure from my usual review because of its secular nature. It is filled with swear words and philosophies I don’t usually promote. Please understand that I enjoy a good book of this nature from time to time even if I don’t agree to all parts of the point of view. There is enough good material in the book that I am willing to overlook some of the superficial irreverence that dresses up the approach to the subject matter. The underlying theme is basically respect for your spouse in spite of their idiosyncrasies. That is the part of the book I recommend to you the most.

Much of the book is straight from the heart, spoken from experience and seasoned with satirical humor and a touch of sarcasm. The secular view is flavored with slight irreverence, drawn from experience in a tongue-in-cheek manner. The language is salty but not over-the-top crude. This book is filled with humor that’s sure to tickle your funnybone. I enjoyed reading the many witty remarks regarding marriage, even while disagreeing with some of the stereotypes. While I may not agree with his viewpoint all the time, it is filled with common sense truisms most of us should know with just the right amount of twist to it that makes reading this book so enjoyable.

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What I liked most about this book is the laugh out loud moments while reading through the author’s marriage tips. Mr. Davidson takes the stance of the clueless guy dealing with the female who cannot be completely understood. The section about the 13 magical words is my favorite part, because regardless of your viewpoint on marriage relationships, this is common sense courtesy that works in any type of relationship.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this commentary from the author via LinkedIn. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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Fraying at the Edge: Book 2 of the Amish of Summer Grove series by Cindy Woodsmall ~ Review

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Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall

This is the second book of the Amish of Summer Grove series by Cindy Woodsmall. Because of their close relationship with each other, it’s best to read book 1 before you read this second one. In the first book, An Amish mother has had nagging doubts about her child since she was born. There were small things that pointed to the possibility that her baby girl was switched accidentally at birth with another baby girl being born at the same time to an Englisch mother. Yet in spite of these feelings, she kept it to herself until her daughter was 20 years old.

Ariana, growing up in a close-knit community suddenly learns she was born to non-Amish parents. In the discovery process, a DNA test was done and it was discovered the other girl, also a 20 year old college student, was not related to the parents she grew up with. A decision is made, mostly because of the stubborn belligerence of Ariana’s birth father who insisted she come and spend a year with his family or he would sue the Amish midwife who delivered both babies. Skylar, the other daughter born to Amish parents but reared in the Englisch world, was also wrenched out of her comfortable world and into a very foreign Amish world where she must give up her phone, electricity, money, bank accounts, computers, her education (and unfortunately, her drugs) to live with the Brennemans.

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The key words in this book are turmoil, upheaval, confusion, unhappiness, and struggle. Skylar now has 9 brothers and sisters and countless nephews and nieces, and not a moment of quiet. Quite a difference from the only child status she enjoyed previously. She hates working, and her attitude is a major stumbling block to forming any relationship with her new family. In the meantime, Ariana is confused by a father who claims he does not believe in God, hates the Amish way of life, and thinks he can win her over through books and arguments. Angst is a mild term for what these two girls experience over a period of several months. I could barely put the book down since every page was full of unknowns and struggle.

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The parts I liked best were where both Skylar and Ariana have to dig deep into themselves to re-arrange who they thought they were and wanted to be. The process was gradual, painful, but there were turning points that were encouraging. This is a book that will make you think as well as feel. In my opinion, this series is the absolute best that this author has written so far. Her soap opera like writing style brings out uncertainties and helps us question life in the very best ways possible. I highly recommend this book as well as the entire series.

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Amish Cooking Class: The Celebration by Wanda E. Brunstetter ~ Review

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Amish Cooking Class: The Celebration by Wanda E. Brunstetter

The Celebration is the third book in the Amish Cooking Class series. While it is part of a series, I don’t think anyone would have trouble reading this as a stand alone book. There are only a few carry over characters from the other books and their parts are casual and not really needed to make the story line smooth.

Heidi and Lyle Troyer have decided to take in foster children when they discover they may never be able to have children of their own. So now the story picks up from the second book a few months later with two young children whose parents were killed in an automobile accident. For the first six months, the state decided to wait and see if family will come forward to claim responsibility for the two children, Randy and Marsha. In the meantime, Heidi wanted to help her young charges adjust to their new life. She decides to teach another cooking class, but with children this time. A wide variety of families are represented in this class, and little by little we learn a bit of back history for each family.

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Many topics pertaining to children were covered in this book, such as showing kindness to others, teasing, a complaining attitude, adoption as a topic, the value of friendship, reaching out to help someone in dire circumstances, caring for pets and other animals, and so on. And of course, cooking. What I enjoy most about these books is the subtle ways Heidi is able to reach out and help total strangers in their struggles with daily life. Most of us want to make a difference in someone’s life, but we often have no idea how to go about doing this. Ms. Brunstetter’s books demonstrate through fiction good examples of how to touch lives. We don’t have to make a major impact, but even an encouraging word can work wonders for a person on any particular day. The fact that this is a lesson even children can learn, is what makes this such a touching book to read.

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The author does a wonderful job of pulling the reader into the drama with the children and their respective families. There were times when I felt the frustration Heidi must have felt when she couldn’t do much to help a hurting child. At other times, I felt the aggravation when a child is deliberately rude and misbehaving, especially to the younger children. I could relate to the helpless feeling some of the parents felt in their circumstances, to the point where I shed a few tears when things went so wrong. Then again, there were also tears of celebration when finally something came together and worked out well, either for a family or for their children or both. If you enjoy a good Amish story, or a bit of family saga with a little romance, then I highly recommend this book to you.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Barbour Publishing on behalf of the author. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

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Ties That Bind: The Amish of Summer Grove Book 1 by Cindy Woodsmall ~ Review

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Ties That Bind: The Amish of Summer Grove Book 1 by Cindy Woodsmall

On the surface, Ariana’s Amish family was typical for their small community of Summer Grove. Many siblings, in their teens or older milled about the kitchen in the early mornings getting ready for a full day of activities either with small children in tow or assisting those families with small children. Some like Ariana were preparing breakfast and others were getting ready to do chores. A contentedness pervaded the atmosphere most of the time. They enjoyed each others’ company. But under the many layers of familiarity lay some rumblings of discontent. No one spoke openly about these feelings, but they were there nonetheless. It was a vague awareness that something disruptive could dispel their peace at any moment and change the entire family dynamics. What would be the trigger?

This is the first of three parts in the series. It features an unexpected twist of fortune that seems plausible, and possibly even probable. There are many great and positive things in this family saga, such as relationship building that I absolutely love. However, it seems inevitable that tension builds and two worlds collide with Ariana’s good friend caught up in the middle. Don’t expect a major resolution of the primary tension by the end of this first book, because it builds and leads directly into the next book. You definitely need to prepare to read the second book right away because of the high amount of suspense and heart break. This was so well written, that I was feeling with the Brenneman family when circumstances broke wide open.

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It’s getting to the point where I will read any book by this author because they are that good. Ms. Woodsmall puts her entire heart into what she writes. What she creates is impactful, both heart warming and heart wrenching, view shifting, and absolutely real. She’s a writer that knows how to pull heartstrings with what she writes. In this particular series, she plays on misunderstandings that come between close friends when one party must keep secrets for the sake of confidentiality. The secret he must keep makes Quill look bad in the eyes of the Amish. Such is the misunderstanding that it rocks Ariana’s world because she has lost trust in her good friend. And other circumstances are wearing her trust in others very thin.

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My favorite part of the book centers again around Ariana. She is stubborn and that persistence is what helps her family keep their heads above turbulent waters. She is determined to buy a cafe in downtown Summer Grove so that she can lift her family out of the poverty they have been in for years. She works hard and finally succeeds beyond even her expectations. I couldn’t help but root for her efforts to do something so thoughtful for her family.

 

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Riding Out the Devil: The Story of a Wounded Horse Healer by Hilary Walker ~ Review

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Riding Out the Devil: The Story of a Wounded Horse Healer by Hilary Walker

This is such a good all around story. Jack, the horse trainer, grew up in Britain, but found his home in the Americas as a specialist who could work with nearly any kind of horse, especially problem horses. He had a knack for knowing just what the horses needed to fix their problems. He preferred working with the horses alone, but once in awhile he worked with others to help the owner get what needed to be done for his horse.

We discover that Jack prefers his own company. He’s had some bad experiences and as a horse healer, needs some healing of his own. Just recently his mother passed on after a heart attack, and he reflected how she helped him with some health problems he’s had since he was 17 years old. Now that she is absent, he feels the need to help someone else with the same type of healthy problem he had. So when the opportunity came to combine his healing power with a horse and his young 17-year-old owner with the same health condition, he takes on the project, mostly out of guilt. It turned out well, and the opportunity actually made him feel good about himself. Perhaps he wasn’t such a lost cause after all. It became a tribute to his mother and her hard work to make him well in spite of what the doctors told her.

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My favorite part of the book is all that had to do with horses, their training, and care. It was an important part of the characterization of the main character, Jack Harper. It is through the author’s attention to detail in this part of the story that we see a pleasing transformation come for Jack as he worked with the boy and his horse. He not only guided the boy into better eating that made his life more comfortable, he didn’t mind helping someone else as much as he thought he would. And after years of running away from God (in the form of rejecting his former church), he finally found peace within himself and with God.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from CKN Christian Publishing on behalf of the author. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

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