Thursday, October 29, 2009

White Picket Fences

White Picket Fences is Susan Meissner's newest book. I read it in one night (a good form of procrastination from quilting) and was not dissappointed in it. When I began reading the story, I expected it to be primarily the story of Amanda, mother of Chase and aunt of Tally, but I think that the story was as much about the two teenagers as about the mother. Tally goes to San Diego to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousins because her grandmother dies and her dad is somewhere in Europe. One of the themes of the story is secrets. It made me wonder, do most people keep secrets from family? I don't mean a small secret like not telling about a speeding ticket or that you skipped work to hang out with a friend, but secrets that if people knew, it might change the things that they believe about themselves or you. Is it a coincidence that the last three novels I read (June Bug and Shadows of Lancaster County are the other two books) are about secrets OR am I supposed to be getting a clue about something? It kind of makes me wonder.

Monday, October 26, 2009

June Bug

June Bug by Chris Fabry is an interesting novel. June Bug lives in an RV with her father, and it is the only life she can remember. Then one day she sees a poster in Wal-mart that has her picture on it as a missing child. Over the course of a couple weeks the truth about the situation comes out and June Bug's world changes forever. Some reviewers have compared the story to Les Miserables. I enjoyed reading this book by Chris Fabry, though some parts seemed a bit farfetched in today's world.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Tallest of Smalls by Max Lucado

The Tallest of Smalls is Max Lucado's newest book for children. The story is about Ollie, a boy living in Stiltsville. He longs to be part of the cool group in his town, those that walk around on stilts. Each evening, the people in town that have stilts choose another person to be part of their group. Ollie begs to be chosen each time, and finally he is the one to be given a pair of stilts. Thrilled by being chosen, Ollie gets up on the stilts but doesn't remain happy very long. Stilts are not all he thought that they would be or even wanted. Ollie realizes that he can be happy even without stilts. I would think school age children would enjoy this book best.
The story has a great lesson for children, though it seemed a bit simplistic. The picture book is written in rhyme, and at times it could be hard for young children to follow. Despite it being a picture book, I would think some preschoolers would have a difficult time because of the way it is written. The illustrations by Maria Monescillo are well done and definitely enhance the story. I have read several of Lucado's children's books and I would compare the story line to that of You Are Special, though it doesn't have the same feel as you read it.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Soup season is here. I am looking for some new soup recipes...but want ones that have a small amount of ingredients. My current favorite is black bean soup, which calls for 2 cups chicken broth, 1 can black beans(rinsed), 1 onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, a small amount of cumin and oregano, and a couple teaspoons of olive oil. You chop the onion and garlic, saute it in olive oil with the cumin and oregano, then add chicken broth and the black beans and cook awhile. Do you have a simple soup recipe to share?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What Difference Do It Make?

What Difference Do It Make? by Ron Hall, Denver Moore and Lynn Vincent is a continuation of Hall's and Moore's story that began in Same Kind of Different As Me. Ron Hall, an art dealer, and Denver Moore, a homeless man, are friends and write the book together. The chapters alternate between Hall's story, which is focused now on the relationship he has with an aging father, and Moore's story, which is more of a teaching format. Interspersed in their stories and snippets of how their first book affected different individuals after they read that book.
The content was good. Hall struggling with how to deal with an aging father that disappointed him in many ways was portrayed realistically. Moore encourages people to not judge those that are homeless. Individuals that decided after reading the book that God was calling them to do something different or take a chance was inspiring. I was not impressed with the organization of the book...there are too many parts to it, Hall's story, Moore's story, parts of their first book, and the stories from people that they have heard from. If you haven't read the first book by Moore and Hall, you can read this alone, but you might find the first story more interesting.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Shadows of Lancaster County

Shadows of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark is a book I have been waiting a long time to read. I had it checked out from the library in the spring and my book club members said that I should wait and then we could all read it together when it was my turn to choose the book. (We had read Whispers of the Bayou by Clark a year ago.) I started it a couple of days ago and yesterday after 8:30 P.M. When I picked it up I thought that I might read a couple hours and then go to bed. I finished it at 1 o'clock in the morning. The story is about Anna Bailey, who is living in California, having left Lancaster County to get away from a troubled past. She gets a call from her sister-in-law telling her that Bobby, her only brother, is missing. Anna chooses to return to Pennsylvania to try and figure out what is going on. This story is full of twists and turns that made me wonder what else was going to happen in the story. After finishing, it made me realize how the absence of truth can really affect many people's lives in ways that are harmful. Our book club should have plenty discuss about this novel when we meet next week. Has anyone else read this?