Thursday, July 31, 2014

book review: "the butterfly and the violin" by kristy cambron

"Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl - a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes. 

In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover - the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul - who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron. 

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart."

It took me a few pages but it wasn't long until I was pulled into both the story of Adele and Vladimir and Sera and William. I liked how Kristy switched back and forth between the two stories even though my heart broke at what Adele suffered through and the harsh reality of Auschwitz. I can't even begin to imagine what the people in the concentration camps endured. I'm not sure of the two couples which love story I enjoyed more. And I especially liked the fact that Adele and Vladimir were able to find each other again! I was surprised by how they ended up together and the connection with William's family - I kept trying to figure that one out myself! And then there was William and Sera. I thought they were cute together. I smiled at them going to the beach and how nervous Sera was and then when William said he came back to see her before leaving New York but Michael showed up - I liked how he pursued William pursued her even when she didn't think he would. And oh my, when he came to Paris for her? My heart melted :) This was a great read with history, romance, excitement and faith. 

You can find out more about the book by clicking here.
I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. 

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Monday, July 28, 2014

book review: "woman of courage" by wanda e. brunstetter

Jilted by her fiance, Amanda Pearson gives up on romance and turns to her Quaker faith for reassurance. She becomes determined to follow the Rev. and Mrs. Spalding into the western wilderness to minister to the Nez Perce Indians. 

But a three-thousand-mile journey in 1837 is fraught with danger for anyone, and soon Amanda finds herself recovering from near death in a trapper's cabin. His Indian wife becomes Amanda's first convert - and friend. But the trapper and his intriguing half-Indian friend want nothing to do with Christians.

Buck McFadden has received nothing but pain from white men who claim Christ as their lord. He wants only to be left to his solitary life, but he can't seem to walk away from Amanda.

Amanda fears she'll never reach the mission in the Lapwai Valley. This journey has become life-changing for her - and those she meets - and the choices she must make are almost unbearable. 

It took me a few chapters to get into the story but I eventually was on Amanda's journey to the Lapwai Valley. I was surprised by the loss she suffered along the way - and especially when Mary's husband died. Amanda indeed had courage to continue on despite all of her setbacks. I admire her for sticking to her desire to teach others about God - even when she wanted to give up. Sometimes the dream we have isn't easy but that doesn't mean it isn't exactly what we're supposed to be doing. I liked how Mary's story turned out - that Gray Eagle wasn't really dead. And then there was Little Fawn. It only seems fitting that she and Amanda found each other. I thought the last few pages seemed a little rushed but overall a good read.

I received a copy of this book from Handlebar Publishing for my honest review. 

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Saturday, July 26, 2014


Life is busy right now! I had the amazing opportunity to go to Guatemala and got back two days ago. I can't even begin to truly describe how great it was and how God moved. As I was preparing for the trip, I knew I'd be hitting the ground running after getting back so I'm in run mode. I was hired in June to teach kindergarten this school year! This job is something I've been praying for since I took a teaching assistant position at the beginning of this past school year. I attended training for my new job yesterday and Thursday. I've been functioning on caffeine and naps :) This upcoming week is a mad dash to get my classroom ready and the week wraps up with another two-day training. And on August 4, staff reports back to work in my district! SO, there's lots going on but it's all exciting. God did some great things in Guatemala - I know the trip will be a defining moment in my life. My heart is drawn there but I'm not sure what the reason is...yet. So I'm in the middle of looking at pictures from the trip, searching Pinterest for classroom ideas and first thing Monday morning, I'll be in my classroom, getting everything ready :)

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