Sunday, October 16, 2016

Grandma's Guest Review: A Tapestry of Secrets


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A Tapestry of Secrets by Sarah Loudin Thomas features the same family as in the Appalachian Blessings series. Perla is much older now (in her eighties), and has suffered a stroke. Her granddaughter Ella, a quilt artist, becomes her caregiver. I enjoyed how Perla's thoughts were recounted as she struggled to recover from her debilitating stroke--her frustrations with learning to speak again and to get her body to respond as she wants it to.

The 'secret' of the book is the overriding theme as Perla wants to reveal something important from her past, but cannot verbalize it due to the stroke. Ella has her own struggles as the stories of these two women from different generations develop.

This sweet story of family, love, and loss is compelling and relatable. It is a gentle reminder that we are all flawed, but through grace and love, we can learn forgiveness and acceptance.

As a grandmother, I find A Tapestry of Secrets an especially inspirational novel and would recommend it to my friends.

The publisher provided a review copy of A Tapestry of Secrets.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Brady vs Manning

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My son is a die hard New England Patriots fan, and is especially a fan of Tom Brady. Because of that, for some reason inexplicable to me, he is not fond of Payton Manning and is convinced there is a rivalry that prevents him from being a fan of both quarterbacks. Admittedly, I don't really get it. So, when I had the opportunity to read Brady vs Manning: The Untold Story of the Rivalry That Transformed the NFL, I couldn't pass up the chance to learn more and become better educated in my son's world of football.

Author Gary Myers looks at this Brady/Manning rivalry with candor and intriguing 'inside' information, and any fan of either quarterback will enjoy this behind-the-scenes view of the lives of these men. While the author's bias does show up often, the book is written in a conversational tone and presents anecdotes, back stories, and facts about both men and their football careers. I find it easy to follow as a reader who doesn't necessarily know all the 'football-ese.' I feel like I understand the rivalry better now and can relate to my son's competitiveness when discussing these two great quarterbacks.

The index in Brady vs Manning is a nice touch, as is the full-color photograph section. Brady fan, Manning fan, football fan, or just plain co-dependents will all enjoy this fun glimpse into this famous football rivalry. Now that I've learned all I need to know, I'm passing it along to my son to see if he can rival my football knowledge!

The publisher provided a review copy of Brady vs Manning.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Slowing Down to Enjoy the Family Table

#FamilyTable This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

Inspired by the slow food movement, Come to the Family Table: Slowing Down to Enjoy Food, Each Other, and Jesus by Ted and Amy Cunningham contains some practical ideas for transforming your dining room table into the center of your family life. The authors write about the importance of slowing down our lives and scheduling in some downtime to put aside the rush, rush, rush of the day and spend quality time together.

Mealtime used to be a family affair, but our way of life has changed so much that it often becomes a rarity for families to share a meal together.

In addition to family time, the table is also a place to nurture friends and guests:

"The simple generosity of a cookie or a slice of cake sticks with a person. Simplicity prioritizes love and relationships over money and possessions. Who is gathered around the table is more important than what you eat off of the table. Fellowship is greater than food. Discussion is greater than drink" (p. 126).

Each chapter includes a narrative followed by recipes, games, conversation starters, and devotionals.

I like the premise of this book, and there are many ideas and takeaways from it that I will probably reflect on from time to time, but I wish the format of the book were more cohesive and that the recipes were set off a bit differently to make the book easier to use. Ted and Amy's hearts for bringing Jesus to the center of the family and creating a home atmosphere that reveres and supports the family are obvious in Come to the Family Table.  

  The publisher provided a review copy of Come to the Family Table.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Her One and Only

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Her One and Only by Becky Wade continues in the world of the Porter family with little sister Dru, now a Marine Corps veteran and personal bodyguard. I've become a big fan of Becky Wade's writing, and Her One and Only was my beach read on this year's vacation. It was easy to get immersed in this story, and the characters and plot line kept me interested and looking forward to my reading time.

Dru is a strong and spunky character, and it was fun to get to know another member of the Porter family. Other Porter family members make appearances in the story, and a new character is introduced, NFL star Gray Fowler. There are still scenes on the family ranch and in the horse world, but the primary storyline revolves around the football star's lifestyle. A stalker is harassing him, so Dru becomes part of his life as one of his bodyguards. Of course, their personalities clash a bit, but there is intense chemistry between them as well.

If you haven't read the other Porter family novels, no worries--Her One and Only is a stand alone novel in itself. However, as I've found through Becky Wades other books, I want to read more about this family and seek out the other books as soon as they are available.

See my reviews of other Porter family novels by Becky Wade:
The publisher provided a review copy of Her One and Only.