Sunday, November 15, 2015

Grandma's Guest Review: The Photograph

Grandma read The Photograph by Beverly Lewis and is guest posting today to share her thoughts on this book.

The Photograph by Beverly Lewis begins when Jed Sutzman travels by train to Pennsylvania to learn buggy making techniques from a very experienced buggy maker to take back to his shop back home. While on the train he discovers a book, Little Women, that has writings in the margins and a photograph of a young Amish woman in her capp. He questions this, realizing that photographs are forbidden, and he has questions about the photograph.

After arriving in Pennsylvania, he meets Eva Esch and feels a connection to her but still does not understand the photograph, although he sees similarities in the photograph and Eva. Eva also feels drawn to Jed after his arrival. Her parents died and she was faced with caring for her sister, Lily. Eva made candy to sell at market and help pay bills. Eva knew as her Dat had taught her that Our Father in Heaven would take care of her. Her sister Lily leaves, and no one know where she has gone. The family is concerned for her safety and are afraid she has taken on the English life. Jed continues to study the photograph and wonder about it. Eventually his path crosses with Lily and the story changes course.

I found the writing style of this book a bit cumbersome,so it was not a quick read. The setting of the story is very much how I picture life in an Amish community. I would rate this book as average and on a scale of 1-5 rate it a 3. I have read many of this author's books, and this is perhaps my least favorite.

The publisher provided a review copy of The Photograph.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Grandma's Guest Review: Fire and Ice

Grandma read Fire and Ice by Mary Connealy and is guest posting today to share her thoughts on this book.

Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice by Mary Connealy is book three of the Wild at Heart series. The series continues with Bailey, who is the oldest of the Wilde sisters, alone on her homestead as her married sisters have moved away.

Mary is hardworking and is trying very hard to maintain her homestead as she prepares for the winter. Bailey's neighbor, Gage, wants access to pasture land through her property, and she resists.

Both Bailey and Gage are stubborn and headstrong, but both are believers and are honest. I like how Bailey frequently asks the Lord's help through her struggles. There are some unanswered questions as accidents begin to happen and Gage begins to dynamite to open a passageway. A third party tries to thwart these efforts. A compromise must be reached, and as Bailey and Gage face the future and try to create a successful grazing land, they find that they have great respect and love for each other.

The characters both realize how God plays a part in their lives.

I enjoyed this book very much. It is full of suspense, and the story is beautifully told. My overall rating of this book would be a 5, and I highly recommend it.


The publisher provided a review copy of Fire and Ice.

Monday, September 28, 2015

NIrV Giant Print Holy Bible

If you're like me, and you have a 'little' trouble with reading small type, you might be looking for a Bible that's easier to see and read.

NIrV Giant Print Holy Bible is a large hardback Bible with a font size of almost one-half centimeter (14-point type). The clear font and single-column text combine to make this Bible much easier on the eyes for beginning readers, ESL readers, and readers with vision impairment.

The NIrV translation is based on the New International Version. It has been condensed to include shorter words, shorter sentences, and shorter chapter sections with titles. It also includes references when verses are quoted from another place in the Bible. If more than one name for a person or place is used in the Bible, the NIrV translation uses just one. For instance, the Sear of Galilee is called by different names in the New Testament, like the Sea of Tiberias and the Sea of Gennesaret, but in the NIrV Giant Print Holy Bible, it is called the Sea of Galilee every time. Specific names are also used for clarity, like the Euphrates River instead of just the River. These features not only help aid in understanding for any reader, but they also make this Bible perfect for new Bible readers to master.

The Bottom Line

  • Nice sturdy construction with durable hard cover
  • Pretty blue/green design appropriate for men or women
  • Large fonts easy to read
  • Table of Contents right up front and clearly laid out
  • Dictionary included 
  • Check list of 150 Famous Bible Stories

  • No illustrations or graphics of any kind
  • No maps or any other extras
  • Pages are thin and type shows through from other side, making the print not as clear as it could be. 
Overall, I have a good impression of this Bible, but for the $30 price, I would like to see a heavier weight paper for the pages and a few more extras--at least maps--inside.

(The publisher provided a review copy of NIrV Giant Print Holy Bible.)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir is a science fiction must read, that is currently taking the bestseller list by storm. 


Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. 
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. 
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. 
But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

So, you're part of a mission to Mars, and you end up being injured, stranded, and without communications. And that's just Chapter One. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to find out what happens next!

The Martian is written mostly as a series of log entries, making it even more compelling, as I feel like Mark is speaking directly to me. I was mesmerized from the beginning by the suspense and by the remarkable ingenuity of this character. Using science and engineering to solve problems in a realistic way, Mark must continuously find ways to survive and overcome the stacking odds against him. The author does a marvelous job of explaining details so that non-sciency readers can understand what is happening, yet there's enough tech to make any sci fi fan happy.

Overall, this is one of the best books I've read over the past year. I haven't enjoyed a science fiction book as much as this since reading Ender's Game. The Martian is currently making it's rounds in my house as my family devours it--and we are looking forward to seeing it on the big screen.


ANDY WEIR was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel.
The publisher provided a review copy of The Martian.