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A Celebration of Life in the Midst of Tragedy

Book Review

…And the Whippoorwill Sang…by Micki Peluso

This book left me breathless. From beginning to end, I was spellbound by this haunting and beautiful memoir by Micki Peluso, written as a beautiful love story to her daughter. This story was a celebration of life in the midst of tragedy. It is a tale of love, laughter, and then many tears as a tight-knit family experiences a wonderful life and then a grievous loss together.

The story begins with the family in the ER at the hospital, reeling from a fateful chain of events. It then quickly moves back in time to the very beginnings of Micki and Butch more than a decade before–from their crazy double matrimony ceremony with her mother, to keeping their new marriage a secret, to Micki being thrust into the role of wife and mother at a very young age.

We are drawn into the fun and crazy patchwork quilt that made up the Pelusos and their friends. Yes, there is a tragedy in the loss of their daughter, but the author has chosen to take out her grief on the written page, and allow us a glimpse into their lives. I am thankful that she has, because the story of Micki, her family and her precious daughter showed us the fragility of life–and truly touched my heart.

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Mennonite in a Little Black Dress – Book Review


Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It seemed to me, through reading her words, that the author was truly healing from incredibly reeling life experiences. Not just one–but two in succession. I could feel her pain as I read, but a little bit of humor started peeking through at times. Not only did her husband leave her for a guy on Gay.com, but she was also in a devastating car accident, that left her crushed, broken in body, and lucky to be alive. As a woman, it is a blow to our egos when our husbands leave us for another woman–but another man? I cannot image this. Of course, the only place left for her to return to was her roots–a place she knew she would be accepted no matter what. This place was the Mennonite community in which she was raised–and rejected. She was welcomed by her family and friends with open arms and hearts. It was interesting to read about this cloistered community; how they live, work and love.

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Daniel – Christian Bible Study

Daniel: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy - Member BookDaniel: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy – Member Book by Beth Moore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was used as part of a small group Bible study, and I really wasn’t quite sure I would like it. After all, Daniel is a book in the Old Testament, and I figured it was going to be pretty dry. Was I ever surprised! Once we dug in, I was actually looking forward to the study each week. The book was used in conjunction with a DVD featuring Beth Moore. She did a great job of helping us pronounce names such as “Jehoiakim” king of Judah, “Hananiah”, “Belteshazzar” or “King Nebuchadnezzar”. The video also took us on a guided tour back in time–showcasing actual historical landmarks in Israel that were discussed in the book. The book of Daniel is a wonderful historical study. I soaked up the history lessons, as we also discussed a life of sacrifice–and what that means to our modern day lives. Very interesting, informative and life-changing.

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Thin Places–A Kick to the Gut

Thin PlacesThin Places by Mary E. DeMuth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ever read a book that kicked you right in the gut? This was such a book. Mainly, the gut wrenching kick you will feel is from vividly experiencing the author’s harrowing childhood. All children should be loved, protected and cherished. No small child should ever have to suffer the way she did, and all the neglect, sorrow, and abuse was front and center with nothing held back. I also appreciated the skillful way the author wove the love of God into her story, and how this love saved her. She wrote beautifully and poignantly, and held me rapt all the way through to the end. I felt as if I had made a new friend, and didn’t want to leave her as I turned the last page. You will never be the same after reading Mary’s story. I am now on a search for more books by this author.

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Mary Higgins Clark Does it Again…..

The Lost YearsThe Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s been quite a while since I read a MHC book, but the style remains the same. She always brings you along on the journey quite nicely with an interesting cast of characters, locations, suspenseful situations, and a murder mystery. I appreciate the fact that you always know what the main character is thinking, and feeling, and the writing will leave you wanting to know more at the end of each chapter. Of course, she brought in Alvirah and Willy, the amateur detectives, to help solve the crime. Since I have become accustomed to her writing style, I figured out the murderer about halfway through. That does not take away from the fact that her story was well written and suspenseful. Just what we’ve come to expect from Mary Higgins Clark.

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Stray Far from Stay Close

Stay CloseStay Close by Harlan Coben

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this book up because of a review that grabbed my attention in our local paper. I have never read any prior work from this author, and knew nothing about him. From reading reviews of his prior novels, I think I will go back and try one of those to see what the fuss was all about. The opening of the book started out interestingly enough to capture my attention. I was intrigued to find out all about the different characters and how their lives entwined together. However, as the story wore on, I found myself less and less interested, to the point of not even caring who the heck the killer was. The Ken and Barbie characters just did not ring true at all. Maybe there are really nutty people out there like this, but I didn’t believe it in this novel. The characters didn’t hold my attention, and it seemed to go off in one direction, only to halt and head off in another. I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve read one of his prior novels. I really can’t recommend this one.

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Final Saga in Time Travel to Rome


by Francine Rivers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the third and final book in the “Mark of the Lion” triolgy. This book was very good, but not my favorite of the series. I really enjoyed the first two in the series about the romance between wealthy Roman, Marcus, and his sister’s slave, Hadassah. This book focuses on Atretes, a gladiator, who was trained to be angry and trained to kill. This book is entertaining, yet powerful in its message about the destruction of anger and the power of forgiveness.

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Write About your World

One of the first Kindle books I actually bought and paid for was “Rumors of Water–Thoughts on Creativity and Writing” by L.L. Barket. The title does not hint at the valuable nuggets inside this book. This is a book about writing–writing about your world. The lessons are woven right into the stories. The author writes about her experiences in her every day world, which consists of teaching her two daughters at home. Lest you think this would be scarce material to write about, she surprises us. The stories spring from their lives, and the language beautiful. Did you know you can weave a wonderful story around tea and flowers and picking colorful vegetables? It is true.

Each of the book’s seven headings tells part of the story:

Momentum
Voice
Habits
Structure
Publishing
Glitches
Time

The one big take away from this book, is that all of us have a story. Our stories–yours and mine–are stories that need telling, and there are people that need to hear them.

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John Grisham and Baseball?


by John Grisham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a new and different twist of a book by John Grisham. It is totally out of the realm of his usual legal thrillers. It took quite a few pages of reading for me to get into the groove of it. The reason for this is that I’m not a big baseball fan, so talk of stats and baseball greats were not something I usually enjoy. However, the further I delved into the book, the more I enjoyed the fully-developed characters and the intertwining of seemingly unrelated relationships. I recommend anything that John Grisham writes. He is one of my favorites.

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