Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Book Review: The Accidental Bride

This book review is on a book called The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter. It's about a single mom, who helps her town in a reenactment. She ends up married to the fake groom, but there is more to this story. 

When a wedding reenactment turns real, Shay finds she's an accidental bride.
Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana, on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. Despite the hard work, she can't seem to keep her head above water-and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. She prays for a miracle, but the answer she receives is anything but expected.
Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders' Day wedding reenactment, Shay is mortified to be greeted at the end of the aisle by none other than Travis McCoy, her high-school sweetheart-the man who left her high and dry for fame and fortune on the Texas rodeo circuit.
Then the unthinkable happens. Thanks to a well-meaning busybody and an absentminded preacher, the make-believe vows result in a legal marriage. But before Shay can say annulment, Travis comes up with a crazy proposal. If she refuses his offer, she may lose her home. If she accepts, she may lose her heart.
Shay isn't sure if the recent events are God's will or just a preacher's blunder. Will trusting her heart to the man who once shattered it be the worst mistake of her life? Or could their marriage be the best accident that ever happened?

Reading Group Guide:
1. Shay was afraid to marry again after having her heart broken twice before.  How does fear play into our ability to love fully?
Fear is powerful if you let it take over your life.  It will stop you doing something you love to do.  With Shay, she was left at the altar and then married someone, who I think she just married just because he was there.  

2. Because of Shay's background, she tended to worry too much about others' opinions.  Galatians 1:10 says, "For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people?"  What does that mean to you?
Shay worried too much about others' opinion because of what happened after she returned to town after being left at the altar.  Everyone in town felt sorry for her plus she was the talk of the town forever.  I think Galatians is saying that you should not worry what others are saying, but the important one to listen to is God.  I do not care what others say because it takes up energy, which I can use for something more important like my kids.  

3. Travis made the selfish decision to leave Shay at the altar when he was a young adult.  What price did he and others pay as a result?  Discuss the ways in which poor choices can sometime have far reaching consequences.  How can we best recover?
Travis did pay the price leaving Shay at the altar by having Shay trust him again and it was very hard to get her there.  When you are young, you are not thinking how this choice could affect your future, but it can.  We can best recover by taking one day at a time. 

4. When Travis lost Shay, he realized that he hadn't sought God's will during a critical point in his life.  Instead, he'd relied on Miss Lucy's prayers.  Do you ever foist your spiritual responsibilities onto someone you feel has a closer walk with God? 
No, it is up to myself to do my own spiritual  responsibility, but when there is something major happening, then I think it is okay to get help.  Prayers in a lot of numbers help.  
5. Were you more frustrated at Travis or Shay for the way each of them handled every new obstacle?  His not telling her about the rodeo competition? Her not asking about the jewerly package?  His not returning right after the competition?  Her not telling him she was pregnant?  Or do you think both were accountable for what kept them apart?
Yes, I was frustrated with both of them because they could not see what they had in front of them. Shay should had asked Travis the questions in the back of her head.  I think it was both of them that is accountable for what kept them apart.   

6. Ranching is hard work, and money is often tight.  Why do you think families continue this way of life? 
I do families continue ranching as a way of life because some families could be doing it for generations and want to continue.  Maybe it is the only thing that family knows.  I also think they are proud to be ranchers.

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Book Review: Family Ties

This book review is on a book called Family Ties by Danielle Steele. Annie is doing great with her life. Having her first real job as an architect and enjoying her time with her boyfriend, Seth, but her sister and brother in law dies. Annie is given a choose to take in their 3 kids. Of course, she does because of a promise to her sister. 

Annie Ferguson was a bright young Manhattan architect. Talented, beautiful, just starting out with her first job, new apartment and boyfriend, she had the world in the palm of her hand--until a single phone call altered the course of her life forever. Overnight, she became the mother to her sister's three orphaned children, keeping a promise she never regretted making, even if it meant putting her own life indefinitely on hold.


Now, at forty-two, as independent as ever, with a satisfying career and a family that means everything to her, Annie is comfortable being single and staying that way. She appears to have no time for anything else. With her nephew and nieces now young adults and confronting major challenges of their own, Annie is navigating a parent's difficult passage between lending them a hand and letting go, and suddenly facing an empty nest. The eldest, twenty-eight-year-old Liz, an overworked, struggling editor in a high-powered job at Vogue, has never allowed any man to come close enough to hurt her. Ted, at twenty-four a serious and hardworking law student, is captivated by a much older, much more experienced woman with children, who is leading him much further than he wants to go. And the youngest, twenty-one-year-old Katie--impulsive, artistic, rebellious--is an art student about to make a choice that will lead her to an entirely different world she is in no way prepared for but determined to embrace.


Then, just when least expected, a chance encounter changes Annie's life yet again in the most unexpected direction of all.

From Manhattan to Paris and all the way to Tehran, Family Ties is a novel that reminds us how challenging and unpredictable life can be, and that the powerful bonds of family are the strongest of all.


I loved this book because the author showed Annie as a real person. I could see her struggles. Everyone struggles and I can not remember the last book I read where the lead character had struggles not just related to love. 

What would you do if you were in Annie's situation?  I kept thinking what would I do if I was I this position. I would do just like Annie did- take in my nephew and nieces. I know it would be hard at first, but it would be so worth it in the end. 

Happy Reading!
Melissa

Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Review: 44 Charles Street

For this Book Review, I chose 44 Charles Street by Danielle Steel.  I have to say that I love the book cover with the red doors.  I am not usually liking any door that is read, but in this book cover, I do love it.  

A magical transformation takes place in Danielle Steel’s luminous new novel: strangers become roommates, roommates become friends, and friends become a family in a turn-of-the-century house in Manhattan’s West Village.
 

The plumbing was prone to leaks, the furniture rescued from garage sales. And every square inch was being devotedly restored to its original splendor—even as a relationship fell to pieces. Now Francesca Thayer, newly separated from her lawyer boyfriend Todd, is desperate. The owner of a struggling art gallery, and suddenly the sole mortgage payer on her Greenwich Village townhouse, Francesca does the math and then the unimaginable. She puts out an advertisement for boarders. Soon her house becomes a whole new world.

First comes Eileen, a fresh, pretty L.A. transplant, now a New York City schoolteacher. Then there’s Chris, a young father struggling with a troubled ex-wife and the challenge of parenting a seven-year-old son who visits every other weekend. The final tenant is Marya, a celebrated cookbook author hoping to start a new chapter in her life after the death of her husband. As Francesca’s art gallery begins to find its footing and Todd moves on to another woman, she discovers that her accidental tenants have become the most important people in her life. 

As the roommates bond, and the house fills with the aroma of Marya’s exquisite cuisine, there are shadows as well as light. Na├»ve Eileen explores the precarious boundaries of online dating with a series of strangers. Chris’s custody fight for his son escalates to devastating levels. Marya faces an unexpected choice that will take her into untested waters. And Francesca herself will contemplate what had seemed impossible: opening her heart once more.

Over the course of one amazing, unforgettable, ultimately life-changing year, the house at 44 Charles Street fills with laughter, heartbreak, and, always, hope. In the hands of master storyteller Danielle Steel, it’s a place those who visit will never want to leave.

I loved this book.  Francesca is dealing with a divorce, not knowing how to save her business or her home, and she needs to come up with a plan.  For her home, she decides to take in renters.  I know that I am not sure if I would do this, but for her, it worked out perfectly.  Well, almost.  Each tenant has a story of their own, but all together they become a family. 

Her one tenant, Eileen, was not my favorite.  I felt sorry for her.  Eileen used the internet to find men.  Not the nice kind either.  She got herself into trouble, but you need to read this book to find out more.

The second tenant is Chris, a single father to a son.  Chris is divorced and his ex wife has problems.  He worries about his son being with his mother, but no matter what he does, he can not win in court.  

The last tenant is Marya, a widow looking for somewhere to live for awhile.  She is writing a cookbook.

Happy Reading!
Melissa

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Reading Challenge: The Baby Bond

For this review, I chose The Baby Bond by Linda Goodnight.

Description from Goodreads:
Firefighter Nic Carano relishes his bachelor lifestyle. Then he loses his heart to a rescued baby. And when he meets the infant's lovely aunt--suddenly a mother--Nic starts considering love, marriage...and a baby carriage.

Yet Cassidy Willis isn't convinced. Nic's been a lifesaver with all that he has done, along with his big-hearted family and fellow firefighters, to help the new mom. But after all she's been through, could she really be happy with someone whose life is always in danger? Now it's up to Nic to show Cassidy that his bond with her and the baby is forever. 

I am going to do this review differently since their was Discussion Questions in the book of the book.  I am not answering every question, but the ones that were in my favorite part of the book.  If you want to see the other questions, please read the book and see them at the end of the book.  Thanks.

Questions for Discussion:
1. Name the main characters.  Who was your favorite? Why?
The main characters are Cassidy and Nic.  I love the character of Cassidy because she is a strong woman for what she has had to get through.  Too much for one person.  

2. What incident drew Cassidy and Nic together?
Nic is a fireman, who rescued Cassidy's nephew from a fire that killed his parents.

3. Although a Christian, Cassidy was riddled with fear.  What was she afraid of?  Why?
Cassidy is afraid of losing everyone she loves especially when she finds herself drawn to Nic.  She fears his job.  How can she be with someone who has a dangerous job?

4. Do you think Cassidy's fears were realistic?  Is it possible to be so afraid that fear interferes with a person's life choices?  
I do think Cassidy's fears were realistic especially since she has lost her parents in a terrible accident and then her sister and brother in law in a fire.  I do believe that it is possible to be so afraid that fear interferes with a person's life choices, but once they work through that fear, then they can live their life.

5. Some people believe that everything happens for a reason.  Do you?  
I do believe that everything happens for a reason.  I believe that if I did not injure my back, then we would not have Ethan.  

6. When Cassidy chose to raise her orphaned nephew, her grandmother fought against the decision?  Why?
Cassidy's grandmother fought against the decision she made to raise her orphaned nephew because her grandmother had a dream for Cassidy and wanted her to follow that, to have a career, and her fear of her own.  Her grandmother raised Cassidy and her sister.  She did not do what she wanted.  

7. Scripture says that love will cast out fear.  How does this relate to what Cassidy did at the end of the book?  
Cassidy left go of her fear.

I hope you enjoyed reading about this great book.  Sorry that I have been away for so long. 

Happy Reading!
Melissa

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Reading Challenge:Fireman Dad

For this review, I chose Fireman Dad by Betsy St. Amant.  I wanted to read a few books on Fireman.   I also read a series on Firemen by Jennifer Be

Description from Goodreads:
"Mommy, I Want To Be A Fireman."Widowed mother Marissa Hawthorne's little boy wants to be like his new hero--firefighter Jacob Greene. But Marissa and her son lost too much to the profession of firefighting already. She can't possibly let either of them get close to the man, no matter how noble he is. Especially because her own father is Jacob's boss. But when Jacob hires her to plan a special birthday party for his niece, Marissa soon learns that Jacob is a hero in many ways. And that taking risks for love is what life and faith are truly about.

I am going to do this review differently since their was Discussion Questions in the book of the book.  I am not answering every question, but the ones that were in my favorite part of the book.  If you want to see the other questions, please read the book and see them at the end of the book.  Thanks.

Questions for Discussion:
1. Motherhood is often a challenge.  As a single mom, how did Marissa struggle more so than other mothers?  I do think Marissa struggled more than other moms because of her fear.  

2. Marissa lost her husband to a dangerous career.  How did this shade her view of heroes?
Marissa feared of losing her son and anyone she is married to.   With Marissa losing her husband, she forgot what her late husband is-a hero.  Her fear took over.  Marissa is afraid that her son will follow in his dad's footsteps on becoming a fireman.  I understand about the fear of losing someone in this field since my husband is a fireman.  I have a habit of not thinking about the what ifs.  It is the only way for me to deal with it plus it means a lot to my husband.  

3. Marissa had a bad relationship with her father because of resentment she carried over from childhood.  Have you ever let a childhood grudge affect your adult life?
Marissa left this childhood grudge affect her adult life with her dad.  She is missing all the things that her dad came bring into her life and her son's life.  It is better to let go of that childhood grudge than to carry around that negative energy. 

4.  Despite her struggles in her first marriage, Marissa made every effort not to speak negativity of her late husband in front of her son.  Do you think this was hard to do?  Why is it important for her to do so?
Marissa did not speak negativity of her late husband in front of their son because her son is dealing with the lose of his dad.  Owen does not need more on top of what he is already feeling.  I think it can affect his well being if he learns something negativity of his dad when he is young.  

5. Because of his father and grandfather, young Owen wanted to become a fireman.  Why do you think this panicked Marissa?
I think Marissa panicked when she learns that Owen wants to be a fireman because of the lose of her late husband, who died doing what he loved to do- being a fireman.  

6.  Why did Marissa think Jacob would become a bad influence on her son?
I think Marissa thought Jacob would become a bad influence on her son because he is a fireman and with her son's interest in firefighting, Jacob could increase her fear of her son wanting to be a fireman and she could lose her son like she lost her husband.  

7. In the story, the community banded together to help raise money for the families of those laid off from the fire department.  Has your city ever done something like that to help others?  Did you contribute?  Why or why not?
The city I live in comes together to help many causes.  We have helped the cause at times like for K-9 dogs.  

8. Marissa found herself drawn to Jacob even though she feared a future with him because of his career.  Have you ever been attracted to someone you didn't think you should get involved with?  How did you handle it?
I have been married to my husband for 17 years.  When I met him, I knew he was a volunteer fireman, but he left the department because he moved.  I knew that some day he wanted to go back.  I know he loves what he does and I am very proud of him being a fireman.  He is being a good example for our children. 

Happy Reading!!  This was a very good book and I highly recommend it.
Melissa

Friday, February 28, 2014

Reading Review- The Wishing Tree

For this review, I chose The Wishing Tree by Marybeth Whalen.  I loved the description I read after searching through a local library's ebooks.  I loved this book because it deals with forgiveness.  I think it is better to forgive than to be angry.  It takes up more energy to be angry than to forgive.  I think you are thinking about the situation and that takes energy.

Description from Goodreads:
Ivy Marshall, a savvy, determined woman, finds out her husband has cheated on her on the same day her sister’s perfect boyfriend proposes on national television. When Ivy’s mother asks her to return to her family’s beach home to plan her sister’s upcoming wedding, she decides to use the excuse to escape from the pain of her circumstances.
When her return to Sunset Beach, North Carolina, brings her face to face with her former fianci, old feelings rise to the surface and she wonders if there is a future for them. However, her husband has started tweeting his apology to her and doesn’t want to give up on their marriage. As she helps prepare the wishing tree for her sister’s wedding, she must examine her own wishes for the future and decide what love should be…..


I am going to do this review differently since their was Discussion Questions in the book of the book.  I am not answering every question, but the ones that were in my favorite part of the book.  If you want to see the other questions, please read the book and see them at the end of the book.  Thanks.

Reading Group Guide:
1. Ivy doesn't want to be alone.  Do you think her interest in Michael is fueled by that fear or real feelings?
I think Ivy's interest in Michael is fueled by the fear of being alone.  I also think it has to do with how hurt she is plus she is questioning her decision all those years ago. 

2. Can you draw a parallel between the wishing tree and Ivy's marriage to Elliott?
 Back when Ivy married Elliott, they eloped.  Ivy didn't have a Wishing Tree.  I think Ivy is sad that no one ever wrote down their wishes for her and Elliott and she is thinking what would those wishes be for them.  

3. Was Ivy right to give Elliott another chance? Why or why not?
I am not so sure about this question.  Every person is different.  I think Elliott learned a hard lesson and will not do it again, but part of me wonders the what if.  I had a friend that her husband to be cheated on her.  Their son was young.  He left my friend for her and eventually married her.  I knew with him that he was not going to pick my friend.  

4. Was Michael right to keep his distance from Ivy? Why do you think would've happened if he hadn't?
I think Michael was right for keeping his distance from Ivy.  I think Michael did not want to go through losing her again.  If Michael did not keep his distance, I think Michael would be hurt in the end.

5. The Wishing Tree is a story about forgiveness.  Name the people Ivy had to offer forgiveness to through the course of the story and, if you're comfortable, share a forgiveness story from your own life.
Ivy had to offer forgiveness to Michael, Owen, her sister, Shea, and herself for what she did all those years ago.

6. How does the last sentence of the book parallel to Ivy's prayer on the beach when she first arrives at Sunset?  What does that last sentence mean to you?
The last sentence means to me is that she is ready to be alone and completely content with it.  

I hope you enjoyed reading my answers to the Discussion questions.  I would love to read your answers so we can chat about the book.  Let me know if you read this book and what you think of it.

Happy Reading!!
Melissa