Monday, July 2, 2012

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms

I have been a long time fan of Amish fiction, beginning with Beverly Lewis's books. To this day, it remains one of my favorite genres. I have previously read some of Cindy Woodsmall's books, and The Scent of Cherry Blossoms definitely lives up to my expectations of her writing.

In this novella, we meet Annie Martin, an Old Order Mennonite and Aden Zook, an Old Order Amish man. Annie, one of several children in her family, has a poor relationship with her mother, which ultimately leads to Annie being sent to live with her grandfather in Apple Ridge.  It is there that Annie runs into her old friend, Aden.

Aden's family owns a diner that is dependent on Annie's grandfather for the electricity that is required of all eating establishments, as the Amish are not allowed to have electricity themselves.  When Aden's brother, Roman, is called away to help fix some equipment at their uncle's farm, Annie offers to assist Aden and his family with their diner.

During this time, Aden and Annie re-kindle feelings for each other that they had long ago buried.  Since both had taken vows for their respective religion, it was inappropriate for the two to spend time together and completely unacceptable for them to begin a relationship.  When Annie's grandfather found out about their fondness for each other, he threatened to take away the electricity that was so important to Aden's family.  Annie and Aden must decide between pursuing their relationship despite their families' objections or letting go of their new-found love.

What I enjoyed most about this book is that it examines both Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite faith.  This is definitely a love story, but it also focuses on family relationships.  Annie's relationships with her mother and grandfather develop during this story, as does Aden's relationship with his brother.

Woodsmall writes in such a way as to make it easy to connect with her characters.  When I finish the book, I really feel as though I know these characters.  That makes it much easier for me to get interested in a story.  In this case, I found I couldn't put the book down after a few chapters and finished it easily in an evening.  A highly recommended read for anyone who likes Amish fiction or just a good all-around read.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The One Day Way by Chantel Hobbs

I typically do not enjoy reading nonfiction books, but as someone who has struggled with my weight for several years, I found The One Day Way by Chantel Hobbs to be a very inspiring read. It is very refreshing to hear advice from someone who has been there and has lost the weight herself vs those who have never known what it is to be overweight but think they have all the answers for fixing your problems. During the course of the book, Hobbs reveals pieces of her own story to allow readers to connect with her. Stories of feeling defeated and dwelling on mistakes made in the past are definitely things that I can relate to! Hobbs encourages the reader to forget about mistakes that have been made in the past (that oops from yesterday) and focus on what you can do today and then celebrate your accomplishment. Maybe you only walked for 5 minutes today, but if that's 5 minutes more than you walked yesterday, that's an accomplishment. Celebrate it. Then do it again tomorrow. The main point Hobbs makes sounds too simple to be true, but it really stuck with me. All you have to do is tell yourself that you'll make a simple change for 24 hours. You can do anything for 24 hours. Then the next day you have to get up and do it again for another 24 hours. I also really enjoyed that Hobbs made a point to tell readers to celebrate each and every accomplishment, no matter how small. Overall, if you are someone who has struggled with finding the motivation to lost weight and keep it off, I would highly recommend this book. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

2012 Reading Challenge

Well, after missing my Reading Challenge last year by only a couple books, I decided to give it a go again this year.  Unfortunately, I haven't been blogging much lately.  My goal is to blog more this year and actually reach my goal.  At the moment, I'm only at 15 of 50 books, which means I'm about 9 books behind.  I need to get a move on!  Look for some new blog posts soon!

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Desi has read 15 books toward her goal of 50 books.