What I have been reading...

Trema's bookshelf: read

Messenger
Gathering Blue
Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood
The Giver
Graveminder
Child of Grace
Survivor
Homefront
The Silent Girl: A Novel
Schooled
The One Who Waits for Me
Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy
Room
The Blind in Darkness
Haunted Kids: True Ghost Stories (Haunted Kids)
Like the Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918


Trema's favorite books »
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

I'm still here...

     I really am! I promise. It's just there are also 3,4, sometimes 5 children, a dog, a husband and a sink full of dishes that are also HERE. My point? I'll get back to it when I can. Or more honestly, when I have the time and sanity to read, think, and then actually sit down to write a decent review that I consider blog worthy. I have been reading some great books. Just not as fast or as focused as I was before they bay bay # 3 arrived. Here is a quick list of some of the books I've read and enjoyed. They aren't in any specific order of when I read them or how much I enjoyed them. Just random... like most of my life :)

1.The Spanish Queen by Carolly Erickson

2. Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens

3.The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

4.The King's Daughter by Sandra Worth

5.Darkness Peering by Alice Blanchard

p.s. These links will all take you to GOODREADS My favorite freebie, go to, get some book recommendations, quotes, fellow book lovers, contests, etc.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Real Marriage

Real Marriage: 
The Truth about
 Sex, Friendship, and Life Together
by 
Mark & Grace Driscoll

Quote:" The greatest gift a grace a man can have is a pious, God-fearing, home-loving wife, whom he can trust with all his goods, body, and life itself, as well as having her as the mother of his children." ~ Martin Luther pg 23

Started: March 4, 2013
Finished: March 14, 2013
Hardcover/249 pages

From the cover:
Traveling the world, raising five kids, speaking to thousands, Pastor Mark Driscoll and his wife, Grace, don't live in a bubble. They know we live in a " hook-up, shack up, and break up" culture. They've seen the divorce rates, heard the sexual abuse statistics, they've been statistics themselves. All of which makes them realistic and sympathetic.
But that's not why we are qualified to write this book.
Mark and Grace know and respect God's Word, and they've experienced it's power to transform their marriage. Today, In this culture. Those are their qualifications.
Unflinchingly honest and direct, they describe God's plan for marriage, explain how it has changed their marriage, and dive into the issues that keep us from it, including a lack of friendship in marriage, previous sexual abuse, and the use of pornography. and you'll find the answers to some sex-related questions that you just can't ask your own pastor.
If you want the straight truth wrapped in the grace of the gospel, read this book. If you're asking questions you think the church would never answer, open the pages. And if you're not sure lifelong soul-mates are even possible in the 21st century, read and be encouraged by what the grace and power of God can do for your marriage.

My Review:
I absolutely loved this book. It was so well written, wonderfully descriptive and truly honest. I know, little by little and through God's grace this book is and will continue to be a blessing to myself and my marriage.
No matter how many or how few issues you feel your marriage has, this book can and probably will help you and your spouse in some way!
The book is divided into specific topic chapters. 
1.New Marriage, Same Spouse
2.Friend with Benefits
3. Men and Marriage
4. The Respectful Wife
5. Taking out the Trash 
and so on.
This book covers everything from porn obsession and how it can destroy a marriage to what is the difference between lawful and helpful.(Just because you CAN do it, doesn't mean you should. Is it helpful to YOUR specific marriage?)
It uses reference to scripture in almost every question or subject(which I LOVED). It gives tons of helpful statistics, testimonies and study results to help you understand better.
This book shows you right from wrong, how to prioritize(take out the trash) and how to be open, honest and start over from any stage of marriage.
You learn tips, prayers and methods to slowly, gradually transform your marriage into what God had planned for you and your spouse! It even has a "plan" for you to set up and use as a guideline for goals, dreams and things you want to accomplish as a married couple.( How can we get where we want to be next week, year, in 5 years?)
I highly recommend this book to any Christian couples. No matter how wonderful you think your own marriage is, everyone can benefit from this book!
Definitely 5 stars*****

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review: The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Quote: " A little longer, and thou needest not to be afraid to trace whose child she is. But how strangely beautiful she looks, with those wild-flowers in her hair!"` Hester pg. 186

Started: Feb.20, 2013
Finished: March 1, 2013
paperback/ 247 pages

From the cover:
Hailed by Henry James as " the finest piece of imaginative writing yet put forth in the country," Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter  reaches to our nation's historical and moral roots for the material of great tragedy. Set in an early New England colony, the novel shows the terrible impact a single, passionate act has on the lives of three members of the community: the defiant Hester Prynne; the fiery, tortured Reverend Dimmesdale; and the obsessed, vengeful Chillingworth.
With The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne became the first American novelist to forge from Puritan heritage a universal classic, a masterful exploration of humanity's unending struggle with sin, guilt, and pride.

My Review:
I loved the story and the how the book teaches us somewhat about how society treated sins. I wasn't thrilled with the writing style. I felt like the whole Introductory threw me off into what the story was actually about. I wasn't interested in that much detail about Hawthorne himself. Also, this version/print is categorized a teen read and honestly, I do not feel any teen would have read the first 45 pages of how Hawthorne became who he was and why he wrote a story such.
On to The Scarlet Letter. My impression as a whole was that it was...sad.
Sad, and tragic.
Hester, while feeling she had made the only choice she could after her "sin" was committed, put herself more so into a place of isolation and loneliness. By choosing not to reveal who her husband truly was or her lover(father of the baby) she set herself up for more heartache. I realize times were much different than today, but I can't help but feel she caused her own burden and with it a distance from her own child. She seemed to use the child as a punishment rather than a blessing and I cannot agree with that at all.
I detested Chillingworth. He was selfish, whiny and too woe is me. Dimmsesdale didn't fair much better, in my opinion. What a coward! All because he wanted to save his own reputation and ego. How could he live within the same community, seeing them so often and never acknowledge what part he had played??? How could he let Hester take all the shame and responsibility on herself and watch his own child become the next generation of target to those who knew?
Shame on him!
3 stars* for Hawthorne's, The Scarlet Letter


Review: The Last Sin Eater

The Last Sin Eater
by Francine Rivers

Quote: " Of myself, I'm saying nothing. I'm telling you what the man of God told us. There is only one Lamb of God, and he is Jesus Christ. We've no need of a scapegoat anymore. We need him." ~ Fagan pg. 247
Started: Feb.6, 2013
Finished: Feb. 19, 2013
paperback/ 324 pages

From the cover:
All that matters for Cadi Forbes is finding the one man who can set her free from the sin that plagues her days and nights... the sin that has stolen her mother's love from her and made her wish she could flee life and its terrible justice.
She knows it's forbidden, that doing so will bring curses down on her- but something deep and instinctive moves her, against all dire warnings, to find the "sin eater".
Before their journeys are over, Cadi and the sin eater must face themselves, each other- and the One who will demand all from them in exchange for the answers they seek.

My Review:
This is my first Francine Rivers read. I did like this book, however I did not love it. While it is considered an adult, Christian novel I found the book as a whole too drawn out as if the author really thought we needed so much repetition to hold our suspense and keep us reading. To me, it was dragged out into what could have been a great story if wrapped up in 200 or less pages. It seemed like I should have been reading aloud to my 9 year old and asking questions at the end of each chapter. e.i. "Do you understand why this and this happened?" 
Maybe it is because the story is mostly told from Cadi's point of view. I'm not sure.
Again, it had the most wonderful message, just not written to make the story "wow" me personally.
4 Stars* simply for the message aspect.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Review: Garden Spells

Garden Spells
by 
Sarah Addison Allen

Quote: " and no one forced it on you. In fact, you ran as far away as you could from it and no one stopped you."~ Claire  pg.90
“You are who you are, whether you like it or not, so why not like it?” 

Started: Jan. 30, 2013
Finished: Feb. 5, 2013
447 pages/ paperback- large print edition

From the cover:
The Waverleys have always been a curious family, outsiders in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its prophetic fruit and edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.
 A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants. She and her elderly cousin, Evanelle, are the last of the Waverleys-except for Claire's rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could. When Sydney suddenly returns home, Claire's quiet life is turned upside down. Together they must deal with their common legacy-if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom- or with each other. Enchanting and heartfelt, this novel is sure to cast a spell with a style all its own...

My Review:
I am liking Miss Sarah Addison-Allen more and more after each book I read of hers. Garden Spells is a fresh take on Practical Magic. Hoping there is no plagiarism intended...It was very close to this story. Two sisters who couldn't be more different, a mother that died while they were young, and of course a little bit of magic in the mix of things. Claire is the practical, guarded-heart while Sydney is the rebellious wild-child. Each have their own issues, fears and insecurities they must find a way to overcome. 
Anyway, it was such a good book. I loved all the characters. Each one was so well written and created. I would love to see this and also The Peach Keeper made into movies. 
The message I got from this book is, to be yourself. Don't let others determine how you feel about yourself and also that family is most likely your best asset.
I will definitely recommend this book to several friends!
Way to go Sarah Addison Allen!
5 stars*

Review: One Breath Away

One Breath Away
by 
Heather Gudenkauf

Quote: " I saw one girl just about to climb out of the window. I don't know what, but something made her change her mind." ~ Meg   pg. 165

Started: Jan. 24, 2013
Finished: Jan. 29, 2013
paperback/370 pages

From the cover:
In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.
Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town's children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.
As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of broken branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.

My review:
I love Heather Gudenkauf and have read her other two books. I have to say this was my least favorite of her books. I kept feeling like this story was split. Not into the five characters as it was meant to be but rather it felt like two completely different stories in one book. I did not like Holly's character at all. First of all other than her children being with her father back in her home town there was really no point to her character at all. For these reasons, 1) Girl hates home, leaves. what does that/she have anything to do with the school hostage situation? Her not agreeing with her father's ways/lifestyle has nothing to do with the events that happened in the school. 2) Her lifestyle and choices don't either. How does her whole "chapter" about her sexual drive or partners tie into a school stand off??
I will say my favorite character was Mrs. Oliver. She showed true "character" throughout the book. I loved her courage and determination towards the safety of her students. She was level headed, clever , and always thinking of others first. which is what I would ideally want for my children's teacher to be.
Also, this book was a little to predictable for me. We see fairly quickly that "gunman" may be threatening and mean enough to knock a few people around, but he wasn't ready to start firing. Even after several chances. There were too many signs throughout the book that for me pretty much gave away any suspense or chance of thinking it was someone else.
I gave One Breath Away 3 stars*



Monday, February 4, 2013

Review: Before The Poison

Before The Poison
by Peter Robinson

Quote: "Well, let's face it, the place is hardly a cottage, and it is rather remote, isn't it? Talk about Wurthering Heights or Bleak House. And it's not a great spot for farming. Then... Do you know much about it, yourself?" ~ Ted  pg. 71

Started: Jan. 17, 2013
Finished: Jan. 24, 2013
hardcover/ 594 pages

From the cover:
After twenty-five years abroad in America, Chris Lowndes decides to return to the Yorkshire dales of his youth. The rambling old mansion he buys is charming, but something about it disturbs him- a feeling made ever stronger when he learns that the house was the scene of a murder more than fifty years before. The former owner, a prominent doctor named Ernest Arthur Fox, was supposedly poisoned by his beautiful and much younger wife, Grace. Arrested and brought to trial, Grace was found guilty and hanged for the crime.
 The more Chris discovers about the case, the more convinced he becomes that grace may have been innocent. Ignoring warnings to leave things alone, he sets out on a quest that takes him deep into the past and into a web of secrets that lie all too close to the present.

My Review:
I enjoyed the way this story was written. Jumping from present day 2010, back to the 1950's. It was broken up to give you details of the past and of the trial. Also we eventually get to read pages written in Grace's diary. 
 As Chris takes on a quest into finding out more about Grace Fox and who she was, Before the Poison, he finds out more about himself.  Maybe who he is can help him find what he's looking for and understand better who Grace was.
Loved the idea, liked the book. All in all, there may have been too much focus on what I considered "not important" parts and too little detail or understanding on the " big stuff".
I still gave it 3 stars*

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