The Governess of Highland Hall

Turansky, Carrie. The Governess of Highland Hall. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books. 2013.

SUMMARY:
governess When Julia Foster returns from missionary work in India, she needs to find employment to support her mother and father. Though only intending the governess position for which she applies to be temporary, several situations may change her mind (including the dashing Sir William Ramsey, master of Highland Hall)…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Never having read a book by Carrie Turansky before this one, I am now convinced I will definitely read more from this author (not to mention hopefully a sequel to Highland Hall). I liked the style in which the novel was written, the light romance which pursued and especially appreciated the Christian approach to life in which the Governess Julia lived (even through the tough times whereabouts we can all struggle). Very well done; very much enjoyed.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Governess of Highland Hall from Waterbrook Press Publishing for my honest review*

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Harriet Beamer Strikes Gold

Magnin, Joyce. Harriet Beamer Strikes Gold. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2013.

SUMMARY:
HarrietHarriet Beamer recently moved across the country to live with her son and daughter-in-law. Harriet’s son eagerly suggested she find friends in the area to help her become comfortable; however, Harriet found more than friends. Harriet befriends a young girl and her father – yet, she also takes on so much more than she ever bargained for. Suddenly, Harriet is swept away in an unforgettable journey that all starts with a gold mine…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Harriet Beamer is such an adorable character, the readers will be left wishing they could meet her in person. Of course, Harriet’s trusty side-kick, the Basset Hound Humphrey, seals the deal (just check out the darling cover). When taken as a fast, light read, the novel is filled with humor, adventure and just a touch of mystery; however, it can become choppy at times within the dialogs exchanged. Overall, the novel will leave the reader hoping for another book in the series. (This particular novel is not the first in the series.) Definitely a story to enjoy this summer yet.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Harriet Beamer Strikes Gold from BookSneeze and Zondervan for my honest review*

Introducing the newest member of Savurbks…

blazeMeet our newest Savurbks blog book reviewer…Blaze (a rescued eight-month-old German Shepard/ Great Pyrenees mix). Blaze has eagerly been “devouring” the books (via chewing corners of library books) and “savoring” the books (via drooling on the pages). His favorite genre is “doggy cooking”; thus, the reason my freezer is full of frozen Kong toys, liverwurst treats and peanut butter (aka a “Doggy Delicatessen”).

Just wanted to let you know that Savurbks is still reading and reviewing books (without the chew and drool) albeit just a little slower.

Would love to hear any puppy stories you may share; I know I will have more time in the future to read again (right?).

Ashton Park

Pura, Murry. Ashton Park: The Danforths of Lancashire. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2013.

SUMMARY:
ashton Set in the early 1900s during WWI, Sir William and Lady Elizabeth Danforth, along with their seven adult children, reside in Ashton Park estate in Lancashire, England. Meanwhile, downstairs in the estate, lives the many household staff and servants. Through turmoil, adventure, romance, drama, heartache and social class interaction, the Danforths experience life to the fullest (albeit not always the easy life of high society).

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though I did manage to keep the cast straight, upon opening the book, I found a list of the many characters involved in the novel which could have served as a helpful reference. Perhaps due to the sheer volume, I did not ever really connect to the individuals in the story; as a result, I found myself having trouble relating to the book. The descriptions of the area were picturesque yet the writing itself struck me as a bit stuffy (maybe due to the privileged society within?). Although Ashton Park may resonate with fans of the Downton Abbey Series on PBS, it was not a genre which I thoroughly enjoyed. Watch for a sequel to the Danforths of Lancashire.

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Ashton Park from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

101 Portraits of Jesus in the Hebrew Scriptures

101 portBeasley, Robert C. 101 Portraits of Jesus in the Hebrew Scriptures. Hendersonville, NC: Living Stone Books. 2008.

SUMMARY:

Through his extensive knowledge of the Bible, author Bob Beasley ((a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary as well as an ordained elder), mixes scriptures and personal experiences to relate Jesus as forthcoming in the Old Testament. Set-up as a devotional/ Bible Study, Bob Beasley explores the Bible showing how Jesus appears in many ways, on many pages of the Old Testament.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
The author did a wonderful job of designing this book to make it a quick, informative, spiritual read. Each of the 101 readings shows how Jesus was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. Having included personal experiences from his own life, Bob Beasley also gently guides the reader to see how Jesus is interwoven throughout the Bible and our lives. Each brief reading is only 2 pages in length making it an opportune book to read in busy life. Though good as a stand-alone study, this book would make a great Bible Study for a group to explore as it presents many opportunities for further discussion and growth.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of 101 Portraits of Jesus in the Hebrew Scriptures from the author for my honest review*

The Journal

Harlow, Beth. The Journal. CrossLink Publishing. 2013.

SUMMARY:
journalThe journal is just that…a journal that starts in 1861 as Mary’s fiance heads off to war. The little notebook is written in throughout the next 4 years spanning several of the battles within the Civil War. The memoir changes possession many times – even crossing rivalry lines. The soldiers share their thoughts, feelings, facts and personal situations about life, the battles and God as the journal continues to progress between hands.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
The actual book even reminded me of a journal…it was thinner in size and only contained 62 pages. The set-up of the book appeared as if a real journal organized by dates with entries following. Though the visual assembly was inviting and the premise was very intriguing, I found myself drifting as I continued to browse the dated accounts. I found the transitions of the journal writers to be a bit confusing as I it took a bit to grasp the style. Although difficult to follow, I discovered and appreciated the relationships (friend and/ or foe) between the contributors. Short and long musings about the battles and faith helped the book to move albeit some of the longer entries seemed a bit unrealistic and uncohesive.

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Journal from BookCrash and CrossLink Publishing for my honest review*

Jasmine

Ashley, Diane T. and McCarver Aaron. Jasmine. Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing, Inc. 2013.

SUMMARY:
JasmineJasmine must face the return of her childhood friend, David Foster, whose return is complicated by past and present misunderstandings. Adding to the emerging chaos is the appearance of a mysterious actor who opens doors for Jasmine to enter the world of theater. Much to Jasmine’s sisters’ deep concern, the stage is not always what it appears to be. Jasmine’s relationships must face the ultimate tests as she stumbles into a theater that contains sinister secrets.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
The novel’s premise promises New Orleans adventure. The beginning opens with a fast start by garnering reader interest as new characters and major dilemmas are introduced. However, once nearing the middle section of the novel, the action slows. The reader is left with the desire for something to propel the story forward. For readers that have an interest in the theater, the novel will not disappoint. The pages are filled with descriptions of sets, costumes, rehearsals and an occasional Shakespearean quote.

MY RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a free copy of Jasmine from NetGalley and Barbour Publishing, Inc in exchange for my honest review*