Sharing new authors, books, movies, and products with you is such a joy! If you are looking for homeschooling reviews from a transparent relaxed learning eclectic lifestyle with two active middle school boys - - you may enjoy my main blog - .

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Where Lilacs Still Bloom, a book for my Nature Lovin’ Bloggers

Have I ever mentioned that Jane Kirkpatrick is my number one favorite writer? And not just because she’s friends with my high school volley ball coach. And not because she moved from her homestead to Bend, Oregon. And not just because I got to listen to her speak a time or two in Central Oregon. But because she is a fascinating historian and story teller.

Where Lilacs Bloom is a great example of how it starts.  Someone knows of a really great story, about a woman, who did things no one did at the time.  They give the information bit by bit to Jane, until she’s hooked and passionate about it, and then she feeds us the passion. One thing that makes a great read for me, is when my eyes are opened to something I did not know previously, when it sparks passion in my own heart, when it makes me want to learn more about the area or person, and when I’ve left the book feeling like I’ve gained wisdom or insight from reading and learning about the story. I’ve visited towns and museums mentioned in her books. I’ve met a few of the people mentioned as well. Thrilling.

This book – Where Lilacs Still Bloom – Weaves a tale of a woman who loved to garden. But not just gardening, horticulture.  She had challenging goals of finding a sweeter crisper apple, deepening the color of a daffodil, and creating a white lilac with seven petals – to name a few.  This was during a time when man really wasn’t encouraged to change what God had created. Especially during a time when women needed to be baking bread and mending socks.

I really enjoyed a quote on page 41: “I was doing something simple housewives didn’t do and, even more salacious, taking pleasure in it.”  This is how I feel as a photographer and blogger.  I feel the sting from other ladies as well as men, as they try to judge my time online. Judge my time as a homeschool mom. Wonder about how much time the boys and I enjoy nature. But I know that these passions must be pursued. I know that I still can have a delicious meal on the table, the laundry sorted, the math work done, and have a wonderful time in the canoe taking photos of birds in the morning after Facebook time with my online gal pals.

So many of my friends that do support my time outside with a camera – question the amount of time spent, giving excuses of why they lack the time or desire. I enjoyed what Jane wrote on page 78: “Beauty matters, Bertha; it does.  God gave us flowers for a reason. I think so we’d pay attention to the details of creation and remember to trust Him in all things big or little, no matter what the challenge.  Flowers remind us to put away fear, to stop our rushing and running and worrying about this and that, and for a moment have a piece of paradise right here on earth.” I can’t tell you how the Lord speaks to me through my gardening. I have not done a lot of it these past two years, just upkeep, but the morning lessons – of planning and planting. Weeding and watering. Harvesting and preserving. Seeing the cycle continue each year. The unexpected among the faithful fruits.

I enjoyed following Mrs. Klager from her youth to her passing. Of watching a life lived out, the sweet, painful, triumphant, celebrated life. I lead a pretty open life online, and in real life. Especially in our home now, which is a retreat to many, my policy is to keep the door open to visitors, whoever comes and needs rest will find it. Mrs. Klager had the same idea of whoever wanted to visit could come. Sometimes it is hard, the people who come and go. The moving with Darren’s job is hard, and I feel the loss of friends who drift as circumstances change, which brings me to my third favorite quote from the book:

Page 303: “The years passed like a good story, swiftly, full of momentum and change, characters coming in to warm us, set us straight, drifting in and out of our lives but knowing they were part of the story line, hoping it wouldn’t end but taking us there anyway.”

If you are looking to really dig deep – into a great book – I suggest anything written by Jane Kirkpatrick. My favorite, of course, would be A Gathering of Finches, a wonderful historical fiction of my home town/area of Coos County.  Even with all of the historical information I knew of our great town, I never ‘met’ the grandparents of my friends so closely as in this book.  Or Homestead, Jane’s own non fiction of her home in Eastern Oregon. Or another favorite of a Portrait of the Heart series learning of a young woman breaking into the mans world of photography, or her books about Aurora, in the Change and Cherish series.

And if you ever get a chance to attend a book signing, you will leave feeling fuller than when you came. The ones I’ve attended have felt like a mini retreat. The wisdom and grace and humility – I could go on – but this is a review about a book –but then, aren’t books an extension of the person who writes them? Jane’s stories are books worth purchasing. You’ll want to pass it along, or build a great bookshelf – I highly recommend them!

  • Where Lilacs Still BloomAuthor's Web Site
  • More Info
  • Read Chapter One
  • Author Bio



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

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    The Forgiven Duke, A Giveway and Review

    Forgiven DukeThe Forgiven Duke by Jamie Carie
    (releases July 2012)


    This is the Second book in a Three book series.  The first , The Guardian Duke, took a bit for me to jump into, possibly because my schedule was incredibly full during that time. Yet, once I got into it, it was a very interesting quick read. I had read other places that they are sad that this is a 3 part book, that the second of a series is seldom necessary.  I couldn’t agree less! This book picks up from the page of the last, she wastes little time re-introducing the story, and we are off traveling the world on the adventure of finding Alexandria’s parents. Already familiar with the characters and their desires and quirks, the reader is just there for the ride.  She keeps enough turns in the storyline to where you never really ‘figure out how it will end’. I loaned a copy of The Guardian Duke to a young friend and she finished it in an evening. It was the same day I started The Forgotten Duke, and I finished it in less than 24 hours.  Now, I am on the edge of my seat to see what happens next.  As these characters are all treasure hunters, it would be my desire to have many more adventures. My heart is both anticipating the third installment, and sad that I might then see Alexandria go .  . . .

    Spoiler: I will give a disclaimer to young readers for this book – Alexandria strings along a young man, pretending to be betrothed to him, so that she may travel.  There is a point in the story where the young man may or may not have taken advantage of her. In the text, she drinks a tea that puts her to sleep. She wakes up in her gown, and the young man is not clothed, although there is no physical description of his body. There is tension in the story line as to whether or not Alexandria might be with child.  Knowing this, I think it would be a good talking point of a mom with her daughter, to explain trusting a guardian. Trusting those around you. Asking for help. And Never. Never promise yourself to a young man whom you are not intending to give heart soul and body. I do not think liberties were taken to make any part of this story sensual at all – but I think Parents should be aware that a “rape” scene is there, no matter how little words were used.

    About the Book:

    Tethered by her impulsive promise to marry Lord John Lemon - the path of least resistance - Alexandria Featherstone sets off toward Iceland in search of her parents with a leaden heart. A glimpse of her guardian, the Duke of St. Easton - the path less traveled by - on Dublin’s shore still haunts her.

    Will he come after her? Will he drag her back to London, quelling her mission to rescue her treasure-seeking parents, or might he decide to throw caution to the wind and choose Foy Pour Devoir: “Faith for Duty,” the St. Easton motto. The Featherstone motto Valens et Volens: “Willing and Able,” beats in her heart and thrums through her veins. She will find her parents and find their love, no matter the cost.

    The powerful yet wing-clipped Duke of St. Easton has never known the challenge that has become his life since hearing his ward’s name. Alexandria Featherstone will be the life or the death of him. Only time and God’s plan will reveal just how much this man can endure for the prize of love.

    About the Author:

    When she was six, Jamie’s parents met Jesus and soon after started a church. It changed everything.

    Road trips with her dad—to and from Bible studies across Indiana—were filled with talks of things beyond earth’s bounds – creation and the fall, God and Jesus and the rapture, the earthly walk compared to the spiritual walk, and how we are born for more than what we can see or touch.

    The highlight of those nights was stopping at a truck stop in the middle of the night where her dad would spend a little of the offering basket on two slices of pie and a couple of Cokes. Nothing ever felt so special as a middle of the night slice of pie with her dad. And nothing could stop the writing pouring out of her.

    As Jamie’s relationship with God grew, she discovered her heart was filled with songs and poetry. During high school she wrote lyrics for her brother’s band. (And she sang them too!) After college, Jamie married, had two sons and decided to stay home with them. While she homeschooled she wrote skits, poems, plays and short stories for school and church.

    When her eldest son turned five she dove into the world of novels. She’d read romance novels for years, but couldn’t relate to the flawless, saintly heroines in Christian romance novels. So she decided to write her own.

    Snow Angel was born on a frosty night in an old farmhouse in Fishers, Indiana, where the cold floor gave plenty of motivation for the snow scene. Jamie loves to write late at night when the house is quiet and the darkness seems alive. Elizabeth and Noah had been playacting in her head for a long time, so the story went fast.

    Ten years later Snow Angel was published and won the ForeWord magazine Romance Book of the Year winner, was a National “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and a 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. It was the beginning of her dream career.

    Jamie and her husband Tony have been married for twenty-one years and live in Indianapolis with their three sons and a giant of a dog named Leo.

    If she could only say one thing to her readers it would be, “Live the dreams God has destined you for!”

    “Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

    Leave a comment to be entered to win a free copy of The Forgiven Duke!