Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Meeting Place (Song of Acadia, #1) by Janette Oke & T. Davis Bunn

The Meeting Place (Song of Acadia, #1)
By: Janette Oke & T. Davis Bunn

Published: April, 1999
Published by: Bethany House Publishers
Format Read: Kobo, eBook
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

Rating: 4/5
♥♥♥♥

Synopsis

A Chance Encounter Forever Changed Their Lives–and Destinies.
Crafted by two masters of inspirational fiction–Janette Oke and T. Davis Bunn–and combining the engaging historical settings, rich characterization, and heartwarming messages quintessential to both authors, The Meeting Place is another timeless story for you to cherish.

Set along the rugged coastline of 18th century Canada in what was then called Acadia (now Nova Scotia and New Brunswick), The Meeting Place re-creates a world that was home to native Indians, French settlers, and English garrisons. Such diverse populations did not live in accord, however. Instead, they were isolated within their own groups by a brewing political tension under the difficult English rule.

Amid such chaotic times two women, both about to become brides and both trying to live lives of quiet peace, meet in a lush field of wildflowers. Louisa, a Frenchwoman, and Catherine, who is English, continue to meet secretly through the seasons, sharing both friendship and growing faith.

The outside world does not mirror their own tranquil happiness, and the dreaded crackdown by the English throne threatens far more than their growing bond. In the face of a heart-wrenching dilemma, Louisa and Catherine strive to maintain their faith and cling to their dreams of family and home.
Winner of the Christy Award, presented by the Christian Bookseller Association to honor the best in Christian fiction.

My Thoughts

Janette Oke is an author with a list of books so long, its hard to know where to start. My first introduction to her books was with Where Trust Lies (Return to the Canadian West, #2) and since then I have been very eager to read more.

I began The Meeting Place with high expectations and definitely wasn’t disappointed. Beginning in 1753, it follows the budding, forbidden friendship between two young women; a French Acadian and an English Colonialist. They learn that despite their different cultures and their warring homelands, they had much in common. The way they built their bond around their Bible study was really quite beautiful.  There were so many passages that I marked to re-read and savor. Strength was a common theme in the Meeting Place, especially when hardships ensued. Catherine and Louisa drew strength from their husbands, their cultures, faith and especially their friendship.

While the cast of characters was interesting, it was the setting that really captured me. My pre-confederation education didn’t exactly shine a light on the British’s expulsion of the Acadian’s, so this era in our history is a fairly new interest of mine. The descriptions of the highland glen, the maritime local and the different seasons the story spanned draws the reader in and plays with their senses. After having the opportunity to visit  Fort Louisburg in Nova Scotia, I was able to vividly picture the landscape and what life was like during that time period. I was pleasantly surprised when that very place was mentioned in this book, as it gave me a better understanding of the different locations mentioned.

The Meeting Place is a wonderful story filled with heartbreak and hope. I would highly recommend it to those who enjoy Christian historical fiction and I very much look forward to reading the second book in the Song of Acadia series.

Notable Quotes

“A man was either French or English, and though villages were but a stone’s throw from one another, most inhabitants would go an entire lifetime without speaking to the other side.”

“The questions which had no answers were best left unspoken, and confessions were best whispered down a dark well at midnight.”

“It’s our meeting place. Our sanctuary. When we come here we come as equals. Women. Wives. Friends. We share the same dreams. The same hopes. We must not let others keep us enemies.”

Additional Notes

To read more about my trip to the Fortress of Louisbourg please visit my old blog: Melissa Lee’s Many Reads.

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Book Reviews · Recommendations

Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

Uncommon Type: Some Stories
By: Tom Hanks

Published: October, 2017
Published By: Alfred A. Knopf
Format Read: Hardcover, Library Book
Genre: Short Stories, Fiction

Rating: 2.5/5
♥♥.5

Synopsis

A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor.

A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game–and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heartwarming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have!

Featuring additional performances by Peter Gerety, Peter Scolari, Cecily Strong, Holland Taylor, and Wilmer Valderrama on “Stay With Us.”

My Thoughts

Uncommon Type is a collection of fictional stories that all have one thing in common; they mention typewriters in one way or another. Now the machines aren’t the main focus of the stories (with the exception of one), but they are weaved into the stories briefly to tie them together.

I admit that I picked up this book on a whim, out of curiosity, being a life long fan of Tom Hanks. Although I would also like to add that I didn’t begin it with the highest expectations, after reading the description. With a 2.5 star rating, it is safe to say that I definitely did not love this book.

I struggled to finish the first story, as it just didn’t interest me and I didn’t care for the characters. Thankfully the second would keep my attention more. However I found that a pattern formed, going from some interest to little as I continued reading.  There wasn’t a single short story that I would have given a rating over 3 stars.

My rating was based solely on my own personal interest in the content and not the ability of the author. Because in reality Tom Hanks isn’t a bad writer. Each story was authentic to Hank’s voice, his own interests and personality.

Unfortunately I think that I would have enjoyed an autobiography written by Tom Hanks, than this collection of short stories. However I would recommend it to others.

Currently Reading · Memes · Personal Post · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: March 2018

March 2018.jpg

Hello and welcome to my monthly wrap-up for the month of March.

I turned 31 years old on the first of the month. Unfortunately the flu went through my house and we had to post-pone my birthday celebration. Once we were all feeling better, we had a nice family dinner. My favourite part was receiving my first birthday card that said “Mom”.

Charlie turned 11 months old on the 19th. He is doing great and learning so much everyday. His current favourites include; monkeys, ABC Kids TV videos on Youtube and trying to copy everything his Pop does. This morning he will have his first visit from the Easter Bunny, along with a turkey dinner with family.

You may recall that several weeks ago, I posted a 21 Day Anxiety Challenge. Well the flu interrupted my progress, but I have completed some of the tasks, just not in the order listed on the image I shared. My progress with the challenge includes:

  • Spend 20 Minutes Outside. I’ve been going out on walks several times a week.
  • Get hydrated. I’ve been taking a water bottle where ever I go, that I sip on throughout the day.
  • Take a long bubble bath. Nothing calms me down like a relaxing bath, paired with a good book.
  • Snuggle with an animal. My cat Nova starts off his day with cuddles every morning.

I really hope to do some meditation and yoga during the month of April.

I’ve started to use my Instagram more during the month of March. If you would like to follow me click the link below:

https://www.instagram.com/melissaleesredhousereviews/

Books Completed

IMG_20180208_132414_905 (1).jpg

Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks
♥♥.5       2.5/5
Genre: Short Stories, Fiction

Everything She Lost by Alessandra Harris
♥♥    2/5
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense
Note: I was sent a copy of Everything She Lost by Alessandra Harris, from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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The Meeting Place (Song of Acadia, #1) by Janette Oke & T. Davis Bunn
♥♥♥♥         4/5
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 3
Total Number of Fiction: 3
Total Number of Non-fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 1
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 1
Total Library Books Read: 1

Formats Read:

Physical Books: 1
eBooks: 2
Audio Books: 0

Total Books Read in 2018: 7

Currently Reading

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter.

Links

Book Date

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Summer at Sunset (Summer, #2) by Beth Labonte

Summer at Sunset
(Summer, #2)
By: Beth Labonte

Published: December, 2018
Published By: Kindle Edition
Format Read: Kindle, eBook
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Rating: 3.5/5
♥♥♥.5

Synopsis

For Summer Hartwell, holding her and Graham’s wedding a thousand miles from home seemed like a good idea. Even if it is at a retirement community. How else could she avoid planning the wedding with her neurotic, anxiety-ridden mother? But with one week left to go and Summer’s parents arriving on the scene, things begin to quickly unravel. Between the swingers parties, the Viagra jokes, and the copious amount of alcohol, Summer’s not so sure her parents will make it out of there alive. Then there’s the matter of Graham being Grade A top choice meat to every woman over sixty-five, a few of whom Summer suspects of trying to sabotage the wedding!

Can Summer and Graham hold things together long enough to make it down the aisle?
(Synopsis from Goodreads)

 

My Thoughts

Summer at Sunset is a fun contemporary fiction that picks up 2 years after the first book in the series, Summer at Sea. Our main character is now engaged to be married and wins an all expenses paid wedding at her in-laws retirement community.

It was nice to be reunited with the quirky cast of characters, including Summer’s neurotic parents. Ironically she learns that she may not be all the different from them. You know what they say “like mother, like daughter.” We are also introduced to several of the residents from the retirement community, who are young at heart, enjoying their golden years in the Florida sun. Only their daily routines mirror more of a college fraternity than that of a rest and relaxation.

While I found it to be an enjoyable read, I didn’t rate it as high as Summer at Sea. I didn’t like the characters quite as much as I did upon their initial introduction to me. Although I found it perfectly understandable that she would be stressed out, I found Summer to be a bit annoying at times and I wasn’t a fan of her fiance. An inflated ego isn’t a trait that I find attractive at all. The conclusion of this story was more over the top, than I expected.

However I enjoy the way Beth Labonte weaves pop culture into her stories and the personalities of her characters. There were several laugh out loud moments and I especially enjoyed the visits to Disney World.

I look forward to the next installment in this series and I would recommend it to fans of contemporary chick-lit.

 

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres

Seriously… I’m Kidding
By: Ellen DeGeneres

Published: October, 2011
Published By: Grand Central Publishing
Format Read: Audio Book, Library Loaner, OverDrive
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir, Humor, Autobiography

Rating: 3/5
♥♥♥

Synopsis

Ellen Degeneres’ winning, upbeat candor has made her show one of the most popular, resilient and honored daytime shows on the air, and her life makes for great (and very funny) reading.

“I’ve experienced a whole lot the last few years and I have a lot to share. So I hope that you’ll take a moment to sit back, relax and enjoy the words I’ve put together for you in this book. I think you’ll find I’ve left no stone unturned, no door unopened, no window unbroken, no rug unvacuumed, no ivories untickled. What I’m saying is, let us begin, shall we?”

Seriously… I’m Kidding is a lively, hilarious, and often sweetly poignant look at the life of the much-loved entertainer as she opens up about her personal life, her talk show, and joining the judges table of American Idol.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Seriously… I’m Kidding has been on my to-read list for a while now. When it finally came available to borrow from my library I jumped at the chance to listen to the audio version.

Narrated by Ellen herself, this audio book was just like listening to the opening monologue on her talk show. I enjoyed her observations on the world around her and admire her for keeping her jokes clean. Unlike most comedians, Ellen’s humor is suitable for all ages.

Although an enjoyable listen, I did find some of the rambling to be a bit much and settled on a 3 star rating. I would recommend Seriously… I’m Kidding to fans of Ellen DeGeneres.

 

Book Reviews · Charlie's Corner · Recommendations

Charlie’s Corner: The Christmas Sweater: A Picture Book by Glenn Beck

Baby Boy!

Welcome to Charlie’s Corner, named after my little boy. Here I will share baby/children’s product and book reviews.

So I admit that for his first Christmas, Charlie got a little bit spoiled. Whenever anyone asked me what they could get him, I always say that books are a fail-safe idea. So he got quite a few to add to his collection.

One of my personal favourites that he received was The Christmas Sweater: A Picture Book by Glenn Beck.

The Christmas Sweater: A Picture Book
By: Glenn Beck
Illustrated by: Brandon Dorman

Published: October 2009
Published by: Aladdin Paperbacks
Format Read: Hardcover, Picture Book

Rating: 5/5
♥♥♥♥♥

Synopsis

The Christmas Sweater is a children’s picture book which was adapted from Glenn Beck’s novel by the same name. It follows a boy who dreams of getting a new bicycle for Christmas. He is disappointed when he is given a new sweater instead.

My Thoughts

My family and I enjoyed reading this Christmas story over the holidays. It has a wonderful moral that any age can resonate with. Brandon Dorman’s illustrations had a vintage feel that were quite beautiful and captivating. I would recommend The Christmas Sweater to young and old. I look forward to reading the full novel this book was based on.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah

Comfort and Joy
By Kristin Hannah

Published: October, 2006
Published By: Ballantine Books
Format Read: eBook, Kobo
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Rating: 4/5
♥♥♥♥

Synopsis
High school librarian Joy Candellaro is just merely existing in the wake of a divorce. Then her entire existence is rocked when she learns that her own sister is pregnant with her ex-husbands baby. In a fit of desperation she flees looking for an escape from reality. On a whim she buys a plane ticket for a chartered flight that would take her deep into the Olympic rain-forest in the American Pacific Northwest.

My Thoughts

Comfort and Joy has a premise that may sound overly familiar to fans of cheesy Christmas movies. However this is not a happy, fuzzy holiday story, but one that is melancholy and ripe with tragedy.

Kristin Hannah’s descriptions were very vivid and beautiful. The lodge that Joy finds herself at reminded me in some ways, of William Paul Young’s The Shack, which is one of my favourite novels. The bond she would form with Bobby (son of the lodges owner) was really quite sweet and endearing.

Although this book wasn’t one that I absolutely loved, there were two main points that kept me reading and in turn factored into my 4 star rating. 1: I was able to really relate to Joy on a personal level. The emotions she felt as a result of her heartbreak really hit close to home for me. And 2. There were several passages that made me stop and reflect. Below I have included some of those quote that caught my attention.

I would recommend Comfort and Joy to those who enjoy contemporaries and fans of Kristin Hannah.

Notable Quotes

“I’m dreaming again for the first time in years, and it feels good.”

“This is my resolution for the New Year. I will be honest with myself. I’ll keep my eyes open. I’ll see what’s there, not just what I want to see.”

“..the silence has been like the in-drawn breath before a scream”

“It’s amazing how quickly a bone can heal. If only the heart were as durable. A little plaster, two months of bed rest, and voila! your broken heart is mended.”

Currently Reading · Memes · Recommendations

Currently Reading: February 11, 2018

Posting a quick update to record my reading progress.

We are currently snowed in here. Over the past couple of days we just got dumped on and its really quite beautiful. Driving in it isn’t very fun though. Does anyone else enjoy shoveling snow? I do! Too bad my heart doesn’t agree, so I have to really limit myself. It makes me miss the days of my childhood where I’d spend the day outside sledding, building snow forts and snowmen. Ah those were the days.

Does anyone remember Crazy Carpet sleds? They are also known as Flying Carpets..

I had so much fun with these as a kid, but man were they ever hard on the knees.

Now lets talk books..

My Reading Progress


I finally finished my re-read of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This is as far as I’ve ever read in the series, however I plan to remedy that in the months to come. I’m looking forward to continuing the series, but I’m kind of worried I won’t be into the remaining books like I was the first 4. Did anyone else have this problem with the HP series? I enjoyed The Goblet of Fire, but the third book still remains my favourite. It surprised me how much of the plot I had forgotten. So in a way it was kind of like reading it for the first time.

Currently Reading


I’ve made great progress with these two books. I hope to finish off Ellen’s book tonight and Beth Labonte’s later in the week.

What are you all reading? Leave me a message in the comments.

Happy reading.

Links


Hosted by: Book Date

Memes · Recommendations

Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Books I Really Liked, but Can’t Remember Much About


Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today I will share with you some books that I liked, but can’t remember much about. Perhaps its time for some re-reads..

1. The Hidden Life (Amish Quilt, #2) by Adina Senft

2. Appalachian Serenade (Appalachian Blessings 0.5) by Sarah Loudin Thomas

3. The Queen (The Selection, 0.4) by Kiera Cass

4. Breaking the Story (Scottie’s Adventures, #1) by Ashley Farley

5. Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin

6. The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

7. My Canary Yellow Star by Eva Wiseman

8. The Castle in the Attic (The Castle in the Attic,#1) by Elizabeth Winthrop

9. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

10. Random Passage (Random Passage, #1) by Bernice Morgan

Recommendations · Wrap-ups

2017 Recap: In the Stars

Check out the books I read, reviewed and rated in 2017.

January

Books Completed: 2

5 Stars

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

3.5 Stars
Skeletons in the Attic (Marketville Mystery. #1) by Judy Penz Sheluk 

February

Books Completed: 3

4 Stars

 Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware

3 Stars
The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4) by Rick Riordan 

March

Books Completed: 2

4 Stars

The Empress Holds the Key (Jack Rogan Mysteries, #1) by Gabriel Farago

3 Stars
A Vote for Murder (Murder, She Wrote, #22) by Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain, 

April

Books Completed: 1

3.5 Stars

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

May

Books Completed: 2

3.5 Stars

No Safe Harbor (Edge of Freedom, #1) by Elizabeth Ludwig

1.5 Stars
The Littlest Cowboy (The Texas Brands #1) by Maggie Shayne

June

Books Completed: 2

3.5 Stars

If You’re Gone by Brittany Goodwin

3 Stars
The Little Shadows by Marina Endicott 

July

Books Completed: 3

5 Stars

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas 

4 Stars
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
The Day the  Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

August

Books Completed: 4

4 Stars

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by JK Rowling
The Hangman (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #6.5) by Louise Penny

3 Stars
The Islands of Doctor Thomas by Franchoise Enguehard
The Luxe (Luxe, #1) by Anna Godbersen 

September

Books Completed: 1

3 Stars

The Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson

 

October

Books Completed: 3

4 Stars

The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo

 

2.5 Stars
Start Without Me by Joshua Max Feldman

Not Rated
Newfie, Come Home! by David Belisle

November

Books Completed: 3

4 Stars

Down, Then Up: A Novella by Beth Labonte

 

3.5 Stars
The Measure of Katie Calloway (Michigan Northwoods,#1) by Serena B. Miller
The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas 

December

Books Completed: 2

4 Stars

Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah

 

3 Stars
Plum Lovin’ (Stephanie Plum #12.5) by Janet Evanovich