Thursday, February 5, 2015

Book Review: Ties that Bind, C.J. Darlington

Product Details

Book Blurb: Newly released from prison, Brynn Taylor is determined to find her father; a man she’s never met. Her only clue to his whereabouts is the address she finds in a rare volume of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility which he inscribed to her years ago. Armed with a bus ticket, a backpack, and her grandfather’s gun, her search leads her to Elk Valley, Colorado where her plans and her life begin to unravel.

Brynn, a young homeless woman, hits bottom when she losses her mother and her friends. She searches for a father she’s never met to fulfill a request from her dying mother.

Ties that Bind Quote: Brynn turned away, her second-hand sneakers silently carrying her across the parking lot away from the huddle. Their happiness swirled around her, a slicing reminder there were no welcoming arms for her.

C.J. Darlington does a marvelous job of taking the reader through one woman’s search for family. I became riveted from page one and was right there when Brynn stepped into the outside and onto freedom.

Ties that Bind Quote: Ruth set down her coffee cup and slipped off her sweater. Before Brynn could stop her, she draped it over her back. “I’m plenty warm, chica.” It was a kind gesture from a sweet, old woman who was cutting her a break she didn’t deserve. Brynn felt her throat tighten.

I was there soaking up the ranch setting, where an old woman met Brynn at the door. The kind woman would bring Brynn closer to finding out about her father—and even so much more than she could have imagined.

Ties that Bind Quote: Brynn picked up a copy of Anne of Green Gables. The cover was green with a picture of Anne on the front. She ran her fingers over the illustration. The artist had rendered a much older girl than the eleven-year-old she knew readers would meet in the book’s opening pages.

C.J. Darlington’s writing kept me turning pages through a middle that did not sag, but a middle that gave me a plank to cross with an eagerness to keep reading. I loved that the author taught us in a storytelling style about classic books, and their value on various levels. Especially that Brynn finds her niche working in such a bookstore and that I, the reader, got to learn something I never knew before.

Ties that Bind Quote: Only then did she see the flames. Far off in the distance they flickered, and human forms came into view, too. “What is this?” Brynn asked. He laughed. “You need to relax.”

Ties that Bind is about loss, longing for home, second chances—and even third chances. Brynn toys with temptation. Again. She moves in the wrong direction, and her decisions had my heart pumping faster. Come on, Brynn, don’t do it, I thought.

Ties that Bind Quote: Brynn raised her face to the blue sky. A soft wind blew her hair into her face, and strands stuck to her forehead. She hoped God would forgive her.

When Brynn is at her very lowest, feeling she has let everyone down, the last temptation is far worse. My heart grieved over Brynn’s intentions. I knew all too well what may be going through her mind, and I held my breath as I continued reading. And the author pulled it off. This one scene was a real test—I’ve lived it.

Another great book I’m glad I read in 2014, I’m delighted to have discovered C.J. Darlington’s Ties that Bind. I believe, you won’t be disappointed, dear reader, if you place yourself within Brynn’s story. If you like good writing and storytelling, ranches in modern times, and young single women who struggle with wrong choices, this book is for you.

Until next time . . . read books where God inspires and encourages

Friday, January 16, 2015

Spin by Darcie J Gudger

Product Details

Please take a moment to read my book review of Spin about school bullying. It's a no nonsense and honest look into what some students go through in our public schools. This book a young adult, but adults would benefit from reading it.

Until next time . . . keep your head out of the sand.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

How I Have Seen God Work in my Writing Journey

photo taken in Northern California by Jean Ann Williams

Hi Dear Readers,

Please stop by The Journey blog and read my article about how God has worked in my writing.

You'll read how God used me to write for different audiences according to what was happening in my life.

Until next time . . . let's keep learning.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Book Review of Lily Sanders' Where Eagles Soar


Jacket Blurb: In 1947, Lily Sanders and her family moved to a homestead in the edge of an Athabaskan village in the Alaskan Territory. It was an ideal location for her father, a mountain man and hunting guide. It also provided a place where the world could not see his brutality. A heartless act by her father leaves Lily brokenhearted and strips away any thread of hope that one day he might love her. She vows to never forgive him and turns to the powerful bond of love she shares with her sweet-spirited mother and her many sisters. Together they share the adventure, beauty, and heartache of their wilderness life.

Where Eagles Soar is the true account of Lily Sanders written in beautiful story form by Author Bonnie Leon. I’ve never before read a book that gripped me by the heart like Where Eagles Soar. Lily tells her story in such a way that brings Glory to God, shows the life-long struggles of the girl Lily, and ends with the mature Lily longing to know and then finds the love of Jesus Christ.

Where Eagles Soar quote: There are people in this world who walk around all scarred up inside—angry and never able to find their way. But for some, scars make them stronger and show them a better way to live. I’m one of those. And I want to tell you my story.

How anyone could survive the wilds of Alaska by the hand of a father such as Lily’s makes this a miracle of God, but there’s so much more. The story’s setting begins in the lower states, where Lily moves at age one to Alaska. Over the years she encounters hardships. Lily almost dies several times. Someone with whom she was very close does die. And Lily’s once innocent heart is torn to shreds by the bitterness she feels toward her father.

Where Eagles Soar quote: When we walked away from her grave, hate burned inside of me. I’d never forget. I’d never forgive. Never.

But life is not always dismal. Lily’s blessings include her love of Alaska and her sisters with whom she plays and works beside her sisters with whom she plays and works beside in the great wilderness of Alaska. Then there’s her mother who makes the most delicious bread and teaches Lily about the Prayer Jar and the Great White God.

Lily learns to hunt, trap, and run sled dogs and even wins the races when girls were not allowed to be in a sled contest. Though Lily has a stubborn nature, she meets every single demand of her father’s in hopes to gain his respect and attention.

Even after Lily’s father arranged her marriage to a much older man, she hunts and traps with her father. When Lily’s bitterness toward her father escalates and she fears for her own children’s safety from him, Lily makes plans to leave. Years pass, though, and Lily is stuck under a tyrant’s thumb otherwise known as Daddy.

After Lily’s children are grown and on their own, Lily and one of her sisters escaped to Southern Oregon. The two women hid inside a vehicle until they crossed into the boarder of Canada. At first Lily and her sister suffer from culture shock. They end up living on the banks of the Rogue River, which makes them feel more at home. The question that haunts and batters Lily’s heart came with her to Oregon: Why doesn’t my father love me?

Change comes by way of a Christian lady named Joy. Joy takes Lily in under her protection. She gives Lily a job and shares the gospel of Jesus Christ. When Lily determines to attend a worship service, she becomes fearful of going inside and being in a crowd of people. Lily stands outside the church building and watches the door so she could meet one special person.

Where Eagles Soar quote: I kept waiting for Jesus, but I never seen him.
Instead, a kind man approached Lily after the service and began to teach her about Jesus Christ. Is Lily able to forgive her father right away? That takes time. The day comes when glory of God shines, as Lily allows him to cleanse her heart from the bitter root of unforgiveness.

Lily ends her memoir with this statement: Life is good. It’s a gift. And the One True God has lifted me high up so I can soar on wings like eagles.

Until next time . . . read a book that inspires your love for the Lord Jesus