Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Miracles & Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories of Survival Book Review

Rating: Five Stars

Book Description:
In Miracles & Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories of Survival, you'll find dozens of stories from ordinary people who have triumphed over extraordinary circumstances. Caught in Hurricane Katrina, attacked by a lion, facing a gunman, trapped in a violent marriage, losing the self to Alzheimer's--in the midst of their trials, these brave people discovered that God provides the grace to persevere in the face of life's greatest challenges. The stories they tell make the heart race, yet they also reveal the sustaining power of deep courage and true faith. Their stories will touch your heart and lift your spirits.

About the Author:

NANCY B. KENNEDY is the author of three previous books in the Miracles & Moments of Grace series: Inspiring Stories from Military Chaplains,Inspiring Stories from Doctors, and Inspiring Stories from Moms. She has written a book of weight loss success stories, as well as two children's books of science activities paired with stories of the Christian faith. Nancy is a member of the Authors Guild and writes articles and personal essays for books, magazines, and newspapers, many of which can be found at her website, She and her husband, John, live in New Jersey with their son, Evan.

My Thoughts:
This is the first book of the “Miracles & Moments of Grace” series that I have read, though I intend to read the others fairly soon. It is quite reminiscent of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. I was moved to tears by several of the stories and inspired how many of the authors not only survived and then went on to thrive afterwards. All I can say is that God moves in mysterious ways.
I love stories of survival, especially those that show God as our rescuer. I can’t begin to describe how many times He has rescued me. Ironically enough, a short story by yours truly entitled, “A Shot in the Dark,” is featured in this book. I am very proud that my story was included and thank the author for selecting it. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

“The Winter Guest,” by Pam Jenoff

Rating: Five Stars

A stirring novel of first love in a time of war and the unbearable choices that could tear sisters apart, from the celebrated author of The Kommandant's Girl
Life is a constant struggle for the eighteen-year-old Nowak twins as they raise their three younger siblings in rural Poland under the shadow of the Nazi occupation. The constant threat of arrest has made everyone in their village a spy, and turned neighbor against neighbor. Though rugged, independent Helena and pretty, gentle Ruth couldn't be more different, they are staunch allies in protecting their family from the threats the war brings closer to their doorstep with each passing day.
Then Helena discovers an American paratrooper stranded outside their small mountain village, wounded, but alive. Risking the safety of herself and her family, she hides Sam—a Jew—but Helena's concern for the American grows into something much deeper. Defying the perils that render a future together all but impossible, Sam and Helena make plans for the family to flee. But Helena is forced to contend with the jealousy her choices have sparked in Ruth, culminating in a singular act of betrayal that endangers them all—and setting in motion a chain of events that will reverberate across continents and decades.

Author Bio:

Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including The Kommandant's Girl, which received widespread acclaim, earned her a nomination for the Quill Awards and became an international bestseller. She previously served as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department in Europe, as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army at the Pentagon and as a practicing attorney at a large firm and in-house. She received her juris doctor from the University of Pennsylvania, her master’s degree in history from Cambridge University and her bachelor’s degree in international affairs from The George Washington University. Pam Jenoff lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school. Pam would love to skype with your book club or library group!

My Thoughts:
Okay, this is not my first Pam Jenoff book; I’ve read a couple others and liked them pretty well. When I heard this was going to be based in Poland and about a simple Polish, I was psyched (one of my own WIP is based in WWII Poland and is about a Polish family). I had a feeling I was going to like it, but had no clue that I was going to walk away feeling different. Secular books don’t usually have that effect on me. Both Helena and Ruth were appealing characters, though I have to say, the character Helena struck a chord with me. I won’t go into detail, though I will say the ending of “The Winter Guest,” was bittersweet. There was enough sad to be realistic and enough happy to leave me satisfied for the characters.