Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Jean Webster
Puffin Classics

     Written by Jean Webster, a niece of Mark Twain, Daddy-Long-Legs opens in the early 1900s. 17-year-old Jerusha (Judy) Abbot has lived in an orphanage her entire life. And then comes the day prim Mrs. Lippett calls Jerusha into the office with astounding news: her writing skills have attracted the attention of one of the orphanage's trustees. Sensing potential in the young girl, he decides to pay for her college education, under one condition- she must write him a letter every month, addressed to the care of "John Smith". His true identity will remain anonymous, and if he ever wishes to send her any type of message he will do so through his secretary. Judy accepts the generous, if eccentric, offer. Her letters to her benefactor, whom she affectionately calls "Daddy-Long-Legs", are funny and heartwarming.
     I adored certain aspects of this book. First, I loved the whole plot. And some of the things Judy wrote were so funny they had me laughing out loud. She was hilarious, especially when she was stressing over what her mysterious "Daddy-Long-Legs" looked like. She had imagined him perfectly- except for his hair (was it brown? gray? white? was he BALD???) and it was driving her crazy. After the first few pages, I was certain this book was going to get a ten.
     But my ecstasy was not to last. Judy's theology....was not so good. Her ideas about life and God in general were just totally off, and it REALLY detracted my enjoyment of the book. Then, near the end, Judy decides she's a socialist. Yeah. Not cool. Now, I don't want you to get the idea this book was just this huge socialist manifesto or something, because it wasn't. In all of Judy's dozens and dozens of letters, these topics only come up maybe five or six times- but I still found it rather offensive. And yet I hate to tell you to throw this book out as totally unworthy to read, because it had so many cute parts, and I loved the ending (even if I did find it a little predicable). So I guess I recommend this book, I just think Christians should be aware that there are some ideas that we may find unacceptable.

Rating: 7

P.S. This book has been dramatized several times on-screen. Two of the most famous versions? A 1930's movie starring Shirley Temple and another several years later with Fred Astaire. I'm not sure how accurate they are- I'm under the impression they aren't very- but they may be worth looking into :)


Bill Myers

I'm pretty sure this is the most pointless book I've ever read. I really hate to be so harsh...but I don't have anything good to say about this book. It didn't even make me laugh, like the first book in this series did. Oops was filled with silly boy-girl nonsense that got on my nerves and snooty, (for the most part) unrealistic kids. There wasn't much of a moral, and I thought that this book was more detrimental than beneficial. I didn't even think it was appropriate enough for my brothers to read. That's pretty much all I have to say. :(

Rating: 3

I received this book free from charge from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Surrender the Dawn

Surrender the Dawn
MaryLu Tyndall

     Baltimore’s Cassandra Channing will do anything to provide for her family—even if it means hiring the town rogue as a privateer. Luke Heaton is a handsome rake with a tortured past who is blackmailed by the British into selling supplies to their ships just off the coast. Cassandra and Luke’s worlds collide as they are drawn into danger, secrets, romance, and war. But when the British begin to bombard Fort McHenry, how long can they protect their love—and each other?

      I've always been attracted to MaryLu Tyndall's books- their descriptions always involve pirates and swordfighting and adventure. However, I never had the chance to read any of her books until a friend loaned me The Falcon and the Sparrow last winter. It wasn't the worst book I've ever read, but I wasn't impressed. But after winning a copy of Surrender the Dawn from Katie at Legacy of a Writer, I was more than willing to give the author a second try!
     I enjoyed this book a lot more than the other I had read by Mrs. Tyndall. True, sometimes the characters could be annoying, but both Luke and Cassie won me over in the end. Rogue that he was, Luke had me a little wary at first, but his sincere love for his brother and for Cassandra did wonders in raising my opinion of him. And though Cassandra's extreme independence and stubbornness got on my nerves -as well as seeming a little too twenty-first century- I ended up liking her and rejoiced when she realized how her troubles had come directly from her heedless, impatient actions.
     The last chapters of this book were the best- and I loved how the complete lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner" were included in the back.

Rating - 8

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Attracted to Fire

                                                                                     Attracted to Fire
                                                                                          Diann Mills

     Special Agent Meghan Connors' dream of one day protecting the president of the United States is about to come true. Only one assignment stands in her way. After the vice president's rebellious daughter is threatened, Meghan is assigned to her protective detail on a secluded ranch in West Texas. Unfortunately, working with Special Agent in Charge Ash Zinders may be as tough as controlling her charge. Ash has a reputation for being critical and exacting, and he's also after the same promotion as Meghan. But when the threats escalate and security on the ranch is breached, it becomes clear this isn't the work of a single suspect-it's part of a sophisticated plan that reaches deeper and higher than anyone imagined. And only Ash and Meghan can put the pieces together before it's too late.

      I admit contemporary suspense isn't exactly my cup of tea. (I'm more of a swashbuckling, swordfighting, bow-and-arrow type of girl). But the last few chapters of this book really had me on the edge of my seat. I couldn't read those pages fast enough! It had the serious excitement and thrill factor essential to any page-turner.
     So, what were my qualms about this book? Near the beginning, Ash comments that "women don't belong in the secret service". Later we find his reasoning behind this statement, but either way...I agree with it. I simply don't believe that a job like Meghan's is really part of God's plan for women. I'm sorry if I offend some people with that, but those are my feelings on the subject. And really, they are the main reason I couldn't enjoy this book as much as I wanted to. Also, I wouldn't recommend this book to younger readers, because of Lindsay's extreme drug and alcohol addictions.
     Though I can't agree with all of the character's life decisions, I did enjoy this book much more than I was expecting to, especially the last half of the book. If suspense is your cup of tea, then Attracted to Fire is one you'll not want to miss.

Rating: 7

I received this book free of charge from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Sound Among the Trees

A Sound Among the Trees
Susan Meissner


      Rumored to be a Union spy during the Civil War, Susannah Page of Holly Oak plantation has left a legacy of secrets and loss. Her great-granddaughter, Adelaide, has had her own troubles and believes the house of Holly Oak is "stuck", bearing a grudge against its past.
     Marielle Bishop doesn't know what to think. After marrying Carson Bishop, whose first wife was Adelaide's granddaughter, the newlyweds agree to live at Holly Oak for the sake of Carson's children, and to keep an eye on elderly Adelaide. But it isn't long before Marielle hears rumors of Susannah's ghost, which is said to haunt the old plantation house. Is it just silly superstition- or something else?

     I've read other books by Susan Meissner (The Shape of Mercy and Lady in Waiting), both of which have a similar plot setup of a modern and past woman's intertwined stories. A Sound Among the Trees was different from the others, however: we learn about Susannah through her the letters that her descendants find, not through her point of view. At first I thought the story would be mainly about Marielle, but it's really about not only her and Susannah, but also Adelaide, her daughter Caroline, and her deceased granddaughter Sara.
     Of course, Holly Oak isn't really haunted. As the reader's guide in the back states, "A Sound Among the Trees is a ghost story without a ghost". Each of the characters have their own "ghost" or, as some people would say, their "skeletons in the closet". And as they come to terms with such and move on with their lives, their surroundings become a little less haunted.

Rating: 8 1/2
I received this book for free from Waterbrook Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

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