Review: Amish Voices by Brad Igou

Amish Voices
Title: Amish Voices
Editor: 
Brad Igou
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Genre: Christian
Format: ARC, eBook
Rating: 3 Stars


Strong families. Caring communities. The nearly nine in ten youth who join the church. How do the Amish do it?

In Amish Voices, Amish writers share news and advice from their communities and reflect on their daily lives, work, and faith. Brad Igou, publisher of Amish Country News, gives readers a behind-the-scenes tour of Amish life by compiling writing from Family Life, a popular monthly magazine that thousands of Amish people read. Learn about how the Amish began and what they value. Hear what they think about technology, happiness, community, obedience, success, and change. Listen in as they discuss shunning and rumspringa and forgiveness. Find out what sustains them in difficult seasons, and how they try to trust God in all things.

Why learn about the Amish from outsiders when you can learn from the Amish themselves? And why just learn about them when you can learn from them?

Review_I’ve been reading quite a bit of Amish fiction lately, so when I saw a non-fiction book about the Amish I jumped at the chance to read it. As popular as Amish fiction has become, there aren’t many opportunities to learn about the culture from the Amish themselves. Amish voices is even more unique because not only were the articles from Family Life written by the Amish, they were written for the Amish.

Amish Voices was organized really well and covered a wider range of topics than I expected it to. I was especially surprised to see that the history of the Amish was included, and that was one of the parts that I found most interesting. Maybe because they live a lifestyle closer to a historical time period than modern day, I’ve never stopped to consider what their past was like. I jumped around in the book, skipping to the sections and articles that I found the most interesting. Aside from history it was mainly articles about courtship, marriage, and family life in the community.

3 Stars

Joining The OWLs Readathon!

OWLS Readathon

Hello everyone! Just a short (and very late) post to say that I’m joining the OWLs Readathon! I don’t usually participate in readathons because it’s impossible to predict how much time I’ll have to read in any given month AND I’m the biggest mood reader on the planet, but nearly 2 weeks into OWLs I’ve finally caved and decided to jump in. It looks too fun to miss!

I’m going to be going for Auror so here’s what I’ll need and what I might read:

Charms: Read an Adult Work
Where'd You Go, Bernadette

I’ve actually already completed this prompt! Yay! I read Where’d You Go, Bernadette earlier this month. Review coming soon!

Defense Against the Dark Arts: read a title that starts with ‘R’

Rumple Buttercup

Another prompt I’ve already completed! I read Rumple Buttercup earlier this month too! My review is scheduled to go up soon.

Herbology: Plant on the cover

An Amish Reunion

I’m so, so, SO excited that Zondervan publishing sent me a copy of their latest Amish short story collection. I’ve been flying through them on audio and now I can finally read a physical copy! I’ll definitely read An Amish Reunion for my herbology prompt.

Potions: A Sequel

Grey

Look…. it’s the only sequel I could think of. I only have a couple of sequels to read on my shelf, and for all of them except Grey I need to reread the first book in the series.

Transfiguration: Sprayed Edges or a Red cover

Shame and the Captives

Shame and the Captives is a book I need to read for another post I’m doing, so I’m going to be sneaky and kill two birds with one stone. I can’t wait to share the post with everyone!

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Better late than never, right?

Titanic Book Tag!

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I’m completely obsessed with the Titanic. It’s hands down one of my favorite historical events and I’ve watched the movie about a trillion times, so I knew I wanted to do the Titanic book tag when I saw Alexadra do it on Reading By Starlight. But I’m a nerd, and I wanted to wait and do it on one of the days that the Titanic would have actually been at sea. Yeah, I’m that person.

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The Series You Would Sell For A First Class Ticket

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You could interpret this two ways. Is it the series on your shelf you’d be most willing to part with, or the series that means the most to you and is worth the price of a first class ticket? I’d be most willing to part with my Divergent box set. I loved the series when I read it years ago but I don’t think I’ll ever get around to rereading it. If I had to go with the one that means the most to me it would probably be my Little House on the Prairie box set!

The Character You Would Share A Stateroom With

Daughter of the Pirate King

Ummmmm so many?? I think Alosa from Daughter of the Pirate King would be a good choice though. She’d know what to do once the ship started going down, and we’d probably have lots of fun beforehand.

The Character To Be The Jack To Your Rose

Six of Crows

Most recently? Kaz Brekker. Although I’ve heard that if I would finally commit to reading Outlander I’d fall in love with Jamie Fraser and never look back.

The Ship Is Sinking – Which Book Or Series Do You Go Back To Your Stateroom To Save? [It’s The Last Copy On Earth]

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Cliche, I know, but Harry Potter.

A Book In Your Library Published Before The Sinking Of The Titanic [April 1912]

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Lots to pick from, but Little Women is my favorite!

You Find A Bookish Item In Your Pocket – What Is The Item And From What Book?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Definitely a time-turner. God, all the things I could get done if I had one of those!

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Anyone else obsessed with the titanic?

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Review: The Yankee Widow by Linda Lael Miller

The Yankee WidowTitle: The Yankee Widow
Author: 
Linda Lael Miller
Publication Date: May 1, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: eBook, ARC
Rating: 3 Stars


A richly drawn, multigenerational saga writ large against the complexities and heartbreak among families of both sides as men take up the war to presserve the nation or defend their way of life. Told in a smart, assured and compelling voice, the novel is the story of Caroline, the young wife of Jacob, who together live on a farm raising their daughter Rachel just outside of Gettysburg. When Jacob joins the Northern army to do his duty and help save the Union, no one anticipates he will not return. Caroline gets news that he is wounded and has been taken to Washington DC with his regiment, and so she must find her way there and navigate the thousands of wounded to find him. Thus begin this saga that focuses on the strong women and men of both sides and both races who sacrificed so much and loved so well during this critical juncture in American history.


Review_The word that keeps running through my mind as I try to write this review is atmospheric. The Yankee Widow does such a good job of sucking you straight back to the 1860’s, even when you’re reading it on your smartphone under your electric blanket with white noise playing on your computer in the background.

The language Linda Lael Miller uses sets the tone which, in my opinion, really drives the plot of this book. The characters are well-developed with flaws and strengths, which can sometimes be hard to find in characters from the 1800’s for whatever reason, and the setting was vivid. Although the farm that the majority of the story takes place on is in fact in Gettysburg, the Battle of Gettysburg doesn’t swallow the whole book. We follow the characters for quite a while before the battle happens and a long, long time afterwards. I really enjoyed the two male characters and found their relationship endearing – not to mention a great example of the division wreaking havoc on the country as one fought for the Confederacy and the other the Union – except for at the very end. The last two chapters of the book found Caroline, the main character, doing things that she claimed she wouldn’t and having feelings that were totally different than what I last knew to be true. To be fair, this all happened directly after a year’s time jump so that could explain the change in behavior, but I found it a little off-putting.

It’s obvious that this book was very well researched on several fronts – farm life and everyday tasks, propriety, language, child rearing, and then the actual Civil War on top of it all. My only complaint is that there were instances throughout the book where a bit of dialog or a description of the farm would slide into info-dumping about the politics of the war or the leaders of the war, etc. It made the reading dense at times and I would just sort of skim those parts and move back into the story.

If you’re a fan of atmospheric Civil War novels, particularly about the home front and losses, then you should give this book a try!

3 Stars

ARC provided in exchange for an honest review

Should The Behavior of Authors Dictate Whether or Not We Read Their Books?

Discussion (3)

It seems like there’s been a lot of tension in the book community lately. I’ve seen posts about negative interactions on social media – especially Twitter – popping up left and right, and a quite a few people have decided to take a break from their social media accounts.

I can’t comment on the social media climate personally as I don’t participate in it. I don’t use Goodreads to interact with other people, only to keep track of books, and I have a personal Facebook I use sparingly to keep up with family. I’m basically a caveman.

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So when Sara over at the Bibliophagist made a post about a negative interaction on Twitter, this time not with a fellow book lover but with widely known author Mackenzi Lee, it made me wonder… Should the behavior of authors have a stand in whether or not we read their books? I just bought a copy of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue a few months ago and I’ve heard great things about it. Should I skip it now instead?

Sara’s post drudged up a memory from years and years ago. Up until I started this website and then this blog, I didn’t ever post text reviews on Goodreads. I much preferred (and honestly, still do) reading other people’s reviews of books. One of the most active reviewers at that time was Wendy Darling and I remember being disappointed when she shelved one of Simone Elkeles’s books on a ‘will never read’ shelf. Come to find out, it was because Elkeles had responded negatively to someone’s 3 star review. I did some intense googling and managed to find the post:

Annotation 2019-04-09 151719

This is the link to the review that Simone Elkeles commented on: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/138220761

If you scroll down there’s a screen shot of the comment that Elkeles deleted. Can I be controversial for a second? I think this review was done in bad taste. I get that the idea was to do a review that was more creative than the standard form, but this read more like a review of the author than a review of the book. It reflected personality traits and portrayed the author as someone who interrupts and is conceited. In a link to a blog post made directly after the incident, it was clearly stated that Elkeles asked the author to take the review down because it was an impersonation, and when the post stayed up – with a disclaimer stating that the interview obviously wasn’t real – Elkeles sent a directly worded comment saying, among other things, that she’s all for a review but that the post wasn’t a review, it was one person making fun of another.

All that to say, I think it’s important to look into the situation fully and remember that authors are humans and they’re going to make mistakes (important to note here, I’m not talking about consistently poor behavior. That isn’t a mistake, that’s a personality). Should Mackenzi Lee have responded to tweets the way that she did? Absolutely not. There was no antagonistic behavior to prompt her to snap. He politely and professionally addressed a concern and she could have taken the opportunity to address the pressure she’d been under to release the story along with a quick apology for the change of plans and a nod and wink at the fact that those who preordered got the story for free. It was a great chance for her to turn the situation into a more positive experience for those who were annoyed and smooth the waters a bit. Simone Elkeles could have done the same thing. She could have turned her frustration with the review into good PR by offering to do a real interview with the reviewer.

Personally, I don’t change my reading plans based on the actions or interactions an author has. If I was planning to read a book before an author did or said something that’s deemed out of line, I don’t take it off of my TBR and I don’t hesitate if I want to buy a copy. Most of the time these interactions fly way over my radar anyways, and because I don’t have social media I don’t follow or interact with authors on those platforms. A good middle ground if you are someone who still wants to read a book but doesn’t necessarily want to support the author is checking the book out from the library. You get to read the book without using your own money to purchase it, and your library gets to add another circulation to the tally (which can ultimately end in more monetary and community support for them). It’s a win win!

What do you think? Should we stop reading author’s books if they’ve had poor behavior in their past? Does it depend on the amount or type of bad behavior? Does it depend on if they issue an apology/delete their comments and posts? Where do we draw the line? So many questions!

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Intimidating Books | TTT Throwback

Top Ten Tuesday (1)

It’s another TTT Throwback! If you’re scratching your head wondering why I’m doing a completely different Top Ten Tuesday topic, check out my first ‘Throwback’ HERE. Basically, any time a Top Ten Tuesday topic doesn’t work for me I’m heading back to the beginning and working my way down the hundreds and hundreds of Top Ten Tuesday’s that happened before I started participating.

This week’s topic is actually “Outrageous Things I’ve Done for the Love of Books” but I haven’t done anything outrageous, really, so instead I’m doing “Most Intimidating Books on My TBR.”


London is one of many books I have by Edward Rutherford. All of his books are MASSIVE and span the entirety of a city’s (or country’s) lifetime.

Gone to Soldiers is another big book clocking in at around 800 pages. I know that I’m going to absolutely love it – it’s one of the most heralded WWII fiction books around – but it’s so intimidating to start.

Homeland is the beginning of a series by John Jakes, who writes sweeping family sagas set in various time periods. Like Edward Rutherford, I’ve never seen a small John Jakes book.

Roots isn’t only intimidating because of its size, but because of well-loved the story is. I haven’t seen the mini-series because I want to go into the story blind.

The Diviners is another well-loved series that’s pretty thick. I’m worried I won’t like it – even though it sounds amazing – because I had a hard time getting into a different Libba Bray book.

Game of Thrones is pretty self-explanatory. They’re giant books, and I know that everyone I come to love will eventually end up dead. Plus there’s the fact that the series isn’t finished yet and no one seems to know exactly when/if that will ever happen.

Bloody Jack is the first book in a twelve book series. I read the first three-ish books when I was really young and can’t remember anything except absolutely loving them. I have 10/12 on my shelf now and really need to get started!

City of Bones isn’t exceptionally large, but I know once I pick it up I’m going to be thrown down the Cassandra Clare rabbit hole and find myself wanting to read everything she’s written and her latest books look HUGE!

Outlander is intimidating for the same reason as City of Bones. I know once I read it I’m going to fall in love and have to gobble up the entire series – whose books are pretty big, unlike City of Bones.

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How Many Backlisted Books Have I Read So Far? | Beat the Backlist Quarterly Check-In

Beat the Backlist Banner

It’s officially been 3 months since I started the Beat the Backlist challenge! I thought it would be fun to take a look at my progress.

How many BTB books have I read all together? 

3 Month Check-In

 

So far this year I’ve read 11 books. Not too shabby! Listening to audiobooks has definitely increased the amount I’m able to ‘read’ and it’s definitely worth mentioning that four of the books were short enough I sat and read them in just a few hours or less.

How many of those books were on my original Beat the Backlist TBR? 

 

My original BTB TBR is on the left and my current BTB list is on the right. You can see my original TBR HERE and the ongoing list on my Beat the Backlist page – along with links to all of my BTB reviews HERE. As you can see, my list has grown quite a bit. In fact, I added a whole new category, borrowed books.

In the ARCs section the first book, The Wartime Sisters, was actually a mistake on my part and should have been Daughters of the War all along, so that book will count as an original read. Of the 11 books I’ve read so far 4 were on my original list – Crooked Kingdom, Thirteen Reasons Why, A Woman of War, and Daughters of the War.

How many are actually on my shelf?

The whole point of BTB for me is to work through books that I actually have on my shelf. If you haven’t been here very long you might have missed the fact that I have an ENORMOUS amount of unread books and I hate to even admit this but… I just found two more totes full of books. I’m the worst.

Of the 11 books I read, 4 were actually on my shelf – Crooked Kingdom, Thirteen Reasons Why, Thy Son Liveth, and Daughters of the War.

How’s my BTB bingo going?

I didn’t mention this in my original BTB post, but I’m participating in BTB bingo! I thought it would be something fun to do since I would be reading the books anyways, and since I don’t get to participate in bookish fun very often what with school and writing deadlines getting in the way. Here’s my progress so far!

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I’ll share what books I chose for what categories at the end of the year since I’m sure I’ll end up moving some of them around.

How’s your BTB going?