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Posts Tagged ‘paperback swap’

When the Soul Mends is the third and final book in the Sisters of the Quilt series by Cindy Woodsmall.WhentheSoulMends_001

Here’s the synopsis:

Rumors and lies left Hannah’s life in tatters; can the truth possibly stitch it back together?

Having fled in disgrace more than two years earlier, Hannah finally has found happiness in the Englischer world, as well as love with Martin Palmer, a man with whom she can safely entrust her heart. But almost immediately after her arrival in Owl’s Perch, the disapproval of those who ostracized her reopens old wounds.

As Hannah encounters former fiancë Paul Waddell, truths unknown to her surface about the events during her absence and she faces an agonizing decision. Will she choose the Englischer world and the man who restored her hope, or will she return to the Plain Life-and perhaps her first love?

I enjoyed When the Soul Mends the most out of this series. More than just the loose ends being tied up, you get to see more character development in Hannah and her relationships. She returns home after a desperate call from her sister, who she finds is suffering mental instability, and is forced to work with her former fiancee, the only one who is able to help Hannah’s sister.

As the story progresses, Hannah comes to know about what happened after she left particularly with Paul, whom she thought deserted her. It’s interesting as Hannah is faced with choices between her old way of life and family with the new life and family she’s made for herself. Even more so as Woodsmall pits her two loves against each other in a battle of character, which makes you wonder why Hannah choose one of them in the first place. One man is revealed to be more shallow and self-absorbed, while the other is humble and faithful.

The ending was very satisfying and, I felt, ended the way it should have albeit a bit predictable, but that’s the genre! If you like Amish fiction I’d definitely recommend the Sisters of the Quilt series as  a read.

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When-the-Morning-Comes_002The Sisters of the Quilt series continues in When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall. Here’s the synopsis:

When the Morning Comes is the sequel and continuation of the best-selling novel When the Heart Cries. Her relationship with fiance Paul Waddell in tatters, Hannah Lapp has fled her secluded Old Order Amish community in hopes of finding a new home in Ohio with her shunned aunt. Hampered by limited education and hiding her true identity, Hannah struggles to navigate the confusing world of the Englischers.

Will the countless opportunities in her new life persuade Hannah that her place is amongst the Englischers or will she give in to her heart’s call to return home and face the past?

It seems to me that the second book in trilogies (or at least Amish trilogies) is little more than a holding pattern for the third book. When the Soul Mends continued right where the first book left off and added a new set of characters, while maintaining the storyline with those introduced in the first book.

When the Morning Comes was good in that it continued the Hannah’s story without missing a beat and kept up with the details that were going on in her community. Where I felt it fell short was with the new characters. Relationships were introduced, but as the reader you didn’t get to see how they developed. I would have liked to see how Hannah got to know her long-lost aunt. Another aspect that seemed inconsistent with the first book was how quickly Hannah became accustomed to and embraced the Englischer ways.

Overall it was a good book for the genre. Definitely a holding place.

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It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for Amish fiction. As you can tell, from time to time, I step off the beaten path (aka, my book list 5105oZ3P8ULfor the year) and devour a few Amish fiction novels. For awhile I’ve had When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall on my PaperBack Swap wish list, but decided to see if the library had it instead. I knew it’d be a quick read and it isn’t likely I’ll read it again, and who wants to waste a good PBS credit on a book you can easily get from the library?

Of course, they had it. It’s a good thing they have the whole series, because I read it in one day. It’s one of those quick, refreshing reads you need (or at least I do) between heavier reading. It fits the bill for me.

(I just have to say that my son has been sitting for at least 10 minutes now flipping the pages of his little board books back and forth, over and over again. He’s so quiet that I keep going to check on him thinking he’s getting into something he shouldn’t, but he’s being a good little boy.)

On to the review…

Here’s the synopsis:

Hannah Lapp was born and raised in an Old Order Amish home, without electricity, a telephone, or the right to follow her heart. Without her parents’ knowledge, she’s been in love with Mennonite Paul Waddell for years. When he asks her to marry him, she accepts, even though to do so will cause her family to avoid her for the rest of her life.

Before Hannah and Paul reveal their relationship, tragedy strikes. In one unwelcome encounter, all that Hannah has known and believed is destroyed and she faces losing everything: her family, her fiancé, and even her faith in God. (from CindyWoodsmall.com)

I enjoyed the book, but what I was surprised at was that the synopsis happens all in the first chapter with a tragedy that progresses throughout the novel.  It’s hard to review the book without being a spoiler. It keeps you hanging on as one bad thing after another is added on to the initial tragedy, which Hannah has to deal with in near secret. As she tries to leave the past and move on in her future life with Paul there is a hindrance at every corner that puts her against her family, community, and faith.

The writing is well-crafted, better than the Sisters of Holmes County series, and the plot keeps you hooked sympathizing with Hannah and her pain as she’s posted closer and closer to being unofficially shunned. I even cried a bit.

What story does is highlight the how living under the law of the Old Order isn’t always the right thing. It’s amazing to see how such a community that is so tight-knit and willing to help others in their time of need is also the same one that with turn and shun a person if they don’t follow the Ordnung or if there is even a hint of suspicion, even their families. They’ll  stick closer to the Ordnung than to family.

It was interesting to see how Woodsmall pitted the letter of the Ordnung against the spirit of Ordnung throughout the novel. In this community of faith little forgiveness is freely given and compassion is replaced with abandonment.

I’m looking forward to reading the next installment of the series, When the Morning Comes.

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It’s moving time…

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Bye to our Junior Highers

So it’s finally here. The PODS has arrived, the walls are beginning to look bare, boxes fill the corners of our house and all of our our junk…I mean, very necessary things for life are filling the PODS nicely.

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At Balboa Park

It’s been a crazy week at our house between packing boxes, visiting our favorite places one final time, and hanging out with friends–I’m surprised we’ve squeezed in so much! We’ve been up late and up early…thanks to the two new teeth making their way in my little guy’s upper jaw. And somehow I thought I’d have time to blog during this week. This is actually the first time I’ve been on the computer in three days! You should have seen my Google Reader! Let’s just say things did not get read.

Only a few more days left and we’re gone from San Diego for good…or at least until next summer when we visit for my brother-in-law’s wedding. I’m looking forward to getting semi-settled in South Carolina where we’ll be visiting my parents for about a month before making our way to Louisville. I’m imagining it to be a little relaxing with a lot of playing and reading. We’ll see how that pans out.

The Last of In n Out

The Last of In n Out

I’m still trying to figure out what books to request from PaperBack Swap before I put my account on vacation hold, any suggestions?

Balboa Park

Balboa Park

Oh…and I thought this was pretty niffy. My brother’s an artist, working particularly in graphic design, and made this for his girlfriend’s summer reading list. Maybe if I’m nice he’ll make me one too. You should check out his blog for other cool stuff.

Erins-Reading-List_v2Through all this I have finished some books: The Secret Garden and The Courtship of Nellie Fisher (series)…I thought I’d get more reading done, but apparently I wasn’t being too realistic!

Now it’s off to more packing, but it’s been nice to have this little Internet break…more sleep would be nice to…

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I have a slight problem facing me the last few days. It’s really nothing major. I have 7 credits for PaperBack Swap and I have no idea what books I should request!

I’m moving in about a week and a half and thought I’d stock up on books and have them sent to my parents house where we’ll be staying for at least a month before actually heading to Louisville.

It’s not that there aren’t any books I want to read. There are plenty, but some I’m waiting in line for on my wish list: Julie & Julia, Married in Tehran, The Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Society, and Jane Austen Ruined My Life.

I’d rather not stock up on chick lit from PaperBack Swap since most libraries carry a plethora of the genre and I’m usually finished so quickly with them. I do plan to read Meg Cabot’s Queen of Babble series this summer and the thought crossed my mind to finish off Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series as well.

As you can tell, I’m planning to have lots of laid-back reading time which will be helped by a couple of road trips.

So, do you have any suggestions? One book I did request was The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs.

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Loving Paperback Swap

PaperBackSwap.com - Book Club to Swap, Trade & Exchange Books for Free.
I love to see the little brown envelopes, slightly battered and torn, arriving in my mailbox. Why?

Because it means I have a new book to read! The best part is that it’s free–well, nearly free. It’s so exciting. It’s like a little sweet treat for me, but it’s a book. Maybe a little strange to some people, but I was that teenager that asked for books for presents. (One time a friend of my Mom’s asked her what kind of things she buys for her teenager, me, by my replied, “I don’t know. Mine likes books.)

Although, if you’re reading this blog–which is about books–I’m sure you share the love.

When I first heard of PaperBack Swap I was a little uncertain. It sounded like a good idea, but I wondered if I’d get the books I wanted or if I’d only be sending books out.

For those of you that don’t know, the way PaperBack Swap works is that you post books you want to swap with other members to the database and then you search for books you want. Each book is worth 1 credit and audiobooks are worth 2. To start you have to post at least 10 books, if I remember correctly. You can either ‘order’ books if they’re available from another member or you can add them to your wishlist and are notified when the book becomes available.

The cost to mail books is around $2, which is not a bad price for a like-new book. It can get frustrating when you feel like you’re mailing more books out than you are receiving. That’s what happened to me in my first few months, but after I switched my search settings to ‘All Books’ I found a lot more titles I wanted. I did have to wait for them, but it was nice to know I could get books I wanted.

Another way that PaperBack Swap is useful for me is I use it to get books I want to add permanently to my personal library or books my city library doesn’t have. With the latter, I order them with the intention of swapping them after I read them so I can get more books. It’s a win-win situation.

If you don’t want to get rid of books on your shelf, consider buying extra books next time you’re at a garage sale or book sale. It’s a little money up front, but it’ll help get you started swapping.

But, what’s more exciting than getting my new book in the mail today (A Sister’s Test, the second book in a series I started last month) is the books that are headed my way:

  • Reading Lolita in Tehran
  • The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen
  • The Queen of Babble
  • The Parting (Book 1 in The Courtship of Nellie Fisher series)

Yeah for me!

I also mailed four books this week, so once those are received I’ll get credit and will be able to order four more! I just have to figure out what books I want next. Hmmm….

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