Review of The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables

Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables


In her book, The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables, Catherine Reid, with the help of Kerry Michaels, photographer, give readers a beautiful tour of Prince Edward Island, home of author Lucy Maud Montgomery and her much-loved character. Complete with color photos, Reid uses the author’s own diaries and scrapbooks to reveal the similarities and differences between the writer and the character she created.


The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables is part biography, part commentary, and part photography, as Reid endeavors to tell the story behind the story that so many have grown to know and love. The book is a picturesque travelogue of the island that shaped both author and character, who display an inescapable love of nature, and illustrate the personal and vulnerable side to Montgomery that few have witnessed.


This beautiful and enchanting book is a volume that every Anne of Green Gables fan would enjoy, and I highly recommend it.






I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review



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Review of Killing Floor

Killing Floor


In Lee Child’s Killing Floor, Jack Reacher is arrested for murder in a small Georgia town. It is not enough that he must prove his innocence. He must do it from a jail cell—twice. But proving something is a lot easier than staying alive. Will Jack find the real killer before he ends up dead himself?


Killing Floor is a thriller of non-stop action. Child keeps the reader turning the pages with an engrossing story despite bare prose and clipped conversation. Jack Reacher is a complicated character who has a strong sense of justice but no qualms about killing those he views as threats.


Killing Floor is a made-for-movie thriller, but some of the graphic depictions of violence are over the top.  Readers may find some language troubling as well. As for me, the violence is unnecessary and disturbing, though Child’s writing style fascinates me.

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A Declaration of Freedom

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Why Most of Us Think It’s Silly to Remove Wilder’s Name from A Children’s Literature Award J. Warner Wallace J. Warner Wallace

Why Most of Us Think It’s Silly to Remove Wilder’s Name from A Children's Literature Award

Last week, the Association of Library Service to Children renamed the award it gives authors or illustrators whose books “have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.” This award used to be called the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, but the association’s board decided to rename it the Children’s Literature Legacy Award. Why? Because, according to board members, Wilder’s books include “anti-Native and anti-Black” references that fail to represent the association’s “core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect.”

Wilder wrote about her childhood experiences in a 19th century pioneer family. Perhaps her most famous book, Little House on the Prairie, describes Native Americans as “wild animals” and includes characters who believed “the only good Indian was a dead Indian.”

Despite these references (and others like them), most people in America probably think removing Wilder’s name from an award for Children’s literature is silly. The majority of us have been raised in a Christian tradition (over 70% of us still claim a Christian identity), and we’ve read many of the biblical narratives. As a result, we understand an important distinction that seems lost on those who decided to rename the award:

We understand the difference between descriptive and prescriptive literature.

The Old and New Testaments include both types of prose. The biblical authors described the adulterous activity of King David (2 Samuel 11) and the polygamous lifestyle of King Solomon (1 Kings 11:3), for example, without prescribing these behaviors for their readers. The Bible describes people who engaged in a variety of sinful activities, but Christians who read these passages understand we are not to emulate this behavior.

Similarly, the New Testament authors described early believers who sold all their personal belongings, attended temple on a daily basis, and met together in homes (Acts 2:44-46), without prescribing this behavior for subsequent generations. Christians recognize these first century descriptions are simply that: descriptions of the first century. They are not mandates for future behavior.

If you were exposed to Christian scripture growing up, you probably understand this important distinction. Sometimes an author denounces a belief or behavior (prescribing a better alternative), and sometimes an author pronounces a belief or behavior (describing what someone believed or practiced without endorsing it). This is true for the ancient biblical authors and it is also true for Laura Ingalls Wilder.


Posted: July 1, 2018

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Review of Where the Fire Falls

Where the Fire Falls

In Karen Barnett’s Where the Fire Falls, a Vintage National Parks Novel, artist Olivia Rutherford must make money if she and her dependent sisters, are to stay afloat. Desperate, Olivia takes a job painting landscapes in Yosemite National Park, a place she swore she’d never revisit because of painful memories. Her tour guide, Clark Johnson, has secrets of his own. A romance flickers to life, but will their respective pasts keep them from having a future together?

Where the Fire Falls has an intriguing storyline set in the spectacular backdrop of Yosemite National Park in the 1920’s. The beauty of the setting, the historical aspects of the novel, the promising plot, and the mysterious elements have all the makings of a great story.

However, the narrative turns predictable. The characters are under-developed and, although nothing objectionable happens, the romantic angle is forced, unrealistic and strange. The remaining plotlines are unresolved as well.

Where the Fire Falls is the second in The Shadow in the Wilderness Series and, despite its flaws, will be a hit among Christian Historical Romance Fans.


I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review



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Review of In the Garden of Beasts


Garden of Beasts

In Erik Larson’s, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, American Ambassador to Germany, William E. Dodd, assumes his post on the eve of World War II. He and his family have high hopes for Nazi Germany’s relationship with the United States. As Hitler accumulates more power, the persecution of Jews begins to increase, as do the attacks on American citizens. It’s only a matter of time before the situation leads to all-out war, as Dodd warns, but the State Department is slow to believe.

In the Garden of Beasts is a well-written, riveting account of Hitler’s rise to power in 1930’s Germany. Larson is a master at writing non-fiction narrative that reads like a novel. With page-turning suspense and heartbreaking reality, the book portrays a frustrating picture of the willful blindness of the State Department and the Western World while Hitler wreaks havoc on his own people and gains a tighter grip on power.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin makes harrowing history come alive as it explains in horrifying detail the events that plunged us into a second world war. I highly recommend it,


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Review of The Innocent

the innocent


In David Baldacci’s The Innocent, Will Robie, a professional killer, is hired by the government to keep U.S. citizens safe. His problems begin when he has qualms about his targets. Add to that a fourteen year old who has witnessed a murder and is on the run. Now they are on the lamb together. Will Robie keep them both alive long enough to find answers?

The Innocent has everything that makes a thriller: an action-packed, page-turning plot and sympathetic characters put in nearly impossible situations. Baldacci is an excellent writer who weaves incredible stories.  There are some issues where the point-of-view switches mid-scene, but The Innocent is hard to put down. If you like thrilling suspense, The Innocent is right up your alley.

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