Friday, July 29, 2011


I received a copy of GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER by John Perry from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze. This is a book from the Christian Encounters series. When I saw it offered, I knew I had to grab a copy. These are easy to read biographies, perfect for the everyday person and the scholar. Usually I become bogged down with big words and complicated sentences, yet Christian Encounters biographies flow like novels.

I have always been interested in George Washington Carver, but I never knew many facts about him. Sadly, I only knew he invented peanut butter. That, in itself, amazed me as a child, and now as an adult, I hunger for more knowledge. This book is my perfect fix. Throughout 152 pages, I learned interesting facts about his life, such as that he was a slave and that he became a celebrity in the 1920’s. He is truly a man to marvel. The biography also includes an epilogue, acknowledgments, notes, and bibliography.

This book makes a perfect gift for history lovers and peanut fanatics. I have also recommended it to my African American Literature teacher. George Washington Carver is a shining example of “black achievement,” as quoted from the back cover.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Meeting Maria V. Snyder

The Utica Writers Club hosted a writing workshop with Maria V. Snyder. It was great! Maria's lecture was engaging and informative.

For me, the best part was meeting her in person. I loved her novel, POISON STUDY, and since reading it, I've kept up an online correspondence with her.

Afterwards, she participated in a book signing at the local Barnes & Noble in New Hartford, NY. My mother took the picture of us there, and sadly, I closed my eyes when the flash went off. *blushes*

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I received a copy of ALONG WOODED PATHS by Tricia Goyer, from B & H Books. I was thrilled to see the cover and realize the novel is about the Amish (the cover depicts a young Amish woman walking along a path, surrounded by a misty sky, towering trees, and a homey wooden fence). I planned to only read a few chapters this morning, but ended up reading the whole thing – I literally couldn’t put it down except for lunch. All of the characters cook and eat plentiful meals, so it made me hungry. The back of the book includes recipes, and I am eager to make them. Some of them include meat, but can easily be transformed into vegetarian versions.

This story is the sequel to BESIDE STILL WATERS, and is the second in the BIG SKY series. I never read the first book, but now feel the overpowering urge to. You don’t have to be familiar with the first to enjoy this one, although some parts confused me. The back of the book contains an excerpt from the next BIG SKY novel, and it sounds just as exciting as this one. I look forward to reading that one as well.

ALONG WOODEN PATHS tells the story of Marianna Sommer. She lives with her family in a small Montana community, where the Amish dwell side-by-side with the English. Marianna must deal with the loss of her sisters and her brother, who decided to leave the Amish faith, while coming to terms with her own love of God. She questions reading English Bibles and going to prayer meetings. She also questions her love for two men. Ben is an Englishman who loves God, but because he isn’t Amish, her family frowns on their relationship. Aaron, her other interest, used to be her beau before her family left Indiana for Montana. He is now visiting her, and she wonders if when he leaves, she should go with him. While she lives in Montana, though, she works at an English restaurants and befriends her English coworkers.

The story shows a different side to the Amish than most novels I have read. The love story brought a smile to my face.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I received a copy of J. R. R. TOLKEIN by Mark Horne, from Thomas Nelson via Booksneeze. It is part of the Christian Encounters series, a gathering of Christina-themed biographies. In the past, I have read the ones on Saint Nicholas and Anne Bradstreet, and loved them, so I knew I would enjoy this one as well. The biographies are short and easy to read. At times, they flow like novels. Normal biographies are long and complicated, with complex words. Since these are easy to understand, I have recommended them to a friend who teaches high school, for use in her English classroom.

This biography told the life story of J. R. R. Tolkien. He is famous for the Lord of the Rings series. While I greatly enjoy that work of fantasy, I never knew much about the author, not even what he looked like, so I was thrilled to see this cover. Jr. R. R. Tolkien looks like a jolly man, the perfect type of friend.

It was filled with interesting facts, such as his real name: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. It also included facts about his childhood and family, his interests and passions. I felt the best part was how it strongly tied in with the Lord of the Rings. Some chapters referenced whole sections of his novels, and chapter titles included words such as “Between the Shire and Mordor.” Mark Horne describes Birmingham, one of Tolkien’s homes, as being a Mordor-like place.

The is the perfect book for literary and history lovers, as well as any fan of the Lord of the Rings.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Writing Workshop with Maria V. Snyder

Hello, my writing friends. Here is a great opportunity for you discuss literature and writing with a New York Times bestselling author, Maria V. Snyder! This Saturday, July 16th, the Utica Writers Club is hosting a writing workshop at the Kirkland Library.

The deadline for registration is July 15th, but walk-ins are welcome. There is limited seating, however, so reserve your place now. Adults are $25, students are $15. Registration forms are availble here:

The time is 1 pm to 4 pm. She will autograph copies of her books afterwards. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I received a copy of GOD’S PROMISES FOR THE AMERICAN PATRIOT by Dr. Richard Lee and Jack Countryman from Thomas Nelson on BookSneeze. It is a book, from the start, that grabs your attention from its small size, bright patriotic colors, and soft hard cover feel. The book gives you quotes and information on great men from our country’s history, and maps to selected Bible verses. At the start of the book, George Washington’s “Thanksgiving Proclamation” speech on October 3, 1789, shows the wisdom of our founding fathers, and that this nation was founded on Christian principles. Then half way through the book, on page 98, it gave another quick history lesson, with “According to the Declaration of Independence, the American colonists were determined to defend ‘the laws of nature and of nature’s God.’” That phase defines the key principle upon which the Founders stood. The book is a wealth of information on Presidents, such as George Washington, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Calvin Coolidge; writers, such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; and other important patriots that shaped our nation, such as Joseph Story and Elias Boudinot Jr. The one important thing this book made me feel while reading it is that yes, we are living in a troubling time with high unemployment, wars and terrorism, but this nation has survived worse and has come out stronger. We, as a nation, can do that again, but we have to remember from our history and it’s strong leaders that it can only happen if we use our strong Christian principals. As a conservative, historian, Christian, and yes, a patriot, this book gives me hope.