Sunday, July 8, 2012

July Book Reviews

The Anne of Green Gables Series
Anne of Green Gables Series 8-Volume Boxed SetBy L. M. Montgomery
{Review by Bethany Ann}

In this month's book review and probably upcoming review posts, I will be reviewing The Anne of Green Gables Series which I've recently had the delight and pleasure of reading. Due to the large quanity of books in the series {There are 8 in all :)} I probably won't be able to review them all in one month since I more than likely won't be able to read them all in such a short time frame. :) So be looking for the continuing review in the upcoming review posts! :)
I had been wanting to read this delightful series for some time, and since we owned them all I thought I should take the time this summer to start them! Since there are so many books in the series, I won't be able to go as in-depth as far as my reviews go as I normally do, however if you have any questions that weren't answered in the review please let me know! I hope you'll enjoy the reviews!

Anne of Green Gables Novels #1: Anne of Green GablesAnne of Green Gables {Book #1}

Publisher :: Random House, Inc.
 Source :: Purchased at a garage sale
Publication Date :: 1986
 My Rating :: 5 out of 5 stars
Age Recommendation :: For girls 8+

Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert have decided to adopt an orphan. They want a nice sturdy boy to help Matthew with the farm chores. The orphanage sends a girl instead - a mischievous, talkative redhead who the Cuthberts are sure will be no use at all. But as soon as Anne arrives at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knows she wants to stay forever. And the longer Anne stays, the harder it is for anyone to imagine Green Gables without her. {Description Taken From}

This is the first book in the Anne Series. It all starts with Anne, and orphaned girl who comes to live with the Cuthberts. This book is about her first years at "Green Gables" and her adventures with friends and family. I was simply charmed from the first page and instantly fell in love with Anne. I'd previously read this book a couple years ago but never finished the series. From that first impression years ago, I first though that the book would be overly wordy with so many descriptive words, that I'd get bored with the story. :)
Sometimes if a book is so descriptive with the smallest of details I seem to loose interest in the story line easily, but this wasn't the case with this book! I loved how descriptive Anne is, how she makes everything seem brighter whether it be by re-naming lakes and other places or wether it be adding a smile or wonderful comment to the most boring of sentences. Overall I loved this book. There wasn't any questionable comment and even though the recommended ages are 8-12, I really enjoyed them even though I'm a bit older. :) I really don't think that there is an age were Anne of Green Gables becomes boring or uninteresting. :)

Anne of Green Gables Novels #2: Anne of Avonlea
  Anne of Avonlea {Book #2}

Publisher :: Random House, Inc.
 Source :: Purchased at a garage sale
Publication Date :: 1981
My Rating :: 5 out of 5 stars
Age Recommendation :: For girls 10+

At sixteen, Anne is grown up...almost. Her gray eyes shine like the evening stars, but her red hair is still as peppery as her temper. In the years since she arrived at Green Gables as a freckle-faced orphan, she has earned the love of the people of Avonlea and a reputation for getting into scrapes. But when Anne begins her job as the new schoolteacher, the real test of her character begins. Along with teaching the three Rs, she is learning how complicated life can be when she meddles in someone else's romance, finds two new orphans at Green Gables, and wonders about the strange behavior of the very handsome Gilbert Blythe. As Anne enters womanhood, her adventures touch the heart and the funny bone. {Description Taken From}

Once I finished the first Anne book, I was eager to continue the story in the second novel. I really enjoyed seeing how Anne grew and also enjoyed the new characters that were introduced in the second book. This novel had lots of adventure and excitement just as all the other books and I greatly enjoyed it! One thing I liked about the comparison to the movie and actual book is that whether you read the book first or see the movie first, both ways you don't have to be worried about any spoiling. I'd seen the movie before I read the book, so I was wondering if I'd be interested in the book since I'd already seen the movie and knew the plot and scenes. I wanted it to keep me guessing and it did! However I was very pleased to find that even though the movie was very similar to the book, they still left certain things out or slightly adapted certain parts so that you are still able to guess at what will happen next without having seen the movie spoiling that. I didn't really find any questionable content and would definitely recommend it!

Anne of Green Gables Novels #3: Anne of the IslandAnne of The Island {Book #3}

Publisher :: Random House, Inc.
Source :: Purchased at a garage sale
Publication Date :: 1981
My Rating :: 5 out of 5 stars
Age Recommendation :: For girls 12+

New adventures lie ahead as Anne Shirley packs her bags, waves goodbye to childhood, and heads for Redmond College. With her old friend Prissy Grant waiting in the bustling city of Kingsport and her frivolous new friend Philippa Gordon at her side. Anne tucks away her memories of rural Avonlea and discovers life on her own terms, filled with surprises... including a marriage proposal from the worst fellow imaginable, the sale of her very first story, and a tragedy that teaches her a painful lesson. But tears turn to laughter when Anne and her friends move into an old cottage and an ornery black cat steals her heart. Little does Anne know that handsome Gilbert Blythe wants to win her heart, too. Suddenly Anne must decide if she's ready for love. {Description Taken From}

I really enjoyed this third novel in the Anne series. However it's more for an older audience since in this book, the romance really begins to form. In this book Anne had 5 marriage there was to some extent more romance than the previous books which had hardly any romance. Even though romance was introduced in this book, there wasn't anything questionable, there was only one short kiss at the end...but I won't spoil it for you even though you probably know what I'm talking about if you've seen the movies and know who she ends up marrying. ;) I really enjoyed this book!

Anne of Green Gables Novels #4: Anne of Windy Poplars
Anne of Windy Poplars {Book #4}

Publisher :: Random House, Inc.
Source :: Purchased at a garage sale
Publication Date :: 1984
My Rating :: 5 out of 5 stars
Age Recommendation :: For girls 10+

Anne Shirley has left Redmond College behind to begin a new job and a new chapter of her life away from Green Gables. Now she faces a new challenge: the Pringles. They're known as the royal family of Summerside--and they quickly let Anne know she is not the person they wanted as principal of Summerside High School. But as she settles into the cozy tower room at Windy Poplars, Anne finds she has great allies in the widows Aunt Kate and Aunt Chatty--and in their irrepressible housekeeper, Rebecca Drew. As Anne learns Summerside's strangest secrets, winning the support of the prickly Pringles is only the first of her great triumphs. {Description Taken From}

This book in the Anne series was mostly made up of parts of Anne's letters to Gilbert as she was teaching school away from Gilbert who was studying to be a doctor for 3 years. Since half of it was all letters, I thought I'd loose interest but to my surprise I didn't! I have several pen-pals and reading Anne's descriptive letters gave me some ideas on how I can improve my letters. I really enjoyed the book! I loved how Anne helped many people in this book and I loved all the adventures she had! I'd definitely recommend this book!

Look for August's book reviews next month to see the remaining reviews for the rest of the books in the series!

Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back

Beyond Belief
By Josh Hamilton 
with Tim Keown 
{Review By Bethany} 

Publisher :: FaithWords
Source :: Library
Publication Date :: 2010
My Rating :: 4 out of 5 stars
Age Recommendation :: 15+

In 1999, Josh Hamilton was on the verge of phenomenal success. He had been signed by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and was offered a $3.96 million signing bonus at the age of eighteen. However in 2001, following a major car accident, he began experimenting with drugs. From that time on, addiction overtook his life and he fell into a downward spiral of drug and alcohol use that lasted for four years, and resulted in his suspension from baseball. 

But that wasn't the end of the story for Josh. In October of 2005 he hit rock bottom and called out to God for help. With God's grace, and an intervention of tough love from his grandmother, Hamilton has been sober since 2005. He worked his way back into Major League Baseball, and has played for the Texas Rangers since 2008. This paperback edition ofBeyond Belief has been revised to include recent updates on Josh's recovery. Read this compelling story of redemption and see for yourself God's power to save. {Description Taken From}

Our family loves baseball and being that we live in TX, our favorite team is the TX Rangers. Of the whole team one of our top favorite players is Josh Hamilton who has an incredible salvation testimony of how God helped Josh go from a drug addict headed for hell to a Christian baseball player with a vision for the future. When I saw this book at the library, I was very excited to be able to read it. I knew Josh's story roughly, but found it a blessing to read it in depth in his book. This book, though focused on a baseball player, had a lot to do with overcoming the temptations of the devil, which Josh had to do daily once he got off of drugs. In reading his story and struggles, it encouraged me to keep up the good fight in my own battles against Satan's temptations. Whether the temptations you are facing are big or little, you will be encouraged to not let the temptation win when reading this book. Even if you aren't interested in baseball, if you are looking for a book to encourage you if you are going through a spiritually challenging time were you feel as if you can't hold against the devil any longer, read this book! Aside form the encouragement, this book was also very interesting and kept my attention, keeping me in suspense! The reason why I wasn't able to give this book 5 stars is because 5-8 times there was a bit of language, however the book was still very good.

The Nazi Officer's Wife

By Edith Hahn Beer 
with Susan Dwarkin
{Review By Johanna}

Publisher :: William Morrow Paperbacks
Source ::
Publication Date ::1999
My Rating :: 3 out of 5 stars
Age Recommendation :: 15+
Overview :: For quite a while now, I have found a fascination with the World War II era, and all that went on in the world around that time. Naturally, with my love of reading, I went on the hunt for a few Holocaust memoirs, and I came across The Nazi Officer's Wife; the story of a young Jewish woman and her survival during this brutal time in history.

Edith was born into a middle-class Jewish family living in Austria. She was popular, pretty, and was a successful law student who had big dreams for the future. However, as the Nazi's begin invading Austria, those dreams seamed to collapse and shatter. Within little time, Edith's life completely changed from being a citizen with respect, to a hunted-down victim of the Holocaust. After months of fleeing, she was caught and deported to a labor camp, located in Germany. After many months of backbreaking work Edith manages to escape with her life and, with the help of a dear friend, assumes a new identity. From here on out, Edith's life is no more than a game of the wits, and she finds herself living in constant fear that her secret will be found out. 

Pros :: Without sensationalizing the horrors, the author provided me with the stark facts of the Holocaust and allowed me to truly understand what life was like for the victims of Hitlers attempted genocide. I wanted a holocaust memoir that would relate to me the details of living during this time; and I had found it. This book is a wonderful read for those who are hungry to learn more about what it was like during World War II for those who were Jewish. 

Cons :: Throughout the pages, Edith describes each and every detail of her life, leaving nothing unanswered. Although this is often a pro, it several times ended up being a con. Edith's story includes a few sex scenes, and following suit with the rest of the story, she leaves out no details. Although I didn't find them to be bad enough where I would put the book down, I did feel as if they were overly detailed and inappropriate. 

In addition to this, there were more than half-a-dozen profane words; mostly used when she recorded Nazi dialog. Although I believe that this language was most likely used by the persecutors of the Jews, it may not have been necessary to record it word for word. Although, I can see that the author was attempting to realistically relate each and every aspect of the Holocaust; the good, and the bad. 

Final Thoughts :: From reading Edith's account of the Holocaust, I was truly able to understand what it would have been like to be the victim of this era. Although at times, the details made the book a bit slow, at other times it completely fascinated me to get such a detailed account. Walking away from this book, I felt as if I knew much more about this time period. However, due to the few instances of inappropriate content, as well as a few slow parts of the book, I am only giving this book three out of five stars.

2 Words of Grace:

Kathleen said...

Thank you so much for the book review on the Anne of Green Gables Series !
I too have been wanting to read the series and know with your review I can not wait to start!! :)

Laura Ashley said...

Hi! I love the Anne of Green Gables series and I really liked your review! My favorite book in the series is Rilla of Ingleside.

Laura Ashley C.