Essential Traditions/Real Food Real Frugal

The archives for the old Essential Traditions blog and the old Real Food Real Frugal Blog

Through Rushing Water Review :: Book Sneeze

Through Rushing Water Review - Finding Beauty - SusanGodfrey.comI recently received the book Through Rushing Water by Catherine Richmond from Book Sneeze to read and review.  I received it in eBook format to read on my eReader.  Through Rushing Water is a Christian historical romance published by Thomas Nelson in 2012.  You can also find a Reading Group Guide as the end of the book.  This is Richmond’s second book, her first being Spring for Susannah, which I have not read.

Plot Summary of Through Rushing Water

Sophia has her life all planned out—but her plan didn’t include being jilted or ending up in Dakota Territory.

Sophia Makinoff is certain that 1876 is the year that she’ll become the wife of a certain US Congressman, and happily plans her debut into the Capitol city. But when he proposes to her roommate instead, Sophia is stunned. Hoping to flee her heartache and humiliation, she signs up with the Board of Foreign Missions on a whim.


With dreams of a romantic posting to the Far East, Sophia is dismayed to find she’s being sent to the Ponca Indian Agency in the bleak Dakota Territory. She can’t even run away effectively and begins to wonder how on earth she’ll be able to guide others as a missionary. But teaching the Ponca children provides her with a joy she has never known—and never expected—and ignites in her a passion for the people she’s sent to serve.


It’s a passion shared by the Agency carpenter, Willoughby Dunn, a man whose integrity and selflessness are unmatched. The Poncas are barely surviving. When U.S. policy decrees that they be uprooted from their land and marched hundreds of miles away in the middle of winter, Sophia and Will wade into rushing waters to fight for their friends, their love, and their destiny.


My Thoughts on Through Rushing Water

Through Rushing Water  is the first book by Catherine Richmond that I have read, but it won’t be the last.  Through Rushing Water is beautifully written.  For the review, I had scheduled to read chucks of this book through out a week.  To say the least, that schedule was an epic fail.  I stayed up to nearly three a.m. on two different nights simply because I was so drawn into the story that I could not put it down.  This is not something I do regularly, so that really tells you how much I enjoyed the story.

I was easily drawn to Sophia’s character.  The way she was spurned by the man she thought she was going to marry made her very sympathetic.  Her decision to become a missionary seemed to go against what I saw her character being.  It wasn’t her becoming a missionary so much as that it was such a spur-of-the-moment decision, which I thought went against the traits we had come to know about her from earlier in the book.  I saw Sophia as being more in control and even keeled.  But that decision sets the course for the resplendent story to come.  I relished watching Sophia’s faith grow and how God took her spur-of-the-moment decision and molded it for His glory.  Sophia’s romance with Will is sweet and satisfying.  I was enchanted by their sweet romance set against such a stark and tragic background.

While Sophia and Will were an integral part of the story, it was the Ponca people  that kept me engaged.  I became so invested in their fate that I simply could not put the book down.  I was really struck by how much we take for granted today.  The absolute poverty and the abysmal treatment of the Ponca Indians was disheartening.  This treatment of the American Indians is a shameful chapter of our country’s past.

Through Rushing Water  is a well researched book and is broadly based on true events, which are explained in the Author’s Note at the end of the book.  I’m a history junkie and am drawn to books that are true to history and life.  Nothing frustrates me more than reading an historical novel filled with inaccuracies.  I didn’t find that with this book.  Richmond has done and admirable job with Through Rushing Water .  She has woven a beautiful romantic tale, while still staying true to the tragic facts of the dismal treatment of the Ponca people.  Richmond now has a new fan, and I look forward to reading more from her.  I simply cannot recommend Through Rushing Water highly enough!

Want to know more about Through Rushing Water by Catherine Richmond?  Click below to watch/hear the first chapter!

About the Author, Catherine Richmond

Through Rushing Water Review - Finding Beauty - SusanGodfrey.comI was busy raising a family, working as an occupational therapist, and trying to remember where I hid the chocolate, when a song sparked a story within me. The journey to publication has been long, but full of blessings. I couldn’t have done it without ACFW, RWA, and FHL, the inspirational chapter of RWA, and Nebraska Novelists critique group.

I was born in Washington, DC, grew up in northern Virginia, attended Western Michigan University, and moved around a lot for my husband’s aviation career. Maybe our paths have crossed; shoot me an email and we’ll figure it out!

My favorite place to write is the porch. Then I reward myself with reading time in my air chair – and chocolate, of course!

Visit Catherine Richmond’s website.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Some links are affiliate links, if you purchase the books through these links, I will receive a small percentage of the sales price.

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Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore Review :: BookSneeze Review

Angel Eyes By Shannon Dittemore
Published by Thomas Nelson

Angel Eyes Description:

Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee.

Brielle went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and an incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake.

Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.

Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than either Brielle or Jake has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices begin.

A realm that only angels and demons—and Brielle—can perceive.

My Review of Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore:

I have some really mixed feelings about “Angel Eyes” by Shannon Dittemore, so it was REALLY hard to rate and review it.  So, I think I’ll just share what I liked and disliked about the book and try to explain why I felt so conflicted about reading it.

What I Liked:

  • “Angel Eyes” is a really well written book.  Shannon Dittemore’s writing was beautiful and often poetic.  This in no way seems like a debut novel, but more like a book crafted by an author who has honed their writing skills for years.  It honestly is surprising that this is her first novel.  I enjoyed her writing style a lot and would like to read more from the author in the future.
  • The plot of Angel Eyes is very interesting and imaginative.  I really enjoyed the basic story line.  The story of the conflict between Angels and Demons that takes place in the earthly realm and spiritual realm is an interesting idea.  It puts me a bit in mind of This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti, another book in the same vein that I actually really enjoyed.
  • I like that Angel Eyes has a Christian slant and is not just a secular book about Angels with an overly generalized idea of God and Angels.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Okay, I’ve never actually read any of the “Twilight” books, but even I can see the resemblance in the underlying “romance” thread in the book.  I can certainly see that Angel Eyes is geared toward the “Twilight” crowd, just with a Christian slant.
  • Angel Eyes is geared towards young adult readers.  Specifically, young ladies.  But, I honestly do not think I would recommend it for that age level, for the same reason I wouldn’t recommend “Twilight” to them.  So much of the story hinges on the main characters “connection” to each other.

Why I’m Conflicted

I really did enjoy the writing and the story tremendously, but as I read, I never felt “right” about reading Angel Eyes.  I can’t quite put my finger on just why though.  But, I was definitely in conflict about reading it.  Maybe it was just the romantic, supernatural bent of the story and the immediate comparison in my mind to “Twilight“.  Whatever it was, I never quite felt comfortable reading Angel Eyes.

You can listen to the first chapter of “Angel Eyes” by clicking below.

NOTICE: Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this item free from the creator. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  In addition, some links in this post are attached to affiliate links where I earn a small percentage of the purchase price.

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Book Review :: The Part-Time Vegan

_140_245_Book.408.coverBOOK DESCRIPTION:
  • Adopt “Meatless Mondays”
    Scramble tofu for brunch
    Eat more beans–and less beef . . .

. . . or not. It’s all good, according to Cherise Grifoni, your fearless guide to the seemingly complex world of no-meat, no-eggs, no-dairy. In this guilt-free cookbook, you’ll discover how to go vegan without feeling any pressure whatsoever. But a warning: the mouthwatering recipes may have you transitioning to full-time much sooner than you anticipated!

Honestly, what’s not to love when you’re eating: Purely Vegan Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread, Lean, Mean, Black Bean Guacamole, Very Vegan Potato Pesto Salad, Spicy Roasted Tomato Soup, Roasted-Garlic Mashed Taters, Spanish Artichoke and Zucchini Paella, Barley Pilaf with Edamame and Roasted Red Pepper.

No matter why you want to go vegan–whether it’s for health, the planet, or some other worthy reason–this cookbook makes sure you have fun in the process!

I’ve been trying to add more vegetarian recipes to my family’s menu, so when I saw “The Part-Time Vegan” available on
BookSneeze®.com, I thought it was timely and decided to give it a try.

The book is nicely laid out and there are certainly plenty of recipes.  A couple of things I did not like about the book itself was that there were no photos.  I like to have at least a few photos in a cookbook to help you get an idea of how the food looks.  I also didn’t really like the author’s writing style.  It was a bit sarcastic and had some mild curse words which are really not needed in a cookbook.

Overall, this book wasn’t what I really was looking for.  First of all, there are too many recipes containing soy.  I am allergic to it, I can’t eat it.  I am aware that soy is a diet staple of vegans, but I honestly thought there would be more recipes that would focus on other protein sources besides soy, such as beans.  As far as I’m concerned this book uses soy and other meat replacements far more than it has to.  Also, many of the ingredients are items that are not easily found in my area and can be a bit on the expensive side.

Quite a few of the recipes sound pretty tasty, but most were not items my family would remotely eat.  The whole point of this book is suppose to be “part-time” veganism.  So, I thought it would be a bit more main-stream.  This is not the book for a meat eating family who is just trying to add some vegetarian meals to their menu.  I do think that it is a great beginning vegan cookbook for a person really interested in transitioning to a full-time vegan diet, but that’s just not us.  Overall, I wouldn’t suggest this book to anyone who doesn’t have the intentions of going vegan full-time.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the
BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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