Sunday, March 22, 2015

Book Review of After a Fashion by Jen Turano

  Book Review of After a Fashion by Jen Turano

Miss Harriet Peabody dreams of the day she can open up a shop selling refashioned gowns to independent working women like herself. Unfortunately, when an errand for her millinery shop job goes sadly awry due to a difficult customer, she finds herself out of an income.
Mr. Oliver Addleshaw is on the verge of his biggest business deal yet when the lady he brought to town to assist him with entertaining his potential business partner reneges on their agreement. When this unreliable, and slightly deranged, lady causes the hapless Harriet to lose her job, Oliver tries to make it up to her by enlisting her help in making a good impression on his business partner.
Harriet quickly finds her love of fashion can’t make her fashionable. She’ll never truly fit into Oliver’s world, but just as she’s ready to call off the fake relationship, fancy dinners, and elegant balls, a threat from her past forces both Oliver and Harriet to discover that love can come in the most surprising packages.

Leona's Review:
This book begins in new York City in 1882 . The author takes the reader into this time era with her descriptions of the area, clothing and language.
Harriet Peabody works as a milliner in the back room of the shop. She is to deliver some hats to a customer at the home of Mr. Oliver Addleshaw. The woman who has ordered the hats is Miss Birmingham who is under the assumption she is engaged to Oliver Addleshaw. This arrangement does not go well and Oliver asks Harriet if she would a be woman who would help him with a business deal; Harriet lost her job as a result of the encounter she had with Lily Birmingham. Oliver needed a woman who would help him make a good impression of the business deal. They become engaged by word only.
I find Harriet is such a strong and feisty woman and holds her own with Oliver. Their discussions leave the reader with a smile. Harriet was raised by an aunt who never really cared for Harriet for whatever reason Harriet is not sure.
Oliver is rich and seems to care only to become richer. He leaves the running of his business for the people working for him to his managers, which are not doing the right things. We see the lower class and upper class in this book.
Many characters,  which have  their own personality, are in this book. I especially liked Buford, the dog, and was so glad Jen Turano included him.
This is the first book I have read by Jen Turano and I now have her on my TBR list of authors.
It is an easy read and since it is a Christian book,  it is a good read for anyone. I would like to see some of the characters in other books.
I received a complimentary copy of After a Fashion by Jen Turano from Bethany Books to read and review. The opinions are my own.
I give this a 5 star rating. I could even re-read this book and still enjoy it.
Leona Olson

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review of Bella's Gift by Rick and Karen Santorum

Review of Bella's Gift by Rick and Karen Santorum. 
On May 13, 2008, the Santorum family welcomed their eighth child into the world. Isabella Maria was born with a rare genetic condition called Trisomy 18, or Edward's Syndrome. Only 10 percent of children with Trisomy 18 are born alive, and 90 percent of those children do not make it to their first birthday. Faced with these bleak statistics, doctors told the family to prepare for Bella's death. Instead, they chose to celebrate her life.
Over the next six miraculous years, the Santorum family adjusted to life with a special needs girl—and watched her transform the lives of everyone around her. In many days of sickness and joy, she became an inspiration to her community and, ultimately, to the nation. Bella’s  Gift details the peaks and valleys, the joys and sufferings, and the incredible value of life with a special needs child. In a world that often measures worth according to usefulness, Bella’s story is a reminder that our real value lies in our capacity to love.

Karen Santorum
Karen Santorum is a former neonatal intensive care nurse and attorney. She is the author of two books: Letters to Gabriel and Everyday Graces: A Child's Book of Good Manners. Karen and her husband of almost twenty-five years, Rick, are the parents of seven wonderful children: Elizabeth, John, Daniel, Sarah Maria, Peter, Patrick, and Isabella. Her greatest role and love in life is being a wife and mother.

Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum, a native of Pennsylvania, was a candidate for the Republican nomination for president of the United States in 2012. He served in the House of Representatives from 1991 to 1995 and in the Senate from 1995 to 2007 and is the author of several books, including the 2005 New York Times bestseller It Takes a Family. Rick's most important role and love in life is being a husband and father.

Elizabeth Santorum graduated magna cum laude from the University of Dallas. During the 2012 Republican presidential primary, she spent a year campaigning across the nation on behalf of her father, Senator Rick Santorum. Appearing on CNN, Fox News, NBC, and many other news outlets at twenty years old, she became one of the campaign's most requested speakers. Elizabeth has spent time doing mission work in Uganda, is currently a John Jay Fellow, and absolutely loves being a big sister.

Max Lucado
pastor and best-selling author of Before Amen
Life takes sudden turns. The horizon brings unexpected storms. The road we walk is prone to go from smooth to rocky in a matter of steps. No one is spared the difficult path. Rick and Karen Santorum weren't. The birth of their daughter Bella  was a birth into a life they never asked to enter. Their faith was tested, their futures were rerouted. And, as a result of it all, they are different people. You know the Santorums as public figures in the halls of Congress and on the trails of a presidential campaign. You are about to know them as parents of a special girl. Their struggles, fears, faith, and fortitude -- it's all in these pages. I urge you to read this book. Life takes sudden turns for all of us. And we need wisdom from a family who has kept their balance and stayed on the road.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar
parents on TLC's 19 Kids & Counting
We love the Santorum family and the way they love children like God loves children. Rick championed the bill to end partial birth abortion in America. The Santorum family has tirelessly fought to return our nation back to the Christian values our country was founded upon. Bella's Gift will inspire families and marriages to draw close to God through the joys and the hard times of life.

Sean Hannity
television and radio host, author, and political commentator
I have gotten to know Rick, Karen, and their family really, really well over the years. This book is a love story from two parents who walk the walk as husband and wife, father and mother. In typical Santorum style, they pull no punches, but they will also pull at your heart and your soul.

Greta Van Susteren
Fox News Channel personality
Bella’s  father was a Fox News Contributor so I have known about this little child since the day she was born. She is nothing short of amazing—she has beaten all odds! This book is a touching love story about how this very challenged child enriched her family . . . and anyone who meets her. You will be enriched—and inspired—by reading her story.

Archbishop Charles Chaput
One of the joys of being alive is to see love in action and the indelible mark it leaves on the world. Karen and Rick Santorum have written the kind of extraordinary book about their daughter with special needs that moves the heart and stays in the memory.

Michael G. Lamb M.D. and Kathleen G. Lamb M.D
Bella Santorum's  story is one that all medical professionals should read and profit from. Her and her family's struggle, besides being inspiring, is also medically enlightening. Too many members of her medical team assumed that her situation was hopeless. This was not so much from a lack of caring as it was a lack of knowing. A detailed, careful reading of the medical literature on children with Trisomy 18 reveals that these children do not have the dismal outcomes that some so-called experts claim. In rare disorders like Bella's, there really are no experts. The ideal professional will yearn to become the expert, seek the truth, know the facts, and assess the entire situation. He or she needs to know in detail all about the child, the medical condition, and the family situation. Only then is one able to really offer good care. Unfortunately, the tendency to 'write off' children like Bella  is all too common in modern American medicine with its bottom line, dollars and cents, mentality. Hopefully this book will help to change some of that.

Mark Levin
lawyer, author, and host of The Mark Levin Show
Bella’s  Gift is a must read. I've had the privilege of enjoying family dinners at the Santorum’s  home with the entire family, including Bella. I've witnessed the love that she has for her family and they for her. Bella’s story reminds us that love requires sacrifice, an idea that is becoming increasingly lost in our selfish society. Read it. You’ll be moved, inspired, and encouraged by the story of this little girl and her heroic family

George F. Will
syndicated columnist
The radiant truth about special-needs children, such as the Santorums’  Bella, is that they give to those around them something that we all need. This gift, that suffuses every page of this marvelous book, is the reminder that every life is sanctified by the capacity to receive and respond to love.

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Leona's Review:
First, no matter what your political views are, this will touch the hearts of all. A moving book about a little girl that has stolen the hearts of those who meet her and the ones who have seen her on TV or read her story.
I knew that little Bella had this disease as she was in the news when her father was running for president. He quit the race for his family.
I lost my husband of almost 57 years of marriage in January and maybe this is one reason this book touched me so deeply. Life is precious at any stage of life, before and after birth.
The descriptions of Bella giggling and her smile was visual. The reader follows the struggle and tears of the family as well as the family fun times. The Santorum have much faith in God even with the trials they have with a child who needs constant care.
Every other chapter is written by the parents of Bella. When reading, you want to reach out and give them a hug. Each chapter begins with the word LOVE.
There are pictures in the book which add to the feelings of the book.
The other children play an important part in the lives of their parents, each other and Bella.
I saw this book offered to read and review on booklookbloggers. I almost did not read it because of my stress at this time but I am so glad I did. I really made the decision after I saw the Santorums and Bella on FOX more than once. I had to read a chapter of at a time but that Is OK. It is a good family read.
This would make a wonderful gift for parents who have a special need child. 
I received a complimentary copy of Bella's Gift to read and review. The opinions are my own.
Leona Olson