Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review: A Lesson in Hope: A Novel

A Lesson in Hope: A Novel A Lesson in Hope: A Novel by Philip Gulley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is by far my favorite book of the Philip Gulley Harmony and Hope series. Sam Gardner is a jaded Quaker minister overseeing another dysfunctional congregation, Hope Friends Meeting. The church is thriving with twenty four members, doubling in size since Sam has taken on the ministry. Aged member Olive Charles passes away, leaving her estate in the hands of Hope Friends Meeting and every congregant seems to have a need or a use for the full million dollar inheritance along with Olive's house and Ford Granada. A wrench is thrown in all plans, when Olives drunken niece decides to sue the church for the entire amount. On top of that, Sam's parents have decided to move closer to the family and his brother is living in sin with a rival minister's daughter. Both of his boys are gone from home to college and the army, leaving Sam and his wife, Barbara, empty nesters. And Sam finds himself being propositioned by a lovely woman in a french braid.

This book was hilarious. Gulley is quite a humorist, but this book is much lighter than previous books and reminds me of a National Lampoon's Vacation story. I laughed out loud many times. In some of his previous books, especially in the Home to Harmony series, I felt that Gulley was presenting Sam as extremely jaded and almost depressed/depressing. Now he's just downright funny and has found some gumption in dealing with these crazy characters. I'm so happy that Gulley is back with this new series and am looking forward to his next one.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Review: Just a Guy: Notes from a Blue Collar Life

Just a Guy: Notes from a Blue Collar Life Just a Guy: Notes from a Blue Collar Life by Bill Engvall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bill Engvall's humor shines through in his memoir Just a Guy: Notes from a Blue Collar Life. Engvall covers his life as a young tyke in a semi-dysfunctional home, his school years, dating, marriage and being a parent. Each chapter is a short story filled with his usual humor and positive outlook on life. He really is "just a guy" who loves his family and his life. Worth a read, or listen to the audiobook like I did. It is read by Engvall, so it makes it that more fun and engaging.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review: Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sedaris is great fun. Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls is a series of essays about his dysfunctional family, his world travels, and his opinions on topics like flying, colonoscopies, learning to speak Japanese, and nuts. I listened to this one through Audibles and was glad I did. Some of the essays were read live with an audience and he had me laughing along with everyone else. If you've not yet experienced the humor of David Sedaris, check him out soon.

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Review: Eisenhower in War and Peace

Eisenhower in War and Peace Eisenhower in War and Peace by Jean Edward Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eisenhower in War and Peace is an exhaustive look at Eisenhower's military career and an overview of his presidency. Jean Edward Smith goes into great detail on Ike's upbringing and rise in the military from his time at West Point through his tenure as Chief of Staff. One chapter is devoted to his time as President of Columbia University and the final chapters cover his two terms as President and his retirement spent at Gettysburg, PA. It is very well researched with some wonderful side notes that are worth the read.

I enjoyed the book and feel like I have a good understand of Eisenhower the military man. I think, though that Smith glosses over some things, or will introduce an aspect of Ike's life, but then never really ties it up later. I was disappointed that more was not included on his White House years and his retirement. It sounded like once he retired he did nothing more than write his memoirs and play golf, yet there was some commentary that he did get involved in some issues during JFK's tenure.

Eisenhower in War and Peace is still worth the read, but it does lead me to want to search out more books on his presidential years.

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