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Book Review: The Things We Knew

Posted by Julie on August 17, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |
Book Review: The Things We Knew by Catherine West

Book Review: The Things We Knew by Catherine West

When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?

After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to blame their father for their mother’s death, but nobody will talk about that tragic day. And Lynette’s memory only speaks through nightmares.

Then Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, bringing the past with him. Once Lynette’s adolescent crush, Nick knows more about her mother’s death than he lets on. The truth could tear apart his own family—and destroy his fragile friendship with Lynette, the woman he no longer thinks of as a kid sister.

As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets surface that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question their faith, their willingness to forgive, and the very truth of all the things they thought they knew.

Have you ever read a book and you could feel the tension? THE THINGS WE KNEW felt like an approaching thunderstorm as Lynette tries to keep things together for her ailing dad but secrets, hardship, illness, and her boyhood crush and neighbor, Nick, come crashing in and around her and her childhood home.

What I love, just like watching a storm, is THE THINGS WE KNEW doesn’t disappoint. The crescendo comes where all the truth about Lynette’s mother and her mysterious death come out. Nick’s secrets. Lynette’s siblings. They are left with hiding the aftermath or pulling together and heal as a cohesive unit.

I thought this was a strong story with equally strong secondary stories, especially with Lynette’s brother, Gray. This reminded me of a more stressful Baxter Series book by Karen Kingsbury, maybe more realistic is a better word. Whatever comparison I’m trying to make, THE THINGS WE KNEW is definitely worth reading.

To purchase THE THINGS WE KNEW, click here.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Ending Sibling Rivalry by Sarah Hamaker

Posted by Julie on December 13, 2014 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

41t-ZzjkqpLBook Description

“Is your day punctuated by tattling, tears, and testiness among your children? Does your home resemble a war zone, with fights breaking out constantly among combative siblings? Do you wonder why your kids can’t get along? You’re not alone. Sibling rivalry has become one of the most
frustrating problems facing today’s parents.

Yet sibling rivalry is not an inevitable outcome. It is possible to help your children move from enemies to friends. In Ending Sibling Rivalry, Sarah
Hamaker provides common sense and practical solutions to this familiar problem, guiding parents through the roots—and remedies—of sibling rivalry.

Ending Sibling Rivalry addresses the harmful impact of competition on the sibling relationship, how to avoid the trap of favoritism and comparison, and how to teach children conflict resolution. Whether your children are toddlers or teenagers, Ending Sibling Rivalry provides the blueprint for reducing sibling conflict and building a more loving relationship between or among your children.”

Sarah Hamaker delivers a comprehensive guide involving every possible topic I can think of regarding siblings and rivalry.

Whether it’s jealousy or favoritism, the author gives suggestions, resources and information from real families with experience. It covers all ages and gives the necessary tools to raise children who will not only be siblings, but even friends.

If you are or know a frustrated family full of sibling squabbles, this book is a must.

To purchase Ending Sibling Rivalry, click here.

I received a copy of Ending Sibling Rivalry from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Fiction Friday: Shadows and Sun

Posted by Julie on April 27, 2012 in Julie Arduini, Writing |

Happy Fiction Friday! I’m excited to be hosting today, although things this week didn’t go quite as I thought they would. I knew when I signed on to host I’d use my story as an opportunity to flesh out a secondary character in my WIP, Spectacular Falls. When I wrote Carla’s story, I realized she really has one. When I’m done with SF, I’m pretty sure writing about the single mom sheriff/wannabe hair stylist is my next project.

But what I didn’t know when I signed on was that my husband would be out of state this week. That our oldest would be leaving town for a Fine Arts competition. And then–our youngest got a sinus infection. Lots of errands and appointments. Not the time for writing that I was hoping for. Translate: Short and VERY rough draft!

Today’s story is Meg Anderson’s. She is the college age sister to Jenna, my heroine in Spectacular Falls. She doesn’t get a lot of time in Spectacular Falls because she’s still in Ohio, adjusting with her parents to life without Jenna in the same house. Meg is a quick wit, but more profound than she thinks she could get credit for. Dramatic, and naive. She pours her deep thinking into her journal, and that’s where I offer a snippet today.

Meg has the opportunity to visit her sister in the Adirondack Mountains for the summer. She has a lot of high hopes, most of all, for romance. She meets the least likely candidate, the businessman from New Jersey that Jenna can only describe as “smarmy” Kyle Swarthmore. Meg sees something in Kyle no one else notices—he’s a shadow like her.

I hope you enjoy. More than that, I hope you join us. Write up a fiction ditty and post it on your blog, and link back here.

Happy writing!

May 15

Shadows don’t get enough credit. The sun is a source of light, but anything out in the sun too long fades and dries.

My big sister, Jenna Anderson, grew up as the sun. Whatever she did was bright and full of light.

Me? Meg? I was the shadow. Few noticed me because I was in the background. Even when Jenna moved from our home in Ohio to the Adirondack Mountains, everyone still asked about her. That’s the power of the sun.

But you know what?

Shadows keep cool.

Yep, I’m the funny one that has that one-liner that can diffuse any situation. With Jenna gone, people are starting to notice. Even Mom and Dad see I’m collected under pressure. They appreciate the humor I bring to the house, especially with one-quarter of the Anderson concert of laughter, song, and praise off to another place that already adores her.

Well, guess what? I’m on summer break and this shadow is off to visit Jenna. That’s right. I’m trading four minute long traffic lights for waves from every single person in town. Letting go of pricey highlights for flip flops and a ponytail. Where Jenna starts a sentence and I finish.

And although the proverbial pond is slim for pickings, this shadow is ready to cast a long impression on some single man that hopefully wants a girl who doesn’t want to live in the background anymore.

June 8

I’ve never seen so many trees. There are so many–and the scent. Pleasant. Refreshing. I could get used to things here in Speculator Falls.

I’m kind of surprised, though. Trees block the sun, especially trees so high here. Jenna’s new, and in a village with so many established places and people. But they love her. The way Ben Regan looks at her, I think his gaze could melt the steaks he keeps at his grocery store, JB’s. They’re engaged, and their future is here.

Jenna’s volunteer secretary at the senior center, Shirley, asked me where my future is. What will I do once I graduate.

Teach. That’s what my major is, anyway.

But walking around the senior center with Jenna and meeting the members, I realized something.

I have so much to learn.

July 1

I met a big fish today, against Jenna’s wishes. He’s mesmerizing. He’s a sun and a shadow. Kyle Swarthmore. His family owns Swarthmore Enterprises in New Jersey. Like Ben, Kyle grew up summers staying in Speculator Falls. Kyle has what he calls a cottage. I think it’s a rustic mansion. When we met, he kissed my hand.

This shadow felt some heat.

Jenna saw us and dashed over. Kyle was gracious, even gave me his business card. But Jenna took it and crumpled it as soon as Kyle walked away. Said it was the second time she did that. I refuse to feel inferior because Kyle gave her a card first, when she moved here. He noticed me for me, I just know it.

July 13

Kyle took me to Lake George today. What a beautiful part of the region bustling with tourists. Kyle guided me through the shops and right to our dinner cruise with ease. My heart is bursting because he wasn’t smarmy at all. Jenna said that’s how she views him. Shifty and always with an agenda. I saw something today in him I bet no one else has taken the time to notice. When I asked about his dad, he hesitated. I know that tactic. It’s what shadows who live behind the scenes do.

I should know.



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