Sushi for One? by Camy Tang

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Sushi for OneSushi for One? by Camy Tang

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

“Please do something.” She’d wait for Him to do something. She’d wait for Him, even if He didn’t do something.

It’s a little complicated, this whole business regarding Lex Sakai’s becoming (or avoiding becoming?) the oldest single female cousin in her family. Her quest of multiple objectives in Sushi for One? by author Camy Tang takes a lot of turns, and I, while reading about it, had to hang on for the ride.

The novel’s opening, and several other moments along the way, had me laughing out loud, and I took to the heroine right away: funny, flawed, sometimes rash about the mouth, tomboyish, passionate about sports, with a figure folks criticize for not being curvy enough–whatever that is. (Hey, lithe women are beautiful, too!) The story’s romance is well paced, and the volleyball sequences put me in the mood for the Summer Olympics. In the mood to watch them, that is.

There are a lot of mishaps and spillings, the theme concerning Lex’s sensitive stomach makes for some “disgustamundo” parts, and most of the zany characters who sail through, and some who reappear, aren’t exactly likable. (Which is part of the story’s point, granted.) But genuine displays of friendship and family loyalty through painful experience put me in tears. Real tears that required me to pause from reading for a while.

I’ve got to read more of the Sushi Series.

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More books in the Sushi Series

Only Uni (Sushi, #2) Single Sashimi (Sushi, #3) Weddings and Wasabi (Sushi, #4)

The South Wind Blew Softly by Ruth Livingston Hill

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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The South Wind Blew SoftlyThe South Wind Blew Softly by Ruth Livingston Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

“It’s a wonder you didn’t lose your mind.”

“Yes. But you see, God was keeping it.” He smiled. “A man can’t lose what God keeps.”

Nancy has to go spend six months in Pine City, Florida, if she wants to inherit $25,000 from her deceased uncle. And her corresponding brief stint as a church secretary for a handsome minister, Jack, doesn’t mean she’ll have to catch any stifling religion during her stay. Just a few months, and then she’ll be out of there with her money.

Right?

The South Wind Blew Softly is the second novel I’ve read by Ruth Livingston Hill, and despite its updated 1988 cover, the story itself doesn’t appear to have been updated from the 50s, when it was first published. (Good! I’m not a fan of updating novels for contemporary audiences. Just let the book be old, the way the author wrote it, and give contemporary readers the chance to relate to something from before their time.) It can be easy to romanticize about old-fashioned Christian Fiction, to think of it as all sweetness and light, but Ruth and her renowned mother, Grace Livingston Hill, did write about sordid matters and seamy sides of humanity within their redemptive messages.

In The South Wind, the author’s descriptions of the characters really make them distinctive. Granted, I was nervous when a “colored maid,” Emma, was introduced, a mammy figure who is the target of at least one character’s clearly ignorant sentiments. But Emma’s perception, wisdom, and dignity do come through, and her employer’s respect for her as a “wonderful woman” who “really loves the Lord” made me breathe easier.

As for the rest of the characters–eeesh! Most of them are despicable or pitiful. Even the heroine, Nancy, is rather haughty and vulgar at times, and though she does have some positive changes to undergo, I wouldn’t say that I ever completely warmed up to or developed definite admiration for her character, though her story is interesting. Her acquaintance (not a romantic acquaintance, mind you) with a certain compassionate and discerning older man actually provided me with some relief. The novel’s romance was quite delayed, minor, and didn’t strike me as very romantic, but as a romance flaming through most of the story wouldn’t have suited either of the characters involved, it suited me just fine.

Having read this and John Nielson Had a Daughter, my favorite novel of all time, I hope to read all of Ruth Livingston Hill’s books.

Luther (2003)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Luther

Luther (2003) from Eikon Film
Rated PG-13. Drama, History/Biography, Faith Theme, War/Epic
My rating: ★★★★1/2

Description (from the film case): Joseph Fiennes stars as Martin Luther, the brilliant man of God whose defiant actions changed the world, in this “epic, ravishingly beautiful” (The New York Times) film that traces Luther’s extraordinary and exhilarating quest for the people’s liberation.

Regional princes and the powerful Church wield a fast, firm and merciless grip on 16th-century Germany. But when Martin Luther issues a shocking challenge to their authority, the people declare him their new leader–and hero. Even when threatened with violent death, Luther refuses to back down, sparking a bloody revolution that shakes the entire continent to its core.

My thoughts: ‎I appreciate Fiennes’s portrayal of Martin Luther as a man of passion and conviction as well as doubt and inner agony. The film takes an intriguing look at Church history as well as quite a look, though not always a pretty one, at how human beings just…are, sometimes. Even with its obvious faith theme, I wouldn’t put the movie in the genre of “faith films,” though I think it has much for faith film lovers as well as epic and historical movie fans to enjoy.

My corresponding reading: Concerning Christian Liberty (or On Christian Liberty) by Martin Luther and Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund.

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Love Lessons by Christine S. Feldman

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Love LessonsLove Lessons by Christine S. Feldman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Certainly, all that borderline-stiff accountant Benji needs to amp up his social life and find a woman of his own are lessons from an outspoken, confident baker and dating expert like Nadia. But, certainly nothing Nadia teaches Benji would be an opening for anything romantic-like to happen between him and Nadia herself. Certainly not…

As the first book in this series by Christine S. Feldman is a Christmas novella, I’m sure Love Lessons can safely be called a New Year’s novella. There’s humor and quirkiness, smart romantic chemistry between the main players, and believable seriousness underlying Nadia’s central challenge. And two enthusiastic thumbs up from this bookworm for the idea of being able to “meet someone” in a bookstore!

Now, while Benji’s physical features are described well, if there are details in the book beyond the cover image to describe what Nadia physically looks like, I missed them. But as far as who these people are, the characters are nicely developed, and the pacing of the story is excellent.

A fun and even touching example of a holiday novella done well. Thorough enjoyment on my part!

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Love Lessons is the second novella in the Heavenly Bites series. I’ve also read and reviewed Novella #1, Pastels and Jingle Bells.

Pastels and Jingle Bells (Heavenly Bites #1) Playing Cupid (Heavenly Bites #3)