Category Archives: made into movie

The Shunning – Review

This is the first book I’ve read by Beverly Lewis, although I’ve heard of her books for years.  I saw the movie trailer for The Shunning, and wanted to read the book before I watched the movie.

The Shunning is the first book in the “Heritage of Lancaster County” series.  It was published in 1997 Bethany House, an imprint of Baker Publishing Group.

This book details the life of a young Amish woman, Katie Lapp.  She lives with her family in Hickory Hollow, and is preparing to wed the widower, Bishop John Beiler, and become mother to his five children.  She is not in love with the Bishop, as her heart belongs to an Amish boy whose life was cut short by tragedy.  But Daniel Fisher is long gone, and with only her memories of him and the music they made (music not belonging to Ausbund, a hymnal filled with songs teaching character), she struggles to move on and fulfill her duty to become a “gut” Amish wife and mother.

Katie is preparing for her upcoming wedding, and seeks her mother’s wedding dress in the attic, and with it, she finds a tiny baby’s dress – made of beautiful rose-colored satin.  The name “Katherine Mayfield” is stitched in the facing of the dress.  Why would her mother have something like this, something so “English”, and obviously not for a Plain child?  When she asks her mother about the dress, Rebecca faints, and the next day refuses to discuss it.

As Katie struggles with her “sins”, loving beautiful clothing, loving the guitar belonging to Daniel, and continuing to play and sing the songs they wrote together, she feels more than ever that she will never be a good enough Amish woman to fit in with her community, much less the wife of a bishop.

When a long black limousine shows up in Hickory Hollow, with an English woman looking for someone named Rebecca who has a daughter in her early 20′s, people in the community begin to ask questions.  When a letter is delivered to Katie’s mom, Rebecca, from the English woman, Laura Mayfield-Bennett, Katie feels that her parents are hiding things from her that would explain her struggles.  Will her questions and struggles drive a wedge between herself and her family, her church and the Amish community?  Will she be punished with the Meinding , a shunning from the entire community?

~~~~~

 My thoughts on The Shunning:  While I am not familiar with all the customs of the Amish, I  was raised in a highly religious/conservative home.  I remember when people, even family members, left our church and chose another path, we were pressured to cut ties with them.  I can’t imagine my childhood curiosity, and grown-up questions being the cause of a complete shunning by my family, and the people I was closest to in our church community.  While Katie struggles with her questions and doubts, even knowing that the Meinding is possible, she is truly trying to seek answers for herself.  Others in the community label her as rebellious and unrepentant, but her struggle to understand are clear.  As the first book in a trilogy, I know there are many loose ends that will be settled in the following novels.  I was sad along with Katie as she made her choices, knowing that it was possible she would never be able to see or speak to her family and friends again, not even her mother or her lifelong best friend.  But I also understood her questions, and her journey to find the answers.

Even if this is not a genre you typically find yourself reading, being drawn into the story is easy.  You begin to know the characters, and become invested in their life.

I give this book a 3.5/5 rating.  If I had not seen the movie preview, I might not have ever sought out this book/author, but now that I’ve finished this portion of the story, I plan to read The Confession, and The Reckoning as well.

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Thursday Thoughts

This week my daughter and her bestie are out of school – they are in a non-traditional school, so they have breaks through-out the year, and a shorter summer.  No one else on our street is out of school, so they are a little bored.  We decided to have a movie day today since we are probably going to break a heat record here today, and they don’t need another sunburn.

We started with Hop, and moved on to We Bought a Zoo (loved), and are about to start on the Mighty Macs (they are both basketball players).  We took a trip to the local Dollar store and everyone got two movie candies – including me.  Then they talked me into another one for them to share.  An hour after breakfast they are settled on the couch with 2.5 movie candies each, and a big bowl of popcorn.  After the second movie I made them stop and have a protein filled lunch to combat the sugar high.  They are both crashing as we speak.  This gives me a bit of down time, so I thought I’d write a post real quick, and get some reading done.

I’ve been trying to read Fifty Shades of Grey for almost a week now.  I’m struggling to get into it.  On the other hand I’ve read five Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich in that time frame.  I’ve decided that I must be the odd man (woman) out, because to be honest, I’d rather have Joe Morelli than Christian Grey.  At least so far.  I don’t usually have a hard time getting into books, but I’m struggling to finish Fifty Shades – it’s kind of like a relationship – if you have to force it, it’s probably not worth it.  I’m sure Mr. Grey has a different opinion.

Jason O’Mara has been cast to play Joe Morelli in the movie adaptation of One for the Money, and Matt Bomer is just how I picture Christian Grey.  Although the movie rights for Fifty Shades of Grey have been purchased, no one has been cast as Christian Grey as of yet.

Speaking of Stephanie Plum, I love the cast for this movie.  It probably wouldn’t matter so much to someone who hasn’t read the book/series, but to me these people are so close to what I imagined them to be in my mind while reading the books that I can hardly wait to go see it.  Stephanie is being played by Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara as Morelli, Daniel Sunjata as Ranger, Sherri Shepard as Lula, Debra Monk as Mrs. Plum, and Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur.

These books are so funny that more often that not I wake the hubby while I’m reading them in bed at night because my laughter shakes him awake.  Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of book five, High Five.

“My mother was at the door when I pulled to the curb.  My grandmother Mazur stood elbow to elbow with my mother.  They were short slim women with facial features that suggested Mongol ancestors…probably in the form of crazed marauders.

‘Thank goodness you’re here,’ my mother said, eyeing me as I got out of the car and walked toward her.  ‘What are those shoes?  They look like work boots.’

‘Betty Szajak and Emma Getz and me went to that male dancer place last week,’ Grandma said, ‘and they had some men parading around, looking like construction workers, wearing boots just like those.  Then next thing you knew they ripped their clothes off and all they had left was those boots and these little silky black baggie things that their ding-dongs jiggled around in.’ 

My mother pressed her lips together and made the sign of the cross.  ‘You didn’t tell me about this,’ she said to my grandmother.

‘Guess it slipped my mind.  Betty and Emma and me were going to bingo at the church, but it turned out there wasn’t any bingo on account of the Knights of Columbus was holding some to-do there.  So we decided to check out the men at that new club downtown.’  Grandma gave me an elbow.  ‘I put a fiver right in one of those baggies!’

*&##^%*!’, my father said, rattling his paper in the living room.

Grandma Mazur came to live with my parents several years ago when my grandpa Mazur went to the big poker game in the sky.  My mother accepts this as a daughter’s obligation.  My father has taken to reading Guns & Ammo.”

More hilarity ensues later in this book when Grandma Mazur tries out Stephanie’s stun gun at dinner, and knocks Mr. Plum out.

For those of you not familiar with Stephanie Plum and her family, she was laid off from her position as a lingerie buyer at a local department store,  and blackmails her cousin Vinnie into giving her a job.  Vinnie is a bail bondsman, and Stephanie is now a bounty hunter, for which she is sorely unprepared.  Murphy’s law was written for Stephanie – if something can go wrong, more than likely it will go wrong for Stephanie.  Her first assignment is to track down a local detective who turns out to be Joe Morelli whom she has known since childhood.  She has a love-hate relationship with Morelli – he was her first, and afterwards she ran over him with her dad’s Buick because he was a player, not a relationship guy.  In her quest to capture Morelli and collect her fee, she absconds with his Jeep, which then gets blown up.  In later adventures she blows up half of the local funeral home, gets shot at, and makes friends with a “ho” named Lulu.  After a really bad guy leaves Lulu cut and beaten on Stephanie’s fire escape, Lulu changes careers and becomes the file clerk for Vinni’s office, and a companion for Stephanie on her bounty hunts.  As you can see from the excerpt above, Stephanie’s family is a hoot, and whenever Stephanie spends too much time with them she gets an eye twitch.  (Which many of us can empathize with.)  Stephanie says things like, “I’m not one of those people who find their stride.  My body was not designed to run.  My body was designed to sit in an expensive car and drive.”  She rationalizes pizza and donuts, wears too much makeup and big hair, paired with spandex shorts and a sports jersey.  She always gets herself into scrapes and her cars get blown up, towed, wrecked or die.  If you want a good laugh and an entertaining read, start with One for the Money and go from there.

These books, along with the Miss Julia series by Ann B. Ross, are some of the funniest books I’ve ever read!

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Tuesday Releases

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!  I hope you have a fabulous day, and spend it with the ones you love.  And, (per James Patterson), if you can’t be with the one you love, love the book you’re with!

Here’s a neat Valentine article you might enjoy – “5 Reasons Books Make the Best Valentine” from Book Club Girl.

On to new releases and movie news:

I am more likely to be excited by a new book release than I am new movies.  I would rather read the book than see the movie, and most of the time I like the book better.  However, I am excited to see “The Borrowers” in movie form, called “The Secret World of Arrietty”.  Did you read this book as a child?

There are some great book releases this week:

Private Games by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan

Click here to read the first 16 Chapters for free!

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

Oath of Office by Michael Palmer

The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

What books are you looking forward to this week?

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“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”

I received this book by Seth Grahame-Smith for Christmas in 2010, and read it, devoured it really, right away.  I was thrilled today while reading Shelf Awareness to find out that this book is being turned into a movie in June of this year.  Given the current popularity of Vampires and other supernatural beings this has the potential to be a great hit!  I scoured entertainment news and youtube and found some information about the upcoming movie.

Actor Benjamin Walker is cast as Abraham Lincoln, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead is cast as Mary Todd Lincoln.  Other cast members include Jaqueline Fleming (Harriet Tubman),  Robin McLeavy (Nancy Hanks Lincoln), Alan Tudyk (Stephen A. Douglas) and John Rotham (Jefferson Davis).

(Please note that if SOPA/PIPA is passed as it stands, I would be in violation for posting this content)

This is the original book trailer found on YouTube:

Read the  Shelf Awareness article here.

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