Susan Karsten’s Latest book review: Prelude for a Lord, by Camille Elliot

Prelude for a Lord takes the reader on a little-used path, with a plot element I have never run across before. The violin, female musician, and the mysterious melange cooked up by the author for this delightful tale give a savor that is unforgettable.


The delightful voice in this regency stays with you, even in the hours of waiting eagerly to pick up the book again for the next bout of delicious reading.
The characters are sketched so well, the emotions so real, and the plot — delicious. Elliot brings it, making the historical era so attainable and embracing of the reader.

Parents, Remember to Teach Your Children How to Cross a Street

I hope many people read this and act on it I had a disturbing experience yesterday that got me thinking.

Here’s what happened: I was jogging along a sidewalk across from, and just west of a school. I could see a group gathered, probably waiting on the lawn for a field trip bus to pick them up.

On my side of the street, a small girl exited a pickup truck on the passenger side, moved forward and passed between the front of her vehicle and the parked vehicle in front of it. WITHOUT looking right or left, she shot across the street.

Needless to say, I cringed and was shocked. But, now I am thinking, since children don’t walk to school much anymore, or anywhere else much, maybe parents are forgetting that elemental bit of wisdom: “Look Both Ways Before Crossing a Street” — So, check and make sure your children now this and tell your neighbors, grandchildren etc.

Here is a diagram of the incident (girl who ran out into the street is represented by the green circle)


Susan Karsten’s Latest Book Review: “A Plain Love Song” by Kelly Irvin

104_3318This is the fourth book I have read by Kelly Irvin, and this is one of her best among many good ones. She really kept me guessing with the outcome and the interplay between heroine Adah and her two beaus stayed quite realistic, IMO.

The plot elements of song-writing, music, performance anxiety, and Adah’s struggle to decide whether to make the leap into fully joining the Amish society as a full-fledged member are fascinating to read and enjoyable.

The information about the Amish people’s aversion to musical instruments was fascinating and something I didn’t know. I like reading about their rumspringa, too, and much detail about that emerged through Irvin’s fine story-telling.

You must know that I am not normally a fan of, or a reader of “Amish fiction”, but Kelly Irvin’s stories are an exception. Extremely well-written and she doesn’t glorify their life-style, but keeps it real, warts and all.

Please leave a comment with any questions or remarks. Thanks!

Passionate Parenting, by Cary Schmidt, a review by Susan Karsten

If you have children, and they are in, or nearing their teens, you will want this book (if you read). One of the absolute best books on this topic I have EVER read. In fact, I am seriously thinking about starting a book discussion group based on it as a community outreach to help others.


Susan Karsten’s latest book Review: 90 Minutes in Heaven, by Don Piper

104_3350This is an anniversary edition. It has an interesting new preface and an update from the author.  I’d vaguely heard of this book {but never read it before} which was apparently a smash best-seller over the last ten years — good thing too, because this man had some huge medical bills to deal with!!

Which leads me to the book itself.  After the description of his own after-death experience (more about that in the next paragraph), this book is chock-full of TMI medical details — too much for my taste.  I don’t agree with his theology either — but that’s no surprise since I’m not a Baptist. Okay, the HEAVEN part….Wow!  Very very interesting and inspiring. The thoughts and memories he expressed of his time being dead will stay with me a long time.  I would possibly even recommend this to people who are afraid,  and/or sorrowing.

One interesting point he made is to refute the “flickers of a dying brain” answer non-believers say as the reason for many experiences of light that people have. His experience was extremely fully sensory and detailed and not the product of a dying brain. The book is WORTH it for the description of heaven alone.

Please comment with any thoughts of NDE (near-death experiences)?

Party Decorations ~ home made

From our recent graduation party ~~ thought you might enjoy some inspiration from some simple decor we came up with.

Here are the table decorations:


Candle is in a holder, but any pedestal dish should work.  Tissue paper (Purchased for the occasion), gold tinselly stuff (around $2/bag, 1 bag for 8 tables, color- coordinated candy for guests to enjoy (party favor).


We think it looked really nice.




Here is a banner made with scrapbook paper (chosen to match our theme out of our home supply), and we borrowed a Cricut machine to make the letters. For the letters (white) we used the back of colored/patterned scrapbook paper.



Susan Karsten’s Latest Book Review: The Butterfly and the Violin, by Kristy Cambron

Romance. The holocaust. A mystery involving a painting. A fabulously rich legacy.  Have I got your attention?  All the mentioned elements are in this book.  This is the debut novel for the author, and I am quite impressed.



One measure I have for a good book is if it makes me cry.  This book has a distinction that it caused my eyes to weep over and over as I read this riveting tale.   I don’t want to give away the story, because you’ll want to discover this treasure on your own, but I can assure you that it is a very rewarding read and well-written.  Cambron seamlessly moves between current day and the tragedy of the holocaust during WWII.  The heroine, and hero are great ~~ Oh, yes, you get two of each!  The wrap up is satisfying.  I can easily see this being made into a hit movie.

What’s your favorite WWII book or movie? Please leave a comment. Thanks!


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