Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Month: July 2013

The Button Legacy

The Button Legacy

The Button Legacy by Ginger Marcinowski is a thoroughly enjoyable story covering three family generations. Set in New Brunswick, the story begins in the mid-1950s. The whole book revolves around an old decorated tin box in which buttons are kept. Each button tells a tale, and successive generations of children love to plunge their hand into the box on wintery or stormy evenings, pull out a button and settle down to hear the story. Some are poignant and some are tragic, while others are downright laugh-out-loud funny. Like when Grandma Ellen discovers a mouse in her dress and races onto the driveway, shrieking and tearing off her dress (literally) before throwing it away from her… seconds before visitors arrive to witness their hostess standing there in nothing but her undies. Or Aunt Amy unwittingly showing off her muddy bloomers to the vicar one stormy night.

There is a secret hidden inside the button box that not everyone finds straightaway, yet it’s a secret that, once discovered, is life-changing.

The Button Legacy is fast-paced without being rushed. It is just long enough to satisfy and short enough to read in a couple of sittings. The characters are interesting and lovable, and it is through them that the reader sees tragedy and heartbreak, and can understand why Grandpa John is so concerned. Yet there is hope and satisfying love to be found through the stories in the button box.

I really enjoyed this book and can happily recommend it. Ginger’s earlier book Run, River Currents is also available on Amazon and is now on my wish list….

I am grateful to Cross Focussed Reviews for providing me with a free e-copy of this book for the purpose of writing an unbiassed review.

Dog Tags

Dog Tags

I love well-written Christian suspense thrillers – and Dog Tags by Heidi Glick did not disappoint. The story opens with the Knight, a serial killer brooding over his latest victim and planning the next woman to ‘rescue’. Throughout the story, we are gradually shown more of this man’s character, thought life and his past. Aside from the Knight, one of the other main characters is Mark Graham, a lecturer at a local college. He was previously a corporal in the military but retired after he was injured in an attack that killed his best friend. Mark is now confined to a wheelchair and in addition to his lecturing, he runs Fishy Business – a fishing tackle shop – with a couple of friends from the military. Mark is learning to cope again when Beth Martindale erupts into his life. She seems familiar but he can’t quite place her…. and then he realises that she is the kid sister of his best friend.

Mark fights against getting too close to Beth, afraid she will trigger off some of his PTSD symptoms, and fearful that she will learn what really happened that fateful night when her brother was killed.

Beth, too, has her secrets to hide and tries to keep her distance from Mark. Why is she so determined to keep a certain high school year book from him? Who was her secret admirer?

All this time, the Knight is in the background, keeping a watchful eye on Beth, determined to rescue her from the man in the wheelchair. Who is this mysterious Knight? Why has he chosen Beth? And how does he know so much about Mark and Beth? Could he be someone that they both know and trust…?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which kept me avidly turning the pages. I was a little disappointed by the ending which I felt could have perhaps been stronger. But, overall, it was a great read and I hope that Heidi Glick will write more books because I would definitely buy them.

I am grateful to Heidi Glick for providing me with a free copy of Dog Tags for the purpose of writing this unbiassed review.



Every week I join with other writers around the world for #FiveMinuteFriday. This is where we write non-stop for five minutes on a topic chosen by Lisa-Jo Baker. We ignore our inner editor and don’t pause to think too much, we just write. It’s strangely liberating and lots of fun. So here goes on today’s topic: Present.

Five Minute Friday


What do I have right now in the present? Most importantly, I have peace. This is something I suspect I’ve lived without for most of my life. Peace – real peace – is a beautiful thing. For me, it means not having to strive to get God’s attention or try to manipulate Him into doing what I think He should do, but to sit back and trust Him to be in control because He is God and He knows what He’s doing without unnecessary input from me. Peace for me also means not getting stressed by the neighbourhood dogs barking. After my thoughtful hubby prayed for me to be ‘normal’ recently, barking has mercifully been relegated into background ‘white noise’.

What else do I have in the present? I’m enjoying sunshine and summer warmth, while sitting at my laptop writing this. An hour ago, my ‘present’ was lunch with an online-but-new-in-the-real-world friend. We enjoyed macaroni cheese and garlic bread (yum) followed by cake (chocolate and banana for me, carrot for her) and a latte each. We talked non-stop before wandering around arty craft and gift shops, pausing to examine scarves while debating whether or not to treat ourselves (we didn’t). But that’s now in the past of course. My recent past, but my past.

My present now is the alarm on my iPhone erupting; guess my five minutes is up. And my immediate future which will shortly become my present is to save this piece of hurried writing and post it to my blog.


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