Sunday, July 16, 2017

Egypts's Sister by Angela Hunt

Egypts's Sister by Angela Hunt is this author's newest book out.  Just to clarify, I love this author's work and I also loved this newest book of hers.  Egypt's sister is a fictionalized story of Cleopatra the 7th (the one most people think of as Cleopatra) from her childhood through her death.  This story follows the life of Cleopatra's fictional Jewish childhood servant/friend Chava.  In this story Chava and Cleopatra, who in this story is called Urbi by family and friends, are fast friends as children and young adults.  They do everything together and Chava lives a charmed Jewish life which includes many luxuries not often enjoyed by Jews of this time.  Chava even has a slave given to her which lives with her.  Chava's father is the tutor of the palace children and therefore Chava is educated along with the palace children but also enjoys the luxury of living with the tutor so actually has a better education than the palace children.  Chava's father has an assignment in which Chava must go through the scrolls and find and write down all of God's names and their meaning.  It is interesting work but Chava has no idea how important that this knowledge will be in her future.  Chava heard God once say to her that "Your friendship with the queen lies in my hands.  You will be with her on her happiest day and her last.  And you, daughter of Israel will know yourself, and you will bless her".  As adults Chava is offered the gift of citizenship for herself and her family if she will only worship in the various temples of the Egyptians.  Chava is told she doesn't have to actually believe the temple worship is real and she can pick which ever god she choses and she can also continue her Jewish worship.  Chava turns down this offer because of her Jewish belief and this starts the beginning of the end of Chava's charmed life.  Cleopatra is deeply insulted by this refusal of her gift and has  Chava and her father are arrested and sold as slaves.  For the 15 years that Chava is a slave Chava grows stronger and though she first rejects some of God's teachings she eventually learns that God is still guiding and protecting her life while she is a slave.  Chava still can keep track of some of Cleopatra's work as queen while working as a slave and she never gives up on the hope that eventually she can buy her freedom and her father's and come back home.

Read this book if you are at all interested in history of the Jews or of Cleopatra.  Read this book is you just enjoy a good read.  This book is well written and chronicles Cleopatra's life well and in the back of the book even tells more historic background of the time.  This book is not preachy nor particularly religious in its writings.  This author is one of the best historical fiction writers that I read and I also try to read them as they come out because they are so good.  Do yourself a favor and read this book.
I received this book from BethanyHouse for this review.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ascension of Larks by Rachel Linden

Ascension of Larks by Rachel Linden is simply a fabulous book about life.  Maggie met Marco in college and they formed a fast friendship.  So many things about them were similar and they just fit together in life.  Maggie's roommate in college was Lena and Lena was so very different from them but oddly enough they all worked and loved each other.  All 3 of them were incredibly smart and talented but when it was all said and done Maggie and Marco were driven and Lena, well Lena mostly wanted to be a mom and make the home a comfortable place to come home.  Marco and Lena married and Lena became mom to 3 children.  Maggie became Aunt Maggie and visited their summer home every August on the island.  Shockingly Marco then suddenly died in a drowning accident and threw their life into a tailspin.  Lena is in shock and is mostly unable to handle life and Maggie steps in to help her.  Then Lena finds out that she is deeply in debt because of a loan that Marco took out in business and she finds that she simply cannot take it any more.  Lena takes off in her car by herself and has a car accident.  She is alive but she is in a coma. Why didn't she at least slow down before hitting the concrete retaining wall.  The police ask that question but no one but Lena can answer it and she is in a coma.  Maggie and Lena's aunt have all that they can do to take care of the children and the house but what about the Marco's loans?  One day the kids and Maggie go to a museum about the island's history and find out that there is a "beckoning" practice on the island in which they have a ceremony to beckon the dead back home so that they could then go to heaven.  The children decide to beckon their dad back home but then they also decide to beckon their mom back home so that she will get well and come back home to them.

This book is spellbinding.  It easily holds the reader's attention. You just won't want to put it down.  Ms. Linden takes the reader's emotions and you feel the hurt of the widow, you feel the terror of not having any money to take care of debts that you didn't even know existed earlier.  The sadness of the children who don't know what to do when their father unexpectedly dies and quickly after that their mother is in an accident and is possibly facing death also.  The San Juan Island's old customs and ceremonies, will they work?  Will they help the kids get through this overwhelming grief?  I would recommend reading this book to any woman who enjoys reading. 
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Captain's Daughter by Jennifer Delamere

The Captain's Daughter by Jennifer Delamere is the first book of the London Beginnings series.  Rosalyn Bernay and her 2 sisters are being raised in the orphanage in 1873 when this book opens.  Rosalyn is the oldest and today is the day she must leave because at the age of 17 she has aged out and they can no longer take care of her.  Rosalyn is lucky though because she has a job as the servant maid of Mrs. Williams.  Time passes and it is now 6 years later though and the new husband of Mrs. Williams has accused her of theft and she must leave quickly.  Rosalyn decides to run away on the train to her sisters and because she spots the new husband who tried to rape her she quickly buys a ticket to the train leaving first which happens to be headed to London.  Upon arriving in London she doesn't know what to do since she arrived after outgoing trains had stopped for the night.  First she is approached by a soldier who tries to help her but then she is approached by another man.  Rosalyn doesn't know what to do but finally a nice woman rescues her and takes her home with her.  Just as Rosalyn is getting an uneasy feeling that she might have made a mistake she arrives at the woman's home but quickly finds out that she had made a horrible mistake and the woman is a Madame of a rundown brothel.   In the middle of the night she decides to run away, gets caught, gets accused again of theft by the woman to the police, she pays off the woman with her mothers watch which was her last procession and gets away but now all of her worldly processions are gone.  At daybreak she ends up walking up to an opera house of Gilbert and Sullivan.  She manages to get herself hired to work as a dresser for them and there begins the story of Rosalyn and how she manages to get hired in London.
Rosalyn is talented and it isn't long until it is discovered that she can sing.

This first of the London series is so good that you will continue reading it well past the time you should be working at something else.  The reader will find themselves captivated by Rosalyn and her adventures in London.  This book is interesting reading for anyone who loves historic love stories though the love interest takes backseat to the work of putting on the HMS Pinafore.  Much of the history is maintained in the story while interweaving the fiction part of Rosalyn Bernay's character into the script.
I received this book from BethanyHouse for this review.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

We Stood Upon Stars by Roger W. Thompson

We Stood Upon Stars by Roger W. Thompson is an outdoors person's book written by an outdoorsman.  Roger grew up in Ventura, California and though he had a father his grandfather was a much more important person to his growing to be the person that he was.  Roger's father used drugs and couldn't be the father he needed to be.  Roger's grandfather on the other hand came to California tied to the back of his father, the preacher riding on a motorcycle escaping the Dust Bowl and the depression.  Roger's grandfather stepped up and was there for Roger when his father was not.  He taught Roger to appreciate the wildlife, the surfing, and traveling to see what this country has to offer.  Roger wants to be to his boys what his grandfather was to him.  Roger wants to teach the boys self-reliance and appreciation of their surroundings.  Roger wants to teach his boys to be men.  This book tells of Roger's teachings, his self-doubt, his shortfalls and the passing on of Christianity so that they can also be men to be proud of.  Roger and his wife, Melissa, take the boys camping, hiking, and fly-fishing, but perhaps most importantly they teach the boys the importance of the creator God.  They learn of God in nature as well as in church.  Their Christianity is the backbone of their family. 

There are 32 hand drawn maps as well as other artwork contained in this book all drawn by the author's mother, Elain.  This book could be the backbone of an outdoorsy family vacation if the reader wishes.  There are so many interesting places to visit contained in the book that do not find their way into the usual tourist books.  There are cities to visit which are well known in the tourist books but these places and restaurants are different ones than the usual. The places that the people to live there would go because the food is good.  I think this book would be good for anyone who wants to backpack or camp in the United States. Places that need to be seen before they are ruined by tourists or just overpopulation moving into the quiet places.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Kids NIV Visual Study Bible

Kids NIV Visual Study Bible is such a great easy to read Bible to study for kids but may I suggest that you buy it in the plainer leather like cover for yourself.  The writing is in the popular New International Version but there are so many study helps and pictures that the Bible is fun to read and study.  The pictures are not the simple drawings that one expects to find in a study Bible for children but rather actual pictures of for instance a model of Herod's temple or an actual sycamore fig tree in the Holy Land or Jews praying at the Wailing Wall.  There are little references in the outer column telling more information right beside where the story is in the Bible such as in Isaiah in the story of the prophecy against Arabia it talks of  the caravans of Dedanites and to the side in the column it tells that they were an Arabian merchant tribe who were attacked by the Assyrians and later by the Babylonians.  You don't have to look and see if it is footnoted and then look somewhere else, the explanation is right there beside the story.  Cool, huh?
This Bible is the complete Bible not just stories that would interest kids which is another reason why I plan to use this Bible for my own personal use.  Beginning each different book in the Bible is the title of course but in addition there is the author, why it was written, for whom it was written, a little bit about its importance, or the stories, or how it pertains to kids.  On page 239 the Bible wants to further reiterate that God showers his people with grace time after time so there is a large faint picture background of clouds with rain and over that is printed various times of grace that God gave His people in drops of water along with the reference where it can be found in the Bible.  This type of illustration is use time after time using different themes and subjects.

This Bible would make a good first complete Bible gift for any child capable of reading the text.  This Bible could take the child not only through childhood but also into adulthood.  This Bible has all the parts that one has grown to expect in a Bible including maps in the back along with table of weights and measures, and an infographics index. I would recommend this Bible for any reader wishing to study the Bible.
I received this book from Handlebar for this review.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

An Amish Summer by Shelley Shepard Gray, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller and Kelly Irvin

An Amish Summer by Shelley Shepard Gray, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller and Kelly Irvin contains four novellas for your reading pleasure.  In the first Sharon and Sherilyn are sisters who are returning to Shipshewana for a little vacations with a couple of girlfriends.  Sherry has been writing Graham Holland since the last time the two of them met at a wedding.  Sherry is the plainer of the two sisters and since her sister is such a looker she doesn't get much notice.  Graham is also a quiet man but he thinks that he is writing to the beautiful sister.  When the two meet again he realizes his mistake but doesn't know how to tell them.  He doesn't even remember meeting Sherry but decides to get to know both girls better in order to decide who he likes better.  He talks this over with his friend, Toby who is also on the trip with Graham.  Toby would like to get to know Sharon but he is disgusted that Graham wants to keep both of them until he makes up his mind.  Toby says that if Graham won't tell them then he will so Graham tells the girls.  Of course they are just furious with him and don't want to speak to him.  How will this summer vacation end?

In the 2nd novella Amy Clipston tells the story of the summer before Arianna is to marry Jesse.  They have been friends all their life but as they grew up this friendship grew into a love that both wanted to last a lifetime.  Arianna's brother Tobias is Jesse's best friend but Tobias has been brooding lately and seems kind of depressed.  Tobias has been fighting with his father lately about taking over the family farm.  Tobias is the only son and is expected to inherit the farm but he doesn't want to farm and has been drinking to avoid the constant fighting with his dad.  The day that Tobias got drunk and wrecked the buggy because he was driving the horse so recklessly was the final straw with his father.  The two had a horrible fight and Tobias ran off that night to live with a relative in another state.   Marvin Arianna's dad also said that Arianna and Jesse had to stop seeing each other and it was Jesse's fault that Tobias started drinking and wrecked the buggy.  What to do? Arianna is so sad but she knows that she can't go against her father.  How will they all survive the summer?

In the 3rd novella Kathleen Fuller writes of Esther and Sarah Coblentz.  Sarah is beautiful and Esther is not.  Sarah is very social and everybody wants to date her and Esther is not.  Esther has loved her father's hired hand Judah for as long as she can remember but Judah only has eyes for Sarah.  Judah only thinks of Esther as Sarah's sister and treats her kind of like a sister.  The only person that seems to have noticed that Esther has eyes for Judah is her brother, Rueben. Rueben teases her about it and tells her not to be so obvious about it but also gives her hope that maybe someday Judah will love her in return.  That summer Esther's parents have allowed a college intern to stay at their home to learn about the Amish religion.  Sarah notices the good looking intern, Rhett, and wants to interest him in her but Rhett seems only interested in learning about the farm and how it works.  Rhett in fact only notices Esther which makes Sarah very jealous.  Esther is very interested in Rhett but only as a friend and quickly finds out that Rhett is engaged to his sweetheart back at home.  The interest that Rhett shows to Esther makes Judah notice Esther and for the first time as a woman that he could be interested in as a lifetime partner.  Will Judah and Esther ever get together?

In the final novella Ms. Irvin tells of the sweet love story of Martha Byler and Jacob King.  Martha is very concerned that Jacob only seems interested in having fun and none in growing up.  Martha is also concerned that even though her father has remarried and everyone loves their new mother Martha feels responsible for caring for her younger brothers and sisters as she has done since she was a preteen.  Jacob feels that he IS grown up but he just wants to have a little fun.  This is the summer that Martha learns to trust Jacob's judgment and Jacob figures out that maybe he does need to change some of his behaviors if he wants to be Martha's husband.  The sweet story has a few twists and turns as Martha and Jacob learn to rely on each other and truly love each other.

These novellas are a great read for summer time pleasure.  You will not be sorry that you purchased this thick book to enjoy these stories.
I received this book from BookLook for this review.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom is one of my all time favorite books now.  Though this is the 20 Anniversary Edition of this book I had never read it.  When it came out again I snatched it up to see what everyone was talking about and now I know.  This is the story of a man who had lost touch with his favorite teacher and when he found out that his teacher was dying of ALS he made it a point to reconnect with him.  While in college he had met with his teacher on Tuesdays to work on a senior project and as luck would have it he again met with him on a Tuesday.  This is the story of the last Tuesdays of Morrie's life and how they spent them.  Every week Mitch Albom had a different topic to discuss from family to death.  9 topics to discuss in the time they had left.  Every week Mitch got on a plane to Morrie's house bringing Morrie's favorite foods, the topic to discuss and a tape recorder.  Every week he brought these things though soon Morrie could no longer eat the food, though it was difficult for Morrie to talk, every week Mitch brought it all and spent the Tuesday listening to Morrie's thoughts, philosophy on the topic and learning what it was like to live and to die.  Mitch and Morrie grew even closer together these last weeks working on this project.  Mitch learned some of the cares that Morrie needed including the "ass wiping" which Morrie dreaded as he knew that it would come a day that he would be too weak to do this for himself.  Morrie learned to die as Mitch looked on and learned along with him.

Reading this book you will laugh, you will cry, but most of all you will ponder on the meaning and purpose of your own life.  Don't think that you can casually read this book.  It will draw you in and grab hold of you as you not only marvel on the strength of Morrie as his gets closer to his death but will be grateful that Mitch took the time out of his business of living to finish this last project with his favorite teacher,"Coach".  This book can and should be read by everyone.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.