Saturday, December 22, 2012

Twelve Unlikely Heres by John MacArthur

Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur is an in-depth study of some of the ordinary and not so ordinary people of whom God picked to do his work.  They were weak in body and sometimes soul.  They questioned God.  Some of the heroes, Jonah for instance, God had to all but drag to work and then listen to him complain when he successfully completed his mission.  Some unflinchingly worked for God, Jonathan, even when he had to go against his Earthly father in order to work for his heavenly father.  The Bible and other historical documents are used as Mr. MacArthur weaves these fascinating Biblical stories of which most of us are familiar with cultural facts of the background during which they occur.
I enjoyed reading the well known stories of the Bible.  Mr. MacArthur brought alive the stories that I had heard from childhood on up to adulthood.  However, I am not a Bible scholar but as I was reading the early parts of the book I thought to myself, I don’t remember that but I did not look them up in either of the Bibles cited in the book.  When I came to the Jonathon story though and on page 103 it says after Saul threw the spear and missed his son’s head.  “Nobody moved.  The only sound in the room came from the still-vibrating spear handle plunged ominously into the wall.”  I really thought, “I don’t remember that”.  So I looked it up.  Nope it doesn’t say that in the Bible so I looked to see if this book was fictionalized- nope it says, “Bible—Biography”.  I looked for citing in the back of the book and only see citing for chapter 10.  I work with many persons who only read books and consider if they are Bible based that they are not fiction (even if the book says that they ARE fiction).  I am sure that if they read a book which is non-fiction they would not look up and see if everything is as is written or if it has been embellished for interest.  This is concerning to me about this work even though I enjoyed reading the book and learned much from it.
This book was provided for this review from Booksneeze.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Courting Cate by Leslie Gould

Courting Cate by Leslie Gould is the first installment of a new series by this author.  Cate is a feisty young woman of the Amish faith.  When she was just 12 her mother died leaving Cate and her father to raise her new baby sister, Betsy.  Cate did the very best that she could do as a young girl being forced into the adult world too soon but she soon learned that a quick temper and a controlling manner got things done but did not impress the young men around her.  As little sister Betsy grew into a pretty teenager she found that Betsy with her flirty ways attracted boys like flies to honey and Cate was alone in the house with her father.  Betsy easily picked up cooking and sewing and all the ways of a woman of the home and Cate found she was drawn more to the bookkeeping of her father’s business.  Cate was a reader and stayed to herself and Betsy loved the social world of attending the singings of the Amish world.  That all changed when Pete came into town and Cate finds herself being drawn to him.  Then their father’s edict that Cate must marry before Betsy and that Betsy may not go to social events unless Cate is also socially active brings stress onto both girls.  They realize their father loves them and the community has been gossiping that he did a poor job raising his girls is stressing him. 
This was a great start to what appears to be a good series.  The reader can imagine all sorts of new twists and turns that could happen in the series.  It will be looked forward to by this reader for sure.  Thank you to Ms Gould for having the foresight to have so many facets presented into this new series.  Good luck Ms Gould and write fast so we can read more on this dynamic family.
I received this book from Bethany House for this review.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Clearing in the Wilderness by Jane Kirkpatrick

A Clearing in the Wild by Jane Kirkpatrick is a book based on a true story of the settling of the Oregon Territory in 1853 by a religious group from Bethel, Missouri.  The people of Bethel live a life of simple living for the good of the community and generously reaching out to others to   come live with them.  Nothing in the community is owned personally but all is communally shared. They have a leader who makes all the rules for the group and is not to be questioned even by the men.  Emma Wagoner is a 17 year old girl of Bethel who must constantly reign herself in.  She would like to be outspoken of her feelings of skepticism of their leader.  Emma has finally caught the eye of Christian Geisy a good looking man who is much older than she.  Christian has just returned from a mission for Bethel.  Christian soon asks Emma to marry and she quickly accepts as well as her father agrees to this arrangement but the leader, Wilhelm Keil refuses to marry them.  The couple marry anyway using a justice of the peace.  Father Keil decides to move the whole group to Oregon because of growing concerns regarding the slavery question.  He chooses a scouting group and Christian is among them.  Emma protests then figures out a way to become the only woman in the scouting group to venture out to the west.  She finds hardship that is much worse than she could have imagined.
Ms Kirkpatrick you have written such a good book mixing fact and fiction to make the reader feel a part of this trip and the first 2 years of the settlement in Oregon.  Though Kirkpatrick had to fictionalize the story it reads very true to life.  It tells of the hardship not only of the times but of being a woman who cannot express her thoughts because women were not able to make decisions even those which concern her.  A woman in Bethel was even further censored than the general women of the day.  Such a hard life being a woman was at this time.  Thank you Ms Kirkpatrick for writing such a good book for us.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day by Garry R. Morgan

Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day by Garry R. Morgan is a book promising the reader to have a better understanding of the major world beliefs in just minutes per day.  It has 40 short reading which one is suggested to read one per day.  The first 2 chapters describes religion and further informs the reader why the reader  should be interested in learning of the majors religions such as your local neighborhood, workplace and your child’s public school may expose you to them and therefore needing to understand at least a passing acquaintance with the religion.  It helps to clear up any misunderstandings of the religion and report how they differ from your religion.
Understanding World Religions is a quick daily read to give a very superficial understanding of each religion.  It is not for in-depth study and so the reader should not expect to learn everything there is to know on each religion but it does a very good job of helping to understand the basics of each religion.  It seems to start slow in the first 2 chapters but after that I enjoyed learning of each religion as introduced.  It seems to flow well from chapter to chapter.  I would recommend reading for anyone wanting to have a quick education on the various religions one might encounter in America or while traveling abroad.
I received this book for this review from Bethany House which is a division of Baker Publishing Grou