Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hidden Mercies by Serena Miller

Hidden Mercies by Serena Miller
This is the story of Claire Keim and what happened the days and years after her fiancĂ©, Matthew died in a horrible accident.  Matthew was much loved by not only Claire but also by Tobias, his brother, who always blamed himself for the accident as well as heard his father blame him for the accident.  This story tells the horror of both being the father who would say such a thing to his much loved son and also the story of being the blamed son who ran away to escape.  Tobias also blamed himself if fact so much that he changed his name to Tom Miller and quickly joined the Marines to escape his Amish  family.  It tells the difficulties of being Claire who found only after the fated day that she was pregnant with Matthew’s child.  Claire loved her baby Levi and wanting to raise him to be the best Amish man she could she entered into a loveless marriage with a man with whom she had more children.  This is the background to the Amish love story.
This is an Amish love story told in such a way as it could have happened but it is fiction.  It is a story that makes one want to always think first before speaking harshly to our children.  I would suggest this to be good reading for all ages who love Amish fiction.  I loved it.
This was provided to me for this review from Howard Books.

Boy 30529 A Memoir by Felix Weinberg

Boy 30529 A Memoir by Felix Weinberg
This book tells the true story of Mr. Weinberg’s life from his golden childhood of being a well fed, well loved, well clothed Jewish boy being raised prior to World War II through the atrocities of the ghetto life then into work camps and forced marches to his post war time.  He was raised as one of 2 boys by his loving father and mother in a home with a few servants who were well loved by the family.  He had just celebrated his Bar Mitzvah.  This book tells the story of being victimized by the Nazis during his teenage years from 13-17.  He tells of his narrow escapes and his guilt feelings over being one of the very few Jews to survive of his entire town.  His father was in England at the time of his family’s capture so after the war he was also one of the few children left with a family member to live with. 
This book is one that needs to be read by all least we forget just how cruel one group of people can be to another.   It is hard to read and probably should not be read by young children.  It is a book that makes the reader look inside their self and ask "What would I really do in that situation?"It is a book that doesn’t gloss over anything nor glorify anything that happened.  Mr. Weinberg admits some of his memories were difficult to remember as he had his lifelong attempted to forget and who could blame him.
This book was provided by Verso for this review

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Heaven's Lessons by Steve Sjogren

Heaven’s Lessons by Steve Sjogren is Steve’s story of the day his heart stopped beating after his descending aorta was cut during a so called simple surgery.  He almost bled out that day and this book talks of his surviving the ordeal and learning to live afterwards.  He discusses seeing the doctors and nurses working on him from the ceiling.  He writes being in contact with and talking to God and the peace he felt being in His presence.  He discusses his agonizing physical difficulties with overcoming the problems of being deprived of oxygen for so long as well as the emotional aspects of learning to deal with the new God he had discovered and the dealing with the difficulties of what to do with his old comfortable understanding of God.  He says in the book that apparently God was not all that impressed with his cool little notebooks though he continues to journal just in a new way of understanding.
Mr. Sjogren talks often about his forgiveness of the doctors, the hospital, and also the church of which he was pastor but he goes on overlong about what they did and it makes me wonder if it isn’t still a work in progress.  It would admittedly be difficult to forgive and he discusses that but he says that he has but then in later chapters will repeat the same problems.  If this is still difficult then admit it and go on—most any sane person would understand.  Through no fault of his own he went through a horrible ordeal and then the church of which he started and was the pastor let him go and hired another.  To say that life was difficult would be an understatement but he says that all is forgiven.  I would give this book a better than average rating.
This book was supplied by Booksneeze for this review.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

God of All Creation by James Robison

God of All Creation by James Robison is described as being life lessons from pets and wildlife.  Mr. Robison teaches of God’s plans and wishes for us by reminding us of the lessons taught in the Bible and further explaining them as he speaks of his love for his pet dogs (especially Princess his current dachshund) and of God’s greater love and plans for us.  Mr. Robison shares how watching the animals around us “reveal expressions of God’s love, lessons of His grace, warnings about sin, and other external truths.”  He gives warm stories and life lessons that not only has he learned from the animals around him but also he gives inspiration and insight into how the reader can learn of God’s love for us and his grace that He so willing gives to all believers who trust and submit to Him.
I liked this book.  It is not a book told through the eyes of an animal which can get old and contrived but rather the writer reflects on the Bible’s teaching and explains the many life lessons by giving stories that he has observed in nature most notably in pets or wildlife that one sees in their daily life.  Jesus told his lessons in parables and Mr. Robison does much the same with animals in the starring role.  My favorite stories were the dog who wouldn’t learn and baby rattle snakes—who couldn’t learn from them?
I was provided this book for this review by WaterBrook Press.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

She Speaks by Michele Clark Jenkins

She Speaks by Michele Clark Jenkins

She speaks is advertised as being a book which shows examples of powerful women in the Bible and how African-American women can find relevance, purpose and identity in the Word of God.  It further offers complete Bible references to help the reader locate the stories easily.  The book shows how God speaks through the women and also how this Biblical woman's story applies to the modern black woman's life today.  If you want to find how important to you are to God especially as a black woman read this book.

I am a white woman and I found that this book to speak to me just fine and also found the books references to modern day to day life very good.  Each chapter denotes a separate woman and would allow deeper study for each by using the Biblical references and also in at least one case extra-Biblical references.  This book is easy to understand by the reader whether or not the Biblical references are used.  It could be used by groups who wanted an easy woman's Bible study. 

This book was provided to me by Booksneeze for this review.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Goodbye to Yesterday by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Goodbye to Yesterday by Wanda E. Brunstetter.  Luke and Meredith had not been married long when Luke loses his job.  It’s a good thing that he had saved money before he got married because between his savings and what little bit he can make from his woodworking projects it is all they can do to make ends meet.  Luke has been looking for jobs but with the economy he just cannot find anything.  They have both been praying for something to come up when Luke’s uncle calls with his plans to retire and offer of selling his company of engraving grave stones.  Luke feels that it is the answer to prayer but Meredith is uneasy about it.  Luke convinces Meredith to take the chance and Luke heads out with most of their savings to learn this new trade in Indiana.
I liked this book though it was awfully short (only 121 pages).  If all 6 parts of this series are this short I am wondering why it isn’t broken up into just 3 parts or even just one book.  When one reads the back of the book it appears that the story was intended to go further into the story as it explores whether or not Meredith and Luke will be brought back together and when the book ends they are only separated because of a trip in which Luke meets with tragedy but there is no talk of their not being together.  It is priced at $6.99 on the back of the book and though there are better prices out there if it is intended to be sold at that price I am not sure that it is worth the price.  It is only a little longer than a pamphlet.  Other than the size I think this is a good story line which will be good when the plot is more fully explored in the next parts of the series.
I received this book from Handlebar Central for this review.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Stumbling on Open Ground

Stumbling on Open Ground by Ken Mansfield.  This is a true story of the author’s own walk through the maze of cancer diagnosis and treatment with a little input from his wife, Connie.  He is a man who spent his early years as a poor boy raised near a reservation and his adult life as a wealthy man in the entertainment world.  He credits his wife Connie for leading him into Christianity.  It gives a look into how one Christian man and his family work through going through 2 different cancers sometimes at the same time and how they cope.  As with life sometimes they cope well and sometimes God must carry them through their trials.  It covers Mr. Mansfield walk with God through this time and some of his doubts during this time and how he works through them.  He includes his reasons for his decisions and a very few times advice.  It also includes some of Connie’s feelings and how he as well as she coped.  She writes the intro to each chapter of his book.
I liked this sometimes sad sometimes funny book on the author and his wife’s coping with cancer.  I would advise reading this book to anyone who has cancer or loves someone with cancer.  This author can tell the reader in simple ways of the complexities of dealing with cancer well as well as working through the times when a person just isn’t at his emotional best.
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.