Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Invisible by Ginny Lythrup

Invisible by Ginny Lythrup.  What would happen if we turned over our health-both physical and emotional to God?  That is the question this novel asks the reader to first imagine then to live.  Ellyn, who eats for comfort then hides behind her extra weight, is trying to be invisible to her world which centers around her life as a chef in her own restaurant in a small northern California town.  Sabina, a psychiatrist, has come to this same little coastal town to get away from her thriving NYC practice.  She is grieving the loss of one of her clients to suicide and is trying to get well hiding here-also trying to be invisible.  Twila at 26 is in treatment recovering from an eating disorder.  She was trying to become invisible by not eating and is so small people mistake her for a teenager all the time.  Twila and Ellyn both say they know and love God but are they willing to rely on him wholly for all their needs and hurts?  Sabina looks to have it all but she openly does not have faith that God is loving or caring about her. 
I liked this book.  It encourages the reader to look inside their self and really look at what in our self we don’t trust to God’s love and care.  It is not a book about eating either to gain or lose weight—it’s about the love God has for us if we accept it.  Do we really believe we are created in God’s own image?  If so do we act like it?  Are we willing to take a leap into the unknown in order to have that faithful loving life with our Father, creator?  God wants so much for us he sent his only Son to die for us so we could live with eternally.  How can we not trust him and yet we don’t.
This book was provided by Handlebar for this review.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan

Girls of Atomic City The untold story of the women who helped win World War II by Denise Kiernan.  This story is the mostly unheard of stories of the women who worked to build the atomic bomb, working on the Manhattan Project.  They were scientists and they were cleaners.  They were educated and uneducated.  They were mostly very young women working their first paying job.  Most of them were away from home for the first time.  No matter what their job they couldn’t talk about what they were doing, what they heard or saw.  They were spied on by others and could be fired at a moment’s notice for almost anything and they could be approached to be a spy on their friends by the government.  Everything they did and said could be viewed with suspicion and they were always afraid of losing this job which paid much more than they could have gotten for the same type of work anywhere else.  These men and women who had lived through the depression were desperate for a job, any job to feed their family.  These people were plopped into the new city that the government had just made for the project.  There were no sidewalks, very little housing and mostly no places to shop or socialize in the beginning.  The surrounding town people hated them and also viewed them with suspicion. 
I liked this book.  It had some difficult to read parts because of the science but it is not a science book.  It is mostly a book on the social life of these men and women and how they survived this difficult time in our history.  This book tells of prejudices of the time against women and the black race though both were very necessary to the project and for most of them the best job any of them had ever had.  This book is probably for high school age readers and above. 
I received this book from Touchstone for this review. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Dream So Big by Steve Peifer with Gregg Lewis

A Dream So Big by Steve Peifer with Gregg Lewis is an absolutely great book of how God can turn tragedy into triumph.   Steve and Nancy had just buried their beloved 8 day old infant.  They had been aware of his short life since before he was born but that did not decrease their sadness and grief when it actually happened.  They had prayed without seizing before his birth for a miracle but they did not know the power of a God who would dream a dream for them so big that they could not have imagined.  Nancy had been told of God that Baby Stephen “has more purpose than just fulfilling your motherhood.”   This did not stop them from praying for a miracle but she began to accept that God had a purpose for her 3rd son and it was not the same as her own wishes.  Stephen lived 8 short days with his mother father and 2 brothers then quietly died in his home with the help of hospice.  In the midst of this great grief Steve became aware that God was directing him to help realize his wife’s lifelong dream to become a missionary family in Africa.  This book is about the struggles this family went through to live the life dream big enough for God to dream it.  This life leads to feeding thousands of Africa’s children and enabling them to be schooled in not only the poor bookless schools available to them but to dream big enough to bring them computer classes.  Many of these children formerly had to quit school because their parents had to choose between paying for their food or the tuition for schooling.  Steve and his family started allowing American families to donate to his foundation which fed the children a free lunch at school.  This along not only kept the children in school but encouraged parents to send their children just to get the lunch for them.
I loved this true book of how God has a different plan for his faithful followers even though they still must go through the same problems as the unfaithful.  Steve, Nancy and their children willingly accepted his response to their grief and lived a life so big that they could not have imagined it for their life.  This book has a lesson for all of us trying to live a life that God wants for them to reach out in faith and see just what God has available to all of His children.  God has a great dream but we must trust.  This book is of what that trust and faith brought to one family and reached out into Africa to affect the dreams of thousands of families in Africa.
I am privileged to have received this book for this review. Thank you.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl

Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl.
Hope Kauffman has grown up in Kingdom which is a tiny Mennonite community in Kansas which even some who live in nearby towns don’t know how to get to.  This community is in the midst of change within their very own town.  Some want to be more liberal and some want the conservative status quo.  Hope has never wanted to move outside of her community but now she is looking into her own beliefs and trying to decide on what exactly she believes and wants from her life.  She is a fully grown adult at 26 years old but has always lived with her widowed father.  She is engaged to her best friend Ebbie but Jonathon has been lately looking so good to her.  Hope is so confused about who to choose.  If that weren’t enough there has been someone in a red pickup trying to run over horse and buggies.  A real Mennonite mystery right here in Kingdom.  Hope had been injured and had to jump out of her buggy and landed in a ditch one day.  If Jonathon had not been there she didn’t know what would have happened.  These hateful people were not only trying to run horses and buggies off the road and had actually killed poor old Avery one day but were also setting fires to churches and Mennonite homes with Molotov cocktails.  The elders of the church had finally said that people could no longer travel by their selves but must be together for protection.  Jonathon and some of his friends were guarding the community, some even with guns.  Which also was brought into question since the Mennonites did not believe in using violence against evil. 
I liked this book.  It made this religious group seem more real to me.  Ms Mehl has brought out all that needs to be though about as these people make their way in this world living the life that they believe the Bible teaches them to do.  Though the Mennonite community lives together and supports each other each person must make the individual decision on what God is telling each of them to do.  Each one of them must decide how much to do for themselves and what to depend on God to provide.  Not a lot different than what everyone must do.  We are not that much different are we?
This book was provided for this review by Bethany House.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Raise Him Up by Derrick and Stephanie Moore

WOW what a book.
Raise Him Up by Derrick and Stephanie Moore is advertised as a single mother’s guide to raising a successful black man.  It is a book written by a man, Derrick, who was raised by his single mom and Stephanie his wife.  Derrick was raised in poverty by a loving and strict Christian mother who had specific consistent rules.  Derrick knew that he could always count on his mother to support him in correct decisions and to punish him when he did wrong.  Derrick following his strengths and his mother’s teaching grew to be a successful football player who never forgot that his mother and his Christian upbringing along with hard work were the reasons for his success.  Stephanie on the other hand was raised with a plentiful diet and clothes to wear.  These two people are now raising their own son to follow the same teachings and work ethics that Derrick and Stephanie grew up with.  Though their son has plenty to eat he must follow the same Christian principles that made his parents successful.  He will not be able to float through life he must work hard also in order to be a real man standing on his own feet and convictions.  These are strong and ethical people encouraging those moms who are currently raising black sons on their own.
This book is a wonderful book that encourages loving moms of black sons to be strong in their convictions.  It encourages these women to not coddle their sons but rather make them strong.  It encourages these women to love their sons as no one else can or will.  It encourages these women to never give up on their son.  It encourages these women to pray for their son unceasingly and teach their son to pray also and rely on their father in heaven for all the support that they will ever need.  To say that this book is a book for raising only black sons is to sell this book short.  This is a great guide for raising all sons to be all that they can be no matter what race they are.  I cannot recommend this book too strongly for all mothers raising sons whether alone or with the father, no matter the race, no matter the finances that she has to work with.  It is a great book.  Thank you for writing it.
This book was provided for this review by Booksneeze and I highly recommend reading it.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Though my Heart is Torn by Joanna Bis

Though my heart is Torn by Joanne Bischof
Lonnie and Gideon O Riley didn’t have the best of starts in the 1st book of the Cadence of Grace series but they had made it good and they very much loved one another and their baby son, Jacob.  They had settled into a small farmstead in the Blue Ridge Mountains with their good friends and mentors Elsie and Jebediah.  They had led Gideon to accept Lonnie and their faith and to rely on the Lord for their needs.  Life was simple but good.  Now this is the 2nd of the Cadence of Grace series.  Gideon’s first wife, Cassie, (which Gideon thought had annulled their marriage) and her family plotted to get Gideon and Lonnie to return to the poor farms which they had grown up in order to see Lonnie’s mother before she died.  When they return they find that not only was Lonnie’s mother hale and healthy but that her cruel father had tricked her into returning in order to force Gideon and Cassie to annul their marriage in order to enforce the marriage of Gideon and Cassie.  Gideon and Lonnie have no choice but to comply.  Both are broken hearted and this is the story of how they stay true to their faith but live life as they are forced.  Gideon is bitter toward Cassie and does not understand why she did this but plans to remain true to Lonnie and love her forever while living with Cassie.  He sends Lonnie and his son back to Elsie and Jebediah to provide for their emotional needs as well as the only stable home she has ever known.
I loved this book as much as the first one.  I found myself wanting to get the two of them back together before too much time had passed and one or the other of them fell in love or something.  I read this book in 2 days and it only took that long because I started in the evening of the first day.  Anyone who loves Christian romance will love this book.
I was provided this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Books for this review.