Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Discipleship by J. Heinrich Arnold

Discipleship  is a newly explanded book by the late J. Heinrich Arnold who died in 1982.  Mr. Arnold grew up in post WWI.  His upper-class family left everything in Berlin to live in Sannerz, Germany living as directed in Acts in communal living.  This book explains the Bible in ways not usually expressed by the preachers of today.  He tells of a loving savior who forgives all of our sins but he doesn't let the reader off the hook.  He does not preach of living however you want and then repeatedly asking for forgiveness--he straight out tells the reader that our God is not stupid nor easily fooled.  One cannot continually ask forgiveness if one plans to continually repeating the sin.
This is a difficult read.  It does not tell the story of Jesus' love in anyway that the reader has ever heard before.  If you are ready to change your life and want a life lived close to God then read this book.  This book tells you that you have not become so sinful that you cannot be forgiven.  This book tells of Jesus love for the reader and his sacrifice and grace.  Jesus stands ready to forgive and love all who come to him.  This book teaches humility.  He teaches that the least of these, the poor, the children, the unloved are those who we the Christian must love.  Mr Arnold backs up all of his writings with scripture readings and I don't mean he has a few footnotes, virtually every paragraph has scripture backing it and also has a reference guide in the back.  This book need not be read front to back.  It is divided into 3 parts: the disciple, the church, and the kingdom of God.  Each of these are further divided into little chapters so that it can be used as needs arise in the reader's life.  In the words of Mother Teresa who wrote after reading it said: "....He has not called us to be successful, but to be faithful."  This is a book for those who are seeking and for those who have found but need a guide to keep them on track.  I would advise reading this book for adult readers.
This book was provided by Handlebar for this review.

Hope Crossing by Cindy Woodsmall

Hope Crossing by Cindy Woodsmall is the complete trilogy of the Ada's House series.  Since it contains 3 full length novels it is a big though cost effective book.  The first of the series finds Cara once again on the run from Mike who had been stalking her since before her marriage to Johnny.  Every time she moved and changed jobs though Mike soon found her.  Johnny had married her to protect her from Mike but he loved her and Cara had grown to love him.  Johnny though died in an accident just shortly after Lori, their daughter was 2 years old.  Cara's childhood was a blur after the death of her mother at a young age.  Her dad had left her at the station with the mysterious words, "Stay here until Emma comes to get you".  Cara hadn't moved until the authorities came and took her into foster care where she first came in contact with Mike until age 15 when she ran away and never looked back.  Cara, back on the run from Mike, had gone to get Lori and run without even stopping by the apartment to get their clothes.  Cara, once again in the station finds herself with feelings of  Déjàvu  takes over her mind.  When had she been here before?  She just couldn't remember.  Lori started acting up and Cara gave her the journal that she had had since childhood to look at.  Her mother had always told her never to write in this one space but she had filled in every other space with her writings.  When Lori started writing in that space Cara noticed that an address started to come up in the indentions--Mast Road, Dry Lake, Pennsylvania.  Along with hope filling her heart and plan started in her head.  Cara took most all the money she had and bought tickets out of New York and to Pennsylvania as close as she could get to Dry Lake.  This adventure would take her back to her mother's family in Pennsylvania back to her Amish roots.
The second novel The Bridge of Peace continues Cara's story but concentrates more on Cara's friend Lena Kauffman.  Lena is a teacher in the Amish community in the one room 1-8 school.  Lena has mostly bright eager to learn young students but one, Peter, is a 15 year old child that his parents insist that he go to school until he graduates 8th grade.  Peter is always trying her patience and since she is already on probation since that incident last year Lena is concerned for her job and someone else is sneaking into the school and doing awful things--like the dead cat she found lying on her chair dripping blood from its slit throat.  Why does someone have it in for her?  What can she do to both keep her job and go back to enjoying life?
The 3rd novel continues the story already started with the previous two but concentrate on Sylvia Fisher who is eldest of a large family of girls.  Her father has promised her the farm when she and Elam marry but she has asked Elam to wait until she is older and more ready.  Elam quickly asks her 18 year old sister, Beckie, to marry him.  Sylvia is devastated of course not only by Elam but most of all because of Beckie.  This is the sister that she grew up with, loved and most of all helped her do her chores because she was lazy.  Her father refuses to let her leave the home and so she stays until while helping the young family during a time of sickness Elam kisses her.  Sylvia leaves home and gives up all her chances at her inheritance to live with the Blank family and help them run their dairy herd.  Sylvia grows to love the family even Aaron the only son who has recently returned from rehab for his drinking problem.  What she didn't figure on though was falling in love with Aaron.
I got this book and read it quickly though it is quite large,1026 pages large.  Ms Woodsmall as always though tells a story as no one else can and easily holds the reader's interest.  I would recommend this book for reading for anyone who loves Amish love stories.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, December 19, 2014

You Can't Sit with Us by Nancy Rue

You Can't Sit with Us by Nancy Rue is the 2nd in the Mean Girl Makeover series.  Ginger Hollingberry is the new kid in the 6th grade class at Gold Country Middle School.  Ginger moves a lot with her family but she has learned a little from all that moving around.  Like don't tell everything you know about your family.  Ginger's mother was killed in a car accident that no one in her family will talk about.  Ginger knows that it must be bad and she doesn't want her dad to go back into that deep hole that he was in when it first happened. Both she and her brother Jackson know that if he goes into that hole again that their grandmother will take them away from him and they will have to live with her. The popular kids at school don't like her much but at this school for the first time she does have a few friends and they seem to like her--even those few times when she slips and lets some of her true self show through.  This group had as its leader, Tori, the person who had helped come up with the antibullying code that most everyone had signed.Then came that awful day when the cruel leader of the bully gang, Kylie, had her come over to talk to them and she told them some of the story that she never let out--the one that she didn't know how her mom died.   Kylie, the only person in school who had not signed the code, had a small gang of friends but they would all do exactly what Kylie told them to do and Kylie could be so mean.  First she told Ginger that if she talked to her friends any more that she would tell them that her mom was killed after getting into a car with a drunk driver.  Ginger did as she was told but then Kylie ramped up the meanness.  She somehow started a Twitter following telling lies about how her Ginger's own dad was the drunk driver.  Ginger didn't have a cell phone so the only way that she found out was when others would tell her.  Ginger knew that her dad was not the driver because he was home with her and her brother when the accident happened but that did not stop the harassment.  This is the story of how Ginger found the strength to keep on trying during this ordeal.

This is a great book.  It tells the story of bullying in a true and honest way.  It brings out how the bully functions and how the bully actually bullies her so called friends into doing what she wants them to do so that she does not get into as much trouble.  It also shows how the bully uses flattery to bring in not only her victims but her gang members and even the teachers.  This book shows how just a few teachers looking past the flattery into the facts can be such a help for these students.  This takes time however and most teachers are not willing to take this time and trouble and it is much easier to just do their job and go home.  Just like in any profession there are a few who are willing to stand up and find out why the student is "acting out" and make a difference.  I would recommend this book not only for reading by middle school and high school students but also parents and teachers.
I received this book from Booklook for this review.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Furry Logic by Jane Seabrook

Furry Logic by Jane Seabrook is advertised as a guide to life's little challenges.  This little 6x6 book would make the greatest little coffee table book.  I know I know usually they are huge picture filled books to impress your guests but this one will have your guests in stitches.   Each animal gives light-hearted advice to the reader.  This book if left on the coffee table would be a great conversation starter, "here read this.  It is so funny and true."  The self satisfied cat on the cover is saying, " I hear the call to do nothing, and I am doing the best to answer it." 

Jane Seabrook is an artist and this book is filled with animal pictures with great detail shown to each feather, fin, or hair.   In the back of the book Jane tells about how she paints detail into each page--sometimes with a single hair, which is worn out by time the picture is finished.  If the reader has lived on the planet they have probably seen these little animals with all their wisdom by they are soooo cute all together in this little 10th anniversary collection by the artist.  This book could be read and enjoyed by any age person.
This book was provided by Blogging for books for this review.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Watch for the Light--Readings for Advent and Christmas

Watch for the Light--Readings for Advent and Christmas is a collection of readings from spiritual writers for each day of Advent and Christmastide.  It is advertised as being a guide to use for daily devotions and it could be used that way.  There is a daily reading starting at the first point that Advent could possibly begin, November 24th, and goes until the day after Epiphany or January 7th.  Of course most days could be used in any order but some such as Epiphany or Christmas are especially placed for those days.  Most days have no scripture associated with them so the reader must be able to find their own scripture for those days.  Christmas week happily does tell the Christmas story from the Bible as well as readings from famous spiritual writers.

I was expecting to use this book as an Advent devotional as was advertised but I really like my devotional to have the scripture lesson assigned to the reading.  Yes I can find my own scripture but if I get a devotional I kind of expect that to be done for me or at least have suggestions for scripture.  Also I think that those of marginal reading ability would find some of the readings above their head.  It feels like some of this book was written for pastors or other theology majors instead of the general public.  Though I like to learn during Advent I also expect to relax and let the Savior come to me.  I would only give this book an average rating-there are those I like better than this one for my own use.
I received this book from Plough Publishing House/Handlebar for this review.

Evening Prayers by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Evening Prayers by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt is a collection of scripture and a prayer for each day of the week for a year.  Some of the prayers are for personal use and some are for gatherings of people.  Each prayer has before it a scripture for the day.  This is a prayer book written by Pastor Blumhardt for his theology students and truthfully not intended for the general public.  Some of the students using the book were Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Emil Brunner, Oscar Cullman and Karl Barth.  Because some of his students became people of notoriety over the years for one reason or another and because there came more and more persons asking for copies of this little book for their own use it became published.  Whether the reader uses this book as a personal nightly Bible study or as a book to be used as a reference source for prayer this book is well worth reading.

I got this book by mistake but like many mistakes it turned into my blessing.  I really enjoyed the scriptures and the prayers for my own daily use.  I plan to use it for future use also as a reference for groups at the church.  This book would enhance anyone's faith walk. I would advice this book for anyone of any age though the book is obviously written at an adult level of reading skill.
I received this book from Plough Publishing House for this review.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Very Fine House by Barbara Cofer Stoefen

A Very Fine House by Barbara Cofer Stoefen is the story of a mother's story of love, faith, and crystal meth.  This is the story of the Stoefen family's walk down the road of addiction with their daughter.  This is the story of how parents can do the very best job they know how to raise their children to be fine and upstanding citizens of society and still have a child who becomes addicted to drugs.  The author and mother in the story tells the not so pretty tale of addiction and the life on the street that their daughter lived but then she tells the story of how that affected the family-mom, dad, and the kids who follow the rules.  How do you show love to the child you have lost to street drugs and still teach the remaining child that he must follow the rules?  What do you pray for when it seems that your daughter is determined to live opposing God's will?  How much do you spend on a child who appears to just throw it all away when the child who is doing most things right has needs also?  Is it something that I did wrong as a mother or father or something that I didn't do?  Is she just a "bad seed"?  All of these questions and more are answered but the author does not say that she has all the answers--only reports what they did and what didn't work and finally what did.  Though this book is told through the mother's eyes  also through conversations tells about what the addict and the rest of the family feels like during this ordeal.  It is not a pretty picture but it is a revealing look into addiction.

I liked this book though I didn't have to deal with this issue with my children.  It is an issue that touched my family though my children's friends and of course others in my wider family as I am sure unless the reader has their head in the sand it does all families.  This book opened my mind to some of the truths regarding addiction that I had no idea.  How do you love a child who broke into your house and robbed you of your prized possessions.  How can a child figure our how to break into your house after you have changed all the locks but still not figure out how to use society's tools to break free of addiction?  This book does not pretend to answer all your questions but it does have a list in the back of further reading to assist that parent who is going through this with their family.  It is a good book to read if you are like me and have been blessed with drug free children but have friends going through this so that you can be a good support person for them.  It is a book we all need to read as drug use and misuse is becoming more widespread through the country.  It would be a good conversation starter as your child grows toward their teen years.
I received this book from Booklook for this review.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Skinny Gut Diet by Brenda Watson

The Skinny Gut Diet by Brenda Watson is a diet book for lifetime weight loss.   This author outlines the plan and some histories of success by some of her clients.  The front half of the book has stories/histories of some of the author's success along with some of their problems.  This author has evidently already authored a diet called the Fiber35 Diet.  The skinny gut diet promises to not only cause weight loss but also to permanently loose the weight.  She gives a 2 week startup plan and has many recipes for having good results on this plan. 

This is not however what impresses me the most on this plan.  She outlines why we as a nation are gaining weight while eating less food.  She tells how our diet is changing our gut and turning us not only into an overweight nation but also constipated and/or diarrhea , depressed, and having chronic abdominal pain.  She connects this with our overuse of antibiotics starting at a very young age.  This killing of our good bacteria along with bad bacteria affects the human for much longer than previously thought.  Some can be affected for months or even years.  She explains how the American diet of low fiber and vegetables coupled with no fermented foods have no healing properties with which to fight this "too little or no good bacteria" in our guts.  This leads to chronic inflammation.  Combine all this with excess stress, aging, and the toxins in our environment and is it any wonder that the resulting stress hormone release in our bodies are causing a weight gain?

This book is well written and easy to understand.  She spends much time in the front of the book explaining the plan and the back of the book explaining the diet.  If the reader needs a 2 week plan to get started then she provides it.  If the reader needs recipes then the author provides it.  She tells point by point the why for each part of her diet.

I liked the book and thought it easy to understand and found the diet easy to follow and had success in the weight loss.  It will remain to be seen if I can maintain this for life. 
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Love Without End by Robin Lee Hatcher

A Love Without End by Robin Lee Hatcher is the latest novel by this author.  This is a Kings Meadow Romance but it is a stand alone novel evidently as the reader does not have to have any knowledge of the other novel, A Promise Kept, in order to enjoy this one and enjoy you will.
Kimberly is a widow who along with her daughter is used to the good life but with the death of her much loved husband found out that the family had not been able to afford the good life that they were living.  Kimberly needed to sell everything to pay the debts and now was homeless and without a job.  Luckily her very good friend, Janet, rescued her and is allowing her and her daughter to live in her Idaho home rent free.  Kimberly knows that this is only temporary until she can get a job in Seattle and go back to the city life that she loves.  Her daughter, Tara on the other hand loves horses and has wanted one ever since she can remember.  Tara had been given a horse, an untrained horse but a horse none the less and she was thrilled but now she needed a place to board and train this horse and all with no money to do it.  Janet introduces Kimberly and Tara to Chet who agrees to board and teach Tara how to train the horse in exchange for Tara's work on the ranch.

Chet second guesses his generosity which he can barely afford but quickly changes his mind when the petulant teenage Tara turns into hard working ranch hand who is willing to do as asked no matter how hard the work and is quickly getting her horse trained as well.  Chet and Kimberly even though opposites find themselves drawn to one another as do Tara and Chet's sons Sam and Pete. 

This is a well written Christian romance novel that anyone would love to read.  Read it and the aforementioned Promise Kept and be ready for the next promised novel by this author, Whenever You Come Around  which should be out in the Spring of 2015.
I was provided this book by Booklook for this review.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Look and Live by Matt Papa

Look and Live by Matt Papa is the first book that I have read by this author.   This book is written for those who would like a closer walk with God.  A walk that is glory filled and a walk in which you are mesmerized by the very world in which you live that God has created just for us.  The book starts with explaining the Glory of God and how it pertains to worship and how to more fully worship and continues on with mission, prayer, always noticing God's work and ends with how to show God's glory through your own daily living. He writes that we all worship, we are made that way--it is just a matter of what we worship that is important.  Will we worship the shiny object we just saw or will we worship the creator of all that is us and surrounds us.  He explains how important it is to start your day with prayer and Bible reading and how to find it a glorious beginning to each next day of your life.  This book was written after writing the music for his album by the same name and includes many of the lyrics as they fit into the writings.

I tried to like this book but many times I found myself getting lost in the words.  I am sure that the author is a good writer or he would not be a successful musician and minister to the people.  There is a writer for everyone and this one is probably the one for someone else.  He had great ideas and I will probably use many of them as I go through my daily life I just didn't enjoy reading the book as well as others.  I would rank this book at a 4 out of a possible 10.  It is his first book though and I would give him another chance should he write another book which catches my eye.
I received this book from Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group for this review. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Love Undone by Cindy Woodsmall

A Love Undone by Cindy Woodsmall is her newest read.  I really like the way that Ms Woodsmall puts together a novel and this one is also good.  It is "a novel of shattered dreams and God's unfailing grace.".  
Jolene Keim has already been loved and lost by her first love, Van Beiler.  When her parents drown in the river during a storm Jolene was lost in not only the grief but also was extremely busy trying to raise her large group of siblings, 8 year old Ray had special needs ever since his accident and by himself took a lot of time.  Van was always nice to her but he eventually moved on, married and had children with his new wife. 
Andy Fisher has already been loved and married and had a child but his wife left him and his son 6 years ago.  Andy being a member of the Amish religion is stuck.  His may not divorce her so he must remain married to Eva though he hasn't seen her in years.  Jolene and Andy both find themselves trying to help Lester who is a stogy old man who is Andy's uncle and Jolene's beloved landlord.  Lester is who helped her be able to remain in her house all these years by allowing her to cook for him for most of the rent or she never could have done it.  Lester is an old horseman who after his accident had room for the new horses that Andy had recently acquired.  Andy and Jolene find themselves drawn to one another but because they know the rules do nothing to make themselves in trouble by the church--that is until they are accused by the bishop's daughter of adultery.

This book is good.  The author tells the love story without the usual trapping of that the Amish are goody goody people.  They are real people with real problems in love.  I really like her writing and this book is very good also.  Her books are fresh and have a new plot every time.  I would recommend this book for any female reader of any age.
This book was provided by Waterbrook Press for this review.

The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski

The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski is a book about the author's decision to change his spiritual life during the course of the year.  His life is ok.  He works as an inspirational speaker in the Christian forum but he feels a lacking in his own spirit's life.  He no longer or maybe never felt the closness to God that he desires in his life.  The whole year starts with a startling revelation watching another inspirational speaker faking his spiritual life to the crowd of believers and looks into his own life and finds that he is also lacking in ways that needed improvement.  The author starts making time for his spirit to grow closer to God the creator.  He starts slow.  He spends time in a local monastery getting advise from Father Solomon.  Oh he doesn't spend the whole year there, just now and then touches base with the Father and gleans advise from him as needs arise.  First he is advised to become more attentive and responsive to God and his gifts
and surroundings.  Once again Michael started small--with an apple.  He really tasted and enjoyed his apple---for an hour.  Michael goes on to think and digest various concepts of life--death, illness, the poor, human justice in the world and finds that life is not fair.  We say that all the time but the author goes on to digest that concept and attempt to in his own little corner of the world to make a difference.

I have got to admit I have read and met the author, though I am sure that he remembers me not and so I was glad to read this book of his.  I had read his book, Under the Overpass and enjoyed that book of his year living life as a homeless man.  This book however is deeper and at first starts slow.  Don't give up on it.  I think that when we American go to make a big change such as this in our life we tend to want the changes to happen quickly and I think that quite possibly Michael was much the same in the beginning of his year.  Michael at the end of the year was a changed man with different life practices and because he took the time to discover his own reasons for the different changes he took I believe that he will continue with these practices and make improvements in his life and the lives of those around him.  Michael as all young people are was immature in Under the Overpass but wanting to do good.  This more mature Michael will change the world.
  The reader cannot read this book as a blueprint on which to model their own life--each must take the time to discover the changes necessary for their own life.  God has a plan for each of us and we must be quiet to hear that still small voice that will tell each of us what that plan is.  This is a good book to read for any who want to make a difference in the world and in their life.
I recieved this book from Booklook for this review.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wisdom of the Sadhu---Teachings of Sundar Singh

Wisdom of the Sadhu---Teachings of Sundar Singh is a great book. This is the true story of Sundar Singh who was a young boy who grew up in a wealthy Sikh home.  He was well loved by his parents.  Sundar was a sensitive boy who always cared for the plight of the poor around him.  One time as an 8 year old he wanted to help a poor woman in the streets.  He spent all of his money on buying her food but he didn't have enough to buy her a blanket.  He begged his father for more money but because he had already given her money before he refuses and says that it is time for others to help her so Sundar steals some of his fathers money to buy the blanket.  His father finds out but Sundar denies that he has done this theft.  Sundar is racked with guilt until he confesses to his father but his father surprises him by praising him for doing what was right and good and apologizes to him for refusing him the money in the first place.  From this brief story the reader sees that the father dearly loves his son.  He sends him to a Christian school because that is the best.  Sundar hates going to school there.  He even tears up and burns the Bible.  He gets into so much trouble from the school and his father for destroying the Holy book even though it is not his religion.  A few days later in much confusion Sundar prays to God to show himself to him if He is true.  Then Yesu (Jesus) comes to him right after the prayer and talks to him, then Sundar sees the marks on his hands and feet.  Sundar falls on his knees before the Master and feels the great peace that he has been seeking all his life.  He runs to his father to tell him of the experience and his father tells him he is confused and to go to sleep.  Sundar goes to sleep but he does not forget and spends his next few days in meditation and solitude.  Sundar decides that he must declare his new faith in Christ publicly since he had declared his insults publicly and does so.  This makes the Sikhs very angry and they eventually get the Christian school closed and the teachers have to escape for fear of reprisal.  The loving father has just lost his other son and his wife to death and is patient with his son.  He tries everything to get him to renounce his new faith but Sundar will not.  Sadly the father is forced to reject his son and send him from the house in disgrace.  And 15 year old Sundar who is only used to luxury is cast out into the world with only what he had on.  No food, no clothes, no shelter.  Sundar had the one thing that he had been seeking though--he had peace in his heart.

I loved this story of Sundar's teachings.  Sundar considered himself an Indian Holy man.  He rejected many if not most of the western Christian beliefs but those of Jesus Christ he believed and more importantly he lived and taught it to others.  He did not understand professing love for Christ but not loving your neighbor which many who profess Christ do.  He continued to love even those who did not believe with him. He was beat repeatedly for his beliefs.  He never forgot the love and peace he received from Jesus as a boy.  When the teacher at the mission school predicted to his father that Sundar would become a great man of God or .....go insane he was correct.  Sundar became a great man of God.  This is part of his story.

I received this book from Handlebar for this review.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Becoming Bea by Leslie Gould

Becoming Bea is the 4th installment of the Courtships of Lancaster County series.   These novels can easily stand alone or be read in any order.  Beatrice Zook, Bea only to her family and sometimes Ben Rupp, has been hurt bad by Ben and will barely speak to him.  Surprisingly though lately Ben has been very nice to her.  Bea is not so sure she can trust him though.  Will he just up and hurt her again after just a few dates?  She cannot deny though that even though Don has been just as nice as he can be she is still only attracted to Ben.  Ben whom she has known since grade school years.  Ben who can match her scholarly as well as in wit.  Can she take a chance on him again?  Then just to throw a monkey wrench into the whole thing her sister Molly seems to have decided that the whole family should go on vacation with her family to Montana.  Molly knows she hates to travel.  Her mom agrees that Bea can stay if she finds a job.  Bea has never wanted a job til now but there is the Miller family who needs help since Nan had the triplets.  Bea had never until now taken care of children but really how hard could 3 premature triplets be?

Love this book.  Who could not?  This writer helps the reader see the Amish as normal people with normal personalities who have the same problems with life that people of other religions have.  I like that Ms Gould does not make them out as goody goody.  These folks have to fight the same urges to sin that does everyone else and deal with many times much worse consequences from their community when they mess up.  Bea and Ben must to learn to trust  each other for their love to be a blessing to each other.  They must learn to accept each others shortfalls and forgive.  If they can learn all this their life will be blessed.  This book can be read by all ages and would probably be more enjoyed by girls and women.
This book was provided by Bethany House for this review.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Thief of Glory by Sgmund Brouwer

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer is a novel but very much based on factual events that happened in the author's grandpa's life and others who lived with him or helped  the people survive as a Japanese concentration camp survivor during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies now know as the Island of Java.  The story is also told of the heroics which happened as every day life in the Jappenkamp.  It tells of those who were thought of as traitors who it is later found were actually saviors of the many Dutch and American women and children  forced to live and many to die in the camp.  The men and older male children had already been taken into forced labor and many died in that fashion either worked or starved to death.  The story follows the life of Jeremiah and his family.  Jeremiah and his little brother Pietje were the only survivors of this very large Dutch family.  This story does not tell a pretty story.  The survivors had to do many things for which they were later ashamed in order to survive.  This book tells of great sacrifice as well as the corruption that happens during war.  It is a difficult read but one must know history or we will be descended to repeat it.

 Most of history and even novels tell the story of World War II as if the entire war was fought in Europe.  This novel tells the story of the war fought in Burma.  I am grateful to this author for telling this story.  My father in law fought in the Burma part of World War II and he says that most don't even know of all that happened there.  It is the forgotten part of the war.  This story needs to be read by all.   Most of us do not know why the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and this tells in part of why it was so important to them to destroy our military.
This book was provided for this review by Waterbrook Press.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Forever Christmas

Forever Christmas by Robert Tate Miller is a new novel by this well known author.  Forever Christmas revisits the 3 days prior to Christmas that Andrew Farmer is being privileged to get to relive.  Andrew has loved his wife Beth for as long as he can remember but he has since becoming an important person in his firm begun to take her for granted.  He has started taking his importance more seriously and his wife's love for granted.  On this Christmas Eve Beth and he had an argument and Beth had run out thinking that he had spent the weekend on a trip with his beautiful associate not just working as he had stated so many times before but instead in each other's arms.  Andrew had not but he had known that he could have if he had wanted for he knew that the beautiful Kimberly was willing and ready.  But was it enough that he had not done anything with Kimberly?  Beth believed not only that he had but worse that he didn't love her anymore and had run out into the street to rescue the neighbor's dog and been hit by a car and died believing that Andrew and her love was over.  Andrew as he held the dying Beth knew that he had taken for granted the most important person in his life and that she had not deserved his treatment of her.  Upon returning home after Beth's death Andrew meets the angel, Lionel, who gives him one more chance to relive the 3 days before Christmas.  As Lionel explains Beth still must die but Andrew is given a chance to make things right between himself and Beth before her death.  As Lionel's final admonition, Andrew went and tried very hard not to, "screw things up".  When he entered his apartment there he was on December 22 with his wife planning Christmas again.  This time he would make things right and do the things that Beth liked to do.  He would make her last 3 days perfect and maybe if he was good enough maybe Lionel would let her live.  But those 3 days even though he tried his best were not perfect, Andrew though tried his best.  He tried to live as Beth would have wanted him to.  He would for her last Christmas would take her back to their home town where they both grew up.  Beth loved it back there but they almost never went back because Andrew held such bad memories of his life there.  But this Christmas was not about Andrew like usual this last Christmas was going to be about Beth and all the things that she wanted and never got.

I loved this book and I think that all readers that grew up loving Its a Wonderful Life will love this book as well.  It has many of the same features: a chance to relive a portion of your life and make things right, a loving wife and an upwardly mobile husband who loves her but takes her for granted in his quest to make money.  Forever Christmas reminds all of us of the important things in our life and making money rarely is as important as it seems.  This book reminds us of how important forgiveness of the wrongs done to us by others is good for not only them but good for us also.  Forgiving and forgetting allows us to become the good people that we were made to be.  It keeps us from becoming the people that we won't forgive.  This book would be good reading for all ages and both men and women.
This book was provided by Booklook for this review.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Destined for Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

Destined for Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon is the sequel to   Doon by the same authors.  Mackenna is visited by Duncan, her old boyfriend from Doon, in her dressing room onset of her newest production just one short year after her return to modern day.  Mackenna has spent the past year acutely aware that she has made the mistake of her life by leaving Duncan on the bridge leading to Doon.  Doon is a community in the Scottish past.  The only way to Doon is to cross the Brig O Doon at just the right time.  Duncan requests Mackenna's return at the request of her best friend Veronica who happens to also be the Queen.  Both Mackenna and Veronica crossed the bridge at the same time but only Mackenna returned to modern Chicago in order to pursue her career hopefully to Broadway.  She is certain that Duncan must hate her for leaving him but she is also aware that she loves Duncan every bit as much as she ever did.  Mackenna agrees to return with Duncan for Veronica's sake to help her rescue Doon.   Mackeena and Veronica must figure out a way to save the land of Doon from the limbus which is destroying all vegetation, replacing it with a dark petunia-like flower and turning the wildlife and humans into a form much like zombies.  Will the rings that Mackeena and Veronica wear have enough power to save the Scottish land of Doon? Will the Doonians ever accept Veronica as their true queen and not just a figure head leader?  Read this next installment of Doon for all these answers and more.

I really do like these Doon stories.  I am not usually a fan of fantasy but I do enjoy the stepping back into the  history of Scotland of a thousand years past in order to read a good love story.  These love stories are good wholesome love stories than anyone including those of Junior high age and above could enjoy.  I think that this story could stand alone but the reader would definitely benefit from reading the series in order to get the background of the story.  I recommend this book as good reading for any who enjoy love stories and/or soft fantasy.
I received this book from Booklook for this review.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Never Ever Give Up: The inspiring story of Jessie and her JoyJars by Erik Rees

Never Ever Give Up by Erik Rees is the awe inspiring book about the life of his family in the year following the diagnosis of his 11-year-old daughter, Jessie's brain cancer.  This book takes the reader from Jessie being an average normal little girl who had a vision problem to being a girl who had an incurable brain tumor in a matter of days.  This book tells of how Jessie during a time in the hospital noticing that some of the children had to stay in the hospital and not get to go home as Jessie did to her family.  After spending time at the hospital preparing for the treatment Jessie asked the simple question, "How can we help them?"  Her parents teared up and didn't answer and quickly placed that question on the back burner as they contemplated how they were going to handle family life with a child with cancer but Jessie continued to ponder how to help them.  That night when the parents entered the kitchen to start dinner there was Jessie surrounded by brown paper lunch bags decorating them with stickers and markers and filling them with small toys which included her entire prized beanie baby collection.  Jessie was prepared to give away what she prized in order to help out other children who had cancer.  Erik, pastor at the Saddleback Church, was in the business of helping people and knew there would be rules governing gifts to children so he told Jessie he would help her by checking into what those rules were and then they would go from there.  They decided that the gallon plastic jars that pretzels came in would make a better container that the lunch bags and requirements stated that the gifts had to be new.  Jessie lost her battle with cancer in the following 10 months but during those 10 months Jessie's goals would go from trying to make a JoyJar, which is what she ended up calling her gifts, for each child in the Children's hospital in Orange County California to supplying a JoyJar for each child in America.  By her death the Never Ever Give Up movement started by this young girl in California went world wide.  This is what one person can do.  Jessie did not let a death sentence stop her from doing good.

I loved this book though I often couldn't see it because I was so teary eyed.  This book makes the majority of us ashamed of what we do with our time when such a sick child could do this in the short 10 months that she lived from her decision to help others until her death.  This book is well written by her father.  He also includes how the family functioned as a unit though the bad times and tips on treatments for children's rare cancers.  This is a difficult book to read because it is a true story of a little girl's fight with cancer and her eventual death but if you can make it through it is a book well worth reading.  This review could have been done a few days earlier but I needed to mull over the emotions of the book.
I received this book from Handlebar for this review.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Into the Canyon by Michael Neale

Into the Canyon by Michael Neale is the 2nd book in the River series.  This book closely follows The River in time as in the main part of the book is told set in the 1970's but there is a difference in the time switches.  The River flashes back to the time of Gabriel Clarke's childhood of the time when he lost his father to the river and he watched his father drown.  Into the Canyon starts out in 2010 and flashes back to the 1970's but mostly tells the story following the time of The River.  In this book Gabriel is in his 60's and helping a young married man who has recently separated from his wife and family find his way and learn what is important in life.  Gabriel does this in much the same manner as Ezra Buchanan and Jacob Fielding had done for him, accepting him in the place that he was but knowing that he was capable of so much more.  Gabriel's story of loving Tabitha and starting their life together is told throughout the rest of the summer which started in The River.  He learns the background of Ezra and his reason for living at the Camp.  He learns the story of Jacob and how he came to be in the river and nearly drowning if it weren't for Gabriel's father.  He learns of the mysterious man he keeps seeing in the trees of the mountain and his story and how all of this has been preordained by the Lord and how it fits into his story and the making of the man Gabriel is to be.  He learns that we all come into this life and we have our life saved by others as we learn our place in making the future of the ones who come after us become better.  We all are put on this earth for a reason it is up to us to find out what that reason it and fulfill it.

Read this book.   It is on my favorites list.  I hope that Mr. Neale continues writing in this series as he is such a good writer.  This book needs to be read by the young so that they will be inspired to find their niche in life.  It needs to be read by the old so that they will appreciate all that has been done for them to make life better and inspire them to be the leader for the young who are looking to them.  Thank you Mr. Neale for writing this book and keep on writing for us.   Now let us all, "Go out and make some history".
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Get to Know King David by Nancy I. Sanders

Get to Know King David by Nancy I. Sanders is a children's book written to get the grade school age child to know who King David from the Bible is and to make him more real to the reader.  This book takes the young reader from David as a boy shepherding his father's sheep to his Kingdom ruling Israel.  It tells how David is a popular king and still maintains his good relationship with God.  It tells of how David wasn't perfect and how he dealt with his mistakes and asked for forgiveness.  This book is part of a series telling the life of people in the Bible.  It has pictures, color maps, a simple dictionary as well as where you can find the story in the Bible.  This book adds in parts from other resources most especially from the writings of Flavius Josephus in order to make this book more complete for the young reader.  At the end this book connects David with Jesus and shows how David fits into Jesus' family.

I liked this book and can see many uses for it beyond the intended use as a children's book.  This book could be used also as a resource for writing children's sermons or Sunday school/Bible school stories.  Even as an adult I enjoyed reading this children's book on David.  I handed to book to a child who is 9 and in 3rd grade and she could easily read it and also stated that she enjoyed it. 
I received this book from  Booklookbloggers for this review. 

Your Family in Pictures by Me Ra Koh

Your Family in Pictures by Me Ra Koh is a small but essential book on how to get good pictures of your family.  How many times have you looked at your kids and said how cute and took a picture just to say to yourself, "that is not how it looked at the time."  Wouldn't you like to have vacation photographs that look more professional?  This book tells how the photographers blur parts of the picture and have it look good instead of a mistake.  It shows how to get the kids to all look like they love each other in a natural way and not forced.  How do you  shoot the generations all in one photo and keep everyone interested?  What is the best time of day to take pictures and if it is not that time what to do to make the picture look good anyway.  This book tells how to take good pictures if you are using a simple point and shoot camera.  It also tells how to best spend you money when you want to go all out and get that once in a lifetime camera that does it all.  These questions and many more are answered in this book.  This book was written by a photo expert on the Nate Berkus Show for 2 years.  She also has her own show on Disney Junior TV so she is no amateur.

I enjoyed this book.  This book should be read by any who just want to take a better picture.  It  is easy to read and tells some of the finer points to taking better pictures of your family.  This is an easy read for the amateur photographer not for people wishing to set up a business.  This is for those wanting good Christmas and birthday pictures.  Most all of us have cameras and would like to take good pictures with it and just don't know what those easy to do differences that can take a shoot of kids to the shot of your kids that you might want to show off to the family and maybe frame for a grouping on your nightstand.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible by Dr. William H. Marty and Dr. Boyd Seevers

The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible by Dr. William H. Marty and Dr. Boyd Seevers is a quick easy to read short study of the entire Bible.  For all of those who think that reading the Bible in a year is a daunting task and one that simply couldn't be done or that you wouldn't stick to it for a whole year then this is the book for you.  There is none of the poetry.  It is rather like Clift Notes for the Bible.  You can get the jest of what the Bible says in about a week of study rather than the full study in a year.  If all you want is a taste of what is in the Bible then this book will give it to you in an easy version.  Where the Bible may speak in parables or symbolism that only people of the 1st century would understand completely this book is written in more of a modern day conversational tone.

I liked the easy to understand way that this study of the Bible was written. The writers are both Professors who regularly teach the Bible.  They do not speak in lofty tones nor do they talk down to the reader.  Though it is advertised as being for both seasoned as well as 1st time readers of the Bible I think that it is really only for beginning Bible scholars or possibly as a gift Bible for giving out on the street to masses of people.  I think that seasoned readers would not read this book or would so only for a specific reason not pertaining to Bible study.  I enjoyed reading it as an easy read though I am neither a 1st time Bible studier nor am I a Bible scholar but I would not use it for a Bible study.
I received this book from Bethany House for this review.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Healing Quilt by Wanda Brunstetter

The Healing Quilt by Wanda Brunstetter is another installment in the Half-stitched Amish Quilting Club's series.  Lamar Miller has been suffering from arthritis and together with Emma move to Sarasota, Florida for the winter.  Lamar is loving the beach and the warm weather but Emma finds herself bored by the lack of friends and family as well as enough to do.  The 2 of them decide to attempt another class teaching quilting to the community.  The class attracts 6 people of various skill levels and reasons for taking the class.  Just as before the class members arrive with their various emotional and physical entanglements but Emma and Lamar are finding this class difficult to help since they will not open up to the group or to them.  Jan Sweet who is a former member of her Indiana quilting group arrives for a visit and adds a twist to the group and changes begin to happen.  How will God use Emma and Lamar to help this group of hurting people?  Read on.

I liked this book though it is less about how the Amish live in their world and more on how an Amish family live among the English.  And in that respect there is little in what we expect to find: Amish people living their lifestyle and more like the Amish go to the beach.  If you are reading this series because you enjoy the Amish community you will not find that in this book.  This book tells of how the Amish live among the English and there is very little about the Amish lifestyle.  Because of that I didn't enjoy this book as much as Ms. Brunstetter's previous stories.
This book was provided by Handlebar for this review.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fearless by Eric Blehm

Fearless by Eric Blehm is a book about the life of Adam Brown.  Who may you ask is Adam Brown and why should I read a book about him you may ask.  Well Adam Brown was a Navy Seal and that alone tells you that he is a courageous man of valor.  A strong man who doesn't back down when the chips are against you.  A man who will defend his country and countrymen against enemies both foreign and domestic.  But reading this book will tell you about the real man and men of the Navy Seals.  This book will introduce the reader to the men behind the legends.  This book tells the story of Adam's life.  His relationship with his parents and how he was raised to be this Christian man of valor as well as a man of values. This book tells the dirt on Adam of his dark years of drug addiction and his battle to stay clean and sober.   This book tells the love story of one man and his wife and his devotion to his children though he was away from them often in the line of duty for his country.  This book tells the story of Adam Brown's life from childhood to and through the end of his life at the hands of the Taliban.  It tells how a man of honor lives his life and how the families of these men go on to live life after they are taken from us.  Adam Brown was a hero though he would never say that about himself--a selfless hero.

To say that I loved this book would be an understatement.  This book was hard to read because from the first page the reader is aware that Adam dies at the end.  In fact towards the end the book starts to prepare the reader for the final days of Adam.  I had a hard time starting that part of the book and delayed reading it for several days.   The end of the book was read through tears.  This is just the best book and needs to be read by any American to understand the sacrifice that our Armed services give for the freedoms that all American's enjoy.  Please read this book and thank you Eric Blehm for writing it.
This book was provided by Waterbrook Press for this review.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Book of Revelation Made Clear by Tim LaHaye and Timothy E. Parker

The Book of Revelation Made Clear by Tim LaHaye and Timothy E. Parker is advertised as being a down-to-Earth guide to understanding the most mysterious book of the Bible.  This book takes the reader beginning to end through the book of Revelations.  It is written with each chapter in the book being a chapter in the book of Revelations.  Each chapter is further broken down into a few verses of the chapter sometimes as few as 3 verses.  The opening of each section of the chapter starts with 3 questions to help you both know what you know and also to direct your reading.  This book directs the reader to whether or not the reading is symbolic or literal.  This book has taken a book that many readers are afraid to study because of all the mystery surrounding it and makes it easier to understand.  In addition the book includes the scripture (The New King James Version) within the reading so if the reader has no Bible or even just the particular version that is being discussed then the reader has access to the version.  When you are done reading the scriptures and the book the reader will have a more clear understanding of the Love of God as written in the book of Revelations.

I liked this book and agree that it clarifies the book of Revelations.  I had never been afraid to study the book before but certainly like the fact that it helped me to read and understand this difficult book on prophecy in the Bible.  It held my attention through the book and is easy to understand.  I would recommend reading this book to any age person who would like to understand the Book of Revelation more fully.
I received this book from Booklook for this review.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther

The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther is a combo cookbook and how-to book for learning to live more simply by eating more simply.  This does not mean easier but rather eating foods closer to the Earth.  This book for instance tells the cook how to make sourdough bread first by telling the reader how to make your own sourdough starter though Ms McGruther also allows using someone else’s starter to help yours out.  She tells how to use your own garden produce to nourish your family but also how to make your own butter and render your own lard to make your foods more flavorful than using margarines and shortening would do.  You will not realize what you have been missing in your diet until you start eating as God intended His food to taste.  You will find that eating the most flavorful foods will not make you fat unless you overeat them.  You will also find yourself satisfyingly full and not overeating when you eat this way.  You will find yourself enjoying your food and isn’t that one of the most enjoyable parts of living? 

I took The Nourished Kitchen to my workplace and have never had so many people from various jobs in my workplace pick up a book of mine and just start thumbing through and start reading it.  Then when you figure that this is mainly a cookbook that is most amazing.  This book is one that the most people asked where you can get it.  If you have ever wondered how to make those foods that your grandma used to make and now no one knows how to make it this is the book for you.  If you would like to get your family eating more nutritious foods this is the book for you.  Ms McGruther has written a gem and you don’t want to miss out on all this knowledge.  I use this book and wish the cover were more easily cleaned as it has food stains all over it.

I received this book from Multnomah Publishing for this review.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Extrvagant Fool by Kevin Adams

The Extravagant Fool by Kevin Adams is the true story of Kevin’s life after the stock market crash of 2008.  He was one of those people that us ordinary folks had no sympathy for.  He had lived above his means for years, spent every dime he earned then borrowed more so that he could live above his means.  He owned 3 houses all worth more than the last.  He lived in the one and rented all those of less worth.  He was very proud of all he had managed to amass until the crash when he had to look at the way he had wasted his good blessings.  He watched as everything was lost.  He was faced with lawsuits, foreclosures, and homelessness and then to top it all off his son left the home.  He and his family went from being the family where nothing is too good to being the family looking for the charity of others.  He couldn’t buy a job, he wallowed in self-pity until he and his wife decided to listen to that still small voice of Jesus.


Mr. Adams pulls no punches with how he squandered his good fortune.  In fact the beginning chapters of the book are difficult to read for this middle income reader who watched as people like Kevin get help to provide for his family while middle income folks kept on paying their bills and watched their retirement go into banker’s pockets.  But by the end of the book where Kevin and Holly start to listen to God and follow his plan, I see their great courage and I had admiration for them.  This book starts slow and is difficult to get into but is worth it in the end.  I would judge this book as average.

I was provided this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Life Apart by L.Y. Marlow

A Life Apart by L.Y. Marlow is a novel starting during the 1940’s and ending present day.  It is the story of Morris who grew up in an abusive home and decided that his future would be different than his past.  He dated a beautiful girl, Agnes, and when she got pregnant did the right thing and married her.  He loved her but he knew deep down that there was love and then there was LOVE that is everlasting and deep enough to survive all that life threw him.  He joined the Navy and was lucky enough to survive Pearl Harbor but only because his friend, Robert, stuck his black hand in the murky water and pulled Morris’ white behind out and then drug him to safety.  Morris always knew that after Robert died he would find Robert’s family to tell them what a hero he was and how he saved him.  What Morris didn’t know is that he would fall deeply in love with his sister, Beatrice, and the complications that a secret interracial relationship would hurt and enhance all of their lives.  Morris kept the secret of his 2 families—one white and one biracial—for years.  Through the years of his daughter growing up and his son’s death soon after birth.  Through the years of Beatrice’s pregnancy and the raising of their twin daughters.  Through the civil rights years and on and on.  This is the life of one man of this greatest generation mistakes and all but always with love.

I really liked this book.  It will be on my “best books” list.  Anyone of any age could and should read it.  I had not heard of this author before but I am glad I found this book.  It treats with respect an out of wedlock love and does not sugarcoat it but rather deals with the hardships and pain of all who are involved.

I received this book from Multnomah for this review.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sharing Christ with the Dying by Melody Rossi

Sharing Christ with the Dying by Melody Rossi is a very simple how to book on introducing a dying person to a personal life and afterlife with Jesus Christ.  The author is very open with how she dealt with the deaths of her mother, father and stepmother.  She tells of how to do the introductions but rely on prayer with God in order to decide when to lay low and when to go forward with Christian education.  She freely admits that she cannot "save" anyone--only Christ can do that.  She tells of how first with her mother she overcame her fears of rejection from her mother in order to show her the truth of salvation which was a big part of Ms. Rossi's own life.  She shows how to be non-confrontational but still get across the message before their ultimate death. 
This book is advertised as a how to book for showing Christ to the dying but what I think is that this book would be a great resource book for anyone going into the mission of telling the story of Christ and his loving mercy to anyone.  It brings forward that no one can save anyone else-that is only Christ's job.  But it tells of how through prayer God can guide the missioner with exactly how far to go and what to say at what time.  It tells how to recognize when a person is open to the spirit and when to be low key and just listen to them.  This book does not pretend to be a tell all book but rather instructs to pray and follow your own prompts from the savior in order to guide you in introducing a spirit filled life to another.  This book needs to be read by all ages.  It has many Biblical references for the missioner to use in their own mission work with the dying.
This book was provided by Bethany House for this review.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Secret Revealed by L. Marie Adeline

Secret Revealed by L Marie Adeline is an erotic book mainly written for women.  Cassie  and Solange have joined the group of women of S.E.C.R.E.T.  This is an underground group of women who have basically given up on having a sex life though they all have secret fantasies which until now they had never shared with any other person.  They both meet Matilda who was the leader of the group in different ways but both just as all the other women in the group were exploring not only their sexuality which had been lost but also their self confidence in themselves and who they once were and could be again.  Cassie had just be crushed by the loss of her relationship with Will and Solange with another relationship and also still maintained connections with her former husband and father to her son.  The jest of the novel is that each member of the S.E.C.R.E.T. club meets with Matilda and fills out the form in which each tells of her fantasies.  Matilda and the others then seek to fulfill the fantasy. 

This is the 3rd of the S.E.C.R.E.T.  series by this author.  It is well written and in graphic detail.  Any who had enjoyed the Shades of Grey series would enjoy this series though it is by of course different authors.  Though the lady on the front of the book is white or at least fair skinned this book tells of the black experience and because of that I thought that the least they should have done is graced the cover with a woman of color.  That is about the only complaint that I would have about the book.  This book should be read only by grown women or only children who are mature enough to handle the subject matter (high school age maybe).

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Four Weddings and a Kiss by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, and Robin Hatcher

Four Weddings and a Kiss by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, and Robin Hatcher is 4 novels within a novel.  The novel opens with 5 men who happen to be pastors sitting around a campfire in 1885 discussing the revival meeting that they have been holding the past week.  The youngest pastor is a very young man and has just broke up with the love of his life because he knows that she is not good pastor's wife material.  He is very conservative and he pastors a conservative church in a conservative community.  His 4 pastor advisors encourage him to marry her if he loves her with these 4 stories of odd love matches.  Each of the authors has authored one of each of the 4 novels.  Then the reader is brought back to the original young pastor's problem and the 5 of them work on the solving of his love problem.  Mary Connealy begins with the spitfire named Maizy who finds herself in trouble after purposely disobeying her father and trespassing onto her neighbor's property.  She finds herself between a bear and a cow with calf being protected by a prize bull.  The owner, Rylan, saves her but not without himself being injured so badly that he will find it difficult to meet his financial obligations to the bank and lose his farm.  Maizy has always done the work of a man dressed like a man but she agrees to follow her fathers edict and wear a dress while addressing the needs of Rylan while he recuperates.   When Rylan's lazy hired hand decides to leave the farm Maizy takes on the ranching needs also but this time she calls the shots and goes back to dressing as she pleases (in pants).  There are 3 more western love stories in the book all set in the late 1800's, all Christian, all quite interesting. 
My favorite story of the grouping was the first though all were very good.  I loved reading them and I think that anyone interested in historic or Christian love stories would also love them.  I highly recommend this novel to readers who are of at least middle school years and this is just for the interest of the content.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading the novel.
This book was provided for this review by Booklook.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

At the Movies by Samantha Sanderson

At the Movies by Samantha Sanderson is a novel in the faithgirlz! series. This novel finds best friends, Samantha and Makala, at a movie with Samantha's dad. Samantha notices that a light is on in a supply room and when she attempts to open the door she finds it locked. Strange, she thinks but quickly forgets it on her way to the bathroom until Makala spills her entire cup of soda on her dad. Sam and her dad get the supply room opened and while rummaging around for cleaning supplies find what appears to be a bomb. This solving of the who done it is the premise of the story. Samantha, who is trying to make her may to someday being the editor for her school news department, is working from the reporter angle and her dad, who is a detective, for the local police department, is working from the adult professional perspective. Samantha alternates between wanting her dad's inside knowledge but not wanting to divulge her information and her dad is torn between treating Samantha as an adult reporter and wanting to protect her as well as finding out how she is getting her inside information (which she refuses to reveal as a reporter). When Samantha takes information which her dad gives her and uses it to find out more information and then form the basis for her daily story her dad feels that Samantha has stepped over the line and has jeopardized his job. Dad pulls rank and has the teacher pull Samantha from the lead story. The story goes on the tell how Samantha and her dad learn to work together and then solve the case.

This book is an excellent young person mystery which I as an adult could also enjoy reading. It brings out how to learn to follow the rules to be a reporter as well as writing a story that others will read. Samantha learns how writing a newspaper article is more than just writing an exciting story--there are lives involved which can be changed by the power of her pen. Within the story is how Samantha remains true to her faith while being friends with those of different faiths. Samantha as a 7th grader is also figuring out how to be a true friend as well as make new ones. I liked reading this book and think that middle school children would most enjoy it but older elementary age children would also enjoy it as their ability would dictate.

I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini

Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini is a book of recipes, projects and skills for a self-sufficient life.  If you have spent your life eating out of the grocery store but have been hearing scary news articles or just want to know how to grow your own then this is the book for you.  This book will walk you through making raised garden beds. Then this book gives you recipes for using your homegrown produce.  It tells of the easiest to grow.  It tells which grow best, which grow in cool weather, and which in warm.   Or if you don't want to know how to grow your own but just want to know which pretty flower or weeds in your yard are edible this is the book for you.  It gives tips on living off the land no matter where your land is even in the city.  Now don't however think that you can with the knowledge in this book you could go off grid.  This would be the first book to read--not the last.  There are a few easy crafts that one can make on the cheap for gifts or making your own glasses from wine and beer bottles.  If you remember real homemade sour kraut that grandma made and want to know how to make it yourself then reading this book can tell you.  There is DIY projects like making your own home made paper stationary or other paper products out of your grocery sacks or other paper products.  Maybe you don't recycle but would like to be part of the reuse or up-use population.  Want to eat pickled eggs but paying $6.00 for a small jar of them is too much?  This book can walk you through making your own.  Want to throw a party but have no keg to serve beverages? Make one from a watermelon.   Been reading the health news about the benefits of using caste iron but everything sticks?  This book tells you how to season it so that sticking is no longer a problem and no worries about the Teflon health scares either. 

If I were a beginner just wanting to learn some of the basics for starting to live simply this is the best first book to read.  It neither talks over your head nor makes you feel like you are reading a 6 year old primer.  It has looks of pictures and drawings where needed also.  It has simple party suggestions as well as making garden beds and as I mentioned earlier making glasses out of beer bottles (this sounded trickier than I wanted to try).  What to do with the mushrooms you just found-are they poisonous? how to cook? what do they taste like?  Do you have 1 1/2 # of almonds and want to know how to make milk out of them?  Oh the list goes on and on.

I would suggest this book for anyone wanting to learn how to live more simply and safely.  2 thumbs up for easy to read and understand.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Persecuted by Robin Parrish

Persecuted: I Will Not be Silent by Robin Parrish is the next Christian fiction by this author.  It will make the reader think, "What would I do if I were no longer allowed to express my religious beliefs?, what if all religions were so watered down that none disagreed with another? "  Would we all then be one happy group of people who all believed alike or would we merely be a group of lukewarm believers? or non believers?  Who knows we would all be alike---maybe.  When would we recognize that instead of giving freedom to worship to everyone we have instead watered down our Christian faith to such a degree that it doesn't look any different than any other religion or for that matter any non religion either.  Will our freedom to worship as a Christian be subtly be wiped away bit by bit until it is gone?  We think that we know what we would do if a government entity tries to take over that we would fight to the death but what if our own government slickly passes law after law ever so slightly nips away at our freedom to worship.  Will I notice?  Will you?

John Luther is a well known well loved evangelistic pastor of the TV screen.  He loves his wife and daughter though his career takes him away from home more and more of the time.  He is the person that the government workers come to when they have a question about religion.  His long time friend Senator Donald Harrison is constantly calling him to indorse his bill, the Faith and Fairness Act, which John believes would water down religion in order to appease the masses and get Don more votes of course.  When John will not agree, Donald calls on the help of a hit man to solve his problem and further his own political agenda.  This starts the ball rolling in ways that neither could have predicted.

This is a suspense filled book.  People who love religious reading will love it.  Persons who read murder mysteries will love it.  This book has something that many readers of many genres will enjoy.  It is an adult book and describes murders and a sex crims but anyone from the age of high school and possibly middle school age will enjoy this book.
I received this book from Bethany House which is a division of Baker Publishing Group for this review.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Seasons of Tomorrow, Amish Visnes and Orchards book 4 by Cindy Woodsmall

Seasons of Tomorrow by Cindy Woodsmall is the 4th installment in the Amish Vines and Orchard series.  This series studies the working and living lives of the King and Byler families as they learn to live together in the same house as well as work together establishing a new Amish settlement and apple business.  They would grow closer together as well as learn to work together.  They make some of the rules for the new settlement but are constantly being interfered with by the caring as well as jealous involvement of their former settlement.  They have no bishop and so mostly rely on the religious advise of their pastor Stephen Byler.  Their former settlement have people who jealously regarded them and they now know that they have within their midst an informer who regularly reports to any indiscretions no matter how slight.  Since they have no idea who this person is they must be careful whenever they may stray from their roots no matter how good their reasoning is.  Rhoda has future insights which come to her at inopportune moments.  She knows that at sometime in the future that the settlement will have to deal with the loss of one of their females.  She feels that it will be either Phoebe, who is pregnant with her and Stephen's 4 child, or Lydia who is rapidly getting more involved with an Englisher man who is an integral part of the business and one that they would like to bring in as a partner.  Phoebe and Stephen have recently lost their last child and Lydia is one of the sisters in the King family and has been ostracized in their former settlement because of her ideas which don't include joining the church though she is rapidly approaching the age of the decision. Rhoda has been ostracized by the settlement for "practicing witchcraft" because of her visions of the future of which she has no control and tries to ignore whenever possible.  When Phoebe develops an H1N1 pneumonia and Rhoda starts seeing her in the corners of her vision holding the baby she is so afraid that her friend and her baby will die.  The hospital has Phoebe in a drug induced coma to improve the chances of survival of both baby and mom but the hospital personnel still don't hold out much hope.  Phoebe is covered in prayer in the King settlement, in the old settlement of Harvest Mills as well as in the hospital.  The group decides to break the rules once again so that they can tape the voices of Phoebe's children so that if Phoebe can hear she can hear their voices in her room.  Will all of this be enough? Read this book to find out.
I loved this book as I have loved all of the Vines and Orchards series.  I hope that Ms Woodsmall has a plan for a future installment.  This book is excellent reading for any girl or woman of any age. 
This book was provided by Waterbrook Press for this review.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Love Hunger by David Kyle Foster

Love Hunger by David Kyle Foster is a book based on the author's experiences of growing up.  David grew up in a family where he was one of the middle children in a pastor's family.  David grew up attending church multiple times per week in a family of 4 boys where discipline was quick practicing, "spare the rod and spoil the child".  He came from a line of pastor's families as his father's father was also a Presbyterian pastor as was his father since arriving in America from Ireland in the early 1800s. David grew up in the 60s and so when he went to college he grew his hair long and dabbled in drugs as well as alcohol like many of his cohorts. He also started experimenting with sex both homosexual as well a heterosexual. David headed out to California to seek his fortune in acting and managed to find work in commercials, teen magazines, and a few movies.  He continued to use drugs and broadened his sexual appetite to include many partners and paying customers.  David continued in this vein though he felt increasing guilt as well as feeling like he was headed for hell.  This book follows David's experiences from sexual and drug addiction into a life of being a pastor freed from all of these addictions.  David is very honest with the things he did during this period of his life though it is not particularly graphic is detail unless necessary.

This book was a difficult read for me and in the middle I almost put it down and didn't think that I would finish it.  Though as I stated in the previous paragraph the descriptions are not extremely graphic and I also lived through the 60s, I found the homosexual nature to be difficult  and uncomfortable to read.  I am glad that I made it through since the end of the book is easy to read and I am glad that David found his way through and is now living a life in which he is happy and he also reconciled with his parents before their eventual deaths.  The book does not sugar coat either the life he lived before becoming reconciled with Christ or after.  I would recommend this book only to those seeking to change their life from sexual addiction or homosexuality or their parents.  It is a difficult read and one not for the faint of heart.

I received this book from Chosen which is a division of Baker Publishing Group for this review.

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert has written a novel that heartbreakingly reads like real life.  Though very beautiful fashion model Ivy never felt love from her father or by her drug addicted mother.  Her father had never acted like a father in her life.  He was married Marilyn who had always tried to show Ivy the love that she deserved even though Ivy was the product of her husband's infidelity.  Marilyn had even raised Ivy from the time that her mother could no longer do so because of her drug use.  Ivy had learned over the course of her life never to trust that the men who from the age of 14 told her that they loved her really did not love her but only wanted something from her.  Upon the death of her father though Marilyn has the chance to teach Ivy that she is loved.  Marilyn is a clothing designer of bridal dresses.  Her nephew Davis is a photographer who refuses to take pictures because he has promised himself that since the blindness of his sister, Sarah, is his fault he will not use a camera again.  Marilyn wants to use both Ivy who at age 25 is getting too old to get the good jobs and Davis who refuses to forgive himself to both commit to a project of having a bridal show that would benefit a blind school for Sarah. Ivy's agent says that this is her only chance for work right now and Davis agrees to do this one thing for Sarah.  Marilyn has her work cut out for herself--showing Ivy that she is worth loving and that she loves her as if she were her daughter and showing Davis her nephew that depriving the world of a great photographer is not going to make him feel less guilty or bring back Sarah's sight.  

Ivy comes into her hometown feeling like this is the end of her modeling career.  Davis is wondering if God will forgive him for going back on his promise never to pick up a camera again.  Will Ivy learn that though the world may always take advantage of her for her beauty that God loves her for herself?  Will Davis learn that God has already forgiven him and that he needs to accept his guilt in the matter and forgive himself?  Read this book to find out.

I liked this book.  Finally a Christian love story where the main love interest is the love of God for his people and the desire of God to have good for His people.   I received this book from Waterbrook Press for this review.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lost and Found by Sarah Jakes

Lost and Found by Sarah Jakes is the insightful real life of Sarah's teenage years.  Sarah grew up under the watchful and loving eyes of her pastor parents the well known, TD and Serita Jakes.  She grew up knowing that she was loved and though much was expected from her she received the needed foundation in order to do all that was expected of her.  Her mother though very busy with the life of a pastor's family also was in charge of homeschooling all 5 of her children.  She is one of the blessed teens who had all she wanted or needed both physically and emotionally.  Sarah when she reached her teen was allowed a bit more freedom and during church services joined the rest of her peers in their own portion of the sanctuary.  Sarah enjoyed her teen times of learning how to grow up in the world right until at age 13 she found herself pregnant.  She was afraid to tell her parents not because of punishment but rather because she was ashamed and didn't wish to disappoint her parents.  What would they think?  What would the congregation think?  What would this do to the reputation of her parents and her family?  All very important questions that any teen would question.  Sarah's parents however surprised her--oh they were disappointed all right but they also stood behind her and helped her face her new life.  Sarah was surprised all right but she still felt that she had both disappointed them, the congregation and most of all God.  How could she ever make up for all that she had done?  One of her life lesson is on page 223 of the book: "Grace is not the absence of the struggle; it is the presence of protection."

This book reveals how Sarah grew from the little girl totally cared for by her parents into the lost teenager making horrible decisions and into the strong adult that she is today.  This book is very true to life.  Sarah is more honest and open with her mistakes and her fumbling through the growing up time of her teen years than most authors would be in an autobiography.  This book should be in most high school libraries so that girls can see that no matter the bad errors in judgment that they make that a good life can still be established and they can make it.  That mistakes can be lived with and that life goes on.  That God will forgive anything if we have the good sense to ask.  Most of the mistakes that girls make while growing up are mistakes that harm themselves but most female teens are looking at instead at how it affects the way that people think of them.  We females spend too much time worrying about what others think of us and too little on how this affects our self.  A good read.  Pick it up.

This book was provided by Bethany House for this review.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Girl at the End of the World by Elizabeth Esther

Girl at the End of the World is a true story about the life of the author Elizabeth Esther.  Elizabeth grew up in a fundamentalist church founded by her grandfather.  This church was a Christian church but it had many barbarian strict rules instigated by her grandfather or grandmother.  In this fundamentalist church children were strongly punished for minor or even imaginary infractions using beatings or emotional deprivation.  These were then covered up to the outside world by codes of silence.  Elizabeth starts the book at the age of 9 with her beginnings into public aposyletizing in her community with her parents watching close by for support and encouragement.  She always felt and believed that her parents loved her through all the abuse and emotional anxiety that she felt in her growing up years.  Her parents believed as did the entire church that the daily spankings were needed in order to "break the will" of the child, confess their sins, and surrender to Jesus.  Elizabeth tells of her life through the years in the church, through her marriage and finally through the times of she and her husband, Matt's, break with the church and then finally to her finding physical and emotional healing in adulthood. 

This heartbreaking story will just bring you to tears at times and to the edge of your seat at times just wanting little Elizabeth to have the strength to leave and get the help that she so desperately needed.  I was so afraid that someone would hurt her so unspeakably that she would not be able to get help.  I at no time felt that her parents did not love her but just were brainwashed themselves.  Elizabeth though honest never writes punitively about those who so awfully abused her.  This would be good reading for any adult but should be careful about allowing too young of a child to read.  This is difficult reading emotionally though no abuse is told too graphically.  Very good read.  Congratulations on living the life and making it though to the other side so well.  Thank you Elizabeth for having the courage to not only write the book but to change your life so that your children could have better.

This book was provided by Blogging for Books for this review.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Stillness of Chimes

Mar 22 at 10:22 PM
A Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley is an entertaining novel set in the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Prospect.  Laura, Sean, and Cassie all grew up there and since Laura has returned to settle her mother's estate all are back together again.  The death of her mother has left Laura regreiving the drowning death of her father,Elliott, when she was 18 as well as mourning her mom.  His body was never found and the rumors were all over town of various sightings of him roaming the wilderness surrounding Prospect.  Laura's dad had been a Viet Nam vet and the war had changed him but he was always loving to her and she had loved him.  She was torn: if he was alive why did he leave her and her mom? but oh how see would love to see him again and hear him play and sing once more and just one more time tell him that she loved him.  Sean had a drunk for a dad and Laura's dad had saved his life then taught him to not only play the stringed instruments he played but also to make them thought not as artistically as Laura's dad Sean was very talented and hardworking.  Sean had however seen Elliott do something that he had not shared with anyone that could change everything.  Working together Laura and Sean start to uncover the mystery while continuing to keep their own secrets about Elliott. 
I thoroughly loved this story.  There is a love interest but the most important part of the story is the mystery.  I kept wanting to read the last page so I could read the book without the tension but I resisted and I hope that you do also.  This book would be of interest to any female of any age which was interested in the subject matter and I would recommend reading it.
This book was supplied by Waterbrook Multnomah for this review.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

two are better than one review

Two are Better is a novel by Tim and Debbie Bishop who are a middle aged couple who have never married before but have always wanted to be married.  The two met and over the course of several years fell in love after becoming very good friends.  They met over the Internet in 2003 and after getting to know each other decided to meet in person which graduated into good friends and eventually into an engagement in 2010 and quickly married in the same year.  The couple planned to marry and then for their honeymoon bicycle across the United States from Pacific to Atlantic during Debbie's summer vacation from her job at school.  Tim had just retired from his job and so had plenty of free time.  Debbie was busy with end of the school year activities so Tim planned not only the wedding but also the cross country trip.  Neither however had time from their April engagement until their June wedding did not leave time to train (though both were physically very active) for their cross country trip or even to get to know their bikes and new equipment.  Tim and Jim Massey, Debbie's cousin who lived in Oregon, were putting the bikes and equipment together the night before the couple left.  They had few rules but among them were that they would attend church services on Sunday if possible.  They though that they were packing light but during the trip lightened again and forwarded the excess to their home.  They knew that their trip was in excess of 3000 miles and that they had 2 months to complete it and still get Debbie back in time to start the next school session. 

As I started reading this book I didn't think that I was going to like Tim.  Debbie had stated that she wanted to carry her share of the load during the trip but when it became evident that she would not physically be able to do this especially with the physical ailment that occurred he still did not help her even after watching her fall with the bike from exhaustion.  When her physical ailment finally became debilitating did he rescue her and transfer some of her load to his bike and they shipped some back home.  Could be that it just took him that long to figure things out.  I enjoyed the ride and it helped me to decide that I am pretty sure that I am cured from ever thinking that I should undertake that long of a trip on a bike.  I had no idea of the toll it took on the body.  I also think that their marriage benefited from having to depend on each other for most of their needs.  It is also something that must have taken a bigger chunk of money than I would have thought and that they maybe would have been better off it more would have been spent on some of their equipment or the repair of it.  This couple spent as many of their nights as possible in motels and ate in restaurants along the way so they had some hot meals not cooked over campfires which was most likely more nutritious. 

I did end up liking both characters in the book and loved the book and its adventure. It would be suitable reading for any age group that is capable of the reading level.

I received this book from              for this review.