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.

seven secrets to praying

Seven Secrets to Power Praying by Jane Glenchur is a guide to improving, increasing or starting your prayer life.  It is an easy to read guide which manages not to read preachy.  She pulls from her own experiences in life as she tells the Keys to praying (petition, passion, presence, preparedness, and perseverance).  She then expands to the 7 secrets: Say yes first, Give God your password, Tap into God’s heart, Toss the pros and cons list, know when to give up, Open locked doors, Employ the power of testimonies.  She then describes how the reader can further expand their relationship with God further including increasing your daily Bible reading, deepening your prayers, and tightening your own time management skills.

This book is written in a way which speaks to the reader as if they are carrying on a conversation with the author.  This author really speaks to me the reader in a friendly way and makes the reader really see that increasing their own prayer life is a no brainer improvement into anyone’s life.  She points out how those of us with tight schedules can easily find time to place prayer into our daily life and how that very act can increase our time to do other things.  All of us have wasted time in our schedules which we spend doing things not nearly as valuable to our eternity as prayer.  God is happy to and just waiting for us to ask for blessings for which we are not asking.  This book spoke to me and I do not easily say those words.  I have read many books which are “good for me” but this book forced me to look as my life and desire to change it.

This book was provided by Chosen which is a division of Baker Publishing Group for this review.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

heaven and earth review

Between Heaven and Earth by Steve Berger is a thought provoking small book providing insight on preparing oneself for a life in heaven.  Steve as a pastor has undoubtedly had his thoughts firmly placed on spending his eternity in heaven but the untimely death of his 19 year old son in a car accident certainly increased his thoughts on this subject.  Steve’s book provides a simple to understand Bible based manual on preparing for eternal life in heaven.  He provides scriptural background for all of his thoughts and preparations.  Though Steve certainly discusses the grief and sadness that the death of his son, Josiah, brought into his life he chose not to dwell upon his death but rather to focus on the beauty of his son’s certain home in heaven with his eternal father.  Steve’s life and that of his family changed forever when Josiah died but rather than despair over what he had lost Steve has made to choice to work to make sure of those around him have the opportunity for this same salvation.
Steve further includes in the book that if you are planning for life in heaven that it should be self evident to anyone who just watches you.  That you should have your hand in the harvest of souls for Christ.  He then provides the plan for helping in Christ’s soul harvest.  In the book he quotes James where it is stated that faith without works is dead and Steve states that many want their faith to get them into heaven but that Christians should want to take many with them when they go.
I enjoyed this book and it certainly makes the reader contemplate on whether they could be doing more to insure that the many mansions the Jesus has prepared for us are full.
This book was provided by Bethany House for this review.