Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Orphan's Wish by Melanie Dickerson

I would classify this book as a YA historical novel.  It takes place in the 1400s with a Saracen orphan, Aladdin, as the main character.  Through times of trial, testing and triumph he weaves his way into the Germanic society and hearts of many.  He has a good soul and honorable goals but along the way his courage fails him and he makes mistakes even as he tries for perfection. Aladdin has grown up with Lady Kirstyn.  They are best friends but he always feels beneath her.  He leaves the household that has taken him in to go make his way in the world.  He wants to prove that he can care for her and be a success.   As he gains a better understanding of God's love for him he begins to understand that perfection is not required of him for acceptance and belonging.  Perils arise as the lady he loves is kidnapped and held hostage by a jealous and deranged son of Aladdin's benefactor.  Through times of despair and terror Aladdin learns to lean more heavily on his own instincts and the voice of God directing him.  He must also learn to not judge himself by other's standards but base his worth on the blood of Christ shed for him.  As Aladdin and Kirstyn are reunited they must learn to be honest with themselves and each other about their feelings.  They learn to be courageous in ways they had not expressed or experienced before and grow strong individually and together as a couple.

I received this book from the publishers but was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Send Down the Rain by Charles Martin

I have mixed feelings about this book.  It appears the main goal of this book is to show the power of forgiveness.  However, there are several instances of violent retaliation that occur in this story with no remorse.  One example is a wronged spouse driving a knife through her husband's hand.  And in each of the cases there is an intervention of a politician so that no censure, responsibility or disciple is meted out.  This seems in congruent with the theme of making amends and forgiveness running through the book.  It also adds a flavor of vigilante style justice to the tale.  For me it made the story less believable because of how many times they avoided any legal repercussions for their actions.  It also bothered me that the main character's love was described as "watching over" someone when in actuality it would be described in legal terms as stalking.  Since this is a Christian book it was unbelievable to me that "love" would be described in such an emotionally unhealthy manner.  And although the main character protects those he loves in one sense - on the other hand he holds a lot of resentment towards them.  The entire book was a mixture of really unhealthy behaviors combined with "noble" reasons for said actions.  I couldn't really blend the two together.  It just seemed too disconnected and unreal to me. 

I received this book free  from the publishers but was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Create - A Girl's Guide to DIY, Doodles and Design by Zonderkidz

What a cleverly, attractive craft book!  But I found it to be so much more than what I thought it would be.  There are over 50 craft ideas with very specific instructions, lists of materials needed and photos of not only the finished product but the process of creating it.  Each project has a list of materials, numbered instructions for creation and then a box called "jazz it up".  The "jazz it up" box containers options or ulternatives to the original design.  I was excited to see so many every day items transformed into beautiful and useful gifts.  Gifts such a personalized pillow cases, plastic soap holders as prayer boxes, and even mint tins crafted to be mini emergency kits.  There are three sections to this book.  The DIY section with the crafty type creations.  The DOODLES section with drawings and how to create your own coloring pages.  The DESIGN section for jewelry, clothes handbags and other accessories.  The items to create are not "cheesy" at all.  They are well made and attractive to the eye.  This craft book is marketed as a faithgirlz/zonderkidz book.  But I wanted to say in this review that adults will find it just as fun and fabulous as the children will.  In fact I think this would be a great tool to use for family evening togetherness as the whole family could create gifts to give to others.  It also would be a wonderful tool for summer Bible camp or a girls club evening or sleep over party.

I received this book from the publishers but was not required to write a positive review.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Road Home by Beverly Lewis

The Road Home by Beverly Lewis

I don’t know how she does it but Beverly Lewis just gets better and better.  For an author who writes about one topic, Amish living, Lewis has such a variety of story lines and characters.  This book starts out with a tragedy but the story is anything but tragic.  It is full of love and romance and fun filled memories in the making.  Family ties are strong throughout this book.  The value of faith filled confidants is highlighted through the friendships that Lena Rose makes in her new setting in Lancaster County.  Throughout Lena’s journey through grief and adjusting to community far from her hometown the reader experiences the spiritual growth of one young woman.  Her courage, resolute trust in a Heavenly Father’s goodwill towards her and her determination to return to her siblings scattered amongst the brethren make for a fulfilling tale.

I received this book from Bethany Publishers but was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Begin Again by Leeana Tankersley

Leeana Tankersley truly has a fresh and sometimes startling way of expressing herself.  You will either totally relate to her or not have a clue to what she’s talking about.  Stark revelations about her own thought processes and struggles with finding balance, peace and joy in her life may shock you.  On the other hand it may just be what you were longing for to find comfort.  Leeana invites the reader to visit her life, her every day ordinary life full of hair pulling moments and angst over doing things wrong.  As she shares her mishaps she also sheds light on how we can connect to God to find relief from the things  that weigh us down and overwhelm us.  Practical tips yes, but so much more!  Creative, doable, real life, enchanting ideas on how to learn to begin again as God calls us to a truer sense of self.  From that authentic sense of who we are we are then able to give to others without destroying ourselves.  This book was a real eye opener for me and I plan to get several copies to give to women I hold dear.

I received this book from Revell publishers but was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Embraced by Lysa Terkeurst

Five stars and two thumbs up along with a hearty AMEN!  Lysa Terkeurst writes with such down right honesty you'll feel like you're sitting on the porch swing with her.  She invites you into her feelings and then shares how God met her there.  The comforting thing about this book is that over and over you will find yourself saying "me too"!  The encouraging thing about this book is that she presents a God who loves us enough to not leave us in our despair or discouragement.  This book is packed full of stories of women facing all manner of circumstances and scriptural references to back up Lysa's plan of action to know for yourself that God is holding you close.  The book is divided into four sections with a total of 100 devotionals.  The sections are:  Embracing the Pursuit of Him and His Directions, Embracing the Fullness Found Only in Him, Embracing Him in the Midst of Hurt and Heartbreak and Embracing His call to be transformed.  As Lysa shares from her own experiences she invites the reader to think of times we may have felt the same.  Then she shares ways God wants to heal us and help us move forward.  The readings all point to our worth being in Jesus Christ our Savior and why knowing that makes all the difference in how we respond and react to what happens to us.

I received this book from BOOKLOOK but was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Heart's Appeal by Jenifer Delamere

Julia Bernay is a young nurse who dreams of obtaining her medical degree from the prestigous London School of Medicine for Women.  Unfortunately this same institution is under legal investigation and in danger of closing it's doors forever.  By a strange coincidence Julia is on a train during a horrific accident and saves the life of barrister Michael Stephenson.  Stephenson just happens to be one of the lawyers working on the case against the London School of Medicine for Women.  As the two are thrown together, learn about each other and develop a relationship things get mighty confused.  Not to mention Micahel's sister Corrina's plans to get him engaged to the lovely socialite Laura.  This story shows the class distinctions of the day in the 1880s in London, England and the role women were stuffed into.  Julia is one of the brave few who stepped out of the mold as she dared to dream of greater things for herself and other women.  As Michael delves deeper into his case he can't help but see the remarkable woman Julia is and second guesses himself in his involvement in the suit.  But will he find the courage to stand against his law firm, his family and friends to forge ahead on a new path?

I received this book from Bethany House and was not required to write a positive review.