Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rescue My by Susan May Warren

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I'm back again with another fiction book review. This one definitely rates higher on my radar than some of the last ones.  If you like grizzly bear attacks with good endings, an incredible car accident where everyone walks out alive, a bit of romance, and some good truths about God, and not necessarily in that order of importance, you might enjoy this book.

I like Susan's writings. She can mix intrigue and drama and still bring out God's work very nicely I think. This book had a lot to do with accepting God's grace and His rescuing power in our lives. Once we see that we need rescued, we need to step back and let Him work it out. We need to let go of anger and guilt and work to forgive ourselves and then those around us who we are sure have wronged us or betrayed us. That's putting it all in my words.

Another interesting thing from the book is on perspective: "See, when we're stuck in our everyday troubles, we can get focused on them, and that's all we see. We don't see God at work in our lives, just the darkness around us. But if you turn it around, look up, start finding a way to thank God, even praise him, you'll discover a different view." How true is that? Gratitude and praise will go a long way in changing a person's perspective. For that I am grateful.

And of course, there was the romance with the usual misunderstandings that always seem to get resolved, except the book did end with only one couple resolving their issues and the other one still in limbo. And in true fiction classic, everything turns out fine for everybody in the end, I guess. There were still a few missing pieces that I'm not sure if the next book will fill in, because it seems to turn the focus to a different main character for the next book.

I did enjoy this book and am thankful to Revell for giving me a copy. I was not required to write a positive review, but am always happy when I have good things to say about books.

And I want to remember to keep my focus on God and look to Him and keep short accounts with Him, with myself, and with the people around me.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Newcomer (Amish Beginnings Book #2) by [Fisher, Suzanne Woods]

So why did I pick an Amish novel? I have a pretty firm stance against reading them, or I thought I did, until in the weakness of the moment, I requested this one.

And how to describe the book? I guess I will give my viewpoint in two different ways. As far as writing, Suzanne did a fine job. The story was interesting and while it hopped around a lot from person to person, she was good at keeping things flowing, so you could always follow along. In some ways, I like when books do that so you can keep up with what is going on in everyone's life without the waiting and wondering.

The setting is the 1730's, Amish coming over from Germany to settle the New World. I don't know how pioneer people lived at all back then, so that part I'm not going to critique. I imagine life to be immeasurably hard and fraught with trials both with claiming land and taming land.

On the second side of it, it just didn't seem very accurate to the Amish lifestyle I am familiar with. For one, the cover, Amish as a whole do not like their picture taken. Now, I realize today, some of that may be changing with certain groups, but for sure the early Amish, would not have appreciated a book cover like that. The bishop was a strong, determined man--that part definitely had its accurate elements, I would say. But the newcomer coming in and taking over? I again would say that Amish would tend to be slow to accept new people, but then again in a frontier like they were living in, maybe someone with direction and guidance was what they needed.

I don't know, I know Amish fiction is extremely popular, I just find it to be a little unrealistic to the real Amish culture. That aside though, Suzanne does have an interesting style of writing and her story can keep you reading through to the very end.

I received this book from Revell Publishing and am not required to give a positive review.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Cherish by Gary Thomas

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The One Word that Changes Everything for Your Marriage

I have read a few marriage books in the last couple of years. My goal is to read 2-4 a year. They often challenge me and convict me to put more effort into my own marriage. I just wish I could somehow memorize the words and imprint them on my life permanently.

But this book has got to about top all the books I've read lately. And yes, I might say that about everyone, but this one is good and definitely worth reading. Cherish, one simple word, but it really can revolutionize a marriage.

Cherish, to put your spouse's needs and desires above your own, to make a conscious effort to seek out the best in your spouse, to affirm them, to be kind, to do things for them. It's showcasing your spouse's strengths while you're willing to step back in the background and let them succeed. Cherishing calls us to go to war against contempt, speaking spitefully to your spouse will kill a relationship. It's noticing and honoring your spouse, seeing them as a real person. One thing I really liked that he said is it's believing your spouse is Adam or Eve, as in, they are the only other person in the world. How easy it is sometimes to compare our spouses worst flaws with our friends' spouse best-in-public-performance. To see our spouse as Adam or Eve is to not even recognize that there are other options. I can't say it as good as he did.

Cherishing is studying your spouse, learning what makes them tick, what they like, and how to best serve them. It's looking at them and truly listening, not being distracted by technology. It's taking an interest in their dreams and asking questions.

It's a lot of things I have not been doing well, but it's a lot of things my husband has been doing extremely well for me. The temptation when reading this book was to think of the few ways my husband responded that didn't feel cherishing instead of analyzing the myriad of ways I responded that showed a lack of cherishing. If scores had been kept, I would have lost. He is good at this cherishing thing and I have a lot of room to improve.

Gary Thomas is a well-known author, having written 18 books, one of them being Sacred Marriage. That is another book I would like to read sometime

I was given this book by Book Look Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley

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I think I'm starting to realize that fiction doesn't have quite the hold for me that it used to. I know there are some out there going, Yay, she's finally getting it. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop reading fiction, it just means, well, I don't know for sure what it means. I think it means that my tastes are growing pickier and it's harder and harder to find a good fiction that I love, love, love.

I will say that I am becoming a bit more of crime, mystery reader and I'm not sure if I like that or not. I get tired of the stories that you can tell from the first chapter or two how the book is going to end. And often these mystery books don't have the surety. This one sure didn't.

I enjoyed the story line. A group of airline stewardesses are smuggling diamonds into the states. One doesn't like doing it and wants to stop, but her "boyfriend" slips them in her purse anyway. She hides them and then is killed.

The "killer" is put behind bars and 18 years later, when the main story opens, there's a letter found saying he is not the real killer. Anyway, through a series of events, the true story comes out and it is totally different than what you expected.

I know that was vague, but I don't plan to give away the story. I thought Patricia wrote a very good, solid piece of fiction. It was interesting, it kept my attention, and made my heart pound a little. But I also felt like it lacked a little something. When a book is called Christian, I expect that there's going to be a bit of God in the book. I expect that the hero/heroine will either be a solid Christian or will be strongly influenced to become a Christian by a good friend or something like that. I think there were a couple people in the book who were classified as Christians, there was a bit of God talk, but it wasn't an overarching theme. And considering how dangerous and life-threatening some of the situations were, it just seemed like a bit more emphasis might have been placed on God and prayer and things like that. That is just my take on it.

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

Friday, February 3, 2017

A Patch on the Peak of Ararat

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Written by Gary Bower
Illustrated by Barbara Chotiner

Ah, do you remember the old children's book, "This is the House that Jack Built"? It built line upon line and repeated all the previous lines, like "This is the house that Jack built.... This is the cat that ate the rat that lived in the house that Jack built. This is the dog that worried that cat that ate the rat...." And so on. I haven't read that story in years and so I might have messed it up, but you get the idea.

Anyway, this book is built like that. It talks about the "ark that proceeded to park on a patch on the peak of Ararat." And then it talks about Noah's and Noah's sons and the door and the ramp and the animals and the rain and so on and so on. It's a fun little story to read.

The pictures are unique. I'm not quite sure what the word is to describe them. When I looked at them one description that came to mind was chainsaw carvings. Sort of a rough and square cut figures. But they are nice, not realistic, but still nice.

The book says it's juvenile nonfiction, so I'm not sure what age bracket they would put it in. It's a nice hardcover book, so obviously not too young because the pages could easily be torn. I struggle with giving an age to books like this. My almost two-year-old likes this book, but she is very easy on books and so I let her have all these kinds of books. But I know if we ever have other children, the story might change. I would say probably 3-8 year olds would enjoy this book.

I liked this book. There is another book by Gary called "The Beautiful Garden of Eden." It is also in the series "a Faith that God built" so I'm not sure if it would be the same rhyming structure or not.

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

Fragrant Whiffs of Joy by Dorcas Smucker (It's Giveaway time)

Ah yes, this was just what the doctor ordered. I've wanted to review Dorcas' last book or two and was always too chicken to ask, b...