Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Rhythms of Rest

I received a copy of RHYTHMS OF REST: FINDING THE SPIRIT OF THE SABBATH IN A BUSY WORLD by Shelly Miller from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. 

I admit that my family and I do not always adhere to the rules of the Sabbath.  I always think of it as a day of rest – doing nothing, just relaxing.  That isn’t always possible when you work retail (as my mom does and I used to do), or when you have tons of housework to catch up on.  This book opened my eyes to new ways of considering the Sabbath.  The books guides you step-by-step into keeping with the Sabbath.  Just as the title says, it talks about how busy our worlds are.  It can’t be an excuse, but it can be something to think about seriously.  I also like that it doesn’t make you feel guilty for not honoring the Sabbath, but instead helps you to find the correct path.

If you’re feeling depressed or overwhelmed, or just looking for some peace, then read this book as well.  Each section is short, so you can read them in different sittings, or you can finish it all in one sitting.  Once you start reading, you won’t want to stop.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Day and a Life

I received a copy of A DAY AND A LIFE by Penelope Wilcock, part of “the Hawk and the Dove” series, from Lion Fiction via Kregel in exchange for an honest review.  I have read other books in this series, and I must say each book gets better and better.  I keep becoming more invested in the characters. 

A DAY AND A LIFE focuses on two monks, Brother Cedd and Brother Colin.  They live at St. Alcuin’s Monastary, where they question if they will ever find their place as God has intended.  I love reading about their feelings of self-doubt.  No, I’m not a horrible person like that (I hope!).  Rather, it feels real.  Everyone struggles with doubt at different times in their life, and these two show that even monks are human.

Part of what I love best about this series is how Penelope Wilcock paints us a beautiful realistic image of monastic life.  I haven’t had the pleasure of reading other books about monks (although I was told by someone that REDWALL shows monk life well.  Um…this series is realistic.  REDWALL is about talking animals).

I highly recommend all of the books in “the Hawk and the Dove” series to fans of historic fiction and Christian fiction.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Wickedly they Come

I received a copy of WICKEDLY THEY COME by Cathrina Constantine.  This is a young adult novel that kept me seriously riveted.  First off, the main characters name is Jordan.  How could I not love this book?  Name aside, I found her to be an excellent role model for teenage girls.  She’s tough, but family oriented and thinks about her decisions – while making sudden decisions as well.  She struck me as very real.

Onto the story.  I don’t want to give away spoilers or the plot, but I do want to say this is appropriate for teens and adults.  I count it as a “dark” novel, but not overly so.  There are demons.  They help to spice up the story.  The intensity of it only keeps it fast-paced rather than inappropriate. 

I recommend this to fantasy lovers, and anyone who enjoys a dose of good versus evil.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Wish

I received a paperback copy of THE WISH by Beverly Lewis from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.   I read a lot of Amish fiction and share them with my mother for discussion, and I am always afraid that the plots will start to repeat.  THE WISH, I am happy to report, stays fresh.

However, I really didn’t care for it.  I wish I could say otherwise, because the plot is different – Leona’s friend leaves the church and then writes to her years later asking for help.  I just couldn’t get into it, though. I normally enjoy books by Beverly Lewis, but this one felt almost different.

The beginning chapters are very rushed.  A lot happens and my head was spinning.  I never got a good grasp of the characters.  Suddenly, Gloria is gone.  The story slows down a little, but still felt rushed. 

A lot of the book is Telling rather than Showing.  At first I cringed, then I moaned.  I’m not trying to be mean, but that really ruined it for me.  For example, instead of using dialogue, the story went: Leona said that would be great, and maybe they should try it.  Why not use dialogue for that?

“That would be great.”  Leona beamed.  “We should try it!” 

It isn’t a bad book, just not for me.  If you enjoy Amish literature, give it a try.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fifth Column

I received a paperback copy of FIFTH COLUMN by Mike Hollow from Lion Fiction via Kregel in exchange for an honest review.   It is the second installment in the Blitz Detective series.  I really liked book one, so I was excited to explore this one.

The setting is World War II in London, England.  I am a sucker for historical fiction.  I’m also a sucker for mysteries, even if I can never guess the bad guy.  I enjoy Mike Hollow’s mysteries, as most of the ones I read are about Medieval England or the modern day.  I enjoy “exploring” the London Blitz.  He places you right into the action with his characters.

I’m often asked if you need to read book one before book two.  With this series, you should be fine picking up here.  This book involves Detective Inspector John Jago investigating a woman’s dead at a bomb site. 

I highly recommend this to history buffs and mystery fans.  It is certainly a page turner.  The mystery itself will keep you on the edge of your seat.  You can tell that the author, Mike Hollow, has certainly done his research.  This fine eye for detail is what makes FIFTH COLUMN really shine.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Lament for the Lost

I received a copy of A LAMENT FOR THE LOST by Nicole Thorn in exchange for an honest review.  The book is published by CHBB and is book one in the “Lost Ones” series.  It is mainly a young adult book, but I would recommend it to adults as well.

I went into this without knowing what it would be about.  Based on the cover I knew it would be intense – I never expected it to be this intense!  Wow.  I read it in one sitting.  (I wasn’t feeling well and it was a great escape from that)

Willow, the main character, is one of the most complex characters I have read about in a long, long while.  She’s part sweet, part twisted, part delusional…just altogether a wow character. I can’t wait to see what happens in book 2. 

5 stars from me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Bible and Me

I received a copy of THE BIBLE AND ME: STORIES WITH A MESSAGE TO LIVE BY by Lois Rock from Lion Hudson via Kregel in exchange for an honest review.  This hardcover book is beautifully illustrated by Alida Massari. 

I read this children’s’ book a little differently than previous books.  Normally, I read them and think about my days in college learning to be an elementary teacher.  I think about the kids I taught and the kids I know through family.  This time, however, I thought about my soon-to-be-born baby (although this is geared more towards children than babies).  This is definitely a book I want to keep so that someday he can cherish it.  It is a hardcover, so it is perfect for treasuring for years to come.

The illustrations accompany child-appropriate retellings of well-known Bible stories.  I can see a parent reading this to his or her child, and having the shortened version expanded into a conversation.  I can also see the parent starting a conversation from these stories on how to be a better person and how to seek greater fulfillment from each day.

I highly recommend this as an addition to any children’s home library and as a great gift.