Thursday, March 22, 2018

When God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner

This is a nice little story that explains simply that God is the creator and one of his creations is light. Some of it reads more like a tongue twister, but children will enjoy the lighthearted story.  I didn’t, however, care for the illustrations.  The pictures are water color style, but the children were just too odd looking. Large heads, and large bellies with an overly thin neck. It wasn’t a cute cartoon image. One picture looks like the child has had her eye ripped out.  It was just an okay book for me.

A copy of this book was provided to me for an honest review.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Lullaby Road by James Anderson








While this book is a bit of a rambler, the interesting characters made this book an interesting read. A bit quirky, but definitely unique characters you would expect to meet in a hideaway rural area. Don’t expect too realistic of a story and just be entertained by where the story goes. The main character of Ben is a warm, generous and caring person, although he would never admit to it. The strong characters are enhanced by the beautifully described locations.

The author has one previous book, The Never-Open Diner, that would best be read first. I received a copy of Lullaby Road from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Last Christians by Andreas Knapp


Andreas Knapp, a German priest, traveled to Iraq to accompany a friend to his father’s funeral. He brought back the stories of the suffering of Christians and Muslims under IS (ISIS), as they have been driven out of their homelands and are flooding the western countries as refugees.

There are many heart-wrenching stories of the devastation and destruction of homes and historic churches. He wrote of his experience with children living and playing as if nothing has happened, a 75 year-old man learning a new language, and some horrible frightening abuses. The culture of both the Christians and Muslims of this area is difficult for a westerner to understand. The women and children are left behind as the men escape. In one case the author was going to be taken to a dangerous area and the women and children were taken along so that the men traveling together wouldn’t be suspicious.

This is very much a political opinion book. There are criticisms of the United States based on “investigations” that go without names, explanation or footnotes. His conclusion is that there should be no borders, no borders, or fences and countries should accept anyone, Christian and Muslim. The insinuation that the United States is not doing enough is insulting to someone who is living in an area that was flooded with hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees that have to be given food, housing, and medical care.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Life after Heaven by Steven R. Musick

This is a well-written book and a fast read. It is 187 pages, double spaced. It is uplifting and encouraging to those living with and overcoming a debilitating illness. I had high expectations after reading the praise and good reviews for this book. The actual ND experience was not really the emphasis of the story, but more about his ability to see God working in his life through “Bubbles of Heaven.”

It had some very good stories in it, and they emphasized some good life lessons. However, when I read a non-fiction book that wants to influence me spiritually, I expect every word of that book to be true. Perhaps the lapse of time influenced the telling of the stories, but there are some things that just don’t ring true.

The first was the lack of knowledge about the specifics of his medical condition at the time of his ND experience. Even if I can overlook that, there is a story that I doubt happened as described. He tells of his witness of child abuse when a big burly man hit a child in a restaurant. He bravely confronted the man and told the cashier to call 911 and have them send police and social services. After shaming the man, he said to the cashier, “Tell the dispatcher it was a mistake. Everything’s going to be okay.” Then they all went on with their meals. The problem that immediately bothered me is that you can not reverse a 911 call. The police will come, especially if there was an argument with swearing, as he states, in the background. There would be an investigation of the incident.

The book has benefit and it has good messages. I just did not believe some of it to be true.

I received this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan

Long Black Veil started out more in the horror genre, but moved quickly to a mystery. While there are a lot of twists it was quite a let-down after the tense beginning. The story revolves around an incident that happened to a group of teens when one of them disappeared. There is a definite lack of character development except for the  transexual main character . He/She is so self-absorbed that it is difficult to care much about all that is happening. The other characters fade with little information. The only thing I learned about Casey was that he was fat and liked to eat.

There were too many unresolved issues in the rather eye-rolling ending. One curiosity was the odd spelling of miao, used instead of miaow or the most common meow. It was weird and annoying, as was the character of Quentin/Judith suddenly saying Miao. (Miao is a Chinese term unrelated to cats.)


A story that started off very well, but fell into a mediocre mystery.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I am No One by Patrick Flanery

This is a very wordy book that goes off on long rambling thoughts that lead to nowhere between small bits of storytelling. This could probably have been a good novella or short story, but the overwhelming wordiness is more of a distraction than an addition to the story. There was one very long though process on whether he should consider himself an American or English because he was born in the U. S., but had the accent of someone from England. It had nothing to add and came across as rather silly. It was a painful read.

I received the book as part of the Blogging for Books program.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Acid Watcher Diet by Jonathan Aviv, MD.

After suffering from reflux for many years and going through pills that rarely made me feel better, I was hopeful that The Acid Watcher Died would have a solution. It is a very informative book divided into three sections: Acid Disruption and your diet, Food and lifestyle prescriptions, and the 28 day blueprint for reducing acid damage, revving up metabolism, and staying healthy for life.

The information on acid and reflux conditions is extensive, informative, and written so that it is easy to understand. The diet and Healing Phase section of the book is also very extensive. There is a list of food and drinks to eliminate from the diet that makes sense, but is not easy to follow. I have eliminated those I can and limited a couple drastically. Many people with reflux also have other digestive ailments and some of the recommendations for added foods (including about half of the vegetables) are not appropriate. For me, the major problem with the diet is the heavy reliance on fish. Unless you live in a coastal region, fresh fish is not fresh or tasty. You do have the options of chicken and turkey. Red flags go up for me when certain brands are mentioned, certain salts are considered better than others, and have ingredients that can only be purchased online.

There is a selection of recipes, but I did not bookmark even one of them to try. I can’t even imagine why the Luxurious Chocolate Torte that contained 2 sticks of butter and full-fat Greek Yogurt in an 8” pan is considered healthy.

This is a good, informative book, but if you don’t live in an area with a Whole Foods or fresh seafood, the recipes section won’t be of much help. I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

You Carried Me, A Daughter’s Memoir by Melissa Ohden

A baby facing serious medical challenges was adopted into a loving home. With much love and support, Melissa flourished. When she was in 8th grade, her sister made an angry comment about her birth and her mother had to explain the horrible truth that Melissa’s birth mother had aborted her, but she lived.

This is not exactly a story about abortion, but more about searching for and reaching out to her birth family and maturing into a young woman with her own family. It is about an amazing spirit of forgiveness. The best part of the book is that the way her story unfolds. The birth extended family was reluctant, but little by little Melissa learned about her birth family. She has faced numerous struggles throughout her life, but her spirit of love and forgiveness shines all through the book.

The only thing that bothered me about the book was that she told a story about a famous person’s numerous abortions. I guess it had previously been made public, but I thought it was not her story to tell, and it sounded too much like gossip.

As sad as her story is, it is a very uplifting book. She has overcome so much and has come out of it as a positive, strong person.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

I listened to this book because I received an audio version of The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living with 8 CDs.

I don’t know if any author starts out to write characters that are unlikable, but I didn’t find any character in this book of any real interest. The dialog was so overly descriptive that I frequently lost interest. If you think a lengthy description of the main character unwrapping of a stick of butter and how it “felt” on the knife sound interesting then you may love this book.

I found a lack of continuity of the story that seemed to jump from one scene to another suddenly. This, of course, may have been because I was listening to the audio book and would have been less confusing in the written version. For example, there was a very long description of a drive down the road and suddenly someone was offering her a tray.

The audio was read by Jorjeana Marie. I don’t know if she was attempting an accent or trying to hide one, but there were some odd pronunciations. The tray described above was pronounced “trah” and window became “wind-e”. A few words I just let pass because I didn’t want to back track the CD.

I received an audio copy from the Blogging For Books program.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Chase: The Hunt for the Mute Poetess by Thomas Dellenbusch

Translated from German by Richard Urmston
Type: KopfKino is a German term for Theatre of the Mind and to describe a book that is a movie-length-story with a reading time of between 60-180 minutes.

Enrique Allmers was heading to a restaurant when a woman ran into him, quite literally. He realized she was being chased and was in immediate danger. She was quite the mystery because she was unable to speak, but “Rique with the help of some friends, was able to help the young lady with her unfolding mystery.

A little different from the books I normally read, this Theatre of the Mind places you in a story without any foundation. So be prepared to start and hang on for this fast-moving thriller beginning with the first words on the page. I liked the variety of characters which were diverse in age and types. The story is well-written and the translation was also done very well.

I received an electronic version of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Faceless Killers, by Henning Mankell

After watching 4 seasons of Wallander on Netflix, I was left wanting more. I decided to pick up a couple of Kurt Wallander mystery books by Swedish author Henning Mankell that have been translated from the Swedish by Steven T. Murray.

When an elderly farm couple is brutally murdered with no obvious reason, Wallander and his team have few clues to solve this crime. The character of Wallander is a complicated character that can be unpredictable. He is far from being the perfect police inspector, but he is dogged in tracking down the criminals. Faceless killers is a constantly progressing police procedural with a satisfying ending. I am looking forward to the second book I purchased by Henning Mankel, The Pyramid.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Photographs from the Edge by Art Wolfe

This is a book of photographs taken by Art Wolfe  from 1983 to 2015 all around the world. Each photograph has a camera/film/exposure guide, an explanation of the shot, the nature of the photo and a photo tip. The photos are amazingly beautiful and the photographer’s notes about the shot and locations give even more depth to the subjects. The subjects are varied, with animals, people and landscapes. Not quite large enough to be a “coffee-table” book, some of the photographs get crossed over to the facing page by an inch or two. I found it a bit of a distraction, but does not take away from the overall beauty of the photos.

About the Author

ART WOLFE’s photographs are recognized throughout the world for their mastery of color, composition, and perspective. He is a recipient of the Photographic Society of America’s Progress Medal, the coveted Alfred Eisenstaedt Magazine Photography Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Nature Photography Association. Wolfe’s award-winning television series, Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge, airs on PBS stations throughout the country and worldwide. He is a popular educator and speaker for such companies as Microsoft, IBM, and Sheraton Hotels, and is the author of many books, including The New Art of Photographing Nature and The Art of the Photograph. For more information, visit artwolfe.com.




Monday, December 12, 2016

The Gospel in George MacDonald, Selections from His Novels, Fairy Tales, and Spritual Writings - Plough Publishing

The Gospel In George MacDonald, perfectly titled, is a wonderful collection of stories by a man in whose life you could see the Gospel.

Divided into 5 sections and 23 topical sections, each contains a variety of sources, including a section from a sermon, a letter, or favorite writings of other authors. This book can be used as a devotional, or to find a special section when your heart is in need of encouragement concerning one of the topics covered. It is a hopeful, Christ centered life in words filled with hope and enthusiasm.

Just as an example, I spent considerable time reading and rereading a short paragraph at the beginning of the chapter on Prayer. It was a simple passage from a novel by Wilfred Cumbermede: “I looked up to the blue sky, wept, and for the first time fell on my knees. “O God!” I cried, and that was all. But what are the prayers of the whole universe more than expansions of that one cry? It is not what God can give us, but God that we want.”
From the back of the book: George MacDonald (1824-1905) was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. After sparking controversy as a preacher, he left the ministry to pursue a literary career, writing over fifty books to support his family of eleven children. To this day, MacDonald’s novels, fantasies, and children's stories are cherished for their literary quality and spiritual insight; C. S. Lewis has said that MacDonald’s influence can be found in every book he wrote. 


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

SkinnyTaste Fast and Slow by Gina Homolka

I had not heard of SkinnyTaste before but understand now that the author has a website http://www.skinnytaste.com/ with really good recipes. This cookbook, Skinnytaste Fast and Slow, has a lot of good points, but over all did not appeal to me.

Let me cover the good first.  All of the recipes are labeled as Quick (Q), Pressure Cooker (PC), Slow Cooker (SC), Vegetarian (V), Gluten-Free (GF), Dairy-Free (DF) or Freezer-Friendly (FF).  There is a good variety of each.  One recipe I want to try is Crustless Slow Cooker Apple Pie A la Mode.

The photographs are very good, but the general appeal of the recipes is lacking. Most of the dishes looked like a variety of chopped ingredients dumped on a plate and sprinkled with other ingredients. The simply did not look appetizing to me. I was also a little surprised to see under the “Healthy Mornings” chapter a recipe for Brussels Sprout Hash with Bacon and Eggs.  Brussels Sprouts for breakfast? There is one section called “Zoodles, Sqashta, Pasta, and sauce. You will need a kitchen tool called a spiralizer for these recipes.

I will say this cookbook is good, but not great.


I received a copy of SkinnyTaste Fast and Slow in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Everything Beautiful by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing

Grown-up coloring books have become very popular of late and Everything Beautiful is a welcome addition.  On the cover, it says it is a coloring book for inspiration and reflection. 

There is a wonderful variety of designs with some with sharp lines and triangles, some with flowers and leaves, hearts, scenic, lacy and much more.  In the center of each is an inspirational message or Bible verse in lovely fonts. Some examples:
  • You really are loved. Just as you are. More than you know.
  • I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. Philippians 4:12
On the backs of each design page are other verses, information about the author of the quotes, or song lyrics.

I found these color pictures to be very relaxing, with not too much intricacy, and even my granddaughter (5) enjoyed coloring one.  It is a lovely book and I highly recommend it.


http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/
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