Friday, January 30, 2015

Rich in Years by Johann Christoph Arnold

Rich in Years, Finding Peace and Purpose in a Long Life is another wonderful book from Plough Publishing. Getting older is not an easy process, and we often confront fear, disappointment, and physical and mental changes. The author uses life experiences and the experiences of others to offer advice and encouragement as we face some of these life changes. 

I would say this book is primarily for Christians, and although I didn’t agree with every doctrinal statement in this book, I appreciated the author’s outlook on later years and the ability to use our talents or even find new ones.  There was not doubt that his focus was on our spiritual service.

You may think this book is just for old people, but I would also encourage younger people to read it too.  You will gain great insight into the thoughts of your parents or grandparents, and just may learn something to do now to prepare for the day when you walk where they are.  For those of us having reached these years, it can be a source of great encouragement and provide lessons for pressing on to make the time we have left a life of service and devotion.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Awakening by Friedrich Zuendel

The Awakening is a story from 1841 with an important message for 2015.  This is the true story of Johann Christoph Blumhardt’s encounter with Gottliebin Dittis, a young woman overcome by demonic activity.  I usually avoid books about this subject, but this book is different. It is a respectful retelling of Blumhardt’s own writings not to sensationalize, but to show the real struggle with spiritual warfare.

Blumhardt approached each situation by putting on the full armor of God. The book states that when things took a serious turn, he would pray with a friend.  “Together we searched through the Bible, determined not to go any further than Scripture led us.”  His approach, his faith, his humbleness, and his honesty about his feelings made such an impression on me.  

Not only did he encounter the spiritual fight, but also resistance from the local authorities.  In spite of all of the obstacles, he saw a true spiritual awakening in his parish.  While the book is about demonic activity, it is even more about the importance of repentance, confession, and reconciliation and peace that comes from Christ.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in spiritual warfare.

One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis

One Step Too Far is a story of a young woman who walks away from her family and begins a new life.  There are hints and clues along the way that point to the reason, but the whole story isn't revealed until the end.  We know she has faced a traumatic event, but before we find out what had happened, the story is interrupted by endless back-stories for each of the characters, including those who have little to do with the plot.

The story was just too scattered. I felt like I was reading a book where the chapters were placed randomly in the book.  The beginning was slow moving and really didn't pique my interest until about 2/3 through  The author tries to trick the reader several times by writing situations that appear to give you a clue as to what is happening only to find out that it was totally different. Instead of being clever, I found it confusing and a little irritating.

The big reveal near the end of the book, although dramatic, just left me cold.  I can’t really explain much without giving a spoiler, so I will just say in my opinion the “event” and Emily’s adventure did not go together.  In spite of all of the drama, I didn't
find anything compelling or likable about the man characters.

This is an English book, but very friendly to the American reader. A few words were different, but nothing confusing. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Berenstain Bears and the Biggest Brag By Mike Berenstain

What a wonderful book, but then it IS The Berenstain Bears!  The soft cover book is beautifully
illustrated, and has a wonderful message to go with it.  Grandpa imparts some wise help for his bragging grandcubs when the bragging gets out of control.  He makes them realize how silly all of their bragging seems when they stop to think about it.

On the inside of the back page of the book is an Activities and Questions from Brother and Sister Bear page with some questions children would ask about bragging, the actions of the cubs, and the lesson Gramps was trying to teach.  Also, there are two Get Out and Do It activities that will reinforce the lesson learned with action.

My four year old granddaughter loves the story and the illustrations of each of their activities. I recommend it for non-readers and early readers.

I received a copy of this book as part of the BookLook program in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen by Francine Bryson

You just can’t go wrong with a cookbook written by someone who has won 200 local and national baking competitions. Sweets definitely take center stage in this cookbook, and it is loaded with pies, cakes, cheesecakes cobblers, sweet breads, cookies, and candy. 

The cookbook starts with eight different pie crusts, not counting the three extra cookie crusts.  The one that really caught my eye was the Cinnamon Roll Crust may be the most interesting pie crust recipe I have ever seen, and easy too.  I can’t wait to try it with pumpkin pie.  I also want to try her Classic Easy Banana Pudding, but since it serves 12- 15, I am hoping I can cut it in half.

The cookbook itself is very well made with glossy paper that is easy to wipe clean.  It could use more photos, and it seemed a little disorganized to me.  There are the regular sections, pies, cookies, cheesecakes, candy & Truffles, and Biscuits & Breads. But then there was the chapter “Sunday Go-To-Meeting” containing cobblers and cakes, and “Baked Goods to Show Off” with more pies and cakes.  All in all, it is a keeper and a welcome addition to my cookbook shelf.

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

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

If You Were Me and Lived in.. Peru by Carole P. Roman

If you would like to take your child on a cultural trip around the world, Carol Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived in….series is the perfect place to start.  This educational series describes the life, activities and people around the world.  If You Were Me and Lived in…Peru again introduces children to the local area, activities, and local culture.  The book answers questions that children would ask about names, foods, games, toys, school and holidays.   The print is large and easy to read and the illustrations are fun with bold colors and designs. There is a pronunciation guide in the back for unfamiliar words.

The books are ideal for pre-school and elementary school aged children. I also think they are ideal for Sunday Schools to cultivate an interest in missions around the world. 

Books in this series:

If you were me and lived in…Mexico
If you were me and lived in…South Korea
If you were me and lived in…France
If You Were Me and Lived in…Norway
If You Were Me and Lived in…Kenya
If You Were Me and Lived in…Turkey
If You Were Me and Lived in…India
If you were me and lived in…Australia
If you were me and lived in…Russia
If You Were Me and Lived in…Portugal
If You Were Me and Lived in…Greece
If You Were Me And Lived In…Peru

A copy of this book was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
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