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/

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Charlie the Tramp by Russell Hoban


Charlie the Tramp, a classic by Author Russell Hoben is back in print in a 50th Anniversary edition.  This is a sweet story about Charlie the Beaver who wants to be a tramp when he grows up. He likes the idea of freedom and not having to learn how to build dams and chop down trees. Mom, Dad, and Grandfather all talk to him about making life choices, but let him have some freedom. He tied a handkerchief to a stick and took off.  He learned many lessons during his adventure – which included chopping trees and building dams. It ends with a talk between Charlie and his dad.


Some of the terms are a bit outdated, so you may have to explain that years ago tramps worked when they had to and traveled the rest of the time.  Other than that, it is a nice family story that will make a good early reader.

"Tramps just tramp around
and have a good time.
They carry sticks
with little bundles tied to them.
They sleep in a field
when the weather is nice,
and when it rains they sleep in a barn."

Sunday, September 18, 2016

God Gave Us Thankful Hearts by Lisa Tawn Bergren

God Gave us Thankful Hearts is another wonderful book in the God Gave Us series. This time little pup is rather sad. Fall is here and hibernation follows. Pup thinks that is just boring! Mama and Papa talk to little pup and teach him about having a thankful heart.

Beautiful fall colors decorate the cover and the story pages. The book is hard-covered, and it is beautifully illustrated with fun, kind-looking characters. The message is biblical, and the story teaches to think of things for which we are thankful instead of things we don’t like. It is a good read-to, or read-along book with a Godly message.

Monday, July 25, 2016

When There Are No Easy Answers by John S. Feinberg

Grief is a difficult subject to read about and an even more subject to experience.  I have read many books that cover this topic, but none covers the experience as well as “When There are No Easy Answers” by John S. Feinberg.

People never know what to say to their friends or family members when a tragic illness or death occurs. In this book, the author covers the usual comments that are not helpful, and why they are not helpful. Often scripture is quoted, but misused. Next, he shared how he moved forward and learned to cope with the challenges ahead of him.  He even tackled the subject of the suffering Christian in the chapter “Grace, Justice, and the Suffering of the Righteous”. The book ends with ten ways the God uses suffering.

This is a deeply personal book in which the author shares his personal thoughts and experiences in an effort to help others.  In my opinion, that reaching out to his readers is what makes this book different from others I have read.  His experience was with the devastating diagnosis of his wife, but the lessons learned are applicable to all types of grief.


I wish that the lessons and  type of compassion in this book were taught in churches and Sunday schools. I highly recommend this book for those suffering tragedies of their own, but also for those who want to react to those around them in a positive, helpful way.

I received a copy of When There Are No Answers by John S. Feinberg from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Being a Captain is Hard Work(A Captain No Beard Story) by Carole P Roman

This is another episode of A Captain No Beard Story with his crew on the Flying Dragon. 
Bright, colorful illustrations help tell this adventure of Captain, Mongo, Polly, Linus, Zach, Cayla, Matie, and, of course, Fribbit. Their trip to Dew Rite Volcano is a rough one and Captain No Beard learned an important lesson. Being a Captain is hard work, and sometimes you need to listen to your crew.  


There is an added bonus in this book at the end.  There is a Cloud Key, which is a list and explanation of different cloud types.  It has good information for little Captains and the crew for their imaginary adventures.

Can a Princess Be a Firefighter? by Carole P. Roman

“Wow, can she?” was my granddaughter’s response. This is a picture book that tells little girls that they can do just about anything when they grow up. In a rhyme, the story lists different occupations and the opportunities for the future that they can explore. I liked that it tells the child that she can do more than one thing and can change her mind. I liked the theme of the book, but it seemed that “mom” was thrown in at the last. Join the circus and model clothes seemed to be more important. I am not a fan of the watercolor illustrations, and the white lettering was difficult to read against the light green background.
Good encouragement for little girls!

Friday, June 24, 2016

If you were me and lived in Renaissance Italy by Carole P. Roman

This is another of Carole P. Roman’s If You Were Me… books that take the reader back in time.  This time we visit Renaissance Italy. The book begins with a brief introduction to the present day Florence and then the emergence from the Middle Ages, poverty and isolation of the people, to the Renaissance era. 

The story tells the life of a wealthy family with servants. It describes their life, work, food, clothing, habits and customs. There are brief bios of twelve famous people of that era. There also an emphasis on the art and artists of the time. This is another great addition to the series.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

If you Were Me and Lived in…Ancient Greece by Carole P. Roman

This is my first introduction into Carole P. Roman’s new series in which she not only takes us around the world, but also back in time.

These is much more information in this  book than her  current day If You Were Me books and are more for older children that will understand the time frame factor. There are also topics that are more appropriate for an older child, as in forms of government, war, prisoners, etc.   I learned quite a bit about ancient Greece from her description of their meals, customs and lifestyle. There are unique topics that will fascinate children and create interest in learning more.

I did not care for the overemphasis on the Greek gods, with polytheism introduced on one page, a paragraph about each one of the gods individually on following pages, and then a two page list and explanation of all of them again.

I think this is a promising new series and something for the older child.


I received a copy of If You Were Me and Lived In...Ancient Greece in exchange for an honest review.
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