Friday, August 26, 2011

Review on "It Couldn't Just Happen"

“It couldn’t just happen, knowing the truth about God’s awesome creation” by Lawrence O Richards is a great non-fiction book that you definitely want to get into with your kids. If you want your kids to be versed on a scientific approach to seeing God’s hand on this world and how yes, even science points to the hand of a creator, then I would recommend you buying this book.  The book marries scripture to science in an interesting and fun way for the reader.  After reading about the universe and what it’s made of -planets, stars, quasars, etc.  and their relation to the earth makes Psalm 19 come alive-”The heavens declare the glory of God”.

  This book is broken down into 5 parts- the first part is “Earth in our universe” and the uniqueness of our planet in the scheme of things to section 2 and “How life began” and how there is more scientific evidence that points to creation than against it.  The 3rd section deals with “Evidence from Living Things” and addresses amazing facts about animals that Evolution simply cannot explain.  Section 4 is Humanity in God’s Nature- and debunking the whole Neanderthal people “animal like chain of human evolution” aka cavemen situation.  And finally the last portion called “The Book that just didn’t happen” dealing with the Bible and how it is a “revelation”-“that it tells us things about God we couldn’t discover without God telling us.” (pg 169)  It also links in the science of archeology and how it has shown Bible claims to be true over and over again. 

  This is a great book to go through with your children and will give them a good working base knowledge in helping to know that science can be on God’s side. I also really appreciated how the author always included at the end of the chapters a fun activity to illustrate his point.  It was labeled a “Just for fun section” and it would ask questions to make you think or give you hands on activity like go look at a map to look at how many mountain ranges you could find, etc.   And the best thing of all is that parents, you might even learn a thing or two in the process.

 I was graciously provided a digital copy of this book through the Booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review on Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee!

There are just certain things that apart, truly are great all by themselves, but if you were to combine these two things, you get an end result that is quite remarkable. For example- love peanut butter, love chocolate, together they are amazing. Then there’s Batman and Robin- both very cool crime-fighters in their own right, but put them together and you have the Dynamic Duo. This is of course what you get when you combine fast paced, adrenaline producing, NY times bestselling author Ted Dekker ( Batman- hah!)  and the   breathtakingly passionate  and fearless writing of Tosca Lee and put them together.  The term “Dynamic duo”, doesn’t really do them justice with their combined offering of “Forbidden”.

  Forbidden gives us a futuristic dystopian society where geneticists or “alchemists” in the book have figured out a way to eliminate all emotions in the human race, with the exception of fear, deemed a necessary emotion for survival of the race.  Imagine a society where your only emotion permitted you, is fear, sounds a little dreary, huh?  This is how we find our main character “Rom” as the novel opens.  But very quickly he finds himself in a situation that puts him in trouble with the authorities.  He is chosen to carry something of extreme value by an underground group called “the keepers” which are being hunted down and eliminated to get the very thing that is now in Rom’s possession- and what is it?  Why it’s the key to “life” of course, or at least life as it used to be and was created to be.  Rom now finds himself discovering what it means to be truly alive and realizing that he has a responsibility to wake up the world around him to real life.  That is rather a daunting challenge and you will meet the different characters along the way that help him in that challenge.

I honestly didn’t want to go into too much detail in this review as I really don’t want to rob the reader of the pleasure of discovering this amazing story as it unfolds before you.  Yes, I would agree that Forbidden has the feel of the “Circle series” of Dekker fame, and the lovely prose of Tosca Lee is certainly apparent on the pages. I found it to be truly a fascinating read and loved the storyline and characters because it was passionate, fast- paced, and a story that completely draws you in.  I will say that it’s not for the faint of heart,  some of the scenes are quite graphic with regards to the violence. At one point I was thinking, “EW, why did they choose to do that?” But even with that said, I feel that with these authors, I really trust them, and think it was necessary to show the depth of the struggle.  There is some definite heartbreak in this novel as well, but the allegories are rich for sure and a novel well worth reading.  All I can say is bring on “Mortals”, the next offering in this series, I will be waiting with baited breath. (5 stars)

I  graciously received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher Center Street through the Netgalley program in exchange for an honest review.  I was not obligated to write a positive review.   All opinions expressed are my own.

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Winner of To Die For...

The Winner of To die For is.....

Beth  bharbin07(at)  Beth's name was picked using a random name picker.  Thanks everyone for playing and joining in the fun.  I wish I had a copy of this book to give to all of you, it's that good.  Blessings and happy reading! - Cheryl

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"To Die For" Giveaway!

Ok Friends this is Sandra Byrd's latest novel and it was very well done.  If you are an avid reader of "Tudor Times" or not, I think you will enjoy this wonderful historical fiction novel by Sandra Byrd following Ann Boleyn's life from the perspective of her best friend Meg.  Here's what you have to do:

1.  Leave a comment answering this question- what other time period besides the present, would you like to live in? (1 entry)

2.  Become a follower of my blog and leave a comment that you did. (please leave email address) (additional entry)

The winner for this contest will be chosen next Tuesday - August 23rd.

Thanks for playing and happy reading!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Review on The Healing

Well here’s the thing, there are times when I have favorites at a certain restaurant- you know like every time I head down to that one place down by the water I have to get the Chocolate Peanut Butter milkshake (that is to die for) because it’s delicious and it’s my favorite, so I know exactly what I am going to get. It can be a good thing to know exactly what you are going to get ahead of time if that’s exactly what you want or it can be a little bit repetitive depending on your take of what you are consuming. I’ll let you decide for yourself.

“The Healing” by Wanda Brunstetter opens with Samuel Fischer, a young Amish father burying his beloved wife Elsie after she suffered an accident falling down her stairs.  She also took with her their unborn child.  So you can imagine the grief that Samuel and his four young children are dealing with.  In that grief Samuel up and moves his kids to Pembroke Kentucky with the hopes that it will be easier on Samuel to manage his grief as he won’t be thinking of Elsie every minute of every day. He is a truly saddened man and finding it very difficult to take care of his children while simultaneously trying to start his life over.  With his brother Titus living in Kentucky, he makes the break and moves himself and 4 young children into his home in Pembroke so he can have some help with his “kinners”.

  This story is all about Samuel’s “healing” as the title alludes to.  He is able to find work from a young woman who has just moved to Kentucky herself as she is refurbishing an old home that belonged to her recently deceased Grandmother into a B&B. Samuel is helping with the painting and renovations.  His 4 young children are being watched during the day by Esther Beiler, a young unmarried Amish woman that is just as sweet as can be and the children quickly fall for her kind ways as well as excellent cooking skills.  Esther quickly falls for Samuel, but with Samuel still enveloped in his massive grief, it takes a while for him to come around.  He is able to throw himself into his work, but is sadly lacking with all of his relationships around him, children, etc.

On the whole I would say that I enjoyed this story.  Honestly, it felt very similar to the first novel in this series-, The Journey, so it was starting to feel a little “formula writing” to me.  Boy moves to Kentucky- doesn’t notice girl at first at all as he is still getting over previous girl, starts to come around, crisis happens and he pulls back and then comes around and happy ending.  So if you don’t mind that both stories are rather similar then you will enjoy this book just as much as the first one.  For me it was just a bit repetitive, that’s all. 

  That being said, it was a sweet Amish love story, good scriptural truths and charming Amish characters.  If you are a fan of Wanda Brunstetter’s Amish fiction series, I think you will enjoy this book. 3 Stars.
A digital copy of The Healing was provided for me from the Publisher through the Netgalley program.   This was in exchange for a an honest review.  All opinions expressed were my own.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Review on To Die For

 “Hank the V-I-I-I put poor Katie by and married young Ann Boleyn who tried to please but she soon went wrong by singing her song all out of key, it was his masterpiece”. Well, these are the lyrics to a ditty that kept humming through my head from my Jr. High concert in 8th grade as I read this story about the ill-fated 2nd wife of King Henry the VIII.  Admittedly the lyrics from this song were a bit on the corny side, with some “ hey nonny, nonny” type lines thrown in for good measure, but I assure you nothing about this book “To Die For” by Sandra Byrd was corny, but beautifully written from a new point of view.  That would be from the point of view of Anne’s long time best friend, Meg Wyatt, as she is by Anne’s side while they are teens with crushes on boys all the way to the royal court and becoming her wardrobe mistress, watching Anne become a queen and staying loyally by her side until her unfortunate death. 

  This story was beautifully woven together with wonderful intricacy in keeping the historical life of Anne Boleyn intact, while adding the wonderful fictional elements of the girl’s friendship as well.  The English Reformation element to the novel were very well done and interesting to read as Sandra Byrd’s comments about the strength of Henry and how “God often uses the strongest beast, not the gentlest to plow the hardest fields” and “how “what might have been intended for selfishness or evil and certainly did cause pain to those involved, eventually yielded a harvest of goodness.”  These comments were taken from the Authors Q&A found at the back of the book and so very well said.  I highly recommend the reader takes the time to read that section- so informative and interesting to read.  One can shake their head at Henry and his utter selfishness, or see that good was accomplished in the middle of all the pain that transpired.

The character of Meg Wyatt is one to be admired for sure in her dedication to Anne Boleyn as a true and faithful friend.  That’s not to say that she is not without her challenges and wrong turns here and there.  Her life is not an easy one with an abusive father, a vindictive brother and at the outset of the novel finds out that the man she loves has chosen the route of becoming a priest.  But even in the midst of all of her trials, she becomes a character that you are rooting for and one who is selfless until the very end, a tried and true friend.  Since the story is told from Meg’s point of view, you really are hoping that all will be well for her in the end which makes the story so enchanting, because you obviously know what Anne’s fate will be, but with Meg being the heroine of the story it gives the tale a newness and intelligence that I fell in love with.

  If you are a fan of “Tudor England” I have no doubt that you will truly enjoy this book.  It was very well told and an engaging story that historical buff or not, I sincerely believe all would appreciate the writing, characters, and fascinating storyline presented in To Die For.  Sandra Byrd has written many great YA fiction books that my daughters have thoroughly enjoyed in the past.  It is a wonderful thing that we can now all share Sandra Byrd as an author whose work, we all have read and loved. 5 stars.

I graciously received a free copy of this book for review purposes from the publishing company. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Review on A Marriage Carol

's review
Aug 02, 11 · edit

5 of 5 stars
Read from July 25 to 26, 2011

What happens when you combine the brilliant minds of Charles Dickens, Gary Chapman of “The Five Love Languages” fame, and 2 time Christy award winning author Chris Fabry? Why, you get the novel “A Marriage Carol, of course. The book opens this way- “I know what you will say. You married the wrong person. I know because it is what I said”. I’m sure that this is a common sentiment across the world in many marriages today. Somehow, Gary Chapman and Chris Fabry bring this sentiment to light and explore the possibilities of hope even in dire looking circumstances in a wonderful Christmas novella whose story unravels like a kitten batting at a ball of yarn.

David and Marlee Ebenezer (the nice Dickens’s nod there) are literally in the car driving to meet their divorce lawyer to sign on the dotted line on Christmas Eve, which also happens to be their anniversary- a little irony there in that they were choosing to end their journey together as husband and wife on the very day that they started it 20 years previously, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Unfortunately, there is an accident and suddenly Jacob is nowhere to be found and Marlee finds her way to a special house owned by an old man, where very interesting things start to happen. There is no ghost of Christmas past, present or future, but the same idea is written into the story- I’ll let you discover it for yourself. Marlee goes on quite a journey and faces the things she needs to face in herself that have gotten a bit off in her 20 year old marriage. During the course of this journey she learns many things, particularly about choices made, they either lead your heart towards your husband or away. But like in Dickens’s Christmas Carol with Ebenezer Scrooge, perhaps it’s not too late for Marlee and Jacob.

I have to say that I am a big fan of the work of Dickens, Chapman and Fabry, so I pretty much thought this would be a treat to read and it definitely was. But even more than being a great Christmas fictional read, this is a wonderful book to give to any married couple because after reading the story, you can’t help but ask yourself- “Am I making choices that are helping my marriage or hindering it?” I love it when fiction has the power to reach in and actually achieve positive outcomes in your own life. I also think that the author’s did a nice job of weaving great marriage principles into the story without it hitting you over the head with them, the story kept me reading and hoping for this couple that all would be well and offered hope and a glimpse at what unconditional love looks like. I will definitely be picking up a few of these books for Christmas for the married loved ones in my life. 5 stars.

I was graciously given a digital copy of this book through the netgalley program by Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own

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