Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Whisper on the Wind

    BOOK REVIEW:   Belgium, 1916.   The German Imperial Army may have conquered Belgium on its march through Europe, but it can't crush their spirit. An underground newspaper surfaces to keep patriotism alive and bring hope and real news of the war to the occupied country. It may be a whisper among the shouts of the German army, but it's a thorn in their side nonetheless, and Edward Kirkland will do anything to keep it in print---even risk his life.
    Isa Lassone's family fled Europe at the first rumblings of war. Now, two years later, she sneaks back across enemy lines, determined to rescue Edward---the man she has loved from afar since she was a child. But will he ever see her as more than the wealthy, silly girl his mother once cared for as a daughter?
    When Edward refuses to leave, so does Isa, and soon she is drawn into his dangerous double life. As the Germans close in, Edward realizes he's put more at risk than he'd planned. . . . .especially the beautiful, smart, yet obstinate young woman who has inconveniently managed to work her way into his life---and into his heart.

    MY REVIEW:   Have you ever wondered at the power we give words? Nothing but mere words on paper can keep us up at night, perched on the edge of our chairs, frantically biting nails to see what happens next. Humorously exaggerated picture, yes, but some books are like that---we can't wait to see what's on the next page.
    I wouldn't say this book was quite in that category, but it came close. The story was written well and kept one interested, but something was just a bit off, like it needed an extra stitch of something.
    If I were able to change one thing in this book, I would have Isa gone for closer to five years. Leaving at 16 and arriving at 18 just doesn't seem long enough to "grow up" as much as Isa thinks she has. I think 14 to 18 would be more realistic. But really, there wasn't anything big I could see needing changed, just a few minute details here and there.
    I don't read a lot about the World Wars, I guess because I prefer to read about happier times. I see a book set in those times and automatically look for a different one. But for whatever reason, I read this one. And I'm glad I did.
    I will say, the ending of the book disappointed me a little. So many things are left rather hanging. Oh, nothing serious, but enough to make a person wonder. Did so and so ever meet? Were these people conspiring together? Was this person a spy? Who was the spy? What happened directly afterwards for the main characters? Etc.
    Whisper on the Wind is the second book in Maureen Lang's GREAT WAR SERIES, the first book being Look to the East and the third being Springtime of the Spirit. I haven't read either of the others, but hope to before too long. This book didn't seem to need an accompaniment, but maybe after reading the others I'll change my mind. :)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Jefferson's America

   BOOK REVIEW:   History comes alive in this entertaining account of Thomas Jefferson's unrivaled age of American exploration.   At the dawn of the nineteenth century, as Britain, France, Spain, and the United States all jockeyed for control of the vast expanses west of the Mississippi River, war between any of these four powers was expected at any moment. To preserve America's foothold in the West, Jefferson played a game of strategy---putting into the field the only Americans he could: an eccentric cadre of explorers who finally annexed the land through courageous investigation.
    Jefferson most famously recruited Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, but there were others who did the same work in places where it was even more crucial. William Dunbar, George Hunter, Thomas Freeman, Peter Custis, and the dauntless Zebulon Pike---all were dispatched on urgent missions to map the frontier, and each helped to unite the fast-growing nation.
    Told with great narrative verve, Jefferson's America rediscovers these seminal expeditions and illuminates the president's vision for a continental America.

    MY REVIEW:   While I enjoyed reading this book, it was one of those that never ended. It took me a bit to get into it as well. Finally, around the middle of the book I started remembering what was happening and looking forward to what was ahead. If I hadn't been in a hurry to finish the book I think I would have enjoyed it more.
    I can't imagine what life was like for those explorers---traveling and mapping a land that no other American had ever visited, without the tools and such we have today. It seems a dauntless and difficult task. And yet, for king and country (well, President and country) they faced the unknown and went were no American ever had.
    Some of the adventures these explorers had were quite interesting. Lewis and Clark heard of the great, indomitable grizzly bears, and decided to see one for themselves. They tracked them and searched for them but never saw anything but tracks. Finally after killing a young cub, they were rather unipressed with how easily it succumbed to them. Their disappointment, however, was short lived, and as they encountered full-grown bears that seemed impervious to rifle shots, a healthy fear set in. :)
    Other adventures were William Dunbar and George Hunter as they spent months trying to sail a heavy boat through shallow water; Zebulon Pike marching for days to reach a mountain, but being forced to turn back---such was the infamous Pike's Peak; and of course, the Red River trip, which, while failing its original objective, managed to set a definate western border to the Lousianna Purchase.
    I received a copy of this book from BLOGGING FOR BOOKS per their blogger program, and was not required to write a positive review. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Bread of Angels

  BOOK REVIEW:     Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.
     But before she becomes Lydia, the seller of purple, she is simply a merchant's daughter who loves three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.
     With only her father's secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish a business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances---along with her father's precious dye formula---help her become one of the city's preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the Apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming the first Christian in all of Europe. Still, Lydia can't outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.

  MY REVIEW:     Tessa Afshar is one of my favorite authors. She has written six books with this one, and the three that I have read I have loved. They are all Biblical Fiction. Two are about Rahab and Ruth respectively, but the other four books are on less well-known characters. The last review of hers I posted was Land of Silence, about the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' skirt and was healed by faith. This book was written about Lydia, a seller of purple and a convert of Paul's.
     We don't know a lot about Lydia so the bulk of this story is made up. However, when Paul is introduced, there are several events taking place that can be found in Acts 16. For instance: verse 9 when Paul is called by vision to Macedonia; verses 13-15 when Paul and his companions spoke with the group of women worshiping by the river and Lydia is converted and baptized; verses 16-18 when Paul commanded the spirit leave the possessed damsel; verses 19-25 when her masters rose up against Paul and had him and Silas beaten and imprisoned; verses 26-34 when the earthquake loosed all the chains and the jailer was converted; verses 35-40 when Paul tells the magistrate of his and Silas' being Romans and being freed.
     Tessa portrays Lydia as a woman struggling with past betrayal and fear. She meets Rebekah, a young Jewess, and invites her along to Philippi. Together they build a prosperous business, with the help of several influential friends. However, there is one rival of theirs who is set on destroying them. Lydia is forced to overcome her fear and trust in God.
     This book jumps from Lydia at sixteen losing her father and going to Philippi and struggling to build a business, to twenty years later running a successful business. This is when Paul is introduced. I never thought of Lydia as much older than thirty at the most, but here she is near forty.
     I really enjoyed this book---I wasn't at all disappointed (except for her being older than I thought, of course, but that's a trivial thing, really). I am hoping there are many more books in store from Tessa.

     I received this book from TYNDALE PUBLISHERS per their blogger program and was not required to write a positive or otherwise review. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

There's A Fly in My Tea

     BOOK REVIEW:    Your life can be refreshing---to you and to others!   It's true! Despite your flaws and imperfections, your life can bring sweet comfort, joy and blessing to those around you. Each of us have some "flies"---those unhealthy, unproductive, even gross things-k-that creep into our lives and cause us to lose some of our flavor. But be encouraged. This study will help you discover Biblical Truths which will allow you to live a more flavorful and more satisfying life, like a cold glass of tea on a hot summer day. Ahhhh!
    In There's A Fly in My Tea, we'll take a fresh, vulnerable look at the ways we let those pesky flies of doubt, frustration, fear, and bitterness creep into our lives and spoil our testimony. We'll look at the life of Peter, a man who definitely allowed some flies into his life, and learn how our own lives can be used as a sweet savor to the Lord and those around us.

    MY REVIEW:   This book is based on the life of Peter. It can be for anyone, but is geared for women. The focus is maintaining a godly witness in our lives.
    The first thing I liked about this book was the title. The second was the cover. It's a simple, straightforward example of the unappealingness of a Christian who is not living for Christ. We don't know how quickly others see things that we think are hidden or inconsequential.
    The next thing I liked about the book was all the references used. Each chapter begins by naming the passage from which it is based, and throughout the chapter are many supporting verses.
    At the end of each chapter (there are 11) there are a few questions to be answered. I found that to be very helpful---it makes one think about what they've read and how they align with it.
    A few phrases I especially liked are:

  • My plans fail because the Lord wants me to turn to Him in my time of trouble, not lean on my own strength to get me through. 
  • We are not guaranteed tomorrow----neither is the person God has put in our path to witness to.
  • It is to our benefit to forgive so our relationship with God is not hindered and our joy can be complete. Then we can be the light to this lost world that God desires for us to be. 
  • God wants us to give thanks always and for all things---that includes the difficult times in our life---no matter how big or small. 
    I really enjoyed reading through this book, and found it to be full of things that I needed to hear. It makes a great devotional book, with the passages and questions, but can very easily be read as a chapter book. 

         I received this book from BOOKCRASH per their blogger program, and was not required to write a positive review. 


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Pride and Prejudice

     If asked, I would say that everyone has at least a basic concept of "Pride and Prejudice", either by reading the book, watching the movie, or simply word of mouth. But on second thought, that may not be so. For those of you who have never read/watched/heard about "Pride and Prejudice", I shall do my best to give a simple outline of the characters.
     Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are the parents of five daughters:

  • Jane----the eldest and sweetest of them all, shares an especially close bond with Lizzy, and catches the attention of the young, handsome, and (most importantly) very rich Mr. Bingley. 
  • Elizabeth (Lizzy)----the second daughter, the one of whom the story is based, is her father's favorite daughter and her mother's least. 
  • Mary----the middle and most overlooked daughter, spends her days playing her pianoforte, reading theology, and protesting any delight in parties and the like. 
  • Catherine (Kitty)----the fourth daughter, does everything her younger sister does, and spends her days flirting and dancing.
  • Lydia----the youngest daughter, her mother's favorite, shallow and spoiled, chases after the militia in impulsive, senseless ways.
     I really don't know what else to write without either making a mess of it or going on for pages, and since neither of those seem pleasant options for you or myself, I shall direct you to this site which shall do much a more elegant job than I. 
     I have watched the movie, and upon reading the book, was pleased to see that the two are inseparable. One can mimic the movie and be quoting the book. 
     That being said, thus ends my review.