Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Song book review

The Song

This is a novel based on the film by Richard Ramsey. Complete with photos from the film, this large paperback book puts on paper the heart-changing story of The Song. 
The SongI have not yet viewed the film, so remember that this review is focusing on the content and quality of the book alone. Before reading this fictional book, I watched the movie trailer. I knew I was in for a hard read. A heart-changing experience. But I went for it and could not put the book down! I read it in one afternoon and upon closing the book, wept. I cried for all the sins mankind is capable of. I cried because as I read the book I felt the emotions, I understood the anger and frustration and temptations. Most of all I marvelled at the healing, at God's mercy. Indeed, His mercies are new every morning! 
   This film and consequently the book are about a young man who is confident that he will not fall into the sins of his father who yielded to temptations and lived with the regret for the rest of his life. Aren't we all so confident, before we actually have to face sin? 
This young man, Jedidiah King desires to follow in his father's legacy of musical talent. Seemingly overnight and definitely aided by his passionate love for Rose, Jed becomes famous. And ironically, the very song that Jed wrote inspired by his whole-hearted love for his bride and which makes him famous, begins to hinder their marriage as the musical career takes precedence in Jed's mind. 
Watch as Jed and Rose's family grows while Jed's musical life flourishes as well. Follow Jed as he encounters and eventually gives into more and more temptation. Feel the heartache and tragedy as Rose and Jed feel their marriage crumbling. 
This is by all means not my favourite topic of film or book, however I think it is crucial for couples to face the possible facts. Marriage is not without its problems. Mankind is not sinless. I think it important for all couples to talk about these things and pray together constantly that their marriage would stay pure. I appreciated how the book made the point that Rose was not entirely without fault herself. In allowing her motherhood to take over her life, she was not always the Rose Jed married. She let herself become consumed with being a good mommy and neglected being a doting wife. 
However, the majority of sin in this book/film is about Jed and it is a hard journey he travels. See what God can do in people's this book/watch the film!

  Before I close, I will add a few personal remarks. I don't love the literary quality of this book. It is like most books inspired by films- not incredibly well-written. That said, it is definitely an easy read which perhaps is good for husbands who are not accustomed to soaking up classics from the 1700s!
Secondly, this book is for adults! Do not let your children read this book or see the movie. I don't know how discreet the movie is since I have never seen it, but the book insinuates a lot. 
Thirdly. I think the author didn't do an exceptional job portraying the joy of God's forgiveness in the book. As I know, movies are very visual and emotional so I'm sure it is presented beautifully in there. But in the book, I think the author did a better job with the tragic moments than the joyful moment of forgiveness at the end. Also, I am slightly confused about when Jed King was saved. I wish the creator of this masterpiece had made the redemption more obvious. The release from the power of sin was evident, but not so much the moment of salvation. 

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Jed King's life has been shaped by the songs and mistakes of his famous father. He wants to sing his own song, but the words and melody are elusive. Haunted by the scars inflicted by his broken family, Jed's dreams of a successful music career seem out of reach . . . until he meets Rose.As romance quickly blooms, Jed pens a new song and suddenly finds himself catapulted into stardom. But with this life of fame comes temptation, the same temptation that lured his father so many years ago.Set in the fertile mid-South, this quest for success leads Jed and Rose on a journey that will force them to deal with the pain of loss, failure, and the desire to be who God created them to be.Lyrical and deeply honest, "The Song" asks the hard questions of love and forgiveness. When even the wisest of men are fools in love, can true love persevere?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The NKJV Note-taker's Bible from Zondervan

The NKJV Note-taker's Bible
Hardcover, published by Zondervan 2014

This hardback Bible is the result of a wonderful idea. 
Presenting plenty of margin space for notes, this Bible is the answer to your note-taking dreams. With the complete original text of the much-loved and accepted New King James version of the Bible, this version from Zondervan doesn't minimize on the importance of the accurate Bible text in order to provide the extra wide margins. Instead, it is the trusted NKJ translation, in a new format! 
The clean white pages with the double column text and space for notes are exciting. I know this Bible will please note-takers. Whether you write in pencil or pen, notes are a wonderful way of chronicling what God has been showing you through His word. 
 I love the fact that this beautiful version is hardback, which will ensure it's maximum quality over years of use. I don't think the dust jacket is a very good idea as it will soon show damage from being used. Nevertheless, this Bible is excellent and will make the perfect gift for anyone young or old! I can imagine that it will not only please diligent note-takers but also inspire more timid Bible readers to perhaps start writing down key points and lessons in the wide blank margins. 
Note: there is also a genuine leather version of this Bible for sale!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my review.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Furry Logic, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Guide to Life's Little Challenges by Jane Seabrook

Furry Logic, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Guide to Life's Little Challenges

Furry Logic, 10th Anniversary Edition

A Guide to Life's Little Challenges

  I had no idea what to expect of this little book when I requested it. For all I knew, it could be entirely filled with drawings of cats. I am no enemy of cats, but books filled primarily with cats and nice quotes aren't my thing. 
 Imagine my delight then, when I opened this darling little smoothly-bound  book and the sweetest little chipmunk greeted me! I was smitten by the adorable drawings which filled this book. This artist must be a kindred spirit because she chose all of my favourite little critters to grace the pages of this inspirational hardback! From owls to irresistible meerkats, wacky great king cranes to chubby woodchucks, this little book of art is one of the best of its kind I've ever seen! Because my family is populated by talented artists, I can be rather critical in my art tastes. But Jane Seabrook's work totally amazes and pleases me. Her creations have wonderful detail and best of all, unique expression! Every animal depicted in this book is fun to look at. The quotes are humorous and well-chosen. This will make a great gift for anyone, young or old! It's a coffee-table style book, in  a small format! Sure to be a fun conversation starter too. 
My only complaint is that the author-illustrator didn't include my favorite animal, the red panda, in this charming book. May I suggest it for your next book, Jane? 

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my hones review.

The adorable and high-profile Furry Logic series celebrates its 10th anniversary with a menagerie of illustrated animals and hilarious sayings about life, love, and everything in between. 

No one understands the ups and downs of life's little challenges better than the frisky critters of Furry Logic. The inspirational and tongue-in-cheek advice from series creator Jane Seabrook and her plucky animal characters will tickle the fancy and the funnybone of readers everywhere. Each intricately illustrated spread features a member of the animal kingdom with a unique take on life, from the adorably grumpy owl who advises "Smile first thing in the morning. Get it over with" to the fluffy hawk who admonishes, "If at first you do succeed, try not to look too astonished." So join the original flock of penguins, bears, frogs, and more in celebrating a decade of wit and wisdom with ten new illustrated spreads for fans looking for fresh inspiration

Church Behind the Wire: A Story of Faith in the Killing Fields by Barnabas Mam

Church Behind the Wire: A Story of Faith in the Killing Fields
Church Behind the Wire: A Story of Faith in the Killing Fields by Barnabas Mam with Kitty Murray

  One cannot survive the genocide of one's own people and not know something is terribly wrong with all of humanity. Barnabas Mam ''Church Behind the Wire pg. 28

  One cannot read this book and be unchanged. Although I have read dozens of books about wars, massacres and genocides, every one I read affects me as if it were the first time I realized how sinful man's heart is. This book is another testimony to God's faithfulness through times where sin is especially rampant. Chapter after chapter, I was overwhelmed by the struggles the author and fellow Cambodians experienced under the terror of the Communist Khmer Rouge regime. Most of all, I was amazed by the faith God granted his people during this horrible time. Although it sounds contradictory, considering what a hard topic this book covered, I loved reading this book. 
  To critique the way the book was presented: I assure you it is not overly graphic. I find that survivors of genocides and such are more discreet in their explanations and descriptions than other authors who have never experienced the heartache. Still, the stories are enough to bring tears. 
   Secondly, I found the format a little confusing since Barnabas Mam goes back and forth in his biography instead of just telling it from ''A-Z''. However, if you pay close attention you will not get lost as I did at one portion. 
   Thirdly, there is a lot of political history in this book which may get tedious for those who, like me, don't know much at all about Asia during those tumultuous years. I encourage you to be patient and read through those portions; you will not be disappointed!

I close with some quotes from the book: 
No political liberator, no cultural Messiah, no social savior can rescue us from the jungle we all live in. 

It is human nature to think we must have deliverance from something, when usually our souls truly need deliverance in that something (author is thinking of situations such as the genocide he lived through). page 30

...context for the believer has another dimension. Christians stand with one foot in this world and one foot in another. And that other world is our real home. Sometimes the contrast between these two worlds is especially jarring. This world is full of hate and revenge and insecurity. That other world is full of love and redemption and stability. This world hurts us. That world saves us. This world makes no sense. That world gives us perspective. But one is no less real than the other.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

More about the book: 
From the oppression and terror of the killing fields in Cambodia, this is the story of how one man's conversion led to a rebirth of faith that brought hope to a nation. Commissioned by Communists to spy on a Christian evangelistic crusade, Barnabas Mam instead discovered Jesus and came to faith in Him. After spending four years in prison camps at the hands of the Khmer Rouge Barnabas emerged as one of only 200 surviving Christians in all of Cambodia. God raised him up to became the foremost evangelist and church planter in a land broken by genocide. An inspiring story on a personal, church, and national level, this is more than a narrative--it's a blueprint for success for church growth of the most powerful kind.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bitesize Biographies: Samuel Rutherford by Richard M. Hannula

Samuel Rutherford by Richard M. Hannula

   In this concise biography about Samuel Rutherford, author Richard Hannula has done a wonderful job of summarizing the life and works of this great Scottish preacher of the 1600s. Richard Hannula has a rich background of studies  to his name as well as two other literary works. He now serves as principal at the Covenant High School in Washington. Writing a biography on Samuel Rutherford is no easy task; a 'bite-size' one even less of an easy endeavour! But, as one reads this book one gains a great amount of insight for such a small volume into the life and works of this great Presbyterian preacher. The author covers, in an understandable way, the personal history of Rutherford as well as the history of Rutherford's contemporary world. To my pleasure, this book also contains a good deal of Rutherford's theology and quotes. Although I cannot agree with Samuel Rutherford's theology in its entirety, I learned so much from the majority of his quotes in the book. I share a few...

   ''Believe Christ's love more than your own feelings...your Rock does not ebb and flow, though your sea does.......Your heart is not the compass that Christ sails by....
...Woe unto us for these sad divisions that make us lose the fair scent of the Rose of Sharon!

 I love how Samuel Rutherford relied so much on Christ's love! He was all about the love of His Saviour...that is what kept him alive! We need to read more from authors such as he.

   ''His relationship with Christ sustained him: 'My Lord Jesus has fully recompensed my sadness with His joys, my losses with His own presence. I find it a sweet and rich thing to exchange my sorrows with Christ's joys, my afflictions for that sweet peace I have with Him.'''

  As the author pointed out in this small biography, Rutherford was not perfect. He struggled with bluntness for one thing, which is a common thing when one has so much knowledge and experience and those around are blindly heading the wrong way. But he was also incredibly humble and broken over his own sin.

   ''Contempt of the communion of saints hides us from on another an d Christ from us all....
...When the head is filled with topics, and none of the flamings of Christ's love in the heart, how dry are all disputes? Far too often, fervour of dispute in the head weakens love in the heart...''

This biography is the perfect introduction to the life and times of Samuel Rutherford. It is neither prolix or too simple; which enables it to appeal to both history and theology buffs as well as those who know nothing about the Reformation!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

More about Samuel Rutherford;

Samuel Rutherford was 36 years old when he was exiled to Aberdeen, feeling that he was ‘an outcast and withered tree.’ He had served the little church at Anwoth in Galloway faithfully, but in those August days of 1636 he seems to have felt for a while that his useful service was over.
Little could he have known that his exile would end in less than two years when Scotland rose up to resist the king’s domination of the church. He could hardly have imagined that he would serve a key role in reasserting biblical doctrine, worship and government to the Scottish church. He would also play an important part in the Westminster Assembly, defining Christian doctrine for much of the English-speaking world for centuries to come, and nearly two dozen influential books would flow from his pen, winning the admiration of the Reformed churches of Britain and the Continent. He would even have the most prestigious universities in the Netherlands and Scotland clamor to have him fill their chairs of divinity, and as a professor of theology, he would mold the minds of a generation of Scottish pastors and theologians.
Alexander Whyte wrote, “No man of his age in broad Scotland stood higher as a scholar, a theologian, a controversialist, a preacher and a very saint than Samuel Rutherford.”
Nor could Rutherford have envisioned in his wildest dreams that a collection of letters that he sent to friends from his exile in Aberdeen would rank among the most beloved Christian classics, a timeless source of spiritual inspiration to millions of readers.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Battle Against Hitler by Dietrich von Hildebrand

9780385347518My Battle Against Hitler by Dietrich von Hildebrand

What makes a man Hitler's biggest enemy? We Christians of today would learn much if we observed the methods of Dietrich Von Hildebrand. This philosopher and theologian knew that to combat an evil belief system, one must destroy the very roots of that system.  With wisdom and fervour, Hildebrand attacked the basis of the Nazi beliefs. 
   This book is divided into two sections. Personally, I found the first a little philosophical for me who doesn't entirely agree with Hildebrand's Catholic faith. The second half is more understandable and applicable. Applicable? you may query. Yes, because our culture today finds itself in a much similar anti-faith situation as pre-World War 2 Germany! Hitler was not only anti-Semetic. He was anti-Christianity as well. He was in league with Satan and blatantly promoted Satanic practices. 
I am passionate about studying history, especially through the eyes of faith, and I appreciated yet another book on this important topic. Although I didn't agree with Hildebrand's Catholic faith, there was much in this book to learn from. Anyone interested in World War 2 history and such will benefit from this autobiography.

From the publisher's site....
His story might well have been lost to us were it not for this memoir he penned in the last decades of his life at the request of his wife, Alice von Hildebrand. In My Battle Against Hitler, covering the years from 1921 to 1938, von Hildebrand tells of the scorn and ridicule he endured for sounding the alarm when many still viewed Hitler as a positive and inevitable force. He expresses the sorrow of having to leave behind his home, friends, and family in Germany to conduct his fight against the Nazis from Austria. He recounts how he defiantly challenged Nazism in the public square, prompting the German ambassador in Vienna to describe him to Hitler as "the architect of the intellectual resistance in Austria." And in the midst of all the danger he faced, he conveys his unwavering trust in God, even during his harrowing escape from Vienna and his desperate flight across Europe, with the Nazis always just one step behind.

Dietrich von Hildebrand belongs to the very earliest anti-Nazi resistance. His public statements led the Nazis to blacklist him already in 1921, long before the horrors of the Third Reich and more than twenty-three years before the famous assassination attempt on Hitler in July 1944. His battle would culminate in the countless articles he published in Vienna, a selection of which are featured in this volume.

"It is an immense privilege," writes editor John Henry Crosby, founder of the Hildebrand Project, "to present to the world the shining witness of one man who risked everything to follow his conscience and stand in defiance of tyranny."

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Daring Heart of David Livingstone book review

   Missionary? Explorer? Scientist?
David Livingstone has been attributed each of these titles. Which most embodies the worth of his life?
   This in-depth biography of David Livingstone's life and adventures will help you understand what the famous Englishman should really be entitled. From the depth and detail of this biography, the reader can safely assume that author Jay Milbrandt has taken great pains to study in depth the life of Mr. Livingstone. The book is well-written: full of details yet not prolix; in depth, but not overwhelming. As you read this book, you will gain an excellent understanding of the life (and death) of David Livingstone. Travel with this great explorer through the wilds of Africa and experience the hardships and strain of that land in that slave trade-torn era. The author reveals the full character of Livingstone, including his faults and weaknesses. But what shines out most of all is this man's undying faith in his Lord, Jesus Christ! Read this book and be touched.
   I am passionate about studying history, and I love reading biographies. Therefore, this book was an easy read for me! However, although it isn't necessarily prolix it is so in-depth that some reader may find this a more difficult read. Especially so if you are not familiar with the characters in the book or the places in 19th-century Africa!
Once you finish this book, you will know whether or not this man is best described as: Missionary, Scientist or Explorer!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

About the Author
Jay Milbrandt is a professor at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is a Senior Fellow in Global Justice with the Nootbaar Institute at Pepperdine University School of Law where he formerly directed the Global Justice Program. He travels throughout the world as a human rights lawyer, manages global initiatives in Africa and Southeast Asia, and consults with organizations engaged in human rights and legal development efforts.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Robertson Family Christmas book review

A Robertson Family ChristmasA Robertson Family Christmas
by Kay Robertson (Author), Travis Thrasher (Contributor)

When I requested this book, it was mostly out of curiosity. I had heard much about the famous Robertson family and was rather intrigued by their unusual personalities. I had also heard much about their stand for Christian faith, and admired them for that. 
I requested this book in the hopes of learning a bit more about the Roberstons and their Duck Dynasty! 
  I thought the way Miss Kay Robertson went about writing this look into a Christmas with the Robertson clan unique and humble. I'm sure the Robertsons received a lot of pressure from enthusiastic fans to write about their family life and traditions. Instead of just telling it as a member of the family, Miss Kay took the perspective of a troubled teen, making this short work of fiction a very uplifting and interesting book. The reader not only takes away with him or her a better understanding of a ''Robertson Family Christmas'', but is also touched because of the relatable story featured, the story of one typical young man coming from a torn-apart family who gets to experience first-hand what the love and joy of a Christian family looks and feels like!
Follow along as Hunter Clarke gets nominated against his will to join the Robertson family for the Christmas week! Will their love and Christian values finally break through Hunter's recalcitrant heart? Will he wake up out of his soul stupor or will he continue blaming those around him for his less than joyful family situation? 
Read this little book to find out! And be blessed as you glimpse a little of the joy the Robertson family shares on Christmas. 
As for me, you'll never guess what I did as soon as I completed the book! I visited, for the first time, the Robertson family's website.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

I Have Seen God: The miraculous story of the Diospi Suyana Hospital in Peru book review

I Have Seen God: The miraculous story of the Diospi Suyana Hospital in Peru by Klaus-Dieter John

(originally published in German as" Ich habe Gott gesehen ")

   ''What He wants done, will be done. There are no limits to His divine power. It is our responsibility to persist in prayer, to trust Him, and to thank Him from the bottom of our hearts.'' -page 236

   This is the story of a miracle: a 20+ million dollar miracle. When God gave Klaus-Dieter John and his wife the mission and direction to create a beautiful mission hospital in Peru, it looked to be an impossibility. To man, that is. But, as the Johns will be the first to testify, nothing is impossible with God. When one's plans correspond with God's will, they will happen.
  Follow the Drs. Klaus-Deiter and his wife Trina's journey all the way from their homeland of Germany to Peru, and be amazed as you see God's mighty hand through the years of toil and perseverance!
As the author said so powerfully in a chapter of the book:

   ''What He wants done, will be done. There are no limits to His divine power. It is our responsibility to persist in prayer, to trust Him, and to thank Him from the bottom of our hearts.'' -page 236

   As I read this book, I was moved and amazed by how God worked in people's hearts to accomplish the means, monetarily and otherwise to complete this massive project! This book is 269 pages long, and quite an enjoyable read. It is, in a way an autobiography yet not once does the author doesn't give the impression of boasting in his own strength. The whole book is the story of God's power and faithfulness. I was so blessed to read this book, and will continue to keep up to date on the work at Diospi Suyana hospital!

I was given a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Heretic- a historical fiction novel by Henry Vyner-Brooks

The Heretic by Henry Vyner-Brooks

This novel by Henry Vyner Brooks is an amazing read! Become engrossed in the story of the lives of the characters in this historical novel as you follow their joys and sorrows chapter after chapter. 
   The Heretic is set in the time of the Reformation: 1536. Henry VIII is king of England and changes are sweeping over the land. This book begins through the eyes of a man called Pacificus, a monk with a mysterious past which he is trying to forget through peaceful and faithful service to God. To Pacificus' dismay, new laws are being enacted, causing monasteries to be deserted and literally endangering his peaceful existence. Strangely enough, Pacificus becomes intensely entangled in the plight of an Anabaptist family who are condemned to death! Follow as the story unfolds, and the characters become involved in a whirlwind of plot, intrigue and adventure! Most importantly, follow the spiritual life of Pacificus as he realizes he cannot rely on His weak Roman Catholic traditions to save his soul.

   When I began this book I was, to be honest, disappointed to see that it is written in first-person tense. I have never done well with that style of writing. However, I could tell that the storyline in this chunky paperback was a real gem, so I enthusiastically read on. From my experience, this is a book the reader must be devoted to, if they want to gain a solid understanding of all the characters and plots in this exciting novel. I had trouble understanding the plots, but upon re-reading the book (yes! a second time!), am understanding everything better. The first two parts of the book are slow, and then suddenly the book picks up pace and the reader can't stop devouring the complex tale! It's an amazing read, especially past page 300. Humorously, it took me almost a month to read the first half of the book, but then I read pages 300-600 in one afternoon! I was left astounded at the epic-ness of this book. 
   As for the faith aspect, that was beautifully woven throughout the book. There were a couple moments where I was actually brought to tears, specifically at the moments of conversion. This author deals with salvation in an accurate and honourable fashion. Thank you! It was beautiful and God-glorifying. 
   Concerning historical facts, this book is based on historical accounts. The main characters are fictional, but so authentic as to please the most critical historian. I was pleased that the author kept to rules of the times; he didn't allow any of the romances in the story to go as far as kissing or anything because in the 1500s Christians had a good amount of dignity. I am not a historical critic, but I have studied quite a bit about this time period and nothing major bothered me. Conservatively, there are portions that do disturb me. The author took the liberty to let some of the characters use language in some portions (the regular words such as ''damn''), and there were some crude details which I didn't appreciate. Also, if you are conservative, one of the characters was a prostitute and therefore I would think twice before handing this book to a younger reader. Also, some portions are violent and graphic for children.
   Nevertheless, as an adult I was able to ignore those portions and words I didn't approve of, and engross myself in the swashbuckling, faith-filled tale!
Needless to say, I am eagerly following this author and hoping he continues with his writing career!

I was presented a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review! All thoughts are my own.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Choosing Gratitude...a book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

It's easy to be thankful on Thanksgiving, but do you carry a heart of gratitude throughout the year? I found this book to be heart-changing- read it and see for yourself!

   CHOOSING GRATITUDE by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to JoyIs the gratitude that flows out of your life as abundant as the grace that flows into your life?

  You may think of yourself as a pretty grateful person, I know I did. I am one of the most thankful people for all the blessings the Lord heaps upon me! But what about the hard times? What about the lessons and trials of life which are sent by God?
As I force myself to realize, being grateful for God's work in your life a year after, is not true gratitude. Imagine how different your life would be if you maintained an attitude of thanksgiving?

As the author emphasizes, ''gratitude is a lifestyle.''
''The grateful heart that springs forth in joy is not acquired in a moment; it is the fruit of a thousand choices.''

''True gratitude is not an incidental ingredient. Nor is it a stand-alone product, something that never actually intersects with life, safely denying reality out on its own little happy island somewhere'' (pg.23)

Without living with a true heart of thankfulness...
''Gradually, subtly, we become desensitized as layers of entitlement and resentment wrap themselves around our hearts until thankfulness is all but gone from our lives and lips.''
Oh, how I agree! I have felt this too often in my life. This holds true even day by day. As soon as we let go and retreat into our natural way of feeling sorry for ourselves, it becomes like a trap.
The author tells the story of a church leader from India, when asked honest opinion of Americans. He responded carefully ''You have no idea how much you have, and yet you always complain.''
Isn't that (sadly) the case?
What are we going to do about it?

''Where does gratitude rank on your list of Christian virtues?''
 Nancy explains that faith without gratitude results in a heartless practice of religion. Christian love without gratitude culminates in disappointment and disillusionment. Sacrificial giving of self without gratitude will drain you of joy.

   I can't describe what a blessing this book was to me. Nancy gently but firmly encourages the reader to examine his or her heart and to work on changing personal attitudes.
It's not simply a matter of applying a Pollyanna-like attitude to life. It's about how you view God's hand in your life. And about how you view yourself in comparison to God's perfection and holiness! We should be overwhelmed by all that He has given us! I quote loosely from the movie Courageous: ''The question is- are you going to be thankful for the nine years you had Emily, or resentful for the years you didn't have?'

 Nine chapters of wisdom. Plus a thirty-day devotional. I recommend this book with all my heart!

Friday, November 14, 2014

In Her Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World book review

In Her Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World
In Her Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World by Gabriele Galimberti

   This is a touching and beautiful tribute to grandmothers! Photographer Gabriele Galimberti has traveled the world, interviewing women who have served their families in the home for decades. Each and every woman has cheerfully sacrificed hours of their lives to make their husbands, children, grandchildren and neighbours feel comfortable and loved and I think it is wonderful that this photographer embarked on this interesting project.
Read short biographies from beloved matriarchs and try making the recipes which they are known for! This book is quite varied; the author includes countries from South America, Africa, North America, Asia and Europe. Dishes go from easy to prepare and palatable to even including a recipe for roasted Iguana! This book is a delight to look through. I love the feeling one gets as one reads this book that we are all one blood! Looking at these grandmothers, I see the same expression in each one: love. commitment. joy.
This is truly a special keepsake book. I read it in one sitting!
The recipes are not impossible to re-create. (apart from the roasted iguana, that is. And the pot of caterpillars!) There are many tasty stews, dips and desserts.
I did not get the impression that the book was well organized, but there is a good index at the back which should be fine for finding recipes.
The recipes all seem very traditional. I would definitely say that this book has more value as a photographic/autobiographic work than a cookbook because although there are many great recipes, and many of the grandmothers whose recipes are featured just happen to be professional chefs, the author just speaks from experience as a eater. I was disappointed that many of the recipes were too basic for my liking. Very traditional...which is not a bad thing! Again, this book is to be treasured mainly for the photographs and short biographic sketches about each beloved grandmother!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

In a gorgeous keepsake volume based on the slideshow that captured the world’s attention, Gabriele Galimberti’s beautiful portraits of grandmothers from all over the world with their signature dishes stunningly illustrates the international language of food and family.
On the eve of a photography trip around the world, Gabriele Galimberti sat down to dinner with his grandmother Marisa. As she had done so many times before, she prepared his favorite ravioli—a gesture of love and an expression of the traditions by which he had come to know her as a child. The care with which she prepared this meal, and the evident pride she took in her dish, led Gabriele to seek out grandmothers and their signature dishes in the sixty countries he visited. The kitchens he photographed illustrate both the diversity of world cuisine and the universal nature of a dish served up with generosity and love. At each woman’s table, Gabriele became a curious and hungry grandson, exploring new ingredients and gathering stories. These vibrant and intimate profiles and photographs pay homage to grandmothers and their cooking everywhere. From a Swedish housewife and her homemade lox and vegetables to a Zambian villager and her Roasted Spiced Chicken, this collection features a global palate: included are hand-stuffed empanadas from Argentina, twice-fried pork and vegetables from China, slow-roasted ratatouille from France, and a decadent toffee trifle from the United States. Taken together or bite by bite, In Her Kitchen taps into our collective affection for these cherished family members and the ways they return that affection.

In Her Kitchen is an evocative, loving portrait of the power of food and family, no matter where in the world you sit down for dinner.

Where Treetops Glisten by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putnam and Sarah Sundin....a book review

Where Treetops GlistenWhere Treetops GlistenThree Stories of Heartwarming Courage and Christmas Romance During World War II
by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putnam and Sarah Sundin

The wonder of Christmas comes alive in this collection of stories written by three of the most gifted Christian romance fiction authors of the contemporary writing sphere! Each author writes a story in this chunky paperback. Instead of simply three independent tales, however, the stories are a part of each other since each is about a different member of the Turner family, who you meet in the beginning of the book.
  In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, one of the Turners, Abigail is a busy college student and employee at a local candy shop on the home front. Her heart has been somewhat hardened by the loss of a beau in action. Will anyone be able to get beyond the protective wall she has built around her heart?
Sarah Sundin's contribution is I’ll Be Home for Christmas, about Pete Turner, a fighter pilot back home after experiencing action in Europe. A whole story unfolds after he makes friends with an adorable little girl in a toy shop! 
In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Meredith Turner is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. See how God uses unusual means to heal her broken heart.

  Each story is a healthy Christian romance which reveals God's sovereignty over everything in life.

As for my personal opinion, I am not a fan of books primarily about romance. I love good romance in a story. I do love historical fiction. I have enjoyed a book by Sarah Sundin before, as well as one by Tricia Goyer. I always appreciate how Christian romances reveal God's sovereign hand in our lives. I have found that these books also depict human weakness very well, and the character development is excellent as the main characters are brought to an understanding of Jesus' love and power!
   Thus said, I found these stories far too romantic. Since each story is shorter than the author's usual novel, they didn't have as much room to develop character. I felt that they focused on the romance; especially so with I'll Be Home for Christmas. At the same time, the latter had a sweet story because of the little girl which I won't reveal here.

 I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review!

TRICIA GOYER is a prolific author of nearly forty books, including Chasing Mona Lisa, and a speaker and blogger. 

CARA PUTMAN is the author of twenty books includingShadowed by Grace. She is the winner of the 2008 Carol Award for historical fiction. 

SARAH SUNDIN is the critically-acclaimed author of the Wings of the Nightingale series, the Wings of Glory series, and the forthcoming Waves of Freedom novels.

More reviews here


Book review: Look inside the time of Jesus

Look Inside the Time of Jesus 
A Lift-the-Flap Discovery Book
By Lois Rock
Illustrated by Lorenzo Orlandi  

  When I was young, I loved books such as this Look Inside book! Just like the ''I Spy'' books of my childhood, this hardcover book is filled with detailed, colorful illustrations. The detailed pictures encourage children to spend minutes on each page, taking in all the action of every scene. For younger children, this book would easily allow for the game ''I Spy''. For older children, it's still a great vivid picture of life in New Testament times! 
A lover of history and accurate representations of it, I admit to expecting this book to be displeasing. On the contrary, the illustrations are done in a style honoring ancient times and the Bible. Although the characters are simply illustrations, as you can see from the cover the garb is historically accurate and the village life is depicted accurately and pleasantly. I do recommend this book for the young people in your life. It will make a great gift this Christmas! 

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion of it. 


Product description

Keep enquiring young minds busy with these detailed depictions of Bible history, and a glimpse behind the scenes with flaps to lift on every page. Brief text explains the setting, and references events and stories from Jesus' life. The book covers the first Christmas, illustrations of a synagogue and carpenter's workshop in Nazareth, fishing in Capernaum, farming and shepherding in the hills of Galilee, homes of the wealthy and everyday people, the temple in Jerusalem, the way of the cross and the first Easter.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The 40th anniversary Moosewood Cookbook....a review

40th Anniversary Edition

Written by Mollie Katzen

   For forty years, thousands of cooks and families have been enjoying Mollie Katzen's delicious and healthy recipes in her Moosewood cookbook! It was with delight that I received this beautiful anniversary edition of the cookbook that has been a staple in our kitchen for as long as I can remember. It seems that every page in our copy of this vegetarian cookbook is stained and worn, revealing hours of delightful food preparation and hinting at hundreds of healthy meals!
We have both the first edition of the Moosewood cookbook, as well the updated one. This hardcover edition is also the updated one, with the fine-tuned, fat-conscious recipes.
It is fun to see this household staple in a hardcover version, with its beautiful light brown cover with the same graphics as the original paperbacks, but embossed in dark blue.

   The pages are smooth and creamy, making me excited to cook every recipe from this book all over again!
   Favourite recipes include light cream of celery soup, Cauliflower-Cheese Soup (the only version we ever make because it is so good!),Vichyssoise (also our favourite recipe for this famous soup), Gingered Carrot soup (a pleasantly-unusual flavor!), Lentil-Bulgar salad,
Waldorf salad, Balkan cucumber salad, Pesto, and Lentil Walnut burgers.
 You really haven't tried anything until you've made her version of Spanokopita! Although we have several traditional cookbooks from Greece, Mollie Katzen's version of this Greek dish is the best ever! Also, don't neglect to make the Ukrainian poppy seed cake, as well as the No-fault Pumpkin Pie (my favourite version of this Autumn dessert since it uses honey and molasses instead of sugar!).
Our family doesn't eat entirely vegetarian, but we love this cookbook! This, as well as The Enchanted Broccoli Forest have been favourites in our family for years. Don't forget to obtain a copy for yourself, as well as for those dear to you! This new edition will make a much lovelier gift than the previous paperback versions.
  Have fun cooking healthily, with Mollie Katzen and the 40th anniversary Moosewood Cookbook!

The Moosewood Cookbook has inspired generations to cook simple, healthy, and seasonal food. A classic listed as one of the top ten best-selling cookbooks of all time by the NeYork Times, this 40th anniversary edition of Mollie Katzen's seminal book will be a treasured addition to the cookbook libraries of fans young and old. 

In 1974, Mollie Katzen hand-wrote, illustrated, and locally published a spiral-bound notebook of recipes for vegetarian dishes inspired by those she and fellow cooks served at their small restaurant co-op in Ithaca, NY. Several iterations and millions of copies later, the Moosewood Cookbook has become one of the most influential and beloved cookbooks of all time—listed by the New York Times as one of the best-selling cookbooks in history, inducted into the James Beard Award Cookbook Hall of Fame, and coined a Cookbook Classic by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Mollie’s Moosewood Cookbook has inspired generations to fall in love with plant-based home cooking, and, on the fortieth anniversary of that initial booklet, continues to be a seminal, timely, and wholly personal work. With a new introduction by Mollie, this commemorative edition will be a cornerstone for any cookbook collection that long-time fans and those just discovering Moosewood will treasure.