Wednesday, April 30, 2014

book review: Defy the Night

Defy the NightDefy the Night

A Novel by Heather Munn and Lydia Munn

It is the tumultuous year of 1941 and the people of France are living in apprehension, fear and confusion. Fifteen-year old Magali is restless because of the inactivity of the regular citizens. Hitler has taken over her homeland and yet she can do nothing. Or so she thinks. Soon an opportunity arises involving legally rescuing children from internment camps. Magali is overcome by her admiration for Paquette, the young woman in charge of these missions whose desire is to save as many lives as possible. This calling is transferred to Magali's heart as she experiences the drama and importance herself. 

A book about character development and the maturing heart and mind of a teenage girl, Defy the Night gives a great depiction of how a young girl might have felt during these dangerous years. Personally, I didn't think the book had enough emphasis on personal faith. And I didn't enjoy reading Magali's selfish thoughts and feelings. In a way, she was a little young for her fifteen years. On the other hand, I know I was immature myself at that age. 
Lastly, the language in this book is too modern for the times. Especially the grammar and language of Magali's thoughts. The writing quality of this book is not my style as the sentences are short and non-descriptive. Yet this book is definitely interesting and captures the attention of the reader. The style is popular amongst modern readers, I know. 
Although I probably will not keep this book, I do not dis-recommend it. ;)

I received this book free for review through KregelPublications and was encouraged to express my honest opinion in this review.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Book review: Canyon of Danger and River of Peril

                                Books by Susan K. Marlow: Canyon of Danger and River of Peril

Canyon of Danger (Goldtown Adventure)I have read a variety of children's books, both when I was young and even recently as I seek out new and suitable reads for my younger siblings.
  What I have perceived with contemporary Christian authors of children's literature is an all-round lack of talent in writing-style and delivery of the Christian message.
In contrast, this author has talent.
  Both short stories are a great length for young readers (8-12), with the plot beginning near the start and keeping a steady pace through the chapters.
   As a plus, even I as an adult was intrigued by the plot. Pretty good, eh?

I preferred the Canyon of Danger over its sequel River of Peril. The former has a more well-developed and surprising plot.
I was disappointed that there wasn't more of a Christian message in these books.
River of PerilTrue, I think that an overdone Christian message can be awkward but I am pleased with a good Christian faith being lived out by the author. (I found this to be accomplished well in the Kathleen Series by Tracy Craven, the Millie Series, and the Scout series by Piet Prins) I believe that in an effort to make the hero, Jem, realistic and similar to the would-be-readers of the stories, the author didn't give him a very deep faith. But at age twelve,  I think he could have been more respectful of his aunt and more trusting of God.
Remember, I'm judging these books by Christian standards. It would get much less criticism if I didn't expect it to be such. And not to be picky, but I do believe Jem's emotions about Sundays are not historically accurate since in the 1800s 'strict' Sundays were a part of their life, from infanthood up. Even today, I know many younger children (as young as 7 and 5!) who can sit calmly through two hours of the adult church service.
I would conclude that these books are exciting for the young reader. Christian parents can without worries give them to their children. The characters do not inspire the young reader to greater Christian faith or virtues but they are very safe books.
As a Southerner (in light of the War Between the States), I will warn fellow 'Confederates' that River of Peril takes a Northern stance. Just saying.

I was pleased to receive these books from Kregel publications blog tours in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book review: Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action by Nick Vujicic

Unstoppable: the incredible power of faith in action  by Nick Vujicic.
It's incredible to read Nick Vujicic's story. Every person, especially those inclined to  complain about their life or the body God has given them needs to read about Nick, or watch his videos.
Having heard his story, I now feel utterly ashamed of any complaints I have expressed about my body! It sounds so futile when confessed in words that I have actually felt discontented about how God has created me. Yet I know many of us do- If it's not our bodies, than it's our circumstances or future or job or anything!
I blush when I recall all the complaints I've voiced or thought, as a self-conscious woman, concerning my legs. And there are people who have no legs!

Nick's faith is immense. He surprises people by announcing that he doesn't need arms or legs. Then he adds that all he needs is Jesus Christ. 

''I have come to realize that this 'disability' would actually heighten my ability to serve this purpose as a speaker and evangelist...God has used my lack of limbs to draw people to me, especially others with disabilities; so I can inspire and encourage them with my message of faith, hope, and love.''

Nick tells his own story, using it as he goes to encourage others.

I wasn't a fan of the portions on suicidal feelings, bullying...but it was thoughtful of Nick to include these helpful chapters.They just weren't relevant in my life right now. The chapters about abused women in India and like countries really touched my heart though.
"I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

book review: Know Orphans

Know Orphans by Rick Morton

   ''Orphan ministry is not about us. If you need to feel good, go and volunteer at an animal shelter...''

   Author Rick Morton shares the urgency laid on his heart concerning the problem of orphans worldwide and their future and well-being.
Through several chapters, this father of three adopted children focuses in turn on the Biblical reason for taking care of the ''fatherless'', how we can help a ministry for oprhans begin or thrive, how to see our role in the problem, the different ways one can help orphans, helping an orphan make the switch and thrive emotionally in his new enviroment, and details on the actual transnational adoption process.

   This was quite a factual book. The information was very practical especially for those who feel called to actually make an adoption. It seemed that a full half of the book focuses on already established ministries designed to help orphans.
I found the beginning inspiring, but lost connection by the time the author began explaining about the start of each organization. I also didn't have time to research all these programs to see if I really agree with each one. I leave that up to every individual who feels called to invest money or time in an organization.

As I read through this new book by Mr. Morton, I was yet again reminded of how much we take for granted- and how much we waste. We live in luxury, especially compared to the majority of peoples around the world. Just think- there are real little children all over this world needing nutrition, love and guidance! Let's take a serious moment-or more- to see what God wants us to do to help!