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.