Monday, June 27, 2016

My review of the book Like a River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart

Like a River from Its Course

I absolutely love reading books on the history of World War Two, whether they be biographies, autobiographies or worthwhile fiction. 
Thus, I was so excited when I had the opportunity to read and review Kelli Stuart's new book Like A River From Its Course! 
I was captivated from the first chapter! The (Ukrainian/German) world presented by this talented author was engrossing and accurate. I have read enough autobiographies of even the specific events such as Babi Yar which are highlighted in this book to know that the author writes with historical accuracy. One of the things that I love and am amazed by when reading this book is the author's ability to present the first person viewpoints of several characters without confusing the reader or detracting from the excitement of the story. I found it very easy to follow, in fact enhanced by the various persons viewpoints. Surprisingly, it wasn't even difficult to remember each individuals' name- although they were Ukrainian or German. I am delighted with the talent and time Kelli Stuart has undoubtedly invested in this novel. 
The character development was suberb. The story was the perfect balance of excitement, sadness and victory while staying true to historical facts. 
Without revealing some main twists in the story, I did love the romantic relationships. I found them quite unique and interesting. 
So, do read this book and follow the lives of Maria Ivanova, Ivan Kyrilovich, Luda and Frederick Hermann and gain a picture into what it would have been like to live- or die- during the time of World War Two. 

Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption

My only surprise/criticism was that this novel didn't highlight salvation like I thought it would. There was nothing bad in this book and it definitely doesn't endorse wrong morals, but it's kind of basic and pleasing to a variety of readers which can be good in some ways. The Christianity underlined in this book is Catholicism I believe. But that portion was good and emphasized the need for faith. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you!
Like a River from Its Course Kelli Stuart

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Review of The Wurst of Lucky Peach cookbook

The Wurst of Lucky Peach: A Treasury of Encased Meat

The Wurst of Lucky Peach: A Treasury of Encased Meat

I love the size  and practicality of this new cookbook! It will become a favourite amongst meat-loving cooks. I am so excited about all the various recipes within the pages of The Wurst of the Lucky Peach. This cookbook gives detailed instructions on making your own sausages of all types! This really is all you need to start providing your family and yourself with delicious homemade brats, sausages, chorizo, cevapi etc! I found this book informative yet easy to understand. The photos are, as always, excellent as well.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. 
The best in wurst from around the world, with enough sausage-themed stories and pictures stuffed between these two covers to turn anyone into a forcemeat aficionado.

Lucky Peach
 presents a cookbook as a scrapbook, stuffed with curious local specialties, like cevapi, a caseless sausage that’s traveled all the way from the Balkans to underneath the M tracks in Ridgewood, Queens; a look into the great sausage trails of the world, from Bavaria to Texas Hill Country and beyond; and the ins and outs of making your own sausages, including fresh chorizo.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

My critical review of the book Hidden Agendas by Steve Brown

Hidden Agendas: Dropping the Masks that Keep Us Apart

Hidden Agendas: Dropping the Masks that Keep Us Apart

This book is publicized as a book to help the reader show his real self to the world. I was looking forward to reading this book as I think people should indeed discard hypocrisy and false fronts. However, I was greatly confused and disappointed by this book. To clarify, I read many Christian books a year and am able to glean from authors of various denominations and beliefs. This book, however I found wishy-washy and void of depth. The author tried incredibly hard to persuade the reader to drop all masks that he basically encourages them to live in their sinfulness. Seriously- that's what I got from this book. I got the impression that the author promotes the idea that God loves who however you are and you don't even have to try to be a more godly person.... can you understand my confusion now? 
The author mixes truth and weakness in his book. An example can be found in the following sentence from the book:
“I’m writing this book because I have a passion about God’s people creating spaces where masks aren’t necessary, where we can experience the freedom and joy of no longer being ashamed in the darkness behind our masks. Life is hard, our sins are great, and the wounds are deep. We simply can’t do this thing without one another, and the loneliness is making us crazy.”
To me, this sentence is partly true and partly weak: I agree that humans need to be real and open with each other. However, ''we can experience the freedom and joy of no longer being ashamed in the darkness behind our masks''...First, I think people need a healthy degree of shame concerning their sin. They need to deal with it and repent rather than just glibly talking about it with other sinners, thus eventually turning sin into normalcy. Secondly, if we are speaking of Christians, should there be darkness? Yes, Christians can sin and Christians should view those 'little' sins as darkness, but there shouldn't be dark sins in a Christian's life. If there are, he or she really, really needs to examine his or her heart to see if he or she is really saved. And by the way, I do not believe in perfectionism. I believe what the Bible says:
Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's[b] seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. (1 John 3)
As a note, I DO believe Christians need to drop hypocritical masks. People DO need to be open and caring with each other. We DO need to learn the difference between discernment and harsh judgment. But this book will NOT help you! 

Again, this book is confusing in that it has some good points regarding other humans but isn't very strong or Biblical concerning our God who is not only a loving God but also a perfectly Righteous and Just God! 
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

In Memory of Bread book review

In Memory of Bread: A Memoir

In Memory of Bread: A Memoir

More about the book: When Paul Graham was suddenly diagnosed with a serious wheat allergy at the age of thirty-six, he was forced to say goodbye to traditional pasta, pizza, sandwiches, and more. Gone, too, were some of his favorite hobbies, including brewing beer with a buddy and gorging on his wife’s homemade breads. Struggling to understand why he and so many others had become allergic to wheat, barley, rye, oats, and other dietary staples, Graham researched the production of modern wheat and learned that not only has the grain been altered from ancestral varieties but it’s also commonly added to thousands of processed foods. 
     In writing that is effortless and engaging, Paul explores why incidence of the disease is on the rise while also grappling with an identity crisis—given that all his favorite pastimes involved wheat in some form. His honest, unflinching, and at times humorous journey towards health and acceptance makes an inspiring read. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

All But Normal: Life on Victory Road by Shawn Thornton

All But Normal: Life on Victory Road

All But Normal: Life on Victory Road
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Young and Beardless: The Search for God, Purpose, and a Meaningful Life by John Luke Robertson

Young and Beardless: The Search for God, Purpose, and a Meaningful Life

Young and Beardless: The Search for God, Purpose, and a Meaningful Life

Since I first discovered the Roberston family, I have greatly enjoyed and been blessed by reading their autobiographies. I was excited when I saw this newest book from the amazing Duck Dynasty family...this one by John Luke! At first it might seem unnecessary for me, a young woman in my 20s to be reading this book. But I was blessed and invigorated by it, and am happy to recommend it to every young guy I know! And yes, it is a great book for girls too. I was impressed by John Luke's sincerity, openness and faith in God. Not to mention his purpose in life. It is absolutely encouraging to see young people following God and going forward in life as John Luke is doing. A good thing also about this slim paperback book are the study questions at the end of each chapter.
I know people will love reading this book; thankfully I'm including guys- I can assure you that boys will be able to relate to and learn from John Luke! 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. 
John Luke Robertson may be young and beardless, but he has a lot to say about growing up and discovering your purpose.

John Luke Robertson, the oldest son of Willie and Korie Robertson and brother of Dancing with the Stars sensation Sadie Robertson, shares his story of what it’s like to grow up as a Robertson and all the fun and craziness that entails, as well as what he has learned as he has stepped out into his own unique experiences. He also shares what it’s like to navigate the walk from boyhood to becoming a man. Topics in this book include friendship, kindness, dreaming big, embracing your God-given uniqueness, taking chances, and choosing mentors.

John Luke speaks frequently on dreams (how to build a dream for your life), schemes (how to plan for your dream to come true), and building teams (choosing the people around you who will become a team that helps make your dream come true through their support, honesty, and care). He will incorporate these important guidelines into the book, ultimately helping young people learn how to find and pursue a clear-cut purpose in their lives.

Teens and young adults will enjoy reading his story, and they will benefit by reading Robertson’s wisdom and perspective on how to grow up and live out your purpose. And, with the Robertsons, this book is sure to be fun!

Married And Still Loving It by Gary Chapman, Harold Myra

Married And Still Loving It: The Joys and Challenges of the Second Half

Married And Still Loving It: The Joys and Challenges of the Second Half

Long marriages are a gift… but they aren’t always easy

You know yourselves better. You’ve learned to cherish the small things. You’re past keeping up with the Joneses.

And yet, anxieties over grown children, worries about money and health, and feelings of disappointment can challenge even the best marriages.

In Married and Still Loving It, renowned relationship expert Gary Chapman and Harold Myra, longtime CEO of Christianity Today International, offer wise counsel and practical insight on making your marriage thrive during these years. Real couples share honestly about their joys and struggles, including Jerry and Dianna Jenkins and Ken and Joni Eareckson Tada, who talk movingly about their marital journeys.

Married and Still Loving It feels like a gathering of kindred spirits. It will inspire and equip you to embrace the adventures yet ahead, hand in hand with the one you love

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Amateur photographer's review of the book Understanding Exposure, Fourth Edition by Bryan Peterson

Understanding Exposure, Fourth Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera

Understanding Exposure, Fourth Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera

Judging on all the cookbooks I review, you may not know that I am also an amateur photographer. For years, I have enjoyed capturing nature, people and still life with my camera- beginning with a point and shoot Canon and continuing with a Nikon point and shoot. I have yet to obtain a DSLR camera but I am still able to benefit much from reading this great book! This particular version is the fourth edition of this popular book for photographers. As an amateur I was able to learn much about the mysterious-sounding world of aperture and such. I can also assure more advanced photographers that they will enjoy this book. I loved how the author included many of his beautiful photographs along with explanations and background stories. I am so excited to begin implementing this book in my photography life! 
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. 
This newly revised edition of Bryan Peterson's most popular book demystifies the complex concepts of exposure in photography, allowing readers to capture the images they want.

Understanding Exposure has taught generations of photographers how to shoot the images they want by demystifying the complex concepts of exposure in photography. In this newly updated edition, veteran photographer Bryan Peterson explains the fundamentals of light, aperture, and shutter speed and how they interact with and influence one another. With an emphasis on finding the right exposure even in tricky situations,Understanding Exposure shows you how to get (or lose) sharpness and contrast in images, freeze action, and take the best meter readings, while also exploring filters, flash, and light. With all new images, as well as an expanded section on flash, tips for using colored gels, and advice on shooting star trails, this revised edition will clarify exposure for photographers of all levels.