The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry

Order at Amazon Order at Barnes and Noble Order at Kregel Since I’ve been overbooked, I asked a friend of mine, Joe Fausnight, to read and review this book for me. Here’s his take: Captain Greene was an American Pilot from Indiana who was flying missions over Germany in 1943 when he was shot down.  As his plane fell he cried out to God.  He landed in a woods between to giant oak trees destroying his plane but leaving him and the cabin of the plane intact. He was picked up by the Nazis and a civilian car was following the truck he was in.  Taken to a secret underground lab he was number 7 guinea pig for a Nazi science project for long life and quick wound repair. After they had gassed and worked on the men the place was bombed by the Allies. The scientist who had come up with the project was killed as well as number 1 through 6 men.  He survived as did the assistant scientist and he was kept in a cage for many years after the war was over as they experimented on him and tried to duplicate his success.  He looked and acted like a 30 year old even as decades passed.  He knew nothing of the outside world except what he was told that the war was still going on decades later. They gave him lots of books to read to pass his time and after reading many classics he asked for a Bible.  He got a lot of comfort from it over the years.  He exercised daily as well as taking flying trips in his mind including all the safety checks so he didn’t forget how to fly. Did he ever get free?  Did he ever find anyone who cared about him other than as a lab rat?  Did he ever discover the changes in the world since his capture?  You will find out and enjoy this book when you read it.  A very good read and worth the time to read. I give this books five stars. Kindly tweet this: Methuselah Project by Rick Barry gets a 5-star review!    ...

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One of my favorite historical fiction authors, Susan F. Craft, releases new book: Laurel

I’m so excited about Susan F. Craft’s new book, Laurel. I love Susan’s writing so much I read this compelling story in one sitting! I couldn’t put it down. The book is about a young couple whose daughter is kidnapped by slave runners in the backwoods of South Carolina. The couple hunts for their daughter in the wilderness and finally track her to the shores of the Atlantic at Charleston. While in Charleston, the mother, Lilyan, is recognized as a former patriot who murdered a British officer  (I won’t say why, you’ll have to read the book to find out.)  She’s thrown into jail and confined with prostitutes, thieves and murderers. Her husband, Nicholas, fights to set her free, and continue the search for their missing daughter. Susan’s writing is so good I was never distracted by writing craft while reading her book. (This happens to me sometimes as a writer.)  Instead, I lost myself in the story. It’s easy to do because Susan writes vivid description and deep internal emotion and motivation brilliantly. Susan’s extensive research and travel to the locations of her novels comes through in her writing. I truly felt I was there with Lilyan and Nicholas searching for their daughter. On her website, http://www.susanfcraft.com, she has over twenty years of research on a wide range of topics.  She says: “I knew I’d never be able to write enough novels to use all my “historical treasures,” so I decided to share and put them on my website.” You can follow Susan here: www.susanfcraft.com http://historicalfictionalightintime.blogspot.com http://colonialquills.blogspot.com http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com http://www.hhhistory.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susan.craft.108 Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/susanfc/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/susanfcraft @susanfcraft Be sure to check out Susan’s other book: The Chamomile. I bought Susan’s book, Laurel, on my own. This review is my unsolicited opinion. If you want to know what makes for good historical fiction writing, read a Susan F. Craft novel! I give Laurel five big fat stars! Tweet this: Laurel by @SusanFCraft — five big fat stars!...

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Would C. S. Lewis be too distracted to write today?

I love reading about the writing habits of great writers. Maybe it’s because I’m looking for that one secret element that made them great. I guess there is one secret that’s consistent with all of them: they worked hard. So much harder than we do today. I’ll explain in a bit. But first, let’s look at what C.S. Lewis had to say about an ideal writing day in his book, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of my Early Life. “[I] settled into a routine which has ever since served in my mind as an archetype, so that what I still mean when I speak of a “normal” day (and lament that normal days are so rare) is a day of the Bookham pattern. For if I could please myself I would always live as I lived there. I would choose always to breakfast at exactly eight and to be at my desk by nine, there to read or write till one. If a cup of good tea or coffee could be brought me about eleven, so much the better. A step or so out of doors for a pint of beer would not do quite so well; for a man does not want to drink alone and if you meet a friend in the taproom the break is likely to be extended beyond its ten minutes. At one precisely lunch should be on the table…” This “Bookham pattern” he speaks of developed after his father withdrew him from public school and brought him home to be tutored. It was then that a daily routine he grew to love developed. And what writer wouldn’t love to have someone bring them coffee or tea, and have a lunch ready for us at 1:00 PM? It sounds heavenly to me, if not to you. But I suppose that there are things about my writing life that would appeal to Lewis as well–a microwave or Keurig for making tea for example. We may not have housekeepers but we have gadgets that serve us well. Or we serve them. Either way, I think Lewis would have enjoyed them. (PS I don’t have a Keurig but I’m accepting donations…) After his lunch, Lewis enjoyed a walk. This is something that I have yet to work into my day consistently. But I know I do feel better and have much more energy when I  exercise. And scientists claim that it makes us smarter: “Walking 40 minutes four times a week changed the size and organization of participants’ brains in one year, resulting in the formation of new neurons and larger memory centers, according to a study from the University of Illinois.”  (Source: Want to boost your...

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The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron: 4.5/5 stars

If you enjoy WWII fiction, you’ll want to read Cambron’s book, The Butterfly and the Violin. This love story is about an art gallery owner’s search for a haunting painting found at Auschwitz-Birkenau. I normally don’t like to read about the Holocaust because it’s too painful for me. I internalize much of the pain and it takes me days to shake loose from the horrors I read about. But this was about a violinist, and as a violinist myself, I wanted to see what it was about. The beautiful cover of this book, I admit, also influenced me to choose it as a book to review for BookLook. The author seamlessly ties the story of the violinist’s experiences of Auschwitz with the modern telling of the art gallery owner, Sera. In each story line there is a compelling romance. Adele and Vladimir are in love in the 1940s and both end up in concentration camps after they’re caught helping a Jewish family escape Austria. In modern times, Sera falls in love with Michael who is searching for the same haunting painting of Adele that she is. The intertwining of art and music was what I enjoyed most about this book (besides the romance). I did find a couple of glitches in the story (which is why I gave it a 4.5 instead of a 5). However, they are extremely minor and those who aren’t violinists won’t even know they are there. This book is definitely worth the read and would be a safe first book for someone who doesn’t know much about the holocaust. It’s not terribly graphic yet paints a clear picture of what women in concentration camps suffered. But it’s still a lovely escape into the past and into the world of art and music. I highly recommend this compelling book. Tweet this: Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron: 4.5/5 stars–compelling...

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Strong Girl: Malala Yousafzai

Imagine riding the bus home from school and being ambushed by the taliban because you blog about girls getting an education. This is what happened to Malala Yousafzai on a Tuesday, October 9, 2012. The young militants opened fire on the bus, shot Malala in the head and neck, wounded two others, and left them for dead. They thought they’d silenced Malala forever but they were wrong. She survived and has continued to spread her message that a girls’ education benefits everyone. It reduces mortality rates, increases lifetime wage earnings, and strengthens democracy. Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. She is the youngest person to have ever been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala’s father sounds a lot like my dad. My dad never limited me because I was a girl. He always told me I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to. Malala’s dad owned a school and encouraged his daughter to write and go to school even though he lived in a society that prized sons more than daughters. In July 2013, on her 16th birthday, Malala addressed the United Nations General Assembly: “We must not forget that millions of people are suffering from poverty, injustice and ignorance.  We must not forget that millions of children are out of schools.  We must not forget that our sisters and brothers are waiting for a bright peaceful future.  So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens.  They are our most powerful weapons.” Malala reminds us that some girls face death for going to school. Terrorist groups in Afghanistan and other oppressed areas of the world continue to threaten and attack female students and teachers. Things were improving in some places but with limited presence of the United States in these oppressed areas, girls lives are in danger if they read books and go to school. Clearly, Malala is a strong girl with big dreams. The next time you’re tempted to skip school, think of the price other girls in the world pay for the right to learn. Strong girls are readers. Strong girls are educated. Strong girls, like Malala, have the courage to stand up and not sit down for what is right. How much better [is it] to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! Proverbs 16:16 Tweet this: Strong girls want an education and are afraid of no one....

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The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott — 4 out of 5 stars

I love historical fiction and when it features a strong and feisty heroine who is true to her ideals, I think I like it most. This book fit the bill. Alice is a farm girl with a dictatorial father. She chooses to leave the farm after her mother dies to work at the cotton mills in Lowell, Massachusetts. While working there, she takes on the cause of the working conditions of the mill. She also advocates for justice for her friend who is killed by a local minister. It’s the treatment of the Methodist movement in this book that causes me to give it a 4 out of 5 star rating. Of course, this is a subjective opinion. I realize this. But it does bother me that Christians are so often demonized in secular historical novels and movies. Through the ages there have been thousands of good, caring ministers. But it seems that the secular fiction world can’t help but exploit and highlight the very few rotten ones. (Disclaimer: I’m married to a minister and am an ordained minister myself.) I also take issue with the sarcastic attitude toward the Methodists in the way they worshiped. It’s fascinating, though, that the author described the worshipers as prostrating themselves before the preacher, when in fact, people prostrate themselves in Christian worship toward God Himself, not the preacher. At least that’s always been my experience. But isn’t it interesting that the secular world views it this way? In all fairness, Alcott is historically accurate even in this attitude. The Methodist movement, and religious camp meetings, were mocked in the newspapers of that time (see political cartoon below). They were labeled fanatics and superstitious fools. Charismatics and Pentecostals continue to be targets of such ridicule. Christians of all stripes are told they are superstitious and stupid for their beliefs. Such labels are as old as Christianity itself. Certainly, there were charlatans in those days just as there are today. There were preachers in those days that exploited women for money and sexual favors just as some do now. It’s an unfortunate truth. But this can be said of many occupations, not just ministry. There will always be religious leaders who fall into the temptation of greed and lust. It’s just too easy to exploit people when it comes to religion. Still, in this story, why couldn’t the murderer have been a mill foreman instead of a Methodist preacher? I’ll tell you why. The secular world loves reading about Christians who fall. It helps them rationalize their hate for Christians and Christianity. Unfortunately, they rationalize that Christianity is a feeble religion because they base it on fallible Christians instead of Christ Himself. The...

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