Posts

The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry

Methuselah

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.

Rick Barry

Author Rick Barry

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.

Star Review!

Kindly tweet this: Methuselah Project by Rick Barry gets a 5-star review!

I-got-this-book-for-free-21

 

 

 

Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas

It's never too early to plan for

Okay, so I’m early (a proper lady is never late). But it’s never too early to plan for Christmas, right?

I simply must share this little treasure with you. It’s a book called Watch for the Light and it includes readings from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorothy Day, Madeleine L’Engle, Martin Luther, Kathleen Norris, Henri Nouwen, Philip Yancey, Karl Barth,  Síren Kierkegaard. Thomas Aquinas, C. S. Lewis and more.

watchforthelight

Click to buy

Madeleine L’Engle, people!

I love her. Do you know her books? (Go ahead. Click on the link. I’ll wait.)

Impressed, aren’t ya? Oh. Yeah. She’s one of my favorites.

But then again, who doesn’t also love Yancy, Luther and C.S. Lewis?

I have a confession. I dread Christmas every year. It wears me out more and more. As a pastor’s wife and musician, mother and grandmother, director of the Christmas program and all the social events at the church, there is just too much to get done in a short time (pastor’s wives of small rural churches are overworked, but that’s another post).

funny-meme-pictures-11

I’m going to make the effort this year to enjoy this book beginning four weeks before Christmas and try to capture the real essence of the holiday. There are fifty devotions that will take me from the end of November to after the Day of Ephiphany. Isn’t that marvelous?

I’ll also use it as a devotional at all our Christmas parties — the women’s ministry, the choir, the elder’s and deacons–you get the picture.

christmastree

It’s really a great book for ministers to have on their shelves. Actually, every Christian who loves the holiday will enjoy this book and I hope everyone who enjoys reading will check this one out because this is not only a great book to read but also a unique, beautiful book to give as a gift. If you have friends who are into well-written literature, this is perfect. And its charming 5″ x 7″ size just adds to its appeal. In this day of digital books, I can’t wait to gift this book to my friends next year.

This book earned a hefty five out of five stars from me. I can hardly wait until Christmas!

Star Review!

1_0twitter christmas

 Tweet this: It’s never to early to plan for Christmas!

 

 

 

 

I got this book for free-2

Discipleship: Living for Christ in the Daily Grind by J. Heinrich Arnold

“What a great gift it would be if we could see a little of the great vision of Jesus – if we could see beyond our small lives! Certainly our view is very limited. But we can at least ask him to call us out of our small worlds and our self-centeredness, and we can at least ask to feel the challenge of the great harvest that must be gathered – the harvest of all nations and all people, including the generations of the future.”

–J. Heinrich Arnold

If there was ever a time the world needed a vision of Jesus it’s now. And the only way most people will “see” Him, is through the lives of His disciples.

discipleshipbook

Click for more info and to buy

If you long to be a true disciple and wish to learn what it means to be one, I highly recommend this book, Discipleship, Living for Christ in the Daily Grind by J. Heinrich Arnold. This new expanded edition produced by Plough Publishing House (the publishing house for the Bruderhof movement) also offers a free student guide and leadership guide on their website. I plan to use these for my Sunday Night Bible study, so I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to review this book.

HAportrait

J. Heinrich Arnold

About the author: 

At the age of six, Arnold’s parents moved from Berlin to the little village of Samnerz in central Germany to live a communal life based upon Acts 2 and 4. His father was a writer and theologian and the founder of the Bruderhof movement. Young Arnold was exposed to many interesting characters while growing up in the commune: tramps, artists, and free-thinkers made their way in and out of his life and made lasting impressions upon him.

1280px-Bruderhof_Sannerz_Schild

At the age of eleven, he felt the call of God on his life. (I was 11, when I, too, felt the call!) He committed himself to the Bruderhof — “the place of brothers.” Founded in 1920 in Germany, the Bruderhof was and is an international communal movement of families and single men and women who seek to put into action Christ’s command to love God and neighbor. They have an online book you can read about their foundation here: Foundations of our Faith and Calling.

HAarms

Arnold has been described as “a true Seelsorgeror “spiritual guide” who cared deeply for the inner and outer wellbeing of the communities entrusted to him. And he served his brothers and sisters by sharing in their daily lives in work and leisure, at communal meals, business meetings, and worship services.”

family_01

Source: bruderhof.org

His writing has the influence of his own father, Eberhard Arnold and nineteenth century Lutheran pastors Johann Christoph Blumhardt and Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt as well as Meister Eckhart, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Friedrich von Gagern, and Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevski whose books Arnold read and referred to often.

About the book:

The book is organized in a way that allows the user to study each chapter on its own without reading the entire book. It’s divided into three parts:

  1. The Disciple
  2. The Church
  3. The Kingdom of God

Topics are addressed in reference to each category. This book is accessible to those needing the milk of the Word of God, but also provides meat for the seasoned believer. It’s a beautiful collection of the spiritual beliefs and guidance of Arnold through his letters and writings.

The foreward by Henri J. M. Nouwen explains:

“Heinrich Arnold’s words touched me as a double-edged sword, calling me to choose between truth and lies, salvation and sin, selflessness and selfishness, light and darkness, God and demon…The Gospel asks for a choice, a radical choice, a choice that is not always praised, supported, and celebrated. Still, Arnold’s writing is not harsh, unbending, fanatical or self-righteous. To the contrary, it is full of love. Tough love, but real love. It is this love that flows fro the broken hart of Jesus. What makes Arnold’s words so healing is that they are not based on an idea, an ideology, or a theory, but on an intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ.”

I concur with Nouwen in that this is a truly Christ-centered book.

Enjoy this quote from a chapter in the Kingom of God section on Jesus:

“If we love someone we want to know his innermost being. We are not satisfied with simply knowing him outwardly. So it is with our love to God. If we give ourselves to him, we will learn to know his innermost being and heart, his character and his love. It is not enough just to speak of God. We seek his revelation. The Bible says that those whom God loves he chastised, for it is a sign of his love. We cannot experience the complete liberation brought about by the forgiveness of sins if we do not accept Jesus’ sharpness Only then will we also be able to experience his goodness, his compassion, and his ultimate love.”

I give this deserving book 5 out of 5 stars. I’m so thankful to have it in my library and I’m sure I’ll lovingly pull it out again and again for the encouragement and insight into God’s heart it provides.

 

Star Review!

I’m not the only one who liked the book:

Mother Teresa:
I pray for all who read this book that they may come to follow Jesus more closely in their whole lives. He has not called us to be successful, but to be faithful.

What are you waiting for? Click on the photo of the book and grab your copy now!

I got this book for free-2 Note: my endorsement of this book is not my endorsement of the Bruderhof sect. I know very little about this movement and have never studied it. Having said that, I found nothing in this book that contradicted my beliefs as a born-again believer and follower of Jesus Christ.

Twitter Bird PNG

Tweet this: What’s it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?

Emissary by Thomas Locke — 4 out of 5 stars

emissary

I know you’re not suppose to judge a book by its cover, but really, what’s not to like about this gorgeous work of art? It’s the perfect marquee for this new fantasy series by Thomas Locke. It depicts the flavor and mood of this story perfectly.

I don’t read fantasy as a rule, but because it’s such a popular genre for the younger set, including Millennials, I wanted to read it as a way get to know why they love this type of story. Walk into any bookstore these days and the shelves overflow with novels featuring wizardry and witchcraft. These books appeal to those who cut their teeth on Harry Potter and fantasy role-playing and video games.  They crave more stories that take them into the land of fairy tales and magic.

map

Map of The Realm

I am one of the few who hasn’t read Harry Potter due to my own personal convictions. And I will admit being wary of this book. However, I do believe Locke has tapped into a market that desires a less dark fantasy experience. There is no overt Christian message, but there is definitely a main character to admire and a quest to be fought for. The thing to remember when reading fiction, Dear Reader, is that it is Fantasy.

Locke himself stated on his blog that he wants to take his readers on a story journey similar to what he loved reading while growing up:

“During our formative years – up until around age 30 – we are reinforcing our world view when we read for entertainment. But much of the fantasy that’s being published today doesn’t offer that sense of courage and inspiration that used to be prevalent in fantasy and science fiction novels.

Of course, not all of the “classic” authors wrote uplifting work. Ray Bradbury is one example. But even Bradbury’s writing gave me a sense of mind-bending escape and the opportunity to dream and envision more than what was available in world around me.

The books I loved most offered hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for growing into someone who could have these sorts of adventures. I want to infuse that hopefulness into my characters, and not give in to the temptation of creating characters who are only bitter and cynical.

In Emissary, key themes include courage in the face of fear, travel to unknown destinations, and new personal avenues of growth and development. I’ve tried to bring each of these into a story structure that’s applicable to today’s culture.”

I was quite surprised how quickly I was drawn into the story. Usually I read historical or political suspense, but I found myself smiling and turning page after page, eager to learn what Hyam, the main character, would face next.

Since I cut my  own teeth on Catherine Marshall and Janette Oke novels (as well as classics such as Little Women and The Yearling), it was a stretch for me to keep track of the visible and invisible in this story. It was also a stretch to “believe” the fantasy (which is a very strange oxymoronic thing to experience and explain). But Locke does a brilliant job of clarifying and describing his made-up world. His writing is seamless, and I found myself actually lost in the story instead of paying attention to his craft. Only good writing can do that. Occasionally there was a word or two I’d need to Google, but not often, and I only Googled them because I’m the curious sort, and I don’t mind learning new turns of phrase and words. Again, had I cut my teeth on such books, perhaps I’d have known what they meant.

This story is about a young man named Hyam who is able to speak several languages. He has the gift of magic which is forbidden in the realm. As a young child he was trained by wizards at a Long Hall, a place which he hated.

Due to a series of unexpected events, he is called to turn away from everything he has ever known in order to save those who may not even have his best interest at heart.

I kept looking for an allegorical message since it is classified as Christian Fiction, and I didn’t really find a consistent one. However, the protagonist is noble, and the values are clearly upright. Loyalty, courage and honesty are visible in the protagonist’s imperfect character.
Here’s the trailer for the book:

For other personal reasons, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It’s not because it’s not beautifully written because it is. And if you like fantasy, and you’d like to find something uplifting and heroic to read without all the gory darkness, this book is definitely for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

BirdbooksTweet this: Thomas Locke’s new book, Emissary, gets 4 out of 5 stars!

The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani — 4.5/5 stars

macaroni

I don’t know where I’ve been and why I’ve not heard of Adriana Trigiani but here is an author I can’t get enough of.

Actually, I think I have read her before, but until I re-read her Big Gap book, I’m not positive. Funny how that happens.

This book was kind of surreal for me because it mentioned places I had actually been while traveling from Indiana to New Jersey. And this is the same time I read the book. I spent the night in Youngstown, Ohio on my journey there and back and that’s where the Macaroni Company ends up being. So odd for it to mention several other locations I actually knew about. Ever have that happen?

Youngstown_OHAnd it also has scenes in Italy. Which is one of my fantasy vacation spots.

live-italy-portofino-seaside-villas-on-mediterranean-sea

Take me here NOW!

And then there’s the patient, older, Italian husband who is romantic and an excellent lover. <sigh>

Andrea-Bocelli

Yes, I have a terrible crush on Andrea Bocelli. It’s okay, my husband knows. (In case you don’t know, this is the ultimate example in my mind of an older, good looking Italian man…)

Anyway, as secular market books go, I loved this one. What’s not to love about shoes and romance and pasta? I love reading about families who have strong ethnic ties. Being very, very, very American, I don’t have those types of traditions. So I enjoy living vicariously through those who do in books.

shoes

This isn’t a book I’d normally pick up and I wasn’t sure I’d like it. And to be honest, I was thinking, if a new author wrote it, no one would publish it. It’s not hooky for one thing. And it doesn’t have a spell-binding plot. But there’s just something about the main character, Valentine, that makes you want to know what happens to her next.

Trigiani Adriana

Adriana Trigiani, Author

I’m excited to read more of Trigiani’s books. I’m packing seven or so of them to take with me on vacation week after next. For one thing, she writes southern fiction, too, which made the fact that this book (and I think this is a sequel to some others) are set in NYC.

I’ll let you know how it goes. There’s nothing I like more than books. And I absolutely love southern fiction. Next to books I love shoes.

Wide-Italian-ShoesThis book was a perfect fit.

twitter38smaller

Tweet This: Who knew macaroni and shoes had so much in common?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Take this Cup by Bodie & Brock Thoene

_225_350_Book.1151.cover

I have been reading Bodie Thoene since her release of The Gates of Zion in 1986. She is truly the reason why I fell  deeply in love with Christian Historical fiction.

She didn’t disappoint me in this book, either. Take this Cup is book 2 of the Jerusalem Chronicles Series. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it as much as I did. I got excited about many new insights I’d never thought of before regarding the history of the Israelites and the prelude to Jesus Christ as Messiah.

SPAIN-RELIGION-GRAIL

That Thoene is an artist there’s no doubt. But what makes her books, including this one, so special, are the Spiritual Truths and revelations that knowing details of history bring out in the story. For example, I’d never put together that the people of Nineveh worshiped Dagon, a god that’s half fish and half man, and that God used a large fish to swallow Jonah and spit him out preach to these fish-idol worshipers about the One True God. Pretty cool insight.

index

There are many others in the book.

I think this book would be a great read-aloud to middle grades and an excellent book to give to a high school student as a Resurrection Day gift. There are several scenes regarding a white hart that kids and teens will especially enjoy. However, it’s definitely an adult book, too. But I can see a classroom of kids really enjoying reading this book together or listening to their teacher read it aloud.

317461_white-hart

http://www.markduffin.net/

From the blogger review website:

Though there have been many stories about the Cup of Christ, the Holy Grail, after the Last Supper, this is the first imaginative account of the Cup’s previous history and significance. Nehemiah, the young son of a Jewish woman, a weaver from Jerusalem, is born and raised among the Jews who didn’t return to Jerusalem from the Exile. Educated by Rabbi Kagba, one of the magi present at Jesus’ birth thirty years earlier, Nehemiah grows up with the expectation of a soon-coming Messiah. Could the Yeshua of Nazareth, who is walking the earth, reportedly doing miracles, be that Messiah?

When young Nehemiah must travel the long caravan road to Jerusalem, he is charged with an unusual mission—to carry a mysterious object back to the holy city of Jerusalem . . . an object whose reappearance heralds the Messiah’s arrival.

Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem just as the final events of Jesus’ earthly ministry are coming to a climax: the Feast of Dedication, the Triumphal Entry, the last cleansing of the Temple, and culminating at the Last Supper in the Upper Room. Only Nehemiah understands the true sacrifice that is to come as he makes the cup worthy of his Savior.

I give this book 5 stars. It’s a flawless, beautifully written story with a unique point of view. I hope parents will share it with their children and teachers with their students. It’s an excellent book for any home or church library. I highly recommend.

woodprint twitter bird sepia small

Tweet: I give this book 5/5  stars.

 

I review for BookLook Bloggers

The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey–4.5 stars

Billy Coffey is the author of four novels:  Snow Day (2010) Paper Angels (2011), When Mockingbirds Sing (2013) and The Devil Walks in Mattingly (2014).

Devil-Walks-Update-12-e1389478955418

Click to order

From his website:

“When you’re raised in small-town Virginia by a redneck father and a Mennonite mother, certain things become ingrained. And when you marry a small-town girl and have two small-town kids, all you want to do is pass those ingrained things along.

Like believing the best life is one lived in the country enjoying the pleasures it provides—summer nights beneath the stars, rocking chairs on the front porch, deer grazing in the fields. And believing that no matter how iffy life can get sometimes, there are some things that are eternal and unchanging.

But above all else, believing that in everything there is story waiting to be told.”

billyc2

BillyCoffey.com

If there’s one thing Billy Coffey knows how to do it’s write a story. His syntax is as compelling as the story itself.

How did I like this book? Not as much as I liked When Mockingbirds Sing.  And that’s not because it was poorly written. I think it’s because it was a heavy, emotionally-wrenching story. Which is probably what Coffey was going for. You definitely feel invested in the characters because he makes the weightiness of their guilt very real to the reader.

billyc3

BillyCoffey.com

Basically, the story is about a sheriff and his wife going through life carrying a load of guilt for something that they did in high school that resulted in a death. There’s another character that feels this weight as well. They do all sorts of things to appease the weight of their sin. They go through life unaware of available grace.

What I do like about Coffey books are the ghosts. Not in the Casper-sense. But metaphorically and perceptually. The mountains and hollows of Virginia are known for such things, and the setting for this book was perfect for the “ghosts” that haunt the characters of this book.

billyc

BillyCoffey.com

I read all 385 pages in one sitting. It didn’t bore me and that says a lot about how well this book was written. I’m easily distracted when reading fiction and I like a story that keeps me engaged. This one did.

In some ways, Coffey’s writing in this book reminded me of Ted Dekker’s. I’ve not read all of Dekker’s books, but the ones I have read deal with supernatural issues similarly. If you like Dekker, I have no doubt you’ll like Coffey.

billandkids

BillyCoffey.com

I’m no expert, but I think if Coffey could have incorporated a few breaks of levity in the book, I might have enjoyed it more. Again, it was a heavy read emotionally. But if you like a book that grabs you by the collar and won’t let you go, a book you can’t stop thinking about after you put it down, you’ll like this one.

I give it 4.5 stars.

woodprint twitter bird sepia small

Tweet This: The Devil Walks in Mattingly–4.5 stars!

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids?: How Moralism Suffocates Grace by Samuel C. Williamson

SundaySchool

My degrees are in Christian Education. So as soon as author Samuel C. Williamson asked me to read and review this book I jumped at the opportunity. Could it be that my life’s work has been for naught? Had I led a generation of kids and teens astray?

I had to wonder because some of the kids I’d worked with through the years had not only left church, but had also strayed from the Christian faith all together. Would this book hold the answers for me? Why was this happening?

david

I enjoyed this book so much that I want every teacher in my church to read it. This isn’t a book that slams Christian Education programs in the local church, but a book that explains the difference between the Good News of Jesus and the yolk of moralism that too many churches place upon their parishioners.

On page 71 the author writes: “Our hope doesn’t depend on how good we’ve been…Our hope depends on seeing Jesus.”

jesus

Are we revealing Jesus in the Old Testament stories? The Old Testament laws are to be a mirror showing us that we simply can’t ever be “good enough.” This mirror should make us grateful that we have a Savior. We can live in Grace. What freedom!

But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD Jeremiah 9:24.

Fact is, we can never be good enough for God. That’s why Jesus came. The message we need to send our kids in the Bible stories is that these people were able to act wise and good, ONLY because God’s GRACE enabled them and God’s GRACE strengthened them.

Jesus-Christ-Wallpaper-with-Beautiful-Background

God’s beauty kisses the beast in us. God’s grace is immeasurable and that’s the message we should be teaching people of all ages all over the world.

Have I always incorporated this strong and most important message of grace? I’d like to think I have. But perhaps I could have done better. Perhaps the message of grace wasn’t clear enough. I am certainly determined to make it clearer now.

Needless to say, this book receives five stars from me. I think it’s a must-read for every Christian–especially if they are teaching. And writers, you are teachers.

twitter31smallerTweet This: Does your writing gift your reader with the knowledge of grace?

What do you remember most about Sunday School growing up? I’d love to talk with you about it in the comments below!

Beloved by Robin Lee Hatcher

_225_350_Book.950.coverI’d never read a book by Robin Lee Hatcher before this one and I wasn’t disappointed. Hatcher has written more than 70 novels and her expertise in weaving a story is evident.

From her website:

Winner of the Christy, the RITA, the Carol, the Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and many other awards, Robin is also a recipient of the prestigious RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the author of 70 novels and novellas with over five million copies in print.

RobinLeeHatcher325x325

I loved the premise of this book. A woman who thinks she’s a widow is all set to marry when the husband she thinks is dead suddenly shows up. Talk about intrigue! You wonder all the way through the book the hows and whys. Hatcher doesn’t bore the reader with back-story. Instead, she sprinkles in the clues a little bit at a time, making this a truly intriguing read.

The protagonist, Diana Breman, is an insecure woman having come west to Idaho on an orphan train and then experiencing the disappearance and assumed death of her husband, wealthy mine owner, Tyson Applegate. But just before the court declares him dead, Tyson shows up claiming to be changed. He strikes a deal with Diana, asking her to give him another chance and stand by him while he runs for the senate. Diana fears that he only wants her with him for appearances sake, and keeps her heart closed to him.

What I like about this book is that it’s a unique spin on a “new” romance. Diana has to go through all the emotions of being courted again, but with the added stress of mistrust. What would you do if your husband suddenly reappeared? This makes the character extremely relate-able.

I give this book 5 stars.

twitter07small

 

Tweet this: Beloved by Robin Lee Hatcher a five star read!

 
I review for BookSneeze®