Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"All Saints," by Michael Spurlock and Jeanette Windle

"All Saints," by Michael Spurlock and Jeanette Windle
The True Story Behind the Powerful Film ALL SAINTS
Newly ordained, Michael Spurlock's first assignment is to pastor All Saints, a struggling church with twenty-five devoted members and a mortgage well beyond its means. The best option may be to close the church rather than watch it wither any further. But when All Saints hesitantly risks welcoming a community of Karen refugees from Burma--former farmers scrambling for a fresh start in America--Michael feels they may be called to an improbable new mission.

Michael must choose between closing the church and selling the property--or listening to a still, small voice challenging the people of All Saints to risk it all and provide much-needed hope to their new community. Together, they risk everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.

Discover the true story that inspired the film while also diving deeper into the background of the Karen people, the church, and how a community of believers rally to reach out to those in need, yet receive far more than they dared imagine.


When a book is turned into a movie, more times than not you lose a lot of the original feeling from the book.  So I like to read a book before seeing a movie.  I have not seen the movie "All Saints," but have now read the book.

The one thing I took from this book, things don't stay the same forever and you have to move and change with the times.  Also it takes all sorts of people and things to make a community.  This was the case with the All Saints church in Smyrna, Tennessee.  The book lays out the before, during and after of when the Karen refugees from Burma arrived in the community of Smyrna and how it changed not only their lives but the lives of the people in the area.  It was interesting to read the back story of some of the Karen people to see where they had come from and how they had come to America.

The "God works in mysterious ways," phrase comes to mind when I think back about this book, as he did indeed work many miracles in many ways over the years at All Saints Church.  This book also educates us on the Karen people of Burma.  I knew little to nothing about them prior to reading this book.  There are many articles about them, here is a link that you may find interesting.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 It was a solid book that was interesting and a true story.  I will watch the movie when it comes out on dvd.  It is well worth the read.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

Monday, September 18, 2017

"Gracelaced," by Ruth Chou Simons

"Gracelaced," by Ruth Chou Simons


This Journey Is As Perennial As The Seasons

GraceLaced is about more than pretty florals and fanciful brushwork—it’s about flourishing. With carefully crafted intention, this beautiful volume of 32 seasonal devotions from artist and author Ruth Chou Simons encourages readers in any circumstance to become deeply rooted in God’s faithful promises. GraceLaced extends a soul-stirring invitation to draw close to God while...
  • resting in who He is
  • rehearsing the truth He says about you
  • responding in faith to those truths
  • remembering His provision to sustain you, time and time again
I must say when I first saw this book I fell in love with it.  The artwork and photography is just gorgeous.  You could spend ages just looking at those.  However once you start to read the book, you know it's much more than a pretty coffee table.  This is not a book to read in one sitting, it's a book you pick up and read in stages, when you need to be uplifted and when you need to hear the right words........

Stars out of 5 : 5 This is a lovely book and one that you will read over and over again.  It truly is a beautiful book.

Book has been provided courtesy of Harvest House and Graf-Martin Communications 

"The Promise of Dawn," by Lauraine Snelling.

"The Promise of Dawn," by Lauraine Snelling.
Opportunities are scarce in Norway, so when Rune and Signe Carlson receive a letter from Rune's uncle, Einar Strand, offering to loan them money for passage to America, Rune accepts. Signe is reluctant to leave her home, especially as she is pregnant with her fourth child, but Einar promises to give them land of their own, something they could never afford in Norway.

But life in Minnesota is more difficult than Signe imagined. Uncle Einar and Aunt Gerd are hard, demanding people, and Signe and her family soon find themselves worked nearly to the bone to pay off their debt. Afraid they will never have the life they dreamed of, she begins to lose her trust in God. When the dangers of the North Woods strike close to home, will she find the strength she needs to lead her family into the promise of a new dawn?


This is the first book in the "Under Northern Skies," series.  I have to say I love Lauraine's books in general and this one was the same; but the first couple of chapters of this book were so confusing that I was very close to giving it up.  Once the story started in America then it got a whole lot better and easier to understand.

I loved the way it dealt with day by day life and how life was lived; and what a hard life they had.  The relationship with Rune and Signe and their aunt and uncle also was well written.  Lauraine truly made their world seem so real.  I think it's the little details that make a book and there were plenty of details in this book.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5, it lost half a star because of the beginning.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series which will be released in April of 2018.  Well worth reading in my opinion.



"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing G
roup
".

Thursday, August 10, 2017

"The Two Of Us," by Victoria Bylin

"The Two Of Us," by Victoria Bylin
After two broken engagements, Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she's focusing on God and her goal to join an international aid organization as a nurse practitioner. But when her 18-year-old sister, Lucy, calls with an invitation to her Vegas wedding, it throws a wrench into Mia's plans.

Jake Tanner has recovered from the injuries he sustained as a police officer--on the outside. Inside, he's yet to heal from losing his partner in the tragedy, but finds some solace in keeping an eye on her young adult son, Sam, who's asked him to be best man at his wedding.

Mia expects a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn't expecting Jake, who views the marriage a little differently. As Jake's and Mia's lives slowly become more intertwined, could his courage and her caring heart be enough to bring them a lifetime of healing?


This book was a very pleasant read, that kept me busy over a couple of afternoons.  I will say I had forgotten what the story was about, as I had read it a week prior to writing this review, so it didn't stick in my mind until I read the back cover again.

This is one of my "shopping list" books that I can read and think of other things while I am reading, as it's not overly taxing on the brain.

Stars out of 5 : 3  If you are looking for a book to read on the beach or by the fire, this is a great book for that.  Glad I read it.  Learned a couple of things about Alzheimer's which was a positive thing.  Also make sure you read the author's notes at the end of the book, very moving.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

"The Return," by Suzanne Woods Fisher

"The Return," by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family's rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans--but then she never had to. Not until the night she's taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she's developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances.

Greatly anguished by Betsy's captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Hans's hunger for revenge. But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far?

Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.


This is the third book in the Amish Beginnings Series.  I have read the first book in the series and thoroughly enjoyed it, but haven't read the second book.  I enjoyed this book at the time, but I will say I have forgotten much of the story already.  

I did enjoy the history aspect of this story, as there are a few things mentioned in this book that did happen in real life.  I did feel it ended a bit strangely and do feel there is more to be told in this story/series.  Not sure if that will happen or not?  

Stars out of 5 : 4 It was a good book to read over a few afternoons and it wasn't too hard a read.  As always read the authors notes at the end as they are interesting.  

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".


"Fault Lines," by Thomas Locke

"Fault Lines," by Thomas Locke
There isn't much that can throw Charlie Hazard off balance. But the mystery woman with the striking eyes and the intense request to follow her--now--is about to shake his world. Knowing little more than her name, Charlie leaves his post as a guard at the Satellite Beach community center for what he thinks is just another risk-containment job. But Gabriella, an experimental psychologist, has far more in store for him than protection duty--if the two of them survive the test.

Reese Clawson relishes her work at the Combine and all the perks and power that come with it--including the ability to manipulate perceptions. But the Combine never anticipated this mind-shifting technology. If Gabriella's experiments succeed, the Combine would be destroyed. And Reese will never allow that to happen.


The sign of a good book in my humble opinion, is when you can't stop thinking about the book, both during and after reading it.  It's a page turner and a book that you don't want to put down, as you need to know what happens next.  This book is all that and more.  

I kept going over and over the story to try and figure out what was going to happen next, and why this was happening and that was happening.  I was also amazed at the authors imagination and kept thinking, "how on earth did he come up with this and that?"

The story is so fast paced that you struggle to keep up with it at some stages.  My only negative about this book was that it was a little too technical in places.

Stars out of 5 : 5 it really is well worth reading, as this book keeps you on your toes and keeps you interested all the way through it.  Can't wait for the next one to come out; there is a preview at the end of this book and it sounds as though it will be as good as this one.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"High as the Heavens," by Kate Breslin

"High as the Heavens," by Kate Breslin

A British nurse in WWI German-occupied Brussels, Evelyn Marche spends her days at the hospital and her nights working at a cafĂ© . . . or so it seems. Eve's most carefully guarded secret is that she also spends her nights carrying out dangerous missions as a spy for a Belgian resistance group.

When a plane crashes as she's en route to a rendezvous, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to recognize the badly injured pilot as British RFC Captain Simon Forrester. She risks her life to conceal him from the Germans, but as the secrets between them grow and the danger mounts, can they still hope to make it out of Belgium alive?

Normally I am not a fan of books set in the first and second world war, but have to say this book was very interesting, both from a historical sense and as a story in itself.  The story moves along at a fast pace and you have to keep up with it.  I learned a lot about spies and the underground network that I previously didn't know.  Once again the author's notes at the end fills in a number of questions you may have and as with many good books, this story includes both fact and fiction in it.

The love story between Eve and Simon is so interesting as well and what they went through throughout this book shows how much love can make you hold on to whats important.  There were many brave people in this book that risked their lives to help others.

Stars out of 5 :5 A really good book with plenty going on in it to keep you interested.  It's also educational, as I learned a thing or two from it.  I look forward to reading more books by Kate.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".