Friday, August 28, 2015

When I Pray What Does God Do? by David Wilkinson (Book Review!)

When I Pray What Does God Do?

By David Wilkinson

(received in exchange for an honest review)

When I Pray What Does God Do

Genre- nonfiction / Christian / Prayer

Published by- Monarch Books (Lion Hudson)

Copyrighted- 2015

Number of pages- 222

Age Group- Adult 

Description of book- paperback, listed price- $14.99, ISBN 978-1-85721-604-5

Professor David Wilkinson has written this book to explain the different myths and scientific explanations, which are used to explain what happens when prayers are not answered. 

Wilkinson uses scientific reasoning, answers from the Bible, and his own experiences to answer the questions.

Read an excerpt.

About the Author-

Professor David Wilkinson has doctorates in astrophysics and theology.  He is Principal of St. John’s College, Durham.

My thoughts-

I thought When I Pray What Does God Do? was interesting.

I could tell Wilkinson was very interested in his subject matter both from a scientific point-of-view and a biblical point-of-view.  He covered the subject of myths, out-of-date science, and new science and how they contradict what it is that it is said that God is doing when we pray. 

The best chapters were the two that discussed what God taught us about prayer and how God does or does not respond to prayer.

I think this book could have had shorter chapters, summaries at then end of each chapter, and discussion questions to help tie everything together.

I think that with a little bit more work this book could be great.  I recommend that people read it to see what they think.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received When I Pray What Does God Do?, by David Wilkinson, for free from the Kregel Publications’ Blog Tour.  All links were current when posted.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Oswald: Return of the King by Edoardo Albert (Book Review!)

Oswald: Return of the King (Book 2 of The Northumbrian Thrones)

By Edoardo Albert

(received in exchange for an honest review)

Oswald Edoardo Albert 

Genre- Fiction / Christian / Historical

Published by- Lion Hudson

Copyrighted- 2015

Number of pages- 448

Age Group- Adult 

Description of book- paperback, listed price- $14.99, ISBN 978-1-78264-116-2

Cadwallon is now the king of Northumbria, but Oswald is the rightful king.  He has been exiled for many years on the island of Iona with monks and his brother, Oswiu.  He has learned to fight with courage, but he would much rather just be a monk.  The abbot would like him to be the person he is supposed to be.  The abbot needs a king who will help spread the faith. 

Will Oswald fight Cadwallon and win?  What will Penda, the pagan king do if Oswald becomes king?

This book also contains a synopsis for Edwin: High King of Britain, a list of characters, glossary, and a historical note.

About the Author-

Edoardo Albert has written for Time Out, History Today, and Minerva.  He is also a historian.

My thoughts-

One of my favorite time periods to read and learn about is the 1800’s and the American West.  My other favorite time period to read and learn about is the time when King Arthur could have lived. 

Oswald: Return of the King, was interesting.  I enjoyed learning more about one of my favorite time periods.  I did think that this book was a bit too long.  If around a 100 pages were eliminated, I think the book would have been a perfect length.  It is possible however that by doing that it would ruin the storyline. 

I enjoyed the historical note at the end of the book.  It was fun learning about the history that this novel was based on.  Since there were so many characters, I found the character list to be of great use.  The map and pronunciation guide were helpful as well.  I often referred to the glossary, because of the word, “wyrd.”  I kept thinking it meant word, but it means fate or destiny.  I was grateful for the synopsis of Edwin: High King of Britain.  I appreciate it when authors put them in their book series. 

My favorite character was Brother Aidan, because he was the most most likeable character.  He was also mentally and spiritually strong.  Oswald was not.  He needed to be a much stronger king.  He never should have been a king.  He was a good person though, because of all of the time he spent with the monks.

Albert did a wonderful job of writing this book from a historical point-of-view.  I highly recommend it.

Here is my review of Edwin: High King of Britain.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received Oswald: Return of the King, by Edoardo Albert, for free from the Kregel Publications’ Blog Tour.  All links were current when posted.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Heartbreak Trail: An Andrea Carter Book by Susan K. Marlow (Book Review!)

Heartbreak Trail: An Andrea Carter Book (Circle C Milestones 2)

by Susan K. Marlow

(received in exchange for an honest review)

Heartbreak Trail Susan K. Marlow

Genre- Fiction / Historical / Christian / Young Adult

Published by- Kregel Publications

Copyrighted- 2015

Number of pages- 168

Age Group- Young Adult (12+)

Description of book- paperback, listed price- $9.99, ISBN 978-0-8254-4368-8

Andrea’s fifteenth birthday is coming up and she really wants to show her family that she can help drive the cattle to market.  Her mother does not want her to go, but she allows it after Andrea show her articles about other women who do not conform to what everybody expects of them.  Andrea can only be the cook’s helper.

Along the two week journey there are ornery horses and cows, a dangerous river crossing, and the chance to really help her brothers.  Will she be able to help them or will she give up?  Will the cowhands accept her?

About the Author-

Susan K. Marlow currently lives in Washington.  She is a writes, teaches writing workshops, and shares information about being a homeschooling parent.

My thoughts-

Right after the title page of this book there is a page with the word endurance, it’s definition, and a verse, Philippians 4:13.

Endurance certainly is the theme for this book.  Andrea decides that for her fifteenth birthday, she would like to go on the two-week cattle drive to Los Angeles.  She discovers that it is much more difficult than she thought it would be.  She has early mornings, mosquitoes, and a river, which is very difficult to get the cattle through.  I really admired how well she stuck with her brothers and did not give up.  I am sure there are many young adults her age today that would give up and demand to go back home.  Andrea sets a good example for all young ladies.  They must not give up, they can work hard with young men, and they can still be young ladies.

Heartbreak Trail was an excellent book.  I highly recommend it to everyone.  I cannot wait for the next book. 

P.S.  Even though it is the second book in the series, it is not necessary to read the other one first.  You will want to read all of the books about Andrea after reading this one.

My review of Thick as Thieves.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received Heartbreak Trail: An Andrea Carter Book, by Susan K. Marlow, for free from Kregel Publications’ Blog Tour.  All links were current when posted.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Direct Hit by Mike Hollow (Book Review!)

Direct Hit (The Blitz Detective)

By Katharine Swartz

(received in exchange for an honest review)

Direct Hit Mike Hollow

Genre- Fiction

Published by- Lion Fiction

Copyrighted- 2015

Number of pages- 318

Age Group- Adult

Description of book- paperback, listed price- $14.99, ISBN: 978-1-78264-127-8

We are taken back to the beginning of the London Blitz during WW II in Direct Hit, by Mike Hollow.

Detective Inspector John Jago and his associate know who the victim is, but the body is obliterated by a bomb.  Now they have to build their case without it.  It will be even more difficult, because the victim, Charles Villiers, was disliked by many people and had many secrets.

About the Author-

Mike Hollow currently lives in Basingstoke with his wife.  He has worked for the BBC and Tearfund.  He is a freelance writer and editor.

My thoughts-

One of my favorite genres to read is mysteries, so I was excited when I was given the chance to read this book.

I enjoy reading historical fiction.  I thought it was great how this book included the thoughts and feelings about the people who were in the direct paths of the bombings.  It also included the differences between the upper class and working class.

At some points in this book I kept getting the different characters confused.  Sometimes they were called by their last name and sometimes their first.  They were also so similar that I wasn’t sure what part they played.  A list of characters at the beginning of the book would have been helpful.

I liked the map in the front.  I was able to know what side of London was being hit.  I do wish the acknowledgements were in the front of the book.  It would have tied the information together.

I enjoyed meeting Detective Inspector John Jago and the other people in this book.  I look forward to reading more books by Mike Hollow.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received Direct Hit, by Mike Hollow, for free from the Kregel Publications’ Blog Tour.  All links were current when posted.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz (Book Review!)

The Lost Garden (Book 2, Tales from Goswell)

By Katharine Swartz

(received in exchange for an honest review)

 The Lost Garden

Genre- Fiction

Published by- Lion Fiction

Copyrighted- 2015

Number of pages- 350

Age Group- Adult

Description of book- paperback, listed price- $14.99, ISBN: 978-1-78264-137-7

A walled garden.  Three young women.  Two different time periods.

Marin is now the guardian of her half sister, Rebecca.  They decide to move Goswell, where they find a walled garden near their house.  It captures their interest and with the help of a local gardener they are able to get in and begin to discover its secrets.

Eleanor lives in 1919 and is the vicar's daughter in Goswell.  Her brother was killed in the war and the whole family is grieving.  She decides she would like to work on the walled garden, the old vicarage garden.  She becomes friends with the gardener and begins to heal.

About the Author-

Katharine Swartz currently lives in the Lake District with her husband and children.  She writes contemporary romance as Kate Hewitt.

My thoughts-

I enjoyed this book in the series as much as I did the first one, The Vicar's Wife.  I learned more about England, especially about what it was like after the end of World War I.  I had never learned a lot about what life was like for the servicemen after the war or about the great numbers of lives that were lost in some of the battles in my world history classes.  This book has peaked my interest about learning more about what happened in England after the war.

As with the first book, I enjoyed reading both story lines.  I was eager to read all the chapters about everyone.  It was fun reading about some of the characters who were in the first book.  It reminded me how much I enjoyed it.

It was interesting learning about about how it was such a big deal about the class difference between Eleanor and the gardener, Jack.  I did not know there was a such a difference by World War I.  I thought that gardeners and vicars would have been closer classes.  When the story was about Marin and Rebecca, the class difference was not a big deal.  Their story reminded me about The Secret Garden, with the special garden that healed several people.  God was able to heal Eleanor, Marin, and Rebecca through nature and the garden.  Many people find nature and gardening healing, I know I do.

All of the characters grew on me.  I enjoyed meeting them and learning more about them.  I am looking forward to the next book.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received The Lost Garden, by Katharine Swartz, for free from the Kregel Publications’ Blog Tour.  All links were current when posted.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Day of Atonement by David A. deSilva (Book Review)

Day of Atonement: A Novel of the Maccabean Revolt

by David A. deSilva

(received in exchange for an honest review)

Day of Atonement David A. deSilva

Genre- Fiction / Historical

Published by- Kregel Publications

Copyrighted- 2015

Number of pages- 320

Age Group- Adult

Description of book- paperback, listed price- $15.99, ISBN 978-0-8254-2471-7

Jason wants to help his city of Jerusalem become more modern with the help of the Greeks.  His brother, Honiah III, the high priest, wants the city to stay the same.  Who will win?  What lengths will the Greeks and the Jews go to keep the city the way they want it to be?

There is an author’s note and character list also in the book.

About the Author-

David A. deSilva has written over twenty books.  He currently lives in Florida with his family.  He serves as Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland.

My thoughts-

I thought this book was not very interesting when I first began it, but the more I read it, the more I liked it and became invested in the characters.  I have not studied this time in history, so I learned a lot.  I appreciated that this book was historical fiction.  Often it is much easier for me to learn about history with a book that is fiction rather than nonfiction. 

There were a lot of characters.  David deSilva did a good job of describing them, so compared to many other books with a lot of characters, I did not get them confused as often.  I was pleased to see the list of characters in the back.  It helped me when I had questions about whether a person know from ancient sources or made for this story.  I would have like the list of characters to be in the front of the book.  Many people might miss the list, because it was in the back.

I did not like how the book ended.  I wanted to know how the revolt ended.  I learned that the Jews were becoming the victors, but there was no concrete ending say that the Jews were able to take back Jerusalem. 

I would recommend Day of Atonement to anyone who wishes to learn about the Maccabean Revolt and read a good novel.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received Day of Atonement: A Novel of the Maccabean Revolt, by David A. deSilva, for free from Kregel Publications’ Blog Tour.  All links were current when posted.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Marriage on the Mend by Clint and Penny A. Bragg (Book Review!)

Marriage on the Mend

by Clint and Penny A. Bragg

(received in exchange for an honest review)

Marriage on the Mend 2

Genre- Christian Life / Love & Marriage

Published by- Kregel Publications

Copyrighted- 2015

Number of pages- 248

Age Group- Adult

Description of book- paperback, listed price- $15.99, ISBN 978-0-8254-4234-6

 Does your marriage need saving?

Clint and Penny A. Bragg, who have gotten back together after a divorce, have written Marriage on the Mend, to help both of you.

This book is full of helpful information, links to videos, and questions, to help your marriage.  They have also filled this book with their experiences.

About the Authors-

Clint and Penny A. Bragg work as marriage missionaries through their nonprofit organization, Inverse Ministries.  The website is www.inverseministries.org.  

My thoughts-

I thought this book was well written and one of the best books I have read about mending marriages.

I liked having the QR codes in the book, but I do not have a reader.  I tried finding the videos on the internet, but it was a hassle to get to them.  I finally found them on YouTube, but every time I wanted to watch them I had to look through all of the videos.  They were not in the same order as they were in the book.  I did not want to download them on my computer from the internet either, from Inverse Ministries.  Though there was a lot of hassle with trying to get to the videos, I really enjoyed watching the videos I did watch.  All of that being said, if you can watch the videos, great, if not everything is covered in the book.

I really liked how this book was written for both men and women, many of the marriage books I have seen are either for the man or the woman. 

I liked the questions at the end of the chapters and all of the helpful bits of information for healing the relationship.  I think it was great that the Braggs wrote this book.  They have gone through all of these experiences and once they began to lean on God, their relationship grew stronger.

This is a book I can recommend to all married couples who need to heal after a crisis, separation, or divorce.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received Marriage on the Mend, by Clint and Penny A. Bragg, for free from Kregel Publications’ Blog Tour.  All links were current when posted.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.