Friday, April 24, 2015

Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman

Sometimes it's nice to read a book purely for entertainment.  I like fictional stories that can capture my attention similar to watching a movie, but that are also free from the foul language and sexual immorality that is overtaking our culture.  I am pleased to say that Finding Me was one of those good stories!
The plot focuses on a young woman who discovers after her father's death that she had another family she had been taken from as a child.  She then goes on a search to discover who this family is and decide whether she should reveal the truth to them, or keep it a secret.  The scenario is a bit far-fetched, but the characters and their struggles are very real.
The only critique I have is that the ending felt a bit rushed.  The anticipation built throughout the story and then when that moment finally came I thought, "Wait...that's it?"  Give me some more dialogue and details!  The ending was sufficient...I just wanted more.
If you're looking for a book to take out to the pool this summer, this is a good choice!  There are also 6 discussion questions at the end of the book which can be used in a book club.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts

I first heard of Kara's story through a post on Facebook, leading me to her blog.  Here was a young mom, about my age, going through something I can't even imagine - battling terminal cancer.  I wanted to learn more about her journey and what she has learned through it.

This book gives glimpses into Kara's life in a very transparent and genuine way.  She expresses her heart clearly and urges the reader to apply the lessons she has learned to his/her own situation.  There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter to help with that.

One insight I appreciated was her discussion of Proverbs 1:33 which states "Whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster."  Kara reminds us that it doesn't say God will remove the disaster, but he can remove the dread if we really sit and listen to Him.  She writes "The dread and fear are what so often steal our peace and leave us on the edges of our moments exhausted.  We meet the scary of life and forget to turn to God and listen and know His peace.  We scramble to control, fix, and protect from hard.  The imagined fears and worries often break us more than reality." I think we all need reminders like slow down, listen, and trust God.

I did have a hard time grasping the time line of events Kara described in her story.  She does not use dates or many time frames to indicate a chronological order or how much time had elapsed between different stops on her journey. While I enjoyed the specific memories, it was difficult to see the whole picture.  It also took a while for me to get used to the way Kara sometimes uses adjectives as nouns. It would interrupt the flow of reading for me, until I realized it was just her style.  Pictures would have been a nice addition to the book as well.

Readers can learn more about Kara's story, and see pictures on her blog site:  I was saddened to read that she went to Heaven just a few weeks ago. (Not for her sake, but for those she left behind!) Now her loved ones are left with this beautiful keepsake, preserving her thoughts and encouraging words for generations to come.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from David C. Cook Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

7 Men by Eric Metaxas

There are 2 reasons I decided to read this book.  The first is that I didn't know much about these 7 men and I wanted to learn their stories.  George Washington. William Wilberforce.  Eric Liddell. Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Jackie Robinson (I was probably most familiar with him due to the recent movie 42). Pope John Paul II. Charles W. Colson.  Some of these names I had never heard.  Others I recognized but knew little about.  Each of them contributed to society in a way that is worth learning about and remembering.  Eric Metaxas writes is a style that is easy to read and kept my attention.

The second reason I wanted to read this book is for my three boys.  I think it's good for them to have male role models to look up to other than sports stars.  The author puts it this way: "This is a book that doesn't talk about manhood...but that shows it in the actual lives of great men.  You can talk about right and wrong and good and bad all day long, but ultimately people need to see it.  Seeing and studying the actual lives of people is simply the best way to communicate ideas about how to behave and how not to behave.  We need heroes and role models."  Will I have my sons read this someday?  Yes.  I think junior high and up would be an appropriate age.

This book could be read from start to finish, as I did, or the chapters could be read individually.  This would be a great resource for someone writing a report on any of these men.  An index at the back of the book can be used for reference.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.