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Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

The Wonder of Your Love, by Beth Wiseman, is a sweet story of a 40-year-old Amish widow named Katie Ann who is struggling to raise her baby son alone. She meets an Amish widower, Eli, who has raised his 6 children and is looking forward to spending time travelling and enjoying a life with fewer responsibilities. Eli is attracted to Katie Ann, but not interested in starting another family. Katie Ann was betrayed by her first husband, and is afraid to trust another man. Though they have a lot in common, neither of them is interested in anything but friendship—but God has other plans.

Eli’s family lives far away, and neither he nor Katie Ann wants to move away from those they love. Despite their growing attraction for each other, there are obstacles to overcome before they can find happiness together.

This is a well-written, enjoyable book. I liked the characters and the plot kept me interested. The secondary characters are involved in subplots that add to this story and also make it clear there will be future books in this series. This story was easy to follow even though I haven’t read the first book in the Land of Canaan series. I recommend it to anyone who likes stories about the Amish, or romances.

The Wonder of Your Love was given to me by the publisher, Thomas Nelson, for review.

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Knock ‘em Dead, the Ultimate Job Search Guide 2011 by Martin Yate, CPC, is an excellent resource book for anyone interested in applying for a job. It provides detailed information about writing resumes, networking, appropriate attire, what to expect at an interview, and how to handle a job offer. The author explains what certain types of interview questions are meant to reveal, and gives tips on how to answer them. He stresses the importance of knowing your own skills and weaknesses, and suggests how to use that knowledge to help you in your job search.

This isn’t the type of book I could read from beginning to end, though I tried. I ended up browsing the chapters, skimming through parts that didn’t seem related to my needs and reading the sections that fit my situation. The part about resumes was especially helpful to me as I hadn’t written one since employers began putting them into databases. I didn’t realize that many employers screen resumes with computer programs looking for keywords to determine whether or not the applicant might be a good fit for the job. The examples of potential interview questions, and the reasoning behind them, were very interesting. I plan to keep this book for future reference.

Although many of the topics are useful for any type of applicant, the majority of the information seems geared toward business professionals. Those looking for unskilled work would probably not find it as beneficial, but over all I would recommend this book.

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The publisher provided this book to me for review.

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Recently I received a book to review called Our Witchdoctors are too Weak. I posted my review as soon as I finished reading the book, just prior to getting an email asking me to post it during the first week of April as part of a virtual book tour. To make up for posting prematurely, I’m contributing to the tour by listing the other reviews for this book on my blog. If you’ve reviewed this book and are not listed here, let me know and I’ll add your site to the list.

I enjoyed this book, and admire the authors for their dedication to the Wilo tribe. Living in the Amazon in order to learn and record an unwritten language isn’t something I’d be willing or able to do, but I can and do encourage others to read about the authors’ experience.

If you’d like to know more about Davey and Marie Jank’s book, take a look at the reviews by: 

Carol Benedict

Valerie Comer

Carol J. Garvin

Tana Adams               

Sharon A. Lavy

 Jenn

Sue Harrison

Susan Panzica

Our Witchdoctors Are Too Weak: The Rebirth of an Amazon Tribe

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think about it?

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Our Witchdoctors are too Weak, by Davey and Marie Jank, relates some of the adventures Davey Jank experienced as a missionary to the Wilo tribe, deep within the Amazon jungle. He tells his story through a series of personal anecdotes, beginning with his arrival in the remote village of Pakali and ending with the fulfillment of his goal—sharing the Bible with the Wilo people in their own language.

As their language was completely oral, the missionaries assigned to the village had to devise an alphabet and convert the sounds they heard into a written language before they could begin teaching the Word of God. In order to ensure their message would be understood in the proper context, the missionaries had to learn the customs and beliefs of the Wilo people as well as their language. This took many years, but Davey Jank remained faithful in his service to God and to the villagers. Eventually he and his team were able to share the message of God’s love with them, helping many of the people to find hope and peace through faith in the saving grace of Christ’s death and resurrection.

I enjoyed reading about the Wilo’s culture, especially their daily activities and religious beliefs. Since Pakali was far from any large town, I was surprised to learn the villagers had some modern conveniences, such as outboard motors on their canoes and aluminum pans for cooking. Their beliefs, however, were similar to those of earlier generations, including shamanism and the fear of witchdoctors. Yet they waited eagerly for someone to translate “God’s Talk” into their language so they could break free of the fears that ruled their lives. That someone was Davey Jank.

The authors’ wry humor and conversational writing style make this book an easy read. The chapters are all very short, with each one covering a separate incident, making it a good choice for those who want something interesting to read during breaks from work or other activities. It isn’t preachy or judgmental, so even non-Christians might enjoy reading this book, but its message is profound. I highly recommend Our Witchdoctors are too Weak.

To get a feel for the entertaining—yet informative—style and content of this book, visit the Jank’s website. You can buy this book on Amazon.com.

Our Witchdoctors Are Too Weak: The Rebirth of an Amazon Tribe  

 

 

(This book was provided to me for review by a representative of the publisher, Monarch Books.)

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This is the true story of Kristen Jane Anderson, a 17-year-old girl who suffered from depression so severe that she could no longer cope with life. In an impulsive decision to end her emotional pain forever, she lay down on the railroad tracks in front of an oncoming freight train. Both of her legs were severed but, miraculously, she survived.

When her suicide attempt failed, Kristen had to deal with a new reality—living life from a wheelchair. Her physical pain was intense, but the emotional trauma she’d dealt her family by her action was also difficult for her to cope with. Her future seemed even bleaker than before. Even with counseling and medication, Kristen struggled to find a reason to go on living.

Broken in body and spirit, Kristen finally turned to God for help. As she grew in faith, Kristen realized that the trials she’d faced had brought her to a close personal relationship with God. That relationship gave her a sense of purpose and hope that had been missing from her life.

Kristen began sharing her story with troubled teens in small group settings, encouraging them not to give up hope for a better life. As her message spread, she was asked to speak at colleges and seminars all over the United States. Eventually she formed a nonprofit organization called Reaching You Ministries, which provides help and counseling for suicidal and depressed teenagers.

Though the events Kristen describes are unique to her situation, the emotions she and her family experienced are ones many readers will relate to. Anyone who has dealt with depression, or is close to someone suffering from it, will be encouraged by Kristen’s message. Hers is a sad story, but also uplifting. I recommend Life, In Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson, as told to Tricia Goyer.

 

This book was provided to me for review by the publisher, WaterBrook Multnomah.

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A light-hearted romance story with a message of hope for a better life, A Suitor for Jenny, by Margaret Brownley, wins a 5-star rating from me. This is a book I read straight through, without noticing the hours passing as I waited for a good place to stop reading. I loved the characters, and the plot was full of interesting twists that made me want to find out what happened next.

After reading an article saying that Rocky Creek, Texas is full of rich bachelors, Jenny Higgins brings her two younger sisters to town to find suitable husbands.  With a guide book called The Compleat and Authoritative Manual for Attracting and Procuring a Husband, Jenny thinks she’ll be able to quickly match her sisters up with men who’ll take good care of them, relieving her of the responsibility of supporting them herself. She wants them to be happy, but tries to make her sisters and the men in town behave according to the strict rules she read about in her manual. No one cooperates.

Marshal Rhett Armstrong has his hands full trying to appease the outraged citizens of Rocky Creek, who expect him to do something about the bossy young woman who’s taken over their town. While Jenny’s conduct isn’t criminal, the men definitely feel they need to be protected from her. As she stole his heart as soon as she arrived, Rhett understands their concerns.

This is an inspirational romance, but it isn’t preachy. It deals with real issues, including poverty, abuse, jealousy, and lack of self-esteem, but isn’t depressing. I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.

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A Suitor for Jenny 

 

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This book was given to me by Thomas Nelson Publishers for review purposes.

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Life Without Limits, by Nick Vujicic, is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve read in a long time. It left me feeling inspired and motivated to work harder to achieve my own goals in life.

Nick Vujicic had to overcome physical challenges that few people face, but his emotional struggles are ones most of us can relate to. Born without arms or legs, he desperately wanted to fit in and experience the same things other kids did. His parents helped him achieve a certain amount of independence, and he taught himself how to perform many tasks that I’d never have thought possible for a person without arms or legs. An adept swimmer, he also learned to surf. He even defended himself against a bully on the school playground. Yet his physical achievements aren’t as amazing as his emotional strength.

During his youth, Nick faced and overcame serious depression. He began reaching out to others facing tough circumstances and helped them find hope for the future. His own sense of purpose grew stronger as he became acquainted with people all over the world that needed someone to encourage them not to give up their dreams.

Still in his twenties, Nick is already an accomplished motivational speaker, Christian evangelist, and businessman. His positive attitude and insightful suggestions for overcoming life’s trials have made an impact on people wherever he’s travelled. One of the many comments he made in his book that had an impact on me is this: “You may not control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond.”(p.33)

I highly recommend Life Without Limits.

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“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.”

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Nick Vujicic also has a website called Life Without Limbs

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This is a sequel to Broken Angel, which I read months ago and thoroughly enjoyed. Flight of Shadows continues the story of Caitlyn Brown, a genetically altered young woman who escaped from a vicious bounty hunter in the territory called Appalachia, only to find herself in greater danger in the society Outside. The government, the bounty hunter, and the scientists who created her all want Caitlyn—dead or alive.

Caitlyn becomes friends with an elusive, crafty man named Razor. The two of them escape from the agents pursuing her and look for the man Caitlyn’s father told her would help her start a new life. The government agent, Carson Pierce, is forced to work with Razor after being betrayed by someone in his agency, and they unravel the mystery behind Caitlyn’s birth.

There are so many twists and important characters in this book that I think I would have been confused about what was happening if I hadn’t read Broken Angel first. The author does a good job of explaining the backstory, but the setting and structure of the society is a bit hard to understand.

I was disappointed in the ending, but overall thought this was an interesting story. The society it portrayed was depressing but believable. I’d recommend this book to friends, but it isn’t an easy or pleasant read.

 

Flight of Shadows - Sigmund Brouwer

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

 

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Angels, by Dr. David Jeremiah

The title of this book says exactly what it is about, and the content reveals what the Bible says about them. There is no doubt the author has thoroughly researched the Bible and many reputable sources to arrive at his conclusions about the nature and purpose of angels.

The book begins with an overview of the Biblical references that mention angels. Dr. Jeremiah then proceeds to interpret the possible implications for us today. I liked the way he explains the basics about angels: their existence as created spiritual beings; their purpose as servants acting according to their master’s will and with his authority; their appearance in times of need; their job as messengers and also as warriors.

Dr. Jeremiah shows that the typical image we have of angels is not based on the Bible’s teachings. Through time, people have formed an image fitting their vision of what an angel should be rather than of what God created them to be.

Dr. Jeremiah has an engaging writing style that keeps the facts from sounding like a textbook. He explains his views and supports them with quotes from other sources. Though there is no way to prove his conclusions, his beliefs are well thought out and explained. This is a thought-provoking book, and I highly recommend it.

If you’re interested in buying this book, this is the link to see your options:

http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781601422699&ref=externallink_mlt_Angels_sec_1208_01

 

Angels, by Dr. David Jeremiah

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

 (Normally I don’t put reviews on the main page of my blog, but I accidently posted it here and sent this link to the publisher–so it’s staying here.  I also posted this review on my Book Reviews page so it will be easily accessed later.)

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Reviewing books is a pleasure for me, but also a responsibility. I feel I owe the readers of my blog and the authors of the books I read a fair, thoughtful assessment. In an effort to provide quality reviews, I’ve examined those written by professional reviewers, and researched articles for tips on how to go about it. Here are a few of the things I think are most important to keep in mind.

1. A review isn’t supposed to be a book report. Give a brief overview of what the book is about, but concentrate on your reaction to it. How did it make you feel? Were the characters believable? Was the setting clear? Was there a theme or point made that was especially interesting?

2. Don’t give away the whole story, and don’t reveal the climax or the ending. Keep the review short but helpful.

3. Assess who the target audience is and whether you think the book is appropriate in content, style, and difficulty.

4. For nonfiction, mention whether the organization, format, and style are effective for the book’s purpose. For example, if there are maps, indexes, or other features, tell readers whether they were helpful, easy to understand, or lacking in some way.

5. Give praise where it is due, with specific examples of what you liked in order to support your opinion.

6. If you have a valid criticism of the book, tactfully mention what you disagreed with or disliked, and why.

People who read reviews want an honest opinion from someone who has read a particular book to help them determine whether it is worth investing their time and money in it. Give them the help they need, in a way you’d appreciate if you were the author. Maybe, someday, it will be your book someone is talking about.

Do you read reviews before deciding to buy a book? What do you want to know about a book before you decide to read it? Do you have a favorite site for reading book reviews?

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