Tag Archives: book review

My Favorite Book

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So, as with so many good intentions, I got way behind on my reading and posting book reviews.  It just occurred to me that there is no better re-entry point than the Book I am currently reading.  Every January I try to choose a new Bible reading plan that will take me through the Bible in one year.  I have accomplished this feat several times, but the last few years have been slightly overwhelming.  This year, I found the Archaeological Study Bible.  I already know that I will not likely make it through its entirety before December 31 makes its cold appearance.  The reason, however, is not that I am losing interest or “getting behind.”  I am thoroughly absorbed in The Story.  The historical footnotes and the archaeological articles on almost every page are utterly fascinating, and instead of reading for “the check mark” on the day’s reading assignment, I am slowly digesting the portions I can fit in to my daily schedule.  For the first time ever, I was disappointed that I had come to the end of Deuteronomy- sad that there were no more Moses stories to look forward to, yet excited to see what Joshua had in store for me.  This is no small thing for someone who knows the stories inside and out and gets bored easily with the re-telling.  I am LOVING the fresh excitement I have found as the Scripture comes to life with the customs of the time and the historical comparisons to other cultures of the era.

The Archaeological Study Bible is available in several translations.  If you want to revitalize your devotion or study time and you enjoy history and cultures, this just may be your solution!

Two Destinies – Elizabeth Musser

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Elizabeth Musser is quickly working her way onto my favorite authors list. This final part of the Secrets of the Cross Trilogy brought mixed emotions- anticipation to finally read the rest of the story and disappointment to turn the final page. Originally published in French, Secrets of the Cross is being republished in English to a brand new audience of readers.

Two Destinies brings us once again to Montpellier, France and Algiers, Algeria. This time the year is 1994, and Ophelie Duchemin and her half brother Eric Hoffman are young adults navigating the realities of the growing Islamic/Christian culture clash in southern France. As Ophelie is drawn to helping the homeless, Eric falls in love with Rislene, an Algerian Christian convert. When Rislene’s sister discovers the Bible under her mattress, their father sends both girls back to Algeria to live with their grandmother while a suitable Islamic husband can be found for Rislene.

Get up right now and get this book- or the entire series! Discover the fascinating world of North African culture during a time of struggle for independence from France and the ensuing battle for Islamic control.

The River Rose- Gilbert Morris

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First of all, let me say that for Christian Fiction you can’t go wrong with Gilbert Morris. Ever.  He just has a way of bringing historical time periods to life.

Set in Memphis, Tennesse during the Gilded Age, The River Rose includes everything one would associate with the time period: river boats, crime, political scandal, racial and gender prejudice, and class distinction.

Jeanne Bettencourt and Clint Hardin are very distant relatives who know nothing of each other until they are both summoned to Attorney Nate Deshler’s office to be informed, together, that they are the heirs of the Helena Rose, a Mississippi River boat.  With their combined experience, she as the daughter of a river boat captain and he with mechanical experience, they decide to put aside their mistrust and live and work together on the boat.  The antics and scandal that follow their decision make for an entertaining story that will take you back to a slower, fascinating time in American history.

 

Relentless Pursuit- Kathy Herman

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Louisiana Bayou.  Gourmet Cooking.  Small town life.  Murder by cyanide poisoning.

After fleeing his abusive father and changing his identity, Sax Landry now plays the saxophone in a New Orleans jazz band.  Years pass and Sax receives word that his mother and father are both dead.  After an intense internal struggle, he pursues the sister he left behind.  Will he find her?  Will she forgive him?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  Kathy Herman has my attention, and I am eager to read more from her.  The characters are not only believable, they are your family and neighbors.  Conversation flows naturally and is not contrived.  Having grown up on the Gulf Coast, I enjoyed escaping for a few hours to the Bayou!

What About Cimarron? – Lauraine Snelling

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Lauraine Snelling is a captivating author, and this book written for younger girls hits the mark.

Sarah lives near Mt. St. Helens with her parents, her sister, and Cimarron her horse.  When the volcano erupts, everyone is forced to evacuate immediately…no horses allowed.  As the days drag by and Sarah’s concern for Cimarron reaches its own eruption point, Sarah loses faith in God.  How could He allow this to happen?  With no end in sight for this terrible tragedy, Sarah devises her own plan to return to her home and save Cimarron.

This journey of young faith and growing compassion for others is a sure win with adolescent girls.  Whether you need a book report book once school starts or a rainy-day diversion for a boring summer day, you won’t be disappointed with What About Cimarron?

Cuts Like a Knife- M.K. Gilroy

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Kristen Connor is a detective that everybody likes, including the serial killer that has suddenly stepped up his game.  From her witty interaction with her family to her impressive self-defense skills, you will fall in love with Detective Kristen Connor!

M.K. Gilroy introduces us to his new heroine in Cuts Like a Knife, the first book of his Kristen Connor mystery series.  With action, drama, family dynamics, and a little bit of romance, this is a great book to spend a few hours with!

Crude Deception – Gordon Zuckerman

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World War 2 is over and the lines of power are being redrawn.  The Middle East is poised to become the world’s oil supplier, and a handful of people are positioning to control the market.  Will the Sentinels be able to expose the plot and raise enough international political and financial support to stop the evil?

Filled with political intrigue and a fascinating plot, this book should be a masterpiece.  However, it reads more like a documentary than a novel, and as much as I like to read and hate to not finish a book I’ve started, this one challenged my attention span to the limit.  I wanted so much to like it and kept pushing myself to become immersed in the story, but it just isn’t an attention keeper.  I did force myself to finish it because  I really wanted to like this book.  All of the elements are there – interesting characters, locale, international politics, nefarious activity – but it just doesn’t come together.

If you are interested in the subject matter, by all means, read the book; but if you are looking for a well-written, attention-keeping novel, I can’t recommend this one.  And it hurts me to say so.  Did I mention that I REALLY wanted to like this one?

Soup of the Day- Williams Sonoma

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365 days.  365 different soup recipes.  What’s not to love?  Organized in calendar format, the recipes make use of easy to find, seasonal ingredients.  I am trying to convince my family to take a 365 day soup challenge.  Okay, so maybe we would get tired of soup for dinner every day for a year, but so far all the recipes I’ve tried out on them have been keepers.  So far, our favorites are the Coconut Broth with Udon Noodles and Shrimp (I substituted chicken since we had shrimp the day before) and the Lobster and Sweet Corn Chowder (I substituted shrimp for convenience but will definitely try again with lobster).

I like recipe books, but only one other time have I found one that I like so much I would purchase as gifts for my friends.  This is definitely a recipe book that I highly recommend for your kitchen.  There are some recipe books that you have on your shelf to make guests think are a serious chef; there are some recipe books that you actually use on a regular basis.  This one will both impress your guests and be a regular go-to resource for delicious additions to your entertaining meals and hearty one-pot meals for your family.

Oregon Outback- Elizabeth Goddard

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Jonas Love is an FBI agent with regrets and some unrequested down time.

Carver Love is a successful rancher with a Texas-size ego and a soft spot for the beautiful sheriff.

Lucas Love is a business owner with an addiction to adrenaline and a fear of marriage.

Justin Love is a bounty hunter with an attitude and a secret agenda.

Four brothers.  Four women.  Four troubles.

An enjoyable summer escape to the Oregon Outback.  It is always a pleasure to visit places you’ve never been before, and Elizabeth Goddard has chosen a location not many writers have explored.  The unfamiliar, rugged setting makes the stories of the Love brothers all that much more interesting.  This one should definitely make your short list for summer vacation reading.

Coming Home- Karen Kingsbury

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She did it again!  Karen Kingsbury is a master story teller with a true gift for pulling on your heart strings.  Coming Home releases in just a few days, and you will want to be waiting at the door when your favorite bookseller opens- just make sure you have an uninterrupted block of time and a full box of tissues.  This very emotional conclusion to the Baxter series brings all the Baxter children home to celebrate their dad’s 70th birthday, but before they have a chance to read him the letters they have written for this momentous occasion, tragedy strikes.  How will this family, who has already experienced so much pain, move through this tragic experience with their faith intact?

If you are already a fan of the Baxter family, Coming Home will be a gripping conclusion for you.  If you have not read any of the Baxter family’s story, it will be an emotional introduction to this amazing story.  If you have never read Karen Kingsbury’s work, you are missing out on a fantastic writer!