Posted in Blogging For Books

Blogging for Books Review: “Far Afield” by Shane Mitchell

 

Far Afield: Rare Food Encounters from Around the World by Shane Mitchell

 

An extraordinarily photographed culinary travel book featuring profiles of the stewards of the world’s traditional foodways—farming, fishing, and herding methods—along with 40 recipes.

Journalist Shane Mitchell and photographer James Fisher have traveled the world on assignment for food and travel publications such as Travel + Leisure and Saveur. Along the way, they have encountered the fascinating people who are keeping some of the world’s oldest food traditions alive, such as taro farmers in Hawaii who have never left the islands, Maasai warriors in Kenya, and Icelandic shepherds who still use the techniques of their Viking ancestors. Full of compelling photography from far-flung locations, Far Afield profiles these people, sharing their unique and captivating stories along with forty recipes.

 

My Review:

This is a fascinating book. I’ve quite enjoyed going through it, reading the real-accounts, and browsing the pictures and recipes. It’s full of different cultures that is great to absorb. The recipes are all very intriguing and I will have to try several of them.
A very interesting and enjoyable book! Very colorful, fun, and inviting.
*I received a complimentary book through Blogging for Books.

 

Posted in Bethany House, Blogging For Books, Book reviews, BookCrash, Booklook Review, Books, God's Lessons, Litfuse, Moody Book Review, NetGalley Book Review, reading, Revell Reads, Reviews, update

An announcement of sorts

Good day to you, my much appreciated blog-followers! :)

As the title states, I do have an announcement to share with you all. And it’s rather large, in the sense that I didn’t think that I’d do this. But I’m content with this decision, because I know it is directed by God and He has shown Himself SO awe-some in every sense of the word. So my news is this:

 

I will no longer be reviewing books at the rapid pace that I have been – that I’ve been known for. In fact, I’ve gotten off several of the Book Review Programs. I’m taking a Sabbatical. (such a fun word, is it not?). The reason for this, in short, is that it is what the Lord has guided me to recently. It’s definitely time for a break. See, when I read and review books I am analyzing the book so I can justly review it, but by doing this constantly, I have formed a habit of being analytical in everything – and that is leaning on my own understanding, not God’s. It’s thinking through every little thing when I should have faith instead.  And I want to lean wholly on the Lord’s understanding instead of my own, and so I am obeying Him in this step back from reviewing.

 

Sabbatical

 

Truthfully, it is a relief. Yes, I have loved this season of reviewing – it has been a great experience! But I am now ready for a new season. I will still be reading (of course!) but at a more leisurely pace, and I won’t necessarily being posting reviews of every book, as the amount of review books I receive will be just about nonexistent.

However, I will be finishing out with the reviews I have already committed to, so there are a couple yet to come. And I’m not banishing myself from all book reviews, just really stepping back.

 

It’s a big change for me, I’ll be the first to admit it. I am a reviewer. But now, it is: I was a reviewer. My life doesn’t need to hinge on reviewing, and a breather will be nice!

I’ll still do my best to keep up with my blog here, and I’m still apart of some blog tours coming up. I’m just also going to be doing a lot of “de-stressing” which means de-cluttering, etc.

 

So, here’s to a new season! Thank you for understanding. :)

 

 

Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews, Chuck Black

Blogging for Books review: “Light of the Last” by Chuck Black

“Light of the Last” by Chuck Black

Book #3 in The Wars of the Realm Series (I believe it is also the final book?)

Review source: Blogging for Books

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

To Fight What Others Can’t You Must See What Others Don’t

After an accident left him temporarily blind, Drew Carter didn’t just regain his sight. He now sees what others can’t imagine–an entire spiritual realm of mighty beings at war.
 
Forget the gift, Drew just wants his life back. Part of that involves Sydney Carlyle, a woman he is inexplicably drawn to. When he’s offered the chance to become a CIA agent, it seems the way to redeem his past. The only problem–his visions of the supernatural realm are increasing in frequency.
 
It’s up to the warrior angel Validus and his hand-picked team of heavenly agents to protect the unbelieving Drew. Validus now knows that the young man is at the epicenter of a global spiritual war, and the angels must use a millennia of battle experience keep Drew alive, for the Fallen want him dead.
 
Surrounded by spiritual warriors and targeted by demons, Drew’s faced with an impossible decision that will forever alter the destiny of America…and his own soul.

 

My Thoughts:

Oh wow! How do I even begin to review this amazing book?! I loved it. So much so. Truly fantastic. I am a HUGE fan of Chuck Black and have been eagerly awaiting this third (and I believe, final?) book in The Wars of the Realm series – it’s finally here!! And SO worth the wait. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing, and the plot was so extensive and amazingly crafted. That is some serious God-given talent Mr.Black has!
Okay yeah, can I say what an extensive plot-line this book has, and the series as a whole? I was so impressed. Just about every story-thread was brought to completion and wrapped up so nicely. There was ONE story line I so badly want to continue though….I won’t say which for fear of spoiling it for you readers. But yes, another book series for two specific characters would be pretty…epic.
I really liked how it entwined both character-point-of-views of Drew Carter, and Validus. Both were engaging and equally exciting and enthralling.
And I just love how it’s about Spiritual Warfare. So amazing, and such a great, necessary reminder. Wow.
The technology shown in this book was incredible too. :) Amazing all the way around.
This book was just SO big! And I don’t mean in size. It just blows me away.
Usually I am fairly adept at writing helpful reviews, but when it comes to Chuck Black’s books….I love them too much to form a coherent sentence! I just want to shout at everyone “Read these books!!!!” :)
I appreciate how Mr.Black states in the beginning that “this is speculative fiction and it’s not intended to confuse or diminish the truth of God’s holy and inspired Word.” He does an excellent job depicting what the Bible does tell us and how he interprets what the Bible is silent on.
The one and only thing I had a different thought on was that sometimes the angels seemed more ‘angry’ than fierce as the Bible says they are, and that it sometimes portrayed that there aren’t enough angels to do spiritual battle for us, and I believe that God does provide enough. However, this wasn’t negative, nor did it affect my love for these books. Just a personal thought. And of course, as Chuck Black says himself: only God knows the whole story!! :)
The characters were so great, and I loved returning to them. Sydney is an amazing young woman and I hope I can be as much of a prayer warrior as she is (even though she’s fiction! :D).
So yes, absolutely amazing and I loved it soooo very much!!! I cannot wait to read this whole series over again.
~~~~~
I received a complimentary copy from the publishers and Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review which I have given.
Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews

Blogging For Books Book Review: “A Refuge at Highland Hall” by Carrie Turansky

Happy 2016 readers! I’m sorry I haven’t written an official post to welcome the new year – it’s been quite busy, and now I am trying to catch up on some reading and reviewing! So yes, 2016 should definitely hold more book reviews from this blog! Hopefully some “normal” posts too. :) I hope your year is blessed!

 

“A Refuge at Highland Hall” by Carrie Turansky

Book Three in The Edwardian Brides series

Review copy source: Blogging for Books

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

In this third and final book in the Edwardian Brides Series, you’ll be swept away to England and France in 1915 as the Ramsey family and their staff and friends face the dramatic challenges and losses of World War One, yet they also experience the hope and triumph that comes as they put their trust in God to carry them through. Penny Ramsey helps the family welcome a group of orphaned children to Highland Hall, but she soon discovers caring for them is more difficult than she’d expected. She writes to Alex Goodwin, a daring British pilot, who chases German zeppelins across the sky over the Front Line in France, and longs for the day she will see him again. You’ll be delighted by two pure and heartwarming romances: Penny and Alex, and Lydia Chambers and Marius Ritter, a lady’s maid and a prisoner of war. But most of all I hope you’ll be inspired by the characters’ examples of trusting God through the trials they face.
Fans of “Downton Abbey” will find many of the same elements in this series: A wealthy, aristocratic family living on a large English country estate with romance, conflicts, and family drama; and loyal servants with troubles and heartaches of their own.

My Thoughts:

This was a very light, good, clean read. Very much like Downton Abbey, only without the scenes you have to skip so that’s nice! The Christian theme through this book was good and pretty strong. If you like English, Downton Abbey-like books or WWI books, you should definitely give this series a try. :)
Penny and Alex’s story was my favourite. I know I haven’t read the first book of this trilogy, but out of each of the characters shown, Penny and Alex were most positively my favourite. I could easily relate to Penny, and Alex…well he was dashing. :) This story took place during WWI and it was very fascinating.
I did not care for Lydia’s story pretty much at all…I didn’t care for hers in the 2nd book either, and was a little dismayed to find it was continued in this book too. That’s not to say that nobody else will like it – I’m sure it is a favourite among many. It just wasn’t for me.
It was for that fact and the fact that Kate got on my nerves that I am giving this book a lower rating. I will be honest: I was really hoping and expecting for this book to be solely about Penny and Alex, but it was not – the other stories seemed almost more strong, and so that made it hard for me to really love this book.
But for the side of the story I did like, it was excellent Penny and Alex are great characters, and I loved watching their story unfold! They were an exceptionally sweet and strong couple, and I would’ve loved to have seen more of their story!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

 

Posted in Bethany House, Blogging For Books, Book reviews, BookCrash, Booklook Review, Books, Chuck Black, Heather Day Gilbert, Litfuse, NetGalley Book Review, reading, Revell Reads, Reviews, Tessa Afshar, Tyndale House, update

Another year past/2015

Hello! Today is the last day of 2015. I hope it was a good year for all of you! And I hope 2016 brings lots of blessings and lessons from our Lord too. :)

I am going to do my yearly post of books I read over the past year…so, here we go! I’m showing them from the latest I read to the first I read back in January of 2015. Each image should bring you to their GoodReads page and my review if applicable. :)

 

The Daughter of Highland Hall (Edwardian Brides, #2) 
 
 
 
 
 
Meant to be Mine (Porter Family, #2) A Dream Not Imagined: A Cinderella StoryThe Art of Losing YourselfFive Glass SlippersThe Choosing (Seer, #1)
The Fragrance of Geraniums (A Time of Grace, #1) The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest (Thornbeck, #1)Esther: The Story of a Woman Who Saved a NationSide by SideTrial by Twelve (A Murder in the Mountains, #2)
Beauty (Folktales, #1) The Salt CovenantsJoseph of Arimathea: A Tale of the ResurrectionFinding MeRise of the Fallen (Wars of the Realm, #2)
For the Joy Set Before Us: Insights into the Missionary Journey Brothers and BetrayalLove by the Letter (Unexpected Brides, #0.5)The Tomb: A Novel of Martha (The Living Water, #3)Remember the Lilies
Stay in the Castle Adventures and AdversitiesHow to Catch a Prince (Royal Wedding, #3)An Uncertain Choice (An Uncertain Choice, #1)Dauntless (Valiant Hearts, #1)
The Vow (An Uncertain Choice, #0.5) The Mystery of the Missing Cufflinks (The Regency Adventures of Jemima Sudbury, #1) The Crimson Cord: Rahab's Story (Daughters of the Promised Land, #1) Paper Hearts Journey to the Well
Both of Me Waltz into the Waves: A Cinderella StoryTiger LilyDeliver Me from Evil (Freedom #1)  Beyond All Dreams
 Cloak of the Light (Wars of the Realm, #1)
Most of them were very good, and some were so-so, and other’s weren’t a favourite. But ultimately, I had a very good reading year! Top ten favourites? Hard choice! But here are SOME, in no order:
“Resistance” and “Half-Blood” by Jaye L. Knight
“Not Abandoned” by MacKenzie Morganthal
“Brothers-in-Arms” by Jack Lewis Baillot (not published yet)
“The Fragrance of Geraniums” and “All Our Empty Places” by Alicia G. Ruggieri
“The Tomb” by Stephanie Landsem
“The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest” and “Golden Braid” by Melanie Dickerson
“Better than Peanut Butter Ice Cream” by Kristen Krueger
“Through Waters Deep” by Sarah Sundin
“Rise of the Fallen” by Chuck Black
“Dauntless” and “Chivalrous” by Dina L. Sleiman
Okay, so I realise I cheated a little and did more than ten, but there are only ten lines, so… :D
Some Honourable Mentions:
Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden
Waltz into the Waves by Sarah Holman
A Dream Not Imagined by Shantelle Mary Hannu
The Tethered World by Heather FitzGerald
Side by Side by Jana Kelley
For the Joy Set Before Us by Erica Fye
Annnnnd there were more I enjoyed. :) But I will end here. What books were your favourites of the year? Could you pick just a few? :D
Here’s to more reading in 2016!
Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews

Blogging for Books Book Review: “It’s Good to be Queen” by Liz Curtis Higgs

“It’s Good to be Queen” by Liz Curtis Higgs

Nonfiction

Review copy source: Blogging for Books

My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the book:

Sheba Journeyed Across the Desert with a Caravan of Riches,
 Only to Find the Greatest Treasure of Them All.  So Can You.

When it comes to famous queens of the Bible, we know the good one, Queen Esther, and the bad one, Queen Jezebel. Now meet the wise one, the queen of Sheba, who traveled to Jerusalem to test the mind and heart of a king.
 
Her quest for wisdom will surprise you, challenge you, inspire you, change you. This wealthy royal from antiquity will show you how to live boldly, seek after truth, ask the right questions, encourage others, receive graciously, and honor the Lord above all.
 
Shedding new light on this ancient biblical role model, Liz Curtis Higgs unveils timeless wisdom for all who aspire to please the king of Kings.

My Thoughts:

For some reason, non-fictions can sometimes be a trifle bit hard for me to get through. I adore reading, but non-fiction takes me much, much longer than the regular fiction piece would. I don’t know why. :)

But even so, when I saw this nonfiction book come up for review, I thought I would give it a chance, as I had been wanting to read one of Liz Curtis Higgs’ books for a while, and this seemed like a good opportunity.

The premise was interesting – there are so few verses about The Queen of Sheba in the Bible, but it was impressive that Mrs. Higgs could write a whole book on those verses. I hadn’t before given much thought to the Queen of Sheba, so it was definitely interesting.

There were some things I didn’t agree with – there was quite a bit of focus on make-up and looking nice in the beginning, even when the author said we wouldn’t focus on it since the Bible didn’t. Looking nice on the outside definitely isn’t the goal in life – it’s looking good on the inside for our Heavenly Father. Also, something else that bothered me was the vast use of Bible translations to get the point across. I just didn’t agree with that. It was making it seem like there was more to the actual few verses than there really were, and many of the translations were far off course from the actual verses. But I know there is much controversy on that subject, and I don’t wish to get into an argument. I just disagreed with it.

All in all, it was an interesting book, but not really a book for me. It didn’t really minister to me as much as I was hoping – it was good, and there were some good parts that I will keep in my memory, but overall, it just wasn’t a favourite. That doesn’t mean it won’t be a favourite for you, though. :)

 

Thanks to Blogging for Books for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have given. :)

Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews

Blogging for Books Review: “The Art of Losing Yourself” by Katie Ganshert

http://www.amazon.com/Art-Losing-Yourself-Novel/dp/1601425929

 

“The Art of Losing Yourself” by Katie Ganshert

 

Review copy source: Blogging for Books

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Every morning, Carmen Hart pastes on her made-for-TV smile and broadcasts the weather. She’s the Florida panhandle’s favorite meteorologist, married to everyone’s favorite high school football coach. They’re the perfect-looking couple, live in a nice house, and attend church on Sundays. From the outside, she’s a woman who has it all together.  But on the inside, Carmen Hart struggles with doubt. She wonders if she made a mistake when she married her husband. She wonders if God is as powerful as she once believed. Sometimes she wonders if He exists at all. After years of secret losses and empty arms, she’s not so sure anymore.
 
Until Carmen’s sister—seventeen year old runaway, Gracie Fisher—steps in and changes everything. Gracie is caught squatting at a boarded-up motel that belongs to Carmen’s aunt, and their mother is off on another one of her benders, which means Carmen has no other option but to take Gracie in. Is it possible for God to use a broken teenager and an abandoned motel to bring a woman’s faith and marriage back to life? Can two half-sisters make each other whole?

My Thoughts:

Having read and enjoyed Mrs. Ganshert’s book, “A Broken Kind of Beautiful”, I was glad for a chance to also read this newest book of hers. And while I enjoyed ABKOB more, I still found this a pleasant read.

My favourite and most engaging parts of the story to me were those from Gracie’s point of view. I felt for Carmen and her struggle, but it was easier for me to “bond” with Gracie, perhaps because she was closer to my age. And Elias was a remarkable character – I would like to know where Gracie’s and his story goes next.

There were some things in this book that I was not “sold” on. One particularly being about a magic eight ball and the brief story behind why Gracie and her friend at the time , couldn’t play with one. The friend’s mom had taken it away because she didn’t want her daughter playing with things that promoted/were associated with fortune-telling/magic. I fully agree with this mom, but in this story, it was told as if she was an angry, overbearing mom who was being mean and unfair – as if she was wrong. And then the magic ball became a “cute thing” in the book – I like when a there is an item that signifies something in a relationship, but not something related to magic and fortune-telling. (And if Elias was the strong Christian he was portrayed to be, I don’t think he would’ve “approved”). I guess most people don’t take it literally that the Bible tells us not to mix light with darkness. And any form of magic, fortune-telling, etc. is dabbling in the occult. I know people don’t like to hear that, but the Bible is very clear on it.

One other thing that sort of confused me is the maturity level of this book. Half the story would suggest it can be read by teens (Gracie’s story) but the other half, the more primary one (Carmen’s) had many intement details between husband and wife that shouldn’t necessarily be read by teens but rather a married person. I personally think that there shouldn’t be any kind of ‘sex-scene’ no matter the detail in any age book – even if I was married, I wouldn’t care to read such things. And while this book didn’t contain graphic details, it was still unnecessary in my opinion. A sweet, godly relationship can be portrayed without mentioning the sacredness between man and wife.  God had showed me recently about the verse “Whatever is pure, whatever is noble…think on these things” and how it pertains to everything in our lives – books, movies, tv. Everything – we are to put only God-honouring, pure, uplifting things before our eyes. Sometimes it’s very easy to forget that – I know I do. But I guess what I am saying, is that a lot of people think that there has to be “sex-scenes” to make the book worth reading, but I don’t think it is necessary. ‘Think on these things…’

I like Katie Ganshert’s writing style – I think it is very good, smooth, and well working, if that makes sense. :)

I find myself still often thinking about Gracie and her side of the story – it was one I enjoyed and with there was more of. :)

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review which I have given.