Friday, November 6, 2015

Review: Oceans Apart

Oceans Apart Oceans Apart by Karen Kingsbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Summary from Goodreads

A riveting story of secret sin and the healing power of forgiveness. Airline pilot Connor Evans and his wife, Michele, seem to be the perfect couple living what looks like a perfect life. Then a plane goes down in the Pacific Ocean. One of the casualties is Kiahna Siefert, a flight attendant Connor knew well. Too well. Kiahna’s will is very clear: before her seven-year-old son, Max, can be turned over to the state, he must spend the summer with the father he’s never met, the father who doesn’t know he exists: Connor Evans. Now will the presence of one lonely child and the truth he represents destroy Connor’s family ? Or is it possible that healing and hope might come in the shape of a seven-year-old boy?

My Review

Karen Kingsbury always has a way of taking relevant issues and building stories that make you think. This book, Oceans Apart was no exception. From the moment I opened this book, I knew it was going to be a special story. I was right! To take such an issue as infidelity and it's consequences, and weave a story of redemption and grace, just wow!!!

The main character's Connor and Max, had no idea of the existence of each other. Connor's marriage was the picture of perfection, until tragic circumstances caused his world to collide with Max's. The heartbreak of infidelity combined with the very visible consequences in the form of a child, brought Connor to his knees. Not only that, his wife had to examine herself and make some difficult choices regarding the future. In the end, God's grace and mercy allowed the entire family to work through the difficulty and come out on the other side whole and restored.

From a Christian Perspective

There's not much more that I can say other than what the author portrays in the book. We will face many difficult situations in life. We have a choice to face them with God's grace or try to solve them through our own understanding. A verse that is repeated throughout the book is Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD." This pretty much sums it up. Either we are going to trust His ways or we are going to fail using our ways.

Love and Blessings!

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Review: Once Upon a Summer

Once Upon a Summer Once Upon a Summer by Janette Oke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Summary from Amazon

Josh Jones realizes his family isn't typical, but it's the only life he's ever known. Aunt Lou, Gramps, Uncle Charlie, Grandpa--they all have shaped the young man he has become. But as he grows into manhood, Josh begins to face important questions about life, love, and faith.

My Review

I enjoyed this historical fiction book. The story is told from the point of view of Josh, who is a young man that lives on a farm. Josh was a very likable boy and I fell in love with him and his spirit. Being a young man, Josh faced a lot of uncertainties and was a little bit loss. Thankfully Aunt Lou, Grandpa, Uncle Charlie and later Gramps were there to help him grow and shape him as a young man. I really enjoyed how this story was just about family and how in times of trial, they work together and become stronger. Throughout the book, I could tell how important each member of this family was to the other. I loved that even the men showed emotion and love in tangible ways. Definitely a nice, sweet read and I look forward to reading more in the series.

From a Christian Perspective

This book falls under the Christian fiction genre. Throughout the book, Josh is fighting with God, seeing Him as an enemy rather than an ally. He has that selfish outlook that many of us have when we forget about grace and look at God as only a giver. As I read the book, I recognized some of Josh's struggles as my own. In the end, Preacher Nat helps Josh to find his way to Christ and freedom from all of the anger and hurt. As Josh wept and confessed, he released those burdens that were weighing him down. He finally experienced the rest Jesus told us about in Matthew 11:28: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

This was a book in my personal collection. I was not compensated to provide a positive review.

Love and Blessings!

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Review: Song Yet Sung

Song Yet Sung Song Yet Sung by James McBride
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Song Yet Sung

Book Summary:

In the days before the Civil War, a runaway slave named Liz Spocott breaks free from her captors and escapes into the labyrinthine swamps of Maryland’s eastern shore, setting loose a drama of violence and hope among slave catchers, plantation owners, watermen, runaway slaves, and free blacks. Liz is near death, wracked by disturbing visions of the future, and armed with “the Code,” a fiercely guarded cryptic means of communication for slaves on the run. Liz’s flight and her dreams of tomorrow will thrust all those near her toward a mysterious, redemptive fate.

My Review

I had a little difficulty with this book due to the writing style and commentary. I'm used to light flowing writing and this was more poetic and a little heavy. Reading about slavery and the evil associated with it is always difficult for me. With that said, I did end up finishing the book and I liked it.

The character of Liz was very interesting, she was called the Dreamer because of her strange dreams. Her dreams told of an indescribable future, one where young black men are loud and angry. Others where young black men helped others to look towards hope and promise. I thought it was brilliant to tie the past and the present together in this way. It was apparent that those who heard the dream didn't always understand what she was seeing but they knew she was seeing something. For me, the dreams were a sign of hope for the future.

I also found the concept of the code intriguing. When under pressure, people become resourceful or they die. It's long been said that slaves could communicate and send messages faster than the white man could move from plantation to plantation. I love how that was woven into this story. True or not it was a very creative element.

Overall the book struck a chord in me. A desire to know more about the times that are so painful in my history. There is a need to know where we came from in order to teach our children, to guide them, to keep them from falling in to an entirely different form of slavery.

From a Christian Perspective>

There was one passage that really jumped out at me:

"It's God's world. He washes you clean. He makes you whole. He puts rain in your garden and sunshine in your heart. Just pray when you get free, child. Pray for what you done, and what you gonna do." Song Yet Sung, James McBride

That passage really says so much in so few words. We have been washed in the blood, cleansed from our sins, our hearts filled with joy. Prayer is what keeps up connected to Him. We need Him for guidance! We can't move forward without him!

Love & Blessings,

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Review: Summer of Secrets

Summer of Secrets Summer of Secrets by Charlotte Hubbard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Summary>
Summer of Secrets

Welcome to Willow Ridge, Missouri! In this cozy Amish town along the banks of the river, the Old Ways are celebrated at the Sweet Seasons Bakery Café, and love is a gift God gives with grace. . .

Summer Of Secrets

Summer has come to Willow Ridge, but Rachel Lantz is looking forward to a whole new season in her life--marriage to strapping carpenter Micah Brenneman, her childhood sweetheart. When a strange Englischer arrives in the café claiming to be the long-lost sister of Rachel and her twin Rhoda, Rachel feels the sturdy foundation of her future crumbling--including Micah's steadfast love. As the days heat up and tempers flare, Rachel and Micah will learn that even when God's plan isn't clear, it will always lead them back to each other. . .

My Review

It's no secret that I love Amish stories but they can seem to be the same ole same ole. This was not the case with this book. I thought the author did a great job with building the story from start to finish. I was really caught up in the story of Tiffany but the supporting stories were just as good. The author did a great job of bringing the English and Amish together and weaving the stories around the two cultures. The stories were well developed and the characters were believeable. When Miriam and the Bishop had their disagreement, I was really rooting for Miriam. And I had to smile at Rachel's overreactions when it came to Micah. The details were great and really helped me to imagine the scenes. I look forward to reading more books in this series.

From a Christian Perspective
I thought this book was a good example of Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

There were so many ways that Miriam could have gone when challenged by the Bishop but she chose to obey God. Also, Micah felt the Lord was calling him to reach out to Tiffany, and he listened to the Lord even knowing it could draw the Bishop's anger. I think they both exemplified what it means to lay down our life and receive the Lord's will. I thought there were many other examples in the book but these stood out for me.

Love and Blessings

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