Saturday, May 19, 2018

Book Review: "Joey"

Joey is the true story of a horse rescued from abuse and neglect who becomes a therapist for traumatized children and their families. Blinded as a result of the neglect he suffered, Joey had some unique special needs. Yet those who met him, whether caregiver, wounded child, or fellow horse found comfort in his presence. Joey's story will introduce readers to equine therapy at its best.

Joey lived at Hope Reins in North Carolina. This book is also the story of that ministry, how it began and how God has used it to help many children and their families - all at no cost to those who attend sessions there. Volunteers are trained to care for the horses and to help the children work with them, but Kim Tschirret makes it clear that the rescued horses at Hope Reins are the children's therapists.

Joey is a fascinating story; I chose this book to preview for my daughters. I think they will love it! I recommend it not only to horse fans but also to readers who like to hear about God's work through unusual ministries. I thank Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy, so I could share my thoughts with you.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Book Review: "The Weaver's Daughter"

The romance in Sarah Ladd's newest book, The Weaver's Daughter, reminded me so much of Pride and Prejudice. That automatically made it a sweet read. But my favorite part was the setting. Ladd found an aspect I'd never heard much about but found quite fascinating. The Industrial Revolution really was a revolution, sometimes involving conflict, even violence. Through this story, Ladd shows how this played out in some places. Since the heroes of our story, Henry Stockton and Kate Dearborne find themselves on opposite sides of the issue, Ladd's readers get a touch of Romeo and Juliette to go with their Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth fix.

Ladd also uses Kate's situation and Henry's sister, Mollie's situation to reveal some of the struggles of women in that day. Kate not only finds herself unable to follow her heart to the man of her dreams but also unable to pursue her career of choice. She lives in a carefully controlled world in which she has little personal say. Ladd shows us she (and Mollie) find their way.

Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of this book, so I could share my opinion with you. I enjoyed the read and recommend it to you.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Book Review: "Pelican Point"

Pelican Point, Irene Hannon’s fourth Hope Harbor novel adds a few more fascinating couples to the Oregon town’s population. Though readers who have been following the series will recognize Marci Weber from a brief appearance in one of the previous novels, they’ll now get to learn her story. Marci is in Hope Harbor because she wants to be safe. Traumatized in her previous location, she wants to live a quiet life and offer something special to her community. Giving new life to the town paper lets her meet that second goal, but the first may prove illusive for a while.

Ben Garrison has happy memories of Hope Harbor but no plans to stay. Recently finished with his service as an Army doctor, he plans to settle his grandfather’s estate as quickly as possible and join a friend’s medical practice in Ohio. Learning that his grandfather left him a lighthouse that everyone wants to enjoy but no one wants to take responsibility for puts a bit of a snag in his plans.

As they get to know Ben and Marci, readers will also get to see what familiar characters, including two sea gulls and a seal, are up to now while meeting a few more residents. You don’t have to have read the previous books in order to enjoy this one, but I always enjoy recognizing people, and critters, from earlier books. I recommend this book to fans of romantic suspense and thank Revell for sending me a complimentary copy, so I could share these thoughts with you.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Book Review: "The Way of Abundance"

Through her newest book, The Way of Abundance, Ann Voskamp gives her readers 60 devotional thoughts to remind them of all the messages contained in her previous books. These thoughts are not taken from these books, but expand upon them, helping readers re-member.

Though Voskamp's gentle and poetic style is still evident in this book, I sometimes felt it was hampered, perhaps cut short, by the devotional format, as if she had to wrap things up too quickly, pushing readers to grasp the point before she was quite ready to deliver it. This only happened a few times, mostly near the front of the book. As always Voskamp leads her readers through her own personal journey (of both experience and study) through many solid truths.

Each devotional starts with a verse or two of Scripture and ends with questions for reflection. The book is divided into six sections containing ten devotionals in each.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan, so I could share my opinion with you. I highly recommend this read to anyone longing to learn more about living the abundant way.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Book Review: "If I Live"

The conclusion to Terri Blackstock's If I Run series is a game-of-cat-and-mouse race-for-the-prize - with the prize for the good guys being justice and life. Of the three books, it is the most intense as Casey, an innocent fugitive has no place left to hide and must prove her innocence before more people die.

The problem is: a corrupt police detective has people working for him everywhere. Casey doesn't know who she can trust. She only has Dylan, the private investigator hired to capture her, and an ally or two of his on her side. And Dylan is in danger of being found out, too.

I gave up trying to put this book down just a few pages in; I just had to know how the story would end. I loved Blackstock's conclusion. I also loved her author's note at the end. If you're tempted to skip it when you read this book, don't!

I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy of this book, so I could recommend it to you. Be sure you read the books of this series in order, though; their sequence does matter.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Review: "How Healing Works"

I'm sorry to say I was disappointed in this book. The author, Wayne Jonas, MD, promises "a revolutionary approach to healing and health." I'm interested in such things but did not find them in this book. Instead Jonas tells story after story after story of his patients and their responses to things he tried to do to help them. These stories seem tediously long and without a clear point - another step on this doctor's quest to find the secret to healing. When all is said and done, he concludes that people who have a positive outlook on life, loving support from family and friends, and a determination to get well have a better chance of getting and staying well than those who don't - regardless of what kind of medicine, traditional or alternative, they choose to use.

I did appreciate learning more about why the FDA is skeptical of alternative forms of medicine and why insurance companies don't usually cover it. I also appreciated his honesty about the strengths and weaknesses of both traditional and alternative treatments. The books I've read on these topics so far take one position or the other and present a clear bias. This author does not. He wants his patients (and readers) to find the healing and relief they need, he doesn't want to offer false hope, he does want to offer possibilities and encouragement.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Blogging for Books program.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Book Review: "The Push"

I asked my youngest daughter what she liked most about The Push: A Story of Friendship by Patrick Gray, and she said, "Everything!" She really enjoyed this book. I liked it, too. The book is a cooperative effort by real-life friends Gary and Justin Skeesuck (with drawings by Matt Waresak). Skeesuck's battle with a degenerative muscular disease has caused him to lose the use of his hands, but he colorized the images in the book using a voice-controlled computer program. I loved the soft colors he chose and the texture he gave to them.

The book tells how two boys, John and Marcus, become life-long friends when one moves in next to the other. Whenever John thinks he can't do something because he uses a wheelchair and can't use his hands, Marcus finds a way to help, so John can participate. Near the end of the book, John wonders aloud what he ever contributed to the friendship and why Marcus wanted to be his friend. Marcus's answer is inspirational and absolutely true.

Children who read this book will learn that friendship is more than just playing together nicely and that all people have something to contribute. They'll also learn how friends encourage and lift each other up. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it to my daughter, and I hope it's one she'll want to read again and again. I thank Tyndale Kids for sending me a complimentary copy. I recommend you go get this book, find a group of kids, and read it aloud to them.