Thursday, August 17, 2017

I'll Push You

I'll Push You: A Journey of 500 miles, Two Best Friends, and One Wheelchair *****
by Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck

Overview: This is a story about the friendship between two men. The book follows their trek across the mountains of Spain and is sprinkled through with flashbacks of their life-long friendship. The chapters switch back and forth between the two guys writing.

Patrick and Justin had always gone on crazy adventures together, but then Justin started to lose the use of his legs due to a disease. It didn't take long for Justin to be completely paralyzed. But neither Justin or Patrick gave up their sense of adventure. Instead, they tackled this incredible journey.

Positive elements: Clear, well-written, sweet story of friendship. The guys share light-hearted stories of their childhood, describe the amazing trek, introduce us to fellow sojourners, and also share very serious, personal struggles they've faced.

Negative elements: Some of the childhood stories got a bit boring. I felt like they were kind of trying to make the book a bit longer.

Conclusion: I really loved how at the end of the book they talked about not just wishing you did fun things with your friends and family but actually going out and making memories. I probably can't go with a friend or my family on an overseas adventure, and film a documentary, but I can take the time to make some great memories with the wonderful friends and family I have been blessed with right here at home.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Unexplainable Church

The Unexplainable Church: Reigniting the Mission of the Early Believers *****
by Erica Wiggenhorn

This ten-week Bible study covers Acts 13-28. Each week covers roughly one chapter of Acts. Homework is broken into five daily assignments each week. Each day you read a passage of a scripture or more. There are questions to think through and some commentary by the author.

I enjoy Erica's studies because they seem to have a good balance of thought-provoking questions and commentary. In some Bible studies I've done, the questions seem so easy that I really don't have to think at all. I have been challenged, encouraged, and inspired by studying Acts.

Erica's first study The Unexplainable Life covered Acts 1-12.

I would highly recommend Erica's Bible studies to anyone. She provides free resources if you want to use this as a group study. I've found her studies work great for groups because of the great questions.

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy *****
by Eric Metaxas
Overview: Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a pastor and theologian living in Germany during WW2. Like the title states, he was not only a pastor with a prophetic understanding of the times but also became a spy and a man who eventually gave his life trying to stop Hitler.
Eric Metaxas starts this biography from the very beginning with Bonhoeffer's parents and continues until his death a few weeks before the end of the war. The book is full of letters, quotes, photos, and rich details about this man's amazing life.
Positive elements: A wonderfully written book and powerful story of God's mighty working through Bonhoeffer and so many other men and women during this awful time in history.
Negative elements: Some might see the length of the book (608 pages) as a deterrent, but it is so worth the time to read.
Conclusion: I have wanted to read this hefty book because I have read so many of Bonhoeffer's quotes in other books. He was a genius and had an amazing gift of explaining things about God and about life. He didn't set out to be a great hero; he simply obeyed God day-by-day in a culture that was slowly drifting away from following Jesus and believing the Bible. His story has greatly impacted me.
Historically, I learned a lot about Hitler and WW2 from a German point-of-view, which was very interesting and horrifying.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Day it Snowed Tortillas

The Day it Snowed Tortillas *****
by Joe Hayes

The Day it Snowed Tortillas is a lot of little stories put into one book. My favorite story was "The Thief." It is about three brothers who go to live with their god fathers so they could learn to make money. Their family was poor. The first brother learned to make clothes. And the second brother learned to make shoes. But the third brother learned to be a thief. They can only find work at the palace so the king put the third brother to many tests because he was a thief. And that is why "The Thief" is my favorite story.  
by Sabrina Staples, 9                                                                                              

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Kidnapped Prince: the life of Olaudah Equiano

The Kidnapped Prince: The life of Olaudah Equiano  *****
By Ann Cameron

Overview: This was an awesome book about a black boy who gets kidnapped when he is little, then is sold into slavery. He gets kidnapped with his sister, who the people end up separating from him. He meets his sister one other time in his life, then they never see each other again. This book is about Olaudah's life as a slave, being passed from owner to owner. It's a very hard life. He does meet some people that are very nice to him, though. 

I love this book because it shows how in the end he trusts God even more than he did in the start. There are a lot of parts where only God was the one who rescued him. He has a really hard life, and there are a lot of details. This is also a true story. In 1789, Olaudah published his autobiography. This was a great story!

Positive Elements:  Friendship, and some love

Negative Elements: There is a lot of detail about his really hard life. 

Conclusion:  This was a great book which I think you should read. It would be good for ages 8 & up.

by Summer Staples, 11 



Touch Blue

Touch Blue *****
by Cynthia Lord 

Touch Blue is a book about a family who take in a foster child to keep their school open. On their little island, Tess and Liddy have to learn to get along with Aaron, the new foster child. Tess learns the importance of family, the love that you have to give them, and how important they are to us even if you don't realize it. Aaron learns the importance of trust. He had been to so many foster homes that he had lost trust. Tess has all these lucky things. And one of them is a piece of blue sea glass because the saying is, "Touch blue, and your wish will come."

I think kids 8 and up should read this book because I liked the meaning of the book.

by Sabrina Staples, 9

Monday, June 5, 2017

Life After

Life After *****
by Katie Ganshert
Overview: A passenger train in Chicago is bombed. There is one survivor. This is her story of coming to terms with why she lived and learning how to move forward with her life.

Positive elements: well-written, clean, some good twists

Negative elements: a bit predictable

Conclusion: This is the first book I've read by Katie Ganshert. Initially, I was worried that it might be depressing or graphically violent due to the subject matter. It was neither. I could tell from the near beginning who the heroine was going to fall in love with and almost quit reading the book. I don't enjoy books that are too predictable. But the story began to have some twists just as I was about to quit. So, I kept reading. 

I would recommend this book for a nice, relaxing read. It deals with some serious themes but not in a heavy way. And I loved that it was perfectly clean in every way.