Thursday, December 29, 2016

Intended for Evil

Intended for Evil: A Survivor's story of love, faith and courage in the Cambodian killing fields *****
by Les Sillars

This is a powerful story of God's mercy played out in the midst of horrific circumstances. Radha Manickam was a Christian in communist Cambodia in the 1970's. He is eventually forced to marry a woman he doesn't know. The communists want him married so that he'll have children that will become new communists. It turns out that this woman is a Christian, too! They end up loving each other and having a great marriage. Radha's undaunting spirit is so amazing in the middle of the unbelievable violence that surrounds him.

This is a very hard book to read. First, it is very violent. The atrocities of Cambodia during this time are beyond belief. Second, the book is very detailed and full of names of different people and regimes. Since the names are all foreign, they are easily confused. You have to keep looking back in the book trying to remember who is good and who is bad. And then why are they good or bad. 

I can't read these kinds of books, but my husband enjoys these stories of amazing courage and survival. I am summerizing his opinions of the book.

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

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Where Does Love Hide?

Where Does Love Hide? *****
by Mary Manz Simon 

This lift-the-flap board book is full of bright colors and cute illustrations. My two-year-old loves looking at this book. However, the words don't make much sense to me. Each page starts with "Where does love hide?" The first page goes on to say, "At my house until...I invite a friend to play." I think it must mean that we don't see love at work until we do something kind like invite a friend over. But it just isn't very clear to me. Seems like I should be able to understand the message of a book written for two-year-olds. 

Each page also has a Bible verse, but the verses are so simplified, that I'm not sure they are all really accurate. 

I don't recommend this book, unless you buy it to just let your toddler play with. Toddlers won't care if the message is confusing. They will love the flaps and colors.

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Present Over Perfect

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, more Soulful Way of Living *****
by Shauna Niequist

Overview: Tired of the busyness of your life? Shauna found herself stressed and busy doing too much ministry and not having energy for her family and friends. Shauna writes about making hard choices to control the pace of your life so that you can live a healthy life.

Positive elements: This is an easy to read, straight forward book about not letting your life become too busy. The book is both practical about how to simplify your life and also dives into why we are busy. Shauna has a wonderful writing style.

Negative elements: The book reads a bit like a blog, and some chapters felt disconnected.

Conclusion: There seem to be a lot of books like this one out on the market these days. I just read Jeanie Allen's Nothing to Prove.  These two books are very similar in that they are written by Christian women in their 30's in ministry who struggle to find balance in work and family. They both do a great job of zeroing in on why we are often over busy...we are trying to earn love. Maybe we seek success and appreciation from others or maybe we are overworking to please God. I think I enjoyed this book more than Nothing to Prove because it seemed more to the point.

I love this quote near the end of Shauna's book, "The love you are looking for is never something you can calculate. It isn't something you can buy or earn or hustle for."

This quote also does a great job of summing up her conclusions: "This awareness of love, though, this sense of the soul's worth, not because of my own doing but because of God's great love--this changes everything...Instead of one more thing to do or try or fail at, my relationship with God is the force of love that heals up all the other bruised and broken parts." 

I would recommend this book to any women, in any stage of life. It's very encouraging.


Squanto *****
By Eric Metaxas 

I thought this was a great book telling the hardships of Squanto the Indian, who helped the pilgrims. Overall, there are some sad parts like when Squanto finally returns home from his hard struggles and finds out his tribe got sick and died. He is one of the famous Indians in Americas history, and the Pilgrims might not have survived without his and some other Indians help. I would recommend reading this story. I really liked it. It shows many things that really tell the life of an Indian. I hope you read and enjoy it!

By Sadie Staples, 9

Thursday, December 1, 2016

All the Pretty Things

All the Pretty Things *****
by Edie Wadsworth

Overview: This is a stirring memoir about a woman who overcame a rough childhood and found hope and healing in Jesus.

Positive elements: well-written and honest

Negative elements: a really pervasively sad story

Conclusion: Even though this is a well-written book, I just couldn't read it all the way through. It was page after page of heartbreak. I read about half-way through and then read the end. Edie Wadsworth sure has an amazing story to tell, and she tells in beautifully. I think you just have to be in the right place to make this painful journey with her.