Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Love Story: How God Pursued me and Found Me

Title: A Love Story

How God Pursed Me and Found Me-An Impossibly True Story

By: Samantha Ryan Chandler
ISBN # 9-781615-077618 

A Love Story:  How God Pursued Me and Found Me ~ An Impossibly True Story  by Samantha Ryan Chandler is the story based on the author's account of her triumphs and trials in her life's walk.  This book is not only a personal account of her life but it speaks from the heart.  As you read, you feel the pain and anguish of this author come through.   In her own words, the author writes "I am a child of God, and I win."  Amen!

Excerpt from the book:  "Those who grow up with the knowledge of God's love know that He is there to guide them in their life.  Even in the bad times, they know that God will help them see things through and come out better when the trials have ended.  But what about those who have not been raised with God in their lives?"

There so many small lines and sentences that jump out at me as a reader that tell you, this author writes from a place many of us don't know.  From the ashes, from the flames she has risen and shares with us the profoundness of loss, sadness, deflation in status and wealth, fear and beyond.  I dog-earred many pages in this book and look back on them with a calm reflection.   I speed through it in under an hour when it arrived in my mailbox.  It's colorful and rich and descriptive in ways that you often feel you are there in the pages described by the author.  

However, there were points to this book that took it from high expectations to a let down.  I wasn't particularly a fan of her constant mentioning of being married to money or her travelings to exotic places.  It was disheartening to think that someone's trials and tribulations in life consisted so freely about spending money on expensive trips to Europe and Hawaii and Mexico, to name a few.  Trials and tribulations, I think, are not enough food on the table and wondering if you'll have enough to pay the rent.  Abjectly, I was highly offended by her use of the words "seat Nazis" in a description of traveling and having a sick child and not being able to sit in the front seat where she would have been better suited.  In her own words, all she had to do was ask and it was granted ~ such language, in my humble opinion, does not belong in a christian based book. 
As you read, you feel the pain and anguish of this author come through.   The book has an overall theme of  'hope for the hopeless'. God won't just find you - you'll be reminded that he was always there.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Questions of Life: Book Review

When I received the book Questions of Life by Nicky Gumbel to review, I was instantly intrigued.  This book, to me, is sitting down with the wise, old, beloved grandpa that has lived a long, full life.  As you both sit upon the porch sipping a glass of ice tea, he begins his story.  This book is that story.

There hasn’t been a day when probably every single one of us has asked, “What is my life all about?”  Not only will this book help put that question in perspective, it gives you a thought-provoking walk through a christian view of God’ purpose for us.  This book is about the struggle of non-believers and pondering the flights of life without Christ.  Does he exist?  If he does, where is he relevant to every day life?

Questions of Life  is 15 chapters packed with informative question and answer segments. He asks a question and provides his views in a well-thought out response.  There are references to scriptures and beyond.  One of the most humorous parts of this book were the small cartoon drawings on many of the pages that make reference to the topics at hand.

Mr. Gumble writes a book that asks is profoundly well-written with principled research.
His use of vocabulary is extraordinary and at times, this book read like it was poetically crafted, especially in the use of such phrases as “asinine fatuity” and “unhesitatingly behaved”.   One  statement in this book that stood out for me is this one pertaining to resisting evil:  “There is a close connection between good and God and between evil and the devil. Indeed, in each case the difference is only one letter!”

This book is not a short nor easy read.  It’s complex and thought provoking.  Plan to have some time to spare when going through this book, chapter by chapter.  Although it’s written well, I found at times that it read more like a term paper or college textbook than a ‘book’ per se.  I would have loved to hear more of the author’s perspective, though you do, rather than the vast references to other works, like C.S. Lewis.  It interrupted the overall flow of the book, I felt, and was somewhat a distraction.

However, I’ve dog-eared and made more notes in the pages of this book than I have in many.  The topic is one we can probably all identify with and this is a good book overall to make you stop and think.  As mentioned before, the writing just wasn’t my style.

 I received a copy of this book free from The B&B Media Group, Inc., as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Book Review: Be Still My Soul

Be Still My Soul (Cadence of Grace book #1) is a heart-warming, enriching christian novel that entwines the sweet ‘falling in love’ with a faith based foundation.   The story opens with the simple encounter between Lonnie and Gideon and a musical event they both attend in the Blue Ridge Mountains backwoods, simple country life of the mountains.   The author blends a wonderful weave of tale with the time and era and the way of life is described so vividly, I felt as if I were walking through each of the chapters of this book with the characters!

With a simple wrong move by Gideon, influenced heavily by alcohol, Lonnie is deemed ‘tarnished’ by her father and forces the young teens to marry, neither of which is planned or happy about.  Lonnie truly is an innocent and she is caught up in the times of that era and must abide by her Pa’s doing or is considered tarnished for the rest of her life and unmarriageable.  I felt so sad for her when she was forced to be married and go to live with Gideon and his family, and Gideon soon instructs his parents that he is leaving to make it on his own with his new wife.  They are unprepared, have no money and the mishaps just start to pile up.

Be Still My Soul is about the ultimate trial and tribulations for this young couple yet God is always there with them both throughout.  One of the sayings that jumped out at me was when Lonnie's Aunt Sarah told her “don’t you let those lies stay inside you. The only opinion that mattes is God’s and he knows the truth.”  That’s a theme that resonates through this book as does 1 Peter 5:10.

This book is a breath of fresh air to read.  I look forward to reading more of Joanne Bischof’s work in the future!