Monday, September 28, 2009

"Kabul 24" by Arnold and Pearson

"Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 KJV This verse from the Bible describes faith and "Kabul 24" tells the stories of people who lived their faith in modern times. Imagine this: suddenly, the semi-hostile country around you (a people you have come to help) becomes filled with fanatics and spies wishing you harm. Families you thought of as friends betray you. You are taken from your home, unable to convey to others what is happening, then transported to, and left in, filthy and unsanitary conditions. It is enough for most people to blame God and beg for mercy. But, this group of eight people from SNI relied on their faith in God to get them through. Times were frightening and no help seemed to be around, but they knew God never left them. Did they wonder why they were chosen to face this trial? How did the assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the rise of the Taliban and Mullah Omar, the constant changes in Sharia Law, and the 911 bombings in America affect them and their conditions? What made it possible for this group of eight to carry on when nothing seemed possible?

Henry O. Arnold and Ben Pearson wrote a book that transported me to Kabul. I could remember praying for these hostages. I could see the community before and after the arrests, and the changes were astounding. It was enlightening and uplifting to read their story. If you have ever needed strength, ever had a time of testing or a lapse of faith, pick up this book. You will be stronger and more encouraged for doing so.


"The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown

Robert Langdon is back, this time in Washington D.C. Lured to the city to do a speech for a friend. Professor Langdon finds himself embroiled in yet another mystery surrounding symbols. This time he has to uncover the answers to questions surrounding the "wisdom of the ages" - something of enormous power - to try to save a friend. Throw in some espionage, murder, lies, history, and a great backdrop; and you find a work of fiction well worth reading. Dan Brown has definitely done it again!

I love a good work of fiction, something that totally draws me into the story, and something that is written in a believable style. I have read Dan Brown's other two books in this series, "Angels and Demons" and "The DaVinci Code," and enjoyed them all. Will there be a number four? I sure hope so.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Evermore" by Alyson Noel

Would you want to live on the earth forever, watching those you love die? The first book in "The Immortals: series poses that dilemma. Ever survives an accident which takes the lives of the rest of her family. Her struggle with her guilt for living causes her problems on a daily basis. What part does her dead sister, Riley, play in her life? Her ability to read people's minds and auras seems to be a curse, one she wishes to break. But, enter a handsome stranger - Damen. What hold does he have on her? Can he help her? Will Ever make it through her run-in's with Drina? Is Ever immortal? The answers to these questions, and more, await the reader.

I found this book to be very much like the "Twilight" series. Beautiful, troubled girl meets extremely handsome immortal man. And, as the "Twilight" series did, "Evermore" drew me in and encouraged me to stay, to hear their story. I will now pick up my copy of "Blue Moon." =) While this is listed as a teen read, I think people of all ages can read and enjoy Alyson Noel's story.

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Lonestar Secrets" by Colleen Coble

Shannon is looking for a chance to better her life for herself and her daughter. While she has struggled as a single mother and put herself through vet school, the ranch bequeathed to her offers a new opportunity. The vet clinic in town is also available to her, so off she goes. But, does the little town hold painful secrets for her? And, what's up with Mary Beth?
Jack is struggling with painful memories of his deceased wife, but his daughter is the light of his life. The ranch and training horses give him an outlet for his passion and give him a great place to raise his daughter. What is his connection to Shannon?
Faith and Kylie are two little girls caught in a whirlwind of secrets. What will happen when the secrets come out? Will they both accept the outcome?
I totally enjoyed this book! There is mystery, suspense, love, faith, and humor. The location and characters drew me into the story and provided a comfortable place to hear the story. The animals also drew me in - Jewel the gorgeous stallion and the dogs, Moses, Wyatt, and Jem. This is a story for anyone who loves a good read.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Fearless" by Max Lucado

Faith over fear. "Fearless," by Max Lucado, offers practical solutions and Scripture to life's challenges. What is fear? It is really a lack of the ability to control the outcome to a situation. This wonderful book looks at our fears over children, money, the unknown, life, and death. He lists Scripture with each situation to help underscore the fact that God is with us ALL the time. We aren't alone and God's peace can alleviate our fear. Is it really that easy? -with practice leaning on the everlasting arms it can be. Can anyone live a fearless life? Yes! With stories, some humorous, and Biblical suggestions Max Lucado lays out a roadmap to follow.

I really enjoyed this book. It helped me look practically at the fears that surround me and offered help and hope that they can be overcome. Had I already heard the message? Did I know the Scriptures? Yes. But sometimes we need a reminder to get us back on track. God ALWAYS sends messages our way to help us live our lives fully and without fear. But, we let things get in the way of His comfort and guidance. I enjoyed Mr. Lucado's use of humor to bring home his points. I loved the Scriptures he used, and found great comfort in them. This is definitely a book to keep on your shelf as a constant reminder and tool to help you lead a "Fearless" life.

Friday, September 4, 2009

"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett

Set in Mississippi in the early 1960's, The Help brings to life the daily struggle between the black and white population. Times are tough for the black workers. They are treated poorly by most and have to work so much harder just to get by. This while many of the white women they work for don't even say thank-you, much less think they should. But, time's they were a-changin! Skeeter wants to be a writer, but needs something new, something to catch people's eye. With the thought of writing about what it is like to work as a maid in a white household, she enlists the aid of some of the maids she knows. Danger surrounds them as they meet to tell their stories. As the story unfolds, you will discover the answer to secrets long buried, feelings long repressed. You will get a glimpse of the fear, sorrow, anger, and joy happening on both sides of the racial divide. Can these women help effect change? Will the book get written? published? Come meet Skeeter, Minny, Hilly, Aibileen, Elizabeth, and the others. They will capture you with their stories and leave you wanting more.