Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Erasing Hell"by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle

Eternity is at stake and every person must decide if Heaven and Hell are real. It is easy to believe in Heaven, but not so with the literal Hell. We tend to think that a loving God would allow such a place to exist. Well, in this book, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle challenge everyone to rethink Hell. Why do you believe what you believe? Through the study of Scripture, the authors look at Hell and make the reader pay attention to the magnitude of his decision. They answer questions like, "Would God allow someone to go to Hell?" and "Is there a second chance after death?" and "What is Hell?" and "Won't I just party with my friends there?" This book will make you wake up to your destiny as well as those around you. What will you do with the knowledge?
This book is a well-written, well-researched discussion of Hell. I received an audio copy from Oasis Audio for review and found myself with chills a few times. While I believe in a literal Hell, I once again delved into Scripture with the authors. This book is great for Bible studies and book discussion groups because there is so much to glean, but it will also make a wonderful gift for someone you know who needs to examine the subject.

"Indelible" by Kristin Heitzmann

A mountain lion grabs the baby of a hiker, and Trevor MacDaniel rushes to save him.  From this action packed beginning, Kristin Heitzmann keeps her readers glued to the page. Natalie Reeve has come to Redford to open an art gallery. She meets Trevor through the attack on her nephew, Cody, which sets an interesting relationship in motion. Natalie is haunted by her eidactic memory, one that makes her work out what she sees in clay, while Trevor is trying to bury a tragedy from his past. How can they get past these challenges and develop a friendship? Because of the attack, there is a rift between Natalie and her family. Will they reunite?
As Trevor and Natalie navigate their way to a friendship, an evil presence enters town and Trevor begins receiving pictures of children in trouble. Who/what is this evil person after? What is going on with the children in the pictures? Ms. Heitzmann uses quotes from "Paradise Lost" to introduce moments with this evil one, and the suspense those quotations help create will keep you on the edge of your seat!
I really enjoyed this book for multiple reasons. It is well written with realistic characters, there is action and suspense, and I was able to reconnect with characters I enjoyed in "Indivisible" (i.e. Chief Jonah Westfall, Tia Manning Westfall, and Sarge). This book is for all suspense/mystery lovers! I received the copy I read on my Nook from the Blogging for Books program, and thank them for it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Water's Edge" by Robert Whitlow

Sometimes, the things that seem to make the most profound and impossible changes in our lives are the ones needed to move us forward. Tom Crane lives the perfect example of this. He has a great job in an impressive law office, thinks he will make partner, has a father who is also a lawyer, and then there is the beautiful girlfriend. But, as the story begins, disaster strikes taking all of this away from him. Tom returns home to Bethel to not only close his father's law practice, but to also take a few moments for himself. Everything seems fine until he discovers two million dollars in a secret bank account. Where did it come from? Why the interest in some of his father's cases? Was his father's death really an accident? The road Tom takes will help him discover the answers to these questions, find those he can trust, and rediscover his faith.

I enjoyed this book because the story is well written and the characters seemed real. There are twists and turns, poignant moments, and lessons to learn throughout the story. I recommend this book to anyone who likes suspenseful novels. It might also be fun for book groups to read and discuss. Thank you, Net Galley, for the copy I read on my Nook!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mugabe and the White African

One Man's Stand For Justice! Don't miss this amazing story on PBS 7/26. 


I'll be blogging about the book Mugabe and the White African later this month, but I wanted to let you know that Point of View will air the documentary Mugabe and the White African.

The film tells the story of Mike Campbell and his family of three generations of Zimbabwean farmers as they attempt to keep their farm under Mugabe's "land reform." Watch the trailer for the documentary below and visit the PBS Point of View website for your local listing.

The book Mugabe and the White African (Lion Books, distributed by Kregel Publications, July 15, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-7459-5546-9, $14.95) written by Mike Campbell's son-in-law Ben Freeth provides more detail regarding the family's struggles and court battles.The book chronicles the deeply moving and life-threatening struggle of a Christian family from Zimbabwe to protect their legally owned farmland, to protect the lives and livelihoods of all those working on the farm, and to live to see justice.
Freeth lays bare a beautiful but lawless land fouled by fear. A 'Clockwork Orange' state where racism, greed, and violence are ultimately humbled by almost unimaginable courage. Richly described, bravely chronicled, and utterly compelling. 
-Mike Thomson, Radio Foreign Affairs Correspondent, BBC

Ben Freeth has an extraordinary story to tell. Like that of many white farmers, his family's land was "reclaimed" for redistribution by Mugabe's government. But Ben's family fought back. Appealing to international law, they instigated a suit against Mugabe's government in the SADC, the Southern African equivalent of NATO. The case was deferred time and again while Mugabe's men pulled strings. But after Freeth and his parents-in-law were abducted and beaten within inches of death in 2008, the SADC deemed any further delay to be an obstruction of justice. The case was heard, and was successful on all counts.

But the story doesn't end there. In 2009 the family farm was burned to the ground. The fight for justice in Zimbabwe is far from over--this book is for anyone who wants to see into the heart of one of today's hardest places and how human dignity flourishes even in the most adverse circumstances.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot" by Guy Magar

"Kiss me quick before I shoot," words uttered whenever Jacqui would come on a set to visit her husband Guy Magar. Guy is a filmmaker and this book tells the story of his life and the amazing projects he has worked on and the people who have crossed his life. As an immigrant from Egypt, Guy shows that hard work and determination can make dreams come true. He takes the reader on a journey from his flight from Egypt through his study to become a filmmaker and past the battle with Jacqui's leukemia, one of the toughest battles anyone can face. The story is written, and told, with love, humor, and strength. 

This interesting memoir kept me interested from beginning to end. I found the determination in any situation that Guy and his wife, Jacqui, exhibit to be inspiring. This book is for anyone who loves movies and wants to know more about what goes on behind the scenes; for those who love memoirs; and for those who love to read about people who have made it. I want to thank Megan Renart and PR by the Book-Austin for my copy of the book.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Breath of Angel" by Karyn Henley

A young chantress, an angel, a harp, and an ugly feud - elements that will hook you from the beginning of this book. Melaia simply wants to serve, to one day take her place in the temple. But, her plans are changed when a man is killed in the courtyard and she is summoned to the Overlord. As her life changes, Melaia finds herself in the midst of a troubling feud. The fact that the feud isn't between mortals disturbs her. How can she survive? What is the meaning of Benasin's harp? What is the story of the hawk? What about the angels, shape-shifters, and "myths"?

This book was difficult to put down because the story propelled me from one place to another. The characters were interesting and the story well written. While it appears to be young adult literature, I assure you that adults will enjoy it as well. The fantasy elements fit into the opportunity to step away from everyday realism and experience a little "otherworldness." I heartily recommend this book! Thank you to the Blogging for Books program who sent me this book for a review. The words and thoughts are mine.

Friday, July 15, 2011

“The Crotcheted Prayer Shawl Companion” by Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Galo

"The Crotchet Prayer Shawl Companion" is a book that not only tells you about the prayer shawl ministry, but will help you begin one of your own. Whether you want to give one to someone who is ill or has a specific need, or to someone who wants one for their own prayer life, this book is for you. Throughout the book are instructions for the shawls along with beautiful color photographs of the finished product. The reader is given direction in choosing the right color, fiber, setting, and decorations for the chosen person; and is encouraged to pray over everything from the beginning to the giving. Each pattern includes the skill level and a personal story or two. There are also some wonderful tools in the back of the book like: how to start a prayer shawl ministry, crocheting abbreviations, yarn weight, and colors and symbology.

This book is not only wonderful for patterns and information, but also for giving thoughtful gifts. My favorite patterns are: "Power of Three Shawl," "Royal Leaf Shawl," "Double Hug Shawl," and "Crowns of Glory Shawl." I really liked the pictures and stories. This is a ministry just about anyone can be involved in. If you crochet, or know someone who does, this book is for you. I want to thank Net Galley and the publisher for the copy I read on my Nook. I plan to buy a copy for myself and for others.

“Just Tacos” by Shelley Wiseman

Tacos, a delicious Mexican dish that is gaining popularity all the time. Why? Because tacos can be eaten at any meal and can be filled with almost anything. This is the premise of this wonderful cookbook by Shelley Wiseman. Inside the pages are beautiful pictures that will have you anxious to reproduce the dishes. The explanations of spices like Epazote; how to’s like roasting and cleaning a chile poblano; instructions on what to have in your pantry for Mexican cooking (i.e. chilies, tomatillos, annatto seed, etc.) are extremely handy; and the directions on how to make the dough and how much to use per tortilla are very helpful. The recipes also cover quesadillas, sopes, and tostadas, along with quacamole and various salsas. This cookbook will make a wonderful addition to any cook's library.

I really like this cookbook. We love tacos, etc., in our house, and I like the new ideas I have found here. Ms. Wiseman is very inventive, including things like swiss chard, potato, and octopus. The recipes for the flavored tacos (black bean, chili flavored, hibiscus flavored, and more) show there is so much for me to learn and try. I especially liked the recipes for the following: lobster with mango salsa; roasted corn salsa; fiery Serrano-lime salsa; making blue corn tortillas; fruit coolers (drinks). This is a cookbook I will buy for myself and for others. I want to thank Net Galley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this on my Nook.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Maria Juana's Gift" By T. Lloyd Winetsky

How far would you go to provide health care for your child? How about to save their life? If you haven't thought about it, you probably will after reading this book. The year is 1976 and Jake and Tina celebrate the birth of their first child. But, there is a problem. Jake doesn't get it at first, but Tina and a hospital worker named Maria help convince him that there is something wrong with his daughter. From the beginning as Jake sets out to bring the doctor back to help his daughter you will feel his frustration. Maria's English skills aren't good.They are living on the Arizona-Mexico border. But, why is it so difficult to get the doctor to take appropriate care of the baby? What should be proper protocol when there is an error?  The story is filled with frustration, helplessness, and hope. It is a story that will make you think and will stay with you.

This is an interesting book that made me stop and think even though my children are grown. Mr. Winetsky switches time frequently, which may give some readers pause if they don't anticipate it. Book groups will find this book full of things to discuss. Thank you to Elaine Krackau and PRbytheBook for my copy.

Friday, July 8, 2011

"County Line" by Bill Cameron

Ruby is missing. Skin finds no explanation for that, but does find a dead body in her apartment. As he sets out to find her, Skin gets help from Pete, who also has a history with Ruby. They have no idea what they will find as they begin to travel around the country, finding pieces of Ruby's life. Little do they know that someone wants to stop them from completing their quest, bringing danger and more intrigue into an already tense situation. Why did Ruby leave? What is she hiding and who will protect her? Will Skin and Pete be able to work together to find answers and stop the stalker?

This book has many moments of tension and suspense. The characters are well rounded and the story well written. Ruby's story and character will especially pull you in and keep you riveted. If you like crime fiction, you will enjoy this book. Come on and solve the mystery with Skin!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"The Atomic Weight of Secrets" online game!

I just found out that there is a game for those who have read or want to read "The Atomic Weight of Secrets" by Eden Unger Bowditch. It is called "Faye's Contraption" and can be found here: or on Facebook's link
Here is some information from Bancroft Press.
"At the moment, Bancroft is in the process of promoting the book and recently "invented" an online game to get people interested in reading it. In addition, we are having a contest to see who can beat the high score by July 17th and the players should e-mail me a screen shot of their score. The winner will receive a signed copy of The Atomic Weight of Secrets."

So, come on! Give the game a try and you may be the winner!  =)

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot

Henrietta Lacks died in 1951, but her cells live on in medical research. Today they are known as HeLa cells, but then they were cells from the cervical cancer that took her life. As a poor black woman, Henrietta didn't have access to good medical care. While she was able to get treatment at John's Hopkins, it was below par. The doctors treated her with radiation and took samples of her tumor. Those tumors were the first to ever continue to grow and thrive in a laboratory, even surviving shipping around the world. But, Henrietta didn't give permission for the cells to be taken, nor did her family. Why didn't the well-intentioned scientists get permission? What impact did the discovery of her living cells have on her family? How has this true story made an impact on medical research?

This book was difficult to put down. I was fascinated and shocked with Henrietta's story, as well as that of her family. Rebecca Skloot does a masterful job of telling both Henrietta's story and that of her cells and their importance. I read this for a work group discussion we are having at our all staff retreat in August, and definitely recommend it. There is so much to discuss!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

"The Final Hour" by Andrew Klavan

Memory loss, flashbacks, prison, terrorists, the "Yard King," and much more await the reader of this book. "The Final Hour" is book four in the Homelanders series by Andrew Klavan. Charlie West set out to help take down a terrorist organization threatening the United States, and now he is in prison. While all hope seems gone and life now will be full of plans to stay alive, a plot is hatched that enables Charlie a chance to help stop the terrorist act. Will he break out of prison and escape? Who are his covert partners now and who won't survive? Come along on this roller coaster of action and suspense and find out if Charlie and his friends save NYC.

I really enjoyed this book and found it to be a quick read.I recommend the entire series to readers and discussion groups (there are questions at the end). As a group, the books tell Charlie's complete story, but each can be read alone as well. While they are written for the Young Adult group, the story line will keep adults captivated as well. I received my copy from the Book Sneeze program of Thomas Nelson. Thank you!