And So We Say Farewell to Another Year of Bookclub

If we had a theme for this past year, I’d say it was finding joy in the midst of trials. We learned about fighting the wars within ourselves and coming out the victor instead of the victim. Ironically, the books might not have even been about that topic, but they lead into such discussions. From there, we always came back feeling rejuvenated and hopeful. Take a look through these books and maybe you’ll come back feeling the same way.

The only books that are not shown is The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson because I borrowed that one and The Wishing Jar by Penelope J. Stokes because it is being borrowed.
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2016 Favorites (Part One)

As weird as it may sound, when I look back at all the books I consider my favorites from last year, I’m reminded of God’s love for me. Most of these books carried an encouraging message I needed to hear at the time. Others, the story was purely an adventure! Either way, I have to look up and say, “Thank you, God because I know that was You.”

If I could give one novel to every person on earth it would be Penelope J. Stokes’The Wishing Jar.  Everyone has gone through their share of struggles; everyone has gone through their share of life. We all experience the same tippy top highs and the darkest of pits. We rejoice in these highs, but what hope is offered during the lows? If each person has gone through them, why can’t we find anything better to say than”Everything’s okay,” or “These trials will help you grow stronger.”  We are not “okay” during a trial neither do we feel strong. The author…she gets it. She’s not a Job’s friend if you know what I mean. Instead, she takes a drastically different approach in admitting that there is no good answer why we go through what we do. Despite this sobering truth, she still offers a generous dose of hope. And the hope she offers is summed up by this one simple quote:

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Secondly, she teaches you how to be a strong woman. And I don’t mean the emotionally immune, has strong muscles sort of strong. (that’s called being a robot) Instead, she demonstrates how to harness God’s strength.

We can’t do life on our own. We quickly succumb to the gales and are blown over. But with God, He is the steady arm that keeps us standing. We maybe bowed over and our petals wilted but we are not dead. With His gentle breath, we will rise to see another dawning. (Psalm 30:5)

 

His Music Could Not Be Stolen

My soul has vanished within the pages, but it couldn’t be happier.  The book introduced me to itself as a mutual friend of From Dust And Ashes. As Goyer’s second novel about Mauthausen concentration camp, I became overjoyed to know its acquaintance. Part One was a casual stroll meeting the new characters and generally getting to know the plot. It reminded me some of the previous book, but still contained its own personality. I sighed for days of yore, but still respected it as its own person. Part Two, we ran deeper into the woods until we were finally sucked in during Parts Three and Four. My soul, hand in hand with the book, has now been lost. Deep inside the recesses it fell in love with Night Song never to be seen again. Read more

Last 2015 Favorite

I’ve been recently sharing my favorite books from the past year. Sadly, we come to the last one. For those who have missed my other posts on 2015 books, check them all out at the links below.

You Could Say I’m a Fan

A Good Book Always Contains A Dragon

New Beginnings and a New Book

Tea With A British Grandmother

2015 Favorites

This next book is highly important to me for the message it gives. It is..

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Rated A –

I believe each individual should have this on their shelf.

I think everyone is relatively familiar with this work, but how many have actually read it? How many have actually grasped the message? To one, it may just be a nice, entertaining, historical fiction novel, but to me, it was a wake-up call for America and her church. Whether it was read during the times of the Civil War or read even today, the message of this book still holds true. People cannot see people as people, and here the church sits idly by doing nothing.

Not only is this story convicting, Read more

You Could Say I’m a Fan

My amazing bookclub friend, whom I lovingly nicknamed Olive Oil, chose this for our January reading. I have to say, I don’t know where I was before this amazing novelette! How could I have lived without it? Thank you Ms. Olive for introducing this to me!

Tilly by Frank Peretti

Rated A –

This was a good, clean, (deeply emotional) story.

If you didn’t notice, my previous post was also on a Peretti. So, it might be evident that I’m a fan of his works. Each novel is so unique in plot and rich in moral! Stating this, Tilly is no exception. It starts off with a simple tombstone. Almost no details are written about this person who lies underneath. It’s not shown until a little later in the story why this grave affects the characters so deeply. There is such a deeper back story than what meets the eye! And the farther you reach into the book, the more tender it becomes. I mean, get out the tissues! Don’t mistake this book as sad (though in a way I guess it is), but instead, it’s incredibly sweet. My heart seemed as if it was going to burst with love and…feels. Lots of them!

This novelette is extremely short (only 126 pages). Thanks to its equally short chapters, one could finish the book in an hour and a half. After finishing, if you need someone to talk to after this emotionally damaging work, I will try to help. I am acquainted with the pain all too well.

As with Dickens’ work, Little Dorrit, Peretti’s Tilly isn’t as popular as his other books. I’m constantly asking myself why neither of them have a fandom. Please join me with Tilly, so we can make that dream a reality! What are some of your favorite but not too popular books, and why do you think they deserve a chance at fandomhood?

Find your copy here.

A Good Book Always Contains A Dragon

This book was loaned to me about a year ago by my amazing friend, Butterscotch and Berry’s! Not only is she the greatest for seeing my enthusiasm and allowing me to keep it, but she also showed me through this read that thick books aren’t actually all that scary. She definitely changed my reading habits for the good!

This is one of my last favorites from 2015 (only have two more to do). It is…

The Oath by Frank Peretti

S – sx, c

I do advise much more caution with this book. The two main characters talk about sex, but then the chapter skips to the next day. Also, I didn’t know if his use of OMG was literally calling out to God, or if it was being used in a casual sort of sense.

If you’ve read previous Peretti books, you know that it’s hard to grasp what on earth is going on. Only till the end does the author explain the situation and symbolism. So, I wanted to share the symbolism before you read it. (It knocked my socks off; it was so good!) The small hometown of Hyde River is troubled by corruption, an odd illness, and most importantly, a rumored dragon. Those in the town who come down with this odd illness are sooner or later doomed to meet it. Technically, the symbolism is when you allow sin to corrupt you instead of getting it fixed, it will eventually eat you alive. The illness is the effects of the sin that people refuse to deal with, and the dragon is symbolised of the consequences. Now I’m not going to give away all the secrets, so you’ll have to find out for yourself how this dragon is defeated.

This was such an amazing book! I almost literally couldn’t put it down! It was if the pages were glued to my fingers. I couldn’t go anywhere without it! So even though a strong caution is advised, it did help me spiritually. And hey, who can say no to a dragon?

Find your copy here

 

 

New Beginnings and a New Book

For me, Easter marks the beginning of spring and newness of life. The trees are already showing off their newly formed leaves while tiny blossoms are making their first debut in our lawn. Now, what better way to celebrate this newness than finding a new book? Continuing on my theme of favorites from 2015, this is…

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

S – c

There was some cussing, but honestly, not all that much. I’d feel comfortable recommending this to pretty much anyone.

My interest in this book was actually sparked by a preview from a mini series based upon it. It made Dicken’s work look so full of intrigue and mystery! I just HAD to read it! I devoured each bookstore aisle looking for it, but when found, I was immediately turned off by its shear enormity! Never before had I attempted such a long read! But eventually climbing over my fear, it wasn’t ALL that bad. LONG, but not too bad. (obviously, if it’s on my favorite reads list!)

Honestly, I have never seen anyone make a more complex plot like Dickens. Murderers, debtors, crabby old ladies, wealthy leaders of society, and a plethora of unique characters only Dickens can create come together in one mind-boggling work to enrich the imaginations of readers fearless enough to attempt it. The story mainly revolves around the Dorrit family who were unfortunate enough to have landed in debtors prison. Like Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, Amy Dorrit is the glue which binds this family together. Though the youngest in the family, she plays no small part. She constantly cares for them whether through poverty or through gain. But there is certainly so much more! I don’t even know where to begin or end with all the people or events! You’ll just have to check it out for yourself. Mind you though, Mr. Clennam is mine! 😉 Well, I might be convinced to share him.

Out of all of Dicken’s novels, I’m surprised this one is not more popular. One never hears of it mentioned. I feel like I’m in a fandom all by myself! Hopefully, that won’t be for long. Buy the book here and join the fandom!

Tea With A British Grandmother

Continuing on the review topic of yesterday, this is another favorite from 2015. Allow me to introduce to you…

Larkrise to Candleford by Flora Thompson

Rated: S – c

Though I rated this S for some and C for cussing, there were only two cuss words, (but mine was abridged, so I don’t know if there were more) and I’d truly feel comfortable recommending it to anyone. But, I thought it fair to rate is S anyway only to caution others.

As the title communicates, reading this is like having tea with a British grandmother speaking about her childhood. Though stated as a work of fiction, Thompson uses her work to tell about her own childhood in an old English hamlet before the Industrial Revolution. The main character, Laura, is supposed to represent the author during her journeys through coming of age. The book doesn’t really have a plot. Instead, it gives detailed descriptions on hamlet life. To some, this book would be considered boring, but I found it relaxing to let my mind roam through the English countryside. I read about the loving and caring folk who lived there. I read of the simple lives they led, and dreamily wondered what it would be like to go back to that. How serene would it have been to live in a simple village where every neighbor was a friend.

Truly, I wish you’d take a look at it. It’s not like any other ordinary book. After a long day, let your mind relax and stroll the ancient countrysides of England with Larkrise to Candleford. Take time to meet the people there. Become acquainted with their lives, and you will learn to love them.

Find your own copy here

 

2015 Favorites

I really wanted to look back through the past year and share my enthusiasm for my new found favorites. Oh where to even begin!! If you need guidance to clarify the rating symbols, check out my post A World Without a Book Rating.

 

End of the Spear by Steve Saint:

Rating: S

I didn’t actually have a letter to add beside this. In my opinion, there was no need to add an sx symbol, but there was some nudity. It wasn’t detailed in any way though. It was just talking of how the Waodani tribe lived, so I’d still highly recommend it.

This is an incredible autobiography written by the son of the martyred missionary Nate Saint. We’ve all probably heard of the inspiring tale of Jim Elliot and his friends who had the burden to reach the Auca tribe in Ecuador. Simply told, the tribe killed them, but the rest of the family was able to reach these secluded people ending in the tribe’s conversion. Happy ending! But to me, the story was just beginning! How dare everyone leave off at the very best part! This secluded tribe, now known as the Waodani, turned to Christ and became completely different in attitude, but we get no details! How did God work in their hearts to turn them into a loving and caring people? I want to hear testimonies! I want to know what happened! How did the Waodani react to the rest of the family now living within their tribe? I want to know how everyone became reconciled and forgave each other through Christ and the work that went on! What’s going on now? This book speaks about it all! Saint gives a narration from the time when he was a boy all the way to the present day. This story serves as a living testimony of love and forgiveness through Christ Jesus.

Buy at Amazon US

From Dust And Ashes by Tricia Goyer

Rating: A

Personally, I didn’t find anything bad in it. But, it did have a lot of raw emotion and the account of the camps might disturb some people. Nothing gory, so my rating is still an A, but others may still need to use caution.

Goyer’s fictional work on the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp Mauthausen is an absolute masterpiece! What first caught my attention was from whose point of view a third of the story turned around. I have never seen anyone experiment with the view of a former Nazi guard’s wife. She is hurting from her past and wishes to make it right. During her journey to recovery, two equally hurting people cross her path. One is an American soldier who was part of the liberation and another a survivor. Together, they learn healing and forgiveness.

Let me tell you one thing, I am a HUGE sucker for books about restoration, healing, and Christ’s forgiveness. My heart just melts within me! So when I saw it, my first reaction was, “MUST. HAVE. NOW!!!” I’m so glad this beautiful and loving story came across my path. Now, I’m able to share it with friends whose copies are as heavily underlined as my own. (I forgot to mention this book has so many great quotes!)

Buy at Amazon US

Stay tuned for more!