Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Giveaway: The Joy of Keeping Goats!

Thanks to Skyhorse Publishing I have a copy of the book The Joy of Keeping Goats to give to one of my followers for Homestead Review Week!

To enter be a Follower with the Google Friend Connect on the right.
Leave me a comment with your email after the review.

If you have trouble leaving the comment with your google profile just leave it under anonymous and let me know who you are.. glitches in bloggerville!!

I will choose a winner with Random. org on Saturday Sept 3rd!!

The Joy of Keeping Goats
Laura Childs
Published by Skyhorse Publishing
Source: Review Copy

The title of this book had me at first glance as I do find much joy in keeping my goats!  It is the ultimate guide to dairy and meat goats, and a joy to read.
Firstly the pictures are beautiful snapshots of goats. I had to thumb through before even reading it to see all the great goat pictures! Very pleasing to the eye, and not at all just a manual you keep tucked away on a shelf.  She starts of for the very beginner with ‘goat speak’, terms which you should  know when looking into goat herding. Even ways to tell the difference between a sheep and a goat, even us experienced goat herders confuse that at times in those rare breeds!

Laura Childs begins her book with reasons one may consider having a goat farm. From being lactose intolerant, to wanting weed eaters, to just enjoying the antics of goats. Each person will have a variety of reasons for finding joy in the goat.  I love how she describes each breed of goat from dairy, fiber and the meat varieties.  She then goes on to teach about different types of shelters and feeders that you can make and put together for your goats.
Tips on feeding, information on your goats health, and even a list of poisonous plants you should remove from your pasture.
When to breed, how to breed, and tips on kidding. Raising the kids and caring for their horns and castration if being wethered.
Laura Childs completes the book with ideas on milking, working with fiber, and processing goat meat. She includes recipes that sounds delectable.
She definitely comes full circle for the beginner. A comprehensive book for the beginning goat herder and basics that even the seasoned veteran needs to reference from time to time. Beautifully done!

The Joy of Cheesemaking by Jody M. Farnham and Marc Druart

The Joy of Cheesemaking
Jody M. Farnham and Marc Druart
Published by Skyhorse publishing
Source: Review copy

The subtitle of the book is The ultimate guide to understanding, making and eating fine cheese. It is definitely the ultimate guide for gourmet, serious cheese artisans. This book has finest of the fine cheeses and procedures for making them.

Cheese is classified into 5 different groups; fresh, soft-ripened, semihard, hard and blue depending on how it is processed, its flavors, and characteristics. This book gives you the chemistry behind each one and the ins and outs of how to get the right chemistry. This is definitely a text for a cheese class participant.

They break down the milk composition in cow, goat and sheep milk next showing the amounts of water, lactose, proteins etc in each type and looks at the factors that can change the quality of the milk. Without good milk, you won’t have good cheese.

The book continues with more chemistry for the cheesemaker in which starter cultures to use for which kind of cheeses you want to make. This book breaks down each and describes them in depth. Proper coagulation and drainage are needed for your cheese as well and the authors use diagrams and photos to teach these. Very detailed in teaching I think this could easily be a book used at some of the cheese making schools in the country.

All the processes of cheesemaking are covered thoroughly in the book with pressing the cheese, adding the mold for aging, and even how to cut the cheese properly. We are talking serious cheese making here, not for the very beginner cheese tinkerer.

The Backyard Goat- Sue Weaver

in case you missed my review a couple months ago..
The Backyard Goat
An introductory Guide to keeping Productive Pet Goats
By Sue Weaver
Published by Storey Publishing
Source: Review Copy

The BEST beginning goat farmer book I have read! After having dairy goats for 5 years now, I have perhaps graduated beyond the beginner dairy goat books to know enough if they are good starter books or not. Sue Weaver covers it all in this book beginning with where goats originated and including breeds of goats I honestly haven’t even heard of before. She uses photo’s, drawings, and side notes to incorporate as much information in a book as possible.
She covers information on milk goats, fiber goats, and pack goats from where to purchase them through their kidding days. Training tips and techniques for pack goats. Milk processing and recipes for milk goats. Shearing know how’s for fiber goats.
Included are housing and feeding needs, health of the goats and emergency care needs.
She includes Goat Tales from literature for a touch of humor.  Extremely well written book with insight galore but not in a bogged down know it all way.
Even for the seasoned goat farmer I recommend this book as a basic resource. I learned things I hadn’t known and found beginning concepts I was unable to find in other books on goats.
5 plus stars!
I received a copy of this book from Storey Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Chick Days by Jenna Woginrich

Kicking off Homestead Days with Chickens! Chickens were the first livestock we started with here on our farm. They are typically one of the easiest animal to raise and they give back within 6 months with farm fresh eggs. Once you have farm eggs you can't go back to buying them at the grocery anymore! We have gone from having just layers and even having some extras to sell, to raising 'fancy poultry' to show in 4-H. We look forward each year to our box from the post office of chicks that arrive in the mail! Enjoy my review of Chick Days and be sure to pick up a copy if you are interested in learning more about raising chickens, either in the country or the suburbs!

                            Chick Days
Raising Chickens from Hatchlings to Laying Hens
Jenna Woginrich
Photography by Mars Vilaubi

Chick Days published by Storey says this is “An Absolute Beginner Guide”. It not only is a great beginner guide, it is an eye pleasing book to seasoned chicken raisers!

Jenna Woginrich thinks of all aspects of raising chickens from your first considering having these fine feathered friends and which ones would work best for you, to how to house them and feed them. She dispels myths like chickens are noisy and costly, when in fact they are very quiet (compared to other livestock) and cost just dollars to get started.

The photographs are just wonderful, many will make you chuckle, as you see actual breeds of chickens and the supplies you need.

After you get all the simple introductions under your belt you are ready to meet the 3 chickens showcased in the book, Amelia, Honey and Tilda. The Chick Diary follows these 3 chicks from day 1 till they are laying eggs at 6 months of age.  Actual photos of these three chickens as they are growing through their days makes this a delightful journal for all ages.

Jenna uses humor, Chicken medleys and interesting ideas to give a quirky, yet informational feel to the book. Not your text book variety on raising chickens, but a book to hook the newcomer, and refresh the oldie.
Fantastic book by Jenna and wonderful photography by Mars!!
You honestly can’t go wrong with books published by Storey.

I received a copy of this book from Storey in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hermie Extravaganza- Review and Giveaway


Hermie: A Common Caterpillar (ages 4-8), Little Hermie: Thank You God for Blessing Me, & Little Hermie: Thank You God for Loving Me (ages 0-4)

I am excited to join with Tommy Mommy and showcase some of the books that my oldest children remember reading when they were young. Hermie was a hit with young children back in 2002 when Max Lucado created him, and he has grown in the hearts of Christian families since. Hermie has been continued for a newer set of children in the re-launch of Hermie this October. There are 2 board books for the youngest children, Little Hermie. For the early reader audience there is a new hardback book based on the original Hermie book.

Max Lucado has a way of bringing the message of God’s love to all ages of readers, and I appreciate his love for the youngest of God’s children.

Thank You God for Blessing Me Flip Book

In Thank You God For Blessing Me, Hermie looks around at all that he is thankful for. I have been using this concept with my youngest at bedtime, telling their Lord what things they are thankful for today. Now they can read about Hermie doing the same thing. My 3 year old just loves this book and requests it nightly now!

Thank You God for Loving Me Flip Book

Another adorable book for the youngest listeners, Hermie thanks God for his care and love for him at all times of the day. Told in sing song rhyme style it is delightful to the little ones ears and pleasing to their eyes.

Hermie, A Common Caterpillar Flip Book

This level 2 reader takes the story of Hermie the Common Caterpillar and puts it into easily worded and short sentences so that the beginner reader can read Hermie all by themselves! Great story line, that will be relevant to all children. Hermie prays to God and is very thankful and grateful for many things, but wonders why God made him so common. We find out at the end of the book that he is not too common at all!
My beginner reader loves to read this book to his younger siblings, especially this week as we are learning about bugs and how God created them all.

Tommy Nelson has so generously offered a book bundle of Hermie Books for one blessed reader!
Tell us how your kids have Grown up with Hermie!

Leave your name and email in the comment section to be entered in the drawing.
I would love to have you as a GFC follower as well!

The giveaway will run from today 8-26 thru  Friday 9-16 with a person being chosen by random.org.
Sign up and let your friend know, Hermie is Back!!

2 Days till Homestead Review Week!!

All books homesteading, farming, crafting related!!
From Quilting to Chickens to Honey Bees to Gardening and more!!
Looking forward to meeting some homesteaders whether in the country or urban and how you are enjoying the 'simple' lifestyle!
Grab your friends and join me for a week of fun reading, reviews and giveaways!!

Winner- Amish Values

Congratulations to Sandra on winning Amish Values! I used Random.org and you were selected.
I will get your mailing address and get this book right out to you!
Thanks to all of you for participating.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb- Melanie Benjamin

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb
Melanie Benjamin
Published by Delacorte Press
Source: Review copy from Pump up Your Book

Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump Stratton or ‘Vinnie’ to her friends and family was an actual woman in history standing a mere 32 inches tall. Prior to reading this novel I hadn’t heard Mrs. Tom Thumb. What a delight to learn about her rich history and character through Melanie Benjamin’s autobiographical novel. Wow does that seem like a conflict of terms. Vinnie had hoped to write an autobiography of her life, and had taken notes and written journals toward that goal. Her dream was not fulfilled and credit goes to Melanie Benjamin for bringing Vinnie’s story to light.

As a ‘dwarf’ she had quite the difficult life just trying to see eye to eye with the world. She was a feisty gal though and by age 16 she was the school marm at the local school after having exceeded at her own schooling. Colonel Wood, a man with dollar signs in his eyes lures Vinnie away under the pretense of her performing and making a big name for herself, only to find herself working on a river boat with other ‘misfits’.  The world was not kind and Vinnie soon found many reasons that she should have stayed home with her family and her one sister Minnie who was the same size as she.

The Civil War ended Vinnie’s dreadful showcase and she was able to return home. Still discontent with the boringness of living in a small town she wrote to PT Barnum in the hopes of joining his troupe. She ended up meeting with him, and found in him a friend and confident as well as a true artist in his field. Through Mr. Barnum she met her future husband Charles Stratton, or Mr. Tom Thumb. Another miniature person their marriage appeared to be a match made in heaven, but was in appearance only.
Never quite content with her fame, and her size it seemed Vinnie missed out on just living.

This was an exciting story with great historical facts and descriptions. Melanie Benjamin brings an old icon into new light for a new generation. It has been fun to meet Vinnie and get to know her and her sister Minnie, one having fame and not fully living, the other to learning contentment and happiness. I loved the relationship dynamics and how Vinnie was able to interact with such an array of characters as she made her debut. The characters were vivid and real and it did indeed feel as if we were reading a true autobiography.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Smack-Dab in the Middle of God's Love

Smack Dab in the Middle of God’s Love
Brennan Manning and John Blase
Illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Source: Review copy from BookSneeze

Smack-Dab in the middle, right where we need to be, in the center of God’s love! Smack-Dab means “precisely in the center”, what a fun word and concept to illustrate in a children’s book. A story of Wille Juan and his wife Ana in a Mexican Village called Hopi, surrounded by children eager to spend time with the couple and learn from them. Unable to have children of their own, yet surrounded by the neighboring kids who come around to eat Ana’s famous sopapillas. While visiting and eating Wille Juan asks the children questions to get them thinking about God and heaven. The children share stories of the things they have done for God and how they will recall those to Abba when they get to heaven. How big is God’s love that each child is recognized and encouraged and loved from smack-dab in the middle of God’s heart.

Delightful children’s story about God’s great love for each of us. Beautifully illustrated and detailed. Love the array of children from all walks of life, drawn to Ana and Wille Juan’s home by the love of God they show to the children.  Smack Dab in the middle is sure fun to say, and a great way for kids to remember how God loves them.
I received a copy of this book from Book Sneeze in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Amish Values for Your Family Review & Giveaway

I am offering my review copy to one Simplicity minded Reader!! Just leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you to enter to win, I will draw a winner using Random.org on Friday Aug 26th!! What value to you respect in the Amish?

Amish Values for Your Family
Suzanne Woods Fisher
Published by Revell
Source: Review copy from Revell

I like to joke around with my kids when they don’t have something that their peers have, like a cell phone for example, “Just tell your friends that your parents are Amish”! Oh I admire the values and character of the Amish people, the simplicity and the family dynamics that we so much seem to miss in the rest of America.

As I began to read Suzanne Woods Fisher’s book I saw many ways that we can easily take the simplicity and apply it to our own lives, without becoming Amish and giving up electricity and higher education. Aside from religious preference, we can be very Amish in character and learn from their example.

Suzanne frames each value with a Amish proverb that sets the tone for the story to follow. She then provides a real life example from an Amish family. Her next section is the ‘Road Map, Getting There from Here’ which shows how we can take the value learned and apply it to our own lifestyles. She then has quotes from the Amish in their own words. I love how she has organized the book, you can read a page or two at a time, and spend some time reflecting on each value. It doesn’t need to be read in one sitting, though you can if you want to be submerged in Amish values.

I found when reading that many of the values that the Amish hold, were similar ones we took on when we moved out to the country. I think the country feel lends itself easily to the ‘simple’ life. And in simple, I don’t by any means say ‘easy’. The simple living is actually much more work involved than the ‘easy’ way of living. Raising your own animals, eggs, crops, baking your own homemade meals without convenience, sewing clothing and repairing things that break.. there is an easier way to do it, but the simple way seems to be developing more character in my family.

Suzanne breaks the book down in to 4 sections. Section 1 Children are loved but Not adored. Now don’t read that and think the Amish don’t love their kids like the rest of the world, not at all. They don’t put the kids on the pedestal that we typically tend to do. Learn from each other, admit mistakes to one another, and embrace the extended family together. Make it about the family as a whole, not what best serves the children.

Section 2 titled Great Expectations provides examples of values that ready children for mature living. The Amish provide a working example of sharing the household and farm responsibilities as a family, and on the job training that many youngsters aren’t getting today.

In section 3 Daily Bread, the Amish Proverb “If God is not first in our thoughts in the morning, he will be last in our thoughts all day”, truly sums up what the section is about. They are putting God first in your day, and keeping Him in the forefront throughout. Draw on the characteristics of God, humility, forgiveness, joy and let them anchor each of your days.

Finally section 4 is titled Letting Go. I love what Suzanne says in the intro to this section “If we’ve done our job and prepared our children to the best of our ability, we can let them have a little age-appropriate breathing room to practice decision making, to spread their winds, and learn from mistakes.” So true! This section not only talks about letting go in the teen years, but as toddlers, marriage and even death.

Fantastic book full of wisdom that you can truly apply to your own family and you don’t even have to give up electricity to do it! Suzanne has done a great job taking the Amish values and helping us get from there to here, to a place where we can use the wisdom and make changes in our own families that hopefully will result in some of the characteristics we admire in the Amish.

Suzanne Woods Fisher Kindle Giveaway and More

Suzanne Woods Fisher is thrilled to announce the release of Amish Values for Your Family, her latest non-fiction release. "It offers loving ways to bring your fractured home back to life-Amish style. Read it and apply generously! It’s a beautiful book-funny, charming, soulful, and beautiful." -Mary Ann Kirkby

Read the reviews here.

To celebrate the release of Amish Values for Your Family, Suzanne has teamed up her publisher Revell Books to giveaway a Kindle, and with Bill Coleman (the amazing photographer used on Suzanne’s book covers) to give away a signed Bill Coleman original.

One Grand Prize winner will receive an Amish Values Prize Package (valued at over $200) and includes:

* A brand new KINDLE
* A Signed Bill Coleman original
* Amish Values for Your Family (for KINDLE)

Click on one of the icons to enter. Winner will be announced on 9/2 at Suzanne’s blog. Be sure to stop by the blogs on Suzanne’s blog tour – many have copies of Amish Values for Your Family to give away.

But, wait there's more! Suzanne is running a Bill Coleman caption contest during the month of August on her blog. Title one of Bill’s gorgeous photos for a chance to win a print from Bill’s Amish Photo site and/or a copy of Amish Values for Your Family.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Peter, Rock Star from Galilee- Sherree Funk

Rock Star From Galilee
A Guided Bible Study for Teens

Sherree G. Funk
Published by WinePress Publishing
Source: Review copy from Pump Up Your Book

I am always on the hunt for sound, deep, yet entertaining Bible studies for my homeschooled teenagers. The title alone on this study hooked me and I couldn’t wait to delve into the learning more about Peter.  

Right away I was impressed with Sherree incorporating a new concept with the music component of the study. She includes a playlist that you can find in your own cd, online, or buy on Itunes. The playlist goes along perfectly with the theme of each chapter in the study. Themes of following Jesus, God’s amazing love, and the power of Jesus name just to mention a few. Music speaks volumes in of itself. To incorporate it into the study just magnifies what is being learned.

We have an 8 week study, with 5 daily lessons. Sherree starts with a preview for the week, the playlist to get on your ipod, and a prayer. There is scripture, questions, and some thought that goes into each days assignment. Not too long, not too hard, and not too drawn out, perfect amount of work for the typical attention span of a teenager. She includes real photos as well as artistic renderings to bring the places of Peter alive. She utilizes a section called ‘Chew on this’ for some deeper thought questions for the students to ponder throughout the day. Each week ends with a jam session of review and some challenges for the student. I can see good fruit coming from the teens that spend the time to utilize this study.

Honestly one of the most unique studies for teens that I have found that utilizes a great man of the Bible and how we can be like him. Sherree is in the forefront of writing enjoyable and engaging Bible studies for teens that will help equip them for the battle ahead.
We will be using this study for my 3 teens for the first part of our school year. I am excited to load the tunes on my ipod and learn right along with my kids as they delve deeper into the word of God.

About Sherree G. Funk
Well-grounded in biblical Christianity, Sherree G. Funk is passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of God’s Word with the next generation. She has earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and holds a Certificate in Christian Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary. Sherree leads small groups of teens at Ingomar UMC. Peter: Rock Star from Galilee is her latest release. Her other teen Bible studies are available at www.servingonelord.com

I received a copy of this book from Pump Up Your book promotions in return for an honest review

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Departings- Mary A. Lake

Mary A. Lake
Published by Tate Publishing
Source: Review copy

This novel is told in 3 persons, each person Lorraine, Amanda and Bo describing and reminiscing about the overlapping time frames from 1908 to 1989.  

The meshing of the 3 characters adds a unique element to the development of the novel. It does however get fairly confusing to be constantly jumping back and forth in time, even though the author clearly marks each chapter with the time it is set in. There are extended family members in different years of the book and on occasion I would have to look back to see what family was related to whom.

I enjoyed the developing characters, their relationship with one another especially during the hardships of our country’s history in the great depression era. The family dynamics add to the research done by the author into the history represented. I always enjoy a historical novel that can lead the reader to relive times gone by.

The story really just follows the day to day living of the characters, but much can be found in the simplicity and the developing of the youngsters into the adults that they become later in the story. Decisions and how they impact their lives later, the relationships with their siblings and parents, as well as the times going on around them all bring the novel a simple charm.

I received a copy of this book from Tate Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Forbidden- Ted Dekker

Ted Dekker
Published by Center Street
Source: Review copy
Available Sept 13, 2011

About the Book from Teddekker.com
“Circle fans, get ready, the wait is over. No, this isn’t a continuation. But Forbidden: The Books of Mortals rocks with same level of intensity and brilliance as the Circle Series. Riveting, resounding, and a magnificent blend of Dekker’s and Lee’s styles. I devoured Forbidden.” – James L. Rubart, bestselling author

“True-blue Dekker, with mammoth twists and head-pounding turns that will have readers debating the roles of emotion and logic that drive human existence. - Publisher’s Weekly

The Books of Mortals. Three novels. Two authors. One last chance for humanity.

Many years have passed since civilization’s brush with apocalypse. The world’s greatest threats have all been silenced. There is no anger, no hatred, no war. There is only perfect peace… and fear.

But a terrible secret has been closely guarded for centuries: every single soul walking the earth, though in appearance totally normal, is actually dead, long ago genetically stripped of true humanity.

Fleeing pursuit, with only moments to live, a young man named Rom stumbles into possession of a vial of blood and a cryptic vellum. When consumed, the blood will bring him back to life; when decoded, the message will lead him on a perilous journey that will require him to abandon everything he has ever known and awaken humanity to the transforming power of true life and love.

But the blood will also resurrect hatred, ambition and greed at terrible risk.

Set in a terrifying, medieval future, where grim pageantry masks death, this tale of passionate love and dark desires from master storytellers Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee peels back the layers of the heart for all who dare take the journey.

My Review
I have a guest reviewer for Forbidden. My son Dakota is a huge Ted Dekker fan, having read many of his books including the Circle Series and recently Blink. When I saw that Mr. Dekker had a new book coming out I knew Dakota would be able to provide my readers with a fantastic review!
Dakota’s Review
Ted Dekker has brilliantly written this book as a “good vs. evil” book . Where the main character Rom has to learn how to cope with his new life. He not only
learns true love, but also true sorrow as he weeps for some of the people he loves most. Meanwhile Saric has consumed an altered version of the blood that only brings out the worst of emotions; hatred, jealousy, envy, anger. So that he can rule the world.
 There are a few parts where the action gets a little gory especially in fights. Though not any worse than any of the rest of Ted Dekker’s books. Altogether this book has lots of action, surprising twists, and suspense that will keep you interested. Reading this series could more of a challenge to read because the second book is released in 2012, and the third in 2013. But most of Ted Dekker’s books are worth the wait.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Priest with Dirty Clothes by R. C. Sproul

The Priest with Dirty Clothes
R. C. Sproul
Published by Reformation Trust
Source: pdf review copy

This children’s picture book is based on Zechariah 3:1-5 where the priest Joshua comes before the Lord in dirty clothes. The Angel of the Lord removes the dirty garments as he removes Joshua’s sins, and replaces them with pure, clean clothing, symbolic of our righteousness that comes through God.

Darby and Campbell McFarland come home from playing in the muddy banks of their Scotland home, caked in mud. Mother is not pleased at all, Grandpa is reminded of a story that he begins to share with the children.

Jonathan was just ordained as a priest and given the special robe and finery that went with his new position. Jonathan was to preach his first sermon to the King the following day.
Jonathan studies and prepared as he wanted his sermon to be the best. That day when he left for the King, it was pouring down rain relentlessly. Jonathan got soaked and muddy, wanting to turn back from continuing on his journey. Jonathan thought the King would be forgiving so he continued on. When he got to the castle the people were aghast at the priest with the dirty clothes. They whispered and spoke poorly of him behind his back.
The king would not allow Jonathan to preach in such dirty clothes and asked him to come back, but no matter what they tried they could not get his clothes clean again. He went to the Prince to see about new clothes. The King represented God in the story, the Prince was Jesus and an evil magician was the Devil.

Fantastic theme of being cleansed by righteousness and being made new in God. The drawings were fantastic and very detailed. Very entertaining to the children and a great starting point to study God’s word. The questions at the end of the story for parents were great starters to get the kids talking more about sin and our need for Jesus.

I received a copy of this book from Reformation Trust in exchange for an  honest review.

The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz

The Colonel’s Lady
Laura Frantz
Published by Revell
Source: Review Copy

At the recent loss of her mother, Roxanna Rowan sets out into the 1779 frontier to Kentucky to surprise her father. She gets there to find he has been killed in the line of duty and she suddenly is a 29 year old orphan with nowhere to go. She settles into frontier life helping in the kitchen, despite her status. She becomes the scrivener for Colonel McLinn, taking over where her father had left off until spring allows her to move on.
Feeling very spinster-like after her recent un-engagement, she has no desire to fall in love again. God has other plans for her as she starts to feel for Colonel McLinn.
Not only warring against the redcoats but against the native Indians, Colonel McLinn and his team are great danger. Roxanna finds her father’s old journel and reveals to Colonel McLinn that her father sensed a spy among them.

Laura Frantz has created deep and emotional characters that you root for throughout the novel. Her ability to put into words and descriptions the places and circumstances provides the reader with a blast back in time. It was so easy to get lost in the pages and feel as if I were seeing the story in my mind. Being able to visually create the scene for the reader is a gift, and even more so from a historical perspective.

A beautiful story of a heroine, her hero, and the enemies that surround them, all the while focusing on the love of God and his providence.

Laura Frantz credits her grandmother as being the catalyst for her fascination with Kentucky history. Frantz's family followed Daniel Boone into Kentucky in the late eighteenth century and settled in Madison County, where her family still resides. Frantz is the author of The Frontiersman's Daughter and Courting Morrow Little and currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons. More information about Laura at: www.laurafrantz.net

“Available August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

I received a copy of this book from Revell in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tombstones and Banana Trees by Medad Birungi

Tombstones and Banana Trees
Medad Birungi
Published by David Cook
Source: Review Book from B & B Media

This novel takes your breath away. A modern day Job story in a child package. Birungi was abused since he was in his mother’s womb, kicked by his father. His father’s increasing drinking let to continuous violence on the entire family both physically and verbally until his father abandoned them all together, leaving them on the side of the road with only the clothes on their backs. In a country like Uganda and the family ties that are in place, Birungi’s family was shunned and had never been at such a low place. Rage ravished Birungi as he continued to have horror and trauma explode his days. Amazing how all could be lost and yet, he was able to lose even more. Intense acts of violence and family members stolen from him, Birungi had no trust in anyone and had not experienced the unconditional love that comes from Christ alone.

A children’s choir came to Birungi’s school and spoke about Jesus, his love and forgiveness. Birungi was so enraged he ran away and hopped on the long bus ride home to his mother, only to discover that he couldn’t outrun Christ. He accepted the Lord that day, forgave all the past, proclaimed the name of Christ to his village, and his Mother also was saved. He was the first teen in his village to become a born again believer. What a change in his family and those around him to see the great things God had done!

This novel is profound. I have never read about such abuse, such grave circumstances, and such hopelessness. I personally was glad for the background information Birungi gave on his mother’s Rwanda heritage, the Uganda people, and the wars that forced such hatred among the people. The background information on the family structures and the ‘norms’ for the country helped me to leave the comfort zone of what I know in America, to realize the vast differences of life in other countries.
I am amazed by Birungi’s transformation, and his personal testimony. Who can argue with that? You can go up to a stranger and speak to them of the Word of God and typically many will argue and dismiss you. But to give one’s own testimony and have such a rich “revolutionary forgiveness” to it, there is no opposition.
Birungi was brought up out of the ashes, out of despair to a place of forgiveness and transformation that he shares with all to know. Phenomenal story.

I highly recommend this book, to step out of the comfort zone we have, and realize the extreme poverty and difficulties that others around the world are suffering. You will also see that our God is in these places and continues to work miracles to this day.
And I must add that the Title of the book is just fantastic!!

I received a copy of this book from B & B media group in exchange for an honest review.
Tombstones and Banana Trees: A True Story of Revolutionary Forgiveness
by Medad Birungi with Craig Borlase
David C Cook/July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7814-0502-7/208 pages/paperback/$14.99

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Young and In Love by Ted Cunningham

Young and In Love
Ted Cunningham

Published by David Cook
Source: Review copy from B & B Media

Maybe “I Do” is Better Than “Just Don’t”. Amen! When I saw that Young and In Love was coming out I thought to myself “Finally!” Soon to celebrate my 18th wedding anniversary to my childhood sweetie, I was wishing that we would have had this book back then. The book is geared toward couples who are young and in love.. not for the singles, not for someone older who is waiting, not for those who believe in waiting for their career and all their plans to get their lives in order before getting married.

Our culture has created this wide gap in between childhood and adulthood called adolescence and that stage of life is getting larger and larger, now saying that kids aren’t maturing until age 25! Ted Cunningham has couples test their maturity level earlier, look critically at their partner and theirselves to determine if they are indeed ready for marriage despite what the worldly view tends to hold. He has them look at marriage as a privilege, a blessing, a permanent bond. Couples test their chemistry, compentency and character to analyze whether God has put them together as a couple. Without Christ the early marriages wouldn’t work out, but then neither do the marriages that wait until they are ‘mature’.

Ted uses key scripture in Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes and more to showcase God’s plan for marriage. Well written, interactive guide book for all young couples considering marriage at a young age. A trailblazer book that I pray starts a new revolution for young marriages!!

Audra at B& B media had a question and answer session I would love to share with my readers.
Q&A with Ted Cunningham,
Author of Young and in Love

Q:  Over the past century, the national average for marrying age has increased and has continued to creep upwards.  In the 1950’s, for example, marrying at 20 was the norm.  Why are that many people waiting until they are older to marry?

The two primary reasons for delaying marriage today are fear of having a marriage like their parents and prolonged adolescence.  First, mom and dad may have been committed but did not enjoy one another.  Second, they grew up in homes where they were given too much privilege and not enough responsibility.  They were not prepared or trained to be a husband or wife.

Q:  Why has marriage become discouraged at a young age?  Do you think the Bible encourages young love?

Young marriage is discouraged because parents and the young adults themselves know they are not ready for marriage.  The Bible has two stages of life: childhood and adulthood.  There is no in-between.  When you left home, you cleaved to your spouse (Gen. 2:24).  Marriage and adulthood are linked.

Q:  Do you think the struggle our generation has with sexual impurity can be linked to the fact that marriages are being delayed?  Do you think that young adults would be more sexually pure if they married earlier?

It would certainly give them more hope.  After they reach puberty, we implore them to wait 15+ years.  We teach them to delay sex until marriage.  Most are having sex and delaying marriage.

Q:  Why do you think that “purity” talks are failing with Christian youth?

We’ve been teaching them how to honor purity, not marriage.  The Scripture calls us to honor marriage and purity is just one way to do that (Hebrews 13:4).  We need to prepare them to be husbands and wives.  Purity is a lifelong pursuit for all Christians.  It is not an issue for singles alone.

Q:  You were 21 when you first called home to tell your parents about Amy, who would soon become your wife.  How did your parents respond to your news?  Were her parents supportive?

Our parents were more than excited because they knew we were ready for the responsibility.

Q:  At what age do you encourage marriage?  When do you believe that someone is too young?

For starters, you must be a legal adult.  The youngest couple I have ever married was 19.  Their life circumstances forced them into adulthood at an early age and they understood and embraced responsibility.  I’ve married thirtysomethings with less maturity than this couple.  Again, the issue for me is not age, but maturity.

Q:  Can you give us some examples of unnecessary and necessary delays for marriage?

Necessary delays would include finishing high school and seeking your parents’ blessing.  Going after mom and dad’s blessing is a huge mark of maturity and a fantastic transition from childhood to adulthood.

Unnecessary delays would include waiting for a fat bank account, finishing college or graduate degrees, getting settled into the perfect job or exploring an extended season of self-exploration (independence).

Q:  Many people think you should be more financially secure, for example, because money is such a big issue in marriages.  In this economy, that may not even be possible, but how big of an impact does that have on a young marriage?

Plan on a poor or modest start.  That may mean coffee from gas stations, used cars and hand me down furniture.  You may need to start with flip phones.  Delay iPhones, iPads amd Macbooks, not marriage.
Young and in Love: Challenging the Unnecessary Delay of Marriage by Ted Cunningham
David C Cook/July 2011/ISBN: 978-0-7814-0447-1/224 pages/paperback/$14.99

Let God Change Your Life by Greg Laurie

Let God Change Your Life
Greg Laurie
Published by David Cook
Source: Review B & B Media

Discipleship 101, written neatly and concisely into an easy to read and  understand novel.  Written from a Christian who has been in the world, and realized the vacuum sized hole in his heart for God, Greg Laurie uses the Word of God and breaks it down into step by step instructions for the new believer.

The book walks the reader through the need for a relationship with Christ as the sole way to God. Explains how easily you can accept Christ into your life, and how to get ready for the changes that will follow. Often new Christians are left in a lurch without a guideline of where to go from here. Greg Laurie’s book would be an awesome discipleship tool for an older Christian to use to encourage a new believer. It would not only teach the new Christian, it would reignite the torch in the older Christian as well.

Fantastic examples, clear writing, and true to life skills are found in Let God Change your Life. I highly recommend that Christians have a copy of this book to give out to new believers or seekers!

For more about Pastor Greg visit his personal homepage at www.greglaurie.com

I received a copy of this book from B & B media in exchange for an honest review