Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Last Girl by Nadia Murad










About the Book


In this intimate memoir of survival, a former captive of the Islamic State tells her harrowing and ultimately inspiring story.

Nadia Murad was born and raised in Kocho, a small village of farmers and shepherds in northern Iraq. A member of the Yazidi community, she and her brothers and sisters lived a quiet life. Nadia had dreams of becoming a history teacher or opening her own beauty salon.

On August 15th, 2014, when Nadia was just twenty-one years old, this life ended. Islamic State militants massacred the people of her village, executing men who refused to convert to Islam and women too old to become sex slaves. Six of Nadia's brothers were killed, and her mother soon after, their bodies swept into mass graves. Nadia was taken to Mosul and forced, along with thousands of other Yazidi girls, into the ISIS slave trade.

Nadia would be held captive by several militants and repeatedly raped and beaten. Finally, she managed a narrow escape through the streets of Mosul, finding shelter in the home of a Sunni Muslim family whose eldest son risked his life to smuggle her to safety.

Today, Nadia's story--as a witness to the Islamic State's brutality, a survivor of rape, a refugee, a Yazidi--has forced the world to pay attention to the ongoing genocide in Iraq. It is a call to action, a testament to the human will to survive, and a love letter to a lost country, a fragile community, and a family torn apart by war.







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My Review


The Last Girl is the captivating and heartbreaking story of Nadia Murad. Nadia was born in a village to a Kurdish family in the Middle East. As she grew older ISIS began taking over villages and towns one by one. Eventually ISIS made it into Nadia's village. ISIS destroyed everything in sight and slaughtered most of the residents including Nadia's mother and 6 brothers. And Nadia- ISIS took her into captivity as an ISIS sex slave. Nadia eventually escaped her evil captors and has become a voice against the Islamic State. Even speaking to the UN. Nadia's story is an important one and this book should be read by everybody.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

REVIEW: The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert










About the Book


As retired physician Lettie Louw looks back upon her life, she recounts her coming of age in WWII-era South Africa in this compelling story of delayed love, loss, and reconciliation.

34460579Lettie Louw is the daughter of the town physician in their South African village. She spends her childhood in the warm African days playing with her friends and being adored by her doting parents. When she becomes a teenager, she experiences her first taste of unrequited romantic love in the form of her best friend’s older brother, De Wet Fourie. When De Wet pursues the beautiful and wealthy Annabelle, Lettie’s dreams are crushed, and she moves to Johannesburg to pursue her studies in medicine.

Life in Johannesburg feels strange to Lettie, and the world around her is in profound upheaval as the Second World War rages. Her feelings for De Wet never waver, and Lettie is heartbroken when he marries another of her childhood friends. Lettie soon meets Marco Romanelli, an Italian immigrant, and they marry and raise two daughters, as the racial and political tensions in South Africa swirl about them.

Lettie never forgets her first love, even as the ravages of time, war, and illness play upon her life and the lives of those she loves. In their later years, Lettie and De Wet are thrown into one another’s company again, and they are given another chance at a life together. 






My Review


The Crooked Path is yet another beautiful but haunting work of art from South African author Irma Joubert. The Crooked Path begins with an older and retired Lettie who begins to look back at her life and recount her younger years in WWII South Africa. Her first encounter with her first love De Wet who eventually marries one of Lettie's childhood friends and Lettie who meets a young Italian immigrant whom she marries and has a family with. Then years later Lettie and De Wet meet again and reconnect. The Crooked Path is a story about love, loss, faith, and second chances. This is a story, as all of Irma's works, that will stay with you long after you turn the last page. Irma Joubert skillfully and masterfully is able to create characters that leap off the page and into the reader's heart. This is a must read!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

REVIEW: Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky








About the Book


Set in Edwardian England and ideal for readers who enjoy Julie Klassen novels, this romance about an English aviation pioneer and the girl who falls in love with him is filled with adventure and faith.
Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don't approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year. When James Grant, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson's new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to be the first to fly across the Channel and win the prize Mr. Grayson's newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella's heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella's faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down?






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My Review


Across the Blue is a an Edwardian piece about the first planes and romance. I always enjoy historical novels when you can tell while reading them that the author spent a lot of time researching so everything would be correct. You have no idea how many so called historical novels I've read that feel and read nothing like the period it's supposed to be set in. So I appreciate that Carrie took the time to do her research. I also really loved reading about the first planes. Across the Blue is a sweeping adventure and you're not going to want to miss the ride.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

REVIEW: They Came for Freedomby Jay Milbrandt










About the Book



A page-turning story of the Pilgrims, the courageous band of freedom-seekers who set out for a new life for themselves and forever changed the course of history.

Once a year at Thanksgiving, we encounter Pilgrims as folksy people in funny hats before promptly forgetting them. In the centuries since America began, the Pilgrims have been relegated to folklore and children’s stories, fairy-tale mascots for holiday parties and greeting cards.

The true story of the Pilgrim Fathers could not be more different. Beginning with the execution of two pastors deviating from the Elizabethan Church of England, the Pilgrims’ great journey was one of courageous faith, daring escape, and tenuous survival. Theirs is the story of refugees who fled intense religious persecution; of dreamers who voyaged the Atlantic and into the unknown when all other attempts had led to near-certain death; of survivors who struggled with newfound freedom. Loneliness led to starvation, tension gave way to war with natives, and suspicion broke the back of the very freedom they endeavored to achieve.

Despite the pain and turmoil of this high stakes triumph, the Pilgrim Fathers built the cornerstone for a nation dedicated to faith, freedom, and thankfulness. This is the epic story of the Pilgrims, an adventure that laid the bedrock for the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and the American identity.








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My Review


I've been looking forward to reading Jay Milbrandt's They Came for Freedom since I found out about it months ago. I've always enjoyed historical non-fiction and especially pieces about the colonial pilgrims. Some of these pilgrims who came here from England for mostly religious freedom are my own ancestors. The true and real story about these men, women and children is remarkable. And they were only successful with the help of God. A great documentary on these early settlers is Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure. It is fantastic and one of the historians featured in the documentary is so passionate about what she is talking about that she brings the pilgrims story to life. Jay has done the same with the written word. They Came for Freedom is a must read in the Non-Fiction genre.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

REVIEW: Coloring Christmas Devotions by Lizzie Preston









About the Book


Enjoy all the best parts of the Christmas season as you spend time reflecting on God’s greatest gift for His children: the birth of Jesus. This unique coloring book also includes devotions perfect for the season. Take a few minutes out of the busyness of Christmas to spend time in devotional thought, while relaxing through stress-free coloring.

With inspirational devotions on one side and a festive Christmas scene to color on the opposite page, Coloring Christmas Devotions will be a welcome part of your holiday celebrations. Take a few quiet moments to yourself to reflect on the reason behind the festivities as you read through the Scripture verses and devotions and color the pen-and-ink illustrations.

This coloring book is unique with a trim size that is easy to fit into a purse or bag, an embellished cover, perforated pages, and a low price point.

A beautiful gift or a fun treat for yourself, Coloring Christmas Devotions will help you focus your heart on the true meaning of Christmas.





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My Review


Coloring Christmas Devotions is a nice little Christmas themed coloring book. The book was quite smaller than I was expecting it to be, but that's not really a big deal. I was just a little suprised. The devotions for each coloring page are not deep devotions. They are just quite simple and of course Christmas themed. Each coloring page consists of a Chrismas themed picture to color in. Now I will say these pictures can be difficult to color in. The areas you are supposed to color in are kind of small and thin. So if you are a perfectionist when you color than these pictures are going to take you a while to finish. Overall this is a good coloring book for Christmastime.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

REVIEW: Taking Aim by Eva Shockey











About the Book

An acclaimed bow hunter who defies the stereotype that hunting is a man’s game, Eva Shockey is a TV and social media phenomenon at the forefront of a new wave of women and girls who are passionate about outdoor sports. 

Eva Shockey grew up expecting to be a dancer like her glamorous mother. But something about spending family vacations RV-ing across North America and going on hunts with her dad sparked in her an enduring passion for a different way of life.
     In Taking Aim, Eva tells a very personal story of choosing the less-traveled path to a rewarding life in outdoor pursuits like hunting and fishing. For her, as her millions of fans can attest, that has meant hunting as a way of harvesting food, caring deeply about conservation, sustainability and healthy eating, and getting closer to God in nature. 
     In this riveting memoir for the adventurer in all of us, Eva takes readers along as she hunts caribou on the rugged Aleutian Islands, tracks a 1,500-pound bull moose across the unforgiving Yukon, and meets many other challenges of a life in the wild.
     Along the way we learn that hunting is about so much more than pulling a trigger. "My story is about discovering your dream," writes Eva. "It's about following your passion, mastering your skills, taking aim no matter who thinks you’re crazy…and then letting the arrow fly. If you’ve done all you can, I can tell you that you’re almost certain to hit your mark."
     Whether you’re a lifelong hunter or a city dweller who has never set foot in the wilderness, Eva’s story delivers an empowering message about rejecting stereotypes and expectations, believing in yourself, and finding the courage to pursue what you care about most.
 





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My Review

Like so many out there I am quite familiar with the Shockey family. My dad has watched Eva's father's show on the Outdoor Channel for years. Her and her father's adventures in outdoors hunting in places like Canada and exotic places around world like Africa. Eva Shockey seems to be finding her own in the world of outdoor sports including creating her own brand. Taking Aim is all about being a woman in a normally male dominated area and holding your own. It's about encouraging young women to join. It's about being different and being yourself. It's about living a healthier and fulfilling life. It's about growing your faith in God while being in nature. This is a book I very much enjoyed and will be keeping in my personal library. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

REVIEW: To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander








About the Book



With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society's expectations must work together to achieve their dreams—provided that the truth doesn't tear them apart first.

Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father's name. One man holds the key to Sy's success—General William Giles Harding of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville's society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he's found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison's fiancee—and what has broken her heart.

Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen's university in the United States. But family—and Nashville society—do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both. Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy's roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor?

Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn't count on is having to wager her heart to do it.

Set against the real history of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation and the original Fisk University Jubilee Singers ensemble, To Wager Her Heart is a stirring love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in history when both were tenuous and hard-won.
 







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My Review


To Wager Her Heart is Tamera Alexander's third installment in her Belle Meade Plantation series. Which I did not know when I requested this book. An OOPS on my part. But it really read like a standalone novel so I think it would be fine to read To Wager Her Heart if you haven't read the previous two installments. And it's a Southern Romance...you really can't go wrong with this.


To Wager Her Heart was a sweet tale of a Southern Belle wanting to break free of societies expectations and a a reformed gambler. Alexandra, a teacher at Fisk University, the first Freedman's school in the United States. Sy, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad. Both struggle for justice. Alexandra also to let go and move on. Sy, to win the heart of the woman he loves.