Agents of Babylon by Dr. David Jeremiah-review


 

 

AgentsofBabylon

 

Review of Agents of Babylon by Dr. David Jeremiah

 

Agents of Babylon is one of three books Dr. David Jeremiah wrote on the end times using prophecies found in the Bible. In Agents of Babylon, Dr. David Jeremiah focuses on prophecies given to Daniel during his lifetime. Before I go too much further, one thing I found you must remember while reading this book is that it is one man’s opinion, and further, he in no way states that the fictional section of his book on Daniel was to be taken literally word for word. It is merely an example of what it would have been like to be Daniel during his lifetime. I have become a big fan of historical fiction, especially in relation to biblical characters. I first came to love this form of writings when I discovered Mesu Andrews, particularly her book “The Pharaoh’s Daughter”.

 

These books are one authors opinion, and I feel the purpose of these books are less to provide you with a history LESSON, and more so to provide you with a WINDOW into the lives of these great people of history. It’s meant to help you to see and feel what they “might” have seen and felt during their day to day lives. That is how I felt while reading Dr. David Jeremiah’s fictional view on Daniel’s life. It was like being pulled into my own Bible, and living out his life through his point of view. Sure it may not have happened just as Dr. David wrote, but how else would we get the chance to see the life of Daniel in such a way, and who better to provide us with a glimpse into that world but someone who has the knowledge and talent to do so.

 
Dr. David Jeremiah lays out his book in such a way that he gives you a brief fictional preview into the life of Daniel in each chapter, and then breaks off into a factorial breakdown of the story, using scripture and outside sources to backup the events of that chapter, for those of you who prefer reading facts over reading fiction. You get the best of both worlds. For instance, chapter one “The Hostage” is about a nine to ten page fictional story of Daniel’s capture and his first days in slavery. It is quickly followed by “The Scripture Behind The Story” where Dr. David Jeremiah divides up the story into sections, explaining each section for you using scripture and his own studies. I especially liked the great detail he went into explaining the events of Daniel’s life, such as the changes he and his friends had to go through as they adjusted to life as slaves. Daniel and his friends literally had their lives ripped from them, and most of us wouldn’t have thought twice about what that was like. It’s amazing to see it all though Daniel’s eyes, and knowing that through it all, Daniel never let it change who he was in Christ.

 
Each chapter takes you further and further into the books of Daniel. Dr. David Jeremiah slowly starts piecing together the connection between Daniel’s story and the end times, starting with King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. As we all know, there are aspects of the bible that can be connected to actual events in history and then there are parts of the bible, such as King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream which Daniel describes, that can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. Dr. David Jeremiah goes into great definition and detail with all these things, such as the dream, using many different supporting scriptures and sources. He continues to do this throughout the book as he slowly walks you through Daniel’s life. I am no theologian, and don’t aspire to be one, so for a simple person whose only desire was to learn more about Daniel and the end times, I found myself very impressed with this books ability to deliver both a fictional and factorial view on these things.

 

Eventually he ends with Daniel 11:36-12:3, and the visions given to Daniel concerning the end times. Using the prophecies given to Daniel, and supporting scripture from elsewhere in the bible, we are given a good picture of what to expect, and what to do with the knowledge given us about the end times. But amongst all this information, Daniel was eventually told, “…not to waste time delving more deeply into the prophecies, that they simply wouldn’t be fully understood until they came to pass.”

 

With that being said, Dr. David Jeremiah ends with these simple instructions: PROTECT THE PROPHECY – study it, understand it, and obey it, PROCEED WITH YOUR LIFE – don’t let the end times become an obsession, don’t just sit around and wait for it to come to pass, and PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE – put your trust in the Lord, and most importantly, serve Him in everything you do. We are to continue living our lives with the knowledge that the end times are near, but also to continue living actively for the Lord. If you don’t yet know what that looks like, then what better example could be given to you then the life of Daniel. And what better way to learn of him then through this book.
-I received this book for free through Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Learning To See Creatively -review


Find it on Amazon

 

Review of Learning to See Creatively by Bryan Peterson

LEARNING TO SEE CREATIVELY (Third Edition)- Design, Color, and Composition in Photography, by Bryan Peterson, was first published in 1988. His newly revised edition was the first of Bryan Peterson’s books I’ve read. Being an amateur photographer, and an artist, I found his book to be a breath of fresh air compared to the many other photography books I’ve come across. With me not being a pro in any way, his simplistic layout, and his step-by-step explanations that walked me through his book made it not only easy to comprehend, but gave me a personal look into the mind of what I can tell, from my own opinion as well as other reviewers, is a great photographer and teacher. Not everyone can afford a one on one photography class with such a teacher, but most anyone looking to learn, or become better at, photography can afford a great lesson in just under 20 dollars.

I personally took an interest in this book for it’s title, although for me, it would read “Learning to see MORE creatively”. I’ve always had the eye, but not always the skill, and this book brings those two things together beautifully. Bryan Peterson answers all the questions a self-taught photographer like myself would have. He first breaks you into the book by focusing on, what else, but, “What Do We See?”. This first chapter is a perfect example of what the rest of the book looks like. You open up the chapter to see an array of images, the same image, just different perspectives. Each image is of a different view, depth, or lens. What Bryan does, is he shows you the different options a photographer might have in taking a photo, and then shows you ways you might make it better. He does this using his own point of view, explaining how he might go about taking such photo, and does this with a walk through of what he uses as far as camera, lens, shutter speed, exposure, and so on. It’s like being in the mind of a master.

Following through the first chapter, Bryan takes you on a walk through different lens, each lens he provides you with a photographic example, and another step-by-step walk through. Next chapter, he introduces you to the more creative side of things, the “Elements of Design”. Here, he covers Line, Shape, Form, Texture, Pattern, and Color. This is where the artist in me exploded with excitement. For so long I had thought photography was supposed to be about subjects, particularly people or animals. My eye, on the other hand, was always drawn to the more abstract side of life. It’s where my most favored photos came from. The book really opened my mind to see, just like with art, there is no limit with photography. There is just finding a way to build on the gift you’ve been given, in a way that all the world can see it and enjoy it.

Chapter by chapter Bryan goes on to explain the basics in photography, such as composition, contrast, light, editing, and Photoshop. Each and every chapter of his he provides an exercise, a chance for you to pull out your camera, and put your own skill to work, as well as to help you learn what your own vision and color composition is. Bryan does a wonderful job reaching out to you, the student, and helping you build your skill. Even the more skilled photographer has a chance to open their eyes a little more and learn a thing or two. It’s a great refresher book all around, and one I was very pleased to review.

-I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and views are my own.

The Pharaoh’s Daughter, by Mesu Andrews


My Review of “The Pharaoh’s Daughter” by Mesu Andrews

Pharoah'sDaughter

My Review of the Pharaoh’s Daughter: A Treasure of the Nile Novel- by Mesu Andrews:
I have heard a lot of things about biblical fiction, had read many reviews, but had yet to give one of those books a try. Until I came across The Pharaoh’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews. I had never read one of her books, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of this one. I had always been fascinated by Egypt, it’s history, and it’s stories, and I just had to get my hands on this book. When I saw it for review I snatched it up without a second thought. First thing Mesu does is explain that she has done her research, biblical and historical, and apologizes for anything she may have not gotten right. First off, this is fiction, so my mind was being transported into the world that Mesu Andrews built with her own words (not a history book), and secondly, not once did I lose fascination with this story and think, “hmm, that’s not right.” I was too transfixed on this amazing story of Annipe, who goes on to become the mother of Moses.
For some reason, this story took on a whole new feeling of excitement and fascination for me. I believe it was the idea that this isn’t just some made up fiction story that bubbled up inside some author’s imagination. Although that is partially true, it was the idea that this was a retelling of a real point in history, and though the story may have been different, the chance to get to read, imagine, feel, and almost become a part of the life of Moses and his mother, to see them come to life, it was just beautiful. Mesu did an absolute wonderful job with her choice in characters (although some were hard to grow used to), and her descriptions of their homes, surroundings, and lifestyles. It was so neat to get to experience that.
This book is very strong at points, from violence, graphic descriptions of things such as childbirth, deaths, wars, tragedies of slavery and so on, it may be more suitable for those of an appropriate age to understand those things. Otherwise, I love how in depth you become with the characters. Getting to follow along with Annipe through her life, from a young child, to the woman, and mother, she becomes, and her facing all her fears of life, love, childbirth, being on her own, becoming a mother, being a n egyptian, and discovering new faith, it really brought that character to life for me. All of us feel that way and face those fears at some point in our lives. It is just so neat to get to follow Annipe, Moses, and the many other characters you come to know, through a story I had only really known from the Biblical standpoint, and stories told as a child, or retold in cartoon renditions.
Although in the end it is fiction, fiction is what I’ve come to love, and to put that together with the Word of God, it made this book join my many other favorites on my nightstand. In my opinion, I would have a hard time putting a character such a Moses on paper, to bring him to life, give him a voice, and replay his life in my own words. I think it takes a lot of strength and courage to take such an important person, and important point in history, and a place such as Egypt, and to put that all together into a book you know people will ultimately question or critique. I admire Mesu for having that talent, ability, and courage to do so. I absolutely loved this book, and look forward to reading more from her collection, and especially those books that have yet to be written. 🙂

-I received this book through blogging for books, and Waterbrook Multnomah, for free in exchange for an honest review.

My Sing-Along Bible: 50 Easy-Read Stories + 50 Fun Bible Songs- by Stephen Elkins


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My children absolutely LOVE that I review books, almost as much as I love it, but for one reason, every now and then I get a new children’s book for them to help me review! This time, it was My Sing-Along Bible: 50 Easy-Read Stories + 50 Bible Songs, by Stephen Elkins. When we first opened the book, the kids were super excited to see a disc. Of course, their first thought was a movie! But I showed them how to the disc was a disc of music to go along with their book. My children loved the idea, and for a long time they sat in their room, taking turns holding the book, and trying their best to sing along.
After the excitement subsided, it was a blend of emotions for both of them. My four year old, who doesn’t know how to read enough to follow along with the book, and my seven year old who can read, but was trying to understand what part of the book the disc was singing, and when it was repeating the choruses, and each child wanting to be the one to hold the book. 🙂 My oldest son eventually got his fun out of it, but my daughter still loves to play the music and try her best to follow along with the book. She really enjoys it.
As for the book: At the top of each page is a brief story, followed by the song, a picture, and a “Little Lesson”. For instance, once chapter is God Created Families. It has a “Let’s Read” section that explains how God created the first family with Adam and Eve and gave them a special blessing called children. Then there’s a verse, Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”, followed by the song, “My Family Matters”, and lastly the “Little Lesson” which is that “God created my family”. On one page is an illustration of a family spending time together by a pond. The book has a lot to offer, and is a great family time book. My daughter enjoys it on her own as well, and loves the music, even if she can’t quite read yet.
The only issue we came across with the book is the disc case, which is a plastic piece that I believe is supposed to hold the disc in place. From the moment we opened it, the disc came sliding out. It was supposed to open from a sticky flap on top, but one of the sides of the plastic was completely open, allowing the disc to slide out. Obviously a manufacturer malfunction, and an easy fix for us. Aside from that I could not find anything wrong with the book itself, and am glad to add it to my children’s library.

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review

Flash, The Homeless Donkey Who Taught Me about Life, Faith, and Second Chances- Author Rachel Anne Ridge


My review of Flash-

Flash

So I have a handful of books to choose from to review and I’m instantly drawn to this book with the cover of an adorable donkey holding a daisy. Part of me sat there and thought, “hmmm, could I really read an entire book about a donkey??” And so I go on to read the back cover, “Meet Flash: a quirky, unconventional hero with gigantic ears, a deafening bray, a personality as big as Texas, and a story you’ll never forget. It’s the heartwarming true tale of an irrepressible donkey who needed a home – and forever changed a family.” And so, being a foster mom of my own rescues, this book had already pulled at my heartstrings. Then being about an adorable donkey, of whom I’d take into my own home in a heartbeat, I answered my question, “Yes, I could totally read an entire book about a donkey!”

From the first chapter in, Rachel Anne Ridge, and her wonderful gift of storytelling, had me hooked to her story of this poor donkey who came wandering onto their property in the dead of night, and had both her and her husband (though really just her husband) doing anything and everything to get this stubborn animal up their driveway and into the safety of their pasture, where it would stay ‘ONLY’ until they could find it’s owner. Little did Rachel and her husband know, this donkey would make that pasture his home, and from that point on he would then carry them through one hardship after another.

Day by day, week by week, Rachel and her husband are doing everything to keep their family business afloat, as well as their home and kids. Morning after morning, Rachel looks out over the pasture and their mystery guest, who has by now become a beloved member of the family, and she ponders life. As she does this, she starts to realize there is more to this donkey then just some plain, grey, lazy animal, with little purpose in life but to cause problems, and pave dirt paths through their pasture. She starts to see the animal God created, who may have been plain and grey, but who was also a blessing in disguise. From the moment she decided to give Flash his name, and claim Flash as her own, she found God slowly speaking to her through him.

“…somehow, He was using a donkey to lead me to a simple truth.”
We are all going through things of our own in life, and often life tends to look plain and grey. We find ourselves desperately trying to “Live the Dream!” or reaching for that next “Exciting Chapter in Life!” but life is never that easy, and not always that colorful. So we sit back and think, “what am I doing wrong?” or “what is wrong with me?” or “what can I change about my life”. We allow the enemy to feed us lies, and we allow life to beat us down, and we become so blinded by life’s’ expectations that sometimes we even beat our own selves down. In doing so we overlook the small blessings in life, because we are so busy trying to fix the “donkey problems” as Rachel puts it.

In her book she says, “I wondered about all the “donkey problems” I faced in life. The times I thought, “If I can just figure out what I’m good at, or, If I could just change this relationship, or, If I could make a whole gob of money.” Then she goes on to say, ” I realized how often I made the mistake of thinking that ‘fixing’ things was what the journey was all about.” And Flash teaches you a great lesson about that, and many other things. You’ll just have to read it for yourselves! 😉

This book came at the perfect time in my life. It was like God gave me a Flash of my own, just when I needed him the most, and all thanks to Rachel Anne Ridge for sharing Flash with us through this absolutely wonderful read! I can not thank her enough, as an aspiring artist, mother, wife, and animal lover and foster mom , I was able to relate to her story in so many ways. Her story touched my heart, and it is one I know I will revisit again and again. Anytime I feel my heart get heavy, or life’s stresses pulling me down, I just look at this cover and smile. Thank you God, for this donkey who has given me a reason to smile, and the many smiles he will share with all those who choose to read this book, and share in his story.

Thank you Tyndale House Publishers for this review copy that I received in exchange for an honest review! 🙂

Little Blessings- Easter Stories and Prayers (written by Kathleen Long Bostrom, Illustrated by Elena Kucharik)


Little Blessings- Easter Stories and Prayers (written by Kathleen Long Bostrom, Illustrated by Elena Kucharik)
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Little Blessings, Easter Stories and Prayers is an adorable book, and I’m excited to have an Easter book to share with my kids around Easter. Easter is a hard holiday to explain to kids, especially when you are putting the Easter bunny up against Jesus dying on the cross and raising again. Honestly, the first is much easier for children to understand. This book is bright and beautiful, and is a great way to draw children’s attention to the story of Jesus. When I sat down with my four year old, who happens to have a deep love for Jesus, and started reading the book to her, she was very curious about the many beautiful illustrations of all the children. Each page told a part of the story in poetry format, and displayed illustrations of children partaking in different activities.

Easter Stories and Prayers contains four different stories, “Why is There a Cross”, “Who is Jesus”, “What is Prayer”, and “What About Heaven”. Each story is about fifteen pages, front and back, some just illustrations, other just words, some have both. The book has a simple layout: title page, story titles, the stories, and then a list of additional Little Blessings books. The stories even contain scriptures, on every other page, for actual biblical reference. The only thing I found missing was a table of contents. Being that it’s three separate stories, should I only want to read one specific story, I would have liked to have had a page number so I did’t have to go flipping through the pages to find the start of the story I’m looking for. Other then that I find the book to be beautiful, the stories appropriate, and the pictures captivating.
Each Story is told in poetry format, which is both beautiful and fun. The stories start off asking questions a child might ask, an then goes on to answer it for them as if Jesus is answering them himself. The Illustrations go along with the book each relate to the story in a way, showing children partaking in different activities. I absolutely love the illustrations, as they remind me a lot of precious moments. Not only are they adorable, they are very detailed, each telling a story all their own. If a child doesn’t find the stories themselves interesting, they would definitely follow along with the illustrations. Overall I would describe this book as bright, fun, and educational. Sometimes sitting down and trying to explain biblical things to your children is difficult, especially when attention spans are short. This book provides a way of explaining these things, but in a manner a child might understand better

The book itself is a padded hard cover. After a few days of handling the book has received a few creases and scratches. It is more suited for the older ages who can handle with care. The pages are thin and delicate, again making it more suitable for older ages, but these things in no way take away from how beautiful this book is. This is a book that will probably come out around Easter only for special reading times, but only because I want this book to stay in beautiful condition. I am so glad to have made this book a part of our collection, and so look forward to reading it to my kids this Easter.

-I received this book for free through Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Bible Favorites- One Sentence Storybooks (review)


Review of One Sentence Story Books (Written by Nancy I. Sanders, Illustrated by Hannah Wood)

OneSentenceStorybooks
My son started first grade, and I suddenly found my house filling up with reading materials of all sorts. Books, and packets, and flash cards flooded his backpack and bookshelves. With much of his reading material, I found that the most common factor between them all was how repetitive they were. As beginners, children, especially boys, have an easier time learning to read word by word. Dick and Jane books are a perfect example of the repetitive wording I’m talking about. Although there are a lot of great beginner reader books out there, not many of them follow the classic Dick and Jane manner of writing. As a Christian mother, I also desired to find a great beginner reader book that introduced my young ones to bible stories, which was easier said then done, until now.
One Sentence Storybooks gave me the manner of learning I desired for my chlidren in both reading and biblical stories. When I first ordered the books I wasn’t sure what the book set would look like, but was glad when what I received was an adorable little 4 by 5 inch box with a flip open top. My son couldn’t wait to open it! Inside we found ten little 6 page paperback books. At first I was worried that my son would quickly lose interest in a book so small, but came to find that my son loved how easily and quickly he could read each book, and was even more excited to get to the next one. Each book starts off with one or two words, then the turn of a page and it adds a couple more words to the first word(s), and on until you get to the end of the short story. Then on the last pages you get a quick word review, and a short lesson involving a bibe fact, a verse, and a prayer to pray with your little one. To make the book a little more challenging, I had my son read the lesson page to me. He was very proud when he was able to read the whole page without needing my help.
The books also follow the bible stories, starting with creation, “The Sun and the Moon”, then onto Noah’s ark, “Two Mice and the Ark”, and onto other stories such as Moses, David and Goliath, the Birth of Jesus, and even the story of the angel who watched over Jesus’s tomb. They’re very simple stories, meant mostly for word recognition, but they also spark interest, opening your children’s mind to learning more about the bible. My son and daughter love Jesus, and love hearning stories about Him and other people in his time. I love that these books allow my children to learn about the Bible on their own, while also helping them to learn to read at the same time. My favorite part of these books was when I found my son reading the books to his younger sister. He may still be learning to read, but he became so confident in his ability to read these books on his own, he wanted to read them to his sister, just like his mommy reads to him. It was a very precious moment.
I believe these books are a must have for any Christian home, childcare, or preschool. They are the perfect independent reader books. The words and illustrations are short, simple and easily understood, which works well with younger readers. The books are small, easily handled by younger ones, and safely stored within a small flip box that velcros shut. My only wish is that the the set included Jonah and the whale rather then David and the giant, as I don’t think minds so young understood David “hitting” the animals and the giant, and I don’t think it’s good that hitting is really the only lesson they receive from that story. Otherwise, I was much impressed with this little set, and am glad to have it apart of my children’s collection.
-I received this book for free though Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Review of Supermarket Healthy (Book written by author Melissa D’Arabian)


SupermarketHealthy

Review of Supermarket Healthy by Melissa D’Arabian
As a wife and mother, it is my responsibility to provide my family with well balanced meals and snacks. Whether it is me providing a meal, or them reaching for a snack, I prefer that whatever food choice I make available to them are as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, when I go on a health kick due to a new health book I’ve found, often the meals provided are made of all natural foods, many abnormal ingredients, and are much more time consuming. In the end I’m not only spending more time in the kitchen, but I’m spending more in the grocery store as well, and that extra cost is usually spent on food my family doesn’t normally eat. It is a rather frustrating ordeal.
When I came across Melissa’s D’Arabian’s book, the title in itself spiked my curiosity. On the cover, the words “Recipes & Know-How for Eating Well Without Spending a Lot” had my full attention. I had to get my hands on this book. One of the first things about the book that I rather enjoyed is how it was laid out more like a recipe book then other “Eat Well Know How” books I’ve read. Chapter by chapter it takes you through not just the meals of the day in order from breakfast to dessert, but also by foods, such as salads, pastas, and meats. In other books I was always having to revisit the index in order to find recipes. This book has a much more familiar and easy to follow layout. The book starts off with a short guide, to show you how to make this book work for you, and a pantry list, to show you which foods to keep on hand and at the ready.
Next comes the chapter sections, starting with breakfast. Glancing through the recipes you will notice some come with strategies: Supermarket Strategies (tips on making the grocery store work for you), Kitchen Strategies (time saving tips, make-ahead advice, and at home swaps in case of a missing ingredient, and Entertaining Strategies (serving ideas, and spins for making dishes more party friendly). Other recipes come with blueprints, which I found to be a great idea. Blueprints show you how to break down a recipe into steps, allowing you to get a little creative should you wish, such as switching up ingredients, and making the recipe your own. And then of course you have your nutritional information, which is a great resource for those of us who care to know what really goes into our meals. Each recipe also provides you with serving sizes, preparation time, and cooking time, which becomes a big deciding factor for me in choosing to make a new recipe.
I found the layout of the book to be wonderful, and the balance of author’s stories, introduction, guide, and notes to be in perfect moderation, and easy to follow. Overall I found this book to be well written and quite creative. For an average family, many of the recipe’s ingredients were not overly common, or ones I would already have on hand, but they weren’t so complicated that I couldn’t easily find them at the store. The recipes themselves were more about being healthy, them simple, most of them having ten or more ingredients, but thanks to the books guides, it shows you how to go about making these more extravagant meals more affordable. Even the snacks, being more organic, require a few more ingredients and work, but some of them are good make-ahead snacks that I very much look forward to trying. The only aspect of the book I can find negative at all is that not all the recipes come with pictures, which wouldn’t be so negative, except when they involve ingredients you aren’t so familiar with, it’s hard to imagine how the dish is supposed to turn out. Although I am a very imaginative and creative being, without seeing the dish, it might deter a less imaginative person from wanting to try a dish they can’t see.
This book is a great book for anyone who is not afraid of a more complex meal, with great health benefits. Anyone who is eager to try new things would enjoy the variety this book provides, a variety of dishes which allow you to choose from a fun and easy Deconstructed Lasagna, or a more elegant and complex Shellfish Bouillabaisse. This book is one that I feel is worthy of a place among your favorite cook books.

-I received this book for free through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


AnniesStories“Annie’s Stories” by author Cindy Thomson

Annie’s Stories is the second book in Cindy Thomson’s “Ellis Island” series, the first book being “Grace’s Pictures”, which I had not had the opportunity to start with. I believe stepping into Annie’s story, and not having got the feel for Cindy’s stories beforehand, caused me to take a little longer then most to get the feel for the story. It was a bit of a process clasping onto the diversity in her book, from the German to Irish accents, and the the many back stories you come to learn. A couple chapters in though I was warmed up and really getting into the era I had dove head first into.

It is quite interesting getting to feel for New York during the 1900’s, while it is still building it’s foundation around the many immigrants who came to make it their home. Annie Gallagher was such an immigrant, having moved from Ireland after the tragic death of her father, and storyteller, Marty Gallagher. Shortly following her death Annie was tossed aside by her uncle under cruel circumstances, and left to dwell in the most horrible of places, Magdaline’s Laundries house, a place for abandoned girls. By the grace of Father Weldon, she was sent to America where she would make a new home in Mrs. Hawkin’s boarding house.

Annie hopes to have an opportunity to live out her dream, in America, of opening a library of her own, in honor of her father, but finds herself facing doubt and adversity as she doesn’t have the means to make it happen. Dreams set aside, Annie soon finds life in the boarding home disrupted when challenge after challenge piles itself on Annie’s shoulders. First her cousin, whom she holds responsible for her misfortunes, follows her footsteps and lands herself in the same boarding house with Annie. Shortly following an accusation is made of one of the boarding house girls, putting the entire boarding house at risk of shutting down. Even with Mrs. Hawkin’s steadfast faith to reassure her, Annie can’t help but wonder where God has been all this time.

In the meantime, Stephen Adams, the local postman, can’t help but lay eyes on the beautiful Irish lass from Mrs. Hawkin’s boarding house. Day after Day Stephen tries his hardest to find a time and a way to make conversation with Annie, but it seems Annie can never manage to give him enough time in the day. This doesn’t discourage the man who struggles himself to find time and money, and is doing all he can himself to get by. That is until Stephen finds a way to link the two of them together, through their shared passion of books and reading, and he does so using The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. During one of his visits, Stephen is invited in for a cup of tea and to discuss their current read, and Annie finds the time to share with him where her love of reading comes from. When Stephen discovers Annie’s father’s collection of children’s tales he finds a treasure far more valuable within them, and a way to possibly solve both their problems.

I am so glad I got to know this book and it’s characters. I’ve always had a love for historical novels, but this one was definitely set apart from the rest. I loved Annie’s story, and do hope to get a chance to read Grace’s, now that I’ve gotten to know her more too. Cindy Thomson did a wonderful job in her research and her attention to detail. It takes a great talent to do so, and for anyone interested in history and a great fiction read, I’d say this is a book you will come to love.

I was provided this book for free through Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way required to give a positive review, and provided my own honest opinions.


DancingontheHeadofaPenDancing on the Head of a Pen: The Practice of a Writing Life, by Robert Benson-

Over the last couple years that I’ve been reviewing books, I’ve come across the same piece of advice, over and over again, “The best way to learn to write, is to read, Read, READ!” I’ve learned that it is not only important to sit down and write, Write, WRITE, but that it is just as important to pick up a book and read. With my nose page deep in books most nights, I’ve not only felt my love for reading resurface, but I’ve felt a little piece of me come back to life, a piece of me that used to stay up late at night dreaming up my own make believe tales. That storyteller inside me lived behind the scenes for many, many years, resurfacing every now and then, sometimes long enough to get five thousand words deep into a story, or just long enough to log an idea or two into a notebook, and months long enough to even finish a short tale for a writing contest. No matter, that flame always seemed to burn out for one reason or another. I had the passion, and the dream, but I just wasn’t sure I was good enough to really reach for such a distant star.

When I first saw Robert Benson’s book, Dancing on the Head of a Pen, I was excited because this book was about the life of writing, and when you are a writer at heart, there’s nothing more exciting then getting a glimpse into the heart of another writer. I always wondered what I would do if I ever came face to face with a successful author, and the questions I’d long to ask them. First chapter into Robert Benson’s book, I learned it would be just like that. His book was exactly what I dreamed a conversation with a real author would be like. In his book, he is here not just to tell you what it would be like to live the life of a successful writer, but he is here to give you a glimpse into Robert Benson’s personal life as an aspiring writer. Unlike a book that gives you impersonal step by step advice or ideas, Robert Benson’s book gives you a play by play into his daily routines, habits, thoughts, and writing process, with hopes that you will find something to take from it.

“If you are not sure whether or not you can write a book, this one will not answer the question. You will have to write a book before you will know. I do hope these pages will give you a way to begin to make dark marks on pages of your own. . .if they remind you to practice more faithfully, more rigorously, more diligently, I will count the dark marks on these pages worthwhile.” -Robert Benson, Dancing on the Head of a Pen

Robert Benson starts each chapter with a quote from a well known author or artist. I will admit, I am one who sometimes looks over the quotes in most books, but this one I found I loved. Each quote left me reading it carefully and pondering it for a moment. Each related to the chapter that followed, for instance, On the Discipline of Being a Writer, it started with a quote from Vincent Van Gogh, “In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.” I absolutely loved this quote, as I did the inspiration that came from Robert’s chapter on disciplining yourself. What I found great about his writing process, is his habits are just as messy and undisciplined as the rest of us. He reflects on his many days of procrastination, on struggling with “writers pause”, on feeling inadequate compared to the more talented, successful writers. For a young, unpublished writer as myself, it was a breath of fresh air. I wasn’t alone.

I have to say, in conclusion to my two nights I spent reading, cause I couldn’t put down, this simple, but funny, amusing, and very inspiring treasure, I found this book to be one of the best books on writing I have ever come across. It has become one of my favorite books in my now “inspirational” collection, and although it may not be full of the “how to’s” on writing, it has pages full of inspiration that will surely ignite the storyteller inside of you. When I read it I felt myself ignite with the realization that I am a writer at heart, and always will be. I related to Robert in so many ways, ways I thought were just quirks and habits of my own, but that I realized are those of a struggling writer just as he was. I appreciate Robert for taking his time to share his words, and am glad to have been a part in reviewing his work.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way required to give a positive review, and gladly accept these opinions as my own.