Monday, April 28, 2014

flowers and life

When I first started "The Art of Arranging Flowers" by Lynn Branard my first thought was "so she is a florist and the book is about arranging flowers?"  I didn't have high hopes.  However!  This book is sooooo much more than that.  Branard makes flower arranging sound like the most fascinating thing ever.  I had no idea all of the inside things on flowers and arranging.  I had heard of aroma therapy, but had never heard of how colors or certain flowers can not only alter mood, but promote healing and encourage desires, etc.  This is all incredibly interesting stuff.  And the writing!  She is an amazing writer.  She draws you in not only in description of the flowers, but the characters are well developed, the emotions are strong, and the reader becomes invested in the book.
The novel stars Ruby, a florist in a small town, who is still grieving for the loss of her sister twenty years before.  The story follows her as she navigates through all of the emotions, celebrations, and losses that her customers deal with as they go through life.  She, however, has no children, has never really dated, and her family is all deceased.  The town and the flowers try to bring Ruby out of her shell as events happen in the town.   I really liked this novel and I will be reading more of Branard in the future.  I received this book for free from First To Read.

Monday, April 14, 2014

the sword review

"The Sword" by Bryan Litfin is a futuristic novel about a professor/guardsman, Teo, and a peasant girl, Anastasia.  The world as we know it has come to an end and a new society has begun.  With the end of technology and science, the world has back tracked a little loosing the history and religion as well.  In this novel, there is a group of gods that "rule" led by a High Priestess with an agenda.  Teo develops a fondness for Anastasia, an independent, strong woman who lives on the outskirts of known society.  When Anastasia is kidnapped Teo comes to her rescue.  Teo then starts to question the religion of his world and develops an interest in the religion of the ancients.  The people want to pray to someone and no longer trust the gods of their time.
Normally I don't read futuristic or fantasy, but I kept coming back to this one.  I kept thinking "where is this going?"  Litfin does a good job of making things clear.  There isn't any confusion as to what's going on as there can be in fantasy novels.  I especially like how though Anastasia is the damsel in distress she never becomes wimpy.  In fact she saves Teo's life more than once.  I like this book and would especially recommend it to all fantasy fans, and even a few Christian fiction fans looking for something different than the usual romance.  I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review from Beyond the Page.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

21 Days to faith

" A Life of Faith: 21 Days to Overcoming Fear and Doubt" by Shelley Hitz is a 21 day devotional guiding the reader to have more faith in God.  Each day opens with scripture and an introductory story with the writer telling a personal experience of stepping out in faith.  There is a Faith Challenge where the reader is given a homework of journal writing or discussion to meet the point of that day.  It is followed by prayer, usually told with a particular biblical person in mind.  Finally there is a Story of Faith.  This is different writers stories of their stepping out in faith.  Scripture is sprinkled throughout the entire devotion.
I like to do a devotion every morning to keep in the practice of talking to God and learning about his word.  This devotion does the job.  I especially liked how Hitz incorporated other authors in the Story of Faith to keep the devotion exciting and tell Faith through a different view.  I liked this devotion.  I recommend it for a daily exercise.  I received this e-book through

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

thief review

"The Thief" by Stephanie Landsem is the second book in the Living Waters series.  It is not necessary to read book one first.  "The Thief" is the fictional telling of the story of the last year of Jesus' life in Jerusalem.  It is told through the eyes of Nissa, the sister of the blind man Jesus cured with mud.  Nissa is a thief.  Not just any thief, but the best thief in Jerusalem.  She supports herself and her brother with her earnings.  Nissa meets Longinus, a Roman centurion, and they share a love/hate relationship.  Longinus is the character of the soldier that cut Jesus' side while on the cross.
I was supposed to have read this book a couple of weeks ago, but got a little behind on my reviews.  On the day I started, our church had the blind man as the sermon and scripture reading.  Which was beneficial; I am glad I waited.  I would suggest reading the biblical story first.  It brought a lot more to the story.  This novel is told really well.  She keeps to the biblical story while still drawing the reader into the main character, Nissa.  She keeps the Nissa and Longinus to the front of the story exploring the culture and history of the time period and area.  I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.