Book Review: A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr

My latest book review is about A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr.  I was sent this book by Bethany House Publishers for review.  I do not have to give this book a favorable review…but…

Oh.My.Word.

I loved this book…and seriously cannot wait to get my hands on the next one.  I sure hope there is a next one.

Carr weaves an amazing tale about two boys…Errol and Liam.  Errol is a drunk and Liam is near perfect.  Their lives are intertwined, but to what degree, we do not find out until later.  A Cast of Stones focuses on Errol’s story.

We meet Errol and he is pissed drunk.  He is given a mission to take a bag to a hermit who lives in the hills.  Errol really wants to finish this job because it will give him enough coin to stay drunk for a few weeks.  Yeah, it’s that bad.  Errol realizes someone is watching him, tracking him, hunting him.  An assassin!  And from that point on the story develops, grows and deepens.  The characters develop, grow and deepen.  We find that Errol has an amazing gift, but the full extent of that gift is not revealed until much later.

Errol has many trials and meets many folks along the way who help him on his path.  He has few friends and many more enemies.  He is being hunted, but he doesn’t know why.

There is a kingdom in danger.  A spiritual war.  And an unlikely hero.

I really enjoyed Carr’s pacing in this book.  It kept me enthralled and introduced a whole new world to me…all without boring me to tears.  This story features rich history, legend and lore, and fighting.  Who doesn’t love that.  Carr takes many ideas from religion, particularly Catholicism and weaves it into a fresh new tale.

The reader starts off not really liking Errol.  I mean, he’s a drunk.  Then we go from not feeling very sympathetic to empathetic to rooting for him.  I really like who Errol becomes on the pages of this book.

For a first book, Carr did an amazing job weaving a wonderful story…and I sincerely cannot wait to read more!

Bravo, Mr. Carr.  Bravo!

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Book Review: Reasons For Belief by Normal L. Geisler and Patty Tunnicliffe

I might have mentioned a book called “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” before and if not, then it is an AMAZING book on apologetics.  So before I digress too much, what is apologetics?  Apologetics is the defense of Christianity.  Its how you can lay out an argument to defend your faith.  “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” does this in spades…but I struggled through it.  It was very hard to read because, honestly, I am not that smart.  And the writing was WAY higher than my poor, child addled brain.  (Seriously, once you have kids…you might as well kiss your ideas of intelligence out the window.  Kids make you stupid.)  The ideas were wonderful, made sense to me and were so spot on, it was fantastic.  Just, I struggled with the academic bent to it.

So, now back to “Reasons for Belief“.  Guess what?  Norman Geisler also helped write “IDHEFTBAA”  This is a great introduction to Apologetics AND it’s like the “Cliff’s notes” version of “IDHEFTBAA“.  Whoopee!!  It was so much easier to read and follow.  Everything made sense (again) and it helped reinforce ideas and cement new ones that might have been lost in the original translation.

“Reasons for Belief” takes you through many different areas which all point to the proof that the Bible is an accurate historical account of Jesus, that Jesus is real, he was resurrected and Christianity is the one true religion of God.  It discusses the 3 different major religions, different thought processes on how life started and much more.  It follows a common sense path with common sense ideas that are fairly easy to understand.  I am a common sense kind of gal, gentle reader and this type of thinking and writing is a no-brainer for me.  And what is unreal, is how mind blowing the information is.

If you have struggled explaining why you believe the way you believe, why you believe Jesus is who he is; then this would be a beneficial read for you.  It helps the non-academics like me really understand historical data and hey, maybe even sound a little smarter than I am!

I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn more about apologetics, delve deeper into their faith or just brush up on ways to have meaningful discussions with persons who do not believe or who want to argue with you why you are wrong in your belief!  (And, none of us has ever had that, right???)

I was sent this book by Bethany House Publishers to read and review.

Book Review: Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle

Absolutely loved, loved, LOVED!!!!!!  (lots of exclamation points) this book.

Sparkly Green Earrings-Catching the Light at Every Turn by Melanie Shankle had me laughing and crying and thinking.  I loved her pull-up-a-chair-grab-a-cup-of-coffee-you’re-gonna-be-here-awhile attitude and writing style.

Mrs. Shankle writes about all the funny and slightly terrifying things that happen when  you become a M-O-M.  She writes about the ugly…and the funny.  And she writes about the heartbreak and ache we go through when a baby becomes a dream and a dream becomes a baby.  (Been there and cried while I was reading it.)

This book is great and a fun read.  And Gentle Reader, it is full of faith.  Full of love of the Lord and His goodness in our lives, through the good and the bad.

It’s not anything that is going to be life changing.

But oh, Gentle Reader, if you are a mother or a mother to be or are hoping to be a mom, here is a book that will tell you the trials and tribulations you could possibly go through.  It talks about (with much humor and humility) the never-ending poop explosion when you have a baby.  You know, the poop that seems to end up everywhere, stick to everything and still smells no matter how many times you have washed everything?  The kind that ends up in the baby’s hair AFTER it managed to creep up his/her back??  The sleepless nights, where you literally could kill for just 45 minutes of uninterrupted sleep.  The ickies your kid will bring home.  The puke you will get in your hair and catch in your hands.  Yeah, good times.  But it is oh, so worth it!  I promise!

And it will make you think about how many times you have failed as a mother and the triumphs you have also accomplished and how your life has drastically changed because of this little scrap of humanity that calls you “Mom”.  It’s nice to know that there are others, like me, who have been more worried about what the other mom’s do versus just letting my kid…be, well…a kid.  And how liberating it is to just say “Whatever,” and call it good.

I love that Mrs. Shankle has this great relationship with not only her husband but her best friend as well.  I love her honesty about motherhood, friendships and trying to compete in mom-dom.  I don’t know what her voice sounds like, but for me, Mrs. Shankle has this down-home sweet Texas drawl (she’s from Texas) that resonated within me.  She is a woman I would like to meet and have coffee with.

Sparkly Green Earrings is a great little book to sit down and enjoy.  I did just that.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Book Review: Happy, Happy, Happy–My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander by Phil Robertson

A few weeks ago, I finished Happy, Happy, Happy by Phil Robertson.  And let me tell you, Jack, it was a great read.

Phil Robertson is the patriarch of the Robertson clan out of Monroe, LA.  He started Duck Commander back in the 70’s and we all know it because of the the hit A&E show “Duck Dynasty”.

Phil’s book talks a lot about his faith, his family and hunting.  It’s an in your face look at his life and how he has succeeded because of the Grace of God.

We see Phil today and he seems like a stern man.  And he is.  And we love him for it.  He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy.  Work hard and play hard and love the Lord your God with all of your heart.

But it wasn’t always that way for Phil, Ms. Kay and the Robertson boys.

Phil was a boozer.  As he says he was into, “Sex, drugs and rock and roll.”  He lost his livelihood, his wife and his boys.  He almost lost his life several times.  But he came back.  He went to the Lord and he worked it out.  And I believe things have worked out quite well for him since.

Phil talks about coming to the Lord at age 28.  Which is interesting, because I recently had a conversation with a man I greatly admire for his faith in the Lord and we talked about how men don’t really become men until the age of 28 or 29.  That this is when they finally decide to make a living, stop messing around and get on with their lives; and how they come into their own with their faith.  (This is a generalization and not how things are done…it was just an interesting coincidence that I read this and had spoken about the same thing.)

Anyway, I really enjoyed reading about the Robertson clan and how Phil came to learn to love the Lord.  It’s a great story on how anyone, no matter how far down the path to ruin and destruction, can turn their lives around with the help of God and a good woman! 😉

The only part of this book that did not interest me…and I must say, I did a little speed reading, was the chapter on duck calls.  I am not a hunter.  I do not claim to be.  So, this section of the book was skimmed.  I do admire the fact that he listened to the ducks and made actual calls based on their sounds.  That takes a lot of perseverance.

If you want to know more about the Robertson’s, how they got started and where they are headed, then this book is a great read.  It is full of what this country needs:  hard word, enterprise, love, family and FAITH!!!

Book Review: A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days by Jonathan Bernis

I was sent this book by Bethany House Publishers and I have to tell you…it took me a while to get through, Gentle Reader.  The book itself has a lot of great ideas and teaching but there were parts of it that I didn’t so much as struggle through, but they didn’t apply to me.  This was my stumbling block.

Jonathan Bernis’ A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days helps Christians understand that the word of God is still applicable to Jews as it is to Christians.  Mr. Bernis is a Messianic Jew.  I appreciated the explanation of what a Messianic Jew is and how he came to be one.  This is a question that I have had in recent years.

There is history of both the Jewish nation, the Christian religion and how the two, both Jew and Christian have been intertwined through out the ages.  It opens the door to further reflection on how both Jew and Christian have moved away from the what Jesus wanted, what God wanted, and how they can come back together so that He can come back to Earth and rule.

My challenges with this book include how to talk to Jewish friends about Jesus.  I don’t have Jewish friends so this was rather unnecessary for me…but, if I ever happen to be involved with a Jewish person, then I will have a better understanding of how they view Jesus.  I have a better understanding of how to answer questions if they had any of me.

A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days was an eye opener into the Jewish mindset, how Christianity has hurt God’s Chosen people, and how we need to prepare, both Christian and Jew for the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Book Review: The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After by Julia Quinn

In Julia Quinn’s The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After is her latest novel about the Bridgertons, the prolific family from eight of her novels.  Starting with:

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And there are two other novels involving a character named Mrs. Whistledown… she makes wonderfully acerbic remarks about everyone… but no one knows who she is!

This 2nd Epilogue was designed to put and ending to some of the many questions that many readers had about the lives of their favorite characters.  And Gentle Reader, they are good.  How can you resist such sweet little gems that include trickery, tom-foolery, love, romance, laughter, tears and life?

Kate and Anthony have a 2nd and it is AMAZING.  I love it when I can fall right back into a story as if I have never left.  And it is witty!  Who can resist a game of Pall Mall and the “Mallet of Death”!?

Daphne and Simon are involved in a story that intertwines with Colin and Penelope.  It is both lovely and heart wrenching.  If you are parent, you will know what I mean.

We learn what happens to Ms. Posy Reiling after her defection from her mother, Araminta.

We get to find out what happened between Eloise and Penelope and the HUGE secret between them…this story had my laughing because of one particular scene.

An interesting twist was the first person narration for Eloise’s step daughter and how she falls in love.

Francesca and Michael have a wonderful tale of heartbreak and love.  And it is lovely to see it end so well.  (I mean that in a good way)

Hyacinth and Gareth are amusing as always.  And Isabella is definitely a chip off the old block!

Gregory and Lucy had the MOST heart wrenching 2nd of the series.  It had me in tears.

There were a few surprises and I am still questioning who the man was that Violet (Violet, the mother FINALLY gets a small story…and she is rather fierce throughout the stories, so she definitely deserves to have her own story.) was dancing with.  I would have loved to have seen a story with her…but her love story is sweetly tragic!  We finally learn how she and Edmund met.

I would suggest reading all these stories (Kate and Benedict’s story is my favorite) before you delve into the 2nd Epilogues.

Happy reading, Gentle Reader!

I pulled the book covers off of Julia Quinn’s website.

 

Book Review: With This Kiss-Part Three by Eloisa James

Oh My!, gentle reader.

The ending of this novella is fabulous.  I absolutely loved it!  There is not much more than I can say, other than…I wished it were a full length novel.

Now, I am going to share with you some fun!

Eloise James has a Facebook page where you can connect with other readers.  The group I joined was specifically for With This Kiss.  And we had so much fun, not only discussing and dissecting this novella, but other Eloisa James books.

The other nice thing about her FB page is that she posted “in-between” the chapters specifically for this novella so we could read what was happening between key characters.  That made it so much more interesting.  AND Eloisa actually pops in and visits, answers questions and gets involved.

HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!?!  (Insert little girl squeal!)  🙂

I cannot wait to read more stories based on characters from this novella including a much maligned twin sister; a broken-hearted betrothed, and children with wicked senses of humor!  Does that not sound fabulous?

Happy reading, Gentle Reader!