Gone A Girl, A Violin, A Life Unstrung Book Review

I have been a musician all of my life.  My mother would stand me on the table in the local restaurant and I would sing my little heart out.  What did I sing, you ask?  A perfect, 3-year old rendition of “You Are My Sunshine”.  To this day I know every word and love to sing it.  I moved on to vocal lessons, playing flute in the school band, the piano was self-learned until college then I discovered it’s beauty and to this day practice often and play whenever the opportunity arises. I was not a child prodigy.  I was very talented, I still am, but living, breathing, and dying music is not what my life is all about.

Let’s talk about Min Kim.  A child prodigy, who, from the age of six, shared her violin ‘voice’ with the world.  Well, at least until it got stolen.  That’s a huge part of this story and understanding the child prodigy.  Many musicians will tell you, myself included, that your instrument is a real extension of who you are.  If something happens to it, it is quite possibly the most destructive thing that can happen in life.  Min’s story is of a life that is very, nearly destroyed by the loss of her Stradivarius. Living, breathing, and dying music, as a violin soloist, is what her life is about.

This incredible autobiography is both motivating and frightening.  It tells of a life controlled by outside influences and influencers.  Of a child who has no voice until she discovers the voice of the violin.  Of victimization, of an eating disorder, of a dysfunctional family, of…  Through it all, a musical treasure hones her craft and becomes world renowned.

My favorite quote is in the section that speaks of her anorexia.  All those with talent will recognize the truth in these words.

Talent is a burden you can’t throw off.  It can drink or drug you to death.  It can depress you into suicide.  But you can’t have the talent surgically removed, the weight of it.  Only with death do you part.  (pg. 207)

I highly recommend this book.  I’ve been motivated by it, frustrated with some of the characters in her life, really angry at those who wanted to use her talent for their own gain, and above all delighted that she was able to move on to a great future becoming stronger and stronger each day.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, Crown and Blogging For Books.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Bread of Angels Book Review

This is the best fiction book I’ve read in a long time.  In Bread of Angels, Tessa Afshar put her finger on the pulse of the First Century and I felt like I was actually there.  In this delightful story you will find first love… secrets… plotting… jail time… betrayal… successes… failures… trauma… death… life changes…

The book is beautifully written.  The characters enter the story at just the right point.  The story encapsulates the life of Lydia, the seller of purple, from the New Testament.  Each chapter has its own verse of the Bible to help the reader frame that portion of the narrative.

It’s rare to find a quote from a fiction book that is worth keeping in my heart.  But find one I did.  “I follow a scarred Redeemer.  Somehow I think our scars become holy in the shadow of His.  And His plans are made perfect in the demolition of our own devices.”  (page 290)

I highly recommend this book.  Put it on your summer reading list. I’m definitely going to check out some of Tessa Afshar’s other books.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I receive no residual remuneration from the connecting links.    I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Book Review – What Hope Remembers

Are you looking for a great rainy day or warm summer afternoon read?  Johnny Alexander has written the book for you.  Check out What Hope Remembers.  There’s just enough drama and intrigue to hold your attention for that lazy, hazy day.

Well developed characters and the plot kept me wanting to know what were the secrets they were keeping.  Even the ‘bad guys’ were believable.

Real life issues and challenges kept me turning the pages to discover what was going to add a new twist to the story.

I’m giving this book 5 stars and recommending it highly!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, Revel, a division of Baker Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review – Paul, The Apostle

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I agreed to review this book.  Although I enjoyed comic books as a child this was certainly a bit different.  I’m not sure whether I can recommend the book or not.  Here are my likes and dislikes:

Likes

  • The story is accurate and portrays some of the difficulties Paul faced in his journey.
  • Each page gave a scriptural reference for what was going on.
  • Very appropriate for the 8 to 12 year age group.

Dislikes

  • Very difficult to follow the storyline bubbles.
  • More violence than I like to deal with. (Yes, I know the time he lived in was very violent.)
  • There were so many graphically portrayed characters I found it difficult to determine who was speaking.

With that said, I recommend parts read through the book first to be prepared for any questions their children might ask.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, Beartruth Collective, LLC  and Bookcrash Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

Befriend

I’ve often given thanks for the many friends God has placed in my life in this season.  Some younger, some older, some wiser, some funnier, some really awesome people who have made life so much more interesting.

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Until I read Befriend by Scott Sauls I really hadn’t thought of all the other possibilities for friendships.  Those who are bullies, minorities, poor, rich, vulnerable, strangers, refugees, disabled, dysfunctional …

God weeps over things gone wrong in this world (pg. 102). I’m sure He places mishandled, forgotten, ruined relationships among those things that have gone wrong.  He loves us more than we’ll ever know as long as we’re on this earth. He does not pick and choose among sinners and the righteous…He simply loves and He expects us to do the same.

Friendship is vulnerable and inviolable.  Friendship is risky and worth the risk.  Friendship is comforting and uncomfortable at times.

The following quote sums up the emphasis of this book:

Real friends not only agree but disagree;  real friends not only applaud each other’s strengths but challenge each other’s weaknesses;  real friends not only enjoy life together but struggle through life together;  real friends not only praise one another but apologize and forgive one another;  real friends not only rally around their points of agreement but love and learn from their points of disagreements… And when everybody matures and grows, everybody wins. (pgs. 4-5)

This is a very powerful, thought-provoking book.  I highly recommend it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale Publishers as part of their Blog Network Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Kit Kat & Lucy – – Book Review

One of the great joys of my life has been being a cat owner.  We’ve had many beautiful felines.  There was Noah, Zeke, Phydgyt, Samson, Boots, Boris…  Now we have Salem and Smokey.  These two allow us to live in their home as long as we feed them, keep them warm, pay their medical bills, provide prime sleeping spots, and keep them safe from that mean neighbor cat Sammy.

smokey-and-salem

 

With that said let me add that I met two cats in a book called Kit Kat & Lucy by Lonnie Hull DuPont that reminded me so much of Smokey and Salem that I thought I was reading about them.  I laughed! (Yes, a mouse dropping from the ceiling is rather humorous.)  I cried! I loved the book!

Do you want to know how cats acclimate to one another?  It’s here.

Do you want proof that cats help their owners in high-stress situations?  It’s here.

How about cats knowing when their humans are ill or depressed?  Yep, It’s here.

511o5akk8bl-_ac_us160_Kit Kat’s life story is a delight.  She determined to live with her humans and even though they didn’t know it at the time she was going to stay no matter what transpired.  Her owners decided they just couldn’t have a cat and took her to live on another farm close by.  Kit Kat walked 8 miles to return to her chosen home and that begins the adventure. Eventually, another cat comes to the door on a windy, cold, Michigan night and whether Lonnie and Joe liked it or not Lucy had found her forever home.

This delightful story of two accidental cat owners and their furry felines is worth the read whether you’re a cat person or not.  It’s full of stories and anecdotes that every pet owner can relate to.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

I was provided a copy of this book by Revell Publishing for the sole purpose of this review.  I receive no other type of remuneration for this review.  The thoughts and opinions expressed herein are totally my own.

 

The Christmas Angel Project – Book Review

The Christmas Angel ProjectA dear friend and mentor passes into eternity unexpectedly and leaves a handcrafted angel for her book club friends.  As a way to celebrate the life of this special woman and mentor, they determine to choose a personal project for their community based on their personal skills and gifts. Thus, The Christmas Angel Project is born.

All of their projects are worthy but something is missing.  The ‘God Factor’, i.e., a relationship with Jesus.  They each find a tiny scroll with a Bible reference specifically for each individual.  How these short verses affect change in their lives is very revealing in their relationships with friends, family, and colleagues.

2 Things I liked about this book:

It was very motivating and encouraging.

There was no violence or sexual connotations.

2 Things I didn’t like about this book:

The characters seemed somewhat hollow and could have used more development.

Although a delightful story, it really could have been longer.  Obviously, it left me wanting more.

With all of that in mind, I would give this book a 4 out of 5 and would recommend it for those who want something lighter to read.

I was provided a copy of this book by Revel Publishers for the sole purpose of review.  All of the thoughts and comments are my own.  

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

To Follow Her Heart – Book Review

To-Follow-Her-Heart-Rebecca-DeMarinoRebecca DeMarino has once again lived up to my expectations in the third book of The Southold Chronicles.  To Follow Her Heart is a delightful story of two people who have been in love for a long time and the many obstacles that have come between them.

In this story, based on true family history, you’ll read of a shipwreck with no known survivors – War – Love lost and found – How European illnesses wiped out most of a Native American tribe – A dreadful fire and much loss – An ‘on-again’ ‘off-again’ wedding – A long sea journey

Even some excellent advice that holds true in both the 15th and the 21st centuries from one of the main characters to another… Life is uncertain and we can’t let fear control our decisions.

If you like Christian Romance I highly recommend this book and its prequels.  Book 1 – A Place In His Heart and Book 2 – To Capture Her Heart are excellent stories that stand on their own and are definitely worth your reading time.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

I was provided a copy of this book by Revell Publishers for the sole purpose of review. The words and thoughts are entirely my own.  I receive no remuneration in any form except for the print copy.

Be You. Do Good. – Book Review

bookEveryone who wants to make a difference during the time they have on this earth should read this book!  This is not just another self-help book.  Using the life stories of many people, some famous, others not, and his own experiences, Golden shows how to build a life, a career, a ministry, that focuses outwardly, on others.  In the Forward to this book, Bob Goff says, “…not only is God up to something here and something now, but God’s instrument of choice happens to be you.  If you’re feeling flattered, you should be.  As unlikely as it seems, God has chosen you and me to be  divine agents in the world today.  When you own that, everything changes.” (pg. 12)

The basic premise is to take one step at a time, some small, some large, in pursuit of your personal passion, your calling, always working toward God’s plan for you.  Many throw their hands up to heaven, begging God to tell them what to do.  Golden says God has given you a specific talent and skill set for His purpose.  To discover that one must ask such  questions as, “What do you want me to do? What are you good at? What makes you come alive?” (pg. 89)  He will give you a word, an inkling, a thought, an affirmation that you can know with certainty He wants you to pursue.

The concept that resonates and runs throughout this book is that of bahora bahora.  These are the Rwandan words for ‘little by little’.  It’s all about not rushing through life.  It’s about taking the time to build relationships with God, one another, and the world around us.  Slowly and carefully.

“Little by little we become more holy.”

 “Little by little we craft lyrics to entire songs.”

“Little by little we become proficient at our callings.”

(pg. 12)

I highly recommend you take a small step a read this book, cover-to-cover.  It could by the one small thing you need to discover God’s purpose for your life.

You can learn more about Golden and Be You, Do Good at http://www.BeYouDoGood.com.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Baker Books/a division of Baker Publishing Group.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

 

 

 

Amazing

YAA_LifeGrowth_Guide_Cover_1024x1024Have you ever picked up a book to read that spoke to you right where you are?  I recently received a copy of Holley Gerth’s Life Growth Guide and that’s exactly what happened.  I had been wanting to find a book that I could walk through, step-by-step, a series of questions, that would help me discover the person I knew God knows me to be. This book definitely fit that criteria.

This book is designed to align with the book You’re Already Amazing.  It also has a series of videos that fit with the scope of the study.  It is full of questions that demand a response so that you can get to the heart of who you were designed to be and what God’s purpose is for your life.  These are not simple, yes/no questions.  They are designed to move smoothly toward discovering the ‘real’ you.

In learning about my skills, strengths, and styles I discovered parts of myself that I really hadn’t given much thought too.  Here are some quotes and thoughts that stood out to me…

God’s voice needs to be the loudest ‘voice’ we hear.

“All of the roles we have in this life are temporary.  Who God made you is eternal. (pg. 66)

There’s nothing God and I can’t do together!

It’s OK not to tolerate bullying or belittling behavior from other people.  It’s best to say, “When you are ready to speak or act differently we can move on.”

Knowing who I am and using that for God’s glory allows me to thrive.

“God doesn’t want you to be like anyone but Jesus…” (pg. 110)

Think smaller!  Turn large projects into smaller segments.

“A purposeful existence never happens by accident.” (pg. 134)

One of my favorite parts of this book is when Ms. Gerth says it’s OK to use an unlined journal in which to write your to-do list.  I must say I totally related to that.  I’m a circle, bubbles, and odd angles kind of girl and the concept really resonated with me.  I’m going to go out and find a blank page journal.

All in all this study was worth every minute of the time it took to work through.  I can hardly wait to share it with other women.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

I received a copy of this book and the accompanying DVD in return for my review from Holley Gerth/Revell Books/Baker Publishing. I receive no other remuneration. The words you have read here are totally my own thoughts.