Review: The Ragamuffin Gospel

I had so many high expectations starting into reading this book. I knew it was a top Christian favorite and it had been on my reading list for a long time. I was so excited to see what all the hype was about. But, I just didn’t enjoy it like I thought I would. Manning is a good author, but he’s just not an author I enjoy reading. His writing style is what I would call very philosophical and rambling and often the rambling just doesn’t seem to have a purpose except to fill up pages. That drove me nuts. I’m very much a to-the-point person and getting through all the fluff was really hard. At times I just wished I could put the book away and not finish it. I also wasn’t entirely sure I agreed with everything he said doctrinally. It was difficult for me to narrow down what he was saying amid all the words. And that really bothered me. If I don’t know what someone believes or is teaching in a book, I can’t in good conscience recommend it to anyone. So, for me, this book was a flop.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review.

Review: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God

I was super excited to get into this book. Eric Metaxas quickly became one of my favorite authors after just reading his biographies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and William Wilberforce. So, I figured anything he authored had to be just as good.

This book though … it was, well, quite different in style from his biographies. In fact, it was so different that I couldn’t even tell that he had written it – not in a bad way though. This book was written as a ‘question & answer’ dialoque between two people, one ignorant of and full of questions about the Christian faith & the other a Christian with answers. I can’t say that I disliked this approach to writing, though at times I found it a bit cheesy and minorly ridiculous. But, Metaxas was trying to tackle the hard topics in a lighter, but solid way. I can’t criticize him for that. Overall, it was a good read, though not something I would have normally read outside of reviewing it.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review.

Review | Saffire

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Saffire by Sigmund Brouwer is the kind of historical novel that makes me sit up and take notice. Set in the first decade of the 1900s, on the banks of the Panama Canal, this cunning story has just the right amount of historical detail without losing the juiciness of interwoven personal interest stories and political intrigue. Anyone who likes Indiana Jones will absolutely love this book. The main character strongly resembles Jones in personality and occupation, but without a lot of his questionable morals. The action keeps moving rapidly throughout the book, and definitely makes the reader guess the ending until the very last chapter. Overall an excellent read. I look forward to more reading delight from this author.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review.

Favorite Reads of 2016

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I finally whittled down my favorite reads from 2016 to the top eight you see above. Out of the 52 books that I read last year, these were the ones that stayed with me and touched me the most. And of course, they’re ones that I would recommend everyone read. So if you haven’t read these yet, I highly encourage you to put them on your 2017 reading list.

  • Evidence No Seen by: Darlene Diebler Rose
  • Things We Couldn’t Say by: Diet Eman
  • Twice a Slave by: Randy Willis & Sammy Tippitt
  • Life Together by: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • The True Gospel of Christ Versus the False Gospel of Carnal Christianity by: L.R. Shelton Jr.
  • Keep the Faith Vol. 1 & 2 by: Kevin Swanson
  • Hearts of Fire by: Voice Of the Martyrs

Review | Our Man In Charleston

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For once in my life, I’m in a quandary as to how to review a book (this book). Our Man In Charleston intrigued me the minute I saw the cover and read the title. I love a good, riveting, true life spy story. And this one was set in Civil War times … I’d never read about a civil war spy before. But was this actually a spy story? I had a hard time remembering that it was while reading. Maybe it was just me, maybe I wasn’t concentrating properly while reading, but for the life of me, I couldn’t extract any spy flair. I can’t even tell you what Bunch did that made him a spy (Robert Bunch is the spy the book is written about). He was a British consul, but what was he doing in America? I guess you could say this book rather confused me. In one way I feel bad saying this, because the amount of research that went into this project is astounding. The author went into incredible detail and made sure not a single fact was missing. But unfortunately, it was simply too much. It was too much to follow, too much to remember, just too much to digest, even if you only read a few pages. Strangely enough though, it kept me interested enough to continue reading even when I couldn’t keep anything straight and didn’t have a clue what was going on. So, it’s quite probable that this is just a personal thing: that this book just didn’t ‘click’ with me. Someone that loves detail for sure would love this book.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review.

Review | Simply Calligraphy

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If you’ve ever wanted to lean the at of calligraphy, this is the book to get. The author, Judy Detrick, a professional calligrapher & graphic designer, does a great job introducing newbies and beginners to the world of calligraphy. Her well organized layout and easy to follow instructions make is seem all too easy. The wording is on the left side of the page and the picture example on the right. And can I say, I love that there is a generous amount of white space around the wording and pictures. It’s so much easier to follow along when everything isn’t tightly packed on the pages.

There are eight chapters in the book covering, 1.Tools and Materials 2.Getting Started 3.Small Letters 4.Capitals 5.Numerals 6.Flourishes 7.Project Ideas 8.Additional Alphabets. In the back is a small index along with a page giving a few websites for additional studies and resources. Overall an excellent intro into the world of calligraphy.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review.

Review | The More of Less

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I’m a minimalist. Have I mentioned that before? I can’t remember. But I can remember my excitement when I saw that this book was coming out. I mean, hello, what minimalist wouldn’t want to read this. So, as soon as I could, I snatched up a copy and dove right in.

While I did enjoy a lot of this book, I’m not sure I would have if I wasn’t a minimalist. I agreed with most everything written. Becker and I seriously share the same minimalist brain waves, so much so that I felt like I was reading my own book in the beginning. But, at the same time, I felt like the author was trying too hard to sell minimalism to his audience; something I would have resented had I not already agreed with him. And he seemed to repeat himself a lot. He kept going way past the “I got this” stage, which contributed to my third issue; the book was a little too long. I think he could have said everything he needed to in about three-fourths of the size.

Overall, it was laid out nicely and I did like that Becker incorporated real life stories from his own personal minimalist journey as well as others. This kept me reading when I started getting a bit bored, which happened a few chapters in. However, If you are wanting to learn about minimalism (or more about it), or just want some motivation to keep going in your own minimalist journey, this would be a good book to pick up.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review.