Monday, May 28, 2012

Faith Like Potatoes

This past weekend I was at a retreat at the beach with my church. The theme of the weekend was taken from 1 Corinthians 10:31 - "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

To glorify God means to admire Him, to delight in Him, to applaud Him for being the source of all power, all pleasure, all peace. Living and not giving or even gushing praise and thanks is missing the point and is presumptuously rude. Why?

God gave up his son, his only child, and God watched his child be humiliated and killed. If you say no and reject that gift of course God can say you're crazy to think I'll let you anywhere near me, you are not welcome in heaven.
~Some of my notes from what Richard Smith spoke about

My parents and I just finished watching the movie Faith Like Potatoes. A marvelous true story of God's faithfulness and sovereignty in the life of a man who trusted Him completely and gave him all applause. Angus was an angry, proud man before God took a hold of his life. If you get a hold of the DVD make sure you watch the documentary about Angus Buchan in the special features. It's really neat to hear the energy, passion and faith of the man who's story is dramatized in the movie.

Frank Rautenbach as Angus Buchan
Movie synopsis from back cover: Based on the inspiring true story of a farmer who found faith. A farmer moves his family to South Africa and suffers a series of seemingly insurmountable losses. Through unlikely friendships and much needed divine intervention, he discovers his life's true purpose and it sustains his unwavering belief in the power of faith. A moving life journey of a man who, like his potatoes, grows his faith, unseen until the harvest.

Angus Buchan
I just requested the book via ILL (inter library loan) and am really looking forward to reading more about this wonderful story of God displaying his glory.

Update (8/20): I've noticed that this post is getting a quite a few hits and I figured you might want to read my review of the book. Yep, I got it through ILL and really enjoyed it. Here's the review.

Find out more:  the movie; on Facebook; the orphanage

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell. Bethany House, 2012 369p. (9780764207969)

It took me a while to pick this book up, but once I started reading it I didn’t want to put it down. Since my mom reads my blog I won’t tell you how late (ok, ok, early) it was when I finished it. ;-) 

I love history and the American Revolutionary War is one of my favorite periods to read about. I think this is the first novel I’ve read about life in Philadelphia during the winter of 1777-1778 when the British were quartered there while Washington and his men froze at Valley Forge. It’s a good story with lots of interesting dynamics. 

After her twin brother joins the Continental army and is captured, Hannah Sunderland reluctantly becomes The Messenger between the imprisoned soldiers and a Continental spy living in Philadelphia. Hannah and her family are Friends, Quakers. As pacifists they opposed the war and refused to take sides which put Hannah between a rock and a hard place.

To the Sunderland family Robert, Hannah’s twin, is essentially an outcast. When word comes that he is in a prison in the town neither parent tries to go see him and no one enquires after his well being. No one, except Hannah. Even though the British declared a no visitor policy she still hopes to see her brother.

Enter Jeremiah Jones, tavern owner, Continental spy, and veteran of the French and Indian War. He is angry at God, angry at the Quakers (for opposing that war), angry at the British because he was overlooked by the doctors and lost his arm, and he is angry at Lieutenant John Lindley. 

Using his former friendship with John Lindley, now an officer in General Howe’s headquarters, Jeremiah is able to secure a pass for Hannah to visit her brother and other prisoners. In exchange for the pass Hannah agrees to carry messages to and from the jail – messages about an escape planned for the spring. 

Only problem is all the prisoners are starving, sick and too weak to dig the escape tunnel. Not to mention that once they finally do start digging they can’t know for sure if they are headed straight towards their destination. They’ll need all the help that Hannah and Jeremiah, two very unlikely allies, can provide if they are to succeed. 

There are so many interesting dynamics to this story. As a Quaker Hannah struggles with aiding her brother and the other prisoners, in doing so she is going against her parents, her friends, her church and its elders. Jeremiah is bitter and angry but he still shows compassion. Hannah's family moves in with her aunt and uncle who own slaves - something the Quakers are strongly against.

The author's character collage found on her Pinterest board.
I really enjoyed this story and was pleased to find out that it is based loosely on a true event. The author includes several pages of historical notes at the end which clarifies which parts of the story are true and which parts are fiction. 

There are two things in the story that didn’t quite make sense. One was the Sunderland’s rejection of their son and also their daughter. The second was the anger and hatred Jeremiah had for John. The book has Jeremiah calling John his greatest enemy but throughout the story Jeremiah seems to be on friendly terms.

The characters are fun and for the most part well developed, the historical parts are well researched, and the story engaging. All in all a great read. 

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher. 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.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Reviews to come and Pinterest pictures

Last night I stayed up way too late reading a wonderful book: The Messenger by Siri Mitchel. 

Tomorrow morning I have to get up way too early to leave on a weekend trip. Sadly I ran out of time today to write the review but you can look for it next week.

Two other fun books I read last week are The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and The Princess Academy also by Shannon Hale. If you like fairy tale retellings you should check out Goose Girl. If you like stories with a bit of fairy tale dust then check out Princess Academy

Since I'll be travelling I also won't be posting anything. But I wanted to leave you with a couple fun photos I've found through Pinterest. The fairy tale one above I posted on the Rina's Reading facebook page a couple days ago. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Top Ten Books to make into a Movie

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Top Ten was supposed to be top ten authors you'd want to see on a reality tv show, fortunately a lot of people said it was too hard so Broke and the Bookish made it a freebie. I'm glad. Because there's no way I could have managed the other one. I don't watch enough TV to even begin. For my freebie I'm going to go back to the Top Ten from two weeks ago that I didn't have time do:

Top Ten Books you'd Like to see Made into a Movie

1 - 3. Heartless, Veiled Rose, and most especially Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengle
4. Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings
5 - 6. The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
(Oh please, oh please, oh please let them continue on long enough with the Narnia movies to do all of them!)
7. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
(Jenna St. Hillaire over at A Light Inside, listed this book two weeks ago and then did a fun fantasy cast post. I think she found a perfect Valancy!)
8. Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin
9 - 10. The Merchant's Daughter  and The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson
(Though I think Healer's Apprentice would make a better film.)

Hmmm, since I listed several books in series I'm going to add two more to the list. :-)

11. Mara, Daugher of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
12. Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

cover of Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl - young woman hurrying down a rose garden path with a dragon hovering almost out of sight above herMoonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Bethany House, 2012. 373p. Series: Tales of Goldstone Wood #3 (9780764207815)

I loved this book! I enjoyed it so much I made myself savor it and not rush through it in one sitting. It is a wonderful continuation of the adventure of Lionheart and Rose Red and Felix. This is book three in the series and they must be read in order. The first is Heartless and the second is Veiled Rose (here's my review). That being said, there are a couple hopefully only minor spoilers in this review.

The people and land of Southlands is slowly recovering from the dragon’s prolonged stay. Prince Lionheart was the only one who did not experience those five years in the country and no one quite knows what he did. But they do know that the prince acts strange and they blame it on that mysterious veiled girl who isn’t quite a girl. Rose Red.

When Lionheart reluctantly banishes Rose Red she disappears. Unbeknownst to him he just condemned her to capture by the evil goblin King Vahe who rules the hidden realm of Arpiar and who is also Rose Red’s father. King Vahe has spent centuries waiting, plotting and planning for the Night of Moonblood when he will gain the power to rule the whole world – both the Far and the Near World.

Lionheart is miserable and vows to redeem himself by finding Rose Red. Little does he know what awaits him when he follows Monster (Yes! Felix and Una’s cat returns!) into the mysterious Goldstone Wood. Legends come to life, tigers turn into men, a beautiful but terrifying unicorn searches for him. Can Lionheart renounce his pride and arrogance, can he accept forgiveness, can he face his worst nightmare?

I loved learning more about the history of Goldstone Wood (and surrounding – connected? areas). It still amazes me how Anne Elisabeth has woven such a complex tale. Learn more about the author and the series from this interview. This book really ties the first two books together and shows just how epic of a series The Tales of Goldstone Wood can become.

It was so cool to discover who Monster actually is. After all, a blind cat who talks can't just be a cat; he’s got to be Somebody! And what a history he has! After Aslan, I think Monster is my favorite literary cat…who isn’t just a cat.

Lionheart’s struggle is an all too human struggle. Admitting our mistakes and bowing our knee to God. I absolutely loved the many forgiveness and redemption stories found in this novel.

This definitely gets 5 out of 5 roses. If you enjoy fantasy, adventure, grand tales, or stories about finding oneself then you should definitely read this book.

Follow Anne Elisabeth’s blog. Find her on Facebook. Read about her cat who thinks she should rule the world.

Go read it! Wake County (NC); Find it at a library near you; Buy it from B&N; Buy it from CBD; Update 9/17/12 Buy it from Amazon

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.

Book Blogger Hop: Favorite Book Character

I saw this on two blogs I follow and thought it'd be fun to join in. I liked last week's question better, but I didn't find it until the last day. This week's question is:

Who is your favorite book character? I’ll give you a maximum of two choices, but they have to be from different genres!

Such a hard question! I'm looking at my bookshelves (there are four in my room) and am seeing so many good books with great characters. But I think I will have to settle on either Old Shatterhand or Old Surehand (or Winnetou??) from the many books Karl May wrote. I know, I can't pick two from the same genre! I love the two Old Surehand books, but I also love all the stories featuring Old Shatterhand and Winnetou.
Old ShatterhandOld Surehand
Old Shatterhand on the left; Old Surehand on the right
From the movies made in the 1960s

For those who haven't had the pleasure of reading this fun tales let me enlighten you. Karl May was a German author who lived in the second half of the 1800s and died in 1912. He wrote lots of travel-adventure books. His most popular ones take place in the American wild west or in the Middle East. (Side note: I just learned this in German the "Orient" means the Middle East and Persia, but in English "Orient" means East and Southeast Asia.) Karl May hadn't actually traveled to the places he wrote about (in great descriptive detail mind you) but later in life did do a bit of traveling.

Karl May

Back to favorite book characters. Both Old Shatterhand and Old Surehand are Germans who find themselves in the American wild west (the plains, the Rockies, the Southeast deserts) where they become frontiers men who never really settle down. (Think Davey Crockett or Daniel Boone or Zorro without the mask and not rich.) They are expert marksmen, their deeds are told around campfires, they strive to bring peace and never kill another human being unless it's absolutely unavoidable and even then they try to incapacitate their opponent instead. And they are both very strong Christians.

It's been ages since I've read any of May's works so I can't remember the details of Old Surehand's story. But I have a feeling I like him best. ... Maybe? In any case, Nemsi Books Publishing Company has been working on translating many of Karl May's books into English so that many more people can enjoy these fun tales. And apparently they're quite popular in Indonesia because I found those well liked on Goodreads!

Who is your favorite book character?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Top Ten Favorite Book Quotes

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Favorite Book Quotes 
 (in no particular order)
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you." ~The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Further up and further in! ~The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

"Love is the spice of life!" Aunt Lydia picked up her glass and took a long drink before setting it down again.
"Did it end in heartache, dear?"
"Well, yes...but it was the good kind of heart ache, Aunt Lydia. The kind where you'll always think fondly of each other, even though you know your love could never be."
My aunt squealed with delight. "Ooh, I just love stories that end that way! Those happy, sappy endings in romance novels aren't realistic at all. But if you can gaze up at the stars at night and think fondly of your lost love, then it's worth falling in love and losing him."
"You're absolutely right." ~Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin (my review)

Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds. ~Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." ~The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library. ~Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Keep good company, read good books, love good things and cultivate soul and body as faithfully as you can.~Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

You have to be a speedy reader because there’s so so much to read. ~I Can Read with my Eyes Shut by Dr. Seuss

The question of what makes a hero occupied Greek art & literature for over two thousand years. But not us. Today we're modern. We've summed it all up in one flash-bang two-hour film. We say it's simple. A hero is a guy who wins. You know what I say to that? Rubbish! ...A hero is somebody willing to risk all to gain all. It doesn't matter whether he wins or not. What matters is he tries. What matters is what he tries for. ~All through the Night by Davis Bunn

Now, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~Hebrews 11:1 (NIV84)
I have decided I am not a quote person. My sister is great at remembering quotes, especially movie quotes. Unfortunately she is not here to help me. Thank goodness for Goodreads and the ability to find quotes by my favorite authors. Now head over here to find the favorite quotes of other book bloggers.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Prize of My Heart by Lisa Norato

Prize of My Heart by Lisa Norato. Bethany House, 2012. 298p. (9780764209420)

Traveling makes for little computer time and even less review writing time. But imagine going on a trip and not being able to communicate with anyone (except those around you)? That’s what life was like for oodles of years. That’s what life was like for Lorena when she finds herself unexpectedly traveling on a ship to England.

Prize of My Heart is the story of Captain Brogan Talvis who has spent years searching for his son. Life has left him rather bitter and angry at God but in the company of Lorena Huntley and her family he finds himself remembering the Bible lessons of his youth.

Mr. Huntley is a successful shipbuilder whom Brogan has commissioned to build the Yankee Heart. But Brogan’s desire for his own ship is not his sole reason for seeking out Mr. Huntley. You see, Mr. Huntley and his daughter Lorena are the guardians of his son.

At first Brogan’s plan was to essentially kidnap his own son since he mistrusted the motives of Mr. Huntley and feared he wouldn't let the boy leave freely. But Brogan soon realized the boy was too fond of Lorena and then he discovered he was rather fond of the energetic and lovely young lady himself.

Secrets and an unexpected twist must be revealed and forgiven if suspicious Lorena and ex-privateer Brogan and shrewd but wise Mr. Huntley are to make peace with one another and God.

I really enjoyed this book. It took me a while to get into it but I think that’s just because I didn’t have a whole lot of time when I first picked it up. The characters were fun and easily related to. And I enjoyed learning a bit more about sailing and ships in 1815 Massachusetts. Learn more about the books setting from this interview with the author.

One aspect I didn’t like too much was how quickly the romance progressed. The reader is told it will take a while for the ship to be launched and out of the shallow inlet, but the story seems to move quickly (a good thing) and thus also moves the romance along quickly (not such a good thing).  It’s a clean romance (just a few kisses) so no worries there. 

Disclosure: I won this book through a giveaway and the author signed it. 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.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Quotes to Remember

Two quotes that are worth remembering from an awesome book I just finished reading. The review may or may not come soon - I'm travelling and away from home the next few days.

I'll never tell you to stop loving. You see, I believe in hopeless love. Oh yes. I believe in it with all my heart, though you may discount the heart of an old nanny like me. For real love brings pain. Real love means sacrifices and hurts and all the thousand shocks of life. But it also means beauty, true beauty. ~Beana (Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl pg. 36)
Girl looking thoughtful walking through rosebushes. Taken from cover of Moonblood.

There is a moment that comes into every life when the right word, the right look even, could change the shape of the world forever. The wrong one could as well, though the resulting shape would be different. No word at all, however, and the moment slips by, and things remain unsaid that perhaps should have been said, perhaps shouldn't, and no one can ever know for sure. ~ Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Moonblood by pg. 367)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Winner and Monthly Reflections - 4/2012

The news you have all been waiting for. Who won the Tales of Goldstone Wood giveaway? Drum roll please!

Lacey T.

Congratulations Lacey! I'll be sending you an email shortly. Please reply with your choice of book before May 8th, if I haven't heard from you I'll pick another winner.


How I fared on my April goals:
Out of my six goals I completed 3 and a half. I joined Pinterest, created a Facebook page for this blog, updated the look (see that lovely image up top?), had a successful blog hop, and partially accomplished my reviewing goals. And had 15 posts. But I didn't do so great on the reading side of things...

Books I read:
Yeah, I didn't get a whole lot read this month. (Covers her eyes in shame.) But I did start three books and am almost done one of them.

My Reviews:
Blue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble
Maire by Linda Windsor
Red Siren by M.L. Tyndall
Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Strawberry Girl by Lois Lensky

Memes and other posts:
Three posts about free ebooks on Amazon
Top Ten Favorite Characters

My first author interview ever: Anne Elisabeth Stengl (giveaway is over, sorry)

My May goals:
Review two books for NetGalley and two for Blogging for Books 
Review at least half of the books I read and maybe get some written that I haven’t gotten to yet? (That didn’t work out so great in March or April, maybe May…) 
Read 4 non-fiction books
Real Time Web Analytics