Godforsaken….not the best book I have read

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Title:  God Forsaken

Author:  Dinesh D’Souza

Pages:  288

Publisher:  Tyndale

Year:  2012

Note:  I received a complimentary copy from Tyndale Publishers for review.

                The title of this book may lead you to wonder what it is about.  Perhaps the subtitle will help as it reads:  “Bad things happen.  Is there a God who cares?  YES.  Here’s the proof.”  As a Christian, why would I read this?  Personally, even when going through trials and painful hardships, there has never been anyone closer than Christ.  For me, He is the answer, the hope, the anchor, and His Word speaks and touches my heart.  I wanted to read the book so I could see what the author’s purpose was within the pages.  Also, it is good to read a book that causes one to think and can help to shore up Biblical beliefs that one may or may not have.  Biblical beliefs aren’t those espoused by any particular preacher or denomination, but by the only authority I believe exists, the Word of God.

                When I read a book like this, I have the book in one hand and a pen in the other.  I note my thoughts, reactions, and questions—-basically anything that causes me to think.  It is one way to stay focused and it helps me locate, if the need arises, any portion of the book that I read and want to take note of.  There are many topics covered in this book that I admit I don’t understand, but is that really what is necessary?  I don’t believe it is.  Knowing the Word is of utmost importance and that alone will help all of us be able to discern when we are reading if what we are reading has any basis in biblical truth or not.  While there may be areas or points in the book not clearly taught in the Word, the Holy Spirit will bring to mind any Scripture to help us understand if we ask Him to show us.  Does that mean we always understand or our opinion is always right?  No.  However, if we are to love God, we must love Him with all our being and that includes our minds.

                This is the first book I have read by this author.  He debates many of those people who don’t believe Christ is the only way to salvation due to questions they have that go unanswered as far as they are concerned.  Yet, I believe that even if all their questions are answered, some will still choose not to believe in Christ.  One of the main problems starting out with this book is the author’s attempt to marry Christian beliefs with other ideas of men.  Throughout the book, the writer quotes the many papers and books he has read.  He shares some of the questions raised and debated, and some questions have caused him to seek to find answers.  All of us are looking for answers to many things, but where do we look?

                Mr. D’Souza’s book has a few redeeming points he makes about God and suffering.  However, most of the book was spent in arguing not for God, but more why God needs to answer us or prove something.  I don’t agree.  If anyone has reason to answer to anyone, it is we who need to answer to God.  While questions of faith arise in all who call upon the name of the Lord, it is of utmost importance to give what answers He has provided and let those questions we cannot answer remain unanswered.  Why?  Unanswered questions can be a very good opportunity to remember the infinite God and the finite man.  We can rest in not knowing all the answers, but knowing He does.  In His mercy, when Moses asked to see His face, God told Moses He would allow him to see His back.  Why?  For man to see God’s face with all our sinfulness exposed would certainly be deadly for man.  Read it in the Old Testament.

                You see, God made us and He knows what we can and cannot handle.  In His mercy, He has placed boundaries on what we can know so we don’t get “blown out of the water” by knowledge too wonderful on this side of heaven for us to know.  Plus, He wants us to seek Him and to know He loves us.  He wants us to place our faith in Him and not in what we know about Him.  Sometimes we miss the simplicity of faith in Him because we think we have to “know” more or have all the answers.  We don’t.  We just need to believe Him, no more and certainly no less.  My personal rating of this book is 1 star.

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Words Spoken True Reviewed

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Title:  Words Spoken True

Author:  Ann H. Gabhart   www.annhgabhart.com

Pages:  368

Year:  2012

Publisher:  Revell

Note:  This blogger gratefully acknowledges the gift of the book for the review signed by the author. Other reviews are located at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/

               

                Do you like history?  How do you like to read historical events?  Some like to read history in biographical form, others in autobiographical.  There are some who like to read small pieces of history too.  However, what about a historical event written in fiction format?  I can tell you as a reader this is one that is a favorite of mine.  I have found there have been many events, both great and small, I never would have known existed if it were not for writers putting the event onto paper for readers of all ages.

                Ann H. Gabhart’s recent book, Words Spoken True, is enthralling to say the least.  The story is set in Louisville, Kentucky during the early 1850’s.  During this time, there occurred divisions among various nationalities, religious affiliations, political views, and believe it or not the written word of newspapers.  There didn’t exist the multitude of inventions such as radio, internet, television, or phones.  People learned about the “happenings” by the printed words in a newspaper and got them from the young lads who ran around to sell them to anyone who wanted to know what was going on.

                The novel Words Spoken True contains a variety of characters with lives affected and intertwined in many ways.  There are two main newspapermen who start their newspapers and are rivals in many ways.  Add to that the distrust of those who seek to control the press as they do not want some events in print and other happenings they do want printed, depending on who will gain an advantage.  Editorials are written like two sparring boxers, taking their views about people or occurrences and putting them on paper as if they are actually looking their opponent in the face.

                We have in this fictional story a girl named Adriane Darcy, who runs a newspaper with her father.  He had owned it at one time.  Why now does she have to marry someone she doesn’t love in order to save their beloved newspaper?  Their competitor, Mr. Chestnut, hires as an editor, Mr. Blake, assuring him he can write and print anything he wants.  That promise is almost rescinded because what is being printed is threatening the current political race.  As you continue to read, there are at odds those people who want to win political seats.  In order to do so, they are keeping other people from voting.  Who were those who couldn’t vote?  Well, I can’t let the “cat out of the bag” and ruin it for you!

                Also taking place in the book, is a murderer who is ruthlessly killing young Irish girls, but who and why he is doing this don’t become apparent too soon in the novel.  While hints are revealed in the story, everything comes to a head in a way that keeps the reader engaged until the very end.

Love is also an important part of the story as is the Word of God.  Ann H. Gabhart’s novel is magnificent as well as superbly telling a true historical event inside a fictional story.  Words Spoken True is the second of two novels in this genre to receive a 5+ star rating from this reader.  With spring here and opportunities to get outside and enjoy the beauty, grab this book, a chair and a cold drink.  This is one story you want to read while enjoying the great outdoors!

               

               

 

Interview with Ann H. Gabnart plus giveaway copy of WORDS SPOKEN TRUE

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Tomorrow I will post my review of the book of Words Spoken True, which is excellent, enter the raffle for a chance to win a free copy to be signed by the author!  Go to this website to enter: http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/


Why don’t you tell us first when and why you started writing?

 I picked up pen and notebook when I was ten years old and began writing a mystery something like the Hardy Boy mysteries that I loved to read at that time, but this one starred me and my sister and cousin. I’ve been writing ever since. I think I must have been born already infected with the writing bug.

I love telling stories, but when I was younger, I would have been much too shy to tell any of those stories out loud. Besides, I love the written word. There is just something about the magic of words in a book that can change into images inside our heads that let us live the story as we read.

You have written books from a lot of different points in history, where do you find the ideas for these books come from?  Do you have any favorites of all the books you have written?

Ideas are all around us every day in what we see, in what we read, in the news, in every aspect of our lives and thoughts. Why one idea pops up brighter than the others is something of a mystery. Perhaps, it’s not something we need to understand. Just something we can embrace and appreciate. I have written a lot of different kinds of books from historical romances to family stories and small town stories. I’ve written contemporary books for young people too. Each idea, each book has its own needs. Will this one focus more on romance or history? Will that one stay with one main character or follow several viewpoint characters? Each story has its own answers.

Sometimes the germ on my idea is a historical event. Sometimes it’s a character who comes to life in my imagination. Sometimes it’s something I have personally experienced or stories I’ve been told by friends and family. Words Spoken True came from me stumbling across the historical account of the election riots of 1855 in Louisville. That got me curious about an event in history I knew nothing about and so I did more research and decided on my newspaper background. The germ of the idea for Angel Sister was my mother’s background and all the stories she and her sisters told about growing up during the Great Depression.

It’s as hard to pick a favorite book as it is a favorite child. Each of my books is a favorite in some way. The Shaker books have been so well received by readers. Words Spoken True has all that great romance. And of course, Angel Sister is a book of my heart since it has so much of my mother’s heart echoing through it because of how I based the background on her memories. And I love my characters in the Hollyhill series.

How much do you research for your books, do you travel or mainly read or both?

I mainly read history books and journals to research. But traveling sounds fun. Maybe I should write a book about Hawaii.  I have visited the Shaker village near me to try to make the setting of my fictional Shaker village realistic. However, I did most of my research for those novels in history books too. The library is my biggest resource and sometimes now I go on-line to try to find books that might help open up new insights into whatever era I’m researching.

Each book requires different amounts of research. Even contemporary books can require research into a lot of different areas. I do a lot of research, but sometimes when I have a big subject the way I did with The Seeker and its Civil War background, I have to say “Stop!” I couldn’t possibly read everything written about the War Between the States. So I try to focus in on what I need to know the most and research those areas. Then I have to write my story.

Can you share what you are currently writing?

 I’m currently working on a sequel to my novel, Angel Sister. At this time is has a working title of Far from Rosey Corner, but I expect that to change. I’m following up the characters as WW II looms on the horizon and love begins to find the Merritt sisters.

 What do you find that people know least about you?

             I’m pretty much an open book. Not much secret about me. I like to talk to people whether in person or on-line. So most people who are interested can check out my website or Facebook page or blog to find out I’m just a country girl who loves to write. I attend a little church that is 200 years old but struggles to get 50 people to show up on Sunday. I enjoy the small church, but we could easily be a church twice our attendance and stay well within the small church range.

Let’s see. I grew up on a farm and still live on a farm now. I have three adult children and three in-law children. We have nine grandkids who are, of course, beautiful and very smart. Just ask their grandmother!! I got the dog hunger when I was a kid and I have never been without a dog of my own since. I now have two dogs, one a lab mix and another a “who knows” mix. Four neighbor dogs come over and go for walks with me so that I sometimes feel like the Pied Piper of dogs. I haven’t bought a loaf of bread for years because I make sourdough bread every week. I love wildflowers and strawberries fresh from the vine. Now you probably know more than you ever wanted to know about me.

 What is your biggest challenge as a writer?

The biggest challenge for me is often finding the necessary time for getting the story out of my head down on paper or computer screen. The story seems to need to grow inside my head and trickle out bit by bit. Sometimes I think of it as a spring-fed well where the water seeps in slowly and I dip out each idea and word to tell my story. Then I have to let the well fill again. So the hardest part is simply telling the story I want to tell. But then the hardest part is also the best part – spilling out the story and having my characters leap to life in my mind.

Where do you come up with themes and characters for your books?

Most of my books start with a character and a “what if” idea. The theme seems to develop as I write. I rarely set out to write a book about forgiveness or new beginnings or whatever. I want to write about people and life. The themes are a natural part of a person’s or character’s journey.

Some characters are formed as though I’m shaping them with imaginary modeling clay. A bit of this, some blue for eyes, red for temper, each part added as I think about who the person is. Other characters are a gift. They just pop up in my imagination ready to tell their stories or to add to the story I’m trying to tell. Over the years, I have come up with a lot of different characters. It’s my goal to make each of them unique even as each person is unique.

 Is there an overarching message you want readers to get from your books?

 Encouragement. I think we all need to be encouraged and lifted up. When readers read my books and see how my characters overcome problems with the help of the Lord, then I can hope they will be encouraged to trust the Lord to help them in their daily problems too.

 How do you develop the setting for your story?

             Settings vary from book to book. Most of my books have a Kentucky setting because that’s what I know. I know about the weather in Kentucky. I know about the landscape. I’m familiar with the people here. I’ve read Kentucky history. So once I decide on my story idea, then I begin to think about what things look like. In the Hollyhill books, I went back into my own memories of what my small town looked like in the 1960s. In Angel Sister, I did the same only using my mother’s memories of her little community in the 1930s. For the Shaker books, I used the physical setting of the nearby Shaker village of Pleasant Hill. For Words Spoken True, I researched newspapers of the time of my story and pulled in other settings from my imagination. For me, the story and the characters come first. The setting slides in after that.

 When the reader closes the last page of one of your novels, what do you hope they walk away with?

I want my readers to be glad they read my story and came to know my characters. I want them to have been entertained while perhaps learning something new. I hope my stories can be an encouragement in some way to every reader. Perhaps by vicariously sharing the challenges my characters faced, my readers can face their own challenges with more hope.

Thanks for inviting me over, Lisa. I’ve enjoyed the visit. Now if your readers would like to come visit me, they can find me at www.annhgabhart.com. I post a couple of times a week about writing and life out here on the farm on One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com.  I have an author’s page on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-H-Gabhart/132862247566 or Twitter (AnnHGabhart). I love hearing from readers.

 

 

Playing Hurt

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Title:  Playing Hurt

Author:  Brian Goins

Pages; 152

Year: 2011

Publisher: Kregel

Note:  A complimentary book was sent by publisher for this review.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/

                This book is written for husbands so why would a wife want to read a book like this?  First of all, I believe women can learn a lot from what a man reads.  I will use the information presented to pray more effectively for my husband.  It is a good tool for discussions of the heart, which is what most women want to know about their man.  In a culture that is fast-paced, sex-saturated, not to mention a possible host of other stresses and challenges, having time to talk deeper is becoming even more important.

                It is a book of hope.  The author reveals himself and his struggles as part of human nature.  He speaks compassionately yet pointedly.  I found the book will not only challenge the husband, but any wife who makes time to read it as well.  It is interesting that this book is published at the same time as a  movie entitled COURAGEOUS is released and a CD by Casting Crowns entitled COME TO THE WELL, which both tie in well with the content of this book.

                The song on the CD is called COURAGEOUS, and it is a call for men to stand up by kneeling with lifted hands.  While many would agree that men have to change, women do to.  In order for our husbands to take their place we have to be willing to let God tell us as wives how to get out of His way so He can work, how to not enable bad cycles, how to encourage them and not destroy them.  So it is apparent if we listen to the Lord that both men and women need to be courageous in that they obey God’s Word and leading.  We all have to be willing to be transformed more into the image of Christ.  We must stop reflecting back to the world what it looks like, as we are to reflect the image of Christ, an image which is vastly different than the world.

                It takes courage to stand up and whether others go or not, we follow the Lord.  The beauty is that we are never alone for He has given to us a precious gift, the Holy Spirit.  He is always present with us in our day-to-day activities.  He hears all, sees all and knows all.  May we all humble ourselves and let the Lord give us courage to be more like Christ and less like the world.  Shut out and off all the electric stuff and reconnect with each other.  It starts at home, and from there it ripples out.  Remember it is not to just impact today, but future generations as well.  So go ahead, be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  As you are transformed, so your home will then be also and the world will see that Christ is Who He says He is.

Because of Me By: Fay Lamb

 

 

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Title:  Because of Me

Author:  Fay Lamb

Year:  2012

Pages:  349

Publisher:  Treble Heart Books

Note: I received a free book from the author.

               

                Honestly, what do you think of when you read the title of the novel?  Do you imagine romance? Yes, there is that element.  How about families torn apart because of the decisions or actions of others?  You would be right there too, that is in the novel.  Would you think of issues such as rape, having a child, prison, forgiveness, healing and perhaps restoration?  These are also included in this debut novel by Fay Lamb written with a sensitive heart on issues that are, to say the least, tough.

                Kip, Jervis, Michael, Rhonda, and Isabel have something that ties them together in a way that is not typical to most characters or settings of a story.  No, this is not a true story but it may come close to expressing the various emotions faced by women as well as men.  Add the element of a matriarch who wants to control others’ lives and hide the shame she feels by any means plausible.  What means does she use?  Is it money or the drive for power?  Who are those that would most benefit from her desire to control and cover up the “shame” she feels?

                Let’s add to the story a district attorney who wants to climb the political ladder along with marrying Isabel’s sister, but for what purpose?  We have Cole who loves his mother and longs for the love of a daddy; he has such a childlike faith.  Yet, no matter what he endures whether emotional or physical to whom does he cling?

                Murder is part of the plot as well.  Wouldn’t you know it?  While a son is wrongfully imprisoned and something happens to his mother, but where is his father?  Michael grew up without his father.  He had only his mother and a woman he considers his second mother.  Will they still believe in him and love him even though he goes to prison?  How does someone who forced another to watch a violent act come to repentance and then become a preacher?  Is he really one or just fooling with people again?

                Jervis has one thing on his mind all the time and only one thing.  No one will stop him or stand in his way either.  Does he value life at all?  Where did he learn the “tools of the trade” and have such connections even though imprisoned?  Oh, there is something else on his mind a lot of the time too, some $30,000.  Where did he get that kind of cash?

                Have I peaked you curiosity yet?  I sure hope I have.  This is an excellent novel filled with believable characters, riveting plot, subplots, and action that makes you read until your eyes ache!  For a budding author, Fay Lamb sure comes out in full bloom!  When you read this novel, it is amazing that someone wrote such an intriguing story that captures you from page one and doesn’t let go until the very last page.  Fay did an excellent job dealing with some tough issues, and the choices her characters make along with the outcome of their choices.  It exhorts one and all that forgiveness, though not easily given, should none the less be given.  Also included in this novel is the truth that we don’t have the ability to forgive on our own.  We must have utter dependency on God to help us forgive.  I hope you get yourself a copy of Because of Me, to read as well as to enjoy the many picturesque characters that are within the pages of this fictional story.  From my point of view Fay’s book is a 5+ star rating.  Fay’s internet address is www.FayLamb.com

 

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Available through all fine book retailers, Amazon.com, and Mountainview Publishing, a division of Treble Heart Books.

Purchase the book at Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Because-of-Me-ebook/dp/B00722KIME/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327670357&sr=8-1

Or at Treble Heart Books at: www.trebleheartbooks.com/MVLamb.html

 Purchase the book at: http://www.amazon.com/Because-of-Me-ebook/dp/B00722KIME/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327670357&sr=8-1

 

Entroducing Fay Lamb

Fay Lamb works as an acquisition/copyeditor for Pelican Book Group (White Rose Publishing and Harbourlight Books), offers her services as a freelance editor, and is an author of Christian romance and romantic suspense. Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Because of Me, her debut romantic suspense novel is soon to be released by Treble Heart Books/Mountainview Publishing.
Fay has a passion for working with and encouraging fellow writers. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she co-moderates the large Scribes’ Critique Group and manages the smaller Scribes’ critique groups. For her efforts, she was the recipient of the ACFW Members Service Award in 2010.
In 2012, Fay was also elected to serve as secretary on ACFW’s Operating Board.
Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and five grandchildren.

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