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Friday, August 29, 2014

Survivors: The Empty City by Erin Hunter – A Book Review

     This book will fall under the “And More” portion of this blog’s title.  One of our Sunday School youth shared this book from one of his favorite series, the Survivors,  with me.  While I apologize to him that it took me so long to complete it, I wanted to honor his sharing the book with me by adding a review to this blog. 
     The theme of this book that spoke to me was developed through, Lucky, the lone dog’s consistency in putting the needs and desires of the dogs he encountered before his own.  He blessed the leashed dogs by teaching them to survive on their own after an earthquake (the Big Growl) devastated their city. By doing so Lucky was also blessed with a growing sense of community and developing relationships. While this book would not be listed as Christian fiction, it provided a great parable about God’s desire for us to live in community rather than isolation.
     The fun element in this book came from translating dog speak into people speak.  Longpaw, longpaw skins, sitting boxes, loudcages, and clear-stones were just some of the terms the author used to identify items through the dogs’ eyes.  Then as I encountered other things I began to label them: scratching table, longpaw picture maker, moon stick, and leashed bird. 

    Not a dog person?  Other related series feature cats (the Warriors series) and bear (the Seekers series).  The reading level of the series may be intermediate level elementary to middle school, but the interest level extends beyond that.  Thanks to Kevin Linscott for sharing!  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Bouquet of Love by Janice Thompson – A Book Review

     This book might be for you if you enjoy reading a light romance.  This book might be for you if the Hallmark Channel is your go to channel each evening.  This book might be for you if you live in or love to vacation in Galveston.  This book might be for you if the mere mention of the words gyro, tzatziki, or baklava make your mouth water profusely.  This book might be for you if you grew up honoring your Italian or Greek heritage, or if you grew up in a big family of any heritage.  This book might be for you if you are a Judy Garland fan. Finally this book might be for you if your life revolves around a family business.
     Ms Thompson introduces each chapter with humorous, “You might be Greek if…” statements.  The story itself focuses on the common ground among people and people groups rather than the attributes that set them apart.  It is a story of two families, one Italian and one Greek, with competing restaurants, and with warring patriarchs who seek to provide for their large families. It is a story of the women of the families who build relationships and bridges.  To quote one wise woman, Helena Pappas, “What ever happened to winning people over with love?  With real relationships?  This is what being a Christian is all about.”
     It is also a story about recognizing and using our God given gifts and passions, and both encouraging and allowing others to do the same.  This lesson is especially focused on parents as they prepare their fledglings to fly the nest rather than tethering them there. It’s about roots and wings. 
     With such serious themes, readers can be grateful to Ms Thompson for skillfully including humor reminiscent of the 2002 film My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Personally I found it to also be reminiscent of large Italian family gatherings I've attended, lots of love, lots of food, and lots of noise. 
    While I prefer romance to serve as a subplot within a mystery, historical or science fiction novel, I did enjoy this novel that relied heavily on the wedding theme of the series of which it is a part.  I found it well written, amusing and entertaining, but just because of my own reading preferences, would not want a steady diet of this type of story. 

     I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing A Bouquet of Love for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.   

Monday, August 4, 2014

Huge Giveaway Opportunity to Win

A chance to win lots of new releases.  Good luck everyone.


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