The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

FOUR BLOOD MOONS: Something Is About To Change By John Hagee

Four Blood Moons by John HageePublisher:  Worthy Publishing
Release Date:  October 8, 2013
Pages:  257
Genre:  Christian
Reviewed By WC

About the Book: Inspired by NASA projections and recorded history, Pastor John Hagee shows direct connections between four blood-moon eclipses and major world events. Further, he reveals the significance of the four upcoming blood moons and what they portend for Israel and all of humankind.

WC's Review:  The trouble with reading a book on biblical prophecy is that the reader must employ more than a cursory knowledge of Scripture in order to wrap his mind around the myriad of connections the author makes. They may all be true, but to grasp the intricacies that popular televangelist John Hagee asserts in this investigation of prophetic signs from the skies, demands a constant and unwavering faith in the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hagee quotes from Luke 21: 25, 27-28. "There will be signs in the sun, and in the stars....Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."

Four blood moons refer to the perfect alignment of the sun with the moon and with the earth, causing an eclipse of the moon which causes it to appear blood red. These are signs from God, which foretold the Flood, the fall of Sodom, the reestablishment of the nation of Israel in 1948, the Yom Kippur War, or Six Day War of 1967, and significant cataclysmic signs in regard to God's chosen people. Since God no longer speaks to us in person, He gives us heavenly signs.

Hagee stresses the differences between astrology, which may be based on the interpretations of occultists, and astronomy, which is universally accepted as based upon scientific fact.

This is a fantastic read, one that must remain handy to remind the reader that it likely must be consulted often.  5 Stars

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

THE WORST HARD TIME: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl By Timothy Egan

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy EganPublisher:  Mariner Books
Release Date:  September 2006
Pages:  340
Genre:  American History

Reviewed By WC

About the Book:  The dust storms that terrorized the High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since. Timothy Egan’s critically acclaimed account rescues this iconic chapter of American history from the shadows in a tour de force of historical reportage. Following a dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, Egan tells of their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure, and the death of loved ones. Brilliantly capturing the terrifying drama of catastrophe, Egan does equal justice to the human characters who become his heroes, “the stoic, long-suffering men and women whose lives he opens up with urgency and respect” (New York Times).

In an era that promises ever-greater natural disasters, The Worst Hard Time is “arguably the best nonfiction book yet” (Austin Statesman Journal) on the greatest environmental disaster ever to be visited upon our land and a powerful cautionary tale about the dangers of trifling with nature.

Timothy EganWC's Review:  This book by Timothy Egan deserves five stars because of the readability of a time in American history that no one either remembers or cares about. Indeed it is an untold story of the worst climate disaster in the history of the world.

Today, more Al Gores than one can count would emerge from the prairie woodworks to figure out a pseudo scientific plan to fill their coffers. Perhaps, rightly so, but it remains doubtful that anyone could remedy the inherent tragedy of strip plowing the once, lush prairie grasses.

The thirties was a time of economic depression fostered by the edicts and meddlings of the president who took us over the top with government sponsored programs guaranteed to ameliorate each and every discomfort. 

The dust storms, or black blizzards, in Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, particularly the panhandle regions, were sometimes 100 miles wide and two miles in height, beyond nasty, beyond terroristic, and beyond livable. Why folks insisted to their deaths upon living in a region where no sensible person would claim as home remains incomprehensible. Egan struggles with this human phenomenon.

Roosevelt and his cohort, Harry Hopkins, and supple secretaries had greater things on their mind. Nearly one fourth of the population was unemployed, further fueled by FDR's plan to government hire them to plant trees along the stricken states in an effort to hinder the damage of the sometimes daily dusters.

Roosevelt remains exceedingly popular to this day by those who remember his charismatic ability to enhance the trust of a crowd in person or on one of his radio fireside chats. Indeed when FDR visited Amarillo to view the situation firsthand, he got soaked in a opportunistic deluge of rain.

This vivid tale of the trials and tribulations of the folks who refused to leave the Dust Bowl is unforgettable. Poor Bam White and his son, Melt.  

Timothy Egan is a Pulitzer Prize winning author who resides in Seattle, Washington. He currently contributes opinion columns to The New York Times as the paper's Pacific Northwest correspondent.
About the Author:  

In addition to his work with The New York Times, he has written six books, including The Good Rain, Breaking Blue, and Lasso the Wind.

Most recently he wrote "The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America" which details the Great Fire of 1910 that burned about three million acres and helped shape the United States Forest Service. The book also details some of the political issues of the time focusing on Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot.

The Worst Hard Time, a non-fiction account of those who lived through The Great Depression's Dust Bowl, for which he won the 2006 Washington State Book Award in History/Biography and a 2006 National Book Award.[1]

In 2001, he won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his contribution to the series How Race is Lived in America

Monday, July 28, 2014

THE JOURNEY BIBLE-NIV: Revealing God and How You Fit into His Plan

Journey Bible-NIV by Zondervan Publishing“In short, it’s written for people we might refer to as spiritual explorers --- or seekers.”

Taken from the book –
What is a Spiritual Explorer?  A spiritual explorer is someone on a journey to discover spiritual truth – particularly truth about God.  If you’re serious about discovering spiritual truth, you’re qualified to be called a spiritual explorer. 

The Journey Bible is written in the New International Version and   user friendly for those using a Bible for the first time, or in the early stages of learning about God’s word. It's very possible you'll find answers to troubling questions and find that special relationship and connection to God and His word.

Special Features –

            This Bible is complete with a Dictionary/Concordance to define unfamiliar terms.

            Jesus’ Famous One Liners 

            A one-month reading plan covering five books of the Bible –
                        Genesis, Deuteronomy, John, Acts, and Romans

            Who Is Jesus? – Questions and answers about Jesus

            Explorer Studies:  7 interesting themes

            Subject Index – intended to target your study showing Scripture location

            Each book of the Bible is preceded by:
                        The Bottom Line
                        Central Ideas
                        Outline (not included in every book)
           Interesting notes highlighted on many Scripture verses

The Journey Bible is an excellent starting point for beginners, but will minister to all, whether you are in the early stages of your Christian growth, or have a wealth of years behind you.  It will set you on a definite course and make your journey through the Scriptures meaningful, and give you a better understanding of God’s word.  I’m planning to use it as a companion to my Life Application Study Bible.  My rating is 4 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this Bible from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.  

About the Bible:  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

The NIV Journey Bible is uniquely designed to help you discover the practical aspects of Christianity and better understand God. Based on the REVEAL study from Willow Creek, this Bible is intended for anyone in the investigative stage of their spiritual journey. The Journey s exploratory approach addresses key questions you may have about the Bible and its relevance today. Notes and insights are woven throughout the complete NIV Bible text, drawing you into the message and pointing the way to a relationship with Jesus. Icons trace six "explorer" themes throughout Scripture: Discovering God, Addressing Questions, Strengthening Relationships, Reasons to Believe, Knowing Yourself, "Why Jesus?,"and Managing Resources. Also included in The Journey are introductory articles that define key concepts involved in being a spiritually open person, book introductions, indexes, a dictionary/concordance, and a Fire Alive reading plan covering Genesis, Deuteronomy, John, Acts, and Romans."

Publisher:  Zondervan Publishing
Release Date:  March 25, 2014
Pages:  1728
Genre:  Bibles

Sunday, July 27, 2014

GRAND CENTRAL: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion - featuring fiction by Bestselling Authors

Grand Central by Karen WhitePublisher:  Berkley Trade
Release Date:  July 1, 2014
Pages:  368
Genre:  Short Stories/Historical Fiction

Book Description:  A war bride awaits the arrival of her GI husband at the platform…
A Holocaust survivor works at the Oyster Bar, where a customer reminds him of his late mother…
A Hollywood hopeful anticipates her first screen test and a chance at stardom in the Kissing Room…
On any particular day, thousands upon thousands of people pass through New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, through the whispering gallery, beneath the ceiling of stars, and past the information booth and its beckoning four-faced clock, to whatever destination is calling them. It is a place where people come to say hello and good-bye. And each person has a story to tell.
Now, ten bestselling authors inspired by this iconic landmark have created their own stories, set just after the end of World War II, in a time of hope, uncertainty, change, and renewal….

Featuring stories from
Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife
Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us
Amanda Hodgkinson, New York Times bestselling author of 22 Britannia Road
Pam Jenoff, bestselling author of The Ambassador’s Daughter
Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter
Sarah McCoy, New York Times bestselling author of The Baker’s Daughter
Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of The Pieces We Keep
Alyson Richman, bestselling author of The Lost Wife
Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Call Me Zelda
Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of After the Rain
With an Introduction by

Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Home Front

Wanda's Review - 

This was a great collection of short stories, all taking place in Grand Central on a day in September 1945.  These are bittersweet tales of new beginnings that use a blend of history, hope, trust, and romance.  All of these authors have a style of their own, adding their own personal touches, some of whom are my favorites, and a few that I’ve been inspired to read more of their books. 

A few of my favorites__

Going Home by Alyson Richman – The violin had the capacity to speak sorrow and to sing joy to Gregori, and the music fed his soul.  Liesel was deeply moved by her love of dance and music.  The violinist at the terminal, and his beautiful musical selections, began to draw her in like a magnet and touched her emotionally. 

The Kissing Room by Melanie Benjamin – Marjorie is on her way to Grand Central for a screen test to be held in the Kissing Room.  Hopefully this would be a ticket for her future as a young starlet. 

I’ll Walk Alone by Erick Robuck – A woman and her 3 year-old-son await the arrival of her husband.  This is a story about an abusive marriage.  Josie lived in a war, but not in Europe, at home. 

I’ll Be Seeing You by Sarah Jio – Rose’s future hinges on this cross-country journey.  She is a woman in conflict and must learn to trust her heart and know that she is in control of her own destiny. 

The endings did not always have a solid resolution, but the reader is provided with questions to ponder, giving us the opportunity to face questions about how lives were so deeply touched by World War II.  Definitely a worthwhile read – 4 stars. 

I received this book as a Goodreads “First-Reads-Winner” to read and give an honest review. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

ONE NATION: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future By Ben Carson

One Nation by Ben CarsonPublisher:  Sentinel HC
Release Date:  5/20/2014
Pages:  256
Genre:  Current Events

Reviewed By WC

About the Book:  Dear Reader, 

In February 2013 I gave a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. Standing a few feet from President Obama, I warned my fellow citizens of the dangers facing our country and called for a return to the principles that made America great.

Many Americans heard and responded, but our nation’s decline has continued. Today the danger is greater than ever before, and I have never shared a more urgent message than I do now. 
Our growing debt and deteriorating morals have driven us far from the founders’ intent. We’ve made very little progress in basic education. Obamacare threatens our health, liberty, and financial future. Media elitism and political correctness are out of control. 
Worst of all, we seem to have lost our ability to discuss important issues calmly and respectfully regardless of party affiliation or other differences. As a doctor rather than a politician, I care about what works, not whether someone has an (R) or a (D) after his or her name. We have to come together to solve our problems. 
Knowing that the future of my grandchildren is in jeopardy because of reckless spending, godless government, and mean-spirited attempts to silence critics left me no choice but to write this book. I have endeavored to propose a road out of our decline, appealing to every American’s decency and common sense. 
If each of us sits back and expects someone else to take action, it will soon be too late. But with your help, I firmly believe that America may once again be “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” 

Ben Carson

WC's Review:  Dr Ben Carson is an optimist. So much so that he has convinced himself that our once great nation can come together to move our country forward by reestablishing the freedoms guaranteed in our constitution. He deludes himself.

He says all the right things: let us return to a moral foundation; let's eliminate the hideous consequences and aftermath of political correctness; let's put the kibosh to elitism and the folks who, because of their social standing and intellect, anoint themselves to guide us less fortunate folks; let's revamp our schools to enable wisdom to join hands with public education; and let's conjure up the blessings of compromise.

Of course these remedies are correct, but it ain't gonna happen. And the reason not is because common folks have been saturated from day one with the sins of self aggrandizement and cannot function without artificial stimulation.

Dr Carson occasionally lets it slip that he truly does not believe his profound solutions will work. He has no choice but to remain faithful to principles that guided him from poverty in Detroit to national eminence as a neurosurgeon and political pundit.

Many of us hope he will not run for president simply because we know our media will label him an Uncle Tom for not playing the race card and practicing victimhood. 

This book is a must read for every American concerned about the statist swing of our country. Dr Carson is one of the good guys.  5 Stars
About the Author:  Ben Carson
Benjamin Solomon "Ben" Carson, Sr., M.D. is an American neurosurgeon and the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States by President George W. Bush in 2008.

Friday, July 18, 2014

GOODBYE SARAJEVO By Atka Reid, Hana Schofield

Goodbye Sarajevo by Akta ReidPublisher:  Bloomsbury USA
Release Date:  April 2012
Pages:  352
Genre:  Non Fiction/Memoir

Reviewed By WC

About the Book:  A moving and compelling true story about two sisters fighting for survival in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war.

WC's Review:  This delightful story of the recent conflicts involving the good folks of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, and Serbia reads life a fairy tale and ends like one. 

Two sister heroines, Atka and Hana, and their family, resolve to survive the ethnic cleansing propagated by the Yugoslav Peoples' Army when the countries declare independence. Atka, 21, remains in her beloved city of Sarajevo where she struggles against snipers, mortar fire, and desperate food shortages while twelve-year-old Hana is sent as a refugee to Croatia to seek asylum.

Survive they do. Aided by Andrew, a New Zealand photojournalist who hires Atka as a translator, all turns out well as they work against government control to escape the horrors of war to resettle with Andrew in New Zealand. 

Set in the middle of the bloodiest conflict in Europe since the reign of Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin, this biographical account not only gives an enlightening background of current events during the Clinton administration, but also envelops the reader with a vibrant story of courage, hope, and human kindness.