Addition: Borrowed!

Genre: Christian Biography

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Smith Wigglesworth was an uneducated, straight-talking Yorkshire lad, who never fully mastered the art of reading or writing. One day, in a small Methodist chapel, he heard God’s call and immediately began the work of challenging all those he met to “only believe”. In the subsequent 50 years he was to become a figurehead for the growing Pentecostal Movement, leading missions all over the world.
In this book, the author tells the story of this passionate man of God whose unquestioning faith and powerful ministry is a source of inspiration for many even in the 21st century.

God uses people in many different ways. In 1 Corinthians 7:7 Paul states that we all have been given different Spiritual gifts. For Smith Wigglesworth, his main gifting was healing. In the biography, Baptised by Fire the author, Jack Hywel-Davies looks at Wigglesworth’s life and his ministry. Wigglesworth had a very humble beginning as his parents were extremely poor. They did not know God, but that did not stop Smith longing for Him:

“I can never recollect a time when I did not long for God. Even though neither father nor mother knew God, I was always seeking Him. I would often kneel down in the field, and ask Him to help me. I would ask Him especially to enable me to find where the birds’ nests were, and after I had prayed I seemed to have an instinct to know exactly where to look.”

When the Wigglesworth family moved to Bradford, Smith joined the Salvation Army. It was here that he learnt more about God and entered a deepened his relationship with Him. It was in 1894 that Smith first encountered the Holy Spirit. After such a powerful encounter Smith’s ministry and life were changed. Beforehand, all he had done was lay hands on people and pray for healing and his wife had done all the teaching. However, after his encounter with God Smith lost all fear of public speaking and began to do the teaching himself.

His healing ministry began at home, when one morning two of his children were sick, so he prayed for them. From there God started to work in him, and he healed all sorts of conditions. His approach to healing is definitely unique. Smith viewed all illness as from the devil, so it needed to be cast out and dealt with appropriately. He would often be physical with the inflicted, and there have been reports of him punching people in the stomach and neck to make the illness leave! This gifting meant that his ministry stretched all over the world.

What I loved most about Wigglesworth was his motto: “Fear watches, faith jumps”. I found that a challenge for my life: I need to have faith, take risks and fully believe in God. There were however, aspects of his theology that I disagree with. He believed that you should only pray for something once – if you pray more than that then you lack faith. However, this is not Biblically correct. In Ephesians 6:18 Paul says:

“praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication”

What he means is that you need to be persistent in your prayers, even praying regularly for one particular thing. I was unsure about Wigglesworth’s technique for healing – I don’t think I would like someone to punch me in the stomach if I had a stomach ulcer! Reading about his views on illness has made me want to look into healing more, to see if his belief that all illness is demonic is correct, and if his approach was right.

I picked up this book because a friend recommended it, and often talks about Wigglesworth’s ministry. I found this book really easy to read and very enjoyable. I loved reading about what God can do in someone’s life, how the Holy Spirit can use and change someone and I loved reading about revival and the breakout of God in cities and nations.I found this book challenging, because I want to encounter God with the same intensity as Wigglesworth, and I want God to use me in powerful ways. This is definitely a must-read book for Christians, as reading biographies can help them in their walk with God, and this is a powerful story of how God used a poor, barely educated man from Yorkshire to do great things.

Share on Facebook

Genre: Mystery/crime

Addition: Paperback (own copy)

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

This is a series of short stories about a detective Sherlock Holmes, and his assistant, Dr. Watson. The detective is at the height of his powers and the volume is full of famous cases, including ‘The Red-Headed League, ‘ ‘The Blue Carbuncle, ‘ and ‘The Speckled Band.’

This is my first Sherlock Holmes book, and it will certainly not be my last. This is a collection of short stories, and I found it a great introduction to Doyle’s writing and the characters of Sherlock and Dr. Watson. Every story is no more than 25 pages long and is fun to read and engaging. The stories do not follow any particular order and one could easily dip in and out of this book or read the stories in their own desired order.

I liked all the stories, but probably The Blue Carbuncle which I did find fairly amusing. A man hid a stolen blue gem in a turkey before Christmas, and when the turkey was given to the wrong person he went a bit crazy! I did find myself laughing. Doyle is a clever, fun writer and Sherlock is intelligent, a bit bizarre and humorous.

I didn’t find this a quick read – I believe this is because of the old-fashioned language and structure. It took me a little while to adjust, however this was not a problem – I find this is the case with classics as well. It is worth pursuing and the stories are fantastic. There is adventure, mystery and humour. I don’t think I worked out any of the mysteries as this is not my usual genre, but I loved reading these stories and have even lent out my copy so others can share this enjoyment. I cannot wait to read more!

Just as an aside, if you are in the UK you definitely should check out the BBC’s Sherlock series:

The film Sherlock Holmes is amazing too:

Share on Facebook

Addition: Review e-book

Genre: Young adult

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Ariel is the head chef in her family kitchen. Cucumber salads, fettuccine carbonara, fish tacos, and peanut butter pie are just a few of the dishes she crafts when she’s feeling frustrated by the world. And it’s turning into a frustrating year. Ariel, Nicki, and Mattie have been inseparable friends since they were little kids, but now Mattie’s mom has decided to move away. It’s the girls’ last year in middle school, and they can’t fathom being separated. The friends concoct a plan that will keep Mattie in the Bay area she’ll move in with Ariel and her family. But before you can say “bff,” the party is over. Everything Mattie does gets on Ariel’s nerves, and it’s not long before the girls are avoiding each other. This was supposed to be their best year ever, but some painful lessons are threatening to tear their friendship apart. Can the girls scramble to make things right before the bond crumbles?

I received this book from netGallery to review – thank you.

This is a story of friendship and food. Ariel has two best friends: Mattie and Nicki. It has become a strange year. Nicki is creeping around and keeping secrets, but worse, Mattie’s Mum has a new job and they have to leave town. To keep Mattie around Ariel proposes that she lives with her and her family. Being a welcoming home, Ariel’s parents allow this. Mattie moves in, but soon she is getting on Ariel’s nerves. Mattie sees herself as just trying to fit in, and Ariel finds herself getting jealous. Their friendship is in trouble, and what is going on with Nicki? This story looks at the joy of food, how to fix a friendship and the truth about keeping secrets.

Firstly, I was drawn by the simplicity of the cover – just a few aprons hanging up. I also liked how the book contained the recipes mentioned as part of the story. They are unique and different. Not what I would eat or cook but it makes the book stand out.

The girls seemed realistic – just typical American high school teenagers. They were not the most popular girls, they were just nice, hard working and friendly. The book is about their friendship, and actually it is nice to read. The bond and the tension is well written and I liked them all. I felt sorry for Mattie, who was living away from her Mum and sorry for Ariel, who felt that Mattie was taking her place in the family. Of course, I did also think that they should have expressed their feelings instead of keeping it in and almost losing the friendship. I liked Nicki as well, but she wasn’t the main character. She was the third wheel in the group – joining late and keeping secrets, and I felt she was written just as an extra.

This is a girly story. The main characters are girls and the book is about friendship. The story line isn’t particularly original – I feel having the recipes in the book special, not the story line as such. It is an easy read and a young adult book. I enjoyed it. I did find myself getting exasperated with the girls at times; I felt they just needed to talk to each other and Mattie’s actions at the end didn’t impress me. Overall, this is a quick and easy read if you like female fiction and young adult books.

Share on Facebook

Addition: Borrowed hard back

Genre: Love and Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Edinburgh, 1874: Little Jack is born with a frozen heart and immediately undergoes a life-saving operation — the implantation of a cuckoo-clock in his chest. From then on his days all begin with a wind-up, in this dark, tender fairy tale spiced with devilish humour.

I borrowed this book as my friend gave it a really good review, and I am glad I did. the cover is gorgeous and definitely helped attract me to the book, but it was the story line and the delicious use of language which kept me gripped.

The story is about Little Jack. He is born with a frozen heart, so Dr. Madeleine fits him with a wind-up cuckoo-clock to keep his heart going. As he grows up and is put up for adoption it quickly becomes clear that Little Jack’s ticking is putting off potential parents so Madeleine chooses to keep him and bring him up herself. All is going well until Little Jack breaks a vital rule: he falls in love. This causes bullying at school, and an accident that sees him fleeing from Edinburgh. He follows his heart and travels across Europe to find Miss Acacia, the girl he loves. On his travels he learns about the pain love and jealous can cause and ultimately sees his life changing forever.

I found the beginning of this book slow, but it soon picked up! The language is just beautiful. It is so descriptive and inviting. My favourite quote from the book is:

“We love each other like two matches in the dark. We don’t talk, we just catch fire instead. Our kisses are an inferno as an earthquake registers across my entire body, all one metre sixty-six and a half centimetres of it. My heart escapes its prison. It flies away through the arteries, settling in my head. My heart is in every muscle, all the way through to my fingertips. A savage sun, everywhere. It’s a romantic disease with reddish glints.”

The love in this book is passionate and compelling, but ultimately this is a sad story. Jealousy and mistrust floats through this book and destroys all that is beautiful. The book has a sombre end but that does not spoil it at all. It is not what you would expect, which makes a nice change.

I loved Little Jack. I loved the way he followed his heart, even to the point of destruction. I felt for him as he was bullied by Tom, and how he struggled with a whole range of emotions. I felt so much empathy for him, and loved the people he surrounded himself with, including Melies, Anna and Luna. They support him and care for him like family.

The imagination in this book is great; from Madeleine and her medical inventions to the language and descriptions Malzieu uses. It is amazing that this is a translation – I didn’t notice at all. Aside from the slow beginning I loved everything about this book. At times my heart ached and at other times I enjoyed the humour in the book. This is a short book, small and sweet, and so readable. One I got to about page 60 I whizzed through the story and could not put the book down. I highly recommend this novel 🙂

Translator: Sarah Ardizzone

Share on Facebook

Addition: review paperback

Rating: 4/5

Genre: Christian Theology

Synopsis:

Some of the most powerful stories from the Bible will come alive for today’s readers through these inspiring selections from the writings of Max Lucado. Max provides a compelling look at the most high-impact moments in the biblical narrative, drawn from his previous 20+ years of writing.

At the end of each chapter will be study guide questions so the reader can go deeper into this scripture.

Extraordinary stories are told about the following characters:

Mary, Peter, Matthew, Joseph, Nicodemus, Woman at the Well, David, Esther, Job, The Samaritan Woman, John, Rich Young Man.

And more

I received this book from BookSneeze, and am glad I did. A long review is not needed for this book, as instead of one long story, Max Lucado looks at a range of different people from the Bible. Every chapter and point Lucado makes he backs up with Bible verses. It is clear from this book that he is man who knows his Bible well.

The first thing to notice is the beautiful cover. Every time I saw it I was drawn to the book. It is a gorgeous picture, full of colour and it just compelled me to read this book. Another great feature of this book is the short chapters. When I read theology books I worry that the chapters will be long and my concentration lost. This did not happen with Cast of Characters. Every chapter is only a few pages long. Lucado gets straight to the point and uses language which is simple and clear. He retells the story with modern twists, so we can see how they can be relevant to us today, and draws out what God is telling us. I found this helpful and made the book more readable.

There is not one chapter that sticks out more than the rest; all were helpful. I read this book with a notepad and Bible next to me, so I could check out the verses Lucado uses and note down what he teaches us. This was a great book that taught me a lot. I have already recommended this book to others, and it is a book I will keep and read again. Even if you aren’t a Christian and don’t fancy theology, this is a good book to dip into; it is well worth reading for everyone.

Share on Facebook

Book Sort: Library Book

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

Considering that I’m married to Cedar Cove’s private investigator, you might think I enjoy mysteries. But I don’t — especially when they involve us! Roy and I have been receiving anonymous postcards and messages asking if we “regret the past.” We don’t know what they mean . . .

On a more positive note, we’re both delighted that our daughter, Linette, has moved to Cedar Cove to work at the new medical clinic. A while ago I attended the humane society’s “Dog and Bachelor Auction,” where I bought her a date with Cal Washburn, who works at Cliff Harding’s horse farm. Unfortunately Linette is less enthusiastic about this date than I am.

Speaking of Cliff, the romance between him and Grace Sherman is back on. But that’s only one of the many interesting stories here in Cedar Cove. So why don’t you drop by for a coffee at my husband’s office on Main Street or our House on Harbor and I’ll tell you everything that’s new!

Corrie

This is typical Debbie Macomber. This is number five in the Cedar Cover series and is in every way as good as the others. You could read this as a stand alone book as it does recap the general story lines from other books, but it does carry on nicely as part of this series.

The main focus of this book is the private investigator, and his wife – Roy and Corrie. They have been receiving mysterious gifts and postcards. They have concerned Corrie and Roy is struggling to find out who they are from. In other stories, Charlotte marries Ben, but is upset by her children wanting to check him out first, Olivia is concerned for Jack’s health – and when he ends up in hospital she sees she is right about his lifestyle and everything is a bit on-and-off with Cliff and Grace.

This book includes all the usual favourite characters and we continue to follow them through their lives in Cedar Cove. I don’t think I have a favourite, no one sticks out in my mind, but they are all nice and it is quite a gentle, friendly community they live in. It is idealistic but so what? It is nice reading.

Once Roy and Corrie’s daughter moved to the area and started making friends I quickly worked out who it was sending the anonymous notes and how the love story would pan out. I didn’t mind the predictability however. This is simple chick-lit that would make a good beach read. It is a lovely series to escape to and I always enjoy Macomber. This is a good book for those who like a light, quick, chick-lit read.

Share on Facebook

Synopsis:

A captivating new saga set in Liverpool and Ireland, from the bestselling author of DAYS OF HOPE and FAR FROM HOME Angela O’Rourke is six when her parents hand her over to an aunt and uncle in a distant village. It’s a common practice for large, hard-up families in 1950s Ireland, but for Angela it means that her mother and father don’t love her any more. Still, she’s well cared for till she’s sixteen, when her uncle starts to take too much of an interest in her. Moving to Liverpool in the early 1960s, she becomes a success in the world of fashion design. The pain of a disastrous love affair sends her home to Ireland just after the death of her aunt: and there, among old papers, Angela makes an astonishing discovery. As she learns the truth about the past, a brighter new future beckons.

This is the first Lyn Andrews novel that I have read and I enjoyed it. The book begins in Ireland, where Angela’s parents are too poor to keep her. Devote Catholics, they have a lot of children, and another is on the way. Angela’s dad is struggling to find work, so they make the decision to send Angela off to live with her Aunt Mary. Her aunt gives her a good life, but Angela misses her family and resents them for sending her away. Life is OK until her Uncle starts drinking. Life becomes unsafe for her. Then her best friend Emer leaves for America – this is the motivation Angela needs to start thinking about leaving. She works hard and is accepted to do nursing at Liverpool. She moves away – to the anger of her uncle, but soon learns that the academic side of nursing is too much for her. By chance she meets Rox and her family. Whilst with them she has the courage to leave nursing and start her own business in fashion design. For a long time she is happy without a man, but then she falls in love. However, her boyfriend is not a nice guy and result is a broken heart. Shortly after this she has to return to Ireland because her aunt is seriously ill. After her aunt dies she discovers papers that had been hidden from her all her life. This startlingly discovery changes her life and her outlook on family.

This is a very simple read – the language is not difficult and the story is not complicated. I read the majority of this book in one day. It was interesting, fun and engaging. The characters were believable and most of them I liked! The story is set in the 1960s and I felt that life in this time was depicted well. The poverty and the contrast between people and countries was astonishing but also realistic. This did mean there were heartbreaking moments in this book, like at the beginning when a six year old Angela learns she is being sent to live somewhere else.

I liked Angela, although I’m not convinced she would of had such a successful business simply because she was a woman, and in the 1960s it was a male dominated world. However, I liked her determination and her caring heart. She worked hard and was selfless. She understands poverty and when the chance to help out others arises she takes it, helping to pull others out of hardship. My other favourite character was Rox. I loved her shopping obsession! She was cool, chic and stylish, yet had a big heart. When Angela needed her she was there, and helped her through some tough situations.

This was a nice read and I enjoyed it. I’m happy to recommend this book to others and I will be looking out for other Lyn Andrews books. The ending was a bit of a disappoint – the cliff hanger, where we wonder what will happen to Angela, I wanted the book to keep going so I could find out how Angela’s life would change. That is probably my only complaint with the book.

This is simple chick-lit and I would recommend it to those who like a good girly book. 4/5 from me.

Share on Facebook

Synopsis:

The Heroine: Tiffany Aching, incipient witch and cheese maker extraordinaire. Once saved world from Queen of the Elves. Is about to discover that battling evil monarchs is child’s play compared to mortal combat with a Hiver (see below). At eleven years old, is boldest heroine ever to have confronted the Forces of Darkness while armed with a frying pan.

The Threat: A Hiver, insidious disembodied presence drawn to powerful magic. highly dangerous, frequently lethal. Cannot be stopped with iron or fire. Its target: Tiffany Aching (see above).

The Nac Mac Feegle: A.k.a. the Wee Free Men. Height: six inches. Color: blue. Famed for drinking, stealing, and fighting. Will attack anything larger than themselves. Members include: Rob Anybody, Daft Wullie, and Awfully Wee Billy Bigchin. Allies to Tiffany Aching (see above).

The Book: Hilarious, breathtaking, spine-tingling sequel to the acclaimed Wee Free Men.

I am giggling even as I sit here and write this review – this is another genius book from Terry Pratchett. It is number 32 in the Discworld Series and the sequel to the Wee Free Men. The star of this story is Tiffany Aching, a very young yet powerful witch. She is fearless and happy to fight anyone. And who wouldn’t be, when your side-kicks are the Wee Free Men – angry, small, blue Nac Mac Feegle. They will fight anything – nothing holds them back. In this book the Hiver is trying to take over Tiffany, and she has to protect herself and others from it. The witch she is staying with can’t help her, so in comes Granny Weatherwax. Granny must teach Tiffany how to be a witch, and that way she will win.

This book is hilarious. I love Granny Weatherwax – especially when she is “borrowing” and has the sign “I aint’en dead!” She is clever and to the point, and very funny. Pratchett has started to show her frailness and age in these novels, which means sense as she is an old witch, but it would be a shame if she was to disappear from the Discworld. Tiffany is another fun character. Her focus on how she is good at making cheese is entertaining, and watching her discover herself is interesting. I like that even at 11 she is headstrong and determined, and so powerful! She is a good character. The best people in this book however were easily the Nac Mac Feegle. Rob Anybody is so funny! I love that they don’t need any encouragement, they just fight – it is genius! Their actions and words are hilarious. They are some of the best characters Pratchett has created I think.

Like all the other Discworld books, I was gripped from the start and thoroughly enjoyed myself as I was immersed in this world. There is adventure, fighting, magic, stuck-up little girls, drink, scary Nac Mac Feegle wives and Granny Weatherwax – everything a good book needs! Pratchett is not short of imagination, and this book is testament to that. He is descriptive so you feel like you are there watching the action and his humour is awesome. I laughed a lot during this novel. I always find it so easy to recommend his books because they are extraordinary in so many ways. Pratchett is intelligent, witty and a gripping writer. His books are never dull, there is always something funny going on and the characters are unique and often very special. I can easily give this 4/5. What would have made it better was Nanny Ogg alongside Granny Weatherwax, and maybe a larger role for Death!

Share on Facebook

I got this as a review book from netGallery, and am really pleased I did!

Synopsis:

No one at Kayla’s school knows she’s the famous Oracle of Dating—the anonymous queen of dating advice, given through her own Web site. Kayla doesn’t even have a boyfriend. Two relationship disasters were enough to make her focus on everyone else’s love life. But then her advice backfires on her own best friend. And Kayla starts to seriously obsess about Jared Stewart—the very cute, very mysterious new guy in school. Suddenly, the teen queen of advice needs her own oracle of dating–and she knows just where to find one…

This is great young adult chick-lit. The star of the story is Kayla – an ordinary 15 year old, but she has a secret. She is the Oracle of Dating. She runs a website and a helpline that gives out relationship advice. She herself however has sworn off men. But she is red-blooded teenager and Jared is hot…

This book is so enjoyable. I read in a matter of hours, I was just hooked. It is a simple storyline, but it is engaging and funny. It is a light, pleasant read that adults as well as teenagers will enjoy. There really was nothing to dislike or complain about. I guess the outcome is predictable but getting there was fun. van Diepen is a wonderful writer, she has created a funny storyline, which has some quite good relationship advice in, and some characters you can’t help but like.

Kayla is a very enjoyable read. She is cool, calm and collected, until she starts to notice Jared. She made me laugh with her blog posts – what a great way to get through to men! She was a believable character – a girl who loves her friends and family, has an ordinary reaction to school, has a part time job and does have to contend with hormones! I liked how van Diepen was happy to have Kayla getting advice and learning from relationship books – it made her site more believable. I really liked all the characters in this book. Kayla has a great group of friends – my favourite being Ryan and Jared was a nice guy – easy to see why Kayla fell for him.

I love the idea of the Oracle of Dating. I think the advice given was quite good actually. van Diepen deals with relationships and leaps of faith well. It isn’t the most original idea but it was great reading.

This book did remind me a little of Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever, however I loved that book so that is not criticism. The lead men in both books were similar – quiet, artistic and a bit dangerous, but like I said, that is not a bad comparison. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes young adult books or romance novels.

This is book number eight in my Summer Romance Challenge ♥

Share on Facebook