Reviewer: Mary Hemlow
An informative, well written account of domestic abuse which may surprise some readers. A narrative set out in a way similar to a fictional novella, the main character is in reality a composite of several factual situations and experiences. The story format made for an interesting and straightforward read, smoothly developed, providing the reader with a clearer understanding of domestic abuse. The content is thought provoking yet easy to understand. A list of additional related books and websites provides further information and support.
Suggestions that might be offered; visually, the cover was not particularly attractive and while the title might be too long, it may serve to pique one’s curiosity while making a point. Because of the cover, an actual victim of abuse would be unlikely to feel comfortable reading it openly. And it should be noted that the book was not overtly Christian.
Overall, I would rate it at 4 stars.
Waves of Mercy
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
When I first started reading Waves of Mercy I was a little put off because it was written in first person. I am not a fan of first person books. Never have been. So I was immediately put off and didn't know if I would even bother reading it. I'm so glad I pressed on!
The story is written from the viewpoint of two different characters Geesje de Jonge and Anna Nicholson. Both characters have unique stories and yet they are tied together in an ending that is tender and heartbreaking at the same time. The story of Geesje is particularly moving as she talks about her life in a book she is writing. Here we discover what happens when we move ahead of God. Oh, my! But this book spoke volumes! So often we are too anxious or worried of losing out on something and so we make ourselves believe that God "wants" us to do this or that. Geesje's story brilliantly shows us what can happen when we "run ahead" of God - it can lead to heartache we never thought possible. When we don't wait on God, but try to push our own agendas, tragedy can happen. And yet, the author has shown what can happen when God takes those failings in our lives and works out His plan for us anyway.
This book has a wonderful, thought-provoking story, with a strong emphasis on faith, redemption, hope and finding a relationship with God. But it is not preachy. It is told in first person because we get to discover God and His ways at the same time as our main characters. We discover how God is ultimately in control even when we try to run the show. Beautifully written and stays with you after you finish it. First person, was the way to go. It couldn't have been written any other way. The impact was felt more. Like I said - I'm glad I pressed on!
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Restless for More
Reviewer: Kathleen Murphy
Scripture-based lessons to put into daily living is what I so appreciate from Restless for More by Heidi McLlaughlin.
This book is full of true stories of loss, learning, and hope along with scripture verses, external references, and practical exercises. This combination opened my mind in many areas and caused me to reflect on where I am now and where I want to “grow”. The vulnerability and honesty shared by the author lead me to go deeper into unexplored areas of my life. I was not alone in my journey, as I was accompanied by Heidi’s writing, paper and pen, and most importantly time with the Lord in prayer.
I highly recommend this book to a believer who is eager and ready to “grow” to their next level and lean in closer to the Lord.
Reviewer: Edwina Cowgill
In her latest book, Restless for More: Fulfillment in Unexpected Places, author Heidi McLaughlin has struck a chord with the majority of women everywhere. At some point, and perhaps more than once, most women go through a period of restlessness. With openness and vulnerability, Ms. McLaughlin writes from her own experiences. She speaks of the reasons we are restless and how we attempt to fulfill that emptiness, answer that restless feeling by shopping, or eating, or having more, or doing more, or accomplishing more. The fulfillment we receive from these various activities, if we receive any, is short-lived and we find ourselves more restless than ever.
Ms. McLaughlin proceeds to give us thirteen unusual and unexpected places to find fulfillment, such as a place of grace, wherein she gives us practical advice: to get the proper amount of rest; eat nutritious meals; slow down. Equally important, she offers spiritual advice: spend time with God--in prayer, in His word, in quiet times. In this time, He will restore your soul and you will have true fulfillment.
Other areas that Ms. McLaughlin states we can find fulfillment are through solitude; through God's extravagant love; through honoring one another; blessing one another and many more.
At the end of each chapter, Ms. McLaughlin includes a section titled "S.T.O.P. and Ask God to Fulfill Your Soul." The letter 'S' is for Scripture; 'T' for Thanksgiving; 'O' is for Observation; and 'P' for Prayer. These sections are an excellent way to close each chapter.
I've always heard it said that "a book is judged by its cover." That is the only criticism I have for Restless for More. Although the cover conveys the message of a woman being in a hurry, I don't think it is a true representation of the title. The cover is not appealing and looks incomplete.
I was given a free copy of this book for my honest review. I was not influenced by anyone's opinion nor does this review reflect the opinion of the publisher.
Secret Places Revealed
Reviewer: Valerie Jackson
The book starts out stilted and full of clichés and awkward exposition. About 1/3 into the book the conversational style abruptly improves during the job offer phone call. At the halfway point the author was really getting her feet under her and by the end I was paying less attention to the style of writing and more to the problems of the primary characters, Simone and Aaron.
I found the characters' lives a little too perfect, both spiritually and financially. I would have loved to seen their struggles on stage rather than learning about their problems almost solely through character introspection. Simone is a sweetie with a sure sense of self, by the way. Anyone would love to have her for a friend.
This is, I believe, the author's first published inspirational novel. As her storytelling develops more skill and depth of character, she is easily a writer to watch.
Eyes on the Unseen Prize
Reviewer: Carol A. Brown
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Usually this statement is at the end of a review, but I need to state it here because of the statements I make in the review. This is my honest review!
First of all, this story has some good bones.
The couples in the story have real issues that will resonate with many readers: addictions (gambling, alcohol, and promiscuity), as well as being blind to one’s own tendency to judge others behaviors.
Characters are drawn well enough that you can “see” them and have empathy for them. A group of college age couples living the life of “the young and stupid” who struggle to transition into responsible? adults.
Secondly, there is some good storytelling in this book. The story line is very believable. Where I have an issue is with the technical aspects, the crafting of sentences, transitions, and how the pieces of the story are put together, for example:
Page 3 – 7 indentations from the bottom – There’s something wrong with this sentence.... “We’ll have to hit of the mountain after lunch.” ??? Might it possibly be, “We’ll have to get off the mountain after lunch”? This is only one example of this kind of problem.
Another issue I had with sentences was the amount of extra words. I used to teach English language. I would have returned this kind of a paper without grading it and instructed the student to “tighten up the sentences and to take out the “fluff.” This was a problem throughout the book; so much so that it was distracting for this reader.
My next issue is one of character inconsistency.
Page 20 – There is an inconsistency in the depiction of a character here—“Piper’s group headed to Rambo” you had just said that Piper was not as good a skier and so they were not doing Rambo, but going on an intermediate slope. Also Piper and Chase were doing that without the group.
Page 22 – Here Nick is the evangelist—when and how did this happen? Up to this point Piper has been worried he may be an alcoholic! This is too sudden of a change...makes him look schizoid flipping from a carnal Christian to an evangelist without warning.
If both pictures are true about the character, there needs to be more of a transition so the reader is able to see the character as flawed but honestly, sincerely working to overcome his flaw. It is possible that this could have been caught in editing for plot if that kind of edit was done.
This same kind of thing happened at the end of the book. I had formed a picture of Piper’s family as basically loving and stable, but at the end there is suddenly a picture of the family piling on Piper in a negative way...the kind that tempts you to want never to go to a family event ever again! She had made comments throughout the story about her family “not believing” her spiritual experiences but there wasn’t enough story evidence to help the reader get the picture until toward the end of the book. At that same family event we see a different side to Piper’s father that had not even been hinted at. The reader wonders, “Where did that come from!”
I came away from reading not quite sure what the author’s purpose was...what main message was being communicated. That was not as clear as it could have been.
Would I recommend it? Mmmm, possibly, if the potential reader needed to see how someone could be Christian and have character flaws and yet have spiritual experiences! Our God takes us where we are and helps us overcome. Some of us who struggle with various issues need to see that we can emerge victorious. But I would caution the reader that they would need to overlook the technical difficulties.
Tears of a Princess
devastation and joy. Ultimately, her ice-princess façade is penetrated by a love so compelling it cannot be ignored. Will further heartache rock her world again, or will she cling to the promise of truth?
God Makes Love, Truth & Holiness Work
Reviewer: Margaret Welwood
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6, KJV)
There is a great deal of truth, wisdom and sound doctrine in the pages of this book, and the love of the writer for God and His Word, and for the people God has created, shine though his words.
However, I feel that there is far too much information for the age group for which the book is intended.
To begin with, I took the liberty of checking out a section with the Fry Graph, and it yielded a score of grade 7. However, this book is intended to be read by children between the ages of eight and twelve, and their parents.
Even more problematic is the mass of information, some of it repeated, that is presented. In order to make the book accessible to eight- to twelve-year-olds, I suggest the following:
I hope my comments will not be seen as discouraging; they are not meant to be. Although I haven’t written much for tweens, I am somewhat familiar with this age group and believe that the above suggestions may help to make this important information more accessible. As it stands, I believe this book is a valuable resource for adults who work with this age group in a Christian setting.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
Once again author Glynis M. Belec has brought children a book they will not only love to read (or have read to them), they will learn a valuable lesson about life.
The pictures in this short, full-colour children's book, add to the story and will be sure to draw both child and parent in. As Homer the frog is focused on one thing only - catching flies - he loses sight of the dangers around him and the obstacles that might be in his way to catching breakfast.
Homer lands himself in trouble, quite literally over his head and children will learn valuable lessons from his mistakes. While the back of the cover shares that the lesson children will learn is to never give up, it will also teach them to be aware of their surroundings. Sometimes children can be so focused on a task while at play they inadvertently wander into danger. I had a strong-willed child who did that often when she was growing up and probably could have learned a lesson or two from this delightful little book. If you love to read to your children or grandchildren this would be a perfect book to cozy up to.
Out of the Ordinary
Reviewer: Mary Hemlow
An endearing autobiography by a woman struggling with the human condition; that of feeling different from everyone else. Growing up in post Second World War rural Canada, northeast of Toronto, the author engages the reader with her down to earth humour and candour . Her social distinction as a Mennonite being raised by strict parents is accompanied by her many physical challenges and seemingly unusual physical characteristics. Her faith and trust in her Saviour in facing her many challenges is uplifting, including the challenges she and her husband faced in their marriage. Once past the first few chapters, it was difficult to put down. Overall, an entertaining and encouraging read, however, in this reviewer’s personal opinion, a lot of stories did not relate to the main theme. Eliminating them from the book would give it more cohesion and make it even more enjoyable. Random individuals were also introduced making it difficult at times to connect their significance to the plot. The book felt like starting out on a journey with a stranger, but who, by the end of it has become a close friend.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
Galloping Gus by author Glynis M. Belec is a delightful rhyming book that children of a young age are sure to love.
Gus, is a school bus who loves to splash in the puddles, but his driver Simon like Gus clean so naturally he avoids getting Gus dirty. So at night Gus sneaks out to splash in the puddles. He's very disobedient school bus! Simon can't figure out why Gus is always so dirty in the morning, when he puts him to bed nice and clean, with his chrome all polished. So one night he tucks Gus into bed and waits to see how he is getting so dirty. Unfortunately for Gus, he soon learns how deceiving someone can really hurt.
Kids will learn why they should obey and the importance of forgiveness in this charming little book appropriate for ages 2 to 6.
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