A church lady wrote…

Black Cat Book Review

dollybook_thumb.jpg

Heart Wide Open by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson has been in church her whole life.  As a child she attended with her parents and did all the usual church child things;  Sunday school, vacation Bible school, annual revivals, prayer meetings. As a wife and mother she was at church when the doors were open.  She was a Church Lady.  Then one day she realized she was a hypocrite.heartwide

She was doing all the right church things but for the wrong reasons.  She was in church because it was what she had always done, it was what was expected of her, it was what Christians do.  With this came the knowledge that she wanted more, she wanted to love Jesus whole-heartedly without reservation.  But she didn’t know how.  Her prayer became “I admit it. I don’t love You like I should, but I want to love You. Help!”

In her book she tells how she came to know Jesus, not just know of Him, but to have her heart beat in tune with His.  It’s a choice she made and she shares her journey in this book.  With stories of her life she shares the steps she took to know God and to truly love Him.  Though the subject could be heavy and burdensome there is a lot of down home humor that shows Tomlinson’s Southern roots.  She asks questions and gives the answers she found while encouraging the reader to ask their own questions and find their own answers.  At the end of each chapter is a prayer that will help the reader begin their conversation with God as they get to know Him and love Him with all their heart.  If you have the church blahs this is a good place to start to turn it around and have a renewal of faith.

Blogging_for_Books_Lockup_1a

Blogging for Books provided this book to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Generosity…

dollybook_thumb.jpg

Black Cat Book Review

I Like Giving by Brad Formsma

This is an easy little book to read.  It doesn’t really say anything that we shouldn’t already know.  But then we often know something we should do but don’t do it until someone reminds us to.  So, it is worth the time to read and think about.

Mr. Formsma  reminds us that living generously does not necessarily mean you must have lots of money to give away.  He, also, makes the point that giving is something we get to do not something we have to do.  We get to give not just to the materially poor but ilikejust as importantly to the emotionally and spiritually poor and to the ordinary people we see everyday that just need a smile.  For many folks this may be a whole new way of thinking about giving.

There are stories of wealthy people and what they have given and stories of pay check to pay check people and what they have given. Some of the stories are quite eye-opening; I Like Being Robbed is one of those.  Some are touching; I Like Scars and I Like Sharing The Dance are two of those.  And there are surprising stories like these, I Like Haircuts and I Like Learning.  All these stories are about real people and what they gave and what they received.

We are often blind to the needs around us.  Perhaps after you read this you will look around with newly opened eyes and see where and how you can give. There are practical ideas and encouragement on how to live generously.   It’s a choice you make.  A choice that could change you and the world around you.75px-The-black-cat1_thumb.jpg

This book was sent to me by Blogging for Books
at no cost to me in exchange for this review.

You might like one of these…

Black Cat Book Review

dollybook_thumb.jpg

Today instead of doing a review I am going tell you
just a little about some books I have recently read.

maidThe Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell

A bitter woman, estranged from her son, tells a story about a tragic fire to her grandson. I liked this book, although, I did find it hard to get into.  Once on my way I became interested in the characters and was quite surprised by the ending.

testTestimony by Anita Shreve

A sad story all around.  There is an incident at a boarding school involving 3 boys and a girl.  Because it was recorded and put on the internet it becomes a major crisis in many lives; the 4 students, their parents, the Head Master, friends, and community.  Each chapter is a testimony of the people involved and at times seems a bit simplistic but it does add to the character study of each person.

waterWe Are Water by Wally Lamb

A story about marriage and family and the secrets in them.   Anna, a successful outsider artist, has left her husband of twenty-seven years and is getting ready to marry her lover, a woman.  The turmoil this causes in the lives of her ex-husband and grown children is understandable and Shreve deftly tells each side of the story.  I came to like everyone in the family and wanted all to be happy.  There is a ghost in the story, part of a story within the story. Not spooky or eerie it makes the book richer.

neverNever Go Back by Lee Child

This is a Jack Reacher story.  Child has written tales of Reacher for years but this is the first I have read.  I like Reacher even though he is a bigger than life kind of tough guy and I usually prefer underdogs and normal folks. There is lots of action and intrigue and some humor.  I will say that after reading this and getting to know Jack Reacher I cannot image why Tom Cruise was ever cast to play him in a movie.  I am glad I read a Jack Reacher novel and now have no plans to see the movie.

dollycat_thumb.gifSo there you have it…books I liked and recommend to fellow readers.
Happy reading.

pressure

Saturday, one woman two worlds…

Black Cat Book Review

dollybook_thumb.jpg

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

Willa Obenchain is returning to her family’s New York farm after twelve years of living with Mohawk Indians.  She was taken by the Indians when she was fourteen.  She became Burning Sky and learned to live their way of life and to love them, she married and had two daughters.  After tragedy struck the clan she lived with leaving her a widow and childless Burning Sky decided to return to her roots and the white man’s way.

At her return she finds the farm abandoned and learns her parents were accused of being Tories and have been missing for years. Theburn boy she loved and thought she would grow up to marry, Richard Waring, is a man changed by the horrors of the war and is determined to have the Obenchain land.  This is something Willa refuses to accept.  It is her family’s land and she will live on it and work to make it her home again.

On her journey home she stumbled upon an injured man at the edge of the farm and knows she must care for him until he is well.  This man, Neil MacGregor, recovers, and against her wishes, stays with Willa to help her with the farm.  Then her Mohawk brother comes to take her back to the People.  These two men, along with Richard, make Willa doubt her place in the white world.  But can she return to the People now that her husband and daughters are gone and she is no longer Burning Sky?

There is much that this young woman faces; an angry man who once loved her, her brother who loves her and wants her back with his clan, and a man who loves her and wants her to have the home she desires above all else.  And she faces the distrust of neighbors and townsfolk who question her loyalties after so many years with the Mohawks.

While she tries to work her farm someone is trying to chase her off.  Willa learned many things while she was away that help her but her heart is torn between two worlds and two men who love her and one who wants to destroy her.  The one thing that keeps her on course is her faith.  She will not lose courage but it will be a struggle.

This is Lori Benton’s first novel and it is a good first.  I found it easy to become involved with the characters and to follow the story line.  Though at times I did want to shake them all, especially Neil MacGregor, and tell them to get on with it.75px-The-black-cat1_thumb.jpg

This book was sent to me at no charge by Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.

Blogging (120x60)

Monday, a gift out of injustice…

Black Cat Book Review

dollybook_thumb.jpg

Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry

Treha Langsam takes other people’s memories and makes them her own.  There are few things she remembers from her past and accepts this as another thing that is different about her.  And she is very different;  she not only looks different she  thinks differently.

Treha works at Desert Gardens, an assisted living facility for the elderly.  She does menial labor but the soon to be retired director of Desert Gardens knows that Treha is gifted in an extraordinary way.  Treha can help those with dementia to come back to a full life…notbook forever but for a while they can be a part of everyday activities and enjoy their last days or months. The residents appreciate her and enjoy her visits and do not think anything of her differences, she is simply Treha, their friend.

One resident, Dr. Crenshaw, seems to have a special interest in Treha but no one thinks anything of it. But he has a very good reason for wanting to know everything about her.  Then there is the team that is recording and filming some of the resident’s, including Dr. Crenshaw,  stories for a documentary.  The interviewer learns of Treha and is intrigued by her and wants to know more about her…who she is, where she came from, her gift.

With Treha’s permission and the help of Miriam, the facilities director, they begin to find some answers to the questions of Treha’s life.  The truth they find is not easy and raises more questions then are answered.  There has been terrible injustice done, not only to Treha but to many others.  The what and why of the injustice is easily answered but what will or can be done for the victims is not so easily answered.  The unfolding of the story is in some ways encouraging but in the end it leaves everyone wondering, can life be better than it is now and if not how to come to terms with it and carry on?

I found it hard to get into the story at first but about a third of the way in I was intrigued and thoroughly enjoyed the story.  Treha is a difficult central character.  For me it was hard to understand her thinking and how she is so accepting of her lot in life. But as the story unfolds she begins to make sense and is a wonder of courage.75px-The-black-cat1_thumb.jpg

This book was sent to me, without cost, by Tyndale House Publishers,Inc in exchange for this review.

tyndale.gif

Sunday, Quaker is more than oatmeal…

Black Cat Book Review

dollybook_thumb.jpg

Living the Quaker Way by Philip Gulley

The Society of Friends, or Quakers, is considered a religion that has been around about 400 years.  Most people if asked to define Quakers would probably start with how they used to dress like the pilgrims and are rather conservative “religious” folk.  Anyone who reads Gulley’s book will learn contemporary Quakers don’t fit that description.  Though they may (or may not) be conservative in their dress or habits they cannot be put in a one-size-fits-all box.

I have always thought the Quakers were an interesting group but did not know much about their beliefs. After reading thisQuaker book some of my thoughts have been confirmed…they are active in political and social issues, live simply, there are meeting houses not churches with many styles of worship, they are generally pacifists. There are others I was not aware of…some meetings have pastors some do not, what they believe is not confined to the bible, there is no formal joining of the meeting, one can join or not and still be considered a Quaker…are a few of the things I learned.

Gulley explores the Quaker Way; simplicity, peace, integrity, community, and equality.  His views are interesting and thought-provoking for me.  Some I agree with, some I disagree with, and some I am still thinking about. 

Right from the first chapter, What is a Quaker?, I found myself surprised by some of his statements and I kept asking myself is the Society of Friends a religion or a way of life, a philosophy?  Apparently, it is a question they ask themselves with many different answers.  For example, from the first chapter:

“…For some Friends–indeed for most Friends–Quakerism is first a religion, an understanding and experience of God that leads to a certain way of life.  But for others it is a way of life rich in its own right, needing no origin in or confirmation from a divine entity.”

“… while Quakerism for some Friends is a way of life rooted in our experience of God, that is not the case for all.  At one time, I would have mightily resisted that view, but now I am quite willing to welcome as brother and sister those persons whose integrity will not permit them to affirm a god they have not encountered.  Though our perceptions of the Divine may differ, our mutual commitment to the Quaker way allows us to stand with one another as Friends and friends.”

At the end of the book there are 30 questions, Queries, to consider for yourself.  Gulley encourages the reader to use them as a personal check-list of sorts or as a small group discussion.  The questions are well worth pondering and discussing.  

Overall, I liked the book because I like to hear what others think about God and faith and life.  I also liked it because it made me look a bit closer at what, and why, I believe.  It’s worth a read but probably not for everyone.

75px-The-black-cat1_thumb.jpg

This book was sent to me by Blogging for Books free of charge in exchange for this review.

Blogging (120x60)

Thursday, realistic cops and criminals…

Black Cat Book Review

dollybook_thumb.jpg

Critical Pursuit by Janice Cantore

When she was a child Brinna Caruso was kidnapped, abused, tied to a pole in the desert and left to die.  Her dramatic rescue is what eventually leads to the career she now has as a cop with a search and rescue dog, Hero.  Her mission is to find missing children; she will do whatever it takes to find them.

Because of a recent successful search and rescue of a child the media wants to know more about her and Hero.  A journalist is given permission to ride along with them during one of their night-time patrol shifts.  During this shiftcrit Brinna is involved in a fatal shooting of a suspect.  She becomes the focus of an investigation by a high-profile attorney known for her cases against the police department.  The investigation is fueled by the less than flattering article written by the ride along journalist.

During this time Brinna is teamed with ex-homicide detective Jack O’Reilly who is fighting his own demons since the tragic death of his pregnant wife.  Neither of them are happy with the pairing but it is only for two weeks and they decide to make the best of it.  While they are partnered the twin granddaughters of a friend of Brinna’s are kidnapped.  The MO of the kidnapper is much like the man who took Brinna 20 years ago, a man believed to have died years ago.  What ensues is the reliving of a nightmare for Brinna and the reawakening in the spirit of Jack.

This is an exciting story without unrealistic stunts and heroism often found in police dramas.  The author is a retired police officer and writes from experience with a realism that is refreshing.  There is also the back story of faith lost and regained and the struggles of both Brinna and Jack to reconcile with the God they don’t want to acknowledge but desperately need.

dollycat.gif

This book was sent to me without charge by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for this review.

tyndale_thumb.gif