Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Murder at the Mikado, A Drew Farthering Mystery, Book 3 by Julianna Deering

Publisher: Bethany House June 24, 2014
Genre: Christian Fiction, Mystery, England, 1920s
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Free copy from Bethany House in exchange for a review.

Book is available @
Barnes and Nobles
Christian Book

Drew Farthering and Madeline Parker are planning their wedding, but an unexpected person from Drew's past emerges. Drew is shocked when he is introduced to the wife of his business associate, and she is an old flame from his youth. Mrs. Fleur Landis, is a force to be reckoned with. Her dark eyes, red lips, thick dark hair, and glamorous clothing, shape a woman that knows she exudes sensuality. She had been an actress, but is now a wife and mother. Her acting skills carry over to her real life, giving dramatics when she needs them.
Fleur pays Drew a visit claiming she is in trouble and needs his help. Drew is at first reluctant, but after meeting Fleur's son Peter, he changes his mind.
Drew and Madeline are at odds in this surprising wedge in their relationship.
The murder mystery plot is centered around the theater production of a play, The Mikado. The people working in the production are all known to Mrs. Landis.

My Thoughts:
Murder at the Mikado, brings another chapter in Drew Farthering's, quick-witted and nonchalant way of solving a murder. He is not a person who studied detective work, it came about by a chance event. He is calm, reserved, yet confident. His strong emotional responses are always directed to his beloved Madeline. Their whirlwind courtship had not given them a chance to share "all" their previous life. A lesson in honesty before marriage is a hidden nugget of truth in this story.
Fleur is a naughty character that I wanted to shoo-away with a fly-swat. Her pretentiousness did not fool me.
I love the added character of the little boy Peter. He gave an innocence to the story. My maternal instincts wanted to whisk him away to safety.
Was I surprised at the ending? Yes I was.
A delight in reading a mystery is not always in trying to figure out who did it, but in letting the story simply unfold and enjoying the ride.

      Book One                   Book Two

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Butterfly and the Violin, A Hidden Masterpiece, Book One by Kristy Cambron

Publisher: Thomas Nelson July 8, 2014
Genre: Fiction, World War II, Holocaust
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Free copy from Thomas Nelson, and Litfuse Publicity Group, in exchange for a review.

Website of Kristy Cambron.
Author Info:
Kristy Cambron has been fascinated with the WWII era since hearing her grandfather's stories of the war. She holds an art history degree from Indiana University and received the Outstanding Art History Student Award. Kristy writes WWII and Regency era fiction and has placed first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests, and is a 2013 Laurie finalist. Kristy makes her home in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons.

Eyeglasses at Auschwitz. 
Sera James is an art dealer living in modern day New York City. Since she was a young girl she has been "taken" with a painting of a blue-eyed young woman holding a violin. Sera has been in search of the original she'd first seen. Her search leads to a wealthy business man named William living in California, who is also looking for the same painting. Their collaboration is intermingled with the World War II story of the woman in the painting, Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron. Adele's parents are Nazi's. Her father is a Nazi officer. Their pride and joy is their daughter's talent and accomplishment in music; and especially in regard for the entertainment and promotion of the Third Reich. Adele's life irrevocably changes when she becomes involved in helping the Jews during the Holocaust.

My Thoughts:
The Butterfly and the Violin, is a powerful book.
I love the character of Adele. She is the heroine of the story. When she first became involved in helping the rescue effort, she was naive, innocent, and reckless in regards of fully understanding the situation. She is beautiful both outwardly and inwardly, and people recognize this and are drawn to her.
Adele's parents are the image of the brute and murderous Third Reich. They are so indoctrinated and ingrained by the sordid and twisted belief of the Nazi's, they forget their greatest role.
I'm reminded of a quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer said,
"The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children."  
The conditions of the death and labor camp are horrifying. Kristy Cambron, gave perfect details of how it must have felt to "be there" in the horror of every second of every day.
Adele is a character that develops over the coarse of the story, this is an important element, in showing that a person under a demanding and harsh situation can rise above the worlds horrors and "rest" in Christ Jesus.
There is another character that I became attached to, admiring her strength and courage. Her name is Omara. She is another inmate at the concentration camp. Her story could be its own story.
I understand the importance of Sera and William, because it is through their search of the painting that we hear the story of Adele, but I was less interested in them. My interest and focus was Adele and her story.

Landing page for the Litfuse book tour. 

Book available @ Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Lifeway, Christian Book, Mardels.

THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN Kindle Fire Giveaway and Facebook Party from @KCambronAuthor!

Welcome to the launch campaign for debut novelist Kristy Cambron's The Butterfly and the Violin. Romantic Times had this to say: "Alternating points of view skillfully blend contemporary and historical fiction in this debut novel that is almost impossible to put down. Well-researched yet heartbreaking. . . ."

Kristy is celebrating the release of the first book in her series, A Hidden Masterpiece, with a fun Kindle Fire giveaway and meeting her readers during an August 7th Facebook author chat party.


 One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire

  • The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

  • Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 7th. Winner will be announced at The Butterfly and the Violin Author Chat Party. Kristy will be connecting with readers and answering questions, sharing some of the fascinating research behind the book, hosting a fun book chat, and giving away some GREAT prizes. She will also be giving an exclusive look at the next book in the series, A Sparrow in Terezin!

    So grab your copy of The Butterfly and the Violin and join Kristy on the evening of August 7th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

    Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 7th!

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    The Apple of Your Eye-Bible Reading Update

     photo 7179e8f1-6cc7-481c-ace8-9d8ef1f8bc15.jpg

    The last Bible reading update was on July 14, 2014.
    Since July 14, I've read:
    From the Crossway, ESV, The Psalms, chapters 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23.

    From The Transformation Study Bible, New Living Translation, published by David C. Cook:
    2 Kings chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25. 
    1 Chronicles chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29. 
    2 Chronicles chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.
    Hebrews chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. 

    "But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved." Hebrews 10:39

    All Scripture links from Bible Gateway. 
    Resource page from Bible Gateway.
    Links of interest:
    "What My Anxiety Taught Me About God", from Relevant Magazine, by Rachel Dymski. 
    "Anna in the Bible", from Bible History Daily, by Dr. Robin Gallaher Branch
    "How to share the Gospel with someone who thinks all Christians are hypocrites", from Blogging Theologically, by Kevin Halloran
    Free Intouch devotional magazine by Charles Stanley
    Are you reading your Bible? 

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

    Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Spiritual Life by Nancy Koester

    Publisher: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. January 13, 2014
    Genre: Christian Non-fiction, biography, Civil War, Uncle Tom's Cabin
    Format: Paperback
    Pages: 382
    Rating: 4 1/2 Stars for Very Good. 
    Source: Free copy from Eerdmans in exchange for a review. All reviews are written from my own opinion and feelings. 

    Barnes and Nobles
    Christian Book 

    Nancy Koester website

    Review was first posted at The Christian Manifesto

    "Uncle Tom's Cabin came from the heart rather than the head. It was an outburst of deep feeling, a cry in the darkness. The writer no more thought of style or literary excellence, than the mother who rushes into the street and cries for help to save her children from a burning house thinks of the teachings of the rhetorician or the elocutionist.” Quote by Charles Stowe.

    The name Harriet Beecher Stowe, is synonymous with her story Uncle Tom's Cabin. The book was published in serialized form, 1851 and 1852. She is quoted as saying she wrote it to “awaken sympathy and feeling for the African race.” Most of the white characters in the story are portrayed as desensitized to slavery, but a few characters rise above the acceptance of slavery, they are brave and defiant against its inhumane treatment. Both blacks and whites ridiculed the book. On one side they felt Stowe had not done enough; on the other side of opinion, she was an evil woman.
    Harriet Beecher Stowe, was born in 1811, to a large New England family. Her father was a Congregationalist pastor. He was an intelligent and outspoken man. His children, both sons and daughters, were strong communicators and readers. Harriet's elder sister, had an independent nature that did not make room for a husband and family. The Beecher family took part in theological discussions, they conversed freely their doubts and insecurities. They were encouraged to be thinkers and to ask questions; in addition, to be involved in social justice. Harriet's penchant for being bold in how she felt did not happen when she wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin, but was a natural result of her personality and upbringing. Harriet married Calvin Stowe and they had seven children. She wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin at age forty. She died in 1896, after living a remarkable life.
    Although the zenith of A Spiritual Life, is Stowe's notable book, Uncle Tom's Cabin. I was given a broad range view of her life that I'd not read about in other books.
    Author, Nancy Koester, explores both the shaping of Harriet Beecher Stowe's spiritual life and personality, and how it contributed to the writing of Uncle Tom's Cabin; in addition, how her own journey in life was transformed by the steady process of Christian growth.
    When Stowe met William Lloyd Garrison, the editor of the Liberator, and a key leader of a anti-slavery group, she asked him if he was a Christian. The following pages in this chapter expound on the “sanctity” of the Bible, and in its “power to transform.” These pages of the book were some of my favorite. Stowe stood eye to eye in sharing her beliefs with Garrison and did not cower.
    I was glad Koester explored the criticism of Uncle Tom's Cabin. The shock of the book becoming a best seller, and in its discussion among people of all races and slavery views, propelled the books strength. The book did not rise and burst, but steadily lived on without diminishing its intended aim.
    I would have liked a whole chapter dedicated to the legacy of Uncle Tom's Cabin. How people through the generations have viewed the story, how modern readers are unaware of the book or make light of it, or how it is completely shoved aside as not being of importance in helping end slavery in America.
    People in the Christian community had used the Bible to both reject or accept slavery.
    Stowe explained: “Those who defend slavery read the Bible through the eyes of self-interest. They convert the Bible to their own use, instead of letting the Bible convert them. Who uses Scripture rightly? Those who follow Christ, like Tom and Eva. Instead of using the Scripture to lay burdens upon the backs of others, they carry the cross for others.” page 134.