June 29, 2012

Book review: The Matthew 6:33 Piano Teacher by K.M. Logan

Do you feel called to music? In this lovely book, author K.M. Logan shows the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a piano teacher. She gives basic guidelines for everything from dress, to safety, to purchasing an instrument. With practical marketing techniques, as well as an honest outlook on your suitability to become a piano instructor, her book hits a high mark. She shows the reasons why God is necessary in our decisions, whether they are which curriculum to choose, or which students to teach.
I liked:
  • The feel of the book. It was easy to read, yet contained all the information necessary. It was comfortable, and easygoing. Not like a reference book, but very structured and easily accessible.
  • The non-judgemental outlook. It was great to me because the author doesn’t say that there is one specific way to teach, but says that you should pray about it. Which leads me to my next point…
  • The God-filled pages. There is a lot of mention of God. I was so blessed by how often the author said you should pray about the issues surrounding the profession of teaching piano.
  • The helpful websites. Scattered throughout the book, K.M. Logan has her favorite teaching resource websites. I found them to be perfect for the book’s purpose.
I disliked:
  • The parts where she talked about safety. They are a little scary to read if you are a 17 year old minor! This said, they would be different if read by a man, married woman, married man etc.
Overall, it was a fantastically written book. I loved it, and it actually made me want to take piano lessons again! J I would recommend this to anyone who has enough piano knowledge to teach.
This book was given to me for free by the author in exchange for an honest 200+ word review.

June 28, 2012

Book review: Days With Jesus Part 1 by Jim Jackson

Jesus was a true revolutionary. He was born in a barn, performed miracles, and proclaimed Himself to be the Son of God. He had a miraculous, adventurous, and extraordinary life.  Despite this, many do not know who Jesus was, what He did, and his life-story. In this 31 day docuvotional (a document/devotional) Jim Jackson shows the biblical context of the miracles that Jesus did, as well as the historical and geographical context. He shows what the book of John would have been like to a bystander, and with that, you are promptly whisked away to the first century.
I liked:
The historical facts. There were some very interesting facts written in the context of the story; some I had not known before, but they brought an entirely new perspective to the life of Jesus. I found it interest to read about some of the cultural taboos, such as running out of wine at a wedding ( the groom’s family could be sued!)
The humor. There were a few sections that I laughed aloud at Jim Jackson’s personal stories.
The layout. The book is perfect for a small group/ Bible study.
I disliked:
There was mention of God allowing/giving sickness. I have studied all the gospels and I cannot seem to find one instance where God punished someone for their sin by giving them sickness. Therefore, I very disagree with this doctrine.
While I think there were some interesting points made, I do not think this book is unique. There are many John commentaries out there. However, I loved the historical/cultural tidbits. Those alone made the book very special. I really enjoyed them. Overall, this is an easy to read commentary, and although I disagreed with the doctrine, I doubt I could read any commentary without disagreeing a little bit!For only 3.99(kindle) It is definitely a steal!
This book was given to me by the author in exchange for a 200+ word review.

June 27, 2012

Book Review: Submerged by Dani Pettrey

Bailey Craig has spent the past decade running away from her reputation in Yancey, Alaska. In a small town, it is hard for people to forget the past. When she is unexpectedly called back to Yancey because of her aunt’s sudden death, she tries to get in and out as fast as possible. When a murder is uncovered, however, she is asked to help investigate because of her vast knowledge of Alaskan history. With the body count growing by the hour, Bailey will have to forgive herself for the past before the murdering will stop.
I liked:
  • The plot. I always love when plots are a mixture of historical and modern, so this book worked really well for me!
  • The cover. I believe the cover had a beautiful/mysterious/interesting cover, which fits the book’s story perfectly.
  • The character description. It was sublime, and you understood the reason the characters acted as they did.
  • The forgiveness. I loved the constant theme of forgiveness woven throughout the book; it was a beautiful addition!
I disliked:
  • That the author described the disease that killed Cole’s mother. I really didn’t find it necessary to have the disease mentioned, much less in detail.

This book was a great read. It was suspenseful from the beginning, and I loved the archaeology involved. I would recommend this book to ages 16+, mainly because of some mature (although VERY pure, and not graphic) content.  Read this if you enjoy a fast paced read!
Thanks to Bethany House publishers for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.

June 26, 2012

Book Review: Through Rushing Water by Catherine Richmond

Sophia Makinoff is humiliated. When her believed-to-be beau proposes to her ditzy roommate instead of herself, Sophia signs up with the Foreign Missions Board hoping to be sent to a far-off land, such as China. When she is sent to Dakota Territory instead, she considers returning to her homeland, Russia.  After being the teacher to a small, run down community of Ponca Indians, she adores the tribe. Despite warring tribes, horrid conditions, and her anger towards the unjust government, she stays with the Ponca Indians, and finds herself falling in love with a carpenter.
I loved:
  • The cover. Oh my goodness, this has to be the most beautiful cover I have ever seen. It so describes the book, and it was one of the first things that made me want to read the book. Absolutely lovely.
  • The truth. Though hard to believe that the Native Americans were deprived of necessities by the government, it is true. This is a real eye-opener.
  • The vivid descriptions. I could really imagine myself being in Sophia’s shoes. I loved her thoughts, as well as being where she was, so to speak.
  • The bilingualism. I loved when she would speak in a few different languages! It was so funny, and interesting to me!
I disliked:
  • Nada. I wished there would have been a French/English Glossary at the end, but it wasn’t too hard to simply look words up online.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone with an interest in history. I simply adored it, and it will be a favorite in my library for years to come!
Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for giving me this book in exchange for a review.

Book Review: The Telling by Mike Duran

Zephaniah Walker, or Zeph as he is known by the very few who have met him, lives in seclusion. Working in the small, run down book swap, he rarely has contact outside of his morning cinnamon roll at the neighbors. He has a gift of foreseeing the future, but he hates it more than anything.
Annie Lane has noticed people changing before her eyes. Her dear friends have not been themselves, and their behaviors are more so that of a creature than that of a human.
In a perplexing downward spiral, Zeph, Annie, and Annie’s granddaughter are pushed into the center of an supernatural war, and the time to win is running out.
I disliked:
  • The theology. It was definitely wacko, so unless this book is entitled STRICTLY Science Fiction, then some people could possibly be deceived into thinking this was reality.
  • The anti-climatic ending. The book’s  beginning and middle suggested an extremely captivating ending, but it was really short. It seemed that it was so suspenseful, and then it was over.
  • The indwelling. I am not going to spoil it for anyone, but it was REALLY creepy.
  • The lack of God. I can barely recall two sentences in which God was mentioned, and they were really short.
I liked:
  • The line Zeph said at the end. I am not giving any spoilers, but it was powerful.
  • The character description. You could really get into the characters minds (that was a joke you will get if you read the book) and see who they were!
  • The plot. Although it was somewhat creepy, it was a good theme for a sci-fi book.
Use caution when reading this book, and read it with a completely biased mindset. As long as you can remember that it is not real, then you will be great!
Thank you to Charisma House for giving me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book review: The Whole Guy Thing by Nancy Rue

How do us teenage girls relate to guys? Why do they flirt with us one minute, and then act as if we do not exist the next? After seeing that teenage girls asked a myriad of questions about the male species, Nancy Rue set out to write a book answering girls’ questions about guys.  She explains how they are trying to figure out how we think just as much (if not more) than we are trying to figure out their minds!
I liked:
  • Nancy Rue’s down to earth style. I love reading non-fiction books where it feels like the author is drinking tea with you in coffee shop. It really suited this book.
  • The age versatility. It wasn’t graphic at all, and it still got the right messages across. This makes it the go-to book for anywhere from ages 12-18.
  • The  “twitter version.” I really loved how she summed the sections off in only a couple sentences at the end of each section. It was impressive how she went into detail, and just gave the whole message in 140 characters (or less :)
  • The overall structure. It was perfectly structured. I loved how each chapter had different sections, and though they had different topics, they all fit together nicely.
I disliked:
  • I can’t think of too many thinks I disliked. I was somewhat neutral to a few issues, ones that for me are common knowledge, but that doesn’t mean they were common knowledge for everyone!
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to start to understand guys. This is the perfect book as an introduction into understanding boys, purity and love. If you want to go deeper after reading this book, I would suggest Guys are Waffles, Girls are Spaghetti by Chad Eastham, which is like a sequel to The Whole Guy Thing. I believe this book is perfect for girls ages 12-18.
Thank you to Zondervan for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.

June 25, 2012

Book Review: The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis

Amelia Devries is a violinist. She has worked nearly her entire life to be a world-renowned violinist. However, once her goal is within reach, she realizes that she does not have the same goals she had as a child.  
Michael  Hostetler has long been in his “running around” years. Too long for his parents’ tastes. While he loves the ancient faith of his family, he also feels penned in by their traditional ways.
In a twist of fate, Michael and Amelia’s fates intertwine in a way only God could have planned
I liked:
  • The cover. It was definitely beautiful. 
  • The description. I adored the vivid colors, textures, and emotions Beverly Lewis so accurately described.
  • The plot.  It was very interesting to see what Michael and Amelia had in common. The plot was definitely anti-climatic, but most Amish books are.  
  • The violin. You could almost hear it playing as you read.
I disliked:
  • The lack of suspense. It was pretty slow, although not too slow.
  • The sickness. It talked about her father being sick, and to put it plainly, it was depressing. I do not see why you would WANT to read a book, invest your time in it, and spend a lot of the time reading about someone dying.  I understand when the plot needs sickness, (I do not like books that need sickness in the plot, but it makes sense why authors write sickness into the plot.) however, I this book really didn’t need it. I was written in nearly every chapter, and it really did not have to be. Her dad dies at the end, and it is miserable AND unnecessary.
Overall, while this book isn’t the worst book I have read, it was definitely not the best. I personally will probably never read it again. I rarely ever read books more than twice, so it has to be a REALLY good book to read more than once. I would recommend this to musicians, because they will appreciate the beautiful use of musical description.

This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review by Bethany House Publishers.