Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Reviews: The Captive Heart and The Daniel Fast

The Captive Heart (Daughters of Caleb Bender, #2)The Captive Heart by W. Dale Cramer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't read a lot of amish fiction, and have to admit that when I started this one, I had more stereotypes in my head than I thought. I grew up and live in an area with lots of Amish, and despite not knowing any personally, thought I had a good idea of them.  As I was reading this book, I thought several times,"this is so unrealistic!" It wasn't til I finished the book and read the note from the author that I realized he probably knew what he was talking about! So, that said, I did enjoy the book; i thought the premise of Amish moving to Mexico was interesting (it is based on actual historical happenings) and enjoyed it as a quick, enjoyable read that opened my eyes to my stereotypes of those I see around me every day. I am Mennonite and agree with Mennonite views of Pacifism which is another subject broached in the book; it brought up the same debate I have with myself at times though- if I choose not to do actions of violence, someone else has to or I would not survive. Though I would not choose to be a soldier and go to war, I am thankful for those that do so and protect us as a country. And in the story, if Domingo did not take action, the settlement would most likely not have survived. No answers are offered but it always gets me thinking!  I would recommend this book to those that enjoy Amish fiction or romance; there is some action in the book but most likely not enough for a die-hard action reader!  Despite not reading a lot of this genre, I am interested in reading the first in the series as well as seeing what happens in the lives of these characters!

I recieved a copy of this book for the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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My rating: 3 of 5 stars
While I've not finished the book completely or attempted the fast, I feel I've read enough for an honest review.  I am enjoying this book; I had not heard of the Daniel fast before but as soon as I read the title and brief synopsis, I felt it really made sense! Daniel and his friends proved to their jailers that it works and looked healthier than ever, so why wouldn't it be a good option for us today?  I see it as a wonderful alternative to a complete fast which may not always be realistic in our busy lives today, and especially not to me as a mother of young children and a nursing baby. The daniel fast focuses on restricting your diet as Daniel did which also causes one to be disciplined, and encourages similar focus on Bible Study, Prayer and spiritual growth. I appreciate that the author takes the time to discuss why and how one goes about it and includes a great many scripture passages to back up her thoughts. She includes 5 helpful tips to a successful fast and expounds on them.  The book also includes enough recipes to complete a successful fast. She discusses the spiritual side but also is specific on how to go about it. I think these would be a great book for someone who is not very familiar with fasting but has interest in pursuing it, but of course would be excellent for a Christian at any level in their faith.  I'm looking forward to finishing it and planning a Daniel fast of my own!

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher for review.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Book Review: Babylon's Falling

Babylon's Falling: The Story of Belteshazzar, also known as DaniyyelBabylon's Falling: The Story of Belteshazzar, also known as Daniyyel by William G. Collins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was excited to read this book, however it fell short of my expectations.  This is a novel based on the story of Daniel and his three friends from the Bible. Just that made me excited to read it. There are great stories in those passages in the Bible- the fiery furnace, Daniel and the Lion's den.  THe author stated he wanted to bring this "charismatic character" to life; however I felt he failed to do so.  This book felt dry and boring- so sad to see these amazing stories this way!  The author filled in a lot of areas the Bible doesn't tell about, but skimmed over the most amazing parts! I felt he really missed the opportunity to help us really experience what it may have been like for those three friends to stand up to the King and refuse to bow, to realize they were in a fire and feeling fine and in the presence of an angel! And what Daniel's experience in the lion's den was like. I was really disappointed that the author really almost ignored these pivotal parts of the story.  Sadly I wouldn't recommend this book. By the end I was really struggling to even finish it.

I was given a copy of this book through BookSneeze for review.

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