faithcounts

Following God One Step at a Time

Historical Fiction in Haiti

This book is called “Zo” short for Zwazo, the main character.

I love books that make me feel like I am there in the location! This book told me a lot about Haiti and its culture. Zo moves around so we “see” fishing villages, construction sites, the cities of Jeremie and Port-au-Prince, and mountain hillsides.

Zo is a poor orphan boy, but he works hard and makes a good life. He has a strong will to not give up. He learns to do various jobs, so he can make some money. He also has a young woman that he loves. Yes, there is a compelling love story here.

This book also includes the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti. The damage is described in first person, and so are the rescue attempts. I really felt that I was there watching.

Here in the U.S. I had read news about the earthquake, because I have friends who live in Haiti, but this book made it real. It really describes the damage and the changes in Haiti due to the earthquake.

This is the author’s first book. Xander Miller wrote a compelling story, rich in emotion, reality, and Haiti’s people. I am glad I read it, and feel I know Haiti a bit better now.

–>Click to get the book.

(I did receive a Kindle copy of this book from->NetGalley.com)

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Gracie’s Garden

This is a children’s story about a real girl and a real garden.

She and her younger sister and brother love their garden!

The pictures are colorful and cute.

They meet some cute animals, and they learn a lot about gardens.

This book would be great for kids from 5 to 10 years old.

The author (Lara Casey) is a mom of 3, and she set up a garden for the kids to enjoy and learn in. Then she wrote a book about their garden!

Below is a link to a video, so you can meet Lara and her kids.

–>Click for the video.

–>*Click to get the book!

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The Lions of Fifth Avenue

No I’m not talking about escaped lions in New York City…

I am talking about the new book —

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis!

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This is a great mystery!

It starts in New York City in 1913, in the New York Public Library.

A family actually lived inside the library for 30 years! 

For me (a book nerd) that would be awesome!

There are 2 stone lions in front of the library, thus the title of the book.

Anyway, one-of-a-kind books are disappearing.

It ends with a death.

Then 80 years later, the granddaughter ends up working at the NY Public Library.

It is up to her to solve the 80-year-old mystery.

This book grabbed my attention, and never let go!

The author answers —

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA TO FOCUS ON RARE BOOK THEFTS?

The theft in the novel is inspired by one that occurred in 1994 at Columbia University’s Butler Library, in which a thief stole $1.8 million in rare books, manuscripts, and letters over the course of three months. I was lucky enough to interview Jean Ashton, the University’s librarian at that time, as part of my research.

It’s a different kind of mystery, and really tough to solve!

At the center of the story is the family living in the library, and the library itself.

Quite unusual, but actually based on history.

There really was an apartment for the Library Superintendent and family to live in.

If you love a mystery, this is a great book!

If you love libraries, this book will indulge you!

Although this book is promoted as historical fiction,

it could also be called historical mystery.

–>Get the book here!

(I did receive an early copy of the book from NetGalley.com )

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Best Book in Years!

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That is exactly what I thought after reading —

“The Education of an Idealist” by Samantha Power —

The best book I have read in years!

It is a memoir by a courageous woman, who has had the most interesting life!

Samantha Power was born into a middle-class family in Ireland.  

They move to the United States, where she goes to school, and becomes a journalist, a war correspondent, living in Bosnia.  Exciting stories there!

Later she goes to law school, becomes a lawyer, and a citizen of the United States.

She wants to be helpful to people, so she ends up moving to Washington DC.  She writes a book, and becomes involved in government work for human rights.

She becomes successful, well-known and respected.  Eventually she is chosen to be the US Ambassador to the United Nations!  She reveals insider information about amazing true events all over the world.  Fascinating!

She travels all over the world, and meets many famous people.

Samantha Power has written about her life, yes, but…

she has written about history from a personal vantage point, talking with individual people to find out what they are dealing with, and what can be done to help them.

I am impressed at her persistence to help every day people, and her ability to find ways to make things happen.  She is effective and caring.  She is inspiring, yet humble.

I recommend that you read this book!

Don’t just listen to me…

NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND USA TODAY  BESTSELLER !

-A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2019

• AN NPR BEST BOOK OF 2019

• ONE OF TIME’S MUST-READ BOOKS OF 2019

• AN ECONOMIST BOOK OF THE YEAR

• A WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK OF 2019

• A PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST BOOK OF 2019

If you have not read it yet, –>Get it Here.

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Women in History

I have been reading a lot of Historical Fiction.  For me it is the best of both worlds — History that is interesting and easy to read, and Fiction that teaches about real people and real events.

Today, I want to share about a great Historical Fiction writer — Marie Benedict.

I have now read all 4 of her books.  At the end I will tell you my favorite! —

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  • The Other Einstein — You’ve heard of Albert Einstein, but did you ever hear about Mileva Maric? She is Albert Einstein’s 1st wife.  She attended the Zurich Polytechnic School where she met Albert Einstein.  She was an excellent physicist and mathematician.  Her story is tragic.  Be prepared for a sad story.
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  • Carnegie’s MaidThis is a story about a girl who must support her parents and siblings, who are poor farmers.  They send her to America to find a good job, so she can send money back to her family.  She gets a job as a maid with the rich Carnegie family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  While working there she gets involved with the son, Andrew Carnegie.  For me, this story seemed far-fetched.  Although it is plausible for a poor farming family to send one of the children to America to make money for the family, normally they would send a boy.  Then the relationship with the rich Andrew Carnegie, does not seem likely.  Rich people did not treat maids as friends or confidantes.  In any case, this story does give a good picture of life for immigrants and the rich in early America.  I did enjoy reading it.
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  • Lady Clementine This book is about the wife of Winston Churchill.  It covers history from 1908 to 1945, including WWI and WWII.  I did not know anything about Winston Churchill other than he was a famous politician in England.  I learned a lot about him in this book.  His wife, called Lady Clementine, is a very interesting person as well.  This is a great book that includes a lot of history!
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  • The Only Woman in the Room — This book is about Hedy Lamarr and several men in her life.  What was so surprising to me, is that Hedy Lamarr led 2 very different lives!  I am amazed she fit so many different activities into her life.  She lived one life in Europe, and later a very different life in Hollywood.  I knew she was a famous actress, but I had no idea she had such an interesting life!

        This is my favorite book of the bunch! — The Only Woman in the Room

If you haven’t read any of these books yet, what are you waiting for? 

–>Click here!

Want to know more about any of these books?  Just click on the book title in blue.  

 

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What Momma Left Behind

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This is the new book by Cindy K. Sproles.

This historical fiction book is focused on a time in the Appalachian Mountains when flu and typhoid fever killed many adults, leaving many orphan children to fend for themselves in the mountains.  Women like Worie (the main character in the book) and her mother, mountain women, chose to care for these children even when their own meager supplies were low.

I chose to read this book because of an interest in the Appalachian Mountains.  The story is unusual in its focus on orphan children.  The story tells of a culture different from most of America.  The people are independent and must survive by the work of their own hands, mostly isolated, and with little education, they depend on the wisdom passed down to them from their momma.  That is what this book is about — “What Momma Left Behind”.

The author herself was raised in the Appalachian Mountains, and lives in the mountains of East Tennessee.  She wants their way of life to be preserved in our minds. 

–>Click to see a copy of this book.

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I’ve Seen the End of You

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So actually only God can see how and when we will die in the end.

The author, W. Lee Warren MD, says as much by the end of his book “I’ve Seen the End of You”, but as a brain surgeon, he certainly had a pretty good idea how and when his patients would die, especially with certain brain cancers, or with a gunshot to the head.

This is a very interesting book, because it is not written by the person dealing with these often fatal situations.  This book is written by the brain surgeon treating them.

Dr Lee Warren tells the stories of several patients.  He tells about the symptoms that brought them to see him.  He tells about the diagnosis, the probable outcome, the treatments prescribed, and even the attitude of the patient.  He tells about the end of them, or of the survival in some cases.  These are fascinating stories, and the Doctor gives his insights in each case.  He gives us the inside story, from the doctor’s point of view, not just the facts, but also the emotional problems of being a brain surgeon.

Through it all, Dr Warren discusses his struggles with his faith.  This Doctor prays with his patients, even when he is pretty sure he has seen the end of them when he looks at their brain.

Although I didn’t have brain cancer, I had cancer that returned two more times.  I was close to death a couple times, but survived.  I understand the challenges of cancer and going through treatments.  I understand the struggles with faith, although I never blamed God for the cancer.  I also know that God healed me through an exceptional cancer doctor.  I know there are some doctors, like Dr Warren, who take a personal interest in their patients, and do everything they can to help them.   My experiences made me want to read this book.  I am glad I did!

Dr Warren wrote this book to help people keep their faith when they deal with serious illness.  He wrote this book to help reduce their emotional pain, and help them hold onto hope.  He also wrote this book so he, himself, could confront his faith and decide if he still had faith in God or not.

Late in the book, there is a huge twist to his story!  Doctor Warren experiences a death he didn’t see coming.  He was blindsided by life and death.  In the ending of this book, the Doctor wrestles with his faith, and finds it strengthened.  His faith is restored.  I was really happy to see that!  

I highly recommend reading this book!

–>Take a peek at the book here and get yourself a copy!

 

I received an e-book copy of “I’ve Seen the End of You” from NetGalley.com

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All Who Hunger

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I just finished reading “For All Who Hunger” by Emily Scott.

We all hunger for something.  A love relationship.  Peace & quiet.  A food we crave, that we know we should not eat.  Friendship….

In this just released memoir, Emily Scott deals with all of these hungers and more.  Her life is quite unusual.  She is a Christian minister starting a new church.  But she is not a normal minister at all.  If you are yearning for a different kind of church experience, then this book might tempt you.  Emily’s new church is very unconventional.

If you are a Christian who enjoys your church, then this book may offend you.

Emily is a new minister who seems to be figuring out how to be a minister.  I liked her concept of a new church that wraps the service around a supper meal, seated around tables.  It certainly was different.  (Since I have too many food allergies, this type of church would not work for me.)

Emily tries to find a way to use church to bring people together, in a world full of hate, despair and loneliness.  It’s a good idea.

The problem I had with the book is that Emily encourages going to bars and drinking.  And then there is the vacation when she had sex with a stranger, and thought that was ok according to God.  Really?

This book was unusual, but not inspirational.  If you want to read about a weird church and it’s single female minister who is a bit of a misfit, then…

–>Click here to get the book.

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What They Meant for Evil

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Maybe you had a nemesis in your life growing up, and they always seemed to enjoy hurting you.  This true story goes way beyond the level of bullying to evil!

“What They Meant for Evil” is a true telling of her own story — by Rebecca Deng.

She survived it, but she almost died several times.

Rebecca Deng was only a five-year old child when the civil war in Sudan began.  It threatened her life and the lives of her family.  She did not have a normal childhood.  She suffered many losses.  In the end her life was saved (and she shares her story in this book). 

This is a story worth reading.  I learned about how war can devastate families.  I learned how easy it is for some people to kill others.  I learned some of what it is like to live in a refugee camp for years without hope.

Rebecca was saved, because someone intervened to help her.  This book is encouraging to those of us who have suffered from bullying or evil or other tragedy.  Rebecca survived, and has grown into a beautiful young woman.  

Rebecca didn’t want her story to die with her, so she wrote her story, so others would know what happened.  She wanted her future children and grandchildren to know about her life. She wanted to tell what other people endured, those who died without telling their story.

This is not a fun read, but it is a worthy book to read.  I really hope you will read it.  I’m glad I did.  You will learn from it about life and death, and different kinds of family that can love you.

–>See the book here.

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Ready to Rise

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A new book on leadership for Christian women!

It takes a woman leader to encourage Christian women to lead! (You can quote me!)

“Ready to Rise” by Jo Saxton, “Own Your Voice, Gather Your Community, and Step into Your Influence”.  Yes Jo is a woman who leads, and speaks to groups, and writes books!

When I first picked up this book, I knew it was about encouraging Christian women to find their voice and influence people, but I did not know it was about the art of leadership for Christian women.

This book is full of tips and steps to follow.  It also is full of encouragement!  Jo gives examples from her own experience as a leader, and uses several Bible stories as examples of women in leadership in the Church.

Although I am no longer in a leadership position, I was back in my 30’s and 40’s.  I was a leader in my church, and I was a leader in my professional job.  Looking back on those days, I can say that I did not do most of what Jo tells women leaders to do.  I think it would have been easier on me if I had intentionally done at least some of what she recommends, but I did not know how to lead as a woman.  No one told me how.  I tried to just push on from day to day, mostly on my own, surrounded by men, with little contact with other women leaders.  I didn’t even get a book on how to succeed as a woman in leadership.  Jo says that is what most women in leadership do, and they give up.

So please, if you are a woman in a leadership position, or you want to move into a leadership position, read this book.  That is my advice. Don’t try to do it alone.

Jo Saxton has lots of experience.  She has a friendly way to communicate her advice.  Reading this book, I felt as if Jo was standing at my side, with a hand on my shoulder, encouraging me, teaching me what to do, and understanding the difficulties of being a woman in leadership. She understands the frustrations and the tears, because she has been there!

Although I knew what a mentor was, I didn’t have one, nor did I try to find one.  I really should have, and Jo explains in the book why you should have a mentor, and how to get one, or several.

I had not heard of a “sponsor”.   Jo explains in the book why finding a sponsor is vital.  In fact she says that without a sponsor, women cannot succeed in leadership.  Yes, she tells you how to get a sponsor, and what a sponsor will do for you.

Jo says that “Now is the time to rise.” 

And this book gets you Ready to Rise.

–>Click Here to get a copy or find out more!

 

 

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