Book Review: Divine by Karen Kingsbury

 

In this stand-alone fictional novel by Karen Kingsbury, I was emotionally drawn into the life of the heroine, Mary Madison. There came a point in the book where I was so spent that I had to put it down for a few days. Divine deals with heavy topics such as child-trafficking, sexual abuse, domestic violence, drug use, and homelessness. I also experienced moments of frustration at the evil that was inflicted upon innocent children and the blatant poor choices of their parents. It made me sit and question why God would not intervene in the lives of these children. It is gut-wrenching to think of what these victims go through in their lives. But, it spoke to me in such a profound way and opened my eyes to the plight of so many young women and girls in our society. It made me rethink my view on sin and the effects it has on us all. We trivialize sin to the point that we forget how devastating it is and how it permeates every part of our lives and society. There is no one that is immune to sin. It hurts innocent children. It hurts families. It grieves the heart of God. But, we have to remember where it started…and that is with us. One day God will return for those who believe and confess Jesus as Lord, and He will wipe all tears. He will make all things new. This book reminded me that the gospel of Jesus is the only hope for this lost and dying world. Without Jesus, relationships are skewed, self-satisfaction is sought, sex is abused, and families are torn apart by selfishness and worldly gain. God wants to rescue us all from our own sin. It doesn’t have to rule over us. Karen Kingsbury does an excellent job of showing how through Jesus a broken life can be redeemed and restored. And a victim can find healing and purpose.

I have read almost all of Karen’s books, but I don’t think that any of them have had this kind of impact on my heart and mind. For a short and simple read, it brings a big punch. I hope you will let it seep into your soul as well.

Book Review: The Green Hills of Snowdonia

I came across this 900 page 2-in-1 series on a clearance rack. I am always leery about trying new authors or genre, but for $5 I thought I would give this a try. I am not a big romance book fan, but even though the title claims that is what it is, Michael Phillips adds so much depth to the story that I really didn’t focus on that aspect of these books. It is a very true representation of what real love looks like. There are several plots that weave the whole story along that include a prodigal son, mystery, betrayal, friendships won and lost, young love, a missing treasure of gold, dead pirates, and a battle for the title of heir. Through all of this, Michael Phillips uses beautiful language and metaphors to introduce the reader to the character of God. All of the characters are faced with choosing if they will allow God to shape their own character into His image. I even shared some of the passages with my kids because they speak so beautifully to how we are to “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”. There is also a deep underlying message of forgiveness and restoration in these novels that symbolizes what Jesus did for us on the cross. Here are some of my favorite passages: (more…)

Tinker Crate

tinkercrateI am always on the lookout for fun hands-on science projects for my daughter. After seeing a Facebook ad, I was interested to check out what Tinker Crate had to offer. They create science kits that are delivered to you through a monthly subscription program. I chose to just receive a one time box. They are sent at random, so you don’t know exactly what will be coming each month. That was part of the fun and excitement in ordering this way. They also address the kit to the child, and my daughter loved knowing that it was “her” mail. We enjoyed the first kit, so I did end up getting a second one. She created a drawing bot and set off a rocket! She had hours of fun with each kit. The kits also came with other experiment ideas, how to tweak your project to produce other results, and detailed instructions that were easy for her to follow on her own. The only negative was that the rocket was small and didn’t fly very high. But, we now know how to create one on our own on a larger scale, so I am sure we will be doing this in the near future. She learned some important science concepts in a fun way, so I would say it was a worthy investment. A major plus for me was that everything came included in the box, so I didn’t have to hunt or shop for supplies to complete the projects. These boxes are around $15-20 a box, so it will be a once in a while deal for us.  Of course, if you sign up for a whole year, it reduces the monthly price considerably.

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Bananagrams

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My husband brought home a new game for us this evening for family game night. He was introduced to it at a party last night and really enjoyed it. So, he picked one up for us to try. We like to play Scrabble, and this is in that realm with a fun, fast-paced twist! Everyone gets a certain amount of tiles (varies with number of people playing) that they leave turned over until ready to start. The rest of the tiles are put in the middle as a draw pile. Once you start, everyone quickly turns over their tiles and starts to form words in the similar Scrabble fashion. They have to be built off of each other. The goal is to get all of your tiles formed into an acrostic. If you use all of your letters, you say “peel”, and everyone has to draw one tile. Then they add that to their other words. You can reform words to make the letter fit. It becomes fast-paced as players keep using all their letters and making everyone draw until the pile is empty. The first one to use all of the drawn letters is the winner. There are some other aspects to the game like trading in letters that you can’t use, but this is the main gist of it. You have to check the winner’s final “board” to make sure they accurately connected words and letters. During one round, I thought I had won but had failed to finish off one word that I had tried to rearrange. So, I automatically lost. It was something different and new, and we all enjoyed it. And, I love games that help us practice spelling in a fun way! At $15, Bananagrams was a worthy investment.

What kinds of games does your family like to play?

Book Review: I Capture the Castle

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This was one of the most enjoyable books I read this summer!  Dodie Smith was the author that wrote 101 Dalmations.  This book was written in 1948 and was out of circulation for years, but it was just recently reprinted.  It is a charming coming-of-age story that is filled with humor, wit, irony, deep thoughts and rich characters.  A seventeen year old girl seeks to hone her “speed-writing” skills through journaling about her impoverished life inside her family’s unique yet dilapidated old English castle.  I felt like I had a friend in Cassandra and connected with her teenage ponderings.  I won’t give anything away, but I laughed so hard about the bear incident…and in fact, I may have to go back and revisit I Capture the Castle soon; it was that enjoyable!