Top 2 Books – February 2018

Well, it’s time for another ‘top books’ post again! Seriously, where does the time go… I feel like I’m writing these all the time! 😀 We’re already a third of the way through March, and before we know it it’s going to be summer! Ahhh summer… it’s the bright light at the end of the tunnel of school that I’m currently slogging through. 😀 I can’t wait! But for now, I’m marching onwards steadily, hoping that at the end of it all I will have grown instead of fallen to pieces (which I regularly feel like when I do the amount of math I’m doing right now :D). Anyone else out there feeling the stress of school mounting as we head into the last homestretch? 

Right, let’s get off that slightly depressing subject and talk about something much more enjoyable – books! I hope you enjoy the reviews! 🙂

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the torn veil

The Torn Veil – Gulshan Esther & Thelma Sangster 

Recently I’ve been trying to have at least one non-fiction book on the go at all times. I’m naturally way more attracted to fiction, but I do want to broaden my reading horizons. Thus the goal to read more non-fiction! I found this book randomly on a bookshelf in my house and picked it up thinking it looked like an good non-fiction book that I could learn some stuff from. And my expectations certainly were met! 

Gulshan knew what disappointment was. Every prayer that bounced off the ceiling, every time a servant had to help her with menial tasks, every day that passed and she was still crippled, she felt the pang of disappointment. Born into a wealthy family, her father spared no expense in trying to get her healthy. They even went on a pilgrimage to Mecca to pray for healing. But the years went by, and no healing came. It seemed Allah had turned his face away from Gulshan, despite her devoutly lived life and constant uplifted prayers. It was at her lowest point that the voice came – a voice that said “I won’t let you die. I will keep you alive. My name is Jesus, the son of Mary.”

Thus began a journey that would change Gulshan forever. She began to read the Qur’an intensely, searching for answers about who this Jesus was. Unhappy with the lack information she found, she turned to the Bible, hoping she could meet this Jesus within the pages. And she did. Not only did she meet Jesus within the Bible, she met him in a dream, and her life was never the same again. Physically, she was healed. It was a miracle, sent straight from God. But when Gulshan told her family that it was Jesus who had healed her, they grew angry with her. “Give the praise to Allah!” they said. But she could not. Jesus had healed her, and she was filled with a desperate longing to know Jesus personally. Ostracized by her relatives, disinherited and thrown out onto the streets, Gulshan had no one and nothing – except for Jesus. 

Man, this story was just so fascinating! That is seriously the best word to describe it – fascinating. Seeing how Gulshan met Jesus was incredible. Just thinking about it gives me chills! She was lonely, crippled girl totally transformed by the power of Jesus. I also really appreciated learning more about Muslim culture and how Muslims live. I’ve found myself wanting to learn more about Muslim faith and culture and how best to relate to them recently, and this book was very helpful in that regard. I’m giving The Torn Veil 8* out of 10, and recommending this book to anyone – Christian or Muslim – over the age of 13. 

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the-book-thief

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Hoo boy. This book. I read it in one sitting, it was that good. I read it in under four hours, it was that gripping. I sat in stunned silence when I finished it, I was that emotional.

The Book Thief is beautifully gritty and messy and sad. It’s terribly poignant and heart-wrenching, and wonderful. And I can’t do this book justice in any review. Honestly, you just need to go read it for yourself!

In simple terms, it’s about a girl and some books and the people she meets. But ohhh it is so much more than that! It’s a story regained hope, a story of new found joy, a story of light flickering wildly in the encroaching darkness of evil. The characters are memorable, the plot incredibly gripping (I read it in under 4 hours without stopping, remember? :D), and the underlying themes are oh so beautiful.

I honestly am scrabbling for words to describe just how good this book is! The writing is so vivid you feel as if you are living within the pages of the book. The tension is so real I found I had a knot in my stomach as I read. My emotions ranged from ‘oh my days this is terrible’ to ‘this is so cute!’ to ‘noooonooononooooNO!’ to ‘come on come on you can do it’ to ‘please don’t let them find him’ to ‘yess this is how it is meant to be!’ to ‘oh. my. word. that is so true’ to ‘I think I’m going to die because of the feels in this book’. I’m not kidding! (as a side note I just realized that I have been hunched over my computer in a little tense ball as I write this – the emotion that I’m remembering has that much affect on me!). Seriously guys, this is probably going to be one of the best books I will have read in 2018 – it’s most definitely going to be a re-read! 

I honestly feel that nothing I say can do this book justice. Just do me a favour and go read it if you haven’t already, so I can stop scrambling for words to try and convince you to do so. 😀 The Book Thief is a very solid 9* out of 10 read for me, and I’m recommending it for ages 15+ (due to some swearing and mature content).

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That’s all for today! What about you – what have been your favourite reads in the past month? Have you read either of these two books that I reviewed? Tell me in the comments below! 🙂 

(*Note: I’m going to be gone next week on a mission trip. I will schedule a post to come up as usual on Saturday, but comments most likely will not be approved until sometime the following week. 🙂 ) 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 3 Books – January 2018

 Greetings to all my lovely blog readers! 🙂 I’m so glad you’re here to read another one of my posts! My week has been kind of crazy, starting off with a college visit, then a flight half way across the world back home, and now the joys of jetlag and getting reacquainted with that thing called school. Funny how it piles up on you when you aren’t looking. #ohthejoysofbeingaJunior Anyways, I’m back home now, and life is getting back to normal… Well, as normal as life ever is for me. 😀 And this week, as promised, I have finally got my reviews for my top 3 books in January together! It’s only about 3 weeks late, oops… 😀 I hope you enjoy them!  

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safely home

Safely Home – Randy Alcorn 

This book. Gah… I almost have no words to describe how good it is. Though since it’s been about 6 weeks since I finished it, I’ve had some time to try and gather my thoughts. But still… just wow. 

In simple terms, this book is about persecuted Christians. In complex terms… where do I even begin? I guess I’ll just share a few thoughts I came away with after reading it… 

  1. Christians in the West have no idea how good we’ve got it. Seriously. We can go to church openly, pray openly, teach our children about God openly, own a Bible openly. We can practice our faith openly and without fear that authorities are going to come crashing in and kill us all because it is against the law to believe as we do. This freedom we have is not a reality for the majority of Christians around the world. And boy, do we need to remember that. This book gives such a clear picture of what life is like as a persecuted Christian – a picture that is shocking and oh so saddening. I have thousands, perhaps millions of Christian brothers and sisters around the world that live in fear 24/7 that they are going to be caught for owning a Bible. Hundreds of Christians die every day because they are willing to risk all for the sake of Jesus. And I let my Bible collect dust on the shelf because I’m too easily distracted by YouTube. Ouch. It kind of puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? I came away from this book feeling incredibly blessed with the religious freedom I have, but also very aware that 1. Many Christians do not experience this freedom, and 2. This freedom could be very easily snatched away. I pray that Christians in the West will be wise stewards of the freedom we still have and use it to magnify the name of our wonderful God. 
  2. We have such a small view on what Heaven is going to be like.  Guys, how many times have we been told that Heaven is going to be amazing, and we’re just like “Yeah I know Jesus is going to be there and it’s going to be wonderful” and then just go on with our daily routine like it’s no big deal. Guys. Jesus is going to be there. We are going to be with Jesus. WITH Jesus! And that’s no big deal?! That’s seriously the biggest deal we will ever face. Literally. One day we will see him face to face – God become flesh, the greatest sacrifice. And he will hold out his nail-scarred hands and welcome us into his arms with a smile. Our Saviour, our God, our brother, our friend, the one that satisfies all longings – he will welcome you into heaven with a smile and a hug. Let me tell you, Heaven is going to be AMAZING. There will be boundless realms to explore and millions of people to meet. All the beauty and goodness we have in this world will be there, magnified by eternity, with no sin or death to mar it. And we will be with our God, as we were created to be, for the rest of eternity. That my friends, is a reality worth dying for, and a reality that we should be incredibly excited for. And too often I’m ambivalent about it. This book opened my eyes to see just how blind we humans can be when faced with the reality of Heaven (and the reality of hell for that matter, but that is another topic for another day). Heaven is not going to be a boring place for all eternity. It is going to be the more wonderful than our humans hearts can conceive, and we will be worshiping our God for all eternity. Now that is something to get excited about!

In the end, Safely Home opened my eyes to see how blessed I am have religious freedom, and how staggeringly horrific the persecution of Christians around the world is. It also reminded me about just how wonderful the prospect of Heaven really is. This was one of the first books I read this year, and I’m pretty sure it will remain one of the best books I’ve read this year.  When I finished the book, my heart’s cry was ‘Come, Lord Jesus, come!’ And when a book does that to you, you know it is a good one! I’m giving Safely Home 10* out of 10 and recommending it for ages 15 up because of intense and sometimes graphic (details about the torture Christians go through) content.

* I know I didn’t really explain properly what this book is about. Sorry, it’s kind of hard… Just go and read it and you’ll understand. I highly, highly recommend it!

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penderwicks

The Penderwicks – Jeanne Birdsall

Right, after that incredibly emotional book, let’s turn to something much more light-hearted. 😀 If I  could sum up this book in one word, it would be ‘whimsical’. The google definition for whimsical is “playfully quaint or fanciful, especially in an appealing and amusing way”. And that fits this book to a T! It is just such a light-hearted, fun, creative, and just plain whimsical book. 😀

The premise of the story is seemingly simple – four sisters on vacation for the summer, along with their slightly nutty botanist Dad and their very nutty dog, Hound. Rosalind, the eldest, is responsible and kind. Skye, the next sister down has an unpredictable temper, a free spirit, and a love for math. Jane is the one that dreams of writing books one day and is always looking for a story to tell. And Batty is the shy, sweet one, the one that can be found at all times wearing fairy wings and glued Hound’s side. four sisters on vacation. What could go wrong? But throw in a giant estate called Arundel, Mrs Tifton, the incredibly crabby owner of said estate, Jeffery, her intriguing son, plus a dastardly love interest of Mrs Tifton’s and plethora of rather odd happenings and you’ve got a very  interesting summer vacation on your hands

I’m probably rather above the age this book is targeting, but yet I still enjoyed it! Actually my whole family did. My Mum read this book out loud to my siblings and I and we all had such fun. The humour that hits you at ever corner, the endearing and whimsical characters, the story line with all it’s twists and turns – all of it is just so… good! In this day it is often rare to find good, clean books that the whole family can enjoy together. The Penderwicks is the exception to that rule! The whole book had us laughing together so often, and I really connected with the characters. Read this book and I can guarantee you will laugh and come away just feeling happy because of how sweet and relatable and altogether enjoyable this book is. I’m giving this book 8* out of 10 and recommending it for ages 10+. 

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no god but one

No God but One: A Former Muslim Investigates the Evidence for Islam and Christianity – Nabeel Qureshi 

You may remember a review for one of Qureshi’s books – Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus – that I did back in October. You can read it here. I really, really enjoyed that book because it really helped me get a good grasp on the Islamic faith and the differences between it and Christianity. Plus it gave a really good insight into why Muslims leave their faith to follow Christianity instead. I’d definitely recommend giving it a read if you haven’t already.

But for Christmas I got another one of Qureshi’s books, one that I was really excited to read! You see, somewhere I read that Qureshi called Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus his heart, while No God but One was his head. What he meant by that is SAFJ is the heart of his story, the background to why he chose to follow Jesus instead of Allah. But NGBO is the technicalities, a look at history behind the faiths, the nitty gritty of the differences between the two – a much more theological look at Qureshi’s story. I know that I still need to learn a lot about the differences between Christianity and Islam, and I was excited to read Qureshi’s book because I figured ‘hey, who should know more about the two  faiths than a guy who has walked in both pairs of shoes!’. SAFJ was very well written, captivating and informative, and I had high hopes that Qureshi would deliver the same in NGBO. I was not disappointed. 

No God but One is I guess a sort of comparison. Qureshi goes through the evidence for Islam and Christianity each – comparing their beliefs and histories and documenting the historical evidence carefully and competently. He then compares and contrasts, identifying where they fall short, and laying out the arguments that each faith would have against the other’s evidence. He goes about it as any top-notch investigator would – he doesn’t lay any bias to one side or the other. He simply lays out the evidence, explains the arguments for and against, and then lets the evidence speak for itself. And *spoiler alert* – the evidence definitely falls very heavily onto one side, leaving the other with major holes. 

I would really recommend reading this book. Too often people argue without having any knowledge of evidence to back up their argument. And I’m saying this for people on both sides of the faith – both Christians and Muslims. We are too ignorant about each other’s faiths, choosing instead to base our opinions on inflammatory news articles and what the leaders of our faith say about the other faith. That is not good sense. Surely the wise thing to do is to investigate, to look at each faith under the microscope, and to ask questions, is it not? Because if something as important as a religious faith is so widely contested worldwide, is it not wise to be sure of the belief we hold to? Does it not make sense to seek out the truth, to know for sure that our faith can stand up to intense questioning? Because if it can’t… it’s a matter of life or death.

So read this book to learn. To learn what exactly Muslims and Christians believe. To learn the history behind the faiths that so often gets twisted, minimized or just plain ignored. To learn if the Bible or the Qur’an can actually be trusted as sound historical evidence. To learn if it is actually possible to be totally confident that either Christianity or Islam is true. To learn the truth. And let me tell you, the truth cannot be hidden. And the end of reading this book, I am more convinced than ever that the truth is screaming out from the evidence, if only we will take the time to closely examine the evidence. And No God but One will help you do just that. I’m giving this book a very solid 9* out of 10 and recommending it for anyone that wants to learn the truth. 

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Righty-ho, there you are! My top 3 books of January…

Let’s chat in the comments! Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading recently?

Top 3 Books – December 2017

Hello! Today I’m back with the promised top 3 books of December! And as it’s rather late currently for me, I’m going to cut with the chit-chat and get straight on with the reviews. 😀 Hope you enjoy!

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the killer angels

The Killer Angels – Michael Shaara

This book. Wow. Seriously, I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. I read it for school, and initially went into it thinking ‘Oh, it’s just another Civil War book but really heavy on the technical details so I’ll just have to slog through it because it’s for school’. And it wasn’t! The writing was really amazing, the story was so detailed, and the plot was fascinating (mostly because it was true!)

This book tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg through the eyes of the main generals that fought in it. So, interestingly enough, this book has perspectives from both Confederate and Union soldiers. That in itself made it a fresh book for me – I can’t think of a book I’ve read before that has involved both perspectives from the two sides of the Civil War. Normally it’s just from the perspective of one side or the other.

One thing that made me enjoy this book so much is how incredibly detailed it was. Without a doubt this is the most scrupulously detailed book on an event in the Civil War that I have ever read. It is obvious that Mr Shaara has really done his research! This book tells the events of June 29th– July 3rd 1863 – the day leading up to and the days during the Battle of Gettysburg. The perspective shifts between various Union and Confederate generals – such as Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. You get to experience through theirs eyes the intimate details of the preparation for and the events during the battle. Now I know this type of detail isn’t for everyone, but my history nerdy self revels in this type of thing! I really enjoyed getting to go so deep into this famous battle and to learn the ins and outs of the men and events involved in it.

Another thing that really made this book such a winner for me was the writing. It was unique, rather blunt and almost choppy at times. But it was so, so beautiful. The emotion that was conveyed through the writing was very strong. I loved getting an intimate look into the battle through the eyes of these brave and varied men. It sort of reminded me of ‘The Red Badge of Courage’ in the way it described the battle – so very ugly, but yet beautiful in a strange way. I’m struggling to describe just how impacting the writing was, but I guess I’ll just have to end by reiterating how beautiful it was, and that I highly recommend this book! I’m giving it a very solid 9* out of 10 and recommending it for ages 14+ (due to some graphic descriptions of war and the semi-occasional swearing.)

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pleased to dwell

Pleased to Dwell – Peter Mead

I know that Christmas is practically a month gone, and probably the majority of you are done with it now for 11 months (though why would you ever want to be done with Christmas – it’s so wonderful?! :D), but I’m going to recommend that you read a Christmas book. Specifically, Pleased to Dwell. Yes, I read it in December, but it’s such a good book that I would say you could read it any time of the year! And before I actually talk about why I liked it, I will just add a small caveat in that the author is my father. So that amplifies my appreciation for it, but it does not influence my liking of it. 😀 I would like it even if it was written by another person.

So why do I like this book? Well, simply put, the writing is clear and the message is incredible, beautiful and oh so needed. The message of the Incarnation life changing – God became flesh so that flesh could know God. But the Christmas story doesn’t begin and end with Jesus being born. It began in the garden of Eden when humans fell into sin, and it ended with the Son of God stretched out on a cross, bearing the sins of the world. And in between? Well, it’s an epic story, full of twists and turns as God revealed more and more of his rescue plan to his wayward children. And the story that is told in the Bible is explained incredibly well in this book. Each chapter is dedicated to a different part of the Incarnation story, beginning in Genesis 1 and going through the whole Bible!

The writing is clear and accessible, not too academic at all! And the message of this book is oh so encouraging. I loved going more into depth into the Biblical texts about the Incarnation and I was so encouraged by the permeating message of hope that comes through this book. Because ultimately the true wonder of Christmas is the truth that God stooped down to earth, humbly becoming a helpless baby boy. Why? Because of love. Because of his deep, powerful and merciful love for all of humanity. And that my friends, is incredibly beautiful, wonderful and very good news!! So yes, go read this book – I promise you’ll come away having learnt something new, having a deeper appreciation for the Bible, and most of all, a stronger love for Jesus. I’m rating this book 10* out of 10 and recommending it for ages 13+.

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Eva Ibbotson

Ok, so I’m going to do something a little different and end with featuring one of my top authors of the month. This author is Eva Ibbotson. And I’m a new fan of hers! I read three of her books last month – The Star of Kazan, Journey to the River Sea, and The Dragonfly Pool.  I enjoyed them all so much I couldn’t pick a favourite! Her writing has a whimsical flavour about it that just delights my literary taste buds. They feature real places and real events in history that she takes and puts her own slightly magical twist on and oh they are lovely! The main characters in her books are children – children that are so real and so relatable they could be living across the street. But the adventures they have are hardly the everyday type! The adventures in these books are captivating and exciting, the plot twists are gasp-worthy and they are all together just plain charming books! Perhaps they are aimed for a slightly younger age range than me, but honestly I think they’re the type of book the whole family can enjoy! (*Note: I’ve only read the three books I mentioned above by Ibbotson, so I can’t vouch for the content of any of her other books.) I’m giving Eva Ibbotson’s books a solid 9* out of 10 and recommending them for ages 10+ (though as I said before, I think pretty much anyone of any age would enjoy them!)

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Let’s chat!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? And what were your top books of December?

Top 5 Books – October 2015

Hi there! It’s time for another favourite books of the month post. I seem to do a lot of these, but that’s because time keeps marching on, and I keep reading lots of good books. 😀 I read a lot of good books in October, and I actually have 5 to review today! So without further ado, let’s get on to the reviews!

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betsy

Betsy and the Emperor – Staton Rabin 

A monster has descended upon Betsy Balcombe’s small island home. Her family are being forced to put him up in their house until his quarters are finished being constructed. So she’s got the terror of her childhood stories, the boogie man of her dreams, living in her house. Not only that, he is the terror of all Europe, the nightmare of all who get in his way. And what is this monster’s name? Napoleon Bonaparte.

But as the weeks wear on, this monster-man does not really live up to his reputation. Instead of the frightening killing machine that Betsy expected, she finds a short, eccentric man that misses his family. As she gets to know him, she finds that she has met her match in wit, daring, and spirit. And this discovery does not just have the potential to change her life and Napoleon’s life, but indeed, to change all of history.

‘Betsy and the Emperor’ painted a vivid picture of the last years of Napoleon’s life, as well as the lives of other characters that surrounded him. It was so fascinating to learn about another side of Napoleon than the one you normally hear in the history books – to learn about the man who loved children, who loved matching wits with opponents, and who loved certain people very deeply. The story was engaging, partly because of the fact that it was recounting a little known side to Napoleon’s character, and partly because of the new, vibrant characters it introduced. Betsy was a relatable and fascinating character, and I loved watching how she changed during the course of the book. Overall, this book was very informative, as well as engaging and funny! I learnt a lot through reading it, and feel that I have a much more rounded picture of Napoleon than I had beforehand. I’m giving this book 8* out of 10 (no higher because some of the things the characters did I did not agree with morally, and there were some adult topics covered in a slightly raunchy way) and recommending it for ages 12+.

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Island-at-the-End-of-Everything-website.jpg

The Island at the End of Everything – Kiran Millwood Hargrave 

Amihan’s worst nightmare has come true. She has been torn away from her nanay, and taken to an orphanage. Why? Because her nanay is Touched. And Amihan is not. She is now separated from everything she’s ever known, surrounded by strange children, and kept captive by fear and the cruel Mr Zamora. It is only by the strength of love and new friendships that she is able to protect the flame of hope that burns inside her. She must get back to her nanay before it is too late and she will do everything in her power to do so. The island at the end of everything is waiting for her.

The Island at the End of Everything is a really beautiful book. The themes of love and hope and of the strength of family and friends are very prevalent in this story. The writing was whimsical and imaginative, it fit the story perfectly (if that makes any sense :D). The story itself was very unique and captivating. I’ve never really come across anything like it, and that was a really positive quality about it! (I love unique-ness in books) I really, really enjoyed reading this book – it was beautiful both in the story and in the way it was written, and I loved seeing how it unfolded. I’m giving it a solid 8* out of 10, and recommending it for ages 12+.

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wdg.jpg

Where Dandelions Grow – Lydia Howe 

Destiny longs to mend the broken relationships within her family. But she needs to find out where her family went first. Her first step towards forgiveness and reconciliation with them is also step of hope when she moves back to the town where she grew up. Through some surprising friendships and a job at a whimsical coffee shop (btw, if I were to find this place actually existed I would go there in a heartbeat because it sounds AMAZING. Seriously, a bookshop combined coffee shop where you can write = pure happiness in my books :D), Destiny will soon find out that life is never quite how you imagined it, but that forgiveness and hope have surprising power.

‘Where Dandelions Grow’ was such a charming book. I bought it because I’ve had previous interaction with the author, Lydia Howe. I’ve followed her blog for years (and loved it! It’s such a great resource for writers and readers alike), and recently had the privilege of beta reading one of her books. I really like her writing, and this book was no exception! The setting, the characters, and the story all melded together into one really sweet book. I loved the character of Destiny – I related to her love for writing so much! The town of Swallow Ridge is described so wonderfully (I wouldn’t mind living there one day! :D), and, like I said before, this coffeebookshop called Noveltea sounds SO cool! ❤ 😀 I loved seeing how Destiny grew throughout the course of the story, and the themes of family and forgiveness were really beautiful and encouraging. I’m giving this book a solid 9* out of 10, and recommending it for ages 13+

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johnny tremain.jpg

Johnny Tremain – Esther Forbes

Johnny Tremain has it all – the apprenticeship he’s been dreaming of, a position of authority among his peers, and a comfortable house to live in. He’s got his life stretched before him, full of possibilities and dreams. But then disaster strikes, and with the cracking of a crucible, everything shatters around him. Unable to continue his apprenticeship, pitied and bullied in turn by his peers, his position replaced in his house, life seems very dark. Alone, unemployed and crippled, Johnny is alone in the wide world, and the world isn’t a very comforting place to be at that moment. Boston in the early 1770s is a hotbed of political unrest, foreign soldiers, and whispers of rebellion. Not exactly the place you’d want to be with nowhere to go, and no one to turn to. But some surprising turning of events will soon give Jonny a role in Boston that he never could’ve dreamed of. His life will never be the same after he is swept away in the turning tide of the Revolution….

‘Johnny Tremain’ is an absolutely beautiful, fascinating book. Esther Forbes brings the world of Johnny to life in incredible detail. You can tell that there has been an immense amount of research and time put into making it as historically accurate as possible. And the story itself is stunning. It’s a coming of age story about a boy who has to find who he really is when his identity is stripped away in a tragic accident. It’s an adventure story about a boy who gets caught up in the very heart of the American Revolution. It’s a friendship story showing how relationships can spring out of unlikely places and grow into a bond that ties many hearts together despite differences, distance and death. It’s a historical story, detailing the exciting events that led up to the explosion of shots in Lexington that were heard around the world. It’s a story about perseverance, about healing, about hope, and about freedom. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though it was my second time reading it. I’m giving it a very solid 9* out of 10 for the historical accuracy and beautifully touching storyline. I’m recommending it for ages 12+.

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seeking allah finding jesus.jpg

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus – Nabeel Qureshi 

A devout Muslim sets out to prove Christianity wrong, and has his life transformed by the person he least expected – Jesus.

I picked this book up because I had been studying Islam in school and was interested in learning more detail. I literally read it in less than 24 hours, and goodness gracious, this book is amazing! Seriously, it’s one of the most informative, helpful and fascinating books I’ve read in a very long time. It chronicles the true story of the author on his journey from being a dedicated Muslim to a convinced Christian. Mr Qureshi writes in a very clear, readable manner, but he also manages to convey a very large amount of information within the 300 odd pages of the book. He provides a vivid picture of what it was like growing up in a devout Muslim family, as well as a window into the Islamic culture and beliefs. He gave a clear introduction to the basics of Islam, as well as answering many different questions of why Muslims do the things they do.

Not only that, but he tells the story of how he became a Christian in very intricate detail. His story begins with intense questioning of Christianity, leads to many doubts of Islam, and ends with finding truth in the person of Jesus Christ. He shared the arguments his Christian friend gave for Christianity and how he responded to them as a Muslim, and he gave the reasons why he began to doubt Islam, and the reasons why Christianity began to attract him. His testimony of how he eventually became a Christian is absolutely fascinating (hint: it involves some really amazing dreams!). I came away from this book really encouraged for two reasons:

  1. – This book really bolstered my own faith as I read how Christianity can stand up against intense questioning and is able to convince even the most antagonistic to it. God is at work, and it was so wonderful to read the testimony of how he transformed Mr Qureshi’s life!
  2.  I found that I had a much more rounded picture of Islam and had learnt ways to relate to Muslims more. In this day and age it’s very easy to vilify Muslims without learning the facts about them and what they believe, and I found it really helpful to learn about Islam from someone who had been there himself.

I would really recommend that everyone read this book. For people that know Muslims personally, for people who want to learn more about how Islam relates to Christianity, for people that are searching for the truth themselves, this book is a powerful and educative tool. I’m giving it a very solid 10 out of 10*, and recommending it for anyone and everyone above the ages of about 14. If you go out and buy any book after reading my reviews, this is the one for you to buy!

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There we are – my top 5 books I read in October! Let’s chat! Have you read any of these books? What were some of your favourite books you read last month?

 

Top 2 Books – September 2017

Hi everyone! Today I’m back with a slightly-shorter-than-normal review of my favourite books of the month. I read quite a few books in September, but alas my time is running out today, so 2 is all I have time for right now. 😀

 

Yancey-Bible-Jesus-Read

 

This was (again) a book I read as part of my school work this year, and (again :D) I was very pleasantly surprised by it! Yancy takes the reader on a journey as he delves into the Old Testament – shedding light on the Bible that Jesus would’ve read. The Old Testament is the prequel to the story of Jesus, but so often Christians are put off by the sheer size of it, the dense prophecies, or the depressing stories. But Yancy takes the Old Testament and shines a light on the beauty hidden behind those initial barriers. Writing a chapter each on Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Deuteronomy, and the Prophets, he gives clarity to the story that each book holds.

The thing that I found so captivating about this book is the way that he points out how each book is part of a greater narrative, and how each story is woven into The Story. The Story of the world, and how Jesus has come to save it. This book wasn’t exactly light reading, as it had a lot of historical/theological information in it to process. But Yancy writes in a very clear, compelling and captivating way, and I didn’t find this book hard to get through at all. If you struggle with the Old Testament at all, or are just wanting to learn more about the backgrounds and meanings behind the OT books, then this book is for you! I’m giving this book a solid 9* out of 10, and recommending it for ages 14+.

 

beowulf

Three massive battles with monsters and dragons featuring feats of intense bravery and fortitude – it doesn’t get much better than that. 😀 Throw in that this book was written over 1000 years ago, but is still readable and interesting to a modern reader, and bam, you’ve got a rather interesting book on your hands. Now lest you think that I am an incredible nerd for picking up a 1000+ year old book and actually liking it, let me shed some light onto the situation. You see, I’m only a slight nerd, because I choose to take classes like ‘Middle Ages Literature’ and then actually enjoy the books that I read in that class. 😀 So yes, this is, yet again, another school book. But I enjoyed it so much I figured I’d spotlight it on here. After all, it’s not every month I read an ancient, poetical story full of monsters and daring deeds. 😛

Anyways, where was I…? Oh yes, talking about Beowulf. So yeah, it’s basically what I’ve already said – a really long poem about a guy that fights a monster, then the monster’s mother, and then a dragon. Which in itself doesn’t exactly sound thrilling. But it is! The writing is incredibly beautiful. Seriously, I wish that I could write some of the things that the author of Beowulf comes out with. The history behind it is fascinating. I’ve been learning about it in my class, and finding out so much history behind the story! Learning the history behind all the rituals detailed in the poem, the Scandinavian culture within which it was composed, and how it survived seemingly a million and two fires and finally got translated into English – it’s all so fascinating! Of course, I am a history nerd, so that might bias me a little bit. 😀

And yes, because it was written such a long time ago, the language is hard to follow. The story itself is interesting, but the rabbit trails and side-notes that the author takes are often confusing and slightly tedious. But apart from that, it’s a masterpiece! I’d really recommend going out of your comfort zone, and if not reading this book, then reading something else that you normally wouldn’t read. Because, as I found out when I read Beowulf, sometimes it’s good to stretch yourself out of your normal habits, because you can learn and grow and find gems of literature along the way! I’ve giving Beowulf 8* out of 10, and recommending it to anyone that is brave enough to take the challenge. (but probably 13+ :D)

That’s all for this week! Please feel free to share some of your favourite books you read in the past month. I’d love to hear from you! 🙂