Monthly Archives: July 2014

Review of “Down South”

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I believe it was the cover of Donald Link’s Down South that first caught my eye as I chose which book to review next. As someone born and raised in the Deep South, I have a great love for seafood, and if I had any doubts, the tagline sealed the deal: “Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything”. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

From the very first page of Down South, I was in love.

Filled with unique twists on Southern staples such as Blue Crab Beignets, Tamales, Greens, and Mississippi Mud Pie, Down South will make your mouth water. But Down South is more than a recipe book. It is a window into Southern culture at its finest, complete with stunning images and hilarious vignettes.

Down South is ideal for those who love the beauty and delectability of Southern culture and cuisine, whether they still reside in Dixie or not, and would be a splendid introduction for those who are curious about Southern food ways.

I enjoyed cooking several of the recipes in Down South, and they turned out wonderful! The Southern Bruschetta was a family favorite, and the horseradish sauce was so delicious, I will never buy it pre made again.

While there was a sprinkling of foul language, Down South expertly captured what it is to live in, and love, the South. I would give Down South a “B+”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s  16 CFR,  part 255.

 

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Review of “God’s Story”

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I love history, and am always excited to learn more about church history, so I was estatic when I had the opportunity to review Brian Cosby’s new book on church history, God’s Story.

God’s Story, while a small book, should not be overlooked! Easy to read, and written in layman’s terms, God’s Story condenses more than two thousand years of church history into a manageable 138 pages.

Replete with Scripture references, Cosby discusses why we should study church history, and while written with a reformed, teenage audience in mind, God’s Story is a book that Christians of all ages and backgrounds will find useful.

God’s Story allows readers a brief, yet broad, insight into our religious past as Christians, covering everything from the disciples, Apostolic Fathers, and Church Fathers to creeds, confessions, and catechisms, from the Crusades, the Reformation, and cults to fundamentalism, evangelicalism, and evolution!

God’s Story is an excellent overview of the history of Christianity, complete with discussion questions following each chapter, making it ideal for family or group discussion.  I would highly recommend God’s Story to Christians everywhere, particularly if they are interested in knowing more about the history behind their faith! I would give God’s Story an “A”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Cross Focused Reviews Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .

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Review of “Girl at the End of the World”

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Girl at the End of the World is the memoir of popular blogger, Elizabeth Esther, in which she shares the story of her life in a fundamentalist cult her grandfather started in the 1970s. Raw, yet redemptive, Girl at the End of the World is a powerful testimony to the dangers of fundamentalism and the beauty of God’s Grace.

Written as a thematic memoir, Girl at the End of the World does not progress chronologically, but rather links together stories from Elizabeth Esther’s past in a way that allows the reader to understand more fully her story.

In Girl at the End of the World, we are given an inside view of a homegrown cult in which abuse was covered, privacy was unknown, legalism ran rampant, women were belittled, and your destiny was decided for you. But it also tells the story of one girl who was brave enough to question the rules, stand up to oppressive authority, and escape to a life of freedom and true faith.

Girl at the End of the World is a sobering account that will make you laugh and cry. Painfully honest, it is raw and tender, questioning yet reverent. An easy read, Girl at the End of the World is a beautiful and poignant memoir, much in the vein of Adie Zierman’s When We Were On Fire.

As Elizabeth Esther describes her slow and painful journey towards renewed faith, she shares that she is sick of Scripture interpretation and the battling voices in her head. While this is understandable considering her background of twisted perspectives, we must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. While not inspired or infallible, George Whitefield, Samuel Rutherford, James Strong, and Jonathan Edwards are more than exhausting “freak-outs”, and we as Christians owe much to their writings, along with the works of other great men and women of the faith.

Readers should be aware that Girl at the End of the World is intended for mature readers, as abuse is discussed multiple times, and there is a light sprinkling of foul language, including an “f-bomb”.

Overall, I found Girl at the End of the World to be a beautiful and powerful story of one woman’s journey to faith and grace. I would give it a “B-“.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Waterbrook Multnomah Blogging for Books Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .

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Summer Reading

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Somehow, after Independence Day (for my American friends), I always have the sense that Summer is really upon us. Perhaps it’s just the realization that summertime heat is getting old, or perhaps it is the realization that school starts back in six weeks, but I always feel ready to kick off my shoes and curl up with a good, easy read. So as I go into the final leg of summer into September, you’ll notice I won’t be posting as regularly here at The Nerdy Bookworm. Why? Because I’m too busy reading a stack of novels that have been calling my name too long, and I have a short trip planned with my parents.

So as I embrace the less scheduled posting of July, August, and September, I thought I would share a few Summer Reading Lists that I have been perusing lately. Enjoy!

The Great Big Her.meneutics Summer Reading List {this is primarily for my lady readers, but there are some pretty good books on this list!}

Ten Books for Eager Readers {from Al Mohler, this is an impressive list of books that sound incredible!}

10 Books to Read this Summer {from The Gospel Coalition, you will find a great collection of books from memoirs and classics to history and theology}

What We’re Reading this Summer  {another great list from TGC, this list of recommended books from their editors contains a smattering of genres}

Summer Reading List  {a wonderful list a friend gave me last summer, this list is still great!}

Happy reading, friends!

 

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Rewards for Readers

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I am excited to share with you about a program for readers that I recently discovered– Tyndale Rewards! By reading books, answering surveys, and inviting friends, you can earn points towards FREE books! It is simple, yet rewarding!

If you are interested in finding out more about the program, click here. Not only do I get rewards when you sign up using this unique code, but so do you!

Happy reading, friends.

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Review of “Romancing the Dustman’s Daughter”

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A Cinderella-style romance set in the Regency era, Romancing the Dustman’s Daughter by Ruth J. Hartman, follows young Anne Balfour from her common position of being the dustman’s daughter to being a debutante from a wealthy London family.

When Anne Balfour’s dustman father returns home with yet another get-rich-quick scheme, she is annoyed. But when he forces her to join him in blackmail, with the hopes of getting her married to a wealthy man, she is frightened and fearful that they will be caught and imprisoned at Newgate.

As her father’s idea turns from scheme to reality, Anne struggles with her conscience, her position, and her new ‘family’. After she falls in love with her new cousin’s former fiancé, she begins to wonder if a new life really is possible. But would Augustus Sinclair still love her if he knew her past? Will her new family reveal her true identity? Will the dustman’s daughter be able to find a place in London society?

Between the physical abuse Anne suffers from her father and her biting sarcasm towards him, it is obvious that although they love one another, their relationship is strained. Featuring several Biblical themes, Romancing the Dustman’s Daughter reminds us that a physically beautiful woman does not always have a beautiful heart (Proverbs 11:22), that inward beauty is more valuable than physical beauty (1 Samuel 16:7, Proverbs 31:30, 1 Peter 3:3-4),  that true beauty is not affected by what you wear or have (John 7:24), and we see Biblical imagery in Anne’s rise from dustman’s daughter to London socialite (1 Samuel 2:8, Psalm 113:7).

However, we also see a strong emphasis on trusting our hearts, which is contrary to what Scripture commands (Proverbs 3:5, Jeremiah 17:9). We also see Anne and Augustus continually wondering what it would be like to kiss the other, but rather than taking such thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), they simply blush.

Overall, many of the themes in Romancing the Dustman’s Daughter are drawn from Scripture, yet it is not perfect. In addition to the obsession with kissing on the main characters’ part, there were several typographical errors throughout the book that I found to be annoying. I would give Romancing the Dustman’s Daughter a “C”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Eskape Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .

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