Thursday, October 1, 2015

September 2015 Bookshelf

Possible: A Blueprint for Changing How We Change the World by Stephan Bauman
182 pages

Thank you to Stephan Bauman and Multnomah Publishers for this free copy. In exchange I am providing an honest review.

Yes, it is possible to change the world but not until we change our ideas of how to change the world. Bauman takes apart the traditionally held ideas about world change and proposes a *new* way of sparking change. It's not really a new way but it is to us in this culture and in this time.
We have to go beyond doing something to feel good about ourselves to doing something for good. If what we do is about feeling good then we should stop, we affect no change. Change is about relationships, giving and receiving, empowering from within the community not outside resources, change is about hero making.  Years ago I took my first trip overseas to East Africa, Kenya to be specific. It changed my heart, my life, my worldview. Since then I have sought to understand assisting change from within the community instead of change from a distance. The arrogance and patronization bothered me, embarrassed me, and challenged me. Much of what Bauman says in this title supports my desires to help people I love change their worlds. We are most effective when we come together in unity not in hierarchy. I think I highlighted approximately half of the book which not only lays out the possibility for change on a global level but I found to be helpful on a local level in the places where we don't often think about biblical change, such as the workplace or homes or community groups within our traditional churches. He shared good and relevant thoughts about people with power that goes beyond the topic at hand and filters into the places I just mentioned. He outlines a method called appreciative inquiry that I thought was helpful for all avenues of life and for many different scenarios of troubleshooting.
Bauman's thoughts on world changing can indeed be life changing if allowed.  #possible




The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward
Kindle Edition - 288 pages

Thank you to NetGalley and Ballentine Books for this free reader's copy. In exchange I am providing an honest review. 

Alice and Carla will be forever connected although they have never met. Their stories collide under the same sky although many many many miles apart. Carla lives in Honduras, Alice lives in Austin, Texas and they both are searching for family.
Written in engaging prose and with warm storytelling Ward invites the reader to travel through a season of life with both Carla and Alice. We read their stories in alternating chapters. Ward has a knack it seems with character development as in no time at all you feel as if you know Carla and Alice and the others that live life with them.
Carla is forced to grow up at an age when all she should have to think about it is her next book report and what kind of dessert she might get after dinner. Her mother is in the United States and her twin brothers are under her care along with her Grandmother.  When harsh life in Honduras forces Carla to make the courageous decision to flee her home country for America she only has one brother to worry about.  Not knowing if she can trust anyone who offers her help to get to the border she decides she must risk it anyway and so we travel miles of shimmering hot terrain with Carla and her brother as they fight their way toward a better life in America.
Alica and Jake own a BBQ in Austin and have a lovely marriage.  Really they do but it is not one without tears.  We meet them the night after they became parents for just a few brief hours. The birth mother changed her mind and Alice and Jake are left, again, childless and aching for a chance to raise a baby together. They grieve together and yet separately and begin to stumble in little places. But they love each other so Ward shows us what it takes to make a marriage work day after day and sometimes heartache after heartache.  While Carla is traveling toward the United States, Alice is traveling toward acceptance of her life with or without a baby. The two stories meet even though Alice and Carla never do but who knows what the end of the story will actually be?
I loved Ward's use of Carla's voice in this title.  I love that she crafted it into a college essay for admission. It made it so much more meaningful and heartfelt than it already was. I also loved that she crafted Carla's travels to the United States based on research she did with migrants, immigrants, etc so while Carla is fiction, her story is not. And I appreciated the awareness Ward brings to the issue of illegal immigration into America. I haven't read any of Amanda Ward's books before this one but now the rest of her publications are on my "to-read" list, I really loved her style.





Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby
Kindle Edition - 437 pages

Thank you to NetGalley and Beulah Press for this free reader's copy. In exchange I am providing an honest review. 

This book took me entirely too long to read. I blame life not the storyline or the writing. Both were decent enough.
Rose and her sister Lily are helping their Dad clean out their Mum's possessions when they run across diaries they didn't know existed. And suddenly Rose has an explanation for why she never felt like she and her Mum got on. Her Mum isn't her Mum, at least not in the blood relation way. Rose feels like her whole life has been a lie and she dives into researching who her actual blood relation might be. But as she finds out more of the truth she also uncovers secrets that have been kept for years. Does she really want to know the truth? Will it actually bring her the peace of mind she thinks it will? Who is her family and what actually makes a family?
This is the first book in a series in which Rose Haldane becomes an identity detective. Presumably she is known for this in other titles because of this title and discovering her own identity. Identity gives us a sense of belonging and/or stability in this world.
Sandra Danby writes well enough but it did feel a bit tedious to me in spots. It seems there could have been moments that were tightened up a bit and the story could have been told in a lesser number of pages.  Even with life being busy a book will be quickly read by me if it moves along at a fast enough pace. I'm not opposed to reading book 2 but I'm also not anxiously awaiting it.





Second Degree by A. Turk
Kindle Edition - 460 pages

Thank you to NetGalley and A. Turk LLC. for this free reader's copy. In exchange I am providing an honest review. 

A.Turk’s second book has, no exaggeration, 54 main characters. FIFTY-FOUR. I know this because they are listed in the front of the book. That list gave me a sense of foreboding. I got three chapters in and knew it was a book I couldn’t read or give time to. I gave book 1 two stars but was willing to give book 2 a chance. But I couldn’t.  FIFTY-FOUR main characters, which means there are more characters – just not main ones. A. Turk self publishes and I’m pretty sure the reason why is because publishing houses have rejected his manuscripts based on too many main characters, among other reasons.
He needs an editor that isn’t his friend, someone tough and willing to challenge him. FIFTY-FOUR main characters. And then he needs to listen to that editor and make some necessary cuts/edits.



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