Beauty and the Beast in Africa

Africa. The continent that is home to deserts, savannas, and rain forests. It is also the largest “zoo” hosting a whole plethora of animals such as elephant, zebra, buffalo, camel, lion, and crocodile. Africa also has made the news for civil unrest and human trafficking. It is hard to imagine the violence of the civil wars and trafficking with the beauty of the nation and its animal life. In Blood Ransom, Lisa Harris tells the tale of human trafficking from the standpoint of two civilian aid workers and a young African boy who witnessed the kidnapping of his family.

The story is beautifully told showing the beauty of the country, the tribal boundaries and culture, and the violence and corruption that is rampant. Within the story of the trafficking, the reader is taken on a journey with Natalie Sinclair, Dr. Chad Talcott, and Joseph who travel from the scene of the violence to the Embassy. They are followed, shot at, and eventually one is taken hostage. The story unfolds showing the truth of the corruption and leaves the reader sitting on the edge of the seat. This book was hard to put down and had me cheering for the trio as well as the budding romance between Natalie and Chad.

One theme of this book that is interwoven is the journey of faith that all three of the characters are following during all of the violence, corruption, and fear. Each is at a different place in their journey of faith but all three learn that God does not forsake us. His protection and love is always there if we but turn to Him. This story is not a sweet fairy tale, but it is a sweet tale of God’s calling of His children and how He equips each of us, even when we may not fully understand, for our journey.

Forgiveness: The Amish Way

Forgiveness and grace. Two words that summon both trembling and joy from most of us. When forgiveness is difficult, we tend to tremble and list all of the reasons why we can’t forgive someone. On the other hand, grace brings both joy and confusion to our heart. We are so glad that grace has been offered to us by God, but then we can’t understand why He would continually grant us grace when we are so fallen. That is the cord of thought behind Cindy Woodsmall’s book The Harvest of Grace which tells the story of Sylvia (far from home with a secret and guilt that she hides), Aaron (the prodigal son returning home with a secret he must tell), Cara (haunted by a secret past that leaves her both angry and scared), and Grey (facing a secret from his previous marriage that could damage his upcoming marriage).

Cindy weaves a story that shows the power of forgiveness, love, and grace in the lives of these four individuals as well as the family and friends that share their lives. For each of them, and us, we carry the secrets and scars that make all feel inadequate before a God that loves unconditionally and offers forgiveness for seemingly insurmountable deeds.

I am quickly becoming a fan of Cindy’s books as she shows an in-depth knowledge of Old Order Amish communities and pairs that with characters that shadow friends and acquaintances in our lives. I began my journey with her by reading Plain Wisdom which was more comparative stories of both Miriam Flaud (co-author) and Cindy. This book has all of the same qualities and superb writing as the first one I read.

I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. The words of this review are mine and I was not coerced to write a positive review.

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Broken and Beautiful

Stained glass is colorful, broken glass that is crafted into spectacular designs. In many aspects we, God’s greatest creation, are pieces of a stained glass “window” on the world. Each piece a different color, shape, and part of various designs. Patsy Clairmont’s book Stained Glass Hearts is a humorous journey into “life from a broken perspective.” Patsy is a noted author and speaker from Women of Faith®. She has written and co-written many books as well as been one of the featured speakers on the Women of Faith® circuit across the United States. If you have ever been privileged to listen to her humorous talks, then you have come away with a new insight into the brokenness of all of us and yet you learn more about the great love that God has for each of us.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book which was set up into small chapters. Each chapter then utilized the arts to enable you to apply what you read. She gives you websites to visit for visual acuity and expansion of your reading, musical suggestions, and Scriptural references. This book enables you to laugh at yourself, spend precious moments with God, and journal your thoughts and possible applications. Throughout the book are quotes from various poets, authors, and theologians. One of my favorites is “Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them, and their value will never be known. Improve them, and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life” by Ralph Waldo Emerson (p. 187).

This small book is packed with all the wit, charm, and wisdom that is classic Patsy Clairmont. I received this book free for review from I have not been coerced into a positive review and the words are of my own volition and heart.

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I review for BookSneeze®