UNDER THE OVER PASS by Mike Yankoski

I was very excited to read this book and definitely was not disappointed. Two young men after hearing a convicting sermon decide to test their Christianity and see if they could be true Christians without all their physical blessings.
They choose to live homeless on the streets with no help and no contact with their families for 5 months. I have always had compassion toward the homeless but this book was a real eye opener. Even with Mr. Yankoski’s detailed account I still cannot imagine the horrors and suffering these people face in their daily existence, many for decades. I was shocked and irritated at the heartlessness and lack of love shown by professing Christians and worse yet churches!
Some have put themselves in this position by their choices as drug addicts and alcoholics, but they still deserve to see the love of Christ and the milk of human kindness. Some are there because of hardship, bad health and mental illness. No matter what their condition, they are still people and souls that hurt and have needs. They are somebody’s child, sibling or parent.
This book also brought to light how these people are hurting so badly and “fixing” them with hard preaching about “Fire & Brimstone” when they are “already suffering:” is not what they need. Yes they need to hear the gospel but they need to see His love in action and find hope.
This book has given me a great desire to reach out to the homeless and never forget they are someone Christ died for. It may not be pleasant or comfortable but it needs to be done. I appreciate the author’s cautions of not going alone and not giving them money. He suggests many ways to help. An excellent book!
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner

I couldn’t put this book down. More than once I stayed up well past 2 a.m. reading! It was well worth it though! Jane Lindsey is a modern day woman of the 21st century. She lives in Manhattan and runs an antique shop passed down from her aunt. Little does she realize that her passion for antiques would soon change her life. After 22 years of marriage she is shocked by her husband’s suggestion that they separate and reevaluate their relationship. Furthermore, he offers no explanation as to why.
At the same time, an English friend sends her a broken down old box supposedly filled with worthless relics of the past. To her surprise she finds an ancient ring in the binding of an ancient prayer book, with a Latin inscription inside the band and her name, “Jane”. She becomes obsessed to find out who this “Jane” was. Research yields information on a dressmaker from the 16th century employed by young Lady Jane Grey, 4th in line to be Queen of England.
The author weaves back and forth between the two women’s lives, their struggles and heart aches. Jane’s feeling of being trapped in her situation of her husband leaving, and Lady’s Jane’s at being bound to her position as royalty parallel each other.
While Jane is a fictional character, Lady Jane is a real person from the pages of history. I love historical fiction and learned so much about life for the working and royal class in the 16th century. It was as if I was there walking through the halls with Lady Jane. I got so involved that I felt the stress and emotional pain as Jane dealt with her failed marriage and with the pressure and disappoint Lady Jane faced.
There were spiritual lessons in this story I will not forget. One is about stepping out in faith and letting God guide me, no matter what the consequences or criticism of others. Toward the end of the book there are some thoughts on what marriage and love really is and what it truly takes to make a marriage work that I think every woman should read. I am copying it down and putting it in my journal it was so tremendous and life-changing. The ending was unusual and I felt satisfied and not left hanging. This is the BEST historical fiction I have read to date.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

GOD LOVES ME MORE THAN THAT by Dandi Daley Mackall; illustrated by David Hohn

As soon as I received this book I did immediate field testing on it – I read it to children and got their reaction. The first child was my 5 year old granddaughter. She was not only enthralled with the bright, creative illustrations, but she was also very intent in listening as I read it.
At one point in the reading she commented, “Awww that is sweet of God.” Upon finishing I asked her what the book taught her. Wide eyed she replied, “Wow, God loves me a WHOLE lot!” I also read the book in church nursery and had the same response from the children. Not only were they attentive but they also got the message of how much God loves them.
Children understand the concept of loving someone more than words can express. They stretch their little arms as far as they will go and say, “I love you this much!” This book works from that understanding. The illustrations were impressive and I very much liked the original examples they used to convey the message. I felt it is written in a way a child could understand the enormity of God’s love. It was fun to read and communicates a very important message to children.
In exchange for my honest review, I received a copy of the book from Waterbrook Press Publishers.

Mine Is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs

Since reading the 1st book, Here Burns My Candle, I have anxiously awaited the rest of the story in Mine Is the Night. I couldn’t put the book down and read it in a short time! The year is 1746 and Lady Marjory Kerr and her young widowed daughter-in-law, Elizabeth, have gone from the elite rich to the poorest of poor. They have lost everything after the death of Lady Kerr’s two sons, and their lives are in danger for supporting Prince Charles.
They are forced to return to Marjory’s hometown to depend upon the hospitality and compassion of her cousin Anne, whom Lady Kerr shunned while she was wealthy. Marjory is humbled in a great way, but takes her lessons well and sees the error of her past ways.
Elizabeth is able to help contribute to their finances with her skills as a dressmaker. After losing one job, she finds employment for a period of time with the rich and famous Admiral Lord Buchanan who has recently moved to his English estate near town. Romance blossoms for Elizabeth and Marjory in unexpected ways. After much hardship and suffering their lives take a turn for the better.
This novel was great in so many ways. One was a detailed look into the day to day life and customs of 16th century Scotland. Not only was it very interesting but I saw the difficulties they faced just to live. I truly felt I was there with them. It made me think of how blessed I am to live in the 21st century.
The story reminded me of the book of Ruth in the Bible when Ruth followed Naomi and cared for her after the death of her husband. I was very touched and inspired at the characters commitment and faithfulness to God and biblical principles no matter how difficult their circumstances. The Lord was their focus in all they did. They always look to Him for provision, comfort and help. It made me look at areas of my life I could apply this strong faith.
I rate this book in my tops reads. It is superbly written, very entertaining, and inspiring. I hope Ms. Higgs will be writing another sequel! Hint hint!
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Little Star byby Anthony DeStefano

I had mixed reactions to this book. Hands down the illustrations are absolutely beautiful with their combination of vibrant colors and excellent quality.
The story was cute and one children would enjoy. The beginning of the book told of the stars in the heaven all hoping they would be chosen to be the one to shine the brightest the night of Christ’s birth.
As the story of Jesus birth is told, the reaction of the stars is shared also. I liked that an emphasis was put on the fact the King of Kings was born in poor and humble surroundings and not in the wealth and splendor the world expected. The stars as did many during that time doubted His place as King.
However, I would not be able to recommend this book to read to children. I was hoping to share it with my grandchildren and children at church but will not be doing so.
Christ’s birth is such an important event; it concerns me that the book is not biblically accurate. The humble shepherds were the first to honor Him and they are not mentioned. Instead, the common mistake of placing the wise men at His birth is made part of the story. They came when the child was older and to his house, not the stable. The star of His birth did not burn out but continued to shine brightly a couple of more years, leading the Magi to Him. Neither did the star warm baby Jesus.
I was hoping the book would be a Christ-centered one, helping children to be reminded of the true reason for Christmas each time they saw the star atop their holiday tree. Most of all, it disturbs me to make fictional characters part of such a scared Bible story. Children take everything literally therefore I would not want to mislead them concerning God’s Word or the birth of His Son.
In exchange for my honest review, I received a copy of the book from Waterbrook Press Publishers.

This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano

This book covered all my qualifications for being a good children’s book. The illustrations were great. There was excellent art plus bright tasteful colors, nothing garish. I also like the fact that each illustration had a picture of a child or children. This makes it easier for children to relate to on the subject being covered.
I own and have read a lot of children’s books on prayer but this one was different. It really touched the heart of a child’s concerns and experiences they face. Each situation was written and worded in the way a child would express it. The book thoroughly covered a child’s struggle in wanting to do right but sometimes failing. I think it will be very comforting to children that read it and they will see God listens, cares, helps and loves them at all times. I read it to my most important and biggest critic; my 5 year old granddaughter and it got her star of approval! A wonderful book for home and church classes.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.