Category Archives: Biography

She Spoke

Title: She Spoke
Authors: Kathy Macmillan and Manuela Bernardi
Illustrator: Kathrin Honesta
Publisher: Familius LLC
ISBN: 978-1-64170-131-0

“No matter who you are, you have the right to speak up. The world needs your voice,” the introduction states in Kathy Macmillan and Manuela’s children’s book, She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World.

~ What ~
This thirty-two-page hardbound with a built-in battery-operated recorded speaker targets children ages six to eight years old who are interested in women who made a difference in history by speaking out. With no scary scenes, the colorful portraits and illustrations show women who are noted for taking a stand. Due to complicated wording, the book would be best read out loud to beginner readers.

This oversized-book covers fourteen mostly-American women who have made a difference. With their portraits on the left side of the pages with quick facts, the right sides include biographical paragraphs, readable quotes, and sidebars promoting how the reader can speak up. The far right side has thumbnail pictures of each woman that, when pressed, vocalize their quotes. Women included are Mary Mcleod Bethune, Dolores Huerta, Maya Angelou, Jane Goodall, Shirley Chisholm, Suzan Shown Harjo, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Leyman Gbowee, Temple Grandin, Sonia Sotomayor, Tammy Duckworth, Joanne Liu, Amy Wambach, and Malala Yousafzai.

~ Why ~
Showing young girls can be empowered by learning how other women spoke out or made a statement is important in raising our children. I appreciated the eclectic group of women covered from doctors, lawyers, and politicians to educators, activists, writers, and athletes.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like books about history and women may not like this read. Some may not be aware of some of the women or feel the selection does not have other more-popular females who are listed at the back of the book such as Susan B. Anthony, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, or Serena Williams.

~ Wish ~
The biggest issue I had with the book is the voice recording bar as it cannot be turned on or off or changed in volume. Due to the raised plastic section, its placement makes it easy to accidentally engage the speaker’s loud voice.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a children’s book that promotes speaking up to be heard, this one that contains not-so-well-known individuals with their audible quotes may be helpful for a book report.

Thanks to Familius and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2F6GSep

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Biography, Book Review, Childrens

Breakthrough

Title: Breakthrough
Author: Joyce Smith with Ginger Kolbaba
Publisher: FaithWords
ISBN: 978-1-5460-1060-9

“I believe in a God who can do miracles! Holy Spirit, I need You right now to come and breathe life back into my son!” Joyce Smith declares in Breakthrough: The Miraculous True Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s Resurrection, a book she wrote with Ginger Kolbaba.

~ What ~
Made into a motion picture, this two-hundred-and-fifty-six-page paperback targets those who like true stories that promote God and the power of prayer. Containing the word hell once, its topics of a life-threatening accident, medical procedures, dying, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. Using the English Standard and New International Versions of the Holy Bible, the beginning includes a foreword by the main character while the ending has an afterword by an involved pastor, the author’s notes, Scripture references, a doctor’s letter, acknowledgments, and the authors’ biographies.

In this quick read, mother Joyce Smith writes mainly from her personal experience when her son, John, falls through the ice in a Missouri lake and his heart stops for an hour. While in the emergency room, she openly and boldly prays to God. When her son’s heartbeat reappears, she is convinced her son will be made whole and complete through prayer. After spending sixteen days in the hospital, John is miraculously healed.

~ Why ~
A firm believer in the power of praying to the Almighty God, I enjoyed reading how focusing on God can get one through tough times and tragedy. I appreciated how the authors conveyed that our Lord is the one always in control and knows the outcome and reasons why we face challenges in this life. Showing the dedication and faith as well as the faults and inadequacies of Joyce and others verified God’s endless mercies and grace.

~ Why Not ~
If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you may not like this book, yet it may also be one that brings peace and comfort if struggling through a tragedy. Others may not appreciate the plethora of medical terms, diagnoses, and procedures. Some may find the writer to be controlling, stubborn, opinionated, and determined, often showing righteous indignation when dealing with medical staff.

~ Wish ~
At times, I did not like Joyce and her pushiness, but perhaps it is because she reminded me of myself. I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence. I found the font too small.

~ Want ~
If you like reading about a mother and her husband, pastor, and Christian community who arduously call upon God to save and completely heal a fourteen-year-old boy using the power of prayer, this will show how miracles happen, even in the medical field because it is God’s will. It is the type of read that forces you to seriously consider your own prayer life.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group for this book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased on Amazon or Barnes & Noble:

1 Comment

Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Biography, Christian

Amazing Gracie

Amazing GracieTitle: Amazing Gracie
Author: Michael Haibach
Publisher: MJH Publishing
ISBN: 978-1981923083

“You want to forget your past. Then create a new one and move on,” Grace is told in Michael Haibach’s book, Amazing Gracie.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-seventy-four-page paperback targets those who like a biography about a woman that held a secret about her past for almost a hundred years. With minor profanity, topics of poverty, physical abuse, prostitution, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

In this true story written by her grandson, Grace Dodson Haibach may have appeared as a well-bred, well-mannered, and societal lady who was born in 1893, but she never told a soul about her horrible upbringing until she was in her nineties. After being an orphan in an asylum, placed into five foster homes, and eventually ran away, the child learned at a young age to keep to herself, hide her inner feelings, and never speak or look up. With the help of a wealthy friend, she buried her heartbreaking past and redesigned herself with poise, maturity, and sophistication.

~ Why ~
While most of us grow up having to deal with our mistakes or family tragedies, we may not have the fortitude and wherewithal to survive being put in an orphanage like Grace and some her of siblings were although their parents were still alive. The protagonist’s constant drive to change for the better and not become bitter or pitied is a tribute to her determination. I like that the story of her life did finally come out and was shared by one of her grandchildren.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like tales of the abuse of children and poverty faced physically and emotionally in an orphanage in the early 1900s may avoid this read. Others may not like that the main character consistently lied and used a false identity to alter her past, avoiding any connection to it based on thinking others would think less of her. Some may be disappointed that Grace did not keep in contact with her siblings and relatives throughout the many decades.

~ Wish ~
While I enjoyed the compilation of Grace’s rise from feeling she was a nobody to a well-respected and loved wife, mother, and grandmother, I feel sorry that she never came completely clean about her past, abandoning her siblings and not fully reconciling with them or their children.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a biography of one woman’s secretive life of overcoming a sad and dismal childhood to feeling important, this is a good read, especially if you are related to the woman.

Thanks to Marich Media and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/amazing-gracie-michael-haibach/1128211524

Leave a comment

Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Biography, Book Review

Courageous People Who Changed the World

Little Heroes: Courageous People Who Changed the WorldTitle: Courageous People Who Changed the World
Author: Heidi Poelman
Illustrator: Kyle Kershner
Publisher: Familius LLC
ISBN: 978-1-945547-75-1

“These heroes stood up to make a difference. What kind of hero will you be?” the back jacket states in Heidi Poelman’s children’s book, Courageous People Who Changed the World.

~ What ~
The first in the Little Heroes series, this sixteen-page board book with rounded corners targets children ages three to five years old who are interested in people who made a difference in history. With no scary scenes, the colorful illustrations by Kershner cover all pages. Due to complicated wording, the book would be best read out loud to beginner readers.

This short compilation covers important people who caused positive changes in societal norms in our world. Mentioning heroes such as Wiliam Wilberforce, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Junior, and Malala Yousafzai, each open page has their name in bold, a short quote, and a few sentences about what they accomplished in helping mankind deal with equality.

~ Why ~
I love when a children’s book is engaging yet educational, and this one keeps a child’s attention while explaining how a few individuals’ courage and fortitude changed history for the good. I like that the focus of the book deals with us being created equal regarding the color of our skin, slavery, voting, making a stand, and doing what is right.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like books about history and different ethnic groups may not be interested in this book. Others may find the two- and three- syllable words too hard for new readers.

~ Wish ~
I wish more children’s books like this were available for young ones to learn about history and the heroes who have made our world a better place.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a children’s educational series that promotes making a courageous stand while changing the world for the better, this is a wonderful start that encourages readers to want to be heroes too.

Thanks to Familius and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/little-heroes-heidi-poelman/1126988082

1 Comment

Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Biography, Childrens

The Audacious Molly Bruno

The Audacious Molly Bruno: Amazing Stories from the Life of a Powerful Woman of PrayerTitle: The Audacious Molly Bruno
Author: Marie Armenia
Publisher: FaithWords
ISBN: 978-1-5460-3320-2

“Don’t be afraid to ask God to do whatever you want Him to do as long as you are willing to accept whatever He decides to do,” Molly’s Life Lesson #5 states in Marie Armenia’s book, The Audacious Molly Bruno.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-seventy-two page paperback targets women who want to improve their relationship with God as it pertains to a ninety-two-year-old prayer warrior. After a foreword by Stephen Kendrick and introduction, the book contains thirteen chapters, two appendixes, acknowledgments, author’s biography, and notes. Due to topics of illness and death, it may not be appropriate for immature readers. Using the New International Version of the Holy Bible, the NLT, KJV, and TLB are also referenced.

In this short spiritual biography, daughter of Molly Bruno, a pastor’s wife with a fervent heart toward God, provides over eighty of her mom’s life lessons of showing Jesus’s love. From the writer’s childhood upbringing to being at her mother’s bedside when she passed into glory with God, the story has recipes for being real, prayer, witnessing, understanding of the Bible, and laughter as well as how to be a godly daughter, wife, and mom and more as seen through the author’s mother. Every chapter contains gray highlighted lessons the daughter learned from her courageous and outspoken mom.

~ Why ~
New Yorker Molly was a feisty, opinionated five-foot-two-inch Italian woman who loved the Lord and wanted to share His love with those she met – anyone, anywhere, anytime. I appreciate the detailed observations and perspectives Molly’s daughter shares about this beloved pastor’s wife and her zeal for God as she promotes the power of prayer. Be it praying for protection from a supposed sniper, eliminating hot flashes, or having unexpected bills paid, Molly truly focused on putting God first in her life, and her daughter adored her for being the person the Almighty wanted her to be.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Christ or who have no interest in improving their prayer life will pass on this book. Others may find the writer tends to put her mother on a pedestal at times. Some may feel uncomfortable reading the section on her parent’s dreams and visions.

~ Wish ~
While I enjoyed and agreed with the majority of the book promoting prayer, the second chapter concerned me when Marie writes, “There is something familiar to me when I read the prayer of Jesus in the Gospel of John, chapter 17. It’s because His prayer reminds me of my mother’s prayers. The way Jesus speaks to His Father makes it obvious they know and love one another. Sounds like my mother.” It seems awkward to say Jesus’s prayers are like her mom’s – shouldn’t it be the other way around – her prayers are like Jesus’s?

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a biography of one woman’s prayer life told through the viewpoint of her daughter, this may be a good read. As someone who is ardently trying to pray more, I must remember that God is in control and His will “will be done in earth as it is in heaven” Matthew 6:10 KJV.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-audacious-molly-bruno-marie-armenia/1127730469

Leave a comment

Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Biography, Book Review, Christian

Surviving ‘Uncle Hitler’

Surviving 'Uncle Hitler': Journey of a German GirlTitle: Surviving ‘Uncle Hitler’
Author: Dorothea Wollin Null
Publisher: First Steps Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-937999-49-2

“Because we never knew what the next day would bring, my fears became an integral part of my life,” Dorothea Wollin Null confesses in her autobiography, Surviving ‘Uncle Hitler’: Journey of a German Girl.

~ What ~
This one-hundred-and-twenty-one-page paperback is an autobiography of the life of a young girl who was born and raised in Germany when Hitler rose to power. With no profanity, a few adult situations and topics on war may not be appropriate for immature readers. The beginning includes acknowledgments and a foreword and brief biography on Adolf Hitler with the ending having an afterword and suggested reading.

Dorothea Wollin Null was born in 1936, and she lived to tell about being homeless, starving, and a Fremma in her own country as she and her family moved to escape Allied bombings, live in refugee camps, and go to school as an outsider. The now-eighty-plus-year-old woman conveys her childhood was racked with fear, the inability to speak, loss of memory, and state of shock while living with a severe attachment disorder. As she explains her birth to being an eighteen-year-old who comes to America, she expresses the lessons learned as a child, parental observances, and how God’s constant provision kept her and her family safe.

~ Wish ~
Because the book only covers the first twenty years of the writer’s life, it is abrupt and leaves the reader wondering what happened to her the next sixty-plus years as it is so vague. I struggled with the written sectional format that lacked depth and emotion. Had she concentrated on several highlighted accounts of her life and went into greater detail, it would be a more engaging read.

~ Want ~
This book that focuses on a young German girl’s perspective of living in Germany during World War II to fleeing to America is a quick read that perhaps those who know her or have heard her speak would be more inclined to enjoy.

Thanks to BookCrash, First Steps Publishing, and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/surviving-uncle-hitler-journey-of-a-german-girl-dorothea-wollin-null/1124127452?ean=9781937333492

Leave a comment

Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Biography, Book Review, Christian, Non-Fiction

Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart

Title: Gobi: A Little Dog with A Big Heart
Author: Dion Leonard
Illustrator:  Lisa Manuzak
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7180-7529-3

Maybe you will be my forever friend, Gobi thought as she nuzzled Dion and drifted off to sleep,” Dion Leonard writes in his children’s book Gobi: A Little Dog with A Big Heart.

~ What ~
This thirty-two-page oversized hardbound targets four to eight-year-olds who enjoy stories about a dog finding a friend. With no scary scenes, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers. The bright and bold illustrations grace both sides of the pages with an easy-to-read font.

Based on a true story, Gobi is a scrappy dog living in the desert. When he sees a group of runners, he follows them, hoping to make new friends. The dog befriends Dion, one of the runners in the race who is determined to focus on winning. When the man backtracks to get his faithful follower, the canine knows he has a forever friend.

~ Why ~
This is a charming tale about finding and keeping a friendship. I like how the dog seeks out the runner and sticks close to him, waiting for a sign of acceptance from the man. The drawings are descriptive and expressive.

~ Why Not ~
Some readers may not care for books about dogs. Beginner readers may struggle with some of the tw0- and three-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
Although the book does show the love between a man and his best friend, it does not show a young child the responsibility of having a pet dog.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a short, happy read about a dog who finds a lifetime friend, this is a keeper.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am evaluating by choice.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

Leave a comment

Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Animals / Pets, Biography, Childrens, Fiction

Esther: Finding Yourself in Times of Trouble

Esther: Finding Yourself in Times of Trouble (Drawn In Bible Study)Title: Esther: Finding Yourself in Times of Trouble
Series: Drawn In Bible Study
Author: Eugene H. Peterson
Publisher: NavPress
ISBN: 978-1-63146-787-5

~ What ~
Part of the Drawn In Bible Study series, this 112-page hardbound targets those who like a creative way to study the book of Esther in the Holy Bible. The story is divided into four sections that are twenty pages each and include black and white illustrations to color, questions, commentary, and author’s notes. The Message of the Holy Bible is quoted, and it ends with notes per chapter on how to lead a Bible study and advertisements.

The story of Esther is told within four chapters that explain her relationships with pagan King Xerxes, cousin Mordecai, evil Haman, and God. With drawings to color, questions with areas to write in answers, and a few highlighted author’s notes, the reader can spend time focusing on how this iconic woman saved many Jews from genocide through her faith in the Almighty.

~ Why ~
Many readers find a deep connection to God by reading His Word and doodling as they concentrate on what is being taught. With Esther being one of my favorite Bible characters, I enjoyed reading her story again and how she trusted God through her trials and tribulations. Including over twenty drawings that include scenes or wording, the story flows between the pages with a total of sixty-five questions spread throughout, ending with comments and prayers.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship may not be interested in this type of coloring Bible study book. Others may not care for coloring or doodling. The book does not lay flat so may be hard to color, and some pictures are on both sides of the paper, so felt tip pens may bleed through the pages.

~ Wish ~
Being a fan of the King James Version of the Bible, I do not care for The Message. I wish the illustrations were only on one side of the page so they could be removed and framed.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a Biblical devotion on Esther with coloring pages for someone creative, this will make an excellent choice.

Thanks to Tyndale Blog for this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

Grammarly was used to check for errors in this review.

2 Comments

Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Arts & Crafts, Biography, Christian

Counting Down the Beatles

Counting Down the Beatles: Their 100 Finest SongsTitle: Counting Down the Beatles
Author: Jim Beviglia
Publisher: Roman & Littlefield
ISBN: 978-1-4422-7154-8

“As always, these rankings are based solely on my opinions of the songs, not any chart success or cultural impact or anything like that,” Jim Beviglia writes in the introduction of his book, Counting Down the Beatles: Their 100 Finest Songs.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-eighteen-page hardbound covers one-hundred songs of the Beatles in an order chosen by the book’s author. After acknowledgments and an introduction, the counted down one-hundred-to-one songs are dissected and explained. The ending includes notes, bibliography, index, and author’s biography.

In this countdown based on the author’s opinions, approximately two pages are written on each song that has the song, album, and year produced in its title. Usually, the paragraphs cover why the artists wrote it, what the song is about, what it sounded like, comparisons to other songs including by other artists, or conflicts about it.

~ Why ~
Without giving the author’s number one favorite Beatle song and not “Because” “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party,” I liked flipping through to my favorites and reading tidbits about the music or behind-the-scenes interactions. I found interesting that McCartney’s “Michelle” was originally a French tune he had played before he became a Beatle, Lennon was paying tribute to Dylan in “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” Harrison took a line from James Taylor in “Something,” and “Rain” had Starr’s favorite bit of drumming in it.

~ Why Not ~
Some may not agree with the countdown list of the author, wishing their favorite song or songs were in the top ten. Others may feel there were too many assumptions on the writer’s part of how or why a song may have been written or arranged.

~ Who ~
A writer for American Songwriter magazine, Beviglia has been reviewing and writing about music for ten years, including books of several musician’s countdowns. He lives in Pennsylvania with his family.

~ Wish ~
Being more of a visual person, my husband wished there were pictures of the albums or band included in the book. I found too many of the listings had references to other songs by the band or other artists.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book that is a collection of the why, what, and how of a myriad of Beatles songs, this may be your “Ticket to Ride.”

Thanks to Bookpleasures and the author for this complimentary book that I am freely evaluating.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

Leave a comment

Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Biography, Book Review, Non-Fiction

Reflections with God while Waiting to Be Healed

Reflections with God While Waiting to be HealedTitle: Reflections with God While Waiting to Be Healed
Author: Linda Seger
Publisher: Clovercroft Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-942557-70-8

“Although I want God to be the One Who Heals, I have been most amazed at experiencing God as the One who strengthens me, upholds me, and makes it possible for me to endure,” Linda Seger writes in her book, Reflections with God While Waiting to Be Healed.

~ What ~
At one-hundred-and-forty-four pages, this small paperback targets those who are sick, have a disease, or suffer from some physical or emotional illness and want to concentrate on God while dealing with it. After endorsements, dedication, acknowledgments, forward by Dr. Michaele M. Sparaco-Posey, and table of contents, there is an introduction followed by thirty-five short chapters and ending with an afterword by Dr. Gail Henry. The New International Version of the Holy Bible is referenced.

With the author having cervical dystonia and breast cancer, she has journeyed through many different avenues to have a deeper relationship with God. Her book is divided into four sections that cover the questions, concerns, and struggles of an illness or disease, the faith and dialogue of trying to stand within Biblical Job’s circle, how to surrender but also not give up, and having hope in spite of still having the problem.  In the end, she finds not only the value of the in-between of the illness, but also how God’s will and timing allow her to light the way for others who are suffering.

~ Why ~
Although I currently have no debilitating disease, I have had my share of cancer and pain. Seger explains how we are instruments of God when we are sick or ill who have to surrender, fight the Shadow, endure, and learn that not everything has been taken away. I like that the book can be viewed from those healthy or sick, as we yearn to become more intimate with God.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not believe in God and His loving grace and amazing power may not be interested in this book. Some Christians may disagree with her suggestion of asking for wisdom from Buddha, Mohammed, or a saint. Others may find some of the author’s chosen paths of therapies may be unusual such as the rubbing on of “Holy dirt” from New Mexico, a thirty-day Novena, and wearing a coat hanger on her head.

~ Who ~
A prior film industry script writer, Seger has written fourteen books and given seminars and lectures around the world. A Christian Quaker, she lives in Colorado with her husband and cat.

~ Wish ~
While the writer blends many religious concepts and spiritual therapies for healing, including more Bible verses to meditate on may be helpful for some readers who want to focus on God more and not themselves. I wish there were consistency in capitalizing all pronouns of God for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you or a loved one is suffering from pain or illness and want to cling tighter to God while realizing His timing and ways are always perfect, Seger’s book may help you on your path to acceptance, endurance, and healing if it is God’s will.

Thanks to the Book Club Network and author for this complimentary book that I am freely evaluating.

This review will be posted on the Book Club Network, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

Leave a comment

Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Biography, Book Review, Christian, Health