Book Review: Out of Dust - Story of an Unlikely Missionary by Avis Goodhart

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Great quote:  "When I look back on my childhood, I remember the good. I love to tell people 'Don't waste your pain.' God hasn't wasted a single bit of mine. Everywhere I go, I meet people who have suffered some of the same hard things that I did. They trust me because they know I understand. That opens the door for me to share the same good news that helped bring me out of the dust." (Page 38)

Book summary:  Avis Goodhart explains how tragedies and challenges in her life have prepared her for a life as a missionary in Central and South America.

My thoughts:  Avis Goodhart is a woman who has seen a lot of pain of suffering, both in her own past and in the lives of others. Even so, she is a missionary that is wholly focused on bringing others to Jesus and helping those as God would have her do.

Book Review: In Her Kitchen by Gabriele Galimberti

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Great quote:  "If the wild boar comes from your own field, it just adds to the joy of the recipe. Your hatred for the animal that has destroyed your field only amplifies the bliss in eating its meat! It is essential to decorate your table with flowers, and better if they come from your field or backyard, just like the wild boar." (Page 90)

Book summary: "In a gorgeous keepsake volume based on the slideshow that captured the world’s attention, Gabriele Galimberti’s beautiful portraits of grandmothers from all over the world with their signature dishes stunningly illustrates the international language of food and family." (Random House)

My thoughts:  Part travelogue, with a cookbook twist and a photographer's eye for detail, In Her Kitchen by Gabriele Galimberti is a fabulous book that almost defies definition.  

Book Review: Letters and Life by Bret Lott

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Great quote:  "At some point in the future, what has not happened will be in the past." (A chapter title from Letters & Life)

Book summary:  Acclaimed author (and an Oprah book club pick) muses on life as a Christian and a writer for a larger audience.

My thoughts: I'm not a follower of Oprah Book Club picks, so I wasn't familiar with Bret Lott. His most famous fictional work is Jewel, which was also made into a movie. 

Letters & Life by Bret Lott is, apparently, vastly divergent from Lott's fictional works. In this book, Lott reflects on his life's vocation as a writer and the responsibilities of his profession and his faith.



Book Review: Heads Up Philosophy by DK Publishing

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Great quote:  "We often say that we know something, when in fact we are simply accepting somebody else's opinion or a conventional explanation. For philosophers, it is not enough just to accept that something is true. They need to have a good reason for believing it, backed up by a convincing argument." (Page 14)

Book summary:  An introduction to philosophy geared towards high school aged kids.

My thoughts:  Heads Up Philosophy from DK Publishing is a wonderful introduction to the relatively complex topic of philosophy. This book is not intended to be a college text book of any sort. It is quite simply an introduction to many schools of thoughts, complete with biographies of many of history's great thinkers.

Book Focus: Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan

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Prequel to Mill River Redemption by Darcie Chan.

Book summary:  "The sensational New York Times bestseller The Mill River Recluse reminds us that friendship, family, and love can come from the most unexpected places. Perfect for fans of Maeve Binchy."

"From the outside, Mill River looks like any sleepy little Vermont town where everyone knows everyone and people never need to lock their doors. There are newcomers for whom this appeals, from police officer Kyle Hansen and his daughter Rowen, who are starting over after heartache, to Claudia Simon, the schoolteacher who is determined to reinvent herself. "
 
"But on closer inspection, there are those in Mill River—including a stealthy arsonist, a covetous nurse, and a pilfering priest—who have things they wish to hide. None more than the widow Mary McAllister, who for the past sixty years has secluded herself in her marble mansion overlooking the town. Most of the residents have never even seen the peculiar woman. Only the priest, Father O’Brien, knows the deep secrets that keep Mary isolated—and that, once revealed, will forever change the community." (Random House)


Book Review: Mill River Redemption by Darcie Chan

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Great Quote: "Josie squeezed a daughter in each of her arms and pulled them against her. She noticed a new feeling building in her very center, a small reassuring spark of something. Hope? Optimism? Maybe even the beginnings of a realization that everything was going to be ok?" (Page 59 ARC)

Book summary:  "New York Times bestselling author Darcie Chan returns to the enchanting town of Mill River in a heartwarming novel of family, self-discovery, and forgiveness. Perfect for fans of Maeve Binchy.

My thoughts:  Families can be complex, but Josie DeSanto might have the most challenging story yet. With the secrets of her past wrapped up in a murdered husband, now Josie's two grown daughters won't even speak to each other. When Josie passes away, the sisters are forced to confront each other when they are required to live next door to each other for a summer. The story takes a few predictable and many very unpredictable turns as this family works out their issues in front of their small town neighbors.

Book Review: Everything I Need to Know About Christmas I Learned From A Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow

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Book summary:  "Christmas is coming! Are you ready to tackle the holiday traffic, hordes of visiting relatives, and excessive spending (and eating)? Let this heartwarming book guide you through the hectic and happy season." (Back Cover)

My thoughts:  This book is great nostalgic fun for everyone who grew up reading the charming Little Golden Books. 

Using images from a variety of Little Golden Books, Author Diane Muldrow has pieced together a story about how to deal with the stress of the Christmas season by focusing on what matters. Illustrators including Richard Scarry, Eloise Wilken and Garth Williams are featured together on the pages of this slim volume.