Saturday, March 31, 2012

Garden of Madness

Garden of Madness
Tracy L. Higley
Thomas Nelson

The Untold Story of King Nebuchadnezzar’s Daughter.
For seven years the Babylonian princess Tiamat has waited for the mad king Nebuchadnezzar to return to his family and to his kingdom. Driven from his throne to live as a beast, he prowls his luxurious Hanging Gardens, secreted away from the world.
Since her treaty marriage at a young age, Tia has lived an indulgent palace life. But when her husband dies and a nobleman is found murdered in the palace, Tia must discover who is responsible for the macabre death, even if her own newfound freedom is threatened.
As the queen plans to wed Tia to yet another prince, the powerful mage Shadir plots to expose the family’s secret and set his own man on the throne. Tia enlists the help of a reluctant Jewish captive, her late husband’s brother Pedaiah, who challenges her notions of the gods even as he opens her heart to both truth and love.
In a time when few gave their hearts to Yahweh, one woman must decide if she is willing to risk everything—her possessions, her gods, and her very life—for the Israelite’s one God. Madness, sorcery and sinister plots mingle like an alchemist’s deadly potion, and Tia must dare to risk all – to save the kingdom, and to save herself.
I normally stay away from Biblical fiction, simply because I hate it when people change things about the Bible (it's "fiction", after all!) but I decided to try this one- I figured, since it wasn't actually about a Biblical character, it couldn't really offend me, right?
I was surprised how much I really enjoyed this book. It captured my attention from the very beginning, and it held my interest the entire book. And I actually liked the portrayals of the Bible characters who are included- King Nebuchadnezzar (obviously) and Daniel. Though from the beginning I had a pretty good idea who the culprit was, this book still had some twists and turns that I didn't see coming. I don't read many books set in the BC time period, so I wasn't sure how I would like this setting, but I greatly enjoyed learning new things about this point in history. The book wasn't exactly a light read; I wouldn't recommend it to younger readers. However, for high-schoolers it is not only an interesting, fast-paced story, but a history lesson about Ancient Babylon. 
Rating: 9

Objectionable content: This book, in accordance with Babylon's culture, has much of the worship of false gods that we read about in the Bible. A man is brutally murdered; we find later in the book a certain character had been the victim of rape. There is one kiss.
received this book for free from in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Almost Amish

Almost Amish
Nancy Sleeth

     Have you ever stopped to think, Maybe the Amish are on to something? Look around. We tweet while we drive, we talk while we text, and we surf the Internet until we fall asleep. We are essentially plugged in and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

     Rather than mastering technology, we have allowed technology to master us. We are an exhausted nation. No one has enough time, everyone feels stressed out, and our kids spend more hours staring at a screen each week than they do playing outside. 

     It’s time to simplify our lives, make faith and family the focal point, and recapture the lost art of simple living. Building on the basic principles of Amish life, Nancy Sleeth shows readers how making conscious choices to limit (and in some cases eliminate) technology’s hold on our lives and getting back to basics can help us lead calmer, more focused, less harried lives that result in stronger, deeper relationships with our families, friends, and God.

This was a really cool book that had a lot of practical ideas for simplifying life. The author is very earth-conscious, so many of her ideas had to do with eco-friendly ideas. Though I didn't quite agree with everything she wrote, I thought this book had a lot of good ideas. I also really liked the author's writing style- and I love the fact that she included recipes in the back! This was a book I didn't think I would enjoy very much simply because I don't usually read non-fiction for fun, but I was surprised at how interesting it was!

Rating: 8

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. 
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