Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Review: Child Of The River by Irma Joubert

Publishers Description

Child Of The River is riveting!
A compelling coming of age story with an unlikely and utterly memorable heroine, Child of the River is a timeless tale of heartbreak and triumph set in South Africa at the dawn of apartheid.

Persomi is young, white, and poor, born the middle child of illiterate sharecroppers on the prosperous Fourie farm in the South African Bushveld. Persomi’s world is extraordinarily small. She has never been to the local village and spends her days absorbed in the rhythms of the natural world around her, escaping the brutality and squalor of her family home through the newspapers and books passed down to her from the main house and through her walks in the nearby mountains.

Persomi’s close relationship with her older brother Gerbrand and her fragile friendship with Boelie Fourie—heir to the Fourie farm and fortune—are her lifeline and her only connection to the outside world. When Gerbrand leaves the farm to fight on the side of the Anglos in WWII and Boelie joins an underground network of Boer nationalists, Persomi’s isolated world is blown wide open. But as her very small world falls apart, bigger dreams become open to her—dreams of an education, a profession, a native country that values justice and equality, and of love. As Persomi navigates the changing world around her—the tragedies of war and the devastating racial strife of her homeland—she finally discovers who she truly is, where she belongs, and why her life—and every life—matters.

The English language publication of Child of the River solidifies Irma Joubert as a unique and powerful voice in historical fiction.

International bestselling author IRMA JOUBERT was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing fiction. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail. She is the author of eight novels and a regular fixture on bestseller lists in The Netherlands and in her native South Africa. She is the winner of the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels.

My Personal Review

Child Of The River by Irma Joubert and published by Thomas Nelson (HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc) is a wonderful story of perseverance and hope. The author, Irma Joubert has published eight novels to date, one of which I have read (The Girl From The Train) and thoroughly enjoyed. The author's writing is extremely detailed and historically accurate as she uses events from the past to create a canvas for intriguing storylines and endearing characters.

Child Of The River is laid out in an easy to follow format complete with a very helpful glossary of African terms in the beginning and ending with discussion questions at the conclusion of the book. The main character, Persomi's narration is flawless as the reader travels with her throughout three decades of her life. She is raised in a very rundown South African home located in the bushveld. Persomi is surrounded by poverty, dysfunctional family relationships, and conflict. Despite these uncontrollable circumstances, and in fact probably because of them, she manages to become an intelligent, empathetic woman with a strong conviction of the sanctity of life. Her personality draws the reader into her heart of emotions and intelligent logic. Found within the pages of this work are beautiful descriptions of the natural beauty of Persomi's homeland. 

I was not only entertained by this novel, but as with any good historical fiction book, I learned from it. I had no prior knowledge of the post World War II time period as it related to the political climate in South Africa. My eyes were certainly opened to a country in civil unrest and cultural division that was brought about by the segregation of non-European and nonwhite people. Several of the legislative acts that were used to advance this social system, that is referred to as the Apartheid, are seamlessly woven into the action of the story. 

Child Of The River is a riveting book that stirs a compassion and understanding for the delicate balance of the human heart and demands attention to the uniqueness of each life. It draws attention to a time, not so very long ago, when racial tension led to decisions that had devastating consequences. This book has much to offer in terms of educating the reader about the past, present and future. It is definitely a book that I would highly recommend to all readers, but especially those with a special interest in history and sociology. 

Thank you to Thomas Nelson (HarperCollins Christian Publishing Inc.) for this review copy of Child Of The River by Irma Joubert. I was not required to write a favorable review, but to simply give an honest opinion of the book.  


Monday, January 2, 2017

Book Review: Indigo by Krista Wagner

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar. Psalm 139: 1-2 (NIV)

This book addresses some very important
themes and leaves the reader with a sense
of hope.

Publisher's Description

When emotionally driven Indigo falls for flirtatious Brian, her senior year quickly spirals out of control. Faced with the afflictions of her cruel peers, Indigo is quickly becoming numb to the world, and if she doesn’t start to care about herself soon, she will be dead.

My Personal Review

Indigo by Krista Wagner and published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 10, 2016) is a page turning novel that covers a lot of heavy subjects in a small amount of space. 

This newly published book by Krista Wagner is very consistent with the author's previous works, in that the subject matter is always informational and one of depth and conviction. If it's entertainment you're looking for, you will find it too, as Indigo is a fiction read and is full of surprises. The important lesson to learn about the necessity of making good decisions in life is loud and clear. There is also a prominent message about suffering consequences when we make bad choices. The significance of our relationships with God, family and friends will linger long after the reader has put this work down.

Indigo manages to quickly connect the reader with the main character, Indigo Star Rush. This vibrant deep thinking young lady is in the midst of her senior year at her local high school. As the story progresses, the reader hears the voice of Indigo as she experiences some difficult times with relationships and the roller coaster of emotions that quickly follow. 

Indigo is classified in the Young Adult genre. It reads like a diary and could most certainly help struggling upper teens (16+ due to heavy themes) approach subjects such as bullying, premarital sex, lust, unhealthy family relationships, suicide and insecurity. This novel could potentially open dialogue between a parent and child in situations where conversation has been limited. 

You will definitely be left with a sense of hope for the future upon completion of this book. Psalm 139 came to mind after reading Indigo, as the Lord really does know our every thought. We are never alone in our struggles, because Christ is with us. Another clear point taken from this work, is the powerful reminder that it is our responsibility to treat others with kindness and respect. We never know what careless words or hurtful actions my compound another's suffering. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!!

Luke 2:11
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.

My Mom and Dad at Christmas Eve Candle Light Service.
Merry Christmas!! 

This is my favorite pic of the entire weekend. I had the privilege to join my parents for the celebration of Christ's birth at their church...Wesley United Methodist Church. It was beautiful. I grew up understanding that Christmas is about our Lord. It is a celebration of the birth of Christ....our Savior!

I am thankful for family tonight...and for the gift of a Savior...Jesus! He truly is the light of the world!!

Friday, December 9, 2016

There Will Always Be Enough...The Future Is In His Hands

So that there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come. Genesis 41:36

The Lord holds today and tomorrow
in the palm of His hand.
Do not be afraid.
One of my all time heroes of the faith is Corrie ten Boom. I love her writing and her life story! She was filled with faith and courage. She has mesmerized me sense high school where I was originally introduced to her kindness, compassion and strong belief in Jesus Christ. 

Many mornings, my daughter and I begin our day reading one of her devotionals together from a book called: Each New Day. I have the original version published in 1977, however there is a new version with a beautiful cover and perhaps organized in a different manner, available on Amazon. (Click here if you're interested in purchasing it. It is Christmas time you know...great gift idea!)

Anyway, this morning's reading was always. It is a gentle reminder for me and maybe you today, that we don't need to fear tomorrow. The Lord holds today & tomorrow in the palm of His hand!

The following is a copy of the December 9 Devotional:

Joseph filled the barns in the time of plenty to be prepared for the time of famine. (see Genesis 41:29-36) Gather the riches of God's promises which can strengthen you in the time when there will be no freedom. Nobody can take away from you those texts from the Bible which you have learned by heart.

Lord Jesus,
We do not fear the future because we know You who have the future in Your hand. What a joy to know that You are the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Movie Review- To Joey With Love: A Story of Life, Love & Hope

1 Corinthians 13:13 (MSG)
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. 

Before I begin...let me just say that I am having a drawing for a free DVD copy of this amazing film. Look to the right side of my blog. See the Rafflecopter? It starts at midnight tonight and will end December 20, 2016. I will email the winner! 
Be sure to stop back by my blog or my Facebook Page @OnlyALittleWhile and sign up!

The movie, To Joey, With Love: A Story of Life, Love & Hope That Never Dies  (click on the preceding title for the official trailer) is presented by Provident Films a Hickory Films production. The film will be released in DVD format & ON-Demand December 20th, 2016. (Order by clicking here.) It is classified as a PG film in the documentary genre. It was written, filmed and directed by Rory Feek. Production is by Aaron Carnahan. 

Movie Critic Reviews 

A beautiful film that captures the true
meaning of the message to
"trust steadily in God", as described in
1 Corinthians 13:13.
"I walked away with a greater appreciation for the brevity of life and with a goal of loving those around me even more."
Christian Examiner

"The movie leaves viewers with an urgency to live every day as if it is a gift, thank God for what He has given, and enjoy the simple moments of life."

"The film will inspire you to love deeper, and to grab every opportunity in every moment."
Christianity Today

My Personal Review

To Joey, With Love is a touching documentary narrated by Rory Feek. The film chronicles the story of the past two years with his wife Joey Feek. Their journey through the birth of their first and only daughter, Indiana is highlighted, as well as Joey's diagnosis with cervical cancer. The emphasis is placed on the path of learning to trust God's plan for their lives, rather than relying on their own direction. It is a compilation of live footage filmed mostly from their home which is about an hour from Nashville, Tennessee. 

Here's my take-away from this movie. First, I found myself wishing from the very beginning that I had been a part of the Joey+Rory Fan Club. The brief shots of some of their concerts made my heart warm, not only due to the beautiful music, but also because of their interactions with one another. 

Secondly, I found the movie to be extremely transparent and pure. Much of the time, I had the feeling that I was viewing something sacred. Let me explain. Because the filming is live and this family is simply living their "story", there really isn't any "acting" going on. The impromptu footage shows clips from the actual birth of their daughter (albeit discrete footage), daily chores on their homestead, phone calls, physician consults, morning routines, meals, prayer circles and lots of spontaneous family interactions. Watching such natural and unposed scenes will illicit a broad spectrum of feelings. 

The range of emotions experienced by the viewer runs the full continuum from happiness and laughter to fear and sadness. As you participate in Rory, Joey and Indiana's lives, you realize that this is not a film for my "entertainment" per se, but rather it generates a reflective experience creating a pause and recognition of the sanctity of life. This is a movie with the potential to assist in bridging the gap between this temporal world and the next. The sincere way that Joey and Rory applied the promises that God has given us in His Word is somewhat mind boggling. 

Finally, I think the target audience for this movie is very broad, but somewhat unique. It is most certainly for anyone who has been blessed by "Joey+Rory" music. If I had known this couple prior to this film review, I would be very encouraged to see how God gave them, as Rory says, "A great story." Watching the movie would give me a peace about Joey's ultimate healing. It would ease a sadness that most certainly must be present for those who knew her as a public figure. In my opinion, any believer in Christ who watches this movie will be inspired and challenged as they walk through a day with this couple. I also feel anyone dealing with cancer, either personally or through a family member/friend, will find hope and comfort through the viewing of this film. Hearing Rory's faith filled statement that he gave when the news that the medical treatments were no longer deemed curative for Joey, uncovered a bold and empowering way to accept the will of God. He said, "We came home. Not to die. But to live." A final potential audience is anyone searching for truth, as this couple's faith is tangible and will intensify the urgency to discover a loving Savior in Christ.

In conclusion, To Joey, With Love is a very moving work. It has much to say about the preciousness of life and the choices we make with regard to how we live each day. It teaches us to confront the fact that we "only have a little while" to walk in a steady trust in God and live a life filled with hope and an extravagant love for one another!
1 Corinthians 13:13 

This CD was released in 2016. Christmas shopping anyone?

Joey+Rory released a new CD in 2016, titled: Hymns That Are Important To Us
It is on my Christmas wish list! (Hint..hint to my family who are reading this.) 

Thank you to Icon Media Group for allowing me to view this review copy of  To Joey, With Love. I was not required to write a positive review, but only to watch the film and give my honest opinion.