Stronger Than Death

cover162744-mediumStronger than Death is the harrowing story of what real missionary work should be. There is more than just religion; there is action combined with care and love of the poor. Reading this book shows me this world has people who are truly good.
Annalena treated TB in places like Kenya and Somalia. She faces down violence every day but never stops caring for those in need. She knew that religion called for care and love for the needy. Unlike many of the biggest “missionary/pastors”, Annalena doesn’t live in opulence. She lives in the same poverty as those she assists pouring all her money into the saving of those with TB. If I say more, I’ll tell you the whole story.

Even though Annalena would never like the publication of this book, I agree with the author that this book should be written, her story must be told. By reaching just one person through this book, Annalena’s work continues.

The book itself is well written and researched. The background of the countries and wars are included in the tale are explored. The author spoke with as many people involved as she could giving many first account stories. There is just one negative here: the author inserts herself. These are odd moments that, instead of bolstering Annalena, make the author seem like she just wants to be connected to Annalena so she can feel better about herself. There is no need: Rachel Pieh Jones shares this story with dedication, love, and respect with a connection that never dies.

I would encourage everyone to read this book. To think about their calling. To challenge the idea of Christianity. I am blessed to have read this story.

Published: Oct 1

I received an ARC from the publisher; all opinions are my own.

What’s Next

In What’s Next: Your Dream Job, God’s Call and A Life That Sets you Free, Daniel Ryan Day walks you through figuring on what steps you should take in your life to heed God’s call. While the goal is to help you find what the next step in your career, it’s not really a book about careers or a dream job; instead the book focuses on the idea of God’s calling.
This approach makes sense in the fact that Day is trying to dispel the idea that God’s calling exclusively refers to your occupation. He walks you through a variety of biblical figures whose calling aren’t considering jobs as well as looks into the New Testament ideas of what we are called to be. We are called by God to be a specific kind of person, not just a laborer.
42046635._SX318_But fear not; the final chapter gives you ideas to help you figure out what you want to do next occupation-wise. The author provides readers with ideas of how to apply Biblical concepts of calling to find your dream job.
The book is well written and Ryan has a voice that is straightforward to the average reader. He doesn’t get too bogged down in scholarly material or wording letting the book flow from one pint to the next. The fact that he makes these ideas accessible to a broader audience is the best part of the book and shows that the author understands his audience.
For me, I had decided a long time ago my calling was’ necessarily my job. Personally, this book wasn’t helpful for me, and I wasn’t as invested as some might be. But I do believe it can be helpful for others. If you still think that your calling only refers to your occupation, then this is a book you need. God is calling you for so much more than a paycheck.
I received an ARC from the publisher; all opinions are my own.

The Bird King

The Bird King is a colorful tale set in the times when Spain is expanding its land. Magic and luck fill this tale of adventure.
Fatima is a concubine to the sultan of Granada. She lives a pampered life as the Sultan’s favorite but has no freedom. She dreams of the world outside the palace. Placating her is her friend Hassan, a red headed scribe who has a magical talent.  Whatever map he draws become reality and Fatima has him draw her windows showing off the world she will never see. When a delegation comes to Granada to discuss the sultan’s surrender, Fatima makes a friend with the woman who comes with them. But soon Fatima finds out there are ears everywhere and Hassan is wanted for crimes against the Holy Church. Fatima breaks him out of the palace with the help of djinn. But what is next? Where will they go? How will they create a new start?
G. Willow Wilson (of Ms. Marvel fame) spins an intricate tale capturing the tales of djinn and magic. I was swept away with the imagery of lands I hadn’t seen a

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nd loved getting an inside look. It is the writer’s lush descriptions that pulls you into the world and the magic found inside it.
Unfortunately, the characters are flat. There isn’t much growth. Fatima finally breaks out of her self-importance at the very end of the book. While she does things that admirable, most of the time it is not because of a good heart and care for others; it is all selfishly motivated. She continues to act like a pampered palace dweller throughout the novel ever fully adapting to her surroundings. It is truly only her anger that motivates her and keeps her gong. She is brave but she doesn’t understand any life outside her own. The other characters are just as flat with very little, if any, character growth.

But the overall tale of magic and faith make the book worth reading. My favorite part is the last portion of book when magic is explored more in depth. It is here where you wish you had more insight into the characters and time in the magical lands.
Over all the Bird King is fantastical and magical but many of its characters fall short of the same magic

 

Publication Date: March 12

I received an ARC for review; All opinions are my own