In the Bookcase

4.22.2017

Book Review: The Lion and the Lamb

The Lion and the Lamb by Charles Causey (5 star review)


The Lion and the Lamb:
The True Holocaust Story of a Powerful Nazi Leader and a Dutch Resistance Worker

written by Charles Causey

288 pages // published in 2016 // World War II non-fiction



BOOK DESCRIPTION

A true Holocaust story, The Lion and the Lamb begins with a mysterious plane crash which catapults architect Albert Speer into Adolf Hitler's inner circle. When the two Nazi leaders become close confidantes, Speer is forced into constant competition with Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels and the unstable Hermann GOring. After a botched assassination attempt reveals Albert Speer's name in an SS investigation, Speer is ostracized by the staff and falls under Hitler's suspicion for disloyalty. As the Russian army advances on Berlin, Speer is poisoned, lied about, and forced to fight for his standing with the most evil and calculating men in Europe. Will Speer survive his last-minute trip to the FUhrer's bunker just hours before the end?

The Lion and the Lamb also tells the story of a Dutch Resistance worker named Corrie ten Boom who leads her entire family into a desperate struggle against the Nazi's anti-Jewish policies in Holland. Like Speer, Corrie is thrust into a psychological torture chamber suffering daily anguish from abusive guards. She is forced to travel from prison to prison in Nazi death trains after her underground operation is raided by the secret police. A novel of innocence, betrayal and tragedy, The Lion and the Lamb is an absorbing tale of how war-torn people cling to the power of hope and faith.




My Review


5 Star Rating


This book does differ from your regular textbook-style, non-fiction title. It's written slightly more in the style of how you would read a fictional book, but completely based on true fact. The characters do talk and interact with one another as you would find in a story, and there are also explanatory paragraphs that fill you in on the historical backdrop and context. I certainly wouldn't mind reading a few more factual titles that are penned in this unique way.

The other singular element that makes this book stand out is that it pairs two unlikely stories as one, piecing together two completely different angles of the World War II saga. The reader is shown the wide contrasts, the spiritual, political, and emotional differences between a powerful Third Reich leader and a hospitable Dutch watchmaker's daughter, each just trying to be their best when wartime calls and beckons.

A large portion of the narrative that talks about Corrie ten Boom, I recognized much of the material from The Hiding Place, even though it's been a few years back since I have read it, so I rather enjoyed the "refresher". I so relished in the fact that the author incorporated and highlighted so much of Corrie's faith and spiritual strength. This definitely stood out to me, and made me enjoy The Lion and the Lamb even more so because of its spiritual content.

I soaked in so, so much information from this book, it's unbelievable. I highlighted many passages and made so many notes during my reading time, that's it actually ridiculous. I sure gleaned more than what I expected to...

I feel that where I learned the most is where it concerns the German leaders, particularly with Hitler and the men ranking directly beneath him, most notably, Albert Speer, Reich Minister of Armaments and War Production. Not that I exactly desired to know all about these men, even though I do enjoy my historical research... but I took away a lot of facts that I never knew before about the time period, the historical significance of certain events, and about the personal lives of these men who guided worldwide distress into action. There's a ton of info about the Nazi viewpoint in this book, and while not all of it is fascinating to read, and some of it may rile you with disgust... still, it's good to know about, to be informed about what our world went through.

NOTE to the discerning reader & parents: There are mentions of how the prisoners at the concentration camps had to undress completely. Although NOT described in too much detail, this event does happen several times. There are some gory death scenes, a couple of which that were particularly graphic (related to blatant deaths committed by Nazis, sickening brutal mass murders).

Best recommended for high-school-age students or adults.

If you are a reader who enjoys non-fiction, researching World War II, or is inspired by the Ten Boom family's legacy, buy this book for you and your friends.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for a free copy of this book; I was not required to post a positive review.




Available on Amazon in hardcover, paperback, e-book format.

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4.17.2017

New release from Willowy Whisper!

A newly released title in the Christian fiction genre, by author Willowy Whisper. Want to learn a little bit about the book today?

Only Children Chase Sawdust by Willowy Whisper

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Their whole life turned to sawdust and blew away . . .

Please don't leave me, Jacob. I need you. I know you're grieving. Maybe we all are. But you're chasing something you'll never catch . . . and we both know you won't come back alive.





Willowy Whisper, author Author Bio // Willowy Whisper is a young Christian fiction author. She lives somewhere in the middle of nowhere, smack-dab in the country hills of West Virginia. She is the author of seven novels, six of which are published, and numerous short stories. She is also a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, an incurable romantic, and a passionate dreamer. To follow her, visit her blog at www.willowywhisper.com





There's danger in the mountains...



Find Willowy Whisper online!





Only Children Chase Sawdust is available now.

Order your copy today!


4.13.2017

Book Review: Journey to the Center of the Earth

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (5 star review)


Journey to the Center of the Earth

written by Jules Verne

352 pages // published in 1864 // classic science fiction



BOOK DESCRIPTION

Originally published in French in 1864, Journey to the Center of the Earth tells the story of Professor Lidenbrock, his nephew, and a hired guide who, following the instructions of a medieval alchemist claiming to have found a passage to the center of the earth, travel deep into an Icelandic volcano. Deep in the earth, the dangers are beyond imaginable. They traverse subterranean oceans, have encounters with dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts, and do so all in the spirit of adventure and discovery. Considered a classic in the science-fiction and fantasy genre, Jules Verne’s epic novel is an enduring tale of man’s desire to uncover the great unknowns of life and nature.




My Review


5 Star Rating


This book is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

Before reading it, I never knew how fitting the title is. But when I finished this epic novel, there truly are no other words to describe it. I felt as though I, myself, had been on a journey, for a few weeks while I read it, and that I also had trekked down to the center of the earth. What other title could there have been for this book?

There's so much SCIENCE in the book. There are occasional passages devoted to the history of science or, many times, talk of rock types and variations. I certainly felt like it is a book that appeals to the scientific mind. Myself? I loved the long passages, relished in the nerdy talk, and sat (in my reading chair) in awe of the fantastic discoveries that just leapt off the pages. I like that the author didn't dumb down the story for the sake of the readers-who-don't-know-much-about-science. No, not all all -- instead, he dishes out the whole thing, beginning to end, and lets you feel the nerdy electricity just run all through you while you read.

Even though many of the facts and calculations are likely fictional, I in no way felt that it was just a made-up story. It was more than that for me. It is a story to live and breathe in (and maybe to die in, if you get lost in those caverns!).

Cons? Well, just one, and I hate to spoil my review with it, but some like-minded Christians might like to know this. The story is definitely not told from a creationist's mindset. Quite a few times hundreds-of-thousands of years, or perhaps even millions, are mentioned. But if you don't pay much attention to these time frames, the rest is golden.

There's plenty of other material and elements in there, aside from just science, of course. There's wittiness, humor (at least a couple of scenes set me off laughing!), treachery, the biggest kind of adventure possible, and a whole lot of beautiful imagination.

Honestly, Journey to the Center of the Earth grabbed my attention, held me close through the entirety of the journey and didn't release me until the final word had been said. It is that good. And I felt crushed when I couldn't read the book anymore, because it was finished.

I've not read anything else by Jules Verne yet. But I sure look forward to it!! So far, this taste I've received of his science fiction has been out of this world for me.

WHAT A TALE.




Available on Amazon in hardcover, paperback, e-book, and audio format.

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This is book #3 for me in the Back to the Classics 2017 challenge.
[CATEGORY: 19th Century Classic]





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4.06.2017

Mount TBR Checkpoint, 2017 Vol. 1

3 months of the year have flown by already, and I'm sooo enjoying the Mount TBR challenge for 2017. Already, I've cleared away 30 books from my TBR stack... and if you can believe it, I started out by aiming for El Toro (75) for the whole year. (I'm almost half-way through my challenge!?)




Now, for a bit of fun, based on the books I've read in the past 3 months...


• Who has been your favorite character so far? And tell us why, if you like.

JANE STUART. 
(Jane of Lantern Hill by Lucy Maud Montgomery)



To use a line from my review of the book: She's a caring little creature, filled with hope. And I absolutely adore her. If I may, I'd also like to say/predict she will still be my favorite literary character of the year, even by the time December arrives.



• Have any of the books you read surprised you--if so, in what way (not as good as anticipated? unexpected ending? Best thing you've read ever? Etc.)

Two books have surprised me, one good, one bad. As aforementioned, I have to go back to Jane of Lantern Hill, again. It's definitely my favorite of the year so far because it is such an imaginative book, built within the realm of the real world. On the flip side, I also read a book that surprised me in how much I just wanted to set it down and be done with it. If you've ever watched the movie National Velvet, it's such a GOOD film -- so it should follow to reason that the book must be super good too. Well, I didn't care for it (review here).




And also... a bit of literary Scrabble! I've been challenged by Bev to think up a word using the first letters of some of the books I've read so far in the Mount TBR Challenge. After a long and hard think, the best word I could settle on is:


JUMBLING


Where does this strange word come from, you ask?




[juhm-buh l]



 
verb (used with object), jumbled, jumbling.
1.
to mix in a confused mass; put or throw together without order:
You've jumbled up all the cards.
2.
to confuse mentally; muddle.
verb (used without object), jumbled, jumbling.
3.
to be mixed together in a disorderly heap or mass.
4.
to meet or come together confusedly.
noun
5.
a mixed or disordered heap or mass:
a jumble of paper clips, rubber bands, and string.
6.
a confused mixture; medley.
7.
a state of confusion or disorder.



And here's how I used JUMBLING in a word puzzle!

*The below titles are linked to my reviews of each book.





4.05.2017

Book Review: At the Bottom of the World

At the Bottom of the World by Bill Nye, Gregory Mone (5 star review)


At the Bottom of the World
Jack and the Geniuses, #1

written by Bill Nye, Gregory Mone

256 pages // published in 2017 // middle-grade fiction



BOOK DESCRIPTION

New York Times bestselling authors Bill Nye the Science Guy and Gregory Mone take middle-grade readers on a scientific adventure in the launch of an exciting new chapter book series, Jack and the Geniuses. The perfect combination to engage and entertain readers, the series features real-world science along with action and a mystery that will leave kids guessing until the end, making these books ideal for STEM education.

In the series opener, Jack and the Geniuses: At The Bottom of The World, readers meet Jack and his foster siblings, Ava and Matt, who are orphans. But they’re not your typical kind of orphans—they’re geniuses. Well, Ava and Matt are, which sometimes makes life difficult for 1twelve-year-old Jack. Ava speaks multiple languages and builds robots for fun, and Matt is into astronomy and a whiz at math. As for Jack, it’s hard to stand out when he’s surrounded by geniuses all the time.

When the kids try to spy on Dr. Hank Witherspoon, one of the world’s leading scientists, they end up working for him in his incredible laboratory. Soon, Hank and the kids travel to Antarctica for a prestigious science competition, but they find that all is not as it seems: A fellow scientist has gone missing, and so has any trace of her research. Could someone be trying to use her findings to win the contest? It’s up to Jack, Ava, and Matt to find the missing scientist and discover who’s behind it all—before it’s too late.

Integrating real science facts with humor and suspense, and featuring an ensemble cast of loveable boy and girl characters, this uniquely engaging series is an irresistible chemical reaction for middle-grade readers. With easy-to-read language presented in a fun, motivating, and accessible way, this series opener is a great book for both inquisitive kids and reluctant readers. The book also includes information about the science discussed and used to solve the mystery, as well as a cool science project about density that kids can do at home or in the classroom.

Bill Nye's brand new talk show series for Netflix, "Bill Nye Saves the World" is set to launch in Spring 2017.




My Review


5 Star Rating


At the Bottom of the World is the start in a new series co-authored by Bill Nye (yes... The Science Guy) and Gregory Mone (a talented author). What does this literary combination give us? A sometimes wacky approach to giving kids what the want (a thrilling adventure) while secretly supplying them with what they need (say, an education in science?!).

Let's get on to the plot. The 3 main kids are super independent (somehow they legally accomplished this task?!). They don't even go to school -- the work with their instructors online, and homeschool. These three siblings may be ethnically different, but are part of the same family, and work together on the same team, and that's what I enjoyed. Family is who you make into your family.

The kids go on an amazing adventure to Antarctica. All because they caught the eye of inventor extraordinaire, Henry Witherspoon. Or as the kids call him, Hank. With a few silly-sounding inventions under his belt, and the means to engineer whatever he desires, who knows where he'll take his new tagalong friends? Well, Antarctica, obviously! I found it rather refreshing to read a story that really tells you how the scientists work down there. It's a whole continent that's basically devoted to... well, the study of science. (I know, I know. I mentioned the 'science' word so many times in this review, but it's such a prevalent element in the book.) But it's definitely NOT a 'textbook' boring kinda book. It's a thrill-seeking adventure into great unknowns. It makes learning seem soooo cool.

Boys and girls alike will love this series.




Available on Amazon in hardcover, e-book, and audio format.

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