Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book Club Review – “The Poisonwood Bible”

I am part of a book club that meets once a month with a group of friends from my church. We started this book club back in the spring, around April, I think. We have met once a month since then to discuss a book and to just fellowship and talk and have fun! I have really enjoyed being a part of this book club -- it gives me a night out with "the girls!"

For October's book club meeting, we read "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver.

This book takes place in the 1960's as a family from Georgia (father, mother, and four daughters) go to the Congo as missionaries. The father is a "fire-and-brimstone" southern preacher who goes to Africa expecting to rescue the heathens from themselves. Of course this family has no idea what to expect from the African culture, and the things they experience will shape each of their lives in various ways. The story is told in the first chapter from the perspective of the mother and then in the subsequent chapters by each of the four daughters in turn.

Overall, I thought this book was very informative of the life and culture of Africa. It was eye-opening in a lot of respects based on what I thought I knew about Africa. I also enjoyed reading the book from the perspectives of the daughters. Each daughter had such a distinctive voice that it kept the book alive for me.

This book was also very heart-wrenching, and at times even depressing. Of course, you might think this would be the case in a story about a land that has endured such political hardship, but I thought the depressing feeling came more from the actions of the missionary family rather than from the African culture. The father was so determined to baptize the Africans that he neglected meeting the people where they were. There was no compassion in his manner of showing Jesus to them.

I think this describes the feeling of most of the book club members, too, although I won't speak for them! Most thought the book was pretty good and very interesting as far as the history and culture of the Congo. It was also thought that it was pretty depressing and without hope or true faith.

I am rating "The Poisonwood Bible" Three Bookworms.

Stayed tuned next month for the Book Club choice for November:  "Christmas Jars" by Jason F. Wright.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

“A Tailor-Made Bride” Review

This book is one that I received from Baker Publishing Group as a review copy. It is written by Karen Witemeyer, and I believe this is her first novel. It is published by Bethany House, which is a division of Baker Publishing Group.

"A Tailor-Made Bride" begins as we meet Hannah, a dressmaker living in Texas in 1881, who has just been given the opportunity to open her own shop. However, as soon as she arrives in her new town, she is immediately confounded by the local liveryman, J.T., who seems to have issues with her chosen profession. Of course, as the title of the book proclaims, romance ensues.

Both of the main characters in this story are Christians from the start of the book, which to me was refreshing. Now, don't get me wrong…I love to read stories about people and their journey to Christ. It was just nice to read about people who already have a mature faith and how they deal with troubles and blessings in their lives. One thing I really liked in this story was that whenever these characters have problems or questions, they go to the Bible for answers. They did this either by reading the Bible or recalling Scripture from memory.

Honestly, I really liked this book. It was easy to read and lighthearted. It brought to mind many thoughts of the balance that is needed in the lives of Christians. The main thoughts about balance in this story were related to inner and outer beauty, although other issues of balance were also brought to light.

The only thing that I was a little bit disappointed with was the many physical descriptions of the characters. While I realize that the main focus of this book was appearances, there seemed to be a lot of vivid descriptions about the characters' physiques. Yes, this is a romantic story, which should tell why/how these two are attracted to each other; however, this is also a Christian novel, and sometimes the descriptions were a little too romance novel-like.

Something that was funny in this book was that the main male character, J.T., constantly chewed on toothpicks. I thought it was a funny feature to put into his character and one I would never put in a character! Anyone who knows me really, really well knows that I HATE wooden things in my mouth. I even take popsicles and ice cream bars off of the stick before I eat them (if I can) because I hate the feeling of wood on my teeth. It's weird, I know. I don't know why it bothers me, but it does!

As I said earlier, overall I really liked this book. This type of story is right up my alley. The story was heartwarming and interesting and not at all depressing (unlike some other recent books I have read…more reviews to come!).

If you would like to go to the product page for this book, visit this link.

I give "A Tailor-Made Bride"….. 4 Book Worms!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"She Walks in Beauty" Review

"She Walks in Beauty" by Siri Mitchell is a book that I picked up from an "if you like this might like this author" recommendation. I think the author that I "liked" was Tracie Peterson, but I'm not sure!

This book takes place during New York City's Gilded Age, which was during the late 1800's/early 1900's. As far as historical fiction goes, I have not read much from this time period. The main character, Clara Carter, is an only child being raised by her father and widowed aunt. She is coming into the year of her "debut" and is expected to snag a wealthy husband in order to uphold her family’s honor.

While the setting of this book was interesting, I sometimes became bored with the endless descriptions of dresses and dances and the goings-on of the characters, especially their experiences with wearing corsets. I guess that was the point of the book, but it did get tiring. The main character, Clara, seemed to waffle back and forth a lot. One minute she dreaded going to the next ball; the next minute she was excited to be there.

Also, for a supposedly Christian book, the message of faith was not really there. I think you could take out every reference to faith or God and still have the same story.

While I did not enjoy this book as much as other Christian historical fiction stories I have read, the author’s obvious point that women in this era were forced into everything they did (even forced into corsets…) can be pertinent today. Who I am as a woman and a human being is determined by God and His Word, not society or worldly standards.

I have decided to rate books using a "Bookworm Rating!" This will be out of 5 Bookworms.

“She Walks in Beauty” will receive………2 1/2 Bookworms.


"Really Woolly Bible Stories" Review

I received the children's book, "Really Woolly Bible Stories," by DaySpring, from the reviewer site It is published by Thomas Nelson Publishing.

This book is a sweet little collection of Bible stories. Each page features a different Bible story (in correct Bible order) that is written in rhyme and an illustration to go along with it. The illustrations are lovely, and my 20-month-old daughter enjoys this book immensely. She loves to pick out the picture of the lamb on each page, and she likes the pages with Jesus. One thing I really like about the book is that each page has the biblical reference for each story listed. This book is a padded board book, and would be enjoyed mostly by toddlers and preschoolers.

Of course, with all Bible stories, these stories have some references to scary things such as lions or death. But, these stories are from the Word of God, and they must be told as they happened.

Overall, my daughter and I both enjoyed this book.

I will give Really Woolly Bible Stories ... 4 BookWorms

If you would like to see the product page for this title, follow this link:

The Fine Print:  Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My First Book Request!

Today I reqested my first book for review! It is from Thomas Nelson Publishing (, and it is a children's book called "Really Wooly Bible Stories" by DaySpring. I am excited to receive it and post a review!

When I started this blog, I had not expected to get the opportunity to review children's books, but I am sure the Baby Girl will love it!

Over the next few days I will post reviews of some of my favorite books and of some of the books I have read recently.

In order to get my Book Review blog up and running, please check back often to read my posts, leave comments, and become a follower of my blog. The more traffic I get on my blog, the more free books I can receive from publishers! (And if you want, I can even pass them on to you to read!)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Shoopette's Book Reviews" is Born

Ahh...Books. I love them.

I cannot even remember a time when I didn't know how to read.

When I was a child, I loved going to the library...I thrilled to go to a bookstore and use my allowance to get the next book in the series I was reading...I would even set up my own "bookstore" at home with all of my books and "sell" them to my Dad (or catch him stealing them!).

As a young adult, I was always "in the middle of" a book. When I finished one, I started on another. A lot of my free time in between school and piano and clubs and being with friends was spent reading.

As an adult, I still love to read, but my consumption of books has slowed. My daughter coming along had a lot to do with that, of course! That is one reason I am very excited to be starting this blog. I want to get back to my love of books. I want to sometimes turn off the TV or computer and enjoy a good page-turner. I have tried to read eBooks on my iPod or on a Kindle, but there is just something about holding a book in your hands that cannot be duplicated.

This blog will be dedicated to my thoughts on the books I have read. Some of them will be books publishers have sent to me to read. Others will be books that I have read over the years and enjoyed. I am also involved in a Book Club through my church, so I will be commenting on those books as well.

I hope you enjoy my blog, and that you will share in my love of reading!!!