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review 2018-08-21 02:34
Frustrating Murphy
Catching Murphy - Wilson Ring

This book was mind-numbing aggravating. Someone catch that damn dog! Please! 51 pages of the dog outsmarting humans. Getting out of snares, trip traps, you name it. Omg. I love my cats and my dog, but there would come a time after 13 months of this where I admit clearly my dog is smarter than I am. Be free, dog. You have earned it.


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review 2018-08-21 01:09
Who Was David?
Kingdom Files: Who Was David? - Matt Koceich

Marketed as a “biblically accurate biography”, I had some issues with this particular installment in the series. Although I understand the author’s intent to portray David as the “man after God’s own heart” role model that he was, I felt that there was not enough acknowledgement of his mistakes. For instance, the entire episode with Bathsheba and Uriah and the fact that David had many wives were both left out entirely. While these are not necessarily age appropriate fodder for 8-12 year olds, I think that some sensitive mention could be made regarding David’s struggle with sin; it seemed that David was written too idealistically. The biographical section of the book was, in my opinion, a bit confusing and dry for adolescents; the “clues” contained details critical to the story rather than shedding additional light on the narrative, and there was no real tie-in between David’s story and the reader until the power-ups section at the end of the book. Engaging the reader in David’s life story would have made it more appealing and interesting, and including some basic maps along with the nicely-done illustrations would have dispelled some of the confusion of David’s often nomadic life. With all of that being said, however, I honestly did not entirely dislike this book. I think that with a few tweaks it could be as wonderful as some of the others in this series. As it is, I would highly recommend that adults read this story with their kids to answer questions and make things more clear, as well as to help with name pronunciation. This would make a nice study for Vacation Bible School or Sunday School, especially by using each of the ten “power-up” lessons and each one’s accompanying Bible verse as a guide and structuring in the relevant parts of David’s story with each.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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review 2018-08-21 01:05
Who Was Esther?
Kingdom Files: Who Was Esther? - Matt Koceich

“Who Was Esther?” proves to be a delightful resource and introduction to this influential biblical figure for those aged 8-12. Esther was a great choice to include in the Kingdom Files series because she is very relatable. She was an orphan raised by her older cousin Mordecai, and she did not come from a particularly high station in life. Furthermore, she was Jewish, and the major backdrop of her story revolves around the persecution that her people faced. Despite all of this, she acted courageously and trusted God, making her an incredible role model. This is underscored throughout the narrative with pertinent Scripture that is infused into the writing, and with tie-ins to Jesus and to God’s role in Esther’s story despite His not being explicitly mentioned in the biblical book. Clues scattered throughout the biographical section offer further explanations and insights, and cute illustrations help bring the account to life. The story itself is followed by a section of ten “power-ups”, each with a memory verse, which includes lessons to learn from Esther’s life and how it relates to how God is working in our lives. This would make a very nice study for Vacation Bible School or Sunday School. My only criticisms are that a pronunciation guide is needed for the names of some of the people, and a kid-friendly Bible translation would be much more appropriate for the verses that go along with the power-ups.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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review 2018-08-20 16:36
Ian Fleming / Andrew Lycett
Ian Fleming - Andrew Lycett


***2018 Summer of Spies***

If you are a feminist who is planning to read any of the James Bond books, I would highly recommend that you also read this biography of their author, Ian Fleming. Knowing his background changes nothing in the novels, but at least gives the reader some glimpse of why they contain the prejudices that they do.

Fleming’s life is an excellent example of that old adage “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” I am hardly an apologist for Mr. Fleming, but his circumstances certainly made him into the man and author that he was. His father died when he was young and he was left with only an extremely controlling egocentric mother. If I’m reading between the lines correctly, Ian was an introvert, perfectly happy by himself, but forced by his social position and extroverted relatives to try to conform to the extrovert ideal. He loved comfortable living, with plenty of cards, cigarettes and liquor, but didn’t have the family money to rely on. Work was definitely a bore that he had to perform in order to support his desired lifestyle. The only time he really engaged was during his stint in Naval Intelligence during WWII. Finally, he had discovered a job that used his ability to make contacts across ranks, classes and nationalities.

However, if Fleming didn’t see a benefit coming to him from someone, he could be incredibly rude and cutting. I look at photos of the man and I cannot imagine how he achieved the parade of young women through his bedroom, but he must have exuded charm to them. When one hostess took him to task for his treatment of one of her friends, calling him a cad, he replied, “You’re quite right, Mrs. Leitner. Shall we have a drink on it?” Which they did and became friends. He was known to tell people that women were on parr with dogs for him.

Fleming seems to have been happiest when he was involved with other men’s wives. All of the benefits with few of the headaches of relationships. Eventually, when he married Ann, it was after a 14 year affair with her. Ann was pregnant with Ian’s child when her husband lost patience with the situation and divorced her. Although Ian initially tried hard, he had lived alone for too long and was too much a solitary man to be able to live comfortably with anyone, but particular with an extrovert like Ann. He seems to have married someone much like his mother. Ann had cheated with him for many years and when the marriage waters got rough, she repeated this pattern. Fleming was hurt, but the shoe was on the other foot and what could he say?

This is the secret sauce that produced James Bond. Bond is as misogynistic as Fleming himself. Although Fleming was chained to a desk during his Naval Intelligence years, Bond could explore all of Ian’s spy fantasies. Fleming was a card player and golfer and so is Bond. They shares tastes in liquor, cigarettes, food, cars, and general standard of living. Fleming mined his own life for the details of the books. Some of the best passages, in my opinion, are when he describes the natural environment, as in the diving scenes in Live and Let Die.

By and large, Fleming seems to have been a restless, unhappy man. His work during WWII seems to have been his happiest period, which is perhaps why he chose to write in the espionage genre. He self-medicated with alcohol and nicotine and escaped his life through golf and cards. He became the creepy old man at parties that young women warned each other about.

The continued interest in Bond would probably amaze him—he endured the scorn of his wife’s literary circle and the outrage of conservative reviewers and was continually considering terminating Bond. The enormous success of the books came largely after his death, although he had made enough money in his last years to be angry about the self-imposed health problems which would kill him early, preventing him from enjoying the fruits of his labour.

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review 2018-08-19 23:34
Women Heroes of World War II
Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue - Kathryn J. Atwood

I have always disliked that women are not as remembered as much as men who did the same thing as them in history. I do understand that women were not as empowered as they are today, but I also know that there had to be some awesome ladies who do awesome things. This book is abou those women during he Second World War.


I enjoyed reading this and sharing it my children. My son was really impressed by how amazing some of the women featured were and how important some of their accomplishes were. For my daughter this gave her a sort of I can do everything you can do, only better for a few days, secretly I like this, but it was slightly annoying for a few days. 


Highly recommended. Would be a great addition to any library. 

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