Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Perfect Son


From a distance, Felix Fitzwilliam, the son of an old English family, is a good husband and father. But, obsessed with order and routine, he’s a prisoner to perfection. Disengaged from the emotional life of his North Carolina family, Felix has let his wife, Ella, deal with their special-needs son by herself.
A talented jewelry designer turned full-time mother, Ella is the family rock…until her heart attack shatters their carefully structured existence. Now Harry, a gifted teen grappling with the chaos of Tourette’s, confronts a world outside his parents’ control, one that tests his desire for independence.
As Harry searches for his future, and Ella adapts to the limits of her failing health, Felix struggles with his past and present roles. To prevent the family from being ripped apart, they must each bend with the inevitability of change and reinforce the ties that bind.
My Thoughts:
I am glad that I went looking for this book based upon the recommendation of a friend. The Perfect Son was a great summer read as it was captivating but not fluff. It kept my interest but didn't require deep thought.
I found the family very believable as they each struggled with the changes in their relationships. The speed at which the family adjusted was accelerated but that's only to be expected so as to not drag on a novel.
Thank you to Net Galley for providing me the opportunity to read and review this title.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?

Witty and thought provoking, two Vatican astronomers shed provocative light on some of the strange places where religion and science meet.

“Imagine if a Martian showed up, all big ears and big nose like a child’s drawing, and he asked to be baptized. How would you react?”                                      – Pope Francis, May, 2014

Pope Francis posed that question – without insisting on an answer! – to provoke deeper reflection about inclusiveness and diversity in the Church. But it's not the first time that question has been asked.
Brother Guy Consolmagno and Father Paul Mueller hear questions like that all the time. They’re scientists at the Vatican Observatory, the official astronomical research institute of the Catholic Church. In Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? they explore a variety of questions at the crossroads of faith and reason: How do you reconcile the The Big Bang with Genesis? Was the Star of Bethlehem just a pious religious story or an actual description of astronomical events? What really went down between Galileo and the Catholic Church – and why do the effects of that confrontation still reverberate to this day? Will the Universe come to an end? And… could you really baptize an extraterrestrial?
With disarming humor, Brother Guy and Father Paul explore these questions and more over the course of six days of dialogue. Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial will make you laugh, make you think, and make you reflect more deeply on science, faith, and the nature of the universe.

My Thoughts: 
I have to admit this book got lost in the shuffle of life (and my tbr book basket) for quite some time. I chose to pick this book up again during the heat of summer and found it to be much more readable than the first time I attempted. There are six chapters; each is a discussion between Brother Guy and Father Paul trying to explain the answer to readers. There is LOTS of science and theology along with humor; some is comprehensible and some is way over my head (just the science and theology; not the humor).
My favorite chapter was "What Happened to Poor Pluto?" I am one of those school children who memorized our solar system's 9 planets (My very educated mother just served us nine pizzas) and was not happy about Pluto's demotion. While I am still not happy about the situation; at least now I have a better understanding.
My least favorite chapter was the one about Galileo. It just didn't clarify things for me to understand what happened between Science and the Church. If anything, the chapter confused me even more. It may be this chapter is one I need to read again while taking notes and highlighting but that was just not something for enjoyable summer reading time.
Living in a town full of rocket scientists in the south, I know many folks that will better understand this book. I know one in particular to whom I will be passing along this book before sending to my daughter in Washington.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Journey of a Soul

     Journey of a Soul is the autobiography of Pope John XXIII, It is over 400 pages long and I'm sorry to say not my cup of tea. I tried reading this on multiple occasions but it just didn't capture my interest. The book is comprised of personal letters, spiritual notes and meditations gathered by Thomas Cahill and it's just too deep for my brain to wrap itself around.
   I imagine a more scholarly reader would enjoy this book.

 "I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."

A Worrier's Guide to the Bible


     A Worrier's Guide to the Bible: 50 Verses to Ease Anxieties written by Gary Zimak is a book for all of us since despite what Scripture teaches, many of us still fall into worry over past events, the present and most especially the future.
     When I requested this title, I expected to receive little more than a folded pamphlet but Zimak was able to take the topic of worry and find so much in scriptures to produce a book of over one hundred pages to guide us toward peace in our lives. There are eight chapters: Confusion, Despair, Doubt, Fear, Persecution, Sickness, Trials & Tribulation and The Secret Weapon. Each chapter begins with an introduction followed by multiple Scripture verses, explanations (in many ways a devotional) and finally a prayer. The reader can go from page one until the end or jump around to a specific topic that speaks to one's heart. There is something in this book for everyone.
   Although I have yet to read all the entries, I have found nuggets of wisdom in each entry I have read. I was reminded that 'the most important lesson for us is that we should always turn to the Lord in times of confusion" and that "if something is in accordance with God's will, you'll often experience a feeling of peace and contentment".
  This book is one that would be perfect to leave in a doctor's office, a hospital waiting room, or even just on a park bench. Worry is such a constant presence in our lives and we all need the reminder that we are to turn to Him at all times in all situations.

I wrote this review of A Worrier's Guide to the Bible for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Aquinas and More is the largest on-line Catholic bookstore. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

Monday, July 21, 2014

ENOUGH - Book Review and Giveaway

You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.
In a book based on her run-away blog post “Ten Things I Want to Tell Teenage Girls,” which garnered more than 2 million views in two weeks, Kate Conner calls us to action in Enough. We all have teenage girls in our lives who we love, whether it’s a sister, friend, or daughter. Kate has identified 10 things these girls need to hear today from someone who loves her.
Peppered with wit and laced with grace, Kate’s list tackles relevant issues like Facebook, emotions, drama, tanning beds, modesty, and flirtation. Woven into each chapter is a powerful message of worth that transcends age, and will touch the souls of women, young and old alike: You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.
A former youth-worker, wife to a college minister, and a young mom in her twenties, Conner stands squarely in generational gap, the perfect place from which to bridge it. Conner offers herself as a translator, helping you to speak your teenager’s language and equipping you with a fresh perspective from which to engage your teenage girl—one that may enable her to truly hear your heart (and your wisdom) for the first time since puberty.
My Thoughts:  I requested Enough as I have two teen daughters as well as one young adult daughter. Not surprising I didn't find anything I hadn't told my girls but I can see how this book could be useful to a new mom of a tween daughter. I especially liked the chapter on modesty and the approach the author took towards this topic. I was hoping that there would be more guidance on how to discuss these topics with our daughters but it was limited. I did discover that the author has written 10 Things for Teen Girls; I'm hoping the topics match. This book is an easy read and one you'll want to have your highlighter out to mark the author's gems such as: "Teach her to use modesty as a tool to pursue that which is greater: admiration, respect and love."
GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment about why you want to win a copy of Enough. For a second entry, comment with your best piece of advice to moms of teen daughters. Winner will be chosen by random drawing on August 1, 2014.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.