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Monday, November 25, 2013

"The Smart Woman's Guide to Planning for Retirement" by Mary Hunt

Well written with well-divided chapters, this book is a great reference for women of all ages.  Despite the title, the basic principles also apply to men as well.  From saving for the future to paying off debt, this book gives plenty of tips.  What's great is that several financial options and perspectives are given so the reader can pick what works best for them.  Additionally, there is glossary in the back for financial terms that will come in handy.  There are plenty of referenced websites, banks, and financial institutions.  While this book is not too technically deep, there are some formulas and tables thrown in.  This is a quick reference that will make saving for retirement seem manageable and not daunting.

"An Elegant Solution" by Paul Robertson

Set in the time of Euler and Bernoulli, this book follows the complex life of intellectuals.  As each character vies for a spot in the Basel University, sparks fly.  Things get even more intense as murder and the plague emerge.  Is a professor killed so his job is open, or was he merely a victim of the plague?  Such questions abound.  The writing style of Robertson really puts readers back in time.  The problem is that modern readers are not used to the style.  This book is a great read, but it is a slow read.  The old style of speaking can be choppy and takes some time.  Still, there are nice intricacies in this story that make it interesting.  Architecture, theology, trade work, societal norms, fashion, and more are discussed.  The way mathematics and physics ties in is fascinating.  There is enough detail to follow along but not so much detail as to confuse readers.

Monday, November 11, 2013

"A Million Little Ways" by Emily P. Freeman

This book is short and all about how to bring out your inner artist.  There are some religious undertones inserted throughout.  All in all, the author encourages readers to find what they enjoy doing and keep doing it.  Childhood dreams and fears are challenged as Freeman relates anecdotes both from her life and others lives as well.  I am not going to lie and say this book is one of its kind because it isn't.  There are plenty of self-help books on discovering your passion.  This isn't even the first one with Christian undertones.  However, for those that like Freeman's writing style, this book hits home and delivers.  While this book can be for any readers, it definitely feels as though it is geared more towards women.  Also, this is just me, but I felt a bit of housewife undertones.  There is nothing wrong with that, but I'm just pointing out how I perceived the book audience to book.  Prepare to look back, look inward, and look forward as you continue to discover more of yourself.  Have a little fun and let your inner artist come out.    

Sunday, November 3, 2013

"Martyr's Fire" by Sigmund Brouwer

I want to preface this review by saying that I am a bit biased when it comes to Brouwer's books.  He is one of my all-time favorite authors, and he has yet to let me down in his literary endeavors.  This book is no exception.  The style with which Brouwer writes keeps you turning the pages, holding onto the plot until it slips out from underneath you like a rug.  This book is the third in a series about a ruler in Magnus.  His empire rises and falls as a new band of Druids posing as priests of the Holy Grail sway the public opinion with carefully crafted "miracles."  Literally running for his life, the protagonist Thomas is constantly wondering who is friend and who is foe.  Katherine is following Thomas in his flight.  At times, both perceive the other as the enemy.  Yet, both are hiding a love for the other.  Matters are complicated as Isabelle--another character who is seen as a potential foe--hides her own love for Thomas.  I also enjoy how Brouwer intertwines romance in his novels that is sweet but not graphic.  The twists and turns in the story will captivate readers.  While I have not read the first two books in this series, I managed to follow along without any problems.  The only complaint I have is that the back cover speaks of the characters venturing to the Holy Land of Jerusalem while the book only covers this on the last few chapters of the book before ending.  I suppose I'll just have to read the next book to find out what happens next.  ;)