I Won the Ellery Adams’ September 2020 Giveaway + My Review of the First Two Books in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society Series

So two years ago, (I wasn’t kidding when I said I was behind on my posts), I won the Ellery Adams giveaway. You know me and free, I just can’t resist.

Anytime I see a giveaway I have to enter it.

So I ended up winning a copy of Solve it With Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Gripping Casebook of Stories.

I loved the Solve It book as I have always been a huge fan of Encyclopedia Brown and other mini mysteries. As I’m also a giant Sherlock Holmes fan, it was just perfect for me and I was so happy to have won it!

I also enjoyed Sherlock Holmes: A Gripping Casebook of Stories; which has the first Sherlock Holmes book (A Study in Scarlet) and fourteen other cases. Loved it!

Mystery, you say?

Ellery Adams also give me a cute I Love Mr. Darcy Bag, which you might have spotted I some other posts. It has popped up in several photos.

She also included a copy of her book, The Whispered Word (Secret, Book, & Scone Society #2).

We decided to read it for my book club, and of course as we read that one, we ended up reading the first book in the series.

The Secret, Book, & Scone Society (The Secret, Book, & Scone Society #1) by Ellery Adams

Nora Pennington has a terrible secret, and equally terrible burn scars. She moved to Miracle Springs, North Caroline to get away from it all and start her life anew. She runs a little bookshop called Miracle Books where people can come and receive bibliotherapy; books to help with whatever sadness, depression, anxiety, or other issues they are facing.

“She held up her hands. “This won’t be like a traditional counseling session where we sit down and you talk for a long period of time. You won’t need to go into detail with me. I only need a broad brushstroke—a brief glimpse into the heart of your pain. That way, I can select the right books. After that, you can start reading your way to a fresh start this evening.”

-The Secret, Book, & Scone Society (The Secret, Book, & Scone Society #1) by Ellery Adams

A businessman comes to town who is very upset and Nora recommends him getting a comfort scone from the bakery while she gathers a stack of books to help him overcomes his troubles. Before he can make his appointment with her he is found dead on the railroad tracks.

The man made a real impression on Nora and she starts investigating; being joined by three other women-Hester Winthrop, owner of the Gingerbread House bakery; Estella Sadler, owner of Magnolia Salon and Spa; and June Dixon, Miracle Springs Thermal Pools employee. None of these women want any friends, but they find themselves growing closer together and creating their own little book club, sharing their secrets along with their hopes and dreams. As they investigate into a development scheme, things turn to more troubling than they originally thought with one of the book club members getting arrested. Will the ladies be able to discover the truth and save their friend? Or will things turn deadly.

All those in our book club really enjoyed the book and the way that Adams incorporated all these twists and turns in the mystery. We also loved the characters, each of them were very unique but also very real; reminding you of people you know or people you have met.

As this was an indie author, our group had a few questions and reached out to her. She very kindly responded to them.

Me: Hello, my book club is reading your first book and we had a couple questions for you: Where did you get the idea of the comfort scone? Had someone ever made that for you? And the different secrets the ladies have, how did you come up with them? Did you know people who had experienced similar traumas? Was there anyone you knew that had suffered burns?

Adams: I witnessed a terrible burn incident at a county fair about a year before I started writing this book. She was a beautiful young woman and I couldn’t stop thinking about her. After that, I did lots of research on burn victims.

Adams: As for the womens’ pasts, I knew women with similar secrets. I was in a Bible study group with about 30 women for years and the women were of all ages and backgrounds. I heard all kinds of stories during that time but never repeat anything exactly out of respect for them.

Adams: The comfort scone just popped in my head 😊

Me: We loved the comfort scone and all those scenes. What about the bibliotherapy? Is that something you did or someone did for you?

Adams: I feel like all book lovers do it—we offer certain books to certain people, knowing they’re a good match. I’ve done that for years, but like Nora, I’m not trained in the practice and haven’t had a session myself.

Me: Thank you so much for taking time to answer our questions. 😊

The Whispered Word (The Secret, Book, & Scone Society #2) by Ellery Adams

In book two, Nora and the woman have formed a strong bond and are ready to handle anything…that is until an injured, emaciated woman shows up in the bookstore. The woman want to help this “Abilene Tyler”, but it’s hard when they know so little about her and she’s not sharing anything. To further complicate things a woman all disliked turns up dead, presumed suicide; however Nora feels it is murder. And even though the woman was unpleasant in life, Nora still plains to honor her.

The ladies are not sure if they can trust the new sheriff, and end up on the case, although when it turns out that Abilene might have a connection to the murder, will their group grow closer or split apart?

Hmm…

And if that wasn’t enough on the ladies’ plate, a new business rolled into town that seems too good to be true. Many of their friends and neighbors are falling victim to the scheme and these ladies are doing all they can to stop them.

Will the ladies be able to handle this mystery as well? Or will this be their final case?

We also all really liked this book as we saw the characters continue to grow and trust each other from the previous one. I really enjoyed that the characters wanted to help this stranger, as they could see she was in need of it, but at the same time were still cautious. I read another book, Patterns in the Sand (A Seaside Knitters Mystery #2) by Sally Goldenbaum, where something similar happened and I did not care for it at all. In Patterns in the Sand all the women instantly trust this stranger found in the shop and defend her innocence because she is a “talented artist”. This was super annoying as a reader. I think Adams did it better by having the women want to help, they could see she fled a troubling situation, but were also hesitant as they don’t know her or anything about her past.

We also loved the solution to the mystery, one we all did not see coming at all. I read so many mysteries, but this solution was right in front of my face and I was completely blind to it. Very well written.

If you enjoy mysteries and are a book lover, you should definitely give her books a read.

For more giveaway reviews, go to I Won the Tea and Me Blog & Harts of America Giveaway

For more on Sherlock Holmes, go to I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

For more mysteries, go to Jane Austen Children’s Stories: Northanger Abbey

I Won the Tea and Me Blog & Harts of America Giveaway

So two years ago, (I wasn’t kidding when I said I was behind on my posts), I won the Tea and Me Blog & Harts of America giveaway. You know me and free, I just can’t resist.

Anytime I see a giveaway I have to enter it.

So I ended up winning a bag of Pacific Spearmint and Sleepynight Extra Strength Tea

Harts of America is such a cute company. When you open the package of your tea, each bag of loose leaf has a cute little postcard, which not only discusses the ingredients of the tea but has a little romantic meet-cute that has been shared by fans of the tea. So romantic and sweet!

Soooo cute!!!!

I tried the Pacific Spearmint right away, but even through it was delicious, something in the ingredients activated my allergies and I couldn’t continue to drink it. I believe I am allergic to spearmint as I love mint it never seems to bother me.

However, my niece absolutely adored it and I ended up giving the tea to her.

Pacific spearmint tea and Anne of green gables
Pacific Spearmint Tea and Anne of Green Gables

Now the Sleepytime tea, that was a different story. I have suffered from insomnia for years and nothing has helped. I can’t take most medications as I’m really sensitive to them and always experience the side effects. I have tried all kinds of different teas, habits, etc.; but nothing has helped. The only thing that has worked is this amazing tea! Every time I am struggling with sleep, I drink it and it helps.

Because I love this Sleepytime Extra Strength tea I have shared it with friends and family, converting one of my friends into becoming a serious customer of Harts of America. She recently shared a Chamomile Mint she had just ordered and it was delicious.

Sleepynight Extra Strength Tea

This company has absolutely wonderful tea and I highly I recommend it. Every order has free shipping, it’s reasonably priced (on average $4-$5 a bag), and they have a variety of caffeinated and non-caffeinated tea.

And again, if you too have any issues sleeping or troubles with insomnia i cannot stress enough to check out Extra Strength Sleepytime Tea. You won’t be sorry!

For more giveaway posts, go to I Won the BookNookMajorieMaeShop Giveaway

For more tea posts, go to Spill the Tea: Tea Bar and Fusion Café Review

A few years back I was given a collection of five teas, A World of Teas. As I was about to try them out, I started thinking: which books would best suit these teas? After all, nothing goes together better than a good book and a delicious cup of tea.

Since then I try my best to repeat it whenever I review new teas. 🙂

Let’s spill the tea.

Tea #1: Pacific Spearmint

Pacific Spearmint was cool and relaxing. Spearmint is known to help with fevers and digestive disorders, and if I hadn’t been allergic to it, I definitely would have drank more of it.

As this tea is from the Northwest, I tried to find a book to match. One I enjoy reading and find to be equally enjoyable and a relaxing reread. I decided to pair it with Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

The story of Redeeming Love, is a retelling of an Old Testament book of the Bible, Hosea, but in this depiction follows a Gold Rush Era prostitute, her farmer husband, and the redeeming love God gives to all sinners. Angel has been a prostitute for as long as she can remember, hoping for the one day she can make enough to have a life where she is in charge. Michael Hosea is a Christian farmer who is baffled when God tells him Angel is the woman he should marry. After convincing her to marry him, their marriage life is not the smoothest journey as Angel has never been shown true kindness, affection, love, or caring; and Michael tries to discover a way to show it to her. Other obstacles come in their way such as doubt, jealousy, insecurity, fear, etc. before this book reaches its powerful conclusion.

This was first given to me by a friend, and I really enjoy this book and while there are serious events and traumas in it, reading it always relaxes me as I enjoy the journey to a fitting conclusion. The other reason why I pair these together, is the steadfast, relaxed, collected, and mostly even-tempered (occasionally he gets riled up) character of Michael is similar to the coolness of the spearmint.

A film of this book was just released in theaters, but I strongly recommend reading the book as all my favorite scenes and moment are not in the film.

For more on Francine Rivers, go to Book Club Picks: The Masterpiece

Tea #2: Sleepynight Extra Strength Tea

As this tea is for one who is having restless nights, I thought no better book would be suited than The Storyteller’s Daughter by Cameron Dokey.

In this adaptation of 1001 Arabian Nights, Shahrayar was betrayed by his wife and after he executed her he decides to never love or trust a woman again. Shahrayar decrees that he will marry once a month for one night only, executing his brides in the morning so they cannot betray him. If a maiden volunteers for the first month, all those who come after her will merely be imprisoned. Shahrazad, the daughter of the vizier and a famous storyteller, volunteers and comes up with a plan to try and turn Shahrazad’s heart. Every night she tells a story, but doesn’t end it, continuing the next night. But while her plan is a success at first, the family of Shahrayar’s deceased wife continue to plot to bring their destruction. Will Shahrazad save Shahrayar, or will she run out of time?

I really loved the way the characters are in this and the stories they kept, although I wish there was a few more stories in this. Something that is different about this retelling is Dokay wrote Shahrazad as blind, which I thought was interesting and helped tell this particular version of the story better. One scene I really liked is when Shahrayar is upset that Shahrazad came to be his first wife as he doesn’t want to kill a blind woman and she basically sasses him, politely, about why it should matter as he is going to kill the first wife anyway. He immediately starts feeling bad about himself. Haha.

And just how Shahrazad puts the king to sleep, this Sleepynight Extra Strength tea will help you fall asleep.

I Won the BookNookMajorieMaeShop Giveaway

So I am behind in quite a few things I’ve been meaning to post on…

From Clueless

I have a list but I just get distracted. For instance, last year BookNookMajorieMaeShop ran this giveaway last year and I haven’t posted on it yet.

Oh well…

So as you know, when I see giveaways-I just can’t resist.

As I always say:

“Free is always good unless it’s diseases.”

Anytime I see a giveaway I have to enter it. And as I loooove The Wizard of Oz, I just had to have it.

I ended up winning the fourth bookmark in the post. I thought this was cute, and of course as I upcycle items, I loved that this Wizard of Oz was getting a second life.

And of course I had to give it a little photo shoot:

 

 

This was adorable and I’m definitely eyeing a few things in her store. If interested, go check out her store.

For more giveaway reviews, go to I Won the Kumi Crochet and Tea India Giveaway

For more on The Wizard of Oz, go to Literary Tea Parties

For more bookish posts, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Secrets of the Heart

I Won the Kumi Crochet and Tea India Giveaway

So a while back Kumi Crochet and Tea India teamed up to do a giveaway-and you know me and free, I just can’t resist.

As I always say:

“Free is always good unless it is diseases.”

Anytime I see a giveaway I have to enter it.

Yes!

The crocheted cup cozy was so adorable, along with the chai coaster. I loved them, but ended up sending them to a friend who was in need of a little cheer through this whole COVID19 thing. She just loved them and they made her feel brighter.

Or disappointed life…

Right now she is on break, but will be taking orders after July 5th. If you are in need of crocheted comfort, you should check her out.

Now let’s move on to the tea. So I love tea:

I love Chai tea and was excited to try it out. I didn’t receive the tea pictured, but instead two boxes of Chai Moments Masala Chai Tea. This Chai Tea was fantastic!

The masala gave it a bit of a kick, but I loved it! It was so easy to make, you can take it on the go, as all it needed is hot water (I like to add a little milk in with mine). I felt so blessed by it, that I gave half a box to a friend who loves Chai Tea, and she thought it was amazing as well.

However, I now wish I hadn’t been so generous. I really LOVED the tea and am down to my last one!

I had so much, where did it all go?

I know I will be buying more of this soon, it is so good.

For more giveaways, go to I Won the Madsen Creations Giveaway

For more tea posts, go to Lavender Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies

For more chai tea, go to I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

So a few years back I was given a collection of five teas, A World of Teas. As I was about to try them out, I started thinking, which books would best suit the teas? After all nothing goes better together than a good book and a delicious tea. I decided to repeat it with the with other teas I have won, and since it has now become my new thing. After all, books and tea just go so well together.

Chai Moments Masala

So I was drinking this tea trying to think of a book that was comforting (like the tea), had everything you love with a kick of something new, and Indian. I then turned to finish the last chapter of my book, when it hit me-it was perfect!

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

In this Pride and Prejudice adaption, Trisha Raje is a top surgeon from a rich and powerful family. She has been separated from the family due to a past mistake, trusting someone she shouldn’t have, and is ready to rejoin the fold. In Europe, DJ Caine grew up without much and has worked hard to be a top chef. He moves to America to take care of sister Emma, she has a tumor in her eyes, and starts catering to support them. He and Trisha meet when he is working an event for her brother and it does not go well. Trisha almost ruined his sauce, they argued, she insulted him and he overheard it-thank goodness they don’t have to interact again, right? Wrong! It turns out that not only is Trisha Emma’s doctor, but when Trisha’s sister can’t continue planning the next party for their brother’s campaign-Trisha steps up and has to work alongside DJ. Things get even more troubling when Trisha’s mistake comes back and tries to wreak havoc in everyone’s lives.

This was a great book. The story takes the foundation of Pride and Prejudice but the author makes it her own in this modern adaption. It made me think of the Chai Moments Masala tea as I felt that Tea India does the same. It is a classic Chai Tea, but that masala is not only an added rich flavor, but also gives it a delicious and unique taste from other chais. The flavor of the masala also made me think of DJ and his love of cooking, blending his different cultural heritages in making his food. And the way Trisha eats all his food quickly with none being left, made me think of how I was with this tea. I definitely pulled a Trisha.

This tea also made me think of the book in the way that it comforts. In the book, DJ loves to cook, loves food, and desires to bring comfort to others through his dishes. The Chai was amazing, warming, and cheerful and something I could see the characters from Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors drinking.

It was a fantastic tea and book, and I recommend enjoying them together.

For more Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, go to Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

So a while back Cederberg Tea Company was doing a giveaway-you know me and free, I just can’t resist.

As I always say:

“Free is always good unless it is diseases.”

Anytime I see a giveaway I have to enter it.

So I commented I wanted Chai tea (as my entry) and won this package of Classic Red, Green Rooibos, Rooibos + Bourbon Vanilla, Rooibos + Chai, and Rooibos + Ginger.

Now I didn’t pay close attention when I entered the giveaway and didn’t realize it contained Rooibos in it. I avoid Rooibos after I had the one by Tea Forté, and it did not agree with me. I resolved to not drink any again, until I saw that this was Rooibos.

That’s not good.

Well I won it and needed to review it, so I decided to stop wasting time and start drinking some tea.

I drank some…and loved it!

The other one I had must have had something wrong with it or something, because these were fantastic. I expected to like the Chai, but was just blown away by the Rooibos + Bourbon Vanilla. I drank it and drank it, until I realized I only had one teabag left.

I mean you know how I feel about Earl Grey Tea:

But I was just drinking Rooibos + Bourbon Vanilla, at least until it was all gone.

The others were good too, but that one was the best!

Delicious!!!! I know I will definitely be ordering from them in the future.

For more giveaway posts, go to I Won the Madsen Creations Giveaway

For more tea posts, go to Iced Blackberry Infused Earl Grey Tea

So a few years back I was given a collection of five teas, A World of Teas. As I was about to try them out, I started thinking, which books would best suit the teas? After all nothing goes together better than a good book and a delicious tea.

And eat scones!

Since then I try my best to repeat it whenever I try out new teas. 🙂 As this is Chai teas and Rooibos, I tried to do my best to connect it with books that are set in Africa or India.

Tea #1: Classic Red

This Classic Red was a wonderful tea. It had everything you wanted in it and I enjoyed it so much I finished it before I realized it-picking up the cup to drink some more and finding it empty.

You can tell at first sip why it is a “classic”.

Around the World in 80 Days is one of my favorite books and an amazing classic. It is the story of mysterious, wealthy Phileas Fogg being bet to travel around the world in 80 days. It was to be an interesting challenge-made more so when he is mistaken to be a bank robber and followed by a detective; along with having some people try to sabotage him from winning. It has action, adventure, romance-everything you could want and more! It is a real page turner and keeps you on the edge of your seat to see if Phileas is going to make it or not!

One of my favorite parts is when they go to India and the group rescue Aouda, an Indian princess, from her dead husband’s evil relatives trying to sacrifice her so they can inherit everything. This is a great scene because in it we see Phileas change from his “mechanical” way of being (everything planned and thought out) as he steps out to help, becoming a “classic” hero. I love him and Aouda together-you know me and biracial relationships. A great book and great tea.

For more on Around the World in 80 Days, go to Happiness is Having a Library Card: Another 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

Tea #2: Green Rooibos

This tea was exactly how I expected green tea to taste, no surprises-but I mean that in a good way. It’s nice to have something and know you are going to get exactly what you want to get.

This tea made me think of Death on the Nile. Death on the Nile isn’t my favorite Agatha Christie novel as to me there wasn’t any big surprises or truly innovative or amazing characters (except Cornelia Ruth Robson). But like this tea, sometimes you want the predictable, to get exactly as you expect.

The story is of Linnet, a wealthy woman, who marries her best friend’s boyfriend, Simon Doyle. For their honeymoon they go on a trip through the Nile, and of course run into Hercule Poirot (he never gets a vacation). He sees the former best friend, Jacqueline, threaten them and they ask Poirot for help. He declines, but warns Jacqueline to stop or else she will open herself to evil. She refuses and follows the Doyles on their boat trip on the Nile, joined by 11 other interesting characters. Linnet is found dead (of course), and everything points to the two characters who could not have done it. Who could the murderer be? Poirot is on the case.

For more on Agatha Christie, go to Shame Book Tag

Tea #3: Rooibos + Bourbon Vanilla

So I thought I would like this tea, as who doesn’t love vanilla? But OMGoodness I was not prepared for how amazing this tea was. It was so delicious I just drank it and drank it and before I knew it, I had drank it all up. It was sweet, wonderful, and smelled so good.

What I felt for the tea, I felt the same way about this book. When I saw the art deco style cover, I thought I would enjoy this mystery, but I didn’t realize how much I would love it. The story is of Perveen Mistry, female Indian lawyer, in the 1920s. She is sent out to a small princely state to speak to the Dowager Maharani (grandmother) and Maharani (mother) about the young Maharaja’s schooling. She is the only one who can as the ladies are observing purdah (and cannot speak to any men not related to them). Preveen travels out there and finds things are not well in the palace. The Dowager Maharani and the Maharani are both fighting for control, the circumstances of the older brother’s death are very suspicious, and Perveen believes the young prince might be next-especially after a monkey eats her bread and dies. Will Perveen be able to figure out who is responsible in time to save the prince, or will she be next?

Not only is this an intriguing mystery, but Perveen has an interesting and heartbreaking backstory. It was fantastic and so easy to have your attention captured-and keep flipping pages to find out what happens next.

Tea #4: Rooibos + Chai

This was absolutely delicious and just what I wanted in my chai tea-spicy but not too much, sweet but the right amount-i.e everything I wanted. It was so good that after I finished the bourbon one, the chai was gone just like that “snap”.

Like the tea, The Sign of the Four has everything you could want in a Sherlock Holmes mystery. You have a beautiful woman in need (Watson notes she is very attractive [he’s in love with her]), a disappeared father, jewels, a mysterious note, a secret treasure, a peculiar mansion, a villain with a wooden leg, a puzzling death, a bloodhound, and the sign of the four.

It is an amazing mystery, Holmes and Doyle at their finest, and like I said gives you everything your could want. It also is what I believe The Great Mouse Detective was based on, so if you love that movie-you’ll love this book.

For more on Sherlock Holmes, go to Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Tea #5: Rooibos + Ginger

So I didn’t think I would like this tea as ginger tea is often too strong, but this was not overpowering but the right amount. It was enjoyable but still had a bit of a kick to it. It’s not something that I would drink all the time, but is perfect for every now and then or if I have a stomachache.

I felt this book was perfect to pair with it as it is a good story but the sam time has a “kick” to it that gets you thinking…I will actually discuss the book fully below.

So it has been over three months since I did a book club book review, I was only a few behind but then things happened and I fell behind.

 

I am 13 books behind…

I know, I know-stop looking at me like that. I just will have to try harder to catch up.

Hmmm…

Anyways…so quick recap for those who haven’t heard of my book club.

So as you all know I started a book club a few years ago, because you know me and books…

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books and need to be around others who feel the same.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time our member chose:

The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected by Nik Ripken

So as I read this book 13 months ago, I was hoping to reread it as it had been a while and I wanted to make sure I got the timeline right. So I went to the book from the library…but it turns out the person who checked it out never returned it. Called (I work in the library) and sent notices but the book has not been returned.

Seriously??????!!!!!!!!!!!

I HATE when people do that!!!!!!

I then thought I would ask the other book club member, (one member had borrowed my library book) but she lent it to a friend who never gave it back.

So I’m doing this all based on what I remember from reading this 13 months ago, hopefully this go well. Right now I apologize for anything I write that is wrong.

So the first thing that struck me about this book, was the title. “Insanity of God”? What does that mean? Why did he choose that title?

The story starts off with Nik Ripken (a pseudonym) sharing how he came to know Christ. He was a kid that loved baseball, but God took a hold of his life and set him out on a new path.

He ends up going to a Christian college and meets and marries a pastor’s daughter. After both graduate, they both feel the strong call of the mission field and when they ask to be sent out, they are asked for their qualifications. For Nik, he quotes the Great Commission.

Matthew 28:19-20

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

That part made me laugh so hard.

As Nik hadn’t been raised in church he didn’t know what exactly was being asked. They want to know his education, spiritual journey, youth mission trips, background, etc-but Nik is confident in that the Great Commission tells you to go all throughout the world and he wants to answer the call.

If he was on his own he would have been denied, but his wife knows the lingo and what is being said so they are able to be sent out. They both have a heart for Africa and get sent to Somalia in 1992.

Nik and his wife aren’t able to have a “church” but are sent with an aid group, of which they try and preach to people but find it extremely difficult. Christianity is illegal and having a church is illegal, and anyone who becomes a Christian is often taken away and never seen again. Nik and his wife really struggle with questioning what they are they doing there, is it right being here? Are they helping people?

Things get more unsettled in the country, and the Somali Civil War breaks out. His charity group requests the UN to come take action, and when they do send help, he is one of the people that helps map out the unknown areas of Somalia. I remember him describing the villages and the horror-but one really sticks in my mind. There was a village that was full of kids and had no parents and one of parents with no children, so they went and took the kids to the adults.

Also it was really hard to get the people in need the supplies as the leaders and soldiers would steal them and sell them or use them, and the people would continue to go hungry and without. War is sad and hard.

Ripken’s father didn’t care for him becoming a minister, but when Black Hawk Down came out, he was suddenly proud of his son telling all his friends that Ripken made that happen-the military going in.

The first part of the book was on his mission trip and they later were moved out of Somalia into South Africa, but were moved again. A big milestone in their life and faith was when their son grew ill and because the conditions of their home they lived in aggravated it, their son died. After this, they became heartbroken and returned to the states.

They return to the United States and teach at a bible college to young adults going out into the missions but feel really mixed up. Did they help anyone? Going through trials and tribulations every day was hard and wore them out-how do they keep people going? How do they bloom, survive, and keep going when everything is bleak, when it would be easier to give up and go home?

Ripken then goes on a quest to get this information, to speak to people who have had to go to trials and survived still praising God.

There were two incidents in the quest that really struck me, and I can’t remember their names exactly-but I remember pieces.

The first one took place in Russia. This man was jailed during the communist reign, when Christianity was outlawed and the only religion allowed was the worship of the state. He was thrown in jail-often in isolation, but the thing that kept him going was writing down the word of God. He wrote verse after verse that he remembers, helping to lock it in his brain. The beatings, isolation, lack of food, cold, etc-it was all bearable when he could get a scrap and write something down. That is what got him through.

Ripken later goes to China and their he mets several secret churches, as the church is illegal there. These Christians actually delight in getting thrown in jail or having tribulations, as they feel that is a real marker of being a Christian and consider that is when they go to “school” and recieve their “theological education”. Before anyone can be a pastor they have to have been thrown in prison.

When Ripken leaves he asks what they need and all they want is bibles, a bible. He gives them his and they take the pieces apart and hand them off to different people so they have a book to memorize, and it reminded of how they memorized books in Fahrenheit 451.

It also makes me think of how lucky we are in the United States, how many bibles are available in my home, in my parent’s home, for free, online, in a phone app, etc-and here are people begging for a page.

Wow!

The rest of the book has different stories-and I enjoyed it. It defintely made you realize how lucky you are to be in the United States and how grateful we should be for everything we have, even in the midst of COVID-19.

At the end of the book, I concluded that the insanity was not in reference to God, him being insane, but how we feel as humans. We can only comprehend so much of what God’s plan is with our tiny human brain-it seems insane, but God has a plan for us-a bigger picture.

Hmmm…

For more Book Club Picks, go to Book Club Picks: Chasing the Wind

For more Christian novels, go to Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen

For more nonfiction, go to The History of England By a Partial Prejudiced and Ignorant Historian or is Jane Austen a Precursor to Drunk History?

For more bible verses, go to Literary Tea Parties