Category Archives: Reading

March 2017 Book Pick Ups

The Deliberate ReaderI am so far behind in my book pick up posts that I couldn’t hope to catch up, so I just decided to start fresh by posting just last months books.

Since our move I kinda settled down on picking up anything but kindle titles and kids books. We just have less space, and I have less time for personal reading right now. Hopefully as we get more settled in and use to our new routine that will change.

For Kindle:

The Daemoniac (Dominion Mysteries Book 1)
Why I got it: Because Kat Ross is an awesome author and I want to read more of her books. Go follow her on twitter and then check out my reviews for her other books Blood of the Prophet and Queen of Chaos.

Ella Dethroned
Why I got it: You know I forgot I had picked this one up, I’m assuming it was from Instafreebie or Book Bub. It’s the prequel to a fantasy series, and has mostly 4 and 5 star reviews. It sounds exciting so I’ll give it a shot.

The Silver Skull Preview
Why I got it: This one is going up to the front of my TBR list because it sounds so intriguing. Add Steampunk, plus spies, plus a dash of fantasy and I’m am in. (I believe this copy is just a sample though, and I will probably end up buying the full book.)

ARC:

Who Counts?: 100 Sheep, 10 Coins, and 2 Sons
Why I got it: I got this children’s book through the LibraryThing early readers program. I requested it because it looked like a good childrens book about some of the parables of Jesus. However I had mixed feeling about it. Read my review here.

eARC:

The Waterfall Traveler
Why I got it: I am going to review this book for Xpresso Book Tour in May. It sounds like a good fantasy story, with rouges, fugitives, conspiracies and someone the power to travel through water. Also, the cover is just amazing.

Kids Books:

The Little Grumpy Cat that Wouldn’t (Little Golden Book)
Why I got it: I picked this up from my Goddaughter’s school book fair, partly because she loves Grumpy Cat and partly because this year is Little Golden Books 75th anniversary. And the thought of Grumpy cat in a Little golden Book is hilarious.

Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty
Why I got it: It was .99 cents at St. Vinny’s and I am a big sucker for collecting all the books in a series. Plus this gives me more to read than Bad Kitty vs. Uncle Murray: The Uproar at the front door, which is her favorite bad kitty book and therefore I have read it about 4,00 times.

Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet
Why I got it: Same reasons as above, but this one we got from the book fair.

Mary Poppins
Why I got it: .99 cent at St. Vinny’s and it a book I’ve always wanted to read. Now that my goddaughter is a little older I’ve started reading chapter books to her, like Winnie-the-Pooh and I think we’ll try Mary Poppins too.

The Shy Little Kitten (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: I remember reading this book as a Little Golden book when I was a kid. The step into reading version is just right for my goddaughter to practice her reading aloud.

Cinderella (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: A cheap thrift store pick up. And like I said before I like to collect books in a series, and we already have a bunch of Disney princess Step Into Reading titles.

The Sweetest Spring (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: Ditto what I just said, but even more so because this one is part of a series-within-a-series of Disney princess seasonal books.

Tink’s Treasure Hunt (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: Another Thrift store find, and who doesn’t love Tink?

Misc:

National Geographic Inside the Medieval World 2017
Why I got it: This is actually what I’m reading right now. I saw it on a supermarket newsstand and picked it up because I’m intrigued by the Medieval World and a century-by-century guide is a great tool for understand the pieces of history.

 

Pocket 2016: Another 881,818 words

If you’ve been a long time reader of my blog you’ve probably heard me rave about Pocket before. It’s a free book marking and reading service that allows to to book mark blogs and article for reading later across your device platforms. I use it all the time, and really prefer reading on the Pocket platform to reading on most blogs. It’s clean and easy to read and I can set the font and size to my preference.

Again in 2016 I made it into the top 5% of readers on Pocket. Reading 881,818 words or about 19 books worth. My top 3 topics were; Health, Books, and Current Events. See more in my 2016 Pocket summary.

If you like to read blogs and article online I highly recommend Pocket. It will clean up your to-read book mark list and give you one place to keep all those articles. Plus at the end of the year you’ll get your own summary and can see how much your online reading is worth.

#TreatYourShelf With Ravenswood Holiday Sale

Ravenswood is having a $.99 Holiday Sale that will last through January 1st on all their e-books.

That means you can get Rags and Ruin, the best book I’ve read in 2016 for only $.99. Read my review here.  It also means that The Quest for Merlin, another book I enjoyed from Ravenswood, is only $.99. Read that review here.

Ravenswood has a ton of great Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult (YA) and more. So check out their holiday sale and treat your shelf.

christmas-99-sale-small

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Party! (The Source of Magic: Excerpt)

I’m participating in the genreCRAVE Science Fiction and Fantasy $1200 Giveaway! They are having a party and have something really exciting things going on. First, some great Science Fiction and Fantasy books are on sale at bargain prices, and after that, a chance to enter our $1200 Gift Card Giveaway! (Plus bonus giveaway on the Facebook Event Page.) Read on for more information, but first, check out the books from our sponsors at the link below!

VIEW BOOKS FROM THE SPONSORS HERE!

The Source of Magic: A Fantasy Romance

by Cate Rowan (Excerpt)

the-source-of-magic-200x300For a moment there was quiet, and peace. Jilian couldn’t hear or move, but she could see Alvarr’s eyes, gray and deep. Then, with a tremendous roar and a jolt through every nerve, the world reappeared.

Cries of struggle buffeted her ears. She twisted toward them and Alvarr set her down, but kept her corralled in his arms, her back to his chest.

They stood in a round room of mortared stone and blazing torches, and they weren’t alone. Two men and a woman in sapphire-blue cloaks battled soldiers in black tunics slashed with red belts. Three soldiers attacked each person in blue. The blues fought awkwardly, as if unused to combat.

Jilian jerked back, knocking her spine against Alvarr’s solid form. Where am I?
The heat of his broad chest seeped through her nightgown. He leaned down to be heard above the clamor, his lips brushing her ear. “Please, send me your kyrra!”

Kyrra? Her brain scrambled for a meaning.

His left hand gripped her ribcage and he reached for her right hand.

“What are you DOING?” No, this is only a bad dream. And I’ll end it. Just as she was preparing to ram her elbow into Alvarr’s ribs and wake up in her study, a soldier hurtled toward them swinging a wooden quarterstaff.

She recoiled, slamming against Alvarr.

“Takerran!” Alvarr shouted. Green fire streaked from his raised palm to his opponent’s chest. The soldier sank in a heap and his staff clattered to the ground.

The world thinned and condensed into the soldier’s murderous sneer, frozen at the moment of the fire’s impact. The glare in his eyes iced her gut.

A dream! Wake up!

But his cruel gaze was too real—as were the frantic shouts, the acrid burn of torch-lit air, and the strong hand on her hip.

A familiar ring of light encircled their feet, and from it Alvarr yanked up a crackling wall of jade fire. It surrounded them and he twisted to his right, hauling her with him. “Rokad, look out!” he yelled to one of the cloaked men.

Jilian shoved against Alvarr’s grip, unable to budge even one powerful finger. She saw the dark-haired Rokad vault to the side, panic flooding his face. A glinting spear whistled through the air but caught only the edge of his cloak. He spun and lobbed a green fireball at his attacker, who crumpled to the ground. But he didn’t escape the second soldier, or the rope in the enemy’s hands that cut off his breath.

“Rokad!” Alvarr started toward him, dragging Jilian with him once more. The wall of fire flickered erratically.

“No, the FireRing—keep her safe!” Rokad gasped, clawing at the rope around his throat.
Jilian flinched as the butt of a sword crashed into Rokad’s temple.

Alvarr grabbed her hands. “The kyrra—hurry, send me your power!”

WHAT power? A scream pounded on her tongue, but the consequences it might bring clamped her teeth.

Within moments, the soldiers knocked out the three figures in cloaks and the sapphire mantles pooled on the stone floor. A brawny man with a red circular badge stepped forward, pulling a clear cylinder from a pouch at his waist.

A scarlet glow flared within the cylinder and the officer aimed it at Rokad. Rokad’s body paled. Even the sapphire of his cloak faded to a dull slate gray. Alvarr’s furious breath rushed across Jilian’s cheek.

Through the wall of fire, she stared in horror at Rokad’s ashen face.

Get the book!

GIVEAWAY!

Entering is easy! Directions are on the Rafflecopter, but as an overview:

  1. Subscribe to genreCRAVE and confirm your subscription when you receive the confirmation. You must confirm via the confirmation email to get entry for the $1200!
  2. Select what other newsletters you would like to join. Each newsletter = 1 entry. Enter your email to confirm. This email must match the email you used for confirmation in step 1!
  3. You may unsubscribe at any time, but reporting as Spam will get you disqualified from all future giveaways.
  4. Winner will be announced at our Facebook Party and contacted via Email. We will have other prizes at the Facebook Party as well!

NOTE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS FOR SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY FANS ONLY. IF YOU ARE NOT AN AVID READER OF THOSE GENRES, YOUR ENTRY WILL BE DISQUALIFIED. Please do not try to find a way around this. There will be other giveaways, Enter this one if you love SCIENCE FICTION and FANTASY! Thank you!

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Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Party!

I’m participating in the genreCRAVE Science Fiction and Fantasy $1200 Giveaway! They are having a party and have something really exciting things going on. First, some great Science Fiction and Fantasy books are on sale at bargain prices, and after that, a chance to enter our $1200 Gift Card Giveaway! (Plus bonus giveaway on the Facebook Event Page.) Read on for more information, but first, check out the books from our sponsors at the link below!

VIEW BOOKS FROM THE SPONSORS HERE!

Here are a couple of sneak peeks! (Click on a cover to read an excerpt)

rebels-honor-188x300   lord-of-the-black-land-200x300   shadows-for-princess-194x300

GIVEAWAY!

Entering is easy! Directions are on the Rafflecopter, but as an overview:

  1. Subscribe to genreCRAVE and confirm your subscription when you receive the confirmation. You must confirm via the confirmation email to get entry for the $1200!
  2. Select what other newsletters you would like to join. Each newsletter = 1 entry. Enter your email to confirm. This email must match the email you used for confirmation in step 1!
  3. You may unsubscribe at any time, but reporting as Spam will get you disqualified from all future giveaways.
  4. Winner will be announced at our Facebook Party and contacted via Email. We will have other prizes at the Facebook Party as well!

NOTE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS FOR SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY FANS ONLY. IF YOU ARE NOT AN AVID READER OF THOSE GENRES, YOUR ENTRY WILL BE DISQUALIFIED. Please do not try to find a way around this. There will be other giveaways, Enter this one if you love SCIENCE FICTION and FANTASY! Thank you!

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Books That Shaped America

booksthatshapedamericaThe Library of Congress, the world’s largest repository of knowledge and information, began a multiyear “Celebration of the Book” with an exhibition on “Books That Shaped America.”

“This list is a starting point,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “It is not a register of the ‘best’ American books – although many of them fit that description. Rather, the list is intended to spark a national conversation on books written by Americans that have influenced our lives, whether they appear on this initial list or not.”

Here is the list. I had no idea going into this how many books I might have read, but I am always interested in book lists, especially if they come from a place like the Library of Congress. It’s neat to see how many books in a given collection you’ve read. However, this list is not a goal list for me, like my Newbery book list is. This is simply a fun exercise.

I am surprised that the Constitution and Declaration of Independence is not on this list (possibly because they are not technically “books”?)

I’ve read 7. Read marked in blue. On the To-read shelf marked in green. Have no intention of ever reading.

How many have you read? Leave me a comment to let me know.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn -Mark Twain 1884
Alcoholics Anonymous – anonymous 1939
American Cookery – Amelia Simmons 1796
The American Woman’s Home – Catharine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe 1869
And the Band Played On – Randy Shilts 1987
Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand 1957
The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Malcolm X and Alex Haley 1965
Beloved – Toni Morrison 1987
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee – Dee Brown 1970
The Call of the Wild -Jack London 1903
The Cat in the Hat – Dr. Seuss 1957
Catch-22 – Joseph Heller 1961
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger 1951
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White 1952
Common Sense – Thomas Paine 1776
The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care – Benjamin Spock 1946
Cosmos – Carl Sagan 1980
A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible – anonymous 1788
The Double Helix – James D. Watson 1968
The Education of Henry Adams – Henry Adams 1907
Experiments and Observations on Electricity – Benjamin Franklin 1751
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury 1953
Family Limitation – Margaret Sanger 1914
The Federalist – anonymous 1787
The Feminine Mystique – Betty Friedan 1963
The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin 1963
For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway 1940
Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell 1936
Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown 1947
A Grammatical Institute of the English Language – Noah Webster 1783
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck 1939
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald 1925
Harriet, the Moses of Her People – Sarah H. Bradford 1901
The History of Standard Oil – Ida Tarbell 1904
History of the Expedition Under the Command of the Captains Lewis and Clark – Meriwether Lewis 1814
How the Other Half Lives – Jacob Riis 1890
How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie 1936
Howl – Allen Ginsberg 1956
The Iceman Cometh – Eugene O’Neill 1946
Idaho: A Guide in Word and Pictures – Federal Writers’ Project 1937
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote 1966
Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison 1952
Joy of Cooking – Irma Rombauer 1931
The Jungle – Upton Sinclair 1906
Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman 1855
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving 1820
Little Women, or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy – Louisa May Alcott 1868
Mark, the Match Boy – Horatio Alger Jr. 1869
McGuffey’s Newly Revised Eclectic Primer – William Holmes McGuffey 1836
Moby-Dick; or The Whale – Herman Melville 1851
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass – Frederick Douglass 1845
Native Son – Richard Wright 1940
New England Primer – anonymous 1803
New Hampshire – Robert Frost 1923
On the Road – Jack Kerouac 1957
Our Bodies, Ourselves – Boston Women’s Health Book Collective 1971
Our Town: A Play – Thornton Wilder 1938
Peter Parley’s Universal History – Samuel Goodrich 1837
Poems – Emily Dickinson 1890
Poor Richard Improved and The Way to Wealth – Benjamin Franklin 1758
Pragmatism – William James 1907
The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin – LL.D. Benjamin Franklin 1793
The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane 1895
Red Harvest – Dashiell Hammett 1929
Riders of the Purple Sage – Zane Grey 1912
The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne 1850
Sexual Behavior in the Human Male – Alfred C. Kinsey 1948
Silent Spring – Rachel Carson 1962
The Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats 1962
The Souls of Black Folk – W.E.B. Du Bois 1903
The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner 1929
Spring and All William – Carlos Williams 1923
Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert A. Heinlein 1961
A Street in Bronzeville – Gwendolyn Brooks 1945
A Streetcar Named Desire – Tennessee Williams 1947
A Survey of the Roads of the United States of America – Christopher Colles 1789
Tarzan of the Apes – Edgar Rice Burroughs 1914
Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston 1937
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee 1960
A Treasury of American Folklore – Benjamin A. Botkin 1944
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith 1943
Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe 1852
Unsafe at Any Speed – Ralph Nader 1965
Walden; or Life in the Woods – Henry David Thoreau 1854
The Weary Blues – Langston Hughes 1925
Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak 1963
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum 1900
The Words of Cesar Chavez – Cesar Chavez 2002

Review: Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?

Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: How the Famous Sell Us Elixirs of Health, Beauty & Happiness
by Timothy Caulfield
Pages: 272
Date Finished: 6/4/16

Book Reviews- Liked it Alot Liked It A Lot

Early Reviewers

  • I received this book free from the LibraryThing early reviewers group in exchange for my honest option.

LibraryThing picked the perfect book for me. I took to twitter as soon as I found out I’d been chosen to receive one. I had already been following the buzz about this book through various page I follow, like We Love GMOs and Vaccines.

 

The first part of the book is about the author experiencing the health and beauty routines that celebrities like Gwyneth endorse and sell. He tried a detox and a skin care routine, went to a spa, interviewed a plastic surgeon, and spent a year reading People magazine… seriously the whole thing, every issue, for a year (thanks for taking one for the team dude, because People magazine is hurl inducing for me.)

I have to admit that the first part of this book was 100% confirmation bias for me. Basically everything he said I could totally agree with. I flew through the first part, reading it very quickly. He sums it up very well:

“The bulk of health and beauty products and recommendations peddled by or through celebrities are either useless or harmful or both. They may also divert millions of individuals from engaging in the simple and evidence-based steps necessary to live in a health-promoting manner.” pg 208

The second part was much slower, and the reason the books get a “Liked It A Lot” instead of a “Loved It.” I just wasn’t as interested in his debunking of the quest for celebrity. He didn’t need to write four chapters on it to tell me the odds are pretty much impossible, and that life as a celebrity isn’t all its cracked up to be.

“Belief in celebrity success is built on a foundation of lies, illusions and empty exhortations of the reach-for-the-stars variety. The chances of making it celebrity big in any kind of celebrity-oriented career hovers near zero.” pg 208

Bottom Line:

The first part of this book is absolutely spot-on and if you are a science geek like me you’ll speed through it. The second part was interesting to me only because of the sociological implications. I don’t really want to become famous, and don’t know very many people who have that set as their goal so it didn’t have much of a personal impact. However, I know A TON of people who listen to celebrities on topics like diet, detox and vaccines.

Review: Sorting the Beef from the Bull

Sorting the Beef from the Bull: The Science of Food Fraud Forensics
by Richard Evershed and Nicola Temple
Pages: 320
Date Finished: 5/25/15

Book Reviews - Loved ItLoved It

I got this book from our local library because food safety is an issue that interests me. Coming from a farm family I have a natural interest in issues revolving around agriculture and food. At different points along the way I’ve even thought about being a food and ag scientist. Certainly some of the people I most admire fit that bill (Norman Borlaug and Kevin Folta.)

Sorting the Beef from the Bull is about a part of food science that I hadn’t really thought much about- food fraud. It takes on the tricks that fraudsters use to adulterate, fake or mislabel foods and the science used to sort the real thing from the fake. It also delves into the history of food fraud and the societal settings that allow fraud to happen.

You can take this book one of two ways. First you can get really grossed out, worried and paranoid about your food. After all this book covers a multitude of scams that have caused people to get sick because of the adulteration’s. Plus you’ll find out about things like plastic in rice and rodent hairs in spices and rotten meat being disguised and sold. It is disgusting, and I do not recommend reading this right before a meal.

You COULD read this book and decide that you have to move to some sort of commune and grow/raise all your own food.

However, that is certainly not what the authors are going for. Which brings me to the second way you can take all of the info in the book, you can embrace the science AND be a more educated consumer. My two biggest take-aways were that science is getting better all the time at being able to detect problems with our food and that you get what you pay for.

Most of the food fraud is driven by greed, often preying on those looking for a deal. Over and over again the scams were a deal that was “too good to be true.” Olive oil being sold door-to-door in Spain was a really good deal until it sent thousands to the hospital. Baby formula in China was half the price of the normal brands, it turned out to have melamine in it. There are lots of examples like this in the book. But more so, there is in-depth descriptions of the science behind keeping our food safe and detecting frauds.

They do use lots of big science-y words in the book,  which could cause some readers to gloss over the good news (science is catching the bad guys) and just focus on the bad. I hope you won’t do that.

Science is awesome! This book proves that. From DNA databases, to electronic noses and tongues, to tools to flag items that may become vulnerable to fraud this book is filled with exciting advances. Behind the headlines of the food scandals are scientists and others hard at work to keep our food safe.

Bottom Line:

I really enjoyed this book. You’ll enjoy it too if the science doesn’t bog you down and you don’t focus too much on the gross-out factor.

2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge | #2016TBRPile

2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge Guidelines

  1. The challenged will run from January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016. The sign up link will remain open until November 30, 2016 at 12:00pm.
  2. Anyone can enter! You don’t have to be a blogger, just as long as you review the book you’ve read. You can review on your book on your blog, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc.
  3. Any genre, length, or format of book counts as long as it is a book that’s been sitting on your self for some time. Short stories and novellas do count! The only stipulations that the book must have been released in 2015 or earlier. No 2016 ARCs or 2016 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed.
  4. On the last Monday of every other month (see schedule below), we will post a wrap-up for the previous two months. These posts will be done by one our bloggers and will contain new linky for you to add your own wrap-up posts or reviews.
  5. You don’t have to follow Bookish to join the challenge, but you do have to follow us to be entered in the giveaways.
  6. Use #2016TBRPile to keep in contact with fellow challenge participants, to encourage each other on, and make new friends!
How many books are you planning to read for this challenge?
1-10 A Firm Handshake
11-20 A Friendly Hug
21-30 First Kiss
31-40 Sweet Summer Fling
41-50 Could This Be Love?
50+ Married with Children

I have a lot of TBR book sitting on my shelves (two bookshelves full.) I will be updating this list through out 2016 as I finish reading books off the shelf. (No pick-ups from 2016 will count, even if it’s an older title.)

Thanks to Jessica at A Great Read for introducing me to this challenge.

2016 TBR Pile Reads

  1. Prilla and the Butterfly Lie
  2. Seeing Redd (The Looking Glass Wars, #2)
  3. The Iron Ring
  4. Lord Foulgrins Letters

What’s on My Nightstand

Whats on My NightstandAfter reading this blog  What’s on My Nightstand? | Karen Barnett {Plus a Giveaway!} by my friend Karen Barnett I decided to try my hand at a similar blog myself. I actually have two bookcases, overflowing with my to-read books. One of the rules in our house is that before it finds a permanent spot one of us (my husband or I) have to read it. Well since we seem to not be able to stop buying more books this leads to a big stack up of to-read material.

Here’s what’s currently on my nightstand:

My Kindle, I keep my kindle close at hand even when I’m not currently reading any Kindle titles.

I picked up Sorting the Beef from the Bull, from our local library. My goal is to finish it by the library board meeting this coming Tues. Our board approves a selection of science, religious and educational titles each month as part of a legacy gift that was given to the library, this book was one of those selections.

I’ve been working my way through, Lord Foulgrins Letter. The problem is that the book doesn’t make very good night time reading because it is very dark and serious in parts. The parts of the book with the characters are compelling but very short compared to the letters from Lord Foulgrin. The letter are basically about how Satan wants to destroy people’s lives, not exactly what I want to read before I go to sleep.

50 Literature Ideas you really need to know, is a book that I have been slowly digesting for a while. Its a great book for understanding the types of literature you read, but it’s like a textbook-lite so its not a speed reading sort of thing.

I have a goal to read all of the Newbery Award books and last year I began, Onion John. The problem is that I don’t really find it compelling or interesting so I pretty much abandoned it. I’m going to have to finish it eventually though to complete my Newbery goal.

And finally Forgiven and Set Free, is a Bible study my mom suggested to me. It’s about recovering from abortion, but is really good for understanding the grief that losing a child (abortion, miscarriage, still-birth) causes a women. I started reading it because I was interested in women’s ministry and understanding this complex issue is helpful in ministry.