Monday, April 14, 2014

the sword review

"The Sword" by Bryan Litfin is a futuristic novel about a professor/guardsman, Teo, and a peasant girl, Anastasia.  The world as we know it has come to an end and a new society has begun.  With the end of technology and science, the world has back tracked a little loosing the history and religion as well.  In this novel, there is a group of gods that "rule" led by a High Priestess with an agenda.  Teo develops a fondness for Anastasia, an independent, strong woman who lives on the outskirts of known society.  When Anastasia is kidnapped Teo comes to her rescue.  Teo then starts to question the religion of his world and develops an interest in the religion of the ancients.  The people want to pray to someone and no longer trust the gods of their time.
Normally I don't read futuristic or fantasy, but I kept coming back to this one.  I kept thinking "where is this going?"  Litfin does a good job of making things clear.  There isn't any confusion as to what's going on as there can be in fantasy novels.  I especially like how though Anastasia is the damsel in distress she never becomes wimpy.  In fact she saves Teo's life more than once.  I like this book and would especially recommend it to all fantasy fans, and even a few Christian fiction fans looking for something different than the usual romance.  I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review from Beyond the Page.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

21 Days to faith

" A Life of Faith: 21 Days to Overcoming Fear and Doubt" by Shelley Hitz is a 21 day devotional guiding the reader to have more faith in God.  Each day opens with scripture and an introductory story with the writer telling a personal experience of stepping out in faith.  There is a Faith Challenge where the reader is given a homework of journal writing or discussion to meet the point of that day.  It is followed by prayer, usually told with a particular biblical person in mind.  Finally there is a Story of Faith.  This is different writers stories of their stepping out in faith.  Scripture is sprinkled throughout the entire devotion.
I like to do a devotion every morning to keep in the practice of talking to God and learning about his word.  This devotion does the job.  I especially liked how Hitz incorporated other authors in the Story of Faith to keep the devotion exciting and tell Faith through a different view.  I liked this devotion.  I recommend it for a daily exercise.  I received this e-book through www.bodyandsoulpublishing.com

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

thief review

"The Thief" by Stephanie Landsem is the second book in the Living Waters series.  It is not necessary to read book one first.  "The Thief" is the fictional telling of the story of the last year of Jesus' life in Jerusalem.  It is told through the eyes of Nissa, the sister of the blind man Jesus cured with mud.  Nissa is a thief.  Not just any thief, but the best thief in Jerusalem.  She supports herself and her brother with her earnings.  Nissa meets Longinus, a Roman centurion, and they share a love/hate relationship.  Longinus is the character of the soldier that cut Jesus' side while on the cross.
I was supposed to have read this book a couple of weeks ago, but got a little behind on my reviews.  On the day I started, our church had the blind man as the sermon and scripture reading.  Which was beneficial; I am glad I waited.  I would suggest reading the biblical story first.  It brought a lot more to the story.  This novel is told really well.  She keeps to the biblical story while still drawing the reader into the main character, Nissa.  She keeps the Nissa and Longinus to the front of the story exploring the culture and history of the time period and area.  I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bixler's Desires of my heart review

I received "Desires of my Heart: Meditation on Psalm 34:7" from the author Heather Bixler.  Each chapter includes scripture and writings from the author.  Bixler's prime desire is for another child.  However, she and her husband have already had a form of sterilization performed.  She has changed her mind and is desperate for a fourth child.  That is the desire from which this book is written.  The goal of the book is to lead the reader to trust God and to let him lead your life.  Most of this book is thoughts and scripture about this concept.  I believe she has completed this goal.
I have read Bixler before, her work tends to be personal and thorough.   Though this wasn't one of my favorites, it was still pretty good.  I would recommend it for anyone looking at a big decision in their lives.  Three and a half stars. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

emma trilogy

"Emma of Aurora" by Jane Kirkpatrick is the combined volume of the trilogy of the novels:  A Clearing in the Wild, A Tendering in the Storm, A Mending at the Edge.  As is Kirkpatrick's usual there is a feminist flavor in the Emma trilogy.  And as usual, I like it.  Emma lives with her family in a commune "cult" of sorts.  A German Colony.  They are Christians but as with most cults they really worship their leader, Wilhem, and he uses this worship to benefit himself.  Emma falls in love with Christian, the number two leader in this group.  Christians job is to go out and get converts.  Not just any converts. The kind that will benefit the group and therefore, their leader.  Christian is a bit on the wimpy side, but as they say, 'love is blind'.  The three stories are combined in this volume to follow the saga of Emma and her opinionated yet intelligent ways. Emma leaves the colony and the series follows her as she grows in her faith and matures.
I always like Kirkpatrick.  I have never read a bad one yet.  I like how not only is she historical fiction, but shows the struggle of women in time.  She shows it, they struggle, overcome, and yet is held true to their time.  I recommend all women read Kirkpatrick, if not for entertainment, but at least for gratitude that they have been born in the era that we have.  A-.  I received this book in exchange for a review from Blogging for Books.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

two are better than one review

Two are Better is a novel by Tim and Debbie Bishop who are a middle aged couple who have never married before but have always wanted to be married.  The two met and over the course of several years fell in love after becoming very good friends.  They met over the Internet in 2003 and after getting to know each other decided to meet in person which graduated into good friends and eventually into an engagement in 2010 and quickly married in the same year.  The couple planned to marry and then for their honeymoon bicycle across the United States from Pacific to Atlantic during Debbie's summer vacation from her job at school.  Tim had just retired from his job and so had plenty of free time.  Debbie was busy with end of the school year activities so Tim planned not only the wedding but also the cross country trip.  Neither however had time from their April engagement until their June wedding did not leave time to train (though both were physically very active) for their cross country trip or even to get to know their bikes and new equipment.  Tim and Jim Massey, Debbie's cousin who lived in Oregon, were putting the bikes and equipment together the night before the couple left.  They had few rules but among them were that they would attend church services on Sunday if possible.  They though that they were packing light but during the trip lightened again and forwarded the excess to their home.  They knew that their trip was in excess of 3000 miles and that they had 2 months to complete it and still get Debbie back in time to start the next school session. 

As I started reading this book I didn't think that I was going to like Tim.  Debbie had stated that she wanted to carry her share of the load during the trip but when it became evident that she would not physically be able to do this especially with the physical ailment that occurred he still did not help her even after watching her fall with the bike from exhaustion.  When her physical ailment finally became debilitating did he rescue her and transfer some of her load to his bike and they shipped some back home.  Could be that it just took him that long to figure things out.  I enjoyed the ride and it helped me to decide that I am pretty sure that I am cured from ever thinking that I should undertake that long of a trip on a bike.  I had no idea of the toll it took on the body.  I also think that their marriage benefited from having to depend on each other for most of their needs.  It is also something that must have taken a bigger chunk of money than I would have thought and that they maybe would have been better off it more would have been spent on some of their equipment or the repair of it.  This couple spent as many of their nights as possible in motels and ate in restaurants along the way so they had some hot meals not cooked over campfires which was most likely more nutritious. 

I did end up liking both characters in the book and loved the book and its adventure. It would be suitable reading for any age group that is capable of the reading level.

I won this book in a giveaway from www.interviewsandreviews.com.  (submitted by CB)

walking on water

"Water Walker" by Ted Dekker is the second book in the Outlaw Series.  "Eyes Wide Open" being the first which I have already read and reviewed.  The two books do not need to be read in order and are written in completely different styles.  Where in Eyes, I was never really sure what was going on and that added to the excitement; in Walker, I am aware and that also adds to the excitement.  The two books share characters but are not the main characters in the other book. 
In Walker, Alice is kidnapped by a man claiming to be her father.  He takes her to the compound where he lives with his wife, son, and prophet.  The "Christian" cult is portrayed as a bunch of kooks and an opportunist/scam artist.  However, the reader should keep in mind this is a Christian novel and at the same time a Dekker, so things are not always as they seem.  I loved this book.  I liked it better than the first. Dekker is a hit or miss with me and this is definitely a hit.  I received this book for free from Worthy Publishing.