Category Archives: Christian

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Hometown Legend, by Jerry B. Jenkins

Hometown Legend

Hometown Legend

This novel by the New York Times bestselling co-author of the “Left Behind” series is an interesting read.  I picked it up at a donated book sale at the public library about a year ago, during a break between safety ergonomic classes I was teaching to co-workers in the library’s lecture hall.  I recognized the author, and thought it might be a good read some day in the future.

So, it sat on my bookshelf in the dining room until a few weeks ago, when I remembered that there were a few unread fiction books I had tucked away until a day off.

I seldom read fiction, although I am repeatedly admonished by those closest to me to “lighten up” or “chill” a little more often, and to seriously attempt being less serious!  I was the child who truly read through the dictory and encyclopedia, crossed legged on the floor in front of the book shelves and engrossed for hours at a time.  As I grew into my career, technical journals, software user guides, management literature and law books replaced the encyclopedia.

One of those wise people who periodically remind me of the effort-worthy goal of pursuing more amusing reading is the Obsessive Bookworm, who knows me only too well!  She laughs at my excessiveness and can even get me to laugh at myself now and then, too.  (But then, again, who is she to talk about excessive, obsessive behavior, anyway?)

REading

What I hoped it would be

After the recent death of a family member, I was seriously looking for something not so serious to do while I was sitting around during my bereavement leave, in between dealing with his end-of-life affairs.  I needed a light, pleasant read to give me some emotional balance and to divert my mind temporarily from the soberness of the week.  Remembering this book, I pulled it off the shelf, poured a cup of coffee and dove into the welcome diversion.

This book was every thing that I hoped it would be, and exactly what I needed at just the right time.  An absorbing and believable tale centering around a small town football team, its long-time coaching legend, and the football manufacturing company that helped feed the community economy.  The well-painted complex personalities and relationships made the story engaging, depicting business and global competition for quality goods “made in America” made the story relevant.

hometown_new_poster

Available as a 2002 DVD Movie

Carrying me away into the lives of a circle of people who were struggling to establish their faith through threats against the future livelihood of their town, my heart was warmed and challenged.  Reading this book felt like the author was actually biographing his personal hero to his readers, and artfully sharing the secrets of a great man’s faith and quiet, unpublished personal heroism.  He showed the strengths and shortcomings, and revealed the inner conflicts and tough choices small businessmen often face.  The hero of the story is human and flawed, and that made it more realistic.

This book touched me unexpectedly as I saw the all-too-close parallel to the experiences I have faced in recent years, as a government manager trying to balance budgets and preserve the jobs of my staff.  I experienced this book personally, and was encouraged by the reminders to walk by faith through uncertain times, and to believe in God’s goodness through seemingly unacceptable circumstances.

The plot takes an unexpected leap that keeps the story engaging to the last page.  This is one of those stories you wish would have a few more chapters before getting to the back cover.

This book was an unexpected blessing, and I would recommend getting it new if you see it, or buying used online at Amazon.com.

Rating

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Children’s Book Review: Nick and Tesla’s Secret Agent Gadget Battle

Book: Nick and Tesla’s Secret Agent Gadget Battle

Authors Bob Pflugfelder and Steven Hockensmith

Recommend: Definitely! Great for the young readers in your life…

So I got this book as an advanced reader copy after having reviewed the first two books in the series. I was happy to get my hands on this one, which i addition to the first two books have been passed on to my nephews.

These books again follow the adventures of the twins, this time both the twins and their uncle are being spied on and they must figure out what is going on before it is too late! I love the readability of these books for young kids and the way they make science look fun and interesting not only for the future but for things they can do now. I love this simple but fun way to integrate science into reading. It is a great example of cross-curricular material. This week, I gave the most recent book to my sister-in-law and she commented on how she was thinking about using it for homeschooling and that she liked the fact that the books seemed to stick to physics and engineering without diving into more controversial subjects, like evolution.

The idea of using fiction as a vehicle to science is a great one and after being inspired by my sister-in-laws’ comments, I just might have to show these to the teachers at my school.

Definitely worth the time to read and a great way to find a learning activity that your child will want to do with you.

Final Rating:

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Buy it new 🙂

 

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Book Review: Crazy Love

Book: Crazy Love

Author: Francis Chan

Recommend: Definitely worth a read…

What does loving God really mean? What does it really look like to truly love God? These are the central questions in Francis Chan’s book, Crazy Love. If you are looking for something new to read through to convict and inspire you to live a more God-centered life, this book will definitely challenge you to look at where you really are. Not comparing yourself to the Christians around you, but comparing yourself to the Biblical ideal of what loving God actually is. I definitely feel like I was challenged by this book to look again at my life and see if I am really someone who is loving God or someone who is acting out of fear and obligation.

I have a feeling I’ll be reading this one more than once.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: That Hideous Strength

Book: That Hideous Strength

Author: C.S. Lewis

Recommend: This feels very different from the first two. I think the only people who are going to like this one are die-hard Lewis fans.

After the first two books, I was expecting another planet and another strange experience. What I got was a conflict on earth between two different groups, trying to control the world. In the middle of the mess is a married couple, one on each side of the conflict. Ransom makes his appearance again, this time as a Pendragon, with the appearance of Merlin. This twist of plot felt very much like he had been spending far too much time with his friend Tolkien and had lost his science fiction focus.

I think the problem with this series in general, and the reason it is not more popular is that Lewis spends far too much time on philosophy and too little time on the action. The impact of the action is lost within the rhetoric. While I typically enjoy Lewis and his writing, this trilogy just wasn’t an engaging read for me.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Perelandra

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Book: Perelandra

Author: C.S. Lewis

Recommend: Not as good as the first one…

Right after finishing Out of the Silent Planet, I dove straight into the second book in the trilogy, Perelandra. In this second book, Ransom is sent to Venus to save them from a great evil as their world is in its infancy.Ransom ends up facing the shell of a former foe as he tries to guide the young queen into following him instead of the charismatic un-man.

While this book was a continuation of the first book, it was lacking something. This was a very heady novel and it made it hard to read. Lewis had a hard time describing a lot of things in this book and it just doesn’t seem to meet the same level as the rest of Lewis’ writing.

I’m kind of nervous to tackle the next book in the series at this point after the slow snail pace of the last one.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Out of the Silent Planet

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Book: Out of the Silent Planet

Author: C.S. Lewis

Recommend: If you are a fan of older science fiction or enjoy the work of C.S. Lewis, you’ll enjoy this book, the start of a trilogy.

I’ve read a lot of C.S. Lewis in my time. I have heard many songs that quote this series. I can’t even remember how long these books have been on my to-read list. Finally, I got my hands on all three of them for free and started in with book one. I was expecting something similar to his other works and wasn’t disappointed.

Ransom is walking through the British countryside, trying to find a place to spend the night when he happens upon an old college acquaintance who drugs him and places him on a space ship taking him to Mars where he evades his captors and makes his own journey through the planet, meeting the various intelligent life forms there.

This is definitely a different style of writing than what I usually read. It was interesting but I wanted to connect with the characters more than I did. This was all about discovering a new place, not about getting to know someone, which just isn’t my favorite kind of reading. I definitely will be reading the next two books but I don’t see this series ever coming close to my love for some of his other books like The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, or The Chronicles of Narnia.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: The Fiddler

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Book: The Fiddler

Author: Beverly Lewis

Recommend: If you are looking for an easy, enjoyable read.

Beverly Lewis is one of those authors that I’m reluctant to mention as someone I really enjoy. Her books are just simply not my normal fare. If you were to ask people who know me well, they might be surprised since I tend to shy away from Christian romance novels in any shape or form. However from the time my gram (my dad’s mom) handed me The Shunning, I’ve been hooked. When I saw that the newest book was about a musician, there was no way I could stay away.

Amelia is an amazing violinist who leads a double life as Amy, a fiddle player (yes, there is a huge difference). When she gets a flat tire coming back from a concert, she ends up quite literally on the doorstep of a young man named Michael who, despite being 25, hasn’t decided what life he wants to live.

I really enjoyed this sweet, fluffy book. I would classify this as book candy. A sweet light confection of a book that is a breath of fresh air after reading more heavy literature. While the story is a bit predictable, it doesn’t take away from the pleasure of it. Sometimes it’s nice to know what’s going to happen in the end.

For my friends and readers out there who enjoy this kind of read, this one is definitely worth the time.

Final Rating:

Get it used…

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Book Review: Weak and Loved

Book: Weak and Loved

Author: Emily Cook

Recommend: What a tough but amazing journey for this family (and the reader).

I was approached by this author who asked me to review her book. I was a bit nervous about it honestly but decided that reading something by a Christian author, even it if wasn’t that good, was never a bad plan. So I agreed. I’m so glad I did.

Confessions: This author has an amazing blog about her journey. I took a cursory glance at it but didn’t realize what it was about. The book request came in while I was sick, in quite a bit of pain, and on medication. When I got better, I really wasn’t sure what the book was about except I remember something about a health struggle with her daughter.

When I got into it and realized that it was about her daughter’s epilepsy, I was immediately pulled in because I know what living with someone with epilepsy is like. My dad is epileptic. One of my earliest memories is calling 911 because dad was in the middle of a seizure (although his are a different variety than the author’s daughter). While I haven’t personally experienced an epileptic seizure, I definitely know what it is like to feel powerless while a loved one’s brain goes haywire and causes their body to shutdown.

While the topic was immediately interesting to me, what stands out most with this book is her honest discussion about how her faith was tested, shaped and strengthened through the difficulties of the situation. She definitely made me think about how we deal with difficulties in our lives and reminded me that in tough circumstances that it is not enough to know that God won’t give you more than you can handle but to remember that the only way you can handle it is through his strength.

We all have difficult things to overcome and this author helped me remember that God has it. The strength is his – not ours.

For further reading, her blog can be found at http://www.weakandloved.com/. Hurray for three years of freedom from seizures for this little one!!

*The ebook will be available on kindle for free from July 15-19th!!

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

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Filed under 2012, Christian, Healthcare, non fiction, Review, Summer book challenge

Book Review: Threat of Darkness

Book: Threat of Darkness

Author: Valerie Hansen

Recommend: It’s a quick, light, fun read. Would be great beach reading material.

I got this one through netgalley, a great site for advanced reader eBooks. I was honestly a bit nervous about reading this one. ARCs can be great but this one was a Christian romance put out by Harlequin. I really didn’t keep my hopes up. I thought it would be something I would struggle through. Instead, I found it to be a fun, clean and fast-paced read.

Samantha is a nurse in the small town she grew up in. After surviving a childhood of abuse, she now spends her spare time protecting abused children. Her life completely changes the day a drug addict brings in a little boy who found his stash. After pulling a gun on the staff, a cop walked in that was all too familiar. The one person Samantha had counted on never seeing again.

This is a classic damsel in distress with the return of an old flame formula, with a Christian perspective. I was somewhat concerned because this publisher is known for its adult material and yet, this book was a simple romance with zero inappropriateness. It was a fun light read. This book is part of the Love Inspired series, a Christian set of romance books. While this book was nothing to write home about, it was a pleasant use of a couple of hours. This would make great beach reading. Something you can enjoy without getting completely sucked into. I think this series of books might be something to keep in mind when I am looking for a light, fluffy read.

Final Rating:

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Filed under 2012, Christian, Review, romance, Summer book challenge

Book Review: SURFING FOR GOD

Today’s Post was written by a guest blogger, Seeker of Light who volunteered to review this ARC from Booksneeze for my blog! Thank you so much Seeker!       ~   The Book Worm

Book: SURFING FOR GOD

Author: Michael John Cusick

Recommend: Yes, for men struggling with sexually addictive behaviors.

The Obsessive Bookworm approached me about this book, feeling less than qualified to review it because of its content.  Because of the target audience, she felt that a man who has gone through this issue would be a better person to critique this book.

Before I get started, I feel that I should preface something that is often misunderstood.   Those of us who claim to have a relationship with Jesus try to live each day trying to become more like Him.  Real Christians know that they are not perfect and that everybody messes up and does things that they shouldn’t.  While we strive to live Christ-like lives, we still struggle with sin issues and this book deals with one of them.

When I started reading this book, I knew I would have to open my heart to what God would want me to hear.  Self-help books often get a bad reputation as cheesy, but I often find God has something to share with the reader’s heart.    Within the first two chapters this book already began to affect me.  Even when I was not sitting and reading the book, I still felt God speaking to me.

With that said, if you are broken and need healing from your slavery to sexual addiction and your heart is open to what God wants you to hear, this is a book for you.  It has analogies to help you understand your brokenness, stories of changed lives (including the author’s), coming to peace with God and those closest to you, heartfelt prayers that you if you can pray them as if they were your own can help you find peace with God in regards to this issue.

I ask you with all of my love for you as brothers in Christ, to open your hearts to this book and the healing that it can bring. May God draw you ever closer to Him.

If you would like to learn more about struggles with addiction to pornography, please feel free to visit my blog BRINGINGMENOUTOFDARKNESS

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Filed under Christian, mature themes and subject matter, non fiction, Review

Book Review: Green

Book: Green

Author: Ted Dekker

Recommend: Definitely after reading the other books in the Circle series or before, depending…

This was a very busy week for me already and it’s only Wednesday. I had my last concert with my students for the year on Monday and next week is my last week of school before summer vacation. This book seemed harder to get through than the other three but I think a lot of it had to do with how busy was schedule has been.

This book is the conclusion or beginning of the Circle series. How can one book be both? Well, it’s simple. The Circle series is actually circular. Green ends where Black begins. The whole thing is a very unusual device but made for very interesting reading. This book spends most of its time in the future reality with only occasional jaunts into the past. This book is more allegory and tells the story of Revelations for the future world.

The allegory takes the spiritual things of Christianity and makes them physical. For example, dying to be raised to new life as a Christian is an actual physical act of drowning in a pool of red water to be brought back to a new disease free life. Sin is an actual disease that damages the mind and body. It is a very interesting way to look at faith. It is a great reminder that just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean that it isn’t real and isn’t there.

The author suggests that you can start with either Green or Black but honestly I think Black is the best way to go. There is too much in Green that wouldn’t make as much sense to the reader if they haven’t read through the whole series first. If you start with Green, I think you’ll be rereading it again once you finish the other three books to catch the things you missed. For a reread though, I think it might be interesting to start with Green next time and go through the Circle from there. Might give a new perspective.

While this isn’t the best thing I’ve ever read, it was definitely worth picking up.

Final Rating:

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Buy it new 🙂

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Book Review: White

Book: White

Author: Ted Dekker

Recommend: This series has completely grown on me! Definitely worth the read!

Okay, walking into book three, I was ready to dig into it. Thomas and Monique are running out of time to find a cure and save the world from the virus ready to kill the world. As they race against the clock, everything in the alternate reality has changed and the newly formed Circle is fighting for their survival. Thomas is placed with an impossible task with no apparent way out. Thomas must figure out how to save both worlds but will he be able to do it and make it through alive?

This book was really good. The allegory comes into full bloom in this book, detailing the origin of the early church. The characters are familiar underneath the trappings of the fantasy environment that Dekker has created while still maintaining a fresh feel.

The only negative I have with series at this point is that for some reason I can’t seem to get through these books quickly. They seem to take twice the normal amount of time for me to read. There is so much to keep track of that you just can’t read them quickly. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but since the school year is winding down, I’m pressed for time making it more difficult. I can say that it has definitely given me some serious things to consider. It brings a fresh light to the Gospels and the early church that is not to be missed!

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Red

Book: Red

Author: Ted Dekker

Recommend: This series is growing on me.. looking forward to the next one!

This is the second book of a series of four by Ted Dekker. My sister-in-law sent these to me a couple of months ago and I just finished the second one. At the end of the first book, I wasn’t sure how I felt. At the end of the second book, I’m ready to dive into the third.

The book centers on a man named Thomas who is living in two realities. One is very much like our modern world where a virus threatens to destroy the whole world and the only hope is a woman named Monique who invented the vaccine that mutated into the virus. Thomas seems to know more than he ever should and tries to protect Monique and help her find the cure. However when Thomas falls asleep, he wakes in another reality where anything is possible and the modern world is a distant past only remembered through stories.

At first the alternate reality was a bit too much for me, however in this book Dekker seems to have struck the right balance. The allegory in the dream reality is a bit obvious but has a C.S. Lewis quality to it that makes it engaging and interesting.

I would definitely recommend this series at this point and can’t wait to get into White, the next book in the series!

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Black

Book: Black

Author: Ted Dekker

Recommend: If you have a vivid imagination and don’t mind a story that seems to really stretch the bounds of reality..

I am always on the hunt for a good read. A few weeks ago, I read a book co-authored by Ted Dekker. My sister-in-law saw the review and shipped four more books by Dekker to me. She insisted that I would love this series of books.

I have been putting them off for a while, having a bunch of advanced reader copies of books to read but finally got to the first book. This is the first or second book in the series. This book series can be read starting with Black, as I did or starting with White, depending on your mood. It supposed to be a full circle, which is why it is called the Circle series. I decided to read the books in the order they were published in so that I would get the same effect the original readers did.

This book centers around a young man named Thomas who seems to be a nobody. A nobody who has dreams that are uncannily accurate about a virus that threatens the whole world. A super-virus that has no cure or vaccine. A virus that is a mutation of a vaccine meant to save the world. The reader is dragged through two parallel worlds that effect the other.

I had trouble getting into the first book. The dream sequences were somewhat out there and bit hard to swallow for me. However, after a little while, the pace of the book sped up and I was sucked in, even though the dream sequences were still outlandish. By the end of the first book, I still am undecided about this one. I guess I’m just going to have to read the next book and see if I continue to be engaged and see if I can decide if I like them or not. The first book doesn’t really end, it just stops. We’ll see if the next book picks up where the last left off.

I’m not sure exactly what to rate this one, but I am definitely intrigued and open to see what else Mr. Dekker has in store.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Comes a Horseman

Book: Comes a Horseman

Author: Robert Liparulo

Recommend: It’s a fun, fast-paced read for the most part…

I have been holding off on this book for far too long. A friend of mine lent it to me ages ago and I just couldn’t seem to get the time to get into it. I actually started reading it once before but was not in the mood for a story like this at the time and so I put it aside again. I have been trying to get through quite a few of my reading commitments lately and realized that this book was still sitting on my shelves, waiting patiently to be read. So finally last night, I picked it up and got going.

This book begins with a murder scene. I found it to be an interesting way to open the book and a great way to grab the reader’s attention. Then the scene abruptly shifts to following a FBI agent around. Eventually you realize that you are going to be moving back and forth through two and three parallel story lines that, as an experienced reader, you know must intersect eventually. The book was a blend of something written by Dan Brown and a serial killer novel with some Biblical undertones that didn’t attack Christianity, unlike Brown’s famous books.I was thoroughly sucked into the book and enjoyed it.

I would say that there was one big negative for me with this one. As you reach the third and final act of this book. As the stories begin to come together, the book for some reason just seems to slow down. The author reaches this frenzied pace in the second section that he just doesn’t quite live up to in the third. This doesn’t mean that the book isn’t interesting, it just lacks the sparkle of the middle which felt like a bit of a let-down after the blood pumping, fabulous middle section of the book. The climax of the book ends a bit awkwardly in my opinion as well and feels anticlimactic in comparison to everything that has come before it.

While this was a great read, the ending kind of left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I am interested to read more by this author but I think I would want to read some reviews first so I don’t get another ending like this one.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Quest for Celestia

yes, there is a dragon in this book 😉

Book: Quest for Celestia

Author: Steven James

Recommend: It is an interesting read…

I have been sick for the past few days. My husband who is a computer technician in a couple of schools lovingly and thoughtfully brought home the flu to share. I had started reading this one just as I got sick and then was just too miserable to continue. I basically spent the past few days vegged out on the couch completely out of it. I finally got back to this book this evening and raced through it. If you’ve ever read The Pilgrim’s Progress, or Hind’s Feet for High Places, the plot of this book will not catch you by surprise since it is referred to as a modern retelling of Bunyan’s classic allegory about Christian.

At first I really wasn’t sure how I would feel about this book. After all, it started out by saying that our hero was on his way to become a wizard, something I found rather strange for story it was supposed to tell. I continued to read and was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t some odd attempt to bring the occult into a Christian allegory but just a lie about what Celestia really was. I found the fear and hatred of those who decided to go to Celestia even more severe than they were in the original, which I found realistic considering the current state of opinion when it comes to Christianity from the public right now. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take five minutes and go read comments on articles on yahoo. You’ll quickly figure out that Christian bashing is all the rage right now. I also found the confusion over what the right choice is, is far more clear in this version of the tale. In the original, the right choice seems obvious to the reader but not the character. In this version it is less obvious to both which I think helped show how easy it can be to make the wrong choices.

My only complaint with this book was the ending. I felt like it was far too abrupt than it should have been. It was like the author just got tired of taking them through trials and decided to end it instead of writing anymore. The ending felt very slapped on, instead of that we had finally reached that point where there was no other choice but to end the story.

Definitely a book worth picking up but not sure it’s going to be as timeless as the original it’s based from.

Final Rating:

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Filed under Children's book review, Christian, Review, Teen Book review

Book Review: The Action Bible: New Testament

Book: The Action Bible: New Testament

Illustrator: Sergio Cariello

Editor: Doug Mauss

Recommend: For an 8 to 10 year old boy… maybe

I thought this might be an interesting selection. I have been hearing quite a bit about animated versions of the Bible lately and decided that I should take a look at one. I found the concept very interesting. There is so much action through many of the books of the Bible that would translate well to a comic book version of the Bible. I spent my whole time looking through hoping that somewhere it just might get better. I was very wrong.

While the concept is a great one, I saw a lot of problems with this book. First off, I wouldn’t exactly call it a Bible. It skips over quite a bit and mashes quite a bit together. More than I think was necessary. The pictures were very colorful but felt extremely dated. I felt like I was looking at a Bible version of an old superman comic. When I found out the illustrator had worked for DC comics, I was not surprised in the least. The book focused on the lives of Jesus, Paul and Peter to the exclusion of almost everyone else except where they related to those figures. I was hoping that Revelation would at least redeem the book but there are only a few pages and they are not very specific. In the one book where the illustrator could let his imagination run, he chose to hold back and make it look rather cheesy.

I might pass this one on to my nephews but somehow I doubt they will enjoy it very much.

Final Rating:

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Filed under Children's book review, Christian, non fiction, Review

Book Review: Crazy Dangerous

Book: Crazy Dangerous

Author: Andrew Klaven

Recommend: If you are into suspense…

I am really enjoying the fact that I’m getting free books to read that I can share with you. So far everything I have picked from Book Sneeze has been really good reads. This one is no exception. I don’t think I would classify this one as a favorite or anything but it was definitely a fun use of my time on a relaxed morning. Today I decided to read at home for a bit. My husband is getting a bit tired of my disappearing act. So I sat next to him and read while he studied for his A+ networking exam.

The story centers around a boy named Sam who is the son of the town’s preacher. As a kid who grew up with parents in ministry (my dad was a youth pastor for a while), I immediately connected with the main character. He makes some interesting choices and for a while ends up hanging out with some of the bad kids in town. He is able to get out of a bad situation when he defends a young girl named Jennifer who is mentally disturbed. This leads down some very dangerous choices that cause everything to spin out of control.

I liked the characters in this book. Sam was realistic and Jennifer was down right creepy. I thought that the author balanced her character well and that while the revelation at the end was a bit far fetched, it was still barely logical and someone might have leaped to that conclusion, especially if they were going off the word of someone who was delusional. I found the story telling to be good, a bit dry but the pacing was what was needed for the storyline. I did find some of it a bit disjointed and wished that he had spent less time trying to make the reader feel off kilter. I think that it would have been more effective than the disjointed style he chose.

This was definitely a fun one time read but not something you own.

Final Rating:

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Covenant Child

Book: Covenant Child

Author: Terri Blackstock

Recommend: It was an engaging afternoon diversion…

I have recently realized that as much as I would like to, I can’t spend every afternoon of my life at a bookstore or the library. At the speed that I devour books, finding ways to get them for free is just a necessity. So I decided to look into how ways to get advanced copies of books due to come out for reviewing purposes. I looked into some and found a couple ways to try. This book is the first one I’ve gotten.  So this afternoon I actually went home after work and sat down on the couch and started to read.

First of all, I loved the fact that I wasn’t sitting in a hard chair and that my dog Rudy was curled into my side. If he had been born a cat, I’m sure he would have been purring but since unfortunately he is of the canine persuasion, he was thumping me quite enthusiastically with his tail. Across the room, another family member was sitting working quietly and I thought it would be a peaceful place to read. I could never have been more wrong. About five minutes into my reading session, I began to hear huffs and frustrated sighs that quickly gave way to annoyed comments and then a full on hissy fit. Apparently someone was having serious computer issues.  I was thoroughly distracted and then highly amused but eventually I made it back into my book.

Covenant Child is the story of twin girls who lose their mother long before they have a chance to get to know her. Their father raises them on his own until they are three when he meets Amanda, who he promptly falls in love with and marries very quickly. They have the seemingly perfect life together until tragedy strikes again and throws the girls into the arms of uncaring, money-hungry relatives that care about nothing other than their money, having no memory of the family they left behind.

While this isn’t the next Anna Karenina or even the next Annie, this book had a certain charm to it. The plot was somewhat familiar, having read my fair share of Christian fiction with this theme before but in some ways it still felt fresh. I loved the author’s parallel with the girls to the tale of the Prodigal Son. I found it interesting to have Amanda painted as the patient father figure, waiting patiently. The story was different in one way that I hadn’t seen in quite some time. The truth of a life outside the church was more realistic than most books of this genre. The characters actually suffered through some things and made choices that typically aren’t seen in Christian literature ever. I found the convenient wealth a little bit contrived but it worked for the story and so it was tolerable.

Honestly I thought that while the book was generally a good read, there were a few things I would have changed if I had been in the writer’s shoes. The title to begin with. I found the writing style of the author to be a bit inconsistent. Sometimes it was deep and thought provoking but other times when I felt like it should have been, the writing was simplistic and not effectively rendered. There were so many places I was wanted to get more angst or get a better sense of what these girls were going through and it just wasn’t there! It concerns me that an author with some many published works would have such an inconsistent writing style. While this was a fun read, I’m glad that it was one I got for free.

Final Rating:

Get it free

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: BookSneeze provided me with an advanced reader copy of this book.

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Filed under Christian, Review

Book Review: The Mark in a way I had never envisioned it before..

Book: Swipe

Author: Evan Angler

Recommendation: Definitely! What a gripping read. I’m still thinking this one over!

I got this book from book sneeze as an advanced reader copy and I am so glad this was the next one that I picked out! I was very intrigued. By the cover and the title, I already knew what subject this book was going into and was interesting to see this done as teen fiction.

Swipe is a post-apocalyptic dystopian society where everyone comes of age at thirteen. At this point, you must Pledge your allegiance to your country and receive the Mark, a fancy piece of nanotechnology that allows you to do everything from shopping to holding a job. The only problem is that without it, you have nothing. There is virtually no choice. However, the Pledge and being Marked doesn’t always go as planned. What happens to the ones who fail?

This piece is obviously one authors attempt at looking how we might make it to all the prophecy from the book of Revelation. Right now the idea of going from a nation where we are mostly free (although those freedoms seem to be shrinking on a daily basis) to a society where there is only one religion, everyone is Marked and the world is headed to a one world government could happen. It is actually frighteningly simple and not as implausible as we might think.

I loved the great story telling. The author doesn’t wast time or over simplify the events of the book too much while still aiming at his target audience. I found the main character Logan, very interesting and having some depth that I would not have expected. It had a strength of character reminiscent of the hunger games while maintaining a close tie to how a scared and confused teenager would actually react to the situations Logan is faced with. I found the secondary characters interesting to read and the conflict varied and less predictable that most pieces of teen fiction that I have read lately.

If I had to come up with some negative, it would be that I wanted the story to go deeper into the issues that were touched on in the book. I think that the author missed some fantastic chances to share his beliefs with the target audience and yet he seemed to shy away from it for some reason that I couldn’t figure out. I hope that in the next book, he really dives into the reasons behind everything going on and why it is such a horrible idea. I am very interested to see how far the author plans to go with this whole story idea as well. This could be a huge extended series or just a few books depending on the scope the author chooses. I think that the only reason I find the lack of depth somewhat permissible in this book is because I’m hoping he goes more into depth on the next one.

This one is definitely worth picking up. I don’t think I’ll be giving this one away and will be waiting with bated breath for the next one.

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

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Filed under Children's book review, Christian, Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy, Teen Book review