Tag Archives: Christian fiction

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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Filed under Book to film, Christian, Review, romance

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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Filed under Christian, general fiction, Review

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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Filed under Christian, political thriller, Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy

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: 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

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:

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

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Insight into some of the most significant women in history

5 books in 1

Book: A Lineage of Grace

Author: Francine Rivers

Recommend: Definitely- it gives a new perspective into some of the most famous women of the Bible

A friend of mine from my church told me that I simply had to read this book. At first I had no interest in reading it. Fictionalizations of Biblical characters can either be really good or just awful. I am pleased to say that this one was excellent. I only decided to read four of the five included books. The last book, having to do with Mary was just not very interesting to me and so I skipped it. The other four were really good and gave me a fresh perspective on some of the women that I had only read about.

The first section is about Tamar who had to trick her father-in-law into doing what was right. She was determined to do what was correct in their culture to keep her dead husband’s lineage alive. She risked everything to learn of God even though she had been raised to worship idols. Due to her influence, Judah (Joseph’s oldest brother) would finally be reconciled with God. Her obedience, no matter the cost placed her in the lineage of the Messiah. I found her tenacity and personality fascinating. It game some reason as to why she acted the way she did. I have never really understood how significant her actions were until I read this.

The second section is the story of Rehab the harlot. It gives us an idea of how she became the woman that she was and why she chose to follow God. It also showed why Salmon chose her to become his wife. Her faith coming out of a life of adultery was an amazing transformation, the likes of which only God could do.

The third book tells the story of Ruth. Of all the women in this book, she was the one I was most familiar with. However, I got new insight into how brave she truly was. Even though it is one writer’s interpretation, it makes the reader think about why she would have chosen Boaz.

The last book that I read told the story of Bathsheba; one of the most misunderstood women of the Bible in my opinion. Everyone knows what David’s choice did to him and his kingdom but very few stop to consider how much choice she would have had and how it would have effected her. She was obviously a woman who loved God because her sons were the only ones of David’s sons that grew up to love God. However, it makes the reader wonder how much of a say she had when David chose to be with her. This story for me had the most impact of any of the ones I read. For a modern culture, where no one seems to value purity and faithfulness, this was a good reminder that there are consequences when you choose not to follow God’s plan.

I found each story engaging and interesting. They made me think. I will be returning my friend’s copy of the book but I think I might have to get a copy of my own.

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

 

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Filed under Christian, historical fiction, Review