Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Refuge on Crescent Hill

Title: Refuge on Crescent Hill

Author: Melanie Dobson

Pages:272

Year: 2010

Publisher: Kregel Publishers

Note: I received a complimentary book from the publisher.

When I began to read this book, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. The first two chapters seemed to me to be slow going. I kept reading, and soon I was immersed in the story.

The author has done her historical research about the setting of the story very well. I enjoyed the dual story lines, running parallel throughout the book and finally converging. There are multiple themes present in the storyline. The prodigal child returning home, both physically and spiritually, is present for more than one of the characters. Characters must deal with their pasts, and how the things done in the past affect the lives of others as well as themselves. Runaways from the past and present seek shelter from the same source of safety and security. Grace, compassion, and love are shown to those in need of rescue. Of course, there is evil present in the story as well. Justice is served by the bad characters getting what is their due.

It is so easy to see how God works through these characters for their good, and to bring them into close fellowship with fellow believers. He also draws them close to Him for an intimate relationship. Sometimes in our lives it seems not to be so easy to see the good that God does, but if we stand firm in our faith, we will be blessed beyond measure.

I enjoyed this book, and I will be looking for further books from this author to read. There is something for just about everyone in this book: a little romance, mystery, suspense.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Three Trees


Title: The Three Trees 
          A Traditional Folktale
By:  Elena Pasquali
Illustrated by:  Sophie Windham

                When I first saw the title of this book, it brought back good memories.  The home school group we belonged to at that time did a play based on this familiar folktale.  It is a story that I believe all generations can relate to.  We all have dreams and aspirations; we think we know how to make them all become a reality.  In this story, the same theme is used and reveals to us how we plan on or dream about what we want to be or do.  God’s plan isn’t always the same.  Even in the process of experiencing God’s plan, we don’t always understand or see the end result.  Then we sometimes make mistakes, assuming it won’t become a reality based on our understanding.
                This folktale reminds us that the way God brings something to reality can be far different than what we see as the way.  Our lives are to glorify God.  How He wants to be glorified in our lives doesn’t match the world’s view, and it is a good thing it doesn’t.  This is a book to always keep and pass on for use to all generations.  I love this story and how it reminds me to live life as God leads me to glorify Him.  All ages and generations will be blessed.  Read it more than once!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How the Gospel Review Updated!

Title: How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home

Author: Derek W. H. Thomas

Pages: 157

Year: 2011

Publisher: Reformation Trust Publishing

At first glance, one might question why another book on the Gospel needs written. Perhaps the question should be “What Gospel?” In our society, many purpose to have the Truth or the Good News. For those who think there are many “gospels,” they will find it difficult to read this book. For those who genuinely want to know The Gospel, they might see this book as answer to that pervading quest.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began reviewing this book. All too often, the more one reads, the more one learns, and it isn’t always good, useful, or most importantly, Biblical. I was concerned the author would put forth a set of steps to follow and then end with a short prayer. Perhaps others might expect something encouraging but not too heavy, or a view that does not take a stand because it might be divisive. However, this is one book that focuses on what Paul wrote in Romans chapter 8. I cannot commend Derek Thomas enough for taking the time to expound the Gospel as presented in this chapter.

There are no excuses or watered-down truths. Paul clearly states what we must accept. Though written by a human author, ultimately, all must know that God inspired Paul to write this chapter as with all the chapters in the Bible. Thomas doesn’t write in a way that makes it dry reading or sound like a purely academic exercise. Throughout the book there are examples of how this particular portion of Scripture is understood by examples of life, people, and times. One example is of Justin who authored the Vulgate. Another example is taken from a real life accident as witnessed by many who were there and saw it as it happened.

On page 11 of this book Thomas states: “Our greatest sins occur in church.” Perhaps we need to really rethink this. Why? First, mankind assigns sins according to levels; God doesn’t. Sin is sin. Second, we are the Church, so sin is present in church no matter what we are saying or doing at any given moment. Our need for God to be our salvation is quite evident. We can’t go one second without finding ourselves thinking a wrong thought, saying the wrong thing, or doing the wrong thing. The moment we fail to be “perfect” in thought or deed, we are a washed in shame. Our shame always reminds us that we are sinners. Sinners who believe are in Christ, and sinners who reject Him aren’t in Christ. To post a “rethink” on an author’s premise may seem trivial to most, but if one follows the line of thinking, we can see how no thought is not connected to another somewhere down the line.

Well, that is just the beginning, why not read the book and share your thoughts and comments? The book takes the whole chapter of Romans 8 and breaks it down into bite-sized pieces. It brings understanding to readers through real-life stories, examples, and other portions of Scripture.

Notation: I have received a copy of this book as compensation for my review from Reformation Trust, an imprint of Ligonier Ministries.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Protection for Hire Novel

Title: Protection for Hire

Author: Camy Tang

Pages: 336

Publisher: Zondervan

Note: The author graciously sent a complimentary copy for review. You may follow and contact the author through her website at www.camytang.com. Feel free to read other reviews by Lisa on her blog http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/

What do think of a novel that has many twists and turns, exciting action and more? Would you read a book that kept you turning pages to find out how it was going to turn out? The well-developed characters in “Protection for Hire” are the usual run-of-the-mill kind. Woven throughout the story are themes of choices, family, murder, blame, truth with the story taking place in San Francisco.

The main female lead in this fictional adventure comes from two different nationalities. She is loyal and a fighter. When she goes to prison for manslaughter, her life really takes an unexpected turn that affects both those closest to her as well as others that aren’t.

During her incarceration, life on the outside of the walls still goes on. Yet, the impact of the change within Tessa causes her to have to make very difficult choices upon her release. Will she return to life within the “family business” or choose to make a stand and risk all, even her life, to save what some would consider the “unlovable”?

Her lawyer has a past too. Charles thinks he can run away from or bury deep within himself his past, but now he isn’t so sure he can anymore. What brings it to the forefront of his life now? All Charles wants to do is become a partner in his law firm. His pro bono case is taking more hours than the lead lawyer, a partner in the firm, likes. Though Charles assures him he will work more hours without billing or slacking on other cases, this lead lawyer fights him on every request, turn or decision that is out forth.

Touching all these characters’ lives is a woman and a 3-year old boy, and someone wants the woman dead. Why does Heath want his wife dead just because she left him after he hit her? Heath hires some unsavory people to search for her, find her and hurt anyone who gets in the way. Elisabeth is told money that she inherited when she got married is all gone, so how is she to live now and provide for little Danny?

On top of this, there are two mothers who are very different; they even show their affections in totally unique ways. Charles has a brother who can defend himself and eat his mother’s cooking. Does his life have anything other than that occurring?

This is the first novel I have read by Camy Tang, and I am glad to say it will not be the last. She is definitely a gifted writer with a flair for action and adventure with all sorts of different cultures and belief systems. Camy is a Christian who speaks her belief in Him brilliantly in her writing. I know that if you read “Protection for Hire” you will be so glad that you did! My rating for her novel is a 5+. Pick up your copy of her book today, turn the noise off and get ready for an adventure!

Review of Conspiracy on the Hudson

Title: Conspiracy on the Hudson

Author: Donald B. Keelan

Rating: 5 Stars

Pages: 254

Published: 210

Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc.

701 Smithfield Street

Pittsburg, PA 15222

http://store.yahoo.com/cgi-bin/clink?dorrance+7XZRvv+index.html

Note: I received a complimentary copy of Conspiracy on the Hudson as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit dorrancebookstore.com to learn how you can become a member of the Book review Team.

Conspiracy on the Hudson is an excellent political thriller! When I first looked at this book, I must admit I wasn’t sure what I was going to get. This was the first time I ever read a novel written by this author, and I look forward to reading other novels written by Mr. Keelan such as The Secret of Camp David.

Some look at history through a telescope, a broad sweeping look as if looking at a landscape from afar. Others see history from a microscopic view; they see the intimate details involved. I enjoy novels written from a historical perspective as there is so much that is yet to be known. We tend to look at our times and events without pausing to wonder if this ever happened before.

There are a couple different plots that coincide. We have a time during the presidency of FDR and Prime Minister Winston Churchill as well as a plot to that includes assassination of world leaders, Nazis, love, and characters who find them making difficult decisions in an uncertain future. The author has included characters who are in the secret service as well as in the military.

The author really piques the interest of the readers by disclosing the release of documents recently released by nations that before weren’t allowed to be known by citizens. The novel takes off by taking the reader back in time to when a secret service agent was questioning an engineer of the New York Water Department. We then sit in a conversation one United States President is having with a professor to research an event supposed to have happened 70 years in the past. While the characters names are fictional, as are the conversations and more, the events have a basis in history.

I rarely read books as quickly as I read this one. There was never a dry moment, it is full of action and leaves the reader wanting to know where the story is going. How does this end? Was there a conspiracy and if there was one, what was it? I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The only thing I found that I wasn’t fond of was the occasional swearing but even that was done sparingly.

I plan on reading other novel The Secret of Camp David by the same author. Till then keep reading and see what I read and post on next time! Please feel free to leave your comments or questions.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Empire Series Book 1 & 2 Update

Titles: The Skin Map (Book 1)

The Bone House (Book 2)

Author: Stephen R Lawhead

Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers

Year: 2010 & 2011

Above are the book cover images of Book 1 & 2 of the Bright Empire Series published so far, with Book 3 coming in the Fall of this year! These books are page turners from the word “go” or page 1. The writer takes his readers on various adventures not only geographically but also in terms of time frames. The Empires Series is brilliantly written and captivates the attention as well as the imagination of the reader.

How does one define such novels that have many diverse genres? Are the novels based on science, history, Bible, archeology? There are authors who write in the fiction genre that seem to have to basis in either reality or facts, just the imagination is involved it seems. Then there are others who write novels that include a host of facts and various fields of known study. So what about this series known as The Bright Empires?

I bought both books simultaneously and now can’t wait till book three comes out in September of 2012. Generously weaved in these novels are aspects of distant lands, science, archeology, past ages, scientists, and characters who out to do both good and evil. Within these novels are many threads that the author uses to weave together a captivating story.

At the end of Bone House the author shares which character was based on an actual person with a specific field of study. Stephen Lawhead shares what is on his reading table and why he wrote these novels. If I told you what he wrote would you read it? I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you so I won’t reveal what Stephen did write.

The moment I picked up Skin Map, I couldn’t put it down. I kept trying to figure out where I was being led in the story. There are several climaxes in the books, many themes, captivating ancient places and people, and lives interweaved in different ways. In the midst of it all, there is the aspect of time travel. The main characters travel through time seeking understanding of that period, learning to blend in all of whom are in search of the key which would break the code of the map. What map? All I can tell you is this is no ordinary map. These novels are not just the run-of-the-mill at all! They excel in captivating the reader and tell an excellent story.

I can’t recommend this series high enough. Buy them, get your favorite beverage and settle in for the ride of your life. The journey is awaiting; it is inviting; are you coming along? I hope so because it is awesome!

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Sound Among the Trees

Title: A Sound Among the Trees

Author: Susan Meissner

http://susanmeissner.com/

Year: 2011

Pages: 336

Publisher: Waterbrook Press

Note:I received a complimentary copy from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

It was after the Civil War, though the landscape showed no signs of it, there was a cannon ball in the house. Then there is a supposed ghost in the house who was supporter of the North and hid spies in her home. Another twist is that there is a family who lives there, a woman for many years and a man who recently remarried after four years of being a widower. I want to tell you more, but it is so worth the reading. Here it is cold and snowing grab this good book, a warm drink and enjoy it!

There are many interesting characters in this story of growing up and gaining understanding. Just who does this happen too? Well, I don't want to ruin it for you; however, it happens to people of different ages. Love, suspense, history, discoveries and thriller these are words that describe the book written by Susan Meissner and published by WaterBrook Press.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Greetings!

I have been the author of one blog since May of 2011. Since then I have been blessed with posting so much content such as book reviews that it seemed another blog was in order. Here you will have more time to read in between my posts. This will be of great advantage to people so that they can come back if they need to reread or locate a recent posting a lot easier. I love books, reading, writing, studying the Bible, the old west genre, and being a pround memeber of the NRA.