Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Book Review: Poison

Poison is the second in the "Bloodline Trilogy" written by Jordyn Redwood. The novel begins several years after Keelyn Blake's stepfather murdered her mother and two siblings, claiming what appeared to be demonic influence. As the story begins, it appears that Keelyn is successfully moving beyond her horrific past. She is in love, has a solid career, and is looking forward to beginning a family. 

However, her past catches up to her. Her niece is mysteriously left in her care with a strange warning not to try to find the girl's mother, Keelyn's sister Raven, another survivor of her stepfather's murderous rampage. Suddenly, years later, law enforcement officers from that fateful day begin dying, and Keelyn and her future husband are pushed to the limit by an evil character that seems intent on destroying a lot of lives, including theirs. The race against the clock begins to find the person responsible. In a story full of misdirection and uncertainty, the reader is given a glimpse into the lives of two people whose budding relationship is put to the ultimate test. Keelyn is forced to relive the most horrific experience of her life, while her fiance is forced to decide whether to reveal a horrific secret about his own past. 

The biblical concept of genuine, sacrificial love is places front and center, and Redwood makes no secret about the connection between her characters and the power of the Gospel. The story is fast-paced, well written, exciting, and thought-provoking. An excellent work in the field of Christian fiction. 

I give Poison 5 out of 5 stars.  

I received a free copy of this book from Kregel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Messy Monday - on Tuesday!

Sorry I am late posting this.  I had a root canal (gasp) last week and the aftermath was a bit more than I had expected.  Oh, well.  Life happens.  If you are new to messy monday then check it out here. 

Have you ever started to clean something only to get distracted with another cleaning project?  Hello!  That is the story of my life. That is the main reason I started making a daily list of "chores" that I do.  I stick to the list and don't worry about the other stuff because I know that within a week's time, it will get done.  I just have to stick to the list.  When I get a chance I will post it so if there are others who may benefit from it can enjoy. 

I will warn you.  I am an organizational freak (just ask my mom, she can't figure out where I got it from).  That is how my life stays in order, otherwise I start walking around with this feeling that I am forgetting something.  Seriously, I start out my week by filling out a weekly agenda form (that I made).  I have a little saying "if it isn't written down - I will forget it."  No, my memory isn't that bad, but it allows me to just relax knowing that everything will get done (at least at some point).  If it doesn't get done one week, it doesn't slip off my radar, it just goes on my agenda for the next week.

So, I was putting some of our kids' books away when I noticed that stuff had been falling behind the bookshelf.  So of course I had to pull it out  - and I found a treasure trove of ---------- junk.  Yeah, most of it went into the trash and I cleaned out a few cobwebs. 
Do you get cleaning only to get distracted with another cleaning project?  Leave your comments below - I love to read them.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Book Your Boys (and Girls) Will Want to Read

I hope you are ready for adventure with the newest Imagination Station book (#11), Hunt for the Devil’s Dragon.  Adventures in Odyssey’s Mr. Whittaker is always looking for exciting ways to teach kids about the truths found in God’s Word and how that applies to their everyday lives.  After Beth shares her story of being afraid to stand up for a girl at school who was being picked on, Whit sends her back in time, along with Patrick, to Northern Africa.  As they face the terrible dragon, they learn an important lesson about fear and trusting in God.

This is the second book in this series that I have read and I liked it (and the series in general) for a few reasons.

  • They teach children principles from God’s Word.  No, you will not find Whit quoting a bunch of Bible verses at the kids, but you will see him applying biblical principles to everyday stuff – the kind of stuff kids deal with at home or at school.

  • I love that each one is filled with adventure.  There is a lot of dialogue in these books and the plot keeps moving pretty quickly.  Now some might say that the topics are a bit scary.  I mean, a girl being left as a sacrifice for a dragon.  I’ll give it to you that could be pretty scary.  This is where I would say to use your own discretion with your children. 

  • The book is well-designed.  I like that the chapters are short so it would give the “reluctant reader” in your life a feeling of accomplishment.  And with eye-catching pictures every so often, your little reader is sure to be hooked.

This book is another great addition to the series and I hope to eventually add more of them to our library.

5 out of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Not Your Typical Amish Fiction

I have sort of a love-hate relationship with Amish fiction.  Sometimes I read one that I really like and other times I read one and think “why do I even read this stuff?”  But Dale Cramer’s Though Mountains Fall (#3 in the Daughters of Caleb Bender series) is quite different from the usual book in this genre.

Caleb Bender has led a group of Amish families to settle in Mexico in the early 1900’s, but this move has not come without its share of terrible loss for his family and the other families with them.  Life is hard for the Amish and their pacifism is starkly different from the vicious Mexican government of that time period.  Through terrible pain, Caleb is forced to evaluate his view of God and what he comes up with will change everything. 

So here are my thoughts on this book (without giving away the story):

  • I was surprised to learn that Mexico wasn’t just a random setting for the book, but that there actually were some Amish who lived in Mexico at that time.  Who knew?  I thought the author did a great job weaving in Mexican customs and creating authentic Mexican characters. 

  • I don’t know enough about the Amish to really understand their beliefs and specifically how they view God.  Several characters in the book wrestle with their views on God’s goodness, forgiveness, and love, but I just wonder what most Amish would actually believe. 

Probably what I liked most in the book were the thought-provoking contrasts he incorporated into the storyline.  The reader is left to ponder the differences between the culture, beliefs, and daily life of the Amish and the Mexicans (and specifically those of the Catholic religion).

5 out of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Psalm 84:11

For the Lord God is a sun and shield the Lord bestows favor and honor.  No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  

Psalm 84:11

Friday, April 26, 2013

Book Review for Search and Rescue by Colleen Coble and Robin Caroll

Search and Rescue follows Emily, a young girl who has a desire to grow up to work on a search and rescue team like her stepmother. She is saving towards purchasing her own puppy to begin training when a valuable necklace is stolen and she is blamed. The rest of the story fleshes out Emily's attempt to clear her name and find out who really took the necklace after all. 

The story itself is fun, readable, and well written. The authors do a nice job of capturing small town life in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and the specific challenges that come with it. A couple parts may have slightly stretched the realm of reality (in a book featuring search and rescue, it becomes necessary for an inordinate number of people to get lost and need to be found), but they did not take away from the storyline. 

Two critiques, one small and one slightly larger. One of Emily's main conflicts in the story is her fear that a legendary monster that the local tribes tell stories about might indeed be true. Even though this runs directly contrary to Emily's faith in Christ, she nonetheless struggles an inordinate amount with this for a girl who exhibits a lot of grown-up tendencies. More disturbing, and the only thing keeping me from recommending this book with absolutely no reservations, is that Emily is a little boy crazy. She is thirteen and has two major crushes in the period covered in the book. Very little is brought out about this as it relates to the Christian faith, the purpose of dating, and Biblical principles. Instead, she is simply described as a boy-crazy, typical teenage girl. If this was a secular book, that wouldn't be an issue, but doesn't Christ call us to something a little more than being just typical people? 

A good read, all things considered. 

I would give Search and Rescue 4 out of 5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Book Review: Humble Orthodoxy

Humble Orthodoxy: Holding the truth high without putting people down may be a small book, but the value of its message should not be underestimated.   

Joshua Harris (along with Eric Stanford) has appropriately put words to a concept that many of us have probably wrestled with at one time or another.  We want to hold fast to the truths of God’s Word, but are we accurately representing the heart of our Savior when we arrogantly look down on those who disagree with us?  

Though this book could quite possibly be read in one sitting, don’t be surprised if you come away from it (like I did) with more than a few ideas to “chew on.”  And if the book leaves you wanting to delve into the topic a bit more, there is a study guide included in the end.

5 out of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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