Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Book Review: My Stubborn Heart

My Stubborn Heart, author Becky Wade’s first novel, is a sweet, Christian romance about two people trying to find their way in life. Having recently suffered a tragedy at work, single, social worker Kate Donovan welcomes the opportunity to take a leave of absence for three months in order to help her grandmother renovate the beloved family estate. The two hire a widowed, ex-hockey player turned home renovator to help them reach their goal. Matt only wants to quietly work and keep to himself, but Kate recognizes a hurting soul when she sees one and determines to draw him out of himself. At the same time, Kate’s grandmother and her company of senior friends decide to do some match-making on Matt and Kate’s behalf.

I love the setting for this book: a country estate complete with chapel in a small town in Pennsylvania. I also enjoyed getting to know all the characters with their unique interests, hobbies, and quirks. It’s a contemporary love story with a subtle message of God’s faithful work behind the scenes in people’s lives. I thank Bethany House Publishers for sending a complimentary copy for this honest review.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book Review: Safely Home

Safely Home by Randy Alcorn is the story of Ben Fielding and Li Quan, former college roommates who went their separate ways. Ben became heavily involved in corporate America. Li returned to his home in China. Both married and had children. One became successful by the world’s standards; the other struggled to get by. After twenty years, however, they are reunited when Ben visits China for business purposes, but decides to stay in the home of his old friend, Li.

This is where the story begins—and it’s an amazing read! My son loaned this book to me after reading it himself. I couldn’t put it down. Through this story, we learn how easy it is to not see what should be seen. We also see the contrast and possible results of a gradual incline and a gradual decline of faith over time. We witness the suffering of martyrs and the challenge to those who would try to save them. We watch God act in faithfulness, according to His Word.

The book is set in contemporary and, most likely, in a near future time. It challenges the reader while offering the best kind of hope. I’m happy to recommend Safely Home.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: Angel Eyes

When considering Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore, think “Ted Dekker novel for teenage girls.” It’s the story of Brielle, a promising ballerina brought home from the opportunity of her dreams by tragedy, the murder of her best friend. As she reacquaints herself with her hometown, she repeatedly encounters Jake, the mysterious new boy in town. He warns her that other strangers in town pose threats and urges her to exercise caution. Threats grow when the alleged murderer escapes from jail and seeks Brielle, bringing new information and greater mysteries. Soon everything Brielle has been taught to believe is challenged as forces of the celestial realm literally fight over her life.

The story is unique and fascinating. I love the way Dittemore shows the spiritual world interacting both seen and unseen, angels protecting and preserving behind the scenes—demons seeking to destroy. And woven throughout are some truly deep spiritual truths about God’s love for His creation. For example, He is able to do anything all on His own, yet, like a good father, chooses to let His children help. He has a perfect will, yet lets His children choose it or not. He is constantly at work drawing all people to Himself.

I enjoyed this book and am happy to recommend it. I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me an eCopy for this honest review.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book Review: The Girl's Still Got It

If you’ve ever longed to take a closer look at the Bible’s Book of Ruth, I happily recommend Liz Curtis Higgs’ new book, The Girl’s Still Got It. This book is a twelve-week (or twelve chapter) Bible study in commentary form. Seriously, it’s a commentary disguised as the story of you, the reader, led by Higgs to travel back in time to get to know Naomi and Ruth and the other people in their lives, but most of all the God Who loves them and meets all their needs in spite of whatever choices they’ve made.

Higgs takes readers through the four chapters of Ruth phrase by phrase. She’s done the research: Bible study in many translations, commentaries, and studies written by other people. She combines these with her own thoughts and with relevant life application stories from her own life to help readers really dig into this precious Bible book. Discussion questions and a study guide allow readers to really think things through or talk them over with others for new insight. A liberal amount of end notes shows dedicated readers where to go for even more information when they’ve finished enjoying Higgs’ book.

I love Higgs’ honesty and sense of humor. I appreciate the great amount of research she’s done. Combined, these produce an amazing Bible study book. I thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for sending a complimentary copy to me in exchange for this honest review. I greatly encourage you to read this book as well!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Book Review: Flame of Resistance

Flame of Resistance is an historical fiction novel set in France during the Nazi occupation just before D-Day. Tom Jaeger is an American Air Force pilot whose plane goes down over France. Members of the French Resistance rescue him and nurse him back to health. Because he looks more German than the Germans, however, they ask him to go undercover as a Nazi officer in order to help their cause. For this operation, they also recruit Brigitte Durand, a woman who runs a brothel for Germans-only in order to survive.

The story itself is heavy on the historical surrounding an event that was hugely significant to the success of D-Day. Author Tracy Groot explains this in more detail in her notes at the end of the book. Christian messages woven throughout the book are subtle, but of great value. Brigitte struggles with the question, “Is there a place in God’s Kingdom for one like me?” Another resistance agent bears the memory of personal failure to protect a Jewish family when she could have as she works to rescue others. And a few Germans are shown offering compassion to those being hurt by their countrymen and wrestling with divided loyalties to God and country.

Those curious about the people and events of WWII will appreciate what this book has to offer. I thank Tyndale House Publishers for sending a complimentary copy for my honest review.