Monday, March 28, 2011

Review on "An Eye for an Eye" by Irene Hannon

An Eye for an Eye (Heroes of Quantico)An Eye for an Eye by Irene Hannon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book 2 in the Heroes of Quantico series- "An Eye for an Eye" by Irene Hannon follows along the same vein as her first book in this series. There's FBI agent Mark Sanders working as a field agent in St. Louis after accidently shooting a teenager in a robbery gone wrong and taking some time away from Quantico to deal with some of the emotional fallout from the shooting. While in St. Louis, he accidently runs into an old girlfriend, his first love in fact, Emily Lawson. Unfortunately during this chance encounter they find themselves smack dab in the middle of a shooting. All of this brings them together again and the old sparks are rekindled. But a lot has happened in both of their lives since their 20 year old "first love" romance, complicated by the fact that the shooter is not done with his mission.

I think Irene Hannon does a nice job in this book- she manages to mix suspense with romance and add in a dose of faith to her stories. With this story, I really liked the backstory on the "bad guy"- it made you really understand why he was doing what he was doing and even feel sorry for him- it made the character feel rounded out and greatly added to the story. I really liked the fact that she explored the whole chemistry of returning to your first love as well- that just worked. All in all It was a good read- suspense, romance, and an easy plot to follow.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ebook freebie! This is a free ebook from B and N called Triumph of Grace- go check it out.

"Safely Home" by Randy Alcorn-A must read!!

Safely HomeSafely Home by Randy Alcorn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To be honest most of the time I am reading a book for pure entertainment purposes. However, sometimes I come across a book that reaches beyond the "entertainment factor" and crosses into the eye opening and life changing mode. "Safely Home" by Randy Alcorn was that for me. This book follows the lives of two former Harvard roomates one- Li Quan a chinese student in America for an education, and his American counterpart Ben Fielding. The story picks up on their friendship 20 years later and how their lives have completely changed. Ben is now a highly paid, respected mover and shaker for an up and coming company looking to partner with China on a huge business deal and by major contrast the deeply committed Christian and very poor locksmith's assistant Li Quan. Ben comes to stay with his old roomate and soon sees that life in China is not what it appears to be from a Westerner's perspective. He discovers the real danger for those living a life for Christ. This book takes a look at the very real persecution in China for Christians trying to live out their faith. "Safely Home" is a fiction rendering, but it is not fantasy and was a compelling read. There is an alternating of perspectives between the story occuring on earth and that of the heavenly perspective and how nothing escapes the Father's notice. From where I sit, a middle class comfortable suburban Christian who hops in my car on Sundays and Wednesdays to go to church, this book really opened my eyes and my heart to the martyrs and persecuted churches around our world. I highly recommend this book- we all need our eyes and hearts opened so that we can help.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Francine Rivers giveaway! Check this out- a Francine Rivers giveaway contest- love her- excellent Christian author!

"How to Be God's Little Princess" review

How to Be God's Little Princess: Royal Tips on Manners and Etiquette for GirlsHow to Be God's Little Princess: Royal Tips on Manners and Etiquette for Girls by Sheila Walsh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a mother to 4 girls, I figured that this would be a good read for me and them in contributing to "princess type behavior" around our house. I was not disappointed. Sheila Walsh does a very nice job giving "Royal tips for Manners, Etiquette and Beauty" in a contemporary and practical way. She covers table manners- "one must know which fork to use when" as well as being gracious both in a restaurant or home setting. She also covers things like dressing appropriately, (my favorite was picking the correct tiara shape for your facial shape )how to make friends and basic hygiene. Sheila also makes sure to include important safety issues concerning the internet, phone manners and how to use your time wisely to make the most of it. She winds up the book with an important chapter on inner beauty and has the reader look at their actions to make sure that they are exhibiting character qualities that are "princess like" (fruits of the spirit)- Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, and Self-control. Most importantly the book talks about the readers considering themselves to be a "daughter of the King" and that a true princess is others focused instead of self- focused. Sheila Walsh accomplishes all this by giving the reader fun quizzes, word games, arts and craft ideas and great scripture to back up all of her points that she is trying to get across. This is a wonderful read for your "tween girls" (9-12 year olds). It will help them to develop "Godly confidence" in lots of situations This book was a part of the Book sneeze program sent to me free of charge for an honest review.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

How Sweet It IsHow Sweet It Is by Alice Wisler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some books are fast paced adrenaline rides where you hold on for dear life, others are more like a slow walk through the park, where you take in more of what's around you and can examine your surroundings. I would say "How Sweet it is", by Alice Wisler is the later. The story is about a young woman named Deena who is recovering from heartbreak and a serious car accident and looking to start over. She moves to her late Grandfather's cabin in the mountains of North Carolina for that fresh start. There's a stipulation in her Grandfather's will which lands her teaching cooking at a youth center in the small town. There are other characters that come into play, like the mentally challenged and darling plumber named Jonas that the whole town loves, her quirky and fun clue-playing aunt ,the social worker Zack who works at the youth center as well. At first glance I think the reader is anticipating a sweet christian romance, but I would say this story goes a bit deeper than that- really how we can work through and over come pain in our lives to be used in bigger ways for God. I think the story touches on a great concept that often times helping others is what helps us as well- by giving, we receive as well. I enjoyed this book and Alice Whisler's writing style. I picked up this book as it had been a Christy award nominee, so wanted to check it out.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Children's Book Review- "Goin Someplace Special" by Patricia C. McKissack

"Goin Someplace Special" by Patricia C. McKissack and
illustrator Jerry Pinkney bring home a storybook with a rich story, beautiful illustrations and a historical reference point for kids concerning segregation. My children had little idea about what the Jim Crowe segregation laws in the South might have felt like to a girl their age back in the '50's, so it was an eye opening as well as educational read for them.
A 12 year old girl named Tricia Ann is taking a trip to "someplace special" for the first time all by her self in a downtown non-specified Southern town. She needs to ride the bus to get there and encounters all sorts of prejudice and injustice on her way. Armed with encouraging words from her Grandma that "No matter what, Hold yo' head up and act like you b'long to somebody", she finally makes it to her destination and is so glad that she did. This book was a Coretta Scott King award winner and deservedly so, I believe this book is to storybooks what "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett is to novels- a fictional acount of segregation in the South that packs an important message- we don't ever want to go back there. I would recommend this book for young school aged children; I think it would go over the head of a pre-schooler.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Review on "The Wolf of Tebron"

"The Wolf of Tebron" by C.S. Lakin is billed as a "fairy tale" and I would heartily agree, but a fairy tale with much allegory and deep meaning along the lines of C.S. Lewis in the Chronicles of Narnia Series. The main character/hero is Joran, a young blacksmith's apprentice who ,you find early on, has the ability to mindspeak with animals around him which plays into the story in meaningful ways throughout. Joran is soon on a quest to free his missing wife who comes to him in his dreams wanting to be found. This quest is long and arduous and aided by "the wolf of Tebron" who he meets early on in the story. This wolf ,Ruyah, is the voice of wisdom and help and love as his friend and companion on this journey. It's a tough journey, as he has to face things within himself that he needs to let go of, in order to complete his quest.
This is one of those stories where you can't help but take a speculative look at your own life and wonder "what are the things in me that I need to lay aside in order to be all that God is calling me to be?" I love when fiction has the power to reach in and accomplish some good in you. I highly recommend this book and as a side note the next book in this series is due out soon- "Map across time" . I, for one, will be sure to pick it up!

May I also add that I was graciously given a Review copy of this book through the wonderful organization NetGalley. I can't wait to continue my reviewing of great Christian fiction with their help.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ok here I go...

Well I am entering the world of blogging. I never thought I would, but wanted to use this as a place to post reviews on books. I really love reading and appreciate other people's input when I am debating about reading a book, so here I go. My first review will go to one of my author's that I just love- It's Erin Healy and her new book "The Promises she keeps" was a thoughtful and thouroughly enthralling read- I really appreciate Erin's writing- it is such a treat. Her characters are well defined- first the beautiful Promise who is a singer with incredible talent, yet she has Cystic fibrosis, so she is well aware that her timing on earth needs to count for something right now. So she pursues fame in order for her star to shine. And yet, she keeps surviving accidents that should take her life, but don't. Enter our next character Porta- a modern day sorceress whose searching for immortality and will do just about anything to get it. And probaby my favorite character of the bunch- Chase- a young artist whose perception on life is seen through the filter of autism and he sees things more clearly than most. Erin takes these characters and creates a compelling read that keeps you up at night to see how they find there way. Please pick up a copy of this book. I think you will enjoy the journey as much as I did.