Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Tunnels

      BOOK REVIEW:  A thrilling Cold War narrative of superpower showdowns, media suppression, and two escape tunnels beneath the Berlin Wall.   In the summer of 1962, the year after the rise of the Berlin Wall, a group of young West Germans risked prison, Stasi torture, and even death to liberate friends, lovers, and strangers in East Berlin by digging tunnels under the Wall. Then two U.S. television networks heard about the secret projects and raced to be first to document them from the inside. NBC and CBS funded two separate tunnels in return for the right to film the escapes, planning spectacular prime-time specials. President John F. Kennedy, however, was wary of anything that might spark a confrontation with the Soviets, having said, "A wall is better than a war," and even confessing to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, "We don't care about East Berlin." JFK approved unprecedented maneuvers to quash both documentaries, testing the limits of a free press in an era of escalating nuclear tensions.
       As Greg Mitchell's riveting narrative unfolds, we meet extraordinary characters: the legendary cyclist who became East Germany's top target for arrest; the Stasi informer who betrays the "CBS tunnel"; the American student who aided the escapes; an engineer who would later help build the tunnel under the English channel; the young East Berliner who fled with her baby, then married one of the tunnelers. Capturing the chilling reach of the Stasi secret police, U.S. networks prepared to "pay for play" yet willing to cave to official pressure, a White House eager to suppress historic coverage, and the subversive power of ordinary people in dire circumstances, THE TUNNELS is breaking history, a propulsive read whose themes still reverberate.

       MY REVIEW:  This is likely the first historical book I have read voluntarily, and I really enjoyed it. I knew there had been a Wall in Berlin, but had never heard much about it; I had no idea that people had dug tunnels under it.
       When the Wall first went up, people frantically tried to get through/over it by driving through, swimming the river, hiding in car trunks, using false passports, jumping from nearby windows, and more. Tunnels were tried soon after.
        Harry Seidel was one tunneler who was determined to get his mother out of East Berlin. He helped dig several tunnels, narrowly escaped capture a few times, and finally, after his last tunnel, he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. As it happened, his mother snuck out on her own soon after that--no tunnel needed.
       The first tunnels were short, about 100ft, and dug in sandy ground. Then three students (two Italians and a German) decided to dig a tunnel of their own. But they had a few problems: their tunnel was going to be over 400ft long, and dug in heavy clay.  Quite different from the previous ones. This tunnel took five months to dig, and twenty-some workers.
       I found this to be a fascinating book and well-written. Worth the time it takes to read. On the plus side, it is a beautiful, hardcover book with pictures in the center.

           I received this book from BLOGGING FOR BOOKS in exhcange for my honest review. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Berenstain Bears Love One Another

   I have always liked the Berenstain Bears. This book is just as good as the rest. Mama Bear is making blueberry muffins for one of the neighbors, and Sister and Brother are helping. They want to eat them themselves, but Mama says they are going to love one another and give them away. Then Sister and Brother go out and find their own ways to love one another. They help Papa rake the yard, play with Honey while Mama makes supper, and set the table for Mama. It is a very good book with a great lesson that applies to us as well. The book is perfect for little children to read and enjoy, and for their parents to read to them.

             I received this book from WORTHY PUBLISHING in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


         BOOK REVIEW:    Tozer understood prayer as few do: as a way of life. This volume will help readers capture that same grand vision.
        With biblical wisdom and stunning insight, Tozer warns us of the barrenness of busyness--of "hurting ourselves where we can't afford it." He urges us to commune regularly with God and offers varied reflections on what that entails.
         With added commentary and reflection questions, PRAYER compels us not just to pray, but to have a life that prays.

          MY REVIEW:    I especially liked this book. It is a compilation of Tozer's works put together by W. L. Seaver. The first twenty-two chapters are taken from sixteen different books, the next three chapters are from miscellaneous sermons on prayer, and the last three are from two major prayer sermons. Each chapter is three to seven pages long. At the end of each chapter, Seaver adds an "Exploring With Tozer" section, in which he gives his owns thoughts on the matter as well as describes Tozer's. There is then a "Reflect and Apply" portion, which has questions and applications for our lives today.
          A few things that I really liked were:
                 ~"We should always keep in mind the infinite lovingkindness of God. No one need fear to put his life in His hands. His yoke is easy; His burden is light."
                 ~"Every desire should be brought to the test of God's will. If the desire is out of the will of God, it should be instantly dismissed as unworthy of us. To continue too long for something that is plainly out of the will of God for us is to prove how unreal our consecration actually is."
                 ~"We are supposed to be "a fragrance of Christ to God", not walking like the natural man and being a stench to the Father because of our worldliness. Our prayers should be sweet incense before the throne. May we strive for such in the power of the Holy Spirit as we ask Him to aid us in rightly discerning the answers to our prayers."
          This book is, as I found it, just as good as the rest of Tozer's books that I have read. A thought-provoking, Christ-inspired book.

              I received a copy of this book from MOODY PUBLISHERS in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Full Disclosure

     BOOK REVIEW:  Ann Silver is a cop's cop. As the Midwest-Homicide Investigator, she is called in to help local law enforcement on the worst of cases, looking for answers to murder. Hers is one of the region's most trusted investigative positions.
     Paul Falcon is the FBI's top murder cop int he Midwest. If the victim carried a federal badge or had security clearance, odds are good Paul and his team see the case file or work the murder.
     Their lives intersect when Ann arrives to pass a case off her desk and onto his. A car wreck and a suspicious death offer a lead on a hired shooter he is tracking. Paul isn't expecting to meet someone, the kind that goes on the personal side of the ledger, but Ann Silver has his attention.
     The better he gets to know her, the more Paul realizes her job barely scratches the surface of who she is. She knows spies and soldiers and U.S. Marshals, and has written books about them. She is friends with the former vice president. People with good reason to be cautious about who they let into their lives deeply trust her. Paul wonders just what secrets Ann is keeping, until she shows him the John Doe Killer case file, and he starts to realize just who this lady he is falling in love with really is....

     MY REVIEW:  Ann hands off a case that feels a little off; she thinks there is something more to it. When she decodes the planners found with the victim, she realizes he is related to one of Paul's biggest cases.
    Paul is thrilled to finally have another lead. They realize their victim was the middleman for hired shootings. His higher-up is a lady shooter with thirty hits who has been quiet for the last nine years. A few weeks after they start re-interviewing people, she sends him a letter. Paul is shocked to find that, not only has she sent him two tapes convicting two people who ordered murders, but she is willing to turn herself in after exchanging the rest of the thirty tapes for a lighter sentence. Thus begins the chase to catch her as she receives the return letter. But she has planned for this.
    As another plot in the story, the former vice president has been writing his autobiography over the past several years. He has now decided to include a chapter whose subject will shock and hurt several people, and start the press rolling. Ann has been helping him write these books, but this chapter is directly related to her as well, and in a deep, hurtful way. Paul is asked to review the chapter and find that it is all as it happened, being the event happened nine years ago and memories may have dulled. When he finds out how Ann is involved, things begin to click about her.
    I enjoyed this book, both the plot of both mysteries, and the relationship that is developing between Ann and Paul. It was a very well-written book that moved along nicely. A very enjoyable read.

A Servant Like Jesus

   A SERVANT LIKE JESUS is one of Lee Ann Mancini's series Adventures of the Sea Kids. Charlie crab is starting his first day of school, but is very shy. Eventually Miss Stella Starfish gets him to come out and be her special helper and play with the other kids. When the whole class goes on a field trip to see the beautiful coral, one of the kids, Bernie, gets knocked into the fire coral and burns his fin. Charlie carries him back to the classroom where the nurse fixes him up.
    The story plot is being a helper like Jesus would be. I thought the book was very well written, and the idea is one to be embraced. The book is beautifully illustrated, and I think it is one that will appeal to kids with its bright colors, clear pictures, and glossy pages. There is also a small bible hidden on each page to find as you read, which makes the book even more fun to read.
      I will definitely be picking up more of these books as they become available to me. They are a nice collection to have around for babysitting, cousins, etc.

       This book was given to me by the author through BOOKCRASH in exchange for my honest review.


      UNVEILED is a story about the Bible character Tamar. It is a fiction story, yet based on the Bible account. It is first of five in Francine River's series about the five women in Jesus' lineage: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. These five books are not full size novels, but novellas of almost 200 pages. In the back of the book is an outline of the Bible account aligned with Francine's story, plus questions and insights about it.
      I have become a fan both of Francine's books and Bible fiction. Thus, I eagerly started to read this book. And I enjoyed it, as I thought I would. I know the story of Tamar, but I have never actually thought about it. Francine did a really good job, considering there is not much in the Bible to base it on. She kept the real facts accurate, and the fictional ones believable with the era and lifestyle.
     Tamar is portrayed as being obedient and submissive, yet knowing when she has rights that need to be addressed. She is respectful in doing what must be done, though she knows she will be looked down upon for doing such, and will be displeasing the people around her. She is loyal to Judah's family, even when they lie to her. She does her best to belong to his family even when surrounded by hate and disapproval.
      I really liked the book, and it has made me appreciate Tamar's story all the more.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Last Sin Eater

      BOOK REVIEW:    "The first time I saw the sin eater was the night Granny Forbes was carried to her grave."   Cadi Forbes knows it's forbidden, that it will bring curses down on her. But something deep and instinctive moves her to look upon the sin eater anyway. And now the thought of finding him again consumes her.
      According to custom, only the sin eater can set her free from the sin that plagues her days and nights, the sin that has stolen her mother's love from her. . . . Must she carry her guilt forever? Or is there Another who will atone for her?
      A skillful blend of realistic characters, historical accuracy, and compelling mystery, The Last Sin Eater is a story that will move the heart and spirit.
      AUTHOR'S NOTE:  The sin eater was a person who was paid a fee or given food to take upon himself the moral trespasses of the deceased and their consequences in the afterlife. Sin eaters were common in the early nineteenth century in England, the Lowlands of Scotland, and the Welsh border district. This custom was carried over by immigrants to the Americas and practiced in remote areas of the Appalachian Mountains. This is a purely fictional story of one such person.

      MY REVIEW:     It took me a bit to get into this book, but as the story progressed and things began making sense, I started to enjoy it.  I also.........don't remember what I was going to say next. :)
      This story is the tale of ten-year-old Cadi who, while told not to, looked at the sin eater at her grandmother's burial. She was then consumed with the need to find him and ask him to take away the terrible sin she has been hiding. She embarks on her mission, though everyone tells her not to. On her journey, she meets several people who have been rather ostracized by the village and help her find her way.
       A mysterious stranger comes to the village, a man of God he is called. When Cadi finally finds the sin eater, he asks her to speak with this stranger then return to tell him what he says. But when Cadi hears what he has to say regarding the sin eater, she is sure the sin eater will not like it; that it will bring hurt and disappointment regarding the last several years.
      In the end, Cadi and Fagan--who goes on the journey with her--find out the truth of the sin eater, his role, and the animosity behind it. Then they go tell the village what they have found.
      I enjoyed this book once I got into it further. My first impression was that it was a little weird, but as the story grew and matured--and I caught the meaning--I really liked it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Princess

     BOOK REVIEW:  In the land of Pendaran, lively, affectionate Shelby Parker was born to a simple life--yet her mother, Daria, and those around her cannot help but notice the grace she possesses. Among those taking note of Shelby's winsome ways and tender heart are the king and queen of the House of Markham, who are seeking a new wife for their widowed son, Prince Nikolai.
     To uphold a long-cherished tradition of their country, Shelby and Nikolai agree to an arranged marriage. But while Nikolai is a perfect gentle man at public functions, he remains distant and shy at home, leaving Shelby to ponder the inner workings of his hear.t Will the prince ever love her as he did his first wife? Can the faith they share overcome the barriers between them?

     MY REVIEW:   I like stories about arranged marriages, mail-order brides, and the like. I like to read about the struggles they have and how they overcome them. I find them more interesting because they seem a little more realistic then the whole love-at-first-sight, living-happily-ever-after-with-no-problems stories that abound.
     I know she is a fictional character, but I really admire Shelby. She is so self-less and full of caring that I find myself wishing I were more like her (again, I realize that she is fictional and such wishing is nonsensical). She is kind and sweet--my favorite personality to read about--and through the book, you can really tell that she loves all the people in her life and they all love her back.
     I also like reading about kings and queens and that era. Of course, this is more modern, but I still enjoyed it. Something about the whole royal family is just fun to read about. In this book, the palace is made up of different quadrants--like different palaces all connected, I think--with the king and queen living in one, the king regent and queen regent in another, and Nikolai and Shelby int he third. I don't know but that there is yet another for balls and parties and such.
     This is a fiction book, not one to read if looking for great spiritual truths and inspiration, but an enjoyable light read. I quite enjoyed it.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Seasons Under Heaven

   BOOK REVIEW: What does a child's life-threatening illness cost a quiet, suburban cul-de-sac? What joys can be hidden in life's greatest tragedies? Behind brightly lit windows and on front porches, marriages are tested and mended, hearts broken, hopes resurrected, dreams released and reformed, values and futures shaped, and Christian faith rekindled......or found for the first time. And there, bonds of friendship are formed as lives connect in ways only God can arrange.

   MY REVIEW:  Four families living as neighbors in a cul-de-sac aren't exactly friends, but they live peaceably together. When one of their sons needs a heart replacement, they all band together to pray and raise money for the looming hospital bills. As the wait for a heart gets longer and hopes threaten to fail, prayers grow as nearby churches and family's lend their prayers and support.
   SEASONS UNDER HEAVEN is a story about four families becoming fast friends as they help each other fight their battles. Each family has one or more members struggling with a specific problem, and with prayer and friendship, they make it through.
     This is book one in a four-part series by Beverly LaHaye and Terri Blackstock. This series reminds me of Thomas Kinkade's CAPE LIGHT series. Both are set on a community of people, and focused on the whole neighborhood rather than one specific person.

The Kindness Challenge

      BOOK REVIEW:  Think of your toughest relationship. Think of a relationship that is good but could be great. Think of a group of people that drives you nuts. Would small actions make a big difference in helping those relationships thrive, especially if you're stretched and frustrated already? Yes!
     After years of extensive research, Shaunti Feldhahn has concluded that kindness is a superpower. It can change any relationship for the better, and it can transform our culture. But how does kindness work> And how can you show kindness when you don't feel like it?
     In THE KINDNESS CHALLENGE, Shaunti reveals three simple steps proven to make any relationship stronger--whether with coworkers, a spouse, child, in-laws, or anyone else. And you'll learn which ways of acting, speaking, and thinking will make the greatest difference for your life.
     It turns out that doing these three things for thirty days not only has the power to change the other person--it has the power to change you!

     MY REVIEW:   Wow! I really liked this book!  My mom started reading it and enjoyed it as well.
     One thing I liked was Shaunti's honesty. She admits that not every attempt at the kindness challenge will work, but the majority do. She includes several charts to show this. She also includes many examples from her research which makes it seem more possible. Hearing how the challenge worked for others makes you think you can do it to. And even if you don't do the challenge and just read the book, it is insightful and makes you evaluate your actions.
     Here is one quote I found humorous and, sadly, quite true--"Before they started the Challenge, our participants would look at a given survey question and say (for example), "Oh, sure, I express appreciation to my spouse a lot. More than once a day." Once they actually started the Challenge they would realize, "[Oh my!], no I don't! I am actually expressing appreciation only two or three times a week!"
     Shauti has three simple steps to perform everyday for a month:
       1. Say nothing negative to/about your person. Ever.
       2. Say something positive both to your person and about your person to someone else. Every day.
       3. Do an act of kindness for your person.
She outlines several ways you may be being negative without realizing it, and how to avoid them. She also lists ways you in which you think you're being positive but really aren't, along with ways to truly be positive.
    It was really inspiring and eye-opening to read this book. Shaunti believes kindness to be a superpower, and in a way, I agree with her. By showing kindness, you have the ability to impact not only someone else's life, but yours as well. Definitely something to think about (and act on!).

            I received this book from BLOGGING FOR BOOKS in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Attributes of God, Volume 2

      BOOK REVIEW: "What is God like?" For A.W. Tozer, there is no question more important. In fact, Tozer's desire to know God and His fullness consumed his entire life and ministry.
      Originally preached as sermons to the Avenue Road congregation i Toronto, this follow-up to The Attributes of God, Volume 1 examines ten more attributes of God. It also includes a study guide for in-depth look at each attribute:
         1. Self-Existent              6. Omniscient                  
         2. Transcendent              7. Wise
         3. Eternal                        8. Sovereign
         4. omnipotent                 9. Faithful
         5. Immutable                 10. Loving                            

     Steeped in Scripture and filled with the Spirit, Tozer preached with striking clarity and power. The sense of his sermons comes through on every page, bringing the Word of God to bear upon you. 

         MY REVIEW:  I really liked this book; the only thing I didn't like, was that I couldn't seem to get it read. No matter how fast I read, I still had the whole book left. It took me all week to read it. But I really did enjoy it. 
         One thing I really liked was the topic of God's having no origin; he simply is. He has no beginning. Tozer says, "God is the uncaused Cause of everything. He is the Origin that had no origin." He also discusses the improper idea that Mary was the mother of God. She was the mother of the human form of Jesus. But God had no mother, for He was never created, because He always was, always is, and always will be. 
          Tozer also declares that God can never change. In order to do so, He would have to change in one of three ways: "from better to worse, from worse to better, or from one kind of being to another". And God cannot change because "the perfect and absolute and infinite God cannot become anything else but what He is". "Because God is absolutely, perfectly holy, He couldn't be anything less than holy, so He couldn't change from better to worse. And God couldn't get any holier than He is, so He couldn't change from worse to better. Also, God being God and not a creature, could not change the kind of Being that He is."
           One last phrase I liked is "No one can conceive what God is, because God is inconceivable. Even if anyone could conceive it, it couldn't be expressed because God is ineffable. And if it could be expressed, it couldn't be understood, because God is incomprehensible." Some people may think this means God is too far away for them, but I like the assurance that we are serving an all-powerful God who is able and willing to love us and guide us through life. 

                I received this book from MOODY PUBLISHERS in exchange for my honest review. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Who Brings Forth the Wind

    BOOK REVIEW:  Raised by her aging grandfather in the quiet English countryside, Stacy Daniels radiates a sweet loveliness and unguarded innocence that quickly captures the attention of London society.    Stacy's summer visit to her aunt catapults her into a swirl of balls and teas--and an unexpected meeting with Lord Tanner Richardson, the handsome yet cynical Duke of Cambridge.
    Stacy cannot know the joy-turned-anguish that awaits her as the duke battles his own tormented past. Nor can she foresee the betrayal that will challenge her faith. Yet through the heights and depths of their turbulent love, Stacy comes to know the One who can not only bring forth the wind, but also calm the angry storms of her husband's heart.

    MY REVIEW:  Who Brings Forth the Wind is the third in Lori Wick's four-book series, the KENSINGTON CHRONICLES. I can never decide which book I like the best. It usually becomes the last one I read.
    This book is full of misjudgments, assumptions, and firmness of character. I liked how many Christians there were, and how many came to the Lord by their influence. When Stacy is misjudged and sent away, she stands firm in God and lets Him guide her life. Her friends and neighbors Sunny and Elena, are Christians also, and a blessing to Stacy.
     I enjoyed reading this book, and while it is a fiction novel, there is still some good to be gleaned from it. I liked Stacy's character--she is sweet and loving, yet she stands up for her son if need be; she is capable and slow to complain; she is not full of herself and cares about the people around her.
     Tanner has some issues that he lets rule his life, but he eventually learns to let go of the past. His first wife was a shallow, evasive, society woman, and he has a hard time remembering that not all women are like that, especially Stacy. But with one last glaring fact, he realizes that Stacy is not going to desert or disappoint him, and of course, they live happily ever after.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Atonement Child

   BOOK REVIEW:      Dynah Carey knew where her life was headed. Engaged to a wonderful man, the daughter of doting parents, a faithful child of God, she has it all. Then the unthinkable happens: Dynah's perfect life is irrevocable changed by a rape that results in an unwanted pregnancy. Her family is torn apart and her seemingly rock-solid faith is pushed to the limits as she faces the most momentous choice of her life: to embrace or to end the life within her. This is ultimately a tale of three women, as Dynah's plight forces both her mother and her grandmother to face the choices they made. Written with balance and compassion, The Atonement Child brings a new perspective to the most controversial topic of our times.

   MY REVIEW:     I have to say, I really liked this book; beyond that, I don't know what to write.
   I was struck by the reactions of Dynah's friends, family, and fiance. Her family about fell apart; they had a related issue that had been a problem when they got married, and they hadn't solved it yet. Now they are trying to help Dynah, but their own problems prevent that. Dynah's fiance can't get over what happened, and finds fault with her. Her roommate can't seem to grasp Dynah's misery and therefore can't sympathize. The only person who seems to care about Dynah is her fiance's roommate, Joe, who has always been a good friend.
    When the dean of college finds out that Dynah is pregnant, she is asked to leave. She returns home, but when her family tries to make up her mind for her, Dynah decides she needs some space to think for herself; so she leaves. This turns out to be just what she needs, and she not only finds herself, but she receives God's answer.
    This is an inspiring book that leads one to trust in God and never give up faith or hope, but know that He will see you through and that all things work together for good to those who wait on Him. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

   Tom Sawyer is an adventurous young lad with an active imagination. As can be found in his era, he and his friends embark on every sort of adventure they can, imaginary or real. A few of the adventures Tom and his friends get into are:

  • Sneaking out to the graveyard and stumbling upon gravestealers. When they see Injun Joe kill the doctor and pin the crime on Muff Potter, they vow to keep silent or face Injun Joe's wrath.
  • When Tom is punished by whitewashing the fence, he cleverly gets out of it by tricking his friends into doing it for him. Every job is fun if you are told you can't do it right, or at all. 
  • Tom, Huckleberry Finn, and Joe Harper sneak away from camp, raft down the river, and declare themselves pirates. When they discover that the town thinks they have died, they return home and parade down the isle of their funeral. 
  • On the quest for treasure, Huck and Tom stumble upon Injun Joe, and follow him to find his treasure. They discover that he is on a mission for revenge. 
  • Tom and Betty get lost in the cave. When they finally make it out a hidden back entrance, Betty's father has the front entrance barred. When Tom finds out, he quickly exclaims that they had seen Injun Joe there. 

         THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER is an interesting and entertaining book to read. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Painter's Daughter

      BOOK REVIEW:  Sophie Dupont assists her father in his studio, keeping her onw artwork out of sight. In provate, she paintes the picturesque north Devon coast, popular with artists--including handsome Wesley Overtree, who seems more interested in Sophie than the landscape.
     Captain Stephen Overtree is accustomed to taking on his brother Wesley's responcibilities. Near the end of his leave, he is sent to find his brother and bring him home. Upon reaching Devonshire, however, Stephen is stunned to learn Wesley has sailed for Italy and let his host's daughter in serious trouble.
     Stephen feels duty-bound to act, and strangely protectinve of the young lady, who somehow seems familiar. Wanting to make some recompense for his own feelings as well as his brother's, Stephen proposes to Miss Dupont. He does not offer love, but marriage "in name only" to save her from scandal. If he dies in battle, as he fears, she will at least be a respectable widow.
     Desparate for a way to escape her predicament, Sophie finds herself torn between her firts love and this brooding man she barely knows. Dare she wait for Wesley to return? Or should she elope with the Captain and pray she doesn't come to regret it?

       MY REVIEW:    I like Julie Klassen's books. She writes historical fiction based in the 1800's, which is one of my favorite eras to read about. Her books tend to be longer than the average novel length--closer to 500 pages as compared to the normal 300-350 pages.
       In this book, Sophie falls in love with Wesley, but when he rushes off to Italy without saying goodbye, her terrible secret forces her to marry his brother, Stephen. When Stephen's leave is over and he goes back to France, Wesley makes his appearance and is shocked and hurt to find Sophie has married his brother. He instantly starts persuading her to run away with him, but Sophie stands firm.
       Also portrayed in the story is former lietenant Carlton Keith, who lost an arm in the war and was saved by Stephen, making him a family friend. He is staying with the family, and while he is not a main character, he is a nice fill-in.
       I  liked the book, and while there were no profound truths to impress and change one's life, it was an enjoyable, cosy read.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Fatal Frost

       BOOK REVIEW:   Following in her absentee father's footsteps in a law enforcement career, U.S. Marshall Mercy Brennan has just recovered from being shot in the line of duty. And, unbeknownst to her, her father's recent reappearance in her life has put her in the sights of St. Louis's most powerful gang. Her boss assigns Deputy U. S. Marshall Mark St. Laurent--Mercy's ex-boyfriend--to get her out of town until her safety can be guaranteed.
      Unaware of the extent her boss and Mark have been keeping her in the dark, it isn't until a freak ice storm strands them at a remote location and out of contact with the district office that the full severity of their situation becomes clear. As the storm worsens, the forces of nature combine with a deadly enemy to put them in great danger. Can they survive long enough for help to arrive--if help is even coming at all?
       MY REVIEW:   The Vargas Cartel is setting up in St. Louis and aligning itself with the cities' gangs. The police are working to uncover the mastermind and get the cartel off the streets, but they have a mole somewhere. Someone is giving the cartel confidential information about the police, but no one can discover who it is.
       Mercy meets her dad for lunch, but is puzzled at his nervousness, and why he left early. When she is told that he died later that day, it is almost as though she expected it. When her boss discovers that the cartel thinks her dad gave her incriminating evidence and they plan to have it back at whatever cost, he plans to have her leave the city. She is escorted out by Mark and Tally, two good friends from the force, and told they are answering a call from someone in witness protection who thinks he has been found. This alleged witness is actually Jess Medina, a detective from LA sent in to help.
       A terrible ice storm blows in, crashing down all their plans. And despite their best efforts, the mole is closer than they think and got the information on where they were.  Now they are worried that their backup has been delayed, and the cartel knows where they are.
      When the identity of their mole(s) comes out, everyone is shocked, and a sudden discovery puts Mercy, Mark, and Tally's lives in instant danger.
         I received this book from BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS in exhange for my honest review.

Heaven's Great Hope

   Heaven's Great Hope by Victor Morgan is based on the subject of hope. Mainly, hope in Heaven. Before I had even finished the first chapter, I was struck by how often he used the word, hope. It's almost overwhelming. But he got his point across.
      Victor believes that in order to live for God and not be bogged down by the cares and strife of this world, we need to be constantly "looking up". Looking to Heaven rather than earth. He writes that by looking to earth, we will become discouraged and disheartened, but when we focus on Heaven, we rise above and rest in hope.
      He also addresses the fact that God loves us even in our despair because He understands our despair.
      A main thought in this book is the distinction between faith and hope. I don't know just how much I agree with him, but he did a good job of explaining his position. He says, "Faith pulls down from Heaven, to our level, the things we desire while we're on earth. Hope lifts us up above earth."  Another description is "Faith, primarily, manifests Heaven's goodness upon earth. This is why we are required to live by it while we are here on earth. It's the means by which Heaven is brought to us, here on earth. Hope, by contrast, lifts the soul of man up to Heaven. It is not for bringing Heaven down to earth. Hope enables the soul to fix, or to anchor itself, in Heaven." 
        Towards the end of the book, Victor brings out the subject of the Holy Spirit. We all need to repent and be baptized, aligning our lives with the will of God, and then He will fill us with His Spirit. He describes our two acts as: "Repentance: turn to God with all your heart and away from sin. Baptism: surrender your life completely and submit your will to the will of God." 
         And to say anymore would spoil the book for the rest. :)

      I received this book from the publisher through BOOKCRASH in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Born After Midnight

       A. W. Tozer did not write BORN AFTER MIDNIGHT to mean that only those who pray after midnight will be saved; but rather those who pray with all their being. And that is only one subject of the book. Tozer goes after true revival--what we must give up or strive after to have a true relationship with God. He says that "....every man is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wants to be. He may not be as full as he wishes he were, but he is as full as he wants to be." I think this is a profound truth. There are people who want to be full of God, but not enough to give the necessary time and effort.
       One subject I liked in this book is the subject of your thought life. "What we think about when we are free to think about what we will, that is what we are or will soon become." I find I have to watch what I think or my imagination gets carried away, or I start dwelling on things that really aren't necessary.
        Another subject is letting go of our earthly treasures and trusting God to see us through. "Let go of your treasures and the Lord will keep them for you unto life eternal. Hang onto them, and they will bring you nothing but trouble and misery to the end of your days." As Christians, we don't need to carefully guard our possesions; they don't have the meaning they do to the world. Same as a rich man can't sleep but a poor man can, Christians have confidence that they are being watched over by the One who controls all things.
       Tozer also expresses his concerns in that when a person becomes a Christian, they are often left hanging; they are told that they accepted Christ therefore they are all set. But no one tells them what to do next, that they are to go and live for Christ and all that entails. I found that challenging. Helping a new Christian understand how his life is going to change is nearly as important as their actual conversion. Otherwise, they will be as seed falling on the stony ground--life will choke out their faith.
       These and the other subjects were wonderfully fit together, making an inspiring and enlightning book.
                 I recieved this book from MOODY PUBLISHERS in exchange for my honest review.