Google+ Badge

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart - A Book Review

The Man He Never Was: A Modern Reimagining of Jekyll and   Hyde   Image result for james l rubart

     How is it possible that I have not discovered this amazing author long before now? My favorite type of Christian fiction is not the sweet stories of Christians living out their faith, although those are wonderful; rather my favorite type of Christian fiction is the type whose stories open my heart and mind to the truth of God’s Word in a way that I have not seen it before. Ted Dekker and Francine Rivers, two very different types of writers, but both quite skillful at teaching God’s truth, are among the best, and now I know James Rubart to be that type of writer as well.
     In The Man He Never Was Rubart addresses what it means to truly be crucified with Christ, the essence of God’s love, and what it means for perfect love to cast out all fear. He does this by allowing us to join Toren Daniels through an abusive childhood into an out-of-control adulthood. As readers we get to watch Toren’s struggle to gain control, to do the right things, and to win back the family he drove away. Stalked by someone from his middle and high school years, aided by a group of mysterious strangers, Toren is torn between darkness and light, between desires for peace and for an outlet for his anger, between love and hate. Warren Wiersbe wrote that Satan’s philosophy is glory without suffering, and God’s philosophy is suffering transformed into glory. Toren was certainly torn between choosing the philosophy that would determine which mountain he would end up climbing in his effort to be the man he wanted to be.

     Not long into The Man He Never Was I was already wanting to share this book with many of my friends and family. It is one of those books that I will want to give a permanent spot in my home library, frequently revisiting the pages I’ve highlighted, of which there are many. It will be necessary to delete the copy that NetGalley and Thomas Nelson kindly provided in exchange for an honest review, but it will be worth purchasing a copy to transfer my highlighting to. I received no monetary compensation for providing this review. It was fueled with the hope that others will be moved to read this moving and enlightening book. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

When Love Calls by Lorna Seilstad - A Brief Comment

When Love Calls (The Gregory Sisters Book #1): A Novel by [Seilstad, Lorna]    Lorna Seilstad

     In 2014 and 2015 I reviewed books two and three in The Gregory Sisters series. Recently I discovered that I had had book one, When Love Calls, on my shelf since 2013! It was great to reconnect with Charlotte and Tessa Gregory, and to learn more about their older sister, Hannah. As oldest, Hannah had taken on many responsibilities following their parents' deaths. Responsibilities that she had difficulty letting go and difficulty sharing. Lincoln Cole had also lost his parents while still young, but that was only partially what drew him to Hannah and her sisters. Hannah had an impact on him that no woman had ever had before; if only he could get her to trust him, to turn to him, to let him share her load. Their love story, and the mystery of an arsonist working in their hometown will give readers hours of pleasurable reading.

Convenient Lies by Robin Patchen - A Book Review

Convenient Lies (Hidden Truth Book 1) by [Patchen, Robin]    Robin Patchen

     The ramifications of past decisions and the lenses through which we see the world greatly impact the decisions we make today, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Rae’s past, childhood events, rash decisions all led her to a place of danger and betrayal. Now she must run to try to keep her baby safe no matter the cost to herself. Through however a circuitous route, the first true stop must be Rae’s hometown. Unexpected complications keep her there longer than expected, to even more unexpected consequences.
     Detective Brady Thomas, Rae’s childhood best friend and teenage love, has returned to their hometown and hopes to be next-in-line for the position of Chief of Police. After many failed relationships, Brady’s love for Rae still resides deep in his heart. When he responds to a prowler call at her grandmother’s home, Brady comes face to face with the woman he can’t forget. With his military and police training and experience, Brady feels qualified to protect Rae and her child, but Rae trusts no one, nor does she want to endanger the man she has never forgotten.

     Convenient Lies is full of adventure, heroism, and selflessness. The dialogue is very well written, and the author paints mental pictures of the story’s settings with embedded information, not long descriptions, thus keeping the story moving at a fast pace. This is one of those reads that would play well as a movie. The story will appeal to both men and women. I thank Robin Patchen for providing me with a copy of Convenient Lies in exchange for an honest review, and look forward to reading book two in this Hidden Truth series, Twisted Lies. I greatly enjoyed this first book. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Phoebe's Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher - A Book Review

   Phoebe's Light ( Book #1) (Nantucket Legacy)   Suzanne Woods Fisher

     Of all the Suzanne Woods Fisher books that I have read, Phoebe’s Light is my absolute favorite. Often times historical Amish, Quaker, and Shaker books have a very similar and familiar feel to them, not so with Phoebe’s Light. While Fisher appears to stay true to the circumstances of the times, her two main female characters, Phoebe Starbuck (fictional) and Mary Coffin (historical), were quite independent for the era and for their faith traditions. One was wise from an early age, the other gained wisdom through the school of hard knocks. The many male characters who interact with these two ladies are as different from one another as night is from day. We see those genuine in their faith, those genuine in their adherence to rules, and those genuine in their repulsion to religion if not to faith, along with those who are extremely hypocritical. We see those who look at people of all station, creed and color as individuals worthy of respect, those who lack respect for anyone different from themselves, and those who would take advantage of any they could. We see the well-educated, the self-educated, those lacking education but not wisdom, and those lacking wisdom but not education.
     Phoebe’s Light is split between Mary’s story set on the recently settled island of Nantucket in the mid-1600s and Phoebe’s story set on the same island, but during the peak of the whaling industry of the mid-1700s. During Mary’s time association with or belonging to the Quakers was something often met with imprisonment and public whippings. During Phoebe’s a large percentage of Nantucket’s residents were members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), and were expected to follow their customs and traditions.

     In this book Fisher offers her readers a high level of tension that will keep pages turning long into the night. She also brings forth a few quite unexpected surprises before the stories final page. I highly recommend this story of contrasts and conflict, both internal and external. I also recommend clearing your calendar for a couple of days because you aren’t going to get anything else done once you start reading any way. Thank you to Revell Publishing for providing me with a copy of Phoebe’s Light in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for providing this review. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin - A Book Review

The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy Book #1)  Sarah Sundin

     If I had begun to read The Sea Before Us without knowing who the author was, I would have quickly recognized Sarah Sundin’s voice. If you enjoy fiction set during the World War II era, you will enjoy this book with detailed descriptions of the preparations for D-Day and a vivid word picture of the main characters’ rolls in the taking of the beach in Normandy.
     Lt. Wyatt Paxton, a naval officer from Texas serving as a liaison with the Royal Navy, has fled from his family following a disastrous accident for which he feels at partial responsibility. While he rests in God’s forgiveness, he is unable to forgive himself and fears his family will also be unable, or unwilling, to forgive him.
     Dorothy Fairfax, a second officer with the Wrens, has lost all of those dear to her except for her father. He has become so distant, so aloof, it is as if he too were lost to her. Dorothy has spent years and put great effort into making herself into the type of person one could love, the type her father could love, and the type her childhood crush, Lawrence Eaton, could love. Would there ever be anyone who could love her for herself?

     Faith, true acceptance of Christ’s work on the cross, and understanding God’s love for us are central themes in The Sea Before Us, concepts that are balms to our heart, and that settle peace over our lives. I thank NetGalley and Revell Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for this honest review. I received no monetary compensation, only hours of reading pleasure. 

The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron - A Book Review

The Lost Castle: A Split-Time Romance by [Cambron, Kristy]    Kristy Cambron

     If you are looking for a lighthearted, mindless sort of read, this is not it. If you are looking for a read that will work that gray matter and stimulate your brain cells, then this book is for you. First of all, it is set in three different historical time periods, and it fluctuates between past and present within those time periods. Second, each time period has its own set of characters, and the reader is trying to determine the less obvious connections between the characters across the time periods. Third, while following the story, the reader is also searching mental files created in those long-ago world history classes trying to recall facts related to the French Revolution and the French Resistance during World War II. While that may all seem daunting, The Lost Castle is worth the effort. It is a tale of the power of the human spirit, and the beauty of upholding one’s convictions. It is a story of healing and rising from the ashes. It is a story not to be missed.
     Born into nobility, Aveline Sainte-Moreau cannot understand or countenance the treatment handed out to the Third Estate by the members of the First and Second Estates. Her heart went out to the poor, down trodden and unrepresented people of France, a decidedly unpopular point of view among her family and peers. Viola Hart, survivor of a London bombing, felt compelled to use her language skills in service of her country, despite the misgivings of her brother and the danger involved. Ellie Carver realizes that Alzheimer’s is stealing her grandmother from her, just as the plane crash stole her parents when she was just a child. Now she must travel to France to discover her grandmother’s story, a story that may change everything. A special castle, a Sleeping Beauty, binds these brave ladies’ stories together.

     Thank you, NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of The Lost Castle in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for providing the review. As always, thank you, Kristy Cambron, for sharing your great talent. 

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green - A Book Review

A Refuge Assured    Jocelyn Green

     I appreciate the in-depth research Jocelyn Green did in preparation for writing A Refuge Assured. In her final notes, she helps the reader separate fact from fiction, which is also appreciated. Green’s writing piqued my interest, and as I was reading I did google searches on Alexander Hamilton’s role in the Whiskey Rebellion, the French aristocracy fleeing the French Revolution for the safety of the United States of America, and on Asylum, Pennsylvania. All of which was quite interesting and aligned with Green’s well written tale of Vivienne Rivard and William (Liam) Delaney.
     Vivienne, a resident of Paris, France and a lace maker to the queen, finds herself alone and in danger as her known family have died and being a lace maker has become a capital offense under the new regime. It would appear that her only hope of survival is to approach a stranger who had been willing to see to her mother’s escape, but circumstances make her only too aware that she must be the director of her own destiny. Arriving in the country that had only recently seen its own revolution, Vivienne is determined to make her own way. Little did she know that she would also become responsible for making the way for another.  
     Liam Delaney once served as a soldier in the War of Independence, now he is torn between allegiance to the new nation and allegiance to his own conscience. Are those protesting the excise tax on distilled spirits write in their claims that they are once again being unfairly taxed or are Washington and Hamilton right in their extreme measures of enforcing the tax? While Liam much prefers time on his farm away from such political controversy, his job as a postal carrier brings him into Philadelphia, the nation’s capital, on a regular basis. The opportunity to visit his tavern-keeping sister made the trip and its nuisances worthwhile, and now there was also the opportunity to see the tavern’s new baker, Vivienne Rivard.       

     Fans of historical fiction will gladly spend time between the covers of A Refuge Assured, and will hope for future stories about the Delaney family. I thank NetGalley and the Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a copy of A Refuge Assured in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for providing this review.