Friday, January 29, 2010

Thicker Than Blood by C. J. Darlington

Ebay meets "The Book Thief." That is what I thought when reading this book. Books are as much a character in this book as the characters themselves.

Sisters who have not seen each other in 15 years is the backstory to this story. Christy left her sister May behind after their parents died. May lost her sister and Christy lost her way.

The story includes love and loss, failures and redemption, and the hope for reconcilition. All of this is woven together as the sisters both find a way to come home again.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Buried Alive by Roy Hallums

As a veteran myself, I was interested in reading this book. I anticipated a fascinating story of survival and rescue.

In order to survive 311 days as a hostage in Iraq, Roy had to stay calm and endure whatever his captures did or did not do to him. His ex-wife says that his is patient and laid back. I think that describes the flow of the book...laid back. It was neither exciting nor was it depressing. It was just easy going throughout.

I expected more drama and action in the story, but it was not that kind of story. The book details Roy's ordeal as best as he can remember. It was interesting but not necessarily exciting.

As far as the Christian content, I was disappointed. The front flap of the book states "Hallum's story is tempered by his faith." However, there is only one acknowledgement of God throughout his entire 311 days of captivity. I would have thought his faith would play a bigger role in his survival. I guess I was wrong.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, January 15, 2010

NIV Bible download from Sony

I was excited to get a Sony reader for Christmas. One of my first downloads was the NIV Bible published by Zondervan purchased at the Sony reader store. I am sorely disappointed. This download has numerous typos and is not worth the $13.49. I have called customer service and was told they would call me back. I am still waiting. This makes me wonder if I should have gone with the Kindle or the Nook instead. It's too late now for me, but maybe someone else will learn from my mistake.

I thought of buying this book from another website. However, I have learned that if I buy the download from another site, I may not be able to put it on the reader if it is not in the right format. Sony readers can download .epub, .pdf, and .doc but not .pdb or anything from Kindle at

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Antonio Meets His Match (Max Lucado's Hermie and Friends DVD)

Another delightful story from Max Lucado. I have been a fan of his books and can now share his stories with my children.

Hermie is a lovable character who we thoroughly enjoy. But this story is about his friend, Antonio, who is finding it hard to love his neighbor. No matter how hard he tries, he does not like his new neighbor. God reminds him, and us, that He wants to love our neighbor even when it is hard. This is a good lesson for not just the kids but for the adults, too.

What I liked about the story was the reminder that we are not just to "put up with" our neighbors but to truly love them. It is only through God's love for us that we can love others.

A great story with a great message. Thanks Hermie!

When the Game Was Ours by Larry Bird and Earvin Magic Johnson with Jackie MacMullan

Growing up in Massachusetts in the 1980's means that I am a die hard Celtics fan. Growing up in a suburb of Springfield, Massachusetts where basketball began means I have a deed appreciation for the sport. I was intrigued by the story of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

I never truly understood what made the men who played the game so great. It was a combination of talent and hard work as well as the kind of competition that makes you play even harder. That is what Magic Johnson and Larry Bird did for each other. Both were great players who played hard, but it was because of the competition that they played even harder and became basketball greats. They are why the NBA is around today.

I hope to share this book with my dad who taught me how to play basketball and shares in my love for the Celtics.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Sweet By and By by Sara Evans

Jade, the protagonist of our story, wants to forget her horrible past and move on with her life. She grew up a poster child for a broken home. Her dad walked out and her mom was a free loving hippie who did not know how to love her own children. Instead of dealing with her past, Jade left it and had not spoken to either parent in years. Whenever you neglect to deal with the past, the past will deal with you.

Through some God-intended events, Jade is forced to face her past and deal with her issues. As we all want in our own lives, she overcomes her past and brings beauty from the ashes.

The character development was severely lacking. As a reader, I did not understand why the dad left. He walks out on her family but becomes a prominent judge in Washington D.C. championing family values. Jade’s best friends appear briefly at few times in the story but neither help nor hinder Jades’ healing process. I would have thought her psychologist friend would instrumental in helping Jade, yet she wasn’t. Instead she goes off on a spa day while Jade continues to work the weekend before her wedding. I just don’t get it.

I also found the prose too wordy. Chapter 2 opens with “Amber hues muted the last of the Iowa blue day as the sun rounded the horizon toward the west, taking with it the last bit of warmth.” It felt like the words were just filling up empty space without adding meaning to the story.

I gave this book 2 stars as it was an interesting story but not well written. It was too wordy with too many characters that did not add to the story development.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel

I have enjoyed all of the Strobel's writings. From Case for Faith to Case for Christ, his work is thorough yet very readable.

I purchased Case for Christmas as a nice little book to read for the holidays. It seemed familiar like I had read it before. I pulled out my copy of Case for Christ and compared notes. Lo and behold, I had read it before. Case for Christmas is 5 chapters pulled from Case for Christ plus an introduction, "Who was in the manger that first Christmas morning?" I had thought it was a whole new book. So for anyone who has read Case for Christ, you have already read Case for Christmas. For anyone who has not read Case for Christ, Case for Christmas is a great entry into the writings of Strobel.

The Sister Circle by Nancy Moser and Vonette Bright

I have decided to post reviews of all the books I read and not just the ones publishers send me. There are so many good books out there to be read!

I just finish the 4th and last book in the Sister Circle series and enjoyed every one of them. A friend recommended the books and my local public library had them sitting on the shelf waiting for me. It took me a while to really get into the story as there are many characters introduced at the beginning of the first book, but my friend really like them so I kept on reading. I am glad I did because I enjoyed the story of each and every lady.

If there was one thing I liked the most it was that the characters were real. The story line was real. They encountered the same experiences and emotions that we encounter in our lives. I don't need fiction that is so false that it is far fetched. I like fiction that is relateable and relevant.

The books in this series include:
The Sister Circle (#1)
'Round the Corner (#2)
An Undivided Heart (#3)
A Place to Belong (#4)

I would suggest reading the books in order as the story line progresses through each book and many characters stay throughout all 4 books.