Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Truth of the Matter

I did not read The Last Thing I Remember or The Long Way Home, so I started in this third book of The Homelanders series by Andrew Klavan. It was not hard to catch up with the back story while keeping up with the fast-paced life of Charlie West. Usually, I prefer to start at the beginning of a series, but I got the chance to read this book and wanted to get started right away.

I enjoyed this book and am glad I can share it with my son. It is hard to find good books for young men. My son had read all the books in the Magic Tree House series the summer before his fourth grade year. Now that he is in sixth grade, we are finding very few books that are interesting and appropriate. He likes to read, but there is so little out there for him. He does not like wizards or mummies, so his choices are limited. I am glad for this series as it is interesting, action-packed, and entertaining. I like that it is not overly violent or has sexual charged scenes. It's just a good read. Thank you, Andrew Klavan, for writing good fiction.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Amy Inspired

I can honestly say that I was not inspired while reading this book. I did not like this book and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Too verbose. I did not enjoy the many paragraphs of descriptive writing that were unnecessary to the story line. Some description is needed to help the reader visualize the story but not so much that the background becomes a storyline itself.

Too many characters. I was exhausted by the beginning of the 4th chapter as yet another character was being introduced. Since so much description is given to each character, it was time consuming to keep tract of each new character.

Too long. I was on page 286 before I realized that there had yet to be a climax to the story. For an author writing about writing, I was surprised that the book lacked basic story elements. In the last 40 pages, the protagonist did find herself at the turning point, but it felt rushed as if the author needed to keep the book under 320 pages.

Too much smut. As mentioned in other reviews, this book was not as Christian as the Christian market expects. I was convicted a few years ago about reading books that bordered on smut. I turned to Christian publishers to find morally entertaining books. I did not expect to read about half naked women and unmarried couples sleeping together in this novel.

I do not enjoy writing negative reviews, but I have read and reviewed so many books this year that it was bound to happen.

Bethany House has given me a free copy of this book to review and has given me freedom to state my own opinions about it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stories Behind of the Greatest Hits of Christmas

This was a great book to read at the start of the holiday season. I enjoyed reading about the many songs of Christmas and the history of how these songs came to be.

I am not well versed in music (pun intended) so the technical aspects of music was over my head. Since no chapter was longer than 7 pages, it was an easy read. I agree with another reviewer that having lyrics printed in the book for each song would have been a nice addition. Instead, I found myself singing the songs in my head. Maybe in the iPod version of this book, you could buy the book and the music together. That would be a fun interactive experience!

The history of Silent Night is a great story, and I am glad the author, Ace Collins, saved it for the last chapter. It was great way to end the book.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Zondervan has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hatteras Girl

I like a good book to read on vacation. I received this book to review but did not get to go on vacation to read it. However, it did bring back good memories of a trip I took to OBX.

This book was mildly entertaining. It was not an easy read as too many characters were introduced yet they did not seem significant to the story line. My mind was overwhelmed with trying to understand each character and their back story. I think half of the characters were unnecessary and the story would have been the same without them.

The book falls under the category of inspirational fiction, but there was not a whole lot of talk about God and religion. The book could also be a romance novel, but the story was not overly romantic. At times, I wanted to read more about the romantic relationship between 2 characters and at other times, I was tired of hearing about how the main character felt about a particular man. There was also some drama and suspense in the book. So I am not sure how to categorize this book. Instead I will say the story is unique.


Bethany House has given me a free copy of this book to review and has given me freedom to state my own opinions about it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

First Things First

I am married to a football fan and keep up with the highlights in support of my husband, but I really did not know much about Kurt Warner before reading this book. After reading this book, I have a new appreciation for him and for his family.

I like how the book is written. Both Kurt and his wife Brenda add commentary to this autobiography of their amazing family. Yet they are not without struggle so I appreciate their honesty in telling their story.

When they talk about the rules their family follows, I realize that all families have rules. Rule #7 makes me laugh, "Hold hands with a sibling for ten minutes if you can't get along." My friend follows the same rule but uses tape. It's a good illustration to show children that they are bound together by the family bond.

This book is encouraging not because the Warners have all the answers but because they are trying to raise a strong family in a culture that often challenges the family unit. I am impressed with the strength of conviction and the moral uprightness of Kurt and Brenda Warner and their entire family.


Tyndale has given me a free copy of this book to review and has given me freedom to state my own opinions about it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Unlocked

It has been a while since Karen Kingsbury has written a stand alone book such as this one. However, this book was alluded to in Take Four from the Above the Line series. So this is more of a spin-off than a stand alone.

The story line is sweet and the characters relate able. There is both joy and sadness within the story. Life-changing fiction gives readers a chance to escape their lives and connect with these characters. It makes us rethink our own issues and life's struggles. This book makes me grateful for the blessing of my family.

I have one issue with the story. I have a hard time with the special need students being separated from the rest of the student body. After No Child Left Behind, special needs students are mainstreamed into all classrooms as much as possible. Inclusion would have prevented a student such as Holden Harris from being segregated into a special building. Since ADA and IDEA, schools are not allowed to have a special wing or building for special needs students. One local school had 2 special needs rooms side-by-side and had to move them apart to prevent the perception that these students were segregated. This story element would not bother me so much if it was not such a big part of the story. A teacher like Mr. Hawkins, the drama teacher in the story, would have no choice but to let a student like Holden into his classroom. He would have been forced to accommodate such a student. It would not have been such a big deal for Holden to be placed into the theater class.

Overall, this was an easy to read book that makes us all grateful for what we have.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Zondervan has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Heaven is for Real

I did not intend to read 3 books in the last year about people describing heaven from the first person perspective. 90 Minutes in Heaven, Flight to Heaven, and Heaven is for Real share the same perspective of what heaven is like. All 3 books also have in a common a person who had to suffer and go through intense medical drama in order to experience heaven. I am glad that I have read all 3 of these books. I am also excited to be doing a study on Revelation (Here and Now, There and Then by Beth Moore). It seems like God is trying to teach me something, and I best be paying attention. Next thing I know, my pastor will be preaching about heaven. ;)

What I liked about Heaven is Real is the fresh and honest understanding of heaven. An almost 4 year old does not have the Biblical knowledge to describe heaven like he did unless he saw it himself. There are some things that I could not describe even after studying the Bible. No amount of study compares to an eyewitness account, and what this young boy describes is completely in alignment with what the Scriptures teach us.

I also want to commend Todd and Sonja Burpo for being careful and honest in trying to understand what their son, Colton, saw. It is easy to feed information to your children and sway their perspective. However, the Burpo's were discerning in allowing their son to tell them what he saw without trying to influence his understanding. As a result, we get to read a great book about heaven and about a little child who had the chance to see it for himself.



Thomas Nelson has given me a free copy of this book to review and has given me freedom to state my own opinions about it.