Friday, February 24, 2012

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

I am not one to read historical fiction, but this book was offered to me from Bethany House, and I thought I would give it a chance. It was an easy read albeit long (400+ pages). It kept my interest with many characters and many twists and turns in the storyline.

The story is set in England during the 1800's. Margaret Macy is a young socialite who is a few months shy of her 25th birthday. On her birthday, she will receive a sizeable inheritance from her aunt. She is being pursued by a man and his son as they try to get to her money. Unfortunately, this man is her step-father, and the son is her step-brother. Margaret escapes and becomes a maid to hide from them. In a interesting turn of events, she is a maid in the home of a man who once proposed to her and his brother who she pursued.

From the brief synopsis, you can see that there is a lot to the story. In some ways, it reads like a soap opera without the smut. There is love and murder, drama and suspense, honor is threatened and restored. Some of the action seems unbelievable and too coincidental, but the characters are believalbe. I can envision a sequel as there are more stories left to tell.

Bethany House has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stand By Me

This book was a delightful treat like drinking a grande white chocolate mocha on a cold winter day. I am so glad that Thomas Nelson provided me a copy of this book to read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as I have enjoyed reading all the Yada Yada books over the last few years.

Avis, the main character of this story, has always been poised, polished, and a little too perfect. She has been a part of the Yada Yada Prayer Group since the very beginning. To be honest, I was always intimidated by her character because she always seems to be so put together. This story reveals that no one, no matter how they look on the outside, has it all put together.

The character of Kat was new to this series. She is a young college student with fresh ideas and a deep conviction of rightness. She lacks compassion and needs to tone down her opinions. I had a hard time liking her, but maybe that is because I can relate to her.

What I loved about this book is the realism. The characters struggle with things that I struggle with. They seek God's guidance and the advice of close friends. They are trying to live out their faith in their day-to-day lives. I can totally relate.

Even though this is the first book in the SouledOut Sisters series, it is a continuation of the Yada Yada Prayer Group and Yada Yada House of Hope series. I would admit that reading the other books before reading this book is a good idea. Many characters from previous books make an appearance in this latest book and a few characters have major roles in the plotline.

Thomas Nelson has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Called to Controversy

This is fascinating book about a fascinating man. I appreciate Ruth Rosen's hard work to record the story of her father who founded Jews for Jesus.

I have been a Christian for years. As I matured, I learned how the Jewish faith is the roots of my faith. Moishe Rosen was a Jewish man who learned how the Christian faith is the fulfillment of his Jewish faith. He did not seek to become a Christian believer, but he could not deny the truth once he faced it himself. Then he brought this faith in Christ back to his roots even though many in the Jewish culture shunned and shamed him.

I highly recommend this book to Jews and Gentiles alike. We all can learn from Moishe's faith. He did not cringe from controversy or avoid arguments. He spoke truth and followed God's will for his life no matter the consequence. His life can inspire us to do the same.

Thomas Nelson has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day of War

This is an action-packed book. War is not pretty, and Cliff Graham was not hesitant to fully depict war in all its gore and ugliness; however, there are some redeeming truths in war such as fighting with honor for the Lord that Graham did not leave out.

The story opens with Benaiah on a solo mission to help a small village with a suspected lion attack. He defeats the lion only to find out that is was not the lion who killed the little boy but another evil entity that requires even more battle and pain. The book continues with the many battles of David's army as they try to rid the land of evil.

I did like the fictionalization of David and his mighty men. The author stayed close to the Bible story and did enough research to ensure the storyline reflected truth. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the Lion of War series.

My only other comment is to say that there is an abundance of gore depicted in the story. I say this to warn readers so that they are aware that they will be exposed to death and destruction in incredible detail. I do not find this to be a negative part of the book, but it is a realistic depiction of war during this time period.

Zondervan has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lazarus Awakening

Joanna Weaver has so many good things to say, and she says them all in this book. The paperback edition even includes an additional chapter that she was inspired to write after the hardback edition was printed.

It seems like this book was more of a magazine then a book. Interspaced throughout each chapter are sidebars and segments which are part of the reading but not written as a fluid piece. Instead, the reader would bounce back and forth between the body of the book and these sidebars. I found it distracting.

Another reason this book read like a magazine is the numerous sources quoted throughout the narrative. These quotes and stories come from Max Lucado, Beth Moore, Charles Spurgeon, Oswald Chambers, Philip Yancey, Pricilla Shirer, Joyce Meyer, Brother Lawrence, and Frank Peretti, just to name a few. It seemed like more of the book came from other authors than from the author herself.

This was not a bad book. On the contrary, it is full of encouragement and hope. Toward the end, it felt like there was so much in the book that I was not sure what was the main focus of the book. The book includes the salvation message, steps to overcoming strongholds, how to hear from God, and prayer method as well as many other Christian principles. It just seems like the author had too much to say and tried to include all of it in this short book.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.