Sunday, September 30, 2012

Deployed

On the good side, the story is well written.  Character development is solid.  Drama unfolds with plenty of action and suspense.

On the bad side, I have an issue with the main character, Lance Corporal Bekah Shaw.  She is a Marine reservist who is returning to action on her third deployment in as many years.  Bekah is divorced from her husband who was never fit to be married in the first place.  Bekah also must leave her young son in the care of her grandmother who also helped raise her.   Bekah struggles with leaving her son behind but is courageous enough to serve her country.  So far, the character is believable and almost admirable.  However, once she starts to see action in a war zone, the character becomes less believable.

Women in the military do not serve in combat units on the front line of battle.  Even in today's military, a women would not be a fire team leader in charge of small unit attack.  I know this because I served in the military, and my husband continues to serve.  So I take offense to a story that stretches the truth to the point of a lie.  If the main character was a man, a single dad who struggled with leaving a child behind, then this story would have been great.  But since the main character is a women, this story is just too unrealistic to be enjoyable.

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Grace

I have been reading Max Lucado books for 25 years.  Even since I gave my life to Christ, his books have spoken to my heart and encouraged my faith.  This latest book does not disappoint.

This book revolutionary.  I thought I understood grace.  However, I have only just begun to comprehend the immense blessing of God's grace.  Weaving every day stories with theology, Max Lucado opens our minds and our hearts to the great gift of grace.

If I was to recommend just one book everyone should read this year, it would be this book.  It is not hard to read or a long book, but the truths between the covers will stay with you long after you are done.

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

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Gentle Giant of Dynamite Hill

The daughters of civil rights attorney, Arthur Shores, share their story of growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, at the height of the civil rights movement.  Their story is compelling, and nothing can compare to the life they lived.  Growing up, death threats and bombs were part of their life.  Fighting for equal rights in the deep south did not happen without struggle and sacrifice.  The Shore family are the unsung heroes of the movement.

My understanding of the civil rights movement is limited to just a few highlights such as Jim Crow, Brown v. Board of Education, and Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream..."  This book gave me more of the back story.  I had a hard time following some of the details as the book is not in chronological order.  However, it is not as much as a history book as it is a memoir of the Shores family.  No one should have to endure what the Shores family endured, and many people today enjoy freedoms and rights thanks to this family.

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Crazy Dangerous

I have been a fan of Andrew Klaven's books not because I like to read them but because my son likes to read them.  It is hard to find decent books for a teenage boy.  It is a small market and not many authors can delve into the mind of an adolescent boy like Andrew Klavan.

This book, told from the first person perspective of Sam Hopkins, is suspenseful, dramatic, and a bit spooky.  There is an element of evil which can be scary, but there was a reason for it.  The main character is struggling to do good in the face of evil.  However, he has to break a few rules to overcome the forces of evil.  It makes you wonder if the ends justify the means.

The plot moves quickly and characters are developed as the plot develops.  The story is not predictable and had me reading quickly to find out what happens next.

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

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Men of Sunday

I was expecting a more exciting book about an exciting sport; however, this was more about the people behind the excitement and how their lives are really not much different than mine.  They struggle; they fail; they have to start over; and they are trying to honor God in all they do.  It was refreshing to read about  athletes who are not full of themselves but realize that there is someone greater.

I most connected with the chapter "Family Sacrifices."  It was the stories about the wives and loss of identity that touched me.  They had to give up careers, dreams, and hometowns to follow their husband play the sport he loves.  It is not easy, no matter how much money they make.  As you read into the book, you realize that all the money they make does not buy job security or even an easy retirement.  Football players struggle once they leave the sport, even if it is by choice.  I have a new appreciation for these athletes.

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

Friday, September 7, 2012

Be Still My Soul

Lonnie and Gideon are forced into marriage but neither of them are ready to be married.  He makes numerous mistakes, and she tries love him while trusting that God is with her.  Yet nothing seems to go the way they planned, and they must learn to forgive and trust each other.

This book was slow going for the first 200 pages.  It was not character development that was slow but story development.  The last 150 pages, the story took off but often went too fast.  The ending was satisfying because the most interesting part of the story was the last 50 pages.  I just do not enjoy having to read 300 pages to get to the good part.

This is the first book of the Cadence of Grace Series.  There are few parts of the storyline I can see continuing into more books.  If the pace of the story picks up, I think I might enjoy reading these books.

Waterbrook Multnomah provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

To Love and Cherish

I did not understand the character of Melinda.  She is a strong young women who must leave her life of affluence when her parents die.  She becomes a lady's maid and must endure the life of a servant.  She does this with courage and grace and is a model servant.  However, when she falls in love with Evan she becomes a whiny, petulant child who wants to get her way no matter what Evan says.  Even when the local pastor tries to encourage Melinda to wait and pray, she ignores his advice and continues to try to control the situation.  It was very frustrating to read as nothing seemed to change as the story line dragged on.

The first half of the book was painstakingly slow.  I almost gave up reading the book.  I had to finish reading in order to write a thorough review.  So I kept on reading.  The pace of the story line picked up, and I started to enjoy it.  The second half of the book was so much better than the first half.  I am glad I stuck with it, but I did not like having to plod through so much useless story line to get to good stuff.

In the second half the book, the story was interesting and fun to read.  There was drama, suspense, romance, and intrigue.  If I could have just read the end without having to get through the beginning, I would have enjoyed this book.

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