Monday, November 19, 2012

Too Close for Comfort

I am a die hard C.S. Lewis fan, so when this book showed up, I must admit I was intrigued. Very shortly into the book, I realized that I would be disappointed. But perhaps that is because it is too similar to an iconic book and an amazing writer's original had big shoes to fill.

I did, of course, enjoy the format of the book - the conciseness of it among other things. But, the characters seemed almost too coarse and gritty...Lewis didn't need to make the presence of evil "over the top" in 'The Screwtape Letters' - we just could just feel the evil from his seemingly divinely-inspired writing. Platt almost seemed to be trying too hard to convince the reader that the characters were....bad.

Overall a good read - maybe I would suggest reading it BEFORE you read Lewis's work - if there is still anyone out there that hasn't read it.

* I received a free copy of this title by the Tyndale Publishing Company. I was not paid, instructed, or expected to give anything but my honest review.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Reminder...MacArthur style...

The subject of good intentions versus faith in action came up in our devotional today, and that is precisely what John MacArthur writes in his “Truth About” book , “The Lordship of Christ.”  As in any other relationship, loving Christ takes effort , sacrifice, and action – not just sentiment.

Though short in pages, this book is tall in message and is a sort of challenge to the “faithful” of today.  Are you willing to put in the work and abide in Christ or will you continue to ignore the Truth to be the sole proprietor of your life?  MacArthur challenges you to decide…and act.

I found this book to be a bit “dry” for my taste, but MacArthur did remind me of the necessity to further explore the questions he poses a bit deeper.  I believe some of his other own works do exactly that.

* I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com  http://BookSneeze®.com> 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

Book #23

Oh the joy of a good book!

A friend of mine recommended this one, the author being a friend of hers, as she knew how much I love historical novels.  And let me tell you - this sweet romance delivered!!

For those of you that don't know me well, my favorite historical romance author is Diana Gabaldon for her incredible ability to transport you in near literal terms; through sights, sounds, smells in such vivid, lush description that you mourn returning to reality when you put down her books.  And her characters...oh, lordy!  I still swear sometimes that I've actually met these people.  Because of her books, I nearly packed all of my belongings and moved to Scotland - not just to seek the descendants of the heart-melting main character Jamie - but to research all of the incredible places Ms. Gabaldon describes throughout the story!!  I went into a physical depression at the end of her first book which actually led to a strange aversion to starting the second for fear of what would happen when I finished THAT one! 

And so, when I discovered the main male character in Ms. Frantz's novel was another strong, good looking Scotsman, well....!  There was, admittedly, a mixture of curiosity and denial.  NO ONE could live up to my Jamie.

I was wrong.

While "Love's Reckoning" is not nearly as detailed or involved as my beloved "Outlander" books - I found the characters to be just as human, just as loveable, just as real.  It's setting in Pennsylvania in the 1700's was incredibly authentic.

And I can prove it.

As I told several people, three quarters of the way through the book, I had to put "Love's Reckoning" down.  I was so irritated, so frustrated, so incredulous at the author's gall at putting the main character, Eden, through so much!!   A girl simply seeking the love of the Lord, to help orphans, to be loved by a (Scottish!!) man despite the cruelty it exposed her to by her own father and sister....and to have all the upheaval in this poor girl's life get worse and worse!! She was so good, so deserving, so pure...

I found myself  literally yelling at her when she made naive decisions that I knew would end up badly.

Soon I began venting  my frustration on Silas, the Scot (!!).  Why didn't he do more for her, to protect her, to keep her from making those silly, naive choices?!

Why...was he so human?

That's it.  Right there.

Ms. Frantz has written an incredible story of two very human people who fall in love while discovering the meaning and the consequences of life,  in the words of the Bible, and in the situations we all find ourselves in that often lead us down the wrong path...but never without the promise of redemption.

I am thrilled to have found a Christian Historical Romance novelist of this caliber (she has other books with other historical settings and other wonderful characters)...and as this book is titled as part of the "Ballantyne Legacy" - I cannot wait to read what Ms. Frantz has in store for my new friends next! 

Book #24 : I've been feeling the "itch" for a good Historical tome lately. With Lincoln coming out in theaters at the end of this week, I am diving into Ms. Doris Kearns Goodwin's book "Team of Rivals" that the movie was based on.

Onward and Forward!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Book #22 - but really #21...

"The world turns on our every action, and our every omission, whether we know it or not."


I have been blown away by books before. 

Books have made me angry, made me cry, and made me truly lament the last word on the last page.  I have often wandered around after I read a good book because I wasn't sure how I would ever be able to find the next great read...

But this book puts most of those books to shame.

There were several moments in this book that I had to get up and blow my nose and wipe my eyes before I could continue...but, let me back up a bit before I rush off on an emotional tangent.

In "Cutting For Stone" we have an author, Abraham Verghese, that has learned how to use words to evoke very specific emotion - allowing you to literally feel and see and even smell the places he brings you - and to be honest, many are not pleasant to the average reader. It is in one of these rather unconventional locations - a mission hospital in Ethopia - that the author reminds you of what the word "humanity" actually means, why our Lord  tells each of us not to judge another, and how every life really can be intertwined and affect so many others.

The synopsis of this book is easy to find and read for yourself - but what it has no way of explaining is how rich and moving such a seemingly simple story can be.

There's nothing about this book that makes it an easy read. If you are uncomfortable with "real life" or an unsterile environment - or if you are only comfortable reading stories that give you "warm fuzzies" - this is not your book. If you are looking for a "quick read" - forget it; you will have missed out on so much that Mr. Verghese had to offer you. You must have time to allow the writing to encompass, to engulf you. I let myself literally abide within the pages and took very few breaks - no book A.D.D. on this one and I was surely rewarded!  Don't let the slow start deter you...I promise, before you know it, you will be transported to a different time, a different country, and much different circumstances than the comfy chair you sit in as you read...just like I was!

Book #22 is going to have to be some historical tome or a classic.  Just can't imagine anything else coming right after this...Aunt Nancy, you never cease to amaze me with your suggestions.  Each has been better than the last.  But I must say, I think you outdid yourself on this one! 

Onward and Forward! :)