Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review – A Texas Brides Collection

I got this book from #NetGalley as a free download in exchange for an honest review . . . so here goes:

If you enjoy romance novels, you’ll probably enjoy these short stories. I discovered about 1/2 way through I just don’t care for the predictability of these kinds of reads anymore. Although written by several authors, the first five of the nine stories were quite similar . . . too similar for my taste. I found myself a bit bored. The final four did redeem the series for me as they offered a bit more variety even with their predictable romantic slant.

Each story is pretty short. I could read one an evening. So these would make great reads for a plane ride or waiting room. They were well written. Just not really my cup of tea.

Book Review – The Rise of the Mystics

I was honored to be part of the launch team for “The Rise of the Mystics”.  I think I’m glad I wasn’t able to get “The 49th Mystic” (book 1 in the two book series) right away because it put less time between reads, and I really didn’t want to wait!

Although you’ll see in my review, you can read “The Mystic” series without reading “The Circle” or “The Forgotten Way,” I highly recommend you read them all first.  I’ll put links for The Circle below, but you can only get “The Forgotten Way” from Ted’s site.  (Click the title for details.)

Here’s my review:

I fell in love with Ted Dekker’s work when I read the very first book in the Circle Series, and he didn’t disappoint this time.  Although he continued the story of the Circle in these new books, a person could easily pick them up and not be lost, because he elaborates the things you need to know from the earlier books, just enough to get a new reader up to speed without sounding repetitious to those of use who’ve read the former books more than once. Having read “The Forgotten Way” not too long ago, I was also excited to see themes from that book woven into the adventure. And an adventure it is. Just when I thought I might know where he was going next, Dekker took an unexpected turn and kept me up late a few nights. I highly recommend “The Rise of the Mystics” as well as the first book, “The 49th Mystic.” The characters are well developed. The plot is rich with adventure, mystery and surprises, and as always Jesus Christ is honored in such a way that even those who aren’t interested in the faith will enjoy the ride.

The Cumberland Bride – Book Review

Shannon McNear did an excellent job keeping my attention. A little adventure and a little romance made it a truly enjoyable read. I always enjoy these historical fiction. This one even made me get my tablet out and do a little searching to find the path the family took. So far I’ve enjoyed this entire series! I’m looking forward to the next one. #TheCumberlandBride #NetGalley

Book Review – The Patriot Bride

I enjoyed “The Patriot Bride” just as much as I’ve loved the other books in this series. The historical background is excellent, and the plot and characters are well developed. I truly enjoy the main characters interactions with real life historical figures, and appreciated the insight into the part many civilians played during the Revolutionary War. This story kept my attention throughout. I highly recommend this book!

Book Review – Captured Bride

Another great addition to the Mayflower Brides series. I was given this book to review, and I wasn’t disappointed. Like the “Pirate Bride,” book #3 offers a lot of adventure and unpredictable plot twists even though I’d still put it in the classification of Historical Fiction or Christian Romance.

Set during the French and Indian War, all of the main characters are fictional, but I truly enjoyed the bits of real history entwined in the story line. Each of the characters is very well developed and easy to relate to. Plus the mystery surrounding at least one of the main characters remains intact clear till the very end.

I highly recommend this book to Christian and non-Christian readers.  If you like romance and Historical Fiction, I believe you’ll enjoy this book.

#TheCapturedBride #NetGalley

Book Review – Pirate Bride

This is the second book in the “Daughters of the Mayflower” series by Barbour Books.  It was written by Kathleen Y’Barbo.

I truly loved it. Immediately after reading it, I put the first book on hold at my local library! If you enjoy a bit of romance with a lot of adventure this book is for you. Most romances are so predictable, but this one had several twists I wasn’t expecting.  I enjoyed the characters as well as the story line, and since I was unfamiliar with Miss Y’Barbo’s work, I was a bit hesitant when it was offered as a book to review. But I’m glad I did!!!

#ThePirateBride #NetGalley

I got to review Craig Groeschel’s new book

“Hope in the Dark” is scheduled to release on Aug 21, 2018. I highly recommend it.

There are no good answers to why bad things happen to good people, but “Hope in the  Dark” may be the best attempt I’ve ever read. This book is honest, sometimes painfully so. The truth is we don’t want to hear that bad things are going to come, but Groeschel’s honest handling of the truth is amazing.  He uses Habakkuk to give example after example of how to trust in God even when things aren’t going well. (And I love the book of Habakkuk) I hope everyone who feels like they’re walking in a dark valley will read this book and find the hope Jesus Christ means for us to have! #HopeInTheDark #NetGalley

Movie Review – The Shack

If you’ve read the book, you probably won’t notice any spoilers, but if you haven’t, beware, I’ll be mentioning some movie scenes below.

I’m really surprised at the number of Christians who are boycotting this movie. I guess because I’m usually on the boycott bandwagon, I’m not often on this side of the entertainment debate. I have had one or two people tell me they aren’t going because they felt in their spirit the book was wrong. Those folks I am encouraging to follow that instinct. If the Holy Spirit tells you to do something, just do it! I don’t care who tells you it’s alright to ignore those feelings because to them it’s fine, just listen to the Spirit.

But here’s my take on some of the negativity I’ve heard . . .

IT’S FICTION . . . First of all I think it needs to remain in perspective this is a work of fiction. It’s a made up story. It sounds real . . . when I read the book, I kept wondering if it was a true story. Young did a great job of narrating in such a way you felt as though it really happened. On top of that, it’s a fictional story about something a person dreamed while in a coma. Let’s face it, God speaking to people in dreams is not a new phenomena. We don’t have any problem believing God spoke to Joseph or even wrestled with Jacob in a dream, so I’m not sure why this fictional story Should not be allowed to be called Christian based entertainment. Someone even said they thought people were taking it as scripture. If that’s the case, Christians shouldn’t read anything other than the Bible because there’s a chance we’ll mistake it for scripture. It’s fiction. It’s one man painting a picture of forgiveness, healing and the Trinity with words. If someone starts thinking it’s scripture, I think that little fact will straighten them out.

God is not a Black Woman . . .
no, He’s not . . . but he’s not a white man either. God is Spirit, and how He reveals Himself to His children is His business. He walked with Abraham toward Sodom and must have looked like a Middle Eastern man then. I like it that Young took God out of the box. He maintained the masculine pronouns just like God seems to like (since that what scripture uses), but the Bible gives God a lot of traits that aren’t masculine because is not human and has no gender.

Universalism. . . I can see how some might think this movie/book supports the idea that no one goes to hell. But on the other hand, there are several lines in the movie (and I believe in the book also) that dismiss this theory. At one point Papa tells Mack He wants to redeem the man who hurt Missy. If you’re going for a Universal view where everyone goes to heaven, then either there’d be no need for redemption or he’d already be redeemed. But Papa wants to redeem him.

In several places the issue of free will is given. Jesus and Papa both say they don’t want any slaves. Everyone is given a choice to follow or not follow. Wisdom says that trust is required for a relationship with the Trinity. All of these seem to contradict a Universalist view.

Mack’s dad being in heaven seemed to bother a lot of people, it bothered me a bit when I read the book. But by assuming the man could not possibly have made it to heaven is to become the same kind of judge Mack had to learn he was. The father was a leader in the church, and although the beating was inexcusable, we don’t know his relationship with the Almighty. One would think the man’s fruit would negate his ability to be saved, but while the Bible gives me permission to talk about His fruit, it strips me of my right to determine whether or not he accepted Christ’s forgiveness even in the few moments as he lay dying.

I’ve been told some people think this because Mr. Young is a Universalist. I don’t know. I don’t know the man. I’ve never even seen him interviewed. Maybe he is, but I don’t see that the book or movie solidify that view. I believe that even if he is a Universalist, Young left the door open for me to share my belief that One MUST accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In fact I thought the scene when Mack told Wisdom he would give his life for his children so they could both have an opportunity to go to heaven would make a perfect intro to explaining that God deemed us worthy of His love so He sent Christ, but we have to accept the sacrifice on our behalf to claim the gift. Even in this scene Wisdom simply illustrated the children were worthy of love; she did not give them a free pass to heaven.

Justice and Love at odds . . . I just don’t see it. Charisma News said that was a problem, but especially in the scene with wisdom, I see Wisdom being tough on Mack. Even Papa as a man told Mack he didn’t have to excuse the act of the man who hurt Missy. He also talked a bit about justice there too if I remember right, and then said He wanted to redeem the man.

The Wrath of God . . . OK I’ll give you this one. Young does minimize the wrath of God here, but in this context, with Mack believing that Missy was taken because of the Wrath of God, Papa’s statements are legit. Mack did not understand who God was. And the truth is most of the world doesn’t understand who God is. The wrath of God gets plenty of publicity, as does the picture of God who allows for cheap grace. I think the book and the movie both do a good job of showing the need for forgiveness and relationship with the Trinity. So, I can live with the wrath of God being trivialized in a work of FICTION just this once.

I think the biggest issue I have with all those who have problems with this book goes back to my very first statement. For some reason everyone seems to forget this is a work of fiction. I had more problems with THE BIBLE series on the History Channel than I do “The Shack”. “The Bible” series had a few deviations from scripture I thought, but they were relatively insignificant, so I didn’t make a big deal about them. And that series was supposed to be straight out of the Bible. If you’re going to put the Bible into a movie, you have to be accurate. But this is fiction . . . it’s a story someone told . . .

I personally found the picture of the Trinity Young painted pretty awesome. I loved that the garden of Mack’s life was a mess, but beautiful from God’s point of view. I also thought the book and movie did a tremendous job of pointing out the need for forgiveness and a full relationship with the Trinity. He did not get into the plan for salvation, but again . . . it was a work of fiction. I always assumed his point was the need for forgiveness and relationship so he left the way to salvation to us. If this movie can motivate dialogue about the Trinity and the need to trust in God, is it really a bad thing?