Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Critical Reaction by Todd M. Johnson is a legal thriller. The Hanford Nuclear Facility is a mostly-shut-down plutonium site. Security guards monitor the site to keep it safe and secure. But one night, the worst case scenario happens - an explosion rips through the plant, exposing the men to radiation. But not is all as it seems at Hanford. There is a secret plot behind the scenes and Kieran Mullaney , along with others, get caught up in it. Kieran and one of his coworkers, Poppy, experience terrible symptoms of radiation poisoning, yet they're told they've been exposed to no radiation and are asked to lie about the night the explosion happened. Kieran turns to his old friend, Emily Hart, who is a new lawyer. She has to ask her estranged father, Ryan, for help. Legal thrillers are one of my favorite genres, so I was really excited to read this book. I had a little trouble getting into the beginning because of the descriptions of the nuclear facility and the plutonium making process, which I don't know anything about. It was a bit technical at times, but it really picked up in the middle of the story and got very exciting. I had trouble putting it down once it got going! The conspiracy behind the scenes was compelling and believable. I could imagine something like this happening in real life. Although this was published by a Christian publisher, there was really no religious talk whatsoever in this book, so that was a bit odd. I was expecting it to be heavier on Christian themes. However, overall, this was an excellent book and I would highly recommend it. I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
The Glory Of Heaven by Betty Malz is subtitled Inspiring True Stories And Answers To Common Questions. It is decribed as a book containing not only true stories of people visiting Heaven and returning (near death experiences), but also a description of and questions and answers about Heaven, drawing from Scripture and personal experiences. Betty has written another entire book about her experience of dying and visiting Heaven and returning to earth, so she doesn't give an extremely detailed account about it in this book, more of just an overview. This book has fairly short topical chapters so it's easy to pick up and put down after reading one chapter. I will admit that I read books about near death experiences with a healthy grain of salt. Betty's story does sound believable, and this book is more about answering the questions that many people have, such as "What does Heaven look like?", "What will we do in Heaven?", etc. She does use Scripture to answer many questions, but a lot of it is her own personal opinion as well. Personal opinions are find as long as they don't contradict Scripture, so that was fine. Overall, this was a reassuring book to a topic that scares or causes curiosity in many people. It's a quick and easy read and definitely enjoyable. I received a copy of this book from Chosen publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Emma Of Aurora: The Complete Change And Cherish Trilogy by Jane Kirkpatrick is a sweeping, epic saga about the life of Emma Wagner Giesy and is based on a true story. This giant book (over 1,000 pages altogether) is really three books now available in one volume: A Clearing In The Wild, A Tendering In The Storm, and A Mending At The Edge, plus various Author's Notes, Bibliographies, Suggested Reading, Glossaries, etc. These three books span the life of Emma Wagner Giesy, a woman who belongs to a colony of Christian believers who live together and have all things in common. Emma is headstrong and has her own ideas about Christianity, women, marriage, men, and many other things, and is strong willed and not afraid of sharing her opinions. As such, she develops a strained relationship with the colony over time and at times her stubbornness leads to her great discomfort. I absolutely loved these books. I'm not the biggest historical fiction fan, however, these books sucked me in and wouldn't let me go. I couldn't put this saga down and read the whole thing is just a few days. Don't let the sheer size of this volume scare you - it is a quick read and a total page turner. You will want to keep reading to find out what will happen next in Emma's tumultuous and sometimes tragic life. The feel of these books are very authentic. I feel as if Emma herself wrote them. That can be something that lacks in historical fiction that absolutely didn't happen in these books. I was very pleased with the authenticity of the books and feel like they got extremely close to the truth of Emma's life. I highly recommend this trilogy. You won't regret reading it. I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Nightmare City by Andrew Klavan follows Tom, a reporter for his high school newspaper who wakes up to a world which is the stuff of nightmares: all alone, with no cell service, a thick fog rolling over his city, and zombies in the mist who try to attack him when he ventures out. Tom must try to find out the truth behind what is going on in order to survive this ordeal - and he can trust no one in the process. He eventually sorts through the sordid details of the events and able to survive. Let me start by saying that I didn't realize this book was a Young Adult title, so I was a little worried when I received it. However, this was a well written and enjoyable story for adults, as well. It was a quick and easy read - I finished it in less than a day - but the plot and story were extremely suspenseful and well written, and I couldn't stop turning the pages. The Christian message was woven throughout skillfully. It had strong Christian themes and a great moral to the story, but it wasn't awkward or cheesy at all. I highly recommend this book to adults and teens. I've passed it along to my 11 year old to read next. I received a copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Why Diets Don't Work: Food Is Not The Problem by Joyce Tilney was a book that I thought was full of promise. Diet plans often ignore the spiritual side of weight loss, healthy eating, and treating your body as a temple of the Lord. I thought this book would be the answer that fills in the gap and was thrilled to read it. This book is attractive - the cover is very well put together, the chapter headings, sidebars, etc. looked very well put together and professional. It's a short book of 125 pages with 11 chapters, several appendices, and some introduction material in the front. As someone who has recently lost a significant amount of weight (over 35 lbs), who exercises regularly and is very interested in nutrition and fitness, I was eager to read this. I came away from this book feeling like the author started what could've been a great book, but then walked away and ended it before it was complete. Her premise was great, but I felt like the book built up to what should've been the meat of the book and then ended. All it basically was was preaching about the devil tempting us and us being strong through speaking and reading of the scriptures, prayer, and fasting, but then failed to give any practical advice whatsoever about what to eat, how to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, exercise, etc. I was rather disappointed. I felt like I read an introduction to a book that was never finished. I received a copy of this book from BookCrash in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Christmas In Apple Ridge by Cindy Woodsmall is a collection of three Amish novellas, all with a Christmas theme. The first novella, The Sounds Of Sleigh Bells, is about Beth Hertzler, a woman struggling with grief, who meets a new love and must learn to let her heart love again, The second, The Christmas Singing, follows Mattie, a cake baker and decorator, after her childhood sweetheart abruptly ends their engagement. The third, The Dawn Of Christmas, is about Sadie, a missionary to Peru. She comes back home to settle down with her Amish family and meets Levi, whom she must learn to trust and love. The first two novellas were published in 2009 and 2011, respectively, but the third novella is a new offering. I love Christmas-themed books to help me get into the spirit of the season, so I was eager to read this collection. It's perfect for the holidays - short, sweet, easy to read stories with a strong Christmas spirited theme running throughout. It's a delightful treat for Christmastime and would make a beautiful gift as well. Christmas In Apple Ridge is 566 pages altogether, so it's a nice, hefty book, but one that makes for a fun and easy read - not tedious at all. Also, some delicious sounding Amish recipes are included, so I can't wait to try those! I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
To Know You by Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel is a gripping novel about love, loss, guilt, sin, and redemption. Julia and Matt Whittaker's son needs a liver transplant immediately. His only hope lies in the two children Julia had previously by two different men and gave up for adoption years ago. She has to travel back to her often embarrassing, shameful, guilt-ridden past to save her son and pray that her daughters can forgive her and be willing to help. I promise you this book will make you cry - but it will make you laugh and smile, too. As someone who became a Christian as an adult and made many mistakes as a teenager, I could definitely relate to the themes in this book. This story has the overarching theme of redemption. The storyline was absolutely compelling and I had trouble putting it down. You won't be able to tear yourself away as Julia explores her past and must come to terms with her mistakes. I love how this story was woven to show us how all our past failures make up the current fabric of our lives, BUT Jesus redeems every sin and mistake and gives us beauty for ashes. Do yourself a favor and read this book. I received a copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.