Archive | November, 2013

Match Point

26 Nov

Match PointErynn Mangum

Publisher: TH1NK Books, an imprint of NavPress

Publication Date: 2008

Paperback: 366 pages

Book Blurb:

Revenge should be as sweet as a mocha latte.

Lauren Holbrook, matchmaker extraordinaire, takes credit for four successful couples now. With her dad happily married and life settling down around her, Lauren feels quite content. That is, until the tables are turned and she’s on the receiving end of the matchmaking! Lauren and her boyfriend, Ryan, devise a plan to make it look as if they’ve broken up so that people will get off their backs about marriage. No problem, right? Until Lauren realizes she’s in love.

Stand alone or series: The third and final chapter of the fantastic Lauren Holbrook series

Why I read this book: How could I not after the first two?

Review:

Weddings and babies, weddings and babies. Lauren’s world is sinking in a flood of weddings and babies. What’s a girl to do but hop onboard? But you know Laurie, nothing in the world could be that easy. She has no plans of matrimony and if she’s dragged to the altar she will be kicking and screaming, or so she thinks. She likes things just the way they are, well except the fact that her father and Joan have outlawed chocolate and coffee in the house! But her friends and family have other plans for her. So when they start ringing the wedding bells, Laurie starts to run away from Ryan. But too late she realizes she’s left her heart behind.

I know I’ve trilled dialogue and characters for the last two posts, but it’s still true! Seriously, could I please inhabit this world it would be so fun! I think I especially miss it now when my Spanish conversations are more halting than when I first learned to drive. But this book, I start to flip through it and before I know it a page catches me and I’ve read thirty more.

I did however do a test. The charm does not work on guys. My dear husband allowed me to read nearly two chapters to him. I didn’t push for more because it was clearly not his cup of tea. He said it was fine but he had as much interest in it as a chick flick, which unfortunately for me is none. I would’ve already been giggling nonstop at that point but no dice. So men, if there are any of you reading this. It’s not for you. Check out my next series review in October—Ted Dekker’s The Circle series. Also man tested. He loved it! The only reason we stopped is because there was food, which always trumps everything in his opinion.

Back to Match Point. Love the titles in this series by the way. They’re short and clever. I’m rather jealous. Lauren has always had a great grasp of everybody’s love life but her own. Now the magnifying glass is turned on her and only hilarity and heart warming-ness can ensue. I definitely recommend this book to women of any and every age. It’s the perfect recipe for those looking for a laugh!

 

Red

19 Nov

RedTed Dekker

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Publication Date: 2004

Paperback: 400 pages

Book Blurb:

“We have stepped off the cliff and are falling into madness.”

The mind-bending pace of Black accelerates in Red, Book Two of Ted Dekker’s epic Circle Series. Less than a month ago, Thomas Hunter was a failed writer selling coffee at the Java Hut in Denver. Now he finds himself in a desperate quest to rescue two worlds from collapse. In one world, he’s a battle-scarred general commanding an army of primitive warriors. In the other, he’s racing to outwit sadistic terrorists intent on creating global chaos through an unstoppable virus.

Two worlds on the brink of destruction. One unthinkable solution.

Enter an adrenaline-laced epic where dreams and reality collide. Nothing is as it seems, as Black turns to Red.

Stand alone or series: Second in The Circle Series… Or third-ish if you decide to read Green first.

Why I read this book: When I was finishing Black, I was practically running to the book store. I managed to find this and the third in the English section of a Mexican bookstore. Be warned though, if you haven’t read the first book then this will be a spoiler.

Review:

Aye! I couldn’t catch my breath.

Fifteen years have passed in Other Earth and not more than fifteen minutes on our world. Thomas of Hunter is now the supreme commander of the Forest Guard. Though the beautiful colorful forest is nothing but a vague memory. Thomas and Rachel have been from Eden and into a much harsher land. The Forest Dwellers live in forests surrounding lakes. Every day they must bathe in the lakes to keep a horrible skin disease at bay. However the sickness not only turns their skin white and flaky and horribly painful, it also dulls their minds and turns truth to lies. The diseased are Horde and they are coming to take the forests.

On our earth Thomas wakes with a gun to his head and even worse, to find another disease is released. This one will kill the world and there is no antidote… yet.

Okay. This next paragraph will be a spoiler for those who haven’t read it too. But it’s so cool I can’t not talk about it. I’ll try to keep it vague, but it could give away a BIG thing if you figure it out (and you probably will). So if you haven’t read it and want to, step the next paragraph and continue on.

I was never able to understand how the Biblical Jews could not believe that Jesus was the Savior. Reading from this time and place it seems a given. This book helped me to understand and see the scene in a way I never could before. Some were simply power hungry, yes. But others truly believed that they were following God’s law. They believed that this young man saying He was the Son of God was defying God with the very words He used to bring them closer. I know I’m still not doing this justice, but this book provided a revelation for me and it’s an amazing experience when books can do that.

As with the first, this book was breath-takingly fast. Usually I don’t like the second book in a trilogy because I feel like it’s just build up for the third. Not so with this fantastic second. If you’re looking for a thrill, for a heart-pounding action, get this trilogy. I didn’t put it down to eat. For men and women, this is a great read. Check it out!

 

Scrap Everything

12 Nov

Scrap EverythingLeslie Gould

Publisher: 2010

Publication Date: WaterBrook Press

Paperback: 336 pages, though this was a e-book read on my European adventure

Book Blurb:

Elise didn’t want to be in the town at all–and certainly not in the scrapbooking shop…

A month after Elise Shelton and her family arrive in Forest Falls, Oregon, she wanders into Rebekah Graham’s scrapbooking store. Elise deems Rebekah too perky and judges scrapbooking to be another never-gets-done chore, but she’s also drawn to the community of women who gather to crop their photos, lay out pages, and share their lives.

The women rally around Elise when her husband is called back into the army and her family is thrown into turmoil. When Rebekah’s daughter faces a medical crisis, challenging Rebekah’s desire to control her life as tightly as she plans her scrapbook pages, the women must support each other.

As both women battle to overcome their fears and to grow in faith, they discover unexpected gifts–and an unlikely friendship that will change their lives.

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Why I read this book: I was looking for new authors. I’d found myself in an author rut and wanted to get some new blood in the mix. And, of course, I’m attracted to all things crafty so I figured this was a good mix.

Review:

Elise plans for Forest Falls to be a short stop on the way to their final destination. After decades of being dragged across the world by her army husband she’s thrilled at his retirement and at the prospect of finally having a place to call home. But Forest Falls is the last place she wants to call home.

Rebekah’s world revolves around her sick daughter, Pepper. Much to the detriment of the rest of her family. As Pepper’s condition worsens Rebekah becomes more and more desperate. The last thing she needs is to deal with a snooty out-of-towner, but she feels the nudge to help this lonely, bitter woman who has stumbled into her shop.

The story revolves around these two women, taking their viewpoints in turn. They each have battles they’re fighting, secrets they’re harboring and a strong need for companionship, on earth and with their heavenly Father. This is a story of transformation, two transformations. Rebekah and Elise learn to put their trust in God and in each other. And they find things can turn out better than they imagined.

This was a good read, though by no means light and fluffy. These women are hurting, and if you’re anything like me you’ll hurt with them. They’re struggles may be similar to ones you are facing, or not. But issues concern husbands and kids are problems almost every woman can relate to. I loved watching these women grow. It gave me hope for myself. Elise and Rebekah were only just surviving, coping with their struggles the only way they knew how. But in the end they learned to live, trusting God to do what is right even when they can’t see the way ahead.

I would recommend this book to any woman, particularly one who is struggling an issue of her own. Seeing how and how not to deal with problems is helpful to someone willing to listen and learn. If this is you I’ll be in prayer. God’s plan is infinitely better than anything we could come up with. Remember that and don’t lose heart.

Pascal’s Wager

5 Nov

Pascal's WagerNancy Rue

Publisher: Multnomah Books

Publication Date: 2001

Paperback: 300 pages

Book Blurb:

Confirmed atheist Jill McGavock faces the mental deterioration of her brilliant mother. In a quest to cope with this devastating situation, Jill seeks out philosophy professor Sam Hunt. Savvy Sam challenges Jill to make “Pascal’s wager” — to “bet” that God exists by acting as if he does. The results not only change Jill’s mind but transform her life in ways she never could have imagined. An exciting, faith-building thriller!

Stand alone or series: Stands alone, tall and proud

Why I read this book: I bought a mix of books last summer for a project this happened to be one of them. I didn’t really want to read it. The back sounded sad and the cover wasn’t appealing. So I read it first, knowing that if I didn’t start with it I would likely push it back and push it back until it might never be read. I’m so very glad I did.

Review:

I’m not going to lie, this was not an emotionally easy read. It was also not a quick start. I dragged my feet at the beginning, in part because I didn’t really want to read this book and in part because the beginning was a bit slow. For the first couple days I read for a half hour or so and put it down, perfectly happy to do so. On the third day I took it downstairs with me to read for an hour before I did other things. I emerged five hours later after a lot of reading and quite a bit of prayer. It moved me that much.

Jill’s relationship with her mother is strained to say the least. But perhaps it’s that distance from her that allowed Jill to see what her colleagues refused to: Jill’s mother is losing her mind. Jill leads  a busy life of her own and does not want to stop it to care for a woman who she feels never cared for her. This same woman who taught her that the mind is everything. So once her mind is gone, is there anything left of her mother to care for? Sam argues there is. The philosopher and Christian Sam butts heads at every turn with Jill, ever the logical mathematician. In her quest to find if there is anything more to her mother than mind, Sam urges her to believe in a soul and, more than that, the God who has power over body and soul.

Without a doubt, this is an apologetic novel. The premises is based on wager of the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist, Blaise Pascal. Pascal posed that either God exists or He does not. You must bet your life on one of these choices. So it is better to bet that God does exist because if you win, you win everything; if you lose, you lose nothing. I had never heard Pascal’s wager of probability before. It was an entirely new concept for me. The arguments made for faith and the way conversion is brought about in this novel was entirely fresh for me. Even a year later, this novel still sticks with me and I pass it around to anyone interested. I wholeheartedly recommend this novel. It was a unique and worthwhile read for me, I hope it will be for you too.