Tag Archives: Christianity

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.


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. 



First Date

29 Oct

First DateKrista McGee

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Publication Date: 2012

Paperback: 336 pages. Though I read this e-book on my laptop, phone and Kindle, whichever was closest at the time.

Book Blurb:

The last thing Addy Davidson wants is to be on a reality TV show where the prize is a prom date with the President’s son.

She’s focused on her schoolwork so she can get a scholarship to an Ivy League college, uncomfortable in the spotlight, never been on a date, and didn’t even audition for it.

But she got selected anyway.

So she does her best to get eliminated on the very first show. Right before she realizes that the President’s son is possibly the most attractive guy she has ever seen in person, surprisingly nice, and seemingly unimpressed by the 99 other girls who are throwing themselves at him.

Addy’s totally out of her comfort zone but that may be right where God can show her all that she was meant to be.

Stand alone or series: Stand alone but I’ll definitely be checking out more by this author

Why I read this book: It was a new author for me and a teen book to boot. I wanted to see how she was going to pair Christianity with reality TV… The mix just didn’t quite match in my head. The premise reminded me of The Elite series, a futuristic secular series that I’ve also enjoyed. And it was on sale! Perfect combination in my book.


I really enjoyed this novel. It’s a familiar story, but it’s well written. Addy, our reluctant hero, finds herself torn out of her comfort zone and thrown onto national TV. And through she keeps slipping up she somehow finds herself the sound bite of the night show after show. Addy has always kept herself just under the radar. At school she works hard, is involved in a Bible study, but manages to stay fairly unknown to all but the teachers and her best friend Lexi. The spotlight is far too bright for our high schooler who is afraid to share anything… especially her faith.

I loved how blatant Addy’s faith is in this novel. I enjoyed watching her overcome her struggles with sharing. It has encouraged me to also be more outgoing in my faith. She fights God at many steps of the way (something I’m also familiar with) but ultimately she decides to give Him control. And when she does, amazing things happen.

The story does, of course, revolve around romance. How could it not with a name like First Date? It’s not a whirlwind or hot and heavy like Caleb + Kate. It’s light, sweet and the perfect beginning to my weekend. Part of what I love about this book is it’s clean, I feel no twinge at recommending it to any age. It’s appropriate and readable for middle schoolers but twentysomethings like me will also delight in these quick pages. It’s another one that caught me from the start. I wouldn’t even put it down to make lunch. I had my phone in one hand as I cooked my eggs. If you’re looking for something fluffy, something to make you say “Awww!” This is the book for you. Have fun! I know I did.


Stealing Adda

15 Oct

Stealing AddaTamara Leigh

Publisher: NavPress

Publication Date: 2006

Paperback: 464 pages

Book Blurb:

Writer’s block, nibbled nails, plagiarism, oh my! And did I mention romance?

Life for Adda Sinclaire, New York Times best-selling author and historical romance write extraordinaire, reads more like a country song than a breathless, bodice-bursting affair. For starters, she has no romance in her own life. That might have something to do with her husband—correction, ex-husband—running of with her rival, Stick Woman. To add insult to injury (and another verse to the country song), her ex not only took their dog but gave it to his new girlfriend. If that isn’t enough, Adda has come down with a horrible case of writer’s block, finds herself gifted with a Bible that is determined to speak to her, and is the unwitting target of a romance cover model’s misdirected advances. Just when she catches her breath, and quite possibly the eye of a certain fabulously good-looking man (ahem… her new editor), her arch-nemesis gives the pot one final stir.

Stand alone or series: Stand alone, so far my favs from Tamara Leigh… Then again I haven’t read her series yet.

Why I read this book: After reading Faking Grace I had to check out more by this author. She was just too good to not read more.


I really admire how Leigh can build a plot around a story we already know. The baseline of romances is boy meets girl, there are complications, boy gets girl. We all know this as soon as we read the blurb. So then how is it she has me squirming to see what happens next? The highly appreciate the twists and turns in this novel. Just when you feel the issues are getting resolved and don’t know how she’s going to fill the rest of the pages, she throws another curveball at you. I love it! I never feel bored in a Leigh novel and that’s what keeps me coming back.

Faith and Christianity are not as conspicuous in this novel as it was in Faking Grace because this novel is not set in the world of Christian publishing, but of bodice rippers (i.e. steamy secular romance novels). A bit of an odd setting for a Christian romance, I agree. But this, the first of Leigh’s Christian novels, is loosely based on the author’s life. She began her writing career with Bantam Books, publishing the bodice rippers that her main character Adda writes. With Leigh’s own conversion she felt the need to infuse her faith more and more into her novels, eventually switching to fully inspirational romances. So though faith and Christianity may not be as conspicuous in this novel it is still prominent, beginning in chapter one when an earnest, young “Bible-thumper” knocks on her door. The battle for her faith is fraught with agents, friends and of course the hot editor.

I love the witty voice consistent throughout the novel. I find myself laughing as much as I’m biting my nails. Don’t let the large number of pages scare you, this book flies by! And once you’re hooked, you won’t want to put it down. It just keeps getting better.



27 Aug

HotLaura L. Smith

Publisher: NavPress

Paperback: 166 pages

Book Blurb:

How far will she go to make him notice her?

Lindsey is gorgeous and dresses like a model, but inside she feels alone. She feels as though no one truly understands her—until she meets Noah. Noah possesses a calm self-confidence Lindsey craves. But what price will she pay to escape to the comfort of Noah’s soft words and strong arms?

Drawn into a world where fashion, boys, and popularity rule, will Lindsey discover what truly matters before it’s too late?

Stand alone or series: Stand alone, however one of the friends is the star of her own novel: Skinny.

Why I read this book: Many Christian fiction books I’ve read avoid the topic of sex or (when it comes to teen fiction I’ve read) the best friend has sex and gets pregnant, the friends fall out but make up after the girl has seen the light and repented. This book was obviously going to tackle the topic head on. I wanted to see how the author would handle such a difficult subject. And I must say I don’t agree with how she handled everything.


I found HOT hard to read, because on several occasions it got, well, hot. I thought reading about the struggles of sex would be easier if read through a Christian standpoint. Yeah. Not really.

Lindsey and her friends were characterized well. I could feel a sense of camaraderie as they squished around a table at school or in the mall and chatted to their hearts’ content. They worked well as a group and (most of them) also functioned well as individuals. Many had their own backgrounds and problems that enabled them and Lindsey to develop throughout the story.

Lindsey’s family plays a dynamic part in the story. Though parents and sibling weren’t developed as individual characters, the family dynamic was clear—the rebellious sister, the frazzled mother, the loving but absentee dad (because of work). Her family has a heavy influence on Lindsey’s decisions throughout the novel. Though I don’t think one needs to have family issues to make waiting for sex difficult.

I think Smith could’ve delved a little more into the “why we wait” topic. Through a youth group sermon she talks about waiting because God wants us to wait and how we could be burned if we misuse his gift. However she doesn’t often express reasons for waiting in a positive light. Sex is a beautiful gift within marriage, and only within marriage is it kept from the things that can tarnish and spoil it like guilt and shame. It should be celebrated, not something to hide. Couples who wait, statistically, have happier, healthier, lasting marriages.

The even bigger problem is that she doesn’t address ways safeguard our purity. And she barely addresses how hard it is to wait. I think these are the two topics that most need addressed when discussing sex and Christianity and waiting in the modern world. It’s incredibly important for girls who are waiting to know that they’re not alone with their struggles. And more importantly, to have dialogue about boundaries and about how to handle difficult situations, even if it’s in a fictional setting.

Warning! Warning! Spoiler!

I must say, I was very disappointed when she actually had sex. The front said “She was tempted to give in…” I really hoped that meant that she wouldn’t give in. However that’s not the case. Her turn around after having sex was smooth and believable. And I was proud that Smith didn’t go the sex-before-marriage=pregnant route.  There was a slow reconciliation that what she did was wrong. She knows that she will never be the same, will never be able to get that gift back, but she realizes that God still loves her and is able to confront her boyfriend. The book ends with that confrontation but we don’t know how it ends, only that she’ll depend on God.

Though her one-eighty after having sex is great, I think it leaves a lot to be discussed on the subject of teens and sex. It is possible to wait. I made it through my teen and college years and waited until the day I was married. It’s hard to wait in high school and it only gets harder.  If your teen is reading this book it needs to be coupled with a serious discussion about boundaries, about ways to safeguard your body and your emotions as you wait. It’s not an easy fight but a worthy cause.

I’m not sure I would recommend this book, I wouldn’t count Lindsey as a role model. It’s not one I’ll be passing around with my friends anyway. However it could be a good tool to start that discussion with your daughter that you’ve been dreading. I know it’s not an easy talk but, trust me, it makes a huge difference. And girls, if you’re reading this, talk to your moms, or if your mom is a non-believer, talk to a woman in your church.  It’s not an easy topic, but talking to a trusted elder can help you feel less alone in the battle you are fighting. From me and all my friends who are waiting: You’re not alone!