Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sweet Sanctuary fails miserably

I wanted to like this book. I had heard good things about it, and I respect Sheila Walsh.  So I thought it was destined to be great.  I don't know what I was expecting but frankly, I expected more than this book delivered.

I found the main character of the book, Wren and her son Charlie could have been more interesting.  There were moments in the book that were promising. I actually liked Charlie and his relationship with Franklin more than the main characters search for relationship, healing and love. For the most part, this book fell flat, words just lying on the page.  A work of fiction, inspirational fiction should leap off the page and transport you to another place.  If there is a message in it, all the better.  This was the first time in a long while that I had to MAKE myself finish a book. There is just no depth to this.

This COULD have been a good book, if more time had been spent on how this dysfunctional family mended their hearts, forgave and accepted the individuals as they were.  Some of the dialogue was just mean, and the relationships uncomfortable even for the reader.   This family moves from near hatred to hugs and kisses after a scare.  Really? I've seen tragedy deepen faith, I've seen it pull people together and mend fences.  But they journeyed through it.  This story would have you believe that instant forgiveness is obtained simply by experiencing tragedy together.

I can't recommend the book.  It felt like a waste of my time.  The book concludes,  Happily Ever After.  I was just happy it was concluded.

*I was given this copy of Sweet Sanctuary for the purpose of review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.  I was not instructed to give any particular type of review,  good or  bad.  My opinion was asked for and such as it was, I gave it.  I disclose this in compliance with the law.*

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Healing Hearts by Beth Wiseman

I  have to confess that I am not a fan of short stories, novellas or whatever you prefer to call  them.  I do love Amish fiction.  It motivates me.  As I read of these women  working through their days without my modern conveniences, I find myself thankful  for electric appliances.   I  also find myself motivated to go clean something.  My husband LOVES that.   Reading the challenges they have to complete a given task makes me want to get to work on mine.
    So despite my frustration of receiving this book and finding it not to be one meaty story but a collection of three, I sat to read.   The stories  are   titled, A Change of Heart, A Choice to Forgive, and Healing Hearts.   All  three are of Amish women who must travel  though pain, disappointment or betrayal to find a place of forgiveness and peace.   They were entertaining and an easy read.  I finished this group of  stories in a few  hours.   Not particularly deep  motivating fiction, but they were full, and rich in  detail and character.  Beth Wiseman has never disappointed me.  
   If you are looking for light fiction that will entertain while you wait in doctor's  office or the kid's practices this would be an excellent choice.  Easy to pick up  where you left off earlier without having to back track.  If you aren't familiar with Beth's novels, this is a good starting  place.  If  like me, you have read several of her books;  you will most likely find yourself wishing for more at the end.    I still recommend this collection to anyone interested in Amish fiction.
   I was given this book at no charge by the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze program for the purpose of  review.  I  was  not directed to give any kind of review  other than my own opinions as expressed above.  I  am disclosing this  information  in accordance  with  the law.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Seraph Seal by Leonard Sweet, Lori Wagner

I was prepared  to  hate this book.  In fact, I was prepared to not even  finish  the book.  I'm not  much  on Apocalypic  tales.  They scare me.  I expected to be horrified well  beyond the end of the book.    It's quite the bulky book, some 500  pages.  I wasn't certain what to expect.

I started  the Prologue and I was hooked.  I really enjoyed this book despite my expectations.  This book does deal with the Apocalypse heralded  by the breaking of the seven seals and the release of the the Four Horsemen.   But the tale is woven in such a way that it's not your typical  movie style storyline.  I found myself drawn in. Even though the year is 2048, I found myself reflecting on the similarities between the earth in 2048 and earth 2011.   It wasn't pretty.  

Faith is woven through the storyline but it is not a exact Bible descriptive version of the end of the earth or the apocalyse.   It is not what you've seen in movies, or your Bible story versions of Revelations.  It was different perspective on what all could be.  I caution you if you expect a Bible study version of  the end of times, this is not your  book.  This is fiction and the writer's idea of what could possibly happen.  The enduring message of the Love of God,  and the sacrifice of  Christ is  paramount to the message  of the book.

The story begins with the birth of 8 infants and their impact upon the world.  In the year 2048,  the eight are now grown and 36 years of age.  The prophesy has come to fruition and earth is dying.  You may recall I mentioned the Four  Horsemen, but we  have  Eight in this storyline.  It is a  classic, good vs  evil power struggle.  Paul Binder finds himself surrounded by events that he can not explain with mathematics  or science.  Something or someone seems to be directing his path, taking him on a journey into the past and into the future.  He  meets other people who are drawn to each other for unexplaned reasons.    It was amusing to see elements of OUR time mentioned as antiques or primitive technology compared to 2048.   Much of the technology in the book made me question "do we have this technology now or are we close to it? Or is this just his creative thinking about how technology could progress?"

I can't give away the ending.   It was not the Evangelical Christ riding down on a white stallion,  striking down those who oppose him. World War III isn't even part of the book,  which  is typically how the  apocalypse is depicted.  You  will be disappointed if  you  are expecting  a truly evangelical, true to the Bible theology.  But at the end of this  book, I sat back and said "Wow."   It ended in such a way that kind of boggled my mind but also made me happy.

I was happy with  the book and  am glad for  having read it.   It is NOT an easy laid back flowing read.  It's not written for the 6th grade education.  But I do recommend it  to anyone who is willing   sit  down and  chew on it  for  a  bit.  I  have already  loaned the book  out.

**This book was sent free to for the purpose of  review.   I have not been paid for my review and I  was not instructed to write a review reflecting any  opinion but my own.  This review  reflects my  opinion  and none other.**