Thursday, May 27, 2010
Almost Forever by Deborah Raney is the first in the Hanover Falls series.
A fire at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter, that completely destroys the building and is responsible for the loss of five firefighters is the jumping off point for this novel. We follow Bryn Hennesey and Garrett Edmonds, who both lost a spouse in the fire, as they try to recover from their devastating loss. Bryn was a volunteer and there at the shelter the night of the fire. Garrett, whose wife Molly was the only female firefighter to perish in the blaze, faces a unique challenge - how to live with the idea that as the husband he was to protect his wife.
As Bryn and Garrett grow closer, Garrett struggles with his need for answers and Bryn struggles with the fact that she was there the night of the fire and what she can and can't remember about what happened.
Ms. Raney builds a delightful friendship between the two and shows the struggles of losing a spouse and wondering how, and when, to move on. She also tells a story of how telling the truth isn't always the easiest path to take - but it is the right path.
A delightful read, hard to put down. I highly recommend. it.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
The One Year Bible For Women NLT is set up a bit different than a typical Bible. You get a portion of the old testament, a portion of the new testament, a portion of Psalms and a portion of Proverbs in a daily reading. The readings are set up to take only about 15 minutes per day - perfect for today's "run here - run there" society. There are also reading plans for two and three years if you prefer to spread it out over a longer period of time.
This Bible is The New Living Translation. I've read many different versions of the Bible over the years and always return to the NIV. However, I like having more than one version for comparison purposes. I will read this Bible and then look up the same verse in my NIV and compare the two translations. The NLT is easy to read and understand.
This is a visually beautiful Bible. The cover is done in pinks and greens and is very soothing to look at. The inside is delicate and has pink accents and highlights. Definitely a Bible for a woman. I love picking it up at the end of the day.
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this Bible for review.
Monday, May 24, 2010
The Last Christian by David Gregory is set in the year 2088 where computer technology encompasses just about every aspect of life and God is a thing of the past.
Missionary daughter Abigail Caldwell emerges from the jungle for the first time in her thirty-four years, the sole survivor of a mysterious disease that killed her village. Abby goes to America, only to discover a nation where Christianity has completely died out. A curious message from her grandfather assigns her a surprising mission: re-introduce the Christian faith in America, no matter how insurmountable the odds.
But a larger threat looms. The world's leading artificial intelligence industrialist has perfected a technique for downloading the human brain into a silicon form. Brain transplants have begun, and with them comes the potential of eliminating physical death altogether—but at what expense?
As Abby navigates a society grown more addicted to stimulating the body than nurturing the soul, she and Creighton Daniels, a historian troubled by his father's unexpected death, become unwitting targets of powerful men who will stop at nothing to further their nefarious goals. Hanging in the balance—the spiritual future of all humanity.
I must admit that I had a hard time when I first started reading this book. I am so not a tech savvy person. Set in the future there are so many "new" terms that it takes a while to understand what each thing is and how it works (the Grid, "tapping" people, VR - virtual reality, nanites, etc.). And I will also admit that I may have put it down were it not for the fact that I needed to write a review about it. And I'm so glad I did. The book is well worth slowing down a bit and trying to understand how it all works together. Mr. Gregory did an incredible job in creating a future using our current technology as a jumping off point.
With great detail and planning he set forth a world where artificial intelligence is striven for. At the heart of the store is a silicon brain that will replace the biological brain and therefore provide eternal life. But at what cost? There must be a cost otherwise one of the creators of the process would not have suddenly reversed his stance on the procedure and tried to stop forward progress.
And what of Abby? How can one person possibly re-introduce Christianity to a society that finds the notion archaic? How can she even get people to listen to her? And in the process how can she not question her faith as she tries to answer the questions unbelievers ask of her?
I highly recommend this book. Very thought provoking and informative.
For more information about the book or to purchase a copy please click here.
This book was graciously provided for review by WaterBrook/Multnomah.
Morning for Dove is the second in the Winds Across The Prairie series by Martha Rogers.
Although this book is second in a series it is good as a "stand alone" book also. I did not read the first book in the series and Ms. Rogers did a wonderful job on revealing the backstory of that book as she told this story.
Dove is a beautiful young lady who just happens to have a White father and Indian mother in a time when tensions between the White and the Indian are still high.
Luke, the local store owner's oldest son, becomes attracted to Dove but because of experiences in his mother's past she is completely against a relationship between the two. Luke is torn between his desire to honor his mother and his growing love for Dove.
The Fowler family, another local ranching family, causes trouble galore and pose even more challenges for Luke and Dove.
Set in the small town of Barton Creek, Oklahoma, before Oklahoma becomes a State, we are treated to a simpler time when an entire town would gather to celebrate holidays, pull together to help others in the community and an ice cream social was a big event.
Ms. Rogers paints her story in such a way that I longed to go back to times such as these. I was enchanted from the beginning and didn't put the book down until I had finished it.
Truly a wonderful book. Highly recommended.
This book was provided free for review.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs addresses the need of women to be loved and men to be respected along the way to a successful marriage.
With lots of personal examples and scriptural back up Dr. Eggerichs takes the theory that men's needs differ from women's needs and attempts to teach us how to use that knowledge to strengthen our marriages.
This book is written in the same vein as Gary Chapman's Five Love Languages. It shows that what one person does to show their love to their spouse isn't necessarily what the spouse needs to feel loved.
The stress here is "unconditional". We can't say I'll respect you if... or I'll love you if.... We have to give these things freely. Marriage is a reflection of God's love for us which is unconditional.
Dr. Eggerichs shows the catch-22 many of us fall into and calls it the Crazy Cycle. It’s the old thing of the wife thinking “when he shows me he loves me I’ll show him I respect him” while the husband is thinking “I’ll show her some love when she starts showing me some respect”. But I think the big problem is most of us don’t even realize we’re thinking that way. This is another way this book would be a great companion to Chapman’s Love Languages – it shows that not everyone sees the love or respect in the same way. Women may think they are doing everything they would want done for them but it falls short with the men because men are looking for different signs and vice versa.
A good book with a lot of good “gender” insights that help us all to see that men and women are created differently but with a little knowledge we can make those things work together and have a great marriage.
The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare is the story of a woman's search for her past.
When she was a small child Muri's parents divorced. Her mother won custody of Muri and moved her away from her father, who she never saw again. After his death, Muri arrives at his home having just gone through a divorce of her own. A school librarian, she is downsized out of her job, and packs up her two kids and heads out to make a new start and to try to help the other relatives her father left behind.
She travels to the depths of Oregon to the small town her father Joseph had settled in. What she finds there is the complete opposite of the life she led in Portland. She pulls up to an old, rickety trailer with additions sticking out in every direction and various types of junk everywhere. Her Aunt Lutie and Uncle Tiny and a slew of pigs are the family she finds. And then she notices the fence her father build - out of oven doors.
She also walks into the middle of a water/land dispute that was left unsettled when Joseph passed away. Linc Jackson, the man on the other side of the dispute, is a leading member of the small community and has most of the town on his side. But Muri is willing to fight for what her father felt was important.
The story is mostly written from Muri's point of view but there are sections from Joseph's journal that he wrote for her. The divorce from her mother was bitter and her mother left Muri with the impression that Joseph didn't want or love her. Reading Joseph's journal, Muri finds how Joseph really felt.
Muri also encounters a search for God. Joseph was a strong Christian and wrote in his journal of his desire that Muri would know his God. Aunt Lutie is also a strong Christian and she tries to help Muri find her way to God.
Along the way Muri has to deal with her pre-teen son Truman and her teen daughter Nova - neither of whom are thrilled to be leaving Portland for the home of relatives they don't know.
This was a very good book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it highly.
Friday, May 7, 2010
The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard is a thrilling story of a long ago murder that still holds secrets today.
In 1986, on a stormy night in Rose, Kansas, Hugh-Jay Linder is murdered and his wife disappears. Immediately chronically drunk, hot-headed Billy Crosby is arrested and charged, eventually convicted and sent to jail for 60 years.
Hugh-Jay was the oldest son of Hugh Senior and Annabelle Linder - a cattle-ranching family that has the support of virtually the entire town of Rose. Twenty-three years later, Billy's son Collin, now an attorney, wins Billy's release from prison based on with-held evidence and a sloppy defense. Hugh-Jay and Laurie's daughter Jody is now a 26 year-old teacher living in the home her father was killed in. While she is horrified that Billy has been set free - she wants more than anything to find out the truth of what happened - especially since her mother's body was never found and she was never heard from again - leading Jody to think Laurie might still be alive.
What follows is Jody's search for the truth. As she pieces together the events of the night she finds that while most of the town was happy to see Billy go to jail, not everyone thought he was guilty of the crime. And she begins to wonder if maybe he didn't do it.
A very well written book - a joy to read. Highly recommended.