Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The Quick-Read Bible - A Review


The Quick-Read Bible


Janice Emmerson

A Review

The introduction begins by quoting the oft-stated notion, “All of Scripture is inspired, but some parts are more inspiring than others.” If the author’s goal in putting this book together was to make the Bible more inspiring - she has failed. In fact the most inspiring parts of Scripture are sometimes lost in translation. To give one example, the book of Philippians, including the wonderful hymn found in Philippians 2:1-11, is summed up in two paragraphs. It seems like something is lacking.

But that is not the whole story. This book does have a place in the home, church, or seminary library - much of the scripture is written as if it might be for a children’s Bible without the illustrations. Thus, it would make a great book for parents to read to their children as they get ready for bed. It would also make a great introduction for the new believer who has had zero to little introduction to the Bible. This Bible would also make a good introduction for new readers (i.e. someone who is learning English or learning to read for the first time).

The other role this book could have in the church would be in seminary. Fifty years ago, as I first entered seminary, it was suggested that students who had not been brought up in the church read a children’s Bible to become familiar with the Biblical story in a broad sweep. This Bible summary might easily be required reading for every first semester seminary student.

Though the book may miss its initial goal, it definitely has a role to play in the church for years to come. I easily give it 4-stars.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Price of Valor - A Review


The Price of Valor

Susan May Warren

A Review

The story gets interesting as Hamilton Jones arrives in a small town in Sicily. In the distance can be seen one of the world’s more active volcanoes, Mt. Etna. It had been quiet for the last couple of years - that day was not going to be one of them. In the midst of an erupting volcano, Hamilton (aka Ham) would need to find his wife and discover where she had been for the last 10 years. Her story was that she was deep undercover with the CIA - but was she working for or against the American government. The lives of Ham, his wife, their friends, and the newly elected President, would depend on the answer.

Susan May Warren has done a marvelous job of combining the thrills of a natural disaster, the excitement of working a CIA op, the dangers of protecting the President, and following the progress of two romances about to go south. Along with this, she has woven the wonderful love of Jesus as He impacts the lives of people’s lives.

The book could easily find a place on the shelf of the church library; I would like to see it on the public library shelf as well - though some public librarians would disagree. Any reader looking for an international thriller that moves from both rural and urban Minnesota to Sicily to Washington DC would find the book satisfying. Though no hint was given, more books with this set of characters would be welcome.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinion are mine alone.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Murder at the Village Fete - A Review


Murder at the
Village Fete

Catherine Coles

Definition of “Fete”:

1: festival 2 a: lavish, often outdoor, entertainment 2 b: large elaborate party

Two things made this year's fete unique. First, it was the first year that Tommie and Evelyn Christie would be hosting it as the newly named Lord and Lady Northmoor. It was also the first year in which a dead body found near the stream running behind Hessleham Hall brought a quick end to the fete. And there was “no doubt that Robert Billingham, the Member of Parliament for Northmore & East, was most assuredly dead.”

Robert Billingham was one of four men to receive letters threatening to reveal details of a crime that any one of them could have committed, but all had been cleared of months earlier. The four men had also been invited to Hessleham Hall to attend the day’s celebration and now one of them was dead.

As somebody recently said, the murder rate in small villages found in the UK was far larger than in many major cities around the world. The village located near Hessleham Hall was no different.

As the publisher notes, the tale is a wonderful blend of Murder, She Wrote and Downton Abbey. It is the similarity to the former that gives the book some life; and its similarity to the latter that left this reader feeling that he was sometimes slogging through a giant mud patch - but sometimes even playing in the mud patch can be a worthwhile experience. Such was this book.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, December 14, 2020

A Murder Between The Pages - A Review


A Murder
The Pages

by Amy Lillard

“This is going to be marvelous fun,”
Camille said
Friday night just after six o’clock.

A small town (Sugar Springs, Mississippi), a small bookstore (Books and More), a Friday afternoon Book Club. And two murders - one fifty years old, the other, maybe, five minutes old. Few were surprised when the three septuagenarian members of the Book Club chose to pursue those responsible for the deaths.

There were too many suspects and too many scenarios - and Arlo, co-owner of the Books and More bookstore, would need to buffer the Book Club’s ambitious search for results.

Having spent several years working with seniors, the book was a fun read - with believable characters, if not always believable situations; but what do you expect from a cozy mystery.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Simply HTML5 - A Review


Simply HTML5:
How To Visual Guide 


Simply HTML5 is simple as in survey not as in easy. The book covers most of the features and tags of HTML5 - not in-depth but by giving a starting point for self-learners or as a quick reference for experienced users. Occasionally the author assumes that an illustration adequately explains the meaning of a tag or attribute.  

For example, he gives no clear meaning of the tag <p dir=”ltr”> - leaving the reader to see the examples and trying out examples in their own code to understand what it controls and accomplishes. The author says that dir specifies the direction of the text, though clearly it does not if the language used is English. 

Similarly, he ends a brief discussion on “Boolean Attributes” by saying, “I think you get the point of what is a valid and not a valid boolean attribute from the above example.”

The book does not teach the use of CSS or JS, but it does include a chapter on weaving each into the development of a web page using HTML5. I found it interesting that examples were provided for a number of browsers (Firefox was the most common example, throughout the book), but Chrome's use on a PC was omitted.

The book may be useful as an ancillary text for a course, but not as the main text - no problem sets or programming tasks are given for students.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Open For Murder - A Review


Open For Murder

Mary Angela

The culprit in this cozy mystery was as elusive as George the cat. Set in the heart of Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota, home of the Homestake Mine. Homestake was a gold mine converted at the beginning of the 21st century into a major physics research center. It was also home to Spirit Canyon Lodge, recently inherited by Beth Everett and now reopened as an inn located on the edge of Spirit Canyon.

The inn was mostly rented out this weekend for a small sorority’s 10-year reunion. However, Enid Barrett, the only real competitor to Beth’s lodge, also stopped in for a one night visit. Her goal was to put Spirit Canyon Lodge out of business. It did not go well - she was found dead the next morning.

The suspects included the guests and employees of the lodge, but the local sheriff decided Beth Barrett was guilty early in the process. Beth certainly could have pulled it off - she had means, motive, and opportunity. It now fell to Beth’s friends to stumble (literally) onto the killer.

The book included enough historic, geographic, and biographic details to warrant several Google searches for this reader - a trait that improves the quality of a cozy mystery very quickly. This reader’s only real concern was the small hint of a paranormal presence - though not a major part of the story, it was an unnecessary distraction from the rest of the book. I will give the book 4-½ stars out of a possible five.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Light Ages - A Review


The Light Ages


Seb Falk

The author makes clear that the Middle Ages or Dark Ages were not nearly as devoid of scientific thinking as common knowledge would have us think. Each chapter tackles two or three threads of science. This is done by exploring the life of a typical (though highly educated) monk living at St. Albans Abby, north of London.

The only problem is that some chapters cover too much material. For example, the first chapter explores the making of the modern calendar and astronomy’s influence on agriculture of the era. The second chapter approaches the development of timekeeping and its influence on agriculture. I found the discussion of the understanding of 24 equal hours of the day from the earlier practice of dividing the time between sunrise and sunset into twelve hours, and the time between sunset and sunrise into twelve hours. The early practice meant twelve shorter daylight hours during the winter season and twelve longer daylight hours during the summer season. Because the church played such a major role in the life of the Middle Ages, it was important to understand the church’s role in promoting new scientific knowledge and in hindering its growth at times.

I found the book interesting, but it sometimes felt as if the author was blending too many topics in each chapter. As this reader progressed through the book, it became obvious that seven chapters of the book could naturally be presented in smaller units. This might make the book more accessible to the casual reader. This reader would give the book four out of five stars.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, November 30, 2020

The Deeds of the Deceitful - A Review


The Deeds
of the Deceitful

Ellery Adams
Tina Radcliffe

Virginia is beautiful in Virginia - at least until Loretta Atwood dies in an automobile accident and the Austin Deveraux painting is found missing from the place on the wall of the Atwood Inn on which it was hanging. It gets worse - almost everyone has a motive and an opportunity to commit the crime.

Cooper Lee’s Sunday Morning Bible Study from Hope Street Church was invited to a complimentary weekend at the newly renovated Atwood Inn - a small group just large enough to give the inn a soft launch two weeks before the grand opening. With a staff of six, the number of suspects was small; but was growing. It would include Cooper’s mother who supplied pastries for the weekend festivities. The Bible Study was looking at Proverbs with a focus on the seven deadly sins (“Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride, …”) - all possible motives for Loretta’s murder.

This faith-based (including scripture quotations) cozy mystery was a perfect read for a COVID-19 weekend. Now if I can sneak in one of the three recipes included as an appendix. Even though it is the sixth book in a series featuring the Bible Study group and the first that I had read, it easily became a stand-alone read. I expect that reading others in the series would flush out the characters, but no holes were felt as I made my way through this book. A book is easily worth the five-stars I am giving it.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, November 20, 2020

The Killer in the Choir - A Review


The Killer
in the Choir


Simon Brett

This book is not quite a cozy mystery, but a very satisfying English mystery, easily following in the footsteps of Agatha Christie, et al. The story takes place in the small seaside town of Feathering where everybody appears to get along but two murders quickly seem to contradict what appears on the surface.

Like most small English communities, Feathering is full of gossip and opinions. And when Alice Mallett’s Step Mother and Father die within a few months of each other, tongues start wagging. Carole and Jude, neighbors and friends, quickly find themselves in the midst of a search for the killer or killers. It is only when they start talking that they find the clues needed to identify the culprit.

It was a fun book to read. The 21st book by this author taking place in the village of Feathering, it easily stands alone - but whets this reader's appetite for more in the series. I’ll be checking the book stores and libraries for these titles.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, November 13, 2020

The Bible Recap - A Review


The  Bible Recap

Tara-Leigh Cobble

A difficult book to classify - one might call it a Devotional, a Bible Reading Plan, a Chronological Bible, or a Bible Commentary. It is actually a bit of all three. The author has taken the Bible and divided it into 365 daily readings in Chronological order. The reader will need to have their favorite Bible handy, the text of the Scriptures are not included in this book. Along with each daily reading is a brief commentary helping the reader understand the underlying text. The day’s reading concludes with a devotional thought (called “Today’s God Shot”) suggesting how the reading might be applied in a believer’s life.

Picking up this book makes this reader want to start (better, restart) a plan to read through the Bible next year. Actually, the reader can start anytime - The 365 daily sections are numbered - not dated. An individual could easily use the book as a guide through the scriptures or a small group could use it as a jumping-off point for a year-long walk through the Word of God.

A local church could use it as a Christmas gift for its members as they seek to study the Scriptures together.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Room of Marvels - A Review


Room of Marvels

James Bryan Smith

Following in the tradition of Pilgrim’s Progress, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and The Shack, Room of Marvels fit in nicely.

I would recommend that every reader keep a box of tissues nearby as they follow Tim on his trip through heaven. The book is a work of fiction but it finds its roots in a series of daydreams the author originally had some 20+ years ago. Within a short period of time, the author had lost a close friend, his mother, and his disabled daughter through death - a series of devastating losses. The daydreams helped him process his grief; he made notes of the dreams and eventually published his story in September 2007. Now, 13 years later, it is being re-released by a new publisher, Intervarsity Press.

In the book, Tim meets the three people who died and others - and begins to understand what God was trying to accomplish through those tough times of his life. He begins to process his grief. One of the gifts that the book offers is a detailed explanation of how the people Tim meets in his journey to heaven are closely connected to the people in the author's real life. He then reflects on the growth he has experienced since writing the original book 13 years ago. The book concludes with a series of study questions for individual or group use. It is a spiritual journey of his walk through grief both as the events transpired and as he has continued to grow. In the end, it offers the reader HOPE in multiple ways.

For those experiencing grief, for those who work with those experiencing grief, the book will find a home. It belongs in the church library. And, again, keep tissues nearby.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

The Escape - A Review


The Escape

Lisa Harris

Lisa Harris presents the first book of a series focusing on two US Marshals stationed in Seattle WA. The two US Marshals, Madison James and Jonas Quinn, are charged with transporting two fugitives from Seattle to Denver; but mid-way, the small plane they are on runs into a storm that brings the plane crashing down into the tree tops of the Rocky Mountains somewhere in rural Idaho. The two pilots and one of the fugitives dies; James and Quinn will spend the next week tracking the remaining fugitive, Damon Barrick, across much of the western US.

Their search will take them to Salt Lake City UT and to Houston TX, among other stops along the way. Their search will also allow the two US Marshals to become familiar with each other’s skills and gifts. A romance is possible - but not in this book. That is one of the hints that suggest another book or two is in the offing. The other hint is the unexplained death of Madison James’ first husband and subsequent threats against her life.

The story itself is a mixed bag of exciting and patient reading (i.e. sometimes slow). Lisa Harris has done a great job of describing the rural Rocky Mountain environment offering an inviting description of the area - leaving this reader wishing that he had the time and energy to explore a part of the country to which he has not been. As she weaves a bit of faith into the story, the reader begins to understand how God can meet people wherever they are or in whatever circumstances they find themselves.

I could easily see the story serving as the foundation for a TV series (CBS, are you listening). But it could just as easily belong in the church library or on the reading list of anyone who enjoys law enforcement thrillers. Though the book is faith-based, the reader does not feel that he has been drenched in unneeded spirituality, proving amble reason for also making room for it in the public library.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Helping Families Recover from Addiction - A Review


Helping Families
Recover from

Jean Heaton

It was nearly 25 years ago that my family had to begin dealing with recovery. Though we did not attack the issues using Twelve Steps (we used a model offered by the Minirth―Meier Clinic in the book Love is a Choice), the Twelve Steps were certainly part of our assigned reading. It has now been 15 years since I picked up a book explicitly dealing with the topic. Jean Heaton’s book provided a nice refresher of the lessons we learned and applied years ago.

I enjoyed the way the author took time to explain how each step helped her in her journey and then expanded it to demonstrate how each step can challenge different individuals and families in different ways. The author also connects the Twelve Steps to her Catholic faith by connecting to the Scriptures and church fathers. Each step also includes a devotional asking the reader to reflect on how each step pertains to their own journey.

I was appreciative of how the book helped me review lessons learned 20 years ago and its reminders of how to handle myself when dealing those still dealing with addictive behaviors even if not active addictions.

Though most evangelical churches would probably not place this book into their church libraries, I do think Christians of any type dealing with addictions within their family group could be helped in their journey through the Twelve Steps - whether just beginning or years along the path.

My major concern is that a book of this type can leave the reader thinking that having gone through the book, they have completed the Twelve Steps. For each of us who have followed that path, it is one that must be repeated, again and again. This book allowed this reader to walk it one more time - perhaps someone else needs to walk it again. May this review serve as an invitation for you to do so.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Burden of Proof - A Review


Burden of Proof


Davis Bunn

[Ethan] was the prodigal son, the scourge of his family, the man who threw away his heritage and only took from life what he wanted. And only when he could do so in utter selfish abandon.

He had been granted the opportunity to come home. Not because he deserved it. Far from it. Even so, he had returned to the only family left to him. A brother who had abandoned Ethan to the fate he had demanded for himself. And then welcomed him back with open heart and arms. (p. 167)

I read two chapters and I was ready to walk away - it did not catch my attention. But I continued on - by the end of the book, I had unexpected tears in my eyes. The book was great.

Davis Bunn has combined science fiction, legal thriller, and medical drama, into a surprising story that works well. Ethan was dying from a cancer that would soon take his life. It was then that his sister-in-law contacted him and asked him to go back 30 years in time to save his brother’s life and marriage. Both Ethan and this reader were skeptical, but with a flash of light and a stopped heart, he made the trip. He immediately stumbled into legal and medical dramas that Ethan and his brother, Adrian, would need to work through.

This retelling of the “Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:11–32) allows Ethan and the reader time to reflect on the Grace of God in a modern setting - a lesson we all have to learn.

This book, this parable, belongs in the church library and the public library. It touched this reader’s life and reminded him of faith lessons without a heavy dose of religiosity. After finishing the book it easily receives a 5-star review.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Advent for Everyone - A Review


Advent for Everyone


N. T. Wright

Most of what I see from N. T. Wright is more scholarly than devotional, but this book is definitely different. Designed around the four weeks of advent, this book presents four weeks of undated devotions centering on the advent season borrowing on the book of Matthew.

The 28 devotions are selected from passages scattered throughout Matthew. The first two weeks draw more from the later chapters of the book; as the dates draw closer to Christmas, they draw more heavily from the advent story found in Matthew. The individual devotions are lengthier (three pages) than most devotional writings - but they are good, deep, and practical, as would be expected from a writer such as N. T. Wright.

This is a reprint of a book originally published in 2016 and it is one of three advent devotionals prepared by the author - the others are based around the Gospel of Luke (2018) and the writings of the apostles (2019). The book would easily find a place in a small group or a family setting. It would also make a fine set of readings for individual devotions during the four weeks of advent.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Trinity: A Review


The Trinity


Scott R. Swain

I am not a theologian, but I sometimes play one on Sunday mornings. Nevertheless, it was a privilege to read and review this 160-page monograph. Dr. Swain (PhD., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) presents a classic reformed doctrine of the Trinity. With the exception of those who followed the Trinitarian Controversy of 2016, there will be little to argue within this small book.

The book reads as if it were taken from the chapters of a systematic theology text discussing the Trinity. As stated in the introduction, the author desired to address the issues raised by Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware surrounding the relationship of the Father to Son, and the Father and the Son to Holy Spirit. Though these issues are addressed, they are done so in a manner that elevates three members of the Godhead, not diminishing the role or relationship between the three persons of the Trinity. He addresses the issues addressed in 2016 in the same way he addresses Arianism and Subordination addressed in the first millennium of the church’s history.

This reviewer was encouraged to reread Grudem’s Trinitarian theology as he read Swain’s work. Because the Trinity is wrapped in the mystery that is God, I am not as bothered by the teaching of Grudem as long as it is balanced against the classical teaching of the church. Standing alone, Grudem, et al., could raise red flags in our understanding of our Triune God. Note, Grudem is republishing his systematic theology even as I am writing this - I will be looking forward to his thoughts in 2020 following the discussions of 2016. With a fifty-year-old seminary education, the book was a great refresher on an important doctrine.

The book is well documented, both from the scriptures and from writers representing the church’s thought and teaching during its 2000-year history. Though the ARC which I was provided for the review, did not contain them, the completed volume will contain both a general index and a scripture index which will add value to the finished book. For the reader wishing to review their basic theology or as an ancillary text for a theology class in Bible College or seminary, this book will have a key place.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Stand Strong (Deluxe Edition) 365 Devotions for Men by Men - A Review


Stand Strong
(Deluxe Edition)
365 Devotions
for Men by Men


Our Daily Bread

Written by the same people who create the quarterly Our Daily Bread devotionals, the 365 devotions in this book follow the same format. Each dated devotional consists of a suggested scripture passage to be read followed by a key scripture.

Following this is a brief devotional along with the author’s name. Each page ends with some blank lines appropriate for the reader to make personal comments or prayer requests. The devotions are contributed by nineteen different authors - some are familiar to this reader, others were not.

I found the devotions to be practical - including clear to-do’s of one sort or another. Though the book is addressed to men and many of the stories used have a masculine perspective, the lessons are generic enough that couples could easily use the lessons for a year of devotions together. 

I do have two concerns. First, all the authors are male. My other concern was the lack of an index - there is no scripture index, topic index, or author index. The book does include a list of the 19 contributing authors, but the reader has no way of determining which entries were written by which author except by visually scanning all 365 entries. An electronic edition would allow the reader to search the book since each individual entry includes the author’s name. These two flaws warrant only 3-½ stars.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

When I’m Having A Bad Day - A Review


When I’m Having
A Bad Day


Christian Publishing Company

The author has selected 200 scriptures to provide support for the believer who faces the everyday problems of life. Each scripture is labeled with its source and is given a one-word tag identifying its role in supporting the Christian. Except for a short book introduction written by Minister Will Brown, no devotional material is included. No Biblical index is included; however, an index to the tags is included at the rear of the book.

The book would make a great gift for anyone going through a hard time - filling a real need for the believer, but even unbelievers will be encouraged to think about their faith as they deal with the scriptures presented here.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

On The Run - A Review


On The Run


Traci Hunter Abramson

On The Run is a romantic-thriller that runs non-stop from beginning to end.

Elle, a freelance investigative reporter, is having lunch with her sister when suddenly her sister chokes and dies - and thus begins her run for life. She finds unexpected help from Ghost, a member of a secret group designed to carry out missions too sensitive for the CIA or FBI. Their escape will take them from Germany to Switzerland, France, Lithuania, Latvia, and Finland. The reader will be exposed to public, artistic, and historic landmarks as they seek to run to

safety and discover the motive and the individuals seeking their death and attempting to bring corruption to the center of the US government. It would be a crazy two weeks.

I could not put the book down. I stayed awake longer hours than needed - but was not disappointed for doing so. Easily found to be a five-star read.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, September 28, 2020

The Daily Bible Experience - A Review


The Daily Bible


F. LaGard Smith

To be fair, this book must be reviewed, first, as it was intended, and, second, as it stands alone.

The book was intended to be read along with another devotional book, The Daily Bible. The Daily Bible is a devotional version of the NIV Bible presented in chronological order for daily reading. Along with the entire text of the NIV, the author includes devotional and study helps interspersed with the Biblical text. The current book merely adds additional devotional material to the original book. Given its stated purpose, it is not needed.

However, as an independent devotional book, The Daily Bible Experience offers an excellent devotional experience on its own. The current book does not offer the reader a reading of the entire Bible, it does include devotions based on excerpts from the same passages offered in the earlier work. Each daily reading selects a verse or two from the outline found in The Daily Bible. Sadly, it does not provide readings or references to the larger context from which the one or two verses are drawn - for that the reader will need the earlier work. The devotionals are well written and aimed at the daily life of the believer. Each devotional begins by quoting the one or two verses chosen for comment, a one page devotional, and brief, one sentence, asking the reader to apply the day’s thoughts.

The Daily Bible Experience may not be needed for its stated purpose; it does serve well as a devotional book in its own right.

______________ This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Backlash - A Review




Rachel Dylan

“God hasn’t left you, Hunter. God’s there even when we think we can’t feel Him or hear Him. Sometimes it may just be a whisper in the wind or a beautiful sunrise, and that’s all it takes to remind me that the Lord is so much bigger than us. Than this earth. Than our lives. He is everything and everywhere while at the same time He cares about each of us.” (Page 85)

I could not put down this faith-based romantic thriller. With three friends being accused of three very different crimes, the CIA and the DEA are on high alert as they seek to find the villains who are out to discredit three strong patriots in the employee of the US government. It will take the work of all the friends to find the guilty parties. And as they seek their answers we also get a glimpse at the romantic lives of this group. 

The book read like a movie that might appear in Hallmark’s Movies and Mysteries channel - except it dealt with three relationships rather than focusing on a single couple. Nonetheless, it was a satisfying and fun read.

This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Born to Wonder - A Review


Born to Wonder


Alister McGrath

I was first attracted to the theme of “the meaning of life” when asked to read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning in high school. Later, in college, I had to read it again. In grad school I was introduced to Paul Welter’s Counseling and the Search for Meaning in a course taught by the author. As the title suggests, the book draws from Viktor Frankl’s earlier ideas. Alister McGrath’s new book again returns to some of these same themes.

McGrath the search for meaning from a number of perspectives - historically, psychologically, scientifically, and theologically. He also addresses the importance of meaning and the lack of meaning (referencing Frankl) in an individual’s life.

Interestingly, McGrath originally trained as a molecular biophysics (PhD). As he began his college education he was an avid atheist. But over time he was forced him to examine his faith. In 1971, he writes, “I turned my back on one faith and embraced another.” He began studying at Cambridge for ordination in the Church of England. Completing additional studies in Divinity, he now serves as Professor of Divinity at Gresham College where he explores the intersection of Science, Faith, and God, within modern culture.

It was McGrath’s dual interests in science and theology that drew my interest to this book. I was not disappointed. Whether the reader’s interest lie in science, theology, psychology, or philosophy, McGrath’s Born to Wonder should be an interesting read.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.