Friday, June 17, 2011

Springtime in the Spirit - Book Review

Springtime in the Spirit by Maureen Lang is part of the Great War series and is set in post-WWI Germany. I wasn't sure what to expect since I'm not a big fan of historical fiction but I came away pleasantly surprised.

Annaliese is a part of the Socialist movement in Germany working to rid herself of the links to the Capitalistic society of her youth. She is surrounded by other like-minded individuals who use her to gain the support of the women of Germany. Christophe, a childhood friend of Annaliese, is sent to the city to try and convince Annaliese to come back to her parents' home. Annaliese though wants no part of her history or of her family. She sees them and their capitalism as the problem with society. As the book progresses, you sense a shift in Annaliese. Her nicely restructured belief system begins to crack and as violent incidents occur throughout the city, she is forced to begin questioning her beliefs. I won't spoil the ending but rest assured, the book ends happily for the main characters.

I will admit this book was a little tough to get into. The story took a bit of developing and that seemed to cause the story to drag a little. But, I stuck with it and was glad I did. The level of intrigue picked up and I had to force myself on several occasions to put the book down and go to sleep. I appreciated that the author allowed Annaliese to question her beliefs in an honest way and even toward the end of the book, she was still questioning God and how He could have allowed things to happen the way they did. You could sense the struggle the character was going through.

I was definitely surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I think if you like history, the book will interest you on multiple levels. It really explores the political maneuverings of that time period but has a sweet story in it as well. I will be looking for the other books in the Great War Series.

Tyndale House provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review. I was not required to post a positive review. No other compensation was provided.

Deeper Into the Word - Book Review

To continue with this month's theme of new authors, here's another one. Deeper Into the Word was written by Keri Wyatt who is a Bible-study author and speaker. I wasn't really sure what to expect by this book but I was pleasantly surprised. It really functions as a "souped up" New Testament Bible dictionary. Wyatt has taken the most common words in the NT and provided brief commentary or reflections for each word. With me being somewhat of a word nerd especially when it comes to Scripture, I would have liked the posts to be a little more detailed. BUT, having the shorter entries allows for the inclusion of more words. Wyatt has done an extensive amount of research on the words included in the book - I was impressed with the thoroughness of the entries. I will be adding this book to my study shelf to use when studying the New Testament.

Just an FYI, I saw online that an Old Testament version of Deeper Into the Word is due out in November of this year. Based on my experiences with this one, I'm hoping to procure the OT version too!

Bethany House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review. No other compensation was provided.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Double Shot - Book Review

To stay consistent, here's another "new to me" author. Double Shot by Erynn Mangum was sent to me to review and I was thrilled to find this new author. This is the third in the "coffee" series but it is so easy to catch right up with where the story line is. In this book, Maya is engaged to be married and planning the wedding. But of course, the planning can't go off without a hitch. Throw in a new job offer for her, a new job offer for her fiancee (with a move) and a premature nephew and Maya is completely overwhelmed. Without spoiling too much of the storyline, I'll just say everything wrapped up quite nicely.

I really enjoyed this book. I can so relate to Maya and her need for planning and control. I could identify with her doubt and indecision. I liked that Mangum made the difficulties Maya faced seem realistic and not have an easy ending without a struggle. The author used other characters in the book to challenge Maya to trust in the Lord's timing but it never came across as preachy. I like that this is a great "chick lit" book without the nasty language and sex scenes found in other author's work. I will definitely find other work by this author. In fact, I've already downloaded another book in the "coffee" series to my nook.

I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Always True - Book Review

This was a new author for me (again). Always True by James MacDonald was a little different than most of what I review. Rather than a straight Bible study book or a reference book, this one focuses on a particular topic, the promises of God. I did like the layout - it breaks down five principles on the promises of God: God is always with me, God is always in control, God is always good, God is always watching and God is always victorious. MacDonald works through the theology of each promise, laying out the Scripture references for each promise and embedding the Scripture in each chapter. I did appreciate the Scripture references throughout but several times while reading, I felt like the material presented came across as trite. Don't get me wrong, I believe every bit of it; I'm just not sure how I would have responded if I'd been struggling with something major in my life. I would be interested to see how some friends of mine who are struggling would/will respond.

One thing that concerned me slightly was the section in promise three about God being always good. Some of this section came across as prosperity gospel (ie, if you have faith, God will bless you). It may not have been the author's intention but that's how it came across to me.

Even with my reservations, I would recommend this book with the caveat that it be read while also spending dedicated time in the Scriptures listed and in discussion with another believer.

C Grant and Company provided me with a free copy of this book from Moody Publishing Company in exchange for my honest review.