Thursday, 13 June 2013

Book Review: The Offering by Angela Hunt

About the Book: From bestselling author Angela Hunt, the heart-wrenching story of a young mother who unknowingly gave away her own child after serving as a surrogate for a childless couple.

After growing up as an only child, Amanda Lisandra wants a big family. But since she and her soldier husband can't afford to have more children right away, Mandy decides to earn money as a gestational carrier for a childless couple. She loves being pregnant, and while carrying the child she dreams of having her own son and maybe another daughter. . .

Just when the nearly perfect pregnancy is about to conclude, unexpected tragedy enters Mandy's world and leaves her reeling. Devastated by grief, she surrenders the child she was carrying and struggles to regain her emotional equilibrium.

Two years later she studies a photograph of the baby she bore and wonders if the unthinkable has happened---could she have inadvertently given away her own biological child? Over the next few months Mandy struggles to decide between the desires of her grief-stricken heart and what's best for the little boy she has never known.

My Thoughts: Wow, this book packs an emotional punch!  Angela Hunt is one of my favourite authors and she delivers another great book in The Offering.

Dealing with infertility, adoption, surrogacy and invitro fertilization this book brings up many complex ethical issues.  Assuming a belief that life begins at conception (or the joining of the egg and sperm) invitro fertilization can still be an option - with certain restrictions.  Those holding this view would not fertilize and attempt to implant more little lives than you'd be willing to carry (no reductive abortions!), and would also not freeze them for later potential use due to the 50% likelihood of survival upon thawing.  Sometime science just goes too far with the pursuit of biological children.

As someone who has not struggled with infertility, I cannot truly empathize with those who do.  I can only imagine the heartbreak and struggle that would accompany this.  But I loved how Amanda came to realize that blood is not the trump card - love is.  

I highly recommend this book!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Book Review: Ray of Light by Shelley Shepard Gray

About the Book: Bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray brings inspirational romance to life in this sweet tale of love in the Amish community, Ray of Light, the second installment of her Days of Redemption series.

Roman Keim just wants a break from the family drama at his snowy Ohio home when he heads to an Amish snowbird community in Florida. There he meets Amanda Yoder and her daughter Regina who soon are warming his heart. But will Roman return to Ohio or will he stay and help the young widow embrace a second chance at love?

My Thoughts: I have not read the first book in this series, but didn't feel like I was missing too much and it works as a standalone novel, though of course, you're curious about what happens to a few members of the family, which I'm sure is coming in the next book.

I think this may be the first book I've read by Gray and I really enjoyed it.  It seemed different from a lot of the other Amish books I've read - maybe because of the travelling.  You don't hear of too many Amish people going to Florida for vacation!  But I really enjoyed the side of it - it made it seem a little more relatable.

Both of the main characters are likeable and I enjoyed watching them grow in their faith and character throughout the book.  Roman needs to sort out the difference between responsibility and self-imposed duty, between following what's expected of him to following what God has called him to do.  Amanda also recognizes the need to not become bound by the past - either by her own expectations or the expectations of her late husband's family.  

Though it dealt with deep subject matter, it was also a sweet and enjoyable read.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The rock solid Bible

This is the speech delivered by 14 year old Douglas Nichols for a speech tournament at Faith Academy in the Philippines.  He gave an impressive speech - both in message and in his delivery.  What a well spoken young man!  

Here is the transcript I wrote of his speech from the above video....

The rock solid Bible.
The reason most people don’t believe this book is not because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them. 
It’s not that they can’t believe it, it’s that they won’t.
Because in a world obsessed with equality, this book speaks with authority.
In a generation content with naturalistic explanations, this book affirms supernatural realities.
In a society stuck on relativity this book is full of absolutes. 
In a civilization captivated by sensuality, this book esteems purity.
In a culture infatuated with self-discovery and self-fulfillment, this book calls for self-denial and self-sacrifice.
In a time when we’re taught that all roads lead to heaven, this book says no one gets to heaven without Jesus.
This book tells the truth - the truth about life and death, heaven and hell, right and wrong, Saviour and sinners. Thousands of characters, hundreds of stories, but one unmistakably clear message: the redemption of fallen humanity, through Jesus Christ, for the glory of God.
The stories in this book might surprise you – a man kills his brother and a father his son; shepherds become kings and kings become criminals; the righteous are rebuked but prostitutes are forgiven; sinners live but the Saviour dies.
It’s not diplomatic, it’s not discreet.
It’s not irrelevant and it’s not incorrect.
It’s not trivial and it’s not hollow.
It is holy and righteous.
It is good and true.
It is powerful and pure.
It is sweeter than honey and finer than gold.
It’s a map that leads you through the great storm of life.
It’s a lamp that gives light amidst blinding darkness.
It’s a mirror who tells you who you really are.
It’s a sword that cuts deep into your guilty conscience.
It’s a hammer that breaks your heart to pieces.
And it’s the glue that puts it back together, better than before.  
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The rock solid Bible.
Stand firm on its foundation.
Walk in its paths.
Tweet it. Share it. Blog it. Spread it.
Unshakeable, unwavering, rock solid truth.
The rock solid Bible.
Read the stories, study the teachings, share the blessings, believe the prophecies, quote the promises and apply the wisdom.
The rock solid Bible.
Make it your holy addiction.
Make it your sacred obsession.
Make it your sanctified passion.
The rock solid Bible.
Don’t twist its words.
Don’t neglect its strength.
Don’t presume it’s just words on a page for ancient people long dead.
Know the Word of God is living and active. Here and now.
And if you’re spiritually dead, it will bring you to life. 


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