Thursday, 20 March 2014

Book Review: The A-Z of C.S. Lewis by Colin Duriez

About the Book: A Complete Guide to His Life, Thoughts and Writings

Published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of C. S. Lewis's death, this complete guide covers all of Lewis' works, from his literary criticism to Narnia.

C. S. Lewis's work is widely known and regarded, but enthusiasts are often only aware of one part of his work-his children's stories and his popular theology; and yet he wrote so much more, including science fiction and literary criticism. This volume brings together all aspects of C S Lewis's life and thought. Arranged in alphabetical order, it begins with The Abolition of Man-written in 1943 and described as "almost my favorite"-to Wormwood, a character in The Screwtape Letters. This book will delight anyone who is interested in C. S. Lewis and wants to learn more about him, his thought, his works, and his life.

My Thoughts: Lewis is famous for his children's series The Chronicles of Narnia, but only a brief glance through this encyclopedic book will confirm that there is so much more to learn about this man, his family, his career, and his other writings.  Anyone with a penchant for facts and love for Lewis would devour this book.

I'm not sure why, but I had a different idea in my mind about what this book would be.  For some reason I thought it would be a collection of excerpts from each of his works, giving you a taste of each one and enticing you to read them all!  However, that was not the case (though I would love to read such a book!).  Instead, this book is a veritable encyclopedia.  Literally arranged from A-Z this book covers facts and information about every aspect of Lewis' life - everything from his family, to his career, to his books, to the specific characters from his books, to his views on different topics, to people who were an influence on his life and theology - everything you could possibly wish to know, fact wise, about CS Lewis is included in this book.

This is not a leisurely read, but an excellent resource for Narnia and Lewis fans.  

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

Monday, 17 March 2014

Book Review: The Bargain by Stephanie Reed

About the book: Book one in the Plain City Peace series.

It's 1971, and Betsie Troyer's peaceful and predictable life is about to become anything but.

When their parents flee the Amish, nineteen-year-old Betsie and her seventeen-year-old sister Sadie are distraught. Under the dubious guidance of a doting aunt, the girls struggle to keep the secret, praying their parents will return before anyone learns the truth-a truth that may end all hopes of Betsie's marriage to Charley Yoder.

My Thoughts: I admit that I had grown tired of the standard Amish novels, but this one was different than the rest.

I really enjoyed watching Betsie's thought process as she struggled with the differences between the Amish and English lifestyles and what she personally thought, not just what she had been taught to think.  I liked that it stressed the differences in theology as well, not just lifestyle.  There certainly are Amish believers, but in general, the Amish do not believe that you can have assurance of salvation, which is contrary to biblical teaching.

Interesting read!

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

Book Review: Distortion by Terri Blackstock

About the book: Juliet Cole's life has been dismantled by the murder of her husband. She doesn't know who---or what---to trust when everything she has believed to be true about her marriage has been a lie.

When Juliet Cole's husband of fifteen years is murdered before her eyes, she thinks it was a random shooting. Devastated and traumatized, she answers hours of questioning, then returns home to break the tragic news to her boys. But a threatening voicemail takes this from a random shooting to a planned, deliberate attack.

Juliet realizes that she and her children are in danger too, unless she meets the killers' demands. But as she and her sisters untangle the clues, her husband's dark secrets come to light. The more she learns, the more of her life is dismantled. Was her husband an innocent victim or a hardened criminal?

My Thoughts:  It took me about a chapter or two to get into this one, but it took off from there and I thoroughly enjoyed it the rest of the way through.  I have not read other books in this series but it wasn't much of a hindrance.

I enjoyed the private eye and investigative aspect of this one.  I love it when you can't tell for sure who the good guys and bad guys are, with lots of twists and turns - but not too much that it's overdone.  Blackstock strikes the right balance with this one to keep your interest high all the way through.  Might have to look up some of the other books in this series!

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

Book Review: It Had to be You by Susan May Warren

About the book: A Christensen Family Novel.

Eden Christiansen never imagined her role as her younger brother Owen's cheerleader would keep her on the sidelines of her own life. Sure, it feels good to be needed, but looking after the reckless NHL rookie leaves little time for Eden to focus on her own career. She dreamed of making a name for herself as a reporter, but is stuck writing obits---and starting to fear she doesn't have the chops to land a major story. If only someone would step up to mentor Owen . . . but she knows better than to expect help from team veteran and bad-boy enforcer Jace Jacobsen.

Jace has built his career on the infamous reputation of his aggressive behavior---on and off the ice. Now at a crossroads about his future in hockey, that reputation has him trapped. And the guilt-trip he's getting from Eden Christiansen isn't making things any easier. But when Owen's carelessness leads to a career-threatening injury and Eden stumbles upon a story that could be her big break, she and Jace are thrown together . . . and begin to wonder if they belong on the same team after all.

My Thoughts:
Susan May Warren is one of my favourite authors and this book did not disappoint. One thing I like about her writing (as opposed to Karen Kingsbury) is that her characters can't read each other's thoughts just by looking in their eyes.  In fact, they often read each other's body language completely wrong.  You know, like normal people.  In this case, they possibly misunderstand each other too much to be totally believable, but it's still more believable than the other way around.

We are a hockey loving family around here, so I really enjoyed that aspect of this storyline.  I also really enjoyed the theological look at why God allows things to happen, and the definition of hope.  

Pick this one up - you won't be disappointed!

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

Monday, 3 March 2014

Book Review: Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck

About the Book: 
Regina Beswick was born to be a princess.
But she's content to be a small-town girl, running a classic auto restoration shop, unaware a secret destiny awaits her. One that will leap from the pages of her grandmother's hand-painted book of fairytales.
Tanner Burkhardt is the stoic Minister of Culture for the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg. When he is tasked to retrieve the long-lost princess, he must overcome his fear of failure in order to secure his nation's future---and his own.

Yet lurking in the political shadows is a fierce opponent with sinister plans to abolish the throne forever. Overwhelmed with opposition, Regina must decide if she's destined to restore old cars or an ancient nation. Together---with a little divine intervention---Regina and Tanner discover the truth of her heritage and the healing power of true love.

My Thoughts:  I loved this book!  What little girl doesn't love the idea of being a long lost princess?  The reality, of course, would be quite different than the fairy tale. It's not so easy to give up life as you know it, including family and friends.  

I love how Hauck makes the characters real - their flaws, weaknesses & strengths, personalities all ring true to life.  I enjoyed watching the characters discover God's purpose for their life, and coming to the realization that our best laid plans are not comparable to God's plan for our lives.  Taking that step of faith is hard, but so worth it.  

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


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