Monday, 20 July 2015

Book Review: Letters from my Father's Murderer by Laurie A Coombs

About the book:  When her father was murdered, Laurie Coombs sought justice and found it.

His murderer now serves two life sentences with no possibility of parole. Yet, despite the swift punishment of the killer, Laurie found herself increasingly full of pain, bitterness, and anger she couldn't control. After coming to faith, she realized she was being called to seek something infinitely more difficult than justice: forgiveness.

This is an extraordinary true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God to change lives. The reader is swept along with Laurie as she undergoes the life-changing transformation of becoming a Christian. As she studies Scripture, seeing God redeeming losses and healing deep wounds time and time again, she starts to understand that her own healing would require her to love her enemy in a real, practical way.

Using her incredible correspondence with the man who killed her father, Laurie reveals a compelling journey of transformation, not only in her life, but in the lives of those whom many would call irredeemable.

Letters from My Father's Murderer is for any audience Christian or secular who

-Craves freedom from the inability to forgive those who've caused them harm 
-Wants to hear testimony of God's power in our obedience 
-Has experienced pain through other's sin against them 
-Needs to know healing is always possible
The real story here is not primarily about murder and its fallout, but rather about redemption and how far it can reach.

Purchase a copy:

My Thoughts:  The title of this book alone intrigued me, and I was looking forward to reading and reviewing Letters from my Father's Murderer.  Even with high expectations, this book surpassed them all by far.

Many books that are somewhat autobiographical in nature are not necessarily well written - the story is interesting, but the writing can often be abysmal.  Not so with this book.  The writing is incredibly well done and you are swept, not only into the story, but into Laurie's heart and mind as she deals with the ramifications of her father's murder.

I was also not anticipating a book of theology, and though clearly it is not, as such, it contains a great deal of theology - sound theology.  Though some people tend to make light of the import of sound theology in books that are non-theological in nature, it is actually incredibly important.  We learn through stories - as evidenced in the parables used in Jesus' teaching.  And when stories - whether fiction or non-fiction - are told from a poor theological perspective, the result can be quite damaging.  However, when those stories are told from a strong theological perspective, the result is simply amazing.  The depth of insight Laurie provides on the subjects of forgiveness, reconciliation, and our walk with God is incredible.

Here are some quotes that moved me.....
It turns out life's purposes really isn't such a riddle, after all. It's much simpler than most people think, but it takes spiritual eyes to discern. The purpose of life is God. To know and be known by the One and Only. The One who loves immeasurably more than we imagine. The One who gave everything to reconcile us to Himself that we might have a relationship with Him. It's profound yet simple - beautiful. It is God who gives purpose. And it is God who is our purpose. Life is about loving God and loving others - magnifying Him so that the whole world may see and know that He is who He says He is. That He may take His rightful place in our lives, bringing joy to both God and the world. This is shalom, everything as it ought to be. He is the peace we so desperately seek.

They say time heals all wounds, but that's simply not true. Time only dulls the pain. God heals the wounds.

Healing begins the moment we allow Jesus complete access to the darkness contained within our souls. Darkness flees in the presence of light, but light cannot go where it's not permitted. Doors must be opened for light's rays to touch our darkest dark. And I was flinging doors open left and right, begging, Come, Lord Jesus, come.

...apart from God's grace, we are all capable of doing the unthinkable.

I cannot recommend this book more highly - if you read it, you will be better for having read it.

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

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Book Review: Picture Perfect Love by Melissa McClone

About the book: When image becomes everything, it's up to love to refocus the heart.

Photographer Jenna Harrison wants every bride and groom to look picture perfect on their special day, putting her heart into every wedding to give the couple memorable images of their love. But her own heart is still broken, the unworn wedding dress hanging in her closet a reminder that relationships aren't always as perfect as they look through her camera lens. But Jenna has faith that she will find true love. Until then, she must be patient and trust in God's plan and His perfect timing.

Attorney Ashton Vance is the one that got away. When an embarrassing Photoshopped picture of put an end to his political aspirations, he blamed Jenna. So what if the photo led to his being offered a dream job and changing his life for the better? Jenna betrayed his trust, and two years later, Ashton's heart still hasn't recovered.

It was me. His younger sister's three words turn Ashton's world upside down. He must ask Jenna's forgiveness, but can he risk his heart a second time? Even if Jenna can forgive him, dare he hope for a second chance at her love?

Purchase a copy:

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this novella, but felt that the limitations of length made this a mismatch when it came to subject matter.  Forgiveness and trust are pretty big issues, particularly when it comes to marriage, and I didn't feel like it was realistic, possible, or wise for the relationship between Jenna and Ashton to progress the way it did.  It's hard to say too much without spoilers, but suffice it to say that forgiveness does not equal trust, and if this story took place in real life to me (or my children!) there would have been some major red flags that would've need to be addressed over a much longer time period in order to have a firm foundation on which to build a marriage.

That being said, I loved the author's writing style, and her ability to draw you in to the characters, even the ones you don't want to like.

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

Monday, 13 July 2015

Book Review: Summer's List by Anita Higman

About the book: A dying wish alters the course of a young woman's life.

Life hadn't been easy for Summer Snow. In acts of selflessness---caring for her ailing parents and running her grandmother's bookstore---she had forfeited her youth and dreams for the needs of others. And the only tries she had at love . . . didn't turn out. She had the bookstore, she had her beloved granny, but she was missing something---or someone.

Opportunity strikes when Granny sends Summer on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree, a kind but gangly young man from Summer's past. A childhood friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer. Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?

My Thoughts:  I thoroughly enjoyed the last book I read/reviewed by Anita Higman, and if anything, I enjoyed this one even more.

All the main characters are endearing, the storyline is compelling, the topics are serious and treated with the utmost care (adultery, divorce, adoption, death, betrayal, and lies, as well as forgiveness, redemption, hope, and promise), and the author manages to cover all of that without it feeling heavy or preachy, but rather real and refreshing.

I loved this book and would wholeheartedly recommend it.

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


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