I've been sick all week. I think I have a light case of the flu. I had a flu shot last fall, so thank goodness it has protected me from getting worse. I have spent most of this week in bed, able to read some, but little else. When I have the energy I putter around the house whining, because I cannot do what I'd like to do.
The next book up for review is Highway To Hell by Matt Roper. When you read the title of the book you were probably thinking AC/DC? No, but for the young girls written about in this book, their lives have been a hell on earth. The book is about young girls in Brazil, who are caught-up in human trafficking---prostitution---sex slavery.
Friday, March 7, 2014
Friday, February 28, 2014
Enter Today | 2/11 - 3/1!
Title: The Sinners' Garden
Author: William Sirls
Publisher: Thomas Nelson December 17, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Faith, Prophecy
Rating: 4 Stars for very good
Source: Free copy from Thomas Nelson and Litfuse Publicity Group, in exchange for a review.
Judi and her teenage son Andy, live under quiet and tense circumstances. Andy is withdrawn, more than most teenage boys, and Judi is unable to connect with him. Andy has scars on his face, which he has been given false information about how it occurred. Judi's brother Rip, spent several years in prison, but is now free. He lives nearby, and he has a "new life" as a believer in God. Rip wants to be a father-type figure to Andy. The two have things in common, like motorcycles and going fast. One day while Rip and Andy are out riding they come across a field of blooming flowers. The field had been grass a few days before. A family friend Heather, is out on police patrol, when she encounters what she thinks is a robbery; instead, it is person who will become known as the "Summer Santa". Strange and amazing things begin to happen in the town of Benning Township, Michigan.
What I'm about to say may come across as cynical and I don't mean to offend, but I am so tired of the same old story lines in (most) Christian fiction.
1. Boy meets girl.
2. Girl meets boy.
3. Christian themes of faith, redemption, etc., are given so the book will have a Christian message.
4. There is a problem with the relationship, a resolve, and then everything is fine and tidy at the end.
I'm rejoicing, The Sinners' Garden is a story which has not been told in this fashion until now. The emphasis is in the message, not a romance. The message is subtle, but I did not have a problem finding it. Themes of faith, redemption, etc., are included, but not overtly so. What I mean is we are not "told", we are shown, a remarkable difference.
Andy has been given a gift, which is unexpected and gives the story an added mystery.
The large field of flowers is providential and symbolic.
The only point which held me back from giving this book 5 stars is I would like to see more character development. More of the characters psyche. An evil menacing character doesn't need an introduction, we know he or she is evil because of their aura, or description, or hardness in the eyes, etc.
William Sirls is a new author with an interesting past. I'm thankful he has come forward to share the story of his life, and to share a new kind of story in Christian fiction.
Link at Thomas Nelson, includes a preview. http://www.thomasnelson.com/the-sinners-garden.html
Link for tour:http://litfusegroup.com/author/wsirls
Over the course of his life, he has experienced both great highs and tremendous lows — some born of chance, some born of choice. Growing up in Detroit, MI, the youngest of six children, William Sirls was active in sports and had an active imagination. While he aspired to become either a professional golfer or attorney, he realized he didn’t have the talent or the grades for either of those careers, so he shifted gears and went in another direction.
Years before the publication of his first novel, he worked 60 hour weeks as a senior vice president at one of the nation’s largest investment firms, somehow finding time to read three to four books per week and to rough out ideas for different stories of his own. Sirls was forced to slow down and refocus when he was incarcerated in 2007 for wire fraud and money laundering. While in prison, he learned a great deal more than he ever bargained for — life lessons involving faith, grace, patience, and forgiveness. These lessons are evident in both Sirls’ first novel, The Reason (2012) and his new release The Sinners’ Garden releasing in December 2013.
“Prison is one of those things I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but at the same time there are few things I would trade that experience for … From a spiritual standpoint, it gave me the opportunity to slow down and realize what is important. As my faith grew, I became anxious to share the things I learned, so I figured what better way to do that than to rewrite my manuscript in a way that was a lot less magical and a lot more spiritual.”
Sirls is the father of two and makes his home in southern Michigan.
For more information about William Sirls and his books, visit his online home at www.williamsirls.com, become a fan on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter (@williamsirls).
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Title: The A-Z of C. S. Lewis: An encyclopedia of his life, thought and writings
Author: Colin Duriez
Publisher: Lion Hudson November 1, 2013
Genre: Non-fiction, encyclopedia of C. S. Lewis
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars
Source: Free copy from Litfuse Publicity and Kregel/Lion Books in exchange for a review.
Landing page at Litfuse for tour.
Clive Staples Lewis, C. S. Lewis, or to those who knew him intimately he was simply known as Jack. Born 1898 and died November 22, 1963. Does the date in November ring a bell for another famous person's death?
President John F. Kennedy died November 22, 1963.
C. S. Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland. He had an older brother named Warren, also known as Warnie. C. S. Lewis taught at both Oxford and Cambridge. He was an author, teacher, apologist. He married late in life and had two step-sons.
This past November 22, 2013 marked 50 years since C. S. Lewis's death.
The A-Z of C. S. Lewis, is a wonderful hard copy encyclopedic edition of Lewis's life and works.
Beginning with: Abhalljin, Abingdon, The Abolition of Man, and completing with: Wormwood, Wraggle, Wynyard School, Wyvern, Zalindreh, Zardeenah.
The book explores his: personal life, academics, writings, friends, family members, atheism, belief in Jesus Christ, apologetics, marriage, death.
The A-Z of C. S. Lewis, is a must read book for anyone who loves C. S. Lewis.
It is a book which can be utilized for general reference and information, or can be read from start to finish.
C. S. Lewis was friends with other literary giants, for example J. R. R. Tolkien. The A-Z of C. S. Lewis gives the reader a look at Lewis and Tolkien's comradely and relationship.
There were a few things about Lewis and his late wife Joy which I did not know until reading this book. Joy had been a communist earlier in her life, her first husband did not change in regards to his belief, but Joy later became a Christian.
I also did not know until reading this book Lewis loved medieval history and Arthurian legends. These themes are a favorite of mine as well.
While reading The A-Z of C. S. Lewis, I realized Lewis's wide scope of reading habits, friends, interests, and intelligence. He strikes me as a man who would be difficult to tear my eyes away from, or to move away from his speech.
A favorite part of the book is reading about Lewis's view of myth and his use of it in writing. Myth is"imaginative fiction and poetry". In reading a myth story, we see the world through a different lens. We are learning in a way which does not feel like learning. It's a perfect teaching tool, for both the young and mature reader.
I would have liked a separate list showing all his books written. There is a list at the end of the book showing all his written material, and another list showing all the books written about him.
I also would have liked to have more information in this book about his turn from atheism to Christianity.
There are two dates in the book given as to his birth, 1892 and 1898. This could have been a typo.
About the Author: Colin Duriez is a writer, editor and frequent lecturer on the lives of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Inklings, having spoken at a variety of conferences in the USA, Canada, Spain, Italy, Poland, Finland and the UK.His books include The A–Z of C.S. Lewis, C.S. Lewis: A Biography of Friendship, J.R.R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend, J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: The Story of Their Friendship, Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, A Field Guide to Narnia, The C.S. Lewis Chronicles, The Inklings Handbook (with the late David Porter), A Field Guide to Harry Potter and AD33: The Year that Changed the World. He has also contributed to The Tolkien Encyclopedia and a number of other tomes.
Duriez has appeared as a commentator on extended version DVDs of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Walden Media’s feature, Dreamer of Narnia with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, BBC television’s The Worlds of Fantasy, PBS’s The Question of God, a documentary about Focus on the Family Radio Theater’s audio dramatization of The Screwtape Letters, among others. The author makes his home in the Lake District of northwest England.
For more information about Colin Duriez and his writing, visit www.colinduriez.macmate.me or follow him on Facebook (Colin Duriez, writer) and Twitter (@colinduriez).
Links for more information on C. S. Lewis:
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
During the week of February 16th through 22nd the following Scripture was read:
Genesis chapters 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43
Mark chapters 7, 8, 9
Above Bible readings from New Living Translation. Scripture link by Bible Gateway.
I'm in Bible Study Fellowship, and this week is a study of Matthew 19:23-30 through 21:17.
A few links of interest:
The Danger of Forgetting How to Read the Bible by Dan Doriani
Jesus Was Not a Sinner But Became Sin by Kendell Easley
Reflection on My Trip to England by Kevin DeYoung
The Cost by Rachel Held Evans
Theology for Girls: Attributes of God-Humility
The Ten Marks of the Holy Spirit in a Believer-J C Ryle
Lent and Easter devotional from Bible Gateway
What Are People Around the World Searching For in the Bible?