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Thursday, June 16, 2011
Permanent, unforgettable, stubborn; all synonyms for the word indelible. All words to describe the characters in this book. Natalie has a disorder in which directly looking into someone’s face can permanently imprint the other person’s unseen (to the rest of the world) emotions in her mind. Natalie is all but paralyzed when this happens and can only free her mind by sculpting the person’s face. Trevor is an ex-Olympic skier who lost his career to an injury. He is on the local Search and Rescue team and starts the story by rescuing Natalie’s nephew from a mountain lion. Trevor picks up a stalker whose Bible is John Milton’s Paradise Lost. The rest of the cast is made up of people as stubborn and handicapped, both physically and emotionally as the main characters.
The story moves at a good pace. I wondered a few times if the stalker was an unknown or was one of the supporting characters. I enjoyed reading the book overall. I was having difficulty with the lack of faith, belief or struggle with faith, for much of the novel. Natalie is mentioned as having a Bible therefore she shouldn’t believe in karma. A couple of therapists offer to pray for Natalie before the beginning of a session, right after they talk about hypnotizing her (she remembers what she needs to before they do that). Faith is spoken of more towards the end of the story.
Trevor and Natalie’s affection for each other grows at a rapid pace. Natalie is alluded to having faith but Trevor, other than someone telling him to pray for an injured loved one, does not present as having any faith in Christ. The concept of God is not really brought up in regards to him. I felt that was not a healthy way to show a couple in a “Christian” story, especially since Natalie has to move in with Trevor(in a guest room) for her own protection. I just don’t think this is a positive message.
So, overall, I did like the story, but it does have some issues. Personally, I like to read stories that have the characters profess their faith, or their struggle with faith. It doesn’t have to be the main crux of the story, but I would like some mention of it.
This book was provided free of charge by WaterBrook Press in exchange for an honest review.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
The End Is Coming
This is a fictional book about the end of the world. However, as I write this on the 8th day of June, 2011, I wake to the worst solar flares to hit earth in 5 years-the major force of destruction in the book. E-coli outbreaks in Europe-a major disease wipes out towns in the book. The most fantastic picture of a volcano eruption I have ever seen-which is how the sky on earth is described for the last third or so of the book. Earthquakes, war, famine; it is all in there.
The story takes place in the year 2048 with the destruction of earth happening on December 12th of that year. Being set in the future there is quite a bit of “techno talk”. At first I felt like Sheriff Carter standing in the middle of Eureka trying to figure what all the brilliant scientists were talking about. But it is easy to get used to and only used sporadically throughout the book. The story is extremely interesting and easy to read. It moves at a good pace and really starts to pick up at the end. I definitely couldn’t wait to finish the last 50 pages or so. The very end was a big surprise.
I am not sure I would categorize this as Christian fiction. The book relies heavily on mysticism, the Mayan prophecy concerning 2012, and science in regards to the end of the world. In my opinion they are more prevalent in the story than the Word of God. Kabbalah is a big player in all that is going on.
I have to admit that it has been a while since I have done an end of times study of the Bible. But I don’t think The Seraph Seal holds true to the Biblical account of end times. However, it does make me want to find a good study guide and do a bit of research on the subject.
All in all it is an entertaining and easy book to read. However, if you dislike anything that deviates from Scripture, this probably isn’t for you.
This book was provided free of charge by Thomas Nelson’s BookSneeze program in exchange for an unbiased review.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
This book is called “A Personal Retreat Guide”. It is the first book of its kind that I have read. I thought it was a Bible study, but it really is something different than anything I have read before.
The book is very structured with very clear instructions on how to go about your own “retreat” with God. I am a Bible study junkie, so this book threw me off a bit. I enjoyed the “Immersed in God’s Message” section of each chapter the most. This section gave the context, tone, and meaning of the portion of Psalm 23 each particular chapter dealt with. Much of each chapter was the same throughout the book with the same passage by Dietrich Bonheoffer to recite before reading the Psalm and the same prayer written by Terese of Lisieux to say at the end of each meditation.
The book is very quiet. I do not know how else to explain it. When I am reading it, my voice is whispering even when I am not reading aloud. But I guess that is good considering the reason this book is written for. I would recommend this book if you intend to use it as a retreat tool. However, if you are looking for a Bible study, you should check into some of Jan Johnson’s other works.
Disclosure of Material Connection: 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."