When Most Likely opens, Becky Howard seems like she has it all. She has a wonderful family who is supportive of her, a sister who teaches her fun thin...moreWhen Most Likely opens, Becky Howard seems like she has it all. She has a wonderful family who is supportive of her, a sister who teaches her fun things like how to buy the perfect dress, a boyfriend she adores, and she is about to run the race that can make her a star. But it seems that good things don't last long as Becky's life seemingly comes undone and keeps unravelling as the story progresses.
This is a wonderful tale for Christian teens. Becky goes through a lot and she needs to learn how to handle things through it all. It answers a lot of questions like how to handle a boyfriend who is pressuring you for sex, how to cope with a friend who has given up on life, and how to support loved ones who've messed up their own lives without sugar-coating your reactions or being too upset with them to be helpful. That said, the book didn't feel too preachy about those things or like they were lessons. They all made sense in the context of what was happening in Becky's life. The fact that she looked at things from a God-centered lens was just part of her character.
Unfortunately I never really felt too much of a connection to Becky. She is going through a lot, but nothing I could really relate to. On top of that I felt too much the presence of an adult perspective in the narration. Sometimes the wording or the way Becky would describe her feelings didn't feel like a teenage voice to me, but an adult one. Perhaps because she was a very mature teen, but there was just something about it that bothered me when it was there.
I feel like in the end that this is a book I'd have no problem recommending to others but personally didn't have the connection to myself.
What would you do if you became an accidental time traveler? Better yet, what would you do if you were on a trip to “the holy land” and somehow ended...more What would you do if you became an accidental time traveler? Better yet, what would you do if you were on a trip to “the holy land” and somehow ended up back in the year 33 A.D. just days before Christ’s crucifixion was about to happen? I don’t know about you, but this scenario seems so out there that I can’t even fathom what my response would be if this were to happen. Luckily, Don Furr, has come up with some possibilities for me. The story centers around three people – a doctor, a pastor, and a professor - who end up back in Jesus’ day and each one of them have very different but realistic responses to their situation. Paul wants to stop the crucifixion from happening all together, while Elizabeth wants to take in as much as the events and her time with Jesus as possible, and Van goes on a mission to steal some scrolls and denies as much as possible what is happening all around him.
One of my favorite scenes from Quest for the Nail Prints is when Elizabeth and Paul get to have some one-on-one time with Jesus for the first time. They hug, and then He tells them “You are why I am here.” …ahh, yeah, this book is definitely somewhat of a tear jerker! It’s a good book that is filled with lots of love and wonderful moments of beauty. At the end of the story each of the characters learn a lesson and we as readers get to learn why they were sent back in time and find out the importance of that hole that is punched right through all the pages. Want to know why? Well, I’m not going to spoil it for you, so you’ll just have to read it yourself! Pick this book up if you want something to read with a unique point of view, or if you just want to spend a little extra time with Jesus.
It is a dark and menacing night for Father Mark Corescu when he enters a burning building against all reason and comes into contact with a creature th...moreIt is a dark and menacing night for Father Mark Corescu when he enters a burning building against all reason and comes into contact with a creature that changes his life and his fate forever. It is 1640 when the creature changes him into a vampire. Flash forward to present day and meet Doctor Mark Corescu. Mark has been alive since 1640 using his vampire skills to find and bring evil doers to justice – hunting them down until they repent of their sins and turn to God, then promptly killing them (feeding from them) so they’ll have no chance of returning to their old ways and falling from God again. Mark believes this is the will of the Lord. That is, until his prayers are answered for a companion – Hope – and she begins to make him question everything he believes in.
I don’t know what I expected when I picked this book up but perhaps I was expecting something along the lines of my experience with other authors - getting excited to see a new series from them, only to pick it up and find that the characters, the plot, the moral (if there is one), the setting, etc. are near copy-cats of their first series. But if that’s what I was expecting, I was dead wrong. The Judging feels nothing at all like Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider. First of all, it’s much darker. It’s classified as Christian horror like Rabbit, but Rabbit just doesn’t hold a candle to this one in terms of the creepy factor. Where the Rabbit series focuses on the lust of blood because the vampires (Rakum) simply just want it, The Judging goes beyond that and makes blood lust a moral decision for the protagonist. I was seriously creeped out. It gave me shivers just thinking about it and made me wonder if I’d end up with bad dreams at night.
Secondly, the spiritual focus of the book felt different than the Rabbit series as well. While Rabbit seems to focus on lust and idolatry, The Judging seems to focus on, well, judging others. It’s the age old question – what right do we have to judge others and say what God is willing to accept? Furthermore, how are we supposed to know when God is talking to us or if we are simply doing what we think He would want. And is there a difference? One of the biggest ‘wow’ factors for me is when Ellen C. Maze reveals what the purpose of all the Bible quotes at the beginning of each chapter should mean for the reader. It’s a lesson that Mark learns near the end of the book, so I can’t say exactly what it is in order not to spoil it, but I think people should really pause and consider what’s going on here. For me, the addition of the Bible verses to the story is what made it all very much worth reading in the end. I learned a lot about myself from it.
Lastly, The Judging has a bit of a mystery element to it. I wasn’t expecting this at all. However, it’s element that adds a lot to the story and made me want to keep reading to find out more. There are so many unknowns at the beginning of the book – why did Mark go into the burning building? Who was the creature that turned him into a vampire? Who are his companions and why are they immortal if they’re not vampires? Who is Hope to Mark and why did he pray for her? What will happen to the reporter who stumbles upon a decades old mystery that points to Mark? And finally, is Mark really doing the will of God by judging evil doers night after night?
Mark’s world falls apart in this first adventure of the series. But what happens next? I’m eager to find out what happens to all the characters in Damascus Road. I’m also eager to be creeped out yet again! I never knew I’d be so in love with the horror genre. Actually, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Christian Horror. Ellen C. Maze is the reason I began reading horror and she is the reason I continue to. It is creepy fantastic – with a purpose.
I was very skeptical about this book at first. I like books that take place in an Amish setting but I really, really don’t like ‘sappy’ romance novels, which is what most of the Amish books I’ve been seeing lately are all about. But this book was passed down to me by two people who really enjoyed it and were excited enough about it to find someone to share with. I had to at least try it, right? After leaving it for about a month and going back and reading the back cover, realizing it was actually a mystery, I was much more intrigued and ready to start reading.
I really enjoyed this book but I do find it hard to describe it without seeming a bit negative (keep in mind I really did enjoy this book). At first glance there really doesn’t seem to be much different from this book than any other standard mystery. It’s pretty formulaic in that way and there’s nothing really different about Harper’s writing style that makes it so special. The formula? Woman’s husband dies in a freak ‘accident’ but she doesn’t think it is one, mysterious things are happening all around her, she meets a man who happens to want to help her but she doesn’t know if she should trust him, there are twists and turns to throw the reader off and eventually everything comes together in one giant reveal, woman decides what to do about man who has been helping her and she lives happily ever after.
But there was so much about this book I personally really enjoyed that made it hard for me to put it down. First, Rachel is Amish but it’s not the standard Amish story. Rachel isn’t as sheltered as her other community members. She has an English friend and spends a lot of time with her, even using her as a babysitter for her children. She visits the library and reads English books and throughout the course of the story she gets involved with many other English people. This makes her place in the community very unsteady and makes the mystery behind her husband’s death (and her new possible romance) very interesting. It also makes all the explanations of Amish vs. English lifestyles much more realistic. It fits into the storytelling unlike those other stories where the Amish are too sheltered to make the kind of comparisons authors usually do. There is of course romance in this book but it’s not the ‘sappy’ romance I was afraid of. The mystery and ‘creepy’ vibe from the story is much more prominent here. There was lots going on in this story which gave me lots of things to want to find out and keeping me reading. It was very hard to put down.
Bottom line is, I really enjoyed this story. Enough to search through Karen Harper’s other stories to find some future reads.(less)
What a great book! It’s a thrilling tale of one night of hostage-taking at K-I-L-L FM 100 – a local music station. Disc jockey Carter was a great char...moreWhat a great book! It’s a thrilling tale of one night of hostage-taking at K-I-L-L FM 100 – a local music station. Disc jockey Carter was a great character to have an “insider’s” look into. Not only his love for music and how he uses it to get through his situation, but also the risks he takes, and how his perspectives on “Killer Queen” (the hostage-taker) changes throughout the story were all just perfect. I really enjoyed the pace of this book. It’s short (only 89 pages) but nothing feels missing or dragged out and being labeled a “thriller” – well…it sure was! The only thing I could say is that the ending does seem a tad bit “cheesy”. I do see why Teric included what he did (and that’s because it also hits a little bit close to home) but I can see how some who’ve had much different experiences might see it that way. That and I really wanted a list of all the songs mentioned in the book so I could listen along (if this was available I couldn’t find it anywhere) mainly because I didn’t grow up with the songs listed and I’m terrible with song names in general. However, having not grown up with this music I really appreciated all the subtle music lessons Teric threw into the story. This is an excellent start to Mr. Darken’s writing career and I’m looking forward to counting him among my favourites.
Note: I posted this review on my blog, 100 Stars or Less and can be seen here.(less)
First off, this is the second book in the Rabbit series and I recommend reading the first, Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider before this one. It is a continuation of the first story but takes place seven years after book #1 ends.
I should probably say that when I finished Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider I had no idea there was going to be two more. And so while reading I wasn’t searching for any clues about what might come next. That’s why when I started Rabbit Legacy it was really like starting out fresh again. About a third through I was really happy with what was going on here. First I was happy with it taking place seven years in the future. This meant that we got to skip all the gritty details of the in-between years. And let’s face it, not everyone has a big adventure twice (or three times) in a row. It was a lot more realistic to me that these in-between years occurred but I was glad that as readers we got to pick up again when all the action was starting up for a second time. And then I was really happy with all the back-story between two of the characters – Roman and Javier – and the addition of some fresh new faces to spruce things up a bit. And speaking of sprucing things up, the rules have changed, the Rakuum understand the power of “Beth’s God”, and there are all sorts of interesting things happening here.
In terms of spiritual lessons, this book is an abundance of them. I really never even thought the term “vampire Christian book” was possible in this sense but I can see from reading this book (in my case, even more so than the first one) that the pairing of vampires and spiritual lessons is just perfect. My favourite line, spoken by Rakuum leader Rufus is “I know the plans I have for you and they are all about me.” My jaw literally dropped and I had to blink away my shock. This is God’s assurance to us but twisted in a selfish way. God says that he has plans for us and they are not to harm us. Considering the way these creatures think of themselves as gods, this line is really something to ponder. Yet Ellen Maze also makes it clear that if they are willing to acknowledge and come to Him, God will allow it. There is ‘salvation’ for all. But my biggest eureka moments in this book, and this is what I held on to in the last book as well, was just what makes people do things they know are bad for them. Why do people have such a hard time with temptation and lust that they are not living the way they want to. Or that it has so completely taken over their lives that they don’t see reason for any other way of living. Really, it made me think of my own attitude towards certain things in my life. And I think that’s what makes a great book. This is such an amazing book for that and I haven’t even scratched the surface here. There really is an abundance of thought-provoking questions (and answers) that it seems like there is something for everyone.
I really loved this book and recommend readers of Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider to keep on reading. Don’t be scared of sequels. This was just as great as the first! If you haven’t started the series yet, I recommend you do. And if you are Christian and already a Paranormal Fantasy reader what is stopping you? I can’t wait to get my hands on Rabbit Redemption and am just really grateful that there will be other books by Ellen Maze until then.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dec 13th temporary review: I will write a review sometime this week. For now I leave you with...
Original review from June 2010 (Initial reactions) below: This book is a breath of fresh air. In a culture filled with lust for more and more vampire lore daily, we need this book. Ellen Maze tells the story of Beth Rider, a rare character these days, who stumbles into the truth behind the myth and is actually repulsed by the evil behind the creatures of the night. Unfortunately for her, they've already got their eyes on her and Jack Dawn has managed to make her into a tasty treat. But Beth has the peace and power of God and He has other plans in mind.
This book really made me think about what is going on in our culture today and what I came away with was very empowering. I couldn't get this book out of my head when I first saw it and now I know why. I'll have something to come back to in the future when I need another "in the world, but not of it" boost.(less)
This book was very powerful from a spiritual standpoint. I think my favourite character is Avis who is always so strong and wont let the devil get her...moreThis book was very powerful from a spiritual standpoint. I think my favourite character is Avis who is always so strong and wont let the devil get her down! However, on a storytelling level, Book #2 almost lost it for me. Drama, drama, drama! It never stops I started to wonder if the author was ever going to let me catch my breath and figure out what a little boy, a relationship between two teens, a visit from parents, a senile old woman, a robbery, Jodi's husband getting to know the other husbands, one of the lady's sick mother, and Jodi's terrible attitude problem (I swear I wanted to slap her sometimes! Thanks to Avis. LOL.), etc, etc, etc, etc. had to do with any point she was trying to make. In fact, there was SO MUCH DRAMA I started to wonder if the author forgot the title of her book was The Yada Yada PRAYER Group. As much I got spiritually from this book, I was really missing that aspect of the first one that spent so much time on prayers and showing how different people prayed in the group. As with the first, I'll keep reading the series but I might need to take that breather to finally be able to process all this content!(less)
This book was so different from anything else I've read all year that I couldn't help but like it. Not only is it fun, but it's also a powerful remind...moreThis book was so different from anything else I've read all year that I couldn't help but like it. Not only is it fun, but it's also a powerful reminder of the importance of prayer and Christian "community". I did have a few issues with it though. The main character seems so obsessed with race relations that you'd think Neta Jackson might put more thought into her other characters who seem way too stereotypical of their own race. Then the absence of "No" as an answer to prayer. But I still want to read the next book in the series and hopefully it will redeem itself a little on these two points.(less)
For someone who has read a few non-fiction Christian books already there is really nothing that new about this one. However, it's always nice to refre...moreFor someone who has read a few non-fiction Christian books already there is really nothing that new about this one. However, it's always nice to refresh yourself and seeing the same thing from a new perspective can sometimes re-inspire me. That's what this book was for me and the format helped a lot. Each chapter is pretty short and David encourages the reader to read it slowly (one chapter a day) to be able to process the information more deeply. He also gives the reader Bible verses to look up after each chapter if they want to learn more and some questions which help you to think about the topic more deeply as well.
There were a few lines that stuck out to me, but my favourite is "When cool staging takes precedence over the presence and power of Jesus, then we are relying on the power of a pimento cheese sandwhich!" (p. 165)
While I think Ken Ham had some pretty good ideas in this book I had a problem with the way it was written. He backs up too many of his own theories wi...moreWhile I think Ken Ham had some pretty good ideas in this book I had a problem with the way it was written. He backs up too many of his own theories with passages from his other works. At times he doesn't even give the reader the satisfaction of reading it; instead telling the reader to consult his other works. Anyone trying to prove a theory or point is going to have trouble convincing people they're right by doing this.(less)
The subtitle of the book - Ringing Assurance that We are Not Alone - gives great insight into the book's content and purpose. Billy Graham delivers th...moreThe subtitle of the book - Ringing Assurance that We are Not Alone - gives great insight into the book's content and purpose. Billy Graham delivers the reader comfort, joy, and hope by explaining the purpose of angels, what they do, and why they are here. I found myself coasting through the book and then avoiding it near the conclusion because I simply didn't want it to end.(less)
This book is very close to my heart. It tells the story of a faith that can be greater and a world that can be stronger together. When I started it, I...moreThis book is very close to my heart. It tells the story of a faith that can be greater and a world that can be stronger together. When I started it, I was amazed by the courage Shane Claiborne had to live a radically different lifestyle that really took to heart the idea that Christians should “be in the world, but not of it”. That being said, I did find that although very inspirational and a great way of showing how to do something, rather than just saying we should do something, there was something missing.
For me the missing pieces of Shane’s revolution lie in what he cannot tell us because he focuses too much on his own experiences. It is clear that Shane comes from a fairly well privileged middle class American background. Because of this, one can at times feel left out of the loop. If we want to live in God’s world, see God in others, and strive to love one another because we are all God’s creation, then there has to be more to this “revolution” than social activism, communal living, hanging out with the homeless and lonely, etc, etc. We all might have a part to play, but that includes all of us who may have a different set of people to look after or in fact be the one who needs looking after. I want to know more than what Shane is telling me. I want to know what the homeless can do to be a part of his revolution and give rather than continually receive, I want to know what the love of a capitalist tycoon looks like, I want to know what a person with social anxiety would feel about his very extroverted ideas of love and community, I want to know what this love looks like when our country/family/village/etc. already live a communal lifestyle sharing and taking care of each other, I want to know what it looks like when we love our enemies and they still want to blow us up.
Most of all I want to know what it looks like to be on the receiving end of every experience recounted. In fact, while reading this book, I was given the opportunity to be on the receiving end of one person's (a stranger) love and concern, which probably fueled my knowledge that this book IS inspirational but there is more to it than what can be said in a few hundred pages from one dude’s perspective.
So, I love this book, I’m inspired by everything that he says. But I can’t drop everything I’m doing to live like Shane because I have my own personality, my own circumstances, my own gifts to give, and my own community to take care of me as well. And so does everyone else. And even if we don’t…well… like Shane points out from his many experiences, we will be missing out on something amazing - but as he doesn't point out so well, at the end of it all, we still wont be missing out on God and I think that’s more important. (less)