Sunday, February 17, 2013

Quest for the Nail Prints by Don Furr

From the publisher: "When unexpected circumstances bring a doctor, a pastor, and a professor to Israel during Holy Week, they are suddenly thrust back in time to first-century Jerusalem. There they come face to face with Jesus of Nazareth on his way to the cross, an encounter that changes their lives forever."

The book, when you get it, has a "nail print" that goes through the whole book.  It seemed that if a book had to have a gimmick like this that maybe the story wasn't going to be well done.  

There were quite a few typos, but that is not the reason I am giving it a 1 star review.  And I don't have a problem with time travel books either.  The book was just poorly done.  As a teacher I try to grow my students to write stories that "show, not tell" the audience.  Furr does more of telling than showing.  The character's cry at the drop of a hat, and there isn't any build up to it.  This is a classic case of telling instead of showing.  Furr tells us what the characters are doing and tells us they are crying, but he doesn't develop it enough to show it. 

The book had three main characters.  The first little bit of the book tried to give you some background on the characters to help you empathize with them.  It did not seem however, to accomplish that purpose.  As a reader, the story should either engage you because it is well written, or because the plot is interesting.  Neither was the case here.  

There was also a character who had been healed by Jesus but they still had pain in their legs.  The Bible doesn't leave room to speculate that Jesus' miracles were not complete.  When He healed someone, He healed them completely.  

The relationship between the pastor (who is married) and female doctor is also inappropriate.  The book's point was about the nail prints, but instead of the characters focusing on Jesus, they begin to develop a relationship because "no one else will understand what they've been through." I was surprised that Furr would build up a relationship that could damage a marriage.  

I would not recommend this book to anyone.  

And the last sentence of the book leads to what Furr's next book will be about--Peter time traveled to the present day.  This seems too far fetched.  One might be able to appreciate and understand why the three character's needed to go back in time to see Jesus, but there is no reason at all for Peter to go forward in time.  Especially because Jesus has not risen from the dead yet.  

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.  

Clouds by Robin Jones Gunn

From the publisher: "This bestselling former Palisades release is book five in the new Glenbrooke series by award-winning author Robin Jones Gunn. 

Coming home wasn’t supposed to feel this way. After five years as a flight attendant, Shelly is home again, in a house alive with happy memories. Yet she feels strangely lost. Without direction. Alone. 

Where is Jonathan Renrield when she needs him? Jonathan, her best friend nearly all her life, her first and only love. Shelly hadn’t meant to hurt him when she left him behind to chase her dreams. And she misses him more than she’s ever admitted. When they unexpectedly meet in Germany , Shelly manages to hide her feelings from Jonathan—and his fiancĂ©e. But she can no longer hide them from herself. Will she ever be ready to tell Jonathan the truth? Will she have the chance? 

Not until a business trip takes her to charming Glenbrooke , Oregon does Shelly finally understand: only the truth can set her free. But is it too late for her and Jonathan?"

I have never read anything by Gunn before, so even though this is part of a series, I had no background to the other characters.  For the most part this did not effect the book.  Only at the end of the book did the other characters show up.  For readers of the series it would have been thrilling to see the characters again.  For someone only reading this book, it was just extra people.  

The book was a light read.  I found myself wanting the plot to move quicker than it was.  I felt that Jonathan's character was a little flat, since the majority of what you know from him is Shelly's memories.  

I did like that Gunn made both of the characters learn to deny self and really hand things over to God.  While I did not love the book, it had a few strong points and is worth the read if you want some light romantic book.

I would recommend reading from the beginning of the series.  I think it would help you enjoy the books more.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Threads of Grace by Kelly Long

From the publisher: "Grace's autistic son needs a life that is safe and consistent. Seth wants to leave his flirting days behind him and settle down.
Deep in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania, the beautiful and weary Amish widow, Grace Beiler, is not looking for a husband—especially one so much younger than her. But handsome and smitten Seth Wyse stumbles upon a way to help her and they marry to keep Grace’s autistic son safe from his ill-intentioned uncle.
Grace soon discovers that she is far from immune to her young husband’s experienced charm and realizes that her first marriage has not destroyed her capacity for love.
Seth Wyse seeks counsel from his older brother, Jacob, when playing the game of pursuing his wife becomes more dangerous to both his heart and life than he ever imagined.
Yet God can give Grace and Seth a passion for family and each other that teaches them the ways of the Master Quilter through the tangled and tender threads of their lives."
I have to admit that when I first read the blurb about this book, I waived about selecting it to read.  It seemed like it was more about Seth's charms and physical romance of a younger man marrying an older woman.  But I was very happily surprised.  First off a three year difference is not that much of a difference and the story centered more on God's grace.  
The title of the book does well for the story.  It is a about grace, God's grace, that He gives us over and over.  And while we may not understand all the pain and heartache that happens in life--God is there to cover us with His love and grace.  I really appreciated the relationship the characters had with God.
I chose to read this book, in a large part, due to the fact that the main character had a son with autism.  I was curious how they would portray and handle it.  Long did a good job and showing the intensity of love and strength of the family around Grace's son.
The relationship between Seth and Grace was actually very beautiful and tender.  It was more about patient love and healing in God's grace.  
The only thing I didn't really like was the lose ends and competition that Violet and Alice's stories played.  I didn't see Alice as an essential character, and while the author might be preparing readers for a story about Violet, it seems also a minor distraction.  But that it not a huge deterrent   
I received this book free from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.