Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Seraph Seal

Set in the year 2048, The Seraph Seal, co-authored by Leonard Sweet and Lori Wagner, is a fictionalized account of a cultural history professor's discovery of a second century Diatessaron manuscript. Filled with symbolism from past Jewish and Christian traditions and a few ideas pulled in from other cultures, the search is on to decide the fate of humanity. There is even a huge appendix filled with the notes of the fictional Paul Binder for those wanting to read the various clues.

I must admit, I did not like this book. None of the characters really grabbed my attention and too many popped in and out to the point I would lose track of their story. I normally remember details, but I wasn't even retaining any memory at all of some of the people. Also, some of the things that the main characters seemed to find ancient are most likely to still be around in 2048. A couple of references made to things in the past were wrong, and I really felt a cultural professor would know the details better. I kept thinking that I would eventually get engaged in the story and it just did not happen. I disliked the way it ended too.  It is an interesting concept, though.

BookSneeze®  provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for me to read for this review.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Making The Best Of A Bad Decision

Decisions! We have to make them every day... from the most mundane to those that help define our lives. Have you ever made a decision you regretted? Did you marry the wrong person? Have you made mistakes that hurt others? Perhaps you made a series of wrong choices and feel like it is too late to ever repair the damage. Can you turn those bad decisions around and make a positive change? Maybe you just think it is too late to start fresh or to make amends. You can get forgiveness from God and restore your relationship with Him, and there is always hope of restoring broken relationships with others. Whether it is one mistake or a lifetime habit of mistakes, you can move past your regrets and move forward.  Pastor and bestselling author Erwin Lutzer will show you how to make the best of even your worst decisions.

This is a good book, but not a great book. Part of my slight disappointment may be because I feel like I have read these same examples time after time. On the other hand, it is not fair to fault Pastor Lutzer just because I have read many books. It is a honest appraisal of moving beyond the poor decisions, and accepting that there are consequences to face due to those decisions. He is very clear that forgiveness from God does not mean a complete do-over. For example, if you have robbed a bank and are truly repentant to both mankind and God, you are still most likely to spend time in prison. However, God will forgive you for being a thief. Lutzer's final chapter is based on the only truly bad decision you will make, and provides sound advice on how to make the correct decision. The brief discussion guide in the back can be used whether you study alone or with a group, and is most useful in reinforcing the lessons learned.

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers  in exchange for this review.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Chocolate Diaries

If you are in the mood for a sweet, light-hearted read that gives a mixture of faith, family, healing, hope, and recipes for quick chocolate treats this may be just the book you have been looking for to spend a relaxing afternoon or two. Karen Linamen shares not only her own heart but stories of other women who have struggled and gone to reach new peaks of joy again. I usually attend one or two women's conferences a year, and I am assured at each of them that this is just the type thing we women enjoy, so I am sure this will appeal to many.

I guess I just don't have an over-abundance of these girly, shopping, bonding, fluffy desires. I admit that I read this right after a tornado caused much devastation to my state, so I was even more distracted than usual. It did help pass time, and it did make me smile, but I just could not handle a steady diet of this type of reading material. Well written, and I can think of several of my friends who will want a copy of their own, but I need to stick with mission-minded material more than "me"-minded material. So, it is great for women who need a light pick-me-up dose of encouragement and may be exactly what someone needs when life just needs a dollop of sweetness.

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review".