Saturday, May 18, 2013

Review: A Noble Groom

Jody Hedlund's "A Noble Groom" is one of those Christian romance novels written to please the reader. There's nothing groundbreaking about it, and it follows the usual formula, but it's written rather perfectly, drawing in the reader with relatable characters and a story that keeps your interest. I had a hard time putting down the book, as it exemplified the way a man and a woman should interact, what a godly relationship looks like and what it means to rely on God and realize that He's always there, even for you, no matter how low on the totem pole you are.

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review of it.

Book Description:
Recently widowed Annalisa Werner has the feeling her husband was murdered but can't prove it. Alone with her young daughter in 1881 Michigan, she has six months left to finish raising the money needed to pay back the land contract her husband purchased, and the land is difficult to toil by herself. She needs a husband. With unmarried men scarce, her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.

For nobleman Carl von Reichart, the blade of the guillotine is his fate. He's been accused and convicted of a serious crime he didn't commit, and his only escape is to flee to a small German community in Michigan where he'll be safe. He secures a job on Annalisa's farm but bumbles through learning about farming and manual labor. 

Annalisa senses that Carl is harboring a secret about his past, yet she finds herself drawn to him anyway. He's gentle, kind, and romantic--unlike any of the men she's ever known. He begins to restore her faith in the ability to love--but her true groom is still on his way. And time is running out on them all.

Review: Revealing Jesus

Darlene Zschech's new year-long devotional, "Revealing Jesus," has many appealing, charming elements to it. I love that many of the devotionals come from a series of scriptures and are in order, reading like Darlene's own, personal daily devotionals as she reads the Bible. Darlene also includes a classic devotion at the end of each month not written by her. But her organization isn't the best, and not all the devotions line up with their month's topic. Truth is, I'm not much of a devotional person, as they never get deep into Scripture and most of the time involve feel-good messages. But most people will enjoy this new devotional book. It's made a good, encouraging read before bed each night, even if it doesn't stick with me.

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review of it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Needle's Eye

"Sherlock Holmes and the Needle's Eye" reads far too much like a children's story, or, more to the point, like a Vacation Bible School drama based on a famous character of adventure. Holmes visits a scene or two, then he reads Scripture, often from memory, and then he proceeds to answer questions. The questions posed were interesting, and the book was a fun read, but it all seemed out of place and a bit too close to Bible Man.

Len Bailey offers plenty of fascinating points, and his narrative has the same feel as the original Sherlock Holmes stories, but as Holmes time travels to Biblical times, what he witnesses hardly seems necessary his conclusions. The trips serve only to point out where in the Bible Holmes can make connections.

I like the concept of Dr. Watson being the one with faith while Holmes stays critical of the Bible, but Holmes' character and his reactions to the miraculous things he witnesses make his character confusing and difficult to understand. And why would Holmes accept a challenge from a client to do Biblical research in the first place? It's not real mystery. It's theology and Biblical study.

Furthermore, the mystery behind the Needle's Eye, which allows Holmes to time travel, is never full developed. The beginnings of the machine come from the villain Moriarty, but where the machine takes Holmes seems to be determined by the mysterious client, who leaves calling cards with questions to be solved, both in Biblical locations and in Holmes' London haunts.

* Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review.