Thursday, December 29, 2016

Review: Restoring Christmas

Novellas usually have little character development due to lack of space, but I love them anyway - especially Christmas novellas. But "Restoring Christmas" is a nice surprise. Author Cynthia Ruchti gives readers that home-grown warmth and detailed character backgrounds. The romantic leads, Alexis and Gabe, both have dark pasts that enable them to connect as he films and she designs for a home restoration project. The landowner, Elsie, also grows on readers as we learn small bits of her family history. There were a few small details that bothered me about the book, however. At the start, Gabe is the one more sensitive to Elsie's feelings, but about half way through he trades places with Alexis in that regard. There were also a few moments when I had trouble connecting the dots or following what was happening. Still, "Restoring Christmas" is a lovely story about putting others first and moving past material desires during the holidays. Ruchti also includes subtle, but strong Christian themes.

*I received this book for free. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Review: First Words of Jesus

"First Words of Jesus" is a refreshing overview of the nativity story and its connection to Jesus' final days on earth. Author Stu Epperson, Jr. does tend to be a bit repetitive, and some of his points are a stretch, but perhaps that is the radio host in him coming out. I did appreciate Epperson's use of Scripture, old hymns, and lesser known facts, but all the extras seemed like a bit much. Each chapter begins with a few quotes and ends with a few pages of relevant verses and dull discussion questions. Epperson organizes the book based on Jesus' questions to his parents when they find him at the temple. Basically, Epperson connects Joseph, Mary and the rest to the need to seek Christ and then focuses the end of his book on Jesus' mission. Epperson offers several subtle opportunities for the unbelieving reader to accept Christ. To be honest, I did not get much out of this book, but I believe it to be a good Christmas read and perhaps a good choice as a gift for someone interested in learning about the Christian perspective on Christmas.

*All opinions are my own. I received this book for free.