A BIRD, A GIRL, AND A RESCUE

a_bird_a_girl_thumbnail__54084-1454080876-350-450J.A. Myhre, A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue. Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2016, 131 pp. $15.99

Fiction is a creative way to convey truth and spark the imagination. This genre is especially helpful with young readers who are impressed with a good story and intrigued by interesting characters. J.A. Myhre captures the imagination of young readers in her novel, A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue.

Myhre’s work takes young readers to the African jungle where a school-aged girl is dropped off by her father for a season of education. The lead character, Kiisa is met by new friends and is challenged by foes, not only foes in her school but a band of rebels.

The story is filled with tension as Kiisa meets a talking bird, a baboon, and a slithering snake. Lessons of reconciliation and redemption are at the core of the book, and invite readers to join this journey.

My suspicion is that young readers will be taken in by this short story and the practical lessons will serve them well.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

 

THE COLUMBUS CODE – Mike Evans (2015)

columbusModern day readers in search of a thriller packed with action, intrigue, and espionage turn to authors like Daniel Silva, Vince Flynn, or Tom Clancy. Readers looking for historical drama may turn to Dan Brown or Bernard Cornwall. When I learned about the chance to read and review Mike Evans novel, The Columbus Code, I jumped at the opportunity. Initially, the book appeared promising and seemed to offer not only a good story but an inside look at the mysterious figure, Christopher Columbus. Unfortunately, the storyline in this book drags and the characters are not developed in a way that holds the attention of the reader. But the inability to hold the attention of the reader is not the greatest concern. The chief problem with The Columbus Code is the scanty discussion about the famous explorer. A small portion of the book is devoted to unwrapping the story of Columbus. Personally, I was disappointed with how The Columbus Code unfolded.

I received this book free from the publisher.   I was not required to write a positive review.

52 LITTLE LESSONS FROM LES MISERABLES – Bob Welch (2014)

Sin and salvation.  Grace and greed.  Mercy and justice.  Good andles mis evil.  Truth and lies.  God and the rejection of God.  These are just a few of the themes that emerge in Victor Hugo’s monumental work, Les Misérables.

Bob Welch, author of seventeen books has been touched by Hugo’s story and has a passion to share that story with his readers.

The title gives away the central purpose of this well-written book.  Welch provides readers with a short, crisp introduction to Les Misérables and rightly argues that “context matters.”  Once the context is in place, the author takes readers on a journey through this classic work and carefully enters the mind of Victor Hugo.

I was originally skeptical and wondered if Welch was prone to exaggerating and embellishing the story to make a quick buck.  However, nothing could be further from the truth.  Welch carefully weaves his way through the story and picks up on themes which are ultimately tied to real life situations.  The gospel weaves in and out of these life lessons.  The lessons could easily be developed and utilized in a small group setting.

52 Little Lessons From Les Misérables is a book worth reading and digesting. It is a book for all kinds of people – believers and unbelievers alike as one of the final citations illustrates so well.  The author writes,

Challenged by an agnostic to tell the Christian message in ten words, Will Campbell, a Yale Divinity School graduate and former director of religious life at the University of Mississippi, said it like this: ‘We are all bastards but God loves us anyway.’

“Yes, we – les misérables.” [the poor” or the miserable ones]

4 stars

I received this book free from the publisher.   I was not required to write a positive review. 

A WALK ACROSS THE SUN – Corban Addison (2012)

In the nineteenth century, the British politician, William Wilberforce began a movement that led to the abolition of the slave trade.  His robust Christian faith fueled his 1402792808_bresolve to see tyranny destroyed and people created in the imago Dei set free.  Today, there are 27 million slaves in the world.  1.2 million are children, enslaved by the sex trade industry in India.  These horrifying realities are a painful reminder of the sin that pollutes our world; they harken back to the days of Wilberforce.  Yet today, very few appear willing to pick up the cause that Wilberforce began.

First time author, Corban Addison delivers a heart-wrenching, mind-rivetting, spine-tingling thriller that exposes the human trafficking/sex trade industry in his novel, A Walk Across the Sun.  Readers should be forewarned that this novel is not for the faint at heart.  The author paints a grizzly portrait of the underworld; a world that exploits women and children and panders to the diabolical deeds of men.

I can’t say enough about Corban Addison.  He writes with Grisham-like precision which ultimately leads to a redemptive end.  He gives enough details to educate readers to this horrifying industry which carries the ultimate aim of involvement, reformation, and the obliteration of slavery around the world.  The book is a mixture of unmitigated evil and unvarnished beauty.

Many thanks to my friends, Ron and Mark for alerting me to this book.  I’ll never doubt you again!

ISCARIOT – Tosca Lee (2013)

1451683766_lTraitor.  Betrayer.  Disloyal.  Unfaithful.  Two-timing.  Treacherous.  Treasonous.  Faithless.  Son of Perdition.  Words that should never appear on the epitaph of any man.  Yet these words hardly begin to describe the man we know as Judas Iscariot.  But there is another side to Judas.  He was a man; a man made in the image of God.  He spent many days in Jesus’ inner circle.  He heard Jesus pray.  He saw Jesus teach.  He witnessed the miracles of the Messiah.  He was a real man.  He was a real man with real struggles.

Tosca Lee seeks to “humanize” the man who betrayed Jesus Christ in her latest historical fiction work, Iscariot.  Written entirely in the first person, the author goes to great lengths to “get into the head” of Judas.  We find him much like any other person.  In his case, hopes of raising a family and aspiration to be a scholar.  Readers witness the full range of emotions that Judas experiences – joy, frustration, regret, hope, fear, and loneliness.

Tosca Lee has truly done her homework on this one.  It is obvious that she has labored to understand middle eastern culture and it shows.  Iscariot not only reveals the human side of Judas.  It reveals the full humanity of the Messiah.  It is layered with fascinating historical insight and draws readers in to discover the inner psychological prison of the son of Perdition.  In one gripping scene, the moment where Judas betrays the Lord Jesus, the author shows the interplay between the two characters:

His whisper, when he spoke, was worn against my ear.  “Do what you came for, friend.”

Inexplicable tears – hot tears – coursed down my cheeks.

“Hail,” I whispered, and kissed him with trembling lips.

It was a greeting and goodbye.

4 stars

FIRE OF THE RAGING DRAGON – Don Brown (2012)

0310330157_lFire of the Raging Dragon by Don Brown is a military thriller that sends readers into a fictional battle that escalates between the United States and China.  Tang Qhichen, the Chinese president sends his Navy to strike an island in the South China sea – controlled by Taiwan.  At the center of the story, is a Chinese ship that is overtaken by the Taiwanese military which leads to the discovery of a serious crime (which will not be revealed in this review).  The Taiwanese military requests American assistance at which point, the crime originally uncovered was more serious than  suspected.  American forces seize the ship in order to preserve the evidence of a crime with the hopes that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.

The Chinese counterattack by seizing a US Navy warship, a submarine that does not have sufficient weapons to defend itself.  The plot thickens when the US President discovers that his daughter is aboard the USS Emory S. Land, the warship that is currently under Chinese control.

One of the central questions of the book concerns the US President: How will he respond to the Chinese?  Will he capitulate since his daughter is aboard the USS Emory – 0r will his leadership reflect one who is ruled by principle instead of pragmatism.

Fire of the Raging Dragon is a good book – filled with plenty of action and warfare.   But the most fascinating component involves the ethical decisions that the president faces.  The book also reminds readers of the awkward political position of the United States in her relationship with the Chinese government, especially in light of the trillions of dollars of debt.  Perhaps even a fictional account like Fire of the Raging Dragon would remind the federal government to review and revise policies in our relations with China.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.

3 stars

CALICO JOE – John Grisham (2012)

John Grisham’s newest novel proves that he is not done writing.  Calico Joe is a departure from the typical legal thriller that readers have grown to love over the years.  This short novel tracks the inner sanctuary of a young boy whose father is a major league pitcher – and a major league loser.  This deadbeat dad mistreats his son and engages in unethical and narcissistic behavior.  He intentionally “beans” a rookie prospect and effectively ends his  career.  The book explores the interplay between selfishness and  selflessness.  It alerts readers to the power of forgiveness.  And it even entertains along the way.

4 stars