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Friday, June 10, 2016

#REVIEW: Misconceptions: A Look at God's Word Through First Century Hebraic Eyes by Steven Reider

Title: Misconceptions: A Look at God's Word Through First Century Hebraic Eyes
Author: Steven Reider
Series: none
Publisher: WestBow Press
Published Date: Feb 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-51272-897-2
Pages: 146
Genre: biblical history
Buy It Link: Westbow Publishers


Synopsis: There are far too many misconceptions in the Christian faith. Do you know the name of God? Or, do you know the story behind the ceremony of Holy Communion and the parallels to Jesus's life? How about the woman that was caught in adultery; do you know what Jesus wrote in the sand? What was the significance of the Bible mentioning the place where Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Do you know how to make your faith grow? This book examines these topics and much more.

My Rating: 1 star

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I did not like this book. From the very beginning, it felt like I was off-kilter reading this book, like I was reading some other history entirely, in a lens I didn't recognize. Maybe that was the point, but I don't feel like the author did a lot of in-depth research, or any research at all. The second chapter was probably the most intriguing to me, with the concept that the Israelite camps mirrored the throne of God. I'm still doing my own research on that. Then there was the whole "if someone forces you to walk one mile, walk two miles" which generally is accepted to mean what the author proposes, that you should "go the extra mile". On the other hand, historically, Romans could force someone to carry their stuff for one mile. Some preliminary research of my own suggests that a Roman could not force someone to carry it further than one mile, so if you carry it an extra mile, the soldier could get into trouble, and it could be a method of peaceful resistance.
Overall, I didn't enjoy this book, I think it could have been written so much better if enough research was put into it.




Friday, June 3, 2016

#REVIEW: The Beautiful Thread by Penelope Wilcock

Title: The Beautiful Thread
Author: Penelope Wilcock
Series: The Hawk and the Dove #8
Published Date: Feb 19, 2016
Publisher: Lion Hudson
Pages: 208
Genre: medieval fiction
ISBN: 9781782641452
Buy It Link: Amazon
Synopsis: William, the capable former cellarer (administrator), has returned to St Alcuins at Abbot John's request to help his replacement learn the ropes. But William's return coincides with a bishop's visitation, a regular event. The bishop, a zealous churchman with a large entourage, has heard rumours of St Alcuins having had in their community one William de Bulmer, who is said to have attempted suicide and left the order - attempted suicide is a felony, and breaking monastic vows is a grave sin. (For those unfamiliar with the series, the bishop is entirely correct). The bishop wants to know where this man is so he can be arraigned before an ecclesiastical court, and wishes to discover what happened and what part Abbot John played in those events. His suspicions are well founded. As the story unfolds, the beautiful thread of the Gospel weaves quietly through the contrasting colours of human frailty, religious zeal and social pretension.  

My Rating: 4 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is the second of this series that I have read right after Breath of Peace, and this author keeps impressing me! I wasn't quite sure if the author would be able to continue to keep my interest, but she makes reading this series absolutely realistic. I found myself (yes, reading during lunch at work), gasping and wincing at the absolute depravity of one of the characters we meet in this book.
The newly installed abbot, Abbot John, the very same brother of Madeleine, William's wife, that we met in previous books, is now in a pickle. A society wedding, and the bishop's inspection visit all at the time same. After having just finished an inspection of my work place myself, I can completely empathize with the stress that Abbot John is going through. On top of that a society wedding...I am truly surprised this poor abbot didn't keel over from the stress!
I can't help but love the realistic writing of the author, how much I felt I was in the whole book, how I cheered for characters, cursed others, and laughed at certain places.
This is a book that is well-driven by the character development and the personalities, rather than action and adventure.

#REVIEW: Breath of Peace by Penelope Wilcock

Title: Breath of Peace
Author: Penelope Wilcock
Series: The Hawk and the Dove #7
Published Date: Feb 27, 2016
Publisher: Lion Hudson
Pages: 208
Genre: medieval fiction
ISBN: 9781782641735
Buy It Link: Amazon
Synopsis: Madeleine Hazell and William de Bulmer have been married a year.
She is a healer, a wise woman, practical, intelligent and blunt. He is not only an ex-monk, but an ex-abbot, a man accustomed to authority, a gifted administrator, at home with figures – but perhaps less capable in such matters as shutting up chickens for the night. They are deeply, irrevocably in love. And every conversation may become a battlefield that leaves both wounded and resentful.
When the aged monk who served as cellarer dies, Father John, the Abbot of nearby St Alcuin’s Abbey, finds himself critically short-handed. Who will handle the rents? The provisions? He is a gifted infirmarian, a capable leader, but estate management is beyond his competence. With a sense of rising panic he turns to his friend, the man who renounced his vows for love, the former Father William – only to find that his own pastoral skills may be required in matters matrimonial …
This is the seventh novel in the St Alcuin’s Abbey series, which began with The Hawk and the Dove.
  

My Rating: 4 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is the first of this series that I have read, and what an incredibly fun series it is to read! I wasn't quite sure how it would be jumping into the middle of the series, but I am so glad I took the chance on it.
Madeleine and William are married for a year, and now the honeymooning time is over, suddenly reality hits. Daily life is monotonous, William can't seem to do anything right, Madeleine is a bickering, cranky wife. Despite all this, and the very painful everyday life we see in the book, the love between the two main characters is deep and true. Reading them stumble through getting used to each other as people and not their romantic fantasies can be painful at times, but it is so very realistic, it's hard not to become empathically connected to the characters.
And then Father John, Madeleine's brother steps in for a replacement for the recent death of his cellarer at the abbey William just left.
This is a book that is well-driven by the character development and the personalities, rather than action and adventure.