Monthly Archives: May 2012

Book Review: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Cannonball Read V #11

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers has been on my to-read shelf for years. Seriously, years. So when I went to visit a friend in Alabama a few years ago, I borrowed this book from her, and then put it on my actual bookshelf for another 18 months before I finally got around to reading it.

I know I said before in a different review that most Christian fiction has a huge cheeseball factor, and while this book had its moments of cheeseballness, it was actually a really good, insightful read. Drawn from the Biblical story of Hosea, this novel follows Michael Hosea’s journey to love a woman we know first as Sarah, and then as Angel, as God works to show His love to a woman whose life has been taken over by prostitution and cruel men.

I thought this was a beautifully told story and sadly, it’s all too near and dear to my own heart. I’ve never been a prostitute, but I know how much damage can be caused by a man who doesn’t have a woman’s best intentions — not to mention God — at heart. Angel must deal with the consequences of her past, and that means she feels like she will never be worthy of the love God has in store for her. She must be redeemed, and God uses His love, and Michael Hosea’s love, to accomplish that task.

This book made me think a lot and really look critical at my own self-worth in light of how God sees me.

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Book Review: 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker

Cannonball Read 4 #10

All right, I am going to come out and say this. I LOVED THIS BOOK. A friend told me about it and I thought it sounded like a cool book, and when she came to visit in February she brought it with her and let me read it. Oh my gosh, it was more than a cool concept. It’s now on my “favorites” bookshelf over on Goodreads because homegirl strikes hearts with her faith and her preaching of the truth.

In short: Jen Hatmaker is sick of stuff. You know, the junk that clutters our lives and our homes. She she decides that she is going to wage a war on stuffism, eliminating items for seven months. Each month deals with a new item (as you can see on the cover): Clothes. Shopping. Waste. Food. Possessions. Media. Stress. And she documents her journey along the way, consulting her Council of trusted friends with questions. She involves her children (three of them at the time; she and her husband were in the process of adopting two children from Ethiopia). And it became something bigger than just some words on a page.

This book is still something that resounds within me. Since the beginning of the year, I have been uncomfortable with how much stuff I have. Seriously, I have crap oozing out of my hair follicle at this point. And I have a job that allows me to just go buy more crap. So this book moved me with its reliance on simplicity, even when simplicity is hard to come by. Jen never paints a rosy picture — she admits that a lot of what she is giving up is hard. But she reminds readers of the greater glory in living with less. When we live with less, we find that we’re living more for His kingdom than our world!

My favorite chapter is the last one, on giving up stress. Jen sets her alarm and prays and specific times each day for specific things. At one point, she discusses in great detail the adoption process of her kids Ben and Remy. I cry every. single. time I read this part, and I feel like God is using this to pave the path to my own someday adoptions. Jen writes:

I want you to know their names.

Our Beniam is seven, and we’ll call him Ben, the son we fought for. Our daughter’s name is Matawi, which means “Remembrance.” We will call her Remy because she was never forgotten — not ber her Creator, not by her Savior, and not by us. God walked with our children through every sorrow; their plight was ever before Him. Though family and village and country and government and even the whole world turned from their distress, abdicating responsibility and ignoring their cries, God never forgot, never slept, never stopped working until His children were restored.

He remembered them.

Seriously. The tears are pouring down my face right now. Read. This. Book. It will rock your world, at least I hope it will, because it’s certainly rocked mine. And then go friend Jen Hatmaker on facebook and/or twitter and be prepared to laugh your brains out.

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Book Review: Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury

Cannonball Read V #9

I work in a library. Well, my office is located in my college’s library and so, as an employee of a college, I have the perk of getting books for longer amounts of time. The last time I stocked up, I grabbed Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury and read it pretty quickly. A quick summary: Brad Cutler, a pretty awesome person in the world of an ad agency, is engaged to be married to his boss’s daughter Laura. But as the date gets closer, he is struggling with something that happened with him and is previous girlfriend, Emma, when both were much younger. And so he must go back to Emma, seeking closure before he can seek the future.

This book was what I call a fluffy read. It wasn’t bad or good, it just was. To be honest, most Christian fiction I read is pretty much similar in plot to the rest of the Christian fiction I read and this novel by Kingsbury is no different. It covers the usual topics: forgiveness, God’s grace, and the reassurance of eternity. The characters were mostly likeable, except Laura kind of got on my nerve when she was upset with Brad for going to see Emma, when I feel like it was pretty clear that he wasn’t going back to be with her.

Not too much of a deep review, but it’s hard to write much without giving away too much of the “surprise” that deals with why Brad must go back to reconcile with Emma. An relatively enjoyable, quick read if you’re visiting the pool or beach this summer.

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