Friday, June 15, 2012

A Review: "No Greater Love" by Levi Benkert and Candy Chand

"No Greater Love" by Levi Benkert and Candy Chand features the true story of the Benkert family as they journey from America to Africa on a path that could only be constructed by God. Benkert was a successful real estate developer until the housing market crash caused his business to go under. Near the ending of his company and facing an uncertain future, a pastor friend contacted him about possibly going to Ethiopia to help organize a rescue orphanage. He took a leap of faith and signed on. What he saw and experienced changed his life forever. Utterly touched by the lives of the children he met, he and his family sell everything and head to southern Ethiopia to settle in a help with the orphanage. The children they work to rescue are from the Kara tribe, sentenced to death because they are believed to be "cursed". The Benkert family embarks on a wild journey over the next couple of years that results in greater dependence on God, a shift in ministry focus, and an incredible desire to make a difference in the world for these children in Ethiopia.

It's a wonderful book about the great things that God can do through people who are simply willing to allow themselves to be poured out. The only thing I would have loved to see more explanation about was regarding the adoption issue. It appears that the Benkerts were able to adopt one of the rescue children, but other adoptions were not allowed to take place. A little more explanation and clarification would have added to the overall satisfaction of the book.

(I’ve received this complimentary book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Review: "The Fiddler" by Beverly Lewis

"The Fiddler" by Beverly Lewis is the story of Amelia Devries and Michael Hostetler and the providential turn of events that led them to one another. Amelia is a professional violinist who is growing steadily discontented with her life path. Michael is a young Amishman who has yet to fully commit to the Amish way of life. He yearns for the "fancy" life, yet is held back by love for his family. Their mutual discontent draws them together as they begin to process how to redesign their life paths. Faith is integral in all aspects of this story. Michael has a deep faith and Amelia rediscovers her faith through her conversations with Michael and an impromptu visit to his hometown of Hickory Hollow. That faith allows them to eventually make the right choices for themselves while still showing love and honor to their family members.

The main characters in this story were believable and thoughtful. The potential for a love story between them existed right from the beginning, but it was so sweetly portrayed that the ending brought real satisfaction. The secondary characters were also well-done, particularly the charming Amish characters.

Lewis is a master at Amish fiction. She skillfully weaves together the pros and cons of Amish living. I was left with a greater appreciation for a simpler lifestyle and the ability that gives to really do some soul searching. This book was definitely well-done and does not disappoint!

 (I’ve received this complimentary book from Bethany House Publishers through the Book Blogger program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Review: "Beloved Enemy" by Al Lacy

"Beloved Enemy" by Al Lacy is the third book in the "Battles of Destiny" series. This book features a fictional account of the events that surrounded the first Battle of Bull Run. The story dives into the web of intrigue surrounding Confederate spy missions during the Civil War. Jenny Jordan, a southerner who is employed by the Federal government, falls in love with Buck Brownell, a northern officer. Jenny's father sets up an elaborate spy ring to bring Union secrets to the Confederate army. She is aware of his actions and covers for him. Her involvement with the spy ring nearly drives her apart from Buck.

I have never read an Al Lacy book before, but I was drawn to it by the historical aspect of the novel. The book was mildly interesting and I appreciated learning more about the Civil War era. The factual events happening in the book appeared to be well researched. However, I was completely turned off by the character dialogue in this novel. It was at times cheesy and hokey at best. Much of the dialogue also seemed to be much more modern sounding than for the era he was writing about. I wish that aspect would have been better researched.

I normally love historical fiction, but this book just didn't do it for me. The concept was good, but the execution of it didn't quite come across as well as it could have.

(I’ve received this complimentary book from Waterbrook-Multnomah through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

A Review: "The Lifegiving Parent" by Clay and Sally Clarkson

"The Lifegiving Parent" by Clay and Sally Clarkson completes the "Lifegiving" trilogy that also includes "The Lifeg...