Saturday, August 29, 2015

***Warning*** Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill

Center of Gravity
Laura McNeill
(Thomas Nelson [registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc] 2015)

Two verses in the Bible come to mind when I read Center of Gravity.
Philippians 4:8
"Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy meditate on these things."

Colossians 2:18
"Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind."

I'm not going to say that this book is good. Despite the flawed point of view of an eight year old or the lack of distinction between the characters' voices, the story is actually promising. BUT it is not a Christian book. It is NOT a clean book nor clean read. IT IS NOT an acceptable read.

I expect more from a Christian fiction book published by a large, well known Christian publishing house. To me, Thomas Nelson has foregone the Gospel and Jesus in exchange for the mighty dollar.

The library, where I reserved a copy, doesn't label this as Christian. The book scan (UPC) on the back doesn't even label it as Christian, but for it to be published under Thomas Nelson, many Christians are hoodwinked into believing that this book is a Christian book.

Below is a list of what this book contains that is expressly against our Christian faith:
I will start with the words first...

P--- (out of context. Use in the place of angry not urine):
p. 22, p. 258 (once said by the eight year old in the story)
p.32, p.279, p.291, p.300
A-- (out of context, meaning butt, not donkey):
p.44, p.65, p.110
H--- (out of context, used as a curse or oath, not as in a place, i.e. eternal hell):
p.46, p.165 (x2), p.216, p.291, p.295
 p. 47, p.49, p.132, p.146, p.164, p.189, p.204, p.205, p.215, p.216, p.264, p.273, p.276, p.297
B----d (out of context, used as a curse/oath/derogatory name, not as an illegitimate offspring):
p.95, p.104, p.105
D----d (out of context, not as a condemning nature of sin, but as an oath/curse):
p.200, p.277

There are also scenes which a Christian and the Christian market will find unacceptable.
One scene of sex that is borderline soft porn in description. 
Homosexuality is written in a way that condones this sin. This not considered acceptable in the Christian market.

Only one religious reference other than taking the Lord's/God's name in vain (3 instances):
Excerpt from Center of Gravity:
"...I send up a silent prayer. To the angels, to the heavens, to all that is good and true in the universe."

This is NOT Christianity. As Christians we are forbidden to pray to angels, the heavens, or to the universe. Our prayers are to God/Jesus alone.

As I mentioned above, Thomas Nelson is a leading publisher in Christian fiction. If it has the Thomas Nelson name and trademark, readers assume that the book is a Christian book. Now as readers we must be wary of these wolves in sheep's clothing. Check the book out thoroughly, read reviews, use the library before spending hard earned money on a book that will pollute the mind. 
Thomas Nelson should be ashamed to have such a book associated with their name.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Space Drifters by Paul Regnier

Paul Regnier
(Enclave Publishing 2015)

It's more than a science fiction story. It's more than a space rambling. It's both of those combined and thrown into a spiraling universe of misfortunes, a maybe romance, miscalculations, and sheer luck, or maybe fate, that carries the reader along on one heck of a space adventure complete with the occasional comedy.

Glint Starcrost is the captain of an alien first mate, a teenage time traveler, and a royal bloodline bounty hunter. He's forced to deal not only with his own personal issues involving the almost highjacking of his ship by a lovely beauty that muddles his thoughts, but a testy and jealous ship computer, plus a first mate that refuses to fight, an out of his element teen,  and his own desires between treasures and survival.

He hides his true character behind a false bravado of quick wit and outlandish maneuvers. When his "dreams can come true, literally" first mate encounters the Holy Bible, it sets off a whirlwind of events that never stop. Soon he will question his desires and wishes as he searches for the Emerald Enigma that will grant every wish.

This is a fast paced novel that will leave you breathless and sometimes chuckling. Glint is a mixture of Starlord (in bravado and character), Han Solo (especially with his princess quips), Arthur Dent (from the misfortunes that he didn't ask for), and a little of Captain Kirk (with his quick thinking), and yet this character is all his own. Blix, his faithful friend, epitomizes the calm, unruffled, and sometimes aggressive first officer: think Groot/Chewbacca/Ford/Spock rolled into a man with lizard characteristics. Jasette is more than royalty. She's smart, fast, vicious, and quite loyal after a fashion. Nelvan is the catalyst that starts the space adventure moving forward. 

The symbolic undertone brings to the reader the biblical teaching about greed and wants, of love and sacrifice, and in what/who to place one's hope. 

Although the book ended on a cliffhanger, I look forward to see how Glint and crew escape this next bout of the Enigma's charm/curse.  And I can say, even with his red plaid "jammy" pants, Glint Starcrost is a swoon worthy hero in my book.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pirate by Night by Lisa Asenato

(White Rose Publishing 2015)

"He came with dark intentions and instead discovered the light."
This portion on the front sums it up. This is no shallow read or light-hearted romance. This book delves deep into the heart and the story of forgiveness.

Pirate by Night has the echoes of John Newton and his song Amazing Grace.
It is Grace who brings Nicholas into the light and shows him a better life to lead.

Pirate stories are the absolute love of my reading. It's the rooting for the underdog that I enjoy. And although there are many romantic tales of pirates out there, most are not a clean read. But Lisa Asenato brings not only a clean read, but an inspiring read.

Each character is fleshed out perfectly and their growth throughout is done slowly, building upon one another. One may believe that his or her life holds too much to ever be forgiven or blessed, but that is not so. The faith is strong throughout this story, and although I wished for a not so convenient ending, the epilogue brought tears to my eyes.

Pirate by Night portrays a two-fold love. The binding love of family and the binding love of God. This is a definite recommendation for romance readers!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Not By Sight by Kate Breslin

(Bethany 2015)

It's not often that a book will pull me in and even wrench an emotional response from me. It's even tougher if the book is a historical novel, which isn't at the top of my list in genres.

Kate Breslin does more than a wonderful job at telling the story of Grace and Jack. Set in 1917 during WWI, the main character, who is a suffragette, is determined to do her duty for God, King, and Country. A young nobleman, who seems more of a rake than a gentleman, plays a dangerous game of intrigue to apprehend spies for Germany. In this book, these two well developed, and perfectly flawed characters, are entwined. Their lives collide, first through an act of shaming, then through an act of grace.

I loved how Grace Mabry discovered her pride was her downfall and grew stronger from it. Jack Benningham learned that his lack of faith in God didn't not keep God's blessings from falling upon him, no matter the long and tough road it led him on.

Although the insertion of two other characters' point of views threw me out the of story a couple of times by actually having to back up and reread the start of the scene to figure out whose head I was in, this story still had an impact. It isn't a story about WWI or a story about German spies and those who were blackmailed to do their bidding. This was a story of God's redemptive love and amazing grace. The faith was strong throughout, but not overbearing. The title alone gives insight to the major theme of the book.

The writing was tight and flowed from scene to scene, chapter to chapter. The words stirred pity, anger, frustration, and happiness. It was a true whirlwind of a read.

I could envision the scenery, the landscape, the clothing style, and motorcars. Not By Sight will truly sweep you away to another time period. This is a highly recommended book.

***I received this book from Bethany House via in exchange for an honest and complete review***

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Post Card by Laura V. Hilton

the Post Card
Laura V. Hilton
(Whitaker House 2015)

It's not often that a book will surprise me.

I usually will not read any book Amish, but I took a risk on this one. And I am so grateful and blessed that I did. It was wonderful (wunderbaar). This isn't a typical Amish romance or even a typical Amish story. Characters dared to do things against Old Amish Order.

Laura V. Hilton broke away from the norm. The Postcard brings to the heart life, love, faith, forgiveness, and about all following God's direction, no matter the cost.

Characters would irritate me, make me want to smack them across the head. Others I would cheer on or my heart would break for them. And still another I would silently plead that forgiveness would come and attitudes would change. Of course there is foreshadowing for a future story (at least I hope). The writing was concise and flowed so well that I actually forgot that I was reading a book.

The Postcard surpasses anything written by Beth Wiseman and others. This is an excellent read. Although some might think of the spattering of German language throughout the book as a distraction, I found it to be a tool that drew me deeper and deeper into the story.

There was one prevalent theme throughout and I think it applies to everyone in every walk of life: God cannot be put into a box, ain't so?

Laura V. Hilton is an author that I will readily put on my shelf and I look forward to grabbing more of her books.

**I received this book free of charge through courtesy of Whitaker House in exchange for an honest review**