Saturday, January 30, 2016

Caged Dove by Andrea Rodgers

Caged Dove
(Ambassador International 2015)

"I've waited for signs all month from God to point me in another direction, but there haven't been any. Instead, when I dropped my Bible recently, it opened to Song of Solomon 8:7. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one's house for love, it would be utterly scorned."

This passage stuck with me for a long while as I read Caged Dove. When we follow God's plan for us things can happen surprisingly quick because for once we are not fighting against Him. But when we go against His plans that is when things seem slow or seem insurmountable. 

What is so lovely about this book isn't just the wonderful and beautiful love story that plays out. Arjay and Aniston's story was a story in the making for years and years. Until their hearts were in the right place, their love couldn't shine. And as the pages turn and the story unfolds, we see the longing from years past to the present. Intertwined with this story is a more deeply moving story about bullying and how it damages a person, especially the most vulnerable:  the children.

Like the double helix, these two stories are connected and they push each other along but with one main tether: God. The exact time, the exact place, the exact people: all things happen when God is in control, which is another theme in this story.

"Do you know what they talked about? Doves. How they symbolize peace, tenderness, innocence, and gentleness. How we must not let those parts of ourselves become caged..."

When I think back upon that line, I see the symbolism and it speaks to me. There is hardly a book that can make me cry and smile at the same time. And Caged Dove did that. And rarely does a book stay with me after I turn that last page, but Caged Dove did that, too.

I highly, highly recommend this book. It's an inspiration, a romance, and a deeply moving novel. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Rearview (7 Hours #1) by Mike Dellosso

(Tyndale 2012)

Ever wish you could go back into time? An hour? Three hours? Maybe even seven or a day? Would it be enough time to change a regret? Or would it be enough time to do what you really believed was more important?

Mike Dellosso brings you into that world. Only seven hours. Seven hours for anytime you choose, and then death. And time is always on his side.

The story amazes me with the depth of symbolism it shows: from town names and mirrors to the importance of the number seven. Above all it shows how one moment in time in which you choose a path it can forever alter not only your life but the life of someone else--a type of pay it forward, if you will.

With a Stephen King flair and a Dean Koontz mastery, Mike Dellosso captures the reader and sends them traveling down a road where time speeds past and your only glimpse of it is through the rearview mirror.

And make no mistake, this is an entertaining read, an emotionally packed story, but is laced with beautiful threads of hope and inspiration for the reader.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Glassblower by Laurie Alice Eakes

Laurie Alice Eakes
(Barbour 2009)

You can find many a novel that deals with life issues, romantic tensions, suspense, or mysteries. Harder to find are the novels that allow you to escape into a bygone era and leaves you not only relaxed but with a greater appreciation of the written word.

Laurie Alice Eakes' novel The Glassblower does just that. It's a sweet, clean, romance with a happy ending. More importantly, at least to me, is how the novel is written to show that when we rely upon God and trust Him in all things then our future is protected and secured.

Some of the best stories do not need layers and layers of subplots. A story of a new romance in a new America, a story of God's unfailing love, and a story of unflinching morality places this book in line with many of the classical writers. In a way, The Glassblower reminds me of Henry van Dyke's books, The Story of the Other Wise Man and The Blue Flower--and that's high praise indeed.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Tapestry of Trust by Mary Annslee Urban

(White Rose Publishing 2012) 

Isabelle and Charlie...separated by six years of bitterness and pain between them.

Urban's story weaves a beautiful tale of love, forgiveness, and above all, trust. This story kept me continuing on to the next page, then the next. A few twists of the storyline's thread had me pleasantly surprised, especially when the one person asking for forgiveness was the one person I never thought would ask.

Like a tapestry where the threads weave in and out to create a picture, words alone will never fully showcase the threads of redemptive love, forgiveness, trust, and sacrifice that wove a beautiful and soulful story.

Tapestry of Trust is a book to which I will always return. Forever will it remind me that love never fails.


The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry van Dyke

The Story of the Other Wise Man
Henry van Dyke
(Harper & Brothers 1899)

"And yet I have never felt as if it were my own. It was a gift. It was sent to me; and it seemed as if I knew the Giver, though His name was not spoken." (preface viii)

"An idea arrives without effort; a form can only be wrought out by patient labor. If your story is worth telling, you ought to love it enough to be willing to work over it until it is true..." (preface xii)

This story has more than one single meaning. It has more than three. Layers and layers of symbolism and of allegories really set this small book apart from any other. The foreshadowing shows how much we accomplish when we live for Jesus and how our lives really impact others.

As we read the story of Artaban and his search for the Messiah to present his gifts, we see that his life touches so many others and what he does for others is more worthy than the ruby, sapphire, and opal that he carries for his King.

"Verily I say unto thee, Inasmuch as thou hast done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, thou hast done it unto me." (p. 74)

And his gifts were accepted by his King. 

Not many greats are left that compare to Henry van Dyke, and I can truly say this is a book that I will pass down to my children.  

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston

Ray Blackston
(Revell 2003)

 In the lofty words of R. Blackston, Flabbergasted begat humor, humor begat more snarky humor, which begat truth, and truth begat life.

Like the Atlantic beaches, the words breeze into the mind and leaves the reader buoyant with a smile and in anticipation of what will happen next to Jay.

I would say that the magic didn't happen when Jay walked into North Hills. Nor did it happen when he join the singles class or labeled the women on the beach The Numericals. It happened when a blond food-throwing imp invited him to drift in the Atlantic. At that moment, Jay began to learn how God will direct your path and never in a way you could ever predict.

This novel is layered in humor, love, romance, and truth. Peel each back, like an onion of truth because it can make you cry tears either through laughter or honest, heart stabbing directness, and the reader will find more than just a novel, more than just a fictional tale.

Somewhere within the Journey of Jay, within vowels and consonants, between lines of ink and language, is a small voice that pricks the soul, nibbles away like the blue insect, that makes you question: where do my roots grow?

I highly recommend this novel to anyone.