Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Club Review -- "Thr3e"

Thr3e by Ted Dekker was my Book Club’s selection for May. My husband read this book also, and he helped me write this review.

This book centers on Kevin Parson, a seminary student living in California.  One day, while driving home from school, Kevin receives a phone call.  The person on the other end of the line informs Kevin that he has three minutes to solve a riddle and “confess his sin” or the caller will blow up the car.  Thus begins a game of cat and mouse involving Kevin, Richard Slater (the caller), Samantha Sheer (Kevin’s closest childhood friend), and Jennifer (an FBI agent with a troubled past of her own).  Slater is obsessed with a sin from Kevin’s past and also with the number ‘three’.  Each of his riddles somehow involves the number three and takes Kevin one step closer to revealing to the world Kevin’s dark secret.  Kevin doesn’t know what sin Slater wants to have revealed and struggles as he is forced to delve deeper into his own troubling past in order to save the lives of Slater’s victims.
This book deals with some very interesting concepts while still being a very compelling psychological thriller.  The concept of good and evil residing in every human is a main theme.  Slater is a psychopath who is willing to kill innocent people to prove his point and get his way.  Alternately, Samantha is an authority figure who is willing to sacrifice her own welfare and safety to help Kevin in any way she can. 
Another compelling aspect of this book is how Kevin’s past is slowly revealed to us.  In the beginning of the book, Kevin has no idea who Slater is or what he wants.  However, it soon becomes apparent that he is living in denial.  As Slater continues to ask his riddles and threaten innocent lives, Kevin is forced to face his past and reveal it to those trying to help him.  As we slowly learn about his past, we come to feel for Kevin more and more.  By the end of the book, we were so empathetic to Kevin, that we couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.
The best thing about this book, however, is the way that it kept us guessing the entire time.  At first, we were looking forward to reading a good narrative and learning about how things were going to end.  Very quickly, we discovered that Ted Dekker was not going to give us the story; we had to guess it.  Each new development in the book added another piece to the puzzle.  However, at the same time, it also made the puzzle more complex, so that you don’t know how it is going to end up!  About two-thirds of the way through the book, we got to the point where we thought we knew how it was going to end but realized that we really had no clue.  We were totally guessing, and we are usually pretty good at figuring stuff like this out.  We won’t say any more about the end of this book, so as not to give anything away, except to say that it was one of the best endings we have read.
As far as Christian novels go, this one was pretty light on the Christian themes.  You really could read this book and not know that it was a “Christian” novel.  But, if your idea of a Christian book is one that does not have too much profanity, then this is a fairly good example of that.
Overall, this was one of the best books that we have read in a very long time, and we recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thriller.  Some of the descriptions of Kevin’s past were somewhat graphic, so we do urge a bit of caution to the faint of heart, but we strongly recommend this book. 
We will give Thr3e by Ted Dekker… 4 ½ Bookworms.




Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Women of Faith Event

I just found out that I was selected by BookSneeze (Thomas Nelson Publishers book blogging program) to attend a Women of Faith Event in Indianapolis next month! I can't believe that I was actually selected to go!!!

The event takes place August 19th - 20th at Conseco Fieldhouse, and there are so many guest speakers and muscians coming. If you would like to see more information about the event, click here. There are events in other cities as well.

I am so excited!

I will be tweeting and blogging during the event, and then I will do a follow-up post after the event.

A promo video for the event is below.

Have I mentioned that I am excited?!

I know this event will be a great blessing.

--Shoopette


Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Club Review -- "Sarah's Key"

April’s Book Club selection was Sarah’s Key by
This fictional story follows two very different people. The first is Julia, an American journalist living in Paris, who is also married to a Parisian. She discovers an account of a Jewish girl, Sarah, whose family was taken from Paris during the round-up in 1942. Sarah also contributes her account to the story.
Historical fiction is my favorite genre, so this book was very interesting to me. While I have read other accounts of this time in history, I was not familiar specifically with the round-up of Jews that occurred in Paris and the scandal surrounding the Velodrome d’Hiver. I also like when an author tells a modern day story alongside the telling of a story in the historical setting.
This novel was very engrossing…almost too engrossing. The details that are given about what went on during the round-up and at the concentration camps are vivid. The terror, degradation, and grief that the Jewish people experienced, while horrifyingly true, were told in a way that was so haunting that I sometimes had to stop reading and put the book down for a while. This is definitely not a book to read right before bed.
The modern day story of Julia was intriguing, but I got tired of it and of her by the end. She was so obessed with Sarah that she did nothing else in her life. I also thought that the contrast of what the Jewish people went through compared with the ‘traumas’ in her life towards the middle and end of the book was in poor taste. I’m sure the author did not mean for the reader to think that Julia’s problems were anywhere near as bad as what the Jews went through during World War II. But, I got tired of Julia’s problems and just wanted the book to end.
Sarah’s Key is a unique historical fiction novel that pays tribute to the countless lives that were lost in the Holocaust.
I will give Sarah’s Key by

Book Club Backlog

A few of my readers may have noticed that I haven't posted a review of any Book Club books in a long time. We are still meeting as a group, I just haven't had the time to review any of them in the last few months. I have been busy doing other reviews and blog tours, and my husband and I were also in charge of our church's Vacation Bible School a few weeks ago. Now that we are pretty much rested from that, and I have caught up with my other reviews, I plan to catch up with my Book Club book reviews.

This week I will review Sarah's Key, Thr3e, and The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society.

After our next Book Club meeting, I will review Ender's Game, which is one of my favorite books of all time!

Happy Reading,
Shoopette

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"A Vision of Lucy" Review

A Vision of Lucy by Margaret Brownley was sent to me as a review copy by Thomas Nelson Publishers through their “BookSneeze” blogging program. It is the third book by this author about Rocky Creek, Texas, in 1882, though it is a stand-alone novel.
Lucy Fairbanks has lived in the town of Rocky Creek, Texas, all of her life. A budding photographer, she is determined to take what others call a hobby and turn it into a full-fledged career. Taking a picture of the so-called “Wild Man” folks have been raging about will hopefully be a step in the right direction. But Lucy is not prepared for the events that occur when she gets her wish.
David Wolf has returned to Rocky Creek to discover the mysteries in his past and to settle an old score. He was not prepared to encounter the spirited, attractive Lucy, who comes into his life like a whirlwind. David’s past and his secrets might just keep him from discovering the life of Truth and love that could be his.
This book was a typical historical romance that also had a little bit of mystery to it. I use the word “typical,” but I don’t mean that in a negative way. I actually enjoy reading “typical” books most of the time. I read for entertainment, not necessarily for acute realism, so books like this are fun for me.
The character of Lucy is spunky, klutzy, and overly talkative. While this usually bothers me in most novels, her character is so caring and so genuine in her faith in God that I liked her. The descriptions of photography during this time period were interesting as well. I liked the character of David just fine. I have nothing bad to say about him but nothing raving, either. Many of the townspeople of Rocky Creek were comical, which gave the book a more lighthearted feel, considering the main plot was serious.
My main critique of this book is with some of the romantic descriptions. Again, this is a typical romance (which I like) with descriptions of how the hero ‘fills out his shirt’ or how ‘his muscles ripple’ (which can sometimes get ‘eye-rolling’ for me). I also thought that Lucy acted pretty childish most of the time. While it helped that she was so caring and truly trying to do the right thing, she seemed to act out of place for a woman who had taken on adult responsibilities at the age of twelve.
A Vision of Lucy is a delightful read that has a great message of forgiveness and acceptance.
I will give A Vision of Lucy by Margaret Brownley… 3 ½ BookWorms.






Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as an eBook through their ‘BookSneeze’ Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”