Friday, April 22, 2011

Tell the Truth

Could you go one day without lying? How about one month? In the book "To Be Perfectly Honest", author and humorist Phil Calloway relates his experience trying to go one year without lying. Prevarication, half-truths, misdirection, deception, little white lies, exaggerations--all are forms of lying as Calloway found out when he vowed to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth for 365 long, long days. On his journey, he realized that in order to tell the truth, he needed to get closer to the One Who is Truth, Jesus Christ. Presented in a form similar to diary entries and sprinkled with humor, Calloway's day-to-day commentary shows a man who is not perfect and who fails many times in his efforts to achieve perfection in truth-telling. But, he also shows that God's grace is great enough to forgive each of us and to help us to grow more like Him.

(Note:I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

"Divine Appointments"

In the book "Divine Appointments" by Charlene Baumbich, we meet Josie Brooks, a successful business consultant whose life is complicated by her OCD tendencies and hot flashes, and by hallucinations involving a mysterious snowglobe. Josie prides herself in being self-sufficient and uncompromising in her decisions. As she helps companies downsize, she has not allowed herself to feel any kind of compassion for the people whose lives are adversely impacted by her decisions. Things begin to change when she starts her consulting work for Diamond Mutual. Although she thinks that the company's boss, Lyle Waters, is too soft on his employees, she starts thinking about him as a real human being, not just a piece of a company. She sees genuine friendships among the employees and begins to see the loneliness that pervades her life. As one after another of her preconceived notions of how the world should be begins to shatter, Josie is shaken to the core of her being--shaken enough to consider that maybe she has just been existing for most of her life and not really living.

Most of the characters in the book are believable if not completely likable. The exception is the character of Marsha who considers herself an author. The portions of her "novel" are annoying to read. Even though the writing is supposed to be a therapeutic anger release mechanism for the character, it is frustrating to any reader who enjoys good writing.

My favorite character was Barb. She is a Christian woman who has been with the company for many years and who provides a sense of stability, wisdom, and calm leadership for the other employees. She is not perfect and struggles with her short-comings, but this makes the reader like her even more. She takes a bad situation and tries to be an encouragement to others rather than wallowing in self-pity and regret. Her actions and attitudes influence more people than she realizes.

"Divine Appointments" is the second book by Baumbich which features a snowglobe with mysterious, almost magical attributes. Though not quite fantasy, the book does has fantasy elements that give it a distinctly unique flavor.

(Note:I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Indivisible" by Kristen Heitzmann

Broken relationships, broken hearts, broken families--all abound in Kristen Heitzmann's "Indivisible". In a small town in the Colorado mountains, Police Chief Jonah Westfall must untangle the mystery of mutilated animal remains and seek out the perpetrator before the violence intensifies. He also struggles to untangle his own troubled past which includes alcoholism,family problems and complications in his relationship with childhood friend Tia Manning.

Having read most of Heitzmann's books, I was not surprised to find a tightly written, suspense-filled story. Definitely a page-turner, the story takes many twists and turns before finally reaching its end. For the most part, I enjoyed the story, but I did find the extremes in the characters' problems a bit of a stretch. In fact, it almost seemed like the author found as many psychological traumas as possible and then crammed them into the too-small space of five characters' lives. I did manage to suspend my disbelief most of the time and enjoyed the wild ride.

(Note:I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Do Not Have the Power

I do not have the power to defeat sin on my own.
I do not have the power--it belongs to You alone.
When temptations overtake me and I falter in the race,
I find the strength to triumph when I humbly seek Your face.