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review 2020-02-26 01:24
Onward and Upward!
Saints: Becoming More Than "Christians" - Bevere, Addison

I'll be honest, when I first saw the cover of "Saints", I made the assumption that it would be a compendium of revered figures in Church history. Then I saw the subtitle, "Becoming More Than 'Christians'", and decided to investigate further. I was sufficiently intrigued to request it for review, and I am glad that I did! Rather than a tedious monologue, I discovered an engaging and stimulating call to return to our first love, Jesus. 

With "Saints", Addison Bevere sets forth a timely exegesis of what that term actually means within the Bible's context and how we can and should strive to apply it to our lives so that it becomes ingrained into our identity. As Bevere explains, saints are those who have faith in Christ and are in a continually-deepening relationship with God through Him; "a saint is someone who brings a future reality into the present." As a language buff, I appreciate how he expounds upon the semantics of the Bible's use of the term "saints" over "Christians." Furthermore, I find his open acknowledgement and explanation of seemingly contradictory facts or statements in certain Bible passages, such as those relating to fearing the Lord and also not being afraid, wise; as such, I would recommend this book to nonbelievers, especially those with an agnostic bent. 

Bevere is in tune with today's society and its Gospel needs, accurately pinpointing some of the most prominent areas of spiritual dearth and pointing readers toward the source of abundance: Jesus. He makes it clear that while nothing can separate us from God's love (Romans 8:38-39), we can separate ourselves from God's grace because “Pride is the grace blocker.” I love how he progresses from the Old Testament to the New Testament because so many focus only on Jesus in the New Testament. "Saints" is truly where the rubber meets the road of our faith journey, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to take their faith in Christ to the next level. Onward and upward! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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review 2016-11-17 09:51
Some things never change
In The Shadow of David (The Secret Rebellion Book 1) - Martin Baggen

Thanks to NetGalley and the author for offering me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

This novel will polarise readers. Because of its rewriting (or perhaps reinterpreting) the facts of the life of Jesus (or Yeshua in the book) committed Christians might find it difficult to read (if not altogether offensive). Entire episodes of the life of Christ depicted as sleights-of-hand set in order to gather support and get all Jews together under a Leader will sound irreverent at the very least.

Those readers with no particular attachment to Christian beliefs might have other issues with the novel. The story is told from many different points of view, alternating but not always in the same order, by characters whose names are sometimes very similar. Especially at first, this might be confusing, as we are not sure where we are or who is talking to us. Readers who have at least a superficial working knowledge of the Bible will come to identify many of the historical figures/characters that appear in the novel, although I personally think a cast of characters with brief information and perhaps identifying them by the names they are best known would help.

All the characters are intriguing, especially to people who might have read very different versions of them. I particularly enjoyed Myriam (Mary Magdalen), who in this version is a shaker and mover, a thinking woman, and one determined to get her people out of the Roman clutches. She’s strong, independent, determined, and takes charge of her destiny without hesitation (although there are doubts, unavoidably so).  Yeshua is difficult to reconcile with the image I have of Jesus, but that doesn’t make him any less interesting (perhaps more interesting even). The book is quite short and although there is no time spent delving deeply into each character, there is enough to whet readers’ appetites and to make us hope for more development in future instalments.

The book doesn’t provide lots of detail about the places visited and is not heavy on descriptions. On the other hand, it does a good job at portraying the politics, the economic relationships and the power struggles between the different players. It manages to give an utterly modern spin to the conflicts of the time. This is not the history of dusty respectful tomes that only list “facts” but rather, a dynamic and familiar state of affairs that will make us think.

This reimagining of the story of Jesus as a conspiracy/ploy to conquer power and move people might not fit in easily in the category of historical fiction (not enough detail, too many liberties taken, not sure about how closely the language and customs have been adapted from the originals), but as a challenge to our preconceived notions and a new way of looking at a story that perhaps we’ve never dared to question, it succeeds. And it has some pretty amazing characters too. You might like it or not, but I can assure you that if you read it, you won’t forget it in a hurry.

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text 2015-09-30 13:44
Books read (or not!) in September
Regeneration - Stephanie Saulter
Sorcerer to the Crown - Zen Cho
The Just City - Jo Walton
Pagans and Christians - Robin Lane Fox
Long Night Dance - Betsy James
The House of Shattered Wings - Aliette de Bodard
The Private Lives of the Saints: Power, Passion and Politics in Anglo-Saxon England - Janina Ramirez
Half a War (Shattered Sea) - Joe Abercrombie
Death Trick - Richard Stevenson
Heart of Iron - Ekaterina Sedia

Books started: 20 (includes the book I am currently reading)

Books finished: 14

Books not finished: 5


Genre breakdown: It almost looked like I don't just live on a diet of SFF books - three non-fiction this month (though I didn't finish one of those) and actual historical crime books.


What progress made on Mount TBR? Ticked off a few books this month and also only added a couple, so I think I'm ahead of the game for once! Woohoo!


Book of the month: In any other month this decision would probably be a tie between Regeneration and Sorcerer to the Crown. These are two great books, one the end to an equally great trilogy, and both highly recommended to anyone who likes SFF. Except that, awesome as those both are, then I read House of Shattered Wings - what a great book, both awesome and creepy at the same time!

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review 2015-04-10 00:00
Evergreen: A Christiansen Winter Novella (Christiansen Family)
Evergreen: A Christiansen Winter Novella (Christiansen Family) - Susan May Warren Nice novella, glad I read it. It's rather a quick read.
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text 2015-03-05 09:33
Two FREE Books: Typing and Prayer!

I have two FREE books at Amazon, both on offer until tomorrow:

Tales from the Typeface: a Secretary's Life and How to Survive It


Office life: love it or hate it, but you can't get away from it. Want to laugh at the lighter side of your secretarial career? Then this is the book for you! Discover the essential art of looking busy, how to love your photocopier and carve a path through the stationery jungle. Learn to deal with terrifying tasks, tricky travel arrangements and the horrors of networking. And do it all with a smile on your face and success on your CV. Happy typing! 

A reader review: "hysterically funny and very true of all offices everywhere!" 

Download this book here.

Thirty Ways to Pray Without Really Praying


Thirty Ways to Pray Without Really Praying is a spiritual book designed to help you draw closer to your inner self, whether you pray regularly or not at all. It provides one activity for you to do every day for a month, and will help you focus on the things that are important to you. Happy praying (without really praying at all)!

Download this book here.

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
Biblical Fiction UK

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