Literary Insights

Literary Insights: A Book Lovers Review

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer

The Canary List - Sigmund Brouwer
Sigmund Brouwer uses Satanism, demons, an atheist school teacher, foster children, child abuse, conspiracy theories, and the Catholic Church to draw you into this quick read of a fiction book. It begins like a spiritual thriller but falls short. Brouwer tries to weave a tale about Jaime Piper, a 12 year old foster child's unique ability to sense evil and the Catholic Church wanting to either use that power or get rid of it. A school teacher, Crockett tries to help Jaimie Piper and in the process is accused of pedophilia. A high-profile lawyer gets hired by the very people who framed him and the reader doesn’t know whose side he is on till the end.

The plot never really gains any credibility. The chapters are short and jump back and forth making the story choppy and the surprise ending doesn’t make any sense. There was no clear statement in the story for or against the many topics that were brought up e.g., spiritual darkness, child abuse, foster system, catholic conspiracies, and righteousness.

At the end Brouwer tries to sum up what the story really was all about like a TV drama explaining what you just watched.

I would not recommend this book

I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books program in return for my review.

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

A quest to find the one principle that will save humanity before mankind destroys itself finds David Ponder in a race against time. He has been chosen by the archangel Gabriel to lead a summit of fellow travelers, using their wisdom and experience to save mankind before all that is known is destroyed. Ponder soon finds himself traveling to the most unlikely of places to interview the most fascinating of subjects such as Winston Churchill to George Washington Carver to Joan of Arc, he must work to discover the one solution that will save humanity. Together, with the help of hundreds of his fellow travelers, before time runs out, the final summit of Travelers must work quickly to avoid dire consequences.

Will the group come up with the answer in Time? What could possibly be the one action that could change the times of history? The team is assembled much like CEO’s in a boardroom. There are five chances to come up with the correct answer and with only a limited time. The Travelers have their chance to voice their opinion.

The book is an easy read and enjoyable if you don’t have anything else to read. It is a bit too “New Agey” implying people have the courage, intellect, strength, etc. to save the world. The book hints that it could be a spiritual principle that would save humanity but ends up being something else entirely (I won’t spoil it).

David Ponder comes back from answering correctly and saving humanity and the book ends. How long was he gone, 3 hrs, 3 days, 3 wks? Nothing about the good people at the beginning of the story who were concerned about him hiding away in his home, how this revelation would affect the characters, Ponder’s life, humanity, maybe for another book, but I won’t be interested in finding out.

I would have liked better if it focused more on the famous people who used historically proven principles that made life better for themselves and others, instead of trying to present a story within a story, leaving both stories wanting. I was disappointed in the end

This book also has a readers guide as with all books lately whether it is needed or not.

I received a free copy of the book from Thomas Nelson as part of their Booksneeze Blogger program.

I review for BookSneeze®

Heart of Ice By Lis Wiehl and April Henry


A story about three strong women and the real life problems and decisions they face: Crime reporter, Cassidy Shaw, and her two best friends, Federal Prosecutor Allison Pierce and FBI Special Agent Nicole Hedge comprise the triple threat fighting crime in Portland.

It made me think of the TV show Criminal Minds or Law and Order; it reads more like a TV show than a novel. The story begins with revealing to the reader the murderer, Elizabeth Avery. The reader will find Elizabeth a beautiful woman who manages to hide her killer cold heart as she manipulates everyone to her own end. You see inside her head and what she is thinking as she is acting out her own form of evil that appears logical to her own mind.

Elizabeth leaves a trail of bodies in her wake, The Triple Threat friends must piece together clues from seemingly unrelated crimes. Can they stop her before she reaches her unthinkable, ultimate end-game? Wiehl and Henry throughout the story give the reader clues and information to piece the puzzle with the Triple Threat Club but leave the final pieces to the very end.

This is the first book from this author I have read and is the third of the series. I found it to be interesting and kept me reading to the end. I generally love stories of mystery and suspense; though reading this story gave me a huge headache, in the beginning. I don’t know if the story was so well written that everything felt so real and made my head ache or that my headache kept me from enjoying the story.

If you like suspense, mystery then I recommend this book. I plan on reading the first two of the series. I am not surprised that CBS plans on producing one of her stories for TV.

Per the recent FTC ruling, I am required to inform you that I received a free copy of this book for my nook from Thomas Nelson as part of their Booksneeze Blogger program in return for my review.

I review for BookSneeze®

The Miracle of Mercy Land by Jordan River

The Miracle of Mercy Land - River Jordan

I was intrigued from the very first sentence, “I was born in a bolt of lightning on the banks of Bittersweet Creek. Mama said it was a prophecy, and as she is given to having visions of the biblical kind, no one argues with her.”

The book is the first one I have read from this author and I was not disappointed. This is not your “cookie cutter” type of story. Jordan has created a spiritual thriller with characters that come off the page with life choices made and discovering that the right choice is not always easy to determine.

In the Miracle of Mercy Land, River Jordan explores good and evil, curiosity and truth, darkness and light told through a tale of southern charm and supernatural fantasy. Jordan takes the reader on a journey to the banks of Bittersweet Creek, where the past is revisited and broken hearts are mended.

A great story of a girl who discovers her destiny by tremendous acts of courage by standing firm in the values she was taught early in life.

There is a list of questions at the back of the book to facilitate discussions.

I highly recommend this book and I plan on reading more from this author.

I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program in return for my review.

The Shelter of God's Promises by Sheila Walsh

The Shelter of God's Promises

In a world of uncertainty, pain, and struggle, where do you find solid assurance and unshakeable truth? Gifted Bible teacher and inspiring Women of Faith speaker Sheila Walsh offers powerful, heart-filled teaching on ten bedrock promises of God, providing the foundation for daily confidence, joy, and hope.

When I read this opening on the cover it was easy to choose to read this book. This book did not disappoint, it was all I expected and more.

Sheila Walsh searches Scripture for what God has promised, what those promises mean, and how encounters with Christ fulfill His unwavering commitment to us. In these pages Walsh shares some of the Bible's most compelling stories, and unveils ten foundational promises of God. Walsh uses personal experience with meaningful biblical insight to inspire readers to trust in God and His promise to sustain them for a lifetime.

In The Shelter of God’s Promises, you will find the comfort you need. You will find the faith that never fails and the strength to carry on in difficult situations through the promise of God’s presence.

In the chapter on the Promise of Strength there is this thought that I connected to: No matter what circumstances pull the carpet out from underneath us, I found, like millions before me who have walked this path of faith, that God will use the darkest of nights to let us know that He is there, that He upholds us.
I agree with Walsh’s conclusion: the promises of God are fulfilled in Christ to not only offer us shelter but that He is the shelter.

This would be a perfect book to pursue further study on God’s promises and to find your own promises God has for you. This book includes an in-depth bible study and a study guide is available for purchase.

This book may be short but is full of truth and reads like a letter from a precious friend who needs to share her heart. I fully recommend this book.

Per the recent FTC ruling, I am required to inform you that I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson as part of their Booksneeze Blogger program in return for my review.

Life Lessons Study Bible by Max Lucado

Lucado’s Life Lessons Study Bible has a lot of great features such as over 1,000 Life Lessons, a Topical Index, and Devotional Index by topics, A Two Year Bible Reading Plan, New Believer Studies, 30 Day Reading Plans, Spiritual Growth Verses, and more! This Bible takes a lot from Lucado’s well known books old and latest such as his latest release, Outlive Your Life.
I am glad that Lucado uses the NKJV version of the Bible, easy to read, as Lucado adds his insights and teachings from years of personal bible study and writing and applies them to the scriptures.  He provides margin notes that give life application lessons.  Lucado also includes a two-year devotional plan along with a section at the end of the book that includes:  He Did This Just for You verses, Spiritual Growth verses, Studies for New Believers, A 30-Day Overview of the New Testament, and An index of Where to Turn When.
If you enjoy Max Lucado's books, then you will enjoy this Bible. The commentaries are quotes from Lucado's books as well as insight into the scripture. The commentary is in the margins on the outer edge.  It is a great Bible study tool. The commentary and insights touch the heart and engage the mind for further study.

Interspersed throughout the chapters are mini-devotionals which are one to two pages long and contain the same depth as the marginal commentary. It is a great Bible for the new convert or the mature Christian.
I enjoy Lucado's writing style; it is the same way he preaches, both inspirational and encouraging. In simple terms every page has study/devotional material. Each "lesson" includes the situation, observations, inspiration, application and exploration.
For anyone looking for a Bible that has interesting insights and endearing stories, I would recommend this Bible.  The devotional material is brief and engaging. The Bible is available in hardcover and Leather soft cover with a presentation page making a good gift for the new Christian or seasoned believer. I highly recommend this book
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible, NKJV Inspirational Applications for Living Your Faith by Max Lucado from BookSneeze/Thomas Nelson Publisher for this review.

I review for BookSneeze®

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo w/Lynn Vincent


This is an amazing story about a 4 yr. olds’ visit with God in heaven while undergoing an emergency appendectomy. Heaven is for Real gives a fresh look at heaven; through a child’s heart is revealed in conversations with his father. To those of us waiting to see Jesus this story is reassuring. Heaven is for Real will encourage you to find out more on what Jesus meant when he said you must have child like faith to enter the kingdom of Heaven. This book is an easy read and enjoyable. If you love children and love Jesus I would recommend this book.
Per the recent FTC ruling, I am required to inform you that I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson as part of their Booksneeze Blogger program in return for my review.

I review for BookSneeze®

Good Morning Lord by Sheila Walsh

I Don’t know Where You’re Going Today, But I’m Going With You.

Talented author and Women of Faith speaker, Sheila Walsh has written a delightful devotional. Walsh shows us the heart of God in easy to read stories. The short descriptive narratives are just the right amount to get you mediating on the goodness of God with space to write down your own thoughts. If you want to learn to trust God daily in a fun and interesting way I recommend this devotional.

Per the recent FTC ruling, I am required to inform you that I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson as part of their Booksneeze Blogger program in return for my review.

I review for BookSneeze®

Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado

Outlive Your Life
In leading us through the book of Acts, Max Lucado takes familiar stories to help us understand the heart of Jesus. Lucado gently tells us to not see people as problems but as opportunities to serve Christ. Lucado recaptures the wonder of the early Christians and explains to us that if they could change the world, we could too. Lucado presents the Truth that goes straight to the heart.

I loved the inspiration Lucado brings to help us see that “in our simple deeds we serve Jesus.” Imagine what we could do to change our world in the lives of “the least of these”. I encourage everyone who wants to make a difference to begin with this book.

As Lucado closes he leaves us with this thought, “…here we stand: you, me, and our one-of–a-kind lives. We are given a choice. An opportunity to make a difference…What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope?”

Per the recent FTC ruling, I am required to inform you that I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson as part of their Booksneeze Blogger program in return for my review.

I review for BookSneeze®