Category Archives: Fiction

A Parody Survival Guide

1ebe_the_sharknado_survival_guideFirst of all, if you didn’t realize it from the beginning, this is NOT a real survival guide by any means but is a parody of survival techniques. Believe it or not, I accidentally ordered this book without paying close attention and thought it was actually a real survival guide of some freak disasters. Boy was I wrong!

Based on the “Sharknado” film and many other types of sci-fi films, this little book takes you through hilarious unnatural disasters, the dangers involved and ways to ultimately escape with your life. I laughed my way through much of this book – the imagination it took to come up with these scenarios is amazing and very creative.

It’s thanks to this book that I discovered the film “Sharknado” which ended up being one of the funniest films our family has watched in a long time – we were all in tears.

Although I wouldn’t buy this book for myself, I would certainly buy it for my 15 year old son who would enjoy this type of book – it really seems more on his level and is perfect as a birthday or Christmas gift.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Blogging For Books program from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for this fair and unbiased review.

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The Martian by Andy Weir

An AMAZING BOOK! This is a very realistic novel about a NASA mission to Mars that goes wrong and leaves an astronaut stranded on the planet. The whole book becomes a Mars survival story which adds a lot of dimensions to a typical survival book because it’s a different planet with no people or life whatsoever.91c4ZDFCn1L._SL1500_

There are a lot of technical explanations and engineering that at times are hard to completely understand but for the most part, I was able to follow. Weir presents dozens of “impossible” situations which seem to point to the certain death of Mark Watney, but every time he amazes and cleverly solves each problem. Problem solving is at the heart of this story.

Be warned that there is quite a bit of profanity throughout the book – in fact the very first sentence kicked it off. If that offends you, don’t read this novel.

Weir keeps us in suspense throughout – at no point does it get slow or boring. There is a great balance between Mark Watney, earth, and the crew. If I had time, I would have read the book in almost one sitting. It’s one of those stories where you just HAVE to know what’s going to happen and how he is going to survive this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this fair and unbiased review.

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The Sinners’ Garden by William Sirls

17657644William Sirls writes a “Christian” drama about the lives of five people in the small town of Bennis, Michigan. The story centers around the mysterious appearance of a beautiful garden on the edge of town and it’s connection with the trials of the main characters in the story, especially a young teenager who has been scarred by the abuse of his father.

The story is beautifully written and almost exclusively focuses only on just a few characters. The characters were well fleshed out so that you really cared about them. The story really centered around the need for this young man to reconcile with his mother and especially with God.

The issue of physical abuse and the pain (physical and emotional) it caused was strongly emphasized and appears to be the central focus of the book as it begins and ends with that theme. And from there, Sirls focused on the need for healing of those wounds. Forgiveness was key. For the “healing” of several characters, forgiveness was the main issue and the change after they forgave was amazing.

The story also deals with the issue of death – death of a pet, of a father, of a friend and knowing where they will be after death. How you can know you are going to heaven or your loved one is in heaven? According to Sirls, this is based on faith. And heaven is the ultimate healing of sickness.

What was missing in this story though was a focus on Jesus. Certainly God was mentioned all the time. They saw “a man” in the garden but not his face. The conclusion was that this was God. Andy goes to his pastor seeking spiritual help and there is not one mention of Jesus Christ and redemption. In fact, not once did the name of Jesus or Christ come up (unless you count the word “Christian.” That was disappointing as this book could really have been a great testimony to salvation and healing through Jesus and the cross. For that reason, I feel that Sirls missed the boat. There is more to Christianity than believing in God. No one can come to the Father except through Christ.

This book has been reviewed as a part of the Book Sneeze Blogger review program. Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers who provided a copy for review. I was not required to write a positive review.

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Blessed Child by Ted Dekker and Bill Bright

_240_360_Book.957.coverA thriller from start to finish, this is one book I had a hard time putting down. I’ve read Ted Dekker before and so I knew his writing was strong and gripping – I wasn’t disappointed. What WAS surprising, was the strong evangelistic emphasis in this novel. Maybe that is the influence of Bill Bright.

Although the story follows the boy Caleb’s miraculous ability to heal, the message is not that healing of the body is the most important, but the greatest healing is that of the soul. This was strongly emphasized in the second half of the book. And in the end it was made very clear that there is only one way to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ.

At times the spiritual experiences described in this book seem ‘over the top’ but as Bill Bright comments in a note at the end of the book, these miracles are no less spectacular than those found throughout the Scripture. We are normally so closed to the spiritual world that we don’t see it as real.

I finished this book encouraged in faith and longing for a closer relationship to Christ. That’s more than most novels are able to accomplish. 

This book has been reviewed as a part of the Book Sneeze Blogger review program. Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers who provided a copy for review. I was not required to write a positive review.

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