Christian Reviews

Jacob’s List

[openbook booknumber=”0764203266″][rating:3/5]

When you lose a child it is considered “the worst loss”. For the Nolans the loss of their son doesn’t just risk destroying their world, it also risks tearing them apart, as he was the only thing that was keeping them together.

When I saw this book I assumed it was going to be a book about a married couple completing the things on their son’s list and going on a lot of adventures together in his memory. Pretty naive considering how the book turned out.

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A Christmas to Remember

[openbook booknumber=”0425211843″]

[rating:3/5]

Lillian Warwick is a curmudgeony old woman who suffers a bad fall and is forced into the care of her daughters and granddaughter. After the fall she finds herself reliving old memories of times gone by and remembers her own history and past mistakes. Will acknowledging the pain in her past allow her to acknowledge the reality of her future? Lucy Bates is a nurse in training at the hospital where Lillian was admitted. She too has some big decisions ahead of her as she struggles with thoughts of quitting nursing school and going back to waitressing full time. She isn’t helped in this by her less than supportive husband, who undercuts her commitment and confidence at every turn. But, with the coming of the Christmas season and following New Year both of these women, and their families undergo a transformation worthy of the spirit of the holiday season.

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The Christmas Blessing

[openbook booknumber=”1591451310″]

[rating:1/5]

This book is a sequel to the New York Times Bestseller The Christmas Shoes. I had no problems picking up the storyline though as it cut back and did back story constantly throughout The Christmas Blessing to cover pertinent areas for this new book. The book is about the star of The Christmas Shoes a little boy named Nathan that wanted to buy shoes for his mother dying of cancer. In The Christmas Blessing Nathan is now all grown up and, in the wake of his mother’s death, is now a third year medical student and is facing some difficult decisions. He is wondering if this is really his calling, and is having a tough time during a rotation in cardiology at a nearby hospital. While there he meets a young woman who has conquered her health problems, or so she thinks, and a little boy dying of them. Can these two give him the hope he needs to push towards his dreams?

As a warning, I will say that this turned out to be a Christian novel, with a lot of discussions of faith, some bible quotes, and prayer. Some people like to know these things before getting into a book. So, consider yourself warned. It wasn’t enough to turn me off of the book, at least not the Christian angle alone, though I will say I did find a lot of the arguments and discussions about faith and death to fall terribly flat. It was preaching to the choir.

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A Family for Luke

[openbook booknumber=”0373813902″]

[rating:3/5]

The victim of a bad upbringing, Luke has always wanted a family he could rely on. His mother was often absent from his life, and before CPS finally removed him from her care, he ended up feeling rejected and abandoned more often than not. His foster father was loving and caring and introduced him to the concepts of love, acceptance, forgiveness and a real family. His foster father’s death a few years ago left Luke feeling abandoned and rejected all over again and so he leaves the church and immerses himself in work, that is until he meets with widow Janie and her three children. Janie has problems of her own in her life. She is struggling to be the superwoman that does everything: mother, small business owner, home maker and, most importantly, financially independent in the wake of her husband’s massive debts. He sees in her a realization of all his dreams of a perfect family come true when he needs it most, she sees in him a distraction and an upset to her already chaotic and far from perfect life at a time when she needs it least. What follows is a novel about forgiveness, family, and faith.

This is a very strongly Christian novel. There are strong themes about what to do with, and how to approach, a life with God. There are prayers and bible verses quoted throughout and several discussions by the main characters about faith, church, and God. All of the events in the book are viewed through this lense and some of the topics are a little controversial, especially for a christian novel, though the wording was always very discrete. The topics covered, in no particular order, included child abuse and neglect, pre-marital sex, children out of wedlock, divorce, teen pregnancy, abortion, foster care and adoption, alcoholism, underage drinking, drug abuse, gambling, spousal abuse, and domestic violence.

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Restless Hearts

[openbook booknumber=”0373874243″]

[rating:3.5/5]

Fiona Flanagan is a young woman set to start a life far away from the family she has known, that has never really wanted her. She travels to Pennsylvania Dutch Country, a place where her mother’s family was from, partly to get in touch with her roots, but mainly because she feels called to go there and open her practice as a Nurse/Midwife. Almost as soon as she enters the town of Crossroads, Pennsylvania she gets on the wrong side of the town police chief, Ted Rittenhouse. He thought she was breaking in to the house she was looking over to buy! Ted is in a tough place having to straddle two worlds, the world of the Dutch and the outside world, and he thinks this city woman, an outsider, won’t make it. Fiona on the other hand is determined to make this work and to make Crossroads her home, a place for her to belong for the first time in her life.

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