Monday, May 30, 2011

The Reluctant Prophet by Nancy Rue

This challenging book is a great read, and a great ride!

Let's begin with the summary:

At age forty-two, Allison Chamberlain is still making a half-hearted attempt to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. Although she has been a pew-sitting member of a church for seven years, “prophet” has never been on the short list of possible careers.

Then one Sunday Allison senses a divine nudge to buy a Harley motorcycle and go wherever it takes her. Soon she is wondering if she is called to present the reality of Christ to one of society’s darkest corners—and challenge her own church to look beyond their fears.

The first in a brave trilogy from seasoned writer Nancy Rue, The Reluctant Prophet shows how one person’s response to God’s call can change a community forever.

And now, my review:

Nancy Rue has a way with words. And storytelling. And pacing. And characterization. Written first-person, past tense, this story grabs you from the first words. You’re immersed in the story as if you’re the heroine. But as the reader, you’re wondering where the Lord is going to “Nudge” our heroine, how the down-and-out are going to respond, and how the other Christians are going to react.

You’ll cheer our heroine on as she takes on the judgmental Christians around her while helping the lost and destitute. The storyline made me glad for our church’s vision of going outside the four walls of the church. But I was still challenged. Would you buy a Harley, learn to operate it, then cruise around the worst neighborhood in your city?

God’s nudges were a great aspect of this tale. He absolutely directs us. He made our heroine aware of His directives, and she learned to heed Him. He gave her courage, boldness. She lived like Jesus, setting an example while setting up a “mirror.” No one liked the transformation, at first. She battled onslaughts from every side, even the Christians. Her battles and hardships were true-to-life that though God’s way isn’t easy, it’s worth pursuing.

This novel doesn’t leave you untouched. Rather, it challenges your beliefs about serving others,
taking risks, reaching out, and what you do with God’s nudges. The author was brave to begin this series and readers are brave to ride along.

My only disappointment is that Book Two in the Reluctant Prophet Series (Unexpected Dismounts) doesn’t come out until October. I’ll be waiting. Expectantly.

Highly recommended.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere

Jesus is the Lion of Judah, so for Him to relate with His people as lionesses makes sense. So when I saw this book, and knew that I trusted the author, I felt this was a must-read. Glad I picked it up.

Here’s the summary:


The lioness rises from her slumber, a magnificent image of strength, passion, and beauty. Her mere presence
commands the landscape, protects her young, and empowers the lion. In groups, lionesses become a creative and strategic force to be reckoned with, acting as one to change the world around them.

You too are a lioness.

In Lioness Arising, author and speaker Lisa Bevere offers the life and image of the lioness as a fierce and tender model for women. Revealing the surprising characteristics of this amazing creature, Lisa challenges women to discover fresh passion, prowess, and purpose.

Learn what it means to:

• be a stunning representation of strength
• fiercely protect the young
• lend your voice to the silenced
• live in the light and hunt in the dark
• raise a collective roar that changes everything

Packed with remarkable insights from nature and a rich depth of biblical references to lionesses, Lioness Arising is a call for women to rise up in strength and numbers to change their world.

Jesus is, after all, the lion of the Tribe of Judah.

We are His lioness arising.


And now, my review:

Yes, this book was written with women in mind­—we’re the primary audience. But I loved that Lisa didn’t take a stance of “it’s about time we prove we’re better than men.” That is not the direction her book takes. Rather, this is a call to rise up and change the world. To live the potential we were created to live, meant to live. She presents her message, God’s charge, with humility, transparency, and boldness.

In the wild, lionesses don’t have to prove they have power. They just walk in their strength. No one dares ask them if they’re strong, capable, living their destiny.

With many insights from her own personal journey and studies, Lisa urges women to make a difference in the areas they feel called to impact.

This book will change your life, encourage you, challenge you and help to wake you up. Chances are, there’s more to this life than you’ve lived yet. More God is calling you to do. Lisa’s words will stir that calling to new life and light a fire under you to make it happen. If you want to live a purposeful life, to fulfill what God’s called you to do, this book will embolden you to make it happen, by God’s grace.

Highly recommended.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fade to Blue by Julie Carobini

What's not to love about that cover? Gorgeous color and composition! I really like Julie's writing and her Otter Bay series.

Let's begin with the summary:

How do you restore a soul? One brush stroke at a time ...

Suz Mitchell is a determined dreamer, and won't allow her ex-husband's jail sentence to ruin their young son Jeremiah's life. An accomplished artist, Suz moves with her child across the country to California's central coast, and lands a job restoring priceless art for the historic Hearst Castle overlooking the sea.

But even dreams have shocking twists. To her surprise, a serious old flame, Seth, works at the castle and jumbles the new aspirations in Suz's heart. While sorting through their past and a palette of spiritual differences, an even bigger brush with yesterday awaits.

Suz must learn to let God be the true restorer of all that once seemed lost.

And now, my review:

I love Julie’s setting for this novel—a castle and the ocean. Very enjoyable. Her characters seem to breathe on the page, and I could see myself in her heroine here and there. The artistic flavor of the story, due to the heroine’s (Suz’s) job, was a delight. And the deep relationship and love Suz had for her son rang true.

I like Julie’s way of subtly including grace and God-things in her stories. You know you’re in good hands with her as an author. Her discussion between Letty and the heroine about God writing their life story was great. And that’s just one example.

Her heroine, in this first-person, past-tense rendering asks herself this question: Why were my emotions swayed by the attitudes of others? What a great question. See what I mean? You get a dash of wisdom here or there, an opportunity to check in with yourself.  

Speaking of her first-person point of view—I love this POV. And Julie skillfully carries it off, as usual.

One of her main themes was overcoming the past. Our heroine didn’t want to hold anyone’s past against them, though she held hers against herself sometimes. She gave herself little credit (who hasn’t?). She gave others in her life too much credit. It’s all part of what makes this story compelling.

Enjoyable read!