"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

-C.S. Lewis

What we read has such an impact on us, and I am always on the lookout for something that will inspire me to be a better person. Here is a sampling of books that have been in the teetering stack sitting on top of what is rumored to be my bedside table.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Spirit Fighter, by Jerel Law

            In this tale of adventure, 13-year-old Jonah and his sister Eliza are part-angels on a mission to save their mother from the forces of evil. Their mother, a nephilim half-angel, has been kidnapped by fallen angels. Jonah and his sister, helped by their guardian angel, embark on a wild journey through New York City to rescue their mother.

            I've been reading a lot of angel fiction recently, and so I was intrigued by this one. It did not disappoint, I can tell you. The author does a fantastic job of telling a tale of action and adventure. Swords, shields, sea-creatures - you name it, this book has it.  I was delighted to find a book that would appeal to boys, since good books of this variety are few and far between.

            Another impressive aspect of this book was the religion.  While the book is obviously a work of fiction, I felt that the theology was sound.  Best of all, the book sends a powerful message to Christian youth without being preachy.  (And it is not without a certain degree of humor that I say that it's the first book angel I've read where the characters actually pray!)

            I highly recommend this book for any middle schooler or even upper elementary student.  Boys would especially like it. This is Jerel Law's first novel, and I'm eagerly awaiting the second installment in this series.

            Four out of Five Stars

            Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Founders' Key, by Larry P. Arnn

           The Founders' Key is largely a historical discussion of the link between the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.  It brings to light the intentions of the Founding Fathers as evidenced by outside sources such as the Federalist Papers. The author also does a fairly good job of discussing the pros and cons of representative government.

            The summary on the back of the book makes it seem as though this book will be about how leaders since the early part of the twentieth century have ignored the Constitution to the detriment of the country. However, the majority of the book isn't much more than a discourse on the intentions behind the two documents.  Anyone who already has a keen understanding of American history won't be surprised by much of the book.  Occasionally, the author makes mention of instances in our history when the Constitution hasn't been espoused, but not on the large scale that I was led to believe would be in this book. 

            I found that the book became most interesting during the conclusion, when the author does more than make mere mention of specific American institutions that are not listed in the Constitution - such as the federalized education and welfare systems. In the conclusion, the reader gets a taste of what the author was trying to convey. Unfortunately, there isn't enough there to sate the appetite.

            I do hope that the author publishes a second book that further develops the study of the treatment of the Constitution by our nation's leaders - perhaps going farther back than Wilson, since Lincoln was also a master of laying the Constitution aside when he felt it served the needs of his times.  And for that matter, Jefferson himself stated that future generations should not feel bound by the needs of his generation.  I would love to read a discourse on this topic.  I believe the author is up to this challenge.  I just don't believe it happens in this book.

            Ultimately, the book would be a good read for anyone who is trying to gain a deeper understanding of the two documents that form the basis of our nation.

            Three out of Five Stars

            Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther, by Ginger Garrett

          This is the first book of Ginger Garrett's I've read, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised.  I am not normally a fan of ancient history, so I wasn't expecting to like this one.  But it wasn't long before I was so drawn into the story that I found myself thinking about it when I wasn't reading it.
            Chosen follows the story of the Biblical Esther.  I read the Book of Esther just before starting this book.  It's a short one, which meant that Garrett had to add quite a bit to the story to make it novel-length.  She does this masterfully, however.  Her writing style is captivating, and her attention to historical fact and detail lends credence to her story.  In some cases, she footnotes passages with historical information.

            What I Loved - The characterization of Esther. She pops out as a real person in this novel, and her hopes and dreams are as familiar to me as my own.
            What I Didn't Love - The footnotes that lead to commentary at the back of the book.  In many cases, these were either preachy or distracted from the story altogether. I think any person picking up this book is going to be able to make the connection that some choices we might make are wrong.  The commentary just wasn't necessary.

            Who Would Love This Book - Yes, this is a religious book.  But it's also a book about oppression, specifically against women.  I see this book reaching anyone who is interested in inspiring stories, ancient history, or feminism.

            Four out of Five Stars