Monday, October 19, 2015

The Hardest Thing to Do

The Hardest Thing to Do by Penelope Wilcock, the fourth book in The Hawk and the Dove opens after the death of Father Peregrine, just as the new abbot returns to take command. But the peace of Lent is disturbed by news of a fire at a nearby community of Dominicans, led by Prior William, known for harsh rules.
The previous books have shown what love looks like in a community, how growth can come from loss, but this is so much harder. This is an enemy, this is a man that we desire to see brought low, but at the same time his world has been so utterly destroyed.
This book can be read without any knowledge of the previous installments in the series, but I would recommend reading at least the chapter of The Wounds of God  featuring Prior Williams.  Even if someone doesn't normally like historical or Christian fiction, these books are a raw, honest look at people, at the body of Christ, and how he works through people. I've really enjoyed the previous books and am looking forward to reading the next installments.
I received a free copy of this book from  Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. Five stars

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Unlikely Rebel by Kelli Gotthardt

Christian rebels don't always smoke cigars or wear low-cut blouses.  They don't have to march in liberal parades or even die their hair blue. Sometimes they hide in plain sight. Kelli Gotthardt's book Unlikely Rebel: A Church Girl's Journey out of Shoulds and Shame focuses on the hidden chains of being a 'good girl.'
I initially requested this book to read for myself, but ended passing it on to my mom. Both of us found the book fascinating. It's both memoir and a book of spiritual insight.  
"I did not set out to be a rebel" the author states in the prelude. "My goal was to follow Jesus more faithfully."  Her rebellion did not start with stereotypical 'bad girl' behavior, but with a simple choice: for one year, she said no to any outside commitments.
To anyone who's been in the evangelical subculture, this choice is shocking.  The implicit assumption in many churches is that involvement directly correlates with maturity.  Over the past year, I've been a part of nursery, fellowship snacks, Awana, VBS, and the slideshow.  To a certain extent,  it doesn't matter if I really want to do, or even how good I am at doing it. There's a peg-hole, and I must fill it.
This book does an excellent job of considering the personal consequences of busyness on the Christian life and I would highly recommend it.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry

An American soldier in his early twenties is shot down in Germany during World War II and subject to experiments that extend his lifespan and give him superhuman healing abilities. No, I'm not talking about Captain America in any of his comic or adaption forms, but Roger Greene, one of the protagonists of The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry.
While my tastes generally run to sci-fi or fantasy, the basic premise of this book sounded interesting enough that I requested it through Kregel Press in exchange for an honest review.
It was exactly what I expected.
That might not be a good thing. I requested the book because it reminded me of Captain America, but when I set it down, I couldn't think of anything distinctive about it.
The people who kept Greene imprisoned hid the truth about the war from him, making him think the war was still going on, that Germany had the upper hand. When he escapes, he is surprised at the modern world, but not as surprised as he should have been. By the end of the book, Greene seems quite comfortable in modern society. Honestly, I found that the least believable part of the whole story.
Another part I didn't believe was the heroine's unwitting involvement in a Neo-Nazi organization.  Granted, her guardian hid the truth behind several bright cliches, but if 'training' involves tracking someone around the city with water pistols, most people would become suspicious.
I'd rate this book 2/5.