Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pearl In The Sand by Tessa Afshar

OMGoodness! My new favorite book! I loved this fictional historical bio on Rahab. What's left to say? Well, a lot. It has all the elements of a good story in my mind-great depth, heat, and God(not necessarily in that order mind you). Tessa, if you see this little blog of mine, I just can't say enough about how you brought a Bible character to life for me. We all well know the story of how 'Joshua Fi't the Battle at Jericho' and Rahab's part in the story but the rest is up to our imaginations. We usually don't spend enough time on the 'little characters' that are in such a big story but by writing this book, you've expounded on the 'not so little' choices she had to make and her part in the big picture. You made her real. Rahab is my new hero. I needed a hero this week too.
It starts out with the probable situation in which Rahab finds herself--needing to help support the family--and a possible theory on how she became a prostitute. A young Rahab is forced into prostitution by necessity-she didn't know God at this point. She faces so many choices along the way and her strength is what strikes me most. This book makes me view the choices I have today in a different light. Am I taking the 'road less travelled' or the seemingly easier one? Her very real fears are put on paper for me to see that God can handle it all. This is the best inspirational book I've read in a long time!!
'Rahab learned to cling to God in the midst of her sorrows: to believe in the Lord more than she feared pain. For me, that is one of the most crucial components of faith. Like Rahab, I want to be a person who gives God full access to every part of my soul, even if that access sometimes hurts because it involves the demolition of my walls.' This quote from Tessa Afshar's blog says it all for me.

I certainly hope Tessa Afshar has intentions of writing more books and I can't wait!!
This book will be published September 1, 2010 by the ISBN: 9780802458810. by Moody Publishers
See for more.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Goodness Gracious Green by Judy Christie
As I live in a small southern city, I am always intrigued to learn what an author might write about my little part of the world. Will they portray all southerners to be uneducated, unshod and poor or ‘socially educated’ (in the ways of ‘all things polite’) or as they really are? Me? I’m highly educated, love shoes, middle class and hopefully ‘socially educated’, too, really. LOL

Lois, the main character, hails from Ohio and moves to Louisiana to run a small town newspaper. The story begins after she’s spent just enough time in the Deep South to decide to stay. Then things start happening…
I look for 3 main factors when enjoying a book. Does the story have depth or can I tell you what’s coming next? Will the character’s relationship with God inspire me? What’s the temperature of the romance?

Goodness Gracious Green is a great story! I really had no idea what would happen next and I have to love that-keeps me glued to my seat and the book, you know? What would be next, after the fires, the vandalism? And how about that hot topic—all those Mexicans getting across our borders? How do you deal with them? It wasn’t too heavy either. I don’t want to read a political expose’ during a romance novel. At the beginning of each chapter is a snippet from our fictional newspaper, which is a great touch, and I loved each one!
Although the characters are church going folks and talk about praying more and did pray, I don’t see Lois as a character that would inspire me per se’, although I shared her fears and struggles. It was a story about living out our convictions as Christians. She has to stand up for justice despite potential consequences on more than one occasion and I love that.
This was a light romance for sure and that was ok for me. I’ve read a few heavy titles recently and needed a light read. The ‘heat factor’ was friendly, not even lukewarm really. The romance took a backseat to the real story, which again, was riveting.
If you’re looking for a light read that keeps you riveted, Goodness Gracious Green will do just that.

The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal
I grew up in a large city where, on the river, Heritage Weekends were held during the summers. Each week a different nationality was featured with the various foods, dance, music of that heritage was enjoyed. The local university had an engineering school where many people from other lands came to get an education, so they could return home and make life better. I became enamored with all things Indian. I made friends with several folks from India, immediately loved wearing saris, and enjoyed so many new foods. When I saw Sari Shop Widow in the Kindle store under the Christian Romance tag, I just knew it was for me.

The main character is a young adult widow who lives with her parents who help her run her upscale sari boutique. As I am very traditional in my own worldview, I love the arrangement for her and for them.

When I’m reading, I’m usually looking for, first of all, a good story, then some heat between the characters and God’s influence on them.

I was not disappointed for the most part. The story has depth, I feel like I know the characters personally. She struggles with the future of her shop, honoring her parents, living her life in her way…..all the same struggles that most of us have. Her parents struggle with the same things that I struggle with as a parent of two beautiful daughters. I have the same intrusive family members that she has and struggle to put up with. The story was not predictable either, which I really appreciate. I mean, I can still enjoy a story even when I know what’s going to happen next, but it is way better when a surprise or two are thrown in there.
The ‘heat factor’ was certainly there! Ooh boy howdy. That’s all on that for now.
Here’s where the book let me down-through no fault of its own though. I love technology as much as the next 21st century gal but the Christian tag on this book was off. While there are many Christian Indians, this family was not. The ‘rich uncle’ did his rituals at 4am, which was humorous to be sure, but God had no influence on them. God’s name was vainly spoken a few times and one character used many expletives in his daily speech. I can only assume that because the word God was used in the book that the tag of ‘Christian’ was added.
Now, back to the ‘heat factor’… Because this is not a Christian book and most of America is promiscuous, I can’t fault the premarital sex from my personal worldview. I wouldn't have written premarital sex in. It's much hotter to see the struggle to abstain, than to see the characters give in.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book with the limitations noted above. If you can live with the language and the really spicy stuff, then by all means, you will love this book!