Reviewer: Carol A. Brown
Long Road Out Of Ur is an intriguing book! I am by no means a biblical expert; on the other hand I’m not biblically illiterate. So, when the author presented a man that I know the bible describes as “righteous” as a low life, scheming, plotting cheat and scoundrel, I took umbrage, and prepared to defend the righteous! I thought, “How dare he cast aspersions on Lot whose righteous soul was vexed by Sodom!”
At this point my reading took on the attitude of a defense lawyer searching for loopholes in logic and details that required one to step outside reality. But the more I read, the more I put my hackles down. By the end of the story Lot moved more and more into a lifestyle that increasing aligned with godly values. I had to agree that the scenarios presented would explain Abram’s family’s willingness to abruptly leave the area of Ur and never look back. I felt it was a rather accurate portrayal of societies devoid of the influence of Judean/Christian values.
Then as I sat mulling the story, I also saw the connection with generations yet unborn! That same “scoundrel” gene showed up in later generations, and the propensity to look out for number 1, to lie, and to cheat. Just because Abram had a relationship with God, did not immediately solve the moral problems stemming from a tendency toward conniving. It was still present in the family DNA—the tendency toward conniving showed up in Jacob, and later violence in Levi and Simeon.
Characters were well developed. Scoundrels were painted in 3-D and Technicolor! I wanted the bad guys to be caught and after a while wondered if maybe God should do a rerun on the flood! The good guys were sweet relief when they showed up. It was difficult for me to keep up with all the foreign names and to remember who was related to whom and what the relationship was. Thimell did provide a cast of characters, but when you are reading on a Kindle, and are not particularly adept at using its features, I found myself recognizing names and hoping I would recognize the relationship from context. A paperback would have served me better in that regard. I would have been able to flip back and forth.
The plot was one twist after another—until I wanted to edit a few to get to where they left this God forsaken place! I would not say there were lulls or slow places in the plot as much as that I experienced mental fatigue from all the gyrations. Could one person survive all of that? Yes, I suppose so if the hand of God is watching out for you. Well written and thought out. The book cover was intriguing—in fact that was one element that drew me to read the book.
I appreciated the larger view of the era and some “back story” on Abram and Lot’s exodus from Ur.
Would I recommend it? Yes, especially to those interested in biblical fiction or cultural/societal types of books and to those who can cope with the tangle of foreign names.
Reviewer: Ofilya Silver-Lanuza
Math Troubles was a cute book fit for any pre-teen. Even though the book was written with a teenager audience in mind, I personally thought it was better suited for the preteen demographic (9-12). The book had both a light-hearted and meaningful approach to it. Unfortunately, the book seemed to have many grammatical errors throughout. However, Math Troubles will be interesting to read from a younger perspective, portraying the challenges of school, friends and family...situations and obstacles anyone can relate to.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
Where She Belongs, by Johnnie Alexander is the first book in the Misty Willows series, and I can't wait to read more! The character of Shelby Kincaid is longing to get back to her roots and she literally does that buy purchasing her family's ancestral homestead to raise her two daughters. But she is having a hard time dealing AJ Sullivan who is selling the home to her. It was his grandfather that ruined her family and she knows how to hold a grudge, and so she hates AJ - until she figures out that he's not his grandfather.
I love how the characters grow and change in this book. The theme of forgiveness is evident, but so is the theme of change and how we can take the mistakes of the past and turn them into good. As AJ tries to deal with Shelby's unreasonable animosity towards him, she begins to realize that he is exactly the kind of man she is looking for, so she has to accept that he is not to blame for the past and learn how to move on and not let it hold her back.
But there is more to this story then the growing relationship between Shelby and AJ. Behind the scenes three other problems are unfolding, making this book hard to put down. I highly recommend it.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Reviewer: Janis Cox
I like to read before bed. It helps me relax before going to sleep. However, this book made it hard to turn out the light. Captivating characters, an interesting background and a plot that keeps moving – what more could I ask. I had read the first book in the series and at first it took me a while to realize this was a prequel to the first book. Once I figured that out I found it wonderful to get to know the history of the Montebellis and how Anna became the matriarch of the family.
My emotions certainly were played with as I grappled with frustration at some of the characters in the story. But even when I felt anger or irked by them they were certainly portrayed as real. And Anna remained true to her faith through all the upheaval that happened in her life.
I would say that the plot proceeded like Tolkien’s bringing us to an eucatastrophe (which refers to the sudden turn of events at the end of a story which ensures that the protagonist does not meet some terrible, impending, and very plausible doom). My heart raced as I read to see how on earth Anna was going to get out of this situation.
I would highly recommend this book and it could be read as first in the series too. I liked it so much I think I will go back and reread it, as my nighttime reading is not the best time for getting all the details.
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