Monday, December 29, 2014

The Patmos Deception

The title of this book got my attention because Patmos is where the Apostle John received his revelation from God.  Thinking that a story could be written involving a deception surrounding Patmos is intriguing.  The book does not disappoint.  While no blockbuster, it is well written and the characters have plenty of depth to hold you to the story.  Without giving away the plot (I hope!) I will say the aspect of stolen Greek art and treasures is an alluring subject which makes for a meaty narrative. The descriptions of the scenery on the Greek Isles is well done and pleasant reading.
 Carey Mathers is led to Athens with the offer of a job at the prestigious Athens Institute for Antiquities. A lifelong desire to visit Greece, especially Patmos, fuels her acceptance of the offer.  Nick Hennessy is a journalist longing for a big story to propel him to the journalistic forefront.  Dimitri Rubinos is a Greek whose life and living are on the Greek Isles.  The economic crisis in Greece threatens his livelihood and the intersection of these three people is well blended.
The author makes use of the recent crash of the Greek economic system weaving it into the personal story of the characters and the plot, making the story timely.  I was a little disappointed with the ending;  it felt a little drab compared to the wild ride the characters take up to that point.  It is almost solved too easily.  This novel has everything needed for a "good read" and is well written but not completely absorbing.  But then, it doesn't have to be.  A good book can be just that and be worthy of the reader's interest.  I recommend The Patmos Deception for that reason.  It's a good book.  Davis Bunn is an award winning novelist because he writes good books well and we want to read them.  You can add this to your list.  I give The Patmos Deception four stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.

Friday, December 19, 2014

the christmas train

David Baldacci writes a mildly humorous (makes you smile or slightly chuckle, which is a good thing) story of a journalist, Tom Langdon,  riding the train from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles during the Christmas season.  The reason he is on the train, as opposed to taking a flight on an airplane, is a hilariously familiar scenario that many, if not most of us can easily relate to.  I'll say, if you have flown in the past ten years then you will get it!
The reason he is traveling during Christmas is to spend the holidays with his girlfriend (part-time) in L.A.  The trip is mostly taken on the Southwest Chief; just the name makes me want to hop a train and have an adventure out west!  During this journey he meets a cast of odd and funny people also riding the Chief.  They bring their own set of quirks and eccentricities that only add to the fun and misadventure-or maybe I should say they add fun to the mis-adventure!
Tom is a burned out journalist who has spent some years traveling the world to cover war, famine, political unrest, natural disaster and the like.  He laid that down to write what the author calls "drearily light" articles on gardening, home decorating, etc.  This did give him some peace and quiet but no challenge there.  He is challenged however by his dying father, to write the story he is living on the train, so to speak. It has some history I will leave for you to discover, which adds to the charm of this novel.   He is taking the trip and writing about his journey cross-country on a train at Christmas time.  This is just the book you need to read if you want some relaxing calm and quietude with an upbeat feeling.  It will put you in the Christmas mood.
The Christmas Train was published in 2002 and I pulled it off the shelf of my personal collection to read again.  Glad I did!  I give the christmas train five stars!
I hope you and yours have the merriest of Christmases and the Happiest of New Years!  See you soon.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

David and Bathsheba

Roberta Kells Dorr wrote this timeless story of two of God's people, one a king and one a commoner, as the passionate emotional ride that it surely was.  She takes us on the intense life voyage of King David and Bathsheba, who shared a love born out of mutual attraction but fulfilled in sin.  I love to read fiction taken from the Bible and fleshed out with what may have been the circumstances surrounding a story.  I like to read about the culture of the time when the story was taking place.  What I love most is that these stories are history, written down in God's word.  I appreciate that she wrote this book in several distinct parts, detailing the events from each of the main characters perspective.  She begins the book with Bathsheba's grandfather Ahithophel, who raised her.  Knowing the history of the characters coming together and how they arrived at the same place at the same time is engaging.  Add to that the knowledge that this is God's story and His will is always accomplished makes the book come alive as you see Him work in both their lives. Most moving for me was the point when David realized his wrongdoing to others were sins were against God and he needed His forgiveness.  In joy with the realization that God did not intend for him to carry his guilt forever and had made a way for David to be forgiven and his sins atoned, he prayed what we know as Psalm 51,
Purge me with hyssop, Lord, that I may be clean;
Wash me that I may be whiter than snow.
Rescue me from blood-guiltiness, O God.
Create in me a clean heart
And renew a right spirit within me.

This book is a well written retelling of a powerful time in our history as Christians.  It is engaging and easy to read, yet has the depth that holds the readers attention.  I give David and Bathsheba five stars!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, River North, a division of Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.
Read more about the author at Roberta Kells Dorr or Moody Publishers.