Thursday, June 30, 2011

No Place Like Holmes by Jason Lethcoe

The new resident in 221A Baker Street is about to give Sherlock Holmes a run for his magnifying glass!

When Griffin is sent to stay with his detective uncle at 221A Baker Street for the summer, he is certain that his uncle must be the great Sherlock Holmes! But Griffin is disappointed to discover that Holmes lives at 221B Baker Street and his uncle lives unit 221A. His uncle is a detective, just not a very good one. But when Griffin meets a woman with a case that Holmes has turned away for being too ridiculous, he and his uncle team up to help her. Along the way, Griffin shows his uncle just what it means to have true faith in God, even when the case challenges that. The woman claims that her husband was eaten by the Loch Ness Monster, but monsters aren’t real-or are they?


 This a great mystery novel for young Christian readers, though I enjoyed it as an adult too.
Griffin Sharpe is an incredibly observant, intelligent, and intuitive boy. He notices everything. His uncle is a crabby yet eccentric detective/inventor who wants nothing to do with a boy - yet Griffins gentle nature, faith, and compassionate heart quickly win him over. They end up making a great detective team.

The characters in this book are all very unique and interesting - quirky even. The plot moves along quickly and has a lot of detail, yet should still be very easy for younger readers to follow. By younger readers, I would say 8-13 years old or so.

What I most appreciated about this book as a piece of junior literature was the Christian character qualities that come through in Griffin Sharpe. Griffins father had been a minister and Griffin hope to lead his Uncle to the Lord. Though there wasn't as much about faith as I had expected, I still would recommend it. It was so refreshing to read a junior mystery with Christian character qualities reflected so often in the main character.

One other interesting fact is that it is based on the true story of Griffin Sharpe.

Young can visit the authors blog for more information on the real Griffin Sharpe. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hidden Affections by Delia Parr

Annabelle Tyler is a sweet and beautiful woman of faith. When her husband takes off with her inheritance and then divorces her, she leaves for Philadelphia, hoping to find a job at a candy shop. As a divorced woman in the 1830’s, she had few options. Yet on her way to Philadelphia the stage was robbed, and she ends up being forced to marry Harrison Graymoor, and elusive and affluent bachelor.

In an effort to keep their marriage a secret until they could obtain an annulment or divorce, he sends her to his country estate where we meet a lovely and unique cast of characters. Both continue to keep their secrets while trying not to fall in love.

I really enjoyed this story. I appreciated how clearly the author demonstrated her understanding of how difficult life was for a divorced woman in that day. The characters were unique and interested, and the story moved along at a nice pace, and some surprising twists in the plot keep things interesting.

Though at first I was a little unsure of another Delia Parr book about an undesired marriage, I assure you that the storyline is quite different, and this one was my favorite of the Parr books that I have read.

I must mention that I received a complimentary review copy of the book from Bethany House, but that in no way influenced my opinion of it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

 Sent away by her father after her reputation comes into question, Maria Aubrey is living in an abandoned gatehouse on her aunt’s estate. With little means to support herself, she begins writing novels – in secret. Accompanied by one loyal servant, she seeks to start her new life with the few people she can trust.

Captain Matthew Bryant leases the estate hoping to win back a lost love, yet he is intrigued by the girl in the gatehouse. Haunted by his own past, he also seeks to start a new life at Windrush Court.

This engaging story, set in 1813 -1814, is full of mystery and romance, forgiveness and redemption. But what most impressed me with this book were the characters. These very dynamic characters were so full of surprises that every time I thought I had one figured out, a new mystery appeared. From the eccentric and witty aunt, to the scoundrel cousin, to the strange man on the poorhouse roof, each of the characters was very deep and rich. Some you will love, others you will hate, but all of them make this a great book.

The story is very well paced; with little bits of enticing pieces of the mysterious pasts of even the secondary characters drawing the reader along, always guessing what might be next.

I must mention that I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany house publishers. That in no way influenced my opinion of it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Heaven Revealed Review and Giveaway

In this book Bible teacher Paul Enns explores the questions that people frequently ask regarding heaven and the eternal states. Having recently lost his beloved wife, these questions are very dear to him, and he asnswers questions in great detail, offering a glimpse into what is yet to come.

When I was first offered this book to review, I almost turned it down. So often books about heaven end up being highly speculative and unbiblical. Coming from a publisher that usually offers very solid books, I thought this one might be different.
In many ways, it wasn't. Enns frequently cites the existing books about heaven, most often "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn - a book which was not very grounded in Scripture. Though Enns uses a lot of Scripture, he doesn't often directly quote it, leaving the reader to have to check his Scripture references on their own. When checking a few of them, I found that when viewed in context they were not about heaven or the eternal states, which leads me to question his handling of Scripture.
My other concern with the book is that Enns seems to ignore passages that are clearly in opposition to what he claims. Let me give you an example.
In Mark 12 the Sadducees approached Jesus and asked about marriage after the resurrection:


20"There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, and died leaving no children.

21"The second one married her, and died leaving behind no children; and the third likewise;

22and so all seven left no children. Last of all the woman died also.

23"In the resurrection, when they rise again, which one's wife will she be? For all seven had married her."

24Jesus said to them, "Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?
25"For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Yet Enns continuously indicates that our relationship with our spouses will continue, without offering any explanation of this apparent contradiction.

While it was entertaining to imagine what might be, overall I felt that the author did not do an adequate job of exegeting Scripture to defend his claims.

If you would like to win a copy of this book, simply leave a comment below. Please be sure to include an email address if one isn't available in your profile.
The giveaway will close on June 19 at 7PM.