The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years — except Biff, the Messiah’s best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in the divinely hilarious yet heartfelt work “reminiscent of Vonnegut and Douglas Adams” (Philadelphia Inquirer).
Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior’s pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But there’s no one who loves Josh more – except maybe “Maggie,” Mary of Magdala – and Biff isn’t about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.
I have to start by saying I had no idea what I was getting into when I started reading this book. I’d never heard of Christopher Moore, I didn’t read any online reviews, and even the back told me very little of what to expect. I thought, oh cute – a story about Jesus as a child (and yes, I realized it would be fictional). Two friends recommended it, so I figured I should read it.
About two chapters in and I was already shocked and confused. What I didn’t realize was that Christopher Moore was a comic writer. The book definitely took a more humorous tone, but the parts that I wasn’t expected were many sexual innuendos, references to “abominations,” and straight up descriptions of fake moves from the karma sutra such as “Rhinoceros Balancing a Jelly Donut,” all of which are meant to be humorous, but not to offend. Once the story goes through Joshua (Jesus) and Biff’s many adventures they later introduced the apostles as they meet them, often poking fun at each of them. Once I’d gotten over my initial shock, I spent a good bit of the story laughing and shaking my head.
Along with the pure creativity and and humorous parts of the story, once I closed the book I realized I actually found that it helped me grow even closer to Jesus. I know, you’re probably thinking – WHAT? Just follow me – although entirely fictional (with much research done on Jesus’s teachings, the apostles and the time period), the real story is about Joshua learning what it means for him to be the Messiah. Imagine being a young child and being told by your mother that you’re the Son of God. What does that mean? What is he supposed to do?
Biff brings much of the humor to the story, but it’s Joshua’s growth as a person, his realization of what it means to gain freedom through religion, and what he must do to show his Father his love for all of mankind that made this a really meaningful story. I closed the book feeling like I even more understood what Christ did for me – he wasn’t just a perfect figurehead sent to earth to save us all, he LIVED. He lived life just as we do, but he set an example to be something greater and he sacrificed his own life and future for us.
I highly recommend this book to Christians and non-Christians alike. Just be sure to take it all with a grain of salt. 😉
I’ve been on a bit of a reading break recently (got distracted by that iPhone game, Wordbrain..) but this past weekend I read The Amber Keeper, and it made me realize I owe you all a LOT of book reviews! For those of you who may be new around here, I made a goal at the beginning of this year to read 100 books in 2015. So far I’ve read 76! All new books (never read before) and I try to mix up difficulty and genre as well. It’s hard though when you fall in love with an author and that’s all you want to read!
Anyway, here are some of the books that I’ve read over the past couple of months:
Set against the backdrop of revolutionary Russia, The Amber Keeper is a sweeping tale of jealousy and revenge, reconciliation and forgiveness.
English Lake District, 1960s: A young Abbie Myers returns home after learning of her mother’s death. Estranged from her turbulent family for many years, Abbie is heartbroken to hear that they blame her for the tragedy.
Determined to uncover her mother’s past, Abbie approaches her beloved grandmother, Millie, in search of answers. As the old woman recounts her own past, Abbie is transported back to the grandeur of the Russian Empire in 1911 with tales of her grandmother’s life as a governess and the revolution that exploded around her.
As Abbie struggles to reconcile with her family, and to support herself and her child, she realizes that those long-ago events created aftershocks that threaten to upset the fragile peace she longs to create.
I can’t remember how I came across this book, but I really enjoyed it. Honestly, I wish it had been a little longer! It definitely took some turns that I did not expect, and although I kept waiting for the author to get into the portion of the story in Russia, I’m glad she did a little more in building the characters’ backgrounds and well as adding to the suspense. I gave it a 4 instead of a 5 on Goodreads because although it was good, it wasn’t great. Haha I have high standards for a 5!
As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.
But Ani has a secret.
There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.
With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Aliveexplores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that’s bigger than it first appears.
The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?
Oh gosh I don’t even know what to say. I actually think I ended up really liking this book. I started out hating it, actually, I almost quit partway through! I’ve made a concerted effort recently to read more positive and Christian-oriented books and this was definitely NOT that. I realize that the graphic scenes (although on anyone else’s scale they weren’t bad) were necessary to tell her story, but it was more the narrator’s mindset that really bothered me. She was just so down on herself and trying so hard to pretend she was perfect that it made me so sad for her and mad at her at the same time. But then the book took a turn and I was sucked in. I still got mad at her a few times, but the story turned into something I completely didn’t expect. I can’t say anything or it will ruin it, but this really was an incredibly interesting book with several very dynamic characters. You might not like them all, but they are so true to human kind and so real.
In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she’s in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now? As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality, in this engrossing mystery from international bestselling author Diane Chamberlain.
Oh my gosh, another WHOA kind of book. Twists and turns everywhere! I loved this book in part because it kept me dying to know what happened next, and what happened BEFORE. WHAT WAS THE TRUTH? Ah she wrote this so well, it really sucked me in. So many people involved in so many lies. Part of me wants to read it again just so I can see all the hints throughout the book!
Join best-selling author and Bible teacher Beth Moore in her latest book as she explores what it means to know and truly believe God, not just to believe IN Him. Through the examples of believers like Abraham and Moses, who trusted God’s promises, Beth encourages Christians of all ages to deepen their own trust in God, live out their faith and receive a fresh word from Him.
I’ve done a bible study by Beth Moore before and I really enjoyed her personality and the way she could relate to women, so I was interested in reading this book. I can’t say I loved it – it had so many good points but it felt like it could have been better summarized in an article or a long blog post rather than a whole book. Maybe it’s just how my mind works, but I need things more succinctly. She does make some great points, especially for anyone struggling in their faith in themselves and believing they have a purpose and are worthy of love and big dreams.
Beauty and the Beast is the first in a new series of fairy tales for young adult readers. Fans of Disney, fairy tales, and fantasy will love the Faerie Tale Collection by Jenni James. A prince by day and a wolf by night—
Prince Alexander has been turned into a werewolf and has one year to find someone to love the beast and break the spell, or he will be a wolf forever. He has nearly given up achieving the impossible, knowing no girl would ever fall in love with such a monster.
Just when he is about to abdicate the throne to his cousin, he meets Cecelia Hammerstein-Smythe, while a wolf, and begins to hope for the first time in months. Can he balance both worlds as a human and beast, gaining the love and trust of a girl who has every reason to despise him?
Cecelia detests the prince. She only knows Alexander as the arrogant monarch—the tyrant who has made her life miserable—though perhaps he’s changed right before her eyes. He’s not as full of himself as he once was. The prince is gentle now… but then again, so is the beast.
This book was recommended by Amazon based on other books I’d purchased. At first it sounded like some other books I read so I thought I’d give it a shot… Eh, not a fan. I didn’t hate it, but it was just too juvenile and the characters undeveloped. It felt like something a 15 year old girl would dream up as a fairy tale. It had some sweet moments, for sure, but it was just so short and characters were jumping from I hate you to I love you so quickly I thought I was in middle school. Which is too bad because she has several books! Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
I promised you more book reviews, and here they are! I tried to pick of bit of a variety, luckily I have many to choose from. I’ll do my best to review every book I’ve read over this year if I can. All at once I’m usually reading 1-2 personal development books (something all Beachbody coaches do!), a fiction book, and usually a health related book, such as The Woman Code, which I’m reading now and heard about from a Jess Lively podcast! I also tried to mix up my fiction (I tend to love an author and keep reading their books) and I’m reading a classic that I never had a chance to read: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens!
Amelia Barrett, heiress to an ancestral estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s infant baby. She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father, Graham, a sea captain she’s never met.
Tragedy strikes when the child vanishes with little more than a sketchy ransom note hinting to her whereabouts. Fear for the child’s safety drives Amelia and Graham to test the boundaries of their love for this infant.
Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she examines her soul and must face her one weakness: pride.
Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline.
Both must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has for planned for them.
This book was a fun read! I kinda saw where it was going from near the beginning, but nevertheless I enjoyed reading the story. It’s definitely a little corny in parts and some of the characters and situations are a bit unrealistic in the sense that they seemed to fit their character’s stereotype a little too much (not complex enough). But it was fun and relaxing to read. Basically a historic/Christian version of chick-lit. I’m a fan
From a distance, Felix Fitzwilliam, the son of an old English family, is a good husband and father. But, obsessed with order and routine, he’s a prisoner to perfection. Disengaged from the emotional life of his North Carolina family, Felix has let his wife, Ella, deal with their special-needs son by herself.
A talented jewelry designer turned full-time mother, Ella is the family rock…until her heart attack shatters their carefully structured existence. Now Harry, a gifted teen grappling with the chaos of Tourette’s, confronts a world outside his parents’ control, one that tests his desire for independence.
As Harry searches for his future, and Ella adapts to the limits of her failing health, Felix struggles with his past and present roles. To prevent the family from being ripped apart, they must each bend with the inevitability of change and reinforce the ties that bind.
This book took me forever to get through, but it was really interesting! I do feel as though parts were a bit too drawn out, but nevertheless I really wanted to know what was going to happen next! The author certainly did well with keeping up the suspense of how the story would continue, and created some pretty complex characters as well. After reading the book, I looked through an interview in the back and saw how much research the author did in mental disorders like Tourette’s and what that experience was really like for both the person with the syndrome and his or her family. I also loved that the book switched between characters’ points of view. Overall, it’s a little longer than I’d have liked, but a really good book.
On a cool October morning, Lauren Wilder is shaken when she comes close to striking Bo Laughlin with her car as he’s walking along the road’s edge. A young man well known in their small town of Hardys Walk, Texas, Bo seems fine, even if Lauren’s intuition says otherwise. Since the accident two years ago that left her brain in a fragile state, she can’t trust her own instincts—and neither can her family. Then Bo vanishes, and as the search for him ensues, the police question whether she’s responsible. Lauren is terrified, not of what she remembers but of what she doesn’t.
Unable to trust herself and unwilling to trust anyone else, Lauren begins her own investigation into the mystery of Bo’s disappearance. But the truth can prove to be as shocking as any lie, and as Lauren exposes each one, from her family, from her friends, she isn’t the only one who will face heart-stopping repercussions.
Oh my gosh, this book! Totally not what I expected! Talk about keeping you on the edge of your seat – I had NO IDEA how this was going to go! It was fascinating how the author slowly tied together the story, including pieces of the past as well as various points of view. It’s almost like the book is a mystery (okay, well it is…) and you’re given little bits of information as time goes on and then once you’ve finished it all makes sense looking back! I got this book for free through Amazon Prime and I’m so glad I ended up reading it. I definitely recommend it! It’s almost Gone Girl-esque, if you’re a fan of that book.
Sophie has long wished to get away from her stepmother’s jealous anger, and believes escape is her only chance to be happy. Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be her chance at freedom – but can she trust another person to keep her safe?
Gabe knows he defied his parents Rose and Wilhelm by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the orphan girl has stolen his heart. Though romance is impossible – she is his brother’s future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else – he promises to himself he will keep her safe, no matter what.
When the pair are forced to run to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help – but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Can they find a way to protect Sophie while also safeguarding their hearts?
This is actually the second book I read by this author, after enjoying the first. I didn’t like it quite as much because it’s very clearly based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (which is intentional), but I felt like that took away some suspense. It was interesting, however, how her version was very different in many ways. I enjoyed the overall story and it was relaxing to read, however I do think certain parts were drawn out just to add in “lessons” (another Christian author) that weren’t really necessary to the story. It’s another cute fairytale light-read, so worth it if you’re in the mood for something like that.
“It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon.” This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The whole family–their two daughters and two sons, their grandchildren, even their faithful old dog–is on the porch, listening contentedly as Abby tells the tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different too: Abby and Red are growing older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them, and the fate of the house so lovingly built by Red’s father. Brimming with the luminous insight, humor, and compassion that are Anne Tyler’s hallmarks, this capacious novel takes us across three generations of the Whitshanks, their shared stories and long-held secrets, all the unguarded and richly lived moments that combine to define who and what they are as a family.
Hmmm. I liked many parts of this book but also didn’t like a lot of other parts. I think that is partially because the characters were very real – they had their good characteristics but they had their flaws as well. It was honest, which can be good but at the same time I read to escape from the less fun parts of reality, which this book confronts straight on. One thing I did really appreciate was the changing back and forth between “now and then,” better explaining each character’s history and how they became the way they are. It’s a really interesting book and great if you’re looking for something with honest, multi-dimensional characters.
I know, I know, how does a girl read 100 books in a year and not manage to post a single review? Probably because by the time I think about posting a review, I’ve already read three other books… And then the pile of books to review becomes overwhelming, so I just push it to the back of my mind, and then I end up tripping over a giant pile of books and breaking my arm. Not really, since I read them on my kindle, but you get the idea. Metaphorically. Aaaanyway…
Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.
A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate,Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.
When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .
The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.
Obviously these are two different books, but since I read them both (and the novella that sums up what happens after the second book) I thought I should review them together. I actually read them about a month apart because I really liked the first book, from Allyson’s point of view, and I thought reading the same time period from another point of view would just be boring. Well I was wrong. Very wrong. It was like reading an entirely different book (okay it was, literally 😉 ), but by that I mean an entirely different story.
This might be a “young adult” series (college age), but it was beautifully written. There were so many little intricacies between the two and within each story that you have to really be paying attention to if you want to pick up on them. Little things that brought the whole theme of the books together. They were about fate, timing, the inability to control everything, and finding yourself while looking for someone else. I really appreciated all the characters in these stories, even the smallest character was well written and developed. No person was superfluous, they all had a role to play in each other’s lives.
Can I say I loved these books? Because I did. A lot. They may not be classics or award winners, but they tell a simple story in a beautiful and exciting way.
I’m a huge fan of Jodi Picoult and after reading almost every book of hers a few years ago, I still had Picture Perfect left on my “to read” list. I guess it just didn’t sound interesting by the book title. However, I’m a little OCD so I wanted to read it just to be able to fully complete her collection of books. Well, I’m really glad that I did!
Picture Perfect follows the story of a young woman who is found with amnesia and goes back and forth between “after” the accident and the years leading up to it, telling her story and that of both her husband and another man who becomes integral to her life.
I have to say this book drew me in almost instantly. I was about 30% through and thought I was almost done, but then looked and realized I had SO much more. I love books like that – it means that they aren’t boring and that the storyline is really complex. I think many chick lit type books I read, or books split up into trilogies, tend to have shorter story lines, so it was nice to have one that was longer. We really got a look into the characters’ lives, backgrounds and why they behave as they do.
I think a big part of this book is also about understanding why women stay in negative relationships (haha trying to not give anything away!). I have to be honest in that reading the story I was actually hoping they’d stay together, that the author made me truly understand how easy it is to push aside the bad when you have so much good. This book was fascinating. I highly recommend it!