Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts

March 18, 2018

The Shack by WM. Paul Young

Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his "Great Sadness," Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.
Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.
In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?" The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone you know to read this book!
This is way out of my normal genre of book. If you thought yolo came out of nowhere, hold on to your seats, because this one is even more outside of my bubble. But, it was referred by a good friend, so here we are.

Even though it’s different from my tastes, I went in with a completely open mind and I didn’t dislike it.

It took me awhile to get over how many times “God” is written on each page. I mean, I get it, that’s what the book is about. But WOW. Mix it up with “Him” at least. Not to be confused with he band HIM of course.

The Shack is quite the journey from start to finish tackling all sorts of tough topics along the way leading Mack to question God and want justification for all of the pain and evil in the world. Spending time with the Holy Trinity does a number on his state of mind, and he comes out the way I believe most people wish to feel.

The Shack raises a lot of questions and makes you ponder your own life along the way. Every person who reads it will look at it differently depending on what they’re dealing with in their lives. I, myself, wanted to rip it in half and burn it a few times.

Id like to have a conversation like this with God. I’ve got a bone to pick.

4/5 Stars. Definitely worth the read. If for nothing else than a different take on what God is like.

Memorable Quotes: “Each relationship between two persons is absolutely unique. That is why you cannot love two people the same. It simply is not possible. You love each person differently because of who they are and the uniqueness that they draw out of you. And the more you know another, the richer the colors of that relationship.”

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January 28, 2016

Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo

Do you remember the hospital, Colton? Sonja said. Yes, mommy, I remember, he said. That’s where the angels sang to me.

When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy s trip to heaven and back.

Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.

With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how really, really big God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton s uniquely simple words, Heaven Is for Real offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.
I went into this book not really knowing what to expect. Books about religion can sometimes be kind of preachy and pushy. Thankfully, this book wasn’t any of those things. I felt that it wasn’t at least.

I think it is a book that both believers and non-believers could enjoy. It is a sweet story about a little boy and what he saw while on the verge of death.

I think it was very well written, and there were some parts that made me laugh out loud. There was personality in the writing, which I wasn’t completely expecting.

It is pretty short, so it could be a nice weekend afternoon read if you haven’t picked it up yet.
If you are into memoirs, I would suggest giving this one a shot.

4/5 Stars

Memorable Quotes: “Pastors are supposed to be unshakable pillars of faith, right? But at that moment, my faith was hanging by a tattered thread and fraying fast.”

“If you haven’t heard your preschooler tell you he was dead, I don’t recommend it.”

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February 1, 2014

Demonworld Book 1 by Kyle B. Stiff

Reading Demonworld is almost like being thrust into an action packed nightmare full of devilish creatures one would never want to face in real life.

When Wodi wakes up in a place full of darkness, he doesn’t know how he got there or why he is there. As he starts exploring, he runs into other people from Haven just like him who were dropped into the same place for seemingly no reason. They team up to try to get back home, but encountering demons and ghouls puts a damper on their progress.

After finally feeling a little sense of relief, Wodi is separated from his only remaining partner and wakes up amongst a group of slaves. They are led by the Ugly, and Wodi (turned Wodan) has decided the slaves need to fight back against the Ugly so that they can live in freedom. It takes a lot of work and a lot of convincing, but eventually he gets a good number of people on his side, and it is time for action.

The ending of this book offers a lot of action. There is a huge gun fight. Only the strongest will come out alive.

I feel this book may have worked better being broken up into two parts. If not made into two separate books, maybe having a book 1 and book 2 within it. Book 2 should begin after Wodi (then Wodan) gets mixed up with the Ugly and takes leadership over the slaves. I feel these are two separate story lines that should be split up, otherwise it is a little hard to soak it in all at once.

The attention paid to detail in the writing is very good. It is easy to imagine the scenery even though it is far beyond what any of us have seen except for maybe in movies or dreams. The beasts are also well described. This book is very visual, except it has no pictures. If the author had not paid as much attention to detail, it would completely fail as the reader would have no idea what was going on.

That being said, some of the chapters were a bit long and it was a little hard to soak in all at once. In some, there were chapter breaks where it would switch to a different story line involving Haven guardians and scientists. It was a little difficult to see how they meshed together at points, and the idea of the Project was only relevant during those short chapter breaks. I suppose that is because this is a book one and it is setting up for the rest of the series, but I would have liked to have gained a little more knowledge of the Project earlier in the book.

What I take away from this is it was a book about good against evil; A play on heaven and hell – demons and angels. The whole book had religious undertones, and it really becomes apparent at the end.

It was an interesting story. I feel some of the chapters and sections were drawn out when they could have been shorter. Once I reached the end, the whole first have seemed a bit irrelevant except for the fact Wodi draws his strength from what he went through at the beginning.

Wodi is developed well as a character, but I feel like the rest didn’t have much time to develop in this one. But being the first in a series, that can happen.

There were also a lot of horses killed in it. Didn’t like that factor too much.

3.5/5 stars. 

August 26, 2013

You Are To Decide.., but Death and Rising Are Through Human Flesh by Walt March, Antony Sturdee, and Claire Glowen

I will start this by saying that from the title of this book, you can’t really figure out what it will be about. That is the case with some books, which is fine, but with this one it is different. Even after reading it I am not really sure what it was about.

I guess there was a main storyline; The main character is a detective. Tragedy strikes his family and others around him. The horror seems to be stemming from this mysterious book that was given to his wife and child. He and his partner Felix team up to try to solve the crimes.

Then there was the poetry that was thrown in the complement the novel. I think this was a good strategy in theory. It helped break up the story in to smaller and easier to read parts rather than having just a plain wall of text. Coming from someone who can lose interest easily if I am not given short chapters or some sort of a break in the chapters, I liked this concept.

The execution, though, I felt was very weak. Many times I was wondering how the poems flowed with the story. Other times I wondered if they were meant to fit at all or if they were just a small thought given to us from the main character. Some of them did fit and flow with the story, and when they did, it was enjoyable.
Then there was the non-poetry, non-main story line that consisted of just the thoughts of the main character on various topics often revolving around religion. When you decide to write on religious topics, it is really either hit or miss. There is rarely a middle ground that the stories fall into and I felt this one was sort of a miss. I didn’t understand how most of it tied in together, and the flow was just not there for me.

The writing in this novel was very, very formal. For me, if I am reading formal writing, I feel like I am reading a text book and it makes it hard to focus on the story line. I found myself getting lost often, but not really wanting to go back and reread the paragraph, page, etc.

The only thing that kept me hanging on until the end was wanting to figure out what the story was behind the mysterious book. Once I got to the end, I felt it was severely lacking and I felt like I didn’t receive a full story.

The concept behind this novel was pretty good, the execution missed the mark though.

2/5 stars. There was mystery to the story, but the thoughts didn't flow together.