Saturday, March 22, 2014

Esther Queen of Persia, by Jim Baumgardner- A Review

About the book: Jim Baumgardner/ Esther Queen of Persia
ISBN: 978-0988410718| List Price: $16.95 | Format: Softcover & ebook | Page Count: 304

Hadassah, the beautiful, Jewish teenager from the city of Susa in Persia, is taken by force to the palace of King Ahasuerus. His command to find the most beautiful virgins in his kingdom, and bring them to the house of women, has placed Hadassah under the supervision of Hegai, the king's custodian of women. Hegai and his servants, have one year to prepare each virgin for one night with the king. Although Hadassah was taken from her home by force, she refuses to become bitter. She accepts being called Esther, but inside remains always, Hadassah. She continually wonders why she is there, yet remains faithful to her God, and to her identity. It is years before the answer is revealed. Her people face annihilation, and it falls upon her shoulders to stop it. Her first thought is to shirk her duty, but Mordecai, her cousin, will not allow it. His words, '"Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"' brings her to her senses.

Unlike many of the novels written about Esther, this book seeks to remain true to the Biblical account, while supplying additional historical information from the time period 486-473 B.C. The book has a five page Introduction, which gives insight into some of the things found in the story. It has a page, listing the months of the Jewish sacred calendar and the corresponding month of our modern calendar. Also in the back of the book is a listing of Scriptures mentioned in each chapter, along with a listing of works consulted in research for Esther Queen of Persia.

My Thoughts: I must start by saying that Esther is one of my very favorite books of the Bible. I love the courage that she possessed and her faith in God. As you can probably imagine, I jumped on this book the minute I discovered it! It did not disappoint. In fact, it made me fall in love with Esther even more. 

This book is written with many details of 5th century Persia that I didn't know about. It transported me into the story. I found myself getting excited and anxious, reminding myself again and again that I already knew the ending. The picture, that Mr. Baumgardner painted with his words, was so captivating that I could not put this book down. I feel challenged to start studying more history around the books of the Bible that I am reading. I gained so much understanding about who Esther was and why her role was so important. 

I encourage you to read this book! I believe that you too, will not be disappointed!

You can get your copy here.

The news was just released that Esther Queen of Persia won a Finalist Award in the Book of the Year Awards for Adult Religious Fiction. It will go on to compete for the title of Book of the Year. You can read the full press release HERE

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Thin Film of Lies by C.S. Lakin a review

About the Book:  The story tells of a homicide detective, Fran Anders, whose next case throws her into the lives of Mike and Alisa Jepson, a couple whose marriage is disintegrating fast. When leads coming into the precinct point at Mike Jepson as guilty of murder, Fran watches the damage wrought on this couple, yet is unable to ignore the incriminating evidence. When Mike ends up arrested and in jail, Alisa takes comfort in a friend—Dee Dee—who moves in with her but soon becomes her worst nightmare. Mike hires a PI who uncovers clues to who is setting Mike up, but Alisa is caught in a trap before Mike can protect her. Although Fran reaches out to Alisa during her crisis of faith, she is unable to stop events from barreling toward a crash. Yet, despite the tragedies to follow, Fran sees how God has used the Jepsons’ trials and pain to bring Alisa back into His arms, with hope that Mike might follow suit.
Fran is a dedicated, no-frills cop who takes her job seriously but with a wry sense of humor. She suffers from the unbearable heat, from unrelenting allergies, but does not suffer fools. As much as she wants to please her superiors, she knows her true boss is—God—and she answers first and foremost to his leading, which sometimes takes her beyond the call of duty, often to the ire of those around her. A middle-aged, divorced, single parent with two teens, Fran hopes someday to find a great man and remarry, but she’s not holding her breath. Right now, she just wants to be a good cop and mother, and use her faith to help those she encounters in her line of work learn there’s someone “up there” who truly cares for them.
My Thoughts:  I am not usually one to read a mystery novel. In fact, you will not even catch me watching any of the famous TV series about crime scene investigations. However, something about this book caught my attention. I jumped on it. I am so glad that I did. Lakin created such depth with her characters and wove such an intricate web of twists and turns. She had me guessing until the very end. 

I could not even begin to pick a favorite character. They are all so well developed that I fell in love with them for different reasons.  Fran, the cop, is a perfect example of Christians in everyday life, just trying to trust God with her life despite all the chaos around her. Mike, a business man with a past that could make anyone blush, is being accused of murder. I love the way Lakin highlights the fine line that is associated with sin, shines light on Ephesians 4:27 ('do not give the devil a foothold'), and reminds us that with God sin is very serious! 

With each turn of the page, I read as she unveiled her story and the pieces fell together. The final product was so beautifully written. The ending was very unexpected and yet perfect!

If you enjoy mysteries, or crime scene detective shows this book is definitely for you! 

Get your copy on Amazon.

 About the Author: C. S. Lakin is a novelist and professional copyeditor who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. The first four books in her seven-book fantasy series, The Gates of Heaven, have been released (AMG/Living Ink Publishers) and she is also the author of 5 novels of pyschological suspense and YA sci-fi.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.