Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson - a book review

This was the first time I’ve ever read a book by Dee Henderson although I’ve heard she’s a wonderful Christian author. I was intrigued by the title of the book, Traces of Guilt, when I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. I assumed, from the title, that the book would be a great mystery and was looking forward to reading it.

The main character of the story is Evie Blackwell, an Illinois State Police Detective. Evie loves her job and puts everything she has into it. As dedicated as she is, Evie longs to be married but hasn’t yet found the right man and even if she did; she doesn’t have a clue how to balance her life with both a job and a man in it.

Evie is assigned to a task force that will begin looking at cold cases between five and fifteen years old. The police department needs a fresh pair of eyes to help them solve some of the cases and Evie is gung-ho to be part of the team.

The task force works together to discuss possible scenarios and leads. Some of the cases are solved and some are not but the story line kind of leaves us hanging here. I was looking forward to deep forensic type investigations but most of the cases were just lightly glossed over and not much attention was paid to detail.

Although this book was written by a Christian author, there wasn’t a lot of reference to Christ in the book or Scripture reference either. There were a few short prayers included and it was evident the characters were church goers but other than that, I would just have considered this a good, clean book for the general public.

All in all, the book was good but I kept wanting more. The writing was descriptive with well thought out scenarios and plots. Ms. Henderson writes in a way that is easy to read. The story flowed nicely although I needed a more intense story line or some sort of excitement to spark my interest a little more. I’m not sure I would recommend this book to others. It seemed slow in some parts and almost dead in others. On a star rating, I would probably give it a 2 just because I felt like there wasn’t enough excitement and energy to keep the characters engaged and interesting.

I would like to thank Bethany House Publishers for the opportunity to review this book. I was not encouraged to give a positive review, only an honest one.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Called to Community - a book review

Recently, I was given the opportunity to review the book, Called to Community, The Life Jesus Wants for His People. This book is an excellent collaboration of articles written by many of my favorite authors such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Henri J. M. Nouwen, C.S. Lewis, and Thomas Merton. Each selection provides interesting and detailed information on how we, as Christians, are called to work together to spread the Gospel of Christ.

Community is about learning to care enough to invest in the lives of those around us. For followers of Christ, our mission is to follow the command to love but we can't do that unless we're willing to get involved in the lives of others. Jean Vanier, one of the contributors to this book, says "A Community is only truly a body when the majority of its members is making the transition "from the community for myself" to the "myself for the community," when each person's heart is opening to all the others, without any exceptions."

I learned many things from reading this book. I was especially interested one of the selections, "The Way," by Alden Bass. A detailed account of the history behind the Christian Community of Jewish believers called, The Way, is given. I found the information contained in Mr. Bass' writing to be filled with Biblical history.

Some of the other topics included in the book include:

  • Pentecost
  • Counterculture
  • Idealism
  • Solitude
  • Surrender
  • Deeds
  • The Way
  • Surrender
  • Transparency 

Called to Community is a book filled with 52 different selections of information written by people who have learned the importance of community. Each of these selections falls under one of four subheadings: A Call to Community, Forming Community, Life in Community, and Beyond the Community. This book would be a great choice for use in small group Bible studies. A detailed discussion guide is included in the back of the book and provides thought provoking questions like these:

  • How can differences be a blessing?
  • What does the word "unity" mean to you?
  • What does true submission entail?
  • Is community possible without submission?
  • Does accepting others as they are mean we have to ignore those things in them that need to change?
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in building a strong Christian community or anyone interested in learning more about Biblical history. I would like to thank Plough Publishing for providing me with a complimentary early review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

©bonnie annis all rights reserved