reviews i write, thoughts i have…

Murder By Family
May 3, 2009, 12:38 am
Filed under: CRoB Review, Non-Fiction Review

murder-by-familyMurder By Family
By: Kent Whitaker
ISBN: 9781416578130
Review by: Sarah Katie

One night after a celebratory dinner, Kent’s family was met at the door of their home by a gunman. After the grief of learning of his youngest son and wife’s deaths, he vows to forgive the man who took their lives. What he didn’t realize at the time, his surviving son was the man behind the crime, hiring his roommate to stage a murder/robbery.

Kent Whitaker writes a very heart wrenching and an amazing true story about a father’s love and the amazing forgiveness that comes with it. It wasn’t an easy journey for sure, but he has traveled down it, and is sharing his “Absalom” story with people around the U.S. This is a sad, sad book, and it’s taken me a long time to write down my thoughts because of this. It’s doesn’t have a happy ending. More than likely the end is not going to be happy but is going to be a long and sometimes dark road. But reading about  how his life has changed in the past couple of years has been rewarding and eye-opening. If one man can forgive his son with the extent he has, how much more has God forgiven us? I really believe this will touch a lot of people’s lives, and show people how far forgiveness can go. Many people will have a renewed sense of what it means to have faith in the face of hardship after reading Kent’s story.


A Forgotten Gospel
February 13, 2009, 10:11 pm
Filed under: CRoB Review, Non-Fiction Review
a-forgotten-gospelA Forgotten Gospel
By: Mark McGrath with Pat Russo
ISBN: 9780979036200
Review by: Sarah Katie
A Forgotten Gospel is a simple and to-the-point book on evangelism. Mark McGrath describes his work as a “different, but very Biblical approach to talking about Jesus in the modern world“. There are no gimmicks or shortcuts, just a clear message that is based on the book of Acts. It is written to Christians who don’t feel as if they know how to share the gospel effectively. Mark McGrath shares some much needed advice that is not complicated and is simple to follow. I underlined many interesting sentences and passages and thought on the words for several days afterward.
It’s a quick read at only 72 pages, but a lot of great information is packed in this little book. In order to get the most out of A Forgotten Gospel (or any book for that matter) you’ll probably need to read it several times. I do think this is will be a great resource for anyone who wants to share their faith, whether for the very 1st time or not.

Who is this Jesus Christ?
February 13, 2009, 10:09 pm
Filed under: CRoB Review, Fiction review
Who is this Jesus Christ?Who is this Jesus Christ?
By: Rev. William G. Houser, Ph. D.
ISBN: 9781424136377
Review by: Sarah Katie
For the past 33 years, journalist and skeptic Marcus Valerius has been assigned to report on Jesus’ life, death and his eventual resurrection. Before he never would have believed that one man could change him so much. But now, after seeing Him heal and bring people back to life, how could he not believe this Jesus was something more than just a man?


Who is this Jesus Christ? follows the scriptural accounts of Jesus’ life very well for a novel, particularly since this is very important part of the Bible! William Houser doesn’t include anything in his writing that isn’t at least alluded to in scripture. He uses a link to the Dead Sea Scrolls, adding some intrigue to the plot that history mystery addicts will love.

On the downside each “Script” begins or ends with “this is Marcus Valerius….” which gets a tad old. While it is completely in agreement with column aspect of the story it can be distracting to the reader. Some of the writing seems out of place for a 1st century Roman. The concept of a skeptic following Jesus Christ during his ministry is great. The writing doesn’t quite do it justice, but it still is a great read. It’s definitely a book that makes you ponder what (and who) you would have believed during Jesus’ time on Earth.

Solemnly Swear
January 28, 2009, 10:30 am
Filed under: CRoB Review, Fiction review
solemnly-swearSolemnly Swear
By: Nancy Moser
ISBN: 9781414301631
Review by: Sarah Katie
Pattie McCoy’s boyfriend is dead. Will the members of the jury find her guilty… or innocent? The jury members all have their own point of view. Are they able to put aside their differences and come up with a verdict?
This book probably has the most intense, thrilling beginning I’ve ever read! Moser swept me away with the story at the first. I was intrigued and I had my suspicions. Solemnly Swear follows the lives of four jury members, without getting confusing. I haven’t read a lot of courtroom suspense novels, but this definitely has made me want to read more! It is evident that the author did a whole lot of research for this book. Solemnly Swear is a great read!

Queen Esther’s Reflection
January 27, 2009, 10:30 am
Filed under: CRoB Review, Non-Fiction Review
queenQueen Esther’s Reflection: A Portrait of Grace, Courage, and Excellence
By: Ann Platz
ISBN: 9781596690127
Review by: Sarah Katie
Mrs. Platz has me thinking about this incredible woman of the Old Testament.
Esther was more than just the Jewish beauty-turned-queen. She was a living, breathing example for women of today. We have so much to learn from this woman. From hospitality and mentoring to extending grace toward others, Ann Platz shows that Esther was an amazing person and role model. The author gives ideas for reaching out to other women. Mrs. Platz is not hesitant to share her own short-comings and regrets.
I love that there are study questions at the end of the chapters to be used as a devotional or bible study with a women’s group. The book itself is geared more to older married women, although any female can take something away from Queen Esther’s Reflection.

Jesus, You are Quite the Fellow
January 26, 2009, 10:30 am
Filed under: CRoB Review, Non-Fiction Review
jesus-you-are-quite-the-fellowJesus, You are Quite the Fellow
By: Tyrone W. Cobb M.D.
ISBN: 9781424174799
Review By: Sarah Katie
Jesus, You are Quite the Fellow is the remembrance of a young man by his grieving father. Mr. Cobb’s retelling is both thought-provoking and touching. He has experienced many trials and heartaches. I highly respect him for his courage and strength. He encourages readers going through what he has encountered and those who have not yet lost a loved one. At times this book is a gut-wrenching and compelling look at our own lives. I found myself wondering… if I died tonight would be obvious that I knew Jesus Christ? Mr. Cobb has this assurance, and he takes us on the journey with him. Justin’s journal is published in the book along his father’s thoughts on the passages. The pictures of Justin within the book help in understanding who he was.

Refresh: Sharing Stories. Building Faith
January 25, 2009, 10:30 am
Filed under: CRoB Review, Non-Fiction Review
refreshRefresh: Sharing Stories. Building Faith
By: Kathy Escobar & Laura Greiner
ISBN: 9781596690691
Review by: Sarah Katie
Following in the steps of the recent Biblezine publications, this women’s Bible study is very easy and fun to read. I guess one could call it a “Studyzine”? The true story of a woman at the beginning of each chapter all serve to show the theme of the chapter, whether trying to seek acceptance or dealing with an unforgiving heart. The chapters have activities, discussion starters and some great additional resources. This would make a good devotional for quiet time. Refresh is truly a fresh way of making Bible studies. I hope there will be more in the future!
Women of all ages will benefit from this study.