Book Review – The Shack

The Shacktheshackcover-thumb
Written By: WM. Paul Young
Published By: Windblown Media, in association with Hachette Book Group USA, 2008, First Edition, 256 pages, softcover
ISBN 978-0964729230

The Shack is a unique blend of sadness, regret and tension; with a whole bunch of religion thrown in the middle.”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“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!”

The Shack is not at all what I had been expecting. When I read the descriptions of this book and all the rave reviews, I was chomping-at-the-bit to get a copy to read and review. As I began reading, I was blown away by the skillful writing and the story; the first four chapters, literally kept me spellbound! Mac’s horror and sorrow because of the loss of his daughter is palpable and so very moving. Then I began reading chapter five and what a disappointment it was…right on through to the beginning of the last chapter. Chapters five through seventeen are a communion with God, as the holy trinity. The holy trinity however, is a somewhat eccentric blend of ethnic persons who stretch the plausibility and the imaginative bounds of who God could be. For some, this book might be a wondrously creative look at the heavenly father, though I can’t help feeling that some Christians and/or religious people may well be offended by this potentially blasphemous characterization of the Holy trinity. These thirteen chapters include parables, re-worded scriptures, divine revelations and religious teachings; it is a not-so-cleverly-disguised religious conversion message (for the reader). Personally, I found the religious portion of this book, namely chapters five through seventeen, a distraction from the wonderful beginning. It had such potential!
This book may appeal to those who have faith in God and a religious and/or Christian background.

♦♦♦♦ (4 out of 10 Diamonds) – I sort-of liked it
 

Link to the Author’s website:
http://www.windblownmedia.com/
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/

A special thanks to Hachette Book Group for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – For the Love of St. Nick

For the Love of St. Nickfor-the-love-of-st-nick1
Written By: Garasamo Maccagnone
Published By: BookSurge, a part of the Amazon.com Group Companies, 2008, First Edition, 46 pages, softcover
ISBN 978-1439210123

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“Two boys who have lost their mother tragically, worry they’ll never see their father, a Naval Commander, after he embarks on a secret mission with the United States military. After the boys are advised by their nanny to seek the help of St. Nick, the boys are shocked by an early Christmas visit.”

For the Love of St. Nick is a nice, short story about two young boys who live in an isolated cabin with their father. When their father leaves them to go on a special mission, the boys are promised that their Dad will be home in time for Christmas. As the weather worsens and one of the boys suffers from a reoccurring illness, tensions run high as they wait to see if someone will help them and bring their father home in time for Christmas.
I would recommend this book for children 8-14 years of age.

 
Link to the Author’s Website:
http://www.garasamomaccagnone.com/
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.booksurge.com/

A special thanks to Bostick Communications for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – OUTCASTS of Skagaray

OUTCASTS of Skagaray,outcasts-of-skagaray
Written By: Andrew Clarke
Published By: MusterionPress, a division of VMI Publishers, Oregon USA, 2006, First Edition, 272 pages, softcover
ISBN 978-1933204222

OUTCASTS of Skagaray is the story of a ruthless people who use brutal strength and tyranny to dominate the weak.”

The ways of the Skagaray are uncompromising and cruel; the rules for their people are absolute.
The strong survive because of there superior in strength and authority.
The weak are despised. Those who are puny and ineffectual are quickly driven out. To pity the weak or offer a helping hand is an unforgivable transgression among these ruthless people. Tarran despises the life he is destined to lead and wants to find a better way of life. When Tarran goes on a hunt with an Elder Warrior but refuses to kill an injured baby bear, Tarran is branded a coward; too pathetic and weak to live among the Skagaray people.
No longer welcomed by his people, Tarran must survive in the wild with very few supplies. He has to scrounges for food stuffs and gathers all that he can find. The longer Tarran spends as an outcast, the more alive he feels. The Elders on the other hand, grow angrier and more fearful as time passes.
As Tarran discovers other outcasts, he cares for them and tries his best to provide food and a refuge for them. He gives of himself to help those who are weaker and considered worthless by the Skagaray people. When a strange messenger arrives on their island, he brings with him bizarre dreams that predict two battles. Are these battles going to be the end of his small band of Outcasts?  Or could it mean a new beginning for all?

OUTCASTS of Skagaray was a very interesting novel. This isn’t a genre that I often read, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed reading this book.
There are a few small editing errors but they didn’t take away from the story.
I found the characters to be very genuine. Tarran and his fellow outcasts were very lovable, determined and loyal. The Elder Warriors and the other formidable people of Skagaray were richly detailed and strangely vivid. The landscape and surroundings were intricately described. It was as if I could hear the wind blowing and smell the smoke from the fires. Very nice!
The story flowed smoothly and it had some neat twists and turns. The plot had good momentum through most of the story.
I highly recommend this book to fantasy readers who are looking for a book which parallels parts of the bible.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (7 out of 10 Diamonds) – I really enjoyed it

 

Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.vmipublishers.com/default.htm

A special thanks to Andrew Clarke for sending me a copy.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review of ‘One Perfect Day’

One Perfect Day,one-perfect-day
Written By: Lauraine Snelling
Published By: Faith Words, A division of Hachette Book Group USA Inc., 2008, First Edition, 303 pages, softcover
ISBN 978-0-446-58210-0

One Perfect Day is a heartbreaking, religious story surrounding two families; one receives the gift of life, while the other is crushed with devastation, loss and sorrow.”

Nora Peterson and her seventeen year old twins Charlie and Christi have been busily gearing up for the Christmas season with yummy baked goods, hot apple cider and trimming their beautiful Christmas tree.
When her husband Gordon’s return from a business trip is delayed, Nora becomes very concerned and anxiously waits for his call.
As Nora and her daughter Christi wait at home for news about Gordon, Charlie goes off to party with some guy friends. When the phone rings, it’s just Charlie calling to get permission to drop off some friends after the party, no big deal.
Though the cold, snowy roads might be slippery, Nora tries to stay calm and prays that everyone will be safe as they travel.
Later that same evening, when a knock at the door startles them, Nora opens it to find two police officers waiting.  Their horrific news devastates her; her beloved son Charlie has been gravely injured in a car crash.

Jenna Montgomery has decided to make this Christmas as memorable as possible. With her daughter Heather’s ever deteriorating heart condition, this would most likely be the last one they get to share together.
Though Jenna is a trained registered nurse, she still completely unprepared to watch her precious daughter’s life fade away. Twenty year old Heather is on the organ donor list for a heart but her chances of receiving one in time are slim. Both mother and daughter instinctively understand that Heather’s days are numbered.
Then a phone call changes everything. Wonderful news, they’ve found a heart! Jenna and Heather fly to Nebraska Medical Center where Heather is to be immediately prepped for surgery.

One Perfect Day is a deeply moving story that pulls the reader in from the very first page.  The pain and sorrow felt by some of the characters was very accurately and realistically depicted. More then once I found my eyes filling with tears of empathy and sadness.
The writing style was easy to read and flowed smoothly.
The characters were well written, detailed and realistic. I really enjoyed this book. 
As an atheist, I found the religious content distracting and unnecessary.
For anyone who is religious (I say this without derision), the spiritual content would likely be enjoyable because of its poignancy.
I highly recommend this book!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (8 out of 10 Diamonds) – Thoroughly enjoyed it
 

Link to the Author’s Website:
http://www.laurainesnelling.net/
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/

A special thanks to Miriam at Hachette Book Group for sending me a copy.