Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Books Reviews Galore (ok - well only two)

I've finished two books this week so I am just going to review them both in one post :-)

The first is a new edition of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I am conflicted about my opinion of this edition. Of course, there is not much need to comment on the actual story since it is a classic. All throughout the book, the people at Bethany add their thoughts, insights, and facts along the margin of the story. There are a few different categories that they comment on: Religious notes, things they like (marked by a smiley face), ranking of characters they dislike (marked by frowny faces), facts about the time period, and facts/comparisons with the movie versions.

While part of me felt like I was reading along with a friend, the other part of me felt like that friend was a little too talkative. For example, do we really need to go as far with comparing scenes from "Sense, Sensibility and Sea monsters" - I don't really think so. The other thing I didn't like was that often, they inserted the commentaries at very awkward places. Like a reference in mid-sentence, that I would read thinking it pertained to the history or understanding of the passage, only to find who they thought was better looking in the films.

On the up side, some of the remarks made me laugh or helped with understanding life during that time period.

So while I did not love this edition, I did like it. I think I would not recommend it for a person who just wants to enjoy the story, but if they have read it before, it would be a fun way to read it in a new light.

The second book I finished was called "The Hidden Flame" by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke.

The book is set 6 weeks after Jesus ascends into Heaven after his resurrection. Believers are multiplying at an astounding rate, and among these "followers of The Way" is Abigail, a women both of outer and inner beauty.
Abigail catches the eye of two very different suitors - a Roman centurion and a wealthy Jewish merchant. Neither are believers in her resurrected Lord, so her faith is tried as she learns to depend on the Lord as her fate does not lie in her own hands. On top of this trial, the leaders of both Rome and the Jewish people are growing more and more uncomfortable with the floods of people joining the followers of the "dead prophet" and persecution seems imminent! Will Abigail's faith hold in spite of the many trials facing her?

Right before I started reading this book, I noticed it was the second in a series called "Acts of Faith." I debated about getting the first book and reading it, but I decided to read it alone so I could review it as an individual book. In some other series' you can read the books alone and they still make sense as they only give passing references to other books in the series if at all. I don't think this one is like that. There were a lot of references to the preceding book and it took me a good few chapters to kind of piece together in my mind what had happened previously.

Many of the events and characters in the books are taken right out of the Bible, which in some ways is fun, but in others is annoying because you already know what is going to happen. While it is insightful into the culture and times surrounding the events in the book of Acts, I don't know if I would want to give it to a new believer who is not sure on the real facts before they start reading.

I think I will probably read the first book and see if I would like this book better after having read it, but over all I would just give it a "meehhhh - it was ok" for now. I'll finish the series as it comes out if it includes the characters I already know, if not, I would probably take it or leave it.

I received free copies of both these books from Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing.


Jason Harrison said...

"While part of me felt like I was reading along with a friend, the other part of me felt like that friend was a little too talkative." - very funny.

Stina Rose said...

Karen - There's an award waiting for you over on my blog. Enjoy! :)