In the Bookcase

8.30.2015

Book Review: A Sherlock Holmes Devotional

A Sherlock Holmes Devotional by Trisha White Priebe (5 star review)



A Sherlock Holmes Devotional
Uncovering the Mysteries of God

written by Trisha White Priebe

320 pages // published in 2015 // non-fiction // Christian devotional




My Review...

5 Star Rating


This book provides readers with how to look at the literary character of Sherlock Holmes from a Christian perspective, and furthermore, using the art of deduction to find God's everlasting mercies in your life. It's a unique, one-of-a-kind book, which combines two big things in my life: a fictional detective who has stood the test of time and God, who created time itself and everything in it.

The author grabs your attention immediately by beginning each devotional with an introduction on a topic either about Sherlock himself, a case he encountered, or the characters that frequent 221B Baker Street. She than switches the lens to focus in on the subject paired with scriptures that uncover the true motives behind popular features of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories. As the layers peel off, it is fascinating for me to see further into these snippets of literature than ever before. While reading Trisha White Priebe's book I began to perceive more things about Holmes and to renew my thoughts towards the Almighty.

"Truth: Sherlock Holmes found more of a friend in Dr. Watson than he ever did in his own brother, Mycroft. We, too, have a Friend who sticks closer than a brother." (Chapter 10, A Sherlock Holmes Devotional)

Fans of the Victorian-era detective, will delight in all of the interesting facts and "behind the scenes" information concerning their favorite fictional character and his author. While you're learning these thrilling things of historical import, the author is also revealing amazing truths about God and His unending love for His children.

"Even if our trials never make sense to us in this life, we can be certain they make sense to God. The tangles and knots we view from this vantage point will appear as a perfect work of art when studied from the perspective of heaven." (Chapter 5, A Sherlock Holmes Devotional)

Page after page, be prepared for awe and surprise. There are 60 devotionals in the book, and while I tried to pace myself to only read 1 a day (thinking that I could enjoy it for 2 whole months), I finished it quicker than I anticipated to, by "sheer accident".

I took many notes while reading it... of well-phrased words to remind me of His amazing grace, and also many intriguing things about a certain detective who never even took a breath. It's all just TOO GOOD. Wouldn't you like to know about Doyle's posthumous story just published in 2001? Or how U.S. presidents such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman took to Sherlock Holmes? Or even whom the evil Moriarty's character was based upon?

This was the perfect book for me --- so happy to have found it when I did! I'll probably have to read it again one day, after I finish reading the entire Holmes canon.

Keep "A Sherlock Holmes Devotional" in mind for your Holmesian friends who enjoy the art of deducing.

Thanks to the author and Netgalley for the free review copy.




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8.25.2015

Book Review: Laddie, A True Blue Story

Laddie: A True Blue Story by Gene Stratton-Porter (5 star review)

Laddie: A True Blue Story

written by Gene Stratton-Porter

401 pages // published in 1913 // fiction // literary classic




My Review...

5 Star Rating


A goodie from 1913. A story that Little Sister tells about her large-sized family, but most specifically, about her older brother whom she simply adores, Laddie.

It is a rather "pretty" type of story from the late 1800s in Indiana. Written in descriptive prose, similar in style to perhaps L.M. Montgomery or Louisa May Alcott (a favorite type of writing style for me!). It contains many great lessons pertaining to a loving family and an Almighty God. I enjoyed how much of the family's Christian faith was infused into the entire book.

The descriptions and textual imagery are perfect, providing an authentic "country" kind of feel the story, and often describing gorgeous nature scenes so perfectly, I can see it before my eyes. Quality values and old-fashioned traditions seep through the pages. Whatever the predicament or joyous occasion taking place, you're always rooting for Little Sister and for Laddie.

Laddie stooped down to kiss me good-bye and he said: "Don't cry, Little Sister. The way to be happy is to be good." (CHAPTER XVII, Laddie)

This is the epitome of wholesome literature.

If you like reading ebooks, grab a free copy of Laddie from Amazon or Project Gutenberg!


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8.14.2015

Book Review: Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue

Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue by Iain Reading (4 star review)

Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue

(Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency series, #3)

written by Iain Reading

304 pages // published in 2013 // young adult fiction




My Review...

4 Star Rating


19-year-old Kitty Hawk continues her trip around the world in her De Havilland Beaver seaplane. She's following the same route that Amelia Earhart once tangoed with. And Kitty Hawk intends to have the best time of her life completing the trip.

"You are going on an adventure," she said. "And along the way you will see amazing things and meet amazing people..." (Chapter 12, Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue)

When Kitty takes a rest stop in Iceland, she finds that there's so much to discover about the isolated country. And she also finds out (again) that for Kitty Hawk, there's really no such thing as rest stops!

The people in Iceland have many unique ways and their own Icelandic culture. Oh, and those people LOVE to read -- which allows them to take the title of being a "universally literate" nation. I got to read about all sorts of foods that the Icelandic people eat -- which interested me quite a bit. And I was also fascinated with historical events that took place in Iceland like the Halifax Explosion and what happened in Gander on 9/11. To top it off, the natural foundation of the ground in Iceland is fascinating in itself! -- This series makes learning about other countries fun for kids and young adults!

NOTE to the discerning reader & parents: I wanted to express a couple things about the content. Some "language" is used throughout the book. Also I found this particular book to contain a couple of small incidents referencing to more mature content.

There's also talk of elves (the "Hidden People"), many myths and legends, and a psychic too. I usually don't read a book with so many "magical" type elements in it, but I do enjoy Kitty's adventures.

I love the exciting storyline, suspense, and sense of adventure that Kitty Hawk exhibits. She wants to see as much of the world as she can.

And I have to say, I'm really looking forward to Book 4, because it concerns the tragic shipwreck of the Titanic. (Cannot wait!)

Thanks to the author and Book Publicity Services for the free review copy.




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About the Author:
Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.
Iain is also the author of The Wizards of Waterfire Series. The first book in the series The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire was published in April 2014. Also check out one of Iain's newest books, The Dragon of the Month Club, published December 2013.
Connect with Iain on Twitter and Goodreads.

Excerpt from Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue:
The bullet split the air with a dreadful ripping sound and whizzed past my ear like some horrifyingly angry insect. The experience was completely new and terrifying to me, and it was one that I could have happily lived the rest of my life without having had. After hearing the bullet rip past me (and feeling it, too, since such a terrible sound is felt as much as it is heard) everything that followed seemed to happen all at once in excruciatingly slow motion.
What was that?!? I asked myself as I bolted upright and my brain tried to make sense of what it had just experienced. But I already knew full well what it was. My brain was slow to accept what it already knew to be true, because with that acceptance came the realization that someone was trying to kill me, and had the bullet not missed, I would already be dead.
After accepting what was happening, panic began to set in. People sometimes talk about being frozen in fear—like a deer in the headlights of a car—but for me, the fear had the exact opposite effect. All I could think was that I needed to run; I needed to get out of here—right away—and to anywhere other than the middle of the road where I was exposed and vulnerable to being shot at a second time.
Fortunately, my brain had the good sense not to run toward the source of the gunfire, and I managed to scramble down the side of the road and take cover in the ditch. Somewhere up the road, men with guns were pulling themselves out of their wrecked automobile and planning to come after me. If I stopped breathing for a second and strained to listen over the sound of the wind, I could hear them grunting as they pulled themselves free of the car accompanied by the sound of broken glass raining onto the ground.
“You have to get out of here,” the little voice in my head reminded me. “You don’t have much time!”
I know, I told myself. I tried to breathe normally and stay calm. I didn’t have time to make any mistakes. Even the smallest misstep could cost me my life. All I could do was run, but where could I run to when I was on a road in the middle of nowhere? If I got back onto the road, I would be completely exposed, even in the dim light of the early morning.
“The only place you can run,” the little voice said, “is cross-country.”
I lifted my head for a second to see if anyone was coming after me. I couldn’t see anyone, but that didn’t mean no one was out there, so I kept my head low, ran across the ditch, and scrambled up the rocky ledge on the other side.
Please, God, don’t let them shoot at me now, I thought as I climbed up the ledge and out of the ditch.
Once I was at the top, I crouched low and surveyed the way ahead of me. The landscape was rocky and rough—full of places to hide and take cover.
“Maybe that’s what you should do,” the little voice suggested. “Maybe you should just find somewhere to hide? It’s pretty dark out here and there are plenty of shadows you could crawl into. Just hide somewhere until they decide to leave you here.”
I shook my head.
“It won’t be dark for long,” I murmured to myself as I looked toward the brightening horizon where the sun would soon be rising. “And I am not just going to sit around helplessly waiting for them to find me. I am going to get as far from them as I possibly can.”
“Then what are you waiting for?!?” the little voice replied, still panicked.
I peered over the ledge and back up the deserted road to where the shot that had barely missed me had come from. I still couldn’t see anything—not even the hulk of the wrecked car that I knew was back there—and no one was walking up the road toward me. I closed my eyes and tried to listen for any sound of movement over the howling wind.
“You have to go!” the little voice screamed. “They could be anywhere! They could be standing five feet away from you, ready to grab you again!”
The voice in my head was right. I had to go. But I kept listening, waiting for clarity. Somehow, I felt that I had to have some idea of where they were, because it terrified me much more not knowing anything at all.
And then I heard it—the faint sound of angry voices carried on the wind down the road toward me. They were speaking some foreign language, and they could have been saying just about anything, but I only heard, “That stupid girl is going to pay for this. Let’s go get her.”
A cold wave of fear washed over me. My heart pounded like a jackhammer, and a sickening chill poured deep into the pit of my stomach.
“Now I run,” I whispered to myself, and sprang to my feet. “Now I run like I’ve never run before in my entire life.”


7.28.2015

2 Book Reviews: The Silver Chair & The Horse and His Boy

I read 2 books this July for Carrie's Narnia reading challenge in July. Check out my reviews for both books below. I'd love to hear about your thoughts too!


The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

The Silver Chair

written by C.S. Lewis

243 pages // published in 1953 // children's fiction




My Review...

5 Star Rating

The Silver Chair is a wonderful book from the Chronicles on Narnia series. After me having not read a Narnia book in so long, this was like coming home again, having a re-introduction, a breath of magical Narnian air.

Eustace and his school buddy Jill stumble into Narnia, and are given a request from Aslan to complete a mission: to rescue Prince Rillian, son of King Caspian.

All in all, a good plot with a challenge set forth for the characters to complete. A general good vs. evil storyline. And Aslan reigns over all.

Loved it.

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The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

The Horse and His Boy

written by C.S. Lewis

254 pages // published in 1954 // children's fiction




My Review...

5 Star Rating

Another fantastic Narnia novel.

This one is different, I found, because the main character does not enter Narnia from another world. Instead, the characters (while not in Narnia) actually start out in a nearby country. It was a fascinating view of Aslan's country to see it from the eyes of a neighbor, not as a person from our Earth.

Shasta, a young boy adopted by the local Calormenes, is soon accompanied by Aravis, a Calormene girl. Including a pair of Talking Horses, the four journey towards Narnia together, each escaping their life's hardships. A few countries away, Narnia is in its Golden Age, with the beloved Pevensie siblings reigning; from a distance, it looks like the right place to be.

I found Shasta and Aravis to be convincing characters, people I could expect to meet anywhere. They might commit mistakes, but learn from it. They push on towards a common goal, and keep treading the dangerous path even when it hurts. I am equally fascinated by the new facets of Aslan that I saw emerge from the story. He is merciful, but also willing to show a person when they've gone to far in their actions. (How true of Him!)

"Do not dare not to dare." (The Horse and His Boy)

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7.20.2015

Book Review: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by R.A. Dick (5 star review)

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

written by R.A. Dick

192 pages // published in 1945 // adult fiction // literary classic




My Review...

5 Star Rating


"The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" is a classic piece of literature -- perhaps not as well known as it should be.

Yes, it's about a ghost.

Yes, this ghost haunts a house.

Not in a spooky way, though, but in a delightful way
-- or once you get to know him, it's not really a spooky idea at all.

Captain Gregg was a nautical man at heart and lived by the sea. Gull Cottage was his home on land, and he doesn't like it when people try to stay in "his" house. That is, until widowed Mrs. Muir wheedles her way in the door and truly doesn't mind co-occupying the place with a ghost. Her only request is that he doesn't scare her children.

I was led to this book after watching the talented Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney play the title characters on screen. The movie is so perfectly charming, after all, and no one could have fit the role of Captain Gregg better than Mr. Harrison (in my humble opinion). Getting to enjoy this piece of literature was a breeze. I have to say, I probably would have never picked up this book about a ghost unless I had seen the movie first to understand it better.

Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney

Cons: The only thing I can label as a con is that the Captain sometimes, shall we say, has a sailor's mouth -- just a little bit.

This is a great book -- you should certainly read it -- but you cannot afford to miss out on seeing the movie either!

"God bless my soul, if you set your ship on a certain course you stick to it; you'd never get anywhere if you navigated backwards half the time." (Captain Gregg's wisdom)





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