Thursday, December 10, 2009

Between Sunday's by Karen Kingsbury

In Between Sunday's, Karen Kingsbury takes you into the world of the NFL, specifically the San Francisco 49ers. While the players are fictional, the stadiums and games are come across as accurate and genuine. The novel mainly focuses on three players. Derrick Anderson, an older, seasoned quarterback who comes to the 49ers to mentor and encourage the other players; Aaron Hill, a younger quarterback with several seasons under his belt, and Jay Ryder, a rookie punter and wannabe quarterback.

This is Derrick's last season and he wants desperatly to win another championship ring to fulfill a promise he made. He already has two rings, but needs a third for a reason only he and his wife know. Derrick is a family man, deeply rooted in his faith, living his life by God's grace.

Aaron is an arrogrant playboy, king of the hill, living only for the moment and the adoration of the fans and media, with no time for God. Aaron has a couple championship rings and thinks that winning this season would be great, but it's not something he is overly concerned about. After all, he has his whole life ahead of him to win Super Bowls, right?

Jay is young and a little shy, this being his first season in the NFL. He wants to fit in with the team and is awe struck by Derrick and Aaron. He has some faith, but is not completely committed.

San Francisco has a large contigent of foster kids. Megan Gunn volunteers at the Youth Center as well. She is a single foster mom to Cory. Amy, Cory's mother, had been a close friend to Megan before she died tragically. Cory is a big fan of the 49ers. Derrick is a very compassionate person and tries to reach out to the kids. In the off season, he hosts pizza parties at a Youth Center. Derrick gives away five game tickets each week at the pizza party. Cory wants desperately to win a ticket and attend a game because Cory has a secret - he believes he is the son of one of the 49er players. Megan, of course, doesn't believe him, attributing his belief to the fact that he so wants a father. She thinks this is just his fantasy and tries to discourage him, but Cory insists his mother told him and his mother did not lie.

Kingsbury takes you through the hopes, dreams, injuries, disappointments and trials of the coach and his players in the NFL. Will they make it to the Super Bowl, and if so, what are their chances of a win? The novel clearly points out that we are not defined by what we do on Sunday, but what we do Monday through Saturday. Between Sundays is a novel for all ages, and especially NFL and 49ers fans.

Note: In real life, Alex Smith, the current 49er quarterback founded the Alex Smith Foundation for foster children. His foundation provides provides support, funding, and a chance at a fuller life.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

More Than a Skeleton by Paul L. Maier

Jenny Snow was spending her summer at an archaeological dig in Rome, not too far from Vatican City. The dig had uncovered a strange symbol on the floor of the synagogue. Needing someone to interpret the symbol, Professor Jonathan Weber of Harvard, Jenny's husband and the hero from Maier's A Skeleton in God's Closet, the first book in this series, is called in. Due to all the other events in the story the symbol never really gets interpreted. Catholic Cardinals from all over the world were in Vatican City to elect a new Pope.

Suddenly, out of nowhere there appears a man calling himself Joshua Ben Yoseph, claiming to be the intermediate return of Jesus Christ to get the world in line with God's purposes before the final return. Soon Joshua Ben Yoseph has a large following, including Snow and Weber, as he tours Rome preaching, healing the sick and raising the dead just as Jesus did. Most of the people believe that he is Jesus due to all the miracles he performs. This causes quite a problem for the Cardinals as they try to elect a new Pope.

Joshua's name translates to "Jesus" in Hebrew and he claims to be born in Bethlehem to Joseph and Mary Ben Yoseph as invited to the Basilica of St. Peter for Vatican III and to welcome all the delegates from around the world. What transpires that day is unbelievable. You must read the book to fully understand the extent an unscrupulous person will go to fool the world.

What transpires as Professor Weber tries to prove that Ben Yoseph is a fraud makes for a very interesting story! The author clearly paints out just what people may believe if something is presented in an authoritative, plausible way. Paul L. Maier does an excellent job keeping the reader guessing in this Christian thriller.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin

Beatrice Aurelia Monroe, a Pennsylvania farm girl, born 7-19-1848, the same day, month and year as the first women's rights convention. She was too young to realize what a portentous coincidence it was but would later declare her birth date a sign from providence. Beve as she was called lived through the Civil War, commonly known as the "War Between the States," helping on the farm when her brothers went to war. She met and married Horatio Garner a man far above her station in life and was never accepted by society or her mother-in-law. Horatio was a weak, lying drunkard therefore Beve worked to help pass Prohibition.

Her grandmother Hannah worked on the Underground Railroad to free the slaves during the war. Her daughter Lucy took up the cause of women's Suffrage, becoming instrumental in getting the States to ratify the amendment. Beve's grand-daughter, Harriet wanted to be like all the women in her family and have a cause.

Throughout the novel Harriet is trying to answer the question, "How did I end up in jail?"

One thing that we need to remember is that our short time on earth isn't about what we accomplish but what sort of person we become. Lynn Austin is an excellent author of historical fiction and has clearly portrayed that each of us grow stronger each time our faith is tested. That is how we learn to trust God. I highly recommend Christian women everywhere read this passionate and compelling novel.