Review of Murder at the Mikado

Murder at the Mikado

In Julianna Deering’s Murder at the Mikado, Drew Farthering’s wedding is fast approaching when an “old flame” asks for his help. Will he be willing, or even able to clear her name of murder before it’s too late? Or will Drew’s assistance in this case ruin his chances for a happy marriage?
Murder at the Mikado is the third in the series of Drew Farthering mysteries, but the first I have read. It can be taken as a stand-alone novel. As an Agatha Christie fan, I avoided reading it for a while because most Christian mysteries set in Britain written by American authors lack authenticity. However, apart from one scene and some inconsistencies in language, I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the setting, the characters, and the time period in which the novel was placed. The Christian themes were evident, but effectively understated. The plot was done well, and kept me guessing. If you are looking for an entertaining read without language or gory details, I happily recommend Murder at the Mikado.


I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


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Review of A History of Christian Theology 2nd Edition

a history of christian theologyIn A History of Christian Theology 2nd Edition, Derek R, Nelson and the late William C. Placher, present more than 3000 years of theological thought in 275 pages. The book is not primarily about ideas or doctrine, but the historical background which shaped the lives of those who formed much of the Christian faith, going back as far as the Old Testament. The authors rarely inserted themselves, allowing luminaries such as Luther, Calvin, and Augustine to speak in their own words. This book is a whirlwind tour of those who have impacted the world of Christian theological thought.

A History of Christian Theology was an interesting undertaking for someone who isn’t as familiar with Church History as much as she would like. The preface was sometimes needlessly wordy, seemed to have liberal undertones, and a bit esoteric, but reading it was necessary in understanding the structure and themes of the book. However, once the book begins, it tells an interesting and effective story of the men and women who have impacted much of Church History. It was a pleasant surprise to see John Calvin and Martin Luther treated fairly, and Augustine given his due. The last forty pages or so was a challenge, as a lot of information was condensed. The book would have been stronger had it gone into more detail of the last 150 years. Perhaps the reader was tired. All in all, A History of Christian Theology was interesting and informative. I give it three out of five stars.


I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


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Dennis Prager on the Middle East Problem

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In Memory of Louis Zamperini

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John Adams on July 4th

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

- John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) written in a letter to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776.



The Story Behind the Quote



The date of July 2 was important as this had been the date when the Continental Congress had voted to declare its independence from Britain.



People remember this speech as it suggests celebrations should be held to commemorate such an important decision. People have followed John Adams’ suggestion by celebrating Independence with a commemorative holiday, as they have until this day, and shall continue as long as America remains a free nation. The written Declaration of Independence was completed on July 4, 1776, which is why Independence Day is celebrated on the Fourth of July.



The document of the Declaration of Independence was not signed until August 2, 1776.



When he wrote to Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776, John Adams was well aware that such a tumultuous decision would not have been free from risk. His letter continued:



You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.



A photograph of the actual letter to Abigail Adams can be seen here. The original resolution that led to the July 2 vote – the original Declaration of Independence – can be seen here.



The papers and letters of John Adams and his family can be seen in an online archive created by the Massachusetts Historical Society. John Adams went on to become the second president of the United States, a role he held from 1797 until 1801.



In June 1826, aged 91, he wrote of the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and warned that the political offices of the United States could in the future be abused:



My best wishes, in the joys, and festivities, and the solemn services of that day on which will be completed the fiftieth year from its birth, of the independence of the United States: a memorable epoch in the annals of the human race, destined in future history to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be shaped by the human mind.



On July 4, 1826, on that fiftieth anniversary of the writing of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams passed away in his home in Quincy, Massachusetts.




Originally posted on July 2, 2010


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Review of The Gospel According to Daniel

The Gospel According to Daniel
In The Gospel According to Daniel: A Christ-Centered Approach, Pastor Bryan Chapell gives an overview of the book of Daniel, one chapter at a time. The first six chapters highlight the lessons learned from Daniel’s life, while the last six deal with Daniel’s visions and how his prophetic dreams have implications for us today. This book is not a verse-by-verse exposition of the book of Daniel, but rather examines God’s sovereignty through Daniel’s life as he sought to serve God in a foreign land, and how his example influences our lives today. Although Chapell does not go into depth and speculate about every detail of prophecy, he comes to the conclusion that every event that takes place–past, present, or future, has a purpose in God’s plan and under His sovereign control.

The strongest part of The Gospel According to Daniel is its solid biblical approach. Much of the theology in today’s evangelical world is shallow and self-centered. Pastor Chapell places an emphasis on God’s sovereignty and absolute power, and he is able to do so in an approachable and accessible way. Chapell acknowledges differing eschatological views without much criticism. He does not address the details of Daniel’s vision, but stresses the big picture, saying that God will draw everything to a conclusion in a way He deems fit.

However, The Gospel According to Daniel felt much longer than a 224-page book at times. I expected Chapell to actually interpret more of the biblical text. The failure to address eschatology in its context leads to more application than necessary. With all the illustrations and applications used, I found myself skimming through some pages. For me, the book probably would have been more effective as a sermon series. Overall, I found The Gospel According to Daniel biblically and theologically sound and easy to understand, but a bit tedious in application.

I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


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Review of Appalachian Serenade

appalachian serenade

In her novella, Appalachian Serenade, Susan Loudin Thomas introduces Delilah, a widow, who is looking for a fresh start. Due to the influx of returning soldiers from World War II, Delilah is forced to move from Chicago where jobs are scarce. Her only choice is to live with her sister’s family in a small town in West Virginia. Will she find the fulfillment she is looking for there, or will this new beginning be more trouble than it is worth?

Appalachian Serenade is the prequel to Susan Loudin Thomas’s debut novel, Miracle in a Dry Season. The novella was a short, fast, and appealing read. I appreciated the small town feel of the story, and the setting was enough to keep me interested. There were no surprises along the way, but the journey was enjoyable. There was warmth to the story, and I liked the period in which it was set. It will be interesting to see how the story further unfolds in Miracle in a Dry Season.

I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


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