Review of The Legacy of Luther

The Legacy of Luther


In their book, The Legacy of Luther, Editors R.C. Sproul and Stephen Nichols examine the life and work of the conflicted German monk who sparked the Reformation. In this new volume published 500 years after the pivotal event in church history, Sproul, Nichols, and thirteen other theologians and scholars look at different aspects of Martin Luther’s biography, work and ministry, and bring new light on a man known for his intellect, passion and, yes, imperfection.

The Legacy of Luther is not extensive, but its three-part structure, including Luther’s life, thought, and legacy, allows the reader an in-depth perspective on the man’s impact, both in his own time and in ours today. This is without separating Luther’s theological positions from the biographical or historical context, or air brushing his personal flaws. The book is informative, accessible, and readable without burdening the prose with technical and scholarly language.

If you would like a comprehensive look at this giant of church history, I cannot recommend The Legacy of Luther more highly.




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




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Review of A Rendezvous in Haiti

a rendevous in Haiti


In Steven Becker’s A Rendezvous in Haiti, Lt. Robert Macalister is in the country shortly after World War One to quell an uprising. When the rebel leader kidnaps the General’s daughter, Macalister’s love interest, the Lieutenant must go to extraordinary lengths and make unthinkable choices to get his lover out alive.


A Rendezvous in Haiti is exquisitely set in post-World War One. Becker expertly describes the squalid conditions in the island and weaves rich, historical, detail into the narrative. The storyline has potential, and there are some attractive elements. However, the plot has an uneven feel to it, and the dialogue is crass at times, giving the book a heavy feel. The climax of the novel feels flat because the love-interest aspect does not end sufficiently. In addition, readers may find the coarse language as well as some subject matter objectionable.  As a result, it is difficult to recommend A Rendezvous in Haiti.




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



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Review of 7

In 7s book, 7, language expert Cloe Lejune is translating an ancient language when she realizes she must warn the Pope that the world is facing cataclysmic destruction. Meanwhile, a message is delivered to seven random people whose only link is a common destination—New Orleans. Will the world succumb to evil unleashed? Or will Cloe and the seven strangers be able to stop it?


7 is the third book in a line of fast-paced thrillers. Mayhall Jr. infuses the novel with supernatural elements where the past meets future, making a unique plot. Events are taken from the biblical book of Revelation and the characters’ actions are determined by forces beyond their control, providing a riveting read for most.


However, this plot-driven story leaves the characters under-developed and the dialogue unrealistic. In addition, the interpretation of Revelation, extra-biblical sources, and the elevation of a man to divinity is troubling. If one is interested in one author’s interpretation on the last days, 7 is an intriguing look, however, the theology implied should be taken lightly.


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



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Review of Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall

murderous mayhem at honeychurch hall

In Hannah Dennison’Review of Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Halls Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall, Iris Stanford’s novel manuscript has gone missing from the local post office. In response, she commissions her daughter, Kat, to recover it along with her mother’s anonymity. Iris insists that her identity as an author should remain a secret. Kat suspects the local postmistress, who is also the local gossip. But when the postmistress ends up dead, everyone in town becomes a suspect. Will Kat find out who the culprit is? Or will she become the next victim?


Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall is the fourth installment of the Honeychurch Hall Series. The novel has a delightful setting in a quaint little English village. It has the perfect start to a cozy murder mystery, and the climax has a surprising twist, which makes the end satisfactory. However, I found the plot confusing and uninteresting, the characters annoyingly shallow and the book far too long. I wanted to like Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall, but I cannot recommend it.




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

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Review of Urban Shocker

Urban Shockaer

In his book, Urban Shocker: Silent Hero of Baseball’s Golden Age, Steve Steinburg tells the story of one of the greatest pitchers in history, although few fans have heard of him. Shocker came to the New York Yankees in the late 1910’s but, much to the chagrin of his manager and to Shocker himself, he was traded away to the St. Louis Browns because he had been a “bad teammate.” Determined to show the Yankees their mistake, Shocker saved his best stuff for his outings against his opponents in pinstripes. He considered the epic battles with Babe Ruth some of the best of his career.


Impressed with his ability, competitive nature, and knowledge of the game, the Yankees re-traded for Shocker, and he played a pivotal role on the Bronx Bombers’ 1927 Championship team.  Shocker pitched at the highest level of competition while battling a serious heart condition, which would lead eventually to an early retirement and an untimely death.


Urban Shocker is a well-written account of a man who would put himself at risk if it meant that his team would win. Steinburg does an admirable job of piecing together the rare historical record and presents a picture of a courageous competitor of whom even serious baseball fans rarely hear.


 Urban Shocker is a great read for any baseball fan. It is the forgotten story of one of the greatest pitchers of the game. He may have been the indispensible piece to one of the amazing teams in history of baseball. I highly recommend Urban Shocker.




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


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Writers on Writing 12 Writers Discuss the Writing Process by Richard Nordquist

For almost a decade, the “Writers on Writing” column in The New York Times provided professional writers with an opportunity “to “talk about their craft.” Two collections of these columns have been published:

  • Writers on Writing: Collected Essays from The New York Times (Times Books, 2001)
  • Writers on Writing, Volume II: More Collected Essays from The New York Times (Times Books, 2004).


Although most of the contributors have been novelists, the insights they offer into the process of writing should be of interest to all writers.

Here are excerpts from 12 of the authors who have contributed pieces to “Writers on Writing.”

  • Geraldine Brooks
    ” Write what you know. Every guide for the aspiring author advises this. Because I live in a long-settled rural place, I know certain things. I know the feel of a newborn lamb’s damp, tight-curled fleece and the sharp sound a well-bucket chain makes as it scrapes on stone. But more than these material things, I know the feelings that flourish in small communities. And I know other kinds of emotional truths that I believe apply across the centuries.” (July 2001)
  • Richard Ford
    “Beware of writers who tell you how hard they work. (Beware of anybody who tries to tell you that.) Writing is indeed often dark and lonely, but no one really has to do it. Yes, writing can be complicated, exhausting, isolating, abstracting, boring, dulling, briefly exhilarating; it can be made to be grueling and demoralizing. And occasionally it can produce rewards. But it’s never as hard as, say, piloting an L-1011 into O’Hare on a snowy night in January, or doing brain surgery when you have to stand up for 10 hours straight, and once you start you can’t just stop. If you’re a writer, you can stop anywhere, any time, and no one will care or ever know. Plus, the results might be better if you do.” (November 1999)
  • Allegra Goodman
    “Carpe diem. Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces. If your inner critic continues to plague you with invidious comparisons, scream, ‘Ancestor worship!’ and leave the building.” (March 2001)
  • Mary Gordon
    “It’s a bad business, this writing. No marks on paper can ever measure up to the word’s music in the mind, to the purity of the image before its ambush by language. Most of us awake paraphrasing words from the Book of Common Prayer, horrified by what we have done, what we have left undone, convinced that there is no health in us. We accomplish what we do, creating a series of stratagems to explode the horror. Mine involve notebooks and pens. I write by hand.” (July 1999)
  • Kent Haruf
    “After finishing the first draft, I work for as long as it takes (for two or three weeks, most often) to rework that first draft on a computer. Usually that involves expansion: filling in and adding to, but trying not to lose the spontaneous, direct sound. I use that first draft as a touchstone to make sure everything else in that section has the same sound, the same tone and impression of spontaneity.” (November 2000)
  • Alice Hoffman
    “I wrote to find beauty and purpose, to know that love is possible and lasting and real, to see day lilies and swimming pools, loyalty and devotion, even though my eyes were closed and all that surrounded me was a darkened room. I wrote because that was who I was at the core, and if I was too damaged to walk around the block, I was lucky all the same. Once I got to my desk, once I started writing, I still believed anything was possible.” (August 2000)
  • Elmore Leonard
    “Never use an adverb to modify the verb ‘said’ . . . he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange.” (July 2001)
  • Walter Mosley
    “If you want to be a writer, you have to write every day. The consistency, the monotony, the certainty, all vagaries and passions are covered by this daily reoccurrence. You don’t go to a well once but daily. You don’t skip a child’s breakfast or forget to wake up in the morning. Sleep comes to you each day, and so does the muse.” (July 2000)
  • William Saroyan
    “How do you write? You write, man, you write, that’s how, and you do it the way the old English walnut tree puts forth leaf and fruit every year by the thousands. . . . If you practice an art faithfully, it will make you wise, and most writers can use a little wising up.” (1981)
  • Paul West
    “Of course the writer cannot always burn with a hard gemlike flame or a white heat, but it should be possible to be a chubby hot-water bottle, rendering maximum attentiveness in the most enterprising sentences.” (October 1999)
  • Donald E. Westlake
    “In the most basic way, writers are defined not by the stories they tell, or their politics, or their gender, or their race, but by the words they use. Writing begins with language, and it is in that initial choosing, as one sifts through the wayward lushness of our wonderful mongrel English, that choice of vocabulary and grammar and tone, the selection on the palette, that determines who’s sitting at that desk. Language creates the writer’s attitude toward the particular story he’s decided to tell.” (January 2001)
  • Elie Wiesel
    “Acutely aware of the poverty of my means, language became obstacle. At every page I thought, ‘That’s not it.’ So I began again with other verbs and other images. No, that wasn’t it either. But what exactly was that it I was searching for? It must have been all that eludes us, hidden behind a veil so as not to be stolen, usurped and trivialized. Words seemed weak and pale.” (June 2000)
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Eternal Perspective in the Face of Death





For more information on Nabeel, I recommend his book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.

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