Monday, May 30, 2011

Book Review: Tribulation Force by Tim Lahaye & Jerry B. Jenkins

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon
The second installment of the "Left Behind" series picks up on the progress of pilot Captain Rayford Steele, his daughter Chloe and internationally renowned news reporter Buck Williams.  All three converted to Christianity in the first book ("Left Behind") and are now facing the worlds last days under the rule of the emerging anti-Christ.

Tribulation Force tracks the rise of Nicolae Carpathia to a world leadership position in which he controls a new United Nations, changing it's name to Global Community, and merging the worlds currencies and religions into one.  Rayford and Buck both find themselves working closer to Nicolae than they would like, but are able to see his lies and resist his deceit thanks to being under the protection of God's salvation.

I've enjoyed this book more than the first, as I found it intriguing and compelling pretty much from the start.  The romance that budded in "Left Behind" has taken bloom, and I thoroughly enjoyed the antics and comedy of errors playout that occured in it's development.  I certainly had a good chuckle at Rayford's amusement and participation of his daughter's love life.

This second book has picked up momentum from the first one, and by the end of it I really felt the series taking off.  The stage is now set and the serious action is beginning.  I feel like I am sitting there on the edge of the world, awaiting it's demise.  I am keenly struck with the awe and fear that the characters are feeling as they watch the apocalyptic prophesies unfold.  I've found myself at times covered in goosebumps.  Their desperation to make the most of the finite time they have left is evident.

Once again, I was barely able to put the last half of the book down, reading it throughout the noise and chaos of my daughter's TV time, unable to wait for some quieter moment in the evening (which, don't always happen!) to finish it.  I found myself reading with eagerness, hungry for the revelations I knew would ultimately be revealed.

Tribulation Force is exciting, scary and touching.  So far so good with the series, I think I will pick up the next book!

Left Behind Series Website

Other books in the series we've reviewed:
  1. Left Behind
  2. Tribulation Force
  3. Nicolae
  4. Soul Harvest

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A bit of end times giggling

This week I've only been continuing to read "Tribulation Force" (Tim Lahaye & Jerry B. Jenkins) and not as much as I'd like. There's been a lot of chaos in my household this week with the kids!

Last night however I stayed up a little later than I should (with young kids, I should be sleeping at every opportunity I can) because I couldn't put the book down. I was having a good old cackle at a comedy of errors situation between two of the characters who were attracted to each other. As usual, it's the romance aspect that's got me hooked!

Desperately hoping for more free time to get this book finished by next week's post!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Book Review: Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon
Andrea Henderson is trying to pick up the pieces of the worst year of her life. She returns to her parents summer house as a newly divorced, now single mum with her teenage son Dustin. Her new job is out of her depth, her son is acting out and her parents are always interfering.

Mart McClendon, the new Game Warden comes to Moses Lake to escape the past that he can't forgive himself for. He buries himself in his work, all the while trying to move on, but never really letting himself.

When Andrea, the new social worker for Moses Lake, teams up with Mart to discover why a little girl is seen with the local town recluse, they don't know how much more they will discover about each other, themselves and their faith.

This book started off slow. It wasn't until the fourth or fifth chapter that I was able to get into it. Mainly because Wingate needed to set up character and place. However once that was done, the book zipped along at a nice pace, holding my attention. I smiled and laughed at Andrea and Mart's budding relationship, wrestled along with her as she struggled to raise Dustin the right way and walked in triumph with her as she claimed her identity in Christ once again.

For those who love a sweet, gentle romance, a mystery and quirky characters this is a book for you.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Jess' Favourite Books

This could end up being a long list! These are the main favourites. I will update often.

Book Review: A Cowboy's Touch by Denise Hunter

Available @ 

I've been waiting for the latest Denise Hunter book for a while now. Being in Australia meant I had to wait a bit longer. I got the email saying the book had come in, so I marched myself down to Koorong (local Christian book shop) that afternoon and snapped it up. By midnight I was done.

Abigail Jones is a workaholic who suffers from hypertension. She is ordered by her boss and doctor, who happen to be her mother and sister to take a three month break from work. This three month break is to take place in Moose Creek, Montana with Abigail spending time with her eccentric great aunt. Imagining she will be bored out of her mind, she doesn't count on Wade Ryan and his daughter.

When Wade Ryan's nanny quits before the start of the summer, he's in a fix. The cowboy with a hidden past has to find someone to care for his daughter. It's good then that Abigail is free to help and that her great aunt lives on Wade's ranch.

As the summer progresses, Abigail and and Wade fight their growing attraction to one another, despite the secrets that keep them from getting closer.

This book draws you in through the strong characters. I instantly loved Abigail and was rooting for her to get things right with Wade. Hunter knows how to write strong, identifiable characters with flaws and all. It was so much fun being pulled into the world of Abigail and Wade and watching them fall in love, only to lose it, then find it again.

My only quibble is that I would have enjoyed a little more description of the landscape and scenery of Montana. This might just be me though, as I love to read and write about the beautiful places, espeically country and/or rural worlds.

Finally, this is simply a well written, engaging love story that melts your heart.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

What have I been reading this week?

Ok, so no luck on the Jane Eyre book yet! Actually, I think it's in storage with most of my other books at the moment. 

I picked up Wendy Harmer's new book, "Friends Like These".  I've never read any of her books before, but I used to enjoy listening to her on breakfast radio a few years ago.  Always found her witty and entertaining.  So I heard of this new book of hers, and when I read the synopsis I knew I would like to read it.  An insight to the lives of Sydney's elite and their schools? Yes please! Particularly since this topic might actually be of interest to me as research for my own literary pursuits. (Did I mention I had any? No? It's still a secret then. Maybe time will reveal more - maybe!)

Then this week my friend dropped off the second book in the "Left Behind" series - "Tribulation Force" (Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins).  Since I so recently read the first book, I've leaped straight into this sequel and am presently barely able to put it down (between running around after the kids, of course).  So I'll pick up Ms Harmer's book again shortly I'm sure.  Then again, there are like 12 books in this Left Behind series, therefore how soon again I return to "Friend's Like These" will depend how well the series keeps my interest.

There's a third book I have lurking in the wings - and that is "The Five Love Languages of Children" by Gary Campbell & Ross Campbell.  I have read "The Five Love Languages" before, found it logical and helpful, so figured I would like to apply the same principles to my kids.  It will get read inbetween everything!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What to read for this challenge

I have started but never finished a number of books on this list. The one I aim to read and finish first is Great Expectations. I started it in 2001 and not not gotten further than chapter four. So my goal is to finish this book.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Book Review: Left Behind by Tim Lahaye & Jerry B. Jenkins

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon
You're right, this book isn't in the BBC Big Read, but we did say we are not limiting ourselves to writing only about books in that 100 list.

I went through three distinct phases as I read this book. The first part of the book I found interesting. The middle section I got bored. By the end I found myself reading with excitement and anticipation, and was burning the midnight oil in order to get it finished.

The subtitle of this book is "A novel of the earth's last days". It begins with the instantaneous disappearance of millions of people world wide, covers briefly the impact this has on society and people's lives, before moving onto a conspiracy theory like political scene - which is the part where I got bored. The final part of the book is where the penny starts to drop with the main characters and pieces of the puzzle are put together. A budding romance helped revived my interest!

Before I go any further, you need to know where I stand regarding the "earth's last days". I'm a Christian, and I believe in the second coming of Christ and the biblical prophecies of an anti-Christ and period of trials and tribulation.  This is what the book attempts to create - a picture of how these events will unfold. I give credit to the authors who have a heck of an imagination to be able to weave a story which might represent what and how all this will unfold.

There is a stumbling block for me; the book was written in 1995. The reporter in the book is using dial up internet to connect to his office and lodge mail and stories. This is all well and good if you're a reader back in 1995, but it's comical to me as a current day reader (*ahem* and blogger) and unfortunately it detracts from the credibility of the book. There are several other current take-for-granted technologies whose absence are glaringly obvious too - like the fact that basically everyone has a mobile phone (and not just the privileged few) and millions of people now communicate via social networking sites. If you can put yourself back into 1995 and pretend you're reading it then, it would help.

Naturally I can't blame the authors for the progress of time. However, it does make me pause and think. If in 1995 we could not even forsee the proliferation of broadband internet, mobile phones and the progression of communication from email, text messaging, blogging, facebook and twitter, how can we possibly begin to imagine how the end times will play out? Particularly since we cannot know if it will happen tomorrow, in 100 or even 1000 years from now.

Anyway, knowing something about what the bible says of the end of days is why at times I struggled with the book. If you don't know anything about this, you'd be reading the book from the viewpoint of someone simply reading a fiction novel and wouldn't have the same reservations and preconceived notions lurking in the back of your mind. But then again, maybe no one is able to read any book about the worlds end days without reservations since everyone has some opinion on the matter!

If I leave aside the skeptical echos in my mind, I can tell you it's an enjoyable book with some good characters, a bit of intrigue, a tiny bit of romance and it has left me curious enough to want to pick up the next book in the series and read on. And as I've already said, I admire the creative thought of the authors who've been able to take scriptural prophecies and invent characters and events to represent them.

I have no idea how a reader with no biblical background would receive the book. I'd be curious to know, so if that's you - would love to hear your reactions!

Left Behind Series Website

Other books in the series we've reviewed:
  1. Left Behind
  2. Tribulation Force
  3. Nicolae
  4. Soul Harvest

Monday, May 2, 2011

Where to Start?

There are a couple of books on the BBC Big Read list which I have attempted to read at various times. So I've decided to pick the first book to read from one of those. But which one?

I tried reading Alice in Wonderland a couple of weeks ago, and I'm sorry to say that I found it completely absurd and nonsensical (yes I realise, that is the point of the book ...) At this point in time, I feel that I would rather stick pins in my eyes than continue with it.

I have decided to start with Jane Eyre. I bought this book when I was 12 years old, and since then I have tried many many times to read it. Each time starting again from the beginning, as it had been so long since the previous time I had forgotten what I'd read to date. I figure it's due time I finish this book once and for all!

Now, if I can just find where my book is ...