My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Review: Strangers and Scapegoats: Extending God's Welcome to Those on the Margins

Strangers and Scapegoats: Extending God's Welcome to Those on the Margins Strangers and Scapegoats: Extending God's Welcome to Those on the Margins by Matthew S Vos
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Book is divided into two (2) parts, with the first part focused on identifying the stranger in terms of in groups and out groups (were I typically use the terms self and other). A lot of effort goes into explaining how the poor treatment of out groups is a mechanism for preserving group boundaries; however, the analysis was not convincing at times; his anecdotal evidence just didn’t match my anecdotal experience (which tended to be a lot more nuanced and less an argument of absolutes). For example … in discussing a lynching of a black man in TN, the author makes this curious statement: “ Of course, their actions showed little concern for the traumatized African Americans among them.” My own conclusion is the exact opposite … the whole reason the mob lynched the man was because of the impact they believed that would have on the “African Americans among them.” The author is looking at the desired effect for the “in-group” where I see a desired effect on the “out-group” … while the net may be the same (preserving group boundaries), the difference in motivational assignment (group cohesion vs power security) makes it difficult to fully accept the author’s over all point.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated example … making the book a more difficult read than I had hoped because of the generated dissonance with my own [admittedly amateur] understanding of social interactions … and while I may not be professional educated in the subject, I have enough personal experience and self-directed study in the field to have pre-existing and well formed opinions on just about everything the book covered. Before too long, I kept hearing Inigo Montoya’s voice in my head saying “I don’t think it means what you think it means.” Ultimately I do understand the message the author is trying to convey (and which I generally agree with), I just had to work harder at it than I was hoping for. As with many discussions/arguments, it is such easier to see where we disagree than where we agree (since we only critically examine the former). That is not to say that I could not find a few hidden gems here … such as the rather poignant observation that “in American culture we accept violence as legitimate, exciting, and necessary.”

Major props for taking a stab at unpacking how our society creates and treats strangers with respect to social ills; however, there were too many points that just didn’t seem to work in my head and there wasn’t much there to change my mind on most of those. Unfortunately, the book diverged even further from my own perspectives when it turned to the criminal justice system with a claim that “crime” is actually necessary for group boundary definitions … I am fairly sure that is completely backwards … crime exists because of group boundaries (and studies have indicated social limits to group sizes, so boundaries will always exist). Again … I have a fair amount of direct experience from multiple perspectives with the US Justice System here … In the end, I just didn’t get what I was looking for here. I had hoped to get more specifics on the psychology of how and why we demonize others … and while I got the how … the why was mostly missing. This understanding is key in countering our human nature here … instead the book appears to rely on simply showing how terrible this activity is and relying heavily on [biblical inspired] guilt to promote change (which I believe is not a viable solution to this particular problem). Still … given my own belief that this is a very important topic and the fact that the author has bravely introduced much needed talking points on the subject … I am rounding up to 4*

Introduction: Strangers Among Us

Part 1: Strangers and Scapegoats in Sociological Perspective
1. Constructing Identity: The Self, the Social, and the Stranger
2. A Stranger World: In-groups, Out-group, and the Space Between
3. No More Scapegoats: A Stranger Theology

Part 2: Strangers in the Margins
4. Strangers in the Pew: Girls and Symbolic Exclusion
5. From Stranger to Neighbor: Intersex Persons and the Church
6. Strangers at the Borders: Immigrants and the Heart of the Gospel Message
7. Strangers Behind Bars: Examining the System of Mass Incarceration
8. Competing in Cedar: Nike, Superstar Athletes, and the Unseen Strangers Who Make Our Shoes

Part 3: Inviting Strangers
9. Challenging the Normal: The Strange(r) Reality of the Gospel
10. Pursuing the Common Good: Three Stories of the Neighbor

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#StrangersAndScapegoats #NetGalley.

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Thursday, October 27, 2022

Review: The Oleander Sword

The Oleander Sword The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book two of the Burning Kingdoms trilogy and continues the story of the two main protagonist from The Jasmine Throne: Priya and Malini as the later moves to claim the Imperial throne from her brother while the former takes her place as a temple elder trying to save her people from a magical pandemic (called the rot). 

There is not as much world building in this sequel (with more focus on relationships that were beautifully choreographed); but the prior world building is brought into better focus as the respective deities move toward more active involvement in what appears to be an approaching magic war (which is actually the continuation a previous conflict between the mothers and nature spirits) … and those deities are absolutely terrifying. It is a bit of a slow start with Priya and Malini pining for each other while recognizing that the difference in station and ethnicity making any future together problematic … but hey, it could be so much worse right (let’s put a pin in that for now). 

About half way through the story arcs once again come together and it almost appears that there is a happy ever after in there someplace (except we know there is at least of more book coming). By the end of the book, I was not so sure. Despite that, the interactions between all of the characters were so well developed on so many levels that the story felt amazing real to me. I can barely wait for the next installment.

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheOleanderSword #BurningKingdoms #NetGalley.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Review: Silver Queendom

Silver Queendom Silver Queendom by Dan Koboldt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was initially drawn to this book from the reviews that compared this to the Black Company … one of my favorite series. Now having finished the book … I don’t see it. There was also a comparison to Ocean’s Eleven … I don’t see it. To be fair, it is a solid story, but I just didn’t seem to connect with anything. 

There are no major mistakes to callout, but the feel comes across as a mechanical “paint by the numbers” effort. There were plenty of new/foreign terms … but they didn’t seem to fit well as if the only reason the invented word was used was to be different … which made them a little awkward. The magic system, based upon manipulating silver through metallurgy, was interesting, but not well developed beyond that. The chapters are short and quick … just like all of the encounters with the various antagonists, which seem mostly formulaic. 

The crew of four, Darin Evie, Tom and Kat, were mildly interested, but they were also still fairly shallow at the end and fairly predictable, with little to recommend them going forward … which was a surprise given that the first 80% of the book was build up and character intros. In fact, that first part made it difficult to get to the good/last part. The actual heist. This was actually fun and well done, but the strong finish only manages to raise the total over all impression to 3*.

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#SilverQueendom #NetGalley.

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Sunday, October 23, 2022

Review: Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology

Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology by Gregory A. Boyd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As stated in the Introduction, this work is intended to introduce several of the topics of debate within the Evangelical Christian movement along with a very basic position and support adopted by each side in the debate. Although the focus is on the Protestant tradition, there were a few references to Catholicism where that tradition was useful as a contrast (and I found all of the positions informative and useful). Each chapter takes up a specific debate introduced in a section entitled “Posing the Question” that tries to frame the question in common everyday language within a hypothetical discussion/encounter between two christians. 

The next section identifies “The Center and Its Contrasts” which briefly describes each Evangelical position before presented supporting arguments for each position (organized into an summary, biblical arguments, supporting arguments (extending the biblical support), and responses to [typical] objections. Perhaps it was a factor of the lack of nuance, or that fact that I already have my own researched position for some of these debates … but the responses frequently felt like straw-man arguments. The chapter then ends with a section recommending [extensive] Further Reading. Finally … the appendix gives a much abbreviated introduction to 15 topics that seem to be definitive for most Evangelicals without as much debate.

Although not intended as a balanced treatment of opposing beliefs, it was nonetheless highly instructive for me and I would recommend it for any who wish to understand the various sects within Christianity (although it would be a bit of a struggle for any not raised and learned in at least one christian tradition). It can also be explored in any order, or as a reference if studying the concepts independently, given the simply language used to present each argument … so I am giving it an additional star for usability.

1. The Inerrancy Debate
2. The Providence Debate
3. The Foreknowledge Debate
4. The Genesis Debate
5. The Divine Image Debate
6. The Christology Debate
7. The Atonement Debate
8. The Salvation Debate
9. The Sanctification Debate
10. The Eternal Security Debate
11. The Destiny of the Unevangelized Debate
12. The Baptism Debate
13. The Lord’s Supper Debate
14. The Charismatic Gifts Debate
15. The Women in Ministry Debate
16. The Millennium Debate
17. The Hell Debate

1. How Should Evangelicals Do Theology
2. What is the Best Analogy for the Trinity
3. Was Noah’s Flood Global or Local
4. Were Adam and Eve Historical Persons
5. Are Humans Made Up of One, Two or Three Parts
6. What is the Meaning of Justification
7. Must Wives Submit to Their Husbands
8. How Should Christians Approach Earthly Politics
9. What Happens to Babies Who Die
10. What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
11. In Speaking in Tongues the Initial Evidence of Receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
12. Can a Christian Be Demonized
13. How Should We Interpret the Book of Revelations
14. Has Jesus Already Returned (Preterist)
15. When Will Jesus Return (Rapture)

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#AcrossTheSpectrum #NetGalley.

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Thursday, October 20, 2022

Review: The Sovereign Reigns, or Does He?

The Sovereign Reigns, or Does He? The Sovereign Reigns, or Does He? by Ray Ruppert
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this book; I requested an ebook copy from the author for review. It just didn't quite live up to my expectations.

It was a bold attempt to visualize what the Reign of Christ described in Revelation 20:1-10 might actually look like. Admittedly I have not studied pre-millennialism doctrine much, as this was rejected by the Catholic Church in 373 AD; however, recalling the Left Behind series, I was very interested in how this eschatological time would be portrayed. Given the wide variance in the interpretation of the governing scriptures, the author sets himself up an extremely difficult task. The basic story elements comply with the specific milestones that I am aware of:

1. Satan is bound/imprisoned for the duration,
2. Christ will rule the earth with his Saints.
3. Satan will be released/escape for a final conflict at the end.

The story arc only covers that last few years of the Kingdom trying to illustrate how we build up to the final battle ... Which is the biggest strike against the book. It is ALL build-up with no climax; not even a cliff-hanger ending. Nothing at all to pull me into the sequel The Sovereign's Last Battle, which hopefully has a lot more action. Of the three plotlines, the only one that was truly interesting was the space exploration branch where Mr. Ruppert introduced some very original ideas about divinity. Unfortunately he also does some rather basic info-dumps that were irritating ... Probably because I was already very familiar with the topics presented; I tended to disagree with some of the material presented as well. The other two plotlines left me feeling like I had just finished reading an infomercial for evangelicals. The character development was somewhat stilted and shallow; used primarily as a means to introduce some of the more objectionable components of what amounts to a totalitarian government under Christ's control. Perhaps this was by design so that the reader would potentially identify more with rebels ... if so, he succeeded.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Review: Aristotle Collection: Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, Rhetoric, Poetics

Aristotle Collection: Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, Rhetoric, Poetics Aristotle Collection: Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, Rhetoric, Poetics by Aristotle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An ambitious project to record four (4) of Aristotle’s more famous works, at just under 28 hours … the narrator gets another star despite being fairly typically for an academic work (no voices, limited inflection, etc.).  The collection includes something of an Introduction to Aristotle that is helpful in understanding the work as follows.  The books themselves are fairly typical for philosophical treatises … in other words, overly wordy and obtuse at places.  Still, these specific works are foundational classics in Western moral thought, so it is important to have at least a passing familiarity with them (and unless you are doing a deep dive, an audiobook is a lot less painful).  

There is also a fairly problematic world view that was unremarkable in his time, but not really acceptable now (e.g. master slave relationships) … which I more or less tried to not judge too harshly, but failed for most of the Politics discourse.  As I am also studying [Christian] moral theology, I found it extremely interesting at how Much of Aristotle is echoed there (some cases nearly word for word).  On the other hand … based on his politics, I ain’t voting for him ever [yea I know, he is a product of his times …I’m still not voting for him].  For example … when discussing the tyrant, I found myself nodding my head as Aristotle describes the characteristics until we get to this gem … that tyrants obviously give freedoms to women and slaves so that they can inform on their master or husband since they will not conspire against the tyrant …. ah … what?  Yeah … his view about socio-economic status can be a trigger for some folks.  Still … there is a lot of good stuff in there as well.

Ethics - Books 1-10 [****]

- Book I: Introductions, Definitions and the Goal of Ethics

- Book II: Character

- Book III: Courage and Temperance

- Book IV: Other Moral Virtues

- Book V: Justice and Fairness

- Book VI: Intellect

- Book VII: Impediments

- Book VIII: Friendship

- Book IX: Friendship (cont)

- Book X: Pleasure and Happiness 

Politics - Books 1-8 [***] 

- Book I: The City

- Book II:  The Nation/Regime 

- Book III:  Citizens and Monarchies

- Book IV: Democracies and Oligarchies 

- Book V: Constitutional Change and Revolutions

- Book VI: Democratic/Oligarchic Constitutions

- Book VII: Welfare

- Book VIII:  Education

Rhetoric - Books 1-3 [****]

- Book I: Definition and Purpose of Rhetoric in 14 chapters

- Book II: Public Speaking in 26 chapters

- Book III: Rhetorical Style in 19 chapters

Poetics [****]

- Tragedy 

- Epic

- Comedy [Lost/Missing]

I was given this free advance listener copy (ALC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#AristoleCollection  #AudibookFree 

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Sunday, October 16, 2022

Review: The Bible and Baptism: The Fountain of Salvation

The Bible and Baptism: The Fountain of Salvation The Bible and Baptism: The Fountain of Salvation by Isaac Augustine Op Morales
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Christian Baptism is probably the one key rites of initiation shared by all Christian traditions in some form or another. Over the years I have extensively contemplated on the nature and meaning of this sacrament as a preacher’s kid, catholic catechist, lay dominican and deacon candidate, so I thought that I had a pretty good handle on the subject. This book managed to surprise me with a well organized exploration of the central themes (redemption/salvation, communion/unity, new life/spirit and the new priesthood, which were comfortably familiar) as well as several nooks and crannies where I never thought to look before (such as how water is used within the OT - Part 1). 

Although this book was written by a Catholic theologian, his fundamentally solid biblical exegesis and accessible writing makes the book suitable for anybody who wants to understand the many dimensions of this sacrament, and why it forms the principle foundation for christian life (I would strongly recommend this as a group study as well).

Introduction: The Foundation of Salvation
Part 1 - Written for Our Instruction: Water in the Old testament

1. The Waters of Life
2. The Waters of Death
3. The Waters of Freedom
4. The Waters of Purity

Part 2 - The Substance Belongs to Christ: Baptism in the New Testament

5. Christ, the Model of Baptism
6. Christ, the Source of Baptism
7. Baptism “in the Name”
8. Dying and Rising with Christ
9. Being Clothed with Christ
10. Baptism and New Birth
11. Baptismal Purity
12. Baptismal Unity

Conclusion: Salvation through Worship
Appendix: Infant Baptism

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheBibleAndBaptism #NetGalley.

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Thursday, October 13, 2022

Review: The Legend

The Legend The Legend by Melissa Delport
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The Legacy (Legacy Series, #1)
The Legion (Legacy Series, #2)

So ... take everything that I disliked in the first book and double down. I absolutely hated this one ... most especially the protagonist (Rebecca), who was a complete twit for the first third of this story. So much so that I was sorely tempted to abandon this book (even with the luxury of it being an audiobook where you can just tune out the stupid stuff until things get interesting again). Unfortunately once out from the ridiculously manufactured personal conflicts and into the action ... I was so irritated that even the little problems in the action text (such as battle descriptions, tactics, et. al.) were now impossible to ignore and only made me dislike the story even more. On the up side ... if you liked the first two books, this one is more of the same and should be okay for you (YMMV).

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Review: The Legion

The Legion The Legion by Melissa Delport
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Legacy was clearly a setup for this book; and if you made it here, the issues the I had with The Legacy (Legacy Series, #1) {1st person POV - present tense, Drama, et. al} didn't bother you as much as they did me. This review grades on a curve (no stars deducted for issues in the series previously noted).

The Legion can stand on its own (and in fact I would recommend starting the series here); although some comparison is probably warranted. To start with, there is a much more "showing" and less "telling," making this story much easier to engage with. World building is also much better as the Rebecca, and party, wander across the landscape. In addition, there appears to be more dialog that enables the narrative to show off more range with each character; even if the default cadence and intonation still bugs me.

As we wander through what is supposed to be an apocalyptic landscape, but really doesn't feel all that different except for a few feral humans and mutants (rados), we get a fair amount of action to offset the more detailed character building that still relies too heavily on "info-dumps." There are a few mysteries/surprises make the story much more interesting than it otherwise would be ... with more than a few unresolved at the end (cliff-hanger).

Still ... most of the story remains frustrately predictable, given some of the poor decisions made by the heroes. That makes this an amusing diversion, but not much else. (Psst ... evil villian here; pardon me while I reveal my villianous plan in sequential, gloating monologues. It's not like you can esca ... wait, where'd ya go?).

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Sunday, October 9, 2022

Review: God and Morality in Christian Traditions

God and Morality in Christian Traditions God and Morality in Christian Traditions by J. Caleb Clanton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a collection of eleven (11) short, academic essays exploring some of the debate about how human morality is determined, with a specific emphasis on the influence of God in a Christian context. “These essays were originally draft in response to a formal call for papers for a specific issue of the journal Religions entitled ‘God, Ethics, and Christian Traditions.’” Each essay was written by a different [group of] author(s) from a variety of backgrounds, so there is a wide variance on readability and understandability for a casual reader (of which I consider myself to be). Most seem to have a particular slant on the source or orientation of [christian] morality: Natural Law Theory (NLT) which sees morality as part of creature that is ordered to the good, Divine Command Theory (DCT) … aka theological volunteerism, which is essentially that we are moral only in so much as we obey God’s law/commandments … and Virtue ethics (VET), which is the idea of morality based upon promoting what leads to human flourishing, with each author identifying the basic concepts and highlighting some of the limitations. 

Each Essay opens with an Abstract that summarizes the topic, followed by a discussion and ending with notes and references. Most are in clear and accessible language … with a few (such as chapter two) being more typical of philosophical text (wordy and obtuse). Certainly some terms could use a clearer definition or concrete example: such as constructivism vs realism, which to the best of my understanding roughly corresponds to relativism and absolutism within a moral framework. Only one essay seemed to depart from academic discourse to engage in a strange diatribe against same sex marriage … where the main point appears to be that allowing the individual the freedom of their own interpretation, abandons the principle of Sola Scriptura because they don’t interpret it the same way as the author? I am sure there is a fallacy or two in there. In truth I believe it shows the critical weakness on anything based upon a DCT concept … How is the command interpreted and who decides on the interpretation ….

Essay 1: Catholicism and the Natural Law [****]
Essay 2: God, New Natural Law, and Human Rights [**]
Essay 3: Aquinas and Scotus on the Metaphysical Foundations of Morality [*****]
Essay 4: God’s Will as the Foundation of Morality [****]
Essay 5: Does Darwall’s Morality of Accountability Require Moral Realism? [*****]
Essay 6: John Calvin’s Multiplicity Thesis [***]
Essay 7: Understanding Moral Disagreement [**]
Essay 8: Epistemological Crisis in the Free Church Tradition [*]
Essay 9: Love and Do What You Want [****]
Essay 10: Militant Liturgies [****]
Essay 11: Correcting Acedia through Wonder and Gratitude [***]
Rounding Up ...

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#God&Morality #NetGalley.

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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Review: The Legacy

The Legacy The Legacy by Melissa Delport
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Story: So much drama ... this was a character driven story that injected a whole lot of relationship/romance style drama that is just not in my wheelhouse. I was hoping for more of an action/adventure thriller than the emotional self-flagellation that drives the plot conflicts here. My fault for glossing over the "love and passion" in the author's blurb ... however, because I have difficulty connecting with characters that focus on interpersonal drama, I enlisted my daughter's opinion as well to be fair. Unfortunately, outside of the relationship conflicts, there really wasn't much story left. The World Building was fairly standard for a post-apocalyptic world that was not as interesting as I had hoped for; in addition, it was almost exclusively in the beginning of the story in a series of "info-dumps" that were exacerbated by the nearly emotionless cadence of the narrator. I felt like I was listening to a class lecture. The characters themselves seem formulaic with little to no growth by the end of the story ... nothing very memorable.

Performance: I am not a fan of the First Person POV; but if anything can make it work, it would be as an audiobook. Unfortunately, that is not the case here. The story was delivered with minimal inflection that made it too easy to tune out. This made it more difficult to tell which character was speaking, which also made it difficult to appreciate any dialog that tries to develop/support the relationship conflicts. In short, there just was not enough energy to keep me fully engaged in the story.

** I set the narration speed to 1.25 to resolve some of the cadence issues

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Review: City of Wolves

City of Wolves City of Wolves by Kat Ross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Previous Review of City of Storms

This is the second in what appears to be a four (4) book series following “The City of Storms” and we return to a dystopian world of magic where two competing views are at war with each others. The Via Sancta has echoes of the Catholic Church while the Via Libertas are nihilists (aka nightmages). This book also introduces a third faction … Witches (with an awesome twist). It has been long enough since I had finished the first book, it took me a little to orient myself to each of the three (3) primary POVs: Alexi - An inquisitor styled priest with a conscience; Malach - a nightmage with a heart; and Kasi - a cartomancer with a secret. Even the supporting characters (such as Lezarius) are complex enough to weave in their PoV from time to time … and the world itself is exquisite as you can recognize just enough to feel almost familiar (if you are any exposure to western religion/mythology and latin … and germanic/slavic languages). The various magic is generally tied to the concept of ley lines (which is typically manipulated with marks or objects … alchemy, cartomancy and lithomancy). If you get lost, there is a helpful glossary in the back.

With the second book joining the first on my favorites shelf … this is now an author I will buy on sight.

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#CityOfWolves #BookSirens.

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Sunday, October 2, 2022

Review: Life Surrendered: Finding Freedom at the Cross

Life Surrendered: Finding Freedom at the Cross Life Surrendered: Finding Freedom at the Cross by Jessica Herberger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a devotional focused upon the events of Good Friday, with an imaginative reflection to help us obtain a new understanding of the Cross. Told in 16 chapters across four (4) parts, with each chapter devoted to a “little” death (detachment) that we should embrace. Each chapter is a mix of imaginative exegesis of the relevant scripture along a few personal anecdotes. For a devotional with the goal of reimagining the events of Good Friday, there really isn’t a lot that is new here (or even very controversial), but are a few that stand out … such as the observation that Simon (the man pressed into carrying the Cross of Jesus for a time), would have needed to completely reverse direction to do so (something I never really considered before). 

As might be expected, the personal vignettes are hit or missing with my own experience, but they are all short and at least have something to which I can still connect. The chapters conclude with the “Via Dolorosa Way of Grief” (similar to the Stations of the Cross where we follow Jesus from Gethsemane to Golgotha) that is organized into three (3) sections of questions to contemplate: Reflect, Confess and Reconsider; to help the reader connect with the chapter topic. This is probably the only part that is somewhat unique amongst similar devotionals … so if you are not into reflections questions, this book is probably not for you. That said, for the rest of us, this book provides the reader with a wonderful place to start on their meditation on the Passion of Christ during Holy Week. In addition, be sure to check out the link at the end for the online supplemental materials …

Part One - Foundations of Freedom
- Chapter One: The Freedom of Releasing Control (Death of Self)
- Chapter Two: Letting Go of the Battles That Aren’t Yours (Death of the Fight)
- Chapter Three: You Don’t Need to Respond (Death of the Rebuttal)

Part Two - Not All Letting Go is Good
- Chapter Four: When All Seems Lost (Death of Hope)
- Chapter Five: Crowd Control (Death of the Compassionate Crowd)
- Chapter Six: Seeking Truth (Death of Reason)

Part Three - Reimagining
- Chapter Seven: Who Am I? (Death of Entitlement)
- Chapter Eight: Care of Others (Death of Distress)
- Chapter Nine: Advocating Forgiveness (Death of Revenge)
- Chapter Ten: It’s Just a Name (Death of Earthly Titles)
- Chapter Eleven: Reinventing Relations (Death of the Ties That Bind)
- Chapter Twelve: Implausible Timing (Death of Presumptions)
- Chapter thirteen - Upending Traditions (Death of How It Was)

Part Four - Beaty for Ashes
- Chapter Fourteen: Certainty (Death of Doubt)
- Chapter Fifteen: Boldness (Death of Fear)
- Chapter Sixteen: Fearless (Death of the Fear of Death)

Postscript - Beauty in Dying (Death of a Loved One)
Timeline of Good Friday Events

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
#LifeSurrendered #NetGalley.

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.