Paul, Apostle of Christ movie

PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST is the story of two men. Luke, as a friend and physician, risks his life when he ventures into the city of Rome to visit Paul, who is held captive in Nero’s darkest, bleakest prison cell. But Nero is determined to rid Rome of Christians, and does not flinch from executing them in the grisliest ways possible. Before Paul’s death sentence can be enacted, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church.

Bound in chains, Paul’s struggle is internal. He has survived so much—floggings, shipwreck, starvation, stoning, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure—yet as he waits for his appointment with death, he is haunted by the shadows of his past misdeeds. Alone in the dark, he wonders if he has been forgotten . . . and if he has the strength to finish well.

Two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ and spread their message to the world. – from movie’s website

When I heard about this movie, I was curious about how they were going to portray Paul’s life. I was pleased with how they did it. One of my favorite parts of the movie was how they incorporated actual passages from the Bible with lines spoken by the characters and they felt authentic coming from them in their contexts. Of course, there was creative license within the movie because no one knows the whole story and they had to make it into a story that worked for a film. Even with the creative liberties taken, it seemed like it could happen that way and it followed what is given to us in the Bible.

The movie also reminded me of things I don’t normally think of, such as Luke never actually meeting Christ on earth despite writing one of the Gospels and that he was a Greek not a Jew. Another reason I was looking forward to this movie was because the actor who played Jesus in the Passion of the Christ, Jim Caviezel, was in it. This movie was not nearly as gory as the Passion of the Christ but the violence and gore were implied and we were shown enough to know what was going on.

Overall, I think it was a great movie and I would recommend it for people to watch.

“Film has been provided courtesy of Sony Entertainment Releasing Canada (Affirm Films) and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”


Samson movie

Samson is based on the powerful, biblical epic of a champion chosen by God to deliver Israel. His supernatural strength and impulsive decisions quickly pit him against the oppressive Philistine empire. After being betrayed by a wicked prince and a beautiful temptress, Samson is captured and blinded by his enemies. Samson calls upon his God once more for supernatural strength and turns imprisonment and blindness into final victory. – from film’s website

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to see a screening of the whole movie yet, but I was given the opportunity to watch a montage of various scenes from the movie, ahead of its release.

From the scenes I watched, it appeared well done cinematically which is often a knock against Christian films. It would have been nice to see how scenes transitioned into one another to see if they worked well. Despite the story of Samson including a lot of fighting and killing, from the scenes I saw, it was fairly clean. In one of the scenes see a severed head with a little blood on it but never see the part of the head where it was severed. There are other scenes where you know killing is going on but you don’t see much of the blood or gore of it. With how Samson is portrayed, you can easily see how he let Delilah trick him. I would have liked to see how they ended the movie because of how it ends in the actual story or if they changed it. Overall from what I saw, it is fairly accurate to the biblical story, although like usual they added things that weren’t in the original, and would be okay as a family movie as long as you’re aware that there is a lot of fighting and killing.

“Film montage has been provided courtesy of Pure Flix and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”

Book Review Hiatus

I’ve maintained this blog for a few years now and posting book reviews on a somewhat consistent basis. The last while, I’ve noticed I don’t enjoy reading as much as I used to.

Because of this and a couple of personal reasons, I will be taking a break from posting on here. I am still on a street team for an author so I may pop every once and a while to post a review about their books, but for the most part, I won’t be posting reviews.

I’ll probably still read a book now and then during my free time but I’ll be taking it slower and won’t be critiquing them.

I’m not sure how long this break will last. I’ll take it a month at a time and see how I feel. I expect to come back at some point, but it may be more sporadic and/or look different in regards to genres.

Thank you for those who have read my reviews and I wish you all the best.

The View from Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble

After her husband, Jack, dies in a climbing incident, Shauna has only her five-year-old son and her helicopter charter business to live for. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet and she lives in constant fear of losing even more than she already has.

When her business partner is murdered, his final words convince Shauna that she’s in danger too. But where can she turn? Zach Bannister was her husband’s best friend and is the person she blames for his death. She’s barely spoken to him since. But right now he seems her only hope for protecting her son.

Zach is only too happy to assuage his guilt over Jack’s death by helping Shauna any way he can. But there are secrets involved dating back to Shauna’s childhood that more than one person would prefer to stay hidden. – from author’s website

As with most of her books, I found Coble focuses on the character’s stories and wraps the plot around the characters. At points, the storyline was less believable and it was easy to forget that Shauna was ex-navy, although I can understand how grief changes a person. Maybe I wasn’t paying as much attention as I normally did, but when it was revealed who the antagonist was, I had completely forgotten who he was and where he had been introduced before in the book. I liked Zach’s character and how he wanted to make up for his guilt at the death of his best friend by looking out for Shauna and Alex. Overall, it was a decent book that pulled in several murders, although the motivation seemed a little far-fetched.

Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano

Miss Gertrude Cadwalader hoped her position as the paid companion to Mrs. Davenport would be easy. But as she becomes acquainted with her employer, she realizes the wealthy Mrs. Davenport has a strange tendency to be a bit light-fingered with other people’s trinkets. Gertrude is relieved when Mrs. Davenport decides to have a quiet summer away from the social scene–until the woman changes her mind in order to help a young socialite launch into society.

When Gertrude is caught in the act of trying to return one of the trinkets by Mrs. Sinclair, the mother of shipping magnate Harrison Sinclair, the woman jumps to an unfortunate conclusion. Harrison is determined to mend fences with Miss Cadwalader, but he’s unprepared for the escapades a friendship with her will entail. – from author’s website

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was constantly laughing and loved the dialogue and the characters. There were many misunderstandings between the characters which were sweet and innocent and provided for a bunch of laughs. Harrison was adorable with his blunders with women and yet he was very sweet even though he claimed to not understand women. Gertrude was relatable with thinking she was ordinary and that she thought she had too much extra weight. I found the whole cast of characters to be a delight and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

This book was provided by Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon

Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death—and puts Trish under police scrutiny—her world is once again thrown into turmoil. Detective Colin Flynn isn’t certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge—and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn’t just dangerous . . . it’s deadly. – from author’s website

I always enjoy Hannon’s romantic suspense books. The suspense is always at the forefront and this one had more of a psychological feel than some of her other ones. I absolutely loved the plot twist near the end and that I hadn’t seen it coming. That doesn’t happen often anymore and yet Hannon surprised me. It made everything make sense and yet was completely believable. I also loved how she drew in characters from the Men of Valor series and yet you don’t have to read that series to follow along. The book was riveting from beginning to end and I didn’t find it dragged through the setup.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander

Amid war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas—and of sacrificial love.

Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year old son. With the bank threatening to evict, she discovers an advertisement for the Women’s Relief Society auction and applies for a position—only to discover it’s been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity—and friendship. But can Aletta trust this man?

Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffered a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Women’s Relief Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of “crinolines” isn’t his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies—one, in particular—is far more than he bargained for. – from author’s website.

This was a cute little romance set during the time of the American civil war. It showed the devastating effects of the war on the women and families who were left behind. At times I felt like the romance between Aletta and Jake was happening fairly quickly especially since it hadn’t been too long before that Aletta had received word that her husband had died in battle, but I know it was a different time and that her circumstances would have played a factor in it. I also like knowing that the place in the book exists in real life which Alexander does in most of her books. It gives an added dimension to the book and authenticity.

Eyes to See by Compassion Canada

How might our vision change if God gave us His eyes to see the world around us? From Genesis to Revelation, God reveals His compassion for those facing spiritual, physical and emotional poverty, and speaks clearly about identifying and working against injustice. Woven throughout those same pages of the Bible, He reveals His eternal perspective and hope-filled plan to redeem and restore our world. With opened eyes, we are able to play a role in that story of redemption! “Eyes to See” is a 30-day (4 pages per day) perspective-shaping journey for individuals and small groups. Through these pages, we will explore the spiritual roots of poverty, as well as discover its many varied faces. We will take a closer look at our relationships with God, with others, with ourselves and with the world to gain a renewed understanding of how poverty affects us all. Finally, as we see how God is restoring all of us in every aspect of our lives, we will discover that our needs and the needs of our neighbours around the world aren’t so different after all. As we see ourselves and others in light of God’s great unfolding story, we will discover the role God wants us to play in reflecting His love to a world in need. Colour interior pages and photos. Find the free films and 6-week small group study guide at www.eyestosee.cafrom

I didn’t get the most out of this book as I could have or wished to. I kept forgetting to read it daily so it might have been better if I had read it as part of a group study. That being said, there were short chapters (only a couple of pages) that were thought-provoking and gave a more comprehensive approach to poverty. It also didn’t focus specifically on poverty in third-world countries or only on poverty in North America. It included both and gave a more in-depth view of poverty than simply a lack of money. I liked that at the end of each chapter, there were thought-provoking questions related to the chapter and an action plan related to what was mentioned. Sometimes it was simply the act of noticing those less fortunate around you. This book is not simply something someone reads and forgets about. For it to be the most beneficial to a person, they need to interact with the material.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Compassion Canada and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life–but isn’t sure exactly what he’s chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that “the wrath is coming,” Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She’s sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there’s anyone who can help him, it’s Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can’t deny, and she’s pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell–and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming “wrath” that could cost thousands their lives. – from author’s website

As with the first two books in this series, I enjoyed this book. It was fast-paced and took the reader through two unrelated cases, although at times I wondered if they were going to be connected. This book is better if you have read the whole series because it ties back to what has happened in the first two, the second one especially. I liked how the two stories overlapped with the characters. Even though it meant there were several POV characters, some only getting a couple of scenes, I still enjoyed the book as I already knew the characters from the previous books so it didn’t seem like it was overdone.

Where We Belong by Lynn Austin

In the city of Chicago in 1892, the rules for Victorian women are strict, their roles limited. But sisters Rebecca and Flora Hawes are not typical Victorian ladies. Their love of adventure and their desire to use their God-given talents has brought them to the Sinai Desert–and into a sandstorm.

Accompanied by Soren Petersen, their somber young butler, and Kate Rafferty, a street urchin who is learning to be their ladies’ maid, the two women are on a quest to find an important biblical manuscript. As the journey becomes more dangerous and uncertain, the four travelers sift through memories of their past, recalling the events that shaped them and the circumstances that brought them to this time and place. – from author’s website

Normally, I like Lynn Austin’s books but I found this one dragged along too much. It was very slow moving and I got about a quarter of the way through the book and I still had no idea what was really going on. A lot of it was flashbacks. I understand that it was to give depth to the characters and insight into how they were raised and who they were but I actually found it harder to get into the characters and follow the story. In complete honesty, I didn’t actually finish the book because I wasn’t enjoying it so it may have gotten better further into the book.