Reviews by Theresa C Shell

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Sister Dear

Sister Dear

On 6/28 Theresa C Shell wrote: After ten years in prison for a murder she did not commit, Allie is determined to get her life back: reconnect with her daughter and family, find a job, and prove her innocence. Written from multiple perspectives, and interspersed with past memories and present events, the characters' insights creates ... Complex Characters and Themes

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

4 Stars

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The Confessions of X

The Confessions of X

On 3/22 Theresa C Shell wrote: St. Augustine of Hippo wrote an autobiographical work called Confessions; and within this he mentions his pain in parting with his concubine, whom he loved dearly. The Confessions of X brings to life a fictitious rendering of this anonymous women's story--her own autobiography unknown to history, yet ... Beautiful and Evocative!

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

5 Stars

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My Name Is Mahtob

My Name Is Mahtob

On 1/16 Theresa C Shell wrote: Mahtob had a normal life in Michigan until her Iranian father suddenly transformed into an intolerable and abusive husband, kidnapping five-year old Mahtob and her mother into Iran, where they were mistreated in the midst of an already difficult time of war. Upon their escape, Mahtob's mother wrote Not ... Captivating Memoir of Overcoming Obstacles

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

5 Stars

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Angels: A 90-Day Devotional about God’s Messengers

Angels: A 90-Day Devotional about God’s Messengers

On 12/10 Theresa C Shell wrote: This is an excellent devotional. Each of the 90 devotions are approximately two pages, starting with a Bible reference about angels, then an applicable Bible story, commentary on Scripture, or Q and A, and ending with questions leading the reader to consider Scripture, cultural relevance of the subject, ... Balanced and Captivating

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

5 Stars

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Thankful

Thankful

On 9/22 Theresa C Shell wrote: I love this book about being thankful for the little things! The charming illustrations show a sister and brother playing dress-up, helping with chores, and generally enjoying themselves, while the corresponding rhyme imaginatively describes the alternate reality of "pretend" that they are reenacting ... Cute Book with a Great Message!

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

5 Stars

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Ghost Boy

Ghost Boy

On 8/4 Theresa C Shell wrote: At twelve, Martin contracted an illness that left him debilitated--unable to speak, move, or thrive on his own. His family continued to care for him, but did not realize he was aware of his surroundings. Then a care-giver changed his life by treating him like a person, believing in him, and helping him ... Touching Perspective

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

4 Stars

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Wilderness Rising

Wilderness Rising

On 6/10 Theresa C Shell wrote: Wilderness Rising is the sequel to The Church Builder; and it is important to read these books in order as there are many characters who build on each other that it would be difficult to keep track of everyone, even though the mysteries are otherwise separate and could stand alone. In this one, the ... Fun Action-Packed Mystery

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

5 Stars

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Remember the Lilies

Remember the Lilies

On 3/29 Theresa C Shell wrote: After reading Liz Tolsma’s previous two WWII fictions, I had been looking forward to this one, and was not disappointed. This one is set in the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in Manila, Philippines under the rule of the Japanese. Rand Sterling was a wealthy American club owner, but now is in the camp ... Vivid History with Light Romance, and a Hopeful Message

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

4 Stars

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Both of Me

Both of Me

On 2/3 Theresa C Shell wrote: This story is intriguing: Clara is a teenage runaway who is traveling the world to get away from a tragedy in her past. On an airplane she meets Elias, who struggles with an unusual case of Dissociative Identity Disorder. The two accidentally switch backpacks, then become unlikely companions as they ... Lacking Redemptive Message

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

2 Stars

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Fierce Convictions

Fierce Convictions

On 1/1 Theresa C Shell wrote: Hannah More is one of the most incredible historical people I had never known about or studied. She was dedicated to educating women and the poor, was a recognized writer, fought to abolish slavery, and rubbed shoulders with many prominent men including David Garrick, Samuel Johnson, William Wilberforce, ... Interesting Heroine, but Unengaging Text

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

3 Stars

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Hit

Hit

On 10/7 Theresa C Shell wrote: Sarah is a senior in high school, preparing to make the decision about where to go to college, and day-dreaming about a graduate-student poetry teacher (Mr. Haddings), when she is hit by a car while crossing the street. The driver of the car happens to be Haddings. The story is written in "live-diary" ... Great Emotions, but Awkward and Lacking

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

3 Stars

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MindWar

MindWar

On 8/12 Theresa C Shell wrote: Rick Dial had been the quarterback of his high school football game; but after injuring his legs in a car accident he has been avoiding real life by loosing himself in a video-game obsession. When a secret government group recruits him to enter “the Realm” (a digital world created by a Russian villian) ... Great!--but a few hesitations...

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

4 Stars

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Daisies Are Forever

Daisies Are Forever

On 6/24 Theresa C Shell wrote: Tolsma’s writing is vivid and powerful. I loved her previous novel, Snow on the Tulips, and enjoyed this one as well. I especially appreciate that this was inspired by two separate true accounts, and that it presented a unique perspective of the normal German citizens who were also impacted by this ... War Affects Every Side

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

4 Stars

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The Queen's Handmaid

The Queen's Handmaid

On 4/14 Theresa C Shell wrote: An orphan from birth, Lydia is raised in Cleopatra's palace, and becomes the personal handmaiden to her son, Caesarion (Ptolemy Caesar, son of Julius Caesar). She is also trained in the ways of the God of Israel by her Jewish father-figure, Samuel, an old man who also works in the service of Cleopatra. ... There is a slow spot, but keep reading!

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

4 Stars

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Princess Ever After

Princess Ever After

On 3/4 Theresa C Shell wrote: This is the classic story of a young woman discovering that she has royal blood and is the heir to the throne of a small, little known (fictitious) nation, and its only hope of survival. More than that, it has a strong spiritual foundation, and becomes a metaphor for identity and purpose within God's ... Sweet Fairy Tale of Love and Identity

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

4 Stars

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Restless DVD

Restless DVD

On 1/18 Theresa C Shell wrote: In eight 20ish minute sessions, passionate Bible teacher Jennie Allen encourages those who feel spiritually restless that God does have a purpose for their lives. The series begins with understanding our restlessness and God’s plan, then moves into discussion of our personal gifts, times of suffering/hurt, ... Make Sure to Buy with Corresponding Materials!

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

3 Stars

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Dear Mr. Knightley

Dear Mr. Knightley

On 12/18 Theresa C Shell wrote: Twenty-three year old orphan, Samantha (Sam) Moore, has always hidden behind her favorite books. Her childhood was difficult, so books (especially everything Jane Austen) became her escape, and eventually more of a reality than the present. As she struggles to relate to people, an interesting opportunity ... Romantic Coming-of-Age Story

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

4 Stars

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The Church Builder

The Church Builder

On 10/29 Theresa C Shell wrote: When small-town lawyer Bethany Barclay is framed for murder, she finds herself on the run and caught between two mysterious organizations plus the government's own investigation. She quickly realizes her best friend Annabelle Seaver had been involved in something big-and upon Annabelle's recent death, ... Fast-paced Blockbuster-like Thriller

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

4 Stars

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City on Fire

City on Fire

On 10/25 Theresa C Shell wrote: Ariella has witnessed the destruction of her beloved Jerusalem, the loss of her family, and death of her people. Now a runaway slave, she disguises herself as a male gladiator, fighting for the hope of winning the crowd and her freedom. Wealthy politician Portius Cato, is also running away in a sense-he ... Well Researched Historical Romance

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

5 Stars

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Snow on the Tulips

Snow on the Tulips

On 8/28 Theresa C Shell wrote: Set in a Nazi occupied part of the Netherlands toward the end of WWII, this is not only a suspenseful wartime romance, but one inspired by the true story of the author's own relatives. The characters and high-stake narrative are so emotionally engaging I could not put it down. Cornelia de Vries is a ... Enthralling Historical Romance

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

5 Stars

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Chasing Francis

Chasing Francis

On 7/1 Theresa C Shell wrote: Evangelical mega church pastor, Chase Falson, has lost his faith after the death of a young girl in his congregation. His learned answers for why things happen as they do, who God is, and what God wants from the church are no longer enough for him. After an embarrassing emotional breakdown mid-sermon, ... A Critique of the Contemporary Church through the Life of St. Francis of Assisi

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

5 Stars

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So Shines the Night

So Shines the Night

On 5/15 Theresa C Shell wrote: So Shines the Night is a fictitious rendition of Acts 18-19, and Tracy Higley does an excellent job of making these Scriptures come to life. The central character is female teacher, Daria, who escapes Rhodes by agreeing to become a tutor to Ephesian merchant, Lucas Christopoulos. But living in Ephesus ... Historical Rendition of Acts 18-19

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

5 Stars

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Isle of Shadows

Isle of Shadows

On 1/14 Theresa C Shell wrote: Isle of Shadows is set in ancient Greece. Tessa of Delos serves as a hetaera (educated prostitute) to a powerful man; and when he dies, her welfare is threatened. As the sole witness to his death, she will either be held responsible for his death, or she will be sent to serve an even worse man. Desiring ... Captivating Historical Fiction

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

5 Stars

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Heaven Changes Everything

Heaven Changes Everything

On 12/21 Theresa C Shell wrote: Heaven Changes Everything is a devotional reader based on the bestselling Heaven is for Real (a young boy’s experience of going to heaven and back). Each of the 42 short chapters begins with a quote from Heaven is for Real, followed by a personal reflection based on that quotation, and ending with ... 'Just Okay' Devotional

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

3 Stars

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Sneak

Sneak

On 10/16 Theresa C Shell wrote: This is the second book in the Swipe Series, which is loosely based on a “mark of the beast” end time scenario set just a few generations into the future. Logan Langly has escaped getting the Mark and is on the run–searching for the prison where his sister is being held after disappearing five ... Captivating and Teen-Friendly

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

5 Stars

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Angel Eyes

Angel Eyes

On 7/13 Theresa C Shell wrote: I wish I could recommend this book because I’m a big fan of supernaturally oriented Christian fiction. But there were a couple theological issues in the story that bothered me: 1) the Christian characters had no power against the demonic realm and were frequently abused or tormented by the demons, ... A Couple Theological Issues

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

2 Stars

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The Coming Revolution

The Coming Revolution

On 5/1 Theresa C Shell wrote: I was really intrigued by the title: The Coming Revolution, but I found the book to be dull and hard to finish, especially in the opening chapters. The strong political bias was overwhelming for me and really turned me off from wanting to read more. I’m tired of the Republican versus Democrat dissensions, ... Not Revolutionary

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

2 Stars

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Heart of Ice (trade paper)

Heart of Ice (trade paper)

On 1/4 Theresa C Shell wrote: This is the first book I've read of the Triple Threat Series, and I enjoyed it. It was light reading, suspenseful, with interesting characters--and it takes place in Portland Oregon, which happens to be one of my favorite cities. The "triple threat" is made up of Federal Prosecutor Allison Pierce, FBI ... Suspenseful and Entertaining

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

4 Stars

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December 1941

December 1941

On 12/6 Theresa C Shell wrote: This account of American history was especially insightful to me. Shirley weaves together newspaper reports, human interest stories, and other research to thoroughly portray the mindset, recreation, dress, social and spiritual beliefs, American leaders and celebrities, and day-to-day lifestyle of Americans ... Insightful Compilation of History

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

5 Stars

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Invasion (tpc)

Invasion (tpc)

On 12/5 Theresa C Shell wrote: Invasion is a story of alien attacks, other universes, real-live comic book characters, super gadgets, and secret service agents, all mixed in with typical high school life. High school hero, Colt McAlister, discovers that his family has been involved in a secret military organization to defend the world ... Alien Attacks, Comics, and High School!

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

5 Stars

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Heaven is for Real Deluxe Edition

Heaven is for Real Deluxe Edition

On 11/8 Theresa C Shell wrote: This a really sweet story of an almost four year old's near death experience: seeing heaven, meeting a grandfather he never knew and meeting the sister his mother miscarried whom he was also never told about. He didn't tell his parents about the experience all at once, and so his dad wrote the book in ... Is it True? It sure is interesting and sincere.

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

4 Stars

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Why Men Hate Going to Church

Why Men Hate Going to Church

On 10/27 Theresa C Shell wrote: This is a love it or hate it kind of book and I experienced a bit of both. Murrow makes many sweeping generalizations of gender differences and occasionally even of denominational differences, many of which I found offensive. He comments frequently that women are smarter than men, more studious, musical, ... Love it or Hate it

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

3 Stars

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Sunrise on the Battery

Sunrise on the Battery

On 10/3 Theresa C Shell wrote: I did not enjoy reading this. It’s very slow, and the writing lacks the momentum to propel the story. I was excited to read about how about how a wealthy family in Charleston adjusts to living radically for the Lord–especially when the husband and wife are not initially on the same page. But Sunrise ... Slow and Lacking

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

2 Stars

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The Realms Thereunder

The Realms Thereunder

On 9/14 Theresa C Shell wrote: I only rarely enjoy fantasy, so I was trying to be extra open-minded as I read this. Actually, I was hoping it would be more about the Old English language and culture and less true fantasy, since the premise is that two students in England find their way beneath the streets of Oxford into a hidden city ... Only OK

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

3 Stars

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Thunder Dog

Thunder Dog

On 8/9 Theresa C Shell wrote: Thunder Dog is the true account of a blind man and his guide dog as they escape the 78th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Inspired by the calm and collectiveness of his dog, Michael was able to keep his focus and emotions in tact as they make the long descend to freedom. This isn’t ... An Encouraging Memoir

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

4 Stars

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J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien

On 7/22 Theresa C Shell wrote: This biography of Tolkien's life, writing, and faith is certainly interesting, though not as impressive as I had expected. Tolkien had a hard life. He experienced the loss of both parents and many friends, and had to work very hard to earn himself an education and to make enough to support his family. ... Pretty Good Snapshot of Life and Writing

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

3 Stars

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The Final Hour

The Final Hour

On 7/13 Theresa C Shell wrote: I've really enjoyed Klavan's Homelanders Series and this final book is an excellent end to a suspenseful and action-packed story. Teen super-hero Charlie West is in one of the most dangerous prisons in the country for a crime he didn't commit. And amidst his struggle to stay alive in prison, he is also ... Exciting and Thought Provoking Throughout

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

5 Stars

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Why God Won't Go Away

Why God Won't Go Away

On 7/5 Theresa C Shell wrote: Why God Won’t Go Away is a great introduction to New Atheism, how it was started, and what these particular Atheists believe. (There are several groupings of Atheists just as there are many sects of Christians and this book focuses specifically on New Atheism.) It is not too thorough–as I said, it’s ... An Excellent Intro to New Atheism

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

5 Stars

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A Reluctant Queen

A Reluctant Queen

On 6/2 Theresa C Shell wrote: Joan Wolf offers a fresh perspective on the story of Esther, and she gave me a lot to think about. But this story takes too many liberties with its historical account--let alone its biblical one. There were small errors, like Esther being called Esther before the contest to become queen, rather than ... Too Many Historical and Biblical Liberties

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

3 Stars

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REGGIE

REGGIE

On 5/16 Theresa C Shell wrote: This is the story of a man who was conceived when his mother prostituted herself for $20 in order to keep her children and herself alive. He was adopted into a loving Christian family and shares his struggle to find his identity. Now a nationally acclaimed motivational speaker, Reggie loves to encourage ... Inspirational, but full of fluff

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

3 Stars

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The Final Summit

The Final Summit

On 4/11 Theresa C Shell wrote: The Final Summit is an interesting read. It fails, however, to offer a biblical perspective, and when I read Christian literature that’s the one thing which matters most. The premise of the story is that God is mad at the world and planning to destroy it unless humanity can restore itself. There is ... Misses the Mark

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

1 Stars

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Called to Worship

Called to Worship

On 3/8 Theresa C Shell wrote: Called to Worship is written in a semi-textbook semi-personal style, which was not to my liking; but the main reason I didn't like it is that it felt like something very important was missing from the text. I can't quite describe what it is--heart, maybe, or intimacy. It's just that, I have the best ... Something's Missing..

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

3 Stars

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Fearless

Fearless

On 9/8 Theresa C Shell wrote: Not Recommended.  Fearless is full of personal stories, but beyond the empathetic acknowledgment that humans are in a battle against fear, Lucado offers only a superficial view of Christianity. Lucado identifies that we need to trust in God, cast our worries on Him, and so on, but he doesn’t go deep enough into HOW anyone would ... Review of Fearless by Max Lucado

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

2 Stars

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Real Church

Real Church

On 8/3 Theresa C Shell wrote: I don’t recommend Real Church, although the title certainly caught my attention.  While Crabb asks very relevant questions with interesting discussion and surprising vulnerability, his vision of the ideal church misses the mark.  Despite all the struggling variations of churches, it seems he ... Review of Real Church: Does it Exist? Can I find it? by Larry Crabb

Theresa C Shell's Rating:

2 Stars

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