Reviews by Theresa C Shell
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
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!
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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...
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
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!
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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..
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
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