Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Waterbrook Multnomah Book Review: The Crossing by Serita Ann Jakes

Serita Ann Jakes has been involved in Christian ministry all of her adult life and has served alongside her husband.  Bishop T. D. Jakes, throughout their entire marriage of nearly thirty years.  In addition to raising three sons and two daughters.  Mrs. Jakes is executive director of the WoMan to Woman Ministries of The Potter's House of Dallas, where her husband is senior pastor.

The Crossing by Serita Jakes is an intriguing and captivating story from the minute you start reading it.  I happen to love novels which are fast paced.  This book does not disappoint.

However, it isn't a light hearted book.  The premise is about teacher and cheer leading coach by the name of B.J. Remington who was shot and murdered on a bus after a football game.  Unfortunately, the murder wasn't solved.  So her close friend's husband (an ADA) decided to reopen the case after a decade to bring closure for his wife Cynthia (B.J.'s student and close friend).  Cynthia witnessed the murder that fateful night and thus suffered from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) as a result.  The twists and turns of this murder investigation and all the relationships involved was suspenseful to say the least.  The book also addressed another important topic; domestic violence.

I have to admit that this book surprised me.  I really didn't think I would like it as much as I did.  I literally couldn't put the book down because I wanted to know what would happen next.  However, reading this book left me somber and thinking deeply about things.  I happened to relate and identify with things that happened to some of the characters in this book.  So, it brought up a lot of "stuff" for me to sort through, process and come to terms with in my own life.  Yes, this book is written as fiction, however, I believe it's based on real life scenarios which can't be ignored and swept under a rug, but addressed for what they really are.  This story doesn't have a happy ending, which is true to life as well.

I highly recommend this riveting and thought provoking book.  I commend First Lady Serita Jakes for her courage in writing such a creative, relevant and poignant novel.

In conclusion, I want to thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for sending me this complimentary book and for the opportunity to review it.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Booksneeze Book Review: Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber

CAROLYN WEBER holds her BA from the University of Western Ontario and her MPhil and DPhil degrees from Oxford University.  She has been Associate Professor of Romantic Literature at Seattle University, and has also taught at Westmont College, University of San Francisco, and Oxford University.  Carolyn and her husband share the joy of parenting three spirited children in Santa Barbara, CA and London, Canada.  Find her online at

Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber was a delightful surprise for me.  Firstly, the title alone immediately grabbed my interest.  But, I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated by the word 'Oxford'.  Words like 'Oxford' and 'Cambridge' are a bit out of my league.  However, I secretly (now not so secretly) relished the concept of vicariously being a student of such a reputable and highly esteemed university.  I was undoubtedly salivating throughout the book and compared it to eating a delicious gourmet meal; scrumptious beyond measure.  I have a penchant for memoirs and this one was by far the best!

I was enraptured by all the twists and turns of Professor Carolyn Weber's life. She is such an eloquent and absolutely gifted writer.  I fell in love with this book, with Professor Weber and all the people she describes in her book.  Especially, the infamous 'TDH' (tall, dark and handsome), he was my favorite.  Mind you, I never thought of myself as a die hard romantic until now.

I honestly do not have one single negative thing to write about this book at all.  It was totally my kind of book in so many ways and on so many levels.  I totally related to Professor Weber's life.  She endured some very difficult things, such as her strained relationship with her father.  I respect her character as nothing was handed or given to her, she didn't feel 'entitled', but worked hard for everything.  Which is why she wound up achieving a full scholarship at Oxford University in the first place.  I so admire Professor Weber and also appreciated how she came to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior at Oxford.
Throughout this book, there were so many quotes which captured nuances for me, such as this one written by the wife of one of Carolyn Weber's professors:  "How do you go off to study literature, only to find that there is no human language that can convey the glory of heaven." - Dorothea Deveaux.  I just loved that. 

Yes, Professor Weber went to Oxford University to complete her masters in literature, but surprisingly found Jesus in the midst of academia. 

This book is written like a beautiful embroidery interwoven by thread of God's love and grace.  If I could give this book more than five stars I would.  I loved it that much and highly recommend it! 

In conclusion, I want to thank Booksneeze for sending me this complimentary book and allowing me the opportunity to honestly review it.

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