Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Five Christian Movies You Really Should See

I know Christian movies tend to be a controversial topic at times. Some love them, some strongly dislike them; however, I'm somewhere in between. I like watching Christian films, but sometimes there are just some that aren't worth watching. However, there are also some that impact you, inspire you, and I think are just all-around awesome. Even if you aren't a fan of Christian media, here are my top 5 Christian movies I love, that I really think you should see anyway. 

1. Courageous

The Kendrick brothers do an awesome job, I think- not in making a Christian movie, but just a movie in general. All of theirs are good, but so far Courageous has remained my favorite. It depicts real life, not a sort of "fantasy world" that some Christian movies tend to depict. There is awesome acting, humor you can relate to, happiness, sorrow, and, being a film mainly about the police force,  action. This is definitely a must-see, in my book! 

2. Woodlawn

Based on a true story about a racial-hot school in 1960's Alabama, this is another inspiring (not cheesy) story. I've only seen it once, so I don't quite remember all of it offhand, but I do remember after watching it that I was so glad I had. I'm not one to cry in movies, but I came very close to it in this story! There is one part that just gave me chills (in a good, inspiring way). 

  3. Ben-Hur

I had the privilege of seeing this in theaters, and while I was a bit upset at some of the details (it was different from the book- you can read my review of the novel here), this was another near tear-jerker. True, there's more action and violence than some (or most) Christian films (it was almost rated R), but I think that only made the conclusion that much more inspiring and fulfilling. Also, some may say that Christian films are low-quality and have bad cinematography, but that, in my opinion, can't be said of Ben-Hur. It will be a classic for a long time in our house! 

4. Fireproof

Another Kendrick brothers movie, this one is probably my next-to-favorite of theirs. In an age where it sometimes seems as if there's more divorces and unhappy couples than marriages, this film about one man's "quest" to bring his marriage together is a breath of fresh air. And what I said about Courageous can be said the same of this movie- it has all that (I believe) a movie needs- humor, action (the main character in this one is a firefighter), inspiring moments, and moments of sadness. 

5. October Baby

 Another tear-jerker that shows how abortion (a prominent topic in the movie) really does affect the lives of those involved. And how life really means something.  As the song on the main menu proclaims, life is beautiful. 

What would you put on your must-watch list? And if you've seen any of these films before, what did you think of them? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Shine Like the Dawn, by Carrie Turansky

                                                        Genre: Historical Romance

                                                        Rating: Three out of five hearts ♥♥♥


Separated by an inconceivable tragedy, can faith and love reunite childhood friends and light the way to a bright future? 

In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible event reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. Maggie is resilient and will do what she must to protect her sister Violet. Still, the loss of her parents weighs heavily on her heart because she wonders if what happened that day on the lake…might not have been an accident.

When wealthy inventor and industrialist William Harcourt dies, his son and Maggie’s estranged childhood friend, Nathaniel returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s vast estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend.

Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate—and reconciling with God? Will the search for the truth about her parents’ death draw the two friends closer or leave them both with broken hearts?

Description from waterbrookmultnomah.com

My Review:

I love a good historical novel, and one set in England always piques my interest. In this new novel, Mrs. Turansky delivers tragedy, secrets, mystery, and a bit of danger, and I enjoyed being able to discover her, as this was the first of her works I've yet read.
 The characters were lovable- Maggie, Nate, Mrs. Hayes, Violet, Lilly.... as I read, I hoped they would have happy endings to their stories.  That being said, I did feel a bit disconnected with Maggie at times. Perhaps it was because of her somewhat bitter disposition at the start of the story. Also, I was not able to relate to her too well, as my personality is different from hers (less bold and outspoken) and I could not relate so much to her struggles. She and Nate did make a good couple, however, and I wished them to succeed. 
 The mystery aspect of the story was interesting, and I enjoyed it. The cliffhangers right at the resting places in the novel made me want to find out what was going to happen, and I was always eager to begin reading again when  I stopped at a place like that. However, I was a little disappointed at the mystery's conclusion.
 One thing that I loved and that drew me to the story in the first place was the cover. The curious-looking girl, light filtering through the garden's trees... all beautiful. Not only that, but all the elements of the it were just right for the story. It fit the story perfectly!
  I'm just not exactly sure why I could not get into this book. The writing style, characters, plot... all were good, and I wanted to get into it, but just couldn't. However, if you think this story looks interesting, don't let my somewhat lukewarm review deter you-  give Shine Like the Dawn a try.  According to other reviews I've read, this was probably just not my cup of tea, despite being a great story overall- other readers loved it! And despite my inability to get into it, I'm going to be on the lookout for more books from Mrs. Turansky.

Note: I got this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.