The Reason Dual Coverage Event

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Title: The Reason
Author: William Sirls
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published: September 4, 2012
Pages: 412

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Exciting news everyone! For the first time ever we are having a dual review! A new friend of mine has agreed to review a book with me and hopefully garner some attention to her own blog as well. I hope that you enjoy her reviews because I have a feeling she’s going to be a repeat guest here. Enjoy the extra review and check out Brooke’s page at http://brookesbookblog.weebly.com/index.html
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MY REVIEW

One storm and a broken cross are all it takes for the lives of a few in small town Michigan to change forever. James Lindy, the church’s blind pastor, wonders how his small congregation could ever afford to fix the cross that broke after being hit by lightning that sits outside his church. His hope is fading when the words “Only Believe” are uttered and change him and his congregation’s lives forever.

Macey Lewis, the town’s brilliant oncologist, started her career to save lives and has done a pretty good job of it over the years, but one patient, Alex, draws her attention and her worry. Macey believes that modern medicine can save Alex from his aggressive leukemia, but she’s challenged to “Only Believe”, making Macey confused and scared all at the same time.

Brooke, Alex’s single mother, has given everything to her little boy and is devastated when she finds out about her son’s condition. She pleads with God to explains to her why this is happening and to save her son. With “Only Believe” as her only answer and heaven silent to her pleas, Brooke wonders how she can “only believe” when all seems hopeless.

These three people and their families and friends go on a journey that no one expected and the tentacles of their journey reach thousands as they search for answers and find them in an unlikely place. They grow closer together and their faith grows or appears along with their knowledge that there is a higher power that cares about every individual. New friendships are made and new beliefs are realized but ultimately it’s the love of Christ that binds us all together.
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Normally I like dramatic stories with plot twists and a gritty-realistic look on life, but books like this are hard for me to swallow. Not only do I not like books about pediatric leukemia but I hate how those books usually end. This isn’t the first book that I’ve read about this and it probably won’t be the first but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I also didn’t like the turn this books takes after about the hundred page mark. It took the story from believable to unrealistic and unfair. Not to mention chapter thirteen was missing!

William made a major mistake for me when he made Kenneth. Kenneth is an interesting character that seems to know everything about everything and you have a feeling who he is though it’s never really mentioned. Kenneth is a carpenter who fixes things instantly and is supposed to be Jesus. I found this character choice very biblically inaccurate because I don’t believe that Jesus is walking the earth and I can guarantee when he comes back he’s not going to be healing. I felt that Kenneth was a major mistake for the author and he should’ve never gone there.

The other characters of this story were half developed and I only got a glimpse of half of their lives. It felt like a jigsaw puzzle but even put together it felt incomplete and like it was only half of the true picture. I think there were too man character to properly develop and if the author had had less maybe it wouldn’t feel so disjointed.

Another problem I had with this book is the answers given to the hard intellectually stumping questions that the characters ask. I felt that most of the questions were glossed over and not really answered and the ones that were answered made no sense or wouldn’t bring me the peace that it supposedly brings the characters. It seems like the characters accept the non answers given to them without question whereas I felt unsatisfied with them.

Another problem was the slow pace. This book dragged on between exciting moments and I was half tempted to just put it down but because of my obligation to review it and my OCD ways about finishing books, I couldn’t. It started out on a nice front but quickly slowed down to the point where I wondered why I was even reading it and sped back up again at the end. The ending was pretty much the way I figured until the author had to put the unrealistic and really unfair ending. This author definitely didn’t help those in grieving with this ending and I think his ending choice made less of an impact than it would’ve if he would’ve left it alone.

The only bright spot of this book is the adorable and innocent relationship between Charlie and Alex. I loved it and I loved how a lot if attention was put there. Seeing the relationship between them was absolutely sweet and adorable and made the story so much better, but it didn’t save it for me, just helped bump it up a number or two. I really wish this book would’ve been better.

This author hasn’t impressed me with this book and I don’t fully know why this book is even here. The missing thirteenth chapter made me think I was crazy for a second then came across as cheesy. I don’t know if it was intentional but if it was it was another mistake for this author. I don’t know if I’ll read anything by this author again but I won’ have the same expectation that I had for this one.

Overall, I didn’t like this book at all except for Charlie and Alex. I don’t really recommend but this book might be enjoyed by those who enjoy miracles. Keep this book away from your kids and keep it just for the adults. I give this book a two out of five.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*
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And now here’s Brooke’s review. I hope you guys like it and check out Brooke’s page. The link is posted at the bottom of page.

BROOKE’S REVIEW

A huge, old, wooden church cross falls in the middle of a lightning storm…can it be fixed?

James Lindy, an old, godly minister is blind…can he ever see again?

Alex, a little boy, has leukemia…can he become well?

Miracles begin to happen in that small town of Michigan.

Miracles that seem to revolve around a simple carpenter…Kenneth.

But even with those miracles things seem to be getting worse and worse.

One phrase is repeated over and over in the minds and hearts of these people.

Only believe.

The Reason started out extremely slow for me. I just couldn’t get into it until Kenneth popped up in Pastor Jim’s church. That was around page 100. However, the characters were well developed. I thought, at the beginning of the book, that there were just too many characters. But the author did a very good job of developing each of them. However, I believe he could have condensed two of the female characters into one and the book would have picked up somewhat. I thought that Brooke, Alex’s mom, could have been a little better developed. She was the average single mom. I thought that something could have been added to her character to have made her even more special. She was probably the most predictable out of all the characters in the book.

I really liked Pastor Jim. He had a wonderful sense of humor, even though he was blind. I don’t think any reader can help but like him. I also enjoyed getting to know his seven foot son, Charlie. Charlie was unique. I have never read about another character like him. I loved the relationship between Charlie and little Alex. It was adorable and well portrayed.

If you are going to read The Reason then you’ll figure out quickly who Kenneth is supposed to be, though the book never actually says it. He kept on popping up whenever somebody needed him. I looked up his name, thinking that maybe his name had some allegorical quality, but it didn’t. However, the name Kenneth seemed to suit him anyway.

This wasn’t my usual reading material. I like things with more romantic elements. There was absolutely no romance in this book. Because of my personal preference, I’m naturally going to like this book less. But it was interesting to read, nonetheless.

I felt that both the beginning and a place near the end utterly dragged. I was so bored that I nearly put it down, but did not because I was obligated to read it. Also, all the miracles seemed somewhat unbelievable. I thought that if the author could have toned them down a little I would have bought them more. Yes, miracles happen today. But the way that some of the miracles were presented just seemed too unreal.

I give The Reason 3 out of 5 stars.

If you liked my review follow me on my blog http://brookesbookblog.weebly.com/index.html . I blog about mostly fiction books and poetry I’ve written. Read my last post, A Moment of Courage, and determine for yourself if you like my poetry or not. My blog is titled Fantastical Fiction. I am always looking for books to add to the Fantastical Fiction Hall of Fame. So far there are only four.

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