Welcome! I'm Melissa Gross, a dynamic and interactive teacher and speaker called to lead and encourage Christian women in their walk with the Lord through classes, workshops and retreats incorporating Bible study, devotionals, illustrated Bible journaling, paper crafting and mixed media projects that merge faith and art bringing God’s Word to life so you can find renewed excitement to dive into the Word, use your creative gifts, and apply the Truth as you draw closer to the Lord and serve Him in your everyday life. This site is where I share my everyday adventures, Bible Journaling pages, scrapbook layouts, handmade cards, and other crafty projects, as well as information on my upcoming workshops and events. I also post photos, ramble about books I'm reading, stuff I'm organizing, and other FUN bits & pieces of my wonderful life.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Reviews - The Hobbit, Off Season, Living in the Spirit

I finished a few books this past week, and as I was preparing these short book reviews I laughed at the diversity in them. The first is a classic filled with adventures and a fantasy world, the second is popular fiction built around a love story, and the third is spiritual non-fiction. There just might be something for everyone here.


The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is a classic and a favorite of mine. I've read it before, but since the filming of The Hobbit movie began this month, I decided it was time for another read through. This book chronicles the adventures of Bilbo Baggins as he travels (somewhat reluctantly) with a group of dwarves and (part of the time) Gandalf the Wizard. Their destination is the Lonely Mountain where a dragon lives with all the gold and treasures he obtained from his raid against the dwarves years ago. I enjoy the world that Tolkien created in Middle Earth and all the adventures and travails throughout the journey from the Shire to the Lonely Mountain. One of my favorite scenes occurs when Gandalf continues to talk and negotiate with the trolls until the sun comes over the horizon and the trolls are all turned to stone. (These same stone trolls reappear in Frodo's adventures in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.) Another favorite is at the end of the book when Bilbo returns home on the day of the estate sale (of his estate!) because he was presumed dead.

View Image
I always enjoy Anne Rivers Siddons' books because she does a fabulous job of creating intriguing indepth characters. The main character in her new book Off Season is Lilly, a recent widow who is grieving the death of her husband while retelling the story of her childhood, the tragic loss of her first love, her relationship with her mother who she lost to cancer as an adolescent, the overly protective relationship she and her father developed throughout her teens years, and the total love she and Cam shared in decades of marriage. True to form, Siddons includes several plot twists along the way. I enjoyed the book until the last chapter, which ended rather abruptly and without wrapping up all the loose ends. It left me wondering what truly happened as there were several scenarios that are possibilities. I know some readers like those types of endings, but I prefer it to wrap up nice and neat so I can move on to the next story.

Living in the Spirit: Drawing Us to God, Sending Us to the World

I read Living in the Spirit by George O. Wood as part of the Wednesday night class we are attending at church. This is an excellent book on the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives and has been the catalyst for some great discussion each Wednesday.

I'm currently about halfway through two other books, both recommended by Sian, and just starting another that Stacy Julian recommended on a Paperclipping Roundtable episode. Robbie and I are also listening to an audio book in the car and will probably finish it up next week when we're out and about. I hope you're enjoying a good read (or two) this week.

10 comments:

Sian said...

I first read The Hobbit when I was about ten, and I have returned to it many times since, always finding something new. I'm glad it's one you love too

Tracy said...

I love the Hobbit, read it again earlier in the year. I am currently re-reading the Lord of the Rings series.

Lynn said...

I have tried to read the Hobbit a few times but never "get it". I may give it another go.

WendyB said...

Another Hobbit and LOTR fan here. Loved them years ago and love them still. Can't wait to see the new Hobbit movie but can't quite figure where they will split it into two.

Lorraine said...

At least your well rounded!

Stephanie Joanna said...

thanks for the reviews! My Wednesday night group is also doing a study on the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. What a small world!

I just started reading the 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman and I'm loving it so far ... no pun intended. :)

MonicaB said...

Great book reviews. I'm looking forward to reading the hobbit to my boys soon.

Ginger said...

I also love the Hobbit! Really Melissa I am amazed that you read so much, good for you!! I just finished reading "Fortune's Rock" by Anita Shreve. I liked it, but felt the main character could have been developed more (opposite of your Anne Siddons novels:)

humel said...

The Hobbit is one of our favourites, too :-) Can't wait to see the film! xx

Rachel B said...

Great reviews Melissa, would you believe I haven't read the hobbit! :)