Tag Archives: fiction

The Twelfth Imam: Review

Most of you know that I live in Istanbul. Naturally, I have an interest in things related to the Middle East. The Twelfth Imam, which my husband had read a couple of years ago, was a really fun read. I’d been having a little bit of trouble jumping into a book as I had been swamped with research and writing for the last few months. But, thankfully, this one got me out of my rut!

The Twelfth Imam is written by Joel Rosenberg who has been studying and writing on issues related to the Middle East, Israel, and religion for the last several years. This book feels very well informed, which makes it a more interesting read. Rosenberg starts his book off with the great, but little known American story of Argo. (By the way, a great film! Something American’s should know about!) Argo was a secret operation undertaken during the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979. The Twelfth Imam starts here and follows the story of an American and Iranian family who escape the tumultuous country of Iran to the safety of America. Years later, the families have settled in small American towns, had children, and started new lives. When the youngest children are teenagers, the fathers get back in touch, and they attend a company retreat the weekend before America was forever changed by the acts of a few men on planes.

September 11 drastically changed the lives of some members of these families, and they set in motion the events that would drive the rest of the book. From a successful New England doctor’s son to a high-ranking CIA position, David Shirazi is going to serve his country and his family well by entering a country on the verge of perfecting their nuclear weapons base. At the same time, the Islamic world was turned upside down by the ascent of the Twelfth Imam, the prophesied leader who would come to usher in peace in the last times.

David is in a race to try and find the crucial information that will keep the world from seemingly falling apart, be it by nuclear weapons or mass conversion. Will he be able to protect those who mean the most to him? Will he be able to set aside the rest of his life for the good of his country?

The Twelfth Imam is a thrilling and fast paced book. The story line is well-developed, and there was little to criticize regarding the writing or the plot line. This is the first in a series of books, and I’m sure that you’ll be interested in picking up the second immediately after finishing the first! I think that this book would be especially beneficial to read as a family to address issues of faith, religion, and current events in the world. Rosenberg’s books do not contain any objectionable material, which makes them suitable for a family context, and while he does not dictate your thoughts, he does give a clear presentation of events that ought to be discussed with young people in today’s world.

My one criticism, if it can even be called that, is that Rosenberg does raise some issues (from a Christian standpoint) that are not easy questions to answer. Perhaps it is because of that that he does not give a clear answer as to what he believes is happening, but I think that some of his questions are really important to understand. The biggest issue is this: does God, and if He does, how does He use dreams and visions for His modern purposes? This is a real issue that we are facing in the world today. This issue is raised in The Twelfth Imam, but Rosenberg does not give much indication as to his own thoughts on the matter. He leaves it to us to run to the Bible and find our answers. What do you think? Does God use dreams and visions today? What would be your response to someone who said that they learned about Jesus from a dream?

I would honestly recommend this book to anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, or religion. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the story and your answers to some of the questions!

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Don’t forget, if you are looking for something good to read, check out my page of suggestions!!

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Summer Reading Wrap-Up

Surprise, surprise, I did not read as much as I had hoped to. But! That’s okay, because we had an amazing summer, and I got to spend a lot of time with family and friends, and it was totally worth it. But, I wanted to give you a quick run down of some of the books that I read this summer and my thoughts on them. This is not going to be a full review of all of these books, just a paragraph or so on my initial thoughts. What did you read this summer? Let me know in the comments section!!

 Honour by Elif Shafak: (my apologies because this is really hard to find in the USA, I bought it at the airport in Istanbul) I read this because I was really interested in getting a Turk’s perspective through literature. It was a very interesting book, but written in a different style than I am used to. It was deep and sad and eclectic. I recommend it, but it is a little heavy and the reader needs to be committed to appreciating culture and perspective and not expect the book to cater to their own wants.

Here is my review.

No Greater Love by Levi Benkert and Candy Chand: I really liked this book. I have a lot of interest in both orphans and Africa, so this memoir really captured my attention. This is the story of how Levi and his wife Jessie moved to Ethiopia to work in orphan care with children who had been condemned by their tribe and were going to be put to death. I thought this was a gripping and heartbreaking story, but one of hope and one with a sliver of encouragement that things can be done to change the plight of unloved children.

Read my review here.


 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: This was a NY Bestseller that Jeremy and I purchased for a road trip. I have to say I really enjoyed the story. It is emotionally engaging and the character development is extremely well done. I do have to caution you that I would not openly recommend this book because there is objectionable material and language. We read the book within two days, though, and it’s the kind of book that you can attach yourself to and will be really sad to finish. But, overall I really liked it.

Beyond the Summerland (The Binding of the Blade, Book 1) by L. B. Graham: This book was recommended to me by a friend who I usually share tastes in books with. However, I am sad to say that I was quite disappointed with this book. It took me forever to read this one and there were aspects of a good epic storyline, but I had a lot of critiques as well. Sadly, I do not recommend this book very highly.

 Becoming the Woman of His Dreams: Seven Qualities Every Man Longs For by Sharon Jaynes: Maybe this is weird, but I love this genre of books. I love marriage and relationship books! So, I thought that this one was great. It went really really fast for me, and it has a lot of good material in it. It walks through 7 qualities that guys desire in a wife and practical ways and lists of ideas to incorporate those qualities into your life. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it for any wife who is looking to grow in her relationship with her husband.

In Between: A Katie Parker Production (Act I) by Jenny b. Jones: I loved this book! I read it so quickly. Now, it isn’t really classic or deep . . . it is just a fun story about a foster girl and her struggles to adapt to a new family and a new way of thinking. It is a Christian fiction book and is funny without being cheesy, and incorporates ideas of faith without preaching. Every now and then I just need a light fun book to read to relax from my heavier reading, and this was perfect! I definitely recommend it.


Now, I am just biding my time until tomorrow when Opening Moves: The Bowers Files (Patrick Bowers) comes out. I am pretty sure that you will not want to miss that book. I do not have a negative word to say about any of Steven James other books (in fact, he is the only author so far that I have committed to buying every novel that comes out for the last three years!! I have currently purchased or been given 8 of his books.) so I am EXTREMELY excited about this novel coming out tomorrow!! Go pre-order it now at Amazon!! I did . . . as well as the first book of his new series that comes out in November: Placebo: A Jevin Banks Novel (The Jevin Banks Experience).