Mariela Reiss

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by Mariela Reiss

  • Hold the Faith on July 05, 2013

    Have you ever wondered what life was like in the early years of the Christian Church, when believers lived under Roman rule and faced tests on every side? This fast- moving tale brings that time to life as we follow the story of Benjamin, the great-grandson of the apostle John, the last living apostle of Christ. As a young man living in Ephesus, raised in the Christian life, he faces tests of his faith at home and on his travels with the apostle John around the various church groups in Asia Minor. And just as his great-grandfather begins writing his account of Christ's life, Benjamin faces his greatest trial. This book is historically researched but never overwhelms with detail. it is easy to read and really made me think of how i would act in similar circumstances. This is the first book in the series, so I look forward to reading more about Benjamin, John and their fellow- believers. A wonderful, inspiring story.
  • Grow in Grace on Aug. 25, 2013

    In the second book in the Apostle John series, "Grow in Grace" brings us back to Ephesus in the first century A.D. We revisit old friends: the apostle John, his granddaughter Naomi, her husband Samuel and John's great-grandson Benjamin. As Christians in a pagan city, in the midst of the Roman Empire, they deal with trials of faith, opposition from the world around them, and the very real, ever-present danger of imprisonment and death for refusing to worship the Roman Emperor as a god. And while all this is going on, the last living apostle, John, works to set down his memories of walking with Christ, in what will later become the Gospel of John. I loved reading about young Benjamin as he grows in the faith, getting to know God better, and makes some important decisions about his life. This book made daily life for the early Christians seem very real to me, and I felt as if I was leaving old friends when I read the last page. And always, the question in the back of my mind, the question this book provokes: If you had been there, among the early Christians, what would you have done? How would you have handled the trials? Would you have grown in grace? This is even better than the first book, "Hold the Faith"! I am looking forward to Book 3...
  • The Light of Truth on July 20, 2015

    Grow in Grace is Book 3 in the Apostle John series, which follows the lives of early Christians in Ephesus in the first century. I’ve read all the books in the series so far, and each book is better than the last. In Book 3, we are back with the fictional family of the Apostle John. This book shows how the early Christians (and any Jewish converts) had to face increasing pressure from both Roman authorities and the Jewish community. The Apostle John and great-grandson Benjamin are busy trying to finish writing the Gospel of John. They do this in the face of increasing threats and interference from the local Roman governor, which is threatening not just them personally, but the local congregation as well. And while this is happening, the Jewish mother of Rachel seeks answers to the miracles God has worked in the lives of her daughters and her infant great-nephew. But her search for truth puts her and her daughter Rachel in danger of being ostracized by their family and the Jewish community. With Rachel’s father becoming increasingly erratic, due to pressures of his own, things come to a head in this book. One of the women will make the irrevocable choice to become a Christian. And Benjamin will have to come to a life-changing decision of his own. This book was a wonderful, family-friendly (except for one scene of violence, which is handled delicately), thoughtful look into the daily lives and pressures of the earliest Christians. It makes history come alive and I loved it. I was so sad when I reached the end of the book, but happy to know their story will continue in Book 4.