Friday, December 30, 2011

Is he better off not knowing?



Best Forgotten by Paula Vince

This book arrived airmail from Australia!  I’ve never had mail from that far away before.   And what a great thing to show up.  Best Forgotten is the story of a young man who has amnesia after getting hit by a car.  Not remembering anybody or anything about his life, he tries to put the pieces back together and finds a very unflattering picture of the person he is supposed to be.   He cannot reconcile himself to the stories of his past with the person he is in the now. 

I really enjoyed reading this one.  I looked forward to each time I could take a few minutes to read it.  The story is engaging and you want to know what will happen to this guy.  Was he running from something?  Is he the bad guy?  Will he regain his memory?  Why does everybody hate this guy when he seems so nice now?  Although it didn’t really take long to figure out who the bad guys were it was still worth while reading to see what happens.

A caveat:  there are a couple of bad words used by a desperate bay guy towards the end, otherwise, a very good story.
Click the cover above for more infor about this book.

This book was provided free of charge by BookCrash in exchange for an honest review.

Are you bad to the bone? Let’s hope not.



Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs
This book was originally published in 1999 and is one of those that I have seen all these years but have skipped over.  Bad Girls is a great Bible study that delves into the Biblical episodes of ten different women and how they dealt with the situations they were in.  Was this women “bad to the bone” and completely turned away from God, or was she “bad for a moment” and came to repentance?  Each chapter looks into that question and gives us questions to think on and lessons we can learn from each of these women. 
This study is highly unique in that each chapter begins with a modernized, fictional account of the Biblical incident for each of these bad girls.  I am impressed how Ms. Higgs was able to spin a modern tale that helps us realize that we are not too far from what these women went through in their lives.  We have every opportunity to fall or turn from God as they did. 
After the “modern” story is done the real portion of Bible study begins.  The sections of Scripture are segmented with commentary and historical background in between.  If you have read any other books by Liz Curtis Higgs then you know she has a one-of-a-kind personality that shines through with her humor and scholarly attention to Biblical accuracy.  The reading is so easy that you forget you are in the middle of a deep Bible study.  Highly recommended.
Would you like to read the first chapter of the book?  Click here!
This book was provided free of charge from Blogging For Books is exchange for and honest opinion.

Friday, December 9, 2011




Another great read from author Cindy Woodsmall!

I love reading Christmas and winter themed books this time of year, even in sunny Florida.  It helps get me in that Christmas spirit.  Check out the latest by Cindy Woodsmall with a video trailer or better yet, the first chapter of the book...

The Christmas Singing Chapter One   http://scr.bi/uJkucX


Order The Christmas Singing from WaterBrook Multnomah or you can usually find it at your local Walmart.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Free copy of My First Hands On Bible!

My First Hands-On Bible


I thought I would try to do a giveaway on the CoffeyReader Blog to see how it goes.  I am giving away one new copy of My First Hands On Bible for preschoolers just in time for Christmas.  This will be short and sweet--all entries must be in by 9pm EST on December 9th. 

What do you need to do to enter? Email your name and email address to littlecoffeybeans@yahoo.com.  While you are at Coffey Reader go ahead and follow me.  Hopefully this giveaway goes well and we can do another one!

Click here to read the official My First Hands On Bible description from Group Publishing.




Friday, December 2, 2011

Grace and Hope, or Misery; the Choice is Ours


The Grace Effect by Larry Alex Taunton

 What would life be like without the influence of Christianity?  Would we know we were pitiful wretches living without even the hope of …hope.  Revisionist history aside, our country was founded on Christian principles.  Laws, created for the safety and betterment of society, were based basic Biblical ideas and are meant to serve all our citizens whether or not they claim faith in Christ.  But if the laws you live by have no real moral basis, then there is no hope of justice, equality, of a better life.

In The Grace Effect, author and apologist, Larry Alex Taunton tries to show how a society, once founded on Christian principles, erodes into hopelessness, selfishness, and almost animal survival when God is erased from existence. Through the long process of adoption of their 10 year-old daughter, Sasha, from an orphanage in the Ukraine, the Taunton’s have to work with the corrupt government system that processes these adoptions.  While the comparison is made about how life will be so much better for Sasha in the United States, which I don’t doubt is true, I do not think the author is trying to make this a “my country is better than your country” type of argument.  What I got out of the book was a warning that our own “Christian” country is in serious jeopardy of following in the footsteps of countries, such as Russia and Ukraine, in denying God and thereby destroying the hope of its citizens.

Please do not think this book is a downer.  It is a great book!  Mr. Taunton has written a nonfiction book that is compelling, easy, and quick to read.  He writes about the struggles and triumphs of his family adopting their daughter from another country, why they decided to do it.  It truly make you think about what we all could and should be doing to help the children, no matter where in the world they are.  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. “  James 1:27

This book was provided by BookSneeze free of charge for an honest review.

For full description and how to buy. click here:  The Grace Effect by Larry Alex Taunton

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Killers, Spies, & Missionaries


Spitzer Hafen by Randall Fanklin



Don’t let the “Christian fiction for thinkers” tagline make you think that you have to be particularly cerebral to understand this book.  Although, I did have to look up “ad hoc” because I had no idea what it meant.  Done for a particular purpose is the meaning, by the way.  Spitzer Hafen is a really enjoyable story.  The premise of the story is two radio “missionaries” preach the Gospel over the airwaves.  An apostate preacher in charge of the eChurch of the Whatever (eCOW) sees the missionaries as a threat to his own anti-Biblical teaching and wants the missionaries out of business.  Enter a couple of hired assassins and a Cold War spy to destroy and protect, respectively.

There were a few things about the way the book is set up that kind of threw me off, but they don’t take away from the story at all.  The first third, maybe even half of the book is dedicated to setting up the rest of the story, which makes sense, of course.  However, there are many characters that need backstories, so it was kind of like reading four different books at the same time.  Just when everything started to converge, bam!, we get another character who needs a backstory while the main story is put on hold.  The only thing I really didn’t like was the main villain in the story.  Somehow I got a cartoonish picture of her in my mind, think Natasha of Boris and Natasha, and could not shake that image throughout the story.  At least not until the very end.  But overall, I really enjoyed the time I spent reading this story.

This book was provided free of charge by the BookCrash program in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Journey of a Lifetime


Journey To Christmas DVD Bible Study    

This is a faith-based, reality, maybe more documentary, small group discussion series--a pretty ambitious undertaking.  This set of four videos follows a group of five people from various backgrounds, each with their own set of spiritual struggles.  They follow the path of the Nativity from the Bible, starting in Nazareth and ending in Bethlehem, learning the customs and life style of those living during the time of Christ’s birth.  They hit all the major tourist landmarks along the way.

Being a history junkie, this sort of thing appeals to me greatly.  There is a lot of background information all throughout each of the four sessions.  I watched the first two right away and would have watched all four in one sitting if I had the time.  The human drama of the participants was an added layer to what otherwise would have been an historical documentary.  I found it interesting to see if these holy sites would build faith in the group or would they be taken back by the extreme tourist traps the sites have become.

This series is set up as four small group lessons that I believe would be perfect for a home study where you bring in people who might not want to go to church.  There are discussion materials you can print out to help facilitate a talk amongst your group.  I don’t know if the videos themselves would inspire people to faith, but that is where we come in and lead our friends and neighbors in a thoughtful discussion of what happened 2000 years ago.

This DVD was provided free of charge by the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.

Great Book for Your Little Warrior


His Mighty Warrior, A Treasure Map from Your King by Sheri Rose Shepherd
 I have been reading His Mighty Warrior with my five and three year old sons for the past couple of weeks.  My five year old definitely responds more to the lessons than his younger brother does.  However, they both ask for me to read this to them when they get up in the morning—a good sign for a children’s book.  My older son will periodically ask, “Who are we, Mommy?”  When I tell him he is a mighty warrior for God, his face lights up!

 This is a devotion book for boys, with the companion for girls being His Little Princess.  Each devotion consists of a letter from God to the boy.  Writing from God’s perspective to the children is challenging, I’m sure, but I have not read anything in this book that I would object to.  It appears to be Biblically sound.  Each letter is followed by the Scripture passage the “letter” was based on and also a prayer.  To read an excerpt from the book click here:  http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781601420343&view=excerpt

I think this is a great book for boys who are about six to ten years old.  The pictures are nice and go along with the “treasure map” portion of the title more so than the “warrior” part.  I just have to keep reminding my boys that the boys in the pictures are boys camping on an island looking for treasure, not pirates!
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What God Wants for You from His Perspective

The Abundant Life Day Book by Nancy Guthrie

“The Abundant Life Day Book contains a year’s worth of daily reminders of what it means to live in the abundance of God’s blessing through Christ.”--from Tyndale’s synopsis of this book.  I believe Nancy Guthrie has done a good job of accomplishing this.  The book is set up in the typical daily devotional way; Scripture, lesson, prayer.  However, the “lesson” portion of the reading is set up, not as an instructor teaching you a lesson, but as God personally speaking a word to you.
This premise can be tricky to do because you do not want to overstep your bounds and have people think this really is God speaking to them with authority.  The author states in the Introduction, “…while I have taken great liberty in writing these blessings as if they are God speaking to you, the only aspect of each day’s blessing that has the authority of God is the Word of God quoted at the top of each page.”  Through the passages I have read so far I have not found anything that is objectionable.  Quite the opposite, this book helps you think about what God has in mind for you.  It does a very good job reminding us that God is for us, not against us!
The book was provided free of charge by Tyndale House Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 28, 2011

An excellent way to train you children, and yourself, about how to use money wisely.


Three Cups by Tony Townsly with Mark St. Germain

This is a nice little story about how a boy, on his 5th birthday, is given three cups to put money into: give, save, and spend.  He is told that doing this will lead to many adventures in his life.  The point of the story is to teach children to use their money responsibly for themselves and for others.  It does not go into tithing with the “give” cup, that would be up to each family to discuss amongst themselves.  In fact, the book does not have a “Christian” theme other than to be good stewards of your money.  I think this book could be given to non-church going friends and relatives without getting any religious hackles up.

I read this to my almost 5 year-old and my 3 year-old.  The story itself was not very exciting to them, but they did sit through it.  We discussed it.  I really couldn’t convince my sons that it was okay to put money in cups because they are positive cups are only for drinking!  So after some thinking we decided we could get some Mason jars or cleaned out (non-breaking plastic) peanut butter containers to use instead of the cups.  As soon as mom and dad come up with an allowance for the boys we will try the “Three Cups” concept out. 

There is a Parent’s Guide to getting started with the Three Cups.  It is pretty much common sense, but it never hurts to have a guide.  You can also visit their website, www.3cupsbook.com to read stories of families using the Three Cups principle.

The book was provided free of charge by the BookSneeze program in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Archeology, treasure hunting, and espionage will make you want to turn every one of the 300+ pages in this novel.

The Scroll by Grant R. Jeffrey and Alton L. Gansky

I really, really like this book.  All I really want to say in this review is get the book and read it!  I just finished this book and am ready to start it all over again!  It started off just a little bit slow, but mostly to get in all the background information.  It doesn’t take too long into the book to realize where they are going with the top secret archeological digs and the items that are found.  I was also pretty sure who the traitor was, but that didn’t diminish the story for me in any way.

The story revolves around Dr. David Chambers, who, going through a spiritual crisis, has turned his back on his faith, Biblical archeology, his ex-fiancĂ©, and his father.  An old friend and colleague asks David to come back to the Holy Land once again to help find highly valued treasures.  He does so with reservation, and the hardships involved are physical, spiritual, and emotional.  Which will be more important to David; finding the treasure or finding his faith?
The book was provided free of charge by Waterbrook Press’ Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Werewolves, Zombies, and now Ghosts!

Werewolves, Zombies, and now Ghosts!




A Sound Among The Trees by Susan Meissner

From the sound of the last few books I have read, you would think I have started reading horror novels.  But there are no creatures walking through walls and leaving a trail of slime behind in this story.  The “ghosts” here have to do with memories of those who have gone before.

I immediately connected with the story because the meeting and marriage of Carson and Marielle is almost identical to my husband’s and mine.  Only I didn’t move into a grand antebellum ancestral mansion after moving clear across the country.  I moved into what my husband and his family affectionately calls “the dungeon”.  But at least my home wasn’t filled with 150 years’ worth of bad memories.

This story is very good.  It is a little slow and melancholy at first, but has a real sense of the two main characters’, Marielle and Adelaide, struggle to make a home together in under very awkward circumstances. 

Adelaide tries to deal with the tragedies that have befallen her family through the years, while dealing with rumors of the ghost of her great-grandmother--an alleged to be a spy in the Civil War.  Marielle marries Adelaide’s grandson-in-law and has to deal with the memories of Adelaide’s dead granddaughter.

There is not much in the way of overt faith.  One important character seems to have had transformational encounter with Christ, but it is alluded to more than stated outright.  A small spiritual battle takes place between her and another person who “senses” the ghost in the house.

This is a great story, well worth the time.  I received this as a reward for doing  a survey with WaterbrookMultnomah and am very glad I did.  Sometimes it pays to do those little surveys for companies!




Thursday, October 13, 2011

There is Only One Way to Kill a Zombie

The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook, Slaying the Living Dead Within by Jeff Kinley

You have to admit it—the title of this book grabs you!  I am not even a zombie lovin’ kind of gal, but I was curious as to how this book would unfold.  I did think that it was a novel, however, that is only a small part this book.  Each section is set up with an Episode that is the story portion with the Chapter following more along the lines of a Bible study.

From the book’s description , “The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook delivers a fresh, relevant look at the doctrines of sin, grace, and salvation.”  I believe it achieves this goal.  It basically equates the Living Dead with our sinful nature that keeps rising up inside us again and again.  That “old self” really just has one purpose, like the zombies, to destroy us.  And like the zombies, there is only one way to eradicate them so they, and sin, no longer come back to “life”.

The novel portion of the book is engaging; a little cheesy in a couple of parts, but I was kept wanting to know what was going to happen next.  It was hard not to skip to the next portion of the novel without first reading the study that goes with each Episode.  The Bible study portion is no holds barred.  Jeff Kinley does not whitewash sin and leaves no doubt about the only way to conquer the zombie living inside each one of us.

There is a warning on the back of the book saying this book is not for younger audiences.  There is talk of blood, eating brains, and shooting zombies throughout, so it is not for children.  However, the Bible Study chapter Descent should be more disturbing, because it is real, than anything covered in the fiction portion of the book.

I asked our Youth Pastor if he wanted to look through this book for future use.  There happened to be a young man, 19 or 20 years old, listening to our conversation.  When I mentioned the name of the book he said, “ooo!”  I asked if he had read it.  He had not, but he really likes zombie movies and such.  I believe this is the group of people who will get the most out of this book. 

This book was provided by BookSneeze free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Beautiful Way to Start Each Day

 Life Application Study Bible Devotional       Daily Wisdom from the Life of Jesus:  The Gospels
 
I grabbed this devotional because I am preparing several weeks of lessons on the Life of Jesus to use in our church’s children’s ministry for next year.  Not being a professional curriculum writer, I figured the more resources I have, the better.  I was not disappointed with this book.

I love the way this book is set up.  I have not used the Life Application Study Bible, so I do not know how this compares in terms of how it is laid out, but to me, the devotional is laid out perfectly.  Each week focuses on a different event in Jesus’ earthly life from Annunciation to Ascension.  A week’s reading is set out for 6 days, with the first day “Setting the Scene” with background information.  Each day has the Scripture included so you could use this without having your Bible with you.  There are also questions to help you think and personalize the Scripture, to help you go deeper than just the surface level of the reading.

This is a full year’s devotion.  Each topic is laid out by the week, there are no specific dates, so it makes it easy to start anywhere in the year.  The indexes are great:  one is a topical index and the other is Scriptures.  Each gives the week number and day of the week to help you find what you are looking for, which is extremely helpful.  I am very glad I was able to get this book.

This book was provided by Tyndale Publishers free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

For All Us Common People



Hermie, a common caterpillar by Max Lucado

This is a cute little story about how Hermie the caterpillar notices the beautiful and extraordinary critters around him and feels very plain in comparison.  Hermie, and his friend Wormie, talk to God about the commonness and he reassures them that He’s “not finished” with them.

My boys have seen a few of the Hermie & Friends videos and enjoy them quite a bit.  I did not realize that the book series has been available for almost a decade!  Well, I am glad I found out.  This is a nice introduction into Hermie and Wormie’s world.  Being common or ordinary is something that most of us will deal with at some point.  But if we are faithful, God will finish His work in and through us.

Now, I had help with this review;  my 4 and 3 year old boys.  My boys love to be read to, but of course, when I am trying to put them on the spot—well they were not the most helpful.  My 3-year old decided to be scared of caterpillars that day.  However, my 4-year old thought it was a good book.  I tried to get him to tell me something specific he liked but all he would do his grin and say that it was good.  And I agree.  With colorful pictures and an engaging story, we will be reading this often.

This book was received from BookSneeze free of charge in exchange for an honest review.


































Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hunchbacks, Werewolves, and a Mysterious Castle!

   
In the Aerie of the Wolf by Leonora Pruner

I wasn’t sure about this book at first.  At the first mention of werewolves I was wondering if the was a Christian novel or a Twilight wannabe with monsters and such.  Fear not!  This is a very entertaining story. 

Ann Crofton is sold in marriage by her family, who are in financial straits thanks to gambling debts, to a man she has never met.  In spite of leaving the man she had hope to marry behind, Anne decides she wants to be an honorable wife to the Lord Wolverton.

We see Anne as she struggles with her faith, being a good wife, and dealing with the temptation that comes her way.  These are issues that many of us face in our lives today making this story very relevant to contemporary life.  And as my husband would say, the story is very “romanceful”.

Mrs. Pruner has put together a wonderful story and I look forward to reading her other books.

This book was provided free of charge by BookCrash in exchange for an honest review.


**Want to buy it?  http://www.amazon.com/Aerie-Wolf-Leonora-Pruner/dp/0982707487/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Intertwined Lives in Need of Giving and Receiving Grace

The Harvest of Grace, Ada's House Series #3   -     
        By: Cindy Woodsmall
The Harvest of Grace, An Ada’s House Novel by Cindy Woodsmall
Do you remember the song that starts out, “Grace, grace, God’s  grace.  Grace that will pardon and cleanse within..”.  This book reminds me of that song.  The main characters in this book are all in need of grace or need to extend grace to others (just like real life).  The drama unfolds as the people in the story deal with finding the grace they need to live their lives.
The is the third book in the Ada’s House set of novels.  I have not read the first two, but I will.  The Harvest of Grace is engaging; the story and characters grab ahold and you want to know that everything will work out for them, even if it’s not as they planned.
I usually shy away from Amish themed books because of the time warp sense that I get from reading them, but I didn’t have that problem with this story.  The only issue I had was keeping the characters straight at the beginning.   There are several characters that all interact and not having read The Hope of Refuge and The Bridge of Peace, the first two novels in the set, in which most of the characters are introduced, I got a little confused.  But there is a handy-dandy list of main characters at the back, which was very helpful!  The back story of each character is given so you won’t be at a loss reading the current novel.  All in all, a great story and I would definitely recommend picking up a copy.
This book was provided free of charge by Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Beauty Can Be Created From Brokenness


              

Stained Glass Hearts by Patsy Clairmont

“Seeing life from a broken perspective”, is the tagline and Patsy Clairmont has definitely had her times of brokenness in her life.  I am sure we all have jagged pieces of our lives that at time we do not know how anything of value can be made of them.  It is really not by our own strength that we can fix the broken places in our lives.  When we allow God to take control and fix our brokenness, He can transform the broken pieces into a beautiful work of art.

That is basically the premise of this book.  I felt a little like I was reading a personal journal as I made my way through this book.  Patsy Clairmont has a way of writing that can tickle you one minute and cause introspection the next.  This book is well worth the read, especially for those who are having a hard time with the broken pieces in their lives.

There are quotes, Scripture references, poems, etc., throughout each chapter.  The end of each chapter has a section called The Art Gallery, which has music, museum pieces, Scriptures, and such for you to look up and enjoy at your leisure.  My favorite quote from the book is, “When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it.  If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.” –Author Unknown .  How true that is with literal gardens and the gardens of our hearts.  The good things we do are easily rid of while the things we hate doing stay stuck.

This book was provided free of charge by BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thank you for your dedication Mr. Awana

Mr. Awana


Mr. Awana : Sixty-Plus Years of Changing the World for Christ by Art Rorheim

Awana is a program that children the world over have enjoyed, learning the love and salvation of our God.  My own son loved his Puggles experience.  I am, however, not very knowledgeable about Awana, but being in children’s ministry I thought reading Art Rorheim’s story might be helpful or encouraging.

If I have learned anything from this book, it is that when you love God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and when you give yourself over completely to God’s use, He is going to use you in a powerful way.  This book is Art’s life, which is entwined with the life of the Awana program.   There are amusing recollections as well as painful events that helped shape his life.

This book is great for those who have experience with Awana, and even for those of us who don’t really have too much background knowledge of the program.  The stories about Art and the people  in his life are engaging and make this a very easy and interesting book to read.  This is, however, not really a linear account of his life and the history of Awana.  This reminds me more of sitting with your Grandpa listening to him recount episodes in his life; sometimes when he was an adult and then the next time those from childhood, it jumps back and forth.  It is worth the time to listen and learn.

This book was provided free of charge by BookCrash in exchange for an honest review.

A Great Bible for Little Guys and Gals



     My First Hands-On Bible

My First Hands-On Bible NLT

My children and I have enjoyed using this Preschool Bible so much that I forgot I was supposed to be writing a review of it!  I have been using this Bible with two boys and a girl, 4, 3, and 2 years old.  Sometimes we use it when we are first getting up and others when we are doing school.  This Bible definitely works better during our school time because of all the quick activities that are involved.  They are all simple things that my children are more than capable of doing.  The activities are dispersed throughout each Bible story.  Sometimes we do them at the point in the story where it is called for and other times we do them at the end as a kind of review.

There are questions at the end of each story and more involved activities if you choose to do them.  The illustrations are cartoons but they not so cartoonish that they no longer resemble real people.  All passages are from the New Living Translation of the Bible.  I like that because it is not just a writer’s idea of what a passage says but the actual translation itself.

This is a wonderful first Bible for any child.  I defiantly recommend buying it for your child.

This book was provided Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 18, 2011

You Can't Keep Jesus In A Box

Untamed by Lisa Harper

This is the first book I have read by Lisa Harper.  This is a refreshingly unorthodox Bible study.  Lisa takes Jesus out of the tight, comfy little box that so many of us have put him in by looking at several passages of Scripture in a new way.
The book is super simple to read and understand.  This study would be very good to do with young believers or those whose only understanding of Jesus is very limited; a meek and mild God kind of view.  The author’s take on Biblical events can be pretty funny but is also accompanied by the actual verses of Scripture she is paraphrasing.  I learned several new things from the historical facts are sprinkled throughout each chapter.

 This is a very good book to read whether you are doing a formal Bible study group, with a few friends, or by yourself.   I definitely recommend picking this one up.
This book was provided by Waterbrook Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Read this book soon!


The Blessing   The Blessing   by John Trent, PH.D. and Gary Smalley
What a wonderful book!  This is an updated version on a book first released in the mid-80’s.  I have no idea how I have missed this book all these years.  I guess I have finally grown up enough for this kind of book to appeal to me.
This is not a book about being a blessing.  This book is all about how to give a blessing to your child, or to anyone else within your sphere of influence.  As in Old Testament patriarchs blessing their children; we are called to do the same.
The authors explain why the blessing is so important and what people, real life examples, who grow up with or without the blessing, turn out like.  Like me, I am sure you will recognize many of the characteristics of those who grow up without the blessing in friends, family, and within yourself. 
There are five elements that make up the blessing, a formula of sorts, to guide you in giving the blessing to your loved ones.  There are questions and suggestions in asides throughout the book to help you think about what you have read and apply it.  There is also a website, www.theblessing.com that has extra info and short videos that go along with the book.  Also through the website, the authors are trying to gather a million people to join the Blessing Challenge.  Go to their site to check it out.
I have learned a lot from this book and will be reading it over again soon and will be passing along ideas to those I minister to.  If we all took the time to really give a real blessing to our family members we could change the world!
Also check out www.strongfamilies.com
This book was provided by BookSneeze from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Home Educating Family Publishing

Home Educating Family Publishing

Enter to win a 1 year subscription to Home Educating Family Magazine plus three other great prizes!
*"A Journey Home" from Franklin Springs Media
* "Beside Still Waters" by Tricia Goyer
* Well Planned Day Planner, 2011-2012
Contest ends June 30, 2011 so hurry!
Visit http://www.wellplannedday.com/contest01.php today.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann

Permanent, unforgettable, stubborn; all synonyms for the word indelible.   All words to describe the characters in this book.  Natalie has a disorder in which directly looking into someone’s face can permanently imprint the other person’s unseen (to the rest of the world) emotions in her mind.  Natalie is all but paralyzed when this happens and can only free her mind by sculpting the person’s face.  Trevor is an ex-Olympic skier who lost his career to an injury.  He is on the local Search and Rescue team and starts the story by rescuing Natalie’s nephew from a mountain lion.  Trevor picks up a stalker whose Bible is John Milton’s Paradise Lost.  The rest of the cast is made up of people as stubborn and handicapped, both physically and emotionally as the main characters. 
The story moves at a good pace.  I wondered a few times if the stalker was an unknown or was one of the supporting characters.  I enjoyed reading the book overall.  I was having difficulty with the lack of faith, belief or struggle with faith, for much of the novel.  Natalie is mentioned as having a Bible therefore she shouldn’t believe in karma.  A couple of therapists offer to pray for Natalie before the beginning of a session, right after they talk about hypnotizing her (she remembers what she needs to before they do that).   Faith is spoken of more towards the end of the story.
Trevor and Natalie’s affection for each other grows at a rapid pace.  Natalie is alluded to having faith but Trevor, other than someone telling him to pray for an injured loved one, does not present as having any faith in Christ.  The concept of God is not really brought up in regards to him.  I felt that was not a healthy way to show a couple in a “Christian” story, especially since Natalie has to move in with Trevor(in a guest room) for her own protection.  I just don’t think this is a positive message.
So, overall, I did like the story, but it does have some issues.  Personally, I like to read stories that have the characters profess their faith, or their struggle with faith.  It doesn’t have to be the main crux of the story, but I would like some mention of it.
This book was provided free of charge by WaterBrook Press in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Seraph Seal by Leonard Sweet & Lori Wagner

The Seraph Seal

The End Is Coming
This is a fictional book about the end of the world.  However, as I write this on the 8th day of June, 2011, I wake to the worst solar flares to hit earth in 5 years-the major force of destruction in the book.  E-coli outbreaks in Europe-a major disease wipes out towns in the book.  The most fantastic picture of a volcano eruption I have ever seen-which is how the sky on earth is described for the last third or so of the book.  Earthquakes, war, famine; it is all in there. 
The story takes place in the year 2048 with the destruction of earth happening on December 12th of that year.  Being set in the future there is quite a bit of “techno talk”.  At first I felt like Sheriff Carter standing in the middle of Eureka trying to figure what all the brilliant scientists were talking about.  But it is easy to get used to and only used sporadically throughout the book.  The story is extremely interesting and easy to read.  It moves at a good pace and really starts to pick up at the end.  I definitely couldn’t wait to finish the last 50 pages or so.  The very end was a big surprise.

I am not sure I would categorize this as Christian fiction.  The book relies heavily on mysticism, the Mayan prophecy concerning 2012, and science in regards to the end of the world.  In my opinion they are more prevalent in the story than the Word of God.  Kabbalah is a big player in all that is going on. 

I have to admit that it has been a while since I have done an end of times study of the Bible.  But I don’t think The Seraph Seal holds true to the Biblical account of end times.  However, it does make me want to find a good study guide and do a bit of research on the subject.
All in all it is an entertaining and easy book to read.  However, if you dislike anything that deviates from Scripture, this probably isn’t for you.
This book was provided free of charge by Thomas Nelson’s BookSneeze program in exchange for an unbiased review.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Trusting God for Everything: Psalm 23 by Jan Johnson; NavPress

This book is called “A Personal Retreat Guide”.  It is the first book of its kind that I have read.  I thought it was a Bible study, but it really is something different than anything I have read before.
The book is very structured with very clear instructions on how to go about your own “retreat” with God.  I am a Bible study junkie, so this book threw me off a bit.  I enjoyed the “Immersed in God’s Message” section of each chapter the most.  This section gave the context, tone, and meaning of the portion of Psalm 23 each particular chapter dealt with.  Much of each chapter was the same throughout the book with the same passage by Dietrich Bonheoffer to recite before reading the Psalm and the same prayer written by Terese of Lisieux to say at the end of each meditation.

The book is very quiet.  I do not know how else to explain it.  When I am reading it, my voice is whispering even when I am not reading aloud.  But I guess that is good considering the reason this book is written for.  I would recommend this book if you intend to use it as a retreat tool.  However, if you are looking for a Bible study, you should check into some of Jan Johnson’s other works.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Good book to start a conversation

How Good is Good Enough deals with the premise that all "good people go to heaven". Most of likely know family, friends, coworkers, etc..., who believe this. A person does not even need to believe there is a God to believe that all good people go to heaven. but what is the definition of good; everybody seems to have their own and that is what Andy Stanley points out in this book.


Starting with the "all good people go to heaven" belief, Mr. Stanley breaks it do to see the problems with this line of reasoning.

The last part of the book exlplins why Mr. Stanley, and we as Christians, believe that good people do not go to heaven, but forgiven people do.

This book is easy to read. I know many churches and individuals give this book to those who are seeking their way to heaven. It is a good starting point if the person you are giving it to can acknowledge there is a God, heaven, and hell. This is not a book trying to convince a person of the existence of God.

I want to be a lioness for the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, April 16, 2011


Lioness Arising by BEVERE, LISA


I was hesitant to read this book, I didn't want a female empowerment book. This is not about empowerment exactly. This is a study of the characteristics of the lioness and how we, as women, should be reflectiong those same characteristics as we follow, not the king of the jungle, but the King of Kings.

Lisa Bevere relates very well how we can be a lioness, how we need to be a lioness for our families, communities, and our world. Very inspirational and motivating. I will read this book again!

One caveat is her rendering of 1 Timothy 3 and a women's role in the Church. I understand what she is trying to communicate, however, I do not think the Scripture quoted backs her up at all. Whenever you read any book and Scripture is referred to, be wise and look the passage up for your own benefit.

I had read reviews of this book long before ever decideing to read it. In one review the writer was upset that Lisa Bevere did not specifically tell the readers what we are to do. In my opinion, the only one to give us our life's mission is the Holy Spirit, no author or any other person has the right to do that. This book, however, inspires you to spend the time needed in prayer to find what God is calling you to do and to get up and do it.

I received this book free of charge from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.

Monday, May 16, 2011

90 Days of God's Goodness by Randy Alcorn

This is the first book I have read by Randy Alcorn. I was excited to recieve it because I have heard good things about his books. "90 Days of God's Goodness" is a devotional book reflecting on God's ultimate Goodness in spite of the hardships and trials we go through in life.
I couldn't help comparing this book to another devotional book I have been reading. That particular book is a collection of stories with a short Bible verse tacked on to the end. "90 Days" is not that kind of devotional book. Each section starts off with a good portion of Scripture; just reading this gives you peace in your heart. Following this is a related passage, sometimes from the author's life, most times from others who have faced some sort of adversity in their lives. Romans 8:28 NIV, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." This verse is mention frequently and seems to be the underlying theme of the book. All passages affirm god's goodness and His love for us. the author often reminds us we are never alone in our suffering and to remember the suffering of Christ on our behalf.
This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah in exchnge for a fair and unbiased review.