Sunday, December 27, 2009

For our commercial break...

On a side note, check out www.momsneedtoknow.com for help in finding great sales and coupons. I check it daily.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Colleen Coble

I always enjoy Christian fiction so for that reason, this book was enjoyable. It included drama, mystery, romance, suspense, and action. A little bit of everything but not too much.

However, I struggled to understand the character development. There were so many characters introduced in the first 3 chapters who were related through marriage and remarriage. I had a hard time keeping up. A family tree in the prologue would have been a great help.

Once I got into the story, I wanted to know what happened next and why. I did not want to put it down so that I could find out what happens next. Yet, I did not feel like I truly understood these characters and their motivations for doing what they did.

Still, this book was a good read. Once I got into it, I wanted to find out who did it and why. Yet, I am still wondering why for a few of the characters.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Healing Sands: A Sullivan Crisp Novel by Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn

As a new reader to the Sullivan Crisp series, I am a new fan. This was a good read and an enjoyable book.

The book had my interest by page 10. The plot was a bit far fetched as it had too much drama to be truly relateable, but the character development was real. As a mom, I could totally relate to the main character, Ryan Coe. Yet there was some parts of her character that were not fully develop within the book. I am left to wonder why she did what she did. I wonder if there is a future book about her story.

Now I need to find the other two books in the Sullivan Crisp series, Healing Stones and Healing Waters.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Read and Share: The Story of Christmas

A charming children's book that summarizes the story of Christmas.

Each 2-page spread has a child friendly summary of one part of the Christmas story. The biblical reference to that part of the story is located at the top of the page so families can use this book to springboard into the Word. At the bottom of the page is a discussion question to get the children talking and becoming more interactive with the story. The story is broken down into 10 parts which would make a wonderful 10 devotional leading up to Christmas.

The book is biblically accurate. Jesus is not an infant, but a young toddler when the wise men arrive, but not 3 wise men. It was wise men who brought 3 gifts. Anyhow, I appreciate that even details like this remain true to the Word of God. I want my children to know the truth from the beginning.

The bonus DVD is a nice addition but not a necessary one.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Tallest of the Smalls by Max Lucado

In this delightful book, Max Lucado encourages little children to think big of themselves. The edition is a parable of his book Fearless, and even teaches us big kids a thing or two about being fearless.

My son says he liked this book because it teaches you that Jesus loves you no matter what.

My daughter asked how did Jesus come down and when is he coming back.

This makes a great gift book or just a little pick-me-up for anyone who struggles with who they are.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Redefining Beautiful by Jenna Lucado

What a breath of fresh air! With all the insulting images of women the media portrays, I am so thankful for Jenna Lucado who reminds us how God sees us.

Jenna writes to the teenage girl telling her that God created her and she is beautiful. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. As an adult woman, sometimes I need to be reminded of these truths.

In a conversational format, the book allows the reader to interact and to be honest with herself. Space is available throughout the book for personal reflection. It is a great book for any of us who are woman and forget that God made us in His image...beautiful.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

Reading Donald Miller is an acquired taste. Like a new food, you read the book little by little trying to decide if you like it or not. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes you’re not so sure. But you keep at it until you realize you are done, and it was enjoyable.

This book seemed to bounce from story to story, almost like a child with ADD. But there was a theme and good one at that. Life is a story, and like those stories we read as a child, we desire a happy ending. Yet that does not happen as there isn’t always a happy ending in life. It’s not about the ending but the middle that is where the real living is. “People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen.’ (p. 100). I hope I’m living a great story.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Seaside Letters: A Nantucket Love Story by Denise Hunter

Being from New England, I thought I would enjoy this book. I have fond memories of vacationing at the Cape and know the charm of the islands.

The storyline is similar to "You've Got Mail" and I can almost picture Meg Ryan playing Sabrina/Sweetpea and Tom Hanks as Tucker. The difference is that he knows who she is and she knows who he is but she doesn't know what he is. Confusing? Not so much especially since the reader is aware of this he knows/she knows/he knows she knows situation within the first 15 pages of the book. So as a reviewer, I haven't spoiled anything. As a reader, all I wanted for for her to know that he knows so that they could live happily ever after.

The pace of the book was slow as I just wanted to two characters to realize that they were in love. The best part of the book was the ending, but it took 300 pages to get there. If you like a good ending, then the 300 page was worth it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Review of Seaside Letters coming soon.

From Peanuts to the Pressbox by Eli Gold

One way to get to the top is to start at the bottom and work your way up. Eli Gold did just this. As a child he enjoyed playing sports but was really excited about talking about sports. He fulfilled his dream of being a sports announcer by making the most of every opportunity, including selling peanuts in Madison Square Garden.

This biography is a great story of hard work paying off. We now know what a great sports announcer Eli Gold is, but did we know what he did to get there. As a teenager, he had a job that started at 4:30 AM. While announcing hockey games, Eli traveled with the teams by bus, and not those nice luxury buses of today but those old buses with straight back seats and a bathroom that was more of an outhouse. Eli worked as an intern just to get experience and didn’t mind not getting paid since he was doing what he loved.

Not only did he work hard, he was so humble and did not take for granted the opportunities he had. He enjoyed what he did, and he helped those watching or listening to the games enjoy it, too.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fearless by Max Lucado

What are you afraid of? Death, failure, commitment.... Seriously, what are you afraid of? Let's be honest here. We are all afraid of something, and usually we are too scared to admit it.

In his charming yet poignant way, Max Lucado addresses some of our deepest fears in this newest bestseller-to-be. With the current culture, fear is rampant, and Max is not afraid to tell it like it is. Yet, he also tells us how to face our fears and overcome them in the mighty power of God.

Don't read this book if you have no fear. But for the rest of us, this book will challenge you to become FEARLESS!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Imagine Your Life Without Fear by Max Lucado

Review coming soon from the newest book by Max Lucado.

A Man of His Word by Kathleen Fuller

The Amish village of Middlefield, Ohio, is the as much a character in this story as Moriah, Gabriel, Levi, Tobias, and Rachel.

I am giving this book 3 stars because I was not satisfied with the plotline of how Gabriel came to understand how he truly felt about Moriah. A lot of words are used to describe his dilemma of being in love with his brother’s wife, but not enough of the story focused on how and when he decided to act on how he felt. To me, it felt like he just changed his mind and they all live happily ever after.

I was also dissatisfied with how much of the story focused on Gabriel’s struggle but not on Levi’s. He just chose a different path, but there was no reason why. Levi just left. As the reader, I needed to know what in his life caused him to leave his faith.

I would classify this fiction book as romance, but the storyline is sometimes predictable and sometimes relatable. Characters, and readers, often are not honest with how they really feel and struggle with conveying to others their true feelings.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Jesus Book by Stephen Elkins

For children ages 4-7, this is a great book. I got this book for my nephew and wished this book was available for my kids when they were younger. It is a well written summary of the Christian faith answering many questions that young children might have. Who is Jesus? What did he do? Why did he have to die? The book uses sound Biblical doctrine.

I learned something new about the meaning of the word bapto which is the root word for baptism. I am a 30something year old who has studied the Bible for many years and gleaned a new truth from this book. So this is a good teaching tool for young believers, and even a few of us older ones.

The book is available at www.christianbook.com but not at www.amazon.com as of the date of this post.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rick & Bubba's Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage

Since no one can promise a perfect marriage, this book was inviting. I know I can’t have a perfect marriage, so this book is more realistic. And it’s funny! It is comforting to know that my marriage isn’t the only one that has its moments, good and bad.

I appreciate the Rick and Bubba’s honest seasoned with a little humor. The final chapter called “The Book of Blame” was hilarious yet right on target (that hunting pun would be much appreciated by the authors). This book is great for any one who is newly married, wants to get married, or has been married for a long time. We can all relate.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Hole in Our Gospel

The Hole in Our Gospel: The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change The World
by Richard Stearns, President, World Vision, U.S.

This compelling book about the gospel as a whole challenged my responsibilities as a believer. We are not to just go out and make disciples but also to make a difference in the lives of those in the world around us. And this world includes the whole world.

The devastation that Stearns describes is close to unbearable, but the point is to open our eyes to what is really happening in the world. Just because our comfortable American homes shield us from the poverty in this world does not mean we can turn a blind eye. And throwing money at the poor is not the answer either. A hand-up is better than a hand-out.

A one point, I felt overwhelmed by what Stearns describes, but he carefully brings us back to the hope we have in Christ. Repeatedly, he reminds us,
1. Every one of these hurting people is created in God’s image and loved by Him.
2. Every one of these challenges has a solution.
3. Every one of us can make a difference.

Thankfully, there is hope, and we can make a difference. Reading this book will open your eyes to the problem and open you heart to make a difference.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Nelson's Illustrated Guide to Religions

This is not an easy book to read cover to cover, but it is a terrific reference book. I shall keep in on my shelf and refer to it often. It summarizes relgions and belief systems and provides books and websites for further study.

I liked that the author prefaced the guide saying that he was coming from a Christian worldview. It was be hard to read a summary of world religions from an anti-Christian worldview.

My only negative comment is from the chapter on Islam. The god of Islam is Allah, not God who is the God of Christianity and Judaism. In the chapter on Islam, the author refered to their god as Allah sometimes and as God at other times. I found this to be confusing as Allah is not God.

That is my only negative comment. This is a great reference book and well done. I will enjoy it for years to come.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

His Name is Jesus by Max Lucado

If you have never read Max Lucado, this is a great book to introduce you to the Jesus of the New Testament in a way you may have never heard before. If you are already a fan of Max Lucado, this is a great book that brings together many of Max'x writings about the life of Jesus. This is also a great gift book to share.

In just 5 chapters (His Birth, His Mission, His Death, His Ressurection, and His Legacy), Max Lucado weaves together the life of Jesus is a simple story with such deep meaning.

Excerpts are from previous published books including God Came Near, Just Life Jesus, The Applause of Heaven, In the Eye of the Storm. Next Door Savior, No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, Six Hours One Friday, Every Day Deserves a Chance, And the Angels Were Silent, Come Thirsty, Traveling Lights, and He Chose the Nails.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Face of Betrayal by Lis Wiehl

This was one of those books that I wanted to keep reading to find out what happens next but didn't want the book to end. It was a great story from beginning to end. It is one of my newest favorites.

Now I have to wait another year before the next book in the Triple Threat series to come out. The first 2 chapters of Hand Of Fate was included at the end of this book, but I knew if I read it I would be wanting to read more.

This was a terrific debut novel for Lis Wiehl, and I look forward to reading whatever else she publishes next.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Noticer by Andy Andrews

Don’t listen to what I have to say, read what Jones has to say….

“A grateful perspective brings happiness and abundance into a person’s life.” (p.13)

“Most people spend so much time fearing the things that are never going to happen or can’t be controlled that they have no energy to deal with the few things they can actually handle.” (p. 55)

“Because life is like a game of Monopoly. You may own hotels on Boardwalk or you may be renting on Baltic Avenue. But in the end, it all goes back in the box. The next generation will be getting out all your stuff and playing with it or fighting over it.” (p.102)

Those are just a few pearls of wisdom intertwined into the story of The Noticer. This is a charming story about a man named Jones, not Mr. Jones, just Jones, and his gift of noticing things that are often in plain sight. He speaks the truth, yet somehow in a way that the truth does not hurt but helps.

Read the story and your life might be changed, too.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Higher Hope by Robert Whitlow

This was the first book I read by Robert Whitlow, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Now I have to go out and get more of his books especially Deeper Waters, the first book in A Tides of Truth series. Yet even without reading the first book in this series, Higher Hope was a great read.

The novel includes drama, romance, and suspense but I did not feel like I needed to rush through it to find out what happens. The main character, Tami, has more than one dilemma in the story. She has 2 men attracted to her. She feels her beliefs are challenged yet still feels strongly about her beliefs. Her own living arrangements are challenged. Yet with all these challenges, Tami tries her best to make a good decision. Oddly enough, not all of these dilemmas were resolved by the end of the book. Some are left open so that the reader is left to wonder what happens next. So now, as the reader, I am left to wonder and to wait for Greater Love, Book 3 in A Tides of Truth series, to come out in 2010.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Faith and Pop Culture

In this new study series from the magazine Christianity Today, Faith and Pop Culture challenges our beliefs. Whether or not we like it, movies, TV, the internet is all here to stay. As believers, we need to know how to live in this culture and still be relevant. We also need to have discernment in what we watch.

The study looks at the following areas and how they fit into our belief system:
1. Movies
2. Books
3. Sports
4. TV
5. Entertainment

I err on the side of avoiding media that might be questionable, but I have learned not be judgemental if others. Everyone has their own struggles, and it's not up to me to decide what people should or shouldn't do. This study is a good springboard toward a discussion on the influence of media and how to deal with it. This is definitely best for a small group study.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Word of Promis Next Generation New Testament Audio Bible

The MP3 CDs were not compatible to some of my not so high tech gadgets. I was unable to play the CDs on my CD player at home or in my minivan. I was finally able to play them on my computer. I was hoping to have them in the van for long trips so I was disappointed that it didn’t work. I could download the CDs to an IPOD, if I had one.

As far as the actual audio Bible, I was not impressed. But I am 35 years old. For a younger generation, this is an interesting way to read/hear the Bible. The all-star cast is impressive, but their voices were so young which would be way more relevant to a tweenager. My 10 year old son was interested in getting these CDs but lost interest after listening to them for 5 minutes. That is why I was hoping it would work in the van because then he would be stuck listening to them. Oh well.

The DVD was a nice addition. I was most impressed with Alyson Stoner and Corbin Bleu. They seem to have the most authentic faith of the actors. It was nice to see so many actors of this generation who are open to the truths of the Bible. It gives me hope for the future.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Great Eight by Scott Hamilton

He may have been fired by Donald Trump on The Apprentice last night, but that will not stop Scott Hamilton. After surviving an undiagnosed childhood illness, cancer twice, and depression, Scott has learned how to get back up after a fall. Using his experiences from his own life in the skating arena, Scott tells us how he has learned how to be happy even when you have every reason to be miserable. Being fired by the Donald won't stop Scott from entertaining and encouraging others.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Skeeter and the Mystery of the Lost Mosquito Treasure, a Hermie and Friends DVD

Another great Hermie DVD! This one is a charming story about being unique because “the very best part in us that we like the least someone else might like the most.”

I love how Max Lucado can teach a Biblical precept in story form. Learning these lessons through quality entertainment is a great way to reach the younger generation. Some of the truths weaved into this story are that God made is who we are, God is always here, and God loves us just the way we are. Sometimes I need to hear these truths as much as my children.

Both my 7 and 10 year olds enjoyed the DVD. My 10 year old thought that the cartoon short was weird, but he still liked the Skeeter story saying that it was kind of like real life. I am glad that he can translate these entertaining stories to his own life.

As a special bonus, the recipe for Ooey Gooey Butter Cakes was included during the credits. Yum!

Friday, February 27, 2009

I signed up to be a book review blogger for Thomas Nelson publishing. This is my blog.