Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Final Hour

The final book in the Homelanders series arrived today. My son grabbed the book, and 3 hours later, handed it back to me saying, "Great book. You should read it." So I did, and he was right. It is a great book.

It had been a while since I read The Truth of the Matter, and I had forgotten some of the backstory. Andrew Klaven does a good job weaving into the story flashbacks to remind the reader what had already transpired up to now. Charlie West, the main character, is still trying to stop the Homelanders from terrorizing the country. Even when he thinks he is alone, he remembers that he is never alone. Help arrives in the nick of time, and well, you just have to read the book to see if he is able to stop the Homelanders from the Great Death.

What I like about these books is that they are action packed, full of energy, and keep you interested. There is some violence but not gory details. The Christian influence is subtle but necessary to the storyline. It is one thing to have a hero, but another thing to have a hero that is seeking God to do what is right. Charlie West is that kind of hero.

Thomas Nelson has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest

Since this is the first book I have read from the "Knights of Arrethtrae" series, I can comment solely on this book.

This story incorporates Biblical concepts such as the Prince (Jesus), the Dark Knight (Satan), and the Kingdom across the Sea (heaven). In addition these concepts, there is also the quest for worldly gain which only leads to emptiness; the choice to fight for truth; pride leading to desctruction; and the redemption grace of God. There are other Biblical elements weaved into the storyline, but I really don't want to give anything away.

This book was reminiscent of Star Wars, Narnia, and Indiana Jones with the classic good vs. evil theme. It was exciting and action packed with a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure.

I have notice a lack of good books for teenage boys. My son does not want to read about vampires or zombies or teenage girls in traveling pants. This book, and this series, will be a great option for teenagers. I am grateful to Chuck Black for writing books for young men that encourage them to become men of valor.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Place Called Blessing

A Place Called Blessing is a book called great!

When I first started reading this book, I was expecting a story about a boy who needed a family to love him and help him overcome his past. I assumed that meant this boy would be adopted or somehow taken in as a young child and raised in a good home. Instead, this boy, Josh, aged out of the system and had to fend for himself.

Josh was homeless for a while and eventually found steady employment. He rented a garage apartment from a family. This family was a widowed woman and her adult son who was in remission from cancer. Again, this was not the kind of family I expected; however blessings do not always come wrapped in neat little packages tied with a bow. This family showed kindness to Josh and was an example of what family can be like. They demonstrated what real love is. It is only when the truth of the past surfaces do we learned how deep that love is.

This is a great story, and a great inspiration to become a blessing to others. For some, that means helping children while for others that means helping adults. Either way, we can all be a blessing even in tough circumstances.

Thomas Nelson has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review which I freely give.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Ambition

What a great book! I have read previous non-fiction books by Lee Strobel and enjoyed them. This first time fiction from him is a great read with suspense, action, and drama.

The backdrop is a newer mega-church in Chicago with its founding pastor, Eric Snow, having to make a life changing decision. Would becoming a U.S. Senator give him the opportunity to affect change on a larger platform? The problem is that other things happen that might affect his decision. These things included dissension within the church, people being murdered, journalists trying to dig up dirt. It was great fun to read.

I highly recommend this book as well as any other future books. I will admit the book does leave a few loose threads that hint at another book. I will certainly look forward to reading what happens next.

Zondervan has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review which I freely give.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Untamed

Lisa Harper is a great writer and reminds us that God's love for us is wild and untamed.

Refreshing. That is the one word I would use to describe this book. So many books on the market tell us how to be a better Christian (how to pray, how to worship, how to read your Bible, etc.). All these books are helpful and have influenced my faith; however, sometimes we just need to know God and know His love. Reading Untamed is a great way to remember your first love as you seek to know God more.

There are questions at the end of each chapter. This is good for a small group discussion or even for personal reflection. These questions enhance the message of this book and challenge the reader to really see God as wildly faithful and wildly fearsome.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Vision of Lucy

I am not an avid reader of historical fiction, but this book was nice. It was neither exciting nor dull and makes a decent summer read.

The story is of Lucy, a young lady, who is pursuing a career in photography in a small town. The story is also of David who is trying to redeem his past. Their lives converge and sparks fly. It is a common theme in fiction, but charming nonetheless.

I did find some of the story lacking. It was about 50 pages too long as the storyline dragged on without an significant progress in character development. Also, the end was a little unsatisfying. It ended the way I had anticipated without any big ordeal or revelation. Like I said, it was nice but not exciting.

This book is part of the Rocky Creek Romance series; however, I did not need to read the 2 previous books to enjoy this book. It is as much a stand- alone book as it is a part of the series.

Thomas Nelson has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Not a Fan

I will warn you. Do not read this book if you like to stay in your comfort zone. Do not read this book if you like to keep Jesus first in your life but not in all of your life. Do not even pick this book up unless you are willing to ask yourself, Am I a follower of Jesus or just a fan?

Now that I have warned you, I will tell you that this is a great book. It made me uncomfortable and challenged my beliefs. It made me think and question what I know. It gave me insight to what is really going on in my head and in my heart. It was not a how-to manual on how to be a better Christian. It was a eye-opening experience.

The books holds no punches. It gets in your face. It gets in your business. It makes you want to be a believer, a follower of Jesus, and not just a fan.

Zondervan has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Indelible

The book opens in the middle of a dramatic event. There is no time to grasp who the characters are as the drama unfolds. Once the reader is given a chance to catch up, there is more drama. It was like this the entire book. Then there are chapters devoted to this unknown character but written in such poetic form that I could not understand what it was about. Eventually I realized who this character was and how his story was parallel to the story of Trevor and Natalie.

Speaking of Trevor and Natalie, their romance seems unnatural. They connect and fall in love too quickly for people who are supposedly dealing with intimacy issues.

I did not read Indivisible so it took time to understand the character development. This is the 2nd book in the series but there is nothing on the book cover to say that this is part of a series.

This book is in the genre of Ted Dekker. Scary, suspenseful, a little beyond belief. It's not my cup of tea.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hungry for God

I was hesitant to read this book. I thought it was another turn-your-hunger-for-food-into-hunger-for-God kind of non-diet book. Then I started reading it, and the format threw me off. The format was not like other printed material where paragraphs are set off by indentation. Instead, it had an Internet format where paragraphs are flush with the left-hand margin and lines are skipped to denote the next paragraph, my like this blog.

So after I got over my first impressions and format issues, I really liked this book. It took my by surprise and challenged me in my relationship with God. Both are good things when you get a little too comfortable in your comfort zone. There were many highlightable lines, but this one especially went right to the core:

As a student, I wanted the right answer only to earn a good grade and move on to something else. Years later I realize the lessons were never really about trains, calculations, or math skills as much as about learning how to think.

I still find myself wanting the right answer especially in my relationship with God. I want Him to just tell me the answer and He wants to engage me in conversation. It takes time and energy to really know God, but Margeret Feinberg reminds us that it is so worth it.

Zondervan has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.