Monday, April 30, 2012

Covenant of War

This story is action packed and full of realistic descriptions of battle.  Often those descriptions are intense but never gratuitous.  It is hard to read when you think about what soldiers must endure as they face their enemies on a battlefield.  


As the second book in the Lion of War series, the story continues with David and his mighty men.  They continue to fight for the nation of Israel and for their covenant God.  War is hell, and many soldiers die on both sides.  Even more tragic is when Hebrews must fight Hebrews.


This book is enlightening as a depiction of what war was like during the times of David.  It was brutal.  It was ugly.  It was horrible to experience.  It was also accurate to the Bible timeline of what happened and to the storyline of how it happened.


For those who do not like violence, this book is not for you as it is graphic and ugly.  For those of who do like action and drama, this book is for you read about the physical challenges of fighting a war.




I received this book free from ZONDERVAN as part of their blogger review program. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Blind Hope

I was surprised that the latest book I received for review from Multnomah was originally published 2 years ago. However, it was a nice little book, and I am glad for the chance to read and review it.

The story is as much about Laurie as it is about Mia, the dog Laurie rescued. In helping Mia regain her health physically, Laurie regained her healthy spiritually. It was an interesting parallel as Mia taught Laurie how listening to a loving master is much like listening to a loving God. Mia gave Laurie many life lessons. For example, Mia proved to Laurie how resilient a happy heart can be. Mia also taught Laurie that honest love is like a tree; it stands firm and perseveres through storms.

Some of the lessons learned were a bit sappy and often predictable, but the book was not hard to read. In a world of smutty and violent books, it was refreshing to a story of a blind dog teaching a woman how to truly see.

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

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Redemption


With brutal honestly and incredible candor, Bryan Clay tells his story of his unlikely career as a world class decathlete.

You know from the very beginning that Bryan wins gold at the 2008 Olympics so there is no surprise ending. What the reader does not know is the hard fought path Bryan took to get there. He was an unlikely decathlete. He did not grow up competing in track and field. He had a tough upbringing and a bad attitude. Only after trial and error and more trial and error, did Bryan commit to becoming an athlete who could compete at the national and international levels.

The real hero of this story is Bryan's mother who faithfully prayed for her son. She had hope when he did not. She had faith as small as a mustard seed, but it was more than enough.

The one take away I got from this book was the lesson Bryan learned while competing. God did not expect him to be perfect, only to try his best. That is exactly what I try to teach my children, and even remind myself when I think I am suppose to be perfect. A decathlon is a great metaphor for life. There are a lot of events that require many strengths and skills. It takes hard work, but not perfection. It requires the best we have without dwelling on past failures. Your best really is enough when you give it to God.

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

Friday, April 13, 2012

Jeremy Lin: From End of the Bench to Stardom

With the sudden stardom of Jeremy Lin, I wondered where he came from and how he became such an amazing basketball player. This unauthorized biography does a good job chronicling his life from growing up in California to playing for the New York Knicks in just 23 short years.

This books give his fans a chance to learn about his past and understand how his work ethic helped him overcome his weaknesses as he turned them in to strengths. I was skeptical at first, but the author, Bill Davis, did his research and wrote an inspiring biographical sketch of this amazing young man.

I am surprised at how many quickly published biographies about Jeremy Lin are available. This one is well written and great for a young reader.

Right Fit Publishing provided me a free copy of this ebook through NetGalley in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bringing Up Girls

As a response to the widely popular, Bringing Up Boys, Dr. Dobson gives us his latest book addressing the joys and struggles of raising daughters.

The book is full of surveys, data, anecdotes, personal accounts, and good advice for parents. With all the research included, I am sure Dr. Dobson had to limit the information to keep the book under 300 pages. He could write an encyclopedia addressing this issue. However, he knows that parents do not have the luxury of time and need a book that can guide us without overwhelming us.

I am disappointed with one bit of information. In chapter 11, the song "Cinderella" from Steven Curtis Chapman is quoted with the story about how he wrote this song after his 5 year old daughter died. It was a tragic event that many in the Christian community remember. Dr. Dobson states that Chapman wrote this song after his daughter died when in fact Chapman wrote this song before she died when he produced the album, This Moment, in 2008. The real redemption story is that Chapman sang this song at concerts after his daughter died as a testament to healing and restoration after her death.

I hope this the only error in this book because it really is a good book. Parents are facing an uphill battle in raising children, and to raise good kids, it is an even harder task. I appreciate all the wisdom and advice found within Bringing Up Girls.

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Not This Time

Small town of Seagrove Village clashes with a big time terrorist group. The locals are fierce and want to protect their small town, but some of them are on the wrong side of the law. Who do you trust and what happens when someone betrays your trust? This is just the beginning of Not This Time.

Since I had not read the previous Crossroads books (Forget Me Not and Deadly Ties), I had a lot of catching up to do. The first 100 pages was fast paced as I tried to keep up with all the characters and the drama as it unfolded. It was not enjoyable to me as I struggled to understand the storyline while trying to understand the many characters and how they were related to the other characters especially when some of the characters had code names as part of the terrorist group. It was just too much for me. I think I would have enjoyed this book had I read the 2 previous books, but there was nothing on this cover of this book to tell me that this was part of a series. I thought it was a stand alone book. It could be, as the author did catch the reader up with the characters and their back stories. However, it took so much time and energy to catch-up, that I was worn out by the end of the book.

So the book was decent enough but not an easy read if you have not read the other books in the series. I am disappointed that the cover of the book does not portray that this book as part of a series.

Waterbrook Multnomah provided me a free copy of this book exchange for a fair and honest review.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Simply Grilling

Now that spring is here, I enjoy eating outside and, more importantly, cooking outside. No one wants to heat up the house using the oven when you can use your grill. In this grilling cookbook, I discovered new ways to grill and even how to grill inside with a grill pan when the weather is not so nice.

What I liked about this cookbook is that all the recipes had a picture of the dish. It helps to know what the food is suppose to look like when I am done. It also makes the recipe more tempting to try when I see the finished product. I bookmarked many recipes to try in the near future. Yum!

The 105 recipes in this book is not limited to just meats. Everything from appetizers to desserts and everything in between can be grilled. The possibilities are endless.

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

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Loving

I read this book because it is the last book in the Bailey Flanigan series, and I am the kind of person who finishes what I start. That being said, I am glad this is the final book I have to read as I am tired of reading the perfect life of Bailey Flanigan where her only struggle is how to deal with the fame of having a Hollywood actor for a boyfriend. That is a struggle I cannot relate to. Everything else about her life is just too perfect.

The character of Bailey is unrealistic. She lives a charmed life with a stable family background and a successful career. She is so talented that she has danced on Broadway and also starred in a major motion picture. With all this success and being in the center of the spotlight, she is still humble and innocent. Money is never an issue especially since her boyfriend is a millionaire with a successful career in acting. She is also a virgin who saves herself for marriage. All her boyfriends seem to respect her wishes and never push her into a tempting situation.

The character of Brandon finally develops in this book. He was so perfect and one-dimensional in the first 3 books of the series. He finally has a back story with real struggles and fears, but even that is short lived as he becomes the perfect boyfriend to Bailey with not residual struggle with fighting physical temptation. He admits to a sexual experience at the age of 17 and a party boy life in his early acting days. However, once he became a Christian, he never partook in the partying lifestyle again even though it was all around him while living in LA. As a boyfriend, Brandon is always surprising Bailey with showing up at her house unexpectedly or doing amazing things for her such as renting an island for their honeymoon. I would not like my daughter to read these books as she will develop unrealistic expectations about how a man spoils a woman.

I am also disenchanted with how many books Karen Kingsbury is producing in such a short period of time. I admit that I have read all her books. I first started reading her stand-alone books and then the Redemption when it first appeared. Since then, there have been 22 books either about the Baxter family or a spin-off in addition to many other stand alone books. She has become a factory pushing out books too quickly lacking depth and realistic expectations.

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

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Swipe

I did not enjoy this book as much as The Highlander's Series or The Hunger Games Trilogy; however, it was a decent enough story once I got into it. Since the setting was so different than our current culture, the first third of the book was purely to set up the setting and back story. I was slightly annoyed at how long it took to just get into the story, but I realized if this was the first in a series, then the long introduction was inevitable.

The story is about Logan who will be taking The Mark when he turns 13 in just a few months. His sister died when she went to get The Mark so he is not looking forward to this life-changing event. He also thinks he is being watched. He has become paranoid, for good reason as he discovers the reality of being followed.

I had a hard time with the story. There was so much build up that I lost interest. I was also expecting an explanation about The Mark with a reference to the mark in Revelation. It was only explained as that is what everyone did after the war to establish peace and unity. I thought this would be more like the Left Behind series, but it was not.

As much as I did not like the book, it was a solid story with action, character development (after the first 50 pages), and suspense. I just thought it could have been better.

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