Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hope Runs, Claire Diaz-Ortiz and Samuel Ikua Gachagua

This is a memoir of that tells of the impact lives have on one another in the most unexpected ways. I will be honest that this book came at a time in my life when I am currently pulled in a million directions - or at least 6 (and that's just my kiddos) plus the pull of ministry (or so it feels) so it was at times difficult to focus on the book. Even still I was amazed at the power of how God's plans are always above what we could even dream up. One American tourist visiting Africa is surprised by how her life is changed in just a moment - as God opens her heart to needy children - and one in particular. This book is unique in the fact that it is told from the view point of the author and the boy who's life changed hers. The two are forever intertwined by God's love and neither will ever be the same again. This is one of those stories that is worth the read - if only to restore your view of society and the heart of mankind. I would recommend this to others as well to read for the sheer heart warming feeling they will get from this story and the impact love has on the world. I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

What Follows After, Dan Walsh

Okay - So Dan Walsh is one of my favorite authors. I began collecting his book after becoming a book reviewer a few years back. When I see his name pop up on my email I immediately open it up and sign up to review it. Only once was I even slightly disappointed in a story written by this author. However, Dan Walsh may have out done himself in this one!! This book is a hard to put down, heart-pounding, action packed, page-turner of a book!! It is even difficult to write an adequate review without spoiling the entire story. I am a mother of 6 children and one of my greatest fears is kidnapping (the other being a child being run over) - and being a mom that lost a baby I already am familiar with that crushing weight of loss. That agonizing moment when you know that your life has been turned upside down and all the pretense of living comes crashing down and you are left with the stark realization of a reality you DO NOT want to face or deal with. Yet life must progress, you must get up, you must take that step and put one foot in front of others - life must be faced. Imagine a family that looks perfect on the outside, but inside there is hidden turmoil. A web of lies and deceit so carefully constructed that no one would ever guess the truth. Then two small boys hatch a daring plan to bring the walls of their Jericho tumbling down. Too bad that the enemy of this world also has a plan and things go terribly, terribly wrong. Suddenly the parents are faced with the truth - their web of deceit has become a tangled mess of hurt and destruction. Only the Lord can deliver this couple and their son's out of the midst of this storm. Faith alone will keep them from being drown by the waves of despair and defeat. Forgiveness and love must repair the breach, it must be the threads that bring this family together and set things right. A new unity must be formed and the Father of Truth must become the anchor and center of their world. So - you the reader are invited to have your heart strings plucked, your pulse pound, your emotions be pushed to the breaking point. And - ultimately - you are invited to ask yourself the question - what matters most in life and are you pursuing it. Dan Walsh opens the readers eyes in a unique way to the hurting hearts of children - and how easy it is for parents to over look the tender spirits that they have been entrusted with when they have their eyes set on themselves and their own wants and desires. Thank you to Revell for this review copy - I enjoyed it so much!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sincerely Yours, Jane Kirkpatrick, Amanda Cabot, Laurie Alice Eakes, and Ann Shorey

Four of my favorite historical fiction writers all in one book...what more could one ask for? This is a neat little compilation of novellas based on letters. Each one unique and wonderful in it's own right and short enough to read in one setting or two at tops. This makes the stories perfect for the mom on the run! Moonlight Promise by Laurie Alice Eakes Camilla Renfrew boards a steam ship wanting to leave behind her drama and suspense only to find herself tangled in the midst of it. This book is packed with love, and suspense as the characters discover that life moves as quickly as the river and has many turns and twists that take us by surprise. Lessons in Love by Ann Shorrey This novella is filled with little deceptions that lead to large amounts of mischief and trouble. A lesson in the fact that the truth is almost always better - and is certainly easier to keep up with. Merrie learns quickly that leading a double life can lead to double the trouble as she tries to keep her true identity hidden so that she can keep her writing career. What will be the end result? - Well, you'd have to read this fast moving novella to find out how love, writing,and truth all work together to weave a story of wonderful proportions. One Little Word by Amanda Cabot Amanda Cabot is really one of my very favorites because of her easy writing style. This novella to me is classic Cabot style of ease and flow. Faced with a need to marry in order to save her fortune Lorraine finds out she has a brother she has never met. A letter to him finds her on the way to meet him and embark on an adventure that will forever change her life. A Saving Grace by Jane Kirkpatrick This is the one novella based less on love and romance and based more of the love of a friend and saving that friend from a dangerous place. I found this to be an interesting twist and was rather intrigued to find out later that this was based on a true story. Filled with suspense and a certain amount of heart ache this one will leave the reader in awe that such places could have really existed or that this school of thought could have been bought into all. Each novella is wonderfully and masterfully written by authors used to writing much longer pieces. I would imagine it was a challenge for each to write a complete story in such a small amount of space when they are used to writing complete works that span hundreds of pages with detailed story. I thought each one pulled together their story very well and presented the needed information to make the story great. Thanks to the publisher Revell for this review copy Visit http://janeswordsofencouragement.blogspot.com/ for a give away of this book and other great reads!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

If I had Lunch with C.S. Lewis, Alister McGrath

C.S. Lewis has always fascinated me. His books have long been on my shelves as required reading for our home schooling adventures as well as personal reads. This one adds a whole new depth to understanding and incredibly complex man who's views and writing have shaped many generations and will continue to do so in the future. This book is written as if the author has gone to lunch with C.S. Lewis and what that would be like as they discussed certain issues and ideas. Though at times a little slow to read it is over all a great book. I think that reading more than one "lunch date" at a time might be more than a reader can handle as much of Lewis' thoughts on things needed to be chewed on slowly and considered in depth - allowing them to sink in and give the reader time to contemplate them and form their own opinions. I found the book to be an excellent resource to add to our home school library but would certainly recommend it to any lover of C.S. Lewis who wants to know why he wrote the way he did and how Christianity influenced his life. It is always fascinating to me to understand the thinking of a self-proclaimed Atheist turned Christian - I am always interested in the impact of Christ on a life of a person who is an advocate for Atheism since this is such a huge deal right now and really always has been. C.S. Lewis thoughts on Nazism and Public education were especially thought provoking to me as a home school mom who teaches a biblical world view to her children while the majority of our friends kids are washed in an educational system of a secular and unbiblical world view that threatens to undermine the teachings of the church. This is not a long book at all, but is best read in small sections and enjoyed. It is a great conversation starter for older children to discuss these sometimes deep topics and you may find that it drives them to the scriptures to support their views and to further understand the rock on which Lewis based his views after conversion to Christianity. Excellent read and a special thanks to the publisher Tyndale and the blog review team who sent me this free review copy in exchange for an unbiased review of this book.

Awesome Science Explore Glacier National Park

What could be more fun than an interesting DVD that explores God's creation and solidifies the biblical world view taught by a kid??? I don't think there is another dvd series like this one on the market. If you are looking for a way to make science interesting for you little ones (and big ones alike) this is the series for you!! Our family of 8 enjoys these for a number of reasons; 1. Noah Justice is the age of some of my children so they think it is great to see someone their age teaching about God's creation, 2. The information that is presented is consistent with a biblical world view and their for solidifies the teachings found in the bible and gives our children good argument against other world views., 3. The length is just long enough to keep a child's attention while not being too short to leave out information, 4. The pictures and video is fun, interactive, 5. It is perfect for a variety of ages from early elementary to teens. Providing a perfect jump start for conversation or a perfect beginning for paper writing and further research. In this particular video you are invited to explore the Ice Age and the flood and how the two worked together and impacted our world then and today. Also the idea of the flood is given time as you are invited to explore the fact that this biblical explanation of world events shows how massive extinction could happen and how the flood impacted the world we live in. I want to thank Masterbooks for this wonderful opportunity to watch again their videos.

The Big Picture Interactive Bible

My 7 year old son loved this bible, but then so did my 10 year old son, my 6 year old daughter and my 2 year old son and my 13 year old daughter. This bible is one that really just captures children's imaginations and attention making it easier for them to study and enjoy God's word. As a mom I appreciate the commentary and the large colorful maps that add detailed information. As a child they enjoyed the colorful pictures that go along with the stories. As a Sunday School teacher I appreciated the commentary that explains the scripture or story making it easier for the child to apply what is being studies. In today's interactive and technology savvy world the fact that this bible offers an app that can be downloaded makes it even more attractive to young kids and parents alike. The translation is easy to read and follow for young readers. Over all this is an excellent purchase for any family. Thanks to the publisher for this review copy. It has made an excellent addition to our family and has quickly become a favorite of our children. I give it two thumbs up and encourage families to purchase it for their own use.

What is Your Worldview? , James N. Anderson

Beyond mere Apologetics for the sake of argument. Beyond just a simple statement of his "side" of the hot topic. James N. Anderson takes a unique, interactive approach to Apologetics that causes the reading to think on their own and draw a conclusion. His approach draws the reader into thinking for themselves and seeing that the Christian world view does have relevance that is undisputed and shows the unshakable truth of the bible. I am simply a home school mom and Sunday School Teacher with no theological or seminary background so I will not use large words to describe the book. I have however, as a Pastor's wife who's husband holds two Masters read tons of books on this subject as he has studied through his course work and as we have began to teach our children along their educational pathway. It has been core to our home school to center our teaching on a biblical world view that is counter to that which is being taught in the public schools. The reason being that at the center of everyone's life is their view of the world - how it was created, why it was created, the purpose. What world view you hold then determines your thoughts on morals, values, and such. It is the plumb line by which you model your decisions, and by which you judge things that are happening around you. This book is one that reads like a "choose your own ending" book which allows the reader to answer a question truthfully and then explore that answer. Ultimately the book brings the reader to see the consistant and inerrant truth of the bible and a biblical worldview. I found this book to be one of the easiest books on Apologetics to read for just about any age level.