Saturday, November 21, 2009

Review: Called to Worship by Vernon W. Whaley

Review: Called to Worship: The Biblical Foundations of Our Response to God's Call
Author: Vernon M. Whaley

"Called to Worship" is a well written book detailing the different accounts of worship in the Bible. The book is broken down into three parts: Part 1: Old Testament Principles of Worship (Chapters 1-15). Part 2: New Testament Principles of Worship (Chapters 16-20). Part 3: Worship in Heaven (Chapter 21).

The book held my attention throughout, though most of the information was not "new" to me. The author did an excellent job of referencing Bible verses (from several versions) to back up his writings. I prefer the KJV over NCV (NCV was referenced most frequently) and the Message seemed like too much of a loose interpretation to be used in this work.

Before reading this book I was expecting the author to discuss the instances of worship in the Bible as related to praising the Lord through music, but he covered other areas of "worship" in the Word that I had not considered. There was also a lot of Bible commentary in this book that was not necessarily related to worship. For that reason I think this book would be suited for someone looking for a basic commentary on the Word with a specialization on Worship.

4 / 5 Stars

I am a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Review: Fearless by Max Lucado

Max Lucado has done it again! I can't remember a Lucado book that I have read that I looked back and thought "hmm, that was ok, but doesn't really pertain to me" or "that was a huge misrepresentation of God." Fearless is no exception!

Fearless is a continuation of Lucado's solid Bible teaching and practical application in the area of fighting fear. There are many Bible verses to support each chapter and Lucado's stories really bring out the truth of Christ's message. I also appreciate that Fearless does not pull any punches when it comes to trials that happen despite our prayer's and trust in Christ. Lucado keeps a good perspective of all sides of the matter.

I would recommend this book to anyone in the midst of struggle or preparing for life in general. There is much here that can be put to use immediately.

4.5 / 5 Stars

Note: I am a Nelson Book Reviewer:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Review: Read and Share Toddler Bible

Title: Read and Share Toddler Bible
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 192
Retold by: Gwen Ellis
Illustrations: Steve Smallman
The Read and Share Bible is a great little Bible for young children from 2-4 yrs old. This Bible covers 25 Old Testament stories and 15 New Testament stories.
Here are some positives about the Bible:
*Pictures are well done. Although they don't stand above some other stories Bibles I have read.
*There are color coded page numbers for each story.
*Cross-references are displayed when the story can be found in multiple books of the Bible.
*There is a Parent/Child activity at the end of each story
*Stories are not too long for little children (my 2 yr old boy)
*Variety of Bible stories
*THE BIG POSITIVE with this Bible was the enclosed DVD (with 14 stories). The animation, storytelling, and features of the DVD were excellent. Both of my children were enthralled by the video. Highly recommended.
A couple of negatives before I finish:
-Other than the DVD, the Bible didn't do much to separate itself from the other hundred children's Bibles that are out there.
-Some of the activities at the end of the story require scissors, paper, crayons, etc. If you are using this Bible for a bedtime story crafts don't work so well (for me at least).
3/5 Stars w/o DVD
4/5 Stars w/DVD
NOTE: I am a reviewer for Thomas Nelson Publishers

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Review: Deception by Randy Alcorn

Overview: "Ollie Chandler is a brilliant and quick-witted homicide detective with exceptional deductive skills and street smarts. He's a police department legend for his off-beat methods that solve crimes and coax confessions. But he's a risk taker and a rule-bender who drives his procedure-conscious superiors crazy. If not for his success rate, he'd have been squeezed out of the detective division years ago.When a Portland State University professor is found murdered in his home, Ollie is called in. Some strange indications on the professor's body suggest a peculiar means of death. Tests confirm something even more bizarre than Ollie suspected.

A motive of revenge seems likely. But revenge for what? The murder mystery gets more complex the deeper Ollie probes.Deception is a spin-off of Randy’s first two novels, Deadline and Dominion." (From Randy Alcorn's website)

Review: This book was one amazing read! From the hilarious dialogue of smart-alec Ollie Chandler, to the perfect dose of Christian apologetics, and finally the mind-blowing plot twist at the end...Wow!

This book probably took me about 6 months to read because I purchased and began reading it when I was very busy. Of course I am always reading 3 or 4 books :-), so this one didn't always have priority. I don't recommend reading this one like I did. I forgot characters along the way and had to re-read several parts. I would have loved to have a list of characters in the back of the book to reference every now and then (minus character details that might give away the plot).

Alcorn's presentation of Chandler is brilliant. He succeeds in his portrayal of a down on his luck detective. I thoroughly enjoyed Ollie's interactions with his dog and his two friends Jake and Clarence. The way Jake and Clarence challenge Chandler's faith through discussions is solid and touches on many key points an unbeliever might ask.

The pace of the book is a little slow in the middle and in other parts because Alcorn spends a hefty time on dialogue. But it was a bearable because the tone and voice were perfect. The last 150 pages was an amazing flash of plot twists and audible "what's"??, and "no ways."

I highly recommend this book and was encouraged in many different ways.

5/5 Stars

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Review: Higher Hope

Overview: Tami Taylor law clerk is assigned to a libel case involving an ouspoken preacher, all is not what it seems and Tami has to deal with several relationships at work.

Honestly, this was NOT my kind of novel. I have read several other Robert Whitlow books and was expecting something a little different.

First with the negative - 1) I don't read romance novels and this one had a little too much for my taste :-) There were some funny interactions and dialogue between the two men and Tami, but just not my flavor 2) The only courtroom scene found in the book took up less than a chapter. That scene was one of my favorite parts of the book, but it was so short!

Some positive comments - Whitlow's characters are well written and he intertwines elements of faith seemlessly. I really enjoyed the protrayal of Tami's conservative parents and how they interacted with their daughter.

2.5/5 Stars

Note: I am a review for Thomas Nelson Books

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

And the NEW winner is...

Well, "A Family" did not contact me with an address to ship the book :-( So I am holding a second drawing and the winner is Jessica!

I will get the book out to you as soon as possible.

Higher Hope review coming later this week.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

And the winner is...

A FAMILY!! By random drawing, A Family will be getting Cyndere's Midnight. Contact me within 5 days with your mailing address and I will get the book sent to you.

Thank you to the other entries. Stay tuned for more reviews and giveaways!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Update and Cyndere's Midnight mini-review + Giveaway

Sorry for the tumbleweeds, I was very busy with the end of the school year. Summer is here now and I hope to do a few more reviews in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned.

Cyndere's Midnight by Jeffrey Overstreet is the sequel to Auralia's Colors. These two books (the third will arrive next year) have been an absolute joy to read. If you are a fan of deep, vivid writing, amazing fantasy creatures, and a simply amazing storyline, this is the series for you. Both books have elements of Beauty and the Beast and involve great kingdoms struggling for power. Highly Recommended!

If you are finished with the first book and might be interested in the second, leave me a comment of your favorite fiction book you have read in the last 6 months and I will send my copy of Cyndere's Midnight to a random entry. All entries are due by June 30th and make sure and leave your email address!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Book Review: The Rivers Run Dry by Sibella Giorello

Raleigh Harmon, FBI agent is freshly planted in Seattle and ready to start up a new case. The mysterious disappearance of a rich young woman leads Raleigh on a ride of intrigue and investigation.

The Rivers Run Dry was one of the first Christian novels written by a female author that I have read. The best way to describe this book would be a "pretty good" read, that is through the first 200 pages. The plot, characters, back story, etc are set and the writer does it all with some interesting descriptive writing. Some of the descriptions seemed like they were a little forced, but nothing too horrible. At one point I was having a little trouble following all of the detectives, FBI agents, and police officers involved (nothing new here, that happens to me a lot with other books).

I felt the book really started to shine in the last 100 pages, and that was too bad, because it would have been nice to have felt that excitement early on. The spiritual content was not over-the-top, but it was present and seemed to work into the story just right. Overall, this was a good book and I enjoyed it.

3.5 / 5 Stars

Note: I am member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Book Review: The Noticer by Andy Andrews

Max Lucado meets John Maxwell in this inspiring tale of hope, determination and love. A mysterious figure calling himself Jones visits the lives of several down-on-their-luck individuals. What bits of wisdom and direction will change their life forever?

The Noticer is a VERY fast read. My usual dose of page turning is incited by Christian Fantasy, Suspense, or Action novel's, but The Noticer was a different read. The story had such a simple concept that I was easily sucked in. I found myself thinking of people in my own life that are going through or have already experienced the situations presented in this book. The Jones character is a very likable figure and easy to adore. Some will draw comparisons to Jesus and I believe that is fair, in some degree. He is a very loving and compassionate character, yet direct when he needs to be. The source of his advice is not always Biblical, but is is good advice, nonetheless.

This book challenged me to take a look at my own relationships and the way I interact with others. I was also encouraged when the author used Biblical stories to make Jones' point come across even clearer.

I have already lent this book out and will be buying copies for several of my friends.

5 / 5 Stars

Disclaimer: I am a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Review coming soon for:

Stay Tuned!

the Word of Promise Next Generation New Testament Audio Bible review

New Testament Dramatic Audio Bible

Format: MP3

This is the first Audio Bible that I have owned. Glancing at the front cover you can see that there are a lot of talented actors/entertainers/etc used to read the story of the Bible. I must admit that I am not up on the teen scene and didn't recognize some of the readers.

Voice: The readers on this MP3 were easy to listen to and seemed to fit their part fine. I especially enjoyd Max Lucado and his daughter reading the introduction to each of the books. None of the actors were "boring" and they had great voice inflection. At the same time, I wouldn't say that any of the readers were "amazing" (Though Sean Astin is a sure hit as usual).

Presentation: The set comes with three MP3 disks and one "behind the scenes" DVD. I did find it odd that the front of the case was a picture of all of the cast instead of something related to the Bible. Maybe covers are different for audio MP3's as compared to a book that has a more artistic cover. A note that these will not play in most CD players because they are in MP3 format. MP3 was the right way to go though, packing around 50 cd's just is not convienent :-)

Overall: After listening through one of the gospels, 1 Corinthians, and other parts of the disk, I would say this is a job well done. I prefer to read the Bible, but on long car trips, and in medium doses my two children should enjoy this. My 4 year old daughter was listening for the first time today (I played it on my computer) and she seemed to enjoy it.

4/5 Stars

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Skeeter and the Mystery of the Lost Mosquito Treasure (DVD review)

Title: Skeeter and the Mystery of the Lost Mosquito Treasure
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Running Time: 60 minutes including bonus features

Story: From DVD back cover: "Skeeter can't do anything right. But his famous brother can do no wrong. Which will find the treasure? Skeeter's "perfect" brother Sir Sinclair M. Skeeto, the world famous adventurer, comes to the garden with a mysterious treasure map left by their father. All the garden gang are in awe of Sinclair, and fawn all over him. But could it really be up to wrong-way Skeeter and his crooked stinger to solve the mystery of the treasure's location? Lesson is based on Psalm 139:13-14."

Production Quality: Bright and vivid computer animation. The backgrounds were well done, but no lavish.

Music: The background music and songs were very upbeat. My son and daughter were dancing at the start of the movie. There was a chirping bird sound in the background that was a little annoying during most of the scenes.

Story: There were several unique insect characters that helped to serve as the basis of this story. I enjoyed how God spoke directly to the characters at one point in the film. The movie did an excellent job showing the importance of each persons special talents and skills God has given them. The voice acting was excellent and enjoyable.

Kids Viewpoint: My four year old stayed in rapt attention throughout the whole film. She said she liked when the two brothers used teamwork to solve the mystery!

DVD extras: Mary had a little Lamb was added to the end of the main Skeeter movie, but really should have been included as bonus material on the DVD. It seemed a little thrown together and not funny or creative like the main film. Bonus features include: A trivia quiz, the sounds of Hermie (shows how/what sounds were used in the movie. I found this very interesting), a sing-along, and quite a bit of DVD ROM for computer stuff.

Final opinion: This DVD had great animation, good music, unique characters, and an amazing story. There were a couple twists and turns that were unique and original. The length of the film seemed just right for adults and young children. I would recommend this for children (and adults) of all ages! Psalm 139:13-14 - "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (NIV)

4.5/5 Stars

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Boat and the Sea of Galilee

Anyone looking for a great story about an ancient boat should look no further.

"The Boat and the Sea of Galilee" is a fine archeology "lite" book. The personal story of those that discovered the boat is interwoven with a description of how the boat was excavated, transported, preserved, and finally displayed.

Writing style: Written in a very easy to read style, with short chapters. The book was translated from Hebrew and some of the writing was a little awkward in parts, but nothing substantial.

Pictures: Amazing pictures and maps. I enjoyed seeing the detail of the different stages of bringing the ancient vessel back to life.

Fun Factor: Many parts of this book had a suspenseful feel in regards to the way the boat was being cared for. Many different "hiccups" occurred on the way and it was pretty amazing to find out how it all worked out in the end.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in finding out about some basic archeological techniques. As a Christian, I also found this book spiritually uplifting and encouraging.

4/5 Stars


I hope to use this blog in the future to blog reviews of books that I have read. Stay tuned!