Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bringing up Girls Review

Title: Bringing up Girls

Author: Dr. James Dobson

Pages: 285

Having two daughters of my own I was very interested in Dr. Dobson's book "Bringing up Girls." After reading this book I would recommend it to any family that has daughter(s) and could use some good sound answers and advice in parenting.

The first part of the book covers the different roles and protrayals of women and girls in times past and in our current society, including the media and movies. The changes are alarming and disparaging, but presented in an adequate manner. There is also a significant amount of research and studies in Chapter 4 and later in Chapter 14 (Consequences) and 18.

There were some great practical tips in Chapter 10 (Fathers to Daughters) that were actually from another book title Father to Daughter: Life Lessons on Raising a Girl.

The middle chunk of 20 pages consists of a question and answer with Dr. Dobson. Questions about sports, movies, and behaviors.

The book finishes with a chapter on Bullying, more question and answer, and finally parental resources.

This book covers many different topics related to "bringing up Girls" and would be a noteworthy addition to any Christian's bookshelf.

4/5 Stars

Note: I was provided this review copy by Tyndale Publishing.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Skin Map review

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 398

Time travel and high adventure abound in this brand new title from veteran author Stephen R. Lawhead. Lawhead published his first novel in 1981 and has written over 20 novels.

The main character Kit Livingstone's great-grandfather appears to him out of the blue with a story of passage to other worlds all held together by an important map. There are other people after the map and the tension mounts in a race for power and control over the map. *Minor spoiler ahead* Kit's girlfriend plays a significant part in the story as she spends a good amount of time starting a new life in a different world and a different time.

The Skin Map is a well-paced novel with excellent dialogue, amazing scenery, and an ending that I didn't see coming. I would recommend this title to any fans of historical adventure.

There are more books to come in this series and I enjoyed it enough that I will pick up the next novel as soon as it is released (The Bone House - September 2011).

4/5 Stars

*I received this book as a review copy from Thomas Nelson*

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Review: Through the Fire

Title: Through the Fire
Author: Shawn Grady
Publisher: Bethany House

Through the Fire is an excellent novel written by an expert in the field. Author Shawn Grady is a paramedic/first responder and he brings his experiences to life in his first novel.

The story centers around Aidan O’Neill, a firefighter down on his luck and desperate for answers to a troubled past. An arsonist is on the attack in the Reno area and Aidan is bent on finding out who it is.

Grady writing is detailed and imaginative and I found myself caught up in the imagery of the fire battle scenes. Some of the technical language was unfamiliar to me, but not to the point of being frustrating.

The story moves quickly and there are several twists and turns along that the keep the suspense and interest level high. Aidan's wrestle with God and faith is intertwined into the writing in a perfect and seamless way.

Grady's first novel is an effort worthy of a read.

4 / 5 Stars

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

3 Mini Reviews

Title: Raven's Ladder
Author: Jeffrey Overstreet

The third novel in the series (the fourth is nearing completion: If you have not read this series I highly recommend it!
My only misgivings is that so much time passed between my readings of the other two books. I was a little lost in some parts, but the character index in the back of the book helped greatly.

There is whole new setting in this book and the characters are continuing to be built and created in a marvelous fashion.
5/5 Stars

Title: Eternity Falls
Author: Kirk Outerbridge

Eternity Falls falls under the cyber-punk or cyber thriller genre and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The futuristic elements intertwined in the novel were not over the top and the setting was defined (though I was hoping for a little more information about the city itself).

There were plenty of twists and turns turns in this plot with one of the major ones occuring in the middle. The element of faith was also woven succinctly through the plot. There are several great discussions between characters about free will and God's sovereignty all in context to living forever on earth or letting natural causes eventually end life.

One of my first cyber thriller reads and another high recommendation.

5/5 Stars

Title: Burn
Author: Ted Dekker and Erin Healy

Three childhood friends are caught up in the dealings of a madman and the results of one frightful night will affect them forever.

Burn is a fast paced novel that I finished in about four sittings. Dekker and Healy are a great team and I enjoyed this novel even more so than their first (Kiss).

It is difficult to describe this book without giving away spoilers. All I can say is that this book does well showing the Biblical truth of our sin nature and "new man" battling against each other.

I was expecting more of a "bang" for an ending, but overall I really enjoyed the characters and the way it all came together.

4.5 / 5 Stars

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Review: Rooms by James L. Rubart

Title: Rooms
Author: James L. Rubart
Publisher: B&H Publishing
Pages: 400

Overview from the publisher website:

"On a rainy spring day in Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic, twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside out. Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the beach every weekend.

When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way. But as he slowly discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him into an astonishing new destiny."

My thoughts: This book kept me thoroughly entertained, but more importantly I was challenged. I was continually asking myself "what would I do in this situation?" As a Christian, this book was an encouragement with the large amount of scripture that was used to tie the novel together and offer support. I enjoyed the supernatural components of the story and the writing style was down to earth and clear.

I would describe this book as a combination of the movie Back to the Future with some sprinkles of Lost the TV show and The Shack (so I have heard - I have never read the later).

If you are looking for a book that will challenge the way you live your life and a read that will encourage you to seek Christ, then this book is for you.

5/5 Stars

I have received this review copy from B&H Publishing through book giveaway.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Review: The Revolutionary Paul Revere

Title: The Revolutionary Paul Revere
Author: Joel J. Miller
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 224

"Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere..."

And so begin the lines of the famous poem of Paul Revere's midnight ride, and that is about all I have remembered about Paul Revere since junior high.

The Revolutionary Paul Revere was a great recap and biography of; who Paul Revere was, how he influenced the beginnings of our nation, and how many different talents he had.

I am not usually a biography reader, but this book was interesting enough that I read it in just a few sittings. Many biographies will go on for 3+ chapters discussing the main characters family, which I can find boring at times. This book touched on his family and then got off to a fast start with Paul's life in the New World.

The book details Paul's involvement with the Masons and other political groups in Boston. There was only a small amount of information on Paul's midnight ride, but just enough to satisfy my interest. The Revolutionary War takes center stage in several chapters and I found the war commentary detailed and exciting.

Paul's gift as an artist/engraver/craftsman are intertwined quite nicely into this story. The number of prints, pictures, and metal working he created is fascinating.

I would recommend this book to anyone that would like a refresher on the history of Paul Revere. This book was not an exhaustive biography, but just a perfect size and amount of information for me.

4/5 Stars

I received a review copy from Thomas Nelson as part of their blog partnership.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Review: The Red Letters Project

Title: The Red Letters Project
By: Velocity Entertainment (various artists)
Distributed by: Tyndale House
Contents: 3 Compact Discs and the book of Matthew in large pamphlet form

This is probably one of the most unique pieces of music I have ever listened to. The Red Letters Project is 3 CD's of music with all of the songs using the words of Jesus from the book of Matthew. The words are taken from the New Living Translation which I enjoy reading and should be easy for most people to understand.

Most of the songs have a Rock/Heavy Rock sound with a few sprinklings of light Rap/Spoken (reading to the beat) style. Several of the songs are set to a slower beat and sound as well.

The idea behind this CD is a great one. You can not get anymore Biblical and sold with music lyrics than ones that are from the spoken words of Jesus. For Christian music fans this is a great alternative to the Bible on CD when you are traveling. Another excellent way to memorize the Word of God!

I can only imagine how difficult this project must have been to complete. The words of Jesus don't usually rhyme so some of the songs are difficult to listen to in a tempo/rhythmic kind of way.

For the most part I enjoyed most of the songs on all three discs. One other note is that there are several different performing artists on this album, but most of the songs are sang by one person. I enjoyed the his sound, but for future projects I would like to see more variety in vocal talent.

Check this out!

4.5/5 Stars

Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy from Tyndale Publishing

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Review: The Flowering Cross

Title: The Flowering Cross
Author: Beth Ryan
Illustrator: Renee Graef
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

From the back cover: "Mean Old Jack" was better known for his ill temper than the beautiful flowers he grew, but his grumpiness turns to kindness and love when his six-ear-old neighbor helps him see the real meaning of the Cross."

This children's book would be a great addition to any Christian family library. The story centers around Katie and her compassion toward her neighbor Jack and the tradition of the flowering cross.

I enjoyed the way the book put an emphasis on Katie's simple faith and love for her neighbor all in the light of Christ and the cross.

I read the book to my 5 year old daughter and 2 year old son. My son lost interest after the second page, but my daughter was enthralled through the whole story. Here are some of the comments from my daughter: "This is an important book", "The little girl was beautiful", "I liked the cross they made and the puppy Waggles."

Most of the pages also have a "Faith Imprint" sentence at the bottom (e.g. "Share how Katie did what her mother told her to do."). I didn't use these, but in subsequent readings I could see the effectiveness of them. Below the Faith Imprints are scripture references that pertain to that page of the book.

The last page of the book gives directions on how to make a Flowering Cross.

Highly Recommended!

4.5 / 5 Stars

Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Book Review: Rediscovering God in America Review

Book: Rediscovering God in America: Reflections On the Role of Faith in our Nation's History and Future
Author: Newt Gingrich
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 118

Rediscovering God in America is a good introduction to the historical background of many of the monuments and buildings in Washington D.C.

Five of the chapters describe memorials for a certain person (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, and Ronald Reagan), the other chapters cover the National Archives, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Capitol Building, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, White House, World War 2 Memorial, and the Arlington National Cemetery.

Newt Gingrich starts each chapter with a historical background to the different monuments and memorials throughout the DC area. The next part of the chapters discuss the faith of the person represented by the memorial.

The history and religious descriptions are brief, yet provide enough background information for the reader to get an overall idea of the person.

The chapters are just the right length to make for easy reading and the accompanying pictures fit the text well.

This book would be a great read for someone that is going to be visiting Washington D.C. or has never heard the Christian history behind our nation and its historic background.

4/5 Stars

Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review.