Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Just In Case You Ever Wonder (Children's) - 5 Stars

"Just In Case You Ever Wonder" by Max Lucado is an adorable children's book! I have a three year old, and think this book was written so it was easy for her to understand, and follow. I would recommend this book for children ages 2-7. The illustrations are cute, and simplistic. Great book for young children! As a parent, I think it is super important to let my child know that I am always there, no matter what life throws at them. Max Lucado puts that reassurance into words in this book - it is a super cute reminder to children that we love them, and will always be here for them, just in case they ever wonder. The book also touches on how much God loves them, just as a parent does, and what a wonderful place Heaven is. I think that this book was well written, and Lucado was very aware of the audience he was writing for. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Heroes & Villians of the Bible - 3 Stars

 "Heroes & Villians of the Bible" is a cute book that follows some of the most famous (and infamous) names of the Bible. As far as ages for this book, I would suggest 7 or 8 years old and up. While the cover of the book suggests it is a "boy book", it actually follows more than just men of the Bible. I liked that they included some female characters, such as Ruth and Delilah. The book is written as a Bible, so that it is easy to cross reference what your child is reading in your own Bible if you would like. Each chapter offers a thought or discussion to help your child connect with the reading. It also offers up a short moral of the reading. I liked that it helps the child get involved in the story. The readings are taken from a small percentage of the Bible, from the books of: Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 1 Kings, Esther, Daniel, Jonah, Luke, Matthew, John, Mark, and Acts. Not such a great read for smaller children, but definitely great for boys or girls who are a little bit older.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Heaven Is For Real For Kids (Children's) - 4 Stars

"Heaven Is For Real For Kids" is a cute children's book, detailing some of the things that Colton saw when he visited Heaven. Although some of the things that Colton tells about are not 100% as the Bible may describe, I still thought the basic premise of the book was cute. It helps teach kids about Heaven, in a way that isn't scary. I thought the illustrations were beautiful and very colorful, as well. I think that this book would be a great read for a young child, as it is simple to read, uses kid-friendly language, and isn't the least bit scary. 

This book is a good introduction to what Heaven is, and who lives in Heaven, etc., for children. Would make a wonderful gift for a child anywhere from age 3 and up. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book of Man - 5 Stars

"Book of Man" by William Bennett is a compilation of stories about exceptional men. This book has many different chapters, that make it easy to look up a story by the subject - it is broke into "men at work", "men at play", "men in prayer" and many others. This would be a great gift for a young man, heading into adulthood as there are so many wonderful examples of strong, faithful, courageous men throughout the stories in this book. I think that Bennett really picked the best of the best as far as male role models to go into this book.

I would recommend this as a gift for a high school or college graduate that is headed on the path to manhood, as a reminder of what a man should strive to be. Wonderfully written, as usual, by William Bennett. Absolutely loved this one, and you will too! 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Your 100 Day Prayer - 5 Stars

John Snyder's "Your 100 Day Prayer" is a devotional book, consisting of 100 daily devotionals. What I really enjoyed about these devotionals is that they are relatively short - and I felt like even though they weren't extremely lengthy, I still got a lot out of them, spiritually. They are very well written devotionals, and really get straight to the point with a clear and concise message. These messages relay a strong message of faith and waiting on God.

I think that this devotional is perfect. The daily devotionals are short and easy to fit into the day. The prayers are meaningful and concise. And the space to journal is a great idea.

Each devotional is followed by a short prayer that is based on the message of the devotional. I also really liked that after the prayer there is a space labeled "Today's Progress", for you to keep a journal of how God is acting in your life, or what you are waiting for God to show you. It is a neat idea to keep a journal with these devotionals so that over time you can look back and see how God has answered you.

 I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to have that daily connection but is short on time. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Living Close to God (When You Aren't Good At It) - 2 Stars

 "Living Close to God (When You Aren't Good At It) by Gene Edwards, offers up a fascinating topic - after all, don't we all wish to live close to God? The book tells a personal story of fitting God into a busy life, and how it worked for one person. The personal story does point out some important scriptural references, and give some solid advice on building a stronger, more personal relationship with Christ.

However, this really was more of the story of one person, and how through their own busy life, they were able to find a closer connection to God. There are a few helpful suggestions, but nothing life-changing in this particular book.  There are many general references to scripture, which are great, but I didn't really find this book particularly helpful in fine tuning my own personal walk with God. 

I wouldn't recommend this book to someone who is actively seeking a closer relationship with God, as really this is more of a personal story or testimonial than anything else. If you are interested in a good personal story, than it is worth the read. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

As Silver Refined - 5 Stars!

Kay Arthur's "As Silver Refined" is a book about disappointment - and really, who among us can not relate to being disappointed? Arthur establishes that through disappointment we become vulnerable to spiritual attacks. This book goes on to discuss ways to recognize these attacks and correct our own thinking when it comes to disappointing situations.

This book also has a study guide in the back of the book, which makes it a great tool for a student or for a book group studying together. I used these study guides by copying them from the book, and actually filling it out as I worked my way through each chapter. It really reinforced some of the most important things in this book.

This book really opened my eyes, and made me think differently about some of the difficult situations that I have faced in my own life, and the way I reacted to them. Kay Arthur really breaks down disappointment and showed me how the devil uses my disappointment to gain entry into my life. The solid truths that Kay shares with us are well formulated and backed by scriptural truths. 

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has been through or is going through a difficult or disappointing time in their own life.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

America: The Last Best Hope Vol. 3 - 5 Stars

I have already shared my admiration for the work of William Bennett, so needless to say that I had to get my hands on the third and final installment in his "America: The Last Best Hope" series. These books were written in installments, and meant to be a sort of concise history of America. The third book is the history of the election of 1988 through the present times, and includes the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal and impeachment, through the 2001 Trade Center tragedy.

I found this book to be extremely easy to read, and loved the simplicity with which Bennett writes about our history. He doesn't over complicate it for the sake of sounding smart. This is the kind of history book that every American could easily pick up and read. I think it is important for us to have an unbiased understanding of our history, and Bennett gives us just that. Great book.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Living In Love - 5 Stars

"Living In Love" by James and Betty Robison is a great book. I see James and Betty on television all the time and thought this this book would be a very interesting read, and maybe give some insight on how to build a relationship as strong as theirs appears to be. The book completely delivered! This book is written by both James and Betty, and details their lives, from how they met. It is amazing to read their story, but it was very reassuring to read that even they had challenges that they faced in their relationship and in their personal lives.

What I really enjoyed about this book was that both James and Betty have a voice. James' name prefaces his thoughts, and Betty's name prefaces her thoughts. It's fascinating to be able to hear both of their voices, rather than one voice.

This book offers up wonderful, Biblical advice on relationships and marriage, as well as living our own personal lives for God. I really loved this book, and would recommend it highly. You don't have to be married to get something out of this book - it can be applied to any relationship in your life. Wonderfully written!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dinner With A Perfect Stranger - 5 Stars

"Dinner With A Perfect Stranger" by David Gregory is a different kind of book. This is a short story of a man who is invited to dinner by Jesus of Nazareth. Thinking it is a practical joke of some kind, he goes to the location at the date and time on the invitation he received, only to meet a man who seems to know every detail of his life.

I found this book to be absolutely amazing. I loved the conversations between Jesus and Nick - they discuss religion, and not just Christianity, but briefly touch on the differences in religions. I thought that this was a very careful, well written story. Gregory doesn't go overboard in putting words into the mouth of his portrayal of Jesus, and the storyline itself is convincing.

I really enjoyed this book, and felt like it portrayed the kind of relationship that we yearn to have with Jesus. A relationship where we can talk to him, and feel that connection of a friendship. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gabby God's Little Angel (Children's) - 5 Stars

"Gabby, God's Little Angel" is an absolutely adorable children's book. The premise of the book is that a young angel named Gabby is tasked with watching after a young girl, and making sure that she stays safe. This book is relatively short, so even young children who don't have the attention span to sit through a longer book would be content. The illustrations are beautifully done, with lots of bright, vivid colors and beautiful pictures that follow the storyline well.

This book is a wonderful introduction to angels for younger children. It isn't scary at all, and helps the child to understand that God sends angels to help protect us and keep us safe because God loves us so much. I think that this book was wonderful, and a friendly way to familiarize a young child with the concept of angels and Heaven.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

MacArthur - 4 Stars

 "MacArthur" is a practical biography of Douglas MacArthur that is easy to read, and very intriguing. Realisticaly the book felt more like a novel than an actual biography, and I really enjoyed following along the storyline of Douglas MacArthur's life.

This book starts off detailing the history of the MacArthur family. This is the only part of the book that got slightly confusing, but that is only because there were three Arthur MacArthurs - so it was a little confusing trying to keep track of the three generations all bearing the same name. This book follows a young Douglas into West 
Point and into his military career, and his successes that eclipsed those of the previous two generations of famous MacArthurs.

I found this book to be really interesting, without any overly complicated historical overtones. I appreciated that this book really was simple. I think that anyone would be able to enjoy this book, and it was so well written. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to anyone with even the slightest interest in history. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Love & War: Devotional for Couples - 4 Stars

"Love & War : Devotional for Couples" by John and Stasi Eldredge is a couples devotional designed to bring husband and wife closer together through a series of readings. These devotionals are very well written, and because they were penned by a husband and wife team, you feel like you are getting more of an unbiased voice, neither the husband or the wife.

The devotionals themselves are not extremely long - maybe three pages at most. Each devotional consists of a a quote that is relevant to the topic being discussed in that devotional, A short explanation of the subject matter and its relevancy, scriptural reference, short prayer, Bible verse, and then an exercise for couples to do together.

Overall, I found this devotional to be useful, and if nothing else, it does give you a special time each day to connect with your spouse over a short reading. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Fight Of Our Lives - 5 Stars

William Bennett is a literary genius. I have been a fan of Mr. Bennett for years, first enjoying his perspectives while listening to him on the morning conservative talk radio channel. I have always thought he was a brilliant man, and "The Fight Of Our Lives" only steepens my thought. 

"The Fight Of Our Lives" is essentially a book about the dangers facing our country currently - especially dealing with radical Islam. Bennett combines recent and relevant current events with a no-nonsense approach to the security of our country. He gives a great recount of the events and players in the threat of radical Islam facing the United States, and does so in a way that doesn't come off as demeaning, but as extremely concerned.

I also liked that Bennett didn't make this book overly complicated and politically charged. I thought that he made this book simple and easy to read, without any political correctness or "I know better than you" attitude. I really think that anyone could benefit from reading this book. Our country is in trouble, and unless we start dealing with it, we are going to be in big trouble. Bennett makes the case for standing up against these radical Islamists, and does so brilliantly.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Quotable Rogue - 4 Stars

If you are a fan of Sarah Palin, you need to pick up a copy of "The Quotable Rogue". I am a conservative woman, mother, and wife, and I believe that a lot of the things that Sarah Palin has said are close to the heart of people like me. In "The Quotable Rogue", you can find a variety of Palin quotes on nearly every topic she has ever spoke on!

I loved that this book is well organized, so if you are looking for a particular subject it is easy to find. This is a great resource, especially for those Palin quotes that seem to get turned around, or twisted in the glare of the media headlights. 

I think this book would be a great addition to the bookshelf of a Palin fan, or just a conservative in general. I loved it, and plan to use it as a reference!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Same Life, New Story - 4 Stars

"Same Life, New Story" follows influential and admirable women in the Bible through their journey. Written by Jan Silvious, this book tells the stories of some of the Bible's most loved female figures. I found it fascinating to read the stories of these women, and really put into perspective the choices they made, and the risks that they took in order to do what they believe God had called them to do. Some of the stories covered in this book are: Ruth, Rachel, and Rahab.

Jan Silvious tries to tie in some practical stories that are related to the theme of creating a new story for ourselves, the way that these Biblical figures created new chapters in their lives. I appreciated the theme, but thought that the way these stories were placed - right in the middle of Biblical references to the featured woman were a little distracting. I thought that the Biblical writings and references were fascinating, but it felt like the personal stories Silvious was trying to share were just a distraction.

Also, the chapters themselves are a little bit long, so it isn't like a devotional, where it will easily fit one chapter into your day.

Overall, I liked the premise of the book, and loved the Biblical women and their stories. But I could have done without the interjecting personal stories in the middle of the Bible stories.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Enemies of the Heart - 4 Stars

From the moment you start this book, you will read things that will make you think, "Yeah, that does sound a little like me". I think that Andy Stanley did a great job of narrowing down the four poisons to the heart: guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy.

I think that if you even think for one second that you might feel guilty or angry, you should sit down now and start turning the pages. Stanley uses a biblical approach to these secular problems, and I found his book to be useful in giving my own heart an honest assessment.
I think this book is ideal for nearly anyone who wants to life a happier life, free of guilt, anger, greed, or jealousy. Stanley's wisdom and biblical vantage point make a great combination. His tone isn't demeaning, but rather empathetic and understanding. Loved it! Great job, Andy!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Living Bible

I have to make a quick post here about  The Living Bible, published by Tyndale. I have an older copy that has been in the family for years, but I absolutely LOVE it. I really enjoy the simplicity of the wording. It is so much easier to read than a traditional version, and a million times easier to actually follow what is going on, who is speaking, and what the actual content is. I have several versions of the Bible in my home, but this is by far my favorite one! Love, love, love it! If you are thinking of getting a new Bible, I would highly recommend The Living Bible - you will not be disappointed!

Friday, July 1, 2011

"Why God Won't Go Away" - 3 Stars

"Why God Won't Go Away" by Alister McGrath was my most recent read, and I found it to be a very interesting book.  The book can basically be broken up into three sections: past, present, and future. There are discussions of the four men who spearheaded the new atheism movement, and brief histories of their contributions. These short biographies of Richard Dawkins, Sam harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens help to understand the key principles of atheism. 

I also found that the atheism movement is founded on false doctrines and generalizations about faith. There were definitely moments where I wanted to argue with Mr. Dawkins or Mr. Dennett about these generalizations.
I was truly fascinated and a little bit disappointed at how these atheists can make definitive claims about religion that are so far off, such as religion causes violence, or religion is irrational.

Overall, a good book with a concise explanation of this atheism movement and explanation of the founding principles.