Monday, July 17, 2017

#REVIEW: Nothing to Fear by Barry Black

Title: Nothing to Fear: Principles and Prayers to Help You Thrive in a Threatening World
Author: Barry C Black
Series: None
ISBN: 978-1496418685
Pages: 256 pages
Publisher: Tyndale Momentum
Published Date: Feb 7, 2017

Synopsis: “I’m really concerned about the state of the world. It feels like things are falling apart.”
“I’m worried about my family’s future.”
“How can I stand firm in my faith in today’s culture?”

Our times are turbulent ones, and questions and worries like these can haunt us and keep us awake at night. Yet is it possible that, ultimately, there is actually nothing to fear? Barry C. Black is the spiritual “leader of leaders” for the US Senate―shepherding those on the front lines of the decisions that shape our culture. Now, Chaplain Black shows all of us how to thrive in the midst of today’s turbulence and confusion by following eight principles that Jesus gave his disciples prior to sending them into a dangerous world. These teachings are as relevant today as when Jesus first spoke them two thousand years ago.

Containing Scriptural insights and powerful prayers to help you seek God’s guidance and blessing, Nothing to Fear will illuminate the way to live boldly, bravely, and faithfully in the face of today’s perils.

My Rating:  3 1/2 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book was just okay for me. As a person that struggles day to day with what can be overwhelming anxiety, this book taught me that no matter what God's got our back. And lately, this world has been so messed up, so scary, so worrisome, that the cloud of darkness can overshadow my knowledge that God's got this...all of it.
So, on one hand, it was good to read and remind myself of that fact. It was good to see it in print, to reassure myself. I can see myself re-reading parts of the book in the future when things get so messy.
On the other hand, however, the book seemed to jump from subject to subject and felt choppy. Almost as if I was reading a bunch of different sermons on the same general subject. This made for disconcerting reading, and almost made me want to put down the book.
Overall, if you need the reassurance that God is in charge of everything and you can't control anything, most of this book is for you. Just don't expect it to be a continuous process in reading.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

#REVIEW: ICB Blessed Garden Bible

Title: ICB Blessed Garden Bible
Publisher: Tommy Nelson (Thomas Nelson)
Published Date: June 27, 2017
Pages: 1312
Reading Level: 6-10 years old
ISBN: 978-0718092207
Buy It Link: Amazon | Thomas Nelson


Synopsis:
The ICB Blessed Garden Bible is a beautiful way for little girls to carry the full text of Scripture with them. Its beautiful cover design with multiple foils and glitter will delight any young girl as she reads and learns God’s Word from the Bible children can read and understand, the International Children’s Bible® translation.
The International Children’s Bible® translation, the Bible kids can read and understand, has been a favorite of kids, parents, and teachers. With its easy-to-read text, the ICB has a third-grade reading level, making it the ideal translation for children beginning to read and learn Bible.
The ICB Blessed Garden Bible is a full-text ICB Bible with swirling, floral details, foil, glitter, and winsome illustrations. This will appeal to both moms and daughters, as it capitalizes on an organic garden trend. Inside features 24 colorful pages of study help inserts, including a presentation page for personalizing. Young girls will enjoy this softer more sophisticated look as she reads God’s message of love just for her!


My rating: 4 stars


My Review: I received a copy of this Bible in exchange for an honest review.
This Bible is advertised for little girls, but I don't see anything specifically for little girls. This could be for any child from 6-10 years old. The cover is a light teal color, with a whimsical, garden feel using gold and silver foil, glitter and cute little animals (love the little fox in the center). The right hand side of the front cover has a design that is reminiscent of a diary with the keyhole.
Reading through Ruth quickly, the reading level seems appropriate, but I will really test this out with my youngest daughter this coming week.
The paper is just as thin as any other Bible, the font a little larger perhaps to make it easier to read. Overall, this is a beautiful Bible for any child in this reading range, however, I take exception to the fact that it is marketed as girl specific.



Saturday, July 1, 2017

#REVIEW: NIV True Images Bible

Title: NIV True Images Bible
Series: none
Contributors: Livingstone
Publisher: Zondervan
Published Date: June 27, 2017
ISBN: 9780310080039
Buy It Link: Zondervan


Synopsis:
For 15 years, the best-selling NIV True images Bible for Teen Girls has been a trusted resource guiding teen girls ages 13-18 towards a closer relationship with God. Updated for this generation, this new edition is packed with tools and insight to help teens navigate today’s contemporary cultural issues with confidence, love, and grace.
Facing today’s contemporary issues can be difficult, but the NIV True Images Bible gives teen girls a fresh perspective on faith-related issues and provides tools to navigate a complex world. They will ask the big questions, take valuable lessons to heart, and help others do the same.
Beautifully designed from the inside out, this Bible is filled with challenging insights, honest advice, and personal notes helping teen girls build a closer relationship with God as they set out on a personal journey of their world. Following Jesus isn’t unfashionable or illusive. It’s an authentic way of life!
This newly updated edition uses the accurate, readable, and clear NIV translation and includes features strategically designed to empower teen girls in their quest for truth.
Features:
  • Complete text of the accurate, readable, and clear New International Version
  • 12 Magazine-Style Quizzes that help girls learn more about themselves
  • In-depth introductions establish the context of each book in the Old and New Testaments.
  •  “In Focus” notes explain the Bible’s perspective on contemporary cultural topics such as perfectionism, spiritual growth, eating disorders, pornography, prayer, self-harm, relationships, sex, bullying and popularity on social media
  • Over 300 “Genuine” notes focus on the value of authenticity and true inner beauty.
  • Over 100 “Love Notes” give opportunities to reflect on God’s love.
  • 500 “Dare to Believe” challenges help you discover God’s truth about life and faith.
  • 52 “Mirror Images” share the stories of Biblical women.
  • “Christianity 101” introduces you to the basics of Christianity
  • “Beliefs 101” helps you dig deep into the underlying principles that shape your worldview
My Rating: 3 1/2 stars


My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Can you explain to me why everything marketed towards girls has to be pink? Or frilly? Pink with gray lettering, that's what this Bible is. Here is an example:


NIV True Images Bible For Girls
NIV Revolution Bible for Teen Guys


Why do we need to continue with these gender stereotypes, and in a Bible? My 11 year old, whom I was hoping to give it to, because I think she might be open to at least doing some of the quizzes, but yeah, she's into dark colors right now. The pink was an immediate turn off for her, and I can see why, I don't like pink either. I think she probably would have liked the Revolution Bible better.


The text is the complete NIV text, with cute little "Love Notes" from God for the girls, and good introductions for each bible chapter, as well as the "In Focus" sections that deal with a few of the modern day issues our pre-teens and teens deal with, like perfectionism, pornography, sex, bullying, online popularity, etc.


Overall, this Bible is just okay for me. I'm not too impressed with it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

#REVIEW: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber

Title: The Evaopration of Sofi Snow
Author: Mary Weber
Series: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow #1
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published Date: June 6, 2017
ISBN: 9780718080907
Pages: 352
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis: Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi's dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth's corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth's Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi's the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she's convinced he's been taken to the ice-planet.

Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.

For Miguel, Earth's charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight's bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he's a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.


My Rating: 3 1/2 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book took a really long time for me to get into it, or understand what was going on. And even then, there were parts where it felt very unclear. I liked the basic storyline, I liked Sofi. I could feel the sibling relationship. I even liked Miguel's Spanish words he would interject. But that was it. Details seemed to be very murky for me, I couldn't seem to visualize the scenes. 
I get the whole post-apocalyptic society and the introduction of aliens. That in itself kept me reading, I needed to see where the author went with this, and it was a twisty road. The end though seemed too vague for a cliffhanger.
I may continue this series just to see where it goes.

Monday, June 12, 2017

#REVIEW: Quilts, Barns and Buggies: Amish Quilts and Proverbs Coloring Book

Title: Quilts, Barns and Buggies: Amish Quilts and Proverbs Coloring Book
Illustrator: Julianne St. Clair
Series: Coloring Faith
ISBN: 978-0310087595
Pages: 96
Publisher: Zondervan
Published Date: June 6, 2017
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis:
Take Time Away from Your Busy Day
to Reflect on the Simpler Life
Take a walk through the fields and feel the warm breeze as you color your way through an Amish lifestyle. With intricate patterned quilts, beautiful scenery, and a focus on the simpler things in life, Quilts, Barns & Buggies will encourage you to relax on even the most hectic days. Sprinkled throughout the pages are wise Amish sayings and biblical proverbs that will inspire you.

Special Features
• 90 beautiful coloring designs of Amish quilts and scenery
• More than 40 Amish sayings and biblical proverbs
• Perforated pages on heavy stock

Look for more inspirational coloring books at Coloring Faith, www.coloringfaith.com.

My Rating: 5 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoy coloring books, I find the simplicity and single-mindedness of coloring to be relaxing when I get stressed out and super anxious. Since I started sewing recently as a hobby, I find this book to be a wonderful mash-up of quilt top ideas, Scripture, and inspirational quotes. If you are a fan of the Amish lifestyle, you will enjoy the farm scenes, barns, animals, and Amish quilt tops.
Each page has a quote on one side, and a regular coloring side for the other. The drawings can sometimes be complex and intricate, but I enjoy truly focusing on the minute details. This book promises hours of single-minded, enjoyable coloring time.

Friday, June 2, 2017

#REVIEW: Written in the Ashes by K Hollan Van Zandt


Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt

Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt






Publisher: Harper Collins (Nov. 29, 2016)
Category: Historical Fiction
Tour Dates: May-June, 2017
ISBN: 978-0062673688
ASIN: B01CY3A8X4
Available in: Print & ebook,  554Pages
 Written In the Ashes  

"Written in the Ashes is one of those rare novels that sets 'history' afire, to bathe readers in the glow of a greater, hotter truth. Fans of The Mists of Avalon will find this romantic/alchemical/feminist/spiritual epic equally captivating."—Tom Robbins, bestselling author of Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. and Villa Incognito  

In the bloody clash between Christians and pagans in fifth-century Alexandria, a servant girl becomes the last hope for preserving peace in this evocative and thrilling tale—a blend of history, adventure, religion, romance, and mysticism reminiscent of The Mists of Avalon.   After she is abducted from her home in the mountains of Sinai, Hannah is enslaved and taken to Alexandria, where she becomes the property of Alizar, an alchemist and pagan secretly working to preserve his culture. Revered for her beautiful singing voice, the young slave is invited to perform at the city's Great Library, where she becomes friends with the revered mathematician and philosopher, Hypatia, as well as other pagans who curate its magnificent collections. Determined to help them uphold pagan culture and traditions, Hannah embarks on a dangerous quest to unite the fractured pieces of the Emerald Tablet—the last hope to save the pagans and create peace.   On this odyssey that leads her to the lost oracles of Delfi and Amun-Ra and to rediscovered ancient cities and rituals, Hannah will experience forbidden loves, painful betrayals, and poignant reunions. But her efforts may be in vain. Returning to Alexandria, Hannah finds a city engulfed in violence, even as her own romantic entanglements come to a head. Now, it's not only her future, but the fate of all Alexandria that is at stake.

My Rating: 5 stars
My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Once in a very long while, there comes along a book that you wonder how you ever lived without it before. One that you have read, and your mind wanders back to on occasion. There are a few books like that for me.....The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. The Firebrand inspired my love for all things in Greek mythology, and A Wrinkle In Time is actually the book that inspired by first major in college, physics.
Then this book, Written in the Ashes comes along. I hate comparing any book to the great classics, like A Wrinkle in Time or Firebrand, but it wouldn't be fair if I didn't. It's really just that good. The book is really long, 500+ pages, but it goes into such detail and the action is so well drawn out you don't feel those pages.
There are minor things I didn't like about the book. I feel like the time of Hannah's before slavery time was far too short. I would have loved to see more about the Jewish culture in there. There was the constant writing of the word "so" in the book. Maybe it broke the book down, and it was supposed to make it seem more like a very long oral story, but it didn't work for me.

Praise for Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt

“In her captivating debut novel, Written in the Ashes, K. Hollan Van Zandt brings to life a fascinating and forgotten woman of history: Hypatia of Alexandria, who may have been one of the greatest female minds of all time. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to walk the streets of long ago Egypt, then look no further. You will be enthralled!”– Michelle Moran, international bestselling author of Nefertiti and Cleopatra’s Daughter
“Van Zandt’s vivid description of the Great Library instantly transported me to a lush fifth century Alexandria. Her lyrical writing style and breakneck storytelling kept me riveted to the very last page.”– Robin Maxwell bestselling author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn and Signora da Vinci.  
"Going back so far in time leaves an author with little written record to rely on for fact. The burning of the Great Library at Alexandria was a monumental loss to humanity. The facts of the matter aside, this novel was truly arresting and I had a hard time putting it down to get anything done. Ancient history fascinates me. Religion fascinates me. This book manages to tie both together in a story that resonates through time. The book was fascinating. The characters were well developed and I really didn't want to leave this world of ancient Alexandria. The imaginary, magical priests and the beautiful goddesses created by Ms. Van Zandt lent themselves to a mystical world that was quite believable within its context. As the story unfolded I was rooting for Hannah to fulfill her destiny and find peace with her past. I am looking forward to the next chapters in these characters lives."-Patty Woodland, Broken Teepee

About K. Hollan Van Zandt

Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van ZandtKaia Van Zandt is a celebrated author and teacher whose novel, Written in the Ashes, chronicles the events that led up to the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, Egypt. Kaia’s spiritual journey began at age 14 when she founded the youth division of the Humane Society of the United States. Then as a junior in high school, she traveled to the Earth Summit in Brazil, where she taught meditation, and was given the opportunity to work with world leaders on the challenges facing humanity and the planet today, an experience that profoundly influenced her work.   She’s a graduate of Antioch University, where she focused on the intersection between the ancient Goddess traditions and modern culture. Her fascination with healing-both personally and collectively – led her to yoga. During her career she’s worked with thought leaders like Marci Shimoff and Deepak Chopra, actors like Ashley Judd, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Garry Shandling, as well as Sony ImageWorks, UCLA Medical, and the San Francisco 49ers. Her beloved writing mentor is bestselling novelist/humorist, Tom Robbins.

Website: www.kaiavanzandt.com

Facebook: https://business.facebook.com/Kaia-H-Van-Zandt-62326196268/?business_id=1527166044253916
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaiaVanZandt
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kaiavanzandt/?hl=en
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbpNRBX9k7z1bJndQ2a4Rgg

Buy Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt

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Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus May 19 Interview & Giveaway  
Celticlady's Reviews May 22 Excerpt  
Room without Books is Empty May 30 Review                                 
Passages to the Past May 31 Review & Giveaway  
Books, Dreams,Life June 1 Review & Excerpt  
Second Book to the Right June 2 Review
Rainy Day Reviews June 7 Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway  
History from Woman's Perspective June 8 Review & Guest Post  
Between the Beats June 16 Review  
Secret Pearl Reviews June 23 Review  
Lisa's Writopia June 26 Guest Post  
Linda Amazon Reviewer June 27 Review
Caty Amazon Reviewer June 28 Review  

Written In the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt    

Thursday, June 1, 2017

#REVIEW: Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman

Title: Questioning Evangelism
Series: none
Author: Randy Newman
Publisher: Kregel Publishers
Published Date: 2nd edition April 25, 2017
ISBN: 978-0825444289
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis:You don't need to memorize evangelical formulas or answers. You just have to be willing to ask.
There was something different about the way Jesus communicated with the lost: He didn't force answers upon people, He asked questions. So why don't we?

Following Christ's lead, Randy Newman has been using a questioning style of evangelism for decades. In this provocative book, he provides practical insights to help Christians engage others in meaningful spiritual conversations. He challenges us to examine how we think about people, their questions, and our crucial message.

This second edition includes a new preface reflecting on the popularity of this perennial best seller and what its success has taught Newman about the effectiveness of this extraordinary method.


My Rating: 4 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
As a previous non-Christian, the word evangelism gives me goosebumps and not in a good way. The evangelism I experienced is more of the "knock 'em over the head with a Bible and drag 'em back to the cave" type thing, which is probably the type of evangelism most people have experienced. That isn't a very welcoming way of evangelizing that people are receptive to.
As I read this book, I realized it wasn't what I thought it would be about: questioning the actual evangelism. Instead it explains a whole new form of evangelism, one that I think people may be more open to. One that I find more personable and meets the people where they are, letting them work through their questions, instead of answering with non-answers, evasions, or memorized scripts.
Personally, I am more open to the "show, not tell" method....show them Jesus with your actions, not preach memorized lines to them. I don't think I would go out evangelizing any time soon, but....you never know.