Friday, March 27, 2015

The Boy Who Loved Rain by Gerard Kelly

The Boy Who Loved Rain

By Gerard Kelly

(received in exchange for an honest review)

 

Genre- Fiction

Published by- Lion Fiction

Copyrighted- 2014

Number of pages- 320

Age Group- Adult

Description of book- paperback, listed price- $14.99, ISBN 978-1-78264-120-2

Colom has had a perfect life, but something is terribly wrong.  He wakes up from terrible nightmares, but he does not know why he keeps having them.  He is also becoming suicidal.   

His mother, Fiona, wants her husband, a church pastor, to help.  David, her husband, thinks nothing is wrong and will not ask for outside help.

Fiona finds a friend from her own childhood to help her.  She leaves with Colom to get the help he needs.  Are these dreams Colom’s fault or is it something Fiona and David caused? 

Read an excerpt.

About the Author-

Gerard Kelly currently lives in France and is a poet, missionary, and pastor.  He has written fourteen book.

My thoughts-

The Boy Who Loved Rain, by Gerard Kelly, was interesting and well written.

I was drawn to the title, but after having finished the book, I do not understand how the title was determined.  I never read anything that determined that Colom loved the rain.  The Colom that I read about was more interested in spending time in his room.

I thought his dreams were very interesting and it was great that his family told him why it was happening.  (I won’t say more, because it would spoil it for you.)  I am glad that the suicide pledge was not used.

Fiona was a wonderful mother.  I was glad to see how she took care of Colom.  She also picked the right woman to help them.  It was sad that David (Colom’s father) was unable to see what needed to be done to help the family.  It was nice to read about a pastor who was not perfect.  I think most people put their pastor’s on a pedestal and expect them to be extra perfect.  They are only human.

I enjoyed the ending of the book.  It had parts I did not expect.  I think you may enjoy the book.   

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received The Boy Who Loved Rain, by Gerard Kelly, for free from the Kregel Publications’ Blog Tour.  All links were current when posted.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Skin in the Game: Living an Epic Jesus-Centered Life by Rick Lawrence

Skin in the Game: Living an Epic Jesus Centered Life

by Rick Lawrence

(received in exchange for an honest review)

Genre- Christian Life / Spiritual Growth

Published by- Kregel Publications

Copyrighted- 2015

Number of pages- 143

Age Group- Adult (primarily men)

Description of book- paperback, listed price- $13.99, ISBN 978-0-8254-4359-6

Skin in the Game, by Rick Lawrence, is all about living a life centered on Jesus.

Each chapter begins with a question, like “Will You Risk?” and focuses on a Bible story.  In this chapter , it is the man who was blind from birth (John 9).

All of the chapters end with discussion questions.

Read an excerpt.

About the Author-

Rick Lawrence blogs at www.youthministry.com.  He is a church leader, speaker, and executive editor.

My thoughts-

Skin in the Game, by Rick Lawrence, was an interesting read.  I think this book would be great for both men and women.  I think it would be a better fit for men, because it is written by a man and tells a lot about his own experiences.  There are so many books written for women today, that I always enjoy finding a book that is geared toward men.   

I do not know if men will be interested in the discussion questions at the end of each chapter.  I think women will enjoy thinking about what they learned.  I am always glad when a book has end-of-chapter questions.  I like being able to go back and think about what I have read.

I liked how each chapter was titled as a question, because it answered a question which is important to knowing how I can live a life with Jesus at the center.

I enjoyed reading and learning how to live a life centered around Jesus.  I recommend this book to you.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received Skin in the Game, by Rick Lawrence, for free from the Kregel Publications’ Blog Tour.  All links were current when posted.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mercy’s Rain: An Appalachian Novel by Cindy K. Sproles (Book Review)

Mercy’s Rain: An Appalachian Novel

by Cindy K. Sproles

(received in exchange for an honest review)

Mercy's Rain

Genre- Fiction / Christian

Published by- Kregel Publications

Copyrighted- 2015

Number of pages- 263

Age Group- Adult

Description of book- paperback, listed price- $15.99, ISBN 978-0-8254-4361-9

Mercy Roller has not known mercy in her young life.  She was married and widowed when she was thirteen.  She was a mother and childless when she was fifteen.  All of this was under the authority of her father, the Pastor.

Her whole community was under his control and nobody was spared his “righteous” actions.  Mercy decided she had had enough after a man died because of her father.  She took action against her father, she killed him.

She left home and found that God’s love is not evil.  Will she be able to accept that and be happy?  Will she ever see her mother again?  

Read an excerpt.

About the Author-

Cindy K. Sproles currently lives with her family in East Tennessee.  She writes devotions and is a teacher/speaker and different conferences.

My thoughts-

I had a hard time reading the first part of Mercy’s Rain, because of Mercy’s father, the Pastor.  He was so abusive to her and the rest of their community in Tennessee.  I did not want to read of all the ways he abused all of them.  After she killed her father and left the community, the book was much easier to read.

I really enjoyed reading about her new life with Samuel (a preacher), Terrance, and Isabella.  It was living with them that helped show her how God is good and merciful to those who worship him.  She was a blessing to them and they were a blessing to her.  She was even able to be a blessing to her mother, even though her mother had a hard time accepting her. 

Sproles is an excellent writer.  I could feel Mercy’s joys and pains as I read the book.  I could also see what it was like to live in the Appalachian Mountains during the late 1890’s.

I think that many of you would enjoy this book.  I know I did.

(I really enjoyed the cover.  The old cabin with its chimney was spectacular.)     

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received The Mercy’s Rain, by Cindy K. Sproles, for free from the Kregel Publications’ Blog Tour.  All links were current when posted.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Volume 1: Starting Strong from Growing a Strong Marriage Study Guide and DVD (Review)

Volume 1: Starting Strong

Study Guide Written by Amy McGowan

(Review Product!)

Genre- Religion / Christian Life / Love & Marriage

Publisher: Hendrickson Publishers

Age Group: Adults

Description of book-

ISBN: 978-1-61970-588-3 (Study Guide & DVD) $29.95

ISBN: 978-1-61970-584-5 (Study Guide) $9.95

ISBN: 978-1-61970-586-9 (DVD)$21.95

In Starting Strong, you will learn about how important it is to have a solid foundation in the Bible.  You will learn some of the concepts from John and Staci Eldredge, Chip and Theresa Ingram, Gordon and Gail MacDonald, Les and Leslie Parrott, Art and Lysa TerKeurst, and Gary and Lisa Thomas.

About the Author:

Amy MacGowan, the author of the study guide, teaches marriage enrichment seminars with her husband.

My thoughts: 

I thought the Starting Strong Study Guide and DVD were well written.

I especially liked the DVD, because I was able to see and learn how the couple worked together to answer the questions about how they met, grew into oneness together, how their identity should be in Christ, and how Christ should be in their marriage.  There was a couple of times that the audio was bad, but it did not distract from the rest of the sessions.  I did not enjoy it when the important phrases from a person would suddenly appear on the screen.  I found it very distracting.  I do wish that each couple was in each session, because I feel that I would have learned a lot from each couple.

I thought the interviews were well done and the couples stories were memorable.  As I watched the DVD I would tell how important the couple were to each other.  The couple that was the most memorable to me was that of Chip and Theresa Ingram.  They just seemed to really mean a lot to each other and they knew how to tell their story. 

I liked how the study guide included sections from the video.  I think there were enough quotes that if a couple would like to do this study without the DVD it would be o.k.  I would have liked to see more study questions, perhaps there will be more in the following studies. I also hope there will be more Biblical references.

I thought this was a good volume for an introduction to this series, Growing a Stronger Marriage.  I recommend that people, who are planning on becoming married, and those, who are married view the DVD and use the study guide.

Informational and Purchasing Links:

Go to this link for purchasing.

Website: http://www.hendrickson.com/content/growing-strong-marriage/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hendricksonpub

Video from the Growing a Strong Marriage DVDs: http://www.hendrickson.com/content/growing-strong-marriage/  

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received a free copy of Volume 1: Starting Strong, from Hendrickson Publishers, to review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.  I am part of The CWA Review CrewAll links were current when posted.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Lift the Flap Bible by Karen Williamson and illustrated by Louise Anglicas (Book Review!)

Lift the Flap Bible

By Karen Williamson

Illustrated by Louisa Enright

(received in exchange for an honest review)

 

Genre- Christian / Children / Bible Stories

Published by- Candle Books

Copyrighted- 2014

Number of pages- 16

Age Group- Young Children (ages 2-4)

Description of book- hardback, listed price- $12.99, ISBN 978-1-78128-130-7

This Bible story book is filled with fun flaps for young children to look at while the story is being read to them.  There are stories about Noah, Moses, Daniel, Jonah, Jesus, loaves and fishes, the lost sheep, and the man whose friends lowered him through the roof to Jesus.

About the Author-

Karen Williamson has three children and specializes in Bible stories for young readers.  She has worked as a publisher’s editor and a London primary school teacher.

About the Illustrator-

Louise Anglicas enjoys pattern and design.  She has a degree from Staffordshire University in Ceramics and Surface Design.

My thoughts-

I love reading books that have been written by Karen Williamson.  This book did not disappoint.  I thought this book was wonderful.  I thought these were the perfect Bible stories to introduce young children to the stories in the Bible.  I know they are the most common stories, but I think they are great for young children.

The illustrations make this book special.  Young children can spend many minutes studying the pictures and learning the stories from them.  They will also have a lot of fun looking at what happens when they lift the flaps. 

I think this is a wonderful book for young children.  I plan on sharing it with the young children I know and any future grandchildren.  I recommend it to you.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received Lift the Flap, by Karen Williamson and illustrated by Louise Anglicas, for free from the Kregel Publications’ Blog Tour.  All links were current when posted.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Courage & Comfort Bible Learning Cards (Product Review)

Courage & Comfort Bible Learning Cards

illustrated by Vicky Enright

(Review Product!)

Picture

Genre- Christian / Juvenile Fiction

Age Group: 6-13 (boys and girls)

Description of book- 20 different 5x7” cards, $14.99, ISBN: 978-1-940262-32-1

Vicky Enright, along with the help of Kristen Smith, has selected Bible verses and made illustrations to go with them.  They made three different sets of color coded cards for different age groups.  There are Preschool Bible Learning Cards for those who are 0-5, Children’s Bible Learning Cards for ages 4-11, and Courage & Comfort Bible Learning Cards for 6-13-year-olds.  These cards will help children learn how overcome fears, have courage and comfort, and have good relationships with God and those around them.

We received the Courage & Comfort Bible Learning Cards.

About the Company:

Words2remember4kids is based in Boston with Vicky Enright as the illustrator and Kirsten Smith, who helps with the verses and discussion starters.

My thoughts: 

I really like the idea of children being able to look at cards to find the verse that best suits their situation, so I was intrigued to try them.

I was hoping that these cards would work to encourage and comfort my son, because he is having some health issues right now.  Unfortunately, these cards did not seem to help him.  I know that these cards could help many children.  They have good Bible verses, illustrations, and ideas for more discussion.

I liked the cards that had questions.  Those cards help to lead us to some wonderful discussions about how God can comfort us and encourage us in our time of need.  I think it would have been nice if all of the cards had questions, because then I would have been able to lead better discussions.

I do think the illustrations would be too young for children who are 13.  I think they would work best for younger children.  Our book ring that is to be used to contain the cards was not strong enough to stay closed as we moved the cards back and forth.  I plan on using a different book ring.

I do think that many children would enjoy and learn a lot from these cards.  I recommend them to all families with young children.

Informational and Purchasing Links:

Cards can be ordered at : http://www.words2remember4kids.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/words4kids

Website: http://www.words2remember4kids.com/

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received a free copy of Courage & Comfort Bible Learning Cards, from Words2remember4kids, to review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.  I am part of The CWA Review CrewAll links were current when posted.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Babylon Contingency by Clifford Longley (book review)

The Babylon Contingency

By Clifford Longley

(received in exchange for an honest review)

 

Genre- Mystery

Published by- Lion Fiction

Copyrighted- 2014

Number of pages- 329

Age Group- Adult (I think men would enjoy this book.)

Description of book- paperback, listed price- $14.99, ISBN 978-1-78264-120-9

The Babylon Contingency

DCI Robbie Peele is brought into the midst of conflict with terrorists and burglars trying to steal some ancient clay disks in England.  He has no idea why anyone would be so interested these disks.  His ideas change when people are murdered and he learns more about these special disks.

The important clue is left in some coded diaries written by an English explorer.  DCI Peele makes a trip to Crete with other coworkers where the explorer traveled.  There, more problems arise.  On the trip more people die.  Will DCI Peele ever be able to wrap up the case or is this archeology mystery beyond him?

Read an excerpt.

About the Author-

Clifford Longley has written The Worlock Archive and Chosen People.  He is also a broadcaster and journalist. 

My thoughts-

When I read the description of this book I was intrigued and this was a very interesting book.  One of the most important things that I thought was good about this book is that it is a good book for men to read.  Every time I go to the library I find it very difficult to find books that would be good for men to read.  I know that often men may not read as much as women, but it would be good to have books written for them.  If there were more good books written for them, then perhaps they might read more.

I like reading mysteries and when history and archeology are added it makes it really interesting.  There was also a lot of intrigue when other religions and countries were involved.  DCI Peele was an atheist, which made it even more interesting. 

He was an interesting character.  He really tried to do the best he could for everyone.  It was too bad that he was kept in the dark for the investigation on who everyone really was.  It was good for the storyline, but bad for him.

I would recommend this book to men and women, but I think men would like it best.   

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received The Babylon Contingency, by Clifford Longley, for free from the Kregel Publications’ Blog Tour.  All links were current when posted.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.