Archives For Book Reviews

Baby, Baby! Board Book

Heather —  September 29, 2016

Baby, Baby! is a cute board book by Diane Stortz, illustrated by Ailie Busby. The book showcases typical baby abilities while teaching about God’s love. Baby will enjoy rhymes, colorful illustrations, a big mirror, familiar activities, and other smiley babies. This book combines all these features into a short rhyming poem, ending with a reminder that Baby will always be loved by God. #BabyBaby #FlyBy Take a peek at what we thought about this book:

This board book for babies is a nice gift for baby or a baby shower. To view book or purchase it: http://tinyurl.com/zglnavk

Want to win one? Leave me a comment about your favorite baby book!

I will draw one winner from commenters. Giveaways are open to continental U.S. residents and Canada only.  Ends 10/9/2016.
Disclosure: Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Ryken’s Bible Handbook Review

Heather —  February 6, 2013

Ryken's Bible Handbook, Leland Ryken, Philip Ryken, Bible as literature, Bible Reference

A great addition to a home library.

Leland Ryken, Philip Ryken, James Wilhoit , Hardcover, 672 pages, Trim Size 5 1/4 x 8

One of the fun things for me in reviewing faith based books is finding out things my husband knows and never mentions! Yes, my husband went to Wheaton and I love asking his opinion.

When I received this book my husband picked it up and mentioned that Philip Ryken is currently the President of Wheaton College.

I found it interesting, that one of the authors of this Bible Handbook is the president of Wheaton. (although, psst, he was not yet when this book published)

I became curious about Ryken’s history. Turns out, Ryken’s father is Christian literary scholar and Wheaton professor, Leland Ryken, and Philip Ryken graduated from Wheaton College with a double major in English literature and philosophy. He also received a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1992, and a Ph.D. in historical theology from Oxford in 1995.

After learning all this about the authors, I understand better why they would write such a Bible handbook, a Biblical reference that looks at each individual book in the Bible as literature, while also looking at the Bible as a whole, complex piece of literature full of literary genres, from the poetry of the psalms to the story parables.

This is a reference book that is extremely detailed, yet somehow fun to read! The reference goes through each book of the Bible, all 66. It is very easy to pick it up as you are studying a particular book of the Bible and just glean a little bit more about what you are reading. You also can just read the entire book as a book, it is so fascinating. I like how the authors break everything down into bits of information.

The beginning portion looks at how the Bible functions as a whole piece of literature. What the main storylines and themes are. You’ll look at the big characters. For example, God is the chief protagonist. (no surprise there, right?)

The main section is where you will go through the Bible book by book. For example, in looking at the Book of Esther, you will see an explanation on how Esther is a unified narrative, with a single main plot.

You will see the structure and unity of the story in (of) the Book of Esther. Little sidebar extras mention the “numbers” that are important in the story of Esther (i.e. 10 banquets). You get a rundown of the key places and characters, key doctrines and themes, tips for teaching the book, a quick overall overview and a lesson in what a “Hero” story is. As you finish up, there is a portion that describes the “Contribution of this Book to the Bible’s Story of Salvation in Christ.” This is a great bit of wrap-up, I think. Finally there is a bit on applying the book and some quotes that offer other’s perspectives on this book. In about eight pages, you can learn so much about what to look for in the book of Esther.

This is done for each book of the Bible. Some are, understandably much longer than the Book of Esther, yet still not ever boring.

In the back, you’ll find a one year Bible reading plan and about 15 pages of colorful maps.

I really recommend adding this book to your library. Five stars from me.

 

*I received a copy of this book to review from Tyndale House Publishers.

 

 

The Vertical Self Review

Heather —  February 5, 2013

The Vertical Self by Mark Sayers

The Vertical Self by Mark Sayers

When I read about this book, through Tommy Nelson and Booksneeze, it sounded fantastic. The theme of the book seemed to be about sifting through our misguided media driven culture to find our true self in Christ.

However, when I received this book for review, I had trouble getting into it. The prose seemed too wordy, almost verbose and I found my mind wandering while reading. I was surprised as I rarely do that. So, I put the book aside for awhile. I got it out again, and read a few more chapters several months later. I thought some of the author’s examination of our media driven culture to be interesting and I agree that we, individually are more controlled by imagery in the media than we suspect, yet, I still felt the book was lacking cohesiveness to me. I figured it might be written with a really specific audience in mind and I was not that audience.

I did feel that the information given was good and reflected biblical truth, yet it just was too dry for me. I ultimately did not even finish this book and donated it to our church library.

*BookSneeze® has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my review.

 

This debut Young Adult Fantasy Story is my daughter’s new favorite book!

This book is brand new in the young adult genre.

I was curious about it and liked the fact that the worldview is said to be Christian.

I gave this book right to my teen to see what she thought. She enjoyed the story so much, she wanted to know right away if there was a sequel. We looked it up, and no, there is no sequel yet. But this is a new author, so we will be watching for more!

Here’s what our teen has to say:

  • “Definitely a good book for highschoolers because of fast paced action and mystery.
  • Pulls you in. You have to read til the end right away.
  • Great imagery.
  • It should be turned into a movie! I know all my friends would go see it.
  • I can relate to Hadley (main character).
  • Even people I’m friends with who aren’t Christian would love this book.
  • Lots of plot twists. You expect one thing and then something opposite happens. It blows your mind.”

The Official Word:

In the mythical city of N’de lives thirteen-year-old Hadlay and her people, the Ramash. Scorned and abused by the unloving and absent Emperor, the Ramash are poor people, placed second to the ruling class of the Oresed. Young but bold, Hadlay rages against the injustice in her city. When she is chosen for the honor of serving the Prince in the Tower, she hopes to find a way to right the wrong… but soon discovers that things are worse than she believed.

Crafting powerful narrative and creative characters, author L. K. Malone spins a compelling tale that combines exciting entertainment and the Christian story. In The Mirror of N’de, readers will empathize with the desires of an oppressed people, will anger at the affliction of a cruel adversary, and ultimately rejoice with the revelation of a Savior.”

See the Blog Tour Schedule

Buy This Book

And, the publisher is sponsoring a $50 Amazon.com giveaway open to my blog readers! To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using @litfuse) about The Mirror of N’de  or share about it on Facebook!

TWEET THIS: New YA fantasy – The Mirror of N’de – compelling narrative and creative characters! @litfuse RT for $50 to @amazon http://ow.ly/7AWGT

I received a copy of The Mirror of N’de from LitFuse for my review.

As usual, Susan May Warren does not disappoint.

I think Susan May Warren is a very good student of human nature. Her characters come to life in a few simple lines of text. This just amazes me, how quickly I feel like I know these people, these characters.

When I read her fiction novels, I become immersed in the story. I become engrossed not so much because of the well drawn settings or a particular poignant event, but because I want to see these people triumph over their circumstances, over horrible events and dreary days. I know that Warren’s worldview is one of hope and life…and I just cannot wait to see the storylines all unfold, to see her characters thrive, in the midst of trials, in the midst of fears and change.

Sometimes, some of the events in Warren’s character’s lives do take my breath away because they are so real, so sad. A lost child, an accident… a pain that will never go away. Even for the reader, it hurts for a moment to feel these experiences through the writer’s art.

Honestly, I hesitate a teeny bit every time I open a book by Warren. I know she doesn’t shirk away from writing about pain and I do shirk away from that.

But, after reading a few of her novels, I know that Warren is writing about Jesus in her character’s lives. And knowing Jesus is to know hope and peace, no matter the circumstances. Because Warren is a skillful writer, I expect her settings to be full of the nuances of time and place, and Baby, it’s Cold Outside is a trip back to 1947, complete with the music of that day, WWII tales and Storm Houses.

I do totally recommend this book. I don’t want to say too much about it, because I don’t want to be a spoiler! But, I will tell you, you will find enjoyable history, Christmastime Drama and Joy, a bit of cooking, a bit of kissing, and loads of fun characters in the midst of a giant snowstorm.

The Official Word: “Hope finds the hopeless when a storm hits.  

It’s Christmas weekend 1949, and despite the threat of a storm, the townspeople of Frost are determined to continue their holiday traditions, if only as a means to forget the war that they had all just suffered through. But the suffering hasn’t ended for Dottie Morgan who lost her only son in the war. She’s preparing to wallow in her isolation for the weekend, when Violet, nearly a spinster at age 29, dares to make a request that will force Dottie to publicly revive the memory of her dead son.

When a storm traps the two women at home with a strange young man who has an unbelievable confession and a neighbor with more to do with Violet’s past than she would like, no one can predict how this Christmas will give them all a second chance.”

Read an excerpt here and find out the story behind the novel

 Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty-five novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, the Rita Award, and have been Christy finalists. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia, Susan returned home to a small town on Minnesota’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.

Susan’s larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She is also the founder ofwww.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at:www.susanmaywarren.com

Link to buy the book:  Baby, It’s Cold Outside (When I Fall in Love)

Warm up to Chrismtas early this year with Susan May Warren’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside! To celebrate the release of her new Christmas book with Summerside Press, she and the publisher are giving away a Kindle Fire and hosting an early Christmas Party on Facebook!

Read what the reviewers are saying here.

One festive winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Susan May Warren

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. Giveaway ends on 10/26!

But, wait there’s more! Join Susan May Warren on 10/27 for merriment and a few early Christmas presents at her Baby, It’s Cold Outside Christmas party! Grab your Christmas sweaters, socks and pj’s and join Susan and a few friends for a fireside chat about her recent books (Heiress & Baby, It’s Cold Outside), holiday traditions, favorite Christmas recipes, a trivia contest and more! Invite your friends and don’t miss the fun!

RSVP here and we’ll see you on October 27th at 5 PM PST / 8 PM EST!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

 

” I received a copy of Baby It’s Cold Outside, from LitFuse for my review. I have given my opinion. There may be affiliate links in this post.”

 

They Almost Always Come Home

Heather —  June 10, 2010

ruchti

Fantastic!

Yesterday, I told you about a great new book. Today I would like to share a bit more. Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered to win the giveaway!

Here is an interview with the brand new author, Cynthia Rushti:

1. How would you describe your book?

The tagline for the book is “She’d leave her husband…if she could find him.”

When Libby’s husband Greg doesn’t return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband’s escape from an oatmeal marriage and mind-numbing career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn’t died and if Greg hadn’t been responsible. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness-savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband’s disappearance. What the trio discovers in the wilderness search upends Libby’s assumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.

It’s my prayer that this fictional adventure story and emotional journey will reveal its own hope-laden clues for those struggling to survive or longing to exit what they believe are uninspiring marriages. How can a woman survive a season or a lifetime when she finds it difficult to like the man she loves?

2. How were you different as a writer and as a person when you finished writing They Almost Always Come Home?

This book changed me in a profound way. It forced me to take a more honest look at myself and my reactions to crises so I could write Libby’s character with authenticity. Libby is a composite of many women. I haven’t experienced what she did, but I identify with some of her struggles and longings, as I hope my readers will. I see my friends in her eyes and know that her tears aren’t hers alone. Her shining moments feed my courage. Libby speaks for me and for many others when she discovers that she is stronger than she realized and weaker than she wanted to admit.

Writing her story was a journey for the author as much as for the character.

3. What did you feel the tug on your heart to become a writer?

My journey toward a lifetime of writing began by reading books that stirred me, changed me, convinced me that imagination is a gift from an imaginative Creator. As a child, I read when I should have been sleeping…and still do. I couldn’t wait for the BookMobile (library on wheels) to pull up in front of the post office in our small town and open its arms to me. Somewhere between the pages of a book, my heart warmed to the idea that one day I too might tell stories that made readers stay up past their bedtimes.

4. What books line your bookshelves?

My bookshelves—don’t ask how many!—hold a wide variety of genres. The collection expands faster than a good yeast dough. I’m a mood reader, grabbing a light comedy one day and a literarily rich work the next. Although I appreciate well-written nonfiction, I gravitate toward an emotionally engaging contemporary women’s fiction story.

Leave a Comment to be chosen to Enter the Book Tour Giveaway! The winner will be drawn by Kathy Carlton Willis Communications.

North Pak 20 inch cinch sack (lime)
Day Runner journal
Canoe Brand wild rice
Canada’s brand blueberry jam
Coleman 60-piece mini first aid kit
Wood canoe/paddle shelf ornament
Six original photography notecards from video trailer
“Hope” hanging ornament
Mini Coleman “lantern” prayer reminder

I think this may be the best book I have read all year! I will announce a giveaway package that goes with the book, tomorrow. For now, here’s a taste!

“At the foundation of each relationship resides the need to know love can survive even when feelings fade. In Cynthia Ruchti’s debut novel, They Almost Always Come Home, readers feel the desperation of this foundational yearning in a marriage clearly pulling loose from its moorings. Compounded by other issues—an unrewarding career and mismatched dreams—it’s enough to drive a man into the arms of the Canadian wilderness. When Greg Holden doesn’t return home from a wilderness canoe trip, his wife Libby wrestles with survivor guilt, a new layer of grief, and the belief that she was supposed to know how to fix her marriage. She planned to leave him—but how can she leave a man who’s no longer there? He was supposed to go fishing, not missing.

Libby has to find him before she can discover how their marriage ends. She plunges into the wilderness on an adventurous and risky manhunt, unsure what she will do if she finds him…or if she doesn’t. She expects to meet hardship, discomfort, and danger in the wilderness. She doesn’t expect to face the stark reality of her spiritual longing and a faint, but steady pulse that promises hope for reviving her marriage. If Greg’s still alive.”

They Almost Always Come Home provides a glimpse into common, however uncomfortable, marital conflicts. Cynthia weaves a page-turning story, suspense building scene by scene. Her characters mirror ordinary people, living real-to-life situations, allowing readers to relate and sort through a myriad of emotions and life decisions. If fiction can contain adventure, riveting self-awareness, and romance all between the same covers, this is the book!

Cynthia Ruchti writes stories of “hope that glows in the dark.” She writes and produces The Heartbeat of the Home, a syndicated drama/devotional radio broadcast, and is editor for the ministry’s Backyard Friends magazine. She also serves as current president of American Christian Fiction Writers. Cynthia married her childhood sweetheart, who tells his own tales of wilderness adventures.


Something Extra From the Author’s Heart:

Ten years ago, my husband almost didn’t come home. His canoe adventure with our son Matt soured on Day Two when Bill grew violently ill from what we presume was either pancreatitis or a gall bladder attack. He’s an insulin-dependent diabetic, so any grave illness is a threat. One in the middle of the Canadian wilderness is morgue material.

With no satellite phone with which to call for help, Matt took turns caring for his father and watching the shore for other canoeists happening past their hastily constructed campsite. The few other canoes were headed deeper into the remote areas of the park, not on their way out. None had a satellite phone. And none of them were doctors.

As my husband grew sicker, his diabetes went nuclear. He couldn’t eat, yet needed insulin because his liver thought it should help out by dumping vast quantities of sugar into his system. Even in a hospital setting, the situation would have been difficult to control, and the nearest hospital was light years away across vast stretches of water and woodland, through peopleless, roadless wilderness.

Our son stretched a yellow tarp across the rocks on shore and wrote S.O.S. with charcoal from a dead fire. He scratched out countless notes on pieces of notebook paper torn from their trip journal: Send rescue! My dad is deathly ill. Read the rest of the story at the KCWC BLOG

Life, In Spite of Me

Heather —  May 26, 2010
Life Inspite of Me

By Kristen Jane Anderson as told to Tricia Goyer

When I first received Life in Spite of Me, I left it on the desk for a long time. I knew that it was not going to be lightweight summer reading. Suicide is not a pleasant topic and I wanted to sit and give the story my full attention when I read it. When I did begin, the first chapter was riveting, but painful. I kept wanting to shout, “No, don’t do that!!”

But, after the initial sadness and loss, I found that I should have realized from the smile on Kristin’s face on the cover that this book would be filled with hope.

While the subject matter was complex and upsetting at parts, the writing is very tender and honest. Kristin’s story is more of a love story with her creator and her life than I ever imagined it could be. Kristin is not just a survivor, but a wonderful light to those who are hurting and to those who wish to help.

I recommend the book, and also visiting www.reachingyouministries.org to find out more.

From LitFuse:

Why does my life have to be so painful?
What’s wrong with me?
It’s not going to get better.
It could all be over soon, and then I won’t hurt anymore.

Kristen Anderson thought she had the picture perfect life until strokes of gray dimmed her outlook on life. One January night, the seventeen-year-old made a decision: She no longer wanted to deal with the emotional pain that smothered her. She lay down on a set of cold railroad tracks and waited-for a freight train to send her to heaven…and peace.

Amazingly, Kristen survived her suicide attempt… but the 33 freight cars that ran over her severed her legs. Now she not only had to deal with depression; she also had to face the physical pain and life without legs.

But Kristen’s story didn’t end there. After her darkest days Kristen discovered a real purpose for living. Now, in her compelling book Life, In Spite of Me, Kristen shares her journey from despair to hope.

Includes letters from Kristen that share messages she wishes someone would have told her-when she was depressed and struggling with loss, shame from sexual abuse, and suicidal thoughts.

Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-two books of fiction and nonfiction, including Blue Like Play Dough  and the Gold Medallion finalist Life Interrupted. Goyer writes for publications such as Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family, speaks to women’s groups nationwide, and has been a presenter at the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) national convention. She and her husband, John, live with their family in Montana. www.triciagoyer.com

Life in Spite of Me is available for purchase on Amazon, now.

Visit the blog tour and see what other reviewers have to say.

For a chance to win a 5 book Tricia Goyer library – any five books of your choice:

Tweet this: Don’t miss Life, In Spite of Me by @TriciaGoyer! The amazing story of #KristenAnderson journey back from #suicide! http://bit.ly/98PKmo
(must use both hashtags #kristenanderson and #suicide)

Leave a comment here, on Tricia’s site for a chance to win 1 of 5 copies of Life, In Spite of Me.

Thanks to LitFuse for providing me with a copy of Life In Spite of me for review purposes.