Wednesday, July 31, 2013

7 Steps to Knowing, Doing, and Experiencing the Will of God

Title: 7 Steps to Knowing, Doing, and Experiencing the Will of God
Author: Tom, Mike, and Daniel Blackaby
Labels: Juvenile Nonfiction | Religion | Christianity | Christian Life
Publisher: B&H Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2013
Recommended To: Teens, Young Adults
Contains: N/A

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Kindle
Blurb From Goodreads: "Seven Steps to Knowing, Doing, and Experiencing the Will of God for Teens" goes deeper than just knowing about God, it guides you to partner with God in what He is doing all around you to make an eternal difference in this world.
          Based on the world-renowned Experiencing God teachings, Tom, Mike, and Daniel Blackaby (Henry Blackaby’s son and grandsons) utilize cartoon illustrations, true-life stories, and fresh graphics as they take an earnest, yet humorous, look at what it means for teenagers to have a vibrate personal relationship with God in their often random and challenging settings.
7 Steps is by no means a perfect, seven step wonder that will bring you closer to God no matter what. In the conclusion, Blackaby makes it clear that there are no exact, easy, one-size-fits-all set of steps in which to enhance your relationship with God. However, this books is a great tool for pointing teens and young adults in the right direction as they seek to draw nearer to God.

This book was an easy, understandable read aimed at a teenaged audience. Teens won't get lost in all the technical terms and high theology, but these three authors keep the readers attention as they draw them further into this quest to experience God. Throughout the book are personal stories and examples, as well as short clips about well known Christians who went through the same sort of things that particular chapter is talking about.

Overall, I thought this was an excellent book and resource for anyone working with teens. I'll be honest, I got a lot out of it myself even as a college student. As I look into youth ministry, this is a book I'll be keeping close by to reference and loan out to both teens and those working with them. Definitely a keeper!

I received a free copy of this book from a publicity agent (Shelton Interactive) for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bandit's Moon

Title: Bandit's Moon
Author: Sid Fleischman
Labels: Fiction
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: April 29, 2008 (reissue edition)
Recommended To: Everyone, particularly younger children and young teens.
Contains: Clean

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Kindle
Blurb From Goodreads: After a narrow escape from the nasty O. O. Mary's clutches, Annyrose ventures forth to find her long-lost brother Lank in gold-digging territory. But the journey is rough, bandits and fiends waiting for the traveler at every bend. Soon Annyrose runs into Joaquin Marieta, legendary bandit of the Gold Rush.
          This complete disaster, however, soon appears to be no less than a blessing for both! They can help each other out: Annyrose can teach Joaquin how to read so he will know where danger lies, and in turn he can make sure she's safe and fed. But in a time when corruption and greed are running wild, will their friendship be more than fool's gold?
If this isn't a classic already, then it definitely should be. Bandit's Moon is by far my favorite childhood book, and still remains one of my favorites even today. Although aimed at middle school aged children, it is a fantastic tale of a young girl who ends up on a crazy adventure with Mexican bandits. Though less detailed than a novel aimed at an older audience would be, I still feel like Bandit's Moon captures the culture of the time period.

Based off a true--though little known--person, there is plenty of leeway for wild adventures without going far from what truly happened to the real Joaquin. The dialogue between characters is written to show the accents of the Mexican bandits, as well as the many other characters. Each character has his own story to tell, with each melding together to push the plot along.

Bandit's Moon is a fantastic tale of adventure that will take young readers right along with the Mexican Bandits and their young tag-along. Full of action, fun dialogue, and colorful characters, it's a book worth reading by any age group.

I bought this book, and therefore was not required nor asked to write a review, nor a positive one at that. I was not compensated for this review.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

By Grace Alone

Title: By Grace Alone
Author: Derek Prince
Labels: Christian Living
Publisher: Chosen Books (division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: June 1, 2013
Recommended To: Not recommended.
Contains: Unscriptural statements.

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Kindle
Blurb From Goodreads: Do you sometimes feel trapped by a set of religious rules? Does your walk with God feel more like a checklist than a relationship? Do you feel as though you don't really measure up? This book is for you.
          Trusted Bible teacher Derek Prince shows you that being a Christian is not about being perfect. In fact, he says, we can never live up to the letter of the law. It is only when we let go of our constant striving for perfection that we encounter true perfection. How can that be? This one book will help you discover what really matters and embrace the grace of a loving, compassionate God. It's time to stop striving, to walk away from the lies of legalism and to experience the freeing power of His all-encompassing grace.
By Grace Alone is a book that, from the very first page, seeks to show us how to live in grace alone, set aside from any kind of works. "The ultimate purpose of this book is for you to discover what does and does not matter in your Christian walk. I believe for each of us, this is a matter of critical importance." While some parts of this book were decently thought provoking, I was not impressed by it. I'll be the first to admit, however, that this was due to the fact that I did not agree with quite a bit of Prince's theology.

Throughout this book I found tidbits and statements that clearly showed that Prince either was not basing his theology 100% of the Scriptures, or he was failing miserably to adequately explain what he meant by such statements. The front of the book states that four different translations have been used and marked accordingly so that you know which translation is being used, and yet not once were any of the verses marked. As far as I know, NKJV is the only translation he used. Ironic really, because early on in the book he makes the statement, "This is the New King James translation, but it is not a literal translation of the Greek." The KJV and NKJV are literal translations.

In other areas he makes other statements only to contradict himself or negate his own statement later on in the book. Overall, I didn't agree with a lot of what he said, which is why I am unable to recommend this book.  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Glimpse (Zellie Wells, #1)

Title: Glimpse
Author: Stacy Wallace Benefial
Labels: Contemporary | Romance | Paranormal
Publisher: Stacy Wallace Benefial
Publication Date: April 20, 2010
Recommended To: one? :P
Contains: Profanity, inappropriateness...tsk tsk.

Buy It: AmazonKindle
Blurb From Goodreads: Zellie Wells has a devastating crush on Avery Adams, the son of her mom’s high school sweetheart. At her sixteenth birthday party, held in the basement of her dad’s church, she finally finds the courage to talk to him. Turns out, the devastating crush is mutual. 
          As Avery takes her hand and leads her out onto the makeshift dance floor, Zellie is overwhelmed by her first vision of his death; shocking because not only are they both covered in his blood, but they’re old, like 35, and she is pregnant. Afraid to tell anyone about the vision, (she’d just be labeled a freaky black magic witch, right?) Zellie keeps the knowledge of Avery’s future to herself and tries to act like any other teenager in love. When they get caught on their way to a secret rendezvous by her mom and his dad, they are forbidden to see each other.
          Convinced that their parents are freaking out unnecessarily, Avery and Zellie vow to be together no matter what. They continue their relationship in secret until Zellie learns that their parents are just trying to prevent her and Avery from suffering like they did. The visions are hereditary, they’re dangerous, and if they stay together the visions will come true. Now Zellie must choose between severing all ties with Avery, like her mom did to prevent his father’s death, and finding a way to change Avery’s future.
I hate writing these kinds of reviews, but I'm really not sure what to say that wouldn't be negative. Which is sad, because when I picked this book up off Amazon it looked interesting and I had high hopes for it. I'm afraid this book fell short of my expectations.

One of the things I was really disappointed about was the relationship between Zellie and (oh bother, I forgot what the dude's name is :O That says a lot doesn't it :P. *goes to check*) Avery. I felt like their entire relationship is pretty much physical....oh and random "sparks" when they touch. Oh wait, touching is physical too... Basically I felt like there was no depth to their relationship at all, and their basically just interested in sneaking out to make out and oh, some other much more inappropriate stuff.

Language. *repeated head-desk* All kinds of profanity flying from the pages (or screen, depending on what you're reading on) of this book. If you're anything like me, who despises such things, this probably isn't the right book for you.

The premise of the book--chick with powers that just started and she hasn't really figured out yet--interested me, and I saw potential in it, but it fell terribly short.

I bought this book, and therefore was not required nor asked to write a review, nor a positive one at that. I was not compensated for this review.