Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Becoming a Woman of Faith

Becoming a Woman of Faith. Cynthia Heald. Navpress.
November 2009. Paperback. 112 Pages.

Becoming a Woman of Faith is an 11 week study that will help women grow in their understanding of faith. This study is excellent for personal use or even for a women's small group. Woman of all stages in their walk with Christ can benefit from this study. Each of the 11 chapters deal with a different aspect or area of faith, starting with God's faithfulness, followed by encountering doubt. The chapters that follow are also very helpful and encouraging. The author added some personal struggles she's faced in her own faith along with quotes from Christian writers, and plenty Scriptural references.

One thing I really like is that readers NEED to have their bibles handy while using this book. This study is focused a lot more on God's word and what it has to say about faith, rather than the entire book being just about what the author personally thinks about the subject. This is such a great resource to have that will help us develop a faith based life and continue to grow. I've been helping my mom out with her woman's small group, so I am definitely going to suggest that we use this. I think the women will be blessed. I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to strengthen their faith in the Lord.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

To buy this from the publisher click HERE

(This book was provided for review by Navpress.)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Real Enemy (Sophie Trace Trilogy - Book 1)

The Real Enemy. Kathy Herman. David C. Cook.
March 2009. Paperback. 384 pages.

Colleen "Brill" Jessup is the new Police Chief of Sophie Trace, Tenn. She's the very first female to hold that title in the small town, so she definitely feels the pressure to prove herself worthy of it. Before she can even get settled into her new office, people begin to disappear out of nowhere and the suspect(s) leaves little to no (mostly none) evidence or leads for the police to follow. The small town residents are quick to speculate that these mysterious disappearances are the work of the local legend's, "red shadows."

Meanwhile Brill's husband, Kurt, is still struggling with the past act of unfaithfulness. Even though he's repeatedly shown her how regretful he is, she still has anger and bitterness toward him and doesn't try to hide it at all. The only reason they haven't gotten a divorce is because they "agreed to disagree" and continue to raise their youngest daughter, Emily, together. The tension between them is affecting all 3 of their kids and they begin to realize that something has to change. Will Brill be able to restore the peace in Sophie Trace and in her home?

Kathy Herman, you are now on my list of favorite authors! This fast paced novel is definitely a must read. The suspense, mystery, and family drama kept me turning the pages and interested all the way through to the end. The characters are memorable and realistic and the mystery was amazing. I liked reading how Kurt continued to love his wife and did whatever he could for her when she clearly had not forgiven him yet. He had faith that God would restore their marriage, even if it wasn't going to be in an instant, he was willing to do whatever it took. I enjoyed this novel so much and I'm really excited about reading Book 2 in the series, The Last Word. If you're into Christian mystery/suspense novels, I think you'd enjoy this one.

My Rating: 5/5 stars

You can read the first chapter HERE
To buy this from the publisher click HERE

(Special thanks to Karen Stoller of David C. Cook for sending me a review copy.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Didn't fall just start?!

It's so ridiculously hot here! I cannot believe temperatures have actually gone up to 113º in downtown La. I've kept a cup of ice cold water with me everywhere I am and stayed near the fans in our house. After a quick trip to the market, I was DONE! I didn't want to go outside anymore. Usually I try finding a reason to go outside, but not today. My poor dog and bunny didn't even know what to do with this heat. They were constantly trying to find a cool place to lay down. I finally went and poured water over them, I think they appreciated it. ;)

Thank God tomorrow is going to be a little cooler. What other ways can one keep cool when there's a horrible heat wave like this?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cliff Falls

Cliff Falls. C.B. Shiepe. Cliff Falls Media, Inc. June 2010. 
Paperback. 256 pages.

Cliff Falls is a gripping novel about former Tv child star, Clay Grant. On the night of his eighteenth birthday, a fire broke out and burned down his Hollywood studio set. Ever since that night, he's been on the run from the media, the public, and his past. When he is discovered by a photographer who has been chasing him since he disappeared, they get into a fight and clay ends up in jail where he is charged with tax evasion. Minister and popular inspirational speaker who knew clay from when he was still a child star, Reagan Mitchell, bails him out and offers to help pay his debt off. He also gives him the opportunity to have a new start in beautiful Cliff Falls. Clay didn't know it then, but his life and the lives of the people around him were about to be changed forever.

This is the kind of book I like to read. It grabbed me from the very beginning and I couldn't put it down until I was done. As I followed Clay's journey of discovering who he really was, I found it to be thought provoking and challenging at times. The pressure that was put on him since he was a child is not something everyone experiences in their childhood. We get a little look at how child stars are pressured to do more than their best and still not get the feeling that they're good enough. I can't even imagine how it must feel to not get the chance to decide who you want to be in life, or to have a sense of who you are and how precious you are in the eyes of God. I really enjoyed reading Cliff Falls and highly recommend it. Oh and just a warning, there is cussing, but only about 3 or 4 times in the whole book. I didn't really mind it though. C.B. Shiepe is a very talented author and I'll definitely be looking out for more of his work.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

You can get your copy at Clifffalls.com

(This book was provided for review by The Ooze Viral Bloggers.)

God's Promises for Women of Faith

God's Promises for Women of Faith. Jack Countryman. Thomas Nelson.
September 2010. Hardcover. 207 pages.

God's Promises for Women of Faith is a beautiful little Scripture reference book. The cover alone is enough to get your attention, but the collection of verses inside are wonderful reminders of the promises from God that we tend to forget. The book is separated into 12 sections and each section is broken down into topics such as: God Encourages Each Woman to... Cherish being a friend, Give to others with grace, Live a life of service, etc. You can quickly look through the index and find the specific topic you're looking for and go to two or more pages full of verses that relate to it. This book is filled with relevant subjects that women today can relate to, whether they have doubts, worries, questions, or just need to be encouraged, this book is the perfect resource. There are also three pages at the end dedicated for readers to write down their favorite verses and prayer requests. 

This book would make a perfect gift for any sister, daughter, mother, or girl friend. It would also be a great addition to your daily devotional time. I liked how the last topic covered is God's Plan of Salvation, so this would be especially handy when you're trying to talk to someone about Salvation and living for God. I can't get over how pretty the cover is, it adds the cutest feminine touch to the book. It's small enough to carry in your purse and have ready for whenever you or a friend needs encouragement or a reminder of the many promises we have from God.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

To buy this from the publisher click HERE
To Read more reviews click HERE

(This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference

Outlive Your Life. Max Lucado. Thomas Nelson. September 2010.
Hardcover. 240 pages.

Max Lucado's, Outlive Your Life, is both challenging and inspiring, urging us to reconsider our role in this world. The entire message of this book is centered around the book of Acts. The people of the early church are used as an example of how God can use ordinary people to do great things for His glory. There are several topics covered like, stepping out of our comfort zone, hospitality, persecution, and prayer. I love Lucado's way of turning bible stories into modern day scenes that we can relate to. I see this book as a challenge for believers to step out of our "shell" and help the hurting, broken-hearted, and needy and point them toward Christ. We can make a difference in this hurting world, it's just a matter of whether or not we're willing to get up and reach out to those in need.

Lucado has been one of my favorite authors for a few years now. His writing style has it's way of drawing you in and keeping you engaged. I kind of felt like I've read some of the material in this book already, but it was still a good reminder of the way we should be reaching out to others. We are given practical ways that we can begin to make a difference in the world, starting with our own neighbors. Something we also need to remember is not to do things to get recognition for ourselves. We need to always point to the one who has given us the resources and ability to help others, and that's our Heavenly Father. He deserves all the credit and glory. One thing I love is that 100% of the proceeds the author gets from this book will benefit children and families through World Vision. This was a quick, easy read, but since there wasn't anything new for me, I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

To buy this from the publisher click HERE
To read more reviews click HERE

(This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Francis and His Barnyard Friends

Francis and His Barnyard Friends. Tamika Rhodes. Dorrance Publishing Co. 
October 2005. Paperback. 30 pages.

From the publisher:
Getting along isn’t always easy. Sometimes we might start to feel a little annoyed by those we spend our time with. That’s understandable – but make sure that’s all it is, and don’t let your differences drive you apart.

Sunnybrook Farm is bustling with animal activity, but it is also the scene of some unhappy friendships. Francis, a calm and fair Saint Bernard, must keep the peace between Mother Hen and the other animals. Mother Hen decides that the farm animals – the chicks, pigs, cows, sheep, and others – cannot be mixing with one another. It’s up to Francis to show her the error of her ways – and the harm that can be done with such a mindset.

Francis and His Barnyard Friends is an enlightening story that will teach young readers the importance of cultural diversity and the value of friendship.

My Review:
I got this book yesterday and immediately read it to my niece. Even though the pictures are in black and white, she still enjoyed it. Francis the saint bernard was her favorite character and she was rooting for all the animals to be friends again. I like that the story teaches kids that we should accept others as they are, because differences are a good thing. Kids will not only get a few minutes of entertainment when reading this, they will also get a good lesson on accepting others just the way they are. The only thing I was irritated by is the way the pictures were placed. It was a little confusing when the picture you're looking at is of the scene you just read about on the previous page. Other than that, I'd say the rest of the book was okay. Recommended for kids ages 5-8.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

To buy this from the publisher click HERE

(This book was provided for review by Dorrance Publishing Co.)

And the winner is...

I entered everyone's name in the list randomizer at random.org and here's what came up.

There were 5 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

1. Orangeheromama
2. Dianne
3. Puppetmaster
4. Jocelyn
5. Caroline
Timestamp: 2010-09-21 15:46:42 UTC

Congratulations, Christy(orangeheromama)!

The winner has been sent an email and will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing info and desired T-shirt size or a new winner will be chosen. The shirt will be sent directly from the publisher, so I am not responsible for lost or damaged items.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishers for allowing me to host this awesome giveaway on my blog. And thank you to all who entered!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids

Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids. Sarah Young. Tommy Nelson.
October 2010. Hardcover. 

Sarah Young's, Jesus Calling, was a big hit with me and my mom. I love when the devotion for the day is exactly what I needed at that very moment. I was super excited when I saw that it's now available in an adorable kids version. Isn't the cover cute?!? Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids, is written as if Jesus were speaking directly to your child in a language and writing style that they can easily understand and relate to. Not only is there a verse at the beginning of each devotion, but there is also a little "Read on your own" box at the bottom of each page. In this box there are a few scripture references that get kids right back into God's Word. The Scripture verses were taken from the ICB, CEV, and NLT bibles. The suggested ages for this devotion is 4-8, but I'd say 7-12 is a better age range for it. This is another great resource for kids that will not only speak words of truth and encouragement into their heart, but also help them grow in their relationship with Jesus. This one, I highly recommend.

My Rating: 5/5 stars

To buy this from the publisher click HERE
To read more reviews click HERE

(This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

Love, Charleston

Love, Charleston. Beth Webb Hart. Thomas Nelson. August 2010.
Paperback. 320 pages.

Love, Charleston is set in the historical town of Charleston, SC. This story is centered around four main characters: Roy, Anne, Alisha, and Della. 

Roy Summerall is a widowed minister of a small country church and father of young daughter, Rose. When he is sent to be the new pastor of a larger church in Charleston, he feels very much out of place but remains obedient to God's calling. Anne is a bell ringer who loves her job. She's also single and ready to find love, but when she hears a message from God to "stay and wait" she stays right where she is, hoping she heard right. Anne's sister, Alisha, has what people would consider a perfect life and family. She's a doctor along with her husband, Drew. They have two kids and one on the way, but their picture perfect life begins to go downhill when she goes through postpartum depression after giving birth to her baby girl. Della is jealous of Alisha's ability to provide a comfortable life for her family. She's tired of living paycheck to paycheck and not being able to give her daughter a better life. When she runs into her former fiancé who is now a doctor, she begins to wonder if she made a mistake by marrying her unemployed husband, Peter.

This story is about family, faith, and following God's plan for our lives. It may not be one of my favorite books, but I still enjoyed it. The struggles the characters went through were very realistic and I'm sure readers could relate to them in one way or another. Struggles like depression, divorce, insecurities, and debt are relevant to what many women face these days. The author's character descriptions made it so easy to envision how each of them might look and the most memorable was Roy's mother. You'd have to read the book to understand why she's so memorable even though she's not a main character. I would have liked to read more about Anne, especially because the book description made it seem like she'd be the main focus along with Roy. If there were going to be a sequel, I think I'd take the time to read it and get to know the characters a bit more. So, if you like contemporary fiction with a hint of romance, then you might enjoy Love, Charleston

My Rating: 3/5 stars

To buy this from the publisher click HERE
To read more reviews click HERE

(This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Immanuel's Veins (review + giveaway)

Immanuel's Veins. Ted Dekker. Thomas Nelson. September 2010.
Hardcover. 384 pages.

Book Description:
This story is for everyone--but not everyone is for this story.

It is a dangerous tale of times past. A love story full of deep seduction. A story of terrible longing and bold sacrifice. Then as now, evil begins its courtship cloaked in light. And the heart embraces what it should flee. Forgetting it once had a truer lover. With a kiss, evil will ravage body, soul, and mind. Yet there remains hope, because the heart knows no bounds. Love will prove greater than lust. Sacrifice will overcome seduction. And blood will flow. Because the battle for the heart is always violently opposed. For those desperate to drink deep from this fountain of life, enter.

But remember, not everyone is for this story.

My Review:
This is the first book by Ted Dekker that I've read, so obviously I had absolutely no idea what to expect from Immanuel's Veins. I honestly had an open mind when coming to this book and I tried so hard to find something about it that I really liked, but I felt no connection with the characters and it was a bit too dark for me. This book is definitely not for the faint of heart. It's one of those pulse pounding, mystical, suspense novels and I'm not really into those. I completely understand what the authors point is with this story, but in the end, it was just an okay read. Of course, everyone has their own tastes, preferences, and styles and there are a lot of people that are into vampires and dark stories, so I'm sure they'd like Immanuel's Veins. I'd say it's a good Christian alternative to Twilight and all those other popular vampire stories. 

My Rating: 3/5 stars

To buy this from the publisher click HERE
To read more reviews click HERE

(This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

* * * * * * *

The publisher also asked me to answer this question: What is sacrificial love?
In my opinion, sacrificial love is the willingness to sacrifice your own wants, desires, and needs for the one or ones you love. Of course, the ultimate demonstration of sacrificial love is what Jesus did on the cross for our sins. Nothing could ever compare to the unconditional love Jesus showed when He gave all of Himself for us. I don't even have the words to describe the gratitude I have toward my Saviour. All I can do in return is live my life fully for Him.


T-Shirt Giveaway!!
I received a "Spread the Love" t-shirt as a gift for reviewing this book and Thomas Nelson Publishers is allowing me to give one away on my blog. All you have to do to be entered is leave a comment. I will be using Random.org to choose the lucky winner. See more details below.


Giveaway Details:
To enter for a chance to win this t-shirt just leave a comment on this post.
-North American shipping addresses only please.
-Leave a valid email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. Remember to disguise it like this: reading1atatime(at)yahoo(dot)(com)
-Contest is open until September 20, 2010 at 11:59 PST. Any comments left after will not count.
-The winner will be announced on September 21, 2010 and will be contacted via email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond or another name will be drawn.
-The winner will need to provide me with their desired shirt size, which will be shipped by the publisher.

The Boy Who Changed The World

The Boy Who Changed the World. Andy Andrews. Thomas Nelson.
August 2010. Hardcover. 40 pages. 

The Boy Who Changed the World, is Andy Andrews' first children's book. This is the kids version of his new gift book, The Butterfly Effect. The vibrant colors and beautiful pictures alone are enough to draw kids attention and keep it throughout the story. Andrews starts with the story of Norman Borlaug, the young boy who grew up to create a super seed that has fed over 2 billion people around the world. As the story progresses, we are introduced to 3 other boys whose actions eventually affected Normans ability and desire to create the seed. Kids get a small look into history and they're able to read about how one boys actions helped change the world in a great way.

When reading this to my niece, she was really only interested in the bright pictures and counting the butterflies. The suggested age range for this book is 4-8, but the story jumps from one person to another so they could easily become confused with it. I think kids ages 8-12 would probably understand it a bit more. Andy Andrews is a wonderful author and I truly believe that he meant well with this story. I like that it tells kids that they can do big things in this world and that their actions affect others around them. I just don't like that the credit wasn't given to God for the achievements of all these men. It basically tells them that, in their own ability, they are able to change the world. God is not mentioned as the One with the power to do great things through us for His glory. I feel that this is what the book is lacking. Kids aren't pointed back to God and the fact that it is ultimately His plan that we should pursue. 

My Rating: 2/5 stars

To buy this from the publishers click HERE
To read more reviews click HERE

(This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Beaver Kid's Adventures

The Beaver Kid's Adventures. Elena Dobrina. 
Dorrance Publishing. October 2007. Paperback. 120 pages. Ages 9-12.

As I've mentioned before, my niece loves animals, so I try to request books from Dorrance Publishing Co. that have something to do with them. This story is about the "Beaver Kid" and the many adventures he's had in his young life. He's experienced many things, from a flood that swept him away from home, a run-in with poachers, learning to adjust to new surroundings, making new friends, and a whole lot more. There are 26 short chapters and each include a beautiful and colorful illustration of the scene. The author did a great job with the illustrations.

Another reason why I requested this book is because I wanted to know why a children's chapter book would cost $88. I've never seen any book, other than college text books, cost that much. Anyway, back to the review. Since this is a chapter book and my niece is only 4, she was only interested in the pictures. I think animal loving kids that can read on their own would enjoy this book to some degree. Here's why I say that. There were a few times when the sentences seemed to go on and on and became confusing. The authors use of large words like adjacent, auxiliary, dormitories, fulvous and peaceableness might cause kids to lose interest or become discouraged and not want to go on because they don't understand. The characters and story were cute and interesting, but I think a little more simplicity would have been fine.

My Rating: 3/5

To buy this from the publisher click HERE

(This book was provided for review by Dorrance Publishing.)

The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters

The Butterfly Effect. Andy Andrews. Thomas Nelson. August 2010.
Hardcover. 112 pages.

"Everything you do matters TO ALL OF US FOREVER."

I recently named Andy Andrews one of my favorite authors after I read The Heart Mender. I was so excited when I got the chance to read The Butterfly Effect, which is his #1 most requested story. Andrews starts the book off by sharing the story of Edward Lorenz and his hypothesis that a butterfly could flap its wings and set molecules of air in motion, which would move other molecules of air, in turn moving other molecules of air - eventually capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet. He then goes on sharing the stories of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Norman Borlaug. Readers see just how much of an impact their actions can have on others around the world, not only today, but in the years to come. 

This is a short gift book that can be read in about 15 minutes or so. I enjoyed reading about these ordinary men that made a big difference in the world, but in the end I felt that it was lacking something. Mention of God maybe? YES! On one part it says, "You have been created in order that you might make a difference. You have within you the power to change the world." That was a perfect opportunity to add, You have been created in order that you might make a difference for the glory of God or God has the power to fulfill His purpose through you. Yes, our life and the things we do and say matter, but it is ultimately for a higher purpose, one that God has already chosen for us. Apart from God, we can do nothing. I don't think I would recommend this book to friends and family, not because it's not good, but because it doesn't have a biblical foundation. I wish I could say that I liked it, but I just can't.

My Rating: 2/5

To buy this from the publisher click HERE
To read more reviews click HERE

(This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A short update on what's been going on

Hey guys! I know I haven't been posting a whole lot, but I've been really busy taking care of my niece and trying to find a job. Times are tough these days, but I'm trusting that God will provide and I know the job I get will be hand picked by Him. Oh! My niece is starting pre-school next Tuesday!! I can't believe how fast four years have gone by... She's so smart too! She's been spelling and she knows how to add and subtract already. I thank God every day for bringing that precious little girl into our lives. OK, now back to what I was going to tell you. I have about 5 book reviews that I'll be posting up within the next two weeks so look out for those. I'll also be doing a shirt giveaway, but that info won't be posted until the 13th. I hope everyone's had an awesome summer. Let's get ready for fall and all the great things God has in store for us!

Happy Reading!
-Crystal
 
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