Wednesday, May 16, 2018

How to be a Perfect Christian

How to be a Perfect Christian *****
by The Babylon Bee

This book makes fun of Christians in a variety of areas including: finding a church, worship, pastors, community service, worldview, etc. 

The book itself is well put together. The hardcover is nice and the graphics. But alas, the quality ends on the cover. 

The book is from a Christian publisher, and yet I didn't feel that the book was at all in good taste or helpful or encouraging in any way. I read the first chapter and then flipped through it a bit.

The satire continues to the last page. I thought this quote right near the end was right on. Right after talking about Jesus's sacrifice of love on the cross, it says: "But this whole book would then be pointless because being a Christian wouldn't be about doing the right things and avoiding the wrong things. It would be about glorifying God in our lives because we adore and trust the One who loved us enough to give up everything for us. "

So, I agree with the author that this book is pointless.

I received this book for free from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. #PRHpartner 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Raising World Changers in a Changing World

Raising World Changers in a Changing World *****
by Kristen Welch

Overview: This book is about how to encourage our kids to live lives of service for God's glory. Kristen Welch shares her family's journey through starting a ministry in Kenya and how it has affected her kids. She encourages parents to set the example for their kids of a life that is compassionate and self-sacrificing...realizing that we have been greatly blessed not so that we can buy more things but so that we can give more.

The end of each chapter has questions that you can discuss as a family about what generosity looks like day to day. Her kids and husband take turns answering the questions, too, which is fun to see their perspectives.

The end of each chapter also has some practical ideas for your family to begin serving and giving.

Positive elements: well-written, challenging and inspiring

Negative elements: none

Conclusion: I really enjoyed this book. I so much want to live a life of service. It is so easy to get comfortable and think way to much about how to make your life better and your kids' lives better. It's easier to forget about the suffering around you. 

I love this quote in the book from J.D. Walt: "We think the Gospel is about sharing our lives with others, as though a seed could be shared. No, it's about surrendering our lives to Jesus, who will make of our lives an unending, unimaginable gift to the world. Sharing will never get it done. Only surrender will." 

This book is one about living a surrendered life for Jesus. It's not about doing some nice things for people in your spare time as a family. 

I would recommend this book to anyone.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. 


Joey *****
by Jennifer Marshall Bleakley

Overview: A mom with a big heart started a horse ranch where troubled kids and troubled horses could help each other out. This is the story of how God stretched her faith as she watched him provide over and over again for the ranch. And this is the story of the volunteers and the kids whose lives were changed at this ranch. Most of all, this is a story about Joey...a blind horse who inspired all who knew him.

Positive elements: well-written, inspiring story

Negative elements: none

Conclusion: I really enjoyed this story of God's amazing work through horses. I was reminded that we all have something to give and that God isn't looking for perfect people. He is simply looking for surrendered people. 

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Violet the Painting Fairy

Violet the Painting Fairy *****
by Daisy Meadows

The story begins in fairy land, a land where fairies live. The problem is they have to get the fairy's magic paint brush back because if they don't, they can't paint. Rachel is a person. She and her friend went to a painting class, and the paint did not work. Christy is Rachel's friend, and the fariy's name is Paint Brush Fairy. 

I like the book because it was interesting, and I like the characters. I think that 7-9 yr. old girls would like this book.

Reviewed by Sophie Staples, 7

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Golden Vial

The Golden Vial *****
by Thomas Locke
This book looked really interesting and had some good reviews, but I just couldn't get into it. I wasn't griped by the story or the writing. I usually try to read all the books I receive to review so I can give a fair review. 

Perhaps the die-hard fantasy fan would enjoy this.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Beneath the Forsaken City

Beneath the Forsaken City *****
by C.E. Laureano
Overview: The hero Conor and his new bride Aine are separated as they flee a war-torn land. Chapters take turns following Conor's adventures and Aine's along with another main character Eoghan. They all have special powers and are fighting for survival against a powerful and evil druid. Each one is trying to learn to depend on and obey Comdiu, who is their God.

Positive elements: clean, lots of action, well-written, explores the concept of trusting and obeying

Negative elements: Some themes are inappropriate for children. Near the beginning of the story, Aine is almost raped as she is fleeing alone for her life. Later on in the story, a demon disguised as a beautiful woman tries to seduce Conor. He barely resists. Neither of the situations are graphic, but the ideas still make this an adult book.

Conclusion: Fantasy isn't normally a genre I enjoy, but my daughter really enjoys it. I was hoping to find a good, clean fantasy story she could read. So, I was a bit disappointed in the mature themes in the book for that reason.
Overall, the book was very confusing to me since it is the second book in the series. I guess you really need to read the first book to understand what is happening. I only kept reading because it is well-written, and the story has lots of quick-moving action.
The ending was a bit disappointing too since it just stopped. It is obviously written in a way that you have to read the whole series to understand the beginning as well as the end of the story.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

I Will Not Fear

I Will Not Fear: My Story of a Lifetime of Building Faith Under Fire *****
by Melba Pattillo Beals
Overview: At 15 yrs. old, Melba was one of the nine African American students chosen to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. From then on, her life has been one battle after another in a time when being black and a woman is two strikes against you. She ends up achieving many great things including a doctorate, a comfortable living, fame, her own business, adopting two boys and yet troubles continue to plague her. Through her story, though, she never loses sight of God's hand in her life. And she is always asking Him what He has next for her. 

Positive elements: A powerful story! My eyes were opened to so many new things in reading this book. For example, I never thought about how hard it was to find a house to rent as an African American. It didn't matter that she was on TV and successful, she was still black and most people didn't want to be neighbors with her. And I was reminded that tough times can be blessings for our kids. Their faith becomes their own as they have to struggle through things. 

Negative elements: Each chapter ended with a moral or lesson taken from the chapter. I don't like being told what I should take away from reading a book. A good book speaks for itself. 

The book also had some disturbing themes. Later in her life, some sexual predators go after her young boys. Her house is also broken into repeatedly, and one time a man comes after her and her kids with a knife. They have to fend him off. The book isn't graphic, but those are some truly scary things to go through.

Conclusion: I can't imagine going through all the struggles that Melba faced over her lifetime. This book is truly what the subtitle says it is..."a story of a lifetime of building faith under fire."  Melba wasn't a perfect person, nor are any of us, but she was brave and a fighter. An inspiring story.

A side note, I thought this would be more about her time in Little Rock as part of integration. But I learned that years ago she wrote a different book, I Will Not Fear, about that time. This book is mainly focused on the years that followed that time.

I would recommend this book to adults.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.