Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Remnant by Monte Wolverton

Book description: 

In the year 2069 the Apocalypse came and went, but Jesus didn't show up, as some expected.

Instead, a cataclysmic war, natural disasters and pandemics eradicated 90 percent of earth's population. Now, in 2131, a totalitarian government rules the world from the majestic, opulent capitol of Carthage, Tunisia. Blamed for igniting the war, religion and religious books are banned. Citizens who will not renounce their religion are sent to work camps.

Grant Cochrin, imprisoned in a bleak petroleum camp in what was once North Dakota, leads his family and friends to escape and embark on a long, dangerous quest for a Christian community. Their resource in this journey? A cherished page torn from the now banished Bible---a remnant of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount handed down from Grant's grandparents. 

What if there were an Apocalypse and Jesus didn't return? What if the survivors found themselves living in a world ruled by a totalitarian government, where religion is forbidden and all religious texts have been destroyed?

In The Remnant, award-winning author Monte Wolverton tells the tale of a band of concentration camp escapees who trek through the lawless American wilderness on a quest for authentic Christianity, only to come face to face with an unthinkable dilemma. The Remnant is a fast-paced story punctuated with dry satire, memorable characters and hard questions about religious institutions.


My review:

   This was a new author to me, and he approached the idea of an apocalypse from a different viewpoint. Most books like this take place after Jesus' return, while this one takes place before.

 I thought the book was well written. It had a great plot and characters that were easy to like and keep up with. I found it very interesting how the main characters had such a limited idea of Christianity and the Bible, yet could tell what was fake or wrong in the many different groups of Christians they ran across. Although the book is fictional, there is a message there for all of us. I was also intrigued at the idea of this group possessing only a small

 The author did a great job of describing what life and the world might be like after events happen that are described in the book.

 I found the idea of Christianity becoming the world religion a bit of a stretch, as the close to the end we get, the more Christianity will be put down. I also found the multiple uses of the "d-word" out of place and distasteful for a Christian novel. However, I did find it an enjoyable read.


About the author:


Monte Wolverton is an award-winning author and syndicated editorial cartoonist. He is associate editor of CWR magazine. He is an ordained minister and holds a MA from Goddard College in Vermont. Along with his wife Kaye, he makes his home in southwest Washington State.


The Remnant is available from CWR Press, an imprint of Plan Truth Ministries

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bible Journaling Kit, and a giveaway

Product description:

Personalize your Bible! Create a work of art on the pages of your favorite Bible. Draw, color, or journal your thoughts, dreams, and prayers.

This kit includes:

8 colored pencil twists that never need sharpening
1 archival-quality journaling pen
4 sheets of inspirational word stickers
4 sheets of alphabet stickers
24 tab stickers to mark special passages
A ruled page protector mat with die cut edge for tracing lines
A Philippians 4:3 “Whatever Is Lovely”-inspired pouch that has an adjustable strap to fit most Bibles—perfectly sized to store your pencils, pens, and tabs!

Presented in an attractive gift box.

My review:

  I have wanted to try Bible journaling for a while, and after getting this to review and a journaling Bible shortly after, I have no excuses.

  Not all of the items in the kit have been utilized by me yet, but I have been impressed with what the kit offers:



The pencils: there are 8 different colors, and they have twist top, so you never have to sharpen them.

Word stickers: Black words on a clear background of phrases such as I love this, God loves me, I am not alone, etc.

Letter and number stickers: These have the whole alphabet - capital and small - and numbers 0-9, along with some punctuation. They are also black on a clear background.

Tab stickers: some of these have no writing on, and some have words such as Believe, blessing, favorite, love is. I have not looked it up, but I am guessing you fold these over the edge of the page.

Fine point marker: Black marker with a very fine tip to make writing easier.

Ruled page protector: This is the only item that does not fit in the pouch, and is meant to cover the whole Bible page, or at lease most of it.



Pouch: Green in color, with Philippians 4:8 printed on it, this holds everything included in the kit, except for the ruled page protector, as I mentioned.

  Since I am new to Bible journaling, I have nothing to compare this kit to, but it seems to have everything one would need for Bible journaling. The quality is great, and there are a lot of stickers to use as you journal. I was most impressed with the colored pencils. To not have to sharpen them is awesome, and I look forward to utilizing them and the rest of  the kit as I take up Bible journaling.


 This Bible kit is made by Ellie Clare, and is available from Amazon, Christianbook.com, and other online retailers.

 Thanks to Flyby Promotions for the review kit and giveaway.

 Giveaway:

 Courtesy of FlyBy Promotions, I have one Bible Journaling Kit to give away to one winner who comments on this review.

 To enter, comment with your favorite Bible version, verse, or both.

I will pick a winner using random.org 10 days from today on December 9.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): 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.”


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fatal Frost, #1 in the Defenders of Justice Series by Nancy Mehl

Book description:

Mehl Ramps Up the Suspense in This Brand-New U.S. Marshals Series 

Mercy Brennan followed in her father's footsteps in a law enforcement career, but she has no interest in any other connection to him. A U.S. Marshal in St. Louis, Missouri, she's assigned to a joint task force with the St. Louis PD that puts her back into contact with her father and in the sights of St. Louis's most powerful gang. 

When the gang has reason to believe Mercy has possession of some highly sensitive and incriminating information, her boss assigns Mark St. Laurent--a Deputy U.S. Marshal and Mercy's ex-boyfriend--to get her out of town until they can guarantee her safety. 

Initially unaware of the danger she's in and uncomfortable working with Mark, Mercy's frustration escalates when she discovers the extent her boss and Mark have been keeping her in the dark. It isn't until a freak ice storm hits, stranding them at a remote location and out of contact with the district office, that the full severity of their situation becomes clear. As the storm worsens, the forces of nature combine with a deadly enemy closing in to put their lives at imminent risk. Can they survive long enough for help to arrive--if help is even coming at all?

My review:

  All I have read by Nancy Mehl so far has been her Amish/Mennonite suspense novels, so this was a departure from what I normally read by her... and I think from what she normally writes.

 This has got to be her best book yet. I seriously loved it, and enjoyed every page of it. It was suspenseful with plenty of surprises, there were some great characters, and Mehl outdid herself on the plot and setting. There were plenty of nail biting moments that kept me glued to the book until I finished it.

 I like it when an author can weave a Christian message throughout the book, and not make it look contrived, and Mehl did it in this novel.  The spiritual journeys of the three main characters added a lot to the book without making it preachy.

 I also liked the US Marshal angle, It is one branch of law enforcement I don't know a lot about, and it made the book all the more interesting reading about their work and what they do.

 The book had a satisfying conclusion that didn't wind up everything with the main characters, and left me wanting to read more. Looking forward to the next book.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband, Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. First published in 2001, she has now authored nine books, including an omnibus mystery collection, Cozy in Kansas, which contains three of her previously published Ivy Towers mysteries. Book three in the series, For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Mystery Book of the Year award. Nancys main writing interests lie in mystery although her new Harmony Series leans more toward the romantic suspense genre. Nancy runs a HUD program for the city of Wichita and is president of a volunteer organization, Wichita Homebound Outreach. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Kansas Authors Club. You can find out more about Nancy by visiting her Web site at: www.nancymehl.com"


Fatal Frost is available from Bethany House Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

Tennessee Christmas by Amy Grant, with a giveaway

CD description:

Amy Grant, one of the most iconic and beloved songwriters in Christian music, is set to release her first all new Christmas album in nearly 20 years. Tennessee Christmas features an updated recording of the Amy Grant Christmas standard, “Tennessee Christmas,” 6 new songs and traditional Christmas favorites “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (featuring Vince Gill), “O Come All Ye Faithful” & “Joy To The World.” This brand new album showcases Amy’s classic vocal with intimate and mellow arrangements, interspersed with personal stories and holiday memories. Featuring a team of acclaimed producers, this medley of seasonal tracks is sure to be a record that is returned to year after year. 

Christmas music has become synonymous with Amy Grant over the years, which has led to over 2.7 million Christmas albums sold in her career. This season, Grant will embark on a west coast Christmas tour and stop at the iconic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee with husband Vince Gill for 9 shows.

Track List

Tennessee Christmas
To Be Together
Christmas For You And Me
Melancholy Christmas
December
White Christmas
Joy To The World
I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
Baby, It's Cold Outside
Christmas Don't Be Late
Still Can't Sleep
Another Merry Christmas
O Come, All Ye Faithful

My review:

  It isn't often that I get the chance to review a CD, and rarer still to have the chance to review a CD I would normally purchase.

  I don't listen to much of Amy Grant's usual music, but have always liked her Christmas and hymn CDs, which I think I own all of.

  This CD has 13 cuts, all of them new recordings, and 6 of them new songs. My favorites: Tennessee Christmas, Christmas For You and Me, and White Christmas. She unfortunately recorded one of my all time least favorite Christmas sons, Baby It's Cold Outside. I also am not found of  Melancholy Christmas, finding it a sad song that doesn't add to the recording.

 The title cut is a new recording of her famous Tennessee Christmas. I would have to say I still like the original better, but this one is also well done enough that I actually like it.

 Overall,  the CD is a departure from her other Christmas CDs. It is very low-key, and has no songs that I would call upbeat, but it is a good departure from her normal Christmas fare. I have been listening to the CD a lot since I got it, and other than skipping "Baby It's Cold Outside", have enjoyed  the whole CD and find it a welcome addition to my Christmas music collection.


Giveaway:

  Courtesy of FlyBy Promotions, I have one of these CDs to give away to one person who comments on this CD review, either on here or on Facebook.

 To enter, simply comment with either your favorite Christmas song, or your favorite Christmas album.

 I will draw a winner using random.org on December 7.

Thanks to FlyBy Promotions for the review and giveaway copy of Tennessee Christmas.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Out: One Christian's Experience of Leaving the Gay Community by Bob Fife

Book description:

Bob Fife was raised in a small Ontario town by a Christian mother and an unbelieving father. The tensions made for a dysfunctional home and an uneasy life. But nothing prepared Bob for being sexually molested by an older boy he trusted--or what happened in his heart afterward. Out is the story of Bob's descent into homosexual practices and out again. His fascinating journey takes readers from the confusion of his teen years, to his marriage and fatherhood, to his discovery and embrace of the flamboyant Toronto gay scene. He describes abandoning his young family in order to fulfill his same-sex desires, taking him to London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona, Provincetown, Key West, and San Francisco. Over a decade later, an unexpected visit from his college-aged son caused Bob to confront the consequences of his indulgences and begin to seek change.

Today, Bob has been out of his gay lifestyle for over twenty years. He has reconnected with the church, built and maintained healthy, nonsexual relationships, and healed his relationship with his son. For those who want a way to deal with their same-sex attractions, not celebrate them, Bob's story points a way to grace and redemption.

My review:
 
  There are a lot more books around today about homosexuality from a Christian standpoint, than there were when I first started reading them. Since the issue is different in so many people, no book is alike, and not everyone's experiences are the same.

 The author of this book led a very promiscuous sexual lifestyle, which is sadly not the exception to the rule for most gay men, but it is also not indicative of every gay male.

  There are various theories on what causes and/or triggers same-sex attractions, and Bob Fife went through some of those things that many people believe help in that regard. He starts his story when he was a young boy, and takes it up to the present. He isn't graphic, but he is totally honest and open about what his life was like living as a gay male in the gay community.

 It is an interesting read. As a guy who deals with the same issue, most of what I read wasn't new to me, yet it is always interesting to read another person's story and perspective. For anyone dealing with same-sex attractions on any level, this book offers hope that God can deliver and is sufficient. For people who do not deal with same-sex attractions, it is a fascinating look into the life of a man who lived for his sexual desires for years, yet was saved from it by a loving God.

 I personally thought the book was written in a slightly disjointed style, but not so much that it was difficult to read. It was an easy, interesting, and very encouraging read that I highly recommend.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:



Bob Fife was raised in a small Ontario town by a Christian mother and an unbelieving father. The tensions made for a dysfunctional home and an uneasy life.But nothing prepared Fife for being sexually molested by an older boy he trusted --- or what happened in his heart afterward. Fife's book, Out, is the story of his descent into homosexual practices and out again.

Fife is an Ontario-businessman and has been out of the gay lifestyle for more than twenty years. Now reconnected with the church, he hopes his story points a way to grace and redemption. Today he devotes his time to mentoring men and women who are looking for alternative ways to deal with same-sex attraction.


"Out" is available from Kregel Publishing.

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

When Jesus Was a Green-eyed Brunette by Max David

Book description:

When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette weaves heartwarming and miraculous stories of Jesus showing up in ordinary people, revealing that He knows us and is fully present in our everyday circumstances, especially in our difficulties. As best-selling author Max Davis puts it, "When we are born again, Jesus lives inside each of us. He is very much alive today and still does incredible things -- sometimes supernatural things -- through us!"

Davis's own life was dramatically altered when he first came face-to-face with Jesus living inside a green-eyed brunette. That encounter started a forty-plus-year journey where Jesus became his best friend. When we see others as God sees us we will love them as God loves us.

Those hurting and weary from worn-out religion are longing for a fresh touch from the living Jesus. By letting Jesus live through us we become a conduit of His love. Authentic Christianity is not about religion but a relationship with Jesus. Davis challenges us to do more than simply receive His grace -- we need to allow grace to soften, change, and shape us. As you read this book, you will laugh, cry, and come face-to-face with the living Jesus.

My review:

   I'll admit that one thing that drew me to  the book was the very unique title. I had also read a fiction title by the author and found it an enjoyable read.

 Don't be fooled by the title. This is neither a weird or light-hearted book. I found myself moved to tears many times while reading the book, and found myself wondering if I should be reading it in public - on my lunch break at work.

  This book made me want a better relationship with Jesus. It stirred a desire in me to be more loving to people and to reflect Jesus more than I do. This is the kind of book that shakes you, challenges  you, and makes you want to do better...be better.

  Through many personal stories and stories of other people, Davis shows what it means to truly love Jesus and show that love to the world. It is an interesting read, yet one that is loaded with all kinds of challenges and truth. I at first wondered if the book was worth reading - it does have a strange title - but it didn't take me long to get into the book and I found it a most enjoyable and stirring read... and one I recommend.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


Max Davis is the author of over 20 published books and has been featured in USA Today and Publisher's Weekly, and has appeared on The Today Show and The 700 Club. He holds degrees in Journalism and Biblical Studies and is a much sought-after speaker for churches and organizations worldwide. He and his wife, Alanna, live on 50 beautiful acres in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana.


When Jesus Was a Green-eyed Brunette is available from Worthy Publishing.

Thanks to Worthy for the review copy.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

My new Facebook page

   This past week, I made a Facebook page independent of my regular one. This is the kind of page authors, celebrities, etc use. I am using it primarily for book reviews, blog posts, and encouraging and funny memes. It is visible to anyone who "likes" the page, and only to those who like it. My Facebook friends do not see the posts unless they have "liked the page.

 This page will be free from politics, and more personal things I post. My regular Facebook page will have rare political posts, family stuff, statuses, and things I can't figure out how to share to my other page.

 So whether you are a friend with me on Facebook, like my page if you're interested in following my blogs, reviews, and other such things. Click this link, or click the Facebook logo up in the left  hand corner of  this blog.