Saturday, December 3, 2016

Risen: A Novelization of the Movie


Bethany House publishers offers Risen by veteran author Angela Hunt, based on the story by Paul Aiello and the screenplay by Aiello and Kevin Reynolds.  If you prefer books to movies or want to experience both, enjoy!

This fictional story of a Roman soldier investigating the  "theft" of the body of Christ has enough historical accuracy to keep  the story credible and interesting to read.  Angela Hunt is a master crafter of historical fiction, and this novelization is no exception to her skills.

Enjoy the novel, then watch the movie as well.

I received a free review copy of the book from the publisher for my honest review.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Enhance Bible Study with a Bible Journaling Kit

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Personalize your Bible with color, with tabs, with notes in the margins--whatever helps you organize your thoughts and find the verses you need in the future.  This kit from Ellie Claire includes archival quality pen, twistable colored pencils, stickers and more, including a handy pouch to keep all these tools handy at your favorite reading and study spot.

To enter a drawing and possibly win your own kit, just enter here.  To buy a kit for yourself or for a gift, check out any of these vendors:

Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Christian Book Distributors


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Set Yourself Apart: Avoid Common Writing Mistakes

In the age of blogs and social media, bad writing is all too common. Thus, the person who writes well stands out from the crowd.  You can be such a person, as it is not difficult to avoid common writing mistakes. The following are some common mistakes, along with a suggested essay checker to make sure your formal writing is original as well as excellent in form.

Homonyms
In English there are a number of words which are spelled differently, yet pronounced the same (or nearly the same.)  Automatic spelling checkers will not catch homonym errors if you correctly spelled the wrong word.  Be sure to proofread your work carefully to avoid mistakes in commonly confused words such as: affect/effect, there/their/they’re, its/it’s, to/two/too, sow/sew/so.

Style
Avoid the use of slang and other elements common in casual communication.  Because of the abundance of media and the decline in formal dress and language, most writers today tend to be too casual in their more serious writing.  Writing for work or for school should be more formal.  At the same time, avoid the use of ostentatious language. Using big words when a smaller one will do impresses nobody.  Be yourself, but on your best behavior. Your writing may be read by strangers rather than your closest friends, so use a tone appropriate to meeting someone important (your reader) for the first time.  Show the reader you are polite, intelligent, and articulate.

Punctuation and Capitalization
Because people spend much time typing short text messages or casual email responses, they tend to forget about the attributes of a complete sentence.  Formal writing requires the use of complete sentences with subject and verb. Consult a good English composition textbook for a complete treatment of sentence structure.  Begin every sentence with a capital letter and end each sentence with a period, question mark, or, rarely, an exclamation point.  Be sure each sentence is a single complete thought.  Several different thoughts require several separate sentences.

Plagiarism
Of all possible writing mistakes, plagiarism is the most serious of all. Plagiarism is the use of another’s words as your own.  In other words, plagiarism is intellectual theft.  Whether inadvertent or deliberate, it is an offense taken seriously by teachers, professors, and the writers who have their words taken without permission.  If you have relied heavily on a particular resource for your essay or term paper, it is important to check your work to be sure you have properly cited the resources you used and have expressed ideas from that source in your own words, not merely copied the source while changing a few words.  Free essay checkers are available online to help you avoid plagiarism.

Using a free essay plagiarism checker is quick and easy. Just paste your essay or other writing into the checker.  It then uses algorithms to check word frequency and other variables against the internet and common databases.  If anything is flagged, you will be able to correct your work and be confident your finished writing is original.




Friday, September 16, 2016

Teachers and Parents: Tell Kids the Biggest Story!



If you teach older elementary students  or younger teens, Kevin DeYoung offers these resources based on his book, The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden.  Give your young Bible students an overview of history from Creation to Eternity.  Think of this as a fast-forward highlight reel of the Holy Bible with emphasis on the theme of sin/redemption and God's unfailing promises.

The animation is beautiful--artistic, not juvenile. The narration has music in the background to enhance the story and animation.  My only disappointment was the lack of close-captioning for the Deaf and hard of hearing. This means I likely will not add the DVD to my church library, to avoid disappointing our Deaf members, adults and children, who enjoy DVDs.

You can purchase your own copy of The Biggest Story or comment below to be entered in a drawing for a free copy of the book. Just comment by Friday, September 23!

Purchase links: The Biggest Story: The Animated Short Film
                         The Biggest Story: The Audio Book


“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, September 11, 2016

Adorable Board Book about Baby!




This sturdy board book has a rhyming story and whimsical illustrations of babies doing all sorts of baby things.  At the end is a mirror and a place to write the name of a special baby God loves!

You can purchase your own copy of Baby, Baby!  or comment below to be entered in a drawing for a free copy of the book. Just comment by Friday, September 16!


“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.

Hurt at Church: The Bridezilla of Christ

 buy this book

It is not uncommon for me to choose a book because the title is intriguing. That was certainly the case when I was offered a chance to review this title from Ted Kluck and Ronnie Martin.  Anyone who has been in church for more than a few years knows that the Bride of Christ sometimes behaves more like a reality TV show than the scriptural model. Cliques, church splits, contentious business meetings--we can all relate to this topic.

This book is not, however, a gripe session with gossippy details about bad churches. This is a dialogue about how we as individual Christians need to behave in a community of sinners like ourselves. Saved people still sin, yet we are charged to be the Church and to show Christ to the world.  Kluck and Martin offer real help with this real problem that has been around as long as the Church itself.

This book is not too long and includes some humor to keep things from getting too discouraging.  It would make a good study for anyone who is experiencing hurt from church people or church organizations. I especially appreciated the authors addressing the rise of individualism/consumerism in the modern church. Pride and preferences are causing many churches problems with relationships and with ministry--and it needs to stop!

I received a free review copy from Blogging for Books for my honest opinion.  I am impressed and will be placing a copy of The Bridezilla of Christ in my church's library.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

New Children's Books from Worthy Publishing

Children need story time. Fortunately, they also enjoy that time spent with a parent and a good book.   These two new board books by Mary Manz Simon offer delightful rhyming stories your child will probably memorize quickly--and still enjoy hearing you read again and again! The illustrations by Lizzie Walkley are beautifully detailed with flora and fauna as well as whimsical children and parents. 

These sturdy board books have unique layered cut-outs, perfect for little fingers to grasp as they turn pages.  If you want something more special than a typical board book, these are just the ticket.

I received free review copies of God Made the Moon and God Made the Sun from the publisher for my honest assessment.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Shakespeare and Scripture


Bob Hostetler offers a fresh new devotional for those of us who love the English of King James and of Queen Elizabeth I.  For every day of the year you will find a Scripture, a Shakespeare quote, and a short devotional offering insights from the Bible that inspired the Bard of Avon. Pick up some fun facts each day as well.

This beautiful book with purple dust jacket would make a fine gift for your favorite English teacher, actor, librarian, or general bookworm.  I know this KJV-reading lover of words thoroughly enjoyed previewing this devotional!

The book is available in hardcover and Kindle formats.  I received a complimentary review copy from the publisher for my honest review.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

E.C. Jackson Offers Another "Hope" Novel


A Living Hope is the story of Sadie, a young woman who seems to have destroyed her life and burned all bridges to her past.  Finding the courage to return home, however, starts a series of events that remind her there is always hope for those who place their trust in Jesus.  The man she left, the man who abused her, and the friends and family she avoided all are affected by Sadie's choices--both the bad ones of the past and the good ones she has a chance to make.

E.C. Jackson weaves a story of imperfect people working through misunderstandings, secrets, traumas, and just plain stubbornness. In other words, her characters are like many of us!  She builds complex characters with believable struggles.  Happy endings don't come easily, but must be worked through with prayer, honest communication, and the willingness to step out in faith and do the right things.

This is a worthy successor to Jackson's earlier novel, A Gateway to Hope.

Friday, July 15, 2016

More Historical Fiction from Angela Hunt


Another volume in the Dangerous Beauty series, Delilah is an entertaining novel based on the woman we meet only briefly in the book of Judges.  While we know only that Delilah betrayed Samson, Angela Hunt uses her imagination to weave one possible story of what might lead a beautiful woman down a path that led to the betrayal of a lover to an enemy.

History and geography are skillfully woven into the story, along with fictionalized accounts of other events from the Bible, such as Samson's wedding riddle.  Readers of historical fiction will want to add this book to their collections.

I received a free review copy of the book from the publisher for my honest assessment.

You can get your own copy at your local Christian book store or on Amazon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Enjoyable Fiction with an Irish Flavor


The Irish Civil War is not a typical topic for historical fiction/science fiction/fantasy, so this novel is unique.  The characters are believable, even when they do unbelievable things like time travel.  The struggles of real history blend with Irish myth to create a page-turning tale.  Bury the Living will be released soon. I received an electronic copy from the publisher via NetGalley for my honest review.


Pre-order on Amazon

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Life We Never Expected: Book Review

Like most married couples, Andrew and Rachel Wilson expected their children to be reasonably healthy, go to school, play sports, get married.....


Parents of children with special needs have to adjust one or more of those normal expectations.  In the Wilson family, special needs took the form of regressive autism in both their son and daughter.  This book expresses their thoughts on their journey so far.  They speak from the midst of the furnace, as people who know the One who walks with them in the fire.

From dealing with physical exhaustion to dealing with the grief over dead expectations to seeing the blessings in what they do have, the Wilsons express the struggle many of us have as we live in a fallen world that has not yet been healed completely by the Creator.  Especially encouraging tomany parents will b Andrew's "Reflections on Healing." Consider that God will heal in one of 4 ways: 
  1. The daily healing built into our bodies as we recover from a virus or injury;
  2. Miraculous healing like Jesus and the apostles did and that we may see when we pray;
  3. Healing through the hands of doctors, therapists, etc.; and
  4. Healing in eternity when all are healed.
This book should be in church libraries as a valuable resource for parents, teachers, and ministers.  Get your copy here.

"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.”

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Reformation and Romance: Luther and Katharina

Jody Hedlund has written this historical novel with great respect for the history of the protestant reformation.  As an American by birth, I struggle to imagine the anguish of being persecuted or executed for leaving a church or religious order.  The sacrifices made by so many who confronted corruption in their church, translated the Bible into common languages, and dared to trust individuals to pray and read Scripture for themselves made possible the freedom Americans still enjoy today.

Readers who enjoy "romance" that is not sappy, happy, and silly will enjoy this mix of history, romance, and action/adventure. I'm confident this book will be enjoyed by my church library patrons.

I received an Advance Review Copy from the publisher for my honest review.

Get your own copy on Amazon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

New Series for Girls: Bible Belles


A girl named Rooney Cruz learns about virtues from great women of the Bible.  The first book features Esther, a woman who waited patiently for God's plan to unfold.  Kidnapped, chosen by the Persian king, and placed by God at a time when she could save her Jewish people from extinction, Esther is a wonderful model for girls today. 



In a world where college students are demanding "safe spaces", let's raise a generation of girls to become women of valor.  Teach them courage rather than fear and to wait for God rather than rush to whatever is popular.

Beautiful color illustrations accompany this story by Erin Weidemann.  Comment below before June 21 to enter a drawing for a free copy of Esther: The Belle of Patience.

"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.”

Friday, June 3, 2016

Book Review: Mother & Son


Mothers know that sons are not daughters, but are often unsure how that plays out in day-to-day life.  Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, noted for marriage counseling, now offers mothers some practical help with raising sons in Mother & Son.

The differences between love and respect are sometimes subtle, but boys crave respect and seldom get it.  I would describe the respect they need as this: letting your son know you believe in the man he is becoming.  The author offers examples of what respect may look like for both young boys and young men.

Add this book to your home, pastoral, or church library.  If you leave a comment on the blog, I will enter your name in a drawing for a free copy of Mother & Son.  Drawing will take place June 6.



"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.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Costly Discipleship: A Review of Bearing Witness

Comment below to enter drawing for a free book!


A Martyr's Mirror updated for the twenty-first century is now available from Plough Publishing House.  While the editors include martyrs and persecuted Christians all the way back to Stephen in the first century A.D., they also tell the stories of Christ's followers who suffered within our own lifetimes.  Around the world today there are those killed for their faith in and witness for Christ.
This book features Christians from the Anabaptist tradition and from other traditions who declined to defend themselves physically, choosing a path of nonresistance.  I would recommend it for pastors' libraries, Sunday School teachers, and Christian school libraries for use by older students.
Simply leave a comment below to be entered in a drawing for a free copy of this new book.  Drawing will take place on May 30, 1016.  If you cannot wait, you may purchase a copy by following this link.

"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, May 22, 2016

Beverly Lewis Presents More Amish Fiction


Every person grieves differently.  In this story set in an Amish community, the various members of a large family misunderstand one another as each grieves something or someone different.  Lucy has a secret resentment she tries to hide by keeping busy with volunteer work.  While helping others with their troubles, Lucy's own troubled heart festers.

When Lucy's father convinces her to attend a grief support group with him--a group of English--will things get better or will Lucy be drawn back to the same problems that haunt her past? Can everyone in the family learn to love one another better and move forward?

I received a free copy of The Atonement from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.  Fans of Amish fiction will not be disappointed.  As usual, Beverly Lewis shows her understanding of Amish and Mennonite culture as well as her ability to craft a good story.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Promoting STEM Education in Developing Nations

I recently became acquainted with the Benignant STEM Innovation Foundation, which promotes education in math and science in order to open up opportunities for children, especially girls, in developing countries. Check out their website for information about their mission and educational initiatives that help poor students pursue a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities.

You may also want to read Escape Velocity, the story of a Nigerian girl's journey from poverty to founder and CEO of an aerospace company.  This is the vision of the Benignant STEM Innovation Foundation--to create success stories all over the world.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Say "Yes" and See What Happens!


Carl Medearis shares the adventures he and his family experienced when they said "yes" to God's call to minister in the Middle East.  Some adventures are profound, some are dangerous, some are downright hysterical.

As the subtitle calls this story "a journey from fear to faith" the book challenges all Christians to take the plunge.  Why not answer yes instead of staying safely in your house and your pew?  Perhaps this story of amazing things God did through people who said yes when it would have certainly seemed safer to say no will inspire readers to take a small step of faith.  Volunteer, teach, learn a new skill, or even sell everything and move across the ocean.

I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher and recommend it for teens and older, or for a family read-aloud time with a missions emphasis. Adventures in Saying Yes is in my church library, and I recommend it for yours as well.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Captive DVD Drawing


This movie is based on a true story.  Ashley Smith was held hostage by Brian Nichols after he escapes from an Atlanta courthouse and evades police.  During tense hours of captivity, Ashley learns she and Brian have some problems in common.  Both of them have important choices to make.

Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life plays a role as Ashley reads from the book and manages to connect with her captor in a way that causes him to let her go.

There is violence and drug use, but only as it is integral to the story. I appreciated the dedication of the movie to Brian Nichols' victims.  Each is depicted in the movie and photos are shown in the credits to honor them.  See more at the official movie website.

Comment on this blog post by Friday, January 29 to be entered into a drawing for a free copy of the DVD.  I received a complimentary review copy from Flyby Promotions.


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.”

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Lessons from an Extraordinary Mother: Mary


Instead of pop-culture parenting advice, Sarah Jakes looks to the life of Mary for answers and inspiration for her own experiences as a mother.  Mary was a humble girl chosen to play a huge role in the plan of God to redeem mankind.

As mothers, why not look at the historical record of the woman God chose to mother His own Son?  A mortal like us, with fears, dreams, doubts--yet Mary submitted herself to the plan of God.  That sounds like a pattern I should follow.

I received a free review copy of Dear Mary from Bethany House publishers for my honest review.