Saturday, December 01, 2007

I Love You More by Laura Duksta

When I began to read “I Love You More,” I recalled the old commercial for chewing gum that described it as ‘double good.’ With Laura Duksta’s book, you get something ‘double good.’ One side is told from a child’s point of view. Flipping the book over, the same concept is told from the point of view of the parent. Both sides are sweet and endearing as mother and son compare how much they love each other.

Having two books in one means you could alternate bedtime readings by asking which version the child wants. When finished, you could also make a game out of coming up with new ways to describe your love. I must say though, the author covers most any you could think up. The illustrations by Karen Keesler are simple but vibrant, and enhance the rhyming text nicely.

This book sold nearly 180,000 copies as a self-published book - an almost impossible feat in today’s mass and big box market, and gives you an idea of its appeal. If you’re looking for a book to help you communicate just how much you love your child, and to help your child better convey his feelings, this is a most recommended book.

Product Details:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 34 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Trade (October 17, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1402211260
ISBN-13: 978-1402211263

Note: I received an advanced reading copy for review from Sourcebooks.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Loving Well - Retreat in a Box by Beth Moore

Many large women’s groups have resources to host retreats where speakers and singers can be flown in to minister, but smaller groups do not have this opportunity. What if, no matter what the size of your group or treasury, you could have a renowned Bible teacher come to your church? Now you can.

With the “Retreat in a Box,” Beth Moore teaches a four-part series on Loving Well. The study includes four video sessions, a 28-day Journal that can be used either as part of a 4-week study or as follow up for a retreat, postcards and posters to promote the study, and a tote bag. All you’ll need to do is invite the women.

The kit is very user-friendly with step-by-step instructions. The leader’s guide helps you organize the event outlining responsibilities of the prayer and worship leaders and how to promote the retreat.

The kit includes everything you need to start planning. You’ll only need to order more journals and tote bags so the overall cost per person will be quite reasonable.

Beth Moore teaches with enthusiasm and humor, even giving some hair care tips in a special “Extra Fun” section. The only thing I missed was a recording with praise and worship music, but you could easily use one of many excellent worship CDs to supplement the teaching by Beth Moore – a vibrant and inspirational teacher.

For more information and to order, click HERE.

Product Details:
Publisher: Lifeway Christian Resources
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1415832153
ISBN-13: 978-1415832158

NOTE: I received this kit courtesy of White Post Media.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Literary Study Bible ESV - Leland Ryken & Philip Graham Ryken

I've read study Bibles, devotional Bibles, and even children's Bibles. Reading the Literary Bible gave me a new appreciation for the beauty of God's Word. The goals of Dr. Leland Ryken and Dr. Philip Graham Ryken for the ESV Literary Study Bible are, “(1) to make the Bible reader friendly and (2) to show how application of literary tools of analysis helps in reading and understanding the Bible” (xvii).

The scriptures are organized in single-column paragraphs to read more like a book, but still have chapter divisions and numbered verses. The introductory notes for each book of the Bible give a 'big picture' element to reading the Bible. Instead of focusing only on individual scriptures, they give an overview. Each genre is explored and explained along with the inferred literary intentions and theological themes, but you won't need a degree in literature to appreciate this Bible. Terms are defined in the Glossary of Literary Terms and Genres. Short paragraphs dispersed throughout the text give further details as needed.

I like the idea of the introductory notes for the text before I read it, but cross-reference notes can be helpful and practical. This Bible would make a good supplement to a Bible with the more traditional verse by verse notations, and an excellent choice if you just want to enjoy the literary beauty of God's Word. The ESV LSB is a 'reader's Bible.'

Product Details:
Hardcover: 2016 pages
Publisher: Crossway Bibles (September 14, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1581348088
ISBN-13: 978-1581348088

Note: I received this material from Crossway Books.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sisterhood of Faith by Shirley Brosius

Do you enjoy reading about women who have made a positive impact in this world and in the lives of those around them? In Sisterhood of Faith, Shirley Brosius has compiled hundreds of interesting anecdotes about inspiring women. It’s obvious when you read the rich content that Brosius spent many hours doing meticulous research. Did you know that American hymn writer and poetess, Fanny Crosby, wrote thousands of religious poems, or that Florence Nightingale, a pioneer of modern nursing, became know as the ‘lady with the lamp’ because she checked on patients by lantern’s light? Are you aware that singer CeCe Winans was the first black woman to receive a Dove Award?

With 365 stories, this book can be used as a daily devotional, or any time you need a quick pick-me-up. Each page has a dramatic profile and concludes with a question intended to challenge the reader. Should you want to read more about a particular woman, turn to the detailed bibliography in the back of the book for more resources.

Many famous women are profiled as well as those women who have labored for little reward and served God without gaining great renown – at least in this life. The author of the book states her objective for writing the book is “to let women know that opportunities for effective Christian service are limitless. By reading of how others have used their spiritual gifts -- in the church, in the home, in the workplace, on the mission field, on the airwaves, on the firing line -- women may discover options they never dreamed of.”

I believe Shirley Brosius fulfilled her mission. I'm confident that reading about these women will inspire and motivate you.

Product Details:
Hardcover: 412 pages
Publisher: Howard Books (October 17, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 158229576X
ISBN-13: 978-1582295763


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Logged On and Tuned Out by Vicki Courtney

When I saw the title, Logged On and Tuned Out, I assumed the ‘tuned out’ referred to children who spend too much time on the computer. The author, Vicki Courtney, had other people in mind – hopelessly, tuned out parents. As the advances in technology continue to accelerate, many parents have not kept up.

Written from a mom’s perspective, this book covers IMing (If you don’t now what that IM stands for, you really need the book.), monitoring software, and cell phone usage. She gives valuable information about social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. Do you know if your child has uploaded pics to a blog or videos to YouTube?

The author observes, “There are lots of clueless, uncaring, irresponsible parents out there.” Don’t let this be said of you. Logged On and Tuned Out will clue you in. Courtney offers a nontechie crash course to better understand the technology-driven world in which our tech-savvy children live. Recommended!

Product Details:
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (September 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805446656
ISBN-13: 978-0805446654

Click HERE to sign up for Vicki's Virtue Alert.

NOTE: I received this book courtesy of White Post Media.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Effective Parenting in a Defective World - DVD Kit

Are you a parent looking for a plan to raise effective, positive, and most importantly, godly children?

Chip Ingram, a father of four, has put together a DVD kit that enables parents to formulate just such a plan. He teaches principles for effective parenting in a defective world. The first DVD opens with interviews with parents who tell their fears concerning drugs, sex, the internet, and more. Kids also give their point of view, followed by Ingram’s teaching.

Rev. Ingram is the president of Walk Thru the Bible, teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, and graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. He is personable, easy to listen to, and lectures with a sharp sense of humor. He engages the audience, encouraging parents in the difficult task of raising children in today’s culture.

The course workbook and leader’s guide are used in conjunction with the DVD’s. Each lesson lasts 25-35 minutes. Questions in the book are designed to promote discussion. When you’re through with this course, you will have learned about your role as a parent, how to teach, nurture, and discipline your children, and how to understand and implement biblical truths.

Taking into account the time spent watching the DVD, discussion, and time filling out the workbook, each lesson can be completed in less than one hour. With nine lessons, the entire course can be completed in nine hours - the equivalent of one workday.

I urge you to take advantage of the vast amount of research and the anointed teaching you will receive from this package. If used in a small group setting, because of the excellent teaching on the DVD’s, this study could be facilitated by someone of moderate teaching experience.

I highly recommend Effective Parenting in a Defective World.

NOTE: This kit was given to me by White Post Media for the purpose of receiving reviews.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Fairy Chronicles by J.H. Sweet (Illustrated by Tara Larsen Chang)

The Fairy Chronicles is a set of books written by J.H. Sweet beautifully illustrated by Tara Larsen Chang. On the front of the first book, Marigold and the Feather of Hope, The Journey Begins, it says “…where some girls are also fairies.” The fairy teams consists of normal girls who find out that they are, in fact, not so normal. They can switch to being fairies, and do many good things, go on exciting adventures, and meet other fairies and magical characters in the fairy kingdom.

The fairies each have a different gift, and work as a team to help people and solve problems. Although I’m not fond of ‘magic,’ the underlying theme is one of good versus evil – an enduring and very real problem in all of our lives.

In addition to the adventure in each book, you’re treated to detailed descriptions of each fairy, with Fairy Fun and Facts with recipes and crafts.

I liked it that the author has a sense of humor. One of the older fairies in the second book, Dragonfly and the Web of Dreams, is addicted to caffeine – a trait with which I can identify! And children will identify with the characters in these books. Each one is very well-developed with unique traits, gifts, and mentors.

I believe that our creativity is a gift given by God, and this author and illustrator team is richly blessed. The Fairy Chronicles are imaginative and extremely creative. A fun read! Although recommended for ages 7 and up, I think children from 4 and up would enjoy having the books read to them. One piece of advice - buy a bag of lemon jellybeans, as all fairies like them, you know!

Product Details:
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Language: English

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Blog Tour - Meet Tricia Goyer, Author of "A Valley of Betrayal"

Today I'd like to point you to a new book written by Tricia Goyer, A Valley of Betrayal. Here's a glimpse into The Story Behind the Novel:

A few years ago when I was researching for my fourth World War II novel, Arms of Deliverance, I came across a unique autobiography. One B-17 crewmember I read about claimed to make it out of German-occupied Belgium after a plane crash due, in part, to his skills he picked up as a veteran of The Spanish Civil War. Reading that bit of information, I had to scratch my head. First of all, I had never heard of the war. And second, what was an American doing fighting in Spain in the late 1930s? Before I knew it, I uncovered a fascinating time in history—one that I soon discovered many people know little about. This is what I learned:

Nazi tanks rolled across the hillsides and German bombers roared overhead, dropping bombs on helpless citizens. Italian troops fought alongside the Germans, and their opponents attempted to stand strong—Americans, British, Irishmen, and others—in unison with other volunteers from many countries. And their battleground? The beautiful Spanish countryside.

From July 17, 1936-April 1, 1939, well before America was involved in World War II, another battle was fought on the hillsides of Spain. On one side were the Spanish Republicans, joined by the Soviet Union and The International Brigade—men and women from all over the world who have volunteered to fight Fascism. Opposing them, Franco and his Fascist military leaders, supported with troops, machinery, and weapons from Hitler and Mussolini. The Spanish Civil War, considered the “training ground” for the war to come, boasted of thousands of American volunteers who joined to fight on the Republican side, half of which never returned home.

Unlike World War II, there is no clear line between white and black, good and evil. Both sides committed atrocities. Both sides had deep convictions they felt worth fighting and dying for.

Loyalists—also know as the Republicans were aided by the Soviet Union, the Communist movement, and the International Brigades. If not for the weapons and volunteers from these sources their fight would have ended in weeks rather than years. While many men fought side by side, their political views included that of liberal democracy, communism and socialism. The Catholic Basque Country also sided with the Republic, mainly because it sought independence from the central government and was promised this by Republican leaders in Madrid.

Nationalists—or Francoists were aided mainly by Germany and Italy. The Nationalist opposed an independent Basque state. Their main supporters were those who believed in a monarchist state and fascist interests. The Nationalist wished for Spain to continue on as it had for years, with rich landowners, the military, and the church running the country. Most of the Roman Catholic clergy supported the Nationalists, except those in the Basque region.

During the Spanish Civil war, terror tactics against civilians were common. And while history books discuss the estimated one million people who lost their lives during the conflict, we must not forget that each of those who fought, who died, had their own tales. From visitors to Spain who found themselves caught in the conflict, to the communist supporters, Basque priests, and Nazi airmen . . . each saw this war in a different light. These are the stories behind A Valley of Betrayal.

Ready to read? Click HERE to read the first chapter!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Balancing Act - a Heidi Elliot Novel by Kimberly Stuart

In Kimberly Stuart’s debut novel, Balancing Act, we find Heidi Elliot loving motherhood, but itching to get back to teaching high school Spanish. After all, how hard will it be to balance both jobs? Mothers have managed for years.

Heidi soon finds out. Even though Nora is an ‘easy’ baby, it’s overwhelming at times to balance motherhood, teaching, and being the wife she wants to be to her husband, Jake – who seems to be getting more than enough attention from one of his new clients. Throw in Heidi’s old boyfriend who just moved into her neighborhood, and you have the kind of chaotic life with which all wives and mothers can identify.

As a mom, I enjoyed the realism along with hilarious moments Ms. Stuart interspersed. I could feel Heidi’s panic, the stress, and the ever-present question of, “What do I do now?” With so many choices to make, Heidi needs more than practical advice, and finds the grace and wisdom to make right choices in an unlikely place – the dreaded “Moms’ Group” she’d felt pressured to attend.

Ms. Stuart writes about marriage and motherhood with great insight and humor. Balancing Act is smart and fun. I look forward to more novels from Kimberly Stuart.

Product Details:
Paperback: 245 pages
Publisher: Navpress Publishing Group (August 22, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1600060765
ISBN-13: 978-1600060762

NOTE: This book was given to me by Glass Road PR for the purpose of receiving reviews.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Bad Idea - a novel (with coyotes) by Todd & Jedd Hafer

BAD IDEA by Todd and Jedd Hafer takes readers on a road trip with eighteen-year old Griffin Smith. About the time I thought I knew just who the main character was, another – and sometimes disturbing, facet of his personality would be revealed.

Difficult subjects are not shied away from or addressed in a predictable way. Each chapter brought a surprise, and kept the action and the road trip moving forward – with a few unexpected detours.

I especially enjoyed the hilarious, mental riffs Griffin would take off on. Reading BAD IDEA represents a departure from my usual fare, and I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to read this book. Once I started, I had no intention of cutting my trip short.

Recommended for ages 13 and older.

Product Details:
Paperback: 311 pages
Publisher: Th1nk Books (August 22, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1576839699
ISBN-13: 978-1576839690

NOTE: This book was given to me by Glass Road PR for the purpose of receiving reviews.
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