reviews i write, thoughts i have…

The Chronological Guide to the Bible review
April 7, 2010, 1:41 am
Filed under: Non-Fiction Review, Thomas Nelson Reviews

Reading the Bible chronologically can be crazy,  you’ll skipping through a book and then going back and forth between I Kings and II Chronicles.  It’s insane, but it’s great for learning ancient and church history.
However, it can be dry, very dry, and I’ve been tempted to skim my way through the Bible many times, especially with the two books mentioned above!

That’s why I’m totally in love with this awesome resource!
This book truly helps to bring what can otherwise be extremely dull, interesting! And it can be used with a bible you already have!
Thomas Nelson is one of the publishers who have always set a standard for Bible guides and resources, but i think this is one of the best I’ve seen. 
It  appeals to my visual learning with maps, charts and outlines a plenty. The Bible is divided into 9 “Epochs”. 6 to divide  the Old Testament and 3 to divide the New Testament.  Because they use this format, and since it’s been around for a long time, it helps the reader to get to know their way through the Bible.
It has a very simple format, and the references of what to read are within the text of the book, with a commentary to correspond with each passage.
There’s a lot of information packed into this 200+ page book, but it’s still a concise resource that I’ll be keeping on hand for some time to come.

Thanks to Booksneeze for providing this book for me to review!


Jane Austen By Peter Leithart
March 1, 2010, 7:28 pm
Filed under: Non-Fiction Review, Thomas Nelson Reviews | Tags:

Thomas Nelson has just published their first collection of what they call “Christian Encounters” The first collection of these neat little biographies are on John Bunyan, St. Patrick, Isaac Newton, Winston Churchill, and my favorite, Jane Austen!

I Admit, I’ve read a lot of books about Jane Austen, about her country, about her times, about her influences and about her family and even “Jane Austen for Dummies”! Some are are dry, and seem to be just facts, others tend to go off the deep end and elaborate a bit too much, especially on her short-lived romances.Very, very, few make her life seem real and tangible to the reader.

To get to the point, I never have read one quite as enjoyable as this!  At times this book reads like a novel, and yet it is full of (interesting – and verifiable!) facts and details. He’s not one to drone on about the trivial, but he doesn’t ignore the little nuances of her all too brief life. He also realizes his audience  have probably not only experienced Jane Austen’s books but also the many other variations on them. He mentions these, but doesn’t take pages and pages to discuss this, just makes the reader aware of what he calls “Janeia.” 🙂

I am a Jane Austen ADDICT, (as in, ahem, STALKER!!) so I know my stuff, and this guy has shown me that knows his too!

BIG thanks to the wonderful people at Book Sneeze for providing this book for review!

True for You, But not for Me by Paul Copan
February 15, 2010, 4:15 pm
Filed under: Bethany House, Non-Fiction Review

about the book (

Learn to respond to one of the most common objections about Christianity – that it claims to be the only faith. The message of relativism and religious plurality is very popular and its argument is commonly accepted. Here you will find clear explanations to counter those arguments, including: the absolute quality of relativism, the exclusivity of inclusivity, the uniqueness of Jesus, and, “What about the unsaved who have never heard?”.

My review:

This is an interesting book, Paul Copan has worked to compile the most common arguments against Christianity and writes a sort of rebuttal system to use against each.

However, i do think this book could possibly end up being very dangerous.

I could very easily see this becoming a  “translation” book for well-meaning Christians to just start flipping through the pages – just like tourists in a foreign country.

I don’t think this is the smartest nor most effective way to share Christ’s love. I don’t want to argue my “cause” – just live it. In many ways i find it more enjoyable and not to mention  long-lasting for a person to immerse themselves in another country. You learn the little intricacies and traditions of a culture that had you taken a more brash approach, you would never had found. I think it would be a wise thing for Christian apologists to do as well.

If this book is the sort of thing you’re looking for, a straight-forward, focused on “winning” the sinner rather then befriending, this is a good book. However, it is not what I’m looking for, i would rather have my discussions of faith be an organic offshoot of a deep friendship.

The Word of Promise, NKJV New Testament Audio Bible
February 14, 2010, 12:22 am
Filed under: Non-Fiction Review, Thomas Nelson Reviews

The Word of Promise New Testament is a well-produced Audio Bible. There are many, many different Bibles on Audio but this is one of the best I’ve come across. It’s full of famous and recognizable voices (which may or may not be a bonus depending on your viewpoint). Because the voices The Word of Promise uses are, for the most part, actors, it means it never feels amateurish. This particular edition I’m reviewing comes with a travel cd case to carry all 20 discs of audio, plus a behind the scenes bonus disc.

The only “bad” thing about this audio Bible is the music, at times it was too loud for the voices and then became distracting from the verses being spoken. It’s beautiful music – even though it repeats, a lot, but was overpowering  for my taste.

It would be a great listen for long car trips or even on the commute to work! I think even the entire family would enjoy this Audio Bible!

The Gospel According to LOST by Chris Seay
January 12, 2010, 5:11 pm
Filed under: Non-Fiction Review, Thomas Nelson Reviews

I love the series LOST, LOVE it! It took me a while to get into the show, and I still don’t get all the mysteries of the island, but it’s still one of my favorite T.V. shows. So, when I heard about Chris Seay’s book The Gospel According to LOST, I knew I had to read it.

While it is a little strange he didn’t wait until the end of the series to write this book, it is a book I think will still have relevance at the end of the 6th season.

He discusses many of the most beloved characters, and draws parallels from within the show to the Bible, in a much more Biblical (and less religious) way than in the show itself.
Don’t worry about being literally “lost” in this book, If you’ve never seen this show before, Chris Seay is thorough and detailed, He retells the back story of every major character in the show. There are a few spoilers here and there, but not too many to worry about ruining the show for you.
Loved this book just as much as i do the Series and I’ll certainly be passing this around to the other “losties” i know.

(Side note:Scott Erickson created some amazing artwork for this book, which you can check out here : )

The God Who Smokes by Timothy J. Stoner
December 9, 2009, 4:13 am
Filed under: Navpress Review, Non-Fiction Review

The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditations on FaithNavpress has always been one of my top publishing houses, I can always rely on them for producing some excellent books, both fiction and Non-Fiction. They’ve published some of my very favorite books.
The God who Smokes has only reaffirmed that statement. Stoner is one of the few middle ground speakers on the topic the Emergent Church.  He addresses the more debatable things Rob Bell (pastor of  Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, NOOMA dvds) brings up in his sermons, videos and books. I enjoy a lot of what Bell says, but other things he believes and states, I can’t help but question. Stoner confronts those issues without attacking any person in particular or many of the good, sound theology to come from emergent pastors.
He discusses some of the hard issues in church today. He’s not some Authoritative figure turning his nose up at these problems. He shares some very personal experiences, which are sincere and sometimes heartbreaking. He shares his thoughts on justice and righteousness, not just for the “pretty people” but for the ones who are hard to love, both for us as the individual, and us as the Church. It’s written in a friendly, very accessible manner that allowed me to read it in days, never wanting to put it down. And that says a lot considering it’s the holidays!

Take Your Best Shot
December 9, 2009, 3:24 am
Filed under: Non-Fiction Review, Thomas Nelson Reviews had the privilege of seeing Austin Gutwein speak amidst a crowd of screaming (quite enthusiastically i might add) girls at a recent stop of the Revolve tour.I was really excited when i received this book from Thomas Nelson a few days later. Conferences are always a whirlwind and it’s nice to get a “refresher” after the conference is over.
Austin gives pre-teens and teens the hope that they can make a difference in the world, whether by doing something small or by being part of something huge.
Austin started Hoops of Hope, a foundation that supports international AIDS relief, and education in Africa. How do they do it? By challenging kids to have a sponsored shoot-athon, to get a donator for each basket they will shoot.  He was only a nine-year old who loved playing basketball.

And Take Your Best Shot tells that story. His book does not necessarily follow a linear timeline, but then it’s not a random order either. We read a delightful telling of his journey to being the founder of something that raised over a million dollars. I love the Austin is continually humble, and is repeated saying that none of it would be possible without other people, and most importantly, God.  This book would be most impactful to teens, but it certainly doesn’t exclude adults! He provides both encouragement to get out an make a difference and the education to go about it in the right way.

Many thanks to Thomas Nelson’s book review bloggers program for providing this book for me to review.