Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Stories We Tell - A Review

A Review

“The Stories We Tell” accomplished three thing for me as I read.

First, it opened my eyes to TV shows and movies that I had missed.  This is not surprising, given the limited number of hours most of us have to watch TV or see movies and the growing library of material that directors, producers, and televisors are making available to the public.  In at least one case, it directed me to a movie that I just read about in another book (a mystery) I had recently finished.  I have added it to my “to be seen” list.

Second, the book demonstrates how today’s media echos Biblical truth - whether it intends to or not.  Moving through the great themes of the salvation story, the author demonstrates how modern cultural media replays those themes on the either the big or small screen that consumes so much of our time.  The need for God’s grace is evident not just in our lives, but in the lives of those we watch on TV or in our favorite movies.

Finally, the book provides a model that can be used by anyone who critiques the work of others - whether it be TV, movies, books, video games, etc.  Most of what we read or watch will reflect what God has trying to show us throughout history and in his word.  We see the glory of His creation, the result of the fall, offers of grace and the result of accepting or rejecting that grace.

The book is recommended for the pastor or layman who is attempting examine the media or using it to teach Biblical principles.  The book may also have a place in the college classroom for those attempting to understand 21st century culture as it is played out in the media where a student is attempting to apply Biblical principles in evaluating that culture.  It is one of the best book I have seen written for a general audience exploring culture and Biblical truth.

This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

A Review

In just over two years, I have fallen in love with Henery Press and the Hen House (using their terminology) of editors and publication assistants.  Each book is a cool, well-written, mystery that leaves the reader wanting more - from the author and from the publisher.

Fatal Brushstroke is no different.  Rory Anderson and a Pomeranian, Mitzi, discover a finger attached to a body buried in her backyard.  The nosey neighbor, Mrs. Maldonado, Detective Green (no first name), and her mother, Arika, all contribute to a lively story in the small artsy, crafty, village of Vista Beach.  All of this would not have been a problem except Detective Green is not sure of her guilt or innocence and Police Chief Marshall knows she is guilty (after all, Rory Anderson was guilty until proven innocent - yeah, there is a story there, too.)  It is in the midst of “Arika’s Scrap ‘n Paint” (part art store, gallery, studio, and school) that pieces of the crime begin to come together.  

For the reader looking for a fun, cozy, mystery to use up time during the relaxing autumn months, Fatal Brushstroke may just fill the bill.  It was a pleasure to review this fun book from start to finish.

This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Saving Paradise - A Review

Saving Paradise

Mike Bond

A Review

I found the plot to be interesting and understandable. By including a bit of hawaiian history and culture, this reader found himself sympathetic with the native culture - much like he has with the native American Indian.

On the other hand, I found the first person perspective that the author uses, at times, difficult to follow. With no transition or indication (a heading or icon) he would jump from one scene to another, catching this reader with a moment of "Uh?", before he caught up with the story and action. The use of the first person also seems to allow for an excuse for poor use of English at times - not just in spoken English. The book could have used some professional editing.

If the potential reader wants an intriguing story whose writing sometimes is distracting, this book will be one you will want to read.

This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, August 4, 2014

NIV Journey Bible - A Review


A Review

I find myself regularly reviewing study Bibles and devotional Bibles.  The NIV Journey Bible is one of the most helpful devotional Bibles I have seen in the last few years.  It is well-rounded enough that it will become useful to the new believer, the growing Christian, or the lifelong follower of Christ seeking ways to revitalize their lives.

As has been noted by other reviewers, each book is surveyed using the following the outline:

The Bottom Line
Central Ideas
Outline (not included in every book)

An example, from the book of Genesis demonstrates where the book fits into the history of the world and with God’s interaction with His creation:

Timeline - Journey Bbile.jpg
Even more impressive to me are the themes that are used to guide the various notes included in the text of this edition:

• Knowing Yourself
• Managing Resources
• Addressing Questions
• Strengthening Relationships
• Discovering God
• Why Jesus?
• Reasons to Believe

These seven themes are appropriate for Christians at any point of their journey - as points to begin or be challenged in their Christian growth.  

The notes are well-indexed by their type, but there does not seem to be general topical index that would allow the reader to draw from the notes as a whole - each index will need to be individually searched.  Though this is a common problem with study and devotional Bibles, it could be easily correct with an on-line index made available to those purchasing the book.  

This Bible is full of additional helps: topical studies, brief surveys of major events in Bible history, reading plans, etc.  

The book would make a wonderful gift for a new believer or a pastor who is in the midst of their career.  I would also suggest that it would make a worthwhile personal purchase for the Christian wanting to grow from wherever they are in their walk with the Lord.

This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.