Monday, November 16, 2015

Ishtar's Odyssey - A Story for Advent

About the book:

A new Advent family devotional from the author ofJotham's Journey! Fourth in a set of Advent adventure books for families, Ishtar's Odyssey follows the ten-year-old son of a Persian wise man as their caravan follows a star across the desert. Ishtar would just as soon stay in the comfort of the palace, but slowly he learns that there's much to see, do, and learn in this world that can't be experienced in school. He eventually meets Jotham, Bartholomew, and Tabitha as he follows his father and uncles in their search for a newborn king.
Arnold Ytreeide's family advent devotionals have become a much-loved Christmas tradition, enjoyed by multiple generations. With over 100,000 in print they includeJotham's Journey, Bartholomew's Passage, and Tabitha's Travels.

My Thoughts:

Another great book by Ytreeide to read aloud to your children during Advent. I love that there are now four books so that families can rotate through the various titles from one year to the next. This would also work great in a classroom setting as each day's reading is probably no more than a 10 minute read-aloud. 

This book was provided to me by Kregel Publications; I received no monetary compensation for my honest review.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Methuselah Project

About the Book: 

Nazi scientists started many experiments. One never ended.

Roger Greene is a war hero. Raised in an orphanage, the only birthright he knows is the feeling that he was born to fly. Flying against the Axis Powers in World War II is everything he always dreamed--until the day he's shot down and lands in the hands of the enemy.

When Allied bombs destroy both his prison and the mad genius experimenting on POWs, Roger survives. Within hours, his wounds miraculously heal, thanks to those experiments. The Methuselah Project is a success--but this ace is still not free. Seventy years later, Roger hasn't aged a day, but he has nearly gone insane. This isn't Captain America--just a lousy existence only made passable by a new-found faith. The Bible provides the only reliable anchor for Roger's sanity and his soul. When he finally escapes, there's no angelic promise or personal prophecy of deliverance, just confusion. It's 2015--and the world has become an unrecognizable place.

Katherine Mueller--crack shot, genius, and real Southern Belle--offers to help him find his way home. Can he convince her of the truth of his crazy story? Can he continue to trust her when he finds out she works for the very organization he's trying to flee?

Thrown right into pulse-pounding action from the first page, readers will find themselves transported back in time to a believable, full-colored past, and then catapulted into the present once more. The historical back-and-forth adds a constantly moving element of suspense to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

My Thoughts:

I usually don't enjoy books with flashbacks or alternating storylines but this one was an exception. I loved both storylines and especially loved how they intersected about two-thirds into the book. I don't want to risk any plot spoilers. 
I think this book will be enjoyed by those that like stories of adventure, suspense, historical fiction, science fiction, romance and more. It will be enjoyed by both male and female readers. Although this book is promoted as Christian fiction, I think people of all faiths will enjoy this story.

This book was provided to me by Kregel Publications; I received no monetary compensation for my honest review.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

90 Minutes In Heaven - Review, Preview & Giveaway

Releases in theaters everywhere September 11, 2015
Rating: PG-13 (for intense accident and injury images) 
Starring Hayden Christensen (Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith), Kate Bosworth (Remember The Titans, Blue Crush) Michael W. Smith, Fred Thompson, Dwight Yoakam, and Jason Kennedy, 90 Minutes In Heaven is based on the inspiring New York Times best-selling book that has sold 7 million copies.  

About Giving Films:
Giving Films is passionate about sharing hope-filled movies and donating ALL of their profits to charities and ministries who serve those in need.  Beginning with their first film, 90 Minutes In Heaven, Giving Films is allowing all of us to be a part of making a difference.  Anytime you go to a Giving Films movie in theaters, visit and select which charities you want to receive the profits from your ticket.  Their charitable organizations are Christian Alliance for Orphans, Faith Bridge Foster Care, Hire Heroes USA, Hope International, LifeWater, Street Grace, and World Vision.

About the book:
Pastor Don Piper died January 18, 1989 when a semi-tractor truck crushed his car.  Declared dead by the first rescue workers to arrive on the scene, Don's body lay under a tarp for the next 90 minutes.  Don's soul, meanwhile, was experiencing love, joy, and life like he'd never known before.  Don was in Heaven.  

When another pastor's prayers helped bring Don back to life, he became a living miracle!  Yet this is one miracle Don wished never happened.  Heaven's bliss was replaced by excruciating pain and emotional turmoil.  With the support and prayers of his beloved Eva, their three kids, and friends near and far, Don clings to his faith in God and fights to regain a semblance of his previous life.  The Piper family's incredible true story of perseverance and overcoming the challenges of life - and death - will bring hope and encouragement to all who see it. 

My Thoughts:
     90 Minutes in Heaven was a great book to read on a rainy Sunday afternoon. It's a book of hope, inspiration and a glimpse into heaven. Even though the author only spends a short time describing his experience in heaven, it is clear to the reader that it is beyond anything that we can imagine as wonderful and spectacular. It certainly makes one look forward to that day with joy instead of fear.
     Most of the book focuses on Don's recovery from the horrendous accident and his ministry. Although a minister prior to his "death", the experience of heaven gives his ministry a new focus. The new edition of the book includes a new preface, an update from the author, Don Piper as well as an additional chapter of Stories of Encouragement. Although the original book was published 11 yrs ago and the accident occurred over 25 yrs ago, the story is timeless. You can view the movie trailer here

Please leave a comment and a way to contact you and I will have a giveaway for a copy of this book on Monday September 14th.

    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 opininos are 100% my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for ths review and post.
     Only one entry 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.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Perfect Son


From a distance, Felix Fitzwilliam, the son of an old English family, is a good husband and father. But, obsessed with order and routine, he’s a prisoner to perfection. Disengaged from the emotional life of his North Carolina family, Felix has let his wife, Ella, deal with their special-needs son by herself.
A talented jewelry designer turned full-time mother, Ella is the family rock…until her heart attack shatters their carefully structured existence. Now Harry, a gifted teen grappling with the chaos of Tourette’s, confronts a world outside his parents’ control, one that tests his desire for independence.
As Harry searches for his future, and Ella adapts to the limits of her failing health, Felix struggles with his past and present roles. To prevent the family from being ripped apart, they must each bend with the inevitability of change and reinforce the ties that bind.
My Thoughts:
I am glad that I went looking for this book based upon the recommendation of a friend. The Perfect Son was a great summer read as it was captivating but not fluff. It kept my interest but didn't require deep thought.
I found the family very believable as they each struggled with the changes in their relationships. The speed at which the family adjusted was accelerated but that's only to be expected so as to not drag on a novel.
Thank you to Net Galley for providing me the opportunity to read and review this title.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?

Witty and thought provoking, two Vatican astronomers shed provocative light on some of the strange places where religion and science meet.

“Imagine if a Martian showed up, all big ears and big nose like a child’s drawing, and he asked to be baptized. How would you react?”                                      – Pope Francis, May, 2014

Pope Francis posed that question – without insisting on an answer! – to provoke deeper reflection about inclusiveness and diversity in the Church. But it's not the first time that question has been asked.
Brother Guy Consolmagno and Father Paul Mueller hear questions like that all the time. They’re scientists at the Vatican Observatory, the official astronomical research institute of the Catholic Church. In Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? they explore a variety of questions at the crossroads of faith and reason: How do you reconcile the The Big Bang with Genesis? Was the Star of Bethlehem just a pious religious story or an actual description of astronomical events? What really went down between Galileo and the Catholic Church – and why do the effects of that confrontation still reverberate to this day? Will the Universe come to an end? And… could you really baptize an extraterrestrial?
With disarming humor, Brother Guy and Father Paul explore these questions and more over the course of six days of dialogue. Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial will make you laugh, make you think, and make you reflect more deeply on science, faith, and the nature of the universe.

My Thoughts: 
I have to admit this book got lost in the shuffle of life (and my tbr book basket) for quite some time. I chose to pick this book up again during the heat of summer and found it to be much more readable than the first time I attempted. There are six chapters; each is a discussion between Brother Guy and Father Paul trying to explain the answer to readers. There is LOTS of science and theology along with humor; some is comprehensible and some is way over my head (just the science and theology; not the humor).
My favorite chapter was "What Happened to Poor Pluto?" I am one of those school children who memorized our solar system's 9 planets (My very educated mother just served us nine pizzas) and was not happy about Pluto's demotion. While I am still not happy about the situation; at least now I have a better understanding.
My least favorite chapter was the one about Galileo. It just didn't clarify things for me to understand what happened between Science and the Church. If anything, the chapter confused me even more. It may be this chapter is one I need to read again while taking notes and highlighting but that was just not something for enjoyable summer reading time.
Living in a town full of rocket scientists in the south, I know many folks that will better understand this book. I know one in particular to whom I will be passing along this book before sending to my daughter in Washington.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.