Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The War On Christmas by Bodie Hodge

The War on Christmas is a compilation of writings, beautiful pictures and illustrations. There are 23 chapters. Subjects range from The Nativity to Saint Nicholas.

Numerous books speak of the correlation between Christmas and 'pagan' festivals which occurred around December 17th through the 23rd. Hodge gives a very compelling argument that the origins of these Roman and Greek gods were actually the very descendants of Noah. These people lived for hundreds of years and would be looked at by their descendants (whom they were probably being outlived) as gods. I found it interesting that these "pagan" festivals were originated as celebrations of the long life of people in the Bible! As these celebrants distanced themselves from the one true God, their celebrations became more idolatrous and profane.

"The War on Christmas" is full of information that I didn't know or never thought about. At 144 pages "The War on Christmas" is short enough not to take up too much of your busy Christmas season, but powerful enough to really make the season matter.

As part of this blog tour, I was selected to talk more on Chapter 5 - When was Jesus Born?  There is a lot speculation about the exact time of Jesus' birth.  This chapter gets quite detailed about the Jewish calendar of the day and how different it is from our calendars today.  Many people get in an uproar about "when" Jesus was born.  Was it in December, when we traditionally celebrate Christmas?  Was it in the spring time?  This chapter even references other passages of Scripture that may point to Jesus actually being born in spring.  If this is so, then why do we celebrate Christmas in December?  Many believe it's to off-set the pagan festivals that occurred at that same time of year.  I have even sat through numerous theology classes that have tried to settle the debate as to "When Jesus Was Born".  Here are my feelings on the subject, whether you agree with me or not, well, that's totally up to you.

I love focusing on the birth of Jesus. Without His birth there would be no death. He came to save us. He came to die in our place for our sins on an old rugged cross. Without both, birth and death, the penalty of our sins could not be paid.  I celebrate His birth and the way in which God chose to rescue us. God came, not as a warring King but as an innocent baby. The hope of the world came to us wrapped in swaddling cloth and lying in a manger. The sinless One came to the sinful because though we did not love Him, He loved us anyway.

By focusing on what His birth and death truly mean, it really doesn't matter "when" He was born.  I simply thank God that He was born.  The fact that we celebrate December 25th, a very cold time of the year, it warms us, inside, to celebrate the One who saved us.  So maybe we celebrate Christmas, Christ's birth, on one special day of the year, we should live a lifestyle of Christmas every day.

The following link will help you find out more about the "War on Christmas" book and other stops along the book blog tour:   waronchristmasblogtour

You can watch the book trailer by following this link:  War On Christmas book trailer

I wish each of you a Very Merry Christmas. Enjoy celebrating the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Winnowing Season by Cindy Woodsmall

I have read many of Cindy Woodsmall's books. I like her style of writing very much. There is always some interesting and sometimes suspenseful things going on in the lives of the characters to keep you reading and reading until the wee hours of the morning. Her writing style has you involved in every detail of the book for hours. 

This is definitely one of my favorites from Cindy Woodsmall. I've read several of her books, but this one really topped the rest, at least for me. I loved the character development, the real thoughts and feelings of the characters, the unique way each handled different situations. I felt like Woodsmall really brought the characters to life. Not only that, but there was a lot more controversy in this book than I personally have found in most Amish books--which I liked. There were all kinds of situations and dilemmas that arose, threatening each character in a different way. The ending impressed me as well and left me wanting to get my hands on the next book to find out what happens next. Definitely recommended!

The Winnowing Season is the second book in the Vines and Orchards Series by Cindy Woodsmall. She is  my favorite author! The Winnowing Season continues where A Season for Tending left off, with the families getting ready to move to Maine to start their new orchard. They encounter many struggles in their move and their time settling into their new home, and friendships and relationships are tested. As in the first book, I felt like I really knew the characters personally, and I was riveted to the story throughout the entire book. I am looking forward to the third book in the series! 

I wish to thank Blogging For Books for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wishing On Willows by Katie Ganshert

I was very excited at the chance to read and review Wishing On Willows by Katie Ganshert, as this was a new author to me.  The story line sounded wonderful.  My disappointment came as I realized this was not the first book in this series.  The publisher failed to mention this in the description.  It would have been a lot easier to follow had I read the first book.  Often times, you can pick up a second novel in a series and catch up if you didn't read the first, but not so much with this book.  It was a well told story, but I would suggest reading the first book, Wildflowers in Winter first.

Normally, I don't include the publisher's description with my reviews but in this case I thought it was necessary to give my blog readers a chance to better understand the story.

WaterBrook Multnomah through their Blogging for Books program supplied the complimentary copy of this book for my review.

Publisher Description: A three-year old son, a struggling café, and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband. As the proud owner of Willow Tree Café in small town Peaks, Iowa,  she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the sense of purpose and community the work provides.
So when developer Ian McKay shows up in Peaks with plans to build condos where her café and a vital town ministry are located, she isn’t about to let go without a fight.

As stubborn as he is handsome, Ian won’t give up easily. His family’s business depends on his success in Peaks. But as Ian pushes to seal the deal, he wonders if he has met his match. Robin’s gracious spirit threatens to undo his resolve, especially when he discovers the beautiful widow harbors a grief that resonates with his own.

With polarized opinions forming all over town, business becomes unavoidably personal and Robin and Ian must decide whether to cling to the familiar or surrender their plans to the God of Second Chances.

In The Shadow of Sinai by Carole Towriss

In The Shadow of Sinai by Carole Towriss, we are transported back in time to the Exodus.  This is a retelling of a bible favorite told from the point of view of a little mentioned bible character - Bezalel, a Hebrew artisan slave in the palace of Pharaoh.  Bezalel is only mentioned briefly in the Scriptures, but played a major role in the crafting and creating the Tabernacle.  This story was told in such a way that it draws you into the heart of the story - you not only see this story from a new perspective, but you are literally transported back to that time - you can "see", hear and feel the heartbeat of the time.  The descriptions throughout the story bring it to life. I was drawn into this story immediately and could not put the book down.  This was a fantastic debut book and I can't wait to read upcoming books by this talented author.  If you're a fan of biblical fiction, this is a must read!  Well done!  I highly recommend this book to all book lovers. (A very nice added bonus - Carole autographed the copy I was given and even included a nice personalized note - thanks so much Carole).

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Cross-Focused Reviews and DeWard Publishing for my review.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Come to the Table is the latest book in Neta Jackson’s Souled Out Sisters series.  I loved the Yada Yada books and I love the Souled Out Sisters books! This one did not disappoint! 

This story follows the lives of members of the "Souled Out" community church - particularly roommates Kat, Bree, Nick, Rochelle (and her son Conny).  Starting up where "Stand By Me" left off, Kat Davies and her friends have welcomed Rochelle and Conny (the homeless mother and son that God brought into their lives) into their apartment and lives. But, things are never as easy as they should be. With new people in the household, relationships change and have to be re-defined. Nick works toward being a pastor, Kat continues to volunteer at the summer tutoring program while applying for a teaching position, and Bree keeps up with her large family while working at the coffee shop. 

God has promised "that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). This can't be more true for this characters in this book. They find His will for their lives and they flourish.
I love that this series challenges people to get involved in their community and reach out to those around you.

Neta Jackson has written an engrossing tale about real people who are struggling to discern God’s will in their lives.  The characters are very human, and flawed; just like most of us are.  That is why I think it is easy to relate to them. She has a way of drawing her readers in from the start, and making you want to continue reading the book, and the series!  

Thanks to BookSneeze for the complimentary copy of this book.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action by Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic, a young man born without arms and legs inspires millions through his stories of faith, perseverance, and triumph over adversity. In this book, his second, he gives a glimpse into both his personal and professional life.  Nick also shares from the lives of others he's encountered along the way showing the power that comes from stepping out in true faith.  This book is an inspiring read, with an overall positive message of believing in yourself, stepping out in faith, and trusting that "with God, all things are possible."
This book illustrates what it means not to pick yourself up when you fall down.  His shares of the time he shut-down, depressed over circumstances beyond his control - it was a very real and powerful testimony of a flawed human being who admitted weakness and ultimately re-gained his strength through his faith in God.  The story of how he met, dated and ultimately married his wife was worth reading the entire book alone - truly beautiful!

I wish to thank WaterBrook Multnomah for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book for my review.