Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Most Misused Stories in the Bible by Eric Bergerhuff

Think you know the stories from the Bible? Perhaps your memory is wrong or the story was presented in a way that was misunderstood.

Eric Bergerhuff thinks he has the stories that most often are misused and wants to clarify the issue.

One of the biggest things that I sat with after reading this book was how many of the so-called misused stories I already understood. I didn't know that so many people thought the stories in this book were meant to be used in the way he presents them.

You'll find the Old Testament stories like David and Goliath and apparently many people think it's a story of David overcoming his fear.

Up next is Gideon and his fleece, Cain and Able, Jonah and the big fish, the woman caught in adultery, Jesus not doing miracles in his hometown, Zacchaeus, the parable of the sower, the "three" wise men (I actually knew that many people assumed it was three because of the three gifts named), and a few others.

Bergerhuff does a good job explaining the misunderstanding (even if I didn't have them for most of the stories) and then he attempts to reveal the reality or the true "point" of the story. Some of them go nicely - Jonah not wanting the Ninevites to have the opportunity to repent, and what Jesus wrote in the sand. Others left me a little let down.

Some of that let down might have been because of my upbringing and the lessons I received as we studied the Bible.

All in all, this is an okay book. There are a lot of stories that are covered and information provided that may make you sit back and think differently about some of the more well-known stories of the Bible.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Bethany House Publishing.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Firstborn by Tosca Lee

This book can give you a ride for your mind's money. It is imperative that you read the first book of this series, Progeny before diving into this one.

We're talking bizarre locations, nicknames, and characters along with blitzing plotting that will have you either glued to your seat or absolutely confused out of your gourd.

Main character, Audra is remembering and she has to kill the Historian.

It will be difficult for some to keep up with the speed and transitions to such weird locations. I remember having a difficult time with the first book and this one doesn't let up on the weirdness.

There are so many twists and deceptions that you will probably have to read this book over again.

Tosca has a quality about her writing. Her fan base is rabid but some other readers can't quite grasp what they're reading.

Try out Progeny first then buckle up for Firstborn.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Howard Books.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Shattered by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes

Now this is what I call a decent political book about the failure that was Secretary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.

What went on behind the scenes when Bernie Sanders was on the move? How in the world does someone with such extensive political background respond effectively to Donald Trump and his unanticipated rise?

This book does a wonderful job of giving us a snapshot of that look.

I walked away from this book with a confirmation that the problem, while there many within Clinton's journey, was mainly with Clinton herself. And that is a shame because she has such a depth of political insight.

What she doesn't have is the ability to connect with the American people on a level that would energize and inspire.

Part of the book that I found interesting was the divide between the "old school" political hacks and the analytics-minded millennials. "Follow the data/numbers" seemed to be the rule of law for her team.

I'm always fascinated with political behind-the-scenes books that remain civil. This books does a great job with that. If you think there is a bias from the authors, it didn't come through too hard with their reporting, as I read it.

The poor team just couldn't figure out what was going on in the United States and why their candidate couldn't break through.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Crown Publishing.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Life After by Katie Ganshert

The trend is girls on a train it seems. Katie has taken that concept, mixed it in with the opening shot of the movie Unbreakable and fleshed it out in an enjoyable manner.

There is an explosion on a train that kills everyone but one person. She, of course, is dealing with the whys and not wanting to have much to do with the collective "remembering" of the town around her.

But there are forces at work that prevent her from remaining a recluse.

Ganshert kept me interested in the story and the characters even while I freely admit this isn't the kind of book I'd typically pick up to read. She unfolded the reveals and the twists in a very smooth fashion. It almost felt like reading an episode of LOST and I genuinely wanted to find out what was going to happen with Autumn, Paul and his family, and their friends.

Her style of writing is fantastic. It didn't feel like an episode of any tv show on The CW nor a soap opera. While there is certainly drama and romantic "tints" to this story, it by no means felt forced or simply inserted to make the story. It felt real, in the midst of a horrific experience, the emotions and mental gymnastics felt true.

I enjoyed the story and the journey the characters traveled. I would recommend this to my friends to read as a way to help them exercise their deeper, spiritual questions about God, destiny, purpose, and life.

Great stuff by Katie Ganshert.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by WaterBrook Publishing

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Lies We Believe About God by Wm. Paul Young

Depending on how you responded to The Shack, Crossroads, and Eve, you will either resonate with this non-fiction book by Young or you will not dare to read it for fear of heresy.

I remember when The Shack came out and people either hated it for what they called false teaching, or they loved it because of the presentation of God interacting with a hurting father.

Me? I was more in the lines of, "eh there are good parts and some parts that I wasn't too sure on."

That was my feeling when reading this book. There were parts when I was nodding and thinking, "this is pretty good stuff" and then he would write something that felt like it took a sharp turn to the right or left and I was left thinking, "Why did you go and do that?"

There are some really good thoughts in this book about some bizarre and hurtful beliefs about God that people have adopted. Young does a fantastic job at going deep in this words and evoking depth without sounding like a college professor.

Then there are some serious questionable aspects to this book as well. It's almost like Young is toeing the line of what you typically think about God and then slightly pulling on the theology string to get people to ponder their held beliefs.

It is a good book to read and digest and discuss. So in that aspect, this is a good read. But I would add the warning that some of his conclusions are a bit off base for me.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Atria Books.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Game of Thorns by Doug Wead

I did not enjoy reading this book.

When I read a political book that touts "the inside story", I want to read the inside story of the political machine. I'm not at all interested in pulling out every single negative story about President Bill Clinton. While it may have a bearing on Hillary's campaign, I did not see the connection. I felt like Doug was simply bringing all the horrible things as a reminder as to why Hillary is such a horrible person.

That section of the book did nothing for me in wanting to read about how the Clinton campaign operated. The next section about the Trump campaign was all sunshine and goodness as if President Trump and his team could do no wrong. Any mistakes or missteps were portrayed as minuscule.

This is not a book written in civility. This is a hit-piece against the Clintons and a praise-piece for Trump.

Do not read this book if you're looking for an unbiased analysis of the Trump vs Clinton contest.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Center Street Publishing.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Minute of Vision for Men by Roger Patterson

Who doesn't enjoy a quick devotional? What kind of a man doesn't want purpose?

This little, thick devotional is just what the pastor's need to get to every fella in their congregation. Men, you need to get this book and read it daily. The readings don't take very long (possibly a minute, hence the title) and in that short time, it packs a punch for purpose and goals.

Keep it in your car, beside your bed. Wherever you can keep at it. It will cover all the topics every kind of man find important.

You won't be disappointed with this book.

This devotional was provided for review, at no cost, by Tyndale Publishing.