Thursday, January 23, 2014

My New Devotional

Think 4:8

     Tommy Newberry and Lyn Smith

The best-selling author of The 4:8 Principle and 40 Days to a Joy-filled Lifereturns with a special edition for teens.
In just 40 days, teens can change their minds and their attitudes. Tommy Newberry, together with writer Lyn Smith, takes teens from thinking negatively to thinking positively, which will change their entire outlook on life. Not only will this devotional make teens think more positively and have a better attitude, this devotional also points teens to Scripture and helps them understand more about God. The devotions not only help teens understand how their thought life determines their perspective, but they also help them focus their minds on godly truths so they can live out their faith.

This book is the perfect way for teens to get a new attitude and start living a fulfilling, joy-filled life in just 40 days.

Focus on the Good Stuff!

Your mind is a powerful tool. What you choose to think about and focus on today can impact the rest of your life. So take forty days to get your thoughts rolling in the right direction—to help you reach your goals and live the successful, purposeful life God has planned just for you. When you follow this forty-day game plan, you will start erasing weak, unhelpful thoughts and replacing them with strong, productive thoughts.
Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. Philippians 4:8 (The Living Bible)

   I picked this devotional because I loved the cover and what it stood for. I find that living a joy filled life is something that most people seem to neglect, sure they're happy but they miss that deep inner fulfillment. Each day has a new story piece to go with it, nonfiction about the authors' life. Each section is followed by a speaking bit, a bit for the day, a chance to write about what that day is talking about and instructions on how to share it with someone to keep you honest. I found that this devotional gave me the understanding I needed to experience joy on a daily basis.

You can access four free chapters (days that is) right here:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Westward Ho!

Love by the Letter

     Melissa Jagears

Dex Stanton has never had much time for book learning. He's been too busy helping to provide for his family. Now that he's heading west, Dex is hoping to start a family of his own. However, his attempt to acquire a mail-order bride fails miserably when the lady writes back ridiculing his terrible spelling. Rachel Oliver may be the last person he wants to know what a dunce he is, but she's also the smartest woman in town--and it's clear he needs her help.

Rachel Oliver has lingered in town for three years secretly mooning over Dex Stanton, but now she's done. If the fool wants to write to a mail-order bride company, so be it. Once she begins giving Dex lessons, however, Rachel realizes she may not be prepared to give up just yet.

As their time together runs short, can two of the most stubborn people in town set aside their pride long enough to find love?

     Love by the Letter was wonderful! I got so caught up in the characters and the story so quickly I'm sure my head spun. Oh! It was just lovely the story is told from both Dex's and Rachel's point of view. I enjoyed that because seeing the same story and experiences from a masculine and feminine point of view gave the story a kind of body. It gave it life without repetition which is not easily done. I have to tell you that is is only a novella. The story ended so quickly that I screamed. This book could easily be turned into a full length story. Mmmm.

Love by the Letter is currently free as an e-book, and can be accessed here:

A Princess Without A Country

The Heretic Queen

     Michelle Moran

In ancient Egypt, a forgotten princess must overcome her family’s past, and remake history.

The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the 18th dynasty’s royal family— all with the exception of Nefertari, niece of the reviled former queen Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. A relic of a previous reign, Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But all of this changes when she is taken under the wing of pharaoh’s aunt, and brought to the Temple of Hathor where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen.

Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the crown prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.

     The Heretic Queen was a fascinating story. I really enjoyed learning about the royal Egyptian culture and the emphasis that was placed on status. Nefertari in the story goes through a period of maturity taught to her by her aunt, who is the high priestess of one of Egypt's temples. I thought it was a unique touch to include some of the instructions given during that maturing period in the book. I find that many times I am excluded from the maturing process and enjoyed seeing it in this book. 

     When I picked up this book, I assumed from what I knew of it that it would be biblical based, and I was grossly mistaken. The synopsis I found to be really very misleading. I naturally assumed that the Israelites led by Moses were the greatest exodus Egypt ever had to face. A man named Ahmoses does show up in the story three or four times but he deals almost exclusively with Nefertari. There are a number of other oddities that make it really very confusing from a Biblical standpoint, but if that is ignored and treated as fiction about Nefertari than it is really good.  

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Spiritual Warfare

Cloak of the Light    (Wars of the Realm #1)

Chuck Black 

Drew is caught in a world of light - just inches away from the dark

What if...there was a world beyond our vision, a world just fingertips beyond our reach? What if...our world wasn’t beyond their influence?

Tragedy and heartache seem to be waiting for Drew Carter at every turn, but college offers Drew a chance to start over—until an accident during a physics experiment leaves him blind and his genius friend, Benjamin Berg, missing.

As his sight miraculously returns, Drew discovers that the accident has heightened his neuron activity, giving him skills and sight beyond the normal man. When he begins to observe fierce invaders that no one else can see, he questions his own sanity, and so do others. But is he insane or do the invaders truly exist?

With help from Sydney Carlyle, a mysterious and elusive girl who offers encouragement through her faith, Drew searches for his missing friend, Ben, who seems to hold the key to unlocking this mystery. As the dark invaders close in, will he find the truth in time?

     When I picked up this book, I understood it to be Young Adult Christian Fiction. I was expecting Drew to be young, maybe in high school in a lab doing a stupid experiment and it going wrong. Totally off base, Drew at the start of the book is a mere ten years old. In the next 50 pages he is a senior in high school and has experienced more trauma in those fifty pages than most people experience in ten years. It just never stops. It made the beginning of the book feel very rushed because every ten pages another bad thing would happen to him. Once I got past that bit it didn't feel quite as rushed.

     It did take me a while to understand how the book related to Christian Fiction but once I did it was all I could do not to pound the book into understanding what is happening. The writing style was a bit odd and hard to adjust to, but once you got past the rushed bit it became easier.

     I cannot wait for the second book to come out. When I finished the book and I realized that it was the first book in the series and hadn't even come out yet, I cried. Mr. Black at the back of the book goes through chapter by chapter and supports the choices he made with Bible verses. It was actually quite cool and well thought out.