Friday, March 25, 2016

The Calling by Rachelle Dekker

I've been super excited to share my review of this book with all of my readers! Ever since I read The Choosing (Book 1 in this series) I've been hooked and not so patiently waiting for the next book.

This book centers around Carrington once again, but also her new husband Remko Brant, and their tiny daughter. Life has changed quite a bit for them over the past year. Remko has left his job with the Authority and now he and his family live on the outskirts of the city as followers of Aaron.

It has become increasingly more dangerous just being followers of Aaron with the recently appointed President, Damien Gold. Rescue missions have become especially dangerous now with the City Watch guards closing in. Remko must learn to step outside his comfort zone to defeat Damien Gold, and give control to the only one who can help him.

This book is a little different than I expected since it focused more on Remko than on Carrington, but I think that's what made it a really great book. Amazing books keep readers guessing until the last page, and I think Rachelle definitely achieved that with this book. I had a hard time actually putting the book down.

I also think The Calling fits right into the whole dystopian movement right now. This book could easily be for young adults or adults, and appeals to a wide range of readers! I rate it as 5 stars.

Check out Rachelle Dekker's bio and an exclusive interview with Tyndale Publishers below!

About the Author: 
The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. The Choosing is her critically acclaimed debut novel. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Visit her online at rachelledekker.com.

1. In the book you talk a lot about surrendering to fear. What does this look like and how does this help us to not be afraid? 

I think sometimes the natural reaction to fear is to hide from it, or try and push it away. It’s the idea that if we can’t see it then it must not be there, but we all know that unless dealt with the unseen things often come back to bite us. The only way to face fear is to walk through it; surrendering to Father God and letting Him reminder us of our true identity. Only then do we really see that the light within us is always greater than the fear we face.

2. The theme of identity from The Choosing continues in The Calling. Carrington reminds herself, “When you know who you truly are, you realize there is no war left to fight at all.” How does this statement apply to our Christian faith?

For me this is simply a reminder that God is still God. Regardless of my circumstance or how I view the world, the Father is constant and hasn’t changed. He has already won the fight, already conquered death, already set me free. It’s only when I forget who He calls me and who He is that I feel the need to fight against life instead of surrendering to Him and letting Him be God.

3. What do you hope readers will take away from the story? 

I hope they take a moment to see themselves as children of the Father. I hope they see that true freedom and fearlessness rest in surrendering, and that when they stand with the Father than nothing can stand against them. There is incredible peace in that truth, and I hope, like I am beginning the experience, that readers feel that same peace.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Jesus: Understanding His Death and Resurrection

In preparation for Easter this Sunday, I had the privilege of reading and reviewing "Jesus: Understanding His Death and Resurrection" by Kay Arthur and David Arthur. It's a 6 week, no-homework Bible Study perfect for small groups, Sunday school lessons, or even a family Bible study.

Just as the cover implies, this is a very simple study to work through. The book is somewhat small in size measuring approximately 8 inches tall. It includes 88 pages of study meant to be broken down into 6 sessions, but can also be divided into 8 or 10 weeks if need be.

The book begins with simple instructions on how to follow the study. It then goes through the Passover from Exodus, and how it helped to set God's people free. It then explains the Passover from the New Testament and how it will be different from any other Passover before.

What's really cool about this study is that it's pretty much all-in-one. What I mean by that is that it includes the Bible verses in it's text. There is an "Observation" period where the leader reads through the Bible verses, and then the "Discussion" where the leader asks questions about what he just read. There are also small sections called "Insight" where it explains certain parts of the story that readers may not be familiar with. At the end of the chapter is "Wrap It Up", which is pretty self explanatory.

All in all, this is a very simple Bible Study that's easy to understand. I think it would be excellent for a family Bible Study considering the way it's set up. It explains things very well, so it would be ideal for someone who has children 10 and older. I rate this book as 5 stars.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Glimmer Girls London Art Chase by Natalie Grant

"Glimmer Girls: London Art Chase" by Natalie Grant is the first book in the Glimmer Girls book series. This series is aimed at girls between the ages of 8-12 or grade levels 3rd-7th.

In the Glimmer Girls London adventure, twin 10 year old sisters: Maddie and Mia and their little sister, Lulu are on vacation with their parents for one of their mom's famous concerts. One day, while touring the National Gallery, Maddie believes she sees a thief steal a painting. She leads her sisters and nanny, Miss Julia on a wild goose chase to the thief's hideout to try to solve the mystery.

There are so many positive elements in this book, I have no problem letting my daughters read it! One fun element of the book is the mention of many actual landmarks in London. Miss Julia, their nanny often shares small tidbits about the places they visit, so I think that's kind of fun to learn about while reading.

I only have one negative comment about this book, and that's about Maddie sneaking out of the hotel without her parent's knowledge. In this book, it doesn't really explain that she even got punished for lying or sneaking out, but it does mention it in the next book. Still, I think it's an excellent conversation starter for parents to have with their children. I read my daughter's books before I let them read them, so I know what kind of material they are going to come across. When they are finished, it gives us a wonderful opportunity to discuss what she liked or didn't like about the book, and anything they might have questions about.

I give this book 5 stars. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Collage this Journal by Eleanor Shakespeare

"Collage this Journal" by Eleanor Shakespeare is a fun and creative way to journal your thoughts, dreams, goals, and even your past and where you come from! The basis of this journal is to collage pictures you have printed off or cut out of magazines and create your own sort of montage of your life. 

The pages are fun and personable. The backgrounds are different on each page and present a different collaging/writing prompt. The beginning of the book explains just how it works and what tools work best. There is a place to put a photograph of yourself as well as your name. From there, it's purely creativity. Prompts include:
"What would fall out of your time capsule in 100 years?"
"Create falling leaf shapes of things you want to leave behind."
"Collage yourself as a superhero. What would your powers be?"
Collage a paper chain of people you connect with."
"Pack only your most treasured possessions for the desert island."

I think "Collage this Journal" is a fun way to get you thinking. It would be appropriate for middle school age on up to adult. The book is relatively small. It would fit nicely in a bag, purse or backpack. The cover is a nice thicker softcover and seems like it will hold up very well. The book itself holds more than 50 collage prompts. I think this is a fun little journal and would definitely recommend it to others. I rate it as 5 stars.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"A Royal Easter Story" by Jeanna Young and Jacqueline Johnson

"A Royal Easter Story" by Jeanna Young and Jacqueline Johnson is an adorable Princess story aimed at girls between the ages of 2 and 6.

Princesses Joy, Grace, Faith, Charity and Hope are busy preparing for the Easter celebration in the next village. The girls pack up all their best dishes and supplies for the Easter celebration and head out. Along the way, they even race their good friends from a neighboring kingdom! The Princesses meet a few obstacles on their way, and they must learn to place their trust in God.

At first glance, this book looks adorable. The book sleeve is bright and cheery, and full of glitter that all little girls are sure to love! But as for the story, I felt it was lacking a little bit. I expected there to be quite a bit more talk about Easter and the Resurrection and a little less of the Princesses. Although, I appreciated the main idea of this book, I wish it had gone a little bit more in depth. My 4 year old loved the book, but she is capable of understanding quite a bit at this age, so I wish that it had touched a little bit more on the actual story of Easter. For that reason, I can only rate this book as 3 stars. The illustrations were beautiful and the pages had just the right amount of words for little readers, but it just wasn't a favorite of mine.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”