Saturday, July 23, 2016

Beauty Begins by Chris Shook and Megan Shook Alpha

Beauty Begins: Making Peace with Your Reflection by Chris Shook and Megan Shook Alpha is a passionate plea to all women to see their beauty in the right place - in Christ.

Written by a mother and daughter, Beauty Begins points women to God - the author of beauty itself. It isn't culture, other people, or even ourselves that we should be looking too for affirmation and the definition of beauty. Instead, God is the mirror women should look into.

There is nothing earth shatteringly new or profound in Beauty Begins. However, simple truths are often the ones that need repeated the most often. That's what Beauty Begins does.

I'd recommend Beauty Begins to all women of any age. It is an easy and simple read that points out the truths of scripture that every woman needs to be reminded of daily.

Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review. 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

The Witnesses by Robert Whitlow

The Witnesses by Robert Whitlow is another great addition to his body of work. Mixing the present and the past, The Witnesses tells the story of a family legacy and how to use the gifts God has given us.

The central characters of The Witnesses are a young lawyer and his grandfather, who served in the German army during WWII. Both have a gift of seeing into the future. While the grandfather is haunted by how he has used his gift, the young lawyer struggles with how to use his gift in his career.

The Witnesses isn't quite as legal thriller as some of Whitlow's earlier novels. While the law is involved, the focus is more on the gift of seeing into the future and how to responsibly use that gift. Still, it's an engaging read with relatable characters. The blend between the present and the past is well done and not at all confusing. The imagery and secondary theme of second chances were refreshing and encouraging.

Those who have enjoyed Whitlow's other novels will enjoy The Witnesses, while those who are only interested in straight legal thrillers may not.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookLook 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

Sunday, July 3, 2016

A Doubter's Guide to the Ten Commandments by John Dickson

A Doubter's Guide to the Ten Commandments: How, for Better or Worse, Our Ideas about the Good Life Come from Moses and Jesus by John Dickson is an academic look at how the ten commandments have shaped Western society. 

While Dickson is a Christian, he examines the ten commandments in a mostly historical and societal context. When he does make a spiritual connection or observation, he clearly states that its his opinion and and separates it from the historical and societal contexts. Dickson does two things throughout this book. One is explain each commandment in its historical and social contexts. The other is point out how each commandment has shaped Western society. Dickson argues that while the original commandment in its Jewish context started to influence societies outside of the Jews, it was Jesus' interpretation (what Dickson calls "transposition") of each commandment that really influenced the Greco-Roman world and the development of Western culture. 

Overall, Dickson makes some interesting points, but A Doubter's Guide to the Ten Commandments is rather dry. Also, I'm not sure how it answers doubters, except maybe if the doubt is about the commandments influence on Western society. I wouldn't recommend this book to many people.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookLook 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

Legend by Eric Blehm


Legend: The Incredible Story of Green Beret Sergeant Roy Benavidez's Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy Lines recounts the story of Sergeant Roy Benavidez's life, focusing on one extraordinary mission during the Vietnam war. 

Sergeant Benavidez's story is one of pure determination and grit. He went from an orphan who dropped out of school in the seventh grade, to one of the most well known and highly regarded men in American special forces history. Injured in his first tour, Benavidez was never expected to walk again. He proved everyone wrong and went on not only to walk, but to qualify as an elite Green Beret. His selfless and heroic actions during one mission that went horribly wrong saved the lives of eight men. 

Blehm weaves together Benavidez's story in a comprehensive and easily understandable way. He gives context of the war in general as well as the particular circumstances surrounding the SOG group Benavidez was involved in. Blehm also provides enough background on some of the other soldiers and helicopter pilots involved in the engagement to give the reader a sense of the kind of men involved. Legend is not just about Benavidez, but all the men who went above and beyond the call of duty for their country.

I would recommend Legend to anyone interested in the Vietnam war, American special forces, or simply in stories of incredible human beings.

Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review. 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