Monday, August 14, 2017

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander


To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander is the third book in Alexander's Belle Meade Plantation trilogy. While each book is stand alone and can be read as such, there are the same characters in all three novels. To Wager Her Heart centers around Alexandra Donelson, a young woman in her mid-twenties in Nashville in the 1870s. She wants help educate freedmen, despite her family's belief that it is not appropriate for a young woman of her station.

Alexandra meets Sylas Rutledge, a railroad man from Colorado. Though she has a terrible first impression of him, circumstances keep throwing them together. Eventually a relationship develops between the two of them that blooms into more.

I'm usually not a fan of romance novels. However, the historical aspect of this book made me willing to give it a shot. I'm glad I did. Alexander's writing style flows quickly. The pace was quick but not at the expense of character insight and development. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction or romance novels will enjoy To Wager Her Heart.

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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Paul the Apostle by Robert E. Picirilli


Paul the Apostle: Missionary, Martyr, Theologian by Robert E. Picirilli is a critical examination of the life and ministry of Paul the Apostle. This is meant to be a middle of the road book, such as a college textbook. Paul the Apostle isn't for the casual reader, nor is it an in depth look at all the minutiae others critically examine.

This is a great resource for pastors and students of theology. It is kind of a slog to read straight through, but since that isn't its intended purpose, that isn't a huge problem. The writing is accessible and the structure is very easy to follow. Whether one wants more information about a particular letter, missionary journey, or time in Paul's life, it is easy to find what one needs. There is also plenty of other resources listed if one does want to take a closer examination of a particular aspect of Paul's life.

I received this book free from Moody Publishers as part of their Moody Publishers Blogger Review 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, See Part 255

Friday, July 28, 2017

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God by Brian Zahnd

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God: The Scandalous Truth of the Very Good News by Brian Zahnd is a rebuke against what Zahnd considers the overly wrathful theology of Western Christianity, specifically in America. In fact, Zahnd doesn't believe that in God's wrath at all, only in His love.

Zahnd believes that the perfect expression of who God is is the person of Jesus Christ. Love and forgiveness are the hallmarks of God, not wrath and justice. He examines these concepts in various realms such as hell, Christ's crucifixion, and the kingdom of God.

Zahnd's work is easily readable as well as easy to understand. His thesis is clear and he commits to it fully. However, his theology is nowhere near what would be considered orthodox. The initial premise is interesting, but the way it is spelled out and the implications that follow go to far from the text of scripture. There are several times that assumptions are put on the text that just aren't there.

I cannot recommend Sinners in the Hand of a Loving God to anyone.

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

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio

Goliath Must Fall: Winning the Battle Against Your Giants by Louie Giglio is a a strong addition to the library of any believer in Christ. Using the story of David and Goliath, Giglio shows how the major giants we all face in life must be defeated because of Christ's work on the cross. Addressing issues such as fear, comfort, and addiction, Giglio shows how these giants are already dead, but still must fall from the power they hold in our lives.

Giglio communicates clearly and precisely. His writing style is very understandable and has an easy flow to it. In Goliath Must Fall, Giglio shares a few new insights into the story of David and Goliath. These "twists" on the story illustrate how the believer has the power of Christ over every giant in his/her life. Christ killed these giants on the cross, but just like a snake head that has been cut off, they can still be deadly. That is why the emphasis in the title is the word must. Though the giants are dead, they can still be deadly, which is why decisions must still be made and work done to allow a believer victory over whatever giant threatens his/her life.

Anyone struggling with the particular giants addressed in this book would benefit from reading it, though I'd recommend it to anyone interested in reading "Christian Living" books. It has a great perspective on the story of David and Goliath that will benefit any believer in Jesus Christ.

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

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Eugene H. Peterson

As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation On the Ways of God Formed By the Words of God by Eugene H. Peterson is a collection of sermons preached by Peterson over the twenty-nine years he was pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. The sermons are grouped into seven sections of seven sermons, with each group headed by a different figure from the Bible who plays prominently in the section of scripture each sermon is taken from.

Peterson's writings are always filled with rich insights about scripture. The most notable insights in this book are the parallels between the old and new testaments that he points out. In multiple sermons in each section, he draws a parallel that, to me at least, was previously unclear, and once pointed out, adds a new level of richness to those particular scriptures.

Each sermon takes up about six or seven pages. There isn't really a flow to this book since each sermon is self-contained. That can make reading it somewhat frustrating to read unless one approaches it with the right mindset. However, the insights gained and the depths of scripture opened up far outweigh any frustrations. I'd recommend As Kingfishers Catch Fire to anyone interested in the Bible.

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

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

An Outlaw and A Lady by Jessi Colter

An Outlaw and A Lady: A Memoir of Music, Life with Waylon, and the Faith that Brought Me Home by Jessi Colter tells the story of musician/songwriter Jessi Colter and her life with Waylon Jennings. One of the main focuses of this book is the story of Jessi's journey of faith.

Born Mirriam Johnson, Colter's early life was a simple one in the Arizona desert. The daughter of a miner and minister, Colter's life revolved around music from the beginning. She often sang hymns during her mother's revivals. She was encouraged by her family, specifically two of her older siblings. It was through them that she met her first husband who introduced her to the professional side of music. It wasn't until after her first marriage ended and she started a relationship with Waylon Jennings that her professional career gained traction. It was also during this time that she returned to the faith of her childhood. This is what sustained her during the turbulence that being in Waylon's life caused.

Colter's writing style is easy to read and flows really well. Her story is engaging and easy to relate to even though it involves larger than life figures such as Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and George Jones. The simple but always exciting story of God's redemptive grace is evident in the life of Colter and those around her. Anyone interested in autobiographies, personal stories of redemption, or one of the greats of country music will enjoy An Outlaw and A Lady.

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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Gatekeepers by Chris Whipple

The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency by Chris Whipple examines the modern chief of staff and how every presidency since Nixon's has been shaped by the position. Good or bad, the chiefs of staff have been one of the most influential factors in the legacy of each presidency in the modern era.

Whipple uses mainly primary source material to tell the magnificent tale of the modern chief of staff. He conducted numerous interviews with the chiefs as well as two former presidents. He also had access to previously unpublished material granted him by the individuals involved. How a chief shapes the presidency is the overall theme of this book and the thread that ties each individual story together.

It is the chief of staff's job to protect the president's time. How well he does that plays a significant role in the president's success. He is also to manage the staff and stop anyone trying to go around the proper channels, or trying to execute plans that are just bad ideas such as the Watergate break-in, or the Iran-Contra affair. The chief has to be able to be 100% honest with the president and manage many strong personalities at once.

Whipple tells the story of each chief both from their perspective as well as those who worked with them. At the end of each chapter, I was left wanting to know more about these men and their relationships, as there is only enough space to discuss the high (or very low) points of each chief's time in office. The Gatekeepers is very readable and easy to understand, even for someone who isn't familiar with politics. Part biography, part modern American history, The Gatekeepers is a great read for anyone interested in either.

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