Tag Archive | Christianity

Book Review ~ The Berenstain Bears’ Harvest Festival

Ah, the joy of autumn: crisp leaves, bright colors, fall festivals, and more. It’s something I look forward to annually, so I requested a copy of The Berenstain Bears’ Harvest Festival by Mike Berenstain to review.

 

 

 

Full of colorful pictures depicting the beauty and fun of fall, the Bear Family attend the gathering at Farmer Ben’s where they enjoy apple picking, pumpkin picking, a hayride, and meal while giving thanks for the harvest and their blessings. Our 4-year-old son enjoyed the story and asked if we could “do that too” as the children picked apples and more.

Recommended for ages 4-8, I would say ages 4-6 as the story is nice but light. It is a good addition to seasonal readings and focusing on being grateful to God for the firstfruits and blessings of the day, but it isn’t a story I would add to our personal library to read often. The end of the book includes three questions to discuss and two activity suggestions.

In exchange for my honest review, I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Book Look Bloggers program.

3 out of 5 stars

 

 

Book Review ~ Summer by Summer

Teenage cliques, first impressions, personal agendas, and being stranded off the coast of Belize:  Summer by Summer, a young adult (YA) novel written by Heather Burch, has them all. A summer trip to Belize isn’t all she wanted her experience as a nanny to be when Summer meets the older brother, Bray, of the family. After making some peace and helping with a diving expedition, they are stranded on an island due to a bad storm. With no rescue party in sight, the two must rely on themselves, each other, and their faith in God as they learn who the other really is while waiting to be rescued.

This is definitely a young adult novel with a market age of 14 and up. It is an easy beach read, no pun intended, of survival, love, trust, and faith. The story line flows as the author alternates between Summer’s and Bray’s points-of-view. Each must let go of the first impression and assumptions made of the other to survive their adventure.

While this is not a must-read, I wouldn’t avoid it. It kept my attention as I knew everything had to work out. I just wasn’t sure how Burch would create the twists and turns to bring positive closure.

*Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for my honest review.

4 out of 5 stars

Book Review ~ Precious Moments God Watches Over Me

Would you like a book for a young child to demonstrate God’s presence in each day? Consider Precious Moments’ God watches over me. In classic Precious Moments design, each page has a Bible verse, one poem, and an illustration to go with it. Many writings are by Jean Fischer, and the last entry is “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Although it is a board book, the content of God watches over me is more appropriate for children ages 4-8. The front cover is a padded foam board, and the back is hard board. It is about 5″ x 7″ and 32 pages long, front and back, with full color illustrations. There is no Table of Contents, so here are the entry titles:

God watches over me:  all day long, when I need help, when I’m hungry, when I play, when I travel, when I learn, when I think that I can’t, when I need to be brave, when I get hurt, every day, while I sleep, all the time

God watches over my: friends and me, family and me, pets

God watches over the world and everything in it!

I like this collection of illustrations and poetry, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for the target audience of children ages one to four. The pictures are cute, but it is wordy. My son is 3, and he enjoys about 20 seconds of this book at a time. It is one to grow on, but not easily engaging with an energetic little one.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review ~ Psalm 23 by Richard Jesse Watson

Using the text from the King James Version of the Bible, Richard Jesse Watson illustrates the 23rd Psalm of “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” in a board book format for children. Without preamble, the reader opens the book to begin the psalm. There is one picture and page set for every 1 to 2 lines of the psalm, which is written in its entirety on the last page of the book.

The illustrations bring the words to life and help the reader understand their meanings. In keeping with the shepherd concept, there is a lamb included in each illustration. While the KJV is not my favorite, the pictures are lovely, colorful, and charming without being gaudy. The child-like innocence and trust comes through. Our 3 year old son likes it, and I recommend it for toddlers through young elementary age.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Book Look Bloggers program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and they are not required to be positive.

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Book Review ~ Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

Engaging.

Thorough and thoughtful.

A narrative autobiography that takes the reader on a journey of religious study, questioning, and learning while weaving a story of familial love and the possibility of risking it all for the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Qureshi shares his story of growing up a Muslim, raised in a traditional family with struggles as he became Americanized.  He learned and loved the religion of Islam, as that was how he was raised.  Upon starting college, he met a Christian who challenged his beliefs in his faith.  It wasn’t vindictive but required Qureshi to critically and honestly seek answers.  He  wanted to know the truth and prayed for God to show him. He reasoned and questioned the main concepts of Islam and Christianity.  Which would hold up to critique from an objective, critical review?  Which was true with history? He steadfastly believed that Islam would win the contest, and he would be a proud Muslim to show everyone he was right.  Upon a few years’ examination through study, questioning, and reasoning, though, his world crumbled.

With so much in the news and a lot of misinformation about Islam and Muslims, I looked forward to reading this narrative to learn more about the Muslim faith and find out how Qureshi made his choice to convert to Christianity.  What did he find?  How did his choice affect him and his family?  I assumed that he was an older man, penning his earlier experiences from 30 years ago, but his learning occurred in college in the early 2000s.  This is a  crash course of the Muslim faith, with vocabulary and story interlaced so smoothly it was an enjoyable read which also taught me about religion, particularly Islam.

The only change I would have liked was to include footnotes since he references many verses from the Quran and the Bible.  A Notes section is found in the back, so I flipped back and forth often.

5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booksneeze.com in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review ~ Genesis Revisited – the Creation

https://i1.wp.com/booksneeze.com/art/_80_140_Book.925.cover.jpg  Donald Arlo Jennings, PhD, writes Genesis Revisited – The Creation

The description of this book is simple: “This book will open your mind to all God created, not just of this world as we know it, but for all the worlds, planets, universes and galaxies that exist in the vastness of space.”

This premise intrigued me, and I looked forward to reading it.  It’s an interesting idea to consider whether God created other planets in other galaxies that would have living beings and maybe a similar Genesis experience to that on Earth.  Why not request it and consider another perspective?

Jennings considers himself a Christian and presents his matter as such. He offers his ideas, quotes the Bible, and summarizes his thoughts to unify his premise.

Unfortunately, this book needed a lot of editing before it was published.  I scanned through much of it to actually get to the main ideas of the chapters. Jennings’ conversational style does not translate well to the written word.  He often begins paragraphs with, “I wonder if, let me summarize, this causes me to wonder, I digress here, many will disagree with me” et cetera.  Reading this novel was a lesson in frustration, but with proper editing could be more engaging.

2 out of 5 stars

Full disclosure: I was given a free ebook copy of this book by Booksneeze.com in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review ~ Sweet Olive by Judy Christie

From the book’s summary: A talented businesswoman in the oil and gas business, Camille Gardner agrees to take on one last assignment for her uncle at the J&S Production Co. She would rather be anywhere than Samford, Louisiana, the small southern town where she once spent the worst month of her life. Most of all, she wants to move on to the art gallery job that is waiting for her in Denver. . . . . Camille must decide whether family obligation—and her own plans for her future—are more important than the lives and tradition of this small community.

https://i0.wp.com/booksneeze.com/art/_80_140_Book.951.cover.jpg

Sweet Olive is an easy read that is predictable and mostly enjoyable. The story’s theme is that you may not know the plan, but God always works things out. Christie’s descriptions are clear, so it’s easy to picture the characters and situations. There are some awkward transitions, but they don’t detract from the overall story. It took me a couple of tries to get into the story, as the first chapters are choppy.  After that I wanted to know how the characters would develop and the story would resolve.  I kept waiting for Camille to stand up for herself and decide to live her own life and not let her pushy uncle to keep selfishly using her in business.  In the end, all situations close satisfactorily.  Even though this was not my favorite book, I’m glad I read it, and I may look into Christie’s other works.

3 out of 5 stars
(Full disclosure: I was given a copy of this book for free by Booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest review.)