Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. In addition, many of the books reviewed on this site were received free from the publisher through various book review bloggers programs. I am never required to write a positive review. On ocassion I will review a book that was not provided by the publisher. If that is the case I will note it on that particular post. Otherwise, assume that it was. All opinions I have expressed are always my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, January 27, 2012

Spirit Fighter Review

Book Description from Amazon:

9 and up4 and up

Percy Jackson, move over! Jonah Stone is here!

What if Nephilim-the children of angels and men-still walked the earth? And their very presence put the entire world in danger? In Spirit Fighter, Jonah and Eliza Stone learn that their mother is a Nephilim and that they have special powers as quarter-angels. When their mom is kidnapped by fallen angels, they must use those powers to save her. Along the way, they discover that there is a very real and dangerous war going on between good and evil and that God has a big part for them to play in that war.

Parents today are looking for fiction that makes Christianity and the Bible exciting for their kids. This series is the Christian answer to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, The Secret Series and other middle-grade series packed with adventure, action, and supernatural fights. Son of Angels, Jonah Stone will be the first series in the market to explore this topic from a biblical perspective with content that is appropriate and exciting for middle-grade readers.

My Review:
I have read the Percy Jackson series, but not the other two mentioned above so I can't compare to those.  Son of Angels has a lot of promise and for hardcore Christians it will be a welcome series.  For the rest, once you adjust to the frequent, and sometimes forced, scripture references it will be enjoyable.

The Stone siblings are the children of a preacher/pastor and a Nephilim who has given her life to Christ.  This means that the children, and quarterlings, have inherited some special abilities.  These are all related to the "full armour of God".  I was disappointed that Eliza seems to have been relegated to the protector role and otherwise stayed out of the way while Jonah had mulitiple abilities.  I realize Jonah is the main character, and to be honest I was looking for a book my son would enjoy, but Eliza just came across as weak.

For middle school children not well versed in Bible knowledge they will learn alot just by reading.  There are not only scripture references throughout, but the scripture itself is included in the story text.  In addition the author brings the verse to life, demonstrating that it isn't just words that were applicable 2,000 years ago.  God is referred to throughout the book as Elohim which may need some explaining if you have never talked about the different names of God in the Bible.  Satan is also referred to as Abaddon which is only used once in scripture so you may need to clarify this one too.  In both cases though the contextual clues should be adequate enough for the casual reader to figure it out.

Is this up there with Percy Jackson?  I can say I don't see a movie being based on this book in the near future but I do see potential for a great Christian series that will appeal to those seeking a strong teen male character who relies on God to see him through a lot of action adventure.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

You are Loved review

Book Description:

Is there any greater gift than knowing you are loved?
Through quotes and Scriptures, You Are Loved explores the unfathomable love of God and the beauty of human love when it is modeled after the Creator's. Each page will touch the hearts of the recipients with the assurance that they indeed are cherished-during the pleasant times and the difficult times.
Share the sentiment that "The one who is filled with love is filled with God Himself." Or realize the depths of God's love with such verses as 1 John 3:1: "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" (NKJV) The book's clean and classic design lends itself to being a part of the decor as a daily reminder of a loved one's affections.

My Review

This would make a great gift book.  Think Valentine's Day, birthday, etc.  Full of Bible verses and quotes all having to do with love.  "There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved.  It is God's finger on man's shoulder." ~Charles Morgan The page backgrounds are colorful and pretty. 

To be honest, I agreed to review this hoping to be able to pull some short quotes to include as filler in the church bulletin and it will be great for that.  I am not really big on gift books, but this one would be great as a gift for baptisms or graduations also.  Actually, the more I think about it the more occassions I think this would be perfect for.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Voice NT review

Book Description

The Voice™ Bible translation is a faithful dynamic translation of the Scriptures done as a collage of compelling narratives, poetry, song, truth, and wisdom. The Voice calls the reader to step into the whole story of Scripture and experience the joy and wonder of God’s revelation. Created for and by a church in great transition, The Voice uniquely represents collaboration among scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists, giving great attention to the beauty of the narrative. The heart of The Voice is retelling the story of the Bible in a form as fluid as modern literary works yet remaining painstakingly true to the original manuscripts. This translation promotes the public reading of longer sections of Scripture—followed by thoughtful engagement with the biblical narrative in its richness and fullness and dramatic flow.
This is an updated and revised version of the New Testament edition, now at an even more affordable price.
Features include:
--Italicized information added to help contemporary readers understand what the original readers would have known intuitively
--In-text commentary notes include cultural, historical, theological, or devotional thoughts
--Screenplay format, ideal for public readings and group studies
--Book introductions

My Review:
Let me begin by saying I am not a big fan of new translations of the Bible.  I am not a "King James Only" Christian, but I tend to be leary of jumping on the bandwagon of every new Bible out there.  I have had a few that after reading through them I found to many differences from every other version I had to feel comfortable with continued reading.  As a matter of fact that is probably why I am leary of new translations.  However, when I had the opportunity to review this version I decided to give it a shot.

First, this is a VERY easy to read translation.  It is like reading a well written novel.  The text includes (per the preface) the dynamic translations (which is a translation into English from the original texts) as well as additional information.  This includes text in italics to indicate additional words that are supposed to assist in bringing out the nuance of the original text ( 1 Corinthians 5:2 "You have turned into an arrogant lot who refuse to see the tragedy righ in front of your eyes and mourn for it....").  Delineated material is separated from the regular text and it contains cultural, historical, theological or devotional thoughts.  Some of the text is written in screenplay format.  This is used to identify dialogue and is indented.

Second, in several places I found word choices that were not what I was accustomed to in other translations I had read.  For example 1 Corintians 5:11 reads "What I was saying is that you should not associate with someone who calls himself a brother or sister but lives contrary to all we stand for: cmmitting immoral sexual acts, consumed with desire for more, worshiping tangible lifeless things, using profanity, drinking into oblivion, swindling and cheating others...."   In this example I had expected to see slanderer or even reviler rather than using profanity.  So I pulled out Strong's Concordance which says the original word was loidoros which translates as railer which is a person who uses abusive language.  Never realized that this was actually talking about profanity before reading this and researching.  This isn't the only time that this happened either.

Finally, I will say that if you are looking for a translation that will draw you in to God's word, give this one a try.  I will be honest and admit that I have not read the entire translation of the NT that The Voice includes, but based upon what I have read I feel that this is a trustworthy and honest translation.  Should I come across something that causes me to believe otherwise I will definately let you know.