Book Review: The Way of Things

15 Apr

way-of-thingsThe giants’ presence gives the townspeople a special confidence about life. But they have become much more dependent on the giants than they realize. One morning the people discover the giants have mysteriously disappeared. Fear and panic grip the town. Someone must find them and bring them back! Thomas, a young farmer, volunteers and sets out alone on a great journey of danger and discovery. Thomas learns the true nature of giants and what it means for him and his people. Join Thomas in his timeless rite of passage and learn what it means to become something more than you have been, why it is necessary in life, and how to do it.

 

Clark-Burbidge-PhotoClark Burbidge‘s path to becoming an award winning author had distant beginnings. He received an MBA degree from the University of Southern California and a BS Degree in finance from the University of Utah. His career spans 31 years in banking, project finance, investment banking and more recently as Chief Financial Officer of three separate companies.

He has been actively involved in community and church service, including lay youth and adult ministry, for over 35 years. It has been his long-term dream to write and publish several works that have been kicking around in his mind for many years. His first book, Life on the Narrow Path: A Mountain Biker’s Guide to Spiritual Growth in Troubled Times was released nationally in March 2011. His second book A Piece of Silver was published in July 2011 and is currently entering its 2nd edition. Clark enjoys life in the foothills of the Rockies with his wife, children and three grandchildren. He looks forward to this next phase of life’s wonderful adventures.

 

My Impressions:

The Way of Things by Clark Rich Burbidge is book one in the Giants in The Land series. Geared toward middle readers, the book is a medieval-feeling quest novel. The main character faces a number of obstacles he must overcome to find the answers he seeks. It is filled with physical and emotional challenges and giants!

Burbidge’s allegorical novel focuses on Thomas, a young farmer in a small village who is the only one who steps forward to try to find the giants who have left the area. The villagers have come to depend on the giants who were instrumental in building and farming and protecting. Distraught over the idea of living without giants, the village tasks Thomas with finding them and bringing them back.

While I liked the perseverance and courage exhibited by Thomas, I did not like the overall message of the book. The giants were gifted by the Worldmaker (God) with immortality. Their love of the earth and its inhabitants keep them serving selfishly. So far so good. But their message of becoming one’s own giant seems to be too much reliance on self without the message of reliance on God. Thomas learns that he can become his own giant to lead others in hope and truth. While it seems consistent with Christian values, I found the book lacking in a true spiritual foundation. While this is okay for a secular book, it is not for a book purported to be Christian.

I also received book two in the series, The Prodigals, but I will not be reading it. Others viewed this book differently. For their thoughts on The Way of Things, please click HERE.

(Thanks to PRByTheBook for my review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Deadly Safari

14 Apr

445891Texas Ranger Alex Markham lands an unusual assignment—protecting an ambassador’s daughter on the African savanna. No one—not even wildlife filmmaker Meghan Jordan herself—can know his true identity. The stubborn but beautiful Meghan is nothing like the bookish woman he expected…and neither is his unguarded reaction to her. For the cowboy-turned-cop, the routine babysitting assignment turns into a lifesaving mission when poachers target the unsuspecting beauty. But when Meghan learns the truth of Alex’s identity, can she forgive him before their chances for a future are destroyed forever?

 

harrislisAward-winning author Lisa Harris has been writing both fiction and nonfiction since 2000 and has twenty novels and novellas in print. She currently lives with her family in Mozambique, where they work as missionaries.

Visit her website at http://www.lisaharriswrites.com and her blog at http://www.myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com.

 

My Impressions:

Love Inspired Suspense is a Christian imprint of Harlequin. Each month several new books are introduced featuring romance with a suspenseful twist. One of the books for March 2014 is Lisa Harris’ Deadly Safari. Featuring a hunky cowboy, an independent and somewhat stubborn documentary film maker and an exotic locale, Deadly Safari is a great read for those seeking a quick romance.

Meghan is the only daughter of an ambassador to Equatorial Guinea. An independent go-getter, she is still vulnerable when it comes to relationships. When her father receives threats against Meghan, he contacts a Texas Ranger to join her on location on a South African game reserve. But the ambassador insists that Alex’s real identity and job as protector must remain a secret. The two are immediately drawn together as they face mysterious accidents and murderous poachers.

Deadly Safari is a Christian romance with a faith message front and center. Both main characters are Christians, yet they both struggle with guilt, loss and abandonment from the past. There are definite sparks between Meghan and Alex, though they try valiantly to extinguish them. The action is fast-paced and the romance is sweet. The suspense didn’t really get going until halfway through the book, but when it did, it was non-stop. The setting was great. I appreciated the author’s descriptions of the people and places of South Africa.

Deadly Safari is a good pick for a lazy weekend escape.

Recommended.

(Thanks to the author for my review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

And The Winner Is . . .

11 Apr

Congratulations to

Sue

Winner of  The Fool for Books Giveaway

You Might Be Interested

10 Apr

From time to time I get unsolicited books that look interesting but I just don’t have time to read/review. So I like to highlight them so you can do a little research and decide if they are something you would like to read. The following is a little info on How To Pick Up A Stripper And Other Acts of Kindness: Serving People Just As They Are. Catchy title, huh?

 

0529116871.jpgThe starting and ending points for all outreach have to be love. The most effective way to reach people for Jesus is through servant evangelism–showing God’s love in practical ways. This type of outreach is what Jesus modeled, is culturally relevant, and values people. The goal should be to invite people to take the next step from where they are.

Friendship Community Church, led by Pastor Todd Stevens, has experienced tremendous growth through acts of kindness. The church’s most radical servant evangelism project is Nashville Strip Church, founded by Erin Stevens. Erin’s life changed when God told her to “go feed the strippers.” With home-cooked meals and gift bags, Erin shows dancers that God loves them. How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness includes the story of a dancer who has come to know Christ, left the strip club industry through Erin’s ministry, and is now serving with Erin to reach other strippers.

From feeding the homeless, to Easter egg hunts for special needs children, to ministering in a strip club, How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness provides exciting ideas for showing God’s love in practical ways.

Features include:

Stories from servant evangelism events, including Strip Church

Ideas for showing God’s love in practical ways

Inspiration to step out of your comfort zone to serve people

 

ToddErinFamilyAbout authors Todd and Erin Stevens: Pastor, Todd Stevens, and his wife, Erin, both grew up in the Nashville area. They originally met during their years at Tennessee Technological University. They moved back to Nashville In March 2000 after living in Greenville, South Carolina for six years. They now have three boys. As you can imagine, there is never a dull moment at their home!

Todd worked for thirteen years as an information technology project manager. He served in bi-vocational positions in several churches in the Nashville area as associate pastor and interim pastor prior to the launch of Friendship Community Church. He has received post-graduate degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Tennessee Technological University. He says that he likes to read and exercise, but that he doesn’t seem to do enough of either.

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson for an ARC of this book.)

Book Review: What Follows After

9 Apr

721201In October 1962, Colt Harrison and his little brother, Timmy, hatched a plan. They would run away from their Florida home, head for their aunt’s house in Savannah, Georgia, and refuse to come home until their parents got back together. But things go terribly, terribly wrong. Colt’s mother and father must come to grips with years of neglect and mistrust in order to recover their beloved sons, their love for one another, and their broken marriage.

 

 

dan-picAbout Dan Walsh (from Amazon):

I was born in Philadelphia in 1957 (guys don’t care if you know) to a mostly blue-collar, hard-working Irish family. My Dad was the first person on either side of the family to earn a college degree. It took him nine years, working during the day, going to college at night, using the GI Bill from his war days in Korea. In the mid-sixties, General Electric hired him as an engineer for the Apollo space program. We packed up and moved to Florida, which is really where I grew up.

I spent my childhood years playing basketball and surfing. In the spring of my senior year in high school I met the woman who would become my wife, Cindi. We dated for a brief period. I asked her to marry me and, to my great surprise, she said yes. We were married near the end of 1976. We have two children, now grown.

The desire to write novels first began in high school. But I didn’t have the time to pursue this passion until 2007. To find out more, visit my website at http://www.danwalshbooks.com.

 

My Impressions:

Dan Walsh has been called the Christian Nicholas Sparks. Although I am not a fan of Sparks, I can see why that comparison has been made. But in my opinion, Walsh is head and shoulders above Sparks, mostly because he writes things that are true according to God’s word. In his latest novel, What Follows After, he has created a story that combines history, suspense and family drama and kept me reading and hoping until the last page. The novel is filled with believable characters, real-life situations and a quiet faith message that is also powerful. If you are a fan of Nicholas Sparks, put his novel down and go get What Follows After.

October 1962 was remarkable for the event in American history known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. But for the Harrisons of Daytona Beach, Florida it represented an important turning point for their family. Determined to stop lying about his family’s situation and bring about the reconciliation of his parents, Colt convinces his little brother, Timmy, to run away to their aunt and uncle’s home. Colt reasons that his parents will have to face up to their problems and make a change to restore their life. But what seemed like a good plan for an eleven year old, turns out to be a parent’s worse nightmare when 5 year old Timmy is kidnapped. The country is distracted by the face-off between America and the Soviets and the FBI is short-handed, so what would normally be a huge news story and police action, becomes a story on page 3 or 4.

Walsh does a good job of characterization in What Follows After. The story begins with now grown and retired, Colt, traveling back to the place Timmy was found. His childhood trauma is still very much with him and he has to deal with emotions long buried. Both grown-up Colt and eleven year old Colt are well-drawn and developed, as are the other characters, especially Colt’s father, Scott. Real emotions, attitudes and reactions are presented. And just because the story is set in 1962, don’t think what the Harrison family goes through isn’t relevant today. There is a lot of emotional and spiritual growth going on. The only negative I had with the story was the conversation Scott has with brother-in-law, Mike. Although I agree with everything Mike says, the presentation seems a bit stilted. However the story, the faith message and the great job of capturing America in the early 60s more than make up for that.

Another good book from an author that has become a favorite.

Recommended.

(Thanks to Revell for my review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

And The Winners Are . . .

5 Apr

Congratulations to 

Mippy/Sabrina — Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop

Ruth — Toddler Easter Package from Zonderkidz

Brenda — Preschool Easter Package from Zonderkidz

Thanks to all who entered. 

Book Review: Would You Do What They Did?

4 Apr

eab2958cba373493cea36258ea08aeeaCome, tame a wolf, flee from the wrath of the king, feel the horror of impending doom on a ship, and the uncertainty of one’s own salvation with these great heroes of the faith. Would You Do what they Did? Great Christian Leaders from our Past is a creative nonfiction collection of biographies of Martin Luther, Francis of Assisi, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, and Thomas Becket. It is written in plain, modern English for the average reader to enjoy.

 

 

46e545dc60960a8c0b122e.L._V354082481_SX200_William Dean Hamilton writes This Week in Christian History. He has also published two biographies about Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Junior, and over 1,000 articles, short stories and poems in magazines, literary journals and websites. Mr. Hamilton has degrees from Des Moines Area Community College and Upper Iowa University.

 

My Impressions:

Are you looking for a way to teach your children about dedication and commitment to a life in Christ? What better way than through the example of godly men of the past. Would You Do What They Did? (Great Christian Leaders from Our Past) is a great way to introduce your older elementary and middle school kids to heroes of the faith. Consisting of four biographies (Francis of Assisi, Thomas Becket, John Wesley and Martin Luther), William Dean Hamilton brings these influential men to life. Using the literary form of creative non-fiction, the author takes the reader into each man’s life and supplies notes at the end of each biography to let the reader know just what is fact and what is fiction. The biographies are realistic depictions of these men’s life and do not contain the supernatural stories often attributed to the men. Easy to read and easy to understand, the book, in the author’s words, brings truth to life and shows God’s hand in the lives of these Christian leaders. Perfect for the homeschool or for family time reading, Would You Do What They Did, can serve as a means to show your children what a faithful life in Christ really looks like.

(Thanks to BookCrash for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

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