Review – Finding Favor With the King by Tommy Tenney

finding
Book description

Esther’s Ultimate Secret
“On that night . . .”–Esther 6:1

Have you ever had a “that night” or a “that day”? A point in time before which things were going wrong, but after which things began to go right?

What are the ingredients for a “that night”? What is mixed into the recipe? Understanding what goes into creating that moment of divine favor was Esther’s ultimate secret.

She learned how to find favor with the king.

Favor is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Success is what happens when preparation meets potential.

First impressions

My first encounter with Tommy Tenney was a few years ago when he came to a conference in my city. I always wanted to read one of his books but never had the opportunity until now. Back then we was well known for his novel, Hadassah: One Night with the King.

Content

Tenney takes the story of Esther to demonstrate the way each christian can go from being a common citizen to be the queen of a great empire, or in practical terms the approach one must take to grow in intimacy with God.

Following Esther’s transformation and growing relationship with the king, Tenney shares a list of protocols of the palace to be practiced in order to be prepared to receive favor from the King.

The book if full of parallelisms or comparisons between Esther’s challenges and struggles and our lives as christians or even with the church in general. Sometimes there are really good principles that come from this parallelisms, but sometimes they feel forced as if the author is trying too hard to make them fit with his conclusions.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an inspirational reading which can be helpful in your daily relationship with God, Finding Favor With the King is the right book for you. It can be repetitive at times, which may be the result of bad editing or maybe just the author’s style but the teaching is one that will shape the way you see yourself before God.

Rating: 

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – Rise of the Fallen by Chuck Black

riseofthefallen
Book description:

A six thousand year war rages and now the demonic Fallen are coming for him—the one man shrouded in mystery. Only Validus stands in their way.

Validus is the last and least of God’s angels, but he’s seen much across the millennia since his creation. Empires have risen and fallen as angelic and demonic forces battle in a raging war that will determine humanity’s fate – and the fate of his defeated brothers.

First impressions

A year has passed since I reviewed Cloak of the Light, the first book in this series by Chuck Black. I was hesitant about picking this up for review, but I was curious about how the story would develop. Now I think I should have kept my curiosity at bay.

Story

This book doesn’t pick up the story where the last one finished, on the contrary, it takes us back to creation. No I’m not kidding, this book is not about what happens with Drew, the main character of book 1. This book is about an angel called Validus and his experiences as a creature of long age trough history and his relationship with Drew in the present.

There are lots of jumps trough the book, taking us back to centuries in the past and then to the present. This is a interesting feature, but at times I think it was unnecessary. Rise of the Fallen re-imagines many of well known Bible stories adding some speculative elements to them trying to include our hero Validus into the action. Some of these stories include, the flood, the tower of Babel, the captivity of the people of Israel in Babylon and even the life of Jesus on earth.

The reader has to take into account that Chuck Black did not only wrote fiction in this book. There are theological doctrines on angels, demons, heaven, hell and salvation among others that some christians can find a little bit out of place while some non-christians may found confusing at times.

Characters

Validus is a strong character, there’s no doubt about it. It has a feeling of leadership and boldness that suits his nature as an angelic being. We get to know him a ‘little’ bit better thanks to the incredible amount of flashbacks trough the book. I liked the fact that his personality is not ‘perfect’, he has emotions like fear and doubt but also joy and courage.

There are many demons, or fallen angels according to Black, that are the main enemies in this book. There are some major ones, but there’s no one in particular with a strong presence or personality. I’m guessing we’ll get to see more of the bad guys in the last book.

Conclusion

I finished the first book in only two days, this one took me more than a week. Definitely it’s an interesting book but it can be boring at times. It has a lot of warfare strategies but little plot development. I’m really lowering my expectations for the last installment and I’m not even sure I’ll look forward to it.

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Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for an honest review.

Review – Raising Burning Hearts by Patricia Bootsma

raising
Book description

Can the next generation become passionate followers of God, equipped and ready to fulfill their destinies? Christian parents and mentors are entrusted with the call to nurture and train hearts, releasing children to excel in loving and seeking God. In Raising Burning Hearts, Patricia Bootsma draws on her experience of raising six children and mentoring many others, and shares the profound and hopeful news that this calling is not beyond our reach. Combining practicality and spiritual understanding, Patricia covers important strategies that are often overlooked, like the power of blessing our children, of prophetically declaring truth over them, and of teaching young ones how to hear God’s voice, seek Him in the Word, and be constant in prayer. Sharing tangible applications and real-life testimonies, Patricia assures us that parents and mentors can fulfill their heavenly mandate—to raise up and release next generation lovers of God into their epic purpose.

First impressions

Shortly after I finished Unceasing, I started with Raising Burning Hearts by Patricia Bootsma. Although Patricia is not from IHOP in Kansas City, she’s leading a House of Prayer in Toronto and this book is being published under IHOP’s Forerunner Publishing. I’m really interested in mentoring/leadership books and the phrase “Parenting and Mentoring Next Generation Lovers of God” caught my eye but I’m not sure this book delivered what it promised.

Content

From the very beginning Patricia states the main audience of her book:

“This book is designed for the parent who longs primarily for their children to excel in what really matters in life – loving God…” p.1

But then she adds:

“This book is also for those who mentor children, teenagers, and young adults, not necessarily as biological but as spiritual parents.” p.1

That was a relief to me, since I’m not a biological father but I’m considered as a mentor by some young people. But it was just a momentary relief because just after a few pages I discovered Patricia’s intentions to widen her message were hindered by the language and expressions that came from her family and experiences with her children.

There’s nothing wrong with this, but I had a hard time trying to relate my own experiences of being a mentor but not a father. Yes, there are many great principles that can be applied whether you are a biological father or not, but I’m pretty sure parents would enjoy Patricia’s stories about raising her children more than single guys like me would.

Although this is a small book, only 130 pages, it deals with specific details about the seasons in the life of every person, in this case Patricia’s children, and how we can make a difference in each one of these seasons cultivating healthy spiritual habits that will produce big changes in their future.

Conclusion

The amount of personal examples and experiences in this book is overwhelming, just like the extensive promotion to IHOP and its different programs. Raising Burning Hearts was an interesting reading, one that finishes with an appendix in how to experience a supernatural childbirth, and no I’m not talking about a spiritual supernatural childbirth, but a literal one. Now do you see my point?

Rating:

I received a copy of this book for free from Forerunner Publishing for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – Unceasing by Billy Humphrey

unceasing

Book description

Why night-and-day prayer? What are the biblical precedents for night-and-day intercession? Those who desire a greater understanding of the prayer movement that is sweeping the earth will find Billy Humphrey’s Unceasing to be an invaluable resource. (Previously published as Until He Comes)

First impressions

If you’ve been reading my reviews then you’d know I like to read authors from the International House of Prayer, a.k.a. IHOP. I had the chance to read Unceasing by Billy Humphrey expecting a great message on prayer but my expectations were half met.

Content

This is a small book but it goes straight to the point, the importance of unceasing prayer, its Biblical background, its presence around the world, its consequences in the corporate and in the private life.

The content is well organized and easy to understand. The message is clear and simple. Then what’s the problem? Well, there’s no really a problem, it’s just that each chapter is so small that the deepness of the message feels a bit shallow.

Being a re-release I’m pretty sure the author had the chance to expand his vision and give more insight into every chapter but this edition just has 31 more pages than its predecessor and a prettier cover.

Conclusion

Unceasing definitely has a great message that each christian should know and practice. It’s worth the reading and it won’t take you more than a couple of hours.

Rating: 

I received a copy of this book for free from Forerunner Publishing for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – Both of Me by Jonathan Friesen

bothofme
Book description

It was supposed to be just another flight, another escape into a foreign place where she could forget her past, forget her attachments. Until Clara found herself seated next to an alluring boy named Elias Phinn—a boy who seems to know secrets she has barely been able to admit to herself for years. (Full description here)

First impressions

I had only heard about Jonathan Friesen for another novel of his novels called Aquifer, a dystopian novel I never read. Both of Me on the other hand is not dystopian and the premise sounded really interesting, plus the cover and the trailer are amazing.

Story

I gotta say I had a hard time with the introduction of Clara in the first chapter and with the story in the first chapters. After I finally caught up with the story I couldn’t stop reading. I blame my lack of YA reading in the past months and maybe the author’s style, which after a few chapters is easy to handle.

I’ve said it before and that’s why I don’t use the next word that often, but atmospheric is the word I’d choose to describe the sensation while reading Both of Me. People and places felt so realistic to me that I could place myself within the story with the characters and feel certain familiarity.

Characters

What can I say? Friesen makes a believable and enjoyable voice for a girl, which is not so common. Clara is a British girl with a background story that adds credibility to her present state. While Clara’s conclusions about herself were changing along the way, I liked the way Clara’s personality remained intact, infusing emotion to the plot.

Elias is a unique character with dissociative identity disorder. I don’t know why some people have said it was confusing to know when he or ‘the other’ were speaking, far from the truth. Each of Elias’ personalities had their own character traits, and they were easily recognizable. Elias’ intervention in the story is balanced with Clara’s and their stories are developed at the same time making the story more interesting.

Conclusion

I’m not into YA fiction so much, it’s not my cup of tea, although after reading Both of Me this may change. Elias and Clara’s story is refreshing, emotional and inspirational. Both of Me is a strange but enjoyable mix of reality and fiction, of emotion and strong convictions.

Rating: 

I received this book for free from the Booklook Bloggers program for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.