Browse Category: English

Review – The Nehemiah Code by O.S. Hawkins

Book description

Who isn’t in need of a new beginning? Bestselling author O. S. Hawkins knows that whether it be broken relationships, integrity missteps, or loss, most of us will spend some or much of the next year trying to restore something. The good news is . . . it’s never too late for a new beginning.

Hawkins, with more than 550,000 books sold, now turns his eye to another biblical hero in The Nehemiah Code. Nehemiah was a civil servant from 2,500 years ago who applied principles found in the Bible for insight during hard times, help to start again, and encouragement to rebuild a life.

Review

This is a small good looking book containing big truths about rebuilding in today’s society.

O.S. Hawkins is well known for writing a series of “codes” inspired  by prominent Bible figures, and this one is no exception. Taking wisdom from the life of Nehemiah, each chapter gives us a glimpse into rebuilding our lives in the middle of difficult situations. Just like Nehemiah did with an entire city.

The book is divided in the following six parts, covering attitudes or actions that can be applied into our own personal situations. 

  • Taking personal responsibility
  • Moving out of your comfort zone
  • Rebuilding team spirit
  • Holding those around you accountable
  • Doing what is right
  • Finishing strong

Rating 4/5

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

Review – Poverty, Riches and Wealth by Kris Valloton

Book description

Overcoming the Never-Enough Mentality to Experience True Kingdom Abundance

Prosperity. It’s one of the most dividing, misused and misunderstood words in the Church. With refreshing honesty, humor and keen insight, bestselling author and teacher Kris Vallotton mines the Scriptures in an eye-opening study of what the Bible really says about money, poverty, riches and wealth. And what he finds is sure to shake up what you thought you knew.

Showing how Kingdom prosperity begins from the inside out, Kris helps you learn to cultivate a mindset of abundance–no matter your circumstances–and begin to experience the wealth of heaven in every area of your life.

Review

I’ve been following Kris Valloton on Facebook for a long time. I really like and appreciate his wisdom and insight in the prophetic. I own another three (unread) books by him, picking this one for review was an obvious choice for me. After finishing Poverty, Riches & Wealth it doesn’t seem that obvious though. 

Let me start by saying that I have no complains about the actual content of this book. Valloton touches important topics on the perception that most Christians have about the money and prosperity. He backs up his teaching with the Word, giving example after example on how we have twisted the Scriptures in order to stay in our confort zone about the lack of resources in our lives.

A common element in Poverty, Riches and Wealth is the inclusion of Valloton’s journey through his life in different business, before he became a full time minister. He uses his experience to teach common misconceptions and mistakes many of us have in order to correct them or avoid them.

Then, what’s the reason of my initial comment? Well, the reason is that while the content is totally useful and practical, Valloton seems to had the wish to cover all the bases and in doing so the book lacks focus and clarity. He goes from talking about cultural background about the poverty mindset in America to explaining tithing, from sharing a really long story about his meeting with the Pope to giving leadership advice.

Conclusion

I’m guessing if you’re familiar with Valloton’s writings, you’ll be happy after reading Poverty, Riches and Wealth. Maybe I need to read more of his books in order to get his way of thinking, or maybe he needs a better editor, that would solve most of the issues with the lack of focus.

Rating: 3/5

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

Review – The Spiritual Gifts Handbook by Randy Clark & Mary Healy

Book description

People today need more than a message. They need an encounter with the living God.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are God’s answer to the darkness of our time, able to convince even the most broken and hardened of hearts that God is real, present and active in our lives. And as the Holy Spirit pours out His gifts among believers, He is uniting Christians of every denomination as one Body.

With wisdom and practical insight, international healing minister Randy Clark teams up with acclaimed Catholic Bible scholar Mary Healy to show that the gifts of the Spirit are for all believers. The authors walk you through biblical texts, dispel misconceptions and show the endless variety of gifts. And they reveal how you can activate the gifts in your own life and use them to benefit others. 

Review

This is my second book co-authored by Randy Clark. I really like the way he shares his own experiences with Bible teachings on healing and deliverance. I thought it was a good idea to try something different, in this case, the spiritual gifts.

The first thing I realized was that Mary Healy is not a christian author, or christian minister for that matter, but her background is Catholic; a Charismatic Catholic that is. This means she believes and practices the gifts of the Spirit, known to them as Charismas, but still operates under the Catholic Church authorities, which in turns means under the Pope and Apostolic Tradition besides the Bible.

Both authors share their experiences when talking about the movement of the Spirit in Christian and Catholic circles alike with the intention to motivate a stronger manifestation of the Spirit in our time. Although the name of the book seems to imply is all about the “Gifts or Charismas” of the Spirit in reality half of the book talks about personal experiences and theological definitions while the other half really describes the different gifts, divided into what the authors call: Revelation Gifts, Power Gifts and Gifts of Speech. 

Conclusion

I found The Spiritual Gifts Handbook to be a great book. I’m not sure I’d recommend this book to a newborn Christian, but it gives a fresh perspective into what God is doing with the church in this time. Also, it’ll sure be of interest to those who want to know more about the Charismatic movement in the Catholic Church.

Rating: 4/5

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

Review – Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

Book description

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th-century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

First impressions

After reading the Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes, I was excited to know she was releasing a new book, a historical fiction story nicely packaged in a hardcover book with an amazing cover. This could be one of those books you can safely buy because you like the cover and still be confident the story is just as good.

Review 

I’m not so much into historical fiction, but if you add fantasy to the equation, I’m sold. Fawkes is not only inspired by true historical events, in this case the gunpowder plot, but it has a creative magic system that adds flavor to the narrative.

Story

Color power is controlled by speech which in turn can only be effective by wearing a mask given to you by your parents. The influence of the power of each mask is dictated by its color. In Nadine’s words (visit her insta account for pics):

Green masks control green things—plants and trees and growing things mostly. A lot of apothecaries are Greens for this very reason.

Ironically, this the story about Thomas, a boy that cannot use color power, but most importantly, he doesn’t have a clue about his own father. The one who is the one supposed to care for him and help him in the process to bond with a color. Oddly enough, when he finally gets to find him he’s introduced by Guy Fawkes in a plot to kill King James I. 

Characters

Thomas seemed to me a very polite character, because of his age he obviously has this reckless attitude towards adults and problems. He struggles with the person he wants to become, the person others expect him to become and ultimately the person he is supposed to become once he find the truth about himself.

Emma, which belongs to the Igniters, is very interesting character and as you can guess she becomes Thomas’ love interest. The good thing about romance in Fawkes is that it becomes part of the story and not central. Nadine builds a love story slowly through pages filled with big doses of action and political turmoil, giving the readers a balanced story. But Emma is not only that, she’s a character with a personal and difficult story to tell (one that certainly deserves an spin-off).

Finally, can I talk about White Light? This may or may not contain spoilers so just be cautious. White Light is a background character that has very little participation but brings deep truths into the view. I liked the way it spoke differently to each character and the way Nadine crafted the story so you can make you own theories.

Conclusion

Fawkes is a standalone novel, an awesome standalone novel that has the ability to make you part of the gunpowder plot and absorb you into a fictional London filled with magic, intrigue, romance and a search for your identity. If you’re unsure about reading Fawkes because of the fantasy touch, give it a chance and you’ll not be disappointed.

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

Review – Unimaginable by Jeremiah J. Jhonston

Book description

A Stirring Account of Christianity’s Power for Good

In a day when Christians are often attacked for their beliefs, professor and speaker Jeremiah Johnston offers an inspiring look at the positive influence of Christianity, both historically and today. In Unimaginable, you’ll discover the far-reaching ways that Christianity is good for the world–and has been since the first century AD–including:
– How the plights of women and children in society were forever changed by Jesus
– Why democracy and our education and legal systems owe much to Christianity
– How early believers demonstrated the inherent value of human life by caring for the sick, handicapped, and dying
– How Christians today are extending God’s kingdom through charities, social justice efforts, and other profound ways

Like It’s a Wonderful Life, the classic film that showed George Bailey how different Bedford Falls would be without his presence, Unimaginable guides readers through the halls of history to see how Jesus’ teachings dramatically changed the world and continue to be the most powerful force for good today. This provocative and enlightening book is sure to encourage believers and challenge doubters.

Review

I’ve heard about a couple of books dealing with this same topic and always wanted to dive into one of them but never took the time to do it until now. I’m happy Unimaginable is the first one I read about this important subject, one that I believe is important for every believer to understand.

From the very beginning it’s obvious that Johnston is passionate about Jesus and about the impact of Jesus through history, and the good news is that the author is passionate about history.

The book is divided in three parts:

I. The World Before Christianity
II. The World Without Christianity
III. The World With Christianity

When reading Unimaginable you can feel you’re reading an overview of history itself, but when necessary, Johnston points to the specific parts of history and human civilization that have, or haven’t, touched not only by Christianity but by religion and belief in the divine in general.

The point I want to make here is that human civilization, which by its very nature requires law, is not only founded on belief in the divine but was also generated by this belief. Without a sense of the divine, would humans have created civilization? – Jeremiah J. Johnston, p.30

From the ancient Rome to the sad reality of WWII we witness a world of hopelessness and world leaders that chose to turn their backs from God’s principles to face terrible consequences. I really liked the section dedicated to not only the philosophies, but to the lives of some influential thinkers. There’s a clearer idea of why some of them decided to see the world through dark lens and how their thinking affected not only their contemporaries but is still affecting in our present.

But not everything is bad news, the last part narrates the way Christianity flourished in the Roman world and a call to be transformed in the middle of any situation.

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 – Siren’s Song by Mary Weber

Book description

After a fierce battle with Draewulf, Nym barely escaped with her life. Now, fleeing the scorched landscape of Tulla, her storm-summoning abilities are returning; only . . . the dark power is still inside her.

Broken and bloodied, Nym needs time to recover, but when the full scope of the shapeshifter’s horrific plot is revealed, the strong-willed Elemental must race across the Hidden Lands and warn the other kingdoms before Draewulf ’s final attack.

From the crystalline palaces of Cashlin to the legendary Valley of Origin, Nym scrambles to gather an army. But even if she can, will she be able to uncover the secret to defeating Draewulf that has eluded her people for generations? With a legion of monsters approaching, and the Hidden Lands standing on the brink of destruction, the stage is set for a battle that will decide the fate of the world.

My review

It was a long time ago I read the first book in this series, and it has come the time when I can finally finish it with Siren’s Song.

As with the last book of any series, there’s always a sad feeling about it, but at the same time, it’s great to see characters like Nym and Eogan grow as characters themselves, but also grow in you as you become attached to them.

There’s action and there’s romance in this book, but it’s balanced enough so you can enjoy the story and specially the ending that’s been a favorite for many readers.

If you’re looking for a fantasy story, sprinkled with action and romance, the Storm Siren series is perfect for you.

Rating:

Review – The Baker Compact Dictionary of Biblical Studies

Book description

When it comes to the realm of biblical studies, students of the Bible are often overwhelmed, both with the sheer volume of information and with all of the unfamiliar terms, concepts, and topics. Like any other field of study, the serious study of the Bible has developed a specialized vocabulary. The key terms in this important field are defined in The Compact Dictionary of Biblical Studies. It provides clear, concise, and accurate definitions to help students of the Bible make sense of the specialized language of biblical studies.

Review

The Baker Compact Dictionary of Biblical Studies is a dictionary with a clear purpose, according to the authors, they wanted to share useful definitions for Bible students using their own experience as the main source, although they want it to be accesible for everyone.

The dictionary does not only include word definitions like “Nephilim” but also concept definitions such as

dominical saying

From the Latin dominus, meaning “lord” or “master”, a saying or teaching attributed to Jesus Christ. p. 64

The size of The Baker Compact Dictionary of Biblical Studies makes it great, not only as an academic study but also as a pocket book you can take with you and read wherever you go. Because of the short definitions and explanations its a great learning tool you can carry in your backpack or purse.

Conclusion

The Baker Compact Dictionary of Biblical Studies it’s a great place to start to someone that may feel intimidated by those big and complicated dictionaries out there. If it’s only for the sake of learning or understanding something better this will make a great choice.

Rating:

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

Review – The Last Arrow by Erwin Raphael McManus

Book description

When you come to the end of your days, you will not measure your life based on success and failures. All of those will eventually blur together into a single memory called “life.”

What will give you solace is a life with nothing left undone. One that’s been lived with relentless ambition, a heart on fire, and with no regrets.

On the other hand, what will haunt you until your final breath is who you could have been but never became and what you could have done but never did.

The Last Arrow is your roadmap to a life that defies odds and alters destinies. Discover the attributes of those who break the gravitational pull of mediocrity as cultural pioneer and thought leader Erwin McManus examines the characteristics of individuals who risked everything for a life they could only imagine. Imagine living the life you were convinced was only a dream.

We all begin this life with a quiver full of arrows.

Now the choice is yours. Will you cling to your arrows or risk them all, opting to live until you have nothing left to give?

Time is short. Pick up The Last Arrow and begin the greatest quest of your life.

Review

Having read a lot of good comments about McManus’ last book, I wanted to read this one for myself, so I didn’t hesitate when it became available on of the review program I’m part of.

The Last Arrow is about moving on from our past, from the things trying to hold us back and start living. But living according to the plan God has for us.

It’s an inspirational reading that will shake you and make you to start living a meaningful life.

Rating: 

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