Browse Category: Reseña

Review – The Father Effect by John Finch

Book description

Based on the feature film of the same name, THE FATHER EFFECT is a must-read for the millions of men and women who have lost their fathers through divorce, death, or disinterest.

John Finch always struggled after his father committed suicide when he was eleven, but it wasn’t until he was raising his own three daughters that he truly understood their futures relied on his coming to terms with his difficult past. To move forward, he needed to forgive both his father for choosing to leave, and himself for not being the best father he could be.

This journey led to THE FATHER EFFECT, a book containing practical help for anyone, man or woman, with a deep father wound from losing a dad through divorce, death, or disinterest. Through positive lessons on forgiveness and approachable advice on how to change your legacy as a parent, partner, and person, THE FATHER EFFECT is the ultimate healing tool for anyone who has suffered the absence of a dad.

First impressions

I picked this book with the hope to find useful information about this particular topic and see if I was missing something as a fatherless myself, and then share the information with those in need. After all the book cover says it offers hope and healing from a dad’s absence and that sounds pretty straight, right? Well, I was wrong.

Review

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad with the book content in itself, but it’s easy to see when you’re reading it that this is a very personal book, a very personal journey, John’s journey. The book starts with a letter written by John’s father, his last letter to his family. From there, John recounts his story through a difficult life without a father and how much time it took to him to realize something was wrong with the way he was living as a result of his father absence.

John’s testimony is powerful and without a doubt many will feel identified with his struggles, because they’re actually real and they have consequences, and many will benefit from the path and decisions John took to do something positive with his life. But there’s comes a point where the personal story keeps on growing and what just started as a simple testimony evolves into John’s detailed recording of his past life to his present reality where he’s married and a father of three daughters, and this is exactly the when the focus of the book shifts from hope and healing from a dad’s absence to practical advices from a father to your marriage and children.

There’s something John says about lacking fathers the that becomes quite the reality of the book: You can give what you don’t have. Because this is a personal journey, John only speaks from his point of view and cannot give more than what actually worked for him, for a married man with three daughters. I’m saying all this without bad intentions, but as a fatherless myself I didn’t feel this book was for me. Most of the information I found useful were long quotes by John Eldredge scattered through the book.

And just to confirm how personal this book was, the book finishes with a letter, this time by John to his father.

Conclusion

This book is for you if you are looking for an inspiring story ABOUT someone finding hope in difficult circumstances but if you’re looking for a more detailed book on HOW you can find hope and healing you need to look somewhere else.

Rating: 

 

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

Review – Paper Bag Christmas by Kevin Alan Milne

Book description

When Molar Alan and his older brother, Aaron, fill out their Christmas wish lists front and back, the Santa at the mall informs the boys they won’t be getting anything they asked for. Instead, he says, they will receive everything they never wanted. This isn’t your garden-variety Santa, he’s Dr. Chris Ringle, a pediatric oncologist, and he enlists the brothers as Santa’s elves at the children’s ward for the holidays.

Each boy is charged with a very special assignment. Aaron will befriend Madhu, a fast-talking boy on an organ transplant list who, though not Christian, has an insatiable curiosity and wants to learn all about the holiday. Madhu is determined to be a wise man in the hospital pageant, despite the objections to his interpretation of the role.

Molar’s task is considerably harder, as he attempts to help a lonely little girl named Katrina. Katrina’s surgery has left her scarred, and she has shut herself away from everyone. But it is through her that the true spirit of Christmas will touch the lives of all those around her in a way none of them would have foreseen.

First impresions

I rarely read Christmas books, but this year I thought It’d be a good idea to start a tradition so I picked this one hoping for the best and fortunately I did the right choice with Paper Bag Christmas.

Review

I wasn’t sure I’d like the story considering that the main setting is a hospital, but as the story started to develop it made more sense. From the very beginning the story feels very real: a typical family in a mall for Christmas and the traditional letter from the children to Santa expecting the very best gifts available… for children.

The transition from the traditional to the not so typical is smooth and the introduction of the new setting and characters is great. Dr. Ringle and the rest of the staff and children from the hospital are very likable with distinct personalities, even those who are a little bit grumpy (a.k.a Katrina).

The story is filled with love, hope, and faith, interwoven in a way that results so pleasing to the reader. There’s a message of great value in the words and actions of the children that is useful for both kids and adult alike.

Conclusion

You must be ready to grab some tissues at the end of the story. This is a short book with an amazing story that can be read alone or aloud with the rest of the family. This edition is a beautiful re-release with an updated cover illustration and dust jacket.

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

Review – The Greatest Story Ever Told Journal by John C. Maxwell

Description

In 1976, John Maxwell was excited to receive a book as a gift. The title: The Greatest Story Ever Told. Imagine his shock when he opened it to find all the pages blank-except for a note from the giver that said, “John, your life is before you. Fill these pages with kind acts, good thoughts, and matters of your heart. Write a great story with your life.” This was John’s invitation to become proactive in writing his own life story. And it marked him. Now John extends that same offer to you and people you care about. It’s time to become intentional about writing your own story of significance. THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD is the perfect companion for every milestone:

  • Promotion
  • Graduation
  • Wedding
  • New Year

Begin writing your story today.

First impressions

I really, really, really like journals. I’m not sure where this love came from but I love getting new journals not only for the sake of, you know… using them. But also just for the sake of collecting them. This was a great chance since in this case this is a journal inspired by one of my favorite writers, John C. Maxwell.

Review

In reality there’s not so much to say about a journal, which is really a normal journal. The idea behind it comes from a gift Maxwell received and somehow changed the way he was living his life.

This journal has a handwritten note by Maxwell with many of the words used in the description above. An invitation to live with intention, an invitation to inspire others through words and deeds. There’s also a page dedicated to show the way you can start sharing your journey with others with specific steps.

The rest of the journal is composed by 247 lined pages ready for you to start writing your story. This is a hardcover journal, with a simple black cover with “THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD” legend printed in white letters. The “texture” you see in the picture is from the leather binding version. The one I got is different, I guess is because is a review copy.

Conclusion

If you love journals like me, this one is for you. It’s a good reminder of the great story each one of us is able to bring forth in our lives. This journal can definitely work as a gift and could be the push someone needs from you.

Rating:

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

Review – Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Book description

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

Read the complete description here.

First impresions

When I knew that Blake Crouch was the mind behind Wayward Pines I knew I had to read Black Matter. I thought it’d have that mystery and intelligence just like the TV show (at least the first season) and I was not wrong. Warning: spoilers ahead.

Review

It wasn’t easy when I wanted to start reading Black Matter, actually it took me some effort to get along with the pace. The story starts giving you a detailed background about a couple of characters, Jason and his family among them, and then about some places and events as well . The best thing is that the action arrives just in time and then the pages start turning by themselves.

Dark Matter stretches the possibilities about the Schrödinger’s cat experiment and Quantum superposition, we’re introduced to Jason’s life, just as he experiences it and lives it. Jason it’s a scientist that put aside many of his dreams in order to search for a normal life with a family. We get a plot twist soon enough and then everything Jason knew to be true becomes a lie or you could say it becomes a half-truth.

The first part of the book focuses on the struggles Jason faces to understand what’s happening, which in the long term involves mental and physical suffering. In his fight to find the truth, he’ll be involved with people and places that have been part of his past but with a very different present. Yes, I know it sounds crazy… and it is.

The second half of the book is charges with action and adventure. It’s here when it’s almost impossible to put the book down. You’ll encounter places and landscapes that could belong to a futurist setting but also some that you could find a post-apocalyptic book. Then you’ll also find some situations that may give you a headache.

Conclusion

Dark Matter was among the finalists as the best book in the science fiction category in the last Goodreads awards and though it didn’t win, it’s definitely a very recommended reading for those looking for a good science fiction book with unexpected but creative plot twists.

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. 

Review – Shaken by Tim Tebow

Book description

Who are you when life is steady?
Who are you when storms come?

Most of us have been on the receiving end of rejection, a broken dream, or heartbreak. And while this is not an easy space to go through, when we are grounded in the truth, we can endure the tough times.
In this powerful book, Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow passionately shares glimpses of his journey staying grounded in the face of disappointment, criticism, and intense media scrutiny. Following an exceptional college football career with the Florida Gators and a promising playoff run with the Denver Broncos, Tebow was traded to the New York Jets. He was released after one season.
In Shaken, Tebow talks about what he’s learned along the way, building confidence in his identity in God, not the world. This moving book also features practical wisdom from Scripture and insights gained from others who have impacted Tebow in life-changing ways.

Though traveling hard roads is not easy, it’s always worth it!

Your Circumstances do not Define You,
Your Identity Does.

First impresions

I knew about Tim Tebow through Facebook, as many contacts started to share his participation on the Home Free TV show, I’m not a sport guy. Shortly after I was offered to join to his book release campaign and it seemed a good opportunity to know more about Tebow so I joined and yes, I am late.

My review

The good thing about Shaken is that it’s written from experience. Tebow shares his ups and downs through his life in the football world and is honest in the way he experienced each season during the past years.

Shaken offers practical examples of the struggles each one of us can live in the real life and how our foundation in God is the difference between living in victory or defeat. Sharing from his younger days, from biblical stories and from testimonies he has encountered while doing social work Tebow encourages and exhorts to stand for the right things and make a difference where we live and in our sphere of influence.

The book is written in a very simple language which makes it easy to understand. Actually I don’t get the need for the future Young Reader’s Edition to exist, the book is short compared to your average christian book and Tebow is really good at communicating practical truths with practical examples.

Conclusion

I’d recommend Shaken mainly to those who are familiar with Tebow and know what to expect from his writings and then I’d recommend it to those who want, or maybe need, a good dose of encouragement and hope.

Rating:

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

Review – Ordinary by Tony Medina

Book description

What if the path toward an extraordinary life is becoming more ordinary?Ordinary is not a call to be more radical. If anything, it is a call to the contrary. The kingdom of God isn’t coming with light shows, and shock and awe, but with lowly acts of service. Tony Merida wants to push back against sensationalism and “rock star Christianity,” and help people understand that they can make a powerful impact by practicing ordinary Christianity.

Through things such as humble acts of service, neighbor love, and hospitality, Christians can shake the foundations of the culture. In order to see things happen that have never happened before, Christians must to do what Christians have always done­. Christians need to become more ordinary.

Let’s think together about how we, ordinary people, doing ordinary things, might turn the world upside down.

First impressions

I chose this book for three main reasons. First, I needed a short book to read in order to complete my book reading challenge. Second, the cover looks awesome (with the book in my hands, feels awesome as well). And third, the subtitle of the book sounded really challenging and honest for us as Christians.

Content

I’m not sure how to describe Ordinary, I wouldn’t say I’m don’t agree with the principles presented here: loving involves action. The book focuses in specific areas where everyone could get involved, going from thing, like feeding the poor, to adopting a child.

The thing I didn’t like was the way Tony wanted to force this issue on the readers. It’s difficult to put it into words, but I think that while it was an extensive “to do” list for Christians, it lacked the “why”. And by this I mean the book never tried to explore the the reasons behind “why” we as Christians should behave in a certain way besides the “just because”.

I think true loving actions come from a heart that already is in tune with God’s heart and not from a list of requirements in order to be in tune with God’s heart.

Conclusion

From my initial list, Ordinary just filled my first two expectations. It was a short book and it looks awesome. It’s a good reading but maybe not what you’re expecting.

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Review – The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

theshack

Book description

Mackenzie Allen Phillips’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation. Evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note–apparently from God–inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment, he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change his life forever.

First impressions

I read The Shack six or seven years ago for the first time. Shortly after I found several reviews pointing how theologically inaccurate the story was and somehow I thought maybe I’ve missed something. I wanted to give the book a new chance and decided to read it again. Also there’s a movie adaptation coming up, and wanted to refresh the story in my mind.

Review

There are two ways you can read (and review) The Shack: as a mere work of fiction and inspiration or as a theology work about God and suffering.

In the former, you have an amazing and emotional story that empathizes with almost every living soul on Earth. There’s something in Mack’s suffering that clicks with our personal daily struggles, making us part of the quest to find an answer and if possible, a solution. Then there’s the mystery behind the character (as in, the person) of God. How is He like? what does someone like God look like?  Is there a God? Does He care about us? The Shack responds some of these questions with a lot of creative freedom.

All this ingredients produce an exciting page turner, at least for those familiar or interested in these topics. There’s one issue that needs to be addressed and so the plot it’s clear from the very beginning making The Shack a fast reading.

In the later, you have an interesting view on God, the Trinity, the work of Jesus and its implications on humanity, and many other theological subjects you can think of (seminary, prayer, church, forgiveness, religions). The author (or should I say the author using God’s voice) didn’t just limited his views on the matters related to the story, but he also used The Shack as a way to express his disagreement with many practices and doctrines of Christianity unrelated to the story, but definitely a priority to Young.

This is where things could be confusing to some people. I had friends that would say something like: “It’s like Jesus/God/The Holy Spirit would say in The Shack…” giving a book the same value as The Book, maybe not out of rebellion, but out of ignorance of what the Bible says about God.

Conclusion

On the same note I hope my review is not confusing to some of you. I really liked reading The Shack for the second time, but encountered some theological issues that can by skipped if reading with a mentality of a casual reader. I’d recommend to read this book in the same manner you would read Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

Rating:

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

Review – Becoming a Disciple Making Church by Neil T. Anderson

makingadisciple

Book description

Life-Changing Discipleship Can Be the Expectation, Not the Exception

As leaders, we want the people in our churches to become spiritually mature disciples of Christ, but so many remain stuck in struggles and sins. Personal and spiritual conflicts are holding them back from the true freedom that can be found in Christ alone.

Neil Anderson has been walking individuals through this journey for over a quarter century, but now he wants to teach pastors and church leaders how to do this for their own churches. As the culmination of his life’s work, Becoming a Disciple-Making Church shows you how to help your people resolve conflicts–from difficult marriages to unrepentant sin to church disputes–through genuine repentance and faith in God. Rather than giving up or simply referring people to counselors outside the church, embrace the fact that God through His Word has answers to problems of the heart and mind. And in this ministry of reconciliation, true discipleship will happen.

First impressions

Neil T. Anderson is the author of Victory Over the Darkness a really well known book among Christians, that I haven’t read. That was the reason I wanted to check Becoming a Disciple Making Church, which is a really good introduction to Anderson’s work.

Content

This is not an original work, in the sense of being new material. It’s a collection of different chapters from different books in the context of building a leadership capable of building disciples using the principles in each section.

It’s not that the book it’s not good for this reason, on the contrary, there’s a lot of subjects of interest for everyone and the best thing is that you can put them into practice right away. Some examples are, How to overcome:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sexual strongholds

Each chapter explains the meaning of each concept and its psychological and biblical background. Finally it gives you the tools necessary to deal with each issue using biblical principles.

Conclusion

Reading Becoming a Disciple Making Church it’s a good start if you want to get familiar with Neil T. Anderson or with his work. It’s a really worth reading.

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.