Browse Month: January 2016

Album Review – Salvation’s Tide is Rising by Passion

passion

Introduction

Since this is my first album review, I want to make some things clear. First, I do not consider myself a professional album reviewer, I just like to listen to music like almost everyone else. Second, I got the chance to review Passion’s latest release Salvation’s Tide is Rising and I thought I’d be a different kind of experience, and it was.

I grew up listening to Christian contemporary music to the point it became predictable. There were a couple of refreshing, powerful songs with meaningful lyrics and then there were songs that were just nice songs, full of christian clichés and catchy choruses. Shortly after it became the new normal I just stopped listening to CCM, and became an indie music follower, waiting for a new wave of original worship music.

Review

Unlike the previous albums, recorded live during the annual Passion conferences led by Louie Giglio, this one was recorded in the studio, which may give it a different sound and feeling.

The first track, Salvation’s Tide is Rising, which gave the name to the album, speaks about the church, a church that is walking towards the expansion of the kingdom of God, which is only possible when there’s real unity and power. Kristian Stanfill sings: “Your house, forever, undivided. All Your sons and daughters won. At the cross we are united”.

One of the artists that became a must in the youth conferences is Crowder, known for his originality in music. He’s responsible of two songs in this album, My Victory, that celebrates Jesus’ sacrifice for us and All We Sinners, which in contrast “celebrates” our sinful condition and the salvation found in Christ. If you want to know more about why I’m saying this you are free to ask in the comments.

But to my surprise I found a couple of songs that were truly amazing. The first one is Simple Pursuit sang by Melodie Malone, her voice is a great plus to the power of this song and the desire to know God and be known by Him as a church that is filled with His presence. Definitely one of the songs that deserves our attention.

The other one is a really simple song, it has just too few verses but it’s a great song by Matt Redman, a simple song about surrender and live our lives for a greater purpose. There’s nothing outstanding about this song, except that it captures a passion and a life of abandonment for Christ and live for Him. That’s what makes it a great song.

Conclusion

Salvation’s Tide is Rising is your average worship album but it still makes a great choice. If you’re looking for diversity this is your album. Physical copies will be available January 29, but you can get it on iTunes now, just click here.

Salvation’s Tide Is Rising

1. Salvation’s Tide (feat. Kristian Stanfill)
2. My Victory (feat. Crowder)
3. Remember (feat. Brett Younker & Melodie Malone)
4. God and God Alone (feat. Chris Tomlin)
5. Simple Pursuit (feat. Melodie Malone)
6. I Turn to Christ (feat. Matt Redman)
7. Your Grace Amazes Me (feat. Christy Nockels)
8. All We Sinners (feat. Crowder)
9. Surrender (feat. Jimi Cravity)
10. Good Good Father (feat. Kristian Stanfill)

I received a digital copy from FlyBy promotions in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – Delighting in God by A.W. Tozer

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Book description

Understand Your Life’s Purpose by Better Understanding God

“My worship grows and grows as my perception of God grows. God cannot grow. My perception of God grows as I experience Him day after day. I should be more capable of worshiping God today than I was ten or twenty years ago.”

Delighting in God is the message A.W. Tozer intended to be the follow-up to The Knowledge of the Holy. He demonstrates how the attributes of God–those things God has revealed about himself–are a way to understand the Christian life of worship and service. Because we were created in the image of God, to understand who we are, we need to understand who God is and allow His character and nature to be reflected through us.

We are here to serve and adore Him, and we can only fulfill that role by acknowledging who He is. This is the essence of the Christian life and the source of all our fulfillment, joy, and comfort.

First impressions

A couple of years ago I read The Knowledge of the Holy, I knew it was a classic in Christian literature and it was an awesome reading that blew my mind about the attributes of God. It’s a must read, not because it’s famous, but because it’s certainly a life changer book. This book was promoted as a follow-up, that’s when I knew I got to pick it for review.

Content

This book is compiled and edited by James L. Synder, in this case it means this book is result of several of Tozer’s recorded preachings in the past. Unlike The Knowledge of the Holy published during his lifetime, Delighting in God was a different sort of reading because of this fact, at the beginning it can be a little bit of a letdown, because it’s easy to detect the difference, but it feels normal after a couple of chapters.

When reading through the pages I got the feeling Tozer was desperate, frustrated or simply mad about the state of Christianity in America. He doesn’t hold back when denouncing the lack of passion in church to know God. For him it’s not enough to know about God, but our purpose as Christians should be to know God and be known by Him.

This book is about our perception of God, a faulty or a lofty one. According to Tozer, our perception of God is the one thing that defines everything in our life and this book is a journey about how we may have a wrong perception, but also how it can be restored to impact our lives.

As I move toward God, my capacity to understand God grows deeper and deeper. Of course, the opposite is also true. As I move away from God, my capacity begins to shrink. – A.W. Tozer p.65

Conclusion

Delighting in God is rightly called a follow-up to The Knowledge of the Holy, this is A.W. Tozerbeing honest with himself and with his audience, you can feel his passion about what he’s saying and his resolution in trying to offer something to his generation. This should be read by every Christian, the reality of the church back in Tozer’s days could be easily compared to the one we’re living, and sadly that’s not a compliment.

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 – Darkness Reigns by Jill Williamson

darknessreigns

 

Book description

Part 1 of Jill Williamson’s Epic Fantasy Series The Kinsman Chronicles

The god of the soil is furious. Volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, earthquakes–everything points to his unhappiness. At least this is what the people of Armania in the Five Realms believe.

Amidst the unsettling state of the world around them, the princes of Armania live their lives focused more on who will claim the throne after their sickly father, King Echad, dies. That is until Prince Wilek’s concubine turns up dead–beside her, a bloodied message that seems to have come from the mother realms.

Darkness Reigns is collected together with parts 2 and 3 in King’s Folly.

First impressions

Jill Williamson is best known for her Blood of Kings trilogy, published a couple of years ago by the now extinct Marcher Lord Press (Now, Enclave Publishing). The Kinsman Chronicles, according to her, is an ancient prequel to her trilogy, which I haven’t read, but I guess it’s not necessary to do it in order to understand this one. Or at least that’s what I think, lol.

Story

This series is labeled as epic fantasy, and believe me, there’s not better description; this is not your typical YA novel with a typical love triangle and a predictable plot. This is a story in the veins of The Lord of the Rings, or to compare it to a more contemporary, Game of Thrones (I haven’t read GoT, but GoT is compared to LOTR, don’t hate me).

In this first part, followed by The Heir War and The End of all Things, we get to know five different realms, but in this case we got a closer look to Armania. This kingdom is in the middle of a transition, a king transition, and in this first part we follow the lives of the possible heirs to the throne.

I got stuck in the first chapters, but as I kept reading, it was easier to follow the different PoV’sused throughout the book. Wee see the reality of this five realms through the eyes of at least four (maybe five) different eyes. But not only that, and that’s what makes The Kinsman Chronicles an awesome book, becase we get to know an overall story developing at the same time we get different personal stories running and making sense of everything. I don’t even know if it makes sense, does it?

Characters

I’m only naming those character which I liked and think are important to the story.

Wilek, is a prince, heir to the throne and the one character which is central to the story. He doesn’t follow the traditions of his father’s kingdom and questions everything that doesn’t make sense to him. He’s the hero of the story (or at least it seems to be) and thank God he’s not perfect which at times leads him to make bad choices and take wrong decisions.

Trevn, is the prince half-brother, and even tough we don’t see a lot of him in this first part, I feel he’ll be playing an important role in the future. His personality is well defined for a boy of his age, a little bit immature and curious about love. I guess we’ll learn a lot more about the different religions through him in the next installments, as he’s learning to be a priest.

Zeroah and Mielle are the two female characters that stand out from the rest. The first one being a possible bride to the heir, and the second one playing the role of her maiden. Both of them posses a noble character and seem to have the best intentions. Personally, Miellebecame a favorite, she has an outgoing kind of personality, the one that makes you want to know a person a little bit more each time (and I hope we’ll get to do it).

Conclusion

Darkness Reigns serves as an awesome introduction to this new series. If you’re looking for something exciting, mysterious and intelligent for your next read, look no further and grab your copy today. The kindle version is being offered for free.

Rating: ★★★★★

I received an eARC from the author in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – The Grace Keepers by Kirsty Logan

thegracekeepers

 

Book description

For readers of The Night Circus and Station Eleven, a lyrical and absorbing debut set in a world covered by water

As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, laying the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance.

In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland (“landlockers”) and those who float on the sea (“damplings”), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives–offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.

Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales, The Gracekeepers tells a modern story of an irreparably changed world: one that harbors the same isolation and sadness, but also joys and marvels of our own age.

Mi review – kinda

It happened to me again, I chose The Gracekeepers mostly because of that great book cover. There was also the story of course, described as inspired by myths and fairy tales. That’s the kind of things I like in the same sentence. I was ready for this book, or I thought so.

I’m not going to do my typical review, since I didn’t finish this book. I mean, if you follow my reviews, you’ll know I normally don’t give up on books, even if they’re kind of bad books. But there are certain books I just cannot finish, even if I try, and I tried so hard with this one.

The story

I liked the idea, a circus that travels by the sea to different places. Two kinds of people, thelandlockers living on the ground and the damplings on the sea. Two different PoV’s from the two main female characters, living different lifestyles.

But suddenly everything became boring. I just couldn’t keep on reading because the story became confusing and seemed to go nowhere. There were different stories being told at the same time, but the execution failed to do it properly.

In conclusion, we got good characters but bad storytelling. I’m sorry if I’m the only one with this feeling, but as I said the last time this happened to me: life is short to read bad books, or at least books you don’t enjoy.

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.