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.

Reseña – Matar la Kriptonita de John Bevere


Descripción del libro

Tu puedes destruir lo que roba tu fuerza. Igual que Superman, que puede saltar sobre cualquier obstaculo y derrotar a todos los enemigos, los seguidores de Cristo tienen la habilidad sobrenatural para conquistar los desafios que enfrentamos. Pero el problema para Superman y nosotros es que hay una kriptonita que roba nuestra fuerza. Por supuesto, ambos Superman y la kriptonita son ficticios. Pero la kriptonita espiritual no lo es.

Este libro responde por que tantos de nosotros somos incapaces de experimentar la fuerza divina que era evidente entre los cristianos del primer siglo. En Matar la Kriptonita, John Bevere revela cual es esta kriptonita, por que esta comprometiendo nuestras comunidades, y como liberarte de su atadura.

No apto para los débiles de corazón, Matar la Kriptonita es todo menos un “alza en azúcar” espiritual. Esta es verdad seria para cualquier seguidor de Cristo que anhela abrazar el desafiante, pero gratificante camino de la transformación.

Reseña

Matar la kriptonita fue uno de esos libros que me tuvieron en suspenso hasta muchas páginas después de que comencé a leerlo. Por un lado John Bevere se toma el tiempo necesario para dar una larga introducción, cuya intención es llevarnos poco a poco y de manera detallada hacia un un punto en específico. Y aunque esto puede ser bueno para muchos, en mi resultó en una frustración de sentir que no había un hilo claro del tema que se quería exponer.

Por alguna razón, el libro consume varios capítulos iniciales dando vueltas alrededor de algunos conceptos generales, en su mayoría enfocados a las repercusiones del pecado en la iglesia como cuerpo de Cristo, para de repente decirnos que la kriptonita en el contexto su libro se refiere a la idolatría. Es aquí cuando te das cuenta que muchas páginas pudieron ser ahorradas. De ahí en adelante el mismo autor trata, de manera forzada, llevarnos de la mano por algunos temas que el mismo dice parecen no estar relacionados.

No podría decir que Matar la kriptonita no es buen libro, de hecho me parece bastante acertada la manera en que Bevere trata varias creencias vigentes en círculos protestantes y que no corresponden con una mentalidad de hijo que es heredero de Dios, tal como el de la santidad. Pero al mismo tiempo que expone distintas situaciones y ejemplos se pierde el objetivo y siento que no se llega a ninguna parte.

La santidad por lo tanto, no es un fin en sí mismo, como lo dibujan los legalistas. Es la entrada a la verdaera intimidad con Jesús. – John Bevere, p.274

Conclusión

Después de 286 páginas, creo que el objetivo del libro no se cumple como se esperaba. Un mejor trabajo de edición fácilmente solucionaría varios problemas y haría más digerible la gran cantidad de información presentada. Desafortunadamente creo que lo mejor de este libro bien podría ser solamente su título tan creativo.

Calificación:

¿Dónde lo compro?

Recibí una copia de Whitaker House en Español para la reseña. Los comentarios y opiniones expresadas son propias.

Bible Review – CSB Worldview Study Bible

Description

The CSB Worldview Study Bible features extensive worldview study notes and articles by notable worldview scholars to help Christians better understand the grand narrative and flow of Scripture within the biblical framework from which we are called to view reality and make sense of life and the world. This Bible is an invaluable resource and study tool that will help you to discuss, defend, and clearly share with others the truth, hope, and practical compatibility of Christianity in everyday life.

Review

I love Study Bibles, I own a couple of them and they’re really helpful when reading the Bible for devotional as well when I’m preparing a message or a teaching. The CSB Worldview Study Bible is a new Bible by B&H Publishing and it comes full of great features:

  • Extensive worldview study notes
  • Over 150 articles by notable worldview scholars
  • Center-column references
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Presentation page
  • Two ribbon markers
  • Two-piece gift box, and more

At first glance it looks like a typical Study Bible, with references, footnotes and commentaries, but as you read through the pages, you’ll find articles or essays in the middle of specific books and passages. They’re listed at the beginning next to the index and before the list of the contributors.

Contributors include: Ted Cabel, George Guthrie, John Stonestreet, Constantine R. Campbell, Eric J. Tully, Darrell Bock, Mary Jo Sharp, Kenneth Matthews, Carl Trueman, Paul Wooley, Thomas Kidd, John Bloom, William Edgar, and more.

According to the credits the interior was designed and typeset by 2D/DENMARK, using Bible Serif created by the same studio.

Conclusion

There are three editions of the CSB Worldview Study Bible, the one I received for review was the Navy Leather Touch. It’s important to note that it’s a big Bible and maybe not so easy to handle. If you’re looking for a firm grip, the Neutral Cloth Over Board will probably be a better option.

I received this book from B&H Publishing Group 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:

Reseña – Planifica tu futuro de Michael Hyatt y Daniel Harkavy


Descripción del libro

Todos tenemos una sola vida qué vivir en la tierra. Lo que hacemos con ella es nuestra decisión. ¿La vivimos a la deriva como espectadores, reaccionando a nuestras circunstancias, y preguntándonos cómo llegamos al punto donde estamos? ¿O la estamos dirigiendo, maximizando la alegría y el potencial de cada día, viviendo con un propósito o una misión en la mente?

Muchos de nosotros hacemos lo primero, y nuestras vidas se deslizan de nuestras manos un día a la vez. ¿Y si tratáramos la vida como el regalo que es? ¿Y si viviéramos cada día como si fuera parte de un plan? Eso es lo que nos enseñan el autor de éxitos de ventas del New York Times Michael Hyatt, y el coach ejecutivo Daniel Harkavy: a diseñar de una vida con el final en mente, determinando de antemano los resultados que deseamos, y el camino para llegar allá. En esta guía paso por paso, ellos comparten principios básicos para ayudar al lector a crear un plan de vida efectivo para que pueda llegar a donde desea, en todas las áreas de su vida.

Primeras impresiones

Michael Hyatt es uno de esos mentores digitales a los que le sigo la huella a través de las redes sociales. No solo tiene experiencia en el área editorial, en la cuál estoy altamente interesado, sino que después de su carrera por Thomas Nelson, Hyatt ha dedicado su vida a compartir importantes lecciones de influencia y liderazgo. Por el otro, lado no había tenido oportunidad hasta ahora, de leer algo de Daniel Harkavy pero resultó ser un descubrimiento bastante positivo.

Reseña

Debo admitir que a primera vista pensé que Planifica tu futuro se trataba de un libro enfocado al cumplimiento de metas o proyectos a corto plazo, pero después de leer las primeras páginas me di cuenta que realmente está diseñado para entender y desarrollar un proyecto, pero uno de vida a tomar en cuenta desde el ahora.

En pocas páginas y capítulos ambos autores explican de manera clara, y muchas veces repetitiva, la mejor manera de desarrollar un plan de vida. De acuerdo a su experiencia, cualquiera que se tome el tiempo de entender y desarrollar uno propio, se verá beneficiado en todas las áreas de su vida

…no siempre puedes escoger lo que te sucede. Los accidentes y las tragedias se producen. Lo que puedes hacer es escoger cómo responder a esas situaciones, y una de las mejores maneras de comenzar es hacerte las preguntas correctas. – Michael Hyatt p-39

Cada capítulo esta acompañado de consejos y testimonios de los autores, pero también de personas que han completado el proceso, finalmente se ofrecen instrucciones y ejemplos de ejercicios para el lector que le ayudarán a redactar su propio plan de vida de manera gradual y progresiva.

Conclusión

Planifica tu futuro puede ser leído como cualquier otro libro, pero tal y como los autores recomiendan, se trata de que al leerlo puedas tomar el compromiso de dedicar el tiempo necesario para desarrollar las tareas que se piden. El desafío no se termina al leer la última página, sino que requiere de un compromiso personal para sacar el mejor provecho.

Calificación

¿Dónde lo compro?

  • Amazon

Recibí una copia de Whitaker House en Español para la reseña. Los comentarios y opiniones expresadas son propias.

Review – CSB Great and Small Bible

Bible description

All creatures great and small . . . the Lord God made them all!

This full-text Bible, complemented by delightful illustrations of great-and-small animal friends, makes the perfect gift to welcome babies. Two dozen full-color inserts offer plenty of space to record all of baby’s special moments—from first measurements to first steps—creating a keepsake to always cherish.

Features include:

  • Complete text of the CSB (Christian Standard Bible)
  • 24 pages of inserts with full-color illustrations
  • Easy-to-read type
  • Words of Christ in red
  • Presentation page
  • Gift box

Part of what makes the Great and Small Bible so special is the readable, faithful-to-the-original text of the Christian Standard Bible. The CSB’s optimal blend of accuracy and readability makes it a trustworthy, easy-to-understand resource for kids to study and memorize today—and to live and share for a lifetime.

First impressions

I’m not married and don’t have children yet, so if you’re looking for an unbiased review of a Bible for babies, you’re in the right place.

Review

The first thing that distinguishes this Bible from the rest is its size. But being a keepsake Bible for Babies makes it the perfect size and looks kinda cute.

 

This is a hardcover Bible with a matte finish that looks good because of the minimalist-almost-white design with simple illustrations in the cover and a tiny one on the back.

In the interior you’ll find the CBS version of the Bible, which is the one used by B&H in their latest Bibles. According to the notes, the font used is Bible Serif by the famous 2K/DENMARK studio in, you know… Denmark. Because of the size of the Bible is normal to find a small font size in the inside and while this is one of those cases it still has a decent size for reading.

As for the features, there are a couple of cute animal illustrations here and there (24 according to the description) that complement the feeling of the Bible with space for you to write about specific moments of your baby.

Conclusion

This is a great Bible for new parents to get and it’s also a great Bible to give. Do not think of this Bible as your regular Bible, because it won’t work, but think of it more as a Bible you can preserve as your baby grows so you can share it with him in the future.

I received this book from B&H Publishing 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 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.