Review – CSB Reader’s Bible, Gray Cloth Over Board

Bible description

The CSB Reader’s Bible provides the perfect opportunity to read the Bible in its original and simplified form, uninterrupted by verse and chapter references. This unique Bible reading experience invites the reader to encounter God’s Word as a grand narrative and have a fresh experience with the Bible.

Features include:

  • Single-column reader’s text
    Simplified page design
    9.75-point type
    Ribbon marker
    Smyth-sewn binding

The CSB Reader’s Bible features the highly readable, highly reliable text of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). The CSB stays as literal as possible to the Bible’s original meaning without sacrificing clarity, making it easier to engage with Scripture’s life-transforming message and to share it with others.

First impressions

I’ve reviewed a couple of Bibles before, most of them being study Bibles, but this is my first time reviewing a reader’s Bible. But definitely what first caught my attention was not only the format, but the beautiful look and design of the exterior.

Review

This is a hardback Bible a cloth over board edition, which means the cover you see in the pictures is a rough grey fabric over a rigid board, that manages to feel safe and strong in your hands. The blue decoration on the front and the text on the spine is a type of plastic text glued over the fabric, it’s not ink printed over the fabric.

On the inside the CSB Reader’s Bible keeps its awesomeness. There are at least three factors that make your Bible reading easier. The first one is the color of the paper, which is super white and makes a perfect contrast against the font color. The second one is the font size, which is 9.75. And the third one is the single column feature of this edition, it feels great to have a view that is not filled with references, or more text. The spacing feels comfortable for the eyes.

Conclusion

Finally, this Bible comes with a beautiful slipcase covered with the same fabric as the Bible, making it perfect to display in your bookshelves. Make no mistake, because of the single column feature of this Bible, it makes the overall size a little bigger than the average size, but it doesn’t mean it’s a huge Bible. Actually, this can become a personal reading Bible and a perfect option for a gift.

Rating:

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 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.

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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 – 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.

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 – 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 – The Magic Cup by Howard Behar

Book description

Vince Steadfast is the newly named CEO of the iconic glassworks manufacturer, Verity Glassworks. The firm’s artistic glory days are in the past and recent management and financial turmoil have thrown the company’s future in jeopardy. The task for Steadfast is to keep his bearings, confront his fears and weaknesses and complete a quest for the very soul of the company. Along the way, Steadfast encounters a motley but talented group of employees – from a mysterious elevator operator to the company historian to an elfin designer – who join him on the quest. They must learn to believe in one and other and to believe in the company they have nearly given up on, if they have any chance at all in succeeding. As they search together for the Treasure Beyond All Price, Steadfast discovers that only by filling his glass cup (a priceless gift from his mentor) with leadership actions based on universal values can he and his new team begin to steer the company into the future.

First impressions

I have read books about leadership, but a book about leadership in the form a fantasy/fiction story sounded great. I’ve read some they’re not so common so I decided to give it a try.

Review

The Magic Cup is a short book, but with a great insight about teamwork. If you’re the kind of person that usually reads works of fantasy or fiction then you’ll find this one will be perfect for you.

The story of Steadfast is one that starts as normal, but suddenly becomes an adventure inside of the building of his new job. Each of the characters involved represent a virtue or vice that help or obstruct the journey of our hero in his search to save the company on his first day.

Conclusion

I was expecting a difficult story with difficult terms, but The Magic Cup makes everything really accesible for anyone. It has a simple plot with deep truths about working with people. It doesn’t matter if you’re into business or not, this book is for everyone that works with any kind of people.

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 – The Returning by Rachelle Dekker

Book description

Twenty years have passed since Carrington and Remko Brant’s baby, Elise, was kidnapped and they were forced to leave her captive in the Authority City. Though they fled with the Seers far from Authority reach, they’ve never given up hope of rescuing their daughter from the man who betrayed them. Now Authority President, he’s ushered the city into a new era of “peace”—one where the Scientist Roth Reynard’s Genesis Serum has eradicated all memory of emotion or rebellion.

But the mysterious Aaron and his Seers are once again on the move, threatening the illusion the Authority has worked so hard to build. As the Seers send seven chosen warriors to rescue Elise and bring restoration to the Authority City, the lines are drawn for a final battle between light and darkness. The key to ultimate victory may rest within the strangely powerful girl who has felt forgotten but was never abandoned—a truth she’ll need to wage war against the powerful forces of evil.

First impressions

The time has come to review the last book in the Seer series by Rachelle Dekker. I’m thankful for the chance to participate in the blog tour for the book release, which just hit the shelves yesterday.

My review

The one thing different but interesting about this series is that each book is set in a different timeline, which means different characters and different stories encompassing one narrative. While I didn’t find any trouble with this, some people may feel disconnected from the characters from the first book.

The Returning feels different but in a good sense, there are some new characters but the essence of the story is still there. There’s plenty of action and political intrigue to keep you reading after midnight but also some touches of romance, and by that I mean just the necessary.

A recurring topic in The Returning (actually in the whole series) is identity, and Dekker did an excellent job illustrating deep truths with simple words. I loved the way redemption is shown not merely as a final step in the ladder but the beginning in the life of the believer. Experiencing the power of the light should be our normal.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an exciting reading for this new year, you need to add The Returning in your TBR. Not only is a great reading but one that truly shows the way the Father thinks about you, and He really thinks good and great things about you. Get the book here.

Finally I leave you with some interesting questions (and answers too 😉 ) about the final book in the Seer series.

Q. Set the scene for The Returning. What has happened since The Calling ended?

Rachelle. Well, it’s been nearly 20 years, and the world has changed. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read the first two, so I’ll just say the world is very different and much more dangerous than it once was. But something is brewing under the surface. Change is coming, and people know it.

Q. Aaron is a somewhat mysterious character throughout the series. What is he supposed to represent and what kind of spiritual leader is he?

R. I like to leave this one open, which I know isn’t really the answer you want. I want the reader to decide who he is to them. For me he’s a guiding light, an angel maybe, a representation of the spirit who communicates with us and leads us. He can be many things—mostly, though, he’s a great way to hear truth.

Q. How do you hope this book will resonate with your readers?

R. I hope, as with both of the other books, that the reader sees themselves in the characters and that the story causes them to look inward. To ask hard questions like, Who am I? What am I capable of? Do I see myself the way the Father does? Can I? I hope it challenges their idea of identity and then gives them hope to see themselves and others more clearly. Because that’s how these stories have impacted me, and we are all really just the same.

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