All things new – An update about this blog

The short version, I’m gonna start this blog all over again.

Want to know the long version? keep reading.

After a thoughtful consideration, I came to the conclusion that there’s no time to keep wasting. I cannot wait longer until I get things to work with my WordPress installation.

I’m kinda sad all my posts from the past four years are gone, or at least gone for now. Most of my entries were book reviews from books I got from publishers, writers and book review programs. That means all my reviews were posted here but also on different places like Amazon and Goodreads.

So, here’s the deal, I’m gonna keep on posting new reviews from today onward and little by little I’ll go ninja mode and I’ll hunt my past reviews that are already posted around the internet. I know this sounds crazy but you know, desperate times, desperate measures.

Last but not last:

If you’re a publisher or author, don’t panic. My past reviews are still online and they’ll be back here in a couple of weeks.

If you’re a visitor, thanks for your support and prayers.

 

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

delightingingod

 

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.

Review – The Comeback by Louie Giglio

thecomeback

 

Book description

Have you ever longed for a comeback?

We all know what it feels like to have life disappoint us and not work out as we’d hoped. We all know what it’s like to long for something different, something better, something more.

The Comeback celebrates new beginnings. It offers encouragement and perspective, and it’s for you if you feel frustrated or confused, if you’re sorrowing or in pain, if you’ve made mistakes or are grieving, if you’re disappointed or feel as though life doesn’t make sense.

The good news is that God is in the business of giving fresh starts to people. He gives hope to the hopeless. Direction to the directionless. Help to those who need help. God is always good, all the time, and God’s plans will always prevail, even when our plans don’t.

God already knows what the solutions are. No matter what kind of disappointment or grief or pain or trouble or heartache you encounter, God always offers a new beginning, a change of heart, or a powerful spiritual turnaround. God offers the way forward, and his pathways are always good.

Your current circumstances will not get the final say in your life. God is the God of the comeback, no matter what kind of challenge you’re facing.

And your story can become a great comeback story too.

First impressions

Louie Giglio is one of those big names, mostly known for the Passion Conferences around the world. Have I read something by him before? No. Have I attended any conference in my life? No. I picked this book out of curiosity because well, let’s admit it, if you’ve been doing a conference for too long and have thousands of youth attending, then you must have something important to say. And yes, I chose it because of that minimalist cover too.

Content

The Comeback is a very appropriate name for this book. First because Giglio uses the word like there’s no tomorrow and because it does speak about comebacks. At the beginning, after a few pages, I was doubtful about keep on reading. I felt it was like a lot of other motivational books, and sure there are motivational chapters, but thank God it goes beyond only that.

Each chapter of the book speaks about a different ‘comeback’. Seems Giglio wanted to cover all the bases, and you can certainly feel identified with at least one of his many examples.

Either it is about a personal issue, an easy one, or a tough situation in life there’s still hope. And The Comeback it’s about real people, like Joseph or Peter from the Bible and real people, like the one attending church. It’s about real struggles being faced with a real God and the way He has everything under control, not to give us what we want, but what we need and what others need trough us.

I liked the way Giglio closes the book withchapters dedicated to Jesus and His great comeback, His resurrection from the death and how His victory now belongs to us through grace. As Giglio puts it:

He’s alive, and our personal victories are all wrapped up in that. It doesn’t matter what you need to come back from or how hopeless it feels. – Louie Giglio p.219

Conclusion

Passion Conference is mostly aimed at young people, and the language Giglio uses seems to be also aimed to a youth audience, but it can be read by anyone. The Comeback is a great book to close this year. As I said I was hesitant to finish it, but definitely I found a lot of wisdom to chew on. You may have heard the Bible histories presented here before, but I challenge you to read them with a different perspective but with the same redeeming power behind them.

Rating: ★★★★

I received this Bible from the Book Look bloggers program in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – NKJV Foundation Study Bible

nkjvfoundationstudybible

 

Bible description

The perfect foundation for Bible study and the Christian life. Build your life on it! The Foundation Study Bible is a thorough, portable, and affordable Bible for students of God’s Word at any level. It has the most important helps for basic study, whether you’re just beginning or brushing up on essentials.

The New King James Version® – More than 60 million copies sold

First impressions

When I saw this Bible available for review it caught my attention. Not because the description but because its design. It looks like its target are teens or young adults. Another thing that I liked was the size, because it’s smaller than any typical study Bible out there.

Special features

  • Trustworthy NKJV text
  • Cross references and translators’ notes
  • Verse-by-verse study notes and theological notes
  • Words of Jesus in red
  • Index
  • Concordance
  • Full-color Bible maps

For a study Bible this is a very affordable Bible. It doesn’t mean it’s not a study Bible, but it does mean it’s a very basic study Bible. It has a very short introduction to each book and when I say short I mean half the page, which is short for a study Bible

Layout & design

As I said before one of the things I liked from this Bible was its design. It’s a hardcover edition with dust jacket. When you take off the dust jacket the cover has printed the logo of this Bible in white, which looks good. It’s a compact Bible so you can handle it easy and it doesn’t bend as sometimes happens with hardcover Bibles.

I loved the font they choose for the text it makes it look modern plus it’s easier to read than those old fonts from those old Bibles. The page is divided between the text and the study notes, which again, are really basic.

Conclusion

I think this Bible is a good Bible if you want to have a little ‘extra’ for your reading. It’ll not solve your deep theological doubts, but it’ll give you a little more to chew on.

I received this Bible from the Book Look bloggers program in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – ESV Men’s Devotional Bible

ESVBible

 

Bible description

Our world presents daily distractions that can easily displace Christ as the center of a man’s heart and life. The goal of the ESV Men’s Devotional Bible is to strengthen and encourage men through the life-giving Word of God and sound devotional content aimed at nurturing godliness.

With 365 theologically rich and gospel-centered devotions drawn directly from the Bible, this all-new resource was created under the editorial oversight of Dr. Sam Storms with contributions from over fifty Christian leaders. Introductions orient men to each book of the Bible, exploring its unique contribution to a man’s walk with God. Thoughtful and instructive articles address the importance of sound doctrine, life in the local church, leadership, the heart, calling, and a host of other relevant issues for today.

The Men’s Devotional Bible will strengthen men in their walk with Christ, helping them apply the gospel and the truth of God’s Word in their homes, churches, and workplaces.

First impressions

I’ve always heard good things about the ESV version of the Bible, and even I’ve read it online I always wanted to add one to my collection. This is a hardcover edition but still looks cool and elegant in its design.

Special features

– 365 brand-new devotions
– Brand-new book introductions
– 14 brand-new articles
– Dictionary of key terms
– Ribbon marker
– Smyth-sewn binding
– Lifetime guarantee on TruTone edition
– Packaging: slipcase (TruTone), L-card (HC), permanent slipcase (Cloth over Board)

Layout & design

men's-devo-int

This version has different editions, but this one is the hardcover one. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good Bible, on the contrary it makes it more durable and perfect to shelf for hardbacks freaks (like me) out there. The font size is clear and easy to read.

Conclusion

While this is not a famous Bible version like NKJV or NLT, it’s recommended by respected teachers as Paul David Trip and Russell Moore. It’s a good option if you’re looking for a gift for this season. Believe me, whoever receives this awesome Bible from you will be thankful and happy.