Book Review: Beloved

BelovedFebruary is here, which means our month of devotional giveaways is over. To those who won books, I’d love to hear what you think of them as you start reading. To those who didn’t win, take a look over the reviews and consider investing a devotional to use in 2016. (My top recommendation remains Daily Light from the Bible.) Before I move on to today’s giveaway, there’s one more winner to announce.

The winner of When God Writes Your Life Story is…

Morgan Huneke

Congratulations, Morgan! I can’t wait to hear what you think. :)

And now for today’s book review of Beloved by Rachel Starr Thomson.

“I was always told the Great God’s laws were oppressive, but what you read … this is not oppressive. This is good. I say so as a man who must go home and make reparations for wrongs done. But I will do it.”

Beloved is the final novel in a trilogy allegory of the Old Testament. The stars have long depicted the doom of the chosen people–Isha the Beloved races towards the jaws of the dragon. Beneath the night skies, the residents of the Holy City wantonly defile even the holiest places. Queen Izevel stirs up defiance against the Great God, ardently worshiping the dragon-headed Kimosh while her husband, king of The People, looses himself in wine.

Yet the stars still shine on a faithful remnant. The eye of the Great God rests upon the least likely of souls. Flora Laurentii hears His voice whisper Beloved to her soul and, for the first time in her life, does not feel ashamed. Quivering Recheb finds courage when she should be most afraid. And Alack, the shepherd boy turned prophet, finds a glimmer of hope in a prophecy of doom.

The people must repent. The dragon is read to swallow Isha and destroy the beloved, but the Great God is still willing to save. If you want to change a man, change his god. If you want to change the course of a nation, change the god they worship.

Of all Rachel Starr Thomson‘s books and series, I believe The Prophet Trilogy appeals to the broadest audience. The setting is similar enough to Old Testament times and the laws of nature close enough to our own that readers who are not hard-core speculative fans will be able to enjoy these books.

In every review of Thomson’s books, I try to put words to why they capture me. I don’t think I’ve ever been successful! Thomson has a way of speaking truth through her novels that not many authors can parallel.

So go ahead. Pick up Abaddon’s Eve and keep right on reading.

Book Giveaway: When God Writes Your Life Story

When God Writes Your Life StoryThe month of January is almost at an end, which means this will be our last devotional giveaway. It has been such a pleasure to share some of my favorite devotionals with you. I hope you’ve found this series an encouragement and a challenge to study God’s word this year!

Last week I was giving away a copy of The One Year Devotions for Kids, which is a collection of devotional lessons pulled from Keys for Kids. And the winner is…

Connie Saunders

I admit that I was rooting for Connie’s name to be drawn by the random generator used by rafflecopter. She has faithful entered each of the devotional giveaways, so I’m glad you won one, Connie!

Our final giveaway is a little bit different than the last three. When God Writes Your Life Story is not a collection of 365 devotional readings. However, it is a great addition to the time you set aside to spend with God and learning of God. You can read the review I posted of it here on the blog.

Click on the image below for your chance to win a copy!*

When God Writes Your Life Story [Giveaway]

*giveaway can only be shipped within the continental United States

What do you want to see next on Leah’s Bookshelf?

Giveaway: The One Year Devotions for Kids

One Year Devotion for Kids, TheAfter an extremely mild start to our winter, New England finally realized it’s winter and sent us “blizzard 2016.” I’ve been thoroughly enjoying a quite day sprawled in front of our fire reading. Are any of you snowbound and reading good books? I just finished Rise by Rachel Starr Thomson. Now I’m ready for a nap (or maybe I’ll watch one of the movies I got for Christmas). But first, I want to share with you the winner of last week’s giveaway and announce which devotional I’m giving away this week!

Last week I was giving away A Closer Look at the Evidence, by Richard & Tina Kleiss. The winner of that giveaway is…

Spencer R.

Congratulations, Spencer! I’m sure that you (and maybe Hanna too!) will enjoy this one. I’ll email you to get your mailing address.

This week I’m giving away* a collection of childhood favorites. When I was young, my family used Keys for Kids for our family devotions. The One Year Devotions for Kids is 365 of the devotional stories and “key lessons” that I grew up on. Just click on the image below to enter for your chance to win this devotional.**

One Year Devotions [Giveaway]

*Giveaway can only be shipped in the continental United States.
**Used Copy

Guess a Quote [01.18.16]

Because of winn-dixie [GAQ]Today is a big day on Leah’s Bookshelf. It’s the blogs fourth anniversary! I’m truly thankful for each and every one of you readers, and a special shout out to those of you who have been here since that first year. It’s been great to have you be part of the adventure.

Closer Look at the Evidence, ABefore I jump into the Guess a Quote, don’t forget there’s a book giveaway in progress. I’m giving away a copy of the devotional A Closer Look at the Evidence. The Rafflecopter link was broken in the last email that went out, but it’s fixed now and the giveaway post is fully operational.

No one correctly guessed the last quote that went up, but I’m sure some of you have read the book it came from. The quote came from Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo. If you haven’t read Because of Winn-Dixie, maybe you have read The Tale of Despereaux by the same author. The Tale of Desperaux seems to be a favorite among Redwall fans. ;)

Now to take a dip back into the classics for this week’s quote.

The soul grows into lovely habits as easily as into ugly ones, and the moment a life begins to blossom into beautiful words and deeds, that moment a new standard of conduct is established, and your eager neighbors look to you for a continuous manifestation of the good cheer, the sympathy, the ready wit, the comradeship, or the inspiration, you once showed yourself capable of. Bear figs for a season or two, and the world outside the orchard is very unwilling you should bear thistles.

HAPPY GUESSING!

Book Giveaway: A Closer Look at the Evidence

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Me and Gram Rose on New Years Eve (Dec 2007)

I’m posting a day early this week because tomorrow my family will be at services for my Great-Grandmother who passed away Monday evening. She was born two months after the Titanic sank and had a full 103 years of life. She also knew the Lord, so we can celebrate her home going. :) Please pray for my family’s testimony tomorrow! And also pray that I can sing as planned–I’m fighting a sore throat today.

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So, who wants to know who won the Daily Light from the Bible giveaway? I know I was eager to find out! Our winner is…

Becky Aino

The winner was chosen by Random.org, and Becky definitely earned her win! She tweeted about the giveaway every day. I’ll be emailing you to get your address, Becky.

Closer Look at the Evidence, AThis week’s devotional giveaway is a really neat one for those who enjoy creation science. I discovered A Closer Look at the Evidence on Mike Snavely’s book table when he came to speak for our state homeschool organization several months ago.

This book has a “devotional nugget” for every day of the year. According to the back cover, “A Closer Look draws from over 70 expert sources to show how 26 different areas of knowledge confirm that God’s Word can be trusted as a basis for truth, guidance, and hope.”

Anyone who enjoys ministries like Institute of Creation Research, The Creation Museum, and Mission Imperative will  find this devotional intriguing!

January 14: Evidence From History

Jesus Christ is not a mythological character. Evidences of His existence can be verified by many sources.

First, there is the testimony of the New Testament documents. All 27 New Testament books were completed within 60 years of Christ’s resurrection. Ten of these books were written by Christ’s personal friends. At least thirteen were written by Paul, an eyewitness of Christ’s life.

Second, The Jewish Babylonian Talmud and the writings of the famous Jewish historian Josephus bear witness to the historical presence of Christ. Their testimony to Christ’s existence is all the more valuable, because the Jews not only rejected Christ, but were extremely hostile toward Him. Many of these writings contain lies and distortions, but the very fact He merits attention supports His historical existence.

Thirdancient nonreligious historical writings also bear record of Christ. For example, Pliny, the governor of Bithynia (around 112 A.D.); the Roman historian Tacitus (115 A.D.); and the popular Roman writer Seutonius (about 120 A.D.) all acknowledge the existence of Christ.

A Study Course In Christian Evidences, p. 140-141

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem… Matthew 2:1

Now it’s your turn! Use the image link below to enter for your chance to win* this devotional! Closer Look at the Evidence Giveaway


What’s your favorite Christian Evidences ministry? Do have a favorite Christian Evidences fact you can share?

P.S. If you liked the look of Daily Light in the Bible but didn’t win, you can buy a used copy for $0.01 + shipping on Amazon. I’d highly recommend giving it a try.

*The prize book for this giveaway can only be shipped within the continental United States.

Book Giveaway: Daily Light from the Bible

Daily Light from the BibleThis little devotional has floated around our home for years, but I just recently decided to explore it for myself. It’s simple, easy to read, and has become a refreshing way to start my days at work with the right mindset.

My favorite part of Daily Light from the Bible is that the entire devotional is scripture. Story and commentary devotionals certainly have their place (I’ll be giving away one or two of those this month), but God’s word is more than enough on it’s own. It is powerful, challenging, and peace-giving.

In this book, there are two devotional readings–morning and evening–for each day of the year. The scriptures that comprise each reading are arranged around a topic. For example, the reading this morning was:

They that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.–I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

I have been young and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.–For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints, they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.–The LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.–Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us.

Be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Who would like to incorporate this book into their time with God during 2016? I’m giving away a (used) copy of Daily Light from the Bible this week! Giveaway ends January 14th.

Daily Light from the Bible Giveaway

Do you use a scripture reading plan or have a specific way you go about spending time with God? Have any tips for other readers on how they can dig deeper in their walk with the Lord? What is your favorite devotional?

Author Interview: Steve Rzasa

Steve Rzasa Back in November, I reviewed two sci-fi novels, The Word Reclaimed and The Word UnleashedAuthor Steve Rzasa was kind enough to answer a few questions for an author interview. Enjoy!

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Welcome to Leah’s Bookshelf, Steve! Why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself? 

Steve Rzasa here. I’m a librarian and recovering journalist, educated at Boston University and a native of New Jersey—more specifically, the region we natives call “South Jersey.” It matters. I’ve lived there, Massachusetts, Maine, and my current locale of Wyoming. My wife is a teacher and we have two boys in middle school grades. Those boys are my biggest fans and when I come out with a new book, they’re ready to read. Does a dad’s heart good.

 

What do you write, why do you write it, and what inspires you?

I primarily write science-fiction, though I’ve also written steampunk, fantasy, and a superhero novel (the latter of which has yet to be finished). These genres all appeal to me because of their fantastical qualities. They make people dream, and exercise the imagination to the max. Most of my inspiration comes from history. There’s so many stories you can adapt from historical accounts and figures that it boggles the mind. I also draw inspiration from the real science advances these days.

Of course, with all my books, I try to touch on Biblical themes and the sovereignty of God. That is a vital theme that you can expect to find in all my work, whether blatant or subtle. Reader be warned.

 

What kind of research did you do while creating the world and tech of the Face of the Deep series? What are some neat facts you learned and how did you find out about them?

Ironically, most of my research was old-school. I read current and back issues of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics to glean near-future technologies and expand on ideas there into far-future concepts. For the Realm of Five, I played around with some historical governments and did my best to adapt that to a spacefaring confederacy/kingdom. One neat fact I learned was the existence of experimental plastics that, when electrical currents are applied, expand into a hardened shape. That formed the aerowings used by the Starkweather Lancers.

 

If Baden had to chose an alias, what would it be?

Given his sense of humor and newfound appreciation for the written Word, I’d say “Bill Tyndale,” in honor of the original Bible smuggler.

 

I know you have at least one cool new book in the works. Tell us about what you’re working on now and what we should be looking to add to our bookshelves in the future. :)

The real question is, what haven’t I been working on? Let’s see: I finished my rough draft of The Word Endangered, the follow-up in The Face of the Deep that continues the adventure 10 years later in the same story universe. Enclave Publishing will release it in July. I’m also self-publishing a novel tentatively titled For Us Humans, which is an alternate modern day of Earth occupied by aliens. There’s another sci-fi project I’m beginning this winter which is top secret, for now, but should be out in early spring. Add to that some short story plans and another book idea I started on a couple weeks ago, and it adds up to a very busy—but happy!—writer.

P.S. Steve gave me some inside info that he’s signed the contract for The Word Endangered to be published by Enclave Publishing in July 2016 and turned it over to an editor.

Thanks for the interview, Steve! 

Do you have any questions for Mr. Rzasa?

Guess A Quote [o1.04.16]

Best Christmas Pageant Ever [GAQ].jpgHappy New Year, my friends! I hope you had wonderful Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. Christmas is by far my favorite holiday of the year, and I really enjoyed the time with family and friends. While I don’t have a habit of making New Year’s resolutions, I am definitely looking forward to seeing what 2016 holds!

For Leah’s Bookshelf, January 2016 is going to be devoted to helping readers start the year on the right foot. I’m going to be giving away a few devotionals for giveaway winners to enjoy over the course of the year. Stay tuned for those!

In the meantime, our last guess a quote came from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (which I reviewed right after posting the quote). If you haven’t read this book, buy it now and tuck it away to enjoy next December. It costs less than $4 on Amazon. Congratulations to Jennifer Sauer, Addyson M. Huneke, Morgan Huneke, and writefury for guessing the quote correctly.

Our quote for this week comes from a well known and loved story for kids.

You can’t always judge people by the things they done. You got to judge them by what they are doing now.

Happy Guessing!