Book Review: Crazy Busy

Crazy BusyCrazy busy. Who can’t relate to those two words? When my friends ask me how I’m doing, I often reply with, “busy.” When they ask how my week has been, I say, “busy!” And I get the same reply from plenty of them.

To be honest, I like being busy. Jobs, activities, and goals that keep me on the go energize me. But there are those moments (days … weeks … months) that crazy busy becomes overwhelming and stressful.

This book and Just Do Something, both written by Kevin DeYoung, received rave reviews from a few of my Goodread’s friends, so when I noticed Crazy Busy available for Kindle for 99 cents, I decided to give it a try.

DeYoung made a lot of good observations and comments about our busy lifestyles. He talked about the importance of being still before our God, the danger of assuming a god-complex by feeling like we need to “do it all because God is depending on us, and the fallacy of feeling wronged when our busy schedules make life “hard.”

Overall, I liked the content but wasn’t overly inspired by this book. On the other hand, I recommended it to a few of my friends because I thought they would enjoy and be encouraged by it. So, if being busy isn’t something that bothers you, this book might read a little dry. If being busy stresses you out, you’ll probably like this book a lot (if you can find time to read it)!

Guess A Quote [3.16.15]

Guess a Quote [Prophet]To everyone who guessed Prophet by R.J. Larson for the last guess a quote, you’re absolutely right! It was fun to see the enthusiasm many of you replied with. You all are right. It’s a great book. Melody, Miss M., Spencer R., Hanna R., and writefury all got it right. :)

Here’s the quote for this week. This is an opening line for the animal lovers among us.

He was a giant of a horse, glistening black–too big to be pure Arabian. The head was that of the wildest of all wild creatures–a stallion born wild–and it was beautiful, savage, splendid. A stallion with a wonderful physical perfection to match his savage, ruthless spirit.

Happy Guessing!

Book Review: When Sorry Isn’t Enough

When Sorry Isn't EnoughI don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t include apologizing in a list of things I’m good at. Making a good, heartfelt apology is downright hard! I remember many times when I was younger that my parents would lead me over to my brother or playmate and tell me to apologize for something. You’re probably familiar with the scenario.

Mom: Tell your brother you’re sorry for taking his toy without asking.
Me: *grumbles* I’m sorry I took your toy.
Brother: *quickly* You’re forgiven.

That type of apology may be enough (sort of!) for little kids, but I think you’ll agree that our apologies should grow more sincere and sophisticated as we get older. This book offers a guideline for growing in this area.  I read the entire book in one sitting, which is extremely rare for me to do with a non-fiction book.

If you’d like to improve your apology skills, this is definitely a book you should read.

Want to read a more detailed review? One of my Goodreads friends read this book right after I did and she wrote a fantastic review. (It’s far more eloquent than mine. :D )

Book Review: Resistance

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00026]After my brother’s review of The King’s Scrolls two weeks ago, I decided it was time I read the first book in the series. Resistance. As a result, you’re getting the reviews rather out of order, but now that you’re interest has been piqued for book two, you should know a little something about book one! (Reviews of Ilyon Chronicles books should be in order of release from now on. I’ll definitely be on top of reading future installments!)

“But, my friends, we must resist this evil. We must never be idle while it destroys the lives and hope around us. If we don’t stand, who will?”

The emperor of Arcacia has positioned himself as ruler appointed by the gods and has plans to eliminate all threats to his claim. With immorality spreading through the country, the emperor’s cruelty is tightening around followers of Elom, the one true God. The time has come when faith in Elom must be courageous unto death or abandoned.

I started this book with interest due to the enthusiasm my brother and various online acquaintances have shown for the series. The beginning drew me but didn’t immediately demand my undivided attention. That changed quickly. The magnetic draw increased as the story progressed.

Reading true stories of Christian courage in the face of persecution has convinced me that these stories, both real and fictional, are among the most gripping, heartbreaking, and beautiful when told well. Resistance is told well and it is inspiring. I can’t wait to see what happens to Jace, Kyrin, Kaden, Trask, Trev and Daniel next.

Bonus Tidbit: Jaye announced today that she plans to release a series prequel about Jace this summer.

Guess a Quote [3.02.15]

Guess a Quote [Little Dorrit]Happy March everyone! Spring is just around the corner now, and I think a lot of states are very ready to see it come. Last week’s quote came from Charles Dickens’ story Little Dorrit. (Doesn’t that make you think of Doritos?) It was a stumper for most of you, but CJ got it right. Way to go, CJ!

This week’s quote is the opening line of a novel I’ve reviewed here on the blog and know at least two of you read after reading the review. Hopefully even more of you will recognize it!

Tarnished snow sifted through the air, clinging to [her] skin the instant she stepped outside. Warm snow.

Happy Guessing!

Book Review: Rise of the Fallen

Rise of the Fallen

Remember the face of evil, my brothers, and never forget the price the righteous will pay because if it.

Two years ago, my brother and I met Chuck Black at a homeschool conference. We were thrilled when he told us he was working on a new series. When the first book, Cloak of the Light, released, we pounced on it. It turned out to be a totally unique story delving into the world of spiritual warfare. My brother describes it as “Spiderman meets Frank Peretti.” It’s an apt description, and Rise of the Fallen is no less unique.

Instead of continuing the tale begun in Cloak of the Light in a chronological manner, Rise of the Fallen switches point-of-view-characters and jumps back in time. We now get to view Drew’s story (and the history of the world) from the perspective of the angel assigned to protect Drew.

While Chuck Black’s writing style/technique is not nearly as polished as some other writers, he’s a superb story teller who knows how to weave Truth into his narrative with rare power. I put the book down not just with the satisfied feeling of finishing a good book, but also with a renewed appreciation of certain Bible events and an inward challenge to improve my prayer life. I love it when fictional books leave me feeling challenged but not hit over the head with a sledgehammer by the author’s “message.”

That said, some readers may be annoyed by the construction of this book. Chapters alternate between past and present. The “past” chapters work their way through Bible history, and are relatively basic in their narration. It didn’t bother me because I found it fascinating to “see” the events through such a unique perspective, but I think some might find it boring.

This is a book I feel very safe recommending to all readers old enough to handle intense battles where deaths are not glossed over. Readers sensitive to such things should be forewarned that there are two brief but heartbreaking scenes depicting the slaughter of the children of Jerusalem following Jesus’ birth and the death of a mother and child in the Sobibor concentration camp.

Rise of the Fallen kept me up till 1am to finish the book, and I can’t wait to read book three!

Free Book Alert

On a different subject, homeschooled author Sarah Holman is offering her short story, Cinderella retelling free on Kindle today (and for the next few days). Waltz into the Waves is a sweet little quick read (28 pages) that weaves a tale about a girl whose beauty is marred and her betrothed who chooses to love her anyway.

 

Guess A Quote (2.24.15)

Guess A Quote [The False Prince]If you haven’t read The False Prince, now is the time to check it out (the link leads to my review here on this blog). In case you didn’t already figure it out, last week’s quote came from this very book. Lydia, Jennifer Sauer, writefury, Aubrey Lidden, Jonathan G., and OnionTea all guess it correctly. (You all can decide of Melody gets half-credit despite sitting next to me while I posted it. She might have gotten it right if I didn’t blow the secret for her! XD)

Now for this week’s quote. Hmm. Okay. This one is from an old classic (fictional). I haven’t read it, but I’m pretty sure some of you have, and I really liked this quote! [HINT: If you haven’t read it, you may have watched  it.]

Be guided, only by the healer of the sick, the raiser of the dead, the friend of all who were afflicted and forlorn, the patient Master who shed tears of compassion for our infirmities. We cannot but be right if we put all the rest away, and do everything in remembrance of Him. There is no vengeance and no infliction of suffering in His life, I am sure. There can be no confusion in following Him, and seeking for no other footsteps, I am certain!

Happy Guessing!

Book Review: The King’s Scroll

The King's Scrolls Tour BannerWhen Jaye offered a review copy of The King’s Scrolls for the blog tour, I wanted to participate, but knew I probably wouldn’t have time to read it between the time I got it and now. So my brother volunteered to give it a read and share his thoughts. Here’s what he has to say.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00020]The King’s Scrolls continues the adventure of Kyrin, Jace and their friends. Arcacia is rapidly becoming a dangerous place for a follower of Elom to live. Kyrin and Jace struggle to protect their loved ones from the emperor and his men as they attempt to preserve the last complete copy of the King’s scrolls (aka, the Bible). The stakes raise as they are forced to choose between the two things they care about most.

This country mirrors, in a fantasy world, the path our own country is following. Just as the US was founded upon Christianity, Arcacia has been faithful to Elom, but in recent years leaders have plunged Arcacia into spiritual darkness. This book challenged me (Jon) to think about what my reaction would be if the US follows (or continues to follow) the same course. How much am I willing to give for my faith? This book is very clean, but due to intense situations would probably be best for young teenagers and up.

Thanks Jonathan for doing the review for us today! What do the rest of you think of this book? For those who have read it, what did you think of it? If you haven’t read it, does it sound like the sort of book you want to get your hands on?