Ex-Muslim Review

Diversity usually has a negative tone. One relates it to tolerance to everything except Christianity. It’s what liberals use, but indexEx-Muslim: How One Daring Prayer to Jesus Changed a Life Forever by Naeem Fazal gives a great definition of it through his actions without compromising the Gospel.

Ex-Muslim: How One Daring Prayer to Jesus Changed a Life Forever is written in a friendly, warm, and conversational tone. The book begins with Naeem’s story in Kuwait before the war. As he tells his story, and how he came to know Christ, Naeem also goes into the beliefs of a Muslim. Naeem goes on to explain how he started Mosiac Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. People who attend are not necessarily believers, but from varying cultural backgrounds. As Naeem tells his story, he also teaches how to reach the lost, how the church confused him, and the bumps he experienced when he launched Mosiac.

I read this book during an electronic fast. Even as I prepare for my own ministry next year, I am encouraged by his words. A person always assumes people who attend church are saved, but that is not the case. Jesus doesn’t expect people to come to Him after first expunging their own sinful behavior; Jesus just says come, and if you come, you will change out of love for a Savior who first loved you. What Naeem writes about reminds me of a quote by C.S. Lewis:

No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes are in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present to us: it is the very sign of His presence.

—Letter to Mary Neylan (January 20, 1942)

What Naeem wrote helped me to clarify the vision of Cataclysm, and therefore, Ex-Muslim will remain in my library for re-reading as I grow to understand how to open the eyes of the closed-minded. I gave this book five stars.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review.

Undetected Review

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Dee Henderson’s new novel, Undetected, should have been a nonfiction book instead about submarines and their crew. I got to page 73 before I tossed it aside in frustration.

Per my book review policy, I do not have to finish a book if it fails to keep my attention. In this case, I became bored four pages in, and kept doggedly at it. But it didn’t improve. Writers can make the mistake of falling in love with their research. In this case, Dee Henderson didn’t have the same tension found in her other books; my favorites being the O’Malley series. I gave this novel one star.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review.

The Warden and The Wolf King Review

c8807460d81413a43d81144acafc6735_largeAndrew Peterson has given his fans a tome to end the Wingfeather Saga series. It’s four-parts and a whopping 509 pages. I almost gave up on it. Because I fell in love with his other books in the series, I immediately agreed to review The Warden and the Wolf King without realizing how thick it was, or that I would grow impatient as I journeyed through the many rabbit trails to get to the end.

The fans of the Wingfeather Saga will remember Gnag the Nameless and how he pursued the Jewels of Anniera all the way to where we left them at Ban Rona. I hadn’t read one of these novels in a while so I had to learn to swim again in the storyline when I began to get into The Warden and the Wolf King, and reacquaint myself with the characters and their myriad of stories and histories. There is no doubt that the Wingfeather Saga has the greatest world ever. It ranks right up there with Middle Earth. The names, personalities, and quaintness of each character and animal in the book still amazes me. Andrew Peterson is a genius in world making and writing, but I struggled with this one.

It kept my attention until part two when suddenly I am in Skree. Yes, the part says I am in Skree, but it’s like I jumped into a different story again. The action made me impatient. So when suddenly I am in Skree, I thought, “I don’t care about Skree. What’s happening in the other town?” I skipped a lot of pages here in my hurry to get back to the story I began with. In fact, I don’t think I would have missed it at all if the book left it out. The other distraction was the story in between the parts of the main story. I scanned part of one and skipped the rest. I would have preferred the information be worked into the story line without having to read another story. I almost considered stopping, procrastinated on more than one occasion on finishing and just managed to finish The Warden and the Wolf King under deadline.

The ending of the saga was beautiful. It’s the kind of unexpected ending that shows the writers genius. What I assumed about the villain in the story was all wrong. Many who read this story will be able to relate with many of the themes in this book, especially those of us who have made bad decisions in the past. The story is about second chances, sacrifice, and love. That being said, I still only gave it three stars. Maybe I would have liked it better made into a couple of novels instead of one very long read.

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Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Author Website - http://wingfeathersaga.com

Others Sharing Their Views:

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Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
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Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
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Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
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Phyllis Wheeler

Never Go Back Review

“Successful people realize that just because someone is unhappy with them does not require that they give up their purpose, fold their cards, or change. They realize that making some people unhappy is just part of the deal–and they keep going.” Pg. 67

nevergobackNever Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again by Dr. Henry Cloud is an ideal book for the blogger, dreamer, or for people like us who see life upside down. It’s about staying the course and never looking back or returning to dysfunctional familiarity.

I wrote a couple of blogs about portions of the book that made me think. You can read, The Job Interview.

As a blogger and a dreamer, it gives sound advice. In regards to the blogger, Never Go Back talks about how you can’t change the person’s mind, you must show them why they should do or be something. For the person like me who see’s life upside down and might be tempted to stay in dysfunctional familiarity, it takes our hand and leads us gently, but firmly away from what is familiar and safe to the life we were meant to live.

Like Boundaries, Never Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again is a book that I’ll keep in my permanent library for future re-reading. It’s practical and helpful as well as encouraging as I think about my future. No one should do what they have always done just because it’s safe or familiar. I gave this book five stars.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review. 

Finding Spiritual Whitespace Review

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Christian publishers appear to be putting out a lot of books about how to rest or relax. It makes me wonder if the busy doing of Christian life is finally wearing down the church. Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest by Bonnie Gray is a different sort of book.

It’s written blog-style. Like I said in my original assessment, blog-style won’t make the grammar patrol happy, but those who can set aside their stringent rules will find enjoyment and rest in this book. What makes this book different than most other how-to books is that it doesn’t seek to tell us how to resolve our inner issues. Finding Spiritual Whitespace doesn’t even end with Bonnie having no more PTSD. It’s a journey that’s still ongoing, teaching us how to slow down using artistic methods and comparing spiritual rest with artistic whitespace.

I found only one mistake in the book in the way a sentence was structured, but it’s hardly worth mentioning (since I am unable to locate it again). The book caused a lot of good discussion within the book launch team, drawing the group closer to each other. This means you could use this book in your own groups, like a women’s Bible study, for it has questions at the end of each chapter, created similar to her Thursday #faithjam posts at faithbarista.com. But what does it have to do with Life Upside Down?

Here at Life Upside Down, it’s the perfect latte to go with your biscotti. Meaning, people like us who see life differently because of the pain of our past will find rest in Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest. Those suffering daddy issues will face their past and the lost little girl weeping in the corner. A woman will be able to say after reading this, “Yes! Yes! Finally, someone DOES understand!” I gave Finding Spiritual Whitespace five stars.

Buy book here: Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review. 

Silver Bay Review

thumb.phpJoJo Moyes is a favorite author of mine. Her writing style is very visionary, and Silver Bay is no less than excellent writing; just too many characters and a plot that moves too slowly.

The plot sounded promising. A man goes to a seaside town to find property to put in a huge resort, but I get lost in too many points of view and side stories. The language is beautiful and it takes talent to make each character sound different from the writer’s own voice. Each point of view is distinct as is their personalities. But the story fails to enthrall me. It’s supposed to be a love story between the owner of a seaside hotel owner and a businessman.

Because of how slowly the plot moved, how the characters felt disconnected from each other, and how the chapters lacked tension, I finally just quit reading. If a reader buys a novel, they aren’t required to finish a book they lose interest in, and according to my book review policy, I also am not required to finish it. Out of respect to the publisher and the author (whom I absolutely love her other novels), I chose not to post this review on Amazon. I gave this novel two stars.

I do encourage you to read her other books though. See listing below of books I positively reviewed:

The Last Letter from Your Lover: A Novel

Honeymoon in Paris

The Girl You Left Behind: A Novel

Me Before You: A Novel

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review.

 

Bad Dads of The Bible Review

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Image from: fatherhood.org

Reminiscent of Liz Curtis Higgs, Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn from Them, Bad Dads of the Bible: 8 Mistakes Every Good Dad Can Avoid by Roland C. Warren warns fathers not to mirror the eight mistakes of fathers in the Bible.

Roland C. Warren is the founder of Washington D.C.’s National Fatherhood Initiative, a company that seeks to promote good fatherhood. I reviewed this book from the perspective of a daughter and found no fault in his logic. I agreed with everything he said. In fact, I would expand on Bad Dad Mistake #4: “He made it difficult for his children to honor him.”  The person of interest here is Saul of the Old Testament.

How many times have people quoted, “Honor thy father and mother,” from the Ten Commandments? It’s a phrase that unfortunately has been linked to trauma in my life. In this chapter, Bad Dads of the Bible spoke about Bernie Madoff and his children. Madoff began his business in 1961. He brought his sons up in the business. Eventually, Madoff made some bad choices and he couldn’t undo them. His children suffered.

Mark Madoff attempted to find a job afterwards, but his name was linked to his dad’s corruption though Mark was not involved. He ended up committing suicide. The remaining son, Andy, struggled to deal with it and has spoken since about how he and his brother were “human shields” to his father’s illegal activities.

A name means everything, and it’s hard for a child to “honor” a parent when the parent has abused that right. Saul, too, made it difficult for his son to honor him. The mistakes Bad Dads spoke about on page 86 were:

  • Made unwise decisions and treated others harshly.
  • Allowed fear of man to influence him.
  • Lied to his children and used them in a dishonorable way.

Bad Dads of the Bible, from a daughter who watched her parent’s divorce and endured so much, is a great guide for fathers to read. Father’s should be honored, but due to so much dysfunction, even Father’s Day came under fire recently when single moms and the rest demanded recognition, too.

On Father’s Day, I believe we should recognize good fathers–father’s who try. Older father’s should also walk alongside new fathers and mentor them. This culture doesn’t treat fathers well and lumps good fathers in with the bad ones. Single moms should get recognition, too–on another day–but on Father’s Day, let’s remember that not all fathers are disappointments. Even more so, let’s remember our Heavenly Father which loves far deeper and more perfect than a human father.

I gave this book five stars.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review.