Book Review of Fervent by Priscilla Shirer

Book review of Fervent, Priscilla Shirer, published by B&H Publishing Group, August 2015

fervent2If you have ever read a book by Priscilla Shirer, you know it is like being immersed in an all-out heartfelt conversation with her: passionately personal, vibrant and filled with the kind of encouragement and empowerment we need as women of God.

If you have ever heard Priscilla Shirer preach, you have no doubt of the ability she has to draw you in and hold you in His presence while she makes sure you know you are a child loved by God.

Fervent, A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer is written typical of Ms. Shirer’s style. It is also a strong representation of why and how women need to be prayer warriors…to fight spiritually for themselves, their families, their friends, and their country. It is the most effective way to battle things unseen.

The book is a thorough and convincing argument on being serious, specific and diligent in prayer. The text is easy to understand, answers many questions about prayer and faith, and provides supportive scriptures to clarify and verify His promises.

Fervent accompanied the feature books published by B&H Publishing Group relating to the film by the Kendrick brothers entitled War Room, released in August.

I would recommend this book for both new and mature Christian women.

I am glad to keep this one on my bookshelf and will value reading it as a reminder when I need to be encouraged to prayer. Each Christian needs a reminder now and again.

Note:  This review is voluntary in association with a request from Icon Media and is non-compensated.

 

Review of The Battle Plan for Prayer

Book review of The Battle Plan for Prayer, Stephen and Alex Kendrick, Kendrick Brothers, LLC, published by B&H Publishing Group, August 2015

The Battle Plan for PrayerThe Battle Plan for Prayer is a well-written and thorough book on why to pray, kinds of prayer, how to pray and for whom to pray. It is easy to read and understand and answers many questions about prayer in a biblical way so that the reader can look up the supporting scriptures.

This book is the feature book from the group of books published by B&H Publishing Group relating to the film by the Kendrick brothers entitled the War Room.

The War Room premiered on August 28, and the books associated with the movie encourage children and adults to enact a habit of fervent prayer. Let’s take a look at this well-done book.

The cover and interior are inviting and easy to read.

Each chapter is devoted to explaining and answering questions and the back of the book has appendices including the names of God, a powerful list of names to learn and understand by every prayer warrior. The contents remind us of the privilege we have to come before the throne of God as well as the awesome strength of His promises as we pray.

I would recommend this book for both new and mature Christians alike.

In my opinion, this is an excellent book to remind us of all the ways we need to pray. For ourselves and those we love, of course, but also for our nation, for the harvest and those who are sent to reap the harvest.

Note:  This review is voluntary in association with a request from Icon Media and is non-compensated.

 

Review of This Means War: A Strategic Prayer Journal

Book review of This Means War: A Strategic Prayer Journal, Stephen and Alex Kendrick, Kendrick Brothers, LLC, published by B&H Publishing Group, August 2015

thismeanswarThis Means War is a prayer journal suitable for older children, teens and young adults.It gently guides the reader toward modeled prayer to teach about God’s word, types of prayer and possible outcomes.

I recently received this and other books published by B&H Publishing Group relating to the upcoming film by the Kendrick brothers entitled the War Room.

The War Room premiers on August 28, and the books associated with the movie encourage children and adults to enact a habit of fervent prayer. Let’s take a look at this well-done book.

The cover and interior are designed in camouflage, like a soldier’s fatigues

The language is simple, direct and follows the “war” theme. Ample space is included to write responses to the questions and examples provided.

Action items are easy and encourage the reader to develop a habit of prayer, specifically strategic prayer, inspiring a new generation of prayer warriors.

I would recommend this book for anyone who wishes to develop or encourage development of a rich prayer life.

In my opinion, this is an excellent book to introduce and encourage teens in the habit and mindfulness of prayer. If a parent models a strategic prayer life, the child would be inclined to follow if given this method of journaling.

Note:  This review is voluntary in association with a request from Icon Media and is non-compensated.

Review of Prayer Works, a Children’s Book

Book review of Prayer Works, Stephen and Alex Kendrick, Kendrick Brothers, LLC, published by B&H Publishing Group, August 2015

Prayer Works book by Kendrick BrothersPrayer Works is a children’s book I recently received to review in the group of books published by B&H Publishing Group relating to the upcoming film by the Kendrick brothers entitled the War Room.

The War Room premiers on August 28, and the books associated with the movie encourage children and adults to enact a habit of fervent prayer. Let’s take a look at this well-done book.

The cover and interior illustrations relate to children’s activities

The figures are drawn with a friendly, approachable style and all illustrations are full color. The book is a handy, easy-to-carry 5 x 7 format. The hardback is especially durable and glossy.

Like a devotional

Each chapter begins with a question a child would ask about prayer. “Why should I pray? Does God hear my prayers?”

The question is followed by a brief answer sentence then a verse from Scripture which supports the answer. The ensuing few paragraphs of text elaborate on the answer. Instead of ending with a prayer, however, the paragraphs end with guidance to pray…in the child’s own words, so he or she will learn to pray.

At the end of the book are perforated pages formatted for a prayer journal. The pages include spaces to write prayers and answers. The authors also include prompts on praying for family, listing what one is grateful for, and similar suggestions.

I would recommend this book for any child.

In my opinion, this is an excellent book to introduce and encourage children in the habit and mindfulness of prayer. However, I would strongly encourage parental involvement in a positive way so that children follow-through.

The previous book, Peter’s Perfect Prayer Place, encourages parental involvement… Continue reading

Review of Peter’s Perfect Prayer Place, a Picture Book

Book review of Peter’s Perfect Prayer Place, Stephen and Alex Kendrick, Kendrick Brothers, LLC, published by B&H Publishing Group, August 2015 

petersWhile I don’t ordinarily review picture books, I am glad to make an exception for Peter’s Perfect Prayer Place (Peter’s). I recently received this and several books for review from B&H Publishing Group, each relating to the upcoming film by the Kendrick brothers entitled The War Room. Two were children’s books. Prayer Works was the other one, similar in theme to Peter’s, but for older children.

It has been a joy to witness Kendrick brother’s film-making ministry (Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous) reach ever wider audiences. Now with the premier of The War Room on August 28, they have (and it can’t be serendipitous) hit an underlying need in America, the need for prayer to turn around lives and our nation.

The cover and illustrations are engaging and fun.

Being an artist myself, I appreciate the inviting style of the illustrator, the use of vibrant colors, rounded child-like features and simple gestures. The book is large format, about 9- x 12-inches, a nicely printed hardback with a full-color illustrated jacket over an illustrated cover.

What child doesn’t like rhyme?

Thought was given to the interior design of the book. The art layouts span the pages nicely. The font is easy to read.

Pages contain four lines of rhyming text a child can understand and identify with.

At the end of the story, the child has a good idea about how to pray and what prayer means.

A pull out poster and accompanying stickers help parents continue to teach their child about prayer, how to make prayer a life-long habit, and that God answers prayer.

I would recommend this… Continue reading

High Concept Manuscripts: Your Opinions?

Birth of Education painting

Do you write high concept stories?

As a writer always working on honing my craft, I’ve been reading a lot about high concept manuscripts. I’m honestly not sure I’m clear on what constitutes the definition. How does one tell the difference between a high concept manuscript and a low concept one?

Share your opinion

I have learned how one popular romance writer comes up with her high concept and to me it seems more of a question of marketability than story or craft–although story and craft must be part of it. Is it more of a screenwriting approach (Thinking of Michael Hague, for example)?

If you have any opinion about high concept manuscripts, please share. Also would be glad to hear your thoughts about sources to learn more.

 

Review of Empire’s End by Jerry B. Jenkins

Book review of Empire’s End, Jerry B. Jenkins, Worthy Publishing, June 2015

Empire's EndThe cover of Empire’s End does not necessarily give strong clues as to the story contained within. Sure, the story is ancient and one that takes place during the time of the Roman Empire, but it is not a story about the ending of an empire. It is more a story of the beginning of a new way of life.

The cover is attractive and compelling.

The interior of Empire’s End is highly readable.  The book is well organized into parts and chapters.

The novel flows well even through the twists and turns.

The book covers a well researched and richly imagined life of the apostle Paul. The story begins with Saul’s persecution of Christians and the Road to Damascus experience. The rest of the text explains his conversion, ministry, and humanity. The story is beautifully paced.

Jenkins writes so believably that I felt as though I was reading Paul’s journal, that I was privy to his experiences, thoughts, agonies and dreams–his participation in the stoning of St. Stephen and his love of a woman he could not marry. God’s call upon his life was stronger than the pull of his own heart, and Jenkins makes sure to show the cost of such a sacrifice.

I would recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys bible stories or wishes to learn more about Christianity.

Note:  This review is voluntary in association with a request from Icon Media and is non-compensated.

 

 

 

Review of Kelly Tough, Live Courageously by Faith

Book review of Kelly Tough, Erin Kelly with Jill Kelly, BroadStreet Publishing Group, LLC, Racine, WI, 2015

Cover of Kelly ToughLet’s start by discussing the book’s presentation. The Kelly Tough cover is appealing and leads one to realize it is a tender father, daughter text with some connection to the NFL. The cover font is strong, as is the dark blue band at the top and bottom, and the subtitle tells the reader it is a Christian or inspirational book.

There are numerous black and white family photos.

The interior of the book is highly readable.  At the conclusion, there is information about Krabbe Leukodystrophy and newborn screening. There is also a summary for anyone interested in the path to salvation. There is a total of about 215 pages.

My opinion on the text?

I should admit up front that I am predominately a business/promotional writer and when I read, I rather choose fiction than nonfiction because I do so much research relative to my work. Additionally, I am not an NFL fan—not that I dislike football, I just don’t like it enough to follow it. I have other hobbies and interests. So the tie-in with the NFL meant little to me.

However, having grown up without the presence of a Dad, I thought I would be inspired by the father and daughter relationship story. Having lost my mother to cancer before she turned 50, I thought I could relate. Sadly, not so much.

As it turns out, the book has the feel of a devotional. Each chapter tells a “family story” relative to a reflective passage at its end.

My writing credits include two recent devotional books, and I read a devotional daily to set the tone for my day. Father figure, mom’s cancer and devotional format: three common touchpoints…

Then… Continue reading

Review of Miracles from Heaven

Book Review:  Miracles from Heaven: A Little Girl, Her Journey to Heaven and Her Amazing Story of Healing, Christy Wilson Beam, Hachette Books, New York, 2015 

Review of Miracles from Heaven

Review of Miracles from Heaven

I like to begin book reviews by discussing the book’s presentation, as I feel if the appearance of the book doesn’t catch one’s eye, it is likely to remain unread. Miracles from Heaven has a very attractive cover which clues the reader right away to the content of the story. The title and subtitle are eye-catching and clean as they seem to emerge from light, implying the spiritual experience of a miracle. The tree, photographed from the ground up, plays significantly in the heart of the story as the reader soon finds out.

The book is a little over 200 pages on cream stock with a legible font size and adequate leading to make it easy readable for the eye.

A miracle as a mother’s heart tells it

The author’s voice (in this case, the little girl’s mother) writes with eloquence as well as sensitivity. While she speaks of her faith, she does not dramatize it nor does she discount it. It is integral to the family’s personal experience and is related with realistic dialogue of a believer’s heart. For the most part, the family’s story is related in enough detail to understand both the severity of the child’s condition as well as the impending healing. The miracle is subtly described and almost downplayed, which was a bit disappointing until I thought more about the story.

When I began reading Miracles from Heaven, I realized I had read half-way through the book before I took a break. Being a mother (and grandmother) myself, I found myself sympathizing with Christy’s substantial emotional, financial… Continue reading

The Act of Listening

Be a blessing

Be a Blessing. Use words that build and nurture.

I’ve always been the quiet type.

After all, I have two ears and only one mouth, and to me, that means I should listen twice as much as talk. So, I engage in the act of listening, not a passive activity. It requires presence…full engagement.

Currently, I’ve found myself in a circumstance that requires me to use my listening skills and respond in a mindful, encouraging, and understanding way to someone I love dearly who is going through a serious trial.

However, even if I spoke to someone I didn’t particularly like, I would speak the same. Each of us deserves that kind of respect.

When I am called upon to “counsel” someone, my sense of responsibility grows.

I know my words are imbued with the creative power that God gave each of us. I am mindful that the listening I do is deeper because my feedback may be relevant to solving a problem or making a decision. There are consequences to words, whether seen or unseen, as well as actions.

In what I say, I acknowledge the person’s state of mind and underlying feelings. I try to wait before I speak and consider whether my words will build up the body or be critical.

Words can be used as weapons.

We have all experienced that, I’m sure. I know I have.

Sadly, I once allowed another’s words to diminish me. I no longer do that. But we all need to grow in awareness and faith so our Spirits will be strong. We need confidence in ourselves and our core beliefs.

If we have unintentionally let something hurtful slip, then we apologize. That is what forgiveness is for. Aren’t we glad to know how to forgive?

However, if our spirits… Continue reading