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Tag Archives: BookBites

  • BookBites Vol. 3

    Posted on June 11, 2014 by Catherine Rivers

    Craving a new read? You’ve come to the right place. We love books. And we love sharing our thoughts on them. Welcome to Bookbites, where we give the latest books a grade, brief review and include an excerpt—a “bookbite”—that grabbed our attention.

    Happy reading!






    BRIDGE TO HAVEN
    Francine Rivers
    Grade A-  Woeful tale of an abandoned child turned adult and her headstrong escape into desolation and darkness, it’s a long journey but the love and light of home beckons and eventually restores her.  Well-written, page-turner as usual from Rivers.  However the author never addresses the fact that the pastor could have kept the child if he had asked for help from the congregation.  She was really abandoned more than once and it is heartbreaking and hard to get past, making the rest of the book seem like it was unnecessarily tragic...but apparently necessary to develop a romantic interest in the adopted brother.  These two elements don't fit Rivers' usually seamless writing.  Still a worthy read.

    Appeals to:  Fans of Francine Rivers, especially of Redeeming Love, and those who like fiction with an edge instead of fluff.

    Bookbite:  "Abra sat back on her heels, bowing her own head, hands clasped tightly.  'Please, God, please, please, make my daddy take me home. Please I'll be good.  I promise.  I won't make anybody too tired or sick.'  She dashed tears away.  'I wanna go home.'  Full of hope, she rose and looked out the window.  Daddy had walked to the end of the block.  She stared as he disappeared around the corner."

    UNDETECTED
    Dee Henderson
    Grade B  Known for her romantic suspense, Henderson unfortunately does not add much of either to this book; they are almost undetected or at least very tepid.  However if you are enchanted by submarines and want to learn more about them, you will love this book.  The men in the book bend over backwards to be the good guy in the white sailor hat, to the point of giving up the girl to the other guy.  Gina is a girl-genius, smarter than she deserves to be, who beats herself up for discovering things that might get somebody killed at the same time that they also save lives.  Lots of anguish from all throughout but in the end predictable.

    Appeals to:  Dee Henderson fans, but lacks the charm of the O'Malley series and the suspense of some of her newer books.

    Bookbite:  “Nothing’s changed with us, Gina.  We’re still in the days after Georgia.  As difficult as this is to sort out, Bishop and I really are different sides of the same coin.  You want to get married.  One of us will likely be the guy. That’s still the reality.  Okay?”

  • Blog Summary for April 2014

    Posted on April 29, 2014 by Family Christian

    Here are the most popular blog posts as read by you. Thank you for following us!

    Shane Harper on Living Out the Gospel

    Shane Harper established himself as an artist with a quadruple threat—singer, actor, dancer, and songwriter. He began working as a professional dancer in the entertainment industry when he was just 13, appearing as a principal dancer in High School Musical 2, and in Nickelodeon's show, "Dance on Sunset".

    Shane transitioned easily into acting, and is recurring on the hit Disney Channel show, "Good Luck Charlie", for all 4 seasons. He guest starred on "Wizards of Waverly Place", and "So Random". He also guest starred in a 4 episode arc for the scripted MTV series, "Awkward."

    As an actor in film, Shane worked with Rob Reiner, in a supporting role for the movie, FLIPPED. He also had a small featured role in the Bollywood film, MY NAME IS KHAN.

    Shane has a principal role in the feature film, GOD'S NOT DEAD and recently, I sat down with him to talk about faith, Hollywood, books music and coffee.

    Read the full interview here.

    Francesca Battistelli - A Girl. A Voice. A Mission.

    "The more you walk in relationship with the Lord, the more you learn to trust him. I'm learning not to focus so much on the issues I think are so big right now—our bus has broken down, or someone said something that frustrated me. I'm learning to slowly let things roll off my back, to say, 'Hey, God knew about this before it happened and He's got a way out or a plan better than mine.' I've learned to stop freaking out and just trust that God knows what he's doing. He's not going to leave me in a bad place because He never has before."

    Such it is with Francesca Battistelli. Honest. Simple. Beautiful. Intentional.

    We have all been exposed to her music. Starting with "I'm Letting Go," or "Free to Be Me." "This is the Stuff" or "Strangely Dim." It doesn't matter. For every time that "Franny" opens her mouth to sing, she is opening her heart.

    There is a vulnerable side to this young lady. And if you didn't know it already, you will be able to hear it by reading the interview below. Franny came to our corporate Christmas party to bring encouragement and holiday greetings. After I sat down with her, I was reminded again about her passion.

    Read the full interview here.

    Phil Robertson. Father. Teacher. Theologian. Commander.

    If you have never heard of Phil Robertson or the Robertson boys, well, you must be living under a rock.  The Robertson family has taken American TV by storm, along with it the hearts of almost every person. Along with Phil, his wife Kay and their boys, the reality TV show Duck Dynasty has been a gathering place for the whole family. In other words, it's been a breath of fresh air.

    Phil Robertson was born and raised in Vivian, Louisiana, a small town near Shreveport. With seven children in his family, money was scarce and very early on, hunting became an important part of his life.

    As a high-school athlete, Phil was All-State in football, baseball, and track which afforded him the opportunity to attend Louisiana Tech University on a football scholarship. There he played first string quarterback ahead of Terry Bradshaw. Phil's been quoted as saying "Terry went for the bucks, and I chased after the ducks." After receiving his Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education and a Master's in Education, he spent several years teaching. While his students claim he was an excellent teacher, spending time in a classroom brought Phil to the conclusion that his time and talents would be better spent in the woods.

    Read the full interview here.

    BookBites - Vol. 1

    Craving a new read? You’ve come to the right place. We love books. And we love sharing our thoughts on them. Welcome to Bookbites, where we give the latest books a grade, brief review and include an excerpt—a “bookbite”—that grabbed our attention.

    Read the full reviews here.

    Question and Answers with Nick Vujicic

    Being unstoppable is about believing and achieving. It’s about having faith in yourself, your talents and your purpose and, most of all, in God’s great love and His divine plan for your life.

    Millions around the world recognize the smiling face and inspirational message of Nick Vujicic. Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick’s challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships. Nick has overcome trials and hardships by focusing on the promises that he was created for a unique and specific purpose, that his life has value and is a gift to others, and that no matter the despair and hard times in life, God is always present. Nick credits his success in life to the power that is unleashed when faith takes action.

    Nick took some time out of his busy schedule to do a little Q&A with us. Read them here.

    Pulling No Punches - an interview with Lecrae

    From “latch-key kid” to key player in the Man Up movement, Lecrae’s life is an example of God’s transformative power – and he’s not quiet about it. In his signature straight-shoot approach, new album Gravity calls Christians to open their eyes to the weight of need in their world and share the love of Jesus as never before.

    Read the full interview here.

    Kari Jobe - Pioneering New Roads in Worship

    Dictionary.com gives the definition of pioneer in the following ways
    1. a person who is among those who first enter or settle a region, thus opening it for occupation and development by others.
    2. one who is first or among the earliest in any field of inquiry, enterprise, or progress.
    3. one of a group of foot soldiers detailed to make roads.

    For more than 15 years, well-respected worship leader Kari Jobe has been using her gifts to lead people into the presence of God. When she began leading worship at age 13, she never imagined she would be nominated for a GRAMMY®, win a Dove Award or be praised by the New York Times. She only knew she had a heart for broken people and a deep desire to lead them to the cross.

    Pioneer? This may be the word that describes who Kari is and what she hopes to do as an artist.

    I sat down with Kari and asked about her background. Where she came from, how she found Jesus and where is she going. Read the full interview here.

    Skillet. The Rock Band That Doesn't Quit

    Skillet recently made headlines when their last album, Awake, became one of just three rock albums to be certified platinum in 2012, forming an improbable triumvirate with the Black Keys’ El Camino and Mumford & Sons’ Babel. The news that Skillet had sold more than a million albums in the U.S. came as a shock to all but the band’s wildly diverse horde of fans, male and female, young and old—known as Panheads—whose still-swelling ranks now officially number in the seven-digit range. This remarkable achievement was announced just as Skillet was putting the finishing touches on their eagerly awaited follow-up album, Rise (Atlantic/Word).

    As soon as the master was turned in to the studio to finish post production on the new album, I sat down with John Cooper (lead singer) to talk through what was behind Rise. As you will see, while reading this, John is a passionate man. He is passionate about his music. His wife. His family. About Christ.

    Read the full interview here.

    A Q&A with Capital Kings

    There’s no denying much of today’s music has the power to move the masses physically. Inventive beats and hooky choruses are the currency of the day. Now enter Capital Kings, a talented duo that blends pop, electronic dance music, and rap into an intoxicating musical mix that makes audiences want to move, and yet there’s a thought-provoking, life-affirming undercurrent. Capital Kings combine style with substance and introduce flash with a foundation.

    Jon White and Cole Walowac have parlayed a long-term friendship and shared passion for music into one of the hottest careers in the industry. Despite their young age, the duo’s
    history is a lengthy one. “We were in the nursery in the same church,” Jon says. “We moved away to Massachusetts for a few years, Cole and I met back up in the same middle school and we started playing in the youth group band. Cole would play drums and I would sing and that’s how we started making music.”

    Read the full q&a here.

    Mandisa - Finding Freedom by Overcoming

    Coming off her most successful album ever, Mandisa returned to the studio to record her new album, Overcomer. Her previous album, What If We Were Real, has sold over 270,000 albums and featured the breakout radio hits “Good Morning,” “Waiting For Tomorrow,” and the #1 hit, “Stronger.” The American Idol alum and three-time Grammy nominee continues to be a voice of encouragement and truth to women facing life’s challenges. Mandisa also continues to have unprecedented media exposure for a Christian artist including two recent appearances on Good Morning America.

    I sat down with Mandisa at a local coffee shop to talk about new music, coffee vs. tea, family and what it means to be an over-comer. What follows is a real conversation. Mandisa, some would say is a true artist. She is that for sure, but she is so much more. She is a warrior in a huge battle. She is a fighter - fighting for the truth of the Gospel. That can be summed up with one statement from her, "There is joy unspeakable!"

    Read the full interview here.

    So which blog post was your favorite? Is there an author or an artist that you would like us to interview? Leave a comment below and let us know.

  • BookBites - Vol. 2

    Posted on April 16, 2014 by Catherine Rivers

    Craving a new read? You’ve come to the right place. We love books. And we love sharing our thoughts on them. Welcome to Bookbites, where we give the latest books a grade, brief review and include an excerpt—a “bookbite”—that grabbed our attention.

    Happy reading!





    GOD IS NOT MAD AT YOU:  You can Experience Real Love, Acceptance and Guilt-Free Living

    Joyce Meyer

    Grade A  - Practical, down-to-earth teaching with real life examples explaining God's love for us although we are not and cannot be perfect, releasing us from the guilt and shame often caused by our performance mentality.

    Appeals to readers of all ages who've felt that God holds a grudge against them for things they have done.

    Bookbite:  "To live in the reality that God is not mad at us is the most freeing truth we will ever find.  Knowing that we will sin, probably every day, and that God knows that and has already decided to forgive us eliminates the fear of failure.  The beautiful truth is that when we no longer focus on our sin, we find that we do it less and less.  As we focus on God's goodness instead of being afraid of our weaknesses, we become more and more like Jesus."

    UNSEEN:  Angels, Satan, Heaven, Hell and Winning the Battle for Eternity

    Jack Graham

    Grade B - Pastoral teaching on subjects that are difficult to comprehend, somewhat textbooky and not very original, but the chapters on spiritual warfare are dynamic.

    Appeals to readers of books about heaven, a popular subject these days, and those dealing with spiritual warfare (really all of us whether we know it or not).

    Bookbite:  "This is how Satan wages war against us, isn't it?  He loves to break into our thoughts.  He introduces doubt, which leads to fear, which leads to confusion, which leads to pain.  He is a terrorist, in every sense of the word, seeking to oppress us and then to occupy us, seeking to make us slaves to our very own sin."

    MISS BRENDA AND THE LOVELADIES:  A Heartwarming Story of Grace, God and Gumption

    Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell

    Grade B-  - Eye-opening view of one woman with the gumption to do what few are doing, being Jesus to former women prisoners and giving them the chance at a new life that they never had before.  The writing is limited but these women's stories are fascinating and inspirational, you'll never look at Walmart the same again.

    Appeals to biography readers and to those who might consider a similar ministry.

    Bookbite:  "God is calling us like we've never been called before. He wants believers like me to quit being afraid of getting their hands dirty and help women like you.  And He wants you to see that there is hope.  Because trust me there is hope.  And what we do today, tomorrow and the next day could have a tremendous impact on the entire system.  We could change the way it works.  We could change women's lives."

  • BookBites - Vol. 1

    Posted on March 25, 2014 by Catherine Rivers

    Craving a new read? You’ve come to the right place. We love books. And we love sharing our thoughts on them. Welcome to Bookbites, where we give the latest books a grade, brief review and include an excerpt—a “bookbite”—that grabbed our attention.

    Happy reading!



    UNGLUED:  Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions

    Lysa Terkeurst

    Grade A+ --- A re-reader, even better the second time.  Perfect cover, fits the topic like a...crazy lady with a purse on her head.  A+ for the cover alone but the inside grabs you too.

    Appeals to all women, especially Moms, who've had their moments of becoming unglued and want a new plan to deal with it.

    Bookbite:  "Feelings are indicators, not dictators, child.  They can indicate where your heart is in the moment, but that doesn't mean they have the right to dictate your behavior and boss you around.  You are more than the sum total of your feelings and perfectly capable of that little gift from Jesus called self-control!"

    BECOMING MYSELF:  Embracing God's Dream of You

    Stasi Eldredge

    Grade B --- Interesting, journalistic, somewhat too personal to author's experience.

    Appeals to women with similar life issues such as weight, abuse, approval, fear.

    Bookbite:  "Becoming ourselves requires standing against the current--the demands, the expectations, the assault of daily realities, and our own histories.  We cannot afford to indulge in our inner diatribes any longer.  To become true ourselves will require that we speak the truth in love, even to ourselves."

    SWITCH ON YOUR BRAIN:  The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking and Health

    Dr. Caroline Leaf

    Grade C --- Author makes a valiant attempt to explain in layman's terms the complexities of the brain God created and the science behind how we can change our life by how we think, however the book lacks real life examples for application.

    Appeals to fans of TV shows like "Brain Games" and "Dr. Oz".

    Bookbite:   "When you think you change...Brain scans show that parts of the brain activated by action are the same parts of the brain activated by simply thinking about an action."

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