Sunday, March 21, 2010

Beth Revis' Contest!

Author Beth Revis has just inked a book deal and is running a contest to help us celebrate with her. There are two prizes to choose from - one for writers and one for readers. Click here for all the details, and to enter!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are

by Alex & Brett Harris, with Elisa Stanford
Multnomah Books, 2010

Do start here - or better yet, start with the authors' first book, Do Hard Things: a Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. I wish both titles had been available when I was in high school. As the subtitle for Do Hard Things (DHT) indicates, society's expectations of its youth are quite low, but the writers point out that historically and biblically the teen years are about preparation, about growing into "mature, competent, and responsible men and women who know when and how to have fun." Start Here picks up where DHT leaves off, and deals with getting started, keeping first things first, persisting in the face of challenges, etc. It is also peppered with personal stories from teens who have caught the fire of "rebelution." I found the writing superior and accessible, and was impressed by the authors' evident spiritual depth as well as by the variety of projects and issues teens were tackling. Oops, I guess my low expectations are showing... I stand corrected.

I highly recommend this book and encourage you to visit the authors' website - The Rebelution as well. Get inspired to do hard things for God. Doing so isn't necessarily easy (that's why it's called "hard things"!), but taking the initiative is changing teens' lives, and could just as easily improve yours and cause you to rethink the future - in a good way. I intend to pass my copy along to my teenage daughter, who I am sure will take its contents to heart. You can purchase your own copy by visiting Also makes a great gift for that special teen in your life!

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ferocious Wild Beasts!

by Chris Wormell,
Alfred A. Knopf, 2009

A boy is lost in the forest, and worries about his mother's reaction if he ever finds his way home. After all, she'd warned him repeatedly about the threat of ferocious, wild beasts. But the beasts he meets all seem friendly and helpful and just as scared as he is of running into such dangerous creatures.

While it's true that animals are often just as afraid of humans as we are of them, I think this book does children a disservice in leading them to believe that they'd have nothing to fear alone in the forest. Mountain lions and raccoons, for example, are seldom afraid of humans, can be quite dangerous, and certainly would not be safe to approach.

bottom line: the illustrations are quite charming, but the message less so. What were the author and publisher thinking? Leave this one on the shelf.

Finn Throws A Fit!

by David Elliott,
illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering
Candlewick Press, 2009

Normally Finn likes peaches, but not today. Today Finn is in a foul mood - it's anybody's guess as to why, and isn't that a snafu? Fun illustrations and analogies, along with strong verbs, images, and a positive ending make this an enjoyable read.

bottom line: a good choice to read with your little one

The Strange Case of the Missing Sheep

by Mircea Catusanu
Viking, 2009

What happens when a flock of sheep go missing and a wolf is the prime suspect? It's a case for the incredible powers of Super Dog! ...Ah, if only the story was as exciting as my teaser would lead to you to believe... I actually found this fairly boring, apart from the funky illustrations.

Bottom line: not recommended

Monday, March 1, 2010

Finding Inner Peace During Troubled Times: Exploring the Lost Art of Christian Meditation

by William Moss,
The Barnabas Agency, 2009

While I applaud Moss for his many accomplishments in the business world, as well as for joining AA at the age of 85 and remaining sober five years (and counting), I don't think his essay merits a book that costs buyers $5.99. At 26 pages (many of which have lots of white space), a maximum fee of $2.99 would suffice.

Much of the book is a recitation of Scripture, which any reader with a decent Bible Concordance could easily locate on her own. Furthermore, the simple, step-by-step example of Christian meditation is no more than one could find through a quick google search. Facing pages are blank for "thoughts and prayers," but really, the book does little to evoke either. While I have not researched what other books are available on this topic, I don't advise purchasing this one, unless you have money to burn.

On the bright side, if you have a manuscript to flog, perhaps it's worth taking a look at The Barnabas Agency...

[Note: this book was provided for review by The B & B Media Group]