Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: Gabby God's Little Angel

Thomas Nelson Publishers via Book Sneeze provides bloggers with books to read in exchange for unbiased reviews.  I am happy to present my review of Gabby God's Little Angel by Sheila Walsh.

With pony's, pretty girls in frilly dresses, angels, rainbows- this story is sure to grab the attention of any girl in your family.  Sophie is an adventurous little girl who has a precocious little angel named Gabby put in charge of her protection.  Gabby learns her responsibilities as on of God's Angels and helps to protect Sophie from falling off a horse.  At the same time Sophie learns of God's great love for her and how he has sent angels to protect her from the incident.

As with her other products, Walsh does an excellent job presenting her work with things that naturally attract little girls.  The illustrations by Marina Fedotova are wonderful and engaging.  I appreciated the voice and tone of the book.  Compared to Walsh's God's Little Princess series, the characters were more appropriate (I find the little girl in that series to be a rude brat at times and don't like my daughters picking up on that tone and language).

I think the presentation of the fluffy white cloud heaven with wings and halos is a little ridiculous.  I want to present a more realistic view of heaven- which I don't think scripturally is fluffy white cloud place.  I found at times the wording of the book to not roll of the tongue well- the same was true when my husband read it aloud to my girls.  There was a lack of rhythm that made this difficult to read whether silent or aloud.  It seemed as though the book was rushed through editing and publishing- more like a rough draft in its overall read. 

Overall this was a cute little story with a cute little message.  It is a simple way to not only introduce the idea of angels and how they guard and protect us, but also that God cares about even the little things like riding a horse.  Adorable and lovable characters with tremendous illustrations help this story along despite some of the downsides.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book Review: Thunder Dog

I love a good biography.  Inspirational stories of men and women brought the brink, tested to the limits, or just living life as best as they can.  Probably one reason I like to 'stalk' blogs :)  Real life is so full of drama, intrigue, and resolve.  With my love of biography's and my interest in understanding more of what happened on 9/11 is what drew me to Thunder Dog by Michael Hingson and Susy Flory.  I almost feel fortunate to be able to share 'where I was' on that fateful day.  I see my nieces, nephews, and own children who simply have no idea of what happened.  I was a new college freshman, living three hours from home, trying to settle into a new independent normal.  I was in class that Tuesday morning when it began, and watched teary eyed in my dorm- desperate to just want to be home again.  The story of Thunder Dog is not just a survival story, it isn't just about what happened- but a story of teamwork, love, and discipline.  As stated early in the book it isn't about how Michael survived with his guide dog Roselle from the Twin Towers, but how he even got there in the first place.   His parents helped him chose a life of independence, freedom, and experiences.  Michael was not held back by what most would consider a hindering disability- complete blindness.  In Thunder Dog the story of what unfolded for Michael and Roselle on 9/11/01 is intertwined beautifully with stories of his past, stories of how got where he was, and how life experiences all helped him keep going in his descent from the 78th floor of the north tower.  His story is beautifully told in a humble and respective manner.  You are gripped by the scenes that unfold through this blind man's eyes and his dog's faithfulness.  While the connections to life, God, relationships, character are all available, I found it disappointing that faith in God was not more apparent in this book, considering Thomas Nelson is publishing.  I felt as though it was cookie cutter 'spirituality' that was offered (sparingly) with no real connection to a relationship with Jesus Christ and His faithfulness.  Michael Hingson has a wonderful story to share and does so exceedingly well with Susy Flory's help- but don't expect to be offered a direct spiritual element in the process.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Book Review: Spritual Warfare for Women

As a Bethany House Publishers Book Reviewer, I am given the opportunity to read new books and write online reviews of them in exchange I get to keep the books!  Its a great set up and I love having something to motivate me to read more.  Especially books that aren't always the first you want to pick up at the end of a long day.  This was one of them.

I'll admit, if I'm going to read, I like to enjoy something more along the lines of fiction, adventure, historical intrigue, or delve into lives of different cultures and places and times.  Christian development and discipleship are just 'hard' books to read.  They make you think more.  They challenge you.  And sometimes its just hard to want to read them after chasing around a preschooler and toddler all day.  But I felt challenged and led to give this one a try.  Little did I know the events that were about to unfold in our extended family nor did I anticipate the attack that Satan would hold just for reading such material.  My first word of this book:  be warned.  The author- the brutally honest, sincere, and funny lady Leighann McCoy (I don't know her but I love her!) does the same warning at the beginning.  One of the things Satan hates most is a growing intimacy with Christ in order to fight him off.  He will go gang busters to try and keep you from reading how the victory has already been won and here are tools to defeat his conniving schemes.

One of my favorite parts in McCoy's book is the chapters on Satan.  Who he is.  Where he came from.  I love learning how because Satan was once an angel, he and the other fallen have the same powers and knowledge that Godly angels do.  He just 'exists in the opposite direction of his original purpose' (p. 90).  Understanding Satan's schemes and his subtleties was also very helpful and empowering.  Knowing the enemy prepares you for battle.

While many chapters and stories that highlight her recent journeys through cancer, child waywardness, and a devastating flood I was most convicted by her example of the 5 smooth stones.  For me, the visual reminder (taken from the 5 stones David took to fight Goliath) of 5 ways to daily combat our fallen enemy will be the most helpful.  They apply to all areas of our walk that Satan loves to destroy:  marriage, children, relationships, and health. 

Thank you Leighann McCoy for finishing your book despite life's challenges.  Thank you for your example.  I highly recommend this book to any woman at any stage in her walk with Christ.