Fire on the Track

I am definitely an inspirational biography fan. From “Hero Tales” by Dave and Neta Jackson when I was young to my freshman-year-of-college-read “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand, biographies have gripped and propelled me.

That’s why I picked up “Fire on the Track” by Roseanne Montillo. In the vein of “Unbroken,” this biography highlights the rise and triumph of several Olympic runners–living contemporary to Louis Zamperini, to boot. However, “Fire on the Track” also features its own novel-like writing style–at some points slowed down by this style, at others endowed with vivid form.

I recommend this biographical novel to anyone who enjoyed “Unbroken” or who likes to study the history of women in sports.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Advertisements

A Survivor to History

As I write this in 2017–years after the war in Syria began and nearly two decades after the U.S. War on Terror started–I hear little news of Al-Qaeda.

Yet, as of this week, I heard plenty of ISIS.

Through the eyes of one woman whose life was horrendously made captive to its cruelty.

The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity and My Fight Against the Islamic State by Nadia Murad is–for all its realness–a harrowing look inside of nations and hearts affected by terror. Nadia witnessed the deaths of her family members before being made a sex slave who had to answer to the whims of the IS. Today, no longer in captivity, Nadia shares her story–a story that, sadly, still has many echoes in the world.

I recommend this book to those who are not only interested in current world affairs but who truly care about the lives affected by those events.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Orthodox: Anger or Love?

I remember vividly the images evoked as my brother and I read the text of Jonathan Edwards’s famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”:

dangling above the flames of hell…

nearly dumped from the hand of God into the fires below…

This 14-year-old girl was–to say the least–stunned. Having grown up surrounded by the Gospel message and demonstrations of love and mercy, I was not quite sure what to make of the sermon. One half of me loved the justice presented. The other half was terrified of the utter wrath.

So was Brian Zahnd. After struggling with Edwards’s image of God, Zahnd encountered a wonderful truth: God’s greatest demonstration of Himself appeared in Jesus–a clear picture of utter love and self-sacrifice, not anger. In his book Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, Zahnd presents his rebuttal (or correction, if you prefer) to Edwards’s infamous sermon.

This book is for Christians who have grown up in the church, who have a lot of Scripture-taught discernment, and who want to research more on presenting (and believing) the Gospel for what it is: utterly GOOD news. Please note that I do offer some words of CAUTION: Don’t take everything Zahnd says as “the Gospel truth”–particularly his theological stances on hell and the book of Revelation. Read with discernment–as you should with any human author. You can pick out some gems and leave the straw.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

The Crown

Just this week, I sat at the dinner table discussing the royal family with a Brazilian. And it suddenly dawned on me: Americans (in general, that is) adore the queen. The happenings of the royalty have always intrigued me and (I think) carried a certain degree of importance to even us Yankees.

So you can imagine my happiness when this book-lover found out this week that there is not only now an entire TV series explaining the rise of Queen Elizabeth but also a book that details her life.

With photographs.

Yes: pictures! What could make a history book better?

I, for one, am extremely excited for “The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 1.” And I think other fans of the British crown will be too.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

When God…

The popular children’s series “When God…” is out with another edition: “When God Made You.” Much in the vein of “You Are Special” and “God Made You Special” (two books that I grew up on), this book emphasizes the uniqueness with which God carefully crafts each person–His special creations. Great used in the formative years to lay a foundation of self-image based on God’s image and wonderful as a resource for helping kids grasp the concept that each person is unique and special, I think this book (with its cute illustrations) will quickly find its way into church libraries and children’s book centers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

“The Heavens Declare the Glory of God…”

Nothing makes the sky more wondrous to me than stars. Just think: Cultures all around the world have studied the stars to navigate ships, foretell events, and marvel at the powerfulness of God. Whether or not those cultures have recognized Jesus or have studied the stars as an end in themselves, the galaxies tell a pretty powerful story pointing us to something beyond ourselves–something, I believe, that is actually Someone: God (Psalm 8).

In the book What We See in the Stars, the author illustrates and expounds upon the constellations in various cultures, as well as the features of our solar system. Anyone who is as fascinated by the night sky as I am will surely enjoy this book and find the constellations and galaxies even more intriguing.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Heavenly thoughts

When I think about Randy Alcorn, two things come to mind: Treasure and Heaven.

Alcorn is famous for his thoughts and ponderings about eternal life with Jesus. In fact, whenever I heard a talk about heaven at my previous job, there was sure to be some reference to Randy Alcorn involved.

Alcorn recently came out with an expanded edition of his book solely about this topic: Seeing the Unseen. With the goal of training our eyes and hearts and affections and hopes to heaven, Alcorn probes what is beyond our natural eyes right now.

I think that any Christian–not only my former coworker who prepared devotionals entirely about heaven–can glean encouragement from this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.