Thursday, March 26, 2015

Life, by John: The 7 Shades of Christian Film

Life, by John: The 7 Shades of Christian Film: Christian film is a very small subgenre of a very large industry, in spite of over seventy years of fighting for an equal seat at the table....
(click on link to continue reading at original source.)

The article above is a ReBlog from the Life, by John blog of filmmaker, John Moore. I thought he did well in summing up the different subgenres of film, and that he did it without putting any of them down. I get frustrated when people don't seem to realize that Christian Film is not just one type of film. And, as with secular movies, they range from excellent to horrible with a whole lot in the middle. I can watch a film with a friend and we have totally different reactions. What one friend loves, I may loathe and vice-versa. Filmmakers, strive for excellence (
And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. ~ Colossians 3:17), but remember that there is room for all types of films. 

John Robert Moore on IMDb

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PS: And, of course, I loved what he said about Andy Librizzi and I wholeheartedly agree with his assessment of Beyond the Farthest Star! :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

10 Steps To Your F.I.T.: Faith Inspired Transformation

One of the most photographed fitness models in America is speaking out about the one thing that took her from overweight in her 30s to the cover of the top fitness magazines in her 40s, and the answer may surprise many: it was her faith in God.

Dolan Leto is now passionate about helping other women experience their own faith-inspired transformations that affect their physical, mental and spiritual wellness. To do so, she wrote the book 10 Steps to your F.I.T: Faith Inspired Transformation. This book guides women through every aspect of living a whole, healthy life, from diet and exercise to forming healthy thought processes about your body, and finding your true identity in Christ. Dolan Leto encourages readers to stop focusing on societal pressures to fit a certain standard and begin focusing on understanding what God says about faith, fitness and self worth. (publisher)

My Review: Kim Dolan Leto is a fitness expert, speaker, and author who chose to make some changes in life to lose weight and become more healthy. She has an approach that incorporates both healthy food decisions and spending time with God to create a balance that nourishes the body and the spirit. The book is divided into 10 different chapters, each with great ideas and strategies to transform your lifestyle and eating patterns, as well as inspirational Scripture and lessons to be learned and encouraged with as you progress. There were suggestions, especially for an early morning "Power Hour" that really resonated with me. I'm not in the habit yet, but I confess that my days do seem to go much better when I heed these suggestions.

Questions at the end of the chapters help one to put it all into perspective, and made me think that keeping a journal of progress, and even setbacks, would be a great way to see my progress and to pinpoint areas that need a bit more work. Her common sense approach, combined with practical advice and spiritual inclusion truly do make this approach to finding a healthy body, mind, and spirit doable, no matter where your starting point is.

I received this book at no cost to myself from Shelton Interactive in exchange for a fair and honest review.

GIVEAWAY!! Shelton Interactive is offering a copy of 10 Steps To Your F.I.T.: Faith Inspired Transformation to one of my readers. Leave a comment no later than 11:59pm CDT on Thursday, March 26, 2015 to be entered.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Rasmus and the Vagabond

After running away from an orphanage, nine-year-old Rasmus finds the world a cold and unfriendly place until he befriends an extraordinary tramp called Paradise Oscar. Together they meet more adventure than they ever imagined, solve a mystery, and catch the culprits. Rasmus dreams of finding a family and a home someday. But when he does, will he be able to part with his new friend and life on the road? 

My Review: How did I miss this one when I was growing up? I remember loving Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking books, but can't remember if I read others by her. So, it was due to those memories that I agreed to review Rasmus and the Vagabond. No doubt this is a piece of classic children's literature and I am so happy I can now say I read it.

The characters are intriguing and the story captured me immediately. There are elements of suspense, comedy, hope, heartbreak, and adventure to keep readers of any age enthralled and to ignite the imagination. There are also great character traits displayed, along with the innocent mischief any child is apt to get into. This was a satisfying read from beginning to end and one that needs to stay in print for future generations.

I was provided with a free copy from Handlebar Marketing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman

Born a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father's failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village--a group that becomes known as "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest." Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he's forced to reexamine everything he's known. (back cover) 

My Review: Dauntless has a strong female heroine as the main character and is a good role model for girls as she takes on responsibilities, puts the needs of others above herself, and overcomes adversity. Since I usually enjoy historical fiction I did have high hopes, but I am not the intended audience for this series. I had not realized that the book was youth fiction, so I did attempt to readjust my thinking as I read. Every now and then when I would get exasperated, I would remind myself that I would have found some of the scenes much more romantic when I was a teen. I was torn between there being a high level of maturity in some areas, and getting frustrated and losing interest in other parts of the book. I did enjoy the faith aspects, and the part it played in decisions made, especially as these children had to break laws to survive. Also, although Merry and Timothy were the main characters, I found Allen to be the most interesting and would have preferred more of his story. Dauntless is the first book in the series Valiant Hearts and does show promise of being a good series for teenagers. For me, the book was 3 stars, but I would probably have put it at 4 stars if I was the appropriate age.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing, in exchange for an unbiased review.

Monday, March 9, 2015

No Longer a Slumdog by K.P. Yohannan

No Longer A Slumdog: Bringing Hope to Children in Crisis, is written by Gospel For Asia founder K.P. Yohannan. While many people are aware of the poverty that is widespread throughout India, it is hard to even imagine just how full of despair many of the citizens are. Despite being officially illegal, the caste system is alive and thriving. Your socio-economic level is determined and birth and there is no changing it. Within the pages of this book, Yohannan gives a voice to the voiceless with both tales of unmitigated horror, but also with the hope than can be found.

Hopelessness seems predominant through many of the stories shared, yet the stories of hope through lives transformed through the Bridge of Hope Centers sponsored by Gospel For Asia. The stories of abject poverty, human trafficking, illiteracy, and early deaths are heartbreaking and seem insurmountable, yet Yohannnan also presents happy endings that are triumphant and show you ways that can make a profound difference. Ignoring the problems will not make them go away and it is true that the numbers of those trapped in this vicious cycle are overwhelming, but he presents solutions that you may contribute to help alleviate. You may not be able to save all, but perhaps you may help save one child.

Dr. K.P. Yohannan, founder and international director for Gospel of Asia, has authored more than 200 books. He is on the board of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), and his Road to Reality radio program airs on more than 900 stations worldwide.

I received a copy of this book from Gospel For Asia in conjunction with FlyBy Promotions. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Life With a Capital L by Matt Heard

Life with a capital L by Matt Heard is a book that recommends
we take Jesus at His Word when He said in John 10:10, "I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance." If you are looking for prosperity gospel, 'Name It and Claim It', positive affirmation or any of the other popular messages being handed out in today's Americanized gospel, the is NOT the book you are want. Nor is a book for those who piously gather in a 'holy huddle', afraid to become involved with the culture around them and more condemning than loving when others do not fall within the boundaries. Refreshingly, the message of this book is to embrace the life you have now and take the time to enjoy it.

Heard drew me into his story with a description of seeing the painting There is Life Everywhere by Nikolai Yaroshenko . The painting is of 5 people on a prisoner train who are observing Life around them, even feeding birds outside the barred window. They are engaging in Life despite their imprisonment. A shadowy figure of their guard, who has his back to what is happening, is a poignant statement of those who hide away. His freedom is shackled mentally, just as the prisoners are physically. Heard almost missed seeing this powerful painting due to his own hurry and the impact it had made him slow down and reflect.

This is not a step-by-step manual, but an embracing of lessons learned and examples of how they were learned. Filled with anecdotal material, it is like sitting down with a friend to reminisce about experiences, many humorous, and the lessons learned. In Part One, he encourages the reader to Reclaim Our Humanity, and in Part Two, Matt explores 10 Experiences of Life with a Capital L.
Well worth the read!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado, with Candace Lee and Eric Newman is a Christian fiction book published by ThomasNelson that is delightfully reminiscent of films like It's A Wonderful Life or The Bishop's Wife.

Chelsea Chambers has recently had a very public split from her NFL superstar husband. She and their children return to their hometown in Texas to reopen the coffee shop left to her by her mother. Even with her incredible cupcakes, hard work, and determination, Higher Grounds Café is having too many set backs. In despair, she prays for a miracle.

An endearingly likeable, albeit clumsy, strangers shows up at her door, eager to help. Not long after, she gets a free trial for a most unusual internet deal. Users can only connect to one Higher Grounds is soon buzzing with new business eager to ask the one question they are allowed, but this creates as many problems as it solves. When Ryan returns, begging for another chance, Chelsea is certain that her world has been turned upside down once again. No matter how hard she tries, disasters keep arriving.

My Review: At first, I wasn't sure. I absolutely love Lucado's nonfiction books and find all of his children's books and DVDs absolutely delightful. This brand of fiction/fantasy was a bit different, but I found myself enjoying it more and more until I finally just relaxed and had fun with the adventure. It was a bit fluffy, so I would prefer a bit more indepth look at the characters in future books of this type, yet I really liked it enough to want to read more. This is a lighthearted book, in spite of touching on some harsh realities, that warms the heart and leaves a smile that grew more as I read. Great book for a couple of free hours or to take with you on vacation.

Read the first 3 chapters!

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review and all  opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”