Iscariot – A Novel of Judas

Title: Iscariot: A Novel of Judas
Author: Rebecca Kanner
Publisher: Howard Books
ISBN: 978-1-4516-9525-0

“I wanted to comfort her, but there was nothing left to say. I had chosen my master over them already. Whatever his fate, whatever he was – madman or Messiah – I would live or die with him,” Judas ponders about Jesus in Tosca Lee’s story, Iscariot: A Novel of Judas.

At three hundred and fifty-four pages, this paperback targets readers that like Biblical stories about Judas Iscariot’s betrayal, depicted as broad liberal fiction which may concern those who know the Scriptures. With no profanity but scenes of crucifixion, violence, and lewdness, it would not be apropos for immature readers. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence. With five pages of review in the beginning, the ending includes interesting author’s notes, acknowledgements, a reading guide with sixteen questions and four book club discussions, a conversation with the writer, and further thoughts on the topic, along with a preview of a new book.

Starting with an epilogue, this tome is written in first person by a broken, tormented man who, as a child, witnesses Jews being massacred, sees his father crucified on a cross, watches his mother sell her body, and views Romans taking over Jerusalem. At thirty-eight years old, married, and expecting his first child, he hears about an ordinary-looking Nazarene who many claim to be the coming Messiah.

Devoted to his Jewish upbringings, the guilt-ridden man who feels insignificant and unworthy is baptized by John the Baptist. Debating within his soul, he reports to the Sons of the Teacher, a subversive group of Pharisees looking for their king, while he becomes captivated by Jesus’s teachings and miracles.

Weaving conversations of Jesus with His disciples, the story blends fiction with Biblical situations as the sick are healed, the lame walk, and the gospel is given. As the main character, Judas protects his Master from harmful situations, keeping Him safe while the Sons question His beliefs and motives.

As Iscariot believes he saves his Master by purposely setting up His arrest to protect Him, he thinks he is not a betrayer, but a faithful follower who has been well-played by the Sons. With no reference to the verse in the Bible where Satan entered Iscariot, the author’s detailed notes at the end of the book offers her explanation.

While the story is told fictionally, Lee does a good job relating that we are like Judas in that we are unworthy, sinful, and depraved yet God has profound love for us. However, it seems her vision of this historical traitor dying of a broken heart does not focus enough on the seriousness of eternal damnation.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on DeeperShopping, Bookpleasures, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

 CLICK ON THIS LINK FOR  TOSCA LEE’S BOOK PROMO!

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under *** OK Read - Don't Hate It, Don't Love It, Christian, Fiction

Tuck-Me-In Talks with Your Little Ones

Title: Tuck-Me-In-Talks with Your Little Ones
Author: Grace Fox
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-7369-5640-6

“We develop strong relationships with our youngsters by spending time with them. Both the quantity and the quality of these interactions are important. This calls for intentionality and creativity,” Grace Fox writes in the introduction of her book, Tuck-Me-In Talks with Your Little Ones – Creating Happy Bedtime Memories.

This one hundred and twenty page index-sized paperback targets parents looking for a new way to communicate with their young children after they are tucked in bed. Geared toward calm and peaceful conversations, children ages three to eight years old would benefit, although any aged reader may find it interesting and creative.

With no pictures, faint gray stars are on the background with one to four sentences on each page. Having no table of contents or organization, topics are randomly placed in a simplistic but thoughtful way. The font is sophomoric, with specific bold words for emphasis.

Ideally for the adult to read out loud one or several pages at bedtime to a young child, discussing the topic, it would be an excellent socialization tool at the dinner table, camping, long-distance traveling, or during a time that promotes talking.

Here are some quick quips listed per page that include the concept of God during the readings:

“Show me a sad face. Name three things that make you sad. Now show me a happy face. Name three things that make you happy.

Why are fire engines red? Name five other objects that are the same color.

If you could have any pet you wanted, what would you have? What would it look like? What name would you give it?

What does it mean to be kind? Let’s list three kind things we can do for our neighbors. Which one of those things would you like to do first?

Did you know that dolphins sleep with one eye open and one eye closed? Giraffes sleep standing up. They keep both eyes open, and they wiggle their ears. Why do you think God made them to sleep this way? Show me how you sleep.

How strong is God? Show me with your muscles. What problems do you think God can help you solve?”

By stimulating thoughts and concepts with young ones, this is an exceptional book to start the process of not only thinking about our bodies, creation, animals, and understanding emotions, it promotes learning and knowing about God.

Thanks to Harvest House Publishers for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Harvest House Publishers, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

 

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

Leave a comment

Filed under ***** Great Read - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Childrens, Christian

The Blue Baboon in the Big Balloon

Title: The Blue Baboon in the Big Balloon
Authors: Sarah and Stephen Mostyn
Publisher: Sarah and Stephen Mostyn
ISBN: 9780991490011

“Into the balloon went the baboons, the orange mite and the troll named Dwight, along with Matt the fluffy green cat and the family of mice that like flying kites and eating fried rice,” Sarah and Steven Mostyn write in their book, The Blue Baboon in the Big Balloon.

First in the Canadian authors’ self-published children’s series, this unnumbered thirty-two page paperback is targeted toward preschool to early elementary school children and readers who enjoy rhyming stories about animals. With no profanity, scary scenes, or violence, the book would best be read to beginner readers based on some of the more complicated wording. The colored illustrations with very dark backgrounds cover the pages with white words over-lapping them.

In this silly tome about animals that rhymes without consistency, Harold the blue baboon and his brother Gerald always have tea at three thirty in the afternoon by the sea. Having a cat named Matt that chases a family of mice along with an orange mite and a troll called Dwight, they all enjoy riding in a big balloon.

One day the group takes a trip to the moon where they meet two female raccoons and their friend, a panda named Miranda. Invited to the girls’ cocoon, they watch some cartoons involving a giraffe taking a bath.

When Harold hears a mooing cow that jumps over the moon, he realizes they must return to earth in time for tea. They say their good-byes and mention how they enjoyed their adventure meeting new friends far from home.

With the authors’ three children inspiring creative story ideas, these two writers have more engaging tales to tell in future yarns. However, hopefully future books will have lighter backgrounds in the illustrations, making them more attractive and easier to decipher for younger aged children, with rhyming that can be read aloud in an iambic pentameter format or similar.

Thanks to the author for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Bookpleasures, and Amazon with links on Pinterest and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

Leave a comment

Filed under *** OK Read - Don't Hate It, Don't Love It, Animals / Pets, Childrens

Minding Molly

Title: Minding Molly
Author: Leslie Gould
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1033-4

“I had to get Mervin interested in Hannah again. That was the only thing that would change Mamm’s mind. Then she’d surely be fine with Leon. And if not … What was I willing to do? Run off with him? All the way to Montana? Of course not,” Molly considers in Leslie Gould’s novel, Minding Molly.

Third book in “The Courtships of Lancaster County” series, this paperback of three hundred and fifty-three pages targets those interested in contemporary, romantic Amish fiction. With no profanity, sexual innuendos, or violence, the book would be ideally enjoyed by young naive teenage girls or those that enjoy the angst of clean romance. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

Written in first person, twenty-two year old Molly Zook tries to keep every facet of her life efficient, predictable, and organized. With her Dat recently dying, her Mamm dealing with health issues, and their family farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on the brink of financial collapse, her plate is full.

Seeking avenues of keeping the homestead from being sold, her ailing mother suggests Molly marry Mervin Mosier, one of the twin neighbors living nearby who is more than willing to help keep their flower and plant business profitable. Mervin happens to have romantic feelings for the young lady, yet she does not care for him in the same way.

When Leon Fisher arrives from Montana to train horses at her best friend, Hannah’s farm, Molly schemes and plans to cross paths to meet the young man. Organizing a camping trip with the Youngie of their community, she pines for Leon as Mervin begs for her attention.

As all notice Molly’s bossiness and control issues at the farm, during camping, and in regard to her younger sister, Beatrice, the strong-willed woman slowly realizes her flaws and how God is the one in control of all things.

Written as an Amish story similar to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it additionally contains the shallowness of the protagonist with her methodical conversations as she deals with the many romantic tug-of-wars that teenagers experience as they fall in love for the first time. Readers glean that by minding what God wants, one can learn to give up always being in control.

Thanks to The Book Club Network Inc. for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on TBCNI, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

2 Comments

Filed under *** OK Read - Don't Hate It, Don't Love It, Christian, Fiction

** CONTEST ** THE ADVOCATE by Randy Singer ~ BOOK GIVEAWAY

WIN RANDY SINGER’S NEW NOVEL THE ADVOCATE
ENTER TO WIN A FREE BOOK!

One winner will be randomly selected to win FREE from Tyndale House this soon-to-be-released novel!

REVIEW  TEASER: “I was born to be an advocate for the truth, to fight for justice, to speak for the powerless. But in my greatest test I had failed miserably. I had lost my nerve and at a critical moment abandoned my principles,” Theophilus regrets in Randy Singer’s novel,The Advocate.

SIMPLE steps to enter this 3-day contest

1.  Follow my blog if you do not do so already.
2. Post in the “LEAVE A REPLY” section below why you want to read this exciting book (could be funny, clever, serious, or the words “I want” since the winner is randomly chosen).
3. Like either one of these Tyndale House sites on Facebook or Twitter:

Twitter– https://twitter.com/TyndaleHouse    @TyndaleHouse

Facebook–  https://www.facebook.com/TyndaleHouse

This is a FAST CONTEST ending THURSDAY, APRIL 17th @ 6 PM PST so follow the 3 requirements above and try for a chance to win a book that is mailed from the publisher directly to you!

I read & reviewed this book – it’s a 4 STAR!

Here is my review:  http://connywithay.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/the-advocate/

21 Comments

Filed under Win-A-Free-Book Contests

The Advocate

The AdvocateTitle: The Advocate
Author: Randy Singer
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-9130-4

“I was born to be an advocate for the truth, to fight for justice, to speak for the powerless. But in my greatest test I had failed miserably. I had lost my nerve and at a critical moment abandoned my principles,” Theophilus regrets in Randy Singer’s novel, The Advocate.

At four hundred and ninety-six pages, this paperback targets those interested in Christian fiction during Jesus and the Apostle Paul’s era. With no profanity, the detailed accounts of Roman tortures, beatings, and crucifixions may not be apropos for immature readers. Caution should be noted the author takes fictional liberties with the Biblical account that may confuse those who do not know the Scriptures. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

In this lengthy tome that involves many characters over a three hundred year period during the Roman Empire, it begins with fourteen year old Theophilus writing in first person experiencing being the example of a mock crucifixion during a one of his Roman classes.

Taught to question what the truth is, he is sent to the prestigious Molon School of Rhetoric where he learns how to be an advocate, by detaching from suffering along with humiliation and favoring the Greek gods that supposedly protect him.

Six years later the young man becomes the assessore or chief legal advisor to Pontius Pilate in Judea. When Jesus is arrested and tried, he encourages Pilate to release Barabbas while condemning Jesus to death. Hypothetically writing “King of the Jews” in three languages on the titlus, he witnesses Christ’s crucifixion; the painful event seared into his memory.

As he moves up the rank of advocate back in Rome, he befriends a beautiful Temple of Vesta priestess, a strong-willed gladiator, Nicodemus, the Apostle Paul, and Doctor Luke. Taking on cases of slander, treason, and conspiracy against Caesar, Theophilus becomes the supporter for those that promote the truth or stand up to vicious rulers such as Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero.

With gory explanations of torturous Roman games, beheadings, burnings, and human abuse, he and his friends make spiritual decisions that solidify their faith and put them in danger.

As a detailed, gruesome tale that blends fiction and history of the man only mentioned in the Bible in Luke and Acts, Singer concentrates on how those that commit to their core values and beliefs rise above all obstacles and hardships by focusing on God being the ultimate Advocate.

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for furnishing a complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on DeeperShopping and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

 

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

3 Comments

Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Fiction

A Bee Named Bea and Other Poems

A Bee Named Bea and Other PoemsTitle: A Bee Named Bea and Other Poems
Author: Candace A. Dietz
Illustrator: Virginia J. Rost
Publisher: Mixed Media Memoirs
ISBN: 978-1494220822

“A bee name Bea
Said Mercy me –
Everyone’s afraid of me!
When I try to be a friendly bee
They zoom away and let me be –
Just me, Bea, by myself.”
Candace A. Dietz writes in her children’s book, A Bee Named Bea and Other Poems.

Targeted toward children two years old and older who like poems about animals, insects, and a little girl, this unnumbered fifty-two page over-sized paperback has large, bright watercolor illustrations by Virginia Rost. With no scary or violent scenes, designs are spread throughout the pages with easy-to-read font wording against usually solid backgrounds.

With each poem covering two to four pages, all provide a personal name in the title that the child can recall later such as a bunny named Paul, a cow called Sue, and penguin named Patrick.

Readers learn tales about Dickie the bird who gets sick eating too much, a butterfly named Arin who cannot sit still, Larry the canary that rings a bell to make noise, a crab named Connor who wants to grow up, and Quinn, the dolphin who counts.

Some lessons gleaned are rules for safely playing by holding on to bike handles, using a quiet voice, changing a sneer into a smile, applying sunscreen if out in the sun, taking baths to stay clean, and, most importantly, remembering that love matters.

One favorite might be “A Goose Named Grace” about a nice goose who shared all her toys with others until she received a pretty doll buggy, which she kept to herself, putting it away when friends came to play. When she was past three years old, she willingly shared her buggy with others.

With each poem dealing with a problem, the emphasis on how to circumvent, change, or accept it is promoted in a positive, helpful way. By teaching children how to act, behave, and treat others, Dietz hones in on vital life lessons that can be taught early in life.

From whimsical or light-hearted to silly or sensitive, not only children will enjoy reading the poems again, adults may smile, realizing how clever and charming the rhymes are as they encourage friendship, individuality, sharing, and kindness.

Thanks to KSB Promotions for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Bookpleasures and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

 

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

Leave a comment

Filed under ***** Great Read - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Animals / Pets, Childrens, Fiction

Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids

Title: Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids
Author: Jill Osborne
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-74299-9

“Dad would probably call that a “God Moment.” And he’d be right. In fact, when I really thought about it, I realized that God had been protecting me throughout this whole Swiftriver adventure,” Riley considers in Jill Osborne’s novel, Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids.

Second in the FaithGirlz “Good News Shoes” series, this two hundred and fifty-two page paperback targets middle school aged girls or preteens that enjoy clean Christian mysteries and sports. With no profanity or questionable situations, it would be apropos for females, ages nine to twelve years old. There are intentional misspellings or all-letter capitalized words for emphasis. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

Following the story from the previous book, Riley Mae’s two-year contract as spokesperson for Riley Mae Outdoor Shoe Collections by Swiftriver takes her to her next photo shoot at a secret location during the summer.

When the jet rented by wealthy siblings, Flip and Fawn, has landing gear issues, Riley, her parents, and others wonder if foul play is involved again. Landing safely in Montana, the twelve year old girl’s next adventure is to ride the river rapids for an advertisement promoting a new line of river sandals.

With her mother, Fawn, and guide, Matt, in tow, the four raft down raging waters named Morning Coffee, Break Neck, Tube Chute, Butter-Churn, and Get-Out-Now. As they learn tips to curl into a ball if falling down a waterfall, swim against the current, and find safety in the eddy, Riley witnesses God’s hand of protection.

Undercurrent relationships involve an African family whose son, Sunday, has leukemia and Rusty, Riley’s new friend living with her father and looking for her mother who left when she was a child. Also, Flip and Fawn’s sibling resurfaces, having to deal with problems of his own.

While Riley tries to learn to be sensitive to others’ needs and listen to God more frequently, the reader learns about eternal salvation, forgiveness, and hope. Realizing that life is unpredictable and sometimes heartbreaking, one can turn to Him for comfort and trust.

Continuing this lively mystery series for girls, more adventures for Riley are around the bend in the next unstable waters of her life as she tries to depend on God.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on DeeperShopping, Bookpleasures, and Amazon with links on BookLook, Bookfun.org, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

Leave a comment

Filed under ***** Great Read - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Childrens, Christian

** CONTEST!** COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY!

WIN “UP IN SMOKE”

** CONTEST GIVING AWAY 1 FREE BOOK!

JUST IN TIME FOR SUMMER!
ENTER TO WIN A FREE BOOK!


One person will be randomly selected to win FREE from Cedar Fort this BBQ cookbook!

REVIEW  TEASER: “The mark of a great barbeque is meat that is tender, with a good balance of smoke, spice, sauce, and meat flavor. This delicate balance is hard to reach at first, but with practice, you will be able to achieve it fairly quickly,” Matt Pelton writes in his book, Up in Smoke – A Complete Guide to Cooking with Smoke

SIMPLE steps to enter this 3-day contest

1.  Follow my blog if you do not do so already.
2. Post in the “LEAVE A REPLY” section below why you want to read this exciting book (could be funny, clever, serious, or the words “I want” since the winner is randomly chosen).
3. Like either one of these Cedar Fort sites on Facebook or Twitter:

https://www.facebook.com/cedarfortbooks

Twitter@Cedarfortbooks or @Cedarfortcookbooks

This is a FAST CONTEST ending TUESDAY, APRIL 15th @ 6 PM PST so follow the 3 requirements above and try for a chance to win one of two books that is mailed from CEDAR FORT directly to you!

I read & reviewed this book – it’s a 4 STAR!

Here is my review:  http://connywithay.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/up-in-smoke/

12 Comments

Filed under Win-A-Free-Book Contests

Death by the Book

Title: Death by the Book
Author: Julianna Deering
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1096-9

“If I am the objective in this little game, why didn’t the killer come for me directly? I’m still missing something. Something very important,” Drew ponders in Julianna Deering’s novel, Death by the Book.

Second of three in “A Drew Farthering Mystery” series, this three hundred and twenty page paperback targets those who enjoy clean, cozy mysteries solved by a protagonist. With no profanity, sexual innuendos, or graphic violence, the Christian-based book would be apropos for mature teenagers and adults. Due to the current relaxed writing rules using dangling prepositions, some may like Deering’s style of wording that may not have been used during the time period.

In this tome of whodunit, it is the 1930s in England where the young Drew Farthering is in charge of his father’s estate. Wanting to be engaged to the lovely twenty-two year old Madeline Parker he met only two months ago, the gentleman is repeatedly toyed with her hot and cold advances.

When Drew’s family solicitor is found murdered with an antique hatpin stabbed through his chest, pinning an encrypted message, the young man comes to the aid of Chief Inspector Birdsong to solve the murder in the small town of Farthering St. John.

After the second murder of a physician occurs at a golf course, the plot thickens when the hatpin-and-letter killing is repeated. Having solved family and business murders in the first book, Drew again sleuths for clues the police have not uncovered.

Fascinated with solving murder mysteries, Drew not only worries about Madeline’s safety, he acquiesces to her stuffy, opinionated Aunt Ruth who tries to put a wedge between any romantic intentions.

As another murder occurs, Drew interrogates witnesses and interested parties while the police arrest one of his dear friends. While protecting Madeline and Ruth, he questions a friendly American who may have ulterior motives toward the girl he loves.

Written with English dry humor and wit, readers may find “lumme” in the pages when the true killer is uncovered. With vengeance underlying the purpose of the murders, the tale with little focus on God has twists and turns that may engage readers who like Agatha Christie’s stories.

Although this reader found it hard to relate to Drew and Madeline’s bantering, some may enjoy this murder mystery set in the early twentieth century in England.

Thanks to The Book Club Network Inc. for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on The Book Club Network Inc., DeeperShopping, Bookpleasures, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

Leave a comment

Filed under **** Good Read - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian, Fiction