Saturday, October 26, 2013

Peace on Earth: A Christmas Collection by Mary Englebreit

Peace on Earth: A Christmas Collection

Mary Englebreit


Sit down and open a beautifully illustrated picture book that takes you into a compilation of Christmas songs, poems, and scripture. Mary Engelbreit's illustrations are tied to a particular written piece, such as the old hymn “Angels We have Heard on High and a poem by Cecil Frances Alexander called “All Things Bright and Beautiful”. The are nativity pictures, angel pictures, children and animals and more which have her unique signature style
One of my favorite pieces in the book is the two page spread called “Friendly Beasts” that shows a checkerboard of the poem and illustration. My least favorite would be the four page spread called “Another Boy” because it states in it “the festival of all children everywhere.” Christmas is about Christ and what He did for those children everywhere, and it seems a little lost on this story.
One other note, I'm not too fond of Madonna and child illustrations where Mary is seen with a halo or crown (queen of heaven imagery). I deviate theologically from Catholicism on many points, and this is one. I do not teach my children anything more than that Mary was blessed to be chosen to be Jesus earthly mom. Although these images abound in the book, most of the book keeps focused on Christmas and the baby that was born, and I will share it with my children.
Ultimately the story of Christmas is about Christ and His love for us. It looks forward to the cross and the resurrection. Simply, we sinned against God (for the wages of sin is death), God became a man, died on the cross in our place (those who place their faith in him, by grace alone through faith alone), and rose again. Christmas is about the gospel.

I received this book from the publisher.  I was not required to write a positive review.  Thank you.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The War on Christmas by Bodie Hodge

The War on Christmas: Battles in Faith, Tradition, and Religious Expression

Bodie Hodge, General Editor

Master Books

As we march onto the front lines of the Christmas season, we again face the war on Christmas. It is a war that fights battles on many different fronts. On the secular front, people have made it about Santa Clause and Black Friday shopping. On the church front, many call it a pagan holiday celebrating other gods and promoting pagan ceremonies. Misconceptions are shot out from fox holes, and error is return fire. So what is the truth about the war on Christmas? What is the truth about Santa, the Nativity, paganism and more? Bodie Hodge and his book The War on Christmas will attempt to clear up our battling perceptions with the truth and more specifically the  truth of the Gospel.
The books takes us on a tour through the following general topics:
  1. What About Christmas?
    In this section, we are introduced the origins of Christmas, the birth of Christ, and the time line of events around the nativity.
  2. Confusion and Misconceptions
    In this section, we face the many traditional Christmas ideas that are factually incorrect.
  3. It's All Baby Jesus
    On this front, we are focused on Christ, the true meaning of Christmas.
  4. How Christmas Came to Be
    Here we get into the foxhole of basic false teachings about the birth of Christ, of Mary and the nativity and more.
  5. The War on Christmas
    Here we are battling the war on Christmas from Genesis and on.
The softbound book is beautifully presented with photographs, illustrations, and charts. It is not long and drawn out, but attacks the subjects accurately and simply. Each chapter has been written by a different author and is easily read. The gospel is strategically placed and very relevant to the whole Christmas story.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is found on page 21, “The Church has often failed during Christmastime because we simply talk about the birth of Christ without talking about why He came.”

It is very important that we understand why He came, and I heartily agree that the church has lost ground in this battle. We need to understand the truth, seek it out and proclaim it.

I was excited to be able to receive this book and review it for the publisher, and I have not been disappointed. It is not only a book I highly recommend to read, but also to share with family and friends.

Get out on the front line and share the true meaning of Christmas. Let us proclaim the gospel this Christmas season and not fall in the battle, but stand firm.

If you are looking for your own copy,  can  buy the book here: 


Note:  I received an advanced PDF copy and printed book as part of being a member of the launch team for the book in return for my unbiased review.


I will be giving away my review copy.  If you would like to be in the drawing, please leave a comment about your favorite Christmas memory!  Drawing will be on November 1st!

Don't forget to leave your email!  Thank you.

Congrats to Alison G from Canada!  For being my winner!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Plain Disappearance by Amanda Flower

A Plain Disappearance

An Appleseed Creek Mystery

By Amanda Flower

Imagine going on a date, romance is in the air, and so is murder. When Chloe and Timothy are on their first date, they come across the body of a murdered teenage Amish girl. Now they are plunged into a mystery that compels Chloe to investigate. Could it be Timothy's friend, Billy Thorpe, whose mysterious past makes him a suspect?

I'm not usually a reader of mysteries, but I have to confess, I read this book an enjoyed it. In fact, I read it in an afternoon. Flower creates a world that shows the imperfections and nuances of people, and the Amish. Her characters are realistic and enjoyable. I like that she has various characters, Chloe, an Englisher, Timothy, an former Amish, Timothy's little brother, and his sister who has left the Amish life. I also enjoyed how she had a particular character impacted for Christ by Chloe's life.
In regards to the mystery, she kept me guessing, although certain elements were predictable, others were well hidden until the necessary revealing. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Amish literature or mysteries.
I received this book from the publisher, and was not required to give a positive review. All opinions on the book are wholly my own.