Love or Lust?

Product DetailsLove or Lust?
DVD
Chastity Project
Retail Price $17.99
Amazon Price: $17.98

Book Description:  Why save sex for marriage? Scare tactics, guilt trips, and teen pregnancy rates don’t inspire anyone to love. Discover the difference between love and lust while getting straight answers about dating, relationships, and sexual purity. In this new DVD, filmed before a live audience of hundreds of high school students, Jason and Crystalina present a compelling case for the virtue of chastity. This talk has been delivered to more than one million teens on five continents. Watch as Jason and Crystalina Evert reveal the compelling vision of God’s plan for human sexuality. By addressing the issues that teens struggle with most, such as sexual pressure, pornography, modesty, and starting over, Jason and Crystalina offer encouragement for teens to maintain their purity or begin again if they’ve made mistakes in the past.

Review

This is a wonderful resource for teens.  Whether you are a Christian youth worker, a teacher, or a parent, if you are involved with teenagers, you will want to get a copy of this dvd. The presenters are a husband and wife team Jason and Crystalina Evert that minister to teens all over the country, promoting chastity. They reach teens where they are by sharing their own stories, warts and all, in a meaningful, entertaining way.  They touch on heavy topics, but in a light way that isn’t scary.  They also reach out to teens that have made mistakes and want to start over.  This is a fantastic resource.

~Reviewed by Rosie B.

    Genius Under Construction

    Genius Under Construction
    By Marilee Haynes
    Pauline Media
    Retail Price $9.99
    Amazon Price: $8.00

    Book Description:

    Gabe Carpenter-St. Jude Academy’s resident genius-is back for his final year of middle school. Some things have certainly changed from last year: his ‘locker-won’t-open’ days seem to be over, his rolling backpack has been replaced by his grandpa’s briefcase, he’s now the basketball team’s official analyst, and he, along with all of the other eighth graders, are allowed to sit on “The Rock.” Other things have stayed exactly the same: Gabe has yet to figure out girls (especially his second best friend and crush, Maya), he’s still in that class for gifted students, and his embarrassing bodily functions continue to well, embarrass him.On the cusp of graduation, this eighth grade status brings some inescapable realities. Gabe, along with all of the other graduating students, must complete fifteen hours of community service. Thinking his talents would be best used in service to others academically, he picks tutoring. But when he finds out he will be working with a student who has a learning disability, things become a bit more complicated than expected.At home, an envelope with an unfilled application to Carolina Science and Math High School is shoved in the bottom of his closet. With the deadline quickly approaching, Gabe is being pressured by his parents, grandma, and the memory of his dead grandpa to make a decision of whether or not to apply. He loves science, but is he willing to leave his friends behind to go there next year? Leave Maya? At least Gabe can still turn to St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, to help him along the way…Join Gabe as he finishes up his last year of middle school, discovers how his giftedness can serve others, and follows his academic passion.

    Review

     

    Along with a great plot, the author has created an easy to read novel for the middle school age that is an inspirational tale with great take away value. Haynes uses humor to keep you engrossed in this faith-based story that shares many life lessons.  I felt good about giving it to my son to read and the best thing about it was that he really enjoyed it.  The author truly knows how to speak to this age group.  I hope she turns this into a series!

    ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

      Both of Me

      Product DetailsBoth of Me
      by Jonathan Friesen
      Blink
      Retail Price $16.99
      Amazon Price: $13.17

      Book Description: 

      It was supposed to be just another flight, another escape into a foreign place where she could forget her past, forget her attachments. Until Clara found herself seated next to an alluring boy named Elias Phinn—a boy who seems to know secrets she has barely been able to admit to herself for years.When her carry-on bag is accidentally switched with Elias’s identical pack, Clara uses the luggage tag to track down her things. At that address she discovers there is not one Elias Phinn, but two: the odd, paranoid, artistic, and often angry Elias she met on the plane, who lives in an imaginary world of his own making called Salem; and the kind, sweet, and soon irresistible Elias who greets her at the door, and who has no recollection of ever meeting Clara at all. As she learns of Elias’s dissociative identity disorder, and finds herself quickly entangled in both of Elias’s lives, Clara makes a decision that could change all of them forever. She is going to find out what the Salem Elias knows about her past, and how, even if it means playing along with his otherworldly quest. And she is going to find a way to keep the gentle Elias she’s beginning to love from ever disappearing again.

      Review

      I thought it was interesting that the author for this young adult novel chose a person with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) as a main character.  DID was previously referred to as multiple personality disorder or split personality.  It is a mental disorder on the dissociative spectrum that is characterized by having at least two distinct personalities emerging from one person.  In this book we get a look at the disorder from different perspectives. The author brings together Clara and Elias in an unlikely meeting and shows God’s hand in seemingly random acts.  The book is quite intense and has several twists and turns to keep you hopping.  I thought it read very well.  For a Christian book, it did have a few worldly things like characters swearing and dark thoughts.  So I would leave this book for the older teens.  All in all I think it was a good read.

      ~Reviewed by Julius M.

        Middle School: The Inside Story

        Product DetailsMiddle School: The Inside Story
        By Cynthia Tobias
        Focus on the Family
        Retail Price $14.99
        Amazon Price: $12.30

        Book Description:

        Remember middle school? Many parents would rather not. It’s often a rough ride, filled with insecurity, peer pressure, awkwardness, and world-rocking change. This book provides practical, hands-on advice for helping your child through this minefield—with information about what he or she is really going through, but isn’t likely to share.

        Best-selling learning-styles expert Cynthia Tobias and veteran teacher Sue Acuña reveal what they’ve found by listening to kids when parents aren’t around—and give you insider tips on how to bless your middle-schooler with success in class, at home, and in relationships. Topics include advice for keeping communication lines open, predictable physical and social issues, and solutions for problems like self-centeredness and over-the-top emotions.

        Review

        This is a fantastic book for parents and teachers alike that will help you to understand the mind of the middle-school student.  You will gain insight not only into HOW they think, but WHAT they are thinking about, and the culture that they are immersed in.  This book was filled with great suggestions and the authors made use of stories and quotes from middle schoolers.  They share share better ways of communicating about a variety of topics where parents often miss the mark.

        The middle school years are difficult, no doubt.  But I remember talking to one of my kids favorite teachers and she told me that she truly enjoyed teaching this age group.  In fact, when she was deciding which grade to teach, she decided to teach middle school because she felt that “these kids deserved a teacher that liked them.”  This book will help you to become THAT teacher or parent who actually LIKES this age group.  This book is a winner.

        ~Reviewed by Helen M.

          Hacker: The outlaw Chronicles

          Hacker: The outlaw Chronicles
          By Ted Dekker
          Worthy Publishing
          Retail Price $14.99
          Amazon Price: $10.96

          Book Description:

          My name is Nyah and I’m a hacker. I know things most people would never believe. Things that shouldn’t exist, but do. 

          Seventeen year old Nyah Parks is a genius hacker whose world is unraveling. Deeply scarred from a horrific accident that killed her father and brother, and left her mother with irreparable brain damage, Nyah is barely holding the last shreds of her life together.Now, her mother’s health is deteriorating quickly and Nyah faces the grim prospect of losing her, too. One last ditch hope exists–an experimental brain surgery that could buy her mother more time. But Nyah must scrape together enough money to pay for it before it’s too late.Desperate and with no other choice, Nyah turns her programming skills to cracking the firewalls of the world’s largest corporations. She exposes their weaknesses, and then offers her services to secure their systems from hackers.

          But when the most dangerous job of her life backfires and forces her to go on the run, she encounters an impossible reality that shouldn’t exist, but does.

          A hack unlike any other. A hack that will take her beyond the firewall of the human brain itself. A hack, which may be the only way to save her mother now.

          What if there was a way to tap into the unseen reality that surrounds us all? Would you hack in? How far would you go to find the answers to your deepest questions? The answer lies deep beyond the firewall.

          Tap in, strap in, and experience the mind-twisting ride with Nyah. What you find waiting on the other side of the firewall might forever change the way you see yourself and the world you live in.

          Review

           

          Ted Dekker does it again with another intense thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, while turning each page as fast as you can!  Dekker has a thought process that I just can’t even begin to fathom. This entire series just blows my mind.   I don’t usually ever read psychological thrillers, murder mysteries, or horror, but I will read anything Dekker writes. And this book was a prime example of why. This third installment in the Outlaw Chronicles is about two hackers who have gone too far.  An amazing storyteller, he weaves a strong story with Christian elements entwined in such a way that isn’t preachy, yet has you examining your life. The story will suck you in right from the very beginning as he knits an intricate tale that all comes together, with twists and turns that you won’t even be able to guess. When you think you have something figured out, you will find that you really don’t!

          ~Reviewed by Skylar B.

            A Deadly Business

            A Deadly Business (Mia Quinn Series #2)A Deadly Business
            By Lis Wiehl
            Thomas Nelson
            Retail Price $26.99
            Amazon Price: $19.56

            Book Description:

            “Wiehl’s experience as a former federal prosecutor gives the narrative an authenticity in its depiction of the criminal justice system. Henry’s expertise in writing mysteries and thrillers has placed her on the short-list for the Agatha, Anthony, and Oregon Book awards. The coauthors’ . . . fast-paced detective series will keep legal thriller readers and John Grisham fans totally engrossed.” —Library JournalA prosecutor of violent criminals. A detective on a dangerous beat. When these two pros take on an off-the-books case, the line between professional and personal becomes perilously blurred. When a twenty-two-year-old convict walks into the courtroom, his eyes confirm what Mia Quinn already guesses: he blames her for his conviction. In seconds, he knocks her to the ground and holds a razor blade to her throat. While she manages to escape without injury, it’s just one more reminder that Mia’s job prosecuting Seattle’s s most dangerous criminals is far from low risk.As a single mom, the last thing Mia wants is for her work to follow her home or discover that it already has.

            Now Detective Charlie Carlson is suggesting the very thing Mia doesn’t want to believe—that her accountant husband’s deadly car accident was no accident at all. When Mia and Charlie encounter resistance to reopening the case, they take the investigation into their own hands. And they find much more than they bargained for.

            Was Mia’s husband more than an accountant . . . and less than an honest man? As the truth becomes more shocking and the case grows more complex, her husband’s killers take note of Mia . . . and her children. How far will this prosecutor go to learn the truth about her husband—and how far will she have to go to protect her family?

            Review

            This is the second book in the series and I’ve waited so long for it and was so excited when it came out!  And I must tell you, it was well worth the wait!  I love the main character, Mia, who is a prosecuting attorney, whose husband recently died. While it  was declared an accident, there is an air of mystery that is leading her to believe that his death was anything but accidental.  She is hit with so much in this book and we get to walk with her as she sorts it all out.  The book has a great deal of suspense in it, which kept me turning the pages well into the night. The author did a fantastic job with the plot and characters, making them interesting and believable.

             ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

              Hidden in the Stars

              Hidden in the Stars
              by Robin Carroll
              Abingdon
              Retail Price $13.99
              Amazon Price: $11.32

              Book Description: 

              Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn’t help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer.Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer—still at large—silence her forever?

              Review

              I wasn’t expecting a murder mystery  to be a part of the Quilts of Love series, but in the end it fit really well and I am glad I had a chance to read it!  This book ended up being my favorite in the series so far.  My emotions ran the gamut as the author built her story around  a tragic event, dealing with loss, and family secrets.  Caroll did a great job building the plot, describing the characters, and drawing the readers in.  And she balanced the mystery and romance well.  I found the book intriguing and it drew me in from the start.  It was a great read.

              ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

                The Color of Justice

                The Color of Justice
                by Ace Collins
                Abingdon
                Retail Price $14.99
                Amazon Price: $13.20

                Book Description: 

                1964 Justice, Mississippi, is a town divided. White and black. Rich and poor. Rule makers and rule breakers. Right or wrong, everyone assumes their place behind a fragile façade that is about to crumble. When attorney Coop Lindsay agrees to defend a black man accused of murdering a white teenager, the bribes and death threats don’t intimidate him. As he prepares for the case of a lifetime, the young lawyer knows it’s the verdict that poses the real threat—innocent or guilty, because of his stand Coop is no longer welcome in Justice. As he follows his conscience, he wonders just how far some people will go to make sure he doesn’t finish his job? 2014 To some, the result of the trial still feels like a fresh wound even fifty years later, when Coop’s grandson arrives in Justice seeking answers to the questions unresolved by the trial that changed his family’s legacy. When a new case is presented, again pitting white against black, this third generation Lindsay may have the opportunity he needs to right the wrongs of the past. But hate destroys everything it touches, and the Lindsay family will not escape unscathed.

                Review

                In my opinion, Ace Collins is one of the best Christian writers of the decade.  I haven’t read a book of his that I didn’t like and this one is no exception.   He does a great job blending the two time periods, letting us glimpse back and compare it to what is happening today.  The writing was solid with extensive character and storyline development. I happened to finish it a few days before the Ferguson Grand Jury decision and was struck by the timelessness of this book.  I hightly recommend it.

                ~Reviewed by John C.

                  Sky Zone

                  Sky Zone
                  by Creston Mapes
                  David C. Cook
                  Retail Price $14.99
                  Amazon Price: $13.20

                  Book Description: 

                  A rally for a controversial presidential candidate.

                  A terrorist threat.A nightmare of cataclysmic proportions. Jack and Pamela Crittendon have hit the breaking point. After months out of work as a reporter, Jack is playing Mr. Mom and working part-time at Festival Arena with his survivalist friend Brian Shakespeare. Meanwhile, Pamela has gone back to work full-time while eight months pregnant. Having her recently widowed mother on hand isn’t making matters any easier.

                  With financial pressures boiling, Jack reports for duty at a rally for controversial presidential candidate Martin Sterling where he expects a mindless night on the job. But when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist threat, Jack and Shakespeare are thrust into a life-or-death battle to save their own lives–and the lives of thousands of innocent people.This third book in The Crittendon Files reminds us of the power of family, friendships and faith–and why we are never in as much control as we think.

                  Review

                  This book is part of the Crittendon Files series and while it is best to read the entire series, I feel that this book can stand alone.  The main character is Jack Crittendon, a journalist with the daily paper in Trenton City who ends up in investigations that are way over his head!   I really enjoyed the plot of this novel.  Jack is a very believable character and easy to relate to. He is an ordinary, everyday kind of guy that you might have in your own life.  He has a wife and family and normal, everyday family issues.  You can see yourself reacting just as he does in a given situation, which is probably one reason he is such a likeable character.  There were other characters who were involved in things that were totally unexpected, which added to the suspense.   I found this to be a very enjoyable read.

                  ~Reviewed by John K.

                    The Last Con

                    Product DetailsThe Last Con
                    By Zachary Bartels
                    Zondervan
                    Retail Price:  $15.99
                    Amazon Price: $10.80

                    Book Description:  

                    THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA WERE THERE WHEN JERUSALEM FELL, THEY WERE THERE WHEN THE TEMPLARS DISINTEGRATED, AND THEY’RE THERE NOW . . . WAITING IN DETROIT FOR A BORN-AGAIN CON MAN TRYING TO SAVE HIS FAMILY.

                    Former con man Fletcher Doyle is finally home after six years in the pen. He’s working a menial job, regaining his bearings in the world, and trying to revive his relationships with his wife and twelve-year-old daughter. No easy feat.

                    But when Fletcher and his family go on a mission trip to Detroit—in the company of the condescending church leader who also happens to be his landlord—Fletcher finds his old life waiting for him. Within hours of arriving in the city, he’s been blackmailed into doing a job for a mysterious criminal who calls himself The Alchemist.

                    A series of relics hidden by the Knights of Malta, as ancient as they are priceless, are in the sights of The Alchemist. What he needs is a gifted grifter with a background in ecclesiastical history . . . what he needs is Fletcher Doyle.

                    Between hiding his reawakened criminal life from his wife and trying to hide her from their relentless landlord, Fletcher is ready to give up. But when his family is drawn into the dangerous world he can’t shake, Fletcher is forced to rely on his years in the game to save the only people who mean more to him than the biggest con in history.

                    Review

                    This is really and exceptional book.  It is very unique in the Christian genre as it deals with some rather intense issues and the hero of the story has a questionable reputation.  While the book has many dark themes, the author uses humor to lighten it up, which makes for a good mix.  It also has a strong historical thread that I found intriguing and enlightening.  I thought Bartels did a great job describing the events involving Malta and Marie Antoinette.   The novel may have seemed like your everyday thriller at the start,  but it  hit home as the story developed and we saw two men, one a fake preacher and the other an ex-con who was converted while serving time, both question the faith upon which they have built their lives. As the book unfolds we see them find inner strength and their true selves,   It was not only an action-packed read, but had a real moral to the story.  I was impressed.

                    ~Reviewed by Pat B.