The River – Michael Neale

The River by Michael Neale captured my imagination by drawing vivid pictures from begin to end.  These pictures were constructed by the author words in such a way that I felt engaged at every turn in the story.  Michael Neale is a great storyteller that connects with the reader right away and keeps moving you through the book with great ease and excitement.  The plot and characters are well developed, and by the time I finished the book I felt like I knew the characters personally.   It is my understanding that this book is the author’s first.  However, I can honestly say that this has no bearing on the excellence of his ability to write.

The story line is about a young boy who experiences a tragedy that instantly changes his life.  He then finds himself struggling with a wide variety of negative feelings that hold him captive.  Throughout the course of the book the boy connects with a few others and ultimately with the river.  In the course of the chapters the author unfolds a series of events that draws him to the river.  In doing so he finally finds himself at peace and is able to really starting living where he was made to live.  That life was on the river.  The story leaves a young man that realizes that he must not just survive life but live life.

This is a great book and a must read for everybody.  You will not want to miss out on this new author’s ability to communicate a great story.

I received this ebook for free from BookSneeze (Thomas Nelson Publishers) for this review. (see disclaimer page for more information)

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The Seasons of God – Richard Blackaby

The Seasons of God by Richard Blackaby is a book that examines the seasons of life, and how what we observe and experience in nature applies to our lives as well.    The book covers each season, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter founded on Biblical principles and fleshed out with many life experiences drawn from both the Bible and the author.   The book is divided in three sections – Embracing the Pattern, Embracing the Seasons, and Thriving in All Our Seasons.   This book, as in Richard’s other books, is very well done and will challenge its reader (as it did me) no matter their age. While some of the word usage will require a dictionary, Richard’s writing style flows with well throughout ideas, and is presented in such a way that you will not want to put the book down.

On a personal note – this book has made an extreme impact on my life. The timing of reading this book is nothing other than a divine appointment with God and the author.   As I concluded each chapter I was prompted to reflect and respond.   As a result  I have a clearer picture of what season I’m currently in, and will respond by thriving in each and every season and moment of my life.

This book was an advance uncorrected copy and was received for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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The 13th Tribe – Robert Liparulo

The 13th Tribe written by Robert Liparulo is a fiction book that was delightful to read.   The author’s writing style delivered a book that created clear and vivid imagery that absorbed me into the book. The characters were well developed, and in the course of the book I felt as if I knew each one of them.  The book progressed with a well throughout plot that unfolded the entire length of the book. Every chapter invoked an intrigue into the next that keep the book moving.   I could not wait to engage the characters and the books plot each day that I read it.

This was my first eBook and I must say I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the e-experience. Up to this point I would have preferred the look and feel of printed text.  I did notice several grammatical errors throughout the book that really caught me by surprise.  After reading the sentences several times, to make sure I did not read it incorrectly, I had to conclude the book did indeed contain several errors.

The 13th Tribe does contain violence and a bit of gore that may be a bit much for some readers.  However, this book does bring Biblical truths that will get the reader to think about life and eternity.

I received this ebook for free from BookSneeze (Thomas Nelson Publishers) for this review. (see disclaimer page for more information)

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Man Alive – Patrick Morley

Man Alive written by Patrick Morley presents 7 primal needs of a man that will transform his spiritual life into a powerful one.   This book is filled with solid biblical truths that, in my belief, when applied will make a difference in the lives of  all men from all walks of life.

I found that I could not put this book down. It was an easy read that will engage its readers at many different levels.  There are stories threaded throughout the book that help bring the message of the book alive   This is the first book I have read by Patrick and was captured by the way the book presented its core message in a way that connects to an individual. It then provides  reflective questions at the end of each chapter that will get you thinking about what was just shared.  This book would be a great book to read and discuss with a group of men, and I plan on doing just that.   While change in most will be progressive I do believe that this book will make a positive impact on its reader.

I enjoyed the book and have been challenged to live beyond where I am at in my journey with Christ and others.   I would recommend this book with a five star rating.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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I AM A FOLLOWER – Leonard Sweet

I AM A FOLLOWER, written by Leonard Sweet is a book that will cause one to really evaluate what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.   During the course of the book, Sweet will challenge the “what has been” with what the Bible clearly says about being a follower of Jesus.  Sweet’s approach to the Biblical meaning of being a “follower” brings a strong challenge and course correction to the individual and to the corporate life of the church.

Sweet has divided the body of the book into three main sections, (The WAY, TRUTH, & LIFE) with small bits of text that I found easy to read.   It is my opinion that this book builds a strong mirror image of how a follower interacts with Jesus and with fellow followers.  It also addresses the negative viral impact of bringing the corporate structure and its ways into the body of Christ.  Sweet establishes that instead of having a hierarchy of leadership within the church, the church should exist with only one leader – that being Jesus Christ himself.   Therefore, the church is made up of ALL followers practicing “followership” under Christ’s leadership.    Sweet uses the term “first followers” as those in the body that spur others towards being a first follower themselves.

I found this book to be challenging both in its application and theological approach.  It will get readers really thinking about the way Jesus intended His church to be and function.   I would recommend this book to others.

I received this book for free from BookSneeze (Thomas Nelson Publishers) for this review. (see disclaimer page for more information)

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Church Planting, This is NOT a Manual – Bill Agee

Church Planting, This is NOT a Manual, written by  Bill Agee is not a typical  church planting book.  Visit any Christian bookstore and you will discover numerous volumes on the subject.    However,  Bill captures what I would consider the true essence of what a church planter can expect on the journey. Rather than laying a clearly defined model or method the author instead offers a personal and family narrative of his own church planting journey.  While this book is not a “how to” book,  it is laden with transferable concepts, ideas and experiences that will provide insight into the journey of church planting.   The book also contains the principles that guided Bill on towards a successful chuch planting endeavor.   I  highly recommend this book both to the church planter and potential planter.  This well written volume will help you consider the cost, yet inspire you with the ups and downs of a transparent author who desires to transfer what he has learned on to others.

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The Exceptional Life – Stephen Arterburn

The Exceptional Life written by Stephen Arterburn, offers 8 powerful steps to experiencing God’s best for you.  Over the course of 8 chapters this book examines the eight areas that will prevent you from experiencing God best. The book challenges you to dig deep into yourself to discover areas that are causing issues for you.  Each chapter then offers the steps to begin dealing with the issue(s) at hand. It is my belief that if one follows through, then the power of God will be unleashed to bring about healing and life change.

I found the book to be insightful and sometimes hard to read because of the need to look deep within.  Often times we will glance at our problems, but this book really gets ones magnifying glass out to look at the deeper often hidden underlying causes.  As I did this myself, I found what Stephen offers for the “fix” begins with Jesus and ends with life change.  I was able to navigate to the depths and return for air with a heightened sense of understanding and hope for what can be.

The author’s writing style is mostly easy to read with lots of stories embedded along the way to bring real life people into the text.  The way the book is written often times will reveal Stephen’s character with honesty and transparency. By the time I was done with the book, I felt like I knew the author.  I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers for this review. (see disclaimer page for more information)

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