Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Minder - Book Review

I don't read nearly as much fiction as I used to, but occasionally I will see a book on Amazon for free that I think to myself, "hmm.  That sounds interesting."  Minder was one of those books.

I was drawn into this book for a few reasons:  One, it was free.  It is no longer free, but it was listed with the free books for a short time.  That can easily draw me in.

A second reason I was drawn into this book was the basic premise, as shared through the book's description on Amazon.  It reads:

Oh, Parents. If you knew what was inside that security blanket, you'd never throw it away. Childhood is governed from a sacred place within the trees, lit by fireflies, and overseen by ancient souls devoted to the sanctity of youth. Some kids are lucky enough to visit this place, but mortal danger arises for Sophia, who arrives uninvited. Readers are carried through a whimsical, often nail-biting adventure as brother and sister confront every parent's worst nightmare. Dragons and fairies are alive and well in this old-world tale, where scary things happen to children who ignore their Minders.
P.S. Childhood ends at 30. And this book proves it.
Parallel worlds and children travelling there is one of my favorite story ideas.  I don't think that it was C.S. Lewis who originally thought of the idea, but it was definitely through his storytelling in the Chronicles of Narnia that opened up my mind to the wonderful idea of another place. Minder follows this basic idea through to a whole world of creatures and personalities that only children can get to.

Third, this book pulled me in because of the positive reviews.  I always check some reviews on Amazon before purchasing a book.  (Even if it is free.)  This book had great reviews.  I don't believe that there was one negative review, at least when I was checking it out.  Many times on Amazon, books get negative reviews simply because of poor spelling and bad grammar, most likely one of the pitfalls of self-publishing.  This book seemed quite well written.  In fact, that idea is related to my final point that I would like to make.

Finally, this book captured my attention because of the author's writing ability.  I found myself not wanting to put this book down.  It captured my attention right at the very beginning and held it throughout the rest of the book.  It had a nice pace and a good rhythm to the storytelling.

I must say that the overall story wasn't quite the Chronicles of Narnia Caliber, but it was still enjoyable.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart - Book Review

I just finished listening to the Christian Audio version of Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear.

I grew up in a home and church that held to the belief that "once saved, always saved..."  As I have gotten older, it isn't that I have rejected eternal security, but I knew, even when I was young, that the application of that wonderful truth wasn't being accurately applied.

Like J.D. Greear, I have also "asked Jesus into my heart" on multiple occasions. And also, like this author, I have been baptized more than once.  Reading the Bible for myself and finding so many scriptures dealing with genuine salvation radically changed my life.  But this new-found knowledge left me wondering about my assurance.  I mean, if you could, "call Lord, Lord..." but not enter into heaven (cf. Matthew 7:21-23), then how could one know for sure.  My whole life I had learned that knowing was about remembering a time and place where I "accepted Jesus" into my life, and when I doubted my salvation, the method of dealing with that doubt was to simply pray again, but this time I had to really mean it.  But then, how would you know if you really meant it? In this book, when J.D. Greear tells us to "stop asking Jesus into your heart," he is not attacking the phraseology, but is reconstructing a Biblical perspective on Salvation and the Assurance of that Salvation.

J.D. Greear is thoroughly Biblical in his approach to this topic. When you read, or listen to, this book, you are not going to get an ear-full of personal opinion on this topic.  It is a Biblical study on the topic.  Personally, this is my favorite type of book.  I don't want a bunch of personal thoughts on a topic, just tell me what the Bible says.  At the same time that I was able to enjoy the Biblical foundation of this book and the thoughts behind each teaching, I found that I did not have a difficult time understanding what he was talking about.  He had a great blend of personal stories and revelations that made the Biblical Study aspect of the book remain in the foundation, while the end result was a thoroughly enjoyable book to listen to (or read).

The voice talent on this audio book was Tom Parks.  I believe that this might be the first time I have heard his work. He did a great job reading through this book.