Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Usborne Creative Writing Book

   Just by paging through, this book offered me the nostalgia to reformulate the dreams of my tween-self back into present day reality. I've been writing since I was twelve, and my style, skill, and genre choice have all changed and developed so dramatically that the wonder of writing feels a little different every time I pull out a pen or sit down at a keyboard. The Usborne Creative Writing Book is everything I would have loved as a young author, and everything I could still use to recreate that magic a decade later. The last line on the back of the book is the writer's pride and joy: "There's lots of space for you to write in, but no scary blank pages".


Image result for the creative writing book usborne   One of the most interesting things I have learned about writing is that a blank page is sometimes such a daunting task that the only way to get anything started is to write something - anything, regardless of the state of its gibberishness or uselessness - just to make the page less empty, which gets the thoughts and ideas freer to flow and grow.

   This book is so exciting to me - I sat down with it for an hour at a table and just flipped through, reading and looking over each colour-laden page and exciting scribble notes. It's the young writer's dream, for everything from stories to poems, comics, reviews, blogs, scripts, and other forms of writing. The illustrations assure that no page is boring, inviting the reader - actually, the writer - in to learn and immediately create. There is extensive space to trying out new writing tips and tricks for all the different kinds of platforms. Some of the most fascinating are the article and journalism portions, and character creation/building sections, not often included in the idea of writing.

   If your child, or you yourself, at any age, is/are a poet, a novelist, a journalist, a blogger, a columnist, a critic, a fanfiction addict, and/or a short story fanatic; if they or you are in search of inspiration to feed their/your desire for creation, The Usborne Creative Writing Book is an exciting, extensive, uncomplicated way to explore the incredible creative experience of writing, in any form.

-- Elise --

For more information on The Usborne Creative Writing Book visit our website here.

  

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Story of Reality


Gregory Koukl, author of Tactics, released a new book earlier this year entitled, The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How it Ends and Everything Important that Happens in Between. And it’s only 160 pages.
This book is recommended by well known authors such as – Lee Strobel, Rick Warren, Joni Eareckson Tada, J. Warner Wallace, Sean McDowell, Nancy Pearcey and many more.

Here’s what Fred Sanders, author of The Deep Things of God, had to say about this book: “When I looked into Koukl’s Story of Reality, I thought, ‘This is not how I would say this.’ I would have used more technical terms, added quite a bit of history, expanded it by a couple hundred pages, and put in about a thousand footnotes. So readers can rejoice that, instead, Greg Koukl is the right man to tell the story in such a clear, concise, and conversational way. This book explains the central ideas of Christianity and answers questions people are really asking.”

And I agree. For many of us, books filled with “churchy jargon” are incredibly intimidating, whether we've grown up in the church or not. In The Story of Reality Gregory Koukl has taken the convoluted history of humanity and made it bite size. This is not to say he has dumbed anything down, rather, it’s like he’s asked you to pull up a chair and have a conversation with him about these big truths of our reality.

Koukl is asking both the Christian and the non-Christian to think about the world around them. To use reason to assess Bible’s worldview because being a Christian is not meant to be “a leap of blind faith”.

This book is something I would give to a non-Christian seeking answers, a high-schooler feeling challenged in his faith or a Christian friend who wants to better understand the Biblical story. It’s something I think should be on every church or school library’s shelf.

-- Kristyn --

For more information click here to visit our website

Wings of the Wind

"When the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked the Israelites and captured some of them. Then Israel made this vow to the Lord: "If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy their cities." Numbers 21: 1-2 

This is the continuing story and final book from the Out of Egypt series which builds upon the previous novels with Kiya, an Egyptian slave who left during the Exodus, embraced Hebrew faith and married the brother of Shira, a midwife among the Hebrew nations. We are now introduced to Alanah, a Canaanite woman who was raised motherless alongside her warrior brothers. When her entire family is killed in battle by the Hebrews, she disguises herself as a man and sneaks onto the battlefield, desperately fighting to avenge her family, with one intention... not surviving.

Image result for wings of the wind connilyn cossette
Tobiah is a Hebrew warrior who has spent many years on the battlefields and is shocked when he finds an unconscious woman among the casualties. An act of compelling compassion causes Tobiah to bring Alanah back to the Hebrew camp and seek a healer. Unaware and unprepared for the consequences of his kindness, he must boldly face the new challenges and changes to his imminent future.  In order to survive, Alanah must unite with her enemy, but will a terrible revelation drive her toward an even greater danger?


The final book's setting takes place some years after the horrific fallout of Korah's rebellion,  with the Israelites roaming the wilderness for forty years whilst fighting to claim the Promised land of Caanan. The author wonderfully creates a story from this blank space where little is known to us. Connilyn Cossette expresses "if readers get anything from [her] books, [she] hopes that it is a desire to taste the Word again and regain that sense of wonder about the mystery of God who desires his children to be fed from its nourishment daily. May it never be mundane to us, or drudgery, to collect the freely given treasures tucked between its pages." 


This series has done just that and opened my eyes to the unknown possibilities within our history but also reflecting upon the amazing journeys and trials God leads his people through, vowing to never leave us or forsake us. 


-- Candace --

For more information visit our website here.

Hello Stars


Faithgirlz has a new series called Lena in the Spotlight, a chapter book geared towards girls ages 8-12.

Have you seen the movie The War Room? (If you haven’t I highly recommend it for the whole family). If you have, then you know the author. This book was written by the 12 year old Alena Pitts who stars as Danielle Jordan in the movie. She proved herself to be an incredible actress, so she thought she’d try her hand at writing.

Here’s how she put it, “Just recently my mom and I were thinking about writing a book. Like a real book. We thought it would be really fun and a great mother daughter experience! But in reality, writing a book is pretty hard and even harder to actually get the book published. So it was really just a thought……or so I thought. But guess what?! A few weeks later my mom was emailed from Faithgirlz! They wanted to know if I would partner with them on a fictional book series! My mom and I were amazed!”

As a 24 year old I was skeptical about a book written by such a young person and her mom, but was pleasantly surprised by this captivating story entitled Hello Stars.

As Priscilla Shirer puts it, “Hello Stars is a bold and colourful story that will engage and inspire young readers.” It’s loosely based on Alena’s own experience of being cast in the movie War Room.

It’s not technically for my age group, of course, but I was drawn into the story by the relatable emotions, experiences, and personality of the main character, Lena, who is simply telling you her story.

Besides the storytelling Alena and her mom have managed to tie in life lessons from the Bible that will bring encouragement and biblical knowledge to young readers. The verse Jeremiah 29:11 is weaved into the story line teaching a valuable lesson about trusting in God and his plans for you.

This book also includes delightful pictures every now and then helping bring this story to life.

The next book in this series, Day Dreams and Movie Screens, is already scheduled for release in September this year. You can reserve a copy of it with us today!

-- Kristyn --

For more information visit our website here.

Catching the Wind

"Better that one heart be broken a thousand times in the retelling... if it means that a thousand other hearts need not be broken at all." 

Melanie Dobson uses this quote by Robert McAfee Brown which perfectly encompasses the inner struggle that Daniel Knight faces as he tries to find out what has happened to his childhood friend Brigitte Berthold. They escaped from Gestapo agents who had arrested both of their parents and the young children fled Germany and crossed over to England where they were separated upon arrival. Daniel vowed to find Brigitte after the war, a promise he has fought to fulfill for more than seventy years.
Image result for catching the wind melanie dobson
With the aching retelling, constant searching and investigating of the possibility of her whereabouts, Daniel hires an American journalist named Quenby Vaughn whose tenacious ability to discover missing people and reports on various wartime accounts convince Daniel that she can uncover the details of Brigitte. Quenby is currently investigating WWII espionage stories which gives her the success necessary to move forward where the countless investigators before failed to locate Brigitte. With the assistance of Lucas Hough, Daniel's lawyer, the two delve deep into the past following a trail of deception, sacrifice, and healing that could change all of their futures. 

I read this book in less than eight hours, the vivid historical details and mysterious interlaced stories all connected with espionage drama takes your mind on a whirlwind journey of anticipation and heartfelt delights. The novel boasts very interesting and thrilling accounts of British aristocracy and upper class specific to their involvements of conspiracy with the Germans which included handwritten letters, invisible ink, micro-photography and secret codes. All with the goal to aid Hitler's assault and wreck havoc on England's facilities. Despite all the heartache and sorrow war and unknowns can bring, we are reminded that "resilience springs from hope, and hope from love." Every history lover will not be able to put this book down as all adult responsibilities were gladly set aside.

--Candace--

For more information visit our website here.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Beyond Loneliness

   Trevor Hudson writes with a voice of comfort and compassion in his book Beyond Loneliness, to describe the gift of friendship that we have in God. He begins his introduction, "An Invitation to Transforming Friendship", with some statements regarding loneliness: that it "touches each one of us" and is "no respecter of age or rank", and that it "may be one of the most painful experiences that we go through in this life" (15). Then he asks a few questions:

Cover image for Beyond Loneliness
      - Do you feel lonely?
      - Is there a friendship-shaped hole in your life?
      - Are you open to reimagining your relationship with God as a friendship?
      - Do you want to be transformed into the person God wants you to be?
      - Does the possibility of starting a lifelong journey with God attract you?
      - Do you long for a real experience of the living God?

   If you answered yes to any of these questions, he asks that you "join [him] in discovering how to begin a transforming friendship with God" (18). He then takes the reader on a journey through the different aspects of God's friendship with each of us; the facets of it, the benefits, the determinants of its necessity. He explores spiritual disciplines such as prayer and meditation, as ways of growing closer in friendship with God, and what I found the most striking was the way that he considered what he called "Our Friend's Address Book". In other words, the friends of our friend - the friends of God. This offers an excellent perspective on the verse in the Bible which reads 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’" (Matt. 25:40). From Hudson's writing, "the least of these brothers and sisters" is an address in God's address book, and a location where we will be able to see and live out the Gospel in everyday life.

   Nathan Foster reviews the book quite well in a couple of sentences: "There is something very inviting about this book. With the heart of a wise and caring pastor, Trevor Hudson effectively creates a safe space for us to work honestly with a topic all humans face. This book will help so many!"

   Aside from a voice of care and guidance, each chapter also includes a friendship exercise and reflection to make the journey from loneliness to friendship a tangible and attainable goal.

   -- Elise --

For more information on Beyond Loneliness by Trevor Hudson, visit our website here.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Practice of the Presence of God


Cover image for Practice Of The Presence Of God
     This little book is a quick read, which makes it all the better for pausing and reflecting on the depth that it holds. I read it for a class that I was taking. The Practice of the Presence of God emphasizes the spiritual disciplines of servitude and stillness.

     Brother Lawrence worked in the kitchen at the monastery where he ended up, after time served in the army and a stint of isolation in the desert in search of spiritual growth. There is a short biography detailing his life in this book, but most of The Practice of the Presence of God is a collection of letters written by Brother Lawrence to his Brothers and Sisters in Christ who had written to him troubled, struggling, and searching. His literary voice is that of a gentle mentor seeking to counsel and to comfort with the wisdom that he seeks from God to offer. His words emanate humility, patience, and kindness that comes from a life of intentional servitude. Brother Lawrence practices the art of finding God in every instance, every act, and every moment, through a discipline of service so thoroughly honed as to be renowned even now as inspirational.

--Elise--

For more information visit our website here.