Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Nowhere but Up: The Story of Justin Bieber's Mom" by Pattie Mallette with A.J. Gregory

I am going to be honest.  The only reason why I agreed to review this book is because I wanted to know the history of Justin Bieber's mom. I know Justin Bieber has a Yeshua tattoo, and I wanted to know where his faith came from.  As I learned the story of Pattie's faith, I was touched.  However, I did not see any Hebrew roots in her faith.  I did learn in the book, though, that Justin's manager is Jewish, and he is the one who influenced Justin's Hebrew perspective.  I'm not going to judge the heart of Justin or his mother.  I was just curious where the Hebrew roots came from.  This book did not really address that much.  That aside, the first half of this book is extremely sad.  The second half is pretty happy.  The first half goes into the sexual abuse that Pattie encountered at VERY young ages.  The stories in the pages are so horrid and depressing.  Pattie also discloses her relationships that were toxic in her youth.  The second half of the book focuses more on Justin and his musical success.  The middle of the book even has full-color photos.  If you like stories about redemption, you may like this book.  What I found particularly interesting is the part in the book where Pattie says a stranger came up to her and told her that God told him to tell her that she should work with "the Jewish man."  This was referring to Justin's manager, which the man had no idea about.  The man just came with his message.  Anyway, I was surprised that Pattie immediately thought this was a message from God.  I am not saying it wasn't.  I am just surprised that there seemed to be no discernment.  There are false prophets in the world, and we always need to be discerning.  Just because someone comes up to you with a message does not mean it is from God.  Again, I'm not discounting what she heard.  I'm just saying we should always use discernment and never blindly accept anything.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Phariseectomy" by Peter Haas

This clever little book will have you half-chuckling, half-repenting.  With humor that is candid as can be, Haas confronts the slue of hypocrisies that plague the modern Church.  Most--but not all--of the hypocrisies spoken of have to do with church or church services.  These are mainly talking about how people criticize churches and promote their own agenda.  Then there were also the hypocrisies that are more general that have to do with guilt and shame.  What I do like was how Haas said that most people talk about "enduring our cross" and do not mention the "joy set before us" that is the reason why we "endure our cross."  That was a great point and really made me think.  I also liked how Haas said that we will follow the law out of faith when we truly love God, not because we are feeling like we "have to" follow the law.  I was a bit upset that Haas did not talk about the joy of celebrating the Sabbath or the Biblical Feasts, but at least he did not condemn those things or say that Christians shouldn't do them.  Overall, this book is nice.  It has a few typos here and there but nothing major doctrine-wise.  This book has more of a non-denominational feel to it and not so much a Messianic Jewish feel to it, but it still conveys the main points of grace and faith and the deity of the Messiah.

Friday, November 16, 2012

"No More Fear" by Ashley Evans

What I liked about this book is that it started out giving some numerology lessons to the reader.  It talked about the significance of the number 40 in Scripture.  After that, there were 40 chapters for each reading day.  The chapters are so short that one can either read the book in one sitting or just take 5min out of each day to read the section.  The author gives insight into breaking the power of fear.  Stories like David and Goliath are analyzed, which comes as no surprise since that is a popular story about conquering fear.  The reading style at times sounds like a self-help book, but I suppose that it inevitable considering the nature of what this book aims to address: fear.  The author gives some personal stories every now and then and even gives suggestions for readers on specific actions to take to live more fully in their God-give role of authority.  There were times when I thought this book emphasized man's power to overcome fear too much.  However, at the end of the book, the author reminds people to remember that all our help comes from God and not ourselves.  At the back of the book, there are also intriguing discussion questions, as well as lists of Scripture verses quoted that deal with fear, which I liked.  I like the cover, too, but I'm not supposed to judge covers, right?  ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Alone" by Andy Braner

This book is geared at young adults, teens, and preteens.  However, the underlying message can apply to readers of all ages.  This book deals with the loneliness that is in the aftermath of the social networking revolution.  With hundreds of friends on facebook, people still feel "friendless."  This book addresses those issues as well as several societal issues related to "fitting in."  It talks about joy, community, real men, real women, addictions, and much more.  There is Bible quoted every so often.  For those not familiar with the Bible, there is enough Scripture to get them thinking but not too much to overwhelm them.  While Braner heavily quotes from the New Testament, I did enjoy how he brought up stories from the Old Testament and connected them to modern day issues.  This book isn't too long, and it is to the point. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"Placebo" by Steven James

This book is like a really long movie.  There is a host of characters, action, suspense, and plenty of scenes you definitely did not see coming.  It goes into the theoretical idea of how minds interact on the quantum level.  Call it scientific or call it new age--it will get you thinking.  I won't give away the plot.  You can read that your yourself...if you can keep up with all the twists and turns.  What I did not like was how this book got a bit racy at times.  I'm not going to say this book is X-rated, but I will say it is R-rated.  There were places where I would have liked scenes to be cleaner.  Additionally, when the book does mention God, it is not conclusive that He exists.  Also, when Jesus comes up, His Deity is not stressed nearly enough, and readers are left wondering.  Granted, these are CHARACTERS talking about Jesus, but still.  This book plot wasn't bad.  If it were a movie, I'm sure it'd get great reviews.  However, due to some racy scenes and violent episodes, I definitely would not recommend this to close friends.