Saturday, April 30, 2011

"DG Chronicles: The First Escape" by G. P. Taylor

The First Escape (The Dopple Ganger Chronicles)
Snack of Choice:
We were SURE that we missed Girl Scout Cookie season – and without a doubt, we had. Then on a journey past Woodbury Commons between the Gucci and the Prada sat the Promised Land of those who seek the cookie! So, here I sit, with a box of Tagalongs – but not for long...

Story behind the story:
This book is courtesy of the Tyndale Publishers. They have provided me with a free copy of this title in return for a review – whether positive or negative – or both.

Story Line:
Two twin orphan girls (the Dopples) and an orphan boy (Ganger) team up for detective adventures, but like any good comic book, the first one is foundational “how they get there” story. It’s really the story of their adoption out of the Isambard Dunstan’s School for Wayward Children. But the story telling is incredibly unique. It’s classified as juvenile fiction and uses an amazing mixture of text, illustrations, and graphic novel (comic strip) narrative.

The Real Story:
The creativity and streams of communication are amazing. It really took a team of talented artists and writers to produce this book. Artists from the former employees of Disney and Dream Works fill the pages with color and excitement. They help tell the story text can’t tell and the text tells the story that the pictures cannot illustrate.

Here’s the deal, though. It’s dark. Everything is. Maybe it’s just an English thing (but I just saw the wedding and that wasn’t dark, soo...). The pages are edged with black and on the non graphic novel pages with more than text, the predominate theme is black. That sets the stage for the story. From a mistreating “principle” of the IDSWC to a séance (spoiler alert: it’s a fake one, but still...). It’s less like the claims of the BBC who declared the author, “The new C.S. Lewis” and more like Lemoney Snicket (“Series of Unfortuate Events”).

Also, as a future foster parent, I am not a fan of the perception that orphaned children will be mistreated by the system. Obviously that system is not perfect, but I can’t imagine placing these thoughts purposefully into the minds of those who would come into my house through this literature.

Check out:
The Chronicles of Narnia” 7 book set; 1 & 2 Chronicles

3 out of 5 adventurous, but dark comic panels

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Elephant Room Gift Pack!

DownpourJust received my pack from James MacDonald. Those who attended the "Elephant Room Conversations" could sign up online for this great bundle. It includes:

the Book - "Downpour" He will come to us like the Rain. God's best when you need Him most.

the DVD - "Time to Pull Over" Instruction on Endurance from Revelation 10. Includes "Special Features" -- Oh, I hope they have a gag reel!

the Audio Sermon Series - "Authentic" Developing the Disciplines of a Sincere Faith. Six sermon series. 

Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible
On an Elephant Room note: I just requested Stephen Furtick's (ER participant/ Charlotte, NC pastor) book, "Sun Stand Still." Looking forward to learning more about him. He's kinda seen as a radical, but he sure does have a passion for sharing the Gospel.

Friday, April 22, 2011

"That's When I Talk to God" by Dan & Ali Morrow

That's When I Talk to GodSnack of Choice:
Warm cup of milk... and some Oreos with Peanut Butter... and make that COLD milk.

Story behind the story:
I JUST got this book. In fact, I JUST requested it as well. This is the first book I have received from the B&B Media Group. They are NOT the publisher, they are the media promoters. I'm very impressed with their swift response. The publisher for this particular book was published by David C. Cook. I am not required to give a positive review in exchange for this free product. 

Story Line:
When can you talk to God and what do you talk to Him about? This children's book brings the parent and child who are reading it through a day in the life of a young girl who is discovering what it means to pray. When you wake up, on the playground, and under the stars – from praise and honor, to repentance and needs – we can follow the advice of Thess. 5:17 (“Pray continually). Story illustrated by Cory Godbey.

The Real Story:
I'm so glad to get some of these resources that I can use for YEARS. There are going to be kids in our house. Some will stay for a while and some will never leave (maybe after they turn 18), but how do I provide a godly base for them? Where do I start? No matter how much or how little a child knows about God, this story book provides the example and the opportunity for questions and for foundational truths to be unveiled. The book includes some great Scriptures on prayer that can be a part of the reading of the story.

The one thing I wonder about has to do with the mother and daughter in the story. I could see my wife sharing this with our little girl, and I could even see me sharing it with her. My thought is about a boy's reaction to the story. Would he connect the way a girl would with the character (a girl)? Either way, I'm gonna give it a try! What a great book!

Just a note, Ali is Lee Strobel's daughter. Lee writes a letter included at the back of the book encouraging parents to the use the resource.

Check out:
“That's where God Is” by the same authors

5 out of 5 conversations with God

"For Men Only" by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn

For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of WomenSnack of Choice:
Stewart's “Colombian Coffee” Ice Cream. FLAVOR OF THE WEEK
! Ya know, some people have it shipped to them across the country, but I picked it up on Bay Rd.

Story behind the story:
I have other books on the reading list that I was supposed to get to first. Yeah... sorry other guys. This book was provided by the Blogging for Books program of Multnomah Books. One of the best programs out there – but that doesn't mean I have to give this book a positive review. I also am not required to give this book a negative review either.

Story Line: 
I'm not supposed to tell you what's in this book unless you're a guy – hence the title – but I'm going to anyway. The subtitle is “a straightforward guide to the inner lives of women.” It's a quick read, but with valuable insights.

Written from Jeff's view, but you can tell Shaunti had quite a voice. Chapters begin by clearing our (men's) view about how women think (and you thought it was impossible. Each chapter ends with practical steps we can take to improve our relationship with our spouse. This book IS primarily for married couples, but those who ever want to talk to a woman would be wise to take a read.

There is a complementary book, “For Women Only,” which was written first. But it was so easy to figure us guys out, they wanted to write a book that would actually challenge them.

The Real Story:

The very first thing you see when you open the book is Quick Start Guide – ha ha, just cracks me up! If you ever find your self in trouble, no need to read it all again – just use the Quick Start Guide (“Why does she...?”, “Here's why”, and “What to do.”)

I've been married for 5 ½ years. I have grown in wisdom, understanding, and all that stuff I'm supposed to know by now. But as I was reading, I thought, “Patti has been telling me these things for YEARS!” Amazing how we sometimes just need a new perspective in order to provide clarity.

Per the authors advice, if you are a lady who is reading the book, please don't have conversations with us about it – just let us work through it. Be excited that we are actually reading this book. It means we're trying :)

It is a GREAT resource! If you're thinking about marriage, dating, etc. – improve your communication with the one you love.

Check out:
“The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman (a classic); “For Women Only” (I haven't read it, obviously)

4.5 happily communicating couples out of 5 (hey, you can't help everyone!)

Friday, April 1, 2011