Heaven Changes Everything review

My mom passed on the book Heaven is for Real after she read it and it was also the first e-book I bought for my wife when she got an eReader. While a book about people who go to heaven and return to tell about it is met with skepticism, I enjoyed reading this book. One of the things that I appreciated about the Burpos was how they interacted with Colton regarding his memories of heaven. They tried to allow him to share as opportunities presented themselves, rather than ask leading questions or perhaps planting ideas in his head. They sought to simply allow him to share.

In Heaven Changes Everything Todd and Sonja build on what was written in the first book. This second book is set up more as a devotional type reading, with forty-two short chapters based on a section of Heaven is for Real.

One of the nice aspects of this book is that it gives a look into where the family is now after the publishing of the first book.  The Burpos share about some of the opportunities that have come their way because of the success of the first book.  They talk about some of the speaking engagements they’ve had as well as chances to talk individually with those have lost a child or suffered some type of loss.  They talk about family life after the writing of Heaven is for Real and the popularity of Colton’s story.  Their story gives some insight into how Colton’s visit to heaven has impacted their own faith and the spiritual life of their family.

One thing continues to come out of the pages of this book – hope.  Even though the Burpos were given their son Colton back, they also share the pain of a miscarriage prior to Colton’s birth.  They have not only experienced the hope that God provides, they have been given a platform to share that with others.  The encounters they share continually point to the promise of heaven and a Father who cares for His children.

If you have read Heaven is for Real, you would enjoy this next book.  If you haven’t, this book provides a glimpse not just into the Burpo’s past experience, but how it impacts the way they live today.

(I received this book from the BookSneeze.com program in exchange for my review)
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Surfing for God – a review

A hundred years ago, G.K. Chesterton wrote, “Every time a man knocks on a brothel door, he is really searching for God.”  That summarizes well the premise of author Michael John Cusick in his book Surfing For God.  The book is an honest and open look at a problem with which so many men face.  Cusick shares from the perspective of one who has battled issues with pornography and sexual struggles and as one who now helps other in their own battles.

The author focuses on sexual struggle as a symptom of a man’s brokenness and not simply as an issue that stands on its own.  Relating pornography to the quote above by Chesterton, Cusick digs into the heart of a man, identifying the brokenness and the lies the individual believes.  One sentence from the book explains it well.  In telling the story of man’s struggle, he described the man this way, “His soul was thirsty for God but absorbed by porn.”  Cusick does a good job of handling a difficult topic with grace and truth, mercy and honesty.

Another quote from early in the book reflects his candor:  “No matter how we may justify or rationalize it, in two decades of counseling, not one man has told me that pornography made him a better man, husband, father, employee, minister, or friend.”

One of the things I appreciated about the book was the author’s honesty regarding his own struggles and the struggles of other men he assists.  He brings this difficult issue into the light and deals with a dark topic in an open and transparent way.  He shares stories from his own life and relates similar experiences other men have faced.

Surfing for God is a good read not just for those who are struggling with pornography, but for leaders in a local church or other ministry.  It gives keen insight to the root of this issue and how God can bring men out of it.

(I received a copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my review)

Crater: A Helium-3 Novel review

I’ve really enjoyed reading Homer Hickam’s previous works, including October Sky, The Coalwood Way, Sky of Stone and The Keeper’s Son.  His love of space and rockets, along with his mining background, really come out in his Coalwood series.

It took me a little while to get into Crater as it seemed Hickam was trying to bring together both his upbringing in a mining town and his occupation in space and rockets.  The reader is kind of thrown into this new world – a civilization on the moon – and you spend the first few chapters figuring out the setting and the characters.  After completing those chapters, you adjust to life on the moon and are able to get into the storyline.

Crater is an orphan who has grown up on the moon and has no understanding of life on earth, apart from what he has been told by others.  He works as a miner, helping to bring Helium-3 from the dust on the moon.  Crater has a positive outlook on his life, even though survival on the moon is a difficult.  Through the story Crater gets caught up in some of the politics of moon life and is sent on a mission that he knows very little about.  He accepts it because the Colonel – the man responsible for the town in which Crater lives – asks him to go.  The assignment is filled with dangerous travel on the moon’s surface, conflict with some enemies that end in hand to hand combat and a realization of what his mission is all about.  Through it all, Crater becomes the hero of the story and sees there is much more to his life than just mining in the moon dust.

If you like science fiction or wonder what life would be like on the moon, Crater is for you.  While it doesn’t quite match up with Hickam’s other works, it was a good book with possibilities for future adventures for Crater.

(The publisher provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through BookSneeze®)

The 13th Tribe review

Until I received this book through my participation in BookSneeze, I had not heard of this title nor read anything by Robert Liparulo.  Although I was unfamiliar with the author or the book, it didn’t take me very long to get drawn into the storyline.

The story is categorized as Christian fiction and the author does a good job of creating compelling characters from a Biblical event.  The story is full of action for those who like those type of stories, but also has an element of mystery to it as various facts of different characters’ pasts are revealed through subsequent chapters.

One particular Christian theme the author deals with is that of being saved by grace and the continuing battle many believers have with feeling the need to earn salvation.  One notable dialogue between two characters in the book who are at odds with each other presents a good explanation of being saved by grace.

Liparulo brings a good conclusion to the story while also leaving the reader with some unanswered questions about the fate of certain characters.  It certainly leaves the door open for further works building on this storyline.

I enjoyed The 13th Tribe.  If you like novels with action and suspense, you would like this book.

(The publisher provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through BookSneeze®)