Punderdome is a party game created by the father/daughter duo who created Punderdome 3000, which I have never seen. I tried the game based on an enjoyment of puns and games. The game has two parts. First a joke is read and players guess the answer based on what sort of pun would work. In the second part players come up with a pun based on two categories such as “yoga” and “butchering.” Players might say something regarding “downward hog.”

The game works best if at least a few people in the group are good at puns. Non-pun makers tend to get drawn in. If you enjoy group games and humor, this is a good game to try.

I was supplied with a copy of this game in exchange for an unbiased review.

 

 

Bob Roberts shares with Western Christians lessons he has learned from Christians in the East in his recent book Lessons from the East. While being an American pastor, Bob Roberts has invested time and energy working with pastors in churches in Africa and Asia–areas where despite persecution in many cases, the Christian church is rowing and thriving. He contrasts these areas–often deemed as more primitive–with the American church that is in decline.

My one critique would be that it sometimes felt that the recommendation for the American church is a complete overhaul: switching from the current setup to a house church situation. I understand that this format has had huge success in the Eastern world, and I understand why, but I would feel more hopeful if there was more advice for churches to be able to start without a complete overhaul.

I did appreciate his insight though–especially in areas of loving our neighbor. Roberts focused well on shifting the focus of Americans from the church as the focus of Christianity to God’s Kingdom as the focus. His insight into the church in the world is an insight that more Western Christians should be aware of.

 

After having been to the Badlands and Mount Rushmore a few months ago I decided to pick up a book about one of the faces on the monument who was instrumental in creating many national parks. Darrin Lunde’s book The Naturalist: Theodore Roosevelt; A Lifetime of Exploration, and the Triumph of American Naturalist History was an enjoyable look into the former President natural legacy.

The biography begins with a look at the influences on Theodore Roosevelt at school a child that led to his proclivity to enjoy nature and desire to study it. An avid hunter,  Roosevelt was also a true Naturalist, studying animals in their native habitats as well as after preserving their hides and skeletons for scientific pursuits. While the biography is strictly a look at his biological naturalism–his presidency is mainly referenced as how it kept him from his outdoor pursuits–it also gives good insight into Roosevelt’s life and passions.

I recommend this book for readers who enjoy the outdoors, history and looks into the lives of historical personalities. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased book review.

After having been to the Badlands and Mount Rushmore a few months ago I decided to pick up a book about one of the faces on the monument who was instrumental in creating many national parks. Darrin Lunde’s book The Naturalist: Theodore Roosevelt; A Lifetime of Exploration, and the Triumph of American Naturalist History was an enjoyable look into the former President natural legacy.

The biography begins with a look at the influences on Theodore Roosevelt at school a child that led to his proclivity to enjoy nature and desire to study it. An avid hunter,  Roosevelt was also a true Naturalist, studying animals in their native habitats as well as after preserving their hides and skeletons for scientific pursuits. While the biography is strictly a look at his biological naturalism–his presidency is mainly referenced as how it kept him from his outdoor pursuits–it also gives good insight into Roosevelt’s life and passions.

I recommend this book for readers who enjoy the outdoors, history and looks into the lives of historical personalities. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased book review.

When I requested to read I Don’t Get You: A Guide to Healthy Conversations, I was expecting a very different book. I was expecting practical tips on conversation with others with whom you have miscommunication in a book. Instead I received a small booklet (less than 70 pages in a book that is about the size of a regular photograph) that focused on emotional purity in communication with the opposite sex. While the book wasn’t what I was expecting, I found it too be an enjoyable and helpful read (not to mention a quick read).

Emotional purity, like physical purity, keeps one’s conversations in check with members of the opposite sex. Author Sherry Graf describes five levels of communication (from basic fact sharing to sharing dreams and fears) and how each level is appropriate at different levels of relational commitment. The information is helpful for people in any relationship stage (single or married). I recommend this little booklet for anyone

I received a free copy of this booklet in exchange for an unbiased review.

 

Swedish artist Maja Safstrom has produced a wonderful book highlighting her drawings of animals accompanied by different facts with each animal. Her drawings are simple, but compelling–slightly reminiscent of recent adult coloring books.

It is a short read. I went through the whole book in less than an hour quite easily. But it is also enjoyable. Her illustrations are fun to look at, and the accompanying facts are interesting. Some I knew, but some divulged new information for me. I would have enjoyed more. I also would have liked if the book contained information on where her facts came from.

The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts would be a good read for all animal lovers or those who just love learning new things. I would recommend this book for the illustrations alone.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review of it.

 

Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ve read a book by an African writer before. It’s been on my radar, but let’s face it, there aren’t a lot of African writers whose books are front and center in the book store or library. So reading Jowhor Ile’s new novel,And After Many Days, was a delightful journey into life in Nigeria during the 1990s. I felt like I gained a better understanding of Nigerian life.

The story centers around the Utu family and the sudden, inexplicable disappearance of their son. The story weaves back and forth through time, jumping into the past as the characters develop and age (the family has three children), and into the future as we eventually discover what happened to their son.

While the chronological jumping may be a little confusing, I enjoyed the story and would recommend it–a good introduction to African literature.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

 

 

Apparently The Calling is the second book in Rachelle Dekker’s “The Seers” series. I had not read the first one. I didn’t find that it mattered much. I’m sure having read the previous book would have helped give a deeper understanding of a few things in the story and helped fill in the backstory, obviously, but it didn’t seem to matter too much. The Calling worked pretty well on its own.

Like many popular recent series, like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner, The Calling takes place in a dystopian American society in the future. Little is said (at least in this book) about what has gotten society to this point, but it clearly has gone way off course. The Calling takes place within (and just without the borders of) a large city–more of a city-state it seems. Little is said about the rest of the nation or world, but in this city, things have clearly gone wrong. The government is controlled by the one person who has risen to power (it seems by overthrowing the previous leader), though there seem to be strings being pulled by someone sinister in the background. Anyone who goes against the government is made example of through a public execution that all are forced to watch.

A small group has escaped the city in search of freedom–both civically and spiritually. Most have surrendered their own agendas and seek the good through the leadership of a mysterious prophet-like leader named Aaron.

The Calling has plenty of suspense and action that draws the reader in; it also provides a background for though and discussion on freedom, surrender, and fighting for what matters.

Here are some thoughts from the author Rachelle Dekker:

In the book you talk a lot about surrendering to fear. What does this look like and how does this help us to not be afraid?

I think sometimes the natural reaction to fear is to hide from it, or try and push it away. It’s the idea that if we can’t see it then it must not be there, but we all know that unless dealt with the unseen things often come back to bite us. The only way to face fear is to walk through it; surrendering to Father God and letting Him reminder us of our true identity. Only then do we really see that the light within us is always greater than the fear we face.
Do you relate to any of the characters in The Calling in terms of how you’ve faced and handled fear in your life? How so?
Of course, every character I write ends up having some reflections of things I’ve faced
personally. You can only write what you know, as they say. I, very much like Remko, have the tendency to be in “my head” too much when faced with fear, and I struggle to let go of the need for control and simply surrender. That’s one of the main reasons I decided to write this story.

What do you hope readers will take away from the story?

I hope they take a moment to see themselves as children of the Father. I hope they see that true freedom and fearlessness rest in surrendering, and that when they stand with the Father than nothing can stand against them. There is incredible peace in that truth, and I hope, like I am beginning the experience, that readers feel that same peace.

This was a departure from my normal reads. It isn’t a Christian book (which I normally review, but read a wide variety of literature) if that’s what you’re looking for. But it was a good read. Almost reminiscent of Ian Fleming’s early James Bond novels. There wasn’t espionage or much suspense, but the story was intriguing with plenty of exotic locales.

Robert is a young English teacher from the United Kingdom spending his summer vacation in Southeast Asia. After entering Cambodia from Thailand and wining a large some of money at a casino, Robert ponders leaving his old life behind and go “missing” in Cambodia. He comes across an American who drugs him, steals everything he has, and sends him down the river on a boat to the capital city where Robert takes on a new identity.

The story initiates the reader to the Cambodian countryside and city life. From local food to ancient landmarks to the native people, Hunters in the Dark is an enjoyable romp through Southeast Asia as well as into the carefree life of Robert Grieve.

In exchange for an unbiased review the publisher provided me with a free copy of this book.

We all go through transitions and changes in our lives. I’ve certainly gone through my share–even recently. So I was excited to have the opportunity to read Beginnings: The First Seven Days of the Rest of Your Life. Author Steve Wiens is a church planter within my denomination locally–I have some friends who know him well.

I was hoping for some more practical advice and thoughts in going through some new beginnings in life. I didn’t find those so much. But I still enjoyed the thoughts on new beginnings as Steve Weins walks through the seven days of creation:

  1. Light bursts from darkness
  2. We are expanded
  3. We bring our gifts to the world
  4. We embrace the seasonality of life
  5. We face our monsters
  6. We find out who we are and where we came from
  7. We rest

I appreciated insight into what it means to be created good and in God’s image.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. book2