Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who Wants a Free Book?

It’s time for a giveaway! Who doesn’t like free stuff? This is my first giveaway and, you guessed it, I’m giving away a book. You could be chosen to receive a copy of Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther by Ginger Garrett. I posted a review of this book yesterday so be sure to visit my blog for details on this novel.

Here’s how you can claim this giveaway:

1. Become a follower of Cover to Cover
2. Leave a comment on the Chosen post saying you are a follower and you want this book.

If you want to better your chances, invite others to follow Cover to Cover. For every person that becomes a follower because you referred them, you receive one entry in the giveaway.

All comments (entries) must be left on the Chosen post by 10 p.m. central time on Friday, January 21.

Back to my book—

J Renee

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther by Ginger Garrett

Chosen is one possible life story of Queen Esther. Ginger Garrett tells a story about a real person, though the real story is not known. This novel takes the biblical account and fills in the details to make Queen Esther’s story come to life. Written in a diary format gives this tale a personal feel that lends itself nicely to this type of book.

The story begins with Esther, an orphan, making a living selling goods in the market and tending sheep with her only relative, Mordecai. A relationship is starting to blossom between Esther and Cyrus when King Xerxes’ latest declaration lands Esther in the king’s harem preparing for her one night with the king. The last section of the novel concludes the story of Esther with the conclusion of her life.

Garrett devotes many chapters to telling of Esther’s experience in the harem—all the counsel, instruction and physical preparation. This section provides much more insight than the Bible regarding this phase of Esther’s life. The Bible says very little about this portion of her life so the freedom to fill in the gaps is great. Garrett did well to create a modest telling of life in a harem. The book provides enough detail to give the reader a clear sense of the lifestyle without overstepping the bounds of decency.

One element of this book that did not resonate with me is the current-time excerpts included in the back of the book and referenced throughout the story. The excerpts are relevant yet they do not improve, develop or give the storyline a boost. Chosen would be just as complete without that section.

I enjoy books of this nature. When I read Bible stories such as Esther’s, I have a hard time using my imagination to create more of the story than what is written on the page. Garrett excels at enhancing the story without altering the known facts. Chosen is biblically sound, making it even more appealing. I found myself favorably comparing this novel to the novella’s written by Francine Rivers about the women in the lineage of Jesus. The next book in the Lost Loves of the Bible trilogy is, most certainly, on my “to read” list.

Chosen is a good read for those who love the story of Esther and those who do not know the story of Esther, alike. Whether you are Bible savvy or not, Chosen is a compelling story of love, loyalty and faith in God.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Out Live Your Life

By Max Lucado
Published by Thomas Nelson

What are you doing to make the world a better place? Max Lucado poses this question to his readers in Outlive Your Life. The purpose of this non-fiction book is to help the reader think beyond herself. There is more to life than our goals and individuals can make a difference. Lucado reminds us that God uses anyone and everyone who is willing to follow Him. We may feel ordinary but if we allow God, He will make extraordinary things happen. Lucado points the way toward a life that is fulfilling and leaves a positive impact on the world.

A few qualities of this book, and all Lucado books, that make it a good read: the stories, humor and commonness. Lucado stories make the message real and make me feel like he’s in my living room. And for his humor, it is like no other. The made up words and one-of-a-kind descriptions add to the personal feel of his books. Both of these elements create a common feel. Lucado does not come across as superior or lofty. Rather, he presents his message in a way that meets the reader where she is and encourages her to take another step closer to who God wants her to be.

As much as I enjoy Max Lucado’s books, I must say Outlive Your Life was not my favorite. The message is pertinent and it’s written in the classic Lucado style I marvel but, it was not as easy for me to read. I wholeheartedly agree with the message of reaching out to make someone else’s life better but, right now my mission field is the two children God has graciously given to me to raise in His ways.

That said, I do recommend reading Lucado’s latest title. I also recommend giving thought to how your life can give life to another.

I received a complimentary copy of Out Live Your Life from Thomas Nelson as a participant in their blogging for books program, Booksneeze.com.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Heavens Proclaim His Glory

Compiled by Lisa Stilwell
Published by Thomas Nelson

The Heavens Proclaim His Glory is the best coffee table book in my collection. I gladly add this gift book to my library.

Stilwell has combined photos taken by the Hubble telescope with scripture, quotes and image descriptions. The photos leave the reader awestruck and deeply humbled. I have never read a book that leaves me feeling little, insignificant and incredibly loved all at the same time. Selections from the Bible and various quotes help the reader grasp the awesomeness of creation and the Creator. The image descriptions explain what the reader is viewing and also help the reader understand the majesty of creation. Contributors include: Max Lucado, John MacArthur, Anne Graham Lotz, Frank Peretti and Stormie Omartian, among others.

Two aspects of this book make it great: the blend of science and God and minimal science lingo. Matching Bible passages with photos that depict the verse make for a powerful reading experience. These images taken by Hubble bring scripture to life. The scientific descriptions of the photos do not detract from, but rather, enhance their splendor. The reader does not need to be an astronomer to decipher the language used to explain what the picture is.

I thoroughly enjoyed each page of The Heavens Proclaim His Glory. Reading and viewing the contents of this book will be a spiritual experience everytime. Well done.

I received a complimentary copy of The Heavens Proclaim His Glory from Thomas Nelson Publishers as a participant in their BookSneeze.com book review blogger program.

Happy Birthday, Blog

Today my blog turns 1! How exciting! To commemorate, I will be giving away a couple books this month. I have several books I want to send your way so check back for more details, coming soon.

As you have probably noticed, I haven't posted for a few months. Actually, my last post was the day my daughter was born. I've been a little occupied the past four months, resulting in an outdated blog. Not only did I not have time to blog, I rarely had time to read. Reading turns into snoozing rapidly when you are the mother of a newborn.

Now that I'm getting more sleep, I'm also getting more reading done. I have several books to tell you about in the coming months.

More posts are on the way and so are the giveaways. Be on the lookout and as always---happy reading!

Back to my book---

J Renee