Friday, April 29, 2016

Jesus Called: He Wants His Church Back - Book Review

Do you like Jesus but hate the church?

Then Ray Johnston's book Jesus Called: He Wants His Church Back is the must-read book for you. With the subtitle of "What Christians and the American Church Are Missing", Johnston points out in what ways the American church has failed Christians and in what ways today's Christians have failed at being Christians.

Going back to the 1950s, Johnston believes that in each decade since, Americans have lost something that has taken us away from the message of Jesus and the real purpose of the Christian church.

Today's Christians and churches are too apathetic. They're playing it too safe. They're not going out and evangelizing. They're just going to church and thinking that's enough.

This book provides ways for Christians to get back on track, to turn their churchgoing experience into something more exciting and life-changing, to be the kind of Christian that Jesus has been missing.

If you're a pastor looking to spice up your church, then this is a great book for you.

If you're a Christian who feels like your Christian journey has become stale, then this is a great book for you.

If you're new to Christianity and don't want to let your faith become stagnant, then this is a great book for you.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, April 25, 2016

Meal Plan Monday - April 25

I bet you never thought you'd see one of these again! Yes, things are pretty hectic with a new baby around the house, but I managed to come up with a meal plan for this week (and take over the grocery shopping duties from my husband). So, here's what we're eating (and when I say "eating" I mean "scarfing food down our throats before the baby wakes up/gets fussy"):

Sunday: Cheesy Taco Bake

Monday: Slow Cooker Crack Chicken*

Tuesday: Chicken and Bacon Stuffed Potatoes*

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage Risotto*

Friday: pasta and ground beef

Saturday: Smoked Sausage Alfredo

*= new recipe

Friday, April 22, 2016

4 Reasons to Attend Book Expo America

Book Expo America is taking place again next month May 11-13, and the show is in Chicago for 2016. Because of the location change (it had been in NYC the past two years), I won't be able to attend. But if you're in the area or are willing to travel to Chicago AND you're a book blogger, book reviewer, author, librarian, educator, bookseller, or specialty retailer, then you'll definitely want to check it out.

Here are four reasons why you should attend Book Expo America:

1. The Books!
That's right! As you walk the show floor, publishers give out lots of free books. Most of the books are advance review copies, which means you get to check out these books before anybody else! Pretty cool, right? Just make sure you bring lots of empty bookbags or suitcases for bringing home your new BEA library.

Just one day's haul from BEA 2015 (and I
haven't even read all of them yet - eek!)

2. The Authors!
You get to meet some of your favorite authors (and discover new favorites) at all the different author signings happening throughout the show. Some of the signings are at publisher's booths, so be sure to check out the schedules posted in the daily show newsletter, and some of the signings are in the author signing area of the convention. You can usually just get in line for the signings in the author signing area, but for a select few, you'll need a special ticket, so be sure to check out the information for all the signings you want to attend in advance so you don't miss out.

Emeril Lagasse signing at BEA 2015

3. The Panel Discussions!
Book Expo America has great panel discussions lined up every year covering a variety of topics. You might even find some of your favorite authors participating in the panel discussions as panelists or hosts. And they'll even answer your questions in the Q&A portion of the discussions. Even if you just pop in to give your feet a breather, you might find that you learn something new and, again, discover more great authors to check out.

a YA panel discussion from BEA 2015

4. The People!
You'll meet tons of book lovers just like you at Book Expo America! I've waited in author signing lines with some of the nicest people from all over the country. They've been librarians, book bloggers, aspiring writers, etc. It's really been a treat to engage in conversation with some of these people, especially when you're griping about how long the author signing line is. Ha ha.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The United States of Jihad - Book Review

A few weeks ago, I saw author Peter Bergen on The Daily Show talking about his new book The United States of Jihad: Investigating America's Homegrown Terrorists. The book intrigued me, so I jumped at the opportunity to read and review the book for free through the Blogging for Books program.

This is a book that could change your views on terrorism in today's world.

So many people think of terrorists based on a look, a religion, etc. But did you know that more than 300 Americans have been indicted or convicted of terrorist charges since 9/11? That's right. And they don't always have any connection to ISIS or al-Qaeda. These are "lone wolf" terrorists who become disillusioned by America and embrace the radical ideals of these organizations. So then they plan and carry out terrorist acts in support of those organizations, but they get no formal training from them or formal approval.

Luckily, because of 9/11, security measures in the United States are pretty good and in place to combat terrorist acts from the larger groups. But combating terrorist acts from these "lone wolves" who are right on American soil can be more difficult. Actually, it can be pretty difficult for the FBI, CIA, and other anti-terrorist organizations to detect and thwart terrorist acts by anybody before they happen, and you can read about why in this book.

Bergen goes through all the potential threats that America faces today and takes you through the most recent terrorist acts since 9/11 to show how radical Islam is converting some American citizens. Hint: the internet plays a huge role.

Because the book is brand new, it is very current, even including the upcoming presidential race and the stance that the candidates are taking over Syrian refugees and Muslims. So this is definitely a book that people should be reading right now.

The book reminds us that jihadists aren't the only ones killing Americans. Don't forget about extremists such as white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists, and anti-government militants who have killed "around the same number of people in the United States as have extremists motivated by al-Qaeda's ideology" (p. 270).

So who should we really be afraid of?

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.