Thursday, December 31, 2009

One Year Down, Operation Actually Progress

It's been one year since the official start of Operation Actually Read Bible. How have you done in your Bible reading? Are you where you want to be? I am going to BOLD the books I've read this past year. The un-bolded books mean I didn't get to them. The parentheses show which specific-bible (or translation) I've read that book in. I've read 43/66. I lack all math skills. I can't get my numbers to match. I *think* I read 53/66???

Genesis (ESV Study Bible) (KJV Bible)
Exodus (ESV Study Bible) (KJV Bible)
Leviticus (ESV Study Bible)
Numbers (ESV Study Bible)
Deuteronomy (ESV Study Bible)
Joshua (ESV Study Bible)
Judges (ESV Study Bible)
Ruth (ESV Study Bible) (RSV Bible)
1 Samuel (ESV Study Bible)
2 Samuel (ESV Study Bible)
1 Kings (ESV Study Bible)
2 Kings (ESV Study Bible)
1 Chronicles (ESV Study Bible)
2 Chronicles (ESV Study Bible)
Ezra (KJV Bible)
Nehemiah (KJV Bible)

Job (ESV Study Bible) (1599 Geneva Bible)
Psalms (1599 Geneva Bible)
Proverbs (NASB Bible)
Ecclesiastes (NASB Bible)
Song of Solomon (NASB Bible)
Isaiah (1599 Geneva Bible)
Jeremiah (RSV Bible)
Lamentations (RSV Bible)
Ezekiel (ESV Study Bible)
Daniel (Nelson Study Bible: NKJV)

Matthew (Tyndale) (NASB)
Mark (Tyndale)
Luke (Tyndale) (KJV) (NASB)
John (Wycliffe) (Tyndale) (ESV Study Bible)
Acts (Wycliffe) (Tyndale) (RSV)
Romans (Wycliffe) (Tyndale) (RSV)
1 Corinthians (Wycliffe) (Tyndale)
2 Corinthians (Wycliffe) (Tyndale)
Galatians (Wycliffe) (Tyndale)
Ephesians (Wycliffe) (Tyndale) (RSV) (NASB)
Philippians (Wycliffe) (Tyndale)
Colossians (Wycliffe) (Tyndale)
1 Thessalonians (Wycliffe) (Tyndale) (NASB)
2 Thessalonians (Wycliffe) (Tyndale) (NASB)
1 Timothy (Wycliffe) (Tyndale)
2 Timothy (Wycliffe) (Tyndale)
Titus (Wycliffe) (Tyndale) (NASB)
Philemon (Wycliffe) (Tyndale) (NASB)
Hebrews (Wycliffe) (Tyndale) (NASB)
James (Wycliffe) (Tyndale)
1 Peter (Wycliffe) (Tyndale)
2 Peter (Wycliffe) (Tyndale)
1 John (Wycliffe) (Tyndale)
2 John (Wycliffe) (Tyndale)
3 John (Wycliffe) (Tyndale)
Jude (Wycliffe) (Tyndale)
Revelation (Wycliffe) (Tyndale)

So it looks like these books need to get some attention in 2010!


That's good to know, else I might end up repeat-repeating myself! I noticed that I *only* lack Mark from finishing up the NT twice in 2009. Oh well. If I'd known that a couple of weeks ago, I might have managed.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (December 20-26)

This week I...

finished John in the ESV Study Bible
read Genesis 12-16 in the 1599 Geneva Bible
read Matthew 1-19 in the NASB Bible

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Question of the Week (On A Sunday, Too!)

The Christmas season seems to go by so quickly. There are so many great songs--great albums--how can anyone ever make enough time to hear it all, to appreciate it all. My question this week is which albums take priority in your house! Which ones are must-have for the season. Which ones are no-matter-what albums?

Behold The Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson would definitely top my list. That shouldn't really come as a surprise to anybody. I can't stop talking about this one. And truth be told, winter, spring, summer, fall, never too much time goes by without me listening to this one.

Christmas with The Rat Pack would be my second choice. Again, not a surprise for anyone who knows how much I love, love, love Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. This one is such a fun, fun album. It just makes you feel all nice and happy inside.

The Music of Christmas by Steven Curtis Chapman. I have been enjoying this one over a decade--it released in 1995--but it's such a good, good album. Though I must admit I can't handle "Going Home for Christmas."

Bing Crosby's White Christmas. Yes, I love the song "White Christmas." But I love the others as well. His Santa Claus is Coming To Town, Jingle Bells, It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, Mele Kalikimaka, even his Christmas In Killarney.

Michael W. Smith. Especially his "Christmastime". He has three Christmas albums now. And all are good in their own way. His first album, "Christmas," I've enjoyed for many decades. One of the few Christmas albums I had when I was a child. I haven't had that much of a connection with his newest one. But that may be expecting too much.

I don't know about you, but I love instrumental albums. There are times when they just really fit what you need. Chris Rice's "Living Room Sessions: Christmas" is a great example of a really wonderful instrumental album. I also enjoy Kenny G's three holiday albums. Another really fun instrumental album--one I can't live without--is Old Time Country Christmas. Their Jolly Old St. Nicholas is awesome!!! Because it mixes in Canon in D.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday Salon: Week in Review (December 13-19)

This week I...

finished Isaiah in the 1599 Geneva Bible.
read Genesis 1-11 in the 1599 Geneva Bible.
read John 2-13 in the ESV Study Bible.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, December 13, 2009

2010 Reading Resolutions Challenge

Jenny of Jenny Loves To Read is hosting the 2010 Reading Resolutions Challenge. She is asking bloggers (and readers) to create a list of reading resolutions for the new year. "They can be anything you would like to accomplish in the coming year in the realm of reading, book blogging, or perhaps personal growth."

My resolutions:

1) To read the Bible every day. Right now, I'm fairly consistent at reading it every day--every night to be precise. But I'd like to try to discipline myself to reading it twice a day. If that's possible. Right now, I can't imagine finding time in the morning to squeeze that in. But then again, if you'd asked me last December if I'd find time to read every evening, I wouldn't have believed you. So we'll see.

2) To read and review more Christian nonfiction. It would be so completely awesome if I could fit in one or two Christian nonfiction books per month. Just think--24 a year. I joined Twiga's Christian Nonfiction challenge, so I'm hoping to get to at least ten.

3) To read and review more Christian fiction. All sorts of Christian fiction. I'd like to read one or two a week. Maybe one is more realistic. Maybe two would be pushing it too far. But still, the idea of two a week just appeals to me. Anyway, we'll see. I'm hoping to read books from my own collection--I've got a few boxes to catch up on--and to read from my local library. This year, I was never able to settle into this routine. I reviewed more this year than any other year. But I still didn't get to as much as I wanted.

4) To read and review more children's books with christian content/appeal. It would be great to be familiar with more of these.

My overall goal is to reach 100 (christian nonfiction, christian fiction, christian children's books, etc).

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday Salon: Week in Review (December 6-12)

This week I...

finished Ezekiel in the ESV Study Bible
read John 1 in the ESV Study Bible
read Isaiah 35-56 in the 1599 Geneva Bible

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A New Beginning Mini Challenge

A new mini-challenge is coming for January 2010. I hope you can join us in reading the book of Genesis and/or the book of Matthew.

The challenge will run from January 1, 2010 through February 6, 2010.
Choose any bible translation.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Question of the Week: Christmas Songs

It's been a while since I last posted a question of the week. But with Christmas fast approaching, I thought I would try to blog a little more. So this week's question is simple:

Which traditional christmas songs (think carols/hymns) are your favorites? Do you have one song that is 'more' special than another?

My answer: My favorite, favorite Christmas song is Hark The Harold Angels Sing.

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

I love the "born that man no more may die/born to raise the sons of earth/born to give them second birth" bit. I think this hymn is just so theologically sound, so complete in its message of who God is and why we should be celebrating Christmas in the first place.

I really started appreciating this hymn after I heard a sermon series on it by Charles Betters. Part A. Part B. Part C. Since then, I've tried to make a point of listening each year to this sermon series.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (November 29 - December 5)

This week I...

finished 2 Chronicles in the ESV Study Bible
read Ezekiel 1-24 in the ESV Study Bible
read Isaiah 21-34 in the 1599 Geneva Bible

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Faith 'n' Fiction Saturday: Holiday Shopping

Today's topic is simple. What is on your recommended holiday gift buying list? A particular book you think everyone should read? A translation of the Bible you've found helpful? Even a new Christian CD is appropriate. Just let us know what you think is worth putting down your hard earned cash for this Christmas. This is not your best of list, we'll do that in a couple of weeks!

I'll start out with a handful of CDs.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, Andrew Peterson has rereleased his BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD. Since this one has been out of print, I just have to encourage people to pick it up and give it a listen. Though it is a "Christmas" CD in a way, this one is so good, you'll want to listen to it ALL YEAR LONG! (You can buy it as a 2 Disc Set or a Digital Download at Andrew's store.) That's probably the best way to support this amazing Christian artist, but you can download the album on Amazon as well.

If you want to buy everyone on your list this CD, he does offer discounts if you buy 5 or 10 copies. While browsing, I discovered that you can buy an Andrew Peterson boxed set. With six of his albums: Carried Along, Clear To Venus, Love & Thunder, Behold the Lamb of God, The Far Country, and Resurrection Letters Volume II. It doesn't include Appendix A. (Now just available as a digital download.) I think this is a little gem of an album, by the way. I just love, love, love Alien Conspiracy (The Cheese Song). Really, so many of these are great songs. A lot of personality. I love it.

Steven Curtis Chapman's Beauty Will Rise. Wow. Wow. Wow. I really think this one is a must have. (Because this one is easier come by than Andrew Peterson, I'll refrain from linking to all the places you can buy it!) These twelve songs are so amazing. You really have to experience this album all for yourself. The songs are so raw, so honest, so pure, so scriptural, yet so human. IF you take the time to read the lyrics, you will cry. But oh how these songs have blessed me...

Here's an audio book, I'd definitely recommend The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.

As for fiction books, these are the ones I'd recommend:

Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent
Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin
Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen
A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman
A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman
A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Behold The Lamb of God Turns 10!

Behold The Lamb Of God: The True Tall Tale of The Coming of Christ is one of the MOST amazing albums I've ever experienced. How many Christmas albums can you honestly say that you'd want to listen to all year round? As in 365 days a year?! I know only of one. This wonderful little album by Andrew Peterson.

What makes this album so wonderful, so awesome? Simple, heart-felt lyrics that are God-centered. This isn't an album for decking the halls and jingling those bells on a sleigh ride. You can tell by listening to this one what celebrating Christmas is supposed to be like. A true worship experience. A chance for you to encounter God right where you are.

You should definitely read his post "A Question I Cannot Answer" in which he talks about working on this album.

At its core, it was to present the story of Christmas in a new way. I wanted to reach deep into the Old Testament and sing about the Passover, and King David, and Isaiah’s prophecies. I wanted to capture with song the same thrill that captured me in Bible college when the epic scope of the Gospel story first bowled me over. But I didn’t just want to dwell on what came before Jesus’ birth. I wanted to sing about what came after. His crucifixion and resurrection were the reasons he was born in the first place. You can’t have Christmas without Easter. So there was a lot of ground to cover with a handful of songs, and I had my doubts.

In celebration of its tenth anniversary, Andrew Peterson has released a new 2-disc edition of this one. I haven't listened to this anniversary edition. (Well, unless you count the song samples!) But I'm sure it will be just as amazing as the original. You can purchase the CD through his website or as an mp3 album download on Amazon.

Gather 'Round, Ye Children, Come
Passover Us
So Long, Moses
Deliver Us
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Matthew's Begats
It Came To Pass
Labor of Love
The Holly and The Ivy
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
Behold The Lamb of God
The Theme Of My Song/ Reprise

Opening Reading
Gather 'Round, Ye Children, Come (Live)
Passover Us (Live)
So Long, Moses (Live)
Deliver Us (Live)
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Live)
Matthew's Begats (Live)
It Came To Pass (Live)
Labor of Love (Live)
The Holly and the Ivy (Live)
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks (Live)
Behold the Lamb of God (Live)
The Theme Of My Song / Reprise (Live)
O Come All Ye Faithful (Live)

You can hear "So Long Moses" in the video below:

And Behold the Lamb of God

Matthew's Begats

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Book Review: Treasured

Treasured: Knowing God By The Things He Keeps. Leigh McLeroy. 2009. Waterbrook Press.

I enjoyed reading Treasured: Knowing God by The Things He Keeps by Leigh McLeroy. I found it perfect for reading devotionally right after reading my Bible each night. A chapter or two at a time was just the right amount to lift my spirits. The premise of this one is simple, the author frames this one by using a 'treasure box' symbol. She received a "treasure box" after her grandfather died. Little items--everyday things mostly--that communicated the type of person her grandfather was. She uses this to share with readers what kind of God God is. How do we know who God is? How can we know? What kinds of things would be in his treasure box? Each of the items in God's treasure box come from Bible stories. Old Testament Bible stories.

A Fig Leaf
A Fresh Olive Sprig
A Dry Waterskin
Abraham's Knife
A Strip of Bloodied Cloth
A Bloodstained Piece of Wood
A Golden Bell
A Scarlet Cord
Balaam's Riding Crop
A Head of Barley
A Shepherd's Harp String
One Smooth Stone

What I enjoyed about this one is how accessible it is. I think any reader--whether a new believer or an older one--can appreciate this book. The book shows that these Bible stories are very relevant to our lives. They still show us who God is. Each chapter illustrates how God relates to us. McLeroy shares stories from her own life and weaves Bible stories and passages within each chapter. I liked how much Scripture she used. I often find devotional books too weak in this area. Too watered down. But this one has a good balance--I think--of using modern contemporary (I can relate to that) stories and Scripture.

So I'd definitely recommend this one.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: God Gave Us Love

God Gave Us Love. Lisa Tawn Bergren. Illustrated by Laura J. Bryant. Waterbrook Press.

Little Cub struggles with loving in this family-friendly picture book. It's not always easy to love. Your family. Your friends. Your neighbors. There are many different kinds of love, Little Cub discovers through her questions, but God gave us love. And he wants us to show HIS love to others. Grampa Bear is doing the honors in this one of teaching Little Cub all about God and God's love and how we're supposed to love others because God first showed His love to us.

"Anytime we show love, Little Cub, we're sharing a bit of his love."

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: God Gave Us Christmas

God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren. Illustrated by David Hohn. 2006. Waterbrook Press.

Mama and Little Cub are back for another adventure in God Gave Us Christmas. (They also star in God Gave Us You, God Gave Us Two, God Gave Us Heaven, and God Gave Us Love.) In this holiday picture book, Little Cub, inquisitive as ever, asks who invented Christmas. At first, Little Cub is convinced that Santa had to be the one who invented Christmas. After all, he is the one who brings all the toys. But Mama Bear lets Little Bear know that Christmas is all about God. The two, in fact, set off on a journey to see how God gave us Christmas. By looking at His creation, Little Bear soon accepts that God's gift is amazing. This is enthusiastic Christmas tale starring a lovable bear family.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (November 22 - 28)

This week

I finished 1 Chronicles in the ESV Study Bible.
I read 2 Chronicles 1-25 in the ESV Study Bible.
I read Isaiah 11-20 in the 1599 Geneva Bible.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (November 15-21)

This week

I finished 2 Kings in the ESV Study Bible.
I read 1 Chronicles 1-18 in the ESV Study Bible.
I read Isaiah 1-10 in the 1599 Geneva Bible.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Biblical Fiction Challenge 2010

The Twiga Blog is hosting the Biblical Fiction reading challenge for all of 2010. The goal is to read SIX books. (6 fiction books based on stories or characters from the Bible)

I don't know which six I'll be reading *for sure*. But this is what I'm considering:

Gods and Kings by Lynn Austin (#1 in Chronicles of the Kings)
Song of Redemption by Lynn Austin (#2 in Chronicles of the Kings)
The Strength of His Hands by Lynn Austin (#3 in Chronicles of the Kings)
Faith of My Fathers by Lynn Austin (#4 in the Chronicles of the Kings)
Among the Gods by Lynn Austin (#5 in the Chronicles of the Kings)
A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers (#1 in the Mark of the Lion)
An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers (#2 in the Mark of the Lion)
As Sure As The Dawn by Francine Rivers (#3 in the Mark of the Lion)
The Priest by Francine Rivers (#1 in Sons of Encouragement)
The Warrior by Francine Rivers (#2 in Sons of Encouragement)
The Prince by Francine Rivers (#3 in Sons of Encouragement)
The Prophet by Francine Rivers (#4 in Sons of Encouragement)
The Scribe by Francine Rivers (#5 in Sons of Encouragement)
Unveiled by Francine Rivers (#1 in The Lineage of Grace Series)
Unashamed by Francine Rivers (#2 in The Lineage of Grace)
Unshaken by Francine Rivers (#3 in The Lineage of Grace)
Unspoken by Francine Rivers (#4 in The Lineage of Grace)
Unafraid by Francine Rivers (#5 in The Lineage of Grace)
The Gate of Heaven by Gilbert Morris (#3 in Lions of Judah Series)
Till Shiloh Comes by Gilbert Morris (#4 in the Lions of Judah)
By Way of the Wilderness by Gilbert Morris (#5 in the Lions of Judah)
Daughter of Deliverance by Gilbert Morris (#6 in the Lions of Judah)
Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith (#2 The Wives of King David)

It will depend on what I can find at my library for some of these. But I'll keep my eyes open for other titles/authors as well.

The six I read:

1. Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith
2. The Centurion's Wife. Davis Bunn. Janette Oke.
4. Simon's Crossing. Charles William Asher. Dennis Patrick Slattery.
5. Magdalene. Angela Hunt

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

2010 100+ Reading Challenge

J. Kaye is hosting the 100+ Reading Challenge again for 2010. Though I failed to meet that goal in 2009--well, unless something miraculous happens between now and New Year's Eve--I want to try to meet it in 2010.

1. The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
2. The Oak Inside the Acorn by Max Ludado
3. The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen
4. The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen
5. A Lady Like Sarah by Margaret Brownley
6. The Gospel in Genesis by Martyn Lloyd Jones
7. the Moment Between by Nicole Baart
8. A Small Child's Book of Prayers. Illustrated by Cyndy Szekeres
9. Sunday Is For God. By Michael McGowan.
10. Anything But Normal by Melody Carlson
11. Your God Is Too Small. By J.B. Phillips.
13. We're All In The Same Boat by Zachary Shapiro
14. Noah's Bark. Stephen Krensky.
15. Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith
16. Out with the In Crowd by Stephanie Morrill
17. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
18. Somewhere to Belong by Judith Miller
19. The Secret Providence of God by John Calvin
20. Hearts Awakening by Delia Parr
21. The Centurion's Wife. Davis Bunn. Janette Oke.
22. A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin.
25. Here Burns My Candle. Liz Curtis Higgs.
26. Heart of Stone. Jill Marie Landis
28. Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa by Melanie Dobson
29. Be Still My Soul edited by Nancy Guthrie
31. As Young As We Feel by Melody Carlson
32. My First Read-Aloud Bible. Retold by Mary Batchelor & Penny Boshoff.
33. She Walks In Beauty by Siri Mitchell
34. Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson
35. Raised With Christ by Adrian Warnock
37. Dig Deeper: Tools for Understanding God's Word. By Nigel Beynon and Andrew Sach.
39. The Bookends of the Christian Life. Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington. 2009. March 2009. Crossway Publishers. 160 pages.
40. Scarlet Letter. Nathaniel Hawthorne
42. Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes.
43. Rise and Shine. Illustrated by Tim Warnes.
44. Jesus. Illustrated by Gennady Spirin.
45. Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After A Fatal Choice. Kristen Jane Anderson. Tricia Goyer.
47. The Last Christian. David Gregory.
48. A Matter of Character. Robin Lee Hatcher.
49. The Sword. Bryan M. Litfin
50. A Hopeful Heart. Kim Vogel Sawyer.
51. Purity: A Godly Woman's Adornment. Lydia Brownback.
52. Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa by Lena Nelson Dooley
53. A Tailor Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer
55. Maid to Match. Deeanne Gist.
56. What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert
57. Simon's Crossing. Charles William Asher. Dennis Patrick Slattery.
58. Magdalene. Angela Hunt
59. All God's Creatures. Karen Hill.
60. A Morning Like This by Deborah Bedford
61. When You Believe. Deborah Bedford
63. Touching the Clouds. Bonnie Leon.
64. The Sister Wife. Diane Noble
66. Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz
67. Fancy Pants. Cathy Marie Hake.
69. Masquerade by Nancy Moser.
71. The Devil in Pew Number Seven: A True Story. Rebecca Nichols Alonzo with Bob DeMoss.
72. The Vigilante's Bride. Yvonne Harris.
73. Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope. Mary Beth Chapman. With Ellen Vaughn.
74. Wildflowers of Terezin. Robert Elmer.
75. The Thorn. Beverly Lewis.
76. More Than Words by Judith Miller.
77. In Every Heartbeat. Kim Vogel Sawyer.
78. Love's First Bloom. Delia Parr.
79. A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
80. A Girl Named Mister by Nikki Grimes
81. God's Mighty Acts in Creation by Starr Meade.
82. God's Mighty Acts in Salvation. Starr Meade. 
83. Dark Sons. Nikki Grimes. 
84. The Road to Paris. Nikki Grimes.
85. I Will Rejoice. Karma Wilson.
86. Mortimer's Christmas Manger. Karma Wilson.
87. Mortimer's First Garden. Karma Wilson
90. While We're Far Apart. Lynn Austin.
91. Snow Day. Billy Coffey.
92. Cottonwood Whispers. Jennifer Erin Valent.
93. The First Christmas: A Changing-Picture Book. Illustrated by Sophy Williams
94. Fahrenheit 451. Ray Bradbury.
95. Story of Christmas. Vivian French.
96. We Believe in Christmas. Karen Kingsbury.
97. Silent Night: A Christmas Carol is Born. Maureen Brett Hooper.
98. Music From Our Lord's Holy Heaven. Gathered and Sung by Gloria Jean Pinkney.
99. A Baby Born in Bethlehem. Martha Whitmore Hickman.
100. This Is The Stable. Cynthia Cotten.
101. One Wintry Night. Ruth Bell Graham.
102. What Good is God? In Search of A Faith That Matters. Philip Yancey.
103.  The Mystery of the Holy Spirit by R.C. Sproul 
104. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
105. To Whom the Angel Spoke: A Story of the Christmas. Terry Kay.
106. Miracle of Christmas: God With Us. John MacArthur.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book Review: Thirsty

Thirsty. Tracey Bateman. 2009. Waterbrook Press. 376 pages.

Thick bass blared through amped-up speakers and drew Markus from his slumber.

Meet Nina Parker. She'd be the first to admit her mistakes. Her life has been full of mistakes. And it's cost her. Her husband has divorced her. He has full custody of both of her children. Her daughter, Meg, doesn't want anything to do with her. She's been arrested several times. She doesn't have a job or a place to live. At the start, anyway. But Nina Parker is being given a second chance. She's moving in with her sister (who is a sheriff) and returning to her hometown of Abbey Hills, a small town in the Ozarks. She'll be waitressing at Barney's, the local diner. And for this first week back, she'll have her daughter, Meg, with her. Can this week start the two on a new path. Can this relationship begin to heal? Can they learn from each other and begin to understand one another?

Unfortunately, this week isn't going to be easy on either of them. In fact, they may not survive the week. You see, there's a murderer on the loose in Abbey Hills. And victims (both human and animal) are being discovered: their bodies drained of blood, their hearts cut out. Who is the murderer, the monster, in their midst?

Thirsty--in case you couldn't tell by the cover alone--is a vampire novel. A so-called Christian vampire novel. You can read an interview with Tracey Bateman here.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, November 16, 2009

Book Review: Touched By A Vampire

Touched by a Vampire: Discovering the Hidden Messages in the Twilight Saga by Beth Felker Jones. 2009. Multnomah. 180 pages.

Have you read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer? Have you read all the Twilight books? (New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn) What did you think of them? Beth Felker offers a critical analysis of all four books in Touched By A Vampire. What messages (if any) are biblical? And which messages (if any) contradict christian values?

The purpose of the book isn't to stop people from reading the books. It isn't a strong impassioned plea to ban the books or any such nonsense. What Jones does is argue that the book has strengths and weaknesses. That the books may not be as harmless as they first appear. That there may just be messages about gender, romance, family, etc. that are at odds with the christian faith.

For example, one of the issues Jones addresses is that of romance and gender. Is Edward and Bella's love healthy? Is this a good relationship model? Should girls be encouraged to be more Bella-like? This is something that has bothered me about the books. How her whole entire world becomes centered on Edward. How he is her everything. How she is nothing without him. How lost she is in him. How much of a person is she? It's only, always, ever Edward.

Jones also mentions how she feels this relationship meets all the guidelines for an abusive one, an unhealthy one. And looking at her list of key signs of an abusive relationship--except for one or two--he does show all the signs. He's possessive and jealous. He does try to control what Bella does, who she sees, who she talks to, where she goes, etc. He does tend to isolate her from her family and friends. (Part of this is on Bella. Once Edward is in her life, she begins closing out everyone else.) He does constantly try to check up on her, wanting to know where she is every moment of the day. And both Bella and Edward become suicidal without each other. Overall, if you take away the fact that he's a vampire, if you were to look at him as being a guy minus all the super powers and minus the perfect oh-so-dreamy looks, he's weird and creepy. He sneaks into his girlfriend's house and watches her sleep.

The book is written to help readers think critically about the popular fiction they're reading.
Each chapter has discussion questions. And the book is designed to be used by groups. Again the goal isn't to stop readers from picking up Meyer's books. The goal seems to be to encourage them to think about what they're reading.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (November 8-14)

This week

I finished Job in the 1599 Geneva Bible.
I read 2 Kings 3-16 in the ESV Study Bible.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Christian Nonfiction Challenge 2010

The Twiga Blog is hosting the Christian Non-Fiction Challenge for 2010. The goal of this one is "to read at least 10 Nonfiction books in the Christian genre - Christian Living, Inspiration, or Christian biography/autobiography."

What I actually read for the challenge:

1. The Gospel in Genesis by Martyn LLoyd-Jones
2. Your God Is Too Small. By J.B. Phillips.
5. Be Still My Soul edited by Nancy Guthrie
6. Raised with Christ by Adrian Warnock
8. Dig Deeper: Tools for Understanding God's Word. By Nigel Beynon and Andrew Sach.
10. The Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington
12. What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert.
15. The Devil in Pew Number Seven: A True Story. Rebecca Nichols Alonzo with Bob DeMoss.
16. Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope. Mary Beth Chapman. With Ellen Vaughn.
17. The Evangelicals: What They Believe, Where They Are, And Their Politics. Christopher Catherwood.
18. What Good is God? In Search of A Faith That Matters. Philip Yancey.

My list of potential books, my Christian non-fiction pool:

The Life and Diary of David Brainerd. Edited by Jonathan Edwards. With a Biographical Sketch of the Life and Work of Jonathan Edwards by Philip E. Howard, Jr.

David Brainerd (1718-1747) was an early American missionary whose selfless life of prayer and devotion continues to inspire Christians today. Jonathan Edwards (1703 - 1758) was an American Puritan theologian, preacher, and prolific author.

George Whitefield: Supreme Among Preachers by J.P. Gledstone.

George Whitefield (1714-1770) was born in Gloucester, England and educated at Oxford, where he associated with those who formed the 'Holy Club' and who would later become known as the first Methodists. It was also at Oxford that he was converted. His first sermon was of such fervor that a complaint was made that he had driven fifteen people mad. He preached in several London churches and then accepted an invitation from the Wesley brothers to go to Georgia.

On his return to England he preached in the open-air, a practice he was to continue to the end of his life delivering up to twenty sermons a week. He preached throughout the British Isles and made seven journeys to America, where he died shortly after preaching his last sermon

Your God Is Too Small by J.B. Phillips
In Your God Is Too Small, J. B. Phillips explains that the trouble facing many of us today is that we have not found a God big enough for our modern needs. In a world where our experience of life has grown in myriad directions, and our mental horizons have been expanded to the point of bewilderment by world events and scientific discoveries, our ideas of God have remained largely static. It is nearly impossible, Phillips argues, for an adult to worship the conception of God that exists in the mind of a child of Sunday-school age, the "God-in-a-box" notion, limiting God to such inadequate conceptions as "Resident Policeman," "Grand Old Man," "Meek-and-Mild," and "Managing Director." As a result of these insufficient ideas of God, many people live with an inner dissatisfaction, without any faith at all.
Your God Is Too Small explores the ways in which we can find a truly meaningful and constructive God for ourselves, big enough to account for our current experience of life and big enough to command our highest admiration and respect.

Desiring God by John Piper

Scripture reveals that the great business of life is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. In this paradigm-shattering classic, newly revised and expanded, John Piper reveals that the debate between duty and delight doesn't truly exist: Delight is our duty. Readers will embark on a dramatically different and joyful experience of their faith

The pursuit of pleasure is not optional. It is essential.

Scripture reveals that the great business of life is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. In this paradigm-shattering work, John Piper reveals that the debate between duty and delight doesn’t truly exist: Delight is our duty. Join him as he unveils stunning, life-impacting truths you saw in the Bible but never dared to believe.

The Pleasures of God by John Piper
In this rerelease of a classic, you will find satisfaction in God by knowing why God himself is most satisfied in God. Essential, life-changing truths are presented in a delightful, easy-to-grasp manner.

About the Author:
Beginning where the foundational truth of Desiring God left off, that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him," this expanded rerelease of another classic by John Piper will further explore a life-changing essential "We will be most satisfied in God when we know why God himself is most satisfied in God." Fully understanding the joy of God will draw the reader into an encounter with His overflowing, self-replenishing, all-encompassing grace(the source of living water that all Christians desire to drink. The Pleasures of God will again put God at the center of Creation and leave the reader very satisfied in Him.

The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink

Who's in control of the world-God or the devil? In this best-selling classic, A. W. Pink answers such profound questions in a language the average Christian layperson will find not only understandable but totally engaging. Pink, one of the most influential evangelical authors of the last century, writes with fiery passion and brilliant clarity, giving biblical answers to our deepest questions regarding the "sadly neglected and little understood" doctrine of the sovereignty of God.

Knowing God by J.I. Packer

Over the past twenty years J.I. Packer's classic has revealed to over a million Christians around the world the wonder, the glory and the joy of knowing God. This new edition is Americanized and completely retypeset with a new preface by the author. Now more than ever, next to Scripture, this could be the most significant book you will read this year, or next.

The Gospel in Genesis by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

In these never-before-published sermons, Martyn Lloyd-Jones walks readers through the early chapters of Genesis. He examines portions of chapters 3-12, starting with the fall of man and ending with the call of Abram. Along the way, Lloyd-Jones talks of serpents and sin, of the Word of God and the Babel of man. But the destination of The Gospel of Genesis is clear: readers are moved from fig leaves in the garden to faith in the gospel.

As Lloyd-Jones preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ from the pages of Genesis, he awakens nonbelievers to their lostness and emboldens Christians to believe firmly the only gospel that offers answers to life's biggest questions.

Becoming God's True Woman, edited by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

The feminist revolution was supposed to bring women greater fulfillment and freedom. It was supposed to make us feel better about ourselves.
It didn't.
Across generational lines, inside the church and out, we have lost the wonder of our distinctive makeup and calling as women. We are realizing that what was supposed to lift us up has been tearing down all that we treasure, including our own families.
Yet there is a new movement spreading its seeds--seeds of hope, humility, obedience, and prayer. It is a call to return to godly womanhood, and it is resonating in the hearts of women everywhere through the mentors Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Susan Hunt, Mary Kassian, Carolyn Mahaney, Barbara Hughes, P. Bunny Wilson, and Dorothy Patterson.
They have found delight in God's created order, sweet purpose in his sovereign plan. And in this fresh edition with its helpful discussion guide, they invite you to join them in bringing back the beauty and restoring the truth of your godly calling.

The Jesus You Can't Ignore by John MacArthur

Best-selling author John MacArthur gives readers a fresh look at how Jesus addressed attacks against the truth.
Meek and mild. Politically correct. A great teacher. These are the popular depictions of Jesus. But they aren't the complete picture. Maybe because it's uncomfortable, or maybe because it's inconvenient, Christians and non-Christians alike are overlooking the fierceness of the Savior, His passionate mission to make the Gospel clear and bring people into the Kingdom of God. A mission that required he sometimes raise his voice and sometimes raise a whip.
In the much-needed message in The Jesus You Can't Ignore, renowned Bible teacher and best-selling author John MacArthur reintroduces the compelling and often unsettling passion of Jesus' ministry. MacArthur points to the compelling picture of the real Jesus the world is so eager to gloss over. And he calls readers to emulate Jesus' commitment to further the kingdom by confronting lies and protecting the truth of God.

A Tale of Two Sons by John MacArthur

In The Tale of Two Sons, one of America's most loved Bible teachers takes you deeper into Luke 15 than ever before, revealing insights into the culture of Jesus' day and an unforgettable ending.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) has been preached from nearly every pulpit in the world and is known by many who read and cherish the Bible. The story is so powerful because it presents, in clear and inspiring terms, our struggle with sin, the need for humble repentance, and the Father's inexhaustible mercy and love. Unfortunately, many Christians would say that they have nothing new to learn from this gem of Scripture. It has lost its luster. But in The Tale of Two Sons, John MacArthur restores the brilliance of this passage, giving engrossing historical background and unveiling a surprise ending readers have never heard before.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Faith 'n' Fiction Saturday: Warning Labels

Amy is asking this week:

Do you recommend or lend your Christian fiction books to people who don't share your faith? If you do, do you tell them in advance that the book is Christian fiction? Why do you or don't you tell them?

It depends. I don't always 'warn' for the same reason. If a book is too didactic, or too preachy, or too something-or-other, then I'll warn readers. In that instance, I'm saying this one doesn't have much crossover appeal, and it may not be for you. After all, even among Christians, didactic literature doesn't sit well. Other times, I might provide a 'warning' because the book is oh-so-good and oh-so-amazing and I want to let people know that even if Christian fiction isn't something you usually read, you should really, really consider picking this up. Because it works. It really works. And you might just be surprised that yes, this is Christian fiction. So for books that I feel have definite crossover appeal, get 'warnings' as well.

Sometimes it depends on where I'm posting the review. If I plan to post a book review on both Becky's Book Reviews and Operation Actually Read Bible, then I'll usually mention it. If I review it just on Operation Actually Read Bible then I may not. After all, it's fairly obvious (I hope) that it is a Christian blog.

Why do I include a warning at all? It's because I want readers to know what they're getting or not getting. In the comments on Amy's post, there is some talk of whether or not it is "appropriate" to warn readers of if a book has bad language, graphic sex, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, etc. Some feel that it is very appropriate to warn readers if they're about to pick up a Christian book. A book that might suggest they need to get right with God. But very inappropriate to warn readers if they're going to encounter 102 mentions of the f-word.

On Becky's Book Reviews, I typically don't include warnings of the second type. Unless it is so over-the-top, so excessive, so offensive-to-me that it colors the way I read the book. (For example, I mentioned it in my review of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.) Instead of stating the obvious (since many young adult and adult books do include at least some of the above in varying degrees), I instead choose to mention the reverse. If a book I read happens to be clean and family-friendly or faith-friendly, I'll mention that. To me a warning isn't so much a "don't read this" or "don't read that." I don't see it always as being a judgment. You shouldn't read this or that. I see it more neutrally.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Constant Heart

Mitchell, Siri. 2008. A Constant Heart. Bethany House. 384 pages.

"But how could he not like you?"

I can see how this one might not be for everyone. But. Oh how I loved this book. And I think you will too. If you like historical fiction. If you like historical romance. If you like books (fiction or nonfiction) about the Tudors. This "Christian" romance is set during Elizabethan times. Elizabeth I is on the throne, and the hero of this one is one of her courtiers, a nobleman, Lord Lytham. (For the record, he is fictional. Some of the other characters are not fictional--they were real people in her court.) Down on his luck--no thanks to his brother's gambling, he marries the daughter of a knight--the beautiful Marget. Her dowry will help him--he can buy back his family's estate, for starters. But these two have different expectations from their marriage.

He married for anything but love. He didn't want a beautiful wife, a passionate wife, someone he could love and adore. He wanted a plain, practical wife. Someone he could keep in the country, hidden away most of the year. Out of sight, out of mind. The fact that his betrothed is stunningly beautiful is a big drawback for him. But it was too late. The agreement, the settlement, had been reached and there was no turning back.

She wanted a husband she could love and respect. A companion, a friend, a lover. She wanted a real marriage.

Rich in details, this book is an intimate (but not in a graphic, inappropriate way) look at court life. What life was like--the pretenses, the expenses, the vanities, the absurdities, the jealousies. Marget will (within reason) do anything to help her husband's career. Even if it means pretending she doesn't love him. But will it be enough, can anything ever be enough, to please the Queen.

Though this one is published by a Christian publishing house, there is nothing preachy or didactic about it. (I know some people avoid "Christian fiction".) I would definitely recommend this one to anyone and everyone regardless. It's just a great historical book. Well-written. Compelling. Believable.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, November 9, 2009

Book Review: The Swiss Courier

Goyer, Tricia and Mike Yorkey. 2009. The Swiss Courier. Revell. 324 pages.

He hoped his accent wouldn't give him away.

There was so much to love about this one. It's historical fiction. Set during World War II. 1944 to be exact. I've read many books set during this time period, but this one was unique--at least to me. It is set in Switzerland, for the most part, and stars heroes and heroines who are spies. They are men and women going undercover in Germany and risking their lives for the Allied Cause. Our heroine is the young and attractive Gabi Mueller. She's been given a secret mission--well, one big secret mission--she must help smuggle someone out of Germany. Will she succeed? Will her contribution make a difference to the war?

I think this one has much to offer readers. It's an enjoyable read that happens to be historical. If you love this time period, you should definitely seek it out.

Available October 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (November 1-7)

This week I...

finished 1 Kings (ESV Study Bible)
read 2 Kings 1-2 in the ESV Study Bible
read Job 26-37 in the 1599 Geneva Bible

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (October 25-31)

This week I read...

Job 16-25 in the 1599 Geneva Bible.
1 Kings 1-13 in the ESV Study Bible.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Challenge Updates for November

You can share your November progress below:

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (October 18-24)

This week...

I read Ezra in the KJV.
I read Ecclesiastes in the NASB Bible.
I read Hebrews in the NASB Bible.
I read Ephesians in the NASB Bible.
I read Job 11-15 in the 1599 Geneva Bible.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (October 11-October 17)

This week I ...

finished Proverbs in the NASB Bible.
finished Exodus in the KJV.
finished Nehemiah in the KJV.
finished Song of Solomon in the NASB Bible.
read Job 1-10 in the 1599 Geneva Bible

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How do you read Psalms?

How do you like to read the Psalms?

Do you do five a day? (You'll get done in about a month if you do!)
Ten a day? (You'll get done in about fifteen or sixteen days.)
Fifteen a day? (You'll get done in about ten or eleven days.)

Or perhaps--like my mother--you like to read in the Psalms for a certain length of time. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. Twenty minutes. Etc.

I'm a bit quirky when it comes to Psalms. I like to vary things up a bit. Since Psalms is one of the few books of the Bible where you don't have to read it straight through--to read the chapters in any particular order.

Of course, you've probably read them in order 1-150. But have you ever read them backwards? 150 to 1? I have. And the reason I did it--was to mix it up a bit. Am I the only one who feels a little too familiar with the first dozen or so Psalms? I wonder why that is. Why the first twenty-five or thirty seem so cozily familiar. And most of the others--with some notable exceptions, 51, 91, 119--don't?

Another approach I've tried was to really mix it up by sorting them numerically.

Day 1: 1, 11, 21, 31, 41, 51, 61, 71, 81, 91, 101, 111, 121, 131, 141
Day 2: 2, 12, 22, 32, 42, 52, 62, 72, 82, 92, 102, 112, 122, 132, 142
Day 3: 3, 13, 23, 33, 43, 53, 63, 73, 83, 93, 103, 113, 123, 133, 143
Day 4: 4, 14, 24, 34, 44, 54, 64, 74, 84, 94, 104, 114, 124, 134, 144
Day 5: 5, 15, 25, 35, 45, 55, 65, 75, 85, 95, 105, 115, 125, 135, 145
Day 6: 6, 16, 26, 36, 46, 56, 66, 76, 86, 96, 106, 116, 126, 136, 146
Day 7: 7, 17, 27, 37, 47, 57, 67, 77, 87, 97, 107, 117, 127, 137, 147
Day 8: 8, 18, 28, 38, 48, 58, 68, 78, 88, 98, 108, 118, 128, 138, 148
Day 9: 9, 19, 29, 39, 49, 59, 69, 79, 89, 109, 119, 129, 139, 149,
Day 10: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150

I haven't tried to read them this way, but I suppose you could read them based on who wrote them. Or even by type.

Do you have a method when it comes to reading Psalms? Can you think of a creative way to mix it up?

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Challenge Updates

How are you progressing on your Bible reading? Have new links to share for Operation Actually Read Bible?

Feel free to leave a comment with your progress if you're not blogging along for the challenge.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall Festival Recipe Exchange: Dr. Pepper Cake

My Friend Amy is asking for recipes today. It's "Fall Festival Recipe Exchange" time. I've got a recipe to share. But I don't know that anyone would consider it especially fallish. Does that matter so long as it's tasty? I hope not. I'm sharing a family recipe (of sorts) with you.* One that more often or not gets made more in the fall than at other times.

(Could it be because of three birthdays and two holidays?) (It could also be that the oven doesn't get used much during the summer. In Texas. No matter how much you crave something.) (I think there are only two seasons in Texas. In this case oven weather and not-oven weather. And oh the celebrating when it is finally time to make oven goodies: meat loaf, baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, oven-roasted (sweet) potato fries, baked chicken with a cracker-crumb crust, baked carrots, hot ham and cheese sandwiches, casseroles (all sorts), biscuits, corn bread, etc.)

You can make a cake, cup cakes, or little loaves with this recipe. It does transport well. And they make great gifts for teachers during the holiday season. :)

Dr. Pepper Cake

For the cake
  • 1 white or yellow cake mix (A cake mix without pudding. Cheap kind is fine. You'll have to trust me on that.)
  • 1 cup Dr. Pepper (1 measuring cup of Dr. Pepper. Which leaves just enough of your 12 oz. can to have some while you're working.)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

For the topping:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts (pecan or walnut works best)

Baking directions:

1) Follow the directions on the box of your cake mix. EXCEPT that instead of adding their amount of liquid/water (oil, etc.) you substitute 1 cup Dr. Pepper and 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce.

2) Pour the batter into your cake pan. (It works as cupcakes if you prefer.)

3) For the topping, mix your brown sugar and nuts together well. Mixed Well being the key words if you don't like eating clumps of brown sugar. Brown sugar is clumpy and lumpy for the most part.

4) Sprinkle the topping mixture on top of your cake batter.

5) Bake it according to the temperature and time given on the cake mix.

It smells heavenly. Really, really heavenly. And it tastes as good as it smells.

*Mom got the recipe from a friend back in the early nineties. I'm assuming Mom's friend got it from another friend who probably got it from someone else.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

New Review Policy

Review policy for Operation Actually Read Bible

I am interested in reviewing christian fiction, christian nonfiction, Bibles, audio Bibles, audio books, Christian music CDs, Christian DVDs, etc. I am interested in reviewing for all age groups.

Picture books. Early readers. Chapter books. Tween and Teen fiction. Adult fiction as well, of course.

I especially like historical fiction with or without romance. Biblical fiction (fiction set in biblical times) is also a thing I enjoy. I am interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

I am pickier on nonfiction. I'll only review it if I can honestly recommend it and find it biblically sound and for the edification of the faith.

If you're an author or publisher and would like me to consider your book for review, I'd love to hear from you. You may contact me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com. You should know several things first:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I will read picture books and early readers in their entirety.
3) I will give all longer books (chapter books, etc) at least fifty pages.
4) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. (I do NOT work like that.)
5) All reviews are my honest, subjective opinions of a book. My blog features reviews ranging from positive to negative.
6) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately.
7) Emailing me to ask if I've read your book every other week won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (October 4-October 10)

This week I read

Psalms 145-150 in the 1599 Geneva Bible
Exodus 13-30 in the KJV.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Reflections (round-up)

Have you written up a post about your Bible reading lately? Have you reflected on any verses or passages? Have you written a post sharing your insights? Or possibly even your thoughts and questions and doubts? How about a post sharing your hopes and struggles as a Christian? Your praises and prayers? As I was visiting the list of participants this past week--remember, I was trying to update the list and keep it current--I noticed that quite a few of you do write these types of posts. Part reflection. Part meditation. And yes, rambling posts are allowed too. (I do a bit of rambling myself at times. Especially in person!) Anytime you write a post about the bible where you ponder what it means or what it means to you or for you, I want you to be able to share that link with the group. So tentatively speaking at least, I thought I could round-up these posts every month. Typically, I'd post around the first of the month and leave McLinky open for a full month. That way, you can add links throughout the month.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Weekly Geeks 2009-39 (Looking for a Good Book)

I'm looking for...good Christian fiction that isn't historical. I'll be the first to admit that I almost always prefer my Christian fiction to be historical fiction--whether it is a romance or not. I'm sure I'm missing a few good books by only reading historical fiction. (Just like I *think* people miss out on a lot of great books by avoiding historical fiction.) So what contemporary books would you recommend for me? I'm looking for good characters, strong characters. (By good, I'm not looking for morally good (aka goody-two-shoes). But rather I mean well-written, fleshed-out, human characters.) Plot is almost secondary to me. I'm not looking for christian books with explosions or anything :)

If you're looking for...great Christian fiction that goes above and beyond, I recommend...

(These are books I'd recommend to anyone and everyone. If you think you hate Christian fiction, if you think it offers nothing for you. If you think a book can't be great if it's published by a Christian publishing house...try one of these. Though if you hate historical fiction with a passion, maybe these won't prove anything to you.)

Lynn Austin. I can't really say that enough. Lynn Austin is my favorite and my best. What do I love most about Lynn Austin? Her characters. They're always so human, so fleshed-out, so imperfect, so real. Her stories matter because they're filled with life--not perfect life, not life as we imagine it or dream it, but real life with real problems. Her characters struggle because we as humans are always struggling.

Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent*
The Frontiersman's Daughter by Laura Frantz**
Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen***

*This one reminded me of To Kill A Mockingbird. And I'm just not saying that. I mean, this book was a powerful read for me. It just wowed me.
**This one I just loved. It is historical fiction at its finest. I loved settling down into this one. And I loved the romance. An absolute must if you have a weakness for Scottish men. If you loved Christy, give this one a try.
***This one is set in the Regency period (in England). But it's anything but fluffy. It has substance. :) So if you're a fan of the Regency--Austen, Heyer, etc.--give this one a try.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible