Friday, May 2, 2014

Blood Moons Rising - A Tyndale Blog Review

Blood Moons Rising: Bible Prophecy, Israel, and the Four Blood Moons is a book written by Mark Hitchcock.

Mark Hitchcock has, like many other end-times writers lately, taken a stance on how he feels about the four blood moons looming.

Book Description
Has the final countdown to the end days begun? Are the heavens telling us we are nearing the end? Astronomers have noticed it is coming. Historians have noted its significance. In 2014 and 2015, there will be a phenomenon in the skies of four blood moons falling during Jewish feasts. This has only happened three times in recorded history: 1493-94, 1949-50 and 1967-68. Each time these dates have had extraordinary significance for the Israelites. From the discovery of the New World to the creation of modern-day Israel, these years of the four blood moons have truly been turning points in history. Bible prophecy describes the moon being darkened and turned to blood. What is the significance of these signs in the skies? What will the future bring? Prophecy expert Mark Hitchcock guides you through the relevant Bible passages so you can understand the times in which you live.

My Thoughts
I love a good look at prophecy, especially when it correlates with current events. I think most people are interested in the four blood moons that are taking place this year and next. This is the last blood moon tetrad that is to occur during this century. Hitchcock shares in his book how previous tetrads have occurred during Jewish feast days and how significant things happened to the Jewish state of Israel during those blood moon years.

Specifically of interest, Hitchcock lists ten signs that are the biblical framework that serve as true signs of the times.

Hitchcock devotes a lot of his book to talking about John Hagee's book Four Blood Moons. He believes, unlike Hagee, that the 2014-15 tetrad is not a sign of the Lord's soon return but instead, like previous tetrads, will earmark important events that will take place in Israel's history. Hitchcock defends his stance with scripture, showing how Hagee's theory holds no water and is sensationalist at best. It is obvious that Hitchcock has spent a lot of time doing his own research and comparing his findings to Hagee's theory. Hitchcock's findings are quite convincing, and his proof that Hagee and others like him have taken scripture out of context in order to support their theories on the blood moons.

Basically, to sum up, Hitchcock's book is revolved around explaining the blood moons, looking at the history of the previous tetrads, sharing scripture about the tetrads, and debunking sensationalist theories regarding the 2014-15 tetrad. It was a very fascinating read, and I appreciated the effort he put forth in explaining and his common sense approach to pointing folks to scripture instead of to theory!

About the Author
Attorney Mark Hitchcock thought his career was set after graduating from law school in 1984 and getting a job working with a judge at the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. But after what Mark calls a "clear call to full-time ministry," he changed course and went to Dallas Theological Seminary, completing a master's degree in 1991 and a doctoral degree in 2006. Since 1991 Mark has served as senior pastor of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. He has authored 15 books related to end-time Bible prophecy and was the contributing editor for the Internet-based Left Behind Prophecy Club for four years. Mark and his wife, Cheryl, live in Edmond with their two sons, Justin and Samuel.

I am a member of Tyndale Blog Network, a fabulous website that sends free books to read and keep if you write a review for your blog and for a major retailer (such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble). Tyndale Blog Network is through Tyndale House Publishers.

A Promise in Pieces - a Litfuse Review

It isn't too often that I read a book that is . . . different. Different is a word that I use lightly, but I believe that there is probably a better word that I could use to describe how the story line captured me. Mold-breaking, perhaps?

A Promise in Pieces is a novel from a series called Quilts of Love. Its author is Emily T. Wierenga, and it just so happens that this is Emily's debut novel.

Book Description
It’s been more than 50 years since Clara cared for injured WWII soldiers in the Women’s Army Corp. Fifty years since she promised to deliver a dying soldier’s last wish. And 50 years since that soldier’s young widow gave her the baby quilt—a grief-ridden gift that would provide hope to countless newborns in the years to come. On her way to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Clara decides it’s time to share her story. But when the trip doesn’t go as planned, Clara wonders if anyone will learn the great significance of the quilt—and the promise stitched inside it.

My Thoughts
Like I said at the beginning, this was a different type of novel than what I'm used to reading. That's not a bad thing. When I first began reading, I was excited, because I love World War II fiction. I had a feeling that I knew where the story was going to go. I was completely wrong! The story is written mostly in first person point of view (though third person is also present), and it was done very well. The story also very deftly ping-ponged from 1940s/1950s to the year 2000. 

The main character Clara very obviously had trouble nailing down her beliefs and her understanding on what her life's purpose was. She was an only child to a nervous mother and a controlling father, and leaving them to become a nurse in war-stricken France was a harsh blow to her family. She had issues with self-worth after a man died under her care. When she came back home with a written goodbye letter for the man's wife, she found herself with a load of feelings she couldn't quite pinpoint and an empty feeling. She struggled with what to do with herself after she arrived home. When she made the decision to become a midwife, she found herself smack-dab in the middle of life's troubles. The town was filled with widows, families whose war-beaten men were left with anxiety and drinking problems. And to beat it all, there was a baby boom going on. Watching what the women were going through, Clara decided that she couldn't fall in love because she didn't want to feel the pain of losing someone she loved.

All of this story was being told in current-day year 2000 to her family as they were travelling to Louisiana. Clara, an elderly woman, shared her story with her family as the miles went on. Then real life drama escapades as they arrive in Louisiana and Clara has to put the past behind her and accept her new way of life, which is filled with grief and sadness.

This was a novel that left me confused at times. It felt jumbled, and sometimes I just didn't like where the story was going. Sometimes I felt like the story wasn't complete, like things were left out that should have been there--like I was only given part of the tale. At one point, I was even wondering if Emily had been given a page limit or if an editor had suggested she remove missing pieces that really should have remained. In all honesty, this novel has the feel of a 350-page book. In my opinion, it should have been much longer to have allowed a lot more to come from Clara. I felt like more could have been shared about her time in France. I felt like more could have been fleshed out with her time with Oliver. This story had a lot of potential, and I feel like it just deflated at the end.

With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed how Emily wrote. There was a lot of emotion, she captured feelings quite well, and the storytelling was good. She captured POV quite well, and I look forward to a lot more from Emily Wierenga. I just hope that next time maybe she can write a 350-page novel! I believe she's got it in her!

About the Author Emily T. Wierenga is a former editor, ghostwriter, freelance writer and staff journalist. She was a monthly columnist for The Christian Courier and has written for numerous Christian publications including Focus on the Family, In Touch and Today’s Christian Woman. Wierenga is the author of three previously released non-fiction titles: Save My Children: The Story of a Father's Love, Chasing Silhouettes: How to help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder, and Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy. Her memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I thought to Look, will release July 1, 2014. A Promise in Pieces is her first novel. In July 2013, Wierenga wrote a letter on her blog to Kate Middleton on the postpartum body. The post went viral, receiving more than half a million views in one week, and was shared by Dove. Currently, Wierenga is a blogger for the World Help Organization.  
Wierenga speaks at women’s retreats, universities, churches and conferences, about 
her journey with anorexia nervosa and was one of the keynote speakers at the premiere Christian eating disorders conference, Hungry for Hope 2013. She serves as an Official Ambassador for FINDINGbalance and is a Navigator with the National Eating Disorders Association. 

Wierenga is wife to a math-teacher husband and mother and foster mother to four boys. The Wierengas make their home in Neerlandia, Alberta, Canada.

The latest Quilts of Love release, A Promise in Pieces by Emily Wierenga is receiving glowing reviews.

Emily is celebrating the release of her debut novel with a "Women Helping Women" shopping spree giveaway.

  One winner will receive:
  • $200 to spend at Emily's favorite shops, Noonday Collection & Vibella (Click through to learn more about how these companies exist to make a difference in the lives of women!)
  • A Promise in Pieces by Emily Wierenga
  • A Stitch and a Prayer by Eva Gibson
  • Rival Hearts by Tara Randel
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 10th. Winner will be announced on the Quilts of Love blog on May 12th. Then be sure to stop by the Quilts of Love Facebook page on May 29th for the "Quilting Bee" Facebook party with Emily and other Quilts of Love authors. RSVP for an evening of book chat, quilting tips & tricks, prizes, and more!

Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

I've been given a copy of A Promise in Pieces by Litfuse Publicity Group, in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own.