Category Archives: Giveaway

Wisdomantics

20141218_223020Wisdomantics is a board game for 2 to 4 players where the goal is to learn and internalize the wisdom of Proverbs in a fun way.

Wisdomantics
Kingdom Games Enterprises
2013

Your goal is to answer trivia questions – fill in the blanks – from 400 DVD questions earning the right to move around a Monopoly -like game. As you move you’ll gain Blessing cards (money), compete activities like telling about ways God has blessed you or paying for others or yourself, and earn resources (cypress, gold and cedar) to be the first to build Solomon’s temple.

20141218_222945I applaud the goal of the game and it can be interesting and engaging for those who use the King James Version. But there are some draw backs. As for the game play it seems odd to collect blessings from God and use them as currency. It’s also a gap where you’ll end up with way too many blessing cards too early making the game less about the board and more about the trivia. In fact, I’d prefer this was more about the trivia instead of the goal of building a temple out of 16 resources that you earn and buy. I’d also have preferred to stay away from the DVDs and go with cards and a timer. I’m not a fan of having to use a DVD without a reason. There are just questions with a timer on the screen so why do we need that? And if you read a modern translation (and you should based on scholarship and accuracy) then you’ll really struggle on the questions at times. But kudos for trying something else with the game. I just don’t think it works well.

20141218_223051Other than game play I’m worried that games like this don’t succeed in their worthy goals because they come off as cheesy or a parody of Christianity. A Christian I showed the game to actually said they thought the game was someone playing a joke on Christians. I see where they are coming from. The chits (game pieces we move) are a dove, a bible with a cross, the 10 Commandments and (for Doctor Who fans) what looks like a weeping angel. (Why? Do we really want people playing as persons of the Trinity? And who gets stuck with the fourth token? Just go with four colored tokens in my opinion.) The artwork on the box and low production value on the DVDs also set the bar really low. And this is a shame.

20141218_222928I get what the developers are going for and if this game serves to help people remember and hold on to the Proverbs then great! I’m just worried that the game isn’t that fun to keep people coming back, is a little clunky to play with odd design choices, and isn’t very appealing so I’m not sure it’s going to get that chance.

The good news is that if you’d like to try this out the developer and the publicity company, FlyBy Promotions, are willing to send out a copy of the game to one winner. One winner only. We will randomly select the winner from these comments or on Facebook. The winner cannot have won from this same publicity company in the past 60 days.

This contest is now closed.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This game was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

VIP by Manic Drive

A decade in and Manic Drive is further down the road towards electronic pop from their roots of guitar driven rock. It’s up to you to decide if you like that change.

VIP
by Manic Drive
Bema Media LLC
October 2014

A quick listen through and you’ll find a band that sounds just like modern secular electronic pop bands. Full of rythm and electronic noise with boy band vocals. Fans of modern pop will find a home here with fast paced songs that sound nearly the same throughout. For those of us who aren’t big fans of pop and are looking for rocky music more in alignment with Reset and Rewing (2007) – when they were touring with rock bands like Seventh Day Slumber and Fireflight or even after that album was re-released as Blue (2008) and they toured with Styper! – you won’t find what you’re looking for here. This is all pop all the time.

But that’s not a bad thing. For Christians looking for something pop-like without losing the message VIP fills the gap and it picks up right where Epic (2011) left off. Fun, energetic music with a message.

There are the occassional ballad-like songs where the music gets lower and slower if only for a minute. Think of Street Lights or I Hide You Seek. For my money, I fully expect that if any songs from this album get picked up by local Christian music stations they’ll be playing Song to Sing and or especialy Fire, which fits the bill of easy listening for a broad audience, while holding on to a storng message with a catchy hook. It;s probably my favorite from this album. It also strongly reminds – lyrically, not musically – of Ellie Goudling’s Burn with the constant refrain in the chorus.

It’s worth a listen for pop fans.

Thanks to Flyby Promotions and the producers we have a CD giveaway! Giveaway closes 11/13/2014 at midnight!

Congratulations to J. Freyenhagen of Owens Crossroads, AL for winning a copy of this CD.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted Giveaway

Marriages either get better or worse.  They never stand still.”  -Dr. Gary Chapman

The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted
by Dr. Gary Chapman
Moody Publishers
2014

When my husband and I married 13 years ago, we were given a copy of Dr. Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages.”  While I’ve never really been a fan of self-help, psychology books, something about Dr. Chapman’s work struck me as open and honest.  So, when given the opportunity to review “The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted,” I jumped at the chance.

Dr. Chapman’s work specifically details how marriages aren’t easy.  They don’t happen automatically, and they don’t happen without work.  In this book, he details through several chapters how we allow our marriages to drift apart and how we can then find out ways back together.  At the end of each chapter, Dr. Chapman takes readers through several introspective activities.   They are designed to get the reader thinking about their spouse and themselves, making the connection between the information he’s outlined in that chapter and the reader’s own specific situation.

What I like about Dr. Chapman is that he provides examples and anecdotes from both points of view: male and female.  Other books I’ve read by other Christian authors spend a great deal of time talking about how the source of the problem is a failure of the wife to take her more submissive role (Biblically) or the failure of the husband to  assert his authority on the marriage.  Instead, Dr. Chapman outlines key changes that BOTH spouses must make in order to strengthen the relationship.  He does so by also presenting key passages of the Bible for review and reflection.

Overall, I am as pleased as I was with “The 5 Love Languages.”    So much so, that I’m thrilled the generous team at Fly By Promotions has also provided a copy of Dr. Chapman’s book as a giveaway.

Interested?  Fill out the form below:  I’ll be drawing the winner by Saturday, 2/22.

This contest is over.


Robin Gwaro is the Young Adult and Women’s Literature Editor at Bookgateway.com. Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost. where she writes about whatever comes her way.

 

 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

The First Christmas Night and Giveaway

christmasIt’s Christmas time and nothing makes more sense than reading about the reason for the season.

The First Christmas Night
written by Keith Christopher
illustrated by Christine Kornacki
Ideals Books
October 2013

This version of the Nativity is set to the song the Night Before Christmas. Instead of the “Night before Christmas and all through the house / Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse” we get “Twas the very first Christmas, when all through the town / not a creature was stirring, there was not a sound.” Normally, I wouldn’t go for what some may consider a knock off, but Christopher, the writer, does come up with some endearing – and original – lines that make it worthwhile. Consider, “He had not a crib, but in a manger instead / the tiny new baby lay down his sweat head. Mary looked down at his cute little nose / and silently counted – ten fingers, ten toes.” As a father, this resonates.

The illustrations are lush and full of life; vibrant and colorful. I liked that the characters seemed to be a-racial (if I can make up my own words) – the character’s seemed to not be any or to be all races. So we don’t worry about a blond, blue eyed Jesus here. I also like that one of the Wise Men was black, even though that may not be historically accurate. It is inclusive and I liked it.

Speaking of Wise Men, though, I didn’t like that they were in the story. This is the story of Jesus’ birth and these guys were definitely not there at the time. What I get is that this story is based more on tradition than the Bible, which I’m not a fan of. I’d have preferred we not propigate the traditional errors but instead correctly tell the story.

Overall, though, this is a very well done, colorful, engaging, and easy to read book about the birth of Christ.

Thanks to the publisher we have a copy of this beautiful hardback book to giveaway! Enter below. Note: You may only win one giveaway per 30 days at BookGateway.com.

Congratulations to Anna E. of Anza, CA for winning a copy of this book!


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

1 Girl Nation CD and Giveaway

1girlnationThere are a ton of kid’s music out there. Songs by artists that are influencing our children through catchy lyrics and music. Now there’s a Christian alternative. Is that a good thing?

1 Girl Nation
Lauryn Taylor Bach, Lindsey Ciresi, Carmen Justice, Kayli Robinson, Kelsey Sowards
Reunion Records
August 2013

I’ve got two daughters and can’t get away from their music. (Cue sad I-must-be-getting-old moment here.) When they were preteen and “tweenagers” it was all Disney pop music and now as they move to Junion and Senior High School it’s country music (thankfully they seem to have skipped over the former Disney singers) with some pop. This kind of music is all catchy, synth music with danceable beats. And there really is nothing like it on the Christian station (which seems to play mostly towards earnest life growth focused songs).

Enter 1 Girl Nation. Yeah, it’s a cheesy name, but it’s exactly right in line with younger girl expectations. It sounds exactly like Cheetah Girls and similar Disney pop music. On the solo songs, this CD sounds indistinguishable from current synth pop music. Except for the words – which can be overhanded at times – that clearly mark this as a message for Christians.

My younger daughter (11) took this CD and hasn’t given it back. My older daughter (14) said of the music, “I don’t want to call it cheesy… but.” And then sang along with it. (If you have a teen you know that tension that exists between wanting to grow up and still enjoying the “kid” stuff.) Interestingly, my sons (both younger than the girls) love the music and dance and sing to it regardless of the female focus. From my perspective, the music is very cheesy but it’s also very needed. Kids are going to listen to music and they are going to sing along. I’d rather them singing these lyrics than Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana, of which we have several CDs in the house).

Isn’t that the point though? This is not music for parents – we have enough of that. This is music for the missing demographic: tweens and teens. And it is just right.

This is an enjoyable, simplistic, Christian version of pop synth music that everyone in my family enjoys (even if they don’t admit it.) Listen to the CD a few times and you’ll be singing along too.

Thanks to the record label, Reunion Records, we have a giveaway! Enter below.

Congratulations to Paris R. of Glendora, CA! Your CD is on the way!


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This CD was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

King’s Faith Movie and Giveaway

kingsfaithCue blurred scene. A male body is lying on the ground in a pool of blood. A woman is crying out, holding him. Police rush in and arrest her. Voice over: I watched my best friend die. This is not your average vanilla Christian movie.

King’s Faith
Directed by Nick DiBella
Provident Films
October 2013

Brendan King (Crawford Wilson) found Jesus and true faith serving time after the police arrested him – when his friend from his gang was shot in the opening scene – and is given one last chance to find a home; his 18th foster home. Mike (James McDaniel) and Vanessa (Lynn Whitfield) lost their policeman son four years ago when he stopped a car and was shot and killed by the driver. Mike hasn’t given up on trusting God that there is a plan that included the tragic loss of their son and sees Brendan as a way to serve God and His plan. Vanessa still struggles with the loss and with the idea that a God who loves them would take her son. When Mike brings home Brendan it causes a schism of priorities between Mike and Vanessa.

Brendan, for all his arrests, felonies and gang affiliations, seems genuinely committed to his faith. He joins the local school Bible study / Christian group, the Seekers, and takes humble work mowing the playing fields at school. When Brendon saves prom queen Natalie (Kayla Compton) from her wrecked car before it burned he find acceptance and friendship and above all – hope that he has finally found a way out of his past life. Then his gang shows up.

[SPOILERS] Eli (Brandon Correa), a member of the same gang Brendan belonged to, wants a stash of drugs that Brendan and their slain gangmember hid prior to the bust. Brendan doesn’t want the drugs out on the street, but when Eli and his crew start hurting Brendan’s friends, and beat him badly, he decides to take the gang out to the drug stash then kill them. Mike, who doesn’t know about the details only the difficult decisions, told Brendan that he needs to rely on God, but Brendan feels that this is the only way. [END SPOILERS]

This is a “Christian” movie that defies stereotypes. It isn’t cheesy and the resolution seems more realistic than many miracle-at-the-last-second stories. This film is full of violence, drugs, sexuality (including an admission by one of the characters of having an abortion). Non-Christians may still look at the story and think parts of it are too good to be true, but that’s the difference between degenerate and regenerate thinking. God really is too good to be true.

One thing I struggled with was the casting in the story. Brendan, Crawford Wilson, is such a clean cut, earnest white guy that it is hard to envision him as a thug drug dealer. Crawford is straight out of 90210’s preppy school of acting that even with (obviously fake) tattoos and a couple scars he just isn’t able to pull off the complexity of the character. I bought earnest Christian. I didn’t buy thug.

This story is well acted by the other actors, especially the sinister Eli, Brandon Correa, mentor Mike, James McDaniel, and hurt mother Vanessa, Lynn Whitfield. I especially liked that Brendan was already saved and dealing with consequences from his previous actions – something that Christians sometimes gloss over suggesting that faith fixes everything, which is not true.

This is perhaps the best Christian film of recent years. Realistic and redemptive.

Thanks to Provident Films we also have two copies of this DVD to giveaway.

Congratulations to John K. or Murfreesboro, TN and Latoya P. of Antioch, TN for winning copies of this DVD!


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

Robin Gwaro is the Young Adult and Women’s Literature Editor at Bookgateway.com. Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost. where she writes about whatever comes her way.

This DVD was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Audrey Bunny Giveaway!!

A spot, a fear, a lesson about unconditional love.

Audrey Bunny
Story by Angie Smith
Illustrations by Breezy Brookshire

B&H Kids
October 2013

Audrey Bunny had always wanted to be chosen as a child’s special friend.  Sadly, Audrey Bunny wasn’t perfect.  A small mark near her heart causes her to not be perfect for those who looked at her before.

And then Caroline appears.  Audrey Bunny thinks Caroline will also pass her by.  To her great surprise, Caroline chooses her as her special birthday gift.  Audrey Bunny and Caroline become the best of friends, but Audrey Bunny has a secret.  She tries to hide that smudge, because she knows that Caroline will not want her with this imperfection.

In the end, Caroline knew all along and loved Audrey Bunny anyway.

Angie Smith’s story is a wonderful example of the love God has for each of us.  We can try to hide our imperfections, but He already knew they existed and loves us in spite of, or maybe because of, them.  It’s set alongside beautiful illustrations that make this a FANTASTIC children’s book.

From an adult perspective, the story is cute.  The only issue I ran into was that some parts of the story don’t carry between pages, leaving me to flip back because I thought I missed something.  From a child’s point of view, my six year old son didn’t really notice.  He loved the pictures and understood the connection between the message of Audrey Bunny and how God views his children.

In the end, the value of a children’s book is not how an adult sees it, but how a child takes the message.   Smith’s book, coupled with Brookshire’s illustrations, ensured my child accepted and enjoyed the book overall.  And that’s the most important part.


Congrats to Laura M for winning her own copy of Audrey Bunny!!


Robin Gwaro is the Young Adult and Women’s Literature Editor at Bookgateway.com. Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost. where she writes about whatever comes her way.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

One Way Love Giveaway!

“Believe it or not, Christianity is not about good people getting better.  If anything, it is good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good.”

One Way Love:  Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World
by Tullian Tchividjian
David C Cook
October 2013

In Tullian Tchividjian’s opinion, the world needs a new view of grace.   We spend a great deal of time trying to earn our way, while struggling with the rules and regulations that Christians create for one another.  In his most recent book, Tchividjian examines how we work so hard to achieve grace and completely ignore the fact that grace is not about work.  It’s not about how good we can be or how well we can follow the rules.  It’s about a gift, freely given.

What impresses me about Tchividjian is his willingness to go against what is the normal message in churches.  The message that if we are good enough, do our best, and follow the rules, we’ll be able to earn our place at the table with our peers who work to be “good Christians.”  One of the most profound statements (posted above) is a message my own pastor repeats often.  The point of his book is that grace from God isn’t conditional.  We don’t deserve it, but He gives it to us anyway.  It’s One Way Love.

While that’s the basis of his message, Tchividjian goes into deeper detail about his reasoning, his experiences, and different aspects of our lives where God’s grace is applied.  Additionally, he is not stating that God’s grace means that we are free from direction (or laws in his words).  He does point out that they both have their place and direction.

The only issue I run into in Tchividjian’s book has nothing to do with his message or the point he’s trying to support.  It’s the manner in which he does it.  As he continues through the book, he repeats the assertion with anecdote after anecdote.  While I like the sections of scripture and lessons from the Bible, the other stories become redundant after time.   Also, Tchividjian relies heavily on references from other writers and “experts.”   His writing is strong enough on its own, so long passages from other writers feel unnecessary.  Finally, the continued name dropping and several pages of endorsements from names in the Christian community seem in direct contradiction with Tchividjian’s message.

Overall, Tchividjian’s book is very good.  The message is one with which I can get on board.  Anyone in need of grace should know it’s there for the taking: no questions asked, no conditions applied.

 

Want to read a copy of your own?  I have one to give away!   Just fill out the form below.  I’ll be drawing a name on October 26th.

 

Good Luck!

 ***Congrats to Rebecca F for winning her own copy of One Way Love!! 

 

 

 


Robin Gwaro is the Young Adult and Women’s Literature Editor at Bookgateway.com. Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost. where she writes about whatever comes her way.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.