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I am N
Mercy Within Mercy
Mission At Nuremberg
Wrestling For My Life
God's Smuggler
Diamonds In My Pockets
Filthy Rich
Donald Caird
I Think It's God Calling
John Sentamu's Hope Stories
Defending the Line: The David Luiz Story
Walking Home From Mongolia
So Many Everests
Less Than Ordinary
Against The Odds
The Good Bishop
Anthony deMello
Stretcher Bearer!
Waking Up In Heaven
The Artist's Daughter
Joni and Ken
Lamp Unto My Feet
World Changers
Charles Hodge
Outrageous Courage
Francis Bishop Of Rome
Take This Bread
Pope Francis
Archbishop Justin Welby
Kisses from Katie
Renée of France
John Sentamu's Faith Stories
Fixed
Clydebuilt
Kicking The Black Mamba
Nowhere but Up
Hope and A Future
Dorothee Soelle - Mystic and Rebel: The Biography
J R R Tolkien
Micah
I am Loved
Running for My Life
The Accidental Pilgrim
The Weight Of Mercy
Me, My Mother, My Life
The Messy Quest For Meaning
Runaway, Red Beret, And Reverend
The Emancipation of Robert Sadler
The Hiding Place
Heaven Is For Real
Heading Home
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire
The Monster Within
Dallas and the Spitfire
Hurting Hope
Cassock in the Kitchen
Watershed
Bread of Heaven
Restoring Our Hearts
The Vow
The Fight
Eric Liddell: Pure Gold
Down's Syndrome : The Biography
I Am In Here


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Biography/ Autobiography General

Testimonies and the telling of the life and work of Christians from many backgrounds.

I am N

- Stories of Christians Facing Islamic Extremists

by The Voice of The Martyrs


Given everything going on this is a timely book that looks at instances of persecution and faith across the world, and though subtitled 'inspiring stories of Christians Facing Islamic Extremists' I am glad to note that they also include stories from across the times and faiths too! for there are even some from the past accounted here that help highlight importantly that such attocities that lead to persecution and the death of those we call christian martyrs is not specific to any one other religion or nation or people, but is instead that which we were warned about... we will be persecuted for our faith.

There is something to be witnessed to in these people, in these stories, and in these horrors, and it is not hate - it is courage, it is spirit, it is faith... it is Love, it is Christ, it is God, and it is His light that shines through these stories.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (16/04/16)
Jacket
Publisher: David C Cook / Kingsway
Published: 28 March 2016
ISBN: 978-1-434-70987-5
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Mercy Within Mercy

- George's And Pauline Vanier and the Search for God

by Mary Frances Coady


This book gave a fascinating insight into the spiritual life of Georges and Pauline Vanier, the parents of Jean Vanier, the co-founder of the L'Arche communities. It consists mainly of excerpts from letters and journals. Georges and Pauline had high profile lives, especially during his years as Governor General of Canada, and yet undergirding all that they did was a humble and sincere walk with God. I found some of the most moving passages towards the end of the book when Pauline, now a widow, learns deep lessons while being part of the original L'Arche community, at Trosly in France. 



Review by Jackie Rowe  (20/01/16)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: June 2015
ISBN: 978-0-232-53189-3
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Mission At Nuremberg

- An Allied Chaplain And The Trial Of The Nazis

by TimTownsend


In the prologue of L P hartley's play, 'The Go-between', there is the comment, "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there." That saying sums up this book - a biography of Henry Gerecke, American Lutheran minister and Army Chaplain. The war is over and the Nuremburg trials of top Nazi war-criminals is about to begin when Gerecke receives his assignment to serve as Chaplain to the twenty-one imprisoned Nazi leaders awaiting trial. The book takes us right into the Palace of Justice, into the cells and into the lives of those men. Time townsend brings Gerecke's challenge to life - how was he to minister the Gospel to men who had orchestrated such atrocities? Here is not just a new history of the Nuremburg trials but a clear and concise examination of the last days of these men. Gerecke was a brave, sympathetic pastor with a strong conviction that the Gospel of Christ could provide answers and hope even in the darkest of circumstances. In a biography that is always detailed and well-researched, gripping and at times harrowing and emotional, Tim Townsend has shed new light on an aspect of the darkest days of twentieth century history which deserves a wide audience. 

Review by Graham Wise  (02/11/15)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: August 2015
ISBN: 978-0-281-07482-2
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Wrestling For My Life

- The Legend, The Reality, And The Faith Of A WWE Superstar

by Shawn Michaels


 You do not need to be a wrestling fan to be inspired by Shawn Michaels story - eleven-time winner of Pro Wrestling Illustrated and WWE's Match of the Year Award - not to name his many other accolades.

The book gives insight into both his professional and personal life chartering the struggles and triumphs.  You meet his wife, Rebecca, and see the influence of her prayers in his life.  

Shawn Michaels refreshingly and with no restraint tells how he relinquishes sin, repents and accepts salvation.  The renewal and change this makes in his life is apparent and tangible; the truths highlighting on occasion like sunbeams on the pages.

His story brings the reader to the basics, beauty and benefits of salvation in a life. 

 

 



Review by Ruthie Thomas  (12/08/15)
Jacket
Publisher: Zondervan from Trust Media Distribution
Published: March 2015
ISBN: 978-0-310-34359-2
Paperback
Price: £9.99

God's Smuggler

- One Man's Mission To Change The World

by Brother Andrew


This 60th Anniversary edition has been fully updated with new material from interviews with Brother Andrew, as well as a phot section with photos that span Brother Andrews Ministry.
If you read God’s Smuggler when it was first published in 1967, or at any point since then, then this new edition has just the same impact as before, and as you will find from the interview material, the work has expanded beyond anything that Brother Andrew could have imagined.
Following God’s guidance, the charity he founded, Open Doors, has developed now into an international ministry serving Christians persecuted for their faith. Originally working with those behind the iron curtain, now with Christians in predominantly Muslim countries.
This book has just as much impact as ever and perhaps is even now more relevant than it has been at times given the persecution of Christians being witnessed throughout many countries.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (11/08/15)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Published: 21 May 2015
ISBN: 978-0-340-96492-7
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Diamonds In My Pockets

- Finding Treasure In Dark Places

by Julie hewitt


Julie Hewitt, from N. Ireland, is a young writer whose dreams of going to university and of travelling the world were thwarted by the sudden onset of M.E. (Chronic fatigue syndrome). There were tantalising periods of remission, but for many years Julie was imprisoned by her illness, unable to venture out of her room, out of her parents' house or even into the garden. 

Yet her spiritual life was not one of imprisonment. To the contrary, in her darkest grieving moments she felt God's presence especially in the jewels of the Bible, which she named 'diamonds' as such jewels are found only in darkness.

Each chapter of this account of her progression through years of M.E. gives the reader chance to reflect on each particular diamond' - one verse or a few verses of the Bible.

This book enlightened me on two accounts: firstly giving me a greater understanding of the effects of M.E. and sympathy for such sufferers, and secondly a realisation that although God is 'a present help in trouble' this does not mean the certainty of instant cure, but rather an assurance of his loving and encompassing everlasting arms.

This short, compelling book may well be a diamond in itself, giving light and hope to those struggling with pain or grief, or for whom the going is tough. 



Review by Margaret Walker  (01/08/15)
Jacket
Publisher: Ambassador International
Published: December 2014
ISBN: 978-1-620-20142-8
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Filthy Rich

- The property Tycoon Who Struck Real Gold

by Manoj Raithatha


At just Half-a-dozen or so pages per chapter, this book makes for a very easy read. This is an examined life: from a caring Hindu upbringing to the early stirrings of Christian faith and the passionate opposite attraction of being a self-made man, leaving teaching for a career in the media, a BAFTA award and an Emmy nomination. 

The lure of the Rich List took him into the venture property market, riding high, buying on promise, hope and spin-doctoring, until the 2008 financial crash and the deadly illness of his son with the most negative prognosis. 

The interplay of his family's Hindu faith and the Christian faith of his friends and of others who hardly knew him is sensitively recorded with love shown on both sides. This is a book that both Christians and non-Christians, and indeed those of no faith will find valuable.

Editors Note: The writer of this review has informed us that he knows the Author of the book personally. We have independently read this book, and feel that, nonetheless, this review represents a fair and balanced presentation of the book, and that his personal relartionship to the author in no way affects the integrity of the review.



Review by Tony Shepherd  (16/05/15)
Jacket
Publisher: Monarch imprint of Lion Hudson
Published: April 2015
ISBN: 978-0-857-21590-1
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Donald Caird

- Church of Ireland Bishop, Gaelic Churchman, A Life

by Aonghus Dwane


Sometimes you read a biography and wish you had met the person you are reading about. Donald Caird has to be one of those. Caird's life as a clergyman in the Church of Ireland took him through curate and parish priest, to Dean, Bishop and, finally, Archbishop of Dublin. 

 

Aonghus Dwane's biography is detailed and well written, covering Caird's early days in Dublin, his education and training for ministry. Those early days included visits to the Blasket Islands where he became an enthusiast for the Irish language, which was to become a major feature in his life. 

 

As Bishop and Archbishop he was to become a key figure in the debates on contraception, abortion and divorce in the Republic; the ordination of women to the ministry of the Church of Ireland, and the Northern Ireland Peace Process. In all this he never lost his open friendliness to everyone he met or his sharp mind and quick-wittedness. 

 

Here is both the private and family man and the man whose interests both North and South afforded him insight and influence in many aspects of Irish life both within and without the Church. Clearly an encounter with Donald Caird was something to be relished and recalled with great pleasure.  



Review by Graham Wise  (20/04/15)
Jacket
Publisher: Columba Press
Published: November 2004
ISBN: 978-1-782-18178-1
Hardback
Price: £16.99

I Think It's God Calling

- A Vocation Diary

by Katy Magdalene Price


I read this book in one sitting and in just over 3 hours as I could not putit down, it was in turns honest, amusing, warm, witty and above all transparently relevant and real, albeit in a strangely glossed over way. There's a reason though for that glossed over feel, and it's touched on insightfully by the author herself, and that's because at the end of the day each persons journey and experience of vocation discernment and formation is going to be different and particular to them. That said this book is a refreshingly helpful look at what might be experienced a little and is a great way to gain just a little more insight into a journey you may be contemplating on ... or even trying to find a way to avoid taking.

From atheist to deacon this is an amusingly told story that highlights some real issues in a gently engaging way ... faith, feminism, focus and frumpiness all get a look in at some points, but so does discernment, dialogue, dishwashing and dressing up. I don't think it matters if you are a man or woman, young or older ... if you are considering whether it is God calling you to ordained ministry then this is probably going to be an interesting and enjoyable read, actually even if you aren't called to vocation it's likely going to be a good read ... and will certainly cause you to wonder some things about the ministers you meet, especially at early morning services if they look a little sleepy eyed.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (27/01/15)
Jacket
Publisher: BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship)
Published: 20 February 2015
ISBN: 978-1-841-01645-0
Paperback
Price: £7.99

John Sentamu's Hope Stories

- 20 True Stories Of Faith Changing Lives Today

by John Sentamu


This is a beautiful book that gives Gods message not in a biblical format—although each story is preceded by a scripture verse—or a lecture, or by preaching, but by sharing the life events of ordinary people. People who through God overcame life’s darkest moments or who having survived those dark moments without Gods word later found him and allowed Him to show them that a life filled with faith always has a light shining through the longest night.

The stories are simply told yet powerful.

This book is for everyone, those with strong faith, those visiting their own dark days or those curious about a life with God's love and what it might mean to an ordinary Joe. You will find your faith renewed not just in God but in the strength and determination of mankind too.



Review by Allison Carroll  (25/10/14)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: September 2014
ISBN: 978-0-232-53109-1
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Defending the Line: The David Luiz Story



by Alex Carpenter


For children aged 8-12 and football fans of all ages comes the newest addition to the Zonderkidz biography series, Defending the Line: The David Luiz Story. One of the rising international football stars, David Luiz made his debut as a professional player as a teen and has since become a star whose faith and success drive him forward and inspire athletes, young and old, around the world.

Review by x  (17/09/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Zondervan from Trust Media Distribution
Published: April 2014
ISBN: 978-0-310-74641-6
Paperback
Price: £4.99

Walking Home From Mongolia

- Ten Million Steps Through China

by Rob Lilwall


If you like travelogues this is definitely for you!

We are advised to walk at least three miles a day, and not many of us achieve that. Rob Lilwall and Leon McCarron walked over 3,000 miles from Sainshand, in Mongolia to Hong Kong, often at over 25 miles a day.

At first sight it looks a large book, but with short chapters inviting the reader to go on to the next, it was a book I could hardly put down. The writing is lively and paints graphic pictures from conditions of extreme cold to extreme heat, trekking over mountains, encounters with Chinese police, running out of money, running out of food, sleeping in the open, in cheap hotels, encountering and avoiding bureaucracy, and being welcomed with generous hospitality in remote places. 

My copy was a proof print without maps or pictures so a good atlas was necessary but the published edition will have both so it should be easier to follow their journey. For a good read it can be thoroughly recommended.



Review by Graham Wise  (01/09/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder
Published: November 2013
ISBN: 978-1-444-74528-3
Paperback
Price: £13.99

So Many Everests

- From Cerabral Palsy to Casualty Consultant

by Diana & Victoria Webster


Victoria Webster was born with cerebral palsy but she wanted to become a doctor and this book is the delightful account of how she achieved her aim despite the many hurdles she had to overcome.

When Victoria was born, her parents were told she would be limited in her functionality, and her communication skills and that they should not expect too much of her. Her loving parents, Diana and Mike duly listened to the doctors but began to listen more to their extraordinary daughter who proved the doctors wrong continually.

The book records both Victoria's story and Diana's story. Diana Webster was living and working in Helsinki when Victoria was born and the book records her experiences with the establishment and how she and her husband dealt with and supported their daughter. The family had further difficulties to overcome beyond Victoria's condition when Diana's husband, Mike, died prematurely.

Victoria experienced disappointment, bullying, and discrimination but always rose above and carried on until she reached her goal. She became the first doctor in the Nordic countries to specialise in Accident and Emergency medicine, and has been a consultant in England, Finland and Sweden.

It's always good to read of someone overcoming what should keep them down and this is such a heart-warming book, but it also does more than just show the strength of the human spirit as it addresses what society calls 'normal' and 'different', and invites us to seriously think about that.



Review by Catherine Clarke  (27/05/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Lion Hudson
Published: October 2012
ISBN: 978-0-745-95595-7
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Less Than Ordinary

- My Journey Into Finding My True Self

by Nicki Copeland


 

This is a book written by a woman and most likely will resonate to women.  I will appeal to people who were very shy as children—and may still be—who did not find it easy to make friends, have low self- esteem or little self-confidence.

Nicki has some helpful things to say about knowing one’s true self—gifts, talents, hopes and dreams, self-acceptance, and relying on a completely trustworthy God.  She learned to interact with others, to support and allow herself to be supported, to make wise choices and live in the grace of God.

For folk who are struggling to cope with low self- esteem and self-acceptance, this book would be easy to read and a great encouragement.

 



Review by Graham Wise  (01/05/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Gardners Books
Published: May 2013
ISBN: 978-1-909-72800-4
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Against The Odds

- True Stories of Forgiveness And Healing

by Carmel Thomason


We have all had occasions in life when we have felt hurt—physically, mentally, or emotionally—by the actions of others or by events beyond our control.

In Against the Odds, Carmel Thomason has compiled stories of diverse situations where individuals have resisted the temptation to let their hurts fester into negativity, simmering anger and retaliation. Whether 'religious' people or not they have followed the exhortation of Jesus to forgive 70 times 7, and in so doing have been able to move forward in their lives with enabling freedom.

The stories are compelling reading and surprisingly far-ranging, with stories from prisoners of war, victims of rape, and those who suffered the trauma of the Manchester bombing.

The victims are all inspirational in the sense that, through forgiveness, they have breathed hope into their lives, rather than letting themselves wallow in the dark clutches of the evil they have experienced. 

This book will almost certainly help the reader to put into perspective some of the petty grievances and hurts to which they are clinging, and help them in the difficult task of forgiving. 



Review by Margaret Walker  (26/03/14)
Jacket
Publisher: BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship)
Published: February 2014
ISBN: 978-1-841-01739-6
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Good Bishop

- The Life of Walter F Sullivan

by Phyllis Theroux


Bishop Sullivan was a model bishop who exemplified in every area of his life the love and compassion of Christ. As RC Bishop of Richmond, Virginia, he was a pastor to the pastors, visited prisoners, cared for the elderly, embraced gays, worked to end the death penalty and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Theroux's biography is drawn from personal interviews with Sullivan and with many others as well as contemporary documents. In his desire to incarnate the life of Christ he was loved by many but also found himself at the receiving end of much vitriolic criticism from within and without the Roman Catholic Church.

The book has a particular resonance in describing how demonstrating and proclaiming gospel truths can bring a backlash from those one would expect to be supportive. It is also very revealing of the almost unknown conflict existing between bishops and pope. Is that a particular North America experience? Sullivan experienced popes who were open to new ways of doing things and to new thinking among their bishops and also those who exercised a much more conservative and restrictive rule. It's a well-written, entertaining and enlightening read, particularly for readers from a protestant church tradition.



Review by Graham Wise  (11/02/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Orbis Books from Alban Books
Published: May 2013
ISBN: 978-1-626-98024-2
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Anthony deMello

- The Happy Wanderer

by Bill deMello


Anthony deMello was an Indian Jesuit who was one of the most popular and influential Jesuit teachers of the twentieth century. His sudden, early death in 1987 came as a great shock to all who appreciated his intellect and warm personality. Through his books and retreats he achieved a world-wide following and was instrumental in deepening the spiritual lives of thousands in the Roman Catholic community. Born in India in 1931, deMello decided at an early age to become a Jesuit, a decision that initially caused much anguish to his family, and became a novitiate of the Order in 1947. In his biography, his brother Bill, describes Anthony's journey, his life as a novitiate and his formation as a fully ordained Jesuit priest. Through his own spiritual journey deMello recognised,and effectively expounded and demonstrated, the essentials of an awakening to the experience of God in daily life. As a result his life and teaching have been an inspiration to many people around the world. It's an inspiring story, a little hard going at times, but an uplifting example of what a person can achieve when committed to following the way of God's leading.

Review by Graham Wise  (17/01/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Orbis Books from Alban Books
Published: April 2013
ISBN: 978-1-626-98020-4
Paperback
Price: £16.99

Stretcher Bearer!

- Fighting For Life In The Trenches

by Charles Horton


This book is the remarkable memoirs of a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) during the First World War. Here is the story of a man who spent the war saving lives rather than taking lives.

Dale Le Vack has carefully edited Charles Horton's memoirs and added background information about the war and the role of the RAMC. The result is an interesting, thought provoking and occasionally shocking read.

Although there is some description of the death and carnage that was trench warfare, this is not the focus of the book. Rather what comes over is a picture of day to day life near the front line and the bravery of these selfless yet almost forgotten heroes. Countless people owed their lives to the stretcher bearers who daily risked their lives to rescue the wounded from the battlefield.

This is a book by a Christian rather than a Christian book. His faith is seen by his deeds rather than his words.



Review by Alan Hill  (04/11/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Lion Hudson
Published: March 2013
ISBN: 978-0-745-95566-7
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Waking Up In Heaven

- A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again

by Crystal McVea & Alex Tresniowski


The nine minutes on December 10th, 2009 when Crystal McVea, 32 years old at the time, stopped breathing, are the pivotal minutes of this book. Crystal spent that time in heaven, overwhelmed by the love of God and what she saw there. Of course, I found her account of what she remembers of the experience fascinating. But the major part of the book is her life-story - her journey from brokenness and scepticism to wholeness and faith. That story is what made the book difficult to put down. Crystal believes that God brought her back to life on earth with her husband and four children for a specific purpose - to tell her story to anyone who will listen. And it is well worth listening to!

The book has its own website:www.wakingupinheavenbook.com/

Review by Jackie Rowe  (31/10/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: August 2013
ISBN: 978-1-780-78113-6
Paperback
Price: £9.99

The Artist's Daughter

- Sketches of a Life in Progress

by Alexandra Kuykendall


This autobiographical account of Kuykendall's life was an interesting read. She looks back over her life as a child of an American single parent with her absent father a Catalonian artist living in Europe.

Kuykendall unpacks her life's struggles and journey as a Christian whilst recounting her life story culminating in advocating her response to being a mother of four and coping with them in their pre-school years. She explores her three life-defining questions - Is she lovable? Is she loved? And is she loving? And explains how God used himself, her husband, her children and her support group to help her discover these answers through childhood, marriage and motherhood.

As an autobiography I found it stimulating and challenging wondering if I would do things differently. A good read which demonstrates forgiveness, grace, faith and belonging. A good book for a reading group. Kuykendall has also included some questions for reflection at the end to provoke conversation or self study.


Review by Zoë Stevenson  (07/10/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: June 2013
ISBN: 978-0-800-72205-0
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Joni and Ken



by Joni and Ken Eareckson Tada


Joni and Ken is the true love story of one of the most adored and respected couples on the planet - Ken and Joni Eareckson Tada - who, through depression, pain, and cancer, faced the kind of testing and trials few could even conceive. But a couple who have clearly displayed the love of Jesus in their relationship - for almost thirty years.

Review by x  (25/09/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Zondervan from Trust Media Distribution
Published: April 2013
ISBN: 978-0-310-33673-0
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Lamp Unto My Feet

- How God has used His Word through the ages

by Peter Barnes


God's Word directs people's lives. Over a hundred bite-sized, thrilling, biographical sketches from a wide range of cultures, time, gifts and status show how God's Word determined their story. Here we meet theologians, missionaries, hymn writers, athletes and others including James, the Lord's brother, Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, Jonathan Edwards, Fanny Crosby, Mary Slessor, C S Lewis and Helen Roseveare.



Review by x  (25/09/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
Published: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1-781-91121-1
Large paperback
Price: £8.99

World Changers

- Fascinating Figures From Church History

by Herbert Lockyer


The inspiring life stories of eight single-minded, influential Christian men are well told, along with the author's comments on what we may "glean" from them, in this newly republished book by Herbert Lockyer (1886-1984), highly honoured pastor, teacher and author of over 50 books. "Stirring deeds and extraordinary accomplishments embroidered their lives", writes the author, "and now kindle in our hearts the desire to emulate their faith, their sanctity and their courage". The eight "Fascinating Figures" are Martin Luther, John Wesley, C H Spurgeon, John Bunyan and four Scotsmen, George Wishart, John Knox, David Livingstone and Robert Murray McCheyne, selected as "outstanding and strategic witnesses for Christ in their own time", who still speak to us today. Of course their biographies are often told and pretty well known, but Lockyer does them justice, and this little book will certainly inform and uplift people still unfamiliar with them. Do be advised that it's written from a strongly, even aggressively Protestant point of view, with regular condemnations of "modernism", contemporary approaches to the Bible and even ecumenism. There is a serious historical mistake in the chapter on John Knox (pages 42 and 43), where Lockyer clearly confuses two royal Maries, Mary Queen of Scots and Mary Tudor (Queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII). While it is true that Knox had several "run-ins" with Mary Queen of Scots, it was actually Mary I who gained the nickname "Bloody Mary"ť, on account of her harsh treatment of Protestants. The editors should surely have corrected this bad error.

Review by Barry Vendy  (03/09/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Joining the Dots Distribution
Published: February 2013
ISBN: 978-1-603-74638-0
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Charles Hodge

- Bitesize Biographies

by S Donald Fortson III


Charles Hodge was one of the most influential American Presbyterian theologians of the 19th Century. He spent almost all his adult life at Princeton Seminary, first as a student then a teacher and finally a professor. His massive three volume Systematic Theology is still in print.

In this book Professor Fortson gives us a detailed overview of his life and works. He spends a great deal of time discussing the hot topics of the day in which Charles Hodge was involved. These include church government, the Oxford movement, slavery and Darwinism.

The book is well written and in an interesting way that encourages one to turn the page. This is quite a feat for the biography of the life of a man in which there were few exciting events.

This book will be of most interest to ministers and students of the reformed faith.



Review by Alan Hill  (03/09/13)
Jacket
Publisher: EP (Evangelical Press)
Published: May 2013
ISBN: 978-0-852-34927-4
Paperback
Price: £5.99

Outrageous Courage

- What God Can Do with Raw Obedience and Radical Faith

by Kris Vallotton &Jason Vallotton


This book is the story of Tracey Evans, a nurse who has taken the Gospel and practical love to some of the most dangerous and unpleasant places in the world. We read of her working amongst prostitutes in Los Angeles, rubbish heap scavengers in the Philippines and HIV sufferers in Africa.

The book is written in the first person being based on interviews with Tracey and published with her full permission. In the book she bares her soul speaking of her mistakes, her struggles and her joys. What shines through is first how God can transform hardened sinners (which she was herself) and second what a live devoted to God can achieve. The book is rightly entitled Outrageous Courage as her actions are brave, sometimes reckless, but never selfish.

I could not agree with all her theology, or methods. I cannot endorse the way she speaks to God nor the way she says that God guides her through dreams and visions. ­I found those parts of the book a little disturbing. However if you are able to look beyond this then the book has something to teach us about sacrificial service to the Lord.



Review by Alan Hill  (05/07/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Chosen imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: February 2013
ISBN: 978-0-800-79554-2
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Francis Bishop Of Rome

- A Short Biography

by Michael Collins


Fr. Michael Collins is a well respected Vatican expert who has previously written a well received biography of the previous Pope. In this short book of 121 pages he provides a well written, engaging and easy to read, quick introduction to Pope Francis. Covering his early years, and with a good synopsis of the background of the Jesuit order, he quickly leads us up to the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Jorge Bergoglio and the early days of Pope Francis.

Included in this book are short stories that introduce us to his theology and outlook that enable us to see his driving motivations and possible vision for the Roman Catholic Church as it goes forward. In this book you will also hear the story of how when offered the Red Shoes and other fineries of papal authority, he kept the black shoes and simple silver cross he had long worn as Bishop of Buenos Aires - classic stories now that demonstrate again his heart and commitment. A well told but short book that offers the briefest glimpse of Pope Francis' history, but perfect for anyone who wants to know just a little more.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (03/07/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Columba Press
Published: April 2013
ISBN: 978-1-782-18066-1
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Take This Bread

- A Radical Conversion

by Sara Miles


The story of an unexpected and terribly inconvenient Christian conversion, told by a very unlikely convert, Take This Bread is not only a spiritual memoir but a call to action. Raised as an atheist, Sara Miles lived an enthusiastically secular life as a restaurant cook and writer. Then one morning, for no earthly reason, she wandered into a church. She ate a piece of bread, took a sip of wine, and found herself radically transformed, embracing a faith she'd scorned and which would lead to feeding others in a way that she'd never imagined. Sara started a food pantry giving away literally tons of food from around the same altar where she'd first received the body of Christ, and providing hundreds of hungry families with free groceries each week. Take This Bread is rich with real-life Dickensian characters-church ladies, millionaires, schizophrenics, bishops, and gangsters - all blown into Miles' life by the relentless force of her new-found calling. Here, in this beautiful, passionate book, is Christ's living communion.

Review by Publisher's notes  (01/07/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: June 2012
ISBN: 978-1-848-25214-1
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Pope Francis

- Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio - The Authorised Biography

by Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti


This authorised biography of Pope Francis is not a new book, indeed it was written and published in 2010 and other than a short publisher's note informing us of this and how Jorge Berglio is now Pope Francis it remains exactly as it was written, and it is perfect for this reason. Here is not a fancy authorised biography that waxes lyrical but instead a collection of conversations, interviews, memories and recollections of a man who is now Pope but was before that a Jesuit and a man with real history, insight and intent - and here we catch just a glimmer of it. The book is not overly long and is certainly not arduous to read, either straight through for a thorough reading or due to its style of question and answer something that can be picked up and flicked through for an overview of understanding Pope Francis' theology and ideology of purpose, his psychology and understanding of faith. This is a book that opens the door just a little on the man that is now Pope and does it in a simple and open manner. A very enjoyable book indeed.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (10/06/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Published: June 2013
ISBN: 978-1-444-75249-6
Hardback
Price: £16.99

Archbishop Justin Welby

- The Road to Canterbury

by Andrew Atherstone


So you wondered at Justin Welby's "meteoric rise", as it's often called, to the post of the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury? He's a bit young to be an Archbish isn't he (57)? What sort of man is he, and what are his qualifications? This little biography (it's "unauthorised", as the writer is keen to point out) will answer your questions. Andrew Atherstone, who is a Tutor and Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, has written what he calls "the tale of Welby's road to Canterbury"ť. I found the tale became fascinating with Welby's years at Enterprise Oil, where his leadership and management gifts developed - all to prove useful for his later role in the Church, as was his reflecting on the ethics of finance. Equally interesting for me was the account of Welby's time at Coventry Cathedral's International Centre for Reconciliation, which led him into situations of great personal risk, and left him with a passion for justice and reconciliation. Once again these experiences shaped the future archbishop's convictions and suitability for Canterbury. The book finishes before Welby's enthronement in 2013, but it is a helpful, popular and readable account of all the phases of his life up to then. Andrew Atherstone has written much about the Anglican Church, and describes it as being "as much in turmoil as ever before", with its future shape hanging in the balance. It was into this "war-torn context" that "Justin Welby the reconciler was plucked from the Diocese of Durham and thrown upon the international stage as the next Archbishop of Canterbury"ť. Yes, it's quite a story. But we should recognise Welby's deepest desires, which are: for the Church to emphasise evangelism, worship and unity, and for himself simply to be known as "someone who loved and followed Jesus Christ".

Review by Barry Vendy  (17/05/13)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: March 2013
ISBN: 978-0-232-52994-4
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Kisses from Katie



by Katie Davis


Katie was a normal American teenager when she decided to explore the possibility of voluntary work overseas. She temporarily 'quit life' to serve in Uganda for a year before going to college. However, returning to 'normal' became impossible and Katie 'quit life' - college, designer clothes, her little yellow convertible and her boyfriend - for good, remaining in Uganda.

In the early days she felt as though she were trying to empty the ocean with an eyedropper, but has learnt that she is not called to change the world in itself, but to change the world for one person at a time.

By the age of 22 Katie had adopted 14 girls and founded Amazima Ministries which currently has sponsors for over 600 children and a feeding programme for Uganda's poorest citizens - so it is no wonder she feels Jesus wrecked her life, shattered it to pieces, and put it back together making it more beautiful than it was before.

Review by x  
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1-780-78089-4
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Renée of France



by Simonetta Carr


Renée of France lived in the 16th century and was a friend and correspondent of John Calvin. This book recounts the main events of her life which, due to the brevity of the book make for fairly dry reading. However, because she was a Protestant noblewomen married to a Catholic nobleman she lived at a time of religious and political turmoil, which is what makes her story worth telling.

The impression given by her remaining letters is of a strong-minded woman who struggled to reconcile her faith with the predominant Catholicism of those who surrounded her, which is what makes her correspondence with Calvin interesting. The last chapter of the book reproduces some of Calvin's thoughts on issues such as the Mass and the unity of the Old and New Testaments, which have more resonance when we consider the times in which they were written.

The book is part of a series called Bitesize Biographies, and would make a useful reference tool. The author has obviously done a huge amount of research and had concentrated on presenting the facts rather than painting a portrait of the person.

Visit the author's website:www.simonettacarr.com/

Review by Paula Hill  (23/04/13)
Jacket
Publisher: EP (Evangelical Press)
Published: January 2013
ISBN: 978-0-852-34909-0
Paperback

John Sentamu's Faith Stories

- 20 True Stories of Faith Changing Lives

by John Sentamu


This is a cheerful and engaging book of short testimonies and stories of people who are for the most part engaged in what is often called Fresh Expressions – new ways of doing church, of being cchurch, active and committed to all it means to serve others. So we meet the vicar that is also a part-time hairdresser, the youngest female vicar to be ordained, the shy lesbian that came out, the war veteran turned vicar and a host of other people from different walks of life and different ages – people really living out their faith. The stories are all short, not much more than 5 or 6 pages each, and that includes the pictures and Archbishop Sentamu's short introductions. In each case he highlights the spiritual aspect of what they are doing and the relevance of that for the reader – a sort of short contemplation of how and why these things are important. Given the format of the book I think these would probably be excellent as assembly or RE material.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (05/03/13)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: 20 February 2013
ISBN: 978-0-232-52978-4
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Fixed

- Six Stories of Brokenness and Hope


At only £1 this book is a fantastic giveaway! Inside are six abridged versions of classic Christian biography / testimony books. So we have: Taming The Tiger - Tony Anthony; Seriously Rich - Richard Pidgely; Once an Addict - Barry Woodford; A Night Out with the Boys - Haydn Davies; Conquering the Dragon - Kim Goh; and finally, The Power and the Glory - Arthur White. They are well abridged and highly shortened versions of the original books but are done in such a way that the story lines remain true in all of them. And the depths experienced and the redemption achieved shines out in all of them still. These are perfect tasters to share.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (05/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1-860-24759-0
Paperback
Price: £1.00

Clydebuilt

- The Story of George Reith

by Marista Leishman


This is the story of George Reith, the tough and visionary Scot who was the general manager of the Clyde Navigation Trust at the end of the nineteenth century. He made the river Clyde and shipbuilding on the river the most renowned in the world. The author is his great grand-daughter. She is also the daughter of John Reith of BBC fame. George Reith came from a modest background, a wheelwright by trade and a committed Presbyterian. He was a fiercely moral man, austere in his life-style and driven by his vision of Glasgow as a great industrial city. He was respected rather than loved by all who knew him. His story as written by Leishman is unlike the usual biography. It is more like a novel with a series of fictionalised confrontations between Reith and the top scientists and industrialists of his time. These scenes, although invented, are based nevertheless on extensive research and give the story its unique perspective. It ends up much more informative and readable than bald statements of facts. In this way we receive a memorable and intimate portrait of a remarkable man.

Review by John Irvine  (24/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Saint Andrew Press
Published: 30 October 2012
ISBN: 978-0-715-20938-7
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Kicking The Black Mamba

- Life, Alcohol and Death

by Robert Anthony Welch


Irish professor, poet and prolific author, Robert Welch, tells the painful story of his beloved and brilliant son, Egan's, descent into alcoholism, leading to periods in hospital and other institutions, and death by drowning in the river Bann in Northern Ireland in 2007, at the age of 28. The book conveys a lot about the problems in living with and caring for someone with alcohol addiction (and also incidentally a lot about Irish life and legends). It is "a search for meaning in the death of a greatly loved son". What makes the book memorable is the author's unmistakable grief and passionate love for his son, his desperate attempts to halt Egan's decline, and his utter honesty in voicing the fear that he has been complicit in some way in what happened to Egan. It is a love story that is painful to read but will reward the reader. After a year's writing, Welch admits he hasn't found the answer, but then, unexpectedly to me, his final chapter and closing "message" speak of "the hope of resurrection". This is not, "emphatically not", a "religious" book, states the author firmly, but I found in it countless references to the Gospel, and to the death and – especially – resurrection of Christ. What of the book's strange title? You have to wait until nearly the end (page 188) for an explanation. Egan himself made up the expression, when he heard about another alcoholic taking his first drink after a period of abstinence. A black mamba, of course, is a highly venomous snake, whose bite means almost certain death. Egan meant that, by returning to booze, this other person was "kicking the black mamba that will kill him".

Review by Barry Vendy  (21/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: 17 September 2012
ISBN: 978-0-232-52895-4
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Nowhere but Up

- The Story of Justin Bieber's Mom

by Pattie Mallette with A J Gregory


Pattie Mallette, the mother of Justin Bieber ("the number one name in pop music across the world", according to Google) tells her story, with great frankness, and I recommend it to you. It's a harrowing life story at first – sexually abused as a child, caught up in a lifestyle of partying, alcohol and drugs (though fortunately not addicted), and pregnant in her teens. John Brown, director of a community centre Pattie frequented and a Christian, was about the only person who kept on caring about her. He said to Pattie, "When you hit rock bottom, you have nowhere to go but up. Why don't you see what God wants to do with your life?" Pattie's life would indeed be changed by the impact of the reality of God. She had always been "intrigued" by the Bible texts on the wall of a neighbour's living room. But now she became a believer and a churchgoer, not that she pretends that all of life became easy overnight. She has a son, Justin, and describes how he became a celebrity and how she oversaw the beginnings of his career. But all the while, her own healing process continues, and she admits that she has not yet arrived at her "final destination of emotional wholeness", though she is further down the road than she could ever have imagined. She has had to learn to "admit my victimisation", but also to "refuse to be a victim". "I had a choice to let the pain define me or to heal from its wounds. I made the choice to heal, to move on without those wounds crippling my journey. I made the choice to live, to really live. It has not been easy, but it has been worth it." And she has come to terms with the need to forgive. So the book ends with the words, "To my abusers: I forgive you."

You can follow Pattie on Twitter (&Pattie Mallette).

Review by Barry Vendy  (10/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 18 September 2012
ISBN: 978-0-800-72212-8
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Hope and A Future

- A story of love, loss and living again

by Wes Richards


A short pacey story that treks the downward slope and then a jagged and joyful journey to life and purpose. It's quite an unbelievable story of life and death, love and loss, heaven and earth, pain and healing - one that will touch a personal cord in each of its readers, largely on account of the touchingly honest emotions captured and shared by Richards.

While the arc of the main narrative progresses brilliantly, the use of both an introduction and a prologue spoils the flow. Overall, it's beautifully written, intimate and deeply moving. A powerful story made alive by the life of God!

Review by Johnny Douglas  (24/12/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Monarch imprint of Lion Hudson
Published: September 2012
ISBN: 978-0-857-21291-7
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Dorothee Soelle - Mystic and Rebel: The Biography



by Renate Wind


This biography translated from the German is of a remarkable woman and is a book well worth reading. Dorothee Soelle (1929 -2003) combined within one person an amazing number of outstanding qualities. An intellectual with deep religious convictions, as well as a theologian she was a writer, lecturer, poet, mystic and political activist. She was also a wife and the mother of four children. Courageous, honest and outspoken, Dorothee was sometimes at odds with established wisdom, both political and religious, and for this she was often maligned. She was, however, never deterred. Among the causes she espoused were The Peace and Justice Movement, the Option for the Poor, and Women’s Liberation. In her view religion was not a purely personal matter, but rather something that should work for others, in particular the underprivileged, the persecuted and the victimized. She based this on her deep love of the crucified Christ. She was also, by her own admission, driven by a sense of guilt at the atrocities perpetrated by her fellow Germans before and during the 1939-45 war, although she herself was but a child at its outbreak.

Review by Alexandra Irvine  (27/11/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Fortress Press from Alban Books
Published: April 2012
ISBN: 978-0-800-69808-9
Hardback

J R R Tolkien

- The Making Of A Legend

by Colin Duriez


This was a beautifully gentle biography of an incredibly well known fantasy writer and scholar, and indeed it could almost be said that there was a story-like feel to this wonderful retelling of Tolkien's life from cradle to grave. I rather suspect that may well have been the intent too given the subtitle of the book, The Making of a Legend, and if so then full credit must be given to Colin Duriez for this.

I can heartily recommend this book to anyone new to Tolkien's work that wants to find out more about the man himself. Here we have a well written and engaging work that, though factual, is not laboured or academic in tone, something which can occassionally happen with many biographies of such esteemed authors like Tolkien. Instead this book sets the tone and balance of sharing the insights of his life around his work, of opening up the balance of real person and author in equal measure so we see how the work reflects the artist and is in turn reflected back.

There was nothing new in this book I had not read of Tolkien before, but there was a wonderful measured pace that made me truly enjoy reading about him and coming to know him all over again. One for any Tolkien fan and especially the newer ones.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (14/11/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Lion Hudson
Published: October 2012
ISBN: 978-0-745-95514-8
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Micah

- The true story of a young man glorifying God in life and death

by Dani Ramsey


Dani Ramsey tells, with great emotion, the moving story of her son Micah, who died of cancer at the age of 15 in 2009. Her book is subtitled The true story of a young man glorifying God in life and death, and Dani, whose family - Micah included - is devoted to mission work in West Virginia and beyond, has written it to inspire and challenge readers to seek and trust God as Micah did, for he refused to let cancer destroy his faith. The book contains many of Micah's own uplifting words that show great Christian commitment and maturity in one so young. The hero of these writings, of course, is not Micah, but God, the "great, mighty and totally awesome God". As Micah scribbled in his journal, "I need to give my all to Him without reserve, make Him Lord of my life, and hold nothing back". Reading his life will surely stir you.

Related website:www.micahramseyoutreach.blogspot.co.uk/

Review by Barry Vendy  (19/11/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Xulon Press Distributed by Gardners
Published: 05 June 2012
ISBN: 978-1-622-30342-7
Paperback
Price: £12.50

I am Loved

- The poignant story of an unloved girl who found extraordinary love

by Claudette Schlitter


This book, correctly categorised as autobiographical, consists of the outpourings of a Gospel singer/songwriter as she has journeyed, and continues to journey through the seasons of her life.

Brought up in inner city Birmingham she experienced at an early age a mind-numbing array of abuse, bullying and rejection leading to a feeling of being unloved. I found the 300 pages a harrowing read – not least because no sooner had Claudette apparently overcome one hurdle than she faced yet another – including obesity, bulimia and attempted suicide.

This is a lengthy, but well-written account of the writer's struggles and how God has helped her and continues to do so. However it is not a self-help book, and it clearly states this.

My overall feeling was that the cathartic effect that writing this book undoubtedly had was stronger than the inspirational message of God's love that the author presumably had hoped to convey.

Review by Margaret Walker  (21/11/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: September 2012
ISBN: 978-1-860-24860-3
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Running for My Life

- One Lost Boy's Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games

by Lopez Lomong


I’d like to start by saying I really wasn’t that interested in reading this book and didn’t think I’d enjoy it much – boy was I wrong and am I glad that I was sent this book to review. It’s a well written first person voiced autobiography of someone I knew nothing about, US Olympic athlete, Lopez Lomong, that said though this is not a typical sports biography, in fact really it isn’t a sports biography though sport factors strongly in it. Instead it is the gut wrenching story of a small 6 year old, violently stolen from his family to be a boy soldier, who through the grace and bravery of some other stolen children escaped and ran and ran and ran to what he thought would be his mother but was actually Kenya and a refugee camp. It’s a story of loss and wonder and small miracles and above all faith in adversity. It’s also the story of a journey to America, of a time of change and transition, of having one passion and realising that though that may be what we love it’s not always what we are best called to and sometimes we have to change focus to be the best we can and what we are called to be – and this through the medium of an enduring love of soccer transformed to the wonder of running, something that Lopez certainly knew all about.
It’s an incredible witness testimony and one certainly worth reading, especially if you want a story full of faith, triumph and real commitment with an insight into the horrors of Sudan and child victims of war, but above all with the focus on the fact that nothing is impossible with God.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (07/11/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Thomas Nelson From TMD or Joining the Dots
Published: 17 July 2012
ISBN: 978-1-400-27503-8
Paperback
Price: £10.99

The Accidental Pilgrim

- New Journeys on Ancient Pathways

by Maggi Dawn


Maggi Dawn's book is full of memorable moments in her exploration of pilgrimage. She begins by describing her experiences on a study tour to Israel when she was a student. At first her view of the groups of pilgrims rushing from one 'holy place' to another was a cynical one. She had set out on the expedition feeling clear that she was not going to waste her time on ancient superstitions and relics that had nothing to do with reality. But by the end of the visit she had found herself drawn into something more profound than a study trip. She had not set out on a pilgrimage but had become an 'accidental pilgrim'.
The rest of the book is an unfolding of Maggi's own journey of discovery of what it means to be a pilgrim. She writes, movingly, of a brief visit to Lindisfarne: 'And here, cut off by the tide, small squabbles of church order and theological correctness were restored to their proper place. My own sense of place in the world was restored: not too important, yet not insignificant either.' Her circumstances change and other journeys have to take place with her child in a pushchair and later still, when illness strikes, the pilgrimage is an internal one. Maggi's honest and compelling writing about her own pilgrimage has encouraged me to persevere with mine.

Review by Jackie Rowe  (29/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder
Published: August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-340-98006-4
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Weight Of Mercy

- A Novice Pastor On The City Streets

by Deb Richardson-Moore


Deb Richardson-Moore was a journalist for 27 years before she retrained as a Baptist Pastor. Her book, written in honest, down to earth, easy to read style, describes how she took on the pastorate of a Methodist church, Triune Mercy Centre, in a rundown area of Greenville, South Carolina. The church ministered to the homeless, drug addicts, prostitutes and no-hopers as well as a handful of older worshippers who were the remnants of its former middle-class congregation. Her first months in the job were so tough that Deb didn't think she would make it through a year. Seven years later she is still there.
I found I was gradually drawn into the story. By half way through I could not put the book down. She creates word pictures of the people she encounters - and learns to love - which are so vivid that I felt I had personally met them all. As Deb works to bring transformation to the battered buildings as well as to the people, she often uses the phrase 'one step forward and two steps backward'. Some of her most promising people regressed into drugs and crime. But God was, and still is, at work in Triune.

Related website:www.triunemercy.org

Review by Jackie Rowe  (29/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Monarch imprint of Lion Hudson
Published: August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-857-21229-0
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Me, My Mother, My Life

- A Journey Through Pain and Healing

by Ayomide Adeniola


The important fact is that I am pleased to have read this book.
The title and subtitle tell it all. Me, My Mother, My Life is the detailed story of a tortuous path from childhood to adulthood, influenced by culture and upbringing.
I found the first chapters hard going, but as I continued reading, realised that they were necessary to give the whole picture of Ayomide Adeniola's life experience. Her Nigerian culture (in itself interesting to a westerner) affected so much of her life. Behaviour completely alien to western readers but completely natural to the members of her family whether in Nigeria or England. Her struggle to find release from her Mother's controlling influence will resonate with others whatever their background. The importance of her church throughout all her life is paramount and sadly not always sustaining.
But win through she does! Succeeding in so many fields of study and work. A rollercoaster of a life then finding peace at the last.

Order from the publisher website link

Visit the publisher's website:www.authorhouse.co.uk/

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (29/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Author House
Published: 20 July 2012
ISBN: 978-1-468-58555-1
Paperback
Price: £9.99

The Messy Quest For Meaning



by Stephen Martin


The first part of this book is largely biographical and tells of a young man’s search for something that will give a satsfactory meaning to his life; in other words, a vocation. After many vicissitudes, including a strange, stress-related illness, he emerges into a way of life that helps him to find that vocation. He then seeks to share with his readers some of the means by which he achieved this goal. These include a look at the lives of some famous people who found their true vocations and followed them wholeheartedly, and his study of the writings of Thomas Merton and of the ordered and focused lifestyle of Trappist monks. Finally, he writes of the importance of his return to the practice of the religion in which he was brought up - Catholicism. As the search for meaning seems to be central to the human condition, the reading of this book could provide some helpful guidelines, while at the same time giving us an interesting and often amusing account of someone else’s life and struggles.

Review by Alexandra Irvine  (18/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Ave Maria Press from Alban Bks
Published: May 2012
ISBN: 978-1-933-49532-3
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Runaway, Red Beret, And Reverend

- The Remarkable Story Of Mike McDade

by John Alexander


A short (under 130 pages) but strangely satisfying testimonial biography that although authored by John Alexander is largely told directly in the words of Mike McDade, a man that in his life has gone through the hardship of growing up in a troubled family, running away and living rough from the age of 14 until he joined the army, then after that left, got married, dabbled slightly on the wrong side of the legal in his pursuit of money and comfort and in the end came to find God, Christ and the Baptist church against all odds – well all odds except God's grace, power and calling in his life that is!
Mike McDade has served in a number of places in the UK as Baptist Minister, places like Warrington during the Warrington bombing, violent area's of London and finally the more rural area of Cambridgeshire. In all these places it has been quite apparent that God was at work through the actions of Mike and through the small and wonderful miracles that occurred in Mike’s life. The author, and indeed Mike himself, admits some might find these things too much to believe and acknowledge that is a choice for each reader to make, just as it is a choice for each person to accept and acknowledge such miracles that might occur in their own lives. For me this was the real lesson at the heart of this book – that if God has a calling on your life ( and I believe he does on all our lives!) then there is no escape from it – God's Will will happen if we just allow it and that is the remarkable story of faith that shines through in Mike McDades life and in this book.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (26/09/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: October 2012
ISBN: 978-1-780-78017-7
Paperback
Price: £7.99

The Emancipation of Robert Sadler

- The Powerful True Story of a Twentieth-Century Plantation Slave

by Robert Sadler with Marie Chapian


Originally published 1975
The ‘Emancipation Proclamation’ was signed in 1863 and, theoretically, it freed all slaves in the USA. In reality, for thousands, it made little or no difference. Robert Sadler was born in 1911 and, in 1916 when he was just five years old, along with both his sisters, was sold into slavery by his own father for $85, and put to work on a cotton plantation owned by a callous and ruthless, yet supposedly Christian, plantation owner at Anderson, South Carolina.
It’s a story that recounts the tragedy and heart-breaking sadness of his slavery years, but also his ultimate experience of good triumphing over evil through the help of others and his developing Christian Faith. It is a gritty, raw and real-life story telling of the dark days of slavery, his quest for freedom (gained at the age of fourteen), and a determination to serve others borne out of his experience. Eventually moving to Ohio, Sadler travelled extensively sharing the Gospel and ministering mostly to his own black people at every opportunity. It’s a gripping story that once started, you won’t want to put down until it’s finished.

Review by Graham Wise  (24/09/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 01 January 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-20940-6
Paperback
Price: £7.99

The Hiding Place



by Corrie ten Boom


A reprint of this much loved book, still a best seller thirty years after it was written. After helping hundreds of Jews to escape from the Nazis, the family were betrayed, and Corrie, her sister and father were arrested. Soon after, her father died. When Corrie and her sister Betsie were moved to Ravensbruck concentration camp they saw this as an opportunity to tell their fellow inmates about God, and show by the way they behaved the way of Christ. Page after page is filled with a mixture of horror and hope. Betsie dies in the camp and Corrie is miraculously freed to return to her home in Haarlem and then to realise the visions described in great detail by Betsie before she died. A very special book. Reprints of the prequel, In My Father’s House and the sequel Tramp for the Lord are coming in March 2005

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (28/10/04)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder
Published: 18 November 2004
ISBN: 0-340-86353-6
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Heaven Is For Real

- A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent


An intriguing account of disclosures over time of a small boys recollections of his time in heaven. Doesn’t sound plausible? Well! Read this book and find out for yourself, how hard it is not to believe what you are reading.
Colton, aged three, after the first hospital’s mis-diagnosis, was finally diagnosed as having a burst appendix and was rushed to surgery, where after a long operation his life was saved. His parents were never told that his heart had stopped on the operating table, but some time later Colton made remarks that stopped his parents in their tracks. He had obviously had an out-of-body experience. Over time, and piecing together what Colton said at different times, a fuller picture emerged that his father felt must be shared by others. Hence this book.
A fascinating story that has kept me thinking long after finishing the book.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (28/10/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Thomas Nelson From TMD or Joining the Dots
Published: November 2010
ISBN: 978-0-849-94615-8
Paperback
Price: £10.99

Heading Home

- My Search for Purpose in a Temporary World

by Naomi Reed


Heading Home is the third in Naomi Reed’s award winning trilogy. In this book and in a very ‘sisterly’ way - Naomi recounts her struggle on returning to settle in Australia after living in Nepal for several years. She tells how she battled through years of trying to find answers to why returning home didn’t feel like home and why she felt so misunderstood?
The story is a fascinating blend of the earthly with glimpses of the heavenly. A glimpse of the latter is the telling of the time Naomi was to speak at a venue and the train she was travelling on was delayed. Noting her frustration and despair other passengers asked her what was wrong. She explained and they expressed their sympathies. Then one woman asks her what she’d be talking about if she’d made the meeting. Naomi explains and in the explaining gives her talk to those listeners on the train.
Naomi has the insight to later realize that the women she gave the talk to were the right audience that God had appointed for her that day.
The inclusion of inspirational self penned prayers at the close of several of the chapters sets this book as one to return to for use in daily or weekly devotionals.

Review by Ruthie Thomas  (30/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: June 2012
ISBN: 978-1-860-24853-5
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

- What happens when God’s spirit invades the hearts of his people

by Jim Cymbala – Pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle with Dean Merrill


‘Twenty-five years ago, the Brooklyn Tabernacle was a struggling congregation of twenty, then they began to pray… God began to move…street-hardened lives by the hundreds were changed by the love of Christ… and today they are 6000 strong.’ This is the story of those years. I was not excited by the appearance of this book, but I was by the words within. It is a story that tugs at your emotions, telling of sad and worrying times, and of wonderful answers to prayer, but not just a record of happenings, there is teaching of great value contained within, do read it

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (20/05/02)
Jacket
Publisher: Zondervan from Trust Media Distribution
Published: 2002
ISBN: 0-310-21416-5
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Monster Within

- Hells Angel To God’s Messenger

by Brian Greenaway


In his highly readable latest book, Brian Greenaway writes first about how his life began with his neglect as a child, leading to his becoming a violent ‘Hell’s Angel’, and to his imprisonment in Dartmoor. That’s where he became a Christian in 1973, much influenced by reading the Living Bible and Nicky Cruz. He describes things that happened afterwards, like study at Moorlands Bible College, but found God leading him to prison work and visiting. The ‘ex-con’ had become a ‘Rev’! He eventually became a member of the chaplaincy team at Wandsworth Prison. But he is frank about all the times when he realises the ‘monster’ is still there, beneath the surface. Writing this autobiography coincides with his retirement after 32 years of ministry: but Brian and his wife know that ‘God has a new ministry for us just round the corner, which we believe could be with hurting people, including those who have been hurt by the Church.’ He writes ‘I am excited by the prospect of a new direction and the tremendous privilege of continuing to serve such a wonderful God.’

Review by Barry Vendy  (24/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: CWR (Crusade for World Revival)
Published: June 2012
ISBN: 978-1-853-45740-1
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Dallas and the Spitfire

- An Old Car, An Ex-con, and an Unlikely Friendship

by Ted Kluck & Dallas Jahncke


Discipleship and cappuccinos often go together like evangelism and street corners. There’s value in the right context, but there’s more to the doctrine than a once-a-week ‘spiritual check-up’ at your local Starbucks. This, at least, is the picture Ted Kluck paints for us in his latest book, Dallas and the Spitfire.
Meet Ted: a thirty-four-year-old happily married, suburban dad who grew up going to church. And Dallas: a twenty-one-year-old cocaine addict, and ex-con, who met Jesus at a Rescue Mission during rehab. Ted’s freelancing work as a sports writer – as well as his experience playing semi-pro football – sees him mixing with some real gritty characters, giving him an edge when he meets with Dallas as a mentor.
Ted and Dallas quickly realise that if they want to have a meaningful discipleship experience, chatting over latte every now and then just isn’t going to cut it. Their personalities, and Ted’s understanding of discipleship, aren’t suited to the coffee shop scene. Ted says: ‘The book-and-coffee model of discipleship seems semi-absurd to me, partly because we don’t see Jesus doing this. Jesus taught, He led by example, He came alongside, and He healed.’ (p. 32)
Instead, they consider their hobbies and interests, and - after a few rounds in the boxing ring in Ted’s basement (seriously) – they decide to buy and restore a 1974 Triumph Spitfire. Dallas is gifted in auto-mechanics and while Ted expresses a love for cars, he doesn’t have the slightest idea how to take one apart and fix it. One of the things that makes this book so refreshing is Ted’s anecdotal humour* and humility in expressing his weaknesses. Whether it’s something as practical as car maintenance, or as personal as his relationships; Ted is real with his readers.
This book demonstrates that discipleship is relationship. Ted quickly assumes a father-like role, and often compares the worries and frustrations he has with Dallas to his life as a parent. It’s obvious from the start that Ted has a real burden to see Dallas live his whole life for Christ, and because of this he’s careful to help him keep a safe distance from his old lifestyle and temptations. To Dallas, Ted is a father, a pastor and a friend. The challenge for the Church is to disciple each other in this way; with real love and genuine relationship, 24/7.
*(The footnotes on each page are a ‘must-read’ to appreciate Ted’s dry wit).

Review by Sarah Broady  (24/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bethany House imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 18 May 2012
ISBN: 978-0-764-20961-1
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Hurting Hope

- What Parents Feel When Their Children Suffer

by Charles & Joanne Hewlett


This book is not exactly the sort of book you would accidentally end up reading. The honesty of Charles & Joanne Hewlett as they share some snippets of their journey as parents to two children with severe physical and mental disabilities, and subsequently a third child born very prematurely, are a tough read at times. In reading their shared thoughts, I cannot help but feel I know them and feel touched by their story as though I am part of it. They share their successes as well as their failures, and generously reveal some of their insights from the whole journey. They never preach, but rather confess their awareness of, struggles with, and ultimately thankfulness for God’s hand in their lives. With that in mind, I will be giving this book to my own sister in the hope that it will help her relate to others who face the challenges she has in parenting my nephew who has Lowes Syndrome. The story flows so well, that you want to just keep reading on, and despite the challenging content, it is easy to do so, due to the conversational style of the narrative.

Review by Barry Mason  (09/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Piquant Editions (Distributed by IVP)
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 978-1-903-68974-5
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Cassock in the Kitchen



by Mary B Morrison


This memoir is the story of Mary Morrison’s calling to be an ordained Minister at a time when it was not permissible in her church. Following the example of other women, she was prepared to change denomination, but gladly changed back when the rules of her original church, The Church of Scotland, allowed women’s ordination.
By this time a married woman with a supportive husband and children, she moved from post to post fulfilling her calling. Clearer reproduction of the photographs would have enhanced the text, but no matter, this is a valuable record of one of the first women to have the role of Minister in the Church of Scotland and an interesting read.

This can be ordered by email: cassock12@hotmail.co.uk Ł5.00 plus Ł2 p&p

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (03/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Author
Published: 2012
ISBN: 978-1-471-60582-6
Paperback
Price: £5.00(plus P&P)

Watershed

- Turning Points on the Spiritual Road

by Michael Ford


Watershed is an amazing blend of testimony and spirituality. Each section offers up small but beautifully insightful personal testimonies from a range of people from the famous like Juliette Binoche, French actress, artist and dancer, and Bruno Tonioli , an Italian choreographer and TV personality, to people we know only by their first names like David and Stephen, each with a story to tell of a watershed moment in their lives and in their faith. For some this watershed led on to ministry endeavours for others it led them into a general spirituality and awareness of faith. For the reader it leads them into a very considered and deep awareness of the necessity of making choices and of the awareness of how faith can find us in the strangest of moments.
Each chapter opens with a short but thoughtful piece on the circumstances that can lead us to these watershed moments and then there are usually two object lessons told through the testimonies of people who have experienced such things, and all of this in the lead up to the authors own insight into his watershed moment, the catalyst that lies at the heart of the books existence, his own journey to realising his calling to ministry and ordination.
This is a book on calling, yes, perfect for anyone considering what being called means, but this is a book more for anyone who has doubts as to what perhaps faith is, what their journey is all about, and what action are they being called to take. A truly wonderful book that came along at just the right time for this reader and shone a light on their own Watershed moment.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (10/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: 06 June 2012
ISBN: 978-0-232-52872-5
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Bread of Heaven

- The Life and Work of William Williams, Pantycelyn

by Eifion Evans


This hardback volume is an extensive and detailed survey of the life and ministry of William Williams, best know for his hymns, Guide me, O thou great Jehovah etc.; but not so well known as an extensive poetry-writer and theological thinker. Williams was a leader in the Welsh Evangelical Revival of the 18th century alongside Howell Harris, Daniel Rowland and others, the effective founders of Calvinistic Methodism in Wales.
Born into a humble and godly farming family in east Carmarthenshire, Williams intended to enter the medical profession but, after hearing Howell Harris preach in Talgarth churchyard, sensed a call by God to enter Christian ministry. He was never ordained but became one of the great Welsh theological thinkers, an able preacher and one of the foremost Welsh hymn-writers of his day. He was no stranger to theological controversy and saw a great revival take effect throughout Mid-Wales.
It is a fascinating story, heavy-going at times, but rewarding for the insights it gives into the origins of Evangelical Christianity in the Province and the interaction of some of the key figures involved.

Review by Graham Wise  (10/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bryntirion Press from Evangelical Press
Published: January 2011
ISBN: 978-1-850-49240-5
Hardback
Price: £19.99

Restoring Our Hearts



by Paul Collett


Paul Collett writes with passion about his own life journey and in doing so shares with us what he has learnt. He teaches about many aspects of our faith, particularly fathering and understanding the Father heart of God. He is not just preaching to us but showing what we can do to further our understanding. At the end of each section there is a passage entitled ‘Action’, then suggested ‘Prayer Points’ followed by the references of the books he has used in his studies.
This is a very personal story which is why it is placed in ‘Biography’ but it could equally well have been placed in ‘Marriage and Family’ or ‘Learning about our Faith’ categories.
Each of the many Bible verses scattered throughout the text are shown in italics with their reference, so making it easy to read in context if desired.
Not my churchmanship but it just shows how good it is to read books that are out of your comfort zone! Well worth the time spent, and it is not a ‘quick read’.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (07/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Onwards and Upwards Publishing
Published: Spring 2012
ISBN: 978-1-907-50916-2
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Vow



by Kim and Krickitt Carpenter


These are the true events that inspired the movie. Two months after their marriage Kim and Krickitt’s lives are shattered when a car wreck leaves Krickitt with a head injury and in a coma for weeks. The Krickitt that comes out from the coma is not the calm, well balanced Krickitt from the past. This Krickitt bursts into tantrums like a spoilt child, displays wild mood changes and has no recollection of ever being married to Kim. The only constant from the past is her faith.
Kim gradually faces the reality that his wife is no longer the person he fell in love with.
Life as they once knew it shattered and gone forever, Kim and Krickitt tread individual journeys of faith that will eventually bring them back together, in an even stronger union than before.

Review by Ruthie Thomas  (28/06/12)
Jacket
Publisher: B&H (Broadman & Holman) from Trust Media Distribution
Published: 03 March 2012
ISBN: 978-1-433-67579-9
Paperback
Price: £9.99

The Fight

- The Battle Over a Man’s Past and a Boy’s Future

by Luke Wordley


For each copy purchased, a copy is being given to prison and youth ministry in the UK
This is an all too familiar story of young boy, struggling to deal with the hand dealt to him by circumstances of life. Thrown from middle class comfort onto a tough housing estate, we are introduced to Sam's day to day life at full pace as he is embroiled with the challenges of survival at school and on his estate. However, the book's real challenge to the reader is not can we empathise with the issues facing a boy as he grows into manhood, but the added aspect of his trainer and mentor, Jerry. As Jerry sees another 'stray' that God can use him to bless, he also battles with his own temptations and weaknesses. The book is written in such a constant cinematic way, that it is easy to get lost in the visualisation of each passage and feel like we are being walked through a real life story.

The book has its own website:www.thefight-book.com

Review by Barry Mason  (28/05/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Downton Press from CLC Wholesale
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-956-92450-6
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Eric Liddell: Pure Gold

- The Olympic Champion Who Inspired Chariots of Fire

by David McCasland


As Olympic fever takes its grip on the world once again, it is a great opportunity to revisit the story of a truly sporting hero. Where this biography improves on previous versions is the development of the story into just who Eric Liddell was and where his strong conviction of faith developed. With analysis built up from letters and school reports, McCasland takes us deeper into the life of Liddell than we have previously gone. He shares the story from young boy through the Olympic adventure onto missionary fulfilment and has introduced me to a man I wish I had known and assures me that I will one day get to meet in glory. This is so much more than a sporting biography, but rather a challenge to each of us on conviction in our faith, submission to God's calling and perseverance through adversity. Well worth a read.

Review by Barry Mason  (28/05/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Lion
Published: 23 March 2012
ISBN: 978-0-745-95571-1
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Down's Syndrome : The Biography



by Chris Nancollas


The choice of the word ‘biography’ might seem a little strange for a book about a condition, but when reading the book it becomes very evident that to look at the past understanding and treatment of Down's Syndrome is an important part of grasping attitudes and treatment today. Indeed, the book could also be described as a ‘history of attitudes’ as the author examines past understanding of people with handicaps often demonstrating the sheer horror of treatment of people with problems. The author, a retired GP, has worked with Down's Syndrome patients, but beyond some necessary medical details, he does not blind the reader with science but looks more at attitudes which in turn translate to treatment. Although concentrating on one particular condition, the author brings to the mind of the reader a more general attitude to how modern society deals with those who don't quite fit in but do need society to provide the correct kind of care. One is left pondering at a time of public sector cutbacks, including the closure of Remploy establishments, whether progress to date might grind to a halt unless society does take on board the need of its less able citizens.
A fascinating and worthwhile read.

Review by Carole Burrows  (26/05/12)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: March 2012
ISBN: 978-0-232-52880-0
Paperback
Price: £12.99

I Am In Here

- The Journey of a Child with Autism Who cannot Speak but Finds her Voice

by Elizabeth M. Bonker & Virginia G. Breen


Elizabeth’s father gave up his career to be there for his children enabling Elizabeth’s mother to continue her work in Investment Funding, both fully committed to supporting their three children. Their elder daughter Gale, their son Charlie who has autism that makes him hyperactive and Elizabeth who this book is about.
And what a book!
Elizabeth’s mother has written this book with such love and with such deep understanding of her daughter’s gifts and needs. I have deliberately put gifts first in that sentence as I feel her mother would want. Elizabeth is a highly intelligent young lady with a particular gift of poetry but so much more. Trapped within a body that she is unable to control and ‘voiceless’ till the wonderful discovery that she could communicate through a letter board, she is very aware of her condition and the strain this puts upon the people around her: such wonderful people.
Her mother has searched throughout the States to find those who can support and help Elizabeth. She has battled with the education system and those who would write her daughter off as untreatable. Together they have tried so many things, always searching for ways to help Elizabeth. She has linked up with other mothers in similar positions, sharing their hopes and fears, their traumas (of which there are many) and their tribulations.
This is a heart-warming and emotional book to read but so rewarding. It was a privilege to share in Elizabeth’s poetry and thoughts – so mature at a young age – and to hear her message of hope. Most important is the mother and daughter’s love of God, and there is much here that we can all learn from.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (24/05/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published: 01 December 2011
ISBN: 978-0-800-72071-1
Hardback
Price: £9.99