Book Review – Steal Away Home by Billy Coffey

Steal Away Home by Billy CoffeyI am not a big sports fan, and I never really have been. But if there were one sport I can get into, it would be baseball. Of everything out there, I enjoy it the most. And, stories about baseball are among my favorites. So when I was given the opportunity to read and review Steal Away Home by Billy Coffey, I jumped on it.

I was surprised at first, because I halfway expected this story to take place during the Depression, or maybe after Word War 2. But Coffey placed it in the most unexpected of times. The story is split between 1990 and 2001. The main character is a man named Owen Cross, who is a catcher in the minor leagues. In 1990, he was a senior about to graduate from high school. In 2001, he gets his shot at the major leagues.

And the story is about both of those times. The majority of it takes place in the spring and early summer of that senior year, but it all comes as reminiscent memories while sitting in the dugout of Yankee Stadium one night in 2001.

The story is typical Billy Coffey, engaging and captivating, told in such a way that you can’t really put the book down. It’s a story of love and betrayal, of grief and forgiveness, of a girl and a game, and how salvation comes in the most unexpected ways.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Steal Away Home, just as I have with every Billy Coffey novel I have read. I think you’ll like it too. I highly recommend that you grab a copy and read it.

Ratings & Details For Steal Away Home:

  • Genre/Style: Christian Fiction
  • Story/Plot: 10 of 10 stars
  • Spiritual Content: 10 of 10 stars
  • Readability/Flow: 10 of 10 stars
  • Cover: 10 of 10 stars
  • Overall Rating: 10 of 10 stars

Book Review Rating

Question: Have you ever read anything by Billy Coffey? If so, how did you like it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

If you are interested in reading Steal Away Home by Billy Coffey, you can purchase it at in print or for Kindle.

I received this book free from Cross Focused Media as part of their Cross Focused Reviews blogger review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Book Review – Unimaginable by Jeremiah J. Johnston

UnimaginableI have long been a history buff. And one of the genres I enjoy within the category of history is the “what if” idea, such as, “What if this had happened instead of that?” That is kind of the take on history that Jeremiah Johnston uses in his book Unimaginable.

First of all, I expected something a bit different than what Johnston presents here. I’m not sure what I really expected, maybe something more imaginative, more fictional, but that’s not the purpose of this book. Instead, what Johnston has done is look at history and show what it would look like if Christianity did not exist. What I did not expect, perhaps blindly on my part, is that he would draw from history those things which already point to what it would look like in such a world.

That sounds a bit confusing, and I’m not sure how to articulate it very clearly. Maybe an example would help. Without Christianity in our world, there would be no value to the human life. And if life holds no value, then things such as slavery, abortion, euthanasia, communism, fascism, and more would run unhindered. But we have already seen in history how those kinds of things have affected the lives of millions. Slavery is an institution we have fought for ages, around the world in various forms. Abortions occur in epidemic proportions. Communism and fascism have cost the lives of countless millions of people. And the list could go on.

It’s kind of depressing. Johnston shows what a world without Christianity would look like, and we see that it is our world.

Resource Review – Life Ki-do Parenting by Jonathan & Lisa Hewitt

Godly Men: Being Deliberate With Our Wives and Kids

Life Ki-do Parenting by Jonathan & Lisa HewittNot too long ago, I received a copy of Life Ki-do Parenting by Jonathan and Lana Hewitt from the Time with Tracy blog. It contains an interesting approach to parenting. Much of what he says makes sense, and seems very practical. While not written from a Christian point of view, Life Ki-do Parenting conveys a very positive, others-centric strategy to parenting that is crucial to raising our children. Here’s a brief synopsis of the book.

My first question was what the title meant. In the middle of the first chapter, Hewitt explains it: ki means “inner strength or spirit,” and do means “the way.” So, Life Ki-do means “the way of living from your own inner strength and spirit and honoring the same in others.” Hewitt teaches martial arts, which provides a little more insight as to where his teachings and methods come from. This background lends itself to strong discipline as well.

While good, I think his approach stops short. In order to effectively communicate these principles, we cannot approach this on our own strength; we need God as the foundation.

That said, the Hewitts give some solid principles that go a long way to establishing some good parenting habits.

Book Review – Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald

Ordering Your Private WorldOne of the first books I was assigned to read during my freshman year at Bible college was Ordering Your Private World, by Gordon MacDonald. Being a green, new student, fresh out of high school and into the big world for the first time, I had no idea what to expect, or any indication of just how much this book would impact my world.

It was phenomenal! I think I read it multiple times that year, and a few times after that as well. The impact that it had on my personal life was indescribable. After college, I kept that copy of the book, but didn’t read it much, although its principles continued to form a solid base for much of my personal life structure. And it has always been one of the most impactful books on my life.

Last fall, I decided to pull it out and add it to my list to read over the winter, and then I found that it had been updated and revised, so I grabbed a new copy to read instead. And once again, it holds a tremendous influence on my life and how I seek to order my inner world.

Gordon MacDonald presents some of the most practical input and advice into how to order the private world within, so that the public world can remain as effective as it can be. Looking at such topics as rest and leisure, time management, and reading, MacDonald presents several excellent principles to help make the inner life as stable as it can be. Is this exhaustive? Of course not. There are other things one can do to help maintain balance and order in the inner life. But this is an excellent place to start.

Book Review – Jefferson’s America by Julie M. Fenster

Jefferson’s America by Julie M. FensterI have stated before that I am a history nut, and that I love reading history, especially early American history. One of my current projects, in fact, is reading biographies of each president, chronologically. So when I saw Jefferson’s America, I was immediately intrigued and grabbed a copy.

However, I was not as impressed as I had hoped to be. While the period covered was one of perhaps the most fascinating times in American history, I found Fenster’s recounting of these times and events to be somewhat dull and academic in nature. I was disappointed by that. In an age where our imagination is easily captured by the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing, this account of early American history could have been presented in a better way as to captivate and hold the attention of most readers more completely.

The back cover states boldly that “history comes alive in this entertaining account.” I could only wish this were true. This book took me longer to read than most do, simply because I found it the exact opposite of it’s claims. Make no mistake, the events recounted within were accurate and detailed. They just weren’t told in a way that held my attention for very long. I found it hard to finish this book.

Because it was accurate and detailed, I will recommend it, with reservation, as long as you know going into it that it is academic and dry. If you are looking for a more sensational reading of American history, this is not the book for you.

Book Review – A Time To Stand by Robert Whitlow

A Time To Stand by Robert WhitlowI have become a fan of Robert Whitlow. I have read and reviewed a couple of his novels in the past: A House Divided and The Confession. Both of them were excellent books, and this newest one is no different. In fact, A Time To Stand may be the best yet.

Whitlow has woven a tale of suspense, filled with very current cultural tensions, such as racism and the authority of law enforcement agencies. Set in the deep South, A Time To Stand tells the story of a potentially divided community in the aftermath of a shooting. Set as a legal thriller, Whitlow tells the story of a young black lawyer who finds herself confronted with the seemingly conflicting realities of justice, race, grace and love. How she resolves this, and helps her community do the same, is a page-turner that you can’t put down.

Even though this is a work of fiction, the topics that it addresses are topics that face us all today: How do we offer and extend grace and forgiveness into an emotionally charged culture that seems bent upon self-destruction? How can God work into and through our lives in such a situation?

Whitlow gives some deep and insightful thoughts into this, and helps show how God desires love and reconciliation.

I highly recommend the spell-binding story telling of Robert Whitlow, and A Time To Stand is an excellent place to begin.

Book Review – The Gospel According To Paul by John MacArthur

The Gospel According To Paul by John MacArthurUsually, I enjoy John MacArthur’s books. I have many of his works in my library, and I have read and enjoyed them immensely. However, I was not that impressed with The Gospel According To Paul. I found it to be mediocre at best, and generally unengaging and hard to enjoy.

The premise behind this book is to take a look at many of the succinct and focused summaries of the message of the Gospel in Paul’s writings. He often summarizes the message of the Gospel, and does so in unique ways, depending upon who he is writing to. Each of these are worth looking at and examining in light of the four Gospels, and the teachings of Christ himself.

Each time Paul does this, he gives some bit of insight that reveals more of what the Gospel is and why it is so essential for our lives. MacArthur strives to seek out the intricacies of each of these Pauline summaries, and do so in a thorough and easy to understand manner.

I don’t disagree with MacArthur’s purpose in any way whatsoever. Where my critique lies is in the manner in which he does this.

I primarily found two elements of this book that I had a difficult time with. First of all, this is one of the few books by MacArthur that I didn’t fully engage in and enjoy. It felt stilted and hard to read. It kind of felt rushed, as if he didn’t take the time to finesse it to a polished finish, like so many other of his books.