Thursday, July 28, 2011


The Kendrick brothers did it again....create a dramatic story that points us to God and inspires us to live for Him. Together, with help from Randy Alcorn who wrote this book from the screenplay, they have created not just an entertaining story but an inspiring story.

In Fireproof, the story was about the marriage relationship. In Courageous, it is about the relationship of a father and child. It is not just about being a good father but a Godly father. Each character in this story is challenged to be a better father. Each challenge is unique so everyone can relate specifically to someone in the story.

I have been inspired and challenged by this story as well as all the stories that the Kendrick brothers have created. They have a gift and are using it to points others to Christ.

I am looking forward to watching the movie when it comes out on September 30th, but I always prefer to read the book first. Most often, the book is always better.

Tyndale House has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review, and this has been my favorite book from Tyndale House that I have had a chance to review.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sweet Santuary

"I tell myself no new books, but then someone at the library recommends something or I come across a little gem...I'm hopeless with the allure of a good story."

Those are not my words but the admission of Wren, the protagonist of the story. I wholeheartedly agree with her which is why I read this book as I am intrigued by the allure of a good story. I also related to Wren as a mother and her worries as she raises her son. Like her, I stuff my feelings and try to avoid confrontation. But the past comes back, and she has to face her feelings and the truth.

I enjoyed this book and was glad that I had time to just sit and savor the story. I was annoyed at the beginning that there was this problem from the past that Wren had buried, but the reader did not know what this problem was. As the truth came out, so many things made more sense, but I guess that is why the reader was not given all the information up front. I was satisfied with the ending and noticed that there was a potential for a sequel without leaving too many loose ends.

Thomas Nelson has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review which I freely give.

Women of Faith

I was excited to be offered 2 free tickets to the Woman of Faith conference in Pittsburgh, PA, this fall. I have not been to a WoF Conference since before my children were born so this is a long time coming. I know I will enjoy it and will be blessed. I am praying that my BFF can come, too, so we can enjoy some girl time together. I'll share more in upcoming weeks about this wondeful opportunity from Women of Faith. You can see for yourself here what a great experience this will be.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dinner With a Perfect Stranger

Even though the book is easy to read, it is not a simple book.

In response to an unusual invitation, Nick Cominsky meets Jesus for dinner. Nick really doesn't think it's the real Jesus, and even the reader is unsure; however, by the end of the meal.... Well, you need to read the book to figure it out for yourself.

This is a read-it-in-one-night kind of book. I'd even suggest reading it while sitting in a recliner with a glass of wine. Why not? The Jesus character drank a glass of wine with his dinner.

I would not recommend this book as an alternative to reading the gospel accounts of Jesus. Instead, this is an interesting perspective of what might transpire if you could have a meal with Jesus. The book also reminds me of The Shack, another fictitious encounter with God, but I think I might even like this book better. The truths are more in line with Scripture and the personification of Jesus is less dramatic.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Don't Check Your Brains at the Door

I grew up in the era of apologetics. Josh McDowell's "More Than a Carpenter" revolutionized Christian faith. I was a product of that generation. I was a teenager when "Don't Leave Your Brains at the Door" was first published. Fast forward 20 years, and I have an almost teenager in my house, and I am glad to have this updated version to share with him.

The book summarizes a basic understanding of God, Jesus, the Holy Sprit, and the Bible. By disproving many myths, the authors prove that what the world thinks does not often line up with Scripture. Ideas like "Jesus was just a good teacher" and the "Bible was just a good book" are challenged. This is a great book for teenagers as it identifies things they might have heard but do not really understand.

What I like about this book is that the chapters are short and easy to understand. Questions at the end of each chapter challenge readers to go further in their understanding of truth. This is a great book for any believer but especially for teenagers as they go deeper in their understanding of God.

Thomas Nelson has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Karen Kingsbury has done it again...created a book with a cast of characters that we just have to read about. It is like one long soap opera, and we can't miss a day. Each one of these books is just another chapter in the story that started way back with the Redemption Series. 20 books later, and I am still reading.

Bailey Flanigan has a charmed life, and making it on Broadway is just another part of her uber-wonderful life. Her dilemma is whether to pursue a relationship with the boy from her past or the man in her present. It is a hard decision for her. As the reader, I am jealous to have that choice to make. Who gets to make a movie, dance on Broadway, and be pursued by a Hollywood heartthrob? Not me in my suburban mom life driving a minivan and clipping coupons. I guess that is why I continue to read these books so that I can escape my normal everyday life and live a fantasy world.

I have come to the conclusion that these fiction books are as much a fairy tale as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. They are easy to read and predictable, but like ice cream, I keep coming back for more.

Zondervan has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thunder Dog

The story is told in parallel form. Michael Hingson shares his story of escaping the North Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11. At the same time, he shares his life story of being blind and of his bond with his guide dogs. Both stories are inspiring and amazing.

This is a great story of faith and trust. I would also say that this is a story of tenacity. Michael's parents raised him to not just survive but thrive in the world. Being blind did not stop him from riding his bike around the neighborhood or walking to school 3 blocks away or even flying an airplane. It was not until he was 14 years old that he even knew about guide dogs. Even then, his family had to fight for the right to ride the school bus with his guide dog. Yet they never gave up or gave in.

What I liked most about this book is the honesty of being blind in a sighted world. Michael Hingson writes about his life and how hard he has had to work to overcome struggles because of blindness. What he has achieved is amazing. His guide dog is also amazing, but you will have read the book yourself to understand why.

My favorite line: "Don't let sight get in the way of your vision."

Thomas Nelson has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review which I freely give.

Friday, July 8, 2011

When the Hurt Runs Deep

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I say this up front so that I can admit that I did not read this book during a hurtful time in my life. I read this book to review but not because I have not experienced anything so painful that I needed healing right now. That being said, this book is a balm to a hurting soul. This book overflows with truth and shines light into dark places. The words in this book bring hope and healing.

Kay Arthur is one my favorite Bible study teachers. Even in this book, she points us to passages and suggests we dig deeper and know God more through study of His Word. I am inspired to reep all that I can from a better understanding of His Word.

If I were to read this book again, which I probably will when I need it, I will read it with a highlighter and pencil nearby. There is so much to understand and absorb, yet all of it is a blessing. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is going through a tough time or knows anyone in need of encouragement.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Blessing

I will admit that I was only 12 years old when The Blessing was first published. I am glad to have read this book now to become a blessing to those I love. This book is an enduring truth that will be just as applicable to people 25 years from now as it was 25 years ago.

It will not spoil the book to state the 5 parts of the blessing.
1. Meaningful and appropriate touch.
2. A spoken message.
3. Attaching high value to the one being blessed.
4. Picturing a special future for him/her.
5. An active commitment to fulfill the blessing.

I would highly recommend buying this book and reading it with a highlighter. The book provides the details on how to make the blessing a part of your life. I appreciate the specific steps that are laid out in the book to help those of us (me especially) who need concrete steps.

The authors also provide many real life examples of how the blessing has blessed the lives of many hurting people. The book inspires us to be a blessing to others whether or not we have received the blessing. The interesting thing is that once we bless others, we find that we become blessed.

Thomas Nelson has provided this book free to me in exchange for this review which I freely give.