Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chase

This Bible study from Jennie Allen focuses on the life of David.  Weaving Scriptures with personal reflection, this study challenges us to chase what is true, honorable, and worthy.  The study includes readings, projects, and a video.  It allows readers to explore faith for themselves.

I was intrigued with this new study.  I have participated in  a variety Bible studies for women and have experienced many conferences for women.  I am always excited to try a new study.  This one was different, not good different and not bad different, just different.  I think Jennie Allen reaches a population of younger women that no other study reaches.  She is down to earth and honest.  She speaks to women who want to be authentic and real.  She is calming and centering.  She is not polished and perfect, yet that seems to make her more genuine.

In watching the videos, I was distracted by her hair.  I'm just being honest and real here.  First of all, I was jealous of it and how a sloppy ponytail looks so cute on her.  Then I watched her push the hair out of her eyes no less than five times in a 10 minute segment.  It really distracted me; however, I am middle-age woman who is used to polished and professional speakers.  Jennie is not polished, but that is what makes her so authentic to a younger generation of women who need someone to speak truth to them.

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

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Undaunted: Daring To Do What God Calls You To Do

As good as a book this book is, it left me wanting more.  I was so moved by Christine's work in the anti-trafficking organization, A21, that I wanted to read more about what she does and how she does it.

The book opens with her talking with a group of girls rescued from the sex trade.  When one girl asks why she did not come sooner, Christine reflects on what brought her here.  The next 120 pages, Christine gives her back story.  There is so much to her back story, that I forgot where she was going.  In some ways, the back story was too long.  By the time, she circled back to her work with A21, the book was almost over.

Her life is interesting, and her many analogies are based on Biblical truth.  The book is just too long on back story and too short on her current mission.  Even still, her story brings hope to many.

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

Saturday, October 27, 2012

American Patriots

Much like Thomas Paine's pamphlet, Common Sense, Rick Santorum's American Patriots is small in size but big in ideology.  This book in not simply biographical sketch of Patriots who helped fight for liberty during the American Revolution.  This book is more of a call to action for everyone who believes that we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Many of the people highlighted in this book played small roles in the Revolution.  Individually, they did small things that together made a huge difference in America's fight for freedom.  It is a reminder that even today, it is the small things that God calls us to do which may have a lasting effect on the world around us.  We are wise to reflect on the contributions of these American Patriots.  We are wiser still if we seek to be obedient to God who calls us to live in freedom.

Tyndale House Publishers provided me free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Friday, October 26, 2012

What Your Husband Isn't Telling You

Thank you, David Murrow, for telling us wives what our husbands really are thinking.  You were more than honest, sometimes too honest, but with the best of intentions.  You shed light on topics that not often discussed (temptation and sexual arousal) and often difficult to explain (why men like church but don't like to go to church).  Your book is a reminder that my husband has his own set of struggles in life.  As a wife, I can be a help or a burden to him.  This book helps me to be a help.

Mr. Murrow, you did not just tell me what my husband may be thinking, but you also gave me suggestions and advice on what to do, and what not to do.  The advice did not come right away.  You explained what my husband is thinking and feeling.  You gave me insight into his psyche.  You reminded me that my husband is a good man who is trying to love me the best that he can.  Only then did you point me in the direction of goodness and love.  

I enjoyed this book and am grateful for Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, who provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Wreath of Snow

Such a delightful novella by Liz Curtis Higgs.  If it was a cold winter day, I would make a cup of tea and a batch of shortbread (recipe included in the book) to enjoy while reading this book.

The story follows Meg as she tries to leave her childhood home on Christmas Eve.  A bad snowstorm prevents her from leaving.  This same storm delays Gordon Shaw, the same man who injured Meg's younger brother at a curling match 12 years prior.  Life is never random as Meg and Gordon learn to forgive and to seek forgiveness.

Even though the story line is predictable, it is still charming and sweet.  There is just enough suspense and romance to make it interesting.  I do like that the book is not long so you really could enjoy this book while snowed in on a bad winter day.

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


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Greater

Don't read this book if you like your comfortable middle-class life.  If you enjoy the routine of monotony, you may not want to think about how your life could be better.  If you like the same ol' same ol', you will not like the idea of God giving you something new and different.

Steven Furtrick challenges us to dream bigger and start smaller.  Sometimes God does not ask us to do more but to do less but to do it wholeheartedly.  Steven encourages us to trust God and follow Him.  God will provide, but we must be willing to sacrifice as we obey Him.

I enjoyed this book even when it made me uncomfortable.  I am the type of person who thrives in routine.  There is nothing bad about routine; however, if it keeps me from being obedient to God, then I need to be willing to let go.  

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

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rudy: My Story

It has been 20+ years since I saw the movie, Rudy, but the story is unforgettable.  This book relates the back story, the real story, and then the after story of the movie.

If you have seen the movie, this book is a great compliment to the story.  Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger shares what happened before he got into Notre Dame, what happened while he was there, and his life since.  Getting the movie made was as much of a dream as playing for Notre Dame, and it took longer to realize the dream of making the movie.

If you have not seen the movie, where have you been?  You need to see the movie and then read this book.  For once, I recommend seeing the movie first to better understand the book.

This book is good but falls just short of great for me.  I might be picky, but I was not satisfied with the faith element.  Rudy's life was a series of dreams that he worked hard to achieve.  Each time, it was about doing more and being more in order to reach his goal.  God was more of an afterthought.  It might be just me, but I did not feel that God was leading Rudy, but that Rudy was asking God to be with him as he worked to achieve his dreams.

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

Monday, October 8, 2012

When to Speak Up & When to Shut Up

Knowing what to say and when to say it boils down to wisdom and discernment.  Easier said than done.  This book explores the how of speaking up and when it is necessary to just shut up.  Both are important skills in life.

I never seem to have a problem speaking up, but I found from the stories in this book, that I do sometimes withhold my words when God is nudging me to speak.  Yet other times, I am silent when I should be vocal.  Dr. Sedler encourages us to listen to God and follow His lead.  There is a time for silence as much as there is a time for a word aptly spoken.

I received this book from Chosen, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review when I freely give.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tangled Ashes

The main character, Marshall Becker, travels to Europe to help renovate a French castle.  The castle itself is a character in the story and holds its own allure.  Becker, aka Beck, has his own issues with alcohol yet is able to oversee the renovation large historical buildings without fail.  As he tries, on his own, to overcome his addiction, he meets Jade, the nanny to the children of the owners of the castle.  She herself is struggling with cancer.

Also in the story is Therese, the interior designer; Jojo, the old man living in the stable, Marie and Elise, young girls living in France during the flashback part of the story; Phillip and Eva, the children of the castle owner; Fallon, the castle owner, and Sylvia, his wife; and Gary, Beck's business partner.  With such a long list of characters who each have their own issues, their story lines were hard to follow.  Even the ending does not complete the story lines of all of these characters.  It left me with wanting more while at the same time tired from reading over 300 pages to get to the end of one story line.

The reader knew from the beginning that Beck struggled with something.  It was not until halfway through the book that his back story was revealed.  Even then, it was just one incident that somehow led Beck to a lifelong addiction to alcohol.  Without giving away any more of the story, it seemed that there was more to Beck's background that pushed him to drink.  Since there were so many characters, it was difficult to really get deep into the struggles of just one character.  This could have been a 500+ page book and potentially a series.

When I get the chance to read Christian fiction, I usually enjoy myself.  However, this book was more fiction than Christian.  Beck finally reaches sobriety but not with the help of God.  At last mention, he was still agnostic in his belief.

Tyndale provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.