Sunday, December 29, 2013

Knowing God by Name

Abba
Adonai
Elohim
Ish
Yahweh
Ysuah

These are just a few of the names of God that we can use to call on Him.  He is God the Father; Lord and Master; The Creator, Husband; The Self-Existent One; and My Savior and My Deliverer.  Some of these names I have heard before and some were new to me.  Either way, I realize that the more we know Him, the deeper our faith.

Written by the 3 Girlfriends in God, the reader goes through 8 weeks of devotions exploring the names of God.  Either for solo study or within a group, this book will help anyone know God more.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.  For more information check out the author's website or read chapter one.





Tuesday, December 24, 2013

This is Your Captain Speaking

I am old enough to remember watching The Love Boat.  You could come aboard and there's a new love waiting for you.  Oh, the memories of watching this old show!  Now the Captian is sharing his experience as an actor and as the captain of this famous cruise ship.  He even shares his faith and how true happiness is only found through a faith in Jesus.  The true love who is waiting for you!

What I am too young to remember was Gavin's other roles in The Mary Tyler Moore Show as well as numerous movies and Broadway plays.  He lived a fascinating life.  What amazed me was how he lived morally and upright in the Hollywood spotlight even before his faith became real to him.

This book was fun to read.  If I was older, I would appreciate more of his stories of old Hollywood and the many movies he worked in.

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

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sex and the Single Christian Girl

I wish I had this book 20 years ago when I was a single gal struggling with purity in a rom-com world. I did not know how hard the battle would be.  This book provides the encouragement and the how-to for those ladies who want to remain pure and for those ladies who want to be redeemed from their mistakes.

No one told me about purity of mind and heart when I was a single gal.  It was all about "how far is too far"?  That question is a lie because purity is not just a line of only going so far.  Instead purity is a determination that God wants what is best for me and blesses the covenant of marriage.  Satan tries to distract us from God's best and deceive us that God is holding out on us.  The author points us to God's truth that He loves us and is not holding out on us but wanting to bless our obedience.

I highly recommend this book to any single woman who wants to honor God.

Bethany House provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

First: What it Takes to Win

Rich Froning is the fittest man on earth.  He proved it with back to back wins at the Cross Fit Games Championship in 2011 and 2012.  What is even more amazing is his loss in his first Cross Fit Games in 2010.  However, he did not let defeat stop him, and he explains why neither should we.  Anyone can learn to rise to the challenge not matter the endeavor.

I enjoyed reading this book.  Rich is a likable guy who writes likes he talks.  I am not a participator of Cross Fit, but as a runner, I can appreciate the hard work and focus that is required of the workouts.  Rich is more than just an athlete.  He uses the platform to share his faith in God.  One look at the verse tattooed to his back and people know something is different about this man.

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

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Daniel Plan

This book reminds me of Ecclesiastes..."there is nothing new under the sun."  There really is nothing new about trying to live a healthier life.  It really is the same old stuff we have heard for years.  We need to eat less and move more.  We do better when we have accountability.  Even the faith element is not new to the idea of healthy living.  First Place Bible studies have taught this idea for years.

What I did like about this book is taking the focus off of a diet and focusing on a healthier life.  The first 70+ pages talk about faith and making sure your heart is set on the truth.  So I was pleased with the book until I started reading the second section on food.  That is where the book started to really bother me.

The author promotes more than just making better choices and reducing serving size.  In addition to this, we are told to embrace beans and nuts, kale and grape seed oil, and seeds of all kinds (chia, hemp, pumpkin, etc.).  Some of these foods are hard to find in non-urban areas, and some of these foods, I just don't like.  The author also warned us about foods such as grapes and dried fruit which have high sugar content.  The focus was to maintain a low glycemic index.  While I agree the importance of reducing our sugar intake, not everyone is pre-diabetic.

The chapters on fitness were a lot less challenging than the chapters on food.  It was not a mandate to become a marathon runner.  Instead is was encouragement to get some activity, and find a way to enjoy it.  This was not the same tone as the chapter on food.  It seemed like the different author wrote different sections of the book.  So the author who wrote about fitness was not as militant as the author who wrote about food.

If this book helps someone become more healthy, than the book is worth it.  As a generally healthy person myself, I found the book to be more of the same.  There really is nothing new here.  Just the same advice we have already heard.  Being healthy is not about education.  We already know all this. What we need is what Nike has been telling us for years, "Just do it!"

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


Monday, December 2, 2013

Dear Mr. Knightley

I thoroughly enjoyed this book with the unique first person storytelling and the many characters intertwined throughout the story.

Sam is an orphan girl who has is trying to make her way in today's culture.  She knows her upbringing was lacking and used books to understand human nature.  Books were her escape, but she also learned to hide behind these characters.  Only when she learns to be her true self can she fully mature and become the woman she is suppose to be.

I am not a reader of British literature so many of the books and characters (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and The Scarlet Pimpernel) were unknown to me.  I was still able to follow the story line and noticed that as Sam matured, she used her characters less and less.  However, she never had to leave her great books behind as that was one of the few good memories she has of her childhood.

What I most liked about the book was how the story was told through one-sided letters.  I was able to figure out who Mr. Knightley was but only a few pages before he was revealed.  The book was charming and enjoyable.

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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Call to Resurgence

This book is mind-blowing and life-altering.  I think every modern day Christian should read this book.  The world is changing, and we must open our eyes to what is really happening.  Christianity is being threatened but not eliminated.  We need to live out our faith in this fallen world that seems to fall even deeper into evil and untruth.

Mark Driscoll is a deep theologian who writes for the layperson.  I can read his comparison between reformed and Arminian without thinking I am an idiot for not knowing the difference.  I am not sure exactly what tribe I am in, but I know that believers fight over secondary battles far too much while ignoring the primary issues.  Mark Driscoll reminds us to be ecumenical in our love and stalwart in the truth.

I could have highlight something on every page, but this one is my favorite, "Be a giver, not a taker; a producer, not just a consumer.  Stop looking for the path of least resistance and start running down the path of greatest glory to God and good to others, because that's what Jesus, the real Man, did."

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

Real: Becoming a 24/7 Follower of Jesus

Would people know I'm a Christian if they didn't see me at church?  That question is the premise to this book.  It is also a gut-check.  We really need to contemplate how we are living and being perceived in our post-modern culture.  I know I have failed to live out my faith all day every day, and I needed this book as a reminder to live as a believer every day of the week.

This book is not long, but Jamie Snyder does not mince words.  He is also not condemning but honestly encouragies all of us to live like a follower of Jesus 24/7/365.  It is not an easy task nor one to be taken lightly.  We can't just worship on Sunday and fall in line with the rest of the world Monday through Saturday.  We are suppose to be different.  We are suppose be light in a dark world.

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

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Forgiveness: Overcoming the Impossible

Easy read? Yes.  Quick read? Yes.  Simple message?  Yes.  Even though this book is small and has a simple message, the truth is deep and powerful.  It is a book that I want to read and reread.  As much as I like the song, "Forgiveness", the book is even better.

Matthew West shares true stories of pain and struggle.  I could not even begin to imagine some of the trials these people endured.  The only time people overcame was when they forgave and accepted God's forgiveness.  It was not easy to do, but they did.

I struggle with forgiveness.  I know I need to forgive, but it is not a natural response.  It is God's response, and I am learning that I can do the impossible with God.

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Critical Reaction

There is an explosion at a nuclear facility.  A security guard is trying to keep his job without having to lie about what he saw.  A lab technician tries to discover what happened and whether or not he was exposed to radiation.  A lawyer gets involved while she is grieving the loss of her mother and questioning a strained relationship with her father.  A well-paid executive is trying to complete a illegal project while covering up the explosion.

The story was not bad, but it was not very good either.  There were so many characters that I did not feel like everyone was fully developed, nor were all their issues resolved by the end of the book.  On top of the many characters, there was a plethora of scientific explanation about the explosion and the work of the nuclear facility.  It was just too much to understand in one book.

I did not dislike this book, but it was hard to finish.  I got lost with all the characters and all the science involved.

Bethany House provided me a copy of this book in exchange for my review which I honestly give.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Unspoken

Dee Henderson has done it again with her latest thriller.  There is action and intrigue.  Romance and suspense.  This book has it all.

Charlotte Graham wants to leave the past behind, yet it takes facing the past to begin to truly heal.  Bryce Bishop unknowingly becomes the man to help her heal.

This could have easily been a 2-3 book series.  Instead it is an epic story of Charlotte and Bryce.  She was abducted at the age of 16 and rescued 4 years later.  While Charlotte has done her best to move on, she can never fully heal until she opens her heart to love again.  Bryce is willing to love and patiently support Charlotte as she tries to be the woman he knows she can be.

What impressed me about the story is that the author does not go into detail about Charlotte's abduction.  There is just enough detail to add to the story line but not so much that it violates the reader's sensibility.  Even though I wanted to know what happened, I am glad the author did not elaborate.  The story was about healing, not about hurt.

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

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Women of Christmas

This is a wonderful book to help us remember the reason for the season.

As she did with the Bad Girls of the Bible series, Liz Curtis Higgs invites us to take a closer look at the women of Jesus's birth.  Elizabeth is the aunt who experiences a miracle baby herself.  Mary is the mother of her savior.  Anna is the prophetess who serves daily at the temple awaiting the Messiah.  Higgs weaves the Biblical story with her reflections which causes the reader to ponder the Christmas story.

We all need to take the time to reflect during the holiday season.  This book helps us to reflect and to remember the true meaning of Christmas.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.  Read the first chapter here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Made to Last

Miranda may look put together on the outside, but like her half-built house, she needs work.

The first half of the book annoyed me.  The whole set-up felt fake and contrived.  I had little sympathy for a woman who had a successful career in TV; looks great in jeans and a flannel shirt; and does not need a man around to help her fix a leaky faucet.  She was just too perfect.

Then about halfway through the book, I realized that Miranda is not perfect and needs help.  She starts to realize it, too.  This is when the story went from dull and boring to interesting and entertaining.  I liked the second half of the book much more than the first half.

If I did not have to write this review, I might have just put the book down before finishing it.  I will admit that the writing is good and the story does flow easily.  However, it just took too long to set up the story.

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

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Raising Boys by Design

Just when I thought I was losing my mind, I realized that it was normal for my son to wrestle, run around, and take risks.  This book opened my eyes to the idea that boys want to become men and that their physical strength, risk-taking, and adventure seeking nature is more than a good thing...it's a God thing!

Jantz and Gurian use research and anecdotal evidence to teach us how boys are becoming men.  As parents, we can encourage their masculinity as we guide into adulthood.  The authors give both advice and good reason to help parents raise boys into men.

For far too long, I was squelching my son's masculinity because I did not understand that being aggressive and tough is part of his nature.  After reading this book, I realize that I can help him channel his masculinity toward good not harm.

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

Monday, September 30, 2013

Think 4:8

It is hard to find a devotional for teens that is does not dummy down Biblical principles.  This book is the right balance between the basic truths of Scripture yet with the deep meaning.  It also challenges teens to live out their faith in a way that is meaningful yet still do-able.

The chapters are a quick read with enough depth to really challenge the teen reader.  At the end of each chapter are hands-on activities for application of the truth.  The author does not just tell the read what to do but gives the reader an opportunity to apply what is taught to real life.

Although I did not read The 4:8 Principle, I could easily apply the principles while reading this book.

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

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fatal Tide

Action and intrigue.

Romance and mystery.

Drama and suspense.

This book has it all.

The story picks up where the last one ended.  Tommy and Dani are trying to figure out what the forces of evil are up to and what they can do to stop it.  They are visited by a student from St. Adrian's who may or may not be helping them.  Together they have to depend on each other and their faith to overcome the powers of evil.

I highly recommend reading the entire East Salem trilogy in order to understand the story line, but you will not be disappointed.

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

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tenacious

If ever I am having a bad day, I will think of Jeremy and Jennifer Williams.  They are living a joy-filled life despite the struggles and obstacles that have come their way.

Jeremy and Jennifer were the recipients of a new home through the ABC show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  This book is the back story that the show does not do justice.  Their son was born with spina bifida, and Jeremy was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).  Yet that never stopped them from trusting in God and bringing Him glory at home, at school, and on the football field.

I am inspired by the Willams' family.  This book will capture your heart and your soul.

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

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Chasing Hope

Sabrina gave up more than she wanted when we had to give up running.  When she is coerced into coaching Brandy, Sabrina has to learn that following God's will is not always what we expect.

The pace of the book was well done.  It was neither slow nor fast.  I never knew until the end how all the struggles would be overcome, but the end was satisfying.

As a runner, I liked the backdrop of training and racing.  It was only a glipmsed into the life of a committed runner; however, there were many early more training runs that sounded exhausting enough.

The only thing I did not like about the book was character of Koen.  He was a college-age guy who was good looking and only supportive of Sabrina in all her struggles.  I never met a guy like Koen, and I wonder if such a guy even exists.  He seemed too good to be true.

Bethany House provided me a free copy of this book for my review which I freely give.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Appointments With Heaven

I wish more doctors were like Reggie Anderson.  He is a fantastic physician with a fantastic story.

It was not part of his plan to become a doctor, but it was certainly part of God's plan.  Even though going to med school was not plan A, it was exactly what Reggie needed to do.  He became a doctor, met his wife, but still had to deal with a tragic family death before he could truly help others.

I loved this book!  It was not only a great autobiography, but also a great story about what happens when a person passes from this life to the next.  Reggie describes in great detail what he has witnessed as people in his care have died.  When they have the hope of heaven, there is warm, light, and a pleasant aroma.  This gives me great hope, and I think this book will bring hope to many.

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

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

She's Twelve Going On Twenty

"Oh, she's growing up so fast."  That refrain is repeated across the nation about out daughters.  We cannot stop nature but we can certainly affect nurture.  We are responsible to ensure that our daughters are growing not just physically but also emotionally and mentally.  This book is intended to help mothers raise daughters not with Girl Power but with God Power.

Kim Camp is thorough in this book.  She addresses issues of modesty and sex; diet and nutrition; growth and development; as well as music, media, and morality.  She talks about learning styles and personality styles.  She shares about faith and family.  The author really does not leave anything to chance.

I liked this book because it addresses a need in parenting which is how to raise our girls to become women of character.  It is a small niche in the publishing industry, but I am glad that there are book available like this one.

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

Thursday, August 15, 2013

You Can't Make Me [But I Can Be Persuaded]

Even if you do not think you have a strong-willed child (SWC), this book can help you.  I read the book  thinking that I did not have a SWC, but I was wrong!  Not only do I admit to having a SWC, I also think that my husband was (and is) a SWC.

A SWC is not disobedient and rebellious.  Instead, a SWC wants a measure of control and needs to know healthy boundaries.  A SWC is determined.  This book helps define who the SWC is and what the SWC needs.  After reading this book, I can see where I went wrong in how I handled certain issues.  Yet, this book gave me hope that I can do better next time with useful advice and effective strategies.

I think we all know someone who is strong-willed.  It can be difficult when it is someone we have to live with.  I am glad to know that this is not a issue of disobedience but one of determination.

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

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Robert Griffin III: Athlete, Leader, Believer

I have read many football biographies and enjoy reading their stories of those great athletes.  So I was excited when this book came in the mail.  Unfortunately, this book was disappointing.

I was expecting more personal information about RG3.  Instead it was more about the league itself during the 2012 season.  RG3 was not the only rookie quarterback profiled as much print was given to Andrew Luck.  A lot was also written about Michael Vick as he was returning to football during the 2012 season.  So this book was more about the season than about just one young QB.

I think I knew this book was going to disappoint me when I read about RG3 choice of Baylor.  The author did not know why he chose this non-powerhouse school stating, "We may never know."  I wondered why the author did not just ask Griffin why.  So as I read the book, I noticed never did the author interact with Griffin in order to write this biography.  Instead he reviewed game film, interview transcripts, and league stats.

The book will be interesting to anyone who enjoys the minutia of a football season but it is not a book profiling Griffin's rise to the ranks of an NFL starter.

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

Friday, August 2, 2013

Redeeming Love

This is one of the best books I have ever read, and I read about 100 books a year.  If I had to create a list of my top 10 favorite books, this would be on it.  I read this book years ago and enjoy rereading it.  It never fails to encourage, inspire, and enlighten.

Francine Rivers retells the story of Hosea in a new setting, California gold country of 1850.  This story follows a man who is led by God to marry a prostitute and to continue to rescue her when she returns to her life of sin.  This is an illustration of God's love for his chosen people whom He rescues many times after they return to a life of sin.

I cannot tell you how amazing this book is.  You just have to read it.  It is powerful and challenging.  It is entertaining and romantic.  It is just a great book!

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

So Long Insecurity, Teen Edition

Well done, Beth Moore!  I am so glad she published a teen edition of her book So Long Insecurity.  I have read both books, and I am thoroughly impressed with this most recent publication.  

Girls, ladies, women, we are all insecure.  Some are more so than others.  But we all need to face our insecurities and overcome them.  This book is a great way for young women to address and deal with their own insecurities.

I have read other magazine-like books for teens.  Often, they come across shallow and trendy without much substance.  This book is quite the opposite.  It is deep and full of truths, but with an interesting and engaging format.  I highly recommend it to all teenagers.  No one is immune from insecurities.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, please mention as part of every Web or Amazon review that Tyndale House Publishers has provided you with a complimentary copy of this book.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lead Me Home

Shiloh Griffin must learn to forgive, but it is forgiving herself that has become the biggest challenge.  She learns grace and forgiveness from some of the most unlikely places.  Shiloh discovers that living in shame was never God's will for her.

I loved this book.  What I liked was how real the characters are.  Even though they are Christians, they still struggle.

I am looking forward to the next book in the Winds of Change series, Finding Home.  That being said, even though I did not read the first book, Coming Home, I was not lost in the storyline by jumping into the second book of this series.

This book was refreshing, encouraging, and thoroughly enjoyable.

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Once Upon a Prince

A charming and delightful story....

Susanna Truitt always had a plan for her life, but when that plan falls apart, she must fully trust God with her future.  Her boyfriend of 12 years dumps her; she loses her job; and she is forced to move out of her cottage.  Nothing seems to be going her way.  Even when she meets a man and enjoys a few dates with him, he returns to his Euorpean home after 2 weeks.  But this man, Nate, is really Prince Nathaniel II, and Susanna's future might just become her own fairy tale.

Initially, Susanna does not know that Nate is a prince but eventually learns the truth.  What I liked is that this was not a belabored point in the story.  There is some time and confusion between meeting Nate and discovering that he is a prince but not so much time that the reader is annoyed.

I am surprised that I liked this book.  Usually young adult fiction is immoral, predictable, and overly romantic.  Instead, this book was delightful, engaging, and thoroughly enjoyable.

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

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Prairie Song

Anna Goben is a good woman trying to do what is best for her family.  She is even willing to sacrifice romance and true love in order to take care of her mother and grandfather.  After they learn of her brother's death in the war, Anna decides to move out west in hopes of fresh start for her whole family.  It is a good decision for everyone including trail worker, Caleb Reger, who has his own issues with responsibility and always doing what is right for those around him.  He tries to hide his past but must confront it and learn from it.

The story is also about the people who travel together out west.  As with any group, not everyone is going to get along.  That is true in this story.  But in order to survive, these people must learn to set aside their differences and help each other.  It is a good lesson for all of us.

In this book of historical fiction, it is expected that Anna and Caleb fall in love.  They do, but is is not without some complications and frustrations.  There are some surprises along the way but the ending is pleasing enough.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.    Check out the author's blog or here for more information.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Angels in the Fire

Dann and Tracey Stadler survived a head-on car accident that should have killed them.  Instead they were visited by an angel who saved them.  Tracey also saw heaven but choose not stay.  She wanted to return to take care of her young daughter, Meghan.  Tracey was not the only one to see this angel.  Others at the accident site confirm seeing a man who was full of light and helped in saving both Dann and Tracey.

Usually I cannot get enough of these stories where people share their experiences as they get a glimpse of heaven.  However, this book was more about the couple's struggles as their bodies heal from the horrific accident.  It does not diminish their incredible near-death experience.  Instead the book focuses more on their life after the accident.  I think I was disappointed because I was expecting to read more about heaven and less about life on earth.

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

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Trouble in Store

As with most historical fiction, the heroine tries to be independent and strong but still enjoys having a man save the damsel in distress.

The heroine of this story is Melanie Ross who is fired as a governess and must make a way for herself out west.  She has no family left but inherits half of a general store.  The other half is owned by Caleb Nelson, a widower and the single father of young Levi.  Melanie and Caleb do not agree on how to run the store and often find themselves at odds.  Only when they have to defend the store and the honor of their uncles, do they settle their differences.

The story line was slow.  The action did not really pick up until the last quarter of the book.  I thought the story was about the difference of opinions between Melanie and Caleb.  Instead it was about the deaths in town that were tied together but a common thread.  By the time this part of the story reached its climax, the romance between Melanie and Caleb was long overdue.  Even though the murderer was not who I expected, the rest of the story was predictable.

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

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Clean: A Proven Plan for Men Committed to Sexual Immorality

I really do not think that any man is immune to the sexual temptations which are prevalent in our society.   It is all around us, and we do not have to got far to be tempted.  Sometimes, we do not even have to look for it, it just finds us.  The world has become so desensitized that we hardly notice the scantily clad girl on the billboard or on the internet ad.  Yet, men notice and are easily tempted by it.

Douglas Weiss does not hold back but shares the whole ugly truth of sexual sin.  I appreciate his direct approach.  He provides statistics, anecdotes of men who struggle, and a Biblical strategy to overcome this sin.  He writes to get your attention and to inspire you to do the work necessary to become free from sexual sin.  I am so glad that someone is rising to the occasion to encourage men to be more than just "one of the boys".

This book gives me hope that we are not destined to live in sexual sin even though the world around us might say otherwise.  Men truly can live sexually pure lives.

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story

I read the O'Malley series years ago and wondered why Jennifer never had her own book.  All the other siblings had a book, but Jennifer was left out, until now.

Since it has been so long since I read the O'Malley series, I was excited to read this novella.  The story is a flashback to when Jennifer became a believer in Jesus and when she fell in love with Tom.  It was not exciting or earth-shattering.  Instead it was sweet and comforting.  Although the end of the book (SPOILER ALERT) begins Jennifer's journey with cancer, it is still an enjoyable book.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who read the O'Malley series and to anyone who is looking for a nice summer read.

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

Monday, June 10, 2013

Clear Winter Nights

Unfortunately, this book does not come out until September 17th.  Fortunately, it is a good book and worth the wait.

The tag line at the bottom of the cover says "Theology in Story".  That is an apt description for this small but powerful book.  A young man, Chris Walker, has doubts about his faith and struggles to really know truth.  He spends a weekend with his grandfather who helps him worth through his struggles.  Together they discuss more than just his struggles but the deeper truths.  The book weaves theology into story seamlessly and wonderfully.

Some may be quick to compare this book with The Shack.  I would not.  This book is more realistic and relate-able whereas The Shack was more fictitious and fantasy.  Clear Winter Nights delves into truths without getting other-worldly.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  For more inforamation, you can check out the author's website.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales

A young lawyer, Landon Reed, is no stranger to controversy.  He already spent 2 years in jail for a conviction of point shaving while playing football in college.  He found Jesus and is turning his life around.  His girlfriend, Kerri, waited for him while he was in prison, and married him as soon as he was released.  She is an up and coming journalist wanting to make it big.  It does not take long for trouble to find Landon and Kerry.  He finds himself in the middle of a trial where his life is threatened and he needs to find out why.  It might be connected to the big story that Kerri is researching.  But will they stay alive long enough to find out?

This is certainly a page-turner.  Even though the story is far-fetched, it is an enjoyable read.  It kept my interest throughout the 400+ pages because the author gave the reader just enough information to keep me interested without giving away the whole story.  I was on the edge of my seat all the way up to the very end.

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

Author Q & Ahttp://mediacenter.tyndale.com/downloads/press_kits/DeadLawyersAuthorQA.pdf 
Author video(s)Author Video and Book Trailer
Randy Singer’s website:  http://www.randysinger.net/

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Barefoot Summer

The first half of this book was too slow.  The author doled out the backstory piece by piece which took up too much print.  I was starting to get bored with the book and would have put it down if not for this review.  The second half the of the book was interesting and exciting.  The pace of the story started to pick up and the story line was finally interesting.

The story is about Madison McKinley who struggles with the loss of her twin brother who died tragically 10 years ago.  She stuffed her emotions and tried to move with life, but that never works.  She finally has to face her emotions and the truth of what happened.  When she does, she finds hope.

I liked the story, but I wish the backstory was not so slow in developing.  I still recommend the book because of how the characters had to deal with real emotions and face real truths in their lives.

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

Monday, May 27, 2013

Gone South

Tish McComb leaves her life in Michigan and buys a home in Alabama.  This house was once owned by her great-great-grandparents, Nathan and Latisha McComb for whom she is named after.  By moving to a new town, Tish is trying to rebuild her life after the tragic death of her fiance.  However, the people of this small town still remember her ancestors, and they do not take kindly to strangers or to what the McComb family did.  Is the past truly in the past or does it affect those living in the present?  Tish is about to find out.

Like the cadence of a southern drawl, the story line was slow and deliberate.  At times, it was too slow.  I got bored about 200 pages into the story, and it was 300 before the truth comes out.  It was not a bad story, just one that took too long to develop.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  Visit the author's website here.

Monday, May 13, 2013

What a Son Needs From His Mom

Nothing I read in this book was earth-shattering.  Instead it was a gentle reminder that as a mother, my role is to prepare my children, especially my son, to leave the home and become independent adults.  The hard part is letting go.

The one takeaway I have is that adolescent boys are trying to separate from their moms. It is a natural part of life; however, it is not always easy.  I am now aware that some of the conflicts between a mother and son are normal and natural.  As the boy asserts his independence, the mother needs to relinquish control.  That is hard to do when the mother has had to take care of the child's many needs since the day he was born.  She needs to let go and let him make a few mistakes as he learns to take care of himself, both physically and emotionally.

I would recommend this book to moms of adolescent boys.  This is when we need the reminder to continue to love and guide our sons to adulthood while letting go of our need to control every part of their lives.

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

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Afloat

I usually enjoy diving into a good work of fiction.  Unfortunately, I felt like I was drowning while reading this book.  (Yes, puns intended!)

The story is about a single mom who is trying to do her best to raise her son alone.  She lives in an apartment on the water, literally built on floats.

The story is also about a man who is building these floating apartments.  He is struggling to face his own demons of alcoholism and family dysfunction.

The apartment experiences catastrophic damage, the river rises, and the people are stranded.  Communication is down, electricity is off, and the water is potentially hazardous.

The plot sounds exciting enough; however, the first half of the book takes place on just one day.  There were too many characters with their own issues thrown together in the life or death experience.  There was also some sort of supernatural occurrences, but the reader was never sure what was real and what was fake.

Overall, it was just too much fantasy for me to make this story realistic.

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

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Guardian

Beverly Lewis is the trailblazer for Amish fiction.  I remember reading The Shunning years ago while discovering this new genre.  She set the standard for all others who endeavoured to write Amish fiction.

In this latest book, Jodi Winfield visits a local Amish community and rediscovers her own faith while learning about the Amish culture.  The story is also about Maryanna Esh, a young widow and mother of 4, who learns that she can love again.

The storyline is nice.  The setting is charming.  The people are delightful.  Even the food sounds delicious.  The middle of the book was tedious as the plot stagnated, but the ending was satisfying.  Overall, this was a good book.

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

Sunday, April 28, 2013

For Women Only (Revised and Updated)

Even though I read this book when it first came out almost 10 years ago, this latest edition is worth reading as well as rereading.

I have learned that marriage is not easy.  This book is a reminder that marriage takes work.  We women have the opportunity to understand our men better.  Many conflicts and disagreements stem from our differences.  Once we understand these differences, conflicts and disagreements can be resolved or even avoided.

I appreciate the honesty from the author, Shaunti Feldhahn, and from the men she surveyed.  The truth hurts sometimes.  However like a open wound, it needs to be cleaned out properly before healing can occur.  This book is the cleaning that leads to healing.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Read the first chapter here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

7 Men

Sometimes biographies are dry and dull, but not this one.  Eric Metaxas has a gift for making stories of great men come alive.  We have a lot to learn from these men as the truths they lived by are still relevant today.

The 7 men profiled in this book are all great men.  I am sure there are more great men, and women, who could have arguably been included.  However, these 7 men made great contributions to society because of their faith.  They were compelled to do great things.  However, they refused to lie, deceive, manipulate, or lower their standards.  These men modeled true greatness.

My personal favorites were the profiles of Eric Liddell and Jackie Robinson.  Even still, all 7 men are inspiring.  I hope this is the first of many books by Eric Metaxas where he profiles many great men and women.

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

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Humble Orthodoxy

Joshua Harris holds nothing back as he reminds us that being a Christian is more than just knowing about Christ.  Being a Christian is about living like Christ.  For many of us this is nothing new but something we all need to remember.  It is too easy to live like a Pharisee with a list of rules.  It is much harder to live like Jesus who was about love and forgiveness.

The one statement really spoke to me was from page 37: "Don't measure yourself by what you know.  Measure yourself by your practice of what you know."  I will be honest and say that I am guilty of knowing a lot but not doing a lot.  I pray I can be more like Christ.

As previous reviewers have noted, this is a small book.  To me this book is more like a sermon.  It can be read in one sitting, but it can also be reread easily.


I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  Read Chapter 1 here.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Take a Chance on Me

If you need a good book to read, this is the one.  It is a story of redemption and forgiveness, hope and healing.

Ivy Madison spent her childhood in limbo first with a drug addict mom and then in foster care.  She just wants to settled down in a place where she belongs.  She hopes Deep Haven is that place.  What she finds is that there are those in Deep Haven who have lived there their entire life but still struggle to belong.  Ivy meets Darek Christiansen who struggles to forgive not just those who harmed him but to forgive himself.  Ivy and Darek fall in love, but first must overcome their own issues before they can face life together.

SPOILER ALERT:  Even though I knew there would be a fire in the story, given Darek's background, it was still surprising that Darek did not quickly join the hotshots.  I thought he would return to doing what he loved.  Instead he realizes that he used hotshotting to used to escape his life.  So that part of the story was unexpected.


Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.  Check out Author Q&A, Chapter 1, and video trailer.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

God Distorted

No matter how wonderful, or not so wonderful, your earthly father was, your Heavenly Father is perfect and loves you perfectly.  This is the message of this book.

With hope and healing, John Bishop shares his journey to understand who God truly is.  He is honest about his struggle especially about forgiveness.  I appreciate his words that forgiveness "is not a one-time thing but a whole way of life."  This is true for all of us because life is not without its hurts.

I was blessed with a good father, but I know I am in the minority.  I read this book realizing just how lucky I was.  However, no man is perfect, and this book opened my eyes to how I had some distorted views of God.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  Read the first chapter here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Icecutter's Daughter

It has been a long time since I read a good book such as this one.  It was not amazing; however, it was a nice leisurely read.  The book had romance, a dash of suspense, and a nice helping of family.  It was just what I needed!

Merrill is a strong woman who has been taking care of her father and older brothers after the death of her mother.  She is quite capable and is not looking to find a husband especially after living with so many men for so long.  Of course, when she least expects it, a new man comes into to town and she falls in love.  The twist is that she does not realize she is falling in love.  He loves her, too, but there are some complications that are getting in the way.  Only after much drama and suspense are they able to admit their love for each other.

I probably gave the book away, but with all historical romance, the reader knows that the man and woman at the center of the story will fall in love and live happily ever after.  Even though I knew it was going to happen, it was fun to find out how it would happen.  That is why I enjoyed reading this book.

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

Friday, April 5, 2013

Firsthand

Being a Christian is more than just doing good things and saying the right thing.  Yet, all too often, we boil down our faith to just a to-do list.  The Shook brothers challenge us to throw out the lists and make a relationship with God our focus.

Ryan and Josh Shook may be young but they are wise in their words.  Even though I am a few years, okay many years older, than the Shook's, I could relate to a lot of what they were saying.  No matter how old you are, we all need to make sure our focus is on a relationship with God not a list of rules and regulations.

I am grateful that Ryan and Josh were open and honest about their journey of faith.  They went from good church boys to men with deep faith in God.  It was not an easy journey but one that was necessary and inspiring.

Waterbrook Multnomah provide me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

When Jesus Wept

I have previously read novels by the Thoene's and have enjoyed their work.  However, this latest book was not to my liking.

In the genre of Biblical fiction, I understand that the novel will add more to the Biblical story.  Providing additional dialogue and action is necessary to character development and to develop a story line.  Yet, I do not agree with some of the threads of this story.  One that really bothered me was that Mary, the sister of Lazarus, is Mary Magdalene.  There are many people named Mary who are part of the gospel story, but I am not sure that Mary Magdalene is the same as Mary, sister of Lazarus.

Another thing that bothered me about this book was the character of Martha.  I have often identified with her character in the Bible as I, too, am a servant who works hard and sometimes forget to just sit and listen to what God is telling me.  In this book, her character is never developed.  She is just the dutiful sister of Lazarus who continues to serve and do the hard work necessary to maintain a household.  For as much attention is given to Mary, Martha continues to be overlooked.

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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Dream So Big

Reading this book was like taking a journey with the Peifer family.  The path was long with many unexpected twists and turns, but the views were stunning and well worth the trip.

The journey begins when Steve and Nancy Peifer found out in the middle of the pregnancy of their third child that he would not live very long, or even live outside of the womb.  The news was devastating.  They choose not to terminate the pregnancy.  Instead they choose to birth their third child and live as long as they could together.  Little Stephen died after 8 days.  As a way to deal with their pain, the Peifers moved their family to Africa as missionaries.  It was there that they saw beauty from their ashes.

The reason this book feels like a journey is that Steve writes in such an honest voice.  He shares the ups and downs and everything in between of being a missionary.  I felt like I was with the family when they lost a son, moved to Africa, served the poor, and adopted twins.  Thankfully the journey is not over as the Peifers continue to bring hope to a nation starving for hope.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Stress Test

In summary, Dr. Matt Newman is a in the midst of changing jobs but is kidnapped, almost murdered, and faces unemployment and possible jail time.  If that is not enough to stress someone out, I don't know what is!

I enjoyed the suspense and the mystery of this story.  It was a page-turner!  Even until the last few pages, I did not know how the mystery would be solved.  However, I was not thrilled with the ending because it came from out of nowhere.  I won't give it away, but I will say that I did not see that coming.  The ending did not make sense to me.  It was not that I did not see it coming but that the author did not provide any details or storyline that would point to this direction.  So as much as I enjoyed reading this book, I was not satisfied with how it ended.

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

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Full Armor of God

This book is a study of Ephesians with the focus on the armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10-20.  It would make for a good 7 week study.

The struggle between good and evil, angels of light and angels of darkness is not new.  However, we would be wise to not forget about this struggle.  We will all struggle.  Some days the fight is harder than others.  On other days, we are in training before a battle, but we will have to fight.  This book gives us the training we need to fight those battles.  We cannot fight without being prepared, and this book gives all believers the preparation they need.

I enjoyed this book as a reminder of the struggle between good and evil.  It is not the best book I have read on this subject, but it is clear and concise, and basic enough for all believers to be encouraged.

Chosen, a division of Bethany House, has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Love No Matter What

This book could have been titled, "What to Expect During the Teenage Years." Teens are going to rebel and try to determine for themselves what is truth in their lives.  We hope, as Christian parents, that they will accept Christ, but this does not always happen even with the best of parents.  The question is what do we do?  What happens when our children do not accept the truth we have lived?  Do we disown our own flesh and blood?  I hope not.  Yet, how to we love and accept the prodigal child?

Brenda Garrison offers hope to those who struggle with these questions.  You are not alone, and you are not to blame.  She herself lived through the challenging teenage years, and still works to maintain a healthy relationship with her daughter even when her daughter makes decisions she does not agree with.  The unique part of this book is that her daughter shares her own thoughts on these issues.  It is a unique perspective.

Some of the concepts are so revolutionary that I am having a hard time agreeing with everything in this book.  However, I certainly agree that my parenting needs to change as my children change.  What works for toddlers does not work for teenagers.  I have to adapt to the stages in life as much as they do, and it is never easy growing up!

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


Monday, March 18, 2013

A Matter of Trust

It was a good thing that I had free time this weekend to read this book.  I did not want to put it down!

In this latest mystery by Lis Weihl, a new cast of characters is introduced.  This is not the same characters from the Triple Threat, but it is the same genre of mystery and suspense.

The lead character, Mia Quinn, is an everywoman.  She is a single mom after the recent death of her husband.  She is trying to make her way in a profession that requires more time and energy than she can provide.  As she is confiding her worries to her closest friend, Colleen, over the phone, Mia hears a gunshot and never hears her friend speak or breath again.  It is up to Mia to figure out who the killer is and to figure out how to balance family and career without hurting anyone else in the process.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope that there are more Mia Quinn books to follow.

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

Thursday, March 14, 2013

One Nation, Under Attack

I do not usually read books about politics and economics, but I try to keep my options open when given a book to review.  This book is not necessarily eye-opening; however, it does give many statistics and provide many details about the true status of the economy.

I had recently scratched my head at the current upward trend of the Dow Jones.  If that is going up, why is the economy going down?  This book sheds light on the dichotomy of what the media and federal government portrays in contrast to what is actually going on.

As I read the book, I was inundated with data and numbers that made my head hurt.  By the time I was ready to just shut down and live off the grid, the author provides the reader with advice on how to live in this Economic Armageddon.  His advice is sound and easy to apply.  No matter what you think, it is always a good idea to be prepared.

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

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Firefly Island

By the end of the book, I was really enjoying this story.  Mallory Hale leaves her independent life in D.C. to become a wife and mother in rural Texas.  She learns a great many things in this life transition and is better for it.

My problem with this book was the first 150 pages.  The backstory was too much; it took too long to get to the real story; and I almost put the book down because I was losing interest.  Since I had to finish the book in order to write this review, I pressed on.

Towards the end of the book, I felt like the story was rushed just to finish it.  With all the belabored descriptions of the first half of the book, I was dumbfounded the end came so quickly.  The book would have been better if it had started with chapter 10 and a few more chapters were added at the end to finish the story line.  There were a few things left unfinished which makes me wonder if there will be a sequel.

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

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Upside-Down Prayers for Parents

At first glance, the prayers in this devotional seem harsh.  Pray that my children will get caught doing wrong.  Pray that they will fail.  Pray that they will be confronted by shortcomings.  However, when I  dig deeper, I see the wisdom of these prayers.  By getting caught doing wrong, my children will be able to experience the power of confession.  By failing, my children will learn what matters and what does not matter.  By recognizing their own shortcomings, my children will recognize the need for a Savior.  Each of these prayers brings a deeper understand of God and His love for us.

This book encourages parents to pray for their children and to be honest about what we really want for them.  An easy life without experiencing any kind of pain or sacrifice will not mature children in their faith.  To be honest, I need to pray these prayers for myself as much as I do for my children.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  Read the first chapter here

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Blessed Church

If you read only one book this year on growing the church, let this be the one.  It is clear and concise as well as straightforward and thought-provoking.  Robert Morris has experienced how a healthy church can grow when God directs the path, and  he wants to encourage the rest of us to experience that growth.

Even though I am not a pastor, or even married to one, I was able to glean many treasures from this book.  I am more understanding of my pastor's need for dedicated time to study Scriptures and how he cannot be everything for everyone.

There is a need for more leadership in the church body where people use the gifts God has given them.  As the church grows, so does the need for more leadership.  I appreciate how Robert Morris uses both good and bad examples to support this idea.  He even admits to his own failures so that we can learn from his mistakes.

I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  For more information visit their website or read the first chapter here.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Sky Beneath My Feet

The predicament that Beth falls into is not something I can relate to; however, how often in life do we find ourselves in unexpected places?  In this I can relate.  We all find ourselves in situations we never anticipated or expected.

Once Beth is left alone by her husband and ignored by her children, she must discover who she really is.  She wonders if the dreams she had as a young woman are still dreams for today.  She wants to connect with God in a deep way only to find that she can meet with God not in a geographical place but in a place within her heart.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  So often Christian fiction is too sappy and sweet with a few Bible verses thrown in for good measure.  Instead this book is real and authentic where believers struggle to hear God in the midst of the activity of life.  I could truly relate to the characters and the struggles they face.

Thomas Nelson provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.  I am not under compulsion to provide a positive review, only this honest review.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Your Beautiful Purpose

Every once in a while a book comes along that speaks directly to a woman's heart.  This is that book.  Like a breath of fresh air on a spring day, this book invigorates the soul and brings healing to a wounded heart.

Women are insecure.  I have yet to meet a woman who did not suffer from some measure of insecurity. Insecurity is when we look inside ourselves and see what we lack.  The opposite of insecurity is security which can only be found in God.  When we look to God, we see what we have which is abundant love and acceptance.  Susie Larson points us to God in many and various ways to give us hope.  She encourages us with a gentle touch and a reassuring pat on the back.  I am grateful for her words of wisdom and her inspiring ministry.

I read this book as a stand alone.  I did not get to view the DVD.  That being said, this book would make for a great study with a group of ladies.  The questions at the end of the chapter are more than just asking how you fell but challenge the reader to see what God says and to determine how we can respond to His truth.

Bethany House provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.  I am not under compulsion to provide a positive review, only this honest review.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Woman's Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year

Reading the Bible in a year has become a popular endeavor.  However, the quest can be daunting.  This book encourages women to meet the challenge and to do so with joy.

The unique thing about this yearly reading method is that it is broken down by weeks instead of days.  You can start any time since the weeks are not dated.  So it really you are reading the Bible in 52 weeks.  I also like that the New Testament books are interspersed throughout the year.

Diane Stortz encourages women not to do this alone but to join or create a group who reads through the Bible together.  The group will provide the necessary encouragement and accountability one needs to read through the entire Bible is just 52 weeks.

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

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Do Hard Things

As a mother of a teenager, I can attest to the growing movement of low expectations for the current generation of teens.  This pervasive attitude is subtle, yet so harmful.  For young adults today, it is a challenge to overcome this apathetic attitude of just do enough to get by.  

Just when I thought there was no hope for change, Alex and Brett Harris prove that teens can rise above the current culture and affect change in the world.  Not only do these twin brothers do more than just the average teenager, if one even exists, they also motivate others to do more, too.  They admit it is not easy, it will be hard, it will take you out of your comfort zone, and you can't do it alone.  But you can do it!

Thank you, Brett and Alex, for restoring my hope in teenagers of today.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  Read the first chapter or check out this video.

Friday, February 8, 2013

To Honor and Trust

It is not hard to figure out the plot when the front cover of the book shows a bride and groom standing hand in hand.  However, the story begins with a young woman, Callie, who has sworn off marriage and a young man, Wes, who does not want to socialize with the many wealthy families who visit Bridal Veil Island.  So the reader expects the two to fall in love and get married before the end of the story.

Without ruining the story, Callie and Wes do fall in love as expected.  I was bored with the story line because it took 200 pages before Callie and Wes admit their affection for each other.  There were a few obstacles to overcome and some of the characters had to change their opinions and desires before the story was complete.  Yet none of these story elements involved significant drama or soul searching.  The pace of the story was slow and predictable.  It was not an exciting story but more of a nice read.

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

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Heaven's Lessons

Simple, short, and straight to the point.

Steve Sjogren has gone through a near death experience (NDE), and has written a book about it.  Unlike other books (90 Minutes in Heaven and Heaven is For Real), he reflects not on what he saw but on what he learned from the NDE.  In this book, he summarizes the ten things he learned about himself yet apply to the rest of us.

For me, the chapter, "Get Over It", was the most applicable.  I struggle with bitterness and unforgiveness.  Steve explains, "The difference between those who flourish and those who merely get by is this: the successful choose to endure the pain necessary to live forgiving others."  Those were words that were hard to read, yet were exactly what I needed to hear.

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

Friday, February 1, 2013

I Still Believe

I have always been encouraged by the music of Jeremy Camp and in this book, I was able to be inspired by the message behind the music.

Jeremy shares the raw emotion behind some of his most popular songs.  These songs were written in the midst of trials and tribulations.  He endured the loss of his first wife, Melissa, to cancer, yet he continues to sing of God's faithfulness in "Walk By Faith."  Only with God's strength and provision can he write and sing these songs.

It really is an amazing story, and one that is not finished.  His second wife, Adrienne, is understanding of Jeremy's platform and encourages him to continue to share his story from the stage and to sing of God's goodness even in the midst of trials and temptations.

I am grateful to Tyndale House who provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review which I freely give.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quiet

Even an extrovert like me can learn a lot from introverts.

Susan Cain explores the strengths and weaknesses of introverts who find themselves in an extrovert dominant culture.  I am can identify with many of these issues.  I am married to an introvert who, like many examples in this book, has adopted some extroverted attributes in order to find success in his work.  I understand him better and can enjoy his introverted tendencies.  I now have an appreciation for introverts and how they can contribute to society in ways that extroverts cannot.

What I like about this book is that it was not about introverts being better than extroverts or vice versa.  It was a balanced approach to a balanced issue.  I also like how the author explained the data.  It was not dry or boring like some scientific research can be.  It was fascinating an interesting.

My disclaimer for this review is that even though this book is from a Christian publisher, this book was written from a psychologist's perspective.  There are some things that may not be in agreement with a Biblical worldview.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  For more about this book, check out the video and read the first chapter.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Moon Over Edisto

Julia has built a decent life in Manhattan far from her dysfunctional family of South Carolina.  It was at their vacation home on Edisto that she has her most treasured childhood memories.  It was also there that her father fell in love with her college roommate, divorced her mom, and then had a second family.  Julia has spent the last 20 years avoiding the messy family situation.  But when her old college roommate and now step-mom is dying, Julia must face her past and decide if she can forgive.

There were many things that I liked about this book.  The writing flowed well.  The story progressed nicely.  The characters were real and relateable.  There were a few things that the book was lacking.  Julia, and a few other characters, must search their hearts and determine to forgive; however, the author does not go into depth with how they were able to forgive.  It just happened.  I wanted to know how these characters were able to overcome the bitterness that grew in their hearts for the last 20 years.

I also wanted to know more about the dad who loved his first wife and family but was so easily swayed by this young college girl.  Julia remembers him as a wonderful man, but there must have been some sort of character flaw or moment of weakness that is left out of the story.

This was an enjoyable, albeit shallow book to read.  Thomas Nelson provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Alone,Yet Not Alone

I ordered this book for my 11 year old daughter who loves American history and Indian culture.  I read it first and thoroughly enjoyed it.  My daughter enjoyed the book so much, she read it in 2 days and is now reading it again.

Barbara Leininger is torn from her family during an Indian raid and forced to adapt to the Indian culture.  Before she is forced into marriage with an Indian brave, she escapes with 3 other captives.  Together, they must travel 300+ miles on foot to reach freedom.  Living as an Indian was not easy nor was her escape.  Yet through it all, she maintained her faith and her determination to see her younger sister again.

This is an inspiring story for everyone.  I am thankful for Zondervan who provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Come to the Table

I have been reading the Yada Yada series since it was just one book.  Now it is a series of 7 books with multiple spin-offs.  I was thrilled for the opportunity to read this latest installment of the series.

One of the reasons I wanted to read this book was because I really did not like the character of Kat who appeared in Stand By Me, the first book in the SoulOut Sisters series.  She really annoyed me which does not usually happen as I read a book.  I know it is fiction, but the portrayal of a college age girl who thinks she knows everything and is not teachable really bothered me.  She also seems quite spoiled especially in her quest to teach people how to eat right, yet she does not understand the financial investment of healthy food.  In this book, she does learn a few things and develops into a like able person.  She discovers that helping people is more than just telling them to eat right.  So I think that Kat redeemed herself by the end of the book, and I am still a fan of Neta Jackson's writing.

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

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Be Still: Let Jesus Calm Your Storm

I just finished reading Be Still written by my blogging friend Cherie Hill.  Her writing is saturated with Scripture.  The truth just washes over you as you read with verse throughout her writing, at the end of each chapter, and at the end of the book.

This book is a reflection on the story of Jesus calming the storm found in the gospels of Mark and Luke.  There is so much to learn from this story.  There is purpose in the storm.  God is with us in the storm.  The storm is a vehicle for God to demonstrate his majesty.  It is in the storm that we can be strengthened and encouraged.

As I read this book, I wondered why I fear the storms of life.  It is in the storm that we most see God's power.  It is in the storm that I have to depend on Him.  It is in the storm that I can grow deeper in my faith.  Maybe now I can appreciate the storms that will inevitably come.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Who Do You Think You Are?

What a great book to start off this new year!  Our identity in Christ is the foundation of who we are, and "our identity determines our activity" (p. 39).  So I better know who I am if I want my activity to truly reflect my identity.

This book is actually a study in Ephesians as each of the 16 chapters starts with a passage from Ephesians and then expounds on the truth in reference to who are as believers in Christ.  I was envisioning a 16 part sermon series as I read this book.  Each chapter starts with the passage, provides a real-life example, and then delves into the Biblical truth.  The author is really straightforward in his delivery, even though the content can be quite deep.

I did like how this book challenged me to work on forgiveness and loving others as Christ loved me.  As with any teaching, I am always driven to seek God's Word myself and listen to Him as He teaches me.  This book is just a tool to be more proactive about studying God's truth.

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

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Breath of Dawn

It is not often that after reading a 400+ page book, I wish the book was longer.  This was such a well written and enjoyable story, I did not want it to end.

In this book, Quinn Reilly is trying to live independently after having to leave her family, her home, and her past.  Morgan Spencer is a widow who has spent the last 2 years of his life raising his daughter, writing books, and avoiding grief.  As their paths cross, both Morgan and Quinn learn to heal, to trust, and to love again.

I recognized some of the characters in this latest book by Kristin Heitzman as this is the third book in the Rush of Wings series.  However, each book is great as a stand alone novel and the books do not need to be read in order. 

I was thrilled that Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, sent me this novel to review. I am not obligated to provide a positive review but will give praise where praise is due.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Betrayal

In this second book of the "Where the Heart Lives" series, Hugh Brennan is trying to live the redeemed life and leave his sinful past behind.  He stumbles upon a widow, Julie Grace, who is in need of help around the farm.  She, too, is trying to live the redeemed life, but  neither of them open up about there struggles.  It will take time and testing before they both realize the love they share.

Much like the first book in this series, the main character did not have an easy childhood.  Hugh wants to be a better man, but life is not easy.  He struggles and works hard to be the man he wants to be.

I liked this book as much as the first.  It may be predictable, but it is enjoyable enough.  I did feel like the ending was rushed only because the middle of the book was slow.  It could have been 50 pages longer, but I am glad the author did not do that.

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

Belonging


Felicia did not have an easy childhood and has worked hard to make something of herself.  When she moves to Idaho, she intends to leave the past behind and become an independent woman.  She is not looking to fall in love, yet somehow love finds her.

This first book in the "Where the Heart Lives" series is charming.  The book opens with a mother dying and three siblings left as orphans.  This first book is about the middle child.  Presumably, upcoming books with be about the other two.  I will gladly read all the books in the series as the story line is enjoyable, predictable, but still enjoyable.

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