Monday, December 22, 2014

The 13th Gift

This is a delightful book to read at Christmastime!

Not everyone is in the holiday mood especially if you have lost a loved one this year.  This is exactly what Joanne Huist Smith faced the first Christmas after her husband died.  She was struggling to grieve and just could not face Christmas without her husband and the father of her 3 children.  Then the gifts started to arrive.  One a day for 12 days.  These gifts were small and simple, but they brought hope and joy back into their lives.

I could have read this book in one night.  It is the kind of book you read while sitting by the fire sipping hot cocoa with a dollop of whipped cream.  It is the kind of book you read when you need to be reminded that people are good and that live is worth living.  

Harmony books provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  For more information click here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bonhoeffer: Abridged

I wanted to read the original Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy; however, I did not get a chance to get a review copy.  When I saw this abridged edition was available, I was excited to read the book.

Bonhoeffer was an amazing man who lived an upright life in a challenging time.  This book provides a good synopsis of his life and of his involvement in the conspiracy to overthrow Hitler and the Third Reich.  Bonhoeffer is an inspiring person who did not succumb to evil or fall into the trap of moral pacifism, but instead he overcame evil with good.

I am glad I was able to read this abridged edition.  I did have a hard time following some of the history as it is from the German perspective.  While this is much needed to understand the context of Bonhoeffer's life, I struggled to remembered names and places.  I still am impressed by the courage and faith of Bonhoeffer and hope that more men like him will continue to stand for truth.

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

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Uncommon Marriage Adventure

Tony and Lauren Dungy have written a book for couples to help them improve their marriage relationship.  What I liked about this book is the honesty from both Tony and Lauren.  They admit their faults and their mistakes, but talk about how they learn from it.

God is at the center of their marriage, and that is the example we all need to emulate.

This devotional is for wives and husbands to read together as they work to improve their marriage.  If there is anything I have learned from being married is that it takes work.  No matter how long you have been married, it is not a given that you will stay married.

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Perfect Score Project

With a high schooler and middle schooler in the house, I am definitely looking towards preparing for college.  I wanted to read this book to gain insight in one of the most dreaded of the college prep tests, the SAT.  I discovered that a lot has changed in 30 years since I had to take the test.

Debbie Stier attempts to uncover the best method for preparing for the SAT in the year before her oldest child must take it.  In her research, she finds things that work and things that did not.  She also finds conflicting information from reputable test prep companies.  I am grateful for all her research so I know what to do and what not to do.

As I was reading, I realized that I was beginning to cheer for Debbie as she attempted to get a perfect score on the SAT.  She admits her defeats and attempts to overcome them.  I was tempted to skip to the end to see if she did indeed get a perfect score.  I won't tell if I did, nor will I tell if she did.  You will have to read the book yourself.

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

Saturday, October 18, 2014

God's Story for You

This is the first book of eight in the Victory Series whihc is published by Freedom in Christ Ministries.  As with all their publications, the goal of this study is to break the bondage of sin and enjoy freedom in Christ.  This particular book explores the basics of belief including sin, salvation, and sanctification.

The book contains 30 daily studies broken up into 6 weeks.  It is a great format for a small group Bible study.  I like that it is more than just a devotional reading but an interactive study with questions and space for personal reflection.

For someone who has gone through the Steps to Freedom, this would be a good follow-up to help grow in their faith.

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible

With 66 books of the Bible, reading and understanding the whole book is a challenge.  Instead, it is easier to understand when you read one book at a time.  This Quick-Start Guide helps by summarizing each book and explaining what it means in the context of the whole Bible.

This book is not a read it cover-to-cover kind of book.  Instead, it is a great addition to a refernce library.  It is a book you will grab each time you start to read a new book of Bible.

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

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Forever Christmas

They are high school sweethearts.  Beth is a charming woman who sees good in others and loves to help.  Andrew is a charming man who is using the good in others to progress his career.  Their marriage is not what is used to be, but Andrew gets a chance to do something to change all that.

I don't know how to review this book without giving away the ending.  I thought I knew what was going to happen, but I was not so sure.  It's a Christmas novella so I anticipated a sweet and happy ending.  Yet I started to think that it might not happen.  What did happen was better than what I hoped but it still was unexpected.  I am not sure if I am making sense, but I am sure that this is a good book.  

If you read nothing else this holiday season, read this.

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

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Real Win

Matt and Colt are writing to encourage men to pursue a real win in life.  It's not about winning games or finding success or leaving a legacy.  Instead it is about seeking God and finding purpose.

It is true that God created men to work hard and achieve.  Yet often in pursuing good things, God gets ignored.  The authors encourage men to seek a real win, not just a temporary fix with fame or success.

Even though I am a woman, I got a lot out of this book.  As I read about things the men in my life face, I began to understand their struggles better. I found myself praying for them as I read.  It was enlightening for me.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review where you can find more information or read the first chapter.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Book of Revelation Made Clear

Revelation is the most challenging book of the Bible.   With symbolism, imagery, prophecy, and judgements, it is a hard book to read and to understand.  Tim Lahaye and Timothy Parker have written a book that will help everyone read and understand Revelation.

Each chapter has a passage of Scripture, a pre-quiz, an explanation, and the answers to the quiz.  With this simple structure, the reader goes through the entire book of Revelation.  It is an easy way to get a basic understanding of a difficult book.

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

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Son of Hamas

My understanding of the conflict in the mideast is woefully inadequate.  This book helped me begin to comprehend what is happening and why.  It also helped me realize that it is not a good guy vs. bad guy conflict.

Mosab is the son of a founding leader of Hamas; however, he is not fully committed to the cause.  His questions lead him to become a spy for Shin Bet, the Israeli intelligence service.  His questions did not stop there as he eventually became a believer in Jesus Christ.  This belief forced him to leave his country, his career, and his family behind.

I don't know if my faith will ever be challenged like Mosab.  His family disowned him as he turned his back on Islam.  It was not done lightly, but he had to be true to the truth.

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

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Confession

Confession is not only good for the soul but is also a good read.

Holt Douglas is a good man with a very secret sin.  As the assistant district attorney, he argues before a judge to fight for truth.  Trish Carmichael is a deputy sheriff who makes sure the bad guys are caught so they can face the judge.  Both want the truth, and eventually have to face the truth in their lives.

This book was enjoyable to read and interesting enough to keep my attention throughout.  I thought I had the story line figured out, but I was wrong.  I was satisfied with how the story ended because it was better than I expected.

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


Friday, August 15, 2014

Miracle in Dry Season

With drama and romance, this book engages the reader with thought provoking storytelling.

Perla moves to Wise, West Virginia, to escape the scrutiny of her hometown.  She brings with her a child out of wedlock, but she is trying to move on with her life.  Casewell is a bachelor who is trying to make a life for himself but finds that his single ways are very lonely.

The story is simple enough and the characters are real.  What I most liked about this book was that it made me think about the characters even when I was not reading the book.  I could feel what they were feeling.  Along with the characters, I pondered love and forgiveness.  The book really open my heart to what it means to forgive the way God forgives.

I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

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

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Middle School: The Inside Story

With a teen and a tween in my house, I can use a little help and encouragement.  This book gave me hope about my adolescents and gave me guidance about how I can help and encourage them.

The authors examine the mind of an middle schooler and share their experiences.  Both are mothers, and Sue Acuna is a middle school teacher.  They know what they are talking about and are well qualified to help other parents.

My one take-away is that there will be mistakes to be made and struggles to endure.  We really can't avoid all problems, but we can better deal with the problems that will inevitably occur.  I now know that it is okay to stumble and fall because then we can pick ourselves up and try again.  It really is not the end of the world as the teenage mindset seems to think.

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

Game Changer

This autobiography of NFL quarterback Kirk Cousins is great for tween to young teenage boys.  It is written directly to this young male audience.

Kirk shares his experiences with football as a springboard to share his faith.  He uses real life examples to encourage young men to grow in their faith.

The book is not in chronological order.  Each chapter focuses on an aspect of faith using football as this vehicle to exercise faith.

I would recommend this book to anyone playing youth football.

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

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mindwar

As with all of Andrew Klavan books, this story weaves science fiction and faith with the protagonist struggling to do what is right in the face of adversity.

Rick Dial was a star high school football but is now recovering from a car accident that has hurt his legs.  A month after the accicent, his dad walks out on the family.  To deal with all of this, Rick holes up in his room playing video games.  His game playing is not for naught as he is recruited to enter into the Realm where he has to fight and win with no lives to lose.

These books are easy to read and interesting enough for teenage boys.  I requested this book because I knew my son would like it.  It reminds me of S.H.I.E.L.D, which is the newest television show with science fiction drama.

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

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Dad is Fat

Jim Gaffigan is hilarious in his stand-up routine and just as funny in his book.  His humor is clean, but more importantly, I laughed out loud while reading this book.

Jim is the father of 5 children under the age of 7 living with his "highly fertile" wife in a 2-bedroom apartment in New York City.  That summary of his life is all he needs for his material.  His life is just plain funny, and he shares the humor in this book.  I only have 2 children but I could relate to all his stories.

I recieved this book free from Blogging for Books for this review.  Read more about this book here.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Appalachian Serenade

Delilah Morrissey wanted out of small town West Virginia in the 1930's, and marriage was her way out.  Instead of freedom, she was stuck in a bad marriage.  Her husband died and left her with a huge debt.  She had to move back to West Virginia and into the small home of her sister and brother-in-law.  Delilah wants to earn her keep and finds a job at the local store.  Of course in this historical romance, the storekeeper is a widowed man who notices the wonderful qualities in Delilah that make her a keeper, in more ways than one.

Since I live in West Virginia, I was interested in how the setting would tie into the story and how the locals would be portrayed.  I was pleasantly surprised that the characters were smart and hard-working. Often, we are portrayed as a bunch of hillbillies making moonshine.  The economy of this fictitious area depended on railway and on lumber.  Once again, I was surprised that coal was not the predominant industry, but it was not our only industry.

Overall, this was a nice book with a nice story.

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

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

NIV Life Journey Bible

It has been a while since I have reviewed a Bible; however, I had been looking for an NIV Bible for my Kindle so I thought I would this one a chance.

I like the ease of transitioning from one book to another in this ebook format.  The insights from Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsended are hyperlinked throughout the text.  In the print copy, the insights are printed on the page within the text.  I prefer the hyperlinks so that I can read them if I want, but can easily skip over them without being distracted.  You can also access the insights directly through the Insights Index where there is also the Essays Index and Profiles Index.

Readers who are new to the Bible can find books using the alphabetized list instead of the Table of Contents.  This is great for those who are not sure about obscure books of the Bible such as Philemon or Malachi.

The color maps are a nice addition, but the maps were too small even on my 8.9 inch screen.

Overall, I liked this digital version of this NIV Bible.  It was a much better experience than the very first NIV ebook I used a few years ago.

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

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Loving Kitchen

I enjoy looking at cookbooks for new ideas to add to my arsenal of recipes.  I found many enticing recipes that my family will enjoy.   I was able to try a few with ingredients already in my kitchen.  I do not like cookbooks that have recipes containing obscure or hard to find ingredients.  This one had many basic ingredients that everyone will have in their kitchen.

In order to do a proper review of this book, I had to test out some of the recipes.  The Best-Ever Banana Bread really was the best ever.  The sour cream kept the bread moist and tasty.  I also like the Roasted Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese.  Boiling the potatoes before roasting helped keep the potatoes soft and sweet on the inside yet crispy and salty on the outside.  Next I want to try the Crab and Corn Chowder when it's a rainy day and I am in the mood for a good soup.

I liked this cookbook and will return to it often.  I am thankful that Thomas Nelson provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Monday, June 9, 2014

A Broken Kind of Beautiful

Ivy is a New York City model who is aging out of the system as she approaches her 25th birthday.  Davis is a successful photographer who has turned away from his craft because it became an idol in his life.  God performs a miracle in both of their hearts as only God can do.  He redeems their past and brings hope to their future.

This is a book about redemption and love and family.  It was well written even though the readers knows what will probably happen in the end.  SPOILER ALERT: Ivy and Davis fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after.

Even still, this book was enjoyable and will make a great summertime read.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.  You can check out the author's website or read the first chapter here.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Deadly Business

As a fan of Lis Wiehl, I was excited to received an advanced copy of this book.  This book starts with courtroom drama, and never lets up.

Mia Quinn is taking her place in front of a courtroom as a prosecutor in a murder trial when the suspected murdered lunges at her and tries to slit her throat.  She fights off his attack and attempts to return to normal proceedings.  However, her life is far from normal.  She is a single mom who struggles to maintain the balance between work and family.  Her balance is thrown off when a detective suggests that her husband's death was not an accident but premeditated murder.  As she looks deeper into her husbands life, she finds out more than she ever anticipated.

The story is fast-paced with lots of drama, action, and intrigue.  I enjoyed reading this story and know that there is more to come as Mia is starting to have feelings for 2 men in her life.  There will certainly be another book in the Mia Quinn Mystery series.

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

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Undetected

Mark Bishop is a Navy submarine commander, and Gina Gray is a brilliant scientist and researcher who discovers ways to help submarines stay quiet underwater.  It seems like a match made in heaven, but it took a long time before these two people fall in love.

The book included a lot of background of submarine warfare and the software programs that Gina was trying to design.  The technical information was necessary to build up to the action at the end of the story; however, I felt that the book was longer than it needed to be.  I had to skim the last 100 pages to get to the real action and to see if Gina and Mark would finally fall in love.  The end is satifying yet seemed to come quickly after the 400+ page build up.

I like books written by Dee Henderson and am impressed with the amount of research she put into this story.  Yet I did not enjoy this book as much as her previous books.  It just felt too long and too wordy.

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

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Making of a Man

While I am not familiar with the work of Tim Brown, the men in my family know him and admire his athletic accomplishments.  What I read in this book is more than just feats of strength in his football career but the truths that he lives by.

Unlike most kids, Tim Brown did not dream of becoming an NFL legend.  He played a sport that got him a scholarship, and he worked hard at it.  That hard work paid off as he became an Oakland Raiders.  Yet football was not his life.  His life included faith, family, and football.

I admire a man who admits his struggles and mistakes because he learned from them.  He shares 20 things he learned that he wants to pass onto other men.  Even as a woman, I learned from him and hope many others can take his message and apply it to their lives.

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

Friday, May 16, 2014

Blind Descent

Climbing the highest peak in the world is not easy, and getting back down can be just as challenging.  What happened to Brian Dickinson is even more challenging as he sumitted alone and then went blind due to photokeratitis, otherwise known as snow blindness.  Climbing back down became almost insurmountable, but Brian used his skills as a mountain climber and training in the U.S. Navy to help him return home.

This was an interesting story and amazing in content; however, I was surprised that I almost at the end of the book before Brian reached the summit and became blind.  On my ebook, I was 75% into the book when this happened.  I thought the book would be more about descending blind, as per the title.  Instead it was more of a story about man who loved his family and love the adventure of climbing mountains.

Aside from the book, I am surprised that Brian decided to summit alone knowing all the risks he would be taking.  He also broke his UV goggles prior to summitting and still continued to climb knowing that snow blindness would occur when eyes are exposed to the sunlight at such high altitudes.  He spoke often of avoiding risks and being willing to not summit if the risks were too great.  Yet, that is exactly what he did.  I am not sure I understand why even after reading this book.

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

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Get Your Teenager Talking

Talking to teenagers is like running on a treadmill.  It's a lot of work, and yet you are not getting anywhere.  I have done this too many times, and am glad to have some helpful advice to encourage meaningful conversations.

As I read through these ideas, some were funny while some were thought-provoking.  There really is something for everyone.  However, I wanted to make sure that these ideas worked so I gave them a try.  I had a 2 hour drive to a sporting event with my 15 year old son and his 2 friends.  When there was a lull in the conversation, I asked a question from the book.  The boys responded and were excited to talk about their favorite food, celebrity crush, etc.  What was even more amazing was that one of the boys started asking his own questions similar to the ones from the book.

After we got home, my son saw this book on my nightstand and teased me that I am often reading books on parenting teenagers.  I told him that this one worked because I had used it on the car ride.  He was shocked as he had no idea that I was using questions directly from this book.

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

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

No Place to Hide

Lee Warren shares his experience as a Air Force neurosurgeon deployed to Iraq in 2005.  He is honest about what he saw and felt; and he is forever changed for it.

While we think of only the soldiers that required treatment, Warren also shares stories of locals who received medical help from our military.  Even more interesting are the stories of medical treatment for our enemies.  The hospital at Ballad treated everyone who came in on a stretcher.  It did not matter who they were or what they did.  The doctors, nurses, and support staff maintained their professionalism as they treated all the injured.

I enjoyed reading this book.  There were moments of comedy as well as tragedy, but Warren never tries to pull at the reader's heartstrings.  Instead, he does a great job sharing what he experienced as he heals from his own wounds of emotional and mental trauma.

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lost & Found

I am not familiar with the ministry of T.D. Jakes, but I am familiar with ministries where the children of prominent ministers go astray.  So I was interested in reading this book about the daughter of a great pastor and her struggles to find her own way in life.  I was also interested, as a mother of teenagers, to glean inspiration on how to better parent them.

Sarah Jakes lived a life contrary to her upbringing which included teenage pregnancy, flunking out of college, and divorce by the time she was in her early twenties.  She has certainly endured a lot in her short life which she admittedly brought on by her own bad choices.  She does have a higher level of understanding into the psyche of why she did what she did; however she did not change her ways and continued on her path of destruction.

The book ended, yet I don't think the story was finished.  It does not seem that Sarah Jakes has comprehended fully her past and how God has redeemed it.  The book just ended with a divorce and a new career path in her parents' ministry, the same ministry she wanted to excape.  However, I don't know if the lessons were learned and the past was overcome.  She just set herself on a new path.  The story is more about self-actualization and less about God's redemption.

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

Thursday, April 17, 2014

For Such a Time

Hadassah Benjamin, the main character of the story, is named after Hadassah of the Bible, also known as Queen Esther.  Just like the Bible story, she hides her Jewishness to help save her people.  In the process, she is falling in love with the fictious "king" of the story also know as Herr Kommandant.

Even though the story line mirrors the Biblical story, this book is still full of suspense and action.  The Book of Esther leaves out a lot of detail so this book adds the emotion and passion of the story.  There is also a lot of romance with more kissing that I thought necessary.

Overall, this book was enjoyable enough.  I like the backdrop of World War II, but it is not so much historical fiction as it is suspense and drama.

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

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Echoes of an Angel

Ben Underwood may have lost his eyes, but he never lost his sight.  Using echolocation, he was able to walk to school on his own, ride a bike, and even drive a car around a parking lot.  Thankfully, his mother did not find out until after he did it!

As I read this story, I was certainly amazed at the abilities of this young man.  He used the gifts God gave him to bring love and hope to others.  Yet, as a mother, I was touched by the love of his mother, Aquanetta Gordon.  She is the true hero of this story.  I do not know how she can continues to find hope after all she has endured.  She is truly amazing.

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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Heaven is for Real: Special Movie Edition

I am reading this book for the second time in preparation for the movie which comes out this month (April 2014).  I am struck once again by this amazing story.

Last time I read the book, I was focused on Colton's experience in heaven as it lines up with what the Bible teaches.  This time when I read, I was focused on Todd's experience as a dad watching his son suffer through an undiagnosed illness to the point that Colton was near death.  As a parent, I can understand Todd's emotion, including being angry with God.  The scene where Todd is alone in a hospital room having a meltdown with God is so moving to me.  I need to know that it is okay to be honest with God because even in the midst of my inner turmoil, He still loves and cares for me.

If you have not read this book, read it now.  As excited as I am to see the movie, the book is always better.

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Take This Cup

I did not read the first book in the Jerusalem Chronicles so this review is solely based on Take This Cup, the second book in this series.

The story is told from the first-person perspective of Nehemiah, a young boy living during the time of Jesus.  He is only 8 years old when he travels alone to Jerusalem leaving his family behind due to unfortunate circumstances.  He must fend for himself and ensure the safe delivery of a unique cup.  Like Nehemiah, the cupbearer to the king of the Old Testament, young Nehemiah is the cupbearer to the King of Kings.

While I did not dislike the book, it was not as interesting as I had hoped.  The fictitious story was woven together with elements from the New Testament including Lazarus's resurrection, the Last Supper, Nicodemus's question about being born again, as well as many of Jesus's parables.  If you don't know the Scriptures, it may be hard to separate fact from fiction.  I also did not believe that an 8 year old boy would be able to tell such a story as well as process the events that were occurring around him.  I would have believed a mature 12 year old, but not someone so young.

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

Monday, March 10, 2014

Distortion

I was excited to get an advanced copy of this book as I have been a fan of Terri Blackstock ever since reading The Suncoast Chronicles.  She writes good books of suspense and intrigue mixed with drama and a touch of romance.

This book is a continuation of the Moonlighters Series, and I have read Truth Stained Lies, but it was not necessary to read the previous book.  This time Juliet Cole finds herself in a seemingly avoidable tragedy until she starts to undercover the truth.  Her husband was not the man she thought he was, and he was involved in things that she had no clue that he was doing.

I do not want to spoil the story for anyone reading this review; however, I will say that the story line went from surprising, to far-fetched, to completely unbelievable.  I just could not believe that a wife would have no idea that her husband was involved in drug dealing and used his practice to fuel the prescription drug problem.  Also, the family was connected to 4 murders but the murders are no related.  I find that hard to believe.

Even though I was not pleased with the story line, Blackstock is a good writer.  The book was easy to read, and the action was not hard to follow.

I had this book on my list to buy as soon as it came out, but I was able to get a copy for review.  I am glad that I did not have to pay money for this book and that Zondervan through the BookLook Bloggers program gave me a free book in exchange for this honest review.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Miss Brenda and the Loveladies

Brenda Spahn had it all including a successful business, a loving husband, multiple homes, and vacations around the world.  Yet all of that did not truly satisfy.  She realized that there was more to life, and she needed whatever that was.

As she almost spent time in prison, Brenda's eyes were opened to the plight of women who leave prison.  As her eyes opened, she opened her home to help these women make the transition from prison to freedom, physically and spiritually.

I never realized how difficult is would to return to life after prison.  Neither did Brenda, but she did not let that stop her from helping these women.  In helping them, she was helped.  Brenda will be the first to admit that she became free when she started to help these women learn to be free.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.  Read the author's bio or find out more information.

Inscribed

This collection of 4 books is written for women by women.  Each one delves into a different facet of our spiritual life.  Each one challenges us to live our lives to the fullest and to experience God more deeply.

Leaving Ordinary is a book on prayer.  Donna Gaines shares how to truly connect with God in an intimate relationship with Him.

Dive Deeper is a book on faith.  Jennifer Jernigan explains the d.i.v.e. method to Bible study.  Using the book of Ephesians, the reader learns how to define, investigate, visualize, and embrace the Word of God.

Living So That is a book on making choices.  Wendy Blight equips the reader with practical application of the truths of the Bible.

Amazed and Confused is a book on Habakkuk.  Heather Zemple explores the book of a minor prophet who many of us have a hard time even finding in the Bible.

All of these books are well written and Biblically sound.  The one that most challenged me was Amazed and Confused.  I was so encouraged by the prophet Habakkuk and his authentic faith.  I was amazed at how much I could learn from this short 3 chapter book of the Bible.  I was also amazed at how much I could relate to Habakkuk.

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

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Open Your Eyes

Jake Olson is an amazing young man who is at the beginning of the path of greatness.

This is not an autobiography or even a memoir.  It is more of a refection on the truth that Jake lives.  His faith is deep, and his family is strong.  Together, Jake is able to overcome blindness and live a full life.

Jake continues to play golf, and this is a metaphor for his life.  He continues to do the things he loves even if he has to learn a new way to do it.  We can all learn the lesson to not let obstacles or struggles get in the way of us achieving a goal.  It takes hard work, persistence, a positive attitude, and a good support system.  Jake has it, and so can we.

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

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Godward Heart

Even though John Piper has written over 50 books, this is the first book I have ever read by him.  It was a great introduction to his writings and a great devotional for believers.

This devotional is a 50 chapter summary of the Christian faith.  Piper explores the basis of our faith as well as how to live a Godly life.  He does not provide a step-by-step explanation but instead guides the reader into a real heartfelt desire to follow God.  It is as inspiring as it is challenging.

The chapters are not long but the truths are deep.  I like that Piper can get to the heart of the matter without belaboring the point or becoming so verbose that the reader is bored.  Yes, I could have read this book in a few days, but I took longer to contemplate the deep Biblical truths that are not always easy to grasp.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.  Read the first chapter or check out the author's bio.  Also check out the Desiring God website.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Prepared for a Purpose

I guess you really never know what today may bring, and Antoinetter Tuff certainly could not have known what would happen on August 20, 2013.  Yet, she was prepared because she knows that God uses us to accomplish He works.

This is truly an amazing story.  With so many bad results from school shootings, it is refreshing to read a story that did not turn into tragedy.  Antionette's story is equaling amazing.  She came from a tough upbringing and was in a marriage where her husband was repeatedly unfaithful.  She herself had a lot to overcome.  Her back story is intertwined with the events of August 20, 2013, and both stories have a happy ending.

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

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Snapshot

Lis Wiehl is inspired by real events and a photo of herself as a child at a civil rights rally to right this fictitious suspense novel.  There is a murder, an innocent man on death row, and a father and daughter who come together to investigate the crime.  They love each other fiercely but have a hard time demonstrating that love.

With so much back story to cover, the first 100 pages were slow.  Once the groundwork is laid, the story line takes off.  The end is fast paced and action packed.  I had a hard time keeping up, but I wanted to know how the story would end.

I liked the characters and how the author developed them over the course of the story.  The book is not yet part of a series, but I would like to see these characters in future books.

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

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Take Charge of Your Emotions

Emotions are neither good nor bad, but it is what we do with our emotions that can have a negative impact on our lives.  Negative emotions are not bad, but when these emotions lead to fits of rage or deep depression, we need to deal with them.

I have been in a deep depression which eventually led to counseling.  As I read this book, I realized that I did many of the things the author describes.  This book provides a framework for people who need help for getting past negative emotions.

Some books just point us to the Bible and tell us to trust in God.  This book adds to that truth by giving the reader tools to use to deal with emotion.  Sometimes we need specific directions in order to overcome negative thoughts and emotions.  For some people who are stuck in negative thought patterns, a line-by-line approach is beneficial.

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