Saturday, April 15, 2017

Unsinkable Faith by Tracie Miles




This review is for the book "Unsinkable Faith" by Tracie Miles. This is a great book, because it is so easy to have that strong, solid faith when things in your life are going well. Often, when a tragedy happens though, you start to sink. Your attitude goes south and you don't feel peace or joy anymore. But the author sets out to show us how to get through those patches without getting bogged down with a pessimistic mind-set.

Miles points out that there are many reasons you might have a negative mind-set. It might not even be from one particular tragic event. It might be from negativity you have received over a lifetime. It might be feeling negativity toward someone else. For example, if you spend all day thinking about what your spouse could do better, that negativity can result in negative behavior towards him. If you constantly are thinking about how your boss doesn't value you or no one does things right at your work, you'll have a bad attitude about your job. Negative thoughts can bring a lack of confidence, a feeling of being unforgivable and unlovable, and all of that can translate into your relationship with God. I love how Tracie shows us in this book how to self-reflect and create charts to help us really look deeper. For example, one of the charts has the reader write down "What I Experienced" (such as my boss got mad at me), "Misconceptions About Me" (I'm not good enough", and "Misconceptions About God" (I'm not good enough to be loved by God). There are memory verses at the end of each chapter for specific purposes, such as regarding burdens, or freedom, or being made new.

This is such a good book. We could all use a little positivity and help with getting out of our negative ruts at times!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book.

Unsinkable Faith Tracie Miles

Lisa Lloyd's 'Chasing Famous' Prize Pack Giveaway



This review is for the book "Chasing Famous" by Lisa Lloyd. Lloyd is an actress who has appeared on television shows and commercials, as well as in many performances at theaters around the country. She knows a thing or two about being in the spotlight, and how good that can make us feel. I mean, let's face it. Even those of us who are not celebrities (major or minor) enjoy the spotlight every so often! We like to be patted on the back for a job well done. We like social media because we can show off our kids in matching Sunday outfits, flowers our husband has brought us, we celebrate promotions and material gains and vacations. But the fact is that we should be living to make God famous. If it weren't for God, I wouldn't have my kids, or my husband, or the career I love, or my safe, sturdy house. And yet we crave so badly for approval from people around us that we continue to aim the spotlight back at us.

I love how Lisa makes each chapter something about a performance. She talks about the audience (we're seeking the approval of others), booking a job (what is God calling me to do?), photoshop (your perception of your body) and many, many other relatable things. Each chapter has several discussion questions so you can look closer at yourself and examine yourself.

I loved this book. It was easy to read and very easy to relate to. I loved Lisa's honesty, the personal experiences shared in this book, and how well she relates everything to scripture. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book.



Chasing Famous Lisa Lloyd

"Angels: God's Supernatural Agents" (Review)



This review is for the book "Angels: God's Supernatural Agents" by Ed Rocha. I feel like I have read a lot of these books before, but this is the first time I have heard Rocha's stories and experiences. I will just go ahead and admit that I read this book as a skeptic, but also open to hearing Rocha's testimony. There are a lot of things in this book that I agree with. Rocha does a great job of explaining the duties of angels, such as worshipping God, delivering messages, healing, prophesying, instructing, encouraging, among other things, and also misconceptions about angels. For example, Rocha points out that people do not die and become angels, there are no baby angels in the Bible, angels are asexual, and they do have names and personalities.

Most of Rocha's book is based on his personal experience seeing angels or his experiences at healing services. He also relates stories from other people about their experiences with angels. Although I will admit to still being a bit skeptical after completing the book, I will say that I admire Rocha for the fact that he will not allow people to just give angels credit for everything. There is a section in the book about feathers. Rocha discusses how many times when he has seen angels, there have been feathers left after the church service. But he is quick to point out that just because there are feathers at a church service does not mean they are angelic feathers.

Anyway, the book is an interesting read, especially if you are curious about angelic encounters.

Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews for a copy of the book.

Unchained (Review)



This review is for the book "Unchained" by Noel Jesse Heikkinen. This book is a beautiful reminder of the freedom we have in Christ. Heikkinen feels that we often feel trapped by Christianity, and we miss out on the freedom we are supposed to be feeling. This book teaches us how to understand the freedom that we have and how to get there mentally and spiritually.

We so often set God up against the things we have felt in this world. We feel like he must be disappointed with us, because our parents are disappointed with us, as are our teachers, our coworkers, our children, our siblings, etc. The problem is that we believe in eternal forgiveness, but we can't allow ourselves to feel that forgiveness for what we did today. An example of this is is our prayer life. We know we're supposed to pray. We want to pray. So we buy a prayer journal. We download an app on our phone to remind us to pray. We hit several days in a row and we feel great! But then... we miss a day. And we feel this guilt about breaking our streak. Do you see that? We don't necessarily feel guilt about not praying, we feel guilt about not following the structure we set up for ourselves.The same goes for our Bible reading. If we miss one day we beat ourselves up because we got off track. Sometimes our man-made rules become more important than Jesus, and that isn't freedom.

Heikkinen assures us that we have been set free from the Law, religion (we don't have to do anything to be made right with God), sin, shame, and guilt. We want to obey out of love for God and what He did for us. Live to say yes to Jesus. Instead of focusing on all the "don'ts" in the Bible, search out the "dos" in the Bible. Do the dos, and you'll be obeying, and that will lead to freedom.

This book is chock full of wisdom, humor, and there are even discussion questions thrown in to help you take it a bit further. I really enjoyed it, and this book is going on my bookshelf!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Making Marriage Beautiful (Review)



This review is for the book "Making Marriage Beautiful" by Dorothy Littell Greco. I thought this was a really great book, for all married couples, whether you are newlyweds or have been married for 40 years. We go through so many seasons in life, that no matter how long you have been married, you never have it totally figured out! You have to deal not only with each other's idiosyncrasies, opinions, and personalities, but life changes such as bad choices from children, horrible financial situations, loss of family members or pets, job changes, and health issues just to name a few.

This book takes scripture and the advice from eight real-life couples to guide you into a path of an honest marriage, how to acknowledge hurts and disappointments, think of how your cultural background affects your marriage, change unproductive patterns, and learn how to love sacrificially. Each chapter deals with something different, and then includes discussion questions at the end of the chapter to help you and your spouse dig deeper. This book was great at helping me take a look at myself, and think about ways I can change my point of view to be a better spouse. I would highly recommend it to all married couples!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Control Girl (Review)



This review is for the book "Control Girl" by Shannon Popkin. This book was such an eye-opener for me! At first I thought I would just skim this book since I have no control issues whatsoever. Well, imagine my surprise when it turns out that I am a total control freak! This book ended up helping me so much and showing me things about myself that I was just totally blind to. Yes, there are times when it is important for me to be controlling (i.e. decisions regarding my kids, etc.) but sometimes I just want to play devil's advocate. I've realized since reading this book how many times I try to be in control just for the sake of being in control, and I don't want to continue like that. I don't want to feel like I have to be in control in relationships with my friends and family! This book helped me so much with looking at ladies in the Bible and relating that to my life now. I am definitely placing this book on my bookshelf and I will refer back to it as necessary. I am really thankful I read this book and I definitely recommend it for all you control freaks, or those of you who don't think you're control freaks! You might be surprised what you learn about yourself!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Home At Last (Review)


This review is for the book "Home at Last" by Deborah Raney. This is part of her Chicory Inn series, of which I am a huge fan. I think I have read all of the other books in this series, so I know the characters and back stories really well, but you definitely don't have to read all of them to understand what is happening in this particular novel. This book is about Link Whitman, who is the last bachelor in his family. He hasn't really considered settling down until he meets someone who seems to fit every requirement he is looking for in a partner - Shayla. The problem is, Shayla feels like she is bringing a lot of baggage to a relationship. She feels like people will be prejudiced against them because she is African American and Link's family is white, she is taking care of her niece, her brother is in jail, and her dad is pretty terrifying to potential suitors! Link and Shayla may have a lot of things to overcome, but they just have to decide if their relationship is worth it in the end.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of this book.


Home at Last Deborah Raney

Monday, March 13, 2017

Home to Paradise (Review)



This review is for the book "Home to Paradise" by Barbara Cameron. This is the final book in her Coming Home series, but you can definitely read this book as a standalone novel if you cannot find the other books in the series for some reason. In this book, Rose Anna Zook has watched her two older sisters marry two Stoltzfus men, and always thought she would marry John, the third. But John is in the midst of his Rumschpringe, and doesn't seem to be missing the Amish ways at all. This bothers Rose because she is ready to settle down with John, and she certainly doesn't want to leave the church. She doesn't want to push him because that seems to make him angry, and more resistant to listening to the possibility of returning home. Throughout the book, Rose has to make sure that John not only knows her feelings for him, but her loyalty to the Amish church, and let him find his own way back. I loved this book and the characters in it. There are several sub-plots that add a lot to the story. I would definitely recommend this book.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tightropes and Teeter-Totters (Review)



This review is for the book "Tightropes and Teeter-Totters" by Lisa Pennington. In this book, the author understands that we are all on this "see-saw" of life, trying to balance everything between work, family, being the perfect spouse, being the perfect parent, feeling guilt over what we do, feeling guilt over what we don't do,etc. etc. She talks about balance and how it looks different for everyone. She uses an acronym for balance that will help you go through situations and: begin, assess, learn, account, notify, change, and endure. As the reader goes through the book, Pennington will help the reader apply all of these things to personal growth, spiritual growth, marriage, parenting, maintaining the household, finances, mood swings, friendships - basically every single tenet in life that we probably feel we're out of balance in and failing at!

This book is an easy read but it is great for self-reflection! I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to all my mom friends in particular.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book.

Amish Weddings (Review)



This review is for the book "Amish Weddings" by Leslie Gould. This is book three in the Neighbors of Lancaster County series, but you could easily read this as a standalone novel. It was really good. It was actually pretty unexpectedly juicy for an Amish romance novel! In this book, we meet Rose Lehman, who is set to marry the bishop's son, Reuben Byler. Then Rose meets an Army buddy of her sister's beau, and she can't help but be attracted to him. He seems so much more attractive than her boyfriend, and he seems to like her. It's hard to say no when he wants to spend time with her. Then Rose's sister Lila is in an awful accident, and Rose has a bit more freedom than usual. She has to decide how to use that freedom and make some difficult decisions.

This book was great. The plot was really unusual for an Amish novel, but it was also a situation that probably isn't very unusual in real life. I love that there is redemption found in this novel. I enjoyed the characters a lot as well. I would definitely recommend this book and I would like to read the rest of the series as well.

Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book.