Friday, February 3, 2017

Mark of the King (Review)

This review is for the book "The Mark of the King" by Jocelyn Green. In this book, we are introduced to Julianne Chevalier. She is a midwife, but unfortunately is too good at her skill and there is a division between Julianne and her mentor. Through an unfortunate event, Julianne is imprisoned and branded, which marks her as a criminal beyond redemption. An opportunity arises for her to trade her sentence for exile to Louisiana, so she takes it in the hopes that she can find her long-lost brother. She doesn't realize that part of the deal is that she is forced to marry another criminal, so there are a lot of changes she is forced into all at once.

Julianne struggles to adapt to her new life, new husband, and new culture. Nothing is like she pictured it, and she can't seem to get straight answers about her brother. When her new life suddenly enters a tragic situation, she turns to military officer Marc-Paul Girard. He actually knew her brother and she feels like he can help her find some answers. He's really taking a risk by helping her because of her criminal brand. Everyone who sees that mark shuns her.

This book is full of adventure and a ton of history. It is set in the 1700s so there is a lot of conflict between the settlers and local Indians. There is so much devastation through Julianne's story but she overcomes so much, too. This novel was so interesting. There were so many twists and turns throughout her story and it was hard to know who to trust and what information was going to come up next! I really enjoyed the story and it captivated my attention.

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

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

100 Books of 2016

In 2009, I pledged to read 100 books over the course of 2010. Here's my list of 107 books in case you're interested.

I did it again in 2011 (why not?). Here's my list of 109 books.

The tradition continued in 2012 where I read a whopping 144 books! Here is my list from that year.

In 2013 I kept on chugging along, reading 104 books. Here is my list from that year.

In 2014 I hit my best record yet, reading 152 books. Here is my list from that year.

In 2015 I beat my record, reading 187 books. Here is my list from last year. 

This year, I was able to read 166 books. I'm trying so hard to get rid of books that I've been hanging on to for years and have not read yet! My goal for 2016 was to read 50 books that I already owned and get them out of the house. Luckily, I was able to do that! I'd like to do that again so that I can put other things under my bed instead of piles of books! Here is my list:

  • "Mounting Fears" by Stuart Woods (166)
  •  "The Christmas Train" by David Baldacci (165)
  • "Dwelling Places" by Lucinda McDowell (164)
  • "Hot Mahogany" by Stuart Woods (163)
  • "Union with Christ" by Rankin Wilbourne (162)
  • "Cut and Thrust" by Stuart Woods (161)
  • "Good & Angry" by David Powlison (160)
  • "Under the Lake" by Stuart Woods (159)
  • "Getaway with God" by Letitia Suk (158)
  • "Receiving the 12 Blessings of Israel" by Paul Thangiah (157)
  • "Severe Clear" by Stuart Woods (156)
  • "Miscarried Joy" by Tanika Fitzgerald (155)
  • "Of Stillness and Storm" by Michele Phoenix (154)
  • "You're Saying It Wrong" by Ross and Kathryn Petras (153)
  • "Pursuing Gold" by Cynthia Simmons (152)
  • "The Remnant" by Monte Wolverton (151)
  • "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" by Ace Collins (150)
  • "Trust My Heart" by Carol J. Post (149)
  • "Christian's Hope" by Ervin R. Stutzman (148)
  • "Fatal Frost" by Nancy Mehl (147)
  • "40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood" by Sarah Humphrey (146)
  • "Total Family Makeover" by Melissa Spoelstra (145)
  • "The 10 Myths of Teen Dating" by Daniel and Jacquelyn Anderson (144)
  • "From the Pen of Pastor Paul" by Daniel R. Hyde (143)
  • "A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue" by J.A. Myhre (142)
  • "The Wish" by Beverly Lewis (141)
  • "Against the Flow" by John Lennox (140)
  • "Awakening Faith" by James Stuart Bell (139)
  • "Habit Changers" by M.J. Ryan (138)
  • "Experiencing God Through His Names" by Sheryl Giesbrecht (137)
  • "A Sister's Wish" by Shelley Shepard Gray (136)
  • "An Amish Family Christmas" by Shelley Shepard Gray (135)
  • "Marry Wisely, Marry Well" by Ernie Baker (134)
  • "When Love Comes Home" by Arlene James (133) (H)
  • "Trusting Him" by Brenda Minton (132) (H)
  • "Trial by Fire" by Cara Putman (131) (H)
  • "To Love Again" by Bonnie K. Winn (130) (H)
  • "The Wedding Girl" by Madeleine Wickham (129) (H)
  • "Same Kind of Different as Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore (128) (H)
  • "A Time to Protect" by Lois Richer (127) (H)
  • "Son of Stone" by Stuart Woods (126) (H)
  • "Summer Promise" by Marianne Ellis (125) (H)
  • "Home Cooking" by Laurie Colwin (124)
  • "Snowbound in Dry Creek" by Janet Tronstad (123) (H)
  • "The Burning Room" by Michael Connelly (122)
  • "Delilah" by Angela Hunt (121)
  • "The Soldier's Holiday Vow" by Jillian Hart (120) (H)
  • "No Way Up" by Mary Connealy (119)
  • "Shadow Bones" by Colleen Rhoads (118) (H)
  • "Service Tails" by Ace Collins (117)
  • "Dreams & Visions" by Jane Hamon (116)
  • "Hour Game" by David Baldacci (115) (H)
  • "Strictly Confidential" by Terri Reed (114) (H)
  • "Starving Hearts" by Janine Mendenhall (113)
  • "When Death Draws Near" by Carrie Stuart Parks (112)
  • "(un)Natural Mom" by Hettie Brittz (111)
  • "Harvesting the Heart" by Jodi Picoult (110)
  • "Spring Flowers, Summer Love" by Lois Richer (109) (H)
  • "Vinegar Girl" by Anne Tyler (108)
  • "Made to Crave" by Lysa TerKeurst (107) (H)
  • "A Man Called Blessed" by Bill Bright and Ted Dekker (106) (H)
  • "The Things We Knew" by Catherine West" (105)
  • "The Loyal Heart" by Shelley Shepard Gray (104)
  • "A Beauty Refined" by Tracie Peterson (103)
  • "Lord, Where Are You When Bad Things Happen?" by Kay Arthur (102) (H)
  • "The Sisterhood of the Dropped Stitches" by Janet Tronstad (101) (H)
  • "Fetching Sweetness" by Dana Mentink (100)
  • "If My Husband Would Change, I'd Be Happy" by Rhonda Stoppe (99)
  • "Sleeping Arrangements" by Madeleine Wickham (98) (H)
  • "Like a River From Its Course" by Kelli Stuart (97)
  • "The Atonement" by Beverly Lewis (96)
  • "Dressed for Death" by Julianna Deering (95)
  • "The God I Love" by Joni Eareckson Tada (94) (H)
  • "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson (93) (H)
  • "Hidden Agendas" by Steve Brown (92)
  • "Don't Go to Bed Angry" by Deb and Ron DeArmond (91)
  • "A Man of Heroism and Humility: Elijah" by Charles Swindoll (90) (H)
  • "Love in the Face of ISIS" by Lorraine Marie Varela (89)
  • "Come With Me" by Suzanne Eller (88)
  • "The Sweetest Gift" by Jillian Hart (87) (H)
  • "Plum Pudding Murder" by Joanne Fluke (86) (H)
  • "He Still Moves Stones" by Max Lucado (85)
  • "I Don't Get You" by Sherry Graf (84)
  • "Counseling One Another" by Paul Tautges (83)
  • "Precious Blessings" by Jillian Hart (82) (H)
  • "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" by Kim Edwards (81) (H)
  • "Grace Abounding" by John Bunyan (80) (H)
  • "Love Walked In" by Merrillee Whren (79) (H)
  • "Kiss" by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy (78) (H)
  • "The Seed" by Erik Guzman (77)
  • "My Father's House" by Rose Chandler Johnson (76)
  • "Sister Eve and the Blue Nun" by Lynne Hinton (75)
  • "Through the Shadows" by Karen Barnett (74)
  • "Medical Judgment" by Richard Mabry (73)
  • "Protected Hearts" by Bonnie Winn (72) (H)
  • "The Beautiful Pretender" by Melanie Dickerson (71)
  • "Her One and Only" by Becky Wade (70)
  • "Past Secrets, Present Love" by Lois Richer (69) (H)
  • "How to Talk to a Widower" by Jonathan Tropper (68) (H)
  • "A Moment of Weakness" by Karen Kingsbury (67)
  • "Anchor in the Storm" by Sarah Sundin (66)
  • "Get Off Your Knees and Pray" by Sheila Walsh (65) (H)
  • "Land's End" by Marta Perry (64) (H)
  • "How to Get the Most From God's Word" by John MacArthur, Jr. (63)
  • "Heavenly Help" by Sarah Bowling (62)
  • "Someone Like You" by Victoria Bylin (61)
  • "The Hole is Our Holiness" by Kevin DeYoung (60)
  • "A Love So Strong" by Arlene James (59) (H)
  • "A Daughter's Dream" by Shelley Shepard Gray (58)
  • "One Minute After You Die" by Erwin Lutzer (57) (H)
  • "Hunting Hope" by Nika Maples (56)
  • "Mars... With Venus Rising" by Hope Toler Dougherty (55)
  • "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson (54) (H)
  • "The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder" by Rachel McMillan (53)
  • "Song of Silence" by Cynthia Ruchti (52)
  • "Sister Dear" by Laura McNeill (51)
  • "Every Day Deserves a Chance" by Max Lucado (50)
  • "21 Seconds to Change Your World" by Mark Rutland (49)
  • "Sit Stay Love" by Dana Mentink (48)
  • "Simple Pleasures" by Marianne Jantzi (47)
  • "A Dream of Miracles" by Ruth Reid (46)
  • "Back in the Saddle" by Ruth Logan Herne (45)
  • "Keeping Faith" by Jodi Picoult (44)
  • "In the Dead of Winter" by Nancy Mehl (43) (H)
  • "I Want It All" by Gwen Smith (42)
  • "Synced" by Jennifer Kennedy Dean (41)
  • "Playing the Part" by Jen Turano (40)
  • "Finding God in the Ruins" by Matt Bays (39)
  • "Pitchin' A Fit!" by Israel & Brook Wayne (38)
  • "Tying the Knot" by Rob Green (37)
  • "In the Enemy's Sights" by Marta Perry (36) (H)
  • "Inner Harbor" by Lois Richer (35) (H)
  • "His Uptown Girl" by Gail Sattler (34) (H)
  • "The Highly Suspicious Halo" by Eileen Berger (33) (H)
  • "Halos" by Kristen Heitzmann (32) (H)
  • "Encountering Angels" by Judith MacNutt (31)
  • "And It Was Beautiful" by Kara Tippetts (30)
  • "Her Only Hero" by Marta Perry (29) (H)
  • "Hero Dad" by Marta Perry (28) (H)
  • "Your New Money Mindset" by Brad Hewitt and James Moline (27)
  • "Finding Amy" by Carol Steward (26) (H)
  • "Hide in Plain Sight" by Marta Perry (25) (H)
  • "Hard Evidence" by Roxanne Rostand (24) (H)
  • "The Gatecrasher" by Madeleine Wickham (23) (H)
  • "Come Empty" by Saundra Dalton-Smith (22)
  • "If I Run" by Terri Blackstock (21)
  • "Kissed by a Cowboy" by Debra Clopton (20)
  • "Driven by Eternity" by John Bevere (19) (H)
  • "A Son's Vow" by Shelley Shepard Gray (18)
  • "Bronner" by Sherri Burgess (17)
  • "Keeper of the Stars" by Robin Lee Hatcher (16)
  • "Blue Ribbon Trail Ride" by Miralee Ferrell (15)
  • "Rediscovering Discipleship" by Robby Gallaty (14)
  • "Evangelicals Adrift" by Matthew Ferris (13) (H)
  • "Ready to Return" by Ken Ham (12) (H)
  • "Dinosaurs: Marvels of God's Design" by Dr. Tim Clarey (11)
  • "Dear Mary" by Sarah Jakes (10) (H)
  • "Judges For You" by Timothy Keller (9) (H)
  • "Make It Last" by Yankee Magazine (8) (H)
  • "Shopaholic to the Rescue" by Sophie Kinsella (7)
  • "Beyond the Silence" by Tracie Peterson (6) (H)
  • "God's Smuggler" by Brother Andrew (5) (H)
  • "At Love's Bidding" by Regina Jennings (4) (H)
  • "Duets" by John & Anita Renfroe (3) (H)
  • "Gideon" by Priscilla Shirer (2)
  • "Growing Deep in the Christian Life" by Charles Swindoll (1) (House)

Favorite authors of 2016: Stuart Woods (always), J.A. Myhre, Ace Collins, Madeleine Wickham (always), Shelley Shepard Gray, Angela Hunt, Kelli Stuart, Joanne Fluke, Melanie Dickerson, Kara Tippetts

Books that I gushed about: "Hidden Agendas" by Steve Brown, "Pitchin' A Fit" by Israel Wayne, "Union With Christ" by Rankin Wilbourne, "Same Kind of Different As Me" by Ron Hall, "Home Cooking" by Laurie Colwin, "(un)Natural Mom" by Hettie Britz, "Vinegar Girl" by Anne Tyler, "The Hole in Our Holiness" by Kevin DeYoung, "Rediscovering Discipleship" by Robby Gallaty

Any good reads of YOURS this year? I'd love to have the titles and authors of some of your favorite reads so I can look into them! 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Good & Angry (Review)

This review is for the book "Good & Angry" by David Powlison. I really enjoyed this book and I think that it is a book that a lot of people would probably get a lot out of reading. In this book, Powlison talks about the universal problem of anger and he compares it to God's righteous anger. In the first section of the book, the author talks about your own personal experience with anger and what tends to set you off. Each chapter contains discussion questions that you can answer on your own and more deeply explore your emotions. In the second part of the book, Powlison discusses the things that trigger our anger, where our anger comes from, and he really discusses the anger of God in this section. The next section talks about how to change and how to handle our trigger situations. Then the last section talks about the really hard cases. This would be extreme provocations to anger, everyday irritants (like traffic), anger at yourself (usually for past decisions) and anger at God. I really enjoyed this book because I think it is a topic that so many people struggle with and need to focus on. It is easy to read but you will learn a lot about yourself in reading this book. I definitely recommend it.

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

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Getaway With God (Review)

This review is for the book "Getaway With God" by Letitia Suk. This book was so good! I have not read any other book like this - and that's saying a lot! In this book, Letitia Suk approaches the subject of getting away from it all and taking a personal retreat to focus on you and your relationship with God. As a stay-at-home mom, I feel like this is something that most moms could use, but we often can't find the time or money to do something like this. Letitia talks about those things and she is really encouraging in the different types of retreats that she suggests.

At one time, she was able to do a 5-day retreat, and she was willing to share her outline and schedule of those five days in this book. She even laid out sample schedules for other retreats, such as just one day or just overnight. She laid out why a retreat is so important for us, and she shared her own experiences.

I loved this book. Although I have had similar experiences going on retreats with friends or family, I have never done a retreat by myself, and I can see how enriching it would be. I think this is a book that all ladies should read and try to incorporate into their lives somehow!

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

Getaway with God Letitia Suk

12 Blessings (Review)

This review is for the book "Receiving the 12 Blessings of Israel" by Paul Thangiah. In this book, Thangiah goes through each blessing that Jacob gave to his 12 sons and he parallels them with the blessings that Moses gave the 12 tribes. He then shows how we can apply that to our lives today. Thangiah is a pastor in India and throughout the book he describes many miracles, blessings, and answered prayers that have come his way. It was really inspirational to read some of the things that had happened to him because of his faithfulness.

I really enjoyed this book and learning more about these blessings and the scriptural parallels. I would definitely recommend this book.

Thank you to Chosen Publishers for a copy of the book.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Miscarried Joy (Review)

This review is for the book "Miscarried Joy" by Tanika Fitzgerald. This book is an absolutely beautiful tale of Tanika's journey of losing three babies due to miscarriage. In her mind, marriage came first, then healthy babies, and the thought of losing a baby didn't really enter her mind - same as most of us ladies. Unfortunately, that isn't how things have gone for her so far. But she has this incredible hope in God and how he is going to fulfill her and her husband, no matter what.

In this book, Tanika is really open about her own struggles and triumphs, but she also brings up stories of biblical women who struggled with infertility or another type of pain. Women like Hannah, Elizabeth, and Naomi, among others, who got through their pain and saw that God had a greater purpose for them.

As I read this book, I had so many women cross my mind who I know would benefit by reading this book. I'm passing it on to one of them, whose hurt is most recent. If you know someone who needs this book, I definitely recommend it as a healing tool.

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

Miscarried Joy Tanika Fitzgerald

Of Stillness and Storm (Review)

This review is for the book "Of Stillness and Storm" by Michele Phoenix. In this book, Lauren and her husband Sam's story is told. We find that when they first meet, the attraction is there, but Sam is concerned that they are not on the same level spiritually. Lauren assures him that she is just as serious about her faith as he is. After marriage and a child, Sam feels the call from God to go to Nepal to serve as a missionary. Unfortunately, Lauren and their son do not feel the same call. In the end, they go to Nepal, and it doesn't take long for a huge wedge to be thrown into their relationships. Sam is gone for weeks at a time, and Lauren and their son Ryan have this sense of abandonment.

When Lauren's friend urges her to join Facebook in an attempt to connect with the outside world, she suddenly finds a person from her past wanting to communicate with her. From the very beginning, readers will get the vibe that she's going down a dangerous path by communicating with him. In the end, the whole family has a lot of choices to make in regards to their faith and family.

This book was so sad to me. It was really troubling to see this family being twisted and pulled based on the calling that the father felt he had. It was sad to see Lauren feel like she had to lean on a friend she hadn't spoken to in 20 years rather than her husband. It was torture to see the loneliness and hopelessness in the son that no one else seemed to notice. I think the book was really well written, and it was probably quite realistic, and maybe that's what bothered me so much about it.

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

Of Stillness and Storm Michele Phoenix

Monday, December 5, 2016

You're Saying It Wrong (Review)

This review is for the book "You're Saying It Wrong" by Ross Petras and Kathryn Petras. When I saw this book I just knew I had to get it. This book is a guide to pronouncing the top 150 most commonly mispronounced words. It even gives a background on the words. I am such a word geek, so this book is one that I am keeping for myself but also buying for my word geek friends for Christmas!

The book is alphabetical and contains words that I didn't even know I was mispronouncing, such as "bruschetta" and "spit and image" (I always say "spitting image")!! As you can see, it also includes phrases. The book even contains some names, such as "Thames" and "Beijing". Also, sprinkled throughout the pages are lists such as British names, names of authors, and names of wines.

I absolutely love this book. Any writers, readers, and word lovers out there NEED this book in their lives! I highly recommend it!

Thank you to the publisher for a copy of the book.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Pray A to Z (Review)

This review is for the book "Pray A to Z" by Amelia Rhodes. This book is such a great premise. It is a practical guide to praying for your community. Each letter of the alphabet has five topics associated with it - such as bullying, infertility, and trafficking which are things we either struggle with or our community or nation is struggling with, or topics such as graciousness, light, and redeemer, which are attributes of God that we need to be thankful for and reminded of.

Each topic is short and to the point. There is a scripture associated with each topic, a short paragraph on what specifically could be prayed for regarding that topic, and then a sample prayer for each topic. It's really incredible how specific this prayer guide is. I have never seen another one that included topics such as eating disorders or people who lack medical care.I absolutely loved it because it brought up so many things that I forget to pray for so many times.

I definitely recommend this book. It would make a great Christmas present for the prayer warrior in your life!

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

Pray A to Z Amelia Rhodes

Pursuing Gold (Review)

This review is for the book "Pursuing Gold" by Cynthia Simmons. This is a novel of the Civil War era, and if you enjoy historical fiction, you will definitely like this novel which is full of suspense, mystery and romance. Although it is suspenseful it isn't gruesome or anything that will make you cringe.

In this book, Peter Chandler has inherited the leadership of a bank. His partner's daughter, Mary Beth, who is an old family friend, is taking over some duties as well since her father is in poor health. Unfortunately, right now is not a good time for the banking business because the Civil War is raging around Chattanooga. There is a lot of political pressure, and then Mary Beth discovers counterfeit money which puts the bank in grave danger of closing. While the two journey together to stop the counterfeiter, save the bank, find investments in Gold, and come to terms with their parents' death and failing health, they also learn to lean on one another and are able to find love.

I found this book very enjoyable and I would definitely recommend it.

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