Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Driver Confessional (Review)






This review is for the book "Driver Confessional" by David L. Winters. I felt like the premise of this book was better than the actual book. This story is about Antonio, a "Buber" driver who uses his faith and charm to get people to have deep conversations with him as he drives them to their destination. On one night, a woman tells him a little about herself, and when she leaves she accidentally leaves her briefcase in Antonio's car. When he finally gets a chance to return it, she's dead. This means he is a lead suspect. As he clears his name, he is led deeper into a mystery involving the Russian mob, corporate greed and many other things that lead his family into danger.

So while the story line was good, the writing felt very stilted to me. Characters spoke in a way that I felt was not realistic, so it was hard for me to feel much emotion toward them or the story in general.

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





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Joy of Letting Go (Review)



This review is for the book "The Joy of Letting Go" by Vicki Caruana. This book, as you can see from the subtitle, is really geared toward parents (okay, moms - we're the ones who have a hard time letting go!) who are releasing their teens into the real world. I loved this book even though my kids are only six and eight, and I thought it was extremely relevant. Caruana talked about the many experiences she had with her children growing up, and the times she had to just let them go and make their own decisions - and often, mistakes. Each chapter had a "Thought Poke" attached to it that made you think a little bit harder about the topic.

I really enjoyed this book. I ended up giving it to another mom who has a couple of children spreading their wings right now, and I thought she needed it more than I do at this moment in time. But this book was definitely encouraging and I will use a lot of the advice as my kids are growing up and going through similar situations.

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Getting Jesus Wrong (Review)



This review is for the book "Getting Jesus Wrong" by Matt Johnson. I loved this book. Johnson goes through many of the "Jesus" movements that readers will be familiar with. For example, the "Life Coach Jesus" is the one who will encourage you in a "toothy grinned, megachurch preacher kind of nonsense" (p. 27). Achieving personal goals and having good moral standards is not all that Jesus wants from us. Then there is the "Checklist Jesus". This is checking things off your spiritual list - have you done your quiet time? (Bonus points if you took a picture and put it on social media). Gone to revival lately? Devoured a stack of books related to faith and spirituality? God isn't the one who laid that burden on our shoulders. We do that to ourselves. The author also talks about God's law and God's gospel, and the hope that we have. I really did enjoy this book and I agree with Johnson on so many points. This book is a keeper for me.

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

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Woman's NKJV Study Bible (Review)



This review is for The Woman's Study Bible, version NKJV, from Thomas Nelson. In my opinion, there aren't too many things more exciting than getting a new Bible. They have that great smell, and at first, I don't want to mark up the pages. That doesn't last too long, though!

This Bible is beautiful. Visually, it is printed in full color, so stories, quotes, charts and maps stand out quite a bit from the text. As you read scripture, you will find quotes from Christian women throughout the pages. When you get to Leviticus you'll find a section distinguishing between "clean" and "unclean". In 2 Kings you'll find a chart talking about "The Kings With Two Names". In Proverbs, a section discusses how God answers difficult questions. In Mark, a chart is presented showing the emotions of Jesus. In Acts, we see a timeline of Paul and where his missionary journeys took him.

I absolutely love this Bible. With the gorgeous design, the biographies of many biblical women, topical articles, book outlines, historical significance of passages, maps, charts, timelines, family trees, quotes, index, and concordance, you won't be missing anything in this study Bible. I highly recommend this Bible.

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

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Jesus Club (Review)



This review is for the book "The Jesus Club" by Brian Barcelona. This was a very cool book. I really like true stories, and this is definitely one that will inspire you.

Brian Barcelona felt the call of God when he was just eighteen. He felt an urge to save the high schools of America. At the same time, he realized his limitations - his age, and not even knowing where to start, plus the fact that he is just one person. He did have doubts, but he began to minister to local high schools. I imagine it was discouraging for him when he would hold meetings, only to have three or four people show up. He never gave up, though, and gradually he would fill auditoriums and gymnasiums with hundreds of high school students. He broke through to some who would never step foot in a church.

I love this story, and I love Brian's heart for teenagers. He proves that if you follow God's will, great things will happen. I encourage you to read this book and have the courage to step out in faith like Brian is doing.

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

Friday, May 12, 2017

Think Again Review




This review is for the book "Think Again" by Jared Mellinger. I really enjoyed this book. The purpose of this book is to help us realize that the gospel rescues us from false guilt, inaccurate thoughts of ourselves, and discouragement. Self-reflection is a great thing, but not when taken to an extreme. If we are so focused on ourselves that we become unfruitful and ineffective for God, then we need to change that and fix our eyes on God. We fight false guilt when we compare ourselves with other families. Mellinger gives the example of when we see a Facebook post of a family with the hashtags: "#GreatFamilyDevotions #MakingMemories #PureJoy". And then all we can think about is what we aren't doing. We have to do an assessment of our own family, our own situation, and take it to God and scripture. If our guilt is real and we have actually sinned, it can be fixed by repenting, confessing, and then rejoice as God has forgiven us. There were so many good tidbits in this book that made me feel relieved and understood. I really enjoyed this book, and it will be going on my bookshelf!

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

Conspiracy of Silence Review



This review is for the book "Conspiracy of Silence" by Ronie Kendig. This is a book from the series "The Tox Files". In this book, there is a centuries-old disease that is unleashed, and Cole "Tox" Russell is the one who is called into action. He gets together his old Special Forces team to work with trained archaeologists and FBI experts to find a cure, before the plague spreads too rapidly.

This is a book that will definitely interest you if you like some mystery, military force, global ties, and romance all wrapped up in one novel. I did find it a bit hard to get into, and there is a lot of background on the characters that would probably be clearer if I had read any of the previous novels in the series.

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

Friday, May 5, 2017

A Fragile Hope (Review)


This review is for the book "A Fragile Hope" by Cynthia Ruchti. Ruchti is one of my favorite authors and I always try to read her latest books, because I feel pretty sure that I will enjoy any of her novels that I pick up!

In this novel, we are first introduced to Karin, who obviously has a great talent and also obviously feels unappreciated by her husband. She's had enough, and she's come up with a plan to really get him to take notice of her and realize the error of his ways. Unfortunately, her plan does not go as expected, and ends in tragedy, not just for her, but for her best friend and her husband.

The funny-not-funny thing is - Karin's husband is an up-and-coming author who is famous for his marriage advice. He spends all his free time writing books and meeting deadlines, and yet he totally ignores his wife in order to reach his goals.

Once he finds out about Karin's plan, he has to take action. I don't want to give away too much of the story, but he has to sort through her feelings based on assumptions, for the most part. And he has to learn how to deal with her feelings and his feelings. He also has to find his way back to God throughout all of this.

I really liked this book. I liked the characters and the story is definitely unique. Another great novel by Cynthia Ruchti!

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



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Brave is the New Beautiful (Review)

This review is for the book "Brave is the New Beautiful" by Lee Wolfe Blum. I loved this book. I loved Blum's honesty in her feelings because what she said really resonated with me. It's so easy to compare ourselves to everyone else, and feel ourselves shrink, as she talks about in the first chapter. It's so tough to reinvent ourselves when what we're doing isn't working, but we aren't exactly sure what our path is supposed to look like. And of course, at some point in our lives, we all struggle with where we belong.

With every issue that Blum touches on, she shares personal stories that she has experienced or from other real people. She shares how they processed and the end result. She also provides reflection questions at the end of each chapter that are great for going deeper, especially on the particular issues that are affecting the reader.

I loved this book and I would definitely recommend it to others who are seeking to find out who they truly are, and live authentically.

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


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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