Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I Want It All (Review)

This review is for the book "I Want It All" by Gwen Smith. The premise of this book is that the Bible tells us that God is able to do above and beyond what we can ask for and imagine, but we rarely dream big dreams and we rarely expect God to go great things through us. Gwen Smith wants us to understand that we do have this ability - we just so often get bogged down with "life" stuff! The whole time I was reading this book I was thinking, "Finally, someone who gets what I am feeling and thinking!" One of my favorite parts of the book was when she talked about our obligations - our family, job(s), friends, community, and church. People depend on us for so many things, which is great. And we are to put our faith into action as God commands us. BUT, we can't do so much that we are exhausted and weary. I am definitely in a phase of life where I am living this out. I want to serve others and be there for others, but I also know my limits. That is my phase right now. In ten years, I will be serving in different ways, and maybe in more ways. But right now, I'm good. Thank you, Gwen, for the assurance that this is okay. I don't have to do it all! I loved the honesty of her words as she wrote about living out the Bible when the kids are arguing, or you feel taken advantage of, or when you need to forgive someone. She wrote about real life throughout this book, which is what we need. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Synced (Review)

This review is for the book "Synced" by Jennifer Kennedy Dean. This book is all about living in sync with Jesus. She shows how when Jesus was here on earth in his physical body he was constantly living connected to his Father in heaven. We can learn from that and try to live synced to Jesus while we are here on this earth as well. One thing I loved is that she showed from the very beginning of the book some scripture that correlates how Jesus lived to how we can live. For example, in John 5:19 Jesus says that he can do nothing by himself (without the Father) and in John 15:5 Jesus says that apart from him we can do nothing. It makes so much sense. Most of the life of Jesus has prayer sprinkled throughout, since we are commanded to pray without ceasing. He would pray before eating, when he needed power, when he was feeling tempted. He also gave us the Lord's Prayer which is a great model for us as Christians. The author goes through that prayer step by step and really goes in depth in talking about it. I loved this book. I was taking notes like crazy. I love Dean's writing style. It is very easy to read and learn from, so I definitely recommend this book.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Playing the Part (Review)

This review is for the book "Playing the Part" by Jen Turano. In this book, Lucetta Plum is an actress in New York City, but she is very well liked by a fan - so well liked that she needs to go on the run from him. Lucetta's friend Abigail convinces her to go to her grandson's estate to hide out. It just so happens that the grandson is really handsome and a bachelor - but he is also living in a huge castle, has odd people as servants, and seems to be extremely eccentric. Also, Abigail failed to mention that she doesn't really know her grandson and she is really on the outs with his mother! There is a lot of chaos in the family, but at least they are willing to protect Lucetta.

I enjoyed this story. The characters are fun and I have never read a book quite like this before, so I liked that about it too, that it is unique. If you like fun, historical romances with a bit of suspense you will definitely enjoy this story. I look forward to reading more by Turano in the future.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Finding God in the Ruins (Review)

This review is for the book "Finding God in the Ruins" by Matt Bays. It really isn't often that an author says so many things that the typical person is thinking. Not every author or pastor will tell you that God allows for evil and injustice. Or that it's okay not to be okay with that. Or that it's okay for you to tell God that you're upset with him. I mean, God knows what you are feeling - why not just be honest with him? Matt's story is a story of tragedy and his journey of rebuilding that is still happening to this day. I love his honesty and how he has found God in his story. I absolutely love his writing style. It isn't often that I read a nonfiction book over the course of one to two days, but I couldn't put this one down. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Pitchin' A Fit! (Review)

This review is for the book "Pitchin' A Fit" by Israel and Brook Wayne. I have to admit, this book came to me at a time that I really needed to hear these words. My two children are five years old and six years old, so they are at that golden age where they are so independent and mature at times that I end up expecting too much from them. This often leads to me getting frustrated with them when I really shouldn't be. The authors go through so many topics in this book, such as anger in the Bible, what causes anger (which will be different for all of us), what the Bible says about anger toward our children, what sets us as individuals off, sections on patience, how to correct and affirm our children, and how to work towards having peace in our home. I just have to say that I needed this book so badly! I am not a consistently angry parent but I have moments in my parenting that I am so displeased with. I do take the time to repent to God and my children for those actions, and this book did confirm that those are awesome steps. The advice in this book, I think, will help those moments of mine be further and further apart in time. I think this is a book that every single parent should read. It is easy to read, down to earth, honest, right on your level, and will help you feel encouraged and not alone in this journey.

Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews for a copy of the book in exchange for my review.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Tying the Knot (Review)

This review is for the book "Tying the Knot" by Rob Green. I will admit that my husband and I went to very few premarital counseling sessions, and I don't remember them being very meaningful. By the grace of God we have floundered our way through eleven years of marriage and they have been the happiest years of my life. I wish I had paid more attention to premarital classes, though, and I REALLY wish that some of my friends and family would be involved in premarital counseling. Marriage is taken very lightly at times, but if people would read a book like this with a mentor and actually do the work, I believe they would either realize they aren't ready for marriage or they would know how to make it through the rough spots easier.

The book focuses on Jesus being the center of the marriage relationship, from how you love each other to solving problems, to your expectations, to communication and finances, to your community and even your intimacy with each other. All of those aspects of marriage must be centered on Jesus for them to function well. Each chapter has incredible advice that lines up with scripture. Then there is homework, which includes things like action steps, thinking about your past, memorizing scripture, praying for your fiance, and the author suggests other books that could be helpful on this journey. I think this is one of the best books on premarital advice I have read. I would highly recommend it to anyone engaged.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Encountering Angels (Review)

This review is for the book "Encountering Angels" by Judith MacNutt. I typically approach these type of books with a little bit of skepticism, but I do still enjoy reading them. I mean, I certainly believe in angels, and these stories sound believable, but sometimes people make stories up like this just to sell a bunch of books. I liked the way this book was put together. It is split up into sections such as guardian angels, angels bringing comfort, messenger angels, worship angels, angels at death, and goes into scripture to find how angels were used in the life of Jesus and others in Bible times, and how they are used to help spread the gospel. MacNutt spends a bit of time introducing stories, but most of the book is simply her relaying stories that have been told to her. All in all, I enjoyed the book. It is an easy read and very encouraging.

Thank you to Chosen Books for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, March 4, 2016

And It Was Beautiful (Review)

This review is for the book "And It Was Beautiful" by Kara Tippetts. I followed Kara's story throughout the last year and a half or more of her battle with cancer. I followed her blog and her Facebook posts. After her death I was so honored to be able to read some of her books. I have now read three of her books, and I have been so impressed with each book. They are all so "Kara" but all so different from each other. I think this was the favorite one that I have read, though. In this book there are excerpts from her blog and the editorial team has put them in an order that makes it easy to read and you can follow along with Kara's journey. This book will bring out your emotions - big time. Especially knowing the end of the story. It is a very easy book to read because of the shortness of the entries, but it is hard on readers mentally. There is no shame in crying as she is honest in the extra time she wants with her kids - seeing her children develop into teenagers; being with them at their weddings; enjoying time with grandchildren - this is what made me crumble. I hadn't read her blog since her death last year, so this really brought back a lot of memories. What grace and honesty in this story. I love it and I cannot recommend it enough.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.