Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Roanoke Girls (Review)

This review is for the book "The Roanoke Girls" by Amy Engel. Okay, if you are into twisted, dark, gothic stories with horrible secrets that unfold, you will enjoy this book. I'm telling you what, there is something about the Roanoke girls that makes them different from everyone else... and when you find out what it is, you will probably do a double take. I literally started flipping backwards in the book to make sure I was reading correctly when I figured it out. This is a crazy story but the storyline and characters will absolutely suck you in. A must read.

Thank you to Waterbrook Multonah for a copy of the book.

Unimaginable (Review)

This review is for the book "Unimaginable" by Jeremiah J. Johnston. Now, don't tell me that title alone doesn't get you excited to read this book. What a startling thought, that really just gives me an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

The book begins with the earliest religions, and how they spanned across cultures and civilizations. One chapter goes over the aspect of how suffering and healing go together. It wasn't that long ago that people's longevity was quite short. People were desperate for healing, particularly because medical knowledge was so limited. Johnston points out that people in these times were also usually afraid of death because they didn't know what to think of an afterlife. So this may have been why Jesus was followed so frequently - his healings and raising people from the dead made him quite popular!

I could go on and on about each chapter in this book but that would make this review too long and may spoil the book. This book is a phenomenal mix of history and theology. I don't save too many books to go on my shelf, but this one made the cut.

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

Melody of the Soul (Review)

This review is for the book "Melody of the Soul" by Liz Tolsma. This book is set in the 1940s and in it, we meet Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian who lives in Prague. She has lost most of her family due to deportation, and though she still lives with her grandmother, she is unable to perform as a violinist due to the Nazi laws. She really isn't even supposed to play the violin anymore at all, and is afraid she is going to lose that privilege when a Nazi officer begins renting the space below her. Fortunately for her, he enjoys the music, as well as her company, it turns out. He's also finding that he doesn't agree with the Nazi ideology anymore.

I really enjoyed this book. I like books that have a bit of history involved in them. I really liked the characters and found their conversations flowing and easy to follow. If you enjoy historical romances, this will be right up your alley. I did appreciate the glossary of foreign words, which included some Czech and German words used throughout the book. After seeing them a couple of times it was very easy to familiarize myself with them.

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

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Travel back in time to 1943 and meet Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian and concert violinist whose career is ended because of Nazi occupation in Prague. Don't miss the new historical novel, The Melody of the Soul, by Liz Tolsma. Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Officer Horst Engel, quartered in Anna's flat and dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.

Join Liz Tolsma and other bookworms for a Facebook Live event on February 6, plus enter to win Liz's prize pack giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 6. The winner will be announced at Liz's Facebook Live Party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Liz and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word-tell your friends about the giveaway and Facebook Live party via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 6th!

Dynamic Heart (Review)

This review is for the book "The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life" by Jeremy Pierre. This is a great book which focuses on connecting Christ to human experience. If you are involved in counseling or ministry in any capacity, this is a great book for you to read. Pierre began by discussing our heart in depth, and how it relates to theology. In the last several chapters he really puts everything together in a simple, direct way for when you are struggling to counsel someone. He discusses how to "hear" someone's heart when they're talking to you, how to help them understand their heart responses, how to look to Jesus in all situations, and how to transition to new responses in those situations.

The book is a bit lengthy and wordy in places, but I still really enjoyed it and learned a lot from it.

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

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Answering the Toughest Questions About God and the Bible (Review)

This review is for the book "Answering the Toughest Questions about God and the Bible" by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz. I think the title is pretty self-explanatory because that is the goal of this book. There are awesome questions covered in this book, each taking up a chapter. Questions about the trinity, why the Bible is hard to understand, and the differences between God and Jesus. Each chapter is chock-full of interesting information and answers to these questions, with lots of questions for the reader to use to self-reflect. A lot of great scripture is used to help find the answers.

One con of this book - it didn't really seem that unique to me. I feel like I could throw a rock in a Christian bookstore and find several books like this. But I will say this book was very interesting and an engaging, easy-to-read format.

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

Monday, January 8, 2018

100 Books of 2017

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 that year. 

In 2016, I read 166 books, focusing on books I owned but had never read. Here is my list from last year.

In 2017, I read 123 books. Oh no, I'm slipping! No, really what happened is we added a lot more commitments to our schedule, and so I am definitely reading a lot less. The good news is that I got rid of a lot of books. So here is my 2017 list:

  • "God's Crime Scene for Kids" by Wallaces (123)
  • "No One Ever Asked" by Katie Ganshert (122)
  • "Imperfect Justice" by Cara Putman (121)
  • "In Step with the Spirit" by Sarah Bowling (120)
  • "A Long Way Gone" by Ishmael Beah (119)
  • "My Heart's Cry" by Anne Graham Lotz (118)
  • "Murder in Disguise" by Donn Taylor (117)
  • "The Most Important Women of the Bible" by Aaron and Elaina Sharp (116)
  • "Rescued Hearts" by Hope Toler Dougherty (115)
  • "All Things Now Living" by Rondi Bauer Olson (114)
  • "The Gift" by Shelley Shepard Gray (113)
  • "Total Christmas Makeover" by Melissa Spoelstra (112)
  • "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (111)
  • "Healing Through the Power of Prayer" by Timothy Dailey (110)
  • "A Small Book About a Big Problem" by Edward T. Welch (109)
  • "A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star" by J.A. Myhre (108)
  • "Daring to Hope" by Katie Davis Majors (107)
  • "The Unlikely Disciple" by Kevin Roose (106)
  • "Undaunted" by Christine Caine (105)
  • "Too Far Down" by Mary Connealy (104)
  • "Prayers for New Brides" by Jennifer O. White (103)
  • "Descriptions and Prescriptions" by Michael R. Emlet (102)
  • "John the Revelator" by Peter Murphy (101)
  • "Skipping Christmas" by John Grisham (100)
  • "The Pretender" by Ta'mara Hanscom (99)
  • "Doing Hard Time" by Stuart Woods (98)
  • "A Woman Overwhelmed" by Hayley DiMarco (97)
  • "Bossypants" by Tina Fey (96)
  • "Living the Spirit-Formed Life" by Jack Hayford (95)
  • "Just Walk Across the Room" by Bill Hybels (94)
  • "The Proving" by Beverly Lewis (93)
  • "Dark Deception" by Nancy Mehl (92)
  • "The Child Safeguarding Policy Guide" by Tchividjian and Berkovits (91)
  • "Mercy Triumphs" by Jana Kelley (90)
  • "Gathering the Threads" by Cindy Woodsmall (89)
  • "Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference?" by Philip Yancey (88)
  • "The Great Divorce" by C.S. Lewis (87)
  • "The Two of Us" by Victoria Bylin (86)
  • "The Lifestyle of a Watchman" by James Goll (85)
  • "God's Power to Change Your Life" by Rick Warren (84)
  • "Active Spirituality" by Charles Swindoll (83)
  • "A Name Unknown" by Roseanna M. White (82)
  • "Are My Kids on Track?" by Sissy Goff (81)
  • "God's Smuggler: Young Reader's Edition" by Brother Andrew (80)
  • "Grounded Hearts" by Jeanne Dickson (79)
  • "Be Angry But Don't Blow It!" by Lisa Bevere (78)
  • "The Essential Guide to Prayer" by Dutch Sheets (77)
  • "Dragon Seed" by Marty Machowski (76)
  • "Winning the Battle for the Night" by Faith Blatchford (75)
  • "True to You" by Becky Wade (74)
  • "Stepping on Cheerios" by Betsy Singleton Snyder (73)
  • "Life is Tough but God is Faithful" by Sheila Walsh (72)
  • "Spiritual Warfare" by Derek Prince (71)
  • "Pray About Everything" by Paul Tautges (70)
  • "Praying Circles Around Your Children" by Mark Batterson (69)
  • "My Daughter's Legacy" by Clark and Gould (68)
  • "The Kindness Challenge" by Shaunti Feldhahn (67)
  • "His Guilt" by Shelley Shepard Gray" (66)
  • "The Good Book" by Deron Spoo (65)
  • "Counterfeit Comforts" by Robia Scott (64)
  • "The Captain's Daughter" by Jennifer Delamere (63)
  • "Little House on the Freeway" by Tim Kimmel (62)
  • "Welcome to College" by Jonathan Morrow (61)
  • "Hiding From the Kids in My Prayer Closet" by Jessica Kastner (60)
  • "They Thought For Themselves" by Sid Roth (59)
  • "Fearless" by Max Lucado (58)
  • "EKG: THe Heartbeat of God" by Ken Hemphill (57)
  • "The Illuminati" by Larry Burkett (56)
  • "He's Gonna Toot and I'm Gonna Scoot" by Barbara Johnson (55)
  • "Wait No More" by Kelly & John Rosati (54)
  • "Unglued" by Lysa TerKeurst (53)
  • "Forensic Faith" by J. Warner Wallace (52)
  • "The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race" by Mike Mizrahi (51)
  • "He Came First" by Rod Parsley (50)
  • "There's No Place Like Here" by Cecelia Ahern (49)
  • "Facing the Giants in Your Life" by David Jeremiah (48)
  • "50% Off Murder" by Josie Belle (47)
  • "Marked Down for Murder" by Josie Belle (46)
  • "All Sales Final" by Josie Belle (45)
  • "Driver Confessional" by David Winters (44)
  • "The Joy of Letting Go" by Vicki Varuana (43)
  • "Getting Jesus Wrong" by Matt Johnson (42)
  • "The Jesus Club" by Brian Barcelona (41)
  • "Getting to No" by Erwin W. Lutzer (40)
  • "Catch Me" by Lisa Gardner (39)
  • "Midwives" by Chris Bohjalian (38)
  • "Think Again" by Jared Mellinger (37)
  • "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn (36)
  • "A Fragile Hope" by Cynthia Ruchti (35)
  • "Brave is the New Beautiful" by Lee Wolfe Blum (34)
  • "No Longer a Slumdog" by K.P. Yohannan (33)
  • "Six Years" by Harlan Coben (32)
  • "Sunshine and Shadow" by Earlene Fowler (31)
  • "Steps to the Altar" by Earlene Fowler (30)
  • "Unsinkable Faith" by Tracie Miles (29)
  • "Chasing Famous" by Lisa Lloyd (28)
  • "Angels" by Ed Rocha (27)
  • "Unchained" by Noel Jesse Heikkinen (26)
  • "Making Marriage Beautiful" by Dorothy Littell Greco (25)
  • "Arkansas Traveler" by Earlene Fowler (24)
  • "Seven Sisters" by Earlene Fowler (23)
  • "Control Girl" by Shannon Popkin (22)
  • "Close to Home" by Deborah Raney (21)
  • "Home at Last" by Deborah Raney (20)
  • "Home to Paradise" by Barbara Cameron (19)
  • "Goose in the Pond" by Earlene Fowler (18)
  • "Tightropes and Teeter-Totters" by Lisa Pennington (17)
  • "Kansas Troubles" by Earlene Fowler (16)
  • "Amish Weddings" by Leslie Gould (15)
  • "When the Wind Blows" by James Patterson (14)
  • "I Am a Church Member" by Thom S. Rainer (13)
  • "The 5th Horseman" by James Patterson (12)
  • "The Mark of the King" by Jocelyn Green (11)
  • "The Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne (10)
  • "Witch & Wizard" by James Patterson (9)
  • "It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be" by Paul Arden (9)
  • "Grace Under Pressure" by Julie Hyzy (8)
  • "Gianna: Aborted, and Lived to Tell About It" by Jessica Shaver Renshaw (7)
  • "Life Creative" by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart (6)
  • "Blood Orchid" by Stuart Woods (5)
  • "Orchid Blues" by Stuart Woods (4)
  • "Seasons of the Heart" by Donna Kelderman (3)
  • "Hide And Seek" by James Patterson (2)
  • "Iron Orchid" by Stuart Woods (1)

Favorite authors of 2017: Stuart Woods (always), James Patterson (always), Deborah Raney, J.A. Myhre, Becky Wade

Books that I gushed about: "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer, "A Woman Overwhelmed" by Hayley DiMarco, "Stepping on Cheerios" by Betsy Singleton Snyder, "The Kindness Challenge" by Shaunti Feldhahn, "Hiding From the Kids in my Prayer Closet" by Jessica Kastner, "Getting Jesus Wrong" by Matt Johnson, "Control Girl" by Shannon Popkin

Chapter Books I read with the kids: 
  • "Little Pear" by Eleanor Frances Lattimore (7)
  • "The BFG" by Roald Dahl (6)
  • "Scooby-Doo and the Howling Wolfman" by James Gelsey (5)
  • "Ramona Quimby, Age 8" by Beverly Clearly (4)
  • "Chocolate Fever" by Robert Kimmel Smith (3)
  • "The Littles Go Exploring" (2)
  • "Treasure Island" by Robert Louise Stevenson (1)
We read about half as many chapter books together this year than we did last year. We went crazy on library books. I'm probably going to try to read at least 10 chapter books with them this year.

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!