Category Archives: Reviews

Hope and Encouragement

While not reading as much I still read and will blog for the occasional book. Recently I received a copy of Fierce Beauty by Kim Meeder as a complimentary copy for review by Multnomah Publishers. The catch line is Choosing to Stand for What Matters Most. There are 18 chapters, 18 real life stories that inspire and encourage and help reveal the heart of God.

The moment starting the book it captures you as the author is caught hanging off the mountain side having made a bad turn on the path. Each chapter starts off a story that will grab you hook line and sinker. It uses many different examples to show God’s love for his daughters, for His children. One of the beautiful pictures it paints throughout the book is a beautiful woman giving up the crowns of entitlement and grabbing the sword to be a warrior for God.

Perhaps one of my favorite stories was one for the puppy, no the boulder, or the smile. Well I honestly don’t know because there were really too many. The boulder though was a great reminder that the things we think are the most permanent the things that we trust and put our faith in the world can still change. We can’t take anything for granted. It was the great picture that money, position, loved ones, jobs, any of them can come and go in a heartbeat. The only foundation, the only unchanging thing is God.

I can’t say anything negative about this book. Well, I guess I could say that you may need some kleenex. There were numerous times it brought tears to my eyes. Either way I would recommend reading it!

Advertisements

Living Close to God

Recently I received a copy of Living Close to God When You’re Not Good at it by Gene Edwards as a free copy to review from Waterbrook Press. It caught my attention because try as I might I’m horrible at making a consistent daily time of prayer or devotion. At least not in the way you hear of people getting up and praying for an hour on end in the morning and spending half an hour in the Word etc.

This book aims its message at people exactly like me, and I’m sure many people everywhere. The author spends time telling of how some of the most spiritual people he knew, the ones that you could tell daily walked with God were illiterate. How come if they could do it, then why couldn’t he have that close relationship even since he read the Bible daily and consistently prayed??

Gene Edwards writes ideas he has used to develop a richer daily walk with Christ. He in no way down plays the importance of the Bible or prayer, but just that there has to be more. He tells of finding a song that focuses on God and carrying it with you through your day to keep coming back and thinking on it through your day.

Another idea that I particularly loved was to stop and take the smallest moment to say a prayer before you turn your key. He mainly discusses the prayer prior to going and coming home from work. Essentially the book is about finding God in all the small times and filling your day with him. Learning to make it a habit for the most “unspiritual” of people. Overall a very encouraging read with simple ideas to help develop a daily walk with Christ.

Wait No More

Kelly & John Rosati have an amazing story. Tyndale offered a free copy of their book called Wait No More for review. It follows about a 10 year span of amazing coincidences that were completely God inspired as they adopted 4 different kid through foster care.

Each time they opened their hearts and asked for God to use them as he saw fit it barely seemed to take more than 24 hours before they got a phone call of another child that needed a place to stay. A place that they could end up calling home. It goes over the ups the downs, joys of homecoming and the struggles that come from children born with health issues due to the sad choices of the birth parents.

One of the pieces that ties into a story with one of the adoptions was the work that Kelly Rosati did while living in Hawaii. She was a lobbyist and one letter received she in no way thought could be true. It let her know that the age of consent was only 14 in Hawaii and essentially asked what she was going to do about it. After much research and lots of lobbying they were able to pass law to raise the age of consent to 16. I was amazed and saddened that any state could have had it so low.

Each chapter will bring more laughter and sometimes tears. And while not every one can adopt everyone can be an encouragement and prayerful partner of those do.

TJ and the Time Stumblers

Recently I wanted a little break from heavier reading material I’ve been going through and found TJ and the Time Stumblers by Bill Myers as an option for a free book copy for review for Tyndale. It was a kids series and I picked up in the middle at book 3.

I honestly wasn’t expecting too much, but thought it would be a fun, comical, and lighthearted story. The surprise was how much heart and message the story had as well. It follows a new girl at school TJ and then her two time stumbling companions. The companions, Herby and Tuna, are from the future who came back to study TJ, but more than study they seem to cause a world of humor and chaotic happenings. Such as a large talking elephant with bad breath running through the school. Or creating a device that accidentally turns everyone’s secret thoughts to broadcasts, or even worse the thoughts to reality.

But besides the blunders, fun sound effects, and overall comedy of the time travelers the heart of the story is TJ and learning to accept people, even the obnoxious ones.  There is a popular girl at school that she truly struggles to like or even think anything nice about. This book journey’s her learning to accept other people for who they are and where they are at. A good reminder for anyone at any age as we all have people that we have a hard time accepting due to whatever reason. Two Thumbs up for this adventure. This series would make a great gift for any boy or girl. Lots of adventure with a positive message can’t go wrong!

Plugged in – More than Movie Reviews

I recently got a copy of Plugged-In Parenting from Tyndale as a free copy for review. While I’m not a parent yet, I love reading things film related and have been a fan of the website.

This book doesn’t hold any punches. Within the first chapter I kept running to my husband to tell him this quote or that statistic. Some of the information is staggering and sad. One of the quotes states, “By the age of six, the average American child has spent more hours watching the tube than he will spend speaking to his father in his lifetime.” LIFETIME!!

For people not aware of what plugged-in is, it is a group of people, from Focus on the Family, who review music, video games, movies etc for family friendly content. They let the parents or anyone know what is in the media, whether it is language, violence, grown up innuendo etc. Trying to help people be informed. (I should have checked the website before renting a dvd we had to turn off for how foul it was!)

It goes through numerous chapters of how to be involved in your kids life and giving the less tech savvy parents ideas of how to research to find out what their kids are interested and just what is available for phone apps, movies, music, etc. It really boils down to parents being involved and interested in what is going on with kids. It even gives ideas for setting up a family media contract.

While it will be a while before I need to put into place a family media contract for kids, it has made me more aware of what I’m listening to and watching. My radio stations have changed because I don’t want the song coming back to me in the middle of the day promoting some errant sexuality because of the beat. I want to know that it will be positive, uplifting and glorifying to God. Plus as the added benefit it puts me in a more positive mood. Duh right? If you get a chance…read the book and prepare to be shocked, angered and then encouraged to do something!

PrayerWalk

“It’s time to exercise your prayer life!” That is the core of this revised edition of PrayerWalk by Janet Holm McHenry. It takes you from the decision to start prayerwalking, to the daily grind, to seeing God move and then some. Included in the back of the book are 30 day prayer and fitness challenge and a Bible study with discussion guide if you are looking to do this as a group.

It took me longer than I expected to read this book. While the material was good at a few points it seemed a little redundant. Yet as soon as I would start to think that, a story or example of how God moved in her own prayerwalking or in a friends prayerwalking experience blew me away. A particularly powerful example was how God revealed himself after the author’s father passed away. It was a reminder that sometimes God’s answer isn’t what we expect, but in everything God can use it and reveal His character to us.

One of the beginning chapters goes over what is needed to start prayerwalking. Healthy benefits are listed that can come from making a commitment to walking on a regular basis. It goes over shoes and heart monitoring an all the basic odds and ends of starting a walking program.

The heart of the book is on prayer. Praying aloud vs praying quiet. Prayerwalking with a friend vs prayerwalking alone. Watching the power of God in your life as you pray for your family and community. And how prayer can change everything. While I can’t say that this book has led me to believe that I am going to be an intercessory prayerwalker, it does make me excited about walking on a regular basis and using that time to draw closer to God.

 

Two Hankies Up

This afternoon I finished a book called A Place Called Blessing by John Trent. It was a complimentary copy provided by booksneeze for review. The intro gave me a good idea what I was getting into…”A Place Called Blessing paints a vivid picture of what it means to choose blessings over curses, light over darknes, life over death.”

This is a fiction book taking the principles of his book called Blessings and showing it in action. It follows the story of Josh as he grows up. It starts as a this little boy is taken from foster home to foster home and ending up in a childrens home after a terrible accident involving a fire and the death of his little friend. He grows up not knowing trust, love, hope or anything about family.

After being released from the states care he went to find life on his own and ended up finding a place that he could call home and a place of acceptance and even love. It was a long hard journey and the revelations of what it takes for him to enter a place of blessing will have you grabbing a box of tissues. I don’t want to give to much away, because each page seems to show examples of what is to live a life that chooses to love in spite of a past, to believe in someone, to go out of your way to show kindness.  

The only negative thing I have to say about this is that it wasn’t long enough! I could have kept reading. Even though there were sad parts to the story, it was marked by such hope, forgiveness and well blessings that it was INCREDIBLE! If you get a chance to grab a copy of this book to read I would highly recommend it!