Sunday, June 28, 2015

7 family ministry essentials by Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman

7 Ministry Essentials PK

With decades of ministry experience, Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman capture the guiding essentials of life-changing family ministry.
These seven essentials for children and student leaders emphasize:
1. Empowering families to take spiritual leadership in the home
2. Forming lifetime faith that transcends childhood beliefs
3. Teaching Scripture as the ultimate authority of truth
4. Understanding the role of the Holy Spirit to teach and transform
5. Engaging every generation in the gospel of God’s redemptive story
6. Making God central in every biblical narrative and daily living
7. Participating in community with like-minded ministry leaders
7 Family Ministry Essentials will energize and equip you with the practical steps, inspirational stories, and biblical foundation you need as you lead those in your ministry.
My opinion: This book is such a fitting book for what is needed in the church today. This book really deals with ways to strengthen the family in this day and age and I know that is something that is desperately needed as you can clearly see when you look around. this book deals with some very basic truths that are needed to be stressed in families, like making God the center of ones daily life, this is one I struggle with but with being a new Mom it is something I want to do. This is a great resource and would make a great addition to ones personal or church library, I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

A heart's betrayal by Colleen Coble

A Heart's Betrayal 4

Emmie finds shelter in the arms of a soldier, but her secret could drive them apart.
When Emmie Croftner answered the door to her late husband’s home, she discovered an awful truth: her deceased husband was a bigamist. And what’s more, the home she thought she inherited never belonged to her at all.
Suddenly displaced, powerless, and ashamed, Emmie can’t stay in Wabash, Indiana. She makes a hopeful start for Fort Laramie, Wyoming, to find her friend Sarah Montgomery and a new beginning. But when she arrives, she discovers she’s pregnant—and without a husband. The new start she’d hoped for slips from her fingers.
But then she meets Isaac Liddle, a handsome soldier with a kind heart. When he begins to court her, Emmie wonders whether she could ever really be his—and whether she dares to tell him she is carrying another man’s baby
My opinion: The drama continues in this series by Ms. Coble, I have to say of all of her books this series is not high on my list. Some of the characters are okay but as far as over the top drama goes? This series has a lot of it, I mean a women who thinks she was married but discovers that her husband has another wife? Very fanciful. Some of the characters are likable and of course we have Sarah from the previous books who finally has her happy ending after all of her drama. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

A friend in me by Pamela Lau

A Friend in Me
A Friend in Me (David C. Cook, June 2015)
Young women long for relational connection with women further ahead of them on the journey. Yet, without realizing it, many of us tend to distance ourselves from those in younger generations.
Can we really have close relationships with women who have different thoughts on church, different experiences with family, and different ways of talking about God? Where do we start?
In A Friend in Me, Pam Lau shows you how to be a safe place for the younger women in your life. She offers five patterns women need to internalize and practice for initiating relationships and talking about issues such as faith, forgiveness, sexuality, and vocation. Most significantly, she reminds you that there doesn’t need to be a divide between generations of women. Together, we can have a global impact—and experience a deeper faith than we’ve ever known.
My opinion: This book really talks about what I feel the Titus 2 woman is all about, having the older woman be a strength and support to the younger woman in their lives. I know that in my person life I have benefited from the wisdom of those who are further along in life's journey.  I love how this book gives practically and very applicable advice for ways the more seasoned women can mentor those younger in such a way that is mutually beneficial.  I love how this book longs to help us overcome the generation gaps and really minister to each other. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Little Paris bookshop by Nina George

“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people's lives.

My opinion: What a fun   book! I was looking for a fun summer read, something that was a bit different from what I had been reading and this book was just the thing. For anyone who loves to get lost in the world of literature and finds healing in a good book, this book is a must. I loved the various, quirky characters and loved how the author took one through a vast array of emotions, dealing with love, heartbreak, grief and even dealt some mystery and intrigue too.
I received a copy of this in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, June 26, 2015

A more Christlike God by Bradley Jersak

A More Christlike God

What is God like? A punishing judge? A doting grandfather? A deadbeat dad? A vengeful warrior?
Believers and atheists alike typically carry and finally reject the toxic images of God in their own hearts and minds. Even the Christian gospel has repeatedly lapsed into a vision of God where the wrathful King must be appeased by his victim Son. How do such good cop/bad cop distortions of the divine arise and come to dominate churches and cultures?
Whether our notions of ‘god’ are personal projections or inherited traditions, author and theologian Brad Jersak proposes a radical reassessment, arguing for A More Christlike God: a More Beautiful Gospel. If Christ is “the image of the invisible God, the radiance of God’s glory and exact representation of God’s likeness,” what if we conceived of God as completely Christlike—the perfect Incarnation of self-giving, radically forgiving, co-suffering love? What if God has always been and forever will be cruciform (cross-shaped) in his character and actions?
A More Christlike God suggests that such a God would be very good news indeed—a God who Jesus “unwrathed” from dead religion, a Love that is always toward us, and a Grace that pours into this suffering world through willing, human partners.
My opinion: I was totally turned off by the title of this book. it did not appeal to me as too many Christian authors try to interpret who God is and pick and choose scriptures that fit their image of him.  This book was better than I thought but I still had some issues with some of his justifications and reasoning away certain things. Overall it was a good read and the author did a good job at describing theological things in terms that the average person can understand which I appreciated. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hearts made whole by Jody Hedlund

Hearts Made Whole

Can she forgive the hurting man who costs her the role she loves?
After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.
Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He’s secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation–the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He’s not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who’s angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he’s unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope…and possibly love?
My opinion: This book deals with a women fulfilling an unconventional role during the time, helping man a lighthouse,but after the death of her Father that isn't to last and with a new keeper coming Caroline finds herself without a job and without a place to live. When a wounded Civil War veteran comes to take over the lighthouse she quickly realizes that he knows nothing about running a lighthouse, but will they overcome their pride and past to build a future together? Overall I really enjoyed this book and found the characters engaging and interesting. Quite a bit of the book was predictable but it was still an enjoyable read. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy

This book was an utter delight for a history lover, diving into the life of Sarah Brown the daughter of the infamous John Brown. Sarah is a very talented artist who is able to put her talents to work for the underground railroad by drawing maps. Sarah begins to boldly embrace her calling as a skilled mapmaker as the more traditional role of being a Mother is to be denied of her. In modern time Eden finds a doll in the root cellar that will unlock some mystery and intrigue.
This book was skillfully written and I loved how the author seamlessly wove together the past and the present. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Fatal Trauma by Richard Mabry M.D.

Fatal Trauma
Fatal Trauma (Abingdon Press, May 2015)
A gunman who has nothing to lose faces a doctor who could lose it all to prove his innocence.
When Dr. Mark Baker and Nurse Kelly Atkinson are held at the mercy of a dangerous gunman, the lives of every emergency room patient are at stake. At the end of the evening three men are dead. One of them is a police officer who couldn’t be saved despite Mark’s best efforts. The other two are members of the feared Zeta drug cartel.
Though the standoff is over, the killing is not, because when the drug cartel loses its members, revenge is not far behind. Facing an adversary whose desires are dark and efforts are ruthless, Mark finds himself under suspicion as a killer, yet still a potential victim. When he turns to his high school sweetheart, attorney Gwen Woodruff, for help, Kelly helplessly looks on, as she hides her own feelings for the good doctor.
At the height of the conflict, three questions remain: Who is the shooter? Who will the next victim be? And can Mark prove his innocence before the gun turns on him?
My opinion: I usually find medical Christian books to be interesting, with being married to a nurse is  that really surprising? I have read  some of Richard Mabry's books before and thoroughly enjoyed them and while this one did not measure up to some of the other medical books  but it was still an enjoyable and interesting read.  The characters are not quite as enjoyable and I did not click with them as much, still the aspects of the book I enjoyed and it was still an easy and quick read. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Midwife's Tale by Delia Parr

Martha Cade comes from a long line of midwives who have served the families of Trinity, Pennsylvania, for generations. A widow with two grown children, she's hopeful that her daughter will follow in her footsteps. But when Victoria runs off, Martha's world is shattered. 

Worse, a new doctor has arrived in town, threatening her job, and she can't remember a time when her faith was more tested. Still determined to do the work she knows God intended for her, Martha is unprepared for all that waits ahead. Whether it's trying to stop a town scandal, mending broken relationships, or feeling the first whispers of an unexpected romance, she faces every trial and every opportunity with hope and faith.

My opinion: This was an enjoyable read, I really liked the subject matter, midwives, having just had a baby and used a midwife myself. This book gets a glimpse into the rich world of midwives and how it was often times passed down from one generation to another. I really enjoyed the main characters and how the main character was actually a bit older which certainly isn't typical.
Filled with interesting characters, rich in historical detail and with an interesting subject, this book is a win/win and I highly recommend it.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Hutterite Diaries by Linda Maendel



Hutterite Diaries: Wisdom from My Prairie Community(MennoMedia, May 2015)
What would it be like to share all your possessions and live in Christian community?
In Hutterite Diaries, Linda Maendel offers a rare glimpse into the daily routines and communal faith of her people, the Hutterian Brethren. From stories of working together to bring in the fall potato harvest to laugh-out-loud tales of sisterly love laced with revenge, Maendel invites readers into her Bruderhof, or colony, nestled on the prairie of western Canada. Here children and adults work, play, eat, and worship together, crafting a community of goods and living out an alternative to the individualism and consumerism of mainstream society.
Few outsiders know anything about the Hutterites, a Plain Christian group related to the Amish and Mennonites. Maendel’s story invites readers into deeper understanding of this community of faith, calling us to take seriously the example of Jesus and the early church in our daily living.
My opinion: This was a rare and delightful glimpse into the very unique world of the Hutterite's. A lot of people know very little about the Hutterite communities, I knew a bit more because my sister had a pen-pal that was Hutterite but I still had a lot to learn.  I really enjoyed the quaint lifestyle that Ms. Maendel and it was a deliciously easy read, taking one to a different world that seems like something from the past. I highly enjoyed her stories of working together and daily life in the community. I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Blessing by Lyn Cote

An impetuous love swept Blessing Brightman away from the Quaker community, into the highest ranks of Cincinnati society. But behind the glitter of ballroom and parlor, her spirit slowly eroded in an increasingly dangerous marriage. Widowed young, determined never to lose her independence again, Blessing reclaimed her faith and vowed to use her influence to fight for women's rights and abolition.Gerard Ramsay, scion of a wealthy Boston family, arrives in Cincinnati hoping to escape his father's clutches with a strategy that will gain him independence. His plan is soon complicated, however, by the enchanting widow. Never before has a woman spoken as if she's his equal--or challenged him to consider the lives of others.In a city nearly ablaze with racial tensions quickly dividing the country, can two people worlds apart possibly find common ground?

My opinion: This book started out so promising just with its gorgeous cover and it did not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed the spirited and unique heroine who is as unusual as her name, Blessing. Set in the pre-Civil War days this book has very likable characters and has a rich historical context. It felt like one was transported back into the 1840's and I got very caught up in what was happening to the two characters. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written historical fiction.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The proposal at Siesta Key by Shelley Shepard Gray

A Proposal at Siesta Key


The Proposal at Siesta Key(Avon Inspire, May 2015)
A young Amish woman, yearning for freedom, crosses paths with a handsome Mennonite celebrity in a deeply moving tale of friendship and self-discovery—the second installment in the unforgettable New York Times bestselling author’s new Amish Brides of Pinecraft series.
Penny Troyer rarely disobeys her parents. In the years since her sister’s tragic death, they’ve wanted nothing more than to keep her safe…even if it means never leaving the house.
But tonight, she’s bending the rules because Michael Knoxx, the most famous member of The Knoxx Family Singers, a traveling Mennonite Evangelical family —is scheduled to speak. Penny has heard of Michael—how he lost part of his leg in a terrible accident and uses the experience to inspire others—and knows she must meet him. So, for the first time ever, Penny stands up to her parents and goes out on her own.
Though he speaks about living life to the fullest, Michael knows he needs to take his own advice. Life on the road is grueling and Michael wants to slow down, to rest…to perhaps meet someone who sees him as a man, not just a celebrity. So when a twist of fate allows him the chance to stay a little longer in Pinecraft, Michael knows God is showing him a new path, especially when he discovers how much he and Penny Troyer have in common.
But new friendships can’t stop time. Soon, Michael’s time in Pinecraft will be over and he’ll be back on the road. Her time with Michael has brought her happiness, but will she be able to follow her heart? Or will she be faced with the one thing she’s sure she’ll never have the courage to do?
My opinion: This was a very easy read and very predictable with a lot of fluff to it. I wasn't quite as into it as some of Ms. Gray's previous books as it just really did not have much depth to it. Not that it wasn't an easy and decent read but at times the characters seemed distant and I really did not get involved in the story like I like to. I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Infuse by Eric Prum and Josh Williams

Filled with interesting concepts this book was an interesting read. With intriguing recipes that I am eager to try without the alcohol in it, this book has some interesting concepts. I have never done much with infusing so this is a whole new world.  With beautiful pictures and interesting concepts and ideas this book is very unique and interesting.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

As waters gone by by Cynthia Ruchti

As Waters Gone By pK

How can a marriage survive when separated by hundreds of miles and impenetrable prison walls?
Emmalyn and Max Ross may have to endure the fight of their lives to mend the tattered fabric of their marriage. His actions ensured she could never be a mother and put him in prison, giving their relationship a court-mandated five-year time-out. On a self-imposed exile to beautiful but remote Madeline Island, one of the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior, Emmalyn has just a few months left to figure out if and how they can ever be a couple again.
Nudged along by the exuberant owner of the Wild Iris Inn and CafĂ©, a circle of misfit people in their small town, and a young girl who desperately needs someone to love her, Emmalyn restores an island cottage that could become a home and begins to restore her heart by learning what it means to love unconditionally. Yet even as hope begins to find a place within the cottage walls, Emmalyn still wonders if she’s ready for Max’s release. She may be able to rebuild a cottage, but can she rebuild a marriage?
My opinion: This book has so much more depth to it then so many Christian fiction books on the market and it deals with some very hard issues. I am not sure how many books I have read where the husband is in jail. I really appreciate the characters in this book, flaws and all. I love how the author handled the tough issues and really got me thinking, she did a great job and I highly recommend this book. I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Hiding in the Light by Rifqa Bary

This was a wonderful read and really gave a lot of insight as to what it truly means to give up everything to be a follower of Christ. I did not remember Ms. Bary's story being in the news several years ago, but apparently it caused a bit of an uproar and I can see why! Her story is truly inspiring and I could hardly put it down! Here is someone who gave up all she ever knew, even her own family and was in danger of her very life, all to follow Christ. Her devotion was touching and I think this book will stick with me for a long time.
I highly recommend this book to people of all ages,it is a great and very easy read!
I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Centralia by Mike Dellosso

Peter Ryan wakes up on a typical morning only to find his house empty, his wife and daughter nowhere to be found. His world is shattered after a phone call to a friend confirms the impossible: his wife and daughter died in a car accident he does not remember. Haunted by faint memories and flashes of details, Peter becomes convinced that something isn't right and begins to question reality. When he discovers a note in his daughter's handwriting, strange memories begin to surface that cause him to second-guess nearly everything he once believed. Suddenly armed men show up at Peter's home, turning the mysterious puzzle of his past into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. On the run and unsure whom to trust, Peter has to discover what's real and what isn't . . . before he loses everything

My  opinion: I had never read a book by this author but the premise sounded interesting so I was eager to read it and I am overall glad I did so, although maybe reading it so soon after having a baby was not the best idea.:)
This book is very intriguing and keeps you guessing until the end. I tried figuring out what all was going on,but it certainly kept me on my toes.
This is a very easy read that is fast paced and keeps you guessing, if you are into a good mystery with an excellent twist I highly recommend it!
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Never say no by Mark and Jan Foreman

Never Say No HI


Never Say No (David C. Cook, May 2015)
The question Mark and Jan Foreman are most often asked is: How did you raise your kids?
Mark and Jan Foreman’s adult sons Jon and Tim Foreman of Switchfoot have influenced their world not only by a successful music career but also through their positive impact on communities around the globe. The Foreman parents instilled in their sons a belief that they could make a difference by living beyond themselves.
This powerful book gives readers an inside look at the process. It begins with both parent and child finding their identity in God. It then explores practical ways to encourage holistic learning while cultivating specific gifts, nurturing creativity in a media-saturated culture, and balancing structure with individual choice. Never Say No inspires readers to raise children to live in the wonder of life by loving others well. Parents will find encouragement for their own parenting journey as they guide their kids to live out God’s purpose in radical ways.

My opinion: When I first got this book I was a bit skeptical about it as never saying no is not something you would think is a good idea in a parenting book and yet when I got the book and began reading it I found it to be a very insightful, wonderful book and loved how it focused on teaching ones children to live beyond themselves which is exactly what the Foreman's appeared to have done.  I really enjoyed this book and feel like it would make a great addition to anyone collection. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.