Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Finding God in the Ruins by Matt Bays

Finding God in the Ruins HI


Finding God in the Ruins(David C. Cook, March 2016)
If God is love, why do we hurt so much?
When the reality of your pain doesn’t line up with what you’ve been taught in church, then what? While many abandon their faith or embrace hopelessness, it is possible to discover the God who heals your heart in the midst of the pain.
Matt Bays has been where you are. His unforgettable stories of loss and healing will usher you into a life where gratitude overpowers anger, hope overcomes despair, and hunger for God replaces indifference to God. With a fresh and original writing style, Bays demonstrates that true redemption is far more powerful than the temporary fixes of sanitized Christianity.
My opinion: What a wonderful book dealing with something so many of us struggle with, where is God in all of the pain? This book doesn't shy away from the hard questions but offers well founded, seasoned advice. The author has faced many difficult things in his lifetime so he is certainly speaking from experience and is not just some trite answer.  It is saddening to read how much Matt Bays has been through and the fact that he has been able to use that pain and sorrow for the Lord's glory is a huge testimony about the power of God. This book is at times difficult to read, but it is a wonderful read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Beauty begins by Chris and Megan Shook Alpha

Living in a society that is obsessed with beauty can be absolutely brutal, our society is not kind to women who do not measure up to the impossible standard set before us.This book explores the roots of our obsession with beauty and focuses on us instead realizing that we are enough by the Lord's standards and that we should find our value in His great love that is unchanging and steadfast.
This book is a great encouragement for any women and really hits home with such great insights and truths.
I received a copy for my honest opinion.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Catch a star by Tamika Catchings

I am not a huge fan of basketball so I wasn't even sure who Tamika Catchings was, but apparently she is pretty big in the basketball world! She has a very inspiring story of a life that has overcome adversity to thrive. Tamika certainly did not have an easy childhood but she did not allow that to overwhelm her and she chose to push through. This book would be a great inspiration to anyone, but particularity young people who face so many challenges, many that the author addresses and can relate to. From humble beginnings to being a Olympic gold medalist this book is a great and inspiring read.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Your're already amazing by Holley Gerth

What a great workbook filled with so many life truths that are easily drowned out in this world. Broken down into 6 easily to accomplish and very inspiring sections this book is just perfect for a women' group or to study on ones own. It is so easy to get stuck in a rut and get down about ones self and life in general but this book is filled with practical and very applicable truths that help get out of the rut and towards the life they are truly intended to have.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Synced by Jennifer Kennedy Dean



Synced: Living Connected to the Heart of Jesus (New Hope, February 2016)
Prayer can become extraordinary when we live connected to the heart of Jesus.
Synced encourages you to emulate the way Jesus lived His life. With real-life stories of people walking closely with Jesus, finding themselves in the right place at the right time, readers are challenged to examine what staying in step with the Spirit looks like. National best-selling author and known prayer expert, Jennifer Kennedy Dean, uses the familiar passage of the Lord’s Prayer as anchor points to present the way Jesus lived His life in step with the Father through prayer.
Every moment is pregnant with purpose. Every moment is drenched in power. Prayer is no longer the means by which you attempt to get God to perform for you and becomes, instead, the means by which you connect with His heart and mind. A praying life is a life of peace and soul-rest. A praying life is lived in sync with the heart of Jesus.
My opinion: I felt like this book was particularly fitting as I am celebrating the Easter season. This gem of a book is filled with such insight and wisdom. i love how the author bases the book on the Lord's prayer and how relevant it is to our own lives.  This book has a rich and deep basis in the scriptures and really focuses on the vast importance of pray both in our own lives and those around us. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

I was intrigued by this book, the front was suspenseful looking and the synopsis on the back was cryptic making you want to read it. It looked very different from the type of books I usually find myself reading and it truly was. The writing was engaging and interesting, it really takes awhile to  figure out what the heck is going on. I wasn't crazy about Annabel Lee's dialog as it was written to try to mimic a young person from down South and it got kind of annoying.
It had a good mystery and suspense but it didn't hold my interest as much as I would have liked. It had all of the components of a great story but fell a little flat for me. That being said I am sure many will find it more to their liking.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion

A fool and his Monet by Sandra Orchard

Being an art fanatic who is especially fond of Monet I was beyond eager to read this book as it looked fascinating and fun. I have to start out by saying that it did not live up to expectations, unfortunately the book was more about Serena and all of the super amazing guys that like her than it was about any Monet. I was hoping for a little more description of the artwork and the art world in general but that was barely touched.
The character of Serena was amusing and likable, she was pretty down to earth and the dialog was snappy and witty. The mystery was intriguing and well developed. It certainly was an easy, enjoyable read, not quite what I was expecting, but it wasn't bad. I would give it a solid 4 stars.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

I want it all by Gwen Smith

I Want It All (David C. Cook, March 2016)
God created you for exceptional impact. Exceptional power. And exceptional blessings.
Gwen Smith knows how easy it is to dismiss God’s plans with the thoughts, I can’t make a big difference for God because I’m just an ordinary woman with an ordinary life. Yet God created us to join Him in doing amazing work in the world. He created us to live with abundant joy, courage,and influence. But not the joy, courage, and influence of the world. He offers His grace for each failure, His love that shatters hate, His peace that soothes the turmoil, His comfort, guidance, wisdom, rest, power, and significance. Every blessing He has for us is ours for the taking.
I Want It All will ignite a fire in your heart to experience more faith, more power, and more impact. More of Jesus. All of Jesus. Everything that God has for you.
My opinion: I love how down to earth and real the author was. It was so easy to relate to what she was saying and draw so much encouragement from it. I came away from reading this book so refreshed and inspired as it is so easy to get caught up in merely existing in between all of ones responsibilities. This book really dives into the awesome powers of our God and how life changing his love really is.  I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The hearts we mend by Kathryn Springer

The Hearts We Mend
The Hearts We Mend(Zondervan, March 2016)
Planning and Post-It notes are the epitome of Evie’s life. But when she meets Jack, her life gets more than a little complicated.
Thirteen years ago, Evie’s firefighter husband was killed in the line of duty, leaving her to raise their young son, Cody, alone. Now, Cody is marrying the love of his life, and as he packs up his belongings, the house feels as empty as Evie’s heart. But for all her planning and mad organizational skills, Evie could never have anticipated the dramatic shift her life is about to make.
Tattooed, rough-around-the-edges Jack raises quite a few eyebrows in the tight-knit community of Banister Falls. Where Evie’s life is stream-lined, Jack’s approach to living is moment-by-moment. But as Evie gets drawn into Jack’s world—a world that isn’t as safe or predictable as the one she’s worked so hard to create—he challenges her to open her eyes to the problems outside the walls of the church.
Jack doesn’t make Evie feel comfortable, but he definitely makes her feel something. Something she hasn’t felt since Max passed away—or, maybe ever. Because even though Jack isn’t anything like her late husband, he just might be everything she needs.
My opinion: This book was a fun and unique read. I loved the depth of characters and the story line so much. There was just so much more to this book than a lot of books out there and it really sucks you in and get you thinking. I love how this books deals with how sometimes our best laid plans go amiss and yet how often times it really is for the better. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The rooftop growing guide

This book is great for the city dweller who would love to have a garden but feels they do not have the space. This book is filled with inspiring ideas to totally utilize the space that you have, no matter how small it may be!  I feel this book not only works for rooftops but can be implemented to people with small backyards as well even though some aspects don't apply.
This book is a wonderful resource and I highly recommend it.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, March 18, 2016

And it was beautiful by Kara Tippetts

And it was Beautiful PK


And It Was Beautiful: Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Good-Bye(David C Cook, March 2016)
“I was here. I saw beauty. I embraced it.” —Kara Tippetts
How do you live out extravagant love in the everyday moments? How do you celebrate grace when your life turns out differently than the one you dreamed?
Kara Tippetts discovered how to find joy in the small moments of life. She learned how to hold tight to hope even while battling intense physical and emotional pain. And she lived out the truth that God can redeem any story.
In her final book, Kara offers gentle reflections on living and dying well. She invites us to cultivate soft hearts even when we face great disappointment. Her ideas for living are hard-won, wrestled with in the crucible of family, illness, and faith. And her constant reminder is that whether we are in the midst of dark days or mundane moments Jesus is always there, life is surprisingly beautiful, and God is forever good.
My opinion: What a heartbreaking and yet utterly spellbinding read. To say it is haunting and stays with you long after you finish it is a vast understatement. I was inspired and challenged reading Kara's writings, brutally honest she was with her struggles and yet how her faith shone throughout. What a wonderful, inspiring woman! Such a witness of God's greatness amidst her pain and suffering. As a new Mother myself I cried reading about her trying to treasure every day with her children and mourning that she would not see them grow. This book is such a tough read, but it is so beautiful and is so worth the tears shed while reading it. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tying the Knot by Rob Green

Tying the Knot_frontcover PK


Tying The Knot: A Premarital Guide to a Strong and Lasting Marriage (New Growth Press, February 2016)
Advised by both tellers of fairy tales and harbingers of doom, many engaged couples simply don’t know what to expect from marriage, so they focus their anxious energies on the wedding day.
Rob Green, a pastor, counselor, and veteran of many premarital counseling sessions, shares that the joy, fun, companionship, and love couples hope for before marriage are not only possible, they are actually God’s plan for marriage. But none of these wonderful things happen automatically when you tie the knot. A strong and satisfying marriage must be intentionally built on Jesus.
Tying the Knot offers soon-to-be-married couples a practical vision of Christ-centered marriage that is realistic, hopeful, and actionable. This nine-session study guides couples through issues like conflict, expectations, communication, finances, and intimacy, showing how each can be successfully resolved with Christ at the center of the marriage.
Knowing the stresses and needs of a couple in their season of engagement, Green has helpfully designed the study to require a manageable (and healthy) 60 minutes of at-home work per session, with questions and exercises to build communication and intimacy at the end of each chapter. Tying the Knot also includes an appendix for mentors, making it easy for a married couple, lay leader, or counselor to lead an engaged couple through the book.
Field-tested and recommended by multiple counselors in a thriving counseling practice, Tying the Knot has already guided many couples into a stronger and more joyful union. Let this nine-week premarriage study reorient your life and marriage around Christ, so you both will experience all the blessings of marriage as God designed it.
My opinion: This little book is a wonderful little handbook for premarital counseling, it would be great for Pastor's to have on hand or an engaged couple to go through on their own. I like how the book is divided in between 9 session making it perfectly doable and very essential for a young couple preparing for marriage. This book handles a lot of the big issues that soon to be married couples really need to discuss and get on the same page about, issues like communication. finances, etc. In a world rift with divorce this book is a good resource to help couples get their journey started out on a firm foundation. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The I Quite Sugar cookbook by Sarah Wilson

What an inspiring cookbook. It is very alarming just how much stuff sugar is put into, it is so hard to get away from it and yet many people can attest to the fact that they feel better and weight isn't as big of an issue.
This book makes eating sugar free a lot easier, with delicious and often easy practical recipes this book is so inspiring. I also love how the author talks about her own journey of cutting sugar out of her life which is encouraging. Filled with delicious recipes, gorgeous photography and practical advice this book has it all,
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Having a Martha home in a Mary way by Sarah Mae

I absolutely loved this book. Written by someone I can totally relate to who is not some kind of domestic diva who loves cleaning house (how is that even possible?), but your average Mom who get overwhelmed by the mess and staying ahead of it all.
I love how Sarah Mae talks about gentle housekeeping which is about so much more than good housekeeping, it is about giving yourself grace when you don't live up to your own expectations and having a home that is filled with kindness. It is about being a servant like Martha and yet having time for what is really important like Mary.
I loved the 31 day challenge and how she broke down the various chores, it made it seem much more manageable and her encouraging words really helped me.
Filled with raw honesty, gentle encouragement and sage advise based on the concept of Martha and Mary from the New Testament this book is wonderful.
I highly recommend this book and think it would be great for a women's group or just to read on your own.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Fast Metabolism Food Rx by Haylie Pomroy

I was intrigued by the concept of this book as it really seems to talk about living a healthier life and taking better care of yourself. Written by a nutritionist who really knows her stuff and it really shows. I love how the concepts she introduces are really not to diet per se but to eat good foods, stuff that is good for your body and help you fight your battle with weight and even with diseases.
I am excited by this concept and am eager to try it out. She writes in an engaging and easy to understand manner and I really enjoyed it.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, March 4, 2016

21 seconds to change your world

This book is awesome and so encouraging. I love how it really focuses on the power and beauty of prayer and how it is truly life changing it is. I know in my own life that I vastly underestimate the power of prayer.
This book really breaks prayer down and makes you realize that you really have the time to say a prayer, we all have 21 seconds to give each day and how much change those few seconds can bring into our lives!
This book has so many great testimonies and stories of peoples lives who have changed because of the power of prayer.
I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

End times and the secret of the Mahdi by Michael Youssef

What a fascinating and unique book. This book is filled with intriguing concepts. I like how the author pulled things out of the scriptures especially in ways that I personally have never thought of before. I am not sure that I agree with all of his ideas, but many  of them have validity to them.
I have never heard of Michael Youssef before but you can tell that he really studies things out and digs deep into the scriptures.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.