A Review: "The Bible Explorer's Guide"

"The Bible Explorer's Guide", published by ZonderKidz, is a fabulous fountain of information for every child and adult interested in expanding their knowledge of life in Bible times. Filled with maps, drawings, photos, and facts, this is a book that will be a great addition to any Bible reference section for kids. With sections like "Problems and Plagues in Egypt", "Voices in the Desert", and "The Dark Day", this book looks in detail at how people lived in Bible times, plants, celebrations, and architecture in ancient times. My oldest son loves these kinds of books and is eager to dive in on his own.

(I’ve received this complimentary book through the BookLook program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Quick Lit: What I've Been Reading Lately

I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for this month's quick lit, where I share short and sweet reviews of a few books I've read in the past month. You can also find me over at Goodreads if you are interested in other books I've read or reviewed.

"Wild in the Hollow" by Amber C. Haines. Haines shares poetically and candidly about her brokenness and her longing for home. Her writing is gut-wrenching and honest. I really appreciated reading her journey through her trials, failings, and eventually finding a place to call home. There was something in her writing that really seemed to connect on a soul level. This book was a true gift to read!

"The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. While pondering the idea of happiness, Rubin decided to take a year to improve her happiness level. Tackling one area per month, she covered things like meditation, clutter, exercise, and marriage. The idea behind the project was an interesting one, but I found myself get…

A Review: "Nothing to Prove" by Jennie Allen

Jennie Allen's newest book, "Nothing to Prove", offers encouragement to the reader who struggles with trying so hard, with wondering if they are truly enough for their families, their churches, and their communities. The book is divided into two sections. The first one identifies the problem of our striving. The second section discusses the solution--trusting in what Jesus has already done for us. She covers topics such as fear, loneliness, risk, and shame. At the end of each chapter in the second section, there is an "Experience Guide" with questions for reflection and practical application.

While there wasn't a whole lot of new information for me in this book, I did appreciate the reminders of God's enoughness throughout the book. I really enjoyed her thoughts and reflections contained in the chapter about fear. This would be a great book to go through in a small group.

(I’ve received this complimentary book from the Blogging for Books program in exch…

A Review: "Chasing Slow" by Erin Loechner

I first became acquainted with Erin Loechner through her occasional co-hosting on "The Simple Show" podcast. After hearing her several times, I was intrigued to read her first book "Chasing Slow:  Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path". Erin shares her story of the early years of her marriage, some heavy trials they went through, motherhood, and her explosion on the blog scene. Woven throughout, she shares how her priorities and perspective shifted as she began to pursue a call to slower, more focused living.

Her story meanders through various stages of her life. Told in poetry-like prose, she shares personally and freely about tough situations and tough questions. While there are no easy answers to things she asks, these questions are a springboard to causing the reader to reflect on their own lives and what changes we can make. This is a beautiful book and I truly enjoyed reading it. However, at times it felt like it meandered a little too much and it became a l…

A Review: "Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life" by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Upon his death in 1996, Henri Nouwen left behind a vast collection of personal letters. Archivist Gabrielle Earnshaw spent many years identifying, sorting, and cataloguing these letters and eventually collected thousands of letters from the original recipients. She compiled these letters into this first volume released in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of his death. Spanning 23 years and covering a wide range of topics, these letters are introduced with a brief description to put them into context. The book is divided into three sections, each covering a certain period of time. It is an intensely personal look into the life of Henri Nouwen and an absolute treasure to have a collection such as this.

I do not typically write in my books, but I made an exception for this one. There were so many beautiful thoughts and passages that I want to remember and be able to come back to over and over again. While I don't agree with everything that he shares, his wisdom is profound and h…

A Review: "Waves of Mercy" by Lynn Austin

When asked by her son, Geesje de Jonge begins to write her memoirs for her town's Semi-Centennial celebration. She sifts through pieces of the past, starting with emigrating to Michigan from the Netherlands fifty years earlier. Reliving her memories of the regrets, hardships, grief, and joys of the past helps her to see just how God has proven to be with her time and again, as well as giving her a unique way to help out a young woman from a nearby hotel who is struggling with similar issues to Geesje's from years ago.

I have loved Lynn Austin's books for years and found with this latest novel that she is still a stellar writer. Her ability to weave together a complex story and intertwine the lives of seemingly unconnected people is incredible. I appreciated the depth of the characters and the details of the stories. The overarching themes of choosing to love in marriage and of never being left alone by God shine through this novel. I got to the end of it wishing for more--…

A Review: "Falling Free" by Shannan Martin

Shannan Martin, a blogger from Indiana, poignantly shares the story of her family's journey from comfort and the American Dream to living on "the wrong side of the tracks" in her first book, "Falling Free." The Martin family lived on a quiet, idealistic farm with their three children, but one day, they began to sense God calling them to leave it behind and pursue a greater adventure. They eventually sold their farm and moved to a city neighborhood that, at first glance, didn't offer much for their family. But through their obedience, they began to experience a life like no other, one that only God could create for them.

Martin writes beautifully and shares her family's story and experiences in a way that tugs on your heart strings. She challenges the reader to expand our horizons and see the different ways that God may be calling us to step outside our comfort and security zones in order to make a tangible difference among the least. It's a wonderfu…