Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Review: "Falling Free" by Shannan Martin

Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always WantedShannan 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 wonderful story, filled with many thought-provoking and eye-opening statements. I highly recommend this amazing book!

(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.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Review: "Rhythms of Rest" by Shelly Miller

Cover ArtSabbath. A word that calls forth many ideas and misconceptions. In this book, "Rhythms of Rest," Shelly Miller addresses the topic of Sabbath. She seeks to dispel the myths around Sabbath and invites the reader to take steps to integrate Sabbath into a regular weekly routine.With busyness and productivity pushing people to their limits, learning to bring rest into our schedules helps give us space to ultimately enjoy life.

Miller writes beautifully--prose with the soul of poetry. Even reading the book invites the reader to slowly savor it, to linger over the chapters, paragraphs, and phrases. She takes the time to unpack what Sabbath truly is and what it isn't. She shares how Sabbath looks in her life, as well as the lives of those who are part of her "Sabbath Society." I truly appreciated how thought-provoking this book is. It challenged me to see how I can start integrating Sabbath in my life, even in small increments to begin with. This is a truly lovely book that I will return to for fresh encouragement on bringing rest into my life.

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

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Review: "A Mile Wide" by Brandon Hatmaker

A Mile Wide: Trading a Shallow Religion for a Deeper FaithI've been a fan of Brandon's wife, Jen Hatmaker, for a while now. It seemed natural to pick his book after reading and enjoying several of hers. His book, "A Mile Wide:  Trading a Shallow Religion for a Deeper Faith," did not disappoint. He helps the believer walk through that desire for "something more" that we all feel at some point or another, that longing for depth that we can't seem to find no matter how hard we try. With so many churches and individuals talking about authenticity, it seems like depth would be easier to find. But,'s not as easy as it seems! Hatmaker shares plenty of Scriptural insights and practical ideas for developing and nurturing the authenticity and depth that so many of us long for.

My favorite chapter was Chapter 5, "A Better Community." This chapter is loaded with ideas and reflections on how to bring greater depth to your church and small group. With my husband and I about to start a small group at church, this chapter helped spark some thoughts on how to bring our group closer together and find ways to get involved with service projects to help us grow in our faith. This was a great book that was thought-provoking and challenging.

(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.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Review: "Dirty Glory" by Pete Greig

Dirty Glory: Go Where Your Best Prayers Take You"Dirty Glory" by Pete Greig is the second book in the Red Moon Chronicles. With fifteen years experience working with 24-7 prayer, Greig shares many more stories and adventures from this movement. The stories meander all over the globe, with powerful testimonies of the work of God coming from all over. The book is broken down in five separate sections:  Presence, Prayer, Mission, Justice, and Joy. The chapters in each section share insights, Scriptures, and stories that pertain to each particular theme. My personal favorite was the section on Justice. It was such an encouragement to not just sit on the sidelines while others work for social justice, but to seek ways for practical involvement as well, even in my own little corner of the world.

This book stirred something in my soul, giving me a greater longing for the kind of prayer and passion that characterizes the lives of those deeply involved with 24-7 prayer. It's a compelling read that can sometimes leave the reader shaking his head in wonder over the works of God. The book also includes a study guide for small group discussion or for the individual reader who wants to explore each chapter in greater depth. It was a good follow-up to "Red Moon Rising." It will be exciting to see where God takes 24-7 prayer in the future!

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

Friday, September 23, 2016

A Review: "Uninvited" by Lysa Terkeurst

Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and LonelyThe newest offering from Lysa Terkeurst, "Uninvited," looks at the issue of rejection and how it plays out in our daily lives.  Lysa shares openly and candidly about her experiences with rejection, both actual and preceived. So many people have internalized rejection from an early age and it still causes havoc years down the road. The roots of rejection can run deep and can hinder our relationship with our Creator. Rejection is a powerful tool used by Satan to hinder the good works that God wants to do in and through us.

I've been a fan of Lysa's work for a while, and this book was no exception. I deeply appreciated the Scriptures that she brings forth and the stories that she told from her own personal experience. I especially appreciated her encouragement to replace negative self-talk with truth and the reminder that we need to be grounded and rooted in the unchanging truth of who God is and who He says we are. This book is a true gift for all who ever struggle with believing that you are accepted and loved by God. I finished each chapter breathing out "I'm so glad I'm not alone!" I highly recommend this book!

(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.)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

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.

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living"Present Over Perfect" by Shauna Niequist. I have loved Niequist's writing from the beginning, and this latest collection of essays did not disappoint! She deals with how busyness was wrecking her life--physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Beautifully written and deeply personal, these essays resonated with me. I loved the themes found throughout and it left me thinking about ways I have allowed busyness to wreck my own life. Thought-provoking and wonderful.

The Nightingale"The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah. This novel shares the story of two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, as they take two very different paths through World War II-stricken France. Vianne keeps up the home front and tries to survive with her daughter as she waits and wonders about the fate of her husband, called up to fight the Nazis. Isabelle throws caution to the wind and risks everything for the Resistance. This was an incredible book that was thoroughly captivating. Highly recommend!

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared"The Reading Promise" by Alice Ozma. I picked this book as a result of listening to the Read Aloud Revival podcast. When in fourth grade, Alice and her father make a promise for him to read aloud to her every night. Once they reach 100 consecutive nights, they realize they aren't ready to be done, so they decide to continue their nightly ritual. They call it The Streak and it lasts for 3,218 nights. I love the idea of the book and The Streak. The last several chapters are fantastic. Portions of the book felt a bit slow and a little disjointed. It was a decent read and makes me curious to see about starting a Streak with my own kids.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Review: "Hope Prevails" by Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Hope Prevails by Michelle BengtsonDr. Michelle Bengston is a neuropsychologist who has worked with many clients suffering depression. When she went through her own personal experience with depression, she discovered some missing elements in the treatment of depression. This book, "Hope Prevails" is her story through depression and what she learned in the process.

I really enjoyed this book as a whole. Dr. Bengston did a wonderful job of sharing her story and weaving Scripture throughout. One of the primary focus of the book was to encourage the sufferer of depression to take captive every thought--learn to recognize the lies that we have believed and replace them with the truth. It's an excellent thought that everyone, not just those struggling with depression, can take more to heart. With a heavy emphasis on the role of faith in finding healing from depression, she encourages memorizing Scripture to truly immerse yourself in the words of truth from the Bible. At the end of each chapter, she includes some reflective questions that are great to go through on your own, but would be even better with a close friend or counselor. She also shares some songs that have been instrumental in her journey that may be beneficial for the reader.

This was an excellent book that showcases how spiritual life factors into depression. The questions at the end of each chapter lend themselves to deeper thought and discussion. There is much thought-provoking material captured in this book. With depression so prevalent in society today, Dr. Bengston offers unique, refreshing insights that many will find helpful in conjunction with other treatment and self-care techniques.

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