Monday, September 16, 2013

A Review: "The Secret Keeper" by Beverly Lewis

The Secret Keeper, Home to Hickory Hollow Series #4   -     
        By: Beverly Lewis
    
"The Secret Keeper" by Beverly Lewis features the story of Jenny Burns, a young woman from a wealthy family in Connecticut who has always felt a bit out of place. Ever since she was a child, she always had a deep respect for Amish culture and heritage. Now that she is an adult, a friendship with Amishwoman Marnie Lapp along with her desire to live a Plain life leads to Jenny giving up everything, including her family, to settle in Hickory Hollow. She finds a mentor in Rebecca Lapp as she enters her time of Proving, the time for Jenny to decide to commit to living the Amish life. But when Jenny finds out a secret of Rebecca's, it puts her whole Proving in jeopardy.

The entire story was engaging and enjoyable. I thought Lewis did a fine job with illustrating the difficulties that an outsider would have with adapting to a Plain lifestyle, even one who longed for it with every fiber of her being. It was nice to see character tie-ins from previous novels. I enjoyed this fourth book in the "Home to Hickory Hollow" series, and will definitely keep my eyes out for the upcoming fifth book in the series!

(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.)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Review: "The Miner's Lady" by Tracie Peterson

The Miner's Lady"The Miner's Lady" by Tracie Peterson tells the tale of two families, the Panettas and the Calarcos. Residing in the mining community of Ely, Minnesota, the families carry on a decades-old feud bought over from their native Italy. When Isabella Panetta and Orlando Calarco announce their love for one another and their intention to marry, it leads to a story of how forgiveness can overcome any obstacle. In their individual quests to save their siblings from falling into harm as a result of their love for one another, Chantel Panetta and Dante Calarco embark on their own journey of love and forgiveness overcoming all.

The characters are engaging and believable, although I did find some of the dialogue to be a bit over-the-top for the time period the story is set in. Being originally from Minnesota, I've really enjoyed this entire series since it's based in my home state. Peterson is one of my favorite authors who rarely fails to disappoint. This whole series has been great fun to read, and this conclusion to the trilogy truly fits the bill.

(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.)

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Review: "Unglued" by Lysa TerKeurst

"Unglued" by Lysa TerKeurst is a phenomenal book that helps women learn to make wise choices when confronted with their own raw emotions. Drawing on her own personal experience and biblical teaching, she shares what she has learned (and is learning) about submitting her emotions to the power of Jesus.

She addresses the fact that our emotions are God-given; our emotions help us to feel, connect, and experience life. But so often, women in particular are vulnerable to allow our emotions to run our lives. One truth that TerKeurst draws out in this book is that "God gave [us] emotions so [we] could experience life, not destroy it" (p. 16). This book is a fantastic manual to help women of all ages and stages experience "imperfect progress", which she defines as "slow steps of progress wrapped in grace" (p. 14).

Of especial importance are the chapters that help the reader define what kind of unglued you are. She explores four different types, two that stuff their emotions and two that explode with emotions, and offers sound biblical truth to help you on your journey of imperfect progress. One of my favorite quotes from the book comes from the chapter entitled "I Need a Procedure Manual":  "The human soul is designed to recognize and respond to the calm assurance of Jesus. When I am in an unglued place, I can invite a power beyond my own into the situation by simply speaking His name. I don't have to know what to do. I don't have to have all the answers. I don't have to remember everything I learned in Bible study last week. I just have to remember one thing, one name--Jesus" (p.110-111).

This book was absolutely outstanding. TerKeurst has an easy writing style that makes the material easily accessible. The subject matter is a neglected one that desperately needs to be discussed in the church. She does a wonderful job with balancing her own experiences and stories with what the Bible says about handling emotions. While there are no study questions at the back of the book, there is a companion DVD study which would be helpful for small groups to go through the material. 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.)

A Review: "The Lifegiving Parent" by Clay and Sally Clarkson

"The Lifegiving Parent" by Clay and Sally Clarkson completes the "Lifegiving" trilogy that also includes "The Lifeg...