Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Review: "The Set-Apart Woman" by Leslie Ludy

The Set-Apart Woman: God's Invitation to Sacred Living"The Set-Apart Woman:  God's Invitation to Sacred Living" by Leslie Ludy is the latest installment in her "Set Apart" series. In this day and age when culture and media bombard us with messages of materialism, do what feels right, and truth is relative, a book like this brings a necessary and challenging message to all women who long for something deeper.

This book is a call for women to reevaluate their priorities and lives, to examine where Jesus fits in their lives, and make adjustments to put Jesus in His rightful place in our lives. Using biblical truths, personal stories, and practical ideas, Ludy discusses many areas where women can exchange areas of weakness for stronger commitment to Jesus. Some topics she covers include media and entertainment, gossip, anxiety, and self-promotion. Each chapter concludes with study questions for both personal and group discussion, making this a great book to go through with a small group or book club or for deep reflection on your own. There is also a list of recommended reading at the back of the book full of Christian biographies and books to help you deepen your walk with Jesus.

I greatly appreciated the messages in this book. Ludy doesn't mince words and her call for Christian women to live a life of full commitment to Jesus is a necessary one in today's church and world. Each chapter left me thinking about my own life and how I can apply her challenges to my daily life. While some of her points in the book were rather repetitive, this book is a much-needed call for women to get serious about their faith, urging us to pull out of lukewarm living and run headlong into Jesus.

"What if we as Christian women got serious about our pursuit of Jesus Christ? What if we became broken over our sin, desperate for undiluted Truth, and willing to radically follow Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength? Imagine how modern Christianity could change" (p. 17).
(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.)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Quick Lit: March 2015

I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy this month for "Quick Lit", short and sweet book reviews of what I've been reading lately.

Like Gold Refined (A Prairie Legacy, #4)
 "Like Gold Refined" by Janette Oke is the fourth (and final) book in the "Prairie Legacy" series. The series follows the story of Virginia Simpson, the middle daughter of Belinda (Davis) Simpson. Detailing the adventures of growing up, this final book is a nice conclusion to the series and to the Davis family as a whole. The drama level in this book is heightened, and the faith of this family is tested and taken to new levels. I had read these books years ago, but enjoyed them just as much on a re-read.

Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships"Growing Up Duggar:  It's All About Relationships" by Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar is a personal book from the four oldest Duggar girls, sharing what it was like to grow up in their family. With chapters focusing on relationships with their parents, relationships with their siblings, and relationships with guys, these four girls share how their beliefs and background shape the way they interact with others and the world around them. While this book is definitely geared more for teen and 20-something young women, I enjoyed this personal look from the girls.

Emily of New Moon (Emily of New Moon, #1)"Emily of New Moon" by L.M. Montgomery. I confess:  I have never read the "Emily" series before. I was first introduced to the "Anne" series in high school and fell so much in love with it that none of Montgomery's other books could quite compare. I did start this book once years ago, but put it down because it just wasn't the same. The book did start a bit slowly for me at first, but I was quickly captivated. Emily's adventures, hopes, dreams, and worries drew me in and I fell in love with this novel.

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto"In Defense of Food:  An Eater's Manifesto" by Michael Pollan begins with the premise of "eat food, mostly plants, not too much". He spends the rest of the book unpacking this statement and what modern nutrition science has done to nutrition in general. The first two sections of the book were informative and read like a textbook at times, but the last section of the book contained what I thought was the most interesting and practical pieces of the entire book. It was in that section where he really explored the idea of "eat food, mostly plants, not too much". It was that section that gave me some small ways that I can begin to make changes to my family's diet and helped me develop a better, big-picture idea of where I want our diet to eventually be.

Emily Climbs (Emily, #2)"Emily Climbs" by L.M. Montgomery is the second book of the "Emily" trilogy. In this book, Emily enters high school, leaving New Moon Farm for the first time since her arrival there as a young orphan. The book is mostly set in Shrewsbury and follows Emily and her friends through their high school years. Emily continues her aspirations as a writer and finds limited fame through submitting some of her poetry and stories to magazines. Her friendships with her best friends, Ilse, Perry, and Teddy, continue to deepen, as does her friendship with Dean Priest. This book, for me, was not nearly as enjoyable as the first one. It feels a shade darker, a little more depressing, that the first book. I also found the relationship between Emily and Dean a bit creepy, given the 24-year age difference in them. I'll go on to read the third one just to see how the trilogy concludes. I do hope it improves back to the level of the first book!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Review: "7 Men and the Secret of Their Greatness" by Eric Metaxas

Seven Men - Paperback"7 Men and the Secret of Their Greatness" by Eric Metaxas presents mini-biographies of seven men and the faith that shaped them. The men featured include George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II, and Charles Colson.

I had previously read Metaxas's biographies of Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer, but was not as familiar with the other five men. This book taught me many things about each of these men. The character of each man shone through as Metaxas explored their lives. These biographies are well-written and detailed, with the amount of meticulous research shining through.

Washington gave up power for the greater good. Wilberforce dedicated his life to fighting the slave trade. Liddell gave up a chance to win in the Olympics by putting his faith first. Bonhoeffer defied the Nazis and was martyred as a result. Robinson broke the baseball color barrier. John Paul II surrendered his entire life to God and His service. Colson ended up serving time in prison, but developed a wide-reaching prison ministry as a result.

As a mom of two young boys, I am disheartened by the portrayal of men and manhood in popular culture today. A book like this is a true gem; I am excited to introduce my boys to the men in this book. This is a wonderful book that causes me to want to learn more about the men featured here.

(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...