Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Review: "Anything" by Jennie Allen

Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul"Anything:  The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul" by Jennie Allen details her journey of offering God everything by praying "God we will do anything. Anything" (pg. xiii). She shares bits of her story to show how she came to know Jesus, and how finally got the point of being willing to offer everything for God's service by being willing to do anything He wanted.

Divided into three parts, she shares openly and honestly about how she arrived at the place of anything. The first part focuses on her early years and common obstacles that people may find in their own journey to anything. The second part addresses the actual praying of anything and the immediate implications that brought in her life. God called her to start writing and speaking, and called their family to adopt a young boy from Rwanda. The third part discusses the ongoing realities of life after praying anything. She doesn't sugarcoat the difficulties she and her family have gone through, but she emphasizes that there are plenty of amazing, beautiful things that have come about for them.

Originally released in 2011, this book was recently re-released in 2015 to include an 8-week Bible study. Designed for small group study, the study contains a plan to read through the book and includes a corresponding Scripture study and two projects to help deepen the truths learned.

I really enjoyed this book. The first part of the book felt a little slow to me and had me wondering if I was going to actually like it. The second and third parts captivated me. I would highly recommend this book for individuals and small groups.

(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, June 24, 2015

A Review: "Hearts Made Whole" by Jody Hedlund

Hearts Made Whole (Beacons of Hope, #2)"Hearts Made Whole" is the second in the "Beacons of Light" series by Jody Hedlund. Centering of lighthouses in bygone years, she features a strong female lead loosely based on a real-life female lighthouse a keeper. Showing their strength and courage in the face of an extremely challenging job, Hedlund weaves a sweet and complex story. This story brings back Ryan Chambers, previously introduced in the first book of the series, as a Civil War veteran in desperate need of a job. Struggling with addiction after his war injuries, Ryan quickly realizes he has a lot to learn before he can fully assume his new duties. Caroline Taylor took over the running of Windmill Point Lighthouse after the death of her father. Despite her flawless keeping of the light, the lighthouse inspector replaces her with Ryan simply because she is female.

The story unfolds over the course of nearly a year. The characters are well developed and enjoyable to read about. As the challenges and adventures unfold, the emotional depth of the characters grows and they become more real as the story progresses. The lighthouse setting is creative and adds a romantic feeling to the book.

I really enjoyed this book. The story is highly engaging and I would highly recommend this book. Despite it being part of a series, it could easily read as a stand-alone novel. I'm eager to read the next book in this 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.)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Quick Lit: June 2015

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.

Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture"Introverts in the Church:  Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture" by Adam McHugh. As an extreme introvert, I loved this book. His focus is primarily on how the church today has a bias toward the extrovert. A couple chapters, while still interesting, were not necessarily applicable as they were written more for pastors or other church leadership. Overall, this book helped me understand my personality a whole lot more and he managed to articulate things about the introvert personality that I've never been able to put into words, things that I've noticed about myself but never quite attributed to being an introvert. I found myself shoving the book into my husband's (an extrovert) hands and having him read certain passages--"please understand me!" This is a great book for introverts to read, as well as for extroverts who want to understand the introverts in their lives.

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness"The Total Money Makeover:  A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness" by Dave Ramsey. I learned so much about money through this book. His plan includes seven baby steps, starting with saving $1000 in an emergency fund. The steps build on one another and, in context of the whole, make complete sense. While not everything is going to necessarily be for everyone, I think there are elements that can work for every family and income level. A great book on finance.

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess"7:  An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess" by Jen Hatmaker. Completely. Blown. Away. By this book. She, along with a few friends, took seven months, identified seven areas of excess (such as food, clothing, spending, and waste), and fasted one area per month. Each chapter reads like a journal of her experiences and all that she has learned, both personally and from research that she has done. This book is not just about fasting, but it's also a call to action to help those in her community--to truly be the hands and feet of Jesus to a world who looks at our excess and can't believe what they see. Can't recommend this book highly enough.

Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn 
"Sparkly Green Earrings:  Catching the Light at Every Turn" by Melanie Shankle. Written by the author of the Big Mama blog, this funny, quirky memoir of parenthood had me laughing out loud at parts and quietly nodding along at other parts. A light, quick read.

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...