Book Review: “Love Unending” by Becky Thompson

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Last year, I throughly enjoyed reading Hope Unfolding by Becky Thompson where she encouraged moms to be reminded of God’s truth and grace even in the midst of the struggles of motherhood. When I saw the full title of Love Unending – Rediscovering Your Marriage in the Midst of Motherhood, I knew I wanted to read this book. After all, it’s easy to become wrapped up in being a mom to the detriment of being a wife. This book leads moms through a daily exercise to a closer relationship with their husband. Each day contains a Bible verse, discussion, and challenge surrounding a specific topic such as forgiveness, prayer, and discovery. It is also interactive in that it has a space for reflection on the daily subject and related challenge.

I’d recommend this book to all mothers. It guides moms through twenty-one days of concentrated efforts on improving their marriages. It’s another great book from Mrs. Thompson.

I received this book for free from BloggingforBooks.org’s Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review. 

Book Review: Growing Up Social” by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pelican

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As a parent raising children in a world that is quickly becoming obsessed with screens, I was highly interested in reading Growing Up Social by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane. I have come to respect the opinions and viewpoints of Mr. Chapman and Mrs. Pellicane though listening to various podcasts and blog posts and was interested to read their ideas on this matter. I especially was interested to see the tie-in with Mr. Chapman’s Five Love Languages concept from other books I’ve read by him.

The first half of the book discusses what are called A+ Skills. These are skills that I’m sure all parents would want their child to be proficient at. These skills include the ability to show affection, appreciate others, deal with anger, learn to apologize, and pay attention. The second half of the book explores how screen time affects children. Most chapters include passages with practical application tips in easy to read formats. It is also based on Biblical principles.

The overarching point of this book is to encourage parents to limit screen time in order to strengthen relationships. I think this was best said in chapter three: “It’s ironic that an electronic device that connects us to people around the world can also work simultaneously to separate us from the people at hand.” While screens are entertaining and sometimes educational for children, parents have to ensure that they are properly monitored and limited. Therefore, I would highly recommend this book to any parent.

I received this book for free from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Book Review: “Fear and Faith” by Trillia J. Newbell

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Fear and Faith is an encouraging book that takes a look at fear as covered in the Bible. Mrs. Newbell separates her discussion into chapters focusing on a specific fear that women might face. She spends time defining the fear and how it may manifest itself in the reader’s life. This book urges the reader to recognize the presence of fear in their lives, but then to replace those feelings of fear with faith. I love that the author uses lots of specific Bible references to support her position. I also appreciate that she doesn’t use a condemning tone for those who struggle with fear as seen in the introduction where she compares a baby learning to walk to a Christian learning to walk in faith. Those first steps are often wobbly, but yet the triumph in both situations is that they took the step in the first place. The book also uses the basket of leftovers in the passage from John 6 (that details the feeding of the five thousand) to illustrate an important truth about Jesus:

“Jesus is the bread. He is the eternal sustenance for the hungry soul. In Him our should no longer go hungry or thirsty. The leftovers in the story are a picture for us, reminding us every time we read it that He is more than enough for you and more than enough for every need in my life.”

This reminds the reader that He is enough to conquer every fear and that they should trust Him in faith. I’d recommend this book to anyone who is prone to struggle with fear, especially women.

I received this book for free from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Book Review: “Catching Heat” by Janice Cantore

978-1-4143-9670-5This is the third installment of the Cold Case Justice series. It follows Drawing Fire and Burning Proof. This series follows the lives of Abby Hart, a detective whose parents were murdered when she was a child. This tragic event still haunts her and causes her to desperately search for answers and seek justice. Her life is further complicated by her love interest, PI Luke Murphy, who has also had his share of tragedy in his life. This book finds Hart and Murphy in pursuit of closure in several cold case files.

As with the others in the series, this book is full of twists and turns that keep the reader on a fast-paced journey that I have come to expect and love from Ms. Cantore. Also, I appreciate yet another clean book with Christian themes woven in the plot from this author. Because of her carefully crafted storylines and great character development, I love this series. Although this book provides resolution of most of the storylines, I would love to see this series continue. I would definitely recommend this as a great read.

I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Book Review: “Redeemed – Grace to Live Every Day Better Than Before” by Angela Thomas-Pharr

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Redeemed is a Bible study by Angela Thomas-Pharr divided into seven sessions. Each session consists of Bible study material (discussion and interactive questions), a read and meditate section, and a place to write a response in prayer for all seven days of the week. A 40 day prayer challenge and plan to read through Psalms are also a part of this book.

After an introductory section, each session is broken into the following topics:
Redeemed for a Life with God
Redeemed for the Praise of His Glory
Redeemed for Grace
Redeemed for Freedom
Redeemed for Joy
Redeemed for Love

Quotes and Bible verse references are visually separated by the use of bold red type, and the study has associated videos that are sold separately, but their purchase isn’t necessary to the book. Finally, a concise leader’s guide is included in the back of the book that list discussion questions.

As you can see here’s a lot packed into this study. A study on redemption is good for new Christians and seasoned Christians alike. I think this study is especially good for one with an overwhelmed heart. In fact, the author starts off by challenging us to stick with this study and make the time to do it, even if it seems impractical at this stage in their life. The author challenges the reader to continue to let God’s power change them.

I received this book for free from B&H Publishing in exchange for an honest review as part of their Lifeway Bloggers Program. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Book Review: “What Does God Really Promise?” by Carolyn Larsen

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What Does God Really Promise? is similar to another title I’ve recently read by Ms. Larsen, but this one covers 101 questions regarding the promises of God. This hardback book is beautifully illustrated with cheery colors and drawings. It provides a high level overview of questions that a new believer or skeptic might have regarding God’s promises, the church, and the future. It is also written to generalize many different denominations of the Christian faith instead of just one. So, you might often see a range of answers in this book based upon those varying beliefs.

Each question is supported by a Bible verse (usually NLT, but can be easily cross-referenced to another version). It is written in a manner that is easy to read and generally avoids the use of complicated theological terms. The sewn-in bookmark also lends itself to reading on the go. Overall, this is a good overview book for new believers.

I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Book Review: “Can I Really Know Jesus?” by Carolyn Larsen

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Can I Really Know Jesus? 101 Questions and Answers About Jesus, Salvation, and Prayer by Carolyn Larsen is an easy to read hardcover book with beautiful illustrations that covers a lot of topics regarding questions one might have about Jesus, salvation, and prayer. It is written in a format that allows for quick reading and is devoid of hard to understand theological terms.

The questions appear to be targeted to new believers or perhaps even skeptics. Each question also has a Bible verse presented with it to support the author’s answer. I wish that the verse were presented in the King James Version, but the New Living Translation is mostly used. Overall, I think it’s a good overview of questions that a new believer might have.

I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Giveaway and Book Review: “Deadly Encounter” by DiAnn Mills

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Deadly Encounter is great thriller full of twists and turns. It is the story of a caring main character named Stacy Broussard. She is a veterinarian, volunteer mounted airport ranger, and potential adoptive mother to the abused boy across the street. Broussard gets tangled up in a dangerous web of trouble when she stumbles upon a murder victim during one of her watches as an airport ranger. FBI Special Agent Alex LeBlanc enters the story to investigate the murder. After initially clashing with Broussard, a romantic interest begins to blossom between the two. Whitt McMann is a highly intelligent boy who helps Broussard at the animal clinic, but is also physically and mentally abused by his parents who live across the street from Broussard. All of these characters mix together to make an interesting cast of characters who suffer a lot of conflict and unfair disadvantages, but also manage to find a way to help others and rise above their circumstances.

This was my first timing reading a book from DiAnn Mills. It started off strong and had a fast paced conclusion. The concept of redemption by God is woven well into one of the storylines as well. I can’t wait to read the next installment in the spring of 2017. In the meantime, I’ll definitely be reading more from Mrs. Mills.

I enjoyed this book and think you will too. Tyndale Publishers have provided a copy of this book to be used in a giveaway. To enter, comment on this post below by Saturday, September 17th, at 8:00 PM. I’ll then announce the winner of the random drawing.

I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Update: Congratulations to Paula S., who commented on my social media post, on winning the giveaway.

Book Review: “52 Uncommon Dates: A Couple’s Adventure Guide for Praying, Playing, and Staying Together” by Randy E. Southern

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This book is full of wonderful date ideas. It’s the perfect cure for being in the rut of dinner and a movie! In fact, these unusual date ideas are sure to breathe new life into a martial dating relationship.

Each date idea contains the following information:
Words to Grow On – Bible verse and Gary Chapman quote
Set the Scene – Introduction to the date
Make It Happen – Instructions for the date
Finish Strong – Review, questions
Mind Your Language – Commentary on 5 Love Languages for the date
Take It to God – Suggestions for prayer time
Dig Deep – Bible verse references for further study

While these are unique ideas, they are generally low cost and don’t involve a huge amount of complicated planning. My husband and I have done several of these ideas before, but in almost all cases we haven’t done them recently. Also, several ideas are completely fresh and new for us. For instance, the one I’m most looking forward to trying is the photography date idea.

I absolutely loved this book. There are complete instructions for each idea, and it is wonderful that all are referenced back to the Bible. This is a great book for all married couples, whether they be newlyweds or the proverbial old married couple.

I received this book for free from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Book Review: “A Teen’s Guide to the 5 Love Languages” by Gary D. Chapman and Paige Haley Drygas

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I originally read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman as a young bride years ago. I found it to be one of the most practical relationship books I’d read and have referenced it along the way. So, I was super excited to see that a teen version of the book was available. It is a quick and easy read. In fact, I read almost all of it aloud to my family as we rode in the car. Although my children haven’t reached the teen years yet (I thought they might relate to this book more than the children’s version), I found this to be applicable to them as well. It is written with a teen’s perspective in mind. It contains some fun illustrations and has several sections that are set apart in a blue background that further discuss important ideas in that chapter. The book concludes with The Five Love Languages Profile that assists the reader in determining their love language. I think that it’s great to introduce these relationship concepts at such an important time in a child’s life. I’ve already seen changes in my own children from reading this book with them. It’s a great read.

I received this book for free from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.