Category: Reviews

Book Review: “In Bloom: Trading Restless Insecurity for Abiding Confidence” by Kayla Aimee

In Bloom is a collection of stories from the author’s life that can be described as everything between hilarious and heart-wrenching as she describes her struggles with insecurity. Mrs. Aimee weaves truths from the Bible into her stories to help the reader with feelings of insecurity. The author covers a lot of ground in what makes us feel so insecure: not fitting in, comparison to others, feeling left out, thinking back on a conversation where you wonder if you acted in the right way or said the right thing, and the ever-present Mommy wars. She covers other topics that I have not experienced, but I can relate to every single one of those I just listed at some point in my life. All of these causes of insecurity point to the idea that most people just want to feel as though they belong. Feeling rejected causes insecurity and isn’t part of an abundant life. Mrs. Aimee encourages us to move past these feelings of insecurity and instead anchor our confidence in God. At the end of the book are study questions that can be used for individual or group study that covers several chapters at once. Each chapter grouping contains a Bible verse, discussion questions, and ideas to apply the theme. Although I use a different translation from those used in the book, Bible references are listed so that one can look up the verse for themselves. As a woman who regularly struggles with insecurity, it was refreshing to be reminded that fears, worry, and feelings of inadequacy should be replaced with the truth of what God says about our worth.

I received this book from B&H Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Book Review: “My Little Words Devotional” by Michelle Prater Burke and Illustrated by Holli Conger

My Little Words Devotional is a board book for toddlers that covers nineteen words that help children to learn more about God. Since it is written for toddlers, it simply identifies a word and explains its’ meaning a child-friendly way. The two-page spread concludes with a short prayer. My favorite part of this book is the colorful illustrations that mirror the theme of each word. I also love that one of the words is Jesus. Its’ inclusion provides for a very simple presentation of the Gospel. The book is very sturdy and will hold up to the sometimes rough handling by a toddler. Also, the book has a section for parents on the back pages with bonus material that includes suggestions for things to ask your child or things to do together that reinforce the words from the book. I really like this children’s book. I can’t wait to share it with my nephews.

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: “Bible Promises to Live By for Women” by Katherine J. Butler

This is a wonderful little book that points women to God’s promises in the Bible for many different topics. The book is small enough to easily fit in a purse and has a gorgeous, durable, and textured cover. The book is easy to use and is divided by topic. The topics include confidence, fear, marriage, perfectionism, worry, and many more. The topics are not exclusive to women, but the list contains many topics that are applicable to myself and my peers. Each section contains a short reflection on the topic by the author, a listing of multiple Bible verses related to the topic, and features a key verse in a beautiful hand-written font. Over 500 promises from Scripture are mentioned. I love that the book is divided by topic because the reader can so easily access God’s promises from the Bible concerning the matter on their mind. My complaint would be that the author uses the New Living Translation. I would have preferred the King James Version. However, the author does list the Bible reference so that I can cross-reference the listed promise. I think this would be a nice book for women as it provides a nice, quick reference of God’s promises on many issues that they might be currently facing.

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: “The Daily Question – My 5-Year Spiritual Journal”

This book consists of a thought-provoking question that is be answered on that specific day for the next five years. I love the thought of being able to easily look back on previous years’ answers to see how my thoughts changed. It’s an easy way to get started with journaling since only a short answer is needed for each prompt. Some of the prompts are specifically asking about a topic from the Bible and other days are just prompting on a more secular level. The book cover is hardback and contains a beautiful illustration. The gold ribbon bookmark is convenient for keeping your place each day. The book measures four inches by six inches. I wish that it had been constructed in a larger format. While it is nice that it doesn’t take up a lot of room and could easily fit in a bookbag or purse, a larger book would have been easier to write in and would have had more space to record more thoughts. Even with this issue, I really enjoyed flipping through its’ pages with anticipation on starting to journal in it on January 1, 2018.

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: “Classic Hymns” Edited by Lore Ferguson Wilbert

All to often, I fear that we sing hymns each Sunday with their familiar rhyme and meter without as much thought as needed to ponder the words we sing. This book provides a gentle prodding to fix this problem. The book covers ninety hymns, including such favorites as “To God Be the Glory,” “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” “Praise Him! Praise Him!,” “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior,” and “Joy to the World! The Lord Is Come.” For each hymn, a numbered section contains the lyrics written in text format, a listing of the songwriter and composer’s date of birth and death, several Bible study questions, additional personal reflection questions, and a written prayer. The book itself is hardcover and has the feel of an actual hymnal. I think the premise of this book is a wonderful idea. I love that each song is linked back to a passage in the Bible. I also adore that they used the King James Version of the Bible. I even found myself interested in the dates associated with the songwriter and composers and how they have fueled worship for Christians for so many years. If I could have made one change to the book, I would have included the music for each song. Nevertheless, I think this would make an excellent addition to the collection of anyone who loves hymns.

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: “Habits of the Heart” by Katherine J. Butler

Habits of the Heart by Katherine J. Butler is a collection of short, daily devotions. The idea behind this book is that we should be training and building Bible study habits with daily discipline that will help us to grow in our Christian walk. As someone who has trained for a physical race, I can easily relate to the idea of training to walk a better spiritual walk. Each week concentrates on a particular aspect of training our heart to better follow Jesus. Each day within that week features a Bible verse, a short devotion, and some sort of action item where the reader is prompted to consider the lesson for that day. Although the book doesn’t use the Bible version that I use, it does contain the Bible reference so that I can easily look it up. The book itself is compact and would easily fit in a purse. The pretty woodgrain look of the book, with it’s shiny copper lettering and gorgeous artwork inside the covers, is simply stunning. Each day is not only labeled with the month and day, but also is numerically labeled by week and day in case you were to get behind on the daily devotions. It also contains handy ribbon bookmark. I enjoyed this book. The short devotions can help even the busiest among us to focus on training our hearts to follow Jesus closer each day.

Thanks to Tyndale Publishers, I’d like to share the first chapter of Habits of the Heart with you here.

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: “Look & Find Bible Storybook” by Charlotte Thoroe and B.A. Jones; Illustrated by Gill Guile

The Look & Find Bible Storybook contains eight stories from the Old and New Testament. These stories span creation, Noah and the ark, the parting of the Red Sea, David and Goliath, Jonah, Jesus’ birth, the feeding of the five thousand, and Jesus’ ascension to Heaven. Each story contains a summary of the storyline, a Bible reference, and a fold out look and find. The look and find portion can be completed by finding selected, featured pictures or by a more detailed, worded checklist. The book is durable, colorful, and wonderfully illustrated. My favorite feature is that the pages are dry erase marker safe so that the look and find portion can be completed more than once. The reusable look and find feature reinforces the story, especially for smaller children with shorter attention spans. However, it still appeals to older children as well because it makes learning fun. My only complaint is that there are many paraphrased quotes from the Bible. I would have preferred that they quoted the actual verse from the Bible or just paraphrased what was said without actually using quotation marks. I understand the casual tone of the paraphrased quotes is intended to make it more child-friendly, but I didn’t care for it. Otherwise, this is a quality product that is sure to loved by kids.

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: “Home on the Range” by Ruth Logan Herne

Home on the Range was the first novel I’ve read by Ruth Logan Herne. I enjoyed this book with its’ mix of romance, ever-changing family dynamics, tragedy, and surprises. The story centers around Nick Stafford, a rugged cowboy grounded by family ties, but yet scarred by abandonment issues from his mom and wife. Nick’s two girls, Cheyenne and Dakota, also struggle to adjust to their new normal since their mother left them. Their mother’s absence affects not only their school life, but also their relationship with their father. Enter Dr. Elsa Andreas, a therapist haunted by tragedy and has a hard time with trust, whose life becomes complicated by her conflicting roles as the girl’s therapist and developing love interest of Nick’s. This story follows each of these characters as they deal with past heartache and tragedy and how their struggle to cope with the past helps them to move on to a better future. I should note that this is book two in the Double S. Ranch series. I haven’t read the first book, so I can say that this book was easy to pick up in the middle of the series. I enjoyed it and can’t wait to read the next installment in the series and see how Ms. Herne resolves several storylines.

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: “In the Shadow of Denali” by Tracie Peterson and Kimberly Woodhouse

I am a fan of Tracie Peterson, and she did not disappoint with this beginning book in the “The Heart of Alaska” series. It was a good mix of romance, mystery, adventure, action, danger, and history. The authors do an excellent job of taking the reader on a vivid trip to the early 1900s in the wide open expanses of Alaska. It is the story of heroine Cassidy Ivanoff as she faces an uncertain future that hinges on solving mysteries of the past. Ivanoff crosses paths with Allan Brennan who arrives for work at the Curry Hotel where she and her father work. Brennan is plagued by questions surrounding the suspicious death of his father. The story unravels this mystery while weaving the relationships of everyone at the hotel together to arrive at the book’s climatic ending. I especially enjoyed the interactions of Ivanoff with her kitchen boss, Mrs. Johnson. Ivanoff draws on her relationship with God to try to help her through secrets in her past as well. This is good story of how letting go of bitterness from past can unlock the key to happiness in the future.

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

Book Review: “Love Unending” by Becky Thompson

9781601428103

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.