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.

Book Review: “Looking for Lovely – Collecting the Moments That Matter – Bible Study” by Annie Downs

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Along with reading Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs (find my review here, I was interested in looking at this accompaning Bible study. It was easy to read, had lots of open-ended questions that caused internal reflection, and had some great relatable stories that I enjoyed reading. Being from the South, I loved knowing about certain areas she referenced. The study had a laid back tone and was visually interesting. Each week contains 5 days worth of material which helps if you get behind during the week. There are low-cost accompanying videos, but they aren’t necessary to complete the study. The scripture that is printed is mostly NIV, but I simply cross-referenced it to my King James Version Bible.

Woven throughout the study was the themes of perseverance and the idea of simply looking for the good in all situations. It is so easy to get wrapped up in negativity or only focus on the big picture. It was refreshing to be encouraged to notice the small things in life and the glimmers of “lovely” in my life. I found it interesting that she used people from the Bible, but organized them into groups that I could relate to, such as musicians, fishermen, farmers, and women.

There are 7 sessions:
Introduction
Farmers
Musicians
Fishing
Women of Influence
Jesus
Now What?

I enjoyed this Bible study, and I think others would too.

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: “Looking for Lovely” by Annie F. Downs

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This book is a collection of the author’s personal stories that showcase her quest to find the “lovely” in all things. Woven throughout the entire book are the themes of perseverance and that we should be looking for the lovely in life, regardless of our circumstances.

The book is divided into 3 sections:
In the Absence of Lovely
In Search of Lovely
When I Found Lovely

The stories follow the author’s journey from what she describes as broken crazy to a life with improved perspective. The book is almost like reading the author’s journal. The chapters are short and easy to read on the go. It was great to be encouraged to look for the beautiful things in my life and looking for God in the everyday moments.

There is also an accompanying Bible study for this book. You can read my review of it here.

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: “The Drawing Lesson” by Mark Crilley

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The premise of this book is intriguing: a graphic novel that teaches the reader how to draw. The book is easy to read and has great basic drawing lessons woven into a storyline of a boy who seeks knowledge from an impromptu drawing mentor that he has met at the park. The feedback from his reluctant mentor, Becky, is actually drawing lessons for the reader. The storyline is interesting and draws the readers attention from the fact that they are actually learning while enjoying the story. The illustrations are presented in sepia-like tones and showcase Mr. Crilley’s skill in shading and illustration.

I think this would be a wonderful addition to the library of tweens who have even an inkling of interest in drawing. Adults could learn something too just like I did. Each chapter ends with a challenge to the reader to get them drawing. I love that the challenges can be accomplished with just regular pencils and paper. This is truly an unique book.

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: “Eating in the Middle – A Mostly Wholesome Cookbook” by Andie Mitchell

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I love the premise of this cookbook: one should not have to forego all desired foods for healthy food, but everything in moderation. I enjoyed reading the author’s story of weight loss and was encouraged to see her doing so well in maintaining that accomplishment through foods that appeal to me. I also enjoyed reading her introductions to each of the recipes.

The recipes in this cookbook are divided into the following chapters:

Starting Fresh (breakfast)
Lunchtime
Vegetables & Sides
Dinnertime
For Sharing
All Things Sweet

Each recipe has nutrition facts and serving sizes. There are lots of beautiful pictures. The recipes look fresh and appetizing to me. Most seem to be more sophisticated than an average family meal, but not overly fussy. I also like the binding of this hardback book that allows the pages to lie flat.

This looks like a good cookbook. I can’t wait to try many of these recipes. Specifically, I look forward to trying the Spice-Rubbbed Steak with Grilled Peaches & Blue Cheese, the Lemon Cream Risotto, and the Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie.

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. 

Giveaway: “Parent Hacks” by Asha Dornfest

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a giveaway here. So, I’d like to offer a copy of Asha Dornfest’s Parent Hacks to my readers. It’s a great book, especially for new parents, that I reviewed several weeks ago. You can read my entire review at Parent Hacks Review. To enter, simply comment on this post. You can earn a bonus entries by either subscribing to this blog (current subscribers are automatically entered) or sharing on FB or Twitter (be sure to let me know that you shared it or tag me). I will hold the random drawing on Wednesday, May 25 at 8PM. I’ll contact the winner via email. You will then have 24 hours to respond, or I will draw another name.