Thursday, December 28, 2017

Eye-Opening! 'Favor' - by Greg Gilbert

Cover Art

About the book:

Many Christians are under the mistaken impression that while God's grace may be a gift, his favor is something we must earn. This misunderstanding leads ultimately to lives that feel unfulfilled and inadequate. Pastor Greg Gilbert puts favor back in its rightful place, as God's gift through Jesus Christ. He shows how the favor Jesus earned through his perfect life and sacrificial death becomes ours the moment we believe. Knowing we already have God's favor frees us to live joyous lives no matter our physical or material circumstances.

If you've felt beaten down by the burden of trying to earn God's blessings, this book will provide you with a strong start on a life of confidence in God.

My review:

This was a eye-opening book that was a great reminder of who I am in Christ.  First, Gilbert explains what the Bible says favor really is and what it isn't.  He reminds us that Jesus went through hardship, he was poor, he was mocked, so why should we expect our life to look any different?  We may or may not get physical blessings but our focus should be on our relationship with God, not on what we can get.  Then he points out that we have to be worthy, but only Jesus is truly worthy.  He really explained well how far we are from being acceptable.  It's easy sometimes to justify our behavior by saying I'm not doing something as bad as this other person, so we can feel pretty good about ourselves.  But when you compare yourself to a holy God, suddenly that's a different story.  It's not just about actions or thoughts; it's about our motives and reasons.  So Jesus took our curse on himself and died but then conquered death by rising again.  He took our sin; we get His righteousness, which means we get God's favor! 

Then he talked about having peace with God and how you shouldn't let shame or guilt keep you enslaved to sin when you've been set free and are forgiven.  God looks at us and sees Jesus.  I liked the examples he told of Martin Luther and Louie Zamperini, the man in Unbroken, about how they found peace with God.  Finally, he encourages us in our battle against sin, strategies and reminders for the fight.  I liked how he used a lot of Scripture to explain his points; it was also pretty easy to read.  It helped me understand better how God actually views me and was a great reminder that I am a daughter of the King!

I received this book free from Baker Books in exchange for an honest review.

 The Author

  1. Greg Gilbert

    Greg Gilbert

    Greg Gilbert (MDiv, Southern Seminary) is senior pastor of Third Avenue Baptist Church in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. He lives in Kentucky with his wife, Moriah, and their three children, where he enjoys basketball, coffee, and Thai food.
    Continue reading about Greg Gilbert 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Fascinating! 'Why I Believe' - by Chip Ingram

Cover Art

About the book:

Responding to the perception that Christians are prejudiced, anti-intellectual, and bigoted has become a greater challenge than ever before. The result is often intimidation, withdrawal, and even doubts among God's people about what we really believe. Chip Ingram wants to change that. In Why I Believe, he gives compelling answers to questions about

· the resurrection of Christ
· the evidence of an afterlife
· the accuracy and intellectual feasibility of the Bible
· the debate between creation and evolution
· the historicity of Jesus
· and more

His solid, biblical, logical answers will satisfy the honest doubts that every believer experiences, and will provide thoughtful arguments for those who are struggling with their faith, curious about Christianity, or who honestly want to follow Jesus without checking their brains at the door.

My review:

This is a fascinating book that answers some tough questions about the Christian faith.  I've read one other book of Chip's and done a lot of his video series, so I was excited to see this book come out.  He has a great way of bringing in personal stories while also explaining that you can investigate and think logically about these questions, just as he has and was challenged to do.  I've heard some of this before but I like how it's all laid out clearly and that it's all in one place.  He also provides lists of resources if you want to go deeper under the different subjects.  I especially loved the section where he talks about the impact Christians have had on the world, from discovering germ theory to starting modern hospitals to fighting for women's rights to abolishing slavery.  I had heard before that some of the most prestigious universities were founded by Christians and on Christian principles, but I didn't realize there were so many: Oxford, Harvard, Princeton and Yale.  The science section was also fascinating, where he looks at creation, evolution, the fossil record, DNA and cells.  I can't recommend it enough for someone new to these questions, whether a Christian or a skeptic.  It's easy to read, yet hard to put down!

I received this book free from Baker Books in exchange for an honest review.

 The Author

  1. Chip Ingram

    Chip Ingram

    Chip Ingram is the senior pastor of Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, California, and teaching pastor and president of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip is the author of many...
    Continue reading about Chip Ingram 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Seeds of Hope - Harvest of Hope 1 - by Barbara Cameron

 About the book:

A heartwarming tale of discovering love right in front of you
Miriam Troyer has had a secret crush on Mark Byler since she was a teenager, but she knows they can never have a relationship: Mark is a big-city attorney and an Englischer. Her Amish community is too far removed from all he knows-and she loves her quiet way of life.
Mark has always loved his visits to his grandfather's farm, but he's convinced the Amish life isn't for him. There's so much of the world to see and experience, and the excitement of his successful law practice can't be matched by the slow pace of life found back home in the country.
But when things go wrong and his firm distances itself from him to try to save themselves, Mark finds himself back at his grandfather's farm. Could life in this simple world be worth living after all? Especially when the teenager he remembers has grown into a woman that could be his future. Suddenly, these two people whose lives seem so far apart may get a chance to really see each other for the first time.
My review:
I enjoyed this love story about a man and a woman from two separate worlds.  I liked Mark and felt for him and the situation that led to his going back to his grandfather's farm.  Miriam was also such a caring woman who put other's needs before her own.  There's quite a bit of talk of faith, especially as Mark, Miriam and others try to figure out the right thing to do about some teenagers running a buggy off the road and causing injuries.  The Amish don't get the police involved, but what about having consequences for your actions?  They also discussed believing God's in control and that He has a plan.  I liked the combination of the simple life with Mark's city life still intruding once in a while; it kept it interesting, especially as I wondered what was going to happen to his previous client and with his job.  There was a little bit of romance.  I always love the sense of community in Amish stories.  There's a helpful glossary in the back of 'Amish words, discussion questions and a recipe.  I would recommend this book if you like Amish stories.
I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
About the author:
Barbara Cameron has a heart for writing about the spiritual values and simple joys of the Amish. She is the best-selling author of more than 40 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies, and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Her books have been nominated for Carol Awards and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award from RWA's Faith, Hope, and Love chapter. Barbara resides in Jacksonville, Florida.
Find out more about Barbara at

Monday, December 18, 2017

Wonderful! 'Fiercehearted' - by Holley Gerth

Cover Art

About the book:

Every day we struggle to find more freedom, joy, and purpose. What if the solution isn't trying harder or being better but embracing the fiercehearted woman already inside us? A fiercehearted woman looks life in the face and says, "You can't beat me." She lives fully and loves bravely. She never gives in, never gives up, and never lets go. She dares to be who she is--imperfect and beloved.

In her most powerful and personal book yet, bestselling author, counselor, and life coach Holley Gerth empowers and encourages women not simply through "how to" but by life-changing, heart-freeing "me too." Join Holley on this journey to becoming a fiercehearted woman and discover what she did: the freedom and courage to embrace life, love, and faith to the fullest because your struggles can no longer hold you back.

My review:

This is a wonderful book with great wisdom and vulnerability.  Holley really opens up about her struggles with depression, anxiety, perfectionism and fear.  I love her wit as she puts a funny spin on things and her humor as she shares true stories of embarrassing things she's done or had happen to her.  This book had me laughing one minute and crying the next.  I've read a couple of her other books but none have been so personal or touched me this much.  I love that she talked about comparison and how we can see other people and think they have it better but we don't really know what's going on in their lives.  Everyone has struggles and things they would like to change.  She shares about her miscarriage and how they ended up adopting an adult!  That was an amazing story.  She talks about grace and how she tries so hard sometimes, forgetting that it's by grace alone Jesus saves us.  She used to think that famous Christians, such as singers or authors, were perfect and didn't struggle with anything but she's learning we're all broken and we all need grace.  There was just so many other stories where I felt I learned something or that reminded me of some truth.  There's a wonderful quote at the beginning of each chapter and discussion questions at the end of the book.  I feel so encouraged and like I just got done having coffee with a good friend.  I also feel like I've joined a sisterhood who will encourage each other as we face struggles in life or it's reminded me that that's what women could be for each other!  I think every teen and woman should read this book!

I received this book free from Revell in exchange for an honest review.

 The Author

  1. Holley Gerth

    Holley Gerth

    Holley Gerth is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, certified life coach, and speaker. She loves connecting with the hearts of women through her popular blog and books like You're Already Amazing. She's also cofounder of (in)courage and a...
    Continue reading about Holley Gerth 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Imperfect Justice - by Cara Putman

 About the book:

The police say the woman was a murderer. Emilie Wesley knows they can't be talking about her client . . . can they?
To the world it seems obvious: Kaylene Adams killed her daughter and then was shot by police. Attorney Emilie Wesley knows a different story: Kaylene would never hurt anyone and was looking for a way out of a controlling, abusive relationship. Her death shakes Emilie's belief that she can make a difference for women in violent marriages. Self-doubt plagues her as she struggles to continue her work in the wake of the tragedy.
Reid Billings thought he knew his sister-right up until he learned how she died. He discovers a letter from Kaylene begging him to fight for custody of her daughters if anything should happen to her. No attorney in her right mind would support an uncle instead of the father in a custody case, but Kaylene's letter claims Emilie Wesley will help him.
Thrown together in a race to save Kaylene's surviving daughter, Emily and Reid pursue the constantly evasive truth. If they can hang on to hope together, can they save a young girl-and find a future for themselves in the process?
My review:
This was a wonderful, suspenseful story with an interesting viewpoint of domestic violence.  I haven't often seen stories with an attorney who helps women out of abusive relationships as the main character.  The story really showed how hard it is to try to help these abused women when a lot of them change their minds and go back to their abuser or never take the step needed to get a protective order in the first place.  Emilie worked as an advocate for these women and it became very personal for her, especially as she knew what they dealt with firsthand from a previous relationship she'd been in.  She's also being stalked by someone and we get their perspective, which gave the story an added suspenseful air.  We also get both Emilie and Reid's viewpoints, which is the format I love most in a book.  The investigation was interesting as they try to find out the truth about what happened.  There's also some romance.  This is part of a series and while it worked as a stand-alone, there are characters in it from previous stories.  There's talk of prayer for God's guidance and help.  Reid seemed to have a strong relationship with God while Emilie struggled to trust God because of the situations she saw every day.  This was an exciting story I highly recommend!
I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
About the author:
Cara Putman is the author of more than 25 legal thrillers, historical romances, and romantic suspense novels. She has won or been a finalist for honors including the ACFW Book of the Year and the Christian Retailing's BEST Award. Cara graduated high school at 16, college at 20, completed her law degree at 27, and recently received her MBA. She is a practicing attorney, teaches undergraduate and graduate law courses at a Big Ten business school, and is a homeschooling mom of four. She lives with her husband and children in Indiana.

Find out more about Cara at

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Fascinating! 'Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything' - by Anne Bogel


About the book:

If the viral personality quizzes strewn about our social media accounts are any indication, we are collectively obsessed with the idea of defining and knowing ourselves and our unique places in the world. But what we're finding is this: knowing which famous movie character you are is easy, but actually knowing yourself isn't as simple as just checking a few boxes on an online quiz.

Backed by extensive research and illustrated with engaging stories, Reading People explains what makes you uniquely you, what makes the people in your life uniquely them, and why it all matters. Popular blogger Anne Bogel makes it easy. In this fascinating book, she collects, explores, and explains the most popular personality frameworks, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, StrengthsFinder, Enneagram, and others. She shares the life-changing insights that can be gained from each, along with practical applications across all facets of life, including love and marriage, productivity, parenting, the workplace, and spiritual life.

Want to revolutionize the way you live, love, work, and pray? Understanding personality is the first step!

My review:

This was a fascinating book that looked at different aspects of personality and how we can use this knowledge to better understand ourselves and others.  I was familiar with some of these, such as the Myers-Briggs and I knew that I was an introvert but I don't think I had ever heard of the StrengthsFinder or Enneagram.   I actually had taken the Myers-Briggs in college for a career class and was able to dig up my results, which is an INFJ.  I learned we make up less than one percent of the population!  I took a free online test she recommended to learn your type to see if I got the same result and I did.  She used examples from literature when explaining the different combinations, which was fascinating and fun. I loved all of the personal stories she shared as she mistakenly thought she was a different combo for a long time and how she was able to improve her relationships with her husband and children, especially her one daughter who's very different from her, once she figured out the different personality types they had.  Anne explained that the brains of introverts and extroverts work differently from each other, such as in processing and nervous system function. 

She also talked about places having personalities, too, and that a lot of places cater to extroverts.  Her description of highly sensitive people struck a chord as I think I fall in that category as well; this was another aspect of personality I had never heard of.  I also liked her last chapter about your personality not being your destiny, that being aware of your strengths and weaknesses can help you if you want to grow.  It's more about the mindset you have, whether it's fixed where you think you are what you are, you can't change anything and that things should come easily if they're meant to be or if it's a growth mindset, where you can improve your natural talents, abilities and skills through effort.  She also points out that our foundational habits, our friends and the thoughts we dwell on all impact the kinds of people we are and who we become.  I love learning about personalities and trying to understand what makes people tick.  This book was a great resource, easy to read and kept my interest throughout.  I highly recommend it!

I received this book free from Baker Books in exchange for an honest review.

           Anne Bogel, Author

Anne Bogel is the creator of the popular blog Modern Mrs. Darcy and the podcast What Should I Read Next? Her popular book lists and reading guides have established Bogel as a tastemaker among readers, authors, and publishers. Bogel lives in Louisville, Kentucky. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
View more by Anne Bogel

Sunday, December 10, 2017

NIrV May the Faith Be With You Holy Bible Hardcover- by Zonderkidz

9780310757887, NIrV May the Faith Be with You Holy Bible, Hardcover

About the Bible:

Life in the Spirit isn’t about cushioned pews and easy living—it’s about adventure, risk, daring, and the pursuit of wisdom. It’s about letting the awesome power of God work through you to do things you never thought possible.

In this brand-new full-text Bible, you’ll learn the highest, truest, and most rewarding way to a life of wisdom, apprenticing with the Ultimate Master himself—Jesus Christ.
Features include:
  • 24 full-color pages of content on the marvel of God’s creation and the meaning of faith
  • Vibrant outer space imagery
  • Compelling, metallic-embellished cover
  • The complete text of the New International Reader's Version (NIrV) of the Bible
My review:

This is a pretty cool looking Bible!  There's space artwork on the special pages throughout the Bible called Master Moments, where kids learn about cool people and events in the Bible, Ways of Wisdom, where they can find answers to questions and Use the Force, which helps them apply what they've learned in the Bible.  There's also a basic Bible Dictionary in the back along with a list of Great Bible Stories.  The New International Reader's Version is a simplified version of the NIV, geared to about a third grade reading level and the Bible also includes a presentation page.  It's also available in black imitation leather.  If your child likes space, this is the Bible for them!

I received this Bible free from Handlebar in exchange for an honest review.

Free for Kindle!

LEAVING CAROLINA: A Contemporary Romance (Southern Discomfort Book 1) by [Leigh, Tamara] 

Free for kindle!  Enjoyable story!


Appalachian Serenade (Appalachian Blessings): A Novella by [Thomas, Sarah Loudin]  Free for kindle!


Free for Kindle!

A (kinda) Country Christmas: A Christian Holiday Romance (A Romance(ish) Novella Book 1) by [Phillips, Krista] 

Free for kindle!


From Depths We Rise: A Journey of Beauty from Ashes by [Rodriguez, Sarah]  Free for kindle!


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Review of 'All Things Now Living,' Blog Tour and Kindle Fire Giveaway

About the book:

Her whole life Amy has been taught the people of New Lithisle deserve to die, but when she falls for Daniel, she determines to save him.
Sixteen-year-old Amy doesn't like anything to die, she won't even eat the goats or chickens her mama has butchered every fall, but she can't let herself pity the inhabitants of New Lithisle. In a few short months the dome they built to isolate themselves from the deadly pandemic is predicted to collapse, but her whole life Amy has been taught it's God's will they die. They traded their souls for immunity to the swine flu virus, brought God's curse upon themselves by adding pig genes to their own.
Then, while on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are.
Amy's feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn't end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer, and was trying to prevent the coming destruction.
Now time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome's collapse, but if Amy doesn't find her father's contact in time, she'll die, along with everyone else.

My review:

This was a very interesting and original story with a ton of action!  Amy was a very strong character and I liked how she kept trying to do the right thing, even when it wasn't easy.  She also stood up to Daniel and others; she could be quite stubborn! I was a little disappointed in her at one point, for almost giving up rather than verifying the truth.  I liked Daniel, also, who was similar to Amy but played more by the rules.  There was some romance and some talk of eternity and God being love.  Daniel prays and talks about Believers in his sector but Amy seems to not be as familiar with prayer or know what to think of God.  Faith or salvation in Jesus weren't explained at all.  I also felt other things weren't explained very well, such as where are the other six daughters of Allarice and how exactly did the present situation come about.  We learn more as the book progresses but a lot is never answered.  Maybe it will be in future books?  This felt like a timely story, what with talk about human and animal genes, experiments and creating features you want in your child.  The story got resolved so I wonder what will happen in the next book.  Overall, it was a very interesting read and I'd recommend it if you like dystopian or science fiction stories.

I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

More reviews here!

Rondi Bauer Olson is a reader and writer from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where she lives on a hobby farm with her husband, Kurt. She has four grown children, works as a nurse, and also owns a gift shop within view of beautiful Lake Superior.
Find out more about Rondi at
While on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle in Rondi Bauer Olson's All Things Now Living. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are. Amy's feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn't end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer. Time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome's collapse, but if Amy doesn't find her father's contact in time, she'll die, along with everyone else.

Stay up all night reading this thrilling new book from Rondi and enter to win a Kindle Fire!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of All Things Now Living
  • A Kindle Fire
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 14. The winner will be announced December 15 on the Litfuse blog.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Deadly Proof - Atlanta Justice 1 - by Rachel Dylan

 About the book:

Riveting new series offers legal suspense with a romantic twist
In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.
Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower's allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer.
Determined not to make the same mistakes, he's intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything-even murder-to keep the case from going to trial.
My review:

I found this story interesting because of the civil law angle.  So many books focus on prosecuting criminals and this one looked at getting justice for families hurt by a corporation.  I learned some interesting things about the process for that kind of case.  Kate Sullivan was an admirable character, a strong Christian who desperately wanted justice for her clients but maybe too emotionally involved.  Landon also had a strong sense of justice and took on too much blame for past mistakes, which then affected how he viewed his job now.  I liked how they weren't perfect characters, with Kate dealing with depression and workaholic tendencies and Landon, his past.  I also felt Kate was too naive, from not really thinking a certain person could do what they did to not being cautious enough even after being threatened.  Sometimes she seemed to make stupid choices for someone so smart.  There was some romance and some action.  I liked how we get the viewpoints of Kate, Landon and also two people on the other side of the case, Ethan and Nicole.  The dialogue and writing felt a little stiff to me.  Overall, I did like it and I plan to read the next book in the series.  I would recommend it if you like legal fiction.

I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

About the author:
Rachel Dylan writes Christian fiction including legal romantic suspense. Rachel has practiced law for over a decade and enjoys weaving together legal and suspenseful stories. In addition, Rachel writes the Danger in the Deep South including "Lethal Action" and "Devoted Defender," which appeals to fans of edge of your seat romantic suspense. Rachel also writes the Windy Ridge series including "Trial & Tribulations" and "Fatal Accusation." These legal thrillers with elements of spiritual warfare are great for fans who enjoy books by Peretti or Dekker. "Trial & Tribulations" was a Selah finalist in 2016. Rachel lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids-two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers.
Find out more about Rachel at

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Crazy, Holy Grace & The Remarkable Ordinary - Both by Frederick Buechner

The Remarkable Ordinary: How to Stop, Look, and Listen to Life by [Buechner, Frederick]

About 'The Remarkable Ordinary:'

Your remarkable life is happening right here, right now. You may not be able to see it – your life may seem predictable and your work insignificant until you look at your life as Frederick Buechner does.
Based on a series of mostly unpublished lectures, Frederick Buechner reveals how to stop, look, and listen to your life. He reflects on how both art and faith teach us how to pay attention to the remarkableness right in front of us, to watch for the greatness in the ordinary, and to use our imaginations to see the greatness in others and love them well.
As you learn to listen to your life and what God is doing in it, you will uncover the plot of your life’s story and the sacred opportunity to connect with the Divine in each moment.

My Review:
I have mixed feelings about these books.  I liked 'The Remarkable Ordinary' more as he talked about really being present in each moment and appreciating beauty.  I loved his thought about truly seeing people and that we can see God in them, or I took him to mean that we're each made in the image of God.  He also talks about loving God and your neighbor and that we need to really pay attention to the ways that God's showing up in our lives.  We also need to love, look and listen to people and while it would be exhausting to do this all of the time, we can do better than we do, which I felt was a very good point.  The section about Maya Angelou was fascinating.  I also loved his point about our lives having a plot, that it's not just incident after incident but that there's a purpose and we're going somewhere.  Another point that hit me is that we don't know how much impact we're having on someone, for the good or bad, that you just don't know what can get through to someone.  I thought he had a lot of good points in this book.

About 'A Crazy, Holy Grace:'

When pain is real, why is God silent?
Frederick Buechner has grappled with the nature of pain, grief, and grace ever since his father committed suicide when Buechner was a young boy. He continued that search as a father when his daughter struggled with anorexia. In this essential collection of essays, including one never before published, Frederick Buechner finds that the God who might seem so silent is ever near. He writes about what it means to be a steward of our pain, and about this grace from God that seems arbitrary and yet draws us to his holiness and care. Finally he writes about the magic of memory and how it can close up the old wounds with the memories of past goodnesses and graces from God.
Here now are the best of Buechner’s writings on pain and loss, covering such topics as the power of hidden secrets, loss of a dearly beloved, letting go, resurrection from the ruins, peace, and listening for the quiet voice of God. And he reveals that pain and sorrow can be a treasure—an amazing grace.
Buechner says that loss will come to all of us, but he writes that we are not alone. Crazy and unreal as it may sometimes seem, God’s holy, healing grace is always present and available if we are still enough to receive it.

My Review:

In 'A Crazy, Holy Grace' sometimes I found his thoughts intriguing or an original way of thinking of something and other times he just seemed confused about God, Jesus and the afterlife.  He quotes Scripture so he's read at least part of the Bible but I don't know if he doesn't believe what it says about Heaven and Hell, doesn't want to believe it or views it as a metaphor.  Sometimes he seems hopeful and reminds us that God is there and we're not alone and other times he doubts and questions.  He mentions that Jesus was human and could have been wrong sometimes but was also more than human.  I would say Christians believe Jesus was also fully God while being fully human, so He wouldn't have gotten anything wrong.  There was also a longer section where he's imagining conversing with his dead grandmother and talking about what happens after you die and her "answers" don't sound at all like what the Bible says, including it sounding like everyone's there, which if she's talking about Heaven, that won't be the case.  It was a strange section.  He also mentions the god Ganesh and praying to him and using a Ouija board, which he mentioned he didn't like but not about the dangers of it.  I didn't like this book.

There was some overlap between the two books with him mentioning the same memories sometimes.  He also swore sometimes, which I didn't like.  Both were pretty easy reading as it just felt like he was talking to you over coffee.  I would recommend 'The Remarkable Ordinary' but not 'A Crazy, Holy Grace.'

I received these books from Handlebar in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Gift of Christmas Past - by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall

The Gift Of Christmas Past: A Southern Romance

About the book:

Arson wasn't the only fire that ignited between them. 
Promises shattered.
Lies spoken.
She was arrested.
He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.

Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire.

Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.

Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?

My review:

I really enjoyed this interesting story set in the world of speech therapy!  I have a friend who's a speech therapist so I know a little bit about it but I still learned more about causes and techniques and it was fascinating!  I also really liked the unique focus on grown-up foster children and what some of the difficulties were growing up in the system.  I really felt for Hadley and her friends Elliott and Tara as they struggled with feelings of abandonment, anger and helplessness when they were teens and even into their adult years due to how their parents treated them and even due to how other adults sometimes treated them.  I admired Hadley's drive to become a speech therapist and Elliott's becoming an LPN and all of the hard work it took to make it on their own.  They supported each other and took their neighbors under their wing and created their own family.  They both had a strong faith, though I would have liked a little more background on how that came about.  There were some frustrating moments as I just wanted the truth to come out about Hadley and Monroe's past and Monroe's parents were also quite the pair but there was definitely a satisfying end to the story.  There was a little bit of romance between some couples.  Overall, this was a satisfying and sweet read for Christmas.  I recommend it!

I received this book free from the Woodsmalls in exchange for an honest review.