Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Review: "English Lessons"

Andrea Lucado's memoir of the year she spent studying in Oxford is a thought-provoking collection of essays revealing the insights she gained while living in a different culture. Andrea grew up in the church, the daughter of a well-known pastor and author. Discovering and learning how to relate to people who saw no need for God or who had rejected Him outright challenged her beliefs and provided a powerful education outside of her classes.

I enjoyed the way Andrea presented her story. She simply shared her thoughts, weaving from one event to another and back, revealing connections that led to lessons learned. She was honest about her struggles and challenges, showing how God kept her heart and mind open both to Him and to the truth He was teaching through her experiences and through all of the people she met. I also enjoyed reading her comparisons of Texas life with English culture and how she learned to savor both.

I thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy of English Lessons, so I could share my thoughts about it with you. I recommend this read to those who like learning through the lives of people who are willing to share their stories.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Book Review: "The Lucky Few"

As Heather Avis puts it, when she and her husband said yes to adoption, they stepped off of the smoothly paved path through a carefully cultured rose garden and into a wildflower adventure. They never could have imagined what God had in store for them, yet even through great challenges, scary moments, and daily struggles, they are thankful they chose His way. As Heather tells the story in her book, The Lucky Few, she explains why.

As a new mother to four daughters with special concerns of their own, I appreciated the way Heather explained her thoughts and feelings every step of the way. Many times I thought, "Yes! It's just like that!" She put my own thoughts into words, and she made them okay. Heather felt relief whenever someone said something to normalize her unusual life. Her book gave that same feeling of normalcy to me.

If you have grown or are thinking about growing your family through adoption, this book will inspire you and give you hopeful perspective. And even if adoption isn't a path you plan to take, you'll find the Avis's story a fascinating testimony to God's amazing work in and through people who choose to follow Him faithfully. I highly recommend this read.

Zondervan sent me a complimentary copy, so I could share my honest opinion with you.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Book Review: "Princess Prayers"

I chose this complimentary Zondervan book for review because I knew my daughters would love it. But I was truly surprised and impressed by its content. I honestly expected it to be a little silly, perhaps just sappy sweet. Yet each prayer is well done and firmly anchored in Scripture. When you give this book to your daughter, you are introducing her to prayers for all occasions - when angry, when in need of forgiveness, for worship and praise and thanksgiving, when fearful, when waking and going to sleep, when savoring God's Presence and enjoying His Creation.

Princess Prayers is a board book that can be introduced to preschoolers, yet it looks grown up enough that older girls will enjoy it too. The artwork is sweet, showing five teenage princesses pausing to pray at various times throughout their day. The prayers are rhyming poems, eight lines long. Each ends with a corresponding Bible verse.

If you have young daughters, I recommend this book to you. I predict it will become a keepsake they'll continue to read as they grow.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Book Review: "A Stranger at Fellsworth"

Annabelle Thorley has a terrible choice to make. She can marry a man she doesn't love, knowing he'll mistreat her but provide financial security in uncertain times. Or she can run away from all she knows, hoping the uncle who once promised a safe haven in need will be willing to make good on his word.

A chance encounter with Owen Locke, a resident of her uncle's town and a friend of his as well, gives Annabelle courage to make the hard but hopeful choice. Instead of safety and a fresh start, however, both Annabelle and Owen find themselves surrounded by scandal, mystery, and danger.

Readers who enjoy historical Christian fiction, mystery, and romance will find everything they love in Sarah E. Ladd's newest book, A Stranger at Fellsworth, the third in her Treasures of Surrey series (not dependent on the first two books). I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review and recommend all of Ladd's novels to you.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Book Review: "Sacred Privilege"

Kay Warren's new book is written especially for ministry wives, and I found it a privilege to read. Within its pages Warren shares her life stories, stories of childhood, marriage, motherhood, friendship, and ministry, along with all the wisdom she's gleaned. She's as honest as she needs to be in order to make her points to encourage and bless fellow ministry wives.

Chapters cover all the essentials: sharing the dream with your spouse, accepting who you are, adapting to change, helping your children in their unique role, conflict, privacy, friendship, your personal spiritual growth, and more. I especially appreciated her personal testimony presented in stages throughout the book; it reminded me I'm not the only one facing some of these challenges and gave me fresh ideas for handling them well.

I recommend Sacred Privilege to all ministry wives and thank Revell for sending me a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Book Review: "The Ebb Tide"

I don't know how Beverly Lewis keeps coming up with such fresh ideas for Amish stories, but she does. The Ebb Tide is especially inspired. It's about a young woman approaching her decision point to join the church or not. But she's always longed to see the world and knows that once she joins the church, she'll be expected to put such dreams away forever. When an opportunity comes for her to spend at summer on the beach in Cape May, she begs her parents to let her go, promising to settle down and join the church when she returns.

But Cape May holds unexpected insights and surprises. Readers get to watch Sallie Riehl wrestle with questions about her faith and her purpose and God's plan for her life. I especially loved how Lewis portrayed her family's response to her honest, coming-of-age struggle throughout the book. Sallie's and her family's emotions were so real and handled so well. Through a beautiful story, Lewis teaches grace, empathy, acceptance, and love.

I recommend this book which I received from Bethany House Published in exchange for this posting of my honest thoughts.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Book Review: "To the Farthest Shores"

To the Farthest Shores was the first Elizabeth Camden book I've had the pleasure to read. It's an historical novel set in California mostly in 1904. Readers meet civilian nurse Jenny Bennett working for the U. S. Army at the Presidio. Jenny has overcome a traumatic start to life in order to become the respected, at least by her patients, nurse that she is. But she is hiding painful secrets in her heart.

Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher was once Jenny's patient, then her fiance. But when his life took an unexpected turn, he broke things off suddenly and without explanation. Thinking Jenny would marry someone else and go on without, he is surprised to find her still serving there. Jenny wants answers that Ryan can't give, though he longs to do so. Readers will enjoy learning how these two strong characters find their way.

Included in the historical part of this novel is some fascinating information about the early days of the cultured pearl industry and predecessors of the CIA. I recommend this book to readers who love stories set back in time. Bethany House Publishers sent me my copy, so that I could share my thoughts with you.