Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Book Review: Overextended . . . and loving most of it!

Overextended . . . and loving most of it! by Lisa Harper is an unusual book. It wasn’t what I expected, but I was thankful for the opportunity to read this book.

Most of the book is autobiographical; it’s Lisa’s account of the past year, a year full of devastating heartache and unexpected challenges. She truly was overextended, as the book says, yet she found ways to keep on going, doing all that God called her to do. She uses her story to tell us what she learned. She does this by scattering brief Bible studies and life insights throughout the book, worked into the story at relevant points. Chapter 4, Blasting through Burnout, gives readers a simple, step-by-step acrostic to use whenever they feel overwhelmed. Quotes by well-respected writers and church leaders enhance the content of each chapter.

In the final chapter of the book, Lisa includes a prayer for herself and her readers. I think this part of her prayer most clearly sums up the intent of the book:
Lord Jesus, . . . If anyone besides my immediate family reads this, please use this imperfect prose to help rip off the unnecessary burdens they’re lugging around as well. I pray they will be light enough to take whatever leap of faith you’ve called them to.
As Lisa continues living her overextended life, which now includes the blessing of an adopted daughter from Haiti, I’ll be whispering prayers for her, and others like her, whenever God brings this book and its lessons to mind--whenever I feel overwhelmed. The insights Lisa shared through her experiences will help me with this.

I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending a complimentary copy of Overextended for this honest review.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Book Review: Born of Persuasion

Born of Persuasion, the first book in the Price of Privilege Trilogy by new author Jessica Dotta, reminds me of classics such as Jane Eyre and Rebecca, stories of dark mystery in which the innocent heroine is drawn in by a mysterious and powerful man only to wonder if she’s gotten herself in over her head, curious to know the truth, yet fearing it as well. Only in Born of Persuasion, Julia Elliston has three mysterious men to deal with: 1) Edward, the childhood sweetheart she’s secretly betrothed to yet was torn away from, so that she no longer knows where she stands; 2) the anonymous guardian who controls her life and is threatening to send her away to Scotland to work below her station as a ladies’ maid; 3) Mr. Macy, the wealthy, yet secretive recluse who promises her everything she longs for if she’ll only trust him.

The story, set in 19th century Great Britain, is full of fascinating characters, secrets, questions, complications, and unexpected twists and turns. I was only sad that it didn’t end. I’ll have to wait for the next book. Dotta leaves her readers in a good place, though, answering just enough of the questions to leave them feeling satisfied, but leaving just enough mystery to entice them to read on.

Tyndale Publishing House sent a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. I’ll be watching for more by this new author.