Saturday, April 30, 2016

Book Review: "The More of Less"

Because I've seen Joshua Becker's blog about minimalist living, I was curious to read his book, The More of Less. I wasn't disappointed. In this book (and on his blog), Becker helps readers understand why cluttered lives are less productive. He tells what prompted him to begin removing things from his life that did not add value or meet a need. He tells readers how to begin the process of evaluating their belongings carefully to get rid of anything that is keeping them from enjoying a more productive life. He tells them how to maintain this lifestyle, how to encourage family members to support them or to join them, and how to use the money and time they gain in more responsible and fulfilling ways. The book is insightful, practical, and inspirational. Even readers who don't feel called to a minimalist lifestyle to the extent that Becker and others mentioned in the book have been will find motivation and practical ideas for removing some of the clutter from their lives, perhaps in some surprising and unexpected places.

This book was definitely worth my time, and I happily recommend it to you. I thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for sending a complimentary copy in exchange for this review.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Book Review: "Siren's Song"

Siren's Song is the third book in Mary Weber's Storm Siren Trilogy. I loved the first two books and eagerly anticipated this one, but struggled to read it through. Most of the book consisted of 17-year-old Nym trying to understand the man she loves' actions and preparing for the dreaded final war. In other words, there's a lot of talk but not much story until the final battle arrives.

I did think the ending found in the final few chapters of the book was perfect, though. It did not disappoint. And the discussion questions helped me to identify some of the concepts the author was trying to convey.

Siren's Song is classified as teenage fiction, but I felt that some of Nym's thoughts and actions were too mature for this age. I wouldn't be comfortable letting my daughter read this book. I received a complimentary eCopy from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for this honest review.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Book Review: "A Treasure Concealed"

A Treasure Concealed is the first book in Tracie Peterson’s new series, Sapphire Brides. Set in Montana in the late 1800’s, this is the story of Emily Carver. Emily’s father is a miner determined to strike it rich. All her life, he’s moved her and mother wherever the next big strike was rumored to be. Now her mother’s health is failing and Emily is worried that she’ll never enjoy a stable life because she feels duty-bound to watch out for her father wherever he goes, whatever the cost to her.

When Caeden Thibault, a young geologist, comes to study the area on behalf of the government, Emily’s father graciously welcomes him to stay on their property and take his meals with them. Emily’s mother declares him to be the answer to her prayers for her daughter but both Emily and Caeden resist, convinced that the mother’s desire can never come to be.

This is the story of God gently leading people to the real desires of their heart, sometimes in spite of themselves. It’s a beautiful story full of truth. I am happy to recommend it to fans of historical Christian fiction and thank Bethany House Publishers for sending me a copy in exchange for this honest review.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Book Review: "Faith and Foster Care"

If you are thinking about becoming a foster parent, John DeGarmo's new book, Faith and Foster Care, will give you a comprehensive and honest look at what you may be getting yourself into. It will also tell you why it's worth the effort if this is something God has called you to. As DeGarmo says, foster parenting isn't for everyone. But it is an essential ministry. DeGarmo tells his readers why, what the Bible has to say about caring for children in need, and how to go beyond ministry to the children in order to care for their parents as well. He also gives readers comprehensive lists of things to pray for and about and suggests alternate forms of support ministry for those who don't feel called to become foster parents yet still want to help.

DeGarmo and his wife have been foster parents for many years and have adopted three children from foster care. More than 45 children have spent time in their home, some for just a few days, others for years. DeGarmo shows how every little bit of influence can help to make a permanent difference in a child's life. He closes the book with the testimonies of several foster care "alumni," relevant Scripture references, and a list of resources for anyone wanting to get involved.

I found the information in this book enlightening and helpful, especially as my husband and I prepare to adopt from foster care. I recommend this book!

I received a complimentary eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for this honest review.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Book Review: "101 Ways to Have Fun"

101 Ways to Have Fun is a book of ideas for girls transitioning from toys to teens. Girls this age sometimes struggle with what to do with their spare time. This book is meant to jump start their creativity and help them find happy things to do.

The book is divided into nine categories of activity: alone, with a best friend, with lots of friends, makeovers, sleepovers, parties, fundraising, exercise, and crafts. It’s full of bright pictures and trendy talk. Each idea includes an estimated time frame, list of supplies, and just enough instruction to get things going. If your daughter has a tendency to complain she’s bored, you may appreciate this book.

While the book is fun, attractive, and has some great ideas, parents may have concerns about some of those ideas, especially depending on their daughter’s age or level of maturity. And some activities, particularly the best friend activities, assume the child has grown up in one location with one specific set of people. These activities won’t work for military kids, ministry kids, or foster kids who move often.

I thank Zondervan for sending me a complimentary copy of this Faithgirlz book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Book Review: "The Red Door Inn"

After hearing her father betray her, Marie Carrington, age 28, decides it’s time to run away from home. But she’s unable to access her bank account without alerting her father to her choice, so she quickly finds herself on the brink of freedom but without the funds she needs to get there. When an elderly gentleman sees her counting coins at the ferry station, he devises a way to pay for her ticket and give her a home without making it feel like charity. Marie accepts a job as a decorator for the inn he’s getting ready to open to fulfill his wife’s dream.

His nephew, Seth Sloane, is also working to get the inn open on time, but he has also been betrayed and doesn’t trust his uncle’s judgment. He decides it’s his job to protect his uncle from Marie. Thankfully his opinion of Marie isn’t the One that ultimately counts and that One is working harder than anyone to make The Red Door Inn a place where wounded souls can heal.

I enjoyed this book by Liz Johnson—the first in a new series in one of my favorite classic settings. Revell sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for this review. I’ll be watching for book two.