Thursday, March 16, 2017

Prayers for a Simpler Life by Faith Sommers

I was provided this book for free by the publisher to post an honest review.

At first I was struggling with this book, her theology doesn't exactly match with my main line Methodist theology and there were some distinct areas where we parted ways, but the more I read these devotionals the more at peace I felt. Despite our vastly different lifestyles I found her devotionals useful in my own life and found myself thinking well, "we aren't so different after all are we?"

I really liked how she deferred to God for the answers to the questions we can't know the answer to, like one person is spared while another falls ill or dies. It's hard to trust God in the walk when the path is scary. It's hard to trust God to protect your loved ones when they are out in the world. But she makes a point in that only God can know God’s ways and we are not called to understand them, just trust that He will provide for our protection in His way.

Her devotion on hurrying children really hit me as just before reading that section I was speaking to someone about how slow my daughter is in the morning and how frustrating it is to me.  I had to stop an think of how impatient God could get with me. He’s been waiting more than twenty years for me to do some things.

There are so many ways she took a topic in a surprising direction leading me to say, “hmm, I never thought of it like that before.”

I nearly put the book down early on because her theology is so different than mine and I assumed she had nothing to teach me. I’m very glad I stuck with it and took away what I needed and appreciated her cultural differences. In the United Methodist Church we say we are United in Body not in thought. Which means we are all Methodists but that doesn’t mean we agree on everything. There is strength in diversity.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Journey to the Well -- Diana Wallis Taylor

This is the first book I've read in a long time that I did not read because I needed something from it, other than entertainment.  I was not given a free copy by a publisher upon agreeing to review it.  I read it for pure pleasure.  I read it because I felt I had to read it. And I'm glad I was led to read this book.

Before I read this book, I found stories about the Woman at the well in many other books I was reading. In fact it seemed as if she just kept popping up all over my life. I figured maybe I needed to better understand her. Then this book popped up on the free e-book list. So I downloaded it. 

The writing was splendid. I was grabbed immediately and never let go. I had to finish this book, I felt compelled to keep reading long after I should have been in bed. The character development was incredible, none of the characters were flat, and Marah was strong and beautiful inside and out. She had dreams of meeting Jesus long before the encounter at the well and those dreams kept her hanging on, and kept her strong. 

Her five husbands were dealt with in depth and you saw clearly how she came to be where she was. From a historical perspective, it was also clear how she could have had five husbands and a live in lover and yet still not really been at fault. Many women in that time were not in control of their own fates. 

I'm not a biblical scholar, so I don't know how closely this may or may not follow the stories of her in the Bible. I have read as many accounts of the interaction she had with Jesus as I could find in the Gospels. I found nothing in this book that contradicts those accounts. Mostly though I found myself looking at my life and thinking about how it would have felt to be her sitting there knowing the man you are talking to knows all about you and loves you anyway. I thought about how it would feel to stand before Jesus and feel that unconditional, complete and total love. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone. It's a beautiful story of how God takes our brokenness and makes it something beautiful.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Forever After by Deborah Raney

I loved it!  This book hooked from the first chapter and never let go.  It is a beautiful love story, of God's Love for us all.  Jenna is trying to find her life after her husband's death but doing so only highlights how much she doesn't even know who she is.  Lucas thought he knew who he was but a fire took his entire Life's Purpose away.  They stumble into each other then deny the magic between them selves for quite a while.

This book has finally done Christian fiction right.  It is most definitely Fiction and it showed God's love and relationships all the way through.  I've had trouble lately finding fiction that wasn't afraid to show God.  This book, is unapologetically Christian.

There wasn't a moment of slow story.  So many plots intertwined with each other something was always happening.  I loved the way Deborah switched back and forth between Lucas and Jenna as the narrator.  This book was just fantastic and such a breath of fresh air for me.  I can't wait to read more of her stuff!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Max on Life by Max Lucado

Max Lucado never disappoints.  From Hermie to Six Hours One Friday, Max Lucado delivers his topic in a touching heartfelt way.  Max on Life is no different.  He tackles the tough issues with Love and Admiration.  As all Christians are called to do. This book is the conversation we've all wanted to have with Max.  I've trusted him for advice on living a Christian life for many years, and now I can go to an indexed topical book and flip right to a quick answer on my question.

What does God think about Divorce? Page 146
What does God think about homosexuality? Page 132
Which religion has it right?  and why? Page 224
How do I control my temper? Page 45
How do I stop worrying? Page 192
Why doesn't God Heal me/my loved ones? Page 82

I really enjoyed this book, much like I've enjoyed every other book I've read by Max Lucado.  I will recommend it to all my friends and family however I will keep my copy for myself!

I was provided a copy of this book by the Publisher, I was not required to write a favorable review.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Divine Appointments by Charlene Ann Braumbich

I really loved this book.  It was such a new spin on the chick lit genre.  The main character, Josie was a lot unlikeable at first.  She seemed cold, harsh and alone.  I couldn't get her.  But then as the book unfolded, Josie opened up and the reader realized she longed to be a part of something just like everyone else.

The water symbolism through out the book was a great play on ideas.  God is often seen as quenching a thirst and an eternal spring.  It was weird to see this play out as a Christian looking in because I already knew what it was all about and Josie seemed to have no idea.

The relationships at Diamond Mutual were illustrated nicely.  You could feel the camaraderie.  Especially with Barb's interactions with Lyle, Marsha and some of the others. Barb was the opposite of Josie.  She had so many relationships and active encouragement you could see her life overflowing.  The firings hit home for me as I experienced a similar layoff while reading the book.  It is a very humiliating and dehumanizing experience.

I did not enjoy reading Marsha's fiction.  While I understand the logic for it's existence in the book, I found it to be very vindictive and vengeful.  It just wasn't my taste.

All in all I really loved the book and all the changes the characters made as they grew in their lives and careers.  I would highly recommend this book to a friend and in fact already have!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Treasure of God's Word: Celebrating 400 Years of the King James Bible

Absolutely gorgeous gift book for a King James Version Bible Lover. It has a leather-appearance Binding with gold leaf on the edges. The book is divided into different subjects with each major section sharing history of the the version. It begins by introducing the KJV Bible and giving the initial history. 

The KJV of the Bible is the most popular version and some feel the most closely related to the original intent. The verses for each section are woven together and support each other well. This is a small book and by no means an exhaustive concordance. It's intended to be a gift for perhaps someone for Christmas or graduation. 

The cover and pages have been treated to look older and this adds to the charm of the book. It is a beautifully bound gift book and I highly recommend it. 

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher to write a review. I am under no obligation to write a positive review.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones

Save the Date is a quick, funny, light, beach read. I enjoyed it for those qualities. The characters were developed and while stereo-typical not cardboard cutouts. I liked that this book was set in my hometown of Charleston, SC. I did not like the virtual absence of setting description. Charleston is known for it's beautiful settings, I cannot understand why more of it did not make it into the book. 

The plot was predictable, they fall in love while pretending to be in love. It wasn't a great shock. There were some shocking revelations, however Lucy and Alex falling in love is not one of them. Over all the book was a nice read. 

In this genre, I am finding lately a lot less Christianity in "Christian Fiction". I'd like to see more from the Christian authors. More overt Christianity in the Christian characters. More church attendance. More praying over decisions. Just in general Christians acting more like Christians. This isn't a condition limited to Jenny, I just noticed it while reading her book. There were times when I felt reading this that it was not very Christian-like. Yes, it's cleaner than the typical romance or chick lit novel, but I did not find myself coming away with any revelations or Christian behaviors I wanted to emulate. 

All in all I'd recommend this book to a friend, but not as a Christian book.

I was provided a copy of this book by to write a review.  I am not expected to nor do I feel obligated to write a positive review.