Friday, December 20, 2013

Pilgrimage by Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin has a new non-fiction book out called Pilgrimage.

Back of the Book Description:

We all encounter times when our spirit feels dry, when doubt looms.
The opportunity to tour Israel came at a good time. For months, my life has been a mindless plodding through necessary routine, as monotonous as an all-night shift on an assembly line. Life gets that way sometimes, when nothing specific is wrong but the world around us seems drained of color. Even my weekly worship experiences and daily quiet times with God have felt as dry and stale as last year's crackers. I'm ashamed to confess the malaise I've felt. I have been given so much. Shouldn't a Christian's life be an abundant one, as exciting as Christmas morning, as joyful as Easter Sunday?With gripping honesty, Lynn Austin pens her struggles with spiritual dryness in a season of loss and unwanted change. Tracing her travels throughout Israel, Austin seamlessly weaves events and insights from the Word . . . and in doing so finds a renewed passion for prayer and encouragement for her spirit, now full of life and hope.

My Thoughts:
 I really enjoyed reading through Lynn Austin's book.  Her writing draws you in and paints a scene in your mind. She is so honest and describes well what is going on in her heart.   I think that a lot of people can identify with the difficult time she is having with all the change her in life.  Everyone goes through change and it is never easy.  I love that she includes much of the historical background pointing back to scripture as she travels through the holy land.  I actually learned quite a bit that I didn't know!  This book was delightful and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good read and some needed encouragement.

You can read an excerpt of the book here.
To learn more about Lynn Austin, visit her website here.
 
***I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Talent for Trouble (Book 3) by Jen Turano

Jen Turano has written a fun series called The Ladies of Distinction Series.  Book 1--A Change of Fortune, Book 2--A Peculiar Circumstance and Book 3--A Talent for Trouble. 

About the Book:
For years, Miss Felicia Murdock’s every thought and action have been in pursuit of becoming a minister’s wife. When the minister she’d set her sights on has other ideas, she decides something in her life needs to change–and soon–before she wastes any more time pretending to be someone she’s not. If that means spreading her wings and embracing a more lively way of life, who’s to say nay?
Grayson Sumner, Lord Sefton, has had more than enough of spreading his wings and only hopes to settle into the life of a respectable New York gentleman. Prompted by some friends to lift the spirits of the disappointed-in-love Miss Murdock, he is surprised to encounter an adventurous young lady with an unfortunate knack for stumbling into troublesome situations.
Just as Grayson decides he’s had quite enough of her antics, his past comes back to haunt him and his presence in Felicia’s life endangers her. As they work together to extricate themselves from this latest complication, will Grayson and Felicia decide they want to spend the rest of their lives keeping one another out of trouble?

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed reading books one and two.  Jen Turano was funny and clever with her writing.  By the time I got to book 3, I enjoyed the story, but it seemed too similar to the first two books.   This is really my only issue I had with this book.  I loved the characters, especially Miss Felicia.  She is such an odd ball at times and it makes her quite humorous.   I did catch myself smiling several times during the reading of this book. I would definitely recommend reading this series in order so that you can meet each character and understand all of the history between the characters.  So even though this book didn't earn a 5 stars from me, I would recommend picking it up to read.  It is delightful!

***I received this book free from the author and Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Return to Me by Lynn Austin


About the book: From the Acclaimed Author of Chronicles of the Kings

After decades of exile, the prophesies are coming true---King Cyrus has declared the Jews may return to Jerusalem. Iddo, a priest, is sure this is a sign of God's renewed favor. For too long they've remained in Babylon, and many, including Iddo's sons, are losing the faith that sets them apart. And so only a few choose to leave everything to return---return to their home and their God.

Nothing about their journey to the Promised Land is easy. As hardships mount, even the faithful, like Iddo's beloved wife, Dinah, question the sacrifice of following God's leading. Zechariah, Iddo's oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather's ancient beliefs and the family they left behind. But one life-changing encounter with the Holy One gives him insight that will change Zechariah---and history---forever.

Bringing the Old Testament to vibrant life, Return to Me tells the compelling story of two men living by faith in the midst of doubt, the women who love them, and the faithful remnant struggling to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home.

My Review:
What  a great book! This is Lynn Austin's first book in The Restoration Chronicles series.  Lynn Austin has quickly become one of my favorite authors.  I love how she can interest me in the story right from the start.  The feeling and emotion she writes into her characters really makes you connect with them.  This series is unique in that it fictionalizes the biblical account of the return of the exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem.  I love how it helps me to identify with the human side of the characters from the Bible.  They were people just like us with fears, worries, and dreams for the future.  It was great to revisit this time of biblical history as I don't really read these portions of Scripture often.  This book has made me anxious to get out my Bible and re-read these passages of Scripture.  Lynn Austin has done a fabulous job with inspiring the reader to be in the Word and to remember the great truths of our God.  If you're looking for a great series to start, then make sure to pick up this book!

Click here to purchase your own copy of the book.

You can find out more about Lynn Austin by clicking here.

 ***I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Take Charge of Your Emotions by Dr. Linda J. Solie

Are you struggling with depression or anxiety in your life?  Are there situations in your life that you have a hard time overcoming?  Take Charge of Your Emotions: Seven Steps to Overcoming Depression, Anxiety and Anger by Dr. Linda J. Solie  would be a great book for you to pick up and read.  Life throws so much at us and often we make choices that aren't healthy for us.  These choices hold us captive and seem to control our lives.  Dr. Linda J. Solie's seven steps can really help you to pinpoint "unhelpful self-talk" and turn it into "helpful self-talk."  This book is a great tool for helping to transform your thinking and putting your focus back on Christ instead of yourself.

I really liked reading through this book.  As a person who struggles with depression, I found it quite helpful in pinpointing my negative thinking.  But this book doesn't just point out what's wrong, it helps lead you to correct the problem.  I also appreciated that the author pointed to Christ as the answer!  We do not have the power in our flesh to overcome sin.  Only Christ can give us the power to be more than conquerors.  If you're struggling or know of someone who is, this would be a great book to pick up and start reading.  You can read the introduction and first chapter below.



 **I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Pirates on the Farm by Denette Fretz and Illustrated by Gene Barretta

The Pirates are moving in next door!!  Pirates on the Farm is about a group of unruly pirates that move in next door to a quiet family that lives on a farm.  The Pirates are definitely different and show their odd behavior in all kinds of ways.  Deep down inside they are just like everyone else, but will the townspeople be able to see that or not?

This is a fun book about differences.  Pirates are always fun and these pirates act much like you'd expect them too.  It's not always easy to be friendly and nice to those who seem so different.  This story would be a great springboard for talking with your kids about how to treat those who may do things differently.  The pictures are great and have lots of color!  Your kids will love looking at all the fun things in the pictures.  See what this book is all about and watch the book trailer below!


This book is the first in The Next Door Series and is for kids ages 4-8 years old.  I'm looking forward to see what the next book will be!  You can check out the author's site here.

***I received this book free from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

The Quiet Place: Daily Devotional Readings by Nancy Leigh DeMoss


Are you still looking for a Christmas gift for someone on your list?  Consider giving this beautiful devotional by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  This devotional book has readings for each day of the year.  Each day consists of a Bible verse, a short excerpt from the writing and teaching ministry of Nancy Leigh DeMoss and some application questions.  A Scripture Index is included at the back of the book.

I appreciate how the author encourages the reader to dig into the Word of God for themselves.   She desires that her writings only be a helpful tool to stir up a thirst to read the Word more.  Her writing is well thought out and helps the reader to think through the Scripture that was read.  I would highly recommend this devotional.  It would make the perfect Christmas gift!

***I received this Devotional free from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

http://www.amazon.com/The-Governess-Highland-Hall-Edwardian/dp/1601424965

I just finished a delightful novel.  It is the first book in the Edwardian Brides series called The Governess of Highland Hall written by Carrie Turansky.  This is the first book I have read by this author and I would definitely pick up another of her books.  Below you'll find a description of the book, my review and the book trailer.

From the Back of the Book:

Worlds lie between the marketplaces of India and the halls of a magnificent country estate like Highland Hall. Will Julia be able to find her place when a governess is neither upstairs family nor downstairs help?

Missionary Julia Foster loves working alongside her parents, ministering and caring for young girls in India. But when the family must return to England due to illness, she readily accepts the burden for her parents’ financial support. Taking on a job at Highland Hall as governess, she quickly finds that teaching her four privileged, ill-mannered charges at a grand estate is more challenging than expected, and she isn’t sure what to make of the estate’s preoccupied master, Sir William Ramsey.

Widowed and left to care for his two young children and his deceased cousin Randolph’s two teenage girls, William is consumed with saving the estate from the financial ruin. The last thing he needs is any distraction coming from the kindhearted-yet-determined governess who seems to be quietly transforming his household with her persuasive personality, vibrant prayer life, and strong faith.

While both are tending past wounds and guarding fragile secrets, Julia and William are determined to do what it takes to save their families—common ground that proves fertile for unexpected feelings. But will William choose Julia’s steadfast heart and faith over the wealth and power he needs to secure Highland Hall’s future?
Book Trailer:


My Review:
Julia Foster is a very likeable character.  She handles herself well, and isn't afraid to speak her mind.  I liked the connection with missions in this story since I am a missionary kid, and I appreciated what Julia said concerning the hard times she faced while on the mission field in India.  She said, "We have a choice to make when trouble comes.  We can read out to God and look to Him for strength and help, or we can doubt His love and purpose and allow our hearts to grow cold.  It takes faith to believe He can and will bring good out of those trials if we will only trust Him." (loc. 3210 in e-book)  Sir William Ramsey is definitely moody, although with all he has been through, his moodiness is expected.  His character is definitely more reserved and contemplative.  I think Carrie did a great job making the characters come to life.  There are those who you cheer on and other you just want to duct tape their mouths.  :)  It was an engaging story that I would definitely recommend to those who love Downton Abby and the Jane Austen era. 

***I received this free e-book from Waterbrook Multnomah's blogging program Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

KJV Chronological Life Application Study Bible by Tyndale House Publishers


I love study Bibles.   They can be such a great tool when I sit down and read through Scripture.  Tyndale House Publishers has just released a Chronological Life Application Study Bible.  This Bible "helps the reader see the larger story by breaking up the traditional books of the Bible into 10 major eras of biblical history, intermingling the Scriptures into a single, unified story from Creation to the end." (A8)  This Bible includes a Chronological Survey of the Bible to give an overview of the Scriptures as a whole.  It also includes a complete Biblical Timeline and maps.  At the back of the Bible, there is a Christian Worker's resource, a Master Index, Concordance and Book-by-Book resource that "gives you an overview narrative, Blueprint, and Megathemes for every individual book in the Bible..." (pg. 1783)  The Chronological Life Application Study Bible comes in King James Version and New Living Translation.

I'm excited about the chronological aspect of this Bible.  It definitely gives a different perspective to read the Bible chronologically versus the current canonical order.   I like having the complete Biblical Timeline in here as well to compare world history alongside of Biblical history.  It really helps to connect the dots so to speak.  I think that Tyndale House Publishers have put together a great resource for Bible study.  The Chronological Life Application Study Bible would be a great asset to any library!  Find out more about this great Bible by clicking here.

***I received this Bible from Tyndale House Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tyndale's Free and Discounted books for December

Head over to Tyndale's E-book Special page for this month and see their free and discounted books. 

 One of their free books this month is Susan May Warren's Take a Chance on Me!!!

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