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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Starry-Eyed

Starry-Eyed by Mandy Arito is a book of essays on seeing grace in the unfolding constellation of life and motherhood. 

I have a difficult time reviewing this book as the essays are good and do touch on everything a mother encounters. But being written by the MOPS CEO and published by a Christian publisher I was surprised to find this more of a new age zen-like book than a Christian one. While that in itself wouldn't be so much of a bad thing, it is not what the description of the book states, "the brightest and darkest moments of motherhood alike can become a sacred—and sanity-saving— opportunity to encounter God. There is a way to flourish in the midst of it all, and it starts with embracing the light and darkness in life with expectation and awe."

 This book does mention God but also touts astrology, spiritual healers, and many other faith traditions different from Christianity. If it was touted as just a mothering book I would have had no issues, but I expected it to be completely different based off the description so was left confused on how this was classified as a Christian book.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 
 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

365 Pocket Morning Prayers

There is a saying of "garbage in, garbage out", meaning what we put into our brains will surely come out in our language, actions, and thoughts. Which is why I feel devotionals are so important in everyone's life. Starting the day, or ending the day, with a little prayer and some insights from the Bible really help one center their thoughts in WHO and WHAT are important.

365 Pocket Morning Prayers by David R. Veerman is such a pretty little devotional with a nice leather-like cover. The size makes it easy to slip into your purse or set by your bedside and the devotionals are just one page long, so even if you are in a hurry in the morning you can start your day with some uplifting food for thought.


Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book
 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Dear Mr. M

Sometimes a book will  grab hold of you within the first chapter and not let you go. This is one of those books.

It's the details within the descriptions that made this book a winner for me. I lapped the words up like a hungry dog, the paragraphs making you truly stop and think and nod your head along because you know people like that, you've thought that before, this sentence made you think! Koch is a true artist with his words.

The first 1/3 was thrilling. I begin to get a bit bogged down in the middle. The narration changed to third person and things got a bit difficult to follow, it seemed to drag on slightly too long, I think it could have been wrapped up sooner before the reader lost some interest in the characters. There were times I wasn't sure who was narrating and that became irritating.

I plowed on through the middle section and got the ending which again was thrilling, in a "Gone Girl" type of way. The ending leaves you with a few unanswered questions but wraps things up nicely. It's one of those books (which are few and far between) where you don't see the ending coming. 

Because of the suspense, spot on depiction, colorful characters, and ending I think this would be a great book club book as the discussion would be wild. I know I want to talk to someone about this book, so think I will suggest this for one of our book club picks.

This book was sent to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.    
 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

It's Not Fair

Someone once remarked (funnily enough, it was in the comment section of this blog!) that "everything in life is a choice"

Bull.

Somethings in life are chosen for us, things that no one in life would choose. Melanie Dale does a wonderful job in It's Not Fair; Learning To Love The Life You Didn't Choose explaining how sometimes life just happens and we need to go with the flow.

Backed up by scripture and humor, this book digs deep into pain and purpose. I think by chapter two I was hooked when Dale exclaims "It's not fair! This isn't how it was supposed to happen!" and a shiver went up my spine when a whisper in my head said "Maybe this is exactly how it was supposed to happen." 

Who are we to judge what God places in our path? Is an 8 year old boy dying of cancer fair? No. Was there a purpose? Most certainly. 

Dale tells us it's okay to question God. It's okay to not like his answers or his plan. It's okay to tell Him what WE want. We are human, life is not fair, and it downright sucks sometimes. 

What I like most about this book is that while Dale has suffered different types of pain, and the stories from other women in the book are different than mine, the suffering brings us together. On page 149 she writes, "There's commonality in the ways that we fear, and there's commonality in the ways that we fail, and when we partner in pain, it gives way to sharing in the joy as well." 

Partner in pain. THIS. This is why I read books written by those who have suffered tremendous pain and grew from the ashes. This is why I feel an instant connection to other parents who have lost a child. This is why grief retreats work. Why the pain in a strangers eyes can soften my heart towards them. Because when we partner in pain we heal together.

This book touches on so many subjects that one in pain will experience. "All The Feels", "Coping Mechanisms For The Horribly Mangled", "Hell Is Other People...Or Is It Heaven?", "On God, Suffering, And Other Easy Subjects", and "What's Next?"

This is a book that will be placed on my bookshelf and pulled out during those "woe is me" moments. It will be shared with friends during their tough moments in life. A little laughter and a lot of support is what I found in this book.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers for my honest review.
 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Grieving the Loss of a Loved One

Grieving the Loss of a Loved One; A Devotional of Comfort as You Mourn by Kathe Wunnenberg is written by a mother who knows loss. It's not a cliche "get over your grief" type of book but rather a "I've been there, let me help you through this journey" devotional which lends you support and encouragement during your darkest days.

What I like best about this devotional is that you can turn to the topic that is most fitting for the mood you are feeling that day. Is it anger? Sadness? Is it a special anniversary or holiday? Wunnenberg seems to have hit each mood and memory in this devotional and there is comfort for whatever mood you may be in. 

This would be very comforting gifted to someone who has recently lost someone special. 

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 

 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Wolf Road

Everything Elka knows of the world she learned from the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who took her under his wing when she was just seven years old.
 But when Elka sees the Wanted poster in town, her simple existence is shattered. Her Trapper – Kreagar Hallet – is wanted for murder. Even worse, Magistrate Lyon is hot on his trail, and she wants to talk to Elka. Elka flees into the vast wilderness, determined to find her true parents. 
But Lyon is never far behind – and she’s not the only one following Elka’s every move. There will be a reckoning, one that will push friendships to the limit and force Elka to confront the dark memories of her past. The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

I had to let this book settle with me overnight before I could write a review and yet this morning I still don't know what I read! There seemed to be a couple story lines within the book that I'm not sure if they didn't mesh well or if I just didn't get the whole premise. The setting is post-apocalyptic, yet I never fully absorbed how the story revolved around that. There just didn't seem to be a reason why that was thrown into the book. I didn't understand what time period this story took place - in my mind it was the 1800's due to the wild west feel with little to no technology. Maybe the author wants us to stay guessing but I felt a little lost not having a timeline. 

It is difficult to review a book with such a shocking reveal towards the end without revealing what it is! I had an inkling halfway through the book what it was leading up to but shrugged it off, thinking no, it couldn't possibly be that. But yes, it was that and the minute you realize what that is a creepy little shiver runs down your spine. That is what a psychological thriller is about, right? A feeling of unease and dread and then yep...the reveal socks you in the gut. 
 
 This was a fast paced book which I started and finished in one afternoon. While it wasn't an edge of the seat gripping book, there was enough suspense throughout the pages that you just need to see how it ends.  

This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.
 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Encountering Angels

I'm a big fan of books on faith and angels but there have been times that I get an uneasy feeling when I beginning reading and Encountering Angels by Judith MacNutt is included in that category. 

While the majority of angel stories in this book were submitted, so therefore not Macnutt's own stories, they didn't seem to be filtered for quality material.

I know that spiritual encounters can seem nutty and strange to someone who wasn't there to encounter it themselves. But take for example a mother who was horrified to see her child leaning out an upstairs window but then relieved to realize an angel is there blocking the window and keeping the child safe. How was the child leaning out of the window and yet the angel was blocking the open window? Either it was written in a way that was unbelievable or the story itself is. 

The writing is so choppy - one story, followed by Macnutt's musings, immediately followed by musings on a different story. You can't tell where one story begins and another ends. Within three chapters I was getting a headache and was more annoyed with the writing and editing that I had to call it quits. I didn't find this book encouraging but rather eye-roll inducing. And this coming from someone who does believe in angel encounters.

This book was given to me by Chosen Publishing in exchange for my honest review.  

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