Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Trusting God - A Girlfriends In God Faith Adventure




Trusting God

“Just trust me.” Those are the words we hear in movies just before something bad is about to happen. And yet, we are told to trust God. In a culture where we’re taught to take control of our own lives, trusting God has become a religious platitude rather than a life-changing attitude. We say it, but do we really mean it? And what does trusting God really look like?
The Girlfriends in God ministry team–Sharon, Mary, and Gwen–have been there. They’ve traveled the tough roads of life to discover the peace and power that comes from grabbing the hand of God and trusting his plan. They’ve combined spiritual truths with practical application to make trusting God a reality for any woman willing believe. Through the devotions and action steps found in these pages, Sharon, Mary and Gwen invite you to lock arms with them and other women around the world to experience the exciting journey of discovering personal peace in the ups and down of life.
Trusting God combines inspirational devotions with a 12-week Bible study guide. The life stories bring laughter and sometimes tears, but always spiritual growth. Each of the 12 weeks concludes with a Bible study guide and journal page, inviting you to share with other women in a small group setting or individually in your own personal quiet time with God. When you find the soul-rest you’ve been longing for at the feet of our sovereign God, you’ll never want to go back and take control again.

Visit the Girlfriends In God website at:

Friday, November 25, 2011

God's Story, Your Story - Max Lucado

Max Lucado has done it again!  It seems that every book Max Lucado writes is a blessing.  In God's Story, Your Story, Max shows how God's story of life story is interwoven beautifully with our own story.  Each chapter is filled with Scripture passages and references to show how if we only keep our eyes on God, His story will come alive in us.  Many of the messages are what we've heard many times, as seasoned believers, but who doesn't need a gentle reminder from time to time.  This is one book you'll want to keep handy to share insight from with others. I was totally blown away about the comparison of graduation and death, as well as where he shared about the plans that Winston Churchill made for his own funeral.  Those were incredible word-pictures that will live on in me.  I also love Max's easy-to-read style.  It's like sitting down with an old friend in a down-home, folksy style.  There are even discussion questions at the end, for further in-depth thought or to use in a small group setting.  There is also a youth version available and I think it'd make a great teen study.

I wish to thank the kind folks at Zondervan for my complimentary copy of this book for my review.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Roadside Assistance - Amy Clipson

Amish fiction author, Amy Clipson, presents the conventional spiritual journey of 17 year old Emily, in her first teen novel.  Emily's life has been turned upside down since her mother died from cancer, her dad's auto shop folded, and they lost their house to foreclosure.  Emily also had to sell her beloved Camaro that she had fixed up. Emily's moving in with her wealthy aunt and uncle makes her feel like a charity case and she really dislikes being compared to her beautiful cousin, Whitney.  Emily avoids Whitney and her friends, her new church and even her father, finding solitude in writing journal entries to her mother in the quiet of her room.  She also ponders her relationship with God.  Through Emily's struggles with grief, she develops a friendship with Zander - the cute neighbor.  Zander shares her passion for cars, but Emily finds his strong Christian faith a bit unnerving, but Zander fills the need Emily has for friendship and a budding romance.  The characters are very well developed and the story line is enjoyable.  I hope to see more teen fiction from Amy Clipson. Recommended for any reader 13 and up.

Thanks to Zondervan/ZonderKids for providing me with this complimentary copy for my review.

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks - KD McCrite

 April Grace's world is changing so fast.  Her friends from elementary school have changed into....well, strangers.  She barely recognizes "who" they've turned into as they head off to middle school.  After an automobile accident, Isabel St. James needs help putting together the church play, so Mama insists that April Grace and Myra Sue will help. Now April's autumn is devoted to spending every afternoon with Isabel and Myra Sue (who's an even bigger drama queen that Isabel). If all of this isn't enough, Isabel's wreaking havoc in the community trying to get the road paved and the new boy at school won't leave her alone. Even April's mom is acting different...and she drops a bombshell on April Grace...she's no longer the baby of the family! 

April Grace is a wear-your-heart-on-her-sleeve kind of girl, learning there are things in life that she can change and things she can't.  She's learning to be patient and tolerate the things she can't change. Tween girls will easily relate to April (despite that the story is set in the 80's, which to tween girls today, will seem like 'ancient times' and for me, April Grace reminded of the youngest Walton daughter, Elizabeth.) and love her sense of humor as she deals with boys, siblings, and the changes that come with growing up.  Written in an open and honest tone about the difficulties of growing into the teen years.  A great read for moms and their tween daughters to share together or for a mother/tween daughter reading group.  I chose to review this book on the suggestion of my 13 year old daughter, who wanted to read the book as well.
I would like to thank BookSneeze for the complimentary copy of this book for my review.

The Christmas Singing - Cindy Woodsmall

Mattie loves her new life in Ohio.  She's trying her best to put Gideon behind her and start her life over.  Gideon was Mattie's first true love....and heartbreak.  She still questions what it was that caused Gideon to find interest in someone Englisher, of all people.  But Gideon holds a secret. He believes he's done Mattie a favor setting her free.  But is this a decision he ends up regretting? After Mattie's bakery burns down and leaves Mattie injured, Gideon rushes to Mattie's side but his secret still surrounds the walls of his heart.  Sol, Mattie's new love, is confused as to Gideon's return after breaking Mattie's heart.  Mattie goes back home to Pennsylvania to visit Mamm and Daed for the holidays, while recovering from her injuries.  Being closer to Gideon, brings about more heart wounds than she bargained for.  Mattie needs to decide where she'll spend her favorite night of the year, Christmas Eve...her order to enjoy The Christmas Singing. 

This was a delightful Amish Christmas tale.  Author, Cindy Woodsmall, weaves a touching story in this novel.  A nice bonus at the end of the book are two delicious sounding Amish cake recipes....I can't wait to try them!

I would like to thank WaterBrook-Multnomah's Blogging For Books program for supplying me with this complimentary copy for my review.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Cry for Justice by Shelley Hundley

A Cry for Justice by Shelley Hundley is a powerful story of the incredible transforming power of Jesus, when we just let Him into every broken, shattered and destroyed part of our life.  Shelley's shares her story of horrific abuse and the hate and hopelessness that filled her life until she gave God "one small chance" in her life...she shows that is all it takes to change a life is to give God "one small chance".  Anyone who has experienced pain and disappointment in life will be able to relate to this story.  Shelley is refreshingly honest about her journey and tackles difficult questions about suffering. Shelly amazingly uses words that truly give language to emotions, feelings and fears that many can't do justice in describing.  Most importantly, Shelley infuses hope into the hearts of the brokenhearted as she tells of the miracle healing she encountered because of her personal walk with Jesus. Shelley's story will bring encouragement and hope to anyone who takes the time to read it!

I wish to thank Charisma House publishers for the complimentary copy of this book for my review.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wait No More (One Family's Amazing Adoption Journey) - John & Kelly Rosati

The Rosati's never expected to adopt four children from the foster care system, but God had other plans.  In  Wait No More, Kelly and John share their amazing story of the blessings and challenges they encountered in their journey to adopt, as well as the journey through the child welfare system.  God's faithfulness throughout their story shows that what was once meant for evil (child abuse, abandonment and neglect), God can turn for good (how God brought their family together).  Their story reveals how their beliefs challenged, enriched, and completely changed their family’s life.  John and Kelly Rosati do an amazing job of keeping it real - the good and the bad - they tell the true story of their experiences with the kids, the biological parents, the system and every aspect of their walk - the pain and the joy.  This part of the story is so important. The Rosati's story is one of hope amid challenges, beauty from ashes, and faith that sustains. It's a beautiful picture of what family truly looks like.

Thank you, Tyndale, for the complimentary copy of this book for my review.

Whisper of Peace - Kim Vogel Sawyer

One key to any good book is realistic characters and that is easily found in this novel.  Each of the three main characters in this book struggle with feelings that any reader can identify with - trying to live up to a parent's expectation, abandonment,  rejection, guilt, anxiety, broken relationships, forgiveness, reconciliation and the love of God all weave together in this novel.

Lizzie Dawson's father (a white man) left her and her mother when Lizzie was twelve to go back to San Francisco, where he felt Lizzie's mother wouldn't fit in.  When Lizzie's mother becomes seriously ill, Lizzie's mother's dying request is that she would make peace with her grandparents before going to live with her father, but Lizzie's not sure how to bridge the gap that separates her from her tribe. Lizzie lives alone in the mountains of Alaska and continues to practice the ways of her people, despite being an outcast among her own people...and she really doesn't fully understand why. 

Missionary step-siblings, Clay and Vivian set up an Alaskan church among the native people.  Clay is extremely driven and passionate and trying to follow in his father's footsteps, bringing many native Alaskans to God.  Vivian is seeking to be rid of the burden of guilt she's carried since the death of her father - she blames herself.  Vivian also struggles adapting to a new way of life, with fatigue, homesickness, and the culture shock that a missionary to a foreign field truly feels.  She surprises herself by befriending the people and the children of the village. She feels useful when she becomes friends with a village outcast - Lizzie Dawson.  Lizzie is very self sufficient and can care for herself quite well—she can hunt, trap, fish, harvest food, tend her sled dogs and survive just fine except for one thing—the terrible loneliness that eats at her soul day and night. Lizzie doesn't realize the extent of her loneliness until she meets Clay and Vivian. Vivian and Lizzie become friends as she teaches Vivian to cook.  Vivian teaches Lizzie how to behave like a white woman for when she leaves.

When Lizzie's grandparents find out that the missionary siblings have befriended their excommunicated granddaughter, Lizzie, they must make a choice: never speak to Lizzie again or leave their village.  Can they risk disappointing the church that sent them into the mission field?  They struggle just as hard, if not harder, at the thought of giving Lizzie up.

This was the first time I've read anything by Kim Vogel Sawyer, but it won't be my last.

I wish to thank the wonderful people of Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book for my review.

Fierce Beauty: Choosing to Stand for What Matters Most - Kim Meeder

 Take a good, long look in the mirror, what do you see?  Look a little a thorough self-examination.  Now, what are you worshipping...your own designer-influenced image or God?  In Fierce Beauty: Choosing to Stand for What Matters Most, Kim Meeder shares short stories from her own life of adventure, love and loss including her parents' shocking death when she was only nine years old and her struggles with self-acceptance (don't we all struggle with this at one time in life?), knowing God and standing for Him, that will leave you challenged.  You'll begin asking yourself these questions and will challenge women to to let their lives have the unique value and purpose that aren't found in worldly standards.  This book will empower women to choose who they will honor with their life and pursue their true destiny found in Christ alone.  Personally, I've never been a real "girly girl", so many women are bombarded with the lie that how we look is far more important that who we are but this book gets back to the real truth: Real beauty isn't in a look, it's an action - laying down our own ambitions and desires and taking up the sword of encouragement and fight for those who are losing their battle for hope.  When you step into this way of living, fierce (true, real) beauty shines through along with bonuses like lasting value, fulfillment and JOY!!!  Through it all, you’ll discover life lessons about trust, transformation, surrender, forgiveness, and genuine purpose.  Ultimately, life comes down to one question: Will you serve yourself or your King?  (As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord - Joshua 24:15)
Thanks to Blogging for Books for the complimentary copy of this book for my review.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pearl In The Sand - Tessa Afshar

At age 15, Rahab is forced into a life of prostitution (termed zonah in both the Old and New Testaments) by her father in order to help save her family during desperate times.  Rahab detests the thought of this life-style, knowing it is not right and thus decides that instead of having many lovers, she would take men on a contractual basis for up to three months or more at a time and so begins her "inn" in the walls of Jericho.  Through all of this she learns to distrust men and hates herself for what she's become.  After saving the lives of the two Israelite spies, she makes them promise to save her and her family, when Israel conquers Jericho (this is a familiar story to any bible reader).  Once Jericho is conquered, and Rahab and her family are safe, they decide to join the Israelites.  Rahab and her family are put into the tribe of Judah, under the respected leader, Salmone.  As the story unfolds, we see a stormy relationship develop between Rahab and Salmone, but much like the walls of Jericho, the emotional turmoil falls and the true source of each other's worth in God and healing from fear and rejection are born. 

Afshar created a beautifully woven story, based on biblical and archaeological sources, whenever possible and she stresses that this is a fictional story based on a historical woman who holds great importance for both Jews and Christians. The Hebrew Bible discloses that after the destruction of Jericho, Rahab settles in Israel permanently, but we aren't given further details about her life.  Outside of the story of the destruction of the walls of Jericho, the only other mention of Rahab is in one portion of a verse in Matthew's genealogy of Jesus.

This is a tender tale of restoration, Godly love and forgiveness.  I highly recommend this book!

Thank you Moody Publisher's for the complimentary copy of this book for my review.

Captive Trail - Susan Page Davis

Captive Trail is second in a six-book series about four generations of the Morgan family living, fighting, and thriving amidst a turbulent Texas history spanning from 1845 to 1896.  Although a series, each book can be read on its own and it was surprising to learn that each installment is written by a different author. 

Twenty-one year old, Taabe Waipu, "Sun Woman" in Comanche, flees her village in North Central Texas on a horse she stole from a dowry left outside her family’s teepee.  The horse has an accident and she is left on foot, injured and exhausted. She is found on the roadside by stagecoach driver, Ned Bright, who is carrying two nuns returning to their mission station.  They take the woman, who is nearly dead from exposure and dehydration to the nun's mission.  Ned sets to work to discover Taabe's identity while the nun's begin helping her inner and outer wounds to heal.  Taabe begins to learn the language and traditions of the white people; she becomes special friends with delightful, 9 year old, Quinta and develops a special love for Ned.  This is a great read right from the beginning.

I wish to thank Moody Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book for my review.

The Encounter - Stephen Arterburn

In "The Encounter" by Stephen Arterburn, we meet Jonathan Rush, an entrepreneur, tortured by bitterness towards his mother who abandoned him when he was four years old.  After counseling with his pastor, Jonathan travels back to Alaska to do research on his birth mother and get to the root of his anger and resentment, which is effecting all areas of his life.  Jonathan meets local female report, Erica Bingham, who is curious about Jonathan's story and decides to help him in his search, 'off the record'.  Jonathan also meet an old woman known as Mercy, who has the information Jonathan is seeking but she's reluctant to talk to him.  Jonathan needs to find a way to persuade the frightened woman to help unlock the secrets of his past.  As the story continues, it simultaneously takes the reader through the emotions of both Jonathan (his feelings of abandonment and anger) and those of his mother, Ada (the inadequacy she feels at being a mother and shame). The story nicely intertwines the story of both mother and son with how God loves and accepts us, as we are, in the moment we're in. The book includes an invitation to the readers to verify the facts of their own stories, to accept the reality of their existence, especially the most painful ones, and to live in forgiveness. The end result is a healthy new way to look at life with an ability to share hope with others for the future. Healing is possible but requires truth, acceptance, and forgiveness, including of oneself.  Arterburn tells of two true stories that merged in his mind to create this parable. He talks about lessons he’s learned along the way and asks follow-up questions to help the reader consider more. This is a quick read, but it really draws the reader in and keeps you there throughout the entire story.

I would like to thank BookSneeze for the complimentary copy of this book for my review.