Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Stumbling into Grace by Lisa Harper

"God doesn't just see us; he gazes adoringly at us. He doesnt simply notice us; he moves heaven and earth on our behalf; that's the thesis of stumbling into grace" (Lisa Harper)

This book is very delightful to read. It is full of humorous stories and great messages for us women to relate too. The greatest lesson I learned from this book is that "God had us at hello", that is all we need to do is say hi to have His full attention.

This book is written like a diary/volitional. Each chapter has a story from her life that will make you laugh, cry, sing praises and so much. After the story she relates it to a bible story and gives us a message. At the end there are several questions that you can journal about and reflect upon.

This is a great book both to be read alone or as part of a small group.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

River Song by Melody Carlson

I loved this story and highly anticipate the next one in the series. Melody Carlson is one of my favorite authors and this book does not disappoint. It is a quick and easy read but very enjoyable.

Anna Larson, returns to her home on the Siuslaw river for her mother's funeral. She is a widow with a 17 year old daughter and they live with her mother-in-law. Anna is on the verge of a mid-life crisis because her mother-in-law treats her like a housekeeper and makes her feel guilty about all she has done for them if she questions anything. Her daughter Lauren wants nothing to do with Anna childhood home and Anna knows if her daughter will come they will be able to bond and heal together.

While at home Anna joins forces with her old friend Babette and new friend Hazel, and her son Clark, to turn her home into an inn. An inn that will be called the Inn at Shining Waters. She is confident that people who will come and stay will find healing at the inn.

Will Anna free herself from her mother-in-law? Will her daughter return to her? Join her and find out these answers and enjoy the tales her Indian background and the her adventures of turning the house into an inn.

I received this book by Abingdon Press, through in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Veil by Diane Noble

Diane Noble's The Veil is one of those books that I couldn't put down. It was the first book I have read from her and picked it up because of the tie in to the Mormon faith. It was an area that I had not read much about and was interested in. I enjoyed learning the history of the Mormon's through a factual yet Christian viewpoint. I learned so much about there religion and still can not believe the views they had.

The Veil takes place during the years of Brigham Young and there early days in the Utah Territory. They were known as the Saints back then. All the Saints claim to want to be able to practice there beliefs without persecution. Though they are very hypocritical in the fact that they persecute those who believe against them.

The fictional story of the book deals with Hannah McClary and the many she loves, Lucas Knight. Lucas is part of the Dannites, a group trained to kill on behalf of the Saints. Both Hannah and Lucas have questioned the beliefs the leaders have placed on them and desire to know the truth and the world outside of the saints.

When a group of pioneers cross through the Utah Territory, at a place called Mountain Meadows they are massacred by the Saints. Hannah and Lucas find themselves in a very difficult battle. Will this tragedy finally set them free?

This book is a great book for anyone who loves history, wants to learn more about the early Mormon church and is looking for a page-turner.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Finding Alice by Melody Carlson

Finding Alice by Melody Carlson is one of those books that will always remain on my bookshelf. She is one of my favorite authors and am always looking forward to reading more from her. This book is what I call an 'issue book' as in it deals with a certain difficult subject, in this case the issue is paranoid schizophrenia.

The main character in this book is Alice Laxton tells her story through a first person narrative. Alice is a senior in college when she begins her slippery slope into paranoid schizophrenia when she finds herself more stressed than she has ever been. She compares her slide to Alice in Wonderland which provides a great comparison. As the reader, I learn of struggles through various therapies and views that are placed on her. In the end, Will Alice grab hold of reality?

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in mental illness, or enjoys a great read. This is a fast paced book, that you will not want to put down.

Life in Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson

Life In Spite of me is one of those books that I couldn't put down, I just had to know more about her story and the events that lead her to make that decision to try to end her life. It is any easy to read book, but the story can be heartbreaking at times, and at times bring great joy also.

We get to take Kristen's journey through her childhood as an all-american child to the events that changed her world forever. We see her lay across the train tracks waiting to die to realizing she has lost her legs. The beautiful thing about this story is the inspiration it leaves with us. The fact that God is out there and can turn tragedy into a beautiful story. Kristen will never be the person she was before the attempted suicide, though I believe she is a stronger person today because of it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

When Sparrow Fall by Meg Moseley

When Sparrows Fall is Meg Moseley's debut novel and I can only say I can not wait to read more from her in the future. This is a book I would re read and recommend to others, it just that good.

In this story we meet Miranda Hanford who is a widow and mother to six children. She is a member of a small conservative church in Georgia where she is considered the 'trouble maker'. When her pastor sees the need to move the entire congregation to another town Miranda sees this as an opportunity to leave the church and restart her life. The only catch to this is the pastor is trying all he can to not allow her to leave. He knows secrets of Miranda that has kept her fearful of him and makes it harder for her to leave.

Everything begins to change when she falls and her estranged brother-in-law comes to help out and take care of her children. It is then when Miranda starts to be able to sort out her life and take charge. Will Miranda be able to leave the oppressive life she has been living? Will she learn what truly being a christian means?

Never the Bride by Cheryl Mackay and Rene Gutteridge

Never the Bride by Cheryl Mackay & Rene Gutteridge was a very delightful read. It is not very heavy but has a wonderful message of allowing God to write your love story.

We meet Jessie Stone at 34 and desperate to be married. She tells us how independent she is and all she can do for herself but that she is lonely and tired of it. She has been in numerous weddings, planned more than she can count, shopped for gift after gift and yet has not met her prince charming.

Jessie has been trying to write her love story since she was 6 years old. Her mother had always told her how great her wedding was and couldn't wait for her daughter to experience that joy. So what does Jessie do when God in the flesh show up to her walking and talking (though others can't see Him). God asks her to give up her plans and let Him write her his perfect love story for her. Will Jessie get the love story she has always wanted? Does she learn that God's plan is better than anything she could plan for herself.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Constantine Codex by Paul L. Maier

The Constantine Codex is Dr. Paul Maier's third book in his Skeleton Series, though the three books can be read in any order. This was my first book written by him and while I enjoyed I would not call it a favorite. I found the story to be a little slow moving and I was expecting more suspense and mystery to it. The writing was detailed and had many historical accurate details. At times it was hard to believe that this was just a fiction book.

The story centers around Dr. Weber and his Wife, Shannon are touring Greece they uncover and ancient codex that contains the lost ending of Mark and a second book of Acts. While they are working to prove its authenticity it becomes obvious of how truly important the find is. When the codex is shipped to America it ended up getting stolen and was replaced was a fake copy. Will Dr. Weber be able to find it and prove to the world that it is the real thing? What will become of the bible that we have always known?

While all of this is going there is a sub plot to the story that deals with a debate between Islam and Christianity. This part of the book I found very interesting and hearing why each side believes what they do and what they believe the other side has wrong. The whole debate doesn't really effect the story but brings in so much great history that so many of us do not know.

I received this as a galley from netgalley. com in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Her Daughter's Dream by Francine Rivers

When I finished Her Mother's Hope I could not wait to read the sequel. Now that I have read I was not disappointed. Both books have quickly become books that I recommend to everyone I know that loves to read and they have all loved them as much as me.

Her Daughter's Dream picks up right after the first part and shares the journey's of Hildemara and her daughter Carolyn. Once again there relationship suffers and Carolyn bounds more with her grandmother, due to not being able to be around her mother for years (who has tuberculosis). The story keeps continuing with Carolyn's Daughter, May Flower Dawn. May Flower Dawn is determined to bring peace to her family and wants to break the cycle of dysfunctional mother-daughter mistakes.

Bound by Guilt by C.J. Darlington

What a great second novel from C.J. Darlington. Bound By Guilt is the sequel to her first novel, Thicker than Blood, though it can be read alone. I loved her first book and couldn't wait to read this one and it did not let me down. I look forward to reading more books from her.

Roxi is living with her mom's cousin, Irene, and Irene's son Diego who travel the country stealing rare books and selling them for cash. When a robbery goes wrong, Roxi chooses to run. It is than she meets Jan and her husband who take her in and show her love and acceptance, something she has not known in the past.

Guilt is the central theme to this novel and how it can consume you and that the only escape from it is the truth. Roxi is bound by the guilt of being an accomplice to a robbery and a murder. Abby can't escape the guilt that she thinks she failed as a wife, a mother and a cop. These characters must learn how to accept the truth, admit it in order to be free. We are reunited with May and Christy from Thicker than Blood and are introduced to some new and wonderful characters.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers

Wow, I can't even describe how much I loved this book. This will easily be a book I will reread many times and will recommend everyone I know to read. The book flows with ease and it makes you not want to put it down until the very end and then leaves you wanting more which thankfully there is a sequel.

In Her Mother's Hope we meet Marta who is living in Switzerland at the opening of the book. The book takes us on her journey from Switzerland, then to England, Canada and finally arriving in California. She raises her four children during WWI and WWII with a rather tough love approach. It is during this time that we are introduced to Hildemara Rose who finds herself very different from Marta and having a hard time relating to her Mother.

Throughout this book and its sequel we see the struggle of there mother-grandmother-daughter relationships and how they affect the characters. The big question is will they be able to bridge there differences so they can strengthen there relationships and be the roles they need to be.

Dry as Rain by Gina Holmes

Dry as Rain is Gina Holmes second novel. This book centers around infidelity. The themes of the book are the truth, forgiveness and second chances.

Eric and Kyra have been married for 20 years and have one son, Benji, who dreams are crushed by being medically discharged from the Navy. When Kyra discovers an e-mail that Eric sent to another women her fears that he is having and affair come to reality. Just separated, Kyra is in an accident and when awake has lost some of her memories. Eric is excited that he gets a second chance with wife that he realizes that he truly does love and doesn't want to leave. As Kyra begins to gain more and more memories back Erick struggles with the truth of what happened between them and if he should tell her or allow her to remember on her own.

While I loved her debut novel, I did not find that this one was as strong. I found the story to move a little slow and needed more depth to really feel the pain, struggle, and hope of the characters.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Beneath the Night Fall by Nicole Baart

Beneath the Night Tree is the conclusion to After the Leaves Fall and Summer Snow. Julia DeSmit whose story started back in After the Leaves Fall as a college student when she found herself pregnant with her TA from college. Summer Snow carries her story onward with the birth of her child. Now in Beneath the Tree she finds herself a few years later and with a long term boyfriend. Then the expected arrives....her son's father whose first question is "Do I Have a Child?"

While I enjoyed the overall story line of the book, I did feel that it lacked the depth that it deserved. The plot is nothing new and used a lot and this book did not bring any new thought into the basic story line. The biggest reason I picked it up was to finish Julia's story and to hope that they author had grown deeper in her writing, but was sad to find out that it read just like the other ones.

Women's Devotional Bible

The New Women's Devotional Bible from Zondervan is such a great choice for women looking for a bible and a devotional. It is compact all in one, and the devotions are on thier own page so they do not clutter up the bible text. This Bible is written in the New International Version which is one of the most widely used versions which makes it great for taking to church and bible studies.

I really love how they give you a main scripture verse as well as more verses to go deeper into the bible. Also, I love the reflection part where it gives a chance to think about what was read as well as journal if you wish.

On top of the great devotions, in the back there is a list of other reading plans for reading the bible. These include, but not limited to, one year through the bible, 30 days of prayer, 30 stories of great faith, 30 days with Jesus, and so many more.

I received this as a galley from netgalley. com in exchange for my honest review.