Saturday, October 11, 2014

Abraham by Charles R. Swindoll



Abraham was chosen by God to be the father of a great nation. He wasn't a righteous man. He wasn't even a God-follower when he was chosen. But God typically takes who he wants not who looks, acts or does the best. The story of Abraham is vastly different than the sweet little Bible stories we were taught as children. The story of Abraham is the story of a man who was very much flesh and blood, very much subject to his own fears and inhibitions and not above stretching the truth for his own purposes. But he did what God told him, for the most part, and fulfilled the purpose God had for him. This is an in depth study of the story of Abraham.


I have taken several studies about Abraham so I was familiar with the topic but each author has their own twist on it and gives food for thought. The best way to begin to learn about Abraham is to read his story straight from your Bible. But it is also helpful to have the insight of Bible teachers who have studied it in depth already. There are many cultural and geographical facts from the period that need to be addressed to fully understand the story. That is the reason books like this are valuable to us as seekers of truth.


Charles Swindoll has done an excellent job of presenting all the facts and making this study interesting and informative. This would be an excellent book for Bible Study or Book Club groups but is also good for personal studies. This book will stay on my shelf and be a resource in homeschooling and personal study.


I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

When Mercy Rains by Kim Vogel Sawyer



This book is a Kim Vogel Sawyer masterpiece. She just keeps reaching deeper and deeper. I've made it my business to read everything that comes out by this author for several years now and this one is just beyond wonderful. I could not put this book down to get anything done today and I finally finished it this evening and was relieved to see that the sequel is in the works already. There is definitely some unfinished business at the end of this book and I am anxious to see the next installment.

This is the story of Suzy (an old order Mennonite girl), who gets pregnant when she and her boyfriend have sex. Her mother sends her away to have the baby and have it adopted by a cousin and then return and resume her life. Instead of coming back to Kansas, she stayed in Indiana and went to nursing school. Nineteen years later, her siblings ask her to come back and take care of her mother who has been injured in an accident and she returns with her daughter to help. No one knew about her daughter and it was all a surprise. Complicating matters was the fact that her former boyfriend, now a widower with a young son, was the contractor working on adapting her mother's house to her disabilities.

All the characters in this story were interesting and their various means of dealing with emotions was interesting. So many surprising things happened in this story and the setting was so compelling that I just wanted to keep reading about it even after the last page was read. I'm counting on the sequel to be full of more fascinating people and settings. Being a native Kansan, I am always excited to read about Kansas anyway but this book make it even more special.

I received this book from the author for the purpose of writing a review, but if I hadn't been chosen for the task I would have purchased it anyway because I can't pass up anything new from Kim Vogel Sawyer's pen.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson



Mazy Pelfrey has gone to Lexington to go to business school on the advise of her sister, Lilly (a doctor). Her beau back home is Chanis Clay who is the local sheriff. While in Lexington she becomes interested in Loyal Chambers, the son of a local doctor and part of Lexington's upper class. She soon finds out that all that glitters is not gold as the saying goes.


I found this story interesting because my grandmother went away to business school in about this time frame and it gave me a little feel for what her life may have been like while she was away from home taking this course.


I also found Chanis Clay very interesting and like the way he treated people he came across in his work and in his social life. He might not be the dashing, exciting hero of a lot of romance novels, but he is a true blue hero all the same.


This story was well told and kept me interested throughout so as a result I finished this book fairly quickly.


Tyndale gave me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tried & True by Mary Connealy





Mary Connealy just keeps perfecting her craft! This book is a clear indication that she is learning and growing as an author with every new book she writes.


This is the start of a new trilogy called 'Wild At Heart." The youngest of three sisters that posed as boys and fought in the Civil War, Kylie is the least competent at manly pursuits and the one most desiring to live in her feminine guise. Trying to hold down a homesteaders claim to please her father is no easy task, especially when the land agent, Aaron Masterson, spends no time at all figuring out that she's a female and when other sinister characters are trying to run her off her claim.


I have only one complaint about this book. It was so good that I am having a horrible time waiting till the other two in the series are released and #2 is slated for almost a year from now so #3 will be even farther away. I keep saying I won't read any piece of a trilogy again until all installments are available but I love Mary Connealy's books so much that I just can't resist when one hits the shelves. She is at the top of my list of favorite authors because she keeps me amused through the whole impossible story each time.


Bethany House gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I love Bethany House and all their authors!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Heaven Touching Earth: True Stories of Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters by James Stuart Bell



This book is a wonderful collection of stories by individuals that have been touched by God in a special way. Some are stories of miraculous healing, some are tales of provision and some are about protection. I have experienced some of these God moments in my life as have many people I know. But I always enjoy reading about other peoples' experiences like this. I am especially encouraged by healing stories because there is so much sickness out there. I was especially interested in a story about a woman who was cured of incurable cancer because I have a childhood friend who is battling cancer right now and I pray constantly for his healing. I read this book straight through like a novel because it was so compelling. Each chapter is an individual story by a different person but they are like potato chips -- you can't eat just one.


I highly recommend this book to everyone. Everyone, whether they realize it or not, longs for a relationship with God and these are stories of relationship.


I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions and comments are my own. Thank you Bethany House for publishing such inspiring books!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Everyone Needs Forgiveness and Love



Everyone wants forgiveness. Not grudging words. Not “I forgive you but I cannot forget so stay far away from me.” What is desired is “I forgive you. You are special to me. Let’s move on.”

Everyone wants love --warm, fuzzy, huggy, feel good love that is completely unconditional but still holds you accountable for your part of the relationship. Not love that says I will love you only as long as you don’t disappoint me or only as long as I find you interesting or beautiful, but love that says, “I love you even when you’re crabby, even when you’re not looking your best, even when you’ve hit rock bottom and the only way left is up.”

Everyone has an empty spot in their innermost self that they are constantly trying to fill with something. No matter how hard you try to fill it with stuff or people or ideas, it never feels filled until you choose to fill it with an eternal love, acceptance and forgiveness that only comes from Jesus Christ. It is a relationship with Him, accepting His forgiveness and desiring to please Him above all else that fills that empty spot and fulfills all our innermost desires.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate


Jen Gibbs, an editor at a publishing house in New York City, goes on the hunt for the elusive author of a story that mysteriously appears on her desk. The hunt takes her to within a few miles of her hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There she finds the author, Evan and meets up with the past she has been avoiding ever since she left home. The manuscript is the story of Rand and Sarra who traveled in these same mountains in the 1800s. Both stories, similar in theme, keep the reader enthralled enough to not want to put this book down until the last delicious paragraph is finished and then there is still the desire for more.

This is by far the best book I've read of Lisa Wingate's. She keeps getting better and better. This story seems like her masterpiece so if the next one is even better -- WOW! I loved both story lines in this book and the characters are rich in the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I feel like I know a little more about this part of our country now and some of the issues the people there are dealing with (poverty, isolation, etc.) This is arguably the best book I've read all summer if not all year and I read a LOT of books. I truly cannot wait to see what comes next from this author.

I was provided a copy of this book by Tyndale for the purpose of reviewing it and I am thrilled to have the opportunity!