Wednesday, August 29, 2012

book review: "over the edge" by mary connealy

"Seth Kincaid survived a fire in a cave, but he's never been the same. He was always a reckless youth, but now he's gone over the edge. He ran off to the Civil War and came back crazier than ever.

After the war, nearly dead from his injuries, it appears Seth got married. Oh, he's got a lot of excuses, but his wife isn't happy to find out Seth doesn't remember her. Callie has searched, prayed, and worried. Now she's come to the Kincaid family's ranch in Colorado to find her lost husband.

Callie isn't a long-suffering woman. Once she knows her husband is alive, she wants to kill him. She's not even close to forgiving him for abandoning her.

Then more trouble shows up in the form of a secret Seth's pa kept for years. The Kincaid brothers might lose their ranch if they can't sort things out. It's enough to drive a man insane--but somehow it's all making Seth see things more clearly. And now that he knows what he wants, no one better stand in his way."

Overall, this was a good read. This was the first book I've read by Mary Connealy and the third book in her "The Kincaid Brides" series. Even though I've not read the first two books, I didn't feel like I was unable to enjoy the story. I didn't feel completely caught up in the story but it was a good, light read. I liked how different the brothers were but how they came together when Seth needed them. Connealy added some action to keep things interesting along with some romance; both blending quite nicely. 

I received a review copy of this book from Litfuse Group for my honest review. 

You can read other reviews in the tour as well as buy the book.
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

book review: "shakespeare's lady" by alexa schnee

About the book: "Emilia Bassano is one of the most dazzling ladies at court when she meets the little-known playwright William Shakespeare and, despite everything, they fall in love. But the course of true love never did run smooth, and the Virgin Queen does not take lightly to her ladies straying. These star-crossed lovers must fight for their love - and, eventually, their lives." 

My thoughts: First, I'm amazed Shakespeare's Lady was written by an 18 year old! I applaud Alexa for that accomplishment! For the review, I thought the book was ok. Though I had a hard time really feeling a part of the story, I think Alexa did a great job with the details of the time period and painting a picture of life for a woman in Queen Elizabeth's court. Overall, great job for the historical aspect but the rest fell a little short for me. 

You can learn more about the book from Alexa's website as well as get info on her next book. 

I received a copy of this book from PR by the Book for my honest review.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

book review: "call of a coward" by marcia moston

"The problem with promising God you’ll follow Him wherever He leads is that you just might have to go.

I suspect it would be easier if you were certain of His calling - like stepping out the door and seeing the lilac bush on fire and hearing a voice commanding you. But when it's your husband who is delivering the message - well, that leaves a little room for wonder.

At least that's how I felt when my husband rocked my comfortable middle-class afternoon with his belief God was calling us to pack up and move to a Mayan village in Guatemala."

I had tried to review Marcia's book last year through Kregel's program but the opportunity fell through because it was picked up by Thomas Nelson! And then last month Marcia sent me an email, asking if I would still be interested in reviewing her book! She had my info on file from last year and was following up. So I was super excited to have the chance to read this book! 

Though I didn’t leave the country (whereas she went to Guatemala) and it was only for a week (whereas she stayed for six months), I was still able to relate on a very small scale to Marcia's experience. I can’t imagine the thoughts she must’ve had when preparing for the trip (and upon arriving in Guatemala) and I enjoyed her humor sprinkled through the story. She talked about the need to pray for the food: "A blithely spoken, "Lord, bless this food" came to mean a seriously earnest, "Kill it, purify it, and give me the grace to eat it." The whole time Marcia and her family were in Guatemala, she saw how God took care of them. But her faith was also stretched. "The downside of a miracle is the predicament required to precipitate it. That's also the very place where faith grows." It encouraged my own faith to read how God worked in her life.  Marcia is currently working on a second book, Going South - the God of My Mistakes.

You can learn more about the book from Marcia's website.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

book review: "live to give" by austin gutwein

"Want to do something for God but don’t know what? Want to help others but don’t know who? Want to know what it is you’re really good at doing? Your gifts may feel small and insignificant. But God can use them to work a miracle!

Inspired by the biblical story of the feeding of the 5,000, "Live to Give" delivers a message of hope that we all have something to give. Written in the down-to-earth, candid voice of the gifted young man who as a kid founded a relief ministry that has saved and improved countless lives in Africa, "Live to Give" is the message that every teen needs to hear: You are more special than you know, and you can do big things.

Jesus proved that no gift is too small when He used five loaves and two fish to feed a crowd of thousands. And if no gift is too small, too ordinary, or too random, there is no limit to what the youth of today can accomplish!

A teenage philanthropist who has built a high school, two medical clinics, and a dormitory in Africa—all before the age of 16—Austin Gutwein shares how to take what may seem like the simplest of talents, gifts, and interests and use them for something Jesus can useto move mountains."

I've read Austin's first book, Take Your Best Shot and was excited at the chance to read his second one! This book is geared for the teen/tween audience but I still enjoyed it. He encourages kids to let God use them and embrace that the talents each has (what he compares to the unique lunch they take to school) because it's what makes each of us different. It's an overall good read and I liked that it wasn't too topic heavy or hard to read through.   

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. You can learn more about the book and read other reviews in the tour

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

book review: "wrecked" by jeff goins

Wrecked is about God changing you. It’s about more than going on a mission trip but what happens when you return home. “Change always happens when you come down from the clouds and deal with the messiness of life. When you turn a mission trip into a lifestyle. When you walk past someone who is poor and in pain and actually turn around. Real transformation happens when you commit.”

I really liked reading this book after coming back from a mission trip. Something I have a hard time with is that transition from what all happened on the trip and re-adjusting to the life I had put on hold for a week. This book helped with figuring that out for me. You’re wrecked when not just by going on a mission trip but by looking around you for those you can reach out to. “If we are willing to dig deep, to find Calcutta in our own backyards, we will find the poor. But we will also find God. And He may just open our eyes, so that we can see the need and not soon forget. So that we can hear their cries and not grow deaf. So that we can smell the stench of human need and awaken our hearts to compassion.”

I received a review copy of this book from Jeff. You can learn more about the book by visiting his site

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

book review: "why we're not emergent" by kevin deyoung & ted kluck

"The Emergent Church is a strong voice in today's Christian community. And they're talking about good things: caring for the poor, peace for all men, loving Jesus. They're doing church a new way, not content to fit the mold. Again, all good. But there's more to the movement than that. Much more.

Kevin and Ted are two guys who, demographically, should be all over this movement. But they're not. And Why We're Not Emergent gives you the solid reasons why. From both a theological and an on-the-street perspective, Kevin and Ted diagnose the emerging church. They pull apart interviews, articles, books, and blogs, helping you see for yourself what it's all about" (source).

I liked the alternating point of view of Kevin and Ted. Ted's humorous, shorter chapters balanced out Kevin's deeper, longer ones. There's a lot to take in and I'll admit that some of it was lost on me. This is not a book to rush through but to take your time with. I had never heard of the Emergent movement until this book. While I'm familiar with several of those involved in the movement, I didn't realize there was a term for what they believe. Rob Bell is the biggest name but I've read books by Donald Miller, Erwin McManus and Leonard Sweet. And though the latter three don't seem to be on the same end of the Emergent spectrum as Rob Bell, it all still worries me. This book was published in 2008, before Rob's book Love Wins was published, making this spotlight shined through Why We're Not Emergent on what they believe all the more important. Because honestly, it's a little scary. To read how they choose to ignore key things from the Bible worries me. I know this one book doesn't cover everything - a fact that the authors point out. But they've done their research and it shows. A big difference is how we view the Bible. The Emergent church feels "the Bible is not the voice of God from heaven and certainly not the foundation. Rather, the Bible spurs us on to new ways of imagining and learning." Whereas "we mean the Bible settles our disputes. The Bible tells us what is true. Our thinking about God, ourselves, and the Word should start with the Bible and never contradict the Bible." This is just one example of what the Emergent church believes. While the book was a little heavy for me, I think it a great resource for someone wanting to know why the Emergent church is not the Evangelical church. There are some major differences and especially for a new Christian, it might seem confusing. Overall, a good and enlightening read.

You can learn more about the book from the website. Thank you to Dan King for the chance to win this book!
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Sunday, August 5, 2012

giveaway: "call of a coward" by marcia moston

So we've wrapped up last month with missions and this month I'm focusing on posting some book reviews. My review stack is still pretty steep but I'm getting there and excited to share with ya'll what I've been reading. This month's giveaway is Call of a Coward by Marcia Moston. The review is scheduled for later this month but this is the official giveaway for the book! To enter, just leave a comment and an email address for me to contact you. Contest ends Friday, August 31 at 8:00 p.m. (EST). 
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Thursday, August 2, 2012

book review: "the stars shine bright" by sibella giorello

July was all about missions and this month is all about me finally posting some book reviews! I love reviewing books because it gives me the chance to discover new-to-me authors I might not hear about otherwise and read titles that wouldn't normally catch my eye. As well as reading books by authors I already like :)

So we're kicking off August with the newest book in the Raleigh Harmon series, The Stars Shine Bright by Sibella Giorello.

About the book: "After the FBI suspends her for bending its rules, Special Agent Raleigh Harmon is looking for a chance to redeem her career and re-start her life.

But when the Bureau offers her an undercover assignment, she's forced to take on a double-life. Sent to a thoroughbred horse track, Raleigh's supposed to find out who's fixing the races. But when horses start dying and her own life is threatened, she realizes something bigger—and more sinister—is ruining Emerald Downs. 

And she's never felt more alone. 

Her sole contact with the FBI is Special Agent Jack Stephanson, a guy who jumps from jerk to genuine friend on any given day. And Raleigh's family support is out of the question. For one, they're off-limits while she's undercover, and her mother stopped speaking to her after a psychotic breakdown sent her to a mental hospital. To add insult to isolation, Raleigh's fiance keeps demanding they start their life together—now—precisely when she's being ordered not to be herself. 

With only days left before the track closes for the season, Raleigh races to stop the killing and find out who's behind it and why, all the while dealing with her fiance and trying to figure out if Jack is friend or foe—or something more" (source). 

I've read the last two books in the series and was excited to have the chance to find out what happens next with Raleigh. Sibella had me guessing all the way to the end as to who was behind fixing the races. I keep hoping Raleigh will soften up a bit though. She isn't ready for marriage with DeMott and she's barely civil to Jack. I like the way he's constantly teasing her about the fact that he knows she's in love with him :) Sibella is very detailed when it comes to the geologic side of the story and some of that was lost on me but I still enjoyed it. I'm hoping Jack can win Raleigh over in the next book just because I like happy endings :)

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. 

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