Saturday, March 28, 2015

Esther: Royal Beauty  by Angela Hunt
Bible Story PLUS!

This retelling of the ancient Biblical story of Esther brings a new and refreshing look at the circumstances that brought the young Jewish girl into the world of the King of Persia. Each chapter of the book presents a look from either the perspective of Hadassah (Esther’s Persian name) or that of the king’s eunuch, Harbonah. Using this technique, Angela Hunt is able to craft a believable back story that keeps to the tradition and beliefs of the time while weaving a moving plot of characters that is able to hold the reader’s interest to the very end. This is an excellent read, expertly written by one of our finest Christian fiction authors. It is the first of the Dangerous Beauty series.  The future books in the series will take up the stories of Bathsheba and Delilah This book was provided by Bethany House Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.
After a fashion by Jen Turano
Quirky Romance

The book opens with a bang as Harriet attempts to deliver hats to a wealthy young woman who promptly throws a hysterical fit and eventually gets Harriet fired.  In New York in the 1800s, it is not easy for a working class woman to find a job especially after getting fired.  So Harriet is forced to accept the job offer from the ex-fiance of the hysterical woman.  The man is Oliver Addleshaw and he hires Harriet to pose as his new fiance in order to impress an English Duke and secure future business deals.  Harriet is not comfortable with this as it goes against her Christian ethics but she has no choice.  The book is multi-faceted in both characters and plot with many dubious and contrived situations throughout.  It all seems to work together, however, with a surprising twist and a happy ending as the romance between Harriet and Oliver develops into its logical conclusion.  This book was provided by Bethany House Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Book Club with five famous Bible women!
Reviewer Andrea Lucado recommends five nonfiction books about five women of the Bible, namely Esther, Ruth, Mary Magdalene, Leah, and Deborah.  Each author looks at the life of each one of these women to help us see the lessons we can apply to our own lives through the reading.

Famous Biblical Women Book Club

  • Andrea Lucado
Famous Biblical Women Book Club
The women highlighted in the Bible are an interesting bunch. Prostitutes, queens, prophetesses, ugly ducklings. Throw them all in a room together and you would have one interesting conversation. Throw them in the same book club? And well, you would have some interesting picks from today’s Christian literature.  
Esther
Book pick: Risky Gospel: Abandon Fear and Build Something Awesome
by Owen Strachan
Esther is the embodiment of boldness in the Bible. After becoming queen unexpectedly, she approaches King Xerxes and boldly requests that he save her people, the Jews, from genocide. Author Owen Strachan believes all Christians can and should live fearlessly like this. In his book Risky Gospel, he calls Christians to stop living the comfortable life and start living boldly. His approach isn’t in-your-face; instead, he gently reminds the reader that we were made to live for God and because God is loving and is for us, living for him is really no risk at all.
Ruth
Ruth did not have it easy. She lived during a famine, her husband died young and then her mother-in-law, Naomi, tried to shoo her away. But Ruth stuck it out and by the end of her story, she is married to a wealthy man who cares for both her and Naomi. What was bitter turned sweet. Ruth would find a lot herself in the memoirEvery Bitter Thing Is Sweet by Sara Hagerty. Hagerty describes her own barren situation, in the literal sense, and the joy she and her husband found in adoption. Both women’s stories are beautiful testaments of God’s redemption.
Mary Magdalene
Book pick: Move On: When Mercy Meets Your Mess by Vicki Courtney
Mary Magdalene first appears in the Bible as the demon-possessed woman whom Jesus heals (Luke 8). In turn, she becomes one of Jesus’ most devout followers. Mary Magdalene and Vicki Courtney would be friends. Courtney also knows what it’s like to live with demons, in the metaphorical sense. The author and popular speaker was an atheist before she became a believer and has felt haunted by past mistakes. In her most recent book, Move On, she encourages women to let go of their demons of sin and heartache and accept grace for their past as well as their present.
Leah
Book pick: Vainglory: The Forgotten Vice by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung
In today’s social media-crazed world, a book about vanity could not be more timely. In her acclaimed new release Vainglory, Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung explains what vainglory is and why it is one of the seven deadly sins. This vice is not only a modern-day obsession. In the Old Testament story of Jacob, we see it played out when he tries to choose Rachel, the beautiful one, over Leah, the one with “weak eyes” (Gen. 29:17). However, ultimately Leah is the one found in Jesus’ lineage, and she is upheld as more virtuous and favored than her sister. Beauty truly lies on the inside.
Deborah
The definition of prophet is “the ability to discern the mind and purpose of God and declare it to others.” Deborah, the fifth judge of Israel, and author and speaker Christine Caine have this gift in common. Each generation needs a prophet, someone to guide them and speak truth without sugar coating it. That’s exactly what Deborah did in the book of Judges as the go-between for God and the Israelites, and this is what Christine Caine does in her follow-up to Undaunted,Unstoppable. In it, she exhorts Christians to pass the baton of faith and remain steady and focused on the race.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A devotional with a difference!
Unlike most devotionals that are dedicated only to daily reflections, Longing for More is dedicated to seasonal reflections as well.
So it is in tune to the different rhythms of our lives according each special time of year. For example, the chapter (48) entitled "The long pause" encourages us to pause and reflect, as the year comes to an end, on the past year as well as to prepare for the year to come. To aid us, Willard includes four points under "Reflection" and another four points under "Application".
With these suggestions in place, Willard then leads us into the last chapters of the year surrounding Christmas "Jesus" (49); "Everlasting" (50) and "Heavenly Peace and the Family of God" (51 & 52) which include daily reflections. The author's sensitivity to the music and poetry of our lives is reflected in his selections of scripture and prayers. This is a book to be read over and over again each year to help us to have a Godly perspective and, hopefully, peace, through the unique demands of each season.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tired???

Are you tired of the typical books for Christian women?  Would you like to try something with a little more substance?  Check out the article entitled "5 books for Christian women who don"t like books for Christian women" by Andrea Lucado.  The five titles she reviews are: Let's all be brave by Annie Downs; Girl meets God: a memoir by Lauren Winner; Passion and purity by Elisabeth Elliot; Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay; Cold tangerines by Shauna Niequist. The URL is: http://www.crosswalk.com/culture/books/five-books-for-christian-women-who-don-t-like-books-for-christian-women.html

Friday, September 19, 2014

A bride in store by Melissa Jagears

The book begins with mail-order-bride, Eliza, getting robbed while traveling on a train west to meet her intended.  She is further dismayed to find out that her would be husband, Axel,  is out of town when she arrives and no one seems to know where he has gone or when he will return.  Without money she is forced to take a job at the store Axel owns along with his partner.  The plot goes through many twists and turns as Eliza’s dream of running her own store collides with her romantic situation which involves not one but two men in her life.  This is an enjoyable read that keeps you intrigued to the very end!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Experiencing the loss of a family member : discover the path to hope and healing by H. Norman Wright.

This book begins with a discussion on the world of grief in general and then deals with the specifics of each loss. The author dedicates one chapter to each different loss: spouse, child, parent, sibling, friend, pet.  Other chapters deal with helping children in grief and the loss of a woman and her mother as well as a man and his father. The last two chapters include navigating the questions of life and ways in which to help others deal with grief.  Each topic is supported with scripture and prayers along with suggestions for further reading in the recommended resources.  This book is a practical guide through the valleys of life as the author gives sound advice on confronting all the aspects and ramifications of death and how it affects us both physically and emotionally as well as spiritually .