Showing posts from 2016

Of Stillness And Storm

I was lucky enough to receive an Advance Reader's Copy of Michele Phoenix's new novel, Of Stillness And Storm. The premise of the novel sounded fresh and new - I read a LOT of books, and often times it's the same plots recycled over and over. I still enjoy them, but when I see something that looks especially out of the ordinary, it makes me even more excited to read it. Of Stillness And Storm takes place in Nepal and focuses on missionaries Lauren and Sam, along with their son Ryan. It's told in the first person view of Lauren, who's struggling with the realities of their life and mission in Nepal. The back cover reads:

"“I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing.”

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose i…

Falling Free

I selected Falling Free: Rescued From The Life I Always Wanted by Shannan Martin mainly because the foreword was written by Jen Hatmaker, whose books I have enjoyed. I kind of figured it would be a story similar to Jen's, and many other Christian's stories lately: leaving behind a cushy, comfortable life to move into "the scary city" to serve God in a new and different way. It seems to be the new trendy thing to do in Christianity today. The back cover reads:

"“Shannan’s story feels at once familiar and spectacular, ordinary and exceptional. You will discover that at the same time her words make you squirm, you will wish you lived next door to her. You will want her wisdom and you will want her pickles.” —Jen Hatmaker (from the foreword)

Shannan Martin had the perfect life: a cute farmhouse on six rambling acres, a loving husband, three adorable kids, money, friends, a close-knit church—a safe, happy existence.

But when the bottom dropped out through a series o…

Nothing To Prove

Nothing To Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard is Jennie Allen's bold manifesto against pretending, performing, and fighting to prove yourself. This is the first book I've read by Jennie Allen, although I've certainly heard of her and her previous books, Anything and Restless. As soon as I opened the book and started reading the introduction, I was hooked. I especially loved this quote from the introduction: "I was free of the expectations, the roles I play, the pressures of real life. Nothing about my circumstances changed in that moment. But everything on the inside shifted. I didn't realize until then that, accidentally, I'd let me life subtly turn into a performance. On that dirt floor, I forgot all of my lines, abandoned all of my roles, dropped all of the costumes ... I had nothing to prove. I drank in grace. I hadn't known that was what I'd been so thirsty for." This kicks off Nothing To Prove. The back cover reads:

"No More Pretend…

A Sister's Wish/An Amish Family Christmas

For something a little new and different, I recently had the opportunity to read and review books three and four of Shelley Shepard Gray's The Charmed Amish Life series, so this post is a double header. Both books are set in the charming (hehe) Amish community of Charm, Ohio. Book 3, A Sister's Wish, focuses on Amelia Kisinger and her secret love for Amish bad boy Simon Hochstetler:

"New York Times Bestselling Author

In Shelley Shepard Gray’s third book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a respectable young woman finds herself falling for an Amish man from the wrong side of the tracks.

Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman—at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she’s also harboring a secret: She’s been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he’s about as far from “perfect” as an Amish man could get… but that’s exactly why she’s so drawn to him.

Life hasn’t been kind to Simo…


Anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with coloring! Long before "adult coloring books" were a hot trend, I would still color my kids' coloring books alongside them. Coloring is fun, relaxing, and relieves stress, at least for me. I get a lot of enjoyment out of being able to color a beautiful picture without the stress of trying to draw something by hand (because, let's face it, I have absolutely no skills in that area!). ScriptureDoodle: God's Promises - A Six-Week Devotional Experience by April Knight combines my love of coloring with my love of Bible study. The book description says:

"ScriptureDoodle God’s Promises refreshes believers who are feeling burned out or stuck in a rut in their relationship with God. Each of the creative worship prompts in this interactive guide includes biblical encouragement and ideas for worship through art. Artist April Knight includes creative lettering tips, color ideas, and completed examples to inspire readers to…

Pray A to Z

I was interested in reading Amelia Rhodes' book Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community because I live in a rather difficult community. Crime and poverty are high, employment is low, and Christians and non-Christians alike are suffering with so many needs, I can't even count them all. Sometimes when I start to pray, I don't even know where to start or what to say. Pray A to Z is a specific plan for praying for personal needs, church needs, community needs, and so much more. The back cover says:

"Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Praying for Your Community will help you topically organize your prayer requests and lay the burdens of your community at the feet of our Heavenly Father. Whether you are praying for a friend's adoption journey, a neighbor's bankruptcy, or a family member's cancer, this book will give you Bible verses, prayer prompts, and prayer starts to guide you through praying for even the most difficult issues that affect th…

Trust My Heart

If you're looking for a fun and sweet Christian read, Trust My Heart by Carol J. Post fits the bill. Set in an idyllic small town in North Carolina, the story brings together the two main characters - Grant McAllister and Jami Carlisle - as they are both facing challenges and heartbreaks. The back cover reads:

"Grant McAllister arrives in Murphy, North Carolina, with one aim: to sell his inherited property and leave as quickly as possible. The big-city lawyer has no interest in his late, estranged grandparents or the dilapidated mansion he just acquired. After his high-profile divorce, he should be avoiding perky reporters, too. But Jami Carlisle is honest, funny, and undeniably appealing.

After breaking up with her safe-but-smothering boyfriend, Jami is determined to ace her first big assignment. A story about the McAllister estate is too intriguing to ignore—much like its handsome, commitment-phobic heir. Thanks to her digging, the pieces of Grant’s fraught family history …

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Anyone who knows me knows that Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year! Therefore, I was so excited to have the chance to review The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year by Ace Collins. The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year is a daily devotional that will lead you on a journey from December 1st through December 31st and keep your mind focused on Jesus, with some fun along the way. The back cover reads:

"For Christians worldwide, the month of December is filled with joy and wonder as we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s birth. There is no other time of the year that can compare to the Christmas season for both the young and young at heart.

From December to New Year’s Eve, reawaken the wonder, joy, and magic that is Christmas with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas.


The Radical Book For Kids

The Radical Book For Kids: Exploring The Roots And Shoots Of Faith by Champ Thornton is a unique and wonderful book for kids. It's a hefty hardcover with an engaging cover, and once you open it up you find it's an extremely engaging, full-color book with thick, glossy pages. The book description reads:

"The Radical Book for Kids is a fun-filled explorer’s guide to the Bible, church history, and life for boys and girls age 8 and up. Along with examining some of the most exciting realities in the universe, the handbook is vibrantly illustrated and chock-full of fun facts and ideas. Deep truths are communicated to elementary and middle-school aged kids while stimulating their curiosity and sense of adventure within a gospel-centered framework.

This power-packed book is “radical” in more ways than you might think! It is “radical” in the sense of the original meaning of the word, “going to the root or origin.” The Radical Book for Kids will take children on a fascinating jour…

Miscarried Joy

I have suffered a miscarriage before, so I was interested in reading Tanika Fitzgerald's new book, Miscarried Joy: Moving Behond Incredible Pain to Extraordinary Faith. I have several go-to books about miscarriage that really helped me a lot when I was going through my miscarriage, and I'm always looking for good new resources to share with friends and church members who are going through the same thing. The back cover reads:

"Faith over Fear. Patience over Frustration. Pain with a Purpose.

In Miscarried Joy, Tanika transparently shares her deeply personal and disappointing experiences of losing her babies due to miscarriage. There were times when she felt God was the cause of her pain. However, her journey through the lives of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth and Naomi, revealed quite the opposite - God had allowed her pain for a much greater purpose. Each of these women had something in common: they learned to surrender their will and trust God's plan beyo…

The Remnant

The Remnant by Monte Wolverton appealed to me because I enjoy dystopian novels, and it reminded me of the Left Behind novels, which I absolutely love (albeit this book is a twist on the Left Behind model). The book description reads:

"In the year 2069 the Apocalypse came and went, but Jesus didn’t show up, as some expected. Instead, a cataclysmic war, natural disasters and pandemics eradicated 90 percent of earth’s population. Now, in 2131, a totalitarian government rules the world from the majestic, opulent capitol of Carthage, Tunisia. Blamed for igniting the war, religion and religious books are banned. Citizens who will not renounce their religion are sent to work camps. Grant Cochrin, imprisoned in a bleak petroleum camp in what was once North Dakota, leads his family and friends to escape and embark on a long, dangerous quest for a Christian community. Their resource in this journey? A cherished page torn from the now banished Bible—a remnant of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount …

Pursuing Gold

Pursuing Gold: A Novel of the Civil War by Cynthia L. Simmons is set, as the title suggests, during the Civil War. The story kicks off in 1862 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This books offers a unique historically accurate glimpse into the time period while providing a compelling fictional storyline. The back cover reads:

"With his father dead and his business partner incapacitated, Peter Chandler inherits the leadership of a bank in economic crisis. With only a newly-minted college degree and little experience, Peter joins his partner’s daughter, Mary Beth Roper, in a struggle to keep C&R Bank afloat while the Civil War rages around Chattanooga. Political pressure for unsecured loans of gold to the government stirs up trouble as tempers and prices rise. Their problems multiply when Mary Beth discovers counterfeit money with Peter’s forged signature. Can they find the forger before the bank fails? The two friends must pursue gold on behalf of their business, as they learn to pur…

Getaway With God

Getaway with God: The Everywoman's Guide to Personal Retreat by Letitia Suk is a no-nonsense guide to do just that: go away on a personal retreat with just yourself and God. When I first picked up this book, I thought it was going to be a more esoteric guide to "getting away" with God; ie, carving time into your daily schedule to relax and experience God. However, this is an action plan to go on an outside retreat with God. The back cover reads:

"What if a simple day away could transform your life?

Does spending time with God sound like just one more thing to check off an ever-increasing to-do list? How are you supposed to fit in anything that threatens to be more time-consuming? Too often there's simply no room to experience the intimacy, grace, and peace that God offers us.

Getaway with God does more than invite you to step away from life's pressures to take a personal retreat. It shows you exactly why you must--for your sake and for your family's.


Under The Tuscan Sun

What can I say about Frances Mayes' classic cult favorite, Under The Tuscan Sun? Broadway Books have just released a special 20th anniversary edition of this #1 New York Times Bestseller, which includes a new afterward by the author. If you're not already familiar with the book (and subsequent movie) the back cover reads:

"20th Anniversary Edition with a New Afterword

Twenty years ago, Frances Mayes--widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer--introduced readers to a wondrous new world when she bought and restored an abandoned villa called Bramasole in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. Under the Tuscan inspired generations to embark on their own journeys--whether that be flying to a foreign country in search of themselves, savoring one of the book's dozens of delicious seasonal recipes, or simply being transported by Mayes's signature evocative, sensory language. Now, with a new afterword from the Bard of Tuscany herself, the 20th anniversary editi…

A Mile Wide

A Mile Wide is the latest offering from popular author Jen Hatmaker's (For The Love, Seven, Interrupted) husband, Brandon Hatmaker. I've read Jen's books Interrupted and For The Love and really enjoyed them, so I was interested in reading a book written by her husband since I've never read anything written by him. I was also interested in the subject matter - I often struggle with having a deeper faith and feeling like my faith is too shallow or not impacting my life enough. The description reads:

"What if we’re just skimming the surface?

Christianity holds out the promise of a better way and a better day. So we’ve studied, joined more small groups, and checked all the boxes—yet, we’re still hungry for more. What if the gospel we’ve come to know is even deeper than we ever imagined? What if the same gospel that works in us to change us continues to work through us to change everything else?

Speaking from more than twenty years of experience working in the local c…

Catching Heat

Catching Heat is book three (the conclusion) of Janice Cantore's Cold Case Justice series. Catching Heat continues and wraps up the story of Abby and Luke. The book description reads:

"Twenty-seven years after the deaths of Detective Abby Hart’s parents, she’s desperate to find the proof that will put the mastermind―the governor’s wife―behind bars. When she joins a newly formed task force and teams up with PI Luke Murphy, Abby is sent to San Luis Obispo to work the cold case of a murdered college student. Realizing their investigation will bring them near the town where Alyssa Rollins grew up, Abby decides to do a little digging of her own into the Triple Seven fire.

Luke is eager to help Abby close the books on a case they both have personal stakes in. But as she uncovers long-held secrets, Abby stumbles into an explosive situation, and Luke fears that her obsession may prove deadly."

I really enjoyed Catching Heat and the entire Cold Case Justice series. Janice Cantor…

The Occupied

I selected The Occupied by Craig Parshall because I love thrillers, and I especially love Christian thrillers. The premise of this book (which appears to be the first in a series) looked especially exciting and intriguing. The book description reads:

"From New York Times bestselling author Craig Parshall comes a riveting story of supernatural suspense.

As a youth, Trevor Black unleashed spiritual forces he couldn’t comprehend. Years later, Trevor is a high-flying criminal defense lawyer in New York City, with a six-figure Aston Martin and a trophy wife. But in an extraordinary turn of events, he receives a burdensome gift: the ability to perceive the invisible. And the dark forces he now sees are all gunning for him.

When one of Trevor’s hometown friends is murdered, the MO is eerily similar to a shocking trail of murders that have already crossed the lawyer’s path. So Trevor must return home to find the killer. . . and face not only his own personal demons, but supernatural one…

The Great Good Thing

I was interested in reading The Great Good Thing by Andrew Klavan because I've always had a keen interest in Jewish people and culture and especially Jewish people who convert to Christianity. After all, the Bible tells us that the message of salvation should be brought " the Jew first" (Romans 1:16). I also love reading thrillers, and Andrew Klavan is a popular thriller writer. The book description reads:

"Edgar Award-winner and internationally bestselling novelist tells of his improbable conversion from agnostic Jewish-intellectual to baptized Christian and of the books that led him there.

“Had I stumbled on the hallelujah truth, or just gone mad—or, that is, had I gone mad again?”

No one was more surprised than Andrew Klavan when, at the age of fifty, he found himself about to be baptized. Best known for his hard-boiled, white-knuckle thrillers and for the movies made from them—among them True Crime (directed by Clint Eastwood) and Don’t Say a Word (starrin…

Finding God In The Waves

I originally chose to read Finding God In The Waves by Mike McHargue (aka "Science Mike") because I thought it was going to be more about proving the Christian faith via discoveries in science, and how those discoveries help hold up Biblical accounts. I'd never heard of "Science Mike" before or listened to his podcasts, so I didn't realize he's still quite far away from Christian orthodoxy, as he puts it in his book. The book description reads:

"From the host of the popular podcasts, The Liturgists Podcast and Ask Science Mike, a story of having faith, losing it, and finding it again through science—revealing how the latest in neuroscience, physics, and biology help us understand God, faith, and ourselves.

What do you do when God dies? It's a question facing millions today, as science reveals a Universe that's self-creating, as American culture departs from Christian social norms, and the idea of God begins to seem implausible at best and …

Devotions For Christmas

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year, and I was so excited to receive Devotions For Christmas: A Celebration To Bring You Joy And Peace by Zondervan Publishing. Just in time for the season, and a great gift to give out this holiday, Devotions For Christmas guides you through the entire month of December to add a holiday touch for your devotions. The book description reads:

"In the swirling busyness of December, take a moment to relax and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas

We all know that Christmas is a time to celebrate Christ the King born to us, to enjoy our family and friends, and to indulge in those annual traditions we look forward to every year. But even though we may understand the true reason for the season, far too few of us know how to celebrate Christmas as the time of peace that it is meant to be.

With a rich, daily devotion for every day of December, Devotions for Christmas offers you a way to unplug and spend some time reconnecting with a child…

The 10 Myths Of Teen Dating

I was interested in reading The 10 Myths Of Teen Dating: Truths your daughter needs to know to date smart, avoid disaster, and protect her future by father-and-daughter team Daniel and Jacquelyn Anderson because I have two daughters. They're not quite dating age yet (they're nearly 11 and 8, respectively), but I want to prepare early so I will be ready when the time comes. The back cover says:

"There's no greater moment of panic in a parent's life than when their daughter begins to date. Due to their lack of knowledge about the world their teens face coupled with the scant dating information they received as teens, many parents feel ill-equipped to guide their daughters through the minefield that is teen dating.
And by the same token, teenage girls crave information about dating and relationships. And left to their own devices, many will develop their own assumptions about dating by talking to their friends or watching the latest TV shows and movies. But that wi…

The Fatal Gift Of Beauty

The Fatal Gift Of Beauty: The Trials Of Amanda Knox is the New York Times Bestseller by Nina Burleigh. Elle calls it "A compelling true-crime tale... about two women who were on dream trips abroad that went disastrously wrong." I was so excited to have a chance to read and review this book. I love true crime in general, and have recently become more interested in the Amanda Knox case. The book description says:

"Award-winning author and journalist Nina Burleigh’s mesmerizing literary investigation of the murder of Meredith Kercher, the controversial prosecution, the conviction and twenty-six-year sentence of Amanda Knox, the machinations of Italian justice, and the underground depravity and clash of cultures in one of central Italy’s most beloved cities.

The sexually violent murder of twenty-one-year-old British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, on the night of November 1, 2007, became an international sensation when one of Kercher’s housemates, twenty-year-o…

Experiencing God Through His Names

Experiencing God Through His Names by Sheryl Giesbrecht is a new, dynamic 31-day devotional that focuses on the various names that God is referred to throughout the Scriptures. The book description says:

"What's in a name? Names are more than groups of letters that represent a person or identify objects. Names are powerful. A person's character and destiny can be influenced by his or her name. God's attributes and personality support His unique and distinct names. If we comprehend the meanings of His titles, we can know God more intimately. In Experiencing God Through His Names, Sheryl Giesbrecht walks with you on an exciting journey to discover and absorb the truth about God's character. In the next 31 days, God wants you to get to know Him. Are you ready?"

Experiencing God Through His Names is a small book that packs a big punch. When I first opened it, I was surprised by the small size of the book. However, once I opened it and began reading it, I realize…

Jesus Always

Jesus Always is Sarah Young's latest book. She's previously written quite a few other books, including the popular Jesus Calling devotional, but this was the first book of hers that I have had the pleasure of reading. The book description reads:

"Sarah Young’s first 365-day devotional since Jesus Calling.

With scripture and new personal reflections, the #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah Young, brings Jesus’ message of joy—for today and every day. Experience true joy—now and always.

Life today is full of difficulties—loss, sadness, fear. In the midst of these challenges, joy often feels impossible or out of reach. But Jesus has more for His followers than a life of striving, pain, and discontent. He offers life abundant, life to the fullest, life brimming with joy! Jesus Always, the new 365-day devotional from bestselling author Sarah Young, was written as part of Sarah Young’s exploration of the promises of joy in scripture. Written as if Jesus Himself is speak…

Union With Christ

Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne pulls from the rich history and tradition of the Christian faith and provides a contemporary, easy to understand exposition of union with Christ - what it is, what it means for us as Christians, and how to attain it. The book description says:

"To experience why the gospel is good news and answer life’s most foundational questions about identity, destiny, and purpose, we must understand what it means to be united to Christ.

If you are a Christian, the Bible says that Christ has united his life to yours, that you are now in Christ and Christ is in you. This almost unfathomable truth is the central theme of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Yet few Christians today experience or enjoy this reality. Union with Christ reveals the transformational power of this ancient doctrine while addressing the basic questions of the human heart:
Who Am I?
Why Am I Here?
Where Am I Headed?
How Will I Get There?
Nothing is more practical for living the Chr…

The Candidate

I couldn't wait to read the second book in The Newsmakers series by Lis Wiehl with Sebastian Stuart. I loved the first book, The Newsmakers, which introduced us to the dynamic and exciting character of Erica Sparks. I loved Erica's story and was super excited that it was continued in The Candidate. The book description reads:

"How far will a candidate go to become president? Erica Sparks—America’s top-rated cable-news host—is about to find out.

Mike Ortiz is a dynamic war hero favored to win the White House. Standing by his side is his glamorous and adoring wife, Celeste. But something about this seemingly perfect couple troubles Erica. Is Celeste really who she seems? And most importantly, what really happened in that squalid Al-Qaeda prison where Mike Ortiz spent nine months?

But more than the nation’s future is at stake. Erica’s relentless search for the truth puts the life of her preteen daughter Jenny in danger, even as Erica’s own dark past threatens to overtake he…

Love Unending

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced reading copy of Becky Thompson's new book, Love Unending: Rediscovering Your Marriage In The Midst Of Motherhood. I couldn't wait to read this book - I've been married for fourteen years and we have four children. I'm often overwhelmed with housework, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, church activities, and more. I usually end each day exhausted and with nothing left to give. I loved the idea of the 21 day challenge with specific steps to take each day. The book description reads:

"How can I remember how to be a wife when it takes all I’ve got to be a momma?

Since becoming a mom, do you ever feel like your marriage no longer receives the attention it needs to thrive? Do you ever struggle to balance your roles of being both a momma and a wife? Do you ever wonder how you’re supposed to re-center your heart on your husband when you are so busy with everything else?

Those feelings we experienced in the first days o…

Unreasonable Hope

I decided to pick up Chad Veach's book, Unreasonable Hope: Finding Faith in the God Who Brings Purpose to Your Pain because I'm always interested in reading Christian self-help books, especially those about hope and faith. I liked that it mentioned that Chad searches beyond clichéd answers. The book description reads:

"“Where was God when ____? How could God allow ____? Why?”

These are the questions that flood our hearts and minds when the unimaginable happens. When things go horribly wrong and the world seems to be unraveling, how do you believe in God’s goodness? How do you cling to hope?

Chad Veach directs readers away from clichéd Sunday school answers that fail to offer real comfort or provide faith-building insights. Instead, he draws from God’s promises in the Bible and from the story of his own daughter’s diagnosis of a devastating and debilitating disease to reveal simple, purposeful steps for dealing with pain. Resting in God’s love, remembering his past faithf…

Jesus And The Beanstalk

Abingdon Press brings us the uniquely titled book Jesus And The Beanstalk: Overcoming Your Giants and Living a Fruitful Life by Lori Stanley Roeleveld. At first I was hesitant to read this book due to the strange title, but you definitely can't judge a book by its cover (title)! Don't pass this one up due to the quirky title. The book description reads:

"We live in unsettling, challenging times. Everywhere we look, we see giant problems: giant obstacles to sharing faith, giant barriers to peaceful lives, giant strongholds of fear. But what if you knew eight small secrets to unlocking a strength big enough to overcome whatever obstacle life may bring?
Using allegory and a bit of humor, Jesus and the Beanstalk explores a passage in 2 Peter 1 to uncover eight truths that will help you unleash a larger-than-life faith:
· Faith
· Goodness
· Knowledge
· Self-control
· Perseverance
· Godliness
· Affection for others
· Love

In this creative, refreshing perspective on spiritual g…

Total Family Makeover

Total Family Makeover: 8 Practical Steps to Making Disciples at Home by Melissa Spoelstra is a comprehensive guide for moms wanting practical, concrete steps for discipling their children. I loved the bright, bold, and pleasing cover of this book - it's gorgeous and very well designed. I wanted to pick it up right away and start reading it when I saw the cover. It also won the Mom's Choice Award! The book description reads:

"Total Family Makeover: 8 Practical Steps to Making Disciples at Home (Abingdon, September 2016)

Train children in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won't depart from it. ---Proverbs 22:6

God calls us as parents to be key disciple-makers in our children's lives, but if we're honest, some days it's a battle just to get them dressed and ready for school on time. How can you mold their hearts when sometimes you can't even find their shoes?

In Total Family Makeover, author Melissa Spoelstra gives parents a way---a sort of…

Starting Over

Starting Over: Your Life Beyond Regrets by Dave Ferguson and Jon Ferguson is the definitive manual for Christians looking to redeem their lives after regrets and mistakes, big and small. They identify what they call the Sorry Cycle and then show us how to get out of it. Starting Over is divided into four sections: Starting Over, Starting Today; Breaking Out Of The Sorry Cycle; Redeeming Your Deepest Regrets; and Starting Over Every Day. The book description reads:

"I wish I had loved more.
I wish I had been smarter about money.
I wish I had thought about God more.

We all have regrets about the past. Many of them come from our attempts to fulfill unmet longings. Dave and Jon Ferguson call this back and forth between longing and regret the Sorry Cycle and they want to help us escape it.
In Starting Over, Dave and Jon show us how to recognize specific regrets and then release them to God as we learn to see our regrets as opportunities to start over. Finally, we can see God rede…

5 Minutes with Jesus: A Fresh Infusion of Joy

I was excited to read the latest devotional book in Sheila Walsh's (with Sherri Gragg) 5 Minutes with Jesus collection. This latest edition is 5 Minutes with Jesus: A Fresh Infusion of Joy. I felt like this was the perfect book for me to read right now, because I am in serious need of some extra joy! This book is a small, beautifully designed and illustrated hardcover. The book includes a brief introduction and 50 5-minute devotions. Each devotion includes a story and application, a quote to distill the message of the day's devotion, and a "Five Minutes in the Word" section with a selection of Scriptures to read that apply to that day's thought. The book description reads:

"Could you use a joy infusion?

When was the last time you had a spontaneous laugh because your heart was absolutely overwhelmed with joy?

Whether you’re facing mundane routines or painful hardships, joy often feels out of reach. But those who know Jesus can live joyfully, no matter what—i…

Outlaw Christian

I was attracted to Jacqueline A. Bussie's new book, Outlaw Christian: Finding Authentic Faith by Breaking the "Rules" first of all due to the super cool cover. I'm always a sucker for an attractive, bold cover. Once I read the description, I knew I'd want to read it for sure:

"Jacqueline Bussie knows that too many Christians live according to unspoken “laws” that govern the Christian life: #1: Never get angry at God; #2: Never doubt; #3: Never question; #4: Never tell your real story; #5: Always speak in clichés about evil and suffering; and #6: Always believe hope comes easy for those who truly love God.

Living according to these rules is killing real Christian life; Outlaw Christian proposes a rebellious, life-giving, authentic alternative. Through captivating stories and with disarming honesty, Bussie gives concrete, practical strategies to help readers cultivate hope, seek joy, practice accompaniment, compost their pain, and rediscover the spiritual pra…