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Showing posts from June, 2017

Under A Desert Sky

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Lynne Hartke's new book, Under A Desert Sky: Redefining Hope, Beauty, and Faith in the Hardest Places draws on her experiences with cancer and death to paint a picture of trusting God through the desert times. The back cover says:

"There comes a time in life when we find ourselves in the desert place of burning questions. Why? Why me? But even as we shake our fist heavenward, the heart whispers another question. Who? Who are you, God? It is a question of relationship, a question we all murmur in the hardest places.

Against the backdrop of the Sonoran Desert, Lynne Hartke asks her own hard questions as cancer arrives like a thief with one goal: to take it all. Hair. The contents of a stomach. A marriage. A life. As her days become a blur of doctors' appointments, treatments, and surgeries, she wrestles with a tumble of tangled emotions, a shaken faith, and self-doubt. Cancer is now not only threatening her own life, but, in a surprising twist, the lives of both her parent…

Friends, Partners & Lovers

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I've been married for 15 years, and I'm always looking for good marriage books to read. I decided to read Friends, Partners & Lovers: What It Takes To Make Your Marriage Work by Kevin A. Thompson because it seemed fresh and interesting. The back cover says:

"Great marriages don't just happen--they're made, intentionally, day by day. Yet most of us enter the covenant of marriage thinking that the role of spouse will be easy, natural, effortless. Rarely is this true. In fact, the number one cause of divorce isn't adultery or finances or disagreements. It's apathy--a lack of intentional emotional, physical, and mental investment in the relationship.

With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin A. Thompson explains the three critical roles of a spouse--friend, partner, and lover--and shows how to nurture those roles in order to keep a marriage healthy and strong. Using solid biblical principles, he helps couples understand how to grow t…

Sacred Privilege

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Even though I'm not a pastor's wife, I wanted to read Kay Warren's new book, Sacred Privilege: Your Life and Ministry as a Pastor's Wife. Rick and Kay Warren have been so influential in Christian circles, and I've never read a book by Kay before. This was a unique opportunity to get a peek behind the curtain and see what life is like as such a prominent pastor's wife. The back cover says:

"Life as a pastor's wife offers meaningful opportunities to play a significant part in God's work, to witness and participate in the beauty of changed lives. Yet it also carries the potential for deep wounds and great conflict that can drain the joy out of service. Is it worth it? Oh, yes, says Kay Warren, wife of Pastor Rick Warren and cofounder of Saddleback Church. It is more than worth the risk--it's a sacred privilege.

Drawing on more than forty years in ministry in every possible size church, Kay provides encouraging principles and life lessons, along w…

Hello Stars

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Hello Stars by Alena and Wynter Pitts is a Faithgirlz/Lena in the Spotlight book. It is the first book of the Lena in the Spotlight series, and book two, Day Dreams and Movie Screens, is coming out in September 2017. Alena and Wynter are a mother/daughter writing team which makes this series unique. The back cover says:

"Lena Daniels never thought she’d get the chance star in a movie. Headstrong and determined, she has her life planned out to the minute. But when her best friends, Savannah and Emma, tell her about an audition, she knows there’s nothing else in the world she’d rather do. And now that she’s gotten her wish, Lena finds that being in the spotlight is harder than it sounds. She got everything she never wanted! Her face turns up everywhere she goes, and everything in her life is flipped upside down. Lena wonders if this is a dream come true or a horrible nightmare. Even a visit from her best friends during filming turns into a disaster.

With her little sisters—Ansley,…

Stepping On Cheerios

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Stepping on Cheerios: Finding God in the Chaos and Clutter of Life is Betsy Singleton Snyder's memoir of being an older mom of a toddler and then triplets in just 2/12 years, plus being married to an older man who happens to have been in the senate, and dealing with heart failure after the birth of her triplets. Oh, and she was a pastor, too. The back cover says:

"Being a mother isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s hard to experience a personal connection with God and community when you are caught up in the chaos of just “doing family”.

Independent and self-sufficient, author Betsy Singleton Snyder lived a full and busy life as a pastor, missionary, and wife to a husband who served in the U.S. House of Representatives. She had her first child at age 44, then at 47, she found out she was carrying triplets. Suddenly finding herself overwhelmed is an understatement.

Stepping on Cheerios is a collection of funny, warm, and charming tales from the frontlines of parenthood, written for wom…

The Separatists

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I couldn't wait to read the third and final novel in Lis Wiehl's The Newsmakers Trilogy. I loved the first and second books (The Newsmakers and The Candidate) and was eagerly looking forward to the conclusion, The Separatists. The plot sounded intriguing and like it was ripped straight from the headlines. The back cover says:

"From New York Times bestselling author Lis Wiehl comes the final book in her Newsmakers series. Journalist and newscaster Erica Sparks is only planning to report on an explosive story—until she gets caught in the middle of it.

After getting the green light from her network to launch an investigative news show, Erica flies to Bismarck, North Dakota, to investigate Take Back Our Homeland, the largest secessionist group. What she finds is profoundly disturbing – a growing threat to the future of our union.

Back home, her husband Greg is drinking more and talking less—and taking an unusual interest in the glamorous author Leslie Burke Wilson. Erica’s t…

On Edge

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I have struggled with anxiety since I was a small child (from my earliest memories), so I couldn't wait to read Andrea Petersen's new book, On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety. The back cover says:

"A celebrated science and health reporter offers a wry, bracingly honest account of living with anxiety.

A racing heart. Difficulty breathing. Overwhelming dread. Andrea Petersen was first diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at the age of twenty, but she later realized that she had been experiencing panic attacks since childhood. With time her symptoms multiplied. She agonized over every odd physical sensation. She developed fears of driving on highways, going to movie theaters, even licking envelopes. Although having a name for her condition was an enormous relief, it was only the beginning of a journey to understand and master it—one that took her from psychiatrists’ offices to yoga retreats to the Appalachian Trail.

Woven into Petersen’s personal story is a fascinating look a…

Israel - God's Heart

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I've always wanted to go to Israel but don't know if I'll ever get to, so I jumped on the chance to read a copy of Israel - God's Heart: Landscapes and Legacy of Israel by Ron Gafni and Kathleen Barrett. It's advertised as a coffee table photography book with narratives and Scriptures complementing the photographs throughout, subtitled "A captivating pictorial of the Holy Land and a scriptural journey through God's redemption story". The back cover says:

"Many of us only dream of traveling to the Holy Land. Very few, like Israel's top aerial photographer, Ron Gafni, soar above the craggy mountain ranges of Masada, the salty Dead Sea, and the iconic locations where Jesus walked. Israel - God's Heart - Landscapes and Legacy, beautifully captures the ancient landscapes of this great nation, as well as presents the legacy of God's Redemption plan for the world.

As you slowly turn the pages, you will find unexpected vantage points, such a…

Swipe Right

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Swipe Right: The Life-and-Death Power of Sex and Romance is Levi Lusko's answer to the modern culture's view of sex, relationships, and romance. Playing off of the Tinder app's "swipe right/swipe left" feature, Levi uses modern terminology and illustrations to bring to live God's ancient, but always relevant, plan for sex, romance, dating, and marriage. The back cover says:

"God wants you to have amazing sex

There is nothing more powerful on earth than the forces of love, sex, and romance. In fact, relationships are a matter of life-and-death importance.

So how you can train today for the relationship you want tomorrow? In Swipe Right, Levi Lusko shares with raw honesty from his own life experiences and God’s Word how to regret-proof your marriage bed and your deathbed
resist settling for instant pleasure by discovering what your heart really longs for
learn how to avoid and treat sexual scars by careful living today
turn the clumsy “sex talk” with your…

Driver Confessional

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I was interested in reading David Winters' new book, Driver Confessional, because I really enjoy Christian thrillers and the plot and premise seemed very unique. Driver Confessional is the first book in The Driver Series. The back cover says:

"Driver Confessional tells the story of Antonio, a ride-share driver who winds through the streets of Washington, D.C. in search of his next fare to support his young family and pay law school expenses. His easy manner and Italian good looks lead passengers to disclose a bit more than they intended. On a particularly dark evening, his sedan pulls up in front of a posh Washington restaurant.

On her way to a midnight meeting in a Senate office building, a mysterious woman and her confession plunge Antonio and his police detective brother into international espionage, the Russian mob and corporate excess. Clues add up to danger and car chases pile up on ethical dilemmas."

This book was a real page turner. I stayed up late to finish i…

The Good Book

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I was interested in reading The Good Book by Deron Spoo because I'm always looking for a good teaching devotional resource. The Good Book is almost a discipleship-type resource - it takes you through 40 important chapters of the Bibles and covers the biggest topics and ideas of the Bible. The corresponding chapter of the Bible is included with the chapter expounding it. The chapter of the Bible is provided in the author's favorite translation (Christian Standard Bible), but you can grab your Bible and read it in your own translation if you prefer, which is what I did. The book description says:

"The Good Book offers a user-friendly guide to the Bible's biggest ideas. A chapter from the Bible accompanies each chapter of the book, which helps readers understand the context and content of the Scripture passages in a way that can open the whole Bible.

Designed as a forty-day journey through forty key chapters of the Bible, The Good Book will appeal to those who already l…