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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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23 03, 2015

Review: The Caleb Years by David Ingerson

By | March 23rd, 2015|Categories: Christian Living, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Parenting & Family|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Rating:

the caleb years book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

Whenever someone faces tragedy, especially when young children are involved, people like to throw out the question of, “Where is God in this?” It is so painful beyond measure to watch a little one struggle medically, to see the family struggle, or worse, to be a parent who loses a child. How do those parents survive the day to day struggle, especially with their faith in God still intact? The Caleb Years: When God Doesn’t Make Sense, by David Ingerson, is the personal story of a dad who does just that.

The Ingerson family was expecting baby number four. The beginning of the pregnancy was rocky, as there were signs and fears of miscarriage, but as the second and third trimesters progressed, all fears went away and they expected nothing less than a

13 02, 2015

Review: Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey

By | February 13th, 2015|Categories: Christian Books & Bibles, Christian Living, Nonfiction, Religion & Spirituality|Tags: , |2 Comments

Rating:

vanishing grace book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

What do you think of when you hear the title Evangelical Christian? I suppose that it depends upon whether you consider yourself to be one, know one, or have been helped or hurt by someone who calls him/herself one. In his new book, Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?, Philip Yancey explores why “Evangelical Christian” can tend to have a negative connotation in post-Christian America and Europe while still being quite a ray of hope for the rest of the world, challenges Christians to examine their lives and ways of reaching out to others, and points out why the Christian faith is so important to the lives of both Believers and unbelievers alike.

In Vanishing Grace I hear the voice of Philip Yancey as a coach during the halftime of an important game:

31 01, 2015

Blog Tour: Choosing Him All Over Again by Juana Mikels

By | January 31st, 2015|Categories: Christian Living, Nonfiction, Religion & Spirituality|Tags: , , |1 Comment

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choosing him blog tour bannerPlease join Juana Mikels, author of Choosing Him All Over Again, as she tours the blogosphere with Ambassador International!

Reviewed by Sarah McCubbin

On the outside, Juana appeared to have an ideal life. Along with a handsome husband, she had a new house, a great job with a good income and a fun life that most of us would perceive as ideal. But on the inside, she was desperately unhappy and so alone. None of the outward trappings mattered. She was miserable. Convinced that she had married the wrong man, she decided to abandon her marriage, hoping that at some point, she could find a guy that would really make her happy. In her book, Choosing Him All Over Again: A Story of Romance and Redemption, Juana Mikels tells her personal story of her shattered life and the events

21 12, 2014

Review: The Character of God’s Workman by Watchman Nee

By | December 21st, 2014|Categories: Audiobooks, Christian Books & Bibles, Christian Living, Nonfiction|Tags: , |2 Comments

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CGWaReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

When it comes to the Christian life, there are many different approaches as to what makes an effective believer. Does it come down to faith, reading your Bible, or right choices? Is it what we know or Who we know? There are so many questions. In early 20th century China, Watchman Nee began studying and teaching the Word of God. As he ministered, he became convinced that the purpose of his writing and teaching was to assist the person who is working for God and striving to become a useful vessel for the Lord’s work.

Sensing the importance of one’s inner character in the work of God, Watchman Nee gave a series of messages on the topic in 1948. This was later published as the book, The Character of God’s Workman. Nee’s talks centered on key traits in the

7 12, 2014

Review: UnDressed by Mark Cornelison

By | December 7th, 2014|Categories: Christian Living, Exercise & Fitness, Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |3 Comments

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undressed book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

UnDressed follows the personal account of author Mark Cornelison as he shares the story of his experience before, during and after his time as a contestant and finalist on NBC’s show The Biggest Loser. While the reality television show is all about losing physical weight, this book looks at what other things we need to take off in order to become better people and live better lives.

During his time on the show, Mark discovered who He is to God and that discovery shaped his life going forward. He challenges the reader to experience their own transformation by highlighting things we need to “take off” or undress in our lives. Among others, those things include stress, fear and a self-focus. In addition, he suggests we need to “put on” a proper understanding of God’s grace, a love for people

1 12, 2014

Review: I Have Seen God by Klaus-Dieter John

By | December 1st, 2014|Categories: Christian Living, Medicine, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |0 Comments

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i have seen god book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

I Have Seen God tells the story of a young man whose imagination and dreams were captured at an early age by a desire to become a missionary doctor to people of a third-world nation who would otherwise never be able to see a doctor. From boyhood dreams, though training, into marriage, and through the tough work of watching dreams take shape in reality, Dr. John takes readers through this journey to show that all things truly are possible, though not always easy. You might even say that this story is actually more of a prayer list with a description of how those prayers were tactically answered, sometimes even long before John knew to ask.

John quotes Martin Luther as saying that “we should pray as if all of our work were nothing, and work

19 11, 2014

Review: Household Gods by Ted & Kristin Kluck

By | November 19th, 2014|Categories: Christian Living, Nonfiction, Parenting & Family, Social Sciences|Tags: , , |3 Comments

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household gods book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

Household Gods begins with the premise that in our modern 21st century lives, we have idols…in our homes. They may not look like a golden calf or a statue of some foreign god, but indeed these idols may look like our dreams, our careers and all the trappings of a successful evangelical family. These idols may look like ideas…a set of ideals that we adhere to and find necessary for happiness and joy.

This book is written in a very conversational style–almost like you are chatting while hanging out in their living room. The stories flow freely and sometimes run down rabbit trails like a conversation among friends. From the beginning, I found myself laughing out loud at the author’s characterizations of different groups of people typically found in evangelical circles: sport’s dads, homeschool families (we

4 11, 2014

Review: Rare Bird by Anna Whiston-Donaldson

By | November 4th, 2014|Categories: Christian Living, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , |2 Comments

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rare bird book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

Before I picked up Rare Bird to read, I felt anxious. I wasn’t sure I wanted to actually open it. The byline says it is “a memoir of loss and love” and I knew it told the story of the death of the author’s 12-year-old son, Jack. I too have a 12-year-old son, so I knew her words would resonate deeply and might poke into deep corners. It might expose fears I didn’t want to think about.

However, what I found was much different. In fact, in the introduction, before she shares her story, Anna Whiston-Donaldson tells the reader that her story is not a scary but one about a loving relationship between a mother and her boy. From the beginning, she paints the picture of a very ordinary family. Every one of them have quirks including Jack.

11 10, 2014

Review: Nine Steps to Well-Being by Steven Smith

By | October 11th, 2014|Categories: Christian Living, Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction, Self-Help|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

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413WhXYuG4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Nine Steps to Well-Being: A Spiritual Guide for Disconnected Christians and Other Questioning Journeyers by Steven Smith is based on the author’s personal experiences and learning stages as he renewed his faith in the Lord. Smith uses those experiences to teach readers how to have a higher level connection with faith and with Christ. The book is a type of personal odyssey with intimate story details of Smith’s life, quotes from scripture on faith, and a faith-based analysis of how God’s love is truly never-ending in the life of a believer.

The book contains nine chapters that explain the Christ-centered conversations a believer will have with himself. Each step is analyzed in detail, based on faith questions such as whether God is on our side or not, or whether we have Christ as a partner as we go through everyday trials. For example,

27 09, 2014

Review: Soul Keeping by John Ortberg

By | September 27th, 2014|Categories: Christian Living, Nonfiction|Tags: , |1 Comment

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9780310275961r1Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Have you ever asked yourself, “Self, what am I made of?” If you take away both your mind and body today (well, this is for an illustration, so bear with it if you are uncomfortable), what is left of “you” is your soul. Do you know what it looks like? I’ll bet if it were lying bare naked on the side of the road, you’d drive right by it.

Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You is an extended conversation on the critical elements of the soul. Split into three major sections, Ortberg discusses the soul’s content, the soul’s needs, and the soul’s restoration. The author leans heavily on his experiences and friendship with Christian philosopher Dallas Willard. In this tribute to his friend and mentor, Ortberg writes that the taking care of the soul is integral