As the Tide Comes In by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall: A Book Review

@WaterBrookMultnomah #Partner

This review is going to be a bit more emotionally driven than most.

This is a novel about loss and grief and the effects that grief has on us. It’s also a beautiful story of love and restoration.

This book was a timely read for me, as I just suffered a major loss in my life. Reading this book, I identified so much with Tara and the grief
she experienced. I found her emotions and reactions to be very realistic and true. Though the circumstances and details of her loss differ quite a bit from mine, it’s still grief and grief is a powerful and complex emotion. I really applaud the authors for handling this sensitive subject with such care and authenticity.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were all quite lovable and fun, the setting was beautiful and the story was complex.

The biggest take away I have from this book are a few excerpts where the characters are talking about loss and grief. These lines really hit home with me, so I’d like to share them.

(I removed a few spots of character detail, so that the reader isn’t distracted by it and can really let these words soak in.)

“It matters what condition a person lived and died in. Every crumb of love matters, and I’d dare say you gave a feast.”

“And they died knowing you loved them, knowing you believed in them, knowing you wanted the best for them. They died with happiness, hope and thankfulness in their hearts. Love did that, and you were love’s vessel.”

“No, your love protected and preserved for as long as it was in your hands to do so. The moment they went from this life to the next, God’s love met them without the necessary aid of a human vessel.”

“We are all vessels. We will carry something to everyone we come in contact with. Let’s choose to be vessels of love, patience, hope and faith. When it’s all said and done, whether you’re the one in the ground or a loved one is, the times you won’t regret are the times you loved deeply with patience and kindness and sacrifice.”

These words really hit home and fit my present grief circumstances quite well. I love the idea of being love’s vessel. That God would use me on this earth to show love to someone, that they would leave this world with happiness, hope and thankfulness in their heart. That I was able to send them from this world feeling loved, straight into the loving arms of their Heavenly Father. What an awesome gift God gives us. The ability to be love and to receive love.

This is a great book and a very emotional read, especially for anyone who has felt deep loss in their lives. I feel like I’m painting it as a sad book, and it’s not. It’s emotional, and if you’ve experienced loss, especially recently, it will hit home quite a bit. But, it is a very well-balanced story, ultimately one that is filled with hope, joy and love.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.


First Impressions by Debra White Smith: A Book Review


In an attempt to get to know the people of London, Texas–the small town that lawyer Eddi Boswick now calls home–she tries out for a local theater group’s production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. She’s thrilled to get the role of lively Elizabeth Bennet . . . until she meets the arrogant–and eligible–rancher playing her leading man.

Dave Davidson chose London, Texas, as the perfect place to live under the radar. Here, no one knows his past, and he can live a quiet, peaceful life with his elderly aunt, who also happens to own the local theater. Dave doesn’t even try out for the play, but suddenly he is thrust into the role of Mr. Darcy and forced to spend the entire summer with Eddi, who clearly despises him.

Sparks fly every time Eddi and Dave meet, whether on the stage or off. But when Eddi discovers Dave’s secret, she has to admit there might be more to him than she thought. Maybe even enough to change her mind . . . and win her heart.

My Review: I was worried when I started this book that keeping up with the characters would be confusing. The front of the book has a list of characters and what Pride & Prejudice character they were based on. I love Pride & Prejudice, but it’s been a while since I’ve read it and I didn’t want to stress over matching the characters in this book with the ones from Pride & Prejudice. So, instead of comparing, I simply read this book as it’s own and quickly fell into the story. Equating the characters to Pride & Prejudice did happen naturally in my brain as I got to know them, but it wasn’t something I focused on.

The story was sweet and the characters very likable. I read this book rather quickly, so it was fast-paced and held my attention well. Definitely a sweet story for fans of Pride & Prejudice and even those who are not familiar with Jane Austen’s work.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Turning the Tide by Edith Maxwell: A Book Review

A suffragist is murdered in Rose Carroll’s Massachusetts town

Excitement runs high during presidential election week in 1888. The Woman Suffrage Association plans a demonstration and movement leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton comes to town to rally the troops, one of whom is Quaker midwife Rose Carroll. But the next morning, Rose finds the dead body of the group’s local organizer.

Rose can’t help wanting to know who committed the murder, and she quickly discovers several people who have motives. The victim had planned to leave her controlling husband, and a promotion had cost her male colleague his job. She’d also recently spurned a fellow suffragist’s affections. After Rose’s own life is threatened, identifying the killer takes on a personal sense of urgency.

My Review: I always love a good and cozy mystery series, particularly those with a strong female lead and set in the late 19th – early 20th centuries. I found this particular series to be extra intriguing because the protagonist is a Quaker. I haven’t read many books involving Quakers and I’m honestly not very knowledgeable when it comes to their practices and beliefs. It was interesting to learn more about how they live and what they believe.

Rose is a strong character, clever, yet sometimes careless in her decisions. I find her opinions intriguing and I love her calm way of thinking. I feel the author has done a good job creating a cast of interesting and likable characters.

I have never read any of Edith Maxwell’s work until now. I actually won this copy directly from the author herself and The Wicked Cozy Authors Blog. Since I hadn’t read any before and this being third in the series, I had to acquire the first and second in the series before I could read the third. (I cannot read a series out of order!)

I am happy to now include Edith Maxwell in my list of cozy authors. Many thanks to the author for this book!

How to be a Perfect Christian by The Babylon Bee: A Book Review #PRHpartner

With a biting, satirical style reminiscent of The OnionHow to Be a Perfect Christian takes a humorous look at the quirks of cultural Christianity while subtly challenging the reader to search for more than a cultural faith.

Written in the trademark style of The Babylon Bee, this book humorously satirizes cultural Christianity while peppering in subtle challenges to the reader. Through humor and sarcasm (and a handy meter to rank your “holiness” as you progress through the book), readers will be called to find a more biblical understanding of the Christian faith, all while poking fun at the quirks of the modern, American Christian community.

My Review: I have never laughed so hard, out loud reading a book. Ever.

If you’ve never read The Babylon Bee, you should know right now, it’s complete satire. Their timely articles are always hilarious, yet always spot on. Their book is exactly the same, hilarious, yet spot on.

The writers of The Babylon Bee do not hold back and do not shy away from poking fun at every aspect of Christian culture. It’s harmless fun, and pretty much true, so try not to be offended when they target you!

This book gives us detailed instructions on “How to be the Perfect Christian”. Each chapter is full of wise advice on how to set ourselves apart from the crowd and obtain perfection status. From finding the right church that will serve our needs, to looking spiritual online, this book gives us exactly what we need to rock Christianity!

Though this book is complete satire (and kudos to The Babylon Bee for flawlessly and unashamedly remaining so throughout the entire book!) the message in it is one of profound truth.

As Christians, we take ourselves too seriously. We too often try in our own strength to be holy, obtain perfection and appear “Christian”. We judge each other for our differences, we exclude others that aren’t just like us and we constantly compare ourselves to others. We work so hard at keeping up appearances and playing church, that we often forget who it’s all about. It’s not about us, our comfort, our status, our online presence, our political party or our anything. It’s about Him. It’s about Jesus, the only perfect one who has saved us by His amazing grace.

Serious Kudos to The Babylon Bee for not being afraid to convict us in the most hilarious way possible.

*I received a copy of this book from Multnomah Publishers free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

NKJV Deluxe Reader’s Bible: A Review

Book Description

The NKJV Deluxe Reader’s Bible is an invitation to get caught up in the story of Scripture, as history, poetry, and prophecy come to life on pages designed for people who love a good book.

Perfect for both devotional and extended reading, the beautifully designed NKJV Deluxe Reader’s Bible features the exceptionally readable Thomas Nelson NKJV Typeface in an elegant single-column format. Premium, high-contrast paper, classically sewn lay-flat bindings, and an innovative approach to chapter and verse markers combine to create a distraction-free reading experience you’ll want to return to again and again.

My Review: As someone who loves the bible and also loves reading books, I was very intrigued by the concept of this reader’s bible. This bible is layed out in such a way as to encourage distraction-free reading and the ability to focus on the story of scripture. It is displayed in single-column format for a book-like feel. There are no footnotes and the chapters are listed discreetly on the side. Some verse numbers are listed as well, to help the reader to pinpoint where they are in the scripture.

This bible feels very easy to read and truly is distraction free. I feel like I will be able to read it and really focus on the stories, without being distracted by other details. Obviously, this is not like a study bible and for me, isn’t likely to replace my personal bible, but I think it will definitely be one I read when I want to just enjoy and soak in the scripture and focus less on the study aspect. Although, I do believe that any reading of scripture is a form of study, this bible presents The Word in a more leisurely reader-style and I think the focus is just on distraction free enjoyment of the scripture.

Aesthetically, this bible is beautiful. The font is very comfortable to read, the binding is a gorgeous black and brown soft leather and the size is very comfortable as well. This is definitely a beautiful bible to add to your collection, especially if you are a reader. You will appreciate the simplicity and layout of this bible. Highly recommended!

I received a copy of this bible free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart: A Book Review

What if You Woke up One Morning and the Darkest Parts of Yourself Were Gone?

Toren Daniels vanished eight months back, and his wife and kids have moved on—with more than a little relief. Toren was a good man but carried a raging temper that often exploded without warning. So when he shows up on their doorstep out of the blue, they’re shocked to see him alive. But more shocked to see he’s changed. Radically.

His anger is gone. He’s oddly patient. Kind. Fun. The man he always wanted to be. Toren has no clue where he’s been but knows he’s been utterly transformed. He focuses on three things: Finding out where he’s been. Finding out how it happened. And winning back his family.

But then shards of his old self start to rise from deep inside—like the man kicked out of the NFL for his fury—and Toren must face the supreme battle of his life.

In this fresh take on the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, James L. Rubart explores the war between the good and evil within each of us—and one man’s only chance to overcome the greatest divide of the soul.

My Review: I was intrigued from the very start. Inspired by the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this book explores the battle between good and evil within us all.

We all have parts of ourselves that are ugly and dark, and sometimes those parts consume us and seek to destroy our lives. This book explores one man’s journey to discover how to overcome the darkness within him and restore the life he has lost. Entertaining, suspenseful and all-together intriguing, paired with an excellent cast of characters, this is ultimately a spiritual book with an excellent message.

There were several moments in this book that gave me pause spiritually. I read a decent amount of Christian fiction, but these moments don’t happen often. I think the author did an incredible job weaving together an entertaining story, while imparting lasting spiritual truth.

As mentioned, this book is inspired by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I love that story and I think the author did an excellent job honoring the original story with his own creative interpretation. This was my first read by James L. Rubart, and it definitely won’t be my last.

* I received a copy of this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Blessed Are the Misfits by Brant Hansen: A Book Review

Book Description

Warning: If modern church culture makes perfect sense to you, and you always fit in seamlessly, don’t read this. As for the rest of us…

While American church culture (and American culture at large) seems largely designed for the extroverted, it’s estimated that half of the American population is introverted, and they’re often left wondering how, even if, they fit in the kingdom of God. As one of them, popular radio host Brant Hansen brings news. It’s wonderful, refreshing, and never-been-said-this-way-before good news.

In his unique style, Hansen looks to answer questions that millions of people carry with them each day:

If I don’t relate to God as emotionally as others do, is something wrong with me?
How does one approach God, and approach faith, when devoid of the “good feelings” that seem to drive so much of evangelical church culture?
How does God interact with those who seem spiritually numb?
Is the absence of faith-based emotion a sign of that God has moved on or was never there?
What if we aren’t good at talking to people about our faith, or good at talking to people at all?
What if I’m told I’m too analytical, that I “think too much”?
Where does a person who suffers from depression fit in the kingdom? Is depression a sure sign of a lack of faith?

This book is good news for people who are desperately looking for it. (And for their loved ones!)

It’s also for those who want to believe in Jesus, but inwardly fear that they don’t belong, worry that don’t have the requisite emotion-based relationship with God, and are starving for good news.

Blessed Are the Misfits is going to generate discussion, and lots of it. It’s simultaneously highly provocative and humbly personal. It’s also leavened with a distinct, dry, self-effacing humor that is a hallmark of Hansen’s on-air, writing, and public speaking style.

My Review: From the moment I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. Being an introvert in the world and in the church, I always feel like a misfit. This book blew me away from the start with just how relatable it was. Some of the experiences the author describes have been my exact experiences. I just kept thinking “yep, that’s me!”

Hansen talks honestly about feelings and emotions and one of my favorite take-a-ways is this: “Our feelings have nothing to do with whether God loves us or is still involved in our lives.” So often in the church, feelings are over-emphasized. I remember many times trying to manufacturer certain emotions because you were supposed to feel those particular emotions if you were “spiritual”. I worried about what was wrong with me and I convinced myself I wasn’t spiritual enough. It’s refreshing to hear someone say it’s okay to not always “feel it”.

Hansen doesn’t leave us in our misfit state with no hope. He does an excellent job reminding us that we are chosen.  That Jesus chose the misfits, the introverted, the broken, the skeptic, the melancholy. He didn’t pick the ones anyone would have expected. He chose us. A bunch of misfits. And, the church is full of us.

There is so much to take away from this book that I can’t even begin to scratch the surface. It’s a book that everyone who has ever felt like a misfit in the church and in the world should absolutely, definitely read.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.