Praying the Psalms by Ben Patterson: A Review

978-1-4964-1598-1Learn to speak the language of God’s own heart.
Have you ever tried to pour out your deepest feelings to God, only to discover that you can’t find the words? We want to feel connected to God, but sometimes it seems like we’re not speaking the same language.

There is no better place in all of Scripture than Psalms to learn to be with God. Praying the Psalms includes 50 selections from this book—songs of praise, cries for help, glad rejoicings, and humble offerings—accompanied by inspirational devotions that will open a divine window in your prayer life.

Adapted from God’s Prayer Book; now in a deluxe LeatherLike binding.

My Review: First and foremost, this book is gorgeous. It’s beautiful leather-like binding is elegant and this book is perfectly sized. It would make a wonderful and thoughtful gift. Not only is it gorgeous, it also lives up to it’s tagline “Drawing near to the heart of God”. This little book has a chapter devoted to each of the 150 Psalms. There are several pages focused on each Psalm, that explain the heart and intent of each and encourage the reader in how to powerfully pray each one. There is also a topical index located in the back to easily search for topics for specific needs.

This book would be excellent for anyone who desires to dig deeper into the Psalms and to draw closer to God in prayer.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge from Tyndale Blog Network  in exchange for my honest review.

Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen: A Book Review

_140_245_book-2117-coverBook Description

Jonah wishes he could get the girl, but he’s an outcast and she’s the most perfect girl he knows. And their futures seemed destined to fork apart: Jonah’s physical condition is debilitating, and epileptic seizures fill his life with frustration. Whereas Stormi is seemingly carefree, and navigates life by sensing things before they happen. And her most recent premonition is urging her to leave town.

When Stormi begs Jonah for help, he finds himself swept into a dark mystery his small town has been keeping for years. And the answers Stormi needs about her own past could possibly destroy everything Jonah has ever known—including his growing relationship with Stormi herself.

My Review: This book has a lot going for it. A unique story, interesting and likable characters and lots of intrigue. I felt that it grabbed my interest right from the start, but I did feel like it became somewhat drawn out and slow as it progressed. I really enjoyed Jonah’s character and watching his relationships with the other characters unfold.

I liked the story line and I feel like it had real potential, but I think that it wasn’t developed quite enough. I was left feeling like something was missing.

This wasn’t a very long book, and I think it could have been made longer, but with a more steady pace that kept the reader interested. All in all, a decent read, but not anything that will stick with me past the final page.

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

The Travelers by Chris Pavone: A Book Review

December Reading Round-Up & Year-End Recap!

It’s a new year, and here I am still winding down last year! I’m going to do my December Round-Up, followed by a quick re-cap for the year. I honestly don’t know if I’m going to continue doing my reading round-ups. Sometimes it feels like a unnecessary pressure and deadline, and I’m trying to learn to not put added pressure on myself.

That being said, I always like to finish what I start, so here goes!

I only read 5 books in December, but that was all I needed to complete my yearly goal! I made it to 75 by the skin of my teeth, but I’m proud to have accomplished that! December is such a busy month and this year in-particular, the holidays seemed extra busy and stressful.

Below you will find the 5 books I read in December:

As you can see, these were all Christmas related books. I think my favorite was the last I read, and it was also after Christmas. A Cliche Christmas I grabbed at the library, just to finish my quota. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed The Mistletoe Inn a lot. The others were okay as well, but The Fruitcake Murders was the most disappointing read for me. I also noticed a lot of typos in it, so that bothered me.

And, I just realized looking through my list that I failed to complete my Monthly Reading Challenge!  I think I just took for granted that one of my chosen reads was a book published in 2016, and I just realized that I was mistaken! So…I went through an entire year of completing challenges, only to fail at the end? Wow. That makes me feel really bad. But…as it seems to be every year, one of my goals is to realize that I’m not perfect and to accept my flaws, mistakes and failings. So, here you go. Practice for that!

I did make my goal of 75 books and I don’t think that’s anything to downplay. I am proud of that, but I just hate failing!

Anyway…I’m going to cheat a bit on my 2016 recap. Since Goodreads does such a good job of it, I’m going to let them tell you about my year! I did have to screenshot all of these and send them to myself, which in retrospect might have been harder than trying to summarize it myself. Oh well!

I realize I could have cropped those images better, for that I apologize! To anyone who has followed my reading journey this year, thank you! I remain undecided as to how I will document my reading for 2017, but my reading goal remains the same: 75 books. Beyond that, I’m not sure that I will participate in any challenges.

Happy New Year, my bookish friends!!

*Also, I may be back soon with a non-book related post. I’m feeling a deep, profound life goals post coming on…but we’ll see!

NKJV Know the Word Study Bible: A Review

Book Description

_140_245_book-2067-coverStudying the Bible does not have to be an intimidating or overwhelming experience. The study of God’s Word can be easy and rewarding if you break down the Bible into easy-to-understand segments. The NKJV Know The Word Study Bible offers three easy ways to begin studying Scripture and helps individuals transition from being a casual reader of the Bible to becoming a regular student of the Word. Whether you prefer to study the Bible book by book, verse by verse, or topic by topic, each starting point offers powerful insights that will help you develop a daily routine of Bible study. The Book by Book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. The Verse by Verse studies help you to dig deeper into God’s Word at a verse level. The Topic by Topic articles, which cover 21 key theological topics, give you a bird’s-eye view of Scripture and guide you through the main themes that run throughout the Bible.

Features Include:

• New King James Version Bible text • Three easy approaches to study the Bible: Book by Book, Verse by Verse, Topic by Topic • Book introductions • Words of Jesus in red • Two-color interior page design • Comprehensive list of theological notes • Concordance

My Review: I’m pretty sure this may be my first time reviewing a bible, so I feel weird doing so. Obviously, I’m not reviewing the text of the bible itself, but the way in which it is presented by the publisher.

This is a nice looking hard back copy with a nice paper quality and a good, clean print. What is unique about this bible is that it offers three different ways of study. This bible can be explored book by book, verse by verse or topic by topic. Each book has an introductory page to summarize what it’s about and to give you some suggestions on how best to study it. It offers highlights, book study notes, verse foot notes, as well as a topical guide to notes placed throughout the bible that can be followed on a particular subject.

To further use this bible, I took it to church with me in place of my regular “church bible”. It was easy to navigate and follow along with, and the notes were helpful to the text being read.

I would recommend this bible to anyone looking to enhance their study of the word.

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

November Reading Round-Up!

Is today the fifth? Oops! I’m going to blame the holiday hustle and bustle for my tardiness on this post!

Speaking of hustling and bustling….that’s what I’ve been doing in my reading! I was seriously behind on my goal as of the end of last month and I knew I really had to step it up a notch.

Fortunately, it’s the Christmas season and that means Christmas books! I love Christmas books and they are usually relatively short, so I was able to read a good handful of books this month, which not only helped me to get closer to my goal, but it gave me a head start on holiday cheer!

So, let’s do this. Here is are the books I have read this month:

So, yes I read 13 books this month! I’m pretty sure that’s a record! Now, granted 10 of them were Christmas books, and thus a bit shorter, but still…win!

The book I read for my Monthly Reading Challenge was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The challenge was to read a Pulitzer Prize winning book. It’s a classic that I’ve always meant to read, and this was a good opportunity. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it like I’d hoped. The other non-Christmas books I read this month were Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (I just love her writing!) and Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark. Both of these were very good, and among my favorites now by their respective authors.

And now for the Christmas books! I read 5 by Melody Carlson! She’s quite the Christmas author! Haha! I always struggle to find stand-alone Christmas books, and she writes a lot and I’m thankful for that. I refuse to enter a series just to read the Christmas themed book. My favorite of her five was Your Heart’s Desire. There was just something about it that I loved. Second place goes to A Simple Christmas Wish. And, believe it or not, there were two that I found kind of disappointing. The Christmas Angel Project and The Christmas Shoppe, they just didn’t appeal to me as much as I’d hoped.

Of the other five, favorite goes to The Lopsided Christmas Cake. (and three cheers to Wanda Brunstetter for including recipes in the back of her books!) Least favorite would have to be The Mistletoe Murders. I’ve never read P.D. James, that I recall, but I wasn’t too impressed with this collection of shorts.

Anyway…I have ONLY 5 books to go to meet my goal for the year! Yay! I”m going to continue reading Christmas book in December because Tis the Season!

As a side note, I also realize that I have no review books to report. Nothing jumped out at me to review, and so I focused elsewhere. I do have a bible review coming momentarily though!

Merry December all!!

Earth Psalms by Francine Rivers: A Book Review

Earth Psalms

Reflections on How God Speaks through Nature

earth-psalmsMillions of readers have been transformed and inspired by Francine Rivers’ bestselling novels Redeeming Love and A Voice in the Wind. Now, in this weekly devotional, the beloved author invites you to join her in seeking the Creator through the marvelous natural world we live in. Francine shares observations she’s gathered over a lifetime of exploring—abroad and in her own backyard—and reflects on how they might apply to your daily life. What do the majestic redwoods, the persistent woodpecker, or a glorious sunrise reveal about our artistic and generous God? How could that change your outlook or the way you handle adversity?

Stunning photography, Scripture excerpts, applications, and prayers accompany Francine’s reflections, inspiring you to be encouraged. Be challenged. Be comforted. God’s power is immense; His attention to detail in precise; His love for you is vast and unfailing. The proof is all around you.

My Review: I jumped at the chance to review this devotional by Francine Rivers. I have always enjoyed her works of fiction and her writing style, so I was very curious to see what she would do with a devotional.

The first thing I was struck by was the beautiful, full-color images throughout this book. I love having that visual picture to coincide with the words of wisdom and insight she is offering. The second thing that I discovered was that this devotional is unique, in that it is a weekly devotional rather than a daily one. I love that idea because I feel like I can meditate on one devotional theme throughout the week and really take the time to focus on it. I often feel like life is rushed and we breeze through things so quickly. It’s nice to take a full week to really think on the devotion.

Each devotional offers some personal thoughts and reflections by the author, as well as several scriptures, sometimes quotes and a section at the end for reflection, application and connection.

This is a beautiful devotional that I look forward to reading throughout the year.

*I received this book free of charge from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review.

 

francine-riversNew York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers had a successful writing career in the general market for several years before becoming a born-again Christian. As her statement of faith, she wrote Redeeming Love, a retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea set during the time of the California Gold Rush. Redeeming Love is now considered by many to be a classic work of Christian fiction and it continues to be one of the industry’s top-selling titles year after year.

Since Redeeming Love, Francine has published numerous novels with Christian themes—all bestsellers—and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the world. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for many honors, and in 1997, after winning her third RITA Award for Inspirational Fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers of America’s Hall of Fame. In 2015, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Francine’s novels have been translated into over thirty different languages, and she enjoys bestseller status in many foreign countries.

Francine and her husband live in northern California and enjoy time spent with their grown children and grandchildren. She uses her writing to draw closer to the Lord, and she desires that through her work she might worship and praise Jesus for all He has done and is doing in her life.

Visit her website at www.francinerivers.com and connect with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FrancineRivers) and Twitter (@FrancineRivers).