Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson: A Book Review

When you hear a riveting story, does it thrill your heart and stir your soul? Do you hunger for truth and goodness? Do you secretly relate to Belle’s delight in the library in Beauty and the Beast?

If so, you may be on your way to being a book girl.

Books were always Sarah Clarkson’s delight. Raised in the company of the lively Anne of Green Gables, the brave Pevensie children of Narnia, and the wise Austen heroines, she discovered reading early on as a daily gift, a way of encountering the world in all its wonder. But what she came to realize as an adult was just how powerfully books had shaped her as a woman to live a story within that world, to be a lifelong learner, to grasp hope in struggle, and to create and act with courage.

She’s convinced that books can do the same for you.

Join Sarah in exploring the reading life as a gift and an adventure, one meant to enrich, broaden, and delight you in each season of your life as a woman. In Book Girl, you’ll discover:

  • how reading can strengthen your spiritual life and deepen your faith,
  • why a journey through classic literature might be just what you need (and where to begin),
  • how stories form your sense of identity,
  • how Sarah’s parents raised her to be a reader—and what you can do to cultivate a love of reading in the growing readers around you, and
  • 20+ annotated book lists, including some old favorites and many new discoveries.

Whether you’ve long considered yourself a reader or have dreams of becoming one, Book Girl will draw you into the life-giving journey of becoming a woman who reads and lives well.

My Review: As a reader, I was obviously immediately drawn to this book’s cover and title. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, as I’m not used to reading books about books, but I knew that I needed to check this one out.

I would say this was a very timely read for me. I’ve being going through a difficult season in my life and I feel like I’ve really needed some inspiration and focus. This book has been one of the things that has provided these things. This was an unexpected and sweet surprise and I’m grateful for how God has used this book to inspire me and motivate me forward.

Books have always been a huge part of my life. I’ve always been a “book girl” but I’ve never really thought about what that means in my life. This book helped me to see clearly that books not only bring enjoyment and knowledge, but that they truly impact and shape the life of the reader.

This book refreshed and renewed my love for reading and it broadened it to a whole new level and perspective. During this difficult season in my life, it has ignited a passion within me for reading that is exactly what I needed in this moment. This book, that talks about how reading can change your life, has changed my life.

I can’t say enough how impactful this book has been for me. It has breathed new life into this me, helped me to view my love for reading in a whole new way and has also motivated me to expand my reading palate to include genres I never would have chosen.

This book includes many lists of book recommendations from a wide variety of genres. They won’t all be for everyone, they won’t all be for me, but I’ve already added many to my TBR list!

Sarah Clarkson, You have written a book that will speak to and inspire every book girl. I know that this book girl will never be the same, and for that, I thank you!

*In exchange for my honest review Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

 

The Life-Giving Leader by Tyler Reagin, A Book Review

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About The Life-Giving Leader

The president of Catalyst Leader believes that the most impactful and most influential leaders are the ones who lead from who they truly are, not who they pretend or wish to be.

With clear biblical teaching and personal accounts, Tyler Reagin not only demonstrates the necessity of life-giving leadership, but also provides the steps you’ll need to begin knowing and leading from your truest self. From his experiences in high-impact leadership roles at some of our nation’s largest churches and ministries, Reagin has learned firsthand the importance of identity-based leadership. His desire is to help each reader become an empowered, confident leader that brings life and vibrancy to every room they enter. Whether you’ve got the corner office or you’re just getting started, Reagin gives you the tools you need to become an impactful and unique influencer right where you are!

My Review: When I decided to read and review this book, I was a little hesitant because I’m not a leader in the traditional sense. But, as I thought about it, I decided that I want to be a leader in how I live my life. With that in mind, surely I would find some parts of this book informative and enlightening?

That turned out to be an understatement.

As it turns out, whether I’m a “leader” in the traditional sense or not, I can and absolutely should still lead. I found that this book applied to me and the way I wish to live my life, very well indeed.

I have so many takeaways from this book.  One of the most significant for me was simply the idea of leading from your truest self. Knowing who you are and embracing your uniqueness, helps you to be an effective leader. God has given each of us passions, talents and gifts and we will live and lead best when we operate out of our uniqueness.

He didn’t create just a part of you for a unique purpose. He created all of you for 100 percent of your purpose.

As I said, reading this book, leader or not, not once did I feel that any part of it was irrelevant to my life. The author talks about four characteristics of leaders, sighting them as the 4 s’s. Sweat, sacrifice, surrender and serve. I want to exemplify these four characteristics in the way I live my life every day. He also speaks a lot about teams. But, whether you’re on a team or not, I believe this applies to all of our relationships. Putting others first, taking the time to know and value them, advocate for them and appreciate their unique gifts, are all things we should be practicing in all our relationships.

I loved this book. I think it’s a vital read not only for all leaders, but for all Christ-followers as well.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge from Waterbrook Multnomah as part of the LIFE GIVING book launch team.

When Through Deep Waters by Rachelle Dekker: A Book Review

Alicen McCaffrey finally has the life her mother always dreamed for her: beautiful home in Santa Monica, successful husband, adorable daughter. Then tragedy blows her carefully assembled façade to pieces. Worse yet—Alicen feels solely responsible. At rock bottom, she decides to accompany a childhood friend back to Red Lodge, Montana, where they spent summers together as kids.

The peaceful mountain landscape, accented with lush forests and small-town charm, brings back happy memories of time spent with her beloved, eccentric Grandma Josephine. Alicen begins to hope that perhaps things could be different here. Perhaps the oppressive guilt will lift—if only for a moment.

But when Alicen starts hearing voices and seeing mysterious figures near the river in the woods, she begins to fear she’s completely lost her sanity, as it’s rumored her grandmother did. Or might there be more to Red Lodge than meets the eye? Could the voices and visions be real—and her only means of finding the healing she so desperately needs? Or will they prove to be her final undoing?

My Review: This is the first book I’ve read by Rachelle Dekker. The feeling I’m left with is intrigue, mixed with a little bit of eye-raising. I found the story gripping and very intense. It was fast-paced and kept my interest quite well. I felt that the character of Alicen was very well written and her emotional state very genuine. I found the way the author wrote about the spiritual realm and salvation to be very intriguing, but also a little confusing. It was hard for me to tell exactly what message she was trying to get across spiritually, as it felt a little “magical” at times. I’m fairly certain she was trying to portray the gospel message in a unique and somewhat poetic kind of way, but I think it may have been a little too…something. I absolutely loved the character of Louise and I so appreciated the friendship that she and Alicen shared. I think this book was well written and I definitely enjoyed reading it and look forward to more by this author.

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

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.