Gratitude, A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal: My Review

978-1-4964-1579-0Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal invites you to bring creative journaling and the calming act of coloring into your quiet time with God. This beautifully designed interactive prayer book from Tyndale’s Living Expressions collection helps guide your thoughts as you pray about concerns such as health, overcoming stress, personal relationships, and more. Gratitude gives you a way to celebrate and give thanks to God for the many blessings he provides. Filled with over 100 designs to color, plenty of space for journaling and sketching, and 40 needs-based prayers, Gratitude helps you express your devotion to God with your whole heart!

My Review: Over the past year or so, I have really come to appreciate the art of creativity. It’s more than just being imaginative or inventive, it’s an expression of oneself. It’s seeing things from a new perspective. It’s putting your heart, your thoughts and your unique point of view on paper, in a tangible, expressive way. I’ve been amazed at how scripture has come to life for me in a new way since I’ve started bible journaling, and now I have had the opportunity to find more creative expression with this journal.

This journal is beautiful and it allows so much opportunity to personalize your experience as you ponder each page. There is prayer and scripture, pages to color and opportunities to journal your thoughts throughout the pages. It really is a gorgeous and creative journal. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I am excited that it exists. This book would make an excellent gift as well.

God is an expressive, creative God and I believe that he has created us to be the same. I am grateful that Tyndale House has published such an incredibly inspiring collection. You can click HERE for more information about this journal and the other items available in this line.

Also, if you are thinking that maybe this sounds like a great thing to get into, but you don’t know where to start, THIS link will help to inspire you as you begin your own journey to creativity.

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

Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst: A Book Review

_140_245_Book.1988.coverThe enemy wants us to feel rejected . . . left out, lonely, and less than. When we allow him to speak lies through our rejection, he pickpockets our purpose. Cripples our courage. Dismantles our dreams. And blinds us to the beauty of Christ’s powerful love.

In Uninvited, Lysa shares her own deeply personal experiences with rejection—from the incredibly painful childhood abandonment by her father to the perceived judgment of the perfectly toned woman one elliptical over.

With biblical depth, gut-honest vulnerability, and refreshing wit, Lysa helps readers: • Release the desire to fall apart or control the actions of others by embracing God-honoring ways to process their hurt. • Know exactly what to pray for the next ten days to steady their soul and restore their confidence. • Overcome the two core fears that feed our insecurities by understanding the secret of belonging. • Stop feeling left out and start believing that “set apart” does not mean “set aside.” • End the cycle of perceived rejection by refusing to turn a small incident into a full blown issue.

My Review: I cannot recommend this book enough! This was my first experience reading a book by Lysa Terkeurst, and I was so excited for the opportunity because I had heard a lot of great things about her and her writing. And, every single one of those great things are true!

This is a very personal book. This is a book about our hearts and the things that have come along to hurt and injure us. Things like rejection, loneliness and feelings of inferiority. I am sure every single person in the world has experienced these things, but yet when we do, it feels like we are the only person in the world who does.

This book was very, very timely for me. I consistently struggle with feeling unaccepted, left out, different and just like I don’t belong. However, when I picked up this book to read, it was right after a particularly low couple of days for me socially and this book really spoke to my heart and literally pulled me out of the little pool of self-pity I was determined to swim in.

There aren’t a lot of books that I have to stop and jot down a thought or paragraph from, but this book had several passages that really spoke to me and I found myself typing them out so that I can remember and meditate on them in the future.

Things like:

I don’t want to keep being a slave to my runaway emotions and assumptions. I don’t want my days to be dictated by the moods of other people. And I really don’t want the rejections of my past feeding my propensity to feel rejected today.

No soul can soar to the place of living loved when it’s a performance-based endeavor. Living loved is sourced in your quiet daily surrender to the One who made you.

How dangerous it is when our souls are gasping for God but we’re too distracted flirting with the world to notice. Flirting will give you brief surges of fun feelings but will never really pull you in and hold you close. Indeed, the world entices your flesh but never embraces your soul. All the while, the only love caring enough to embrace us and complete enough to fill us, waits.

How it must break his heart when we walk around so desperate for a love He waits to give us each and every day.

Proximity and activity don’t always equal connectivity.

We must respect ourselves enough to break the pattern of placing unrealistic expectations on others. After all, people will not respect us more than we respect ourselves.

The devil wants me to fill my emptiness with an unhealthy dependence on the acceptance of others. Because then he can get me so focused on the shallow opinions of others I get completely distracted from deepening my relationship with Christ.

I love reading, and I read mostly for enjoyment, occasionally taking away some interesting tidbit or thought, but this book offered me so much more. I learned and grew from reading this book. I won’t say that I’m no longer insecure or that I will never feel the effects of rejection again, but I am more focused now on living loved by Him. And, I feel less alone because I believe that Lysa writes from a place of understanding and it helps me realize that I’m not the only one who often feels Uninvited.

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

The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson, A Book Review

9780804141376ABOUT THE GAP OF TIME

The Winter’s Tale is one of Shakespeare’s “late plays.” It tells the story of a king whose jealousy results in the banishment of his baby daughter and the death of his beautiful wife. His daughter is found and brought up by a shepherd on the Bohemian coast, but through a series of extraordinary events, father and daughter, and eventually mother too, are reunited.

In The Gap of Time, Jeanette Winterson’s cover version of The Winter’s Tale, we move from London, a city reeling after the 2008 financial crisis, to a storm-ravaged American city called New Bohemia. Her story is one of childhood friendship, money, status, technology and the elliptical nature of time. Written with energy and wit, this is a story of the consuming power of jealousy on the one hand, and redemption and the enduring love of a lost child on the other.

My Review: Oh boy. How do I even say this? There have been many times that I haven’t enjoyed a book, and had to force myself to endure it for the sake of writing my review, but I do believe this is the first time that I was unable to finish a book. I had no choice but to put it down after forcing my way through the first 60 or so pages.

I went into this book unfamiliar with Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, and I realize that this is a “modern retelling” but I have to imagine that Shakespeare would be appalled by this interpretation.

Before I get into my reason for putting this book down, let me give my one positive note on this story. The first chapter. The first chapter is about Shep and his son Clo. And, it’s beautifully written. I honestly don’t know how the rest of their story unfolds, and it’s a shame that I was unable to get to it.

From chapter two on, at least as far as I was able to force myself to read, the author uses the most vulgar, inappropriate, pornographic language and descriptions I have ever read in a novel. I am not a wimp and I can understand and appreciate tastefully written and descriptive sexual language in a novel when appropriate, but I’m sorry, this was disgusting.

As much as I hated to give up on a book, especially one I committed to reading and reviewing, I had no choice. There was no redeeming quality to be found in it.

I do thank Blogging for Books for giving me this copy for review.



A novelist whose honours include England’s Whitbread Prize, and the American Academy’ s E. M. Forster Award, as well as the Prix d’argent at the Cannes Film Festival, Jeanette Winterson burst onto the literary scene as a very young woman in 1985 with Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Her subsequent novels, including Sexing the Cherry, The Passion, Written on the Body, and The PowerBook, have also gone on to receive great international acclaim. Her latest novel is Lighthousekeeping, heralded as “a brilliant, glittering, piece of work” (The Independent). She lives in London and the Cotswolds.

July Reading Round-Up!

Is it August already? This summer is flying by and I feel like as hard as I try, I can never get enough reading time! We had our anniversary trip this month, and I did get the opportunity to enjoy some quiet reading time on the beautiful and serene back porch of our vacation tree-house. I sure wish I was back there right now. Life can be so busy and chaotic, and vacations, especially those in secluded surroundings always remind me that we (I) need to take more time for quiet, stillness and reading!


See? Doesn’t that look all sorts of serene? Sigh.🙂

Anyway…back to my month of reading. I’ve actually not kept track of how many books I’ve read this month, though I’m really hoping it was more than FIVE! I’m going to take a look right now…

Drum roll please…..

Well, it’s higher than five, by one! I’ll take that though! So, for the month of July I read 6 books. They are as follows:

So…let’s see here, the first three reads of the month were actually selections that were leftover from last month’s “Read a debut novel” challenge. (Yeah, I went a little overboard selecting debuts!) A Girl Like You, Keep Me Posted and The Nest were all from new authors. Of those three, A Girl Like You was my favorite. This is fortunate for me, because as far as I know, it’s the only one of the three that is the beginning of a new series! The other two were okay, with Keep Me Posted being a bit better than The Nest. The Wolf Road was actually my one and only review book of the month. I had mixed feelings on it, and my review can be found HERE. Pretty Baby was my spontaneous read this month. I picked it up at the last second on one of our many trips to the library. I’m glad I did, because I enjoyed it a lot. I could criticize a few things here and there, but for the most part, it was a solid read. And, actually, I’m currently reading another book by the same author! And, last but not least, I have to admit I came very close to forgetting to do my monthly Reading Challenge for July. (That’s what vacation will do to you!) Fortunately, the challenge for this month was to read a book in a genre you’ve never read before. This was a tough one to figure out, until discussing it with my graphic-novel-lovin’ husband! I had never read a graphic novel and it was the perfect choice for accomplishing my goal at the last moment of the month! And, for the record, I really enjoyed it. More than I expected. It helped that it was a Walking Dead graphic novel, but I have to say that I was really impressed with the art and detail in it. I may have to revisit the graphic novel genre again someday!

In closing (I know I’m rambly tonight!) my total books read for the year is 37 and I am at 49% of my goal for the year. Yeah, I know, I’m still behind! That being said, I’m off to read! G’night all!

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis: A Book Review

9781101906125ABOUT THE WOLF ROAD

ELKA BARELY REMEMBERS a time before she knew Trapper. She was just seven years old, wandering lost and hungry in the wilderness, when the solitary hunter took her in. In the years since then, he’s taught her how to survive in this desolate land where civilization has been destroyed and men are at the mercy of the elements and each other.

But the man Elka thought she knew has been harboring a terrible secret. He’s a killer. A monster. And now that Elka knows the truth, she may be his next victim.

Armed with nothing but her knife and the hard lessons Trapper’s drilled into her, Elka flees into the frozen north in search of her real parents. But judging by the trail of blood dogging her footsteps, she hasn’t left Trapper behind—and he won’t be letting his little girl go without a fight. If she’s going to survive, Elka will have to turn and confront not just him, but the truth about the dark road she’s been set on.

The Wolf Road is an intimate cat-and-mouse tale of revenge and redemption, played out against a vast, unforgiving landscape—told by an indomitable young heroine fighting to escape her past and rejoin humanity.

My Review: I have mixed feelings about this one. I felt like it had a really unique premise, but from the start I wasn’t sure what direction it was going to take. There were several times I expected it to go a different way than it ended up.

One of my biggest issues with this book is that it felt very unclear and at times confusing. We aren’t given enough background information to understand where and when it takes place or what exactly happened to bring us to this point. The main character, Elka also talked a lot in her head and made a lot of foreshadowing statements, that I found kind of annoying.

I enjoyed the kind of “cat and mouse” theme that was throughout this book.  I also loved that the villain was so behind the scenes and in the shadows, but we knew that he was to be feared. I loved the character of Penelope and I loved the friendship that forms between her and Elka. I wish Penelope had been developed even more. I also would have liked to know more about Elka’s parents.

This was a dark story and it had some disturbing and gross themes, but it was also at times suspenseful and intriguing. I found the characters interesting and I enjoyed a good amount of this book, but I think it could have been shorter, faster-paced and a bit clearer in spots.

All in all, a decent read.

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



Beth Lewis is a managing editor at Titan Books in London. She was raised in the wilds of Cornwall and split her childhood between books and the beach. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and has had close encounters with black bears, killer whales, and great white sharks. She has been a bank cashier, a fire performer, and a juggler.

June Reading Round-Up!

I’m a few days late getting this posted. The holiday weekend was a busy one!

So…remember how I’ve been averaging about 5 books a month, but really, really wanted to do better?

Guess what? I read 5 AGAIN this month! I suppose that’s better than decreasing my total, but I know I can do better!

I won’t promise an increase in July, but I sure hope that I do have one to report by the end of this month!

The following are the books I have completed for the month of June:

Me Before You, I read in preparation for the film adaptation. I only finished half before I saw the movie, but I thoroughly enjoyed both the film and the book, which I finished shortly thereafter. June was a book review book. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t a favorite. My review for that can be found HERE. Nightime is My Time was a book on my shelf that I’ve been wanting to get to. I had some free time, so I dived into that. I think that it was one of my favorite Mary Higgins Clark novels thus far. The Girl in the Red Coat and The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper were both books by debut authors. My Reading Challenge for this month was to read a book by a new author, and I ended up with two! Both of these books were really good and I was impressed by their authors first offerings.

In choosing a favorite book of the month, I’m torn. I think I may go with Me Before You, though The Girl in the Red Coat may finish a close second. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper deserves a lot of recognition too. It was unique, inspiring and whimsical. June was definitely my least favorite, though that doesn’t make it a bad read.

All in all, I very enjoyable reading month! I’ve already dived headfirst into my first July book, so hopefully that bodes well for my end count.

Until next month, Happy Reading!!

June a Novel by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore: A Book Review