Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin

LEGACY OF MERCY by Lynn Austin

This is the second book in a series, I guess. They called the first book, Waves of Mercy the prequel, so however that works. Anyway, I do recommend reading the book first. You can read this one as a stand alone, I guess, but you won't get as much out of it. I had read the first book awhile ago and would have found it helpful to read again first to fully get the story again.

But it's a good story. Anna was raised in a wealthy house, but had just found her real grandmother at the end of the first book. She wants to know more about God, to follow Him more faithfully, but her fiance is uninterested. Meanwhile, she has fallen in love with a young man who is studying to be a minister and not the least bit wealthy. And that is all I'm going to say about that so I don't give the story away anymore than I already have.

What I really like about this book is Anna's determination to follow God and to love her adopted parents well. She is willing to sacrifice her own happiness for their sake and that says a lot about a young lady in my opinion. I also love that she is willing to go "beneath her station" to spend time with her grandma and to learn from her.

This book flips back and forth between Anna and her grandma. Her grandma demonstrates God's love in action by taking in a young girl, by caring for the poor, and by being open to what God has for her. There's a great story in that side of the book as well.

So all in all, I really enjoyed this book and I really hope there are more books coming in this series, because it feels like there is much more to tell. I want to know how Anna's life continues, what happens to the young girl and more.

I received this book from Bethany House through NetGalley and was not required to write a positive review.

Boundaries for you Soul by Alison Cook and Kimberly Miller

Boundaries For Your Soul: How To Turn Your Overwhelming Thoughts And Feelings Into Your Greatest Allies by Alison Cook, Phd

How to turn your overwhelming thoughts and feelings into your greatest allies.

I want to preface this whole book review by saying I am not a psychologist or a psychiatrist or a counselor or even that great of a listener, though I'm trying to learn to be a listener, so I am not necessarily a good one to comment on some of the aspects of this book. So just keep that in mind as you read my thoughts.

I am a little divided about this book. Some of it seemed strangely weird to me and some of it made sense. And some of those things were the same things. I think I could come across here as being very confused and there would be some truth there as well.

The big focus of the book is taking a You-turn when anger or shame or fear or anxiety or any other unhealthy attribute raises its head. There are five parts of this process: focus, befriend, invite Jesus, unburden and integrate. I can definitely see the value of this process. While reading the book, when things would come up that I would get disgruntled about, it was helpful for me to stop and think, Why? Why is this bothering me? Why am I upset by this? And I could often point to an insecurity or a fear that was making  me want to lash out.  So that was helpful for me and something I want to continue doing.

I talk to myself a lot in the form of pep talks, etc. but the idea of sitting down and asking parts of my soul how I feel about this and asking other parts to chime in or to be quiet can make me a little nervous.  Now I give this book huge credit for bringing Jesus very actively into this exercise. One quote from early on in the book really helped me, "The best way to care for the overwhelming parts of your soul involves inviting God's Holy Spirit to be with them."  And "God responds to human brokenness by transforming our souls from the inside out." "Paying attention to the state of your soul opens you up to receive the gifts God wants to give to the parts of you most in need of grace."

So, while I think this book has some very helpful things in it, it also made me nervous. That is not to say that what they had to say wasn't true, it's just a concept I'm not used to and therefore it feels uncomfortable to me. The other thing that I noticed and I think this likely has to do with keeping the book flowing is that the stories they told seem to have instantaneous results. They seemed to go through the five step process in about five minutes and then the client was good to go. I know that was likely not the case, but it did feel like that.

Before I would recommend this book to somebody, I would want a little further input on it from people I trust, but I do think that this book has some really helpful tips and tools in it either way. And like I already said, it has been good for me to look beyond my reaction to see the root of the problem.

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers and was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Everything She Didn't Say by Jane Kirkpatrick


So this book provides a classic example of why it's always good to read more than one book by an author. This is the second book by Jane that I have read. The first one, when I looked at my review, I wasn't that impressed by. This book I loved. I can't explain the difference. Both books were based on true events and followed the life of a real life person, but one I enjoyed and one didn't do much for me.

Anyway, this is a memoir within a memoir of Carrie Adell Green Strahorn. She wrote a two volume memoir called "Fifteen thousand Miles by Stage." This is true. Jane took that memoir and created a fictional/true character. Basically she made her a bit more personable, trying to add in real thoughts and feelings.

Carrie was very happy to remain in her happy lane as she liked to call it. And truthfully, while she saw some amazing things in her life, I don't know that there are many women who are blissfully content to be moved from location to location at the whim of their husband, never having close friends, never having a home. They would settle in for awhile in a location, but if often seemed like her husband's poor financial decisions would soon cause them to fun fleeing, sometimes about literally in the middle of the night.

But I was impressed with Carrie's determination to try and make the best of the situation, to always look for the positive: "That's what I'm known for, being cheery in times of trial."

I really enjoyed the book and the style of writing used. And after reading this book, I will definitely be looking for more of Jane's books.

I received this book from Revell and was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Crack Yourself Up (Jokes for Kids) by Sandy Silverthorne

Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids

If you have a young reader who loves to tell jokes, this would be the book for them. (Keep in mind that you might be subjected to hearing these jokes as well!!) 

It's a fun little soft cover book that would slide into a book bag or even a purse for a child to read while out and about or waiting at a restaurant, etc. It's filled with all kinds of jokes, knock-knock jokes, backwards jokes, one-liners, puns and etc.

Yes, some of them are lame, in my opinion, but I also found some of them hilarious. The next person could have the opposite reaction.

Here are just a few examples:
Teacher: Does anyone know who broke the sound barrier?
Manny: Don't ask me. I'm no tattletale.

My teacher told me to have a good day, so I went home.

The main reason for a child's middle name -- 
So he can tell when he's really in trouble.

The jokes were all clean, no bad words, which is a very nice thing. So you can relax and only worry about being driven a little crazy by all the joke and corniness coming out of your child's mouth. :) :)

I received this book from Revell. I was not required to write a positive review.

Quit Church by Chris Sonksen

Quit Church: Because Your Life Would Be Better If You Did

Because your life would be better if you did

So this isn't really a title you would expect to find on a Christian bookshelf, is it? Quit church? Huh? You mean like don't go anymore? No that is not at all what this book means. If I'm completely honest, I'm not entirely sure what the whole "quit church" means, but I definitely get the pieces of our life we should quit.  And I think the big meaning is to not just show up at church on Sunday morning, consider your duty done and then check out. Chris wants you to be fully engaged, to consider yourself an owner of the church. Owners take much more responsibility for their business than an employee does.

A few things we should quit:

Quit Expecting to Wake up in Heaven. In other words, life isn't perfect, church isn't perfect, so get over it and make it the best you can. Be loyal

Quit Giving Your Money Away.  What? Well, think about it, that money isn't yours to begin with, so start thinking of it as God's money and start giving God's money away. Tithing is highly stressed in this chapter.  And really, how many people have you seen give and give and give and not get rewarded?

Quit helping out. Your service is expected, don't think of it like helping out as a guest. You thank a guest, your own home chores are expected and that is how it should work in the church.

I'll stop there. I'm butchering the ideas too much in these little sound bytes or blog bytes.  But there was some good food for thought. These chapters ended with ways that you win and ways that God wins when we are willing to quit our preconceived notions or ideas and go with doing life God's way.

One quote from him yet: "The Lord expresses his desire for us to be a "tribe", to believe in each other, love each other, care for each other, and connect with each other."

I really enjoyed this book and was challenged to change my mindset. I received this book from Baker Books and was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson


This is a novella written about a thirtyish widow and her son. They have inherited a beach side cottage in the town of Seaside. The mom, Wendy, has full intentions of getting the cottage ready for sale and selling it. They have a lot of debt as her husband had been very sick with cancer before he passed away and Wendy feels she must have her corporate job in Ohio to make ends meet. Jackson, her son, loves the town and feels like he is being given a fresh start. And then, of course, there is the knight in shining armor, who also lives in the town.

To be honest, I didn't realize this was supposed to be a novella until I sat down to write this review. That helps my feelings with this book, because one of my biggest issues is that the story was too short. To get from start to finish, everything moved along very fast and was focused too much, I thought, on the romantic end of it.  The other thing that I didn't like about this book is it feels like I read it before. The story line just reminds me of another book I have read. I have no idea what that book was, who the author was, or anything, but the plot seemed so very similar. I actually checked to make sure this wasn't an older book I was rereading.

I have read other Melody Carlson books and really liked them, so I have nothing against the author. Armando's Treasure is one I remember reading and thinking it was an excellent book. I just think for me, I didn't give it a fair chance as I don't really like novellas unless they are preludes to a series of regular length books. For sure, I need to know going into the reading of it that it's a novella. That I didn't know that is nobody's fault but my own.

The writing style and structure of the book was well done. I read it as an ebook and often that makes me not like the book as well. I always think there are more typos and grammar issue in ebooks or that there can be, but I did not find that to be the case. It was a well written chick flick. And the next time I might exercise more caution in finding out if it's a full length book or not.

I received this book from Revell and was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

I Might Blog Again

I feel like all I have done recently is write book reviews. And if I'm honest with myself, all I have done on here recently is write book reviews. So my feelings are not removed from the truth, at least not in this situation.

I feel like I am coming to the end of the crazy, hectic summer. I had my last bake sale at Mom's and it was a good way to end, my best weekend all summer. But it feels really good to have that rat race come to an end. For those of you who wonder though? I love baking and for the most part this summer, it energized me. I will confess to a couple weeks in the thick of it feeling a little overwhelmed and stressed, but even at 10 PM as I'm cleaning up the kitchen and bagging bread, I was happy. D even noticed and commented. That's scary, because I'm suspicious that that happiness is not always present. I know it's not always present. And there's something to work on.

One of these days I will try to get some pictures up and start actually writing something again. I like to write, I still do. But if given the choice I would rather read, as evidenced by the fact that I got quite a few books read this summer despite being very busy.

One question for everyone though: I know I'm not the only busy person on the planet. In fact, I would imagine that most of you are way busier than I am. So how do you make time for God in the midst of it all? I did  a really bad job this summer and want to figure out how to make it work better for next summer. I think that really affected some of those overwhelmed days and I want to change that.  Any tips or pointers that you have, please let me know.

Until I'm back for another post, so long this happy, quiet Sunday.

Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin

This is the second book in a series, I guess. They called the first book, Waves of Mercy the prequel, so however that works. Anyway, I do ...