Book Review: Make Their Day by Karen Ehman

About the Book-

You dream of making your presence really count in the lives of others, but you don’t know where–or how–to start. You want to be remembered as a woman who scattered kindness to everyone she knew, but you feel like your busy schedule constantly gets in the way.

In this practical and deeply touching guide–inspired by her book Reach Out, Gather In–popular author Karen Ehman gives you 101 actionable ideas you can implement today to truly make a difference in the lives of other people. Make Their Day is filled with creative ideas to connect with your family and friends on a deeper level throughout the year. This book will help you develop habits of kindness, reconnect with friends and family, and make encouraging people a priority. You’ll be able to put these ideas into action in real time with everyone in your life–even if hospitality doesn’t come naturally to you or you don’t think you have time.

Let’s outshine the negativity and hatred in our world, and reach out to others with love, just as God intended.

My Review-

This was a fun little book! It was a book of suggestions on how to serve others, and included a bunch of printables/recipes to supplement the ideas. Many of the ideas are pretty cheesy, very churchish (a jello mold with celery and carrots /is/ suggested), and involves buying things from the dollar store for people, but overall it was a nice thought and some people might enjoy it.

It was 101 ideas, which makes it a rather short book (I read it in an afternoon), and it’s divided up into several sections (along the lines of family, friends, neighbors, church friends, your community, etc), which makes it easy to navigate. Both of these together make it a pretty easy book to read, but not one that I wouldn’t personally buy. The tips that are included are not particularly creative, so while it is nice to have a compilation of ideas, the tips can easily be looked up on Pinterest or something of the sort. The cover is very cute though, so it would make a very cute coffee table book if that is what you are going for.

Overall, personally I think the market for these types of books is both saturated, and made obsolete due to the existence of the internet, so I cannot honestly recommend it. This ironically would be a good gift idea for an older lady at church, or your grandma, or something, so if that’s what you need, then it would be a good fit for you. 

My Rating-

5/10

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Finding Quiet by Jamie Grace

About the Book-

We live in a loud, loud world.

Whether it’s the criticism of others, the clamor of injustice, or the voice of anxiety from within, we are constantly being bombarded with noise.

So what does it mean to find peace in the midst of all the noise? Is there a way to acknowledge the struggles we face and learn how to manage the stressors and voices that trigger us while believing in the promises and goodness of God?

Jamie Grace has lived in the middle of noise for most of her life. Many know her as a singer with radio hits who has spent the last decade on stages and in front of the camera, but behind the scenes, she has struggled with Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, and an anxiety disorder for most of her life. But in the middle of both inner and outer noise, Jamie has learned how to manage the negative effects of her diagnoses, make the most of her strengths, and lean into the journey God has led her on.

A journey of Finding Quiet.

My Review-

One of my main “character growth” goals that I try to have constantly is to read more nonfiction and Christian living books, and I’m determined that 2021 is going to be the year of nonfiction. I decided to start with this one, because it is on a topic that is sorely needed in my life. Finding quiet is a subject that is always relevant in my life, and Jamie Grace has been someone that I’ve been vaguely watching on social media throughout the years, so I was really excited to read this book!

If I had to sum up this book in one word, it would be practical. What is covered in this book are things that can be added to everyday living, none of it particularly revolutionary, but that can be used to amplify one’s life just by following her tips. I highlighted a lot of passages, and there were a lot of quotes that were very applicable.

This book was really easy to read, with teaching that was easy to understand and apply. There was a nice blend of stories from her life, life lessons that she had learned, teaching, and poetry/written works that she had done. There wasn’t a particular stated audience that this book was directed toward: it could be relevant to a very large audience, as young as around 13, I would say.

There wasn’t a ton of scripture/biblical basis that this book was based around, so I would say that this is more of a “self-help” book rather than a Christian living book, but in general, it focuses on living for Christ. The majority of the discussion focuses on mental health issues, such as anxiety and ADHD, but it also has lessons based on everyday things, such as social media and friendships.

Overall, I really enjoyed it, and would recommend to anyone looking for an easy to read Christian living self help book! Some of my favorite quotes from this book:

It’s easy to believe that everything will be okay when everything is okay. It’s the moments where we feel like everything is crumbling before us and completely falling apart that faith proves just how powerful it is.

Where there is breath–there is hope. And that breath doesn’t have to be a soft and consistent one. Some days it may be a heavy and burdened one.

By choosing to live in the boldness of who I am, I am embracing who God made me to be. My circumstance is a part of my everyday, and I make the choice to embrace that–even if it looks different from what everyone else would expect.

When we allow our worth and our value to be defined by who we are and Whose we are instead of what other people think about us, we can begin to walk in freedom.

There is a Creator available to all of us, who creates in a way much greater than we could ever could. And when He gives us the privilege to be a part of those designs, we know that we have found our purpose.

My Rating-

4/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart by Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal

About the Book-

For the modern Christian woman living in today’s sexually charged society, embracing God’s design for sex and purity can often feel like an impossible pursuit. As the culture seeks to normalize things such as pornography, erotica, and casual sex, both single and married women of all ages feel immense pressure to conform. With alluring temptations constantly inviting them to join in, they might even begin to question whether God’s design is truly good. They wrestle with questions like

– What is the purpose of my sexuality?
– What does it mean to pursue purity?
– Are my sexual longings good or bad?

In this encouraging book, Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal share honestly about their own struggles and victories, and invite women on a personal journey to discover and reclaim a biblical vision for their sexuality. Kristen and Bethany help women understand why God’s design for sexuality is good, relevant, and leads to true hope and lasting freedom.

My Review-

To be completely honest, I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into this book. On one hand, I was worried that it would be very preachy, holier-than-thou, homophobic, close-minded, you get the point. On the other hand, I was concerned that it was going to to just skim over the actually important parts and just spout some universal standard “Christian nonsense,” you know? A book that talks about sex from a Christian point of view generally feels misinformed to me, since most girls who read Christian sex books don’t really need Christian sex books?

My impression? It wasn’t like that! I won’t say it wasn’t like that /at all/, but it was a lot better than I expected it to be. The book addresses women as sexual beings, which is a stance not often taken by Christian ministry, and speaks to struggles Christian women face, especially lust, homosexuality, desire, and guilt.

It wasn’t homophobic, or at least, as homophobic as I would have expected: they acknowledged the LGBTQ+ community was real, and the people in it were valid and that Christians often condoned them unrightly. For that, I appreciated it a lot: I feel like the Christian perspective on the LGBTQ+ community is generally misdirected and misinformed, and just tends to gloss over all of it as “sin, don’t look at it, don’t associate with it, the people who identify with them are living in sin,” and this book treats people in the LGBTQ+ community as people who are trying to find who they are, which was a really nice difference than the standard message.

The particular niche it filled was Christian single girls roughly 17-20: although delicately written, there were topics in it that weren’t necessarily suitable for younger girls, and it was written with marriage as the end goal, per say.

A lot of the topics were focused on marriage, and how saving sex for marriage was the way to go. While it give some good points on everything passion and intimacy related, it seemed to still mostly adhere to “purity culture.” There was a section where they talked about “oh if you’ve already had sex,” and there was a section on abuse, which was really good, but other than that, it seemed to be directed towards girls who have been raised Christian and only have questions about saving themselves for marriage.

As a whole, I was pleasantly surprised by this book and found it useful. I really liked how they brought a lot of “taboo” topics, especially for women, from within Christian ministry into the light, such as lust, pornography, masturbation, and abuse. I also really liked how the overall take on sex was positive, rather than negative (i.e., the typical ‘save yourself for marriage; imagine what your future husband will think!!! 🙊’ message). It is a very good resource, and while I didn’t feel it was relevant to me on several of the points, in the end, they pointed everything, and especially sex, back to the gospel, which was really nice.

My Rating-

4/5

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Second-Chance Dogs edited by Callie Smith Grant

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About the Book-

Everyone loves an underdog, and nothing gives us warmer feelings than seeing someone get a second chance in life. A problem pup who flourishes under the right kind of training. The struggling veteran who finds unconditional love wigging around at the end of a leash. The lonely child who finds comfort in the steady breathing of the warm, furry friend at her side.

Each of us needs to be rescued from something–and each of us has the capacity to rescue someone, or something, else. This feel-good collection of more than thirty contemporary, true stories spotlights the beauty of being rescued–dogs rescued by people, people rescued by dogs, and even dogs who rescue other animals. It’s the perfect companion–well, besides the four-legged, tail-wagging kind–for your morning cup of coffee or an evening curled up on the couch.

My Review-

Well shoot. Now I want a puppy. This book was a collection of dogs that were either rescues, or rescued their owners, put together by over 30 people.

The stories were all really adorable, and really sweet, some more than others, of course, but all super heartwarming and darling! The stories range from sad, to ordinary, to sweet, to fulfilling, but I enjoyed them all. They were all short enough that I could finish in a handful of minutes, which was really helpful.

I was not the biggest fan of some of the writing styles of several of the stories and some of the content from the stories felt a little bit flat, but overall, it was a really enjoyable series that I enjoyed!

My Rating-

4/5

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: How to be a Perfect Christian by the Babylon Bee

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About the Book-

Do you dream of becoming the poster kid for Christian perfection? Then get ready to be baptized in the glorious waters of modern Christian culture!

How to be a Perfect Christian is a step by step guide to grow you from a clueless Christ-follower into a supercharged megabeliever. Discover how to:

  • Join the right church–see how to ditch that group of hopeless losers holding you back and find a church that’s built around you.
  • Vet your pastor–assess his command of sermon acronyms and alliteration–plus his grasp of dynamic gestures.
  • Worship like a pro–find out how to have a worship experience that leaves you with that all-important, addicting emotional high.
  • Do life together–master the art of never letting anyone get close enough to your life to see what a mess it is below the surface

Wait! There’s much more–like acing the church potluck and serving the church without lifting a finger. This book is filled with everything you need to be your best spiritual self, even a free inspirational coloring page!

My Review-

If you take books seriously, then this one is not the one for you! How to be a Perfect Christian is FULL of satire/sarcasm (the one authentic line is probably the acknowledgements).

The Babylon Bee, a satirical Christian site, is well known for poking fun of Christian habits (reminiscent of John Crist), and while I haven’t really followed it, the book really gave me a taste of what they were about!

The entire book is basically a huge Christian inside joke, ranging from Baptist potlucks to worship services to youth group. Granted, it would probably thoroughly confuse anyone who wasn’t Christian, or didn’t have quite a bit of experience in the church.

So long as it is not taken seriously, this is a very humorous book! And even seriously, this book highlights some of the hypocrisy within the church and the little quirks and double standard of within the church.

My Ranking-

3/5

Things Liked-

  • super funny!
  • a big Christian inside joke
  • some important truths presented

Things Disliked-

  • definitely will not appeal to nonChristians, and may confuse them if they were to read it
  • sometimes things were presented a little too hard

Thanks to the publisher, Waterbrook and Multnomah, for providing me with a complimentary print copy of the book in exchange for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Answering the Toughest Questions about God and the Bible

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About the Book:

When it comes to the big questions about God, Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz don’t pretend to have all the answers. But they do know how to wrestle with doubt. They welcome questions, and in these pages they ask some of the most important ones you have about God and the Bible:

  • Is God real? How can you know?
  • Can I trust what the Bible says about God?
  • Why is the Bible so hard to understand?
  • Why do Christians say Jesus is the only way to God?
  • How do God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit relate to one another?
  • and more!

With candor, insight, and a disarming touch of humor, Bruce and Stan provide some answers to these critical questions, yet they leave enough space–and grace–for you to keep wrestling, asking, and seeking truth.

There is no shame in asking–after all, even some of the greatest men and women in the Bible had doubts. Don’t questions go unanswered. What you find might just change your life.

My Review:

Answering the Toughest Questions about God and the Bible is a book that answers a lot of questions that not-Christians or new Christians may have about Christianity and God in particular.

The book answers several questions that are often asked, which I like. It also takes a comparatively takes a non-controversial route, and answers questions straight from the Bible, which is nice, because I can use some of the arguments more easily without needing to pick and choose.

The defense and the explanation for each of the questions are very well-researched and cohesive, which is very helpful if I ever need to use it. Each of the questions starts being answered by starting at a very basic level, which is helpful as well.

There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter, which allows for discussion and study in groups or by oneself.

Overall, I like this book, and recommend it for anyone who has questions about God and the Bible, or is looking for answers for someone who is questioning stuff like this.

My Rating:

9/10

Thank you to Bethany House Publishing for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Under a Desert Sky by Lynne Hartke

About the Book:

There comes a time in life when we find ourselves in the desert place of burning questions: Why? and Why me? But even as we shake our fist heavenward, the heart whispers another question: Who? Who are you, God? Who are you to me?

Against the backdrop of the Sonoran Desert, Lynne Hartke asks her own questions as cancer arrives like a thief with one goal: to take it all. Hair. The contents of a stomach. A marriage. A life. As her days become a blur of doctors’ appointments, treatments, and surgeries, she wrestles with a tumble of tangled emotions, a shaken faith, and crushing self doubt. And then, the unthinkable. Cancer is now threatening not only her own life but also the lives of both her parents.  

Through her raw, lyrical words, Hartke invites you to discover, as she did, that even in life’s hardest places, you are not alone in your fear, you are not foolish to hope, and you are nevee forgotten by a loving, pursuing God. Never.

My Review:

Ever since I’ve followed Ava’s journey, I’ve been keenly interested in cancer and how it affects people, both the victim AND the victim’s loved ones. This book contains both. In this book, Lynne Hartke shares the story of her life: starting from her own diagnosis and fight with cancer, and also flashing back to her in-law’s cancer battles and also describing her own parents’ fight with cancer.

I really liked the writing style of the book, almost like a stream of consciousness narration style. There are stories from the past entwined with stories of the future that all flow together, which makes it less work, I suppose you could say, than reading other nonfiction books. She was also able to relate incidents from the past, her own and from the Bible, to what was currently happening, which made it all bond together.

Another thing about this book was that it didn’t feel like the author had all the answers. Instead, she was struggling, with her circumstances, with her faith, and God. It also tied to the stream of consciousness thing, where the chapters are a conglomeration of thoughts, but all supported by one idea.

There wasn’t a lot of stuff about the actual treatment of the cancer (which, frankly, is what I like), but I understand that, because not many people would like to hear about that. Instead, the book was more faith based, guiding Hartke and the reader towards Jesus as the final answer, all along.

Being an avid hiker living in the desert, there were many hiking/water/paths/exercise allusions in the book (including the title Under a Desert Sky), which all together tied the book together really well.  They were also very fitting: the journey of trusting Jesus, and life in general, is much like a hike in the canyon–excruciating and dangerous, but worth it in the end.

Overall, it was a really good book that I enjoyed.

My Rating:

7/10

 

Thanks to Revell for sending me a free print copy of this book for my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: KJV Thinline Bible

About the Book-

The Thomas Nelson KJV Thinline Large Print Bible—featuring the timeless beauty of the trustworthy King James translation in a large, readable font size—strikes the perfect balance between portability and readability. Wherever you’re going, the KJV Thinline Large Print Bible is built to travel with you. This easy-to-carry Bible comes with features that will enhance your reading experience, including beautifully-designed covers, an all-new typesetting in the elegant and readable Thomas Nelson KJV font, double ribbon markers, and the words of Christ in red.

My Review-

THIS IS THE HOLY WORD OF GOD, BREATHED BY THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE GOD. READ IT AND YOUR LIFE WILL BE BETTER.

Review over.

Just kidding XD but seriously, that’s how I feel like whenever I review Bibles! There’s nothing much you really can say. XD

But anyhow, today, I’m reviewing the green edition of Thomas Nelson’s line of thinline redletter Bibles! First of all, I LOVE the color! It goes so well with the general scheme of my room (lol), and is one of the prettiest colours (in my opinion; I don’t discriminate against colors XD) out there.

It’s hard cover, and it also lies flat, which is really nice. I’m planning on using this Bible for Bible Journaling, so that’ll be really nice for that. Also, there are two ribbon bookmarkers, which is really handy!

It’s a KJV version, so that’s a bit unusual for me, but I like it, a lot more than I had expected to!

The font is a nice size, not too small, but not too large, and it’s very clear. In addition, it’s a very nice size to carry in a bag: it’s not bulky at all, which makes it great to bring to church.

There are a few maps/bible reading plans/etc in the back, which I always really like in a Bible. However, it is just a Bible, not a study Bible,  which I actually like better, because I’m not as distracted.

Aside from that…I don’t think there’s much? I don’t need to review the content, so I’m mainly reviewing aesthetics.

Overall, it’s a great Bible. The clear font and its size make it a very nice Bible to read, and the book markers make it really handy.

My Rating-

9/10

Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for providing me with a complementary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not re2quired to write a positive review.