Friday, March 31

The Pursuit of God: A Book Review


The Pursuit of God by AW Tozer

I told you that I was on a Tozer kick! This book has been called one of the all time most inspirational books by a panel of Christian magazine writers. In my years at a Christian high school and then college, I was surprised that I never had a Tozer book assigned as required reading.

In this book, Tozer brings the mystics to bear on modern spirituality, grieving the hustle and bustle and calling for a slow, steady gaze upon God. With his typical prophetic vigor and flowing prose, Tozer urges us to replace low thoughts of God with lofty ones, to quiet our lives so that we can know God's presence. He seeks to remind us that a life apart from God is actually no life at all.

Despite being originally published in 1948, I found this book to be SO VERY relevant in my life today...well, except for some of the old-time-y wording :) It took me a while to get through this book because I had to get used to the language of the 40's. We talk in such a simplified way in our current culture, and I don't think we're better off for it.

All that to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It stretched my thinking and made me even more excited to read some of Tozers' others works. (Also, I'm really digging the re-printed and modern covers to his books by Moody Publishers!)


Disclaimer: This book was provided to me free of charge by Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Also, affiliate links used. This means that if you purchase a book via the Amazon links, I'll receive a small percentage. Thank you for supporting my blog!

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Thursday, March 30

The Christian Book of Mystical Verse: A Book Review



I secretly love poetry. I even write it sometimes. Growing up, I attended a Mennonite middle and high school that had a chapel every day. We sang hymns from hymn books, and I absolutely loved how the hymn writers pieced their words and phrases together. When was the last time you picked up a hymnal? There is great theology in those songs.

The same can be true about the poems in this book, compiled by Tozer, of different writers throughout history. Don't let the term "mystic" scare you off! It has many connotations, but in this book it refers to a common spiritual experience that unites anyone who has fellowship with God. The poems are organized by themes (such as the nature of salvation, man's own sin, etc).

The language varies between poets and writers, because after all, many of the selections were written hundreds of years ago when the dialect was quite different than the slang we use today, using more formal wording that begs the reader to pay greater attention than if reading something written in today's time. I've been using this book in my daily devotional time to help transition my thinking to a deeper focus, and without a doubt, enjoying it immensely.


Disclaimer: This book was provided to me free of charge by Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Also, affiliate links used. This means that if you purchase a book via the Amazon links, I'll receive a small percentage. Thank you for supporting my blog!

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Wednesday, March 29

Make It Yours: A Book Review


Yellow Owl Workshop's Make It Yours // by Christine Schmidt

This how-to book is adorable! I wasn't sure what to expect before it arrived because I've ordered some similar books and been disappointed with the lack of details and small size. This book exceeded my expectations.

There are many projects, ranging from creating simple monogrammed note cards to stamping fabric for a quilt (and pillows) to how to add fun details to leather clutches to even creating designs on cookies. Some of the projects are easier than others, and each project has a difficulty assigned to it to help the reader understand what they're getting into before beginning. The variety of projects is fabulous. I wasn't interested in each one, but enough of them that I find this book a valuable tool.

As far as the instructions on how to create any stamps, I found the book informative. It wasn't overly informative, so if you learn by having someone show you by example (and don't necessarily learn by reading instructions), I could see the book being a bit of struggle. However, I think there's enough detail to get you started, especially with the simple stamping.

Overall, I really liked this book!


Disclaimer: This book was provided to me free of charge by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Also, affiliate links used. This means that if you purchase a book via the Amazon links, I'll receive a small percentage. Thank you for supporting my blog!

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Tuesday, March 21

If I'm Found: A Book Review


If I'm Found by Terri Blackstock

This is the second book in the "If I Run" series. I've summarized my review of the first book, If I Run, at the bottom of this blog post.

Let me start off by saying that I deeply enjoyed this book! I love reading mystery/suspense novels, but hate reading them by secular authors because there's usually too much profanity, sex or violence. It seems like Blackstock is able to balance mystery and able to build suspense with taming the graphic nature of suspense novel subjects.

This book picks up right where the last one, If I Run, leaves off with Casey Cox on the run from the ex-military turned private investigator Dylan Roberts. He's been tracking her since he was hired by the family of a man (Casey's good friend) who, along with the police, are hunting Casey for the man's murder. The readers were left in a place where we believe that Casey was able to convince Dylan that she wasn't involved in the murder and that some members of the local police force were crooked and to blame. They've been able to exchange secret emails, and Casey isn't sure if she believes she can trust Dylan. As she's working to collect evidence about the real murderers, Casey stumbles on another injustice. This book does a great job at weaving the story lines together to fully draw the reader into the tale and root for Casey...and Dylan.

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If I Run by Terri Blackstock (review from March 2016)

Because I've shied away from fiction in the last couple years, I honestly can't remember the last time I read a Terri Blackstock book, if ever. Given that she's a bigger name in Christian fiction, this book was a rather safe chance for me to add to my reading list. The book follows Casey after she finds her best friend killed at his home. Knowing that her DNA is all over the scene, she flees (very intelligently with using cash, prepaid cell phones, a new ID, etc) while she tries to gather a better understanding about what actually happened to her journalist friend looked into the death of her father before he was killed. Hint: her father's death was obviously a dangerous enough subject that her journalist friend was killed over it. The characters and mystery in this novel were top notch. I found myself on the edge of my seat during the whole book, and strangely sad when it was over. Due to the semi-resolved state of the ending, I'm hoping Blackstock writes a follow-up novel. One of the best fiction books I've read in a long time!


Disclaimer: This book was provided to me free of charge by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Also, affiliate links used. This means that if you purchase a book via the Amazon links, I'll receive a small percentage. Thank you for supporting my blog!

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Monday, March 20

Dawn of Christianity: A Book Review


Dawn of Christianity by Robert Hutchinson

This book tells the story of how the first followers of Jesus survived the terror and despair of witnessing Jesus being arrested, tried and executed. Hutchinson uses the most recent studies by Christian and secular scholars to reconstruct all known accounts of these early resurrection appearances and then follows the stories of the people who witnessed the resurrection as they became committed evangelists to the major population centers in Antioch, Damascus, Rome and Athens.

Because I attended a Christian middle and high school, followed by Christian college, I had a class at some point on various times of Christian history, including immediately following the resurrection. BUT, what teenager is truly that interested in retaining what they learn in a church history class. All that to say, I enjoyed reading this book. I liked the historical accuracy and research that Hutchinson worked to achieve, and I appreciated the refresher (and more! I learned a lot in this book) crash course from this book. There's so much to learn from the early church!


Disclaimer: This book was provided to me free of charge by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Also, affiliate links used. This means that if you purchase a book via the Amazon links, I'll receive a small percentage. Thank you for supporting my blog!

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Sunday, March 19

Super Genes: A Book Review


Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being by Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi

This book is WAY outside of my normal reading. Quite honestly, I thought it would be a little, well, over my head with its use of big medical and/or psychology terminology. Despite that, I was intrigued by the subject matter and thought it might be worth giving the book a try.

Written by two doctors - one medical and one a PhD - who apparently wrote the New York Times bestseller Super Brain, this book promised to tackle how we can shape our gene activity to influence the rest of our life. Like I said, fascinating concept, right? For decades, medical science has believed that genes determine our biological destiny. However, new genetic testing and knowledge suggests that, while our genes truly do dictate parts of our lives (eye color), there are other genes that are dynamic, responding to what we think, say and do. The authors present that the lifestyle choices we make can optimize how our genes behave, creating change in other areas of our lives.

Overall, I thought this book was good to read once. It had some empowering ideas and examples, and I like to think that I can apply some of what was recommended in parts of my life to improve my health and overall well-being.


Disclaimer: This book was provided to me free of charge by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Also, affiliate links used. This means that if you purchase a book via the Amazon links, I'll receive a small percentage. Thank you for supporting my blog!

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Friday, March 10

The Moth Presents All the Wonders: Book Review


The Moth Presents All the Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown

I had never heard of "The Moth" before picking up this book, and frankly, I was unbelievably confused over the title of this book at first. What was "The Moth"? Shortly, it is a transient event of regular people, and sometimes performers, telling their real stories in front of a live audience. Appearing in different cities and countries, the stories range from real, emotional to funny, lighthearted, but all of them have a certain kind of vulnerability at their core.

This book is a collection of some of the stories that have been told on a Moth stage. Captured from every possible age, race and place in life, these stories are fantastic, ranging from an Afghan refugee learning how much her father sacrified to save their family, a hip-hop star coming to terms with being a "one hit wonder," a young female spy risking everything to be part of Churchill's secret army in World War II to a mother dealing with insurance fraud that forced her into making difficult decisions that lead to her son's son death and more.

The cover of this book is SO PRETTY. The paper is nice to the touch. This is, quite honestly, one of the most beautiful books I've picked up in a long time It also helps that the stories inside are packed full of vulnerability, honesty, some laughs and emotion.


Disclaimer: This book was provided to me free of charge by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Also, affiliate links used. This means that if you purchase a book via the Amazon links, I'll receive a small percentage. Thank you for supporting my blog!

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Wednesday, March 8

And Still She Laughs: Book Review


And Still She Laughs by Kate Merrick

The author, Kate Merrick, faced the crippling grief that life can bring when her five year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Years of suffering followed, along with hospital stays, emotional agony and fear, leading to the crushing fate of holding her sweet daughter as she took her last breath in their home.

This book is full of inspiring transparency in her struggle with finding joy in sorrow and shows how we, just like the ordinary women seen in the Bible, can rise above unbearable circumstances and live fully. It's always encouraging for me to read a book where the author is so real with her emotions and the way that grief manifests itself in her life and in her family. Kate was so open in this book, and I appreciated her vulnerability and words so much more for it!


Disclaimer: This book was provided to me free of charge by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Also, affiliate links used. This means that if you purchase a book via the Amazon links, I'll receive a small percentage. Thank you for supporting my blog!

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Monday, March 6

Talk Yourself Happy: Book Review


Talk Yourself Happy by Kristi Watts

This book was written by Kristi Watts, a former The 700 Club co-host, and to be completely honest, I've never watched a single episode of that show. Actually, I don't even know if that was a talk show or a religious show. I picked up a copy of this book for two reasons.

1.) The cover the book was enticing. Kudos to whoever designed it! It looks so cheery and happy.
2.) I was intrigued by the summary of the book: "Former co-host of The 700 Club Kristi Watts reveals the pitfalls that keep Christians from true joy and demonstrates the transformative power of speaking the words and promises of God." Weighty, right?

After her marriage dissolved, Watts left her high profile position at The 700 Club and struggled through what it meant to regain the joy. happiness and laughter she had a reputation for. She realigned her focus from her circumstances and started cultivating true happiness by using Biblical principles and relying on God to tame our tongues and train our minds.

Like I mentioned above, I didn't pick up this book because I was a "fan girl" or wanted an insider's perspective on Watts' life. I wanted to see if this book had more depth than the average "just read your Bible and pray for God's joy!" advice that's so readily given out during hard times. Overall, I thought this book was good. It had some depth, definitely a lot of inspiration and an absolutely wonderful reminder of God's faithfulness.


Disclaimer: This book was provided to me free of charge by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Also, affiliate links used. This means that if you purchase a book via the Amazon links, I'll receive a small percentage. Thank you for supporting my blog!

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