Friday, October 25, 2013

The Christmas Candle

By: Max Lucado

A new Christmas favorite!  The story begins in 1664 when a candle maker and his wife are visited by an angel in the middle of the night.  The angel touches a candle and it begins to glow.  The two can hardly believe what they witnessed and decided not to share it with anyone.  The candle is then given to a widow and when her prayers are answered the couple is surprised.  Surely there must be some connection to the candle and the answered prayer. 

The story then takes us to the year 1864.  Over the past 200 years an angel has visited a descendent of the candle maker ever twenty-five years and touched a candle.  The story became a legend as the prayers of those who received this special candle were always answered.  The people of Gladstone were excited as this was the year that the next miracle would come.  Will an unbelieving new reverend destroy the hopes of the people of Gladstone?  What happens when the candle maker has a mishap with the special candle?  The people of Gladstone may soon realize that their miracle will come in an unexpected way.    

This was a wonderful Christmas novella penned by author Max Lucado.  I found it both refreshing and uplifting.  I loved the message conveyed which is how we need to put our faith in The Lord and not in things of this world. I would definitely recommend this book.   

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Blessings for the Evening: Finding Peace in God's Presence

By: Susie Larson


What a comforting book to read before going to bed.  Once I opened this book it was difficult to put down as I found the words to be so uplifting and encouraging.  It definitely helped to put my mind at ease as I read about God’s promises and was reminded of His love for me.  I could feel the worries of the day become a distant memory.  I also enjoyed the beautiful pictures that were displayed in the background.  This book is truly a blessing to me and I think it will be a blessing to many others.    

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


Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Walk One Winter Night

By: Al Andrews

Al Andrews is the director of a non-profit organization called Porter’s Call.  The organization offers counseling to recording artists.  One night as Mr. Porter was taking a walk to clear his head he stumbled upon a recognizable scene, a manger set-up in someone’s front yard.  As he passed by he wanted to keep walking but something invited him to stay.  As he looked upon the figures he felt he did not have a connection with them.  They looked and seemed so perfect.  “Why don’t I like these people?” was the thought that entered his mind.  He felt guilty for even thinking this irreverent thought but hoped The Lord wouldn’t be upset by his question.  At this point something amazing happened.  I do not want to spoil the story so I invite you to get this book to find out what happens. 

I was so inspired by this book.  It is a short read but it is a powerful one.  It really made me think about how I view Jesus and other people from the Bible.  They are not simply characters from a story.  They were real people who once lived on earth as we do now.  This book was very eye opening for me and I look forward to sharing it with others.         

*I would like to thank Worthy Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Life’s Little Instruction Books: WiseDogs

By: H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

H. Jackson Brown, Jr. is the author of “Life’s Little Instruction Book”.  As that series proved popular he looked for a way to illustrate the life instructions from his books.  After viewing photographs taken by Dale C. Spartas, a world-class action photographer, Mr. Brown found his answer.  Mr. Brown felt that the photographs perfectly illustrated characteristics he described in his books.  These characteristics include purpose, loyalty and many more. 
Mr. Brown has penned a simple yet insightful book about the lessons that can be learned from dogs.  The book is set-up so there is a picture on one side and a life lesson on the other page.  This book was a little different than what I envisioned as I thought it was going to be more of a story.  However, I still enjoyed the book and I think it would make a wonderful gift to those who are dog lovers.  There are many adorable and heart-warming pictures! 
*I would like to thank Worthy Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Made to Last

By: Melissa Tagg

Miranda Woodruff appears to lead the perfect life.  She is the star of a home improvement television show and she is “married” to a perfect man named Robbie.  The only problem is when she goes home there is no husband waiting there for her.  Robbie is Miranda’s ex-fiancĂ©.  When she was trying out for the show she thought she would be married by the time it aired.  Unfortunately, Robbie had left and she could not bring herself to tell her real story.  With her television show on the line she needed some publicity.  Miranda had been able to keep her husband hidden from the public for years.  Introducing him to the public is just what she needed to get her ratings up.  While filming one day Miranda was taken back as she thought she saw Robbie.  As it turns out Miranda had mistaken Blaze, an employee of the caterer, as Robbie.  Miranda and her managers decided Blaze would be just the right person to hire to be her “husband”.  As if things were not complicated enough a reported named Matthew would be following her around and doing a blog about her.  I invite you to journey along with this lively group to learn about their laughs, their troubles and their road to healing.

I really enjoyed reading this book as it included many elements.  I found myself laughing as many times as I found myself sympathizing with these characters.  I thought the author did an excellent job of making the characters personalities shine through.  This book has a unique plot and I enjoyed all of the twists and turns.  I am hoping the author surprises us with a second book as Blaze has a story that has yet to be told.

 *This book was provided by Bethany House for my honest review.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Take Charge of Your Emotions

By: Dr. Linda J. Solie

Dr. Linda Solie has written a book that contains seven steps to overcoming depression, anxiety, and anger.  In my opinion, when dealing with any of the above mentioned feelings/states of mind there is no quick fix in overcoming any of them.  Dr. Solie provides readers with a roadmap so they can work through what they are feeling and she illustrates ways to overcome their feelings.  I liked how it was noted in the book that there is a difference between positive thinking and helpful self-talk.  Today it seems as though many people are saying, “Just think positive and it will all work out.”  Dr. Solie wisely paints a picture of Nora who is stuck in traffic that is not moving and she is ten miles away from a client.  If she needs to meet her client in five minutes it will not benefit her to untruthfully speak that she will be there on time.  A helpful way of dealing with this situation may be for Nora to accept that she will not be on time and call the client and apologize.  She can learn from this situation and leave a little earlier next time for an appointment. 

This may be a good book for people who are willing to take the time to work through their thought process.  Dr. Solie provides charts in this book that contain a situation, helpful and unhelpful self-talk, feelings and behavior.  Everyone is different so while I think many will find this book useful there will be others who may be looking for more of a quick fix instead of a process.    

*This book was provided by Bethany House for my honest review.

Think 4:8: 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life for Teens

By: Tommy Newberry with Lyn Smith

The Think 4:8 Principle is based off of the scripture Philippians 4:8 (TLB) which reads:

“Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right.  Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others.  Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about it.” 

This is a devotional written for teens.  Each day contains a scripture, a short teaching, and sections titled: Work It, Talk It, Stick It: Thought of the Day and Pray It.  Authors Tommy Newberry and Lyn Smith challenge teens to take forty days to get their thoughts in line with God’s way of thinking.  I think this is a very good book for teenagers as it is easy to read and provides action items.  If teens choose to follow the action items they will find themselves not just reading but putting into practice what they learned. 

I enjoyed many of the devotionals especially Day 4 which is titled “The Fifteen-Minute Miracle: The Joy of Daily Solitude”.  Lyn discusses how her father would wake her up thirty minutes before she needed to be up for school.  Her father instilled in her the importance of waking up early and spending time with The Lord.  While it has not always been easy, Lyn is grateful that her parents taught her the importance of spending this time with The Lord.  Although this book was written for teens I think it would make a good family devotional as well.  I believe teens and adults can both learn something for this book.      

Disclaimer:  Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


My Hope is Found (Cadence of Grace Series #3)

By: Joanne Bischof

In the second book in this series Gideon was torn from his marriage with Lonnie as Cassie claimed he was her rightful husband.  The third book begins with months having passed.  Gideon’s heart is filled with joy as Cassie has allowed him to be a free man and return to his one true love, Lonnie.  While he journeyed back to Lonnie he dreamed of what it would be like to see her and their son Jacob again.  Upon his arrival he found Lonnie engaged to another man named Toby, the handsome young reverend.  Although his heart was torn he vowed to fight for her with everything that he had.  He lost her once and did not want to lose her again.  He loved Lonnie and he could not fathom anyone else being by her side and raising their son.  As time passes Gideon learns what it means to truly love and let go of everything.  He has come to a place of letting go and trusting God even if that means life without Lonnie.

This is the third and final book in this series.  I must say that I wish there were more books in this series.  I could not put these books down as each one was very engaging.  The author has a way of drawing her readers into the lives of these characters and I found myself wanting to continue on this journey with them.  I also thought the author did an excellent job with the development of Gideon’s character.  This character changed so much from the first book to this last one.  Readers will see a true transformation in this character.  I loved this series and look forward to reading more of Ms. Bischof’s books.         

*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my honest review.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times

By: Max Lucado

During turbulent times this book offers encouragement.  Max Lucado writes about the life of Joseph and parallels his story with the hard times that all of us face in this life.  We often view situations or seasons in this life as unfair.  We may feel that The Lord has abandoned us or somehow failed us.  However, if we could see a glimpse of what The Lord is doing behind the scenes we may be comforted during challenging times.  The key is often found in trusting The Lord with our whole heart.  Does it make it easier?  Not necessarily.  It just means that we can find comfort in knowing that The Lord is working something out for our good.  Joseph certainly went through years of trouble and pain but all the while The Lord was working to achieve His purpose.

I have always loved the story of Joseph.  A man who endured so much yet held tightly to his faith.  I found this book very refreshing and encouraging.  I enjoy Mr. Lucado’s style of writing as he can pack a powerful punch in few words.  One of the powerful lines in this book is found on page 116.  Mr. Lucado writes, “Forgiveness doesn’t diminish justice, it just entrusts it to God.”  No matter what season you are going through in life, I believe you can be encouraged by this book. 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.