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Saturday, January 30, 2016

#REVIEW: NIV Beautiful Word Bible, Hardcover

Title: NIV Beautiful Word Bible
Series: none
Publisher: Zondervan
Published date: Feb 2, 2016
ISBN: 9780310444268
Pages: 1472
Form: Hardcover
Genre: Bibles
Buy it: Amazon | Zondervan
Synopsis: Be drawn into God’s Word through a fresh, creative expression of the beautiful words of God. Crafted on high-quality paper and balanced with inspiring full-color art and blank space, the NIV Beautiful Word Bible will encourage a deeper and more authentic quiet time. With 500 verses illustrated to help you see the rich diversity of stories, characters, prophecies, rewards, and hope contained within Scripture, you will discover wisdom to sustain you in every season, drawing you deeper into God’s life-changing and inspired Word.
Features include:
  • Single-column text of the New International Version (NIV)
  • 500 full-color illustrated verses
  • Wide margins and high-quality paper for notes, journal entries or artwork
  • Index of illustrated Scripture passages
(video from publisher)

My Rating: 4 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.
I find this Bible is pretty compact in height and width at 8.25" by 6.6", however, because of the heavier paper used for the illustrations and such, it is a heavier Bible, weighing in at almost 2.5 pounds.
I was a little disappointed when I received this Bible and thumbed through it. I was hoping for a little less color on the artwork, so that I myself could color in more. That disappointment was offset by the fact that there are lines in the wide margins for notetaking, which I absolutely love because I am definitely a note taker. I am happy though that someone else took the time to make the illustrations, because I definitely could not do anywhere near the incredible job that was done. Heck, my stick figures look deformed :).
Overall, this is a beautiful Bible, just know that these illustrations are completely colored already, so if you are looking to individualize the illustrations, it probably won't work.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

#REVIEW: The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck


Title: The Wedding Chapel
Series: none
Author: Rachel Hauck
Publisher: Zondervan
Published date: November 17, 2015
Add to Goodreads
Buy it Link Amazon

Synopsis:An old, forgotten chapel holds the key to love and forgiveness.

Retired hall-of-fame football coach Jimmy Westbrook never imagined anything would come of his labor of love—building a wedding chapel for Collette Greer, the woman he fell in love with in 1949. But now a realtor wants the land the chapel sits on, and he sees no reason to hang onto the past.

Photographer Taylor Branson is trying to make a life for herself in New York. Leaving her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, she put a lot of things behind her, including her family’s string of failed marriages. When she falls head-over-heels for Jack Gillingham, a top ad man, their whirlwind romance and elopement leave her with doubts. Jack, while genuine in his love for Taylor, can never seem to find the right way to show her he really cares.

When a post-mortem letter from Taylor’s Granny Peg shows up, along with an old photo, she is driven to uncover family secrets and the secret to her own happiness, starting with an assignment to photograph an unknown, obscure wedding chapel back in Heart’s Bend.

Taylor begins a mission to convince Jimmy that the chapel is worth saving—and that forgiveness and healing might happen within the chapel’s walls . . . for both of them.
 

My rating: 5 Stars

My review: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley.

I love Rachel Hauck's books. I find she writes in a realistic fashion which pulls the reader into the story and makes you one of the characters. The overarching story about a romance between Jimmy and Collette was so empathic and thorough, it left me aching for a happy ever after for them. How can you not? Jimmy's story of the wedding chapel itself is so deep and heartfelt, and yes, so romantic.
Then there is the modern day story within this story, the one of Taylor and Jack, 2015 finds them eloped and suddenly marriage isn't what they expected. The romance and heat has disappated, and Taylor and Jack find themselves at odds, struggling to make their hasty marriage work.
This is an amazing story within a story that I absolutely loved.

#REVIEW:Philippians: Discovering Joy through Relationship by Sue Edwards

Title: Philippians: Discovering Joy through Relationship
Author: Sue Edwards
Series: Discover Together Bible Study
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Published Date: November 27, 2015
Genre: Inductive Bible Study
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis: A "how-to" study for finding joy in authentic relationships and community.

Women long for healthy, deep relationships with those around them. Knowing what those look like can be tricky, however. Where do we go to seek them? How can we approach them? How can we maintain those relationships, despite our own weaknesses?
Sue Edwards is happy to lead the way through Scripture to discover and maintain beloved, organic friendships. Paul's letter to early Christians is an ideal place to find these answers. This short letter highlights the skills that strengthen authentic connections--skills like trust, humility, healthy self-sacrifice, a generous spirit, and more. It also sheds light on how to overcome toxic connection-killers like envy, comparison, and critical attitudes.
Philipians: Discovering Joy Through Relationship works its way through Paul's words as a model for deep, authentic community and healthy relationships between believers. When readers reach the end, they'll have a thorough sense of the content of this ancient letter, and of its relevance for today. Although Paul was under house arrest, he was able to draw joy from his relationships, and we can do the same, no matter our circumstances. Edwards strives to ensure that this Bible study will do more than transfer intellectual information; it will also transform hearts and inspire practice and application.

My rating: 4 Stars

My review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first Discover Together Bible study I have come across. I love  inductive Bible studies, those that guide you to find the answers for yourself within Scripture. I find it to be a very rewarding method of Scripture study. Rather than reading someone else's interpretation of the Bible, you are digging into it yourself and making your own connections.
This particular one is all about how we find joy through the relationships around us and how those relationships help us through difficult times in our lives.
It is kind of hard to do this as an individual study. It really is geared towards a small group, There are plenty of external sources you can use: videos through the website or accessed by a QR code, as well as leader guides.
Overall, it is a good inductive study, but more geared to the small group, not the individual seeker.

#RELEASE DAY: Tell Me Lies by Michelle Lindo-Rice

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New Book Release: Tell Me Lies by Christian Fiction Author
Michelle Lindo-Rice
Kindle: ASIN: B018EXNO70
Publication Date: Jan 12, 2016
Genre: Christian Fiction
michelle_2015
About The Author
Michelle Lindo-Rice is an award winning, bestselling author of "Able to Love" and "On the Right Path" series. She enjoys crafting women's fiction with themes centered around the four "F" words: Faith, Friendship, Family and Forgiveness. She is the 2015 winner of the Black Writers And Book Clubs Rocks Author of the Year Award. www.michellelindorice.com  
About The Book
tell_me_lies_cover A broken heart...When Sydney Richardson meets Pastor Noah Charleston it was practically love at first sight. Sydney has battled so much deception in her personal life and in her work as an attorney, she is glad to have a perfect man she can depend on. But her Prince Charming has some secrets that are worse than Sydney could have ever imagined. What will she do when Noah's past life come to light? A broken truth… Pastor Noah Charleston has come a long way since his troubled youth. A respected Man-of-God, Noah’s long buried past emerges in the form of blackmail and threats. Noah not only fears for his safety but also for his newfound love. Will he take a chance on the truth before it’s too late? A broken trust...Newly converted Christian, Belinda Santiago, harbors a secret that could end her friendship with Sydney. She’s in love with Lance Forbes, Sydney’s ex-fiancĂ©. When Belinda and Lance’s relationship is exposed she may have to choose between her man and her best friend. A broken man...Lance Forbes returns to Port Charlotte to make things right with Sydney, but his feelings for Belinda are in his way. Lance knows for him to become a do-right man, he must face his childhood pain. Will Lance get his act together and take a chance on love or run again? Connect Socially Website: http://www.michellelindorice.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michelle.lindorice Twitter: https://twitter.com/mlindorice Purchase Links: Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1kj24B7 Amazon: http://amzn.com/B018EXNO70
Prologue
“The rumor is three black boys killed your parents. Is it true?” Perched on the edge of his cot, Noah Charleston lifted his eyes to look at the four half-men standing before him. The leader of the pack, Mitch, was sixteen with a baby face, braces and bad acne around his chin. His two muscles, twins Roger and Wylie, were about a year older at seventeen. Both were built like linebackers. Finally, the Whiz, or Matthew a slender fifteen year old with glasses that took up half of his face was the brain of the group. “Answer him,” Roger prodded, stepping into the small cell. Noah shrugged. “That was a year ago.” “We can do something about that.” Mitch popped his gum. “Join us.” Noah had heard about the “Avengers” as they dubbed themselves. They ruled the juvenile detention hall and dressed in their version of combat gear: khaki pants, boots and camouflage shirts. Even the counselors were afraid of them. Noah kept to himself. Everyone pretty much left him alone. Except for today. He looked up at them. “Do I have a choice?” Wylie stepped forward. “Do you want me to help you make up your mind?” “How about I help fix that ugly face of yours?” Noah threw back. Wylie sprung at Noah. Noah jumped to his feet and sidestepped the much bigger guy. Then he bashed Wylie in the back of the head. Roger lunged at him. “Quit it,” Mitch bellowed. “Leave him alone.” Roger’s chest heaved but he backed off. His eyes held a threat. Noah met his gaze, daring him to bring it. “I like your heart,” Mitch said. “We need you.” “I like my own company,” Noah said. “We have something you want,” the Whiz said. His voice was barely above a whisper. He wheezed his words as if he was always in need of an asthma pump. “You don’t have—” Noah’s eyes widened. The Whiz held a crumpled 3x5 photograph in his hand. Noah snatched it, “Where did you find this?” “We have our ways,” Mitch bragged. Noah squinted. “I hacked into the computer system,” the Whiz said. This time he coughed at the end of his words. “I know who took your picture.” “We’ve handled him.” Mitch’s tone was solemn. “That’s why you should be thanking us,” Wyle said, rubbing the back of his head. Noah looked at the photograph of his parents and closed his eyes to keep the tears from falling. It was his most prized possession. When he had been sent here to the juvenile home two months ago, Noah had placed it under his pillow before lunch. When he checked for it later that night, it had been gone. He searched everywhere but couldn’t find it. That was the first time since his parents’ funeral Noah had cried himself to sleep. “Thank you,” he grounded out. “Thank us by joining us,” Mitch said. The Whiz held up a picture. It was an African-American by the name of Tony Billows who had taken it. Noah clenched his fists. “Where is he?” “In the hospital with some missing teeth,” Roger said. “And a missing pinky,” Wylie added. Noah blinked. He would have settled it with a well-deserved punch or two. Not doing Tony serious injury. “That was vicious.” “It was a message. You mess with one of us you mess with us all. We’re a family,” Mitch said. “The Avengers,” Wylie and Roger said in unison. They held out their fists. Noah had reservations but Mitch had used the magic word. Family. Noah wanted family. He made a fist and the boys all did a fist bump. “The Avengers,” he said. “Welcome,” Mitch said. “Glad to have you,” The Whiz whispered. “Now, let’s get you some proper clothes and a haircut.” Noah swallowed his reservations. He had a family again. Nothing else mattered. To Read the first three chapters, click here: http://michellelindorice.blogspot.com/2015/09/tell-me-lies-prologue-and-first-three.html

Friday, January 8, 2016

#RELEASE PARTY: The Busy Person's Guide to Everyday Enlightenment by Janey Bowyer

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The Busy Person’s Guide to Everyday Enlightenment v2 (1)
  The Busy Person’s Guide to Everyday Enlightenment is the perfect antidote to the strains of modern living. Featuring easy-to-follow meditations, yoga sequences, techniques and holistic advice that you can apply to even the busiest of lifestyles. What makes this book different is that it is tailored to recognise in this time of hectic living that we all have the need to nurture, care and centre ourselves, yet we don’t always have the time for long practices to achieve this. Ironically, the very thing we have convinced ourselves we don’t have time to do - looking after ourselves - is what can lead to better health and a sense of inner calm. Within these pages, you will find easy-to-follow sequences. This book is a helping hand to those who wish to fit in some me-time self-care even into the most time-starved of lifestyles.


 You can learn to… • Develop techniques in as little as 5 minutes a day that can help you deal with stress • Turn everyday stressful situations into meditation just by shifting your perspective • Nourish your body with simple yoga schedules that can help target specific areas or states of mind, no matter how busy you are • Bring the holistic into the hectic and learn to Zen out when the rest of the world is rushing • Improve and progress with the help of handy tips • Enjoy guilt-free self-nurturing  

Buy on Amazon

 

20151119-REL-Jane_Bowyer-1179About the author: I grew up on a hill in the north of England. From a young age, I wanted to live in London. As a child, during the depths of night, I'd often listen to the hum of passing trains. Sometimes I'd run to my bedroom window hoping to catch a glimpse so that I could pretend that I too was travelling on one, speeding along, London bound, like the rest of the world was sleeping.
So one day in my late teens, I bought a one-way ticket and travelled to London with just £30.00 in my pocket and a bit of blind faith.
In my novel The Last Days of Lisa, (that I’m still writing), the main character Lisa mirrors how overwhelming it was for me to see London for the first time through the eyes of a teenager travelling alone….
‘London never rests, she thinks. It’s on speed. A vortex, absorbing everything. Running from its own stench but also basking in it. Seemingly superficial and plastic to those not enchanted by its ambivalent charms. London has a soul; a ravenous appetite that feeds on the egos of the thousands that flock here each day to get closer to their dreams. ‘
Not long after moving to London, yoga and writing graced my life. I think they both saved me. On the writing front the spark came after reading the book, Catcher in the Rye. I’d not had the opportunity to study much as a child but that didn’t matter now as this book blew me away. “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of c—p, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” J.D Salinger As for yoga, another book in the form of a second-hand yoga book written back in the 1960’s made its way into my mitts via a second-hand bookstore. As I’d said earlier, to start with I wasn’t very good at either. Dyslexia and lack of flexibility and poor posture were my obstacles. I could see beyond that though as both yoga and writing offered me hope and possibilities that before this I hadn’t ever thought possible. Before yoga and writing I believed I was useless and had nothing to offer the world. So I worked hard at studying for more than a decade. The author John Harding was the first teacher to believe in me. After studying writing under his inspiring tuition, I even managed to get a few novels published along the way. On the yoga side, I studied both Hatha and later Kundalini yoga and despite not being naturally flexible nor a person who liked to sit still. It was in India back in 2004 that I had my first awakening experience. During all this time, I also managed over the years to work my way up from an office junior job to a finally a supervisor position, having worked for most of my life in a string of unfulfilling office jobs. The good news that in October 2015 I left office work to become The Word Sprite full time! The silver lining in all of this is through my personal experience of having to be creative with my time I came up with the concept of yoga and holistic solutions for modern day living. Hence, this is how The Word Sprite was born! Read Janey's awesome article How to Manifest Real, Lasting Love on MindBodyGreen.  

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#REVIEW: The Four Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership by Jenni Catron

Title: The Four Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership: The Power of Leading from Your Soul, Heart, Mind and Strength
Series: none
Author: Jenni Catron
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published Date: Dec 1, 2015
Genre: leadership advice, Christian
Buy it: Amazon

Synopsis:
You have the capacity to become an extraordinary leader—if you are willing to embrace a deeper definition of leadership and take action to apply it.
In The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership, Jenni Catron, executive church leader and author of Clout, reveals the secrets to standout leadership found in the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Weaving a winsome narrative filled with inspiring real-life stories, hard-won wisdom, and practical applications, Catron unpacks four essential aspects of growing more influential: your heart for relational leadership, your soul for spiritual leadership, your mind for managerial leadership, and your strength for visionary leadership.
Leadership isn’t easy, but it is possible to move from ordinary to extraordinary. Jenni Catron shows the way.

My Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

My review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is the first leadership book I have ever read, and I am so glad I did. As a relatively new leader at work, I am truly struggling. Not with the day to day stuff, but with the people. I am not good with people, I never have been, which is why I am in the area I am in, no patient interaction, don't have to deal with a lot of people, just me and the tubes of blood. As a co-worker, I made very superficial relationships with my coworkers. I was in there to do a job and go home. But now as a leader, I need to foster a sense of dependability and trust that the superficial relationships aren't doing. And I have learned that no matter how hard I work at the day to day stuff, that isn't fostering the trust and respect I need from my team.
Reading this book showed me where I am lacking and how to work on those areas. There are four parts to leadership the author speaks about: heart, soul, strength and mind. In every one, she explains what it consists of, how to strengthen it, how it looks if you are lacking in the specific area, and how it looks if you are too strong in it. Yes, too much can be a bad thing in this case. 
I have been able to read this book and start putting the advice into action. That in itself is what makes it such a great book.

Monday, January 4, 2016

#REVIEW: Love Everlasting by Tracie Petersen


Title: Love Everlasting
Series: Brides of Seattle #3
Author: Tracie Petersen
Publisher: Bethany House
Published Date: October 6, 2015
Genre: Christian Romance, Historical Fiction
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis: Growing up in a Seattle bridal finishing school never prepared Abrianna Cunningham to become one of the brides, but now Wade Ackerman, who has always been the reliable boy next door, is indicating he wants to be more than friends. And even the people closest to Abrianna believe Wade is the man she should marry. So why is she having such a hard time choosing between Wade Ackerman and Priam Welby?

Watching Welby's relentless pursuit of Abrianna is making Wade's blood boil. Welby can offer her wealth and security, but what about character and integrity? Surely Abrianna can see past Welby's smooth tongue and fine clothes. Can't she?
Caught between the devil and the boy next door, either choice she makes will change Abrianna's life forever.


My rating: 4 Stars

My review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest reviewI received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Abrianna has been one of my favorite characters in this series. I am usually partial to red-heads, and ones that get into an inordinate amount of trouble because of their stubborn streak are my favorites. Throughout the series, I have felt that she has been the most well-developed out of all of the characters. She is definitely the strongest in her faith, and that faith cements her decisions that may or may not seem to be in her best interests.
Wade has been a character in the series that has been in the shadows as a main character. I like how he has been given room to grow and develop in this book, and how the author has not allowed him to remain stagnant. The only complaint I would have is that Wade tends to be overshadowed by Abrianna, and perhaps that is the author's purpose.
The end makes the reader think that this truly is the end of the series, perhaps a spin-off series could be possible, especially with Flora now on the scene.

Overall, this was a great book (and series!) to read, to enjoy stepping into the lives of these characters in the bridal school, to watch how their faith has grown, and love has become part of their lives, even through all of the mishaps and trouble the characters have found themselves in..

Abrianna has been one of my favorite characters in this series. I am usually partial to red-heads, and ones that get into an inordinate amount of trouble because of their stubborn streak are my favorites. Throughout the series, I have felt that she has been the most well-developed out of all of the characters. She is definitely the strongest in her faith, and that faith cements her decisions that may or may not seem to be in her best interests.
Wade has been a character in the series that has been in the shadows as a main character. I like how he has been given room to grow and develop in this book, and how the author has not allowed him to remain stagnant. The only complaint I would have is that Wade tends to be overshadowed by Abrianna, and perhaps that is the author's purpose.
The end makes the reader think that this truly is the end of the series, perhaps a spin-off series could be possible, especially with Flora now on the scene.

Overall, this was a great book (and series!) to read, to enjoy stepping into the lives of these characters in the bridal school, to watch how their faith has grown, and love has become part of their lives, even through all of the mishaps and trouble the characters have found themselves in.