Friday, February 24, 2017

#REVIEW: Control Girl by Shannon Popkin

Title: Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible
Series: none
Author: Shannon Popkin
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Published Date: Jan 27, 2017
ISBN: 978-0825444296
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis: Little fights with your husband and kids. Unhappiness when things don't match your version of perfect. Tension, anger, fear, anxiety--it all begins with a heart that craves control. When your perspective of how life should go replaces God's, you doom your quest for security, peace, and joy before it even starts.
Thankfully, there is a better way.
Join Shannon as she shares what she has discovered about her own control struggles and about God from studying seven Control Girls in the Bible. Whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move, or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future, each of these women's stories contain warnings and lessons for us today.
Learn how you too can lay down this burden of trying to control everything and find rest in surrendering to the One who truly is in control.

My Rating: 4 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Ever heard of a worrier? Yeah, I take that to an art form, along with probably 30% of the American population. I have worried about conversations I had years ago and actions I should or shouldn't have done because of those conversations. So do a lot of other people. And people who are worriers are ultimately dealing with control issues. When things seem out of control, that is when I worry the most.
From these seven women of the Bible, I found that I am probably most like Eve, in her need to know instead of trusting in what others tell me. But whether I am like Eve, or Rebekah, or Esther, I have been able to learn lessons from each of these women. At the end of each chapter are Bible verses to reflect on and questions to answer as you work your way through the book.
One of the quotes from the book that struck me was “If it’s hidden, it’s out of our control.” In a way, I can agree with it, in another way, my job requires me to dig deeper, look at details. It's a struggle for me to dig for details, and to trust at the same time.
Overall, I found this book to have a lot of good advice to let go of the smaller worries that I really have no control over.

#REVIEW: The Dog Who Was There by Ron Marasco

Title: The Dog Who Was There
Series: none
Author: Ron Marasco
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published Date: January 31, 2017
Pages: 272
Buy It Link: Amazon | Thomas Nelson

No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah. He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before.
Barley’s story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver’s home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.

My Rating: 3 1/2 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I was interested to see a dog's perspective of Jesus and first century Jerusalem. However, the book itself took a very long time to actually get to the action, and because of this, it was very hard to keep going in the beginning. This came a lot from backstory, flashbacks, etc.
Before starting this book, I was hoping to see a more up close storyline to Jesus, and the fact that it was so far away from ground zero was disappointing. On the other hand, it was refreshing to see how far outwards Jesus' influence went even during his life. And, of course, the end of the book was fantastic in how it brought the beginning of the book all the way to the end. A thread of a storyline I didn't realize was running through the book until I saw the end.
Overall, the author's writing is just okay for me, but the book is built on a great premise.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

#REVIEW: Achaia by Ronald Beckham

Title: Achaia: The Days of Noah
Series: none
Author: Ronald Beckham
Publisher: WestBow Press
Published Date: December 20, 2016
ISBN: 978-1512750010
Buy It Link: Amazon

Synopsis: Technology–it’s about OUR generation, isn’t it? Or is it? Could it have happened long before the stone, bronze and iron ages we think of as the dawn of modern technology? The Bible tells us something of Cain, the second man, who “was building a city” (Genesis 4:17 & forward). Within a short time, we find tent making, the creation of harps and flutes, and the making of sophisticated bronze and iron tools, thousands of years before such things were supposed to exist. “Achaía, The Days Of Noah” presents a high technology on a unique basis, a world filled with underground and above ground cities, laser weaponry, electrical and nuclear energy, modern warfare and space travel. Genesis 6:11-13 is God’s view of the world at that time: “corrupt…and full of violence.” The earth was to be destroyed by an immense flood with earthquakes and volcanism under the waters that destroyed the world, its civilization and ended for a time our violent tendencies. What was that world like?–Read “Achaía” and find out.

My Rating: 2 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I really struggled to read this book. The basic characters weren't so bad. Reading the book, sometimes I could understand the inner workings of the characters and wanted to know them more, other times the utter strangeness of the whole book swallowed me up. There is a huge leap in technology to go from the Iron and early Bronze Age and then to suddenly be in something that is more futuristic than our own modern day life, and then knowing that somehow we end up going back to the Stone/Bronze Ages, all within a few hundred years. This disparity is what really threw me, and didn't allow for an enjoyment of the book.
Even as a steampunk and fantasy reader, I felt this book had far too much imagination, with not enough facts to ground it into a believability. Now, if this were a whole different world, it would be so much easier and more enjoyable to read.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

#REVIEW and #GIVEAWAY: Love Him Anyway by Abby Banks

Title: Love Him Anyway: Finding Hope in the Hardest Places
Series: none
Author: Abby Banks
Published Date: February 21. 2017
Publisher: Ambassador International
Pages: 225
ISBN: 978-1620205723
Buy It Link: Amazon
One night can change everything. Abby Banks put her healthy, happy infant son to sleep, but when
she awoke the next morning, she felt as though she was living a nightmare. Her son, Wyatt, was paralyzed. There was no fall, no accident, no warning. A rare autoimmune disease attacked his spinal cord, and there was no cure. In an instant, all her hopes and dreams for him were wiped away. The life she envisioned for her family was gone, and she was frozen by the fear of a future she never imagined.
As she struggled to come to grips with her son's devastating diagnosis and difficult rehabilitation, she found true hope in making a simple choice, a choice to love anyway-to love her son, the life she did not plan, and the God of hope, who is faithful even when the healing does not come. In Love Him Anyway, Abby shares her family's journey from heartbreak to triumph and reminds us that hope and joy can be found in life's hardest places.

My Rating: 5 stars

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
You know how when you're little and you have all of these dreams for your life. I know I had practically designed my wedding dress in my head, knew where I would go on a honeymoon, and had already named my imaginary children, all by the time I was 12. Life ended up much different. I'm sure yours did too.
That's how this book starts...the dreams of hopes of a mother for her baby son. The road that leads them to a very different life though, are heartbreaking. The sheer magnitude of everything this family had gone through in the space of a few years even before Wyatt's birth and diagnosis would test any one's faith and resolve. And then in the space of a night, their whole life and future is tipped upside down. It reminds me of the saying, "Man plans, God laughs."
The grace, patience and hope the author expresses in this book brings each reader along the trip of the lows, highs and successes as if each of us were right there with her. There is a part in the book where the author says she wishes she had focused on an area of medicine at some point in her college career, because it would have been so much more useful than a degree in communications. But her degree in communications has led to this book, sharing Wyatt's story with more people than any degree in medicine could have.
I am so grateful to have been able to be a witness to their story through this book.

Giveaway: Win a signed copy of Love Him Anyway!