Ice Cream and Fire

Y’all, yesterday I switched off days with a co-worker. Because of that and another day switch, it meant yesterday was my 8th day working in a row. I’m sure there are plenty of people who can pull that off without a hitch, but for me it was a mite bit much. Except it wasn’t because I didn’t really end up working.

See, I mentioned a coworker that it was my 8th day working, and my manger overheard me. (Said manager is amazing and really cares about his employees; seriously, I thank him on a daily basis for being so thoughtful.) Well, he determined that I’d been working too hard and needed to rest, so he worked it out so I could go home after I’d worked less than half my shift. The only problem was I like my job so much that I really didn’t want to leave. So, after I clocked out I just hung out there talking and reading stuff on my phone.

Then, he finally convinced me I should head home and sit in the sun to read a book, and so that’s what I did, complete with a delicious Birthday Cake Bash Ice Cream Cone with Sprinkles. (Yes, please!) That meant that today (on my actual off-day) I have been able to catch up on a boatload of things I’ve been behind on.

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After being behind with my reviews for months, I finally submitted four reviews to different publishing and review sites, plus I read a book and wrote a fifth review. So, enjoy, folks!

THE STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 176
Publisher: Chosen Books
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Title: Fire!
Nonfiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

The world has wandered so far from God that nothing short of revival will reignite the fires of awakening. But God is about to set the world ablaze, and the nations will burn for him once again.

In this book, filled with empowering inspiration and astonishing real-life stories, pastor and speaker James Levesque offers twelve biblical principles to help you return to the passion you felt at the beginning of your faith–and carry the torch to your community and nation. This book is an exhortation to action, to ignite the fire inside you and see your life activated for signs, wonders, and miracles. Say goodbye to powerless Christianity and become a burning brand for God.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

I regularly read books that I hope will challenge me and help me grow more into the person who God has created me to be. This book seemed like it would be perfect for the job.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

To keep things simple, we’re going to go with a list of things I did and didn’t like for this review.

What I Did Like:

-The author did a good job of speaking the truth with passion and not shying away from calling this generation of Christians out on what we’re doing wrong. I agreed with a lot of what he said about how we need to go back to being passionate about obeying and serving God. He mentioned that America is pretty much a Third World country when it comes to how spiritual (or non-spiritual) we are, and that seems like a really appropriate description.
-The books is full of enlightening, practical ways to serve God better and more fully. It doesn’t just tell us what’s wrong in the Church today, it then helps us go to the Bible to find solutions.
-It was an easy to understand book – meaning it spoke in layman terms and although it challenged my thinking, it didn’t challenge my brain to try and figure out what the author was trying to say.

What I Didn’t Like:

-I didn’t agree with a lot of what the author had to say. Yes, there were nuggets in the book that challenged me and helped me in my walk with God, but there were also things that I really don’t agree with, and therefore I won’t be recommending the book or reading more by the same author.

For Instance:
*At one point the author is talking about dreams God has given us, and he says “When God gives us a dream, we are usually nowhere near the full manifestation of that dream. But through the pits of life, God’s dream will never leave us. As a matter of fact, it is what sustains us through every trial. Your dream will make a way. (Emphasis mine.) Um, excuse me? I do agree with the basic concept of what I think the author is saying – when we’re focusing on what God has called us to do that helps us push through the hard times, etc…. But it’s God’s grace, God’s mercy, and God’s love (etc…) that sustains us and makes a way, not a dream He’s given me.
*The author has a section about how God will do this and that, etc… where he names multiple things that God will do in your life after you have the right attitude and belief about giving and receiving. And, while I believe that many people are not receiving God’s full blessings because of a wrong attitude or belief about God and His nature, I also didn’t agree with the dogmatic approach the author took while talking about this subject. (Yes, the promises in the Bible are true, but there are some promises who were made to certain people, and not to all generations of Christians.)

-There were a lot of other small instances throughout the book that left me shaking my head, disagreeing either with the tone, the conclusion, or the example given in the book.

CONCLUSION

I got some good things out of the book. It challenged me to seek God with more passion and reminded me that God has got to be first place in my life, no matter what. This book also helped remind me to study what I read and match it against God’s Word to see how it lines up. Because of the discrepancies I found, despite the fact that there were some really good parts of this book, I won’t be recommending it.

RATING

I’m giving Fire! 3 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful for the publisher for giving me a copy so I could review it here.

An Unexpected Bookish Meeting

Y’all, here it is! The last book I read for review while I was on vacation. (Whew, getting all these reviews written is fun, but kinda hard because I let them build up since I didn’t have my computer with me.)

Fun story before I get into the review: I was reading this book in Mexico where our family goes on vacation each year. We stay in a small fishing village that isn’t in a touristy area.

As I was reading I posted about the book on my Instagram Story (y’all can follow me here if you want, I often post reading updates). A friend commented and said that it looked like a book she’d enjoy reading.

Now, plot twist: It turns out this lady was on vacation with her husband and their four young children only about a half an hour away from where we were staying! Crazy, right? As it turns out, we invited them over for supper one night and I hurried to finish reading the book before they arrived so I could give it to her. It was fun to have that random bookish/friendish connection in a different country. And hey, I’m glad she commented on my story. 😉

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 208
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Title: Homeschool Bravely
Nonfiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Quiet the voices of “not good enough” and step courageously into guilt-free homeschooling

Many homeschool parents have a long-term relationship with self-doubt. “Did I make the right decision?” “Could someone else do this better?” “Am I robbing my kids of something by not sending them to ‘regular school’?”

What if there’s a better way?

Not a 3-step technique or a shiny, new curriculum, but a change in perspective that transforms the way you plan, teach, and homeschool?

Homeschool Bravely teaches you to see homeschooling as a calling, helps you overthrow the tyranny of impossible expectations, and guides you through the common bumps in the road, including how to:

  • juggle school and parenting with toddlers at home
  • teach a struggling learner
  • plan with the end in mind
  • accept your own limitations without feeling guilty
  • stay the course even in the face of criticism

Reclaim your hope, renew your purpose, and transform your homeschool. Because the truth is: God will use every part of your homeschool, even your fears, faults, and failures, to weave good plans for your kids.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

Despite the fact that I’ve read a lot of parenting books, I’ve never read any homeschooling books. That seemed like a fact I should remedy, and this book caught my eye, partly because of the title, partly because the cover is black.

Disclaimer: I’m not a parent, I don’t think I have the answers to parenting, homeschooling, or raising kids. I simply enjoy studying the subject and seeing how I can (very, very loosely) apply the principles I learn to myself, kids in my life, and maybe in the far distant future my own kids. Plus, it’s pretty fun to learn when there’s no pressure. But, as always this review will, therefore, be quite subjective, but will hopefully provide a unique point-of-view compared to the reviews written by parents who actually know what they’re doing.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

I found it surprisingly interesting. The author is a blogger and a lot of times a blogger-turned-book-author is a hit or miss for me when it comes to style – there’s no middle ground. This one was, thankfully, a total hit. Her writing style was engaging, her tone honest, encouraging, and at times funny, and her stories were ones I could relate to from the perspective of an adult who grew up being homeschooled.

The author used to be an elementary school teacher, which felt like it gave her added credentials while talking about homeschooling vs. public schooling.

There were some things in the book I didn’t fully agree with (more related to her views on various things, rather than what she actually did), but those things were minor enough that they didn’t take away from the book for me.

For me, the most interesting part of the book was when she gave different suggestions of things to do with kids. It’s so intriguing to hear about things little kids can do for fun that are actually educational as well.

CONCLUSION

If y’all are interested in this book, you should check out her website (The Unlikely Homeschool) or look her up on Instagram. I watched some of her Instagram stories as I was reading the book and that really helped her to feel more relatable and alive to me.

I generally don’t recommend parenting books as a non-parent on my blog (because that’s weird), and the same goes for homeschooling books. But, I did enjoy reading this book.

RATING

I’m giving Homeschool Bravely four out of five stars – Moody Publishers was very kind to send me a copy of this book so I could review it.

Whose Waves These Are

Y’all, hang on tight because we have a little bit of a rambly review below. This is generally what happens when I really do or really don’t like a book.

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 368
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: April 30, 2019
Title: Whose Waves These Are
Fiction

3

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper: a rallying cry for hope, purpose . . . and rocks. Send me a rock for the person you lost, and I will build something life-giving. When the poem spreads farther than he ever intended, Robert Bliss’s humble words change the tide of a nation. Boxes of rocks inundate the tiny, coastal Maine town, and he sets his calloused hands to work, but the building halts when tragedy strikes.

Decades later, Annie Bliss is summoned back to Ansel-by-the-Sea when she learns her Great-Uncle Robert, the man who became her refuge during the hardest summer of her youth, is now the one in need of help. What she didn’t anticipate was finding a wall of heavy boxes hiding in his home. Long-ago memories of stone ruins on a nearby island trigger her curiosity, igniting a fire in her anthropologist soul to uncover answers.

She joins forces with the handsome and mysterious harbor postman, and all her hopes of mending the decades-old chasm in her family seem to point back to the ruins. But with Robert failing fast, her search for answers battles against time, a foe as relentless as the ever-crashing waves upon the sea.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

Mostly the cover. And the title. The title sounds so intriguing. I also read the back cover blurb, but that wasn’t the tipping point for me.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

Oh guys. This isn’t a review I’m looking forward to writing because I always feel so bad writing a negative review when I’ve received a book for free. Yet, honest reviews are my specialty, so here I am.

Let me start off by saying that there isn’t really anything wrong with the book. The content is clean, the editing is good, and the writing is lovely.

But.

It just wasn’t the book for me. And that’s sad, because after reading the first several chapters I was super excited. As in, it’s been a long time since I’ve started a book by a new author and felt so much promise. I was intrigued by the characters, delighted by the quirks, and drawn in by the lyrical tone of the writing.

But then the time hops started, and the writing style changed, and I fell into bookerly woes and didn’t even want to finish the story. The good news about all those things I just mentioned is they’re purely subjective. That means that there’s a good chance you will like the story.

For me, when a book begins going back and forth with time periods, it’s a total hit or miss for me. Meaning, I either really, really like it, or else I really don’t like it. And this book was one that I really didn’t like. I’m not even sure why it was. I liked each of the time periods, but when the switching began I lost interest in all of them.

One thing that I think is super cool in theory but didn’t actually like in reality, was that the tenses changed with the different time periods. One of the storylines was told in present tense, and the other was told in past tense. (Both third-person.) This is a brillant way to tell a story, but sadly, for me, present tense just messes with my brain and it’s hard and takes a super long time for me to get into a story. So, to be pulled back and forth meant I never really had time to immerse myself in present tense, which is probably the biggest reason as to why I didn’t like the book.

Also, when I re-read the back cover copy just now I was amazed by how long it takes in the book to find out what the rocks are for. I read the back cover copy before I requested the book, but then forgot what the book was about before I started reading. I’m not sure if the knowledge of what was going on would have made the book better for me, or been spoiler-y?

As for the plot itself… It felt kinda jumbled together. Not everything made sense to me and I was a bit confused by why the relationships were so messed up. I mean, it you find out in the book, but it just felt off. 

I read this as an e-book because I was on vacation, but in retrospect, if I would have realized sooner that it was a time hopping book I would have waited to read my physical copy of the book and probably would have enjoyed it more.

To end on a positive note, there were some things I really liked in the book: The small town feel, the way Ann communicated with her uncle (SO COOL and one of my favorite things I’ve read about in a loooonnnngggg time), Rob and Roy’s relationship with each other (sweetest thing ever), and a certain chapter near the end of the book involving watching the sunrise over the ocean.

CONCLUSION

Y’all will probably like the book. I certainly don’t not recommend it. It was clean and interesting. I do encourage y’all to get a physical copy instead of an e-copy if possible because this is one of those books that is better read while physically.

Also, the book has a 4.8 star rating on Amazon, with over 75 reviews, so that’s pretty great.

RATING

I’m giving Whose Waves These Are two out of five stars and am thankful for NetGalley giving me an e-copy so I could review it for y’all.

Jesus’ Terrible Financial Advice?

It’s Spring, folks! That’s simultaneously exciting and a bit sad… Each season holds a special place in my heart and promises it’s own kind of adventure, delight, and memory-filled days.

This winter was a rather fantastic one – I am so thankful for all I learned, accomplished, and experienced during the last three months, and I’m excitedly looking forward to the next season – both of life and of nature.

And now, the seventh review of this month. (Folks, I’m kinda going review crazy this year, aren’t I? It’s rather delightful to be back in review mode.)

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 176
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Title: Jesus’ Terrible Financial Advice
Nonfiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

“Jesus’ advice ruined what I planned to write.”

It was the recipe for a great book. John and his wife—both financial experts—had cut their income by 80% to pursue more meaningful lives. Within six years they had two kids, were debt-free, went on several vacations, and doubled their net worth. John was ready to share the biblical principles that made this possible.

But he couldn’t. After reviewing Scripture’s teaching on money—over 1,300 verses—he realized he had missed something big.

Jesus’ Terrible Financial Advice turns even conventional Christian wisdom on its head. While it answers many of the practical questions we have—like does Jesus want me to be rich or poor? Should I give to everybody who asks? Is it wrong to save?—it goes beyond these concerns. It asks bigger questions, gives bolder answers, and offers a more comprehensive view of stewardship. Follow Jesus’ “terrible” (shocking, otherworldly) financial advice, and you’ll have what money can’t buy: purpose.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

That backcover blurb, folks. It intrigued me. Plus, the title. Who wouldn’t want to read a book like that? Plus, if y’all have been around for long then you know that I’m currently working at trying to learn how to relate to money well – tracking how I spend it, reading books about how to steward my money well, and seeking God’s will for how I spend, save, and give. This book seemed like a natural read considering all that.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

For being such a short book this nugget took what felt like an inordinately long amount of time to read. In an effort to be succinct, here’s a list of pros and cons.

Pros:
*The author has done his research. He’s not only fairly over-qualified when it comes to a human standpoint (he’s a CPA with a Ph.D. in Accounting), but he also has studied the subject of money extensively in the Bible.
*He puts God’s Word above his own logic. I really liked what he had to say about that – basically, if he finds an inconsistency with what he believes vs. what he discovers in the Bible he realizes that he must be wrong somehow, so he digs in to find out the truth.
*He has a lot of good to say about how and where to place money in our lives. For the most part, I agreed with what he said and felt like he provided a good balance between the mentality and practical side of finances.

Cons:
*The biggest con for me is I simply did not relate well to his style. I’m not sure what it was about his writing but it didn’t jive well with me. I realize this is entirely subjective and even though it lowered the rating of the book for me, it’s not a bad thing by any means.
*There were several things I disagreed with – and this could very well have been a matter of interpretation, so I could have simply misunderstood him, but it bothered me a fair amount.
*Sometimes the book felt a bit redundant, despite how short it was.

CONCLUSION

The last third of the book was my favorite and where I really felt like I learned something. I didn’t agree with everything I read, but nothing was big enough for me to not recommend the book. Overall it was pretty solid and pointed out a lot of good things.

RATING

I’m giving Jesus’ Terrible Financial Advice 3 out of 5 stars. Moody Publishers graciously sent me a copy of this book so I could review it – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Currently
Setting: Walking on the treadmill – by the time I push publish I’ll have gone a mile and a half
Listening to: The Greatest Showman soundtrack (Anyone surprised? I’m also dancing to it as I write which is tricky considering I’m on a treadmill…)

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite thing about Spring? 

Oh Wait, Am I Fangirling? Yes, I Think I Am

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 384
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Title: Far Side of the Sea
Fiction

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ABOUT THE BOOK

In spring 1918, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, a British soldier working with MI8 after suffering injuries on the front, receives a message by carrier pigeon. It is from Jewel Reyer, the woman he once loved and who saved his life–a woman he believed to be dead. Traveling to France to answer her urgent summons, he desperately hopes this mission will ease his guilt and restore the courage he lost on the battlefield.

Colin is stunned, however, to discover the message came from Jewel’s half-sister, Johanna. Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence, found Jewel’s diary and believes her sister is alive in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust begins to grow between them.

When their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot, danger and deception turn their search for answers into a battle for their lives.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

World War One Historical Fiction draws me in like no other. It’s so easy to find books that take place during World War Two and I’ve read dozens of them, but when I come across a book taking place during the first World War? Well, I nearly always jump at the chance to read it.

Plus, carrier pigeons. Need I say more?

And, the author. Her first book I read and disliked it in the extreme. Her next book I read and gave the very elusive (for me) four stars. It hooked me from the beginning and I didn’t want to stop reading. Her third book doesn’t stand out in my mind (although now I want to re-read it because this book apparently has some of the same characters), and then this book… Well, I thought it was worth a shot, especially with the gorgeous cover. (Seriously though, I just keep looking at that cover.)

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

Life has been a bit crazy, plus I had a literal six books going at once which is a little more than I generally try to juggle at once. That means I had a bit of a slow-go getting into Far Side of the Sea although I did find it interesting.

And then last night I sat down with the book – which I was probably about a third of the way through – and I did not want to put it down. It was around 11:00 last night when I realized I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep until I discovered what was going on, so I settled in and finished the book, not caring how long it took me.

Y’all. This story was so expertly woven in a crescendo of intrigue, espionage, beautiful character arcs, and characters who I literally had no clue who was good or bad. Okay, so I did have a clue, and I might have been right, but it kept me guessing the whole time. It was brilliant.

There were a couple of plot twists that I did not see coming. Recently I’ve felt an extreme lack of amazement at plot twists – even when I didn’t call them – which I find rather disappointing. But even my lack of shock didn’t dampen the book for me, instead, I just gave an imaginary nod to the author for her delightful plotting skills, then right away wanted to go back and read the book again to see how all the pieces fit together.

And then there were the carrier pigeons. The author gave us just enough facts and details to make them a great part of the book and really interesting while not bogging down the story. The part the played in the war was really cool, just like the part they played in this story.

Even the romance was well-written and kept the story moving forward instead of slowing it down. It was slightly eye-rolly at times – like there should have been a bit more of a lull in how the characters reacted at one point. (And there were a fair amount of kisses, although not too detailed so they didn’t bother me.) But overall, it seemed realistic and didn’t take over the book.

CONCLUSION

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book where I was so unsure about who various characters were and if they were good or bad. I’m quite impressed.

As previously mentioned, there is romance. And there’s war. And the main character went through some trama in the war which affects him throughout the book. So, I wouldn’t recommend it to people under the age of fifteen, probably, but all the issues were handled very well.

I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next!

RATING

In case you didn’t know, I don’t give out four-star ratings for fiction very easily, but Far Side of the Sea gets a very solid 4 out of 5 stars. Thank you so much, Bethany House, for a copy of this delightful book for me to review. It was a delight.

Visiting Yellowstone Vicariously​

This book was one I had a lot of fun reading because it made me feel like I was in Yellowstone and y’all… goodness! I want to go there so badly!

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads

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ABOUT THE BOOK

A man who can’t read will never amount to anything–or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well.

Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park’s hotels, she still hasn’t saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

I read a book by the author a few years ago and although I didn’t really like it, I wanted to give the author another chance. Plus, one of my dream destinations is Yellowstone, so to read a book that takes place there sounded like just my thing.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

All throughout the book I was so into it. The culture surrounding working at Yellowstone was spot-on (or at least I imagine it was). it pulled me into the world there and felt so real. Even though I had several other books I was reading I kept coming back to this one because immersing myself in the book was great. The fact that we got to see the world of Yellowstone both from the perspective of someone who had grown up there and someone who had grown up in a totally different environment was pretty fantastic.

I also liked the characters which was a huge plus for me. I didn’t agree with a lot of what they did and some of their actions and reasonings made me want to facepalm, but I still liked them. They were real, flawed, hung up on their problems, and reacted to everything they went through in what felt like a realistic way. They were also caring, kind, hard-working, and easy to relate to.

The plot was also really interesting to me – apparently, I have a “thing” for the trope of an adult not being able to read and trying to hide it. I hadn’t realized until this book how much that type of thing interests me. That part of the story was so well written and had me coming back to read more as much as any other plot point.

There was definitely romance and at times it did kind of take over the story, yet for the most part I liked the balance it kept and didn’t find it to detract from the story at all. (Which is big because if I remember correctly I really disliked the balance of romance/plot with the other book I read from the same author.)

So, with all these great things to say about the book, why did I only rate it three stars? Good question. I was so close to rating it four stars and that was surprising and delightful to me. Then I got to the end. Y’all. I felt so let down. Not by the “twist” because I had figured that out, but by how it was delivered. There was so much build-up then plop. We were dropped to the ending in such an anticlimactic way.

CONCLUSION

Despite the ending, I still felt like the book was very worth reading because of the emphasis on Yellowstone. Also, it makes me want to read more books by the same author, so yay. (And the cover was cool enough it makes me want to buy a physical copy of the book.)

As for content, there’s a lot about fires, arson, and a childhood tragedy regarding a house fire. Plus, there’s a fair amount of kissing, etc… but never in detail.

RATING

I’m giving Ever Faithful 3 out of 5 stars – Thanks, NetGalley, for giving me an ebook copy so I could review it!

Growing Forward

 

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 208
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: January 1, 2019
Title: Growing Forward
Nonfiction

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BACK COVER BLURB

After life is shattered by loss or a traumatic experience–whether big or small–it can seem impossible to heal or even move on. Deep down you believe God intends good for you, but you just don’t have the energy or strength to figure out how to move forward.

Author Laurie Pawlik has been there, and here she shares how she flourished despite multiple losses. Through practical tips and thought-provoking questions, she helps you take small yet powerful steps toward healing and letting go. She also offers insights and encouragement from the lives of strong women in the Bible. You’ll glimpse the painful losses these women experienced and learn how they flourished despite seasons of hardship and grief. You’ll discover how God shows His presence and power in the valleys, deserts, and storms. And you’ll feel a fresh sense of hope that, with God, you can redefine yourself, remake your life, and grow forward into a beautiful new season.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

I don’t actually remember why I requested this book. It looks interesting though, and I like learning what helps other people and seeing through the eyes of people who have gone through things I haven’t gone through.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

While reading this book it was easy to tell that the author was a blogger. I’m not sure how to describe the style, except that there were several “segments” in each chapter, and quite often those segments reminded me of blog posts or at least snippets of blog posts. I’ve this done before where it bothers me, but this time I actually found the style made the book easy to read. There were plenty of places where I could set it down and then pick it back up without feeling like the flow was interrupted. This was good for reading whenever I had a few extra minutes.

The author did a great job of showing that her life wasn’t perfect, but without going into a pity party or too much detail regarding what she had faced. I really thought she hit a good balance with that, and it showed that she really has found a healthy way to deal with a lot of bad stuff – growing forward – which is what the book is all about.

There was a lot of solid information in this book. We got to look at different characters from the Bible and learn from their stories – what they did and didn’t do correctly and how people around them were impacted.

Sadly, there was also some information that I didn’t agree with. There were multiple things that I think are okay for someone to do on their own, but it can be dangerous to teach it in a removed setting such as a book. For instance, while talking about a very traumatic experience, the author said that every time it came to mind she would play the “What Then” game with Jesus, where she says what’s horrible, and Jesus says “What then?” and they keep going until she’s realized that He’s with her and she’ll be okay. I’m not saying that I think this is wrong, but it felt a little bit sacrilegious how it was written in the book. Which brings me to another part I didn’t like: I felt like she made God seem almost too human in the book. Yes, He’s our friend. And Yes, He can relate to us. And Yes, He loves us and wants to have a special relationship with us. Yet, at the same time, He is holy and deserves respect, and although I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean to bring Him down to our level in a disrespectful way, at times I felt like she did.

There were a few more things I didn’t like or agree with, like this sentence, God created crayons, paints, paper, shapes, textures, and tones – use His handicrafts to talk to Him! I understand the point that the author is trying to make, and I agree with it. But God didn’t create crayons and paints and paper, and although it’s a little thing when the little things pile up they drop my rating of the book.

CONCLUSION

Overall, the book has a lot of good information, suggestions, and an easy-to-read style. I would say if you want to read it, go for it! Just read it with an open mind and match what she says against the Bible. 🙂

RATING

I’m giving Growing Forward 3 out of 5 stars.

((I got this book from Bethany House Publishers so I could review it, all thoughts and opinions are my own.))