Book Review: Intentional Christian By Daniel Ryan Day

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 Our Christian culture tends to emphasize specific life callings. God does call certain believers to specific short-term tasks or even lifelong careers. But too many of us are waiting for God to hand us a dream job or reveal some big plan for our lives. All we really need to know has already been revealed in Scripture by directives like “love God and love others” and “seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.” Daniel Ryan Day defines the difference between “specific callings” and “common callings” so you can become an “intentional Christian,” finding fulfillment by serving God in all things.

I wish I had Intentional Christian years ago. It would have soothed my soul to read about Daniel’s struggle to find a career and a calling, and know that I was not alone. This book is full of the practical wisdom I needed. I loved the common callings, and the concept that you don’t have to be a missionary or pastor to have a “calling ” from God.

A quick read that left me breathing easier about Gods plan for my life. I felt I could start doing the will of God right where I am and I think that’s the point of the book.

Intentional Christian would make a great group read ,especially if you researched in your Bible as you went.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is : “And may we not be overly concerned with discovering a specific call or dream job, but instead with faithfully obeying the many common callings the Bible teaches.”

Thank you to Netgalley for the review copy!

Forever & Always,

Emily

 

 

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Fiercehearted By Holley Gerth

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A fiercehearted woman looks life in the face and says, “You can’t beat me.” She knows love is a risk but reaches out anyway. She chases Jesus with a tender, world-changing wildness. She never gives in, never gives up, and never lets go. Best of all, the potential to be a fiercehearted woman is inside each and every woman on earth.

In her most powerful book yet, beloved bestselling author Holley Gerth inspires her readers to become the stronger, braver, truer women they long to be by sharing personal stories of her own struggles and victories. As readers join Holley on this journey, they’ll discover a freedom they never imagined could be theirs: the freedom to experience life, love, and faith to the fullest because fear can no longer hold them back.

For the woman who is restless or longing for more, Fiercehearted is an invitation to the life God has always meant for her to embrace.

I’ve read quite a few inspirational books recently that have changed my perspective . Of these, I gained the most encouragement from Fiercehearted.

This book is for those who feel they will never be, do , or accomplish enough. Holley comes beside you and says “When you get to the end of these pages. I want you to also be able to say with certainty, “I’m not the only one.” I want all of us to feel less alone and more comfortable in our God-sewn skin and a little surer that we are a force to be reckoned with in this world.”  I can say Holley accomplished this!  That’s exactly how I felt , not just during reading , but as I finished the last page.

Fiercehearted encourages you to replace all the striving for the wrong things and start embracing who God created you to be. Chapter 26 was one of my favorites. The way my anxiety works is very similar and it felt so wonderful to see it expressed in words I often struggle to find.

This book was easily five stars and I recommended it to everyone.

Forever & Always,

Emily

 

 

Book Review: The Watchman By V.B. Tenery

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When Detective Noah Adams meets the abused son of a powerful judge, he knows he must intervene—and fast. The violence is escalating, and even Noah’s special gifts may not prevent the unthinkable from happening. Relentlessly pursuing two cases, Noah receives a chilling message: Cody’s deranged father has taken his son and it’s up to Noah to follow the judge’s twisted trail to find the boy before it’s too late. Corrupt city officials, a missing socialite, an attempted murder, and a rescue in the middle of a blizzard entangle Noah in the most complicated case of his career. A case that will mean his ultimate redemption or will take him back into the dark history that haunts him.
 This was such an enjoyable read! Let me list the reasons :
  • The adventure is set at a steady pace and continues till the very last page.
  • It handled the topic of abuse in a good way,( this topic can be very triggering , so I wouldn’t recommend the book to just anyone)
  • I did not see the plot twist coming, in hindsight I probably should have but I didn’t.
  • All the characters were well written , though my favorites were Noah and Jake.
  • Noah is a wonderful character. His backstory and special abilities are unique and interesting. I loved reading about a gentle man who really cared about the work he was doing . He couldn’t be bought or forced into doing the wrong thing, which was refreshing.
  • It has diversity. One character is mentally challenged, there is multiple ethnicities.
  • While being a Christian read, it doesn’t shy away from the question of why God allows pain.
  • It has humor in it, despite handling such a serious topic.

I have to share a couple of my favorite quotes from this book. I rarely laugh out loud at books, but The Watchman accomplished just that.

The day we met must have been my lucky day Adams. I can’t imagine what I did to God to deserve you.” Jake really loved me. He just liked to complain.”

You never cease to amaze me with your perceptive grasp of the obvious.”

I like what you’ve done with the place. Is boring your style of choice or is this an accident?”

The Watchman by V.B. Tenery was a refreshing and unique read , I enjoyed every page. Thank you to Netgalley for the review copy!

Forever & Always,

Emily

Let’s chat! Have you read any books recently that handled a hard subject well? Do you like books with continually action? Do you like good, bad, or morally gray Main Characters?

 

Book Review: Dangerous Territory By Amy Peterson

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Amy Peterson grew up in church, where she loved the adventurous stories of missionaries in foreign countries who won people to the Lord. After college, she was ready to “do big things for God” on the mission field herself. Dangerous Territory is a captivating memoir that tells Amy’s personal journey from wide-eyed adventurer to questioning believer to simply a beloved child of God. Her story will challenge your notion of “mission work,” showing how you can have a vital relationship with God that naturally spills over to affect others.

 

Dangerous Territory was a refreshing read. I don’t know about others but when I read a memoir (especially a missionary / Christian one)  instead of finding inspiration and encouragement, I come away feeling a little drained .

Amy Peterson did such an amazing job with this book. There are chapter interludes every so often where you learn some history and interesting facts about missionaries. In Dangerous Territory I really felt like I knew Amy, she wrote the book being very honest, unfiltered and raw about her feelings and experiences. She doesn’t try to sugar coat her struggles or glorify herself, you get a real sense of who Amy is.

I loved that she is simultaneously telling you about her mission opportunities and all the other things happening in her life! I enjoyed reading about her adventures and all the interesting food she ate. However Amy is not afraid to tackle some harder subjects such as conservative Christians, why God lets things happen, and having blessings while so many suffer.

This book was an enjoyable read and has a wonderful way of looking at things differently.

Thank you to Netgalley for a review copy 🙂

Forever & Always,

Emily

Let’s Chat! Have you read any memoirs that changed your way of thinking? Any Christian books you would recommend?

Review: Mask Of Shadows by Linsey Miller

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A post on Sunday, what is this craziness?? I shall explain….no there is to much I will sum up*. I already have a post planned for Tuesday and I also wanted to get this review up before September 5, which is the release date for Mask of Shadows.

I had so much hope for this book…….and I am left wondering what I spent two days  reading. Mask of Shadows had promise but it just didn’t work for me, that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work for someone else. But lets break it down.

What I liked:

  • Sal is sarcastic with a unique sense of  humor (pretty sure they laughed at all death threats).
  • The witty banter of fellow Competitors, Sal, and the Left Hand was entertaining and lightened up the general dark theme.
  • Secondary characters had distinguishing traits, though I admit I sometimes got the numbers confused.

What just didn’t work for me :

  • Sal is apparently gender fluid which I didn’t know before starting the book and quite frankly I just spent the whole book a confused grape. Seriously though one minute they will punch you for referring to them as a Her ,but in the next they are wearing a dress and will slit your throat if you suggest they are a He. I mean if your gonna be gender fluid than don’t be mad at the other characters for trying to keep up……just *annoyed sighing* no.
  • The info dumping was a little bit excessive. So much history jammed into a paragraph right before you move back into an action scene.
  • The Romance was a no…….like bro you have known each other 5 minutes and bam, wow, meant to be.
  • It was a bit to dark for me. This is probably not something that would bother most people, especially since it had the description level that I would equal to an average action movie; but it was just a bit much for me.
  • I never once thought it would end differently than it did. I would say that though technically the “stakes were high”, it just didn’t come across that way.

So while it wasn’t a book for me, that doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t enjoy it. What I found to be drawbacks might just be what others are looking for.

Let’s chat! Have you read a book recently that just wasn’t your cup of tea? If you have read Mask of Shadows let me know your thoughts. Who was your favorite of the Left Hand?

*Comment if you caught that movie reference.

Review of The Magnolia Arms Chronicles (book 1-3) By Holly Bebernitz

I was blessed enough to receive all three books as a gift from Mrs. Holly Bebernitz.

I love this series so much!! I often find that I can read books and love them but still point out all the flaws (ex. The Divergent Series). I can honestly tell you there are no flaws in these books. The plot, the characters, the descriptions; it’s all wonderful!

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Trevorode The Defender is the first book in The Magnolia Arms Chronicles. In this book we meet Agnes Quinn. The first three chapters are about Agnes’ time in college. In these few short chapters we learn about Agnes dream to publish the book she has been writing. Once she has a “wake-up call”, Agnes decides to put her dreams of publishing her book on hold and become a college professor. This begins her adventures at Brighton Park, where she meets an assortment of endearing and quirky characters.

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Road to Briarwood was my favorite (though all three are wonderful). In book two we find Agnes trying to balance her life. She is going to and from the Magnolia Arms, trying to focus on her second year of teaching, all while making new friends and adversaries. This book takes a deeper look into Agnes’ family and friends lives.

One (of many) things I love about these books is you could read any of them as a stand alone and still be immersed in Agnes’ world. In book 2 and 3 , Ms. Bebernitz does a fantastic job of weaving backstories into current situations. No info dumping or repetivness here.

Road to Briarwood has different characters finding love (I won’t spoil anything but my OTP got together and I’m a happy Turnip), as well as further character development.

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Book three’s focus shifts from Agnes (though she is still a main part) to a new character we get introduced to named Pinetta. In Tea At Kimball Pines new things are taking place in Dennisonville. We meet new characters, while still getting updates on old ones. Description in this book is even more noticeable and it helps distinguish the large cast even further.

 

 

The pacing was perfect and I never got bored while reading these three amazing books. It was so refreshing to pick up an adult book and it be wholesome.These characters are all realistic and flawed but their is no crude humor, foul language, or sexual content. I appreciated this aspect the most!! You will come away from reading these books wishing you lived in a town like Dennisonville, in a house just like the Magnolia Arms. I recommend these books to everyone! You can’t go wrong with well rounded characters, small town life (including realistic situations), a unique plot and appreciation for the arts!

Forever & Always,

Emily

Let’s chat! Do you think you would like the Magnolia Arms Chronicles?  Have you read anything recently that you just loved to pieces?

 

If We Survive by Andrew Klavan

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I’m in love with this cover^^^

 They came on a mission of mercy, but now they’re in a fight for their lives.
High schooler Will Peterson and three friends journeyed to Central America to help rebuild a school. In a poor, secluded mountain village, they won the hearts of the local people with their energy and kindness.
But in one sudden moment, everything went horribly wrong. A revolution swept the country. Now, guns and terror are everywhere―and Americans are being targeted as the first to die. 
Will and his friends have got to get out fast. But streets full of killers . . .hills patrolled by armies . . . and a jungle rife with danger stand between them and the border. Their one hope of escape lies with a veteran warrior who has lost his faith and may betray them at any moment. Their one dream is to reach freedom and safety and home.
If they can just survive.

I went to the library about two weeks ago. I didn’t get the book I originally went for (they didn’t have it #Rude), I found this AMAZING book instead. The title was what caught my attention, upon reading the synopsis it sounded like my kind of book. “If We Survive” did not disappoint.

Let’s start with the Characters : All the characters were realistic. They all had good qualities, bad qualities, and character growth.

  • Will : I am a picky person when it comes to main characters. I really enjoyed Will’s character and his narrator style. Will is a good kid in a tough situation who makes hard decisions. I love his bravery and good morals.
  • Palmer : My favorite character from the moment he walked onto the page. He’s portrayed as a bit of a  jerk in the first few chapters (but this is also because that is Will’s perception of him). Palmer however redeems himself pretty quickly. He is very intelligent and is the only thing standing between the rest of the group and death. I loved his backstory and the fact that he was an Ex- Marine. Plus the witty sarcasm!! Ok he’s my favorite I’ll stop rambling now.
  • Nicki: Nicki starts the book as a typical diva, and honestly I thought she would end the book that way. But her character finally got a grip on her emotions and turned out to be really sweet.
  • Meredith : Meredith is the definition of strong female character done right. She had a little problem with being “perfect” (but I don’t count being quiet/ shy as a negative trait so…). Meredith portrayed really strong moral character; and over-all strength while still being gentle and kind.
  • Jim : The most annoying character for me. I just don’t understand delusional characters. He finally got a reality check and became semi-useful, but I’m still not a fan.
  • Pastor Ron: Was a character who did what he felt was right at all times, even though he was a bit naïve on how things work in life.

 

The Yes Factor:

  • I love the little mini stories about each character in the beginning of the book.
  • Once the action started , it was paced perfectly.
  • Romance was minimal, Will had a crush on Meredith. Meredith had a crush on Palmer. But it wasn’t a big part of the story, and it only added to the plot.
  • Character development was A+.
  • The “bad guys” were convincing and really well thought out. They weren’t just there to cause trouble for the group, they had goals and motivations.

The only thing negative I can think of is the action is a mite predictable; however I watch and read a lot of action so this could just be me. Even with that it was such a good read and kept my attention.

Since this is a library book, “If We Survive” got added to my wish list. I want to try some of Andrew Klavan’s other books, I’ve read good things about his Homelanders series.

Let’s Chat. Have you ever read anything by Andrew Klavan? Do you like action stories?

Forever & Always ,

Emily

Deadly By Julie Chibbaro


Prudence Galewski doesn’t belong in Mrs. Browning’s esteemed School for Girls. She doesn’t want an “appropriate” job that makes use of refinement and charm. Instead, she is fascinated by how the human body works—and why it fails.

Prudence is lucky to land a position in a laboratory, where she is swept into an investigation of a mysterious fever. From ritzy mansions to shady bars and rundown tenements, Prudence explores every potential cause of the disease to no avail—until the volatile Mary Mallon emerges. Dubbed “Typhoid Mary” by the press, Mary is an Irish immigrant who has worked as a cook in every home the fever has ravaged. But she’s never been sick a day in her life. Is the accusation against her an act of discrimination? Or is she the first clue in solving one of the greatest medical mysteries of the twentieth century? 

This book surprised me so much. Honestly I started it expecting to be disappointed and toss it in the to- go pile and mark it off my list. Instead I enjoyed it so much and it now holds a permanent spot on my bookcase.

While Deadly wasn’t action packed, it was a nice pace and the plot flowed smoothly. I loved how it was set up as a diary.

Prudence and Marm’s love lives didn’t overshadow the history in the book, which is such a win for me. Concerning  Prudence I loved the ending for her -letting her hope for the future be about furthering her education and following her dreams instead of the typical ” This boy will complete my life” trope. I found this to be such a refreshing difference in YA and I loved it.

Marm is such a good mother. Her and Prudence talk, she takes up for her daughter, tells Prudence how proud she is of her and includes her on some of her dates. Their relationship was sweet.

I however am left with mixed feelings on the leading gentlemen in Prudence’s life. Did Mr. Soper like Prudence but keep their relationship professional or was he just really sweet and saw her potential? I’m leaning towards the latter but I lowkey shipped them from day 1……so honestly not sure. Then there is Jonathan who is an arrogant, pushy creep at the beginning. He blamed his advances on Prudence (still not forgiven for that) but then spent the rest of the book acting like a perfect gentleman = I’m very confused on who this lad truly is.

Prudence struggle with what she felt was right or wrong concerning “Typhoid Mary” was candid and realistic. And while I didn’t always agree with her , I fully understand where all the questions came from, because they were ones I could see myself asking in the same position.

Deadly by Julie Chibbaro was a unique read and I loved all I learned from it. An easy 4 stars.

By the way – SHOUTOUT to my oldest nephew who gave me this book for Christmas 2 years ago. Thanks bud I enjoyed it……sorry it took so long for me to read it, but feel free to buy me other books because I trust your taste 😉

Forever & Always,

Emily

What book(s) have you read and they surprised you? Do you like when other people buy you books they think you’ll enjoy? What’s the longest amount of time you procrastinated reading a book?

Prayers for an Anxious Heart

cover110622-mediumDozens of practical and encouraging prayers inspired by Philippians 4:6-7 will help you strengthen your heart-connection to the Master Creator. Each prayer will draw you ever closer to the heavenly Father as you discover a deeper understanding and love for the One who holds the whole world in His hands.

I originally requested this book because I have anxiety and am a worrier……or should I say used to be. I’ve grown quiet a bit over the past year and while I still have anxiety it’s not the state I’m constantly in anymore. This book probably would have meant more to me in my earlier state of being , than it did now. However Prayer for an Anxious Heart is a beautiful book that would be perfect for anyone struggling with anxiety or worry.

I’ve recently taken to copying things that really mean something to me in my Prayer Journal. I find it helps things stick in my mind better and I can always go back to it. I copied quite a few prayers from this book into my journal.

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The book was full  of inspiration and uplifting prayers that often remind you who you are to God. I came away from reading it everyday (usually multiple prayers) feeling very encouraged and peaceful. I love how every prayer has a scripture at the top to start you off, and it also includes scripture in some of the prayers as well. The prayers were written like a conversation and made it feel more natural and unique when using them.

I want to thank Netgalley and Barbour publishing for the review copy.

Forever & Always,

Emily

Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor

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Cameron Smith attends an elite boarding school and has just been accepted to Princeton University alongside his beautiful girlfriend, Claire. Life for Cameron would be perfect, except that Cameron Smith is actually Skip O’Rourke, and Skip O’Rourke ran away from his grifter family four years ago…along with $100,000 of their “earnings” (because starting a new life is not cheap). But when his uncle Wonderful tracks him down, Skip’s given an ultimatum: come back to the family for one last con, or say good-bye to life as Cameron.

“One last con” is easier said than done when Skip’s family is just as merciless (and just as manipulative) as they’ve always been, and everyone around him is lying. Skip may have given up on crime, but there’s one lesson he hasn’t forgotten: always know your mark. And if you don’t know who your mark is . . . it’s probably you. 

 

I’m going to start by saying I really need to stop having expectations for books, because it’s sort of ruining my life. Why books ? Why? The world keeps turning while I’m over here dealing with the crushing reality that thus far this year- books are disappointing me. I don’t understand what’s happening to me, am I becoming unpleasable? Who can know ( and the answer is always- not me).

Moving forward or rather just focusing on the book at hand – Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor.

What I Liked:

  1. Male Protagonist : Don’t ask me why but I love reading and writing in male POV.
  2. Cam Smith or Skip O’Rourke : Is the most adorable thing ever. I love his moral character and how he is honest about it not being easy to be …..well honest. Growing up in a family of weasels makes him know how the world of cons works, but he also knows how to be better than them.
  3. All Characters stayed in Role : Nothing is more annoying than reading a book and characters changing mid way through. I understand character development, but I’m talking about just changing for no real reason. Despicable relatives stayed despicable , Cam did what he had to do but still kept true to his beliefs in being a better person.
  4. Cam and Claire : equals total cuteness. The way they met was totally adorable and I just loved every moment they were together.
  5. Dialogue was witty and funny. I wasn’t bored reading their conversations or Cameron’s thoughts for that matter.

What I Disliked :

  1. This book was full of triggers: I know different things bother different people so I wanted to name some of the things just for other readers benefit. These include : Mild swearing, drinking (and underage drinking), smoking pot, a gentleman’s club ( or a cross between Hooters and a Strip -club), Suicide attempt, car accident where someone dies, infidelity. Those are the main ones I can think of. However nothing is graphic  or highly detailed.
  2. The Cover : I don’t judge books by their cover, I judge by content. That being said what’s so wrong with pretty covers? 

It was actually good besides the above named things I would consider triggers. Though the book wasn’t what I expected it was still an enjoyable read. I liked the view into the con artist family life.
Forever & Always ,

Emily

Have you read “Thieving Weasels” ? Do you like books about con artists and the world of thievery? Do you ever read a book and it disappoint you but still be good?