Books: Read & Reviewed!

The Convenient Fun of "The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck" by Kathleen Y'Barbo

If you would care to rate my book reviews on Blogging for Books, I would be grateful as reviews can help me increase the variety of books I can choose from and make various formats more readily available to me!  Just click on the "review here" highlighted line that accompanies every book review here on my blog, including this one!  All you have to do is mark the stars you think my review deserves, and your input is anonymous as well. Thank you! :) 

I didn't realize until after I completed this novel that it was actually the 3rd and final book in a trilogy about Charlotte Beck.  Apparently it is a good stand-alone novel, as well!

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck is a fun, easy, interesting read.  The faith parts become denser about 3/4 of the way through the book and into the end, without ever getting into much detail; they were rather skimmed over as far as how faith in God would affect Charlotte or her special man.  I think it would have been good to make faith a bit more of an "issue."  Otherwise, it was just fine.

The story is different in plot than any I've read before.  While there are definitely familiar aspects such as romance, struggles for power, the hard-headed and opinionated girl antagonist, etc. it is a different plot than one might expect.  I knew how it would end, but I did enjoy the book.  It took me a short time to read it all and I did catch myself laughing aloud a few times!  I would recommend this book as an entertaining, easy read that will lift your heart. To rate my review click here.

Please note: I was provided a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing for the purpose of writing a review.  All opinions expressed in my review are original and honest. Image courtesy of Blogging for Books website.

Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann: It is True to Name!

"'I'm just the weird one who remembers what I see. Especially faces.' 'Why faces?' 'In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'A man finds room in the few square inches of the face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history, and his wants.'" (Indelible)  This is what Natalie, the intriguing woman who crosses paths with the equally intriguing Trevor, faces every day.  To many, this unique eidetic memory she possesses is an intimidating and awful gift. To Natalie, it poses a handicap.  Till she meets Trevor.

Trevor is haunted with his own ghosts, past and present.  When he begins facing these ghosts he never tried to summon forth, his world -- and Natalie's along with him -- comes crashing in.  Will they both be able to face their own demons to see themselves and each other through to the other side, more whole than they were at the start? You will be surprised at how this book ends!

This book was, to borrow a cliche, a page-turner for me!  It had just the right amount of suspense, mystery, spine-chilling elements without being totally "spooky."  It also incorporated real faith - the kind that has questions and asks them - in a straightforward, yet quiet and non-preachy way.  The characters were solid and believable, really drawing me in.  The plot line was excellent.  The setting was beautiful.  The artistic and outdoorsy/sports elements discussed gave the impression the author really knew what she was writing about.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, man or woman, for a great, thrilling, satisfying read.

****If you would care to rate my review (it's super easy, you just follow the link and give my review however many stars you think it merits! That's it!), please do so by clicking here.  I appreciate an honest rating of my reviews, how well you think they are written, the content, the interest level, etc!  :)  

Please note: I was provided a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah publishing (Blogging for Books) in order to write a review.  All opinions expressed are honest and are my own.  Image courtesy of Blogging for Books website.

Say "Yum!" for The Chocolate Diaries by Karen Scalf Linamen

I will admit that initially, I was thinking perhaps "The Chocolate Diaries" would be only slightly original and a lot like the stack of devotional-type books I'd read; a bit trite or something, or too superficial. Yet, I really wanted to give it a try. Being visually drawn to lovely and eclectic book covers, I found the cover of this book particularly cute and whimsical and it made me want to read what was inside all the more.  SO glad I did!

This book is very down-to-earth and not theologically deep in that you don't have to try to wade your way through it.  The format, to me, is much like a good girlfriend, sharing her stories -- humorous and touching both -- with you over a cup of coffee and (of COURSE!) a piece of good chocolate or two!  There were times in this book I found myself giggling.  But there were also many, many points, stories, suggestions, and lists that touched me at the heart and either helped convict me or encourage me or both!  This was an enjoyable and helpful, REAL read from a truly genuine woman.  I loved reading it alone, and am quite sure it would make a fun, lighthearted and yet profound shared read for a Bible Study or such!

Try it for yourself -- and don't forget some chocolate!!  :-)

If you'd like to rank my review for "The Chocolate Diaries" on Blogging for Books (I would love it if you did!), please do so by clicking here.  To rank my other reviews, please click here for The God I Never Knew and here for Out of a Far Country.  Thank you for taking the time! 

Please note I was given a free copy of this book in order to write a review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing.  All opinions are honest and are my own.   Image courtesy of Blogging for Books website. 

A Place Called Blessing by John Trent, PhD with Annette Smith

A wounded boy grows up to become a distrusting, self-critical, despondent young man.  A boy facing unfortunate life events grows up to become a model of character, selflessness, hope and real friendship.  A girl, sweet and kind but burdened with a past she manages to carry into her future. What do these three have in common? A place called blessing.

I recently read a short book entitled "A Place Called Blessing." Within the pages we follow the life of a young man who is haunted by the solitary event in his broken childhood that led him to believe things about himself and his future that were not true.  He encounters others along this journey who press him, over time, to re-evaluate all that he had held onto for so long -- both true and untrue -- through the ways they choose to treat him and pour themselves into his life.

I would say, honestly, that the novel wasn't a difficult read by any means.  It took me very little time to finish it.  And I probably would have liked it more if it had been a little more interesting; it was realistic but not entirely "meaty" or always thoroughly "engaging" in my opinion.  Just the same, I enjoyed it and appreciated what it was meant to get across! It presented some very strong points.

This novel, though fiction, is very realistic.  It is that type of novel that will leave you feeling your heartstrings tugged, your eyes tearing and your hope rising. It just might leave you wanting to make "A Place Called Blessing" a place you can also call your home!

Please note:  I received a free and complimentary copy of this book to read and review from BookSneeze. All opinions expressed are honest and are my own. Image courtesy of BookSneeze.

Don't Settle for a Life of Cheese and Crackers! Book Review for The God I Never Knew by Robert Morris

My most recent book review -- please read as this is something I'd love for more Christians to be aware of!

"Every day I encounter Christians . . . They live without the blessing and provision available to them as born-again children of God on the journey of life.  Jesus sent the Holy Spirit as a wonderful gift--a gift better than having Jesus Himself with us . . .The Holy Spirit came with all the other amazing blessings of salvation.  But some believers never receive and unwrap the gift. Instead, they live lives of cheese and crackers Christianity.  They muddle through this world powerless and deprived of the richness of God's presence . . . " (ppg. 194-195, "The God I Never Knew")

In his book, "The God I Never Knew: How Real Friendship with the Holy Spirit Can Change Your Life,"  Robert Morris offers candid, heartfelt examples from his own life and from the lives of others as he tells us that there is often something missing in the lives and hearts of Christians around the world: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is an often misunderstood and understated person of the Trinity, and in this book Morris helps dispel many common myths and incorrect assumptions regarding Who this person is, What He can and will do in the lives of those who welcome Him, When His role in Christianity came to the forefront, and Where He is supposed to reside when a person is born again and after they are born again.  Morris backs all of his writing with scriptural truth to prove this book is biblically sound.  He illustrates there are in reality three baptisms, not just two as is commonly believed (this is also backed up and shown in scripture).  He heavily emphasizes that the Holy Spirit is to be our Friend . . . and as Morris begins to unravel the tapestry of ill conceived beliefs about the Holy Spirit, he weaves another displaying the beauty and wonder of choosing to make the Holy Spirit a very real, very active best Friend in your life, as well as Comforter, Guide, and more!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever had any questions about the Holy Spirit.  It is an amazingly straightforward book, easy to digest even as it is profound and full of truths.  Morris makes it easy to see how much every Christian should desire more of the Holy Spirit to enable them to be all the stronger, even while he is far from condemning anyone who has ever experienced doubt, discouragement, incredulity, or resistance.  This is a must-read!

Please Note: I received an advance reading copy of this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers for the purpose of review.   All opinions and reviews expressed above are honest and entirely my own. Image courtesy of Blogging for Books.

My First Book Review for Blogging for Books!  Out of a Far Country by Christopher Yuan and Angela Yuan

Do you recall how I mentioned that soon I'd be posting some book reviews through a neat program called Blogging for Books? Well, here is my first review!  I highly recommend this book.  It's not only touching and inspirational, it is a REAL to life, contemporary story, presenting a radical way to approach many confusing aspects of any relationship, and definitely an effective way to reach out to those lost in homosexuality! I gave this book a 4-star.

*Please note that I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  My opinions are entirely my own. Images courtesy of Blogging for Books.

My Review for "Out of a Far Country" by Christopher Yuan and Angela Yuan: 

"I shifted in my seat. I'm almost always in the right.  So isn't that a good thing? Doing right, being right?"

So says Angela Yuan, at one point in this book when she faces the tyrannical side of herself that she must overcome with a power greater than her own -- the power of God and His redeeming love.  She is a woman living in a marriage suffering from callous disinterest and deafening silence.  She is a mother who did all she knew to raise her two sons to be successful and happy . . . in her eyes.  But she finds out all too painfully that even best laid plans and the strongest intentions are not enough to see dreams come to fulfillment, or to fill a void that only One can fill, in her heart or in the heart of her son, Christopher Yuan.  She thinks she's been right almost always all her life, till her world suddenly is turned upside down by the unconditional love and convicting truth of Jesus Christ.

This true story is about Angela, and about her son, Christopher, who constantly struggles with homosexuality and the bondage associated with it, even as he puts up a proud, unapologetic front.  His lifestyle seems to be "all that" until one day, everything changes.  This story shows the power of the earnest prayers of a righteous man (woman), the surprising power of forgiveness, the healing balm of grace.  Beautiful story, filled with hope. There were so many thoughts, so many passages I found pertinent and applicable even to other areas of life, obstacles I have faced and am facing in relationships! It offers a radical way to effectively reach out to those lost in the maze of homosexuality. There is hope for the lost, even for those lost in homosexuality or in the chains of a lifeless, godless marriage!

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