The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli Review

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Synopsis:

New York, 2016
Natalie Abbott offers answers for hurting listeners on her popular radio program. But she struggles to connect with her teenagers, with her daughter in an unhealthy relationship and her son uncommunicative and isolated. When one member of the family commits an unspeakable act, Natalie is forced to uncover who she truly is under the façade of her radio persona.

New York, 1776
Mercy Howard is shocked when her fiancé, Nathan Hale, is arrested and hanged as a spy. When she’s asked to join the revolutionary spy ring in Manhattan, she sees an opportunity to avenge Nathan’s death. But keeping her true loyalties hidden grows increasingly harder as the charming Major John Andre of the King’s Army becomes more to her than a target for intelligence.

Mercy’s journals comfort Natalie from across the centuries as both women struggle with their own secrets and shame, wondering how deep God’s mercy extends.

My Thoughts:

This story was heavy…it is the kind of story that will stay with me for a long time and caused me to think a lot about the issues that were presented.

I had a hard time getting into the story…it took me about 150 pages to really start to enjoy it but once I hit that point, I flew through the book. I became very invested in the characters (past and present) and learned a lot about historical events.

I love how the author took a story from the past and present and connected them. I also loved the faith content in the story. There are many quotes from scripture and references to the Lord as our “hiding place”, which I loved.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story, it just took a bit of time for me to become invested in it (but once I did, I was hooked!).

My Rating:

4 stars

I received this book from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck Review

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Synopsis:

According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious science, as serious as Maggie takes herself. But science can’t always account for life’s anomalies–for instance, why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream-fueled chick flick binge.

Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie’s friends book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she’s qualified to teach others about happiness when she can’t muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can’t ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.

Filled with memorable characters, snappy dialogue, and touching romance, Kristin Billerbeck’s The Theory of Happily Ever After shows that the search for happiness may be futile–because sometimes happiness is already out there searching for you.

My Thoughts:

I wanted to love this book and I really thought that I would but unfortunately that was not the case. I love the cover of the book and the setting is a cruise ship which is one of my favorite scenes to read about.

The plot was decent…a woman who wrote the book on happiness gets dumped and falls into a slump filled with Hallmark movies and gelato. Her friends convince her to go on a singles cruise, where of course, she meets men. I wasn’t a fan of how the plot was executed…there was a lot of emphasis on Maggie’s research and a lot of scientific/psychology talk that I became very bored with. I also found the writing style to be difficult…it wasn’t an easy read, something about it didn’t flow well.

I also found the characters to be exhausting and unlikable. I had a hard time rooting for any of them.

I did find the faith content to be good and appreciated how it was included in the book.

Overall, this just wasn’t the book for me. I enjoy the occasional cute chick-lit, but this one just didn’t do it for me.

My Rating: 2 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Journible by Robert Wynalda and Joel Beeke Review

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About these Books

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Title: Journible: The 17:18 Series

Author: Robert Wynalda (a local businessman) and Dr. Joel R. Beeke (President of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary)

Genre: Non-fiction, Bible study tool

Release Date: Series released in 2009

Why the 17:18 series?
In Deuteronomy 17, Moses is leaving final instructions concerning the future of Israel. As a prophet of God, Moses foretells of when Israel will place a king over the nation (v. 14). In verse 18, the king is commanded to not simply acquire a copy of the law (the entire book of Deuteronomy) from the scroll publishing house, but to hand write his own copy of the law. Thirty-four hundred years later, educators are discovering that students that physically write out their notes by hand have a much greater retention rate than simply hearing or visually reading the information. Apparently, God knew this to be true of the kings of Israel also. From such understanding came the conception of this series of books.

How to Use These Books
Each book is organized so that you can write out your very own copy of Scripture. You will be writing the Bible text only on the right hand page of the book. This should make for easier writing and also allows ample space on the left page to write your own notes and comments. From time to time a question or word will be lightly printed on the left page; these questions are to aid in further study, but should not interfere with your own notes and comments.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts:

I had the opportunity to review the Romans Journible. This is such a simple concept but it’s amazing in many ways. I learned in my college days that I retained and remembered information longer when I wrote my notes down as opposed to the times when I recorded the lectures or simply read the text. Writing things down definitely seems to cause me to think and reflect more on what I’m reading than when I’m only reading over it visually.

Another amazing benefit of the Journible is that I can have an entire Bible hand-written by me to pass down to my children and grandchildren some day. There is something very special about seeing a loved ones handwriting, especially when they are no longer with you…how special it would be to read God’s precious words in their handwriting. They can also write notes on the left hand side of the pages…notes of reflections, study notes, or even do Bible journaling and artwork on that side. There are also questions on the left side to prompt the Journible user to think about the verses…these questions are in light colored ink so that they can use them or write on top of them.

The books themselves are very nice looking and of great quality. The covers are black with gold lettering and a black ribbon bookmark is included. The spine has the title of the book in gold lettering as well. These books would look very nice lined up on a shelf.

Overall, this is an amazing concept and I’m very excited to have discovered it. I already shared about the Journibles with my small group at church and look forward to starting a new volume soon!

My Rating: 1280px-5_stars.svg

I received this book from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

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Dr. Joel R. Beeke is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, editor of Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, president of Inheritance Publishers, and vice-president of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society. He has written, co-authored, or edited seventy books (most recently, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life, Living Zealously, Friends and Lovers: Cultivating Companionship and Intimacy in Marriage, Getting Back Into the Race: The Cure for Backsliding, Parenting by God’s Promises: How to Raise Children in the Covenant of Grace, Living for the Glory of God: An Introduction to Calvinism, Meet the Puritans, Contagious Christian Living, Calvin for Today, Developing a Healthy Prayer Life, and Taking Hold of God), and contributed 2,000 articles to Reformed books, journals, periodicals, and encyclopedias. His Ph.D. is in Reformation and Post-Reformation theology from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia). He is frequently called upon to lecture at seminaries and to speak at Reformed conferences around the world. He and his wife Mary have been blessed with three children: Calvin, Esther, and Lydia.

The 17:18 Series

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 17

Vicky Sluiter, May 17

Seasons of Opportunities, May 18

Lighthouse Academy, May 18

Bibliophile Reviews, May 19

Purposeful Learning, May 19

Eat, Read, Teach, Blog, May 20

Just the Write Escape, May 20

Because I said so – and other adventures in parenting, May 21

Book by Book, May 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 21

God’s Little Bookworm, May 22

Artistic Nobody, May 22

Genesis 5020, May 23

Simple Harvest Reads, May 23

Have A Wonderful Day, May 24

amandainpa, May 24

Bigreadersite, May 24

With a Joyful Noise, May 25

Pause for Tales, May 25

Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 25

Among the Reads, May 26

Live. Love. Read., May 26

Multifarious, May 27

Rebekah’s Quill, May 27

A Baker’s Perspective, May 28

proud to be an autism mom, May 28

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, May 29

Janices book reviews, May 29

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 30

Texas Book-aholic, May 30

Giveaway

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To celebrate the tour, Reformation Heritage Books is giving away a grand prize of the entire set of New Testament Journibles!!

Click below to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/cee2/journible-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Primary Suspect by Laura Scott…a Love Inspired Review and Giveaway!

LI Blog Tour

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Synopsis:

Framed for the murder of his ex-girlfriend—and then attacked at the crime scene—fire investigator Mitch Callahan turns to ER nurse Dana Petrie for help. As they fight for their lives, can she be convinced of his innocence—and in his promise of love?

Feel comforted and at peace when you read these uplifting romances of faith, forgiveness and hope from Love Inspired. There are 12 new books each month! 6 from Love Inspired for those who love contemporary romance and 6 from Love Inspired Suspense who like some danger with their romance stories

My Thoughts:

This was my first experience with reading a Love Inspired Book. I’ve heard great things about them so I was very excited to pick one up. I received 4 books to review and chose the suspense title as suspense is one of my favorite genres.

The story focuses on Mitch, who is being framed for murder and struggles to clear his name and solve the crime before he’s caught. I found this story to be very fast paced and action packed. I was able to read it in 2 days that were full of other activities. The author was good at hooking the reader at the end of the chapters in a way that makes them keep reading (with cliffhangers).

The story-line was interesting but felt a bit familiar. I also felt like the characters lacked depth and substance.

Overall, this was a fast, fun mystery that was enjoyable to read. I would definitely pick up more Love Inspired books in the future.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Enter to Win a $100 Visa Gift Card!

 Love Inspired Blog Tour Sweepstakes!

CSB Worldview Study Bible (Navy Leathertouch) Review

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Description:

The CSB Worldview Study Bible features extensive worldview study notes and articles by notable Christian scholars to help Christians better understand the grand narrative and flow of Scripture within the biblical framework from which we are called to view reality and make sense of life and the world. Guided by general editors David S. Dockery and Trevin K. Wax, this Bible is an invaluable resource and study tool that will help you to discuss, defend, and clearly share with others the truth, hope, and practical compatibility of Christianity in everyday life.

Features include:
Over 5,900 extensive worldview study notes
Over 130 articles written by more than 120 notable Christian scholars
Center-column references
Smyth-sewn binding
Presentation page
Two ribbon markers
Two-piece gift box
General Editors: David S. Dockery and Trevin Wax
Associate Editors:  Constantine R. Campbell, E. Ray Clendenen, Eric J. Tully
Contributors include: David S. Dockery, Trevin K. Wax, Ray Van Neste, Kevin Chen, John Stonestreet, Ted Cabal, Darrell L. Bock, Mary J. Sharp, Carl R. Trueman, Bruce Riley Ashford, R. Albert Mohler Jr., William A. Dembski, Preben Vang, David K. Naugle, Jennifer A. Marshall, Aida Besancon Spencer, Paul Copan, Robert Smith Jr., Douglas Groothuis, Russell D. Moore, Mark A. Noll, Timothy George, Carla D. Sanderson, Kevin Smith, Gregory B. Forster, Choon Sam Fong, and more.

The CSB Worldview Study Bible features the highly readable, highly reliable text of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). The CSB stays as literal as possible to the Bible’s original meaning without sacrificing clarity, making it easier to engage with Scripture’s life-transforming message and to share it with others.

My Thoughts:

The cover of this Bible is Navy Leathertouch and it feels amazing. It is beautiful, smooth, and very luxurious. The edges are silver and the Bible includes 2 ribbon bookmarks (blue and cream), which I love. There are many occasions where 2 bookmarks are extremely helpful. It also comes in a very nice, sturdy gift box with a lid that is very nice for storage.

This Bible focuses on the Christian worldview. A worldview is described as “a lens through which a person looks at the world”. This worldview affects how we think, act, and treat others so reading the Bible and having a Biblical and Christian worldview is extremely important.

There are over 130 articles throughout the Bible that focus on various topics that are relevant to our world today (Church and State, Animal Rights, The New Atheism). Included in the front of the Bible is a table of contents for where to find each of the articles. The articles are written by over 120 Christian scholars and are very interesting and thought provoking. One of my favorite articles is titled, “Speaking to a Non-Christian about Jesus”…it provides powerful examples from the Bible of how to witness to others and share about Jesus.

The Bible also includes footnotes that are helpful to understanding the verse better. In some cases, the footnotes are more limited than I prefer, but for the most part, I am pleased with them.

There are center column references throughout the Bible and many full-color maps in the back of the book. It also includes the CSB concordance.

The Christian Standard Bible translation is my favorite translation. It is very accessible and easy to read, while remaining true to the Bible’s original meaning.

Overall, this is an excellent Bible that is extremely relevant to the world today. I highly enjoyed reading the various articles and would definitely recommend this to other Christians.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this Bible from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

365 Trivia Twist Devotions Review

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Description:

Explore a world of amazing trivia and exciting spiritual truths!

Every daily devotion in 365 Trivia Twist Devotions is based on a historical happening, intriguing invention, or offbeat holiday associated with that calendar day. From George Washington’s birthday to National Waffle Day, each reveals the truths of God’s Word in a fun new way. Bible verses and additional fun facts help to give every day of the year its own unique trivia twist.

My Thoughts:

This devotion is different from any that I’ve ever seen. It has a very fun and unique concept…there is a devotion for every day that relates to the date (for example, May 11th, (when I’m writing this post) is the birthday of Irving Berlin. The devotion begins by discussing Berlin’s life and career as a composer and then goes on to discuss how God is delighted when we use the gifts and talents that we are given. There is also a another fun fact about the day on each page (the first tubeless tire was manufactured on May 11th). Each devotion is also accompanied by a Bible verse that goes along with the devotion.

The book is very inviting and fun, each page has fun illustrations and the days that are featured are very interesting. I learned a lot as an adult reading through this book and I know that kids would also find it very enjoyable.

The devotions are short but meaningful.

This would make a great gift for a trivia lover or someone who loves fun facts.

My Rating:

3.5 stars

I received this book from the Publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The CSB Study Bible for Women Review

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Description:

The most comprehensive study Bible ever prepared for women and by women, the CSB Study Bible for Women invites you to explore the riches of God’s Word. Follow God’s grand story across the Bible, guided by threads of specialized study that explain essential doctrines, answer hard questions, discuss biblical womanhood, and apply truth to our hearts and lives.

The CSB Study Bible for Women is edited by Dr. Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Dr. Rhonda Harrington Kelley, both long-time women’s ministry leaders, authors and seminary professors at two of the nation’s most respected seminaries. As you learn from these women extensively educated in Biblical studies and languages and passionate about God’s Word, you will be equipped in turn to mentor others in the truth and hope found in Scripture.

Features include:

  • 6,490 extensive study notes
  • Over 500 word studies, 25 full-color maps and reconstructions, and 95 charts
  • Introductions to each book of the Bible
  • A comprehensive concordance including every woman and reference to women in the Bible
  • Threads of specialized study woven throughout, pointing to God’s larger story:
    • Biblical Womanhood articles
    • Answers to “Hard Questions”
    • Character profiles
    • Doctrinal notes
    • “Written on My Heart” applications
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Two-column text in 9.25-point type

The CSB Study Bible for Women features the highly readable, highly reliable text of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). The CSB stays as literal as possible to the Bible’s original meaning without sacrificing clarity, making it easier to engage with Scripture’s life-transforming message and to share it with others.

My Thoughts:

To sum it up simply….I LOVE this Bible!! Bibles can be difficult to review as they consist of many elements so I am going to break it down a bit…

Appearance:

The cover of the Bible is probably the only thing I don’t love about this Bible. It’s a bit too plain for my taste. It has a mint green (which I love) and cream cover with the words  “The Study Bible for Women” printed near the spine. I was a little disappointed when I received it as the picture shows the floral design but that is a removable paper dustjacket and when removed, the Bible is plain. Some people would really like this but I enjoy a bit more color and design.

One thing I love about Holman Bibles is that they tend to include 2 ribbon bookmarks. This Bible has a green and tan bookmark. Having 2 bookmarks is extremely helpful.

The artwork in this Bible is gorgeous. I love the color scheme of mint green, peach, pink, and yellow that is very trendy right now. Each title page for the books of the Bible are decorated with a beautiful floral design and a very nice font.

This Bible is perfect for me as I am a very visual person and it is very colorful. The maps are full color and all of the special features are also very colorful and adorned with pretty artwork.

Content: 

With all the beauty of the Bible, the content is always the most important part. This Bible is packed with great, relevant content that is geared towards women and issues of today.

Each page has footnotes with commentary for many verses in the Bible. I use the commentary of study Bibles the most as I love to read extra insight on the verses.

There is a special feature called “word study” that discusses a word (for example: “forgive”) and then explains the word further and in the context of the time and verse.

Another special feature is called Doctrine, in which different topics are discussed (divorce, the Holy Spirit in Old Testament, Sin and Forgiveness). There is an index in the back with each topic of Doctrine and where to find it in the Bible.

There is a section throughout the Bible called Biblical Womanhood that describes an issue that affects women (sanctity of life, sexual purity, inner beauty). There is a very helpful index in the back of the Bible that lists all of the places these sections are found based on the topics.

One of my favorite special features in this Bible are the Hard Questions. These are scattered throughout and pose a question that is controversial or difficult and gives a Biblical answer. There is also a great index with the hard question topics in the back of the Bible. Examples of topics for hard questions are abortion, racism, war, homosexuality, and infertility.

One thing that sets this Bible apart from typical study Bibles are the Character profiles…these highlight the women of the Bible and show us what we can learn from them. Again, there is a great index in the back with all of the Character profiles listed.

At the end of each book, there is a feature called, “Written on my Heart”, in which the story can be applied to the reader’s life.

This Bible also contains many charts (with an index in the back) and maps as well as a concordance that includes all the women in the Bible.

I also want to mention that the Christian Standard translation of the Bible is my favorite. It is very accessible and easy to read but is also highly reliable.

I own many Bibles but this is by far one of my favorites. I will treasure it throughout my life.

My Rating:

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I received this Bible from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.