Defiant Joy by Stasi Eldredge Review

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Description

Bestselling author Stasi Eldredge shows readers how to choose a joy that stands against the tides of life’s real and often overwhelming pain. 

We are called to live. And, miraculously, to live with joy. 

We all spend a lot of energy reaching for happiness, but we are never quite able to hang on to it. Real life happens, and our circumstances take us on an emotional rollercoaster ride. So the Bible’s call to “be joyful always” sounds almost crazy—and out of reach. But it doesn’t have to be.

Joy is meant to be ours, a joy that is defiant in the face of this broken world. This joy is not simply happiness on steroids; it’s the unyielding belief that sorrow and loss do not have the final say. It’s the stubborn determination to be present to whatever may come and to interpret both goodness and grief by the light of heaven.

In Defiant Joy, Stasi Eldredge invites us with courage, candor, and tender vulnerability to a place beyond sadness or happiness. She shows us how to maintain a posture of holy defiance that neither denies nor diminishes our pain but dares to live with expectant, unwavering hope.

My Thoughts

I don’t know if I’ve shared this on my blog, but on October 10, 2018, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Right after my diagnosis, I saw this book available for review and really felt as though I needed to read it. My life has been completely turned upside down since the day of my diagnosis…it’s been full of appointments, ER visits, biopsies, ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, chemotherapy, wig shopping, hair loss, nausea, pain, tears, frustration, uncertainty, and JOY?

This book shares how we can live with joy in spite of our circumstances. Stasi shares the things that are thieves of joy, things that steal it away. She also shares how we can cultivate our joy. There are some things in this book that I felt were written specifically for me. I have seen God’s sovereignty in placing this book in my hands “for such a time as this”. If I had read it in a season of plenty, a season where everything was going swimmingly, I probably wouldn’t have found as much in it to apply to my life. But reading it while facing a very scary, life threatening disease caused me to savor each word.

I have found through this trial that having defiant joy is possible and this book has helped with that. Knowing that God is with me through everything and I’ll be okay no matter what has changed the way I look at my circumstances.

I highly recommend this book to everyone…if you are not in a storm you have either come out of one or you’re heading into one so it is good to have on hand. It was a quick, easy read but full of great information.

My Rating

3.5 stars

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

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I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel Review

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Description

For so many people, reading isn’t just a hobby or a way to pass the time–it’s a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can’t imagine life without them.

I’d Rather Be Reading is the perfect literary companion for everyone who feels that way. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections on the reading life, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads readers to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them the reader they are today. Known as a reading tastemaker through her popular podcast What Should I Read Next?, Bogel invites book lovers into a community of like-minded people to discover new ways to approach literature, learn fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives.

The perfect gift for the bibliophile in everyone’s life, I’d Rather Be Reading will command an honored place on the overstuffed bookshelves of any book lover.

My Thoughts

I was really looking forward to reading this book…I’m an avid reader and book lover so of course a book about books should be a very fun experience. Unfortunately, this one fell flat.

Published by Baker Books, a Christian publisher, I was surprised to see some very “un-Christian” books and types of books referenced. This normally would not bother me but my expectations on content is different when the book is published by a Christian publisher. (I’ve had similar issues in the past with “Christian” fiction books including cursing and sexual content in them). I believe this was one of the main things that rubbed me the wrong way with this book.

I only truly enjoyed one chapter…”Bookworm Problems”…this was a very tongue in cheek, funny list of problems that book lovers can face. I highly enjoyed this chapter and found myself relating to many of the points.

I also found that I didn’t relate to most of the author’s preferred books…this is most likely a personal problem on my end, but I found it less enjoyable, having not read probably 95% of the books that were referenced.

It didn’t feel like any of the information was new or interesting and I found the book a bit dull overall. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t the book for me.

My Rating

2 stars

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

Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling Edition, ESV by Crossway Review

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Description

The ESV Illuminated Bible places the full ESV text alongside over 500 elegantly hand-lettered gold ink illustrations by renowned artist Dana Tanamachi. Printed on thick cream-colored paper, the Bible’s single-column text setting and wide margins provide generous space for additional notes, prayers, and designs–inviting readers to creatively engage with and reflect on the beauty of God’s Word.

6.5″ x 9″ 9-point, Lexicon Black letter text 2-color printing 64 full-page, custom book opener illustrations 50 full-page verse illustrations 250+ hand-lettered margin verses 100+ other illustrations throughout Illustrated by Dana Tanamachi, whose work has been featured by Google, The Wall Street Journal, Random House, USPS, and Target Thick, cream-colored paper Wide margins Single-column, paragraph format Smyth-sewn binding

My Thoughts

This Bible is gorgeous! It is a Bible suitable for sitting prominently on a coffee table as in the days of old (my grandparents had a HUGE Bible that had to have been 20 pounds on their coffee table for as long as I could remember).

The cover is a very pretty hunter green with gold floral designs all over the cover, spine, and back cover.  Both the dust jacket and the covers of the book itself are decorated with the gold floral designs. The pages are edged in gold as well. The end papers have a subtle design in a nice olive green color…it’s a minor detail, but the details are what really make this Bible special.

The presentation page and Title pages are also filled with elegant gold foiling that truly have to be seen to be appreciated. Each title page of each book has a gold design that somehow relates to the content in the book. Throughout the Bible, there are full pages of artwork with a key verse displayed, there are also small pieces of artwork and verses placed in the margins throughout the book, all in the elegant gold color.

Because this is the Art Journaling Edition, there is ample room for Bible journaling in the margins. There are many pages with no artwork and it doesn’t take up the entire page, so there is more than enough room to fill this Bible with your own notes and creations. The pages are a bit thin, I wish they were a little bit thicker as some forms of media may bleed through.

There is an index of the title pages in the back of the book, describing the artwork for each title page and how it relates to that book of the Bible. This is the only special feature in this Bible.

The Bible itself is a single column English Standard Version. This translation is thought to be one of the most literal translations of the Bible. It is easy to read and one of my favorite translations.

If you are looking to purchase a gorgeous Bible for reading or journaling, or even a gift, this would be perfect. It is fairly basic in its features but goes above and beyond in its presentation. I love this Bible and highly recommend it!

My Rating

4.5 stars

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