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.

Overcomer by Dr. David Jeremiah Review

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Description

We live in a time of deep uncertainty. And yet, the Bible promises we were created to enjoy lives of freedom, even in times when the world around us seems filled with darkness. We were created to be overcomers, conquering the greatest obstacles in our lives.

In his new book, Overcomer, beloved teacher David Jeremiah offers his insights on one of the most quoted but least understood passages of the Bible: the apostle Paul’s admonition to the Ephesians to take up the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). With his signature depth, wisdom, and compassion, Dr. Jeremiah explores the powerful relevance of spiritual armor as a critical tool each day as we confront the specific challenges in our lives and of our time.

If you’ve had enough of living in defeat, it is time to find renewed strength and claim the promises of God’s Word to overcome life’s greatest threats.

My Thoughts

This is one of those books that came into my life at the perfect time. On October 10, my life changed forever…I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and am now trying to be still as the Lord fights the biggest battle I’ve ever faced. It’s very easy to have faith when things are going great but when your world is shattered and almost everything is taken from you, it gets much harder.

This book is amazing…each chapter teaches us how to overcome something difficult with something that comes from God (overcoming anxiety with peace, fear with faith, temptation with scripture, everything with prayer).

I devoured this book because it was so relevant to my life and gave me so much peace and filled me with joy. I consider this book to be what I call a “kiss from the King”, which is something that God gives me to show me His love. This is a book I will read over and over, both during my difficult journey now and also during future journeys.

I couldn’t recommend this book enough…it’s a book that every Christian can benefit from. It’s easy to read and full of scripture.

My Rating

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

Parenting First Aid by Marty Machowski Review

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Description

In this uplifting and faith-strengthening devotional book for parents, best-selling children’s author Marty Machowski encourages parents in the midst of parenting trials. Full of Scripture, testimonies of faithful parents, and insightful meditations, Parenting First Aid equips parents to run to God and trust his ability to do what they can’t.

Parenting isn’t getting any easier, especially with the introduction of insta-porn on electronic devices, the ease of access to drugs, and the ever-increasing blurring of sexuality. This parenting resource is for weary parents overwhelmed with parenting, their children’s choices, and the culture that wars against their souls.

For parents with small struggles or weighty parenting trials—such as children involved with drugs, sexual sin, and teenage rebellion—Parenting First Aid is full of personal, real testimonies of God’s faithfulness to parents experiencing hardship.

The easy-to-use format provides parents with encouraging and faith-strengthening words to trust God in his work in the midst of family difficulty. While God does not promise happiness and ease in parenting, all parents can find comfort in God and peace beyond understanding through the Scriptures and meditations found in Parenting First Aid.

My Thoughts

Parenting is definitely the hardest responsibility I’ve ever been given…to realize that God has entrusted two precious lives into my hands to raise and “train in the way they should go” is very scary sometimes, but also amazing. My children are now 12 and 15 and the decisions that I make as a parent are much more difficult now than they were years ago…it used to be so cut and dry but now we are entering a stage of many gray areas. I knew I needed this book when I read the title. There are so many moments when I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread as a mom, screaming for a lifeline and feeling like every decision I make is wrong.

This book is broken down into 20 chapters that are meant to be read each for 1 week. This provides a time of reflection and meditation on what is read. The book provides “reinforcements” for those of us parents who are deep in the trenches of this difficult battle. It provides hope and help with a lot of scripture and testimonies from other parents.

I am beyond thankful that this book came into my life. It is an excellent resource and gave me hope. I highly recommend this book to all parents…those who are in a difficult situation and those who aren’t (yet).

My Rating

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

Inspire Bible for Girls Review

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Description

The #1-selling Inspire Bible is a beautiful single-column, wide-margin New Living Translation Bible for coloring and creative journaling that has become a treasured legacy Bible for many. Young girls have enjoyed coloring and creative art-journaling in the Inspire Bible, and now there is an edition just for them!

The new Inspire Bible for Girls is designed to draw girls ages 8 and up deeper into God’s Word and to inspire creativity and connection with God! In addition to the much-loved features of Inspire, the Inspire Bible for Girls includes over 300 devotionals written by bestselling author Carolyn Larsen plus book introductions, journaling prompts, and interesting Bible facts to enhance girls’ coloring and creative journaling journey through the Bible.

Over 500 beautiful full and partial-page Scripture line-art illustrations to color are attractively displayed throughout the Bible. There are lots of pages with open space for creativity in the lightly-ruled, two-inch-wide margins. Girls can leave traces of their faith throughout their Bible for a unique treasure that will truly inspire!

The 8.65-point font is larger and more readable than other coloring Bibles, and the high-quality white Bible paper makes it a great choice for creatively responding to God’s Word right on the pages of the Bible. Instill the joy and value of reading the Bible in young girls’ hearts so they can learn to connect with God and discover valuable truths from Scripture–and ultimately live it out in their lives!

My Thoughts

I know that this Bible is marketed towards girls 8 years old and up but I love it as well! Pink and blue is my favorite color combination and the cover is full of those colors…there are also flamingos on the spine! The cover of this Bible is very girly and the silver accents really shine.

I was a bit wary of the paperback cover as I own some paperback Bibles and they are very flimsy. This cover is very durable…it’s more like a cardboard cover and if taken care of, seems like it will last for a long time. The Bible comes with a nice slipcase box for storage.

There are so many great features in this Bible:

-There are over 500 illustrations to color and the illustrations are very pretty…they range from very simple designs to much more intricate.

-There are over 300 devotionals and prayers geared towards girls…the devotions focus on scripture but also use real life situations that young ladies may be facing. Each devotional ends with a prayer.

-Over 160 journaling prompts: These are in the margins and have questions that prompt the reader to ponder things found in the scriptures and apply them to their lives

-Key scripture verse coloring pages: This is one of my favorite features…at the beginning of each book, there is a coloring page with key scripture verses found in that book.

-Fun Facts: These are sprinkled throughout the book and contain interesting facts about the stories and scriptures.

-There is also a topical index of the devotionals in the front of the book that is very handy. Devotionals cover a variety of topics including Laziness, sadness, suffering, sin, complaining, self image, etc.

The Bible is in the NLT translation which is one of my favorite translations as it is very reader friendly and easy to understand.

I highly recommend this Bible, I love it and I know that many young ladies would love it too!

My Rating

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

The Girls’ Guide to Conquering Middle School by Erica & Jonathan Catherman Review

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Description

The transition from elementary school to middle school skirts the borders of traumatic for many girls. Their bodies are changing, their moods are shifting, their friendships are tested, and boys can become a big distraction. Girls may begin to struggle with grades, behavior, and relationships with family and friends. How do they know what to do and what not to do in this new environment with new expectations?

Erica and Jonathan Catherman offer girls ages ten to twelve the practical help they need to make the move to middle school as painless as possible. The “do this, not that” format covers a hundred relevant topics and situations middle school girls will face, including the first day, bullies, test taking, cell phone use, homework, gossip, leadership, respect, sports, PDA, and many more.

My Thoughts

This book gets rave reviews from my 12 year old daughter in 7th grade. It has a really fun format…broken down into many categories (gossip, body odor, swearing, mean girls, detention, etc), each page explains the category in a fun, easy to read way with very cute illustrations to demonstrate “do this” and “not that”. The illustrations remind me a bit of the Goofus and Gallant features in Highlights magazines…they were always my favorite part of the magazine and the illustrations in this book really add to the fun as well as provide a visual aide.

I wish this book would have been around during my middle school years. Navigating those years is not easy and it’s nice to have a book that discusses things that young girls might not feel comfortable asking about. It also addresses things they may not have even thought about.

Overall, this book is a definite winner and I highly recommend it for all pre-teens and early teen girls.

My Rating

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