She Reads Truth Christian Standard Bible Review

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Description: The She Reads Truth Bible aims to live at the intersection of beauty, goodness, and Truth. Featuring devotionals by the She Reads Truth team, and Scripture reading plans that include supplemental passages for deeper understanding, this Bible invites every woman to count themselves among the She Reads Truth community of “Women in the Word of God every day.” The She Reads Truth Bible also features 66 key verses, artfully lettered to aid in Scripture memorization.

Features include: almost 200 devotionals, 66 artist-designed key verses, 35 full-color timelines, 20 full-color maps, 11 full-color charts, reading plans for every book of the Bible, one-year Bible reading plan, detailed book introductions, key verse list, carefully curated topical index, smyth-sewn binding, two colored ribbon markers, and wide margins for journaling and note-taking.

The She Reads Truth Bible features the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) text. Translated by more than 100 scholars from 17 denominations, the Christian Standard Bible features an optimal blend of accuracy and readability that’s faithful for serious study, and written with heart-stirring clarity that inspires readers to live and share it.

My Thoughts: I was overjoyed when I had the opportunity to review this Bible. I hadn’t heard of the She Reads Truth Bible until very recently and I am very impressed by it.

My first impressions were great…I received the Gray Linen version but it comes in various beautiful colors. It comes in a sturdy slipcase…the Bible has a very hard cover that seems durable. The Bible itself is rather heavy, but that is because it is full of goodness. There is beautiful artwork throughout the book, which just makes me happy, I always feel like color adds joy and fun to anything, so the artwork is one of my favorite features. There are also maps in the Bible, but what I love is that they are in relevant places…they are placed in chapters that pertain to the maps instead of all in the back of the book (which is what I’ve usually found in other Bibles). The same concept goes for timelines and charts, there are several timelines and charts placed in relevant places throughout.

Another of my favorite features is that there are 189 devotionals placed throughout the Bible. I haven’t had a devotional Bible since I was a teenager and I’ve forgotten how nice it is to have the devotional included in the Bible…it makes studying your Bible much easier. There are also reading plans for each book as well as a yearly reading plan with check boxes in the back of the Bible. There are not one, but two ribbon bookmarks in this Bible, which I think is a great idea as there are many times when you need to mark more than one place in your book.

Each book of the Bible has an introduction, which helps the reader understand the context and characters of the book. The artwork is also at the beginning of each book, which highlights a key verse, which overall sums up the book.

There are wide margins, which are great for note-taking or Bible journaling, which I’ve recently dipped my toes into. It also has a great topical index in the back, which can be very handy.

The translation is Christian Standard Version, which I wasn’t familiar with. I’m finding that I enjoy it quite a bit. It’s very reader friendly and has good footnotes. I also like the font that is used for the text of the Bible.

Overall, this Bible has everything I would wish for. It is a Bible that I could see myself using for years to come and I’m delighted to own it.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from BH Publishing Group to review.

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The Christmas Gate by T.A. Cline Review

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Synopsis: Robert Robinson, a renown author from New York City, is traveling unwillingly through a snow storm on his way to a small farm in upstate New York owned by his editor. Robert’s fame from the success of his books has changed him. His indulgence in big-city parties and being in the spotlight has allowed his arrogance to swell and for him to lose focus of his obligations. Now, being excessively late on the third book of a three book contract, he is given an ultimatum. He can either face legal action from his publisher or take one last chance to finish his book away from all the big-city distractions.

Patty has her own issues, dealing with the memories of her late husband. Always at the edge of depression, she somehow remains visibly strong and in control of her emotions, despite her internal turmoil. While Patty’s father is away to be with a dying friend, she assumes the responsibility of caring for the old farm owned by the New York editor.

Robert is oblivious to Christmas and all that goes along with it. His parents loved Christmas, but he hadn’t spoken with them in over eight years after their argument. Over the years, he has slowly disconnected from everything that reminded him of them. Christmas just became a day for a bigger party.

While at the old farm house, Robert discovers something that has been hidden there for possibly generations. What secrets lay just beyond an old screeching gate? Will the miracle of Christmas find its way to Robert? Find out in the story, “The Christmas Gate.”

My Thoughts: This is a great story for the Christmas season. So many times, I’ve picked up Christmas books but found that they had nothing to do with the holiday. This book has several Christmas scenes that really set the mood for the Christmas season.

The story is similar to a Christmas Carol as the main character learns lessons by the way of supernatural experiences. Robert, the main character develops greatly through the story and goes from an unlikable person to someone who is very endearing.

I loved the setting of the story…it takes place in an old farmhouse in New York in the snow. The author was good at describing the home in a way that made me feel like I was there.

The different scenes that take place in the book are very relevant to our world today and caused me to analyze how I approach Christmas…it’s important not to lose Christ when celebrating His holiday.

I definitely recommend this Christmas story and look forward to reading book 2, which is being released soon!

My Rating: 4 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author to review.

The Delusion by Laura Gallier Review

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Synopsis: By March of Owen Edmonds’s senior year, eleven students at Masonville High School have committed suicide. Amid the media frenzy and chaos, Owen tries to remain levelheaded–until he endures his own near-death experience and wakes to a distressing new reality.

The people around him suddenly appear to be shackled and enslaved.

Owen frantically seeks a cure for what he thinks are crazed hallucinations, but his delusions become even more sinister. An army of hideous, towering beings, unseen by anyone but Owen, are preying on his girlfriend and classmates, provoking them to self-destruction.

Owen eventually arrives at a mind-bending conclusion: he’s not imagining the evil–everyone else is blind to its reality. He must warn and rescue those he loves . . . but this proves to be no simple mission. Will he be able to convince anyone to believe him before it’s too late?

Owen’s heart-pounding journey through truth and delusion will force him to reconsider everything he believes. He both longs for and fears the answers to questions that are quickly becoming too dangerous to ignore.

My Thoughts: I’m sitting here, trying to decide what adjective to use to begin this review. I want to give this book the credit and recognition it deserves. Amazing doesn’t seem like a “good enough” word to describe this book….

This book provides a visual picture of spiritual warfare…the invisible battle that wages each and every moment of every day around every person on Earth between the dark and light forces. I have never read a book that described this battle in such a clear way. There were moments that I had to put the book down and ponder what I had just read. There were moments when I got goosebumps, thinking about this war that is real but not seen by human eyes. I was on the edge of my seat throughout, flying through the pages, but nervous to see what was ahead.

This was a life-changing book for me. It changes the way I look at prayer and interceding for people with prayer, it showed how truly important prayer is in a very cool way.

The story shows how demonic forces can oppress Christians and possess non-Christians. There were some terrifying scenes that are more terrifying when you realize that this book, although fictional, is based on Biblical truths.

The book is a young adult story, focused around teenagers but would definitely be a good read for teens as well as adults. Because of the difficult and gritty content, I would recommend that it not be read by anyone under the age of 16.

My only problem is that it ended on a slight cliffhanger and I need more of the story! I am eagerly awaiting book 2. I highly recommend this book, it is my top rated book of 2017 so far.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers to review.

The 5 Love Languages for Teenagers by Gary Chapman Review

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Synopsis:

Socially, mentally, and spiritually, teenagers face a variety of pressures and stresses each day. Despite these pressures, it is still parents who can influence teens the most, and The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers equips parents to make the most of that opportunity.

In this adaptation of the #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages(more than 10 million copies sold)Dr. Gary Chapman explores the world in which teenagers live, explains their developmental changes, and gives tools to help you identify and appropriately communicate in your teen’s love language.

Get practical tips for how to:

  • Express love to your teen effectively
  • Navigate the key issues in your teen’s life, including anger and independence
  • Set boundaries that are enforced with discipline and consequences
  • Support and love your teen when he or she fails

Get ready to discover how the principles of the five love languages can really work in the life of your teenage and family.

My Thoughts: Being a parent of a teenager can be very tough. When my son entered adolescence, my husband and I found ourselves wondering who this new person was that lived in our home. He was not the same little boy that we knew…he didn’t want hugs, he found us embarrassing, he questioned everything. I would feel so helpless at times and frustrated, feeling like I was failing as a parent. This book has helped my relationship with my son in so many ways!

I had heard many things about the 5 love languages but had never read about them. The concept is accepted and used by both Christian and non-Christian circles. It really helps to know our love languages when relating to each other. This book breaks down each love language and helps you identify your teen’s primary love language. I immediately used the things I learned with my son and I feel like our relationship is already improving. There is also a very helpful chapter on anger and teenagers that was very informative.

The book is an easy and quick read. I highly recommend it for all parents of teenagers. It was truly a blessing for me to read.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Moody Publishers to review.

The Pretender by Ta’Mara Hanscom Review and Giveaway

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Synopsis: Set in South Dakota in 1975, where eighteen-year-olds could order 3.2 beer in a bar, and loaded guns were kept under the counter.

Frankie Valli sang “My Eyes Adored You,” and American soldiers returning from Vietnam struggled with their new reality.
It’s within this tumultuous season of American history that Tillie Caselli meets Noah Hansen, and they are never the same again. Their lives were mysteriously intertwined-and had been for many years-yet they had no idea.
From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart—and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride’s deception.
About the authors:
 

Born and raised in South Dakota, Ta`Mara loves to write about the Great Plains and the beauty and people of Italia. While her husband and children manage their two pizza ristoranti, Ta`Mara works full time on The Caselli Family Series, and ministers to women. It is Ta`Mara s prayer that as the readers explore the truths in these volumes, they will come away with a new perspective on love, forgiveness, obedience, and God’s plan for marriage
Find out more about Ta’Mara at https://www.tamarahanscombooks.com.

 

 

My Thoughts: I have mixed feelings about this book. The first 1/3 was 5 stars…the romance was perfect and warmed my heart but the middle and end became a bit frustrating and left me feeling unsatisfied. This is the first book in a series, so I know that the story is far from over but some of the decisions made by the characters really made me sad.

This story follows Noah and Tillie, who have a whirlwind romance when they meet but then, after a misunderstanding, lose each other and move on (but keep each other in their hearts). In a lot of ways, the story reminded me of the movie, “The Notebook”. Noah has a great transformation throughout the story and I love how he grows and matures. Tillie was a bit frustrating to me at times…she’s the only girl and the baby of an Italian family and was a bit selfish and immature at times.

I loved the concept of Blackguards and Knights and although I wouldn’t necessarily use those words, I would love to impart this lesson to my daughter for when she chooses a life mate.

I also loved the strong family dynamics that were weaved throughout the story. The Casellis are the definition of a close-knit family and our world needs more families like that. The bar is set very high for the men Tillie can date and I appreciated the overprotective nature of her older brothers.

Overall, this was a good story and I’m glad to have read it. I just need to pick up the next one to find out what will happen next!

My Rating: 3 stars

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group to review.

Join Ta’Mara in celebrating the release of the second printing and new covers by entering to win her $75 prize basket giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of The Pretender
  • A $75 Amazon gift card
  • A decorative box containing measuring cups, ten recipes from the book, a potholder, a kitchen towel, pepper and salt grinders, kitchen utensils, and an olive oil dispenser

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 11. The winner will be announced October 12 on the Litfuse blog.

 

The Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson Review

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Synopsis: When she receives the news in late 1944 that her baby’s father was shot down in the South Pacific, Amelia Richards loses hope. Jobless and broke, she has nowhere to turn for help but her infant’s paternal grandparents. The only problem is, they don’t know that she–or their grandson–exists. When Amelia discovers that the family is wealthy and influential, dare she disclose the truth of her relationship with their son? Or could the celebration of the arrival of another unexpected baby nearly two thousand years ago be the answer to her dilemma? Beloved author Melody Carlson pens a story of love, hardship, and reconciliation that will leave readers filled with Christmas joy.

My Thoughts: This is my third year of reviewing Melody Carlson’s Christmas stories and I always enjoy reading them. (Reviews for The Christmas Angel Project and The Christmas Joyride).  Every year, she releases a Christmas story that warms the heart and gets the reader in the mood for the Christmas season and this book was no exception.

The story follows Amelia, who lost her sweetheart in World War 2 after a whirlwind romance that produced a child. Her sweetheart, James, left for the war before they knew she was pregnant (or were married) and now she is setting off to find his family and introduce herself and her son Jimmy to them.

I liked the plot of the story and the time period of World War 2, a scary and uncertain time, I imagine. I also liked Amelia’s character, she adored baby Jimmy and wanted what was best for him. My only qualm with this book is that Amelia states that she doesn’t regret having Jimmy out of wedlock and premarital sex almost seems condoned because they were planning on getting married the next day anyway. Something about that didn’t quite sit well with me. I don’t judge people for their actions or sins but I wasn’t fond of how sin was almost justified in this book (I always hold Christian books at a higher standard than secular books).

Overall, this was a very sweet story that was paced well and had a great ending. I highly recommend it for fun Christmas reading!

My Rating: 

4.5 stars

I received this book from Revell Publishing to review honestly.

 

 

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan Review

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Synopsis: In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower’s allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer.

Determined not to make the same mistakes, he’s intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything–even murder–to keep the case from going to trial.

My Thoughts: This was my first experience with reading a legal suspense story and I really enjoyed it. It’s a combination of a legal and a medical thriller. The story follows Kate, an attorney preparing to go up against a very large pharmaceutical company who is accused of manufacturing drugs that have fatal side effects.

The story pulled me in at the first chapter and kept up until the end. I liked all of the characters and found the romance to be very sweet. There were a few twists that I didn’t expect, which I love.

One thing I enjoyed about the story was that Kate was not opposed to having security after being threatened. Often in stories, I’ve seen the trope of the “strong woman” who doesn’t feel the need to be protected and always resists help. It was a nice change to see a woman who realized that she could use the extra protection.

I am not skilled at legalese but I never felt confused or lost with the story, the author described everything in a way that made it easy to understand but didn’t talk down to the reader.

I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers to review honestly.