Beautiful Animals by Lawrence Osborne Review

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Synopsis: On a hike during a white-hot summer break on the Greek island of Hydra, Naomi and Samantha make a startling discovery: a man named Faoud, sleeping heavily, exposed to the elements, but still alive. Naomi, the daughter of a wealthy British art collector who has owned a villa in the exclusive hills for decades, convinces Sam, a younger American woman on vacation with her family, to help this stranger. As the two women learn more about the man, a migrant from Syria and a casualty of the crisis raging across the Aegean sea, their own burgeoning friendship intensifies, and when a simple plan of revenge goes horrifically wrong, Faoud must go on the run while the women come to terms with the terrible consequences they have set in motion.

My Thoughts: The premise of this story was great but it just wasn’t executed the way that I prefer. The pacing was slow and the writing, although beautiful, had too much of a literary quality for my liking.

The book deals with current issues and dilemmas that people are faced with today in an interesting way, which I found interesting. I also liked the characters, they were very well fleshed out and developed.

If you like a slow burning story with some drama, then this would be the book for you.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible review

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Description: Easy to color and easy to read! Reflect on the precious truths of Scripture with the NIV Beautiful Word™ Coloring Bible, Large Print, featuring beautiful line art for coloring and a large type size. Perfect for all ages, this Bible’s thick white paper with lightly ruled lines in the extra-wide margins provides ample space for your own artistic expressions and journaling.

The NIV Beautiful Word™ Coloring Bible, Large Print is a perfect gift that will become a cherished keepsake full of personalized creative expressions of faith.

Features of this treasured Bible include:

Hundreds of verses illustrated in ready-to-color line art
Readable 10-point type size
Thicker white paper for enduring note-taking
Lined, wide margins for notes, reflections and art
Complete text of the accurate, readable, and clear New International Version (NIV)
Easy-to-read black letter text in a single-column format
Lays flat in your hand or on your desk
Ribbon marker

My Thoughts: I was delighted when I received this Bible, it is beautiful! I love the cover, it’s a cloth cover with a very pretty floral design. The size of the Bible is also perfect, in my opinion…I used it in church and it sits open in my lap nicely without closing, as smaller Bibles sometimes do.

The text is easy to read and there are large margins, which leave room for Bible journaling. The artwork is beautiful and relevant, with a lot of space to color. The pages seem thicker than normal Bible pages, which should be helpful when coloring.

Out of all the Bibles I’ve reviewed, this is my favorite. I love the looks and feel of it, as well as the size. The NIV translation is also what I prefer. I would highly recommend this Bible if you are looking for a nice Bible for coloring.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this Bible from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

The Anxious Christian by Rhett Smith Review

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Description: Is anxiety “un-Christian”’

Many Christians believe the answer to this question is yes! Understandably, then, many Christians feel shame when they are anxious. They especially feel this shame when well-intentioned fellow believers dismiss or devalue anxiety with Christian platitudes and Bible verses.

Rhett Smith, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, helps us understand anxiety in a new way. Rhett argues that, rather than being destructive or shameful, anxiety can be a catalyst for our spiritual growth. Using Biblical thinking and personal examples, Rhett explains how anxiety allows us to face our resistance and fears, understand where those fears come from, and then make intentional decisions about issues such as career, marriage, money, and our spiritual lives.

Allow this book to challenge your view of anxiety, and allow God to use your anxiety for good.

My Thoughts: I have struggled with anxiety for most of my life. When I was 9 years old, I was with my grandparents when my grandfather had an abdominal aortic aneurism and passed away. This event was a turning point in my life which altered how I looked at life and circumstances. It left me reeling, and I began to worry constantly about loved ones dying, picturing the horrific events that could happen.

I shared my “worrying problem” with a trusted person in my church and was told that this was sinful because I wasn’t trusting God enough. This caused me to feel ashamed and frustrated with myself. Prayer has helped my anxiety to a large extent but I have “flare ups” where it gets difficult to deal with.

One such “flare up” occurred when my dad had a lung transplant in 2015. After the surgery, I had a panic attack. I was struggling to function properly at work and wanted to stay home all the time. At that point I decided to share my problems with my doctor, who prescribed medication for my anxiety and referred me to a therapist.

I struggled a lot with the medication because, as a Christian, I felt like I was giving up on God and relying on medicine instead. I had family members who were not happy with me taking the medicine because they didn’t like that it altered brain chemistry.

All of this was said to show that this book was a breath of fresh air for me. Anxiety is something that still has negative connotations, like many mental health disorders, especially in the church. I have rarely or never seen anyone ask for prayer for their anxiety or depression but every week, people ask for prayer for broken bones or flus or other physical ailments.

The author, Rhett Smith doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. He also has dealt with anxiety and he explains how it can be used for good. I found myself with tears in my eyes as I read this book because there have been moments since I was told that my worrying was sinful when I’ve said to my husband, “why did God make me this way?”

Reading this book helped me to see that God used my anxiety to get the help I needed. Since seeing my therapist and taking my medication (and praying daily, giving all my worries to God), my anxiety has greatly decreased. It still rears it’s ugly head from time to time, but this book has shown me that perhaps it’s God’s way of speaking to me, showing me that I need to take action in some area of my life.

I highly, highly recommend this book to my anxious Christian friends out there. It would make a great Bible study group read as well.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Fearless Parenting by George Barna and Jimmy Myers Review

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Description: Conscientious parents who long to bring their children up as good Christians and good citizens face an uphill battle. In a culture of rampant narcissism and moral anarchy, righteous living isn’t easy and it isn’t popular. But positive cultural transformation happens quietly, one life at a time, and that is good news for parents.

In this hopeful book, world-renowned researcher George Barna and nationally respected counselor Jimmy Myers offer parents a plan of action to raise healthy, godly children in a morally bankrupt culture. If the parents of this generation want to see their children grow up with their faith and consciences intact, they cannot afford to simply react, making it up as they go along. They must approach their responsibilities to parent their children with intentionality and consistency. This eye-opening book helps them do just that.

My Thoughts: I feel like this book was written just for me. It addressed so many issues that I’m facing in my life as a parent of a 14 year old and an 11 year old.

It’s no secret that this world is not an easy place to raise children, especially as a Christian. There have been numerous times in the past few months, I’ve felt like I had no idea what I was doing as a parent and wished for someone to come along and give me advice and tell me it would be okay. This book did just that.

The book covers very important topics, including family relationships, materialism, pornography, and social media. It also recommends other resources that would be helpful to equip our children to face the harsh world.

The overarching theme is that Christian parents need to parent without fear…we cannot allow our fears of “what could happen” to dictate our parenting. It also gives us what we need to raise the most precious gifts we are entrusted with.

I highly, highly recommend this book to any parent, but especially parents of pre-teens and teens. It is a book that I will revisit with a highlighter and page tabs.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Baker Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine Review

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Synopsis: Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

My Thoughts: I requested this book with slight apprehension because this genre is far from my comfort zone. I do not tend to go for fantasy or paranormal but I do love books and libraries as well as dystopian stories so I decided to give it a go.

The story was unlike anything I’ve read before…a world where owning physical copies of books is forbidden and The Great Library controls everything that people read. It follows Jess Brightwell, who is a book smuggler for his father but gets the opportunity to train to enter the library’s service.

I was on board for the first half of the story, I loved the atmosphere and the things that occurred during the training. Towards the middle of the story, a mission needs to be accomplished and that’s when I started to lose interest. I just wasn’t excited about the subject and what was happening.

The concept of this story was very unique and clever but the world building was a bit lacking. I had difficulty picturing some things as they were described because I felt there weren’t enough details.

Overall, I was pleased with this book for an “out of my comfort zone”, non-preferred genre book. I found it interesting and enjoyed the adventure but I don’t feel compelled to pick up the rest of the books in the series.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble Review

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Synopsis: Dana has already learned that love isn’t safe . . . but could it be different in Rock Harbor?

As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancé to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.

But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted.

My Thoughts: This book kept me guessing. The story was fast paced and intense. It follows Dana, who has just left an abusive relationship and returns to her hometown for refuge. A series of murders of women are occurring that are all similar in nature and the suspense continues throughout the book until the final boiling point at the end.

I enjoy Colleen Coble’s writing style, it’s very descriptive and always keeps me turning the pages. The twist of the story was slightly unexpected and surprising but a bit far-fetched. I enjoyed the character of Bree, who trains search and rescue dogs. I also loved the small town feel of the setting. The author did a good job at building suspense throughout the story.

Unfortunately, it felt very over-dramatic at times. These characters had experienced a lot of drama in their lives (so much so that it gave me a soap opera feel at times). It made the book feel a bit unrealistic to read all the things one character had experienced. I also felt that the way murders were handled didn’t seem accurate, given the fact that they were possibly committed by a serial killer (the small town sheriff probably wouldn’t be the one in charge of these murders).

Overall, I was very entertained by this book but I wasn’t extremely impressed with it. I would recommend it for anyone who likes a fun murder mystery with a little bit of grit and some twists.

My Rating: 3 and a half stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

 

Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart by Glenys Nellist Review

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Description: In this heart-warming picture book designed for girls, author Glenys Nellist tells the inspiring stories of incredible women in the Bible. With beautiful illustrations by Rachel Clowes and sweet lift-the-flap envelopes, each story delivers a special message for children to open as they read their own personal love letters from God. Full of warmth and love, this picture book will fill girls’ hearts with the wonder of the Lord. The stories of Eve, Miriam, Rahab, Mary, and many more will delight children and remind them of the bond they can share with God, just like the women of the Bible.

My Thoughts: I was very impressed with how beautiful this book was when I received it. The illustrations are whimsical and fun and the colors are very pleasing to the eye. Because it’s such an inviting cover, I think many girls, young and old alike, will gravitate towards this book.

The stories are longer than I expected, which was a nice surprise. My 10 year old daughter found it to be enjoyable and not too “young” but I think younger girls would also enjoy it. I enjoyed the stories as a 37 year old girl, it’s a book that girls of all ages would enjoy.

Each story highlights a woman in the Bible and how God used her and illustrates His love for her and, in turn, us. Women in the book include Rahab, Eve, Mary Magdalene, Martha, and Mary, mother of Jesus. There is also a letter with a flap that you lift on each page that can be personalized. The letters are from God and add a nice touch to each story. At the end of the book there is a letter that the girl can write to God.

This would be an excellent gift for any young girl. I would highly recommend it.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.