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.

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.

 

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck Review

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Synopsis: Here and Gone is a gripping, wonderfully tense suspense thriller about a mother’s desperate fight to recover her stolen children from corrupt authorities.. It begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she’s pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them… Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.

My Thoughts: This book reminded me of a movie called Breakdown, starring Kurt Russell. The plots of the book and the movie are similar and both were successful in creating a lot of tension and suspense. This story is every mother’s worst nightmare…to have your children taken away and the blame put on you.

The writing style was very reader friendly but it read like a movie adaptation…there was a lot of telling instead of showing. The pacing was good, the story moved along with every page. The characters were decent but none of them stood out to me.

Overall, this was a good thriller but not one that will be memorable…there was nothing “special” about it.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books 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.