Tag Archives: christian books

Book Review – Stepping Heavenward

19 Oct

Stepping Heavenward by Mrs. E. Prentiss is, I feel, a book that every woman should read – no matter their age or where they are in life. It was given to me by some dear friends when I graduated from culinary school and I thoroughly enjoyed  it, and learned from it then. But this time reading it as a wife and sufferer of chronic illness, I feel like I gained so much more from it.

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(side note: I’m currently trying to learn a new image editor… bear with me as I figure it out) 

We watch as Katherine grows from a sixteen year old girl, in the year of 1831, to a woman of God with a husband and children. The trials of life beat against her as she seeks to live her life honoring God.

I marked a few sections that I wanted to share in this review:

“I see now that my first desire has not been to please God but to please myself, for I am restless under His restraining hand and find my prison a very narrow one. I would be willing to bear any other trial if I could only have health and strength for my beloved ones. I pray for patience with bitter tears.”

“The scenes of sorrow through which we have been passing have brought (husband) nearer to me than ever… Besides we have modified each other. (He) is more demonstrative, more attentive to those little things that make the happiness of married life; and I am less childish, less vehement- I wish I could say less selfish, but here I seem to have come to a standstill.”

Trying not to give anything away by taking out the name of her husband!

“Bishop Wilson charges us to bear all things ‘as unto God’ and “with the greatest privacy’. How seldom I have met them save as lions in my way that I would avoid if I could, and how I have tormented my friends by tedious complaints about them! Yet when compared with the great tragedies of suffering I have both witnessed and suffered, how petty they seem!”

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I identified so often with Katherine in the struggles of life and seeking to do the right thing, that I ended the book encouraged in the path. It reminded me that we all grow and change, even if we don’t see that growth. That we are not meant to suffer through life but to thrive and to make our will aligned with His. As I said before, I recommend this book to anyone. Yes it’s written in an older style, as you can see in the sections I shared but how deep and rich a meaning of daily faith is weaved throughout this book.

Also – Elizabeth Elliot even recommended it to “men, who need to better understand the wives they live with, and to any woman who wants to walk with God.” 

~Laura

Have you read this book? what did you think of it? Have you read a book like this, that inspired you? 

Book Review – When God Doesn’t Fix it

27 Jul

Hello friends! I have been wanting to write this review for a few weeks now – maybe longer? –  it is such a great book and I highly recommend it! (there you go, now you know, you don’t even have to read the rest of this post, haha!)

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But seriously, When God Doesn’t Fix It by Laura Story is one of those rare books that doesn’t focus on ‘if only your faith were stronger’ or ‘God is distant and doesn’t care for our day to day’ books (yes, I’ve read both of those type of ‘help’ books and I’m sure you have too!) Instead, she shares her trials and what she’s learned along the way – that despite our flaws and hard stories, God can still use us in extraordinary ways. If we remain faithful and willing.

Here are a few sections that stood out to me :

in reference to John 9, “Neither the man’s nor his parent’s sin caused the blindness. . . Imagine the deep sense of relief the blind man must have had to hear that… Jesus wanted the disciples, the blind man and the religious leaders listening to know that it wasn’t one person’s specific sin that caused this man’s hopeless situation… Jesus was clear that neither this man’s nor his parent’s sin caused his blindness. But neither did God cause it.” (page 138/139) 

This section right here made me sigh in such relief. FINALLY. Finally someone who doesn’t teach that physical sickness is because your relationship with God isn’t right. I can’t believe how many times over the years I’ve been told that. I will avoid getting on my ‘soap box’ about it but let’s just say that it’s not Biblically accurate and leave it there. (although, I encourage you to study more about this topic.) Really, she sold me completely when I read this section. I’d been holding my breath just waiting for this topic to come up.

The Bible is a book of broken stories and of sinful behaviors that cry out for redemption. That’s why the entire story of the Bible points to a Redeemer. And that Redeemer isn’t Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, Paul or even Mary. The entire Bible points to Jesus as the Redeemer – our Redeemer.”  (page 186)

I really liked this chapter. We all know the heroes of the Bible aren’t perfect but how she explains why God uses their stories to teach us is so wonderful.

What if David hadn’t been willing to write his story? Consider how different our faith would look if David’s story, both the highlights and the lowlights, had never appeared in the Bible. Think of how often we turn to the Psalms for comfort. What if David’s psalms were missing?”  (page 193)

She’s talking about being willing to share our story -even when we haven’t reached the happily-ever-after yet. When we are still in the ‘lowlights’ as she calls them. This point of David never sharing his story hit home for me. I have Psalms highlighted in my Bible from high school ( I no longer write in my Bible, but I did back then!) and have taken so much comfort from them – what if they weren’t there?!

I hope this quick review encourages you to go out and snag a copy of this book for yourself! And then, go ahead and share it with someone you think might gain from it. That’s how I got to read it, my sister in law let me borrow it (thanks sis!).

~Laura

Book Review – Twas the Night Before

20 Dec

I told you guys I had holiday-themed books to review! It’s just so fun reading books that fit in whatever season you’re in. I will admit to you that Wildwood Dancing has been calling me as it starts in winter. Sigh. I’ve been holding off starting it as that’s all I want to do once I open its cover -READ! Perhaps that’ll be my reward for getting my manuscript off to a few beta readers come the beginning of the new year.

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Anyway, this book I have to review for you is a favorite. My dad got it for my mom and I several years ago.  And while the only other books I’ve read by Jerry B. Jenkins is the Left Behind series (years and years ago), I like his different style of writing. I found myself pausing quite often as I thought how I would have worded something versus what he did, and realizing how much I have to learn! (yipes!) But. It’s a delightful tale and let’s get on to it.

Twas the Night Before by Jerry B. Jenkins.

Noella and Tom are as opposite as they can be- but they are completely in love and plan to marry. As a cynical news reporter, Tom doesn’t care much about Christmas. So when Noella reveals what she really believes about Santa, it throws Tom for a loop. Certain it won’t work, the wedding is called off. But when Tom travels to Germany to research more about Father Christmas, his whole life is changed.

I just can’t gush enough about how much I enjoy this story. The characters are well rounded and the way that Jenkins tells their story is genius. The cynical news reporter and cheery teacher reminded me of a classic movie I watched a while back, Teacher’s Pet.

All in all, this is a great book to read every year as it leaves you smiling and is a read-in-one-afternoon type of book.

What’s your favorite Christmas read?

Thanks for coming by and don’t forget to come back later in the week for our monthly Book Review!

~Laura

Book Review – October 2015

29 Oct

Book Review for October already!! Your month is now complete and happy. Ha. I’m over-inflating the importance and excitement of this post but i’m tired, my puppy is wandering away from me……..

Ok, she’s sleeping with Lady. We’re good. What was I saying? Oh, tired. Yes, Laura is TiReD right now. But, there’s a puppy to train, a Lady to spoil and walk, a hubby to support, a house to clean and NANOWRIMO starts in a few days. Whew. No rest for the weary!

On to the book Review!

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The Best Gift by Irene Hannon (Sisters and Brides) –  A.J. Williams has inherited her late aunt’s bookstore, along with the store manager, Blake Williams.Their life philosophies are polar opposites – hers, go with the flow ; his, plan and be prepared. But they must learn to work together to beat a threat against their store. Will their tenuous friendship grow to something deeper and stronger?

– This has been a favorite for years. Being a book lover, and having an old dream of owning a bookstore, I adore any books that center around them. Being a rather short story, I appreciate the background given of the main characters and their individual struggles dealt with. This is a sweet romance story, a quick read. I highly recommend it.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman – Wesley and Buttercup are in love, but when Wesley goes away to find his fortune, tragedy strikes. Inigo trained for years to exact revenge on the man who murdered his father, only now he can’t find him. Vizzini is a professional criminal, intent on starting a war. Fezzik just wants to make rhymes and to not be alone. Intrigue. Torture. Daring Escapes. Miracles. True Love.

–  I have wanted to read this book for YEARS and years. But, I didn’t want a copy that was printed after the movie, I wanted a pre-movie copy. When that proved too hard to find, I caved and got the only copy I could find. It was definitely different than I was expecting but I still really enjoyed it. The background on Fezzik, Inigo, Wesley…Well, all of them really, was fun. I can see some people not being able to enjoy it what with all of Goldman’s inserts and comments throughout. Shrug. I was though and it is one I will re-read over and over and over and over again.

Brothers of the Outlaw Trail (Heartsong Novella Collection) – Follow a band of outlaw brothers as they seek redemption and love – Reuben Wilson struggles with the guilt of turning his brothers into outlaws. Colt wants revenge on the outlaw who turned him in. Caleb tries to make a new start as a sheriff in a small town. And Benjamin tries to leave his life as a professional gambler behind.

–  These short stories were fun! I enjoy westerns, especially when they are set in the late 1880’s as these are. Each is written by a different author, so to me it helps give each brother a different voice and personality. (has anyone else felt like sometimes siblings are too similar in books?) As they are so short, I was sad to reach the end of each of them. I’d love it if somehow I could read an  ‘extended edition’ of them. Dreaming, I know.

Hidden Places by Lynn Austin – Eliza has wanted a home all her life. After 10 years of having one, she isn’t about to let it go now. Wyatt Orchards is hers and her kids’. But keeping it up is more than she can handle. Help comes in the unexpected form of a hobo, who shares similarities to her late husbands’ lost brother. The pain and heartbreak in the farmhouse is overflowing, will it take a hold of Eliza as well?

– I know I’ve read this book before but I’m in the happy position of not remembering it other than that I really enjoyed it. I am halfway through and already am completely sucked in. It is set in the 1930s  – and i’m falling in love with Aunt Batty. A must read for sure!

Do you have a book that you’ve been dying to read but still haven’t? Share! 

(pssst, just so you know, it’s that time of year again for me to read Wildwood Dancing. So. Be prepared for a review on it next month most likely. It has made its way out of the bookshelf and onto my desk here…just beckoning to me.)

~Laura

Book Review- June

21 Jun

How many months has it been since we’ve had a book review?!? Too many, and I am here to fix that! I have been reading all over the genres lately – thanks to the stack of books my mom gave me and other gifts by wonderful friends!

I am going to cover the books that I read since our last review in March and work forward from there, this might just be a two-part review.

Let’s begin shall we?

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Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery (book 6) –   Anne is expecting another child but to the family’s dismay, Aunt Mary comes to visit, for a long time. To add to the difficulty, Anne starts to wonder if Gilbert still loves her. But, still full of spunk and imagination, Anne is ready to make her husband fall in love all over again. ~  Ah, this book was probably one of my favorites of those later in the series. I loved the children being young, a difficult relative coming and staying indefinitely and seeing Anne older and wiser but still full of dreams and imagination.

Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery  (book 7) – Anne and Gilbert now have six children, and their amusing antics are carried out in Rainbow Valley. Their new neighbors, two boys and two girls who only have a minister father, join them in the valley and add to the escapades. ~ This book was a delight to read. While I grew up out in the country, I certainly didn’t have adventures like these! You will fall in love with these children.

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery (book 8) – Only young Rilla is left of the Blythe children at Ingleside. Pretty 15 year old Rilla is only focused on getting to her first dance and hopefully, her first kiss from Kenneth Ford. But when the world erupts into war, her world is turned into one of drama and challenges. Not only do her brothers go off to fight, but she rescues an abandoned baby in a soup tureen. ~ I must admit that this one was harder to read, with it being focused on the war. But because of that fact, it was the best ‘account’ of what life was probably like for them during those days, so for that, I appreciated it. I like how Rilla grew up throughout the challenges and years.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (book 1) – Elantris was once a golden city in Arelon – literally glowing from the magic of the Shaod. It was the epicenter of trade and the demigods used their power to help others. 10 years ago, all that changed – the Elantirans became like lepers, and the city became their prison. In the devastation, a new capital has risen, Kae, in the shadow of the walls of Elantris. From across the waters, Princess Sarene of Teod comes to wed Prince Raoden – eager at last to meet and fall in love with this enigmatic man, but instead finds out that he has died and according to the laws of Kae, their engagement vows are as binding as marriage vows. Hrathen is a high priest of the Fjordell empire, and stepping into Kae hours after Princess Sarene has only two goals – convert the people of Kae in a few months’ time or they will all be killed. As Sarene battles politics in order to save both Teod and Kae from Fjordell control, she finds out the truth of Prince Raoden. He had become an Elantrian – outcast in the decaying city, and while trying to help the wretches there, he just might find the answer to the secret of Elantris. ~ Yes, this book deserves a long review. I LOVED this book. I never would have chosen it myself, but thank goodness for friends that send you books out of your ordinary! This quickly became a favorite of mine. The story line twists and turns so that I never knew how it was going to end and the characters were very well written. Neither Sarene nor Raoden are your typical royalty, and even the villian, Hrathen, has depths that intrigued and kept him from being someone you grew bored of. All in all, an excellent book full of suspense and lacking in anything sensual or ‘sketchy’. I’m even contemplating taking it on my trip to Cali with me!

Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame – Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger are the main stars in this delightful children’s classic as their adventures range from the constant river,stolen  motor cars, the Wild Wood and gypsy caravans. Originally published in 1908, these friends have long delighted readers. Mole and Rat are the best of friends , as well as being the best type of friend to others; Toad is peevish, thinking only of the fun he longs to have and Badger is the bachelor who knows everyone and is the wisest of them all. ~Some friends recommended this book and I scored an older copy at Powell’s bookstore in order to read it. Delightful. Absolutely delightful. It will certainly be a yearly read.

Doctor in Petticoats by Mary Connealy (Sophie’s Daughters #1) – Having trained as a nurse, Beth is on her way back home to her sister’s wedding. But when a stagecoach accident nearly kills them all, Beth struggles to help the injured by herself. When she realizes the incoherent bum she’s barely tolerated, is a doctor, she forces him to help her. Once in her hometown, her younger sister Sally has an accident and in order to be able to help Alex continue caring for Sally, Beth agrees to marry Alex. As time passes and Alex starts to show signs of being sane, and Beth starts to fall in love with him – everything else goes wrong, a bounty hunter intent on taking Alex in for deserting the Army and Alex decides to turn himself in and face the firing squad. ~ Happy sigh again with this book. It is a light, you-know-it’s-going-to-end-happily type of book but well written with a good twist on the ‘usual’ Christian western story line.

Part two will be later this week – with the rest of Sophie’s Daughters series and more! Come back and check it out!

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised when reading outside your regular genres?

~Laura

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