Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Unseen by Sara Hagerty





















As I read this book I found myself hearing God whisper His love to me. He was showing Himself to me in all the moments I felt were wasted. Small, unnoticed. I found myself more in love with Jesus.

Sara's writing is easy to read and engage with. She writes as a friend writing to another friend. It is honest and in her honesty it gives the reader permission to be honest themselves and to hear God whisper to them.

I love the end scriptures that are for you to study. I love that there isn't a specific way that Sara directs you to use these, instead it allows personal freedom to study scripture as God leads you. I have been using them to do adoration and it has filled my soul in a way I have not had in a long time.

I have already ordered this book for friends and will keep sharing this beautiful message. It is a quiet message, yet one that will resonate and change the way your heart hears all the noise and silence in all you do.

I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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From the publisher:

Every heart longs to be seen and understood. Yet most of our lives is unwitnessed. We spend our days working, driving, parenting. We sometimes spend whole seasons feeling unnoticed and unappreciated. So how do we find contentment when we feel so hidden?
In Unseen, Sara Hagerty suggests that this is exactly what God intended. He is the only One who truly knows us. He is the only One who understands the value of the unseen in our lives. When this truth seeps into our souls, we realize that only when we hide ourselves in God can we give ourselves to others in true freedom—and know the joy of a deeper relationship with the God who sees us.
Our culture applauds what we can produce, what we can show, what we can upload to social media. Only when we give all of ourselves to God—unedited, abandoned, apparently wasteful in its lack of productivity—can we live out who God created us to be. As Hagerty writes, “Maybe my seemingly unproductive, looking-up-at-Him life produces awe among the angels.”
Through an eloquent exploration of both personal and biblical story, Hagerty calls us to offer every unseen minute of our lives to God. God is in the secret places of our lives that no one else witnesses. But we’ve not been relegated to these places. We’ve been invited.
We may be “wasting” ourselves in a hidden corner today: The cubicle on the fourth floor. The hospital bedside of an elderly parent. The laundry room. But these are the places God uses to meet us with a radical love. These are the places that produce the kind of unhinged love in us that gives everything at His feet, whether or not anyone else ever proclaims our name, whether or not anyone else ever sees.
God’s invitation is not just for a season or a day. It is the question of our lives: “When no one else applauds you, when it makes no sense, when you see no results—will you waste your love on Me?”

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander



From the publisher:
Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father's name. One man holds the key to Sy's success--General William Giles Harding of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. 
    
Seeking justice . . . 
   
Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville's society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he's found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison's fiancĂ©--and has shattered her world. 
   
Struggling to restore honor . . . 
   
Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen's university in the United States. But family--and Nashville society--do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.
   
Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy's roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor? 
   
Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn't count on is having to wager her heart to do it. 
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I recently moved from near Nashville.  I was able to visit Belle Meade Plantation and I love how Tamera Alexander weaves the real life people into this novel.  The history of Nashville and Belle Meade Plantation is fascinating -- and if you have read her other books based in Belle Meade Plantation, each book shares a different part of history.

Nashville comes alive in this book and what is really amazing is the way she brings to life the education of freed slaves after the civil war.  The strength, determination of these brave warrior souls is beautiful.  It also shows how we c an easily forget all that our country has gone through. 

I love the history of the railroad in the book as well as the Jubilee Singers and Fisk University.  This was such a great historical lesson for me. 

I love the way Tamera Alexander writes. She writes a romantic love story but doesn't pretend that all things are perfect. She doesn't make everything turn our the way the characters want and that allows the reader to feel the the novel is more true to life. 

I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own. 


Monday, August 7, 2017

High As the Heavens by Kate Breslin



From the publisher:
In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle's cafĂ©. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She's a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service. 

When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome.

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Kate Breslin is taking you into 1917 and teaching you about what it was like to live in German-occupied Brussels in a way that is captivating and will teach you history as you have never seen it.

Evelyn Marche is a strong and wounded character. Her strength and tenacity to survive gives glimpse into what many woman may have done.  They had to learn to be rise up and be who they should be.  Her backstory will cause you take a look at all that the survivors of that time period had to deal with. It is incredible to think about. And sobering.

The injured pilot and the danger of the undercover operations was fascinating. It is amazing how the people of Europe did all they could to change the horrific things that were happening, even if it was just a few brave people.

This book really helped me appreciate all that the different citizens did during this world war.

I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Night Night Train by Amy Parker Illustrated by Virginia Allyn



When I saw the cover of this book my three year old son pointed to it and said, "I want that train book!"

When I received the book I handed it right over to him and we read it together.  What a fun and bright book for toddlers!  I love the soft over and cardboard pages that will keep this book "safe" longer than regular pages.

The story goes through the bedtime routines that many children have and makes it into a fun routine on the train.  I love that prayer is included in the book and that bedtime can be seen as a fun thing.

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Vibrant India by Chitra Agrawal



I so looked forward to receiving this book, but since it never came in the mail I had to go and borrow someone else's book to do this review.  I love India food, and I am a vegetarian--so to have this beautiful hardcover book full of fresh vegetarian recipes is a dream.

Chitra Agrawal shares from her personal background and upbringing to Brooklyn.  Readers will enjoy the book for its beauty.  Cooks will enjoy it for the fresh vibrant tastes that are included in this book.

As a vegetarian I was drawn to this, but even if you aren't a vegetarian you can enjoy this book and either just it as a way to add vegetables to your diet, or you can simply add your favorite meat the recipe of your choice.

I was to receive this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickerson




From the publisher:
In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.
Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.
But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?

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This book has a great premise, and it is an interesting part of World War II that I haven't read about recently. I liked the idea of the book a great deal.

While the book was okay, I didn't find myself immersed in the story or really invested in the characters.  Nan and Dutch were good characters but I felt that there was too must focus on the sexual attraction.  Also, it seemed a bit redundant to always have the women using their bodies to get what they wanted to distract the men.  

I felt that the supporting characters in the book as well seemed a bit flat or characterized.  

It isn't a bad read, but just not what I was hoping for.

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Weekly Prayer Project by Scarlet Hiltibidal



This is a beautiful book to hold and look through. There are 52 weeks, a whole year, of prayer projects.  The book goes through 7 different types of prayers: requests, gratitude, lament, intercession, faith, repentance, and awe.  I thought that was really great because it shows that not all prayer is the same and it is important to be able to seek and speak to God in different ways.

Another thing I loved was the each week is based in the Bible.  The Bible is what each week starts with. It shows where to start and then gives a brief paragraph of support before giving you a prompt an space to write out your prayers.  It is a simple exercise, yet one that can alter how you see scripture and how you pray.

Each two page spread, for each week, is beautiful and pleasing to look at. If you are a big writer you will want an additional journal to write in but this book is just beautiful and peaceful.

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own.