Monday, September 29, 2014

Lean On Me by Anne Marie Miller

From the publisher:
Life has a way of throwing unexpected obstacles in our path, tripping us up, and bringing us to our knees. When these crises hit, who do you call? Who do you lean on? Anne Marie Miller found herself in one of these valleys on the floor of a hotel bathroom while on a business trip. Months of stress accumulated and took its toll. In a moment of desperation, she picked up the phone and called a friend for guidance. That simple phone call was the first step in a transforming journey of evaluating what community truly meant and looked like in her life.
We live in a world and a generation where the word “community” is often discussed. But how genuine and authentic are your relationships really? Anne Marie noticed an important tension all of us must recognize in order to have life-giving friendships: “We desperately want to belong yet at the same time, we yearn for independence.”
In Lean On Me, Anne Marie Miller takes us along as she sets out to dig below the superficial and explore what choices are necessary to find intentional, vulnerable, and consistent community. Jesus was passionate about truth-speaking relationships. And with Anne Marie’s narrative and practical insights interwoven together, you will feel more equipped in your quest for these types of relationships as you seek people to lean on and as you pour love into those around you


This is an incredible book. The first thing that clued me in was that I had to put down this book and I was eager to go back to it.  This is not unusual for a fiction story but for a non-fiction, non-story book this was unusual.  And I could sit for hours and read it. I just soaked in each chapter.  Underlining and marking up the words as they spoke to me.  Anne Marie Miller draws the reader into her book with candid language that will stir the heart.   

She tells her own heart in this book and in return I felt that my heart was open and honest in my need for community and my own conversation with God.  There were many times that I felt like I was reading what my own heart has said.  

Anne Marie Miller not only discusses the need for our commitment and vulnerability to others but also with God.  Both aspects of life are vital.  She shares truth over and over again that will challenge you and help you on the journey to intentional, vulnerable, and consistent community with God and others.  

 I will be re-reading this again to soak up the words and begin to really apply them to my community. There is also a study guide in the back for further study which I will be using my second time around.  This is a book to read, and re-read, and apply each time.  

This is the first work of Anne Marie Miller that I have read, but I can guarantee that it won't be the last.  I have already put her other books on my "Wish List." 

I received this book free from BookLookBloggers in exchange for my honest review. 

Lean on Me Anne Marie Miller

Friday, September 26, 2014

Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson

From the publisher: Weary of the expectations imposed on her by her strict upbringing, eighteen-year-old Mazy Pelfrey prepares to leave her home in the Kentucky mountains for the genteel city of Lexington, where she’ll attend secretarial school. She knows her life is about to change—and only for the better. Everything will be blue skies from now on.

But business school is harder than she thought it would be and the big city not as friendly, until she meets a charming young man from a wealthy family, Loyal Chambers. When Loyal sets his sights on her, Mazy begins to see that everything she’d ever wished to have is right before her eyes. The only hindrance to her budding romance is a former beau, Chanis Clay, the young sheriff she thought she’d left firmly behind.

Danger rumbles like thunder on a high mountain ridge when Mazy’s cosseted past collides with her clouded future and forces her to come to terms with what she really wants.

The cover of this book is beautiful and if you enjoyed the previous books by Jan Watson you are probably going to enjoy this one as well.  While this is not a sequel to her books there are many of the same characters.

This is the first book of Jan Watson's that I have read and I had a difficult time getting into it.  I didn't not really care for Mazy or Chanis--or the other secondary characters.  The characters felt one dimensional and flat to me as I read them.  Mazy was not a likeable character as she was weak and didn't really know what she wanted in life.  Chanis and Mazy were supposed to be sweethearts but they barely interacted through the book and all of a sudden at the end they were together and Loyal and his declarations of love, left behind.

The story line seemed slow paced and underdeveloped.  I found myself hurrying to get through the book instead of enjoying the development.

I received this book free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, September 22, 2014

God Gave Us Angels by Lisa Tawn Bergren

From the publisher:
When Papa finds Little Cub looking for angels, it gives him a chance to tell his beloved child about those that may be in their midst, even when they can’t be seen.  Exploring their exhilarating Arctic world as they talk, Papa lovingly answers all of Little Cub’s questions about angels—and as usual, she has a lot. She wants to know what they do, how they look, how they guard God’s loved ones, and best of all, how they serve the Creator of the world. 

As another book in a series of books about Little Cub learning about God, this book has Little Cub learning about angels.

This book has soft artwork that makes the arctic landscape appealing and feel warm.  Lisa Bergren writes a story that will teach children basic Biblical truths about angels.  This is a child friendly book where Little Cub asks questions that Papa can answer and therefore teach the reader.  Readers who are familiar with different stories of angels in the Bible will recognize references and those that are not familiar will want to go and pick up their Bibles to see these stories.

I received this book free from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Candy Aisle Crafts by Jodi Levine

From the publisher:
From party decorations to children’s toys, from wearable art to cute gifts, you need look no further than your supermarket shelves for the materials to make these unique (and kid-friendly) food crafts. For special celebrations, rainy-day activities, and much more, treat yourself to the sweetest projects.
Colorful candy canes are fashioned into heart-shaped necklaces, melted peppermints are molded into a festive bowl, cookies and ice cream cones are transformed into a fanciful castle, marshmallows are snipped into a polar bear, and gumdrops become everything from adorable frogs to bumblebees and ducks. Candy Aisle Crafts is packed with simple ideas for charming crafts that both  kids and parents will love.


This book is great!  As the publisher said, these are all fun cute food crafts that you can make from things that are easily accessible in your supermarket.  Each craft has a beautiful picture to go along with it.  This helps me a lot because then I can visualize the craft and get excited about it, even before I make it.

The ingredient and directions are laid out clearly and so many of these are kid friendly that I find myself wanting to go the store right now and pick up supplies to do these with kids at school.  

There are four main sources for these food crafts: hard candy (these are so cool that I think these are my favorite in this book), gummy candy, marshmallows, and cookies & cereal.  If you don't like one area, you are sure to like another.  

I received this book free from in exchange for my honest review.  

Before Amen by Max Lucado

From the publisher:
We all pray . . . some.
We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray.
But wouldn’t we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency?
Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words. Unmet expectations. Unanswered requests.
We aren’t the first to struggle with prayer. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too. In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested.
And Jesus gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer. Couldn’t we use the same?
In Before Amen best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin.

I have not read a Max Lucado book in years but when I was given the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour I jumped at the chance.  

Max Lucado is know for his simple, yet deep, Bible studies.  I was blessed by reading this book.  The preface to his book is so true, we all pray...some.  But wouldn't we all like to pray in a way that really makes a difference.  

Lucado's answer is found in the simple prayer of Jesus.  After all, who better to learn to pray from than Jesus Himself.  Lucado breaks down the Lord's Prayer into simple phrases that each hold meaning and further study.  The simple phrases make this book memorable beyond just sitting down and reading it.  I have found myself praying the simple phrases and then elaborating what I need to say to God after those phrases. This is not a rote prayer that you must pray to feel close to God or have the perfect prayer life, but guidelines that will help you carry a prayer around to pray at all times.  

Readers will find themselves drawn to having this conversation with their Father, one simple prayer that can flow into a conversation with their God.  

I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity as a part of this blog tour.