Monday, May 25, 2015

Facing the Blitz by Jeff Kemp

From the publisher:
In football, a blitz is an all-out attack. Defenses use them to force the quarterback into a mistake and create mayhem and destruction. But by its nature the blitz also creates an opportunity for the quarterback and his team, as it leaves holes in the defense. What looks like the worst play can become the best.

During a life "blitz," when everything seems like it's collapsing--financially, relationally, spiritually, or physically--if you take initiative you can do more than just survive. You can grow, succeed, and advance. In Facing the Blitz, Jeff Kemp shares lessons he's learned through all kinds of life blitzes, both personal and professional. Discover how life is about transformation and being others-oriented; having the right mind-set can turn unnecessary fear and misery into courage and joy.

This book could easily be a book for a sports fan.  I found myself (a time or two) bogged down in the football language.  However, there were a lot of great points made that anyone could benefit from.  Although the cover of the book states that there are three strategies each strategy is broken down into multiple chapter to fill in the reader on what that exactly is.  

At the end of each chapter there are reflection questions as well as application questions and a prayer. I think books that have these types of things at the end of chapters help to enrich the experience and make it more real for the reader.  Without those it can easily just be a book to read through. By including these questions it allows the reader to get a longer lasting impact from the book.

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

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

From the publisher:
England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright―a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.

Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knowsMaggie Bright must answer the call―piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.

The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.

There is something about Tracy Groot's writing that is spellbinding.  Honestly, it always seems to take me a chapter or two to get into her novels, but once I am in I am IN.  Tracy Groot writing makes you feel the intensity of the situation, even though this happened long ago.  You feel as if you are living in those moments, desperate to know the outcome.  What is so impressive about her writing is that she doesn't use all sorts of words to make you feel the depth of emotions.  She doesn't describe the carnage or romantic love or loss.  Instead, somehow as she tells her stories you feel all these things with a depth unusual for a novel.  Her writing is so on-point that you are seeing and living the experience without all the "fluff language" of other authors.

When I had to put the book down to do other things I found myself thinking about it and thinking about the history.  She makes me want to learn more about Dunkirk and about WWII.  

This beautiful and gripping novel is for any reader.  I love that Tracy Groot is a Christian writer and wrote this book in a way that I could give it to a non-believer and I know it would be a seed-planter.  Clare's words to Williams arrest your heart and stay with you.

While there are multiple characters they weave together in such a way that you are not distracted by them but desire them all to be well at the novels end.  You won't want to miss this book or any of her other previous books.

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Never Say No: Raising Big-Picture Kids by Mark and Jan Foreman

From the publisher:
The question Mark and Jan Foreman are most often asked is: How did you raise your kids?

Never Say No takes you on a personal journey to learn first-hand how they raised Jon and Tim of Switchfoot. They share practical advice for instilling wonder in a media-saturated culture, cultivating specific gifts, and balancing structure with individual choice. Our purpose as parents is the same as our child’s: to live creatively beyond ourselves, bringing the love, beauty and nature of God to this world. Let the adventure begin.

When I read a good book, I find myself with my pencil, underlining here and there the little things that stick out, or that I want to remember.  I have worn out my pencil on this book.  I think I might have underlined more than I didn't.  I have stars marking specific sections, I have notes to myself in it.  And I have plans to re-read this amazing book as soon as I can with my husband and go through it slowly and digest it even more, and work through each of the questions at the end of each chapter.

In case you couldn't tell.  I was blown-away by this book.  It is amazing.  As a new parent I am eager to learn from those who have gone before me.  And this was probably the best parenting book I have ever read.  This is a book I want to hand out to all of those who are closest to me as I raise my child.  I want them to have the beliefs in this book.  

Mark and Jan are richly in love with Christ and their children.  This is not about letting your child have everything they want--but about saying yes to being there with your children.  To never saying no to the call of your child to come and be with you.  You need to read this book.  Seriously.  I can't do it justice in this review but it is worth the time to read through it and go through the questions at the end of the chapter.  You won't regret the time spent reading this book.

Mark and Jan are honest and candid in their mistakes and growth as parents.  They are not perfect but they have such an amazing friendship with their children and have given their children such freedom to become who God has designed them to be that it inspires me as a parent.  I think it will inspire you as well.  

I highly, highly recommend this book.

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

A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade

From the publisher:
Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake's childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion's reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake's will, Lyndie's sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he's built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he'd thought he'd lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

Becky Wade spoils readers for Christian Romance.  There is really no author like her for this genre.  If I want to read a romantic story that will make my heart flutter and my smile unstoppable, I read her.  But what is amazing about Becky is that she writes not only amazing romance, but she allows God to be such a central part of her characters and book.  And she does it in such a way that it doesn't feel forced at all.  It is a natural part of the setting and characters.  

If you have never read Becky Wade I recommend going and reading all of her books.  You won't be sorry you did.  Not only will your romantic heart be happy but you will be spiritually blessed as well.

Jake's story has been a long time in coming.  from the first book of the Porter family series readers have known that Jake's story needed to be written and come to life, and that he needed a deep healing.  Jake's character doesn't get a "quick fix" of love and God.  Rather it will take time.  It is realistic and humbling to read what many of our brave men and women must go through upon coming back from their tours fighting for our country and others.  It made me appreciate our heroes in a new way.  

Lyndie's character was perfect.  A blend of hope and whimsical love.  She is the perfect balance of strong and tender for Jake and their love was really tender to read.  Her relationship with her family and the idea that "God is good" whether in good or bad times was very moving.  It is a reminder that I need.  God is good, no matter the outcome, but so often it is easy to see how much God loves us, despite the awfulness of the world.

Thank you Becky for writing such a wonderful book.  I hope you never stop writing!

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

Monday, May 18, 2015

Street Vegan by Adam Sobel

From the publisher:
What's the secret behind the Snail's takeover of New York City streets? In all kinds of weather, vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores alike queue up for addictive vegan cuisine from truck owner Adam Sobel. Now Adam brings his food straight to your kitchen, along with stories of the challenges of working on a food truck while still finding ways to infuse food with imagination, love, and a pinch of perspective. Street Vegan brings the energy and passion of the Cinnamon Snail's creative cooking from truck to table.

This delicious book is filled with a variety of vegan foods to try.  There are breakfast items, beverages to try, soups & sandwiches, vegetables and side dishes, and of course desserts!  This book is a good place to come if you want to try cooking more than just one type of vegan food.

There were some really nice features about this cookbook.  One was that in the beginning Adam Sobel gives a list of what the basics you will need to make the recipes in this book.  There are also descriptions by it  to help you have a better idea if you have never heard of them before.  I also liked how there were pictures for almost every other recipe in this book.  For me, that really makes a cookbook because I want to envision what I will be making, especially if I am unfamiliar with a recipe.

The only down-side to the book is that a lot the recipes called for alcohol in them.  I felt like there were too many and if the person buying this book didn't drink them they would have to either go and buy those drink specifically for the recipes or not be able to cook those and that would take a lot away from the cookbook.

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