Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Getaway with God: The Everywoman's Guide to Personal Retreat by Letitia Suk

From the publisher:
What if a simple day away could transform your life?
Does spending time with God sound like just one more thing to check off an ever-increasing to-do list? How are you supposed to fit in anything that threatens to be more time-consuming? Too often there's simply no room to experience the intimacy, grace, and peace that God offers us.
Getaway with God does more than invite you to step away from life's pressures to take a personal retreat. It shows you exactly why you must--for your sake and for your family's.
With grace and warmth, Letitia Suk provides step-by-step guidance and the necessary tools to enable any woman on any budget to plan time away, whether it's a quick, half-day break or a weeklong time of restoration. You'll find detailed steps for preparation, including descriptions of different kinds of retreats and how to choose the best one for you, and you'll learn ways to bring the renewal you experience home with you. Practical appendixes identify retreat centers nationwide and provide exercises and prayers to kick-start your getaway with God.
No matter what your season in life, the time for retreat is now!

This small book is exactly what it claims to be.  It is a guide to personal retreat.  It says women but I think that men could easily adapt it to something for themselves. 

Here are a few things I really liked about this book:

Letitia Suk shows you that a personal retreat can be for different reasons and even allows one that is for rest and relaxation.  But she also shows how a retreat is meant to be a time to focus intently on God.  I liked how she gave Bible study suggestions as well as physical tips like napping and taking walks. 

I think it was important that she shows we can't always get a day away or a few days but sometimes it could be an afternoon or even setting one day aside during the week as the Ten Commandments say.  The Sabbath is a perfect way to have a retreat every week, but you would do it as a family. 

If you want to know how to do a personal retreat and how to have that focused time with God then this is the book for you.  It is full of practical suggestions and guidelines as well as reasons why it is so important. 

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Far Afield by Shane Mitchell and Photographer James Fisher

What an interesting book!  This fascinating book is a mixture of photography, history, and food. 

This book will take you to different places and let you really experience life there.  Shane Mitchell will share with you the fascinating people all over the world and their unique stories and lives.  You will be captivating by them as well as the recipes from each place.  Some of these have the oldest food traditions. 

James Fischer captures in photography what Shane Mitchell writes about.  So not only do you read about these places, people, and food but you can see them for yourself.

I received this book free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.

NIV Journal the Word Study Bible

I love this edition of the Bible.  When I got it I immediately was in love with it. The beautiful cloth front invites you to sit down somewhere peaceful and quiet your heart.

Inside the text is laid out in one column.  Unlike most Bibles which tend to have multiple columns this one has just one column which also makes it feel more like a book.  Then on the sides are a large margins of lined space for notes.  These notes could be historical notes or could be Bible journaling that is decorative and beautiful.

I already want to get studying the Bible anew in this Bible.  This could also be a beautiful gift to give anyone.

I received this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Glorious Ordinary by Sarah Frazer

When I read the introduction to The Glorious Ordinary I felt my lungs and heart constrict. I am here--in this waiting. Waiting in the ordinary and it is suffocating me spiritually.  I want what Sarah Frazer describes, peace today. I don't want to wait until my prayers are answered to have peace and connection with God. I want to live each ordinary day marveling at the God who loves me enough to send His Son to die for me.

 What Sarah writes is for me. It is for you. To find the ordinary, normal days and see and experience them as the glory of God.

I love that she has you digging into the word of God. Each day gleanings truth from God's Word and making us wrestle and sit with it until we are truly abiding in Christ. Not only does Sarah bring us to God's sacred Word but she guides us to pray. To spend time communing with God. This is a beautiful blend of sacred things. The Word of God and the words we pray back to Him.

I believe this book will be such a blessing to so many. It has already blessed me and called me deeper into hope.

I highly recommend this beautiful book to others!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: A Countdown to Christmas by Ace Collins

From the publisher:
For Christians worldwide, the month of December is filled with joy and wonder as we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s birth. There is no other time of the year that can compare to the Christmas season for both the young and young at heart.

From December to New Year’s Eve, reawaken the wonder, joy, and magic that is Christmas with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas.

With this soon-to-be-cherished holiday devotional, best-selling author Ace Collins will capture your imagination and help to make each day of December more memorable and meaningful to you, and those you love, by shining a light on the real spirit of the season.

This is a great little book to countdown toward Christmas.  Not only does it countdown toward Christmas but it goes to New Year's Eve. 

Each day has a devotional reading, a carol, and something you can do for others.  What impressed me the most about this book was all the ideas for gifts for others.  I love that each day you were made to focus outside yourself and give to others.  Often we look to ourselves and what we want so much.  This can be a great tool to help families do something nice each day for other people.

I received this book free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

Emily Price—fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist—dreams of having a gallery show of her own. There is no time for distractions, especially not the ultimate distraction of falling in love.
But Chef Benito Vassallo’s relentless pursuit proves hard to resist. Visiting from Italy, Ben works to breathe new life into his aunt and uncle’s faded restaurant, Piccollo. Soon after their first meeting, he works to win Emily as well—inviting her into his world and into his heart.
Emily astonishes everyone when she accepts Ben’s proposal and follows him home. But instead of allowing the land, culture, and people of Monterello to transform her, Emily interferes with everyone and everything around her, alienating Ben’s tightly knit family. Only Ben’s father, Lucio, gives Emily the understanding she needs to lay down her guard. Soon, Emily’s life and art begin to blossom, and Italy’s beauty and rhythm take hold of her spirit.
Yet when she unearths long-buried family secrets, Emily wonders if she really fits into Ben’s world. Will the joys of Italy become just a memory, or will Emily share in the freedom and grace that her life with Ben has shown her are possible?


I just marvel over Katherine Reay’s writing.  Her descriptions and story development of families is the raw and beautiful gift.

I feel the layering of people, truth, and life—just like how Emily deals with layers in restoration of art.  Truly this book is a work of art.  At first you think it is just about a beautiful love, but you can tell it is more and the layers of love and family widen and deepen. 

The spiritual truth of grace and belonging are a quiet and rich undertone to the story.  One that stands out in the secrets discovered in this story. 

I felt the beauty of all that way there and realized that this is how I feel every time I read Katherine Reay’s novels.  They are more the just stories.  They are living life.  It isn’t perfect.  Life is messy but there is beauty and love there that astounds you.

This book was beautiful.  I know this review won’t do it justice, so go read it yourself. 

I highly recommend this book.

I received this book from the publisher.

Photographs from the Edge by Art Wolfe with Rob Sheppard

This book of photographic art is more than just pretty pictures.  Each picture is accompanied by details about the photograph.  For photographers this could be a great teaching tool as the type of camera, lens, etc. is given as well as a photographic tip.

For those who just enjoy photography they will enjoy reading “The nature of the photo” and the larger description of why the photographer took this photograph and what it represents. 

The photographs are a wide variety that include foreign cities, cultural celebrations, endangered species, natural wonders, and more.

I received this book free from the publisher. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

From the publisher:
Desperate to flee a political marriage to her cousin King Richard II’s closest advisor, Lord Shiveley—a man twice her age with shadowy motives—Evangeline runs away and joins a small band of servants journeying back to Glynval, their home village.
Pretending to be mute, she gets to know Westley le Wyse, their handsome young leader, who is intrigued by the beautiful servant girl. But when the truth comes out, it may shatter any hope that love could grow between them.
More than Evangeline’s future is at stake as she finds herself entangled in a web of intrigue that threatens England’s monarchy.Should she give herself up to protect the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?


I love fairytales and reading modern fairytales is really enjoyable.  Especially when Melanie Dickerson writes.  I love how the classic stories we are familiar with from childhood can come alive in a new way for young adults to read (well any age, really!)

Evangeline was a interesting character to read. It helped me understand that being "privileged" wasn't always all it was cracked up to be.  Instead it could come with many restrictions.

Westley showed us how there is pressure to be a leader, and that even a good leader can be accused of wrong things and can suffer because of the actions of others.

I felt there was good depth in this book as well as a light hearted love story.

I received this book free from the publisher.