Monday, December 19, 2016

Falling Free by Shannan Martin REVIEW


Shannan Martin and her family lived in this amazing farm house out in the country. It was idyllic and rustic, and pretty much perfect for that farm girl lifestyle she always wanted. However, after a few pretty big changes in her life, she and her husband felt like God was pushing them out of their rural home and into the city. In this falling from their snug place of security, they found freedom. 

Now, they make less money, they have less space, and their lives are extremely hectic, but they are happier than ever. You know how God says to love your neighbor? Well it seems that is made a lot easier when you have lots of neighbors really close by. This book talks so much about generosity, and what it really means to be truly generous. It's the difference between caring about and caring for. She reminds us that God's "more" often looks like less.

I really loved reading this book. Shannan Martin is absolutely hilarious, first of all. I was honestly laughing out loud so much while reading. Her tone is just so funny and friendly, which makes reading so much more fun. Also, I'm more likely to get something out of a book when the author writes like they're talking to a friend, rather than lecturing me. 

Most importantly, one of the things that I take into consideration in a non-fiction book, particularly a book about spiritual growth, is whether or not it has made an impact on me. Am I thinking about the book days later? Do I think back to the book when making decisions or actions? The answer here is YES. I cannot stop thinking about the way I treat others. I'm a nice person, and I think I'm generous, but now I am seeing all kinds of ways in which I haven't been, and ways in which I could be. 

I gave this book 4/5 stars, and I definitely recommend it to everyone!!! I think the message is so important, and the book itself is so enjoyable.

xx
Heidi

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

After 50 Years of Ministry by Bob Russell REVIEW


After 50 Years of Ministry: 7 Things I'd Do Differently & 7 Things I'd Do the Same is a book by former pastor Bob Russell for those going into ministry. He explains 7 things he would do differently if given a second chance, and 7 things he would do the same. This is a guide for future pastors, some advice for when they enter the ministry of a church. 

Each chapter is a tip or piece of advice, with explanations and examples. Some of this advice includes living with less fear, paying less attention to criticism, and to stop comparing yourself to others. 

I am not planning on going into ministry at all, so I am definitely not the target audience for this book, but I really did enjoy it. Bob Russell writes with such a friendly voice, and much of his advice can be used by anyone in their lives. 

I definitely recommend this book to anyone in or entering a life of ministry. I think it will be very helpful to you, and it's always nice to get advice from someone who has gone though everything that you will be going through. 

Also, even if you're not going into ministry, I'd recommend the book to you, too. The advice he gives is still applicable and very important. 

Overall, I have this 4/5 stars.

xx
Heidi

*I received a copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Saving the Saved by Bryan Loritts REVIEW

Hello everyone!
I am back today to share my thoughts on Saving the Saved by Bryan Loritts. 


This book explains many common mistakes that Christians make: primarily trying to work our way into God's affection, which just leaves us all exhausted. Instead, he proposes ways in which we can live happily in God's performance-free love, while serving him out of love and not duty. He explains the importance of still doing service and good works, but we should be doing them out of a love for God, not because we're trying to earn his favor (because that just won't work). We do these things because of, in response to, God's love.

Serving God will usually require you to make sacrifices in your life, whether that's giving away money and possessions, or simply forgiving a person when they've really hurt you. While it usually seems to go against our nature to do these things, Loritts explains how important it still is, and though it may be uncomfortable or even hurt for a time, with God we need to do it, and he will bring us through it. 

One extremely important message that I took from this is that failure isn't final. There are so many examples from the Bible that Loritts gives that shows us that no matter how bad we mess up, or how many times, God will still love us, and we are able to change and come back to Him. 

Bryan Loritts has a very friendly tone and uses many personal examples to explain a lot of his concepts, which I always appreciate. To me, that type of writing is so much easier to relate to and apply to your own life. It reads like a friend giving you advice and being completely honest, rather than a textbook pointing out your faults and telling you that you need to shape up while pretending that they've never made those mistakes. 

I gave this book 4/5 stars. I really did enjoy it, and I learned a lot from it. It's funny how a book like this can come into your life at the perfect time for your situation- it definitely did for me. I would definitely recommend this book.

xx
Heidi

*I received a copy of this from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Field Guide for Everyday Mission by Ben Connelly & Bob Roberts, Jr REVIEW

Hello everyone!

Today I am sharing my review for A Field Guide for Everyday Mission: 30 Days and 101 Ways to Demonstrate the Gospel, written by Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts, Jr. 


This book is all about showing how mission is a part of our lives every day. It isn't just something that people do in other countries. If you are a Christian, you are a missionary.

The book is split into 30 sections, to be read over 30 days. Each week has a theme: who, what, when, where, why, and how. These questions are answered and explained throughout the week. The authors give super simple ways to share Jesus with others in our everyday routine. For the most part, the authors focus on how to share the Gospel through love and kindness toward others everyday, while being honest up front about our love for Jesus. They also stress that we personally cannot bring people to Jesus, that rather God uses us to bring them closer, so He can do the work in their hearts. They also stress that they aren't trying to turn us all into preachers, they are simply helping to equip us for the many situations in our lives which can, sometimes surprisingly, be used for missions, using the gifts and skills that we already possess. 

The tone and voice of the book was super friendly and relatable, which always makes a book that much more of a pleasure to read. I found myself chuckling out loud quite a few times. In addition, the book was extremely impactful. Most of the situations that they mentioned can be used for missions are things that I never considered before, but now I see what a wonderful opportunity it is. 

The physical, paperback book that I received is really well put together and of great quality. It is small and can be read quickly (like I did in order to write this review), but it is recommended to be read over the course of six weeks. Honestly, even if I hadn't been reading it for review, I probably would have read it quickly anyways, since I was enjoying reading and learning so much, I was having a difficult time putting the book down.

I gave this book 4/5 stars, and it is something that I definitely recommend to everyone. I'm actually thinking that this is the perfect gift for a friend of mine attending a Bible college and planning a missions trip in the spring.

xx
Heidi

*I received a copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 24, 2016

NKJV Word Study Bible Review

Hey guys!

Today I am reviewing the NKJV Word Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers. Often, people can get confused by the translation of the Bible. Different versions use different words or translate the original in different ways, so a Bible like this is really helpful when it comes to Bible comprehension.


First of all, let's talk about the features. This Bible includes, in additional to the full NKJV text, almost 2,000 translation word studies, book introductions, translator's footnotes, and maps. 

Next, looks. This is a big hardcover Bible. The dust jacket and they physical cover look the same, and the physical cover is smooth and shiny (a guilty pleasure of mine). It is of very good quality, and Thomas Nelson Bibles all also come with a lifetime guarantee.

I really like what I've seen of this Bible (I obviously didn't sit down and read the whole thing), and I'm looking forward to learning more from it.

xx
Heidi

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 14, 2016

October TBR

Hello everyone!

It's a little bit late, but I wanted to show you guys my October TBR- all of the books that I hope to read this month. I can already see that it's a bit ambitious and I probably won't read them all, but I'll leave them in anyways and get to as many as I can. For October, I picked a variety of spooky/scary books.


Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Horns by Joe Hill

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black


What are you reading this month?

xx
Heidi



Monday, October 3, 2016

52 Uncommon Dates by Randy Southern: Review


52 Uncommon Dates by Randy Southern is a guide for couples who are looking to spice up their normal routine and learn more about each other, growing closer to each other and closer  to God. Southern stresses that dating should not stop at marriage, and that continuing a fun and loving relationship takes work.

Each date is prefaced by a Bible verse and a quote by Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, that relates to the date. Some dates were really cute and sounded fun, others were not so much my thing. That was the nice thing about this book: there were dates for everyone. A pretty big number of the dates seemed awkward and unrealistic, but some people might be into those. Needless to say, all of the dates are incredibly cheesy.

The book was split into 52 chapters, one for each date. Each chapter includes a Bible verse, a quote, a description of the date, things to discuss, preparation, and other available related Scripture. I would recommend reading Gary Chapman's The 5 Love Languages, because this book relies heavily on the content of Chapman's book. This is almost completely geared toward married couples.

I gave this book 2.5/5 stars. It didn't contain any groundbreaking new information or ideas, I would describe it as "fine", but I probably wouldn't really recommend it to people either. 

xx
Heidi

*I received a copy of the book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Greater Than Gold by David Boudia REVIEW

Hello everyone!

Today I am sharing my review of Greater than Gold: From Olympic Heartbreak to Ultimate Redemption by David Boudia. David Boudia is a US Olympic diver who competed in the Olympics both in 2008 and 2012. In 2008, he did pretty poorly and was extremely discouraged, but then he went on to win the gold in 2012. This is also the story of Boudia's testimony and how he came to be a Christian.



Going into this book, I really didn't know what I was expecting or how much I'd like the book. I had honestly never heard of David Boudia, so I thought that I may not be super interested in his memoir. However, I really loved this book and often had a hard time putting it down.

First of all, I loved how open and honest Boudia is in his book. He readily points out his own faults and weaknesses, and acknowledges his mistakes and times when he probably wasn't a fun guy to be around. He does not seem shy at all when it comes to saying that he isn't perfect. He is very relatable, many of his struggles are things that everyone struggles with. Since he is so friendly and relatable, he really gives hope to the fact that we can overcome these struggles. His testimony is so powerful and shows that such wonderful, radical change is possible.

He also makes some really great points about our walk with Christ. He learned the hard way that we need to live our lives so that our talents give glory to God, and not to us. He also talks about idolatry in a way that I've never thought of before. We usually think of idolatry as having other, false gods and wooden relics that we worship, but Boudia points out that putting anything before God is idolatry, such as money, fame, or medals. He has such a genuine love for God and such a incredible story that is so great to read about. 

Overall, I gave this book 4/5 stars, and I definitely recommend it. 

xx
Heidi

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Disappearing Church by Mark Sayers REVIEW!

Hello guys!


Disappearing Church by Mark Sayers delves into the issue of Christians leaving the church at a really fast rate. Sayers gives his thoughts on why that is. He says that people are leaving the church due to their concern for instant gratification and escaping the rules and confines of Christian life- the secularization of the west.

I really didn't like this book at all. It was super dry and hard to get through. There is no personal voice to the book at all, and it actually reads like a textbook, coming across as really grumpy, judge, and preachy. His thoughts seemed very outdated. I looked at the copyright date in the front and was shocked to see that it was published this year. Sayers was really vague, not really giving specific examples with little evidence to back up his claims. Honestly, he really just said the same thing over and over and over for 200 pages. 

I also didn't agree with the majority of what Sayers said. While he went on and on about how the people who leave the church are the bad and sinful ones, he hardly even acknowledged that in the majority of cases, the problem is with the church itself and the leaders in the church. I'm pretty sure there was only one sentence on this in the whole book. 

Though it is a short book, it took me longer than usual to get through it. Overall, I gave it 2/5 stars. It has some great reviews on Goodreads, but I don't really get it.

xx
Heidi

*I received a copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi Review!

Hey guys! I'm back again already with yet another book review! 


Today I'm reviewing Furthermore, a new middle grade novel by Tahereh Mafi, author of the Shatter Me series. The book is being released on September 1, 2016.

This book follows Alice, who has just turned 12. Alice lives in Ferenwood, a village where magic comes from color. However, Alice is devoid of pigment in her skin and hair, so she has no color. She teams up with a boy called Oliver to travel to the strange land of Furthermore, where Oliver says her dad is, who disappeared years ago. Alice and Oliver must navigate the strange, Wonderland-like Furthermore in order to save her father.

I devoured this book; I just could not put it down. The story was just so fun and creative, and I was fully immersed in the world. The story wasn't predictable, and I found myself surprised many times.

The writing style, too, was so fun and made reading so enjoyable. The narrator is speaking to the reader, and there are many asides and commentary that I just loved. Honestly, the writing and organization was just as magical as the story itself. Even though it's a middle grade novel, the language does not get in the way of the story of make things feel dumbed down. 

Reading this book made me feel like a kid again, and I wish I could have read it when I was younger. This is the best book that I have read so far in 2016, and I gave it 5/5 stars. I'll definitely be recommending this book to everyone, of all ages, when it comes out.

Do any of you plan to read this?
Have you read it?
Share your thoughts!

xx
Heidi








Sunday, August 21, 2016

Outlaw Christian by Jacqueline A. Bussie REVIEW

Hello everyone!
I just finished reading Outlaw Christian: Finding Authentic Faith by Breaking the "Rules" by Jacqueline Bussie and I'm going to share my thoughts on it.


This book is all about how the unspoken "rules" of modern Christianity actually does more harm than good, and can even end up pulling us away from God. Rules such as never getting angry at God and comforting using only Christian cliches need to stop for Outlaw Christians. 

An outlaw Christian is defined in this book as "a new, life-giving faith for those who ache for a more authentic relationship with God and other people by no longer having to hide their doubt, anger, grief, scars, or questions", or "an honest, outside-the-law faith for those seeking a hope that really speaks to the world's hurt."

I completely agree with both of definitions, and I think that's what Christianity should be about. In my opinion, doubt and questions are necessary in order to grow in your relationship with God. Asking God questions or searching for answers is what helps you to learn and grow.

This book has been such a pleasure to read. It made me think about things that I had been ignoring or taking for granted, and I definitely plan to pass this along to friends. When I like a book I usually keep it, but I think it would be the right thing to do to share it with someone else.

The author has such a friendly and inviting writing voice, showing a reader that she isn't preaching to us, she's simply sharing the things she's learned the hard way. She uses tons of Biblical and personal examples to explain her ideas and she really knows what she's talking about.

I gave this book 4/5 stars overall, and I think I would like to check out her other book, The Laughter of the Oppressed: Ethical and Theological Resistance in Wiesel, Morrison, and Endo

Have you read this book?
What did you think?

xx
Heidi

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 5, 2016

21 in Ireland

Hello friends!

Last Saturday, I turned 21. It's crazy to think that I'm already that old! I had an amazing birthday, though. I'm lucky enough to have been able to spend my birthday in Ireland!

First of all, here's me at midnight right when I turned 21! I was pretty excited.


I took a day tour on my birthday, and the first stop was at this beautiful castle ruins in Cashel.



Next up was Blarney Castle! I got to kiss the Blarney Stone!




The final stop on the tour was the city of Cork, where we did a little shopping.


Once we were back in Dublin, my friend and I went for a night out, complete with tiara and "birthday princess" sash!


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Spiritual Warfare Answer Book by David Jeremiah REVIEW

Book review time! I read The Spiritual Warfare Answer Book by David Jeremiah, and here are my thoughts.



As Christians, we are in a war against Satan. Though we know that God will win the war, Satan does win battles. This happens every time that he tricks or deceives us into sin, or draws a person away from God. Fighting against Satan is not something that is often talked about, though it is extremely important. Every single person who calls themselves a Christian is a part of the fight.

This book includes a ton of questions about Satan, demons, and our role in the fight against it all, each one explained using Bible verses. Many of the questions that I've always had about Satan were answered. The answers are short but concise and informative. It also ends with a helpful reference guide for finding helpful passages on this subject.

I really did enjoy reading this. It's something I've never learned about so I found it to be really interesting and helpful. It's also pretty short and was a super quick read, which I also enjoyed. Overall, I gave this 3/5 stars.

xx
Heidi

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Life is Better at the Beach REVIEW

Hello again, I'm back with yet another book review!


This book published by Thomas Nelson is a great little book about how to live everyday like you're at the beach. When we're at the beach, it is so easy to be relaxed and enjoy every moment. We long to go outside and see the beauty of God's creation. However, it's hard to keep up that attitude after our beach vacation is over. This book is all about how to keep up that beach mentality every day for your own health and positivity.

I did enjoy this book. It's a short, quick read, filled with very small bits of text, Bible verses, quotes, and lots and lots of lovely beach photos. I would picture this book on a coffee table in a house on the beach. It would make a great gift, something for you to flip through when you feel a little down, or un-beachy.

I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars. I recommend it, I thought it was so cute! I read this as an ebook but I'll bet the physical copy is really beautiful!

xx
Heidi

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson REVIEW

Hello, everyone!

I've just finished reading The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson, book two in the Medieval Fairy Tales series.



This book is basically a medieval season of The Bachelor. It follows a servant named Avalina, who is a maidservant for the spoiled Lady Dorothea. One day, Dorothea runs away from home to be with the knight that she has fallen in love with. Avalina can do nothing to stop her. Then, Dorothea's father calls Avalina in to meet him. He tells her that Lord Thornbeck of a neighboring land is inviting ten Ladies to his castle. After two weeks, he will choose to marry one of them. He tells Avalina that she must go to the castle and pretend to be Lady Dorothea in order to save face and gain an alliance, but Lord Thornbeck must not choose her to marry.

This book was pretty good. It's kind of a mindless read, something good when you're in the mood for something light. The book immediately started in on the action from the first page, which was nice for getting into the story, but unfortunately that also meant that there was little character development, and therefore no real attachment for any of the characters, and the dialogue can get very expository. Though this book is the second in a series, I don't think it's necessary to read the first one before picking this up. This one seems to stand alone. Both the language and the story are very simple.

I gave this book 2 out of 5 stars. I thought it was just okay, and I wouldn't recommended, though fluffy, brainless romance isn't really my thing.

xx
Heidi

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

16 Hours in London

The best part of the summer program I'm in at the University of Stirling is the long weekends that allow for travel. However, scheduling in travel while having to juggle coursework and course excursions is more difficult than I had expected. It's even harder to schedule travel with others who have their own coursework to handle.

All of this led to me spending just 16 hours in London a couple of weeks ago. A group of friends and I took an overnight bus from Scotland on Friday night to arrive very early on Saturday morning, then to leave again late on Saturday night.








Even though I didn't get much time in London, I definitely made the most of that time. In only 16 hours, I saw all of the things that I really wanted to see. I'd still love to go back, but I am extremely satisfied with my short day in London.

xx
Heidi



Sunday, July 3, 2016

June 2016 Wrap Up!

Hello everyone! I'm back just a couple of days late to share all of the books that I read this June.

I'm actually super proud of how much I read, since I'm currently going to school in Scotland, and all of my coursework has been a lot harder than I had anticipated. I only read three full books this month, but one of them was pretty long, so I'm feeling good about my reading.

  1. The Seven Laws of Love by Dave Willis
  2. The Counselor by A. W. Tozer
  3. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
I'm currently reading Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon, which is the sequel to Outlander. I'm not very far, but I'm going to read as much as I can before I go to Inverness, Scotland, on Friday. I've been told that I should finish the book before I go because there are things in Inverness that I'll appreciate if I've finished the book, but that seems unlikely, since I have less than a week to read 1000 pages, along with my schoolwork. I'll just have to get as close and I can and have my friends make sure I get photos of the things in Inverness that will be important later in the book.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Counselor by A.W. Tozer REVIEW



The Counselor by A.W. Tozer is a book about the Holy Spirit. Tozer talks about the need for the Holy Spirit in our lives, the role in our lives, and how to be filled with the Spirit. He also explains what it really means to know Jesus, not just know about Him, and how so many churches today are lacking the presence of the Holy Spirit. Tozer passed away in 1963, so obviously this was written quite a while ago, though the content remains true.

I didn't really like this book, and I think that had to do mostly with the fact that this is an old book. It was pretty dry, not at all personal, and definitely read like it was old; the style is very outdated. When reading books on Biblical study, I really enjoy when the author is humorous and uses everyday situations to explain what they are saying. This book didn't have that feel at all. Instead of a friendly voice, I felt like someone was lecturing me, which I did not enjoy. Also, all of the Bible verses were in KJV, which is probably the worst person for communicating more difficult concepts to a wide variety of audiences. I thought that this actually came across as rather condescending or pretentious.

I also found that Tozer constantly repeated himself. In a paragraph or section, he would state the same point over and over again with different wording. I actually struggled to write a short summary at the beginning of this review because he pretty much just said the same few things over and over again. Finally, Tozer often discussed concepts, events, or theories without ever explaining them, which made it more difficult to keep up. He did make some really great points here and there, but overall it just didn't hold up.

Overall, I didn't enjoy reading this book. I selected it to review because I wanted to learn more about the Holy Spirit, as I feel that it's the part of the Trinity that can be the most complex to understand and isn't discussed as often, but I didn't get that at all. I had a really hard time paying attention as I read, and I won't be reading it again or lending it out.

I gave the book 2/5 stars, and I would only recommend it to someone who is going to school to study the topic. Otherwise, I would go with a different book on the subject.

xx
Heidi

*I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Seven Laws of Love by Dave Willis: Book Review



Hello everyone! I just finished reading the book The Seven Laws of Love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships by Dave Willis, and I would like to share my thoughts on it. This book is all about the things necessary for love in any kind of relationship, whether that is a romantic relationship, a friendship, and just every day interactions as well.

I actually really enjoyed this book, though I wasn't sure if the subject matter would really interest me. I thought I'm a pretty nice and loving person, so I wasn't sure what I would get out of a book about how to love. However, I found this book to be extremely helpful and informative. In addition to my normal note taking when I review books, I also made tons of notes and did some journaling for my personal benefit as well.

The author, Dave Willis, states in the book that if we were to get one thing out of the book, he would want it to be that God loves us, and I think that he expressed that extremely well. In addition to explaining what healthy and functioning relationships need, Willis also explained and gave evidence to how much God loves us. 

Willis is also extremely funny, friendly, and easy to listen to. Pastors who write instructional books such as these can sometimes come across as holier-than-thou, and they don't seem very human or relatable. They don't express having made mistakes, and their advice is often not taken. However, Willis was extremely funny in explaining his various mistakes, mishaps, and shortcomings, all the while relating those incidents to Biblical lessons. All of the stories provided wonderful and creative analogies that made understanding easy. He actually made me full on laugh out loud a few times. 

The book itself was a normal sized paperback that fits comfortably in your hands. The quality was very good, and BONUS the pages were super soft. The cover is simple but it stands out with the red and the black. I really like it.

The only thing that I didn't like about this book was in one section in which Willis described roles of husbands and roles of wives. This short section just seemed sexist to me, though I am sure he did not mean it that way. There was so much of husbands should do this, wives should do this, and so on, if a relationship is going to go the distance. While many things are in fact necessary for a healthy relationship, they work both ways, and Willis did not express it in that way. I may be only noting this because of personal experiences with people misinterpreting Biblical roles with unhealthy consequences, but I really wish that he had included that all of those roles for supporting and giving respect and so on must come from both the husband and the wife toward the other.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and gave it 4 stars out of 5. It is a book that I'd recommend for anyone who wants to learn about the subject of love as expressed in the Bible with real world applications.

xx
Heidi

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How to Live in Fear by Lance Hahn: Book Review

I recently finished reading How to Live in Fear by Lance Hahn. 


This book discusses living with panic, anxiety, and fear disorders. The author, Lance Hahn, deals with severe anxiety and fear himself. As our temporary pastor while we read his book, Hahn talks about his own experiences with anxiety, as well as gives advice for living and thriving despite the disorder. I selected this book to review because I suffer from anxiety and panic disorders myself, and I thought it might be helpful (it was).

Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are topics that are too often shamed and avoided in the Christian faith. Those who do come out with their anxiety or depression are told that if they just had more faith or were better Christians, they would be fine, which just is not the case. Unfortunately, way too many people are completely ignorant when it comes to mental health, and they end up doing more harm than good. The difficulty comes in because our problems can't be seen; we look just fine on the outside, so our disorders are not taken seriously.

In the first part of the book, Hahn describes his own experiences with his severe anxiety and fear, starting when he was six years old and lasting through adulthood. He does this so that the reader can see what he experiences and gain compassion and understanding. The reader sees that Hahn understands what they are going through.

Through the second part of the book, Hahn talks about the causes, catalysts, and triggers for anxiety, and the importance of discovering them. He also gives a ton of coping and management techniques, and talks about his experiences with anxiety medication.

In the third and final section, Hahn talks about anxiety as it relates to Scripture and spirituality. He talks about the common Biblical misinterpretations of the words "anxiety" and "worry". People like to tell us Bible verses telling us not to worry, which is great and all, but it doesn't change anything, since we aren't making the decision to panic or be anxious in the first place, the problem is in our DNA. When we panic, we often don't even know why or what caused it; it just happens. The worry and anxiety that the Bible most often talks about is worries about everyday things, not anxiety disorders. Hahn gives examples of Biblical support for people who do suffer with anxiety disorders, and what the Bible really says about them.

I gave this book 5/5 stars, and it is something that I would definitely recommend to anyone, Christian or non-Christian, who suffers from or knows someone who suffers from an anxiety or panic disorder. Lance Hahn is such a wonderful person to hear all of this from. He doesn't just rattle off some Bible verses and tell us to just cheer up, as happens way too often. Hahn really understand anxiety and that having the condition isn't our fault. He writes with such a caring and friendly voice, it's like getting help from a close friend. He shows us that we are not alone. I really enjoyed this book, and it was extremely helpful.

I read this as an ebook, which I found to be really helpful because I could highlight important passages and things that really helped or stood out to me that I can easily find again later. Personally, I am morally against writing it physical copies of books, I know it helps but I just can't do it, so having the ebook allowed me to highlight and take notes, what definitely came in handy throughout the reading of this book. If you read this book, I highly recommend highlighting and note taking.

I also just wanted to say that having anxiety is absolutely terrifying. Often, when I'm having an attack, I am scared out of my wits, and that doesn't go away even when the attack is over, and I don't have anyone to talk to or go to for help. If any of you deal with anxiety or panic disorders and need someone to talk to, please don't hesitate to send me an email or come talk to me on social media.
Twitter: @alltimeheidi
Email: heidi.marie.730@gmail.com

xx
Heidi 

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Habits for our Holiness by Philip Nation: Book Review

Hello again! I just finished reading Habits for our Holiness by Philip Nation, and I want to share my thoughts on it. I received a copy of the book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.


This is a book about living out the spiritual disciplines. Philip Nation not only went into depth in explaining the disciplines, but also gave advice and instruction in how to live out those disciplines.

Nation gives all kinds of insight on everyday things that we should be doing and thinking about, such as various kinds of prayer, worship, and service. He also dedicated a chapter to fasting, which is something I have never learned about elsewhere, and I found that to be very interesting. He mentioned that all of these disciplines, while very personal, do not necessarily have to be private. For each discipline, he gave examples and instruction for both individuals and groups.

Having never studied spiritual disciplines before, this book was really helpful and eye opening for me. Also, Nation writes with such a friendly voice, which makes reading, understanding, and relating to what he was saying much easier.

The physical book itself is really nice. It's normal paperback size and is of good quality. It's a pretty short book, I read it in just a day, but it is full of great information.

I gave this book 5/5 stars and it is something that I definitely recommend to anyone who would like to learn more about the spiritual disciplines or Godly living.

xx
Heidi



Saturday, May 21, 2016

NKJV Study Bible Review

I really love Bibles that are filled with all kinds of extra content. In my opinion, the more the better! I find it really helpful to have information, explanations, maps, questions to think about, pictures, and other references to help me understand what I'm reading, which is why I love study Bibles!



I recently received a copy of the NKJV Study Bible, printed by Thomas Nelson. It is filled with all kinds of useful information and extras. Obviously, I didn't sit down and read the whole thing, but the information that I've read so far has been very interesting and helpful, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more.

The book itself is made very well. The pages are soft, and it opens nicely so the spine doesn't break, a must with paperback books. There isn't much that I hate more than a broken spine. All of the images are in color and all of the information and study tools are useful. One thing that I really liked was a chart of prophecies of the Messiah fulfilled in Jesus. There is also a large table of topics along with recommended Bible verses to help in those situations. Each book has a really nice introduction that helps the reader understand the context and the background much better.

The only thing that I didn't really like about this Bible is how bulky it is. It's a big brick of a book, and it's paperback, which makes it kind of awkward to hold and a little harder to read. I think the pages should have been made a little bigger if they wanted to go with a paperback cover, but that's not a big deal, and not enough for me to not like it overall.

I would definitely recommend this Bible to someone who is looking for a study Bible, and I gave it 5/5 stars.

xx
Heidi

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

April Wrap Up 2016

Hey guys, another month has gone by and now it is time for my wrap up!

To be honest, I kind of feel like an idiot. I went on and on and on at the end of March about how I was going to stick to my TBR for April, and then I didn't do that AT ALL. The thing is, literally the day after I posted my TBR, I got a ton of review books in the mail. So, those became my priority. Since I never stick to it anyway, I won't be doing a TBR for May.

Anyways, here's what I read in April!

  1. Empire Girls by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan 3/5 stars
  2. Man, Myth, Messiah by Rice Broocks 5/5 stars
  3. The Inheritance by Michael Phillips 2/5 stars
  4. Radical Prayer by Manny Mill 5/5
  5. Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife 4/5 stars
It was an okay reading month. A couple of really good books but also a couple of really meh books. All but the first one were for review. Overall, I'm happy with my reading.

xx
Heidi

Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife by Ruth A. Tucker: Book Review

Hey guys! I'm back today with yet another book review! I recently read Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife: My Story of Finding Hope after Domestic Abuse by Ruth A. Tucker.


Ruth Tucker suffered years of domestic abuse at the hands of her preacher husband, who justified the abuse under the pretense of male headship. The issue of male headship versus equality in marriage is a heavily argued topic among Christians and Biblical scholars. Ruth Tucker uses her own experiences and her own work as a Biblical scholar to prove her point that it is more Godly to have mutuality in marriage. She does this by providing Biblical proof in examination of original texts and translation of those texts. In male headship, where do we draw the line? What about when a woman is abused? This is especially important in the face of the fact that 30% of all women murdered in the United States are killed by their husbands, ex-husbands, or lovers.

Tucker also points out that Biblical interpretation is subject to personal and cultural bias, and the vast majority of Biblical scholars and interpreters are male. This isn't to say that these interpreters are intentionally misinterpreting the Bible to suit their own preferences. It is unavoidable that our cultural and personal biases influence the way we view things. However, the fact that the bias exists is still there. She goes on to say that mutuality in marriage is the best and most secure foundation for a family. Doesn't it make sense that a husband and wife who both respect the other would have the most solid foundation? Also, only listening to verses that can be interpreted to restrict women and ignoring verses that promotes mutuality is an example of humans choosing which parts of the Bible are important and which aren't, which is a sinful human endeavor. Finally, masculinity and femininity are cultural constructs, not Biblical issues. There are so many more fantastic points made in this book in support of mutuality!

I would recommend this book to everyone, especially anyone who may have dealt with abuse in their lives. This book was incredibly impactful and important for everyone to read. Too many times I have seen Christian women use the concept of male headship as an excuse for men to treat them poorly, which just isn't right. Everyone needs to read this book! I gave it 4/5 stars.

xx
Heidi

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Radical Prayer by Manny Mill: Review



Hey guys, I'm back with yet another book review! I recently finished Radical Prayer by Manny Mill, which I received from Moody Publishers. This book is all about the power of prayer, how we should pray, and how the author has seen God answer his radical, bold prayers. We pray radically so we can love radically!

This book was so great in helping me to understand the need for radical prayer, and it gave tons of examples of these bold prayers being answered in truly amazing ways. Each chapter starts with a prayer and then outlines a concept of radical prayer. Though short (I read this is a day), it is still super impactful.

The book itself is of high quality. I have a paperback edition, and it is smaller than the standard paperback size. The cover feels really nice (I'm a sucker for books that feel nice in my hands) and I really love the image on the cover.

I really enjoyed this book! Normally when I love a book, I keep it, but in this case I think I'm going to pass it on to a friend. I just want as many people as possible to read and learn from this book. I gave Radical Prayer 5/5 stars.  

There wasn't anything that I disliked about this book. It was really well written and informative, as well as being a really interesting and enjoyable read.

xx
Heidi

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Inheritance by Michael Phillips: Book Review



Hello everyone, I'm here today with another book review! Today I'm reviewing The Inheritance by Michael Phillips. This book is about a small Scottish island where the clan leader has just died. His death has created conflict both in the small town and overseas, as there are complications with the inheritance.

I was sent an email by Bethany House Publishers saying that I could pick out a book from a list. I chose The Inheritance for no reason other than it takes place in Scotland. To be honest, I really didn't like this book, but to be fair I'm not really into contemporary. 

The dialogue is often written phonetically to sound like the Scottish dialect, but it was way over the top and often hard to understand. Also, the way the characters speak wasn't consistent. The dialogue was also really expository and unnatural sounding. Finally, the book just randomly ended. This is the first in the series, so it will eventually continue, but I think that the author was careless with the ending. It didn't even end on a cliffhanger or anything, it just ended.

The storyline itself was okay. Like I said, it isn't really my genre, so this could be something that you would like. Also, the chapters are really short and switch point of view, which helped keep the novel from being super dense and boring. That was the book's saving grace that kept me reading.

Overall, I gave it 2 out of 5 stars. The storyline was okay, but it was carelessly written. But like I said, if this is your kind of genre, you'll probably like this a lot more than I did!

xx
Heidi

*I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 18, 2016

25 Bookish Facts About Me!

Hello everyone, today I am doing the 25 Bookish Facts About Me tag! I wasn't tagged by anyone to do this but I've seen a ton of these videos by BookTubers and I thought it would be a lot of fun to do, and it's a great way for you all to get to know a little more about me. Here we go!

  1. I am going to university to become a publisher so I can read books for a living. It's my dream to discover a book or series that becomes hugely popular.
  2. Sometimes I can read really well with background noise, and sometimes I can't. There's really no rhyme or reason to it.
  3. I generally read a page per minute and I get really frustrated if I'm not reading that fast. I don't like reading books that have a lot of tiny text on a small page since I feel like I'm not reading fast enough and I can get discouraged.
  4. My Goodreads goal for 2016 is 100 books, which I'm a little nervous about but I think it might actually work out. So far, I've read 36 books.
  5. I've always been a really strong reading and could read kid's chapter books when I was in kindergarten.
  6. Matilda has always been one of my favorite stories. I loved it when I was a kid because I thought that I was a lot like Matilda since we both loved to read.
  7. I can't listen to music with lyrics when I read because I get too distracted by the words of the song and stop paying attention to the words on the page.
  8. I don't keep books that I didn't like or just thought were okay.
  9. My bookshelves are all sorted alphabetically by author's last name.
  10. I cannot stand romance novels. A little bit or romance as a sub-plot is okay but I hate romance as the main plot.
  11. My mom is a huge part of why I read. My mom, sister, and I used to sit together and read a book together out loud all the time when I was younger, and I have such great memories of those times together. Even now, my mom and I read the same books pretty often since we have similar tastes and we like to talk about them together after we read them.
  12. I bring a book with me everywhere I go, even if I know I won't be able to read. If I leave home without a book, I get really crabby and anxious, and all I can think about is when I'll get home and be able to have my book.
  13. While I do love Will in The Infernal Devices, I ship Jessa.
  14. I've shipped Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley since I saw the little scene in the train station in the first movie when it first came out.
  15. Some of my favorite authors are Sophie Kinsella, Jodi Picoult, and Ellen Hopkins.
  16. I get really excited when a book I'm reading takes place somewhere that I've been.
  17. Harry Potter is my favorite series of all time.
  18. I'm currently trying to read through the Bible in a year, but I'm really behind and it's not going to happen, so hopefully I'll be done by the end of 2016 instead.
  19. Whenever I get a new book, I spend quite a lot of time petting the cover and hugging it to my chest.
  20. I usually don't buy books brand new from a bookstore if I haven't read it yet, since I hate paying full price for a book I end up not loving.
  21. I've recently discovered the joys of online book shopping, especially from Book Outlet and Book Depository. It's a bit of a problem.
  22. If I borrow a book from someone, I try to read it as quickly as I can and then give it back right away.
  23. I decided to reread A Series of Unfortunate Events when I heard that Neil Patrick Harris had been cast as Count Olaf.
  24. When I first met my kindergarten teacher, I told her that I was only coming to school to learn to read better and I wasn't going to do anything else.
  25. I have the same birthday as Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter (July 30).

So there are 25 bookish facts! Do we have anything in common?

I'm not tagging anybody in particular, but if you do this comment with the link and I'll check it out!
xx
Heidi

Monday, April 11, 2016

Man, Myth, Messiah by Rice Broocks REVIEW

Hey guys!

So I literally just finished reading Man, Myth, Messiah by Rick Broocks, and oh my goodness is this book good!!!



In this book, the author goes into detail about all of the historical evidence proving the existence, miracles, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus, as well as the validity of the Gospels. Obviously, as Christianity places all of its weight on the single event of Christ's resurrection, Jesus being the real deal is pretty darn important.

This book really shocked me, as I had no idea that there was so much evidence outside of Scriptures that even non-believers admit proves that Jesus was a real man and the Messiah. There is just so much information given in this book- if I tried detailing it all here, this post would be ridiculously long. I am a little overwhelmed by all the proof given, and I feel so compelled to share it with everyone. I don't understand how anyone could deny Jesus after reading this book. Broocks obviously did so much research into this topic, and he provides all of the sources that he used for this book, so the readers know that his statements are valid.

The purpose of this book, according to the author, was to equip Christians to be able to defend their faith, and explain exactly why they believe in Jesus, and also why that belief is valid. The book does a remarkable job of doing just that. 

The book is organized really well and is extremely easy to follow and understand. I think that everyone should read this book, regardless of belief. Even if this doesn't convince you to become a Christian, I think that it gives a lot of important information about the Christian faith. Each chapter ends with a summary that leaves the reader with the main ideas of each chapter, and the book ends with instructions of how to share this knowledge with others.

I gave this book 5/5 stars! I just want to give this to every person that I know and make them read it. I also recommend watching the new film "God's Not Dead 2", as this book is the evidence and the inspiration behind the film, and a lot of the information from the book is told in the movie. 

I just can't talk about this book enough!
Let me know your thoughts on the book and God's Not Dead 2!

xx
Heidi

*I received this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April 2016 TBR

Hello everyone!

Just the other day I posted my March wrap-up, which means that it's also time for my April TBR! I'm not very good at sticking to my TBR, but I am getting better. Who knows, maybe this will be the month that I actually read all of the books from my TBR post.

  1. Empire Girls by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan (currently reading)\
  2. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  3. The Selection by Kiera Cass
  4. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  5. Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
  6. Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
In addition to these books, I would like to read one or two books from The Series of Unfortunate Events as well. Even if I don't read all of these this month, I would like to try sticking to my TBR and at least making a dent in it.

Let me know what books are on your TBR for April, and also tell me if you're read any of the books I plan on reading!
xx
Heidi

Monday, April 4, 2016

March Wrap-Up 2016

Hello everyone, today I wanted to share with you all of the books that I read in March.

I actually read quite a bit in March. I had spring break in March which gave me a whole week to read and pretty much do nothing else, so that was pretty great. So, without further ado, here are all the books I read in March.

  1. The Cherokee Removal by Theda Perdue (I read this for school)- 2/5 stars
  2. Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel (another school read)- 3/5 stars
  3. Gabriel and the Swallows by Esther Dalseno- 4/5 stars (book review here)
  4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon- 3/5 stars
  5. 40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chloe- 3/5 stars (book review here)
  6. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan- 4/5 stars
  7. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan- 4/5 stars
  8. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins- 3/5 stars
  9. Hearts of Fire by Voice of the Martyrs- 5/5 stars
  10. Forgiving My Daughter's Killer by Kate Grosmaire- 4/5 stars (review for this book here)
Ten books in March...not bad! I read all but two of the books that were on my March TBR, so I'm pretty proud of myself for sticking to it so well. I'm nine books ahead on my 2016 reading goal, which is awesome!

What did you read in March?
Did you read any of the same books as me?
Let me know your thoughts!
xx
Heidi

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"Forgiving My Daughter's Killer" by Kate Grosmaire: Review



I just finished reading Forgiving My Daughter's Killer by Kate Grosmaire, and I wanted to share my thoughts on the book. 

This book is the story of the Grosmaire family and the tragedy that they went through. Ann Grosmaire, the author's daughter, was shot and killed by her boyfriend, Conor, who had always been very close with the family. Immediately, the family began praying for Conor. The family visited Conor in prison, telling him that they forgave him. The Grosmaire's also worked with Conor and his family to reduce his prison sentence. They wanted him to use the time he would have spent in prison to do volunteering and work that Ann would have done had she survived, as they wanted his sentence and punishment to be meaningful.

To be honest, I wasn't sure how I was going to like a story about forgiveness. The people who write the books who were able to forgive someone who did something so awful always seem so strange and unrelatable. They seem like super-Christians without flaws who can forgive anything with no effort. However, that was not the case with this book. The author Kate Grosmaire pointed out many times that she often had a hot temper and had trouble forgiving people (usually her husband) for small disputes. However, she was still able to forgive Conor.

Kate also stated that forgiveness is a process, and not a single act. She wasn't able to forgive Conor immediately, but over time she was able to forgive completely with God's help. 

She also said that forgiving someone isn't the same as pardoning what they did. She said, "Forgiveness is an emotional release for the forgiver." By forgiving Conor, Kate was able to get rid of the burden and hurt on herself, and in turn get a sense of peace. Of course, she was still greatly pained by the death of her daughter. But she didn't have the anger of hatred hanging over her. She showed that forgiveness is possible for everyone.

I found this book to be really interesting, and I enjoyed the way the story was told. It was organized really well, which can be uncommon in books that aren't written by professional writers.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars, and I would definitely recommend it.

Have you read this?
What did you think?
xx
Heidi

*I received this book from the publishers through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.