Showing posts from 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 …

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 th…

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 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 try…

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 publis…

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

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 L…

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 rel…

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 …

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 as…

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 you…

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!

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 pret…

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

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 nic…

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

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.
The Seven Laws of Love by Dave WillisThe Counselor by A. W. TozerEragon 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…

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 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. I…

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; w…

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,…

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 fu…

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!
Empire Girls by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan 3/5 starsMan, Myth, Messiah by Rice Broocks 5/5 starsThe Inheritance by Michael Phillips 2/5 starsRadical Prayer by Manny Mill 5/5Black 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 …

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…

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 carele…

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!
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. Sometimes I can read really well with background noise, and sometimes I can't. There's really no rhyme or reason to it. 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. 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. I've always …

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 th…

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.
Empire Girls by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan (currently reading)\An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa TahirThe Selection by Kiera CassA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasWedding Night by Sophie KinsellaEtiquette 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

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.
The Cherokee Removal by Theda Perdue (I read this for school)- 2/5 starsAre You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel (another school read)- 3/5 starsGabriel and the Swallows by Esther Dalseno- 4/5 stars (book review here)Outlander by Diana Gabaldon- 3/5 stars40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chloe- 3/5 stars (book review here)The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan- 4/5 starsThe Last Olympian by Rick Riordan- 4/5 starsAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins- 3/5 starsHearts of Fire by Voice of the Martyrs- 5/5 starsForgiving 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 we…

"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 w…