Sunday, March 20, 2011

City On Our Knees by Toby Mac

Toby Mac is a Grammy Award-winning artist whose solo work has earned three certified gold albums. City on Our Knees, the inspiration for this book, spent thirteen weeks as Billboard's No. 1 Christian song. TobyMac is married, with five children, and lives near Nashville, Tennessee. The song is about a moment, "if we gotta start somewhere why not here". So you can successfully assume that the book is based on that same idea. The whole idea behind the book is the challenge you to step out of your comfort zone, out of your safety net, and take that first step to making amazing things happen. It is full of inspirational stories of people who have created change by not only being available to God, but by taking action. It also has various blog posts with TobyMac giving you further insight into his heart towards music, ministry, and this book.

"Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still" E.M. Bounds.

"Prayer itself is an art which only the Holy Spirit can teach us. Pray for prayer. Pray until you can really pray" Charles H. Spurgeon.

They are stories about people who have changed communities, about prayer groups that have changed cities, about prisons that have experienced massive revivals, about men and women who have quit their jobs and changed their lives in order to live for Jesus. If you are looking for something to inspire you, to get the wind of the Holy Spirit blowing again in your life, this is the book for you.

For more information on the book City On Our Knees or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**I received a complimentary copy of this book through Tyndale House Publishers

The Damascus Way by Davis Bunn & Janette Oke

Let me start off by stating that The Damascus Way is one of the better books I have read in a long time. It is the story of a young woman named Julia who lives with her mother in a beautiful home with a wealthy lifestyle. The story is situated 40 A.D. during the time of the apostles, more specifically during the conversion of Paul. Julia's comfortable life is soon shaken when she realizes that her father has kept a secret that leaves her questioning everything. The story bounces between Julia as well as a young Christian man named Jacob. Jacob works for Julia's father as a caravan guard but is seeking something more for his life. Julia and Jacob are drawn together when they inadvertently realize that they are both couriers for the persecuted church. A story of danger, of commitment, of persecution and abuse, and of wonder and hope. It will take you back to a simpler yet far more dangerous time and leave you in wonder at the passion and faith of these people who were privileged to live during the time of Jesus.

The books that speak to me the most are not the ones that are a good story, but rather the ones that leave me with a sense of purpose and a desire to get up and change something in myself. Although this is a fictional story, it is based during a time of history that is true and therefore the accounts are believable and realistic. In a time and culture where life takes all that I have, I cannot help but think that Paul and the apostles would be sorry for us. In that time, each person lived for God, with all that they were. They did not have much in the way of possessions, nothing to do but work hard and minister to others. All in all I was convicted and saddened that the "story" of Christians has changed so much.

I was incredibly touched by this book. It is well written, its realism is undeniable, and its power very real. I can find nothing to critique, from cover to cover, this book will grace my shelf for many years to come. For more information on The Damascus Way or to purchase a copy of your own, check out The book retails for about $10-$15 and will keep you turning the pages.

** I received this complimentary review copy from Tyndale House Publishers

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman

All I can say is "Oh my goodness, you have to read this book!" Let me make something clear, I enjoy reading all kinds of books, but if it is not a story, not fiction, the likelihood of me actually finishing it is small. I read this book cover to cover, in a matter of days. It spoke to my mother's heart, my woman's heart, and my spiritual heart. It is Mary Beth's testimony and it is so powerful, it truly will change lives!

Many of you will remember that a few years back, Steve and Mary Beth Chapman lost their youngest daughter, their son hit her with his car. Yes, this is the story of that, but more than that, this is the story of their family. Of their lives. Of their adoptions, their careers, their testimony. Have you been craving to read something real? Have you gone to church and left feeling that everyone was fake, putting on a sunny smile where no one is free to be real????? This book will shatter all the pretenses. Mary Beth is not perfect. Yes, reply with the sunday school answer that no one is. But there you go, a perfect little sunday school answer. Mary Beth gave me a sense of freedom, she made me want to reach out and share my imperfections, relate to her, talk to her, be real with her. And that, my friends, is the power of a testimony. Not to be a pretty little package all tied up with a bow. But to be messy, to be real, and to be used for God's glory to touch lives and hearts, giving people a chance to relate! To feel that they are not alone!

Anyways, all that being said, this book truly did start a change in my life. A passion to be real. And a passion for adoption. Adoption is always something I have considered, but after reading this book, I put it down and told Jonathan "we will adopt one day". We will wait until God opens that door financially and emotionally for us as a family, but I know with all my heart that the day will come when we will fulfill our calling to look after the fatherless. There is a child out there who needs a mother, and I intend to find him/her.

Read this book! You will not be sorry you did. Give it as a gift, keep it in your bookshelf, but don't just put it on the side to think about.... sit down and read it. It will have you laughing, crying, and will show you the power of a true testimony!

For more information on the book, Choosing to SEE, check out

**I received a complimentary review copy of this book through Baker Publishing Group

Monday, October 4, 2010

Outlive Your Life Review

Max Lucado: famous, easy-to-read, inspirational... one of the best selling Christian authors of our day. Why should you buy this book? This book is interesting, easy to read, inspiring, and as an added bonus, one hundred percent of the author's royalties from Outlive Your Life products will benefit children and families through world vision and other ministries of faith-based compassion.

Outlive Your Life is filled with individual stories, both from past and present, to help you make a difference. Lucado shows us how through following the disciples example, we can continue the movement that was started over 2000 years ago. With practical advice such as "God calls us to change the way we look at people... not to label" (pg. 150). With scriptural examples, Lucado brings the bible back to life, making it relevant in today's society.

For more information on the book, Outlive Your Life, check out

**I received a complimentary copy of this book through Thomas Nelson Publishers.

In Every Heartbeat by Kim Vogel Sawyer Review

I just put down the book In Every Heartbeat by Kim Vogel Sawyer. Upon reading the last words, I was filled with a sense of satisfaction and contentment. The book ended so well, neatly wrapping up all, or nearly all, of the conflict and questions that arose throughout the novel. As a romantic story, I would say that the book was highly successful in giving the reader a sense of adventure and wonder and staying away from the typical. This was a story that I hadn't heard before, and was content to follow the many different paths it took.

That being said, I have a few critiques. First and foremost, I believe that a title should say something about the book and I definitely would not associate this title with the storyline. I felt that it was a halfhearted stab instead of a well thought out summary of the storyline. To be honest, it had little to do with the actual story, at least that I can see. Secondly, it was not an easy book to get into. The story follows the lives of three different friends. It often changes perspectives and although this gives the book added depth as you get into it, it is harder to fully be drawn in as you are trying to relate to three characters instead of one. There was so much background information on all of the characters, I felt that Sawyer would have done better to write a story before that on Bennett, Petey, and Libby's growing up years in the orphanage rather then having to backtrack for the first half of the book. 

Nevertheless, once I got into the story, I loved it! The characters were unconventional, something I often crave from the books I read. I would highly recommend this book as a gift, or a part of your permanent library. And I will be looking for more books written by Sawyer in the future. Her writing style and imagination will keep me going back for more :)

For more information on the book In Every Heartbeat, or to purchase your favorite Christian fiction, check out

**Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, IncAvailable at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Thorn by Beverly Lewis Review

Beverly Lewis is one of my favourite authors. Her intensive knowledge of the Amish people and lifestyle make her stories come alive. Every time I finish one of her books, I reconsider the lifestyle I have chosen for my family. And although I don't want to be Amish, there is a big part of me that yearns for even a bit of their simple, homespun lifestyle.

Needless to say, when I picked up one of her newer works, The Thorn, I was a goner. This book is definitely one of her best and I can't wait to read the rest in the series.

The Story

The Thorn is a story of Rose Ann Kauffman and her sister, Hen (or Hannah). Two different women with two vastly different lives. One married an Englischer and turned her back on the old ways. The other is a dutiful young amish woman who follows all the rules and tries her best to please her parents. Hen, after having a baby 4 years ago, has started to long for the ways of her past. She realizes the mistake she made by turning her back on her roots and longs to draw her daughter in to the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle. Her husband, however, has no time or thought for religion, faith, or her roots. Rose is confused and unsure of her own heart. She is devoted to her best friend and yet courted by another. This is a story of family, tradition, faith, love, and the great battle between following your heart and doing what is right.

My Thoughts

I LOVED the storyline. Interesting, enlightening, a beautiful story that kept me guessing and wondering and hoping and dreaming. This book is a keeper, a library builder, a rainy day reader, a great gift for any woman, young or old. This is a book to remember, and I can't wait to read the next one!

For more information on the book, The Thorn, check out

**I received a complimentary copy of this book through Bethany House Publishers

Monday, September 20, 2010

Maid to Match Review

Maid to Match is a historical romance novel written by Deeane Gist. Set in the late 1800's, Maid to Match is a story about Tillie Reese, a maid at the Biltmore mansion. Coming from a lower-class family, Tillie has been working her way up the ladder of success since childhood. She is on the verge of getting everything she ever dreamed of, a position of lady's maid to the lady of the house. A life of adventure, prestige, wearing fancy clothes, traveling, reading, a life that is everything she has ever wanted. Or so she thought. When Tillie is enlisted to help tame Mack Danvers, a mountain man turned footman, she finds that her heart has opened up to new dreams. Torn between the world she has always wanted and the world she has never known, Tillie must choose which path she will follow.

As with all historical romance novels, competition is fierce and originality nearly impossible. Love is the universal language, and therefore will always carry a semblance of cliche. It has happened a million times before :) This book is no exception. However, despite it's general failings as a genre, I enjoyed reading this book. It was interesting, moving, and even inspiring. I liked the reality of Tillie's mother. Her human failings, her hopes and dreams she has placed in her daughter, and her attitude towards Tillie's end choice. They gave the book a ring of authenticity. Based on historical facts, Maid to Match was a great book for a rainy day.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoy's this genre, or as a gift for any woman aged 14 and up. A message of following your heart, it promises to uplift you and leave you smiling at the end.

For more information on the book Maid to Match, check out

**I received a free copy of this book through Graf-Martin Publishers