Tag: Christian

Book Review: Warfare: Winning the Spiritual Battle , by Tony Evans

warfare
Image belongs to Moody Publishers.

Title:   Warfare: Winning the Spiritual Battle
Author:   Tony Evans
Genre:   Christian
Rating:   5 out of 5

So many people have problems they’re fighting:  depression, drug use, anger, divorce, financial problems…the list goes on and on. But these are just the symptoms of a much greater problem. The real battle isn’t with these issues, it’s with the devil and his armies.

Tony Evans shows us how to fight these enemies—and win. He shows you how spiritual warfare is impacting your life and those around you, what effect these enemies are having, and the weapons at your disposal. He’ll show you how to become a victor over the enemies in your life. This truly is a war.

Tony Evans uses powerful teaching in an easy-to-understand style as he lays out the battles facing us every day, before he turns to the weapons to use to fight back, and the power that stands behind us. This a wonderful, powerful book for all Christians to read.

Dr. Tony Evans is an evangelical leader, pastor, and speaker. Warfare: Winning the Spiritual Battle is his newest book.

(Galley provided by Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.)

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Book Review: Things I’d Rather Do Than Die, by Christine Hurley Deriso

things I'd rather do than die
Image belongs to Flux Books.

Title:   Things I’d Rather Do Than Die
Author:   Christine Hurley Deriso
Genre:   YA
Rating:   4 out of 5

Jade Fulton is a senior in high school who only hangs out with her best friend. She spends time with her family:  her brother, half-sister, stepmom, and her dad. She watches high school drama from the outside and can’t wait to go away to college. Until her father is diagnosed with aggressive cancer, and her world just doesn’t make sense anymore. Then she’s held hostage in the gym where she works, locked in a dressing room with Ethan Garrett.

Ethan is the star quarterback, popular, high-achieving, and a Christian. He has his life planned out:  a scholarship to prove he’s not like his abusive, alcoholic father, life with his cheerleader girlfriend, and growing in his faith. But when he’s locked in the dressing room with agnostic Jade, he soon starts to ask himself questions he thought he already knew the answers to.

Their shared ordeal creates a bond between Ethan and Jade that lingers back in their regular lives. But those questions—and answers—they shared while locked in the dressing room cause them both to realize that what they always had in life is no longer good enough.

I’ve seen a lot of complaints and people marking this book as DNF…because it’s Christian, and they think Christians are too judgmental and close-minded. Which seems a bit hypocritical, considering they automatically refused to read it. And Christians are the ones who are judgmental? Right. Sure, some Christians are judgmental. Just like some people who aren’t Christians are judgmental. Judging an entire group by the actions of a few is never the right choice.

I was impressed that Ethan is a teenage boy with a strong faith. You don’t see that much. Here’s the thing:  Ethan actually listens to Jade and starts asking himself and others questions as he learns from her remarks. He realizes he needs to make some changes to the way he thinks, especially about non-believers. I found his wishy-washiness with his girlfriend and the way he kept taking her back pretty annoying, but he’s a teenager. He’s still learning.

Jade has a sizable chip on her shoulder because of her family history, her experiences with racism, her feelings about religion, and her dad’s illness. She’s plenty judgmental, but she’s too close-minded to see it. She does some stupid things during the story, but she learns and attempts to grow from them.

Christine Hurley Deriso is a YA author. Things I’d Rather Do than Die is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Flux in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: God Speaks Your Love Language, by Gary Chapman

God Speaks
Image belongs to Moody Publishers.

Title:   God Speaks Your Love Language
Author:   Gary Chapman
Genre:   Christian
Rating:   4 out of 5

Millions of people say The 5 Love Languages saved their marriage. Now Gary Chapman applies those love languages to God and those who follow Him.

Some people see God as an impersonal, far away deity, but He is really an up-close-and-personal Father who chooses to speak to us in the language we are most comfortable with. This book both reveals ways that God speaks to us in each love language and shows us ways we can speak to Him and learn new love languages.

I’ve never read The 5 Love Languages (Yet. But I did just buy it, after reading this), yet the author speaks so candidly and simply that all the concepts are easy to understand and relate to. I loved the sections on different forms of worship!

Gary Chapman is the author of The 5 Love Languages. His newest book is God Speaks Your Love Language.

(Galley provided by Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: How to Grow: Applying the Gospel to All Your Life, by Darryl Dash

how to grow
Image belongs to Moody Publishers.

Title:   How to Grow: Applying the Gospel to All of Your Life
Author:   Darryl Dash
Genre:   Christian
Rating:   4.5 out of 5

I want to call you to do ordinary things that will make an extraordinary difference, not just in your life but in the lives of others.

This quotation sums up the entire book in one simple sentence. This isn’t a complex book, full of convoluted to-do lists. Instead, the author offers simple, basic tenets of faith—praying, reading the Bible, involvement in a church—to build a foundation on, followed by “extra” things that can be added on after the basics are mastered. (Hint:  the basics are never completely mastered.) The conversational tone and examples from the author’s life make this easy to read and apply. I highly recommend it.

Darryl Dash is an author, pastor, and church planter in Toronto. How to Grow is his new book.

(Galley provided by Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Do Something Beautiful, by R. York Moore

 

do something beautiful
Image belongs to Moody Publishers.

Title:   Do Something Beautiful
Author:   R. York Moore
Genre:   Christian/Inspirational
Rating:   4 out of 5

As individuals, we are always searching for more; something bigger, better, more meaningful. No matter what we have, we want more. We want our lives to matter more, to be about more, to experience the grand, larger-than-life moments.

Do Something Beautiful shows you how to take the simple, everyday moments in your life and look at them differently, turning “ordinary” into “beautiful.”

The voice in the book is conversational, putting the reader at ease and making it feel like a chat with a friend—not an academic lecture. Anecdotes from the author’s life and stories from people he’s met bring his points to life, making this an engrossing and eye-opening read.

R. York Moore is an evangelist, a speaker, a revivalist, an abolitionist, and an author. Do Something Beautiful is his newest book.

(Galley provided by Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Heart Between Us, by Lindsay Harrel

HeartBetweenUs2
Image belongs to Thomas Nelson.

Megan Jacobs spent her life being careful, being in the hospital, and watching her sister, Crystal, live life to the fullest, while Megan dreamed about the future, what she would do when she was no longer sick. Three years ago, Megan got a heart transplant, but she’s still playing it safe, living with her parents and working at the library while she yearns for more.

Then, Megan’s heart donor’s parents give her their daughter’s journal, and Megan finds someone she identifies with in the pages. She also finds an unfinished bucket list and decides to fulfill all the items on the list, pushing past her comfort zone as she fights her tendency to play it safe.

When Crystal decides to come with her, Megan hopes they can repair their fragile relationship. With Crystal at her side and her old friend Caleb—a fellow heart transplant recipient—encouraging her, Megan thinks she has all the support she needs to complete her audacious journey. But will she be able to overcome her fears and embrace her new heart?

I related to Megan so much. Her fear of change and of new things is so familiar, as is her desire to travel and to write. So familiar. She’s been through so much, and it’s easier to coast along with the status quo, than to risk failure. Even when Megan has stepped out in faith, she still falters, but the love of those around her propels her forward. This is Crystal’s story, too, the “perfect” sister who is driven by her ambitions even while her marriage is failing. Stepping out in faith and changing is just as hard for Crystal as it is for her sister, but the two don’t even realize they have this in common. I loved this book and highly recommend it!

Lindsay Harrel writes inspirational fiction. The Heart Between Us is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot, by Mo Isom

sex
Image belongs to Baker Books.

Title: Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot
Author:  Mo Isom
Genre:  Non-fiction, Christian
Rating:  5/5

Sex. (There. Got your attention, didn’t I?) Society is obsessed with it, and the church doesn’t talk about it, apart from an unequivocal “Don’t do it!” Christians don’t talk about it, but we should—because there are far too many people wandering lost in a world that glorifies sex, promiscuity, and sex-pectations.

Mo Isom talks about it as she tells her story of a life lived according to expectations, a life scarred by pornography, misunderstandings, and the silence of the church on a topic that permeates our culture. She takes something the world is obsessed with, removes the bondage associated with it, and turns it into something that glorifies God.

I don’t generally review non-fiction books, especially the Christian books I read. (They’re on my Goodreads and my Books Read posts, though.) However, this book is one that needs to be talked about. I grew up in church—Southern Baptist—and my church never talked about sex. (My current church—non-denominational—does talk about it, some.) None of the churches my friends grew up in talked about sex. But our culture is obsessed with it. So, why is the church not talking about it? Why does the church let the world be the only source of information related to a topic that saturates our culture? And why are we surprised when Christians have a worldly view of sex, and not a Godly view?

I loved Mo Isom’s voice in this. (So much so that I’m now reading her first book.) She does talk about sex: her exposure to it growing up, the silence on it she experienced in the church, and her struggles to give it its rightly place—not a worldly one. Her voice is like a comfortable chat with a friend and makes this a must-read book.

Mo Isom is a New York Times-bestselling author, a former All-American soccer goalkeeper, and the first female to have trained with and tried out for an SEC men’s football team. She is the author of Wreck My Life:  Journeying from Broken to Bold and her newest book, Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot.

(Galley provided by Baker Books in exchange for an honest review.)

The Heirloom Brides Collection

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Barbour Books.)
(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Barbour Books.)

The Heirloom Brides Collection is four Christian novellas with the theme of “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” This collection of sweet historical stories hit shelves on November 1st.

When Betsy’s grandfather loses the farm and is gravely injured, Betsy must find a job to take care of them both. Stuart and his mother, who own the store, go out of their way to help Betsy, and she’s grateful, but what happened to her old family heirloom?

Wren loved Tate for years, but he left without a word. Now, four years later, he’s back, determined to show her how much he loves her. Will this new start be what they both need?

Clara and her father have just moved to the farm when her father is injured and unable to work. When Clara asks the neighbor to hire one of her sons to work until her father is well, the neighbor refuses…but will let Clara borrow her older son, Titus.

Darla returns to her childhood home in the hopes of finding her mother’s missing blue cameo…and also hopes no one remembers the girl she was before. Now a nurse, she finds herself caring for injured Nicholas and falling for his three daughters, until her past comes back to haunt her.

The stories in The Heirloom Brides Collection are just the right length to curl up with on a chilly fall day. Heartwarming, inspiring, with bits of humor sprinkled throughout, these stories are sure to leave the reader feeling warm and fuzzy.

(Galley provided by Barbour Books via NetGalley.)

The Shock of Night, by Patrick W. Carr

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Bethany House.)
(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Bethany House.)

Patrick W. Carr is the award-winning author of The Staff and the Sword trilogy. He’s also a high school math teacher by day, though he’d really like to be a jazz pianist. His new book, The Shock of Night, is the first book in The Darkwater Saga, and it hits shelves today.

Willet Dura is the king’s reeve, a private investigator who reports directly to the monarch. His elevation to the lowest-ranking noble in a world ruled by the gifted, along with his dedication to his job, have given him enemies, but Willet’s only concern is finding criminals and bringing them to justice. When a guard is killed, and his priestly charge is mortally wounded, Willet goes to question the dying man. But the man’s only answer is to touch Willet and scream in a strange language before dying.

Willet soon finds he has more questions than answers, as his senses are skewed in a dizzying manner and he can sense the thoughts of those he touches. Soon he learns he’s been given a gift that isn’t even supposed to exist, and with it, an enemy that wants to destroy him, his city, and the world he knows in a bloodthirsty quest for dominance where the enemies are hidden in plain sight, trapped by a past they do not even remember.

The Shock of Night is an intricate tale of intrigue and darkness, with Willet’s dedication to the truth leading him onto twisted paths he never imagined. His courage, his beliefs, and even his soul are tested in the fight to find the truth and save his city and the lives of those he loves.

(Galley provided by Bethany House via NetGalley.)

The Sword and the Song, by C.E. Laureano

(I do not own this image. Image belongs to NavPress.)
(I do not own this image. Image belongs to NavPress.)

C.E. Laureano was an aspiring ballerina until an injury sidelined her. While she recovered, she decided to write a novel. That horrible first novel led to a literature degree, and eventually, to writing contemporary romances and young adult fantasy. The Sword and the Song is the third book in the Song of Seare trilogy.

War has come to the island of Seare. The Red Druid is gathering his forces, but he is also lurking in the shadows to spring his nefarious traps when least expected. No place is safe from his magic, even behind the powerful wards of the city.

Conor and Eoghan clash over who will lead the city in this time of darkness, while Aine struggles to save those she can within the city. When Conor sets out on a mission to thwart the Red Druid, Aine fears for his life, and that he won’t return home in time. They face betrayal, evil forces, and dissention from their friends as they race to figure out the Red Druid’s plans before he can destroy them all.

The Sword and the Song is an action-packed adventure story, filled with magic, danger, and faith. The almost-Celtic setting comes to life with Ms. Laureano’s vivid descriptions, and the characters become family by the time the reader reaches the last riveting page.

(Galley provided by NavPress via NetGalley.)