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.)
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.)
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
A Bride’s Agreement is a collection of five stories by authors by Elaine Bonner, Ramona K. Cecil, Nancy J. Farrier, JoAnn A. Grote, and DiAnn Mills. The stories all feature the theme of two people who agree to marry virtual strangers, and romance blossoms between them.
One woman marries a man for the sake of his children. One woman’s family arranges a marriage with a man from another country. One woman is bartered in marriage to pay off her father’s debts. One woman agrees to help a man run his family farm and care for his siblings. One woman must marry a trail scout for propriety’s sake.
These stories are just the right length to get to know the characters, without adding unnecessary drama. They are all set in the 1800s, and are sweet Christian romances about couples overcoming great odds to find happiness. This book is perfect for a relaxing, inspirational read.
Dina L. Sleiman is a resident of Virginia Beach where she spends a lot of her time outdoors, when she isn’t writing or editing. She is a graduate of Regent University, and she writes inspirational fiction. Her new novel, Chivalrous, is the second book in the Valiant Hearts series.
Gwendolyn Barnes wishes she were a man. Then she could become a knight and compete in tournaments: her secret dream. Instead, Gwendolyn is at the mercy of her domineering, brutal father and her submissive mother. Her father intends only to see her married to a man just as controlling as he is so she will further the family’s fortunes. So Gwendolyn keeps her knightly training a secret, not wishing to raise the ire of her father.
In disguise, she competes in a tournament, where she meets the handsome Allen of Ellsworth. Allen is determined to prove his worth as a knight, but he sacrifices his chance to win the tourney to save a child. His sacrifice results in Allen’s whirlwind rise through the ranks, and soon he’s living a live he never imagined. Gwendolyn could see herself by his side, but fate conspires to keep them apart as murder, mayhem, and marriage stand in their way.
Chivalrous is a tale of days gone by, a story straight from the world of Arthur. There is action a plenty: knights, battles, courtly intrigue, and betrayal. Gwendolyn must learn her own worth, and how God values her, while Allen must place his faith wholly in God, instead of man. Chivalrous is an entrancing read that will keep readers glued to every page.
(Galley Provided by Bethany House Publishers via NetGalley.)
Amber C. Haines is a Southern girl, mother to four sons, and a Christian writer who isn’t afraid to speak the truth about her life, the good and the bad. Her book, Wild in the Hollow, is now on sale.
Growing up in a Southern country family, Amber spent time in church, with people who believed in God, yet she always felt a yearning for something more in her life. Desperate to find what she was seeking, Amber looked for it in all the wrong places, and ended up broken and hurting. In the blackest of moments, she sought God, and found Him. But even knowing God doesn’t mean life will be perfect. After Amber meets Seth, her husband, her life takes a turn she never expected and she becomes a mother to four boys, still searching for more.
Wild in the Hollow is a painfully honest, raw accounting of one woman’s search for fulfillment. Ms. Haines is brutally honest about her life and her choices, but this honesty shines brightly when she meets God and shifts the focus of her life. The compelling truths in this book will have the reader drawn into the pages and unable to put it down.