Mark Driscoll is the leader of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. It is one of the largest churches in the USA and currently has a membership of 8000 people. Confessions of a Reformission Rev. is his account of the growth of this megachurch.

Here is the Amazon synopsis:

This is the story of the birth and growth of Seattle’s innovative Mars Hill Church, one of America’s fastest growing churches located in one of America’s toughest mission fields. It’s also the story of the growth of a pastor, the mistakes he’s made along the way, and God’s grace and work in spite of those mistakes. Mark Driscoll’s emerging, missional church took a rocky road from its start in a hot, upstairs youth room with gold shag carpet to its current weekly attendance of thousands. With engaging humor, humility, and candor, Driscoll shares the failures, frustrations, and just plain messiness of trying to build a church that is faithful to the Gospel of Christ in a highly post-Christian culture. In the telling, he’s not afraid to skewer some sacred cows of traditional, contemporary, and emerging churches. Each chapter discusses not only the hard lessons learned but also the principles and practices that worked and that can inform your church’s ministry, no matter its present size. The book includes discussion questions and appendix resources. “After reading a book like this, you can never go back to being an inwardly focused church without a mission.

Even if you disagree with Mark about some of the things he says, you cannot help but be convicted to the inner core about what it means to have a heart for those who don’t know Jesus.” – Dan Kimball, author, “The Emerging Church”. “…will make you laugh, cry, and get mad…school you, shape you, and mold you into the right kind of priorities to lead the church in today’s messy world.” – Robert Webber, Northern Seminary.

I really enjoyed this book. I came across Mark Driscoll last year and have thoroughly enjoyed listening to his preaches so was looking forward to reading this book. It took me just over a day to complete the book, which is just under 200 pages long. Even my BF, who is a slow reader read this book in a matter of days.

He writes honestly and humorously. There is a lot of theology in the book, as well as practical advice, however, it is written simply and flows smoothly so it is so easy to read.  He covers the complete growth of the church, from the first day to when they hit the 4000 people mark.

This book has opened my eyes to what happens behind the scenes in church leadership, the struggles pastors and elders face and has inspired me to step out and serve more at my local church – which has a membership of just under 1000 people at present.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to everyone, even non-church goers.

9/10 – the theology and practical advice was sometimes a touch heavy-going.

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I received this book as part as a book ring. I have never read Sophie King before and I was not let down by Mums@Home. I would describe this is as chick-lit, very good chick-lit.

Here is the Amazon synopsis:

Love, laughter, and logging on…Calling all mums! What would you do if your husband had a fling? Have you ever had to keep a terrible secret from your kids? Do you sometimes wish you had a life outside being a mum? Are you pregnant and alone? Caroline, Mark, Susan and Lisa are as different as the parenting problems they face and each has their own reasons for logging on to the Mums@Home website for the very first time. At first they are cynical about the site – how can faceless people possibly help or understand what they are going through? But as the weeks pass and their family problems escalate, each of them begins to realise that Mums@Home has become a lifeline – somewhere to go for advice, to be heard, to escape, or to belong…Sophie King captures the zeitgeist once again with this warm, moving and engaging look at modern parenting and finding friends.

This was very well written, I managed to read 200 pages in one sitting. I wanted to get to the end to see how everything would turn out, but when the book ended I wanted there to be more so I could see what was happening in their lives. King put in twists which I did not see coming, which added to the enjoyment of the read.

My favourite characters were in fact the children. Although I loved all the characters and engaged with them all, I found myself forming a soft spot for the children as they had to face difficulties in their adolescent as well as bearing the problems their parents were facing.

My only complaint was at the end of every chapter there were extracts from emails to people which were fragmented and sometimes unclear who they were aimed at and from.

A really enjoyable, fun, quick read.


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C.S. Lewis is famous for The Chronicles of Narnia, but what might not be so well known is he is the author of many Christian books. A Grief Observed was written a few weeks after the death of his wife. It is a collection of notes he has jotted down to help him through the mourning process. It is very short, only 60 pages, and I read it in a day. However, I did not find it an easy read. As it is just notes, it is a bit jumbled as we follow his train of thought. He talks about himself, his wife and God. We see his heart and attitude change as he heals and understands he will always miss his wife but it doesn’t have to be so painful. I felt I was intruding a bit in his mind and found the book hard to follow.


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When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper is a Christian book for those suffering with depression, or people aiding those who are suffering. It was an Amazon recommendation when I purchased another Christian book on depression.

Here is the Amazon synopsis:

John Piper offers insight into depression and spiritual darkness, and the Christian response to them. For sufferers and carers, he provides reason for hope that God will lift them out of despair and into the light.

This is not a long book, only 79 pages. However, it did take me quite a while to read this book. Piper has some very helpful things to say, and he includes lots of quotes from famous people, such as John Newton and C.S. Lewis as well as many quotations from the Bible. Some comments I found related to me personally, such as the fighting to get out of bed when feeling down. It was also interesting to learn that sometimes in order to help ourselves we need to help others, that way we will experience God’s grace.

However, some of the quotes used were written in very old fashioned English so I struggled with some of the meanings. I don’t like Piper’s writing style either. I find it does not flow easily and sometimes his sentence structure throws me.

All in all, this was a bit of a tough read but with some very helpful advice.


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Like Roald Dahl, these are books which are not just for children. The Chronicles of Narnia are beautifully written with the Christian message throughout.

The Magician’s Nephew
is the first in the trilogy and is the creation of Narnia. Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

Polly’s hand went out to touch one of the rings. Immediately, without a flash or a noise, she vanished. When horrible Uncle Andrew starts experimenting with magic, Digory and Polly find themselves in another world, and at the beginning of an incredible adventure, as the doorway to the magical land of Narnia opens…This is the first adventure in the exciting Chronicles of Narnia.

It took about half the book to get to Narnia, but honestly, that was not a problem. This gives time for character development, the meeting of the witch and the exploration of other worlds, which I would not have none existed had I not read this one.

My favourite character, like most others, is Aslan the lion. He seems to intimidating but has such a soft heart, what an amazing creature. The description of him is stunning.

As mentioned, the Chronicles of Narnia are based around the Christian story – but do not be put off by this. The Magician’s Nephew replays the Creation Story with Aslan creating Narnia and breathing life into the characters and the Tree of Life and how Diggory was not to eat from it or steal from it.

There is a stark warning at the end to not let our world fall into evil and decline.

I enjoyed this book, and would recommend you read it even if you are an adult. Lewis writes in a fluent and entertaining way, it is easy to follow and very enjoyable.


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Oh my word, what an incredibly moving story. It is only 212 pages long, such a quick and easy read. But you must read it.

Amazon synopsis:

Nine year old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. All he knows is that he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no-one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas. Bruno’s friendship with Shmuel will take him from innocence to revelation. And in exploring what he is unwittingly a part of, he will inevitably become subsumed by the terrible process.

The book is narrated by Bruno, who is 9, so the language is very simple. He refers to Hitler as the Fury and Auschwitz as Out-With because he doesn’t know how to pronounce the words correctly.

I loved this book. I loved Bruno’s naivety and his sense of always wanting to do the right thing. He frequently says things like (para-phrasing here):
“I try and tell the truth, as that is what I have been told to do.”
He is a complete angel, with no idea what is going on just across the fence.

His friendship with Shmuel is beautiful. Honestly, the only word I have to describe their relationship is beautiful. One is suffering hardships, the other thinks he is, but the way they chat and support each other is amazing. He tries to help him and although all they do is chat, a special bond is formed, a bond for life – a bond until death.

There are some comical lines in the book too, such as referring to his older sister as The Hopeless Case because that is what he has heard her called! These innocent comments make the book that much lighter to read.

The end was so sad. I did see it coming, but that did not spoil the story at all. It was heart-breaking how this little 9 year old who didn’t understand what was going on came face-to-face with the horrors of the concentration camps and what Hitler was doing. I don’t want to give the ending away, but it suited the book, however sad it was.

The Holocaust is such a horrible time in history, but Boyne has addressed the issue with sensitivity and care. I don’t think anyone can be insulted by this book or the issue. It seems well researched and I think Boyne has taken great care to reflect the horror in a delicate way.

This book is actually a Year 8 (age 12-13) text at the school Mum works at, so from that point of view it is not a hard read, but raises questions and topics to talk about.

I loved this book, and am touched by it. This is a must-read.


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The cover for A Lifetime Burning is a woman’s face in different colours, very eye-catching and chaotic, which is in a sense how the family in this book is. And the recommended quote on the front cover said:
“Disturbing themes, sensitively explored”
I didn’t know what I was letting myself in for. As it happens, although the themes were not something I would have picked usually, this was an incredibly good book.

Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

Greedy for experience but determined to be good, Flora Dunbar spends a lifetime seeking love, trying to build a future out of the wreckage of her past – an eccentric childhood spent in the shadow of her musical twin, Rory; early marriage to Hugh, a clergyman twice her age; motherhood, which brings her Theo, the son she cannot love; middle-age, when she finds brief happiness in a scandalous affair with her nephew, Colin.
“If you asked my sister-in-law why she hated me, she’d say it was because I seduced her precious firstborn then tossed him onto the sizeable scrap-heap marked Flora’s ex-lovers. But she’d be lying. That isn’t why Grace hated me. Ask my brother Rory…”

This was a complete page-turner. Gillard talks about love, religion, family, incest, homelessness and gardens. All these themes were sensitively explored, and extremely well written about.

As I was reading I wasn’t sure what I was going to write in the review. This book captured me. It spoke of forbidden and immoral love, yet it made my heart grieve a little. In these circumstances, the love that was felt was definitely wrong, but heart-breaking to read about the passion, pain and sorrow. It was written so well that I did catch a bit of the pain felt.

Maybe it was a little unrealistic with all the love-triangles in one family, but then maybe if it a close unit, why would this not happen?

My favourite characters changed as the story progressed. This would be because Gillard writes in a style where you jumped from different times and events. This didn’t bother me at all. In my opinion this allowed the characters and story to progress and grow, and was a very good tool for explaining later events and the characters themselves. I guess my favourite character was Hugh in the end. This was because even with everything going on he was hard to fault. He took the moral high ground and looked after everyone and everything. He was a true gentleman.

I recommend this book. It only took a few days to read. Gillard’s writing style flows and is very engaging. This is a must-read.


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Although this is not one of his more famous book, is a thoroughly good read.
Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

With old friends like these, who needs enemies? It’s a question short, mild mannered detective Edward Newson is forced to ask himself having in romantic desperation logged on to the Friends Reunited website searching for the girlfriends of his youth. Newson is not the only member of the Class of ’86 who has been raking over the ashes of the past. As his old class begins to reassemble in cyberspace, the years slip away and old feuds and passions burn hot once more. Meanwhile, back in the present, Newson’s life is no less complicated. He is secretly in love with Natasha, his lovely but very attached sergeant, while comprehensively failing to solve a series of baffling and peculiarly gruesome murders. A school reunion is planned and as history begins to repeat itself, the past crashes headlong into the present. Neither will ever be the same again. In Past Mortem, Ben Elton – previous winner of The Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award for Popcorn – delivers both a heart-stopping thriller and a killer comic romance.

This was a great book, a proper page turner. I felt connected to the characters, and was wondering about their lives all the way through the book. It was an easy and entertaining read, much like his other books. Elton touches on the issue of bullying and the effects it has on people in a startling way. Although I was aware of bullying, having experienced a bit of it myself, he certainly enlightened me as to what it could do to someone’s life in the long run. I read this book in a matter of days, and was gripped until the end, although I had worked out who the murderer was.

However, as much as I enjoyed this book, along with the gruesome and detailed murders, which did not bother me, there were graphic sex scenes which I did not like, and which mean I won’t be passing this book on to my Mum to read.

7/10 – would be higher if the sex was not so detailed and sometimes scary

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This is the synopsis from Amazon:
“‘There is a wonderful plan for your life. You can hold your head up high and be filled with confidence about yourself and your future. You can be bold and step out to do new things – even things no man or woman has done before.’ ‘You have what it takes!'”. The “Confident Woman” will enable you to live with purpose and fulfil your true potential. Joyce Meyer’s number one “New York Times” bestselling book: Gives you the keys to living a life of confidence and independence. It shows why you can live without fear, and helps you overcome the barriers of the world’s false expectations and the emotional damage of abuse. It identifies the ‘Seven Secrets of a Confident Woman’ Joyce writes with the benefit of over three decades ministering to women. The message in this book is based on her personal journey from insecurity and self-hatred – caused by childhood abuse – to a life characterised by inspiring confidence and realising her full potential.

I enjoyed this book and found it very helpful. It uses Scripture and real life stories to motivate and to explain how to get out depression, fear, lack of confidence etc.. Through the truth expressed in her words and the Bible passages I have found I am able to go out when I feel panicky, and when I’m dreading something to just go ahead and do it.
I recommend this book, even if you don’t feel low or anything, because everyone feels scared or shy at some point in their life and this has had a profound affect on my life, I feel better for having read it.


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Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again …Working as a lady’s companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Life begins to look very bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding Mrs Danvers …Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.

My Mum recommended this book to me and I had tried it before. This time I actually got to the end! I found it quite a chilling book, which included murder, suicide and fire. I didn’t know what to expect when I picked this up but I did enjoy it. I was gripped from the beginning and was surprised by the twist. I was a bit saddened by the fact Rebecca was painted as a mean, cheating woman but never mind. The character I loved was Ben, who we saw down the beach. I found the new Mrs de Winter to be a pushover and weak, although she did come out of herself a bit by the end. I would recommend this book.


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