Title: The Magician’s Nephew
Author: C. S. Lewis
Published: 1955
Genre: Children’s novels

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

The adventure begins…
On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them.
But then the lion Aslan’s song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia.
And in Narnia, all things are possible.

Review:

This is the first book in the wonderful Chronicles of Narnia series, written by C. S. Lewis. It is the second time I have read this book as an adult – although I remember having this collection of stories growing up so I must have read them as a child too. My review of this book, from 2008, is here.

I loved this book. We meet Aslan, and we see Narnia created. I was enjoying the story up to that point, but as soon as we met Aslan and he sang Narnia into being, the beginning of the book was basically forgotten for me! It is beautiful. One of my friends said that is her favourite chapter of all time, and it is easy to see why. The magic and the wonder are breath taking.

This series of books is meant for children, but they are wonderful reads. I was drawn in, and transported into those other worlds with ease and enjoyment. Like a lot of people, I know the story of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe really well, and this novel, The Magician’s Nephew, gives us a lot of background information and ties very neatly into the series. It is in this book we learn about The Witch – an evil, angry, proud woman who just wants power and minions; we discover how the lamp post arrives in Narnia; and how the wardrobe becomes the entrance into Narnia.

As when I last read this book, my favourite character is Aslan. He is fierce, yet gentle. He is powerful, yet so caring. When he was talking to Digory, who was sad that his mother was so ill, Aslan was compassionate and kind. The character of Aslan is based on God – our Heavenly Father – and it was an amazing read, and a great reminder of who God is, and what His character is like.

I loved this book. It was an easy read, but so enjoyable. I can’t recommend it enough. The highlight for me was the creation of Narnia – its just a shame that the Witch and Uncle Andrew had to feature at that point! I am rating this book 4 out of 5, and cannot wait to read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

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Books 21-25 in 2015 are:

21.
Erica James – The Dandelion Years
Rating: 3 out of 5

This is one of my favourite types of books, by one of my favourite authors. I really enjoy Erica James novels, and this one was set in both the present day and during WW2. I love books with a dual timeline! This story was interesting, gripping and touching – plus it was set in Bletchley Park, which I found really exciting. My review is HERE.

 

22.
Amanda Hocking – Wake
Rating: 3 out of 5

This is the first book in the Watersong series by Amanda Hocking. I really enjoyed her Trylle series, so had high hopes for this new book. This is young adult, fantasy literature, which I almost always enjoy. This book is darker than Hocking’s Trylle series, and I didn’t enjoy it as much. That said, it wasn’t a boring or bad read – I read this book in two sittings! My review is HERE.

 

23.
Marina Fiorato – The Glassblower of Murano
Rating: 3 out of 5

The Glassblower of Murano is one of those books which has been sitting on my bookcase for a few years, so I added it to my Goodreads Mount TBR Challenge, so I am pleased to report that I have now read it! This is another book which has a dual timeline; present day and the 1600s. I didn’t enjoy this novel as much as I thought I might. I didn’t find the storyline terribly exciting and I wasn’t overly keen on any of the characters. My review is HERE.

24.
Amanda Hocking – Lullaby
Rating – 3 out of 5

This is the second novel in the Watering series by Amanda Hocking. It continues the story of Gemma, and her entanglement with the sirens. Again, this instalment is darker than the first, but as this is a young adult book it doesn’t get too bad! I am enjoying this series. The storyline is gripping, I like the characters and the books are exciting. I have the last two novels to read, and I am looking forward to them.

 

25.
Beth Redman – God Knows My Name
Rating: 5 out of 5

This is the second time I have read this book, and I have loved it each time. Beth Redman looks at our identity in God. She talks about how God knows us, made us, and how we don’t have to feel shame or regret in His presence. This is a great read, full of truth and encouragement about who we are in God, and who God is to us. This is a must-read in my opinion.

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Addition: E-book
Genre: Christian, non-fiction
Rating: 2 out of 5
Synopsis:

A practical guide to parenting that starts with the differences that the Gospel makes in the lives of those doing the parenting – most Christian books ignore this aspect.

I decided to read this book as a group of Mum’s from my local church were reading through it together, and in the hope I might make it to one of the mornings, I decided to read along with them. Sadly, I didn’t make it as I was working each week but I still read the book. It is a hard book to review as I haven’t read many parenting books and everyone has different theology, but I will have a go! This review is more personal than for other books because it addresses my love for God, my theology and decisions on parenting we have made in our marriage.

This book is advertised as a practical way of parenting whilst focusing on the Gospel. The first few chapters were full of the good news of Jesus, and it was an encouraging read. But then Farley started to get “practical” and I discovered I disagreed with most of what he said. I disagreed with his parenting style and his theology. Oddly, I seemed to agree with his opening paragraph of each chapter e.g. that the husband is head of the home (he will be the one who will stand before God and give answers about our family and our decisions) but I didn’t agree that wives are secondary when it comes to parenting. I don’t want to get into a theological debate, but God created man and woman differently, with different roles, but one is not more important than the other. I disagreed with a lot of this theology e.g. “Father’s do not provoke your child to anger” – I don’t think this is meant just for Dad’s, but he said it was. In fact, he believes all references to parenting in Scripture are just for fathers – this surely isn’t right. And I also disagreed with how he disciplines. We don’t smack our children in our house, and I don’t think that should be the first go-to when disciplining children. I found this book hard to read – he seemed to be saying that the most important person in the house is the man, that women are secondary but shouldn’t work as that will damage their children and that we need to break our children’s self-will, even though he said that is a gift from God. I left most chapters confused by his thoughts, and then strongly disagreeing with them! Interestingly, speaking to a few friends who have read this book, they also have disagreed with a lot of what Farley says.

I found the writing style hard to follow at times too. He was wordy, and not always clear. Another problem I had, was it felt like a large chunk of the book were statistics or quotes from other parenting books. It didn’t seem like a lot of what he said was based on the Bible.

From this book, I am grateful for the reminder that the Gospel is the centre of everything, and how we parent should reflect that. I want to teach my children about Jesus, and I want to love them and serve them well. This book has helped me to think about parenting, my beliefs and sparked conversations between me and my husband about parenting, which can only be a good thing (even if I did disagree with this book!). I don’t think I would recommend this book, but I am thankful for the way it has helped me consider parenting and how we raise our children. I am rating this book 2 out of 5.

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I haven’t done a Recommended Author post in a long time, but today I wanted to change that!

recommended authors

The author I am recommending is: Katy Hollway!

katy_avatar

Katy has released two books so far; The Times of Kerim and The Days of Eliora. These are the first two books in the Remnant Chronicles series. Katy’s books are young adult, Christian books and I have really enjoyed both of them. Her writing is engaging and draws you in – with both novels I found myself reading huge chunks in one go as I wanted to know what would happen. I have found Katy’s writing to be like Frank Peretti, which is a big compliment as although I have only read one of his books, I really enjoyed it. If you like young adult fiction, if you like fantasy fiction, and if you like Christian fiction, than Katy is definitely worth checking out!

You can find out more about Katy Hollway and read the first three chapters of The Days of Eliora at her website, www.katyhollway.com

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2015 Reading Book 8 – Unbreakable by Andrew Wilson

Synopsis:

It stands out because unlike most other books on the Bible, it doesn’t start with a bunch of objections that people have to the scriptures. Nor does it begin with information about the Bible’s authors or the historical contexts they were writing into. Instead, this book uses Jesus as the starting point! As Andrew explains, ‘Ultimately… our trust in the Bible stems from our trust in Jesus Christ…’ If you are a follower of Jesus, then you’ll be keen to believe what the Bible says– because, as you’ll see in this book, that’s what Jesus did!

Andrew, in his clear and often amusing way, shows us clearly that the Son of God loved and trusted the Word of God – and if anyone sets out that the Bible is trustworthy, authoritative, good, helpful and powerful… then it’s Jesus Himself!

Quick Thoughts:
This is a little gem of a book. It is about 60 pages long, with very short chapters. It is easy to dip in and out of. Wilson is clear and concise – and funny. This book looks at what Jesus said about the Bible. It is a great introduction to looking at Jesus and looking at the Bible. This is a helpful book that I will be going back to many times.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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2015 Reading Book 7 – I Do Hard Things by Havilah Cunnington
Synopsis:

I Do Hard Things is a devotional workbook written to go alongside a 4 part teaching series. However, it’s also great on it’s own leading you to great insights on how to live in victory even in the midst of challenges and struggles.

Quick Thoughts
This is the second devotional book by Havilah Cunnington which I have gone through. The first was Radical Growth in Autumn last year. As with Radical Growth, I found I Do Hard Things to be incredibly useful. They are short daily readings, based on Biblical truth, about how we can climb out of the pits we find ourselves in and live a victorious life for God. It refocusses us on Jesus, and not on ourselves. This is helpful, short teaching which I will definitely read time and again.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Book number 53 was a review book from Netgalley. This is the first fiction book from Max Lucado which I have read and I loved it! I read this book in one day. It had an engaging story, characters I really warmed too and a lovely glimpse of the Gospel and all God has done for me. I won’t write anymore here as the review is to come, but safe to say, I loved this book and highly recommend it.

Addition: Netgalley review e-book
Genre: Christian, Fiction
Published: 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Addition:Netgalley review e-book
Genre: Christian, non-fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

We all pray . . . some.
We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray.

But wouldn’t we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency?

Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words. Unmet expectations. Unanswered requests.

We aren’t the first to struggle with prayer. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too. In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested.

And Jesus gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer. Couldn’t we use the same?

In “Before Amen” best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin.

I received this book from Netgalley to provide an honest review.

I requested Before Amen from Netgalley because I really like Max Lucado. I find him incredibly easy to read and all of the books I have read have made an impact in my life. I was really excited when I noticed that the Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies was going to do a four week study through the book Before Amen. I decided as I had the book to review I would coincide it with this study, and I am really glad I did.

This is a book on prayer. It is clear, concise and easy to read. As the synopsis says, the only tutorial the disciples asked Jesus for was on prayer, so it is helpful for us to study prayer too. This book looks at all types of prayer and gives us different ways to pray. I really liked the “Pocket Prayer”:

This is such a simple, helpful prayer that is easy to remember and covers all bases. This prayer is used throughout the book. Alongside it, are other important truths:

I’m not going to have a review full of quotes from the book on pretty backgrounds, but you get the idea – this book is pure class. It is easy to read, clear and honest. The book looks at how to pray, our attitude towards prayer, how to pray for others and gratitude. I didn’t have a problem with any of the theology in this book. I agreed with all Lucado all the way through and it was a great reminder of how important prayer is.

I really liked the study questions too. It gave me a chance to process what I had read, think about my life and attitudes, and it gave me a chance to be before God.

This book is full of Scripture. This book is fully rooted in the Bible, and I really liked that. I was able to flick through my Bible and check out some great Scriptures that I could apply to my life.

If you want a book on prayer, this is it. Lucado is honest about his prayer life and he keeps taking us back to the Bible. This is not a long book, it only has nine chapters, but it was helpful and easy to read. The theology is easy to understand and apply to our lives. This is a great book on prayer and how it can change our lives and our walk with God.

It is easy to rate this book 4 out of 5 because it is simply a stunning book on prayer. Thank you Netgalley for letting me read it, and thank you Max Lucado for writing it, and helping me with my prayer life.

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Book number 51 was a Netgalley review book, which I read whilst participating in the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies: Before Amen by Max Lucado.

I won’t write too much here as I am currently thinking through my review, but I will say, I loved this book. Such a helpful tool when it comes to looking at our prayer life. This isn’t a long book – just nine chapters, but with study questions to go alongside it, I found it really helpful. I was able to focus on God and learn more about Him. I was challenged and I think I have grown from this book. Well worth reading and applying to your life.

Addition: E-book
Genre: Christian, non-fiction
Published: 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Book number 48 was borrowed from a friend and an incredibly helpful read. Lysa TerKeurst is the President of the Proverbs 31 Ministries and has written many books. This is the first of her’s I have read, but I already have more to read!

This book focusses on how we change our food cravings to God cravings. It points us back to God. This book is full of Scripture and honesty. It challenges us and builds us up. I found it a really helpful book. My friend is re-reading it to help her refocus on God. It is easy to eat away our feelings but what we should be doing is looking to God. This book isn’t a diet plan and I don’t think that once you have read it all food problems will go away, but it is a gentle reminder that we need to turn to God not food and it is a helpful tool, pointing us to the Bible and what God has to say about food. This was such a good read.

Addition: Paperback, borrowed
Genre: Christian, non-fiction
Published: 2010
Rating: 3 out of 5

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