Book number 47 was in fact an audiobook! I wanted to listen to a book whilst I worked hard on making my Mum’s Christmas present so decided to listen to Frank E. Peretti because someone had said to me that Katy Hollway‘s novels are similar to his – and as I enjoy Hollway’s books I thought I would try out Peretti. I am pleased I did, I found this a really enjoyable book to listen too. It was engaging, full of action, with twists and turns. This is not young adult fiction like Hollway but so enjoyable. I have another Peretti book on my shelf which I am looking forward to reading (even though it is MASSIVE!)

Addition: Audiobook
Genre: Christian, fantasy
Published: 1986
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Book number 46 was Havilah Cunnington’s Radical Growth – a devotional book looking at how we can grow in our walk with God. This is a fabulous book! It is a 30-day study, with short chapters to fit in around a busy life. I am so pleased I went through this book. I feel like God is working in me, talking to me and growing me. I have found this so helpful, such a wonderful resource. There are also videos which go alongside each day and can be found here. This is a great study and worth spending time doing. If you want to grow in God, this book is for you! Here is the preview video:

Addition: E-book
Genre: Christian
Published: 2014
Rating: 5 out of 5

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The Days of ElioraAddition: Paperback
Genre: Young adult, Christian
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

The Days of Eliora “Si dominates her, eager for respect Caleb notices her, detecting someone unique The Remnant shuns her And I watch over, as turmoil encompasses the land Eliora lives between worlds. Disowned by one and mistrusted by the other; she has no identity. Finding solace in conflicting friendships will shape her future beyond recognition. Caleb brings relief to her testing days, but can he bring startling revelation about who she really belongs to. Will she still her confusion and listen to my message? Is her heart prepared for the battle?” Eliora does not fit. Neither the palace nor the settlement offers her a place to be who she is called to be. Join Eliora as she discovers her calling amid the slavery of her people and the tyrannical Pharaoh. Discover the unfolding story through both the human and supernatural realm.

This is the second book by Katy Hollway, and the second in the Remnant Chronicles. I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed The Times of Kerim, but fear my comments may be similar.

As was with The Times of Kerim, I found the synopsis gives away nothing about this book! I had no idea what or who to expect when I opened the novel. I don’t want to give away much of the story but I will explain that the Remnants are angels, who are protecting certain charges. Eliora is one of those charges, and she has a tough life. She is a Hebrew slave in Egypt, but expected to work at the palace amongst other Egyptians. She finds herself caught between the two different cultures, unsure who to follow and whether to believe in the Egyptian gods or the Hebrew God. Again, I don’t want to spoil the story or give away too much, but Hollway bases these novels on Biblical stories, but the main character is rarely the key Biblical person, the are intwined into the story as we follow those around them.

I found the beginning of this novel a little slow, like with her previous novel, we launched straight into a world where we are not sure what is going on. The story does become clear after a couple of chapters and I liked how we are slowly introduced to the key players in the story. As for the storyline, I found myself in a strange place – I liked it, and I didn’t like it, all at the same time! There is one particular incident in the book that then shapes the rest of the story, but I didn’t like it. I wasn’t sure if it even needed to be there. I also was surprised by how fast time moved in the book as there didn’t seem to be any indication of weeks or months. Yet, I did enjoy the book and found myself reading large chunks in one go because I wanted to know what was going to happen. I was gripped, and I did enjoy this book. There is hardship, pain, friendship and love in this book. Family and faith are so important in life, and in this novel. I loved watching how each event unfolded. This book is descriptive and draws you in. I was captivated by the story and for the most part, really enjoyed sitting and reading this book.

I keep asking myself the question, did I like Eliora? I’m quite undecided! There were moments in her vulnerability when I felt for her, really empathised with her, yet she was also a bit sulky and I didn’t like that. I did like Caleb – a hero in this book! He always saw the best in her, stood by her at all times and showed her God. He had such a great trust in God, it was amazing.

I want to make one comment about how the book is laid out. We often jumped between Eliora’s story and the Remnant’s story. We know this because it is shown through a font change. The Remnants can see the demons surrounding and covering people, and sometimes would engage them in conversation, however I didn’t find it was always clear if the demon was speaking, or if the person he was controlling was speaking.

This isn’t just a story about how God can save a nation. This is also a story about how God cares and loves each individual. God is so loving and caring – he does work all things out for the good of those who love him, and we saw this in the book. The Creator was always there, and he always has a plan for us. Bad things do happen – they happen in this book – yet God loves us, he protects us and he saves us. What was meant for evil, God uses for good – and that is the key message through the book and I love it. It was so good to be reminded of this truth in a subtle, powerful way.

I’m rating this book 4 out of 5. I liked most of the story, and my comments above are minor things in the scheme of the story. I just loved being reminded of God’s grace, and how much he loves and cares for his children. This isn’t a hard read, but it is enjoyable and full of God’s truth.

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The Days of Eliora

Katy Hollway’s The Days of Eliora was book 43 in 2014. This is the second novel by Hollway, and the second in the Remnant Chronicles series.

Like with her first novel, I wasn’t sure what to expect – when this book is set or who the main characters will be. However, that should not put you off this book. Set in the times of Moses as he follows God’s orders to see his people freed, we follow Eliora, a girl stuck between the Hebrew and Egyptian worlds. It is hard to say what I thought coherently! I did enjoy this book, I wanted to keep reading and I found myself thinking about it. However, I didn’t like some of the storylines! I will write a proper review of this book, but I would rate it 4 out of 5 because I wanted to keep reading, and I would recommend it.

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult
Published: 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Are you like me…do you have more than one book on the go? For me, the breakdown is simple: What I am reading and What I have started but not picked up in a while:

What I Am Reading

Radical Growth
Havilah Cunnington

The pathway to the radical growth you’re wanting is not complex. It’s not some unattainable, envy-provoking vision or dream meant to torment you with its impossibility. However – let’s be honest, no one has a vibrant life by accident. No one has a flourishing garden unintentionally. Simply put, vibrant living looks like a life grown on purpose. With clear understanding of God’s heart toward you, a commitment to 100 % obedient, and and unrelenting determination to follow truth, radical growth is possible. It’s a life that’s within your reach! This practical guidebook will give you daily access to being your own journey of living a radical and vibrant life!

This is a devotional series too, and you can join in by watching the videos here. This is the promo video for it:

74 Seaside Avenue
Debbie Macomber
Library book

Dear Reader, I’m living a life I couldn’t even have “dreamed” of a few years ago. I’m married to Bobby Polgar now (you know, the famous chess champion who just happens to be the man I love ). And we’ve got this beautiful house with a view of Puget Sound.

But lately something’s been worrying Bobby. When I asked, he said he was “protecting his queen”–and I got the oddest feeling he wasn’t talking about chess but about “me.” He wouldn’t say anything else.

Do you remember Get Nailed, the beauty salon in Cedar Cove? I still work there. I’ll tell you about my friend Rachel, who’s got two men interested in her (count ’em, “two”). And I’ll let you in on what I’ve heard about Linnette McAfee, who left town when her love life fell apart. (“That” kind of trouble I know all about.) Come in soon for a manicure and a chat, okay?

Teri (Miller) Polgar

Notes From A Small Island
Bill Bryson
Paperback – off my Mount TBR pile

“Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain-which is to say, all of it.”

After nearly two decades spent on British soil, Bill Bryson-bestsellingauthor of The Mother Tongue and Made in America-decided to returnto the United States. (“I had recently read,” Bryson writes, “that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another,so it was clear that my people needed me.”) But before departing, he set out ona grand farewell tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home.

Veering from the ludicrous to the endearing and back again, Notes from a Small Island is a delightfully irreverent jaunt around the unparalleled floating nation that has produced zebra crossings, Shakespeare, Twiggie Winkie’s Farm, and places with names like Farleigh Wallop and Titsey. The result is an uproarious social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain, from the satiric pen of an unapologetic Anglophile.

A Week in Paris
Rachel Hore
Netgalley review e-book

1961: Born on the day that WW2 broke out, 21-year-old Fay Knox cannot remember her early childhood in London, before she moved to a Norfolk village with her mother, Kitty. Though she has seen a photograph of her father, she does not recall him either. He died, she was told, in an air raid, and their house destroyed along with all their possessions. Why then, on a visit to Paris on tour with her orchestra, does a strange series of events suggest that she spent the war there instead? There is only one clue to follow, an address on the luggage label of an old canvas satchel. But will the truth hurt or heal?

1937: Eugene Knox, a young American doctor, catches sight of 19-year-old Kitty Travers on the day she arrives in Paris, and cannot get her out of his mind. She has come to study the piano at the famed Conservatoire, and lodges at a convent near Notre Dame. Eugene and Kitty will fall in love, marry and have a daughter, but France’s humiliating defeat by Germany is not far behind, and the little family must suffer life under Nazi occupation. Some Parisians keep their heads down and survive, others collaborate with the enemy while others resist. The different actions of Eugene, Kitty and their friends will have devastating consequences that echo down the generations.

What I have started but not picked up in a while

All Quiet on the Western Front
Erich Maria Remarque
Paperback

Jesus, Meet Him Again…For the First Time
Paul Smith
Paperback

The Approval Fix
Joyce Meyer
Netgalley review e-book

What are you currently reading?

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Number 39 in 2014 was a book off my Mount TBR pile, Death By Love by Mark Driscoll. This book has been sitting on my shelf for a long time. In fact, I had previously started this book so it was good to finish it!

This was a challenging read, for two reasons. The first, is that I struggled with some of the theology. Now, I don’t think that is a bad thing. I like being challenged, and having theological questions, and this book provided that. The second reason is a negative – there were times I didn’t think it was very well written, it just didn’t seem clear in places. However, this was a good read. It was hard going, some of the stories were tough to read, but God is good! That is what I took from this book. Whatever we are facing, Jesus can overcome it all. He died and rose again for me, and that is amazing.

Addition: Hardback
Genre: Christian
Published: 2008
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Book number 38 in 2014 was Sally Clarkson’s You Are Loved. This book was written to accompany the online Christian devotion, You Are Loved, by the Love God Greatly team.

I found this devotional online and this book I could borrow from Amazon, and I enjoyed both of them. They are so helpful, full of truth and easy to engage with. I loved how honest and encouraging this book was; and I loved how it was so Scripture-based. This was such a good read – a must-read, as it is so important to know how much God loves you. Here is a link one of my favourite quotes from the book.

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

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Book 36 in 2014 was John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I have been wanting to read this book for ages, and yesterday decided that even though I have several books on the go, I was going to read this anyway. Oh my, this book is incredible. I read it in one sitting – I stayed up late to finish it as I couldn’t put it down. This is a sad and fantastic read. This is a must-read book and easy to rate 5 out of 5. I don’t want to say too much, but this is well written, captivating and so sad, yet a great read. I still feel like I’m processing the book this morning.

Addition: E-book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2012
Rating: 5 out of 5

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Addition: E-book
Genre: Christian, non-fiction
Published: 2011
Rating: 5 out of 5
Synopsis:

Often the biggest obstacle to living out our faith is our own doubt–about our worth, our abilities, our relationship with God, and situations in our lives. “A Confident Heart” gives voice to the questions, doubts, struggles, and hopes so many women have. Author Renee Swope shows women how to identify, overcome, and even use doubt in order to live confidently in God’s power, truth, and grace. Perfect for women’s small groups or individuals, “A Confident Heart” is an authentic, insight-filled and encouraging message for any woman who wants to exchange destructive thought patterns with biblical truth that will transform the way she thinks, feels, and lives.

Renee Swope is part of the Proverbs 31 Ministries, who I follow on Facebook and receive their daily devotions. I noticed on Facebook a while ago that for one day only this book, A Confident Heart, was free on Amazon so I immediately downloaded it (who doesn’t love a free book?!) I am so glad I chose to read this book, it is excellent.

This book is full of truth about God, our loving Heavenly Father. Swope addresses issues about how we doubt ourselves, and how we doubt God, and then brings us back to the Bible to show us the truth about who we are in Christ. She shows us how we can be confident to walk with God, how he can heal the pain of our past and use it for his good, and she repeatedly brings us back to what God has done for us and how he loves us. She uses examples from the Bible of the Samaratian woman at the Well and how God knew all about her and her past, yet loved her and spent time with her. Swope uses Gideon and how fearful he was to show us that these feelings don’t surprise or hinder God, and how when we trust him, he will use us for great things.

Swope was very honest about her life, her past and her current struggles. In these reviews, I often comment about how I felt towards the fictional characters, and yet here I feel compelled to say how much I liked Renee Swope, even though she isn’t fictional and we are never likely to meet. I found her honest and helpful. She was so likeable and so encouraging.

I loved this book and I can’t wait to go through it again, noting down Bible verses and encouragements in my journal. This book is well written, easy to read and full of the Bible. Swope is open with her past and her the things she battles with today. She uses excerpts from other resources to help her and I found this an excellent, encouraging, helpful read; filled with amazing truth about God, who I am in Him and how He can and will use me, and this book has left me wanting to know God better. It is very easy to rate this 5 out of 5, what a great resource.

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Book number 34 in 2014 is Renee Swope’s A Confident Heart. Renee Swope is part of the Proverbs 31 Ministries, who I follow on Facebook and receive their daily devotions. I noticed on Facebook a while ago that for one day only this book, A Confident Heart, was free on Amazon so I immediately downloaded it (who doesn’t love a free book?!) I am so glad I chose to read this book, it is excellent. This book is all about realigning your thoughts, fears and doubts with God, and seeing that we don’t need to be afraid, because in God’s strength we can do all things. This book was full of verses, and confirmations about how I am in Christ and how much God loves me. It was a great read and I am already looking forward to going through it again with my journal.

 

Addition: E-book
Genre: Christianity, non-fiction
Published: 2011
Rating: 5 out of 5

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