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.

Share on Facebook


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

Share on Facebook

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.

Share on Facebook

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

Share on Facebook

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

Share on Facebook

Bill Bryson’s Notes From a Small Island was book number 42 in 2014. This book has been on our bookcase for a while so I put it down as part of my Mount TBR challenge. I have now read 9 books in that challenge!

I didn’t know what to expect with this book. I was worried I would find it boring as I do prefer fiction novels, however, I was pleasantly surprised. I found myself enjoying this book – even chuckling in places! It took a while to read, I found that more than one chapter at a time made the book drag a bit but overall this was a good read. I laughed in some places and found the discovery of areas of Britain I knew nothing about fascinating. I would definitely recommend this book.

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Non-fiction
Published: 1995
Rating: 3 out of 5

Share on Facebook

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?

Share on Facebook

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

Share on Facebook

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

Share on Facebook

Addition: Netgalley review e-book
Genre: History, non-fiction
Published: 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

2014 will mark one hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War. To mark the date, this beautiful anthology will collect favourite extracts, images and poems from some of the UK’s leading cultural, political and literary figures.
     Poems, short stories, personal letters, newspaper articles, scripts, photographs and paintings are just some of the elements of this astonishing collection, with cover and artwork by renowned illustrator, Ian Beck. Among the many contributors are: Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, Sir Andrew Motion, Miranda Hart, Jacqueline Wilson, Anthony Horowitz, Eoin Colfer, Antony Beevor, Emma Thompson, David Almond, Dr Rowan Williams, Richard Curtis, Joanna Lumley, Raymond Briggs, Shami Chakrabarti and Sir Tony Robinson.

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

When I saw this book was available on Netgalley, I was excited and desperately wanted to read it. I have really enjoyed Michael Morpurgo books, and I love history books, so to put the two together did excite me! However, this book is not actually written by Morpurgo, it is edited by him, but it is a great read.

This book is aimed at children and it looks back at World War One. This is a collection of poems, stories, memories and pictures from the Great War. They are incidents and people who have influenced well known celebrities today. It is an intimate view of what was an awful time.

I thought this book was put together so well. It is engaging and honest, yet it wasn’t scary or horrific, as it could well have been. The book is sensitively produced and I think children will gain so much from it. I couldn’t put it down, I was drawn in to these stories, these moments in one person’s life.

My only complaint about this book is that it isn’t long enough! I know this is for children so needs to be short, but I think a longer novel for adults should be released too! This is a great read and an excellent glance into history. I am rating it 4 out of 5 because it is well edited, engaging, and a sensitive and different view of the Great War.

Share on Facebook