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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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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I HAVE FINISHED MY READING CHALLENGE!!!! But more on that another time!

Number 40 was Debbie Macomber’s 74 Seaside Avenue, a Cedar Cove novel. I haven’t read a Cedar Cove novel in a long time. I read a load of them together and got a bit fed up with them, however, I have been enjoying the series on TV and thought I would have another go. I am pleased to say I did enjoy this read. It was nice to spend time with old friends! I found some storylines a bit predictable, others a but unbelievable, but I still enjoyed the book. It didn’t take long to read it and I am considering reserving the next one at the library.

Addition: Paperback, library book
Genre: Chick-lit
Published: 2005
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 number 35 in 2014 was Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn. My Mum is a fan of du Maurier’s novels and for years I have stared at their covers on the bookshelf in their lounge. Earlier this year, the BBC produced a mini-series based on this novel so I thought, why not read it? I have read Rebecca by du Maurier (many years ago), which I also enjoyed and I am glad I made that decision to read Jamaica Inn – this is a good book! This is a gothic novel, which reminded me quite a lot of Wuthering Heights – a book I must re-read soon. Jamaica Inn was dark and mysterious. Set on the Cornish moors, there was fear, love and death. It wasn’t a fast read, but a very good one. Now I need to watch the series – hopefully it is as good as the book!

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Gothic fiction
Published: 1935
Rating: 4 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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Book 31 was Santa Montefiore’s The Bee Keeper’s Daughter, which I received from Netgalley.

I really enjoyed this book! I thought the beginning was a little slow but once the story took off, I couldn’t put the book down. There were some surprises, some story lines which didn’t come as a shock and some decisions I didn’t agree with, yet I was hooked. I preferred Grace’s story to Trixie’s but I liked how they were linked and I enjoyed moving around in time. This was a really enjoyable book and I hope to read more by Montefiore.

Addition: Netgalley review e-book
Genre: Chick-lit
Published: 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Book number 27 is Katharine McMahon’s The Crimson Rooms. This isn’t the first novel by McMahon that I have read. Back in 2008 I read The Rose of Sebastopol, which I remember enjoying.

I’ve had The Crimson Rooms on my shelf for a while. This wasn’t part of my TBR Challenge, but I thought I should read it anyway! To be honest, I was surprised at how long it took me. I did read other books alongside it, although I always do that, however I did find this a slow read. I did enjoy this book, but I did have to concentrate and set time aside for it. I did enjoy this glimpse into history though and have in fact given my Mum this book to read.

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Historical fiction
Published: 2009
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Book number 25 in 2014 was Sophie Kinsella’s Wedding Night. Isn’t it funny how you can go months, maybe years without reading a specific author, then suddenly you read a book a month by them!

I do like Kinsella’s novels, so when I saw this book in the library I needed to get it out. I have to say, not my favourite novel from her. It had elements of the silliness of her Shopaholic novels and so much talk about sex. Now I know this book is based around a wedding night, but that is not the only date that features in this book, yet there was one character who wouldn’t stop talking about sex, and it got a bit boring. This is an enjoyable enough read, but not the best Kinsella book I’ve read, or the best book I’ve read this year.

Addition: Library book
Genre: Chick-lit
Published: 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5

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