Tuesday, March 21, 2017

31 Verses To Write On Your Heart ~ book review

In 31 Verses To Write On Your Heart, Liz Curtis Higgs presents us with not only a word-by-word study of 31 Scripture verses to memorize, but also companion prayers, memorization tips, and study guide questions for each verse.

She starts each lesson by explaining why this verse is important and relevant to our lives today; why we need to write in on our hearts. Then Liz uses 2-3 pages to break the verse down into individual words or phrases. Each segment of the verse is explained, anecdotes are shared, and we decipher what this verse means to us personally. She then closes each lesson with a prayer and a memorization tip. All of the memorization tips are listed together at the back of the book for easy reference, along with a study guide containing two questions for each verse.

I love that you could use this book for personal study, daily devotions, or a group setting. It would also make a beautiful gift for anyone in your life who could use a little encouragement (can't everyone?). While I've always found verse memorization to be a daunting task, Liz makes it easier for me to be able to think of scriptures to get me through rough times during the day. I wouldn't dare say I've successfully memorized any of them, but thanks to her word study and stories, I can at least remember the gist of it enough to help me feel closer to God and less alone. That makes a huge difference to me. 5/5 stars.

*Disclaimer: I received a free print copy of this book from Blogging For Books for the purpose of this honest review. All opinions are my own.*

About the author (copied from book):
Liz Curtis Higgs has one goal: to help women embrace the grace of God with joy and abandon. She is the author of more than thirty books with 4.6 million copies in print, including her nonfiction bestsellers It's Good to Be Queen, Bad Girls of the Bible, The Girl's Still Got It, and The Women of Christmas; her award-winning Parable Treasury for children; and several Scottish historical novels, including her New York Times bestseller, Mine Is the Night.
A seasoned professional speaker and Bible study teacher, Liz has toured with Women of Faith, Extraordinary Women, and Women of Joy, and has spoken at more than 1,700 conferences in all fifty states of the United States and fifteen foreign countries.
Liz is happily married to author Bill Higgs. They share their life together in a nineteenth-century farmhouse in Louisville, Kentucky, with their twin tabby cats, Boaz and Samson.
Purchase Links:
     Amazon
     ChristianBook

Monday, March 20, 2017

Heaven Bound ~ Coming Soon

Heaven Bound is a new Christian family comedy starring Michael Joiner, Nancy Stafford, and Danny Vinson. Starting with an upper-class picture-perfect marriage, Ted and Josie Talbott soon find themselves strapped for cash and willing to risk anything in order to get back to life in the rich lane. They hatch the perfect plan to steal some jewelry from a wealthy doctor, who just happens to be on a newfound quest to save a soul or two before he dies. Their plan goes awry when the doctor catches them and locks him in his house, intent on making sure they have the right answer to the ultimate question - "If you die today, do you know where you would spend eternity?"

This movie is an outrageously funny story about trying to save people from their own bad choices, while reminding us that sometimes it takes something extreme to show us who we really are. Heaven Bound is noted as being "family approved - ages 12+". It does contain off-scene animal abuse, as well as gunshot scenes; both are not graphic or violent and are part of the comedy. My kids (9-12) were laughing just as hard as my husband and I were during the entire movie. My only complaints about this movie were having to remind it to catch things we missed because of the ongoing laughter and the fact that now nose "boops" have become a random family occurrence when we're trying to have serious conversations!

Definitely 5/5 stars, great for the whole family, and worth watching more than once because of all the things you'll miss on the first time through. Oh, and don't forget to watch the bloopers and deleted scenes. They're just as great as the movie.

Heaven Bound DVD won't be released until March 27th, but you can pre-order it now from FishFlix - Christian Movies.

For more information or to watch the preview, visit the movie's official website.

*Disclaimer: I received a free DVD copy of this movie from FishFlix for the purpose of this honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Do All Lives Matter ~ book review

Do All Lives Matter? The Issues We Can No Longer Ignore and the Solutions We All Long For by Wayne Gordon & John M. Perkins is a rather short (85 pages) exploration of the quest to discover if all lives really matter. Based on the concepts behind to Black Lives Matter movement, this book identifies the roots of the movement and reveals whether those claiming that "All Lives Matter" are truly helping their own cause or missing the mark.

While I did find the statistics and back history of the ideas behind Black Lives Matter to be interesting, I did not find myself swayed to the authors' viewpoint that Black Lives Matter is a critical stepping stone before we can seek the notion that All Lives Matter. Why? Because the book doesn't address all of the negative actions that have been done in the name of the movement itself. Any time you have a movement or a cause, there will be people on both sides of the extremes. So while I found the authors' points to be interesting and partially relevant to today's issues, I did not feel as though it was enough to make me rally my support toward the cause with all of its current implications.

All of that being said, I do feel that this was well worth reading and would be time well spent for anyone interesting in our current racial dilemmas that would like to better understand where the Black Lives Matter movement and concept are coming from. My only concern is that it doesn't really address where the concept is going as the younger generations step forward to take claim of it. 4/5 stars. In the end, while I understood why the authors say that the quest to prove that All Lives Matter must start by demonstrating that Black Lives Matter, I feel as though demonstrating that All Lives Matter is just as valid of a starting spot for those of us that have been down similar paths.

*I received a free print copy of this book from Baker Books for the purpose of this honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Thursday, March 16, 2017

King's Blood by Jill Williamson ~ book review

King's Blood is the second book in The Kinsman Chronicles by Jill Williamson, and contains parts 4-6 (Kingdom at Sea, Maelstrom, and Voices of Blood), which were originally released as e-books.

This book begins aboard the Seffynaw, one of the many ships to flee in search of a new land after the destruction of The Five Realms. Here we find three princes, each preparing in his own way for the imminent death of the ailing King of Armania. Soon we meet the rulers of other nations, each intent on becoming the sole proprietor of the remnants of The Five Realms.

Having not read the first book in The Kinsman Chronicles, King's Folly, I found myself utterly confused for the first several chapters of King's Blood, while Jill wastes no time on explaining backstory and presumes the reader is already familiar with the storyline. Although frustrating at first, I quickly found myself enthralled by the world that she had created - full of magic, false Gods, and champions seeking peace in a time of chaos. While I would highly suggest reading King's Folly first, if you have a little patience then King's Blood is a worthwhile read regardless.

While this book is very long (being that it collects three e-books into one volume), Jill does an excellent job at keeping the story flowing and full of vivid imagery and, at times, intense dialogue. This fantasy novel would be an excellent read for anyone intrigued by stories of magic and other-worlds, while wanting to be left feeling invigorated with a thirst for the one True God. 5/5 stars.

*Disclaimer: I received a free print copy of this book from Bethany House for the purpose of this honest review. All opinions are my own.*

About The Author (copied from inside the book):
Jill Williamson writes fantasy and science fiction for teens and adults. She grew up in Alaska, staying up and reading by the summer daylight that wouldn't go away. This led to a love of books and writing, and her debut novel, By Darkness Hid, won several awards and was named a Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror novel of 2009 by VOYA magazine. She loves giving writing workshops and blogs for teen writers at www.GoTeenWriters.com. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two children, and a whole lot of deer. Visit her online at www.JillWilliamson.com.
Purchase Links:
     Amazon
     Christian Book

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie ~ book review

Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage To Overcome Your Fears by Kelly Balarie is a heavy dose of encouragement for women who are working hard to move past their fears with God's help.

First, Kelly walks with us, hand in hand, as she unveils various circumstances that push us over the edge and falling to our knees screaming for help. God's help. And she gently reminds us that He's always there, just waiting for us to call on Him and come begging and crying to Him when life gets overwhelming and our fear factors start to cave in on us.

What fears? The fears we all deal with almost every day, some just to a greater extent than another. Kelly doesn't directly address the fears, per se. Instead, she walks us through the eight "fear-inducers". Feelings and conditions that keep us chained to and drowning in our fear...

1) The Devil
2) Control
3) People Pleasing
4) Worry
5) Comparison and Competition
6) Waiting
7) Rejection and Opposition
8) The Past

Kelly weaves anecdotes in with scripture, Bible stories, and other insights to share with us the common trials engaged by each of the fear-inducers, as well as ways to move past them and get on with our lives - for the better. Helpful Bible verses and affirmations are in bold print throughout each chapter, encouraging you to take note and memorize or post these thoughts somewhere where you'll see and read them everyday.

Each chapter ends with "something to chew on", which gives you a thought or idea to focus on. The end of the book contains a group study guide, which thoughts, focal points, and questions to go along with each chapter. This study guide would work for individual study as well.

This book is not an intense workbook or Bible study. Instead it is an easy-to-read, close-to-the-heart dose of encouragement and renewal to keep you focused on God and moving forward, letting God turn all of your fears into blessings for you, His precious daughter. 4/5 stars.

*Disclaimer: I received a free print copy of this book from Baker Books for the purpose of an honest review. All opinions stated are my own.*

About the book's author (copied from back cover):
KELLY BALARIE has lived her subject matter. Her faith was built as she battled through an eating disorder, depression, serious health concerns, company failures, family tragedies, job losses, and times without income. Throughout it all, Kelly has looked past the pain to pursue God's always-unfolding plan. Kelly is a featured blogger at Crosswalk.com and iBelieve.com. Her work has been featured on Relevant, (in)courage.me, and Today's Christian Woman. She lives with her husband and two toddlers near the sun-soaked shores of the East Coast.
Purchase Links:
     Amazon
     ChristianBook