Book Review: Chasing Happy

book review chasing happy

This not is an easy book to read. This book is probably not for everyone.

But it should be.

Ann Miller has done an outstanding job telling a difficult story. The issues are real,as are the struggles, and no one is helped by denying them or trying to sweep them under the carpet…or into the closet.

On the one we have a young man struggling with his sexuality. He seeks answers from many sources, but in the end finds an answer that fits him and his faith. And on the other, we have a young woman stuck in a faith that has been expected of her and she struggles to make it personal without losing everything that is precious to her.

In a world that seeks for a quick fix and easy answers this story invites us to be patient and faithful as we seek to find the wholeness God has for each of us.

I recommend this book especially to pastors and counselors who are dealing with folks struggling in these areas. I believe it would be a good discussion starter for small groups.

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

Book Review: Letters from My Father’s Murderer

Book review letters from murderer

I like a book that starts out by telling me where I’m going to end up. And Laurie Coombs does that in this book. In the preface she states that ultimately this is “a story that displays the glory of our God.”

I have met the author and was very impressed by her humility and sincerity. So when I got the opportunity to read this book, I jumped at it. And I wasn’t disappointed.

As I read the story, I felt like I was sitting across the table listening to Laurie while we shared a cup of coffee. The reader can be sure this hasn’t been “prettied” up. It’s a raw and real struggle to be obedient. The story took Laurie into some difficult situations and conversations, but in the end it truly displays the glory of God.

Ms. Coombs points out that we often think the journey of faith is like “skipping through a meadow, hand in hand with God” when in actuality it’s much more like “summiting Mount Everest.” Definitely not a stroll in the park.

I normally read rather quickly through books I’m going to review. This book is not meant for the speed reader. This story invites the reader into the true give and take experience of biblical forgiveness. It’s a process that can’t be rushed.

I appreciated the material the author included at the end. Hearing from Anthony and the other inmates who were changed by this process was interesting and encouraging. Forgiveness truly has a ripple effect.

I recommend this book quite highly.

I was given a copy of the book by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Book review laurie coombs

You can follow Laurie Coombs on Twitter and Facebook.

Book Review: Trial Run

Book review Trial run

In the beginning, this book reminded me of a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle: not easily put together, but worth the effort. I trust Thomas Locke (Davis Bunn). I know him to be a crafter of amazing stories. And Trial Run is no exception.

As with so many of his other books, the author does a masterful job of developing the personalities of the characters. I could relate to their struggles and fears.

One of my favorite lines: “…my heart says, we have all been drawn together for purposes beyond our wildest dreams.”

This is my first book to read and review in this genre. I found it to be fast paced, with enough twists to keep me interested. And the subject was intriguing. It kept meBook review Trial runthinking as well as entertained.

Some readers were put off by the “non-ending” to the story. Knowing there was more to come did the opposite for me. I’m ready for more.

I would highly recommend this story and that the reader also consider reading the prequel, Double Edge.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Meet The Author: Mike Dellosso

I love reading. I’m a bookaholic.

It’s even better when I know the author, have met the author, or have just heard them speak. I love hearing their voice while I read.

WP dellosso

So, let me introduce you to Mike Dellosso. Here’s a wonderful interview done by The Darlington Society.

I’ve had the privilege of connecting with Mike and participating in The Darlington Society–what an amazing, encouraging, and enthusiastic group of people.

WP centralia

Now that you have “met” Mike, I hope you will consider reading his books. The most recent being Centralia. It’s an action-packed thriller that had me guessing the whole way.

Book Review/Recommendation: Intentional Fitness

WP Intentional Fitness

Today I would like to recommend a book and an author to you. I have had the privilege of knowing and working with Mary Scro for three years. In that time I have caught a glimpse of her passion for communicating the message of Christ. She is a dynamic communicator, who doesn’t back away from speaking Truth.

About the book:

We live in a world that desperately needs Jesus, but can’t find Him.

Why? Because many who bear His name (Christians) are not spiritually fit enough to walk in His ways. And how do you know what “fit” is in a world that is increasingly void of any mention of the name of Jesus? How do you hear His voice to know His ways with so much godless static assaulting you every day, from all directions?

“Therefore, my dear friends . . . continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling . . .” Philippians 2:12 (NIV).

Intentional Fitness compares physical fitness to spiritual fitness and discusses similarities. Only by being intentional about your own spiritual health can you live life to the full as Jesus created you to live and died to make possible for you. And only then can you bring the Kingdom of God and His love to a world in desperate need.

I located Intentional Fitness on Amazon. It’s available in ebook and paperback.

About Mary:

Mary Graziano Scro is an inspirational and lively author and speaker who intuitively weaves analogies and personal testimony with practical biblical teaching. A graduate of Christian Communicators Conference, Mary’s mission is to encourage others about the awesome life God has planned for them, if only they are willing to choose wisely in their everyday lives (John 8:31-32). Mary and her husband Don live in Marshall, Va.

Reaching Mary:

You can connect with Mary on her website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Mary pic

Focus!

WP eyes on Jesus

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. (Hebrews 12:2-3, The Message)

So here we are, about to enter the final week of Lent. Now more than ever we need to see Jesus. We need to watch how he handles the hurdles and the hill.

Why? Because we are in the race of our lives and we have the best coach possible. He’s run this race. He’s faced unbelievable opposition and odds–and he received the greatest prize in the end.

Yesterday we considered what it meant to follow him, the surrender. So often we think of surrender as quitting. Not so. There’s no quit in this journey, this race. When we feel the weariest, we need to look to the author and perfecter, the initiator and finisher, the one who called us and goes with us, cheers all the way along, and will be waiting as we cross the finish line.

It’s going to get tougher. But don’t quit. Surrender to his coaching, cheering, and ability to get you all the through.

PRAYER: Whatever it takes, Lord Jesus, I want to finish this race. Strengthen me when I’m weary. Coach me when I falter. Help me hear your cheers and instructions above the noise of the world. I reaching for the prize and keeping my eyes on you. Amen.

WP persevering in the race

Fantasy Convert


Here’s the review I posted on Amazon and Goodreads:

I hate to admit it but I used to be a cross between a literary snob and a fantasy virgin. Emissary was my first venture into the fantasy genre. Somehow I felt stories needed to be based in reality to be worth reading.

I was wrong.

This story by Thomas Locke is described as a “contemporary thriller that harkens back to classic fantasy.” That comparison may make sense to some, but I have nothing to compare it to. What I can say is that it was a thrilling and totally engaging read.

The author does an excellent job of weaving the themes of courage in the face of hardship, growth, and change into this tale. The main character begins this journey not realizing what he will be called upon to do. The fact that he is a reluctant hero makes all the more relatable.

Emissary cast a spell on me and I couldn’t put it down. And I can’t wait to read the next installment.

If I could give this book more stars, I would.

Thank you, Mr. Locke, you made a fantasy convert out of me!

Book Review: 365 Moments of Peace for a Woman’s Heart

365 Moments of Peace for a Woman’s Heart
Reflections On God’s Gifts of Love, Hope, and Comfort

Readings extracted from previously published volumes Moments of Peace for the Morning, Moments of Peace for the Evening, Quiet Moments Alone With God, Moments of Peace from the Psalms, Moments of Peace for a Woman’s Heart, Psalms to Soothe a Woman’s Heart, Moments of Peace in the Presence of God for Couples, Moments of Peace in the Wisdom of God.

From the moment I opened the package I knew I was holding something very special. This book begs to be held. That may sound odd to some, but for me, there is a definite feeling I get touching a book. This book has a quality and texture that exudes quality.

When I consider purchasing a devotional, I read certain days. I always go to my birthday and read the devotion God placed there for me. Then I let it open randomly and read what I find. The words on those days in this devotional were as rich as the physical qualities of the book itself.

I guess when publishers can draw the best from the best of their devotionals it would be safe to expect depth and wealth. I was not disappointed. The texts were not always familiar and the insights not predictable. The writing mined deeper truths, not seeming to be concerned for making the reader feel good, but more peace-filled and connected.

I am very happy to own this devotional and would not hesitate to give it as a gift to friend or family.

I was given a copy of this devotional by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Book Review: Undetected

Book Review Undetected
Dee Henderson
May 22, 2014

I hadn’t read a Dee Henderson book for several years. I eagerly anticipated this one and was not disappointed.

This author does an amazing job at developing her characters for her readers. They are relatable and likeable. They grow as the pages turn. This is particularly true of this book.

I lead a Bible study for the Widows Support Group at our church and I could definitely see reading this book together and discussing the process of dating and remarriage that Commander Mark Bishop goes through. But the struggle that Gina faces as she deals with her broken heart and then having to choose between two suitors would be healing and encouraging for anyone in the dating journey. This is a novel filled with valuable and usable lessons.

It is also a novel with some interesting science. I found myself wanting to learn more about the genius ideas that Gina was discovering. The way Mark encourages Gina to live into her gift is a message that could inspire many. I found it very encouraging that the “genius” was a woman, and that her area of expertise was science. I wish I could have found something like this when my daughters were younger to encourage them as they considered life careers.

The conversation that Mark has with Gina regarding contentedness is worth the price of the book.

The ending isn’t sad, but I was sad that it was ending. I highly recommend this book and am proud to have it on my shelf.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Lost & Found–Sarah Jakes

I hadn’t even made it out of the introduction and I was already in tears and convinced I would probably need to purchase a whole case of this book. For sure, I wanted to share it with my grown daughters who had experienced many of the struggles Sarah describes…and grown up under the microscope of being a pastor’s daughter.

This story is so much more than just the recounting of a “PK” gone wild…it is the truth of the gospel: there is grace. A contemporary Christian artist puts it this way:
You can never fall too hard, so fast, so far
That you can’t get back when you’re lost,
Where you are is never too late, so bad, so much
That you can’t change who you are,
You can change who you are (Who You Are by Unspoken)

The level of courage that Sarah Jakes demonstrates as she shares the gritty details of her choices and how far she feels she moved away from what she knew and the grace that could save and sustain her seems to come from someone much older than just twenty-five.

This book is gift of hope. Hope for the one whose made devastating life choices, and hope for those who love them.

When I started reading I purchased a little pad of sticky notes and started writing down the points that stuck out to me. I gave up somewhere in the second chapter–there were just so many. This would make an excellent women’s study, broaching topics and examining feelings that often stay hidden and do so much damage.

Sarah makes this statement in her conclusion: The chapters of my life I’ve shared with you within these pages reveal some of my darkest hours and most painful disappointments. But as a broken window acts as a prism, filtering sunlight through its cracks I hope that you can see the many beautiful moments of color dancing within my rooms.

I recommend this book very highly and am proud to have it on my bookshelf.

I received a copy of this book to read from the publisher in return for my review.

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