Tag: NonFiction

Book Review: Under a Desert Sky by Lynne Hartke

About the Book:

There comes a time in life when we find ourselves in the desert place of burning questions: Why? and Why me? But even as we shake our fist heavenward, the heart whispers another question: Who? Who are you, God? Who are you to me?

Against the backdrop of the Sonoran Desert, Lynne Hartke asks her own questions as cancer arrives like a thief with one goal: to take it all. Hair. The contents of a stomach. A marriage. A life. As her days become a blur of doctors’ appointments, treatments, and surgeries, she wrestles with a tumble of tangled emotions, a shaken faith, and crushing self doubt. And then, the unthinkable. Cancer is now threatening not only her own life but also the lives of both her parents.  

Through her raw, lyrical words, Hartke invites you to discover, as she did, that even in life’s hardest places, you are not alone in your fear, you are not foolish to hope, and you are nevee forgotten by a loving, pursuing God. Never.

My Review:

Ever since I’ve followed Ava’s journey, I’ve been keenly interested in cancer and how it affects people, both the victim AND the victim’s loved ones. This book contains both. In this book, Lynne Hartke shares the story of her life: starting from her own diagnosis and fight with cancer, and also flashing back to her in-law’s cancer battles and also describing her own parents’ fight with cancer.

I really liked the writing style of the book, almost like a stream of consciousness narration style. There are stories from the past entwined with stories of the future that all flow together, which makes it less work, I suppose you could say, than reading other nonfiction books. She was also able to relate incidents from the past, her own and from the Bible, to what was currently happening, which made it all bond together.

Another thing about this book was that it didn’t feel like the author had all the answers. Instead, she was struggling, with her circumstances, with her faith, and God. It also tied to the stream of consciousness thing, where the chapters are a conglomeration of thoughts, but all supported by one idea.

There wasn’t a lot of stuff about the actual treatment of the cancer (which, frankly, is what I like), but I understand that, because not many people would like to hear about that. Instead, the book was more faith based, guiding Hartke and the reader towards Jesus as the final answer, all along.

Being an avid hiker living in the desert, there were many hiking/water/paths/exercise allusions in the book (including the title Under a Desert Sky), which all together tied the book together really well.  They were also very fitting: the journey of trusting Jesus, and life in general, is much like a hike in the canyon–excruciating and dangerous, but worth it in the end.

Overall, it was a really good book that I enjoyed.

My Rating:

7/10

 

Thanks to Revell for sending me a free print copy of this book for my honest opinion; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Gifts from Heaven, compiled by James Stuart Bell

About the book:

NO PRAYER IS TOO BIG FOR GOD

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like God is listening to our prayers. But now and then He powerfully reminds us that He hears our requests and is strong enough to help. What begins as simple faith ends with an astounding gift from our loving heavenly Father.

These true, uplifting stories are from ordinary people experiencing extraordinary help in times of need. While some answers to prayer feel ordinary and go unnoticed, this collection highlights amazing events that could only happen with God’s supernatural intervention. With accounts of such things as unexplainable healings and miraculous protection in terrifying situations, this book will inspire you to believe that God can answer even your most “impossible” prayers.

Let these stories touch your heart, strengthen your faith, and encourage you to pray more than ever before!

My review:

Gifts from Heaven is a compilation of stories of ‘’God things”, better known as miracles. While I always try to go into these types of stories with an open mind (some claims are so preposterous and you just really have to be alert), I always enjoy reading stories about when God worked in people’s lives.

I’ve also reviewed another compilation of stories by the same person, Jesus Talked to Me Today, which was about kids’ encounters with God. This one, Gifts From Heaven, contained more healing type stories, whether it be physical chronic or terminal disease, emotional stress or disability, or social stresses.

While there were a couple stories where I was a little skeptical about, overall, they all contributed to the telling of what God has done, which I really like. Occasionally during times of spiritual drought, it can be nice to hear of what God has done for others, although it may not be evident in your life at the present moment, which is what Gifts From Heaven is.

As for the stories themselves, they were well written and conveyed the intentions and feelings well, generally speaking. Some of the pieces weren’t as clear as they could have been, but overall they were clear and portrayed the spirit well.

My rating:

7/10

I received a free paper copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion; I was not required to leave a positive review.

Book Review: Shaken by Tim Tebow

About this Book-

Most of us have been on the receiving end of rejection, a broken dream, or heartbreak. And while this is not an easy space to go through, when we are grounded in the truth, we can endure the tough times.

In this powerful book, Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow passionately shares glimpses of his journey staying grounded in the face of disappointment, criticism, and intense media scrutiny. Following an exceptional college football career with the Florida Gators and a promising playoff run with the Denver Broncos, Tebow was traded to the New Tork Jets. He was released after one season.

In Shaken, Tebow talks about what he’s learned along the way, building confidence in his identity in God, not the world. This moving book also features practical wisdom from Scripture and insights gained from others who have impacted Tebow in life-changing ways.

Though travelling hard roads is not easy, it’s always worth it!

My Review-

‘Tim Tebow’ was a name that was always around during my childhood: he was starting to become famous for his renowned ‘Tebowing’ action, so I was excited to read this book by him.

While this book wasn’t exactly what I had imagined (due to my not reading the synopsis lol), it was an awesome book that I’m definitely going to keep handy to read later!

Tebow starts off with speaking on when he was released by the football team he was playing for (an accurate depiction of how much I don’t care for football, hehe), then goes on to talk about how he dealt with being released and how he, literally, got through the days. It’s not an autobiography, but instead a guy’s testimony and him talking about his friendship with God.

Tebow includes several great stories, including one about his mother that’s super important. He speaks simply, using specific, but simple to understand language, and he’s able to break down topics that would be hard to understand otherwise.

This book’s very inspiring and motivational, as well as many other things. It acts as a good reminder that failure isn’t always the worst option, even if it looks like the world has collapsed.

Quotes-

If nothing else, this book was a treasure trove of great quotes. Here are some. (Haven’t done quotes in book reviews in a long time, but I had to for this one).

It’s important to take God’s love personally, though it may not be an easy thing to do. Sure, God loves the world, but he also loves each one of us individually.

And while I may get hurt, disappointed, or frustrated […], my foundation doesn’t have to change.

But the more you make the choice to live above your feelings, to trust God instead of what you may feel like doing, the stronger your faith becomes. It’s not about being perfect. We will always been on a journey of growing closer to God.

You never know how the tough times you are going through today will inspire someone else tomorrow.

My Review-

9/10

Purchase Link

Thanks to Blogging for Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review. 

 

Book Review: Jesus Talked to Me Today, compiled by James Stuart Bell

jesustalkedtometoday

About the Book-

Children have a special place in Jesus’  heart. He told his disciples to “Let the little children come to me,” encouraged them to welcome children in His name, and said that their angels continually see the face of God. Maybe that’s why children are often more receptive to miraculous experiences than adults.

This collection of awe-inspiring stories reveals how God works in the lives of these precious little ones. Through heartwarming accounts of children who have heard Jesus speak, encountered angels, and experienced miracles, we get a glimpse of the way God cares for the most vulnerable among us. Just as Jesus told His disciples, we could all use more childlike faith, and these stories “from the mouths of babes” will encourage you to hear from the Lord in a fresh, sweet, and pure way.

My Review-

Both my mom and I really like stories of God working. Y’know, like 90 Minutes in Heaven or Heaven is For Real or stuff like that. So when I saw this book, I really wanted to read it.

This book contains a variety of stories of children experiencing supernatural things, such as seeing angels, receiving things, and healings. Most of the stories were written in a third person (by a parent or someone like that), or in first person by a parent. A few were written by adults who had experiences when they were children.

I feel like many, if not most of the stories were very vague, although there were a couple that were really well-written. I didn’t really like the writing style either, but overall, the compilation of stories were really good.

RockandMinerals4Him rating-

7/10

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for sending me a free print copy for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

 

Book Review: Swimming with Faith: The Missy Franklin Story

About the Book:_200_360_Book.1906.cover

One of the most talented swimmers in the world today, Missy Franklin has been swimming since she was five years old and hasn’t stopped. From local summer swim leagues all the way to the Olympics, Missy has proven over and over that hard work and dedication can make dreams become reality. But through all of the adventures and challenges that are a part of this determined athlete’s life, Missy has remained true to her heart and faith–making sure that God family, and friends stay top priorities even in the face of the fame and glory that come with achieving goals like Olympic gold and world records in her beloved swimming.

My Review:

I’m not going to lie, I’d never heard of Missy Franklin before I read this book. However, after I read this book, Missy Franklin became one of my favorite swimmers in the Olympics this year. Having read this book before the Olympics helped me at least have some sort of background knowledge going into it.

This book is for kids (<12 years old), so obviously it was written in simplistic language. As a matter of fact, both of my younger brothers (elementary-middle age level) read the book and enjoyed it, so I think it was well written for that age range. I didn’t ask them to read and review the book for me; they came and asked if I could read it. One of them also asked me to read/review several of the other ZonderKidz Biography Series books as well!

This book covers the swimming life of Missy Franklin, starting from when she was 2 and culminating with her training for the Olympics in 2016. One question I have for the publisher: Why on earth did you publish this book BEFORE the 2016 Olympics? Of course, now it makes perfect sense, since Franklin didn’t perform well at the Olympics this year, but before the Olympics it really didn’t make sense.

I really enjoyed how the book was written: how it highlighted Missy’s faith in God (hence, the title), and also how she was so humble about her talent in the water. There is a section where it highlighted all the posts about God on social media, and also several quotes from Missy about her faith in God.

I liked how the book was structured: It waffled between her swimming life and her private life, with interesting endnotes such as “Missy Franklin Fast Facts” or “Missy at 14 {Her High School}”.

I really enjoyed reading this book; however, there were a couple downsides to it as well. The book was written in sort of an essay-ish form, which meant that there were a lot of stats and information, with not a lot of space in between. This was fine, because I like stats and my brothers like stats, but for someone who is looking for more action, it could be a little boring.

There was also a chapter where it covered the Colorado movie theatre shooting in great detail. I understand why it was put there, because Missy lived there, but I feel like there was a little too much detail that was out of place there.

Overall, although it was a little juvenile (which it was supposed to be) and a little too factual, it was a well-written and well-researched book that provided a lot of information before Rio 2016.

Quotes

“We many never know why people commit horrible acts, but we do know that God is always with us, regardless of the events and outcomes. And we know that no matter how painful the event, we can’t let it stop us, keep us from loving our lives. That is not who God would have us be”

“Sometimes all that glitters is not gold. For Missy, the true treasure was in remaining a normal teenager and in returning home to a normal life.”

 

{Missy Quote}

“The people we meet, the experiences we go through, that’s what makes us the people we are, the people we are growing into. This is our time to make mistakes, to learn from them, to learn to shinte. It’s such a beautiful time in your life.”

RockandMinerals4Him rating:

8/10

Thank you to Zondervan for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review via BookLook Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review.

I’m linking up with Grace and Lace Linkup here!

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