Tag: Reviews

Book Review: Trusting Grace by Maggie Brendan

Trusting Grace

About-

All of her life, Grace Bidwell has longed for children, but now the chances of her dreams coming true are looking slim. Widowed and caring for her elderly father, she struggles to maintain her late husband’s farm until she places an ad for a hired hand.

Robert Frasier arrives in town with three pitiful, bedraggled children who have nothing but the tattered clothes on their backs and a load of hurt, pride, and anger. Believing this is divine intervention in her life, Grace welcomes them with open arms. As feelings grow between her and Robert, Grace will have to convince him that she is a woman who can be trusted with his heart.

My Review-

Ahhh, yet another Sterotypical Christian Novel™! Honestly, I’m getting rather annoyed by these Christian Novels! I’ll write a blogpost on this someday (I Promise™).

Instead of focusing on how Trusting Grace is the same as Every Book Ever, I’m going to review on the unique parts of the book, because, again, it’s literally THE SAME IN EVERY BOOK.

First off, this was the third book in a series, but I couldn’t really tell (I wasn’t confused or anything), so it could work as a standalone book.

The characters in the book were great as well. While yes, it was a girl (named Grace, surprise, surprise) with a marred past, and a guy wanting to forget his past (as usual), the characters themselves were developed pretty well and the children were a nice addition. (Grace’s father, in particular, was AWESOME to read :)).

I can’t say much for the plot: it’s the basic girl with troubled past meets guy that she doesn’t like, but then somehow finds out she’s missing him, and then there’s a beautifully descriptive scene of his muscles or something, and then they eventually get married.

I will have to say, though, that the children gave the story a nice little twist; it was different from the strictly guy+girl stories.

My Rating-

6/10

The author, Maggie Brendan’s website||Amazon|| Barnes and Noble || ChristianBook Distributers|| Goodreads

Thanks to Revell 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: 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: The Princess and I by Rebekah Eddy

cover

About the Book-

Megan is content with her life, despite her parents’ death and her brother Malcolm’s job that keeps him busy at the King’s castle. But when she is offered the position as Princess Christine’s lady-in-waiting, Megan is glad of the change in scenery and accepts it with the hope that she can spend more time with her brother. The promise from Malcolm of lessons in swordsmanship only adds to her enthusiasm.
However, helping keep an eye on the emotional and excitable young lady proves to be much harder than becoming her friend. As rumors of war circulate the castle, Megan strives to encourage her new friend even as she tries to settle the doubts and fears in her own heart when her responsibility in protecting the Princess is put to the test. Follow the unwanted adventure which serves to teach her that loyal friendship, true love, and God’s amazing grace will always triumph over revenge, greed, and hate.

My Review-

Whoo, my third post about this book! (Cover Reveal here and Blog Tour post here) Today’s post is the review of The Princess and I! It was intended to be posted with the blog tour, but I hadn’t finished it yet, so here’s my review!


Okay. I’m not a fan of fantasy (like I covered in (this review), but nevertheless, I read a whole bunch of fantasy. This book was awesome!

So…it *was* pretty cliche. However, it was also not. Think of plots twists on every fairy tale ever and then combine them all. Okay, maybe not *quite* that epic, but it comes pretty darn close.

There  were a bunch of points that were pretty out-of-the-ordinary, and I appreciated them. For instance, the main character (pov) was not the average princess silk-dresses and afternoon-tea type, and *lots of spoilers*

The epilogue was also pretty awesome; I had felt like the book was finished, but I really liked how all the characters were resolved and I found out what happened after the story was finished.

The romance throughout the book was very minimum, and it was very deftly woven, so I didn’t feel like was reading romance. Not to mention that it was clean.

Overall, it was a great princess book!!

My Rating-

8/10

Now, after I’ve talked about this book for so long, here’s the link to purchase!

The Princess and I

Go check it out!

Book Review: A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

A Note Yet Unsung.jpg

About the Book-

A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the maestro at the newly formed Nashville Philharmonic. But women are “far too fragile and frail” for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah’s hopes are swiftly dashed because the conductor–determined to make his mark on the world of classical music–bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah’ new employer, agrees with him.

Nationally acclaimed conductor Nathanial Tate Whitcomb is Nashville’s new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse–and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head–he must finish composing his symphony before the grand opening of the city’s new opera hall. But further pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music–his father, who is dying. As Tate’s ailment worsens, he believes Rebekah can help him finish his symphony.

As music moves us to tears yet makes our hearts soar, A Note Yet Unsung captures the splendor of classical music at a time when women’s hard-won strides in cultural issues changed not only world history–but the hearts of men.

My Review-

Okay so this book. MY GOODNESS.

So if you know me, you know that I’m a musician who plays too many instruments to get really good at one. So, this book about the entry of women into the world of music was really really close to my heart.

When I first saw this book, I wondered what I’d gotten myself into. Judging the book by it’s cover, I wasn’t really a fan. Neither was the 422 pages that it is. But…I finished it

As a female musician, I know that women can be as good of a musician as any man, and are not “far too fragile,” so I was able to sympathize with Rebekah from the start. Also, she plays violin, oboe, piano, and sings, and does them all brilliantly well, so she has my respect and honor. 😄 ALSO BY GOODNESS IF YOU REFUSE ME BECAUSE IM A WOMAN? *thinks of threats but fails*

Her story is so beautiful (and probably out of the normal for her setting, which makes it a bit weird, but hey, I’ll take it). She does some questionable things (like bottles…not a spoiler), but overall, she is really sweet. I found myself wondering sometimes though, where she got some parts of her character. While they were there, I was left wondering where they had developed from, because with the background portrayed, it didn’t really look like she had an opportunity to establish some of the traits that she did. (does that even make sense omw)

As for Tate, I can’t imagine composing. The description of composing, though, are just so good and made me want to compose. Like the morning after I read the book (aka finished it at 3am XD), I sat down and started arranging a piece for piano, flute, bassoon, and violin. (also I suck at bassoon and violin soooooooo).

In Tate’s story, there’s also a plot twist (actually, multiple), and it’s so unexpected and beautiful and heart warming. LIKE AAASDLJGFDHLKJ ID WRITE THEM ALL HERE BUT THAT’D SPOIL THEM AND THATS NOT THE POINT OF A BOOK REVIEW

Also can we just say Rebekah has THE. IDEAL. JOB? She teaches music to a rich lady’s daughter, and also helps Tate in his composing.

Personally, I wasn’t really a fan of the romance in the book. It felt a little rushed, and it was at times a little too…um….vividly portrayed…? (not inappropriately, but I just didn’t like it). That’s the only reason there’s points taken off.

As a smallish sidenote, this book is apparently the third in a series, but I would never have guessed. It would work great as a standalone.

My Rating-

8/10

(not counting the romance, rating: 10/10)

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

Book Review: Beyond Suffering Bible

978-1-4143-9558-6

About the Book-

When the pain and hardships seem overwhelming, we can be blinded to the beautiful realities often hidden in the passages of the Bible. The Beyond Suffering Bible was created by Joni Eareckson Tada and her team to highlighted the goodness of God during life’s hardest times.

It’s jam-packed with resources to answer the tough questions, take you deeper into God’s Word, and propel you to action:

  • A Word from Joni devotionals show how to pursue God amid suffering
  • Profiles of Bible characters and contemporary Christians illustrate how to discover God’s goodness during painful circumstances.
  • Connection Points offer thousands of study notes that specifically address suffering
  • Devotionals dig deep and tackle some of the toughest questions about suffering
  • Book Introductions orient readers to vital information and focus on key suffering and disability themes.

My Review-

It’s always a bit tricky (for me, at least) to review Bibles. What do I say?

THIS IS THE HOLY BIBLE. STRAIGHT FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD. READ AND APPRECIATE.

Bible

But because I’m an organised person who always knows what I was thinking before when I made (not) stupid decisions, I’m here today to review a Bible. (*confetti*)

Essentially, the Beyond Suffering Bible is a Bible for those suffering: disability, weakness, illness, and so on. There are special features in it that make it so: for instance, small devotionals like “Cruelty to Persons with Disability” or “Facing the Golden Years,” geared with a focus for those suffering.

Joni Eareckson Tada is a quadriplegic (after breaking her spinal chord while diving), and she has faced so much suffering in her life. Despite it all, she still brings glory to God while motivating others. She is the perfect person to put together the first study Bible for people suffering.

This is a NLT translation (which I don’t really understand/care about, but some people do so). I really like the book headers, that have an introduction to the book, and also the biography things, which highlight people.

Overall, I really like the study Bible aspects of the Beyond Suffering Bible. My personal Bible doesn’t have study Bible-y things (connection points, and the aforementioned book headers and biographies), so having this background is really nice.

As for aesthetics, it IS a soft-cover book, which is kind of odd for a Bible (at least, in my opinion), and the pages are essentially the dictionary/Bible thin pages.

My Rating-

7/10

Additional Information-

Beyond Suffering Website

Thank you to Tyndale House Publishing for providing me with a free print copy in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: Greater Than Gold by David Boudia with Tim Ellsworth

Greater Than Gold.jpg

YOU GUYS. So…this book review is by P, my little brother! I offered to request any ARC that either of my brothers wanted, provided that they wrote the review . . . and he took me up on it! So . . . give him a nice welcome!

About the Book-

Sometimes, failure is the best thing that can happen.

For David Boudia, an Olympic gold medal was more than just a dream: it was an obsession, an all-consuming pursuit, and–he was sure–a golden ticket to the good life. But after a disastrous competition at the 2008 Games in Beijing, Boudia’s world was shaken to its core, and he found himself alone in his dorm room on the verge of ending it all. But a chance phone call with his diving coach changed everything, leading David to the God who had always been there. Inspired by faith and fired by a new purpose–to bring glory to God–Boudia set out for his second Olympics where the results could not have been more different.

In Greater Than Gold, Boudia tells his inspiring journey from lost to found, giving readers firsthand access to the rareified world of Olympic athletics while revealing the life-changing power of placing one’s hope in God rather than in medals or crowns.

My Review-

David Boudia, an awesome diving gold medalist, shares his difficult journey to the Olympics in Beijing and London. He uses Scriptures to help him in his dives. He also shares his testimony from when he changed from worshiping idols to God. He talks about how he thought he did and how he actually did, his pictures of him on the podium, him with his sister and others, and about his son and daughter.

He wrote this awesome book himself. You can read the book yourself to find out the exciting part.

*older, sagely voice as I jump in*

Here’s more substantial information about the book.

Here’s a great testimony about Boudia’s journey to the Olympics. It’s actually not about how he got to the Olympics, but instead about his spiritual development and growth. I personally feel like it’s too slow, and also doesn’t seem very substantial much of the time, so I wasn’t very much a fan of the book.

The book itself is very straightforwardly written and Boudia is very honest about his character and how he’s grown, which I liked reading. He doesn’t cover up his past or his actions, and he tells his story very frankly.

My Rating-

P’s rating- 9/10

Mine- 7/10

PS: If you’re looking for another Olympian’s story, check out my review of Swimming with Faith: The Missy Franklin Story!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a free print copy of this book in exchange for my (or P’s) honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

 

Book Review: The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher|| Historical Fiction

the-newcomer

About the Book-

A fresh start in the New World will test Anna’s resolve . . . and her heart.

In 1737, Anna Konig staggers off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. It’s a time of new beginnings, and for Anna and Bairn’s shipboard romance to bloom.

But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World, his enthusiasm evaporates. When a ship captain offers him a first mate position, he grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him?

As a newcomer joins the church, Anna is torn. This man is everything Bairn is not–bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And he is here. Bairn is not.

Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves the lives of Bairn, Anna, and the newcomer together. When the secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?

My Review-

First of all, this is most certainly an Amish book that breaks several stereotypes! First, it’s set in the 1730’s, which is far from the standard modern-ish feel. Second, as a result of this, there is none of the buggy-riding, courting, singings, and all that. Instead, it’s a travelling-westward kind of story, which is really cool.

I appreciated this book much more than most other Amish fiction (though admittedly I don’t read much Amish fiction as a rule) because it’s much more realistic.

While yes, there still are some touches of romance, it’s not the main focus of the book. There is not only love between a guy and a girl, there is also love between a man and his wife, and the siblings within a family, and people and God. This was really refreshing.

Overall, the Amish portrayed in this book were much more realistic than the other Amish novels that I’ve read, which makes me want to read more by Suzanne Woods Fisher . . . not sure how her other novels are like though. These Christians are much more authentic, not the pure, unblemished, but-under-the-surface-there’s-problems, kind of book that most books portray.

Apparently this was the second book in a series, but I didn’t know at the time. The characters were all pretty well introduced, and I didn’t feel like I was starting in the middle of a series too much (although I was confuzed with a couple characters in the beginning, but that’s just because I’m bad at character names in books in general).

As for the characters, I really liked how they were developed. As I’ve mentioned, I’m pretty bad at actually identifying and differentiating between characters as I read: they all become mashed together in my mind, but these characters each had their own personality: Anna, Bairn, Felix, the awful dog, and Dorothea (as well as many more).

Overall, this was a great book! It was a bit on the slower side, but that didn’t bother me much. I know I’ve already said it about 143980437 times above, but it was really good simply because it wasn’t the typical Amish romance novel. It was more of a Christian Laura Ingalls Wilder Amish book, and I really appreciated that.

My Rating-

9/10

Thank you to Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for sending me a free print copy in exchange for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Review: The Wish by Beverly Lewis

9780764212499

About the Book:

Leona Speicher got the “sister” she always dreamed of the day Gloria Gingerich and her family moved to Lancaster County. The Arkansas newcomers seemed to the answer to Leona’s prayers–until Gloria’s father is expelled from their Old Order Amish church for reasons no one will discuss. Much to Leona’s dismay, the Gingeriches suddenly pack up and disappear. Then, after a silence of several years, Gloria unexpectedly contacts Leona, who makes up her mind to go after her friend. Yet Leona’s fiancé–the deacon’s son–is alarmed. Will Leona’s dearest wish lead to her own undoing?

My Review:

I don’t think I’ve read Beverly Lewis books before (aside from probably a couple that I just don’t remember XD), but if this book is an indicator, I’m going to love her books!

This book is so sweet. It’s about two girls who become “sisters” and have a super strong bond…until one of them, Gloria suddenly moves away.

Three years later, she suddenly contacts Leona (the other girl), because she is in trouble. Leona decides to go after Gloria and help her.

I really appreciate how God-centered the book is: they are constantly praying and hoping for return to the church.

I like how this book was so different from all other Amish fiction, whether romance or not. It’s not very romantic (although there is some, which I guess apparently is a crucial part in all Amish teenage life?), but focused instead on the friendship between Gloria and Leona, and the storyline is just so good.

There was a beautiful ending, everything resolved, without any more questions as to “what next?”

RockandMinerals4Him rating-

10/10

Thank you to Baker Publishing Group for sending me a free print copy for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.