Friday, February 3, 2017

2/3/17 - In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware - book review

While at the airport, waiting for my flight to Texas, I happened upon a bookstore and went in.  I had seen this title come up in my Audible feed, so I thought I'd take a look.  Inside, and on the cover, were glowing reviews.  This is not one.

Have you ever had a book that you wanted to throw across the room upon completion?  I wanted to with this one.

From an editorial review:

An Amazon Best Book of August 2015: Ruth Ware's In a Dark, Dark Wood has all the hallmarks of a good psychological thriller-- a woman lured back to a past she's spent a decade trying to escape, a few unstable characters, and a shocking death. The impending marriage of Nora's best friend from that long ago time brings her to a glass-walled cabin deep in the woods, for a hen party (the U.K. equivalent of a bachelorette weekend). But why is she there when the two haven't spoken since Nora fled their college town ten years ago? As the party gets underway things start to take a dark turn that builds with each passing moment. In a Dark, Dark Wood is a slow burn, each revelation and obfuscation luring the reader at an ever faster pace towards its ultimate life and death conclusion.--Seira Wilson

Back to me:

Ruth Ware's In a Dark, Dark Wood is her debut thriller and New York Times bestseller.  Set in the U.K., there were a few words, or usage of words, I was unfamiliar with.  My problem, not hers.  The main character, Leonora Shaw (aka/Nora, Lee, Leo) is a reclusive writer that receives an invitation from an unknown person, Flo, to attend a hen party (bachelorette) weekend for a friend she hasn't heard from in 10 years, Clare.  On the email invitation she recognizes a friend's name, Nina, and they decide what the hell.  Nora wrestles with this for a while because she hasn't seen Clare, or even heard from her in so long.  Why would she be invited to a weekend away, in a "glass castle" for a hen party when she hasn't been invited to the wedding.  First clue.  This glass castle is in...wait for it...a dark, dark wood.  Once there, these twenty-somethings, meet Flo, some crazy, obsessive, maid-of-honor to Clare that looks like Clare and dresses like her.  Second clue.  They also meet new mommy Melanie that both Nora and Nina have met before.  This character could have easily been removed from the script, but I digress.  They also meet Tom, yeah, a dude at the hen party.  Both Nora and Nina have met Tom before but weren't close.  Finally, after all the guests that were to attend were there, the hen, Clare shows up. 

The glass castle is Flo's aunt's summer house and she obsesses over keeping it clean, but more so on no one ruining her party for Clare.  Flo has so many sophomoric games for them to play, but no pink boa's.  They go skeet shooting, they play on the Ouija board, they play "Never, have I ever" they have drinking games, the list goes on and on.  You throw in some coke, a gun that was supposed to be loaded with blanks a scary night where an intruder is shot and then dies and you have a suspense-thriller.

I'll give credit where credit is due, after the initial disappointment of it being a "scary" book, I enjoyed the suspense.  I absolutely HATED the ending, that's where the idea of throwing the book across the room came from.  I normally write book reviews for publishers and therefore, receive the book free.  Dang it, I paid for this one.

To recommend or not to, it's up to you.  If you enjoy suspense thrillers, go for it.  The movie will probably be better.

Monday, October 24, 2016

10/24/16 - Today's Moment of Truth: Devotions to Deepen Your Faith in Christ by Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg - Book review

Why Do We Believe What We Believe?

Leading apologists Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg present 180 insightful devotions that will give you daily infusions of spiritual truth while deepening your knowledge of the evidence for Christianity. Each devotional is based on scientific, historical, or biblical facts that will bolster your confidence in Christ. You will be inspired, encouraged, and equipped to “give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). Practical takeaway will allow you to put this confidence and knowledge into action. You’ll emerge with a deeper understanding of why you believe what you believe. In the process, you’ll find your love of truth—and your passion to share it—growing each day.

You may remember Lee Strobel's The Case for..., he and Mark Mittelberg, author of The Contagious Church, have worked together on this devotional.  So not only will you get easy background on why we believe what we do, but scripture, further thinking and truth for today.  The contents reveal any topical index you would need for the 180 devotions.  The devotions are interesting, concise and thought provoking.  One that sticks in my head is the 6 E's of the Resurrection; Execution, the Empty Tomb, Eyewitnesses, Early accounts, Extra Biblical reports, and the Emergence of the church all points to the truth of the Resurrection.

The hardcover handles well and the devotional has a ribbon to mark your spot.  This devotional may be used individually, within a small group or as a family devotional. 
I received a complimentary copy of this devotional from BookLook Bloggers for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

10/18/16 - Hidden in my Heart Scripture Memory Bible NLT - Stephen Elkins (Editor) - Book review for Tyndale House Publishers

The Hidden in my Heart Memory Bible is a wonderful addition to any family.  The age range for the Bible is 6 - 10 years of age, however, it can be useful for any person wanting to memorize scripture.  The highlighted scriptures are one hundred core verses to memorize in any of the three translations of the Bible; the New Living Translation, the New International Version and the King James Version.  The songs you can download feature the core verses.

Scripture memorization grounds, kids in the faith, equips them for the future, and solidifies relationships with Christ, family, and others. The Hidden in My Heart Scripture Memory Bible was created to encourage kids not only to read God’s Word, but also to hide it deep within their hearts. One hundred of the Bible’s core verses have been set to music by renowned children’s author and songwriter Stephen Elkins. The 100 songs include a variety of genres and are available in the New Living Translation, New International Version, and King James Version, and all songs are free with the purchase of the Bible. Additional interactive features encourage school-age kids to engage with the Word in every place of their life.  

What songs have you memorized?  The ABC song?  Twinkle, Twinkle little star?  Jesus Loves Me?  Will you ever forget them?  No you won't because you have learned them by the song.  This Bible allows your children to do the same thing with beloved scriptures.  Truly not only can children use this Bible for memorization, adults can too.  Are there some scriptures that you would long to "hide in your heart"?  This Bible is for you...and your family.  

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

10/2/16 - 365 Pocket Morning Prayers: Strength and Joy to Begin Each Day by David R. Veerman - a book review for Tyndale House Publishers

Each morning when you rise, take a moment to talk with God about the day ahead. Ask Him to prepare your heart so that you can be ready to face any challenge that comes your way. 365 Pocket Morning Prayers can guide this time of life-changing conversation and help you express your needs and concerns to God. Don’t worry about what the day will bring. Instead, release your troubles and concerns into God’s care by reading and meditating on the prayers featured in 365 Pocket Morning Prayers. Begin your day with joyful anticipation, trusting that God is in control of your life and wants only the best for you.

Veerman is the owner of The Livingstone Corp., a company devoted to helping Christians and Christian organizations improve ministry effectiveness. He currently presents Understanding Your Teenager seminars across the country.
This leather bound book feels so good in your hands.  It's wonderful to start your morning with a prayer and scripture.  You can use this as your morning devotions or anytime your mind wanders and you need help with prayer.  There is a topical index in the back of the book.  It will also fit in your purse, book bag or briefcase.  The days in the book are numbered and not dated so you can start anytime.  Each day you have a full page prayer with half pages for weekends.  The book cover is beautiful with a palm tree and a few seagulls and it has a ribbon book marker so you won't lose your place.  I'd recommend this pocket, morning prayers to anyone.  It will truly give you strength and joy to begin each day with.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review..

Saturday, October 1, 2016

10/1/16 - The Jeremiah Project Part 1-The Scrapbook by A. J. Foltz - Book review for Book Look Bloggers

The Jeremiah Project Part 1—The Scrapbook is a user-friendly study that you cannot afford to miss. It’s like finding a few more pieces to that big puzzle of life. Some of us have a good start at putting it all together, but the picture of life becomes a little clearer and makes more sense after spending some time with Jeremiah. You will find insightful information as he, by appointment from God, delivers wisdom, comfort, and strength that will get many through the upheaval in our world. 

About the Author

As a new and upcoming author, A.J. Foltz is a career Christian who has undergone a lifetime of God's training on and off the Christian field. Foltz has been married for thirty-three years and raised three children.

The Jeremiah Project Part 1 will help you dive into the first ten chapters of Jeremiah with in-depth study and background scriptures that are needed as a history lesson.  With this study you will gain insight into the book of Jeremiah as he was one of the major prophets called by God. This study is probably used best for personal growth and not a Bible study with a group.  You are given suggestions, questions and subjects to meditate on.  You will see the prophesy unfold of Jerusalem's destruction.  I liked how the study propelled me into a deeper understanding of the book of Jeremiah which initially I had found intimidating.

Grab your Bible, this study, some paper and pens and jump into a prophet of God.  I'd recommend this book to Christians that have been in service to the Lord for a few years.  I would not recommend this as a Kindle eBook because I think this distracted me from sitting down with a hard copy of the book and doing the exercises within.

I received this book from the Book Look Bloggers for an honest review.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

9/24/16 - Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal by Tyndale - Book Review for Tyndale

Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal invites you to bring creative journaling and the calming act of coloring into your quiet time with God. This beautifully designed interactive prayer book from Tyndale’s Living Expressions collection helps guide your thoughts as you pray about concerns such as health, overcoming stress, personal relationships, and more. Gratitude gives you a way to celebrate and give thanks to God for the many blessings he provides. Filled with over 100 designs to color, plenty of space for journaling and sketching, and 40 needs-based prayers, Gratitude helps you express your devotion to God with your whole heart!

I am so blessed to have received this book for review.  The cover is amazing.  Not only is this a hardcover book but Tyndale has added an extra support to aid in coloring.  There are heart-felt prayers, scriptures of encouragement, space for journaling and the most fun part...coloring pages!

This is one from Tyndale's Living Expressions collection.  Gratitude is small enough to fit in your purse or briefcase.  It would be wonderful to use on your lunch break or to settle back in a comfy chair and color, pray or reflect (or all three).  Some of the pages are in black and white to give you the opportunity to express yourself and some of the pages have some color already added to jump start your creativity.

Tyndale's Pinterest page has downloadable coloring pages to whet your interest.

I have many coloring books and journals, none like this.  I would recommend this book to anyone that likes to color or would like to have a prayer and praise journal.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.  I am very grateful for them for that.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

9/17/16 - Sunday Suppers by Karen Mordechai review for Blogging for Books

KAREN MORDECHAI, a photographer and stylist, is the founder of Sunday Suppers, a Brooklyn-based food community and blog that has won many accolades, including a 2013 Food and Wine Digital Award, top food blog by Saveur, and #6 in’s Top 50 Design Blogs. Karen’s work is regularly featured in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Remodelista, New York magazine, and more. She lives with her husband and daughter in Brooklyn, New York.

Sunday Suppers is a beautiful cookbook from the simple gray cloth cover to the beautiful photographs within.  The recipes are sophisticated and look delicious.  The recipes are more for the city dweller with ingredients that may not be readily available in all areas of the country.  Sunday Suppers gives you recipes for Morning, Lunch and Supper.  The recipes can be used for dinner parties or intimate gatherings.

Foodies would love this cookbook.  Even those of us that don't live in or near a city can grab a few recipes from the book.  The cookbook is lovely and I would recommend it to anyone.

I received this book for free from Blogging For Books Program in exchange for my honest review.