The way life goes doesn’t always match up with the plans we’ve laid or the hopes we have. Facing that reality can be challenging. Sometimes there are small bumps in the road that we quickly pass over, other times the road makes a sharp turn that seems to last forever. Navigating the twists and turns can be hard. In her book Courage for the Unknown Season, author Jan Silvious offers practical advice on how readers can navigate life in different seasons. The book provides biblical insights readers can take away as they experience changing seasons and meditate upon when they are trying to make sense of what lies ahead.
Courage for the Unknown Season helpfully offers readers tips on how to gracefully navigate the waters of change while not giving into discouragement. The book offers many practical suggestions but largely seems aimed at an older audience—particularly those with aging family members. For younger readers, some of the book may not offer information that is helpful for where they are in life. The book oversimplifies some issues such as mental challenges and dealing with health-related topics, but overall provides a wide look at how to deal with seasons of change.
When unexpected seasons arrive and shifting emotions with them, knowing how to cope with changes can prove to be difficult. Courage for the Unknown Season is a book that can provide helpful wisdom and encouragement for riding the waves of change more easily.
*Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of Courage for the Unknown Season for review purposes.
In Pam Hillman’s novel The Promise of Breeze Hill, historical fiction and romance unite to give readers a tale of intrigue, drama, and, of course, romance. Based in Mississippi during the days of the slave trade in America, The Promise of Breeze Hill tells the story of Isabelle Bartholomew and her family as they and their plantation are threatened by unknown assailants and Isabella fights against her attraction to indentured servant Connor O’Shea.
While Hillman’s novel addresses a number of topics such as the evil of slavery and the importance of genuine faith, the novel often lacks depth and falls prey to predictable plot lines. For readers looking for a more wholesome version of modern day historical romance novels, The Promise of Breeze Hill offers an alternative, but readers should be aware that there is still some thematic content dealing with romance that some readers may find objectionable.
The Promise of Breeze Hill provides readers with a story that weaves together multiple plot lines and will doubtlessly keep readers following along until the end to see the resolution of the story even if at times the story moves slowly.
*Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of The Promise of Breeze Hill.
Sometimes sharing with small children the Gospel in simple, easy-to-understand language can be a challenge–but it’s important. WOW! The Good News in Four Words by Dandi Daley McKall is a book providing parents and caregivers of small children a way to share the Good News in a relatable and fun way. The book offers vibrant illustrations and catchy rhymes as it spells out the story of the fall of man and God’s redemptive work.
Wow! The Good News in Four Words explains to children, who can either read the book to themselves or have an adult read it to them, the story of the Garden of Eden, Christ’s crucifixion, man’s fallenness, and the hope of salvation. The illustrations in the book are eye-catching–something that children will likely appreciate as they flip through the pages. McKall’s book does a good job of explaining important biblical concepts including telling others about Christ and the truth that he is always with us.
For parents, teachers, or caregivers looking for a way to teach little ones about Jesus and our need for him, WOW! The Good News in Four Words is a helpful resource that will be enjoyable to share.
*Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of the book.
Sometimes in the mornings, or even at any other time of day we do devotions, it can be challenging to clear our heads and pray–sometimes words can fail us. Tranquility, a book published by Tyndale House Publishers, is a tool that can be used during devotional times when searching for words to pray is a challenge. Tranquility is marketed as “A Prayer and Reflection Coloring Journal,” and that sums up the book well. Prayers in the book are relatively short and address a number of different topics, and the book provides companion Bible verses to go along with the prayers. Fun illustrations that can be colored in the book are included also.
Although Tranquility is likely not going to push readers into new theological territory with the straightforward prayers it offers for readers to pray, the prayers do hit upon issues that are likely to be ones readers struggle with commonly and pray about. The book is a nice tool readers can use if they want to include more structured, short prayers into their daily devotional times.
The illustrations in Tranquility are vibrant and fun, and readers will enjoy the chance to doodle within the pages of the book. One downside is that some of the scrolling texts can be difficult to read, but overall the coloring pages are well-done. The books would make a nice gift for friends or family–another benefit of the product.
*Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of Tranquility in exchange for my reviews.
For many of us, waiting doesn’t come easily. We often want immediate results when we make a change in our lives that we think will provide some benefit to us, want our difficult circumstances to change, and we want God to move in our lives when we think he should. But sometimes, as we know, we must wait. In her book Still Waiting, author Ann Swindell writes about her battle with trichotillomania and her years of waiting on God to cure her of the condition. Still Waiting recounts Ann’s journey, and it also weaves in the story of the Bleeding Woman in the Bible–a woman who waited over 10 years for healing before she met Jesus. The book is one of hope for those who wonder just what God is doing in the midst of suffering and waiting.
Swindell’s book is an encouragement for those who struggle with chronic illness, mental disorders, or a situation in which waiting on God for healing and restoration is a reality. Vulnerably recounting her experience with trichotillomania, a condition in which the sufferer pulls out their hair, Swindell tells her story of battling with shame and guilt while desiring God’s healing. Although (spoiler alert) Ann has not yet been healed of the disorder she has faced for years, her book points to hope. Still Waiting speaks to the truth that the God who makes all things new, and who may for some provide physical healing in this life, will fulfill his promise to us of healing and restoration if not in this life then in the next.
Whether you’re struggling with a mental illness, broken relationships, or shattered dreams, Still Waiting is a book that can speak to you the truth of God’s love and the reality that we are all broken people held in the hands of a loving God. We are never past his grace.
*Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of Still Waiting in exchange for my review.
Parents and caretakers of small children know that making good choices can be hard for little ones. There are so many choices every day and so many opportunities for children to make bad ones. So how’s a parent or caretaker to explain to children the importance of making positive choices? Reading the book Your Magnificent Chooser, a picture book with rhyming words, is a place to start. Your Magnificent Chooser by John Ortberg provides insight into the importance of choice and teaches that we have choices to make in life and that we can either choose well or poorly.
Your Magnificent Chooser has lovely illustrations to catch the eyes of young readers or little ones who can listen as someone reads the book aloud to them. The book provides children with important lessons: “You could use it [“your Chooser’] to hit;/You could use it to shove,/But please don’t, for the best way/To use it is love,” and that “God gave you your Chooser,/So Choosers are good./He wants you to use it/The way Jesus would” (20, 29).
Ortberg’s book teaches about the importance of choosing well in a way that not all children’s books teach. It’s a lovely little book, and I’d recommend it to parents and caretakers who want to instill in the children they care for the importance of choosing wisely even at a young age.
*Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of Your Magnificent Chooser.
Do you like history and war romance stories? If so, Dandi Daley Mackall’s novel With Love Wherever You Are is a title to put down on your list of historical romances novels to read. With Love Wherever You Are tells the story of Dr. Frank Daley and Helen Eberhart, a nurse who captivates Frank upon first acquaintance at a hospital during World War II. Readers meet Frank and Helen near the beginning of the novel and get to know them before the drama of the war unfolds. I’ll skip giving away spoilers here, but the story leads readers on the couple’s romantic journey through the war and their relationship throughout as they are apart and together.
With Love Wherever You Are is an enjoyable read. While the book’s primary focus is telling Helen and Frank’s story, the novel has multiple plot lines and characters to follow. I found the book to be an easy read. Though the book is likely to pull readers in quickly, at some points the story seems to lack believability. MacKall has clearly worked to try to give the book depth and emotion and has overall provided a good story of wartime romance that many readers of the genre will likely enjoy and appreciate. If you’re a historical romance novel reader, then Mackall’s novel is one for you.
*Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a copy of With Love Wherever You Are in exchange for my review.
Haling from a poor family in Tennessee where food was often scarce and joblessness a normal, author Edie Wadsworth’s life has change a lot from her days growing up in a family with an alcoholic father. In her book All the Pretty Things, Wadsworth recounts in compelling detail stories from her difficult childhood in which she would sometimes help care for her drunk father and experience the pain of having a father who was never fully engaged in her life.
All the Pretty Things doesn’t gloss over Wadsworth’s growing up years or the pain she experience in the face of abuse and brokenness. The book is a message of hope for readers who like Wadsworth have difficulty pasts and painful memories. After making poor choices and exhibiting destructive behavior, Wadsworth, who became a medical doctor, found hope and beauty amidst the ashes of life and came to know God, a Father to the Fatherless, in a deeper way. Her book tells the tale.
Wadsworth’s book is well-written, compelling story that readers may find to be more like a novel than a biography. For those who need a reminder that no one is past the reach of God’s grace and that even ugly things can be made into something beautiful, All the Pretty Things is a worthwhile read.
*Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a copy of All the Pretty Things in Exchange for my review.
As part of your morning devotional time, you might include times of prayer to go along with Scripture reading. If you’re looking for a a book that covers a variety of topics that you, like the author, might bring to God in prayer during a devotional time, then look no further than David Veerman’s 365 Pocket Morning Prayers. The book offers short prayers that readers can pray and includes Bible passages to go along with the prayers.
Veerman’s 365 Pocket Morning Prayers is a good book to keep on your nightstand and pick up in the morning when you’re doing devotions. The prayers in the book are written in the way that will likely resonate with what readers may be experiencing–things that are driving them to their knees in prayer. While the prayers in the book shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a supplement to a reader’s own prayers, the book provides readers with meaningful prayers to pray when their words might fail to express what they are experiencing or when they need insight into how they might pray.
The prayers in 365 Pocket Morning Prayers are written from a personal perspective (and it may be assumed that the author himself has written them from his own experience) and readers will likely find that many, if not all, ring true to their own life experience and the things they, too, need to pray.
*Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a copy of 365 Pocket Morning Prayers in exchange for my review.
As we edge closer to the end of the year and autumn greets us with fading light and cooler days, we may begin to reflect upon the holiday season that is quickly approaching. Particularly, we may look forward to Christmas: perhaps the most well-known Christian holiday. In Moments & Days, author Michelle VanLoon, a Messianic Jew, provides insight and history about the Christian and Jewish holidays that are celebrated by many.
Oftentimes we may know of Jewish or Christian holidays such as Rosh Hashanah, Pentecost, or Lent but may lack a full understanding of how, why, and when those holidays got started. Michelle Van Loon’s Moments & Days is an informative read if you want to learn more about Jewish holidays or perhaps want to learn how you, or your church, can begin a celebration of those holidays.
In Moments & Days, Van Loon says: “I’ve heard dozens of sermons over the years about financial stewardship but precious few about how to steward time. Our sacred calendars provide us an opportunity to consider as individuals and as church communities how we’re living eternity every day” (Van Loon, 185).
Van Loon’s may serve as a reminder to us that we can choose to set aside time to reflect upon and commemorate the goodness of God who came to the world to redeem us so that we might live in eternity, completely free from the shackles of temporal time.
Those looking for new ways to commemorate and mark the acts of God may find by reading Moments & Days that they have fresh ideas on how they may accomplish that.
Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of Moments & Days in exchange for my review.