God Gave us Two by Lisa Tawn Bergren (Children’s book)

We are expecting our 2nd child in a few months and I have been looking for books for our 2 1/2 year-old son that are about life with a new baby and being an older sibling.  Our son has enjoyed books that focus on being a big brother so I was looking forward to introducing God Gave Us Two by Lisa Tawn Bergren (art by Laura J. Bryant) into the mix.

The main characters are polar bears and the mother is expecting a baby.  The illustrations are colorful and interesting.  The polar bear cub asks several questions about what life with the new baby will be like including topics such as crying, gender of the baby, and what activities they will do together.  The author incorporates God into conversations several times by explaining to the polar bear cub that God gave them the polar bear cub and the new baby (“God gave us two”).

My son takes things very literally and is at an age where he can’t understand the similarities between a soon-to-be big sister and a soon-to-be big brother.  The polar bear cub is female and the book talks about being a big sister to the new baby.  The polar bear cub stays with her Grandparents when her mother goes into labor and we meet the new baby at the of the book.  The mother actually gave birth to twins so God Gave Us Two really should be titled God Gave Us Three.  The twins were a surprise to the characters in the book and it was a twist that I did not like (because I wasn’t prepared for it due to the title).  I would recommend this book for an older child that may not take everything quite so literally like my 2 1/2 year old son tends to do or a girl who will have twin siblings.  I believe reading my son a book about a soon-to-be big sister and having two babies would only confuse him since we talk a lot about his coming baby brother and how he will be a big brother.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Enemies of the Heart, Andy Stanley

 

Andy Stanley states that there are 4 primary enemies of the heart that, if go unchecked, can completely ruin our lives.  He says that guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy are often the root of our relational problems and that we tend to blame our feelings and actions on others or simply ignore the problems.

He introduces each emotion and then dives in with plenty of real life examples of the seriousness of allowing these emotions to control us.  He then gives us the life application tips, scriptures, and even a plan to break free from these emotions.  The questions he asks throughout the book really dig deep into your heart and force you to acknowledge your short-comings.  There are discussion questions at the back of the book which aid the individual reader as well as a small group.

With God’s help we can conquer our emotions.  We don’t have to live as slaves to how we feel.  It is so important to check your heart and ask God to reveal sin.  Andy spends a little time talking about how the home environment affects children.  As a parent, I am encouraged to change my bad habits and rid myself of an ugly heart not just because it is the right thing to do.  I want to live freely in Christ so my children have a better opportunity to model Christ’s love and behavior and regularly check the conditions of their hearts.  This book will help you do just that.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Waterbrook Multnomah book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Untamed, Lisa Harper

The idea that our view of Jesus isn’t big enough, is quite plausible, in relation to who He really is.  We tend to get a little too comfortable with how we compartmentalize God at times.  Untamed by Lisa Harper encourages us to remember the many personality traits of Jesus in the gospels and that only He can wildly free us from sin.

I enjoyed the personal life application lessons Lisa shared throughout the book.  They were relevant and interesting to read.  I felt like she really shared part of who she is.  Sometimes in her explanation of Jesus’ or the disciples’ behavior she would compose thoughts she perceived the person may have been feeling.  I really didn’t like this addition as it is too subjective when referring to God’s Word, in my opinion.  She creates this type of prose throughout the book.

While Lisa has a unique writing style that encompasses personal storytelling and Biblical truths I find the devotional and questions following each chapter a bit weak.  There were times I had no idea what kind of response the question was intended to prompt and others that I didn’t feel the questions were worthwhile to contemplate.  I did, however, enjoy the extra tidbits she included throughout the book that further explained cultural relevancies or history that we might not know about just from reading scripture.

I expected to be changed by the words in this book and I wasn’t.  I don’t recommend this book for anything other than the purpose of pleasantly passing time.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

A Vision of Lucy, Margaret Brownley

The year is 1882 and we are in a small town in Rocky Creek, Texas.  Our leading lady is Lucy Fairbanks and she aspires to be a photographer for her local newspaper.  She tends to be a bit unintentionally risky in her photographic endeavors which make for great gossip material around town.  Lucy is kind, loving, determined, and a chatterbox.  Lucy had me laughing by the end of the first chapter.

We soon meet David Wolf.  He’s everything you want in a hero except a bit secretive.  David is back in town for his own reasons which will eventually affect every major character we meet.  David’s presence rattles Lucy in a way she has never before experienced.  It isn’t long before circumstances cause both of our main characters to drastically reconsider what God’s plan is for their lives.

Our author, Margaret Brownley, included several hot topics in her story such as mail-order brides, the suffragette movement, racism/inequality, and politics.  Her characters are captivating and somewhat mysterious at times.  There are several suspenseful scenes and the romance is beautiful.  I was so enthralled with these characters that I read the book in 2 days.  If you enjoy historical romance, this is a book for you!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

90 Days of God’s Goodness, Randy Alcorn

Randy Alcorn wrote 90 Days of God’s Goodness to help clarify our doubts of God’s goodness.  There are 90 devotionals laid out into easy 2 or 3 page readings.  Each devotional has a topic and complimentary scripture.  Randy is transparent and shares many of his own family’s struggles throughout these pages.

As Christians, we know that God is good.  Sometimes we confuse consequences of the fall as God’s intent or doing.  Bad things happen to good people like death, cancer, and suffering…  We want to know why and it is easy to blame the Creator in our quest for answers or justification.

Randy’s book is encouraging and I recommend it to all that are going through a difficult time or need to be reminded of God’s goodness.  I found myself reading several devotions at a time because frankly they are so good.  I think it would have been beneficial if the author would have created an index with topics of the devotionals and scriptures for easy reference.  I know I will come back to this book for encouragement in the future.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Love At Last Sight, Kerry & Chris Shook

This book is intended to act as a 30 day guide to improve your most intimate relationships.  Each day includes a few pages of commentary along with an action plan for the reader to follow.  The authors recommend choosing three relationships to focus on during the 30 day journey and tracking the various tasks they assign in a journal.

The book is broken down by four categories throughout the 30 days: The Art of Being All There, The Art of Acting Intentionally, The Art of Risking Awkwardness, and The Art of Letting Go.  The book is easy to read and full of applicable relationship examples.  The authors ask probing questions that demand reflection and prompt change (hopefully).

I recommend this book to anyone that seeks to improve their relationships.  I have read similar books and what sets this book apart is the simple action plan the authors provide to conclude each day’s reading.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Book Review: Max On Life, Max Lucado

Max on Life, Max Lucado

Over the course of his ministry, Max Lucado has been asked thousands of questions pertaining to God and just about every Biblical issue you can think of.  These questions have prompted much thought and sometimes even sermons.  This book features 171 of the most commonly asked questions he has been asked.  He has answered each question with a one page response, give or take a few paragraphs.  The questions are categorized by general topics like Hope, Hurt, Hereafter, etc.  There are topical and scripture indexes in the back of the book which is very helpful.

I enjoy Max Lucado’s easy writing style.  This book is different than what he typically publishes because of the question and answer format.  His answers are clearly Biblically based but I find myself wanting more.  Some of these questions deserve longer responses than a few paragraphs.  I think the purpose of the book is to act as a starting point.  I will use this book as a reference when I have questions or people ask me questions that I’m not sure how to answer.  Regardless of the question asked the general answer is the same: What does the Bible say?  I appreciate the solid foundation of faith you can easily distinguish from his writing.  This book is suited for new and seasoned Christians in all phases of life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”