Book Review · Books

The Very Worst Missionary

If you love reading Sarah Bessey, Elizabeth Esther and Nadia Boltz-Weber’s memoirs on their outside the box Christian walks, then you’ll adore Jamie Wright’s memoir: The Very Worst Missionary. If you don’t squirm at the occasional colorful language then you’ll feel right at home reading Jamie’s account of her family’s fore into being Christian missionaries in Costa Rica. Jamie holds back nothing in her candid account of what it’s like to go spread the good news in a country already filled with Catholics.

Jamie is honest in sharing how she came to faith as an adult, having been brought up Jewish and how she met her high school boyfriend who later becomes her husband. Having grown up a PK I don’t know what it’d be like to discover Christianity as an adult with little kids, but I think she describes how easy it is to slip into the stereotypical suburban Christian mom role. The only problem is that Jamie can’t sit quietly and pretend to agree on everything. Jamie talks about what it’s like to move to a foreign country with little kids and the challenges of feeling at home in a new place.

This memoir spoke to me. I’ve gone on short term mission trips as a little kid to Mexico. Jamie brings up so many important points when it comes to the question of if having all the American Christians come swooping in to save and help the poor if it is truly helping, or merely enabling a reason for a country to not have to improve because foreigners will come in to give free aid. The other points she makes are thought provoking. It’s great to help others, but do we really have to travel to foreign countries if we have our own countrymen who are in need?

I received a complimentary digital copy of The Very Worst Missionary by Jamie Wright from NetGalley. The views expressed are my own. This memoir is hilarious. I laughed, snorted, cried, giggled and wanted to shout, “Amen!” in agreement through so much of this book. One of my favorite parts of this memoir is the introduction of Knife. Best black cat name ever. I’m still shocked to hear a believer swear, but I’m not innocent in my use of language either. Sometimes a little flavor drives the point home, not to mention those parts made it even funnier. Needless to say I love snarky humor. Even snarky humor aimed at Evangelicals. I used to be one, but my faith has been somewhat of a chameleon.

Book Review · Books

I’ll Meet You At The Lost And Found

I seem to be finding books to read that resonate with me on a deep level. It’s nice for my faith views to be stretched like taffy. Meet You At The Lost And Found is one of those books. This book is the meat and potatoes of why all our outer quests for happiness are short lived. We are taught from very young to seek happiness outside ourselves which everything outside us is merely a temporary fix. We aren’t taught to nurture our souls.

This book covers a lot of information that can at times be tough to grasp, especially if you were raised Evangelical. Some of the topics covered range from what our Ego is and how it gets distracted with the pretty shiny things it thinks we must have to feel complete, to how to love ourselves without judgment, how socially we are expected to follow like lemmings, how to in the now, and much more. Even though some of the topics are challenging, this book is very readable.

I will definitely be purchasing a copy of this book, so I can highlight and make notes in it. Not many of the books I own get this personalized treatment unless I really love that particular book. This book is important on many levels. It helped me understand a lot about how my Ego sabotages my life, what self love is all about, how our soul (core of who we are) has been neglected and needs more care than we give it.

I received a complimentary digital copy of I’ll Meet You At The Lost And Found by Sam Glory from John Hunt Publishing, LTD, care of NetGalley. The reviews expressed here are mine only. If you love spirituality books that challenge you then you may have met your match.

Book Review · Books

The Quiet You Carry

Victoria’s life changes the day her mom dies. Her mom asks her to promise she’ll take care of her dad. Victoria says, “Yes,” not realizing what this will entail. How do you help a grieving parent when you, yourself, are trying to grieve as a teen? Victoria does her best to help out by cooking and cleaning. Her dad meets Tiffany who he takes a shining to. Next thing Victoria knows she’s gained a stepmom and a stepsister, Sarah.

Life seems to be turning into something normal once Tiffany and Sarah enter Victoria’s life until the night her dad acts weird towards her and throws her out. Literally. Victoria lands into foster care, not understanding why. She is placed into Connie’s home.

Life in her new foster home is like walking on eggshells. Connie is strict and not one to hand out sympathy. Victoria attempts to befriend her foster sister, but the other girl mainly keeps to herself. Being at Connie’s means that Victoria is thrown into attending a different school and living in a different town.

Will Victoria adjust to her foster home? Can she start over in a small town where it seems everyone knows everyone else’s business? Can Victoria keep her secrets hidden indefinitely?

I received a digital ARC copy of The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess from North Star Editions and Flux, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are strictly mine. This book is engrossing from page 1. I could not put this novel down. Victoria’s story is an important one that everyone needs to read. This book will have you crying, laughing, cringing and cheering. For a debut novel I’m beyond impressed. I will definitely be searching for other titles by Nikki Barthelmess because she is a talented author you won’t want to miss. Definitely keep an eye out this year for this upcoming YA novel.

Book Review · Books

Raising Faith

What would you do if your child could see people who have passed on and you aren’t a believer of the supernatural? Claire Waters finds herself in this exact predicament. Her daughter, Faith is shy and not one to boast of her abilities. When she is little Claire discovers her daughter’s psychic ability. At first Claire is creeped out, wondering if her daughter is safe with these people she can see, but Faith never seems frightened. To Faith it’s normal to her and nothing is wrong. This memoir is Claire’s journey in learning about her daughter’s supernatural abilities.

Claire does a great job of being forthright in her skepticism and how she goes about researching these gifts her daughter has. As someone who didn’t believe in life after death, after her daughter confirms she can see her grandfather, Claire is provided more evidence that helps her in believing her dad isn’t truly gone. He may not physically be there, but that doesn’t mean he’s not there in spirit form.

This book was fascinating. I can’t see spirits of people who have passed on, but I do know someone who can see angels. I believe this is a spiritual gift you have to be careful and mindful with. I do believe there are demons out there that can masquerade as someone you may have known and try to trick you. Not all spirits are good and safe. They are those that want to harm you. I do believe in life after death and I do think those who have passed on can send us signs. This book a bit out of my comfort zone, but I do find the topic interesting. I think children are more open to the supernatural because they haven’t been tainted yet by the world.

I received my digital ARC copy of Raising Faith by Claire Waters from John Hunt Publishing, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are strictly my own. If you enjoy books about this topic then keep an eye out for this title next year.

Book Review · Books

A Surgeon’s Odyssey

Do you enjoy travel memoirs? Are you interested in becoming a doctor? Do you love any kind of inspirational memoir? If any of this rings true for you then you’ll enjoy reading, A Surgeon’s Odyssey. Dr. Richard Moss raised in NY wanted more in life then to just start his own practice. He wanted to help those less fortunate in other countries.

When a fortune cookie from his favorite Chinese restaurant confirms his desire to be adventurous and follow his heart to help others he takes the plunge. Dr. Moss travels to Thailand, India, Bangladesh, etc. to assist with his expertise as an ear, nose and throat cancer doctor. He is not prepared for what he encounters in these countries. The late stage cancer he discovers is extreme, but the one thing that takes him by surprise are the patient’s attitudes.

The countries he visits are mainly Buddhist and some Muslim. The Buddhist patients could have late stage cancer and have the most positive disposition, grateful for whatever help he can give. Even if there is nothing he can do the patient is still grateful to be seen. Their outlook on life is vastly different from those in the United States. Dr. Moss is shocked how someone with such an advanced stage of cancer can have such a happy disposition when someone in the USA would be an emotional wreck.

I thought reading a doctor’s memoir might be stuffy and boring. I was wrong. Dr. Moss has a great sense of humor throughout out his book. He explains things regarding cancer and procedures in a way an average person can understand. Dr. Moss has quite the adventures in each country he stays in. Reading this book is helped increase my interest in visiting Thailand and India. It also, increased my knowledge of the different types of ear, nose and throat cancer. He even included photos from his travels. Before this book I had never seen what advanced tumors look like.

I received my complimentary copy of A Surgeon’s Odyssey by Richard Moss, M.D. from Claire McKinney, PR, LLC. The opinions expressed are strictly mine. This memoir is one of my top favorites for 2018. I am definitely going to look for his other memoir.

Book Review · Books

Create Your Dream Life Now

When I saw the artwork on the cover of this book I just had to request to review it, not to mention the title, Create Your Dream Life Now, is enticing. This short book is filled with inspiration and helpful tips on how to focus on what you want to achieve through practicing yoga, meditation, prayer, implementing morning and nightly rituals and more.

I have in the past read books on different types of meditation. This book provided a very small sample. I discovered some I’m not too, keen on implementing, but might be open to others. I like the idea of having morning and nightly rituals. I do have a small morning one of sitting and having some coffee before work, but to add more to it, so there is more balance would be good. I have once gone to a yoga class which was outside my comfort zone. The stretching was very challenging and I couldn’t spiritually stomach the chanting, so I didn’t. As for prayer I don’t pray as much as I used to, or could/should. I do believe in God and I know this book’s stance is from a different belief system.

I think even if you don’t agree with everything in this little book you can still come away with helpful suggestions in how to focus your life goals and create balance in your life. Due to recent health ups and downs I’ve gotten into more deep breathing to help my anxiety go down so I can relax more to fall asleep at night. It truly works. I think having a tube down my throat as an infant in the hospital didn’t help in me knowing how to breathe comfortably through my nose, or to know to take good hearty, deep breaths.

I received a complimentary digital ARC copy of Create Your Dream Life Now by Darren Marc from HCI, care of NetGalley. All the opinions expressed in this review are strictly mine.

Book Review · Books

Shameless: A Sexual Reformation

If you love edgy, outside the box Christian then you’ll love any book by pastor Nadia Boltz-Weber. When I saw Shameless, as an option to possibly get to review I had to request it since I loved reading her book, Pastrix.

Shameless is a book about how the church and Christianity has made sex and sexuality something to be ashamed of if it doesn’t fit in the white conservative Christian picket fence family dynamics. Pastor Nadia shares some stories from a few of her parishioners that are gut wrenching and disturbing. She also, shared stories from her own life in how the way the church talked about sex was seen as dirty unless you were married. Pastor Nadia also, talks about the gender stereotypes kids are shaped into by their church and family. If you aren’t straight you can be viewed as sinful, off the straight and narrow and needing to be reigned in.

If you were a Christian teen in the 90’s you may recall the True Love Waits Movement that swept Christendom up in its hype. Did this movement prepare young Christian couples for intimacy in marriage? I’d wager no. Hearing your whole life you have to wait till marriage doesn’t exactly prepare you for the wedding night part. I get waiting for sex till you’ve found your forever partner, but just being told no without any directions on what to expect once there’s a green light is the blind leading the blind.

Sadly Christian schools and some Christian families are against sex education in schools. If Mom and Dad won’t have any in-depth talk then all those kids being pulled out of Sex Ed are oblivious to potential dangers when they slip up and go too, far when their sex drive awakens and I’m not meaning the potential pregnancy scenario.

This book was a really personal read for me being raised in a Christian home. I did survive public school Sex Education class. All I recall is there being a fill in the blanks body part test in fifth grade. I recall my parents helping me study for that. Only main thing I was told was not to wind up pregnant like so and so. Ah, how could I forget the book for preteens my parents gave me to read. I’ve always been a bookworm, but something’s are more personal when talked out vs being given a manual of sorts. I know talking about literal private things can be awkward for a parent, but I’d rather hear from my own parents on what to expect. I can relate in more ways than that with this book, but that could be a separate blog post.

This book gives me hope for Christendom. I have so many evolved views on sexuality, marriage, education and more. This one is a keeper and I can’t wait for it to come out so I can have a physical copy to highlight and notate to death.

This review is for a digital ARC of Shameless: A Sexual Reformation by Nadia Boltz-Weber from NetGalley and is my own unbiased opinion. I loved this book. I adore how wise and snarky Pastor Nadia is with such an important topic. If you need someone who understands and has been through a similar upbringing then you’ll want to preorder a copy of Shameless. If you need someone to talk to or vent to feel free to contact me.