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

Becoming Starlight

Do you ever have a book that just slaps you wide awake spiritually when you are least expecting it? Becoming Starlight did just that for me. I fell in love with the cover first. My favorite colors are blue and purple, so my eyes naturally were drawn to it, to find out what it was about.

I’ve only read a few books on NDE and had never heard of SDE (side death experience). An SDE is where a loved one experiences death alongside the person whose passing, where they go out of their body and go along with the person whose passed away, but only to a certain point, then the person experiencing the SDE returns back to their body in the physical realm. This memoir of this women’s SDE experience took me on the spiritual ride of my life.

Mrs. Prentice talks about how she met her husband, Steve and how her first introduction with death was the passing of their daughter, Stephanie. Her description of grief that deep and raw is palpable. Mrs. Prentice discusses how in that deep of grief she tuns out everything, but her anger and rage at God for not saving Stephanie. If you’ve ever been furious with God you’ll be able to relate to her pure hatred.

This would not be Mrs. Prentice’s only reason to be angry at God. Steve gets sick and the doctors for the longest time can’t figure out what’s wrong.

This is Mrs. Prentice’s memoir of dealing with her anger, rage and hate at God for what He throws at her. She keeps her emotions stuffed down until the moment she doesn’t want to have to ever experience. Steve passes. Her anguish unleashes in the hospital where she has an SDE, supernatural experience. This experience throws her for a loop and is outside her traditional Christian comfort zone. What Mrs. Prentice experiences is life changing.

This book was eye opening for me. The things that the author experienced and shares just clicked with me. I had a few, “Ah ha,” moments and I highlighted a lot. I definitely want to buy a physical copy, so that I can highlight and make notes. I don’t know how I’d react if I got to go alongside a loved one whose died and see them after the fact. It would be comforting to see they are still alive in some form you recognize them in, but still a unique experience.

If you are needing a book to think outside the traditional Christian box then this book is the perfect read for you. Did the author’s experience rekindle her faith? Have you ever had a night of The soul experience? Do you ever question what you were taught about God? Have you had an NDE or SDE experience? Read this book to find out more.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Becoming Starlight by Sharon Prentice Prentice from Waterside Press, care of NetGalley. The reviews expressed here are mine only. This book is one you are going to want to highlight, dog ear (gasp), get coffee stains on from reading it multiple times, etc.

Book Review · Books

Healing The Soul Of A Woman

Do you have a lot of past wounds whether they be emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual? If so, you aren’t alone. Joyce Meyer’s recent release handles this topic in depth. The cover of this book is of a beautiful rose in bloom. It’s vibrant in color and perfection. A woman is a like a flower in that she can only bloom when she feels safe, cherished and loved.

Joyce has her own stories of past abuse that she survived and this helped spur her on to want to help other women. This book is her reaching out, to give you the spiritual tools to aid in your healing. Joyce covers topics like confidence, codependency, creating healthy boundaries, liking who you are, and more. She also, covers topics about faith, God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and how God wants to heal wounds so we can be free.

This book may not be long, but the meat on the inside is rich with flavor. Each topic may not always be easy to stomach (conviction anyone?), but I think this book will help you start on your journey to healing.

I received a complimentary copy of Healing The Soul Of A Woman by Joyce Meyer from Faith Words. I am a fan of Joyce Meyer. She doesn’t hold back truth even if it comes across harsh. She is very frank and she has no qualms in telling it like it is. Usually this quality is a turn off for me, but Joyce does it in a firm, loving manner. If my grandma had been a preacher then she would have been a lot like Joyce.

Book Review · Books

The Sparkle Effect

Even though I’m more of a tomboy than a girlie girl the title of The Sparkle Effect captured my attention. This book has a cute name, but the contents are a spiritual powerhouse of a wake up call to your soul. This book is not a fast read. You can try to read through it quickly, but it begs to be savored and respected. Kristen writes from the heart with stories from her personal Christian walk, the struggles and triumphs she’s faced, as well as a prayer at the end of each chapter along with applicable Bible verses.

I enjoyed reading Kristen’s book. Some of it I honestly found a little schmaltzy in its Christianese language, but I also, think this book is meant to be reread multiple times. There are spiritual diamonds inside and only one reading scratches the surface.

Kristen is the epitome of gorgeous. She brings to mind a childhood friend of mine I always thought of as having it all together: beauty, brains, a perfect life. I know that’s a lie and no one has a perfect life. I like that Kristen is forthright in how her life truly is.

If you need a book that will inspire and humble you then this book will rock your world. This book is geared for women. I wonder what countless Christian young ladies lives would be like if they were gifted Kristen’s book at the start of high school or college?

I received a complimentary copy of The Sparkle Effect by Kristen Dalton Wolfe from Faith Words. The views expressed are only mine. Thank you Kristen for being an open book, to shine a light for those who need a light to help guide them on their Christian walk.

Book Review · Books

Becoming Mrs. Lewis

I haven’t read the whole Chronicles Of Narnia series. Yes, it’s a shame since it was one of the earliest series my mom would start to read to me as a little girl. As an adult I had heard bits and pieces about C.S. Lewis and his marriage, but until I read this stunning historical novel about his wife, Joy Davidman I had no idea all it entailed.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis sucked me into Joy’s 1950’s world of New York. She was married to Bill with two little boys. Her and her husband were both writers. Bill was an alcoholic and a cheater. Joy was miserable, but did her best to try and keep the peace at home.

One day Joy has a spiritual conversation of sorts. She decides to write to C.S. Lewis some of her spiritual, Christian questions. She had read one of this books and thought he may be able to provide her some insight. This brings to life a correspondence between them that gets intense. Bill starts to get concerned, but when Joy’s health goes down hill she is told she must get away to rest. Of course Joy decides to go to the UK, to C.S. Lewis, to finally meet the man, the myth, the legend. Will meeting her new friend be all she hopes it to be? Will Joy and C.S. Lewis’ friendship blossom, or will the reality of being in person dampen their connection?

This novel is the best love story I’ve read in a long time. I’m not into romance novels, but this one is sweetly written, magical, suspenseful and leaves you feeling stunned after the last page. If you are a fan of C.S. Lewis and want to read a historical novel that will keep you reading nonstop, and it’s over 400 pages, then I highly recommend this beautiful novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan care of TLC Book Tours from Thomas Nelson. The opinions in this review are strictly my own. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this amazing book grab a copy from Amazon and check out more about the author, Patti Callahan. To get a sneak peak of the audio clips of chapters one and two: https://soundcloud.com/harperaudio_us/sets/becoming-mrs-lewis

Book Review · Books

Pull It Off

The cover is colorful. Julianna Zobrist loves color. Her picture on the front of her book makes me think of Lady GaGa due to the creative outfit she’s wearing. Her memoir Pull It Off is a short book filled with how we view our identity shapes us and our confidence.

She is not preachy, but Julianna shows through Biblical scripture our identity is in Christ. Julianna doesn’t harp on us being perfect, but on learning to accept our imperfections and allowing God to work through that. She provides stories from her life and what it’s like to be married to her professional baseball player husband.

This memoir was light hearted with nuggets of Biblical truth sprinkled in. Julianna is not your typical Christian living genre type author. She thinks and expresses herself outside the box. The chapter where Julianna describes how her home is decorated made me sit in awe. Think of Candy Land throwing up decorations all over her home. Yes, it’s that colorful and fun. The allegory about the dandelion at the end was emotionally powerful.

I received a complementary copy of Pull It Off by Julianna Zobrist from Faith Words. Opinions expressed in this review are my own. If you love Christian books that are helpful, but not bossy in tone then you may enjoy this book. I hope Julianna will write more books.

Book Review · Books

LaLa Lovely

The title was different. LaLa Lovely. What kind of book would this be? Author, Trina McNeilly, compiles a collection of her essays about life and what it looks like to find beauty in life when all you feel you can see is pain. Her essays range from topics on friendship, family, creativity, self care, doubt, faith and more. Each chapter is graced with photos from her life. This book felt like a warm blanket on a chilly night. It keeps you warm, but eventually certain topics become too, hot, so you have to throw the blanket off and be honest with yourself. These essays are poetic, heart wrenching, inspiring and most of all written with love.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Faith Words. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. If you love memoirs, or essays on the above topics you will treasure this beautiful book. Thank you for sharing your heart Trina.