Book Review · Books

Where Hope Begins

Some beautiful book covers are just that. Beautiful. The innards don’t always mirror the outer. Where Hope Begins by Catherine West is a book I asked to review because I thought the cover was gorgeous. The cover didn’t remotely prepare me for the depth of the story waiting for me.

Savannah is a mother still reeling from the untimely passing of her eldest daughter when her husband, Kevin, decides he wants to separate. He had an affair and decides to move out to go live with the other woman. To help herself heal and move forward, Savannah decides to go stay at her parent’s cabin.

She discovers she has nice neighbors to keep her company. One of the neighbors is Maisy, a little girl who looks so much like her late daughter. Savannah is captivated by Maisy’s Dad, Brock, not realizing who he actually is. Through her neighbor’s friendship she begins to heal her broken heart. Brock’s Aunt Clarice keeps Savannah on her toes spiritually, seeming to know so much without Savannah having to say a word.

Savannah feels like her life is finally showing signs of healing when Kevin wants back in. Will Savannah let him? How can you forgive someone you love and trust after betrayal? Is it possible for a family to be repaired? Can a family move forward after the loss of a child?

This novel tackles so many tough topics that are realistically portrayed through Savannah’s story: marriage, betrayal, death, faith, love, hope, family, relationships, friendship and more. This novel will stick with you long after the last page. I wish there was a sequel. Better yet a movie.

I received my free paperback ARC copy of Where Hope Begins by Catherine West for free from TLC Book Tours care of Thomas Nelson in exchange for honest review. To learn more about this talented author check out her website and buy a copy from Amazon.

Book Review · Books

The Fox Hunt

What would you do if you wanted to research opposite faiths than what you were raised with? Mohammed encounters a Christian teacher at his college. He wants to be an obedient Muslim and share his faith with his teacher, so he brings him a Quran. Surprisingly his teacher is of the same mindset and gifts him a Christian Bible, which for Mohammed is a forbidden item.

Mohammed reads his Bible and starts to have discussions with his teacher, but when his teacher moves away he branches out online to connect with others who can help further explain Christianity and Judaism. Through his studying he gets jobs at nonprofits where he can continue his studies and connecting with Christians, other Muslims and Jews to learn more about why there is conflict. Mohammed wants to help bridge peace between the groups, but when there is upheaval in his country of Yemen he is trapped in his home. He reaches out to others online to see if anyone will help him escape.

I received my ARC copy of The Fox Hunt by Mohammed Al Samawi for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review. This book is intense from page one. Mohammed writes in such a way you feel as though you are walking by his side throughout his memoir, experiencing every moment. This book is a great window into what it’s like to grow up in Yemen.

Book Review · Books

Forgiving God

If you have a special needs child this book will be a comfort to you, to know you aren’t alone. Hilary was a newlywed with the surprise of getting pregnant. She was excited for her child and becoming a mother. When she went in for an appointment the doctor had some hard news. Her son would have some health changes. Hilary’s faith was tested to the max coming to terms with her son, Jack’s health. She gives an honest overview of her spiritual struggle, her struggle as a new mom and how to view herself with a disabled child.

This memoir gave me a window into what it would be like from a parental standpoint what it’s like to have to have your child have to live for a time in the NICU. I was on the side of Jack. I didn’t get to go home right away for different health reasons. My parents had to deal with doctors, health scares and scrubbing up before being allowed to enter the NICU area. The hospital is not the world you want your baby to have to live in beyond being delivered.

I received Forgiving God by Hilary Yancey for free from Hachette Book Group Nashville in exchange for my review. This memoir packed an emotional punch. Hilary’s faith survived, but not all parents of special needs kids have their faith intact after the fact. I appreciate that Hilary didn’t sugarcoat her experience.

Book Review · Books

You Are The Beloved

I had heard of Henri Nouwen, but never read any of his works. When I saw You Are The Beloved available on Blogging For Books I clicked the yes option. This book is a collection of different spiritual snippets from his books. Since I’ve never read him before this book gives a great overview. This book is similar to a devotional in that it is broken down by days of the year and sectioned into the months of the year. At the end of every daily meditation it references which book the daily meditation originates from. Each month focuses on different themes.

I received You Are The Beloved from Blogging For Books for free in exchange for my review. If you enjoy Nouwen or reading books by Christian mystics you will savor this book of mediations. This book isn’t one to read through fast. I’m still working through finishing it because I don’t want to hurry the deep spiritual thoughts that are in this book. I never tab my books, so this is the first book to get that special treatment. I had to buy more tabs because I already ran out. Yes, it’s that good.

Book Review · Books

Salvation On Death Row: The Pamela Perillo Story

What would you do if you committed a horrible crime and got sentenced to death? Would you despair? Would you feel like your due penalty was fair? Pamela Perillo lived through a very rough upbringing and drug addiction, which lead to a crime that landed her on death row back in the 80’s. In TX of all states.

In prison she was introduced to Jesus and came to faith. Through her new found faith Pam befriended a few of the other women on Death Row, aiding them in coming to belief as well. These women created a small family of sorts; praying, talking and encouraging each other through the tough days.

If you like true crime books with a spiritual twist you will like this book. It’s not for someone with a weak stomach. Pamela’s life was not a bed of roses whether while growing up or after she landed in prison. This book gives a realistic window into what it’s like to be incarcerated. I received my free ARC of Salvation On Death Row, care of KiCam Projects in exchange for my review of this book. Thank you for an opportunity to get to read Pam’s important story.

Book Review · Books

Where I End

If you know what it’s like to deal with physical health challenges then you will be able to relate to Katherine. Her memoir is the true story of how one little boy’s decision to jump off the top of a play set changed her life in a flash. One moment she was playing tag with her son, William’s class at recess and the next moment she was on the ground seriously injured. Katherine gives a no holds barred account of what it’s like to be a quadriplegic.

I can’t imagine suddenly not being able to walk or use my hands easily. You’d feel completely trapped in your own body. To go from one day being able to hug and help your kids to not being able to feel if they are hugging you. Katherine shares her ups and downs pre and post accident. She shares how this life event challenged her Christian faith and how it altered her kid’s faiths. How can someone come out of that with their faith intact?

I received my free ARC ebook of Where I End by Katherine Elizabeth Clark from NetGalley care of Moody Publishers. This book was an intense, yet inspirational read. Thank you for allowing me to read this powerful memoir.

Book Review · Books

What If You Could

What If You Could is a book about what faith looks like. I am honestly not a fan of Pastor Joel Osteen, but this book surprised me that its content was not fluffy or of the name it, claim it variety. The author, Jakelyn Viera Iloff, gives different Biblical examples of faith as well as personal examples from her own life of times she had faith when it seemed impossible to have.

If you are looking for a book on the topic of faith I would recommend this book. I received my ebook copy for free from NetGalley in exchange for my review. Considering this was my last read of 2017 I’d say it was a great theme and book to end my year on.