Book Review · Books

Almost Gone

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Mackenzie is a junior in high school when she meets a handsome man on a social dating site. He’s Muslim, respectful and enjoys chatting with her. Mackenzie is a Christian with a boyfriend at the time. This new online friendship blossoms. Once her relationship with her current boyfriend doesn’t pan out she immediately intensifies communicating with this new friend, Aadam whose from Kosovo. Mackenzie’s parents sense something is amiss when their daughter starts pulling away from the family, her Christian faith and her best friends. They have no idea Aadam exists. When Mackenzie asks her dad if she can buy a Koran her dad is floored, but figured everyone goes through their own faith walk and exploration. When Mackenzie states she’s converted her parents are stunned. Why has their daughter all of a sudden gone from social to reclusive? Why the sudden belief change? Will her parents figure out why before it’s, too late?

This book brought up some personal memories for me. In high school relationships can seem like the end all, be all. Teens want to be taken seriously. If you are eighteen you are legally an adult, but not necessarily emotionally or mature enough to be considered an adult. It’s a tightrope to use your wings to gain independence, but still know your parents do love you and want you to make safe life choices. As for faith, growing up in a Christian home myself, there aren’t many opportunities to be exposed to other faiths that differ from your own. I can see why Mackenzie would be enthralled with Islam. It’s different, unique and a person she cares about is of this faith hence why it becomes important to her.

I received an ARC of Almost Gone by Mackenzie Baldwin and John Baldwin for free from NetGalley in exchange for my thoughts on this book. I think this book explores many important topics that parents and teens face today: online dating and how to handle when your teen decides to not believe what they were raised on faith wise. If either of these topics resonates with you I’d recommend this book.

Book Review · Books

The Alphabet Of Grief

img_2099Grief is not a topic out of popularity, but out of necessity. We don’t know when a friend, family member, spouse, or acquaintance is going to pass away. The Alphabet Of Grace is a small little book packed with lots of wisdom. Chaplain Andrea Raynor brings death and grief to our door in an easy to understand Guide. Her guide of sorts is broken down via the alphabet. Each letter stands for a topic having to do with grief and death. At the end of each short chapter is a meditation and an affirmation.

I have had family members pass away and close friends. Death is never easy to deal with. I still miss my grandparents and my one best friend, but I know they are now not in pain. Personally I don’t find comfort in going to their graves. Honestly cemeteries creep me out. One way I like to remember them is by going to a fave place they liked to eat, or enjoy a favorite pastime they had like watching baseball, or reading a book. We all deal with grief in different ways.

I’m so glad I requested to review this book from Blogging For Books. This book is not preachy, though it is consider Christian. It comes across like a warm blanket on a winter night that keeps you warm and feeling cozy. It’s comforting and yet educational at the same time. I got this book for free in exchange for my review from Blogging For Books. I highly recommend this title for anyone dealing with someone in the process of dying or have passed on. I wish I’d had this book back when my grandparents passed. It would have helped me get through a lot.

Book Review · Books

Love Big, Be Well

If you have been burnt by the church, Love Big, Be Well, just might restore your faith in the body of Christ (family of God) aka the church. This novel is the story of Pastor Jonas McAnn whose decided to get back into preaching after doing a stint working at an insurance company. He receives a letter from one of the churches he’s going to be interviewing at. He’s used to getting a long list of questions, but the letter he gets is down to earth and simple. Does he want to be Granby’s pastor? Pastor Jonas writes back. This starts a tradition of correspondence between himself and the congregation. Him and his wife decide to accept the pastorate at Granby Presbyterian. This novel is the correspondence over the years between Pastor Jonas and his new congregation.

Each chapter talks about different topics from Advent, to baptism, death, Christian conferences, friendship and a host of other topics. This novel isn’t preachy, it’s not superficial. This book is down to earth and meets you where you are at. You don’t have to be a believer to read this novel.

I received the e-book ARC of, Love Big, Be Well by Winn Collier from NetGalley in exchange for my honest assessment. This book reminded me a lot of the book, So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore,  by Wayne Jacobson and Dave Coleman. Both books are sweet and tackle tough topics in a nonpushy manner. If there is a church out there like the fictional Granby Presbyterian sign me up. I miss belonging to a church family like that.

Book Review · Books

Something Beautiful Happened


If you have a grandparent still alive and willing to tell you their life story don’t hesitate to listen. If we don’t listen and write down the rich history we are provided it will be lost forever. Yvette thinks about all the times she could have spent time with her grandmother, but instead chose to do other things. There were so many more stories she could have heard, family history provided. Yvette didn’t even have to ask, her grandmother would have shared with her, but when you are young you think you have next time.

If you like to read about World War II, then I highly recommend, Something Beautiful Happened, by Yvette Manessis Corporon. This memoir is about the author’s search to find out the truth behind her grandmother’s story of helping save a Jewish family during the Holocaust on the small Greek island of Erikousa. Yvette grew up visiting the island and her grandmother during the summer, so she knew the island well. Her grandmother told her that the whole island kept this family a secret from the Nazi’s. Yvette decided she wanted to find the descendants of this family, to find out what had become of them.

Yvette’s journey takes many twists, turns, some of them heartbreaking, yet still rewarding. I’ve read countless memoirs on World War II, but this one packs an important punch.  Yvette writes in such a way  that you feel as though you are actually there on the island, at her grandmother’s house. I have never been interested in Greece before, but after reading this book I would like to go visit the island of Erikousa.

I was provided the e-book ARC of Something Beautiful Happened by Yvette Manessis Corporon for free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This book was breathtaking.

Book Review · Books

Your Guide To The Apocalypse

The End Times is a hot topic. The news with updates on different wars, environmental issues,  health scares and violence increasing, it’s no wonder society may think the end of the world is near. Pastor Matt Hagee explains why from the Bible he believes we are the last generation to witness Jesus coming back. His guide gives over the reasons why and how the first 3 chapters of the book of Revelation explain the signs of how we are in the last days. He believes that believers will be taken up to heaven before the Antichrist steps on the world stage, hence why he didn’t go past chapter 3 of Revelation. This book I think is geared towards Christians, but he does speak to unbelievers. Depending on your church background or lack of church and Bible exposure you may understand what’s expressed in this book.

I am a post tribulation ‘fan’. Honestly I don’t see why believers of today should get out of having to go through the tribulation. It seems like too, easy of a ticket. Some of his view points I get, but to state this is the truth vs showing the other viewpoints feels a tad arrogant. I know Pastor Hagee means well, but to me only Jesus can open your eyes to the truth.

I received an ARC of Your Guide To The Apocalypse by Matt Hagee for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. If you are a pretribulation believer then this book is for you. If you aren’t it might ruffle your feathers, or it might enlighten you.

Book Review · Books

In The Days Of Rain

In The Days Of Rain, is about Rebecca Stott and how she pieces together her father’s life in the Brethren cult. Rebecca was raised from birth only knowing the Brethren’s rules and ways of life. Before her father passes on he asks her to complete his memoir. Having left the cult with her family when she was a child Rebecca isn’t keen on going down memory lane, but wants to fully share her father’s story no matter how hard it is.

This memoir describes what life was like in the Brethren. Everything outside their close-knit group was forbidden: TV, news, worldly people, books that were not approved, movies, etc. As a child Rebecca was caught up in thinking about the Rapture when Jesus would be returning to take all the Brethren to Heaven. This book not only describes what life was like, but about how being in such a controlled spiritual environment fractured relationships and one’s sense of self. Her father was the head of the household and had a bad temper. Rebecca never understood why until she dug deeper into her father’s past and what being a preacher in the Brethren was like for him. Rebecca never knew what it was like to voice her own opinion growing up. Women were to keep quiet and not question anything.  It took years for Rebecca to learn how to voice her own opinion and to patch up her relationship with her father.

For some reason this topic fascinates me. I can see why cults lure people. People like having spiritual matters laid out in black and white. Being told what to believe, how to act, dress and think is easier than having to make your own decisions. A few years ago I experienced what might be termed as an online Christian cult of sorts. I was enthralled by a particular Christian YouTuber. I befriended this woman, but as soon as I started being honest about red flags I was seeing I got disfellowshipped and unfriended. That is unless I had a prayer request, then by all means it was ok to contact this woman. At the time I discovered and befriended this woman I was spiritually vulnerable and spiritually hungry, so of course I gobbled up what she said. I followed her hook line and sinker. Sadly she burnt me. I thought I had a genuine sister in Christ, but instead I got black listed by her. Sadly there are others out there that had the same thing happen to them. One minute you are a blessing from God and the next you are not a true saved follower of Jesus. I can see why Rebecca’s Faith didn’t survive her cult indoctrination. It’s sad her faith didn’t survive her upbringing, but I don’t blame her for guarding her heart.

I received an ARC of In The Days Of Rain by Rebecca Stott for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. If you’ve been raised in a cult this book may be too, much of a trigger, but it also, may help you sort through your own journey whether you are still inside the cult, or are free from it.

Book Review · Books

Never Settle For Normal

I saw this title and couldn’t decide if I wanted to read it. I possibly didn’t read the fine print on what this book was about, but it was not what I had in mind. Never Settle For Normal by Jonathan Parnell is about how we try to fill our lives with the usual things we think that will make us happy: nice homes, fancy cars, high-end dining, promotions, vacations, lots of socializing, etc. These things for a time tide us over, but there is still something missing and gnawing at us. Mr. Parnell explains what’s causing the gnawing feeling deep in our souls which amounts to giving us a condensed Christianity 101 breakdown.

Maybe I’m jaded, or have heard it too, many times, but if I was not raised a Christian with the basics taught I’d be lost reading this slim volume. There are a few big what I’d call Christianese words slipped in. If a non believer is reading this it might come across as Greek. Mr. Parnell means well and is offering to show there is more to life when you believe in Jesus. I honestly thought I was reading a book about not settling for the norm in life as in think outside the box for your life vs getting a Christianity 101 lesson. If you are looking for a book that breaks down what Christianity is you might find this book helpful.

I received the ARC of Never Settle For Normal from Blogging for Books for free in exchange for my honest review. Sadly, this book didn’t quite hit my spot, but it might yours. It goes on sale July 18. Click here to find out more.