Tag Archive | Nonfiction

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.

Still Christian 

If you were a Christian young adult in the 1980’s this just might be the book for you. Pastor and teacher David Gushee talks about his faith journey in, Still Christian ,  from being a new believer in the summer of 78′ to his current life as a grandfather. Mr. Gushee describes what it’s like to be on the Southern Baptist side of the fence and the liberal side of the Christian fence. He has experienced both sides of Christiandom and come away still a believer. If you have attended an ultra conservative Christian college you may be able to relate to his experiences at both Union and Southern Baptist Theological seminaries, etc. Mr. Gushee discovered what it’s like when you stand by your convictions. Damned if you do and sometimes damned if you don’t. When the author took a stand with the LGBT community he found out how standing up for what you believe in can start you on a whole new spiritual journey than from where you started.

I received the ARC of, Still Christian,  from NetGalley in exchange for my honest assessment. I think I was the wrong age range to read this book. If I was ten years older than I might possibly might be able to relate to it more.

Rabbit Hole

David Shurter’s memoir is his journey coming to terms with his nightmarish past. He was raised in a family where his father was a Satanist and a priest within a local Satanic coven. He was raised and groomed from childhood to believe he was the AntiChrist. Some of his memories felt so awful, he wondered if they were merely bad dreams. After talking with his siblings he realized they weren’t bad dreams, but real events he was remembering. I think my mind is still trying to wrap around the events David talks about in his memoir. What Satanic ritual abuse entails is mind-boggling. David’s quest to find answers and healing is intense and filled with hope.

Years ago I discovered an SRA (Satanic Ritual Abuse) survivor, a Christian, who I befriended online. I read her memoir and was floored. When I saw Rabbit Hole as an option to get to possibly read, I grabbed at the first chance I got. The topic of Satanism isn’t for the light-hearted. It is dark, sadistic, demonic, creepy and you might opt to leave the lights on, but to educate yourself about this is subject is very important. Satanist wants to keep what they do in the dark, but the evil committed needs to be brought into the light. I was given an e-book of Rabbit Hole for free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. If you are spiritually sensitive this memoir might not be for you, but on the other hand you need to know the truth.

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.

Dryland

Addiction is something we don’t like to fess up to. Whether it’s over spending, over eating, or drinking we all have our own personal demons. When I agreed to review Dryland I don’t think I glanced at what it was about since I knew it was a memoir and I love memoirs. This memoir is about Nancy and her alcohol addiction.

Nancy loved swimming since she was little. She was talented and won a lot of swim meet awards growing up. She almost made it to the 88′ olympics. Winning made her Dad proud, so she focused on swimming until her swimming career came to an end. Not having swimming as her anchor she signed up for the Peace Corps. Nancy traveled to different countries where she had different adventures in the process picking up a stronger addiction to drinking. Culturally in the countries she was in it was socially acceptable to drink.  It took Nancy going to the Middle East where the severity of her addiction slapped her in the face. 

This memoir is honest, raw, funny and not an easy read. For Nancy to come clean about her near deadly alcohol addiction isn’t easy. It’s tough enough to just admit to yourself you have an addiction, let alone publish it for the whole to read. There is a risk in being judged, or misunderstood, but what Nancy has done is graciously opened a door for conversation on this vital topic. No matter what your addiction might be, Nancy’s memoir of her journey to sobriety will keep you cheering as she swims her way to victory. I received my copy for free of charge from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. I recommend this book for anyone needing inspiration to quit an addiction. Thank you Nancy for your authentic, lovely self sharing your struggles, but most of all your triumphs.

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.

Sinners In The Hands Of A Loving God

This book cover depicts the scene from the prodigal son coming home to his father and being restored even though the son doesn’t feel he deserves it. This biblical story is of a son who asks for his father’s financial inheritance early. This younger son goes off and lives the glamorous life which ends up backfiring and he ends up eating slops out of a pig trough because he has run out of funds. He decides to go back to his father’s house to be a servant since it would be better than this. When the son returns home his father is thrilled his youngest has returned home. Rather than requiring him to be a servant, the father asks the older brother to get the fatted calf and to prepare a banquet in celebration of his son’s return home safe. The older brother is furious that his younger brother doesn’t get what he deserves for squandering his father’s inheritance. This cover has a modern art look to it. I like the color of blue that was chosen for the sky.

In Sinners In The Hands Of A Loving God, the author, Brian Zahnd talks about the topic of Hell and if God is truly monstrous. His journey coming to terms on these matters all began with the similar titled sermon by Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.” This very old American sermon describes God as a wrathful, angry God whose waiting to torture us for our sins uses different imagery comparison of us to spiders and snakes. Mr. Zahnd was raised to believe in a literal Hell afterlife, the traditional Christian view that only Christians arrive at heaven after they die while the rest burn in torment in Hell. For a time he prayed for God to give him an experience of actual Hell, but none came. Instead God called him to places of disease, war and poverty. Mr. Zahnd saw that life has its own types of Hell in the here and now. What helped the author change his view of who God is? Read his book to find out. It’d worth it. It’s short and precise.

I received an ARC of Sinners In The Hands Of A Loving God  from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. If you want to read a nontraditional view of God, Hell and ultimately what and who true LOVE is I recommend this book. This book goes on sale 8/15/2017. For further information on the author click here.