Inner Beauty Forever

just my thoughts on books and stuff :)

‘Thief of Glory’ Book Review March 16, 2015

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Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

My Rating: 5/5

I was sitting at a quiet table in the back of the restaurant’s dining room. My friend was sitting across from me, but I hardly noticed he was there. There had been several minutes of silence, when I suddenly shouted out “WHAT?!”, drawing strange glances from customers and coworkers alike. My break ended only a couple minutes later, leaving my mind spinning with the plot twist I had just read. The remainder of my shift, my thoughts kept turning towards my book, eager to clock off and discover what happened next.
It is very rare that a book can engage and capture you in such a way. This one can, and does. I was quite surprised at how well-written, intriguing,  and engaging this book is. My curiosity was piqued by the cover, and WWII theme, yet my expectation went no further.
Within the pages of this book, however, you find quite a gem.  It contains mystery and suspense, action and adventure, romance (without being overpowering or sappy) as well as sacrifice. Young Jeremiah tells the story of his family and friends during their wartime imprisonment in the Dutch East Indies. Seeing the world from his 10 – year-old point of view, and then later seeing the impact it has in his adult years tells a beautiful tale of love, healing, and ultimately redemption.
My one word of warning would be that this book does contain some mature content (drugs and forced prostitution are mentioned in passing). While the story is beautiful, I would caution younger readers.
I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a novel that entertains, intrigues, teaches, and touches you.
I received this book free in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

 

‘Fierce Convictions’ Book Review

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Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior
My Rating: 3/5

We all dream of making a difference. Of leaving a lasting mark on the world in which we live. We savor stories of heroes both past and present. They inspire us to strive for that same greatness.
This is one of those stories. For the most part, however, it has remain untold.
Prior to having read the back cover of this book, I had never heard the name of Hannah More. I knew nothing of her life or her legacy. However, I came to discover that it is worth knowing.
 Living in the late 18th and early 19th century, Hannah More utilized her passion and gift for writing in great ways. Working alongside William Wilberforce and other great minds of their time, she worked towards the abolition of slavery in England. She also strove to better the lives of those in the lower class through the founding Sunday schools, where they were taught to read. This was a radical, even resisted effort in her culture. Her greatest impact and legacy is undoubtedly her writings. Through numerous volumes of tracts, books, and stories, she encouraged biblical values and lifestyles. These works greatly affected the morals of both the lower and upper classes.
I would most definitely encourage you to acquaint yourself on the life of More. Hers is one which can inspire our hearts, and educate our minds. However, the style in which Prior wrote this biography is quite dry. While I appreciated how researched and detailed the account was, I found it difficult to follow and at times even boring to read. At times it seemed to be more of a list of facts rather than a well-written story.
The life of Hannah More was one of courage and dedication to the Lord. I believe our generation would greatly benefit from being taught of her and others like her. Yet I would warn you that while this is a detailed and full account, it is one which requires much focus, and is not a leisurely read.
I received a copy of this book free in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

 

‘The Great American Slow Cooker Book’ Review August 20, 2014

Filed under: All Non-Fiction Books — Godrox1997 @ 12:34 pm

imageMy Mom has loved slow cooker and crock pot meals for as long as I can remember. The convenience of being able to mix some ingredients together in a slow cooker shortly after breakfast,  and go about her day, knowing that it would be ready by dinner time was invaluable. Even as my brothers and I are growing older, we still use crockpot meals on busy days. So when I saw this book I was greatly excited to order it and show it to my Mom, eager to find a few new go-to recipes.

When The Great American Slow Cooker Book arrived in the mail, I was surprised by how thick and heavy the book was! It was packed full of recipes, tips, and instructions. I immediately sat down and began flipping through the pages, reading through the recipe titles. I immediately discovered both pros and cons to  using this cookbook. 

Let’s begin with some of the positive aspects. Overall, I would say that this cookbook has an excellent format! Each recipe is complete with the ingredient proportions for three different size batches, and which size slow cooker to use for each. Also, throughout the pages, the authors insert tips and tricks of how to enhance and better use the recipes, as well as explanations of some more uncommon ingredients, why they work well in the recipe, and occasionally offer up some suggested substitutes. These, and other, attributes of this cookbook make it convenient, as well as easy to use and understand.

However, as convenient and easy to use as the cookbook was formatted, there were a some major cons as well. As I read through many of the recipes, I grimaced. A large majority of the dishes they include are honestly, just strange. I read through the 500 recipes included, and found less than 30 that I would actually consider preparing. And I don’t say this to exaggerate. I honestly don’t believe that my family would eat the foods that were offered up, and would honestly say that families with younger kids or picky eaters would struggle with these recipes as well. Similarly, the ingredients could at times become quite… interesting. I came across several I had never before heard of, and while they occasionally offered up substitutes, at times, I found the substitutes were just as perplexing. 

Not, all the recipes were bizarre, however. I did find a handful of recipes that I would consider trying, and decided to do just that. So for our dinner one night, the main course, and the dessert were selections from The Great American Slow Cooker Book. I found that the recipes I had chosen, chicken and dumplings, and chocolate cake, were simple enough to prepare. The instructions were easy to understand, and not overly time- consuming. I eagerly waited for dinner, to try the dishes that were in the slow cooker. I was a bit disappointed in the results. I wouldn’t describe the meal as bad, or nasty. But I would say that it was on the bland side. The courses lacked flavor. However, the authors do recommend preparing dishes as instructed once, and then the second time tweaking and adjusting to fit personal preferences. As written, however, I did not find the taste impressive.

Overall, I would say that although the cookbook was excellently written and easy to use, I would be hesitant to recommend it, especially to families with youngsters or picky eaters. If, however, you enjoy a plethora of uncommon dishes, and are willing to take the time to adjust and experiment with recipes, this may be a something for you to consider. 

 

I received tis book free from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own. 

 

“Young Women of Faith Bible’ May 20, 2014

Filed under: Books I've Read — Godrox1997 @ 8:45 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

ImageI recently received a copy of the New International Version’s Young Women of Faith Bible. As I looked through the pages I realized that this Bible would make a wonderful gift for a younger girl. Within the cute and colorful cover of this Bible are wonderful notes to help explain and apply the Scriptures to young girls. As you flip through the pages you see lots of the color pink. And wherever you see pink there will be some sort of study aid for those who are reading.

Here are some examples of the type of notes that you will find within the pages of this Bible:

* “If I Were there…”  These attempt to help put you in the shoes of those involved in the Bible story. They help you to relate to and understand the situation that they are in.

* “I Believe” These are simple, short statements found on various pages. They clearly state key beliefs and truths that are found within the scriptures, such as “Jesus is alive.”

* Memory Verses  Throughout the scriptures, this Bible frequently points out verses that it suggests for memorization. This can be a wonderful tool for young girls!

There are also lists of facts and answers to questions before each book of the Bible, as well as weekly devotions and journaling sections throughout the pages.

Overall, I would say this this Bible for young ladies is both cute and practical. It has girly, feminine pages, but those pages hold notes that help the readers to understand and apply God’s word to their own lives.

 

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

 

‘A Cast Of Stones’ Book Review February 19, 2014

downloadTitle: A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword book 1)

Author: Patrick W. Carr

My Rating: 5/5

I honestly had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book to read it. What I found was a delightful surprise. With an entirely  unique spin to the typical story of kings, adventure, sword fights, and quests, this book grabbed my attention and had me hooked to the very end.

Errol Stone has no idea of the amazing talent and potential that he possesses. He sees himself as almost anyone else does. As  a drunk. However, when someone offers to pay him for delivering a message, he quickly accepts, thinking that the money would help him to purchase more ale. What follows this seemingly simple task is an unforgettable, and unpredictable adventure that will change his heart, and his destiny.

I absolutely loved the setting of this book. Carr did an excellent job at painting a vivid picture of Errol’s surroundings that helped me to become much more engaged in the plot. The time and culture in which this story occurs drew me in quickly and easily. Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the way in which Errol’s character matures, changes and learns throughout the book. This made him seem so much more real and believable. I soon became very attached to his character, and found myself rejoicing in his victories and grieving over his trials.

My only negative remark in regards to this otherwise wonderful masterpiece would be that at times I felt that particular characters entered and left the story far too quickly, leaving little time for them to truly become developed or contribute much to the plot. I found myself waiting for them to somehow be worked back into the story, thinking that they had left far too abruptly, but they never did. However, this is only the first book in the series, so perhaps Carr plans to reunite the characters in a later book.

Over all, I would say that this creative, engaging and wonderfully written book is one that I would most definitely recommend, and greatly enjoyed!

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

 

Gift For Country Music Lovers! January 15, 2014

61hl+U+xqLL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_I was recently given the privilege of receiving a copy of the new Once-A-Day Country Faith devotional. I was delightfully impressed. This book compiles writings from a variety of country music stars on their favorite Bible verses. The singers, ranging from Josh Turner and Craig Morgan to Miranda Lambert, Scotty McCreery, and members of Florida Georgia Line, give insight on their lives and their faith through the thoughts that they share. While some of the readings are deeper and more thought-provoking than others, I still found it interesting to read through the devotional and see ways that God has worked in these people through His Word, and even how this has influenced and affected the music and the songs that these people sing and write.

While I found this book to be interesting, it was not excessively challenging or provoking. However, I couldn’t help but realize how great of a gift it would make for someone who is very interested in country music (such as myself). I would especially give it to those who are not believers, as I believe that seeing the truth from God’s Word, and how it affects some of their favorite celebrities, may be an excellent way to witness to them!

 

‘Life Without Limits’ Book Review

Life Without Limits by Nick VujicicTitle: Life Without Limits: Inspiration For A Ridiculously Good Life

Author: Nick Vujicic

Rating: 4/5

This is the second of Nick’s books that I have read, the first having been Unstoppable. I find Nick’s writing to be humorous, truthful, and engaging, so I was very excited to have the chance to read another of his books.

In case you are not familiar with Nick Vujicic, this man was born with neither arms nor legs. However, his positive outlook, constant faith, and heart for others is truly an inspiration to myself and to many others. In this book he discusses ways in which we can live life…without limits. Whether the thing that threatens to limit us is our own insecurity, fear, or supposed shortcomings, he speaks truth on letting nothing stop you from living a better, more influential, and more fruitful life.

As I said before, Nick has an engaging writing style, using stories of his own experiences, as well as those of others, to illustrate points more clearly. This (at least for myself) made the book both easier to enjoy, and easier to understand.

There were very few aspects of this book that I did not care for. For example. Nick does not use a significant amount of scripture throughout the book. Although some appear occasionally, they are very few and far between. While the content of the book is still great, I would have preferred to see more scriptural support for the points that he made. My only other negative remark would be that if you have read another of Nick’s books, such as I did before this one, you may find multiple stories repeated in this book as you have already read elsewhere.

Overall, I would recommend this book both to Christians and non-believers alike. The truth that Nick shares and the way in which he does so creates a helpful, uplifting read that I hope you will enjoy.

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

 

A Great Gift for Homeschool Moms! December 3, 2013

homebibleI wanted to share with you a great resource/gift for homeschool moms that you know! I gave a copy of this Bible both to my own Mom, as well as to another homeschool Mom in our church. Both of them were very excited to receive them.

Although this is not directly related to the study Bible itself, I wanted to start out by saying that I absolutely loved the cover of this Bible. It is colorful, creative and appealing. And I know, I know, you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I can honestly say that I especially liked the cover to this Bible.

Now, moving on to the content of the Bible, itself. Inside the pages of this Bible is 365 daily devotionals for encouraging homeschool moms. I found that the devotions were easy  to find and to use. Also, the devotions themselves are both practical and applicable. One morning my Mom came to me with a smile and told me how perfect what she had read in it that morning was for what she had been feeling and thinking through before.

The one aspect of this Bible that I did not care for was that the words of Christ were not in red, which I normally do prefer. However, this is true for many study Bibles, and in all actuality is not that significant of a detail.

Overall I would say that this study Bible could be either a helpful resource for yourself, or a wonderful gift for another woman in your life. I would like to note, also, that this Bible does come in the NIV as well, if you would prefer that translation.

Note: I received this book from Booksneeze.com in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

 

‘One Way Love’ Book Review December 1, 2013

photoTitle: One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World
Author: Tullian Tchividjian
Date I Finished Reading: November 30,2013
My Rating: 5/5

We live in a world that is very conditional. In order to receive one thing we must first do or achieve something else. And we often find that this constant need to become a certain way or to achieve certain expectations or criteria has left us completely exhausted, discouraged, and unmotivated.
In this book, Tullian Tchividjian does an amazing job of revealing to readers just what Jesus meant when he said “It is Finished”. He shows how Jesus’ death and resurrection free us from having to work towards meriting our own salvation. The truth of Christ’s completing work on the cross is one, that once you truly comprehend is so amazingly freeing and life changing.
I absolutely loved this book. It was written in a way that was full of scripture and truth, yet was easy to understand, think on, and apply. Discussing topics from performance-based faith, arguments against Grace, and the amazing and everyday power of one-way love, this book is so very true, practical, challenging and refreshing.
I would definitely recommend this book to you. Whether you struggle to understand the grace of God, to accept the grace of God, or maybe what impact this grace has in the life of a believer, this book is an encouraging and practical tool.

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.

 

About The Author:

Tullian Tchividjian is the senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; a lecturer at th Knox Theological Seminary; the founder of LIBERATE; and a grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham. The author of numerous books, including Jesus + Nothing = Everything and Glorious Ruin, Tchividjian speaks at conferences around the world. He and his wife, Kim, have three children.

 

‘God Girl’ Book Review September 12, 2013

9780800719401Title: God Girl: Becoming The Woman You’re Meant To Be

Author: Hayley DiMarco

Date I Finished Reading: September 2,2013

My Rating: 5/5

I absolutely love when I find a book that is both biblical, and practical. I do. I love when I can be challenged in ways that can be applied in my everyday life. This is one of those books. Directed towards teenage girls, it provides biblical guidance on living as godly young women. Touching on topics from happiness to communication, it offers a biblical perspective on issues that are far too often negatively affected by our culture today.

Hayley did an excellent job when writing this book. She wrote in a way that is easily understood, with it’s humor, comparisons, and stories. It was easy for me to become engaged and interested in what was being said, and often found myself thinking “oh, yeah! I can completely relate!” This writing style, along with the lists of applications at the end of each chapter, helped me to apply what was being taught to my own life, and to examine myself to see where I was and was not showing these godly attributes in my own life.

I would definitely recommend this book to young women. I read it in a single afternoon, and found that it was a simple read, yet was so full of applicable truths!

 

About The Author:

Hayley DiMarco is the best-selling author of more than thirty books, including Dateable, Marriable, Mean Girls, The Woman of Mystery, and hayley_avatar_medCupidity. She spent the early part of her career working for a little shoe company called Nike in Portland, Oregon and Thomas Nelson Publishers in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 2002 Hayley left Nelson and founded Hungry Planet, a company intensely focused on feeding the world’s appetite for truth by producing books and new media, taking on issues of faith and life with a distinctly modern voice. Shortly after founding Hungry Planet, Hayley successfully completed a nationwide executive search for someone to run the company so she could focus on writing. She describes her husband, Michael, as her most successful business acquisition!