Inner Beauty Forever

just my thoughts on books and stuff :)

‘Bible Savvy’ Book Series Review July 28, 2013

Title: Bible Savvy (4 Book Set)

Author: James L. Nicodem

Date I Finished Reading: July 21,2013

My Rating: 5/5

I love when I come across a book that is just practical, yet still full of truth. I do! They are biblical, easy to understand, and easy to apply. The Bible Savvy Series is one of those reads. Based on scripture, easy to read, and full of biblical, practical applications, I found this series to be very beneficial to me!

Epic: The Storyline of the Bible

In this first installment of the series, NIcodem walks through the Bible, making a brief overview of it’s vast plot. Working his way from Genesis to Revelation, he shows how all of scripture is one common theme. Even though there are 66 books within the Bible, they are all part of one plot: The story of redemption. He discusses the outline of redemption prompted, redemption prepared, redemption prophesied, redemption purchased, redemption proclaimed and redemption perfected. Seeing how all books and divisions of the Bible fit together under one common story line helped me to better comprehend how the pieces fit together as well as to be reminded that each portion of scripture is important and not to be overlooked as unimportant.

Foundation: The Reliability of the Bible

In this second book, we are shown just how we know that the Bible is what the Bible says that the Bible is (comprehend?).  The key topic throughout is how we know that the Bible is truly the word of God? How do we know that it is God-breathed? How do we know it is true? How do we know it is without error? How do we know that we can trust the Bible? Basically, it describes to us why and how we can have confidence in the Word of God. In today’s culture it has become extremely important that we know what we believe, and how to defend that belief. This book proved to be a wonderful tool in answering those questions, and giving me knowledge to pass on to others when this topic arises.

Context: How to Understand the Bible

Out of all of the books in this series, I believe that I found this one to be most beneficial and helpful to me. In this particular volume, Nicodem discusses each genre of scripture and presents you with how to properly read and understand them. He discusses books of poetry, books of prophesy and everything in between. As I read it I was encouraged to better study and search scripture as well as to better utilize outside resources in order to better understand the context under which different scriptures were written, which will help me to better understand the meaning of God’s Word.

Walk: How to Apply the Bible

I feel that this book did an excellent job at wrapping up the Bible Savvy series and showing why this is relevant and applicable to our personal lives. He also walks through the COMA outline and provides wonderful examples that allow you to both learn how to as well as actively practice searching out the context, observations, message and application of scriptures. It was extremely helpful in helping me to comprehend how to better understand scripture as I read and study God’s Word.

I would most definitely recommend this series to you if you desire to better understand, study and apply scripture to your life!

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

 

‘Josiah’s Treasure’ Book Review June 18, 2013

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Title: Josiah’s Treasure

Author: Nancy Herriman

Date I Finished Reading: June 18,2013

My Rating: 5/5

The following is a portion of the description located on the back cover of the book:

In 1882, Sarah Whittier dreams of opening an art studio run by immigrant women. She plans to use the house left to her by family friend Josiah Cady as collateral for her studio. But will all be lost when the inheritance is challenged by an angry man claiming to be Josiah’s son and legal heir? Rumor of gold nuggets hidden in the house, place Sarah’s life in danger. Her future uncertain and her safety threatened, Sarah has nowhere to turn. That is, unless she can soften a vengeful man’s heart-and they both learn that love is finer than any gold.
Some romance novels become so cliché that they are predictable and boring. They follow the same theme and plot as several others that you have read before, and quickly lose your interest. This is not the case with Josiah’s Treasure.  Instead, I found a story that was original and creative, keeping me engaged and hooked until the very end. The credit goes entirely to Mrs. Herriman and her excellent writing ability. She writes in a manner that is descriptive, allowing you to envision the happenings in your head, yet she is not too drawn-out or wordy. She does a wonderful job of keeping you engaged and interested throughout the plot.  Another aspect of her writing style that I especially enjoyed was how well-developed the characters were. Some authors fail to create characters that are imaginable or relatable, instead becoming very vague. However, the characters involved in the story, especially Sarah and Daniel, were written in a manner that made them feel real, contributing much to the story.
Overall I would say that this was a wonderful, well-written story that I would most definitely recommend to you!
Note: I received this book free from the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance in exchange for my honest review, however, my opinions are my own.
 

‘Naked God’ Book Review May 31, 2013

adornment_4670_1440x900Title: Naked God: The truth about God exposed

Author: Martin Ayers

Date I Finished Reading: May 30,2013

My Rating: 2/5

In this book Martin Ayers explores questions such as is there a God? Who was Jesus? How does this influence my life? And he does so in an attempt to persuade or encourage non-believers to follow the Christian faith. Having this knowledge, I was eager and curious to begin reading the book, hoping to find a great resource to pass on to others, Christians and non-Christians alike. However, the book was not what I had hoped it to be.

There were a few different issues, or arguments that I had against this book. One would be that it seems Ayers uses very little scripture or outside resources to support his points, instead following the path of reasoning and logic. Now reasoning and logic is not necessarily a bad or negative thing, but I believe that when exploring a theological issue God’s word should be at the center of our thinking, and other people’s writings and thoughts can prove to strengthen the argument. This is why I was disappointed that so few scriptures appeared throughout the book.

Another aspect of the book that I disliked was the fact that at one point Ayers promotes the belief that evolution and the big bang theory is in line with biblical teachings, and therefore can be true.  I personally was turned away by this. Scripture points to God’s creation of the world through his words in a six-day process. This is not what evolution and the big bang theory teaches, and therefore they cannot both be right. I believe that God’s word is true and right in everything, including creation. This alone would prevent me from passing this book on to another, especially a non-believer, because I find that it could become very misleading.

The final complaint that I have against this book would be that it does not seem to go very deep. I personally did not find anything in this book that was challenging or even thought-provoking. At the beginning of this book Ayers says that his goal was to remove assumptions and merely explore the truth about God, who He is and how it affects us. And although he does remain neutral, I feel as though not much was exposed, but merely the more obvious was stated.

To sum it up, I wouldn’t recommend this book to another person, especially to a non-believer. I just feel that resources we pass on to others should contain and be supported by scripture. This book is not. I simply feel that the points presented in this book are basic, and do not go very deep, and that there are many other resources for Christians and non-Christians alike that would be more beneficial to read from and to study on this topic.

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

You can find a copy of this book here: http://www.amazon.com/Naked-God-Truth-About-Exposed/dp/192144164X/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1370018335&sr=8-10&keywords=naked+god

 

‘the Heiress of Winterwood’ Book Review March 28, 2013

thTitle: the Heiress of Winterwood (Whispers On the Moors Book 1)

Author: Sarah Ladd

Date I Finished Reading: March 27, 2013

My Rating: 5/5

The following is the plot description from the back of this book:

Amelia Barrett gave her word. Keeping it could cost her everything.

Amelia Barrett, heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s baby. She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father—a sea captain she’s never met.

When the child vanishes with little more than an ominous ransom note hinting at her whereabouts, Amelia and Graham are driven to test the boundaries of their love for this little one.

Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she’s forced to examine her soul and face her one weakness: pride.

Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline. And away from the family he has sworn to love and protect.

Both must learn to have faith and relinquish control so they can embrace the future ahead of them.

 

This is a difficult book to review, not wanting to give too much of the plot away. However, I can say this. The Heiress of Winterwood, Sarah Ladd’s debut novel, is phenomenal!  I was quickly drawn into the plot and found my thoughts constantly drifting back to the story whenever I was not reading it!

There were a few qualities of this book that I especially liked. For example. I loved the setting and time era. The story is set in London in the early 1800’s. This proved to be  a very interesting, and refreshing change from many historical romance novel. This, along with the originality of the plot, kept the story from becoming cliché

Another aspect of the book that I liked was Sarah Ladd’s writing style. She writes in a manner where you feel as though you are in the room, watching what is unfolding. She uses, colorful, descriptive vocabulary that give you an idea of the scene without becoming too wordy or drawn out, which was a huge bonus in my opinion! Also, her writing style portrayed her characters excellently! Her characters did not seem unrealistic or vague, but were very relatable and clear.

Overall, I can definitely say that I would recommend this book to you! I found it engaging, interesting, and addicting, as well as a beautiful story of faith and love. It is by far one of the best books I have read in a while!

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

You can find a copy of this book here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Heiress-Winterwood-Whispers-Moors/dp/1401688357/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364485747&sr=8-1&keywords=heiress+of+winterwood

 

‘The Bondservant’s Life’ Book Review March 13, 2013

untitledTitle: The Bondservant’s Life: Foundation for Understanding Prophecy, and a Call to Maturity, Love, and Unity in the Knowledge of God

Author: John Brenner Chandler

Date I Finished Reading: March 13,2013

My Rating: 2/5

I was not expecting this book to be so big. Honestly. This book is a total of 500+ pages packed full of notes, thoughts, scriptures and teaching. It dives into the life of a bondservant and of submission to God.

Some positive attributes of this book would be Chandler’s knowledge. It became obvious as I read this book that he knew what he was talking about, and had illustrations, quotes, articles and other resources to support his thesis. I was impressed with how much scripture he brought into the book, making it centered around God’s word.

However, at the same time, I struggled to read this book. Chandler’s writings are very deep, but the way that he presents his beliefs is very difficult to understand. He is very wordy and at times long-winded. I understand and appreciate the use of good vocabulary, but this was excessive, to the point where it made the book difficult to read and understand. This is why I gave this book the rating that I did. While Chandler may have depth and substance to his writing, but how can you think on and apply the teachings if you can hardly make sense of what he is trying to say? I couldn’t.

Overall, I would say that this book had potential. It could have been a great resource, but the length and style of writing made it difficult to understand, enjoy, or apply.

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

You can find a copy of this book here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Bondservants-Life-Foundation-Understanding/dp/0983810206/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363189877&sr=8-1&keywords=the+bondservant%27s+life

 

‘To Honor and Trust’ Book Review

thTitle: To Honor and Trust (Bridal Veil Island)

Authors: Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

Date I Finished Reading: March 13,2013

My Rating: 5/5

Once you have been hurt, it can sometimes be very hard to forgive, and to trust again. Callie knows this to be very true in her own life. She was once hurt by a man she loved, and now guards her heart against that ever happening again. However, Mr. and Mrs. Bridgeport, her employers we treat her as family, are convinced to help Callie find a suitable husband. Callie is able to dodge their plans, but not without finding  love for herself along the way. But should she really trust Wesley? Can she? Or will he break her heart as well? And with so many different paths and choices, is this God’s plan for her life?

This book ties together many qualities to paint a wonderful picture. Romance, mystery, humor, and history are mixed together in a charming, entertaining, and engaging way, resulting in a very enjoyable read. I was quickly pulled into the plot of this book, becoming attached to the characters, who were well written. I loved the setting of the story as well, one that is a bit more unique and original.

I really do not have any complaints whatsoever about this book, so I can honestly say that I would recommend it to you, if you are anything like me in the fact that you enjoy a good book that captures your attention until the very end.

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

You can find a copy of this book here: http://www.amazon.com/Honor-Trust-Bridal-Veil-Island/dp/0764208888/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363177715&sr=8-1&keywords=to+honor+and+trust

 

‘Stumbling On Open Ground’ Book Review March 3, 2013

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Title: Stumbling On Open Ground: Love, God, Cancer, and Rock ‘n’ Roll

Author: Ken Mansfield

Date I Finished Reading: March 2,2013

My Rating: 5/5

I have sometimes wondered what a person goes through when fighting cancer. I have wondered what exactly they endure spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Maybe that is why this book was so interesting to me, maybe not. Either way, I was drawn into the story of Ken Mansfield, and his wife, Connie.

In this book Ken lays out the story of his two fights with cancer, including a rare, life-threatening, “incurable” cancer. He is very real and honest as he does so, writing on the pain, heartache, and touching moments with God.

Ken is, no doubt, a talented author. He has a way of writing that draws you in, and holds your interest. He uses wonderful analogies to give you a vivid picture of the  hardships he endured. His humorous touches also adds to the read.

I would, without a doubt, recommend this book to you. I found it to be enlightening, heart-touching, inspiring and encouraging.  how gave me a look at just how heartbreaking and  excruciating cancer can be, both physically and emotionally. It made me more aware of how blessed I am to be given a strong, healthy body. And it made me even more thankful  that I have a God who is right beside me during the hardest of trials.

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