Aug 31, 2015

Book Review: Glory Days by Max Lucado


Great quote:  "Do you understand what your Master wants? Do you know what makes you, you? Have you identified the features that distinguish you from every other human who has inhaled oxygen?" (Page 144)

Book summary:  "Jesus offers abundant joy. Yet you live with oppressive grief. The epistles speak of grace. You shoulder guilt. You are more than a conqueror yet are commonly conquered by temptation or weaknesses.


"But there’s good news. With God’s help you can close the gap between the person you are and the person you want to be. Like Joshua and the Israelites, you can move from a wilderness existence into a promised inheritance.

"This is God’s vision for your life. You, at full throttle. You, as you were intended. You, as victor over the Jerichos and giants. You, minus the stumbles, hurts, and hate.
"You and your Promised Land life." (LitFuse)

My thoughts: Glory Days by Max Lucado is a complicated book. On one hand, the premise is simple: live for God and you will be living in your Glory Days as God has defined. On the other hand: that's not so easy to do, is it?

Based on the Biblical story of Joshua, Lucado likens our day-to-day life as a struggle that is just as real as the one Joshua fought so many centuries ago. Maybe our world is filled with internet temptations and fast-food goodies on every corner, but deep down all human struggle is real and the same. 

We want a good life. We want happiness and a peaceful family and...and...and...

Interestingly, Lucado deftly uses Joshua's story to bring readers back to the reality of a God-focused life. And it's not all roses and smiles. As Lucado wisely points out, however, a God-filled life can be your own Glory Days, though. When God has your back, just as He had Joshua's back, you can rest in God's peace. 

This book is heavier and deeper than some of Lucado's writings. This book would be a fantastic book for someone who is deeply struggling, stuck in the trenches of life with little hope. 

The story of Joshua is a bloody fight to the finish. But that is exactly the point Lucado is trying to make. When we want life to be simple, we are deceived. We must fight the good fight, as Joshua did, if we want to live in our own Glory Days


Rating: 4 of 5 stars


Book Facts:
  • Pages:   272
  • Year originally published: 2015
  • Author:  More than 120 million readers have found comfort in the writings of Max Lucado. He ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy. 
  • Find Max online: website, Facebook,Twitter  
Purchase on Amazon:   Glory Days: Living Your Promised Land Life Now  


 
 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Book Review: Heart's Home (Book 6 of 6) by Colleen Coble

A Heart's Home is Book 6 in the 6-Part "Journey of the Heart" Series. 




Lavish Bookshelf Reviews 
of this series include:



Book summary:  "Emmie's hope for a life with Isaac is overshadowed by a tragic loss at Fort Phil Kearny." (Back Cover)

My thoughts: This historical series by Colleen Coble has come to a conclusion with Heart's Home. Babies are everywhere and the Sioux are about to attack the fort. Plot holes are filled in nicely in this final book of the series and most of the main characters have happy endings. 

Coble is a wonderful writer. I have enjoyed many of her books. This series is a bit weak because the story is spread out over so many novellas. I have read one book in this series per month and, to be honest, I couldn't remember how some of the characters even first met each other because all that happened so many books and months ago. 

The historical aspect of this book is intriguing. I enjoyed seeing how Coble was able to introduce a Fort that actually did exist for a few short years. What I really loved what seeing how Coble was able to also write about the end of the real-life Fort Phil Kearny. Life at that Fort must have been tremendously tough and heartbreaking. Coble does a fantastic job bringing the hardships to life while also maintaining a positive, God-centered focus to the story.

My broken record rant: I must mention (again) that it's become a sticking point to me that this wonderful story was marketed by the publishers as six separate books. For more of my thoughts on this, please read here and here and here.



Rating: 4 of 5 stars


Rating for entire series: 3 of 5 stars 
(due the exorbitant cost of purchasing each book separately)


Book Facts:
  • Pages:   99
  • Year originally published: 2015
  • Book Tour:  My review is part of a larger collection of reviews of this title. For more information, please visit LitFuse.
Purchase on Amazon:  A Heart's Home (Book 6 of 6) by Colleen Coble  



 



You Might Want to Know:

Colleen is celebrating the final book release of her A Journey of the Heart series by giving away the entire series and the chance to host Colleen virtually at your book club, local library, or women's group to talk about the series.

A hidden pregnancy, a promise sure to break hearts, and a tragic loss at Fort Phil Kearny: Don't miss the gripping conclusion in book six, A Heart's Home, of Colleen Coble's A Journey of the Heart series. With the Sioux Wars threatening outside the fort, Emmie’s solemn vow threatens her happiness from within. Will she honor a promise sure to break her heart—and Isaac’s? Or is there another way to find a home for her heart?


heartshome-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • Books 1–6 of A Journey of the Heart series
  • A chat with Colleen via Skype or Google Hangout
  • A custom book-club kit PDF, featuring Colleen's favorite recipes and group discussion questions
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 31st. Winner will be announced September 1st on Colleen's website.


heartshome-enterbanner
 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Book Review: Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason





Book summary:  "Brianna and Colleen O'Leary know their Irish immigrant father expects them to marry well. Recently he's put even more pressure on them, insinuating that the very future of their Long Island horse farm, Irish Meadows, rests in their ability to land prosperous husbands. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures." (back cover)

My thoughts:  Every once in a while I agree to read and review a book that is REALLY not my cup of tea. I try really hard to screen the books before I agree to review them. Even so, one occasionally slips in and...WHAM...I'm stuck in a reviewer's dilemma. Should I plow on through, finishing a book that I know I won't be able to ever enjoy? Or should I stop at certain point, knowing I've given the book my best shot but that it really isn't a book for me.

Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason is that book for me. 
It just did not resonate with me at all.

I read more than 100 book each year. My personal rule of thumb is to read 100 pages of a book before I make any decisions. If I really am still struggling at 100 pages, it's time to part ways with the book. Often the rule is pushed to 100 pages many times a year, however almost always something clicks and I end up finishing the book, whether I end up liking the book in the end or not.

Not so with this book and here are a couple of my own reasons why:

1. The main characters are all WAY too young. As in 18 and three weeks from finishing high school. I'm REALLY not interested in a historical romance involving teenagers. To be honest, it felt all too creepy. Brianna loved Gil but she was much too young (as in 13 or 14 years old?) but now she's older and hawt and maybe they'll be able to hook up now? YUCK!

2. While this book is being billed as Susan Anne Mason's "debut historical novel" in reality Mason has written numerous novels over the years for publishers such as Harlequin. I'm not knocking Mason's choice of writing genres, but there is a VERY distinct reason I don't read Harlequin books. They are formulaic and schmaltzy. And while this book is not a true Harlequin, it still has the feel of a Harlequin with the tone and voice. For example, on page 27, "all she could do was stare at his handsome face and the enticing lips so near to hers." Again, YUCK! 

I'm sure plenty of readers will love this book. The setting is on a horse farm on Long Island in 1911. No World Wars yet, no internet, no voting rights for women...all that good stuff, complete with enticing lips so near.

Rating: Did Not Finish


Book Facts:
  • Pages:   373
  • Year originally published:   2015
  • Author:  Susan Anne Mason's debut historical novel, "Irish Meadows," won the Fiction from the Heartland contest from the Mid-American Romance Authors Chapter of RWA. A member of ACFW, as well, she lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two children.
  • Book Tour:  My review is part of a larger collection of reviews of this title. for more information, please visit LitFuse Publicity.
Purchase on Amazon: Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason  






You might want to know:  
Join Susan in celebrating the release of Irish Meadows by entering to win her Kindle Fire giveaway and RSVPing to her September 1st author chat party!



irishmeadows-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:

A Kindle Fire HD 6
One copy of Irish Meadows
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 9/1. The winner will be announced at the Irish Meadows Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Susan and other readers, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!


irishmeadows-enterbanner

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 1st!

    Irish Meadows
 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Aug 27, 2015

Book Review: Undertaker's Wife by Dee Oliver with Jodie Berndt




Great quote:  "Death is, perhaps, the only certainty in life that still manages to catch us off guard." (Page 182)

Book summary:  "In The Undertaker’s Wife, Oliver draws from her wealth of experience to provide candid and often hysterically funny advice on dying well and surviving the loss of those who have gone before. Her insights on the common ground of grief, survival, and the ever-present faithfulness of God (to all of us, regardless of our race, religious upbringing, or socio-economic background) will help readers prepare for one of life’s only certainties—and do it with wisdom, grace, and a healthy dose of joy." (Back Cover)

My thoughts:  I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, The Undertaker's Wife by Dee Oliver. Would it be sad, preachy, creepy or what? 

Actually, I ended up being really pleasantly surprised! Dee Oliver had spent several decades in the funeral business, but it wasn't until the sudden death of her beloved husband when she truly stepped into the role as a full-time career.

This book is witty and clever, mingled with the heartbreaking story of Oliver's husband's death. Written with an upbeat and chatty voice, The Undertaker's Wife is Dee Oliver's memoir, but it's also a helpful and wise guide for everyone when it comes to preparing for death. 

From her years spent on both sides of the desk both as a funeral industry professional and as a grieving widow, Oliver's book is interspersed with valuable hints and tips on how to get one's affairs in order. For example, Oliver suggests that spouses teach each other how to do tasks around the house that are typically handled only by one person. She uses the example of one spouse not knowing how to make coffee, but the idea could expand to any number of areas around the home. Oliver's advice will get you thinking about your own home. Do you know how to start the lawn mower or do you know where the tax paperwork is stored?

The Undertaker's Wife really has something for everyone because death is something we can't avoid, even if we don't want to talk about it. Take some funny and lighthearted advice from Dee Oliver. Death can't be avoided but it doesn't need to be feared.


Rating: 4 of 5 stars


Book Facts:
  • Pages:   221
  • Year originally published:  2015
  • Author:  Dee Oliver is the socialite widow of John Oliver, who was a fourth-generation funeral director and the impeccably mannered proprietor of the largest funeral home in southeastern Virginia.  Dee holds a degree in mortuary science and writes about death (and surviving the loss of someone you love) in her blog, Going Out in Style.  She is the mother of three girls, ages 17-21.
  • Jodie Berndt is an author and speaker.  She has written or co-written seven books, including Praying the Scriptures for Your Children and Praying the Scriptures for Your Teens, as well as Celebration of Miracles.  She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and is a former television writer and producer for CBN’s 700 Club.  Jodie and her husband, Robbie, have four children, ages 17-23.
Purchase on Amazon:  The Undertaker's Wife: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Laughter in the Unlikeliest of Places  

 
 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.