Thursday, 19 May 2016

Book Review: Sit Stay Love by Dana Mentink

About the Book: Take one abrasive professional athlete, a quirky out-of-work schoolteacher, and an overweight geriatric dog, and you're ready for a lesson in love . . . Tippy style.

Pro baseball pitcher Cal Crawford is not a dog guy. When he inherits his deceased mother's elderly dog, Tippy, he's quick to call on a pet-sitting service.

Gina isn't thrilled to be a dog sitter when her aspirations lie in the classroom. Furthermore, she can't abide the unfriendly Cal, a man with all the charm of a wet towel. But with no other prospects and a deep love for all things canine, she takes the job caring for Tippy.

As Gina travels through Cal's world with Tippy in tow, she begins to see Cal in a different light. Gina longs to show Cal the God-given blessings in his life that have nothing to do with baseball or fame. When her longing blooms into attraction, Gina does her best to suppress it. But Cal is falling in love with her too . . .

Discover the charming story of Tippy, the dog who brought a family together.

Purchase a copy:

My Thoughts:  I must admit that I am not a dog person (ducking the flaming arrows), but I thoroughly enjoyed this quirky book.

With charming characters and an engaging storyline, this book is a quick and enjoyable read, while still managing to teach you a thing or two along the way.  If you're a dog lover, you'll love this book - and if you're not, you still will! :)

I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more books by this Dana Mentink.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Book Review: Synced - Living Connected to the Heart of Jesus by Jennifer Kennedy Dean

About the Book: Prayer can become extraordinary when we live connected to the heart of Jesus.

Synced encourages you to emulate the way Jesus lived His life. With real-life stories of people walking closely with Jesus, finding themselves in the right place at the right time, readers are challenged to examine what staying in step with the Spirit looks like. National best-selling author and known prayer expert, Jennifer Kennedy Dean, uses the familiar passage of the Lord's Prayer as anchor points to present the way Jesus lived His life in step with the Father through prayer.

Every moment is pregnant with purpose. Every moment is drenched in power. Prayer is no longer the means by which you attempt to get God to perform for you and becomes, instead, the means by which you connect with His heart and mind. A praying life is a life of peace and soul-rest. A praying life is lived in sync with the heart of Jesus.

Purchase a copy:

My Thoughts: Prayer is one of the spiritual disciplines that many believers struggle with, myself included.  We often don't think we're praying often enough, long enough, effectively enough, but are at a loss of exactly how to improve our lacking prayer lives.  I was hoping this book would be helpful in that regard, but it wasn't quite as much as I had hoped.

I did appreciate the somewhat unique twist of using the Lord's Prayer to discuss how we can become synced with God, connected to the heart of Jesus.  However, I found it a bit simplistic in parts.  With the suggestion that if we could only be synced with God, blessings and ministry would just flow effortlessly, it smacked a bit of prosperity gospel to me at times.

I definitely believe that God does miracles, and that sometimes heaven's power reaches through our earthly circumstances at the exact time we need it.  But it doesn't always.  And it's not due to a lack of faith or a lack confidence that God can come through for us.  Sometimes faithful believers lose their homes when the money doesn't come in at the eleventh hour.  I do think that the author realizes that, I just wished it would have been stated specifically, and that she would have explained what it means when we don't see heaven's power in our earthly circumstances, despite our fervent prayers.

I did, however, really enjoy her focus on obedience as well as her chapter on forgiveness, and found that particularly insightful.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Book Review: Pocket Prayers by Max Lucado

About the Book(s): Pocket Prayers (with various authors; Thomas Nelson, March 2016)

Bestselling author Max Lucado has teamed up with six authors to write the Pocket Prayers series for those in need of peace, renewal, rest, faith, hope, joy, direction, serenity, and courage.

Short, simple prayers are very effective, which is why each book in the series contains forty guided prayers and complementary scriptures for any situation, including for:

-Moms (written with daughter Andrea Lucado)
-Grads (written with daughter Andrea Lucado)
-Dads (written with Mark Mynheir)
-Military Life (written with Mark Mynheir)
-Teachers (written with blogger Jennifer Hale)
-Friends (written with Betsy St. Amant)

Purchase your copies:

My Thoughts: These books are perfect for guiding your prayer life specific to the category you fit in.  Each of the 40 prayers starts with a complementary scripture passage followed by the prayer that flows from that thought.

The prayers are very specific to the indicated category and are very practical and useful.  However, even though they are short, they are still very meaningful.

For example....
In Pocket Prayers for Teachers....
Psalm 139:13-14 You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.
a portion of the prayer reads "...Help the teachers and administrators in my school see your fingerprints on every student. Let each challenge be seen as an opportunity for good; let each character trait be seen as a reflection of your glory."

Snippets of prayers from other days.....
"...Bless each student in my class, especially those from troubled homes. Let them feel my love and attention, and please protect their innocence. Show me how to be their steady, dependable guide."

"...Help my coteachers tap into their talents and use them well. Let your glory shine in their skills so we can celebrate the achievement of our students through your mighty work."

"...Help my students get along and form lasting friendships."

Beautiful prayers, perfect for guiding a teacher's thoughts and prayers, and calming their hearts.

Snippets of prayers for moms....
"...Today I feel spread thing and overcommitted. I don't have the strength in me to do what needs to be done. Give me the energy I need just for today. Give me time for rest and rejuvenation."

"..Help my children to fix their eyes on you when they experience fear or anxiety. Show them who you are, and grow their trust in you."

"...Today I am worried about my children. Temptations surround them at school, with friends, online. Sometimes I feel helpless. Give me wisdom, and help me release them confidently to your care."

For dads....
"..Bless my wife today. Protect her, encourage her, and wrap your love around her. Help her focus on our relationship with each other and with you."

"Help me be bold with my faith and unashamed that I follow you so I will speak freely about you. Help me walk in courage and faith every day because my strength and dependence flow from the Holy Spirit."

"..Give me the heart of a servant leader. Humble my spirit so I will desire to serve as you served, to lead as you lead."

For friends....
"...I ask you to bring healthy relationships into my life and to protect me from relationships that would pull me away from you."

"...I need discernment today regarding the friendships I allow in my life. Give me wisdom to know which relationships to embrace and which ones to pass by."

"...I want to be strong for my friends when they go through trials and storms. Help me pick them up and point them toward you in every situation. Enable me to laugh with them as they rejoice and cry beside them as they struggle."

For the graduate....
"...Be with my friends who are starting new schools and new jobs. When situations arise, help them ask you, before anyone else, what they should do so they will make wise decisions."

"...Let this year be my chance to start over. Let it be the year I begin to follow you, really follow you. And let my life show the fruit of the Spirit to those around me."

"...I know graduation is an exciting time, but it is also bittersweet to say good-bye to family and friends. Give me joy and excitement in this time of change."

And for military life...
"...I pray I never have to enter the field of battle, but if I do, remind me that I am secure in you no matter what."

"...Please be with my family and chase their fears away. Comfort them and give them peace when I'm absent."

"...My family needs you. I have to train so often, and my job requires a lot of time away. Help them understand and be able to manage the days I am away. Reassure them that I'm following your will for my life."

6 short books for 6 specific people.  I really enjoyed these books and highly recommend them to you, or to give to someone as a gift.

We were encouraged to give at least some of ours away.

I am going to give the one for teachers to my friends, Pamela.
I am going to give the one for friends to my oldest daughter, Emma.
I am going to give the one for dad to my husband.
I am going to keep the one for moms!
I am going to give the one for graduates to one of the grads from our church.
I am going to give the military one to a couple from church.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.


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